Consultant and Author D. K. Christi

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Revisiting haunted Green Mansions in the Everglades

Posted by dkchristi on March 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM Comments comments (1)

Revisiting haunted Green Mansions in the Everglades, March 21, 2014

Peter H. Green (St. Louis, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ghost Orchid (Kindle Edition)
As a genre writer, I am often intimidated when I encounter pure literary fiction, with its evocative descriptions, slowly evolving plots and poetic symbolism. And yet, when it is wrapped in mystery and recounts a romance which evolves with the measured pace and sudden unpredictability of an opening orchid, as in the case of D. K. Christi’s novel, I can only gasp in wonder.

Untangling the mysterious hidden life of a quiet government employee, killed in a random accident after her daily noontime walk in a nearby everglades preserve, is left to her ravishing redheaded daughter and two botanist-photographers, whose three lives are intertwined as inextricably as the airborne roots of the rare ghost orchid established in the crotch of an ancient swamp cypress tree. In a saga of missed connections and failed communications, the rootless nature of their busy lives conceals the answers to this puzzle and delays discovery of the powerful passions which gave rise to the curious isolation and quiet desperation of these vividly portrayed characters.

The symbolism of the ghost orchid, with its mysterious power to alter human lives, could not help but evoke in me the life force of Rima, the elusive wood sprite who captivated me as a hormonal teen in W. H. Hudson’s Green Mansions, a classic allegory of nature.

...absorb and feel its haunting power. —Peter H. Green, Author of Ben’s War with the U. S. Marines

Amtrak Residency

Posted by dkchristi on March 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I applied.  In the past, I have sailed on cruise ships for the express purpose of finishing short stories and novels in a new environment.  My favorite "writing room" rocks and rolls but provides a cozy escape with a port to the Caribbean, sea breezes and healthy food.  I write up a storm discovering new faces on deck and on shore.

The Amtrak residency was a writer's idea that took off on Twitter and led Amtrak's social media department to offer 24 long-haul residencies to authors of various ilk.  Thus, I am vying for one of 24 slots.  The odds are not good.

I've always had a love affair with trains, wishing to ride the Orient Express one day.  I thought when I retired I'd ride the rails into the sunset, but unfortunately the cost with a sleeper car is prohibitive compared to cruise ships or road trips.  So, riding the rails remained a fantasy.

I often took the short trip from Chicago to Holland as the second leg of my air flight from Fort Myers to Muskegon, Michigan.  It was such an improvement to hours waiting for a connecting flight that might be stopped by snow.  It takes a lot to stop trains, mostly lack of travelers or profits!

Along the train tracks are little villages I've never seen from the highway with their washed white sided houses and porches overlooking the tracks.  The train must have been the major entertainment! 

Well, at least applying puts me in the frame of mind to hope and dream, picturing the countryside whizzing by as I contemplate the clouds and remember snatches of conversation from the lounge that must go in a book.

I have a great story about an insurance policy that could use this train as the setting.  Hmmm.  Thank you Amtrak for opening my mind again to possibilities.  I hope to see you soon.

Birthday present from the Everglades - again

Posted by dkchristi on July 2, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Blog Post by DK Christi - Jul.02.2013 - 6:26 pm

July 10, 2007 the newly discovered "Super Ghost" orchid of Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary greeted me on my birthday and never let go.  For three years in a row and three hot summer months of each of those years, I daily visited the sanctuary to watch every nuance of my delicate ghost for its three bloomings from July through September.  One year, it bloomed five times, starting in late March.  I think it was saying "thank you" for all the attention.

Inspired by this rare and endangered ghost orchid, full of mystique, magic and mystery, I published the fiction mystery, Ghost Orchid, in 2009.  Libraries picked it up and so did the Visitor's Information Center in downtown Naples, Florida, considering the novel an example of local talent for display in its "Local Art" section.  Pat's Hallmark in Sunshine Plaza in Bonita Springs has copies for sale and so does the gift shop at the sanctuary in addition to all online book sellers.

The novel takes the reader into a fictional family of loves, lies and redemption beneath the dancing ghost orchid, high in the canopy just off the boardwalk in the sanctuary.  National Public Radio Review praised Ghost Orchid for the beauty of the Everglades that shines through on every page, the ghost orchid the heart and soul of the story. 

The "rest of the story" is the cry for preservation of natural habitats to protect all rare and endangered species for generations to come.  The ghost orchid doesn't do well in domestic environments and those growers who succeed are heralded for their perseverence against all odds.  Keith Davis received an award from the American Orchid Society for his exquisite, domestic ghost orchid plant (photographs found at

If it's impossible to make a quest to see the "Super Ghost" (local hotels offer ghost orchid specials), then read Ghost Orchid by D. K. Christi for an armchair plus experience as the ghost orchid blooms one more year, my birthday present through eternity I hope.

Writing retreat that rocks and rolls

Posted by dkchristi on March 22, 2013 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

At least once a year, I packed up my netbook, a small carry-on bag, and swimsuits for a Caribbean cruise aboard a cruise ship "wantabee." This is not to insult my favorite cruise ship as I picked it every year until it chose a new port of departure and I am now sunk.


Bahamas Celebration is a small cruise ship that once left from Miami on a four-day, three-night excursion to Nassau and back. Docked next to Oasis of the Seas in Nassau, it looks like a Dingy. Yet, we always had front docking, just a few steps from the straw market and busses to everywhere with a little daring.


On this writing retreat, I booked the smallest single pay room, located in the crew quarters where most of the fun and interesting people lived. I had a small port and could just turn around in the room. As the ship's comedian joked, the shower was simple: just soap the walls and spin. I also had a desk with the port over my shoulder.


Twenty-four hours a day my food was prepared with many fresh fruits and vegetables to nibble from the opulent buffets. I carried my netbook into the dining halls, the bars, the ice cream parlor, the Casino and everywhere people gathered with their snippets of conversation reaching my ears and finding a place somewhere in a story or a novel. On deck, I walked for exercise.


Traveling alone, I was forced to meet people at shared dining tables, movies, games, night club shows and entertainment venues for our enjoyment. The entertainment was professional and excellent on a small scale, reminiscent of the actors who received a second chance on "Love Boat."


I never felt harried or crowded. There were no lines. Ship's staff members were plentiful for any little question. I traveled the same ship just often enough to be recognized now and then with great exuberance from the staff member.


I finished Ghost Orchid on that ship. I finished several short stories for the anthologies Forever Travels, Forever Families and Romance of My Dreams. I was totally removed from my own environment and surrounded by people who sought a less opulent cruise vacation, one that had everything found on a major cruise line, just in a smaller and less grand style.


They moved their departure port to West Palm. The drive there takes too much time. I miss it, though. My friends probably wonder what happened to me. I hope so.

Valentine's Day - No Chocolate Please

Posted by dkchristi on January 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

No Chocolate on Valentine's Day for me. Chocolate is too ordinary. In fact, it has little to do with the beginning of the myths around St. Valentine and the day of love we celebrate.


Valentine's Day is a day that represents the unique emotions and experiences that love engenders. What is your unique way to express love?


For me, orchids are the most exquisitely beautiful flowers in all their infinite varieties. Their very shapes, colors and unique ways of claiming their lives in special habitats tie them to the unique experience that love itself provides.


If you wish to give a gift of love, give an orchid. The little bit of care to maintain them also represents the fact that love itself requires a bit of care to keep it alive.


White orchids represent the purest love, but every nuance of love can be found in the variety of orchid plants available.


My favorite orchid of all time is the rare and endangered ghost orchid whose dancing tendrils in a swamp breeze from gosamer blooms represents exquisite beauty and romance. Domestic ghost orchids are just a bit too fickle; so, I advise finding white orchids to express pure love, but not to worry about ghost orchids except to visit them in the wilds of the Everglades.


Tuck a book in your orchid plant gift, Ghost Orchid, a story of love relationships from family to friends to lovers - the gamut of experiences in a story of mystery set in the aura of the haunting ghost orchid of Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, Florida and sharing the beauty of its natural habitat as it calms the soul.


The best new year...

Posted by dkchristi on January 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

DK Christi

"All I know is in this moment." Consultant & author - fiction novels and stories

The best new year ...



May the New Year be your best yet - full of love, life, laughter, good friends, family and faith. May it give you most of what you need and some of what you want and the gratitude to appreciate it all. May health and happiness spread through your world so your days may be bright and your nights restful. May your thoughts flow freely, your pen write profusely and the words you share gain the recognition you desire. If fame and fortune be your choice, may they find you. If philosophy your preference, may it guide you. May life unfold as it should for the path you have chosen.

Ghost Orchid gives birth at Corkscrew Swamp

Posted by dkchristi on December 9, 2012 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

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!

Thanksgiving gratitude list

Posted by dkchristi on November 20, 2012 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Thanksgiving – one day a year to be thankful – one thought on thankfulness and the other on the shopping bargains for Black Friday, now creeping into Thanksgiving itself.

I am particularly thankful for the unexpected time I have had with my son. Most of his life he spent building his career and dropping in for 24 hours a couple times a year. He came home for an extended time. It was an adjustment for me, but one that has taught me patience, tolerance and acceptance related to this fine man whose integrity is impeccable even if his eccentricity is a little daunting.

My mom will be visiting again this winter; she is 93 years young and a delight as a house guest. She just lost her lifetime friend and is feeling her age. I look forward to a busy winter schedule for the two of us that will help her remember how grateful we are for her good health and zest for life.

I planned to write “the great novel” and instead, I’ve written two novels so far. Both have had great reviews, a steady sales record, and opened up the world of writers and publishers with a side bonus: I am now a journalist for Southwest Spotlight, a local newsprint and online magazine that is growing rapidly with great respect for its professional reporting and local insights. If I had not written the novel, Ghost Orchid, I would not have received the invitation to write for the Southwest Spotlight. It takes me into the community and out of my comfort zone. I love it.

Fortunately, my income though modest is sufficient for a full life; and Florida offers many free venues of culture, dance, movies and entertainment. I enjoy the beaches, the Everglades, the weather, my gym membership and little side trips by car. I have a reliable car, a Hyundai, with good gas mileage and total reliability. That’s certainly something to appreciate.

Good friends round out my life and provide the support I need in good and bad times, times of joy and times of sadness. Fortunately, my health is good and I can enjoy activities with friends and the visits of relatives.

I cannot leave out the joy of love. I have known the agony and ecstasy of love with all its complications. I have experienced motherhood, a totally selfless challenge of joys beyond measure. I have traveled the world when I had the income and youth to revel in it, including three years sailing through the Caribbean islands in our own yacht. Though the person who stole my heart has recently changed course, no longer in my life; I am grateful for all the years of sharing our deepest thoughts and emotions and have no regrets.

I am also thankful for the marigold seeds that are blooming, the reliable lawn care, a comfortable though modest home, and a computer that gives me the freedom to share my Thanksgiving gratitude list on my web site. I am grateful for a fulfilling career and the education and training that keep me curious in an exciting world that changes faster with every passing day. Mostly, I am grateful for each sunrise that opens a sparkling new opportunity for vignettes of joy – and the chance to experience them in a country of opportunity and choices. Life is good.


The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery

Posted by dkchristi on May 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (1)

The first day of French class, everyone was speaking French except me.  I managed to enter college without one day of a foreign language.  The professor took a break and the girl in front of me with long, thick dark hair and large brown eyes turned to me and said, "Isn't he gorgeous?  The class is full because he is so hot." 

I never had a friend before who looked so great, talked so brazen and was also brilliant.  We were all part of the "honors" group, a freshman cohort that would travel the halls of advanced liberal arts together.  I hung on her every word as she introduced me to her friends and her world of books.  The first new book was The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery, in French, in honor of the sexy French instructor.  "You must read it in French," my new friend recommended, "or you won't feel the nuance of meaning." 

"Reading the book in French" meant looking at the illustrations for me.  I followed The Little Prince through his visitation on this planet and the philosophical uttering of his beautiful mind in the pictures that graced nearly every other page.  The illustrations gave me context for the few French words I learned and used to pluck meaning and substance from the blur of print.  I memorized the French before I had the translation in hand, fully understanding the story and its analysis of love, friendship, death and resurrection with my few words and pictures.

Later in life, when I would meet a new person and engage in philosophical meanderings of the mind, I would ask if they had read "The Little Prince."  If I cared about them and it was a gap in their reading history, I often bought them the book.  I was shocked to find it in the children's section, and most recently, in a pop out version of my favorite illustrations.  Now, The Little Prince walks on a world globe across nations without borders.  I sat right down among those tiny tables and chairs to admire this beautiful rendition of a book I loved from the first day my friend shared it with me in French class.

I discovered that acquaintances over time fell into two categories, those who thought The Little Prince was a silly children's book and those who, with me, contemplated "matters of consequence," being "responsible for what you have tamed," and looking at a wheat field or the stars or a garden full of roses that evoked new understanding of the richness of life, love and friendship.  In many ways, I have remained connected with the latter over a lifetime.  I still value the beauty in the universe more than material wealth and understand what makes a friend unique in all the world. 

The Little Prince is in my stash of treasured books in French (that worn first copy), Spanish and English; in hard and soft copy; in the old and new translations to English.  I am sorry that I did not spend the $35.00 for that beautiful pop-up book.  In my heart are the many friends with whom relationships and philosophical conversations are mirrored in the illustrated pages of soaring single engine planes, to the perspective differences over a hat and an elephant in a boa constructor, to laughter in the night sky.

In 1974, I lived in S. Korea and had PX privileges.  A Korean friend with whom I  shared The Little Prince, asked me to take her and my son to a movie on the base, keeping the name a secret.  There on the marquee was, "The Little Prince."  I worried that it would violate my years of loving the illustrated book.  The stars in the production were many, but I could not imagine the joy and emotional power of seeing the illustrations come to life in song and dance as though the pages were emptied onto the screen.  I was so moved, tears came into my eyes.

Quite a list of close friends have shared the thoughts, illustrations and philosophy of my favorite illustrated book, The Little Prince.  Many have disappeared from my life, but never from my memory or their special place in my heart.  I wonder who will be next?


Internet Pricing for News Archives

Posted by dkchristi on May 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Internet Info Pricing Gaining Speed  Blog Post by DK Christi - May.13.2012 - 1:16 pm 

  "Have you checked out your article links to the News-Press lately?  They don't link.  Instead, you are taken to their archives where you can begin the search and pay for the results.  How long have they been charging to view copy no more than a few months old?" 

That question came from a colleague in the promotions business; he knows his stuff; yet, the dawn was just beginning for him.  I've seen it coming and started scanning my press some time ago.  It does not mean I like it.

Recently, Naples Daily News, a local paper that has remained popular because of its emphasis on what's local, has just announced they will soon be entering the "pay" arena for Internet copy, that they could hold out no longer.

A report on The Wall Street Journal and their consistent pay policy for online subscriptions indicated the subscription, archive and ad fees for online journalism makes certain the reader continues with their favorite "brands" and receives the news and the "voice" that is preferred.  Content is not totally controlled by ad revenue.

I remember when the power of the Internet first hit me.  I went on a searching frenzy to every museum in the world, a Google Earth tour of the greatest landmarks including The Great Wall of China, and a book tour to download all the classics I could recollect at that time - for free.  I believed this new, free, information explosion was the answer to illiteracy, world-wide communication, educational inequities.  I was in Internet fantasyland.

Nothing is free.  Even libraries that provide computers with access, limit that access to some degree, either in time or limited sites.  A person with class knows that a wifi hot spot at a restaurant or coffee shop encourages the expenditure of a few dollars for food or drink.  Now, a credit card or Paypal account is required for access to many sites and certainly to obtain full copy on a news article or other documents. 

Business realities are present, of course.  Someone has to pay to manage the sites, control the content and communicate.  From the total lack of human communication with most sites,  I assume much of that is done overseas at rock bottom cost for technical assistance.  My friends at major newspapers are becoming "stringers" instead of "employees" at a skyrocketing rate.  Whatever freedom comes from freelance reporting brings expenses and lack of benefits or long run security.  It works well for the media.  Competition for journalism positions is high; freelance wages low; the law of supply and demand.

Where will all this "pay as you read" Internet lead us?  I think it's a mistake and a loss for those who believe that total access in the world is a unifying concept and that education is liberating.  A cost and inconvenience factor limits critical publicity also.  I don't follow those links to the archive, join the paper and punch in my credit card or Paypal.  No, I just skip that piece of information and move on to something else.

For me and for my friend with the promotions businesss, these links that are disappearing into a pay as you read Internet archive are a negative in reaching an audience.  I don't like this direction at all.  It's sort of like the free web sites one joins and then becomes bombarded with invitations to "upgrade" to a paid site to get the benefits one though as "cost free."  I am disappointed in the mainline media. 

It's fortunate that a lot of the mainline news reporters with a true compass on factual news have started their own own blogs.  It is possible today to obtain beneficial news without resorting to my two local papers or the big guys in the big cities.  I think once the Internet is saturated with those who charge for copy that was free in print or already paid for by a print subscription, readers will become wise and move their interest elsewhere. 

For the moment, my small town of Bonita Springs has a monthly newsprint magazine, Southwest Spotlight, in print and online, with no charge for a subscription and no charge for online copy from its archives.  It's just over a year in production and gaining a real "buzz on the street" for local content.  They do it all with advertising revenue.  They are in an expansion mode, actually hiring staff in addition to a few stringers from its startup.  I hope they can maintain their Internet presence without succumbing to the current business practice of charging for online content. 

Oops.  I just googled a Chamber of Commerce for an article about a business ribbon cutting; instead of hosting a Chamber generated picture on the site, it linked to the News-Press.  Therefore, no picture.   I'll take my own before I'll take the extra time to search an archive and pay for the copy.  Personally, I think the newspapers are losing lots of re-posting and word of mouth advertising through links that no longer connect.  But, who am I?  Just a consumer who is also a journalist who receives zero benefit from those online charges and many headaches when researching an article.