Archive for Paris
From March 30th to April 1st, 2012, the Goodreads group, Writers and Readers, is hosting an author Q&A for me – you get to ask questions, I get to answer them. Click here to sign up to participate (you must be a member of Goodreads and the Writers and Readers group to join in; see below for what to do if you are not a member and don’t want to join).
Also on Goodreads, I’m having a giveaway for two signed copies of my book- click here to sign up for your chance to win. But Mari (you say), what if I’m not a member of Goodreads? No fear, folks. Leave your question here on this blog, or scoot over to my Madeleine Moments blog to read about my book and leave a question or comment there, OR (so many choices, yeah?) drift over to my Parisian by Heart Facebook page and like it, leave a question or comment.
Want to know more about me of my book before committing yourself? You can also set sail for Amazon to read my author page there or an excerpt of the book- click here for the book’s page or here for my author page.
Here’s a bonus freebie: my next book is close to being finished (the writing part, anyway, then comes the editing and proofing and etc). I’m going to give you some clues and if you can correctly guess what the book is about, I’ll send you a free signed copy of Parisian by Heart now, or if you want to wait for it, a copy of the next book. Got it? Right then, here are the clues:
1. I live on an island off the coast of North Carolina. This island, and another island farther south from here, are featured in the book.
2. The book is titled “Father We Go”.
3. The Pilgrims from England that landed up in New England were not the first folks on these shores.
That’s all you get. Tell me what my next book is about and win! Or if you have no idea, do one of the things I mentioned above and I’ll throw your name in the hat.
“I do not know how to distinguish between our waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?”
Henry David Thoreau
“From her home on an island in North Carolina, a mysterious longing for Paris, France, leads a budding writer into the world of her dreams and imagination – or so she believes. Her guides and companions on this trip include two writers and an artist who drew so vividly from their lives and imaginations that the world cannot forget their visions. They share stories and memories of times together, and the discovery that their lives are intertwined in unexpected ways. The writers are Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens, and the artist is the tortured and driven Vincent van Gogh.
The story begins in our traveler’s home, within her familiar surroundings, but as the tale unfolds the line between the real world and the realm of dreams ultimately disappears. She finds herself in very different places across the ocean with very different people. She converses with Marcel Proust at his favorite meeting place, the Hotel Ritz inParis. She shares a meal with Vincent van Gogh and watches while he paints in the Arlesian sun.
And she meets with a writer by the name of Charles Dickens who gives her a manuscript in which a woman finds herself humbly serving the needs of a group of well-positioned elderly ladies who have gotten together at a remote guest house to play bridge when they know the night will bring a full moon rising over the water. Before they are finished they have a very unexpected visitor with the strange name of Samael. He knows things about them and offers to make a bargain.
Our lives are marked by our memories, written or unwritten, but which lives and what memories? PARISIAN BY HEART tells the story of one personal journey of discovery and revelation.”
The above (except for the Thoreau quote) is the “pitch” I wrote for my book as its entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The book made it into the quarter-final round, but sadly, no further. If the above pitch piques your interest, and you’d like to read more, it is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Parisian-Heart-Mari-Mann/dp/1453679553/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314284764&sr=1-1 and you can ask for it at bookstores as well. Kindle edition available here. Merci, mon amis, et merci beaucoup, Marcel.
If it were possible, for Vincent’s birthday: I would invite Vincent and his brother Theo van Gogh to a cafe in Paris. I would buy them both absinthes, and I would tell Vincent of the tremendous impact he’s had on art and artists (including myself), a lasting impact of the kind that he would never believe, not in his time or this time or the next. I would tell him that the fires he saw in the sky and the voices he heard in his ears and the force that drove him to paint and paint and paint as if there weren’t enough time to paint it all were the fires and voices not of mental insanity but of creative insanity. I would tell Theo that his devotion to his brother and his willingness to support him (despite their differences) allowed the receiver of one of the greatest gifts of divine artistic fire to create some of the world’s finest masterpieces before he burned out. And that Theo’s devotion gives us a model for giving and acceptance and selflessness that we can but stand in awe of and desire for.
The lights are burning low in the cafe and Vincent and Theo must go. But Vincent’s final words to us are the words he wrote in a letter to Theo in June of 1877: “Not a day without a line*”; by writing, reading, working and practicing daily, perseverance will lead me to a good end.” These are words that Vincent lived by, and believed in, and proved true in the course of time. While we may not all burn with the same fire, we can warm our hands and our hearts with those words of advice and our own daily manifestations of it. And one more glass of absinthe.
(*The quote is by Gavarni, an illustrator and artist)
Vincent was born on March 30th, 1853. Click here for another post in honor of this event.
Today and for the past couple of days, we’ve had a taste of spring here on the island. The temperatures have been in the 70’s, the breeze has been southerly, and the sun has been shining (some occasional showers as well). Our double row of daffodils are coming up and have their buds on them. The narcissus are coming up, birds are clamoring at the feeders…I know it won’t last, there’s more winter on the way, but a little taste of spring is better than none.
Back in December 2007 we ordered and received six blueberry plants from Finch Blueberry Nursery. Each plant is a different variety and their names are Brightwell, Croatan, Legacy, Powder Blue, Tifblue, and Climax. They are three-year old plants and we have planted them where the strawberries that the foxes eat used to be. We were told they wouldn’t produce this year, that it would be next year before we’d get any blueberries, but I’m hoping that the little guys are so happy here that they’ll pop out a few this year. And I’m hoping that foxes don’t like blueberries as much as they like strawberries.
Somewhere earlier in this blog I said that I wanted to choose the seeds for the Native American Three Sister’s garden earlier than we did last year. Because we conceived and executed said garden so late in the planting season, we were limited to the seeds we could find locally. So here I am, looking earlier, and after researching heirloom seeds and Native American varities online, I have requested catalogs from Seeds of Change and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
We don’t really need any more seeds. Our refrigerator’s bottom shelf is half-covered with a basket, bags, and a covered container of all different types of seeds, many that we’ve harvested ourselves, including some of the Ruby Queen corn and King of the Garden limas and Kentucky Wonder pole beans from last year’s garden. But I would like to plant heirlooms, and “real” Native American varieties, and I also want pods to pick that aren’t green and therefore camoflauged in the corn stalks. Picking the green beans and limas last year was like being on an Easter egg hunt where the eggs are all green and are hidden in tall, green grass. Give me some color, please.
So, from the above-mentioned sources, I’m considering pole beans called Gold Marie Vining Bean, and Purple-podded Pole Bean. They should stand out in the crowd. And for the Native American choice, there’s Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Bean. Green, but native. Also Lakota Winter Squash, Black Aztec Sweet Corn, and Rouge Vif d’Etampes. I threw that last one in to see if you were still paying attention. Actually, it’s a pumpkin that was a staple of the Paris markets, and like my husband says, I’m a sucker for anything Parisian.