Focus Friday: Heavenscribe: Part Three


By Christine Nolfi

Heavenscribe3Chapter One

Cinching the belt of her bathrobe around her waist, she appraised the figure strolling gracefully into the moonlight to reveal stature far beyond the human norm. The woman stood more than seven feet tall. A tunic of pale ivory dropped slightly past her knees. Silver tresses flowed past shoulders as square and powerful as a soldier’s.

This was no burglar searching for access to the house. The intrusion was crafted from supernatural means. Bel tried to make sense of her unexpected guest. Was this a spirit from a heavenly realm?

The example of surreal, feminine beauty indicated as much. Beneath the woman’s brown skin a watercolor of hues swirled together, hints of eggshell blue and verdigris mixed with dashes of sunset orange and a dark, stormy grey. On bare feet she took confident steps forward. With each step, small ovals of fluorescent green light flashed beneath her. Each blade of grass was lit from within by fabulous light.

Bel’s lips parted on a gasp. A subtle, silvery cast shimmered on the woman’s skin. The sparkling layer seemed composed of stardust gathered from the midnight blue rim of the universe, bits of winking light that once fired the most massive objects in creation, the stars set out in the heavens to wash away the ignorance of night. Bold and pure, the effect brought to mind the silver cast of the portal, a door open across space and time, which had enchantingly formed in Bel’s rose arbor earlier tonight.

Just a few hours ago, Bel had unwittingly conjured the portal with Zobie, her young friend, at her side. She’d done so by focusing on a heartfelt memory. In wonderment, they watched the rose arbor split into a series of prisms, one stacked before the next in a large rectangular array. In each prism, the growth of the climbing roses accelerated like an image on a movie reel slightly out of sync with the next. The plant’s various stages of growth, death and rebirth—the simultaneous, circular pattern of life—offered Bel the conclusion they had unhooked time. Fascinated, she traced her fingertips across the portal’s silvery rim. Contact with the gel-like substance made her feel impossibly good, as if she’d dipped her fingers in the waters of life.

Now, with the otherworldly presence gazing down at her, she again filled with a glorious surge of emotion. The euphoria provided a much-needed balm, subduing the anxiety skittering through her chest.

Light pooled beneath the stranger as she came to a standstill. Above her head, the breeze trembled like a lover’s sigh.

She said, “The fear is strong in you.”

Like the portal, her voice was composed of layers. If Bel weren’t standing with eyes wide open, she’d arrive at the erroneous conclusion several women were speaking in an uncanny harmony. The effect was baffling. It was also mesmerizing.

A nervous laugh escaped her lips. “I wasn’t expecting company in the middle of the night.”

“There’s nothing to fear. I am a mother, like you.”

“You are?”

Her visitor smiled. “You know my children well. They bring great pleasure to your kind.”

“I don’t understand,” Bel admitted.

“Do you know the stories from the dawn of your great civilizations? They are the same in the West as in the East.”

Bel frowned with confusion.

The spirit explained, “You are from the West. I will show you a story from your ancient times.”

The announcement sent a hush across the garden. The sense of expectancy calmed the trees, halting the slow flutter of their leaves. An owl hooted, signaling the change. Bel’s skin prickled, her eyes following the stranger’s right hand lifting into the air, the glittery hue of her skin growing brighter. The way she poised her finger on the night breeze suggested the channeling of great power. From the tip of her index finger, golden sparkles burst into being and formed a line. A mysterious energy sizzled and snapped. The air became a canvas she filled with sparkling lines.

About the Heavenscribe series

Zobie Marsh hides the fearsome talent of prophecy. Her decision to travel to South Carolina sets in motion Heavenscribe, a spiritual transformation devised by angels to aid a dying world. Bel Petersen seems to have it all: ample means, a loving marriage and a rewarding family life. A fatal car accident and a man’s dying words will lead her to Zobie, and reveal a spiritual awakening they must undertake together. If they fail, The Dimming will consume every human soul on the planet.

Available exclusively on Amazon.

About the Author

Nolfi Author Photo1Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her debut Treasure Me is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists her books as “highly recommended” and her novels have enjoyed bestseller status. Look for her new series, Heavenscribe. Chat with her on Twitter at @christinenolfi and visit her at

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Four Bestselling Reads authors join the Lei Crime Kindle World



Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World gets bigger today, and she’s excited.

“Four of my fellow Bestselling Reads authors have jumped aboard the Lei Crime Series Kindle World, and have written wonderful novellas that expand the ‘world’ of my series,” Toby says.TobyNeal

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to contribute to other writers’ fictional series. “And who wins? Everyone! I get to see my series go on, taken in new directions. Readers get more stories starring their favorite characters, and writers get to reap the fruits of their labor in a popular series that helps expose their work to loyal fans.

The Lei Crime Kindle World initially launched in April, 2015, with eight other authors, including BestSelling Reads author Emily Kimelman. Today, a second “surge” launches on Amazon, with three BestSelling Reads authors among the group: Scott Bury, Christine Nolfi and new member Eden Baylee.

You can win e-copies of all books by leaving a comment below, naming your favorite Lei Crime series character.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of Kindle Worlds, and I’ll be the first hitting the Buy button to see what my fellow authors have​ come up with. It’s a brave new world full of sharing and collaboration, all of it stimulating great new ideas and creativity that benefit readers,” Toby says.

Visit the Lei Crime Kindle World to find out more.



EXCERPT: Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi


Treasure Me - FINALBirdie lowered her nose to the bowl and sniffed. “What is this? It smells funny.”

“Squirrel stew.”

“Made with real squirrels? The kind that hide acorns?”

Theodora feathered a hand across her brow. “What other kind of squirrel is there?”

“Can I order a pizza?”

“When Justice came north, you can’t imagine what she ate to survive. Foraging through the woods, with ne’er a pot to cook a decent meal or a weapon to bring in game. Now, eat your stew.” Theodora waited with her dark gaze snapping until Birdie brought a spoonful to her lips. After she’d gulped it down, the old woman said, “Now, where was I? Justice came to Liberty with nothing but the clothes on her back. A kind woman on the Underground Railroad outside Columbus wrapped the slave’s bleeding feet with strips of cotton. Those were her shoes.”

Birdie spooned around the chunks of squirrel meat and captured a wedge of potato. “I couldn’t survive without my shoes.” A good thief didn’t trust much but her instincts and a fast pair of Nikes. With her feet bleeding, Justice would’ve been in a lot of pain. “She walked all the way from Columbus?”

“A man picked her up in Marion and hid her in the back of his wagon. Like the woman on the Railroad, he was the right type of white folk. He took her all the way to Liberty.” Pausing, Theodora looked off into the past. “Imagine, child. You’re a young woman and you arrive in a town without a soul to welcome you. Lonesome, tired—imagine how you’d feel.”

Birdie’s heart shifted. Had it been any different on her first day in town? There’d been the overwhelming déjà vu, the feeling she’d stood in Liberty Square at some time in the past. The sensation had made her irrepressibly sad. She’d been lonely and tired, a stranger in a small town. Like Justice.

“The man Justice loved was still down south,” Theodora said. “She was heartbroken, wondering if she’d ever see him again.”

What if I never see Hugh again? Birdie lowered her spoon. “How did she go on?”

“The way our kind always does. She found other women to cling to, women who befriended her. They put food in her belly and hope in her heart. They made her laugh when she was down and they found her work—honest work that didn’t pay much, but it was enough to help Justice take root in a new life. A better life than the one she’d known.”

Birdie lifted her spoon. I’m eating rat. The kind of rat that lives in a tree.

It wasn’t bad. The meat was spicy and wild, with a tart aftertaste. She swallowed it down.

“And if you think Justice was some kind of saint, think again,” Theodora said. “Before she met the preacher’s son and settled into a respectable life—even before she learned to trust the women who became her friends she was . . . Lordy.”Nolfi Author Photo1

The old woman hung her head, revealing thinning wisps of hair on her scalp. She lowered her palms to the linen tablecloth and heaved a sigh replete with shame. Birdie grabbed Theodora’s wrist as her fingers curled with agony. The tablecloth bunched in rippling waves.

“What? What did she do? Was she a prostitute? No. Not Justice.”

“Worse,” Theodora croaked, the top of her head bobbing with the word.

What would be . . ? “No way.” Birdie yanked her hand back. “If you think I’ll believe she murdered someone, I won’t!”

The sound was terrible, from the bowels of hell. “Worse.”

“Oh, man.” Birdie wracked her brain for possibilities. Floundering, she glanced at Theodora. If the old woman bent her neck any lower, she’d put her nose right into her stew. Was she crying? “I give. What did Justice do?”

The gnarled hands flew off the table, scuttling Birdie’s pulse.

Theodora lifted her head with a snap. “She betrayed the people who loved her the most. She was a thief.”

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Christine Nolfi’s Treasure Me is a 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards finalist and cited by USA Today as one of the Best of the Indies.

Buy it at: Amazon or  Barnes & Noble 


EXCERPT: Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi



Christine Nolfi

Christine Nolfi

When Anthony re-entered the hospital room he halted so quickly, Nick crashed into him. His heart went to pieces as he took in the sight. On the bed, his daughter and Mary sat with a fluffy pile of mingled hair between them.

His mother gasped. So did his sisters. His father pulled out a handkerchief and hurried into the corner, ostensibly to blow his nose. Anna’s husband Joe, and Liza stared in wide-eyed wonder. They understood if you married into the Perini clan, anything was possible.

Naturally his brother, Nick, found the situation hilarious.Nolfi Author Photo1

Striding to the bed, Nick gave each of the baldies a pat on the head. He complimented them on the neon-bright stickers they’d placed on their heads and asked if they had more. They did. Then he picked up the trimmers, buzzed right down the center of his thick, curly hair, and leered maniacally at the rest of the Perini brood.

And made the announcement: they were about to become the Gutless and the Glory groups.

Liza took one look at her husband and fled into the ranks of the gutless. Full of apology, she explained no attorney worth her salt entered a courtroom with her locks shorn down to her glossy brown skin. It might send a confusing message to a judge and frighten jurors.

Frannie, a wild-hearted junior at Kent State, took one look at Blossom and Mary, and grabbed the trimmers. She shaved off her short, cropped hair in two minutes flat. No one would describe KSU as a conservative college, and she announced that her new look might start a trend.

In a show of grandparent solidarity, both of Anthony’s parents shaved. They did so after Frannie finished. In a bow to his Italian roots, Nick grabbed the trimmers and sang O Solo Mio while he finished doing a number on his head.

Joe shaved. His wife ran from the room with Liza on her heels.

Anthony was sure his sister, Rennie, intended to join the glory bunch. She marched into the bathroom. She fluffed up her long, wavy tresses. With a flourish she picked up the scissors and stared hard at her reflection in the mirror.

The scissors never found their target. She tossed them down and bolted. Anthony knew she’d forever diminished herself in Nick’s eyes by joining Anna and Liza in the gutless group.

Anthony was last. By the time he’d wrestled the trimmers from his cackling brother—who the nurses warned would be evicted if he didn’t quiet down—tufts of hair covered the linoleum floor like tumbleweeds joyfully drifting across the prairie. He tried to catch Mary’s eye as he shaved down to his scalp. To his disappointment, she seemed intent on serenely covering Blossom’s forehead with stickers while his family surrounded the bed.

In the center of it all, his daughter sat like a princess holding court in a roomful of admirers.

Lost amidst the revelry, Anthony stood silent at the foot of the bed. He wanted to take Mary’s hand and beg her forgiveness. He wanted to nestle his daughter into his lap and shield her from the future she’d been meted out by Fate. He wanted so many things, but what he saw on his daughter’s face left him too stunned for sadness or even self-pity.

Throughout the arduous weeks in the hospital, his daughter had cartwheeled through a gamut of emotions. Some days Blossom remained stoic or silent. At times she chatted about school or spent the hours drifting on an ocean of tears. She was optimistic one minute; a child trapped in sorrow the next.

It was all to be expected. Anthony was old enough to have seen death up close. He’d lost his grandparents, an uncle, two friends. The human body wasn’t built on forevers; the heart clogged and slowed, and muscles grew frail and weak. Age happened to us all, and he’d donned grief every time a loved one breathed the last. Yet for Blossom, death was an error. She risked being taken out of turn.

She’d been pushed to the front of a line she hadn’t known existed. Stand up, walk over, take a number. She was a child only beginning to understand life and wiggle her toes, and get a firm grasp on everything the world had to offer.

But she’d been yanked to the front of the line, which left her emotions in a constant state of flux.

Now, glimpsing her surrounded by her doting family and one special friend, the state of Blossom’s feelings seemed all the more remarkable. For there was an emotion he hadn’t seen her display since entering St. Barnabas Hospital.

Blossom was laughing.

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Second Chance Grill is an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and the third contemporary fiction release by Christine Nolfi.


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What Readers Have In Common, by Christine Nolfi



TheDreamYouMakeShadedTo my mind, the lot of humanity is separated into distinct camps. In the first, you’ll find most people, the busy bees and the slackers, the viciously ambitious and the sadly confused. Your employer resides in this camp with her irritating habit of texting her lover while you try to conduct a conversation. So does the gap-toothed cashier at the drugstore, the neighbor with his fixation on golf and the acquaintance who drinks too much. The ranks are filled out with politicians, pastry chefs, gang members, and churchgoers. You’ll also find doctors, college students, dog lovers and pencil pushers.

In the other, much smaller camp sit the readers of fiction, those obsessive souls with nightstands crammed with books. They read on the bus, while dining, on the beach and in the john. They arrive late for parties because “just one more chapter” beckoned.

Why, you may ask, does anyone pick up the habit?

Sure, reading is pleasurable—but not merely for the reasons you assume. Immerse yourself in a story and you shuck off responsibility, choose your companions, avoid everyday tasks and explore an inner world most people never visit. A favorite novel takes the reader on a journey into distant lands and unusual lives. The experience is more compelling than a day-to-day life with its dull predictability and frustrating demands. The process allows the analysis of hundreds of motives and the passage through experiences we’d never otherwise know.

A novel promises two stories—a surface plot, and a deeper exposition of what really happened. A character’s motives are revealed in chapter twelve, or a plot twist arrives to rip away the veil and display the true happenings in a heartfelt or hideous way. Avid readers learn to hunt for meaning, and they carry this lesson into the other world, the one of 9-to-5 tedium. They live richly because they enjoy many lives and embark on adventures in the most unlikely places—on lunch breaks and while sitting on the sidelines of a child’s soccer practice, in the elevator and late at night curled up in bed.

The rest of the world exists in a surface life. Not you. Open a book, and dive deep.

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ChristNolfi Author Photo1ine Nolfi’s contemporary novels provide readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her debut Treasure Me is a 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. Midwest Book Review lists Treasure Me, Second Chance Grill and The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge as “highly recommended.” Look for her next release, The Dream You Make.


How do Authors Come Up With Character Names, by Frederick Lee Brooke–Part1


Do the names of characters have any meaning? With some authors like David Foster Wallace, character names like Rick Vigorous often seem to hint at an inside joke. I spoke to some of the authors at BestsellingReads to find out how they come up with their characters’ names.


9-DistrictsDouglas Dorow writes, “In The Ninth District, Jack Miller came from the name of my friend’s son. I liked the way it sounded. The second character was named by the winner of an auction at my kids’ school. The winner won a kindle preloaded with lots of books and got to name a character in my book. He wanted me to use his best friend’s name for his birthday–he’s a thriller reader, so, Ross Fruen was born.”



Martha Bourke, who wrote the Jaguar Sun series, writes, “The name Maya comes from the Mexican tradition of naming girls Maya to honor their heritage. The villain of the series, Victrixa Mata, has an interesting meaning to her name as well. In Spanish, ‘Mata’ means ‘s/he kills.’ So, directly translated, her name in English is ‘Victrixa Kills.’”


Finding Emma-Final 2013

Finding Emma is the bestselling thriller by Steena Holmes – “My daughters all helped me name the girls in the book. They each got to pick the name and help me while I wrote the story. My other main character – Jack – is based upon my father and grandfather. Their last name is Jack. One of Jack’s friends in the book is named Dougie (after my father).”



Have you ever read Arcadia’s Gift, by Jesi Lea Ryan? Jesi Lea explained the character’s name in this way: “I met a woman through work several years ago named Arcadia, Cady for short. I thought that was the most beautiful name. I always thought if I had a daughter I could use it. Once I decided not to have children, I figured I’d use the name for the main character in my YA novel, Arcadia’s Gift. It fits her very well because she is a normal girl (Cady) but she has a secret, powerful side to her (Arcadia).”


BrokenFernsLow“Leilani Rosario Matsumoto Texeira, my main character, has each name for a purpose,” writes Toby Neal, bestselling author of Hawaiian mysteries such as Blood Orchids. “Each name represents one of her ethnicities: Leilani is for her Hawaiian heritage and shortens to easy-to-remember Lei; Rosario is her aunt’s name and reflects her Portuguese heritage; Matsumoto is her mother’s Japanese family name and Texeira, while a tad problematic to pronounce and spell, is a name you see a lot in Hawaii and not many other places. It’s Portuguese in origin. Names are very important in Hawaii and many of them tell a story in themselves.”


Diane Capri is the bestselling author of Due Justice, and writes, “Wilhelmina Carson is named in tribute to my first woman-DueJustice_DianeCapri_smalllawyer mentor, Wilhelmina Boersma. The real Wilhelmina was a remarkable woman and quite a pioneer. She went to law school after WWII and worked for 20 years as a secretary in a large Detroit law firm where I first began practicing. Later, she became a partner in the firm and was always, always behaving as she believed a lady would–even as she represented many members of the teamsters union! Wilhelmina was in her late 60s by the time I became a lawyer, and she was a quiet force to be reckoned with. She didn’t seek the limelight, but neither did she shrink from being noticed. She wore a mink hat to lunch at a club where she was a member, even though she was not allowed to enter through the front door because she was a woman. Amazing role model for a rather timid young lawyer like me! So I gave my Wilhelmina Carson some of the real Wilhelmina’s courage, coupled with her grace under pressure, and hoped to be like her myself when I grew up.”


ThePromise-of-ProvenceShaded“The name of the main character in The Promise of Provence, Katherine Price, is a combination of the names of two strong women in my life,” explains bestselling author Patricia Sands. “However, Katherine’s mother in the story, Elisabeth, is named after and modeled upon my late mother-in-law (to whom the book is dedicated). The first part of the story Elisabeth relates to Katherine is a true accounting of what happened to my mother-in-law and her family during WW2 in her village in Hungary, and the carpet they speak of hangs in my son’s home today. She was an important influence in our lives.”



Christine Nolfi, bestselling author of Treasure Me, writes, “There’s no set pattern for naming characters. Some, like Birdie in Treasure Me, arrive fully formed. Others start with an archetype employed to aid in fleshing out the character’s traits. For Blossom in Second Chance Grill, I wanted a name that conveyed “life” despite the struggle against death she must face. Wish, from Treasure Me, is another play on opposites. I think of her as a nefarious criminal who destroys the wishes held dear by others, a sort of death wish in human form.”


Thinking of all your favorite books, do you have a favorite character name? Do you think the author attached any special meaning to the name?

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fredbrookeThe third book in Frederick Lee Brooke’s Annie Ogden mystery series is due out in Summer 2013. The series began with Doing Max Vinyl, currently #1 on the Goodreads list Best Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Novel of 2011” then followed up with another hit, Zombie Candy. He lives in Switzerland, where the chocolate is good, but the glaciers are melting. Like Frederick Lee Brooke on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.