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Notes from Joan in Italy

The view from my apartment in Florence, Italy.

I once received a letter from a reader who wrote, “I know you must have a staff of hundreds . . .” At the time, I was cleaning my own toilet. Things have improved since then, but I’m always trying to save money where I can. So you will understand when I tell you that, although I am spending the summer in Florence, Italy, and the Greek islands doing research for my next two Benedict Brothers novels (and writing a Christmas novella telling Mike’s story from SULLIVAN’S PROMISE), I’m not exactly living in the lap of luxury. You’d never know that from the stunning view out my window, which I’ve provided above.

The apartment I’m renting is four flights up-with no elevator. The grocery store is only a block away, but with 15th century plumbing, I’ve opted to drink bottled water. That means I have to go down 64 stairs to the store to get it, and then carry it back up 64 stairs. I have one of those automatic hot water dispensers on my sink at home to make hot tea. Here I use an ancient gas stove to boil water until the teakettle whistles!

Cooking has never been so much fun!

Hope I never forget my key . . .

Oh, and there’s no air-conditioning. No problem when the weather stays in the 80s, but we had a heat wave a week ago where temps soared to 106 degrees. I spent a lot of time in my underwear in front of a fan. Because I don’t have AC, the windows are always open, letting in whatever flying insects wish to visit. I am a treat to be around smelling of “eau de mosquito repellent” and endlessly scratching when it doesn’t work.

I’m meeting lots of ex-pats from America who are helping me to learn Italian and get around town. I feel perfectly safe-despite the fact that dinner never starts anywhere before 9 p.m., and I likely won’t end up at the gelateria (for ice cream) before 11 p.m., because the front door has a lock worthy of an English dungeon.

The good news is I’m learning a lot about Italy generally and Florence in particular for IRRESISTIBLE. Can’t wait to get it all down on paper for you! Will tell you all about Greece next month.

Coming Soon – Order Your Copy Now!
THE MEN OF BITTER CREEK

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joan Johnston come two classic stories of the unforgettable THE MEN OF BITTER CREEK.

Cale Landry

When THE MAN FROM WOLF CREEK leaves his secluded mountain refuge to seek revenge on the thief who robbed him, he never expected he’d end up taking home the wily old bandit’s gorgeous and spirited daughter Raven. But Cale will never get back what he lost, until he learns to trust in love.

Conn Benton

Conn Benton is shocked at the suggestion he should marry a Winthrop-especially that tall, redheaded Emaline-to end the feud between their families.  He might marry her and bed her, but he has no intention of loving her. It takes a Yuletide miracle, THE CHRISTMAS BABY, to heal his vengeful heart.

    

August Contest

UNFORGETTABLE is one of the books featuring the modern-day Blackthornes I’m researching this summer. This month I’m giving away an autographed copy of the book and a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble or Amazon, your choice.  Click here to enter to win. Contest closes August 31. Good luck!

Take care and happy reading,

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