Postcards from Europe, #7

Over a month ago, Mademoiselle traveled solo by train through Paris and up to Rouen to visit her friend, Darrin. I had asked her never to travel alone in Europe, but she is an adulte, and she made her own decision. All went well, as you can read about below.

Just so you know, “Relay” refers to Relay for Life, the organization that helps raise funds for cancer research, that Mademoiselle and Darrin are/were involved in at UNC. I met him last spring, when my husband and I traveled to Chapel Hill for the event. He’s now a UNC grad, I’m told, and is teaching English in France before doing something else. I’ve never visited Rouen (or, tried to pronounce it), but I know it’s in the north of the country, in or near Normandy. A long way from Montpellier…

But it sounds delightful.

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Bonjour from Rouen!

I went to visit my friend from Relay, Darrin, this weekend and Rouen is so fun! Besides being the hardest city to pronounce ever, we spent the whole day exploring, window shopping, going to the Musée des Beaux Arts, and finding the best places to get crêpes.

Love,

Mademoiselle

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Postcards from Europe, #4

Carcassonne is not too far from Montpellier, and I do wonder what it looks like now compared to a few decades ago, when I visited it with my group of study-abroad students from UNC. I remember that we had a picnic and did not eat at a restaurant, but we did drink wine. I also recall that my fear of heights kicked in as we toured it.

While Mademoiselle was touring Carcassonne, I was appearing at the Decatur Book Festival. She’s been such a great cheerleader for me this fall, as I go here and there to book signings and festival/writers’ conference panels! Something I never dreamed I’d ever do the day I spent in Carcassonne.

 

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Bonjour!

On Sunday we visited Carcassonne, a medieval fortress that has been completely restored and maintained in its original state. For lunch we went to this fantastic restaurant where we had cassoulet, a specialty of the Languedoc region, and plenty of wine (of course). After, we toured the castle and the cathedral and visited all of the touristy shops! So glad you had fun at the Decatur Book Festival!

Love,

Mademoiselle

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Postcards from Europe, #1

My daughter (I’ll call her Mademoiselle, but if you’ve read ALL THE ABOVE, you know her name), is a junior in college, and is spending this semester studying in the south of France. She’s living in the same city I did (Montpellier), when I did the same (as a student at the same university*) for a year. Like me, she’s somewhat of a chronicler, and since August, she’s been sending me postcards (cartes postales) via la poste (snail mail).

Just as I’ve been doing with “Pizza and a Movie” posts, and as I’m starting to do with “Wine with Wendy on Wednesdays,” I’m going to do a series of posts sharing her postcards sent from Europe. Notice that she uses the French way for dates (day/month/year):

Voici la première carte postale:

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Bonjour à tous!

Today I visited the Château de Flaugergues, a small summer home built in 1696 by a member of the French Royal Court! Today it has sprawling gardens and the family that lives there makes wine (the rosé is the best) and it’s only 15 minutes away by train! I hope everything is good at home and I love you all!

Love,

Mademoiselle

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Of course, she’s been in touch with me and her father by telephone, text, email, and even the odd photo on snapchat or instagram. But her postcards seem more special, and they kind of link her time in France with mine.

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*The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 

List Post: octobre 2015

It’s only October 2nd, but I’m going to be so busy this month that if I don’t get this done now, it won’t happen.

  • It’s Promotion month for UNDERWATER: Yesterday through October 31st, you can download my Suspense novel set in my home town of Atlanta for only $1.99! UNDERWATER is an Amazon HALLOWEEN KINDLE BOOK DEAL. Look for it under Mysteries/Suspense — Suspense — Psychological!

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  • My trip to Raleigh is fast approaching! I’ll be a “Dark Romance and Dark Smiles” Panelist at Bouchercon next Friday at 10:00 a.m, and the next day I’ll be at the New Author Breakfast bright and early at 7:00 a.m.!
  • Note: even though I’m a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, I once worked in Durham, have visited Duke, and have flown in and out of RDU several times, this will be my very first trip to the state capital of Raleigh. I hear it’s nice. And I feel pretty comfortable in that neck of the woods, anyway.
  • My other appearances this month include the Book and Art Fair in Griffin GA Oct 16-18; book signing with fellow Sister in Crime Hank Phillippi Ryan at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock GA Oct 21; and book signing at the Marietta Queen of Hearts Antiques & Interiors Oct 24 with authors Valerie Connors & Mike Buchanan. (See News and Events for times and details.)
  • At the end of the month, I’ll be at the Killer Nashville International Writers Conference with some Atlanta Sisters in Crime! My first time at this conference, and my third time ever (I think) in Nashville!
  • November Preview: in between 2 quick trips to Florida (I hope) I’ll appear yet again with some Sisters at the Ansley Book Club Meeting in Atlanta! Details to come.
  • Quoi d’autre? What else? Watching football, of course!

Kindle Countdown Deal TODAY ONLY!

In honor of the last day of August, and a week before Labor Day —

ALL THE ABOVE is ON SALE on KINDLE, TODAY ONLY!

From 8:00 AM EST (5:00 AM PST) until 12:00 Midnight EST (9:00 PM PST), you can download ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer at a SALE PRICE of only $2.99!

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That’s $2 off its regular Kindle price of $4.99 (still a deal), less than a latte at your local coffeeshop, and a lot less than a movie ticket!

I studied Economics (and French) at UNC Chapel Hill and then worked in banking and IT (before raising a family and writing books), and I remember learning about price elasticity of demand * …And now, I’m putting it into practice on my latest book. No matter how many books you have on your to-read list, this one is unlike any other.

Here’s what readers have said:

  • This book shows what Amazon should be all about – really well-written, personal story with depth and insight. This family is so likable. Very engaging prose..”
  •  “Captivating…made all the more riveting because it is true…Julia McDermott’s smooth, warm, yet detailed style of writing immediately drew me into this amazing story…The courage shown by this young man is beyond inspiring, and the love and support of his family gave me chills.
  • One of the best books I have read. The strength in faith and in each other was overwhelming.”
  • “Wonderful book! I could not put it down. Tears flowed from beginning to end! True stories are the best and give us all a look at the reality and what a family does when faced with crisis.” 

Click HERE  to download ALL THE ABOVE for less than 3 bucks, TODAY ONLY! 

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*Something my daughter discovered when she sold her hand-made barrettes and hairbands in high school “for less than the price of a cookie at the school cafeteria.”

List Post, avril 2015 (April)

It’s a short list, but it’s a list!

  • Going to BUFORD, GA today from 4 to 8 pm with other local authors to participate in “Drop Everything and Read Month” at Queen of Hearts Antiques & Interiors! Come pick up signed copies of UNDERWATER & ALL THE ABOVE!
  • Thrilled with the responses so far about ALL THE ABOVE: My son’s battle with brain cancer. A reader: “Reads like a mystery…I was riveted by it…” FIVE STARS
  • Writing WIP (work in progress) daily, the end is in sight!
  • Reaching readers with a message about ALL THE ABOVE with more info about it…
  • Can’t wait to attend UNC Relay for Life in Chapel Hill on April 17! Help win the fight against cancer! More Birthdays!

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List Post, mars 2015 (March)

  • Writing steadily…more on that later.
  • Enjoyed meeting authors and signing books at the 2015 Augusta Literary Festival! Thanks, y’all! Google the Augusta Chronicle for photos in its Sunday edition of March 8, 2015.
  • Looking forward to a research trip to Dallas this month.
  • Can’t wait to see the proof I ordered of ALL THE ABOVE, approve it, and release it on Amazon in paperback and Kindle!
  • Happy that UNDERWATER now has 60 customer reviews! If you enjoyed it, please add yours! Germany, you too!
  • In touch with the American Cancer Society to promote what they do and to publicize ALL THE ABOVE, the story of my son’s journey with brain cancer.
  • AND – grateful to UGA Relay for Life and UNC Relay for Life for posting info and photos about ALL THE ABOVE ahead of its release on March 31! Both events take place on April 17, 2015 – I will be at one, but wish I could be at both. More birthdays!!!
  • Waiting to hear from the German Cultural Center in Atlanta about a possible book signing – I have several copies of UNTER WASSER (UNDERWATER in German) that I’d love to sign. They have a book club, too!
  • Noticed it? My website TABS have changed. Check out ALL THE ABOVE – FAQ and BOOK CLUBS, with a “Contact me” form!

List Post, Numéro Trois (de novembre)

  • Polishing my presentation for my Author Focus panel at Bouchercon 2014 this Saturday, November 15 at 12 noon (Harbor B)
  • Anticipating Release Date of UNDERWATER, just two weeks from now, on November 25, 2014!
  • Downloaded the Bcon app on my phone; je suis prête! (I’m ready! Thanks for suggesting I look, Jim!)
  • One (print) signed book purchased last week: Truth Be Told, the latest from fellow Sister in Crime and Bouchercon 2014 attendee Hank Phillippi Ryan, whom I met here in Atlanta at the MJCCA Book Festival
  • Revision/Plot sharpening: After a decision to trim and sharpen the plot (while paying attention to pacing), WIP now at 24k words…If I write 1,000 words a (work)day between now and the end of December, I’ll meet my goal of 50k by year end (which will be more than halfway done)
  • Caught up with and heard her thoughts on the attributes of good audio books on Saturday evening, over a glass of wine with a good friend
  • Wish I could be in two places at once: This weekend is UNC Homecoming (my husband’s college roommate is rumored to be attending), and this Thursday night is the UNC Relay For Life Gala*
  • Noticed Goodreads Giveaway of UNDERWATER – It began on October 28 and ends on Release Date, November 25! Get on goodreads and register to win one of 20 copies! 
  • Enjoyed a lunch out with mon prof et mes amies du cours : Just after I got a makeover, we met for class in Madame’s atelier and then had a French déjeuner at un restaurant français
  • It was a good football weekend: the Falcons and the Dawgs won! Let’s make that a trend!

* To which I donated print and audio versions of UNDERWATER, pre-release!

Ecoutez! (Listen!)

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Playing to win

“I remember my dad asking me one time, and it’s something that has always stuck with me: ‘Why not you, Russ?’ You know, why not me? Why not me in the Super Bowl? So in speaking to our football team earlier in the year, I said, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we be there?'”
 
– 2014 Super Bowl Champion QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks
 

Football has been over for weeks, and college basketball – March Madness – ends tonight. The Tar Heels didn’t make it past the Third Round, but after a phenomenal regular season victory against rival Duke in UNC’s Dean Dome, it almost didn’t matter…especially since Duke was eliminated in the Second Round.

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UNC students in downtown Chapel Hill, celebrating the victory over Duke on February 20, 2014

[Other than wanting UNC to beat them in basketball, I’m fine with Duke; the book I’ve been writing for almost a year now is partially set in Durham.]

Over the last several months (the coldest October through March in over a century, I read), I’ve been busy writing it, and I hope to finish it soon. The hardest part was the middle, which I was working on during the NFL playoffs (and while Atlanta got zapped with at least three bouts of freezing temperatures and/or snow and ice).

Lately though, I’ve been on kind of a writing roll, and I’m nearing the end. But it won’t be done then; working with my editor (and doing revisions) is next. There’s a lot more to do, too, the most fun of which will be to select a cover. Meanwhile, I’ve got the conflicts and characters identified for Book 4 (a suspense novel) and I can’t wait to get started on it.

So – what does any of that have to do with football, or with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson?

In a word: inspiration.

Autrefois, I didn’t like or even understand football. Now, I miss it a ton, and I can’t wait to watch the Falcons play this fall. I watched this year’s Super Bowl, enjoyed the game – and was inspired by the story (and words) of the Seattle quarterback.

Here’s someone who’s worked hard, who might have been considered an underdog, but who didn’t take No for an answer. I’m taking a cue from his words. Why not me?

Why not write fiction (and creative non-fiction)? Why not work full time on my books? Why not be committed to learn, and keep trying to improve my writing? Why not produce the best stories I can, and tell others about them?

Why not go for it?

“Why not you, Russ?”

 

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