Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Moonlight on the Nantahala- unforgettable-@micheal_rivers did it again!

Moonlight is a book that draws you into a beautiful sanctuary, snuggled up against the Nantahala River.  Close enough to hear the waterfalls.  You will relax as you settle into the slow pace of life in this scenic mountainside haven.  You might take a short walk to the falls- if you dare.  

The spirits may tell you things you may not want to hear.

Edward will bring you back to simpler times, simple joy.  Although he carries a deep loss in his heart, he lives his life lovingly with those he encounters.  However, his greatest love is one that has transcended death.  His beloved wife, Celia, is gone, but her spirit remains.  The house that Edward built with love is unchanged.  It is her sanctuary.

Fate brings about an unexpected friendship between the elderly Edward and the young, troubled Lena.  Their relationship shows us the value of friendship.  One person can change your life forever.  Everything seems to happen for a reason. 


It is what keeps Edward clinging to life, even though he feels the draw to join his beloved wife.  He will not leave until he is sure that Lena will be safe and happy.  He takes some unusual steps to ensure this.
When the time is right, and Edward joins his beloved Celia, he leaves a legacy of love.  Friendship is precious and if your heart is open, the universe brings people together to fill empty gaps and make their lives complete.

Interview with Micheal Rivers

K- You know that I am a huge fan.  I loved ‘The Black Witch’ and I really enjoyed Moonlight on the Nantahala.  I know that you grew up in North Carolina; did you live anywhere near Edwards’ house?

M- I was originally raised on the coast of North Carolina and have traveled and stayed in the mountains most of my life.  Sometimes it is a small wonder to go from towns called Whale Bone Junction to Tuckasegee.

I currently live about 15 miles from where Edward’s home would have been located.  The Nantahala Gorge is a sight visitors never forget.  Every day in this land of beauty no two days will be the same.  True it is the same mountains and rivers but they have a personality all their own.

I traveled extensively before ever settling down and decided I would live here among these mountains.  There are several rivers in this area, but the Nantahala is my favorite.  For those who enjoy Kayaking we have category four waters as well as the romantic side with smooth flowing streams surrounded by the best nature has to offer.

K- It sounds like a magical place.  Your descriptions are so vivid; I fell in love with the Nantahala. I plan to visit  the unforgettable gorge one day.  What was your inspiration for this story?

M- I understand there was a gentleman close in this area much like Edward, but the story is not about him.  It is actually a story fashioned from several people I know who lost their love and there was nobody that could fill their shoes.

 For those who have never taken the time to listen to the old it is a learning experience.  What we take for granted every day the elderly find slowly drifting away from them.  They have a lot to offer if the young will listen.  The housekeeper, Betty, is a true character and I knew her well.

I felt by writing Moonlight on the Nantahala some would see the road we often trod when age has taken its toll and life is still to be held as a precious thing.

K- You are so right Micheal.  It's very sad the way our culture brushes aside the elderly- where they are revered for their knowledge and experience in other cultures.  

I got the feeling there was more of a connection between Edward and Lena- as though they were related somehow.  Could there be a sequel in the works? 

M- Lena and Edward are not genetically related.  It is a connection of kinship through a need they can fulfill for each other.  Life has a strange way of drawing people together.  You can call it Karma, fate, or a dozen other names, but possibly, it is a relationship drawn together from a higher power.
I have been asked to produce a sequel for this book, but I have nothing on the storyboard for it at this time.  If the demand grows, I will give my readers a sequel for it.

K- If you made this into a movie, have you thought about who would play the roles?  I see Harrison Ford playing Edward, maybe Angelina Jolie for Lena, Drew Barrymore for Celia and then someone feisty like for Betty.  What do you think?

M- Kathy Bates is the ultimate Betty, trust me on that one, Harrison Ford would work as well as a few others as Edward, Kirsten Dunst as Lena, and Ashley Greene as Celia.

K- If you would like, I would love to do an exercise with you.  I will show you a scene and then you re-write it in your lyrical style.  Are you up for it?

M- I’ll give it a shot and see what we come up with.

K- Okay, here it is:

There were rumors about Kamlesh.  He had powers.  They were magical gifts.  This magic frightened the people of the village.  An untouchable could never become a guru of God, so they believed that he was evil.
"He has evil powers- dark powers.  An untouchable cannot be a guru of God."
Dadoo had insisted on the marriage between Pratibha and Anil.  It was a good match.  Anil was of a higher caste.  He belonged to the same caste as their family.  Pratibha cried every day and every night.  Her beautiful face became gaunt as her petite frame became thinner and thinner.
"Please Pratibha- eat something.  You want to be a healthy, beautiful bride, don't you?"
"I don't even want to live if I have to marry Anil!"
She had no appetite- she could not bear to eat a bite when her happy future was disappearing.  She begged her parents to stop the wedding and break the engagement.  They would not listen.  They thought that they were doing the right thing by arranging this marriage.  It was their custom.  They thought they had found a good man that could provide for their daughter and give her a good life.”  M]


There were whispers in the night that told of the powers of Kamlesh.  His magic frightened people of the village unless they were in need of him.  The village elders had a name for those like Kamlesh; he was an untouchable, a being unlike those around them, a power so dark and evil his name they feared to speak.  While some deemed him as a guru to God, the blessed saw him as a curse and a Bain to mankind.
Dadoo stood upon his balcony looking toward the top of the mountain professed to be the home of Kamlesh- a fortnight before he had gone to Kamlesh and begged favor of him to unite his daughter with Anil.  Being a higher caste, he knew it was a good match for his daughter, Pratibha.

Staying within their caste made perfect sense to Dadoo. Pratibha wanted nothing to do with Anil, considering him an ill-mannered oaf with the face of an Ox.  She felt no love for him and excused herself from his company at every turn.

Day and night she wept, cursing God for being absent in her time of need. She ate nothing and had become a mere shadow in comparison to the beauty she once held.

 "Please Pratibha- eat something.  You want to be a healthy, beautiful bride, don't you?" Her father pleaded with her.Pratibha looked woefully at her father in disbelief. “You demand I marry Anil.  Your customs are not the wishes of my heart.  I would see myself in a death shroud before I would wear the wedding dress of the man you have chosen for me.  Deny this wedding, father and I will do as you wish.
Dadoo stood to his feet staring at her.  Her mother bowed her head refusing to look at them.
“I will hear none of this.  You will marry Anil and be the mother of his children.  He is a good provider and landowner.  It is the right thing for you and your future when I am no longer able to provide for you and protect you.  I am sure you would not be well suited stitching your life away in the hut of a shoemaker.”

K- Wow!  I love it- you are unbelievable.  I am in awe, Sir!

M-Thank you very much for having me with you today and I have enjoyed talking with you.

K- Thank you very much for joining me and doing this interview and “exercise”.   It’s always a pleasure chatting with you.

The  Nantahala Gorge:

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection

I found this book entirely by chance.  I was doing a search on back pain and it popped up. 

I believe in fate.

As I read the book, I could start to see light at the end of the tunnel
At that time, I was going through extensive physical therapy for my lower back pain.  In the previous year, I went through a horrific period of neck pain, diagnostic testing and various treatments.  I was scheduled to have spinal fusion surgery on three levels.  I wanted to try every alternative before resorting to surgery, so I tried aqua therapy along with the land based physical therapy.  I was able to reduce the level of pain to something I could live with. 

I have suffered from neck and back issues since my early twenties.    I have had multiple rounds of physical therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care.  I’ve tried a variety of exercise, yoga, stretching and meditation.   I had every known type of diagnostic testing; nerve testing, MRI, CT, X-ray, etc.  Yes, I have some degenerative disease- but most people have these same issues, and yet not all of them experience pain.  In fact, my Neurological surgeon walked me through my MRI and told me that it was hard to explain why some people experience pain, while others don’t.

So after reading Dr. Sarno's theory that the pain could simply be a physical reaction to emotional pain, the diagnosis made perfect sense to me.   This would explain so much. He calls this condition Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS).

Unfortunately, I still have bouts with TMS.  Dr. Sarno's book helped me put the pain in perspective.  It’s made me aware of what may be happening in my life and how this pain may be reactionary.

If you suffer from any type of chronic pain, I highly suggest you read this book.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Murder Caribbean Style!

I was enchanted by this story from the first page.   It brought back memories of my favorite mystery books, like the Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew Series.  But this is much more refined and sophisticated.

 The Heroine, Kayla is a lovely, young travel guide writer who returns to her former place of employment- as a celebrity.  Who has not dreamed of doing that? 
 Her former place of employment just happens to be a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  It would be fabulous- but Kayla is mending a broken heart.   You feel her pain and you hate the scoundrel who caused it.  You form strong opinions about the characters and when there is a murder- well – he had it coming!

Kayla travels through the Caribbean doing research for her book and some detective work.   The author brings you to the scenes with such detail; you are enveloped in the exotic locale.  As you explore the islands, inhaling the perfume of the tropical flowers, you learn of Caribbean history and geography.  You vow to return one day-in person.

Is Kayla a murderer?  Will she ever find true love?  You’ll have to read the book to find out : )

Interview with Diane Rapp

K:  I was just delighted with Murder Caribbean Style.  It reminded me of a very sophisticated, grown up sort of Nancy Drew mystery.  Where did you get your inspiration?

D: My daughter, Laura and I wrote a travel guide to the Caribbean islands.  After we finished Laura planned to write a mystery using the islands as a backdrop, but she hated writing fiction.  She gave the idea to me.  With the islands fresh on my mind, I started the arduous task of planning a mystery.  Since I incorporated various cruise ships into the plot, I drew up a schedule for the imaginary ships to land on each island.  What a headache.    

K: The amazing detail of all of the islands and your vivid descriptions made me want to visit those islands!  Seriously- I am now planning our vacation to one of the destinations in the book.  How did you become so knowledgeable about the Caribbean?

Laura and I spent three months visiting eleven Caribbean islands to research our travel guide.  A factual guidebook can’t use space to capture the beauty and atmosphere of the islands, so I used the mystery format to illustrate the ambience of real tropical locations.  

K:  As a writer, I really admire when an author is able to show, rather than tell.  Have you worked on your writing technique or does it come naturally to you?

Thanks for the compliment.   The technique is not a natural skill.  I visualize scenes as though I was watching a movie, and then I write and rewrite until my fingers ache.   When I get stuck, I reread a book by one of my favorite authors and analyze how the author created flowing prose.  Have you ever read West With the Night by Beryl Markum?  Her descriptions of Africa make me envious!

K:  No I haven’t – but I will!
I only do reviews for books that I really enjoyed.  This is a book that would make a great movie.  I could see Drew Barrymore playing Kayla.  Have you thought about that?

My heart flutters to imagine Murder Caribbean-Style on the silver screen.  I’m part of the first generation that grew up watching television and movies.   My heroine “casts” people in her own private movie, and I hoped this mechanism might help readers visualize the characters.   

K: This is becoming a signature move for me: I’d like to do a fun exercise with you.  I will give you a scene and I would love for you to write it in your alluring style : )

Our hostess, Jill, opened the door.

I felt like someone punched me in the stomach.  It was a tiny, dingy little apartment.  Our bedroom, with two tiny cot-like beds was so small that we could not lay our luggage on the floor- it had to stay upright.   The bed linens were threadbare.  There was no air conditioning.   Jill warned us that there were no screens on the windows so if we opened them for air at night, we would be eaten alive by mosquitoes.  This was especially disgusting for Tara, because there are no mosquitoes in Ireland and she liked it that way.

This was not the luxurious villa that we had looked forward to.   Without speaking Tara and I looked at each other and new we had to find a way out.


The hinge squeaked as the hotel clerk, Jill jerked on the rusty door handle.

We shoved our luggage against the wall and squeezed into the closet masquerading as a bedroom.  Tara frowned at the threadbare sheets and stained pillowcases on the twin beds, while I jiggled the thermostat, praying for a refreshing blast of cool air.  A pitiful trickle of stale air coughed into my face and the musty smell turned my stomach.   

I glanced hopefully at the dirty windows. Jill said, “Better not open the windows, since we don’t have screens.  The mosquitoes will feast on your pale Irish skin all night and cats might come inside.  Here’s your key.”  What happened to the tropical vacation villa pictured on the Internet?   

Tara turned to me with panic in her eyes, and I knew we couldn’t spend one night in this dump. Would my credit limit accept another charge?  How could we find a decent room during peak tourist season?

K: That is incredible- magical!  The scene was based on a real life experience I had with my cousin.  You really nailed it- I felt like I was back in that hellish room : )

I look forward to reading your other books. Thank you so much.

You can find Diane’s books here        

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Find Diane’s website here