Professional Memoir

Our publishing company, AV Publishing LLC, has published three books so far: My two personal memoirs, Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present, and From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle, and my husband, Alan Votta’s book, Real Stories from a Nuclear Submariner: Once Upon a Time/This Ain’t No Bullshit. We have been pleased with the reception that each book has gotten.

At this time, I have been hard at work writing what I am calling a Professional Memoir, about the twenty years I spent as a work/life and human resource consultant creating, developing, and growing the work/life movement. My working title for the book is: The Growth of the Work/Life Movement in Corporate America: And the Professionals Who Made It Happen. I have spent the past several months writing and recollecting my memoirs of a time that was exceptionally intense, and resulted in moving the needle in a positive direction. I have also found joy and energy in reconnecting with old colleagues and friends with whom I worked during that time frame, and have been delighted to get such positive feedback about my efforts.

I hope to have a first draft of my manuscript in the hands of my initial readers within 4 to 6 weeks, and then will start an aggressive pre-publication marketing effort prior to publication, sometime late spring. I will be posting several more blog posts to inform you of my progress.

In the meantime I have reviewed all of my past blog posts, since I started this blog in 2012 before I published my first book. I admit that I haven’t been all that efficient in posting regularly, but I am hoping to get better at that. I invite you to reread some of my older blog posts to see how far we’ve come.

Thanks for reading.

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Book #3 for AV Publishing

Our self-publication journey started in 2010, when I began thinking about writing a book about reconnecting with my high school sweetheart after 50 years–and marrying him! Those initial thoughts ultimately resulted in the publication of “Reuniting: When the Past Becomes a Present” in 2013 and the creation of AV Publishing LLC. The learning curve was enormous during those first few years, with many starts and stops amid much frustration and doubt. Oh, we had so much to learn! Enter Michele De Fillipo and 1106 Design. Michele was one who schooled us on what self-publication really mans and what was involved. We also learned that the basic responsibility rests on the shoulders of the author. Without the help and guidance of 1106 Design and Michele’s team, we never would have realized our dream of publishing a memoir of which we could be very proud. We contracted with them for cover design, interior layout, and proofing.

Fast forward five years ahead and I felt compelled to get into the writing and publication game again. Our travels to Italy and our desire to return to and spend more time in the country of our ancestor, prompted the writing and publication of “From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle.” I also wanted to celebrate my Italian heritage by relating early memories of growing up in an Italian-American family. The writing of that book became a testimonial to my grandparents and the gift that their immigration to the U.S. provided our family. This book was also published under the AV Publishing moniker, and once again, 1106 Design played a major part in getting the book to market. The Afterword of that book contained the diary log written by my husband, Alan Votta, which outlined our last two trips to Italy. After reading the book, a cousin encouraged Alan to write his own book, because he had enjoyed reading his entries so much.

And so he did! We were expecting to celebrate our 10th anniversary by taking an extended trans-Atlantic cruise, culminating in Italy in March/April 2020. The covid pandemic had other plans for us! Five days before our scheduled departure, the cruise industry shut own all sailings, and the country began the wild ride we’ve been on since–not to mention what happened in Italy. It has been such a disappointment, but the time isolated at home resulted in Alan being able to concentrate and focus on writing about his experience as a nuclear submariner. He knew he had stories to tell and this time at home gave him the opportunity to develop those storied in hid mind and finish his book, “Real Stories from a Nuclear Submariner: Once Upon a Time/This Ain’t No Bullshit.” This book came to market in August of 2021. And, once again, we used the services of 1106 Design to facilitate that publication.

Each of these books is related to the others, because they tell our story and how our lives have intersected. Alan joined the Navy when I broke off with him in 1961, which he explained in his book, and as it is, of course, described in the Reunited book, too. And Italy is woven into both our separate lives and our lives together. Each book includes many photographs of days long ago that help tell the story.

Each book has been published by our company, AV Publishing LLC and is available on Amazon, as well as in bookstores through Ingram Spark. We have used social media extensively for marketing, and have participated in book fairs, book signings, and other events to share our experiences, and, hopefully, sell books. Some of my previous blog posts describe our journey to publication in far more detail than I have done here, and my post prior to the pandemic was about our intended celebration for our 10th anniversary in Italy–which, of course, never happened!

So far it’s been a fun and rewarding journey. Are there any more books to come? Maybe! Alan is already getting lots of requests for more sub stories.

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So much has happened in the last two years and I have not been on this blog. And……we have gone through a pandemic!! What a time it has been. What a difficult struggle most of us have had during the past 21 months. It is about time for me to bring you up to date.

Our much anticipated 10th year anniversary celebration and trip to Italy was, of course, cancelled last March/April. We were so disappointed. However, we were so closely monitoring the effects of the coronavirus on our relatives in Italy and the horrible effects it was having on that country, that we could do nothing but try to stay safe and hope for the best for all of our loved ones. Therefore, what did we do from March 2020 till about May of 2021? Well, we stayed safe for the most part and did little of nothing else. We had groceries delivered and worked outdoors on our yard. And, oh yes, I got REALLY involved in growing orchids. That was a big by-product of all that time at home. I read, I looked at photos, I bought new species on-line, and I tended to my orchid babies. I learned how to water and fertilize and place them in my yard correctly. And I joined the Sarasota Orchid Society. Now I am on the Board of that group and have the title of Director of Development! We Zoomed meetings for an entire year.

The other big by-product of our time at home was that my husband, Alan, finished up his book…”Real Stories from a Nuclear Submariner: Once Upon a Time/This Ain’t No Bullshit.” And it is done and published as of this week. The Ebook is being uploaded today. We are both very excited about it because it was a work-in-progress for so long and now it is reality. I’m very proud of him and I think the book is quite good. We are both so eager to see the response to it. We will be attending the Submarine Vets Convention at the end of this month in Orlando and hope to sell some books there. The marketing campaign starts in earnest today as well. Here is the cover. Let us know what you think. The link on Amazon is

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Happy Holidays

Hi All,

I have not posted on this blog in a very long time. I must get myself back in the groove. I want to alert you to the promotion I am running for the holidays. I have discounted both of my books, Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present, and From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle, available through Amazon in both paperback and ebook editions.

I have also been at work at revising my first memoir, Reunited, for a release date in March of 2020, when my husband Alan and I celebrate our tenth anniversary. We are recognizing that significant milestone by taking a trip, starting with a 23-day transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Rome, Italy, with eleven stops along the way. We will then spend another ten days in southern Italy by retracing our steps from our previous trips to Puglia as referenced in my second memoir, From Italy and Back. I guess this will tie to the two books together even more. That’s our hope anyway. The revision of Reunited will give you a glimpse of the changes in our lives since our marriage in 2010, with some very significant improvements. Look for the revision sometime next spring.

Regarding other activities keeping us busy, my husband, Alan, has begun work on his own memoir–a compilation of stories and memories from his twenty-four years in the nuclear submarine Navy. The title of the book is “Once Upon a Time; This Ain’t No Bullshit–Real Stories from a Submariner”. He explains the title in his intro by explaining that when a sailor tells a story, he will begin by saying “once upon a time” or “this ain’t no bullshit” depending on the actual truth of the story. I believe the book will delight and engage many people, not only those who share direct experience with him, but everyone who likes a good story–as only Alan can tell. I will keep you posted on details and when it will be ready for publication.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all and check out my two memoirs on Amazon, B07JZDWVK9 and 09889757OX, and my websites and http://www.reunitedalovestory.

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Valentine’s Day

On this day, February 12th, five years ago, I held my first book signing event at Barnes and Noble in Sarasota, Florida. My book, “Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present” is a love story and very appropriate for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Many people have told me that reading our story has given them hope that the same might happen for them. And I am pleased to say that Alan and I are as happy today as we were when we “reunited” and then married in March of 2010. So if you need a little love in your life right now, and want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a real love story, take the time to enjoy our story and find out how “reuniting” made such a difference for us in our lives. And then take a look at my second book, “From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle” which celebrates our Italian heritage.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I hope you find love every day.

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From Italy and Back

My book, “From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle” has been available on Amazon now for two weeks and the paperback is beginning to sell. The Amazon link is:

And the book’s website is also up and running. It is: Please have a look at both and let me know what you think. If anyone would like to write a review I will be happy to send you a copy of the book.

Thanks for looking.


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From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle

I have certainly been waiting a long time for my new book to be ready and go to print. Finally, we are there. I expect to have copies in my hand very soon. And soon you will be seeing a lot more about the book and hearing from me regarding reactions and marketing going forward. I am pleased with the way it has turned out and I am looking forward to see how it will be received. It is my hope that my story will ignite a passion in many others to research their roots and find out more about their heritage. It has been a remarkable journey for me and it is so worthwhile to find out more about where we came from and the importance of our ancestral history to who we are today. If my book sparks an interest in just a few, I will be happy.

To spark your interest in what will follow, I am posting the Introduction to the book here. The book is in three parts: Childhood Memories; Travels in Italy: Our Connection to the Country of Our Ancestors. I hope you like it.


I was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and most of my childhood was spent in Yonkers, New York. My mother was born in Mount Vernon, New York, and my father was born in the Bronx, New York. My grandparents—on both my mother and father’s side—spent the early part of their lives in the south of Italy—in Molise and Puglia. I love New York and I love America. And I love Italy—the country of my ancestors. As my life has progressed (now that I have lived three quarters of a century) I appreciate my Italian heritage more and more every day. My numerous trips to the country my ancestors left many years ago have doubtless contributed to that appreciation. In 2012 I became an Italian citizen after my husband, my daughter, and I applied for citizenship. We each have two passports—American and Italian. I like to think my Italian passport somehow elevates my connection to my rich and vibrant heritage.

Both sets of my grandparents came to America at the beginning of the last century—more than 100 years ago. They left their homeland searching for a better life in America, and con- sequently they created a better life for me and for the rest of my family. Generally, life is quite different today in Italy than it was for them when they immigrated to the United States, but the cultural warmth and beauty of the land is still there in abundance. I have visited many of Italy’s beautiful cities, provinces, and regions over the years and I feel that I know the country to some degree. The food, the wine, the people, the art, the history, the countryside, the sea, the lakes—who can argue that it is the BEST—especially the food, the wine and the PEOPLE!

My husband Alan and I agree that our Italian heritage plays an intrinsic role in our individual lives and in our life together. We feel a powerful pull toward the country of our ancestors. Nowadays many people are drawn to and other Internet sites to begin researching their heritage and studying their DNA. Knowledge of one’s genetic history and genealogy is very compelling, and we have fully embraced it. I have not had my DNA analyzed as of yet since I believe I know what it will tell me—i.e., that my roots are all from southern Europe.

My purpose here is to convey what it was like growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in an Italian-American family—a close and loving extended family—and how that contributed so much to who I am today. I also want to recreate and reminisce about some of the memorable experiences I enjoyed while traveling in Italy, which undoubtedly enhanced my love of this beautiful country.

Alan’s grandfather, Giuseppe Votta, was born in Venafro, Italy, which is in the same region of Molise, where my paternal grandparents were born. Alan was able to apply for his Italian passport through his grandfather’s lineage. Giuseppe Votta immigrated to Scotland and married there before finally settling in Yonkers, New York. Alan’s heritage is mixed with Austrian, Scotch, and Hungarian thrown in there. His childhood was different than mine because of the multi-cultural influences on his life, not only Italian like mine.

The process of applying for Italian citizenship was indeed a fascinating endeavor with its many ups and downs, comical holdups, and overall frustrations, but the final outcome has been so worthwhile.

This is not a travel book. Although I have described many magnificent and beautiful spots in the country I love, it is not my intent to entice anyone to take a trip. It is, however, a testament to how much our cultural heritage impacts our lives and how I have embraced it fully.

Everyone loves Italy—no matter what one’s ethnic back- ground. And Italy is generally the trip of a lifetime for any traveler. For me, Italy represents so much more. It is what makes me, ME.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think and I will be sure to let you know just as soon as the book is released.

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Next Steps

Wow! Has it really been more than three years since I posted something on this blog? Yes, it has. And the last time I posted I mentioned that I was getting ready to publish my second book. Did that ever happen? Well, no–not yet. However, I am ready now. The title has changed and the content has changed somewhat and we are almost ready to go to print. The new title is “From Italy and Back: Coming Full Circle.” It will be available on Amazon in paperback and E-Book as was my first book “Reunited.” The book is in three parts; i.e. Childhood Memories, Travels in Italy, and Our Connection to the Country of Our Ancestors. The book includes many photos from my childhood growing up in an Italian-American household as well as photos of relatives. The book also describes our efforts in the process of becoming Italian citizens and getting our Italian passports, with some information about how to go about securing dual citizenship. It is my hope that family, friends, other Italian-Americans, and the general public find something in my book that excites their psyches and ignites their interest in their heritage and ancestry. It was a wonderful journey for me.

Another next step is publishing a revised edition of “Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present.” Those of you who have read the book know that there was one connection that Alan and I were still hoping to make. That connection did happen and we are over the moon about it. Alan reconnected with his daughter, Cheryl, over two years ago and a loving relationship with Cheryl, Gary her husband, and Nicholas their son, has made us all very happy. The revision with that information will happen soon after “From Italy and Back” is published. You can now purchase the first edition of “Reunited” through this blog.

Here is a sneak peak of the cover of my new book.

From Italy & Back Comps 5-2


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New Book

It has been way too long since my last post. And I had such high hopes of finishing this new book by this summer! Not there yet–by any means. So much has occupied my mind and time that I have had little energy to get to my writing. I have started, however, and I have an introduction to share. I am still not sure of a title. I started with “Ciao Italia–Our Love Affair with Italy” and have now changed it to “Coming Full Circle–From Italy and Back.” I have no idea at this point what I will end up with. The book is about 1) my Italian heritage and what that means to me; 2) my many trips to Italy; and 3) the process of becoming Italian citizens and our hope of living there one day. I have dedicated the book to our grandparents–who came to America for a better life and consequently left us with the desire to return to the land of our ancestors. Thus the “Coming Full Circle” title. I would appreciate your thoughts on that once you read the Intro. Here’s what I’ve got so far.


It is my fondest desire and wildest dream to live in Italy—at least for an extended period of time, for six months to a year—not just to take another trip to the country of my ancestors. I am 72 years old. I better get to it!

My grandparents (both sets) came to America at the beginning of the last century—more than 100 years ago. Now I want to experience the country they left so long ago, in an intimate way—that only living there can provide. Naturally, life is quite different today than it was for them when they emigrated to the United States, but the cultural warmth and beauty of the land is still there in abundance. I have traveled to Italy several times and I have wonderful memories of those trips, but today I wish to experience more. My daughter has both lived and worked in Italy for more than two years. Now it’s my turn.

This is my second book. When I published my first book, “Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present” (the story of my reconnecting with my high school sweetheart after fifty years), I realized that there was more to tell about our story and how our love of Italy figured into the equation. Not only have Alan and I united our lives in marriage, we reignited a feeling within both of us about our Italian heritage. Together we became aware that there was a powerful pull toward that heritage and that we both desired to make Italy a more prominent part of our lives. I touched upon these sentiments in my first book with a chapter about our connection to Italy and happily and proudly included a piece my daughter wrote after a trip we took together searching for my father’s roots in Montelongo, Italy, in 2002.

My intent at this point is to give a more extensive and detailed look at all of the memorable experiences I have enjoyed while traveling in Italy. I also want to point out how being Italian American has figured so strongly in my life, in my family’s lives, and in my husband, Alan’s life, too. As a matter of fact, prior to our reconnecting, Alan had begun to embark on the task of searching for his Italian roots and planning his own trip to the country of his heritage. Alan is one quarter Italian—the important part!—through his paternal grandfather, Guiseppi Votta. As a couple, we discovered how our Italian heritage began to play such an integral and substantial part in our lives.

This book is an attempt to, first of all, share some of my earliest memories of my maternal grandparents; then to share the many delightful and meaningful moments I have enjoyed in Italy on my own, and those Alan and I have enjoyed together during our travels to Italy; and ultimately to give you a loving picture of our rich heritage. I hope that I am able to convey the beauty in and love of a culture that is so significant to us in so many ways.

I made my first trip to Italy in 1967 as a 23-year-old schoolteacher on a European tour to nine countries. It all became magical for many reasons, but the most momentous part of the trip for me, at least, was meeting my grandfather’s sister, Amalia Marano, and her family in Torino, Italy, and spending two unforgettable days with my newfound relatives. That experience was the start of a relationship that has been most important to all of my family.

After that first trip I did not return to Italy for twenty-two years, although I traveled extensively around the world to many other places during that time. My next trip to Italy was in 1989 with my then thirteen year old daughter, Leigh. My first husband (and my children’s father) and I weren’t very religious and we chose instead to give our children a sort of rite-of-passage trip rather than any sacramental acknowledgment of coming-of-age. My husband took my son on a trip to Africa when he turned thirteen and I chose to take our daughter, Leigh, to Italy the following year when it was her turn. It was an awesome trip and I knew that Leigh enjoyed it, but it took many years for both of us to understand just how influential it would become to her life much later.

I have started my story by attempting to show how much I love being of Italian descent, and then to relay some highlights of my trips to Italy. I’ve also described the arduous task and interesting path of becoming Italian citizens, and how both my daughter, Leigh, and my Italian cousin, Piera Fogliato, have influenced our Italian experience so much.

My husband, Alan, painstakingly and lovingly kept a diary of our trips to Italy, which have helped greatly to keep those memories alive. I have included many of his entries exactly as he originally penned them.

This is not a travel book. Although I have described many magnificent and beautiful spots in the country I love; it is not my intent to entice anyone to take a trip. It is, however, a testament to how much our cultural heritage impacts our lives and how I have embraced it fully.

Everyone loves Italy—no matter what one’s ethnic background. And it is usually a trip of a lifetime for any traveler. For me, it is so much more. It is what makes me ME.

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New Book–“Ciao Italia”

IMAG0034      I am finally at it. I am working diligently on my next book. It seems that I am following the same pattern that I followed with my first book, “Reunited: When the Past Becomes a Present.” My pattern is that I start with a general outline, get an Intro written, add a general framework and leave it all for six months or more. When I finally get back to it, I return with a vengeance, and that’s what I have done this time around. I am trying to work daily with a proposed release date for July 2015. However, this time around–I’ve been there before and I know what it takes to get it all done, and I will try my ultimate best to reach my goal. (See previous blogs, “The Journey to Publication–Parts I and II.”)

This new book will be entitled, “Ciao Italia–Our Love Affair With Italy.” It is about our attachment to our heritage, our visits to Italy, growing up Italian, what it means to us to be Italian citizens, and what it took to get there. It is fun. We love Italy and everything about it and we love being Italian-American. I am hoping that all of our experience will resonate with others and give others a pleasant read.

We have had such wonderful times while in Italy together and I made several memorable trips to Italy prior to our coming together again. I think that all of that will have an impact on my readers. Puglia, in the south of Italy, on the Adriatic, is the area where we hope to spend considerable time in the future.

IMAG0023         Look for more updates as time goes on.

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