Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dreaming Sophia-Melissa Muldoon-Book Review with Giveaway

Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon
About the book
Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

​Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.
Where to buy

Video Trailer

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AOjj0mvFhRM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

What I thought
A delightful debut novel.  Congratulations Melissa!  Delightfully 
captivating from the start to the very end.  So much detail about Italy; it's history, art and culture drew this reader in.  

The beginning of the book is written like a memoir as Sophia flashes back to the tragedy of her parents deaths and the experiences that lead up to her travels to Italy. 

I found myself wanting to tour Italy along with Sophia The story is filled with hope and love. 
Enter The Giveaway!

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Oh Christmas Trees

Happy Tuesday everyone!  
Today I'm sharing my Christmas trees.  I enjoy putting up lots of trees . . . 
The main tree is in the living room.  I usually do it 'dressy' this year it's just Red. I've never done that before.  I think I like it. 
Do you?
please forgive the bad photo. I am having to use my phone.

I usually only put one tree in the living room.  This year I did something a little different.  I put a second tree along the wall that 
faces the fireplace . . . 
Even before we moved I had planned this wall for the Christmas Cowboy's gallery wall.  The tree just spoke to me and said I want to be there.  

I needed to use a small tree because we just began collecting the ornaments.  I wasn't sure what to put it on.  We are lacking in tables.  Here's what I came up with . . . 
Next I'll show you the little tree in The Cowboys Room.  His 'man' cave.
This tree he picked out at Hobby Lobby last year when we were shopping a few days before Christmas.  It was 90 off!
He added the ornaments.  Also in his room is the tree that I started a few years ago.  I added the cowboy ornaments until this year when I had enough for an entire tree . . . 
A very different kind of tree.  I know.  But like any other tree it is filled with memories.  I'll share in another post.

Next I'll share one you've already seen but I wanted to include it in this post anyway.  I hope you don't mind a second look . . . 
You now how I love Santa Claus!

And next my room that I think I love as much as my sewing room.
I love this room. It is so cozy.  The only thing it's missing is a fireplace.   This room has a bunch of trees.  I'll show you more when I feature the room.  

But I do have one more last tree to show you today . . . 
This is the tiny tree that my DIL made me for my birthday a few years ago.  It is a mini and all the ornaments are handmade.  

I hope you enjoyed the mini house tour.  I'm trying to post everyday even if there is a book review scheduled.  If you come by and a review is posted look at the post just below.  
Next week I'll include featured posts on the sidebar.  This week I'm keeping the Count Down To Christmas post featured.
Have you joined the party? 
Join the party bring your Christmas posts! http://ourholidayjourney.blogspot.com/2016/12/count-down-to-christmas-link-party.html:
Come and join the fun!
It's over Here.

Linking with the regular parties.  Check out my parties page.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pray A to Z-Amelia Rhodes-Book Review and Giveaway

 Pray A to Z
Giveaway follows scroll down
About the book (provided by Litfuse
Change the world one prayer at a time.
How would our community change if instead of absently saying, “I’ll pray for you,” we actually did pray–deeply, intensely, and purposefully?
Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayer requests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father.
With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter–three prayers of petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God’s presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong–on His strong shoulders.
Whether you are praying for a friend’s adoption journey, a neighbor’s bankruptcy, or a family member’s cancer, this book will give you Bible verses, prayer prompts, and prayer starts to guide you through praying for even the most difficult issues that affect the people you know and love. Perfect for either individual or group prayer, Pray A to Z will help you experience the peace that comes from communicating with God.
What I Thought . . .
Pray A to Z is a timeless read offering the reader an opportunity to connect and organize their prayer life.  
This book is actually not what I expected.  I can't explain what I was thinking but A to Z was much more. 
With specific prayers like Adoption, Abuse, Almighty, Faithful,
Gratitude, Homeless, Heart Disease, Infertility, Job Seekers, 
Kindness, Keeper of the Soul, Love, Pain, Prince of peace, 
Revival, Singles, Trustworthiness,Youth, Yahweh,Zest, Zeal and Zion it's hard to give you more of a description. 
This book is an excellent resource for all readers.  A to Z could possible be a book you could give to a non-believer as well as a mature christian.  
It's small a mere 156 pages filled with specific prayers and scripture for each topic.  
I enjoyed this book and will read it over and over. 
I would purchase as a gift.  
Where to buy
About the authorMELIA RHODES

Happy Homemaker Monday

Sandra the hostess of Happy Homemaker Monday has a new party going on for Christmas.  You can visit here 
This week I'm doing my own prompts.  Some Sandra's some my own . 
The weather outside...
It's a lovely wintery day. It's chilly but it warms up nicely by noon. We've had rain and it's cloudy.  
Outside my window...
I'm typing this on Sunday evening and I'm looking at the Christmas lights in our yard.  We just came in from an errand and the Cowboy didn't want to turn on the lights because we have the only lights on the street.  A few minutes later he walked into my room and said 'Look out the window'.  The lights were on. I smiled. 
Right now I...
I enjoy a quiet time writing this post and looking forward to a nice dinner.  The Cowboy is grilling steaks.
On my reading pile...
I don't have a lot a couple of books left to review.  Honestly nothing I'm super excited about except the book I'm reviewing tomorrow/Monday sharing space with HHM.  
I have been reading free books on my phone using the Kobo app. 
I've read 
Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details
I've read a couple others but they were a little over the top in the top in the romance part.  Kobo is a great place for free books but you have to be selective in your choices.   I've reviewed all these books on Good Reads. 
My favorite blog post last week...
There was the cutest post  actually they all are over at 
Molly and Mackie's they shared an early Christmas present. I'm glad they did!  A great last minute gift.   
They shared their new 2017 Calendar from Vista print.
 Looks like they are going to enjoy this early gift.  Check out Visa print. They are fast and they are good and inexpensive.  We ordered business cards this fall.  The did a great super fast job. 
Blog Hopping (a newly discovered blog favorite)
Today I want to share Coletta's Kitchen Sink.  I found her at HHM. I love visiting her.  She posts almost everyday.  I've signed up for her emails so I don't miss any of her great posts.  Click here to visit. 
On the menu this week...
Monday-Angel Hair  w/ Butter Garlic Basil Sauce, Bread, Salad
Tuesday-Chicken Fried Steak, Green Beans, Mac & Cheese
Wednesday-Clam Chowder (from freezer) Fish and Chips
Thursday-Kid friendly Quesadilla, Beans and Ric
Friday-Simple I expect a long week
Saturday-who knows will need to go to buy some groceries
Sunday- Surprise 
On my To Do List...
  • I'm working on the monthly theme parties for Our Holiday Journey trying to get the buttons made and a post completed.
  • Adding light to the back of the house which we can see from the ourdoor/greenhouse room.  
  • Clean off my work space table in 'my room' which is sewing,computer and crafting space. 
Looking forward to this week...
My birthday.  
Looking around the house...
Santa Claus has come to town.  I love Christmas!
From the camera...
Sneak peek the mini Man Cave for our grandson in The Cowboy's room The Man Cave closet.  
I watched a video.  Sandra has a prompt I never do because I don't watch video's but I saw this on another blog and oh my...

Inspirational Devotion or Scripture
A Daily Christmas Bible Reading Plan with 25 short readings about the coming and birth of Christ. Remember the Reason for the Season! Plan by Alex Crain / Graphic by October Winds Studio (previously Quiet Wayfarer) | octoberwindsstudio.etsy.com:
                                   Available Here

Friday, December 2, 2016

Santa Claus Has Come To . . .

. . . my new and fabulous sewing/crafting room!

I am super excited to show you this one!  Yes it is a puzzle that we did last year.  I got it the year before for my birthday.  Started it then put away.  it was probably the hardest puzzle we've ever done. Definately the hardest quilt I think I have ever pieced!
The mantle is very different from last year.  And honestly  I am really not enchanted with it.  Especially since seeing this 
Here's last years . . . 
Santa mantle:
Do you see what's or should I see who is missing?  The big 
Santa waving was replaced with the quilting Santa.   He has a new special place...but that's another post. HeHe.

The mantle does look so different this year.  I know I'll 'tweek' it
I always do!

I played around with Picassa because my computer won't load Picmonkey or BeFunky (don't know what is up with that.  insert pout!)

This guy joined the collection last year.  A thrift store find. 
He's wearing a warm and cozy coat and carrying his ski's. 
He has some goodies in his bag . . . 
A sweet little jointed stuffed Teddy Bear.  
And a wrapped package.  I wonder what might be inside.  He has some greenery with berries in his bag that ties with a shiny red cord. 

I have two Santa's that have a list . . . 
He arrived last year too.  I hope he doesn't check that list too closely.  My name isn't on it.  He is comfy in his stuffed chair.  See the little red button on his left?  His head moves while he is writing.  I guess maybe he is adding my name!  I need to push that button!

I have another list making Santa.  He is much older . . . 
I have had him since the '90's.  His bag used to be bright green. It has faded over time.  I don't remember where I bought him.  I didn't thrift shop back in the day.   I was dumb. 

One of my newer favorites is this guy . . . 
He's apparently had a hard season!  
I know how he feels oh I'd love a bubbly bath!
I wish I could get a shot of the whole mantle.  My camera is on the funk so I'm having to use my phone.  
Here's a shot of who's on the other end . . . 
Santa and Mrs. Claus with a few reindeer.  They have such happy faces.  I guess they were happy The Cowboy rescued them from a thrift store.

Standing behind them is another new favorite . . . 
He stands 28" tall.  He has wood inside him for stability but no stand.  He is one of my favorites because of his coat.
His coat is wool edged in sherpa (I think that's what it is called). There is wire in the edging so his coat has some body.  I really like the flowers embroidery on the coat.  His bag is a wool plaid and holds . . . 

I love the bright striped candy cane! He has some packages, pine cones, greenery and some berries.  He's been loved awhile but I don't know how old he is.  I love him anyway.  I just need to get him some new berries and fluff him a bit and he'll be good as new! 

I hope you enjoyed the tour of the mantle in my new sewing room. 

Next time I'll be giving you a quick tour of the tree's in the rest of the house.  There's a Cowboy tree, a snowflake tree and a simple tree trimmed in _________.  HeHe it's a secret.  You'll have to come back to find out! 

Until then you can go over to Our Holiday Journey and link your Christmas posts and visit some other great blogs! Join the party bring your Christmas posts! http://ourholidayjourney.blogspot.com/2016/12/count-down-to-christmas-link-party.html:                              Click Here
Linking with my favorites.  The list is on my parties page. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Precious To Me/Warms My Heart

Linking with Tex for Good Fences, Camera Critters, Eileen's Critters, Mosaic Monday,  Make My Saturday Sweet,  One More Time, Saturday Sparks, Wordless Wednesday, Create With Joy,
Bloggers Pit Stop, Simple Sweet Friday, Let's Add Sprinkles
Join me at Count Down To Christmas . . . 
Join the party bring your Christmas posts! http://ourholidayjourney.blogspot.com/2016/12/count-down-to-christmas-link-party.html:                                                                               Over here
Linking with Tex for Good Fences, Camera Critters, Eileen's Critters, Mosaic Monday,  Make My Saturday Sweet,  One More Time, Saturday Sparks, Wordless Wednesday, Create With Joy,
Bloggers Pit Stop, Simple Sweet Friday

Getaway With God-Book Spotlight with Giveaway

                                          Getaway with God
                              A cool giveaway follows 
About the book (provided by Litfuse)
Does spending time with God sound like just one more thing to check off an ever-increasing to-do list? How are you supposed to fit in anything that threatens to be more time-consuming? Too often there’s simply no room to experience the intimacy, grace, and peace that God offers us.
Getaway with God does more than invite you to step away from life’s pressures to take a personal retreat. It shows you exactly why you must–for your sake and for your family’s.
With grace and warmth, Letitia Suk provides step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman on any budget to plan time away, whether it’s a quick, half-day break or a weeklong time of restoration. You’ll find detailed steps for preparation, including descriptions of different kinds of retreats and how to choose the best one for you, and you’ll learn ways to bring the renewal you experience home with you. Practical appendixes identify retreat centers nationwide and provide exercises and prayers to kick-start your getaway with God.
No matter what your season in life, the time for retreat is now!
What I thought
Who doesn't want a 'Getaway'?  I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book.  I was expecting a devotional.  What I got was a mini devotional and then some.  The book is about actually planning your own 'Getaway'.  
We all need time for ourselves whether we realize it or not.  Whether it's 20 minutes on Sunday evening with no family bothering you and a nice hot bubble bath.  Or a weekend away these times refresh our souls and our spirits.  

 The subtitle is right on . . 
'The Every Woman's Guide to Personal Retreat.' This is a guide book and planning resource.

This book gives the reader practical tips suggestions and resources to schedule your time away.   How to pack and how to prepare are just a few.  The is a sample schedule and templates for how to use each hour. 

There is a lot packed into 142 pages plus Appendix's. 

This is a great book for all women to read.  If your in Women's ministry read it for yourself or as a tool as you plan events or retreats for your ministry. 

Where to buy: Amazon, B&N, CBC

About the authorLetitia Suk
Letitia invites women to chase the Intentional life. She writes and speaks of God's renewal and restoration and offers platters of hope to women in each season of life. Tish is also a personal retreat guide and life coach in the Chicago area and moonlights as a hospital chaplain. You might run into her walking by Lake Michigan, browsing resale shops, or making up a new tradition. She blogs at hopeforthebest.org and is also the author of "Rhythms of Renewal"                              Website | Facebook | Twitter  

Click here to enter

I received a complimentary copy of Gateway with God from 
This review will appear at Amazon, B&N, CBC and Good Reads.
This review will be linked at some of the parties listed on my 
parties page and at My Reading Journeys.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dreaming Sophia-Book Spotlight-Author Interview w/Giveaway

                 A Giveaway Follows The Author Interview
Book Spotlight (provided by Italy Book Tours)
Dreaming Sophia is a magical look into Italy, language, art, and culture. It is a story about turning dreams into reality and learning to walk the fine line between fact and fantasy. When tragedy strikes, Sophia finds herself alone in the world, without direction and fearful of loving again. With only her vivid imagination to guide her, she begins a journey that will take her from the vineyards in Sonoma, California to a grad school in Philadelphia and, eventually, to Italy: Florence, Lucca, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Val d’Orcia.

​Through dreamlike encounters, Sophia meets Italian personalities—princes, poets, duchesses, artists, and film stars— who give her advice to help put her life back together. Following a path that takes her from grief to joy, she discovers the source of her creativity and learns to love again, turning her dreams into reality.


About the author:
Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta-the crazy linguist! In Italian, "matta" means "crazy" or "impassioned". Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master's degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, "Tutti Matti per l'Italiano" and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Dreaming Sophia is Melissa's first novel. It is a fanciful look at art history and Italian language and culture, but it is also the culmination of personal stories and insights resulting from her experiences living in Italy, as well as her involvement and familiarity with the Italian language, painting, and art history.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she'd never need it again but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That "thing" was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event! Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency-a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways.
Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is married and has three boys and two beagles.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Dreaming Sophia. She also designed the Dreaming Sophia website and created the character illustrations that can be found in the book and on the Dreaming Sophia websites.

Visit the website here  

Interview with the author...

How exciting to have written your debut novel! If you can tell us what was the most exciting part of actually seeing that finished product?

Thank you Sherry! It is very exciting to have finished my first novel. Thank you also for previewing Dreaming Sophia and highlighting it on your blog.

My novel, published at the end of August, took about two years to write. But if truth be told it has been thirty years in the making! It weaves together many strands of Italian culture in a mixture of fantasy, romance, art, and history. It is as diverse and complex as Italy herself. From start to finish readers are taken on a journey from the vineyards of Sonoma California to Florence, Fiesole, Lucca, Rome, Verona, and Venice. Along the way, they will discover more about Italy, popular legends and illuminating anecdotes, film, music, and food. They will also learn a bit of Italian to boot! The story begins with tragedy, with the main character, named after La Loren, being blindsided by fate. But, “Dreaming Sophia” is also a joyful story. It is a story about turning dreams into reality.

So, in answer to your question as to what it felt like when I completed the story and finally held the printed book in my hands… I have to admit I was quite overwhelmed with joy. I also felt proud and satisfied. I realized I had finally captured on paper a story that I had been keeping inside me for a long time…one that in many ways explains my own journey to learn Italian and my fascination with the country.

The month of March is a special time for me. I’ve heard that this March was very special for you. Can you tell us about it. 

Yes, March is a special month for me. Not only is it a month long celebration of my birthday (my birthday is the 28th!) but I will always remember it as the month in which I met Sophia Loren!

It is my belief if you can envision something, you can make it happen. One of the themes Dreaming Sophia is the belief in positive thinking and making dreams comes true. Writing this book is an example of this. Not only did I take a pile of notes and blog posts and envision an end novel, but because of “Dreaming Sophia” I had the opportunity to meet Miss Loren after her one-woman show in Las Vegas last March. I was able to kiss her on both cheeks in the proper Italian fashion and tell her about my novel. What a thrill it was to see her smile at me and say to me: I believe in dreams, dreams become reality.

Now, I’m curious about what makes March for you?

Obviously you love Italy. Are there other places that you’ve traveled that could possibly be a good setting for a book?

My love of traveling began at a very young age, fueled by my parents. My family hosted foreign exchanged students from Chile and Japan. As a family, we traveled to both those countries to visit the families of the students we had hosted. As a teenager I also lived in Hawaii for six months with my parents while my father, a college professor was on sabbatical. My senior year in college I traveled for the first time abroad to Italy all by myself. I choose Florence because of my love for Art History and Painting. At the time lived with an Italian family and traveled around il Bel Paese, visiting Siena, Rome and Venice and other small hill towns sprinkled around Tuscany. During holiday breaks I also went to France - Mont Saint Michel, Chartres, and Paris as well as a few cities in Germany and Austria.

I have visited many places around the globe, and there are other places I’d like to go, but for now I seem to keep returning to Italy twice a year now, where I can use the language that I’ve worked so hard to learn. Italy itself is such a diverse country and every city and every region is unique and offers special and unusual things. For me, it is an adventure traveling to new places within Italy itself learning about new legends, customs, and practices. Italy continues to fire my imagination, and currently, I am working on a new novel concept that will take place in Arezzo, a charming town in southern Tuscany.

I think the location of Italy is obvious but can you tell us how did the story line evolve?

The decision to write a novel came to me gradually, fueled by my years of working on the Studentessa Matta website - a dual language blog I write in Italian and English. I wanted to try my hand at fiction and weave together many of the stories I write about on my blog. I was also inspired by several published women author friends.

When I sat down to develop a fictional story, I tossed around several ideas, but as I glanced up at a picture of Eleonora de' Medici painted by the Renaissance artist Bronzino pinned to my idea board next to my computer, the original draft of Dreaming Sophia began to flow out of me. I was a little surprised at first by the direction the story took right from the beginning and was immediately captivated by the characters of Sophia and her mother.

As I continued to write and began developing the conversations between Sophia her Italian muses—Eleonora de’ Medici and her encounters with Leonardo and Michelangelo and Prince Lorenzo I was thoroughly hooked. I wanted to continue exploring the theme of a young girl rising out of tragedy, learning how to cope with her grief who eventually finds the confidence to create a new life and artistic career for herself in Italy. I also wanted to tie in the many personalities from Italian art and history and have my character “meet” them through her daydreams. Although the story begins with tragedy, ultimately it ends joyfully. It is about falling in love with one’s self and finding inner confidence, as well as falling in love with a country and its culture.

Your book is filled with fanciful characters. Is the book based on fantasy or on reality?

"Dreaming Sophia" is based on a contemporary reality. But there are elements of fantasy and at times a blending of fact with fiction. An important aspect of the book was to explore the reality of living in Italy, its customs, language and current events. But, being somewhat of an imaginative daydreamer myself I also wanted to tell a story in which my character Sophia could talk to famous Italian personalities from past eras—the titans of Italian history and culture—through her creative thought processes.

Originally I thought about calling the book “Sognare ad occhi aperti”. In Italian, this means to daydream. So even though there are fanciful sequences, Sophia’s dreams are very real to her. They are a way for her to process the information she has heard previously from her parents and her teachers. As she heals and grows stronger, she can accept the “advice” and the “gifts” each Muse gives to her, to move on with her life and make positive changes.

Sophia’s journey is about turning her dreams into reality, but it is also about finding a balance between fantasy and reality. Sophia Loren the actress also knew the importance of finding this balance. She grew up in a time of war, famine and poverty to become a famous movie star. La Loren knew how to imagine and visualize a better life for herself. She knew that a fairy tale loses its magic without real life and that the opposite is also true. The most beautiful thing in life is to learn how to walk between the two.

My character learns to walk this fine line between fantasy and fiction and does indeed move to Italy to pursue a career as an artist. It seems her dreams have come true. But once she arrives in Italy, she is faced with a new set of realities. Sophia must adapt to a new culture, a new language and life with an Italian family. She also must navigate the complexities of a new social network as she also starts to date, Italian men. More perplexing than that, she must learn how to survive the labyrinth that is Italian bureaucracy as well as succeed as an artist in a foreign country. In Italian, there is another idiom: Hai voluto la bicicletta, adesso pedala! You wanted the bike now learn to pedal! You wanted this, now learn to deal with it. And this is exactly what Sophia learns to do.

Where is your favorite place to write?  

I write in various places. I begin writing on my big desktop Mac in the privacy of my home office. I have two large monitors for my graphic design work so that I can have multiple windows open with all my notes and drafts. I am a prolific writer and every day I save my current draft to my iCloud. When I go to the gym, I re-read what I have written on my iPad and take additional notes while I’m on the treadmill. I also often find secluded corners of the house and sit with my lap top and write on that device as well. Every time I read the story on a different screen - big or small, or read it in a new setting I see it in a new way.

I work best early in the morning and very late at night. But, I am always thinking about the story line throughout the day, when I’m shopping, listening to Italian music, or making dinner. Some of my best ideas come to me when I am relaxing or out for a walk with my two beagles. I am also prone to replaying the entire story in my head as I’m trying to fall sleep which often prompts me to get out of bed and fire up my computer and start writing in the middle of the night.

I am a graphic designer and a very visual person, so it helps my creative process to illustrate my characters and have a vision board of all the places the story takes me. It is during the times that I am illustrating my characters additional ideas come to me. You can visit the Dreaming Sophia Pinterest Boards to see my character illustrations as well as all the lovely places in Italy that I write about.

And one last question. Now that the book is finished are you taking a little vacation? 

I have just returned from Italy where I spent a month in Tuscany with my fall Arezzo Italian language immersion group. I am home again in San Francisco Bay Area and am now getting ready for the holidays and spending time with my family. I am staying put for a couple of months and will be busy posting new articles about Italy on the Studentessa Matta blog and Youtube channel. I am fortunate, because for me, writing about Italy is like taking a vacation there every day.   

You can also find me on a new website I have created a Dreaming Sophia. On the Dreaming Sophia website, Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, I plan to post more stories about Italy and art history. Through the website, I offer items I have designed, such as Dreaming Sophia book bags, t-shirts, mugs, and calendars.

In 2017 I am organizing two new Italian Language programs in Lucca in June and Arezzo September, as well as a “Dreaming Sophia Tour” in Florence in September. It will be a 5-6 day program, and we will visit all the places that Sophia goes in the book, as well as a day trip to Lucca. More information about these programs is available on the Studentessa Matta Blog. (www.studentessamatta.com)

As I said, writing about Italy is like taking a vacation for me and so I am also developing an idea for a new novel and plan to start writing soon! Stay tuned!

Thank you Sherry for featuring Dreaming Sophia on your blog “My Journey Back”. I have enjoyed my “journey” of bringing Dreaming Sophia to life. I hope you too will enjoy your travels with Sophia! Non smettere mai di sognare—never stop dreaming!

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The New Fabulous Party

               Come over and link all your Christmas posts! 
Thank you B.J for making our sweet invite! 
              The party will be over at
                   Our Holiday Journey