Kaleidoscope, the New Anthology from Writers Abroad Is Now Available

Kaleidoscope, the fifth anthology published by the online, ex-pat writing community Writers Abroad is now available for purchase on Amazon (The link is for Amazon in the US, but you can order a copy of Kaleidoscope from your own country, wherever you live). The anthology is also available on Lulu.

I am pleased to announce that my short story City of Lights is included in this anthology. Hope you will enjoy. I certainly appreciated the opportunity to write about the theme of light. You can read the press release, right below, to find out more.

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope is a dazzling collection of flash fiction, short stories and poetry, written by expats (or former expats) around the world on the theme of light, as 2015 is the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

The stories and poems selected for Kaleidoscope evoke many varied interpretations of light: from a force that dispels evil or illuminates to one that can be destructive, from sunlight to firelight, or from the glow of an Arctic summer night to the brilliance of a Mediterranean afternoon.

This anthology is dedicated to two writers and members of Writers Abroad, Mary Davies and Jäny Graf, who both died in June 2015 during the planning of Kaleidoscope. Two pieces written by them are published in the anthology.

Author Chris Allen, who lives in Germany, has written the foreword. His writing has appeared in a wide range of publications. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Chris Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.

All proceeds from the sale of Kaleidoscope will go to Room to Read, an international charity striving for a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.

Kaleidoscope contributors live in, and have written about, more than 30 countries across every continent. To find out more, and for a complete list of contributions, please go to the Writers Abroad website, www.writersabroad.com

Thank you for your support!

Reading While Writing

Although I read every day, regardless of the weather, there is little I enjoy more than reading while rain beats against my windows and drums on my roof. It hasn’t rained much in Maine since I arrived early July, so I’ve mostly read at night.

Here are the three books that top my July’s reading list:

 

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

A.S. King is the queen of YA literature. Not pun intended. I love her work since I read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Ask the Passengers is a terrific novel too and I highly recommend Reality Boy for teen boys.

King’s writing and themes are inimitable. They are fresh and honest. As a writer I find her work intimidating because it’s brilliant, but stimulating too, because she sets the bar very high.

 

Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Australian writers are amazingly good. Markus Zusak remains my favorite, but last year I read Stolen by Lucy Christopher who, although born in Wales, grew up in Australia. Set in the Australian Outback, the geography of the area plays an essential role in this exceptional novel.

In Wildlife, a class of sixteen-year-old students from Melbourne is spending a semester at their school’s outdoor education center. While the story is about first love, loss, and real friendship, nature plays an important role throughout the entire novel.

Told alternatively from the perspectives of two girls who try to figure out who they are, it is a novel that is both funny and moving.

As a writer I especially admired the realistic dialogues and the vivid setting descriptions.

 

This Means War by Ellen Wittlinger

Ellen Wittlinger is one of the most prolific and recognized authors of children and young adults’ literature. One of my daughters loved her novels Razor and Zigzag best. I loved Hard Love very much too.

This Means War is a Middle Grade novel set in 1962 in a small Illinois town, also home to a military base. While the Russian threat and the Cuba Missile Crisis are on every TV screen and in every conversation, another war is fought closer to home.

Fifth grader Juliet is losing her long friendship with Lowel who prefers playing with boys now that he is older. Juliet hopes for a new best friend when Patsy moves in town. Patsy is fearless and unlike most girls Juliet knows. She is a lot of fun to be with, until she decides to prove that girls are as good as boys. A succession of dares will escalade until a serious incident happens.

Deceinvingly simple, this is a remarkable well-crafted novel, set against the backdrop of the cold war. Filled with details about life in America in the early 1960s when supermarkets killed small grocery shops, when women were divided between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers, when girls realized that there were still so many things they couldn’t do in comparison to boys, when bomb shelters were built in many backyards, it’s an easy read and yet an important book for kids who don’t necessary know much about the cold war and its direct implications in daily American life. As a writer I very much liked how the author used the background of politics and war to write about ordinary childhood dilemmas.

 

While I was finishing this blog post, clouds gathered above the lake, foreshadowing rain. In fact we got a mega storm and lost power until midnight.

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Very early morning, however, I wondered if I had dreamed the whole thing.

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But my pile of books was where I remembered leaving it. And the burnt candles in the kitchen, proof of evidence.

 

P.S. While I’m prepping several stories and picture book manuscripts for fall submissions, it’s hard to be a faithful reader of the blogs I like to visit. I want to thank you for still stopping by, hoping you will forgive me for my less regular visits.

 

 

 

Take your iPad to Paris and Normandy For Free Until Labor Day

To introduce my Young Adult and Middle Grade novels to the readers who cannot travel without their iPad, I’m offering Trapped in Paris and Chronicles From Château Moines for Free on iBooks until Labor Day.

Enjoy! Spread the news! Leave reviews!

Happy Reading to All of You From my Favorite Summer Writing Spot in Maine!

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Writing Abroad

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City of Lights, one of my short stories, will be part of the 2015 Kaleidoscope Anthology from Writers Abroad. The stories had to be written in English from authors who have left their native land. This year theme was Light and the publication is scheduled for October 2015. The money earned from the sales will benefit the charity Room to Read.

Thank you, Kimberly, for blogging about this opportunity of publication.

Writing in English for a non-native speaker is both stimulating and intimidating. So any success is an encouraging nudge. Especially when the publication benefits a cause that means a lot to me.

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With Summer Come Good Things

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Summer is almost here. With summer come good things that we started during the short, darker days of winter.

Today I’m happy to share just a few with you.

 

* The three Picture Book manuscripts that I submitted to the 2015 CYA made the short list in the writing competition.

The Children’s and Young Adults Writing and Illustrating Conference is based in Australia, and I thank my friend Stella from Sydney for introducing me to the writing competition.

Wish me luck!

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*The first draft of my new Middle Grade novel is well under way.

Although I freaked out many times this winter considering my slow progress, I’m happy to say that spending time with my fictional characters, before jumping to the keyboard, wasn’t such a bad idea. Talking of keyboard, I found out that my old notebook and pen weren’t too bad either. In the end I got to know my people much better and handwriting is more liberating than typing.

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*Thank you, Chris, for having me today as a Guest Author on your popular and prolific blog.

From The Story Reading Ape’s Blog Chris generously provides various tips for writers and links to other writers. From inspiration to publishing, from drafting to marketing, there is something for everyone interested in the craft of writing and publication.

Thank you, Chris, for introducing my writing to the people who read your blog.

And thank you, my regular readers, for following my writing journey.

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Enjoy the summer and the many good things that come with the season!

 

 

 

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To Have an Artichoke’s Heart or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

 

As announced last week, from April 1st to April 30th and following the alphabetical order, I will post every day but Sundays a French idiomatic expression, its literal English translation, and its proper equivalent or meaning in American English. I’ve had my share of embarrassing (and funny) moments, due to my non-native English status. You’ll see why such moments can happen!

Many bloggers participate to the A to Z challenge with their own themes. If you are one of them and chose to write around language, foreign language, and culture, I’d love to see what you are up to and I hope you’ll stop by to check my posts as well.

 

STARTING WITH THE LETTER A:

 

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AVOIR UN COEUR D’ARTICHAUT

TO HAVE AN ARTICHOKE’S HEART

TO FALL IN LOVE EASILY

 

As always I love to read your comments. In English, en français, or anything in between.

Readers Are Writers’ Gifts

Sometimes I find it hard to return every day to my notebook and computer to go on with the story I’m currently writing. Even though I’m disciplined enough to write on a daily basis, I’m also lazy and easily distracted. There are so many books to read! So many movies to watch! So many desserts to bake! So many walks to take!

It’s also fair to say that writing is a solitary task that doesn’t bring immediate results. And when the result – the book – is there, I always feel a little lonely. Now what?

This is why any acknowledging nudge is a gift to me. Thank you for your reviews, your invitations on your blog, and your links to mine. Thank you.

But when the kind nudge comes from a young reader, my audience, then I have no excuse to feel sorry for my lack of courage.

This is what I received yesterday morning, sent by an English teacher who liked my novel Chronicles From Château Moines well enough to have it read and discussed in her seventh grade class.

I don’t know the student who wrote this. I won’t probably ever meet her. And yet she is the reason why I dragged my lazy little me to my table this morning and wrote another page. A gift, really.

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Christmas Truce

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As we reach the end of 2014, we also reach the end of the ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Being from Normandy I’m more familiar with WWII, but my husband’s family is from Alsace Lorraine, and thus I’ve also heard stories about the bloodiness and misery of WWI.

Despite the violence of this war, something quite exceptional happened around Christmas in 1914. A significant number of men from all sides decided not only to stop fighting but also to celebrate Christmas together.

I hadn’t planned to write about the 1914 Christmas Truce, but I read a blog post that made me change my original piece. Mike’s words about this special cease fire fit with what I believe most of us hope for on Christmas: PEACE.

Growing up in France, I learned at a young age to be cynical and avoid sentimentality. French people, I suspect, use these traits of character to hide emotions and to avoid being too mushy.

Now, though, I want to be like the men in the trenches, who weren’t afraid to choose humanity over cruelty and peace over war.

If you haven’t seen it yet and despite the fact that critics have described it as a little too sentimental, the 2005 French film Joyeux Noël that tells of the 1914 Christmas Truce can be a good movie to watch on Christmas Eve, which also marks the end of Hanukah.

So regardless of religious faith, I propose a toast to Peace.

 

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Looking for a Gift Made From Scratch and Created With Passion?

On the Golden Gate Bridge I saw a couple of cars decorated with reindeers’ antlers and red noses.

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Sorry I couldn’t take a good picture: too much rain that day.

Since I landed in California from my native France, I’ve made mine whatever surprised me back then.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that I will never get a pair of antlers and a red nose for my car, but Père Noël and Santa Claus are good friends in my home.

Both bring thoughtful gifts.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from one of my college daughters, asking the family to stay away from costly Christmas purchases and to focus instead on gifts Made From Scratch or gifts that have been created with passion.

E-mails like that make me feel so optimistic for our future. Our kids are great. Our kids are thoughtful.

In my Inbox there was also an update for a review on my Middle Grade Novel.

“This well-written book would make a great holiday gift for “tweens” and older,” wrote this reviewer.

Thank you.

And thank you if you read my book and wrote a review. It means the world to me. Really.

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Although Thanksgiving is the day to express our thanks and gratitude, I think that the holiday season is also a perfect time to be thankful for the people who surround us and make us happy in so many different ways.

Through the gifts we choose for our family and friends, we really say I love you.

And so we want of course to offer the best to express this love.

People who know me well enough don’t search too much for me.

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I could share with you a long list of terrific books that I have enjoyed in 2014. All would make perfect gifts. Most have been written by excellent writers that I admire a lot but don’t really need my recommendations.

On the other hand I know of a few good writers who are less renowned and yet deserve some attention.

Like me they published in 2014.

I like the fact that they live in three different continents.

Oh and they also blog beautifully, generously, relentlessly.

 

FOR CHILDREN

Little Mike is adorable with his spiky red hair and his unlimited imagination. Mike the Spike by Stella Tarakson is a fun and smart picture book delightfully illustrated just made for the early reader on your list.

FOR YA

The second book in the fantasy Network Series trilogy by Katie Cross is as wicked good as number one. Witchery with a twist for the teen fantasy fan on your list.

FOR ADULTS

A second chance at love and life is offered to Katherine in Provence. Promises to Keep by Patricia Sands is a delightful read for any woman into anything French.

And because you deserve a treat, too, check Kimberly Sullivan’s blog for some of her published short stories about Italian women and expat women living in Italy.

 

Need more ideas? Stop by Andrea, Anthony, Jennifer, Marcia, Marilyn, Mike, Nicki, Teagan for stories, poems and novels. If I forgot someone, forgive me.

There are just so many books to read and unfortunately too little time.

Remember, books are Made From Scratch and created with passion.

 

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Post Publication Feelings

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Two feelings battled inside me as soon as Chronicles From Château Moines was released.

Relief: Regardless of the outcome, I did it.

Anxiety: Now that the story is no longer mine only, what will others say about it?

But when the first reviews appeared on Amazon, that Marcia invited me on her blog, that many friends congratulated me through e-mail and texts, and that Claire and Trinity posted reviews on their blogs, two new feelings replaced them.

Gratitude: Thank you, thank you, thank you, readers and bloggers, for your support and generosity.

Hope: Maybe more and more people will read my novel and like it enough to get it or recommend it to a child they know.

 

How do you feel when something you’ve created is out in the world?

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