Category Archives: Blog

Permalink to Chocolate for Christmas

Chocolate for Christmas

Just a little visual present for Christmas and a glimpse of what I’ve been working on.  The next two books will be published by Kensington Publishing, and set in the domain of Parisian chocolate.  The research has been a lot of delicious fun, and since I have permission from both of the top chocolatiers who helped me with it to show the photos they allowed me to take here on my blog, I’m going to try to show you bits and pieces of that research.  Over the next eighteen months (things are so slow in publishing) before the next book comes out…  (At the pace at which I blog anymore, that is probably how much time I need…)

Here is a box of Jacques Genin’s chocolates, from my visit to his laboratoire and salon.  Jacques Genin is considered by many to be the best chocolatier in the world.  I’m still trying to taste all the chocolatiers in the world, so I can’t yet confirm with absolute certainty that question of the best, but I do have to say that his chocolate is extraordinary.  And his salon de thé un vrai délice, visually as well as via the palate.


Jacques Genin

133, rue de Turenne, Paris.  This is in the 3rd arrondissement, but right off République, an unusual and intriguing spot to find one of the best chocolatiers in Paris.  Tél: 01 45 77 29 01.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Enjoy good food and good times and snuggle up with a good book or two when the weather outside gets frightful.   Thanks as always to everyone for all the emails and for reading!

Permalink to French cuisine: Humanity’s Patrimony

French cuisine: Humanity’s Patrimony

I’m trying to get organized to start sharing once or twice a month some updates on the next book and the delicious research involved, but in the meantime, I just had to share this: the French meal named by UNESCO as a patrimony of humanity.  One of humanity’s world treasures.  I love it!

Of course, this means I’ve been on the receiving end of comments today such as:

Sébastien, when I first shared the news, an embarrassed, self-deprecating:  “Well, it is true that the French cuisine is the best in the world…but, I don’t know if we need to show off that way.

Sébastien, later, over the baguette I picked up at a grocery store (I know, I know, but I’m too busy to drive an hour to get the only good baguettes we can around here).  Snickering:  “Well, we can tell whose cuisine won’t ever be named a global patrimony…”

Sébastien, sighing, reflecting on his patrimony:  “You know, I really miss France.”

Me, I definitely miss its CHOCOLATE.  More on that research to share just as soon as I can get this next proposal together and finish up at a conference!

THANK YOU to everyone who has continued to check in via email from time to time to see what’s going on and when there might be a new book.  Summer 2012 is when.  More later!

Permalink to Blame It on Paris in Stores

Blame It on Paris in Stores

It’s here!  The mass market of Blame It on Paris hits the shelves today.  For anyone not familiar with publishing lingo, “mass market” means the smaller paperback that is, conveniently, a lot cheaper.   It also becomes available in electronic format.

Thanks so much to all of you who read it and recommended it to friends and even random strangers!  Actually, I have 5 secret tips on how to win friends and influence people, and ONE of them is to give them a copy of Blame It on Paris.  I will tell you the other four later.

If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss this comic and romantic true story about falling in love with a place, a culture, and a person.

Blame It on Paris Mass Market

Permalink to Enjoy Blame It on Paris AND help more people blame things on that charming city

Enjoy Blame It on Paris AND help more people blame things on that charming city

I’m very excited to announce, for those of you in Georgia, that March 10, I will be doing an event at the University of West Georgia to help establish the Pierrette Frickey Study Abroad Scholarship for students at West Georgia.

Pierrette Frickey is now retired but was a wonderful professor of French, and I can clearly remember sitting on the wall by the Humanities quad trying to figure out Madame Bovary after having been assigned it as extra reading.  (A little bit more than I could chew at the time–everyone else in the class was reading short stories.  I do love teachers who are good at spotting hungry minds and feeding them.)

On Wednesday, March 10, at 7 p.m., therefore, I will be giving a talk titled, “Blame It on French:  From UWG to Tahiti to Paris”, so that everyone can learn to blame things on other cities, countries, and languages.  And as I can all too well remember longing to spend a summer in Paris as a college student and not having the money, please help us make a few more study abroad dreams financially possible.

Blame It on Paris is donating itself to the cause:  The talk is free and open to all, of course!  But for everyone who contributes to the Pierrette Frickey Study Abroad Scholarship fund, I will offer a copy (signed on the spot!) of Blame It on Paris, the larger, trade paperback edition, not the smaller mass market coming out in May.  Suggested donation is $10.  ALL of that donation goes to the scholarship fund, none to defray costs.

The talk will be in TLC 1303, University of West Georgia.

I hope to see you there!   Wednesday, March 10, 7 p.m., TLC 1303, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia:  Blame It on French.

Sponsored by the University of West Georgia Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures,  the Office of Alumni Affairs, and the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Permalink to Blame It on Paris: Mass Market, May 2010

Blame It on Paris: Mass Market, May 2010

Tor Forge will be re-releasing Blame It on Paris, this time in mass market paperback, in May 2010.  Check out the new cover!  Isn’t it romantic?  I have to say, the hero of the story would not be caught dead in a dolman-sleeved sweater, but I like the leaning tower of Eiffel.

Blame It on Paris Mass Market

Permalink to Merci!


Yes, I’m still determined on the hiatus, but I just wanted to post a big THANK YOU for all the words of support and encouragement.

Also, I wanted to say a big thanks to reader Barbara!  I would answer your email directly but the email address didn’t come through.  But in case you happen to check the blog, thank you so much for your kind words on Blame It on Paris.

Merci à tout le monde, en fait!  Thank you and enjoy your spring and summer!

It is now that I say in this imitation of the totally ghastly French dubbing of Terminator I once had the misfortune to be forced to watch:  J’y retournerai.  (You’d have to hear the thread-thin whisper voice used for that French Terminator dubbing to appreciate why I’m over hear laughing my head off, really.)

Permalink to Hiatus


So…I have been thinking about this for a while, and so the whole hack problem is the last straw rather than the cause. I think I am going to have to put this blog on hiatus for a while.

I am on a simplification kick. I am Decluttering. I am donating to Goodwill. I may even empty my attic of boxes of books I have been clinging to for 15 years. (I may. This is a very hard step, to give up books you once loved and don’t need anymore. It’s like giving up someone you once were and still like. I only did it once before–all my Trixie Belden books when I hit that “I’m an adult” teenage stage–and I always regretted it and wish like anything I had those Trixie Belden books back. So I tend to cling to books.)

But whether books stay in my attic or not, I would like to focus on a few things–writing, family, work, cooking, lazy fun times with friends–and so I am having to choose some things to stop.

Most tellingly, I did a journal exercise not too long ago using Kinder’s three questions, the second of which is: You go to the doctor, who discovers you have a rare illness. He says that you’re going to feel perfectly fine for the next five years, but then the illness will prove fatal. It will come suddenly, causing no suffering. The question is, Now that you know that your life will be over by then, how will you live it? What will you do?

And one of the things I wrote was: I would spend no time at my computer at all, except to write, and I might even start writing by hand. (Now this might not be realistic–how am I supposed to find out the WEATHER without a computer, for one thing? Watch TV? Look outside? That’s just crazy talking. Also, I wrote that I would grow a garden, so I decided to go start a garden right away, and OF COURSE where was I supposed to find out what to plant if I didn’t use the Internet?)

But…you know what I mean, I bet. There’s a line between resource and Computer=Life, and it’s not really a fine line, it’s just hard to stay on the right side of it. Internets are tempting creatures.

It may be that the hiatus doesn’t last very long and I get drawn back in very quickly, but right now my plan is to stick to it through August. This means I won’t be visiting your blogs much either! I will miss you, this is what I will miss the most.

But it is doing me a world of good to use that last little half hour of the evening to curl up in bed with (currently) Neruda’s Cien Sonetos de Amor (100 Love Sonnets–I highly, highly, highly recommend these, by the way, if you haven’t tried them. Tapscott’s translation is very good, too.) It’s hard to turn off the computer and make that shift, but I’m always glad I did. Simplifying experiences and deepening those, and maybe rediscovering a bit what it was like to live my life ten years ago when I didn’t have internet! That’s my track right now…we’ll see how it goes!

So this is au revoir (not adieu!)…THANK YOU for all your support the past year and a half, for giving me the chance to get to know you, and for humoring my obsessions. :)  And keep up the Chocolate War!!! Know that I will be fighting hard in the trenches, never surrendering, not even when faced with a dearth of Easter clearance candy.

Permalink to Where, Easter Bunny, where?

Where, Easter Bunny, where?

Okay, what is the deal with the Easter candy?

Not having a child old enough to understand the whole Easter basket full of candy concept unless someone resolutely explains it to her, I chose to ignore the temptations of pre-Easter candy and directed her to such Easter events as dyeing her hand green as a Martian’s as she tried to dye eggs.

This started whole new familial traditions, such as the fit every time she sees eggs now and I don’t get batches of dye going.

Meanwhile, I promised myself a whole batch of post-Easter candy, once those sales hit.

You all know my principles: I am resolutely against anything but highest quality dark chocolate except after Christmas, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s (Hershey’s crème de la menthe), Easter, Fourth of July, and Halloween, when all those trashy candies go on sale and I can buy them all up on the premise of making a good chocolate deal and eat my heart out.

You all noticed the problem with that list of holidays, right? THAT’S RIGHT. There’s a very big gap between Easter and Fourth of July, which really isn’t the best candy sale anyway.

So imagine my dismay!!!! Target, Easter Monday, 3:00 p.m. NO EASTER CHOCOLATE. No Easter chocolate in the entire store. The only thing left were some Easter bunny marshmallows, but even I can’t buy bunny marshmallows. I can’t conceive of a purpose for them, which must have been the case of every other person in that Easter candy aisle, because they were the only thing left.

So my question is: What DID it look like Monday morning as all that clearance candy disappeared? Was it a mob scene? Who showed up? Do people take off work for post-Easter candy or are SAHMs that organized? If so, HOW do they get that organized? I can’t even conceive of getting us out the door that fast, not even for chocolate.

THEN….I decided, well…KROGER always has candy much longer than Target. I’ll just stop by and hit their Easter sales.

And….two things…NO SALES, everything was at its full pre-Easter price. And NO CANDY anyway. Only Cadbury eggs were left and Peeps, but Peeps at full price after Easter??

So…I am without trashy candy. Now I have to get through Fourth of July.

But…I don’t understand. How did this happen? What is changing in the rules of post-holiday candy clearances?

Meanwhile, I have to apologize for my long absence. I just popped on to vent my Profound Despair about not having any trashy candy after 2 attempts, but I have a longer and more serious post I am working on. It involves the phrases “going on a hiatus”, so it’s taking more time and more thought.

Happy post-Easter to everyone! I hope your candy clearances were more rewarding than mine.

Permalink to Blog Hacked

Blog Hacked

Hello everybody,

as some of you have noticed, the blog has recently been hacked, which caused porn-site spam links to appear in feeds (thanks Riverlak for pointing this out), and comments to switch off.

I upgraded our blog software, and it seems to have fixed the current issues, but please drop an email to Laura if you see anything suspicious. If this happens again, I will have to do a complete reinstallation, so the blog might be offline for a few days.

Thank you.

Permalink to It’s out!

It’s out!

So I have decided not to get backyard chickens. I have decided that, really, it will be much cheaper to buy those Weight-in-Gold fresh eggs at the market instead.

However, a Surprising Number of people, ever since that blog post, have made a point of telling me how much they have always longed to have their own backyard chickens, how they are going to get backyard chickens just the second they have a chance, how much fun they must be, how wonderful my life would be because of them.

These are the very same people who are close enough within my geographical as well as friendship circle as to receive all the extra eggs we can’t eat. Exactly as I suspected! I knew they would try to lure me in.

But I am not lured. I say, If they’re that wonderful, YOU try, and I will eat any extra eggs, if you like.

Completely on a different subject, Joshilyn Jackson‘s new book, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING is out!!! Yay, yay, yay! I love this title, by the way. The question it always makes me ask is: Exactly how deep was the water she was in when she decided to stop? But I have not read it yet–that is what I am OFF to do right now.
I have been waiting for this one forever, it seems. You all know what a fan I am of hers, especially if you followed the whole Truffle Story, complete with B*** Stuck Under a Bed in Paris. So, instead of buying one of those $700 chicken coops, I will go invest in a copy of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming instead.

Meanwhile, you can go read an interview with the wonderful Joshilyn Jackson over at our also wonderful friend dee’s site.

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