Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has. Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for her-self, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.
When a seemingly innocent night out with friends lands Mina in a hospital bed and Diego undercover, and not the covers Mina wants him to be under, Mina has to draw on all her new-found maturity, and all her supportive friends for strength.
Meanwhile, a Best in Show cat takes up residence at the Ritzy Cats B&B, Mina’s other venture, setting Mina on the trail of a suspicious character who might not have the cat’s best interests at heart.
Add a Matchmaker to the Stars, a temperamental Italian chef and the usual menagerie of people and pets, stir it all up and you have an entertaining, hard to put down romantic tale of suspense.
The Androgyny of American names.
It’s hard for me to decide on the name of my characters. No doubt it’s a fun task for a native author. By native I mean US born. I was born in Italy, lived in five countries before settling in the United States and I find American names very confusing. The last thing I want to do as an author is to have my readers confused by my characters’ name. They’ll have plenty of chances to get confused without worrying about names.
Before you judge me and think I’m a wiener, let me provide an example or two.
Take Pat for example, it is short for Patricia or Patrick? How can you tell? Then there is Toni or Tony. Yes, for a native that’s simple. For me, it is a little more difficult.
After a friend explained that “i” works for the female version and “y” for the male as a nickname for Anthony I felt like I have Anthony under control.
But what about Miki, Mickey, or Micky? Where did the “y” come from in this case? What about Sam? And Blair, Morgan, Jaime, Marion, and dare I ask? Paris. Are these boy’s or girl’s names?
Then you have last names that are really first names. How confusing is that? There’s Lynn David, Andrew Lawrence, April Rose, Kim Lindsay, Tom Arnold, Ricky Martin, Tina Louise, Marc Anthony, Marc Grace, Darryl Hannah, Dave Barry. I bet you could add a dozen more to this list.
Okay, I think I made my case, so that’s why I keep my names simple, I try to pick the ones easy to pronounce both in English and Italian, like Mina or Margo…sorry…I’m done.
By the way, don’t take my word for…check out my books…mille grazie.
About the Author
Award winning author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but has also lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family. She is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.
As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a bestselling author. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy designing haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.
Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco.
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