Tuesday, December 10, 2019

A Tradition of Christmas Past, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio Recipe, and My Italian Heroine, Based on my Great Grandmother


My great grandmother (Grandma to everyone) was the matriarch of the family, the mother of my grandfather. “Josie Red” as she was known in downtown Jersey City was way ahead of her time, as a bootlegger during Prohibition, a real estate tycoon, a small-time loan shark, a very good friend of Frank Sinatra's mother Dolly, and according to legend, Mayor Hague’s mistress.

Every Christmas Eve, her daughter, my great aunt Lucretia, a gourmet cook, invited everyone to her basement for an Italian feast. Grandma’s four children were grown with children and grandchildren of their own. Of course this necessitated a ‘kiddie table’ at which I sat until I was tall enough to sit with the grown-ups. Aunt Lucretia always made two types of spaghetti sauce—regular marinara sauce and aglio e olio—but what I remember is it always contained clam sauce, which I wouldn’t touch, so I went for the plain and safe marinara. Her finished basement had a small kitchen so she was able to do all the cooking right there. Kiddies weren’t allowed to, but several adults helped her carry the steaming plates to the long tables set up and covered with holiday-themed tablecloths. She served all the traditional Italian dishes—after the pasta came the ham, then the fruit and nuts, and of course, an array of desserts, always including her famous struffoli (honey balls) and Italian rum cake. My Uncle Eddie tended bar at the other end of the room. Thankfully, he’s still with us at 84.

After dinner, Santa always showed up. My cousin Mike’s father played the part very convincingly—the kiddies scrambled onto his lap for their chance to gush about how good they behaved all year and how deserving they were of his visit later that night to surround their Christmas trees with presents to be torn open the next morning. Someone always had a home movie camera to capture these special moments on film. I remember the lights always blazing like the noonday sun when the camera started rolling.

After leaving the party, I always went to Midnight Mass with my friends and someone always threw a party after that.

Christmas Eves in the basement ended after Grandma left us, but the memories live on!



Vita Caputo, the heroine of my 1894 New York City romance FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, is based on my great grandmother. It’s now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET in paperback, on Kindle and on Audio at Amazon

Recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio


      Ingredients:

One pound uncooked spaghetti
6 cloves minced garlic
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a pasta bowl.
  2. Combine garlic and olive oil in a cold skillet. Cook over medium heat to slowly toast garlic, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low when olive oil begins to bubble. Cook and stir until garlic is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt into the pasta. Pour in olive oil and garlic, and sprinkle on Italian parsley and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; stir until combined.
  4. Serve pasta topped with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

New Release--TO LOVE A KING--Henry VIII, that is...Book Two of the Yorkist Saga


My newest title, TO LOVE A KING, is now on sale. It's Book Two of the Yorkist Saga--Book One is CROWNED BY LOVE. Both books stand alone, and don't need to be read in order.

I've been a Tudorphile since childhood, and had a great time researching this story in 1991, with no internet--how did I ever do it?? I also took a research trip to England and visited Henry VIII's surviving landmarks, such as Hampton Court and his grave at Windsor Castle (a very unpretentious slab in the floor, and he is buried next to his third wife Jane Seymour).

I revised the book, originally published as THE JEWELS OF WARWICK, and it's now with Next Chapter Publishing. 

 About TO LOVE A KING

While embroiled in the intrigue and scheming of court, King Henry the Eighth meets the love of his life—and it’s not Anne Boleyn.

Henry VIII had six wives and many more mistresses, but Amethyst of Warwick was the love of his life. So why didn’t he ever marry her? He was either married, or she was married—to a despicable old wretch he foisted upon her as a punishment.

Amethyst’s sister Topaz is a spitfire who makes his life a living hell, only because she’s trying to seize his throne. She has a credible reason—Henry’s father killed her father, a rightful heir to the throne, to get him out of the way. As the Jewels grew up without their father, Topaz mourned his wasted life. Now she wants what’s rightfully hers.

Amethyst remains a faithful supporter, confidante, lover, and friend, through Henry's tragic marriages and England's break with Rome.

Until the night Henry dies in her arms, she is torn between her love for him and for her sister. Amethyst’s devotion to Henry creates a painful rift between the sisters that remains unresolved until the story’s end. While Amethyst lives a comfortable but troublesome life at court as the king's mistress, Topaz raises an army and goes into battle with the king. Forced to defend his crown, he imprisons Topaz for treason. Amethyst begs the king to release her, but he dies while she's still imprisoned.
 
Henry's heir, young King Edward, sets Topaz free, but banishes her to the New World. She embarks on a voyage with explorer Sebastian Cabot, hoping to colonize her own monarch‑free realm, in what will someday be New England. 

Excerpt 

          "I must marry Anne.” He spoke so low she could barely hear him. “She believes she is with child."
          “Oh, no.” Amethyst shook her head. King Henry’s gemstones flew from side to side in a dazzling blur. “No...no, it can't be...Anne Boleyn is a liar!” She grabbed his arms and shook him, abandoning all protocol, all etiquette, all manners. “Why must you marry her? You bedded her and after making me wait all this time, now you are going to turn round and marry her?”
          Henry jerked out of her grasp. “You ran away, you silly wench. What was I to do, live like a monk, the way Catherine wants?” He took a few paces to the table and picked up a goblet. “The only reason I turned to her was because you'd left, without so much as a word.” He took a long pull of the ale and replaced the goblet with a thunk. “I do not love Anne. She is merely a breeding mare, more than willing to give me an heir, which you did not have the patience to stay around and do.” His eyes narrowed at her. “My divorce is finally in sight, you know how badly I need an heir, and you couldn't wait another few months.” He swept his hand through the air. “No, you had to come running back to home and hearth, back to the castle, expecting me to come back to you, begging on bended knee. A king does not beg.” His eyes narrowed to beady slits. “I have come to tell you I want you to return to court. I am admitting what you so desperately want me to admit. I want you back there with me. That is why I journeyed here. To bring you back.”
          Her wish, her prayer, now answered after all this time…but now it hit her like an insult. “To play second fiddle to the night crow? After you asked me to be your queen? What kind of fool do you take me for? You no longer love me.” She placed a fist on her hip. You want me under your thumb so you can keep me as a spare for when Anne gets too swollen and ugly for you to bed.” She turned away, unable to look at him.
          “Holy Jesu, Amethyst, would I have left court and the future mother of my heir if I did not love you?”
          “At this point I don’t know what to believe.” Her fists now clenched before her, she wished she could strangle that harlot he’d bedded. 
          “How dare you refuse me.” Henry strode to the door and flung it open. “I shall give you until tomorrow, when my retinue and I leave. If you have not agreed to come back with me, do not ever return to court again.”
          At the door he dismissed her with the same wave of his arm befitting his servants. She left, not in obedience to him, but because she no longer wanted to see his face. The thought of him bedding Anne Boleyn sickened her. 


Monday, October 28, 2019

If You’re Fascinated With the Salem Witch Trials...



We all read Hawthorne's stories and books THE SCARLET LETTER and THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES in school, but did you learn what made the handsome brooding genius tick, and what haunted him?
I’ve always been fascinated with Hawthorne’s dark stories, but never knew he wrote out of his own fears and demons until I began researching my story about him and his wife Sophia. This was a true love story.

About FOR THE LOVE OF HAWTHORNE


Salem, Massachusetts witnessed horrific and shameful events in 1692 that haunted the town for three centuries. Accused as witches, nineteen innocent people were hanged and one was pressed to death. Judge John Hathorne and Reverend Nicholas Noyes handed down the sentences. One victim, Sarah Good, cursed Noyes from the hanging tree: “If you take away my life, God will give you blood to drink!” She then set her eyes on Judge Hathorne. “I curse you and your acknowledged heirs for all time on this wicked earth!” Hathorne was not only Sarah Good’s merciless judge; he also fathered her son Peter and refused to acknowledge him.

In 1717, Nicholas Noyes choked on his own blood and died. Every generation after the judge continued to lose Hathorne land and money, prompting the rumor of a family curse. By the time his great great grandson Nathaniel was born, they faced poverty.

Ashamed of his ancestor, Nathaniel added the ‘w’ to his last name. His novels and stories explore his beliefs and fears of sin and evil, and he based many of his characters on overbearing Puritan rulers such as Judge Hathorne.

When Nathaniel first met Sophia Peabody, they experienced instantaneous mutual attraction. Sparks flew. He rose upon my eyes and soul a king among men by divine right, she wrote in her journal.

But to Sophia’s frustration, Nathaniel insisted they keep their romance secret for three years. He had his reasons, none of which made sense to Sophia. But knowing that he believed Sarah Good’s curse inflicted so much tragedy on his family over the centuries, she made it her mission to save him. Sarah was an ancestor of Sophia’s, making her and Nathaniel distant cousins—but she kept that to herself for the time being.
  
Sophia suffered severe headaches as a result of childhood mercury treatments. She underwent routine mesmerizing sessions, a popular cure for many ailments. Spirits sometimes came to her when mesmerized, and as a spiritualist and medium, she was able to contact and communicate with spirits. She knew if she could reach Sarah and persuade her to forgive Judge Hathorne, Nathaniel would be free of his lifelong burden.

Sarah Good’s son Peter had kept a journal the family passed down to the Peabodys. Sophia sensed his presence every time she turned the brittle pages and read his words. John Hathorne’s legitimate son John also kept a journal, now in the Hawthorne family’s possession. Living on opposite sides of Salem in 1692, Peter and John wrote in vivid detail about how the Salem trials tormented them throughout their lives.

Nathaniel finally agreed to announce their engagement, and married Sophia on July 9, 1842. They moved into their first home, The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts. Wanting nothing else but to spend the summer enjoying each other, we became Adam and Eve, alone in our Garden of Eden, Sophia wrote in her journal.

As success eluded Nathaniel, they lived on the verge of poverty. After being dismissed from his day job at the Salem Custom House, he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which finally gained him the recognition he deserved. But the curse he believed Sarah cast on his family still haunted him. In the book he asks for the curse to be lifted.


                      The House of the Seven  Gables, Salem, MA, built in 1668
                                                            Photo by Me

Sophia urged Nathaniel to write a novel about the house, knowing it would be cathartic for him. While they lived in Lenox, Nathaniel finished writing The House of the Seven Gables. The Gothic novel explored all his fears and trepidations about the curse. He told Sophia, “Writing it, and especially reading it aloud to you lifted a tremendous burden off my shoulders. I felt it physically leave me. I carried this inside me since my youth and couldn’t bring it out to face it. And I have you, and only you, to thank.”

But he did not believe the curse could be lifted.

Sophia invited renowned spiritualist John Spear to The Gables. She explained that she needed to complete one final step to convince Nathaniel the curse was lifted.

Purchase For The Love Of Hawthorne on Amazon





Monday, October 14, 2019

Meet Award-Winning Historical Novelist Anne Easter Smith & Read About Her New Ricardian Title THIS SON OF YORK


About Anne

My friend and award-winning historical novelist Anne Easter Smith is a native of England, who spent part of her childhood in Egypt. Educated at an English boarding school, she arrived “for a two-year lark” in Manhattan as an executive secretary from Swinging ‘60s London—and never went back there to live. Somehow she wound up as the Features/Arts Editor at a daily newspaper in northern NYS, and went on to publish articles in several national magazines, which gave her the confidence to embark on her first best-selling novel, A Rose for the Crown. Anne’s muse is the recently re-interred King Richard III, whose life and times she has studied for fifty years, which led to a five-book contract about the York family during the Wars of the Roses with Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone Books. The King’s Grace won the Romantic Times Best Historical Biography award in 2009, and Queen By Right was nominated in the same category in 2011. Her latest book of the series is This Son of York, which finally sees Richard as protagonist. Known for her period detail, she has been a regular panelist at the Historical Novel Society Conferences and has taught workshops on researching for historical fiction at the San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference. Anne and her second husband, Scott, live in Newburyport, MA, where Anne is very involved in her other passion—theater.


A Note From Anne

I am delighted Diana has invited me to tell her loyal readers about my new book This Son of York. Diana doesn’t really need to read it as she is as loyal a Richard III fan as I am! But I am grateful to tell you all about my passion! After five books about Richard’s family, This Son of York is the last in the series about the Yorks in the Wars of the Roses, and Richard is finally my protagonist.

“Write what you know” was often advised when I plunged into the murky waters of literary endeavor and found myself floundering about in that terrifying first foray. So I did. 

What I “knew” centered on a king who died 528 years ago on a boggy battlefield outside of Leicester, smack in the middle of England. A history nut from adolescence, I came upon a book in my early twenties by English mystery writer Josephine Tey called Daughter of Time that repudiated everything I had learned at school about one of our “Bad” kings, Richard III. When I had turned the last page, I became a Ricardian fanatic. This Son of York is my homage to Richard and the book I should have written first but was too chicken to get into a man’s head! 

What they didn’t tell me about writing was that, along with your knowledge of a subject, a strong dose of passion would lift your book above the ordinary. I learned this when an editor recognized it in my first novel, A Rose for the Crown. She told me my passion for righting the wrong done to Richard shone through every page. But that was my protagonist Kate Haute’s perspective on him as his mistress, not Richard’s. This Son of York finally puts Richard front and center. 

As well as gaining the writing chops to tackle a man’s perspective, I became inspired to give Richard his due when they discovered his grave under a car park in Leicester in 2012. I was so moved when I stood on that grave (now enshrined in strong plexiglass, I hasten to add!) and a hologram faded in and out showing the position of the skeleton. After all the information gathered from studying those bones, I realized we now need a new look at Richard for the 21st century. And I was the one to tell the story. 

About THIS SON OF YORK


Concluding her best-selling Wars of the Roses series, Anne has made Richard III her protagonist in her latest book This Son of York. The much maligned Richard is brought into new focus following the discovery of his bones under a car park in Leicester in 2013. 

As the fourth son of the duke of York, Richard of Gloucester could not have hoped for much more than the life of a wealthy, but insignificant nobleman. Instead fate took him down a drama-filled, unexpected path to the throne. As York challenged Lancaster for the crown, early tragedies and betrayals, including by his faithless brother George, led the young Richard to count on none but himself. Imbued with the traits of loyalty and duty to family and country, he proved them time and again especially when he reluctantly came to wear the crown. Buoyed by the love of two women, he stayed true to one while cherishing the other, both helping him bear the burden of his scoliosis.

A warrior of renown, a loyal brother, loving husband and father, a king mindful of injustice yet beset by betrayal, and a man convinced his God has forsaken him by burdening him with crippling scoliosis, This Son of York has a compelling tale to tell. With her meticulous attention to detail—and the truth—Easter Smith’s compelling storytelling paints a very different picture of the king Shakespeare reviled as “…thou elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog.”

Prologue:

The night before a battle affected men in various ways. Some spent it drinking and carousing with the camp followers; some spent it hiding in the woods and nervously emptying their bowels; others passed the time playing dice; others in prayer; and still more, like Richard, in contemplating the insignificance of their earthly lives. “No matter what the priests tell you about each of us being important to God,” Richard had once said to his wife, “How can one life mean any more than another among so many throughout the history of mankind? As an anointed king, I must be more important than the beggar in the street, but in truth, I know I am not. When we die and molder in our graves, who will remember us then, one any more than another?”

“God will,” Anne had said simply, “you must believe He will. And because you are a king, your grave will be marked by a fine tomb announcing to the world who you were.” She had laughed then. “If I am lucky, I will lie with you and be remembered, too.” Dearest Anne, he thought guiltily as he lay on his elaborate camp bed, I must see to it that you are remembered.

The night was warm, and his tent was open to any welcome breeze that might waft by. In the past on the eve of battle, Richard had recited his prayers, had a cup of wine with fellow commanders, and slept well. Tonight, he knew, was different. Tomorrow he must fight for his crown as well as his life. He could not quite believe it had come down to this moment. He had acted honorably all his days, he thought, done his duty to his family, England and, lately reluctantly, to God. 

A remark of the earl of Warwick’s occurred to him: “Scheming is a virtue if kings are to survive.” Is that what I have done—schemed? Nay, it is not, he reassured himself, it is not. The other part of his mentor’s homily had warned: “To be a great leader, you must learn the skills to be flexible in wooing allies to your side.” It was a skill that had come easily to Edward, but Richard’s reticence to trust had not charmed those he should have sought as allies. Was that where he had gone wrong? Instead of winning with words, friendship, and diplomacy, he had tried to buy men’s trust with land and offices. How many of his men understood him, he wondered.

Richard gave up examining his flaws, failures, and missteps, knowing he must concentrate on the morrow. He tried to close his eyes to the pricks of light from the hundreds of campfires and his ears to the drunken shouts, laughter and singing of the soldiers, the stamping and snickering of a thousand horses, and the clinking of the armorers and smiths making last-minute adjustments or repairs to harnesses. Everyone faced death in his own way, and Richard had no illusions that this might not be his time. He had a fifty-fifty chance, he decided, because in the end it would come down to him or Henry. Only one of them would wear the crown after battle, because the other would be dead—either in the field or later by the axe. I would rather die a king on the battlefield than as a traitor on the scaffold. Traitor is what Henry Tudor would deem him, Richard thought. Neither fate appealed, he mused grimly.

Part of him wished the two of them could fight it out alone and let all others return to their homes. He had no doubt he would run the Tudor through. Richard had trained hard since boyhood and fought in many battles to become the experienced soldier he was now; Henry of Richmond, wrongly claiming the crown, would be seeing battle for the first time, and, as Richard had heard, had not enjoyed the rigors of knightly training while languishing at Brittany’s court. Another part of him relished the thought of a glorious military victory and of extinguishing Lancastrian hopes forever.

He was suddenly jolted back to the other time he and Edward believed Lancaster had been vanquished, and, as was their wont, his thoughts returned to King Henry and his untimely demise. Lancastrian Henry VI, son of the great victor of Agincourt and Edward’s predecessor, had played a part in Richard’s life since he’d been in swaddling bands, Richard recalled. He sat up, pushing black thoughts back into hell, and reached for his book of hours—the very one given him as a gift by Henry when Richard was but a lad. How I wish I had listened to your advice, your grace, and never agreed to wear a crown. He groaned. Sweet Jesu, how has it come to this, he asked himself yet again. 

Paging idly through the prayer book, the gold and silver of the illuminations glinting in the candlelight, he indulged in pondering his life and began to wish he could return to the days when the worst of his troubles was being called the runt of York’s litter. It all seemed so long ago…

Purchase THIS SON OF YORK on Amazon (will be released November 10)

Connect with Anne




Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Halloween Story and Favorite Halloween Recipe


My Halloween Story and Favorite Halloween Recipe

Old Schoolhouse, York Village, Maine--With Its Many Orbs
I do paranormal investigations with a group near where I live, and I attended my very first ghost hunt with them a few nights before Halloween. About ten of us visited Old Dunstable Cemetery where some victims of a 1702 Indian massacre are buried. It’s the oldest cemetery in Nashua, dating back from when the land was part of Massachusetts. The earliest burial dates from 1687. Researchers had found the victims’ names, so we were able to locate their gravestones. The only equipment I had at the time were my dowsing rods and a digital camera. While others in the group made their attempts to contact spirits, I stood before a gravestone that read: this Man, with Seven more, that lies in this Grave; was Slew, All in A day, by the Indiens.
Holding my rods, I asked a few questions: Did you die in the massacre? Were you born here? You can only ask simple yes or no questions and ask the rods to cross for yes and separate for no. I got answers to all my questions. I then stood before another stone reading: Rev. Thomas Weld, Born June 1653, Settled as the first minister of the church in Dunstable Dec. 1685, probably massacred by the Indians while defending the settlement June 7, 1702, age 49. All the while, I felt a strong presence, and immediately began feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I found that this happens quite frequently when I ghost hunt. I’ve never seen a ghost, but have felt presences near me, and always get dizzy when I sense someone is nearby. I took several photos throughout the cemetery, and some came out with brightly colored arcs among the tombstones. I didn’t dare visit that graveyard on Halloween night!

York Village, Maine, Graveyard at Dusk--See the Orb to the Right?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN HEALTHY PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:
3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
2/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, no sugar added

Directions:

Place everything in your blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased or parchment lined cake pan or a mini scone pan.

Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes.

Optional : When cooled, top with whipped cream 

Enjoy!

1 serving = 1/8 of the entire cake

Carbs: 13 gm




Wednesday, August 28, 2019

My New York Saga is Now on Audio--Quotes, Songs from Those Days, and the Dream Cast


My New York Saga is now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.
Here are poignant quotes, songs of the day, and the dream cast:

FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET (1894-5)

Songs:
The Band Played On – Dan Quinn
The Sidewalks of New York – Dan Quinn
The Liberty Bell – U.S. Marine Band
My Pearl is a Bowery Girl – Dan Quinn
My Best Girl’s a New Yorker – Edward M. Favor

Quotes:
Toiling over the mind-numbing work, Vita conjured up her favorite daydream: an elegant brownstone with lacy iron gates, bay windows, polished floors, marble fireplaces. No trash flung down air shafts, no shared toilets, no backyard privies...above Fourteenth Street.

Vita went to mass before breakfast. She sat way in back and didn’t pay much mind to the priest chanting away in Latin. This was her private time for praying and remembering her mother. She looked up in the familiar far corner. The image of an angel with dreamy blue eyes looked down at her. As she pretended that angel was Mama, a protecting comfort always warmed her.

“My cousin Mike was found shot to death next to this building. Your father and brother were arrested for his murder. I’m sorry, Vita. I’m so sorry.” Tom approached her with caution, longing to hold her, to cradle her in his arms. 
* *
 Dream Cast:
Vita Caputo – Rachel Weisz
Tom McGlory – Christian Bale
Rosalia Caputo – Marissa Tomei
Jadwiga Wisen – Debra Messing

Purchase FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET in paperback, Kindle or Audio (free with your Amazon Audible trial)


BOOTLEG BROADWAY (1931)

Songs:
Just a Gigolo – Ted Lewis and His Orchestra
Minnie the Moocher – Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra
Mood Indigo – Duke Ellington
Stardust – Isham Jones
I Got Rhythm – Red Nichols

Quotes:
Billy clasped Pru’s hand, dropped to one knee, and cleared his throat for the most important recital of his life. “You’re the essence of my being. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and even after that. Now you’re carrying my child, and I want us to be a real family. Pru, will you marry me?”


“What did you name her?” Billy couldn’t stop staring. This breathing,
living child nestled in Pru’s arms was his flesh and blood. And he thought his songs were a divine creation!
“Nothing yet.” She looked up at him and smiled. “I thought I’d leave that to you.”
“Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat, I can’t even think straight.” He slapped the side of his head. “I might wind up calling her Zeppo or something. You better name her.”
“I have to go, Billy. It’s my time…”
“No, Pru. Don’t talk like that.” My heart started hammering. I removed my sweaty palms from her arm. “Please. I love you, Pru. You’re my whole life.” I struggled to keep my voice even as I sobbed. “Don’t leave me!” That was an order—the only one I’d ever given her. I turned my head so she couldn’t see me bawling and swiping at my tears.
* *

Dream Cast:
Billy McGlory – Leonardo DiCaprio
Pru Muller McGlory – Gwyneth Paltrow
Greta Schliessmeyer – Scarlett Johansen
Rosario Ingovito – Joe Pesci

FROM HERE TO CAMELOT (1963)

Songs:
Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
From Me to You – The Beatles
You’re the Devil in Disguise – Elvis Presley
Louie Louie – The Kingsmen
Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons

Quotes:

“Vikki, it’s Linc Benjamin.” His ragged voice came over the line. “I have terrible news. Jack is dead.”
“What?” She couldn’t have heard right. “What did you say?”
“Jack was found in the bathtub of his hotel room this morning—”
She dropped the phone and slid down against the wall. Her glasses fell off her face. The room spun. Sunlight glared. She smelled the new coat of wax on the kitchen floor.

Vikki read over her father’s transcript, Jack’s voice echoing through her mind. “I’ll find you, you bastard, whoever you are,” she said reverently, like a vow. “If I have to die doing it.”

Al lowered his lips to Vikki’s, and everything converged into a blur. Her arms wound around him. She wept, for her loss, for fear of the future, of the unknown, of this man whose mouth claimed hers. This time she didn’t ask Jack to forgive her. She hoped he was tripping the light fantastic with Marilyn Monroe right now.

Dream Cast:

Vikki McGlory Ward – Christina Applegate
Billy McGlory – Harrison Ford
Aldobrandi Po – Vincent Irizarry
Rosario Ingovito – Edward G. Robinson
Greta Schliessmeyer McGlory – Michelle Pfeiffer 


 * * *

An Interview About Me & Audio Books

Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. 
My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, auditioned some narrators and sent me samples. When Nina finished narrating it, Wild Rose released it and put it on sale with retailers.

Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format? 
Adventure and suspense translate well, as long as the narrator has an animated voice. My books, with characters who have different actors, came out really well, because Nina does great accents and different voice inflections.

Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? 
No, I never thought of it at the time.
How did you select your narrator? 
When I heard Nina’s sample, I knew she was the best narrator for my books.
How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? 
We spoke on the phone a few times, and discussed the characters and their backgrounds. When she had a question about the pronunciation of a word, I either spelled it out phonetically or sent her a video of someone saying the word or phrase.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? 
Yes, FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET’s heroine Vita is based on my great-grandmother, a businesswoman, wife and mother. She was way ahead of her time. I always have historical events as backdrops for my books. BOOTLEG BROADWAY is set during Prohibition, and THE END OF CAMELOT is centered around the John F. Kennedy assassination.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
I pace myself, I write 2500 words a day and sometimes more if I’m on a roll. My enthusiasm never wanes, because I’m a huge history buff, I love doing the research, and my passion for it comes out in my stories.
Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? 
I listen to audiobooks on long car trips. It’s convenient to listen to books while doing something else, driving, as a passenger in a car, doing chores, etc.

Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? 
The dialogue is very animated and authentic throughout all three books. Nina does great New York and ‘wiseguy’ accents.

If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? 
I’ve always wanted to spend a week in ancient Rome, Greece, or Pompeii.
What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”? 
It’s as much cheating or inferior to ‘real reading’ as watching a TV show or a play instead of reading the script.
How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? 
I always celebrate by recharging my batteries—usually by reading my favorite genres, biographies, mysteries, and paranormal novels.

What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump? 
I’ve never been a slump; I make sure I reach my 2500-word goal every day, even if it’s not my best output. I can always go back and rewrite.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? 
A series allows the reader to get to know the characters and become familiar with them. Stand-alones don’t have that advantage.
Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams? 
Yes, but they’re historical figures—Richard III and Henry VIII.
What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? 
Keep writing. Keep practicing. Most of all, don’t ever give up on your dream. Just having a dream makes you very special. If you get impatient because it’s taking so long, just ask yourself this: Why does 16-year Scotch take 16 years? Some things are worth waiting for.
Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks? 
Ask your publisher if they do audio books, and if not, remind them that audio books are booming!


Thursday, August 8, 2019

My Italian Vampire Romance A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is on Tour This Week!

A BLOODY GOOD CRUISE is touring with Audio Bookworm Promotions this week--every day, different bloggers feature an interview with the sexy-voiced narrator Anthony Lee, the 'dream cast' if it was made into a movie, fun facts about the story, how I got the idea, and audio excerpts.

What's it about?

When romance writer Mona Rossi's book sales are slipping, she needs new ideas and fast! Her vampire love, Fausto Silvius is a doctor aboard the Romanza, a luxury cruise ship. Holding a "Motion on the Ocean" writer's cruise sounds like a great idea. What better way to combine a career boost with romance?  

But they soon discover hunters on board who give chase to Fausto and his fellow vampires. While he longs to bring Mona into his world, how can he convince her to join him with fringe lunatics on the hunt? In the prime of her life she's not sticking her neck out for a shot at eternity.