Barbara Conelli, author of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, launches her book tour

Monday, June 25, 2012
and giveaway contest!

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)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982600437
ISBN-13: 978-0982600436

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!

About the author:
Barbara Conelli is an internationally published bestselling author, seasoned travel writer specializing in Italy, and Chiquenist on the mission to bring Fantastic Fearless Feminine Fun into women's lives. In her charming, delightful and humorous Chique Books filled with Italian passion, Barb invites women to explore Italy from the comfort of their home with elegance, grace and style, encouraging them to live their own Dolce Vita no matter where they are in the world.

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.

Get Involved!
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

Prize Giveaway Contest:

Enter to win 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)! 

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.

Good luck!


Barbara Conelli said...

It's great to be here today, ladies! I look forward to your comments and questions. Have a Chique day! :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I would love to read this. :)


Amy and Joanne said...

I too am in love with Italy. I am very impressed by how Barbara has dedicated herself to this love. My love takes a little different form in that I am obsessed with the Italian Renaissance, particularly in Florence. However, I have never been to Milan (yes, I am ashamed of that) and plan to go soon to see The Last Supper, other DaVinci work and everything else that glorious city has to offer. I look forward to reading your books. Keep following your passion. It is an inspiration.


I love Barbara's voice and follow her blog. I'm transported to Italy in the first sentence or two and her engaging, inspiring love of life is always present, along with her love of Italy. Thank you, Barb.

Miranda Ward said...

This is a Great Review and interview

Unknown said...

I love Italy, and would love to see what sounds like a beautiful Italian city through your eyes. You are very lucky that you get to see it for yourself, and eat authentic Italian food. Yum! I hope to live that experience myself someday.


Unknown said...

Twitter Link:

April said...

I'm fortunate enough to have lived in Europe twice - once in Spain, once in Germany - but I've always wanted to visit Italy. I'd choose Milan or Rome over Paris any day!

April said...

Posted on Twitter too.

Laurie said...

would love to travel to Italy. Hopefully one day we will. Would love to be entered in the contest please

Tamar said...

Very enlightening interview - thanks!


Krysten Lindsay Hager said...

Love what she has to say about writing! Definitely want to read this--haven't been to Italy, but it has always been on my bucket list!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been married or had children?

Patricia Gilliam said...

Sounds like an interesting book, and I love her advice in the interview.


Barbara Conelli said...

@Nessa Thank you!

@Amy and Joanne That's wonderful! Florence is breathtaking (one of my next books is going to be about Florence and its gems). Da Vinci's Last Supper is worth seeing (his museum in Milan is spectacular too). Let me know when you have a chance to travel to Milan, we can have a cup of coffee on the piazza! :)

@I am LIVING THE DREAM Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoy my blog, and it's great to see you here as well!

@Miranda Ward Thank you!

@Andrea Buginsky I'm sure you will! Italy is magical indeed, and I know I'm so lucky to be able to experience all its beauty firsthand. Thank you for stopping by!

@April Spain is wonderful, and some parts of Germany are great as well. It's fabulous you had the opportunity to live in Europe - I'm sure you get to visit Italy soon!

@Laurie I hope you visit Italy soon! Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

@Tamar Thank you!

@Krysten Thank you very much. Italy is a perfect item for a bucket list, I hope this travel dream of yours comes true very soon!

@Anonymous No, I'm not married and I don't have kids.

@Patricia Thank you very much for your comment, I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Ginger b.
Timelyone at hotmail dot com

What a great review. I also have a love affair with Italy. Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Thank you
rierie11booger (@)

tavernie said...

This is a great interview!! I enjoyed reading it!Thank you!!
ptavernie at yahoo dot com

MizVickik said...

This looks really neat! Thanks!

Paige said...

This looks like a book i would love to read! Thanks for the chance to win it!

Anonymous said...

I love the chic spelling of Chique!

Leni said...

Your words always leave me feeling good.
Are you getting any requests to do motivational speaking engagements?

laurasloves said...

I loved seeing Italy through your eyes and words. I have always wanted to see it as I admit I am a hopeless romantic and I dream of riding in a gondola or walking through Rome and seeing all of the wonders of history. Thank you so much for writing this as I know I will never get there but reading what you wrote is the next best thing.
lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

eclairre said...

I'd love to win!

eclairre at ymail dot com

Terri Patillo said...

So interesting and intriguing! I'd love to win this for my adventurous daughter (19)! She's looking forward to living life to it's fullest.

Terri P
pr4gatheringroses AT gmail DOT com

Terri Patillo said...

My Tweet:

Terri P
pr4gatheringroses AT gmail DOT com

[Whatever U are, be a good one!] said...

This prize is so awesome! I love reading and would love to win this giveaway!
Thank You So Much!
Fiona N -

[Whatever U are, be a good one!] said...

I shared this great giveaway on Twitter:
Thank You!
Fiona N -

Nancy said...

Question: What is your favorite meal to enjoy in Milan and where would you dine?

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

Gina F. said...

Thanks for the awesome Chique Prize Pack Giveaway. I love reading all sorts of books and these would be great to add to my collection.

ginaferrell3 at yahoo dot com

Gina F. said...

I shared the giveaway on Twitter

ginaferrell3 at yahoo dot com

Kathy P said...

id love to travel someday but I would have to get over my fear of flying first I guess :(

Kathy P said...

G said...

do you need an assistant? ;)
ceis8009 at yahoo dot com

G said...
ceis8009 at yahoo dot ocm

Monja Blue said...

Barbara, you are so passionate. I'm curious, how would you describe Italian men? What makes them special? Why do you think fashion is so avant garde in Milan?
Thanks for a fantabulous giveaway and the chance to win it!

phxbne said...

enter me - thanks!

phxbne said...


susansmoaks said...

i would love to meet barbara
susansmoaks at gmail dot com

tranch said...

Oh Italy love it but ate way too muc Gelatii.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great prize

Anonymous said...

i tweeted

Trisha McKee said...

Barbara, love your blog!

Sand said...

Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what kind?

/\Heather/\ said...

Just wondering if you've noticed a difference in the price of things since things are so bad economically in Italy. Congrats on the book!
heatherpooh [hotmail]

Anonymous said...

I would love to take my daughter to see Rome and the Coleseum. Rome has so much history. It must have been grand in the Roman Times.

WOW! said...

Happy Friday! Thank you for all your comments and enthusiasm!

We held a random drawing for Barbara's Chique Prize Pack via, and the winner is . . . susansmoaks! Congratulations!

Please send your mailing address to and we will forward it to Barbara for you. I see you left your e-mail addy, so we will also follow up by e-mail.

For everyone else: make sure you check out the rest of the stops on this tour for more giveaways and inspiration from the chique and talented Barbara Conelli. :)

Barbara Conelli said...

@purango Rome is fabulous, and definitely worth visiting. My next book is going to be about Rome, and actually I'm in Rome right now doing research for the book. I hope you take your daughter to this fabulous city soon!

@Heather A great question! No, I haven't noticed any difference in prices (or the lifestyle for that matter). Although it's true that the country struggles macroeconomically, it does not necessarily mean that the people don't have money to spend. It's a very common contrast in many European countries right now. (By the way, while Greece is on the brink of bankruptcy, Rome is full of Greek tourists. Go figure. It's not always what the media say it is...)

@Atreau I admit I need absolute peace and quiet when I write, but during my writing breaks I love listening to Italian music while enjoying my snack :) Right now my favorite song that inspires me to write is "Tu mi porti su" by Giorgia. You can find it here:

@Trisha Thank you very much!

@Jim Thank you!

@tranch Oh, I know. Italian ice cream is hard to resist! (And why should we even try to resist it, right? ;) )

@Monja Blue I love your question! First of all, there are so many cliches about Italian men that are not true at all. What I love about Italian guys is the fact that they treat women with respect, know how to admire their beauty and charm, and are not afraid of strong women (as Italy is full of wonderfully strong, self-confident women). Italy is one of the few countries where men are still men and women are still women when it comes to the mating game. It's still sensuous and fun. * I love Milanese fashion because it's bold, yet very elegant. Women in Milan love accessories and you can see lots of them dressed simply yet using extravagant handbags or jewelry. Milan is a trend-setter, and women use fashion as a form of self-expression. I absolutely love it.

@G Believe me, I'm very hard to work with! :)

@kathy pease Most airlines organize fantastic courses to help you overcome the fear of flying. It's absolutely worth it. Adventure is waiting for you!

@Gina F. That's great, Gina, thank you!

@Nancy My favorite Milanese dish is simple: Risotto alla Milanese (saffron risotto). I adore it. In the summer, my favorite place to dine is Don Lisander in Via Manzoni with its beautiful garden and excellent cuisine.

Barbara Conelli said...

@susansmoaks Thank you, Susan!

@Whatever you are... Thank you!

@PR4GatheringRoses I love your daughter's intention. More power to her!

@laurasloves Thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words! (And hey, never say never - life is more magical than we think, and the power of a dream is huge!)

@Leni Thank you so much, Leni! It's interesting you should mention this. I have a PhD in psychology and gender studies, I used to have a coaching practice and I did all sorts of programs, seminars and speeches. But I realized that traveling and writing was my true calling and chose to dedicate all my time and energy to that. But I still love connecting with, inspiring and empowering women. We're in this together, and life is a fabulous adventure!

@Anonymous I know, I love it too! Chique is very Chique! :)

@paige jagan @MizVickik @tavernie @Anonymous @ecclaire Thank you for your comments!

Billy Burgess said...

I found you through the Alexa Blog Hop, in which I left you a review.

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