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My Job One on New Year’s Day is to count my blessings. By which I mean I framed my 2011 collection of feathers and added them to my gallery:

How does that saying go? …

Every feather tells a story.

Job Two is to count the days until the  American release of my Damn France Book   Le Road Trip. And as of January 1, 2012, it’s  100 days!

Ta-Da! Le cover of Le Road Trip!

My publisher was kind enough to send me an ARC [Advance Reader Copy]…Hell’s Bell’s. My publisher was kind enough to make an ARC of Le Road Trip to send out to various taste makers around America to create “buzz”.

The ARC is a trade paper-back version of the hardcover book, printed on cheap quality paper with all the color illustrations reproduced in black and white. There is a color version of the book available online for these various tastemakers around America, but for now the tangible book-shaped object looks like this:

For now, the back cover has the fabulous blurb from Elizabeth Gilbert on it (which I insist goes right on FRONT when it’s time to do the dust jacket for reals) and a bit of Nancy Pearl’s wonderous NPR review of When Wanderers Cease to Roamon it to, you know, create “buzz”. And the back cover has a teeny tiny Author Photo on it, which I insist will be much bigger and have much more production value when it’s time to put my face on this dust jacket for reals. Hey. I didn’t sit alone in my room for three years to write this Damn France Book   Le Road Trip for nothing: I want a big fat picture of moi on it for all of America to see.

I want to assure you all, dear readers, that there’s a cat (a French cat) in every chapter.

And I got meditative on the stonework every now and then, but especially in Brittany.

And, of course, there’s Paris, a city full of quirky details that I’ve tried to capture, one baguette and ardois and ballerina flat at a time. And occasionally, I tried to get a big picture of Paris:

But you know what they say about Paris:

Been there, done that:

I came across this painting by Maurice Utrillo last week and it made me laugh. Even though his street is in Montmartre and the one I painted is in the Latin Quarter, all roads in Paris, it seems, lead to a dome.

And I thought I was being ever so clever by putting that hazy Pantheon in the background. Ha. (In real life, my street was full of cars but since I can’t paint a convincing car, all my Paris streets are curiously traffic-free, which enhances the 19th century resemblance.)

100 days. That’s my countdown to April 7 , 2012. Anybody else have a 2012 countdown you’d like to share?

A one-a, and a two-a, and a-three:

17 comments to Countdown.

  • Carol

    This is wonderful news! I can’t wait to see it!

  • Deborah

    As wonderful as it is that they made ARCs of your book, it just seems oh so wrong to make black & white versions of you paintings!

    My countdown: I’ve decided to walk in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s fundraiser — a mini marathon (13.1 miles) that coincides with the Derby Festival mini-marathon, April 28 (one week before the derby) — so 121 days, right? And there is a Triple Crown of races (3, 6, & 10 miles) in March, which are considered training for THE BIG DAY.

  • I am sooo excited for your book! I’ve got 54 days until my first ever Artist Retreat! I’m looking forward to hanging with fellow artists and learning new skills!

  • P.S. I’m sure you book will bring back a flood of my own memories of times spent in Paris…like the time I kissed a French boy on the steps of Montmarte. :)

  • Vivian

    Commentor Jen asked me how I mount my feathers. it’s really simple:

    First I lay out my feathers on 90-lb watercolor paper. Then I put tiny dabs of Elmer’s onto the paper which I let set just a little bit. Then I place the tip of each quill into the glue. However, if the feather has a feature that I want to show off, I sometimes have to put a weight on it to force the quill in a certain position (I also use extra glue). I leave the feathers sitting flat over night — by morning the Elmer’s is clear and hard and the feathers are set for life, and ready to be framed upright.

  • Not just for America to see – I’m waiting for the book here in Geneva! Bought your first book last year, it’s beautiful and inspiring!

  • Rachel

    Oh, what wonderful news. I too am so looking forward to seeing this book in person. And while you were indeed *alone in your room* for three years writing and illustrating it, I am so glad that we, your loyal fans, were able to stand here on the sidelines and cheer you on.

    My own countdown is that I will be moving. Since it is to senior housing, it is dependent on my place on the list and when a studio apartment becomes available. Meanwhile, I need to *deaccession* like crazy, and pretend that the deadline is NOW. An interesting year, but it will be great when this part is over.

  • Rachel

    Oh, what wonderful news. I too am so looking forward to seeing this book in person. And while you were indeed *alone in your room* for three years writing and illustrating it, I am so glad that we, your loyal fans, were able to stand here on the sidelines and cheer you on.

    My own countdown is that I will be moving. Since it is to senior housing, it is dependent on my place on the list and when a studio apartment becomes available. Meanwhile, I need to *deaccession* like crazy, and pretend that the deadline is NOW. An interesting year, but it will be great when this part is over.

  • I just marked the release date of Le Road Trip on my calendar!

    I am counting down to Opening Day of the Baseball Season (Go, Seattle Mariners!), which is darned close competition with your book release. TWO great things to look forward to in April!

  • Jacqui

    check out the new book, FEATHERS, by Thor Hanson.
    In re: last weeks post and graffiti: I read it as “forget her, forgive her”….
    It has taken weeks to adjust to only Friday post. About the time Mondays ended, all 3 pair of reading glasses broke, wifi access ended, the TV quit, and radio too……..I totally understand when my cat’s rountine is altered, just how she feels!! In the process of remedying all that, doing holidays, I found I was forgetting Friday posts. The rhythms of life are changing…..somedays I feel lost in time…so while adjusting to timelessness, I think I will not count down to anything

  • Nadine

    The book looks great! I have sette Avril on my calendar. (I hope that’s French for 7 April.)

    I am counting down to when the pitchers report for spring training. I can’t wait for Opening Day to get my ray of sunshine up here in New Jersey.

  • Sis Boom Bah! Drummmm rollll, pleeeez…The Damn France Book will be born in April…an Aries creature. Can’t wait to get a copy in my hands to pour over every page and painting while I sip my favorite tea.

  • Can’t wait! WWCTR was and is still one of my favorite books and and inspiration to my own watercolor paintings and journaling and in fact it was one of the things that got me started!

  • Ann

    Have ordered the book. It cannot come to soon! Pondering your triscuit-sized work, I came to wonder if you’d ever seen Sara Midda’s South of France or In and Out of the Garden. She, alas, is not committed to a cat a chapter, but still impressive.
    Ann

  • Laura

    I’m counting down to the last day of school.

  • The cover is simply gorgeous. I’m so excited to get mine!

  • Am so looking forward to reading your new book. When I first clerked in a bookstore, the ARCs from sales reps were among the very best perks of the job. I did a lot of handselling based on those ARCs, and hope discerning booksellers all across the country will soon be doing the same for yours!

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