Monday, December 29, 2014

What's the best advice you've ever received?

Back in the day, before my post-pregnancy belly wiggled like a bowl full of jelly, I used to party. You might have heard be talking about that before. Possibly.

And it used to be a blast! So much so that I wrote a book about it. You also might have heard me talk about that. Possibly.

Eventually, once I stopped looking for Mr. Right in all the Incredibly Wrong places, I found him. And I truly believe it was only because I stopped looking for him, at the advice of my good friend Anne Marie, that I was able to meet him.


Now five years and two kids later, I'd say we're doing pretty well! Other than a good night's sleep, I have everything I could ever want.

What's the best advice you received? Check out the full story of the best advice I ever (reluctantly) received: Stop Looking and You'll Find It.

Article on BLUNTmoms

Vicki Lesage, Author

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Who do you wish would come for Christmas dinner?

Christmas is almost here! Leo keeps singing "Petit Papa Noel," the song you sing in France right before Santa comes. Except he doesn't know the words so he just keeps repeating the same line. Eleventy billion times. So cute! *bangs head against wall*

For me Christmas is all about being with family. And a little bit about food and a tiny bit about the yoga pants I know my mom shipped me from the US. But mostly about family. Which is why I'm a little sniffly this holiday season, since my grandma is no longer with us.

I wrote this piece on BLUNTmoms in her honor, so please check it out: I Wish She Would Come For Christmas Dinner. And feel free to leave a comment about who YOU wish would come for Christmas (or Hannukah or Festivus) dinner.

Article on BLUNTmoms

Vicki Lesage, Author

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Legacy... announced!

What will you leave behind when you're gone?

This intriguing theme is being explored in a new anthology, aptly named Legacy, that yours truly is contributing to! As you know, I've written two memoirs, but other than the odd dabble here and there, this will be my first published fiction piece. It's scary and exciting and totally fun!


The idea for this project came about from friend, fellow author, and partner in Velvet Morning Press, Adria J. Cimino, along with Allison from The Book Wheel, as a result of their collaboration on the #30Authors event. Some amazing authors are coming together for this anthology and it promises to be a great book.

Here is the list of authors:

Regina Calcaterra, author of Etched in Sand
Kristopher Jansma, author of The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
Jenny Milchman, author of Cover of Snow and Ruin Falls
Marissa Stapley, author of Mating for Life
Paula Lee, author of Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns, and Game Meat
J.J. Hensley, author of Resolve and Measure Twice
Maureen Foley, author of Women Float
Didier Quémener, contributor to anthologies That's Paris and Mystery in Mind
Stephanie Carroll, author of A White Room
David Whitehouse, author of In Search of Rwandais Genocidaires: French Justice and the Lost Decades
Piper Punches, author of The Waiting Room and Missing Girl
Lizzie Harwood, author of soon-to-be-released short story collection Triumph
Vicki Lesage, author of Confessions of a Paris Party Girl and Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer
Adria J. Cimino, author of Paris, Rue des Martyrs (re-release January 2015)


Two super cool things I want to point out:

- All author proceeds are being donated to Paws for Reading. It's awesome to be able to support a great charity by doing what I love--writing and publishing books! And they're excited to be working with us too!

- We'll be tweeting about the writing process, our inspiration, and much more throughout the month of January. Just follow #30Authors to jump in on the conversation--you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the writing process!

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hot Dogs vs. Caviar

I originally wrote this piece for BookDaily.com but I like my posts to get the maximum workout (says the author as she plops down on the couch with her laptop) so I'm sharing with all you lovelies.

Whether an author is new or established, well-known or still trying to get the word out, every sale counts. Just because an author has a great book doesn't mean it's selling well. Just because they have a nice website/book cover/marketing campaign doesn't mean they're succeeding—it could just mean they invested a lot of money upfront or that they know how to do those things themselves. You never know if an author is eating hot dogs or caviar for dinner, so if you like an author, don't be shy in supporting them!

How to Support Your Favorite Author

If purchasing a billboard ad on an author's behalf is out of your price range, there are some easy ways you can help support them instead (note: if a billboard ad IS in your price range, give me a call):

Read

  • This one's obvious but... read our books! And if our books don't interest you, give them as a gift or recommend them to someone who might be interested. Each sale counts—not just for profits but for Amazon sales rankings and for that warm fuzzy feeling that people are actually reading our work.
  • Read our blog and published articles. Leave a comment so we know you stopped by!

Write

  • Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble (you can leave the same review in all places). These really make a difference to our sales. Don't feel obligated to leave a 5-star, 100% positive review. And it doesn't need to be lengthy, either. Just a few honest sentences sharing what you thought about the book. However, if you hated the book, it might help the author more if you don't leave a review as opposed to leaving a one or two star review.
  • Give us a little shout-out on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog—even a quick sentence like "My friend's new book, Hot Dogs vs. Caviar, is great for people who eat dinner. Which is everyone, so pick one up today!"

Share

  • Tell your friends about it. You don't need to be a used car salesman, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to work into conversation. "Oh, your friend is going to Paris? She HAS to read Confessions of a Paris Party Girl first!"
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. and like/comment/share/retweet anything that suits your fancy.
  • Connect your friend with the right people. Did your friend just write a cookbook and you know a semi-famous chef? Introduce them and maybe they can collaborate on promotions.
If you like an author, support them! As for me, if I make it big I'll still eat hot dogs, but maybe I'll top them with caviar...

My Other Book Daily Articles:

What's in a Name?
4 Steps to a Charismatic Author Photo
Disrupting the Space and Time Continuum

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's A Boy!

"I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, as long as it's healthy." Have you heard people say that? Does it drive you as crazy as it does me?

Of COURSE I want a healthy baby, but I don't see why I can't also have a preference for gender.

It's a Boy!

However, after two difficult pregnancies, I re-evaluated my stance on that statement. Check out my article on Mamalode, "A Punch In The Gut", which explores this very topic. And check out some of the other great articles on their November theme, "Men," while you're there!

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Business is None of Your Business

Healthcare in France is... interesting. For the most part, you receive excellent, affordable care. It's a helpful and thorough system. So thorough, in fact, that they even care about the fitness of your lady bits after giving birth.

But that's not all! Even non-health care professionals care about the state of your hoo-ha. Husband's coworkers? Check. Boss's dad? Check. Being totally weirded out by these conversations? Check.

Speaking of "check," check out the full story on BLUNTmoms, "My Business is None of Your Business."

Article on BLUNTmoms

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Biggest Preemie on the Block

When we think of preemies we think of tiny babies that fit in the palm of your hand. Not hefty 7 and a half pounders like Leo.

We also think of machines and health risks and tons of time spent in the NICU. Even if you don't have first-hand experience of what it's like to have a preemie, you probably have some notion of what it's like.

Leo in the NICU, #WorldPrematurityDay

Today, to help raise awareness for World Prematurity Day, an article of mine is being featured on BLUNTmoms. Please check out "Preemies Come in Every Size" and leave a comment or share on FB or Twitter to show your support. Thanks! (And Leo says, "Merci!")

Article on BLUNTmoms

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't Pinch My Baby's Cheeks!

What is with strangers touching my kids? I don't mean touching touching, because that's nothing to joke about. I mean people coming up and patting my son's head with their grubby mitts, pinching my daughter's chubby cheeks, or trying to hold one of their cute, irresistible hands.

Resist, I say. You're being weird.

Don't Pinch My Baby's Cheeks!

I was checking out at the grocery store the other day, with my daughter in the baby carrier and my son pulling every pack of gum off the rack. "Leo!" I shouted, as I turned to reprimand my son. When I turned back, the cashier was holding my daughter's hand, cooing at her and telling her how cute she is. Lady, tell her something she doesn't know. Then get your germy money-touching paws off her! Also, not to be a snot but those groceries aren't going to ring themselves up. Could we do a little more grocery-ringing-up and a little less baby-hand-holding?

I turned back to make sure Leo hadn't knocked over the entire candy shelf and saw that an employee was helping him replace the products. Thanks, dude! Then he pinched Leo's cheeks and told him to be good. Ew, no thanks! I know I'm being germaphobic but yuck. I don't know the last time that store employee washed his hands, but it certainly wasn't between the time he (nicely, I admit) picked up the candy from the floor and then touched my baby boy's cheeks.

We left the grocery store and walked home (perk of living in a big city--walking home with your groceries AND two kids in tow) and passed one of the neighborhood drunks on a bench (even bigger perk of living in a big city).

"Hey there, little boy!" the drunk said, slightly slurring his words.

We were on a narrow sidewalk, so our only escape route would have been to jump in front of oncoming traffic. I tried to speed our trio along, but Leo was intrigued by this funny-talking stranger. As he slowed for a look, the guy patted Leo on the head and said, "Good boy."

What? He's not a dog! And if the drunk had witnessed the candy fiasco in the supermarket he wouldn't have called Leo a good boy, either. But the worst part was--you guessed it--the touching.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I don't think strangers should be touching other people's kids. How many times have I seen a sweet little cherub with cheeks good enough to eat? Yet I always refrain from actually touching the cutie-pie. And in a world full of weirdoes, I'm probably one of the least weird ones. I'm clean, friendly, and not usually drunk.

As we neared our apartment, another bold soul approached this mama bear and her cubs. This time, a kind-faced elderly lady.

"Her hat is in her eyes," she said, as she brushed my daughter's hat up off her forehead. She winked and scurried off before I could growl, "Don't touch her!"

As I watched Mrs. Nicey Pants stroll down the street I considered that perhaps her action had merited a thank you, and was glad I hadn't snapped at her. I suppose not all strangers gross me out. Just most of them.

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at Amazon.com.

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Entourage

When I first arrived in Paris, newly single and fresh out of a job, I was also fresh out of friends. For one whole week I tried meeting Frenchies and immersing myself in local culture before I took a step back and realized, "Damn, I'm way funnier in English."

I realized I needed to make some English-speaking friends, stat. So I tried a variety of different techniques, all of which I hoped didn't come across as awkward or desperate as I felt.

Friendship is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it but only you can feel its true warmth. Thank you for being the pee in my pants.
Ignore the typo. That's what I get for stealing off the interwebs.

It worked because before long, Lonely McLonelyson had an entourage. That's not as cool as it sounds--in French entourage doesn't so much mean "groupies" as it does "group of friends, so get over yourself you egomaniac." Still.

Wanna know my secret (besides roofies and my sparkling personality)? Check out my article on The Indie Chicks!

Writer at The Indie Chicks

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, October 27, 2014

Total Eclipse of Good Judgment

In school, I was teacher's pet. I'm pretty sure everyone hated me, not for my gorgeous good looks (hello, braces for three years) but because my hand was ALWAYS. IN. THE. AIR. Pick me! Pick me!

Want me to learn differential equations? Got it. Passé composé in French class? Oui, oui, but of course! In-depth analysis of Greek mythology? Child's play.

But there are two things I'll never learn:
1. How to turn on our TV
2. How to stop at the right number of drinks to avoid a hangover

I thought once I had kids I would magically never be hungover again. Um, no. I certainly don't drink as often but when I do, all bets are off.

And now the hangover is eleventy billion times worse because, kids. No matter how crappy you feel, they still need to eat, pee, and bang on every pot and pan in the house.

The last time I went out on the town I promised myself I'd behave. I promised I'd avoid a hangover. I promised I'd learned my lesson from all the previous times.

Article on BLUNTmoms

Do you think I kept my promise? Read my article, Total Eclipse of Good Judgment, on BLUNTmoms to find out!

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why French Women Don’t Shave

You know the myth that French women don’t shave their armpits? Turns out it’s true, for three reasons:

Why French Women Don't Shave Their Armpits
  1. They do laser hair removal instead
  2. They don’t know the word for armpits
  3. OK, fine, the rest of them actually do shave their armpits
In my case, I opted for laser hair removal at a chic medical office off the Champs Elysées. What ensued was a painful, embarrassing, confusing rendez-vous involving armpits and “underlegs.” I’m still not sure I know what "underlegs" are.

Want to find out just how embarrassing? Want to learn what an “underleg” is? Check out my guest post on When Crazy Meets Exhaustion: "Oversharing: Parisian Laser Hair Removal".

Vicki Lesage, Author

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Velvet Morning Press

What do you do when you want to be part of an anthology but don't want to be at someone else's mercy? You create your own.

What do you do when you think a happy medium should exist between traditional publishers and self-publishing? You launch your own.

Say hello to Velvet Morning Press.
Founded by fellow author Adria J. Cimino and me, Velvet Morning Press aims to discover new writing talent and launch their careers. Higher royalties than the "big guys", more support than self-publishing. Read more about Velvet Morning Press.

Check out pieces from our official launch:
Announcing Velvet Morning Press, an interview on The Book Wheel
Get Published with Velvet Morning Press, an interview with Creatrice Mondial
How to Conquer Challenges Facing New Writers" on Mom's Small Victories
What Makes Velvet Morning Press Different, an interview on France Book Tours
Why Being "Stuck in the Middle" is Good For Authors on The Steadfast Reader

Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, October 13, 2014

Start Me Up

When I got put on bed rest I thought it was a one-way ticket to blubber town. Marooned on the couch all day, I was only allowed to leave my plush island to go to the bathroom. So of course I cheated and drank loads of water in order to have a legitimate excuse to pee 100 times a day. Take THAT, doctors! Wait, what's that you say? Water is good for me? Bwah.

Anywho, I surprisingly didn't gain much weight during my pregnancy. So when my svelte form waddled to the hospital to deliver Little Miss Stella, I was sure I'd walk out of there the supermodel I was always meant to be.

Yeah right. I somehow managed to GAIN weight after my little princess was born. It might have had something to do with all the French vanilla ice cream I ate (here, it's just called vanilla).

But about a month before I returned to work and squeezed into my pre-baby office attire, I cranked it into high gear. Out came the Wii and the Zumba belt. All I can say is, thank god we don't have downstairs neighbors in our apartment because I sounded like a drunken rhinoceros as I stomped danced around my living room.

Article on Mamalode
Coordinated, I am not. Cheered on by my baby, I am. Talk like Yoda, I do.

To get the full story of my Return to Zumba, check out my article on Mamalode. And feel free to leave a comment. I'll even give you a sample: "You'll always look like a supermodel to me! Keep on rockin' it, you crazy rhinoceros, you."

Vicki Lesage, Author

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Seven Letters From Paris

Despite having married Monsieur Perfect, I don't often gush about the romantic side of Paris. It would cut into my complaining time too much. But sometimes it's nice to unwind - with a glass or three of wine, of course - over a romantic story.

Enter Samantha Vérant's Seven Letters from Paris. It's not your typical love story. Yeah, she met a Frenchie that set her pulse racing, but she left him in the dust and didn't resume their relationship until 20 years later. Talk about a heartbreaker! And talk about a story I couldn't wait to hear the rest of.

Seven Letters From Paris Blog Tour

Samantha is here with me today to answer a few questions about her life and her memoir.

Your story is so romantic - rekindling a romance after all these years, and with a French guy nonetheless. Being married to a Frenchman myself, I sometimes feel like I'm in a movie. Do you ever feel like a walking cliché? And do you care?

There are many days where I feel like a walking cliché. And an American girl falling in love with a Frenchman at a café could be one of the biggest clichés of them all. (Then again, I dumped Jean-Luc on a train platform at Gare de Lyon and we didn’t reconnect until twenty-years later.)

Sometimes, I also feel like I’m starring in a movie, specifically a Lucille Ball-like comedy, which makes Jean-Luc my French Desi Arnaz. I think it all has to do with the American girl marrying a foreigner–all the language mishaps, miscommunications, and daily mistakes. Do I care if I'm a cliché? No. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. Which means I laugh a lot.

If you'd never gone to France in the first place, your life would have likely turned out very differently. Had you considered living anywhere else besides France?

My parents moved around quite a bit when I was younger–from Chicago to Boston to London to Virginia to Tucson to California, then back to Virginia again. Every time I flew home for the holidays, it seemed, I came home to a new room and a new house. Now, my parents call southern California their home and my mother refuses to move ever again. With that said, I never set out to live to France; I landed here, thanks to falling in love with Jean-Luc. Now, there is no place in this crazy world of ours I’d rather be... and I think all of my parents' moves prepared me to deal with big changes.

If Seven Letters From Paris were a drink, what would it be?

My book would have to be an American sized glass of red wine. Just like a glass (fine, make it a bottle), Seven Letters From Paris is a bit “complex” at times and comes with a very satisfying “finish.” A “lively” story, a reader can savor the pages or enjoy it in one sitting. Cheers!

When is the next time you're coming to Paris? We definitely need to have a glass (or three) of wine!

Can you believe it? I’ve been living in France for nearly five years and I’ve yet to make it Paris, save for the airport. Wouldn’t it be utterly romantic if Jean-Luc and I retraced the steps we took when we met way back when in 1989? I hope to make this happen soon. Then, I could meet up with you for that glass (or three of American pours) of wine with you. I’ll keep you posted! Of course, you and yours can always come down to Toulouse. Jean-Luc is not only a wonderful husband–he’s an EXCELLENT tour guide. The spare room is ready. No reservations required–just an advance notice!


Thanks for stopping by, Samantha! I'm going to start looking into a trip to Toulouse... In the meantime, I recommend everyone check out Seven Letters From Paris, available now. And be sure to stop by her Facebook event for giveaways, behind-the-scenes looks, and tons more great stuff!

Watch the book trailer:



About Seven Letters From Paris

Twenty years, seven letters, and one long-lost love of a lifetime At age 40, Samantha Vérant’s life is falling apart - she’s jobless, in debt, and feeling stuck... until she stumbles upon seven old love letters from Jean-Luc, the sexy Frenchman she’d met in Paris when she was 19. With a quick Google search, she finds him, and both are quick to realize that the passion they felt 20 years prior hasn’t faded with time and distance. Samantha knows that jetting off to France to reconnect with a man she only knew for one sun-drenched, passion-filled day is crazy - but it’s the kind of crazy she’s been waiting for her whole life.


Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  | Indie Bound | Target | Walmart


About Samantha Verant

Samantha Verant
Photo credit: Stephen Fisch
Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef. She lives in southwestern France, where she's able to explore all of her passions, and where she's married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met in 1989, but ignored for twenty years.

Connect with Samantha: Web | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Vicki Lesage, Author

Monday, September 29, 2014

Back to Work: The Numbers

9 weeks of medical leave +

16 weeks of maternity leave +

4 weeks of paid vacation +

4 weeks of unpaid vacation =

29 weeks of "I got paid to sit on my butt and eat ice cream" and 4 weeks of "I need to get rid of this ice cream butt before I go back to work."

I only eat the entire point of ice cream in one sitting so I won't be tempted to eat ice cream later.


It also equals 33 weeks of "Holy smokes, I forget where I work."

Wish me luck on my first day back in the office! Assuming I don't get lost roaming the streets of Paris on the way there...

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at Amazon.com.

Vicki Lesage, Author

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Monsieur Lesage

WARNING! Sappy stuff ahead. If you're wondering where your usually sarcastic blogger is, her head is in the clouds because it's her three year wedding anniversary to the Most Amazing Man in the World.

I had it pretty good. When quittin' time rolled around, I headed home to the man of my dreams and collapsed into his arms.


Barf! Who writes stuff like that? Oh yeah, me. When I'm in loooooooooooooove. That was after I met Mika. Before I met him, well... I can't say I miss the dating scene in Paris. I do kind of miss all the partying, which is virtually impossible with two kids. And even if I could manage it, the inevitable hangover isn't worth it.

So, I guess what this cheeseball is trying to say is "Happy Anniversary to my lovely husband, who puts up with my crap, laughs at my jokes, and is a wonderful father to our two sweet little poop-machines, Leo and Stella."

Oh hello there, Louvre. I didn't notice you at first because there are two GORGEOUS people in front of you.

Want more sap? And sass? And partying and dating and weddings and Paris life? Check out Confessions of a Paris Party Girl!

Vicki Lesage, Author

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Increase Blog Traffic With A Series

Two of my favorite things - blogging and food - come together on one of my favorite blogs, Anyonita Nibbles.

I first discovered Anyonita's blog from one of her bee-yoo-ti-ful pins on Pinterest from her Blogging Crash Course. I devoured the entire course and it was delicious. She dishes out (these puns won't quit!) incredibly useful advice each week and it's all FREE. After you've fed your brain with blogging tips, you can drool over the tasty recipes on the rest of her site.

Increase Traffic with a Blog Series

This week, the lovely Anyonita is featuring a guest post by yours truly about "How to Increase Traffic with a Blog Series." Loyal readers of my blog (bless you!) probably already read my Paris A to Z Guide and Tiny Apartment Series (if not, what are you waiting for?!?), but if you'd like to know the strategy behind it, then check out my guest post. And I dare you to not get distracted by these Double Nutella Brownies.

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Vicki Lesage, Author

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer on Sale

Dig in those couch cushions because Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer is on sale this week for only $0.99. That's right--for the price of one sip of Dom Perignon (trust my math on that one) you can get my WHOLE BOOK.

Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer
In this hilarious yet heartfelt (if I do say so myself) story about raising kids in Paris, you'll read about:

  • the meanest midwife in the world
  • absurd French bureaucracy
  • the ridiculous elevator that only stops on 3 out of 7 floors (and of course not mine)
  • my 7 1/2 pound preemie
  • more absurd French bureaucracy


Not convinced? You can read reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to clinch the deal.

If you've already read the book, thanks! You rock. Now you can rock even harder and leave a review on Amazon. I'll send you a bonus chapter if you do!

About Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer:

Diapers, tantrums, and French bureaucracy--the crazy life of an American mom in Paris.

Former party girl Vicki trades wine bottles for baby bottles, as this sassy mommy of two navigates the beautiful, yet infuriating, city of Paris.

How does she steer a stroller around piles of dog poop? Or find time for French administration between breastfeeding and business meetings? And will she ever lose the baby weight with croissants staring at her from every street corner?

This hilarious memoir will have you laughing, crying, and wiping up drool right alongside Vicki as she and her ever-patient French husband raise two children in the City of Light.

Vicki Lesage, Author

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Can Your Sequel Stand Alone?

One of the biggest pieces of advice for indie writers is to keep writing. Duh, have you read my blog? I write all the time.

Oh, you mean writing writing. Like books and stuff. Got it.


I'm sure my loyal readers (all two of them) rushed out to buy my sequel right away and have re-read it until the tattered pages fell out of their binding. For the rest of the world, I've had to do a little marketing.

In doing so, I realized a few things I did right with my sequel (*pats self on back*) and one thing I messed up (*looks around to see if anyone saw*).

The nice folks at Indies Unlimited graciously let me share my words of wisdom and cringedom (it's a word, probably) on their site. Check it out and leave a comment saying how awesome I am. Or, you know, whatever comes to mind.

Read the full article at Indies Unlimited

Want more? Subscribe to receive an email when I post a new article, or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Life's short. Laugh more. Buy my books at Amazon.com.

Vicki Lesage, Author