Posted in Guest Post, mystery, Spotlight on August 24, 2016


best in show cover


Mina Calvi, Italian transplant to Southern California, thinks her love life might finally come together, just as her professional life has. Her Furry Friends Foundation, a no-kill shelter for rescued cats and dogs, is a success, and Mina hopes she may find a loving forever home for her-self, in the arms of Diego Moran, her elusive, frustratingly mysterious, on again-off again, lover.

When a seemingly innocent night out with friends lands Mina in a hospital bed and Diego undercover, and not the covers Mina wants him to be under, Mina has to draw on all her new-found maturity, and all her supportive friends for strength.

Meanwhile, a Best in Show cat takes up residence at the Ritzy Cats B&B, Mina’s other venture, setting Mina on the trail of a suspicious character who might not have the cat’s best interests at heart.

Add a Matchmaker to the Stars, a temperamental Italian chef and the usual menagerie of people and pets, stir it all up and you have an entertaining, hard to put down romantic tale of suspense.


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Guest Post

Of Mascara and Memories by Maria Grazia Swan

Why Mina’s adventures?

“If I didn’t have my own voice, I’d like to have the voice of a young Italian girl named Mina” Sarah Vaughan. 1968.

Growing up, American teens had James Dean.

Italian teens had Mina.

Yes, the namesake that inspired me is a very real woman.

She was everything I wanted to be and I don’t mean just physically—she was a foot taller than me and she had breasts.

Mina represented rebellion and freedom from parental tyranny and public opinion.

She shaved her eyebrows, smoked cigars in public, wore fashion so extreme it should have been named after her.

But those were the sixties and the seventies, celebrities stuck to what they did best, they didn’t design clothing lines or perfumes.

Mina sang.

I’m talking about the real Mina, the Italian singer who inspired my Mina’s adventures series. Those of you who read Love Thy Sister will know what I mean.

Mina’s eyes, without eyebrows, but thick mascara.

Mascara in Italian is called rimmel and my Mina never leaves home without it. When I wrote that I had no pictures of Mina, it was all from subconscious memories.

And the part where I explain about the love child? All true.

Seems like such a long, long time ago.

The real Mina still sings, but hasn’t been seen in public in years…she records in her own studio, she’s still beloved by Italians at home or abroad…As for the eyebrows? No clue, but will live forever in my memory.

About the Author

MariaG SwanAward winning author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but has also lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family. She is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a bestselling author. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy designing haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco.

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