chez moi

July 22, 2010 | 2 Comments

I am doing book research (really) in and around Bordeaux, the Dordogne and the Lot. Dodging the Tour de France today. First stop, Chateau Lamothe, where I have the most adorable room!

I’m having good luck with Internet so far, so I’ve been posting pics on Facebook and Picasa.

No, I’m not abandoning the Lakeshore Chronicles! But this is a non-Lakeshore novel about hidden treasure, food and wine. 🙂

research trip preview

July 13, 2010 | 4 Comments

So I’m going on a little research trip from my next novel (assuming I manage to finish the current one). Here’s a preview of the first stop, a chateau with guest rooms near Bordeaux, France:

From the owner:

“Just to give you some precision about the place, It is a family dwelling and we are living there all year. If we have decided to open a few rooms to guests its with a certain idea of reception and genuine French style. For that reason, all our accommodation are very refined and comfortable with high level of services. They are mostly ensuites, decorated with our antiques and family objects, beautiful linen, lace and silk. They are very romantic with theirs canopy beds (all with king size bedded!) and have all modern convenience. Each accomodation has its own view on the moat and surroundings.

“We are located in the heart of the world-famous Bordeaux vineyards, at short distance from Saint-Émilion, and sightly further from Sauternes and Médoc. The chateau is tucked away in the country side, at the village gates in a large parkland with protected land around (21 hectares). Nevertheless, we are very nearby Bordeaux by drive to possibly go out at night (20 mns)… We have for your meals, 3 very good local restaurants very nearby (1 at 1 km at the golf and 2 others at 5 to 10 mns) or at least at 20 mns around a lot of restaurants (michelin stars).
We have an outdoor swimming pool on the premises.
“For the Golf players, we are very close by 2 golf private Golf courses (we are members) : a 27 holes Golf at 3 mns and another with 18 holes at 10 mns (9 Golf courts around (at least less than 1 hour by drive). The Atlantic ocean and the Pyla Dune are at 45 mns from here and a lot of things to discover (prehistorical sites, old villages and the medieval routes….
“The castle was built at the 12th Century during the time Aquitaine came under English control (when Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II, King of England, the first Plantagenet King). At the 14th century, it became one of the residences of the “Black Prince”, Prince of Wales and Governor of Aquitaine, Edward of Woodstock. It has stood majestically with its three towers since this period, and is still surrounded by its original moat filled with running water. To enter in the chateau, you have to cross an unique little bridge…”

Château Lamothe Prince Noir

Where were you when you read it for the first time?

July 11, 2010 | 1 Comment

Fifty years ago today, Harper Lee’s only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird,was published, the story narrated by six-year-old Scout Finch in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. It was an immediate best-seller, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and an instant American classic. It continues to sell incredibly well, with 30 million copies still in print.
The book’s title appears in a scene in chapter 10, where Scout remembers something her dad, Atticus, has said and asks her neighbor Miss Maudie about it.
‘I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.
‘Your father’s right,’ she said. ‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

I’m assuming you read it more than once. Pretty much everybody I know has. To Kill a Mockingbird is now fifty years old. I was ten or eleven when I read it for the first time, and I loved it so much I can still tell you exactly what I wore (plaid pedal pushers) and ate (orange double popsicles), what the air felt like around me (hot) and the glimmer of the flashlight losing battery power as I stayed up extra late to finish. I remember staring at the tree on the cover and trying to picture the characters. I loved Scout. She talked and thought like me, and Atticus reminded me of my dad. I had never heard of rape before, and didn’t realize it was sexual until years later. Racial prejudice did not exist in my town in upstate New York, so it all seemed very exotic and tense to me. But Scout felt so real to me. I’ve read this book several times through the years, and there’s always something new to discover.

mockingbirdfirst.jpg harper_lee_0821.jpg (photo:
It was the only novel she ever published. A tough act to follow. She dedicated her life to books and education, and now lives in New York City and Monroeville, Alabama. I think the only person who has her number is Oprah.

Here is the summary from Writers’ Almanac: