Posts Tagged 'giveaway'

“In Another Life” – Author Interview with Julie Christine Johnson (+ GIVEAWAY!)

InAnotherLife_CoverHistorian Lia Carrer has finally decided to return to southwestern France to rebuild her life after her husband’s death. But instead of finding solace in the rural hills and medieval ruins, she becomes entangled in the echoes of an ancient murder and falls for a man whose very existence challenges all she knows.

Told in dual past and present narration – early 13th-century and today – In Another Life is a literary page turner that explores love, loss, and the ghosts that never let us go. The debut novel, released in February from Sourcebooks Landmark, has received much praise, including a starred review from Library Journal.

I am so excited to welcome Julie Christine Johnson, author of In Another Life, to the blog – and to offer a free giveaway of her book! It’s always a thrill to get caught up in a good novel. Even more so when it’s written by a cherished friend.

Julie and I “met” in an online writer’s group; we’ve never met face to face. Yet her warmth and wisdom were immediately evident in her thoughtful messages, in her lyrical ruminations on her blog Chalk the Sun. We formed a rapport that has only grown deeper. And I confess to finding myself choked up when I finished her book – for the feat that she had accomplished creating such a rich story. And to find my name in the acknowledgments! I am truly in awe and so grateful to have such intelligent, generous people in my life – and to be thought of as a writing peer.

Author Julie Christine Johnson

Author Julie Christine Johnson

Julie’s short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal, Mud Season Review, Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim, Cobalt, River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai, Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers, and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss, as well as being featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services. A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state.

Without further ado, here’s my interview with Julie. Details on the giveaway at the end of the post!

In Another Life is set in France’s Languedoc region (with a foray into Paris, too!). Your lyrical prose delights in lush descriptions and details – we see the landscape clearly through your word paintings, can almost taste the food and wine (your previous job as a wine buyer must have aided in the latter, I assume!) I know you have a long history with France – your undergraduate degree is in French and you have had extended stays in l’Hexagone for over a quarter century. What draws you so deeply to this country? Did it feel natural to have your first book bloom from your connection? Why here, in other words?

Minerve

Minerve

Why France, indeed? I had to sit with this question a bit. Yes, I’ve been enthralled with France for nearly thirty years, since deciding to become a French major—even before I spent a year at the University of Chambèry as a college senior. But why? What began this love affair with a place, a culture, a people?

It started with the language. I enrolled in French as a college freshman to fulfill general requirements and by the end of the first quarter, something had opened up inside me. For me, learning a language went beyond syntax and grammar; it transformed the formation of my thoughts. Articulating in French changed my relationship to the learning process by tapping into an active creativity I didn’t realize I possessed.

Continue reading ‘“In Another Life” – Author Interview with Julie Christine Johnson (+ GIVEAWAY!)’

**WIN!** Marc Levy Ebooks + a Long Weekend in Paris!

Marc LevyMarc Levy is the most widely read French author in the world. With 13 published novels in the past 12 years – all #1 bestsellers in France and in many other countries – his books have been translated into 45 languages with nearly 30 million copies sold.

Before his first novel, If Only It Were True, was published in the U.S., Steven Spielberg acquired the film rights for DreamWorks. The subsequent movie,  Just like Heaven, starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo, became a #1 box office hit.

Since that introduction US readers haven’t had easy access to the rest of Levy’s work, however. That is, until now.

International e-book publisher Versilio is now releasing the English translations of Marc Levy’s novels. To celebrate, they’re also running a sweepstakes. First prize is a long weekend in Paris for two, including roundtrip airfare and hotel. I thought y’all might like to know about that!Marc Levy Paris Getaway

Other prizes include an iPad loaded with Marc’s novels. To be entered to win, participants need to answer 5 questions about Marc Levy’s novel All Those Things We Never Said by February 10. Winners will be announced on Valentine’s Day. Head over here to enter!

I’m pleased that the publisher is also offering a free ebook to a lucky paris (im)perfect reader specifically. (That’s you!)

To enter to win a free ebook, just leave a comment by 10 AM EST February 10. I’ll draw a name at random and get your free promo code to you! (Even if you don’t have an ereader, you’ll be able to download the book to your computer, so feel free to enter.) Good luck!

**Please note the comments below are only for the chance to win the ebook. To enter for a chance to win the trip to Paris, head over to Marc Levy’s fan page.**

*GIVEAWAY!* The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

The Black Count by Tom ReissInvoke the name Alexandre Dumas, and one might inquire, père or fils? (Father or son?) Alexandre Dumas père was the novelist behind The Three Muskateers and The Count of Monte Cristo and his son, Alexandre Dumas fils, was also a writer and playwright.

There is another Alexandre Dumas, however. One who history has largely forgotten, though his story is truly the stuff of legend.

Forgotten until now.

Tom Reiss has recently published a soaring account of Dumas (the father of Alexandre Dumas père) in what is sure to become a definitive volume.

The Black Count is a tour-de-force, an ambitious and awe-inspiring tale of a man born into slavery who eventually rose to become a four-star general and a hero of the French Revolution.

Dumas’ audacious exploits in battle – including almost single-handedly pushing back the Austrians in the Battle of the Alps as well as commanding more than 50,000 men – would later inspire his son to write his famous books. So would Dumas’ years slowly being poisoned in an Italian prison after being captured; Napoleon ultimately betrayed the bravest of military men by letting him languish there and worse.

Author Tom Reiss (photo by Aventurina King 2008)

Epic biographies aren’t my usual reading fare, but this book may change all that. The Black Count was absolutely riveting, combining the thrills of a great adventure story with the concrete fact and context of the best historical work. I myself was in a battle between reading so quickly because I couldn’t wait to turn the next page and trying to slow down to absorb the enormous amount of information contained within. I literally felt I was learning something new on each page.

From France’s brutal slavery regime in Saint Domingue (now present day Haiti) where Dumas was born up through the French Revolution and Napoleon’s dreams of empire after, Reiss expertly takes us through a complicated, layered history to create a vivid portrait of the late 18th century. From the large scale issues of how Dumas, a mixed-race man, negotiated his life in a society whose rules regarding race were rapidly evolving, down to the smallest of details including why wearing black became fashionable in Paris, Reiss seems to have left no stone unturned.

If this weren’t all meticulously researched fact, it would be hard to believe such tales were true. I found myself gasping at much of what I read!

I am DELIGHTED to be able to offer a giveaway copy of The Black Count (courtesy of Crown Publishers) to one lucky reader so that you, too, may gasp.

Leave a comment below by 1 PM EST Friday, October 5 for your chance to win. I will randomly select a winner by drawing names out of a hat.

If you don’t win the copy, please do yourself a favor and pick up this book anyway. It was engrossing, illuminating, and a tiny bit heartbreaking. It’s always so wonderful when a book can crack open more of the world.

Read an excerpt from The Black Count here.

UPDATE! The name has been picked from the hat! Congratulations, William Sandles! Thank you to everyone who entered.

Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: Time Traveler Tours: A Phoenix Rises

Phew! This past month teaching creative writing in Barcelona has been intense. The program wrapped up yesterday, the end of an exhilarating, exhausting, and amazing ride. I was inspired by imaginative students, learned my way around a vibrant city, made new friends, reignited my love of Spanish language, doubted myself then grew in confidence: Wow. I am really doing this!

I hope to share more soon, but there’s a lot to process. In the meantime, I’m happy to have a special guest on the blog today. I’ve known Sarah Towle mainly online the past couple of years and “watched” as she developed a new app designed to bring French history to life for young people. I got the chance to catch up with her in person at the Paris Writers’ Workshop, where I was a presenter right before I left for Spain. (Did I tell y’all about that? So many exciting things this summer!)

Sarah is here to tell us more about her journey and to offer FREE DOWNLOADS of her app to three lucky winners. Thanks, Sarah!

Time Traveler Tours: A Phoenix Rises

Sarah Towle of Time Traveler Tours

Mine was an (im)perfect beginning in every sense of the word. On the one hand, it was Paris. With its iconic sites, belle vie and bonne cuisine, not to mention limitless opportunities to access history and culture, what was not to like? On the other hand, the French authorities made themselves perfectly clear: As the trailing spouse, I would be forbidden to seek work in my profession. In fact, I would not be allowed to work at all.

My reaction? They’ve got to be kidding!

I refused to believe they were serious. This was the globalized 21st century. I had 25 years experience, much of it international. I had impressive degrees, having studied and worked at major universities around the world, and great recommendations. And I’d been brought up to believe that with a positive outlook, some good old-fashioned ingenuity, and as much perspiration as necessary, anything was possible. I was certain that, given time, I’d be able to make the right connections and find my way around, under, over, or through their laws.

But I was wrong. French bureaucracy is a truly formidable foe. In the end, it wore me down. It turned me prematurely gray. I gave up, threw in the towel, raised a white flag, but I would not surrender in defeat.

If I was going to work, I would just have to start over.

It never occurred to me to blog. Instead, I took the more traditional route. I decided to write a book. I would combine all my experience, passions, knowledge, and skill as a language teacher, expat, mother, historian, and world traveler to write a new generation of travel guide for the next generation of traveler.

It would be a mash up of the Horrible Histories and The Lonely Planet, a kind of American Girl Series, but for historic destinations and targeted to a slightly older crowd.

Called Time Traveler Tours, each chapter would be a voyage to a different era – starting with the history of Paris – in the company of a narrator/tour guide whose actions helped shape their time. In addition to a cool story, readers/users would be compelled forward on a custom itinerary thanks to treasure hunts, games, and puzzles related to the sites visited along the way.

Continue reading ‘Guest Post and GIVEAWAY: Time Traveler Tours: A Phoenix Rises’


paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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