There are many types of love in the world—romantic love, familial love, things we “love,” and the “love of place” which can be a physical place or the place we are within ourselves. In Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, Barbara Conelli shows us that no matter what type of love you crave, you will find it in Italy—Milan to be precise.
Milan is an old city with a fresh heart; vibrant, progressive and energetic, yet traditionally European in its desire to slow down and not miss a moment. Here, the people still live in apartments once inhabited by masters of art. They begin their day with cappuccinos and pannetone (recipe included), rest in secret gardens and purchase sofas from their favorite restaurant.
Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore is not your typical travel book. It is Barbara’s love song to the city that has won her heart. Join Barbara Conelli and submerge yourself in the secrets of this magical place. Experience the flavors, sights, and scents of Milan. Barbara’s lyrical prose and the sketch drawings make this bestseller a wonderful afternoon escape. Oh, and don’t forget to try the recipes!
Paperback: 158 pages
Publisher: Flagrans Press (April 30, 2012)
Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore is available in both print and Kindle at Amazon.
Prize Giveaway Contest: We’re giving away a gift bag full of chique prizes! The winner will receive: signed copies of two of Barbara’s books, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore and Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita plus a Chique T-shirt and a journal for all your travel notes ($70 combined value)! Please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in the random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Thursday, June 28 at 11:59 PM PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #ChiqueBook, then come back and leave us a link to your tweet. We will announce the winner the following day—Friday, June 29. Good luck!
An entertaining storyteller, Barb has a unique ability to capture the magical atmosphere of the places she writes about. Through the pages of her books, Barb takes your hand and guides you through the irresistible beauty, captivating secrets, unrepeatable spell and fugitive moments of Italy. She makes them come alive easily and spontaneously, and her writing is like a magic carpet that carries you to Italy and back in the blink of an eye. She introduces you to fascinating women who have created the face of Italy, lifts the shroud of their mysteries, and reveals adorable places off the beaten track where the authentic Italian heart hasn't stopped beating.
------Interview by Robyn Chausse
WOW: You call yourself a Chiquenist. What does it mean?
Barbara: You know, it's actually quite funny. When I started writing my first Chique Travel Book, I was thinking a lot about what Italy meant to me, and I asked myself: "If I was to say in one word what Italy and Italian women are like, what word would I use?" And the answer was Chique, which, the way I see it, is an acronym:
Clever: You don't need a PhD to hold out in the stiletto jungle. You need common sense.
Happy: Happiness is an attitude. It gets on naysayers' nerves. Absolutely worth it.
Intriguing: Secrets are sexy. Keep at least one. Preferably more.
Queenly: Rule your life. Only you can live it. (Duh!)
Unique: No one in this world is like you. Kinda cool.
Eloquent: Knowing when to shut up is smart. Always knowing what to say is fun. Your choice.
Every Italian woman will tell you this is true. And I, as a Chiquenist, am here to bring this Chique spirit of Italy into your life!
WOW: Words to live by! When did you first decide to write books about Italy?
Barbara: My original intention was to just start a travel blog about Italy. But then I realized this idea, and this dream, was much bigger than just a blog. Italy is where my roots are, where my Grandma was born, where I spent many wonderful moments, where I was first kissed and when I bought my first pair of red stilettos. So many wonderful people, memories, experiences (and shoes!) deserved a book that would breathe the magic of Italy.
WOW: How did you decide to create such a large platform?
Barbara: It's just me, I like thinking big. (winks) I'm naturally not able to think small and to create small things—I believe we are here to make an impact, to leave a legacy, to share our dreams and visions with those who are on the same wavelength with us. I'm an Indigo Child / Indigo Adult, and I'm very restless; I love challenges and novelty. This platform is not big enough yet, if you ask me. I see a magazine, TV channel and another, much bigger radio show in the near future.
WOW: I can see that too; your website is bursting at the seams! By the way, I love visiting the site—there are always new posts about the history of Rome or pictures of everyday life. Your passion is evident! On an average, how much time goes into your website?
Barbara: Thank you! My website and my blog are my babies, I love them and I pamper them very much. I've learned to build my own website, I've learned WordPress, and gosh, I've even learned HTML. I like being in charge and I don't want to depend on a webmaster. I try to blog every day—I admit some weeks are better than others, but I do manage to blog quite often. Writing blog posts and updating my website usually takes one afternoon a week, or about an hour a day if I don't manage to steal that one afternoon for myself.
WOW: In addition to being webmaster and Chiquenista, you are also a photojournalist. Tell us about that!
Barbara: I got serious about photography a couple of years ago when I bought a professional DSLR on a whim because I was looking for a new hobby. When I took and saw my first photographs, I was hooked. Seeing the world through the lens of my camera helps me feel the world that surrounds me on a much deeper level. I'm working on a series of coffee table books that will reveal many beautiful places off the beaten track, all those hidden nooks and crannies that tourists usually don't get to visit and experience in Italy. I'm also finishing beautiful photo stories for a couple of travel magazines, I'm very excited about it. Photography is just like writing; it's yet another way to tell your story.
WOW: You divide your time between New York and Milan . . . why?
Barbara: My Grandma was born in Milan, and I spent many years studying and working in this amazing, bustling city. I keep an apartment there, and I love going back. I'm also a very passionate New Yorker and Manhattan girl, and I feel so lucky I get the best of both worlds. I absolutely love this life.
WOW: You have a palpable, and almost fearless, zest for life. How did this come about?
Barbara: I've always been like that; I think this zest and gusto is something I was born with. I'm very grateful for my upbringing—my parents always respected and supported my individuality and my strong character, and they always supported me in everything I wanted to do. I'm also very grateful for all the challenges and roadblocks, for the bruises, for the pain. You learn a lot when you're on your knees, and I admit I've been there more than once. But all this helped me become who I am today, and God knows I'm damn proud of myself. I'm a very stubborn survivor, and I'll never ever give up. I've lost so many people who I loved dearly, including my Dad who passed away very suddenly when I was 18 years old. I know how fragile our life is, I realize we never know how much time we have left and when this ride will be over. Every day I wake up full of joy, determined to create a life worth living. When I'm 95 (or 105), I want to be able to look back and say: Hey, this party has been blooming marvelous.
WOW: Well said! What is your big dream?
Barbara: A good question. You know, I'm living my dream every single day. I believe in my ability to make my dreams come true, always. I reach for the stars, and I carry them in my pockets. My ongoing dream is to continue reaching more and more people with my books, so that I can share the beauty, the magic, the passion, the deliciousness of Italy. Being here for others and helping them make their own dreams come true, or inspiring them to dream, brings me incredible joy.
WOW: I can hardly keep up with all you are doing—coffee table books, radio shows . . . What are you working on now?
Barbara: I'm in Italy preparing my new books—yes, more than one (smiles)—about Rome and Venice. I'm also putting together a fabulous anthology about the beauty and inspiration of travel, with so many wonderful fellow authors. I'm getting ready to grow my radio show. I'm simply living my life, savoring it, loving it, and not taking anything for granted. Joy is my most important project.
WOW: What advice do you have to offer to your “sisters-in-writing”?
Barbara: Write. If writing is what you love, do it, and don't let anyone take it away from you. Drop the excuses—if you wait for the perfect moment to make your dreams come true, you will wait forever. There will always be hurdles, disappointments, tears, sleepless nights, tough mornings and bad hair days. You get to choose, but you are the one who needs to make the choice. No one else can live your life for you, and no one else can write the book the way you can. Expressing your gifts is your birthright, but you need to find the courage to claim it. I can't promise it's going to be pain-free, and I'm not saying it's easy. But I swear it's worth it.
WOW: Beautiful! Thank you so much.
Want to ask Barbara a question? Join in on her Q & A on BlogTalk Radio! We have two upcoming dates—you ask the questions and Barbara records the show! Simply submit your questions prior to the show. It all happens on Chique Show.
For questions on writing and publishing submit questions before July 20, 2012.
For questions on travel and Italy submit questions before August 17, 2012
Then tune in on those dates to listen to the show. One winner will be chosen from each session to win a special prize. Details below in the tour dates section.
Everybody Wins! Each person leaving a comment or question at any stop along the tour receives a downloadable gift bag!
Giftbag consists of:
- Chique Virtual Tour: The Secret Gems of Italy Every Woman Must Know
- 1st five chapters of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita
- 1st five chapters of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore
- Chique Blog Tour Special Gift (Only for the tour!): E-Book: The Most Romantic Chique Places to Fall in Love in (and with) Milan
---------Blog Tour Dates
June 26 @ Jamie Richardson
Learn to shut up your dream poopers with Barbara Conelli. Enter to win a Chique T-Shirt!
June 27 @ Jennifer Greenleaf: Maine Author
Barbara Conelli talks about Writer's Success: What Does It Mean, Really? Jennifer shares her review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
June 27 @ Patricia Sand’s Blog
What makes a good travel writer? Barbara Conelli shares her tips for earning an income with your love for travel.
June 28 @ Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them
Barbara Conelli shows us how to play the "What-If" game. Comment to win a Chique Journal!
June 28 @ A Book and a Chat
Interview with Barbara Conelli on BlogTalk Radio
July 2 @ Misadventures with Andi
Barbara Conelli tells us all about chique restaurants you must visit in Milan.
July 2 @ Patricia Sand’s Blog
Get close and personal with Barbara Conelli on today’s interview.
July 4 @ Dianna’s Writing Den
Learn more about Barbara Conelli at today’s interview. Comment to win a Chique Journal.
July 9 @ Thoughts in Progress
Barbara Conelli shares why failure and mistakes are the best thing that can happen to you.
July 11 @ All Things Audry
Learn how to love your life like an Italian with Barbara Conelli.
July 13 @ CMash Loves to Read
Mmm . . . Espresso, Cappuccino, Macchiato . . . Barbara Conelli spills the beans on everything you want to know about Italian coffee. Enjoy a book review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore by a fellow Italian. Join the discussion for a chance to win a Chique Totebag!
July 16 @ All Things Jill Elizabeth
Writing your book is only half the battle--does the word "Marketing" make your stomach churn? Barbara Conelli is here to help! Enter to win a copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
July 17 @ Monica Egelhoff
Freelance writer Monica Egelhoff tells us what she thinks about Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore in today's review.
July 20 @ Barbara Conelli’s Blog
It’s a Q & A on Barbara Conelli’s blog and you are asking the questions!
Just go to Barbara’s blog before July 20 and leave your questions on travel writing, writing in general, or Indie publishing. The pre-recorded Q & A session will be posted on July 20. One winner will be chosen from all those leaving questions. The winner will be announced at the end of the session. Prize is a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
July 31 @ Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dave
Step into your power as a writer and a woman with Barbara Conelli. Also, enjoy a review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
August 1 @ I Was Just Thinking…
Forget dull goal setting, discover the power of juicy intentions with Barbara Conelli. Enjoy a review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore and enter to win a print copy!
August 2 @ Woman on the Edge of Reality
Join us for the Thursday Throng, an in-depth interview with Barbara Conelli and book review. We’ll be giving away a print copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore!
August 8 @ Refresh with Dawn Herring
Dawn shares her review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore and hosts a giveaway for a .pdf copy.
August 14 @ Cathy C. Hall
Barbara Conelli shares three out-of-the-box ways to market your writing. Enter to win a Chique Mug!
August 15 @ Women’s Memoirs
Learn five powerful spiritual practices for women writers with Barbara Conelli. Enter to win a Chique Tote Bag!
August 16 @ Book Talk with Barbara Barth
Author Barbara Barth shares her review of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
August 17 @ Barbara Conelli's Blog
It’s a Q & A on Barbara Conelli’s blog and you are asking the questions!
Just go to Barbara’s blog before August 17 and leave your questions on Italy or travel. The pre-recorded Q & A session will be posted on August 17. One winner will be chosen from all those leaving questions. The winner will be announced at the end of the session. Prize is a signed copy of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore.
August 23 @ Women’s Memoirs
Marketing is the focus of this interview today with the ladies at Women’s Memoirs and Barbara Conelli. Come by, connect, and comment.
August 24 @ Reviews by Molly
Not all of us can travel—Barbara shares how to dream your Italian dream without leaving your home. Enter to win a Chique Mug!
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar here.
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email Robyn or Jodi at email@example.com.
Prize Giveaway Contest:
Here's how you enter:
1. For your first entry, just leave a comment on this post! Just leave Barbara a comment or ask a question to be entered in the random drawing.
2. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #ChiqueBook then come back and leave us a link to your tweet.
The giveaway contest closes Thursday, June 28 at 11:59 PM PST. We will announce the winner in the comments section of this post the following day--Friday, June 29, and if we have the winner's email from the comments section, we will also notify them via email.