Forty years ago today, I boarded my first airplane and began a year abroad that would forever mark my life. The thirty or so students who went with me might well have the same thought – we all were impacted by a year in Switzerland, with no internet or cell phones.
My first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was (very) loosely based on that year. Like Bernadette Maguire, I was 20, naive (yes), and hopeful. Unlike Bernadette, I did not have an affair with a married man, nor did I get pregnant with his child. 😉 I recall explaining that to friends, who took my storytelling literally.
I’ve returned to my beloved Switzerland often – in 1981 to work as an au pair (there’s a book I should write), again a few years later, multiple times in the 1990s, and most recently in January 2017, where I was inspired to write Villa del Sol.
But the year that began on 28 September 1978 was my year. I don’t have any Cardinal beer to drink, no Giandor chocolate bar, and the Café Chemin de Fer is now, I believe, an Indian restaurant. Things change, even in Fribourg, Switzerland.
“Mesdames et messieurs, it is time to go sleep!” 🇨🇭🇨🇭🇨🇭
Not just any chocolate, my friends. Wine-flavored chocolate! That’s right, and I actually sampled some recently. Now, you know how I am about chocolate – if I’m going to indulge, I want it to be very good quality.
This is top-notch. Joe Woerly has created three different varieties:
Cabernet flavored dark chocolate with 73% cocoa
Merlot flavored dark chocolate with 61% chocolate
Chardonnay flavored white chocolate with 31% cocoa
Good-quality chocolate is not gritty or grainy. Vineyard Chocolates are so smooth they’ll melt on your tongue. The flavors are subtle but definitely there. The Cabernet dark is the least sweet (and with 73% cocoa, a very healthy choice!) but satisfying. The Merlot dark is fruity and soft, just like the wine. Now, a word about white chocolate. There are a lot of cheap, bad white chocolates out there. This one, however, flavored with Chardonnay, is rich and creamy, and will turn you into a fan. It was my husband’s favorite of the three. I loved them all.
You can help Joe start his business through a Kickstarter campaign – and you can get chocolate as well! View his video here:
And now that you are as excited about this venture as I am, visit Joe’s Kickstarter page! (Click on the link below)
My first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was published on August 12, 2012 – nearly four years ago! (It was republished with a new cover in April 2013.) In those four years, I’ve written and published six novels, all of which have given me tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment. I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing, and that is sufficient. Well, pretty much.
New novels can trigger a sales flurry, but sales drop off after a time, even for beloved best-sellers.
So….for the coming week, every one of my six novels will be discounted to 99 cents for the e-book (Kindle version). I have no control over the print price, but if you come to the RI Authors Book Expo on December 3, 2016 http://www.riauthors.org/riexpo/ , I’ll have print copies available for a great price.
You can grab a three-book series, described by one reader as “writing (that) draws wonderful pictures of the characters and allows you to really ‘fall into’ the book ~ which is one of my favorite things about reading.” Or read about a group of classmates readying for their 25-year high school reunion and visiting old grievances. A novel about a young woman pursuing her dream of becoming a best-selling author, only to face a harsh reality check. And finally, a lighter story involving two friends who gamble on a dream of turning a rundown farm into a premier wedding venue. If you’ve already read these books, here’s a chance to give some gifts. In any event, I’m grateful – so very grateful – for all the positive feedback and encouragement I’ve received, from friends and strangers new friends, over the past four years.
Because it’s too hot! This past week, I received a package from one of my junior-year-abroad friends who had traveled back to Switzerland on business. I knew this because he posted some lovely photos on Facebook, and (of course) I hinted at my favorite Swiss chocolate bar, one that can’t be bought here in the USA.
He’s a good guy, and sent me two! My husband and I dug into the Giandor first, but we’re saving the Frigor. Saving it for what? Christmas? Hey, it’ll be gone by the next blog post.
Anyway, it’s getting too hot for chocolate, isn’t it? The Giandor was a little soft. So take a break! We all know that the Halloween candy will be back on the shelves as soon as the munchkins are back in school this fall. And thus begins another round of the Eight Months of Chocolate. October through May – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, after-Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day. Any excuse to sell/buy/consume it. Aren’t you chocolated out by now?
Take a break from chocolate. It’s ice cream season!
And in case you were wondering, I have limited my sugar intake tremendously.
That April A to Z Challenge had me posting every day, but since then, I’ve been occupied with writing and editing my fifth novel. So…..not much blogging.
Best Seller will be released soon, I hope. By the end of June is my target, but edits take time. And then there’s the cover, and the formatting, and the uploading, and the distribution to my Review Crew.
Meanwhile, I have other news, something else to keep me from blogging more regularly! I’ve accepted a part-time job. It’s at a good place, and a few days a week, which works for me, but it does signify change. Change to the routine I’ve adopted over the past three years. It’ll probably force me to utilize my time better, which is a good thing.
I’ve always been in awe of my writer friends who create well-written novels while working full time. And being a mom. Really, all I do is write. And, you know, laundry and grocery shopping. So to balance a 20-something-hours-a-week job with trying to write another novel? I should be up to the task. At my prior job (the one that paid well and made me sick), I had nothing left for creativity when I came home. This time, I feel very positive about the future.
What makes you positive about the future? Is it your child’s graduation? The blossoming of those rhododendrons? Longer days and warmer temperatures? We’re surrounded by bad news and road rage and internet hostility, so where do you find your bliss? Here’s where I find mine:
I know this is a locally-directed post, so I’ll keep it short.
This Saturday, February 8th, from 11:00 to 1:00, I’ll be selling and signing copies of my four novels at SWEET TWIST in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
The Murphy sisters, as I call them, were very gracious in inviting me to their lovely boutique to sign my books, and the Chocolate Trilogy will be front and center. Yes, I’ll also have copies of Bits of Broken Glass, which I can now label an Amazon #1 best-seller, as it held that lofty position this past weekend in three separate categories on Amazon.
Stop by if you’re in the area, and while you’re there, check out the fabulous assortment of gifts at Sweet Twist. Besides Vera Bradley accessories and John Medeiros jewelry, they have delicious chocolates for Valentine’s Day. You know, there were many years that I was single and Valentine-less, and I never once denied myself something sweet on February 14th. Indulge! Life is too short to skip chocolate. And I hope to see you on Saturday!
Who else is happy to see this month end? You, Atlanta? New England? Fargo? I get it. We’re done with January 2014. Onward!
The month that seemed to drag on forever, with long icy fingers that tightened around our throats, is fading away. We move into the shortest month now, with longer days. Here in Rhode Island, the sun rose this morning at 6:58. It sets at 5:01. Yippee! By the end of February, the sun will rise 36 minutes earlier, and set 34 minutes later. Seventy more minutes of daylight.
Tomorrow I’ll meet Nancy and Karen for breakfast, both high school pals. I haven’t seen Karen since we graduated – a long, long time ago. But through the miracle of social media, we’ve seen pictures of each other. Karen and Nancy are both ageless. Isn’t it something that when you look into the face of a friend from more than 30 years ago, you don’t see crinkles at the eyes, or silver at the scalp? You see the girls you whispered and giggled with. I treasure these times.
And from what I’m seeing, there could be a mini-reunion the following Saturday. I’m signing copies of my novels at Sweet Twist in East Greenwich, which is owned by three sisters, one of whom I remember from high school (this is what happens in Rhode Island – two degrees of separation). With a trilogy of chocolate-titled books (and one about a high school reunion!), Sweet Twist is a perfect venue. And, as an author/publisher who’s had some difficulty getting my books into independent bookstores (I don’t get that – you’re indy, I’m indy, can’t we work together?), I’m grateful for the chance to showcase my books in a beautiful boutique that sells, among lots of other things, chocolate!
And before you know it, February will be blowing through and dragging March in. It would be lovely if we were done with snow this winter, but the way things have been, I doubt it. The Great Blizzard of 1978 occurred in early February, and we’ve had plenty of snowstorms in both February and March. Either way, it sure feels good to say goodbye to January. And just one last note to the folks who live down the street from us: you can take down your Christmas ornaments. You know, the ones you hung in the trees and along the roofline. Really, it’s time.