Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ellen Weisberg Gathering Roses

Gathering Roses, YA novel written by New Englander, Ellen Weisberg, and published by Chipmunkapublishing in February, 2007. Available on http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/. Personal proceeds are going toward the American Red Cross and American Heart Association in honor of a friend of Weisberg who influenced one of the book's main characters and who passed away from heart disease.

Description

'Gathering Roses' is a young adult novel with a much wider appeal. Introverted and studious Lori Solomon meets nonconformist Grateful Dead follower, Nick Warren, and soon finds herself on a seemingly endless carnival ride with him. Although not always apparent to Lori, it is Nick's precarious health condition that seems to underlie his outlook on life, influencing what he expects to get out of it as well as what he feels he needs to put into it.

Author Synopsis

What is Gathering Roses about?
“Gathering Roses” is a character-driven story about the pursuit of love and friendship. The general theme is how the way we are treated early on in life feeds into the way we eventually come to view ourselves, and how this perception plays into the types of people that we bring into our lives and the nature of the relationships we have.
In “Gathering Roses,” there is heavy emphasis on the use of the Internet and e-mailing as ways for the central characters to convey their thoughts to one another. These feed into one underlying theme of the story: the somewhat dehumanizing influences that fast-paced, over privileged modern society has on today’s youth. In addition to telling a story, “Gathering Roses” takes the reader on a journey toward heightened self-awareness and resolution of internal conflict.

Who are the main characters, and how do they support the story’s theme?
In “Gathering Roses,” Lori Solomon’s quirky, roller coaster relationships with cynical, substance-abusing Rutherford Gimby and borderline, melodramatic Angela Allen season the stew, their faults and vices mirroring Lori’s own shortcomings. The main characters in “Gathering Roses” share in common a neediness/dependency on something outside of themselves that they all lean toward to fill an agonizing emptiness. For Lori and Angela, low self-esteem and a poor self-image attract each to challenging and walled-off souls like Nick and Rutherford. For the men, sex, alcohol, and drugs color their past and present, keeping the barriers surrounding them erected high and impervious to real emotional attachment.

Lori
The main character, Lori, suffers from low self-esteem that she traces back to interactions she had with peers early on:
It was hard for Lori to envision herself as anything other than the fish-skinned, algae-infested, bog spawn creature from Hell her peers had convinced her she was and always would be. And not being able to see herself differently from how others had once seen her, she was left to wonder who in his right mind would want her? And how could she realistically be expected to want anyone in return who obviously wasn’t in his right mind? She chose to believe what they led her to believe about herself, and she allowed their unmitigated attacks on the already deformed spine of her soul to contribute to her eventual emergence as somewhat of a broken spirit.
Lori finds herself drawn to those who remind her of those who rejected her early on. She is also drawn to those with more or less of a free-spirited side to them; those who are very different from the shy and inhibited person Lori believes she has always been and still is. Her pursuit of love seems to be more than not a subconscious attempt to seek a kind of acceptance that will translate into the positive validation she obviously is still missing:
Nick Warren was a physical and spiritual embodiment of every boy in Lori’s life that had left her longing for more. Around him she could smell the same thick, pungent odor of danger that she could sense with the rest, musky pheromones flaring her nostrils and moistening her mouth and continuing to make her crave more. He was her past literally coming back to haunt her. Except unlike her real past that left her feeling hollow and disillusioned, Nick teased her with the notion of finally filling that echoing void within.
The relationship that Lori has with Nick is difficult from the beginning to the end. His transient acceptance placates her for only as long as the acceptance lasts, and his rejection validates her innermost fears. Yet, agonizing as the ride may be, it forces Lori to look more deeply into herself and to better understand the source of the pain inside of her that’s driving her to seek out yet more pain.
The pure, dense, black and white reasoning Lori knew from when she was a child had somehow over the years turned gray and pixilated. She thought she knew what she needed to get through life, to get through life in a “path of least resistance” kind of way. Yet there was also the question of what she wanted. What she believed she wanted was not at all the same thing as what she needed. What she believed she needed seemed to be all she was expected to have. And all she was expected to have just didn’t seem to be enough.
Knowing Nick gets Lori more in touch with the complex person she really is, and will likely continue to be.
She wondered how her cravings got to be so complex, so difficult to fulfill in a simple, straightforward way. Whether it was what she was doing or whom she was doing, she seemed to have the same forces tugging at her in opposing directions. She wanted serenity and stability, yet she didn’t want boredom. She wanted mystery and excitement, yet she didn’t want trouble. She wanted to live her life like there was no tomorrow, experience all there was to experience and not feel the least bit of regret for not doing what she wanted. At the same time, she didn’t want to regret having done what she wanted because it in the end was not the right thing to do.

Rutherford
Lori’s childhood friend, Rutherford, similarly suffers from a poor self-image. While at times he divulges his true feelings about himself to Lori, he’s more inclined to resort to womanizing and self-medicating with food, drugs, and alcohol to escape what he doesn’t want to face up to.
Subject: mac and chizeese
To: LoriSolomon6697@yahoo.com
I am just beginning to realize that all I do is work, get buzzed often, and watch a worthless world fly by me. All I ever come home to are a computer screen, a plate of cheese, and a bottle of beer. I conduct my love/sex life more like a series of isolated commando missions than anything normal or healthy. I see a target, I STRIKE, and I go back into hiding. I have NEVER been involved with a girl that I actually gave a damn about, although I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise. It’s always about ME. I’m starting to wonder if I’m even CAPABLE of giving a damn about anyone. This, of course, has major advantages, like the fact that I’ve got a bulletproof emotional construct. Unfortunately, it also means that I am depriving myself of feeling anything “beautiful” in the interest of self-preservation. I’m afraid that I’ll meet someone I actually like, and when she ultimately finds out what an irresponsible, immature, and self-centered BASTARD I am, she’ll tell me to take a hike, and wise she would be to do so. I can’t even figure out who I am. I’ve got this big ego, and yet I’m consumed with self-loathing. I think everyone else is so screwed up, and yet I’M the one who probably needs therapy. I used to think I was detached from the world, but in fact, I am detached from myself.
I’d like to meet Angela at some point. Tell me more about her. Can she appreciate the beauty and stench of a perfectly aged Alsacian Munster cheese? Does she smoke weed? What have you told her about me? Hmmmm… Did you tell her that I’m a self-taught culinary genius and a badass on Pac Man? I’m no slouch with Donkey Kong, either. Believe me. I know girls are turned on by guys my age who do nothing but cook and drink beer and play video games, right? WHOA!
Rutherford Gimby

Angela
Lori’s friend Angela, shares with the others a poor self-perception that she attributes mostly to conflicts encountered with her parents and her peers.
From: AngelontheAirwaves3254@hotmail.com
Subject: Re:
To: LoriSolomon6697@yahoo.com
I agree with all that you have said about my parents. And I understand completely how the decisions that I make, good or bad, inevitably affect them and other people who care about me. That having been said, I think my parents were very instrumental in some of the "bad" ways I developed emotionally. I haven't had a chance to share this with you yet (perhaps we can talk tonight), but I had a HUGE fight with my father Friday night, after which he was giving me three months to "get the hell" out of "his" house. It was brutal, the worst we've ever had. It was triggered when he couldn't stop gushing about how "beautiful" my kid sister, Jamie, looked, before going to her very first dance. He kept saying, "She is beautiful, absolutely gorgeous," and on and on and on. Suddenly, from the very depths of my soul, I was agonizingly reminded of all the positive reinforcement I DID NOT GET FROM HIM WHILE GROWING UP. And, in fact, I was told that I was decidedly NOT beautiful, never would be, and I just needed to accept that and move on. Now, you tell me, Lori, what child of adolescent age could possibly want to hear that from her beloved father? I don't give a rat's ass if the bastard had to LIE to me. HE SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME THAT, IN HIS EYES, I WAS INDEED BEAUTIFUL, AND TO HELL WITH THE MORONS AT SCHOOL WHO WERE TELLING ME OTHERWISE.
But understand my anger was not just about what my father had denied me with regard to my physical appearance. It was also the general lack of emotional support for nearly everything I'd ever gone through in my youth- from peer issues, to boys, to friendships. He NEVER seemed to validate my feelings about ANYTHING, instead always making me feel like my feelings were silly and stupid. And later in life, he'd think nothing of telling me I was "sick" in the head.
Add to that, the crappy way I always saw him treat my mother, so intimidating, and verbally abusive ... and you have the victim- that would be ME- of a pretty dysfunctional upbringing. If my childhood had been one bit better, it's quite possible that I would have learned to make much more intelligent, rational decisions with regard to the guys I allow close to me. It's easy to say, "Take responsibility for your life NOW and just get over it." But it's a whole lot more difficult to "just get over" something that has insidiously eaten away at your very soul for your whole life. In fact, it may even be impossible. Feelings of inferiority and not being "good enough" are so indelibly etched in my brain ... I fear I may never be able to undo them...
Angela
Like Rutherford, Angela shares an addictive personality, overindulging in food and alcohol. She is preoccupied with her physical appearance and her level of attractiveness to the opposite sex.
"Look at this," Angela said. She pushed against the tip of her nose with her forefinger. "Look how wide and visible my nostrils are. My nose turns up too much. When I first had it done, the job just wasn't done the right way. I'm thinking about having it done again, if they can."
"I like your nose. It gives your face character," Lori said.
Angela laughed. "I knew you'd say that. I knew you'd say 'character.' But everyone who knows me tells me that my nose isn't the right fit for my face. I hear this from everyone."
"Well, I think your nose is fine. But if it bothers you, then I'm all for doing something about it."
"Also I'm fat," Angela said. She lifted a lace-lined square of fabric dangling over the top half of the dress she was wearing. "I'm disgusting," she said, pointing to her abdomen.
"You're not disgusting, Angela. Come on. You're always way too hard on yourself."
"Look," Angela said. She stood up and turned sideways. "Look at this. Look at this!" She ran her hand across her stomach, trying hard to highlight for Lori its convex shape. She poked at it a few times with her finger so Lori could appreciate its thickness, density, and fluidity.
Lori sat in silence, not knowing what to say.
"I feel ugly and gross," Angela said.
Yet Angela’s character is more complex than the others in that she exhibits some characteristics of borderline personality disorder. Her moods are unstable, and her relationships are invariably intense and erratic, with a tendency to romanticize and undervalue others in rapid succession.
"You want everyone to ebb and flow with your moods and situations," Lori said. She pitched her fork in the center of a piece of chicken and let it fall to one side. "And to forget the negative things you've said when you're feeling positive, and to disagree with the positive things you've said when you're feeling negative."
"I don't want everyone to ebb and flow with my moods and situations. I reject that statement completely," Angela said.
"You want honesty. I give you honesty. And you don't want to hear it. Tell you what. I won't say anything to you unless I know it's what you want to hear. But then you can't blame me for not being a true, honest friend to you when I think you're headed for trouble, or might want to hear a different perspective on a situation. You can't have it both ways, and I'm getting a little tired running from one end of the spectrum with you to the other, not knowing which end you want/need me to be on!"

Nick
Nick Warren gives “Gathering Roses” an extra dimension of depth distinguishing it from other novels regarding women’s self-esteem and relationship issues. Many of the tensions arising between Lori and Nick are due to their very different personalities and lifestyles: Lori is introverted and studious, while Nick is nonconformist and free-spirited. However, the conflicts are more so due to the fact that Nick- as the story unfolds- is living his life in a way that many of us don’t. He buries his fears in a façade that consists of trying to get as much out of life as he can in the short amount of time he knows he has. Emotional attachments and the stresses and annoyances that often come as part of the package will only get in his way of living his life the way he wants to live it. His push-pull, seemingly emotionally detached way of dealing with people is difficult for Lori to understand, as she is blinded by her own demons. She internalizes his behavior as a kind of subtle rejection, not understanding that the underlying mortality issue is to a large extent fueling his behavior.
Knowing Nick makes Lori look at her own life differently. Knowing Nick makes Lori look at life itself differently. “Gathering Roses” isn’t just another light-hearted fluff story based on the endless array of neuroses of Carrie Bradshaw, Tiffany Trott, or Bridgette Jones. This is a story written from the heart. Geared toward a young, female audience, it is a tale that is meant to be not just entertaining, but also thought-provoking.

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Contemporary, coming-of-age story, August 31, 2007
By
Reader Views "www.readerviews.com" (Austin, Texas) - See all my reviews
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for Reader Views (8/07) Lori met Nick during her college internship at a radio station; she worked closely with Nick, the morning DJ. He was an enigma, a challenge, something to acquire. His demeanor was cold and unemotional. Lori always pushed herself to extreme limits, always wanted to attain the unattainable. After she got it, she usually found she no longer wanted it, feeling that if she could achieve it, then it must not be good enough. His aloofness was what made Nick attractive to her; he was the unattainable. Lori saw Nick as a challenge and she would go to any length to acquire him. Nick has health problems which influence his dark outlook on life. "Gathering Roses," by Ellen Weisberg, is a story for young adults. She successfully describes the lives of young professionals and the struggle they face in today's world. Women face struggles with self-image and isolation. These are situations young women endure, but keep hidden, preferring not to talk about them. Ms. Weisberg demonstrates how technology, the internet and email have an impact on the daily life of the characters. There are email messages throughout the book from Lori and her friends. They add humor and insight to the storyline. While email may be quick and easy, it has its own set of communication problems, it does not allow you to hear a person's voice or see their face so that you can judge their emotions. This is a very contemporary, coming-of-age story. Lori is coming to accept who she is. I could see her growing and maturing throughout the book. This is a book of relationships; it steps beyond the issue of gender and reaches to the heart of interaction. Ms. Weisberg is a very talented author. I recommend "Gathering Roses" to young adults.

Do all roses have thorns?, July 30, 2007
By
Robert E. Keesey "WC Keesey" (Harrisburg, PA) - See all my reviews
Lori Soloman is a college student and she is interning at a local radio station as she searches for her career goal and learns about life. Ellen Weisberg uses emails and conversations to introduce us to Lori's many friends and lets us see their quirks and needs. Lori struggles with the overwhelming advice from her friends. She learns about deceit, lies, tricks, and hidden meanings, and she learns about affection, caring, commitment, grief and loss. A sobering story. Review by Wanda C. Keesey

Explore a wide range of emotions with a turbulent journey through the human heart, July 21, 2007
By
L. Catley (Brisbane, Australia) - See all my reviews
Gathering Roses merges the timeless concepts of love, self-image, the need for security, to belong and feel loved, while also looking for adventure, something that lifts us beyond the mundane. These basic and timeless themes are woven into the recent and perhaps fleeting superficial elements of modern society, comprising shift work, career flexibility, mobility, and the wide cross section of people we inevitably meet along the way. Making full use of modern communication media, the increasing use of emails to maintain and drive relationships is explored effectively to illustrate the deeper feelings of the characters involved by creating opportunities for people to communicate in a time frame that allows rapid responses, but with more time to articulate responses than face to face conversation allow, and with less of the etiquette restraints of social gatherings. The opportunity to fully articulate ones darkest and most intimate feelings are thus allowed to fully expand. I found the emotional confessions astonishingly vivid and empathetic. The author displays an exemplary depth in understanding human feelings. At times the story goes very close to the bone and is therefore a welcome addition to modern literature for readers looking for a sign that they are not alone in this chaotic modern world. I read the entire book in about a day finding myself caught up in the development of the relationships, and really wanting to know how on earth the heroine would escape the trap(s) she found herself in. The development and resolution of these problems are managed in a masterfully subtle fashion, in a way that reflects the outcome of so many relationships and segments of our lives.

Review of Gathering Roses, June 2, 2007
By
Renee D. Wright "Living At Ocean's Edge" (Nahant, MA United States) - See all my reviews
Lori Solomon, a New England college co-ed tackling a dual education in science and communications (broadcasting) is an attractive, shy, woman who, until entering this current period of her life, had always thought of herself as one who is remembered by friends for her brilliant mind not her physical attractiveness or appeal. Not until she meets Nick, a morning DJ at the radio station site of her communications internship, did something awaken inside of Lori which she had never experienced before in her life and which changed a part of her forever. Gathering Roses is the 21st century coming of age story written as a semi-autobiographical work by a writer with a gift for language and observation. In this work, Lori Solomon, along with her friends Angela and Rutherford, faces many experiences which, although fictionalized, are primary examples of what the modern, career-minded, attractive, independent woman does experience in the modern-world; where women are objectified and alienated or isolated from the cooperative experiences that the women's liberation movement of the 1970's would hope to bring to a woman in the 21st century. Lori's life-long companion, Rutherford, provides a philosophical backdrop for discussing modern-morality and the male-female conflict as the story unfolds. The presence of Angela, her talented, beautifully-buxom but self-conscious friend exemplifies the struggle of women with self-image when not meeting the physical expectations imposed upon modern-society by popular culture. An even larger presence of character which appears in this novel is technology - the use of network & internet technology by all characters in their communications if not in their daily, activities. From these characters, the author demonstrates the difficulty of communication between people regardless of the gender combination; be it male-to-female communication, or female-to-female communication. The media of internet technology in which these communications are based, demonstrates the phenomenon suggested by Howard Besser in The Information Superhighway: social and cultural impact (in Brook & Boal's Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information, 1995). That despite the closeness of these people to Lori, one can't help but feel the isolation that she experiences during her inner struggle and conflict about life and her relationship with Nick. However, it is the presence of the character Paul, a supportive and strong, positive constant for Lori, who serves as a lifeboat of reality to the outside world, which provides a more stable relationship in the novel. Because of Paul's presence, Lori's fate is less ambiguous and less tragic than some of literature's most historic heroines - there is more hope for Lori as she embarks on her adult life and all the promise that the world holds for her. In my opinion, Gathering Roses is an excellent read because I feel it touches upon themes which young adult women do face in the modern world but may not openly discuss with others, due to the sensitivity and nature of these situations. The author has a great sense for description and propriety in defining the situations that the main character has faced in the context of this work, while being true to their nature and not robbing us of the narrative by leaving too much to the imagination. The relationships of the characters with Lori and the journey she takes in this novel is serendipitous; in that by experiencing and then reflecting on these experiences, the character has evolved to a higher plane of thinking which was not the original design for her reflection. The messages that I have learned from this character and her experiences are these: that life is a very fragile and precious thing and that we should not be afraid to go out and experience what life has to offer; that it is our connection to each other and our ability to share (emotions, experiences, contact) which enriches our experiences and that we all really do need each other ...and that a significant, positive relationship in our lives, be it male or female, can greatly contribute to our involvement in life experiences.

A real page turner, April 7, 2007
By
Suzanne deB "avid book reader" (Saugerties, NY) - See all my reviews
This is an entrancing book. I usually read for 30 minutes before bed, but found myself unable to stop with Gathering Roses. I read the whole book in two nights. The main character, Lori goes through many conflicting feelings but throughout remains true to herself. The ending is heartwrenching. A must read!!!

LOVED this book!1, April 4, 2007
By
LisaKal "LisaKal" (Brockton, MA) - See all my reviews
This book is GREAT! I loved reading the IMs between Lori and Nick and I could just feel her pain and can relate to the push-pull dynamic of their relationship. I also enjoyed Rutherford's dark and bleak emails. I was sad to have finished it so quickly as I felt like I really knew the characters. I highly recommend this book to all!

Hard to put down..., March 28, 2007
By
CShaw "ColShaw" - See all my reviews
this book! Funny, but gut wrenching in it's ability to capture those hard-to-describe feelings we all get when dealing in both romantic and non-romantic relationships, this book is absolutely worth every penny.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Read this book if you've ever found yourself in a bad spot that you just couldn't seem to move past. , March 15, 2007
By
M. Small - See all my reviews
Lori Solomon is a mess. Self-loathing, driven to overachieve, unsure of what she wants in life, even the things she achieves are tainted--if she can acquire them, then they must not be worth having. Then Nick walks into her life, bringing an irresistible combination of unattainability and danger. His emotional coldness becomes a challenge; if she can make him love her, then it will make up for all the people who made her early life a misery. This book chronicles Lori's increasingly desperate attempts to win him--but also her growing awareness and acceptance of who she is and what she wants out of life. This book is edgier than the books I usually read. But it wasn't long before I was hooked: I finished it in one sitting. The characters are well-drawn, the writing is excellent, and the e-mail exchanges between Lori and her friends are hilarious. Lori's emotional growth was slow enough with enough missteps to be believable. I recognized myself in her several times, and found myself nodding at some of her hard-earned wisdom. Read this book if you've ever found yourself in a bad spot that you just couldn't seem to move past.

Gathering Roses by Ellen Weisberg
Order: USA Can
Chipmunkapublishing, 2007 (2007)Paperback
Reviewed by Joan Burton
Lori Solomon is confused. Her adoring, stable, boyfriend Paul dotes on her, but she feels empty inside. She wants the stability of the relationship but would also like some excitement. Lori attends college. She is talented and driven but also very insecure, always questioning her self worth. She takes on a summer job at a local radio station and is immediately attracted to one of the DJ's. Nick is aloof, rebellious, and constantly fighting his mood swings. There is sexual attraction between Lori and Nick from the start and she soon breaks up with Paul.So begins an on again off again relationship. For weeks Nick e-mails Lori, calls her and sets up dates. She finds herself smothered by his attention. Then, out of the blue, she hears nothing. He backs off completely and talks of dating other women. This crushes Lori and fuels her inadequacies, and she pursues him in earnest. Lori's two best friends have their own problems. Angela is overweight and constantly searching for a lasting, meaningful relationship. She is very cynical, and gives advice freely to Lori. Rutherford has a drug problem, always moving from one girl to the next, and involving Lori in his endeavors.The story unfolds in e-mails, instant messages and phone calls between the friends and lovers. Each character has an addiction. For Lori it is her relationship with Nick. No matter how badly he treats her, she hangs in there hoping for a crumb of approval. Nick is addicted to drugs, drinking, and pleasing women. Angela is addicted to food and suffers from low self esteem. Rutherford is also on drugs, and has commitment issues. As we read their mail we come to understand the characters, their flaws, and what has brought them together. You will be turning the pages until the very end, as you are taken on their journey of self discovery.

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Labels: Science Fiction
Gathering Roses by Ellen Weisberg
From the press release:The Finding of One Lost SoulIn author Ellen Weisberg’s new book Gathering Roses, Lori Solomon is a little bit of every woman who has ever lived. Driven, neurotic, intelligent, insecure, talented…tainted. For Lori, while college itself is proving to be relatively easy if not boring, she is having a harder time salvaging her soul from the emotional ravages of high school. A co-ed successfully majoring in science, in a relationship with a good man that loves her, and supported by two friends that understand her to the core, on the surface, Lori has it all. Still, no matter how she tries, she can’t shake the loneliness and feelings of unworthiness that were years in the making. A summer internship at a local radio station and the appearance of the rebellious, aloof, sexually charged and emotionally challenged Nick in her life suddenly has Lori questioning all that defines her.Drawn to friendships with cynical, substance-abusing Rutherford Gimby and neurotic, melodramatic Angela Allen, whose faults and vices mirror Lori’s own shortcomings, together, the three of them share a need and dependency on something outside of themselves, something unattainable. For Lori and Angela, low self-esteem and a poor self-image attract each to challenging and walled-off souls like Nick and Rutherford. For the men, sex, alcohol, and drugs color their past and present, keeping the barriers surrounding them solid and impervious to real emotional attachment. Yet each of them struggles with a deep-seeded need to fill the soul with a meaning that contradicts the somewhat dehumanizing influences that a fast-paced, over-privileged modern society has had on them.Despite knowledge of a precarious health condition that Nick is afflicted with, his push-pull, emotionally nonchalant way of dealing with her is emotionally traumatic and impossible for Lori to understand. Her own demons blind her to the recognition that Nick’s fear of his own mortality fuels his choices as she internalizes his behavior as a kind of subtle rejection.It is through her tumultuous relationships with Rutherford and Angela and through her increasingly desperate attempts to win Nick, that Lori slowly achieves a growing awareness and acceptance of who she is and what she wants out of life. Her hard-earned wisdom brings with it an acknowledgement that whether they have come for a reason or simply for a season, every relationship is life altering. Knowing Nick has allowed Lori to look at her life differently. Knowing Nick has allowed her to look at life itself differently. Available through: Chipmunkapublishing, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are SoldAbout the AuthorEllen Weisberg has a BA in psychology and biology and an MS and PhD in pharmacology. She has published poetry and a short story fantasy, and has two children’s geography books in press that she co-wrote and illustrated with her husband. Gathering Roses is her first novel. Ellen lives in Nashua, NH with her husband, Ken, and baby, Emily, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Ellen’s proceeds from the sale of this book will be awarded to the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.My review:Great book, well written and very insightful. Full of interesting characters and clever dialogue. The author is well on her way to mega stardom after only her first book. Highly recommended.Published 2007352 pages
Posted by Vought at 3:44 PM 0 comments
Labels: Romance

Gathering Roses: Ellen Weisberg
"Gathering Roses" is a new novel by fellow New Englander Ellen Weisberg, and is the story of co-ed Lori who still carries the scars of adolescense and continually makes the bad decision concerning men- well one man in particular, Nick Warren. The two meet while Lori starts up at intern at a local radio station. He's completely not her type, but she finds herself drawn to him anyway.Lori's self-esteem, or lack thereof, make her the perfect candidate for the success of Nick's advances. He's crass and clearly interested in only a physical relationship. Despite instinctively knowing that, she things she can change him. Even though Lori knows Nick will not change, she finds herself seeking him out and encouraging their physical relationship. As a reader, you find yourself not only identifying with Lori (what woman hasn't been attracted to that "bad boy" at least once), but wanting to smack her upside the head at the same time. Her moods spiral around depression as she continually doesn't get what she needs from Nick, and in truth, she's not even really sure what it is that she wants, as she's broken up with a perfectly nice guy to be with Nick.But when Lori discovers a secret about Nick, she realizes why he acts the way that he does and that he's giving her all that he's capable of giving. Lori cotinues their on and off again relationship, but slowly discovers more about herself and realizes that she's worth more. Their relationship continues mostly on her terms until it can't continue any longer.Some of Lori's growth comes through her interactions with her friends- Rutherford, whom she primarily e-mails with, and Angela, who is even more messed up than Lori, and a hard character to read- because of her own emotional issues, she frequently reads into Lori's statements the wrong way and overreacts often. She borders on being a toxic friend, but the two eventually are able to work through their problems. Rutherford, one of Lori's male life-long friends, helps her to realize how Nick will never change and often explains the inner workings of the male mind."Gathering Roses" has been described as a young adult novel, but as I feel that terms applies more to books for ages 11-16, I don't think it's appropriate for those ages. There isn't much more than some swearing and innuendos, but the subject matter would hold more for adults than teens. It's a pretty good book with relatable, if not frustrating characters. The back and forth of "I know I should dump him, but I can't bring myself to" at times made me crazy- it was like reliving certain moments from my own life with friends. I wanted to shout "AHHHH- just do it!" I think most female readers will identify with Lori and Angela as they could really be any one of us and Weisberg has done a great job with that. Proceeds from the book are to go to the American Heart Association in honor of the friend Weisberg lost.
Posted by Carey at 10:21 AM 0 comments
Labels: Ellen Weisberg, Self-discovery

Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Dragon Welcomes Ellen Weisberg
Or...meet an inspiring author at The Dragon today
Ellen Weisberg's career revolved around radio broadcasting until she developed oromandibular dystonia, a Parkinson’s-like disorder. She suddenly had to face not just the pain and difficulty of losing her conversational speech for an indeterminate length of time, She suddenly was faced with loss of her one creative outlet. After trying a series of Western medicine treatments, including anticholinergic drugs, she eventually found great relief for her dystonia in an acupuncture protocol used to treat Parkinson's disease.To try to keep her mind off of the physical discomfort of the condition, its social impact, and the uncertainty of not knowing if and when the affliction would eventually lift, she began channeling her energies into two old passions: writing and illustrating. The outcomes were her multiple publications, including her newest release, Gathering Roses, which she's joined us to discuss today.The Dragon: The novel Gathering Roses features a leading lady who is described as "a little bit of every woman who has ever lived." Now that's a good marketing statement for capturing audience, but could you describe Lori Solomon in your words? As her author, could you tell us what you think of Lori and what she means to you?
Ellen Weisberg: The main character, Lori Solomon, generally suffers from low self-esteem that she traces back to interactions she had with peers early on. She finds herself drawn to those who remind her of those who had rejected her. She is also drawn to those with more or less of a free-spirited side to them; those who are very different from the shy and inhibited person Lori believes she has always been and still is. Her pursuit of love seems to be more than not a subconscious attempt to seek a kind of acceptance that will translate into the positive validation she obviously is still missing. To me, Lori’s the quintessential underdog, and someone that even the most confident and successful among us could likely relate to on some level. I think it’s hard--if not impossible--to go through life without some kind of bout of self-doubt, struggle for self-renewal or brush with self-destruction at one point or another. This passage might help illustrate who Lori Solomon is in Gathering Roses:
It was hard for Lori to envision herself as anything other than the fish-skinned, algae-infested, bog spawn creature from Hell her peers had convinced her she was and always would be. And not being able to see herself differently from how others had once seen her, she was left to wonder who in his right mind would want her? And how could she realistically be expected to want anyone in return who obviously wasn’t in his right mind? She chose to believe what they led her to believe about herself, and she allowed their unmitigated attacks on the already deformed spine of her soul to contribute to her eventual emergence as somewhat of a broken spirit.
Here’s another passage from the book that I think makes this point: Nick Warren was a physical and spiritual embodiment of every boy in Lori’s life that had left her longing for more. Around him she could smell the same thick, pungent odor of danger that she could sense with the rest, musky pheromones flaring her nostrils and moistening her mouth and continuing to make her crave more. He was her past literally coming back to haunt her. Except unlike her real past that left her feeling hollow and disillusioned, Nick teased her with the notion of finally filling that echoing void within.
The Dragon: When I'm interviewed, many people ask me if my heroine, Chariss, is an autobiographical character, and I give a resounding "no way". She's too good to be based on me. But let me ask that question of you. Do you feel there are elements of Lori Solomon that you pulled from yourself? Are there elements of you that you slid into her character? And how do you feel those elements contribute to her "driven, neurotic, intelligent, insecure, talented" nature?
Ellen Weisberg: Most of the characters in Gathering Roses, with the exception of Nick Warren, are amalgams of two, three, and sometimes even four different people I’ve been friends with. Many of Lori’s perceptions, interpretations, doubts, and desires were inspired by late night phone conversations with girlfriends of mine that I could all too well relate to. That having been said, though, there are definitely elements of Lori that I pulled from myself… with no one else to blame. There are actual experiences that I had that snaked their way into and throughout the story, although the time line’s been (strongly) tinkered with. I personally wish I wasn’t as neurotic and insecure as Lori, but the psychiatric community would probably beg to differ, as that’s what’s helping keep them in business. And I’ve heard there’s a fine line between being “driven/intelligent/talented” and needing to channel inordinate amounts of anxiety and nervous energy into something that won’t cause irreparable damage to the biosphere.
The Dragon: The marketing material for Gathering Roses mentions substance abuse and at least one character, Nick, with a sexual appetite. Would you classify this novel as an adult novel for those reasons? What other themes or plot devices do you feel make this a mature novel?
Ellen Weisberg: Yes, I would classify this novel as general adult fiction, because while the characters were made to be young, the underlying themes are those that I feel the average adult could relate to. There’s Lori’s friend, Rutherford, who divulges his true feelings about himself to Lori at times, yet is more inclined to resort to womanizing and self-medicating with food, drugs and alcohol to escape what he doesn’t want to face up to. Lori’s friend, Angela, shares with the other characters a poor self-perception that she attributes mostly to conflicts encountered with her parents and peers. Like Rutherford, Angela shares an addictive personality, overindulging in food and alcohol. She is preoccupied with her physical appearance and her level of attractiveness to the opposite sex. Yet Angela’s character is more complex than the others in that she exhibits some characteristics of borderline personality disorder. Her moods are unstable, and her relationships are invariably intense and erratic, with a tendency to romanticize and undervalue others in rapid succession. And Nick Warren gives Gathering Roses an extra dimension of depth distinguishing it from other novels regarding women’s self-esteem and relationship issues.
Many of the tensions arising between Lori and Nick are due to their very different personalities and lifestyles: Lori is introverted and studious, while Nick is nonconformist and free-spirited. However, the conflicts are more so due to the fact that Nick-as the story unfolds-is living his life in a way that many of us don’t. He buries his fears in a façade that consists of trying to get as much out of life as he can in the short amount of time he knows he has. Emotional attachments and the stresses and annoyances that often come as part of the package will only get in his way of living his life the way he wants to live it. His push-pull, seemingly emotionally detached way of dealing with people is difficult for Lori to understand, as she is blinded by her own demons. She internalizes his behavior as a kind of subtle rejection, not understanding that the underlying mortality issue is to a large extent fueling his behavior. So again, yes, the themes and subplots in Gathering Roses are mature and a far cry from what you would see in paperback bring-to-the-beach-to-escape chick-lit, and probably wouldn’t go over well with the parents of anyone under the age of 18. Although that isn’t to say that the content might not be appropriate for the parents themselves!
The Dragon: Did you find it difficult to write characters and scenes that led Lori astray? Nick and the others seem to be devices that literally stump her as she should be getting on the "right track," yet they're so far off track that they derail her…somewhat deliberately.
Ellen Weisberg: Much of what I wrote about was based on real-life conversations and events. The content wasn’t challenging, since it was mostly there for the taking. What was challenging was putting everything together so that there was flow and continuity (this is where the fictionalization of the story really came into play). Similar to what happened to me in real life during the course of knowing the people who inspired the characters, I think the people in Lori’s life get her wheels in motion and force her to look more closely at everyone and everything. Lori wouldn’t have the chance to learn and grow if she took the antics of her friends too much to heart and didn’t question where all of it was coming from. This is especially true for Lori’s relationship with Nick, which is difficult from the beginning to the end. His transient acceptance placates her for only as long as the acceptance lasts, and his rejection validates her innermost fears. Yet, agonizing as the ride may be, it forces Lori to look more deeply into herself and to better understand the source of the pain inside of her that’s driving her to seek out yet more pain.
This passage, I think, illustrates this point: The pure, dense, black and white reasoning Lori knew from when she was a child had somehow over the years turned gray and pixilated. She thought she knew what she needed to get through life, to get through life in a “path of least resistance” kind of way. Yet there was also the question of what she wanted. What she believed she wanted was not at all the same thing as what she needed. What she believed she needed seemed to be all she was expected to have. And all she was expected to have just didn’t seem to be enough.
Knowing Nick gets Lori more in touch with the complex person she really is, and will likely continue to be.
Here’s another illustrative passage: She wondered how her cravings got to be so complex, so difficult to fulfill in a simple, straightforward way. Whether it was what she was doing or whom she was doing, she seemed to have the same forces tugging at her in opposing directions. She wanted serenity and stability, yet she didn’t want boredom. She wanted mystery and excitement, yet she didn’t want trouble. She wanted to live her life like there was no tomorrow, experience all there was to experience and not feel the least bit of regret for not doing what she wanted. At the same time, she didn’t want to regret having done what she wanted because it in the end was not the right thing to do.
The Dragon: Now, Today the Dragon Wins is a site that primarily speaks to other writers, so I'd like to ask you a few questions about your writing process and about you as a writer. I understand that you worked through a terribly painful time in your life by writing. It's been said, and I fully ascribe to this theory, that creators like us writers are at our most creative when we're in pain. Would you be willing to share with visitors to The Dragon today what inspired you during the writing of Gathering Roses?
Ellen Weisberg: I started writing the book a number of years ago, and what it began as was something completely different from what it eventually ended up being. The manuscript was lifted up and dusted off when I started getting involved in radio broadcasting. While my professional training is in research, I did part-time board operation and voice-overs for a few years-more or less for fun. I started meeting all of these very interesting and colorful people along the way, and found myself gradually accumulating material that prompted me to start writing again. The person who initially trained me on the mixing board was the person who inspired the character “Nick.” Again, while the timing of actual events is helter-skelter in the book and liberties were taken as to what details were included or excluded or modified for dramatic effect, the person behind the Nick character really did have a heart condition when I met him and ended up dying at an early age. He had known that I was writing the book, had asked me from time to time to read passages to him, and joked about how he would be entitled to profits should the story eventually be published and sell. The very last time I saw him, I did get to show him a contract that I was offered by a literary agent. I figure that at least I got the chance to make him aware that I was trying to do something with it.
The Dragon: Is that what prompted you to decide the proceeds from the sales from Gathering Roses would be donated to charities?
Ellen Weisberg: Yes. Personal proceeds for Gathering Roses are going to the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
The Dragon: Why did you select The American Heart Association and The American Red Cross specifically?
Ellen Weisberg: My friend had a heart transplant. He believed in raising awareness of the importance of organ donation and blood drives, and so I feel these would be organizations he’d want to see supported.
The Dragon: I'm intrigued to learn that you have a short story in the fantasy genre. Will you tell visitors about it and where it's available?
Ellen Weisberg: The story is called “Fruit of the Vine,” and it has been published in the February/March issue of PKA’s Advocate. “Fruit of the Vine” is a short fantasy for elementary school-aged readers. It tells of Justin, a sensitive, introspective boy whose physical features and personality make him a convenient target for many of his cruel peers. One night he wakes to find he has “traveled” to a mysterious island, where he meets several of its inhabitants. Despite his desperation to find out where he is and, more importantly, how to get home, he becomes involved in the plight of Irvino, a creature who is ostracized on this island much in the way that Justin is in his own world. The story ends with a twist as Justin, in helping Irvino in his plight, ends up accomplishing much more. “Fruit of the Vine” is therefore meant not only for the grade school aged fantasy reader, but also anyone interested in the important topic of bullies, and also how altruistic qualities develop in children.
Here is some information about PKA’s Advocate:ADVOCATE, PKA’S PUBLICATION: 1881 Little Westkill Rd., Prattsville, NY 12468. Bi-monthly advocates good writing and art by publishing fiction and nonfiction stories (to 1,500 words), poetry (any length), illustration and photos by newcomers. "We wish to give an opportunity to be published to those not earning a living as writers," says publisher Patricia Keller. TIP: Well written horse stories, poetry, B&W art and photos are needed. Submit complete middle grade and YA mss. Acquires first rts. Pays with contributor copies.
The Dragon: Ellen, it's been a pleasure to speak with you today, and I'm delighted that you stopped by The Dragon. I'm sure my visitors will have additional questions for you throughout the day, and I invite you to stop in again later on to see what they've come up with. Thank you for your time!To order a copy of Gathering Roses, visit one of these pages…and don't forget to ask your questions of Ellen!http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Roses-E-Weisberg/dp/1847471188/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-7412865-2009630?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174576041&sr=1-1http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781847471185&itm=5
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Ellen Weisberg: In her own words Acupuncture helps medical researcher overcome disease and find her voice
By Alan Lecker

Ellen Weisberg, a medical researcher and author, is the subject of this edition's InnerView.
Ellen Weisberg had achieved an incredible balance in her life: An instructor at Harvard Medical School who also performs leukemia research at the Dan Farber Cancer Institute, she also enjoyed writing and illustrating, and even worked as a weather broadcaster for Hometown Forecast Services in Nashua, N.H., where she lives. But the onset of dystonia, an illness similar to Parkinson's disease, threatened to turn her world upside down.
As a result of dystonia, Weisberg lost the ability to conduct any kind of extended conversation, which brought her broadcasting work to a halt and interfered with her ability to work with other medical researchers. After seeking relief through conventional medicine, she turned to an unlikely source - acupuncture. Remarkably, it made progress in easing her symptoms, allowing her to begin her recovery and resume something closer to a normal life.
She has added to her writing credentials with the publication of her book, "Gathering Roses." It appeared first as an online book through Mountain Mist Productions, but is now available as a paperback through Chipmunkapublishing, which donates some of its proceeds to mental health causes. In addition, Weisberg is donating personal proceed toward the American Red Cross and American Heart Association in honor of a friend who died from heart disease. She has also released a geography book, "All About Canada," which she co-wrote with her husband, Ken Yoffe, a pediatrician; proceeds from that book will go toward Parkinson's and dystonia research.
Not only has Weisberg regained her balance; she says she's grown considerably from her experience with dystonia. I started off this InnerView by asking Ellen if she'd tried alternative medicine before the sudden onset of her illness, and how the experience influenced her view of traditional medicine.
Ellen: I didn't have any experience with alternative medicine before trying acupuncture. I had heard good things about it from people who were suffering from different ailments, like migraines and back pain, and the need to find something that would bring me relief - since western medicine was failing me - is what led me to it. It was more frustrating, even kind of scary, to admit that western medicine didn't hold any answers for me. I have a pretty open mind when it comes to things, and I don't feel like anyone can ever be too proud when it comes to quality-of-life-altering afflictions not to venture outside of the box.
I was on a low dose of the anticholinergic drug, Artane, for a while. However, after a brief honeymoon "fool's gold" kind of experience with it that lasted only a few days during which my speech seemed more effortless, the drug lost its effects. My neurologist also tried administering Botox injections on the side of my mouth where muscles were twisting in such a way as to make speaking difficult.
However, it was shortly after the injections that my condition relapsed to the point where I could barely talk at all. I could no longer continue with broadcasting, which I loved. As for my other job in research, I had to schedule one-on-one meetings with my laboratory supervisor to go over data as opposed to giving formal lab presentations. I also had to go into the lab during off hours to avoid seeing people that I would otherwise have to talk to.
There currently is no cure for dystonia, only treatments. With adult onset dystonia, I've heard that it tends to stabilize over time, and can even go into remission for stretches. I still feel some discomfort at times on the left side of my mouth, and tend to have a little trouble doing anything that puts me into "broadcasting mode," like reading bedtime stories to my daughter. However, I'm continuing to get bimonthly acupuncture treatments that are more or less keeping the symptoms of the dystonia just enough at bay to make me forget I have the condition a lot of the time.
Alan: What was it like for you as the dystonia developed? Were there times when you despaired that you might never be able to have a normal conversation? How long did you suffer from dystonia before turning to acupuncture?
Ellen: I was in the middle of a 30-second broadcast, and halfway through it the left side of my mouth started twisting inward and making it difficult for me to talk. I wasn't sure what was happening or where it was coming from. I remember wondering if there was something with my delivery style that was subtly different… Was my chair too high or too low and I was straining my neck to get to the microphone? Did it have to do with the amount of gesturing I was doing with my hands when I talked? Was I having a stroke?
As time went on, the difficulties I was having with my broadcasting increased, and the job was becoming more and more of a struggle. My coworkers thought maybe I was having sudden "stage fright," or that it was "stress" that was causing this.
It was only when I saw a neurologist that I got the diagnosis of "task-specific oromandibular dystonia," brought on at least in part by repetitive movements. Dancers can get it in their arms and legs, trumpet players in their mouths, pianists in their fingers, etc. The condition is most likely genetic - at least 30 genes have been discovered associated with dystonia - and seems to be associated, like Parkinson's, with a lesion in the basal ganglia of the brain.
I tried to return to broadcasting several times when the symptoms of the dystonia would quiet down, only to have to quit it when I'd relapse. The condition eventually slipped over into my regular speech and, yes, there were times it was so bad that I thought I'd never be able to hold a normal conversation again.
I consulted a second neurologist who prescribed Artane, and it was shortly after starting the medication that I looked into acupuncture as another approach. I was on a Bell's Palsy acupuncture protocol for many months, since this was the only neurological disorder my acupuncturist was familiar with, and unfortunately one that is characteristically very different from dystonia. I was about to quit the acupuncture since it wasn't bringing me any real relief, when I asked her if she had any protocols for Parkinson's, the closest disorder to dystonia that I could think of. She found an article that outlined a protocol that involves palpation and needling of areas around the temples that are reputed to be trouble zones - when tender - in Parkinson's patients. After several weeks of being on this protocol, twice a week, my speech problems cleared up. I'm able to talk normally now, after being speech-impaired for months. I still have occasional stiffness on the left side of my mouth, but am finding that acupuncture once or twice a month is helping to keep the symptoms at bay.
Alan: Writing and illustrating became a form of therapy for you. Do you feel they also aided in your physical recovery as well? Did they prompt, in their own ways, a form of inner healing?
Ellen: I've been told that stress can exacerbate a lot of physical conditions - the inflammatory bowel diseases come to mind. I know the same is true for dystonia, and so in this respect, there's a good chance that the writing and illustrating provided not just a creative outlet, but also an outlet for stress that helped the condition to heal over time.
Alan: Did you write "Gathering Roses" while you were suffering from dystonia, or was it written afterwards, and does it reflect in any way your experience?
Ellen: "Gathering Roses" was actually started many years prior to the onset of
Ellen: "Gathering Roses" was actually started many years prior to the onset of the dystonia. But it was after I gained extra hours in the day by losing the broadcasting that I was able to turn my attention back to the book, add to it and revise it, and search for a publisher.
The book focuses to a large extent on our awareness of life versus death, and how the level of this awareness can influence the way a person views and conducts his or her life. I suppose in this respect, the book does mirror how the - no pun intended here - sudden unexpected twists and turns life can take changed the way I look at life. It's made me a little more introspective, a lot more spiritual.
Alan: You've described Lori Solomon, the main character in "Gathering Roses," as the quintessential underdog. Is that how you view yourself?
Yes, I think this is how I have always viewed myself, and how I continue to view myself. I've been surrounded by people that are colorful and interesting - but difficult. I've found myself in situations that are exciting and challenging - but precarious. There isn't so much ebb and flow in my life as there is riptide and tsunami. While maybe this has made for some "gripping" reading material, it has also made for kind of a bumpy ride. It's my own ride, though, and I fully acknowledge that while some things are beyond my control, I still am the one at the steering wheel.
Alan: How did you become involved with chipmunkapublishing?
Ellen: "Gathering Roses" was first launched as an e-book by the Australian epublisher, Mountain Mist Productions, which I found while searching a watchdog Website for writers called "Preditors and Editors." Lynette King of Mountain Mist Productions acts as a sort of "guardian angel" for her group of artists and writers by showcasing their work and also making them aware of print publishing opportunities. I heard about the U.K.-based Chipmunkapublishing through Lynette, since one of her writers had been offered a publishing contract by them. "Gathering Roses" was picked up by Chipmunkapubishing and the e-book was taken off of the Mountain Mist site. I still, though, keep in touch with Lynette and do card illustrations for her site.
Alan: "Gathering Roses" opens with a quote from Albert Schweitzer, yet the story glides effortlessly into e-mails between various characters. Was this a conscious attempt to blend the old and new, and how would you describe it as a writing style?
Ellen: I did take active steps to blend the old and the new. There's a certain way today's youth are living, in a world colored by the Internet, and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination dress styles, mannerism and music. I tried to preserve the reality so that younger readers might be able to relate to the story. Yet like an old church left standing in between high rises in a city, I found myself interjecting between quips some famous quotes and proverbs, introspection and philosophy. I like the contrast, and I feel that it helps to make certain points and ideas stand out more.
Alan: How would you describe your spiritual beliefs, and were they affected by your illness and improvement through acupuncture?
Ellen: I've become much more spiritual over the past couple of years, after not just being diagnosed with my condition, but also experiencing the death of a young friend and watching family members get sick. I read Catherine Marshall's "Beyond Ourselves," which described among other things how she was bedridden for several years due to illness, and how faith helped to pull her through. I believe that life throws out afflictions to help guide people to a better place, to make them more aware of the direction they've been taking, and if that direction needs to be changed. I think these afflictions test our faith, and force us to grow. I'd always been in touch with my dark side and thoughts about mortality, but I'm much more so in touch with it now after my experiences over the past couple of years.
© 2008 Many Hands
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Books & Authors
Published: Sunday, March 11, 2007
City woman writes 1st fiction book
Author's forum
Name: Ellen Weisberg.Hometown or local connection: Nashua resident.Title of book: “Gathering Roses.”Synopsis: Introverted and studious Lori Solomon meets nonconformist Grateful Dead follower Nick Warren and soon finds herself on a seemingly endless carnival ride with him. Although not always apparent to Lori, it is Nick’s precarious health condition that seems to underlie his outlook on life, influencing what he expects to get out of it, as well as what he feels he needs to put into it. Knowing Nick gets Lori more in touch with the complex person she really is and helps her to better understand the source of the pain that constantly drives her to seek out yet more pain.Publisher: Chipmunka.Price/where is it available? $21; Amazon.com.Web site: http://www.chipmunkapublishing.com/.Brief biography: Weisberg has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in pharmacology and is actively involved in leukemia research. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she has co-authored and illustrated a children’s U.S. geography book with her husband, Ken Yoffe, which is being published by Minnesota-based Galde Press. She is also an illustrator for e-cards and print cards developed by Mountain Mist Productions.Previous published works: “If Only” (poem, PKA’s Advocate); “Fruit of the Vine” (short story, PKA’s Advocate).What motivated you to write this book? How long have you been working on it? I’d been working on this book for more than half a decade. It was inspired by a friend of mine who had just had a heart transplant when I met him, and who died several years later at the age of 33. Any personal proceeds from “Gathering Roses” are to go to the American Heart Association and Red Cross in his honor.Is the book geared to a particular type of reader? What do you hope readers will take from the book? “Gathering Roses” is designed to appeal toa predominantly young, female audience. The general theme of “Gathering Roses” is how the way we are treated early on in life feeds into the way we eventually come to view ourselves, and how this perception plays into the types of people we bring into our lives and the nature of the relationships we have. It is my hope that readers will be able to relate to the issues of the story’s heroine, Lori Solomon, as well as sideline characters who have similar issues. In addition, “Gathering Roses” ties together the somewhat dehumanizing influences of fast-paced, overprivileged modern society with male-female dynamics, and highlights the frustration that often stems from this. The book attempts to take the reader on a journey toward heightened self-awareness and resolution of internal conflict, and in this sense, “Gathering Roses” rests on the border of self-help.Name some of your favorite books and authors. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote, “The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera.If you have to give an aspiring author one bit of advice, what would it be? Try not to cave into the whims of the larger publishing houses just to get your work out there. Plenty of excellent small, independent publishers exist, both in the States and overseas. Any could end up being a great fit for your writing as you originally intended to express it.

Booksignings for "Gathering Roses" have been held at
the Barnes and Noble in Salem, NH
the Barnes andNoble in Nashua, NH
the Toadstool Bookshop inMilford, NH

Articles about "Gathering Roses" have been printed in the Nashua Telegraph and New Hampshire Union Leader.

Interviews have been aired about the book on the following shows and stations:
Matty in the Morning, WXKS, KISS 108
Medford, MACharlie Sherman
WGIR, Manchester, NH
Barbra Alexander Show, Radio Network Show, Monterey,CA
Mighty Mess with Irene Robinson, KWCL FM
Oak Grove, LA
Morning Magazine with Michael Clish, WFAW AM Radio, Fort Atkinson, WI
Spirit Media with Allan Parrish, WELW AM Radio,Willoughby, OH