Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Music Matters - Kinky Boots and If/Then.

     I found myself crying today. Why? Because… music.

     Music evokes emotion. It can make us feel excited and “dancey. Pharell’s Happy comes to mind – images of myself swerving and bouncing the car along a country road near our home, my kids jamming and woo-hooing in the back seat.
     Music can make us somber or relaxed. Celtic Treasure or Sandy Meldrum’s piano music chills me down and evens me out. Music digs memories from our pockets and places us at events from our past. Sometimes we smile at the nostalgia. Sometimes we quickly change the station.
     Today, iTunes released the album from the musical If/Then. I happened to order the album about five minutes after the closing scene of the Broadway show, while I was standing in line to exit the theater. At that moment, I wanted to re-experience every song right away. Unfortunately I had to wait until today, but the album was so worth the week and a half wait.
     While I was driving my daughter to the orthodontist, I got the Amazon message that If/Then was available for listening. Immediately I plugged my phone into the sound system, and we fell right into the voices of Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. They sing about the choices we make, the big ones and the seemingly insignificant, how we experience certain adventures and tragedies by following the paths we choose, how we can only imagine what futures may have been awaiting us along the paths we opted out of. They sing about how we are all connected – the idea that the random person you flip the bird at for cutting you off in traffic today may well turn up three days from now as the doctor who’s operating on your child. 
     The songs and the musical itself force us to ask – what if?
     What if I’d gone to the party that one friend invited me to instead of going to that bar where I met my husband?
      What if I’d studied abroad for that year instead of getting a head start in my career?
      What if I’d gotten on that plane?
       How might my life look different today?
       It’s such a simple idea, but the musical poignantly portrays a middle-aged woman and her life along two possible pathways. The audience gets to experience what would have happened to Elizabeth (Idina) if she’d made the other decision. In the end, my takeaway was this – where you end up is not as important as the love you share with others and the lessons you learn along the path of your choices. None of life’s roads are without bumps, valleys, and high points, and If/Then spoke to that.
      The music from If/Then is laden with emotion, with the angst, fear, and giddiness of choosing to leap into a new circumstance. Whether a relationship, a job, or even parenthood, every choice births a new set of possibilities that never would have been if…
      Then, my daughter and I listened to the music from Kinky Boots. I couldn’t “dance the car,” as my kids like to call it, because we were on the highway, but we were bouncing and arm swaying and singing at the tops of our lungs.  Where the music from If/Then makes me feel thoughtful, Kinky Boots just makes me want to dance.
      That’s not to say Kinky Boots doesn’t hit some serious issues over the head with the sledgehammer that is a fitting symbol for Billy Porter’s crazy amazing voice. Because it does. It tackles transgender issues with humor and wit and drags even the most conservative among us to our feet until we are standing and dancing and clapping for a crew of talented men who just happened to be dancing in some very bright, very high heels.
      Kinky Boots’s message – be who you want to be – is told through the story of Charlie, a young man who inherits his late father’s failing shoe factory and Simon, a cross dresser who goes by the name of Lola. Together, the two learn and teach others how to accept people for who they are, follow dreams, and persevere.
      Before we left for New York, when I told my husband we were going to see Kinky Boots, he looked at me like I had three heads. Why on earth, he wondered, would we want to see a show about a guy who wears big red high-heeled boots?  
      “This just doesn’t sound very interesting at all,” he said, rolling his eyes and poo-pooing my show choice.
     A week later, he knows every word to the show’s hit song, The Sex is in the Heel, and sings along with the windows open in the car.
      Because of the music.
      It snagged him right away.
      The music makes us feel alive. It stirs us up and slips us into the shoes of the characters we watched on stage.
       I can say with one hundred percent certainty that I’ll never find my husband wanting to stroll around in a pair of high-heeled red boots.
       But, watching Kinky Boots helped us to understand what it might feel like to be unable to express ourselves. It made us wonder how we would react if our loved ones weren’t proud or even accepting of the people we turned out to be.
      The show made us feel something.
      And now, the music brings back that emotion.
      Oh, how I love Broadway.
      To the directors and writers and to everyone involved in the making of these two crowd pleasers – If/Then and Kinky Boots - Bravo! I couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried.
      And, a word of advice to anyone going to Times Square any time soon – see Kinky Boots. See If/Then. I’ll know you leaped into the choice if I see your car dancing next to mine.






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New York City - Center of the Universe

New York City. Oh... the energy! Every time I emerge from the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan, I feel like I've suddenly come awake. The buildings breathe. The sidewalks pulse. The very air sings with aromas of cultural delicacies I can't wait to taste. I am reborn with the purpose of experiencing all that life has to offer on this tiny island that seems to have its very own big, beating heart.

My husband and I have been involved in an ongoing love affair with New York City for about twelve years now. When he announced to me on our first wedding anniversary that we would be driving to the Big Apple to see a Broadway show, I thought it sounded fun. I had no idea that trip would become a recurring celebration of our love of food, musical theatre, and the indelible richness of Manhattan.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of blogs about New York City. I'll focus mainly on restaurants, musicals, shopping, and culture. If you love New York, you'll want to check out the articles for some suggestions on where to eat, what to watch and how to make the most of two days in the city with and without children.
Having just returned from one of our semi-annual excursions, I'm basking in the afterglow of  the high I feel every time I breathe the same air as so many amazingly talented Broadway stars. This past week-end, we saw two shows - Kinky Boots, starring the crazy awesome Billy Porter and If/Then with the powerful diva -Idina Menzel. We had fourth row seats at If/Then.
Four rows from Idina and her pipes of glory.

Wow. Just wow.

We couldn't have chosen two shows that were more different from each other than these two, but, when asked to pick a favorite, I wasn't able to. Both shows were surprisingly beautiful and truly awing. Later in the week, I'll post my first NYC article, and it will be devoted to these two performances. So if you're looking to visit Broadway, and you're trying to decide on a show, you can read my take on Kinky Boots and If/Then here on my blog.

Until then, I will be listening to my Kinky Boots album and enjoying the remnants of my Eataly purchases - chocolates, imported pasta and fresh baked prosciutto and provolone bread. Mmmmm... can you guess what another post will be devoted to?

Please share some of your favorite places in New York City, some of your memories, what made you fall in love with the city. Start spreadin' the news! I'd love to hear about your experiences! Leave comments below or tweet to me @danafaletti!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Freedom of Fourth Grade Field Day

Grey clouds hovered over the track like curious spirits, waiting for the charge of energy that could remind them of life’s crisp brightness. Suddenly, it appeared, the bulging crowd of children, and it was heading toward us with an alarming speed at its feet. Faraway laughter grew louder as the boys and girls raced down the dewy green hill to the track, their colorful tee-shirts already stained with the sweat of anticipation.

     “Fun!” their smiles cried. “Finally!”

     It was field day.

     The image of my daughter’s fourth grade class sprinting down the hill from the school to the track on field day brought me back to the easy joy of childhood. These children were thrilled to have just a couple of hours off from the intensity of the classroom and strict rules of upper elementary life.

     School is not the simple institution that it used to be. Today’s classrooms are jam-packed with language-infused math, guided reading, and lists of detailed rules that even make some parents go “hmmm... What do you think that one means?”  There are positive reinforcement programs, allergy action plans and behavior checklists. Assignment binders themselves weigh a whopping five pounds and can barely be stuffed into the giant backpacks the children carry around.

     There are so many tests.

     There are so many standardized tests.

     There are so many really important standardized tests.

     Growing up, I knew I had to finish my homework before I ventured outside to play. At that time, fourth grade homework took thirty minutes or less, so there was always plenty of daylight left after I finished math and spelling. If my parents wanted to take our family on vacation during the school year, they did so, without a second thought. My brother and I completed our make-up work and caught up when we returned from our adventure, never worrying that we’d missed the Science Olympiad or so and so’s half birthday celebration that was the event of the semester. As parents now, we have to fill out specific forms that show the educational value of our vacations. If our children miss too many days without doctors’ excuses, we are threatened with heavy fines and meetings with the magistrate. Make no mistake - school is serious business.

     Also, everything is online.


     From classroom newsletters to spelling lists to report cards.

     And if your wi-fi is glitching for whatever reason on a particular school night, be assured that an anxiety attack the size of Texas will ensue once your child realizes he or she is unable to access the teacher’s virtual homework page. Especially if it was a prep exercise for the really important standardized test that’s coming up.

     As a child, I remember giggling through fire drills, whispering with friends and shivering on the asphalt playground until being ushered back inside for sustained silent reading. Today, there are emergency drills that force elementary age children to imagine what it would be like if a gunman entered their school. We need these drills.  Sadly, this is the new reality.

     Still, it’s a lot for our young children to take in and carry around on their little shoulders every day. And this is why I found myself relishing the happiness of the moment when the kids hit the field for a day that was entirely carefree. Oh, how they needed this.

     Rough red kickballs littered the fields, evoking memories of being chosen last for the team. I pushed away the nervy nostalgia and focused instead on the sheer pleasure that oozed from my daughter’s face as she emerged onto the track with her grinning buddies.

     The teachers were dressed down and ready for fun.

     The kids were chatty, competitive and even a little unruly.

     The water balloons were over-filled and tempting.

     What a perfect way to celebrate the end of an effort-filled school year and the arrival of summer’s bliss.








Monday, May 5, 2014

In Honor of Mothers and Grandmothers everywhere.... On the Red Porch With the White Striped Awning

     In honor of Mother's day, I would like to post a short story I wrote some time ago. I've been  blessed by the women in my life, my grandmothers and mother as well as my aunts. Each taught me different life lessons and portrayed aspects of the woman I would become. My own mother, a very strong woman, taught me to speak my mind, to stand up for myself, to put family first. My grandmothers were also pillars of strength, models of kindness and servitude. Their generation was so steeped in self-sacrifice. These women gave up everything for their children and families. It was just their way.
     As I get older, I wonder about my grandmothers and who they were as women before they became wives and mothers. Did they ever yearn for more or question their choices? Did they have choices? I never asked way back when. I can't ask now.
     This story is a testament to those women who endured hardships so that the lives of their children and grandchildren could be easier. Oh how I wish I could thank them.


3 generations making our beloved great grandmother's homemade ravioli. We've had them every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.

On The Red Porch with the White Striped Awning

      On the red porch with the white striped awning, she sat in her wooden folding chair, watching the city morning come to life. Business men in their suits rushed past her, anxious to meet their day’s sales,  to land the hot deal, to pocket that crispy dollar. She smiled at the contrast of their frantic bustle to her quiet sigh inside the noise.

     The huckster stopped his truck in front of her porch.

     “Morning, Mary.” He nodded up to her, the rim of a baseball cap shadowing his smile.

     “Hi Sam.” She stood from her chair. “You wanna cup of coffee?”

     “No thanks, Mary. Gotta keep moving this morning.” He grabbed two boxes of fruits and vegetables from the back of the truck and hurried to a house across the street to make his delivery.

     “Have a good day, Sam.” She sat back down and crossed her hands in her lap, her thumbs worrying the deep wrinkles on her knuckles and the sides of her fingers. 

     Time had taken its toll on her body, leaving lines whose origins could be traced back as far as her childhood.  As a dirty-cheeked pre-adolescent, she’d worked the land on Sicilian hilltops, plucking figs and prickly pears from scorched September trees. The wrinkles on her face spoke of summers that were anything but kind. Only the coolness of the Ionian sea, its gentle fingers lapping over her skin, had  allowed tranquility to flow over her during those intense harvest seasons. She’d left her childhood there, inside a pebbled footprint along the shore. Traded it in for more lines.

     The more recent lines had been painted by a fabulous artist, a man whose passion wasn’t always tender. At first, his hands had left her speechless and immobile, so full of what she’d once called love. Later, they became brutal like the Sicilian summer sun, leaving her with bruises as purple as a starless sky. She’d had to bear many a shameful morning on account of his relentlessly passionate hands. Her husband may have become quite famous, could have been named the most prolific linear artists known to man, had he not met his fate by the bottle.

     The day he’d died was the beginning of her “year of the black dress.” On day three hundred sixty-six, she’d donned a gorgeous shade of blue with shoes to match. She’d paid her wifely dues of tradition and had at last felt owed her due of serenity. The blue dress spoke peace to her.  It was the color of the sea where she’d left her childhood. It was the color of her firstborn’s eyes.

     She’d nearly lost him. They’d tried to take him from her arms just as she was introducing him to his world. Those women of black and white silence who couldn’t even see past their rigid traditions to find the shades of gray that made up life’s most important choices. How could they have comprehended the color of unfettered innocence, the love in its most basic incarnation, that exists between a mother and her child? They’d reached for him, to remove him from her breast, to insert him into their colorless world. The glare her eyes shot forth drew lines upon her forehead so deep they could never be erased. And, at that moment, those cursed black and whites saw red and understood. The lines she acquired that day… they may have saved her life.

     Later came more babies, some with blue eyes, others with black, those who slept soundly and the ones who wept and shrieked from the moment the moon met the night until the sun kissed the sky. Seven became a lucky number for her, and each child left lines of laughter, lines of tears, smiling lines and lines that told the story of a worried brow.

     There was never much money to be spoken of. No frantic business man bustling into town to find his fortune. Oh her breadwinner was excitable, though! Fridays, he was as frantic as a blinded soldier, running in circles in search of the fastest route to the local tavern where he could drink up all of the bread.

     Charity always managed to rescue them though. Each of her little angels learned through toil and, perhaps some lines of their own, to make smart choices. None had chosen passionate linear artists who specialized in black and blue to accompany them on life’s journey. Not one of her babies had taken up the bottle. And, each knew the value of their creases – the ones on the faces of themselves and their mother as well as the green ones in their pockets.

     Now, she ran her hand along the thin lines in her cheek and leaned over, resting her chin upon her fist, squinting from the sun’s glare. If every line had been for naught she wouldn’t be able to sit here on the red porch with the white striped awning, awed by the beauty of normalcy and quite happy with the nothing and everything that was hers.

     “Why the grin, neighbor?”  Eva poked her gray-haired head out of the door of the row house that was attached to Mary. These connected homes had made it easy for her daughters to sneak out of the attic window at night and hop across rooftops to visit the boys down the street. They thought she didn’t know, but she had the lines to prove she’d known all along.

     Mary smiled up at her neighbor. “Eva, good morning.  You wanna cup of coffee?”

     “I have a doctor’s appointment this morning, Mary.”

     “You all right?” Mary asked.

     “Just a check on my sugar. I’ll see you tonight then.” Eva slipped inside and closed the door.

     Each night, about a half hour before dusk, the neighborhood ladies would congregate on Mary’s porch. They shared stories, bragged about their grandchildren and sometimes played Pokeno, an Italian bingo game. All of these women had wrinkles on their faces and hands, much like those Mary’s life had left to her. The wrinkles spoke of sorrowful legend, amazing bravery, and hideous tragedy. They told tales of joy and of fear, and, although they’d changed faces from young to old, from vibrant to withered, not one of these women would make the choice to erase a single line.

     Mary wouldn’t trade one of hers for all of that young businessman’s money, not for a thousand more days at the sea.  She licked her finger and rubbed it across a dirty mark on her blue shoe. For all the years she’d suffered through their making, she’d survived on the hope that someday her blacks and blues would give birth to gold.

     “Hi Nana!” The little brown-eyed girl burst outside through the front screen door and into Mary’s arms, sticky balls of sleep still stuck in her eyes.

     “Good morning, bella.”

     The smiling little girl cupped her grandmother’s face in her tiny hands and planted a kiss on the bridge of her long nose.

     “Why are you so wrinkly, Nana?” The little girl laughed, and Mary’s heart leapt at the lovely honesty of an innocent child.

     “Because I love you, little one.” It was the only answer she had.

     The little girl tilted her head to the side and seemed to search her grandmother’s water blue eyes.       “Will I have lines like this someday?”

     “Not as many as I have.” Mary brushed a sweaty lock of hair from the child’s forehead.

     “Why not?” the child asked, almost defiantly.

     Again, Mary smiled and answered simply. “Because I love you, that’s why.”

     For a moment, the granddaughter’s eyes quizzed Mary’s, seeming tempted to ask further but finally deciding not to. “I love you too, Nana.” With that, she hopped off of her grandmother’s lap. Can we have pancakes for breakfast?”

     Mary touched the soft cheek of this angel child. “We can have anything we want, bella.”

     The two left the red porch just as the sunlight was starting to reach its fingers beyond the white striped awning, violating its shade. As the screen door slammed shut behind them, Mary thought once more on her lines and her lineage. Nothing was for naught, she thought, and squeezed her granddaughter’s hand.

     These lines are lifelines.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

BookSparks 20 questions with... Me!

     After I released Wake a few months ago, BookSparks did a little interview with me. Due to continued interest and a recent spike in sales of  Whisper and Wake, I decided to post the interview here for fans to read. For those of you who are waiting for Book 3, thank you for your patience! It is coming, and I think it will be worth the wait!

20 Questions with BookSparks author Dana Faletti!



1.       What was your biggest inspiration while writing WAKE?

So many things inspired me while I was writing the sequel to Whisper, it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I can say, though, there is a radio show called “Grace to You” with John Macarthur, and he did a series about angels. I listened to it several times, and it gave me some incredible insight into the Biblical writings of angels as warriors.


2.  What is usually on your nightstand? A glass of water, my Kindle, several books, my earrings, my wedding rings, random toys or trinkets that belong to my daughters, a candle, my cat trying to sip from the glass of water.


3.  Which character in WAKE is most like yourself?  Hmmm… my mother told me Callie reminds her of me as a teen. I always had super amplified feelings, kind of like Callie has for Joshua. Callie is much cooler than I ever was, though.


4.  Which authors have most influenced your writing? Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker in subject matter.  They write about Christian themes –angels and demons, end of the world type stuff. Jodi Picoult and Karen Marie Moning in style. I am a big fan of writing from different points of view. I love short powerful sentences that drive home an emotion.


5.  What is your favorite scene in WAKE? My favorite scene is when Callie visits Joshua at his house after she is worn out from fighting Darks all day. Joshua is her happy place, so to speak. The two of them struggle with how passionate their feelings are for each other and how to keep themselves from crossing the line. The scene deals with authentic desire and restraint.


6.  What do you think is Callie’s best trait? What I love most about Callie is that she has no idea how amazing she is. She doesn’t realize that she’s beautiful or brave, and it always surprises her when she gets a glimpse of her true nature.


7.  Are any characters in WAKE based on a real person? All of the characters, except for Silas and Jules,  are loosely based on real people. Callie is based on my niece, Cassie. Her parents are my brother and sister-in-law. Romuel’s character came from a dream I had about my father-in law, dressed in a toga with long hair and crazy abs. It was a really weird dream J


8.  What is something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? I am a die-hard fan of a capella musical groups.  I love love super love Pitch Perfect, and I am so bummed that The Sing-Off was cancelled last year. Best singing show ever.


9.  Where is your favorite place to write? I have a comfy oversized orange leather chair with ottoman that a friend was going to throw in the garbage. He gave it to my husband and I instead, and it ended up in our bedroom. This is where I wrote Whisper. Lately, I’ve been writing prolifically at local coffee shops. Much of Wake was written at Starbucks – how cliché, right? J


10.  What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a Broadway star. Now, I live that dream through watching my girls sing on stage. I still love singing… with them.


11.  What is your favorite book of all time? This is just a crazy question. I can’t narrow it down to one book. One series – The Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning – has seemed to ruin all other books for me.


12.  When is your birthday? September 10th.


13.  What is your dream vacation? A year in Europe. I’ve been to Italy three times and France several times. I have wonderful family in both countries, and we visit often. I’d like to spend a nice chunk of time there, eating, drinking, sleeping on pebble beaches in the afternoons and speaking Italian or French with strangers- that- have- become -family late into the nights.


14.  Describe your writing style in three words. Unique. Unapologetic. Tangible.



15. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning? No, most of the time, names just come to me, they feel right. Evil characters’ names are harder for me to nail down. I confess to having tossed around the idea of naming villains after some people who have given me grief in real life. You know – cross me and I’ll write you into my book – and you won’t be a pretty character! No, I actually don’t do that!  I love Joshua Pride. My favorite name.  I have no idea how I came up with Silas and Jules.


16. What is Callie’s favorite song (or theme song)? Beautiful Soul.


17. Any recent works that you admire? Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter. Delicious book.


18.  If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be? Again, a really hard question… Pat Conroy, maybe? His writing is so vivid, it places me wherever the characters are. I’ve read Prince of Tides three times, and every time I even think of the book, I can smell sulfur, taste sea salt on my tongue. I can close my eyes at any moment and be at Luke, Savannah, and Tom’s little shack-like house on their tiny plot of island. I’d like Pat’s writing style to rub off on me a little. It would help me in my next project.


19.  How have your personal experiences affected your writing?  Shortly after I started writing Wake, my husband had a very serious health scare. He was extremely sick for a few months, and I couldn’t write Wake at all. I did write some of another project I am working on. The story is much more serious.  For a long time after his health improved, I was still not in the right place to write something as whimsical as Wake. 


20.  What is your writing process? It is still very much evolving, as I think it always will be. With Whisper, I didn’t plan much. I had an idea and wrote a scene that ended up being in the middle of the book. Later, I started at the beginning of the story and wrote from chapter one through the end, then came back and wrote a prologue, then an epilogue. I never had an outline – I’ll confess. With Wake, I outlined some, but honestly, some ideas just come to me as I’m writing, and I go with them.  One thing I really believe in as a writer is the importance of critique partners – good ones. I’m so lucky to have a group of them. There are six of us who critique each others’ work twice a month. They help me to know what works and what definitely does NOT, and they also edit for grammar, typos, the dastardly extra spaces!

Here are the links to order Whisper and Wake.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Italy... Home to Half of My Heart

Scilla - one of my favorite beaches in Calabria

     My mind has been on another continent lately. With the writing of my new book, Beautiful Secret, I've found myself so utterly immersed in my memories of France and Italy. It's been a wonderful mental vacay. The story is very much a tribute to my father's mother who was the breathing definition of commitment to family, joyful living, kindness and unconditional love. She was born and raised in a poor hill town near Reggio, Calabria and gave birth to my father there. Even in her absence now, I feel her in the warmth of my huge extended family - her children and grandchildren. I smell her in the anise and fry aroma of our holidays. In my memory, I hold the bedtime stories she told me when I was a young child cuddled  into her Oil of Olay scented arms. These stories came to life for me after she died, when I finally visited the place that raised an angel.  Beautiful Secret is set partly in Pittsburgh but mostly in Europe. Writing it took me back to some of the most revealing and rich days of my life.    
     When I think  about the times I've spent with my family overseas, I realize that those days were days that truly defined me. Italy and its people took me, a twenty year old woman in the throes of University life, and shaped me into what it wanted me to be, into who I am today.
     The first time I traveled across the ocean with my mother and Italian-born father, I did so with no expectations. A little indecisive at the thought of leaving my then college boyfriend for three summer weeks, I landed in Paris feeling exhausted and a little out of place.
      Twenty-one days later, the planes of my world had shifted considerably. I'd sprouted wings and wanted nothing more than to fly through my discovery of luxurious landscape and bright flavor, to land inside this passionate family who'd opened their arms and wordlessly assured me that their nest was mine too. I'd fallen so deeply in love with the pace, the particulars and most especially the people, I thought I would die when I had to say goodbye.
     I will never forget the moment of that last farewell. In the hot stickiness of August, at Reggio Calabria's tiny airport, staring at the sea of cousins, aunts and uncles... When I boarded that plane back to Pittsburgh, I could hardly see through the blur of my tears.
     It was one of the hardest days of  my life. And, since that first trip, I have felt quite halved. So much of my heart is much too far away. I have a big, amazing, crazy family here in Pittsburgh and one on another continent, the continent that holds both the secrets to my grandmother's countenance and half of my heart.
     I would love to hear what places or experiences have molded you. Please leave me a comment or a facebook message and tell me about your experiences too!


Just a few of us - Americans, Italians and French... in my grandfather's hometown of Valanidi.

 I've posted the poem below on different websites, but I wanted to share it here on my blog. Italy is such a sensual place. It's hard not to give in to the sights, smells and sounds. One morning, I got caught up in my remembering and this happened.
There is a piece of my heart that will always belong to you
You with your desert landscaped of dry dry mountains and thorny trees
Prickly pears, figs, and olives
Animal smells and sounds
Breath of petrol and cigarettes and unwashed bodies.
Fast cars and slow mornings.
You with your clear blue sea
Pebble marks embedded into my skin
The smell of sleep and fish and salt and
Black coffee, oozing with foam in the afternoon.
The sensation of breathing out, finally.
You with your stranger smiling faces,
Outstretched arms and ears yearning for conversation.
Wrinkled greetings, broken teeth, and dirty fingernails.
Something is familiar here.
Acceptance by love and association.
Because I have my great great grandmother's nose
So you love me already for this.
You with your sleepless nights.
Concentrated life, vibrant and fully felt.
Wine after wine, food after food, dancing until the noise cannot be discerned.
Is it laughter from my lips or is it music?
And on and on it plays until the sweaty sunrise brings silence once and for all
And yet I cannot sleep in the quiet.
The heat bubbles on my skin.
I am wet with sweat and with the still excitement of one more day with you.
You with your mysterious pull on my heart.
That small part of me which remains in a moment,
On your mountain- dodging cars and breathing polluted air,
On the street, lost in conversation with a stranger who is my family,
Drinking, dancing, laughing.
Digging deep to release joy from the well of life inside of me.
Hardly sleeping, never forgetting that even when the time comes to say goodbye to you,
I will still be there... a piece of me that is forever yours.
You will find me at your sea, tossing pebbles into the clear blue water.
And breathing... finally.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Writing Process... a.k.a. - Organizing The Chaos Of My Emotions Into Words

     My good friend and critique partner, Carolyn  Menke tagged me to participate in "The Writing Process Blog Tour." Carolyn is an amazingly talented writer who blogs at, and she is also an author. Her first novel, Return to Me is historical women's fiction, and I can't wait to see it on e-shelves and in stores. Carolyn is fiercely committed, and incredibly skilled. Her blog posts are both insightful and funny and leave you feeling glad you took the time to read them. Check out her website after you read about my writing process. I fear my post may be lagging a few days behind schedule, but I'll still share it in the hopes of reaching out!

What Am I Working On?
     I just wrote the last words of my new novel, currently titled Beautiful Secret. It is women's fiction and romance and its story spans two generations. The book spins two tales that are interwoven by love and family. It is set partly in France and Italy, in places where I've spent the most amazing moments of my life. Beautiful Secret has been on my "to write" wish list for twenty years. It's been both my dream and my obsession, and I'm thrilled to have finally completed one of my greatest accomplishments. Now, onto the editing and querying stages...
     Next I will jump right back into the Whisper Trilogy, my young adult series. Books one and two Whisper and Wake are available for purchase through Amazon and also at Gifted Hands gift shop in Wexford. My readers are waiting patiently for book three, and it is coming! Below are the links to where you can buy my books.
Gifted Hands gift shop : 3000 Village Run Rd. #105. Wexford, PA 15090
How Does My Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?
     The Whisper Series is different from other YA Paranormal Romances out there because it leaves the reader with an overwhelming sense of the light, the good, rather than the darkness. I find that so much in this genre focuses on the Hollywood-esque aspects of evil, and Whisper really doesn't do this. My angel characters are vastly different from anything else that's out there. Their personality traits and flaws are even a little controversial in some circles, but I had a purpose in writing them this way. Callie, my main character is your typical angst-ridden, drama-driven teenage girl at the beginning of the series. By the end, she matures and grows into what she was created for but not without tripping over her flaws as well - jealousy, lust, competitiveness, lack of self-confidence. The love story is unique, because it is told from both the female and male point of view, giving the reader another layer of understanding about the characters.
     Beautiful Secret tells a forbidden love story that I've yet to see unfold in other novels. At first, it shocks some readers with the absolute scandal. Quickly, though, readers become so engulfed in the steamy passion and stark emotion of the characters, that the lines of propriety cloud, and they can't help but cheer the lovers on.
Why do I Write What I do?
      Since the time of my pre-adolescence, writing has been a lifesaver for me. My father often calls me an emotion with a body attached. This metaphor of his was spot on. At times in my life, my feelings were just too much for me to handle. I carried a poetry notebook with me everywhere I went when I was in high school, writing because I needed to, writing because it was the only way I could deal with the tumultuous drama of those tender days.
     Most of my blog posts are emotionally-inspired. My novels most definitely are. Whisper is my reaction to the seemingly growing stories of teenage suicides in today's society, especially locally. I am overwhelmed with sadness at the life-altering bad decisions, the strangling depression, the bullying that exists on the teenage social scene. It haunts me, and so I came up with the idea of demons whispering into the psyches of young people, urging them to do all of the self-destructive things that they do.
     Beautiful Secret was a tribute to my Italian heritage, my intense love for every aspect of Italian culture, especially family, commitment and passion.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
     First, I feel something. Strongly. Next, my emotions swirl and bubble to the surface and finally spill out of me onto paper. The end.
     In all seriousness, I am the type of writer who tends to sit and let the story take me somewhere. I don't really outline formally, although I do have a plan - beginning, middle, end, themes. I write notes to myself about details or things I know I need to go back and change, but, rather than spending tons of time mapping out plot points, I like to shimmy myself between the pages and get into the mood of the story. This is where magic happens, and I find myself creating something that is so much better than anything I could have planned for.
     Thanks for reading a little about my works and my writing "process." I'd like to give a shout out to a couple of other writers I've gotten to know in this crazy fun business.
~ Carolyn Menke -
     Carolyn writes everything from flash fiction to novels to children's books. She's an incredible author, and I'm lucky to have had a sneak peek at her debut novel, Return to Me. Read more about Carolyn at her website -
~Lorraine Carey
"...I am a veteran Children’s Reading Specialist, teacher, book reviewer and author. After years of reading with children and knowing what they crave gave me the inspiration to write for them. I wanted to inspire middle grades through high school and beyond. I have loved ghost stories since I was a child and with that was my inspiration to write Paranormal and Mystery stories."
     Find out more about Lorraine's books at
~Chris Weigand
     Chris's newest novel, Palace of Twelve Pillars is one of her exciting YA Christian fantasy series. Visit her website below to learn more about her books!