Friday, July 13, 2012

Welcome guest author Cara Marsi-contest

I'd like to welcome Cara Marsi to my blog today.    Cara is promoting her book "Murder Mi Amore'"   She is also giving away a free copy to one lucky winner.   All you have to do is leave a comment and your contact info. 

Murder Mi Amore'


Lexie Cortese is in Rome to forget. The last thing she expects is to meet a sexy Interpol agent who suspects her of being part of a terrorist plot involving a stolen diamond. Suddenly thrust into a world of murders, muggings, and kidnappings, Lexie doesn’t know what to think—or who to believe.

Dominic Brioni’s assignment is simple. Befriend the American and bring her to justice. Only Lexie seems the most unlikely terrorist Dominic has ever met. Sweet, determined, and direct, she faces life with courage and fire, a fire that sparks his protective instincts and a longing for something more—something he allowed himself to hope for only once before.

But that woman betrayed him, and his boss isn’t about to let him forget it. With his career on the line and Lexie in danger, will Dominic learn to trust his heart before they both get killed?


            Lexie had started to run to him when someone grabbed her arm, pulling her around. A man, his face hidden by a ski mask, held tightly to her. Her shock ratcheted to fear. “Let go,” she yelled, trying to jerk her arm away from him, but his grip tightened. The dim light from the balcony above illuminated his flat black eyes. She had seen those eyes before. Holy shit. She was in trouble. The masked man grabbed for her purse. She screamed, and with strength she didn’t know she possessed, whammed him on the head with her purse. He staggered back, swearing, and slipped and fell. Lights and freedom beckoned from the nearby Via Corsi, but all Lexie could think about was Dominic. Turning on her heels, she ran to him, slipping on the ancient stones herself as Dominic struggled to stand. But before she could reach him, the mugger caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder, twisting her around. Dominic sprang up and flew at the mugger, knocking him to the ground. The two men grappled, rolling together on the cobbled street. Lexie, her heart thumping wildly, looked for an opening to bean the mugger again, to give Dominic a better chance at overcoming him.
            “Stop it! Stop it! Leave him alone!” The mugger ended up on top, and she whaled away with her bag, getting in any shot she could.
            Shouts and the slap of running feet vibrated through the alley. The mugger swore, jumped up, and raced away, a few men giving chase. Several others helped Dominic to stand, yelling in excited voices, and gesturing toward where their attacker had disappeared.
            Dominic winced in pain. Lexie looked down at his ripped, blood-soaked pant leg. “Dominic, you’ve got to get to the hospital. You’re bleeding.”
            “I’m okay,” he said. “It is nothing.” Brushing dirt off his jacket, he turned to the men and said something in rapid Italian. With nods, they strode away.
            Breathing heavily, Lexie disagreed. “You’re not okay. We’ll get a cab and take you to the hospital.”
            He cupped her shoulders. “I’ve been through worse. I’m fine. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”
            “No. I’m…” The full impact of what had happened hit her. The adrenaline that had given her strength suddenly dissipated and she began to tremble. “I’m not okay.”
            “Lexie.” Dominic moved forward to take her into his arms. She held on for dear life, needing his strength. He rubbed his hand along her back. “It’s okay, Lexie. We’re both okay.  You’re safe with me.”
            She clung to him. It wasn’t her imagination. Strange things were happening. She had nothing anyone could want. She didn’t know who to trust. Dominic said she was safe with him. But was she really?
Buy links:

 Also here is an article she wrote


     You’ve all heard the old adage, “Write what you know.” Of course, we do research to write about places we’ve never visited, or we make up our own worlds. But regardless of what worlds we writers imagine, we put a little bit of ourselves into everything we write.

     I hadn’t thought of using my ethnic heritage in my writing until my third book. In the first two books I wrote (one published, one not), my heroes and heroines had Irish/English names, as do most characters in American books. Face it, we Americans have an easier time pronouncing English, Irish, Scottish and German names than we do Italian, Polish, French, etc.

     When I decided to write my third book, I had an epiphany. Why not make at least one of my protagonists of Italian descent, as I am? Thus, Doriana Callahan, the heroine of my romantic suspense, Logan’s Redemption, originally from The Wild Rose Press and now available on Amazon Kindle, BN Nook, Apple and Smashwords. Doriana, named after a woman I know who is an immigrant from Rome, Italy, is half Italian, half Irish. Doriana has the quintessential Italian mother, loving, but intrusive, named after one of my favorite aunts. Doriana’s Nana lives in South Philadelphia and is a sweet, tiny elderly Italian woman who is a terrific cook, modeled after my husband’s grandmother and mine. I had such fun writing these people because they are so familiar and dear to me. I put in a scene where Doriana, her mother, her cousin, and Nana are making Italian wedding soup. My cousins make wedding soup together every year.

     I used my ethnic heritage again in my romantic suspense novella, Murder, Mi Amore, available now from The Wild Rose Press. Murder, Mi Amore is set almost entirely in Rome, Italy, with an Italian hero and an Italian-American heroine. I even included a whole chapter set in the small town in Abruzzo where my grandparents were raised. Writing Murder, Mi Amore brought back memories of my trip to Italy in 2006. Every bit of setting — the hotel where my heroine Lexie stays, the streets she travels, even the food she eats — are authentic, based on my own experiences. However, unlike my heroine and hero, I wasn’t chased through Rome by very bad people trying to kill me. 

     In the past two years I’ve sold a dozen short romance stories, most of them to the confession magazines. I’ve used Italian and Polish names for many of my short story characters too. You have to be careful when using ethnic last names. The names must be easy to pronounce - like Russo, DiMarco, Novak, Morelli, Brioni, Cortese. You don’t want readers tripping over the names.

     But then there’s my werewolf paranormal, Cursed Mates, available now from Noble Romance Publishing. No ethnic names there. My hero is an English nobleman who happens to be over 500 years old. I’d originally given my heroine an Eastern European first and last name, but that didn’t work for various reasons. Now she has a name which better suits her, even if it’s not exactly ethnic.

     Writing characters who are familiar, who might have a shared background with you, can make for stronger stories. But the name has to fit the character. I used an English name for the hero of Cursed Mates because being a tortured English nobleman is a big part of my story and of this character.

     I’ll use an ethnic name whenever it fits, but I know, regardless of ethnicity, the characters’ names must tell the readers a little bit about them.  


  1. Linda, thank you for having me today.

  2. You can feel Cara's love for her heritage in her writing...another great thing about her stories!!!

  3. I love stories set in Italy and recently found a website where you type in a country and up come books written in that venue. Italy is still one of my favorite places that I visited during my junior year at college at the University of Madrid.
    Nice excerpt. You're lucky to have a heritage that you can include in your books as well as cool stories about your relatives. I believe those two things make stories more interesting and fond to the reader.

  4. I absolutely LOVED the excerpt! I completely agree with you, writing characters who are familiar, who have a shared background with you, does make for a stronger story. It's obvious that's what you've done here, in this story, it's wonderful!

  5. Thank you, Tessy, Patricia and Susan.

    And Patricia, cool that you studied at the University of Madrid.

  6. I love Italian men - so sexy (così erotico)!!



  8. Cara, the excerpt was interesting and I have added this to my tbr wishlist. Thanks for the chance to win.
    panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com

  9. Thank you, Jacki, Linda and Patricia. I appreciate your comments.

  10. Wonderful excerpt Cara! I completely agree with everything you said about ethnic use of names. I usually let my characters pick their names with no connection to anything specific. It works for my contemporary stories. It's my paranormal characters, however, who choose to go with my Cherokee heritage for their first names. Though they may have ordinary names, they also use their Cherokee versions subtly (I hope anyway) slipped in. One is simply John. A nice wholesome Irish name... until I put the Indian twist on it. I absolutely LOVE John's name then- Tsani. But it is a little tricky getting the correct pronunciation across to the readers without outright telling them, because the Ts sort of has a lazy Ch sound. But then there's an easy name like one heroine named Beth, or Queti- sounds just like it looks.

    Great post and very interesting article. I'd love to read your book!

  11. Calisa, thank you for posting. Interesting about the Cherokee names. I think it's really cool you've got a Native American heritage.

  12. Loved the excerpt Cara. Can't wait to read this one, I love your writing and know I won't be disapointed with this one.

  13. Lynda, thank you so much for posting and for your kind comments.

  14. And the winner of a copy of Murder, Mi Amore is...Drum Roll, Celtic Amazon (Patricia). I'll be sending her an email. Thanks, everyone for stopping by.