Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First Paragraph -- Gone Girl

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.
Everyone has already read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, right?
I hadn't. I was afraid it would be too graphic, too bloody or something. I was wrong. I got captured by it and stayed up late into the night reading it, which is rare for me.
Here's the intro:
When I think of my wife, I always think of h er head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily. 
This book was a psychological thriller. And it definitely had me going in the wrong direction. It's funny that I haven't even heard many people giving away the twist in the book, which isn't at the end necessarily. The only part that felt unsatisfying to me was the end because it didn't wrap up everything. But I definitely love the mind games throughout.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dreaming of France -- Nîmes

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.
On Sunday, The Tour de France ended its stage in Nîmes, which is in the Languedoc-Roussillon department of France. To me though, it's in Provence. When my husband and I rode our bikes from Avignon to Aix en Provence, our first overnight stop was in Nîmes.
Since we rode our bicycles over the same roads that the riders from the Tour de France were riding, we were especially interested to watch.
The Tour stopped in front of the Roman coliseum, or amphitheater, that still remains in Nîmes. I don't know why we didn't get a good picture of it, but here is a post card we brought home.
We stayed in a hotel right across the street from the coliseum. It's called La Lisita and we loved looking out the window to see this amazing Roman structure. Here's a picture of me under an umbrella alongside the coliseum wall with our hotel in the background across the street. No comments on my fashion choices. Remember that it was a biking trip and we only had the clothes we could carry on our bikes.

And we went to see a number of Roman sights, including the Mason Carrée, which is a Roman temple. I think that's what this picture shows. The people in it are not us. They just got in the way of the shot.

The museums and the gardens included a lot of Roman ruins. If you get a chance, include it on your next trip.
Thanks for playing along today, and please visit each other's blogs so  you can get more snippets of France today.
I'm also joining in with Paris in July. Check it out for many good recommendations on French books, movies and lifestyle.

Musical Spectacular

I had never seen Into the Woods, the Steven Sondheim musical. So last night I was thrilled to see it with Grace performing as Cinderella.
The first act entangles a bunch of fairytales. In addition to Cinderella, there's Rapunzel and Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood. They follow the Brother's Grimm version rather than the Disney-fied version, but at the end of the first act, everyone lives happily after. A neighbor of mine went to the show Friday night and left at intermission, thinking it was over.
After the intermission, the characters return,  and they aren't quite content with their happily ever after.
The show made me laugh a lot and I thought Grace did beautifully.
I hope to record one of her songs this afternoon and include it in the post.
Here is Grace with me and Earl after the show. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Snapshot -- Word Play

Hope everyone is have a terrific weekend. It's raining here, but I can't complain about the beautiful weather we've had the past week with highs in the mid 70s. Heaven.
I thought this sign was pretty clever at our local coffee shop.

Also this weekend, my novel I See London I See France is on sale for 99 cents on Kindle. The book follows Caroline, who sells her minivan and takes her three kids to London, Scotland, Paris, and Aix en Provence, while remembering her student days in Corsica as well. It's quite a journey. Hope you'll try it.

Tonight I'm going to see Grace as Cinderella in the Steven Sondheim musical Into The Woods. I've never seen it. I'll post some pictures tomorrow. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Escapes to France

This morning, on my drive in to work, I visited Notre Dame on Île de la Cité.
Not in person, of course, but I listened to Rick Steves' App and historic tour of Paris which starts at Notre Dame. This walking tour is meant to be taken while in Paris, but I didn't mind imagining the Rose window and the statue of St. Dennis with his head held in his hands. I'll listen to more on my way home from work.
I have the Rick Steves app on my iPhone, so I can go on it and choose stories about France (Paris) or France (Beyond Paris). you can also listen to the radio show online. Here's a link to Travel with Rick Steves.
I've listened to fun stories about "How to Eat Like a Parisian" that gave great tips on when the markets are open and told visitors how to order from la carte rather than asking for a menu.
One of the most awkward stories on the Rick Steves app is his interview with David Sedaris. Now, I love David Sedaris and his oddball experiences in France and in the United States. Rick Steves is maybe a bit too mainstream for Sedaris. But the David Sedaris interview.
interview was definitely fun. Here's a link to the
Steves even had a story called "Marrying into France" with tips on why and how to marry a Frenchman (or woman if you happen to be male). He talks about taking canal boat tours and eating cheese and Americans running gites. If you love France (surprise! I do) then you'll enjoy some of these stories.

Also, in hopes of giving you a trip to France, my novel I See London I See France is on sale for 99 cents on Kindle now through Sunday. I hope you'll give it a try.
When her husband of a dozen years walks out in a huff, Caroline Sommers walks out too - to Europe, with her kids after impulsively selling her minivan for travel money. Tired of being the perfect wife, she escapes to rediscover herself, and possibly rekindle the unrequited love of a Frenchman from her college days. While shepherding her kids from London to Scotland then Paris to Provence, she finds herself at a crossroads. Does she choose love, or lust, in the arms of a European man, or should she try again with the father of her children and the man she truly loved, once?
In addition to Caroline's travels with her children, much of the book focuses on Caroline's memories of working as an au pair in Aix en Provence and Corsica. And, yes, much of that was based on my own crush on a French doctor in my early 20s. He taught me to sail on the Mediterranean, and we sailed to hard-to-reach shore which turned out to be a nude beach.
Hope you'll consider buying, and reading, and reviewing, but no pressure. Here's the link to my novel on Amazon for the U.S.
And another link for my UK readers.
I'm linking to Paris in July, because everything I do this month is about France.