Get Lost in Medieval Naples with a French Tutor named Dante....sizzling!


Wild Rose Press 

Release date July 11, 2012

Alessandra Podesta writes illicit tales unsuitable for a young lady. Exasperated, her father sends her to visit relatives in Naples to curb her wild imagination. But in her undying need for adventure, she toys with the affections of her tutor and is forced to marry him. When she unknowingly falls into a dangerous game of supremacy between two countries, she trusts the wrong people and endangers her life.

French tutor Dante Santangelo is secretly aiding the French in maintaining their rule over Naples. When he is manipulated into marrying the visiting cousin of the Valente Family, he seizes upon the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the family, who are under suspicion of helping the Spanish. When Alessandra's life is in jeopardy Dante must choose between love and duty. Will he offer up his life to save Alessandra? Or remain duty-bound to the French?

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Interview with the author Jannine Corti-Penska

Jannine Corti-Petska was born in New York but raised in Southern California. Her parents' first language was Italian, and Jannine was raised in an Old World environment. She began writing romance novels when her three daughters were young and she was a stay-at-home mom. In-between writing and caring for her family, she tutored Italian, Spanish, German, and English as a Second Language at a local college. Although she loves placing her stories in medieval Italy, she has also written romantic tales of the cowboy in the American West. Jannine lives in Southern California with her husband of 40 years and three high-energy Rat Terriers.

Jillian: What sound or noise do you love?
Jannine: I love the sight and sound of rain falling outside my window on a cold, dreary day. The warm, fuzzy feeling it gives me releases my energy and my imagination. I do my best writing when it’s raining.

Jillian: What was the first story you remember writing?
Jannine: In contemporary, it was A Dancer’s Dream. I tore it to shreds years ago! In historical, it was Through the Eyes of Fate, which took place during the Crimean War. (I intend to rewrite it someday, although it would probably be romantic elements.) Back then (the 1980s) I had no clue about writing. I didn’t know there were rules. I thought everyone just sat at their typewriter (still have mine—a little blue Smith-Corona) and created. So it will be interesting to reread the story which goes from Louisiana to England to the Crimea.

Jillian: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Jannine: The Sea Hawk starring Errol Flynn. I remember the first time I saw it, the story played out like a romance novel. And I had a huge crush on Errol. <g>

Jillian: Be honest, when reading 1st person...do you miss the hero’s POV?
Jannine: Most definitely! I prefer a strong and bigger than life hero. It’s what I like to read and how I write. To be honest, the only first person books I read are autobiographies. Reading “I” and “me” puts me uncomfortably into the story, into the heroine’s shoes. I don’t want that. It’s confusing. I prefer to read about a hero and heroine that have nothing to do with me or my life.

Jillian: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Jannine: I grew up wanting to be an interpreter working at the U.N. So if I couldn’t write, I’d love to speak many languages (Italian, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Dutch). Actually, I always hated not knowing what people around me were saying in their foreign conversations. It drove me nuts. So I began learning other languages. I used to tutor Italian, German and Spanish at the college level years ago. However, I no longer remember the last two except for a word here and there. I’m better at Italian, and I should be—I’m Italian!

Jillian: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Jannine: I put it away for a week. Then I putz around the house, cleaning what I hadn’t when I was writing, focusing on things I didn’t have time to do. In other words, I do everything but think about that book. And I don’t think about other books I plan to write. When I go back to edit, I like to have only the story’s details on my mind.

Jillian: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
Jannine: That would be Sunday dinners at my parents’ home. My sisters and their kids (too many to count, lol), friends, other family, and just about anyone off the street joined us. Everyone was welcomed. My mother cooked for an army. And the food was always Italian. We’d eat early afternoon. With today’s complicated lifestyles, the Sunday dinners didn’t pass down to my three daughters. We occasionally do the Sunday dinner, but it’s difficult when our girls are scattered. I miss those days but remember them fondly.

Jillian: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Jannine: Yes, I do read all of them. It’s a boost to my confidence, which can wane quite often, when I get a great review, especially when the reviewer gets “it.” I’m never sure if my subtle humor will come across, or if the story is plausible, or if my h/h are likeable. I have yet to get a bad review. I’ve been bracing myself for the day that happens. But the reviews never influence my writing; however, they do encourage me to continue writing.

Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Jannine: Coffee, black, one Sweet & Low per cup. I also drink cappuccino and latte, usually decaff, with non-fat milk, and one or two (depends on size of cup) Sweet & Low. Of course, I love espresso with a bunch of Sweet & Low. My father used to pour a little anisette in his cup. Now that is delicious!

Jannine's question for commenter's: If you could explore any medieval Italian city, which would it be and why? I’ll give away an e-book of DANTE’S FLAME to a commenter picked at random.

Here's where to find Jannine:



  1. Hi Jannine, and welcome to Get Lost in a Story.

    FYI: I had a slight technical difficulty this morning, but we're now up and posted! Yay!

    I'm a huge fan of medieval romance and I love your setting!

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Jillian. I'm sorry about the technical problems. But happy they were fixed, lol.

  2. Hi Jannine, I must confess I'm woefully ignorant of medieval Italian cities. If I could go back in time, I'd like to be in the city where Leonardo Da Vinci lived (although I think he was Renaissance rather than medieval). I'd like to be his assistant (maybe I could clean his brushes) so I could see first hand all his wonderful works of art!

    1. Nona, Leonardo is my favorite historical figure. I, too, would love to back in time and watch him and talk to him for at least a day. The man was brilliant.

      Thanks for comenting.

  3. Welcome to GLIAS Jannine. The only thing I know about mdeieval Italian cities...well, it's not much. I'm so glad to see more books about the era.

    Best of luck with your book!

    1. Thanks for the welcome and the good wishes, Angi!

      Medieval Italy is fascinating. Editors and agents wouldn't touch the setting for years. I'm so happy that I found an editor who loves something different.

  4. The book sounds good. I'd like to explore Venice because of the Medicis.