Posted by: Author | March 9, 2013

A Sweet Blog Hop


This weekend, the writers at Secret/Sweet Cravings Publishing are having a blog hope full of sweetness. We’re sharing recipes and other goodies. We’re also doing some super giveaways. I’m giving a free ecopy of one of my back list stories to one winner and I’m also giving away a cute ceramic dish inspired by Italy. I have a release coming soon from Sweet Cravings Publishing that’s called Venetian Masks. It should be out sometime in early April. I’m including a little taste of it here as well as a recipe for cannoli. Click here or the photo graphic to see the blog posts of other participants.


The easiest way to make them is to buy the shells premade. I don’t get ambitious there.

Basic filling ingredients: 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (get the whole milk kind), 3/4 cup marscapone cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional), pinch of salt. Mix them together and refrigerate for a few hours (I sometimes add chocolate chips).

Once the filling is cool and you’re close to ready to serve them, put some filling in a zip lock back and snip a corner to use to pipe the filling into the shells. sprinkle on top with more powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!

The next morning after having slept as if she were in a coma, Charlotte got up later than she’d planned. The jet lag had caught up to her and she overslept. She’d wanted to walk the city before dawn and get a feel for the morning light. She liked to observe and sketch for several days the areas she planned to capture on canvas. It helped to know when and where the sun rose and for Venice specifically, she wanted to know about what time the glints of morning sunlight would shimmer across the Grand Canal. That was the first thing she wanted to paint and she wanted to capture the exact right moment of sunrise.
She could hardly contain the excitement rising in her chest as she dressed for the day.
She tossed on a pair of khaki shorts and a blue shirt. She pulled her hair up in a knot and secured it with a large metal clip. She shoved some Euros and her room key in her pocket and slid on her shoes. Grabbing her sketchpad and a pack of charcoal pencils, she left her room and clattered down the stairs.
Once in the street, she turned left toward the coffee shop she’d seen on her trek across the city the day before with Guilia. She ordered a large black coffee to go along with a sugary cannoli. Breakfast had always been a grab it as you go affair for her even when she was a teen. She could count on less than one hand how many times she’d actually had a full sit-down morning meal in her life.
She took her little feast and went down to the harbor. She found a seat on the seawall and decided almost immediately that she needed to invest in one of the little stools that she’d seen other artists sitting on as they worked. She set her coffee down beside her on the concrete and studied the grouping of gondolas in front of her as she ate her cannoli.
When she swallowed the last bite, she sipped her coffee, then flipped open the sketchbook. Using the side of one of the pencils, she shaded an area that would become a few of the gondolas.

TO ENTER MY CONTESTS: leave a comment about what part of Italy you’d like to visit and why.


  1. I’d like to visit any part of Italy.

    • You’d love it, Tracey. It’s so beautiful.

  2. I have never been to Italy, so I would love to spend time in the entire country. If I could only choose one place it would have to be Tuscany, no Venice, no Tuscany. This is hopeless. I am greedy and want to see the entire country!!!

    • Me, too, Carolyn. I’ve been a few times and it’s never enough. I’m still missing parts of it but have seen quite a bit.

  3. My only real chance to go to Italy so far was a tour of Rome with a 50 voice choir – along with a crazy director & 100 or so “pilgrims” who would accompany us.
    I declined.
    Beyond that, I’m with Tracey. Any part of Italy sounds good. And your excerpt sounds like a fun one!

    • Yikes, I would’ve passed on that, too. Good going.

      Thanks re: excerpt.

  4. I’m sort of a wimp about traveling so I’m not sure I would ever go to Italy but the cannoli’s are my favorite food. I love how you made them easy! Maybe even I could try it!

    • Ahh, glad I hit the right dessert for you Melissa. Try it. Very easy. Let me know if you do,

  5. I want a gondola trip through the channels. Sigh.

    • There’s nothing like it in the world, Ginny. So awesome and the architecture is amazing

  6. You had me at “Italian”! I NEED to go to Umbria, where my grandparents came from to see the family vineyards and olive groves…what is left, anyway; my grandmother’s village fell in the earthquake in the 1970’s. My mother’s three half-brothers and her oldest sister also came over, and despite my grandfather’s intentions, none of the children ever went (back) “home”.

    • Oooh that would be a great trip, Tonette. Sorry about the quake though. That’s sad.

  7. I have never made these but have eaten them. Your recipe sounds delish! Thanks for sharing. Ahhh, Italy looks so beautiful on the travel shows. Maybe one day…

    • Thanks Flossie. They rally are easy if you don’t try to make the shells yourself. Lol. Italy is spectacular.

  8. I’d love to visit Rome, because a friend of mine just went and brought back gorgeous pictures. I’d love to go and see all the old cathedrals. Thanks for the chance to win.

    • I’ve been to Rome twice, Martha. It is absolutely beautiful. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Cleaver picking a blurb that had the cannoli’s and giving a flavor the setting.

    • Thanks Lavada. It was the only sweet she are in the book, so I picked the recipe after the excerpt.

  10. I love cannoli’s from Little Italy here in NYC.

  11. I love cannoli’s but my waist line doesn’t

    • yeah, Lindsay. We have to watch the treats, don’t we? I think I’ve gained 30 lbs today reading all the recipes on the blog hop

  12. Venice, I’d like to ride in a gondola

    • the gondola ride is fantastic. I hope you get to ride one someday, Sugarlady!

  13. I have never visited Italy, so anywhere would be fabulous!

    • Hope you get there someday, Eva. It’s worth the flight.

  14. I’ve never been but my family is from Italy. So I think it would be wonderful to visit. Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  15. I love cannoli’s so much I used to want a cannoli filled wedding cake 🙂 ! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Wicked cool idea about the wedding cake, Carolyn. Love it.

  16. I’d love to see it all but Pisa has always intrigued me.

  17. I’d like to explore the ancient ruins. I have a fascination for antiquity and myth.

    • Ahh, me, too Tamara. Italy is definitely the place for you then.

  18. Seems very easy to make – thanks for sharing Jillian! And I would love to visit Rome someday – though any part of Italy would be a treat!

    • It is quite easy. hope you’ll try it, Lena. Rome is a special place to me. Hope you get there someday.

  19. The cannoli sounds delicious. Congrats on the new release!

  20. Your cannoli recipe is slightly different than mine, one I am sure to try. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    More than likely Sicily since that is where my family migrated from …


    • I’d like to head to Sicily too, Beckey. I think there are lots of cannoli recipes. One friend makes hers with ricotta instead of marscapone.

  21. Tuscany for the obvious reasons. And Capri because our friends have been twice and I have heard amazing stories. I loved the excerpts I have read from your latest release. I love nostalgic reads.

    • Both excellent choices, Joan. I would love to go to Capri. I’ve named a character Capri in one of my stories. Thanks re: excerpt.

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