The Very Best Reviews

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Nine-year old Olivia came to Lamy, New Mexico to visit me and see what all the magic was about. We gave her a tour of the 80 foot pine tree in our yard, the The Legal Tender Saloon, Michael's dining car, and of course Beecham's nearly endless train car.

THANK YOU, Olivia, for your visit, your imagination, and for loving our book! ❤️


Chicago, We're Coming For Ya!

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Soon ALL 200 of these books will be signed and on their way to Chicago. Then my lovely wife and I will meet up with said books in October. As guests of the Minard Guild these books will be rubbing elbows with fellow writers, craftspeople, thinkers, dreamers, do-ers ...

”Rachel has created unique and remarkable events attended by many industry leaders.,” a quote on the Minard Guild website says. “The atmosphere is always truly special and the conversations are intellectually invigorating and ‘out of the box.’ I always leave motivated with new perspectives and thought-provoking concepts.”

I am looking forward to it!

On the Occasion of Philomena’s Thirteenth Birthday

I hope you enjoy this special letter written for my daughter, who is my muse for now and ever more and inspiration for the main character in The Imagination Warriors.


Thirteen short years ago your mother and I welcomed you into our lives. You were the greatest blessing ever given. You have been and are now, the most joyous, loving, sensitive and generous SPIRIT I know. I learn from you everyday. On some unspoken level, I know you are aware of your unseen yet powerful past … the past that predates your arrival. You, my dear daughter, are the culmination of the dreams, aspirations, spirit and soul, the struggles, the collective wisdom, the challenges and the successes and hard won victories of your ancestors. Those that came before are forever connected to you by lineage are with you now. I feel it.

In the book I wrote for and about you, my inspiration, the intrepid Philomena will forever be 9 years old. She will be frozen in time and in our memories at that age, a fixed and finite entity. In real life, you continue to evolve in wondrous and necessary ways to prepare you for your future. Right now you are seeding the earth for the coming blossoming. You have been blessed with a strong body that will serve you well, fierce creative talents for music and performance and a true loving nature.

Fear not the future dearest Philomena, your path through this life will be long and it will wind around and around touching you and your loved ones in delicious and unexpected ways. The joyous surprises that await you will only unfold to their fullest when you surrender to the knowing. You are destined to walk a special path that only the aware can walk. Every second of your life, lived in the moment, transcends time, space and limitation, even physical limitation. You may summon your guides, your family, your angels, even your ancestors by simply calling for them … use them all for they are all around you and always will be there for you. I feel it.

Finally, the thing I really want to express to you is that I know your truest and best nature … the spirit that you authentically came into the world with. Never lose your essential and fundamental self even though life, sometimes conspires to chip away at it. Never lose that joyous child that revels in excitement and anticipation for things to come. Never lose your fearlessness of performance, it may be your greatest gift. Never lose your ability to feel things deeply for in that depth between joy and sorrow exist the full human experience…don’t miss it for fear of being hurt by it.

I love you more than life itself.

Your (now crying) daddy,

Marc

Maiden Voyage

The Edward Curtis photographic print that hangs above our claw foot tub always manages to cast  an inspirational spell over me every time I gaze at it. It's one of his most iconic images: a young Native American woman holding an oar in her right hand as she's standing along side her high walled canoe looking out at a body of water. That's the literal description anyway. For me, this historic photograph is a touchstone for the female lead character in my book, "The Imagination Warriors". I like to imbue the woman in the picture with a steely sense of courage and determination as she peers confidently into her future. She is on the precipice of a profound peregrination. The sense of adventure in the image is almost palpable to me. I want to pan Curtis's giant, heavy wooden camera to the left to see what the young woman is seeing. Is it an ocean or a lake? The vessel at her side will be her companion on her journey, just as she is a human vessel holding her precious wisdom, energy, youth and stamina.

I like beginnings. There is a fragile and excitable beauty in the newness of things. I envision Philomena, my nine year old girl character in my book, looking through the eyes of this young warrior woman, surveying the world of newness that awaits, pushing off into the vastness of the unknown.  

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Here's the Enthusiastic, Thumbs Up from Kirkus Reviews

“In Romanelli’s debut children’s novel, a young New Yorker and a talking feline go on a spiritual adventure.

Daisy May is a special cat. Not only can she talk, but she also has the gift of precognition. But although she leads a comfortable life in New York City, she feels unfulfilled. When her owner’s
9-year-old granddaughter, Philomena, invites her to come to Lamy, New Mexico, to investigate a mystery, the cat decides to put her psychic powers to good use. Philomena is an adventurous, independent child whose paleontologist father is often away from home. She’s been keeping watch on a painting of a Native American man that hangs in a Lamy saloon, whose details—such as the number of teepees in the background—have been changing. She takes Daisy May to meet her artist friend, Noshi, whose latest work, an image of a Native American princess, has been similarly mutable. Daisy May, Philomena, and Noshi declare themselves to be “Imagination Warriors,” and they find that they’re able to use the power of thought to enter Noshi’s painting; inside, they find conduits to other pictures and paths to other places and times. But will they ever figure out what’s going on with the pictures, and make their way home? Romanelli portrays a world full of wonder and plays up the characters’ embrace of imagination. Daisy May and Philomena are full of inquisitiveness, not skepticism, which will appeal to a middle-grade audience. Romanelli effectively portrays imagination as a means for dealing with problems, such as loneliness or the feeling of being tied down by circumstance. By switching the narrative’s perspective to secondary characters—including Rama, a talking llama—the author shows how imagination can spread like ripples on a pond. The dialogue’s tone is formal, rather than naturalistic, but the story moves quickly as characters investigate the mystery, which is only partially resolved. Indeed, the book turns dark and ends rather chaotically, setting up a potential sequel. Even so, young readers will likely be happy to tag along. Sawyer’s (The Cupcake Book , 2014, etc.) full-color illustrations are suitably hazy and fantastical.

A curious, free-wheeling read for inquiring young minds.”

You Have To See With Goodly Eyes

My 4 year old son just said this to me and it reminded me that I really need to write this stuff down before life's frenetic pace overwhelms everything truly important. "You Have to See With Goodly Eyes, Daddy", he said. I was struck by the absolute purity of it. Yes, of course you need "goodly eyes". Now having goodly eyes in a China classroom might get to sent to the head of school for a flagrant violation of school policy. You see, in some Chinese elementary schools that have been equipped with AI enabled surveillance, cameras are observing students expressions and if your face is doing something other than buried in the book da jour or some other accepted activity you're on notice to stop your antisocial behavior. Imagine if you are a 9 year old Chinese student and for a short period of time...and this doesn't take long, your mind wanders and contemplates something more that either the mandatory book you must read or the electro-luminescent tablet hard-wired to your brain and you get that , "goodly eyes" look on your face.

This student may be having an extraordinary epiphany. This student may be having a transcendent experience that is beyond the boundaries of sheep school under the all watching AI surveillance. China will eclipse the United States in rapid, breathless fashion, but they will kill something of essential, crucial importance. Keep those "goodly eyes" trained on the prize...and damn those AI surveillance cameras that don't have a clue about what's truly important.

The Deer and Receptive Creativity

I've begun to write Book Two of "The Imagination Warriors" and yet again the process is the "gift".

What do I mean?  I started writing about a Japanese grandfather named Soichiro (I've taken the name of the esteemed founder of the Honda Motor Company, now deceased). In Book Two, he and his granddaughter Ayami are traveling a winding and foggy mountain road outside of Hiroshima, Japan.

I felt that I needed an element...some kind of entity that would move the story in strange and unexpected ways right there on that foggy damp mountain road I'd envisioned them driving on. I stayed open and receptive to my immediate surroundings and eventually the answer came.  I know this sounds rather pseudo spiritual and maybe disingenuous, but seriously, two beautiful, elegant and ghostly deer wandered quietly into our large gravel parking lot at sunrise.  I had my element.  I stayed open to the world as it gifted me with an elegant solution.  Sometimes I feel that there are "talismans" everywhere pointing the way for us and we are just to damn dense to see them and then acknowledge them for what they really are.  Let's call it, "Receptive Creativity."  I know it sounds a little precious, but that's really what it is: an ability to be receptive creatively to your world and what enters it.  If indeed we are all organic hard drives of the highest order, with the quantum ability to  move beyond predictable 1's and 0's, why can't we assimilate non-linear data...or as I like to call it, simply "Imagination."

The ghostly deer stood statue still in the middle of the fog bound mountain road and did not  move at all as Ayami approached it.  It seemed to disappear in and out of the fog.  The deer speaks to the young Japanese girl about what is to come on their journey into the Bamboo Forest.  The arrival of the deer propelled my story, which is still being formed, in magical ways.

Here's to Receptive Creativity.