Tag Archives: Italian culture

Author Joanne Guidoccio and NO MORE SECRETS

It is ALWAYS such a pleasure for me to host my guest today. Amazeballs writer JOANNE GUIDOCCIO has been a writer-friend for almost 5 years – ever since she hosted me on her own blog when my very first book released. Joanne is a one-click author for me because her books take me away from the world for hours of reading pleasure, and today, she’s here, talking about her newest release NO MORE SECRETS.

If I wasn’t already an avid reader of her work, I would become one just based on the blurb for this book, alone.

Here…come visit with Joanne ~

Inspired by Two Francescas

Twenty-five years ago, I sat with eyes glued to the big screen as Meryl Streep assumed the role of Francesca Johnson, an Italian war bride, in the romantic drama, The Bridges of Madison County. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, the film focuses on a four-day love affair between two middle-aged lovers, Francesca and Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photojournalist brilliantly played by Clint Eastwood.

Having spent years in a passionless marriage, Francesca falls deeply in love with Robert and contemplates leaving her loyal husband and teenage children. Here’s a moving excerpt that captures Francesca’s dilemma:

Francesca: Robert, please. You don’t understand, no one does. When a woman makes the choice to marry, to have children; in one way her life begins but in another way it stops. You build a life of details. You become a mother, a wife and you stop and stay steady so that your children can move. And when they leave, they take your life of details with them. And then you’re expected to move again only you don’t remember what moves you because no one has asked in so long. Not even yourself. You never in your life think that love like this can happen to you.

Robert: But now that you have it…

Francesca: I want to keep it forever. I want to love you the way I do now the rest of my life. Don’t you understand…we’ll lose it if we leave. I can’t make an entire life disappear to start a new one. All I can do is try to hold onto both. Help me. Help me not lose loving you.

Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that I needed tissues for the last third of the movie.

One year later (1996), I watched the movie on VHS with my mother, another Francesca. She was also moved by the storyline and provided her own perspective on the affair.

Five years younger than Francesca Johnson, Mama also left Italy during those post-War World II years. Mama settled in the Italian section of Sudbury (Canada), while Francesca Johnson ended up in the lush countryside of Iowa. I gather from the book and film she was the only Italian in that town.

As Mama’s thoughts traveled back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, her eyes glistened with tears. She shared her own stories and those of friends and relatives who had emigrated to Canada and the United States. As I listened, I started to imagine writing a novel about an Italian woman’s immigrant experience.

I was still teaching at the time, but I managed to come up with a very rough outline of the storyline. And then, I put it aside when the details of my own life became more challenging.

While cleaning out my files in 2018, I discovered the outline. I revamped the storyline, adding three more POVs, a psychic companion, and a more contemporary setting.

Take a look at No More Secrets

 

 Blurb

Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.

Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.

But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…

Excerpt

Angelica smiled at her nieces. “You’re probably wondering why I’ve summoned you here in the middle of winter. I didn’t want to wait, in case…”

The three women exchanged alarmed glances.

“Ma said you were better,” Velia said.

“Did something happen this week?” Nora asked.

“I have been given a reprieve,” Angelica said. “I wanted to talk with each of you while I was at my strongest.”

An awkward silence followed.

Angelica sighed. It was going to be more challenging than she thought. She had hoped for more signs of openness. Right now, the three of them had reverted to wariness. “I’m hoping we can all share without judgment. As the eldest, I will start, but before I do so, I’d like all your assurances that you will follow suit. I don’t want to be the only one baring my soul.”

Each niece lowered her head, avoiding contact with Angelica and each other.

“Sharing is caring,” Angelica said in a sing-song voice.

Each woman smiled in spite of herself. But still, no promises were made.

“All right then,” Angelica said as a note of exasperation crept into her voice. “Let’s make a deal. If I succeed in shocking you, then you have to share.”

The younger women exchanged glances and smiles.

“Why now?” Nora asked. “Aren’t you afraid we’ll share your innermost secrets with our mothers, who will, in turn, broadcast them across Canada and Italy?”

Angelica laughed wickedly. “Go ahead, but do keep in mind that both of them have weak hearts.”

“I’ll share,” Teresa said in a loud voice that startled everyone.

“Me, too,” Velia and Nora added.

 

Book Trailer

 

Buy Links

Amazon US // Amazon Canada // Amazon UK// Amazon Australia

 

A little about Joanne…

A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.  

 

You can connect with Joanne, here: 

Website:  // Twitter: //    Facebook:  // Pinterest:  // Goodreads:  // LinkedIn:  // Amazon:

 

Joanne Guidoccio will be awarding a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Find out more here:  Rafflecopter

Again, it was such a pleasure to host Joanne today. Look for her books and read them – you won’t be disappointed!!!

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Writing

Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

sancookie

Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

san2

san5

The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

san4

The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

san6

In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

san7

When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

Leave a comment

Filed under 3 Wishes, A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor