Thursday, June 30, 2016

Launch Day

I wonder who came up with the word launch to refer to a book publishing. Launch usually goes with rockets, and as much as I would love for my novel to make it to the stratosphere, I simply don't see that happening.
Nevertheless, today is launch day for my novel Paris Runaway.
I've never had a perfect launch day.
The day my first novel, The Summer of France, arrived, I had a broken nose.

For my novel, Trail Mix, the copy editor didn't finish by the agreed date and I was a nervous wreck trying to get all the changes made, even as the online version was released.
I've tried to be more relaxed with this one, but I still woke up at 4:30 because of a cat, and my mind immediately jumped to the things I need to do. 
The box of paperbacks I ordered are scheduled to be delivered today, hopefully before the party tonight. That could still go wrong, but I am picking up three dozen macarons later today at Pistacia Vera, so what can be horrible with 36 pastel macarons to cheer me up? 
A couple of early readers for Paris Runaway have posted reviews on Goodreads, and I hope they'll post on Amazon as well. Here's one:

Great adventure/romance novel!I felt completely immersed in French culture when I was reading this book. Kincer included so many fascinating tidbits that nobody would know unless they'd spent a considerable amount of time in France....This book is a fun, twisty ride that goes full-speed up until the last page.

And another:
  This was a fabulous beach read! I picked it up this morning and never sat it down until I was done. The characters were relatable and their adventure was a joy to watch unfold. If only real life teenage drama ended in a trip to Paris and an adventure with a sexy French man then the teenage years would not seem so bad. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a fun, sexy read!

Those reviews make me feel hopeful.
Thanks to everyone for your support with my writing and my blog. Every comment inspires me to keep going.
I'll let you know tomorrow how the party goes tonight.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- Paris 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.
I suppose you couldn't technically say that I'm reading this novel, since I wrote it, but still taking the time to share the intro with everyone, in hopes that you'll want to read it.
This is a fast-paced, romance, adventure, women's fiction novel. I think that's enough descriptors.
Sadie flies to Paris to retrieve her 17-year-old daughter who pursued a French exchange student across the ocean. Joining forces with the boy's father, Sadie feels stirrings she'd tamped down since her divorce two years before. Sparks fly as the parents try to keep their children out of trouble, chasing them to Marseille and back to Paris again.

Here's the intro:
Marseille, FrancePrologue
A gust of hot wind from the open door made the gray floor churn. I stood on the threshold staring at the billowing surface as I tried to comprehend how a floor could move.
A stronger breeze followed, and feathers, gray feathers, the color of the concrete surface, swirled into the air and then wafted down to land gently.
“Feathers?” I asked. “Was there some sort of slumber party in here?”
When I walked through this door above a run-down carryout in Marseille, France, I had expected to see my daughter Scarlett, and I’d already practiced the speech I’d give her for running away, across the ocean to Paris and then gallivanting to the South of France. But the feathers threw me. No Scarlett – just feathers.
 I look forward to seeing what everyone else is reading and hope you'll add this one to your to-be-read list. Here's the link on Goodreads and on Amazon. The book becomes available on Thursday, and you can enter to win a copy on Goodreads, or click the link on the top right of this blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Samba


Thank you for joining 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.

I'd  never heard about this movie, Samba, but found it "on demand" in my cable television movie section. It was under comedy, which, when considering a French movie, is always questionable. But there were some laugh-out-loud moments and some poignant moments.
Here's the trailer, in French, bien sur!


As  you can tell, Samba travels to Paris and works, sending money home to his mother and sisters in Senegal. He lives with his uncle and everything is fine until he tries to get a work permit for a permanent job. After Alice helps get him out of detention, he lives life on the edge, borrowing or purchasing other people's IDs to try to get work and running from the police.
Our college-aged son joined us for most of the movie and we ended up discussing immigration and the similarities between the U.S. and France, along with some of the differences.
Omar Sy is beautiful and an engaging actor. He was, by the way, born in France, not Senegal like the character he plays.
We watched this movie for $4.99 on demand. Well worth it for some beautiful shots of Paris, along with some inner knowledge about the trials facing immigrants.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your name and a link to your blog on Mr. Linky below. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday Snapshot -- Summertime

Join West Metro Mommy for this weekly meme of photos people have taken and share on their blogs.

I wanted to share a photo I took of my neighbor's porch.
She's one of those clever, artsy people. She collects old furniture and paints it, turning it into masterpieces.
On a walk recently, I noticed her front porch had a new addition.

Isn't that adorable? A little bedside table with flowers spilling out of the drawers.
Here's a closer look.


And, I wanted to include a picture of me holding a proof copy of my latest novel, Paris Runaway


I would describe it as a fast-paced, action, women's fiction novel with romance. If that interests you, I'd be honored if you'd preorder the Kindle edition, which will be released on Thursday, June 30. 
The paperback should be available on Amazon and other websites soon.
Thanks for your support. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Latest Novel -- Paris Runaway

I'm so excited to share that my new novel, Paris Runaway, is available for pre-order on Amazon. And those pre-ordered Kindle books will be available on Thursday, June 30.
I think this might be my best novel yet, so I hope you'll give it a try.

Here's a blurb about Paris Runaway: When divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves. After learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the two attempt to find the missing teens. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between watching the hours pass and living.
A few early readers have left reviews on Goodreads.

"This book is a fun, twisty ride that goes full-speed up until the last page." Goodreads review
and
 "This was a fabulous beach read! I picked it up this morning and never sat it down until I was done. The characters were relatable and their adventure was a joy to watch unfold. If only real life teenage drama ended in a trip to Paris and an adventure with a sexy French man then the teenage years would not seem so bad. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a fun, sexy read!" Goodreads review
I can't wait for everyone to be able to dive in and tell me what you think about it.
If you plan to buy my novel, and I'm so grateful if you do, I'd really appreciate if you'd pre-order. The more purchases on the day my novel is released, the higher the ranking of my book. The higher the ranking, the more people who see my book and buy it.
Sigh! It's all about marketing, which takes a lot more work than the actual writing of it sometimes.

So, if you want to buy Paris Runaway, you'll find it on Amazon here.
Amazon in the UK, you'll find Paris Runaway here.
On Barnes and Noble, you'll find Paris Runaway on June 30, but can't purchase it early.
And the paperback should be available for online purchase soon on Amazon along with Barnes and Noble. Until then, you can find the paperback here.

As if I'm not asking enough, if you read my book, I'd really appreciate a review on Amazon and Goodreads. And friend me on Goodreads too. I'd love to see what else you are reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Raising Adult Children

A lot of times, I write about my frustrations with my children,  now ages 24, 22 and 20. No more teenagers, yet this summer, we all find ourselves together living within our small house.
As the children grew, the house began to feel smaller, of course. Tucker is 6-feet tall and Spencer is 6-foot 4-inches tall, while Grace is 5-foot 10-inches. Everyone in the family towers over me. And if we get in the living room together, everyone's long legs jut into the middle and make me feel a little claustrophobic.

We convinced Grace to live at home until after a trip to London this fall. She has an apartment ready to move into when she returns, if she returns. She's hoping to find work in London. We told her it didn't make sense to rent a place if she might move. Getting through a summer with her brothers in the house is  proving to be a challenge though. The boys believe they have an innate right to choose the television stations, even though there's another equally good television in the basement.
And the two boys can be intolerant of Grace when she's dramatic. That's why she's an actress though.
Yesterday while I was at work, Grace and Spencer got into a fight. This wasn't the first time.
Grace had said hurtful words to Spencer earlier in the summer, and now Spencer had a chance to fling them back at Grace.
As I talked to them both individually last evening, I realized what they didn't -- the words had hurt each of them.
I mean, Grace knew she was hurt by Spencer's words, and Spencer knew he was hurt by Grace's words, but neither of them realized how hurtful they had been to the other.
"He's holding onto that pain a month later," I explained to Grace.
And I also let Spencer know how deep his shot had landed on his sister.
Last night, as Spence headed to bed, he stopped by Grace's bedroom. I didn't hear his apology, but I was encouraged that he'd reached that place of maturity. He didn't want her hurting.
And that's my hope for the future with my kids. They realize how important they are to each other, even when they're fighting. Their opinions matter. Their judgment of each other matters, even when they say it doesn't.
Tucker has vacated the house for 10 days, going on a hiking trip to Utah with some friends.

He texted me throughout the day, and night, as they drove. "To Illinois."
"In Nebraska where the time changes."
"Driving straight thru instead of stopping."
"Just got to Salt Lake City."
With five of them in the car, they drove overnight.
Sometimes it's easier for Tucker and me to communicate when he's far away. He's still in that stage where I might not get more than a grunt or nod out of him in the morning or when he comes home from work.
As I was walking this morning, I heard a song.

And it immediately took me back to a time with Tucker. 
When Tucker was 11, his brother and sister had started school while Tucker continued to homeschool. He was at a swimming peak, and the two of us often drove to swim meets together.
Tucker would make CDs for us to listen to in the car, and this was one of the songs he included.
I remember listening to the song and dancing in the driver's seat, and embarrassing Tucker. But we laughed about it.
Every song I hear from that CD reminds me of those good shared experiences, and the kid who is in there and might, like a butterfly, emerge again.
Meanwhile, he's doing what he needs to. He works five days a week, he's taking college classes, he's playing soccer or Frisbee golf or working out, and he's spending time with friends.
Someday we may laugh again about something ridiculous, but in the end, I know he loves me, even if he isn't that 11-year-old anymore.
Maybe you can remind me the next time I'm kvetching about my kids, that there's good too. I just have to remember it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Golfing in France

Thank you for joining 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

Since it's Father's Day, I'm thinking about my dad and realizing that we won't be in the same country next  year on Father's Day since my husband and I plan to move to France next May.
My brother and me as we celebrated an early
Father's Day with my Dad before he
returned to Florida last week. 
And I know that I will return to the States to visit my parents, but I wonder whether they will fly over to see us in France.
They have traveled overseas before, but they went to New Zealand and Australia. They've never been to Europe.
So when my parents visited from Florida a few weeks ago, I broached the subject, asking if they'd come visit.
My dad didn't beat around the bush. He asked whether they have golf courses in France. He and Mom golf four or five days a week and they live just a few houses down from the clubhouse at their course.
Frankly, I couldn't answer their question. Although I've visited France 11 times, I've never looked for a golf course there.
"There must be golf courses," I said. "Aren't there professional golfers from France?"
And my parents agreed that France does have professional golfers.
So today, preparing for another Dreaming of France, I thought I'd see what my Dad can dream of in France. I searched for golf courses in the Languedoc Roussilon region of France where we plan to move. And, apparently, this region is a haven for golfers.


This map shows the top 15 courses in the area.
And from the prices, 40 to 50 Euros per round, it seems that the price is comparable to what people pay to play in the U.S.
Now we'll just have to figure out how to get my parents' clubs over to France, but at least I have a chance to see them in France someday.
Have you ever played golf in France? Is it very different from playing in the U.S.?

 Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. Please leave your name and a link to your blog on Mr. Linky below. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Latest Obsession

For my birthday, I received a Fitbit.
Now, everyone who reads my blog knows that I'm already a bit obsessive about exercising. I run, no matter the weather. I walk to the library, the coffee shop, the post office and sometimes even the grocery store. I also lift weights at the gym.
So maybe the Fitbit wasn't a good idea -- encouraging someone who already focuses a lot on exercise.
A fitbit starts out set at 10,000 steps, 5 miles, 30 minutes of exercise, 10 flights of steps, 2,100 calories.
Most mornings, I would hit 10,000 steps by 8 a.m. after my run. All the other goals I would surpass easily.
Eventually, I moved the steps up to 15,000.
Then the app on my phone got in the act. It started asking for 250 steps from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (You can set that for whatever time parameter  you want. I moved it up to 7 a.m. since I'm  usually active then.)
It got a little awkward when I'd be pacing around my classroom trying to get to 250 steps. Or I might be having a conversation with someone when I would suddenly jump up and say, "I have to get my 250 steps." Then I'd run outside to walk quickly before the hour changed over. At the end of the day, if all nine hours had
One Sunday, as we were headed to a family reunion, I took my Fitbit off. My wrist felt bare but I didn't want to run away in the middle of a conversation with an 80-year-old relative.
I forced myself to leave it off for two days, even though I itched to put it on and get my steps in.

When I went back to wearing my Fitbit, I realized it wouldn't charge. A piece on the back that clips in had come loose. I nearly panicked. How would I keep track of my exercise?
What could have been a disaster, became a very easy fix.
Fitbit exchanged a few emails with me and said they'd send me another one. It's even an upgrade.


Soon, I'll be able to resume my obsession with my steps. 


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Intros -- The Wood Witch


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 don't usually read fantasy, but this novella, The Wood Witch by Pepper Sparks, is set in the area
 where I went hiking last week, so I'm going to give it a try.
Here's the intro:
On a humid summer day in the Appalachian Mountains, Sadie Brown sat in a red booth at Finnegan's Diner with her son, Nicholas, sipping coffee and eating a piece of tart rhubarb pie. She watched the dark shadows boil in Red-Hawk pass, a growing plume threatening to consume the hollers and rifts around them. Sadie, a long-time resident of Richmond County, was the only person to see the rolling mass advancing upon Summerset, and a burnt odor permeated the sleepy town along a lonely mountain road name Black Lick.
I found this on Amazon for $2.99. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Paris Runaway Cover Reveal


Thank you for joining 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.

Since I love France so much, I find myself setting my novels there. At the end of June, my fourth novel will be available in ebook and in paperback -- on Amazon, but other places as well.
As I inch toward publication date, I'm excited to share the cover for my novel.

This photograph was taken by Virginia Kelser Jones who shares her France photography on her blog Paris Through My Lens. 
Her pictures are so inspiring and I'm fortunate that she agreed to share this beautiful one with me. 

Here's the blurb from the back cover of the book:
When divorced mom Sadie Ford realizes her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has run away to Paris all she can imagine are terrorist bombings and sex slaves. After learning her daughter chased a French exchange student home, Sadie hops on the next plane in pursuit. She joins forces with the boy’s father, Auguste, and the two attempt to find the missing teens. The chase takes Sadie and Auguste to the seedier side of Marseille, where their own connection is ignited. Since the divorce, Sadie has devoted herself to raising kids and putting her dreams on hold, but when her daughter needs her most, Sadie finds that concrete barrier to life beginning to crack. In her journey, she learns the difference between watching the hours pass and living.

I'm so happy to share the cover for my new novel with all of you. I hope you love the cover as much as I do.

Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

Sunshine and Photography

On my recent writers' retreat, I was lucky enough to go walking with a friend who is an artist.
She noted how I was attracted to sunburst pictures.

And it's true. I'm frequently taking pictures with the sun shining through the trees or over the horizon.
I love the lines of light that peek through the forest. 

The lines of the fallen tree in this one caught my eye. 
More sunburst in the woods -- different day. 
My artist friend explained that what I  needed to do was take pictures of the sun shining on objects instead.
And she took a picture of me with the sun illuminating my face. 
So as I walked alone in the woods a few days later (see my previous  post) when I was sure that a bear wouldn't chase me down, I took some selfies of the sun lighting my face.
Here's my first selfie attempt. 
I like this one much better with the way the light shines on my eyes.
I'll continue to experiment with light and photography and hope that my pictures get better as I prepare for my move to France.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Adventures in the Woods

I'm on a writers' retreat, which at this point should simply be called a retreat since I haven't gotten any writing done.
A friend from my writers' group rented a cabin in the Hocking Hills, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains here in southern Ohio. 
Yesterday, a friend and I walked a little over a mile to a nature sanctuary and explored a trail there. We saw no other people as we wound down into the woods and ended at a Great Wall of mossy stone and a quiet green reflecting pool with water pouring into it from the cliffs above. 
Today, that friend has gone home, so alone, I decided to run to the trail and explore the path we didn't take. As I got to the sanctuary, just past the parking area and a wide swath of flat grass, a young deer startled and raced away through the woods. Did I scare her, I wondered. 
I kept going, surrounded by the hum of cicadas waking up, and turned down the path to the Rock Stalls. 
I'd only gone a little way when I heard a sound like a horse snorting out. Three times that huffing sound came from some place close. 
I froze and realized I was a mile and a half from our cabin and utterly alone in the woods. 
When I heard the sound, I'd imagined a stag pawing the ground, and wondered if he'd run at me. 
I called my husband. 
I told him the situation and he said, "It could be a bear." 
Gulp. I hadn't thought about a bear. 
"Some people say you should try to look big if a bear comes at you, but I don't think that would work for you." Really? Short jokes-- now?
He suggested I turn around but I really wanted to be brave and hike the trail alone. 
"It could be a person paralleling you in the woods," he suggested. 
"There are definitely no people around," I assured him. At 7:30 in the morning on an isolated trail, animals were my bigger worry. 
"How dense are the woods? Can you see into them?" he asked. But I had stopped by some thick bushes. 
"I'm going to keep hiking," I told him. 
So I continued down the path. The woods thinned out, but after a few minutes, I heard the snorting noise again. Three times. An asthmatic bear? 
I stood on the trail, the dappled sunshine struck me, and I began to sing: "My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue 
An endless changing vision of an ever changing view"
The song helped me be brave and I continued. 
The woods thinned out even more and I felt comfortable taking a few selfies. 

But I figure I could be one of those people who later inspects pictures and sees a bear or bobcat hanging out in the trees above me. 
The path intersected with the one we'd taken the day before and I felt more comfortable as I revisited the ancient spaces there. 
I made it back home after a 4 1/2 mile hike, which kind of ruins the end of the story, but if I'd been attacked by a bear, I wouldn't be writing this anyway. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Dreaming of France -- Perfect Beach Day


Thank you for joining 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.

Today in Ohio, the weather is nearly perfect. Sunny, 77 degrees (that's 25 Celcius) with a lovely breeze. It would be a perfect day to spend on the beach.
It reminded me of another lovely day on the beach in 2006, when we visited Bandol along the Mediterranean.

First let me set the scene. You can see the beautiful villas and hotels across the bay.
Our kids were still young enough to enjoy digging in the sand and running along the beach. 

Look at that intensity.

 But mostly, look at the joy of running and kicking up their heels.
I hope you find joy this weekend, whether it is on a beach in France, or wherever you are.
And my thoughts are with the people in France and in Houston who have suffered rising flood waters.

 Thanks so much for playing along with Dreaming of France. I really appreciate your participation and I hope you'll leave a comment plus visit each other's blogs.

I'm also joining a link for All About France. All of you France lovers have another place to visit now with this once a month meme.
Lou Messugo

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Happenings

How can life always be hectic?
It isn't always. My morning runs are very slow, so I guess that's the time that I get to pace myself.
On Tuesday, as I ran down the street early, a mother raccoon and four baby raccoons crossed the street in front of me and disappeared down the storm sewer.
Of course, by the time I got  my phone out, they had already disappeared, but one little guy stuck his head back out.

My parents visited from Florida this week. Spending time with them is usually laid back. Mom and I made strawberry jam one afternoon.  Dad watched lots of sports on TV and we attended the Memorial Day parade.
We took some family photos.

We visited with my brother and his wife. Grace is holding their dog, Jasper. 
And I found time to go out for a drink with my hardworking newsman after he spent a long day covering a trial.

Hope everyone else has a hectic, happening life with lots of joy.

Dreaming of France

hank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us yo...