Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio

Podcast – Middle-Grade Author Interview: Elaine Donadio      
April 17, 2019
LTV East Hampton, NY
Interviewer/Producer: Linda Maria Frank

  Click here to view my interview on YouTube.

My Book Titles
The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into the Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

 Click here and scroll my Blog for Free Standards-Based Online Study Guides. 

Questions? Please email me here at author@elainedonadio.com.

 

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For the Throne—Game of Thrones in Bayside, New York

For the Throne—Game of Thrones in Bayside, NY

 

I parked my car at 7:00am this morning and walked for twenty minutes to join the line to see The Throne. I stood on line for five hours before my turn came to sit for the maximum of thirty seconds on this coveted sign of power.

After I posted yesterday that I would not be publishing any blog posts for a while, I unexpectedly found myself in Fort Totten in Bayside, NY sitting on a replica of THE THRONE from Game of Thrones. How could I not share this!

As a promotion for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones which will begin on HBO on April 14—as if they need publicity!—HBO has placed six thrones throughout the world for fans to discover by following clues. One of them was found in Fort Totten. The other thrones were also found in Sweden, Brazil, Canada, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Anyone arriving at the fort after 7:30am was turned away. We were told that a number of people behind me on line would not have this chance at glory for another three hours. We stood in the damp drizzle with minimum complaint so we may be part of history. If you go tomorrow which is the last day, get there as close to 7:00am as possible.

I’m so happy I was there!

Let me take this opportunity to thank Eliana and Ruthie from Flushing, NY for allowing me to join in their conversation for five hours. Instead of being bored out of mind, I had these lovely, kind, interesting ladies to exchange ideas with. Thanks again to both of you.

I look forward to the return of the series, but I know that the beginning brings us closer to the end. I want the Mother of Dragons—and maybe Jon Snow thrown in—to rule The Seven Kingdoms. Here’s looking forward to a wonderful shared experience.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

 

 

On Hiatus!

On Hiatus! 

It’s that time again. I need to totally concentrate on my next two professional projects and will need to keep two of my most enjoyable pastimes at bay. This means no pleasure reading or blog post writing. I’ll check back with my readers in a couple of months to let you know how I’m coming along.

Missy Badook Has a Birthday Party is a story I wrote a few years ago and is desperately in need of illustrations. So, guess what? I’m taking traditional and digital art lessons. Who knows where this will lead me? I’m tapping into my inner artist, stretching my brain, and hoping for the best.

Also, Nestor, my goofy eleven year old New York City character, must be reunited with his father who went to Alaska to find his fortune and hasn’t been heard from in months. You can see Book 4 of The Montgomery School Kids  series must be written! I’m still working on a title, so you see there’s still a lot to do.

Be well. Be happy. Remember, one person, one experience at a time.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci

Book Review: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (2018) 3 Stars ***

The best thing about this book is the title.

For me, this is one of Baldacci’s books that disappoints and falls short of expectations. Thirty-five year old FBI agent Atlee Pine welcomes a permanent assignment to the Grand Canyon, Arizona.  Very tall and solidly built, no-nonsense Atlee enjoys her position as the only FBI agent for miles around. Atlee carries a painful memory, and at the beginning and end, her attention is focused on bringing closure to her badly broken heart. The plot goes south when the actual story starts with Atlee and company becoming embroiled in the puzzling case of a missing Grand Canyon mule riding tourist and the gutted remains of the mule.

David Baldacci, why didn’t you stick with the opening story line? This story would have been worth developing. Instead, a poor attempt was made to link the title to the main plot. You did not succeed in creating a strong connection between the beginning and end which go together and the rest of the book which is a non sequitur.

Instead, the reader is left with a Keystone Cops comedy of our main character fighting her way through groups of armed and violent assassins, and winning, of course, bad guys popping out of alleys, breaking and entering, disabling security measures, hacking into online accounts, drive-by kidnappings of unsuspecting victims, disguising themselves as agents of various government organizations, utilizing gun silencers to avoid garnering unwanted attention, and the list of “been there, seen that” techniques goes on and on. Oh, let’s not forget the bad guys work for the North Koreans and the Russians and of course are involved in a splinter group of American politicians and fat cats who want to bring down the present administration and blame it on, you guessed it, one of our fluid enemies who become our friends when the situation calls for it. If you think you’ve read this in a book somewhere or seen this on a TV movie or series, yes, this over-played plot has surfaced many times.

The main character, Atlee, is robotic, and is not presented as a sympathetic, relatable character. Yes, she suffered a childhood trauma which still haunts her, but there is so much tell and not enough show that this super-hero female agent, who can sit in a tub of ice cubes for three hours to bring down the swelling on her bruised and battered body, is not believable. In a brawl, Atlee is at her best. She just doesn’t lose a fight. While the people next to her are mowed down by a barrage of bullets, Atlee escapes just in the nick of time.

A number of references are made to the movie Thelma and Louise as Atlee and her FBI assistant, Carol, team up to solve the case. The problem is there is no chemistry between the two women. Conversations are stilted and chances for character interiority are nonexistent and lost.

Many paragraphs contain one sentence, creating a choppy, disjointed experience. Poor transitions and story development. Is this because of poor editing or poor writing? What’s the tone of voice? I didn’t perceive one. More like a newspaper article than a novel, unfortunately.

Sorry for this negative review on one of our most loved authors, but this book just does not make the grade.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

Book Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Book Review: Try Not to Breathe (2016 )by Holly Seddon 4 Stars ****

I had to read this book since it’s recommended by Tess Gerritsen, an author whose early work captured my attention. Many plot twists and red herrings. The surprises never stop. Well-written. Engaging. Maybe a little too long getting to the point? Published in 2016, it is similar in format and characterizations to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) , Dangerous Habits by Susan Hunter (2014), and Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On the Train (2015). This format seems to lead to success, so if you like the other books, you will like this one.

Alcoholic freelance journalist Alex Dale has done herself in—destroying her marriage, losing her job, and jeopardizing her other relationships—with her excessive drinking. No one knows what to believe. People don’t perceive Alex as reliable. Is she hallucinating, confused, or just fabricating stories for attention? Alex’s current assignment leads her to a neuro-disability unit in a hospital where the patients are in various degrees of brain damage and unable to communicate except for the few who can visualize scenes as instructed to indicate a yes or a no answer to a question posed by a doctor. For example, a brain scan can detect a yes answer when the patient imagines playing a tennis match. Even though unable to communicate verbally or by eye blinks, an interviewer can determine a patient’s positive and negative responses.

Having just been fired for her drunken behavior and working on her own time, Alex is determined to win recognition for solving the mystery of the brutal beating that left fifteen year old Amy Stevenson for dead fifteen years ago. Amy is a patient in the facility where brain scans can be interpreted to tell the story of the past. Since Amy’s attacker has never been identified, Alex jumps at the opportunity to vindicate herself in the eyes of the world and throws herself into this investigation. Step by step, Alex conducts interviews with people from all walks of life as she pores over old news stories and gains new information with each new comment and observation offered by those who are unaware of the importance of what they know. Alex struggles to put it all together until the facts check out, and a clear picture emerges. Sometimes the truth is hidden in plain sight. If you look without prejudging, you just might see it. Fifteen years after the tragedy, the culprit is brought to justice as Alex finds strength within herself to fight off the demons that once characterized  and destroyed her.

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

 

Book Review: Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz (2015)

Book Review: Miracle Man by William R. Leibowitz (2015) 4 Stars ****

Can you imagine a world without Multiple Sclerosis and over eighty other auto immune diseases, ALS Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, and Malaria to name a few? Our Miracle Man, Dr. Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history has made it all happen. You would think the world would worship at this feet. Instead, the robber barons of the pharmaceutical industry set out to destroy him as they watch their stock options grow more and more worthless.

Please remember, this is a work of fiction.

What’s the connection? If people are no longer sick and dying, they no longer need medicine/ drugs. If they no longer need drugs, pharmaceutical sales plummet along with stock values. CEOs start trading down into smaller houses and forsake their limousines as they start cutting up their unnecessary credit cards to try to live within a budget. Can you picture it? Hence, the vendetta starts as attempts are made to destroy the reputation and the life of the Miracle Man who creates his own inexpensive treatments for the average person, refusing to unduly profit from the suffering and misfortunes of others.

Young Bobby is an abandoned baby who is lucky enough to be adopted by a loving couple. When Bobby is four years old his genius results in his being sent to a special boarding school for genius children. He is isolated from family and friends. Even in this setting, Bobby out scores his classmates with an IQ of over 500. He tends toward melancholy as he struggles against himself. After some time, Bobby loses all those who love him and whom he loves. Eventually, Harvard and MIT demand he work on the space and armament programs and forcibly evict him when he refuses. Tufts University welcomes him with open arms where he becomes a Nobel Prize winner multiple times over for his work in eradicating disease. Two women strongly support him through life and work,  not just figuratively, but also literally, as his divided personality begins to destroy his hold on reality. Becoming more and more trance like, Bobby then struggles to return to the world of the living after a near fatal attempt on his life. Will Bobby ever be the same?

The book keeps the reader’s interest. I loved it in the beginning, but by the middle I liked it a lot. There are instances when time stands still with some repetitions and drawn out scenes of nothing. The minor characters are stereotypical, although often complex. Bobby’s story unfolds slowly. The reader is left with an unsatisfactory end—the story stops, it actually does not end—making way for what I believe will be a sequel.

The author must have done an unbelievable amount of research to explain the medical, chemical, and mathematical aspects of disease and cure. Even though this is a work of fiction, the thought processes and research spark one’s mind to view problems in a different way and to entertain different solutions.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (2018) 5 Stars *****

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis 5 Stars *****fullsizeoutput_374a

Yes, men can follow these tips also to achieve the life they want.

The point of this book? “Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be.”  ‘The author tells us we must choose our own happiness and that we have control over our own lives. Let’s take a ride with this zany author on the road to self-discovery and self-esteem. Think it through. Set up goals. Make a plan. Then do it! ‘  Sound familiar? Yes, but have you done any of it? Or, have you decided those books were written to inspire someone else’s life? You see where I’m going here? This book is meant for YOU. Get with the program, girlfriend

“Where to start? Start with a small goal, be careful with commitments and be honest with ourselves. Go to therapy, hustle for joy, reorder our priority lists. (Make ourselves FIRST!) The secret to success? Wake up early, work the hardest, ask for help, be willing to fail over and over, and be willing to constantly improve ourselves and our brand. You don’t have permission to quit. When a voice of authority tells you’re too old, fat,__, ___, or___, they’re giving you permission to quit. Don’t listen. You do not have permission to quit. Need help? Be audacious, try alternative routes, keep our goals in plain sight. Need more help? Write it down, say it out loud, create a vision board. Need even more help? Mantras, edit media exposure, prepare in advance.”

Remember these tenets: “Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business. Right now, in this moment, I’m my own hero. Only we have the power to change our lives.”

Final message? “Girl, get a hold of your life. Stop medicating, stop hiding out, stop being afraid, stop giving away pieces of yourself, stop saying you  can’t do it. Stop the negative self-talk, stop abusing your body, stop putting it off for tomorrow or Monday or next year. Stop crying about what happened and take control of what happens next. Get up, right now. Rise up from where you’ve been, scrub away the tears and the pain of yesterday, and start again…Girl, wash your face!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Valentine Messages

Valentine’s Day presents a special opportunity to show those we love and care about just how important they are to us. Looking for an alternative to traditional chocolate hearts? How about leaving hidden messages for people to find when they least expect it? Not just for family and friends, but also for strangers?

I was inspired by a short article “Love Rocks-Inspiring Messages That Surprise” in the Global Briefs section of the May 2, 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

The author explains how “artistically decorated rocks featuring inspirational messages are turning up in Mobile, Alabama, and along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline as part The Kindness Rocks Project (TheKindnessRocksProject.com). Anyone can paint rocks and ‘plant’ them for someone else to discover. Likewise, everyone is invited to hunt for kindness rocks. those that find a rock are free to take it, plant it somewhere else or leave it for someone else to find.”

What’s the purpose? “The goal is to encourage others to find creative ways to reach out and brighten someone’s day unexpectedly, whether it’s through kindness rocks, love notes or random acts of generosity.”

Need ideas for messages? Love Rocks, Have Faith, Trust Yourself, Have Trust in Others, Believe, Aspire, Inspire, Share Yourself, Create, Reach Out, Friends Forever, You Are Loved, Live Your Truth, Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life.

This got me thinking. If you would prefer not to use rocks, how about these same messages on a  heart shaped sticky-notepad to leave around your home, school, place of business or a public building or restaurant?

Not everyone has a special someone to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day. Maybe you can be that person to put a smile on someone’s face and a warm feeling in their hearts. What do you think?

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Book Review: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Book Review: Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton (2017) 4 Stars ****

Modern day Cuban-American journalist and Coral Gables, Florida resident Marisol Ferrera promises her recently deceased grandmother, Elisa, that after her death Marisol will scatter her grandmother’s ashes at a place that she believes to be her grandmother’s most heart-felt location in her beloved homeland, Havana, Cuba. Marisol embarks on a journey of discovery as she uncovers secrets about her family, especially her grandmother, the history of revolution in Cuba, and the heart-breaking conditions under which the Cuban people live.

Marisol now views Cuban history through the eyes of her Cuban relatives and her handsome, educated lover who live in fear for their safety and well-being. As Batista is driven from power in the 1950s, revolutionary Fidel Castro is believed by many to be the antidote to the poisonous rule of the previous dictator. Pretending to be what he is not, Fidel Castro curries favor with segments of the Cuban population and the American government in order to attain his goal of absolute power as he quickly imposes the doctrines of communism on his hapless people, utilizing death squads, imprisonment, and torture to squash all criticism. Instead of restoring Cuba to the 1940 Constitution as originally promised, Castro imposes the Fundamental Laws.

Marisol witnesses the emotionally charged tug of war between those who stayed and those who left which continues to this day. Marisol’s heart breaks as she sees  the conditions under which her relatives are living. Poverty, near starvation, food rationing, forbidden religious observance, and inequality of currency conversions and educational opportunities plague Cuba. Marisol learns to act covertly to offer aid to her family who are not able to trust government, media, neighbors, friends and even other family members. Marisol vows to return to Cuba the following year to continue to do whatever she can to change the plight of her relatives and those who stayed.

No story set in Cuba could exist without flowery romantic language, descriptions appealing to the five senses, stirring music, a heroic love interest, false imprisonment, violent arrests, the rebuilding of family ties, and an understanding of social injustice that prevails on this island located 90 miles off Key West, Florida.

Many of the Cubans who left “the island that can break your heart” moved to Miami, Florida where most have prospered in their adopted country. As is often the case, the wealthier have the means to leave while the poorer do not.

Readers will hear the urgent request to help encourage Cuba to institute social and governmental changes so those who left may freely return to family and lives left behind, and those who stay may have an improved quality of life affording them basic dignity in their struggle for food, education, and political choices. American embargoes have only served to hurt the populace as the corrupt government officials are not negatively impacted.

After the death of Fidel Castro, his brother, Raul, took over the running of the government while continuing Fidel’s policies. Cuba needs help.

The story is poignant, but repetitious of facts, descriptions, and conversations. Marisol frequently asks herself a barrage of questions but whole paragraphs of internal musings would better be presented as statements. These techniques decrease, thankfully, in the second half of the book.

The author, Chanel Cleeton, lives in the US and has a BA in International Relations, and MS in Global Politics, and a JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Ms. Cleeton devotes her education and her life to improving social justice.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

Please Borrow My Books From the Public Libraries!

Great news! Printed copies of my books can now be borrowed from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County Libraries in New York. Request an inter-library loan!

Queens Libraries—Bay Terrace, Central(Jamaica), and Whitestone 

Nassau Libraries—Manhasset, Port Washington, Syosset

Suffolk Libraries— East Hampton, Huntington

The digital copies are available in Queens Public Library and may be available in other library systems throughout the country. If your library cannot provide access to these books, please ask them to purchase in digital or paperback formats to add to their collection.

The Science Project
The Ocean’s Way
Who Do Voodoo?
The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion
Sojourn Into The Night—A Memoir of the Peruvian Rainforest

Happy reading! If you do decide to borrow my books from the library, please remember to write a review on the library website.

Thanks,

Elaine

Please let me know how you do. I’d love to hear from you author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2018

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