When I’m traveling it is so hard to post things on the blog, but once in a while I can manage with my phone to post something on FB. I’m not sure if those who follow the blog are saying, “Thank goodness for small favors,” or are feeling as if they are missing out, so…a little photo from the time in Provence for you.
Ha, ha, have been going through some photos from the past few years for a blog event next week (selecting some chocolate and rose research photos). What do you think of this little Parisienne I ran into while I was hunting? (Hint: She’s mine. Several years ago now.)
One of those little parental moments yesterday: I arrived to pick her up from her science camp to find the instructor finishing up a story about the Mona Lisa. (“Which I’ve never seen, but I hear it’s like this…”) My daughter just sat there gazing at him. A couple of times you could tell she *thought* about saying something but she never did. Afterward, I said, “Honey, why didn’t you tell him what it was really like? He did ask if any of you had ever seen it.” “Mom, he’s the teacher. He didn’t really want to know what other people knew, he just wanted to talk about what he knew.” SO NOT TRUE. As a teacher myself, I can swear to that. I LOVE having students who know more than I do. Sigh. And that girl has had some really good teachers so far in school, too. I guess it’s a caution to all of us teachers about the way we can come across to kids.)
A HUGE THANK YOU for all the support about the delay in ONCE UPON A ROSE. I really, really appreciate it, so much.
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.
Shannon, of the Fantastic Book Club (What Happens at Book Club, Stays at Book Club) has been posting some of their adventures on Pinterest! If you need book club ideas, check these out. The link here goes to her very first book club (on THE CHOCOLATE THIEF), but if you click to her other boards, you can see not only some of the other Chocolate books, but some really fun sessions on other authors, including some of my favorites. I wish I could have been at the book club meeting for Penny Reid’s NEANDERTHAL SEEKS HUMAN or Penny Watson’s APPLES SHOULD BE RED!
What do you think? Are you inspired? Do you have a book club yourself? Have you ever been in one? (Did it work out well or fizzle slowly?)
In Medium Raw , which I’m reading now, Anthony Bourdain has a chapter on what he thinks should be basic kitchen skills for “all men, women, and teenagers”. What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have all these? His list seemed to me to have a certain bias toward traditional Western European based cooking. If you come from another culinary culture, are there skills you think should be swapped out for, say, boeuf bourguignon?
The list, in brief:
1) Basic knife handling, sharpening, & maintenance, along with rudimentary dicing, mincing, slicing.
2) Ability to make an omelet. (“I have long believed that it is only right and appropriate that before one sleeps with someone, one should be able…to make them a proper omelet in the morning.”)
3) Roast a chicken.
4) Correctly grill & rest a steak. (He references the terrible state of backyard grilling.)
5) Cook vegetables.
6) Make a standard vinaigrette.
7) Ability to shop for fresh produce, have a sense of what’s in season, what’s ripe or rotten.
8) Recognize fish that’s fresh & how to clean & filet it.
9) Steam a lobster, crab, clams or mussels.
10) Roast meats & know when it’s done without a thermometer.
11) Roast & mash potatoes.
12) Make rice, both steamed & pilaf method.
13) Have fundamentals of braising (he mentions specifically boeuf bourguignon).
14) Be able to make stock from bones, plus a few soups.
15) Each person should develop his/her own “modest yet unique repertoire”, a few dishes that they love & practice preparing until are proud of result. “To either respect in this way their own past–or express through cooking their dreams for the future. Every citizen would thus have their own specialty.”
So what do you think? Can you proudly claim to do all? Would you suggest any changes to the list? What would be in your modest but unique repertoire?
Anthony Bourdain is not a sweets person, but I actually think that everyone who likes chocolate should know how to make a basic ganache (it’s extremely easy). And for Americans, how to make a cake/brownies/chocolate chip cookies without a mix, and bread. (French, on the other hand, don’t like cakes in the first place usually and have fantastic and cheap bakeries every block, so if you live there, let the pros do it.) And, while I think Anthony Bourdain might be opposed to this particular sauce-making skill, I will say that the ability to make a roux is easily acquired and is useful in all kinds of sauces.
What do you think?
FRIDAY BOOK CLUB! With all the travel, this has been on hiatus for a good long month, so I’ve been reading a lot and I bet you have, too. Right this moment, I’m reading Anthony Bourdain‘s Kitchen Confidential, which is just irresistibly captivating. He’s got such a vivid voice and attitude!
Some other great reads while traveling: Elyssa Patrick‘s GO WITH ME (super sweet hero here), Theresa Romain‘s TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS (a “mad” duke! really a geeky intellectual with social anxiety…need I say more?), and I’ve just been reading Cecilia Grant‘s WOMAN ENTANGLED. Recommends all!
And, of course, Penny Reid‘s NEANDERTHAL MARRIES HUMAN. Adorable!! Love this couple, so charming and so sweet, too.
What about you? What have you been reading? Anything you recommend? Anything you’re looking forward to this weekend?
CARAMEL WINNERS: Yay for Meghan K., Eva W., and Sharon B. who won the “Dom Richard” (really Jacques Genin) caramels! Emails have been sent, so check your inbox if those are your names.
And I’m very sorry there aren’t enough to go around to everyone. THANK YOU for sharing the special moments in the books. That was actually really nice to see the different moments people had enjoyed.
These caramels are nearly worth their weight in gold, but trust me, if I could, I would share them with all of you! I really wish I could. They taste a LOT better than gold. (To be honest, I’ve never really understood gold. But caramels and chocolate, now–that’s a luxury that makes sense.)
Thanks so much as always! And Meghan, Eva, and Sharon, let us know what you think!
All right, you know what time it is, right? CHOCOLATE CLUB TIME. Although, as discussed prior to leaving for Paris, THIS is a SPECIAL EDITION SUMMER CHOCOLATE CLUB that does not, in fact, feature chocolate.
NO, it features those very same one and only, best in the world caramels from top chocolatier Jacques Genin, the caramels that inspired the caramels Dom Richard offered Jaime Corey in THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH. I know they don’t look like much here with my terrible photography and a little squashed from travel, but trust me, squashing does not affect flavor or texture, and they are fantastic.
As promised, I brought 3 small bags this year instead of one large box, so that I could spread several small prizes around, since last year’s was so popular. (Tragically, I could swear I bought 4 bags, but I can’t find the 4th!! And I did NOT eat it. Really. If I find it, I’ll add it to the prizes.) To enter this chocolate club, you can sign up for my newsletter (if signed up already, you’re automatically entered) AND/OR have an extra entry by commenting below or on Facebook. The comment could be, hmm…how about your favorite food moment in any of these books?
I’ll draw 3 winners Friday morning! Note: US only. I’m very, very sorry to international readers, but trying to internationally ship something that has to stay so fresh is just a disaster. I can swap for a book prize, if you’re outside the US.
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!
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.)
FRIDAY BOOK CLUB! What are you all reading? I am stocking up for the plane ride so need your recs. I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction books lately, research for the Roses series primarily, so I’m probably a little behind on some of the latest books. (I still haven’t read Lost Lake, if you can believe it. And I love Sarah Addison Allen!)
What are you reading? Anything you recommend? Anything you’re looking forward to this weekend?
And THANK YOU ALL for all the encouragement and feedback for the cover of ONCE UPON A ROSE! We’re looking at mid-August for the release date. Here’s a little image that evokes a scene in the book to help tide you over!
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.
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.
I hope you’ll enjoy this one! And Happy Summer!