Saturday, July 27, 2013


Let's remember it's not a four-letter word, even if we do not live in the most literary of ages. This past week, I was given the opportunity of evoking literature thanks to an interview given by an intelligent as well as very talented author, Jess C. Scott. I mentioned in my bio that Voltaire's satire and Balzac's psychology had an impact on my fiction writing. And the way Agatha Christie constructed her novels certainly influenced the structure of Chainsaw Jane. The fact that Jess asked me to recommend works by these writers not only gave me joy, but it made these geniuses young again.  Letting my memory visit their domain felt like re/discovering a beautiful garden. Only trees and flowers are characters and ideas here. With literature, you get the sense that things move, but only pretend to change, a bit like seasons. It all comes back, always in a circle. What these authors said decades or centuries ago informs what we undergo today. Fiction, in many cases, is truer than reality.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


What the hell I am talking about?  What kind of a f*cking title is that? You might ask.

Okay, the title is in French, my native tongue. But you can figure out at least one word, right? "Risques" means what you think it means, "risks." As for "métier," it is also used in the English language.  It's that occupation or activity to which you basically give your all---talent and passion.

Talent and passion do not come without frustrations, however. Whether yours is teaching, cooking, painting, sewing, mathematics, archeology, there are always stones on your path that make you fall on your ass.

Like most authors, I send review copies to writers who tell me they are willing to write comments on my novel. A few don't meet their end of the bargain, however. They keep the book, but I don't always see a review. They should know that the book I ordered for them has not been handed free to me. Sometimes I send them a little reminder, a more subtle version of: "Hello? How are you? Remember Chainsaw Jane?" I can tell you that in most cases, the answer, my friend, is already blown in the wind. This is part of what I call "les risques du métier."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Last night, as I was watching an old episode of Frasier, I saw a little black bowl run across the family room. It looked like we have a new tenant. Another one who won't pay rent, that is. A few years in a row, we had bats. This time, a mouse decided to come and visit. I remembered I owned a trap, so I set it up with three nice pieces of cheese. This morning, the cheese was gone, and the little booger, giggling somewhere in the room. For animal lovers out there, I want to say that this is a perfectly humane Havahart trap. You catch the little booger and then let it loose in the woods somewhere. Obviously the humane trap was far too humane, as it decided not to arrest the mouse. 

I may need advice from humane mouth trappers somewhere.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


In a recent review, because I understood what an author was trying to do, because I thought he dared to experiment, I gave him a four star and a good analysis.  But what I wanted to give him was three stars, as the novel got way too talky at times, and when action happened, there were problems with pace.  I must add that this was part of a swap review deal. 

The author thanked me for my review.  He also asked me for advice as I mentioned that his use of language and punctuation might discourage the traditional mystery or thriller reader to move on with the reading. I gave him a few pointers, although I had loads to do before going to Denver to help my daughter who is now facing rather tough health challenges.

Later on, I proposed to do an interview with that author.  Well, swap interviews.  I thought it would clarify further what that author was trying to do.  He immediately agreed.

Well, no good deed goes unpunished. I got a botched review probably written in five minutes for Chaisaw Jane, accompanied with three glorious stars. Was he macho man offended by my four-star review?  After all, nearly all of his reviews were five-starred. (In hindsight, having seen that, I should have flown away from this author immediately. An all five-star average is not to be relied on, specially for debut authors. It just shows that only buddies and family, not serious reviewers, have reviewed the book.)

I told the author how I felt.  Exploited, basically.  I decided to remove my review of this author from  Did I do the right thing?  What do you think?

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am presently reading Cara Black's Murder in the Bastille, not so much because I like mysteries (and I do), but because I love Paris.  The city is in fact one of the great loves of my life.  And Black has a way of integrating French words and expressions, including slang, that create a totally atmosphère parisienne.  The problem: the descriptions of narrow passages, architecture, and artisans; the mix of grace and grouchiness, modernity and tradition that is Paris, all make me want to jump on a damn avion and walk along the Seine.