Tag Archives: e-book

Book Review: Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by Barbara Connelli

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...I live vicariously through the travels, research and words of the authors setting their stories and essays in foreign countries. Countries I would like to go to, but I lack the means to go in real life. So authors like Barbara Connelli take me on their journeys and I am sated with the smells, tastes, sights and sounds of an exotic city like Milan. Her writing style in Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore brings you to the city and you want to linger and savor the mood and the imagery she creates:

“…To me, love means something completely different and much simpler. The smell of morning cappuccino and fresh pannetone at Pasticceria Marchesi. A brisk stroll through the awakening city and sensual curves of gold shadows on the wet paving of Via della Spiga. Joyful shouts of bohemian artists and their graceful muses at Fornace Curti. A crispy panzerotto savored in the company of cantankerous pigeons on the piazzetta of San Fedele. Old furniture stores in narrow streets and adorable trinkets I can never resist. The tinkling of a tram from 1929 with uncomfortable wooden seats and a hundred-year-old conductor. Sublime flamingos and peevish peacocks in an emerald-green garden that has never been owned by anyone. Remote nooks and crannies whose secrets have been revealed only to me and the few ghosts with aristocratic hearts who appear in them from time to time. Visionary dreams, inextinguishable hopes, the desire to live, the courage to create, the strength to grow. To me, love means all this and much more. This and much more is what I receive from the city that makes me fall in love a hundred times a day, breaking my heart over and over again, only to make it beat faster five minutes later. Milan. My city of love.”

There are a myriad of magical places to explore in Milan, like the hidden Flamingo Garden that no one owns yet it belongs to everyone. For a memorable sweet treat there is the venerable Pasticceria Marchesi’s , where you can also get freshly baked Panettone  which has three different legends as to its inception. A recipe for the famed bread is included.

A city tour will show you the architectural wonders that the city contains. The Rinascente store has a phoenix rising from the fire story that resonates with renaissance and rebirth. I love the story of Chandelier –where you can get the finest dinner and a sofa if you need one as they change their furniture out and sell it every year to stay fresh and evolving.

There are so many Milanese treasures described, too many to list here. Plus I think some of these locales should be a surprise to you as they were for me, making the book all the more magical.

The book is romantic and makes you want to book a flight as soon as possible to enjoy what is so elegantly written about. I can’t go right away so I will linger over the stories contained in Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore. I feel like I should root out the local beauty and stories of where I live now that I’ve read this love letter to Milan. Everyone should love where they live the way Barbara Connelli loves her city.

I say read this book and dream, or act on the dream and go. I was given a copy of the book to review and I would say it is worth more than its price and is certainly worth your time.

About the author:

Barbara Conelli is an internationally published bestselling author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy, and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women’s lives. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world. http://www.barbaraconelli.com

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Filed under Book Review, The Writing Life

The Virgin and the IRS

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins (Photo credit: epSos.de)

I’m about to pay my first quarterly tax on money I received from writing. That makes me a writer, doesn’t it? OK, many writers look down on the type of writing that paid me my first revenue, writing for content mills is not deemed worthy of mention in the writing community. I beg to differ. I am not making a lot of money, except for the Ebook chapter I wrote, but I am producing good work and meeting deadlines and client expectations. I am learning about research and SEO writing. I am paying my  dues. It is worthy work for a neophyte.

Paying taxes is such an adult thing to do. It is a form of validation in my eyes. I did work that was good enough to be paid for, and I did it doing something I love, playing with words. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one where I am literally writing new rules to live by. My dreams, and goals are not grandiose and naïve. They are grounded and honed by someone experienced in life’s realities. I do not believe I will be on the NYT Bestseller’s list. I do not picture myself on the Today show. No, I seek simpler triumphs that are based in realistic attainability.

There are a great many sources of information for new writers to research. I am on overload with instructions on building my platform, querying, honing my craft, watching my punctuation (my Achilles heel). Sometimes I think I will explode from all the information I am ingesting. And what is the loudest message I am receiving? Write. Just Write.

It is easy to get side-tracked by social media, by reading the endless amount of relevant blogs. It is easy to get too absorbed in the technical manuals of writing and craft. The thing that matters most is the act of showing up at the blank page and creating magic with words. Practice, Practice, Practice, it’s how we learn anything new.

Writing for me is still a mysterious act. Where do the words come from? Why can I put them together and other people can’t? Why can’t I write creative non-fiction on demand? I am forced to wait for the inspiration and the mood to be “just right” before the words flow. I read that you are to write even when you aren’t inspired. Is writing like a muscle that needs development and constant training for it to perform well? I don’t do well with mysteries. I like answers to questions, and I fear my questions will go unanswered for the duration of my writing career because writing is a mysterious process.

The act of creation cannot be accurately defined. I remember trying to explain the creative process to a very analytical lawyer, and failing miserably after three hours of attempts.  I simply couldn’t give him the exact reason I had created a work of art. It simply had to come into this world by the actions of my hands didn’t cut it for him. He wanted to know what need the object fulfilled. There was no specific, tangible need. It was created from a stirring in me to express myself, but no other outward need. For him, the quilt had to be created because someone was cold and needed a blanket. I created it because the design was in me and needed to come out and be in the world. He never understood art; I never understood not understanding art.

What is in me now, stirring to get out? A book certainly, but the work the book will be chronicling is not done yet. It will be years before the weight-loss journey will be done. So in the interim I write essays and blog posts, and articles I ghost- write for others. The smaller pieces I am writing fulfill the need to create. Whether I am creating art or not is up for debate. What is important is that I am writing. Doing what the sage instructors and mentors of the craft recommend above all else; write, always write. I say, write and pay your taxes. You do the first to pay the second. But if you don’t do the second, you can’t do the first. Pay as you go, write at all costs, and tweet about everything, grounded lessons for a grounded neophyte. Now, where’s my checkbook?

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Filed under Essay, Uncategorized