Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Wow, it's been almost three weeks since I returned from Paris. And like always, being there feels surreal, like a dream. Before I forget it all, though, I thought I'd post about our last real day in Paris. Sunday we decided to head for Montematre, a tall hill near the north center of Paris. The view was wonderful, btw. We took the funiculaire, a moterized pod from the bottom to the top, otherwise we would have had to walk a ton of stairs. We still had to walk stairs to reach the church. The church or Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Church of the Sacred Heart) was beautiful and everyone was very respectfully quiet inside. Afterwards, we went to Salvidor Dali's museum. It was expensive for the the amount of work we saw but I still enjoyed it as I'm a huge Dali fan. The museum housed lesser known works and a lot of his sculptures. Next, we found a wonderful restaurant tucked away under the hill and learned to drink lemonade with fitz (kinda like carbonating our drinks but oh, so much better.)A trip down the Seine finished off the day.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

unscheduled day in Paris

Friday morning and afternoon was an unsheduled day and my mom, daughter and I decided we had gained enough experience using the subway system that we could navigate Paris on our own without following the large group about. I also confused this day with our day at Chenonceau and Chambord as we actually did this day before that one. Oh well. We still had fun.
So, the first thing we did was walk/subway to the Eiffel tower. It opened at 9:00AM and we got there about 9:30 which was great timing. The lines were just forming so we only had about a 15 minute wait. We elected to go to just the second level. Tickets for the very top were a bit steep and Casey and I are both wusses when it comes to heights. And the second level was perfect. We had a great view of Paris from there. After the Eiffel tower we headed for the Musée D'Orsay and the Musée D'Orange. Both were incredible. Musée D'Orsay housed impressionism and post-impressionism so we saw work by Seurat, Monet, Renoir, Degas and others. As it was lunch time, we found a cafe on the top floor that had great food. We then went outside on the terrace that was on the 6th floor and had another great view of Paris. The Musée D'Orange houses Monet's large waterlily paintings.

After this, we decided to visit the Petit Palais which had no admission charge. Wow! I fell in love with the architecture and courtyard. It housed as much artwork as some of the art museums we'd paid good money for.

By this time we were exhausted so we decided to head back to the hotel before having to meet our group for dinner. But, by the time we missed out bus stop and backtracked, we really didn't have time to rest as we'd hoped. We had a wonderful dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, so my daughter was very happy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My favorite day in Paris - Chateau hopping

This was a special day. For a little extra, the tour took us to two chateaus, Chenonceau and Chambord. I loved them both but I think of the two, Chambord was my fave. The first picture is one of Chenonceau. The bus took us to Chenonceau first which is close to Tours, France, and west of Paris. The two-hour drive was very pretty and we saw a variety of countryside. Certain parts reminded me of the drive through West Texas through Amarillo. My German neighbors are so funny. They were very insistent that France has no castles. Yep, they're called chateaus but they sure look like castles to me. Both buildings were massive and the grounds beautifully sculpted.

Though a bit dark these pictures are of the kitchen. Yep, I took lots of the kitchen but what can I say. I was snapping them from a writer's perspective. Notice the fancy pulley system they had for turning the spit. There was a weight hanging outside the window to keep it in place.

Next we went to Chambord. After a wonderful lunch at Chenonceau of course. Chambord had this stairway that was a double helix. Fascinating. And almost all of these buildings had either painted ceilings or vaulted ceilings. I'm even going to include a photo of the "hunting" room with the largest deer blind I've ever seen.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A day at Versailles and Monet's Home

Day three was perhaps one of my favorite days. We started out with a bus trip to Monet's house in Giverny. The weather was simply gorgeous and the scenery en route, a treat for the eye. Giverny, itself, is a very quaint village hidden among tall, lush trees. I spent more time snapping pictures of Monet's garden than I did of his house.

After taking in the sights and getting lost trying to find the parking lot with our bus, we headed for Versailles. Located west of Paris, the estate of the late King Louis XIV is quite impressive. Called the Chateau of Versailles, it's more like a castle. I can't begin to tell you how large this area is. The chateau is a wonderful example of French architecture while the grounds remain beautifully sculpted.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Day Two in Paris

We woke up early and ready to get start on our sight-seeing adventure. Nabila, our guide, told us that breakfast would be at 7:15, but we were in the lobby and ready to eat at 7:00 AM. The hostess for the dining area waved us away, communicating in sign language that she wouldn't be ready to serve until 7:15. Not even coffee! So, we waited and she came and got us when she was ready.

The morning was spent on a bus, sight-seeing. He drove us everywhere and let us get out to take pictures now and then. My daughter, was sick the entire trip which made it hard to enjoy everything, but she was a real trooper and never complained. One of the places we stopped was Notre Dame and oh my, the architecture is simply wonderful.

I'm posting some of the pictures I took on our walking tour including the one of the ambulence strike. Yep, the first day was the taxi strike but this day was the ambulence drivers's day to strike. That evening we ate at a greek restaurant and it was very tasty. We got back to the hotel around 9:00 PM and crashed.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Once Jilted is now in PRINT!

Once Jilted is now available in print version. Whoop! Not only that, but I also saw where two more of my westerns are available in print. I'm so thrilled!


How many times will an orphan be cast aside before someone offers love?

Shauna Joyce has three weeks to find a husband or face watching a special little girl fall into the hands of loveless parents. An orphan herself, she knows the heartache of growing up without love. Armed with a need greater than her own, she finds a likely candidate in bridge-builder, Kane McKenna.

Kane McKenna has one goal; to finish the bridge he’s erecting so he can earn the capital needed to start a business of his own. A wife and child would drain his finances, so when Shauna Joyce proposes marriage, he balks at the idea. Will her determination be enough to build the bridge of trust needed to make him trade one dream for another?


“You plan to have the babe out of wedlock?” Kane scratched his head.

She looked skyward and gritted her teeth. Was the man dense? “Can you stop walking? It’s hard to talk to you at this pace.”

He slowed but continued to walk. “Daylight’s a wasting and I’ve got a deadline.”
“Will you at least let me explain so you can stop the rumors?”

Her foot caught a gopher hole, and she tripped, falling headlong onto the hard ground. She cried out when her elbow kissed the ground.

“Goodness, you’re a walking calamity. First pickles and now, a sprawl in the grass. You wouldn’t perchance be related to me Aunt Nell?”

She groaned and rolled to her knees. Every joint ached. Twigs and grass stuck to her dress, and she brushed them away with sore hands. She moaned at the pain and glared at her scraped skin.

“Are you hurt?”

Now he asked. She shook her head. “I’m not sure.”

He grabbed her elbow none too gently and helped her stand. She tested her foot and found herself uninjured. Praise be. An injury would have complicated matters more. “Thank you, Mr. McKenna.”

“You’re welcome. Now, if you doon’t mind, I’d like to be gettin’ back to me work.”

“But . . .”

“Miss Joyce, do you see that armature?” He pointed a finger at the structure. “That’s a mighty important bridge to folks around here. Can you tell me in all honesty that your quest for a hoosband be as important as the building of that bridge?”

She swallowed hard and frowned, thinking of Sarabeth. “For one person, it’s even more important.”

He frowned. “To be sure, and I can sympathize with your plight. Unwed and pregnant must weigh heavy on your mind, but alas, I can noot help you, nor can any of me men. Good day, Miss Joyce.”

She stomped her sore foot and grimaced. “For the last time, I am not expecting!”
Her shout brought the attentions of his workers. Seventeen sets of eyes peered down at her, and the heat rose to her cheeks.

“Now see what you’ve done. You’ve distracted them froom their work again. At this rate, it’ll take me five years to have this bridge completed.”

Available Now at www.champagnebooks.com

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My first day in Paris!

Well, it's been a week since I've returned from Paris, France, and it took me that week to recover and feel like my old self again. Ten hour flights are no fun, but I did catch up on every movie I hadn't seen. After we arrived, it took us almost two hours to get to the hotel (okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit) because the taxi drivers were all on strike and their idea of striking was to form a wall in front of cars on the freeway/highway and travel about 20 miles an hour. It was fun to watch the police force in action, though.

We stayed at the Adagio which was an interesting experience. Everything in Paris is small with regards to room. The lobby was very small compared to our hotels. The room was a nice size but the bathrooms were small. We slept on a Murphy bed which we figured out in due course. We found bedding and pillows in the closet but no sheets. The bedding was some sort of comforter and I couldn't figure out if it went on top or we slept under it. The mattress was very hard. I slept under it because it was cold but then it made me sweat so we figured it was meant to be slept on top of. Of course, silly me just assumed it was the Parisian way to sleep without covers. Thank goodness my daughter and I brought blankets for the plane ride. We found out much later (like after we came home) that the missing sheets were just an oversight. Oh well.

After checking in, we found a place to eat lunch, then took a short walking tour of the surrounding area. It's hard to see, but this is a view of the small cafe we found. Every inch of space in eating establishments is used so it's a bit cramped, but it was tasty so no complaints.We were with a group of folks, one of those package deals. We booked the tour through Passports and I must say, I was very impressed. Our tour guide, Nabila, did an awesome job. We didn't have a lot of time before our main first meal and my daughter wasn't feeling well, so I had my first Paris shopping experience. They don't have Wally World or Super Stores. You buy food at a Market and medicine at the Pharmacy.

I'll post more later. I want to document the trip one day at a time.