I was born in New York to Italian parents who didn’t learn English until later in life. I grew up with “old world” values. A housewife at a time when two-family incomes were not necessary, my mother was always reading books or magazines and was the driving force behind my love of the English language. I started reading before I was five.
When I was eighteen, I lived in Italy for several months with my uncle, an Italian Air Force General, and his family. Every day, I was surrounded by the true Italian culture and exposed to the beauty and romance of Italy’s historical past, which later became a focus for many of my books.
I discovered my ability for storytelling in high school, but I didn’t pursue writing until years later, well after my three daughters were born. In the early eighties, while working for my local newspaper, I was encouraged to put my ideas on paper. I quickly learned just how difficult writing a full length novel was. The first romance I wrote broke all the rules.
On a lark, I attended the Romantic Times Convention in San Diego. From then on, I knew writing romances was what I wanted to do.
For the next ten years, I wrote stories while tutoring English, Italian, Spanish and German at a local college. It wasn’t until the mid-nineties that I buckled down and became serious about getting published.
I am currently a member of the San Diego Chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America, RWA National, and PAN (Published Authors Network), along with many other online writing chapters.
My house is always full of laughter, especially when my grandchildren visit. I live in Southern California with my husband (my very own knight in shining armor) and three Rat Terriers.
Can you introduce us to the world that you have created?
My writing world revolves around sensual historical romances. They harken back to the day when paranormals, fantasy and futuristic did not exist. Neither did vampires. Time travel was gaining popularity back then. Of course, this was thirty years ago.
I began my writing career with westerns. Growing up around the Hollywood area and watching westerns on TV, I think it was only natural to begin in that era. By the mid-90s, I turned to my heritage and began writing Italian medievals. I had gotten the ideas five years prior, but I was intimidated by the grandeur and etiquette of medievals. Only medievals set in Britain were around back then.
REBEL HEART was my first published western. This book, set in Santa Fe, is one of my favorites. The hero, Beau Hamilton, is my favorite hero. He had the longest journey in the telling of his story and in losing his heart. Courtney Danning was the woman who conquered his restless soul.
My upcoming western LOVE’S SWEET WAGER, is set along the California Trail, bringing together a gambler disguised as a priest and a dance hall girl who is on the same wagon train, hired on to help a large family travel to San Francisco. Reno Hunter is running from the law, accused of murdering another gambler, who is Rachel Garrett’s father. Reno also holds a marker stating he won Rachel in that fateful card game. Add Reno’s two brothers who are scouts on the wagon train and you get some hilarious moments. However, the dangers of the trail still exist and the law isn’t far behind.
The Sisters of Destiny trilogy is centered around medieval psychic sisters separated at birth. Each sister searches for the truth about their past. Their psychic abilities differ, as do their lives. When they discover there are three of them, they band together to find the father and mother who gave them up. The titles are telling. CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, book 1, takes place in the Po Valley, Italy. CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, book 2, is in a Gypsy camp in Andalusia, Spain. Book 3, CALLIE AND THE KNIGHT, will take place in England. Only books 1 and 2 are presently available.
The first two books in my 4-book Italian Medieval series will be released this year. THE LILY AND THE FALCON, book 1, was first released by Kensington in 2000 for their Precious Gem line. It will be re-released by The Wild Rose Press. This story is set in Florence in the time of the Medici. Cristiano de’ Medici takes Bianca degli Albizzi for his wife to quell the unrest between the two powerful families–only one will claim victory over the control of the city. Trust issues and betrayal abound. Florence is a beautiful backdrop for a medieval romance. This book is dedicated to my father, whose family originates from the city.
SURRENDER TO HONOR, book 2, is set in Palermo, Sicily, dedicated to my Sicilian mother. This story traces the beginning of the Mafia. Antonio Massaro and Prima Ranieri are on opposite sides of the battle against the evil Falcone family who are trying to take over Palermo. Prima blames the Massaros for allowing the Falcone to run her and many others from their homes and land, forcing them to live in the forest. Antonio returns home after a fifteen-year absence to find the familial war raging. With his father ailing, Antonio is against taking the elder’s place as head of the Honored Society, a group of land-owning men who protect Palermo against injustice. Unfortunately, the Falcone family could not be stopped. Now it is up to Antonio to banish them and prove to Prima that the Massaros were never her enemy.
I’m presently editing book 3, DANTE’S FLAME, set in Naples amidst the battle for the city between the French and Spanish kings. In books 2 through 4 of this series, either the hero or the heroine was a secondary character in THE LILY AND THE FALCON. These books are the “books of my heart.”
For a cover, blurb, excerpt or first chapter for the above mentioned books, please go to my website.
Will this be your first RT or are you a veteran? Any advice for those who are going for the first time?
I had attended one RT in the early 80s. I recall how awestruck I was by the enormity of the convention. So many authors and male cover models in one place was a bit overwhelming. RT has grown considerably from when I attended, but like all conventions/conferences, it’s best to come prepared.
Readers should bring a big bag or two for all the books they will receive or buy. If cameras are allowed, it’s a must. Other than that, patience will get you through it all. I believe over 2000 attend RT. There is so much to see and do. Plan your course of action, and then have fun.
Are you speaking on any panels during RT? Are there any you are looking forward to? What panels are you planning on attending?
I will not be speaking on any panels. I’m rather uncomfortable standing up in front of a huge room of people. The panels I would like to attend are on marketing and craft. There are so many exciting panels, and attending a particular one depends on the schedule. Many times, I will be choosing between two to three that are running at the same time.
I have only a preliminary schedule at the moment. But I should know by the end of March which panels I’ll be attending. If you’d like to email me, please do so at ten.xocnull@9ylati.
If someone were wanting to meet up with you at RT, who should they look for?
I should have a badge on that reads Jannine Corti Petska. I will be signing my books Friday evening from 4 pm to 6 pm. at the Expo. Please look for me. I love talking with readers.
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