La Befana 

La Befana has been an Italian tradition since before the 13th Century and is derived from a religious background rather than a modern and popular culture such as Babbo Natale ‘Santa Claus’

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An afternoon with Chris Ledbetter, author of Drawn. Guest-post AND giveaway!!


Hi friends, 

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with the Author of Drawn, Chris Ledbetter.  I wanted to talk to him about the Italian influence he had in writing his new book, Drawn. He was inspired by Italy when he wrote his new book.

So without further a do, everyone meet Chris 🙂

I feel like I’m walking into an “Italiophiles Anonymous” meeting.

“Ciao. Sono Chris Ledbetter… e io amo l’Italia”

In another life, in a past life, I have no doubt that I’ve lived in Italy. I’ve walked the paths of caesars and gods, held the labor-worn tools of artisans, inhaled the countryside’s earthy aromas, and savored the wine. So the influence is strong, despite never having set foot on the soil. I am deeply saddened that this has not occurred yet, and I vow to rectify this post haste.

The Italian influence in Drawn begins right in the first chapter with Mr. Cassisi, a native of Sardinia. He is Cameron’s art mentor. The references continue as the characters and reader are simultaneously drawn into the world of Terra Sempre.

By and large, Terra Sempre is modeled after Tuscany, complete with vineyard covered rolling hills. The vineyards don’t contain grapes, however, but ink berries. Ink is the sole sustenance in Terra Sempre. The capital city of this world is patterned after several Tuscan cities, like Orvieto, Perugia, Abruzzo, Montepulciano, Verona et al. However, Firenze has had the most influence.

There is a series of scenes late in the book where I model the path taken by the characters after a direct path through Firenze across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and along the tight lanes toward the exact piazza greeting the Palazzo Vecchio. In fact, I feature my best literary representation of the very Palazzo Vecchio (simply named the king’s palazzo in the book). I did a crap ton of Internet research on this area and the structure itself. I even resorted to Assassin’s Creed II for some research. I figured that to be pretty resourceful of me.

In addition to the setting, I have threaded in some Latin and Italian phrases. It’s just enough to round out the feel of Terra Sempre without overrunning everything. I would love for Drawn to be translated one day to Italian. Oh, the dreams I have. I admit to using a bit of Internet research and Google Translate for some of the Italian and Latin usage. But I also have an Italian co-worker that helped as well. After all is said and done, I certainly hope I’ve done Italy, and especially Firenze justice. But if something is off, remember, Terra Sempre is after all a fantasy world, not reality.

Now, lets discuss the book ~

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.

I have already started reading it, and it’s one of those books that you just simply don’t want to put down. It’s that addicting. Chris has a way with keeping the readers ( us) interested and while I’m reading it I can visualize the whole scene perfectly. I feel like I am there, in the scene, in the moment.

About Chris 🙂 


Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He’s a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

You can connect with Chris  here 

  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

And now for the chance to win one of 6 ebooks of Drawn or one grand prize of one signed print copy of Drawn, a print copy of Leonardo’s Swans and $30 Amazon gift card ( open internationally) Ends June 27th, 2015.
Click here to enter to win this amazing prize!!
I am having a bit of trouble with this link, so if you aren’t able to enter the giveaway, please let me know in the comment section below.
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​Prizes: ​

Win one of six ebooks of Drawn or one grand prize of one signed print copy of Drawn, a print copy of Leonardo’s Swans and $30 Amazon gift card (open internationally) Ends June 27


If you would like to purchase the book, Drawn you can do so here

Amazon Italy

And be sure to follow Chris if you have one or any of the following accounts

hashtags:   #YAFiction  #Fantasy

Good luck to everyone!!! This is one giveaway that you don’t want to miss!! Time is ticking 🙂

Tablet computer on the black background. Vector illustration.

Tablet computer on the black background. Vector illustration.


Just a few of my favorite things… in Italy.

Coming up on my four year anniversary of living abroad in Italy, I decided to share with you guys some of my favorite things in which I adore in ITALY.

There are many things that I simple love about living in Treviso and each week I will share something with you guys up until June 22nd which is my anniversary of living in this charming country.  Continue reading

And the winners are…


Hi everyone,

The three (3) lucky winners of the contest to win Handmade jewelry by the lovely Donata Zan of Acqua di Vetro are numbers,


Luca, Lisa and Judy!!! Auguri!!!


Pick  numbers beetween  and . Distinct:  
Draw stat: sum=10, avg=3.33
Draw date: 2015-05-19 15:53:31

Need a proof? Take a ticket.

Congratulations to the three of you. Please contact me via e-mail to customize your piece of hand made jewelry.

A chance to win jewelry from Murano 

I recently sat down with Donata Zan, designer and owner  of Acqua di Vetro.      

Donata and I met many months ago and instantly became friends. You know when you meet someone and you hit it off instantly, kinda like you’ve known them your whole life? Well, yes, that pretty much sums up our great friendship. 

Donata works in tourism by day and a jewelry designer by night. She recently showed me her new collection and I loved it! I told her we’ve got to do something. I want people to see what beautiful pieces she makes by hand, each piece is unique, no two are the same. What better way to introduce her new line then to have a contest. 

Being the sweetheart that she is, she decided to give away 3 sets of her newest collection to 3 lucky readers!! 

So, you guys are probably wondering what does she make? She creates necklaces, earrings, and rings made out of hand blown glass balls from Murano Italy and then she adds silk which she finds from the old vintage shops. 

There are 3 different sizes S,M,L. 

hand blown murano glass balls with delicatley placed silk..

There are only 3 steps to have a chance to win 1 of 3 sets. 

Like Acqua di Vetro on Facebook 

Like Inspired in Italy on Facebook 

Leave a comment on this post that you’ve entered and then in return I’ll give you a number. 

Please also leave me your email in the comment section. 

Donata will customize your set for you. 

So if you are one of the lucky winners you can let her know which colors you would like and she will make them according to your desire. 

The contest starts today April 11th 2015 and will end on May 11th 2015.  



colorful earrings perfect for Spring


romantic collection


Good luck everyone!!



Work in Progress

Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you all a friendly reminder that you have two days left to enter the contest to win a gorgeous hand carved cameo from none other than Eredi Jovon Cameos Venice.

I simply adore Marco and his family. They are true Venetian artists. They were kind enough to give one of my lucky readers and chance to win a Italian hand carved cameo worth $250/200 euro.

We decided in honor of Carnival/Carnevale that we will give away a cameo about the Carnival itself.

I wanted to share some photos with you of just what it takes to make this precious piece of art.


Image 1

Image 2

Simply amazing, right? I’ve been blown away!! I wish I could enter the contest too. Hahaha!! One of you guys will be quite lucky..

You can wear this gorgeous piece as a necklace, pendant or brooch.

Also, wanted to let you guys know that you can purchase cameos also online by just clicking here. They have many different cameos to choose from or if you’d like they also do custom orders..

If you are in Venice, I highly recommend stopping by to say hello. Marco’s mom, Gabriella also does workshops.. She’ll teach you how to make Cameos herself! What a treat that would be! I may have to take her up on her offer.

A lot of people have asked me about the contest because most of my readers don’t have twitter, and thats ok. If you don’t have twitter don’t worry about it, BUT please you in order to be entered into the contest.

You MUST click here and like Eredi Jovon Facebook Page.

You MUST click here and like Inspired in Italy Facebook Page.

You MUST leave me a comment on this blog entry and once you do, I will give you a number, with that number you may win this gorgeous prize that you’ll cherish forever.

The winner will be contacted via the email name displayed on my website. The competition is open to everyone, worldwide. Prizes can only be sent to a valid address unless otherwise stated, all postage and packaging included. Entry to the competition is restricted to one entry per person please. Multiple entries will be disqualified. Automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified! The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries, among all the people who have correctly completed all the indicated steps and left a comment (we will use this site The Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to. The competition. is open from today Tuesday February 10th, 2015 until Tuesday February 17th, 2015. is compliant with the data protection act. Our policy is such that we will not pass on your details to any third party without your prior consent.