Read Excerpts for Joanne’s Books!  We Know You Will Want to Read the BOOKS!

Read ” With All of Me – Book One; Giuliana” Teaser

Present Day:  She stood there, staring through the intensive care unit window at him. He was lying on that hospital bed with all those wires and machines attached to his arms, chest, and head. As tears streaked down her cheeks, she felt so guilty. It was her fault he had almost died. A heart attack! While he was making love to her, no less! They were celebrating her birthday on that special weekend. They had gone to dinner in a fancy downtown Toronto steak house and then headed for the hotel room that he had booked for them. They couldn’t meet very often, so they took advantage of all the opportunities they could get, seeing how they both were so busy. She was a manager at NCR, a company that produced medical devices used for Cancer Research. He was the Vice President of B & B Pharmaceuticals. Between business meetings, business trips that took him and her halfway around the world, and time dedicated to their respective families, she took the leftovers. Leftovers of small shreds of time. They had become very rare occasions when they could both get away from their respective families and spend a few peaceful and romantic hours together. She had always felt she was stealing his time and he had always assured her that it wasn’t true. He cherished his time spent with Giuliana. She covered her face with her hands as she was thinking of that tragic moment. She was on top of him, mounting him. Her eyes were closed as he pushed upward to give her that gift of ecstasy and pleasure while he had his hands tightly around her hips guiding her up and down. Suddenly, she didn’t feel him anymore. She dismounted and turned on the light. His hands were clutching his chest and his eyes were rolling backwards. She was terrified. “Aaron! Aaron!” She cried as she slapped his face a few times. “Oh my God! Oh my God! No! No! Don’t die, here! No! No!” She desperately cried as she kissed him all over his face. He had always enjoyed every minute spent with her. She was always able to relieve him of the heavy weight of stress and constant worries he had been withstanding throughout all these years, even if it was for a few hours. He had never regretted that first date. He could still remember when he saw her the first time. Even if he was very skeptical about it, he knew it was truly love at first sight. Giuliana was a very patient woman. Right from the start, she understood his situation and she was happy to get whatever she could of him because she loved him. She knew from the start that his career came before everything, even his family. She was third in line and she knew that’s the way it had to be. She fell in love with him that very first night they met. She never admitted to herself that she could fall for a man met on chat, but she had. Giuliana had heard many internet love stories, some with positive endings and some with negative endings. Some were horror stories. At that time, she felt it was a very safe, fresh, and new way to discretely meet someone. She thought she saw a vague smile on his face. Was he thinking about her? He did look peaceful though, like he was resting. She knew he needed to rest and she had always made it clear to him, from day one. Thank God, he was out of danger. That was most important to her, right now. She placed her right hand on the glass and noticed the ring Aaron had given her. She wore it only in his presence because it symbolized the love that united them. Tears rolled down her face when she realized that their relationship was over. That didn’t matter right now. What mattered now was that he was alive and that he was given another chance. It was up to him now to realize what kind of life he was living and the consequences that came from that lifestyle. Even his wife would scold him from time to time about his lifestyle and she always agreed with his wife on that. His wife—there she stood, also staring at him through the other window. She was surrounded by her family. The two sons he always boasted about, the youngest son’s wife and the granddaughter he loved so much but rarely found the time to be a grandfather to. She had never met his wife—or seen her, for that matter. The only thing she knew about her physical aspect was that she had lost weight following some diet. Giuliana could relate to that because she also had lost weight, but only following a strict diet given to her from her family doctor. She noticed that he wasn’t as dark as she; he looked more Mediterranean than East Asian. Her first impression was that his wife was a classical, humble, patient, tried, East Asian, Catholic woman. His wife noticed that she was staring at her. Although she was very thankful to her for saving his life, she couldn’t help but be angry and jealous of her as well. She looked Mediterranean and certainly not over 40. She could never compete with her. God, look at her, she was a beautiful, mature, full-bodied woman, full breasts, luscious lips, big brown eyes and—most of all—fair, olive skin. She was certain that out of all her physical features, it was her fair skin that had attracted him to that woman. She hated her but she had to maintain her calm for her children. She was Sri Lankan born and raised with very dark skin like every Sri Lankan. He was half Irish and half Sri Lankan, and therefore had lighter skin than other people she grew up with, which made him very popular with the local girls. Patrick Gallagher was totally against his son marrying a Sri Lankan girl. He wanted his son to marry a fair-skinned Irish girl. It was enough that he had married one. He didn’t want the same destiny for his son, Aaron. At that time, he was 19 and in college. Patrick had decided that when he earned his degree he would take his son to Ireland for a graduation gift. Hopefully, he would meet a pretty Irish girl, marry her and live there for the rest of his life. Aaron was about to start his first year of university, when he met this young Sri Lankan girl, who was also attending the same school. They began to see each other occasionally without compromising their studies. Vivian fell for him almost immediately, and found herself not being able to say no to him.

Read ” Vendetta in Viera” Teaser

As Trina ate her pizza, she observed her children. Grayson was the spitting image of his father—dirty blonde hair, sky-blue eyes, and slim build. He was also a bit shy, just like Devin, but exceptionally smart. Clarabella, on the other hand, was an Italian beauty, just like Trina. Ebony hair with chestnut eyes and the same facial features as her mother. At seven, she was as smart as a whip. But also like a typical southern Italian, very stubborn. They are growing up way too fast.

Trina’s cell phone buzzed on the counter. Although she tried to keep the phones away from the dinner table, she figured it could be Devin. She picked it up, turned it over, and noticed a flashing notification. She swiped down to see the notification.

President Outflank has been assassinated at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.

“What?” her face darkened. “But how?” she felt her pizza coming up.

“What happened, Mommy?” Clarabella had a concerned look.

Trina did not want her children to worry about this sort of thing, but this was the President of the United States. It was important. He was important.

“You guys know who the President is, right?”

“You mean Out-Outflank?”

“Yes, Gray, him.”

“What about him, Mommy?”

“Well, kids I’m sorry to say he got shot today and he died.”

“Got shot? And now he’s dead?”

“Y-yes Gray, this is…so very…sad.” She swallowed her tears. “I’m going in the other room to call Daddy and Nonna. I’ll be right back.”

Both children shrugged and took another bite of their pizza as if nothing happened.

She texted Devin first.

Hey Babe, did you hear about POTUS?


Very sad.


This is terrible!

What a rotten country we live in.

I know honey. I know you liked him.

I did.

Well, now we are going to have our first black female POTUS.

That’s a positive, right?

I guess.

Sorry babe.

I’ll be home tomorrow. Okay?

Yes, I could use a hug right about now.

Can you leave now?

No, babe, sorry, got to finish up here.

Fine. See you tomorrow.

When she was done with Devin, she texted her mother.

Mamma, are you still awake?

Yes. Call me please?

Trina dialed her mother’s number.

“Oh, mia cara, this is so sad.” She was crying.

“I know. I can’t believe it. Who would do such a thing?”

“An assassin, obviously.”

“I know that. But who paid the assassin?”

“Right. Who? Assassins are given these jobs by people who hate the victim. Who could have done this?”

“He had many flaws, but certainly didn’t deserve to die.”

She heard her mother sniffling on the other end.

“He’s gone, Mamma. Dead. And I’m never going to see him again.” Tears streamed down her cheeks.

“He was a good man. He always kept his word.”

Trina wiped away her tears. “I’m going to find out who killed him and I’m going to get revenge.”

“That sounds very dangerous.”

“I don’t care. He was my father, and I must do something.”

“Please be careful, my daughter. I don’t want to lose you, too.”

“I will, Mamma. I promise.”

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know right now, but I’ll think of something.”

Read ” Christmas in Rome” Teaser

Carlotta was waiting anxiously for Matthew to arrive. She held a sign that read Matthew Ruffolo. She waved the sign in the air with every man that met the description of the photo she had in her possession. Finally, the real Matthew exited the sterile area. Noticing the sign Penelope was holding, he waved in her direction. He was much better looking in person than in the photo, with dirty blonde hair, emerald-green eyes, and a slim but muscular build. Standing at over six feet, he towered over her when they approached each other.

Wow, he thought as he smiled at her. She wasn’t very tall, but she was an Italian beauty with deep dark eyes, wavy obsidian hair, and a figure that was the epitome of a fifties-era Italian actress.

“Mateu?” she asked with a sensual Italian accent.

Amused by her accent, he just couldn’t correct her. “Yes, and you must be Carlotta?”

“Yes, very nice to meet you.”

At that moment, as they shook hands, a spark of electricity passed between them.

“Where’s Agatella?”

“Oh, she’s at home. She doesn’t know about the situation yet.”

“Oh? Isn’t that a bit unethical?”

“Perhaps, but I feel I must get to know the father before I allow the meeting.”

“All right, I can respect that.”

“Good. Come, let’s go.”


Together, they zigzagged out of the airport. Knowing that Carlotta was leading him to her car, he followed her like a new puppy. I like this woman.

“Have you ever been to Rome?”

“No, this will be my first time.”

“Meraviglioso! You’re going to love the Eternal City! I promise!”

“I have no doubt.”

“Here we are.” She stopped by a silver FIAT 500.

Matthew gave her a perplexed look. “Um, I don’t think I’m going to fit in there.”

“Oh, come on, you Americans and your big things.”

He had the perfect rebuttal but decided to keep it to himself since he barely knew the woman and didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot. She opened the trunk, and amazingly, his large duffle bag fit in nicely. He kept his carry-on with his computer with him. He opened the driver door and waited until she was comfortably seated and then he gently shut it. He whizzed around to the other side.

“Okay, here goes.” He opened his door, sat in the seat, adjusted the seat, buckled his seat belt, placed his computer bag on his lap, and gave Carlotta a big smile. “Okay, so you were right. Let’s go!”

Read ” Christmas in Milan” Teaser

“Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Valenti.” Emma timidly said. She was shaking in her boots.

As he looked at her designs, carefully analyzing them one by one, she was carefully analyzing him from head to toe. He was even more handsome in person than the internet or the telly. He was right in front of her, and she thought she was going to melt. She tried to keep her eyes off him but that seemed impossible especially since he was looking ravishing in his pin striped navy-blue suit designed by no other than his father, Claudio Valenti with the perfect matching white shirt, blue and silver striped tie and rusty brown shoes with the matching belt. He was perfect. And how she wanted him, but she could never have him. She was so opposite to him. She was short, a size twelve and too shy to even look at him in the eyes. She tried though, and once in a while he would catch her looking at him and smiled warmly. What did that mean? Is he liking my designs or is he just being polite?

“Miss Walters, I must say, I’m impressed.” He commented in a slight Italian accent.

“You-you are?”

“Of course, and with a little tweaking, these designs could sell very well.”

She straightened her back as a sensation of satisfaction came over her. He likes my work! “With your tweaks, who knows what could happen.”

He put the designs back into her bag. “So, Miss Walters, I would like to hire you. What do you say?”

Never in a million years would she have imaged working for Casa Valenti in Milan of all places. Yes! Yes! She wanted to scream but she kept her composure. “I would be honored to work for Casa Valenti, Mr. Valenti.”

At that moment, Claudio walked into the studio.

“Ah, Papà, giusto in tempo.” He pulled out a few of Emma’s designs and handed them over to his father.

Claudio did almost the exact same gestures as his son, except for the glasses he moved up and down so to view them with different lenses. Then he rubbed his chin a bit.

“These are impressive, indeed.” He too, gave a warm smile to Emma. “I hope you are offering her a job.”

“Yes. That’s exactly what you walked in on.” Then he turned to Emma. “What do you say?”


“Very well, let’s sweeten the pot, shall we? How about we pay for your move to Milan? I know moving from another country can be quite costly.” Claudio moved his glasses on top of his head and folded his arms.

“And, I know of a place you could live. It’s just around the corner so you could walk to work every day. It’s not very big but it has everything you need.” Ettore added.

“How can I say no to that?”

“Bene!” Claudio opened his arms up awaiting a hug from the young designer. He felt her shaking. “Do not be afraid, we don’t eat English girls…” he joked.

“Yes,” Ettore only shook her hand. “We prefer Risotto alla Milanese.”

Read ” Christmas in Verona” Teaser

“Good afternoon, my name is Tiziano Montecchi.” He shook her hand. “I’m honored to meet you.”

“Montecchi?” Fabiana asked.

The very handsome Californian gave her a sexy smile. “Yes, Montecchi is my last name. And yes, we are ancestors of the famous Romeo Montecchi.”

“Well, this is quite surprising.” She smiled back with a sparkle in her eyes.

“Why is that?”

“Well, Tiziano, my last name is Cappulletti.” She said as she cocked her head to the side.

“Well, I’ll be!”

Both the mayor and Carlo took a step back to allow this new chapter in history to be created. Both were quite astonished at fate has brought these two young people together thanks to a little magic created by their awesome city.

Fabiana picked up one of his wine bottles and looked at the label. “Juliet’s Soave. That’s quite interesting.”

“Miss Cappulletti, are you snubbing my DOC wine?”

“On the contrary, Mr. Montecchi, I’m amused that you made this wine for me.”

“For you? And why would you say that?”

“Well, my middle name is Giulietta, and this wine is for Giulietta, isn’t that right?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“Very well then, I thank you for the gesture.” She gave the bottle to Tiziano. “Would it be possible to have a taste?”

“It would be my pleasure.” With expertise and garb, Tiziano popped open the bottle and poured some for the beautiful Italian girl. He gave the goblet to her.

“Thank you.” She sniffed it gently and took a sip. “Oh mamma! This is exceptional. I have never tased a Soave like this one.” She gave him a joyous smile.

Tiziano was mesmerized with this woman. She was way different than the girls in California. She was real. Her hair was real, her lips were real, her bosom was real, her whole body was real. He had grown to dislike all the fakeness of women of the modern American woman with all the tattoos, and fake parts of their bodies. Fabiana was fresh and exciting, and he couldn’t wait to get to know her better.

“I’m so glad you like it.” He popped the Valpolicella open and poured some into another wine glass. “Here, try this one. We obviously named it after Romeo, which makes them a perfect pair.”

“You’re going to get me drunk, Mr. Montecchi.” She giggled softly.

“Tiziano, please call me Tiziano.”

She repeated the gestures of her first taste. “This one is excellent too, Tiziano.”

“Thank you. May I call you Fabiana?”

“You may.” She put the glass down. “You must tell me how you created two extraordinary wines in California.”

“I will tell you everything you want to know but I am hungry.”

“Oh, very well then. You can tell me after lunch.”

“Actually, I am not familiar with Verona. Would you mind recommending a good restaurant?”

“Oh, there are many good restaurants in Verona but one of my favorites is the Madonnina Trattoria. Their food is amazing.”

“Is it far away from here.”

“No, only a few blocks down the street.”

Tiziano turned towards the door, then he stopped. “Would you mind accompanying me? I do not know my way around.”

“Of course, how silly of me. I would love to accompany you.”

Tiziano gave her his arm to which she hooked hers in and proceeded to leave the room.

“Oh, they hit it off, eh?” Carlo gently elbowed the mayor.

“Looks like it.”

“Well mayor, wouldn’t it be the cherry on the cake if those two fell in love? What a wonderful way to celebrate our 500th anniversary! Can you imagine?”

“Ah, don’t get ahead of yourself, Carlo.” He headed towards the door. “Come now, let’s go have lunch too.”

“Ah, Giulietta e Romeo, di nuovo insieme!” (Juliet and Romeo, together again!)

Read ” The Melbourne Connection” Teaser

Something wasn’t sitting right with Sid. He didn’t want to get involved because Nora was his son’s girlfriend but on the other hand, he felt like he had to. The girl’s mother was killed, and a body was ever found. It could be anywhere from Melbourne, Australia to Melbourne Florida. Finding her killer was going to be a huge undertaking. He would have to travel to Australia and heck, that was a sixteen-hour flight. With his bladder? That flight was going to be a killer. But a woman’s life was taken and he had become quite fond of that woman’s daughter. I’ll do it. He thought. And now he had to let his son and Nora know what his intentions were but he had no clue how to begin the conversation. He wondered if Janice was willing to sweeten the deal with one of her wonderful Italian meals. It was worth a try. He pulled out his cell, found his wife’s number and hit call.

“Hey, Sid.”

“Hey honey. Listen, I have to ask you something.”

“Hummm, let me guess…you want to find Nora’s mother’s killer.”

“But how?”

“Oh come Sid, how long have we been married?”

“I know but how did you figure it out?”

“Honey, Nora is dating Junior and I know that you’ve taking a liking to her, haven’t you?”


“Well, I knew that the other night when she started talking about how her mother died and how her body was never found and how she never understood why she was killed, that spark in your eyes re-appeared.”

Sid’s heart filled with even more love for his wife of 37 years. She knew him inside and out and she always was one step ahead of him too. He never figured out how she did it. “Do you know how amazing you are?”

Janice smiled. “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Waving him off.

“I’m on my way home. Do I need to pick anything up?”

“Nope. I’ll dig up your passport.”

“What for?”

“Well, duh, you’ll be travelling to Australia, right?”

Read the “Christmas in Florence” Teaser

“Hey, ma, guess what? I found a job!”

“Oh, Dante, that’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you.” Sofia hugged her son. “Now, sit and tell me all about it while I make some espresso.”

Dante sat down and noticed a batch of biscotti that his mom just pulled out of the oven. “Mmmm…hey ma, can I have one?”

“Of course, Dante, go for it.” She set up the espresso pot, turned on the heat and went to sit next to her son. “Now, tell me all about it.” Her smile extended from ear to ear.

Dante had graduated from Humber College in fall of 2019 and had been searching for his career position ever since. He had many offers, but he wanted to find a position where he could travel to Italy. He was interested in perfecting his Italian. Even if he grew up in Woodbridge, he still spoke very little Italian. The only Italian he spoke was Calabrese dialect when he talked to his grandmother. Since his Nonna Teresa passed in 2018, his opportunities to speak Italian diminished drastically.

Sofia was so proud of her Dante. He was the oldest and most responsible and dependable of all her children. She really wanted him to be happy, but she would have settled for him to have a job that kept him closer to her, but he didn’t want that. Ever since he was in middle school, he desired to fly the coop.

“All right, well this company is called LCD which means Leather Commerce Distributor and they are located in Calgary.”

“Calgary? That’s so far away, Dante.”

“Ma, I’m not going to Calgary, it’s just their headquarters. They have offices all over Canada, all right?”

Sofia nodded and kept quiet.

“They basically sell leather hides to countries that produce leather goods like jackets, handbags, shoes and so on.”

“Shoes? You’ve piqued my interest.”

Dante rolled his eyes. What was it with women and shoes? “Anyway, they were looking for a point of contact to travel to Italy and since I’m Italian, they hired me.”

Sofia didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She frowned instead. “Italy huh?”

“Ma, come on, you knew I was looking for something like this. I want to travel, and I want to become fluent in Italian. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’ve told you this over and over.” He was losing his temper. His mother was way too overprotective.

“I know, Dante, I know but you know how it is? We’re Italian and we don’t like our kids leaving home, not now, not ever.” She sipped her espresso. “But I understand that you’ve always wanted to leave, so now’s your chance. Bravo.” She sounded very annoyed.

“Ma, come on, I’m gonna be thirty this year!”

“Yeah, yeah, thirty…So, when are you leaving?”

“End of this month.”

“So soon?”

“Yeah.” He cracked a smile. The excitement made his eyes light up. “I got a feeling that 2020 is gonna be a hell of a year.”

Read the “Magnolia Blossom” Teaser

READ the PRIMO Magazine Review of “Magnolia Blossom”

One week had passed since the funeral and Maggie Mae didn’t want to wait any longer to address the elephant in the room. It was a known fact that when the head of a household died, the plantation needed to be passed down to a male heir. In her case, the male heir also died so she was now the successor of her parent’s plantation. She was afraid that before long, the neighboring plantation owners would be offering to buy out her plantation along with the slaves that went with it because a woman couldn’t possibly take care of running a plantation. That was a man’s job.

“I am not going to let that happen.” She said quietly talking to herself in the mirror. “I will not sell what is rightfully mine.” She finished pulling her hair up as she did every day. “Lord only knows where the slaves will go. They could be sold to other slaveowners or kept here, or they could even be separated.” She plunged her soft puff pad inside the pink powder and lightly dabbed it on each cheek. She made sure not to overdo it as it was not proper for a well-to-do woman to put too much color on her face. “Oh, my! I just can’t let that happen.” She headed down to the parlor and sat in the wing chair. “Chesney!” she shouted.

“Yes, Missy Maggie Mae?”

“Can you kindly gather all the servants in here? I need to talk to all of ya.”

Chesney bowed slightly. “Yes, missy Maggie Mae.” She quickly ran off.

While Maggie Mae waited patiently for the servants to assemble, she thought about what to say and how to say it. None of them were educated at all but she was determined to change that.

One by one, the male servants reached the front door, they removed their shoes or boots, removed their hats and walked in. “Mornin’” many of the men greeted their mistress as they bowed slightly. The room was slowly filling with servants, so much so, that she had some of the cleaner ones, the women mostly, sit on the sofas and chairs. They were very uncomfortable doing that because they had never been invited to do so by Mr. Moon nor by the old folks.

“Are we lettin’ in the children too, missy Maggie Mae?”

“Yes, yes, everyone, please.”

Flora collected all the servant’s children and had them sit crossed-legged on the rug, in a row. While Maggie Mae’s two children pulled out a dining room chair and made themselves comfortable.

Once everyone was settled in, she cleared her throat to speak. “Thank y’all for coming here today.” she took a deep breath. “As some of you may already know, with the passing of my husband, I am now in charge of this plantation.” She looked up to see if there were any reactions. Nothing. “Some of you have been here since before I was born and some of you grew up with me and some of you youngins grew up with my children.” She looked at the children who gave her large smiles with pearly whites. “Well, before you know it, some of my neighbors will be interested in buying this property from me because they believe that a woman does not have the ability to run a plantation the way it should be run.”

“Well, I beg to differ, missy Maggie Mae. While your husband was fightin’ in the war, why you took care of things ‘round here just fine.” Charlie said loudly.

“Yes, Charlie, you’re absolutely right and this is the reason why you’re here today. I have two choices to offer y’all at this time. The first is to let you go with your free-man papers so you can go up north and live your own free lives.” Most everyone gasped. “OR you can stay here with me and help me run this plantation the way it should be run. But before you make your decision, I want y’all to know how I feel about slavery: I loathe it. I have never been able to suffer the indecency of it. Treatin’ y’all like you’re nobody, well, in my eyes and in the eyes of our Creator, you are his children just as much as I or my children are. I am in total agreement with President Lincoln when I say that I have never supported slavery and I never will.”

To her pleasant surprise, everyone started clapping loudly. She smiled and waited patiently for everyone to stop clapping and pay attention once again.

“So, I have a proposal for y’all. If you agree to stay here and help me run this plantation, I will pay all the adults here a fair wage.”

“A wage? But missy, but you ain’t allowed to pay us black folk.” Charlie exclaimed.

“I know that well, Charlie, but let me explain how I think this is gonna work.”

“Well, all right, missy…”

“I asked around and found out that a fair wage is about five dollars per week for adults. Will that suit y’all?”

Each adult murmured yes or nodded. Charlie was more vocal. “Yes, missy, that is a fine wage. I ain’t never been paid ever in my life.”

“Good to hear. Now, I’d like to pay the older children as well…I was thinkin’ two dollars a week and once they are of age, they will receive the five. Is that all right for y’all?” she looked at the older children who mimicked the adults by simply nodding. “Very good. So, now comes the hard part. First,  I need a commitment from each and every one of y’all that you’ll stay here and work for me. I will prepare a contract and once you sign it, there’s no turning back. Ya hear?”

“Well, I can’t sign my name. I never learned how to write.” Flora said.

“Never you mind, Flora, all you need to mark is an X and that will make it legal.”

“That’s easy. I can write an X.”

“Now, the second part of my proposal, and I’m gonna warn ya, this is the most difficult part.” She looked around the room and everyone seemed to say “hurry up now.” With their looks. “You will need to act like you’re still my slaves. Can you do that?”

“I don’t understand, missy, what would you pay us a wage but keep us as your slaves?” This time Rose asked the question.

Luella stood up. “Because, if any of my neighbors or the other plantation owners or town folk found out that I’m paying my slaves, they would lynch me along with each and every one of y’all.” She looked at her children. “And my children will be sent to an orphanage and they would confiscate and divide every acre of this property among themselves. I’m sure that the Carson’s would love to possess my home especially since theirs is much smaller in size and their family is larger.”

“We can’t have that missy!” Charles exclaimed.

“No, Charles, we cannot.” She paused. “You see, I respect y’all as human beings and I love y’all. You are my family. Many of you grew up with me. I will not tolerate anyone treating you like slaves. I refuse! Therefore, in order to keep up appearances, you must keep acting like my slaves. The only difference is that you’ll be paid for your labor. You must also hide your earnins until the North wins this war and slavery will be abolished once and for all.”

“Miss Maggie Mae, I know I speak for everyone when I say that we all love you too, very much. You been kind ta us and even your parents ‘n your husband, God rest his soul, has never treated us bad. They was good people, they was.” Flora said with tears in her eyes.

“Precisely the reason why we need to keep up appearances. If anyone finds out that I’m paying my slaves, it will be the end of Magnolia Blossom Plantation.”

Everyone nodded.

“Thank you for understanding. Now, on to my third condition: I will educate your children along with mine. They will do their morning chores and in the afternoon, I will teach them readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic.”

“But why? We ain’t never needed no education.” Charles asked.

“Because, when the south is free, and mind my words IT WILL BE FREE, all children will need an education. Y’all will need to be able to write, read and perform simple math. This way the southern white man will not try and swindle y’all.”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.”

“I know I’m right, Flora, and when your children begin to read you the stories they learn, or read you the bible, you’ll be very proud of them. I believe that to be true.”

Read the “Christmas in Venice” Teaser

Buy the Book at:

January 2019

“Venice?” she asked.

“Yes, Venice.” Tiffany replied.

“Are you sure about that?” Susan was incredulous.

“Yes ma’am. Mr. Allegro, the Venetian Master Glassmaker, wants me to take over his business. The small glass shop and laboratory is in St. Mark’s Square.” Tiffany, herself, could hardly believe what she was saying.

“Wow! That’s some location.”

“Yeah, only the most expensive real estate in the world.”

“I’ll bet it is.” She paused. “So, now what?”

“Well, Mr. Allegro’s lawyer wants me to go there and check out the place.”

“Huh, I wonder why he picked you?”

“Mr. Allegro wanted one of his children to learn the art of glassmaking. But to his disappointment, as they grew, none of them showed any interest in glass blowing. They became real estate agents and hotel managers instead. When he turned eighty, it became obvious to him that his children were going to sell his shop when he passed, because the location is prime in Venice, and it can sell for millions of Euros. He didn’t want that for his shop, so he changed his will. He wants an expert glassmaker to take it over and continue his work.”

 “That’s quite a story but you still haven’t told me why he picked you.”

“There are a handful of female glassmakers throughout the entire world but none in Europe. He did some homework and found me. He looked at my website and viewed my pieces. That was it. He decided that he wanted me to take over his shop.”

“Wow! What an amazing story, honey. I’m so proud of you!” She was gleaming with pride for her little girl.

“Thanks, Mom.” She hugged her mother.

“Okay, so what’s your next step?” Susan still couldn’t believe what was happening with her daughter. She still remembered the day when Tiffany told her parents she didn’t want to go to college, but rather become a glassmaker. It was right after a trip to Venice that her parents gave her as a graduation present. They were both infuriated with her, but she stuck to her guns and mastered the art of glassmaking. And now her persistence and dedication were paying off.

“Well, I have to go to Italy. His lawyer wants to meet me and have me sign a temporary contract. Seems like Mr. Allegro has requested the contract to be at least six months, if I decide to take over the shop. And I need somebody to come with me. Are you interested?”

“Ummmm, let me think about that one…” she tapped her finger on her chin for about two seconds. “Heck yeah, I’m interested! When do we leave?”

“Ha-ha! I figured you’d like that idea.” She pulled out her cell phone. “I’m going to search for flights. You can start packing your bags.”

“Woo-hoo! We’re going to Venice!”


A week-and-a-half later, mother and daughter stepped onto the boat taxi and began their adventure in the City of Bridges. As they made themselves comfortable, they each took a deep breath.

“Oh, it’s so good to be back.” Tiffany put on her sunglasses and the foulard with the Bridge of Sighs printed on it that she bought on her first trip. She filled her lungs with the Venetian aroma.

“Mmmmm… and smell the Jasmine! It’s incredible! And the fresh baked bread and the pizza! Oh, this city never ceases to amaze me.” Susan mimicked her daughter.

They both just sat there enjoying the January sunshine sparkling on the emerald green canal and the picturesque colors of the different Venetian structures. Even January was pleasant in this magnificent city. As they glided on the Grand Canal, they were greeted by several tourists on different sized Gondolas. The enthusiasm and cheerfulness on their faces was priceless. They also encountered some high-speed boats that split the waters as their outboard engines grumbled.

“I don’t remember Venice being so busy,” Susan commented.

“I do. The Grand Canal is like one of our busy freeways.”

“Yes, but without the road rage.”

“Oh, trust me mom, Venetians are hotheads just like the rest of the Italians.”

Both women laughed.

“Eccoci, signorine!” the driver exclaimed as he carefully docked his taxi close to their hotel.

“Grazie!” Tiffany happily responded as she handed him a fifty Euro bill.

He swiftly assisted both women off the boat, placed all their luggage on the stone riverfront and took off. “Saluti!”

Both women waved at him.

“Wow is this the hotel?” Susan asked in awe as she turned to face the hotel.

“Yep! La Serenissima Hotel! Isn’t she a beauty?” she said proudly.

“Oh yes but it looks expensive, too.”

“No, mom, it’s actually quite reasonable. Funny thing is…even a hole in the wall in Venice looks expensive, but with the competitive pricing, hotels like these are actually reasonably-priced.”

Read the “Devil of St. Gabriel” Teaser

Buy the Book at:

As Lucy left the facility, she heard the echo of the automatic doors slamming shut behind her. She loathed those doors, and she was thrilled that she wouldn’t have them again. She promised herself and Tammy that she would keep on the straight and narrow from now on.  Sure enough, Tammy was waiting for her in the parking lot with a huge smile on her face. Lucy had become Tammy’s prodigy. Tammy was the coordinator of the women’s prison ministry at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, and for the past two years, she would drive all the way up to Jefferson Women’s Correctional Center every other Thursday to assist and counsel the women who were interested in deepening their faith or returning to the Church. Tammy loved this ministry and she especially loved it when she reaped the fruits of her labor. Lucy was a proud fruit of labor and now Tammy’s prodigy.

“Oh, so nice to see you, girl!” Tammy cried as she hugged Lucy.

“Same here! Oh, I’m so happy you came!”

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world! You’re starting a new life today. It’s like a
rebirth. Are you ready, Lucy?” Tammy placed Lucy’s small suitcase in her trunk.

“Oh, yes, I am!” She was ready. She couldn’t wait to begin her new life. God was giving
her a second chance and she was determined not to ruin it.

“All right then, let’s go!” Tammy started her car and took off.

The ride was a couple hours long, more or less, so it gave the two ladies plenty of
time to talk about the future. Tammy explained how things worked in the Catholic faith
especially since Lucy had expressed interest in converting to Catholicism. Lucy listened attentively to the expertise of Tammy, who had been doing this for a long time. Tammy is a schoolteacher, and highly active at St. Gabriel. Lucy also wanted to become active at St. Gabriel; she was certain that the church would deter her from getting into any trouble. (…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.)

“Let’s change the subject. What do you want to do for work?” Tammy asked.

“Well, I’m not really sure. Who’s going to hire me? I’m an ex-con! Nobody’s going to
hire me!”

“Oh! Don’t say that. Have faith. God’s got this.” Lucy smiled. She was not sure of her faith anymore. She knew her scripture like the back of her hand, but lately, she felt that God was punishing her, so she abandoned Him.

“If you say so,” Lucy said, doubtfully.

“Well, do you have any skills?”

“Ummm, not really. I never had a chance to learn anything,” Lucy responded. But then
she thought of something. “Training dogs! I can train dogs, and I’m really good at it!”

“Oh, that’s wonderful! See, I knew you had it in you!”

“Yes, I suppose I did.”

“Let me think. You’ll have to create a resume, and I can help you with that. Did you
work for a vet or a pet store in the past?” That question jogged her memory. Her parents had a pet store when she was little, and she helped when she wasn’t in school. Working in the store was the best part of her life, and she learned a lot about animals.

“My parents had a pet store when I was a little girl and that’s where I learned how to
train dogs.”

“Well, that’s definitely going on your resume. Do you have any other skills?”

Read the “Good Things Happen in Springtime” Teaser

Buy the Book at:

Five Stars! A Great Read. I liked this story, a young romance, with plenty of drama amid times of Jewish persecution.


Amazon Reader

Chapter 10:  

“During the three-and-a-half-hour train ride to London with their recommendation letters in hand, Charlotte and Georg were talking, organizing, and dreaming about their upcoming life in London.

“Oh, my darling, I am so excited!” Charlotte exclaimed.

Georg put his arm around her shoulder and pulled his wife closer to him. “So am I, my love. So am I.”

“Isn’t this a beautiful hotel?” Charlotte asked as she pulled out a picture of the Savoy Hotel.

Georg looked at the picture and said, “Oh it most certainly is,” The he gave it back to his wife. “I only hope they will hire us.”

“They will. We must think positively, my dear,” Charlotte said.

Georg loved his wife’s positive attitude. If not for that, they would not be where they are today, on a train headed for London. They were one step closer to their final destination, the United States of America. He hugged her again. No need for words.

He fell asleep and dreamt that they were still in Germany. They were married and living in the back of the shop, just as they had planned, initially. One day, while he was working on a shoe and talking with his wife, two Gestapo agents walked in and called out:

“Georg Fischer!”

“Yes. I am he. How can I help you today?”

“We found this record of marriage today and came to investigate,” one of the agents said, as he showed Georg a copy of their marriage certificate. “Is this yours?” He asked.

“Yes, it is,” Georg replied, terrified.

“Where is your wife?” The other agent asked loudly.

“I am here,” Charlotte said as she quickly came to the front of the shop. The agent took her arm and pulled her out the door. The other pulled out a hood to cover her head and forced her to kneel. Then the first agent pulled out a pistol and shot her in the head. Bang!

Georg awoke in a panicked sweat, but when he saw his beloved sleeping with her head on his shoulder, he slowly calmed down and went back to sleep. He wondered if this would have really happened had they not left Germany. He felt a shiver down his spine, but the gentle breathing of his wife calmed him down quickly.”

Five Stars! War, Romance, and the American Dream. Good Things Always Happen in Springtime is a heartfelt and emotional story about a wartime romance, and the difficulties faced by people torn from their homeland. This book is many things – a romance, a history and an exposition of immigrant life during a troubled period of history. The author has done an excellent job balancing the dark and the light, and what emerges is a celebration of love and of human resilience. Highly recommended.

Thomas B.

Amazon Reader

Read “Her Spanish Doll” Teaser

Four Stars! Suspenseful Spice! I received an arc, this book is quite nice a little hint of suspense gives it more rewarding spice. I like it!

Amazon Customer


Chapter 1:  

He was parched. Just ahead, he noticed a bar with some tables set along the sidewalk. He sat down at one of those tables and looked for a waiter. He sat back and enjoyed the scenery. It was a quaint little town in northern Italy right by the Lake. Garda Lake, to be exact, and the quaint little town was Desenzano del Garda. He wasn’t there as a tourist, although the setting was perfect. The sun shone on the lake like a diamond gleaming under the jeweler’s light. Tourists walked up and down the street, chatting and taking photos. He was in town for business. He was between meetings and decided to do a bit of sightseeing. But he also needed to get away from those boring business meetings. He didn’t like the fact that he had to put on a game face every time he pitched to a new client. But that was his job and he was damn good at it. He was thinking of his next meeting and was immersed in his thoughts when he heard a voice.

“May I help you sir?”

It was like he fell out of space and crashed headlong into reality. He turned his head to look toward the voice and he saw the most captivating brown eyes he had ever seen. He blinked a couple of times and shook his head slightly to ensure he was, indeed, awake.

“Sir? May I help you?” She repeated impatiently. She had other customers and she didn’t have time to deal with daydreamers. She thought to herself, “Come on, wake up, already!”

“Yes.” He finally managed to say. He was mesmerized by this creature. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was like the scenery he was enjoying; refreshing and classic. He couldn’t help himself. He just stared at her, trying to find a flaw, but she had none. Her enchanting brown eyes, her luscious lips, her round face, those alluring curls slipping out of her bandana. She had no makeup on, but she looked like she had spent hours in front of a mirror. She was perfect. Perfection in its most subliminal form. This perfection caught him off guard and did not allow him to speak. His mouth was open, yes, but he was not able to enunciate. He wanted to tell her what he was thinking but he couldn’t. He was a stranger to her.

Buy the Book at:

Five Stars! Great Read!  Interesting read. I love the characters and the plot. Can’t wait for the next one!

Mallory B.


Read “Baker’s Dozen Anthology” Teaser

Five Stars! Recommended. The story is superbly illustrated, simply and clearly told and provides an easily remembered moral for even h e youngest child. You’ll be glad you included it in your Christmas story collection.

Larry P,

Verified Amazon Kindle Reader

Five Stars! Highly recommended!!  This book is collected escorts readers to several different countries and time periods while encountering diverse personalities. You’ll enjoy reading about Wally.Highly recommended!!

Theresa A.C.

Verified Amazon Kindle Reader

Buy the Book at:

I’m a dog whisperer…well…not really but this story was whispered to me by my precious Doxie, Wally! Can you believe it? Note: this short story was featured in a short story contest held by the Brevard Authors Society in 2017.


 Hi. I’m Wally! Wally wasn’t my first name though, it was something else. Anyway, I don’t even remember my old name. It’s so long ago. I’m a red, shorthaired dachshund. You probably have read a bunch of Doxie stories, but you’ve not read mine so here goes. I was born in Auburndale, Florida with three other puppies. I was the only red one of the litter. My brother Oscar was a black and tan Doxie, my sister Trixie was also black and tan, and my other sister Stella was chocolate brown and white. Sometimes I think about them, but I don’t remember them well. We were all so small.

One day, my humans allowed me to leave the house. The door was open, so I went out for a walk. Well, I was out for a long time, and after a while I wasn’t near my house anymore. I couldn’t even smell my house. I was in a big yard with a big building and a bunch of those moving things on wheels that make a whole lot of noise when they move. I hate those things! I hate them so much that I try to chase them, but they go way too fast for my little legs. As it became dark, I found a place to sleep inside a broken box.

My growling stomach woke me up in the morning. I wandered around looking for food. I was beginning my search when a human lady saw me and picked me up. “Well, aren’t you a beautiful little dog!” she said to me.

I barked back, but then she held me in her arms, and I felt something beating. I liked what I heard, so I licked her face. “Oh, you must be hungry!” she said to me and I licked her even more. Yes, I was hungry! I was very hungry!K

“Let’s get you home and I’ll give you some food,” she said, as she placed me in the back of her big moving thing. I had never been inside one of those things. After a few minutes of it moving, I didn’t feel very well so I threw up. Then, I found a nice warm corner and stayed there until the thing stopped. “Oh, you poor thing! You got car sick! I’m so sorry, little guy,” she said to me when she picked me up and brought me inside her house.

She put me down on the cold floor and started searching for stuff in her cupboards. Then she placed a dish of food down for me to eat and another dish with water for me to drink. I ate everything up very quickly, so she gave me some more. Then I went to her feet and tried to jump up into her arms, but she ignored me. She was talking into a small square box. That was silly, I thought. What could possibly be in that little box? Were humans able to become small to fit inside those things?

While she was talking on that box, she picked me up and placed me on her lap on the couch. I know what a couch was because we had one in our old house. I remember all of us climbing up on the couch and sitting with humans. It was my favorite thing to do. When she was done talking on that box, she put it down and began talking to me.

“Well, first things first. Because I found you in a Walmart parking lot, I’m going to name you Wally,” she said, as she softly petted my head. I liked that. “Do you know who that was on the phone? It was my friend Maria. She has a dachshund rescue and she’s going to take care of you and eventually adopt you out.”

I didn’t know what adopt meant, but her voice sounded soothing, so I guessed what she was saying was all right. A few days later, I met Maria. She was really nice. She had a bunch of dogs just like me at her house. We had such a great time together; we ate, we played, we slept, and we went for walks around the house. One day, Maria brought me to a strange place. I didn’t get good vibes in this place. Some lady took me from her and put me on a high cold table. Then, somehow, I went to sleep. When I woke, I felt weak. I didn’t feel like playing or eating or walking; all I wanted to do was sleep.

I felt weird, but I figured it was nothing. In a few days, I was back to normal. Maria took all of us to a park, along with the rest of the dogs. There was a male human there with a female dog that looked like my sister Stella, but her name was Bella. How odd that was! Bella and I played together, and she was very motherly to me. I suppose she felt like I was her pup. We hit it off. I liked the man human too, he was very gentle.

Then a few more days passed, and I traveled quite a bit. We arrived at another human house. That same human man came out to greet me and so did Bella. I was very happy to see them again. Then another female human came out to greet me. She picked me up and hugged me tight. I squirmed at first but then I felt comfortable in her arms, so I stayed there. “Oh my, you’re such a beautiful dog. You’re so sweet! You know, I love you already, Wally!”

As she spoke, I licked her again and again. “Well, Honey, it looks like Wally loves you too.” The male human said. I agreed with him and I licked Honey over again. A few months went by. Bella and I were the life of that new house. We did everything together; we ate, we slept, we played in the backyard, we went for walks with our humans, and my favorite, we watched that colorful picture box at night, sitting on the couch and snuggling with our humans.

I usually sat on the male’s lap and Bella usually sat next to Honey. One day, the male human, whose name was Dan, went away with a big moving thing. I hated that big thing and I didn’t want it to take my Dan away, but I couldn’t do anything about it. One afternoon, Bella, Jo (I found out her name wasn’t Honey, but Jo), and I went for a walk. It was very hot. While we were walking, I heard another dog barking from far away. That bark was scary! Bella assured me there was nothing Baker’s Dozen Anthology – Read A Sample to worry about, because the dog was far away. When we turned around to go back to our house, I noticed the dog trying to come out of the fence.

Five Stars! Excellent writing.  I highly recommend this book. The story is beautiful as well as the illustration. I story a family would enjoy reading together.

Suzanne G.

Verified Amazon Kindle Reader

Five Stars! I really enjoyed to read.  A great story. Well written and with good descriptions. This story was full of events and kept me wondering what would happen next. A great story that I recommend.

Shelly M.

Verified Amazon Kindle Reader

Ask Joanne a Question!

Would you like to ask Joanne a question about her current book, upcoming events or new books in progress?  She would love to hear from you!

Our Privacy Statement
& Contest Rules