Venice: City of Romance or a Murky Mess?

My husband and I just finished our tour of Italy. The one place I wanted to spend quality time was Venice, a city that survives all odds. Built on a eries of low mud banks constantly beaten by the tidal waters of the Adriatic the brigthly colored facades still stand in their architectural glory.

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And I wanted to walk in the same footsteps of William Shakespeare centuries ago.

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After boarding a ferry we went from the train station across the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. The boatmen had a muscle building tasks of tying the old-school rope instead of nylon. The earthy scent and squeaking of the line as the man wrapped it around a dock post helped distract from the constant downpour of rain.

The croweded pathways didn’t detour me from appreciating the streets made of water, or the black gondolas as the black and white striped shirted gondolier manuevered visitors through the narrow watery alleys.

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Much to my disappointment many of the churches and museums didn’t allow photographs. The art work of Venice and architecutre of the buildings cannot be adequately described…you must see them in person.

Oddly enough my favorite store consisted of Murano glass products. The beauty of the clear and brillant glass made by Venetians since 1291 helped me to decide on gifts for many family members.

Our time in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region was too short. I wanted to spend more time exploring and maybe going over to the glass factory in the small cluster of islands, Murano.

 

all rights reserved jj Keller

 

 

 

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Italy: Amalfi Coast

If you’ve seen a painting or print of Italy, generally the scenery is of houses built into the mountain side. The Amalfi Coast has this spectacular landscape admired by most who venture along the rough, wicked turning roads to get to the quaint seaside towns. My husband and I joined two other couples in a van driven by an energetic Italian. The wheels of the van barely touched the asphalt surface, but the fear wasn’t enough to keep me from admiring the scenery. I couldn’t look past the terraces lined with lemon trees.

Crags of misshapen olive trees bursting with soon-to-be-harvested olives dotted the landscape breaking up the vibrant yellow. Houses, seemingly built into the sides of the mountain, glistened in the noonday sun.

We jolted to a stop for a thirty-minute sightseeing walk through Amalfi, where the infamous lemon liqueur is made. Our taste buds were not disappointed…and the next leg of the journey was not as shocking with a bit of 32 proof in me.

A troop of school girls in matching outfits rushed through the streets handing out flyers to a play being performed that night. Visitors and locals interacted despite the language barriers. Coins, EUROs, were exchanged and merchandise moved.

Our next stop was at Positano and lunch at Chez Black a few feet above Mermaid Beach. We tried the buffalo mozzarella and swordfish, both were excellent. Well worth the winding staircase trip to get to the location.

What do you think of the magnificent blue waters of the Amalfi Coast?

Italy: An Experience

Ciao! My husband and I returned from our Italia vacation. The international travel was from his bucket list and although the country isn’t a fav of mine, I am a fan of distinct architecture and classic art work.

Our pilots, on air Italia, were exceptional…coming and going. We prepared for the extended flight, but jet lag zapped our energy straight away. After a sluggish first day, we walked and walked, climbed and slid on the wet stones…loved every minute. Our hotel, while the small room had a water spotted ceiling and no air conditioning, the location near the Trevi Fountain couldn’t have been better…and was guarded by the military,

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because of this building.

Trevi Fountain, just a few steps away, is the largest and most famous fountain since 1762. Central Figures are Neptune flanked by two Tritons-one trying to master an unruly seahorse, the other leading a quieter beast. Symbolizes the two contrasting moods of the sea.IMG_1471.JPG

The Pantheon is my favorite building in Rome (outside the museum). Roman temple of all the Gods designed by Emperor Hadman in AD 118. The temple is fronted by a massive portico, with a screening by a cylinder fused to a shallow dome. The oculus lets the only light inside. 7th Century Christians made the structure into a church and today is lined with tombs and monuments to Raphael. There is a strict dress code and they didn’t allow women with no shirt sleeves or dresses/skirts above the knee to enter. IMG_1455.JPGIMG_1453.JPGAmazing!

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we retired. Tomorrow we travel to the Amalfi Coast.

LASR Giftabration

LASR 2017.jpg

Do you like to read?

Want to win free books from exceptional authors?

Gift card anyone?

Join Long and Short Reviews for their 10th Anniversary.

My book Mystic Love will be given to a lucky winner!

  • Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

    A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 282
    Word Count: 68692
    978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback
    978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital 

    Excerpt

    She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

    Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

    Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

    Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

    Whom had she kissed?

    ****

    Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

    Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

    She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

    Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

    The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

    He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

    “Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

    She retreated.

    Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.

MYSTIC LOVE if you can’t wait for the contest!

MysticLove_w8541_med

Promote like a Food Network Star

I love to write a story, its especially thrilling to get the characters and their tale out of my head. But marketing…ah that is a beast I’ve yet to conquer.

Food Network Star is a program I’m becoming addicted too, not because of hot Bobby Flay or even the eye-rolling Giada De Laurentis, it’s because of their marketing tips. Food Network Star provides cooking information and marking ideas…how can you go wrong with recipes and promotion suggestions.

During the show a contestant must cook an impressive original food and get in front of the camera to try and convince people to eat said dish. The producers create many scenarios, like Beauty and the Beast dinner party, Flashback Dinner (recreate a old staple into a yummy contemporary) and All-Terrain Eats, an experiential restaurant experience.

My favorite star hopeful is Jason Smith. He has a charming Kentucky accent and clever euphemisms. As winner of Holiday Baking Championship, he has certified cooking abilities, but the camera segments each week are new. He’s adapted well and adds his sweet personality to sell his dish.

Like the food network star hopeful, an author must sell his or her book. Even if the author has an outstanding, interesting, story, if the book doesn’t wow the public with the possibility of what’s between the covers the book won’t sell and make the top one hundred.

The chef presents his/her dish, making it as attractive as possible. The book cover needs to draw the attention of reader.

Once the dish is in place the chef describes what the person will taste. And the author needs to create a tagline and blurb to entice the reader farther into desiring the book.

Presence, visual beauty, description and taste are key to becoming a Food Network Star. Bobby told a contestant to keep the film bit simple, the same concept should apply for the virtual presence for an author.

An author’s marketing plan should include presence in the venues where fans/readers might hang out. A writer should include a cover visually attractive to a reader, a blurb that draws the reader to add the book to the cart and check out. The book, like the dish, must have substance and flavor so the reader will get a sublime experience.

As Jason from Kentucky said, “It’ll make your tongue slap your brains out.”

Road Trip to Old Stone Fort

The setting for Mystic Love was created from a road trip my family took a few years ago.

We were driving to Florida for spring break and took a rest stop in Tennessee. I’d been reading about ley lines and how the underground alignments of places hold a mystical power. And what do you know–Old Stone Fort Park was at the next exit.

Fee paid and car parked we shed our over coats and embraced the warmer temperature. The boys wanted to go to the site and get it over with

Instead we walked the trail that looped around. At the entrance of the ceremonial site were two mounds of soil, perfectly formed. The park had been created during the Woodland period so pedestal mounds…much like Native American burial grounds found in the northern Indiana area of my parents homestead… were typical in a religious place.

I stood in the center of the religious area and closed my eyes. I let the sounds of rushing waters from the Duck Rivers and the birds cooing in the leafless tree branches surround me. Earth scents from the warm fresh breeze, mixing with the fallen leaves and pungent waterfalls took me to another place. Peacefulness beyond anything I’d experienced before set over me. I could almost feel the magic in the area.

Until, my eldest son shouted into my ear.

The spell was broken, but I’ve never forgotten the special emotions I experienced.

Do ley lines hold mystical powers?

Mystic Love

Ericka Gilmore dabbles in life and death when she tries to conjure a ghost lover. But when flesh and blood, Joe Reeves appears on her doorstep in the midst of a storm, she has to rethink her destiny.

A car accident left the former cop with the ability to foresee death. No longer willing to watch people he cares about die, Joe goes in search of a shaman to remove his “gift”. His remedy until then is to avoid all relationships. But like a lightning strike, he experiences a strong connection with Ericka. A nearby mystical ley line could be Joe’s solution if he and Ericka combine their gifts. But her secret past and his fear of seeing her death keep them at odds.

Rating: Spicy 
Page Count: 282 
Word Count: 68692

978-1-5092-1060-2 Paperback 
978-1-5092-1061-9 Digital

Excerpt

She threw herself against her dream lover, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His lips were cold, but perfect in form. At first, his mouth didn’t move, but after a couple of seconds, he pressed into her. She flicked the tip of her tongue over his mouth, outlining the curves, and then slid it between his lips. His tongue played with hers. Sharp, decadent longing powered through her.

Wait a minute, he didn’t taste like she’d imagined. He tasted like mint and human. She touched whatever smooth cool skin she could find available between the coat and his neck and shoulders. Strong and virile hot body. She inhaled, taking in his scent; fragrant late fall wind and the odor of male sweat.

Sweat? Wet skin? She licked her lips, savoring the zest. A spear of lightning brightened the sky. Six foot three. Left ear piercing. Broad chest. Wrangler posture, with one knee bent.

Her heart thumped harder, pounding strong in her chest.

Whom had she kissed?

****

Joe supported her, keeping her in an upright position. Definitely a her as supple breasts snuggled tight against his chest. Her robe opened, and he fought the urge to remove his own garments to feel her warm body against his, flesh to flesh.

Lips tasting of wine connected with his, insistent and passionate. Six months ago, he embarked on his solo quest, but it hadn’t been so long that he couldn’t remember previous intimacies, and those encounters didn’t compare to her lavish kisses. Whew, hot, he’d go with the flow for a little longer.

She jerked, and then shoved him away. Sadly, the kiss had been a mistake, and from the flash of surprise crossing her face, she’d realized it as well. The pale blue, almost white, towel came loose from her head. She snapped the cloth off. Sexy dark ringlets fell in twisted disarray to her shoulders.

Joe had been lucky enough to catch a joyful kiss and snuggle. He’d delighted in the touch of her lips, the scent of her womanhood, and her wonderful nipples piercing into his thin, sodden shirt. Enjoying the mistake and resulting benefits, he grinned.

The gleam in her eyes went from surprise to anger. With a shaking hand, she wiped her luscious pink mouth.

He stood in a quandary and debated how to explain. Under the circumstances, she wouldn’t accuse him of a forced entry.

“Sorry. No lights. I didn’t hear a security system buzz. I would’ve shouted.” He took a step. “Instead of coming inside.”

She retreated.

Damn. He’d be sleeping in the rain after all.

 

Mystic Love

 

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