Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Missing Half of Mother's Day


This post isn't about the Eiffel Tower...


it isn't about the French countryside...


and it isn't about macarons...


But in a way it is. It's about my mother, and she loved all three. 

I lost my mom six years ago, and although I miss her every day, Mother's Day is particularly painful. So as a little tribute to Mom, I share these photos of some of her favorite things, and I'm re-posting this link to my story--her story--which I originally posted on this blog last year. It's tragic, and yet magical.

Thanks for reading...


Thursday, May 7, 2015

PARIS, RUE DES MARTYRS for $0.99!



A trip to Paris for $0.99? Oui! PARIS, RUE DES MARTYRS, my debut novel, is on sale for $0.99 on Amazon today through May 12. (Find the discount on Amazon U.K. too.)

I hope you'll check it out! Here's what the book is about...

Some encounters make a difference. 

Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the rue des Martyrs. 

Rafael's search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile's view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love... or so she intends. 

Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel 

Thanks and happy reading!

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Legacy: An Anthology" is Now Available!



Words are permanent and so is our legacy, making this theme perfect story material for a bunch of writers! I'm proud to have organized the publication of Legacy, a multi-author anthology, through my publishing house, Velvet Morning Press, with co-founder Vicki Lesage. I'm proud of the great authors we managed to assemble, from award-winner Kristopher Jansma to New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra and many others. And I'm proud to have my own short story, "Hope," sharing the pages with all of this talent!

It was fascinating to see how each author took the same word and created his or her own world and interpretation of legacy. We hope you will enjoy this diverse collection of stories! 

A very special thank you to The Book Wheel blog, for helping us coordinate the project and the wonderful blog tour that begins today. Click here to see the agenda! 

Check out the book on Amazon. Author proceeds benefit "Paws for Reading," a program that allows children to read aloud to a therapy dog (or cat, or bunny!) in order to improve reading and communication skills. Thanks for supporting the cause! 


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Win April in France Books! Meet the Authors!


Want to be in the April in Paris mood? Enter to win one of these four great books as part of our giveaway!

Today, I'm interviewing the authors about the France we'll find in their books--and some of their favorite spots!



Anita Hughes, author of FRENCH COAST



Why did you choose France as a setting for your book?

All my books are set on gorgeous locations: Monarch Beach, San Francisco, Lake Como and now the French Riviera. I love to feel I have gone somewhere wonderful when I write (and read) and I can't think of anywhere I would rather be than the French Riviera. The scenery is spectacular and it has delicious food and gorgeous fashions and elegant, sophisticated people. Ever since I watched TO CATCH A THIEF with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly many years ago, I fell in love with the Carlton-Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes. So that is where I set FRENCH COAST!

What image of France do we find in your novel?  

The France you will find in FRENCH COAST has gorgeous hotel suites and beautiful beaches. You will find outdoor markets full of fresh bread and cheese and local fruits and vegetables. You will find boutiques and galleries and sleek yachts waiting in the harbor. You will find a France that makes you want to sit in an outdoor cafe on the Boulevard de la Croissette and nibble croissants and drink dark espresso. 

Tell us about your favorite April in Paris or April in France place?

I love the Hotel du Cap in Antibes because it is like a large French chateau. The grounds are spectacular and the rooms and lobby are very elegant. It has been a favorite of artists and celebrities for decades and I learned a fun fact when I was researching it for FRENCH COAST. Matisse used to stay there every August and he would never sign a check because he didn't want anyone to have his autograph!




Lisa Barr, author of FUGITIVE COLORS





Why did you choose France as a setting for your book?

Paris chose me--isn't that always the case? My protagonist Julian Klein born Yakov Klein in Chicago had to reinvent himself to survive. Painting was breathing for him; painting was truth. FUGITIVE COLORS is the story of what happens to young Julian, who gives up his orthodox religion to move from Chicago to Paris to paint freely in the early 1930s ... and the price tag for following his passion. FUGITIVE COLORS asks: How far would you go for your passion? Would you kill for it? Steal for it? Destroy others who get in your way? Or, protect it at all costs? The intensity of art and passion--the ultimate love affair--needed the perfect backdrop to match it. Where else but Paris?


What image of France do we find in your novel?  

You will find yourself in Paris on the 'eve' of WWII, at the height of artistic expression, and the beginning of the Nazis rise to power. Many--particularly young people--left their native homeland for the excitement and freedom provided by the City of Light, where expression of one's art was all that mattered. Of course, if you join my cast of characters, you will be drinking cappuccinos in cafes, and later, finishing off a good bottle (or two) of Bordeaux. Paris was the draw for young artists, writers, and philosophers--those whose raison d'etre was to think outside of the box, and to create. Julian will have his A-Ha moment in Paris, among fellow artists who become friends and lovers, and ultimately foes. He will see both Paris in the Spring, and much later, as the pages turn, Paris in her darkest moments.


Tell us about your favorite April in Paris or April in France place? 

I can't pick just one--please forgive. Let's just say, St-Germain--Cafe de Flore for breakfast (because that’s where my characters meet for the first time), and then a metro ride to the historic Montmartre, where one loses all sense of place and time among the colorful cafes, the people-watching, the studios and galleries. If I can squeeze in the Rodin Museum late afternoon (am I being greedy?), I will have had my perfect Parisian moment. And then, of course, throwing my shopping bags (yes, I shopped too) onto a chair at Le Deux Magots, ending the day with a lovely glass of wine, al fresco, of course.




Heather Webb, author of RODIN'S LOVER




Why did you choose France as a setting for your book?

The setting chose me, really. I knew I wanted to write my second novel about brilliant sculptor Camille Claudel and her tumultuous love affair with Rodin--their story had captured my heart back in college in my French film class. They lived in Paris during a time we consider quite romantic when art flourished and many new movements were afoot (impressionism, the beginnings of cubism, & then the modern period). As a former French teacher (and since my first novel, BECOMING JOSEPHINE) also took place in France, it was a natural choice.

What image of France do we find in your novel? 

"My France" is graced with art salons, studios filled with apprentices, passionate people, and inventions from the era. Also, it was a difficult place to be a female, especially a female artist, at the time. Though France was far more progressive on the feminist front than many other countries, equality was still lacking across the board. I highlight this aspect of French society in the novel as well.

Tell us about your favorite April in Paris or April in France place? 

I have two favorite moments that took place in April in France. The first was in Paris when it was raining, believe it or not. I ducked into a cafe with two teachers I was traveling with. We drank a bottle of wine and laughed and nibbled on bread and a cheese plate. We had just escaped a group of students who were with the tour guide so we relished this quite little corner, and the warmth of the cafe. Plus, one of my favorite parts about the city is all the people watching. We had a great time watching Parisians meander or scurry by.

The other was in Eze in the south of France near Nice. It's a tiny, old village situated high on a cliff that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The sun lit up the sky that day and the water was so gorgeous, I had a hard time leaving. 



Adria J. Cimino, author of PARIS, RUE DES MARTYRS




Why did you choose France as a setting for your book?

I live in Paris and was intrigued by the fact that I could cross the same people on the sidewalk every day for five years, yet never know anything about them. I asked myself: What would happen if a few of these strangers met, and the encounters made a difference in their lives? The city of Paris itself also was inspirational, with its mix of beauty and desolation, promise and despair.    

What image of France do we find in your novel?

I was fascinated by the city’s impact on its inhabitants and visitors. It isn’t the same place for each person. For some, it is a place of beauty, a sanctuary. And yet, for others, it’s like a prison. Some of the characters in PARIS, RUE DES MARTYRS thrive in Paris, find their salvation here, while others feel as if they are doomed. It was interesting to see Paris from a few different perspectives and that is what I hope to share with the reader through this story.

Tell us about your favorite April in Paris or April in France place?

This is when the parks and gardens of Paris absolutely dazzle… I love taking a walk through the Jardin de Luxembourg or the Jardin des Plantes and admiring the latest blooms. One of my favorite Paris spots is the Ile Saint-Louis and in the spring, as soon as the temperature rises and the sun shines, I head to the traditional ice cream shop Berthillon, buy a cone and enjoy the lovely view of the Seine. And of course, I can’t forget one of my all-time favorites, the Rue des Martyrs. Like the characters in PARIS, RUE DES MARTYRS, I take a stroll and stop at a cafĂ© to observe the world around me. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

"Love Unlocked," a Short Story Excerpt!




To celebrate spring I've decided to give you a taste of Paris... An excerpt of my story "Love Unlocked" from the multi-author anthology "That's Paris." (Now on sale for $0.99 on Amazon!) Happy reading!

Love Unlocked
Adria J. Cimino

Summer 2014

My flyers littered the bridge that I only wanted to protect. I chased after them as they fluttered out of careless hands and danced with the wind. For the better part of a week, I had stood on the Pont des Arts in front of the massive load of padlocks weighing down its frail skeleton.

“Do you know that when you attach one of those locks to the bridge, you’re violating it? Read this, and you’ll understand.” 

But not many people wanted to understand. They didn’t want to read my carefully prepared document detailing the structural and environmental damage caused by the locks. They were only interested in writing their names on locks and fastening them to the bridge’s railings to attach their love story to the story of Paris.

In the best scenario, my audience had ignored me. In the worst, they had doused me with water and told me to go fuck myself. My gentle tactics clearly hadn’t worked. So after days of putting up with verbal abuse, it was time to be bold. I returned to the bridge at dusk and attached myself to it with my bicycle chain. A few people giggled, and others looked shocked. But, in all the hours I had spent on that bridge, this was the first time no one dared to fasten a lock… or even approach the railing.

Except one person. I saw him out of the corner of my eye. By now, night had fallen and my tired eyes scanned the pages of a classic I promised myself I would read before classes started in the fall. He seemed to be looking for something amid the layers of locks, and he was so absorbed in his search that he stepped on my foot. My toe now seemed as bright as the chipped, red nail polish I should have removed days ago.

“Excuse me!” he exclaimed as I let out a cry. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Forget it. I’m fine. What are you doing anyway, fiddling around there over my head?”

“Looking for a lock.”

“Are you kidding? Do you actually think you’re going to find some old lock in that mess of metal?”

“I think I remember where we put it…”

I shook my head and gazed through the misty gas-lamp light illuminating the river. Upside-down images of buildings and trees cast dark spots along the edges. And then there were the locks. Dark chunks of ugly metal growing across the bridge like aggressive tumors.

“You’re a part of this, then,” I said.

He stopped and looked down at me. For the first time, I saw his face. Beautiful on one side, marred on the other by a jagged scar. Like the bridge. I lowered my gaze for an instant. Enough time to mask the surprise.

“It’s not like I put up every lock on this bridge!” he said. “You don’t have to be so accusatory. You make it sound as if I’m in a conspiracy against mankind or something!”

“Fuck you… and all of you who hide behind everyone else! It’s easy to say you weren’t the first and to follow the crowd. That way, no one takes responsibility. Instead, you get defensive and then yell at the person who says what you don’t want to hear. I know. I’ve seen that kind of shit all week.”

“You’ve been here all week?”

“Chained, no. Unchained, yes. Chained worked better than unchained.”

He lowered himself to the ground beside me, continuing his search and talking at the same time.

“How long are you going to stay here? Chained, I mean…”

“Well, I guess I’ll eventually have to pee or take a shower. I didn’t plan it out… I just needed to make this statement, to do something.”

“Found it.” His words were filled with both satisfaction and regret.

“OK, you found your lock. Now what? Are you going to, like, take a picture with it or kiss it? I discourage the kissing. Too many hands have touched those locks.”

He smirked, yet his eyes, now nearer to me, seemed sad. They looked almost golden in the dimness.

“I’m unlocking it.” He pulled a small key out of the pocket of his jeans, released the lock and tossed it into the trashcan a few feet away.

“Why did you do that?”

“Our story is over. We broke up today.”

“You only wanted to get rid of your lock because the relationship is over? Typical. You’re not doing this because you care about the bridge or our environment.”

“Typical of what? Of everyone except you? Of everyone who cares more about relationships and people than inanimate objects and vague ideas? You’re a strange girl… uh… I don’t know your name…”

I froze. I didn’t need to have my personal life dissected by some stranger. Did I really want to tell him that I was an ordinary girl who grew up in a farmhouse an hour from the city? Did I want to say that, there, watching my grandfather work, I learned to appreciate well-built structures and natural resources? And did I want him to know that in spite of the poor outcome of my recent dates, I cared about relationships probably as much as anyone else? No, no and no.

And then, before I could decide whether to snap back or not snap back, two sets of heavy black shoes settled nearly toe-to-toe with my flip flops. I looked up and straight into the faces of the police officers.

To read more of this story and many others about Paris, click here to check out "That's Paris" on Amazon! (It's on sale for $0.99 through April 13th!). Click here for the deal on Amazon in the U.K.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Paris for 99 Cents?



OK, I knew that would get your attention! Wish I could say you can visit for 99 cents, but in lieu of that, how about reading about Paris for 99 cents? That's still a pretty good deal. It's less than the price of your morning croissant or cafe au lait! 

I wrote three short stories in That's Paris, and am joined by more than 20 other contributors-- including Stephen Clarke of A Year in the Merde fame!

From today through April 13, That's Paris is on sale for 99 cents (U.S. and U.K.) in ebook format on Amazon. A perfect read for a spring day! Click here to get the deal in the U.S. and here to check out the deal in the U.K.