French Illusions Series’ Audiobooks Now Available

Announcing the launch of my audiobooks, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley and French Illusions: From Tours to Paris. It’s so exciting to hear my books come to life!

Loire Butcher Shop

Shortly after I arrived in the Loire Valley in 1979, my patron, Madame Dubois took me shopping in the nearby town of Songais (not the real name). Many of the sights in this small town were unfamiliar to me and I remember my mouth dropping on more than one occasion as we passed by ancient buildings or unusual merchants. One of the most memorable shops we visited that day, was the butcher shop.

Cherished Memories

We all have memories we cherish, and for many of us, these memories revolve around our childhood. My mother loved cooking more than anything else in the world and she would spend hours in her kitchen preparing meals for the family. My brother very much appreciated her efforts, but alas, I was a very picky child. No amount of coaxing or pleading would open my mind to her “healthy” recipes, so she often prepared separate meals for me (so I wouldn’t “starve”). One of my favorites was palačinke, better known as crepes.

Award Contests – Yea or Nay

I’ve entered my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, in two contests.

In the spring of 2014, I paid $89 and submitted my book to the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Contest.Later that year, they notified me that I won the Bronze Medal in the “Non-Fiction Travel Category.” There was no monetary prize for this award.

What! You Want to Become an Au Pair?

“What! You Want to Become an Au Pair?” These outbursts from family and friends were common in 1979. The introduction in my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, reveals the reasons behind this decision, but here’s a recap.

Fabien the Dog

Several readers have asked about the dog who lived at the Château de Montclair during my stint as an au pair in 1979. Fabien was an endearing, scruffy, shepherd mix who lived outdoors, except in the winter months. The children, especially Antoine, loved the dog, but most everyone else either ignored him or shoved him aside. Some days, he was a “hazard” and this excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley depicts this sentiment perfectly. In this scene, Marie (a domestic helper at the chateau) and I are tending to the laundry.

Remembering the Lively Town of Tours

In 1979, when I was twenty-one, I traveled abroad and worked as an au pair for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. The small town of Songais where I lived was charming, but I was also drawn to the nearby larger town of Tours. Shortly after my arrival, Madame and I drove to Tours and she helped me sign up for classes at the Université François Rablelais. I had lots of questions about the city, so on the way back to the car, she paused at a tourist office and obtained a brochure detailing some of the highlights of Tours. Here is an excerpt from my memoir, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley.

Memoir Nightmares

memoirsI’ve often wondered how the main characters in my memoir, the Dubois family, would feel if any of them picked up a copy of French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley. For those of you unfamiliar with my story, I worked as an au pair for Madame and Monsieur Dubois in France in 1979. In 2007, when I decided to write my memoir, I searched the internet using their real names and found nothing. No mention of them at all. Another search using the name of their chateau produced zero results, so with trepidation I progressed with my project. Five years later, when I published my memoir, I revisited the subject of how the Dubois family might react to my story. I had changed the names of everyone I met in France and followed my diary religiously, but I still worried about the reaction of the Dubois Family. My name was on the cover, after all, and I was sure that Madame Dubois still cursed the day she took me in. Read my book and you’ll understand.

Nanny Chit Chat

My husband and I spend summers on our boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. Occasionally, we pull into towns and purchase moorage so we can gather provisions or do our laundry. Last summer, while I was at the Friday Harbor Marina Laundromat, I met a young woman named Rebecca (not her real name), and after basic introductions, we moved on to a surprising subject.

Enhanced Ending for French Illusions

FrenchXIllusionsXgirlXreadingI want to thank all of my readers who have posted positive reviews of French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley. I’ve received so many delightful, positive comments over the last few years, but this wasn’t always the case. Early on I received a consistent criticism, gulp…about my abrupt ending. At first, I didn’t get it. I thought my readers wanted the story to continue until all of the remaining questions were answered, no matter how long the book became. The truth is that after I outlined my first diary, I realized that I had too much story left in my second diary for only one book. I agonized over where to end my first memoir and came to the conclusion that a natural place to break the story occurs after my au pair experience. Questions like, “What happens to Linda and Adam,” “Does Linda ever learn French” and “Does she ever become a flight attendant” are not answered until my second book, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris.