Just to let everyone know that THE CHOCOLATE ROSE is now live on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes as well as Amazon. I hope you enjoy Gabriel Delange! And Provence.
Ooh…guys, you are going to be So Jealous. While you were busy reading THE CHOCOLATE ROSE last night, guess what I was doing? Having dinner with Olivier Magny! You know–wine expert, co-owner of O Château in Paris, and, above all, the author of STUFF PARISIANS LIKE (Dessine-moi un Parisien). NC TRIANGLE RESIDENTS TAKE NOTE! You, too, could meet Olivier Magny (Friday at 5 pm, Southern Season, wine tasting, book signing–GO!).
(If you want to insert here at any point something along the lines of, “Excuse us? We were reading THE CHOCOLATE ROSE last night. The world can feel jealous of us,” feel free. I won’t stop you or anything. There’s a comment box right below.)
(You were reading THE CHOCOLATE ROSE, weren’t you? Weren’t you? What?!!)
Anyway, here we are, and can I just interrupt this broadcast to ask WHY IS IT that Every Single Time I have to post a photo of myself for some reason on Facebook or this blog, my hair is Crazy Frizzy like this? I mean, in real life it’s only that frizzy 50% of the time, so you would think that at least once in a while I would win the coin toss.
Especially since after that photo in Rome from that Italian book tour (and no, I’m not posting it again if you missed it), people started emailing me hair products and dropping them off at signings and really just engaged in a whole campaign of Radical Intervention which has Turned My Life Around, I’m telling you. (Really.) And my hair stylist also got just a little peeved because she is awesome and my inability to pay attention to my hair makes her look bad despite all her awesomeness, and she intervened as well. And so between the world and my hair, we’ve gotten the frizz down to about 25% of the time, so Why Not in Photos?? That’s all I want to know.
Now BACK OFF THE SUBJECT OF ME.
Have you read STUFF PARISIANS LIKE? It is so hilarious and so wickedly perceptive, I love it. And it will forever answer your question as to why my heroes say Putain all the time. It’s not my fault. And after you read Olivier Magny, you will believe me about it being Paris’s fault and not my dirty mouth. In fact, the other day, my editor wrote in the margins of one of my upcoming books, “He says putain a lot. Can you find another word?” And I was all, like, “WOMAN. Have you BEEN to Paris? There IS no other word. The entire linguistic passion and elegance and history of French has been reduced to two syllables. I swear.” In fact, if you were at a café in Paris that was bustling with conversation and you applied a magic filter to all the noise that shut out every use of the word putain, you would have near-dead silence, possibly peppered with a few bordels and merdes, alors.
Seriously, I have SO toned down the authentic Parisian dialogue in my books by only letting me heroes say it like every other sentence.
And now you can go read STUFF PARISIANS LIKE and believe me!
No, seriously, if you’re a lover of things Paris and French, this is a hilariously good book. I recommend it. And he’s just now releasing a new book, INTO WINE, all about this very French concept of the terroir, that bond between the land and the food of that land. Before the whole idea of locavore, there was terroir.
Again, if you’re in the NC Triangle area, you can catch him at Southern Season this Friday at 5 pm, for a wine tasting and signing and some early release copies of INTO WINE.
That way, see, your Friday night can be as fun as my Wednesday night was. See how I share that way?
THE CHOCOLATE ROSE is live on Amazon already! Other apps/devices should follow in short order. And print will come! It will just take a bit longer.
A glimpse of the book, the first meeting between Gabriel Delange and Jolie Manon. (Well, when I say “first”: They had crossed fairly indifferent paths when she was a young teenager and he was a young adult.)
THE CHOCOLATE ROSE EXCERPT
She turned down another street, then another, weaving her way to a secret, narrow alley, shaded by buildings that leaned close enough for a kiss, laundry stretching between balconies. Jasmine grew everywhere, tiny white flowers brushing their rich scent across her face.
Kitchen noises would always evoke summer for her, summer and her visits to France and her father. The open windows and back door of Aux Anges let out heat, and the noises of knives and pots and people yelling, and a cacophony of scents: olive oil, lavender, nuts, meat, caramel. . . .
As she approached the open door, the yelling grew louder, the same words overheard a million times in her father’s kitchens: “Service! J’ai dit service, merde, it’s going to be ruined. SERVICE, S’IL VOUS PLAÎT!”
“—Fast as we can, merde – putain, watch out!”
A cascade of dishes. Outraged yells. Insults echoed against the stone.
She peeked through the door, unable to resist. As a child and teenager, she had been the kid outside a candy shop, confined to her father’s office, gazing at all that action, all that life: the insane speed and control and volcanic explosions as great culinary wonders were birthed and sent forth to be eaten.
At least fifteen people in white and black blurred through a futuristic forest of steel and marble. Four people seemed to be doing the yelling, two chefs in white, two waiters in black tuxedos, separated by a wide counter and second higher shelf of steel: the pass, through which elegant plates slipped into the hands of waiters, who carried them into the dining rooms with—ideally—barely a second’s pause between when the plate was finished and when it headed toward the customer who was its destination. A wave of profound nostalgia swept Jolie.
“Connard!” somebody yelled.
“C’est toi, le connard, putain!”
A big body straightened from the counter closest to the door and turned toward the scene, blocking her view of anything but those broad shoulders. Thick, overlong hair in a rich, dark brown, threaded with gold like a molten dark caramel, fell over the collar of the big man’s chef’s jacket, a collar marked with the bleu, blanc, rouge of a Meilleur Ouvrier de France. That bleu, blanc, rouge meant the chef could only be one person, but he certainly wasn’t skinny anymore. He had filled into that space she had used to only imagine him taking up, all muscled now and absolutely sure.
His growl started low and built, built, until it filled the kitchen and spilled out into the street as a full-bodied beast’s roar, until she clapped her hands to her head to hold her hair on. Her ears buzzed until she wanted to reach inside them and somehow scratch the itch of it off.
When it died down, there was dead silence. She gripped the edge of the stone wall by the door, her body tingling everywhere. Her nipples felt tight against her bra. Her skin hungered to be rubbed very hard.
Gabriel Delange turned like a lion who had just finished chastising his cubs and spotted her.
Her heart thumped as if she had been caught out on the savannah without a rifle. Her fight instinct urged her to stalk across the small space between them, sink her hands into that thick hair, jerk her body up him, and kiss that mouth of his until he stopped roaring with it.
That would teach him.
And her flight option wanted to stretch her arm a little higher on that door, exposing her vulnerable body to be savaged.
She gripped that stone so hard it scraped her palm, fighting both urges.
Gabriel stood still, gazing at her. Behind him, the frozen tableau melted: petits commis, waiters, sous-chefs, all returning to their tasks with high-speed efficiency, the dispute evaporated. Someone started cleaning up the fallen dishes. Someone else whipped a prepped plate off the wall, where little prongs allowed them to be stacked without touching each other, and began to form another magical creation on top of it.
Jo tried to remember the professional motivation of her visit. She was wearing her let’s-talk-about-this-professionally pants. She was wearing her but-this-is-a-friendly-visit little sandals. Given the way her nipples were tingling, she would have preferred that her casually formal blouse have survived her one attempt to eat chocolate in the car while she was wandering around lost for hours, but no . . . her silky pale camisole was all she had left.
Gabriel’s eyebrows rose just a little as his gaze flicked over her. Curious. Perhaps intrigued. Cautiously so.
“You’re late,” he said flatly.
“I had a lot of car trouble,” she apologized. It sounded better than saying she had spent hours circling Sainte-Mère and Sainte-Mère-Centre and Sainte-Mère-Vieux-Village, utterly lost. Wait, how did he know she was late? This was a surprise visit. “I’m sorry. I know this is a bad time.”
“Bon, allez.” He thrust a folded bundle of white cloth at her. She recognized the sturdy texture of it instantly: a chef’s jacket. A heavy professional apron followed. His gaze flicked over her again. “Where are your shoes?”
“If you drop hot caramel on those painted toenails, I don’t want to hear about it. Coming to work without your shoes. I thought Aurélie told me you had interned with Daniel Laurier.”
Eyes blue as the azure coast tightened at the corners. “You made it up to get a chance. Parfait. And you’re late. That’s all I need. Get dressed and go help Thomas with the grapefruit.”
Probably she should have told him right then.
But . . . she had been having a hellish two months, and . . . a sneak peek into Gabriel Delange’s kitchens. . . .
A chance to work there through a lunch hour, to pretend she was part of it all. Not in an office. Not observing a chef’s careful, dumbed-down demonstration. Part of it.
She had spent the past two months dealing with hospitals and fear and grief, and he had just handed her happiness on a plate. What was an impassioned food writer to do?
Not the ethical thing, that was for darn sure.
I’ve got exciting news. I’m going to be able to release the next Chocolate book, which is also the first full book in the Provence (La Vie en Roses) collection, much earlier than expected: THE CHOCOLATE ROSE.
Please tell me you love this cover as much as I do!
It’s about Gabriel Delange, top chef pâtissier and part of the extended Rosier clan (as is Léa Laurier, in TURNING UP THE HEAT). The Rosiers rule over the flower-growing valleys around Grasse in the south of France and are best known for their dominance in the production of roses and jasmine, as well as scents and perfumes. You’ll get to meet more of the Rosier scions up close and personal starting with “A Rose in Winter”, the novella being released in the anthology NO PLACE LIKE HOME this Christmas (Dec 3, 2013), followed by a trilogy that focuses on the family members involved in the scents and perfumes.
For more on THE CHOCOLATE ROSE story and a tiny glimpse of the first chapter, check here.
I will be releasing this one both in ebook and print, and as the print part is a first venture, am not entirely sure what the delays will be before that is available. Sometime within the next two months, and the ebook earlier. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when it’s released!
For the curious…
If you want to know how it is I’m able to release so many books relatively close together, it’s simple.
I wrote THE CHOCOLATE THIEF in 2009. But it just takes that long for a book to make it from author to publisher to press, in the traditional publishing world. There’s the delay with the agent, the time the agent shops it, the 18 months advance notice a house takes to schedule a new series. (Now Kensington will schedule me 9 months or so from receiving a book, but not then. And if I switched houses now, it would go up to 18 months again until they had me “fit” in.)
Meanwhile, of course, I keep writing. The delay in seeing my books appear is just the one that occurs automatically with traditional publishing.
But I’ve decided to release this one myself.
WHY? WASN’T IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY PUBLISHER?
YES, it was. Thank you. It’s a real book. Kensington made real, serious offers on it, and came back several times with different options to persuade me to let them publish it.
They were good options, and they were interesting options, and I really appreciate their enthusiasm and support, and the support of my editor Alicia Condon, enormously.
But I want to do this one myself.
1) I want to release it now, this summer. I’m really excited about this world, Provence, and I’m really excited about this book, which to me is such a bright, fun one, as full of energy and sunlight as Provence itself, and which bridges the Chocolate series and the Provence series. I don’t want to wait and release it next May instead.
2) I love control. The Martha Stewart of words, that would be me. There’s so much the average reader would be horrified to learn can happen to a book in a publishing house. And there’s only one sure way to control what happens to your own books.
3) I think every author, with what’s going on in publishing right now, needs to be independently publishing some of their work. THEIR GOOD WORK. THEIR NEW WORK. Not the leftover manuscript under the bed from when they were teenagers.
4) Also, did you see the cover? Can I get a squee for that cover?
I hope you love this story and Gabriel Delange as much as I do! Again, make sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when it’s released!
Happy Easter, all those who celebrate Easter! Or Passover, those who are celebrating that!
Alas, the world of Parisian chocolate is sadly devoid of Passover chocolates, but if you want to see the Wild Wonderful World of Parisian Easter Eggs, check out my Pinterest board of some of my favorites.
Every Parisian has memories of the delight of the extravagant Easter eggs they would get as children, filled with fritures, little chocolates in the form of things such as shrimp, seashells, fish, bells (bunnies are a fairly recent American influence). While they aren’t all as innovative as the Pinterest board ones, even the baker down the street in a small town will be doing something special. My husband gets profoundly nostalgic and homesick every year and wants me to take a semester off just so our daughter can be in France at Easter one year.
Enjoy the day, a beautiful one here, and the sight of all the crazy, brilliant creativity this time of year brings out in French chocolatiers! Are you doing anything fun yourself?
“Gilles Marini” continues his brilliant and perilous interpretation of Sylvain Marquis in this suspense-filled sequel to THE CHOCOLATE THIEF, Death by Chocolate, Episode 2*: “Trial by Fire”. (*Yielding to market forces, we were compelled to serialize the sequel. If you missed episode 1, you’re missing out! Go here.)
Episode 2, Trial by Fire:
One stuntman was seriously harmed in the making of this video and we at AOS Cinema take our hats off to our honored colleague, Muffle. His courage was put to the ultimate test: he was taken to Muffle Hospital and forced through that most brutal of cures, a bath.
Vote for TURNING UP THE HEAT Friday morning (midnight to 11:59 am). Vote for THE CHOCOLATE THIEF, Friday afternoon (12 noon to 11:59 pm). Here.
Ah, the Mommy-Daughter Time afforded by the craziness of the DABWAHA tournament.
Guys, you have got to see this! I was trying to think of some way to do a fun video for the DABWAHA tournament campaigning, and my six-year-old got involved.
GILLES MARINI plays Sylvain Marquis in this nail-biting sequel to THE CHOCOLATE THIEF. Check it out!
She’s got more episodes ready in her head. Are you dying to see what happens next? Cause she’s got ideas!
Vote for TURNING UP THE HEAT Friday morning (midnight to 11:59 am). Vote for THE CHOCOLATE THIEF, Friday afternoon (12 noon to 11:59 pm). Here.
If any of the future episodes wander down paths that would allow for certain characters wearing fairy wings and rainbow body paint, please keep in mind the age of the director.
AWESOME! Turning Up the Heat has just been announced as the reader nominee for the novella category for the DABWAHA. I am so super proud to have that voted in by readers. THANK YOU for your nominations. And I’ve put it at 0.99 for as long as it’s still in competition (on Amazon, BN, Kobo, etc.)
Now there’s THE CHOCOLATE THIEF in the contemporary category and TURNING UP THE HEAT in the novella category, so you will be hearing from me begging for votes soon, in a couple of days. Meanwhile, there’s lots of fun to be had also by readers picking their brackets etc. (think March Madness style). That will all start tomorrow (Sunday).
I need to write out an actual recipe for this tarte! A little excerpt from one of Philippe’s early encounters with Magalie, over “pie”, in THE CHOCOLATE KISS:
[Magalie] looked slowly toward him, as if waking from a pleasant dream.
And jerked, her spoon smearing chocolate over the edge of the pan.
“Allow me.” Philippe couldn’t help himself. The tarte was only one step from him. He grabbed a tissue out of a box as the only thing in her kitchen remotely approximating a professional’s white towels, and he wiped the edge of her pan. One clean sweep, all the way around, getting rid of not only the smear but also those damn crumbs.
He might have yielded to the urge to grab the spoon and smooth that chocolate out properly, except that she looked as if she might hit him with it. He rubbed the dusting of greenish crumbs between his fingers and looked into her furious eyes.
All trace of her smile was gone. She was practically hexing him with her gaze alone. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
His step to the tarte had brought their bodies together: his biceps to her shoulder, his hip to her ribs, his thigh to her hip. There was no space for her to give him in this tiny kitchen. He was pretty sure she wouldn’t have backed up a step even if there was. It drove him mad with arousal, her inability to back up.
“Is that apricot?” On an unlit burner behind the chocolat chaud was an orange mixture that looked and smelled suspiciously like fresh-made apricot jam.
Apricots. The green crumbs of ground pistachios. She had made a pistachio crust. With an apricot filling. The exact flavors in the Désir she had refused a week ago.
Had she been thinking about it? A vindictive smile curled his mouth. Had she regretted what she had refused, until she tried to do something with those flavors herself?
If she had, she was outraged to have him discover it. “What. Do. You. Think. You. Are. Doing—in my kitchen? Get out!”
Excitement kicked through him. He shouldn’t have interfered in her kitchen, that was unarguably true. The most basic etiquette. But now that he had, now that their bodies were touching and she was so mad, he felt an almost irresistible desire to crowd her some more and see what she would do. It unfurled in him, prickling inside him with claws, taunting him into action…