L’Italia è unica nel mondo

It took a little over two years for me to  officially settle into my adopted city. Believe it or not for the first two years or so, I just worked so much and didn’t really immerse myself in the culture, the Italian life or the people. Big mistake!!!! Rewind four years ago, I slaved away at my at home job inside my tiny one bedroom apartment and would occasionally go for walks for with Harley, my mini poodle in the evenings. 

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Muffin alla marmellata 

I wasn’t really the girl who liked  to bake or cook. It was always so much easier to just buy muffins at the supermercato but then after living in Italy for going on five years now, something changed my mind. Continue reading

È arrivata la neve


Well, finally the snow has arrived in Italy.. Everyone should be just as thrilled as I am… There is nothing more magical than watching the snow fall..

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Intro to Italian Etiquette…part 1

I’ve been living in Italy for going on five years now, so I think it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about the Italian Culture, specifically in Veneto. As with every region in Italy (20) there are different cultures, dialects, foods, traditions and so on..

There are some things that the Venetians are known for such as

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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.