Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Loire Boat Tour


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
We have friends who live in Nantes. While visiting, Grace and Earl went on a boat tour of the Loire River. 
Here's the ancestral home of the Dukes of Burgundy.

And here's a shot of the sparkling sunshine on the river with so many sailboats around. 
Watching the Tour de France is making me really yearn for France. Can't wait to see what you are sharing. 
And I'm linking this month to Paris in July cohosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.




Giveaway Winner for M.J. Rose manuscript page


From the comments left after my review and the interview of M.J. Rose for France Book Tours, I entered everyone on a random name selector app and it chose the winner -- Harvee at Book Dilettante.
Congratulations, Harvee.
You'll get a signed manuscript page from M.J. Rose's Seduction and  you'll be entered in the contest to win the necklace on the cover.
Oooh. I hope you win the necklace.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Bikes and Snakes

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Last night, our little city held its annual bike race, the Tour de Grandview. 


The city streets were closed off and a beer tent, along with food trucks appeared. We walked along the route and met our friends with their son Thomas, who decided to wear his snake around his neck.

In this photo, he looks kind of surprised to see the snake around his neck.

He says the snake is a chick magnet.
Hope you all are having a good weekend.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

She's All That

For adults, our lives are fairly predictable. We go to work, do all the household chores, occasionally indulge in hobbies or vacations. Life is not like that for my daughter Grace.
Grace is 21 and in January she decided not to go back to her college in New York (10 hours away). Instead, she took some classes locally and applied to other colleges. She'll be going about 20 minutes away from home in August for a theater/broadcast journalism major.
But she's not sitting home waiting for August. She'll be appearing in two shows this summer. In Les Miserables, she's a prostitute in the first act and a barricade girl in the second act. She was so thrilled to come home and tell me she was a whore!
The other show is Emma by Jane Austen, the musical. And Grace is Emma.
I know!
Promotional photos for Emma came out the other night and I was wowed. What do you think?
Here she is striking a fierce pose with Mr. Knightley 
All innocence
Each time I choose one as my favorite, I look again and prefer another one. 
Slightly mischievous

What do you think?Which do you like best?
 I can't wait for the show.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Music During Special Moments

Tonight, I was watching the replay of The Daily Show with John Oliver. He and his guest were talking about important moments in their lives and the music that played during those moments.
I didn't expect that I would connect with specific songs and turning point moments, but two immediately jumped to mind.
The first was a huge crush I had on a guy from New Zealand. I met Mike when I went to interview him for a story in the local newspaper. Mike was riding his bike across part of the United States, and Ohio didn't get a lot of people from New Zealand at the time.
The sparks flew as soon as I sat down with him. We went on a few dates before it was time for him to move along. I offered him a ride down to Kentucky where I was going to visit my grandmother. We went boating with my cousin and explored the woods near my grandmother's house and swam in the lake. He asked me if there were alligators in the lake and I laughed at him since we were in Kentucky instead of Louisiana.
But I was leaving for grad school and he needed to continue his journey south. He decided to try to catch a ride down south rather than riding his bike. So the afternoon I was returning to Ohio, I dropped him at a truck stop. As I drove away, Phil Collins' song "Against All Odds" came on the radio. "How can I just let you walk away... How can you just walk away from me when all I can do is watch  you leave." I cried as a I drove away.
So that's the first moment that came to mind when I thought of important moments and music. Then I felt bad that I didn't immediately think of my husband, who, obviously turned out to be much more important than this hot guy from New Zealand.
That's when I remembered a Sunday afternoon the spring of 1988. Earl (who would become my husband), Mike and I decided to take my new Mustang convertible to visit a flea market. Afterward, we drove around in the hot Florida sunshine and heard, for the first time, the Bobby McFerrin song "Don't Worry, Be Happy."
Can you imagine how that felt, riding around with the man I would marry, feeling the sun on our skin, the wind in our hair and singing at the top of our lungs -- "Don't Worry, Be Happy"?
How bout you? Can you remember music playing at special moments in your life?

Writing Pain and Book Tours

This morning, I started outside for a run. I felt a few raindrops but figured the sky looked fairly clear. I tucked my iPhone inside my shorts and began. Within a block, the raindrops came heavier. Suddenly they were those plump drops striking against my skin with intensity filling the air around me.
I ran back home and used a towel to wipe my bare arms and legs then changed into shorts and a tank top for some indoor yoga.
The run this morning seems like a metaphor for my online book tour.
Okay, maybe that's a stretch.
France Book Tours is organized by the wonderful Emma at Words and Peace blog. She's a French woman transplanted to the U.S. and she loves books. She wrote an excellent review of my novel last fall.
Emma organized several stops for my novel -- two interviews and four book reviews.
One of the book reviews was positive, two were mediocre on the book, and one apparently felt it shouldn't be in print.
So that leaves me feeling fairly discouraged.
I know that with all books some people will enjoy them and others won't. I know that logically, but my heart still smarts from the rejection.
A student of mine who worked in the publishing/book reviewing world, said self-published writers are the worst about arguing with book reviews, so I try not to.
But... on Suko's notebook when she says "...other aspects were too hackneyed.  (For example, the idea that having extramarital affairs in France is the norm; maybe it is, but it just seemed a bit too clichéd.)"
I had to resist the urge to point out the cliche is French men having affairs. In my book, a French woman seduces the American husband, and it's not for the sake of sex. To me, that's a twist on an old idea rather than a stereotype. But I resisted. Instead, I said nothing.

Emma reminded me in an email that my book rating at Goodreads is 4.04 out of 5, so that's good.
My rating at Amazon.com is 4.2 out of 5.
I guess I need to put aside those needles prickling my confidence and keep writing.
Lots of opportunities to win ecopies or paperback copies of my novel if you haven't done so yet. Even the negative reviews are giving away copies. (Isn't that weird? If someone didn't like the book, who would sign up to win a copy of it?)
So click on the FranceBookTours pic above to see a list of stops on my book tour and you can enter at each one.
And thanks to all of you who have encouraged me. A breath of hope on a small flame, maybe it will grow into something more.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dreaming of France -- What Do You Bring Home?


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again
When you go to France what do you make sure you bring home? My list is always long, but a true necessity is wine. Our friend Michel usually takes Earl to the wine store to buy six bottles. We each stash three in our suitcases.
We have the hardest time knowing when to drink that special wine though. Sunday we decided to open a bottle to celebrate our anniversary. Earl is afraid some of it is getting too old. I don't know much about wine, but apparently some wines age well and others don't.
We picked a bottle to open, a 2004 Chateau du Breuil. When we brought it up from the basement, it looked like this.


We put it in the refrigerator to chill. When we opened it, we could smell the strength of it. We forget how much stronger French wine is than the mostly sweet wines, nearly kool aid, we've been drinking here.
We sliced up some peaches to go with our dessert wine and it tasted marvelous.

What do you bring home from France?
Thanks for playing along today, and if you get a chance check out a review of my book on France Book Tours at Caffeinated Life on Monday. I hope she likes it. 



Anniversary -- Then and Now

Today we're celebrating our wedding anniversary. We were married 23 years ago on my parents' blueberry farm in Kentucky.
 Here we are driving off in my Mustang convertible, and you can tell by the look on my face, that I was ecstatic. So, I like to think that's one thing that hasn't changed after 23 years.
There are moments when I realize how lucky I am to have tied myself to this man who makes me happy -- on most days.
Here we are today before going out to brunch in a photo unwillingly taken by our 17-year-old son.
And here I am at the restaurant drinking a Kir Royale and pretending I'm in France. But, I'm still in Ohio. The drinks were the best thing about the meal, but that happens some times. Look how fabulous the drinks look, with the creme de cassis settled at the bottom. Should we have stirred them up before we drank them? the last few drink were awfully sweet.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Family

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
This week, my parents made the journey from Florida to attend a family reunion in Dayton and then came on to Columbus to visit us. The next morning, all three of my children were home from work, a minor miracle,  so we managed to go out for brunch together. We pulled Spencer out of bed and he went straight to the restaurant, so bleary-eyed, but still present.
We took some family photos afterward on the porch swing. 

Mom and Dad with the kids
Me and Earl with the kids

Earl and me with Mom and Dad
Today, Mom and Dad are on their way back to Florida, but I loved spending time with them.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anything Else You'd Like to Know About ...Me?

Another author interview today as I continue my week of online France Book Tours. Today you can see an interview on French Village Diaries. Jacqui asked some fun questions and I got to relate the story of discovering a Turkish toilet near Notre Dame.
I hope you'll stop by and leave a comment.
For those of you who may be getting tired of reading about me or my novel, I'll share some of my glamorous home life.
Last night, I was teaching a class when I received a text from my middle child, 19-year-old Spencer.
"I found dry cat puke. Should I clean it? Please say no."
Well, at least it made me laugh.
Some things never change.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

France Book Tours -- Interview with Author M.J. Rose

Today, as part of France Book Tours, I’m welcoming M.J. Rose, author of Seduction.
Yesterday I posted a review of the novel and you can find it here. 
So, here we go:

Q. How would you sum up Seduction for those who haven’t read it yet?

I could but I love how this bookseller tells it.

"Seduction transcends time, recounting the story of Victor Hugo's tragic loss of his daughter and his desperate attempts to contact her via séances. Fast forward to the present, when Jacinthe 'Jac' L'Etoile, a mythologist specializing in Celtic lore, probes the secrets of the Isle of Jersey, where Hugo communed with spirits and composed his journal. With alacrity, Rose interweaves mythology, the supernatural, psychoanalysis and Evil Incarnate, creating an amazing amalgam of narrative wonder. And, yes, M.J. Rose fans, there are reincarnationists in Seduction, and they will haunt you." —Mystery Lovers Bookshop
 Q. You’ve published more than a dozen novels, yet Seduction is so original. What inspired you to include Victor Hugo and reincarnation themes in this novel?
When I write a novel I always need a question I want to answer. It’s not what the book is about… the reader might not even notice… but it keeps me motivated. The question that started this novel was way back in the early 2000s when I read Les Miserables. I was so curious about Fantine. She was such a tragic and heartfelt character. Who was she? Why did she have such a great impact on Hugo? Being a writer I knew it probably wasn’t as obvious as one might guess.

 Q. As an author, how much research is required for a book like this? Do you research from home or does it include travel?

This book took over two years of research and I usually have to do some traveling yet. It’s hard to go back in time and see the cities and towns the way they were – I wish I could though.

 Q. Is there a character in Seduction that you most closely relate too? Why?

I relate most to Fantine actually – I don’t know why but I felt her pain in a very visceral way. She moved me so much.

 Q. Do you believe in reincarnation? Did your beliefs make it harder or easier to write about reincarnation?

I’m open to it all – it’s all so fascinating to me.  I think I pretty much believe whichever character I’m writing in that moment. If pressed the best I can do is say - I don’t “not” believe.

Q. What inspired the title for Seduction?

I saw the book as a series of different seductions from the very beginning – most fascinating to me – the seduction of Victor Hugo by the spirit who offers him a “deal.” How a brilliant, powerful, rational man could be seduced into doing something terrible for the right promise.

Q. Please share your writing story. How did you begin and what helped you succeed?

Getting published has been an adventure for me. I self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn't know how to position it or market it since it didn't fit into any one genre.

Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, I set up a web site where readers could download my book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet. I was in advertising and just wanted to find the right marketing strategy so that my agent could go back to the publishers with my plan.

After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as being the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.

 Q. What authors or books influenced you?
So many – but I’d start with The Secret Garden when I was a little girl.. everything from Rebecca to Jane Eyre to Wuthering Heights to The Great Gatsby. I am an obsessive reader.

Q. Are you working on a new project now that we can look forward to?

Yes – its about Catherine De Medici’s perfumer. 

Thanks to M.J. Rose for the interview. Below you'll find a synopsis of the novel Seduction
Please leave a comment with information about how to contact you and you could win a signed manuscript page from M.J. Rose and the chance to win the necklace featured on the book cover. 

Seduction Synopsis A gothic tale about Victor Hugo's long-buried secrets and the lengths we go to for love...
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo's beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, still grieving, Hugo initiated hundreds of séances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo's transcriptions of these conversations have all been published.

Or so it has been believed...

Recovering from a great loss, mythologist Jac L'Etoile thinks that throwing herself into work will distract her from her grief. In the hopes of uncovering a secret about the island's mysterious Celtic roots, she arrives on the Isle of Jersey and is greeted by ghostly Neolithic monuments, medieval castles, and hidden caves.

But the man who's invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she'll help him discover something quite different—transcripts of Hugo's lost conversations with someone he called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. Central to his heritage, these are the papers his grandfather died trying to find.

But what neither Jac or Theo anticipate is that the mystery surrounding Victor Hugo will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake.

Seduction is a historically evocative and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, written by one of America's most gifted and imaginative novelists. Awakening a mystery that spans centuries, this multi-layered gothic brings a time, a place, and a cast of desperate characters brilliantly to life.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by Atria Books
ISBN1451621507 (ISBN13: 9781451621501)

 Thanks for visiting and don't forget to leave a comment to be registered for the giveaway. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seduction by M.J. Rose and a Giveaway

 When I first began the novel Seduction by M.J. Rose, I was confused. It started with a journal written by Victor Hugo in Jersey, Channel Islands in 1855 and recalled how he had learned of his daughter's drowning death 12 years before. The next section jumped to Upstate Connecticut present day and a character named Jac L'Etoile who had been dealing with "hallucinations" of past life regressions since she was a teenager. Jac, short for Jacinthe, the French word for hyacinthe, worked as a producer of a reality TV show that debunked myths in cultures around the world.
Author M.J. Rose
I couldn't begin to see how these stories related, and I feared that I wouldn't care about the hashish smoking and seances of Hugo. But I became enthralled as these stories crossed at more than one juncture. Rose carefully wove the stories together, relying on facts about Hugo where she could and tying his experiences to the characters in some of his writing, including the characters in Les Miserables. The author also included an even older story of ancient Druids and their traditions, which worked with Jac's career and her past-life regressions. About halfway into the book, I needed to find out what happened and I raced through to get the answers.
My favorite parts about this book have to be the emphasis on scents. Jac comes from a family of parfumiers, but different smells send her into hallucinations about previous lives. Here's a section from 69% on my Kindle:
But there was something else Jac smelled. A rich and spicy perfume that combined roses, ylang-ylang and oak moss. Trapped in the pages for how many years, a fine French perfume was escaping. It was the kind of scent she had grown up with. Nothing like most modern mass-produced fragrances, but beautifully articulated and rounded. She sniffed at it. There was one note that she couldn't quite figure out, and that note was similar to the mysterious note in Ash's cologne. no, not similar, it was the same note. It was that curious amber she'd found in Fantine's studio. 
The emphasis on fragrance definitely made me more aware of scents around me and I wished I had the skill at separating and divining each one like Jac did.
One drawbacks of the story is the initial puzzlement waiting for the stories to come together, but once they intertwine, they are fascinating.
Once all the stories were interwoven and came to an end, I definitely felt that the overriding message came through: Embrace life -- the one you are living now.
The characters were flawed but likable and they all had solid supporting characters so it didn't seem like they would have to face their fears alone.
I recommend this book as a deliciously unfurling, then fast-paced novel of suspense.
Leave a comment and information about how to reach you at the end of this post, and you'll be entered to win a copy of a manuscript page with M.J. Rose's signature. The winner of the page will be entered into another drawing to win the necklace pictured above and on the cover of Seduction.


Here's a synopsis of the novel Seduction as provided by the publisher:

A gothic tale about Victor Hugo's long-buried secrets
and the lengths we go to for love...
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo's beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, still grieving, Hugo initiated hundreds of séances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo's transcriptions of these conversations have all been published.
Or so it has been believed...
Recovering from a great loss, mythologist Jac L'Etoile thinks that throwing herself into work will distract her from her grief. In the hopes of uncovering a secret about the island's mysterious Celtic roots, she arrives on the Isle of Jersey and is greeted by ghostly Neolithic monuments, medieval castles, and hidden caves.
But the man who's invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she'll help him discover something quite different—transcripts of Hugo's lost conversations with someone he called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. Central to his heritage, these are the papers his grandfather died trying to find.

But what neither Jac or Theo anticipate is that the mystery surrounding Victor Hugo will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake.

Seduction is a historically evocative and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, written by one of America's most gifted and imaginative novelists. Awakening a mystery that spans centuries, this multi-layered gothic brings a time, a place, and a cast of desperate characters brilliantly to life.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 7th 2013 by Atria Books
ISBN1451621507 (ISBN13: 9781451621501)
Thanks for visiting and remember to leave a comment and your  email if you want to be included in the giveaway. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

France Book Tour is Live and First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser

Just in time for the first week of summer, a book tour for my novel The Summer of France.
It's not a book tour where I visit a store near you and sign copies, but it is an online tour where people review my book or interview me, and you can win paperback or ebook copies.

I hope you will drop by to see what people are saying about my book.
Here's a review from Griperang's Bookmarks. She has some great France pics at the top of her blog and she liked my book! Take a look at the review and sign up to win a copy. Ummm. No one has entered the giveaway yet, so I'm feeling very loser-ish.
Also today, on Patricia Sand's Blog you can find an interview with me. You're probably thinking, what else would I want to know about you? But Patricia came up with some great questions. Please, take a look and leave a comment so I don't feel all alone.
Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.

I know I saw this book on someone's website and I'm loving it. The Typerwriter Girl by Alison Atlee is set in
19th Century England and follows Betsey who is a typewriter girl trying to make an independent life. Just as she's about to make a break for a better job as a tour guide in a seaside town, she has a run-in with her current employer and leaves one man with broken fingers from the slam of the door. Here's the intro.

Type-writer girls, they oughtn't think too much. Betsey knew it was so. She understood the detached and nimble attention required for speed and accuracy; she had learned to sustain such attention for pages and pages at a time. When it faltered, she was able to remind herself: Concentration, not contemplation. The words in her mind had the patted-down accent of Miss Slott of the London Working Women's Training Institute.  

 Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read h and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers. Here's my teaser from page 23:

"I haven't enough for rail fare." She whispered this confession even more softly than he had his, for she hadn't intended to speak it at all. Richard would be the last man she would be beholden to, she had determined some time ago. And Avery, -- well, she had never given him the chance to offer, not really. But with his arm tight around her, the words slipped out.

What do you think? Can't wait to see yours.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dreaming of France -- 2 Days in Paris


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
As obsessed as I am with France, how is it possible that I sometimes miss movies set in France? I happened upon 2 Days in Paris with Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg. The film came out in 2007. Most of it is in English but it includes subtitles for the portions in French.
When the film began with a couple on a night train from Venice, I stopped and wondered if this was another Julie Delpy/Ethan Hawke movie like Before Sunrise and Before Sunset where a French woman connects with an American man. But Adam Goldberg plays a very different character than Ethan Hawke. Delpy directed this one and really focused on some hilarious stereotypes of the French.
The couple, Marion and Jack, are at the end of a vacation in Venice and plan to spend two days at her apartment in Paris before they return to New York. Jack is a Woody Allen-type character, paranoid about dirt and whining about a lot.
Marion's apartment is upstairs from her parents' apartment. The parents have been cat-sitting for Marion's chunky cat Jean-Luc. Marion fights with her mother who has fed the cat foie gras while she watched him.
The Parisian family greets Jack with a luncheon where rabbit is served and the father makes a show of eating the head. Jack, of course, is appalled because he had a pet bunny as a kid. The parents and Marion speak French quite heatedly in front of Jack, talking about him with him not even realizing it. Subtitles let the viewer in on the joke. I think that made me laugh because I've been in that situation before.
Marion runs into old flames who want to win her back and flirt outrageously, saying blunt, sexual things that Americans would never say, again, in front of the boyfriend since he doesn't speak French.
Jack is appalled by an overtly sexual art exhibit at Marion's father's art gallery and feels out of place at a French party, while Marion is in her element.
Another funny moment is when Jack realizes that Marion's mother has ironed his jeans, leaving neat seams down the front. I always wonder about the French and ironing. Almost every French person I know has a woman who comes in to iron for the family. I figure that's because they don't dry clothes in the dryer so things feel rough unless they're ironed. (Please tell me if you think my theory is wrong.)
Paris itself didn't star as much in the film as it did in Midnight in Paris, but simply viewing streets, flower markets, and metro stops was enough to make me yearn for France again.
This is definitely a movie I enjoyed and I'd recommend it.
Thanks for playing along. I hope you'll come back on Wednesday and Thursday when I review Seduction by MJ Rose and interview her too. Plus, there's a giveaway.
Also, my book The Summer of France is being reviewed on several blogs and you can check the schedule on the top right of my blog under France Book Tours.


Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the U.S.
Sure, it's a made-up holiday, but I'm especially grateful for the chance to celebrate today.
Four weeks ago tomorrow, my dad went to have his heart checked and the doctor sent him immediately to the hospital for surgery. He didn't want to do anything to risk the heart attack that he thought should have already occurred. Dad had a triple bypass and a new valve, and yesterday he and my mom arrived in Ohio, so I got to see them.
Other than the tracks of a scar up the middle of the chest, he seems like the same dad.
I filled out his father's day card this morning. It has a picture of a little girl's red sparkly shoe stepping on a man's shoe and it talks about memories.
To me, that shows our father-daughter relationship. He was big and safe. He'd take care of me.
Neither of us have been perfect in our roles, but here's what I signed on the card:
Dad, there has never been a moment in my life when I doubted that you would be there for me. I can't think of a better gift to give a child. 
So, I'm happy to celebrate father's day with my dad.
Of course, I also lucked out in the husband department. And, although he and I may not parent the same way all the time, we both have good relationships with each of our kids. He's a good father to them.
Happy father's day, Earl, and thanks for coming along on the journey with me.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Glorious Morning

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
One of the best things about getting up early is that the morning is oftentimes gorgeous. 
Here's a shot from a morning run with my friend Najah. 




Please come back to visit this week because I'll be posting a review and interview of Seduction by M.J. Rose for France Book Tours, and there's going to be a giveaway of signed manuscript pages, plus a chance to win the necklace on the cover of the book. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- The Lion Is In

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I found this book, The Lion Is In,  on Sim's blog, and I should have taken her advice to read it earlier.
Photo from Amazon
I'm loving it. The book is by Delia Ephron, the sister of Nora Ephron. 

Here's the intro:
Three hours south of Baltimore. Six p.m. or so. June third. Two young women stand by the side on a rural two-lane highway. They are not sure what the road is or where it goes. In a frenzy, they left the interstate at a random exit, took one turn and then another. They are heading south, not intentionally.
 Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read h and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers. Here's my teaser from page 213:
"Is someone being there for you the same as being  your champion? I didn't have a champion but I had Lana."
Tracee doesn't want to be someone without a one. She doesn't want to be someone with zero. It seems doomed.
"I would like to be  your one," says Tim.
"Isn't it too late?"
"Hell, no. I'm  your one."

I'm really enjoying this book. You should give it a try.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Dreaming of France -- French Zoos


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
French zoos are not like American zoos.
Well, they have animals, like ours do.
Let me preface this by saying that I haven't been to a French zoo in seven years. But I visited a few zoos in 1998 and in 2006. At a little zoo outside Bandol, we were allowed to feed the animals caramel popcorn. The meerkats were chubby from all the caramel popcorn they ate. I wonder if they could still get down in their holes.

Another difference was the fact that we saw animals mating in their cages -- not something we would see in the U.S. where parents don't want to explain that whole "piggyback" ride to their kids. Plus, zoos are careful about which animals they breed and seem to want them to do it in private.
Plus, animals still lived in cages rather than habitats. I think American zoos are trying to give the animals natural habitats these days, and maybe French zoos have changed too. 

One thing that isn't different about French zoos is that kids love them. 
Here are my three, ages 14, 12 and 10 during our 2006 trip. 
Have you ever visited a French zoo?
Can't wait to see what you are all sharing about France today. Thanks for playing along.

Dreaming of France -- Caunes-Minervois

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog . Share with the rest of us yo...