Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dreaming of France -- At an Angle


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
My 17-year-old son arrived in Paris on Easter morning as part of a school trip. I had to beg him to let me follow him on Instagram so I can live vicariously. He tortured me the entire day by not posting anything all Sunday, until finally, around 10 p.m. France time, he threw me a bone with this shot of ...
Well, you're sure to recognize it. 
I hope he sends me a lot more pictures this week.

Easter Askew

I knew this was going to be a strange Easter.
Spencer is away at college and Tucker left for a school trip to France. But I still didn't anticipate how off kilter things would be until Grace started throwing up Saturday evening.
She was really sick all evening and finally fell asleep.
Earl and I felt compelled to cancel our plans with his sister and family since we didn't want to spread the stomach virus to anyone else.
So this morning, I wandered the grocery aisles, wondering what I could fix for someone who has been recently ill, and two people who might come down with the same virus.
Grace slept and slept. I asked Earl to fix her Easter basket and hide it while I went to the grocery store.
We didn't go to church, again not wanting to spread the virus.
Earl and I were at loose ends as we waited for Grace to wake up. For the first time in 21 years, we didn't have kids looking throughout the house for their Easter baskets.
Grace's basket had candy, which I knew she wouldn't want to eat after being sick all night, and a copy of the DVD Les Miserables.
"If Grace would wake up, we could watch Les Miserables," I told Earl.
Here's a photo from our first Easter with Grace.
Love those floral print dresses and big glasses.
When she emerged around 11, she wandered into a chair at the dining room table where Earl and I were both on our laptops.
"Hurry up and find your Easter basket so we can watch Les Miserables," Earl said to Grace.
I turned my head and stared at him. Grace looked confused.
"I can't believe you  just spoiled the surprised," I said.
He looked a little sheepish but shrugged it off.
Grace wandered in the living room until she found her basket hidden under a blanket. She set it on the table and we all looked at it expectantly. Was the DVD hiding behind the chocolate bunny? Nope. We hadn't even put it in the basket.
I went to the closet and grabbed the movie from its hiding place.
So after our subdued meal, we spent the afternoon watching Les Miserables. It was just as wonderful as Sim at Chapter 1 - Take 1 predicted, and as moving as Grace told me.
I hope your Easter was a little more traditional than ours.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Some bizarre things happen at the college where I teach.
Earlier this week a man who had been stabbed took a bus to the college and collapsed in the bathroom. They had to close the building where my classes are while they cleaned up blood.
Friday, as I went through the line at the cafeteria, the cashier was dressed in a bunny suit for Easter.
Hope you all have a relaxing weekend even if you meet a bunny over 5-feet tall. 
Happy Easter if you celebrate.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Novel Free on Kindle Friday and Saturday

It seems weird to give away a book that I've spent hours writing and revising and now marketing, but that's just what is happening today and tomorrow. My novel, The Summer of France, is free on Kindle.
I have to honestly say that I don't understand how it works, but somehow, giving away my novel increases my chances of being seen by buyers after the giveaway is over.
I did an ebook giveaway in February and the number of sales have doubled in March. So here I am again, offering my book for free. I'd love to get a double double in April (That's basketball talk in honor of March madness.)
If you don't have a Kindle, which I don't, other options abound. You can go to the link and there's a place to click on "Get your kindle here free" and what that means is the Kindle reader is free to download to  your computer. So you might have to download the Kindle reader before downloading my book.
I have a Kindle reader on my iPhone and download books there.
If you haven't read my book, I hope you'll take this free chance to try it and then tell me what you think.
Even if you don't plan to read it, I'd appreciate it if you'd download it anyway just to help my numbers.
Here's the link to The Summer of France -- free Friday and Saturday.
Update: Thanks for your support everyone. How can I convey my excitement as I tell you this?
Squeeeee!!!
In the category of France, I'm #1 in the UK and #2 in the US. In the category of Family Life, my novel is #10.
So exciting to see my book move up the list.
Another update: Okay, now I'm #1 in the UK and the US in the category of France and #6 in the category of Family Life.
Double squeeee. Here's the screenshot to prove it. Click on it if you need the print bigger!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Melted My Heart

In addition to teaching college, I work at a college tutoring center to help students with papers they write. It's called The Writing Center.
Yesterday, a student from Africa came in and made an appointment with me. He had a round face and soft eyes. He spoke in a quiet voice when I called him over to my desk.
"I need to work on my signature," he said.
Apparently, he had taken the name "The Writing Center" seriously and thought we were there to help with handwriting. If we were there to help with handwriting, I'm the worst person ever to work with. I'm left handed and according to my handwriting, I should have been a doctor.
Helping people with their signatures is not really on my list of specialties, but I didn't want to turn him away. I could tell the guy was kind of shy and a little intimidated. After all, he was attending college and negotiating the world of America with English as his second language.
Here's a photo I took on campus this morning.
He wrote down his first name a couple of times in a swirl of pink ink. Gabriel, Gabriel. 
"It looks fine," I told him, "but you need to include your last name too."
I showed him my signature, which is very messy.
He looked ashamed for a minute then admitted that at the bank when he went to cash a check, they made him give a thumbprint. He was humiliated and thought his signature must not be good enough. 
Oooh. That made me feel so sad.
I spent some time with him talking about using his home bank to cash a check and maybe even using an ATM rather than going into the bank. He pulled out two credit cards, one for his bank ATM and the other a credit card. Neither of them were signed and both still had the sticker on the front that says to call to activate.
I asked him whether he had activated the cards and he said he has. I told him he needed to sign the back of the cards and remove the sticker.
He practiced his signature a few more times before signing the back of his credit cards. 
He was an unusual appointment for me at the Writing Center, but I probably did more good for him than I do for most students who make appointments with me. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First Paragraph, Teaser Tuesday -- Family Pictures

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I have so many good books I'm trying to get to. This week, I'm starting Family Pictures by Jane Green. I've read nearly everything by her and I'm rarely disappointed. Hope this one is just as good. Here's the intro:
Back then, when life seemed so simple, before she knew what life was capable of throwing at her, Sylvie was a natural worrier. Anxiety followed her around like a small, dank cloud, convincing her that something terrible was just about to happen. As a child, she worried about her mother's rages, which didn't stop them coming. As a young woman, she worried about making enough money as a textile designer, which meant she had to supplement her career by painting houses. As a young mother, she worried Eve would roll onto her front and never wake up, and when Jonathan was late home from work, she worried something had happened to him.
Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
Here's mine from page 7:
After years of knowing exactly where she stood, Sylvie finds that insecurity has pushed its way in the door. Who is she supposed to be if not a mother? 
 This sounds good to me. What do you think?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dreaming of France

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
Of course, we Americans have a lot of history in France. France was there for us during our Revolutionary War, and we were there for them during many wars, including World War II.
One of the characters, in my novel was a soldier in World War II who ended up marrying a Frenchwoman and staying there.
Here's a photo from the American cemetery in Saint-James, Normandy near the northeast edge of Brittany.
 
 And here's a detail shot of the archway above the door.
The soil may not be American, but it's consecrated by their sacrifices.

Book Reviews -- The Last Runaway and Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

(Sorry. I don't know why the print on this post is so aggressive!)
I wanted to share with you all a few books that I've enjoyed recently. I gave them both 4 stars on Goodreads. 
The Last Runaway is by Tracy Chevalier, author of The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring, but Chevalier's other books  haven't lived up to that first publication. This one, The Last Runaway, comes close. The book focuses on Honor Bright, an English Quaker who decides to accompany her sister to America where the sister will be married. Honor Bright has recently been jilted by her own fiance. The trip over is horrific. Honor is so sick, she knows she would never survive the trip back across the ocean. Unfortunately, before they reach Oberlin, Ohio, Honor's sister dies. So there she is, in a new land without a plan for her future. The book does a terrific job with the character Honor. We really feel for her and how torn she is about slavery that she is confronted with in the United States. She has to choose between helping run away slaves and endangering her new-found family. I was afraid the book would become too preachy, but it avoided going there. Of course, slavery is wrong and illegal now, so there wouldn't be much point in preaching about the evils of slavery for most people. I loved the insight into the Quaker community. I recommend this book. 
I also finished reading Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. The title of the book is so cumbersome but ignore the title and give it a try. As I read it, I thought that my teenage boys might enjoy it, because, although the story is told through the main character Clay, it focuses on a 500-year-old mystery. Clay lives in San Francisco and is out of work. He takes a job at a 24-hour bookstore, working the graveyard shift where weird characters come running in during the middle of the night and breathlessly request the next book in the series. Clay has to climb a ladder stories high to find the book, which he is not allowed to open. When Clay meets a woman who works for Google, he tries to impress her by creating a computer generated map of the bookstore and he inadvertently solves the puzzle all of these characters spend years on. The goal of all the readers is to solve the mystery and they will live forever. The book was clever and fun, kind of a laid back National Treasure, but I will say that people who are searching to be immortal or a secret probably will not be amused by the way it ends: the answer to living forever isn't about being immortal.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Snapshot

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Sitting at a Writer's Conference trying to sell copies of my book. I feel so self conscious but my display looks pretty nice.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wardrobe Issues

Today I feel like I should be on an episode of What Not To Wear -- you know, that show where friends or family nominate someone to be shanghaied and have their entire wardrobe criticized. I feel like that because I  am slightly fond of the outfit I'm wearing today; I can imagine myself standing in that 360 degree mirror explaining why my outfit would easily shift from day time college teacher to a nice dinner out with my husband. The hosts would be sniggering at me.
This morning, I'm wearing a dark purple silk shell with black velvet slacks; they're real women slacks with a zipper on the side. I have a black cotton cardigan on top of the purple shell that has one button at the top.
Then, I felt like I needed some color, so I put on a pair of red shoes.
The silk of the shell feels good against my skin and it comes down a little longer than the sweater, breaking up the solid black.
Yet, I'm certain that Clinton and Stacy on What Not to Wear would tell me that I'm off base.
This feeling about wardrobe uncertainties comes on the heels of me swearing last week that once my kids are finished with college, I fully intend to buy some new clothes. Of course, that's five years away, so maybe I better embrace the feeling of looking good, even if I wouldn't win accolades on What Not to Wear.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Writing For Women or Men or Both

I've been pondering audience recently.
My first published book, The Summer of France, has both a male and female perspective. It has a mystery and some historical details from World War II. It has a motorcycle/car chase, for goodness sake. That makes it appropriate for a man or a woman to read.
My other books (as yet unpublished) are more aimed toward women readers. I See London, I See France is about a woman trying to decide what she is outside motherhood. She is so overwhelmed with her children, ages 9,7, and 5, that she doesn't recognize what makes her happy any more. So the conflict is internal.
When her husband walks out one afternoon, she sells her minivan and takes her children to Europe to try to find the passionate self she was in her 20s when she studied in Europe. Her husband, of course, is angry that she disappeared with the kids and threatens to have her arrested and take the kids back.
A couple of writer friends have read parts of it recently, and one suggestion was to add an outside conflict to make the novel more attractive to men.
Of course, that seems overwhelming. Is she chasing something around Europe? Is she searching for something? Why can't she simply search for her real self, while trying to be a good mother?
Now I'm torn. Do I revise this book and add an external conflict? Do I keep it in its same form and label it women's fiction? Do I move on to another one of my novels that already has the potential for "action"?
What do you think when you read novels? Do men only like external conflict?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser -- Flight Behavior

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I finally have a chance to get to some books I've been wanting to read. This week I'm starting Flight Behavior by Barabara Kingsolver. I'll read anything by Kingsolver, but I enjoy some of her books more than others.
Here's the opening:
A certain feeling comes from throwing  your good life away, and it is one part rapture. Or so it seemed for now to a woman with flame-colored hair who marched uphill to meet her demise. Innocence was no part of this. She knew her own recklessness and marvelled, really, at how one hard little flint of thrill could outweigh the  pillowy, suffocating aftermath of a long disgrace. The shame and loss would infect her children too, that was the worst of it, in a town where everyone knew them. Even the teenage cashiers at the grocery would take an edge with her after this, clicking painted fingernails on the counter while she wrote her check, eyeing the oatmeal and frozen peas of an unhinged family and exhanging looks with the bag boy: She's that one. How they admired their own steadfast lives. Right up to the day when hope in all its versions went out of stock, including the crummy discount brands, and the heart had just one instruction left: run. Like a hunted animal, or a racehorse, winning or losing felt exactly alike at this stage, with the same coursing of blood and shortness of breath. She smoked too much, that was another mortification to throw in with the others. But she had cast her lot. Plenty of people took this way out, looking future damage in the eye and naming it something else. Now it was her turn. She could claim the tightness in her chest and call it bliss, rather than the same breathlessness she could be feeling at home right now while toting a heavy laundry basket, behaving like a sensible mother of two.


Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
Here's mine from page 16:
She could save herself. Herself and her children with their soft cheeks and milky breath who believed in what they had, even if their whole goodness and mercy was a mother distracted out of her mind. It was not too late to undo this mess. Walk down the mountain, pick up those kids. The burning trees were put here to save her.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Carnac Standing Stones


Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
When Earl and I visited France in 2010, we stayed with friends in Nantes. They are the most energetic tour guides ever. They took us to see the standing stones of Carnac. Here's the Wikipedia article on the stones.
I always pictured an arrangement of standing stones similar to Stonehenge, but these stones went on for miles and miles and miles. More than 3000 stones are set upright in green fields. History says the stones are pre-Celtic and that most were erected around 3,300 B.C. 
 Some of the stones were huge looming over our head. Others were small, waist high. What kinds of ancient people had times to set up all of these stones and what was the purpose of the stones?
Seeing all of the stones only made me more curious.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Dolphin

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
While we are in Florida, I stayed at my parents house in central Florida, but my daughter Grace drove to St. Petersburg on the coast to pick up my son Spencer for college break. While they were there, they spent some time along the water and had an encounter with some dolphins. Grace has a video of it and the dolphins are playing and chattering. What fun.
Here's a still shot of one of the dolphins.
I'll be spending all day Saturday driving back to Ohio, so I'll be sure to visit everyone on Sunday.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Final Moments of Vacation

I sit here by the pool, reluctant to leave the evening sun, so warm and cheerful in the blue water. As vacation draws to a close, I hate to say goodbye to the sunshine. But I promised to help make dinner, and we must finish cooking and eating before the Ohio State basketball game, so I'll go into the shadow of the house and leave vacation behind.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Florida Respite

I'm in Florida this week visiting my parents. My parents, in their mid-70s, decided in the fall that they really needed a party house.
That's why we haven't eaten dinner in the same room twice so far. So many rooms to choose from.
They bought a beautiful house near the clubhouse of the golf course where they play probably 5 times a week.
The house has a screened in porch with a bar. Another screened in porch with a pool. A sun deck. And another screened in porch off the master bedroom. So plenty of outside space.

 Indoors, there's a great room with a long dining table, seating area and fireplace. There's a media room with two level seating and, of course, a big screen TV.
And there's a game room looking out on the pool.
My favorite part of the house though is the view from any of the porches or the sun deck or the bedroom windows.
I wish you all could sit here with me and  hear the call of the birds, the chirp of the frogs at night, and even the barks of the alligators. It's so peaceful and even when the Sandhill Cranes start calling, it sounds a little like I imagine Africa would sound. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Chapter, Teaser Tuesday -- The Last Runaway


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
While I'm on vacation in Florida, I brought along Tracy Chevalier's new book The Last Runaway.  Here's the intro:
She could not go back. When Honor Bright abruptly announced to her family that she would accompany her sister Grace to America -- when she sorted through her belongings, keeping only the most necessary, when she gave away all of her quilts, when she said goodbye to her uncles and aunts, and kissed her cousins and nieces and nephews, when she got into the coach that would take them from Bridport, when she and Grace linked arms and walked up the gangplank at Bristol -- she did all of those things with the unspoken thought: I can always come back. Layered beneath those words, however, was the suspicion that the moment her feet left English soil, Honor's life would be permanently altered. 
Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
And here's a teaser:
"Ohio!" The sailor.snorted. "Stick to the coast, love. Don't go nowhere you can't smell the sea, that's what I say. You'll get trapped out there in all them woods. Oh, there she goes." He stepped back as honor leaned over the railing once again. 
I'll look forward to seeing all of your books this week. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dreaming of France -- The Seine





Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
I like this photo with the tufts of grass in the river and the arches of the bridge reflected here. Grace took this photo when she was in Europe, fall of 2011.
Okay, Grace just told me that she took this photo in Rome. It's the Tiber River. I don't deserve to call myself a francophile. 
Instead, here's a photo of my husband and me on a bridge along the Seine in 2010. I know for sure that this is France.

Thanks for playing along today.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- High School Musical

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
My son Tucker, 17, is a junior in high school, and this year the school is putting on the musical Legally Blonde. That is not a musical, or even a movie that I had seen. All I knew about it was Reese Witherspoon, so when Tucker told me he got the part of the UPS guy, it didn't mean much. All he told me was that the female character describes him as "walking porn."
Here he is, wearing a blonde wig, because his hair is still growing in from where he shaved it for the swim team state meet.
I got to see the show Thursday evening after work and Friday evening. It always amazes me how good high school shows can be. 
Tucker's part isn't huge, but last night, he literally stopped the show as people laughed and then broke into applause after his first line. He first swaggers across the front of the stage carrying a box. The musicians play some strutting music for him, similar to bow chicka bow wow... He nods his head and raises his eyebrows at a few audience members and they're all laughing before he gets to the other side. So when he walks into the salon and says, "I've got a package." Everyone howled with laughter. The actors had to hold their poses for nearly a minute while people laughed then clapped.
Here is Tuck with a few other cast members after the show. Those black eyebrows really stand out against the blonde wig.

Hope you all are having "yourself a super day."

Thursday, March 07, 2013

My Hiatus With Grace

I haven't updated everyone on my daughter Grace. If you read my blog, you know that I'm crazy about my daughter. She just turned 21 and she's a junior in college. Last year she traveled to France for three months and made huge leaps in language and independence.
Grace started college in the fall of 2010 at St. Lawrence University, up by the St. Lawrence seaway in New York -- 10 hours from home. Some parts of St. Lawrence she loved; some parts were rough. Last fall, as she struggled, not with classes, but with little sleep, not eating correctly, sorority rush, and sorority house living, it became clear that she was not thriving in this environment.
She would call me in tears more days than not.
We began to struggle with the idea of having her transfer to a college closer to home, and when she came home for Christmas break, she stayed.
She's taking classes now at the college where I teach and planning where she'll finish college, someplace within an hour of home. She just finished acting in a community theater musical and she did the makeup for the college performance. She has a job at a French restaurant and still goes salsa dancing on Friday nights. She's dating a guy she met at salsa, and flirting with a guy from acting class. Other than her own place and her own car, she's living a pretty typical college life.
And I just want to say, even though this hiatus can't last forever, I'm loving it.
We've watched The Bachelor together and now we've started watching The Amazing Race. She comes to campus with me and hangs out between classes. We go to youtube and laugh at the songs which incorporate the screaming goats that sound like humans.
She rolls her eyes with me when my teenage son is surly or rude.
She's the one I want to tell first when something exciting happens with my book or the one I turn to when I want to complain about work.

I know Grace will go on to have her own, separate, exciting life, but I'm so glad for this brief reprieve that I get to share with her.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

First Chapter, Tuesday Teaser -- Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
I started Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore this week. I don't know who agreed to the title because it is clunky and awkward, but I'm plowing along through the book and enjoying it. The author is Robin Sloane, and Robin is a male in this case. Here's the intro:
Lost in the shadows of the shelves, I almost fall off the ladder. I am almost exactly halfway up. The floor of the bookstore is far below me, the surface of a planet I've left behind. The tops of the shelves loom high above, and it's dark up there -- the books are packed in close, and they don't let any light through. The air might be thinner, too. I think I see a bat.  
Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays. Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Open to a random page of your current read and share a teaser sentence from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
Here's my teaser:
Is this a book club? How do they join? Do they ever pay?
The 24-hour book store is a mystery, but the protagonist's life is also a mess.
Have you read it? What did you think?

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Dreaming of France -- Paris Hotel





Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
Maybe we can all satisfy our yearnings for France, until we get there again.
Where do you stay when you visit Paris?
Once Earl and I  stayed in a hotel outside the center of Paris. The room and the bathroom were very American and luxurious, but traveling by Metro to get in to the action outweighed the luxurious aspects. Since then, we've always stayed at Hotel Sunny. We discovered it because one of our French friends lives just up the road. 
The hotel is in the 5th arrondisement, on Port Royal Boulevard not too far from la rue Mouffetarde.
From there, we can walk to the metro easily or catch a bus right outside the hotel. It's close enough to walk to Les Jardins du Luxembourg. Oh, and it's inexpensive for Paris. A lot of French people stay there rather than tourists, which is a good sign.
Here's the view from the hotel window when we were there in April 2006.

 You can see in the photo below that there's a brasserie next door.
And here's a photo of me with the kids in front of the hotel. Notice Tucker, then aged 10, is trying to give me rabbit ears. He did that throughout the trip. Also, note Grace's blue poncho. She now curses me for letting her wear a blue poncho throughout Europe. 
Have you found a great place to stay in Paris or another place in France?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Saturday Snapshot -- Me and My Hubby


To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
 My friends on Facebook were trying to convince me to change my profile picture to one from my birthday last week. 


Truthfully, I didn't like the picture very much. I'm not too fond of pictures of myself. I know, I should get over it.
How about this pic of my and my husband? I like it better, even though he's starting to make a goofy face, because he turned slow motion to kiss me.
See. Here's my romantic birthday kiss and you can see how fabulous my nails look because I got a manicure for my birthday.
Hope you are all having a merry first Saturday in March. 

Stress-free Wardrobe

Does anyone remember that President Obama said he has a limited number of suit colors because he didn't want to have to put any thought ...