Joanna is passionate about her Italian-American culture and she enjoys spending time with friendly and warm people who want to share their memories with her. Also, she has always enjoyed sharing her own stories about her travels through Italy and growing up in an Italian-American family.
Joanna M. Leone has always lived in Connecticut her entire life. She is an adventurous, curious, and passionate Italian-American. Her close friends refer to her as “Joanna", "Jo", or "Jo Jo" and her family and friends in Italy refer to her as "Giovanna." Since Joanna is the youngest of six children and has travelled to Italy many times, you can just imagine how many stories she has to share. She is an open and honest person who enjoys getting to know people. "I am proud of the person that I have become and I thank my family for that!" Joanna added.
Joanna believes that there are many people who have extraordinary stories to tell and she gets very excited when she has the opportunity to spend time with old friends and family or meet new people. The retelling of their stories has become an informal and fun hobby for Joanna. Everyone has voluntarily consented, with written permission, to allow Joanna to put their stories in her book, "Slices of Life" Italian-American Stories..
This project has brought her much joy. Most of all, she appreciates the people who have made room for her at their table in Trumbull, Bridgeport, New Haven, Boston, Philadelphia and throughout the Northeast.
During this fun and rewarding hobby, she always looks forward to the warm and sincere emails which she continuously receives daily from her readers in the United States and throughout the world.
"I appreciate everyone's hard work and all of their contributions," Joanna said. Most importantly, she wants to extend a special "Thank you" to Attorney Paul Fattibene of Southport, Connecticut, for providing her with guidance and advice. His intelligence, wisdom, and patience have made things so much easier. Joanna added,"I am thankful to be blessed with a good support system of friends and family who have encouraged me. Many people have praised my work and have called or sent such warm messages. I thank them with my heart!"
Joanna knows that her passion for writing stems from her mother, Antonetta Fabrizio-Leone, and her father, the late Donato Leone. Her mother's family, the Fabrizio's, are artists and poets. Many of the Fabrizio's have the creative talent of painting, drawing, or designing. Also, her father's family are very bright, and hard working skilled laborers. She believes that her love of Italian food, great conversations, funny quotes, and the way she spends her free time stems from her parents, and has motivated her to write and talk about being an Italian-American. She will always remember her Italian-American dining room, kitchen and living room. She remembers the scent of pizza fritta, frittata, and home made Italian cookies baking at her house. From the time she was 13 years old, she was inspired to write. "I have saved every journal and notebook from the age of 13 until now," she has said. She always felt that the best times to write were after her relatives or family had gone home and the house was quiet, at the end of a holiday celebration, during her travels through Italy, upon meeting someone new, or following a family discussion.
During the past few years, Joanna enjoyed writing from the balcony of her maternal grandmother's house in San Donato Val di Comino in Italy, during her vacations there. Sometimes, she would take a walk to the nearby town of Settefrati to relax and enjoy the simple times. The sounds and sights of Italy continue to touch her heart and inspire her to write. The animation and sounds of the people bantering near the flea markets in San Donato, the sight of gelato, pastries, and the people who extended their arms to hug her touched her heart and kept her creative juices flowing. Also, the serenity of Forca D'acero Mountain is engraved in her heart and mind. For a short period of time, Joanna rented her own apartment in San Donato Val Di Comino. The apartment had two small terraces and one large balcony which faced the farmland or "compagna." The tranquil setting of her apartment as well as the love which surrounded Joanna created the right atmosphere for her writing.
Her parents and grandparents instilled Italian traditions in her life and showed her many things about the Italian culture. It is not just the food, wine, and gatherings which inspired Joanna to write about her memories and the memories of others. Most importantly, it is the constant love which surrounds her that inspires her to write. Joanna feels that it is rewarding to spend time with people who share her passion about keeping their Italian traditions alive.
Sometimes Joanna's simple memories of her father's brown pick-up truck with buckets of cement in the back make her smile. It seems like just yesterday that she heard her father pull up into the driveway after a hard day's work as a stone mason. Many people that she has met remember her parents and grandparents. They all say the same thing, "Be proud of your family. The Fabrizio and Leone family are honest, hardworking and loving people." It seems that most people who knew her Dad mention that they loved talking to him. Likewise, Joanna loves spending time with people and writing about them. The main point of her writing is to show that people still remain close to their Italian traditions as well as how many memories are still in their hearts. Most importantly, she loves getting "snap shots" or vivid details of the special memories which are locked in all of our hearts.
During the next few months Joanna will be throughout Connecticut in Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, New Haven, Trumbull, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Boston, New Jersey, Yonkers, the Bronx and Manhattan. Many people have said, "Hey, Joanna, my friends want to talk to you" or "You should write about so and so." You will notice her bright colored writing journal from a mile away! She does not use a laptop or tape recorder during the interviews. She does it the old fashioned way, with a pen and notebook. After she gathers the facts, she molds it into a beautiful story and adds her own creative thoughts and guided imagery and then, finally, types the story in her computer. Everyone has been enthusiastic about the project.
In addition to Italy, Joanna loves the sights and sounds of the Federal Hill section of Providence, Rhode Island, as well as Mulberry Street and Arthur Avenue in New York. "Joanna said, "The simple pleasures of sipping espresso as hundreds of people walk by brings me so much of joy. Most of the time, I am spontaneous and love those last minute trips in Connecticut or throughout the Northeast. I always start talking to the people sitting at the next table and I am grateful that so many people are talking to me about their special memories, traditions and experiences."
Throughout her life Joanna has spent time in Vermont on the weekends during the winter. The fresh, mountain air, breathtaking scenery, and rustic restaurants always fill her heart with joy. Also, she appreciates nature, the outdoors, and the simple beauty that she finds while she is in Vermont.
Some of Joanna's best memories are the times when she has brought her close knit circle of friends and family together at dinner parties which were held at her ski house rental in Vermont. She also continues to enjoy bringing people together in Connecticut, especially at some of her favorite local restaurants.
Joanna has won several public speaking and debate awards, which include: 2nd Place at Fordham University against Columbia University during the debate competition. Also, she won 6th Place at Randolf Macon College Debate Competition and competed at the University of Toronto Canada Debate tournament. "It seems like just yesterday that I brought back shining trophies for Sacred Heart University from Fordham and Randolf Macon College," Joanna added. Joanna said "I enjoyed being President of the Sacred Heart University Debate Team. It was an honor to be selected to participate in the the World Tournament at Princeton University. I was able to engage in debates with students from around the United States and the world". Additionally, Joanna was the Editor of Sacred Heart University Literary Magazine.
Joanna wanted to keep her creative juices flowing after she graduated from Sacred Heart University. Joanna is proud of her work and has already been published in a few literary publications. "I was honored that my work was published. My stories about ordinary people with extraordinary memories are well received among many groups of people," she added. The emails and phone calls that Joanna receives daily have proven that she has touched many lives as a result of her writing and as well as developing her own website.
"Cobblestone Roads that Lead Me Home" was published in the book Treasury of Poems in 2007. Also, "Le Rose Rosse" was published in The Italian Tribune, New Jersey on February 12, 2009. Additionally, "Nonna's Bedroom" was published in Primo, Italian American Magazine. She has also contributed her story, "Italian-American Summer" to The Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut's newsletter recently and plans on continuing her contributions.
Joanna continues to stay connected to her friends. She makes new friends easily due to her outgoing personality but she has always strengthened her existing friendships. "I have friends that I have known since I was 3 years old!" Joanna values her friendships and always tries to give a helping hand to someone who may need it.
Joanna believes, "If I do something good for someone, something good will come back to me eventually. I am blessed with a close-knit group of friends and family who are honest and dependable. I try to focus on the good things that I have in my life instead of focusing on the things that I do not have." Most importantly, Joanna believes that it is important to always surround herself with people who are honest, hard working, and loyal. "The one thing I have learned from my parents is that you should never leave anyone out. I will always remember how many people sat around my parents' dining room table and how many times the doorbell rang on the weekends. It was a home filled with love, but it was also a place where you could be comfortable and say whatever was on your mind." Although Joanna is a modern and trendy woman, she added, "I am still traditional in some ways and I have learned many valuable lessons from my parents."
It was a few years ago that Joanna started to become interested in learning about other people's memories and family traditions. She began to think about the many people in her life with hearts filled with funny, warm, moving and tender memories and traditions and was inspired to write about the memoirs of others.
It was shortly thereafter that Joanna placed an ad to which many responded for the opportunity to share their own stories of their Italian-American heritage. In addition to these stories, the majority of the stories Joanna has written to date are about her own family and people she has met by referrals. She thought she would write a book about 6 or 7 people, but then she thought, "Why stop here? I want to keep going!" Nothing was going to drain her fun-loving and carefree spirit. She has been passionate about her writing and now the word has spread. "Every day I receive emails from people who tell me how much they enjoyed my story. Most importantly, they connect with my stories on many different levels." She spent time meeting friends and acquaintances at local restaurants or coffee shops so that she could interview them about their memories. It turned out to become a social network. "Everyone had such wonderful, heartfelt stories to tell. I am honored to have met so many kind people. Most people did not want to be compensated or they were willing to share their story for the cost of dinner and a drink. Once in a while, a person wanted a gift card as a token of her appreciation. For the most part, people wanted to be a part of this project without any compensation at all, and they did so willingly."
You will enjoy Joanna M. Leone's book, "Slices of Life". You may also "Friend" Joanna Leone on Facebook. Please check out Joanna's Italian American "Slices of Life" you tube video ! The video was filmed on Sunday, January 24, 2010. You can go to the You tube website and type her name, Joanna Leone, and then click on the Italian American Slices of Life video. You will get to meet some of the special friends that are included in Joanna's book.
Joanna said, "I am blessed to have many family, friends, readers, and fellow authors who have supported my work, and who have offered me advice and encouragement. The amazing thing is that so many people had so many memories pouring out of their hearts. They did not expect anything in return, except to share their stories and the excitement of having it published. These are people who always make room for me at their table."
Joanna currently works in the Fairfield County area as an English language instructor.
Short Stories Italian-American Orchid by Joanna M Leone Enjoy this nostalgic story about an Italian neighborhood in Philadelphia and the special memories engraved in Elizabeth Martino's heart.... Finding Joy by Joanna M Leone Sometimes simple changes in your life can be uplifting.... The Matador and The Bull by Joanna M Leone All of us, in some way, are Matadors in that we must fight and challenge the bad experiences which come our way. The bull is representative of our habits, addictions, and the bad luck or challenges we... Italian-American Journey to the Barbados by Joanna M Leone Put on your beach shoes and sunglasses. I know you will love dipping your toes into the beautiful, white, satin sand of the Barbados. Take a trip to the Barbados with me.... Italian-American Anginette Cookies by Joanna M Leone I remember the scent of the Anginette Cookies during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Mama baked these delicious cookies for bridal showers, baby showers and even birthdays! I loved sticking my fin... The Italian-American Tribute to her Brother (Mia Fratello) by Joanna M Leone A brother always has a special place in a woman's life. Since my Papa died when I was thirteen years old, my brother, Danny (Donato Leone, Jr.) became the prominent male figure in my life. This piece...
Poetry Italian American Love Message by Joanna M Leone Ahhh, romance. It comes in so many colors and scents. Nights become filled with music, laughter, and the simple beauty which surrounds us in every corner of the landscape. I am far from being an expe... Italian American Rose by Joanna M Leone Sometimes, all it takes is one single rose to help you appreciate the day.
Una rosa in neve è bella. Ha bisogno del tuo amore.... The Italian American Man in October Uomini, fogli ed il vento di ottobre by Joanna M Leone As October approaches, it reminds me of the unpredictable winds and changing colors. Men are like the month of October, so refreshing, yet unpredictable.... Tribute to Fishermen by Joanna M Leone Spend a day at the sea, and watch the smiles of the fishermen nearby.... Italian American Rosa -Italian version by Joanna M Leone This is the Italian version of my original poem in English, "Italian American Rose." This is my my own, creative work which I had written in English. However, I have asked Carlo Zuccerini to translat... Sounds of Italy by Joanna M Leone This poem was written by Dee Nagy, of Norwalk, CT.
I had recently met Dee and I had written a story about her called, "Italian American in Norwalk, CT".
Dee shared this poem with ... Italian American Tribute to Veterans by Joanna M Leone We can never thank our Veterans enough. They represent bravery and heroism. The Veteran must always be respected, for without him or her, where would our world be? ... Omaggio ai pescatori by Joanna M Leone This poem has been translated by Carlo Zuccarini. The original poem, Tribute to Fishermen, was written in English and has been on my website for a few weeks. Since many of my readers speak Italian or... Mother's Day Star by Joanna M Leone Happy Mother's Day.... Italian American St. Patrick's Day by Joanna M Leone St. Patrick's Day is a special celebration for everyone. It is a day when my mother puts on her apron and cooks corned beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes. We take a break from the marinara sauce on ... Italian American Sisters by Joanna M Leone This poem explains how I felt having four sisters, and how my house looked as I stood on my tip toes and peeked around.... Italian American Tribute to Captains by Joanna M Leone My love of the sea never leaves me. "Thank you" to all captains and friends who have taken me out on their boats as they brave the sea.... Italian American Hearts by Joanna M Leone Love and special days such as Valentine's Day are more than the chocolate inside of the red heart. It is a time to rekindle the flames of the heart, and to erase the bitter words. Saying "thank you" ... Italian American Rainbow in the Piazza by Joanna M Leone Sometimes, on a rainy day, or even when you are feeling down, something beautiful appears....when you least expect it! ... Cobblestone Roads That Lead You Home by Joanna M Leone Ahh, San Donato Val Di Comino! There are warm, friendly people, good, fresh food, peacefulness, serenity and great hiking on Forca D'arcero!" There are not any cons, unless you want the constant city...
Booksigning event with Joanna M. Leone 9/14/2012 Meet Joanna M. Leone, author of "Slices of Life" Italian-American Stories and enjoy a free slice of pizza at Ceniccola's Deli October 11th, 12th and 13th!...
Future appearances to include Primo Magazine and several other publications. Also, I plan to become involved with local Italian-American organizations. Currently, I am planning several events at wineries, festivals, outdoor restaurants, coffee shops, classic car shows and boat shows and many other fun events!! I am also looking into the possibility of joining the BACIO organization. I appreciate the support of the Italian-American Historical Society, Ciao Sorelle, Sons and Daughters of Italy of North Haven, CT and everyone at the Watermark.
The dedication page of my book will be a few pages long, as there are so many old friends and new ones who have inspired me to write. Also, many people have opened their hearts to me and have allowed me to write stories about them. My plan is to record an audio book at a later date.
At this time, I will be writing stories about many Italian-Americans. One segment will be titled, "Storytelling by the Bonfire" and other stories about Italian traditions. chefs, restaurant owners, and many others have volunteered to help! Another section will be dedicated to business owners in the Little Italy Sections of Connecticut and New York. This portion is an ongoing project. I have spent time on Wooster St in New Haven, but have alot of area to cover. I am touched by the amount of emails that keep pouring in! I hope to see you soon. Maybe we will bump into each other sometime at a local trattoria, coffee shop, or right there on Mulberry Street. There is always room for you at my table, and everyone is invited to share their story with me about traditions, growing up Italian, and many other topics.
There are several events coming up in May and June, which I will add to the events section of her website soon!
Check out some of my favorite links which are listed below!
Joanna M Leone
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