Finding “The Sweet One” (excerpt)

Enjoy an excerpt from Finding “The Sweet One”, a story from my new book Spiritual Hottie’s Diary: Tantalizing Tales of Steamy Self-Discovery inspired by my grandmother.

The bells of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s crown jewel, chime eight times. I have just finished doing my sun salutation on the balcony of a charming B&B not far from the Basilica. The small garden under my balcony is in full bloom with red and yellow tulips. I close my eyes and stretch my arms toward the morning sun, offering my embrace to its warm rays. Today will be gorgeous. I’m so happy I came here. I can dance. In fact, I should dance!

With my eyes still closed, I join The Village People to act out a spirited rendition of the chorus from “YMCA.” As I open my eyes to see if anyone has been watching, I see that I have an audience, a guy in dark blue jeans and a green T-shirt standing in the middle of the garden, staring at me. Oops. I stare back, caught in the act. He adjusts his glasses, and then he smiles in a most disarming way and claps. But I am not a grateful performer in this moment. I don’t repeat any of my splendid moves. Neither do I bow to my appreciating audience of one. No. Instead, I stick out my tongue and sneak back into my room.

Well done, Yvonne! Show your tongue to strangers. All right, let’s leave the balcony performance behind and get dressed, grab a bite, and hit the streets. Botticelli’s Venus and Michelangelo’s David are waiting!

I think of my maternal grandma, Catherine. Every time she and her gray-haired lady friends took off on yet another road trip, she told me and my Mom the same thing right before she left: “Yvy, Cindy, do the world a favor. Find what you’re passionate about and share your passions with others.”

Ever since they graduated high school back in the early 1950s, my grandma and her three friends—no matter what twists and turns they were facing in their respective lives—fulfilled their passions by visiting one new state together. It was amazing to see my grandma each time she returned from one of those trips, looking and sounding 10 years younger.

“How does she do this?” I wondered. “What’s her secret?”

Grandma always sent postcards, complete with a story—where imagination tangoed with truth—scribbled in her tiny, cursive handwriting. Her last one remains my most precious. It shows a seagull flying over the ocean waves, and it came just before she passed away from diabetes a decade ago.

“May you stay forever inspired, lighthearted, and passionate, Yvy, as you are. And, remember, spontaneity is your best companion, no matter where you go, even if the destination is Heaven.”

I may not have inherited her beauty, but I will always treasure grandma’s adventurous spirit—along with her postcard collection. Thanks to them, ever since childhood I have been hooked on reading books that travel through space and time.

I recently became similarly entranced by a book that my college friend Olivia sent me for my birthday three weeks ago: The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie, an epic tale of an incredibly beautiful and mysterious princess who commanded power over the men she loved. The interconnected fates of these people in Italy and India teased me with magic and intrigue, tragedy, triumph, and passionate lovemaking.

So I followed my grandma’s advice. With a week off before my summer internship starts, I take the money I’ve saved working part-time as a paralegal and as soon as my last exam at Georgetown Law School is over I’m on a plane to Italy. And here I am, making a fool of myself on my very first day.

Guess who I bump into in the breakfast room? The stranger from the tulip garden, that’s who. Now he’s wearing a tall, white chef hat and a white apron with a nametag that says Ratul. Sounds like an Indian name, but this guy is fair-skinned and light brown. He doesn’t look like he is from India. Odd…


For the rest of this story and nine more, please buy my book “Spiritual Hottie’s Diary: Tantalizing Tales of Steamy Self-Discovery” at

From Amazon reviewers:

Kirin: “I’ve loved reading this on my mobile phone instead of checking email or Facebook, the time waiting in line or for the bus passes too fast! It’s a good thing no one reads over my shoulder as there are some very steamy, fun scenes that quickly sweep you away from any drudgery in your daily life. And it’s easy and oh-so-much fun to pick up where you left off :)”

Karl: “For a brief moment I was tempted to write that I enjoyed reading the book “even though I am a man”, but then it occurred to me that Janna (and Yvonne) may have succeeded in blurring that line of separation as well. So, instead, I will simply say that the book is wonderfully creative, daring, intelligent, fun, and also a little naughty. Well done & highly recommended!”


Photo credit: simpleinsomnia.

Girl on Fire (excerpt)

For I must tell you that we artists cannot tread the path of Beauty without Eros keeping company with us and appointing himself (or herself) as our guide.

~ Thomas Mann

Read an excerpt from “Girl on Fire,” a story from my new book Spiritual Hottie’s Diary: Tantalizing Tales of Steamy Self-Discovery:

I lean toward Paulo, asking to hear more.

“An old legend says,” he continues, “that there were two young people, a princess and a shepherd, deeply in love with one another. But the princess’s father, the king of this land, forbade them to see each other as soon as he found out about their love. On their last night together, the two lovers cried so much that their tears turned into the lakes: The tears from the princess’s green eyes created the green lake and the tears from the shepherd’s blue eyes made the blue lake. Next morning, they were taken away by their families and separated forever. So there are two lakes still here today, so close to each other yet not touching because of the road.”

Paulo and I start walking along the single-lane, paved road dividing the lakes.

My hair debacle is a trifle compared with the young lovers’ tragic problems. I make a mental note to myself still thinking about the legend.

“Our nature here is so beautiful,” Paulo says, deep in his thoughts. “You can find many places both breathtaking and peaceful.”

He becomes silent, as if his brain is changing frequencies. “You too are beautiful and peaceful, Vanessa. Yet your hair speaks passion. When your red curls catch the wind, they look like fire sending sparks into the air.”

As if to demonstrate, a gust of wind comes out of nowhere. The air around my face is set ablaze.

“Playing with fire is dangerous,” I tell him mischievously.

Paulo slowly looks me up and down.

“I know,” he says, “but what’s life without some risk, without passion?”

“Two lakes forever separated by a road.”

Paulo laughs.

“Very philosophical of you, Senhorita Silva.”

I feel a new legend coming on.

“Let me take some pictures of you. You’ll look even more beautiful in the sunset,” he says. “Where’s your camera?”

“In my purse in your car.” 

We walk back slowly, just an inch away from each other. It’s very quiet on the road. I haven’t seen a single car passing us by. Our hands touch lightly. My heart beats faster. I notice that Paulo’s shoulders have kind of broadened, and he seems to be walking with a purpose. One thing is crystal clear to both of us: We are not walking to the car to find my camera. Instead, Paulo opens the door for me and we climb in the backseat.

Paulo pushes both of our bags to the very corner of the leather seat to make space for us. We sit facing each other for a few moments. Then he leans over and kisses me under my jaw, sniffing some air like he’s sniffing me in.

“I could sense your pleasant scent as soon as you got into my boat. I followed it like a wolf on a hunt.”

“What a coincidence,” I say, climbing onto his lap as my pleated white skirt folds up to my hips. “Wolves are my favorite animals!”

Thanks to German manufacturing, we have plenty of room to maneuver inside his spacious Mercedes….


For the rest of this story and nine more, get my book “Spiritual Hottie’s Diary: Tantalizing Tales of Steamy Self-Discovery” at

From Amazon reviewers:

Olanda Loom: “This is a very funny, charming, and wise book for every emotional season: a must-have for the gray and lonely days—it made me laugh so much that my belly hurt and l instantly felt like a triple winner-goddess. And it is a must-have for the good days—it will double your joy and show you how to live life to the fullest! A lot of wisdom and many spiritual (and sensual) lessons to learn! Loved so much that I am recommending it to all my friends.”

Jen: “What a great delight it was to read Janna Seagull’s debut of short stories. Like a wild crimson-haired mare racing out of the gates, Janna’s alter-ego “Yvonne” doesn’t waste any time encountering steamy adventures and taking us along for the fun-filled ride. Yvonne definitely puts the “Hot” in Hottie!”



Photo credit: Elido Turco.