Meet Adela…

Meet the Author


I met Adela in a Facebook group, The Women of Midlife and finally in person at the BAM conference and she is lovely. I enjoy her blogs and I really enjoyed reading The Ship of Pearl. I highly recommend it and was happy to hear she is donating a portion of proceeds to the homeless and the hungry.

About the book


“A 1933 bank failure piles calamity on top of disaster. Separated from his family, 12 year-old Eldie Craine is up to his eyeballs in unfamiliar territory: Someone else’s clothes, different faiths, a new school, and new rules. And now there’s Cecilea.”

Intrigued by the aftermath and lessons-learned following the house fire that my father’s family experienced, I wished to capture their positive outlook, despite what seemed like crippling catastrophe. These people all look at life as abundant and blessed. I felt like we could all use a little of that reality in our mirrors. As an example of what I mean, my Uncle Glenn, widowed two years ago, just got engaged to be married.  He is 91 years old!

I rolled many of the tales Dad and his brothers told into A Ship of Pearl. Besides traditional historical research, I interviewed a variety of men and women who grew up during The Great Depression. I had the rare opportunity to interview one of my father’s teachers, upon whom I based the novel’s Mrs. Bidrall. The black family is based on tales told to me by the Pittsburgh artist, Thadeus Mosely.


The main characters in A Ship of Pearl are in 7th grade.  I think kids will like it.  Anyone who has a parent of grandparent or knows someone from that generation will appreciate the gentle story of generosity and respect in hard economic times.

I also have a ‘read-to-me’ book, The Fable of Little Tzurie.  My grandson, Niall Brady, illustrated this book.

I wrote these two stories years apart from each other, or should I say, I wrote Tzurie as a distraction while I was writing A Ship of Pearl. They are very different stories. Years later, I realized they are both about boys who become homeless.  For that reason, I feel called to donate 10% (a tithe) to help America’s homeless and hungry.

A little bio: I come from a family of storytellers. Being a little more introverted, I put pen to paper. First published at the age of six, I have a few small pieces published and yearn for more. I live in Illinois with my husband George. Within driving distance are my four children and bonus daughter through marriages. I have my twelve grandchildren, one on the way, and three cats to keep me hopping after a full days work at the office. Add my vegetable and water garden in the backyard, and you could say, “I have it all!”

The Interview

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the small town of Gaines, MI, not too far from Flint. In that town was an older General Store manager. He sold everything, including button hooks for fastening ladies shoes.

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing? Absolutely. My mother read to me before I could read. Not just short books, but lengthy chapter books like LAD A DOG, BLACK BEAUTY, AND HUCKLEBERRY FINN, and classics like that. My teacher gave me TOM SAWYER to read when I was in the second grade.

What was the last book you read? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

I hand-down prefer fiction, because fiction tells the truth as it tells a story. The last book I finished was A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara. It is a haughtingly sad book about the love we get from friends. It also reminds me that no matter how close we get to someone, we never know all of who that person. A LITTLE LIFE is destine to be my favorite book of 2016. I am currently reading THE STORY OF EDGER SAWTAIL by David Wroblewski. The story is about a mute boy raising dogs. I really think a lot about my mom reading to me as I read this book.

When did you first know you wanted to write a book?

How was this story born in your heart? I always liked to write. I was seven when my first story was published in The Flint Journal. I wrote a small story (fiction) based on my father’s childhood house burning to the ground. He asked me to write the novel. The novel is dedicated to him.

Do you write from an outline or just sit down and let it flow?


               Adela’s writing partners


I drew a picture or path I wanted the book to take. It looked like a spiral, turning back on itself through the main character’s memories, and at the same time, moving forward in the main character’s present time.

When is your release date?

The novel is released now in Kindle and soft cover. It can be purchased through Amazon or requested in bookstores. Both A SHIP OF PEARL and a short read-to-me book, THE FABLE OF LITTLE TZURIE, released at the same time. I am donating 10% of my profits to help America’s homeless and hungry.

Are you planning to write another book?

Yes. I started a follow-up book. A SHIP OF PEARL’s first scene is when the main character, Eldie Craine, is born, the second son. The sequel starts when Eldie’s second daughter is born. There will be remembering, too, as he recollects WWII and how he got to where he is now. (Anyway, that’s the plan.) I intend to join NaNoWriMo in November and get the first draft completed. Wish me luck!

What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Do you prefer coffee or tea?

I like Merlot, I like a good chocolate martini, and I like Mojitos. I prefer tea, but I drink way more coffee.

Do you have a favorite TV indulgence?

“America’s Got Talent.” I love how the host and judges don’t shame even the silliest contestants. I love the variety of talent. It reminds me of the old “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Visit Adela here:

Facebook author page: The Black Tortoise

Twitter: @blacktortoise

LinkedIn: Adela Crandell Durkee

Google+: AdelaCrandellDurkee

Websites: “” and “”











Meet Baby Bailino…

I am so excited to introduce you to author, Dina Santorelli. I really enjoyed her first book Baby Grand and cannot wait to read the sequel, Baby Bailino!



Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Queens, New York, one of the five boroughs of New York City and about ten minutes from midtown Manhattan—two hours, if there’s traffic. J

Did you grow up in a home that promoted reading or writing?

Not really. We were more of a movie and TV show family. My mom took me to the local theater every Saturday to see a Disney cartoon and feature film.

When did you first know you wanted to write a book?

I think I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. I’ve found pieces of colored construction paper filled with stories I wrote when I was very young. And the stories were always thrillers—suspense-driven, edge-of-your-seat stuff.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals?

Not really. I just sit myself down and start to write—or, at least, try to write. Some days are easier than others.

Did you map your stories before writing or do you just let the words flow?

With my first novel, Baby Grand, I just let the words flow. By nature, I’m more of a “pantser,” as they say—I write by the seat of my pants. But there came a point, about a hundred or so pages in, that I found myself losing focus. And that’s when I put together a very general outline for the rest of the book. Nothing fancy. Just sort of a “this goes in this chapter, this goes in that chapter” kind of thing. That outline served as a roadmap to help me steer my way toward the end of the novel. I used that same process for my second novel, In the Red, which I’ll be publishing soon. However, for Baby Bailino, the sequel to Baby Grand, I made the general outline at the outset and filled it in, elaborated, delved deeper, etc., as I went along.

Do you have a dedicated writing space?

I have a little nook in my living room where I write. For Baby Bailino, I also spent lots of writing time at Panera Bread—so much time that I contemplated mentioning Panera’s Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans in my Acknowledgments. J

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I’m a freelance writer and editor.

What are you writing now?

I started writing a women’s fiction novel after I finished Baby Bailino, but I have put that aside to write the third book in the Baby Grand Book Series. I have a habit of moving on to something completely different after I finish a book—whether it’s reading one or writing one. After I wrote Baby Grand, I dove head-first into In the Red when, actually, I think my mind was more interested in writing Baby Bailino. I just didn’t realize it. Or maybe I wasn’t listening. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that I struggled through In the Red, which took me four years to finish. I like to think I learned my lesson, so when thoughts started turning toward the Baby Grand storyline again this time around, I listened and put the women’s fiction aside.



What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Chocolate milk.

Did you know when writing Baby Grand that there would be a Book 2?

Not at first. I thought it would be a stand-alone novel. However, as I was writing one of the final scenes of Baby Grand, I got the sense that there was more to the story. I could see in my mind’s eye how things would play out, and it was in that moment that I made a major change to the storyline and decided to create Book 2.


What is your favorite thing about the fall?

Fall is absolutely my favorite season—the brilliant sunshine, the vibrant foliage, crunching leaves, cooler temps, corn mazes, Halloween (my wedding anniversary), apples, apples, and more apples! What’s not to love? J

About the Book:


It’s been two years since Jamie Carter escaped captivity and saved Charlotte Grand, the infant daughter of New York Governor Phillip Grand, becoming a national hero for foiling the kidnapping plot that incarcerated reputed mobster/entrepreneur Don Bailino—the man who abducted and raped her. As Governor Grand considers his candidacy for U.S. president, Bailino inexplicably escapes from prison, and soon Jamie’s fifteen-month-old daughter, Faith—Bailino’s biological child—disappears. Jamie sets off to find her and, in the process, finds an unlikely ally in Bailino, who is on the run not only from the FBI but from members of organized crime who have a score to settle. Can Jamie trust the man who once held her prisoner? Can she rely on her instincts? And can she again find the strength to save a child when, this time, that child is her own?

Connect with Dina:



Instagram: http://www.instagram/dinasantorelli

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin/in/dinasantorelli



Baby Grand:

Baby Bailino:




Know What You Write…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.


Everything you write whether it’s an article, blog post or a book it needs to be researched. I start a file for research as soon as I have an idea for a story. Getting your facts straight, whether your work is fiction or nonfiction will make your story believable and increase your credibility as a writer.

If your main character is an attorney you will need to research the lingo, perhaps the actual trial process and even the education process. How did the character get where they are? If you know an attorney, interview them. If you don’t know one try asking your friends and family if they happen to know one. This goes for any profession you may need information on. The extra effort will give your characters more depth and make them much more believable, it will make them real.

You want to get your story surroundings correct too. If you are writing about actual places go there if possible and write what you see. If you can’t physically get there look closely at photographs and read as much description as you can find.

FLORIDA SOuth of the Border

          The standard rule for research is three sources. Try not to fall into the habit of simply using search engines and going with the first thing that comes up. Go deeper. Was the location used in a movie or TV show? If so watch those clips.

Remember everything on the internet isn’t necessarily factual. When doing internet research be sure to use trusted, well respected sites.

Technology is tricky. ‘They’ say not to pigeonhole your book to any certain time period. It’s so easy to do that with technology. Imagine you’re reading a YA novel and the characters are discussing My Space. Most of us know what that is but will teenagers in five-years have any idea what My Space is? It may be easier for nonfiction writers to include the actual tech info but for fiction you may want to come up with fictitious names and descriptions for technology.

Quote writing surgeon get it right

          Libraries offer great research resources but like the internet just because it is in print doesn’t make it true. Always cross reference with several sources. It’s always a good idea to spend time in several of your local libraries and get to know the staff. They can be a great resource for you once your book is published. Librarians talk to one another on and off line and libraries are still the number-one book buyers in the world.


          Try to keep your research organized (I really need to take that advice.) It is so frustrating knowing you have an article or some other piece of information and not being able to find it when you need it. You also want to keep detailed information on where you got your information in case someone needs to be credited.

Happy Writing,




Ugh Writing Proposals…

Writer Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share what I have learned along my writing, publishing and marketing journey. If you like the info please share it forward!

Proposal Writing

Before submitting your work to an agent you should have a proposal ready. Chances are if they like your query, they will request a proposal.

I was always more a sit down and write kind of writer until I started writing books and taking on freelance work. I found myself procrastinating and easily distracted by new and shinier things that came across my laptop screen.

If I wanted to do this book writing thing full time I needed to get organized and get writing.

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I am SO Insecure…

Yes, I am SO Insecure…

The first Wednesday of each month is the designated day for the meeting of The Insecure Writers Support Group.

For more info on the group:


What writers among us, no matter where we are in our careers doesn’t need a group like this?

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Between The Lines; it’s My Turn…

“When I started blogging five-years-ago, one of the first blogs I came across was Katherine’s Corner. We had more than a few things in common and I knew I liked her. When she put the word out that she wanted to do a series on mid-life women bloggers of course I wanted to be part of the fun!”

The series is called between the lines.

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Establishing Credibility

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I like to share information, tidbits I picked up along my journey from beginner writer to published author. Information I wish someone would have shared with me back then.

Establishing Writer/Blogger Credibility

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The Storm Before The Calm…

Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

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Oh the Insecurities…

Insecure Writers Support Group

IWSG badge

It is time for the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group. We meet once a month on the first Wednesday. No matter where you are in your writing journey chances are you occasionally have feelings of insecurity. No worry’s, link up and find all of the support you could possibly ask for. If you are in a good place perhaps you have some inspiration to share let’s face it we all feel the need for a bit of support from our friends.

I’m hosting this month along with these fabulous people. Be sure to visit them!

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How to Start a Memoir…

Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I like to share information, tips and inspiration with writers and bloggers. The kind of information that I wish someone would have shared with me back then.

For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo can you believe we only have one more week to go? I am a little less than ¾ of the way to the finish line. Whether I make the 50,000 word goal or not isn’t concerning me. For me making writing urgent again leaves me feeling like a winner.

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