It’s QUEER ROMANCE month!

It’s finally October, which means it’s finally Queer Romance Month!

On October 3rd, you’ll get to hear from myself and Cathy Pegau as we chat about how we got to writing lesbian and bi romance.

In the meantime, check out the site, read some fantastic posts, and enter some great giveaways!

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Check out the Queer Romance Month site!

Coming in October, there will be a ton of posts for Queer Romance Month!

And, you’ll get to hear from myself and Cathy Pegau as we chat about how we got to writing lesbian and bi romance.

In the meantime, check out the site, and get ready for some fun!

QRM-Badge

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Book Review: I Looked For The One My Heart Loves, by Dominique Marny (+ Book Giveaway!)

For the giveaway, skip down and use the entry form. One US resident will win a paperback ARC of I Looked for the One My Heart Loves, and an international reader will win an ebook copy. Good luck!

i-looked-for-the-one-coverAnne and Alexis are separated by war as children and reunited later by destiny. A powerful and dramatic love story that spans decades in spite of its seeming impossibility.

Anne, 9, and Alexis, 11, grow up together in the Montmartre area of Paris. While she has a major crush on him, he merely sees her as his friend’s little sister. After WWII begins, the two are separated as their families flee Paris to avoid the German occupation. When they say goodbye, Alexis promises to always protect Anne.

Anne holds on to this promise for years as she constantly thinks of Alexis, wondering where he may be. Anne grows up, finds works in an art gallery, and marries a kind, devoted man with whom she has two children. But her heart still belongs to Alexis and she never stops looking for him. Their paths cross fatefully one day in Brussels many years after they were separated.

Alexis, living in Canada and soon to be moving to San Francisco, has a family of his own; a wife in constant depression and a son. Despite their responsibilities to family and the geographical distance that keeps them apart, Anne and Alexis find a way to love one another, secretly yet passionately.

But after all this time, will they ever manage to be truly together, completely?

My review:

I was intrigued at the premise, particularly the historical Paris, from just before WWII to the early 1980s, though once I did start reading and the book got beyond the war, the era felt like it could have been fairly contemporary, even though it was still the 1950s. But that is a very small thing; the book itself was enjoyable.

My favourite section was when Anne and Alexis first met after so many years apart, and when they first began their affair. There was a certain zing to the scenes, the tension of newfound attraction that came across very well. I cheered for the pair, though both were married to other people. The author built a lot of sympathy for the characters, and what they had in their everyday lives, and how much they wanted to be together.

I would have loved to read more about one of the artists Anne exhibits in her gallery, the Italian Simonetta. I actually am hoping that Marny will write her story, so that I can find out everything about her life. (Please? :-))

By the way, if you’re a reader who prefers books heavy on dialogue, you may have a bit of a hard time getting into this one; it’s very narrative heavy, and while I didn’t find it detracted from the story, it made for a slower, more contemplative read.

Release date: August 12, 2014
at Open Road Integrated Media / Publishers Square

384 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4804-6116-1

Goodreads

About the Author
i-looked-for-the-one-marnyDominique Marny was raised in a family that loves art, literature, adventure and travels.
In addition to being a novelist, she is a playwright, screenwriter, and writes for various magazines.

Follow Open Road Integrated Media on Facebook |   Twitter
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The Giveaway!!

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Chapter 1 of my upcoming novel, The London Game

It’s been awhile since the last Le Chat Rouge book, and I thought I’d give you just a taste of what’s coming up soon!

The London Game, Chapter 1

The train glided smoothly away from the platform, sailing past graffiti-covered brickwork and out of Paris. If he didn’t think about it, Marc knew he could pretend it was just another business trip, but with Sera at his side, her fingers clutching his, her lips a thin line, and her eyes brimming with tears she didn’t want to admit to, it was impossible. He lifted her hand, pressing a kiss to the back, and she turned to look at him.

“Think of it as an adventure,” he said, his voice low. “Paris is only a train ride away.”

“I know.” Sera’s chin trembled. “It seems so final.”

“Are you regretting this? Us?”

Continue reading

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Book Review: The French House, by Don Wallace (+ Giveaway!)

french-house-coverWhen life hands you lemons, make citron pressé.

Shortly after Don and Mindy Wallace move to Manhattan to jump-start their writing careers, they learn of a house for sale in a village they once visited on a tiny French island off the Brittany coast. Desperate for a life change, the Wallaces bravely (and impulsively) buy it almost sight unseen.

What they find when they arrive is a ruin, and it isn’t long before their lives begin to resemble it—with hilarious and heartwarming results.

Redolent with the beauty and flavors of French country life, The French House is a lively, inspiring, and irresistibly charming memoir of a family that rises from the rubble, wins the hearts of a historic village, and finally finds the home they’ve been seeking off the wild coast of France.

My review

Oh how I wish that I too could own a house on an island in France. Mind you, I don’t think I’d have managed with as much patience as the author and his family. I might have turned tail and ran at the sight of a near-wreck of a house, and the slow, almost glacial pace of renovations, and the intricacies of island-life. I don’t mind cosily rundown, but a virtual ruin is a bit much.

As such, I was impressed by the fortitude of the author, the dedication among the difficulties, and their gradual immersion into the society on the island. Each interaction detailed was fascinating, from the woman who encourages them to buy the place and stays a fixture in their lives for years, to the children to whom they teach baseball. I felt immersed along with them, albeit from the comfort of my own sofa.

I don’t know that I had a particular favourite part of the book, but as a whole, it was a perfect read for my lazy summer days at the cottage.

About the Author

french-house-don-wallace-600x800Don Wallace has been a magazine writer and editor for 25 years,
and is the film editor for Honolulu Weekly.
He has held a number of senior positions at magazines, including Yachting magazine, SELF,
Golf Digest Woman at The New York Times, and others.
His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, E Magazine,
Redbook, Portfolio, Parents, and many others.
Wallace and his wife, Mindy, split their time between Honolulu, Long Beach, and Belle Ile.

Visit his website, and his blog

Follow him on Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads | Google + | LinkedIn

Buy this book onSourcebooksAmazon (paperback or kindle), B&N (Paperback or Nook), BAMIndieBoundIndigo

The Giveaway!

It’s open to US/Canadian readers, and the prize is a print copy of The French House, as well as a basket of delicious French chocolates! (5 winners total, use the widget below to enter)

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Throwback Thursday: Kittens!

Because it gives me an excuse to post a cute photo of my cats. Zowie and Pandora were just 6 week old kittens in this photo, taken about 15.5 years ago…

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Book Review: The Chocolate Kiss, by Laura Florand (+ Giveaway!)

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The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

My review:

It didn’t take me long to get swept into this story, easily imagining the small shop of La Maison des Sorcieres, and wishing that I could go and have a cup of their chocolate. I spent most of the book craving macarons, too. Ms. Florand writes well, of love and of food, and I enjoyed both in this book. The sparks between Magalie and Philippe, and the determination with which Magalie resists Philippe’s charms, was what kept me reading, and I felt like I couldn’t get enough. Once I got started, I could barely put the book down.

Part of what really made the book for me was its setting, on the Ile de la Cite, where I spent some time last year during my trip to Paris. It made me long for Paris, but not in an agonizing way. I felt like I was there, if only while I read.

Delightfully, Ms. Florand includes a chocolat chaud recipe at the back of the book, and I know I shall be indulging (once the weather turns from its current 30˚C heat wave).

the-chocolate-kiss-laura-florandLaura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Four of her past five books have been recommended reads by Dear Author and two have been Sizzling Book Club Picks by Smart B*, Trashy Books.

Laura was born in a small town in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking in New Zealand and Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman. You can find out quite a bit more about those crazy adventures in her memoir, Blame It on Paris. She is now a lecturer in Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, that means she studies and teaches French language and culture, rather than romance. Fortunately, French culture includes French chocolate, research to which she is very dedicated. You can catch some glimpses of that research in the books, on her blog, and on her Facebook site, where you are welcome to join her and other readers!

Visit her website

“Delve into the world of Paris chocolate, and all the passion and intensity—and the extraordinary sensuality—of luxury artisan chocolatiers and pâtissiers”: see her Chocolate Series

Follow her on Facebook  |   Twitter | Goodreads

Keep in touch  by signing up to receive her newsletter

Buy this book -also available as ebook and audiobook: AmazonB&NBAMIndieBoundBookish.com,TargetWalmart

Release date: December 24, 2012
at Kensington
342 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6941-6

  • Reviewers Choice Book of the Year nominee!
  • Winner of the Romantic Times Seal of Excellence.
  • Dear Author Recommended Read and a Best Book of 2013
  • Smart B*’s Sizzling Book Club Pick and a Best Book of 2013 for Kindle Love Stories
  • A Romance Novels for Feminists Best Book of 2012

And the giveaway! (open to US readers only, sorry.)

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Oh my. Nick Cave. (My much delayed review)

I had never expected to get to see Nick Cave in concert. Ever.

To be honest, a lot of the musicians I like don’t seem to make it across the pond (or if they do, it’s only to Toronto/NYC/etc.). Seeing PJ Harvey in 2000 was only thanks to her touring as the opening act for U2, for example. And I have yet to see a number of other musicians I’d really like to (Swedish group Kent, for one).

Push-The-Sky-Away-nick-caveBut finally, to my utter delight, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds came to Calgary.

I’m still not quite over the show, and it’s been a week. The new album, Push The Sky Away, is fantastic. I’ve had it on repeat all week. As I said to my friend Karen, who came with me to the show: Nick Cave is up there as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. He’s as good as Bowie. And for me, that’s saying quite a lot.

He started with the first track from the new album, We No Who U R, and from that moment, I was completely smitten and entranced. Jubilee Street was next, and then the classic Tupelo, and Red Right Hand (which I had stuck in my head for several days afterwards). Interspersed with tracks from the new album were a good selection (most of which I’d heard on his Best Of… album), including The Weeping Song, From Her to Eternity, Into My Arms (beautifully done on piano), and The Mercy Seat (which came to a dramatic climax).

He also played Stagger Lee (probably one of the most recognizable from the Murder Ballads album) and seemed to take great delight in its drama, enunciating the violent swagger and commands of Stagger Lee as he moved across the stage.

The encore was three songs: The Ship Song; Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry; and The Lyre of Orpheus. The Ship Song moved me (as had Into My Arms, earlier), as I remember when I’d first heard it, on a mix tape given to me by a former boyfriend. At that point, I realized that I’d been listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds since I was seventeen. How the time flies.

If I could, I’d turn back the clock and relive June 27th and the entire show. That’s how good it was.

Full Setlist:
We No Who U R
Jubilee Street
Tupelo
Red Right Hand
The Weeping Song
Mermaids
From Her to Eternity
West Country Girl
Into My Arms
God Is in the House
Higgs Boson Blues
The Mercy Seat
Stagger Lee
Push the Sky Away
Encore:
The Ship Song
Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry
The Lyre of Orpheus

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30% Friday Flash rebate on ARe!

For the 27th of June, ARe is offering a 30% Flash Rebate on Incentive Eligible titles site wide (those with the little crown symbol on the book detail page). 

All of my books are eligible:

 

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Paris Game & Prohibited Passion on sale at ARe 25% off! #AREBLAST

As a part of All Romance Ebooks’ #AREBLAST summer sale, The Paris Game and Prohibited Passion are now 25% off! Click on the book cover to buy.

The Paris Game - Alyssa Linn Palmer

On the darker side of Paris, it’s dangerous to not pay your debts…

A singer in a jazz club past its prime, Sera Durand must come up with thousands of euros to pay back her boss, a ruthless gangster.  A confrontation with her ex, an art dealer profiting on the wrong side of the law, leads her into a questionable wager, but one that could solve her problems.

Marc Perron knows a winning proposition when he sees one. Seducing a shy young woman of Sera’s acquaintance will be the easiest thing in the world, and the prize, to have Sera in his bed once again, is worth the chance of losing a sizable sum. What he didn’t expect was the depth of Sera’s desperation.

When one of his deals goes awry, Marc’s solution could cost them more than money…

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Ruth wants to escape the boredom of Bandit Creek and the strict expectations of her father, the local pastor. Her life changes the day she meets CeeCee, a world-wise flapper, and an irresistible attraction develops between them. She’ll be disowned and shunned if anyone discovers their prohibited passion, but can they keep their growing affection a secret?

CeeCee is drawn to Ruth, but things become complicated when her gangster companion disapproves of their liaison. He’s in town to broker a deal with the owner of the local speakeasy, and he’s not above using them to further his own plans. Can CeeCee protect Ruth and their budding relationship?

As Ruth gets drawn further into their world, she must decide between her familiar life and a new, dangerous path with the woman she loves.

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