Monday, September 15, 2014

Loving Lucianna - preorder now!

Have you heard the rumors? If so, they're true! Loving Lucianna is now available for pre-order at
online retailers!

Plus, Loving Lucianna has received its first review on Goodreads from an Advance Readers Copy. 5 stars!

"Captivating! ... Once I began to read it I couldn't put it down until I discovered Lucianna's dreaded secret...and then until the outcome of it all was revealed!"

Thank you, Yolanda at Goodreads! You can read the full review here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23202180-loving-lucianna

Pre-order Loving Lucianna now for only $1.99 and save $1.00 off the published price on October 11. (Loving Lucianna - regular price $2.99)

Pre-orders are available at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iBooks

Loving Lucianna: summary

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.


Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.

Loving Lucianna is the first in my new "Hearts in Autumn" romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines "in the autumn of their years," (their 40s and 50s). Because you're never too old to fall in love!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Loving Lucianna: opening chapter

Coming October 2014 ~ Loving Luciana (A Hearts in Autumn Romance)

Although my "Hearts in Autumn" romances are about older heroes and heroines falling in love, even "autumn" heroines were young once. Here's a sneak peek at the opening chapter of Loving Lucianna, where we get to meet Lucianna as a young girl. I hope you enjoy it!




I
Convento di Santa Caterina, Venice ~ 1147

She could not work with so much wailing in her ears! Lucianna hooked her small bone needle in the cloth. She had been forbidden the long, graceful needles of bronze the nuns used until her hands grew larger. They said in their scolding voices that she must be patient for that should be a very long time, for she was only nine years old. She exuded a huff. She did not like being patient. And she did not like the girl who had been thrust into the dormitory she shared with Sister Maria Angela in the almonry. Elisabetta, they called her. She had done nothing but weep from the day she had arrived.

The wailings drifted through the dormitory window, assaulting Lucianna’s ears where she sat on a bench outside beneath one of the many olive trees the nuns harvested for oil. How could one stitch a decent flower with so much racket in one’s brain? Lucianna folded the linen very neatly, as she had been taught to do, set it reverently in the small workbasket at her feet, rose from the bench, smoothed the creases from the skirts of her humble russet gown, bade farewell to the lovely spring morning she had been enjoying, and went inside to do the duty that had been assigned to her.

She had been asked by the abbess to comfort the frightened, lonely girl. Lucianna had been lonely, too, the only child in the convent, though Sister Maria Angela said there had been oblates before her and would certainly be oblates donated to the abbey again. But none had come in Lucianna’s nine years, until a fortnight ago. She had thought, perhaps, she and Elisabetta might become friends but the endless laments had finally exhausted her patience.

“Why do you weep like this?” she said crossly to the girl sprawled sobbing on the narrow bed beside her own. “If I behaved so unseemly, Sister Maria Angela would take her switch to me. But you are coddled and given warm blankets and allowed to wear those pretty gowns your father sent with you.” She dared not confess her envy of the gowns, especially that green one that would have matched her eyes. “And one day you shall go back home to the father who loves you. So why do you cry and cry and cry?”

Elisabetta sat up. Her dark hair with the reddish highlights that peeped out when she sat in the sun now fell tangled over her tear stained face. “I hate it here!” she said. “I miss my own wide bed and the gingerbread from our kitchens and my father’s pretty rose garden—”

“You are spoiled.”

“And most of all I miss my father, for he would never let you speak to me that way!”

Lucianna shrugged. Sister Maria Angela would switch her if she saw it, but the nun was working in the herb garden. Sometimes they made Lucianna work there as well, but her gift for embroidering delicate designs had so pleased the abbess, that most days she was allowed to sit on the bench outside the dormitory window and practice her stitching instead. One day, when her talent had matured, her work would be sold and the money given as alms to the poor.

“Do you think if you cry enough your father will take you away sooner?” Lucianna asked, barely concealing her scorn. Or perhaps it was jealousy. No one would ever come to take her away, no matter how hard she wished it.

Elisabetta dried her eyes with a soft silken sleeve woven with yellow birds, and shook her head.

“Then what good does it do you to weep like this?” Lucianna sat down on her own bed. She wondered what silk would feel like against her skin. As long as she could remember, the nuns had dressed her in rough woven russet. She ran her fingers over her skirts as she waited for an answer.

“I cannot help it,” Elisabetta said. “I try to be brave, but it is so horrid here. Do you not hate it, too?”

“I have never known any place but this. My parents died when I was a baby and left me to the nuns.”

Elisabetta’s dark brown eyes went wide. “Oh, but that is sad!”

Lucianna knew better than to indulge in pity for herself. It changed nothing and only brought down Sister Maria Angela’s condemnation upon her head.

“My father’s name was Panfilo,” Lucianna said. “My mother—I do not know. I call her Rosaria, but I do not know if that was her name. I think it is pretty, though.”

She plucked at a loose thread on her skirts. It would make a hole if she tugged at it, but she pulled it anyway. Sister Maria Angela would make her mend the rent it caused. Anything was better than working in the herb garden where the thorns pricked her fingers. The last time they had done so, she had not been able to embroider for days.

“You are lucky,” she said, wiggling a finger through the hole she had made in her gown.

“Lucky?” Elisabetta stared as though Lucianna had stood too long beneath the moon. “To sleep in a cold bed at night and eat dried beans and crumbling cheese and black bread instead of gingerbread? To be made to sit for hours in silence while they read psalms at you or kneel until your knees are raw from prayer?”

“They excuse us from the night office because we are young. And it is much colder in the winter than it is now in the spring. You will not be here forever and ever, like I will. And you have a warm blanket to sleep in at night.” And a gown that would make my eyes shine like the emerald clasp on the mantle of the lady who stayed with her servants one night in the guest house last year. Lucianna’s parents had left her a red brooch in a silver setting, but the nuns would not let her wear it for fear she should become vain. She tried not to mind. Besides, it went ill with her auburn hair.

“It is not as quiet now as it was before you came.” Lucianna pulled at another thread. The hole in her skirt grew wider. “Before, the nuns only spoke when they read the psalms or prayed and when they scolded me because I do not like to clean or cook or work in the herb garden, and I do not like to sit still, unless I am stitching a pattern. But now you wail and wail and they never scold you. They speak meekly and caressingly to you, then tell me I must comfort you when your tears do not cease.”

Elisabetta drew up her knees on the bed and wrapped her arms around them. “You have not tried to comfort me at all!”

“Well, it is hard when you are so ungrateful. No one asks you to cook or clean or garden, but to learn how to read and to write and to count and speak French. Why does your father wish you to learn all those things?”

Another tear rolled down Elisabetta’s cheek, but this time silently. Again she wiped it away with her sleeve. “After my mother died, my father said he had not time to take care of me. I think it was because it made him too sad to think of Mamma. He said one day I should make a very great marriage, because he said I should have great beauty when I am older and he will provide me with a dowry to tempt a great lord. But if the lords should spurn me and I marry a merchant like himself instead, then it will be a help to my husband for me to read and write and count.”

“And the French?” Lucianna wrinkled her nose. Why should any woman of Venice need to speak French?

“My father trades with men of many lands and some of them are French. So he wishes me to learn, that I might help my husband, should my husband be a merchant. But if he is a lord, then I need only know how to be pretty and embroider. I hate embroidery.”

Lucianna glowered, as though an insult had been hurled at her. How could anyone hate the brightly colored skeins of silk, or the smooth flow of the threads as one drew them through the cloth? It was the only time Lucianna felt quiet inside.

“I cannot comfort someone as silly as you,” she declared and bounced up from her bed.

“Wait!” Elisabetta called as Lucianna started down the long line of empty beds towards the door.

Lucianna had no choice as Sister Maria Angela came in just then. Dirt stained the nun’s habit and as always, her nails were blackened with soil from the garden. Lucianna hid her own hands behind her back. She could not bear filthy nails and was always picking at her own to keep them clean. Sister Maria Angela had switched her for it more than once, calling Lucianna prideful. Impatience and pride were sins the abbess agreed must be stripped from Lucianna before she grew old enough to take her vows.

But now Sister Maria Angela beamed a smile. Lucianna had not known the nun knew how to smile before Elisabetta came. As always, the pleasant expression was turned on the dark haired girl whom the nuns always called their guest.”

“You are not crying.” Approval rang in Sister Maria Angela’s voice. “Then we will resume your French instruction. Come with me to the chapel.”

Elisabetta’s dark eyes widened and Lucianna saw something in them she had never seen before, perhaps because they were usually buried against the bolster in tears. Fear. Lucianna was not sure how she knew it, but something whispered to her, See! It is what you feel when Sister Maria Angela brings out her switch. Surely the nun had never taken her slender birch rod to the back of Elisabetta’s legs? No, but Elisabetta has seen Sister Maria Angela switch me here in the dormitory. And sometimes the switch struck higher than Lucianna’s legs. Was that why Elisabetta did not wish to be alone while the nun instructed her? Is that why she wept and wept and wept?

Lucianna started as Sister Maria Angela laid her hand atop Lucianna’s head. She tried not to cringe from the soil-crusted fingers.

“Well done, my child. I knew you would not fail us.”

She did not smile at Lucianna, but approval rang in her tones. Did she think Lucianna had finally found a way to quiet Elisabetta’s tears?

Elisabetta slid slowly from the bed, eying the nun with dread as she trailed her slowly towards the door. But when she came abreast of Lucianna, she suddenly slid their hands together, tightly lacing their fingers.

“May she come with me,” Elisabetta said in a trembling voice, “and sit with me while you teach me?”

Sister Maria Angela’s mouth turned sternly downward. “Lucianna came to this house with no dowry save for a single brooch. We will sell it when she comes of age for her vows. Then she will pray and sing when the bells are rung, she will take her turn in the kitchen and garden, she will spin cloth, and because she has a gift, she will embroider. But she is not to be among our number who learns to read and she will never have use for numbers, still less to ever speak French.”

To Lucianna’s surprise, Elisabetta tossed her dark head and jutted her chin into the air with a stubbornness that for the first time hinted of a kindred spirit. “Then I shall stay here and weep for my father and my home. I do not want to sit alone with you. It is dull and you will switch me if I misspeak a word.”

“Of course I will not,” Sister Maria Angela said indignantly. “Your father paid us generously to treat you well.”

Lucianna set her lips close to Elisabetta’s ear and hissed, “I do not wish to speak French.”

Elisabetta whispered back, “I will let you teach me to embroider if you come, and I will not weep anymore. I promise.” Then she repeated very loudly, “I will only come if Lucianna may come, too.”

No more sobbing through the night? No more wailings to disturb Lucianna with her needle? It would be worth enduring all the pointless lessons if it made Elisabetta quiet. And Lucianna imagined she might enjoy instructing the other girl in the embroidery she so loved.

Sister Maria Angela heaved a loud, exasperated sigh. “Very well, Lucianna may sit with you. But she may not speak, write, or count numbers. Do you understand?”

Lucianna breathed a breath of relief at this promise. Her mind filled with blissful visions of teaching Elisabetta how to stitch, she nodded with the other girl, then hands still locked together, they followed the nun out of the dormitory.

(c. 2014 Joyce DiPastena )

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cover Reveal: Loving Lucianna

Thank you to Laura Miller/aka Jaimey Grant of An Author's Art for this beautiful cover for my upcoming new medieval romance, Loving Lucianna! (Available October 2014)


Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.


Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.

Loving Lucianna is the first in my new "Hearts in Autumn" romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines "in the autumn of their years," (their 40s and 50s). Because you're never too old to fall in love!

Stay tuned for a first chapter reveal coming next week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour: Lucianna Fabio

Thank you to Ariella Moon for inviting me to participate in this fun idea for a blog tour! 
Ariella is the author of the Teen Wytche Saga, a sweet Young Adult paranormal series. Ariella writes about magic, friendship, high school, secrets, and love in Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire from Astraea Press. 

Here is some more about Ariella: 


Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Ariella is a Reiki Master, author, and shaman. She lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and an enormous dragon.



Now let's meet Lucianna, the heroine of my upcoming sweet medieval novella. 

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

The heroine of my new novella is named Lucianna Fabio. She’s a fictional character, a woman from Venice who traveled to the county of Poitou in France to accompany the heroine of my sweet medieval romance novel, Illuminations of the Heart. Now she gets her own story in Loving Lucianna.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the area of France known as Poitou in 1180, but there are flashback scenes to Lucianna’s childhood and young adulthood that take place in medieval Venice, as well.


(I don't have a cover yet, so here's a tapestry of medieval Venice where Lucianna was born)



3) What should we know about her?

Lucianna is a medieval woman in her forties who has never been married and at her age had given up on love until she meets the fifty-year-old Sir Balduin de Soler. She falls hard in love with him and accepts his offer of marriage, only to have life throw a roadblock in their path to happiness.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

Lucianna’s brother arrives from Venice bringing with him a secret from the past that threatens to destroy Lucianna’s chance at love.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

To protect the people she loves from her villain of a brother.


6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

The title is Loving Lucianna. It’s the first in a series of romances I hope to publish about older heroines and heroes called “Hearts in Autumn.” I will be posting the first chapter soon on this blog, but until then, you can take a look at a Pinterest board I set up to accompany the story if you’d like to learn more about it: http://www.pinterest.com/jdipastena/loving-lucianna/pins/


7) When can we expect the book to be published?

Loving Lucianna will be published in e-format in October 2014, with a print version to follow.

Next stop on this tour is September 1st! Here are five more authors you will meet, along with their characters, that day!

Rachel Rossano 
Rachel will be posting about her novel Honor (Second Novel of Rhynan)



Bio: Rachel Rossano spends most of her time homeschooling her three rambunctious young children and keeping their home from falling down around her beloved husband’s ears. When she isn’t wrangling little ones, she spends time in her personal fantasy worlds of words talking to imaginary people and writing their stories down. With a small side business in cover design and book trailer creation, her schedule is almost always overflowing. Regardless, she is always eager to meet a new writer or reader and talk about books and writing. Feel free to contact her on her blog (http://rachel-rossano.blogspot.com), on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/RachelRossanoRambles), via her design site (http://rossanodesigns.weebly.com) or check out her books on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Rossano/e/B004MV17GE/).



Cheri Schmidt 
Bio: Cheri Schmidt writes fantasy/paranormal romance and is the author of Fateful, Fractured, Forever, and Fair Maiden. Fateful was published in 2011, and over 100 thousand copies have been downloaded worldwide since then. She is currently working on The Order of Curse-Bound Knights, The Trapping Club, and her first nonfiction. Cheri will say that her head is a very crowded place, and she wishes she could write faster. She will also tell you that if you do not like glittering fairies, hot vampires with British accents, knights in shining armor, the dashing Mr. Darcy, girly-girls who wear skirts, or large amounts of snogging, then perhaps her stories are not for you.
Cheri will be posting about her soon to be released fantasy/paranormal romance The Order of Curse-Bound Knights
Danielle Thorne 


Danielle Thorne writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of four and five star sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary. Other work has appeared with Espresso Fiction, Every Day Fiction, Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, Bookideas, The Mid-West Review and much more. Danielle is a former editor for Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her popular blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on life and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, she is a freelance copywriter in-between working on her next book and pursuing a second degree. Danielle has two new romances due out in the fall of 2014: Cheated and Proper Attire.


Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Thorne/e/B004E5V0LA

Kurt Kammeyer 



Kurt's career has been in the aerospace software industry. He is the author of seven books and three short stories. Kurt speaks French and has studied Hebrew, Russian, Icelandic and Hindi as background for his series of otherworld books, "The Clan of the Stone". He has always had an interest in science fiction and space travel. Kurt lives with his wife, family and a dog in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Kurt will be posting about his science fiction novel, The Rejuvenated.


Amazon Author Page: 


RM Alexander 


RM Alexander is an author of Sweet / Clean Romances that are sometimes contemporary, sometimes paranormal or suspense, but are always ruled by the heart of true romance. 
With characters who look for love in wrong places and are victims of the worse kind of betrayals while fighting for what they want and believe in, RM's novels promise a good read with unexpected twists and turns.
When she's not writing, RM is spending time with her husband and two small children in Michigan. She loves to travel, especially to Walt Disney World, and can often be found on Twitter or Facebook chatting with other authors and fans. 

Twitter: @rmalexanderauth


Her newest releases, The Right One and Veil of Secrecy, are available now on Amazon.