Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Chapter, Tuesday Teaser -- It's Not Love, It's Just Paris

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 just picked up this book at the library. I must have read about it somewhere on someone else's blog. The book is titled It's Not Love, It's Just Paris by Patricia Engel. Lita del Cielo has a year to study in Paris before she must return to the United States to work in the family business. Complications ensue when she falls in love with Cato, the son of a right-wing politician. Here's the intro:
The first person to call it the House of Stars was Seraphine's husband, Theophile, a drunk who often passed out in the entrance court before making it to the front door. He'd say that, from his cheek-to-the-cobblestone view, all he saw were faint lights, like stars, in the bedroom windows, and no matter the hour there were always stars out on our stretch of rue du Bac, which is also how Seraphine's place got a reputation among others for being a house that never sleeps. 
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 86:
"So that's why you wanted me to invite Sharif! Why didn't you just say so? I never invite guys I've already slept with to our parties. They start acting like boyfriends and I can't stand that. But I would have made an exception to get Cato here for you."
 I like the writing in the intro and the teaser adds some intrigue.
I'm still playing along with Paris in July too hosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath. The Summer of France. 
Only one more day for Paris in July, and to enter the giveaway below for a $20 Amazon gift card and a copy of my book

Please Enter the Giveaway

In honor of Paris in July, and all things French, you can win a $20 Amazon gift card and a copy of my novel The Summer of France. Just enter the giveaway below. The winter will be randomly chosen on the last day of July.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Paris in July


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.

This is the last Monday in July and I've been celebrating Paris in July this month hosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.
The only times I've been in Paris in July were at ages 20 and 23. I took a student tour of multiple countries at age 20, between my junior and senior years of college. We stopped in Paris after Rome and before heading to the Cote d'Azur.
At 23, I escorted two little girls and their father to Paris where we spent a few weeks, the father at a medical conference, before we flew to Corsica for the rest of the month.
Perhaps it is those visits that make me think of Paris whenever I smell diesel fuel in the heat of summer.
Here's a photo from my son's trip to Paris in April. It's panoramic, so click on it to make it larger for the full impact.

Thanks for playing along today. 



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Starring in Emma

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme, post a photo that you (or a friend of 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.
As a parent, I'm always amazed by my kids talents. This weekend, Grace is starring in a production of Emma that has been transformed into a musical. So in addition to her acting, she sings beautifully too. The photos of her and Mr. Knightley are so beautiful that I tried to convince her she should marry  him so we could use the pictures for their engagement. They also sing a lovely duet about being in love -- the perfect wedding song they could sing to each other. Alas, Grace believes Mr. Knightley's attractions may lie in another direction.
For last night's performance, I took a dozen coral-colored roses to give my star. I'll try to get some photos of her on stage tonight. 

Hope you all have a colorful weekend.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Naïveté

My husband tells me I'm naive about men. 
I don't really see it. I mean, I didn't marry him straight out of high school. I was 27 when we married. I dated men through college and grad school and trips abroad. He'll point out the time I asked the tea room maitre d' in Paris what hours they were open. The matire d' responded, "For you, we are always open." I turned to my friend Michelle and said, "They're always open, that's convenient." 
Okay, maybe I miss some signals from men cause I certainly am not looking for signals or flirtations. 
And, yes, when I had stopped wearing my wedding ring because of a rash, the librarian at the downtown library did memorize my name and card number.
I don't expect men to be attracted to a woman my age. 
Some of the college boys in my class are a little flirty, but I know they're only trying to improve their grades. This semester I had older guys in separate classes. The one man, Lawrence, was outwardly flirtatious, but he acted that way with all the women in class, so I didn't take it too seriously. One day we discussed an essay about "Being a Man" and it touched on the idea of men's foot fetishes. After we finished, the class was shifting around to do some group work when I walked past Lawrence. 
Of course things get caught
 in this mass of hair
"You've got something in your hair," he said and he reached forward to touch my hair at my shoulder. Wearing my hair curly, there's no telling what might get caught in those Brillo pad curls on a humid day.
When he removed his hand, I flicked my hair and said, "Did you get it?"
He said, "Oh, you didn't have anything in your hair, I just have a hair fetish instead of a foot fetish."
"Lawrence!" I said, giving him a look of warning with my hands on my hips. 
I didn't think much about, obviously.
A month or so later, in my other class, we had wrapped up and students were turning in work before they left. A few students remained when Danny, a guy a few  years older than me, stopped at my desk to talk. I was sitting down and he said, "Can I get that out of your hair?"
I didn't even think about Lawrence's earlier subterfuge. I simply looked down at the desk and held still so he could remove whatever was in my hair. Instead, he kissed me on the head. 
"Danny! That was not okay," I said.
And that's when I remember that Lawrence had used the same excuse and realized that I needed to be more on my guard with men.
Maybe there's some sort of guidebook that gives men tips on ruses that get them close to women. So watch out for: "There's something in your hair." I will not fall for that one again.
I was rather brusque with both Lawrence and Danny throughout the rest of the semester, but when I told my husband he reacted rather strongly. 
I promise my radar is up now. I am definitely on the defensive against that subset of men who think flirting with a 50-year-old is exciting. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- The French for Love

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 downloaded this book onto my Kindle. I haven't started it yet: The French for Love by Fiona Valpy. I love the cover. Here's the opening:  
To-Do List:20 mins Pilates -- dailyPractise taking deep breaths and letting go-- ongoingDrive to FranceSend off applications for Master of wine course, first step on the path to brilliant and fulfilling new job financing life of glamour and fun.Find suitable man for love and children, NB not another cheating rat like Ed -- ongoing.
Turns out doing Pilates in a ferry cabin the size of a sardine tin is a physical impossibility, so I go up on deck instead to stretch my legs and watch St Malo materialise through the early morning mist. I take deep breaths of sea air as I stride the length of the ship, killing two birds with one stone on the To-Do list and preparing myself for the day's drive ahead. I'm retracing the homeward journey I'd made in the early spring after that last stay with my Aunt Liz. Only now, weirdly, my homeward journey is in the opposite direction. 
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 114:
Wrenching the earphones from my ears, I scramble down to firmer ground, my neck and cheeks blazing scarlet with embarrassment. "Excuse me, I was just..." I burble, waving a dusty hand at the shutters. My shoulders and arms are covered in freckles of dried green and red paint. And it's only later that I discover the bits in my hair as well.
Hope you are reading something good this July. I'm also connecting to Paris in July cohosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Arc de Triomphe and The Tourist


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.

Today was the last day of the Tour de France. I love watching it on television so I get a little glimpse of France every day. The last stage in Paris took place in the evening so they could include a light show. The sun had a hard time complying though, as it seemed to stay up til 10 Paris time. Chris Froome, a Brit, won the Tour and he seems like a nice enough guy.
Once it finally got dark, the organizers cast lights onto the Arc de Triomphe behind the podium.
Here's a copy of a photo from the Daily Mail in the UK.
And here's a link to part of the show. It's definitely worth watching if you didn't see it.
Also this week, I saw a movie that at least began in Paris. It's called The Tourist and stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Have you seen it? The scenery in Paris just feels so French! And then they take the train to Venice, so what's not to like it?
Jolie is gorgeous and Depp does so well playing a math teacher from Wisconsin. I'd never think he could play an ordinary character. 
Here's Jolie in a Paris cafe from a blog post called The Collider.

And here she is walking on a Paris street. Doesn't she look elegant, a throw back to the women in the Cary Grant movies of the 1950s.
I'm still participating in Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Sunflower

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.
I may not be able to go to France this summer, but I brought the sunflowers of Provence to me. There's something so hopeful and cheery about a sunflower. Even the bees think so. 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Running in a Fog

The weirdest thing happened today.
I left my house about 5:30 a.m. for a run (okay, that's not weird). As I was going along, I had decided which route to follow to complete my four miles, get home, shower, get to work to make copies before class started.
So I'm slogging up the road in the semi-darkness of the morning and I pass my friend Rini's old house. Rini is my friend who died in December 2011. Something about passing her house nearly always makes me stop and walk rather than continuing to run. But this morning, I sent up a little prayer of thanks to Rini as I kept running.
Then I decided to thank some other people in my life who have passed on, my sister Tammy, Earl's Aunt Lenora who died at 96 last year. Aunt Lenora was a savvy business woman who ran her own dress shop and made buying trips from Ohio to New York by train during the 1940s. I knew she'd feel compassion for me as I try to figure out how to market my novel.
 As I continued to run, I thought the houses didn't look familiar. The street is a fairly well off street with stone houses set back from the street with perfect lawns. Generally, I run the other direction down the street, so I figured things just looked different from this angle.
Then I began to wonder if something had happened to my brain since I didn't recognize the houses and I run up that way most mornings.
I came to a traffic light, the place that I had planned to turn, and found out it wasn't the street I thought at all. I had crossed over the street I meant to turn on and kept going.
How could I have missed 5th Avenue? That street has a traffic light. It has businesses. It has lots of traffic and surely, even at 6 a.m. I would have noticed crossing it.
But I didn't. I had no recollection of that last block after Rini's house and the two blocks that took me on up to this intersection.
Now I've had runner's highs before, but I've never blanked out on a part of my run.
I'm torn between thinking this was a blessing or a curse. I mean, my runs will go much faster if I have no idea I'm running them, but who knows where I'll end up.
Any way, thanks to Rini and Tammy and Aunt Lenora for the great run this morning.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- Bonjour 40

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'm still reading my 800-page book, Paris, but I started a new book on my Kindle -- Bonjour 40 A Paris Travel Log by Karen A. Chase.
For her 40th birthday, Chase decides to stay in Paris for 40 days and she kept a blog while there which she has turned into a book. Here's the intro:
On Paris, there are simply not enough guidebooks, maps, language lessons, recipes, stories, or tips for me. My friends, neighbors and the bookstore gave me a steady supply of what-to, what-not-tos and how-tos to prepare for this trip.
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 Day 7:
Every American woman should visit Paris. I asked a waiter how to say, "I am full" in French. Word-for-word it would be, "Je suis plain," however to say that in French means  you're pregnant, so I knew that wasn't it. The waiter's response, however, perfectly summed up French women. "There is no translation. It would not be elegant for a woman to say that." And elegant they are, regardless of age or attire.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Molière


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.
What did you do to celebrate Le Quatorze Juillet?
Yes, we're in the U.S., but don't want to pass up the opportunity to celebrate a French holiday. Our local library had a section of French movies available for the holiday weekend. We watched Molière.
Confession, I did doze off during part of this movie, but I think it had more to do with my early morning rather than the movie. Earl enjoyed it and laughed out loud during parts of it.
The story tells how Molière got the material for his famous play Tartuffe. It begins with him trying and failing to perform a tragedy. Everyone sees that Molière is meant for comedy, but he wants more than a farce. He remembers his own journey and tells it beginning with his arrest for debts. He is bailed out by a rich merchant who wants to catch the eye of a young, beautiful Marquise. He needs Molière's help with writing a play and acting to win the woman's approval. Molière, masquerading as a priest, moves into the merchant's home and is enchanted by the merchant's wife. Hilarity ensues.
I enjoyed the main character with his flowing brown hair and his thin mustache, portraying Molière who lived in the 1600s. His lack of confidence about his writing seemed reassuring as he then grew into a better, more confident writer, whispering words of love. The merchant is, of course, a fool for the Marquise but in the end redeems himself. 
The rest of our Bastille Day celebration included watching the Tour de France as the cyclists headed toward Mont Ventoux, having brie fondue at Bon Vie, a local restaurant, and watching House Hunter's International in Nice. I'd say we immersed ourselves in French culture. 
I'm linking to Paris in July again. I have plenty of French posts this month. Paris in July is hosted by  Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.

  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Les Misérables

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.
My daughter Grace has the acting bug. And I believe most musical actors are enthralled with Les Misérables. She tried out this spring, and although she didn't get a big role, she decided to continue with it, just thrilled to be part of the production. Her main role is as one of the barricade students whose boyfriend goes to fight, but she also gets to be a whore in the scene with Fantine and Woman #6 in a solo singing role.
At the end of the show, she was in tears from the sheer joy and emotion of the show. Here she is right afterwards, still wiping away tears.
The show went off with only a small hitch. In the whore scene, a banging off stage ended up with the women kind of standing around for a few minutes, still in character, but unsure what to do. 
It turns out the conductor fainted. He had been going through cancer treatment and a stand-in conductor continued the show.
It could have been a little uncomfortable for us, Grace's parents, to watch her portraying a whore, but Earl jumped right into the stream of things and leaned over to me to whisper, "Hey! Grace got a client!" as she walked off stage with one man only to return a few minutes later and be taken off stage by another. 
Grace was enchanted by the 10-year-old playing Gavrotte. He's a heckuva singer and actor and has quite the good cockney accent for an American. 
And here are Grace and her friend Carmen dressed as whores. No wonder they were getting all the business on stage.
I'm also joining in with Paris in July this month cohosted by  Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the $10 Amazon giveaway here. Just leave a comment to be entered and follow my blog or like me on Facebook for extra chances to win. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Year of Finals

My youngest son is a rising senior in high school. That means, in August he'll be a senior. So I'm sure my year will be filled with final times. A final first day of school. A final homecoming dance. A final spring break.
But the finals already began today.
I went to Tucker's final outdoor swim meet, league championships, today. He didn't want to swim in the summer league this year, so I'm sure I won't be able to convince him to swim next year.
These championship swim days are always unbearably hot and start very early. They had to be at the pool by 7:15. Luckily, the coach volunteered to take Tucker and his best friend Josh. I didn't have to be there until 9 and I went with a mocha for me and a frappucino for Tucker, trying to jolly him into a good mood.
Tucker and his team were lined up already to swim. They did well, especially considering that Tucker only went to one practice this summer.

That's Tucker in the center and his bestie Josh on the right. 
I took this picture at the end of the lane, but it looks very bizarre because his foot is so far out of the water.
They decided to stick their goggles to their faces like when they were little kids. 
Here they are on the blocks getting ready to swim the 50 freestyle. (Tucker won but it was close.)
Goodbye summer swim team.
Goodbye sitting in the sun and sweating.
Goodbye volunteering to time at swim meets.
This is just the first of many finals in the year to come.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- Paris, again

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.
This week, in honor of Paris in July and my general love of France, I'm still working on the saga Paris by Edward Rutherfurd. I gave the "foreward" intro last week, so here's the start of the story this week. 
The little boy was only three. A fair-haired, blue-eyed child. Some things he knew already. Others were still kept from him. And then there were the secrets.
Last week I said the book went from 1875 to the 1960s, but I didn't notice the chapters that jump back even farther to 1261 and 1307. Lots of good history of France weaved into the story of the characters. 
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 257:
There were twenty of them, gallant young officers, sitting all together. They were in high spirits. As well they should be. For they were at the Moulin Rouge.  
This is a busy week for me, so I don't know how much I'll get through this 800 page book, but I'm enjoying it.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Soaps


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.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our bottles of wine that we bring home from France, but, of course, we bring home other special things too. 
When Grace came home from France in December 2011, she brought several bars of soap that she bought in the market at Aix en Provence. The soaps were 1 euro each. I loved using soap from France. She brought a variety of scents and I felt so sad when they were all gone.
Tucker went to France in March with his classmates. I begged him to buy soaps in the market, but he refused. Instead, he bought himself a $129 watch from Les Galeries Lafayette.
Then, last month, as I was cleaning out the closet, I found a bar of soap that Grace had brought back. 
What joy!

I hopped in the shower to enjoy the latest soap, but quickly called my husband to come take a photo.
As you can see, the soap scent is peach, and I loved discovering a piece of France hiding in my closet. 
I can't wait until I get to France again. I'm going to load up on fabulous soaps.
I'm also linking with Paris in July hosted by  Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Macarons

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.
Since it's July, I'm also participating in Paris in July cohosted by Thyme for Tea and Bookbath.
The photo from Paris in July must have been serendipitous because my friend Najah yesterday gave me a box of macarons from the yummy bakery Pistacia Vera here in Columbus. That's the same place that Earl has purchased my birthday cake before. Always delicious. 
Najah gave me the macarons to say thanks for some wicker furniture that we salvaged and took over to her house. Pretty good trade, huh?
I put the macarons in this pretty French bowl given to me by one of the French teenagers who came to stay with us. 
So, although the macarons are not from France, they give Laduree a run for their money, and they are tradiationally French, plus the bowl is from France.
Hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Close-Call Calamity

Earl went outside to pull the ribs off the grill and I took a taste of the potatoes I'd just finished mashing. Salty and buttery. Just right.
The only bite of potatoes anyone got today.
I turned to the cabinet and stretched barefoot on my tiptoes to reach a serving bowl from the top shelf. I started to lift it when things shifted and a shower of glass rained over me.
The supports under the shelf had broken and the whole shelf tipped forward to send its contents downward.
Twelve places settings of glass plates and punch cups slid off the shelf and crashed into pieces on the granite counter top.
Three plates and one cup survived in tact.
For some reason, I froze. I stood still on my tiptoes as pieces of glass hit my foot, my hand. I held onto the serving bowls above my head.
The shattering and splintering glass sounded like the sudden rush of a waterfall. Grace and Spencer ran for the kitchen. From outside, Earl heard the commotion. I remained standing still on my tiptoes until the dishes stopped falling.
"Mom, you okay?" Spence asked.
"Don't come in here if you don't have shoes on," I called to the kids.
"Step over to the right," Spencer advised, but I saw shards of glass there on the floor so I stayed still on my tiptoes.
"Grace, will you get my shoes?"
She returned and held each shoe under my feet as I put on my Mary Jane crocs.
In spite of the carnage of the glass plates and cups, surprisingly, the only thing on the counter that broke was the blue bowl that held the pears and bananas. Wine bottles lay on their sides and a wine glass was overturned too, but not broken.
As for me, I have a couple of bruised spots and a little sliver of glass in my finger. But no blood. Definitely a lucky break. (Pun intended.)
Next we needed to clean up the mess.
I picked up glass pieces, big and small sweeping them into a brown paper bag. Earl grabbed a broom and Grace vacuumed behind him.
The problem with having shiny granite counter tops is that the glittery spots on the counter look just like little bits of glass.
Every time I thought the counter was free of glass, I'd swipe a cloth across the counter and find a few more tiny pieces of glass. 
I threw away the blue bowl that was broken.
And the mashed potatoes, they were in the path of destruction. So I threw the beautiful, creamy potatoes away.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Author Interview & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to interview Patricia Sands, the author of The Promise of Provence. The interview is part of France Book Tours . I reviewed The Promise of Provence in May and you can find my review here.
When Patricia interviewed me, she served virtual pastries, so I feel compelled to offer refreshments as well. Just in case you're reading during the morning, I'll offer mimosas. Enjoy. And make sure you take a look at the book synopsis at the end. Also remember to leave a comment with your name and email to enter the giveaway for the $10 Amazon gift card.
So have a mimosa and enjoy Patricia's interview.

Q. How would you sum up The Promise of Provence for those who haven’t read it yet?
It's a multi-layered story of hope and change in mid-life. A coming-of-age, transitional tale, that explores universal feelings of loss, fear, love and trust in breath-taking surroundings. Romance, travel, and friendship carry the story along with an underlying message of the importance of the stories of our past generations. 
One reader wrote that The Promise of Provence was "the cheapest vacation" she ever had! I loved that!

Q. When did  your connection to France begin and how often do you return?
I first fell in love with France when I spent a year backpacking with friends when I was 21. Those were the days in the 1960's when the world was safer and "Europe on $5 a Day" really worked! I have been fortunate to return often and, in the last fifteen years, my husband and I have spent extended time in the south of France every year. In 2011 we lived in Antibes for five months and are planning to do so again in 2014. This year we will be in Nice from mid-September for a month and I'm already counting the days to arrival!

Q. As an author, how much research is required for a book like this? Do you research from home or does it include travel?
I began writing this novel in 2011 when we were in Antibes. I researched a tremendous amount about life in France, history, locations, and other details while there. The research with regard to the character of Elisabeth was drawn from personal knowledge and a vast store of online information. For Katherine's story, a friend of mine had gone through a very nasty marriage collapse, not unlike Katherine's situation and it intrigued me to write about that. So part of my research also was interviewing women who had gone through divorce.
I personally believe that to set a story in a particular part of the world, you must spend time in that location to truly grasp the complete picture. (But then as a person who loves to travel, why wouldn't I say that? LOL)

Q. Are there things from France that you in have incorporated into your daily life even when you aren’t in France? Tell us about those things.
My food shopping habits changed, for sure. I frequent our smaller markets with my 'panier' rather than the supermarkets and my understanding of cheese changed dramatically. I used to serve it with cocktails before meals all the time and now only serve it with certain foods or at the end of a meal. I also take French classes from time to time to keep improving. Oh ... and I love pastis, which I first tasted over there.

Q. How closely do you relate to Katherine, the main character of The Promise of Provence? What sorts of traits do you share? Which parts are nothing like you?
Good question! Hmmm - Well, certainly I share her love for all things French. Unlike her, I have never been in a destructive relationship but I was widowed in my 40's so I could relate to some of her feelings of pain and loss and her eventual realization that life never stops offering new possibilities. The part that is nothing like me is the fact that she had never known the joys of BFFs. I have had amazing girlfriends throughout my life and that's one of the reasons I like writing about the connections women form and how we empower each other through those friendships. I like to say that whether you are 15, 45 or 85, girlfriends are girlfriends!

Q. Please share your writing story. How did you begin and what helped you succeed?
I began writing 8 years ago, just for fun. I was writing The Bridge Club for my real-life bridge club. We are ten women who have been great friends for over 45 years and, like many other similar groups of women my age, we have shared a lot of life-changing experiences. As the story progressed, I was encouraged by others to consider publishing and the book changed from fact to fiction, although it is at least 80% true! The study of the craft never stops, does it? I love the writing process. I realized I had been telling stories all my life through photography and that experience has certainly guided me. 

As far as success goes, I have to say that becoming involved with the online writing community is where all the credit lies. The collegiality, support and information sharing is staggering. Writers helping writers is what it is all about and I cannot find adequate superlatives to describe this part of the experience. I love it!

Q. What authors or books influenced you? 
I have a terrible time making choices when it comes to questions like this. I learn from every book I read and I'm sure you can relate to that. I will say that one bit of advice from Stephen King's book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" truly resonated with me and propelled me forward at the beginning. In so many words he said that if you feel strongly that you have a story to tell, tell it. Tell it in your voice, not in the way some course suggested you should tell it. Then work with an editor to discover where it requires attention and then revise, revise, revise. (I should copy the page so I can quote it properly ...)

Q. Are you working on a new project now that we can look forward to?
LOL - I'm trying to! I am writing a follow-up novel to this one. I have heard from so many readers who are waiting to hear what happens next that I need to find out too! 

Q. If money was not a concern, would you move to live in France or simply be content with trips to France? Why?
Right now we still have young grandchildren and we don't want to miss sharing these special years with them so we will take shorter trips for a while. We would love to live in France for six months every year and have not dismissed that dream. You should always have a dream, right? 

Thanks so much for the interview, Patricia. What fun getting to know you better.
Here's a synopsis of The Promise of Provence. 
             June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves overlooked by ancient hilltop villages. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?

After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.
Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?
"Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel."     Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma
Publication Date: May 30, 2013
457 pages,  ISBN 9780991931316    Published through CreateSpace
Available on Amazon worldwide     USA   Canada   UK    FR and may be ordered at any bookstore.

Here's Patricia's bio:
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83. 
Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010.
Her second novel, The Promise of Provence is an Amazon Hot New Release as of April 2013.
Pop in to visit her at:
http://www.patriciasands.wordpress.com
http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patricia.sands.9
and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaSands
Twitter https://twitter.com/patricia_sands

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4381348.Patricia_Sands

Leave a comment with your name and email so I can contact you if you win the $10 Amazon gift card. For other chances to win, follow my blog or like my author page on Facebook.  Drawing on July 14, Sunday evening.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser, Paris in July -- Paris

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.
This week, in honor of Paris in July and my general love of France, I'm starting the book Paris by Edward
Rutherfurd.  Here's the intro:
It was Julius Caesar who had first seen the possibilities of the place where the modest Parisii tribe made their home. The Mediterranean lands of southern Gaul had already been Roman provinces for generations at that time; but when Caesar decided to bring the troublesome Celtic tribes of northern Gaul into the empire as well, it hadn't taken him long.
This book is generational story that stretches from 1875 to the 1960s. I hope it's good.
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 152: 
"The precision is astounding," he told his family. "Every piece fits exactly, every hole is drilled to perfection. I never have to pause in my work." He grinned. "The whole tower will go up like clockwork. It has to," he added. "The exhibition starts in eighteen months."
I bet you can guess what he's talking about.
Paris in July is cohosted by Thyme for Teaand Bookbath.

Dreaming of France -- Vacation Differences

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 ...