Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Review #7 and Blog Tour: THE DEVLIN DIARY by Christi Phillips

by Christi Phillips

Product Details:
Pocket, May 2009
Hardcover, 448 pages
ISBN-10: 1416527397
ISBN-13: 9781416527398

Description (from the publisher)

From the acclaimed author of The Rossetti Letter comes a dazzling novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge.

London, 1672. The past twelve years have brought momentous changes: the restoration of the monarchy, a devastating plague and fire. Yet the city remains a teeming, thriving metropolis, energized by the lusty decadence of Charles II's court and burgeoning scientific inquiry. Although women enjoy greater freedom, they are not allowed to practice medicine, a restriction that physician Hannah Devlin evades by treating patients that most other doctors shun: the city's poor.

But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Arlington desperately needs. At the king's Machiavellian court, Hannah attracts the attention of two men, charming courtier Ralph Montagu and anatomist Dr. Edward Strathern, as well as the attention of the powerful College of Physicians, which views her work as criminal. When two influential courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation by Dr. Strathern, who believes the murders conceal a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah's late father and the king himself.

Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan's dream come true -- until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor's unsolved murder is a seventeenth century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king's mistress. With help from the eclectic collections of Cambridge's renowned libraries, Claire and historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Devlin left behind, uncovering secrets of London's dark past and Cambridge's equally murky present, and discovering that events of three hundred years ago may still have consequences today....

A suspenseful and richly satisfying tale brimming with sharply observed historical detail, The Devlin Diary brings past and present to vivid life. With wit and grace, Christi Phillips holds readers spellbound with an extraordinary novel of secrets, obsession, and the haunting power of the past.

My rating: 4/5 Strongly recommended.

My thoughts:

Call me an Anglophile, but I love historical fiction set anywhere in the British Isles. So when I was offered the opportunity to read and review Christi Phillips new novel, THE DEVLIN DIARY, I jumped at the chance – and I’m glad I did! Remember that old commercial for Certs breath mints – “two, two, two mints in one!” Well, with THE DEVLIN DIARY, you get two, two, two books in one!

The first story, the historical one, is set in Restoration England. I haven’t read much about the reign of King Charles II, so it was fun to delve into some new-to-me history. I liked the main character, Hannah, immediately. She is an intelligent and knowledgeable woman living in a time when even those privileged few with access to the best education are hobbled by the limitations of contemporary scientific, philosophical, sociological, and religious thought. To work as a physician, Hannah must struggle against a tide of sexism and superstition.

The second story, that of Claire Donovan, is set in present day Cambridge at Trinity College. Maybe not surprisingly, she too is faced with an abundance of sexism as she settles in as a temporary lecturer amongst the almost all male faculty. Claire’s character was introduced in the author’s first novel, THE ROSSETTI LETTER, in which she meets historian Andrew Kent while conducting research in Italy for her PhD dissertation on the life of a Venetian courtesan. It is through that relationship that she lands such a coveted appointment at the prestigious and exclusive Trinity College. Unfortunately, the character of Claire always seems to be a bit out of her element. Granted, she's an American trying to fit in among the British (and that makes for some funny scenes and dialogue). However, for a research historian with a PhD under her belt, she comes across as a bit dense and, basically, often seems to be in over her head. She is likable, though -- perhaps she just needs more real-life experience. (Did I just say that about a fictional character?)

I do wish that I’d read THE ROSSETTI LETTER first. Don’t get me wrong, THE DEVLIN DIARY can be read as a stand alone novel, but I would have enjoyed “getting to know” Claire Donovan through reading about her experiences in that first case rather than being “brought up to date” in her second. I think that when I do read the first novel (and I will!), I’ll miss some of the fun of discovery. If you haven’t already read THE ROSSETTI LETTER, and if you have any inclination to do so, I would definitely recommend that you read that book first.

All in all, THE DEVLIN DIARY is a wonderful read. There’s plenty of interesting period detail worked skillfully into the narrative of the historical sections. The scenes are vividly drawn and atmospheric - you won’t forget that the narrow little streets are either cobblestone or mud! The murder mystery aspects are compellingly intricate, and the characters engaging and complex. While I somewhat preferred the historical sections of the novel over the present day sections, I'm looking forward to whatever intrigue Claire Donovan stumbles upon next!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Pocket Books for my review copy.

About the Author: Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favorite things: old books, libraries, and travel. When she’s not rummaging around in an archive or exploring the historic heart of a European city, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is at work on her next novel, set in France.


Simon & Schuster has a lovely multimedia website where you can:

Read an interview with Christi Phillips.

Watch a short video

Access the Reading Group Guide.

Read an Excerpt: Chapter 1

Check out what these other bloggers on the tour have to say:

S. Krishna’s Books
All About {n}
Jenn’s Bookshelf
Beth Fish Reads
Booking Mama
The Literate Housewife Review
Book Soulmates
Chick With Books
Gimme More Books
We Be Reading
Book Bird Dog
Bookin’ with “BINGO”
My Friend Amy
Books and Needlepoint
A Working Title
Must Read Faster
Shhh I’m Reading
Debbie’s World of Books
The Tome Traveller’s Weblog
Write for a Reader
I Heart Monster
Pick of the Literate
Kingdom Books Blog
Drey’s Library
The Jaydit Reader
A Book Bloggers Diary

Mailbox Monday - June 29, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Don't be fooled by that sweet, innocent-looking mailbox on the left. It's been conjuring up some dangerous packages that are hot HOT HOT ! Most of these books were received as contest wins, but some I requested, and others I accepted for review. This windfall has caused me to hit the breaks for a little bit though. I've actually begun to ignore offers for free ARCs and turn down review requests -- something I couldn't imagine doing a year ago! These books arrived over the last 2-3 weeks -- I just haven't been able to do a post every Monday. (Frankly, with all of these to read, how will I ever post again?!)

THE HERETIC QUEEN by Michelle Moran

A signed hardcover - a thrilling win from Royal Reviews.
Thank you, Your Royal Highnesses!

ROYAL BLOOD by Rona Sharon

A equally thrilling signed win from
Passages to the Past


For review from the author - and my current HOT read!

THE LIE by Fredrica Wagman

For review, from the author.

THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews

A win from
Bookfan Mary.


A win from
Morbid Romantic.


A win from Random House Reader's Circle Newsletter.


A win from
St. Martin's Reading Group Gold.


An ARC for review from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.





TRANSPARENCY by Frances Hwang


A win from All About {n}.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Available early July.

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales is an audiobook benefiting children orphaned and impacted by HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Featuring Gillian Anderson, Benjamin Bratt, LeVar Burton, Ricardo Chavira, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Debra Messing, Helen Mirren, Parminder Nagra, Sophie Okonedo, CCH Pounder, Alan Rickman, Jurnee Smollett, Charlize Theron, Blair Underwood, Forest Whitaker and Alfre Woodard with a special message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Original Music by South African legends by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela.

Directed by Alfre Woodard.

The audiobook was a truly international affair recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Johannesburg.

The stories were chosen by the Nobel Laureate himself, from every region of Africa.

Please visit: for more information and to listen to fabulous clips from the audiobook.

The site also features activities for kids that you can download for endless hours of fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Case of the Blushing Blogger . . .

Over the last few weeks I have been fortunate in receiving several beautiful, inspiring, and just plain fun awards. I've been so swamped, I haven't been able to create a nice post to express my appreciation and to pass them along. But I hadn't forgotten and, so, my next 3 posts are really all about being a part of this wonderful book blogging community! For that, I am truly grateful.

Awards: No. 1 Blogger and Let's Be Friends

Marie of The Boston Bibliophile was kind enough to send my way the following two awards. Thank you, Marie!

Naida of The Bookworm created the award, and made this adorable button with a picture of her dog wearing one of her own hand-crocheted creations. Isn't he sweet?

Blogs that received the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

I'd like to share these awards with the bloggers of the following blogs:

Enroute to Life

Bookish Ruth

A Circle of Books

Pam's Perspectives

Radiant Light

Award: True Fairy Tale Award

Wanda of A Season to Read sent me this beautiful award saying that something tells her I am a daydream believer. Wanda, you are so right! It must be in my blood - Rhode Island's state motto is "Hope." Thank you for sharing this beautiful award!

The award is for the hopes that one day all your dreams will come true!!
Because we all are still Cinderella's at heart!

TuTu's Two Cents

Starting Fresh

The Maiden's Court

The Curious Reader

Royal Reviews

Award: Literary Blogger Award

Many thanks to Missy of Missy's Book Nook and Wisteria of Bookworm's Dinner for presenting me with The Literary Blogger Award. I'm honored to be a recipient of this beautiful award, and I hope my blogging efforts will someday be worthy of it!

The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading!

The Rules:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I am pleased to pass this award on to:

Donura Reads


Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of

The Book Mine Set

Bella is reading . . .

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Favorite Reads #3: THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR by Anne Rivers Siddons

by Anne Rivers Siddons

From the jacket flap (Stephen King Horror Library edition):

The house next door to Colquitt and Walter Kennedy is haunted by an all-pervasive evil – an evil that takes away whatever the occupants hold dearest. The Kennedys are about to become witnesses to an overwhelming force that will strip away the veneer of the civilized Atlanta suburb that surrounds and protects them.

A stunning feat of architectural imagination and skill, the house is built for the Harralsons – newly married, rich, and expecting a baby. They become the first victims of an all-engulfing force they cannot comprehend. But the tragedy of the Harralsons is only the beginning, for the fabric of the Kennedys' lives is also ripped apart. And when the Sheehans move in next door, the house destroys them too. But it is from the Greenes that it will take the ultimate prize.

The Kennedys alone understand the subtle, awful toll the house extracts. Their warnings go unheeded, their fears are dismissed, and it seems that if they are to survive they must themselves destroy the house. But it is something more than they know, this extraordinary evil, and they must either be embraced by it or die.

In his Introduction to this exclusive Stephen King Horror Library edition, Stephen King favorably compares author Anne Rivers Siddons to the long tradition of Southern gothic writers who came before her: “The stuff underneath, the stuff which makes the heart of this novel pulse with such tremendous crude strength, is the Old South.”

Why I Chose This Book:

Reason #1: I loved this book.

Reason #2: The Introduction to this edition is written by Stephen King.

Reason #3: I bought this book on the "recommendation" of Stephen King.

Reason #4: I thought it would be fun to feature a different side of Anne Rivers Siddons, especially since I'm currently hosting a giveaway for her book, OFF SEASON. First published in 1978, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR is classic Southern Gothic.

Reason #5: I think Stephen King liked it.

Click here to read an excerpt from Chapter One . . . If you dare . . .

About the author (from the publisher):
Anne Rivers Siddons was born in a small railroad town just south of Atlanta, where her family has lived for six generations. She attended Auburn University and later joined the staff of Atlanta magazine. Her first novel, Heartbreak Hotel, a story of her college days at Auburn, was later made into a movie called Heart of Dixie, starring Ally Sheedy. Since then she has written fifteen more novels, many of which have been bestsellers. Recently, a movie version of her later novel The House Next Door was aired on LifeTime Network. Ms. Siddons now divides her time between Atlanta and Brooklin, Maine.

Alyce of At Home with Books hosts a weekly feature spotlighting favorite reads from pre-blogging days. Because it's been a while since the books were read, these posts are not reviews per se, but rather impressionistic remembrances of a positive reading experience. I think of this feature as an opportunity to more deeply explore the range of my reading interests and those of other book bloggers and readers of book blogs outside of the current crop of new releases.

Do you have an old favorite that you'd like to share?

Giveaway: OFF SEASON by Anne Rivers Siddons

Rules for entering this giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

Hachette Book Group is doing its best to keep us all reading this summer.

They have authorized me to give away five (5) copies of this "stunning tale of love and loss."

Anne Rivers Siddon

Description (from the publisher):
For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly--happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story loss. After Cam's death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam's favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past--to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety-- to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

Click the links below for an interview, excerpt, and more!

Interview with Anne Rivers Siddons

Official Website of Anne Rivers Siddons

Reading Group Guide

Read an Excerpt

Listen to an Excerpt

Download Podcast


• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com.

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry.

• Stumble this blog, digg it, or technorati fave it and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to PO Boxes.

Deadline for entry is 12:00 midnight Wednesday, July 15, 2009 EST.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Valerie
at Hachette Book Group
for making this giveaway possible.


This contest is now closed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: HALF-MINUTE HORRORS

In a crowded theater, no one can hear your screams . . .

Various Authors

Imprint: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780061833793
ISBN10: 0061833797
On Sale: 8/25/2009
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Ages: 10 and Up

Book Description (from the publisher):

How scared can you get in only 30 seconds? Dare to find out with Half-Minute Horrors, a collection of deliciously terrifying short short tales and creepy illustrations by an exceptional selection of writers and illustrators, including bestselling talents Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, R.L.Stine, Faye Kellerman, Holly Black, Melissa Marr, Margaret Atwood, Jon Scieszka, Brett Helquist, and many more. With royalties benefiting First Book, a not-for-profit organization that brings books to children in need, this is an anthology worth devouring. So grab a flashlight, set the timer, and get ready for instant chills!
So glad I fall into the "10 and Up" category!!
While tracking down information on this book, I came across this mysterious blog. You might want to check it out, too.

is hosted by
Jill from Breaking the Spine.

What are you waiting for?

Giveaway: JULIE & JULIA by Julie Powell

by Julie Powell

Edition:Media tie-in
Publish Date:7/1/2009
Size:5-1/2" x 8-1/4

About the book (from the publisher):
Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film version is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.

Sound good? Come on, you KNOW you want this one! And thanks to the wonderful folks at Hachette Book Group, you could win one of five copies that I'll be giving away.


• Leave a comment on this post telling me you would like to win. Include an email address with your comment so that I can contact you if you do win. Use a spam-thwarting format such as geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com or geebee.reads [at] gmail [dot] com.

You must leave an email address in order to qualify. If I can't contact you, you can't win!

• You can earn an extra entry by being or becoming a Follower or Subscriber of this blog and telling me about it in a separate comment.

• Blog about this contest and provide me with the link to the post in a separate comment, and I'll give you yet another entry.

• Tweeting about this contest and providing me the link in a separate comment will get you one more entry.

• Stumble this blog, digg it, or technorati fave it and leave a separate comment for another entry.

• Winners must provide a U.S. or Canadian street address. Hachette is unable to deliver to PO Boxes.

• Deadline for entry is 12:00 midnight Friday, July 10, 2009 EST.

• Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my email announcing that they have won; if I don't hear from a winner, I will draw another name.

Thank you to Anna at Hachette Book Group for making this giveaway possible.


Winners of THE LINK: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor by Colin Tudge

and, the winners are . . .

Cheryl S.

The winners have all been contacted and responded.

If you didn't win but would like to read an excerpt, click here.
Thank you to everyone who visited A Sea of Books and everyone who entered the contest.

Be sure and check back often for new giveaways.

Thank you Hachette Book Group for sponsoring this contest.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Virtual Blog Tour Day 3: WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes

Welcome to Day 3 of the Virtual Blog Tour for WOMEN OF WISDOM: EMPOWERING THE DREAMS AND SPIRITS OF WOMEN by Kris Steinnes.

On Sunday, I posted a summary of the book and information on the Women of Wisdom Foundation.

Monday's post included excerpts from two chapters.

Today, I am featuring a book review and interview with the author, Kris Steinnes, conducted by Jonnie Gilman-Klohewhich and which originally appeared on The Natural Choice website.

Information on ordering your own copy of this inspirational book on self-empowerment for women is located at the bottom of this post.
The following book review and interview originally appeared on The Natural Choice website.


A Book Review and Interview with Author Kris Steinnes, Founder, Women of Wisdom Foundation

By Jonnie Gilman-Klohe

The Women of Wisdom conference was inspired in 1992 by a vision Kris had of gathering women together to learn from diverse women leaders and their stories, While serving on the board of directors of Seattle Unity Church, she was given the opportunity to establish a committee of women to create the first conference of its kind, a week-long event for women. It was a great success with over 500 attendees and 24 individual events. The spirit and desire of women to gather was so evident that very first year that it was quickly decided to make the conference an annual event, and it has continued to grow and gather momentum each year. This is a special Pacific Northwest event and now women from around the country are beginning to attend as word spreads of its transformative and spirit filled energy.

Kris Steinnes' new book Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women chronicles the "herstory" of the well known conference. Since 1993 WOW has brought together women leaders from many fields to share their experiences in workshops and talks. The book is an inspiring collection of keynote presentations from Women of Wisdom between 1995 and 2006, filled with stories, art, poetry and songs by Women of Wisdom participants. Contributors include such illumanaries as Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Marion Woodman, Ph.D., Judith Orloff, M.D., Isabel Allende, Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., Riane Eisier, Frances Moore Lappé, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Brooke Medicine-Eagle, Nicki Scully and with a forward written by author Jean Houston, Ph.D.

I attended the conference in 1999 and can attest to the high level of energy and excitement I found there. When I chanced to meet Kris Steinnes at a recent meeting of the Seattle Holistic Chamber of Commerce, I leap at the chance to review her new book and interview her, recognizing her importance as a consciousness activist and appreciating the scope of her work. My appreciation grew as I read her book.

Women of Wisdom: Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women succeeds in immersing the reader into the WOW experience. Poems, drawings and stories weave a tapestry of a different women's experiences and awareness. Though the diversity of voices we hear a common chord resounding with the creative joy of the Divine Feminine and its appeal to embrace the beauty of the planet, ourselves, and the gift of our embodied existence.

Far from being militantly separatist is its feminism, the over arching WOW philosophy seeks to promote healing through transcending polarizing stances towards unity consciousness achieved through the feminine. Men are welcomed to participate in genuine partnership toward a shared vision of responsibility for personal and planetary health.

Many gems are in the book, many insights. One of my favorites come from author and activist Frances Moore Lappé known for her ground breaking book Diet For A Small Planet and cofounder of Food First and Center for Living Democracy:

"What is our doubt? What keeps us trapped in fear? Our culture tells us of course we can't trust the power of love, the desire for cooperation. So I was just tickled to recently read studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georga, where scientists had examined the MRI pictures of people participating in the prisoner's dilemma simulation game. This game tests whether "partners in crime" will trust each other to remain loyal, or betray each other for personal gain. The scientists discovered that when people were cooperating, when people were working together, that pleasure centers in the brain lit up! These are the same parts that light up when we eat chocolate. The scientists said, "Wow, this is really surprising. We're wired to cooperate." Of course we couldn't have made it this far if we weren't fundamentally cooperators. I just love it that scientists are catching on."

Through a mutually arrived at email interview process Kris Steinnes graciously offered to answer some questions that were sparked in my mind as I read her book:
In the past 15 years Women of Wisdom has held conferences and hosted many powerful and influential woman leaders and speakers. What mpact do you feel WOW has had on the woman's movement-locally, nationally, internationally?

We've had mostly local impact, although we are known around the country - I meet people in California who have heard of us, which makes me happy. Most people who attend are from the Pacific Northwest.

Regarding how we've impacted the woman's movement, I think it happens through women's individual experiences. People come away from the conference feeling uplifted and inspired to make changes in their lives. When we feel supported and make change inside ourselves, it's going to affect our outside world, and affect society and women in general. I feel that as women are valued and empowered for who they are, it helps women move forward into important positions and make an impact on other women. It builds on itself. We need women role models. One aspect I've witnessed is women stepping into leadership within the WOW community and I've seen them grow over the years.

There's also a spiritual component at WOW that's contributed to a more holistic women's movement - and that was missing before. The woman's movement of the 60's was a great foundation and moved women into new jobs, and freed them from the stereotypical women's roles. But some women now are finding that corporate life misses something, and Women of Wisdom provides the spiritual component that feeds them, gives them strength and support so that they can lead a more full life, and bring more of themselves to their work. When we get exhausted it's hard to carry out what we've been called to do. But as we take care of our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual bodies, we replenish ourselves so that we're not drained and exhausted by our work, whether it's in the home or in a business world.
The name "Women of Wisdom" evokes the Crone, the older woman who has gained experience and awareness in her lifetime. Most of the presenters and many of the conference participants are middle aged and older women. How does Women of Wisdom keep itself relevant to the concerns of younger women and appeal to them?
We have wanted to attract younger women--we've had a teen program in the past. WOW is open to all ages, and we noticed that this last year there were several young people at the conference. Still, right now our main audience is the 35 - 75+ age group. I think that many women begin to search spiritually and become introspective as they grow older. But we do want to empower and mentor young women. Mentoring has happened naturally within our council, (WOW's board of directors) where we've had young women and been mentors to them. And we've discussed how we can connect more with the younger generation--we'd love to be more multigenerational. So we need to go where young women are and learn more about the issues that are important to them. We're still working on this.
There is a commonly accepted idea that in order to succeed in business, politics, or academia, woman need to "act like men." Is there a different kind of leadership the Women of Wisdom espouses? What is that model?

We've created a circle leadership model, based on the Peerspirit model from Christina Baldwin's book, Calling the Circle. Rather than having one main leader, such as a president of the board, we share the leadership, rotate responsibilities and work in consensus. We each have our gifts and mentor each other. For instance, if I'm good at creating programs and organizing conferences I share my knowledge and try to pass that on to others, either through example, mentoring or giving a training. Circle leadership acknowledges everyone's gifts, so we rotate in and out as leaders. If we're having a discussion about marketing, the person with marketing experience may lead that discussion, and the financial person will lead us in finances. But each person in the circle has a voice in the decisions and is allowed to speak.

I agree that women have learned how to act like men in the corporate world or politics. They've had to do that since the feminine model isn't accepted, but from what I've seen it doesn't work very well. The feminine can offer a lot to those worlds if women--and men--would honor it. Taking on a masculine way of leading, which can be more forceful, top-down, and competitive, rather than inclusive and cooperative, isn't innate for most women. So when a woman takes that route she usually isn't respected as a boss, because she may not be leading from her real strengths. On the other hand, if she tries to bring in a feminine model, she might be dismissed as weak or incompetent. So women can get stuck in the middle, feeling pressure to be more "masculine" in order to advance, but not succeeding because their true style of leadership is different.

When we heal as women we can feel confident in our female modality and know we have something to offer. More and more women are making this choice, and now often they're choosing to leave the corporate world and start their own business so that they can be who they are.
In the epilogue of your book you state: "Our vision is beginning to shift from empowering the dreams and spirit of women to helping women embody their dreams and spirit. We realize that we now need to focus on embodiment -fully supporting women to be powerful women and leaders." How you envision Women of Wisdom facilitating this change of focus and direction?

I think we're shifting from simply giving women the tools to change, to inviting and providing opportunities for women to really live out their dreams and spirit, and express themselves as leaders. So it's not just training, but acknowledging and honoring what skills and gifts they have. It's knowing that the person, the leader, you want to be, is already inside you--inside all of us --and supporting that.

We want to ask women to be the leaders and cocreators in our world, not to step back and let others do it. Many women tend to be passive and let others take action. The time is now for all of us to contribute our gifts, not look for the leader to step forward, know that we are the leaders to come. When you see something that needs to be done, perhaps see that as that's your thing to do. When you bring an idea to a group, do you expect someone else to make it a reality? Smart groups say. "that's great, when would you like to start that?" Acknowledge that if you have an idea, it's the universe telling you to do it, not pass it on to others.

Also, I think we have to expand our view of leadership beyond what we normally think of--the one strong person making all the decisions. There are multiple ways to lead--they may not all be extremely visible, but they can still make an impact. You can lead by example, inviting others to join you, and you don't have to do it by yourself. You can do it as part of team and a circle.
How do you define "the Divine Feminine" and "Women's Spirituality"? What distinguishes it from "Men's Spirituality" or human spirituality in general?

The Divine Feminine is very diverse. It can be hard to describe because it is more intuitive--something you know but can't necessarily express in words. But I would say that it's main difference from a strictly masculine spirituality is that it honors females and children, and honors everyone's voices and emotions. Women's spirituality has to do with birth, creating peaceful solutions--the process is different and not so linear, but more intuitive. It's holistic. There's an acknowledgment that the body is sacred and not just the mind, which is the case with a lot of patriarchal religions that devalue the body.
In this critical time of war, economic recession, ecological crisis and food shortages, there are those who might consider a focus on women's consciousness raising and women's spirituality to be self indulgent. How do you respond to such criticism?

Given the situation we're in, it's more critical that women raise their consciousness and spirit to step into leadership to be part of the process of creating solutions. When we're working for the majority of people on the earth to be honored and respected, it's hardly self indulgent. As each o f one of us heals and grows, it impacts others so they can develop their potential and become more conscious of what is needed on our earth.

If the feminine was in balance on the earth plane, perhaps we wouldn't be at war, we'd be taking care of Mother Earth, and making sure all people were fed. We'd be talking, dialoguing for solutions rather than thinking our way is the only way and fighting to preserve our way. We'd have creative ways to resolve problems. It's not self indulgent to want a balance of the feminine, to feel heard and be an equal partner with the powers that control these things - war, economics, environmental issues, food, taking care of children. Our country has less women represented in government than some other western countries, and our record for taking care of the health of our children is lower than many western countries. If women were more represented in government, more focus would be put towards issues like these that will help everyone, particularly women and children. And if they are taken care of, men will benefit as well.

The foregoing book review and interview originally appeared on The Natural Choice website.
To learn more about Kris Steinnes and her new book WOMEN OF WISDOM:EMPOWERING THE DREAMS AND SPIRIT OF WOMEN, as well as the Women of Wisdom conference, visit

Ordering Information:
Women of Wisdom by Kris Steinnes, is being offered beginning on June 23rd, 2009 at 12:01 am. We invite you to go to this page - - to access the order page and then go back to this page and enter your order confirmation code and your email address. That will take you to the sign up page for the Women of Wisdom enewsletter, once you join the WOW book group you will be sent an email with a link to the bonus gifts that are available to people who buy the book on June 23rd. You can later opt out of being on the Women of Wisdom newsletter list if you choose.

This virtual blog tour is organized by
Promo 101 - Virtual Blog Tours

Monday, June 22, 2009

Virtual Blog Tour Day 2: WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes

Welcome to Day 2 of the blog tour of WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes. Yesterday I posted a general summary of the book and information about the author and the Women of Wisdom Foundation. Today you can read excerpts from two chapters. Tomorrow, I'll be featuring an interview with Kris Steinnes conducted by by Jonnie Gilman-Klohe of The Natural Choice website.

Information for ordering this inspirational book about women's self-empowerment is printed at the bottom of this post.

Chapter Excerpt:

Have You Put Your Dreams On Hold?
Angeles Arrien

Each one of us has a great dream and a great calling. Many of us have put our dreams on the back burner. We say, “Someday when I have enough time, when I have enough money; then I’ll do what I really want to do, what has fire for me.” At this time there is such a wonderful opening in history, in evolution, if we will just come and take our place.

What I’ve found among many of the indigenous peoples of the world is that they know how important it is to bring our medicine and our dreams to this world. If we want the earth to get better we need to show up and take our place, not with our shrouds of insufficiency, but with our long tall bodies and our deep, deep roots. The warrior’s way or the leader’s way is to show up. And then I can pay attention to what has heart and meaning, which is the healer’s way. I can’t know what has heart or meaning until I choose to show up, until I choose to be present.

Among the shamanic traditions of the world, if you go to a shaman or a medicine person, and you are dispirited, disheartened, or depressed, many of them will ask you one of four questions: “When in your life did you stop singing? When in your life did you stop dancing? When in your life did you stop being enchanted by stories, and particularly your own life story? And when in your life did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?”

Wherever we stop singing, dancing, being enchanted by stories or deeply comforted by silence, we begin to experience soul loss. There’s not a culture in the world that does not have song, or dance, or story, or doesn’t recognize that in the sweet territory of silence we connect to the mystery in our contemplative and reflective practices.

I know I’m not at home when I’m in appeasement, weak-heartedness, seduction, drama or exaggeration. I know I’m not at home when I am playing the martyr or the victim and wanting someone else to be responsible for my life and therefore guilt induce others. I’m not at home when I’m controlling, because the opposite of control is trust.

I am at home when I have fire; when I am deeply connected to what has heart and meaning, the heart’s fire; when I’m seized by a vision that I want to manifest and bring to the sweet face of Mother Earth. I know I’m on fire when I’ve lost time through some creativity, and when I’ve experienced a moment of tender sweetness and intimacy in a relationship that has substance and depth. I know I’m on fire when I’ve connected to something numinous and extraordinarily beautiful that can only be found when trusting in an unshakable part of myself, in a sacred refuge that I can find in my deep interior.

Angeles Arrien is a cultural anthropologist, award-winning author, educator, and consultant to many organizations and businesses. She lectures and conducts workshops worldwide, bridging cultural anthropology, psychology, and comparative religions. Her work is currently used in medical, academic, and corporate environments. Angeles is the President of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. Her books, including The Four-Fold Way, The Signs of Life, and The Second Half of Life, have been translated into nine languages, and she has received three honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of her work.


Chapter Excerpt:

The Millionth Circle: Transforming Ourselves and the World
Jean Shinoda Bolen

If we are ever to have a post patriarchal world, it will begin in the United States, and it will begin with the generation of women over 50. There has never, in the history of the world, been such a generation of women in numbers or potential. There are over thirty million of us, who, thanks to the women’s movement, medical advances, and reproductive choice, have had opportunities, access to resources, education, travel, a range of know-how, and connections with each other and to others in the world. Each of us may have two or three active decades in which to make a difference. The fate of our planet also hinges on what humanity does—or what women individually and collectively can and will do, in this same short span of time.

It’s our turn. If we do not make it into a post-patriarchal world, then we will have failed. That’s really the message that I have felt in my bones. We have been under patriarchy for four thousand years—from the time history has been written—and it is time for the circle. Patriarchy is about hierarchy. It is a structure that enforces and expresses authority and power. In contrast, the circle is egalitarian and collaborative. To have a place in the hierarchy is about persona, often about posturing and the need to be aggressive. To seek power over others doesn’t nourish the soul.

Male leadership cannot change the fundamentals of masculine hierarchy. For there to be a balanced world where those without power matter, empowered women such as we can be, need to speak for the children, women, animals, and for our beautiful planet itself. Women’s wisdom, experience and compassion are missing when decisions that affect us all are made.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, is a Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and internationally known lecturer and workshop leader. She is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, and author of the best-selling books The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Everywoman, The Tao of Psychology, Gods in Everyman, Crossing to Avalon, Ring of Power, Close to the Bone, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don’t Whine and Urgent Message From Mother, as well as Gather the Women, Save the World. She has been an advocate for women, women’s issues, and ethics in psychiatry; is a former board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.


Ordering Information:

Women of Wisdom by Kris Steinnes, is being offered beginning on June 23rd, 2009 at 12:01 am. We invite you to go to this page - - to access the order page and then go back to this page to access the bonus page. On the Exclusive Private Invite page, enter your order confirmation code. That will allow you to gain entry to the bonus gifts that are available to people who buy the book on June 23rd.

This virtual blog tour is organized by
Promo 101 - Virtual Blog Tours

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Virtual Blog Tour: WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes

Are you a woman looking for self-empowerment, personal transformation, motivational and inspirational stories? Today, tomorrow, and Tuesday, A Sea of Books is participating in the Virtual Blog Tour of WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes. Today you can read generally about the the book, the author, and the organization. Tomorrow I will post excerpts from the following chapters: Have You Put Your Dreams On Hold? and Millionth Circle: Transforming Ourselves and the World. On Tuesday, I'll post an interview with author Kris Steinnes. On each of these three days you will find information about ordering the book on Tuesday, June 23rd.

WOMEN OF WISDOM by Kris Steinnes

Book Summary:

Women of Wisdom is a journey through sixteen years of one of the largest women’s spirituality conferences in the world, a very unique conference that has impacted thousands of women’s lives. Authors Jean Houston and Margot Anand both exclaimed separately to me – “Kris there is nothing like this in the world” – and they have traveled around the world. The book will continue to impact women, as they experience the wisdom and gifts of the sixty contributors in the book.

The Women of Wisdom book gives women access to powerful, inspiring women leaders and their message for women to step into their power, own their feminine gifts, and learn to speak their truths. WOW provides role models who will inspire women to discover their dreams and their purpose.

Additionally the book shares stories from women whose lives have been changed by experiencing these women’s messages. Evocative art, poetry and experiential exercises enhance the book’s message, providing diverse ways to experience the spirit of the feminine.

Included in the book is my own story of how I started Women of Wisdom, which has been an empowering story for women to hear. My story began with reading The Feminine Face of God, by Patricia Hopkins and Sherry Anderson. Shortly afterwards I had a vision of bringing these spiritual women leaders to Seattle. And I immediately set that in motion at Seattle Unity Church, where I was a board member.

I realized this was something more than just a conference when I welcomed people at the first night of the conference, February 11, 1993, and I stated “Welcome to the First Annual Women of Wisdom Conference.” It has become a movement for women to come together in community and explore their potential, and to honor and support one another. This conference has continued to grow and be strong for seventeen years now and that is a testimony to the power of the vision, and the importance of women realizing the value of their unique gifts to share with the world.

In 1998 I realized I had a wealth of material in the tapes of the talks from these nationally known best selling authors and that they would make a great book. I had a dream to share this with other women. I would get phone calls and emails from women asking me if there was an organization like WOW in their city. Not everyone has the luxury to travel to conferences and experience life changing conferences and this book will provide that opportunity to many women.

In addition, the powerful women who participated at the conference in different ways – artists, musicians, writers, local presenters and WOW leaders – would contribute to make this book a holistic experience of exploring the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of being a woman, giving the reader the full conference experience.

The women’s movement has led women to evolve to such heights as running for the presidency of the United States. However in workshops I have given women have shared how isolated they feel. They don’t feel honored in society for their feminine gifts and how they don’t feel comfortable or safe speaking what they feel, what’s inside their hearts, whether it be in the workplace, home or other. In sharing women’s stories in the book, women will relate to their experiences and gain strength and support through the validation of the feminine that is expressed in the book.

Many of the authors in the book share how there is a lack of balance of the feminine in our world, and how we’re at a critical time where women need to become equal partners towards creating the solutions to the many crisis facing our globe. Jean Houston shares her experience of Women of Wisdom in the foreword of the book:

“Women of Wisdom is in the forefront of the biggest change in human history – the only change that will assure our continuity as a species. Those who organize and participate in the Women of Wisdom experience, know that for a new world to be born we have to bring a new mind to bear. Critical to this is the rich mind style of women that has been gestating in the womb of preparatory time, lo, these many millennia. In their ebullient and evocative conferences WOW demonstrates a tremendous change in who we are and how we do things.”

”Playing their part to usher in feminine mind, WOW emphasizes process rather than just product, and making things cohere, relate, and grow. Cultures in which the feminine archetype is powerful are almost always non-heroic, they tend to make things work together, each piece has its part to play.”

“Men and women will be released from the old polarities of gender that force them into limited and limiting roles, and qualities of intelligence will be added to the human mind-pool that will render most previous problem solving obsolete. Linear, sequential solutions will yield to the knowing that comes from seeing things in whole gestalts, in constellations, rather than in discrete fact…. And it will ring an ecological ethic, along with a new partnership between men and women, in which the human acts in concert and in partnership with Nature to bring about more symbiotic ecological relationships.”

Ordering Information:
Women of Wisdom by Kris Steinnes, is being offered beginning on June 23rd, 2009 at 12:01 am. We invite you to go to this page - - to access the order page and then go back to this page to access the bonus page. On the Exclusive Private Invite page, enter your order confirmation code. That will allow you to gain entry to the bonus gifts that are available to people who buy the book on June 23rd.

About the author:

Kris Steinnes is the founder of the Women of Wisdom Foundation. In 1992 it was Kris’ vision to have a gathering of diverse women leaders from around the country come together to showcase the power of spiritual women. The first year was a great success with over 500 attendees and 24 individual events. Even in its first year, there were five major presenters including best selling authors Vicki Noble and Luisah Teish.
Now in its 18th year, over 20,000 women have attended this annual conference, which has boasted over 90 events during the conference week. Kris has been able to attract such best selling authors such as Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Jeanne Achterberg, Ph.D., Iyanla Vanzant, Angela Davis, Marion Woodman, Ph.D., Isabel Allende, Gabrielle Roth, Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., Judith Orloff and Jean Houston and more to speak and share at this special conference.

Through her experience in leading Women of Wisdom, Kris has become a leader in the women’s spirituality movement in her own right, and her award-winning book, a compilation of the women’s wisdom from the many years of the conference sells to and inspires women across the country.

Kris is also a minister and meditation teacher. Her Circle Leadership model, developed as she worked on Women of Wisdom, draws on each group member's individual leadership strengths and knowledge to foster community-based decision-making. Kris was honored for her many years of work in the Seattle community at the Women’s Empowerment Summit, June 2009.
Kris’ personal mission is to improve the status of women around the world and to bring feminine consciousness forward so women can become leaders of their own life. She intends to write more books to meet this need for the wisdom of women to take center stage in these challenging times.

About the Women of Wisdom Foundation

Women of Wisdom is a non-profit organization for the empowerment of women through programs that offer healing, spiritual awareness, personal development and community. WOW celebrates the sacred feminine and is creating a new paradigm through a circle structure of shared leadership.

Who Are We?

We are an internationally recognized organization that provides diverse and innovative programs offering women opportunities for personal growth and transformation. We are committed to creating a safe and supportive environment where all will feel welcome to pursue healing and growth. By deepening spiritual awareness, Women of Wisdom serves to empower the lives of others.

How We Began

The founder of Women of Wisdom Foundation is Kris Steinnes, who in 1992 had a vision of gathering women together to learn from diverse women leaders and their stories from around the country. At the time, Ms. Steinnes was on the Board of Directors at Seattle Unity Church, a non-denominational congregation, where she was given the freedom to establish a committee of women to create the first conference of its kind, a week-long event for women. The first year was a success with over 500 attendees and 24 individual events. The spirit and desire of women to gather was so evident that very first year that it was quickly decided to make the conference an annual event, and it has continued to grow and gather momentum each year. Now in its 9th year, over 3,000 women benefit from this conference; over 90 events are sponsored during the week and it continues to grow every year. This is a special Pacific Northwest event and now women from around the country are beginning to attend as word spreads of its transformative and spirit filled energy.

In 1998 Women of Wisdom spun off from Seattle Unity Church and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, newly named the Women of Wisdom Foundation. In 1999 Women of Wisdom Foundation moved into their first center, a house in the Greenwood neighborhood of north Seattle, which serves as our administrative offices. Here staff and volunteers come to share their talents and skills to create and manage our programs. Although the center is small, workshops and classes are also delivered from that location. In addition to sponsoring our annual conference, our programs have enlarged to be year round, so that women can continue their desire for personal growth and seek community and support with other women.

We have been fortunate to bring many wonderful speakers to Seattle, including Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., Jeanne Achterberg, Ph.D., Iyanla Vanzant, Angela Davis, Marion Woodman, Ph.D., Isabel Allende, Gabrielle Roth, Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., and many more. Many of these women will be on our board of advisors.

Our vision is to create a multi-purpose women's center, incorporating a healing center for women, a counseling center, art center, women’s store and tea house. We also desire to increase our support for women by providing a Women's Resource Guide, a publishing firm for women, a speaker's bureau, support for women artists and other innovative programs that empower women to actualize their dreams.

What Women Have to Say about WOW

What an incredible event you have created! Changing women’s lives is HAPPENING, Propelled along by a blast of spiritual energy gathered at the conference. These life changes are deep and full of exciting potential for the GREATNESS of women as a whole. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Starfeather, owner Starfeather’s Gallery

I thank you for allowing us to see the manifestations of the feminine side of God in every possible way this week with music, dance, art and workshops. It is such an affirming experience to be here and to feel at a body and cellular level the numinosity of the feminine archetype. I have never felt anything quite like it in terms of numbers and variations. Marion Woodman, Author and Jungian Psychologist

Women of Wisdom has facilitated an arena where we as a community can bring forth ideas, dreams and visions of healing and transformation on a personal and collective level. Every year I see the ripple effect of the powerful gathering reaching further within and outside ourselves. Flor Fernandez, Ph.D., Author & Psychologist

Women of Wisdom has taught me so much about life balance and connecting to my spirit. I wish I had known about your organizaiton during my years as a financial services executive. I hope you can attract more women from the corporate world so they can learn how to find happingess and serenity without feeling the need to abandon their careers. Mary Ella Keblusek, Former corporate Vice President

Thank you for your help and support for my workshop. The WOW Conference is one of the best organized and most presenter-friendly in which I've participated (and there have been many.) LiDona Wagner, Artist

I am so happy and encouraged for you each time I receive a newsletter. Each one shows me how much your dream has grown and how far the WOW Foundation has gone in making its mark in this world. It's wonderful to watch and to know that I was able to participate and I hope contribute something positive in a small way. Charlene Williams, Volunteer

I support the Women of Wisdom Foundation and the work they do because they provide a place for women to integrate healing and spirit into their everyday lives, with their families and careers. Yes it is possible to bring spirit to the corporate world! Sherry Harris, Former Councilmember, City of Seattle

I'm just starting to go back to work after three years of struggling with Manic Depression. Attending this Women of Wisdom Gathering was the best thing I could have done for truly does empower and support a women's dreams and spirit. Bonnie, Conference Attendee

About Women of Wisdom Foundation

Women of Wisdom
is for any woman
who desires to connect
with other women
& be inspired
by the spirit that links us.
We join hands in a circle,
we sing, we dance
and we lift our arms to
embrace everyone
in our community.
Our sisters,
our daughters,
our mothers,
our grandmothers
and our ancestors before us.
We express the Divine Feminine,
which is the spirit of women
within all of us.
We explore her wisdom &
her many diverse expressions.
We welcome all of you into our circle
of Women of Wisdom!

The book is already published as a paperback book.
• 6” x 9”
• 360 pages
• 60 contributors,
• 101 illustrations
• 36 poems/songs

This virtual blog tour is organized by