Autumn With An Author: Rebecca Rosenberg

What’s not to like about champagne? It’s bubbly, it’s happy, it creates an emotion, it’s fun to turn golden grape into a nectar that will never lie, it’s fun to write about it. I think award winning Author Rebecca Rosenberg had a load of fun bringing to light her latest novel “Champagne Widows”. Please welcome her with a sparkly energy.

Author Rebecca Rosenberg
Champagne Widows by Author Rebecca Rosenberg
  1. I was drawn to the title of one of your books “Champagne Widows” a historical fiction based on a woman with a great sense of smell, taking over the men’ world in the production of Champagne. What similitude did you find between your character and women of today who want to be in a man’s profession?

In the 1800’s women were not allowed to own businesses or even property. CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS is the story of Veuve Clicquot, who was tragically made a widow at 27. She did not want to give up the business she had started with her husband. She had no experience or education to make champagne, but read everything she could, and trained under other winemakers. She used her innate intelligence, talent, and perseverance to succeed.

I think women today can do anything they want, and they do it by being educated and using their instincts to succeed in much the same way that Veuve Clicquot does in CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS. For example: my daughter is in the top candidates to be selected for astronaut, a dream she has had since she was three. She’s worked very hard to have the credentials, 30 years of working for her dream. I believe she will make it, despite the obstacles she’s faced.

  1. In your historical fictions “Gold Digger” you focused on a life of a woman. Do women inspire your writing because of the complexity of our emotions and the courage often we display in tough situation?

I like to write about women because their stories have often not been told, and they are worthwhile. When I was growing up, I wondered why history was all about men. My first novel, The Secret Life of Mrs. London was about the wife of Jack London, Charmian London. She wanted to be a writer, but instead, focused on Jack London’s writing, editing, and typing for him and managing his professional and personal needs—until she finds her own voice. I think women learn to do it all, many times at the detriment to their own work.

  1. Would you have liked to be alive in the era of your book “Gold Digger” and married to a dashing bard?
    In GOLD DIGGER, Baby Doe was attracted to Horace Tabor because of his gutsy bravado and the way he turned everything to gold, but his bravado leads to scandal and financial demise. Baby Doe Tabor’s love of Horace Tabor resulted in a scandalous reputation and great loneliness and poverty. I love finding out about these women’s struggles and how they deal with it. With Champagne Widows, Veuve Clicquot, wanted to run a champagne house. But to do that, she could not be married again. She had to sacrifice love to own her winery. She must have felt so alone.
  2. The goal of historical books is to capture time, customs, fashion, colors, way of thinking etc. of a specific era to allow the modern readers to get immersed in an era that will never come back. Did you strive to stay historically accurate, or did you dramatize events/people?

I always strive to be historically accurate in terms of details, customs, activities, and beliefs that were lived in that particular era. But, as a writer, you do not know what people said to each other and what they were thinking. You need to really think about what the evidence says about the character, and interpret that through their language, actions, and intentions.

  1. Are your reasons for writing pure pleasure, a need to keep history alive, or to say with a book what you can’t say out loud and stir emotions?

I love to write about fascinating women who haven’t been given a voice. These women have gone through challenges that we all face: In CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, Veuve Clicquot battled pandemics, mental illness, wars, and sexism. Sounds like challenges we have all faced the past couple of years, doesn’t it?

  1. Did you discover something new about yourself while creating your books?
    I have discovered the joy of making subconscious connections within the storyline, or between characters, showing that love is not perfect. I have discovered an unquenchable desire to uncover little known facts of life in different eras and bring them alive for people.
  2. What are your quirks and do they show in your books?
    I have discovered a hidden sense of humor. I have never been funny, but I always have a funny character. I really enjoy that sense of humor coming out that I did not know I possess!
  3. Some authors can publish books every month. How long does it take you before you can say your book is finished?
    The research takes a long time and continues throughout writing the book. CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS took me five years. GOLD DIGGER took five years. THE SECRET OF MRS. LONDON took two. I do about thirty rewrites before the book is finished.
  4. If you would read one of your books years later, would you still like it the way you wrote, or would you change something and republish it?
    I am sure I would change the book a little because I have changed as a writer. But I probably would leave the stories basically the same, because I had a point to make with the story.
  5. Any new books on the horizon?
    I am half finished with the second CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, about Madame Pommery, of Pommery champagne fame. She has a completely different story than Barbe-Nicole Clicquot. Madame Pommery’s husband died as he was ready to retire, leaving her a single parent with two children and no way to support her family.

I’m also writing a sequel to GOLD DIGGER, about Baby Doe Tabor’s daughter, SILVER DOLLAR, who tippled precariously between stardom, mental illness, poverty, and religious fervor.

Rebecca Rosenberg Bio:
Rebecca Rosenberg is a champagne geek, lavender farmer, and award-winning novelist. Rebecca first fell in love with methode champenoise in Sonoma Valley, California, where she lives. Over decades of delicious research, she has explored the wine cellars of France, Spain, Italy, and California in search of fine champagne. When Rebecca discovered the real-life stories of the Champagne Widows of France, she knew she’d dedicate years to telling the stories of these remarkable women who made champagne the worldwide phenomenon it is today. Rebecca is a champagne historian, tour guide, and champagne cocktail expert for Breathless Wines. Other award-winning novels include The Secret Life of Mrs. London and Gold Digger, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor.


“This effervescent historical novel paints a richly detailed portrait of the enterprising Veuve Clicquot. The twinned plots of Clicquot and Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise and fall are filled with detail that give life to this far-off time. The prose is light, yet detailed, and peppered with moments of wry humor. Rosenberg’s characterization of Napoleon is well-crafted and give his character new life. Clicquot’s character is charming, and readers will love getting to know her. Rosenberg has a superb eye for blending humor with drama.” ~Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize.

 “For anyone who loves champagne, a must-read novel about Veuve Clicquot.” 
~ Judithe Little, best-selling author of The Chanel Sisters. “The sun-drenched vineyards of France, a real-life heroine who against all odds refuses to give up her dreams… and champagne. What’s not to love? And that’s just what Rebecca Rosenberg delivers in Champagne Widows. Barbe-Nicole Clicquot was a woman ahead of her time, a fascinating blend of ingenuity, heart, and sheer tenacity, with a nose for wine and a head for business. A 19th century widow who built an empire as war raged all around her. Note: This richly woven tale is best savored slowly, though with all delicious things, it won’t be easy.” 
~ Barbara Davis, best-selling author of The Last of the Moon Girls.

Rebecca Rosenberg, Novelist
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Amazon – Champagne Widows
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This sounds very exciting, Rebecca, I can’t wait to read your new novel. I live in the Bay Area, it would be nice if I could meet you when I will come to visit Sonoma.

Please allow me to occupy a small space with my books, available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

Books by Author Valentina Cirasola

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Autumn With An Author: Didi Oviatt

I would like to introduce Didi Oviatt, a versatile, prolific author who often writes with the hands of another author and produces brilliant books. She is an upbeat person and although I have never met her, I feel to have known her for awhile. This interview turned out to be an alive conversation between her and James Cudney IV. She writes about multi-genre and I let her say the rest.

Books by Didi Oviatt
  • You wrote a mystery book with four hands together with Author James J. Cudney. Was your compositional method much in relation to your respective backgrounds and critical aims, or did you have to adapt to James’s style and vice versa.
    Ultimately, a mutual respect for views and likeness in opinions and culture is a must. Working with Jay has been so much fun!  I’ve co-written before in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection, and the technique that Kim Knight and I shared  couldn’t have been any more different than the technique that Jay and I ran with.
    With Kim — we passed our work back and forth, making clear distinctions on when one of us would stop writing and the other would start. It worked out wonderfully with the short story concept we were after.
    With Jay — we took a completely different approach. We wanted our sweet little bookish child, Weathering Old Souls, to be seamless from cover to cover – without giving away to our readers who wrote what. His style is, how do you say it, more intelligent? Lol… All the while my writing style is a bit simpler and tends to lean on the emotional side. So, we went in with a clear agreement that it was completely OK for either of us to add to, delete and/or alter whatever the other had written. Although neither of us ever actually deleted anything the other wrote, we found ourselves elaborating and adding on to one another’s stuff in a way that just worked. One of us would produce a good five to ten pages and then the other would transform that into sometimes double the content before writing another five to ten to send back. From here, the other of us would do the exact same thing with the freshly written pages… and so on. In a way, you could say that we adapted to and complemented each other’s work.  
    JJC: Didi said it all… and I’m not entirely sure I agree that my writing is more intelligent! I tend to go for those shocking connections and intricate clues, so maybe I might agree on that element… but Didi also sells herself short on the emotional aspect. Truly, when she revised scenes I wrote, I couldn’t believe the leaps and bounds they took. I’m entirely about plot and setting, but she brings characters to life with the details that make someone able to connect. And the descriptions of how a person’s actions mimic reality were so spot on, I had to re-read some of her stuff just to keep on absorbing the many different levels. It was like this perfect symbiosis during the 6 months we wrote the book. We had a rough outline, but the details in between were completely up to each person, and like Didi mentioned, we’d change some lines in each other’s work or move things around, but we’d hardly ever delete what was written. We deleted at the end when we had duplications or stuff that no longer made sense, but that was all.

Weathering Old Soul by Authors James Cudney and Didi Oviatt

  • Who came up with the plot of “Weathering Old Soul” and its characters?
    I’ve got to give Jay credit for the original concept 100%. He actually came to me with a few different ideas on a colab possibility, and I fell in love with past life regression ideas right out the gate. He was the king of organization and timelines too. We came up with each character and their backstories together, bouncing ideas off of one another almost daily until we were ready to dive into the manuscript. Putting together the plot and outlines were a breeze, I absolutely love writing with Jay. 
    JJC – I am a bit of an organizational freak. It’s my day job blending into my writing job. Thinking back, there were times when we’d have some ideas for a scene, but Didi’s previous scene ending was left unfinished (purposely). We did that to each other sometimes to keep us on our toes, but also to let creativity shine. If I had 80% of the scene worked out, but I couldn’t decide on a transition, Didi swept in and just carried it forward through til the next chapter. And I’d read her work, cry a bunch, and be inspired for what came next.
  • In psychology there is a concept of personality types based on psychological preferences, one of them is extroversion and introversion. Did your writing partner compliment you?
    In every way he did!  I like to think of myself as an ambivert. It’s like a mix between the two. I go in waves and phases – I’m moody, and change from day to day. I could easily hole up in my house for weeks, not speak to a soul and be perfectly content. Yet, I could also get out and mingle on a regular basis, and be happy and confident with this lifestyle too. Despite the occasional anxiety I’m able to adapt to circumstances and crowds. In writing Abigail’s story – Jay and I were able to work out a comfortable pace and write around each of our schedules and personal lives very smoothly. We accomplished a wonderful pace and encouraged one another creatively so I never felt rushed or pressured. With a consistent upbeat and uplifting approach, writing with Jay was a wonderful blend of laid back and accomplished.
  • Writing with four hands was an experience you would repeat?
    I feel like this is a loaded question lol. There’s a handful of authors that have reached out and asked, a couple of whom I’m considering a project with. I absolutely love writing with other talented authors and will most certainly do it again. The question is more of who and when. I have a few projects started on my own that I’ve promised myself to commit to first. I’m also picky. I’ll choose my next writing partner just as carefully as before. Both Kim and James are wonderful writers that I was extremely familiar with their work as well as personalities before we ever started creating as a team. I’d read their books and interacted with them for quite some time before making the decision to write together. Co-writing is a big commitment and you want to be absolutely certain that the partnership will work. 
  • Do you want each of your thriller books to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
    You know it’s funny, I really enjoy reading books that tie in with one another. My favorite writer who does this is L.J. Shen. I love how her Sinners of Saint books can each be read as a stand alone if you’d like, yet they all line up so nicely together too. Yet, in writing, I do best with stand alones that are each their own separate story and individual characters. Maybe it’s a commitment problem??? scratches head
  • Do you embed secrets in your thriller books?
    Every. Single. One.  
  • Do you dream about your characters, do they talk to you and/or suggest the next move?
    Some have and some haven’t come to me in dreams. Ahnia, the MC in Justice for Belle is one that I had a lot of dreams about. Which is weird and actually kind of worries me a little because her character was a killer in her sleep… That epiphany aside, I will say that most of my inspired thoughts have happened in the shower. Not sure how that works out or why. But something about the relaxing hot water and the sounds of the shower really just yanks the creative energy around, pulling it front and center in mind!     
  • Having a big ego – does hurt or help a writer?
    Oh that’s a great question!!  I don’t see it affecting the actual writing but when it comes to marketing and interacting with fellow authors I think it’s extremely important to stay humble and grounded.  A big ego isn’t a good thing to have in any aspect of life – writing included.
  • You have two kids, how do you manage your writing needs with their needs?
    I’m not going to lie, it’s hard!!  My son is autistic and requires a lot of time and attention. My daughter is so extremely demanding, she’s even more work than him. They are my priority in every way and I’d stop writing in a heartbeat if I felt it was taking away from them in any way. They are my whole world. Usually what I do is pull up my document(s) daily and just leave it all open. I’ll sit down for 10 minutes to an hour here and there as I can. I set goals and play it by ear every single day. I try not to be too hard on myself when I fall behind and remind myself of all the things they’ve accomplished or that we’ve accomplished together as a family instead of dwelling on their effects on my writing time.
  • Do you have unpublished books in your computer, that particular idea you can’t get to it?
    HA!  Several! I’m not above tucking manuscripts away for a year or two and then completely flipping them into a different story when I finally decide to open them back up.
    JJC – This is totally where Didi and I differ in approach. I’m too impatient. Once it’s written, I need it gone from my to do list! LOL I admire how much she has written and held for the future – she probably has the Best Seller hidden for the right time.
  • In this cancel culture we are living these days, do you see classical publications disappearing?
    I don’t. I feel like there are way too many literary lovers ready and willing to fight for the conservation of classics whether certain groups disagree with them or not. It’s important to keep history alive, and it’s also impossible to rid the world of all the works that have already been published. It saddens me to see books taken off the shelves, but it also gives me hope that those who already own such books will take care of them and conserve them until culture changes again and eventually brings them back. I’m a strong believer that if you don’t like something just stay away from it without taking it from people who do in fact appreciate the history in it.  It is possible to stay true to yourself without forcing your opinions on others who are only trying to stay true to themselves as well.
    JJC – Love this answer!!! Everyone needs to understand the time in which something was written. Doesn’t make it right, but it does help you to understand the hows and whys, as well as determine what to do to change for the future.

    Author BIO:
    Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle.
    Where to find Didi:

Listen to Didi Oviatt’s books on Audible:

Books by Didi Oviatt

Well, Didi, this interview with Jay was totally unexpected, I got two birds with one stone. I enjoyed reading and learning more about you. Some people discover to have a powerful voice under the running water of the shower, you get your best ideas for your books, therefore, if it helps you writing more books, just don’t stop taking showers. 😂

I feel intimidated and honored by these two giants, please allow me to place my books here with theirs.

Books by Valentina Cirasola

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel.
Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Autumn With An Author: Kathleen Gonzalez

I have loved Venice since the beginning of my time, in fact, with all the lives I lived, I know to have been there in the 1700s, therefore anyone who writes about Venice becomes my hero instantly. I met author Kathleen Gonzalez from San Jose, CA, many years ago though the Little Italy organization I am a member of. Her writing about Venice takes me back to so many familiar places, emotions and experiences. I will let her tell the story.

Kathleen Gonzalez – Photo credit: Marie Ohanesian Nardin
  1. Your latest novel “A Beautiful Woman In Venice” portrays Venetian women from the Middle Ages to the end of the Republic. Previously you wrote other books about Venice. Where did the love of Venice come from?

I first fell in love with Venice when I visited it with my students in 1996. Within minutes of seeing the Grand Canal and the palaces, I was smitten and felt compelled to return that summer. That began a love affair with the city, and I return nearly every year. When I can’t be in Venice, I read about it, which led me to also write about it and its people and history. I simply can’t get enough of this unique city and its rich history.  

A Beautiful Woman in Venice – Kathleen Gonzalez

2. Did you do extensive research about Venice?

Yes, I first researched gondolas and gondoliers, and then delved into the writings and history surrounding Giacomo Casanova. I eventually wrote a book about sites in Venice that Casanova visited–for meals, trysts, gambling, spying, conversation, and other aspects of his life. 

After that book, I delved into the stories of Venetian women and their remarkable lives–stories that I want to highlight and share with others. For A Beautiful Woman in Venice, there weren’t many books about the women I was studying, but I found articles, chapters, letters, artwork—sometimes only in Italian, which took me more time to read. I used over 250 sources and reached out to a number of other experts who helped me find the details I needed.

Nowadays I’m learning more about artisans, glass and beads, festivals, the ecosystem–basically, it never ends!

3. Do you think there is a common thread between the Venetian women of a different era and the women in the world of today? If yes, what issues women are still battling?

What a great question! Venetian women were often expected to stay at home, raise the children, and not have much agency in their lives. They deferred to men’s needs and wishes, or stepped aside so that men could take the limelight. Many women today still face this pressure, though things are changing. So many Venetian women writers, composers, and thinkers weren’t given credit for their ideas; men created the narrative that a woman couldn’t have done that work, and they tried to discredit the women or ruin their reputations. While this blatant chauvinism isn’t so prevalent, similar treatment of women’s ideas and work still shows up. 

4. What would you say to Giacomo Casanova if you met him today?

I’m sure I would be completely tongue-tied! I’d probably run away, afraid that he’d try to seduce me away from my wonderful husband or that he’d find my intellect not up to his standards. He loved smart women. But if I did manage to say anything, I’d probably ask him what he was most proud of—One of his writings? The French Lottery? Friendships he developed? The pleasure he gave others? His memoirs weren’t published till long after his death; I’d like to know what he thinks of the legacy he and his History of My Life have left, both the false stereotypes and the contributions to our understanding of the eighteenth century. 

I asked this question of my blog readers, and they offered the following: “Who was your most influential friend?” “What would you change about your life or what would you have done differently?” “What experience stands out the most to you?”

Seductive Venice In Casanova’s Footsteps

5. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym, as Bernardo Guardi did, impersonating a man writer in the film Casanova, but in reality Bernardo Guardi was a woman?

Haha! No, I’m proud of my past work and happy to use my real name. My first published story was about my father and his cousins, and I felt so proud when it was accepted for publication in an anthology of Latina writers. And I love to support other writers, male and female, and be a role model or inspiration if possible (though my success is quite modest). I’ve nothing to hide.

6. What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

This is tricky. Let me give you an example. When I first wrote Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps, I included an anecdote about his brief affair Casanova had with Giustiniana Wynne. The story is comical, and I approached it with a light tone. However, I later did extensive research into Giustiniana Wynne’s life and discovered that she was a serious scholar credited by many with initiating a genre known as anthropological fiction. I realized that my earlier writing about her didn’t give her due credit and may have given readers an unfair image of her value and contributions. Since then, I’ve really tried to be faithful and respectful to the person’s legacy; where I don’t know their motivations or emotions or interior life, I try to step back as a writer and leave some blanks rather than make up something that I don’t know to be true. I have great respect for the people I write about, and I hope that comes across in my biographies. 

7. Do people in Italy know you wrote a few books about Venice?

Yes, I’m fortunate to have a publisher in Venice, Giovanni DiStefano, the owner of Supernova Edizioni. He has published my Casanova book, which is titled there as Casanova’s Venice: A Walking Guide and is also available in Italian, translated by my friends Tiziana Businaro and Adriano Contini. Supernova also published A Beautiful Woman in Venice and a short book about one of the women, the Jewish scholar Sarra Copia Sulam. My last two anthologies, First Spritz Is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts, and Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth, have been promoted in Venice on social media, the radio, and other media, and the proceeds are donated to grassroots organizations that preserve Venetian culture and the environment. Most of the authors of these two books are Venetians, so they have shared the books widely. I may not be on a bestseller list, but I’m very happy that my work is shared and has been used by other creators; for example, my research on Venetian women glassmakers was incorporated into a short play performed at a summer festival. Book sales would be wonderful, but even more gratifying is knowing that my work is being used by others and helps people learn more about the people and stories behind my favorite city.

8. Do you like to write about romance?

Romance is not a particular focus of my writing. I don’t feel equipped to write fiction, and romance is usually only a side story in most of the research I do. That being said, Casanova was an expert at romancing women! So I do have a little practice trying to depict his love affairs and encounters. 

9. How long does it take you to write a book?

This depends on so many factors. I have a full-time job teaching high school, so I have to fit in writing on school breaks or evenings. My first book took me about eight years because I had no idea what I was doing and spent a lot of time with an excellent writing group finding my way and revising extensively. Writing my Casanova guidebook necessitated a trip to Venice to write the walking directions and completing some of the research, plus I relied heavily on other Casanovists to share resources and knowledge, so that stretched out the timeline. I similarly reached out to many experts when writing A Beautiful Woman in Venice, and that sort of communication adds a lot of time to the process. That being said, though, Beautiful Woman took about two years. I completed it in lightning speed considering how much research went into it. 

10. Do you have many unpublished books? If not, what are your plans for the future?

I have a lot of ideas, but nothing that’s just sitting in a drawer waiting to be published. I’m currently doing a series of blog interviews with Venetian artisans that I met this summer. I’m also slowly working on a second edition of Beautiful Woman, adding three more chapters. Beyond that, I’m considering a book of vintage postcards that feature gondolas and messages to and from people in many countries, in many languages. Does that sound like something people would want to buy? For many years, I’ve also gathered ideas for a book of historical tidbits; I won’t say anything more specific so no one can steal the idea! I also have a series of blog posts on Casanova sites in Rome, which some day may become a book. 

Author Biography

Kathleen Ann Gonzalez has published with various periodicals and on the Internet and has stories in three anthologies. She has independently-published six books: A Beautiful Woman in Venice, Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps, Free Gondola Ride, A Small Candle, First Spritz Is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts, and Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic Rebirth. She sells through bookstores, websites, promotional events, and in Venice, Italy, with Supernova Edizioni, who also published her book A Living Memory: Immortality for Sarra Copia Sulam.

For marketing purposes, she keeps five websites, Facebook and Linkedin pages, a YouTube channel, and a WordPress blog and presents at local bookstores or community events. She contributed to a collaborative book about teaching English, published by Pearson in 2013. Gonzalez was quoted in Smithosonian magazine and by the BBC for her Casanova research and published articles on Casanova in l’Intermediaire des Casanovistes and Casanoviana. Her research on Casanova has also been used in a French TV documentary, a 2017 biography, the art exhibit “Casanova: The Seduction of Europe,” all about Casanova’s life, and in a local performance about women glassmakers in Venice. Author Dianne Hales has also incorporated Gonzalez’s work into her own books. As an English teacher, Kathleen Ann Gonzalez has won various awards and recognition for her work. After 20 years at public schools, she now teaches at the Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, California. Passionate about travel, Gonzalez finds any excuse to hop on an airplane, particularly to Venice. More details about her books are available at

Author website:

A Beautiful Woman in Venice

Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps

My Blog Seductive Venice


YouTube channel for A Beautiful Woman in Venice:


Allow me a small presentation of my books.

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble

The Feline In Me | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

It seems that as soon as Autumn comes I want to get into animal prints. I feel like I’ve been hiding in a tree and suddenly I see the prey I want to capture. Does it sound pretty mean? Perhaps it is. Animal prints make me feel a bit more aggressive than usual. In fact, in my wardrobe there is at least one piece of any items in any animal print, down to my knickers and intimate apparel, even in my kitchen there are many pieces of animalier.

I have seen women dressed with many different style prints mixed all together, the zebra with leopard and cheetah, in all colors as well. As much as I like animalier style, I will never cover my body from head to toes with it. I use it sensibly as an accent to embellish something plain, or if I want to strike an emotion.

Let’s say I have a coat with a blue animal print, blue or white are the only two colors I would use for the rest of the garment and would accessorize it with silver and pearls or crystals. I would not attempt to add any other animal print or colors other than blue and white. I want to avoid the kitsch and garish look animal prints create naturally.

During lockdown I shopped in my closet a lot to kill boredom, but I also studied my clothes and all the possible ways I could wear them that I had never done before. I discovered something new. I now like to dare with animal print and metal/sequins clothes, I think combining these two elements add light to the face, it is vibrant and unusual. I can now wear this aubergine short dress for an early afternoon cocktail with aubergine stocking, aubergine suede shoes and a beautiful zebra print scarf. Of course with the brown tone animalier, I would wear golden jewelry.
BTW, look at the glitzy clothes made for the younger crowd, t-shirts, pants, ball caps and more, it’s OK today to wear sequins during the daytime, they are no longer relegated to evening affairs and I do wear them profusely.

I also discovered that I can wear this loose tunic with a white shirt, white jeans, a white jacket and the same zebra scarf as in the previous photo above.
I have created new ensembles and I haven’t even gone to a store. Anybody can shop in their own wardrobe to find new solutions, but when in doubt, call the expert. Ciao.

Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear. She produces her own line of clothing and accessories and designs custom outfits for special occasions when her clients requested it.

To better help people all over the world, she offers online consultations. She is the author of six books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Autumn With An Author : Robbie Cheadle

I would like to introduce a multi-talented Author Robbie Cheadle from South Africa. She often writes with her son and participates to anthologies. Her talents show up in various expressions of life, I will let her telling the rest.

Books by Roberta Cheadle

  1. Words have power. When did you realize you could use the power of words in your own book to tell people your opinion, feelings, ideas or fantasy?

I have always been a keen reader. I started reading at the fairly young age of four years old and have never stopped. I always had a leaning towards books that were dark and realistic in their messaging, for example, at ten I read The Stand by Stephen King, about a pandemic that runs rampant and leaves only a handful of surviving humans of varying natures, demographics, and backgrounds.

To answer your question, because of my reading I think an understanding of the power of words was intuitive for me. I always liked to write and wrote, what I thought at the time, were beautiful descriptive poems and words from the age of twelve. In my first year out of school (when I was eighteen) I attempted to write my first book. I never finished it, but I do still have that early attempt at writing.

When my children were young, I started writing poems to express my ideas and emotions about parenting and demonstrate my strength of feeling for my family. My poetry evolved over time and I also wrote about other situations and experiences that evoke strong emotions in me. Although I do share it and publish it, my poetry is very personal.

My historical writing is driven by my desire to share history in an interesting and accessible way so that people can remember the horrors and wars of the past and how they impacted on societies. My hope is that people will learn by remembering the past.


  1. Your latest publication is a collection of unusual poems called “Behind Closed Doors”.
    Was your intention to arouse strong emotions in the readers with your poems?

My intention with Behind Closed Doors was to create a record of my thoughts and experiences about a few subjects that disturb and distress me. How people feel about climate change, retrenchments, restructurings, asset stripping of companies, death and other upsetting topics are often hidden by the masks we present to the world. We keep our thoughts and emotions shut up ‘behind closed doors.’

I also wanted to share my Covid-19 and lockdown cakes project which were linked to some darker limericks about my personal experiences during this time.

These poems and artworks are expressions of my reactions and emotions. I hope other people will relate to them and know they are not alone.

  1.  Do your poems exhibit a rhythmical structure?

Other than syllabic poems, my poetry is intended to have a rhythmic structure. This is one reason I like to read my poetry on my YouTube Channel. I always pleases me greatly when readers comment on the rhythm of a particular poem because they I know they ‘got it’.

  1. You participated in a few anthologies and wrote a few books of your own.
    How did you select the names of your characters?

Often, the character appears in my head with a name. This was the case for Margaret from Through the Nethergate as well as Michelle and Tom from A Ghost and His Gold. My latest characters in my work in progress, The Soldier and the Radium Girl, are called Kate and Jake. They also ‘came’ with names.

I write a lot of historical fiction, so there are real people included in my stories and I don’t change their names. The names of the Boer characters in A Ghost and His Gold were trickier for me. Suné and Renette are names I ‘borrowed’ from work colleagues. I told them about it, and they were pleased I was using their names in my book. The other names are ‘common’ local names and originate from people I know or have known at some point in my life.

My WIP about climate change and the fourth industrial revolution is more international so I had to google names for my non-European characters. I just looked up newspaper articles and ‘borrowed’ the names of the journalists and people mentioned in the articles. I mix and match the first names and surnames.

I am not like some writers who don’t chose character names until the end of their book. My characters must have names as they become real people in my head and on paper.


  1. One of your books published in Jan.2021 “A Ghost and His Gold” is about a paranormal phenomenon of three phantoms who died during the Anglo Boer War. It seems a bit scary/violent to me. After you finish writing a particular disturbing scene, do you get scared or do you have visions of your characters being in the room with you?

I have been reading dark fiction and true crime fiction since I was ten. I devoured Stephen King’s earlier novels and read books like Helter Skelter about the Manson murders while I was in junior school. As an adult, I gravitate towards books about war and the paranormal, so this is my literary diet.

Writing war or dark scenes can be mentally exhausting as I get involved with the scenes, but they do not disturb me afterwards.

The research for my climate change book got me down a little, so I’m taking a break from it to write a section of The Soldier and the Radium Girl. What is happening in our world is very frightening and writing about a world plagued by chaos, death, pandemics, and devastation when it is happening all around you, is quite different to writing about events that happened years ago.

  1. What kind of research did you do for this book, if any?

I do a huge amount of research for my historical books and stories. For A Ghost and His Gold, I used about thirty different resources to piece together my account of the Second Anglo Boer War through the eyes of my three ghosts, Pieter, Robert, and Estelle. I used a variety of documents from diaries to official historical records and I even read fiction books written during this period to get a feel for the food, clothing, and way of life.

I also visited a couple of museums in South Africa dedicated to Boer history and their lifestyle during the ‘treks’.

My resources are listed at the back of the book.

  1. What was your hardest scene or situation to write, if any?

The hardest scene for me to write was at the end when Estelle needed to confront her past and decide on her future path – would she complete her acts of revenge or would she choose a different path.

Estelle is a poltergeist and very bitter and angry, but I wanted the story to end well with all the ghosts achieving redemption. I had to find a way of allowing her to reach a redemption decision while demonstrating an internal struggle of significance. It wouldn’t suit her character if she just capitulated and forgave the people who had harmed her during her difficult life. She also had a vendetta against men that rape and deceive and this also had to be resolved.

This is a short extract from this particular scene in the book:

“The door bursts open. Estelle explodes into the room, eyes blazing, and with some object held out in front of her.

Michelle strains to make out what the object is, it looks like a smart phone. As she watches a mass of phosphorescence bursts from the smart phone, twinkling in the dimness like stars.

A sharp sour smell fills the air. It is the smell of fear as adrenaline filled sweat leaches from the pores of the watching group. The room comes alive with shadows.

The shadows of women of all shapes, sizes and ethnic creeds. Women wearing the brightly coloured traditional colours and designs of Africa; Hindu women wearing saris; Muslim women wearing hijabs or burkas; European women wearing Victorian clothing; American women wearing jeans and T-shirts. The women have one common feature, their baleful and glittering eyes.

The shadows multiply into thousands. They swarm everywhere. Some have scarred faces and twisted bodies, but most are beautiful with the glowing good looks of youth.

Estelle starts to chant, “Me too, me too,” and the shadows catch the refrain. The words howl around the room like a strong wind. A loud crack fills the air, and the group, who are all still seated, launch themselves instinctively backwards.

In front of their horrified eyes, the floor splits open from the door, right across the room to the window. The crevice widens and a noxious smell rises from its steaming depths. It is a horrendous smell, the smell of suffering, death, corruption, and blood overlaid with the odour of burning and charred bodies.

Estelle’s eyes fix on Tom. “I’ve come for your soul, Tom. You and I will both pay for our crimes by burning eternally in the fires of hell.””

Chocolate Land Characters
  1. You also wrote books with one of your kids and bake some of the recipes in your books. How did your kid get involved writing books with you, his mom.    

Michael is an imaginative boy who loved to be read too. When it came to learning to read himself, he struggled, and we discovered he had an auditory processing learning barrier. The Sir Chocolate books came about because I wanted to find a fun way to get Michael to read and write himself. He came up with the concept for Chocolate Land and the edible characters Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet who go around their world putting wrong things right.

We made up the stories together and I converted them into rhyming verse which Michael wrote out in a book form. Initially, Michael also drew the illustrations for the books. He is artistic.

Later, when we were encouraged by a friend to submit these stories to a publisher, we added the recipes and the fondant, sweet, and cake artworks. My idea was that our Sir Chocolate Book series would be a fun interactive series for caregivers and children where they could read the stories and make the characters and recipes together as a family activity.

Michael used to enjoy fondant art and some of his art is in the earlier books. He loves to develop new recipes with me and to cook with either me, my mom, or my husband.

  1. Do you find writing with your kid exhausting or not at all?

No, it wasn’t difficult. We would just see something that triggered an idea and then we would chat about it and make up a story about it. I did the rhyming verse and then read it to Michael to see if he liked it. If we had other children visiting, they would also jump in with ideas. We had a lot of fun writing these stories.

  1. What are your writing plans for the future with or without your kid?

Michael and I are just finishing a new Sir Chocolate book called Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog. This should be published in early December this year. We are also working on a Haunted Halloween Holiday picture book for children.

From an older children perspective, mom and I are working on After the Bombs Fell, a sequel to While the Bombs Fell, and I am working on my own semi memoir about my girlhood called The Girl Who Loved Dolls.

I am also working on my climate change book called The Creeping Change and The Soldier and the Radium Girl. Another interesting idea struck me yesterday so I could soon have five WIPs.


  1. If you wanted to leave a message for posterity in one of your books what would it be? 

It’s quite difficult for me to limit that to just one book. My historical paranormal novels are aimed at ensuring history is remembered and that young people learn from the many mistakes from our collective past.

My climate change book takes our current situation and extrapolates it forward into a dystopian future where our lifestyles are greatly changed due to global warming, technology and its implications for the future of jobs, and on-going virus variants caused by mutations. This book is a warning as to the worst-case outcome if serious changes are not made to the way the world currently works.

Thank you, Valentina, for inviting me to be your guest. I enjoyed answering your questions very much.

Robbie, you are a fascinating woman, I enjoyed having you as my guest, and learned a lot about you.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle author biography

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.
Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.
Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s books

TSL Books (paperback) (ebook)

A Ghost and His Gold:

Through the Nethergate:

Amazon US –

Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle at:


Please allow me a brief and small advertisement of my books.

Valentina’s Books on Amazon and B&N

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Her books are available in paperback and kindle on Amazon and B&N

A Dinner Story | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

San Vito- Bari, Italy

I was born on the sea, the Adriatic sea to be exact, on the limpid blue-green sea waters, salty, crispy waves, grottos, inlets, natural rock formations where crustaceous live and various blue fish are happy swimming in and out.
The food staple for people born on any sea is fish. On those parts, it is very common to be invited for dinner and be served many courses of fish.

Years later I moved to USA, a meat eating country, the search for fresh fish for my daily meal stopped abruptly. I go to grocery shops and I can smell the foul fish odor as soon as I enter the shop. I get closer to the fish counter and the smell gets stronger, the fish is covered with a ton of spices to camouflage the foul smell. I wonder who buys that fish!

I used to order fish plates in restaurants and after a few times returning the dish to the kitchen, I stopped ordering fish in restaurants. Fresh fish smells exactly like the sea, if it stinks has been dead for days or weeks! Just remember that.

Now, I know the reason why when I am invited to someone’s home, the main dish is meat, often chicken, boring, colorless, tasteless and tiring chicken….what’s so exciting about chicken! If I must brag about meat, only one time, in Texas, I was invited to a bison steak dinner and it was the best steak I had in my whole life!

One day, one of of my Californian friends wanted to organize a cooking class in her huge home for her girlfriends fit for a triathlon. She asked me to cook something special, good and healthy from my native Italian region. I told her that where I came from the staple food is fresh fish and she agreed to it. I went really out of my way to please her and her friends, drove for hours to the coast, where I knew one fisherman who could assure me the freshness of fish, and cook one blue fish for each, baked with some vegetable in a cartouche.
The reaction from the women was awful, when they open the cartouche on their plate, saw the fish head and screamed as I had put some kind of horrific thing in front of their eyes. Those women didn’t know anything about fish, how to source it, how to cook it and neither how to eat it.

They exclaimed the fish was dead, I asked them if they usually eat meat alive. They said it was cruel to the fish, I asked them if it is not cruel to kill animals, including chickens, and if it isn’t even more cruel to wear leather jackets or sit on a leather sofa. They were shocked to hear these comments. I am not in tune with people talking nonsenses, I have no patience for them and I tell it as it is. Humans have eaten meat and fish since the primordial time. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it but don’t push your beliefs on me.

I also knew my friend was not equipped with the right tools to eat fish with, thus I brought my silvers to her for that occasion and made her look good. Silly me! I should have made a chicken dish to leave everyone satisfied and convinced that they had not eaten a dead animal. Live and learn.

Fish knives

These are the fish knives needed to separate the flesh from the bones if any, also used to eat a fish fillet. Never a regular knife is used for fish. Only in high end restaurants, these knives appear on the table along with other interesting flatware.

If you invite people to your home for dinner, always ask the guests what they do not eat and if they are opposed to something you have in mind. My friend agree to a fish dinner because she had been to my native land, she knew how good and fresh fish is over there. Luckily, my dessert was a hit. Of course give people sugar and they will be super happy. Ciao.
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books on:
Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Autumn With An Author: Teagan Geneviene

Today, my guest is an author from New Mexico with a vivid imagination. She writes fantasy books for adults. When I saw her on Google+ I was attracted to her unusual name Teagan Riordáin Geneviene and the striking cover of the book she was writing “The Delta Pearl”. The sepia tone of the cover and the entire imagery made me fantasize being on the river boat and immediately took me back to that Jazz era I like so much. People say don’t judge a book by the cover…
I let Teagan speak.

Author Teagan Riordain Geveviene

1. Your last publication is a series of novelettes called “Dead of Winter” that you started to publish monthly in Jan.2021. What is the series about and what inspired you to write it? Will it be over in December 2021?  

I’m not certain of the end date for the monthly publications.  I expect it to finish either this December or in January of 2020.

Dead of Winter is a high fantasy, published monthly in novelette-sized installments.  It takes place in a world that resembles some lands in the past of our own world.  The heroine, Emlyn, is a 12-year-old girl who sees and hears spirits.

The religious fanatics who took over Emlyn’s homeland say she is an abomination. She escapes, and is taken in by travelers belonging to the Deae Matres — a society of intelligent women who travel the world, seeking out and preserving knowledge.

Meanwhile, Emlyn’s encounters with spirits become more frequent, because the Veil, which separates the world of the living from the realm of the dead has become dangerously thin.  As the Veil deteriorates, chaos ensues when the dead begin to cross into the living world.  I invite everyone to Journey with Emlyn as she explores her world in Dead of Winter.

Dead Of Winter Novelettes by Author Teagan Riordain Geveviene

2. How did you select the names of your characters for this series?

I admit that I can obsess about names.  The importance of name meanings goes unnoticed in our modern world.  As I researched the real-world places and mythologies that were at the core of my various inspirations for the story, I also researched names from those areas – and their meanings.  For instance, the character “Osabide” in addition to being a teacher and mentor to the young heroine, used to be a healer.  One meaning for the name Osabide is healer.

3. What was your hardest scene or situation to write, if any?

There were two particular scenes that were difficult, but for differing reasons.  Journey 6, The Fluting Fell, includes the origin scene of a supernatural character.  That involved a brutal assault.  Through an accidental shared dream-memory, 12 year-old Emlyn experiences the assault as if she had been there.  As a survivor of abuse, I put a huge amount of thought into how to handle and word that scene.

Another challenge was the two-prong climax of the story.  In the part dealing with the arch villain, my original ending is unfittingly gruesome for the rest of the story.  So, a task ahead of me is rewriting that climatic scene.  I don’t want it to be that much more violent than the overall story.

4. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Hmmm...  That’s a great question, Valentina.  Haha, I hope not.  Certainly not in Dead of Winter.  In some stories I make references to things that not everyone would get.  However, those are not anything that would impact whether or not they understand the story.  For instance, in Hullaba Lulu, a Diesel-punk Adventure, I give a nod to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”  Douglas Adams fans would pickup on it right away, and laugh.  People who are unfamiliar with that classic would just think it was more Lulu zaniness.

5. What kind of research did you do for this series, if any?

Some people think fantasy stories don’t need to be researched.  Me, I research intensely for every story.  I did volumes of research for Dead of Winter, from the topography and lay of the land in the UK and European locations that inspired my fictional countries, to the meanings behind place and character names that I created.  There are well over 300 character and place names in the overall manuscript.  That’s why I include a list of characters and places at the end of each volume, which grows as the Journeys progress.

Some leftover research (legends that I didn’t use for Dead of Winter) ended up providing “loose inspiration” for my Atonement, Tennessee urban fantasy stories.  If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a huge research geek!

6. You write mostly fantasy books for adults, how did you come about to write in this style?  

Various genres were my favorite at different points in my life.  High fantasy and urban fantasy became my favorite books to read.  When I eventually took writing seriously, the most frequent “advice to writers” that I found was to write what you know.  I knew that genre best, so that was what I started out writing.  During the past decade I became fond of the may types of “punk” stories (steampunk, diesel-punk, atom-punk, etc.), and I started writing those too.

7. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Seeing the ending.  I’m very much a pantser, writing by the seat of my pants.  It’s very difficult for me to see the ending in advance.

8. Why did you decide to start writing books?

My author bio used to include a bit about how one day, I realized that I had read every book I owned several times, and there was no new book at hand to read.  So, I decided to write one – and I’ve been writing ever since.

9. Most artist like to be creative in their arts and don’t like to market their work. How do you feel about marketing and selling your books? 

Yes, I’m in that group who does not like marketing.  I didn’t even like touching social media.  However, as an independent (indie) writer, it was obvious that I would have to get over it.  That is an ongoing challenge for me.  I wasn’t simply brought up to be modest.  When I was growing up, if it even looked like I was about to say something good about myself, I was cut down harshly.

It makes me feel a little better about blowing my own horn if I can promote others.  That’s one reason why I enjoy featuring people at my blog, when I write my “three things” style of spontaneous serials.  I just started a new one in August.  It’s an “atom punk” fantasy (1940s – 50s for the level of technology) called “The Armadillo Files.”  I publish an episode each weekend, at

10. If you wanted to leave a message for posterity in one of your books what would it be?

I suppose, in a way, I’m taking a cue from Shakespeare with to thine own self be true.  Most of my heroines have to be true to themselves, regardless of the lack of acceptance that might come with it.  Whether they are just a bit different than their friends, or quirky, particularly unusual, they are themselves.  Sure, we all want to be accepted and be part of things.  However, we can’t underestimate the value of our uniqueness.

Valentina, thanks very much for letting me visit with you today.  Any of my books can be found via my Amazon author page.  Here’s a universal link:

It is a pleasure to have you as my guest, Teagan. I always admire your imagination.

I can also be reached through these social media links:



I am a bit like you, Teagan, when it comes to marketing my books, I don’t like to sell, but I must. Allow me to showcase my books. They are on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She writes about many subjects. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. She has conceived a few new books to be published in the immediate future to which she is working simultaneously. Amazon Author’s Page 

Why everyone should read The Divine Comedy

I studied the Divine Comedy in the middle school in Italy as part of my curriculum. It was required we studied in “vulgar” the old Italian and of course it was difficult. Today, I am very grateful of that kind of quality education.
It is a pleasure to reblog it from an author Ursula Hartlein who read it and appreciate it.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, despite being over 700 years old, feels so modern and relevant, not like a book tied entirely to the Middle Ages.

Welcome to My Magick Theatre

Beginning on 8 September, Baylor Honors College, in conjunction with five other schools, will kick off100 Days of Dante. The objective is to read one canto a day, until finishing on 17 April (the Catholic and Protestant Easter). Though I just reread the Commedia earlier this year, in the Mark Musa translation, I’m really excited to begin all over again.

I got the much-lauded Durling-Martinez translation of Inferno, which is dual-language and has excellent essays and notes. Though I’m pissed that less than 24 hours after I ordered it, the price dropped by five dollars, to $9.95, and I was unable to be refunded despite it not having shipped yet! I’m keeping an eagle eye on the price of Purgatorio and Paradiso. They’re extraordinarily, unacceptably, ridiculously high ($24 and $33), but if they sink to $15 or lower, I’m jumping on them.

If they remain high…

View original post 815 more words

Autumn With An Author: Marjorie Mallon

My intention with this series, “Autumn With An Author” is to introduce my readers to authors I know well and authors I want to get to know as people through their expression of writing. Today, I present you Marjorie Mallon from Cambridge, UK.

1. Your latest publication “Bloodstone – The Curse Of Time” is an imaginative mystery book. What did you develop first the plot or the characters?

Thank you so much for inviting me to interview at your wonderful blog Valentina. My latest publication, Bloodstone The Curse of Time Book 1 is an imaginative YA fantasy mystery with paranormal, light and dark elements inspired by two sculptural artworks: 

The Corpus Christi Chronophage invented by extraordinary British inventor Dr. John C Taylor OBE (who I had the pleasure of meeting in person in 2017.)

The extraordinary timepiece is situated on King’s Parade Cambridge opposite King’s College. I discovered Juniper Artland’s The Light Pours Out of Me by Anya Gallaccio while out with friends near my parent’s home in Scotland. 

With regard to your question, I developed the characters first of all.  For me, characters are central to the story and I don’t tend to plot. I write organically from my imagination which brings interesting results!


2. Do you always get along with your characters?

Some characters are more lovable than others! But whether they are villains or heroes, or somewhere in between, I do find them all fascinating. And they all have facets of their personalities that I find intriguing.  I like my characters to have a hidden side. This is particularly evident in Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror, Ryder, (who has a dark, hypnotic, mysterious side,) and The Creature, Eruterac, who is conjured from the brush strokes of Amelina’s magical art set. Read Bloodstone to see what I mean!

Esme And The Mirror ©Carolina Russo – Online Use –

3. What do you do to get inside your character’s heads? 

It depends on the circumstances. If I see someone that triggers an idea then it tends to flow from there. Often, unsuspecting bypassers become my characters! Otherwise, (as is the case in Bloodstone,) a burst of frenetic energy creates the character and my writing flows forward from that.

4. If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?

I have interviewed some of my characters on my blog. It was fun to do and a useful way to dig deeper into their personalities! I’d love to chat to Ryder the most, as he is mysterious, wicked but also has a childlike side to him. He is evolving more and more in the second book in the series which I’m working on.

5. Do you have a special way/system to find the title of your books?

With the Curse of Time series it began in a process of stages. Getting the story concept and developing it further, it changed a lot! Initially, i planned to call the novel The Crystal Cottage but the story became darker with the introduction of the Corpus Christi timepiece and The Crystal Cottage didn’t seem like the right title! So, after I republished the original story with Next Chapter Publishing we settled on Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1.) 

6. What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

Peace and quiet and a few choice crystals! Lots of sparkles and warm gentle sunlight.

7. Has writing changed your perspectives of life or on certain issues.

Not really, I am still the same person I was. I’m pretty deep, and thoughtful and that hasn’t changed. Writing has given me a way to release that angst into the atmosphere!

8. How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

Crack open a bottle of wine! Then, when the initial celebrations are over I realise that this is just the beginning. A book may be finished but there is marketing to do…

9. Do you market your books or don’t like to hard sell as most artists don’t like to sell their work?

Marketing is not my favourite thing to do but a necessary evil. I much prefer the creative stage, especially the first burst of creativity getting the story down. Anything after is hard work but a worthwhile slog to reach the end goal!

10. Have you planned more books in the near future?

Thank you so much for the wonderful questions Valentina. Yes, I am nearly finished Golden Healer, Book 2 in The Curse of Time Series. I have some poetry/photography book ideas to develop, one is fairly developed and is called Do What You Love.  I am moving to Portugal  in the near future, so it all depends on the time that I may, or may not have for writing!

In the meantime, do check out all my books. I write poetry, and prose and like to dabble in photography too. Also, I produced an anthology during the early stages of Lockdown, (when I was furloughed from work,) with many of my brilliant writing friends and creatives/bloggers in the community. 

Here are my titles which are all available in Amazon and most are available online in various Bookstores, etc, too. 

Read an excerpt, follow the link to Goodreads reviews on Next Chapter Publishing:

Bloodstone universal buying link:

Media kit:
Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose (with photography) 

Media kit:

Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity

Universal link:

Media kit:

This Is Lockdown (an anthology)
Media kit: 

Universal link kindle:

Universal link paperback:

Author Bio:

MJ’s motto is to stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.

Favourite genres to write: Fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Next Chapter Publishing YA fantasy series.

Bloodstone – The Curse of Time Book 1

And the 2nd in the series to be published thereafter…

Golden Healer – The Curse of Time Book 2

Her writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and has also written a spin off poetry collection entitled Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic.) where she continues to celebrate the spiritual realm, her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

Her eclectic blog shares details and information about her new releases, author interviews, character profiles and her love of reading, reviewing, writing, and photography:

Valentina, if you use the images of Esme and The Creature please can you link back to the wonderful artist, my friend Carolina Russo:

Thanks a bunch! So looking forward to being a guest on your blog.

I enjoyed reading about you and getting to know you better, Marjorie, thanks for being here.


I am the timid marketer, allow me to add my books on various subjects, available on Amazon and B&N.

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She writes about many subjects. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. She has conceived a few new books to be published in the immediate future to which she is working simultaneously. Amazon Author’s Page 

A Bit Of Both | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

It’s not a Summer and it’s not Autumn, the light has already changed and the days are getting shorter, an indication we are going to take out some clothes for the colder weather very soon. It doesn’t feel cold yet, at least where I am. During the day the heat makes its presence noticed, but at night a lighter blanket is required. I have always had mixed feelings about the Summer, I like the profusion of colors and food that don’t need much cooking, in my case food come fresh from my garden to the table. However, I like to travel in cooler months, trotting the world in the change of seasons is a real pleasure, when most of the tourists are in their countries working, the weather is not very warm, all the stores are opened, the service is so much better everywhere I go and if I encounter a bit of rain I will walk in the puddles of water.

In my Facebook group “Design One Beautiful Life” almost every week I come up with a color challenge. I lead my friends into a search of what they can do with a certain color combination, how they can explore it, how they can use it in their daily life, experience the emotion of some colors that might have never been in their realm. The color challenges are all experiments that will certainly create a stir.

In the midst of this warm and cool weather, I don’t want to look too summery or too wintery. This past week the color challenge was blue or brown, any shade, hues, tint and tones of the two colors. It is just perfect for transitioning in the Autumn.

I wasn’t wearing anymore the chocolate pearls necklace in the photos, I realized it gave no luminosity to my face, but now in this new color challenge I can combine it with a blue crystal necklace and I like it so much more. The union of the two necklaces is really beautiful in person. The crystals pick up many colors from the environment around me, make the chocolate pearls and my face come alive. The color vibrations are high.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have talked about colors, how many ways I have been teaching it, how many books on colors I write, I surprise myself every time.

I just want to say, try new things, get into your closet, mix and match everything in a new way, I am sure you will find something to turn into exceptional. Ciao,

Online Virtual Color Consultations

Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, born in Italy in a family of artists. Style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. She is passionate about colors and encourages her clients to express their individual style in their homes and with the clothes they wear. 
To better help people all over the world, she offers color consultations online. She is the author of six books available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

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