List Post, mars (March) 2017

I have 2 events coming up later this month on the same weekend:

  1. I’ll appear at the 2017 Dahlonega Literary Festival on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Come see me between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm at the Dahlonega Baptist Church (234 Hawkins St, Dahlonega GA 30533). I’ll have copies of all four of my books available to sign. Bring your book club members and enjoy this wonderful event!
  2. The following day, Sunday March 26 at 2:30, I’ll appear at Tall Tales Books for a discussion and book signing. This bookstore is conveniently located in Toco Hills at 2105 La Vista Road in Atlanta. You’re invited to attend!

Until then, I’ll be working on my (so far, untitled) next novel (“Book 5” for now). And on Monday evening, March 20, I’ll be the guest of the Atlanta Women’s Book Club at their meeting to discuss DADDY’S GIRL. 

Merci mille fois to my friend Hamid, the owner of Café Vendôome on Roswell Road for hosting me last Saturday, March 4 for the afternoon, to sign copies of my books. Thanks to all who attended – it was wonderful to see you all and to chat about books!

1

23

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro huit (8)

For our May lunch together, Wendy and I chose a French Bistro/restaurant called Atmosphère.

IMG_1440

I won’t be able to attend the Wine Tasting on June 1st, but we enjoyed a glass of rosé with our lunch. We had a leisurely, French déjeuner and chatted about a variety of sujets. She’s younger than me, has one more child than I do (and they’re all younger than my youngest), but we connect on so many things. I always learn things from her, too, and I love to find out what she’s doing.

She has a busy summer planned (and I have a fairly busy one ahead, too), so we may take a hiatus from our lunches until August. But we did pencil in late June as a possibility. I hope that works out, and if it does, of course I will write a post about it then 😉

By the way, atmosphère is a vrai-ami (literally, “true friend’): it means the same thing in French as ‘atmosphere’ does in English. How nice it was to go to Atmosphère with a vrai-ami !

 

Where I’ve worked on my books, and when…

Where I was (and what the season was), when I began writing each of my books:

  • Book 4 (title to be revealed soon): My home office, in the winter ❄️
  • Book 3 (ALL THE ABOVE): My room at the One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach, Florida during spring break👙
  • Book 2 (UNDERWATER): The Library Coffee Company in Atlanta (now closed), in the summer ☕️
  • Book 1 (MAKE THAT DEUX): My kitchen, in the fall 🍁

fIuR9MxpH4dA_WBfdPGIduGGXGiUjTaTdNNuVMAsDhc

Where I was, when I found my editor: My writers group meeting in Atlanta, in the spring 🌷

Where I was, when I found my cover artist: The Resort at Longboat Key Club near Sarasota, Florida, in the spring 🌴

photo copy 5

Where I went to do research:

  • Book 4: McKinney, Texas 🌵
  • Book 3: Winston-Salem, North Carolina 🌳
  • Book 2: New York City, and Nice, France 🚖
  • Book 1: Montpellier, France 🇫🇷

Where I was (and the season), when I finished the edits for each:

  • Book 4: My home office, in the summer 🍉
  • Book 3: My home office, in the winter ⛄️
  • Book 2: Winter Park, Colorado, during a big family reunion vacation week and golf tournament, in the summer ⛳️
  • Book 1: My kitchen, in the fall 🏈

photo copy 7

 

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro six

For our March rendez vous, Wendy and I met at a French bistro in Buckhead (in Atlanta).

FullSizeRender

Some Atlantans may guess which one from the mural above (inside the restaurant). We had a lovely table near the front, lunch was very tasty, and it was wonderful catching up.

Here are a few things that I either learned, or that we talked about:

  • Wendy has never been to Paris (!) But she’s been to Europe many times – much more than I have.
  • We’d like to go to France together someday – at least, I’d love to go with her.
  • Current events (how could we not); football and other sports; travel destinations, domestic and international; our kids’ college news; and what our kids (of any age) choose (and choose not) to tell us
  • Wendy’s art projects, her approach to them, and her course(s)
  • The fact that she can create a painting (she calls it a “before” – it’s the model, sort of) in an hour! (Seen on her facebook page)
  • My inability to multitask on book projects right now, as I wait to view images to consider for my next novel (soon to be published), and try to craft the storyline and characters for my next one, which I’ve begun writing (I’m on Chapter 3)

It’s so much fun to talk about our creative endeavors, and Wendy continues to amaze me with hers. We agreed that it takes discipline for each of us to do what we do: If we don’t sit (or stand) in front of the canvas (or other surface, I’m guessing) or in my case, the computer, and work at it, it simply won’t get done.

No matter what else is going on!

 

(No) Pizza or a Movie, but a cool (literary) cocktail recipe book!

Last Friday night, because of the horrible weather  possible blizzard  very cold (for Atlanta) weather, my husband and I passed on Pizza and a Movie, and stayed home (and warm). The next evening, however, we braved the cold temperatures and had dinner out with very dear friends.

So today, I’ve decided to write about a cool little truc  – a book* – we picked up last month at an interesting cafe/bookshop in France. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist is a cocktail recipe book written by Tim Federle and illustrated by Lauren Mortimer. When we  my husband spied it on the counter, while we were purchasing another book (we love books), we had to have it!

I’m always fond of twists – whether in literature, my work in progress (a novel), or a martini – and I love the recipe titles. I’ve listed a few below, based on a (favorite) book:

  • Gin Eyre
  • Bridget Jones Daiquiri
  • A Confederacy of Ounces
  • Rye and Prejudice
  • The Cooler Purple
  • Gone with the Wine
  • The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose
  • Olives ‘n’ Twist
  • Tequila Mockingbird

There are many more, and we can’t wait to delve into the recipes, which we plan to do, over time.

IMG_1053

Because interesting, tasty cocktails “with a literary twist” – over ice, or neat – seem like just the thing for cold weather!

 

*Not a (literal) translation

(No) wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro quatre

This month, Wendy and I braved the nasty winter weather to meet for lunch at Anis Cafe and Bistro, a French restaurant right here in Atlanta.. We passed on the wine, though (it’s January, after all).

FullSizeRender

We had skipped the month of December – it was just too busy to get together – and started up again for 2016, after my recent trip to France (for more info, see my post “My trip to France – the REAL story”), and before her upcoming one to London.

Before that, she’s off on a college visit up north with one of her five enfants (kids), that is, if it doesn’t get snowed out. But she recently went skiing, just before Christmas, with her large family. And, as soon as she gets back from London, where she is going this spring with her daughter and daughter’s friend, she’s getting on a plane the very next day (!), and going to the Florida Keys.

“I just have to have two different suitcases packed,” she assured me, as I gave her a look of disbelief. Not that she was going to the Keys, a place I’ve always wanted to go, but that she’s going the next day.

Oh la la.

But she’s young and energetic – and very organized, it seems. For my part, I’ve got three trips “out west” planned this year, and one weekend getaway in North Carolina later this spring.

We chatted about more than travels: our interests and creative passions, our impressions on current events, and even our daughters (see that post on my trip to France).

All in all, it was très amusant: a lot of fun.

My trip to France – the REAL story

[If you follow my blog, or any of my social media, you know that] I went to the South of France over the holidays. About a month ago, I was just recovering from jet lag, and about to begin a week of adventure over there, with my husband and our youngest, aka Mademoiselle.*

Once back in the U.S. (but being in love with France, and all things French), I was ecstatic to tell anyone who asked (and would listen) where we went (Montpellier, Avignon, and Lyon), what we did, where we stayed, etc. etc.

I could talk for hours a long, long time about our vacation, but, not wanting me to go on and on elaborate/tell stories about it, what most people were satisfied to hear was: “We had a great time!”

And we did.

But before the trip completely in any way fades from my memory, I’ve decided to describe some of our special memorable moments and events.

  • when, the first evening, we three walked down streets decorated with Christmas lights, and had dinner at a lovely restaurant, Le Petit Jardin, that was closing for the holidays the following day;
  • when, the next evening, the three of us dined at Les Jardins des Sens, in the hotel of the same name, and it was fantastic;
  • when we wandered through the town that weekend and had coffee and tea at Mademoiselle’s favorite cafés, where she had gone to study and hang out during the semester;
  • when I marveled at how Montpellier had changed (and how it hadn’t) since I was there a long time ago on my year abroad, and, when I had moments of déjà vu (except that I HAD already vu‘d), as we explored the city, and wandered around;
  • when Mademoiselle didn’t mind  minded  began not to mind again, that I was speaking French to whoever I could, and I did decently  fine  pretty darn well, practicing my French and communicating with tout le monde, in their native language;
  • when we wandered around, window-shopping, and going to museums and movies when almost everything was closed on Sundays;
  • when, after staying at good-to-great hotels in Montpellier and Avignon, my husband and I checked into a fabulous 5-star hotel near our friends’ home in Lyon (Mademoiselle stayed with them) for a few days, near the end of our trip (and we want to stay there again, someday);
  • when our French friends welcomed us into their home for the holidays, took us to church with them, gave us (very French) gifts, and included us in their family festivities;
  • when Mademoiselle suggested visiting Palavas-les-flots (the beach town, 20 minutes away from Montpellier, and where I lived as a student) on a Sunday – but, unable to find transportation, we gave up (although we could have taken a taxi, but didn ‘t think of it). But just knowing that Mademoiselle wanted to go there with me was almost enough;
  • when we ate French cheeses, crêpes, patè, and so much other good food, and drank wine.

So, if you were curious about our trip, but haven’t had time  were too shy  forgot to ask, but woudn’t mind knowing, there you have it.

*See my “Postcards from Europe” posts, in which I share the postcards I received from all over Europe from Mademoiselle last fall during her semester abroad.

FullSizeRender

Above: a card we received from our friends after our return home. It’s an image of the Berges du Rhône et Hôtel-Dieu (the banks, or quays and paths, and the hotel on the west bank of the Rhône and the Presque-Isle – peninsula – between the Rhône and the Saône Rivers, which run through Lyon). The Hôtel-Dieu was a hospital for centuries, but is now being converted into a luxury hotel.

Postcards from Europe, #18

We did not get this postcard before we left for our trip to France. Must have gotten delayed up north (see the “New York” stamp on the front).

I’ve never been to Strasbourg, and I’m glad that Mademoiselle got to go at Christmastime. Looks like the restaurant where she and her pals ate was picturesque. Perhaps because she was about to return to the USA, she reverted to our way of listing the date (as opposed to the French way) – that is, month/day/year.

Which also happened to be her birthday.

Mademoiselle was in Europe for 18 weeks, and she sent me 18 postcards. She’s safely back in her home country now, and I think she spent her time abroad – and recorded it – very well.

FullSizeRender

Bonjour!

Currently experiencing Christmas in Strasbourg! There are markets everywhere, the Cathedral is beautiful, and we’ve had plenty of vin chaud and bretzel! If you leave for Mtp before you get this, safe travels! If you don’t, see you soon! I’ve taken it upon myself to get some ornaments, and there is a laughable number of people here wearing stork hats (the bird of the region). Now, on to Alsace, white wine, and Christmas concerts!

Love,

Mademoiselle

12-06-2015

LAST WEEKEND TRIP!

IMG_1020

FullSizeRender 2

Dinner and a Movie: The Big Short

Last weekend, instead of a pizza, we opted to split a salad and a sandwich at Corner Pizza

Afterward, we went to see The Big Short.

It had been out a few weeks, but the theater was packed. We were lucky to get two seats together on the 4th row. I had seen this film in France the week before (dubbed in French), and I understood most what the characters said, when they didn’t speak way too fast OR use (curse) words and idioms that I don’t know (yet). Seeing the English language version cleared up my confusion (and, to be fair, it’s a rather complicated story, especially in French). I enjoyed the film just as much the second time.

Here are my reactions to The Big Short:

  1. I want to read the book by Michael Lewis now.
  2. I thought the film was well cast.
  3. I thought it was well done. Some people may not like the way it was filmed and edited, but I did.
  4. I liked the movie very much overall, but I was dismayed (and even felt cheated) that one important thing was left out (and I wonder if the book does the same thing): the fact that the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) [as updated in the 1990s] effectively forced banks to make subprime mortgage loans to non-credit worthy customers (“ninjas,” or no income, no job, no assets), so as not to discriminate against them.

I’ve worked in banking, and I know that bankers must should evaluate measurable criteria (like income, assets, credit scores, etc.) before making any kind of loan. And, like it or not, just like any other company, banks have to make a profit in order to stay in business. The federal government was responsible for the crisis depicted in the movie in that it forced banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them, betting on the erroneous assumption that housing would always appreciate.

See my novel UNDERWATER for more information.

On a positive note, I liked the film’s epilogue – the updates on what happened to all the central characters, and the macro effects. However, it would have been nice to learn that the government had either repealed or revised the laws, to prevent what happened from happening all over again.

But maybe that’s too big of a thing to hope for.

FullSizeRender

No Pizza photo this time – just a collection of cards and souvenirs from my trip to the south of France, where I saw The Big Short in French!

 

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑