The Art of Enchantment Wins Chatelaine Grand Prize

The Art of Enchantment wins Chatelaine Grand Prize

To celebrate the exciting news that The Art of Enchantment won not only the top category prize for contemporary Romance and Women’s Fiction, but also the Chatelaine Grand Prize, I’ve created a Goodreads Giveaway for three first edition copies of the print book. Click on the box to enter between April 17th and 25th!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Art of Enchantment by M.A. Clarke Scott

The Art of Enchantment

by M.A. Clarke Scott

Giveaway ends April 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

So, this is why I’m a writer…

And yes, it feels great to be singled out from among a huge group of extremely talented and dedicated authors to be given this prize. Obviously it makes me happy and proud, and it’s a great way to launch my newest baby into the world.


But that’s not what I’m talking about…

M A Clarke Scott with Chatelaine Prize category win blue ribbon, with Margie Lawson, writing coach

Here’s me geeking out over the category win with Margie Lawson. And no… that’s not spinach in her teeth. She got it out with a stiletto heel just in time for the photo op. ;-D

In fact at the Chanticleer Author’s Conference Awards Banquet April 1st in Bellingham, WA, I was pretty thrilled when the book was called out as the category winner. Awkward in public settings as always, I was nevertheless okay with walking up to receive my blue ribbon, pretty chill receiving the congratulations of my fellow writers in the room, and content to drink wine and laugh at stupid jokes with my new friend and table-mate, writing guru Margie Lawson.

Within a few short minutes, the room went silent as each of the Grand Prize winners was announced. When they got to the Chatelaine, the speaker read out my series title first, before mentioning the book title, and I, since I’d just changed it twenty times before publishing it, didn’t recognize it! I just sat there smiling, happy for whomever was winning the prize.

And the Socially Awkward Introvert Grand Prize goes to…

Chatelaine Prize winners M A Clarke Scott, Diana Forbes & Gail Avery Halverson

The Chatelaine Award Winning Authors: M.A. Clarke Scott [C], Diana Forbes [R], & Gail Avery Halverson [L]

Then, stunned to realize they were talking about me, I went up to receive my second ribbon in so many minutes, and the only thing in my head was…”That’s a pathetic series title! Is that really the best you could come up with?” So when I got to the podium and saw, gak! the microphone, all I was capable of saying out loud was a muttered, “Thank you, thank you very much. Uh…” I then proceeded to drink too much wine for the rest of the evening.

A Revisionist Worldview

It wasn’t until about, oh, four days later, lying awake in the middle of the night, that I thought of what I should have said. Something along the lines of…

“Thank you [ladies and gentlemen…except writers are seldom so formal]. I especially want to thank Kiffer and Andy and their staff for all their hard work year round, running a stellar writing contest, making professional book reviews available, and organizing this brilliant author’s conference.

Thanks also to the many judges who read thousands of manuscripts and had to choose from among so many excellent, worthy stories, to single out just a few to recognize tonight. I’m humbled and honored to receive this award. Congratulations to all the winners, short-listers, and to all the writers to completed their manuscripts and entered the contests. Bravo. And don’t ever quit.

It’s opportunities like this that help to bring us writer-trolls out of our dark and solitary hovels, to mingle with other writers, learn, be stimulated, practice our social skills, and to shine a light on some of the new works and emerging voices in this increasingly crowded publishing marketplace.”

Or some such. By the time I fell asleep I’d revised it five times and decided I was too verbose anyway and it was just as well I became catatonic in the spotlight or I’d be one of those people the long hooks were invented for, and have to be dragged from the stage.

That’s why I’m a writer,

…and not a press secretary or a lawyer or a politician or tv host.

So here’s a formal thank you and shout out to Chanticleer Book Reviews and Contests and all the hard-working people who made this possible. Please check out the official announcement of all the winners on the Chanticleer website, and follow them so you receive the book reviews that this organization makes possible. And then buy the books you like, and take a moment afterwards to post a favorable review on Amazon or Goodreads or Librarything.

Because we writer-trolls need all the love and attention we can get.




Author Interview Podcast

Author Interview Podcast

My First Podcast Interview

This week I had a ton of fun chatting with Booktastik’s Dione Lister. You’ll find my book special listed there under New Releases, along with a lot of other great deals. And today the podcast of my author interview is live. I talk about my latest book, my last book, my next book, and about my writing process. As well as other things, like inspiration, process, community and cats.

Check it out here!

Author photo M A Clarke Scott

I Promised Italian Food! Here’s the First Course!

Cherry Almond Biscotti

The Art of Enchantment book coverI promised you food  as part of my All-Italian blog week to celebrate the launch of The Art of Enchantment. And I woke up this morning with a serious craving for biscotti.

When I want biscotti, my go-to recipe is always by Christine Cushing. No need to re-invent the wheel here. If you are a biscotti fan, this is the BEST!

Lately I’ve seen a trend in coffee shops to monster-sized biscotti of strangely ubiquitous consistency and no discernible flavor. Be careful not to break your teeth.

This is not that.

The recipe is quick and easy. I laid out my ingredients first, since I just moved this week and I wanted to know that I could find everything. There are other versions, with hazelnuts, chocolate or whatever you like best, but today I wanted dried cherries and almonds. In my opinion, the secret ingredient that makes these cookies so good is the grape seed oil. Don’t substitute anything else for that. And don’t leave out the lemon zest or anise because the flavor is so Italy.

ingredients for cherry almond biscotti recipe

Basically I mix up the dry ingredients in one bowl, blend up the wet ingredients in the mixer, stir them together and presto!

Then I pour/drop/shape the sticky dough into two long, rather narrow logs on buttered parchment. Bake for about 20 minutes. It gets quite golden brown, but it’s still a bit soft inside.

cherry almond biscotti after first baking


After the first-baked slabs cool for fifteen minutes, slice on the diagonal into 3/4″ slices, lay them on their sides and bake again until crispy and dry. Yum. You can dip them in your caffe latte if you like them soft, but they are just as delicious eaten straight off the pan all by themselves. Buon appetito!




1 1/2 cups and 2 tbsp. all purpose flour (405ml)

2 tsp baking powder (10 ml)

1 tsp ground anise seed (5 ml)

pinch salt

grated zest of 2 lemons

1 cup sugar (250 ml)

1/3 cup grape seed oil (75 ml)

3 eggs

1 cup toasted whole almonds, skin on (250 ml)

1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (125 ml)

butter, for brushing baking tray


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Brush with butter.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, ground anise and salt into a medium bowl. Add almonds and cherries.
  4. In another bowl, add lemon zest, sugar, oil and eggs. Whisk or mix until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon and blend well.
  5. Divide dough in half and shape each into a cylinder (roughly 12 x 2 inches). Dough will be sticky so use a little oil on hands or spatula to shape dough. Arrange the cylinders on baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches – they will spread out as they bake.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 mutes or until golden and firm. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before cutting to keep shape. With a large spatula carefully scrape cylinders off tray and transfer to a cutting board. Carefully slice crosswise on the diagonal with a serrated edge knife (in one full cut) into 1/2-inch slices. Put slices back onto the baking sheet, laying flat and not overlapping. Bake a second time (again at 325 degrees F.) for 20 more minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Makes about 40 cookies.

Note: I used my new convection oven for the first time, so I adjusted the times down about 5 minutes per stage.

Let me know if you try the recipe and if you agree they are the best biscotti ever.

I hope you make yourself a nice coffee, sit down with a biscotti or two turn on your soundtrack and settle in to a good read, once you pick up your copy of my new release, The Art of Enchantment, on special this week for only .99. Ciao!

Romantic Italian Soundtrack for The Art of Enchantment

Romantic Italian Soundtrack for The Art of Enchantment

The Art of Enchantment book cover

Soundtrack for

The Art of Enchantment

Special bonus for release week!

I’ve created a romantic soundtrack of various artists that I listened to while writing the book.

There’s a little bit if everything, including the Andrea Bocelli songs that Guillermo sings to Clio.

If you want to check out the lyrics in English, you can go here for translations of most songs.

Click the cover image if you haven’t picked up your copy of the book yet. Monday is release day, and the special $0.99 price applies this week only.




Romance Novels Set in Italy

Ciao Bella!

While we’re in the mood to immerse ourselves in La Bella Vita, and all good things Italian, I did some research on romance novels set in Italy and personally hand-picked a few I think look amazing.

I haven’t actually read most of these, but judging by the descriptions and ratings, I’m going to! I’ve added all eleven to my to-be-read file in Goodreads. You can follow me there by clicking on the link in the sidebar. I feel a binge coming on.

So, just for fun, here’s the list. They’re all romances, but I’ve included classics, contemporary, historical, paranormal, time travel, young adult, romantic suspense and even redacted Shakespeare. I hope you find something to interest you and this list will inspire your reading.


Breathing Room book coverBreathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 4.2 star rating

“She’s Dr. Isabel Favor, America’s diva of self-help.
He’s Ren Gage, Hollywood’s favorite villain.
Sometimes you just know that God has a sense of humor.”

Classic SEP absurdity, with fun and games to spare, I’ll bet.


Rosamanti book coverRosamanti by Noelle Clark 4.6 star rating

Mystery author Sarah Halliman answers a newspaper advertisement—For lease: Isolated villa on Capri, Italy. Must love cats and heads to Italy, where she gets know the locals and solves a mystery.


The Italian Wedding book coverThe Italian Wedding by Nicky Pellegrino 4.3 star rating

“Pieta Martinelli’s sister is getting married…As Pieta stitches and beads her sister’s wedding gown she uncovers the secrets that have made her family what it is and that stand between her and happiness.” A family drama and coming of age story.


A Room with a View book coverA Room with a View by E M Forster 4.1 star rating

A social comedy set in Florence, Italy, and Surrey, England. Its heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, struggling against straitlaced Victorian attitudes of arrogance, narrow-mindedness and snobbery, falls in love-while on holiday in Italy-with the socially unsuitable George Emerson. A classic.

The VisitantThe Vistant book cover by Megan Chance 3.8 star rating

Elena Spira is sent to Venice to escape disgrace and to atone by caring for the ailing Samuel Farber. At the crumbling and decaying Ca’ Basilio palazzo Elena finds herself entangled in a world where the past seeps into the present and nothing is as it seems. A Venetian historical ghost story. Sounds Gothic!

From Italy with LoveFrom Italy with Love book cover by Jules Wake 4.5 star rating

‘This epic road-trip is full of glamour, romance and sizzling sexual tension, but at its heart is a truly heart-warming tale of self discovery.”


JulietJuliet book cover Renaissance woman top over title over modern woman bottom by Ann Fortier 4.1 star rating

“When Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety deposit box in Siena, Italy, she is told it will lead her to an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a winding and perilous journey into the history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo rocked the foundations of medieval Siena.”

The Lost Art of Second Chances book coverThe Lost Art of Second Chances by Courtney Hunt 4.5 stars

“When Lucy Parker’s eccentric grandmother, Belladonna, dies, she leaves one last request. Lucy must return a beloved painting to a mysterious man in Italy, leading her on a journey into the past to discover long-buried family secrets that could change everything.”


Homeport book coverHomeport by Nora Roberts 4.4 star rating

“An art expert and a thief get caught in a dangerous game in this novel of daring deception and desire from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts.”


The Juliet Club book coverThe Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper 3.8 star rating

Kate Sanderson spends the summer abroad studying Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Verona, Italy where she is thrown together with five other teens in the Juliet Club. Can Kate’s cool logic withstand the most romantic summer ever? YA


In My Lady's Shadow book coverIn My Lady’s Shadow (Lady of Asolo) by Siobhan Daiko 4.5 star rating

Fern’s vacation in Italy turns into a nightmare when she’s snatched back in time and lives the life of Cecilia, lady in waiting to Queen Caterina Corner. Time travel!


Let me know if you’ve picked up any of these books, or even if you’ve already read them. Tell me what you thought of it in the comment section below. And if you connect with me on Goodreads, give me a shout out to let me know where you found me.

Be Swept Away… A Journey of Love

Be Swept Away… A Journey of Love

Misty photo of a Renaissance villa on a Tuscan hillside, surrounded by Cypress treesLife is a Journey

Do you love to travel to foreign locales? I do. I haven’t been everywhere, not even close. But over the years, I’ve been on a journey or three. And the places I haven’t been, I love reading about in novels.

Fiction brings facts alive for me. I always enjoy learning about new places, different cultures or customs, art and architecture and history. This is much better through the lens of a story than from a dry encyclopedia or text book. But that’s me.
Line of Cypress trees on a golden Tuscan hillside

So when I set out to write fiction, I couldn’t help but write stories about young women traveling or living abroad, perhaps studying, vacationing or on a personal quest of some kind. I’ve written three books like this.


The Art of Enchantment, though it wasn’t the first written, will be the first to be published on March 20th. I’m so excited to share it with readers at last.

Coming up with a series tagline that represented both the “journey” aspect, and the “personal growth” aspect of these stories was hard. I thought of and discarded two dozen options before finally settling on “Life is a Journey“. It may not be witty, but it captures everything that’s in my mind and in my heart when I write these books.

view of an outdoor restaurant on the side of a Tuscan hill

Travel as Inspiration

Because I love to travel, very often it’s those exotic, stimulating experiences and environments that inspire my story ideas. (That’s as good an excuse as any to plan another trip, if you ask me!) Writing the stories brings back memories, and enriches my original travel experiences. As do these photos from my journey.

Tuscan villaA Dissimulation of Doves was inspired by a trip to York, England, back in 2006, and specifically by a charming old inn where we stayed. I still remember lying awake one night, restless with jet lag, imagining the people who owned and worked at the hotel.

What kinds of adventures might they have had, both in the past and present? And what would happen if a young Canadian woman came here to find out?

Another work in progress, currently titled Tempered by Love, was inspired by a summer stay in the south of France in 2009. Not Provence, which is perhaps more familiar to North American travelers. Rather Aquitaine, a very special province full of fascinating geology, pre-history, history and rich culture. In particular, an annual Medieval Festival in the village where we stayed conjured an almost magical atmosphere.  Jugglers, acrobats and even giants might appear, and inspire life changing events for an unsuspecting traveller passing through.

partial view of the Duomo in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, travel photo journal of M A Clarke Scott author

Finally, a month long stay in Tuscany in 2012 was the inspiration for The Art of Enchantment. Tuscany is already so rich in art and history. It’s such a beautiful, living landscape, it can’t help but inspire storytelling. Strangely though, the seed for this idea came from an imaginary place – a crumbling Renaissance villa.

photo of David sculpture by Michelangelo, replica in Florence piazzaAs we were driving along a scenic country road, I got to thinking about the fact that the artist Sting apparently owns an old villa somewhere, in Umbria, if I recall correctly. And I got to wondering about the fate of all those old buildings – who owns them now – what are they used for – and how do people, especially old families, afford the costs of upkeep and repairs (it’s the architect in me, I guess.) How would one go about rescuing it? That’s what got me thinking about old money and new money, a clash of worlds, and a way to give an old villa a new life by making it into a passion project for two creative dreamers. Thus Clio and Guillermo were born!

Memories from Tuscany

Photo of the elliptical piazza in Luca, Tuscany, Italy from author M A Clarke Scott journey photoTo celebrate the connection between travel, romance and storytelling, and get you in the mood for reading The Art of Enchantment, I’ve included a few photographs taken on my 2012 trip to Italy. Enjoy!

Tell me about your own travels in the comments section below! What exotic places have you visited that got you dreaming about what might have been, and what could be!

Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire my next book.

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Art of Enchantment, available for pre-sale right now. Be swept away on a journey of love…

promotion banner for The Art of Enchantment, romance novel by M A Clarke Scott