Book Club Mom’s Author Update: News from Margie Miklas

Author name: Margie Miklas

Book to feature: A Cure for Deceit

News to share: Margie is pleased to announce that her newest book, A Cure for Deceit won the Florida Writers Association’s 2020 Royal Palm Literary Silver award for Published Fiction, Thriller Genre.

Brief bio and other books: An award-winning author, Margie Miklas writes medical thrillers and travel memoirs about Italy. Creator and owner of the travel blog, Margie in Italy, and a contributing writer for an Italian-American newspaper, she is a member of the Florida Writers Association and makes her home in Florida.

You can read about Margie’s other books, including her newest titles, The Venice I Know and My Amalfi Coast Love Affair here.

Website and social media links: 
Margie Miklas

Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

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Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between. Author submissions are limited to one per author in a six-month period.

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Who’s That Indie Author? Martha Miller


Author name:  Martha Miller

Genre:  Travel Memoir

Books:  Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy

Bio:  Martha Miller is a former retail executive who had been downsized twice, and decided to take life into her own hands. She and her husband quit their “secure” jobs to move overseas, complete an education, experience another culture, and change the course of their lives. Martha began writing about the new life she was living in Italy, eventually becoming a frequent contributor to Wanted in Rome, an English-language magazine. Her work has also appeared in, Transitions Abroad, Go World Travel, International Living,, Family Circle, Parents, The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  There is no better feeling in the world than a reader telling me my writing has inspired or entertained them. I love when they say they didn’t want “Times New Roman” to end.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  At first it was distribution. I didn’t understand the need for my book to be available from large book wholesalers. Bookstores and libraries have contracts with certain wholesalers like Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If your book is not available here, they cannot order it no matter how interested they are. After I got my book into Ingram, Barnes & Noble, indie bookstores and libraries started ordering.

Favorite booksHeartburn by Nora Ephron. Authors who make me laugh out loud have a special place in my heart. I’ve always got a memoir going, and am trying to read more classics. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde last year and loved it, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury this summer. It was not at all what I expected.

Contact,, email:

Awards/special recognition:  Media: Times New Roman has been featured on The Good Life Radio Show, with Mike the Wine Guy, Simple Living,, and Transitions Abroad.

Reviews: Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, Martha’s Italy  (a different Martha), Lola et La Vie – Book Blogger Reviewer (Holland)

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Kathryn Occhipinti, M.D.



Author name:  Kathryn Occhipinti, M.D.

Genre:  Adult Italian Language (for travel)

BooksConversational Italian for Travelers series: Textbook and…pocket book “Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions)…reference books, “Just the Verbs” and “Just the Grammar”


Bio: Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in the Peoria and Chicago areas for about 10 years.

Using her experiences as a teacher and frequent traveler to Italy, she wrote the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books, designed to make learning a second language easy and enjoyable for the adult audience. These books have a unique approach, as they tell a story; we follow the character Caterina on her travels through Italy, while at the same time learning the fundamentals of the Italian language.

Favorite thing about being a writer: Writing has opened up a whole new world for me, as I’ve been able to meet many people who love the same things that I do (outside of medicine) – my Italian heritage, the Italian culture, travel, and of course language.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Getting my message out that people will really find these books enjoyable as well as helpful: my books are friendly and combine travel tips and humorous anecdotes that truly make learning the Italian language come alive! My Conversational Italian for Travelers “textbook” is truly different from other Italian language books because the focus is on Conversational Italian – all the Italian you really need to know to feel comfortable in Italy. This textbook includes my unique travel and culture insights gained from real-life experiences visiting Italy. Also, I developed my materials while teaching, so they are very practical and include material not found in other books.

(Most importantly) Favorite book: Italian mystery novels by Andrea Camilleri, mystery writer: “Il campo del Vasaio” The Potter’s Field is one of his best.  These books were made into the “Detective Montalbano” series by the BBC, which I watch almost every day.  The writer lived in and the series was filmed in the Occhipinti home town of Ragusa and surrounding area.  Amazing insights into human nature and the culture of Sicily through a lead detective who bridges the worlds of common people and those in power – in politics, the media and mafia in order to solve very “true to life” cases.

Contact Information:  The website associated with the books is: FREE interactive dialogues recorded by native Italian speakers, cultural notes, and Italian recipes to make learning the language really come alive.

Kathryn Occhipinti Amazon Author Page
WordPress Blog: Conversational Italian! 
Blog: Learn Italian!:
Facebook: Stella Lucente Italian
Twitter: @travelitalian1
Pinterest: Stella Lucente Italian
YouTube: Stella Lucente Italian

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Karen Haid

Who's That Indie Author pic

Karen Haid
Author name
:  Karen Haid

Genre:  Non-fiction, travel/culture/memoir

BookCalabria: The Other Italy, Awarded the International Calabria Prize (Italy), Selected for the Reading Lists of the Order Sons of Italy in America and the National Italian American Foundation.

Calabria The Other Italy

Bio: My book and blog were inspired by four years living, working and traveling in Calabria, Italy, a neglected southern region deemed unfit by a majority of Italians. How could an American survive in such a place? Often with great difficulty, but by quickly learning from the locals not to hesitate when presented with an opportunity to smell the roses or the pasta sauce. Along the way, I immersed myself in the rich culture, bonded with the Calabrese people, and perfected my Italian skills (earning a certificate of mother-tongue equivalency that I’m very proud of).

Still at the stage of looking over my shoulder when introduced as the “author,” I’ve spent most of my life in the classical music field with doctorates in the flute and piano. Incidentally, I can be considered an “indie” musician, as well, having a solo CD on an independent label.

Favorite thing about being a writer: While my meticulous nature can make the writing process painful at times, I do enjoy the craft, the words, conjuring a sense of people and place, and creating for that audience that is out there whether they know it or not. And I won’t lie, there’s nothing like hearing from those my book has touched.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing

Favorite book: I don’t think I could ever pick one favorite, but will name a few: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Contact Information:  Website and Blog:; Facebook: Calabria:  The Other Italy;  Goodreads Author:  Karen Haid.

Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Why not get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author?

Email for a bio template and other details, and follow along on Book Club Mom to join the indie author community!

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Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie Miklas

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast
Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast
Margie Miklas

Winning a book is always exciting and I was so pleased to receive this beautiful book about Italy from Margie Miklas.  Margie is an avid traveler and has made many trips to her grandparents’ native Italy, a place she considers her second home.  She writes and posts beautiful photography about her experiences in Italy on her blog, margieinitaly.comColors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast was published in April 2015 and is a coffee table/photo book featuring the people, streets, traditions, places, and culture of one of her favorite places in Italy.

With an eye for the beauty in everyday scenes, Margie includes colorful photographs and thoughtful descriptions of the people and places she’s visited.  She notes the magnificence of the coastline and the centuries old architecture as well as the vibrant sites of street vendors, markets, and flower carts.  In addition, her pictures of mouth-watering pastries and hand-held pizzettes are just small samples of the wonderful foods available in this area.

Margie’s perspective is wide and takes you from the rock formations in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the beaches of Maiori, as well as to lesser known places that capture the life in these towns.  Her love of the land and culture make me feel like I now know the people and places she’s been.  I’m very happy to place this lovely book on my coffee table for all to see!

Margie Miklas

Margie is also the author of My Love Affair with Sicily and the award-winning Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy.  Her photography has been featured in calendars, newspapers, and the lobby of a Fortune 500 company.  Margie is hard at work on her first novel, Critical Cover-Up, a psychological thriller. Click here to read Margie’s latest post, “The Italian Lifestyle”.

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Here’s some nonfiction for 2015

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction and my resolution for 2015 is to broaden my reading scope. I spent some time looking for some good nonfiction to add to my reading list. Kirkus Reviews recently published its 2015 nominations for best nonfiction and I picked out five books that look good to me. All descriptions are from the Kirkus Reviews.


Between You and Me

Between You & Me – Confessions of a Comma Queen
by Mary Norris

New Yorker editor since 1978, Norris provides an educational, entertaining narrative about grammar, spelling and punctuation.”


Is Shame Necessary

Is Shame Necessary?: New Uses for an Old Tool
by Jennifer Jacquet, illustrated by Brendan O’Neill Kohl

“An intellectually stimulating discussion of shame and its enduring place in the digital age.”


The Italians

The Italians
by John Hooper

“A compact but comprehensive study of the people of Italy.”


the man who couldn't stop

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought
by David Adam

“An engrossing first-person study of obsessive-compulsive disorder from within and without.”


Victoria A Life

Victoria: A Life
by A.N. Wilson

“A shimmering portrait of a tempestuous monarch.”


What’s on your nonfiction list?  Leave a recommendation and I’ll add it to mine!

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The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

the shoemaker's pic
The Shoemaker’s Wife

Adriana Trigiani


I liked this family saga of immigration, near-misses in love and brushes with greatness, with the appropriate doses of disappointment and sadness. It is a light and entertaining read. I enjoyed reading about Italy at the turn of the century and life in the Italian Alps. The author does a nice job bringing the main characters to life.

I think the author’s strengths lie in the story’s initial setting and characters. Her early descriptions of Ciro, Eduardo and their mother are moving. In addition, Trigiani’s descriptions of the Ravanelli family show warmth and devotion. It is the foundation of a really great story.

I think the story slows down considerably once the characters move to New York. And with that, the plot begins to take on unrealistic coincidences and the characters assume superhuman qualities. It’s incredible that Enza has time to sew all her clothes, and very fashionable ones too, while she is working day and night for the Buffa family. And it’s quite astonishing that one day she is hired as a seamstress for the Metropolitan Opera House, and within days she is Caruso’s expert costume designer and cooking gnocchi for him and his cast!

I also think the introduction of historical figures makes the story stiff and the dialogue slow, maybe because the author has to rely on actual events and personalities that do not blend as smoothly with the fictional characters.

Ciro’s success as a shoemaker and his assimilation into New York life move at a believable pace. I enjoyed this part of the story much more. Despite the unlikely nature of meeting Enza on her wedding day, we all know it is coming and accept the feel-good moment.

This is a long book, full of descriptions and similes and metaphors and would have been better if the author had held back on these. One description particularly stuck with me as forced: “The crisp autumn air was cold and sweet, like vanilla smoke.” I am not sure what that means. The author’s description of a train leaving, “watching until the silver train disappeared like a sewing needle into thick wool,” seems contrived. It also bothered me to read a letter from Ciro to Eduardo in which Ciro, who is portrayed as a simple character, claims he is not good at describing things, and then goes on to write a highly descriptive passage, full of big words.

Some other parts I like include Ciro’s relationship with Sister Teresa at the San Nicola Convent. I also like how Ciro is accepted for who he is at the convent, and how the nuns do not force him to be a believer.

An entertaining read and a great way to escape to another time and place!

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