Guest blog by MaryAnn Diorio about The Italian Chronicles series

GUEST BLOG POST FOR ROSE McCAULEY’S BLOG
by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD

When my dear friend Rose invited me to write a guest post for her blog, I was delighted! Rose and I go back a long time. We met at an ACFW Conference in Dallas and have been friends ever since. So I am honored to share with you a little bit about the story behind my trilogy, The Italian Chronicles.

All three novels of the trilogy—The Madonna of Pisano, A Sicilian Farewell, and Return to Bella Terra—are, in part, set in Sicily. Having visited Sicily, I have strong ties to this beautiful island because my paternal grandparents emigrated to the United States from Sicily. Those very ties inspired me to write The Italian Chronicles. It is in Sicily that the life of my heroine, Maria Landro, unfolds.

The seed for the trilogy grew out of an incident I discovered while researching my family tree. I learned that my great-great-grandmother had been raped and had borne a child out of wedlock. Feeling a sudden and deep compassion for this woman, I made it my goal to find out what had happened and to exonerate her good name.

Through a serious of miraculous circumstances, our Lord connected me with a professional genealogist who lived in the very town in which my great-great-grandmother had lived. He informed me that, in those days, young women were often violated by either ruthless landlords or unscrupulous priests. This fact provided the seed for the first novel, The Madonna of Pisano, although most of the story beyond that is purely fictional.

Book 2 and Book 3—A Sicilian Farewell and Return to Bella Terra—are also based on historic facts in my ancestry, but, for the most part, these novels are fictional weavings that, I hope, will glorify God and bless my readers.

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Copyright 2018 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA. All Rights Reserved.

BLURB for RETURN TO BELLA TERRA:

A woman, her son, and the man who threatens to come between them . . .

When she receives word that her mother is terminally ill, Maria Landro Tonetta travels to her Sicilian homeland with her son Nico. She finds herself yearning for the life she once knew as a child on Bella Terra, the family farm, now on the verge of bankruptcy.

Caught between two worlds, Maria dreams of moving back to Sicily with her husband and children to save the farm.

When, however, Nico’s biological father unexpectedly appears at Mama’s funeral, Maria faces a new enemy to her dream.

But is there an even greater enemy within her own soul?

BIO: Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author who writes compelling, riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. A former university professor of fiction writing, she lives in New Jersey with her husband Dom. They are the blessed parents of two adults daughters and five rambunctious grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn and her writing at http://www.maryanndiorio.com.

PURCHASE LINKS for RETURN TO BELLA TERRA:
Print Format: https://www.amazon.com/Return-Bella-Terra-Italian-Chronicles/dp/0930037243/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1509201943&sr=8-1&dpID=51JLAuqv9RL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=detail

Kindle Format: https://www.amazon.com/Return-Bella-Terra-Italian-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B076QFSJD3/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1509201943&sr=8-1

 

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Review of Return to Bella Terra, a novel

Return to Bella Terra is MaryAnn Diorio’s best book ever, and I have read all her fiction novels! If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, I suggest you begin by reading them–The Madonna of Pisano and A Sicilian Farewell, each partly set in Sicily–MaryAnn’s family’s heritage. This trilogy is loosely based on MaryAnn’s own grandparents immigrating to America,  and I think that is the reason you feel like you are in Italy with them–the sights, sounds and scents, even the calls of the birds from the Sicilian villa they called home. The series takes place from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth.

This third novel brings out more about the characters from the first two novels, and I enjoyed how she portrayed her characters growing in faith and age throughout the books–like in real life! And she shows how God really does give us more than we can ask for or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20) I really feel invested in these characters, like they are now part of my family, and hope she someday does a fourth book so we can see where they are twenty or thirty years from now!

This is a great book to restart my blog in 2018! I apologize for my one month absence. Before Christmas I came down with a bad sinus infection and ended up on antibiotics. My brain doesn’t work well on drugs! Then last week I spent 9 hours in the local ER getting a CT scan and 2 IVs before being sent home with two more strong antibiotics and a diagnosis of diverticulitis, so all prayers for healing are appreciated!

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Wishing all my friends, family and readers a very Merry Christmas…

and a year full of great book reading in 2018!!!

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Gigantic Sale on Destination: Romance

Gigantic pre-Christmas sale on all copies of Destination: Romance

!!! Check out kindle and nook prices on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for only 69 cents! And print copies for barely $10. Where else can you find 5 wonderful stories for under $1? Contemporary and historical romance.

Destination Romance Collection

The Blurb: “From a cave in the hills of Missouri to a sandy beach in Grand Cayman, romance blooms for five heroines when they least expect it.”

Bare Feet and Warm Sand BY Kim Vogel Sawyer, Sufficient Grace BY Constance Shilling Stevens, Better Together Than Apart BY Rose Allen McCauley, A Shelter in a Weary Land BY Julane Hiebert, Cotton Candy Sky BY Kristian Libel

Purchase: Amazon  

Follow: Julane Hiebert, K. Marie Libel, Rose Allen McCauley, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Constance Shilling Stevens

Blurbs for each novella:

Bare Feet and Warm Sand BY Kim Vogel Sawyer

Marine biologist Tamiera is determined to protect endangered sea turtles against man’s intrusion. When Joe arrives on the island of Grand Cayman with plans to build a resort near the turtles’ nesting grounds, will she be able to convince him to put the needs of God’s creatures above making money?

Sufficient Grace BY Constance Shilling Stevens

An abandoned Cherokee burial ground keeps secrets and draws a picture of deep, enduring love for Nora, but land surveyor Donovan threatens the place that holds sweet memories for Nora’s grandfather. Will Donovan follow his boss’s orders or follow his heart?

 

Better Together Than Apart BY Rose Allen McCauley

On a K-Love cruise to Jamaica, Natalie re-connects with Ken, a boy she met six years earlier on a high school summer mission trip. Attraction stirs, but opposing goals threaten their romance. Will they listen to God’s leading for their best place of service?

A Shelter in a Weary Land BY Julane Hiebert

A cave in the Missouri hillside was to be a shelter from pillaging Union soldiers for Charlotte and her unborn babe. But will she be safe when a wounded enemy seeks the same place of refuge?

Cotton Candy Sky BY Kristian Libel

When a Kansas girl falls in love with the ocean, she thinks nothing could be more exhilarating than life on a beach…except maybe falling for a traveling photographer who introduces her to more adventure than she’d ever imagined. But is their connection one that can last, or will their time together simply remain a fond memory as they go their separate ways?

 

 

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Betty Thomason Owens’ Christmas Memories and a Double Giveaway!

Rose here: I Love Christmas Memories! Don’t you? Below is a very poignant Christmas memory written by my friend, Betty Thomason Owens. Enjoy!

A long time ago, in a place far, far away…okay, it wasn’t that long ago, and the place isn’t all that far away. However, it doesn’t exist anymore.

Are you wondering where it is? What I’m talking about?

One of my favorite Christmas memories occurred in a weathered gray house far out in the sticks of west Tennessee. It was an unplanned stayover with Grandma and Clarence, my step-grandfather. We’d paid a visit on Christmas Eve, when Mom and Dad decided it would be nice to stay the night.

After assuring my brothers and me that Santa would surely find us, they tucked us into bed. Then, the parents quietly left to “bring Christmas.”

The old mantel clock chimed the hours, while I tried to imagine how Santa would get in. There was only a metal pipe attached to the pot-bellied woodstove. No fireplace. The smell of wood smoke assured me the stove was too hot for anyone to come near.

But my worries were unfounded. The red-clad elf had found a way. A small, hastily cut, and sparsely-decorated cedar tree stood in the front room, blending its pungent aroma with the wood smoke. And beneath its branches, we found toys and sacks of goodies.

It probably wasn’t an especially great holiday for Mom. But it was a sacrificial gift to Grandma, giving her the rare opportunity to see some of her grandkids wake up to Christmas morning. And it was a celebration I still remember with a mixture of joy and sadness. (Betty and her grandmother below in the 1980s)

Grandma’s been gone for nearly forty years, and the house is gone, too. Where she lived and raised chickens, grew beautiful flowers, and a productive kitchen garden, is an empty parcel of land. Nothing grows on it now but weeds. Where there had been cotton fields and corn to feed the horses, and a big barn to house the horses—all gone. No trace.

But the three kids grew up to raise families of their own. My elder brother owns a large farm where he and his wife raise cattle and board horses. My younger brother helps build cars. And I write books.

When I sat down to write the Kinsman Redeemers series, I decided to place the story in those long ago days, on the small farm where I’d walked as a girl. At one time, I knew every hollow, every “critter” path, every nook and cranny. I helped dig in the earth to harvest root crops. I reaped beans and peas, tomatoes, and squash. I chopped cotton in the summer, and picked cotton in the fall.

I fell asleep to the songs of the night creepers, frogs, and crickets. Woke up to the aroma of meat frying and biscuits baking in the oven. And I will never forget the southern voices, with their warm west Tennessee drawl.

I’ve stood on the barren land, where I could still hear the echo of long-ago—children laughing, day laborers singing—the jingle of tack and harness as the workhorses delivered their loads. The plop of a fish jumping in the pond. When the whippoorwill sent up its mournful cry, I vowed never to forget.

You’ll find these memories of sounds and life recorded in the pages of my novels. And in this way, I pass on those precious times spent with loved ones and long ago friends. Through the magic of imagination, I’ve done my best to breathe life into them. I hope you’ll think so, too.

Rose here: I hope you got a taste of Betty’s beautiful lyrical writing from her memory.  I felt like I was there with her in the “weathered gray house” in Tennessee. She has written two books in the Kinsman Redeemer series, and is offering the second one, Sutter’s Landing as a giveaway, so please leave a comment to be entered. Maybe you could even leave one of your own Christmas memories! Then travel to her blog and leave a comment on my post starting tomorrow to win one of my books. A double giveaway! We will both contact the winners next weekend!

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Win inspirational romances PLUS a brand new eReader!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

I’ve teamed up with 51 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of inspirational romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering?   :)

You can win my novel CHRISTMAS GRACE, plus books from authors like Susan May Warren and Robert Tate Miller.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/inspy-holidays-nov2017

Good luck, and enjoy!

Rose Allen McCauley

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