This summer, my friend Christine Nolfi is publishing Second Chance Grill, the second book in her Liberty series. I’m pleased to host her on my blog this week with an excerpt from the first Liberty book, Treasure Me – a sweet, inspiring, delightful read! Welcome Christine …
“A New York editor once described my novels as, ‘women’s fiction bordering on literary.’ Treasure Me and Second Chance Grill are a contemporary blend of comedy and romance with mysteries drawn from U.S. history. Some people view the Liberty books as romantic comedies. Or light mysteries. I’ve also written the more suspenseful, stand-alone novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, which is a much more poignant read.
“In reality, I think I write genre-blended books. I dislike the genre label, preferring instead to approach each work as a great story waiting to be told. The world is made all the more beautiful by literature’s wide variety of voices.”
Indie Authors: I’m always happy to help with questions about writing and the self-publishing process. Please leave a comment on this post. I’m delighted to provide answers!
About Treasure Me: Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart. The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War and carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, will she discover a history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she’d imagined?
Excerpt from Treasure Me:
The worrisome double meaning spun her around. The grating voice erupted from the throat of an old woman. Given the heavy thump of the woman’s gait, she expected to find a lady of substantial girth. What she discovered rooted before the counter was a petite, scrappy-looking crone wearing a Davy Crocket-style buckskin jacket oddly matched up with a felt hat. The hat sprouted silk roses. A few of the budsdrooped over the old woman’s black, beady eyes.
Their gazes connected and the woman’s mouth froze. Birdie wasn’t sure what to make of the surprise glinting in her expression. She appeared startled, as if the sight of a waitress dressed in a whore suit would turn her into a pillar of salt. Wary, Birdie edged away from the counter separating them.
Just as quickly the old woman blotted the strong emotion from her eyes. Her ebony features became glass, like the sea before a typhoon.
“Would you like a menu?” Birdie asked, too frightened to move toward the stack.
“I’ve had lunch, you fool. It’s the middle of the afternoon.”
No one called her a fool and got away with it. Let someone walk over you and they made it a habit. “I left my watch upstairs, which isn’t as bad as you leaving your manners at home. Pack them the next time you leave the house, Parsnip.”
The woman slapped her buckskin satchel onto the counter. “What did you call me?”
“Huh?” Birdie feigned confusion. Hell, the gnome was older than God. Playing with what little grey matter she had left might be fun. “I’m sorry—what did you say, Avocado?”
“Are you messin’ with me?” The woman screwed her ridiculous hat further down on her brow. “I’m not much for vegetables but I can fricassee your hide if you don’t watch it.”
Birdie offered a saccharine smile. “My apologies.” With flourish, she picked up a menu as if she were a game show host revealing the item behind door number two. “It’s sensational. You won’t believe what’s inside, Tomato.”
“Stop sassing me. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing.”
“What?” She widened her eyes in what she hoped was a fawnlike expression.
The gnome blinked. Baring her false teeth, she patted her satchel. “I’ve got a .32 caliber. Don’t make me use it.”
The threat drained the amusement from Birdie’s face, not to mention the blood from her head.
Satisfied, the old woman settled onto a barstool. “Got anything else to say, ruffian?”
“Game over is more like it.” She broke out a devilish grin. “The name’s Theodora Hendricks.” She jabbed a finger toward the coffee station. “Don’t keep me waiting.”
Birdie sloshed coffee into a mug. Theodora Hendricks’ narrowed attention stuck on her like glue, sending waves of nervous tension racing across her skin. It was the sort of hard appraisal she received from the policeon those rare instances when they suspected her of snitching wallets. The urge to flee nearly got the better of her.
“Here you are.” She placed the mug on the counter. “Just wave your pistol if you need anything else.”
When she started to move off, Theodora snapped her fingers. “Stay put. We’re not done talking.” She tapped the counter with one bony finger, and Birdie visualized a fairy tale witch and an oven. “Tell me your name.”
“Um . . . it’s Birdie.”
“Your last name?”
“You want to make a joke?”
Theodora’s narrowed gaze stayed put, even as she rifled around her satchel and withdrew a corncob pipe. Birdie might have laughed if her stomach wasn’t roiling with a queasy sort of trepidation.
“You’re sure your last name is Kaminsky? You wouldn’t be lying, would you?”
“Of course I’m sure, Br—” Birdie caught herself before Broccoli spilled out. Who knew if the Saturday night special was loaded?
About Christine Nolfi: Some writers are gifted with an unusual life and I’m certainly one of those. I’ve lived across the U.S. and now live in South Carolina. In college I appeared on the front page of the Houston Post for a lark that erased all my debt. I met my four adopted children for the first time in the sweltering heat of the tropics. I helped build several companies and was lucky enough to earn a living doing what I love best—writing—in a PR firm I owned.
In 2004, I made the wisest and most irrational decision of my life—I began writing fiction full-time. My debut, Treasure Me, is a finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Awards and appears on The Midwest Book Review’s Bookwatch as, “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.” My second contemporary fiction novel, The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge, is now entering contests and continues to earn 4- and 5-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Look for my next release, Second Chance Grill, this summer.