Still working on my current work-in-progress (WIP) another Savino Sister Mystery, this one entitled, Memories To Die For, which I’d planned on finishing by the end of 2014. But life kept getting in the way, sidetracking me for the past eighteen months—from last year’s Italy trip to the soon-to-be-completed addition on our retreat at Lake of the Ozarks to battling a new laptop and Windows 8, all the while collaborating with four different narrators to create some amazing audio versions of two short stories and three novels. Excerpt for the laptop/Windows 8 issues, the very thought of which sets my teeth gnashing, I feel compelled to add the other necessary distractions to my list of guilty pleasures.
Take our retreat Casalago. While navigating through the construction maze (literally or from my distant cell phone), I refuse to dwell on current pitfalls that constantly need revising. Instead I conjure up images of enjoying all that extra space and convenience when the last nail gets hammered and the last tile gets laid and the last cabinet gets hung and the last appliance gets installed and works like it’s supposed to work. All of which I’m ninety-per-cent confident will occur by the Fourth of July as opposed to the earlier forecast of Memorial Day. As for the other ten per cent, well, that depends on the Osage Beach weather and the drywall installers and the landscapers and the U-Hall transporter and the permit inspector. Did I forget anybody? Probably, which explains why I’m not in charge. So many outside forces; so little time. Must think positive. Will think positive.
In the meantime I’ve seen another audiobook come to fruition. What a way-too-much fun project, again working with the talented Susan Fouche, who this time narrated Italy To Die For, my first book in the Savino Sisters Mystery Series. Interested in listening to a sample on Audible? Click here. If you’d like to hear the entire book, shoot me an email here and I’ll make it happen at no charge to you, as in free. Just need your name and email address, but hurry. I only have a limited number to give away.
And then there’s my WIP. Last year’s trip to Italy provided me with beaucoup fresh material to use in Memories To Die For. As you may recall from an earlier blog, thirty-something sisters El and Margo Savino have traveled from Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean/Ligurian Sea to the village of Pont Canavese in the Italian Alps foothills. El and Margo want to trace their Nonna Clarita’s early years in Italy before she immigrated to America. To the sisters’ surprise and disappointment, Nonnie, who now lives in St. Louis, becomes evasive, prickly, and down-right belligerent, so the sisters must resort to villagers in Pont for their perspective of Nonnie’s controversial family and life in the Piemonte Region during WWII and the 1970s.
To get Margo’s view of today’s Pont Canavese as she and El approach this centuries-old village, here is a short excerpt from Memories To Die For:
In the words of Margo Savino:
It’s weird how the mind can wander. Mine had traveled all the way back to Chamonix, France, until I heard El say we had entered the outskirts of Pont Canavese. Or, Pont as Nonnie referred to the village she didn’t want us visiting
“Where have you been?” El asked.
“My own little world,” I said, “but I’m back now.”
Looking ahead, I saw this medieval village with mighty towers jutting out between spans of red tile roofs. Postcard perfect, you bet, with all the potential for an unrelenting ho-hum as opposed to El’s idea of a relaxing get-over-first-love therapy. Okay, so I may have insinuated myself into her recovery but it was supposed to be with Jonathan as my faithful companion. Ugh! I may’ve been down but most definitely not out, not by a landslide. Please let there be at least three single hetero guys under the age of thirty-nine, two for me and one to keep El occupied. How occupied would be her problem, not mine.
“Below us is the Soana River, a tributary of the Orco,” El said as we headed across a sturdy bridge leading to the village center. Shoulders hunched, she gripped the steering wheel like it might go spastic and plunge us into the Soano’s rushing water.
“Relax,” I said. “The bridge won’t collapse under our weight, especially since you’ve lost … how many pounds?”
“Not now, Margo.”
“Then how about this: In case you didn’t already know, Pont means bridge in Italian, I guess in French too since we’re so close to the border.”
“Uh-huh,” she replied, only then loosening her white-knuckle grip as we rolled onto solid ground, a road as modern as any in Smalltown, USA, but this one leading to Pont’s city center. Or, centro as the Italians say.
“Chen tro,” I pronounced for El, who repeated it to my satisfaction.
From what little I could see of Pont Canavese, not exactly a tourist mecca, which at that point didn’t present a problem. Nor would I let it for the next few days. The buildings were a mix of modernized old and older than dust, the streets a mix of generous two-lanes and narrow one-lanes. There was a decent amount of activity, mainly pedestrian shoppers demanding their fair share of pavement from impatient motorists driving efficient vehicles designed for Italian roads and hot-headed temperaments. No gas guzzlers here, not at the price of petro per liter. Not one guy close to my age. Not to worry, at least for the moment.
I tried picturing Nonnie as a teenager walking these streets but for the life of me could not imagine her as ever being that young. I guess because I’d never seen photos of her early years in Italy. Nor any of her with Grandpa Riva who died when Mom was a little girl. Nonnie never talked about him. Nor did she talk about Italy or her parents.
Finding the right hotel turned out to be a no-brainer since El and I had our pick of the grand total of one, a decent location with its own bar that started calling my name as soon as I poked my head inside. Not the caliber of hotels Chamonix had offered but so affordable we took the last two single rooms, which I considered a colossal blessing. As I felt sure El did too, even though neither of us let our true feelings show.
End of excerpt.