Thursday, September 12, 2019

Back-to-School Routine and the Naming of Babies

Photo courtesy of Surdumihail on Pixabay.

This week has been another week of “adaptation” – but this time, I’m not talking about my son at daycare. I’m talking about me and my schedule. This year, it’s about ferrying my daughter around to school and ballet and theater classes, as well as getting my son back and forth to daycare a few times a week. So much the same as every other parent on the planet! Since my husband is in the middle of a restaurant launch, I’m holding down the fort here at home. I told him that after a few months, he’s going to look relaxed and refreshed and I’m going to look about twenty years older. Ha!

Things should ease up by next week (wishful thinking?) once the routine is in place and I don’t have the little “extras” like running out to buy the new leotard or tap shoes. And as I drag myself around Paris in a hot and sometimes too slow subway, I think of my friends back home in Florida, carting their kids off to track and field practice at 6 a.m. The good thing about Paris is nothing starts that early.

And speaking of Paris, well actually France, I’ll get back to writing about some of the surprising/funny/frustrating etc. things about living here. A friend of mine nudged me to talk about the naming of kids, something I’ve encountered twice. So how about I start with that?

Wind back the clock nine years, and we’re about to have our daughter. Here in France, the name has to be registered at the city hall – and accepted. Sometimes they’ll refuse the spelling, like if you want to spell “Christine” “Krystyne,” it might not make it through. Other times the actual name itself might be rejected. If your last name is “Split” and you want to name your kid “Banana,” you can be pretty sure it’s not going to fly.

Naming has actually has become a lot easier over the past several years. My mother-in-law, who worked at a city hall in France, said they used to be a lot stricter thirty years ago. In any case, my big worry was the middle name I’d chosen: “Jean,” after my dear aunt and godmother. In French, “Jean” is like “John,” and it’s a guy’s name. So I was pretty much ready for a big fight between my husband (who went to the city hall while I was in the maternity ward) and some naming watchdog from the French government. 

As it turned out, my American citizenship saved the day. Since “Jean” is a female name in my country, the French accepted it without a problem! Drama avoided.

As for our son, Orphée, we threw them another American classic for the middle name: John. But that’s a pretty well-known name, so again, drama avoided.

Now, the only naming I’ll be doing is the naming of the characters in my books. And with that, I don’t have to worry about the French government getting involved…

Friday, September 6, 2019

My Week at Daycare

Photo courtesy of Innviertlerin on Pixabay.

It's back to school time here in Paris, and my week has been about getting our daughter, Phedre, settled in a new school and our son, Orphee, "adapted" at daycare. Phedre was skipping off to school as of day one but the situation with Orphee has been a bit different...

Adaptation means I have to bring the little one to daycare, spend time with him there, and each day leave and then come back shortly thereafter. We started off with ten minutes away, then twenty, then thirty-five. And each time, there were many tears as I departed and when I returned. At the beginning, Orphee must have thought "Cool! Mom and I go to daycare every morning and play!" Until I slipped out for a few minutes.

I spoke with a friend who went through this with his son about fifteen years ago, but back then, there was just one drop off, many tears, and somehow, everyone made it through relatively unscathed.

So which system is better? I'm not sure. It is nice to gently get these little ones used to the new environment, yet each day is almost a mini repetition of the first. It's sort of like: When you arrive at the pool and the water is too cold, do you jump right in or inch your way in over a period of ten minutes?

There probably isn't one right way. And it depends on each toddler as well. My daughter was much like her brother. Friends of ours have kids who just strolled right in and didn't shed a tear.

In any case, three weeks from now (hopefully) adaptation will be behind us and Orphee will be having a blast with homemade play-dough, finger paints, and cute little French songs before nap time. And I'll be getting "adapted" to writing every day...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

#BoostMyBio: An Opportunity to Introduce Myself to You!

This post is part of a really cool blog hop called #BoostMyBio, meant for authors to get to know each other prior to a really cool event called PitchWars. More info on the PitchWars program here.

Bonjour fellow authors!

My name is Adria, and I’m a writer of commercial literary fiction and women’s fiction. I’ve been known to add a touch of magical realism because a magical twist is always fun. I love writing stories that are character-driven, involve lives that entwine in surprising ways, and feature a beautiful or interesting setting that makes for a good escape -- for the reader and for me as the writer. Maybe that’s because I love travel so much. And when I don’t have time or money for travel, writing is the best way to do it.

My four self-published books include: Paris, Rue des Martyrs, A Perfumer’s Secret, Paris Jungle and Close to Destiny.

My favorite books include:
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the Harry Potter series (reading with my daughter and we’re on book 4), and The Lover by Maguerite Duras.

Some facts about me:

-I have two children with literary names (and accent marks that I often leave out because of laziness, but I’ll do it right this time). They are: Phèdre and Orphée. First baby was our cat, Lelée, who traded her South Carolina meow for a Parisian one when we moved.

-I’ve lived in Connecticut, South Carolina and Boston, Mass. But I grew up in Florida so call myself Floridian.

-My husband says I’m like Sally in “When Harry Met Sally” because at restaurants I always order sauces “on the side” or want my order composed my way.

-My favorite Broadway shows are the old classics “Cats!” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

-I love to dance and take classes in the Horton Technique, made famous by choreographer Alvin Ailey.

-The best meal in town is at my chef husband’s restaurant Plein Ouest and the worst meal in town is probably at our house because I’m cooking!

-In spite of my mediocre culinary skills, I am quite a foodie and love the wonderful bread, cheese and fresh, quality products here in France. And of course, bring on dessert, and if it’s chocolate I’ll have two.

-So that leads to me where I live: Paris, France. I began studying French at age 12, married a Frenchman, and after living together in the U.S. we decided to give Paris a try. That was more than a decade ago.

My project for PitchWars:

A mainstream/commercial literary novel of love, ambition, and the idea of choice – set on France’s beautiful Ile de Ré. (The photo at the top of this post was taken on the island.) 

Thanks for stopping by my blog to learn more about me and my projects. I’m eager to visit the blogs of other participants and learn about everyone’s exciting work!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

This is My Quiche

This is my quiche. It might not seem like a big deal to produce this baby, especially for someone who lives in France. But, after many years of relying on my chef husband to cook or relying on the lovely French frozen food store "Picard" to provide our meals -- and after many years fleeing any sort of food preparation --  I've decided to take over the kitchen. 

I carefully noted down my husband's instructions and voila! My creation might not be gorgeous, but it passed our eight-year-old daughter's taste test. And mine too. After a lot of time fearing that zone known as the kitchen, I now kind of look forward to planning something decent for our evening meal.

My prior kitchen phobia comes from what I call "Italian American backlash." In my family, the women cooked. It was "women's work." (Do you hear teenage me gagging yet?) That was why I decided I would never do it. I would be the liberated woman of the family and I would not do what was "expected" of me.

So my husband learned my mom's recipes and my grandma's recipes and little by little, after years of living with this amazing cook, I realized that cuisine doesn't have a gender. Today, it isn't about obligation like it was when my grandparents were young in their Italian American community. Today, we have a choice.

I have a choice.

I'm cooking when I want to, how I want to. And when the kids and I want to really eat well, you can find us at the restaurant where our favorite chef is cooking...

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Writing About my Favorite Non-Paris Place

There actually is a good reason why I haven't blogged in what feels like forever. I wish I could say I've been on vacation on the Ile de Ré, pictured above.

Unfortunately, no. But I've been doing the next best thing. I've been writing a book set there, one of my favorite non-Paris places in France. And that kind of makes me feel as if I've been there recently, at least in spirit. That's actually why I like setting my books in places I love or reading books in these sorts of places. It's a way to travel! 

So what has been going on this summer in Paris? Well, I've been cheering on my husband's new restaurant project (he's the chef, his partner is front of house). If you're a foodie and you happen to be in Paris at some point, you should check it out

Otherwise, my summer has mainly been about writing, keeping 8-year-old daughter occupied with at least one outing or friend visiting a week, and keeping 19-month-old son from tearing up the apartment. Oh, and refreshing my cooking skills since most of my husband's cooking is now done outside of the home! 

Well, it's almost back to school/work/whatever else we all do instead of permanent vacation... So enjoy the rest of August!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I Love This Review!

I admit it: I've been terrible about keeping up with the blog. But it's been for a good cause. I've been writing! 

Today I'm taking a quick break, though, to share a lovely review of my novel A Perfumer's Secret. Thanks very much to "i am not a bookworm" blog for taking the time to read and review the book.

"Have you ever smelled something and remembered a whole story from that smell alone? This story is like that." -- i am not a bookworm

Check out the full review!

Monday, October 8, 2018

A PERFUMER'S SECRET is on Sale for $0.99!

I don't know about you, but I would love to be stepping into spring at the moment instead of heading for the gray month of November! Since we can't play with time, we have to find other ways of finding that ray of warm sunshine... My solution to just about any problem? A book!

My novel A Perfumer's Secret will not only transport you to spring, but it will also take you to the beautiful South of France and set you down in the middle of a story of love, rivalry and family secrets. All that for only $0.99 (sale applies to the U.S. and U.K., this week only).

Zoe inherits a perfume scent that could be the key to revealing her mother’s long-lost family and hidden past. It also might give her the edge she needs to win a prestigious fragrance contract—and defeat her rival, a passionate Frenchman named Philippe, once and for all. But when the formula is mysteriously stolen, Zoe embarks on a life-changing quest to reclaim her legacy.

Set in the fragrant flower fields of Provence, the “wonderfully drawn cast of characters” (Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso) in this “beautifully written” (Readers’ Favorite) saga will send you on a sweeping trek across the South of France.

Find A Perfumer's Secret on Amazon! And happy reading!