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Thoughts . . .

Christmas in Butzbach

“Jeremy’s assigned ship at Christmas, an aircraft carrier in
the Mediterranean Sea,represented an impossible
distance from my friend, Shirley, who attended college stateside.
Jeremy’s naval service during Vietnam kept them apart.
Letters traveled painfully slow and often crossed.

“However, a plan emerged. Derek and I lived in Germany in a
small, garret apartment off base. If Jeremy could get leave over the
Christmas holiday, Shirley would visit us. The plan had challenges,
nebulous at best. First, as the most junior man in his
division, Jeremy knew the officer in charge would not promise him
leave until the time approached. Coupled with the slow mail deliveries,
Shirley never knew for sure if or when he would be able to make it to
Germany. On faith, Shirley got her passport and plane ticket and joined
us.

“On December 21, Jeremy’s ship pulled into Cannes, France for the
Christmas holiday. The Navy granted Jeremy a four-day pass with
written permission from the Executive Officer to travel to Germany.
December 23 represented a ship workday. He got ready
so he could get off the ship as early as possible the next day.

“Christmas Eve day arrived. Traveling military personnel in Europe
were required to wear the uniform for identification. They were
allowed to cross boarders without a passport if they carried the proper
documentation. By 10:00 a.m. at last, Jeremy had permission to leave
the ship and take the boat ride to fleet landing. Once ashore, it did not
take long to make it to the train station for the short ride to Nice.

“Shortly after noon, a flight headed north to Bern, Switzerland.
There he suffered the frustration of a long wait in the terminal for the
next connecting flight. Switzerland as a neutral country behaved equally
suspicious of servicemen from any country. An official told him and the
other servicemen who were also traveling that they had to wait in a
special roped off area, Jeremy’s view of Switzerland.

“Finally, he boarded the next plane to Stuttgart, Germany. On this
short flight darkness arrived as they flew over the Alps. In Stuttgart after
a short layover, the same plane would go on to Frankfurt. When he
touched down in Frankfurt, the darkness and quiet felt like a
mausoleum. Everything stops for the Christmas holiday in Germany. All
native Germans were home celebrating. He found a pay phone and
managed to call for a taxi for the airport and the train station.

“Forty miles north of Frankfurt, reaching Butzbach required a train
or car. At the nearly deserted train station, Jeremy saw a train and one
worker. He approached and still remembers what he said, ‘ Ist das der
Zuge geht zu Butzbach?’ ‘Ja, ja. Shnell, shnell’ replied the worker.
Jeremy ran and jumped aboard. No sooner had he climbed the steps to a
passenger compartment than the train began to move.

“He breathed a sigh of relief and sat near another service man that
happened to be on the coach. In a little while, a conductor came by
asking for tickets. Jeremy had no ticket; but with a little negotiation in
his broken German, he paid double the cost of the usual fare.

“Except for the ghosts, an uneventful train ride took him the rest of
the way. The train stopped at two small stations. At each, a few bare
light bulbs illuminated an old wooden platform. Imagining German
soldiers in uniform saying good-bye for maybe the last time as they
headed to battle occupied Jeremy’s stressed mind. The quiet eeriness of
those stations made such visualization effortless.

“At last the conductor announced, “Butzbach!” The Butzbach
station had a small platform and no visible terminal building. However,
Jeremy had directions as to how to find our apartment.
A short walk from the train to the center of
the town took him back at least five hundred years.

“Built around a cobblestone square with the remains of the old well
in the center, Butzbach looked like a picture postcard with buildings
trimmed in gingerbread from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. All around the
square, the steep roofed buildings were all fashioned of timber and
stucco. Off the square to the right, a narrow alleyway led to the Piccolo
Bar with a small neon sign over the door, the landmark Jeremy needed.

“He entered and found the tavern room filled with mostly American
soldiers drinking noisily. One loud mouth wanted to pick a fight with
Jeremy just because he wore a Naval uniform. Fortunately, when he
heard that Jeremy had traveled a long way to visit an Army friend, he
backed off and went back to his drinking.

“The woman behind the bar, the owner and the mother of my
German friend, left the bar and took him up the three narrow flights of
stairs to our apartment and knocked. No answer. They returned to the
bar again. A young German fellow standing at the bar suggested that
maybe we were at the Kirke. They could see it not far away.

“Around a few corners and down a little way, there stood the old
Lutheran church, by far the largest building in the town. The German
Lutheran Church, a 17th century building with exquisite high spire sand
stained glass windows had a high stone wall around the outside with a
wrought iron gate.

“Jeremy’s new German friend took him to the door, and they
peeked inside. People filled the sanctuary with no room inside. He did
not see us. The next best thing, he stood by the gate. When the
Christmas Eve service ended, everyone would pass through the gate.
Jeremy waited. In a short time, bells rang out for midnight. People
poured from the church, walking four and five abreast. The full moon
clouded over briefly as huge white snowflakes began drifting down,
sparkling like new diamonds.

“Shirley had been in Germany for three days already. She had heard
nothing from Jeremy and anxiously waited for his arrival. In church that
night, she enjoyed the music but could understand nothing of the rest of
the service. So, she prayed. As she prayed, she found peace within
herself. She came to understand that if Jeremy could not make it to
Germany, everything would still turn out as God intended, her thoughts
as she left the church.

“Then Jeremy spotted Shirley, a slim figure in her blue wool coat
and tan beret. The ancient gate, decorated by the drifting snow, framed
Jeremy in his dress blues. He let out a yell and grabbed Shirley around
the waist, lifted her off the ground and smothered her with kisses. The
crazy sailor and dark-haired American girl were a strange sight to the
German parishioners passing by, but Jeremy and Shirley did not care.
Christmas had begun!

“Big, white snowflakes covered the wall and the ground; yet, even
with the snow falling, the moon still peeked out enough to spread more
diamonds across the glistening snow. The best white of all, however,
perched on top of Jeremy’s head, framed in the gate, as he swooped
Shirley into his arms. With a wave to us, they disappeared toward the
station for his bags. In true German tradition, we left to haul home our
already purchased Christmas tree.

“By the time Jeremy and Shirley arrived, freshly lit candles on the
Christmas tree spread a warm glow across our tiny apartment on the
third floor above the Piccolo Bar. The Christmas tree decorations
included carved ornaments from German craftsmen. The best glow,
however, came from the faces of the engaged couple whose faith in the
Christmas season had seen them through the anxiety of finding each
other on the moonlit night, the first snowfall of the season, and a
Christmas miracle to remember.” Read More 
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Book Launch Guest November 1, 2016

https://www.facebook.com/events/1206228779439085/

See the above url and join the Book Launch Party at 5:00 today Central time.

https://www.facebook.com/JeanMarieBauhaus/photos/gm.1212194198842543/997762646999179/?type=3

Click on the links to the left for details and to join the launch.
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D. K. Christi interview

Author Interview with D.K. Christi

D. K. Christi is a traveler and adventurer who chronicles her experiences in short stories in seven anthologies. Ghost Orchid, a mystery of love, lies and redemption wrapped around a mystical ghost orchid was released in 2009 to rave reviews by NPR and MBR and re-released in 2015 with a few surprises that lead to Bamboo Ring, released in 2014 as the second stand alone novel in the Bamboo Ring series. See http://www.dkchristi.com for more information.

When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
As a lonely and introverted child, I was an avid reader. I dreamed that one day I would see my name on books. When college professors insisted I needed to publish my writing, I continued to dream of writing fiction while my career took me to technical writing and editing to earn a reliable income. Words are my paint and the page my canvass. I can paint the world I see or the one I imagine and share those images with other people. When I first saw the ghost orchid that inspired the novel by the same name, I returned to my office and immediately wrote my impressions – then every time I read my words I felt the power of that exquisite flower again as if I was standing in its aura. Other novels I have written borrow from my many international experiences and I’m able to live them again through my characters and give my readers the same chance to know other cultures and feel the joy of travel.

2. Can you tell us a little about your books and where our readers can find out more about them and you? What projects are you currently working on?

Amazon.com editors said it better than me, “Themes of friendship surviving tragedy, love conquering adversity and the triumph of the human spirit over the hardships of life serve to uplift and inspire…through her stories perhaps discover something about yourself.” Ghost Orchid is a mysterious tale of the power of belief, even it its in the magic or nature all around us and a beautiful, exotic flower in particular. The inspired story answers the question: Is love eternal? for a cast of characters that include photographers, a model and families that find their secrets unravel in a search for meaningful roots.

Currently, I have been spending a lot of time as a newspaper journalist for Spotlight News Magazines, three issues and several online ezines while plugging away on Caribbean Odyssey, a novel of beauty, wonder, love and terror aboard the family’s 70 foot yacht. It is the second novel in the Bamboo Rings trilogy that consists of already published Bamboo Ring and Ghost Orchid. I am also working on a Civil War romance based on my own relative’s escape route during the Civil War for which he was named a hero. I’ve often thought I would love to ride a train and write about the people sharing the ride for their own keepsakes – or similarly on a cruise ship.

3.) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?

Ghost Orchid is a unique and unusual plot that is timeless in its themes, including love, lies and redemption. It’s my favorite; however, Bamboo Ring takes readers on a global adventure in the yuppie world of the 70’s not to be missed. As a write, I need also to include the variety of topics in the Spotlight where I also write a dog column and reflect so much love and companionship that people share with their beloved dogs. Since most of earlier career

was grant writing, I have developed a pretty easy going attitude toward rejection. I do find that it’s distressing when the right connections don’t happen to take a book to the pinnacle that it deserves.

4. Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?

I write with a passion when compelled, with little sleep and obsessed. Otherwise, I schedule blocks of time in the morning or afternoon to devote to writing. I begin with a story and build it out from there. I outline it before it’s finished just to be sure all the parts fit together logically.

My first published novel, Arirang, took a lifetime to write, ten years to finish and two years to edit for a manuscript to publish. I had written snippets for that novel in every form beginning with yellow pads and manual typewriters and finished on the most sophisticated of computer technology. It was a labor of love that I cherish as well as the friends who helped edit the novel and critique its progress along the way. Ghost Orchid took two years to write and bring to publication readiness. Bamboo Ring took six years to bring to publication.

5. Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

I will finish the two novels in progress and be on the book conference tour, keynoting and sharing a writer’s life and my recent novels, Caribbean Odyssey and Escape to Love (Civil War romance).

6. Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

There is never a point in life when it is too late for an aspiring writer to be successful. Today, with self-publishing, it is easier than ever to bring a book to an audience. The trick is creating that audience and getting the novel up front and center with celebrity and connections to sell it widespread.A late start allows for the energy of wisdom and maybe the adrenaline of time passing. I encourage painting with words at any age just as painting with a brush knows no limits.

7. What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? What’s the first book you read that made you know that you could do this for a career? What book are you currently reading?

Grace Livingston Hill wrote a series of romance novels for Christian teen girls and I read the whole series, dreaming that this poor little girl would be swept away by her wealthy prince charming into a world of excitement and travel.

Currently, I am reading The Four Agreements by Dom Luis to remind myself that self-improvement is part of the writing game, in life as well as on the page.When I read Bridges of Madison County and saw what it became through a movie, I knew I could write a compelling novel with more substance.

8. So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?

I love to sit down and read Ghost Orchid. It’s as though it was written by someone else who takes me into the Everglades and gives me a wonderful experience with nature, the exotic ghost orchid, and the lives of the characters who are changed forever by its magic that is spiritual or paranormal or just imagined, depending on the reader’s point of view. For me, it is a spiritual experience and remains so every time I visit the Everglades. I also enjoy reading my short stories because many are close to my own experiences, written for a special short story program at Amazon.com that is no longer there. They are unique vignettes with a twist.

9. What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing? Are you more of an e-book person or a traditional book person?

Everything in life is changing. I just wish there were enough hours in the day to catch up. Good things come from change; but sometimes there is chaos before it all sifts through.

I prefer holding a book; however, when I was receiving iron infusions, I was glad to read novels on my smart phone and continue to appreciate that convenience. I also appreciate the ability to find great reads at affordable prices and the classics as ebooks for everyone at mostly zero cost on ebook.

10.)I feel like so many of us writers, us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?

I find that I am often expected to have a “real job” and when I turn down an invitation because I have writing scheduled it’s hard for some friends to understand. For many, writing is seen as a hobby, a diversion, not even an art. It’s something to do while waiting for a real job.

On the other hand writers are expected to be hot sellers and well-known for their works to be appreciated. Mass market appeal requires conforming to popular genre expectations that many of today’s writers follow to gain income. I still write what I know and feel and fall into the literary fiction collection where themes and beautiful prose are still as critical as a quick plot and a happy ending.

I write 2 be free – free to express my thoughts, my visions, my imagination in the many ways afforded by the use of words. I write. If it doesn’t fit a genre or today’s popular mass market format, it may be just right for its niche.

My authenticity is found through characters that are not exaggerated but could be neighbors, lovers, friends and family. They are real personalities with composite lives who think and talk and feel like people one meets. Readers love them and hate them, even telling me to rewrite them so they make better decisions. I still use descriptive prose and thoughts that have been eliminated to “get to the plot” or “get to the sex” or “get to the mystery” in today’s writing. I write because I love the color of language in its many forms and wish to preserve that love as long as I can in between texting and twittering.



Check out D.K. Christi’s books on Amazon.com

DK Christi_Ghost Orchid coverDK Christi_Bamboo Rings cover




Jimmetta Carpenter is the Editor and Creator of the Free Fall Literary E-Zine and the Spoken Like A Queen E-Zine. She has dedicated herself to the power of the words and given into her passion for writing and has been writing poetry officially since the age of ten. She has a book of poetry titled “The Art of Love” published through lulu.com under the pen name Gemini. She is currently finishing up with her first novel and already working on her second. In 1998 she had her poem “Rest In Peace” published in an anthology put out by the International Library of Poetry and in the Spring of 2007 will have another poem titled “Through The Eyes of an Angel” published in another anthology also put out by the International Library of Poetry. She was also awarded the Editor’s Choice Award for that poem as well. She is looking forward to having a very long and rewarding career in writing and hopes that through living out her dreams she can inspire someone else out there to realize theirs. Her advice to other up and coming authors is to NEVER stop believing N your dreams and don’t ever be afraid to dream big. Jimmetta can be contacted by sending her an e-mail at freefall_lbp@yahoo.com or jcladyluv@yahoo.com.
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Valentine's Day in the Caribbean

The Valentine by D. K. Christi

The little family sailed into St. John's harbor and dropped anchor. The boys lowered the anchor and managed the helm with no shouting, using efficient hand signals. Mel watched from below, where she foraged in the icebox for sandwich fixings. Their 40' ketch-rigged sailboat no longer beat against the wind, rocking and screaming in protest against their determination to reach a safe harbor before nightfall.

The sun moved slowly toward the horizon and set the mackerel sky awash with rose, orange and rich golden swaths of paint. The boys were anxious to pull the dink around and head for shore. They cleared Customs in St. Thomas, but they didn’t like Charlotte Amalie harbor with the huge cruise ships, commercial vessels and yachts so large they carried their own helicopters.

No, the peaceful harbor at St. John's even called to the boys who heard there would be fun ashore at little bistros and clubs. Their youthful exuberance was a joy to behold, channeled into danger and challenges at sea instead of fast cars and other equally dangerous interests on land. They were anxious to check for mail. I guess I will forget the food locker so we can head for shore. We can eat there, Mel decided easily.

***
The sail was so exciting they forgot to eat most of the day. Perry and Brian expected letters from young ladies at home since they were careful to send wordy valentines just before they left Miami. Mel waited for them to send their mail standing in the middle of the piled duffel bags full of the prescribed contents for their five-day cruise on a chartered yacht.

Arrival at St. Thomas had its discomforts. Mel reserved the hotel room with an island view, unseen and unknown. The climb up the “thousands” of steps leading to the hotel, dragging their duffels that gained pounds with every set of stone steps, was not expected.

Once they arrived, they had two rooms in a little cottage, one for Mel with a double bed and a second with a twin and bunks for the boys. They were too exhausted to care that the rooms were far from the luxurious accommodations pictured in the brochure.

Mel claimed the bath first and settled for a drizzly shower of water less than clear in a tub stained brown, but seeming clean. The towels were thin, but serviceable. Mel was grateful for a bed, glad the boys were in the same cottage, and left them to their own resources. She was bone weary and emotionally exhausted. This was the year from hell.

The next morning brought an unpleasant surprise: tiny red ants, the size of dust, but definitely moving, crawled in the bed and all over the room. They were everywhere. Mel emptied her duffel to be certain none had entered the clothing.

She called the boys who laughed heartily at her discomfiture. Please, please, let the boat be clean she begged to whatever spiritual force still governed her life. The rooms were pre-paid; they gathered their things and departed.

Fortunately, the trip down the steps was considerably easier than the arrival. The view was spectacular. Charlotte Amalie harbor spread out below with its diverse ships and small boats, ferryboats zipping from one place to another, the waves fanning out in a "V" behind them.

Red and orange hills were covered with bougainvillea and other tropical, flowering plants in vivid color with large, green fronds supporting delicate blooms. This was winter. How could spring and summer bring any more beauty? The sky was blue and clear; occasional puffs of cloud drifted by.

They stopped in a little restaurant for a great meal of scrambled eggs, cheese grits and sweet biscuits. The boys ate like it was their last meal. They were due at the dock by 9:00 a.m. and loaded into a jitney for their bumpy ride across the island to the harbor. Their jitney companions smiled and continued animated conversations.

Mel caught snatches; but for the most part, the conversations were in the rapid fire English that drops beginning and ending consonants. It sounded like English, yet she comprehended nothing. They smiled broad grins occasionally, lighting up their dark faces, some weathered and others with the bloom of youth. The young passengers carried their radios, island music calling to dancing feet and swaying bodies.

The excitement built as soon as the harbor came into view. The boys raced for the docks to find the yacht, The Muse. The name was a perfect fit. Mel planned to spend her free time writing, and certainly a muse was a good Companion.

Companion… If she thought about that word too long, tears filled the corners of her eyes. I will not let that happen, not today. Today I have an adventure to wash away the pain. Sailing was the best antidote she knew to take away the pain that buried itself in the recesses of the mind. Sailing required every ounce of energy and mind to catch the tiniest breeze or out sail a following sea. At the mercy of the elements, there was no time to cry, no time to dwell on events without resolution. At least, that was her hope and plan. If sailing was not enough, three teenagers would fill the bill.

A scruffy captain introduced himself and made certain they had proper documents. Stocky in build, braided, gray hair hung down his back. An untidy beard hid a weathered face and he was dressed in wrinkled shorts and shirt. His boat shoes had seen better days. He dropped his cigarette but on the dock and invited them aboard The Muse. He looked at Mel with some disdain as she showed him that, in fact, she had her six-pack license with a sail endorsement, sufficient to charter the yacht for family use; he was adamant that no passengers joined them.

He asked Mel how many hours she logged, and she assured him she had extensive powerboat experience and also sailed a 25-foot sailboat and a sunfish. He was definitely under whelmed. The boys piped in with their experience, too. He was still unimpressed.

"Okay. Let's have the boys take her out and see what they can do."

See D. K. Christi's books at Amazon.com, The Valentine, a 99 cent short read for "the rest of the story." Read More 
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Christmas in Butzbach 1970s - From Bamboo Ring by D. K. Christi

“The most romantic experience in my life until now came from my
best friend’s Christmas miracle. Her fiancé, Jeremy, stationed on a Navy
ship in France, hoped he could get leave for Christmas. Shirley joined us
in Germany in hopes he could get that far.

“Jeremy’s assigned ship, an aircraft carrier, in the Mediterranean Sea,
represented an impossible distance from my friend, Shirley, who
attended college stateside. Jeremy’s naval service during Vietnam kept
them apart. Only letters provided communication, and they traveled
painfully slow. Often letters crossed.

“However, a plan emerged. Derek and I lived in Germany in a
small, garret apartment off base. If Jeremy could get leave over the
Christmas holiday, Shirley would fly to Germany and stay with us. The
plan had challenges, nebulous at best. First, as the most junior man in his
division, Jeremy knew the officer in charge would not promise him
leave until the time approached. Coupled with the slow mail deliveries,
Shirley never knew for sure if or when he would be able to make it to
Germany. On faith, Shirley got her passport and plane ticket and joined
us.

“On December 21, Jeremy’s ship pulled into Cannes, France for the
Christmas holiday. The Navy granted Jeremy a four-day pass with
written permission from the Executive Officer to travel to Germany.
On the 22nd, he had day liberty and took a train to Nice and the nearest
airport. A Christmas Eve flight to Germany might work for him the first
day of his leave. December 23 represented a ship workday. He got ready
so he could get off the ship as early as possible the next day.

“Christmas Eve day arrived. Traveling military personnel in Europe
were required to wear the uniform for identification. They were
allowed to cross boarders without a passport if they carried the proper
documentation. By 10:00 a.m. at last, Jeremy had permission to leave
the ship and take the boat ride to fleet landing. Once ashore, it did not
take long to make it to the train station for the short ride to Nice.

“Shortly after noon, a flight headed north to Bern, Switzerland.
There he suffered the frustration of a long wait in the terminal for the
next connecting flight. Switzerland as a neutral country behaved equally
suspicious of servicemen from any country. An official told him and the
other servicemen who were also traveling that they had to wait in a
special roped off area. Jeremy saw Switzerland as a seat in a designated
spot.

“Finally, he boarded the next plane to Stuttgart, Germany. On this
short flight darkness arrived as they flew over the Alps. In Stuttgart after
a short layover, the same plane would go on to Frankfurt. When he
touched down in Frankfurt, the darkness and quiet felt like a
mausoleum. Everything stops for the Christmas holiday in Germany. All
native Germans were home celebrating. He found a pay phone and
managed to call for a taxi for the airport and the train station.

“Forty miles north of Frankfurt, reaching Butzbach required a train
or car. At the nearly deserted train station, Jeremy saw a train and one
worker. He approached and still remembers what he said, “ Ist das der
Zuge geht zu Butzbach?”“Ja, ja. Shnell, shnell” replied the worker.
Jeremy ran and jumped aboard. No sooner had he climbed the steps to a
passenger compartment than the train began to move.

“He breathed a sigh of relief and sat near another service man that
happened to be on the coach. In a little while, a conductor came by
asking for tickets. Jeremy had no ticket; but with a little negotiation in
his broken German, he paid double the cost of the usual fare.

“Except for the ghosts, an uneventful train ride took him the rest of
the way. The train stopped at two small stations. At each, a few bare
light bulbs illuminated an old wooden platform. Imagining German
soldiers in uniform saying good-bye for maybe the last time as they
headed to battle occupied Jeremy’s stressed mind. The quiet eeriness of
those stations made such visualization effortless.

“At last the conductor announced, “Butzbach!” The Butzbach
station had a small platform and no visible terminal building. However,
Jeremy had directions as to how to find the apartment where Shirley
would be staying with us. A short walk from the train to the center of
the town took him back at least five hundred years.

“Built around a cobblestone square with the remains of the old well
in the center, Butzbach looked like a picture postcard with buildings
trimmed in gingerbread from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. All around the
square, the steep roofed buildings were all fashioned of timber and
stucco. Off the square to the right, a narrow alleyway led to the Piccolo
Bar with a small neon sign over the door, the landmark Jeremy needed.
“He entered and found the tavern room filled with mostly American
soldiers drinking noisily. One loud mouth wanted to pick a fight with
Jeremy just because he wore a Naval uniform. Fortunately, when he
heard that Jeremy had traveled a long way to visit an Army friend, he
backed off and went back to his drinking.

“The woman behind the bar, the owner and the mother of my new
German friend, left the bar and took him up the three narrow flights of
stairs to our apartment and knocked. No answer. They returned to the
bar again. A young German fellow standing at the bar suggested that
maybe we were at the Kirke. They could see it not far away.

“Around a few corners and down a little way, there stood the old
Lutheran church, by far the largest building in the town. The German
Lutheran Church, a 17th century building with exquisite high spire sand
stained glass windows had a high stone wall around the outside with a
wrought iron gate.

“Jeremy’s new German friend took him to the door, and they
peeked inside. People filled the sanctuary with no room inside. He did
not see us. The next best thing, he stood by the gate. When the
Christmas Eve service ended, everyone would pass through the gate.
Jeremy waited. In a short time, bells rang out for midnight. People
poured from the church, walking four and five abreast. The full moon
clouded over briefly as huge white snowflakes began drifting down,
sparkling like new diamonds.

“Shirley had been in Germany for three days already. She had heard
nothing from Jeremy and anxiously waited for his arrival. In church that
night, she enjoyed the music but could understand nothing of the rest of
the service. So, she prayed. As she prayed, she found peace within
herself. She came to understand that if Jeremy could not make it to
Germany, everything would still turn out as God intended, her thoughts
as she left the church.

“Then Jeremy spotted Shirley, a slim figure in her blue wool coat
and tan beret. The ancient gate, decorated by the drifting snow, framed
Jeremy in his dress blues. He let out a yell and grabbed Shirley around
the waist, lifted her off the ground and smothered her with kisses. The
crazy sailor and dark-haired American girl were a strange sight to the
German parishioners passing by, but Jeremy and Shirley did not care.
Christmas had begun!

“Big, white snowflakes covered the wall and the ground; yet, even
with the snow falling, the moon still peeked out enough to spread more
diamonds across the glistening snow. The best white of all, however,
perched on top of Jeremy’s head, framed in the gate, as he swooped
Shirley into his arms. With a wave to us, they disappeared toward the
station for his bags. In true German tradition, we left to haul home our
already purchased Christmas tree.

“By the time Jeremy and Shirley arrived, freshly lit candles on the
Christmas tree spread a warm glow across our tiny apartment on the
third floor above the Piccolo Bar. The Christmas tree decorations
included carved ornaments from German craftsmen. The best glow,
however, came from the faces of the engaged couple whose faith in the
Christmas season had seen them through the anxiety of finding each
other on the moonlit night, the first snowfall of the season, and a
Christmas miracle to remember.” Read More 
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From: Naples Press Club - SCOOP - Member Musings

MEMBER MUSINGS, SCOOP - NAPLES PRESS CLUB
Member Musings – What is on the minds of members?
by D.K. Christi • November 29, 2015 • 0 Comments

THE LOST ART OF LETTER WRITING

D.K. Christi
I started young adulthood solo in California when everyone I knew resided in my small Midwestern hometown. Writing letters filled loneliness for the familiar as I pursued my dreams. Because I continued to travel from one end of the globe to another over the passing years, I added new friends to the letter exchange.

In 1985 I graduated to computer communication as a programmer and continued in that vein for several years, eventually leaving programming language behind for new dream pursuits. I also stopped writing letters. Letters stopped coming to my post office boxes. Instead, I communicated through list serves and early group and Internet communication systems. Time to write real letters dissipated.

However, all those letters I wrote while residing in foreign countries were apparently more interesting to my family and friends than I knew. I mentioned to my email list that I’d begun publishing short stories. Suddenly, my old letters came flowing back. I received boxes of letters—from those written in Germany on that thin, blue airmail paper to those from Asia on elegant rice paper. They were a treasure beyond price, exploring the experiences of a young woman on her own in Belmont Shore to those of a mature woman meeting challenges solo on a 67-foot yacht in the Bahamas.

Today, nobody saves my emails. Ten years of blogging also disappeared from Redroom.com when they merged with Wattpad, another blogging venue. Internet and Dropbox “clouds” save words that are sent to the universe rather than to just a few intimate friends. Instead of taking pen in hand and letting words flow in third-grade script, I discovered that handwriting is obsolete. No one is admired for her beautiful script anymore.

From my perspective, I lost a bit of the romance with language associated with the art of letter writing. I now accumulate “friends” I’ve never hugged or met over coffee, a potentially infinite list that will never save my words.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that an Internet communication is immediate, impossible to stop and available to the world. It pays to carefully consider words, not in the process of writing them but rather before they become electronic. Ever accidentally punched the “send” button? Maybe Facebook is adding a pause feature but, mostly, words travel to their destination. No mailbox rescues are possible.

On the compensating side is the plethora of available information about everything. No limits seem to exist regarding who may set up their personal online diary (web log equals “blog”) or the subjects they may include. Thus, instead of writing letters mailed to friends across the globe, a daily diary for which they have the Internet location keeps them informed in print, video, and live—no paper, no pen, no stamps and no delay.

Publishers strongly recommend blogging and providing readers with “useful” information so they will become “followers.” Thus I have “friends” and “followers” in this new world of blogs, twitter and Facebook.

“Useful” information takes blogs to the next level. With everyone writing, with no limits on subjects or content, and instant search through Internet search engines, how do we discern the difference between “useful information” and fanciful blogging that’s not much better than gossiping?

The impact of this question opens a Pandora’s box of journalistic issues for the next Scoop. Do bloggers sometimes lead the way in bringing key information to the public with mainstream media following their lead? Or do mainstream bloggers react to already published material? Where is the line between biased gossip or commentary and fact-finding, old-school journalism? Who vets the credentials of bloggers and do they matter? Who fact checks? Where do we get information that we trust whether it’s encyclopedic data or current events? When electronic communication is without limits and most news of the day is influenced by advertising, where are “just the facts”?

Do you have something on your mind that you want to share? (NPC members only)

Send your Member Musings to Penny Fisher at Penny.Fisher@naplesnews.com. Contributions are welcome. Read More 
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Naples Press Club Book Fest November 21, 2015

For Immediate Release Contact: dkchristi@yahoo.com

Twelve select authors, all members of the Naples Press Club, are featured at Naples Barnes & Noble at Waterside Shoppes Saturday, November 21 all day with author signings and presentations beginning at 4:00 p.m. Customers get a first-hand look at authors and their books during fast-paced, ten minute highlights.
Even more special is the focus: scholarship funds for aspiring journalism students. All NPC member books purchased result in a portion contributed to the worthy cause when the customer mentions it at the cash register.
As an example, NPC member D. K. Christi has selected her recent literary fiction novel, Bamboo Ring, for readers to enjoy. A bonus: the editor whose romantic Viet Nam era Christmas in Butzbach story was borrowed for characters in Bamboo Ring will be present to tell the “rest of the story” that makes Bamboo Ring an exciting read – and a perfect novel for holiday gifts.
D. K. Christi is a long-time southwest Florida resident whose international work and travel in exotic, foreign locations finds its way into Bamboo Ring and takes the readers along. Weaving the adventure and travel together is a post-Viet Nam love story in the 70s that sets the back story for D. K. Christi’s fiction novel Ghost Orchid, recently re-released.
Wander through Waterside Shoppes in the afternoon and stop into Barnes & Noble for a cup of tea and a walk through featured novels from the local press with author signatures for that unique holiday gift. Purchasers of Bamboo Ring may expect a related token that connects the readers to the characters and the strength of bamboo.
In addition to three published novels, D. K. Christi has short stories in seven anthologies and she is a contributing feature writer and columnist for Spotlight magazines with Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero print issues also found online. More information about D. K. Christi is found at her web site www.dkchristi.com and at www.amazon.com/author/dkchristi  Read More 
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LA Talk Radio interviews D. K. Christi

"Thursday, Russ and I interviewed author D.K. Christi. her book, "Ghost Orchid" is being reissued October 31st and she was eager to talk about it. Not knowing anything about orchids, Russ and I were astounded at her knowledge of the Ghost Orchid, it's mysticism, history and beliefs. In all a fun conversation and extremely informative. Incidently, "Ghost Orchid" is a great read!" - Jim Christina, the Writers Block Read More 
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Ghost Orchid Review by Crafty Green Poet

Ghost Orchid by D K Christi

Inspired by the author's own experience of seeing the ghost orchid blooming, Ghost Orchid is the story of a rare plant and it's ability to bring people together.

Mel likes to take a lunchtime break from work by finding God in Nature in the local swamp and enjoying her encounters with the animals

Laughter ran out of her soul as the squirrel leaped from the rail to a tree, just barely catching the limb. It looked back at her and chattered loudly as if to tell her she had interfered with plans.

Meanwhile photographer Roger has finally persuaded Neev, his best friend, sometime lover and also another photographer, to accompany him to Florida to capture the ghost orchids in their rare blooming in the Everglades. Neev is reluctant to travel to Florida, because that is where her estranged mother lives, but once she is there, she doesn't regret the journey.

The Florida Everglades are brought to life in atmospheric detail and the far reaching effects of the mysterious flowers on those who see them is well drawn out in a story that feels quite static at times but is ultimately very moving.

This is the third in a series of books but stands alone.

Disclaimer - I received a free e-book of Ghost Orchid.
Crafted by Crafty Green Poet at 1:01 p.m. Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Thinking about: books, reviews
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Reviews for Ghost Orchid and Bamboo Ring

Two great reviews at Amazon.com:

"Bamboo Ring"
http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R3BXL7X37DEQDV/ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00RY9ZUGO


"Ghost Orchid"
http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R257UVKVCQZLOI/ref=cm_cr_pr_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00E4WZAHI
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