Let’s Chat! Rome: Wrong Place, Wrong Time


Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Rome
I
 thought of Rome, Italy today. 

I peeked in on an online “party” sponsored by CelerateLit Publicity for authors and readers. And found this discussion question:

Have you ever been unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I‘m sharing my wrong place/wrong time experience. And I’d love to hear yours. Anyone who shares below will be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card!

My Wrong-Place/Wrong-Time Story

Rome trafficRome, Italy. July 1973. Hot. Muggy. And noisy. Traffic in Rome … Well, it defies description. My family had traveled miles in a cramped little Fiat. We were hot and tired. But mainly, we were hungry. 

The hotel I’d found in a travel brochure boasted fine beds that turned out to be marginally acceptable. The “toilet” was a shared affair down the hall. Of course, no air conditioning, so we flung our windows open. Beneath us, Rome’s traffic was something out of a stock car race nightmare. Hoping the noise would decrease toward bedtime, we figured we’d find something to eat. Let the traffic die down a bit.

We hadn’t a clue about Rome or her traffic.

Rome traffic
W
ith our hands over our ears, we gathered in the open-air lobby that edged the Roman stock car race.
Shouting which direction we’d likely find our supper, we paused at the street corner. Our heads wheeled side to side, and our eyes strained to follow the flow. Whiplash in the making. Not a single pedestrian crosswalk in sight. Did Romans not believe in traffic lights? It was every man and woman for themselves.


Rome traffic
And Then It Happened

I caught movement out of the corner of an eye. Had a big black bird fallen from the sky?

Twirling around, I discovered … ready for this? … a man. A little old man dressed in a black, three-piece suit had jumped out of a doctor’s office window, missing me by inches.

With a collective gasp, we on the busy sidewalk backed up, creating an open-mouthed circle around the poor fellow. He was alive, thank God.

Rome traffic emergencySomeone ran inside to call an ambulance. I inched toward him, wondering what I might do to help. I found a set of false teeth at his side. My first thought: If he lives, he’ll want his teeth, for heaven’s sake. So I ran around the circle asking (mainly signing) for a handkerchief.

A gentleman figured out what I was asking and handed me his. I wrapped up the poor man’s teeth and stuck them in his coat pocket. As the ambulance pulled up, and a team carted the man away, I prayed he’d recover.

Looking Back on Rome

I never dreamed I’d find myself in such a position. How often does a person witness such a desperate act, much less stand only inches away? Forty-five years later, I still have questions:

  • What was so terrible the man chose not to face another day?
  • Did he survive the fall? If so, with what injuries? 
  • What if he’d fallen a few inches to the left? Would I have sustained injuries?
  • Did he know Jesus?
  • And did he ever wonder if the wild-eyed woman dancing circles around him was an apparition? Or really that crazy?


Rome running in circles
Lord, only You know the twists and turns of each of our lives and the places they’ll take us. Only You have the answers to all our Whys. I’d like to think a boy standing beside his mother on the sidewalk that day is now an emergency room physician. I pray You straightened the kinks in that man’s life and gave him peace before he died.
~ For Jesus’ sake

4 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Rome: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

  1. Sonnetta Jones

    Everyone know that I love to watch cop shows but I never thought that I might be cop in a would be episode. I was walking home when I heard the sirens. I thought they were really close but I was not sure. Two seconds later I saw a black car speeding around the corner followed by the cops. The car slammed into a parked car and the driver left the car. He was heading straight for me. I always thought that if I was ever in that situation I would hell put the cops by tripping the guy. Reality is very different. All I knew was that I did not want to become a hostage. I leaped out of the way as they ran pass me. I could not wait to get into my house. That day I was not curious enough to peep out my window.

     
     
    1. Oh my goodness! That sounds terrifying. Thank God you hid. I would’ve too. 🙂

       
       
  2. Marilyn R

    Wow, Linda what an unfortunate experience just by being in a place at the wrong time. I’ve never experienced anything that dramatic. My most unfortunate event when a10 year boy darted across the street on his bicycle as I was traveling on a one way street. I was able slam on my brakes but the the right front bumper hit the bike. The boy suffered a leg fracture and there was a witness that saw he had darted out onto the street when my car was visible. Thankful it wasn’t worse, but it was a devastating experience as a young career lady in a new town.

     
     
    1. I can imagine how traumatic it must have been. I’ve often thought about that happening to me. I’ve been known to stop after a near miss and give a kid biker a lesson on bike safety. It’s terrifying!

       
       

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Let’s Chat! Author Janet Simcic

Welcome, Janet Simcic and Readers!

This week we’re visiting with Janet Simcic, a freelance writer from Southern California who misses fiercely the East Coast (the snow and all). She claims as her personal motto: If it’s not fun, don’t bother.

Speaking of fun, Janet travels extensively in Italy, which is where she sets her stories. Also, Janet’s articles appear in numerous magazines, as well as the Orange County Register.

*In addition, Janet is offering a print copy of The Man at the Rialto Bridge to one person who joins our chat below.*

**Congratulations to Ann Ellsion, winner of Janet’s fab novel, The Man at the Rialto Bridge!**

Janet Simcic Before Publishing

First of all, I was reared as an only child in a minister’s home. Because I was their first, my grandparents adored me. Likewise, my parents provided a stress-free life in the wonderful ‘50’s of Happy Days

Then, I found my “wild child” in college, my first time away from home. However, I earned a degree in English and history and taught gifted children. Later, I owned my own secretarial service and helped my husband run a large successful construction business.

Most importantly, I married and had two children who have given me 15 beautiful grandchildren

A Curve Ball for Janet

When I turned 50, life threw me a curve ball. I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.  The tumor was smaller than the head on a nail. Nevertheless, it had traveled all over. After a year of chemo and a double mastectomy, my oncologist told me I could no longer take hormones. He said to learn a language or a new skill or take math courses. (The math made me break out in hives.  I’ve never balanced my check book. But that’s another story.)

Because my grandfather was the light of my life, I chose genealogy and traced his Italian roots. (Click to Tweet!) 

Also, I learned Italian and am now fluent and love to travel to Italy.


In addition, 
I speak at women’s organizations about my battle with breast cancer, love of Italy, and overcoming adversity.

Janet Simcic’s Road to All Things Italian

On one occasion, a group of women and I rented a villa on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Subsequently, I decided I should trade in my journalism skills for novel skills.

Similarly,my extensive travel to Italy and love of the culture and language prompted me to write a non-fiction book: An American Chick’s Guide to Italy. As a result, I consult with travelers who are going to Italy for the first time. 

Janet’s Debut Experience

My first novel, The Man at the Caffe Farnese, takes place in Rome. I dedicated it to my oncologist. After sending it out many times, I snatched a New York agent who loved the book. BUT India was in at the time.  So he asked me to change the location of the story to India, and we “broke up.” 

Then I researched small publishing houses and did a combo small house/Create Space marriage… and the rest is history.  Finally, I built a website, marketed myself, made my platform everything Italian. Consequently, I had a successful launch. The sequel, The Man at the Spanish Steps, released in September 2016.

My latest, The Man at the Rialto Bridge, takes place on a Mediterranean cruise, beginning and ending in Italy.

What’s Janet Simcic Up To When Not Writing?

First, I play an active role in the lives of my 15 grandchildren. In addition, I serve as recording secretary of the California Writers Club and frequently appear at book clubs where I share my adventures, books, writing, and knowledge of Italy with reader fans. Finally, I direct a critique group and am active in my church

Also, I’m an avid reader. My favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks, Daniel Silva, and Brad Thor, but I read new authors and enjoy the classics. Above all, my favorite is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. In fact, one year I taught its beauty and lessons to gifted students. 

Encouragement and Advice from Janet Simcic

Getting an agent these days is tough. Seemingly, you must be famous, have a drug problem, be a TV star, etc. As a result, I decided to brand myself as an Italy expert in concert with my The Man at … novels and write the non-fiction .book on Italy. Turns out, this has been a smart move. Now I sell my books to book clubs and speak publicly anywhere and at anytime. Also, I consult on Italy travel, and have built myself a nice fan base.

Significantly, women’s issues are woven into my stories—dealing with breast cancer,  family dynamics, alcoholism, forgiveness, and restoration.

If you love to write, don’t stop. There are many ways to publish now. However, unless your name is John Grisham or others on his scale, the publishing houses no longer promote. Therefore, authors must market themselves. 

Not surprisingly, it’s a lot of work. But I do it for the love of writing and Italy. For example, I just returned from a three-week villa trip to Rome and Florence. Now I’m midway through a new book with fresh insight.

Like me, everyone has a story. WRITE IT!

How to Find Janet Simcic and Her Books

Website

The Man at the Caffe Farnese

The Man at the Spanish Steps (sequel)

The Man at the Rialto Bridge

The Man at the Villa La Fonte (Coming in 2018)

An American Chick’s Guide to Italy

~ ~ ~

Lord, You declare Your glory in the heavens and in heavenly locations on Earth—like Italy. Janet has walked through personal valleys of fear and pain. But through her You’ve shown how such valleys can be transformed into mountaintops of joy and peace. Therefore, we pray You’ll keep Janet’s body free of cancer and use her to show the beauty of Your creation and the joy of living the life You’ve ordained for her. May we all learn the same.
~ For Jesus’ sake

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12 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Janet Simcic

  1. Marilyn R

    Another new author introduced to me here on this blog. Thank you for featuring Janet Simcic. Your book set in Italy sounds delightful since it’s a setting I haven’t read in books. Blessings.

     
     
    1. I agree, Marilyn. The Italy angle is a delightful change of pace. I told Janet when I first “met” her online that I’ve had plans for several years to include Italy in my third novel. Now I have an expert I can consult with 😊 Thanks for visiting with us.

       
       
      1. Okay, Linda….You cannot write about Italy unless you actually go to Italy. The aromas, the food, the history, the art, the utter beauty, the joy of the Italian people…Can you tell the trip in October has worn off and I need to go back soon. I have acquired many friends in Italy…met some at Disneyland, some at random, some on cruises…been to family weddings and funerals.
        But…I’ll help you see Italy vicariously. 🙂

         
         
        1. Ahhh. Take me away …

           
           
    2. Thank you, Marilyn. If Alitalia doesn’t fall to bankruptcy, it is a delightful airline and has more direct flights to Rome than anyone.
      I am a certified cappuccino snob. Ha! Charbucks doesn’t do it for me. So I always suggest for a good cup of real cappuccino, make an airline reservation for Rome, taxi to the Pantheon, walk the street behind it and have the best cup of cap in all of Italy. Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffe’ in Rome. Ahhhh! Ho bisogno andare in Italia! Translation…I need to go now!

       
       
  2. Ann Ellison

    Enjoyed the interview with a new to me author. Her book sounds like a good one.

     
     
    1. Just imagining the story makes me want to fly away to Italy. (If only I could 🙂

       
       
    2. Dear Ann! I have tried so hard to write about “real” life…nothing against “Hallmark” movies…but come on! 🙂 In actuality I write what I know about people in my life. This story about Olivia could be about thousands of women and men who have been affected by “family secrets.” Without forgiveness, you cannot move forward.
      I have been on 7 Mediterranean cruises. So on my last cruise, I decided…why not write about a person I know who was in this situation and combine it with all the favorite ports I’ve visited.
      Just fresh from returning from a 3 week villa trip to Italy with 5 of my favorite girlfriends….I have finally plowed through half of my new novel. and…I’d love everyone’s opinion on this…a stunning, and I do mean STUNNING man of about 40 waited on me at the elegant Florian Caffe’ on the Piazza San Marcos. He was bald. I took a photo and asked him if I could use his face as a character in my new novel. He was thrilled. So, my question to all of you in this discussion…what about a handsome bald man for a protagonist? I’m nervous about it…but in my last scene I read to my critique group…I’d removed all his curly dark hair. reactions?

       
       
      1. Bald is in, girl!

         
         
  3. Ciao, Paula,
    My grandfather immigrated to America in 1913. He was the light of my life. I never was able to travel overseas when I was young like the kids do today. But after breast cancer, I made my first trip to Europe and when I finally made it to Italy, I had tears in my eyes at the beauty and history of this country. I immediately started to write and learned the language…io parlo Italiano molto bene!
    The Man at the Realto Bridge takes you on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise…and reveals those hidden family secrets and forgiveness. Enjoy.

     
     
  4. Paula

    Thanks for opening up a new category of fiction and a new author to me! I have never been to Italy , so maybe I can travel there vicariously! Thanks for the opportunity to win this book! paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

     
     
    1. Thanks for joining the circle, Paula. So glad you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to meet Janet. Doesn’t her book sound delightful? You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

       
       

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