Tag Archives: New Adult Fiction

Book Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!) — In Black And White

7 Mar

About The Book

Book: In Black and White

Author: Maryann Diorio

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: November 1, 2019

In Black and WhiteA white woman. A black man. And their forbidden love.

Can endurance and faith sustain the love between a white woman and a black man, threatened by rejection, guilt, and racial injustice? Can love alone reconcile their starkly different worlds, lighting the way to a bright future together?

When graduate student, Tori Pendola, a white American woman, and Ghanaian exchange student, Jebuni Kalitsi, heir to his tribe’s chieftaincy, fall deeply in love, they must face not only their own inner demons of rejection and guilt, but also the demons of societal hatred bent on destroying their relationship. Will their love survive the cruel and bitter attacks against them, or will hatred and prejudice gain the upper hand?

In Black and White is a deeply moving story of the power of God’s love to restore all that is broken in our lives.


Click here to get your copy.


About The Author

Mary Ann DiorioDr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author of compelling, page-turning fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She is the author of the popular trilogy titled THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES, set in 19th-century Sicily. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature. She is also a Certified Life Coach and a Licensed Minister. MaryAnn and her husband Dom, a retired ER physician, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the blessed parents of two wonderful adult daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn enjoys painting, playing the piano, and making up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn and her writing at https://www.maryanndiorio.com


More from MaryAnn

Greetings, awesome readers and friends!  It’s great to have you with me on this tour. I trust you’ll be blessed and have lots of fun.

We writers are a strange breed.  While we know what we are writing, we often don’t fully understand what we have written. Does that make sense? If not, let me explain.

Before I started writing In Black and White, I prayed. And I prayed hard. The idea for my story came to me back in the 1990s. Yes. You read that right! But it first came to me as a seed that the Lord planted in my heart. The seed would need time to grow, sprout, and blossom. So, back in the 90s, the Lord told me it wasn’t time to write my story yet.

So, I watered and waited as the seed began to do its thing. At the beginning of 2018, the Lord said, “It’s time.” And I instantly knew what He meant. It was time to start writing In Black and White.

So, in January of 2018, I started writing In Black and White. For almost two years, I wrote. The story took many twists and turns and was finally completed in August of 2019.

I mentioned earlier that we writers don’t often fully understand what we have written. What do I mean? I mean that often, for me, it is after I write the story that I recognize the theme of the story.

It’s like this: A seed doesn’t really understand what its Maker is doing. It just follows the plan. When I write, I don’t fully understand what Holy Spirit is doing. I just follow His lead.

Amazingly, the theme that I recognized in my latest novel is the same theme that appears in virtually all of my fiction. What is that theme? It’s forgiveness.

It seems as though the message of forgiveness is the spiritual trademark of my fiction. Why? Perhaps because I’ve had to do a lot of forgiving during my life—and a lot of asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the reason Jesus came to earth. He died to forgive us. If we want to be like Him, we, too, need to forgive.

So, as you read my story, I pray that it will stir you to forgive anyone and everyone in your life who has hurt you in any way. And, if need be, I pray that my story will encourage you to ask forgiveness of those whom you have hurt.

Our heavenly Father is the Great Forgiver, May we become like Him by making forgiveness the theme of our lives.

With love and blessings,MaryAnn Diorio


Recipe for Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs from MaryAnn Diorio’s novel, In Black and White. This is my late Italian mother’s recipe, straight from Italy.

Enza’s Authentic Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe


1 lb. ground meat (beef, veal, pork, turkey, or chicken, or a mixture of two or all three in any proportion)

1 large egg (not beaten)

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (preferably the flat Italian type, but the curly kind will do)

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (peppercorns ground in peppermill)

Salt to taste (Use 1/8 teaspoon for first time making this recipe and adjust, if needed, next time.)

1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon milk (whole, 2% or fat-free)


  • Prepare a baking pan (or oven-proof dish) by coating it lightly with any kind of olive oil.
  • Set oven on “bake” and temperature at 350º.
  • Place all recipe ingredients in large bowl.
  • With clean hands, mix all ingredients together until blended.
  • Fill 1/2 cup measuring cup with blended meat mixture ragù.
  • Remove meat mixture from 1/2 cup and roll mixture gently between palms of hands until meatball is shaped.
  • Place meatballs on oil-coated baking pan.
  • Continue measuring meat mixture, shaping it into meatballs and placing meatballs on oil-coated baking pan. NOTE: BE SURE TO LEAVE SPACE AROUND EACH MEATBALL TO ENSURE EVEN COOKING.
  • Bake meatballs for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of meatball comes out clean.


NOTE: Any drippings left in pan may be used as basis for homemade pasta sauce (“ragù” or “gravy”). If so desired, cool drippings, place in freezer-proof container, label contents of container, and freeze.


  • Cook pasta of choice according to package directions.
  • Serve with meatballs and your favorite spaghetti sauce.


Q&A With MaryAnn Diorio

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Officially, I first became a writer at age 30.  Up to that point, I had studied and prepared for a career teaching foreign languages at the university level. Prior to that, I had not considered writing as a profession except for a fleeting thought about studying journalism when I was 15. But the instant I walked into my first French class, my heart was smitten with the language, and I went on to earn the PhD in French.

At age 30, I began to have an unusual desire to write.  As the desire intensified, I asked the Lord if this desire was from Him. Through a series of miraculous situations, He confirmed that it was. So, totally clueless, I stepped out in faith and began to write for newspapers and magazines. I did this for several years and then, in 1989, I published my first non-fiction book, You Were Made for Greatness. It is a book about the Christian’s true identity in Christ and the authority and power we have through Him and in Him.

As the years passed, I began to experience an increasing desire to write fiction. The Lord confirmed that He was moving me in this direction when He said to me, “Non-fiction transforms the mind, but fiction transforms the heart. The world needs a transformation of the heart.” So I have been writing fiction ever since.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

No one I recall specifically encouraged me to pursue writing. But when I was a little girl, my Dad used to read to me from an old volume of poetry called The Oxford Book of English Verse. I remember being awestruck by the lilting rhythm of his voice as he read, the imaginative power of the words as he read them, and the joy with which he read them. I am certain that that experience influenced my desire to write. I wrote an article about my Dad titled “A Legacy of Words” that can be found at this link, for anyone who is interested in reading it:


Why did you choose the New Adult (NA) genre?

Ever since I first heard of NA, which requires that a heroine and hero be between the ages of 18 and 30, I was intrigued by the genre. This is the age when most of the most important decisions of life are made—like choosing a spouse, a college or trade, a career, etc. I wanted to depict characters facing not only these critically important decisions but facing them against a backdrop of other very serious problems. In the case of my novel, In Black and White, these serious problems include racism, prejudice, interracial relationships, stark cultural differences, and family and societal opposition.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Yes, many!  Anyone who proclaims the truth of the Gospel, whether through writing or any other venue, will face opposition from the enemy. The obstacles I faced included challenges with my hands and my eyes (both essential to a writer), major computer problems (crashes, loss of files, virus infiltrations, etc.).  But in all of these things, I was “more than a conqueror” through Christ Who loves us!  Praise His Holy Name!  

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

The recurring theme that seems to emerge as I write my stories is the theme of forgiveness.  What I would like my readers to take away from my novels is that forgiveness is essential to following Christ. It is essential to one’s salvation and to one’s physical and mental health.  I have been in healing ministry for many years, and in most cases of sickness, I find that the sick person is holding on to bitterness about a past hurt and has refused to forgive the person who hurt him. When that person forgives, healing begins.


Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Older & Smarter?, March 6

By The Book, March 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9

For the Love of Literature, March 10 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, March 11

Pause for Tales, March 12

All 4 and About Books, March 13 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

CarpeDiem, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 16


To celebrate her tour, MaryAnn is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.


Book Review: The Merciful Scar

25 Apr

689223Kirsten has spent her life trying to forget. But mercy begs her to remember.

When she was in high school, a terrible accident fractured her family, and the only relief Kirsten could find was carving tiny lines into her skin, burying her pain in her flesh. The pain she caused herself was neat and manageable compared to the emotional pain that raged inside.

She was coping. Or so she thought.

But then, eight years later, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten learns he’s been secretly seeing her best friend. Desperate to escape her feelings, she reaches for the one thing that gives her a sense of control in the midst of chaos.

But this time the cut isn’t so tiny, and it lands her in the psych hospital. Within hours of being there she knows she can’t stay—she isn’t crazy, after all. But she can’t go back to the life she knew before either.

So when her pastor mentions a treatment program on a working ranch, Kirsten decides to take him up on the offer and get away from it all. But the one thing she can’t escape is herself—and her shame.

The ranch is home to a motley crew, each with a lesson to teach. Ever so slowly, Kirsten opens herself to embrace healing—even the scarred places that hurt the most. Mercy begs her to remember the past . . . showing her there’s nothing that cannot be redeemed.


UnknownRebecca St. James is a Christian pop rock singer, songwriter, musician, author, and actress. She began performing in Australia in the late 1980s and released her first full-length studio album in 1991.

Unknown-1Nancy Rue is an American Christian novelist, writing for tweens and adults. She is known for the Lily Series of novels featuring 12-year-old Lily Robbins. She is also known for the Sophie series.




My Impressions:

The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue is what some would call New Adult Fiction (the target audience is 18-24 year olds and the subject matter is adult in nature). However, my church book club, Page Turners, chose it for our April discussion based upon a radio interview of Rebecca St. James that one of our members heard. And though our youngest member is almost 20 years above the target audience and the rest of us are considerably more senior than that, we thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Well-written, with complex characters and situations, it definitely opened our eyes to the realities of cutting.

Kirsten is a graduate student with a secret. Her well-covered body does not disclose the cutting she has been doing for years. The physical scars may be hidden, but it is the emotional ones that come out when she has an accident during a cutting episode. Involuntarily admitted to the hospital for a supposed suicide attempt, Kirsten is desperate to get out and to get on with the rest of her life. The only way out is to agree to a 30-day treatment with a former Anglican nun as counselor/spiritual advisor. The ranch and its way of life seem alien to Kirsten, but soon its rhythms and the ways of God become part of her.

Though Kirsten is a self-injurer (cutter), other characters face deep emotional trauma. Guilt and forgiveness are major themes in the novel. Most of our members found the first part of the book hard to get into, but when Kirsten arrives at the ranch, the story really took off and took hold. We found the metaphors of the sheep and shepherd touching and insightful.  The characters were easy to connect with and we cared about what was going on in their lives. And there were a few scenes that brought tears. It also brought from us a deep discussion of past experiences and the hope that God can give to His people. Moving and thought-provoking, The Merciful Scar is one we heartily recommend.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs (especially young women)

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.