My Books

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mike Henderson - a look at a talented artist and Blues musician

Mike Henderson is a wonderful artist and Blues musician and the husband of my artist friend and teacher, Susan Deming. They live and work in the San Francisco Bay area with their son, Isaac. The other day, I came across this video of Mike Henderson, which I love and wanted to share with you. To me, this is not just a story about an artist, but about a man who made his way against many odds and succeeded.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did.





For more about Mike Henderson and Spark, click here:

http://www.kqed.org/arts/programs/spark/profile.jsp?essid=17526

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A picture journey through my novels

I live in two countries on two continents and I love to travel and so the different places I lived in or visited infiltrated my creative writing. Both my novels, An Uncommon Family and Love of a Stonemason take place in several different countries.

When I first visited these places, I wasn’t planning on using them in my writing. I was just seeing them as a tourist. Once I started to create my stories, I wanted to go back to explore the different locals more closely. It was important to get the details right, and, above all, I wanted to portray them through the eyes and nose and ears of my protagonists. What are the scents, the colors, and the sounds like in Zurich, Switzerland, or Guadalajara, Mexico, or in the exciting metropolis, New York City for Anna and Jonas in An Uncommon Family? How does Karla, the artist, see her beloved Ticino in the south of Switzerland? What did the colors and shapes of stones in the Peruvian Andes trigger in Andreas, the stonemason, in Love of a Stonemason?

In the process of my research, I took quite a few pictures. An author friend of mine suggested I put some of them on my website. This gave me the idea to create a kind of picture tour of my novels. Readers who are familiar with my books may enjoy seeing some of the places they read about. Others who don’t know my books may get inspired to give them a try.

I’m starting with the first book in the Family Portrait series, An Uncommon Family. This novel takes place in Zurich, Switzerland, New York City, and Guadalajara, Mexico. For those who don’t know the book, here is a blurb:

A chance meeting between a middle-aged woman, a widower, and a semi-orphaned child in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, brings together three people who grapple with a past of loss and betrayal. Six-year-old Karla, whose mother died in a car crash, has a hard time accepting the loss. Anna, her aunt and guardian, struggles with her former husband’s deception and her shattered confidence in men, and Jonas, artist and teacher, mourns the death of his wife.

While trying to help Karla, a talented but troubled child, Anna and Jonas develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship. The budding romance, however, hits a snag when Anna discovers a sinister secret in Jonas’s past. While the two adults have come to an impasse, young Karla takes matters into her own hands. Together with a friend, she develops a plan to bring the two uncooperative adults back together. The plan, however, creates havoc and as it begins to unravel, Karla is forced to learn some difficult lessons.

And now, click on the following link, fasten your seatbelts, put on your walking boots, or hop on a virtual train and enjoy!

An Uncommon Family - A Journey in Pictures

If you enjoyed the tour and want to continue the journey through part two of the "Family Portrait" series, click on the following link:

Love of a Stonemason - A Journey in Pictures

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Protecting the Cittern by John Cammalleri

Gritty and moving


                                                                                                                                                                              
PROTECTING THE CITTERN is a heart-wrenching story about a dysfunctional family, a manipulative and abusive father, a submissive mother, and children who try to carve a life for themselves in spite of it all. Tony, the son, hates his father and for good reasons. From childhood on, he and his family were the target of his negativity, his taunts, and his cruelty. Even from his hospital and nursing home bed, Sammy still finds ways to interfere with and control his next of kin. In the first part of the book, you ask yourself if there is anything redeeming about this man. Yet soon, we get glimpses of Sammy’s past, dating back to his own childhood in Italy and his role as soldier in the World War Two. And after his father’s death, Tony uncovers by accident a deeply painful secrete in Sammy’s past, which makes him understand why this seemingly loveless man projected all his feelings onto a musical instrument, which he caressed and protected more than he ever did his wife and children. Sammy’s own suffering doesn’t exactly absolve him but makes him just a little more human. And Tony—and with him the reader—feels pity rather than hate and anger. This is a very human tale, dark but also full of life and hope. Beautifully told and highly recommended.