Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Essay in Lemay's "Asking" Provides "food for thought" for Writers

Today, I'm delighted to have a "guest reviewer" on my blog. David Whitehouse is a British journalist in Paris and is the author of In Search of Rwanda's Génocidaires French Justice and the Lost Decades (Seraphim, 2014). Thanks, David, for reviewing Asking and sharing it with us!

By David Whitehouse

Shawna Lemay's Asking is a collection of poems and poem essays which demonstrates that the writing 101 stock advice about 'show don't tell' can withstand as much common sense as a skilled author is able to muster.

Many writers seek to camouflage their influences and sources, to ride on their anonymous backs. Asking is remarkable in that Lemay simply provides the reader with them and explains in graceful and poetic language how they relate to her life and work. The result is a distinctive and perhaps unique style, reflecting a self-confidence that is fully justified.

New and aspiring writers will find ample food for thought in To a Young Poet, one of the essays in the collection. "A poet should make a break for it when anyone is handing out advice. A young poet should both hear and not hear any praise they may happen to be given."

"I advise you to spend as little time possible on the internet attempting to decipher whether a person has 'liked' something wholeheartedly, ironically, or with what degree of fatigue."

I met Lemay in Canada because both our books were being launched by Seraphim Editions in Toronto. She had flown from Edmonton for the latest in her long series of publications. I had flown from France for my first, non-fiction book. Her style is much more accessible than it might at first appear. The work is transparently human to an unusual degree. A long-ago comment from a friend about her husband making money by merely selling his paintings has stayed with her. Henry James is cited on the three important things in life: be kind, be kind and be kind.

Among her subjects is the interaction between art and its viewer, experiencing beauty, and art as a form of survival in suburbia. Perhaps her best advice to young poets is that they should learn as many languages as they can, and to comb their hair before leaving the house. "Try and find a chaise long. I'm adamant about this point. If it's threadbare, throw a blanket over it."

Asking, by Shawna Lemay, Seraphim Editions 2014 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Novel “Paris, Rue des Martyrs” Has Disappeared! Here’s the Story…

The rue des Martyrs in Paris, setting of my novel

As some of you might have noticed, my novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs has disappeared from all online booksellers. So what happened? Will it ever return?

Here’s the story:

I decided to split from my literary agent. Our strategies had diverged. My agent’s imprint didn’t provide print books or marketing support—and I realized those were two things that I needed.

As I wondered whether to self-publish or look for another literary agent, the idea of Velvet Morning Press was born. Initially, fellow author and co-founder Vicki Lesage and I planned on operating VMP separately from our own books. We would self-publish our books on the side.

Then we realized that with so much changing in the publishing world, why not create our own model? VMP could publish the works of other authors and still publish our own books. On the VMP website, we list our own books separately from those of our authors.

So will Paris, Rue des Martyrs be back? Yes, in January in both ebook and print form. Watch this space for more details about my novels and all of the wonderful books VMP has in store for you!

And thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Case You've Missed It...

My Velvet Morning Press co-founder Vicki Lesage has done a great job summing up all of the posts that make up our official launch. Please check out Vicki's post by clicking here

And a big thank you to all of the wonderful bloggers who have invited us to their blogs and have supported us through kind words! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Velvet Morning Press Talks About Publishing Goals... Check Out the Interview!

Today, Velvet Morning Press talks about publishing goals, what kind of authors we’re looking for and more in an interview with France Book Tours!

And France Book Tour is kindly offering all Velvet Morning Press authors $15 off of its “Eiffel” book tour package! Merci, France Book Tours!

Click here to read our interview.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

French Photographer Talks of New Book, Working With Adjani, the Parisian Look

Today, I’m delighted to interview my favorite photographer and fashion writer, Frederique Veysset. Frederique, co-author of Paris Street Style with Isabelle Thomas (writer of the fashion blog Mode Personnel), is back with a second book. This time, Frederique and Isabelle present us with So Shoes! It is available as of this month in France, and is set for release in the spring in the U.S., England, Russia, China and Germany.

Are you Parisian by birth?

Yes, and my great-grandmother lived on the Ile Saint-Louis! I grew up in the Trocadero neighborhood, went to Catholic school and wore a uniform. My friends and I loved fashion. In the mid-70s, I saw Jane Birkin wearing red high-heeled boots in a magazine photo and begged my mother to buy them for me. That was a good purchase because I still have them!

Do you have an interesting shoe story?

I had a pair of Louboutins in the 90s that were blue and pink suede… and my daughter spilled ink on them! Unfortunately, that destroyed them.

Who inspired you to become a photographer?

The magazines Elle and Vogue in the 70s. They were fashion bibles and fashion was very creative. Fashion wasn’t an enormous industry back then. It was the beginning for many designers and everything was so fresh. It has become very marketing oriented; back then, it was all about real style.

A moment of your career that is most memorable?

When I was in New York and worked with Allure magazine. I was sent to Russia and loved this country and the spirit. It’s very Romanesque.

You spend more time writing books today than working as a photographer…

Today, everyone is a photographer. It’s a world that has changed. I’m happy to do books. The Internet has changed the manner in which people are entertained.

One of the subjects you most preferred photographing?

I loved working with Isabelle Adjani because she is such an extraordinary actress. She performs in front of the camera as well—freely, without censuring herself. She is one of those women who the camera loves! During a shooting with her, there are very few photographs that aren’t good. She expresses her emotions with intensity.

But I do love taking photos of people in general. A photo is an encounter.

People are fascinated by the idea of the Parisian look. Why? And can one become Parisian?

Being Parisian is a state of mind. It’s an attitude. A foreigner who loves Paris can absolutely capture this feeling. The Parisian mixes the natural with the sophisticated. She never has the “red carpet” look. For instance, she can wear a pair of shoes that are sublime with jeans and hair that’s undone. She knows what looks good on her.
Parisians mix the new and the traditional. A beautiful piece of clothing that is ten years old is fine to wear. We love to wear our mother’s handbag or shoes. We love things that tell a story.

Why are women so fascinated with shoes?

The shoe is a beautiful object that can be admired almost like a car. You can place it on a shelf. A dress must be worn to be pretty. When you have a beautiful pair of shoes, you feel good. And high heels add to sex appeal.

Are there classic shoes that every woman should have in her wardrobe?

This depends on each woman, her lifestyle and her job. I’m often in jeans so I love ankle boots.

A fashion tip?

A pair of jeans and a white shirt can be perfect for a day at the office or a dinner out in the evening. Just change shoes and accessories, and you have changed your entire look.

And right here, Frederique takes us into her closet to show us her favorite shoes!

1. “My favorite ankle boots!” Argenson ankle boot by Delage Paris

2. “Michel Vivien, the Karluz ankle boot. A classic. With an 8cm heel, these boots are sexy and comfortable—a must have!” 

3. Maurice Manufacture “A small French brand, made in France, pretty and affordable. I love boyish shoes, especially when mixed with very feminine outfits. That breaks the 'obvious,' too sexy side. I like when femininity is a bit ambiguous, when it isn’t overwhelming!”

4-5: "Thomas Lieuvin is a new talent. As the writers of So Shoes!, we love him!"

Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Conquer Challenges Facing New Writers? See My Guest Post...

(Photo credit: Flickr, Foter, Creative Commons)

As you can imagine, I’ve faced the same big challenges that all new authors encounter. Through my struggles, losses and victories, I’ve picked up some tricks on how to overcome them… and I’m ready to share! 

Please click here to visit my guest post today on Mom’s Small Victories and get ready to push those problems out of your mind!  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcome to Velvet Morning Press...


So what have I been up to recently? Well, there is a bit of change in the air.

The big news? 

Today, Amazon best-selling author Vicki Lesage and I are launching our indie publishing house Velvet Morning Press! It’s not a vanity press, but a small, traditional publishing house that aims to discover new writers and launch their careers. For the full story, please visit our website by clicking here.

And please click here to check out The Book Wheel’s interview with me!

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