The ExPat Returneth

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Making Cannoli and Mafia Stories, S.R. Claridge #Bookgiveaway

A Labor of Love

The Just Call Me Angel series is a mafia-based suspense series set in Chicago; however, the family roots go all the way back to Italy and Sicily.

At the end of book three, Russian Uprising, Angel Maratinzano decides to join her mother, Sophia and her great Aunt Lucia on a two week vacation throughout Italy and Sicily.  While drinking in the rich culture, she learns about her family’s history from her grandfather, Salvatore Buscetta, who still lives in Sicily. In addition to her ancestral lesson, Angel comes to realize that the Italians have some of the best food in the world.  In fact, on the plane home she remarks how, after two weeks of the most decadent food and wine she’s ever tasted, her blue jeans now fit like sausage casings.

Two of Angel’s favorite foods are Ravioli and Cannoli, and lucky for Angel, her aunt Lucia has perfected making both. 

The preparing of these dishes is a true labor of love, especially the Cannoli; and Lucia takes it very seriously.  She has her own seasoned, wooden dowels that once belonged to her mother, which she uses to wrap the dough into tubular form and fry in oil.  Making Cannoli takes time and attention to detail, as the oil must be precisely the right temperature.  If it’s too hot, the shells will burn and if it’s too cool the shells will turn out soft and greasy.  Futzing around the kitchen in her big-bird, yellow apron, she makes sure each shell is cooked to perfection before starting on the filling, which is as rich in flavor as it is in tradition.  Lucia blends fresh ricotta and imported mascarpone cheese with Grand Marnier, cinnamon and powdered sugar, to create the most authentic and decadent Cannoli known to man.  

For Lucia, each Cannoli is a work of art.  For Angel, each Cannoli is a tubular piece of heaven.  As Angel shovels them into her mouth, Lucia often scolds her; telling her to slow down and savor every bite.

In Italy and Sicily, food is a love language. Meals are designed to bring the family together, to be shared and savored and paired with a good red wine.  Aunt Lucia helps to instill this rich tradition in Angel, opening her eyes to the fact that to run the Maratinzano family she must first understand the depths of its powerful roots.  Just like making Cannoli, that takes time, constant attention and it is a labor of love.  ~

I’d like to encourage readers to enter my giveaway contest. I will be giving away an ebook copy of TETTERBAUM'S TRUTH, book one in the Just Call Me Angel series; or if you've already read Tetterbaum's Truth, you may select another novel of your choice and receive that e-copy instead.  Leave a comment below and you're automatically entered. Include your email address in your comment so I can get in touch with you should your name be selected at random. The winner will be announced on my blog ( ) on December 12, 2012. Good luck!"

Susan Claridge writes under the name, S.R.Claridge. I'm a mom,
a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, an in-law and friend; but no matter what
hat I wear, I’m always the same simply, complicated woman beneath. I love autumn,
moonlight and Grey Goose Vodka martinis with bleu cheese olives. I believe
Friday nights were made for Mexican food and margaritas and Sunday mornings
warrant an extra-spicy Bloody Mary. I love Jesus and know that any good in me
comes from God. I believe in the power of prayer, in the freedom of forgiveness
and that people can change. I have a terrible temper and a tender heart, and somehow they balance. At times I may appear teetering on the edge, but I'd rather walk dangerously where there's a view than let life pass me by. Relationships intrigue me and so does the loyalty of Mafia families, which is why I chose these topics for my novels. 

No Easy Way  (debut novel; nominated for The Molly Award from the HODRW 2010)
Tetterbaum’s Truth (book 1 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Traitors Among Us (book 2 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Russian Uprising (book 3 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Death Trap (book 4 in the Just Call Me Angel series)
Petals of Blood (short story; Pushcart Prize Nomination 2013)
House of Lies (political/cult suspense, to be released October 2012)



  1. Thanks for being here today, Susan! I love mafia stories and the cannoli's sound wonderful!

  2. Susan,
    Your "Just Call Me Angel" series sounds intriguing. "The Godfather" is one of my favorite movies. I read the book first and, in my opinion, the movie was true to the book. Maybe one of these days . . . . :)

  3. Larissa, I got hungry reading this. Good post.

  4. Thanks for having me on your blog today, Larissa. It has been a great tour and lots of fun getting to know all of you a little better. :)

  5. I love Italian and Sicilian food and you're making me hungry, Susan. I'm also hungry for good reads and your books sound like something tantalizing on the menu.

  6. I looove Cannoli! You just talked me into driving over to Mama Mia's to get some. Great post.
    Marja McGraw

  7. Your post is great. The food--starving now!! :) Thank you for sharing.

    All the Best,

  8. Okay, Susan, it's near dinner time where I am and all I think about is Ravioli and Cannoli! One of the best parts of Chicago was/is the food--and your post brought back memories from those days.


  9. It is late and yet now I want to raid the refrigerator. Great post to really stir up my hunger juices!
    W.S. Gager on Writing

  10. Cannoli is the perfect finish to any dinner. Really enjoying your postings. Off for a snack.