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Friends, readers, and Anne of Brittany fans,

Medieval historical romance Sense of Touch has been nominated for a prestigious RONE Award, with voting open for two days more only. If you would vote for my book, it’s FREE and you will help my tale of Anne of Brittany become discovered. When you register to vote, go to the Historical: Ancient 16th Century category and scroll down to Sense of Touch – Rozsa Gaston, 9th down on list. Click on link below to vote and thank you.

http://indtale.com/2017-rone-awards-week-one

Indtale Magazine review of SOT

Anne of Brittany and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts and hope that spring will unfold for you with extra beauty this year for the moment you took to vote for Sense of Touch. May the best book win!

Author Rozsa Gaston

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“The women he met were like castle walls with no windows. He couldn’t gain a foothold with any of them.”  What was Jude’s problem?

Running from Love audiobook bookmarkExcerpt from Running from Love:

It was time to circulate.

At the next pause in Ginny’s anecdote, Jude excused himself, got up from the table and strolled outside. The deck of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club was chilly in the late September evening. An easterly breeze drifted in from Long Island Sound, causing the ladies to clutch their wraps and the men to drink more.

He peered across the water. Another seven miles beyond Great Captain’s Island lay his hometown of Oyster Bay, New York. It was too far away to see, but it was there: a mirror reflection of Greenwich, Long Island–style.

“Looking for something?” a female voice asked.

Turning, he gazed into the most wide-set pair of blue eyes he’d ever seen. They were practically planted on either side of the woman’s head, like a bird’s. The effect was not unattractive.

“Just trying to spot my hometown.”

“Glen Cove?” She knew her geography.

“No. Oyster Bay.”

“Ohh.” The needle on her interest meter went up. “You’re from Oyster Bay?”

“Yes. Once upon a time.” Whatever being from Oyster Bay was supposed to signify, it usually meant something completely different to the questioner than it did to him, the same way it did when he mentioned he was from Greenwich.

He hadn’t really moved that far from his hometown. He’d crossed Long Island Sound, but remained in his previous socioeconomic bracket—the one no one believed he really came from—the son of a caretaker and a cook.

Now, he was a ghostwriter of how-to-get-rich books. He hoped he’d learn something practical soon, so he could afford to write the books he really wanted to. They’d be about people who were in between two groups, belonging to neither. He knew a lot more about that topic than he did about how to make money.

End excerpt from Running from Love by Rozsa Gaston

What wine would you sip while contemplating this quote?

Women like castle walls with no windows? I would sip something haute: as in haute bourgeois, haute cuisine, and women who carry themselves with a certain hauteur.

Paris Adieu, rozsa Gasotn, women's contemporary fiction, self-empowerment, self-esteem

Out of Jude’s league

Jude Farnesworth in Running from Love surrounds himself with women he can’t possibly see himself in a relationship with. Why does he do this? Self-sabotage perhaps? An easy out from the rigors of actual engagement?

When Farrah Foley from the Bronx comes along, she’s the real thing. But Jude has spent so much time practicing not being the real thing back in Greenwich, CT, that he doesn’t know how to let her know that he’s interested.

While contemplating castle walls with no windows, I would sip a crisp, dry white wine from France, the land of boundless hauteur with no apology.

Domaine Saint-LannesA 2012 Domaine Saint-Lannes is not only exceptional in its crispness combined with hints of floral perfume in its bouquet but also in price. Unbelievably, about $9.99 per bottle.

It’s composition? 80% French Colombard, 20% Gros Manseng.

Sip this or something similar while you read Running from Love and contemplate Jude Farnsworth’s dilemma: how to get real when the real thing comes along.

Farrah has an equally challenging dilemma to overcome before she can consider Jude. His name is Whit. But that’s for our next blog post.

Don’t forget, darlings—if you don’t have time to read these days, download Running from Love audiobook and listen to Jude’s and Farrah’s story on your commute or while you work out.

Can’t wait to tune in again next week and tell you all about Farrah’s deliciously delicate difficulties. Must run now.

Playfully yours,

Rozsa Gaston

 

 

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The point in life…is to find equilibrium in what is inherently unstable.~Pierre Reverdy from Coco Chanel by Lisa Chaney

Who Pierre Reverdyis Pierre Reverdy? An early twentieth century French poet and influencer of others. He made Arthur Rimbaud look like a choir boy.

Reverdy was a dear friend of Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Handsome, independent, a trifle brutish, he appealed to the peasant woman buried deep inside the exquisite Chanel.

In other words, Chanel’s bad boy. Need I say more? cocochanelquote

Find out more about bad boys in my latest book Black is Not a Color, sequel to Paris Adieu. Out in audiobook, it’s the story of Ava Fodor’s struggle to care for her father while cultivating her relationship with her new French boyfriend Pierre. Not a bad boy. Black frontcoverToo good for Ava, in her mind, in fact.

Can Ava measure up? First she needs to measure up to caring for her father, who didn’t raise her as a child. Not easy.backcover

Ava is not the only grown up child of a parent who didn’t raise her. There are many men and women with such a tale out there. Coco Chanel was one. If Ava’s idol Chanel could get beyond a rough start in life, so can Ava. So can you.

Listen to Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color and take inspiration. Move out of the shadows of a less than ideal childhood and take your place in the sun. Coco Chanel is your lodestar. And Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color will help you find the hero within yourself.

Warmly,

Rozsa Gaston

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Be extraordinary today. You owe it to yourself.

Rozsa knee hang free arms swing 2-16-13_crop

Attending trapeze school at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic last week gave me a chance to be extraordinary. Give yourself a chance to be extraordinary too. Join me here on the adventure of the trapeze then move in your own direction and find your own moment to be extraordinary.

Let’s walk through the steps for our beginning trapeze experience. First, we climb the ladder.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Up on the platform, we experience our first terrifying moment, especially as the platform sways in the wind. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Immediately two cables are hooked onto either side of our tightly cinched safety belt. We have a brief second of relief followed by another moment of sheer terror when the instructors tell us to let go of the cable with our right arm, lean forward out into space and grab the trapeze.  KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis horrifying moment is then magnified one hundredfold by the next command. “Let go of the cable and grab the trapeze with your remaining arm.” Once you’ve accomplished this, you are committed. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAReady?

I wasn’t either. The instructors tell you to hop off the platform the moment they say “Hep!” What nerve! Of course I did no such thing, so you can imagine my shock when they then pushed me off the platform. HELP!!!!KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Here I look lame as I basically hang on for my life. RG swings 2-16-13_cropThe next task is the most difficult of the entire exercise. At the EXACT moment the instructors yell “tuck!” you tuck your knees up to your chest and try to get your toe under the trapeze bar. RG trapeze 2-16-13_cropOnce you’ve accomplished the toehold, you’re golden. After two rounds of severe humiliation, I managed the toehold on my third attempt. What a great feeling!Rozsa trapeze2-15-13 Once the knees are hooked on, you think you have pretty much accomplished everything you need to do for the rest of your life. But just when you are feeling fabulous about yourself, the instructors yell “Hands off bar and swing!” What cheek. As if I hadn’t already done enough. After the terrifying second when you let go of the trapeze with both arms and realize you are not dead, this is your moment to look even more fabulous than the less glamorous knee hook moment. Here I am pointing my fingers in order to make my accomplishment look even more technically sophisticated.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This is truly the moment to take wing like a swan, so let’s review that very first image again as I soar backward and arch my back. Do you see how masterfully I’ve managed to point both index fingers? Sheer genius, no?Rozsa knee hang free arms swing 2-16-13_crop

The next incredible accomplishment is the back flip dismount. Yes. Really. The instructors yell at you to kick your legs forward, backward, then forward with force and let go of the trapeze. Again, what cheek. RG trapeze knee tuck 2-16-13_cropA formidable back flip ensues, thanks to the instructors pulling on your cables, and voila! you end up on the safety net, hopefully in a respectable standing position.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA After you again realize you survived and are now on your feet, you dismount the safety net with a neat forward flip that looks fairly impressive.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

On solid ground again, your body literally shakes with pride of accomplishment. Or happiness to still be alive. Not only are you alive, but you are blissfully alive.

Rozsa and Ava Gaston with Dominican beauty

Rozsa and Ava Gaston with Dominican beauty

What wine would I sip while contemplating the art of the trapeze?

I would skip wine altogether and drink an ice cold Presidente. That’s the blonde Pilsner-type beer of choice in the Dominican Republic. The second I finished my final trapeze round each day coincided with the start of cocktail hour (trapeze school for adults at Club Med Punta Cana runs from 4-6 pm daily).  At 5 p.m. after my final extraordinary trapeze feat for the day, I would head straight to the bar for a cold one.

With my Presidente in hand, I would then return to the trapeze area to cheer on those skilled enough to try the catch, which takes place from 5-6 p.m. only. That’s the next step up of the trapeze experience, and as you guessed, it means another trapezist catches you by the forearms the second you swing off your own trapeze.

The art of the trapeze catch is all about timing, friends. When I try it, I will share my story with you. Meanwhile, let’s sit back and sip our cold ones. Enjoy!

Playfully yours,

Rozsa

Author

Paris Adieu

Running from Love

Dog Sitters

 

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shades of gray in Paris

At this time of year, Paris shows off in shades of gray. 

From mid-November to mid-March, Paris is one long season of gray days with the occasional breakthrough of a mild blue sky. None of those brilliant blue skies of a snappy, cold January day in New York, darlings. Instead, Paris cloaks us in somber, reflective gray that drives us inside to warm cafes and cozy corners where we keep company with a good book and let our imaginations wander.

An excerpt from Paris Adieu a coming-of-age tale of Ava’s journey to self-discovery in the City of Light. Christmas stocking stuffer? Yes, darlings. The season quickly sizzles between the pages of Paris Adieu.

PAris in shades of gray

Soon cloudless, warm October days gave way to iron-gray, rainy, cold November ones. The memory of Paris’s long, drab winter the year I’d turned twenty returned to me. Paris was nowhere near as cold as New York, but its skies were unrelentingly gray during the winter season, unlike the azure-blue brilliance of certain New York days in early winter. November to March in Paris was like one long month of February in New York.

Almost every day, I walked in Père Lachaise, where Arnaud and I had frequently strolled the month before. I began to notice the regulars who frequented the area: dog-walkers, couples, and lone walkers. All of us seemed shrouded in private thoughts – the cemetery a perfect backdrop for our self-reflection.

The Seine in shades of gray
Statue over the Seine, Paris

Upon entering the main gates late one gloomy, gray Friday morning I spotted a notice affixed to the lamppost next to the entrance. A print of a painting of a sharp-faced, aristocratic looking man announced an artist’s opening exhibit at a local gallery the following day, Saturday, November fifteenth. Startled, I realized a month had already passed since Arnaud had left. Even more shocked, I realized I hadn’t thought about him very much over the past few days.

I examined the poster more closely. The man’s petulant expression was similar to the way Arnaud looked at times. Almost guiltily, I admitted to myself I didn’t like that side of him at all. It reminded me of the sharp-featured, beautiful woman in the photo in his country home. I didn’t like her either. Suddenly, it made sense to me why he’d spoken of her as his mentor. They were most likely two of a kind – all angles, questions, and sharp edges. For the first time, I gave myself permission to accept how very different Arnaud was from me. I loved learning from him. But I wasn’t like him at all. Why was I trying so hard to fit into the image of a woman he might fall in love with?

Paris in shades of gray

I continued on my way into the cemetery, where I passed the next hour deep in self-examination. À chacun son goût, to each his own taste, Arnaud had said. On my own, without him around, I was free to explore what my own tastes were.

I picked my way among the monuments and gravestones, mulling over the possibility that my own choices might differ from the man I was involved with. My thoughts were subversive. My mind tingled and raced. I was falling in love with a new person.

Myself.

As I made my way down the main boulevard toward the exit, a tall, lean-faced man walked toward me. His gait was awkward, as if he was just renting space in his own body and wasn’t quite familiar with it.

As he passed, his eyes briefly made contact with mine. They were warm, strangely reassuring. Instantly, I felt a connection. Whoever he was, he wasn’t polished, smooth, one hundred per cent self-sufficient and perfectly packaged like most Parisians appeared to be, foremost among them – Arnaud. This stranger seemed a bit out of his element, interested to reach out. He hadn’t yet arrived, I’d guess. Just like me.

I shivered, hurrying on to escape my illicit thoughts. I was crazy about Arnaud’s blue-green eyes. Why had I even noticed for a moment the warm, brown eyes of a stranger? Shaking my head to clear it from conjecture’s cobwebs, I berated myself. Yet the thought remained. Arnaud’s glance didn’t reassure me. It was exciting, electrifying – but rarely reassuring. Was that what I really wanted out of a relationship with a man?

From Paris Adieu, chptr. 14, by Rozsa Gaston. A sizzling tale to lose yourself in when the season cloaks you in shades of gray.

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Interview with ‘Paris Adieu’ Rozsa Gaston + Giveaway

We welcome today Rozsa Gaston, author of the women’s contemporary fiction, Paris Adieu. Rozsa is giving away a copy of her book (see details below interview)!

Rozsa Gaston

Rozsa Gaston is an author who writes serious books on playful matters. She is the author of Paris Adieu, Dogsitters, Budapest Romance, Lyric, Running from Love and the soon to be released Paris Adieu sequel, Black is Not a Color Unless Worn By a Blonde. Rozsa studied European intellectual history at Yale, and then received her master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia. In between Rozsa worked as a singer/pianist all over the world. She currently lives in Connecticut with her family.

You can visit Rozsa’s website at www.parisadieu.com.

Paris Adieu

The first time Ava Fodor visits Paris as a nineteen-year old au pair, her French boyfriend introduces her to the concept of being comfortable in her own skin. If only she knew how…

One Ivy League degree later, she’s back for an encounter with a Frenchman that awakens her to womanhood. If only she could stay….

Five years later, Ava returns to Paris as a singer/pianist. She falls for Arnaud, whose frequent travel tortures her. While he’s away, a surprising stranger helps Ava on her journey to self-discovery. Armed with the lessons Paris has taught her, she bids adieu to Arnaud, Pierre and her very first love – the City of Light.

In Paris Adieu, Rozsa Gaston draws readers into the story (and inner thoughts) of nineteen-year old, Ava, a New Englander who struggles with a severe case of “lack-of-planitis” and the constant criticism of an unsympathetic grandmother. Much to her grandmothers’ dismay, Ava recently left college and works part time at a gas station. That is, until she hatches a plan to work as an au pair in Paris. With vivid detail and humor, Gaston takes readers straight into the heart of Paris through the eyes and ears of Ava, to a seductive land, where we smell pastries from her favorite bakery and meander through famous parks and museums, where we meet the French lover who urges Ava, always self-conscious about her body, to feel comfortable in her own skin. Throughout, Gaston writes with a deep appreciation for sensuality that will keep readers attentive to Ava’s every adventure.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Rozsa. Can you tell us where you are from?

West Hartford, Connecticut.

Q: How did you come up with the title?

I had another title to begin with, Queen of Diamonds Loves Me Not. It referred to my main character’s largely one-sided love affair with Paris. But my editor told me it was rubbish, then another editor at a large publishing house said the same thing. I scuttled it and came up with a shorter title.

Paris Adieu says what it means. “Adieu” means “goodbye forever” in French. It’s not the typical French goodbye,“au revoir,” which means “see you again.” At the end of Paris Adieu, my main character Ava Fodor makes a decision to leave Paris. She’s learned how to be fabulous there, and when she isn’t, she’s learned how to fake it till she makes it. But now it’s time to take her act back to New York, where she belongs.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

Rob Mohan, a book cover designer my agent, Sharon Belcastro of Belcastro Agency, found, came up with the cover. He captured perfectly the innocence, slight chubbiness and fledgling thirst for romantic adventure of my main character, Ava Fodor. The first moment I looked at it, I loved it.

I was expecting a long back and forth between my agent and I, going on for months, during which time we’d have all sorts of disagreements over the how the cover should look. Instead, Rob Mohan nailed it right away. He further refined the title’s lettering by adding the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building images so that the reader knows immediately the story is not just about Paris, but leads back to New York. The color scheme of hot pink with shades of gray perfectly captures the journey Ava makes from black and white, Puritan-inflected New England, where she grew up, to Paris’ shades of gray, accented with Ava’s hot pink readiness to embrace life.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

There’s lots of sex in it, all from a woman’s point of view. I didn’t mean for this to happen, but Paris Adieu is a coming of age tale and my main character matures from age nineteen to twenty nine in the story. It came with the territory.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Yes, two.

Accept who you are and be comfortable in your own skin.

Fake it till you make it, if you’re on your way to being comfortable in your own skin, but not there yet. You’ll get there if you keep practicing the discipline of acting like the person you wish to become.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter to write was the one where Ava’s French boyfriend Jean-Michel’s ex-girlfriend from California returns to Paris for a brief visit and Ava realizes that she and April have far more in common with each other than either of them do with Jean-Michel. They’re both a bit plump, both on diets, both struggling to get their arms around the very Parisian concept of being comfortable in their own skins. When Ava witnesses Jean-Michel trying to sabotage April’s efforts to stay on her diet when they all go out, she gets wise to Jean-Michel’s controlling ways. After April’s visit, Ava has Jean-Michel’s number — and it’s up.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

My time in Paris in my twenties was utterly magical. It marked me for life and upped the quills in my quiver. I wanted to share what I learned there with other women. How to be comfortable in one’s own skin, and how to seek authenticity in all things, above all, sexual satisfaction. The second derives from the first. Both are like a hammer on a nail’s head. You’ll know when you hit your mark.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

Darlings, secrets aren’t meant to be shared. The really secret ones, I mean. Those are the ones that give a woman mystique, a certain “je ne sais quoi” or “I don’t know what…”

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d travel to Carcassonne, France. Years ago I experienced a déjà vu while visiting that medieval walled town in the South of France. I felt as if I’d been a blind nun there in perhaps the twelfth century, who played the harp at sunset every evening in a small square that overlooked the valley to the west of the town. This probably has some foundation in books I read about Eleanor of Aquitaine when I was a child, a historical figure who strongly impressed me as a beautiful and powerful figure. I’d like to return to Carcassonne and see if I feel that same tingle of recognition again.

I’m also strongly taken by The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries which hang in the Cluny Museum in Paris. There’s something about France in the middle ages that resonates with me. A copy of the Cluny tapestry depicted here, Le Toucher or Sense of Touch from the “A mon seul désir” series, hangs in my living room. It’s a picture of my soul. I’d love to spend some time wandering around the French countryside gathering the golden threads that weave together the tapestry of that French woman I once was. A future book, perhaps?

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I used to be a night owl when I was a professional musician. As a singer/pianist, I’d typically work from 8 pm – midnight, go to a club to unwind with some dancing afterward, then go home to sleep around 2 – 3 a.m. Some nights we went to afterhours clubs to unwind from the dance clubs. Those days are long gone.

Now I’m a morning person, a cauldron of creativity from 8 am to 1 pm, sometimes 2. Then I go out for a run and prepare for the 3 pm weekday disgorgement of the progeny from the school bus.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My husband writes frequent op-ed articles for our local newspaper. Fortunately, he sticks to non-fiction so we don’t compete. If he wrote fiction, I’d be worried, because he’s an excellent writer. As much as I find his high-level command of syntax annoying, especially when he uses words or phrases I don’t know, it is deeply gratifying to be married to someone who can hold his own at just about any cocktail party.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes. I was a dreamer and a bookworm, raised by my grandparents as an only child.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

That my eleven-year-old daughter would realize her dream of one day becoming a pediatrician.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Stay playful. It’s a good way to be.

http://literarilyspeaking.net/2012/03/10/interview-with-paris-adieu-rozsa-gaston-giveaway/

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