The Roman bridge of Pont Tuve below Saint Cézaire sur Siagne. You reach it by climbing down through ancient overgrown olive groves, steeply terraced and lost among what has grown up around them.
Pet food laid in=check.
Clothes brought up to Paris-grade=Sigh. Somehow even after more than a decade of doing it, I never manage to get this one down. And what’s with the 60 degree highs in Provence & Italy people? That throws all my packing off. I’m starting to believe in global chilling.
We spend a chunk of every year in France, and we’re off tomorrow for this year’s chunk! Provence, where I’ll be doing a lot of research for the Rose series, Italy, where we’ll be taking a much-needed break, and Alsace and Paris. I’ll try to post some photos from time to time, but it can get tricky! In the meanwhile, here is a little glimpse of one of my favorite places along the Côte d’Azur, Haut de Cagnes, which along with Mougins was a major inspiration for Gabriel’s town of Sainte-Mère (in THE CHOCOLATE ROSE).
What are your summer plans?
In my continuing efforts to give you occasional glimpses of the actual world of THE CHOCOLATE ROSE and the Vie en Roses series, I give you rose salt at the Cours Saleya market in Nice, just because . . . is that not gorgeous?
All right, is this one of my Amélie-style eccentricities, or would it be fun for people to have a little giveaway post-France of some of the fun little things like this you can find in the markets? Or a sampling of some of the many flower-flavored things that fill the flower region around Grasse?
(And I know what you’re going to ask for instead, but the problem is: Chocolate melts! I can’t send that in July. My attempts at cold-packing have been disastrous. And hot guys do NOT fit in my suitcase. Plus, my husband objects to carrying those suitcases when they try.)
THE CHOCOLATE KISS is coming out in Italy May 23, under the title LA MAGIA DEL CIOCCOLATO. What do you think of the cover? I always have so much fun seeing what different countries do with the covers of books.
Over on my Facebook site, we are talking about a request from a reader for ideas for when her book club does THE CHOCOLATE ROSE. I’m enjoying this so wanted to bring it to the blog, too, for those who aren’t on FB and see what ideas you have.
Ideas include: making dal and scrambled egg toasts. Wine. Provençal motifs. Anything to do with roses or jasmine or, of course, chocolate.
And particularly lots of good discussion questions. I’m having a lot of fun seeing people’s ideas. What would you ask as discussion questions for THE CHOCOLATE ROSE? Any clever ideas for things to do at the book club meeting?
Look what I have! You guys are going to get spoiled. You’re going to say, “Hey, it’s been 2 days since the last new Laura Florand book, what’s taking her so long?” Then think how exhausted I will be.
But seriously! ARCs! Now, the publisher sends me all these proofs because I am supposed to pass them on to reviewers and interviewers. However, the Amazing Publicist at Kensington almost always FedExes copies to the interviewer before I even get there, so I always find myself with 5 or 6 arcs trailing around after the book is released, looking at me reproachfully and Feeling Wasted. So THIS TIME I have decided to Not Let That Happen. I’m heading straight to reader reviewers this time. If you would like to read this story early enough that you’re happy with a proof instead of a regular book AND if you are interested in reviewing it, send me an email with where you can review it (Amazon is good! BN, Kobo, iTunes, Goodreads, your blog, etc.), and I’ll select as many requests as I have ARCs to spare, by lottery. Since you won’t be able to post at most of those places until the book is actually released (July 30), my recommendation is to write it after you read it and save it, and I’ll send people an email on release day to remind you to put it up.
My email is laura AT lauraflorand DOT com.
This is Dominique Richard’s story.
I thought you guys might have fun seeing occasional glimpses of the real places in the South of France that helped form the world in THE CHOCOLATE ROSE. In the Roses series, only Grasse and Nice are cities that you can find on a map, and therefore which are geographically faithful to the towns themselves (in the sense that if a fountain is mentioned, you could probably find it on a visit to the town, but if a character’s store or business is mentioned, that, of course, would be made up and just inserted into the town setting). The other towns (for example, in THE CHOCOLATE ROSE, Sainte-Mère, Saint-Amour) are invented but with very real elements pulled from very real beautiful villages in that area, because that is just the way I work.
Today’s glimpse is just a window, because to me you look at that and immediately want to be in the world where that window exists, don’t you? I do!
Happy May Day! In France, you give lilies-of-the-valley (muguets) today to people to bring good fortune and happiness (porter bonheur). So some muguets for you and a little glimpse of THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH to go with it.
THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH EXCERPT:
It was a soft day, balmy and gentle, with clouds that hinted at rain but never quite delivered. The fresh lemon scent of lilies-of-the-valley was everywhere, as vendors wandered the streets or stationed themselves at prominent corners with buckets full of them, culled from the woods outside of Paris. Florists sold more formally acquired bunches of the muguets, in pots or bouquets, the little white bells dangling sweetly everywhere they looked.
Dom had bought her several bouquets already, after surviving having his heart broken into tiny pieces by the bouquet that Jaime had snuck into the bathroom while he was showering. No one ever, in his whole life, had given him a little bouquet of lilies-of-the-valley on May 1 to wish him fortune and happiness.
“Ça porte bonheur, oui?” she had asked shyly.
And it did bring happiness. Oh, it did.
It was amazing how much sweeter the muguets on every street corner smelled when someone had given some to you, too.
We’re doing a giveaway of 5 copies of THE CHOCOLATE ROSE over on Dear Author. Print or ebook! I also share how I came to write it and publish it, and might wax on a tad too long, but you can always scroll straight down to the entry form at the end.
Also, just to keep you happy, another tryout for the role of Gabriel Delange, shared by Diligent and Devoted casting director Elaine. Still taking auditions!
Donna Kauffman offers up her candidate for the role of Gabriel Delange, in a certain scene from THE CHOCOLATE ROSE. She has a whole harem of hot man photos over there! Which immediately begs the question–why the heck don’t I? What was *I* doing when Donna was browsing through hot man photos? Anything remotely as useful to humankind?
Meanwhile, what do you think? Do you have a better candidate or does this one work for you? I think we should do tryouts.