Welcome D.K. Christi M. Ed., CWDP Consultant, Speaker, Author & Journalist. She is a member of the Authors Guild and Naples Press Club. She is a feature writer for Spotlight Magazine. http;//members.authorsguild.net/dkchristi/ . She has so many credentials, I am not even sure what they all mean. LOL
Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way? I started out planning a career for radio or television news.
I majored in English and wrote curriculum for universities and state education departments. I was an editor for an international CPA firm, a grant-writer, a technical manual writer and contributed articles to professional journals. In my spare time, I wrote fiction stories, kept a diary and started writing my first novel while sailing in the Caribbean for three years. I spent many years working and traveling abroad which I feel provided my best background for writing.
Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?
I have remained with small presses finding the search for an agent grueling, time consuming and perhaps a lot of work with little return. Many middle range authors with major publishers do no better than popular authors with small presses and even self-published. EBooks and self-publishing are changing the landscape and the publishing industry itself is in flux. The best route may differ for each author.
What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?
My writing lives in the first person, present that is a hard sell to publishers. Thus, the most difficult part was putting my stories into third person, past tense. Actual events inspire my plot that builds through additional fiction events, places and characters. None of the writing is difficult. Edits, queries, and marketing are the major challenges.
It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?
I’ve become quite proficient with social media and Authors Guild membership includes a great web site builder for members. My best marketing comes from the pre-press for signings, and speaking at events. Bloggers and reviewers are great for Internet exposure. I have joined everything to join for exposure and used many sales promotions. I believe, however, the best technique is knowing a celebrity and having a national platform.
What inspires you to keep writing when you’re feeling down or less confident than usual?
Writing is a business. There are no down times. I also write for newspapers and magazines with deadlines and interviews to fulfill. Southwest Spotlight News Magazines in print and online http://www.swspotlight.com carry my Our Best Friends (dogs) column and five or more feature articles each month in two editions, twice monthly. I also write for Examiner.
What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?
Write a page a day. In one year 365 pages will be ready to edit. Skip no days. Build a contact base and a platform ready for promoting the finished work. Join a critique group and writing organizations for fine tuning and networking.
Was there a mistake you made in your writing process you could share with us?
More edits and more attention to dialogue. In the future, I will think about the novel as a piece for television with scenes and a director. I started as a story teller. Today’s readers don’t want a story told to them, they wish to see it come to life with little background and all action. I was schooled in the classics and enjoy long passages of beautiful prose. Today’s readers don’t have patience for all that background and appreciation for language.
Why do you write? Give us three reasons.
I write to release the tension from all the things I think about and experience and need to put somewhere beyond my brain. Then I write to entertain a reader and bring them into the world I know. In the end, I write because I am a person of words and they simply flow. My art is the story. I am addicted to writing and lost without a pen or a keyboard.
What’s your next big writing challenge?
My next big writing challenge is to finish Bamboo Rings, Caribbean Odyssey and an anthology of my short stories.
What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?
The rare and endangered “Super Ghost” of Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is mystical and magical as it touches the lives of all who observe its ghostly beauty and changes them forever. Neev found the roots for which she hungered at the ghost orchid while searching as a photographer for the perfect subject in the perfect light and the answer to the question: Is love eternal? Ghost Orchid was inspired by the real “Super Ghost” orchid plant that bloomed on my birthday in July 2007 and broke every wild ghost orchid record since. I am personally obsessed with its mystery and beauty and incorporated that obsession into a fiction mystery of love, lies and redemption set in the Everglades. NPR Reviews praised Ghost Orchid for the beauty of the Everglades that shines through on every page.
Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet our appetite? (if so, please copy and paste here –no more than one page.
These were her friends, her companions during her afternoon walks. She spoke with them as though they would respond to her inquiries.
She stopped; and the two of them simply stared at each other. She began her journey again, walking slowly down the path. Glancing back, she saw the owl surreptitiously following her with its head moving around on its perfectly still body, the eyes glued on her, piercing and watchful.
After she passed, she heard another owl calling “Whoooooo?” from deep in the swamp; and she recognized her owl answering. She smiled and commented to the quiet vastness of the swamp,
“Ah hah, so you have a mate.”
The little anoles were every color on this day, black and brown and green. One day she saw one actually changing color, mesmerized by the miracle. Another squirrel decided to join her. They were the least timid, apparently enjoying the company of those who walked along the boardwalk. A bright red flower, all by itself, surrounded by gigantic ferns and alligator flags, five large, red petals on a tall, too-thin stem, bobbing a little in the swamp breeze, a swamp hibiscus, seemed to say,
“See, I am still here.”
Paper white blooms and a white swamp lily or two were also dressed in their finest. The more she looked, the more flowers she saw. The purple morning glories were still partially open. Tall ferns, reminiscent of the age of dinosaurs, rose from the dry swamp floor, surrounded by other broad leaf, alligator plants, trying to catch a little dew and a wisp of sunshine. The mysteries of the swamp were like a well in a story she loved, beautiful because they were initially hidden, just waiting for the right conditions for their dramatic entrance. Some pine tree seeds only opened after a fire cleared the way, dormant for years. Thus, the Everglades were always beautiful for two reasons: the obvious beauty and the mysteries left to the imagination, waiting to burst forth in the future.
The swamp was the coolest place she knew this time of year. Even on the hottest and most humid day, a little swamp breeze wafted through the trees, rustled the dry leaves and cooled the sweat on her face and arms. Her hat acted like a sweatband, stopping the salty, pooling drops from slipping down her forehead and into her eyes. She loved the winding boardwalk where she threw her shoulders back, looked up into the green canopy overhead that provided some shade and did not miss a step on her brisk walk. She breathed in the oxygen, knowing her lungs were saying “thank you” with every step.
One thing she knew about walking in the swamp: she did not cry. An overwhelming sense of peace filled her heart to overflowing with joy from the first step into its wonders until the last step out. Tears were for lonely automobiles, the back of the church, the empty rooms. She knew that her Creator who made this swamp such a beautiful and serene place where nature lived in harmony according to its predestined imprint had done no less for her. In the swamp, she felt her God filling the void in her soul; and she was at peace. This walk was the highlight of her day, a raison d’être for the long drive to a job that lost its spark with an accumulation of career disappointments. The swamp was never disappointing.
Thunder began as a rumble in the distance but rolled forward with loud crashes. Lightning soon followed all across the sky, long, jagged lines of white light connecting the growing cumulus clouds with the earth. These bolts of lightning were frightening this time of year. They started the unmanageable fires in the swamplands that filled the air with acrid smoke and threatened the homes of those who ventured too far into the wilderness. The heavy wind howled through the cypress; and heavy rains broke through the canopy, dancing on the wide alligator fronds and turning the moss covered walk to “swamp ice.” Her hat had a bill, and the initial drops simply glanced off the hat as she quickened her step. She enjoyed the warm, summer rain. She did not like the lightning. The air was alive with the crackling lightning, and she counted in her mind’s eye how far it was to the next protected area where she could wait under a shelter until the lightning subsided and the rain diminished. She was noticeably wet, her blouse clung revealingly to her skin, and the cool dampness became a bit uncomfortable.
Just as quickly as the storm arrived, it passed away. The sun returned in all its hot glory; diamonds glistened on the broad, deep green fronds and cool drops still fell from the canopy overhead. She was cool and wet, but she would dry sufficiently by the time the walk ended so she could return to work with no one knowing she came through a storm. Her recent hairstyle was straight with short bangs cut across her forehead. She wore little makeup to wash away in the rain. The main disaster was the shoes. The damp leather soles sloshed through the rain, gingerly traversing the slick pine needles, and they might separate from the straps. This happened before. The swamp was the dividing line between before and after.
Before, she talked for the entire walk with the man who resided in her heart. She shared the serenity, the pure joy of this special place that meant so much to her. In spite of the “no cell phone rule,” she was eager for his calls that he actually timed for her walks in the swamp. Perhaps for him it meant she had private time to chat, away from the office, just the two of them. She found a bench off the beaten path to be away from the occasional patrons who might give her the evil eye for whispering into a cell phone.
A radiant smile filled her face the whole time, heart racing, heat rising. He had that power over her. He was “the one,” the soul mate for whom nothing was sacrosanct, except for her painful secret that was buried too deep to reveal. They were of one mind and heart, and her very essence with all its greatness and its flaws was safe with him. He would do her no more harm. As soon as their conversations ended, she thought about all the things she should have said or chided herself for talking too much, being too eager to share every thought with him to make up for all the years of separation.
“Maybe I should have held back a few more secrets,” she thought in the painful time that came after.
Do you have another manuscript in progress? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
Bamboo Rings is under contract to Black Rose Writing, the first novel in the Bamboo Rings series that includes Ghost Orchid, already published, as the third novel. Bamboo Rings provides back story for the characters Mel and Jack briefly mentioned in Ghost Orchid. Bamboo Rings is an international adventure to exotic foreign locations woven together with a love story that begins in the Orient in the 1970’s.
Thank you D.K. It has been real pleasure too have you on my blog. Best of luck with your newest book and the series.