Linda Leuzzi is an award-winning journalist, editor and author of 8 non-fiction books for young adults. Her stories for the Long Island Advance and Suffolk County News and Islip Bulletin have garnered 19 New York Press Association Awards including First Place citations for In-Depth Reporting, Spot News, Sports Feature, Coverage of the Arts, Headline Writing and Spot News Photo. Team coverage of LGBTQ issues that included her stories and editorials won a 2020 prestigious Third Place Sharon Fullmer Award for Community Leadership. In 2022 another Third Place Sharon Fullmer Award for Community Leadership for team coverage of LGBTQ issues included Linda’s contributions. Her many celebrity interviews have included Chazz Palminteri, Bernadette Peters, Isabella Rossellini, Tony Danza, director Keith Andrews and choreographer Randy Skinner. Two non-fiction books for Franklin Watts earned her placement on the New York Public Library’s list of Best Books for Teens. Community awards include: Woman of Diversity for the Of Colors ArtSpace Black History celebration and Brookhaven Town’s Outstanding Service in Media/Communications during Women’s History Month. She was a Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts honoree for her stories on the theatre’s renovations, shows and celebrities, Patchogue Village for stories about the community, and received the Science Museum of Long Island’s Outstanding Advocate Award for Environmental Writing. Awards were also received from the New York State Senate and Suffolk County Legislature for her contributions to community reporting. And this year, the Bayport-Blue Point Library recognized Linda for her many stories keeping the public informed on their plans to move to and ultimately renovate the former St. Ursula Center.
Linda was a public relations manager for Avon Products, Inc. and ditched the window office to attend St. John’s University for her degree in journalism, ultimately freelancing for Newsday and other publications. After stepping aside as editor for the Long Island Advance, Linda still subs when needed and is a weekly Contributing Writer. She is an honorary Sayville Rotarian and has hosted seven Rotary exchange students with her husband at their home. A lover of British series, foreign films, Turner Classic Movies, PBS, Broadway and Gateway musicals and Patchogue Theatre concerts, as well as European travel to Paris, London, Prague and other gorgeous places Linda is always thinking of stories when she walks or jogs in her South Shore, Long Island neighborhood with her rescue dog Tina. Visit Linda’s website at www.lindaleuzzi.com; she is also on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Book Jacket design by Sandra Kosak, SK Creative Agency.
Jacket beach photo by Thomas Schultz
It’s 1985. The Bellport Evening Star, a weekly community paper headed by its sassy editor Vivian Allegra, covers both the humorous and serious issues that regularly erupt in this small village. When she agrees to host a teen exchange student from Catania for a year, Francesca, who descriptively discusses her ancient home city and is hilarious in her observations of American life and who teams up with Black student Keisha with her beautiful Broadway dancer aunt for the upcoming Step competition, life starts taking off.
Actually it does for all of them. These are three strong women who in their own voices, fight to achieve their goals, which includes the community that helps them.
Add a burgeoning local environmental issue with alarming threats to Vivian, a bit of magical realism, and a handsome Brit neighbor who has his eye on recently divorced Vivian and things get pretty interesting.
Who’s mysteriously threatening Vivian? Will the Wiley property be saved? Will the Step Squad win the Regional competition? And will Vivian let down her guard with sweet Ian?
This uplifting story about small town life presents the workings of a weekly paper, different cultures, and what happens when belief in one’s self persists.