Category Archives: Books


Permalink to To those asking more about SHADOWED HEART

To those asking more about SHADOWED HEART

People are asking me nervous questions about SHADOWED HEART. I will go ahead and confirm that NO I did not mess up anyone’s happy ending. Every author has a certain story she tells over and over. My story, the story I care about and like to tell, is a love story where people find happiness and truly love each other and truly try their best for each other, through their various issues. They might be messed up, but they’re truly giving it their all. Sometimes that lends to a sweet, cute variation of my story and sometimes to something more heart-wrenching.

I think SHADOWED HEART has some of both, but definitely some heart-wrenching, if you like this couple.

I don’t know. These are some of the things beta readers said, so you can think about whether you want to read it or not:

“Wow, wow, wow. I cried multiple times while I was reading it. It was so beautiful, and so emotionally true. I love, love, love the arc of this story. I always loved Luc and Summer, and I really love seeing them here, fighting their way to a grown-up, loving, solid relationship after their rocky start. I really love the way you brought in the other characters in such a natural way that felt so right for the story. (And I laughed at Sylvain’s….” [not telling what!]

“My pillow is still wet, thank you very much….It feels true and real and valuable. And it’s hard and claustrophobic and painful – until it’s not. And then it freed me from the pain: soothed it, accepted it, kissed it, and then set it free.

“We loved it. We both definitely think you should publish it. It’s a great story; and it’s very moving. We’re convinced that most of your fans would want to read this book. You are definitely pushing the boundaries of romance, as you did quite successfully with Snow-Kissed and Turning Up the Heat. In this book, you take us beyond the first crisis couples typically face in romance to arrive at HEA and vividly portray how HEA requires that a couple continuously work at their relationship. Centering the new crisis in the first year of Luc and Summer’s marriage when couples have to do so much adjusting and having them also face the scary challenge of parenthood is so true to life that it will resonate with many readers. It was also fun to see the old gang of characters fleshed out in new ways.”

But there are also multiple comments about wanting to smack these two or lock them in a room together with nothing to do but talk to each other! So…see?

In my personal angst star system, if I were to give 1-5 stars for angst in my books, Chocolate Thief would be a 1 or 2, Chocolate Kiss a 3, and SHADOWED HEART and The Chocolate Heart a 5. (And Snow-Kissed a 20!) But I personally think there is a lot of sweetness in it, too, some characters and moments that *I* thought were fun and funny, and a lot of trying. (I introduce a new future hero, here, in fact, to whom I am quite attached. At least I think he will get his own book some day.)

So…that’s me and the beta readers. They convinced me to put it out there so you could decide for yourselves! (It’s in edits now.)

And I want to offer them, again, a huge thank you for the patience and support in reading it, and for taking the time to articulate their reactions in ways that had meaning for me, and could help me think through the fact that sometimes you just have to put things out there and let others draw their own value from it. And thanks again also to all of you who have asked for it, wanted to read it, all of those who said, Hey, that’s not fair, you can’t talk about it and not publish it.

I value that value that you are offering to this story. I hope it means something to you!

shadowed heart florand

Amazon here.

Goodreads here.


Permalink to LUC AND SUMMER NOVEL, update & order button

LUC AND SUMMER NOVEL, update & order button

The LUC AND SUMMER novel. All the beta readers say I really should publish it. (Although some say that, yes, it will probably be polarizing.) What do you think?

SHADOWED HEART

Three words, to shake a man’s existence.

Three words, to call on all a man’s strength, all his courage, all his love, and all his ability to hope and dream…and trust.

Three words, to wake up every fear a man has ever had.

“I’m pregnant, Luc.”

Now how could a man be perfect enough for that?

 

shadowed heart florand

Amazon pre-order here: Shadowed Heart: A Luc & Summer Novel (Amour et Chocolat)

 

And we’ve put a button for it up on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23364641-shadowed-heart

 


Permalink to UPDATES: ONCE UPON A ROSE & LUC AND SUMMER SEQUEL (interested in reading?)

UPDATES: ONCE UPON A ROSE & LUC AND SUMMER SEQUEL (interested in reading?)

TWO BIG UPDATES on ONCE UPON A ROSE and the LUC AND SUMMER sequel novel.

1) ONCE UPON A ROSE: I ended up utterly ripping this book up and starting again from scratch. That is why it is taking so long–I am essentially writing a second book. Right now, I’m about 20,000 words from the end, then edits, so we’ll see how that goes. I can write anywhere from 5000 words a day to 5 words a day, it seems sometimes to me, depending on how much I struggle to figure out what the story needs. I’ll announce as soon as I think it is ready to go, but I don’t want to commit to anything at this time because sometimes the pressure just shuts off my creativity. And I don’t want that!

2) THE LUC AND SUMMER SEQUEL: I mentioned some time back that I was working on this and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I’m *still* not sure what to do with it. I mean, I have it. It’s a 55,000 word novel (that’s about 10% longer than The Notebook, to give you an idea, but not as long as most of my books, which often are over 100,000 words). It’s just that it’s very different for me to write a sequel about the same couple, and this is a couple that was extremely polarizing for people in the first place. (The gamut from “Best Book of the Year”  to “hated hated hated”.) I think most of my works are polarizing, but this was the most dramatic.

BUT a lot of people have been asking about this book. So I think what I would like to do is share it in a limited way and get feedback.

Basically, share with some beta readers. (Essentially people who would like to read it as is and give reactions but also concerns if you don’t think it works well, and this can most certainly include noting details in the margins that nibble at you, or things that seem weak, if that’s the way you work.) Note, potential readers, that this is a version before it goes to an editor. (Because I’m not sure yet whether I will publish it.)

The thing is, I don’t want to make a promise to everyone that I will necessarily make this public at some point. I just don’t know at this point.

That’s just the way I feel about it–cautious.

But if you would like to be a beta reader for it, email me at laura AT lauraflorand dot com and let me know why and all that. I’m not sure how many people will ask, and I’ll probably only share with half a dozen at this point, so I might have to draw names. (I don’t know exactly! This is a first time for me to do this. Usually I am obsessive about not sharing work until after it’s been edited, re-edited, is as perfect as I can make it.)


Permalink to Roses

Roses

Random pictures from a rose harvest around Grasse. Don’t you want to be that hand?

A little glimpse of Matthieu Rosier’s world, from ONCE UPON A ROSE.

In real life, this was taken in the fields of Joseph Mul, whose family business provides the roses for Chanel N. 5.

sack of roses


Permalink to The Chocolate Kiss Gâteau Lion d’Or

The Chocolate Kiss Gâteau Lion d’Or

Oh, wow! Check out this gorgeous lavender-honey-lemon cake that Elizabeth at Cooking Up Romance invented in honor of THE CHOCOLATE KISS. You have to see the photos on her site, it looks so beautiful and yummy.

gateau lion dor


Permalink to A tiny glimpse of magic!

A tiny glimpse of magic!

Just for fun, a tiny glimpse of the window of the old Charlotte de l’Isle, which has since changed owners, but, with its witchy, fascinating style, once helped inspire the descriptions of La Maison des Sorcières in THE CHOCOLATE KISS. (I didn’t realize I had any photos at all of the store, but just happened upon some, from what must have been the last time I was there before they changed owners.)

a hint of chocolate kiss


Permalink to Thirsty Thursday?

Thirsty Thursday?

Some blogs do a weekly feature called “Thirsty Thursday” and Pakwanstripes chose this scene from SUN-KISSED for hers. (Link to her post in the comments.) What’s one of your favorite kiss scenes? (Doesn’t have to be in my books, btw! Whatever book.)

SunKiss_125x200

SUN-KISSED:

“Mack.” Anne sighed, turning. “Look. Tomorrow, I’m going to do you a favor and pretend none of this ever happened.”

“Oh, good,” he said, with a sudden angry, fierce delight, as he dropped her shoe and crowded her right back against her door. “Well, I can do one hell of a lot of things right now, then, if this is all just a fantasy.”

And he kissed her.

Just flat out kissed her. No careful approach, no slow dip in to make sure she was okay with it, no testing the waters. He just took her mouth and took it over, like she was a damn company and he was pissed off.

Like he was just going to seize all her assets and restructure her.

She felt that way. Seized. Restructured.

His mouth molded hers, dipping straight into hers, his arms tightening on either side of her body until she was locked between his forearms on the door. They pressed against her sides, and then they were curving around her back. And then they were hauling her up into him, as he kept on kissing.

Kissed her until she couldn’t think or breathe, until she couldn’t get her hands to either pound on him for freedom or grip him to capture this invader and punish him for his invasion.

He kissed her until she was kissing him back, until when he finally raised his head, she had no strength left. What the hell was she supposed to do without her strength? She always needed it.

Mack was breathing hard, his face all angles and danger in the lights and shadows of the porch. “Anything else you want to pretend never happened tomorrow?” he asked, with that hushed, wicked anger.

She stared up at him, trying to breathe, trying to wet her lips.

“Because I’ve got a few more ideas.”

 

***

I am trying to regroup from RWA and get organized to post a big thank you to so many people who participated in the Amour et Florand week while I was away, with links to their different posts.  It was really incredible and I’m deeply touched by it. Thank you so much to so many!


Permalink to Once Upon a Rose

Once Upon a Rose

I need to make a very unpopular announcement.

I am very sorry, but I have decided to delay the release of ONCE UPON A ROSE until later in the fall. By “decided”, I guess I should say that the book decided for me. While it is “finished”, it is not good yet. I’ve never before released a book that I did not personally love, and I don’t want to start now.

But that’s not quite fair to put it all on the book, because I made some choices, too. Primarily, SUN-KISSED.

The problem is that I never had SUN-KISSED in my publishing schedule for this year. Once the idea grew, though, and I wrote the first scene, I really fell in love with that story and that couple. I got caught in it, and just had to write it, and that ended up leaving me several months behind my expected schedule on ONCE UPON A ROSE. (Which I had promised to people for August. There’s an article out this month in RT Magazine for example, which they ran specifically this edition to time it with the promised release of ONCE UPON A ROSE.)

I am extremely proud of SUN-KISSED–I love that couple so much, and it’s a book that makes me very happy–but I want to be extremely proud of ONCE UPON A ROSE, too. So it needs some more time, and not to be rushed because SUN-KISSED stole all its time.

So I am very, very sorry, as I know people will be disappointed, and I know I have not fulfilled what I said I would do. But I do hope you were glad to have SUN-KISSED. I really loved writing it.

That all said, SUN-KISSED having shouldered the blame and all, a dozen books in two years is a LOT for someone who also teaches full time at a pretty demanding university and has a family she wants to value, too. It means a lot of nights working from my daughter’s bedtime until 11 pm and waking up again at 4 or 5 am and a lot of weekends where one parent or the other juggles while the other works. So there might need to be some re-balancing going forward, to keep from burning out.

It’s fairly common these days for people to ask me, “So when are you going to quit teaching and write full-time?” And, yes, it’s true–I could. The books are doing “well enough” and my own husband’s job is so transportable that yes, we could go live in Provence or something and work from there. (I know. You’re saying, “She’s crazy. Provence full time? And she’s not doing that?”)

The thing is: being a lecturer at Duke is never something I’ve thought of as a stopgap until I can “make it” doing something else, like writing. It is an honor and, to me, a major life accomplishment. I love doing it and consider myself extremely fortunate every morning I walk onto campus. (Unless it’s freezing rain on me as I walk and I have some difficult student issue to deal with that day, but you know what I mean. Most days are very good days.)

I ALSO am extraordinarily honored at the reception of these stories. I consider that, too, a major life accomplishment. I am exceptionally fortunate and can only, again, thank all of you who have opened your heart to these stories.

So I want both. They balance each other out, the extroversion and involvement with others that come with teaching and the introversion and quiet time that are essential to writing. I would probably turn into a complete nutcase, if I spent all my time writing and then, in my spare time, flinching away from the internet. (It’s a beautiful thing, the internet. It’s opened up some wonderful doors for me, and I’ve made a lot of friends on it. But it can also lead to some extremely unhealthy behaviors and interactions.) It’s very good to have a balance.

I also value enormously the intellectual stimulation of a major university and of the colleagues I have there. It’s truly a pure joy to just talk to colleagues there, about any idea in the world, and have their brains engage with mine. Do I have a question about anything? I might have a world expert on the subject just across the Quad.

And when Katie Dubois (Katharine Ashe) and I started talking to different programs about doing a course on romance novels, for example–something really totally outside the normal purview of most of my colleagues–it was just amazing how so many people threw themselves into the creativity of it, and how all the ideas they have been throwing out have fed into ours in this incredible brainstorming that can occur in this kind of milieu. Or, to give another example, I love attending a talk on interculturalism and trying to sneak a cookie at the end only to have a colleague grab me to introduce me to someone else who is doing work on the architectural concept of subnature and applying it to food. (“Oh, you should talk to Laura. She’s kind of our chocolate expert.” Ha, ha, talk about a fun field of expertise. :) ) And yes there are some exciting possibilities for his project with subnature and chocolate. (Also with subnature and perfume, in fact.) Or another day, I might find myself going out for hot chocolate with a world-famous behavioral economics expert who wants to brainstorm ideas for experiments on what food choices show about human behavior.

It’s FUN. It’s exciting.

And so is writing fun and exciting. And powerful and rich and deep. And…FUN. And some of the opportunities in writing have been equally amazing. To book tour in Italy, for my first book? I mean, who gets to do that? That is crazily wonderful. And yet it happened. To find some of my own most-admired authors talking about my books and saying wonderful things about them? Oh…wow. That is just…what words do you have for that, beyond wow? To have so many of you write to me or just talk about the books with others and share them? That’s amazing.

YES, I want to keep writing, too. I have so many more stories trying to force me to find time to put them on the page that it’s what drives me awake at 4 am.

So, you know…I’ll just have to find a balance. It might mean, as I’ve been warning people, that there might be fewer than five new books next year, though.

Don’t kill me! I hope you can understand. And if you can enjoy the previous 11 (or 12 if you count that memoir, BLAME IT ON PARIS, although, ahem, I hear the twenty-six-year-old narrator is annoying :) ), then I am thrilled.

Again, all my apologies for the delay and all my thanks for all the wonderful support these past two years and for the enthusiasm for this next book. It’s meant a lot. I’m really, really sorry, and I also really, really appreciate and am humbled by the fact that people could be wanting to read it at all.

And now, back to work on the edits for ONCE UPON A ROSE.

 


Permalink to The Chocolate Rose=FREE this week!

The Chocolate Rose=FREE this week!

Just a quick note to make sure everyone knows that THE CHOCOLATE ROSE is FREE this week on Amazon, Kobo, GooglePlay, and iTunes. And THANKS so much for everyone who helped it hit #2 overall on Amazon and #1 in Romance and Women’s Fiction. I really appreciate it so much! If you haven’t read this one, do take advantage of the chance to have a book for free! (Consider it my little thank you for all your support.) And if you have a friend you’ve been trying to talk into trying this series, please let them know! I always appreciate the word of mouth.

If this is new to you, I hope you’ll love the trip to this jasmine-filled hill town of Provence, and the introduction to the world of the Vie en Roses series. And I hope you’ll love Gabriel as much as I do!

 

ChocolateRose_210x281

I owe you some updates on all the travel through France this summer! Coming soon! Meanwhile, you can catch some photos on my Facebook site. (A public page, so you don’t have to sign up for FB to see it. It’s just easier to post a quick photo there than on the blog while traveling and catching Wifi here or there randomly.)

 


Permalink to Cover Reveal! ONCE UPON A ROSE

Cover Reveal! ONCE UPON A ROSE

It’s here! The cover and book description for the first Rosier book, the oft-promised, several-times prequelled LA VIE EN ROSES series. A huge THANK YOU to so many people on Facebook and Twitter who were voting on covers. (If you missed it, hop over and scroll back a post or two in my timeline to see what were the options. My FB page is public, so you don’t have to be an FB user to see it.)

I am off to France in just a couple of days and will be off Internet for the most part for a while. (I may manage to post a few photos on FB but not sure. As you may have noticed, I still haven’t managed to share all the RT convention photos, so obviously I’m better at keeping on writing books than keeping things posted online.)

I want to take this chance to say again a HUGE THANK YOU for all the support of SUN-KISSED and all the kind reviews. I love this book and couple so much and am really, really happy not to be the only one.

Coming up next: Matthieu Rosier! August 2014.

once upon a rose florand

She stole his roses.

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt-out indie rock star Zeina—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten stone house and rose-covered acres her father left her in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.

He wants them back.

Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loud. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?

Or maybe he just wants her.

When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.

It might involve kissing.

And that might be just the start.

Fingers crossed that you’ll enjoy grumpy, growling, broody Matt, too! Sign up here to be emailed the moment it’s available. Click here to add it to your Goodreads shelf.

I hope you’ll enjoy this one! And Happy Summer!

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