Meet the Author – An Interview with Jennifer Martin


Toscana Wedding Photo by Jennifer Martin I am always thrilled when another blogger or writer publishes a book. So today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Jennifer Martin, an Italian wine specialist and blogger, who can now add author to her name. Jennifer  is the author of the recently published book, Planning Your Dream Wedding in Tuscany.

Jennifer is a Boston based Italian wine blogger who also writes about the Italian culture and cuisine including tidbits of her travels throughout Italy. She fell in love with Italy when she studied abroad in college in Florence many years ago. “It always kept a piece of my heart so I had to return time and time again for years to follow. My family is of Italian heritage as well so I take much pride in sharing articles on my website about all elements of the Italian culture.”

Congratulations, Jennifer on publishing your first book! It is quite an accomplishment!

When did you first realize you wanted to write this book and what was the time frame from idea to publication?
To be honest I didn’t even consider myself a writer. I started my blog in April of 2013 as a way to encourage and motivate myself to research and study Italian wine and a commitment to write about it weekly so I could increase my knowledge and it took off from there. I’ve met so many folks along the way, including an Australian mentor in the beginning, Darby Higgs of Vino Diversity, who thought writing a book about planning your wedding in Italy as I did myself would be a great thing to share with my readers. And so the project began.

Tell us something about planning a wedding in Italy that surprised you
I surprised myself to be honest and it was a great feeling of self accomplishment to put time into the research as I did and getting every ounce of every document that was necessary all while being based here in Boston.

Tuscan Wedding Photo by Jennifer Martin

What misconceptions do people have about planning a wedding it Italy?
I think most folks automatically think they need a wedding planner to get married abroad. It just takes time, persistence and organization to be able to pull it all off. If you’re looking for the easy road then a wedding planner is the way to go, but it’s going to cost you. To be honest I wouldn’t say planning it yourself was very strenuous on me. It created a little anxiety at times hoping I had all the right documents and second guessing that at times, but if you put trust and confidence in yourself and use your resources it can be accomplished.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I think the hardest part of writing the book was the editing. I’m such a perfectionist and I read this book over and over hoping I covered everything my future brides would need as information to plan their dream wedding in Tuscany. I even offered my contact information in the book in case they wanted to bounce anything off of me. I want to make sure I’m a resource to them and can help along the way.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Since it was my first book the whole experience was a learning process. Every step of the process was something new to me and I always love a good challenge.

When you are not writing or traveling to Italy, what do you enjoy doing?
Other than working a fulltime job I love the outdoors and I’m a fitness nut. My husband and I earlier this summer purchased a home in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire surrounded by mountains and lakes and amazing wildlife. There is nothing like the peace and quiet.

 What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers/authors?
If I can write my first book you can too. As I mentioned before I don’t really consider myself a writer believe it or not and if it’s your passion don’t let anything get in your way. Stay true to yourself and your dreams and aspirations and proceed ahead. Be proud of the work you do and the rest will follow.

I know you travel to Italy very often. Do you have a favorite place? I know that is a tough question.
A very tough question! Maybe I’m a little biased as I lived in Florence, but I’ve been all over Italy from north to south and to this day it still remains my favorite place throughout all of Italy. I’m definitely one for the countryside and I love the small towns as well as opposed to cities, but there is something so special about Florence that’s not like other cities. I will say the Duomo in Florence also brings a tear to my eye and joy in my heart every single time I see it to this day. Such an amazing piece of architecture.

Photo by Jennifer Martin

Do you have any new projects on the horizon, related either to writing or to wine? Please tell us a little about it.
My book, Planning Your Dream Wedding in Tuscany, was my latest biggest project. Now I plan on getting back to all the other small projects I have planned for myself including building relationships with other bloggers and Italy and wine lovers throughout the world. I’m working on redesigning my site as well.

How difficult is it to become a certified Italian Wine Specialist?
I got certified earlier this year as an Italian Wine Specialist and my book had to be put on hold for at least 6 months as my head was in the books daily. It’s the only way to be able to try and comprehend the world of Italian wine. I always knew wine can be complicated, especially Italian wine with the amount of native grapes there are within Italy, but you must know everything from the grapes, to the laws, including percentages of grapes in each wine and their aging period, alcohol levels, etc. I was amazed how much information there is to know and this is just Italian wines. I give amazing credit to the folks that study the whole world.

Follow Jennifer on her blog, Vino Travels  and  on social media
Twitter –
Facebook –
Pinterest –
Linkedin –

Jennifer’s book is available on Amazon

Photo by Jennifer Martin

Do you have a question or comment for Jennifer? Please take a moment to share your thoughts!



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Saint Patrick’s Well in Orvieto

DSCF2683 Orvieto is one of the coolest places  in Italy. Built on a tufa in Umbria this medieval town is full of surprises. While I was there I decided on a whim to check out Saint Patrick’s Well, also known as “Pozzo di San Patrizio.”

Orvieto Photo by Margie Miklas

The 16th century was an unsafe time in Rome, and Orvieto was considered to be a convenient place of refuge for  Pope Clement VII. Since a reliable water supply was a necessity, the well was commissioned in 1527 and completed ten years later by the Florentine architect, Antonio da Sangallo.

Orvieto Photo by Margie Miklas
After purchasing a ticket for five euros I began the descent down one of the spiral staircases of 248 steps. The well is 175 feet deep and 42 feet across, so it is  fairly cool inside even during the summer.

The sheer size of the well is the origin of the Italian saying about spendthrifts having pockets as bottomless as “il Pozzo di San Patrizio.” Built with two staircases, one for descending and one for ascending, this well is easier to navigate than the staircase at  Giotto’s Bell Tower in Florence. These steps are wide since they were originally used by donkeys to carry water to the surface.

Orvieto Photo by Margie Miklas
Its walls are cut from rock and farther down they are lined with bricks. Seventy windows are cut into the circular well allowing for light on the stairs. The walk down was not that bad; in fact it only took about ten minutes. At the bottom of the well, as you might expect, I found some water, and I felt the dampness.  Just thinking that this well had been used for the past five centuries gave me an eerie feeling.

I met a few people at the bottom and in a mood of camaraderie, we shared travel stories before we made our way back up the 248 steps which naturally took more than ten minutes.

Not the typical tourist attraction but definitely a fun experience in Orvieto.

Have you been to Orvieto? Have you walked to the bottom of St Patrick’s Well?

I’d like to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

Posted in Italian History, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Discover Dolceacqua – A Small Town in Northern Italy

Dolceacqua Bridge Photo by Margie MiklasI love the small towns and villages in Italy. One of the reasons I like Dolceacqua so much is because it is not particularly known as a tourist destination.

Dolceacqua photo by Hans Braxmeier

Photo by Hans Braxmeier

Perched  high on a hilltop in Liguria, Dolceacqua is one of Italy’s small towns above the hills of the seaside resort city of San Remo,  not far from the French border  As this picturesque city first comes into view from the road, it is truly a sight to behold, even at   a distance. I am able to make out the outline of the remnants of a castle rising high above anything else. Of course this means  stopping the car and getting out to take some photos from that vantage point.

Dolceacqua Photo by Margie Miklas

Less than 1000 families call Dolceacqua home and the ones I met  could not have been friendlier, even happily posing for photos when asked.

Dolceacqua residents Photo by Margie Miklas

Surrounding the town are lush green terraced vineyards which produce the popular Dolceacqua wines, the specialty being Rossesse di Dolceacqua, a dry red wine. Two of the most interesting landmarks in Dolceacqua are the Doria castle and the Dolceacqua Bridge.

Dolceacqua Bridge Photo by Margie Miklas

Doria Castle
The Doria castle, which was built in the 11th century, belonged to the Doria family for 300 years beginning with the year 1270 when the Genoa captain Oberto Doria purchased the property. Throughout the years the castle sustained much damage through invasions and natural disasters. In the 15th century the castle was attacked and damaged by a neighboring king, and the following century it was destroyed during the Austrian occupation. In 1887 a massive earthquake in Liguria badly damaged the castle.

Dolceacqua Photo by Margie Miklas

Recently restored, the castle now belongs to the town of Dolceacqua and some areas of the castle are currently used for wedding receptions and other events. The town makes use of a conference room where art workshops and exhibits are held. A projection room screens movies to educate the public on the cultural aspects of castles.

Dolceacqua Bridge
One of the most celebrated bridges in Italy is the Dolceacqua Bridge and the reason for its fame is the fact that it was the subject of a famous painting by the French impressionist, Monet. He painted Bridge at Dolceacqua in 1884 and the original painting is at the Sterling & Francine Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Woman walking uphill in Dolceacqua, in Liguria - photo by Margie Miklas

The Dolceacqua Bridge spans the Nervia River connecting the old town called Terra to the newer more modern part of Dolceacqua. The bridge had been rebuilt on what had remained of a bridge which had collapsed in the 15th century. The bridge is 33 meters (a little over 36 yards) long and the winding cobblestoned walkway to reach it lends itself to a very impressive view. Naturally another amazing photo opportunity for me. Although I am not a painter I surely appreciate why Monet chose this as the subject of his painting.

Dolceacqua Bridge Photo by Margie Miklas

Have you been to Liguria?I’d love to hear about your experience, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

Posted in Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Santa Margherita – Beautiful Destination in Liguria

Santa Margherita Photo by Margie MiklasMy visit to Santa Margherita on the Ligurian coast of Italy came quite by accident.  I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to actually spend a little time in this beautiful seaside town several years ago.

Santa Margherita - photo by Margie Miklas

Roughly ten thousand Italians call Santa Margherita their home and they lovingly refer to this port city as “Santa.”

Santa Margherita - photo by Margie Miklas

Surrounded by hills and the Ligurian Sea, Santa Margherita lays claim to some of the most beautiful views in Italy.  Approach this port from the sea as I did, and you will feel as if you are looking at a postcard. The stunning marina to the left and the long pebble beach with the colorful houses and buildings along the shore create a magnificent panorama.

In fact, you may recognize the feature photo as the same scene I use at the top of my blog and also for the cover of my first book, Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy.

Santa Margherita - photo by Margie Miklas

So here’s the story of how I came to Santa Margherita by accident. I arrived here aboard a ferry boat from the nearby resort town of Portofino.

photo by Margie Miklas

I had spent part of a day in Portofino  while I was on a Mediterranean cruise.

Portofino photo by Margie Miklas

The circumstances were such that the deteriorating weather conditions would no longer allow small ferry boat tenders to operate between Portofino, and our cruise ship which was anchored offshore.

photo by Margie Miklas

So as a result, I was the beneficiary of an nonscheduled visit to Santa Margherita, where we were dropped off to await  a bus to transport myself and the other cruise passengers to the port of Genoa. If there is one thing that I have learned  in Italy,  it’s that flexibility is important, since things can change and that’s the way it is. As the Italians say, “boh.”

photo by Margie Miklas

One of the fascinating landmarks for me  in Santa Margherita was the huge statue of Christopher Columbus on the waterfront near the harbor. Although he was born in Genoa, there are stories attesting to the fact that he lived some of his early years in Santa Margherita. This monument was created by the Italian sculptor Tabacchi in 1892.

Ever since the 17th century, this seaside resort town has became a favorite summer residence for vacationing Italians from the larger city of Genoa, which is less than 15 miles away.

The harbor at Santa Margherita is a popular spot for tourists with  boats available for rental. Huge yachts owned by local Italians also dock in this harbor. Santa Margherita is well known for its prestigious international sailing regattas such as “Coppa Guido Prina” and the “Trofeo Pirelli.”

photo by Margie MiklasUnfortuately I was not in Santa Margherita in the morning, so I didn’t get to visit the famous fish market on Lungomare Marconi to watch the fishermen haul in their catches of the local red prawns. These are found in many of the regional dishes and they are some of the best and freshest anywhere.

photo by Margie Miklas

Italy is full of charming villages along its coast and Santa Margherita ranks as one of the best despite not being the most touristy.

Have you visited Santa Margherita? What did you like about this coastal town? I love feedback so please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

NYC’s Real Little Italy – Arthur Avenue in the Bronx

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasIf you have ever  been to Little Italy in New York you have seen the few blocks in Manhattan with red, green and white garlands overhead, and the streets lined with Italian restaurants with barkers on the sidewalk encouraging you to try the food. It has long been and still is a crowded and commercialized yet favorite place for many tourists who visit New York City.

Photo by Margie Miklas Arthur Avenue BronxWhat most tourists don’t realize,  and  what seems to be a well-kept secret, is that  an area in the Bronx  is fondly referred to as the “real Little Italy” of New York.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasMany New Yorkers have never even been here, but Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is the area that is an authentic Italian-American neighborhood with less crowds and real people who have been living and working here for generations.

Bronx Little Italy photo by Margie MiklasBronx Little Italy consists of Arthur Avenue, East 187th and Hughes, and is home to authentic Italian-American restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops, delis and other retail establishments, some of which have been operating for over a hundred years.

Bronx Little Italy photo by Margie Miklas2011  marked the 100th anniversary Of Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy. On weekends this  area is packed  with foodies, locals and tourists making this experience part of their New York city agenda.

Bronx Little Italy photo by Margie Miklas It is amazing to find so many authentic Italian-American restaurants concentrated in one spot. When I had  lunch at Pasquale’s Rigoletto Restaurant, the unmistakable aroma of garlic simmering hit me before I even sat down. Although five variations of veal dishes were on the menu, Veal Milanese was not one of them, but they gladly made it for me. Of course it was nothing less than delicious.

Arthur Avenue Bronx Rigoletto Restaurant Photo by Margie MiklasMario’s and Dominick’s are two of the landmark restaurants in the area, and Ann and Tony’s has been serving food since 1927 with four generations of their family.

Photo by margie MiklasGroups of men  play Italian card games on a table in a park, and locals  speak Italian to each other at restaurants, cafés, and in the street. The shop owners speak English as well as Italian and smile as soon as they meet you, very much like it is in Italy today.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasTeitel Brothers established in 1915 sells all types of fine imported specialty Italian food products. This is where I bought some fresh pecorino cheese with truffles from Sardinia…delizioso! Their prices are wonderful.

This area of New York city, also known as Belmont,  is where the actor, Joe Pesci lived and actually managed Amici Pizza and Pasta, which has been sold several times since then. He lived in an apartment above the restaurant and Robert DeNiro discovered him there and cast him in Martin Scorsese’s 1980 movie “Raging Bull.”

Addeo and Sons photo by Margie MiklasFor the freshest bread head over to Addeo and Sons Bakery or Terranova Bakery.

photo by Margie MiklasCerini Coffee and Gifts  has one of the biggest selections of Italian coffees and kitchen items anyone could want. This is where I bought my Cucina Pro pizzelle maker several years ago. This time I couldn’t leave there this time without a pound of their own coffee, which they freshly ground for me.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasFine cigars are made by hand inside the Arthur Avenue Retail market where everyone is friendly and takes time to talk with you. The atmosphere made me want to spend even more time with the people there.

The Original Arthur Avenue Italian Deli was the perfect spot for lunch this visit, and the menu seems endless.  I could not have been more pleased with my choice of a caprese salad.

Caprese salad - Photo by Margie Miklas Arthur avenue BronxCalabria Pork Store was packed  as usual on a Saturday. I bought some fresh hot Italian sausage, and cooked it the next day. I wish I had bought more it was so good.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasIf you are there at the right time you can watch fresh pasta being made in Borgatti Ravioli and Egg Noodles, where they have perfected the process with 80 years of experience.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasAnd don’t miss the family-owned Zagat-rated Enzo’s, or Palombo’s Bakery for a cannoli and cappuccino!

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasJust wandering around these streets of Arthur Avenue, east 187th and Hughes gave me the same feeling as though I were back in Italy.

Bronx Little Italy Photo by Margie MiklasDon’t miss the opportunity to spend a day on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx on your next visit to New York City. It’s definitely worth the ride.

Have you been here? I’m eager for your feedback so please leave a message.

Grazie and ciao.

Posted in Italian Food, Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italian-American, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Italy Travel – Photo of the Day

Chandelier delivery in Ravello - Photo by Margie MiklasRavello is full of narrow, steep streets that can accommodate only one vehicle at a time. This chandelier delivery in the back of an Ape truck made me wonder if it made to to its destination safely.

Chandelier delivery in Ravello

Chandelier delivery in Ravello

And actually it was not just one chandelier! Incredible!

Chandelier delivery in Ravello

What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment.


Posted in Italy Travel | 6 Comments

The Faraglioni Rocks of Capri

 Faraglioni Rocks off the coast of Capri - Photo by Margie MiklasEmerging out of the depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea are mammoth rock formations. I experience a magical moment when I first see the towering “sea stacks” located at the southern end of the island of Capri. They cause me to pause and to wonder about their splendor.

A result of forceful winds and raging seas, these three Faraglioni rocks inspire countless photographers who attempt to capture their beauty. Translated, Faraglioni means “ones of the light,” and reflections of light from the azure sea create a constantly changing vision just off the Amalfi Coast and Sorrentine peninsula.

Amalfi Coast - view from Monte Solaro Chairlift in Capri-Photo by margie MiklasI am mesmerized as my ferry approaches Capri and all three Faraglioni come into a clear view. The largest and closest to Capri is attached to land by a short isthmus. Known as Stella, or Faraglioni di terra, the dramatic pinnacle reaches a height of 365 feet, or 110 meters. The middle stone formation, called Faraglioni di Mezzo, is recognized by its natural archway, which delights photographers who might be able to perfectly frame a passing boat within its walls. The shortest of the three rocks, Faraglioni di Fuori, peaks at 265 feet or 80 meters. Also known as Scopolo, it is the home to the blue lizard, which is found nowhere else in the world.

Approaching Capri - Photo by Margie MiklasThese iconic symbols associated with the isle of Capri welcome me with grandeur.

The words here are from a page in Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, my recently published photo book.

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie MiklasIf you like this post, you may be interested in my book, available either on, or directly through me. I’d be happy to send you an autographed copy for the same price ($24.99) plus shipping ($5.01).  International shipping costs are higher. Contact me at

Have you taken a ferry to Capri and passed by these  Faraglioni rocks?  I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Ciao and grazie.

Posted in Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Italian Lifestyle in Photos — Only in Italy

Chaotic traffic in Italy Photo by Margie MiklasAs you know I take photos everywhere I go in Italy.I like to find the beauty on a narrow street and the tranquility of the setting sun, but I also  seem to be drawn to unique circumstances.

These situations in Italy depict the Italian lifestyle and most of the time, make me smile.  I hope you enjoy these photos and maybe even find the humor as did I. You gotta love it…it’s Italy.

Driving and Parking in SicilyWhile this chaotic parking situation in the Sicilian city of Milazzo was frustrating to me at the time, I realize that this is normal in Sicily and also many other regions of Italy. Somehow they make it work. Only in Italy…

Parking in CataniaPark anywhere you can….an example of  sidewalk parking in Catania…no problem.

Condom machine in RomeCommon sights in Rome and many other cities are sidewalk condom vending machines.

Delivery truck of houselhold goods in CesaroA delivery truck loaded with household goods draws the locals from their homes in Cesarò, the Sicilian village of my grandparents.

“Il dolce far niente” in Siracusa. These men know how to take it easy. Translated to mean “the sweetness of doing nothing” is one of my favorite Italian traditions, where sitting around doing nothing is actually an event, and one that is viewed as something positive.

Traffic in RomeTraffic in Rome…Cross when you can. There are no real rules.

Palermo trafficMore free for all in traffic patterns..this time in Palermo. The locals take it in stride.

Cleaning vegetables outsideThis woman in Rome smiled as I asked for permission to photograph her as she cleaned her beans outside on the sidewalk in Rome.

No overheard produce off the back of a truck No overhead produce for sale right off the truck. Can it get any fresher than this?

I love Italy and you have to take the good with the bad. From my perspective as a frequent visitor to Italy, it’s mostly good.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Photography, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Meet Pamela Carey, Award-Winning Author

Pam Color Photo 1 photo by Pamela CareyToday I am honored to introduce you to Pamela Carey, an award-winning author. I met Pam a year ago at the Florida Writers Association annual conference in Orlando, and we became friends.

With Margie Miklas PBGardens 1-15 Photo by Pamela CareyPam has published two books and is currently writing her third. Please enjoy learning more about her in this interview.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was fortunate to grow up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where I attended public
schools. My courses challenged me and there were lots of extra-curricular
activities available in those days. My parents were involved in, and committed
to, public education.

I received my undergraduate degree from Colby College in Maine, where
students had to write papers frequently. It led to my love of language
and a major in American Literature. After graduate school, I taught high school
English in Connecticut, Georgia, and Maine.

The year I taught in Warner Robins, Georgia, my husband had just returned from
Viet Nam (he was an Air Force officer). It was the first year the schools were
integrated there. There was just one anthology per student for the year in English,
so my students helped me raise money to purchase paperbacks as supplements.
The assistant principal still used a wooden paddle to discipline kids, so I would
never send anyone to his office.

After I had our two sons, I stayed home for ten years. When I tried to re-enter the
work force in the 70’s, there was a glut of teachers. Since we were living in
Rhode Island, I enrolled in a Master’s program in interior design at R.I. School
of Design. I apprenticed for a local designer and then started my own company,
which I owned for fourteen years.

In 1993, while our two sons played professional baseball for the Red Sox organi-
zation, my husband and I relocated to Delray Beach, Florida. Being retired gave
me time to write and in 2009 Barking Cat Books published Minor League Mom:
A Mother’s Journey through the Red Sox Farm Teams, which tells the story of the
seven years my husband and I followed our sons through the six levels of the
minor leagues. Since we’re “snowbirds,” we return to Red Sox country for five
months every year.

Minot League Mom -Photo by Pamela CareyWhen did you first realize you wanted to write?
In elementary school, I used to sit on a bridge over a brook and write trite, mushy
poems about flowers, clouds, and of course, the brook. I mean, what does a
ten-year-old know about life?

At Colby College, I discovered my AP English teachers in high school had
prepared us well. I flew through my mandatory English courses, while my peers
were flunking. So that was reinforcement to continue to write.

My first job out of college was as the Information Director for the Delaware
Department of Education. I had to write all their press releases. After that, I
kept journals.

Both of my published books are nonfiction memoirs. The first, as I mentioned,
was the account of our family’s journey through professional baseball, and what
happens to the minor leaguers on their way up the ladder.

The second book was my story as a caregiver when my healthy, independent parents in their nineties needed help. The book is titled, Elderly Parents with All Their Marbles: A
Survival Guide for the Kids.

Elderly Parents Book Cover Photo by Pamela CareyI wrote it in the form of a handbook with 49 humorous “rules” I devised. There’s also an appendix in the back with websites, definitions, and phone numbers for caregivers. I gave a copy to each of our sons, and I can only hope they read it!

How long did it take you to write each book from start to publication?
I wrote because people were interested in the story of our sons in professional
baseball. I didn’t write with the intention of publishing, and knew nothing about
the process. So Minor League Mom took three years from start to publication. I
knew a newspaperman for the Providence Journal who read the first fifty pages
of my manuscript and said, “You’ve got to publish this!” That validated me as a
writer. Then I found an editor who became a mentor and helped me refine the
prose. Afterward, I joined two writer’s critique groups who continue to challenge
me and endorse me.

I searched for an agent and major publishing house and was rejected seventy
times. But I refused to give up, because people believed my story was unique
as the mother of two minor leaguers. That’s when I began approaching small,
independent publishers.

My second book, Elderly Parents with All Their Marbles, took just eighteen
months from start to finish. Barking Cat Books published that, too. The book just won a gold medal in the self-help category from the Florida Authors & Publishers

When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
In Florida I play on a tennis team, so in the morning I’m usually on the court or at the fitness center. Then I answer emails or other correspondence, fulfill demands for marketing the books, pay bills, and do errands. I write after dinner and into the night. Sometimes I rework sections in bed and jump up to make notes. Then I can’t read them in the morning!

Anyone who aspires to be a writer has to be an avid reader. I belong to two
book clubs. My husband and I love to travel, which brings adventure, tolerance,
and self-knowledge. I’m using travel as the basis for the humorous nonfiction
project I’m working on, which will be a survival guide for traveling with a

 Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/authors?
Immerse yourself in your craft – take courses, read everything you can get
your hands on, get practical experience, do your research, seek out mentors, and
keep writing!

Oh yes – don’t be afraid to ask questions. There will be people willing to help
you along the way. Most importantly, don’t give up!! Self-publishing today
offers so many options to aspiring authors.

I know you travel to Italy often. What keeps you going back to Bella
Where do I begin? There are few places in the world where we feel so comfortable. It’s the antiquities and history; the jaw-dropping beauty of the landscapes; the friendliness of the people who want us to “Mangia! Mangia!” and appreciate our bungled attempts at Italian;
and of course, fresh pasta in every trattoria in even the tiniest village.

photo by Pamela CareyDo you find it difficult to make time to promote and market your books?
Writing is the easy part, believe me! Marketing is the hard part. You can
write a Pulitzer Prize winner, but people have to know about it.
Publishers, even the big houses, no longer have unlimited budgets for marketing,
if they have any budget at all. The responsibility falls on the author, and a
marketing plan should be part of the book’s proposal.

Photo by Pamlea CareyI devoted a year to interviews, speeches, and book events after the publication
of my first book about our sons in professional baseball. I called everyone I knew who belonged to a club that was relevant to my baseball story so that I could speak. I even spoke in a Red Sox stadium’s clubhouse! I used all my contacts in the organizations and affiliations I belonged to in order to arrange book events. It’s imperative that an author become an engaging speaker!

Boynton Library Speech Photo by Pamela CareyThe publisher provided support with technical expertise, and sent press releases and advance copies. He also designed and maintained a website for me. I entered the world of social media on Facebook and Twitter and began blogging – necessary evils today that all take time! The publisher paid for none of my events or catering.

Photo by Pamela CareyI am still marketing my second book, Elderly Parents with All Their Marbles,
eighteen months after publication. It continues to sell because caregiving for
elderly parents is a universal topic in this country. Sometimes my writing gets
pushed to a back burner, but I set my own goals and don’t stress about it at this age.

Pamela’s books are available on Amazon.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Please leave a comment for Pam.

Follow Pam on Twitter as well as on her  blog and website .

Posted in Author Interview, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Taxis in Rome – Italy Travel Tips

Rome Termini Train Station

I originally published this post 3 years ago and thought it was worth reposting to warn about scams in Italy. I have since learned to be more cautious… read on.

At 9 pm we arrived at the Rome train station and went outside to grab a taxi. Despite the line line of taxis in front of us,  an Italian man approached us and told us to follow him for the taxi, saying the cost  would be 40 euros when I asked. I agreed to the price and said “Okay” and followed him. He started taking our luggage and walking across traffic and down a side street and I knew something was not right here but was taken off guard. Apparently he was not an official taxi but I did not realize it at the time. Eventually we got to a corner where another man was waiting in the “taxi” and the first man got into the passenger seat.

Although I had told him the address, after about five minutes of driving the two men became agitated and must have realized that the address was farther than they thought, and now told me that it will be 67 euros because the location was at least 30 km away. Well I did not put up with that, especially once I realized that these were not official taxi drivers.

I stood my ground and spoke in Italian and English telling them that that we had an agreement and that all I was paying was 40 euros, or quaranta and I said basta, which means enough. The driver said OK and let the other man out. Afterwards the driver was nice and we arrived at the hotel soon enough. He even offered to stop at a money exchange place on the way, which we did not need. Besides, at that point he lost all credibility with me. I only wanted to arrive at my hotel.

Even though I have read of these scams and consider myself a savvy traveler I guess at the end of a day I got caught too, but fortunately, it ended up well. Beware to all travelers to Rome near the Termini station for these taxi scam artists.

Have you had a bad travel experience in Italy but  learned something? I’m very interested in your feedback. Please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

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