Girl time and a great place to visit!

Every summer around the time of my Grandma’s birthday the women of the family choose a place in Ohio to spend a night or two together.  My Grandma will be turning 87 any day now and us gals spent Thursday night in Cumberland.  We were missing one  of our cousins who always comes, but gained a friend, for a total of 13.  This happens when the women are so wonderful 😉

gals 2009

This is us at the cabin in the wilds that we rented for the night.  I always enjoy the girl-time and come home every year appreciating my family more.  And I think most of us granddaughters (she has 10) know that we have the best possible Grandmother and we are blessed.

Now, on to THE WILDS!  I cannot possibly recommend this place enough for any kind of family trip.   It is located in SE Ohio, but you would never know it once you drive onto the 10,000+ acres of land that was gifted to this non-profit conservation group by the power company after it had been used in surface mining.  This group has turned it into an amazing place for research and the public.  We took a 2 1/2 safari yesterday on an open air bus.  Have a look at a few of the many, many different animals we saw…wilds giraffejuly 2009 149

wilds rhino

And yes, many animals came right up to the bus.  I could add so many wonderful photos, but The Wilds is not just about the animals, it is equally about the land and living in harmony with nature and using land that is good for nothing else for something worthwhile.

There is one lodge on the premises, where we stayed that had 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms and a private lake with boats and a canoe.  They also have newer smaller places near the visitor center that sleep two. 

If  you are within a few hours drive (took me 2.5 from Cleveland) or are driving through on your way someplace else, you cannot go wrong with stopping here for a few hours.   I had a fabulous time on my Ohio Safari!  Visit the website here.

9 in ’09 with Preetham Grandhi

Preetham Grandhi, M.D. immigrated to the United States from India and graduated from Yale.  He is the chief of service for House 5 at Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Center and also has his own private practice.  So, he speaks from experience when telling the story in his new book, A Circle of Souls, reviewed here.  Visit his website for more information about Preetham and the book.  You’ll also find links to his blogs.

I want to give special thanks to Preetham for being the first author of the male persuasion to agree to answer 9 questions on my blog.  He may have also tied with Carla Neggers for the quickest response time.  I think it took less than an hour for Preetham to send me his answers.  Without further fanfare…

1.  I love your novel A Circle of Souls.  Is it true that the idea for this story came in the aftermath of 9/11 and in what way?

It was a few months post 9/11, and I was looking at the biographies of the people who had lost their lives.  I began to wonder if there was a larger meaning to their lives.  Are we predestined to interact with each other in a certain way.  All of a sudden, a story flashed into my mind, and I quickly wrote it on a piece of paper.  I knew then that I needed to write a story that was larger than life.  It needed to communicate the essence that there is a bigger purpose and meaning to our passage on earth.

I knew that in order to capture and convey such a message, the book needed to be captivating, interesting, and thrilling.  I realized that a story based on the work I do would be the right place to begin.  I am a child psychiatrist and had just started a new job.  During my fellowship, I worked with children with numerous psychosocial issues and many life stories to tell.  It was at that moment that I decided I could write a book that would capture all these thoughts.  That was how A Circle of Souls was born.

2. I am impressed that this is your first novel!  What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Never to give up, was the best advice given to me.  I think being patient is very important.  In the end you have to do your half and hope that the other half will happen.

3. You work at a children’s psychiatric center, have a private practice, are working hard to promote your book, have several blogs, and are blessed with a family.  When do you find the time to write?

It is hard, I mostly write while driving (I don’t mean literally).  I get my ideas while driving to and fro from work and put them on paper when I get the chance at home.

4. You found the world of traditional publishing a challenging one.  What has your experience been like with Sweetwater Books?

It has been wonderful to work with and I am grateful to having met Cedar Fort.  They were very reassuring and have been easy to work with.  They designed such a great cover that fits the content of the book and taking into consideration what I had in mind.

5. Who or what inspires you?

To travel and see the world some day.  I think life is too short and there is so much to do.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

“The world is yours so turn it around,” is actually a dialogue line from the movie Scarface.  It had kept me going during some hard times in medical school.

7. What are you currently reading?

Terror by Joseph J Neuschatz M.D. and am looking forward to reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?

I would enjoy being Tintin, from The Adventures of Tintin.  This is a series of comic strips created by Belgian artist Herge.

9. And finallly, what are you working on now?

Hoping to start my next novel once I get this one on it’s own feet.  I thought writing was difficult only to find out marketing in even more challenging.

Thanks Preetham!  To enter to win an autographed copy of his book, click HERE.