Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Writers Toolbox: Perfect Graduation Gift!

Happy Graduation Season!
And congratulations to all the new graduates and their families!
I want to particularly make a shout out to all of my friends who have graduated from one of our many writing programs throughout the country, and to all the  literature, film, play writing, directing, acting and screenwriting majors and to everyone anyone who loves writing and storytelling!
Please do consider giving your new graduate with the perfect gift (if I do say so myself), The Writers Toolbox (from Chronicle Books).
Here's a peak inside my little creation.  It's a fun, tactile treasure chest filled with sentence sticks, imagery cards, inciting incidents, dials for protagonists, goals, obstacles and actions, a little egg timer and an instruction book.

I plan to host some writing contests over the summer, so please stay tuned and in the meantime, thank you for your support!

Happy spring!  Happy Graduation!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Notre Dame

When I heard the news yesterday--that Notre Dame--our lady--was in flames, I had no words. I've heard from so many of my French friends and my American Francophile friends. We are devastated by the news. 

And yet, there is hope, because here we are in the light of day, the next morning and we've discovered that indeed our prayers have been answered and much of Notre Dame has been saved. Yes, there is terrible damage and a long road ahead, but her "bones" are good and strong and she will return, she will have her rebirth, her resurrection. 

When I went through my photos from my recent visit to Paris in October, I realized that I had not taken one really good photo of Our Lady. In fact, I do believe I took her for granted. While walking across the Pont Neuf I pointed my camera in the direction of the newer, perhaps more glamorous--Eiffel Tower. When I was en route to the Marais, I was busy thinking about buying pretty dresses for my grand daughters, and I hardly looked up at the grand cathedral on the island, let alone stop to say a silent prayer of thanks, or even to take a photo of the lovely lady with the flying buttresses. Rather, I was busy with fashion week and chasing down the stylish young ladies who had crowded into Paris for the big week. 

But yesterday, when Notre Dame was engulfed in flames and seemingly on the verge of complete ruin and loss, I regretted my taking her for granted. I regretted that I did not truly see her in October. 

And so, I have made a vow that when I am next in Paris, I will stop to pay homage to her. I will pay homage to all those structures and places that have made Paris, Paris. I will do this--yes, partly because I have been reminded of how fleeting life and love and beauty truly is, but also because I do not want to live with regret. 

And so, my message to you, today, mes amis, is to look at what's in front of you--your loved ones, your family, your friends, that iconic house down the road, your local library, or the forest, or the mountains, or even that little quirky cafe that you frequent and stop and look at--really look at this person or persons or beautiful thing that has given you so much pleasure--and open your heart and share your love, because you never know. You never know. I send you my love and thanks and great appreciation, today and everyday!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Introducing Paris S'il Vous Plait!

Dear Readers--
I'm so thrilled to introduce you to my Parisian friend, Patricia!
She runs a wonderful concierge service, Paris S'il Vous Plait.
Patricia makes magic happen!
 I've known Patricia for a long time now, and in fact, she's quoted in my book Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful EverydayI always love to meet with Patricia whenever I visit Paris.  Not too long ago, when I was researching Parisian Charm School, she created a special Paris experience for me, including a visit to L'ecole School of Jewelry Arts, sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels, an afternoon at the iconic parfumerie Candora Perfume Creation Workshop, and a fabulous dinner at the Hotel du Louvre.  

Patricia also arranged for a fabulous soiree for me and my Parisian friends at Hotel Banville.  J'adore Patricia!

Oh, and yes, I enjoyed my re-styling session at wonderful boutique, Theveste.  Truthfully, I didn't buy that coat, but I think about it all the time and I wish I did buy it!  Oh well, c'est la vie!

Maybe you can still find that coat--or another one just like it.  And Patricia at Paris S'il Vous Plait can help you!  I highly recommend Patricia if you'd like to create a unique Parisian experience for you and friends.  And did I mention, she speaks English and Spanish, as well as French!  Very international!

And she's a lot of fun!

Oh, almost all of these photographs by the fabulous Parisian photographer, Michel Planson!

Please let me know if you'd like more information, mes amis!  Au revoir for now!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bonne Année!!!

Happy New Year, mes amis!
Here's wishing you a spectacular 2019
filled with fun, laughter, good health, creativity, adventures, prosperity,
and joie de vivre!
Love, Jamie

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wishing you Happy Holidays!!!

Joyeux Noël

 Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and much joie de vivre in the New Year! Thank you for your friendship and all of your support this year during my Parisian Charm School book tour and launch. I am forever grateful!
Love, Jamie
P.S.  One of the things I'm also very grateful for this year is being a part of the Columbia County Sketchbook Club which has inspired me to take up drawing again!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Our New Winner!

Announcing the final winner of The Writers Toolbox Flash Fiction contest. Congratulations to Mary Pauer!!! 
She will receive a gift copy of The Writers Toolbox


Here's her lovely story, below, based on the prompt:
"Farming, it's sexy business."

I ride a John Deere 6420 – one of the few women who do. The rear tire and fender are higher than I am tall.  
I grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, known for big hair, thick eyeliner, and black mascara. Snapping your chewing gum was optional.
Now I ask myself why I am living on a farm. I love the immensity of the land, the feel of my feet sinking in soil, the aroma of rain. I love messing with the tractor’s gearshift and the power take-off, which urges the implements to do what they do.
            Augers, bush hogs, box graters, rakes. Now, roll the sounds of crowfoot packer in your mouth and look behind the tractor as I lap the land contouring a pattern as precise as a quilt.
Other people drive, we farmer-women ride.
And we wear cut-offs and cowboy boots and mow the fields while gulls chase down the furrows.
And we push back potato-chip rolled straw hats, and wear Oakley sunglasses and Carhart jackets.
When I need a part, I drive, (not ride) up the road a piece to the John Deere store, and talk to my mechanic, knowledge glowing from my lips. I mention the crowfoot packer because I love the poetry, and its dust prints looking as if I’d danced a conga line in my stiletto heels.
Farming - you work in a man’s field yet you are of the earth, planting and harvesting, sowing and reaping, riding your sexy John Deere green.   
--  Congratulations to Mary Pauer!!!!
 This is our last flash fiction contest for the year, but please know you can always buy a copy of The Writers Toolbox on line.  It makes for a great holiday gift for anyone who likes to write or tells stories or does improv!  

Monday, November 12, 2018

And the winner is....

Announcing the first winner of The Writers Toolbox Flash Fiction contest. Congratulations to Kim Dicico!!! 
She will receive a gift copy of The Writers Toolbox

Here's this week's prompt for the flash fiction contest.  Write a 250 word
story based on this sentence:  
"She was skating on thin ice, that's all I can say." 
Please email your flash fiction entry to me at  by Saturday, November 17th at midnight.  And have fun!
I will announce the winner on Sunday or Monday.

And now, here's Kim's flash fiction based on the prompt: The way Herb defrosted the refrigerator: 

(Untitled by Kim Dicico)
My neighbor, Nora, sat in my kitchen complaining for the seventh time about how her husband, Herb, was defrosting his 1947 Kelvinator refrigerator again. That powder-blue eyesore in his “man cave” had doubled their electric bill and rattled ceaselessly every night. “But it keeps my Pepsi so cold!” Heʼd whine.
“You need to unload that fridge,” I said, “and Herb. Heʼs done nothing but waste money on toys and get-rich schemes since being laid off.” I poured us fresh coffee.
Nora stirred in another scoop of sweetener, “My father said I shouldʼve found a sugar daddy, not a husband. He was right.”
I nodded my agreement. “You can divorce him.”
“Thereʼd be alimony. Heʼs cheaper to keep.”
I handed her another cupcake. “Have you though about poison?” I smiled. “Sure,” Nora laughed, “but how do I go about it?”
“Do you think heʼd like these cupcakes?” I asked.
“If they were frosted with chocolate.”
“Heʼs still smoking, right?”
“Yeah, why?”
“Youʼll see.”
I broke open ten cigarettes from my pack then dumped the tobacco and a cup of water into a pot to boil. Twenty minutes later l mixed that strained slurry in with coca, milk, and sugar.
“Give him these tonight.” I presented her with two cupcakes filled and iced with my special chocolate frosting. “Throw the plate in my trashcan on your way out. And you must go out. You wonʼt want to witness what happens.”
Her eyes welled with unshed tears. “Thank you, Abbey.”