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Father XmasCongratulations to our lovely winner, Molly in Florida, for correctly answering the question ‘What was the real full name of the Italian Assassin Sapphire, in my second novel The Bolivian Connection?’  Yes, the answer was Francesca Maria Bencini.  Molly was the first name out of my man’s Father Christmas hat and my trilogy will be on its way to her tomorrow!  Well done too to the three runner ups who all receive a book of their choice.

May I take this opportunity to encourage all you readers to buy books as presents for Christmas, so that we can enjoy the peace and quiet this will bring, as we toast our toes in front of the fire, sipping a warm mulled wine, engrossed in some fascinating story!

Happy present buying and speak to you next weekend.

Visit my official author site at June’s website

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

2017-12-02 09.57.26The Italians, being Italian, just adore the Festive Period.  If you want to be anywhere in the world this time of year, you will love it here in Tuscany.  All the main towns and cities are now up and running with Mercate di Natale, that’s Christmas Markets to you and me. These lovely ladies were in the nearby town of Empoli on 1st December, making sure that everyone knew what time of year it was!  As if we could forget….. Foto La Nazione.

2017-11-29 08.49.56As I write this blog, I realise that I also need to get out there and start buying up all the goodies, after all, it’s only three weeks to go!  Now, in case my family are reading this, handbags, scarves and books are at the top of my list….  Whilst even I read books on my Kindle, I still like to own real things.  Foto La Repubblica.

2017-12-01 09.36.43Now, if you are likely to indulge in a little more Prossecco than normal, you should be aware that here in Italy, one may not be able to outrun the latest Polizia car, which is in fact a Ferrari!  Yes, that’s what I said, a Ferrari.  The drivers of the local less impressive Polizia vehicles are fast enough, and that’s both male and female; but put them in a Ferrari and god only knows what will happen on our narrow windy roads!  foto La Repubblica

2017-12-02 09.52.46But enough of that, lets look at what is happening in the world of Music.  Well, if you fancy a little romantic singing by a handsome, if getting on a bit, Italian crooner then you could book yourself a couple of tickets for Claudio Baglioni’s 2018 tour.  Claudio has performed with many famous people, including Pavarotti, in recent years.  He’s also a very good pianist.  Go to Hear Claudio sing now!  Foto La Nazione

2017-12-03 12.55.19Meanwhile, my man and I decided to revisit Osteria La Gramola in Tavernelle, which we have not been to for over two years.  It’s funny how one can forget how good a place is, and we were reminded by being served up a delicious bowl of pumpkin soup with gluten-free bread for me and stuffed vegetables with potatoes.  My man had a mix of crostini with various veggie toppings, followed by spaghetti tossed in pepper and pecorino cheese.  All absolutely yummy.  I bought home a piece of their traditional Siena Cake, which has all the flavours of the traditional English Christmas cake, but is actually made of crushed figs, fruits and nuts. I can’t wait to eat it!  Go to Osteria La Gramola  They also do very popular cooking courses!  Foto J Finnigan

2017-12-01 09.34.232017-11-29 08.46.57Now I cannot go without sharing some of the gorgeous winter woollies and handbags currently available in Florence, my favourite shopping place.  These can also be bought on-line, so don’t worry if you can’t get here this year.  Snuggly Cashmere and woolly wrap around coats with matching bags, beautiful! Fotos La Reppublica.

Oh, very important, don’t forget to ensure that your name is in my man’s Father Christmas hat, to stand a chance of winning my Book Trilogy, The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.  Only three days to go!  Visit the Events page on my website at My Author Site

OK, enough for now, but do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and see you next week.

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Friends and Followers around the World

Now, for me, I cannot think of anything nicer than unwrapping a book or three at Christmas and with this in mind, I have discounted the price of my three paperback books by around 20% from now, right up until Christmas!  The discount is available on all worldwide Amazon sites.  If you prefer e-books, then you can download in an instant!  Go to Click to buy now!

Father XmasMeanwhile, here is a little festive competition for you!  I love this sort of thing, and you can do it on Christmas Day by telling your family you want an answer to be found in a certain book.  So they all dash off to find the book, then scour it for the answer to your question.  If you do it several times, you will end up with a pile of books in the middle of the floor, but you can later occupy the children by having then replace the books back on the shelves, for a reward of course, whilst you relax in front of the fire with another glass of warm punch!

snowman-wallpaperAnd here is your question!  In my book ‘The Bolivian Connection’  what was the real full name of the Female Italian Assassin code-named Sapphire?  Her two christian names and surname please. (Hint – Chapter 27)  And your reward?  The chance to win the complete Trilogy in paperback, signed and dedicated by me, or left blank if you prefer.  The three runners-up will receive one book of their choice, signed or not, the choice is yours.  Send your answer to me by email to arrive no later than Saturday 9th December, and your name will go into my man’s Father Christmas hat.  On Sunday 10th, he will dip in and withdraw four names.  I will then personally email to let you know if you are a winner.  So, if you have the answer, send it to me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Exciting, isn’t it?  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Xmas TreeNow if you want to be absolutely sure of obtaining a signed book, you can purchase one on my website and pay with paypal.  Go to My website

Next weekend, I’ll be sending you a normal blog, with lots of news about the build up to the festivities in our little bit of Tuscany.

Meanwhile, do drop me a line, I love to hear from you and don’t forget to visit my Official Author Website at My website

Salute June x

PS The competition is open to all readers, so do not hesitate to forward this to friends and family!

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The Trilogy – The Continuing Adventures of Joanna Wilde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers,

Simone Armelani in Bar Fiorentino

Simone the wicked cocktail maker and artist. Foto J Finnigan.

It is a beautiful sunny Sunday morning here in Tuscany, and the perfect day for heading over to Montespertoli, a small town just fifteen minutes from us, for the Festa di Pane, Olio & Tartufo. (that’s bread, Oil and Truffles to you and me.)  If you can’t make it today, the Festa will be on again next Sunday and is open from 9am to 8pm in the Piazza Popolo, on both days.  The Festa is all about celebrating the Autumn produce from the locality and in addition includes Vino Novello, Cheeses, Artisan Beers and lots of other goodies for you to try.  Montespertoli has always been one of our favourite places, for the cocktails made by Simone at Bar Fiorentina and the gelato in Piazza Popolo, both owned by the same lovely family.  Spending a relaxed hour, on a late Sunday morning outside the geletaria watching the world go by, is the perfect way to enjoy one’s aperitivo or gelato or both.

2017-11-11 09.31.31Meanwhile, first thing this morning we enjoyed coffee in Fiano and picked up on the latest news in the papers.  I was excited to read, for you other Rock fans out there, that Guns N’ Roses will be performing at ‘Firenze Rocks’  in Florence between 14th and 17th June 2018!  And there’s more; also listed are Ozzie Osbourne, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Pearl Jam and lots more!  I’ll post a link for tickets as soon as I hear more.  It was nice of them to check that these dates did not clash with my own concert, which is on 22nd June!  If you would like a personal invite to my Garden Party Rock Concert in Tuscany, email me at june.finnigan@virgin.net  Foto La Repubblica.

2017-11-10 10.17.13Continuing on the same subject, we must not ignore that fabulous Italian Rocker Jovanotti, who has just announced his tour dates for next year.  My daughter and granddaughter went to one of his concerts in Florence, and raved about it for weeks.  The tickets are on sale NOW, so you had better get your skates on if you want to nab some.  Foto La Repubblica.  Go to Ticket Sales

I know when my man reads this he will say, “There’s an awful lot about rock music this time June.”  So I can only hold my hands up and argue that all the above info came at once, and I could not ignore any of it.

2017-11-10 08.52.04Anyway, for those of you who would like a little more about  our beautiful bit of the Chianti countryside, here’s a nice ‘good morning Tuscany’ foto, which I took just two days ago from a window at back of our house.  In our part of the world, in between the clouds the sky is a brilliant blue, all year round.  Ah, life eeeez good! Foto J Finnigan

2017-11-12 21.12.57Now, before I go, just a quick mention about the pile of felled tree trunks that, you may recall, were dumped just down the track below our front gate.  It’s now four times the size and has a red a white crime scene tape around it!  Did someone guess we were having devious thoughts about pinching a few, or is there a body underneath?  Either way, we decided to leave things alone, use our own logs and light the first log fire of the season, and very nice it was too!  Foto J Finnigan

Well, I have promised my man some home cooking for lunch, so it’s off to find the kitchen and prepare my tried and tested cauliflower bake and roast potatoes.  I know, nothing Italian about that, but the wine is the real thing!

Next week I will have some news for you about my Christmas Books Special, and also announced on my Official Author Site at June’s Site Watch this space!

Do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers around the World,

“It says here that I should not drink alcohol whilst taking my new Opium tablets!”  I groan.  ‘What did you say?’ I hear you all gasp.  Panic ye not, I have just started a course of herbal tablets containing a little Opium, doctor’s orders I hasten to add.  My man grins down at me from his lofty height and says kindly, “Don’t worry June, you’ll cope, it’s not as if you are addicted to wine, after all, you only drink one glass at a time!”  Humph…

2017-11-02 09.03.00Anyway, enough of that, lets look  back at the week, after all, that’s why you are here.  Well, like most other countries in the world, Italy celebrated Halloween.  In fact, the Italians go crazy for it, young and old dress up in the most outrageous costumes and parade around the streets wearing death masks!    The next day is All Soul’s Day, or Day of the Dead, when everyone remembers their dear departed family and friends.   The graveyards here are quite spectacular, always lit by red candles or lights, and masses of flowers both fresh & false, so the effect is a glittering welcoming place.  There is a mix of concrete buildings where the dead are laid one on top of another, family tombs and graves in the ground, all attended regularly and kept bright and cheerful.  I think some of the larger cemeteries should be included in Cultural Tours; I’m not sure if that would be allowed, but you can nip in and walk around anyway.  Foto La Repubblica.

20171031_111427In the run up to Halloween, all the shopkeepers enter into the ‘spirit’ of things, including my man’s favourite Panetteria in Certaldo.  In the picture, you will see the staff behind the counter wearing little hats and the counter loaded up with cakes and goodies for the festivities.  On Saturday mornings, whilst I do the fruit, veg and cheese shopping in the mercato, my man pops down Via Giugno to get bread and sometimes Pizza for supper.  He says, it is the best bakers in the whole area!  Foto P Finnigan.

Olives ready for picking 2Meanwhile, back in our little bit of the Chianti countryside, the last two weeks has been busy with olive picking.  Foreign faces are everywhere; some come for the much-needed work, whilst others treat picking olives as a fun holiday.  Brightly coloured nets are spread out under the trees and not one little olive will be overlooked.  Sadly, the harvest has been rather small this year, following the terrible summer drought.  However, the resulting oil is absolutely delicious.  Foto J Finnigan.

20171103_090819There has also been lots of tree felling.  Mostly small-leaved oak trees, that are now in a big pile a few yards from our front gate.  It’s a sad sight, I always feel a little bereft at the thought of any tree being chopped down, but I guess the woodland does need managing to some degree.  My man bought a new chainsaw last year and he has yet to use it.  The temptation to go out there with his boy’s toy, is eating away at him!  He reckons we could pretend that we thought it was our own log delivery!  O Dio!  Anyway, behind the pile of  logs the vineyard is looking very beautiful and it won’t be long before all the vines are bare.  So we should relax and enjoy it, not think about pinching other people’s logs!  Well,on the other hand…..  Foto P Finnigan

2017-11-05 13.14.17Gosh, it’s nearly lunchtime and I should go and get changed.  It’s currently thundering and raining, so we need to go over to C’era una Volta’ in Lucardo and enjoy the hot food, wine, the company of good friends and forget the weather.  On arrival my man orders some fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toast, because he wants to taste the new stuff.  The oil is Paolo’s own and the colour alone tells you how recently it has been cold pressed.  Yummy!  Foto J Finnigan

OK, time to go, have a great week and do drop me a line, I love to hear from you.  Oh, and keep a watch out for my Christmas Book Promotion, starting soon!  Visit my Official Author Site at June’s Site

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

Yes, I’m back on schedule, that is I am writing this on Sunday with the aim of getting the blog posted to you by Monday at the latest.  It’s amazing how eight days away from my lovely home, along with an English virus, can put me back a couple of weeks.  But no worries, here I am, having soaked up some vitamin D in the Tuscan sun, I feel ready for anything!

Thank god for morning coffee to start the day at our local caffè bar in Fiano.  This morning La Dispensa was heaving with people; now it is Sunday, but there was definitely more people than usual.  My man had put our clocks back an hour, so we arrived at our normal time, between 8.30 and 9am.  We managed to get our usual place at the big long table and spread our newspapers out.  Then my man suddenly said, “This lot usually come in an hour later, when we are leaving, they’ve forgotten to change their clocks! Ha ha….”  I looked around and sure enough, I recognised a lot of the faces that were usually strolling in as we were leaving.  “Don’t say anything!”  He grinned, and I didn’t.

2017-10-29 09.11.46On the subject of ‘heaving with people’ avoid Montepulciano unless you want to be trampled underfoot.  This stunning Medieval and Renaissance hill town in Southern Tuscany, is very popular throughout the season as it is a big producer of foods including cheese, pici-pasta, lentils and honey.  Oh and wine of course, the ‘Vino Nobile’ is considered to be one of Italy’s finest.  So why not visit now?  Well, imagine this, you live in the town and go about your daily business, shopping in the markets and relaxing outside your favourite caffe bar each day.  You are used to the summer months, when the town fills up with tourists and in some ways it fascinating to watch them walk by.  Then your town is chosen as the set for the new Medici film…..  Now you cannot cross your own via, or find an empty table at your favourite caffè or restaurant, because you are being invaded by over five thousand tourists a day, wanting to spot the actors at work!  What a nightmare!  So there’s your reason for not going to Montepulciano, there are plenty of other stunning places to go!  Foto La Repubblica

2017-10-28 09.42.55Meanwhile, lets relax and look at the music scene.  Now I love the Italians, after all I have chosen to live amongst  them and I hope my friends here will not take offence when I say, they do not do rock and pop music very well.  Now there are a handful of exceptions and into this category I would definitely include Paola Turci.  Paola is a tall, striking rock singer with a strong sometimes gravelly voice, and I really like her.  She is just starting an Italian tour and, if you can, you should try to get to one of her concerts.  Foto La Repubblica.  Visit her website at Website

2017-10-28 09.36.30Then I noticed in the paper that the Tuscan artist, Luciano Pasquini, is having a one-man exhibition in Florence between 28th October and 4th November at the Florence Art Gallery.  Now I am a great fan of impressionism and vibrant colours.  If you ever visit my home you will find bright colours everywhere, sometimes clashing, but I am always drawn to rich colours.  Luciano produces paintings, I guess for the mass market, but nevertheless, you can guarantee there will be at least one of his land or seascapes, which will draw you in and you will want it on your wall.  Visit his website at Website  Try not to be dazzled by all his ranges of colours on one page, just hone in the your own favourite shades and ‘Bob’s your Uncle.’ (Try and translate that into Italiano!)  Foto La Reppublica

2017-10-28 09.41.10So, how are we doing?  OK, I think.  Now I do want to bring up the subject of Tartufu (truffles) again.  Why, because we are now celebrating this gift of the gods with a Festa.  If you are not truly familiar with Tartufi, white or otherwise, you will see in the picture that it resembles lumps of volcanic rock, but the perfume gives it away.  These gorgeous lumps of sometimes hugely expensive funghi, are sniffed out and found in our region, by ‘truffle dogs’ and occasionally pigs.  Thin shavings of the best samples, using a special tartufu slicer, are sprinkled over pasta or fried eggs, the flavour is not lost that way.  Now we are off to C’era Una Volta for lunch today and we are hoping that Paolo will have got some of these precious gems in his kitchen awaiting us.  I’ll let you know.  Foto la Repubblica

OK, time to make myself beautiful, I know, but my man tells me I can still scrub up reasonably well; he is such a star.  Meanwhile, have you visited my new Official Author Site yet?  If you are not already on my email list for updates, invites and special offers, do go the site and add you email address.  I will be delighted if you do.  Go to June’s website

Right then, my make-up bag awaits.

Salute June x

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Benvenuti and Welcome to all my Lovely Followers

20171021_145407I’m back.  And, more importantly, I’m back in our lovely bit of Tuscany after a week in the UK.  I cannot find the words to explain how happy this makes me; as soon as the plane takes off from Pisa for England, I am homesick.  That probably says it all.  And, once again I have bought back a cold bug, which only today has released my addled mind sufficiently to write this blog!  Oh, and in just eight days, autumn has painted our hillside and valley in its gorgeous cloak of russet and yellow.  Yes, I know, autumn colours in the rest of Europe are also lovely, but here the vines changing colour have to be seen first hand to be really appreciated.  Foto P Finnigan

The other thing that Autumn brings is the start of the Rugby Season.  Many of you will already know that we are a great Rugby family.  And the star of our family is currently our seventeen year old grandson Archie.  Archie plays for Siena Rugby, known as ‘I Ghibellini’ here in Tuscany.  Last weekend was the opening game of the season when, playing at number ten, he scored the first try and three conversions!  The team went on to win 40 nil.  I have just had a message from Archie as they have just played their second game;  he was playing on the wing and again scored a try, helping the team through to win 53-10.  We are so proud. Visit Siena Rugby club

2017-10-22 11.16.35Meanwhile, we are now celebrating the Festa delle Castagne, that is Chestnut to you and me.  The woodland roads are full of parked cars on the weekend, as the enthusiasts converge to find all those wonderful glossy nuts.  Now, I am not the greatest of cooks, I like to go to restaurants, however, I have just bought the ingredients for ‘Castagnaccio’ which is a very popular dessert/cake here in Tuscany and probably the whole of Italy.  Now, my good friend and neighbour Judy Witts Francini, the celebrity cook, will probably hold her hands up in horror as she reads this, because she can probably make it with her eyes closed.  Visit Judy at judy’s website  I hope she will appreciate that I am making an effort here.  Mind you, there is a use by date of September 2018 on the packet, so it gives me time to get round to it…..

2017-10-22 10.27.06Now things are heating up here in Italy.  No, not the weather silly, I’m talking about the General Election, which will apparently happen in November.  The pretty boy and former Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi has been seen out and about on his motor scooter (he lives in Florence and is also the former mayor) and a few days ago posing inside an APE, pronounced appay, which has been converted to a Bibliomotocarro or mobile library to you and me.  I love this little library, anything that promotes real books is right up my street.  And yes, it’s all about being seen in Italian Politics.

2017-10-18 09.30.12What next, oh yes, in the world of music, I noticed in the paper, whilst enjoying my morning coffee, that the very strange but clever electronic band Kraftwerk is on tour here.  They are looking even more robotic than they did back in the 70’s.  I do remember that the band was from Germany, and despite my preference for Rock, I did enjoy some of their music.  I have just checked them out on Wikipedia, and it’s interesting to read that they started in 1969 and up until 2008, the founder members were unchanged, when Florian Schneider stepped down.  They have produced three successful albums and continue to tour with the remaining members.  Foto La Republica

Well, I hope you will forgive me for the quick exit as I also need to write my column for Expat Focus and, due to the English virus, I am behind schedule!  However, do get in touch, I love to hear from you.  And, don’t forget to visit my new website for book updates, events and special promotions.  June’s Official Author Site

Have a great week and see you soon.

Salute June x

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