It’s been awhile!

I’ve been busy!

Edits on my upcoming novel from Bold Strokes Books, BETTING ON LOVE, have been in the works. And, I went to Toronto over Thanksgiving to visit my brother. I also met a fan, the lovely Irene. :)

But now I am home, and I promise I’m getting cracking on the last bit of THE LONDON GAME, the next in the Le Chat Rouge series. I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas, if not earlier.

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Come visit us at Queerromancemonth.com!

Cathy Pegau and I are posting at Queerromancemonth.com today! Come visit!

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Guest Post & Giveaway from Frédérique Molay, author of CROSSING THE LINE, the new Sirsky novel

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For the giveaway, skip to the widget below. Enter to win a paperback copy of CROSSING THE LINE (US residents only) or an ebook copy (international). And don’t miss Ms. Molay’s guest post, and my review of the book, the latest translated in the Nico Sirsky novels, known as the Paris Homicide Series, from Le French Book.

About CROSSING THE LINE

It’s Christmas in Paris and Chief of Police Nico Sirsky has an uneasy feeling that something is very wrong with the case he’s investigating. He and his team of crack homicide detectives follow the clues from an apparent suicide, to an apparent accident, to an all-out murder as an intricate machination starts breaking down. Just how far can despair push a man? How clear is the line between good and evil?

The Funny Thing About Mysteries
Frédérique Molay

Crossing The Line-Frederique MolayAward-winning novelist Frédérique Molay brings us another mystery in her Paris Homicide series—Crossing the Line, which hits bookstores on September 23. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky returns to work after recovering from a gunshot wound. He’s in love and raring to go. His first day back has him overseeing a jewel heist sting and taking on an odd investigation. Just how far can despair push a man? How clear is the line between good and evil? Here she talks about the mystery genre.

The funny think about mysteries is that although some misguided souls still sometimes consider the genre to be marginal as far as “literature” goes, mystery novels very actively feed all the other art forms from movies, television, graphic novels and plays to painting and so much more. They touch us in many way, have a long history and a bright future.

Traditionally, the genre’s paternity is attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, with his short stories written in 1841, Murders in the Rue Morgue. Some people, particularly the French, like to remind readers that Honoré de Balzac wrote Murky Business the same year. Bets are still open on Balzac vs. Poe, and academics still quarrel over it. What counts though is that the genre has been booming since the nineteenth century and today, authors around the world are inventing their own heroes based on their country’s history, social realities, culture and own literary genius.

Like the genre, heroes in detective fiction have evolved as well, mostly because the world around them has changed. There are more heroines. Macho, die-hard heroes are a thing of the past. Femmes fatales and docile wives are also long gone, and female characters are independent and determined.

Of course, crime novels have changed because crime too has changed. The transformation of heroes is on par with that of the villains. A new kind of criminal has arisen—they are as unpredictable and hard to grasp as the world they reflect. These psycho-killers choose their victims randomly, following their urges. Add to that the wide-spread growth of organized crime to the most unsuspecting places and benefiting from considerable protection and immunity, and there is a lot of inspiration. I could go on. Clearly, the mystery genre has a bright future ahead of it.

My Review

To take a line from Frédérique Molay’s post above, a new kind of criminal has arisen, unpredictable and hard to grasp. The villain in her first book fit this description, as does the one in this novel. But I don’t want to say too much about the villain, in fear of giving something away, so I will leave them be, and talk more about the book itself.

It begins with an anatomy lab and a class of dental students, learning how to do surgery upon cadavers (just the heads). Grotesque, but intriguing, becoming more so when a student finds a head with a very poorly done filling, and brings it to the attention of the prof and the anatomy lab. A closer examination reveals a piece of plastic embedded in the tooth; it reads ‘I was murdered.’ Now, if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what would. ;)

Having been in an anatomy lab, and smelled that smell, the scene was quite vivid for me (though I had been there for an anatomical drawing class, and did not draw heads), and it reminded me partly of the anatomy lesson scenes in Lars von Trier’s ‘Riget’. Crinkling my nose remembering that smell, I read on, and found that I couldn’t put the book down.

The connections between characters and to the finale were artfully done, subtle enough that it kept me guessing. I love mystery novels where it isn’t obvious who the villain is, or how/why they’ve done what they’ve done. Slowly the pieces came together as Sirsky and his team investigated, and though I did guess a couple of chapters ahead of the big reveal, I was still quite satisfied.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series, and hope that Le French Book will continue to put out these fantastic translations.

Crossing The Line
[police procedural / thriller]
(translated by Anne TRAGER)

Release date: September 23, 2014
at Le French Book

224 pages
ISBN: 978-1939474148

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway!

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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!

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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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