Chocolate is a Girl’s Best Friend

I know lately I’ve been offering free books like they’re going out of style, but I couldn’t resist getting my new release out there into the world with a great big giveaway! The Chocolatier, free on Amazon today through 3/2/17. This one is a super shorty, 4,000-ish words of sweet, succulent, drippy, melty chocolate. And sex, of course.

I’m fortunate to be married to a Frenchman, so we go to Paris a lot. It truly is a city like no other. One of my favorite things is going into little shops so specialized, only artisans could staff them. The Fromagier – cheese shop, stocked wth hundreds of varieties, each more pungent than te last; the Boulanger/Patissier, where your mouth will water at the sight of delectable sweets and crusty, hearty breads; the Bucher, with all kinds of fresh meats, cured sausages, and all sorts of fatty things; and the Chocolatier, a specialist of my most favorite culinary indulgence: chocolates, truffles, and candies.

Who wouldn’t want to visit the back room of a chocolate shop? Especially if the artist in question is a maestro of cocoa, cream, and erotic touches…

Please grab your free copy today! It’ll only be $0 until March 2nd, at which point you’ll have to pay up if you want a literary trip to Paris. Enjoy!chocolatier-cover-final

Somewhere in the Sahel…

The two years I spent in West Africa remain forever imprinted on my mind. Nothing in my life to date can compare to the intensity of my experience there. Though I’ve had many adventures since then (and no doubt will continue to!), nothing, perhaps, will ever equal it.

Whether that had to do with my age (a tender 22), my naivete, my cultural isolation, or any combination thereof, the Sahel has marked me. That strip of arid land, tenuously holding back the Sahara desert, is a place where people understand the value of water. More than anywhere else, perhaps, they rely on the vagaries of Nature to provide. This is especially true in the small, rural village where I lived. No road; no electricity; no plumbing. Most people there are subsistence farmers, and farming is only possible during the rainy season, a mere three months of the year. The rest of the time, water comes from one place only: the village well.

And who’s in charge of getting water? The women.

How many times I went to the well with them, worked the pulleys, filled our buckets? How many times did I carry home the full bucket on my head, cushioned by a roll of old scrap fabric? How many hours were spent collecting water, storing water, using water, conserving it? (And I was only one person – most women were in charge of getting water for their whole family.) In short, village life revolved around the well. Water is life.

Which led me to think about Timbuktu. Legend has it, that great city began as merely a well in the desert. A place of refreshment; a woman’s place. How could I resist a story about that? Get it for free on Amazon (January 16-19): Buktu’s Well.

And read more about this fascinating city: The Legendary Origins of Timbuktu

Remembering Tokyo

Several years ago, I had the amazing good fortune to live and work in Japan for a year and a half. There, like so many Anglophones, I taught English (and French, as it turned out) in a public high school. I absolutely loved it. Japan remains one of my favorite places on Earth. (And yes, I have been around a time or two!) The people were incredibly welcoming and kind, eager to share their culture with me, bumbling foreigner that I was. Somehow, the Japanese people have managed to find a balance between a rich and valued history – still very much alive in their customs, manners, and traditions – and the modern world.

When I lived there, I was in a ballroom dancing club, learning to waltz and tango with the delightful middle-aged (and older!) ladies and gentleman of the town where I lived. They had a snack break, and one of the grandmas would produce a jar of homemade picked daikon. She laughed in delight when I exclaimed, in my terrible attempt at Japanese, how good it was. “Oishii!” was all I could really say, but it was enough. “Dai suki desu!”

At the same time, my Japanese tutor (poor woman; I was a terrible student. However, I helped her kids study English, so it hopefully evened out) invited me to her home for a gorgeous traditional meal. Afterwards, she dressed me in one of her kimono – quite a process, I can attest – and guided me through the tea ceremony. (For me, the kimono remains one of the most beautiful of all traditional garments. Crisp and tidy as an origami creation, it covers almost everything and takes many knots, tucks, and folds to put together. However, with a couple tugs of a cord it falls to the ground in a silken heap. Now that’s sexy!)

TokyoAREcoverWhile I didn’t live in Tokyo, I visited the city many times. It struck me as the perfect capital for Japan. Like the culture, it is a blend of old and new, tradition and modernity. I wanted to write a travelogue sort of piece about it, highlighting some of my favorite things. But then I thought, hey, this has to have sex in it! Plus I always had that fantasy of being splayed out high above the city, staring down into the endless lights while a nameless stranger fucks me from behind… Tokyo: A Job With A View is the result. While certainly a work of erotica, it is also a taste of Tokyo. I hope you will visit one day, and discover this wonderful city for yourself.