personal, Road Trip Wednesday

Summer after graduation…

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: In preparation for our Bookmobile discussion of Kody Keplinger’s A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, how did you spend/how will you spend the summer after graduation?

In France, we don´t really have a graduation: no ceremony at school, no wearing a cap and gown, no big prom celebrating the end of the year. What we do have are those really hard exams called Baccalauréat. During the last two years of High School, depending on your major, you have to take national exams on many. many, many subjects. I went to pick up my results with my dad…I still remember searching my name in the pass section. I was there and with honors (yay!).

The month of July after my High School graduation was spent working where my dad worked, filing a lot and in August, I think I went on holidays with my parents  there (it´s in the Pyrenees, close to Spain and we used to go every winter and every summer) :

This is a postcard clearly showing Winter so you´ve got to imagine how it looks during the Summer time 😀

And then I went to spend some time at my sister´s (also in the South but close to St-Tropez)

This picture was not taken right after my HS graduation but in 2003 probably 😀

Some very random memories from this particular summer:

  1. The pair of the jeans of the girl I was working with. She had kind of expensive jeans and I thought maybe I could buy some like hers with my money. I never did.
  2. It was hot in the small office but the radio we listened to made me smile very often.
  3. Feeling all grown-up going in to work with my dad – I babysat before but this was different somehow…
  4. Getting drunk for the first time (17/18 was kind of a late bloomer) –> and at the age of 30, I still wonder if it´s ok for my parents to read this even though I´ve gotten a tad too much to drink a bit more since then!
  5. Turning 18 (I still have the empty bottle of Champagne from that day, it was biiiig)
  6. Spending  fun times with my sister in the South
  7. Waiting to hear from US families as I wanted to go as an au pair. I actually ended up going to the US only the next year and starting university first.
  8. Getting my driver license the day after turning 18

So tell me, what was your very first job?

 

Honeymoon, Photography, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

Falling in love with Cape Cod and…Isaiah Jones Bed and Breakfast

I am trying to go through the pictures of my honeymoon and organize them so that I can share them (I don´t think anybody would really go through  1600 pictures). Today, I mesh it with Road Trip Wednesday (Blog carnival from YA Highway) as they asked what would be the place of our writing retreat and the people we would bring with us (yay for Colin who asked on Twitter what the topic for this week would be :D)

Cape Cod and Isaiah Jones B&B would be a great writing retreat. I´d bring my hubby along and all of you. We could rent out the B&B and have writing sessions, talk about books, have a drink or two, or simply enjoy our surroundings. Anybody in for poker too? or scrabble? And the breakfasts would just help us power through anything!

If you have a significant other, you should bring him/her too.  They could hang out altogether while we do the writing thing. And everybody can also spend some alone time in their quiet, cozy room or walk on the beach.  Maybe one day?

I´ve gushed about this Bed and Breakfast before. This is where Chemical Engineer and I stayed for a night in 2007 and where we decided to come back to in order to spend a few relaxing days in Cape Cod after driving around for so long.

We were not disappointed at all. Not by Sandwich, not by Cape Cod and definitely not by this wonderful Bed and Breakfast. Donnie and Katherine are not only warm and friendly, they have plenty of tips to discover the area. And the breakfasts are delicious!

  • Some of my favorite pictures from Cape Cod
 
  • Our favorite restaurant in Sandwich, MA
 

  • And the lovely details of Isaiah Jones Homestead Bed and Breakfast (you can click below to see a slideshow of some of the pictures I took of this charming place)
 
Is there one place you really love going on vacation to?
Or have you already gone on any writing retreats? 
 
 
Books, Road Trip Wednesday

April Amazing Books :D

So I´m not really sure if there will be a Road Trip Wednesday today but usually the last Wednesday of the month is all about our April reads…RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

I gushed last week  about JELLICOE ROAD and I was not even done with reading the story. Well I´m now officially done reading it and I know I will read it again sometime in the future, even though nothing will replace that first time. This has proven to me (like I needed any additional proofs) to always listen to Katy 😀 The way the stories are entwined, the way the characters (all of them) left an impression on me, the way I fell for Jonah, the way I wanted to hug Taylor…So yep. Loved it.

I have been lucky this month in terms of reading. On top of JELLICOE which as you can notice I have a crush on, I also devoured the following books and below you will find the reason why I think they deserve a spot in this post as well:

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE & A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis: Both books are amazing. The first one sets the tone and I felt like Amy, claustrophobic. The different POVs enable us to get the feel for the ship and the life on board. I loved the details put into the book, the subplots and how things tie up together. A MILLION SUNS is as good if not even better than the first one. The way the characters develop, the human interactions, the plot…and yes I am developing yet another crush on characters (including secondary ones :D). Cannot wait for the third one.

I never thought about how important the sky was until I didn’t have one. ~ Amy

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson: This book portrays loss in such a true manner, it´s heart-wrenching and behind the gorgeous writing, there is the beauty of the characters in their rawness, in their feelings, in their grieving. Loved it.

“Dreams change, yes, that makes sense, but I didn’t know dreams could hide inside a person.

SHUT OUT by Kody Koplinger: This was a fun read and I enjoyed the different characters. The book deals with sex, it´s clear from the summary and the different ways people in high school deal with it. I loved the honesty in the dialogue. Plus. there´s Cash and who can resist this:

Because I want to see you with someone better than him. Someone who will see how lucky they are to have you.

What was your favorite book of April?

And which book on your TBR are you most looking forward to in May? (ok on top of INSURGENT :D)

Road Trip Wednesday, writing

I didn´t go to prom but I still got lucky.

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic. This week´s topic: It’s almost prom season, and since we love to read and write about teenagers, we want to hear your prom stories!

Well, in France, we didn´t have proms so I cannot tell you my prom experience from High school. I promise to tell you more about High school in France soon though 😀 I dreamed about the experience though as a teenager.

I could have talked about the prom I didn´t go to while I was an au pair in the USA and my then-boyfriend (kinda – complicated story) took his ex-girlfriend with him, well you know, he promised her…but let´s face it, not the greatest memory to revisit.

I did go to a wonderful dance: The Navy Ball in Annapolis where all au pairs of the area were invited to attend. I had a beautiful dress on and had a blast shopping with my girlfriends for cheap out of season prom dresses. We got very lucky.  I also did go to a so-called prom at the university but it didn´t feel like a real prom…You know, the one I will be able to read about in your posts or in your comments 😀

Even though I didn´t go to prom, I still got lucky…well I got the lucky meme (did you like the transition :D). The lovely and talened Tracey tagged me in the Lucky Seven (really you should totally check out her excerpt here). The rules are as follow:

  • Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  • Go to line 7.
  • Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post the as they’re written. No cheating.
  • Tag 7 other writers.

I wanted to share something from my new WiP, the one which doesn´t have a lot of pages yet, so I thought I´ll go to page 7 of my new WiP and share the 7 lines:

If I´m not shedding tears in front of you, please don´t cry for me. 

Cry for him and away from my gaze.

My chest tightens. My mother and I didn´t let tears out at his funeral. She didn´t hold my hand, I didn´t go into her embrace like when I was little and had a nightmare.

My mother and I had become strangers before my dad decided he didn´t want to live with us anymore. Not only he didn´t want to live with us, I remind myself. He didn´t want to live at all.

Natalja is going through quite a lot. She failed as ballerina, she lost her dad and she went back to her hometown after a stint in NYC. She has the attitude and hides away her pain…

If you want to join in and share an excerpt of your WiP, YOU are tagged! 😀

Road Trip Wednesday, writing

Say Hello to Balzac…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic:   What images inspire/ represent your WIP or favorite book?

Pinterest is great for creating visual boards of novels, shiny new ideas, WiPs. It´s not just another way to spend time on the internet, I promise 😀

I´ve already shared some of my inspiration before, including some pictures (moonlight, my male MC…) but today I want to introduce you to somebody who came into my WiP PLAYING WITH FIRE late in the game: Say hello to Balzac!

 
 
 

Balzac can be annoying. He´s always hanging around Erin and she trips on him from times to times. But he´s cuddly. He´s always there when Erin needs him and while he may be a tad afraid of those spirits hanging out around her, he really does want to protect her. He wasn´t part of the WiP at the beginning but the more I wrote, the more I thought that Erin not only liked dogs but that she needed one…And have you seen those eyes?

And here is a little snippet of my WiP which shows you a tad more of Balzac:

I smile as I hear the familiar barking of Balzac. His welcoming bark. Not that I ever heard a difference between any of his barks. That dog would lick an intruder if he thought he could get some food out of him. His tail whips my legs as I enter and I mentally give him treats. I kneel and put my head on his.

Do you enjoy stories where pets play a role?

Or any favorite pictures which represent a book you love or your WiP?

reading, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

It takes a village to raise a reader or a writer…

Before I get started on today’s RTW, here comes a little blog announcement…

I am thinking of organizing a blog fest the first week of May, where we could all share a typical day from our time in High School and include a little memory, a quote or a song which reminds us of those years. Would you be interested in signing up for something like this? Once I know there is a bit of interest, I’ll make a post with the details and even a button (wow!) Let me know in the comments 😀 It could be fun and inspiring!

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey? 

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  At least, that is what Ernest Hemingway said. The act of writing is usually lonely. We write at our desks or elsewhere. I write in a train but I’m still alone with my thoughts and my muse. However, the process of committing oneself to writing, to aim at becoming a better writer doesn’t have to be lonely. When looking at this prompt, so many names came to my mind, I had to smile.

To all of you reading this: Merci!

gif- thank you Pictures, Images and Photos
To my parents: For reading to me at night before going to sleep, for indulging my love of books by taking me to the bookstore and the library at all ages, for giving me books as gifts, for letting me roam their own books…for understanding my love of the written word. For encouraging my writing without maybe even knowing it and for now letting me know that they believe in me.

To my sisters and brother-in-law: For letting me borrow their books and for reading my first attempts at writing which was not school-related without laughing at me.

To my 4th grade teacher and his wife: For letting me read ahead and for encouraging me to continue turning the pages.

To my French junior high teacher: Especially for my writing, for encouraging me to take risks with school assignments and making me feel like I could do anything.

To my German high school teacher: for opening my reading world to a different language early on, for challenging my critical thinking, for encouraging me…

To my high school friends: For listening to my dreams of becoming a writer and for reading one of my first real attempt at writing a novel. Little did I know it was YA 😀

To my friends (especially you Tonya): the ones who know about my writing and have been encouraging me, not treating me like my dream/goal is insane. Tonya: thanks for being my cheerleader from across the ocean and for pushing me at the beginning to send you more of my WiP 😀

To the authors (from Ancient Greece to now): Thank you for your creativity, your words, your passion, your drive…thank you for giving me the chance to go through so many books and knowing there are so many more out there. Thank you for inspiring me in my writing and for showing me that it can indeed be done.

To the writing community: I receive so much from you ladies and gentlemen from reading your blogs, your forum posts, your tweets and from SCBWI. On reading, hopping from blogs to blogs mean that my TBR explodes with joy on a regular basis and a special shout-out to Jaime and Katy for pointing out books which became favorites of mine. For writing, I get thrilled when others receive great news, I relish in reading about the experience with the craft and I am so grateful to Tarah for reading some of my writing and giving me feedback and to Heather for letting me do it for her.

To my hubby: I probably shouldn’t use any of the nicknames we have for each other on this blog but you know which ones I want to use right now 😀 (no, not that one, NO definitely not that one!…yes that one :D). Thank you for pushing me, for challenging me, for hugging me, for being there, for being my rock! Thank you for listening to my rants, for listening to me swooning other characters and plots. Thank you for letting me dwelve into social media and be patient towards me as I tell you about my tweeps and blogfriends…Thank you for being you. And thanks for agreeing to “listen” to my MS once I’m done polishing it…I love you.

Who helped you along your writing/reading path?

Books, Kisses, Road Trip Wednesday

Best Books of the Month…

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: What was the best book you read in March?

This month, I’ve read less books than in the previous ones. I’ve been immersing myself in revising, beta-reading and Stephen King’s ON WRITING…but luckily, all the ones I’ve read brought me a little something something…

              

WANDERLOVE by Kirsten Hubbard : more on this story on Friday (keeping the suspense for Tracey’s YA Book club)

AMY AND ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by Morgan Matson: I really really enjoyed this novel. The setting was great and made me think of my upcoming honeymoon so definitely a winner for this month! I thought both characters were  well developed and I got lost in their story. And there are definitely a lot of swoon-worthy moments…and those which squeezed my heart. Always a plus! I am definitely adding SECOND CHANCE SUMMER to my TBR list. Thanks again Jaime for pointing this book out to me!

GETTING OVER GARRETT DELANEY by Abby McDonald: A cute one and I liked the premises of the story. I also think the author did very well at portraying the different relationships. I enjoyed the developing and rekindling of friendships.

     

RIPPLE by Mandy Hubbart: I’ve been meaning to read more mermaid books and this one had a different twist to it. While I wish I could have been immersed more in the curse itself, I still wanted to know what would happen to Lexi 😀

INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows: Honestly, I was unsure about this book before started it. I was afraid I’d be disappointed. I’m glad I wasn’t. It took me a few pages to really get into it and once I was, there was no turning back for me. Plus, the swoony moments involved a piano and gosh how I missed mine while reading those lines!

TRAFFICKED by Kim Purcell: Difficult. Heart-wrenching. Some reviewers mentioned that they thought Hannah was too naive and I don’t think she was. Of course, she knew the dangers but she was going for what she thought to be a better life, for her grandmother. I felt for her. I cringe and I wanted to scream at some of the things happening during the book.

So, tell me what was your favorite book(s) of the month?

Kisses, reading, Road Trip Wednesday, writing, young adult

The magic of a kiss

Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week’s topic: A long-awaited kiss, a surprise ending, a character’s sudden decision…  these are the moments that make us smile, gasp, and LOVE a book for the rest of our lives.
What is your favorite literary moment?

So many moments come back to my mind from my decades of reading. Some excerpts from Albert Camus and Victor Hugo which made me think so hard. Some theater plays which got a strong reaction out of me. Some thrillers who got me jumping out of my seat when I heard a noise. Some historical fiction which made me dream I was in another time. Some novels which got me turning the pages so fast because I just wanted to know what would happen next…

However, if I had to pick one and only one  favorite literary moment (arrrghhhhh I don’t like playing favorites :D), it would be the anticipation to the long-awaited kisses and the magical moment when the kisses actually happen.

The butterflies before lips meet either tentatively or with force. Those moments where I turn the page and my own body reacts: my stomach flips, my muscles tense because I wonder what may happen.  Yep, done well, those get me every single time…

So tell me, what is your favorite literary moment?

Road Trip Wednesday

Where would YOU go?

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

 Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This week´s topic: In honor of the release of Kirsten’s WANDERLOVE yesterday–which is amazing, by the way; get yourselves to a bookstore if you haven’t!–we bring you a travel-themed RTW prompt today! If you could wander anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?

If you´re planning on reading WANDERLOVE soon, you should join in Tracey´s wonderful YA Book Club as it is the pick for March 😀

Now, onto the question…where would I go?

A castle about 25 minutes away from my small village

First I would not go alone, I´d take my hubby with me 🙂

We would go to my “home” in France. It is pretty. It´s a small village an hour north from Paris, it does have beautiful landmarks around it (see example above) but the reason why I would wander there is simple: we´d spend time with my family, have coffee at my grandmother´s, have breakfast with my parents, go to the movies with my sisters and brother-in-law, spend time with my niece and nephew…see my aunts, give a call to my friends…maybe even pass by my old High school to go visit the teacher who influenced my love for languages.

We would also wander back to the US, again to visit our dear friends…

Now, if we´re talking about a place I´d like to visit: Italy…I´d like to see for Tuscany, Rome, Pompeii…

Tuscany - Sunset (thank you Microsoft Clip)

Where would YOU go? 🙂

personal, Road Trip Wednesday, writing

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

If you have not entered my “I love reading” giveaway, you can still do it :-): You can win 2 books (up to a total of $30): one for you and one for a teenager or a child or a baby you want to share your love of books with.The giveaway is open to all countries that The Book Depository ships to. Just fill out the entry form by Friday March 16th.

 Today is Road Trip Wednesday 🙂 RTW is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic

Name this life: What would your memoir be called?

I cry, I laugh, I smile, I yell. I make mistakes. I learn.  I find it unfair sometimes but I’m grateful for all the hardships and all the joys because it brought me to where I am today. I love my life even if it’s not always easy. Looking back, I realize that sometimes the small decisions, the tiny steps turned out to become milestones. I don’t think I’ll write a memoir, but I do like to look back…So my title would be:

My life version of The Butterfly Effect

International life: As a child, I used to say that I would never leave home. I enjoyed the comfort of my place. Always a tad anxious, going to summer camps was not easy. My parents always pushed me. I am so grateful for them. Why? Because 10 years later, I decided it was time to see the big big world and to go to the United States. My parents once said to me: “We know we did a good job with you girls if you can leave us but are always happy to be back.” I am definitely always happy to go back home.

Funny how it works out: At the age of 11, I decided German was indeed quite an interesting language to learn. 9 years later, in the United States, I met a cocky boy who was surprised a French girl could speak German and English (yes he’s funny :-)). 19 years later, I live in Germany with a charming man I am lucky to call my husband (he’s still cocky).

Writing: My parents read to me at night. They encouraged my passion for books. My sisters read my first attempts at poetry, not mocking me but nodding along.  My teachers gave me positive feedback when I was young on my imagination. My sisters, my brother-in-law and my high school friends didn’t cringe away from my drafts when I tried my hand at writing a novel. My husband trusts that I can do it. He tells me several times a week or a month or a day (depending how stressed I am). All those little moments encouraged me and are still with me today.

These are only little moments but I am just amazed by how those little moments help shape who I am today.

How would you call YOUR memoir?