Want to see where I write and what inspires me? Here goes!
One snooty career girl who worships Perfection. One handsome gambler who worships Freedom. One wild night that changes everything.
Gorgeous, non? I mean both the dance and the man (who's none other than hypertalented Spanish flamenco dancer Joaquín Cortés).
Just like Cortés, the swoonworthy hero of Amanda’s Guide to Love Kes Moreno is a Gypsy. More specifically, a member of the Gitan subgroup concentrated in Spain and southern France. Most French Gitans are still nomadic, perpetuating a lifestyle and a culture that dates back millennia.
Van Gogh painted these Gitan caravans near Arles in 1888.
The picture below shows modern Gitan caravans parked in the same area. The technology has changed, but the way of life of the traveling people, as they are referred to in France, has remained the same -- always together, always on the move.
Amanda Roussel, the reluctant heroine of this story, is prejudiced, self-confident and ambitious. She can't imagine having a relationship -- let alone a future -- with a Gitan man, no matter how charming he is and regardless of how amazing their one-night stand was...
The trouble is, Kes won't give up without a fight. Resourceful and enterprising, he comes up with an unconventional plan to win Amanda's heart. Among other things, said plan involves a practice guide, a non-venomous spider, a Gypsy christening, a pair of highly symmetrical shoulders, three pacts, one challenge and a Garfield quote.
Can a crazy plan like that ever work?
You'll have to read the book to find out. :-)
* * * Early Reviews * * *
"I loved this book and the whole series." Rebecca Claxon
"Totally delightful and highly recommended." Texas
"This book is sweet, funny and just somewhat adorable." Garden Girl
"Kes makes me want to go find a gorgeous Gypsy for a summer fling!" Ann Omasta
"The book full of funny situations and spiced with amusing tidbits, but it is deeply looking into human feelings and what makes people tick." Kacmor
"A heartwarming story. The characters filled the book with friendship and love." S. Pippins
* * * Store Links * * *
Amazon US: http://tiny.cc/agl-amzn-us
Amazon UK: http://tiny.cc/agl-amzn-uk
Amazon CA: http://tiny.cc/agl-amzn-ca
A month ago, I submitted my newest novel, Amanda’s Guide to Love, to Kindle Scout, an Amazon contest where readers decide which books get published by Kindle Press. (Well, technically, the decision is made by Kindle Press editors, but readers’ votes play a crucial part). Today, I’m delighted to announce that Amanda’s Guide to Love was selected.
Janine Savage and Jen Matera of Write Divas edited this book and Kim Killion of The Killion Group made the cover. Amanda’s Guide to Love will be available for sale early next year, hopefully in January (follow me on Amazon to be informed of the release date). If you've voted for it on the Kindle Scout site, or if you’re a member of my Reviewers Club, you’ll receive a free copy and an invitation to post a review on Amazon before the book is released.
A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported me. Hip hip hip hurrah! Champagne all around!
Bénabar is the French chanson star who taught himself to play the piano at the age of twenty-five and then began to write beautiful songs. He performed them in bars and nightclubs and toured nonstop until success came in the late 1990s. The song below is one of my favorites. It’s about a family house (the title translates as “Four Walls and a Roof”), but what it really talks about is the impermanence of all things and the tragic beauty of life.
Hozier is a young Irish musician whose breakthrough 2013 single, “Take Me to Church,” is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It talks about faith, romantic love, and the human condition. Oh, and if you haven’t seen dancer Sergei Polunin’s performance to this song, you’ve got to watch it right now. Seriously—drop everything you’re doing and watch it.
Mind-blowing, isn’t it?
And now, a few snippets of my favorite songs by Cyril.
Grooming is for poodles,
Training is for hounds.
I traded my leash for dignity.
Got any scraps, anyone?
Under My Skin
I’m ablaze drowning in the ocean,
I’m adrift pacing in my room,
In my heart only one emotion--
Like a crazed wolf howling at the moon.
You’re under my skin--
Maybe I’m the One
Baby, come and sit with me--
here in the sun.
Baby, let me ease your pain.
Maybe I’m the one . . .
A gaping window.
A gauze curtain
Slips outside, flaps
Toward the star-filled
of the night.
Riding the evening breeze,
Into the outer space,
Planting a white-hot kiss
Onto the moon’s sweet face.
And if I didn’t
I’d bet it soared
So free it seems.
If you’re inspired to put any of these lyrics to music and record a song, knock yourself out—and be sure to send me the link!
The first Waiters’ Race – La Course Des Garçons de Café – took place in Paris in the 1920s. Waiters, in proper waiting attire, rushed to the finish line carrying a tray of glasses. The aim was to get there without breaking a glass or spilling a drink.
After a hiatus, the race returned to Paris in 2011. Here is a video of the historic event. Sponsored by Orangina, the event attracted thousands of spectators and hundreds of participants.
The race started from the magnificent Place des Vosges in the Marais district. It’s the oldest and, in my humble opinion, most beautiful square in Paris. Built by King Henry IV in the early 16th century, la Place des Vosges is perfectly square and strikingly symmetrical. Thirty-six red-brick-and-white-stone buildings border the square, and their steep slate roofs, dorm windows, and arcades will charm the most jaded of visitors.
Just like in the 1920s, the participants of the 2011 edition wore starched white shirts, bowties, aprons, and shiny black shoes. They walked as fast as possible (a Parisian waiter NEVER runs), holding a loaded wooden tray. On the tray, they carried a bottle of Orangina (OK, Orangina didn't exist until the 1930s, but that’s a minor detail) and two full glasses. The objective was to beat the competitors to the finish line without spilling the contents of the tray.
The 2011 event has inspired the waiters’ race in Under My Skin, which was won by the bistro La Bohème.
Mais bien sûr.
In recent years, the tradition has spread throughout the world including London, Washington, Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Berlin, Hong Kong City, Antananarivo, and Buenos Aires. You can find out more about the Waiters’ Race and watch dozens of videos here.
Audrey Hepburn says in Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea.” Most would agree… except those whose Parisian dream turned into a huge letdown.
When Lena (the heroine of my novel “What If It’s Love?”) arrives in Paris, she’s thrilled, even though she has been to the City of Light before. But this time is different. Lena plans to settle in for at least a couple of months, maybe a year, and experience Paris as a local.
That’s exactly how I felt 15 years ago, when I came here for a semester… and ended up putting down roots. Countless joys and disappointments later, I’ve learned some precious lessons and discovered the secret to feeling at home in Paris.
It’s quite simple. All you need to do is follow 3 ground rules that form an open sesame to the heart of Paris. They are helpful even if you’re envisioning just a weekend visit to promenade down the Champs-Elysées and climb the Eiffel Tour.
But they become vital if you plan on staying in Paris anywhere between 3 weeks and a lifetime, and would like to immerse yourself in this city, soak up its smells and tastes, feel its pulse and touch its soul.
Ground Rule # 1: Appearances matter in Paris. A lot. Make sure yours doesn’t scream, “I’m a Foreign Dork. Despise me!”
Alix Nichols is the author of sexy romantic comedies and science fiction romances.