Castello San Salvatore

After all those sweet recipes that I have shared with all of you; I wanted to share one of my favorite places to burn all those calories off.. and that is in Susegana, a small picturesque city in the province of Treviso.

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Point Being Giveaway

So, I was in on a major musical project and I co wrote a song called ”Waiting for Miracles” and a couple of the other songs on the album were written while visiting Venice.

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Wild wild horses, we’ll ride them someday 

A week or so ago, I met with a good friend of mine for a coffee.. We often meet from time to time and I always enjoy our time together as he goes on so many interesting adventures.. Continue reading

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.


Local Artisans that I adore ~ Donata Zan

Well, what a whirlwind this past month has been for me and my little family. We have been sick for the past month and finally I got answers to why my son is always so sick with the help of a private doctor, that being said, I wasn’t able to be online much as if any of you who have children know that when they are sick, you don’t have much free time and when they finally sleep,well you are pretty destroyed too. 

Anyhow, I did have a chance to have a tea break with the lovely Donata Zan, owner of Acqua di Vetro.
The lovely Donata Zan :) Captivating beauty!

The lovely Donata Zan 🙂 Captivating beauty!

She will be giving away 3 sets of her newest collection! So, that means three lucky readers will each get a set of handmade jewlwery from murano, Venice Italy. And the great thing is that she is willing to customize the order, if you will be one of the winners you can tell her what colors you like, size, ect..

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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!!




Bruschetta pronounced “Brusketta” is without a doubt one of the most popular Italian dishes throughout the world. It’s usually considered to be an antipasto “appetizer” but you can even have it as a main course like I did last night.

I had one of those BIG Italian lunches yesterday and wanted something light for dinner, so my husband Marco made Bruschetta for us. Such a treat marrying an Italian man who can cook!

Marco is the Chef at home! Not I.. It’s quite the contrary in most Italian homes.. Usually the wife or mamma is the one who prepares and cooks all of the meals for the family.. Well, I got lucky. What can I say? And just to let you all know, all of the dishes on Inspired in Italy, have been made by Marco.

Marco is currently working on his first cookbook as I type. So, stay tuned for that! I am quite excited about it.

Ok, so I took some photos and videos on how to make Bruschetta.

Lets get started..

What you’ll need :

Tomatoes ~ We used Cherry tomatoes and you can use as much as you’d like..

Bread ~ We used a type of  bread from Puglia, but if you can’t find, you can use a french baguette or an Italian bread.

Fresh Basil ~ DON’T use dried herbs!! You won’t get the same taste or flavor. How much you want to add is totally up to you.

Garlic ~ We used 3 gloves of garlic. The garlic is only used to rub on the toasted bread.

Salt, Pepper, AND Olive oil to taste.

We used this Olive Oil from Puglia and it was amazingly good! And guess what, they ship worldwide! So, if you’d like to purchase a bottle and are not in Italy, don’t worry, you can get it at your doorstep without a problem. I highly recommend that you do. Nothing beats Olive Oil from Puglia.


Chopped Cherry Tomatoes and Freshly chopped basil.

Chopped Cherry Tomatoes and Freshly chopped basil.

Take the bread and put it on the oven rack, and into the oven it goes to get toasted. About 5 minutes.

Before putting the bread in the oven, drizzle Olive Oil on each slice.

Before putting the bread in the oven, drizzle Olive Oil on each slice.

This is how you want your bread to look. A nice golden color.

This is how you want your bread to look. A nice golden color.

While the bread is cooling slightly, mix the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper together with your hands. Put aside.

While the bread is cooling slightly, mix the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper together with your hands. Put aside.

Time to make the Bruschetta now..

Time to make the Bruschetta now..

Ok, so I took a video of Marco making the bruschetta BUT I can’t figure out how to post it on here. Perhaps, I need to upgrade my site.. So for now, I will post the video on Inspired in Italy. So please go and check it out!

Once you take the toasted bread out of the oven, you’ll need to rub the garlic on the bread. And afterwards, you can put your tomato/basil mixture on top of the bread. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf for decoration.

The video I filmed explains all of it, so please be sure to check the link out above.


Buon Appetito a tutti 🙂