Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A SICILIAN FAREWELL - MaryAnn Diorio - One Free Book

Welcome back, MaryAnn. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Forgiveness is a theme that keeps cropping up in my stories, even though I don’t always set out to write about forgiveness. I think the reason for this is that forgiveness has played a major role in my life in the process of receiving emotional and physical healing. Throughout Scripture, forgiveness is intertwined with healing of all kinds.

I also like to write about the redemptive process, about overcoming the impossible through faith, and about the restoration of broken relationships through the power of unconditional love.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
Lord willing, I have a children’s story book coming out in late Spring of this year titled The Dandelion Patch. It is a story of standing up for what is right no matter what the odds. The book is currently being illustrated by Doina Paraschiv, a wonderful illustrator who illustrated my earlier children’s picture book, Toby Too Small.

In December 2017, Lord willing, I also plan to release Return to Bella Terra, Book 3 of The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. For 2018, Lord willing, I am planning to publish two stand-alone novels which I’ve already begun to write—An Italian Romance and In Black and White—and a book of children’s poems titled Poems for Wee Ones.

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I would spend an evening with a homeless person—man or woman—just to listen and to learn.   

My husband and I were involved with a homeless ministry for several years. Their stories are interesting and unique, not at all what you’d expect a lot of the time. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
I would like to meet Smith Wigglesworth, a British evangelist of the 19th century and a man of great faith, to learn more about faith and how it operates.

There is a large book of devotions by Smith Wigglesworth. You might like it. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Smith-Wigglesworth-Devotional-WIGGLESWORTH-SM/dp/0883685744/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1484682462&sr=1-3

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Having received hundreds—if not thousands—of rejections over my writing career, I can empathize with the feelings of writers who have been receiving only rejections. I would encourage them with these gentle reminders:

1) Trust that God has a plan for your writing. Nothing we do to glorify the Lord is done in vain. If we are truly writing for King Jesus, then we don’t fret over rejections. If we have committed our works to Him—as He commands us to do in Proverbs 16: 3—then we know that He is in control of the results of our writing life. Of course, we have a part to play. But, as the Word commands, when we have done all that is in our power to do, we must then simply stand in faith and in expectation of good results (Ephesians 6: 13).

2) Be open to what God may be trying to teach you through repeated rejections. The writing process is not just about the growth of our readers; it is primarily about our own growth. Is the Lord trying to teach you patience? Trust? Dying to self in some way? I have discovered that the writing journey is, first and foremost, a spiritual journey of becoming like Jesus. This is God’s primary goal for each of His children, no matter what their occupation. God will do whatever is necessary in our lives to make us like Jesus—even allowing repeated rejections. When you get a rejection, don’t sulk. Begin praising the Lord and rejoicing in Him. This shows God that you truly trust him with your life and with your writing. Praising God also shifts the focus from you to God—which is where our focus should always be. :)

3) Stand firm on God’s promises to you. God promises that everything you put your hand to shall prosper (Deuteronomy 30: 9). One time when I was being tempted to feel especially depressed over yet another writing rejection, Holy Spirit spoke these words to me: “I wanted you to write that article for that editor only, not for the general public.” I began to weep as the Lord’s words penetrated my being with a realization of the depth of His love for one single person. I also marveled at His trusting me to convey the message of that love to that editor. So, place the results of your writing in God’s hands, and trust that He will eventually get your writing to those people whom He had destined to read what you write.

4) Sometimes rejections result simply from the fact that your writing is not what an editor, agent, or publisher is looking for. The writing itself may be excellent, but it does not fill a need of that person or publication. For this reason, make sure that you study the markets and keep abreast of editorial needs.

5) Make excellent writing your top priority. Writers usually don’t like to hear that a possible reason for rejections is mediocre writing. Often, writing is rejected simply because it is not up to par. So, make excellence your chief writing goal. Write what is in your heart—what Holy Spirit quickens you to write. Do not follow trends. Be true to the writing vision our Lord has given you. It is a vision unique to you and that only you can fulfill. Then hone your writing skills. Read outstanding writing. Then write, write, write! We learn to write by writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
A Sicilian Farewell is Book 2 in The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. It is a continuation of Book 1, The Madonna of Pisano, and chronicles the spiritual, emotional, and physical journey of Maria Landro Tonetta and her husband Luca, the heroine and hero of Book 1, as they leave their beloved Sicily to begin a new life in America. Will Maria and Luca survive the incredible challenges that come against them? Will their marriage survive? And will the call of God on their lives end up being destroyed by a major crisis that broadsides them unawares? As in my first book, the story is based on a true incident in the lives of my ancestors, although the story has been substantially changed to accommodate novelistic parameters. A Sicilian Farewell is filled with drama, intrigue, conflict, and a spiritual take-away that, I trust, will inspire readers.

Please give us the first page of the book.
            Dusk fell in Luca Tonetta’s tailor shop as he counted his meager earnings from his
past week of work. His revenue had dropped fifty percent in the last week alone. Not good. Especially since he had a wife and three young children to support.
              And two months of back rent due to his landlord, Silvestro Lamponi, the man who owned the building in which Luca’s shop was located.
              At this rate, Luca would soon be bankrupt if he didn’t do something fast. Besides, Silvestro was none too happy and had made it clear that, if Luca did not pay up, he’d be evicted.
              Luca’s stomach tightened as he returned the few coins to the leather pouch in which he kept his earnings. Prospects for a financial turn-around here in Pisano were few and far between. With Italy’s recent devastating defeat at the hands of Ethiopia in the Battle of Adwa, Sicily had felt the blow more than the mainland. No wonder so many were leaving the island for better opportunities elsewhere. The newspaper headlines that very morning had warned of an imminent economic collapse and reported a mass exodus of men from the island.
              Luca rubbed his face. What would the mass exodus mean for his business? Already, the clothes racks of his tailor shop, usually full of finished projects by the end of the day, now held only a few items, while the coffers at the end of the workday held one-fourth the revenues compared to this same date a year ago. In recent weeks, the number of customers had dwindled drastically as more and more men left Pisano—and the entire island—for better opportunities abroad. At first, it had been the lure of wealth that drew them. But now, it was the lure of survival.
              Luca raked his fingers through his hair. He had to do something fast—something that would allow no option for failure. If he failed in his role as provider and protector, he’d never be able to look himself in the mirror again. Nothing else mattered more.
              As if the economic decline were not bad enough, productivity from Bella Terra, his wife’s family farm, had dropped drastically. Last spring’s drought had nearly destroyed the entire orange and lemon crops, and their vegetable staples of green peppers, zucchini, and string beans had fallen far short of yielding their usual bounty.
              Things did not look good.
              Luca exhaled a long breath. What could he do that would assure him of financial success and, at the same time, not put his family in difficulty? Should he join those who were leaving the island, or should he make a last-ditch effort to rescue his business from a looming death?
              The latter choice seemed pretty bleak. Among the large numbers of the population leaving Sicily—and especially Pisano—were those who would have been potential customers.
              He shook his head as the weight of the decision settled in the pit of his stomach.
              He placed the leather pouch in the wooden box where he stored his weekly earnings and locked it. The thought of having to close the tailor shop he’d taken over from his late father and built to a thriving business sickened him. Made him feel like a traitor to his father.
             And a coward in the face of challenge.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I would love to interact with readers at the following venues:

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Elly said...

This sounds incredible! Can't wait to read this series!
Elly -Indiana-

Dianna said...

I love the character names!
Dianna in TN

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks very good!
Abigail in VA

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Elly. I trust you will enjoy my stories. The seeds for them generated in my family history, although I have made changes to accommodate the novel format. Blessings to you! ~ MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Dianna, regarding the character names! Some of them were the names of my ancestors. :) It was fun to include them in my story--a way to honor them.



MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thanks, Abigail. I very much appreciate your comment. :)


Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read. North Platte Nebraska.

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thanks, Kim. Greetings to you in Nebraska. I met some wonderful people on my visit there years ago.



Connie said...

I look forward to reading this. Thank you for sharing!
Connie from KY

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Thank you, Connie. I trust that my story will bless you.

Warm regards,


Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

So glad you’ve entered, Sharon! Blessings to you!