THE BIRTH OF A NOVEL

The Birth of a Novel

The tutelage of my Italian family launched my love for the Italian language the moment the first trilled “R” danced on my tongue and tickled my teeth. Animated conversations around the supper table often veered from current events to life in Italy during World War 2 and the impact the War had on our family. These conversations piqued my curiosity and planted a seed that nagged me to learn more.

I was 17-years-old when I took my first trip back to Italy with my parents. The moment the airplane touched ground, I had this overwhelming feeling of “home.” Meeting my Italian aunts and uncles in their Southern Italian village of Faicchio and listening to their personal accounts of the War sprouted that seed and it began to grow. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.

After high school graduation, I moved to Florence, Italy and attended L’Università Per Gli Stranieri, which heightened my passion for Italian history, especially those War years. My Florentine friends all had personal family stories relating to the Nazi-occupation and the brave Italians in the Resistance Movement. These first-hand accounts were a direct contradiction to the denigrating jokes I heard while growing up about Italian cowardice. The seedling strengthened its stem. I determined that someone should write a book about the Resistance. Well, my research revealed that there were already dozens of books on the subject. However, the more I read, the stronger my conviction to write my own novel based on my family’s experience. I also felt compelled to write a war novel in which the women don’t play the role of wallpaper or objects of amusement to soldiers and politicians. I wanted my women to take center stage in a behind-the-lines battle between good and evil.

As is often the case, life got in my way; and I shelved my anticipated novel for a few decades. Then one year, on what had become my annual visit to Italy, a conversation with my aunt thawed my dormant plant and ignited my shelved idea for a war novel. She told me about the suffering under Mussolini’s Fascist Regime, and how life in Faicchio became a daily challenge to survive: “Human supplies dried-up. Whatever remained was rationed, including bread and flour. There was no salt or soap. New clothing didn’t exist nor did thread to mend the old clothes. Even if one was to recycle used thread, it was futile since there weren’t any needles. The steel was required for the army. There were a few bicycles, but the seats were made with straw, and the tires were crafted from a synthetic material. Rubber was for the army. The tires didn’t last long, and because they were impossible to replace, the bicycle was saved for emergencies. For those who were sick, it was a real problem. The few bottles left on the pharmacy shelves were empty. There were no antibiotics, no Band-Aids, not even aspirin.” She related how after Mussolini was overthrown, the Nazis commandeered her home and banished her, 8-months-pregnant with her third child, and her two small children from their home with only the clothes on their backs.

By now, my plant was sprouting leaves left and right, and I was determined to find out more. I visited one cousin who supplied me with a detailed accounting of the Nazi occupation of the Village of Faicchio written by one of his professors, who had been a teenager during that time. It took me the remainder of my visit to translate this eye-opening account. Strangely enough, a compassionate German soldier, whom I had initially incorporated into my fiction, was real, and the professor had fleshed out his back-story. After I left my family’s farm and traveled toward Rome, I spent some time in the charming hill-top village of Anagni, where on a narrow side-street I stumbled across Tarsie Turri, the tarsia lignea (inlaid wood) workshop of Carlo Turri. Since one of the proposed characters in my novel practiced this intricate art form, I found this a serendipitous occasion. Not only was I able to glean information about tarsia lignea, but the data came from the best possible source. It seems Carlo Turri’s work has been collected by dignitaries world-wide, including Pope Paul and the President of the Republic. Carla Turri, Carlo’s daughter who carries on the tradition, gave me a detailed tour and demonstration of this Renaissance art form. Unfortunately, due to story “flow,” I was not able to include in my novel as much information about this art form as I would have liked. However, that personal experience is one I hold dear, and I consider the knowledge I gained to be priceless.

My next stop was Rome, where again fate stepped in. I came upon a vintage market, not far from Piazza di Spagna. There, I encountered a merchant who dealt in World War 2 paraphernalia. I had wanted to incorporate information on the treatment of Italian Jews under the Nazi occupation, and here I found real-time publications regarding the events that took place in Rome during that time-period. The discovery of personal letters and journals augmented my study. The consistent manifestation of hope, scribbled across those abandoned pieces of paper on which the ink now weeps, afforded a valuable glimpse into the Italian sentiment during this horrific period. I deemed all this information to not be coincidence, but rather a sign that I was meant to continue with my novel.

For once, I was eager to leave Italy, but only because it was time to write my novel. I concluded: if not now, when? My next step was to flesh-out my characters. I sought an eclectic collection of complex individuals, each with his or her own values, lack of values, dreams, and goals. I wanted Bridge of Sighs and Dreams to be a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlighted the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and that illustrated the tenacity of the human spirit. However, I thought it was also necessary to inject some light humor, not merely for the reader’s benefit, but to show that a sense of humor can serve as a valuable shield during dire times.

I will say, to weave my fiction around the time-line of events that I wanted to highlight was tricky, but I didn’t want to alter facts to fit my fiction; instead, I utilized truth to enhance my characters and their story. And so, after decades of research, translations, false starts, writing, editing, shelving, writing, editing, shelving, Bridge of Sighs and Dreams finally bloomed into a novel of which I am proud.

My one regret is that sadly, my beloved parents and some of my aunts and uncles who played such a pivotal role in this novel have all passed away before its publication. However, I do take solace in fate. Considering the serendipitous chain of events involved in the birth of the novel, it happened when it was meant to happen. Ecco la vita.

A thousand thanks to Jennifer S. Alderson  for featuring Birth of a Novel on her Travel Writers website. I am honored to be included alongside such gifted authors.I hope you enjoy the article and to also take the time to visit the Travel Writers website that features articles written by other authors who share the fascination and joy of international culture. http://jennifersalderson.com/2017/03/27/the-birth-of-a-novel-by-pamela-allegretto

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:

AMAZON:

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams-pamela-allegretto/1122645088?ean=9781634906548

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

KOBO:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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“It Was Amazing” 5 Star Review

“It Was Amazing” 5 Star Review

 Those words and this review just sent me over the moon. I am deeply grateful to author Mary Feliciani for taking the time to write such a lovely 5-star review.

 “I thoroughly enjoyed every page of Bridge of Sighs and Dreams. The end of each scene left me wanting more. The storyline has many layers: the atrocities of World War 2; human nature at its best and worst; the love between a mother and daughter; the love between husband and wife; loyalty among friends, manipulation and betrayal; and the power of hope. It has all the elements of a book that can captivate and engage.
I was enamoured with some of the characters: Angelina the compassionate artist and her daughter Gina, who represents the innocence of a child; noble men like Pietro, Aldo and Karl who do what is right even when everything around them is wrong; Rosalina who became the grandmother figure, and who provides the much needed comic relief.

“The aforementioned benevolent characters are balanced off with the sociopathic behaviour of the SS, Fascist extremists, and Lidia, Angelina’s sister-in-law.

“The author demonstrates that the human necessity to bond is still present during wartime, and that there still is life after war. The author, being an artist herself, lovingly crafted a new family unit for Angelina using the broken pieces of other families.” Mary Feliciani

BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND DREAMS is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:

AMAZON:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

 

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs…/1122645088…

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

KOBO:

https://store.kobobooks.com/…/eb…/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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It Was Amazing!

5 Stars on Amazon/Canada – Wonderful things happen when there are no “walls” between countries to get in the way! Thank you, author, Janice J. Richardson, for writing such a lovely review.

It was amazing!

“What a beautiful story. It is exquisitely and descriptively written, a tale of love and hate, betrayal and trust set in Italy during WWII. This book should be made into a movie. An absolute must-read for literary, historical fiction fans and those who have yet to pick up and read that genre. This story will leave you breathless from the first page to the last.”

BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND DREAMS is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at: AMAZON:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs…/1122645088…

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

KOBO:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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A MUST READ

A MUST READ

Thank you to Emmy Award winning film editor and author, Rick Tuber, for this lovely 5-star review.

“Nazi’s, Fascists, greed, and revenge, “Bridge of Sighs and Dreams” has it all. A suspenseful story of survival that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I really enjoyed this book that was so unpredictable. Pamela Allegretto paints a picture of one family’s love and hope during occupied Italy of WW 2. A must read. ”

Bridge of sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:

AMAZON:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams-pamela-allegretto/1122645088?ean=9781634906548

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

KOBO:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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SURF’S UP

SURF’S UP –

Surf's Up

Surf’s Up

For me, big, bold colors reflect the joys of a tropical island. I wanted to keep this painting as uncomplicated as island life. It’s all about celebrating color and simplicity that speak to me while hanging out in Paradise, sipping a smoothie, and waiting for the waves. The original 8”x10” acrylic on wrapped canvas is available for purchase. Contact me here for information. Or, visit my art website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com

Quality Giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size are available at:

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/surfs-up-pamela-allegretto.html

 

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St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi

You don’t have to be a Christian or even religious to appreciate the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He cherished all of nature and creatures large and small. I mean, how can you not love someone who talked to animals and birds?

The original acrylic on canvas painting has been sold. However, Giclee prints and greeting cards are available for purchase at: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-francis-of-assisi-pamela-allegretto.html

San Francesco d’Assisi

St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi

Non si dev’essere religioso apprezzare San Francesco d’Assisi. Lui ha amato tutta la natura e le creature grandi e piccole. Voglio dire, come non si puo` amare qualcuno che ha parlato con gli animali ed i uccelli?

Il quadro originale e` stato venduta, però, si può comprare delle stamp di giclee a questo sito: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-francis-of-assisi-pamela-allegretto.html

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Best novel I’ve read in a long time!

Best novel I’ve read in a long time!

 What a great way to end the month of April: with this 5-star review. Thank you, Marty, for taking the time to write such a lovely review. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the read, and that it touched your sensibilities.

Best novel I’ve read in a long time!
By Marty on April 27, 2017
Format: Paperback
It has been some time since I’ve read a book that moved me in all the ways great writing should, but Pamela Allegretto nailed it. Complex in her method of storytelling, blending historical facts and events with her well-developed characters, even from page one I was hooked. If you love Italy and history, you will love this novel. All of your senses get involved: The sights, sounds, flavors, and tactile narrative are beautiful and compelling, but it is the emotional connection with the characters that couldn’t be denied. As a mature man, I’ll only admit to having teared up half a dozen times; that is the level of immersion you’ll discover. No spoilers here, but absolutely recommend. The author was also very thoughtful in the production of the novel: a bit larger font and cream-colored pages, so very easy to read without tiring the eyes. Thank you Ms. Allegretto!

BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND DREAMS is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:AMAZON:

 BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs…/1122645088…

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

KOBO:

https://store.kobobooks.com/…/eb…/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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Festa della Liberazione

Tuscan Farmhouse at Sunset

Tuscan Farmhouse at Sunset

Festa della Liberazione

 Today is one of Italy’s most celebrated holidays: Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day). It marks the fall of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945. You can read more about it at: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/italy/liberation-day

For a deeper insight into life in Nazi-occupied Italy, I invite you to read my novel: Bridge of Sighs and Dreams, on sale at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

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“Best WWII Historical Fiction”

“Best WWII Historical Fiction” – What a fabulous Earth Day gift. My novel Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is now #26 out of 118 on the “Best WW11 Historical Fiction” list on Goodreads.com I don’t mean to toot my own horn, well, yes I do. So I will.
HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!
A free excerpt can be read at: http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html
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“Couldn’t put the book down!” 5 – STAR REVIEW

Check out this generous 5-star review for Bridge of Sighs and Dreams from Janet Lombardi. Reviews (good reviews) not only boost sales, but they lift the author’s spirit in a way that’s difficult to explain. Thanks, Janet. I’m so happy you liked the book and grateful that you took the time to write such a lovely review. I’m glad you enjoyed the “Lombardi” context. Tanti auguri! 

“Couldn’t put the book down! From the beginning, the story gripped my attention and the detail to history was riveting. This book is for all people, men, women, history buffs, and Italians named Lombardi!”

 BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND DREAMS is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:

AMAZON:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015JRFQE8

 BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridge-of-sighs…/1122645088…

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/id1041486835?mt=11

KOBO:

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

https://store.kobobooks.com/…/eb…/bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams

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CHARACTER INTERVIEW – BRIDGE OF SIGHS AND DREAMS

“History Imagined” invited me to participate on their historical fiction blog. The premise was for me to interview the antagonist in my novel “Bridge of Sighs and Dreams.” Since the protagonist, Angelina Rosini, and the antagonist, Lidia Corsini, shared center stage in the story, I felt it appropriate to include both women in this interview. As the two women are adversaries, I had to employ some fancy footwork in order to persuade these two rivals to sit together for this interview. On several occasions, one or the other threatened to walk out, but in the end, we completed the interview without bloodshed.
Many thanks to “History Imagined” for including me alongside such gifted authors.
The complete interview can be found at:
https://historyimagined.wordpress.com/gettingintocharacter/pamela-allegretto-interviews-angelina-rosini-and-lidia-corsini-from-bridge-of-sighs-and-dreams/

A partial interview is pasted below.

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

PA: The year is 1944. I am in Nazi-occupied Rome, sitting in Lidia Corsini’s parlor. First, I want to thank you both for agreeing to this interview. I’ll begin with asking each of you to tell me about where you grew up and your family backgrounds. Angelina, will you start?

AR: Thank you, Miss Allegretto, for your interest in our lives. I regret that we should meet while our beloved Italy is in such a dire situation. I grew up an only child in a centuries-old farmhouse in Faicchio, a small village in Southern Italy, about 60 kilometers inland from Naples. Although my parents were not school educated, nor were quite a few Southern Italians farmers at that time, they were at least literate. They understood the value of an education and insisted that I attend school. Art was my favorite subject. When I was not in school, or helping with the farm chores, I dedicated that time to drawing. Paints, brushes, and canvas were a luxury we could not afford, so I worked on old newspapers with pencils and sometimes bits of charcoal. My parents acknowledged my talent and made countless personal sacrifices in order to pay for my advanced art studies.

PA: Lidia, did you also grow up in Faicchio?

LC: Absolutely not. Do I look like some illiterate farm girl? And may I say, your lack of this rudimentary information tells me that your ability to conduct an intelligent interview is questionable. I grew up in prestigious Vico Equense on the North Coast of the Sorrento peninsula that over-looks the Bay of Naples. My parents died when I was twelve-years-old and my brother, Pietro, was two. Our Zia Carmela took us in. And although she was well set financially, she was an incompetent, pathetic old cow, who left me the task of guardian and authoritarian to Pietro. Naturally, Pietro and I enjoyed proper schooling, unlike the hodge-podge education, if you even want to call it an education, offered in the farm districts.

PA: Yes, well, let’s move on. I understand that you are sisters-in-law. Angelina, you are married to Lidia’s brother, Pietro Rosini. Tell me about him and how you met.

AR: Ah, Pietro, he is my light. He is compassionate and selfless, with a delightful sense of humor and an unwavering optimism. I had gone to study painting in Vico Equense the summer after my high school graduation. I stayed with my uncle, Antonio Lombardi, who was devoted to intarsio, which is the complex process of the inlaid wood art form. I met Pietro on my first visit to my uncle’s workshop. I was immediately intrigued at how Pietro’s muscular arms and broad hands contradicted his delicate intarsio application, as he cut and fit each wood fragment onto an intricate pastoral scene. He had a kindness in his eyes that immediately touched my heart. His compassionate spirit, animated charm, and delightful sense of humor won me over. We had a lovely 3-year courtship before we married.

PA: Lidia, your husband, Aldo Corsini, is quite a renowned portrait artist. How did you meet, and what is he like?

LC: I never “settle.” I have always set my sights on the prize. Aldo was the most suitable bachelor in Vico Equense, so naturally, I determined to have him. He is a generous provider and a kind man, but his passion is directed at his art, not toward me. As for having sex with Aldo, for me, that is just another wifely duty no different from preparing meals and scrubbing floors. He has never been able to satisfy me, and I have little interest in letting him know what I want. However, out of the bedroom, I tell him exactly what I want, and one way or another, I always get it.
PA: Hmmm… Okay, so, let’s talk about your children, and how you see this war and the Nazi occupation affecting them. Angelina?

AR: Gina is just now five-years-old. But this war, the hardships she has endured, and the atrocities she has witnessed, have robbed her childhood. She’s had to flee a rain of bombs and machinegun fire. She has suffered piercing cold and biting hunger and thirst while forced to take refuge in a vile hog shed. Still, her delightful nature seldom dims. Gina is short for Regina, and she is our little queen. She is resilient. Most adults would have been brought to their knees had they experienced even a fraction of what my sweet angel has suffered. She is a bit small for her age, and I blame this on her extended time suffering from malnutrition. Now that we are in Rome, I am certain that she will thrive. She has inherited my tight curls and enthusiastic nature, and Pietro’s round, intense eyes and inquiring mind. Her long lashes that flutter like little wings and the notion of tinkling bells when she giggles are her own.

PA: Lidia, tell me about your son, Carmine.

LC: Carmine is a perfect child. He is eight-years-old but has what many refer to as an “old soul,” whatever that means. He is introspective to a point that often irritates me, as I contemplate what he’s thinking. However, it’s really of no consequence what he thinks, as long as he obeys my orders, which, of course, he always does without faltering. He seldom smiles and almost never laughs but then during these difficult times there is little for which to smile or laugh. He has impeccable manners and never balks at my demands. I suppose I already said that, but it is an important point that deserves repeating. I know that under my astute supervision he will grow to be a successful and powerful man. With me guiding his life, there will be no position out of his reach.

PA: Let’s move on to the war. The Germans occupy your country, and here in Rome, the Nazis have executed a mass roundup of the Jewish population. What are your thoughts on this development, and how does it impact your sensibilities? Angelina?

AR: I am horrified. The Jewish population is comprised of hardworking, creative, compassionate people. Their contribution to the betterment of the city has been significant. Many are doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers, writers, poets, and artists. They have committed no crimes. Some are elderly and infirm. Many are children. These roundups are horrific. Most have been dragged from their beds in the middle of the night and loaded onto trucks like livestock. This bigotry and hate gnaw at my very soul. We are all human beings and should not be judged and persecuted simply by our religious affiliation.

PA: Lidia, your thoughts?

LC: Angelina has always had her head stuck in the sand, maybe it’s her lack of education and cultural refinements, I don’t know and honestly don’t care. Here are the facts: the Nazis occupy Rome. We can all moan and groan and wallow in self-pity, or we can seize the situation and benefit. The Jews just happen to be an unfortunate lot. The ones who were rounded up and shipped off to who knows where were just not smart enough to flee the city when they had the chance. I have no pity for ignorance. They heard the rumors of roundups weeks in advance and should have acted then.

AR: Lidia, how can you be so callous?

LC: And how can you be such a pathetic dreamer? You see the world as though it were a painting on your canvas: all blues and reds and yellows and greens. Well, that is not the real world. The world we live in is black and white and shades of gray. Get used to it!

PA: Lidia, let’s go back to your comment where you said, “We can seize the situation and benefit.” What did you mean?

LC: Look, I am accustomed to a certain lifestyle and will do whatever it takes to not only maintain it but to better it. Certainly, I’m not about to divulge my intentions. However, let me just say that no matter how this war turns out, I intend to be a winner.

PA: So, moving forward, I’d like to play a little word game. I’ll say a word, and you each give me a brief, personal definition: Empathy.

AR: I believe to have empathy is to have strength. When we put ourselves in another’s shoes, we gain knowledge we might not have imagined. To be empathetic makes our lives if you will pardon the cliché, worth living.

LC: Ha! Do you see why I say Angelina has her head in the sand? Empathy is a weakness. The minute you start trying to “put yourself in another’s shoes,” you have lost your power.

PA: Lidia, power seems to be quite important to you.

LC: Power is everything.

PA: Let’s try a different word: Joy.

AR: Joy is the pleasure I feel when I see the delight in my daughter’s eyes as she inspects the petals on a wildflower. Joy is the sound of Pietro’s laughter.

LC: Joy is a fraud. There are only degrees of gratification.

PA: Okay, so, let’s try one more: Guilt.

AR: My sense of failure to do more for the Italian Jews. The emotion I feel when I see the countless homeless Roman mothers and children dressed in rags and begging for scraps of bread while I am fortunate to have Lidia’s hospitality.

LC: Guilt is a useless emotion that I have never experienced. I believe we all make our own destinies, regardless of circumstances beyond our control. Only fools with their heads in the clouds submit themselves to such a foolish sentiment as guilt. Those who seek power cannot afford this weak trait.

PA: I’d like to close this interview by asking each of you to tell me your dreams for the future.

AR: My dream is that Pietro is alive and well and that he will return to us. I also dream of a country free from war. I dream of a happy future for our Gina and also for Lidia’s sweet Carmine.

LC: You can keep Carmine out of your dreams. Carmine doesn’t need your useless dreams. Carmine will be fine with reality, as long as I am in charge of his life. Dreamers are losers. Dreamers are weaklings, incapable of seeing the real world and what must be done to get ahead in it. Dreams are for losers.

AR: Lidia, you can’t mean that. Dreams are what keep our spirits alive.

PA: Maybe we should end this interview here. I know that as an interviewer, I am supposed to remain impartial, but on this last point, I must agree with Angelina. So, I will close this interview on that positive note: Dreams do keep our spirits alive. I thank you both for your time, and I offer my most sincere wish that this war will end soon.

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LATINA JAZZ DIVA – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

LATINA JAZZ DIVA – This is Rita, one hot Latina Jazz Diva. She rocks Jazz, wails the Blues, and loves to glam it up.  Featuring “Rita” to represent all the amazing female jazz singers past and present, is my way of celebrating “International Women’s Day.”
Ecco Rita. Una cantanta Latina molto caliente. Lei canta il Jazz ed i “Blues” con brio. Oggi, Rita rappresenta le cantante femminile per “La Festa Della Donna.”
Quality giclee prints from greeting card size to poster size are available at:
Latina Jazz Diva

Latina Jazz Diva – Click on image for link to giclee print site.

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Author Interview – Bridge of Sighs and Dreams

The joy an author feels when readers purchase his/her book is immense. Almost equally delightful is when a journalist deems that author’s book “interview-worthy.” I have the great fortune to have had many such interviews regarding my novel Bridge of Sighs and Dreams. I have pasted below the latest interview, conducted by acclaimed author/journalist Angel Chadwick. Or you can go to Angel Chadwick’s website and read this interview and her other author interviews.  https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/14802606-interview-with-author-artist-pamela-allegretto

Many thanks to Angel Chadwick for her in-depth questions, and for including me among such gifted authors whom she has interviewed.

Pamela Allegretto

Pamela Allegretto author/artist

Hi, Pamela!

1.Tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel.

In addition to my current novel, Bridge of sighs and Dreams, my published writing comprises six dual-language poetry books and articles in newspapers, magazines, and Italian literary journals. My published art includes cover art design, illustrations, and cartoons. Thanks to the Internet, my art is viewed and collected worldwide.

Nazi-occupied Rome sets the stage for Bridge of sighs and Dreams, where the lives of two women collide in an arena of deception, greed, and sacrifice.

While political cartoonist Angelina Rosini channels her creativity into the art of survival for herself and her daughter, Lidia Corsini quenches her greed by turning in Jews to the Nazis. Lidia’s spiral into immorality accelerates as swiftly as the Jewish population dwindles; and soon not even her husband, her son, nor Angelina is immune to her madness.

Bridge of sighs and Dreams is a story of betrayal, dignity, and purpose that highlights the brutality toward Italian citizens, under both Mussolini’s Fascist regime and the Nazi occupation, and illustrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

2. What inspired you to be a writer and to get into indie publishing? How long have you been writing? How long have you been published as an indie author?

My fertile imagination inspired me to write stories since grade school. Due to my “controlling” nature, I prefer indie publishing and have been an indie author for a year and a half.

3. Who are your writing mentors/authors? What genres do you enjoy writing and what genres do you like to read? Are you an avid reader/reviewer of other authors?

Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante have been the most influential authors. I am also a fan of Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Gorky, Donna Leon, and Agatha Christie. My reading and writing preferences are eclectic; however, I have little interest in soppy romance novels, explicit sex novels, or extreme violence. I like well-defined characters and a tight plot. Yes, I am an avid reader, and I only read paper copies. When I have something positive to say, I will review other authors. It’s not in my nature to put out a negative review in the public domain.

4. Have you ever co-wrote or consider collaborating or co-writing with anyone on a writing project?

I co-authored two dual-language (Italian/English) poetry books that were published through a traditional publisher in Italy. I have also contributed to four other dual-language poetry books.

5. What are your dreams and aspirations that could drive you forward on this writing and publication journey?

My desire is to entertain and inform. I want readers to lose themselves in my stories and enjoy and connect with my characters.

6. Do you prefer to do marketing and promotion yourself for your works or would you rather have someone else control that spectrum? What are some of the things you have done to promote and market yourself?

Certainly, marketing can be the least agreeable part of the publishing process. But it needn’t be. There are unlimited websites and groups where authors not only have the opportunity to self-promote but also to connect and form friendships and share ideas with other authors. Goodreads and Facebook are two of my favorite and most lucrative go-to sites for self-promotion. In addition to my personal websites, blogs, FB, Goodreads, and email, I also launched a “snail-mail” postcard campaign. I never leave the house without my business cards and postcards. There are so many opportunities, i.e. dentist’s office, auto repair shop, grocery store line, post office, farmer’s market, etc., where you strike up a conversation that results in an occasion to hand out a postcard.

7. What is your greatest accomplishment as an author?

My novel, Bridge of Sighs and Dreams has been my greatest accomplishment.

8. What’s the next writing project(s) you’re working on?

I am currently working on a diamond caper that takes place in Venice. I am also considering adding to and publishing my blog, Painting In Italy, which is a guide to painting in Italy for artists who prefer independent travel and off the beaten track locations. I have written 5 children’s stories that I still need to edit and illustrate, and I continue to take on select translation assignments, mostly for Italian poets and musicians.

9. How would you balance creativity with the business side of writing such as coming up with particular concepts and solutions to stand out amongst the crowd in this writing/publishing industry where ‘popularity’ is key, if your idea wasn’t exactly popular/or was unknown to the readers/publishers?

My novel takes place in Nazi-occupied Italy, and there are many layers to the story that should interest a wide variety of readers. Because of these diverse layers, I promote to a wide-range of readers whose interests include: World War II, Fascism, Jewish discrimination, art, artists, Italian history, Roman history, and strong women characters. In fact, it is this last category that is closest to my heart. I felt compelled to write a war novel in which the women don’t play the role of wallpaper or objects of amusement to soldiers and politicians. The women in Bridge of Sighs and Dreams take center stage in a behind-the-lines battle between good and evil.

10. Have you ever been traditional published? Would you consider it? Or feel like a sell out if you took a traditional deal and abandoned indie publishing? Have you ever thought about being a hybrid, part indie, part traditional published? How would you feel about such an opportunity, if both or either of these things happened?

I have had two dual-language poetry books, written in collaboration with Luciano Somma, traditionally published in Italy: L’Alba di Domani (Noialtri Edizioni), and Immagini (Casa Editrice Menna). Certainly, for the prospect of worldwide distribution, I would consider traditional publishing. I did have a movie producer offer to option my novel. However, the necessary cuts and plot changes he proposed to fit his concept and time frame, I felt cut the heart and soul from my story and my characters. I declined.

11. What other creative talents do you have? Do you draw, sketch, paint, etc.?

I’m an artist and work primarily in acrylic on wrapped canvas. I enjoy fusing whimsy with realism; and the variety in my style, medium, and subject reflects a Gemini nature that consistently prods me away from monotony.

12. What advice would you give other aspiring authors?

Keep note pads handy: next to your computer, on your nightstand, in your car, in your purse or backpack. You never know when an idea or a quip will pop into your head. Write it down. Don’t trust that you will remember it in the morning or when you get home or after dinner. You won’t. If you don’t yet have it, pick up a copy of the “writer’s bible”: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. It’s a little 100-page master-class no author should be without. You can be the greatest storyteller of all times, but if your composition, grammar, tone, style, and punctuation suck, so will your novel.

13. Describe yourself in a one-sentence epithet.

I treat everyone with respect, regardless of his or her ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack of religion.

14. Paying it forward. What things do you do in your community/ and other communities to help others?

I participate in the “Feed the Hungry” program, the local Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, and the Food Bank. I have been a foster parent through Childreach International for the past 30 years.

Biography:

Pamela Allegretto attended Colorado University Extension in Denver and later moved to Florence, Italy where she studied art and Italian at L’Università per Gli Stranieri. To finance her education, her job résumé was as colorful as the Renaissance city itself. She shivered as an artist’s model and sang the blues in catacomb nightclubs. She worked as an interpreter/translator for a textile company and hawked leather goods to tourists.
Back on US soil, the colors on her résumé remained vibrant. In addition to Italian teacher at Berlitz School of Languages and a two-year stint as a Playboy Bunny, she added hairdresser/salon owner, to her palette. Classes in writing, cartooning, and art filled whatever free hours remained.
In 1996 Pamela sold the hair salon and moved with her husband to Hawaii, where, for the following ten years, she devoted herself full-time to painting and writing. Now, a resident of Connecticut, Pamela divides her time between painting, writing, and Italian poetry translations.

buy links:

Bridge of Sighs and Dreams is available for purchase in paperback and eBook at:

AMAZON:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015…

BARNES & NOBLE:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bridg…

BOOKLOCKER:

http://booklocker.com/books/8228.html

ITUNES:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/brid…

KOBO:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/brid…

 

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THE ART OF WRITING

THE ART OF WRITING

Self portrait in Progress

Self Portrait in Progress

Today I was asked that as an artist/writer what comes first when I have a story idea? Do the images in my mind dictate the words, or do the words conjure up the images? My answer was: the story always come first, and that sets the images (characters/locations/scenes) in my head.

This question compelled me to dig into my files for an article I wrote several years ago on comparing art and writing.

Here’s the article. Cheers!

The Art of Writing

CROWDED SCENES

As an artist and a writer, I find the two crafts parallel each other in many ways, for example, “crowded scenes.” And I’m not talking about a painting that depicts a crowd, or a “crowd scene” written into a story.

In art, a “crowded scene” is a painting with too much going on: too many unrelated objects on the canvas competing for the viewer’s attention with no place to “rest” the eyes, and no pathway to lead the viewer into and around and out of the chaos. These paintings are too much “in your face,” and more often than not, they chase the prospective collector away and on to another canvas.

A “crowded scene” in a novel can happen when there are too many characters jabbering on the same page, ala nightly TV news panels, and the frustrated reader chucks the book in order to plug his ears to stifle the din.

Another equally annoying “crowded scene” rears it’s clamorous head when the author refers to his characters sometimes by their first name and other times by their last name. This occurred in a book I read recently, which happens to be a best seller written by a best-selling author. He regularly flip-flopped first names, surnames, and nicknames on the same page and often in the same paragraph. For example, in a scene with a conversation between two men, he pulled the first, last, and nickname switcheroo, as though there were six characters in the scene rather than two. If a character’s name is Bill Smith, don’t refer to him in one sentence as Bill, and the next as Mr. Smith, and the next as Smitty. We authors need our readers to experience a rapport with our characters. Playing the “name-game” can easily break the spell, and that suspension of disbelief becomes fragmented while the reader reminds himself that Smitty is Bill. I know, I know, in the context of a novel, Mrs. Smith will call her husband Bill, and Bill’s golf buddy may call him Smitty. But don’t “crowd” the same page and certainly not the same paragraph with all of Bill Smith’s monikers. My advice, whether you’re a renowned artist, a best selling author, a dabbler, a scribbler, or anyone in between: avoid crowds.

PORTRAITURE AND CHARACTER DESCRIPTION

What do portrait painters and fiction writers have in common? Portrait painters not only have to get the features exact, but the reason some portrait painters excel and others falter is the ability to capture the essence of the subject. It sounds cliché, but the eyes do speak volumes to an artist with the ability to tune into the spirit behind the visage. A good portrait is not just a canvas and paint substitute for a photograph: it’s a glimpse at the inner-self.

In fiction, the author not only needs to describe the characters by their physical attributes: short/tall, fat/skinny, etc., but he also must allow the reader to “know” the nature of the character’s inner-self as well, and all while following the rules in Novel Writing 101 about “show, don’t tell.” For example, which of these men seems more menacing? “He was a mean looking man with big teeth.” Yawn! Mean looking man, big teeth, big deal. Or, “His face flushed crimson, his eyes narrowed to slits, and he sneered through a mouth crowded with irregular teeth large enough to devour a leg of lamb in three chomps.” Now that’s one nasty dude you don’t want to cross on a day he’s skipped lunch.

COLOR

We all know the importance of color to a painting. Whether it’s an abstract, still life, landscape, etc., color sets the mood. Color can also set a mood in writing. When the protagonist awakens to a dawn ablaze in crimson, we anticipate an important, life changing event lurks just beyond that fiery horizon. When the protagonist awakens in a black mood to a weepy, grey sky, we can bet he/she would be better off spending the day in bed.

So, the next time “writers block” has you sitting ashen-faced in front of that blank white page think pink, or blue, or green, or orange. Let colors inspire you, and soon those greenbacks will be within reach.

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REFLECTION

Reflection

Inspired by Congressman John Lewis’ speech, and in honor of Martin Luther King Day, I decided to re-post my painting “Reflection.” I hope you all take a minute to read the blurb explaining the story behind the painting. Cheers!

I have always liked the concept of trying to put myself in someone else’s shoes, in order to better understand the basis of their emotions and actions. In this painting, I wanted to delineate two abstract profiles that demonstrate the idea that when we are fleshed out and outwardly adorned we are all unique. But under the costumes and grease paint, we are one, all Mother Earth’s children. I still have hope that in my lifetime I will see everyone, despite their race, ethnicity, religion, lack of religion, economic situation, sexual orientation, etc., treated with dignity. How hard is it, really, just to treat people the way you want to be treated? Quality Giclee print from greeting card size to poster size are available at :  http://fineartamerica.com/featured/reflection-pamela-allegretto.html

The original 16″x20″ acrylic on canvas painting is available for sale on my art website: http://www.pamelaallegretto-franz.com.

REFLECTION

REFLECTION – Click on image to enlarge or to order giclee prints.

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