Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro douze (12)

Last week, for our October lunch, Wendy and I broke with tradition.

Instead of going to a French restaurant (of which, we’ve just about run out – that is, of any close enough to where we live), we went to a Mexican one. And instead of Wednesday, we went on Thursday, because it worked better for both of us, and gave us a bit more time.

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Which was nice, because we were celebrating our birthdays: mine was the week before, and hers is coming up this weekend.

We caught up with each other’s lives – work and family – and then talked about her art, my writing, and books we’ve read. I loved hearing about her current project, and I described my work-in-progress and asked for her thoughts. Sometimes, when I talk to others about the books I’ve written or about what I’m writing, they can lose interest, and their eyes start to glaze.

Not Wendy, though. She listened intently and offered great ideas for characters and missing plot elements –so many, in fact, that I later wished I’d taken notes.

When we parted, I felt re-energized about this new novel (whose working title I ran by her and explained what it meant). I’m writing the next scene today, and I hope to finish it before trick-or-treaters show up at the door.

And then, I’ll have (another) glass of wine!

 

 

 

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro sept

Hours before my new suspense novel DADDY’S GIRL was published, Wendy and I met for lunch at one of the (new) French restaurants we had been to once before. But this time, we sat outside.

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Our table was to the left of the side window

Le restaurant? Le Bilboquet.

It’s always so much fun to catch up with Wendy, hear about her kids (side note: four out of the five have a “y” in their name), her travels, her adventures, and talk about art, books, and movies.

It was delightful sitting outside in this new Buckhead shops and restaurant enclave, unimaginatively dubbed The Shops of Buckhead Atlanta, on Peachtree Road. I had rosé, she had chardonnay, and we each ordered something très bon et très français. 

(I just love how Wendy and I are both interested in French – although she is taking a needed break right now from French classes.)

De toute façon – anyway – our lunch lasted well over an hour  an hour and a half, and we both felt at the end that time had flown. A talented artist, Wendy gave me some great feedback recently about the details on the cover of DADDY’S GIRL. I have learned so much about art from her (my all-time favorite course I ever took was Art History). We also talked books: the great, the good, the fair, and the I-don’t-recommend-you-read-this-but-somehow-I-finished it. And we discussed the publishing industry and talked a little about films.

Wendy has never been to Paris (!) and I told her that when she does, she must visit the Musée d’Orsay to see all the Impressionists’ works there. (I would love to go with her.)

Afterward, I’m sure we would find a lovely French restaurant or café for lunch. 🇫🇷

 

Wine with Wendy on Wednesday, numéro six

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

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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!

 

Postcards from Europe, #2

With the exception of Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Carcassonne, France, all of Mademoiselle’s many travel destinations so far have been different from mine when I spent a year abroad in France. Her first excursion was to Collioure.

Mademoiselle and I have similar tastes in art, and she is much more knowledgeable than me about history. And we both adore the beach!

Quelle jolie carte postale, n’est-ce pas?

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Bonjour!

This is from our excursion to Collioure, a medieval port town that’s known for its art scene. Apparently painters like Picasso and Matisse lived there at one point and painted the scenery. Also visited the castle that was once controlled by the Visigoths, the Spanish, and the Huguenots at some point or other, and then laid on the beach (far right).

Love you,

Mademoiselle

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Wine with Wendy on Wednesday: numéro deux

My friend Wendy and I met yesterday at another French bistro, F & B Atlanta, and had a glass of wine with our lunch.

We talked about art and writing, and about our past and upcoming trips. I had some news to share about my next book, the one she just read, pre-publication, as my beta-reader. She’s working on a new painting, and next month, to celebrate her birthday, she’s going on a week-long vacation on a Caribbean island.

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It was so much fun to catch up, and I love hearing about Wendy’s (sometimes crazy) adventures. We both raised a houseful of kids (well, she’s still raising hers), and although I’ve known her for several years, yesterday was the first time I realized that the age span of her five children is the same as that of my four: 9 years (technically, for my group, it’s 8 years and 9 months).

My children are older than hers,  and none of our kids know each other. They mostly went to different schools, and Wendy and I met not through them but via mutual friends. We connected over our own endeavors, not through our kids’ lives and activities. We talked about that fact yesterday, and about how nice and even refreshing it is to share stories about what we’re doing in our own lives right now.

Wendy had found some problems in my (title still to be revealed) next book, and gave me her take on the book and her opinion about that title–I had changed it from the working title I used most of last year, while I was writing it. I’ve settled on the new title, and I was so grateful to my friend for giving me her valuable feedback, so that I could give the story a final polish.

When we meet again, she’ll be back from her trip, rested and relaxed, and I’ll be looking forward to going on mine. Meantime, I’m going to Nashville, where I’ll be a panelist at the 2015 Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference. *

Which is going to be a fun adventure!

* This week and next, there won’t be a “Pizza and a Movie” post 😦 because this Friday, my husband is taking me out to dinner for my birthday, and the next Friday, I’ll be in Nashville. 

Wine with Wendy on Wednesdays

My friend Wendy is a talented artist, an avid reader, and the mother of 5. How does she do it all? Je n’ai aucune idée! (I have no idea!)

The last two times we had a rendez-vous, we met for déjeuner – lunch – on a Wednesday, and we had a glass of white wine. As we caught up on each other’s lives, the subject of our creative endeavors came up.

Art, and writing.

Wendy is full of energy, smart, clever, and fun. She’s been encouraging me and my writing for years. Her objets d’art are lovely and cool. Last Wednesday, as we dined at La Petite Maison, I told her about my latest book – the one I’ve just finished writing, for which I finally decided on a title.

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I told her a little about the story, and although the book has already been edited, revised, edited again, and proofed, she asked if she could read it, pre-publication.

She wanted to be my beta-reader.

Of course, I said yes, and I sent her the PDF later that day. That night, she sent me her initial (very positive) reaction (phew!). She also helped me fine tune the “elevator pitch” or “log line,” and the “blurb” (description).

It was so refreshing to talk to someone who reads constantly (and reads a variety of work) about my next book. Inspired by the fact that our birthdays fall during the next two months, Wendy and I also decided on a new plan: we’ll have lunch at a French restaurant once a month, on a Wednesday, and have a glass of wine with our meal.

Une très bonne idée! et merci, Madame!

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List Post, août 2015 (August)

Zut! August is almost over, and I haven’t done a list post for it yet!

Things have been cooking this month, so…

Voilà: 

  • Signing copies of UNDERWATER and ALL THE ABOVE at this year’s Decatur Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 5 from 4:00 to 5:00 at the Atlanta Writers Club booth!
  • Looking forward to serving on the Atlanta Writers Club Thriller Panel the next day, Sunday, Sept. 6 from 12:00 to 12:45 at the CITY HALL STAGE, then signing books again.
  • Enfin, moderating the AWC Urban Fantasy Panel the same day from 2:30 to 3:15 at the MARRIOTT CONFERENCE CENTER AUDITORIUM.

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  • Speaking about my books on a panel at the Atlanta Sisters in Crime meeting on Saturday Sept. 12 from 10:30 to 12:30 with sister authors Sharon Marchisello, Lane Stone, Mary Anne Edwards, and Fran Stewart.
  • Going to Bouchercon 2015 world mystery convention in Raleigh, North Carolina from Oct. 8 – 11 (more on this later)!

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  • Looking forward to meeting readers and signing books at the Book & Art Fair in Griffin, Georgia from Oct. 16 – 18.
  • Appearing at FoxTale Book Shoppe on Oct. 21 in Woodstock, Georgia with bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan and some other Sisters in Crime authors!

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Pizza and a Movie: Woman in Gold

This weekend’s Pizza Toppings at Corner Pizza:

  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Italian Sausage
  • Red Onion

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Movie:

Woman in Gold

This week, I made the pizza topping choices and the movie selection. I’d read a little about the movie and wasn’t sure I would like it. But normally, when there’s art in a film, I do.

For example:

  • Big Eyes
  • The Monuments Men
  • Ocean’s Twelve (I think that was the one about art, and not Eleven or Thirteen, but I like both of those)
  • and even My Left Foot.*

I also usually like movies about World War II (too many to list, but The Monuments Men is one of those, too.)

And you can’t go wrong with Helen Mirren.

The story was engaging, and I loved the courtroom scenes. As a bonus, one of my favorite actresses from Downton Abbey popped in as a judge (although not on the Supreme Court).  It was based on a true story, something I always find intriguing. I’m not a fan of time travel in movies (or books), but I do like flashbacks, and in Woman in Gold, the scenes set in Austria when the main character was young were powerful and emotional.

And the pizza was great!

*What are some other movies about art or that have works of art in them?

 

 

List Post, Numéro deux:

Because “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” here is my updated List for this week October:

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  • Two more (print) books purchased, to read this month: a memoir and a work of literary fiction. Both signed by the author, and both authors are new friends
  • On track (?): WIP at 15k words…If I write 1,000 words a (work)day between now and Thanksgiving (and allow for my trip to Bouchercon in November), I’ll meet my goal of 50k by then. If. 
  • Work on Cover for ALL THE ABOVE has begun. Thanks, Michael!
  • Atlanta area bookstores: Some will stock a few copies of UNDERWATER upon its release by Thomas & Mercer on November 25, 2014. Lesquelles? Books for Less in Buford, GA; Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA; Charis Books in Atlanta, GA; and possibly Bound to be Read Books, also in Atlanta! (If it’s not in your bookstore, ask them to carry it)
  • Keeping up with travel updates from friends in the Czech Republic and in France maintenant!
  • Trying out a new Atlanta restaurant with mon mari later this month to celebrate mon anniversaire
  • Preparing my presentation at my Author Focus panel at Bouchercon 2014; looking ahead, même chose, plus ou moins, at the Atlanta Writers Club January 2015 meeting (“Member Minute”)
  • Taking heed of some advice of un ami, un auteur bien connu, en ce qui concerne my (unnamed) WIP and its writing, editing and development
  • Following and watching football: the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Bulldogs (Dawgs!), and the UNC Tar Heels!

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