Wednesday 23 October 2019

Have you heard? Award Winning #HistoricalFiction author,Steve Physioc, is giving away a paperback copy of The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls #Giveaway @StevePhysioc @hfvbt

The Walls of Lucca

By Steve Physioc

Winner of the 2019 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award
Winner of the 2019 Tyler R. Tichelaar Award for Best Historical Fiction

When Franco, a weary Italian soldier who’s seen some of the worst of World War I, stumbles onto the Martellino vineyard, he’s looking for work — not love. But he finds that and much more with Isabella, the feisty young woman who works there.
Franco pours himself into the vineyard, trying to create a wine that will save it from financial ruin and rescue him from his dark memories of war. But it’s not easy when Mussolini’s evil shadow continues to loom over all of Italy. It’s even harder when Susanna, the vineyard’s matriarch, invites that shadow to the vineyard with her involvement in Fascist politics — and one very sinister political operative.
Influenced by the teachings of A Course In Miracles, The Walls of Lucca is historical fiction that shows readers the power of love and forgiveness in the face of evil. Compelling, colorful characters populate an authentic, inspiring story of friendship, faith, love and loss in a tumultuous time in European history.

Praise for The Walls of Lucca

“An absorbing, well-researched saga.”
Kirkus Reviews
“The Walls of Lucca is a tender, suspenseful and touching story sure to please fans of romance, political stories, and historical novels.”
 BlueInk Review
“Author Steve Physioc has really managed to find the perfect balance of romance and real life.”  
Readers’ Favorite


There was a full moon reflecting off the walls that seemed to welcome them inside as Franco drove through the Porta Santa Anna, proudly pointing out churches and towers and piazzas to his old friend. He parked along Lucca’s main shopping street, the Via Fillungo, and headed to the heart of town. The foot traffic was rather heavy with the locals enjoying fine meals and wine. As they passed by one of Lucca’s most famous restaurants, Buca di Sant’Antonio, Franco glanced inside, and his eyes went wide. There in the middle of the restaurant was Isabella, dining with the young man she had teased him about. Paolo Reggiani. A dull pain in Franco’s chest began to tighten as he watched Paolo dip his bread into olive oil and offer it to Isabella’s waiting mouth. As she took the bite, she spotted Franco and waved. Franco jerked his head away and tried to act as if he hadn’t seen her. He couldn’t think straight. He wanted to run, but his feet moved as if stuck in cement. Isabella, though, had seen him and ran to the door. 

“If it isn’t the great winemaker, Franco Carollo! Come join us!”

Antonio stopped dead in his tracks and stared. “Who is that vision of loveliness?” “That”—Franco’s shoulders slumped forward—“would be Isabella.”

Antonio grabbed his jealous friend and hauled him toward the restaurant. “I’m liking this town of yours more and more, brother!” 

Antonio was the first through the door and gave Isabella a hug that lifted her off the ground. “Hey, baby! I feel like I know you! Franco’s been telling me all night long about his bee-yoo-tee-full EE-sa-bella!” 

Franco turned red, but Antonio was on a roll. “I’m Antonio! Franco and I served together in the army! I saved his skinny ass more times than I can remember!” He held up his left stump for the two of them to see. “Franco came back with more of himself than I did, but we had a coincidental rendezvous in Viareggio, and now I’m going to work with him at the Martellino vineyard!” 

“Delightful!” Isabella clapped her hands. “Perhaps you can get Franco to cut his work from one hundred hours a week to eighty so he can have a fifteen-minute dinner with me!” 

Antonio reached across the table to shake the hand of an annoyed Paolo. “You, sir, must be Franco’s competition! Nice firm handshake—good hair—I understand you can cook—yes—you’ll be a difficult man to beat!” 

Franco wanted to crawl into a hole, but Isabella grabbed his hand and pulled him down to sit next to her. 

“What are you guys eating?” Antonio peeled back the napkin over Paolo’s bread basket and smiled. “It’s my favorite! Sourdough and olive oil!” He tore off a piece of bread and waved it in front of their faces. “You know, there’s an art to dipping. The bourgeoisie like to dip very quickly to get just a hint of the taste.” He barely touched the bread to the oil and tossed it into his mouth with a frown. “In Rome, they do it with a twist of the hand so the flavor spreads along the bottom of the bread. That’s all in the wrist.” He wiggled the bread around and offered it to Paolo, who reluctantly took it. “But I’m from Sicily! We don’t dip! We dunk!” He ripped off a big piece of bread, poured more oil on the plate, and swirled the bread around, covering almost the entire piece with oil before stuffing it in his mouth. “Mama mia, now that’s what I’m talking about! That’s the way we enjoy olive oil at the San Stefano house in Sicily!” Isabella’s laughter brought tears, while Franco and Paolo were a little stiff to Antonio’s humor. 

“Tell me, Bella,” Antonio beamed. “Did Franco tell you he’s going to put me in charge of the olive grove? “No!”

“Yes! Now, I’ve never farmed a day in my life, but I guarantee you by this time next year they’ll be talking about Antonio San Stefano’s oil in this very restaurant!” Antonio grabbed Paolo’s elbow and lifted him out of his chair. “My new friend with the perfect hair, it appears we’re out of bread. What do you say you and I go pull some hot stuff out of the oven?” Antonio winked at Franco as he pulled Isabella’s date across the room to the kitchen. 

Franco turned a sharp shade of red as he turned back to Isabella. “I’m—I’m so sorry,” he stammered. “It wasn’t right for us to barge in on your date.” 

Isabella smiled sweetly and brushed a lock of Franco’s hair away from his face. “Don’t ever say that, Franco. You’re always welcome at my table. It’s been difficult to get you away from work, so I’m thankful for such a happy moment.” 

Franco could still feel the touch of her fingers as they left his face. “Antonio’s a good man,” he nodded, recovering himself slightly. “He saved my life in the war and may have saved it again tonight when we had trouble with some men in Viareggio.” 

“I like his energy. I think you made a good decision.”

“Giovanni wants me to plant five more hectares—” 

“No talk of work.” Isabella cut him off. “That’s all you do. With the schedule you keep and my being ill, you never told me about your visit home!” 

Franco told her the entire story, from his father’s anger to their time of forgiveness to the wonderful healing his family had experienced before he left. He told her of the train ride home, when he had learned of the war’s end outside Florence, and how he had wanted nothing more than to get back to Lucca and share the joy with her. 

She stared at him for a long moment, and then her mouth curled into a teasing grin. “You came to the convent to see me?” 

“Yes—uh,” he stuttered, once again a bit embarrassed. “Of course.” 


Franco squirmed uncomfortably, avoiding her eyes. “Well—I—I missed you.” 
Isabella touched his chin and raised his head to meet her gaze. “And I missed you too.” 

“Comin’ through! Hot bread! Watch yer nose and toes!” Antonio broke Franco and Isabella’s sensitive moment by barreling barreling through the restaurant with hot sourdough in his right hand and a white napkin over his left stump. 

A resentful Paolo Reggiani followed behind him with the olive oil. Antonio made sure everyone at the surrounding tables could hear him. “So how’s Paolo’s competition doing over here!” 

Isabella laughed as she took the hot bread from him and placed it on the table. The four of them ate and talked and laughed the rest of the evening—Franco, of course, now feeling a little more comfortable and a little less jealous about interrupting Isabella’s dinner with Paolo Reggiani.

Pick up your copy of
The Walls of Lucca


Above the Walls

By Steve Physioc

For eight years, the Fascist politician Alfredo Obizzi has kept quiet about his affair with Susanna Martellino, the matriarch of the Martellino vineyard. Now in 1938 Italy, Obizzi uses his growing political power to seek revenge on his past enemies, and Susanna and the vineyard’s spiritual sage, Isabella, are at the top of his list. Will faith and forgiveness be enough to lead the vineyard and its inhabitants through the bloodshed and heartbreak of World War II and Obizzi’s vengeance?
Meanwhile, the vineyard’s next generation, DeAngelo and Lily, have been best friends since they were born. But now — is it more? The star-crossed lovers must push through war, distance and outside forces to find out.

Praise for Above the Walls

“Once again, Physioc brings wartime Italy to vibrant life…Convincing historical fiction with a spiritual slant.”
Kirkus Reviews
“It was a delight to step back into the Martellino vineyard and to author Steve Physioc’s unique blend of romantic drama and harrowingly austere pre-war conditions.”
Readers Favorite
“To write I am astounded by Above the Walls is an understatement; this captivating book captured me and held me prisoner until the very end.”
Red Headed Book Lover blog


DeAngelo’s heart filled with joy as he drove by the walls and the ancient gate of San Donato. He remembered being up on that same wall with Lily when he was ten and she was six. They challenged each other to see who could throw a rock the farthest from the ramparts. He backed off and allowed her to win, and Lily bragged to every person they saw on their journey home. The last time he saw her, she was fifteen, a scrawny beanpole of a girl, with hair that looked like a kitchen mop. He called her Lily with an I because her shape reminded him of the letter I. Lily didn’t care. She would just giggle every time he’d call her that name and then pull his hair in church. The memory of it made him laugh. Yes, he couldn’t wait to get home. As he drove across the Serchio River Bridge, he saw family friends headed his way and stuck his head out of the window and waved excitedly. “Bonjourno!”  

The momentary loss of focus drifted his sporty Alfa Romeo slightly off the road, and he jerked the steering wheel to the left to stay on course home.  
Pick up your copy of
Above the Walls



During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls! Enter HERE!
Giveaway Rules

• Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Steve Physioc

As an Emmy-winning radio and TV broadcaster for football, baseball and basketball, Steve Physioc has been telling stories for 40 years. After a trip to Italy with his wife, Stace, he was inspired to tell a different kind of story — his novels, The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls. He and Stace live in Kansas City and love to visit and spend time with their children, Ryan and Kevin, and three grandchildren.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx