By now you have all been baking up a Mama Iuliano storm. In fact, I’m sure your cookies trays look a little bit like this picture!
Before I get too far along in the post, I want to remind you one last time, in the event there is a SMALL, remote chance you haven’t been hanging around on social media for the last week and you’ve yet to hear…Today is the LAST day you’ll be able to get Return to Audubon Springs FREE on Kindle. If you’re dying to hold a copy in one hand and some of Mama’s cookies in the other, it’s also available in print. In addition, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway that also ends today at midnight. You can enter by checking out the links to the blogs who hosted me earlier this week, or by clicking the Rafflecopter giveaway link:
I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me and quietly tolerated the amount of tweets in their feed during this promotion. Return to Audubon Springs hit #1 in Free Kindle downloads, and in my specific areas of Humor and Romantic Comedy for well over 24 hours. Even now, as I write this it continues to linger in the top ten overall while still holding the #1 spot in Romantic Comedy! I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reviews to date. According to the reviews, Return to Audubon Springs is a heartwarming story that will make you laugh and cry. If that is the case, then I have done my job with this Romantic Comedy!
I really need to say a special thank you to my mother. Without her, there would have been no Sweet Free Campaign. Let me tell you a story about my real life Mama Iuliano. When I first told mom my plans for the free days campaign, she went on the hunt for photos. We’re Italian. We take pictures of food…especially my mother’s food and my mother’s tables. Mom always made everything look as good as it tasted. We found a lot of pics of cookie trays in which the cookies we planned to feature could be cropped. I was able to do this for the Giugiuleni and Cuciadati, but couldn’t find good shots of the Mostaccioli or Taralli. I went on the hunt for photos on the internet and found a few Italian cooking blogs. When I told my mother I contacted them for permission to use the photos, our conversation went something like this:Mom: Are the Taralli tied in knots? And is there icing on the Mostaccioli? Me: No and No…but that’s okay. Mom: I don’t know how I feel about this. Send me the links.
The next message I got from her came in the form of a text with a photo:Almost done.
Later when we spoke, she said that it just didn’t feel right to use someone else’s cookies. It wasn’t authentic.
I’d like to share a new recipe with you today, but Mama Iuliano has two other boys and a crazy niece in Audubon Springs. When it’s time to share their stories, she’ll pull the cook book back out. It’s actually more than a cook book. Picture a floor to ceiling cabinet designed and built by Rafe specifically to hold these golden treasures.
Until it’s time to do a cover reveal for Tony’s story, Secondhand Romance (which, let me tell you is coming fast), here’s another look at Mama in action!“You said my boys were in trouble?” Marcella asked, eyes narrowing. “Well, not yet, actually, but I think they’re about to be.” “What do you mean?” Marcella stepped inside and followed Emma into the living room. She surveyed the scene and gasped. “Antonio, Vincenzo, Rafaello!” As if they were in the Army, the three Iuliano boys materialized in front of their mother in various states of disarray. “What is this?” she asked. The three of them wore identical looks of shock and just a touch of fear. “We kind of had a party and…” Vince said, looking back at his brothers for assistance. “It’s all Rafe’s fault!” “Rafaello, explain yourself immediately.” Marcella demanded. “We were hanging out for game night and things got out of hand,” he said and winced. “Is this how you were raised, to behave…like pigs?” “Hi, Mrs. Iuliano,” Pete said. He waved and ran out of the house, like a man escaping prison with Benny, Jim, Mike, and the dog Rufus hot on his heels. “Your mothers will hear about this!” Mrs. Iuliano shouted at their retreating backs. “What a mess you three are!” She chastised her boys. “Dirty, hung over, no doubt. Did you even bother to shower after work yesterday? And I don’t even want to know what this was doing out front.” She waved Emma’s infamous Prada sandal, a reminder of her arrival, in the air. “I’ll take that, Mrs. Iuliano.” With great care, Emma took the shoe out of Mrs. Iuliano’s hand and chanced a glance in Rafe’s direction. She stifled a laugh at the guilty, panicked expression on his face. “I am ashamed. Into the kitchen all of you coffee, breakfast, and explanations.” Rafe glared at Emma from across the room. She smiled and started for the front door. “Shouldn’t Emma join us for breakfast, Mom?” Rafe asked. “At last, some manners.” Marcella nodded. “Oh, no, that’s okay. I’m on a special diet.” “Emma needs to avoid toxins, Mom.” “Toxins? Are you saying my food is toxic? My food is somehow not good enough for you?” “No, of course not!” Emma answered mortified. “Then you will join us for breakfast,” Marcella stated.