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Permalink to The darkened Eiffel Tower

The darkened Eiffel Tower

Earlier today I learned that one of our colleagues was one of the journalists gravely wounded in the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices. Philippe Lançon, a very well-known journalist for Libération who also collaborated with Charlie Hebdo, spent last year here as a Media Fellow, in our department, and taught two courses for us, as well as gave many talks and was very actively engaged here intellectually, as you might expect of someone of his mind and wit. I didn’t realize he was among the wounded until another colleague emailed the rest of us today. My understanding is that, while seriously wounded, his prognosis is good, but it’s just…hard for me to wrap my mind around this event, as it is for everyone, I think, and to actually know someone who was caught in it makes it that much harder to encompass, while at the same time bringing it closer. The colleague who emailed to let us know is actually teaching a course on freedom of expression in France, inspired in part by some of the work with Lançon, a course that, by bitter coincidence, started yesterday, of all days.

The Eiffel Tower went dark tonight in honor of the victims.

I’m sorry to bring dark things to this site, as you know that is something I prefer to avoid, but of course you know how important Paris and France are to me, and my husband, of course, is Parisian, and these are artists and journalists he “grew up with” (reading their work).

It’s a very grievous thing.


Permalink to Keep Warm!

Keep Warm!

I am really dumbfounded that they didn’t delay openings today. They’ve delayed for much warmer temperatures here. (Schoolkids waiting for the bus before dawn without good winter attire, which they might often not have in this area if their family is struggling.)

Of course *we* are only at 10F, plus wind chill. That’s practically toasty warm compared to some of you. How are all of you doing? How are you staying warm? (It probably won’t surprise you to know that our method in this household involves hot chocolate.)

I hope you have a cozy throw and a good book to read! And if you have to go out in it, that you don’t have to stay out in it long.


Permalink to Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

I rarely post anything to do with international tragedies here, because I want this to be a safe and happy space, but I just wanted to state my extreme sadness for the courageous artists and journalists of Charlie Hebdo as well as the two policemen who died intervening.

This is a very grievous day.

If you are in Paris, I think people will be gathering at République to manifest for freedom of expression at 18h00.

Rest in peace.


Permalink to Maybe that sweet book you’ve been waiting for?

Maybe that sweet book you’ve been waiting for?

Going through the edits and proofs of ONCE UPON A ROSE makes me feel as if I’m wrapping myself up in a big cozy throw, with hot chocolate. Only the cozy throw is made of rose petals and that pine- and herb-scented air of Provence. Summer in winter.

I think for those of you who have been wanting another sweet and not-so-angsty book from me, this might be it! (Watch everyone email me about how angsty it is, though! That happens to me all the time, when I think the book is basically a big bowl of marshmallows.)

Still…this one does feel (to me) as if it’s dominated by one big, grouchy cuddle-bunny. We’ll see if you like him. :)

I’m getting really excited to launch the Rosier series with this book.  I hope those of you who have been wanting another sweet comfort read will be happy!

Book 1 of the Vie en Roses series, ONCE UPON A ROSE, coming soon!

 


Permalink to Happy New Year! And my New Year news: Once Upon a Rose

Happy New Year! And my New Year news: Once Upon a Rose

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you have fun ringing out the old one today (safe fun! be safe!) and that 2015 is a great year for all of you.

MY news to start the New Year off right, which I hope you all will like, too, is that ONCE UPON A ROSE is ready to go into production! “Into production” means that story wise it is done and we are starting the copy edits. (After which come proofing, formatting, and another round of proofing of the formatting. Which sounds like a lot, and it IS a lot, especially with a new semester starting, but it does mean the book is coming your way.)

I have to offer once again a huge thank you to Virginia Kantra, who reached out to me about this story when she heard about some of the things that derailed it back in July, and whose insight into Story with a capital S really made a huge difference to me and to this book.

Also, another big thank you to all of you who offered support and to read it or really anything that could help! That meant a lot to me, to hear from you.

Happy New Year to all of you!

once upon a rose florand


Permalink to Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

I’m signing off through the holidays, but wanted to wish you all a wonderful holiday season before I go!

May your season be merry and bright!

And if the holidays are a tough time for you, hide away with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, if you need to.

All my best wishes for a good start to 2015!


Permalink to Heart’s Gift

Heart’s Gift

HEART’S GIFT: I’ve heard from a few alert readers who have told me that I switched the names around on Luc and Summer’s children. (That in the epilogue to THE CHOCOLATE HEART, they oldest child is Océane and the second is Lucienne.)

It’s TRUE. I managed to switch this around very early when working on SHADOWED HEART and didn’t myself realize it until readers pointed it out this week.

I am in a bit of a quandary as to how to resolve it now, because…well, here is the thing. The epilogue anticipated 7 years into Luc & Summer’s future.

But working on SHADOWED HEART, it became very obvious how valuable it would be to Luc to have his first child named after him, and that Summer realized this and would do it.

So…I know this kind of thing drives readers absolutely crazy, and I can understand. Because to you the story is fixed, and to me it’s always in a process of creation.

But given that the mistake is MADE now and it’s too late, I will have to reflect some. Obviously the easiest thing to do is to revise HEART’S GIFT so that they use the name Océane. But…well, I’m really attached to the significance of naming her after Luc and what her name means.

So…I will think. I do very much apologize for the error! I know this is the kind of thing that can drive a reader crazy. It should perhaps be a lesson to me not send out these side stories! I really wanted to send out a special story as a gift, though. :( I don’t know and will have to reflect.


Permalink to Some holiday presents!

Some holiday presents!

Happy holiday season to everyone!

I’m sharing stories today, as a little present for the holidays and a thank you for all your support this year.

If you haven’t seen this via the newsletter, I’ve posted here a link to a special cut scene from The Chocolate Touch featuring Dom and the aunts from The Chocolate Kiss.

And for those of you who enjoyed Shadowed Heart, I’ve just sent out a special short story for the holidays to my newsletter subscribers, about Luc and Summer. (It’s a direct sequel to Shadowed Heart, so I recommend reading that first.) If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter already, don’t worry! We’re automatically sending a copy to anyone who signs up through the months of December and January. (And while we’re “early releasing” it to newsletter subscribers this month, we’ll post it online in 2015. I’m not sure of the date of that yet.)

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoy the presents!


Permalink to Friday Book Club! What are you reading?

Friday Book Club! What are you reading?

It’s Friday! What are you reading this week? Anything you recommend? Anything you’re looking forward to this weekend?

I just finished David Finkel’s THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. Finkel is the Pulitzer prize winning journalist who wrote THE GOOD SOLDIERS (about being embedded in Iraq during the “surge”), and for this book he decided to do embed with soldiers *after they come home*, and really look at the effects of the war on soldiers and their families afterward. It’s exceptionally well-written and utterly heartbreaking.

I’m looking right now for a good book on the war experience in Afghanistan, so if you have one to recommend, let me know!

What about you? What are you reading? Something more comforting for the holidays, I hope!


Permalink to Guest Post from Megan Mulry + Giveaway: A Perfect Day on the French Riviera…circa 1984

Guest Post from Megan Mulry + Giveaway: A Perfect Day on the French Riviera…circa 1984

In honor of the release of her new novel, Roulette, Megan Mulry is here to share her perfect day in the South of France. Do you love this cover? I love it, I have to say! And I also love this Perfect Day. What would your own Perfect Day be? And where would it be?

roulette-cover-amz

 

The summer of 1984 was the first time I visited the South of France. I was 17, staying in youth hostels, and getting by on $25 a day (hard to believe that was actually possible at one time in the not-so-distant past). Yet, no matter how slim my money belt (filled as it was with those very precious few American Express travelers checks), I always had a lust for grandeur. Even though I had my proverbial nose pressed against the glass, I saw a whole different world, and I wanted to know more.

In my newest book, Roulette, the heroine, Miki Durand, has a very glamorous pedigree: her father is a Russian business tycoon and her mother is a French model/actress. As far as Miki is concerned, they represent everything she doesn’t want out of life—she thinks Mikhail Voyanovski and Simone Durand were nothing but reckless fools when they were gallivanting around the Côte d’Azur during that fateful summer of 1984. (There’s more to their story than meets the eye, of course, but I let Miki think ill of them for a while, because I’m mean like that).

Here is a brief imaginary glimpse of how Mikhail and Simone spent their first day together—after meeting over the roulette table at the Casino de Monte Carlo the night before.

Wake up at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes

Back in the 80s this hotel was cash only. (I wonder why!) I later heard stories about people arriving with large suitcases full of unmarked bills. The views of the Mediterranean are stunning; the rocky shore is lined with craggy cypress pines that make you feel like you are living inside a Cézanne painting. First order of business, get a little morning sun and steal a kiss by the cliffside pool, shown here in this 1976 photograph by Slim Aarons:

Visit the Musée Picasso, Juan-les-Pins

Drive about fifteen minutes up the coast and visit the Musée Picasso, formerly the Château Grimaldi. This is where Picasso lived for several months in 1946. I adore house museums because I think they never lose the spirit of the artist. Kiss on this sunny rooftop:

picasso museum

Lunch at La Colombe d’Or, St.-Paul-de-Vence

About a half hour inland from the coast is the charming medieval town of St.-Paul-de-Vence. For most of the mid-Twentieth-century, La Colombe d’Or was a hangout for movie stars and artists, many of whom were commissioned to create works that still hang in the restaurant and the adjacent inn. I imagine it like it was in the 1950’s, when it was a regular haunt of stars like Yves Montand and Simone Signoret. Grab your partner’s thigh beneath the table while sipping a Côtes du Rhone:

montanddefaut

Stroll around the Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

After a long lunch, a leisurely stroll through the gardens at the Fondation Maeght is the perfect way to relax. Outdoor sculptures by Miró, Braque, and Giacometti are scattered beneath the Provencal sun. Kiss here in the sculpture garden:

St Paul (166)-net

Stop by Rosaire Chapel, Vence

On the way back to Antibes, make a quick stop at this tiny chapel, also known as the Matisse Chapel. Created at the end of his life, Matisse considered it his masterpiece. Kiss beneath the stained glass windows:

wsj

After a dramatic drive back to the hotel, have a sunset drink overlooking the coast…and order room service!

hotel

Laura, thanks so much for having me over to your blog. I’d love to hear from your readers about what constitutes their perfect day. And to help spread our shared love of France, I will also give away an autographed copy of Roulette to two random commenters.

 

 

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