Consultant and Author D. K. Christi

Blog D. K. Christi

Ghost Orchid gives birth at Corkscrew Swamp

Posted by dkchristi on December 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Inspiration to Publication – A Ghostly Experience by D. K. Christi

July 18, 2010 in Monday Dialogue with Guests | Tags: author, D. K. Christi, Ghost Orchid, Inspiration, Writing

Inspiration to Publication – A Ghostly Experience by D. K. Christi


Ghost Orchid, published by L & L Dreamspell in September 2009, is a case study in taking an inspiration to publication.


Authors often respond to the question: Where do you get your inspiration? There are a plethora of answers; but in the case of Ghost Orchid, one flower was all it took; one rare and endangered ghost orchid in an exquisite location.


Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located at the edge of the Everglades in Naples, Florida is an official Audubon bird sanctuary on the migratory route of wood storks, ibis, herons, cranes, roseate spoonbills and a long list of winter visitors, observed from a nearly three mile wooden boardwalk that winds through ancient cypress, alligator flags, blood-red swamp hibiscus, pure white swamp lilies, purple hyacinths and seasonal changes of wild sunflowers, blue iris, purple morning glories and silvery cymbidiums.


Over twenty years of residence in Southwestern Florida, I have enjoyed this boardwalk often, sometimes thrilled by the sighting of a brown bear, a panther, deer and of course, alligators. I often laughed at the antics of the squirrels and anoles. I always disliked the narrow, two-lane road to get there and the left turn on a dangerous curve. I noted the markers from accidents, draped in faded, artificial flowers, provoking driving care and somber thoughts.


On a rather melancholy birthday in July of 2007, I treated myself to that walk and became obsessed by the exquisite beauty of an orchid plant, the ghost orchid, high in the cypress canopy all by itself, dancing in the swamp breeze. It captured my soul on my first view. It was amazingly high and alone, pure white against the deep green canopy, the dark brown host and the deep blue sky, yet dancing away from the tree, held by a barely visible slender, leafless stem. It was the first day of its discovery, the only ghost orchid in the sanctuary.


I knew it was a birthday gift to brighten my spirits on this hot and humid summer day. It had more blooms in one season than any ghost orchid on record, was higher than any other ghost orchid and was unique in its accessibility to viewing at all. This rare and endangered flower was the subject of a non-fiction novel made into a movie about poaching in Fakahatchee Strand, a very inhospitable swamp.


The discovery also made the national news. I had the chance to walk in the swamp every day of its blooming, July, August and September, for as many as 20 blooms a season in the summers of 2007, 2008 and 2009. Each view presented new, mystical experiences that took on a life of their own. As I walked the three miles, I observed other walkers and overheard snippets of their own wonder.


My ghost orchid was no longer my own. All around me were the stories, the life stories, of those who came on a quest to enjoy this once in a lifetime flower phenomenon. By the end of the 2007 season, I had written a story about two people, incorporating my love of the boardwalk and my fear of that left turn into the sanctuary. The more I viewed the changing blooms on my ghost orchid, the more I felt its power in the lives of my two characters whose story expanded to include several generations with personal quests brought to fruition in the aura of my ghost.


For me, it was impossible to spend countless hours in the swamp without being touched by the life forces pulsing there and the obvious regeneration of life in all the unfettered flora and fauna. It was also vibrant with the love of families and couples who shared that beautiful place. I wondered: Is life eternal? Is love eternal? These thoughts accompanied me on my daily pursuit of the ghost orchid’s antics high in the cypress canopy, like a sentry watching all of us below, watching her. As sure as I saw the ghost orchid’s graceful dance, I knew whatever life force filled her with beauty was feminine.


I wrote around the clock, with occasional naps, during a vacation from my day job, my muse on the other end of the phone urging me on, helping me search for character names and missing pieces to back stories. It became a story that not only expressed the search for meaning in the lives of its characters, but a testament to the impact the natural environment has on the human spirit. It incorporated the mystical elements of the ghost orchid, often associated with the manifestation of the soul and unrequited love.


Writing Ghost Orchid became a labor of love, capturing the beauty of the Everglades, the magic of the ghost orchid and the unfolding of a mystery between its pages. As long as the ghost orchid blooms in Corkscrew Swamp, she casts her spell on all who observe her, and to fix the concern of a reviewer who didn’t want the story to end, it continues. This year, another surprise, the ghost orchid bloomed early, the end of March. For my fourth July birthday with my ghost orchid, it has fourteen buds opening.


Ghost Orchid is the story of the human heart and the relationships that give life meaning, including those with the natural environment. Are we so separate from the plants and animals that share our planet? Ghost Orchid is intended to reach a new audience of potential environmentalists who didn’t know they had a passion for natural habitats and will go on their own quests to heal the human heart and find their ghost orchid.


For more information, check out D. K. Christi’s interview on the Dames of Dialogue!

Categories: None

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Thanks for visiting -

Would you like a book trailer? The Ghost Orchid book trailer was produced by a friend of the environment and award-winning filmmaker, Darryl Saffer, [email protected]

Click here for more information


Don't miss the easy-listening review of Ghost Orchid by National Public Radio, a wonderful intro to the story itself.

Short stories cover the gamut of human emotion, often laced with life's most compelling emotion: love. You may find yourself in some of these stories and smile.


Find more photos like this on The Book Marketing Network

Killer Recipes is a special book of retitled favorites to recognize the "spooky season" and credit writers of mystery, murder and mayhem who collaborated on this book to provide the royalties to The American Cancer Society.


Check out the blog and respond to those that touch your interest. Feel free to register at the site for a little promotion of your own.


Words are my photographs and my paint, novels and short stories my canvas. Thank you for taking this journey with me. May all your journeys be filled with wonder and joy. D. K. Christi


Preview Ghost Orchid

D. K. Christi as Consultant::

D. K . Christi is a professional, platform speaker who informs and entertains small to large groups as a keynote presentation or in workshops that are interactive and exciting adventures for all participants.

Author Related Topics:

From Inspiration to Publication - How to avoid the pits

My art; my business - How to approach writing as a business

Journals - The 365 day writing plan

Topics created to meet custom customer needs

Communications Related Topics:

Embracing Change - Better than the alternative

Negotiating with People You Don't Like

Finding Your Best Self

Creating a Winning Workplace

Crossover Topic: The Future is Here. Where are You?


Sex, Myths and Magic

The Rare and Endangered

Ghost Orchid

Presented by:

D. K. Christi, author, journalist and lecturer


D. K. Christi shares her obsession with the “Super Ghost” of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and why it’s a “matter of consequence.”

D. K. Christi lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Her stories and novels capture the multi-cultural experiences and the beauty, fear and excitement of foreign lands. Three years of blue water sailing in the Caribbean add tropical spice. A polished and professional platform speaker who includes the audience.


Christi spent her U.S. years in Michigan, California and Florida with stops in Idaho and Washington, D.C. Today she contributes feature articles to the Bonita Springs Southwest Spotlight, and is available for freelance writing, editing and grant proposals between novels. Favorite local haunts are Bonita Beach, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Koreshan State Park, and all outdoor places to kayak and ride her bicycle.