Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Guest Blog-Author Marianne Bayliss Offers Readers French Chocolate #SweetRomance #Books #RomanceAnthology #WritersLife #WritersCommunity @CamdenParkPress

Australian author Marianne Bayliss has been invited here to share the inspiration behind her short story “Sweet Provence” in the LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES romance anthology.

I greatly enjoyed Marianne’s story, set in the beautiful southeastern region of France, and hope you will too. Download a copy of the collection or buy the print version from your favorite online retailer, lift the cover, and delight in the sweetness of love and chocolate inside. ~Best, Adele

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From Marianne Bayliss:

The inspiration for my story SWEET PROVENCE came from a wonderful holiday I shared last April with my 21-year-old daughter.

Our globe-trot included one glorious week in Paris, four days in Provence and ten days in Italy. We loved it all, but we loved Provence the most.

In Provence, we made our base in Aix- (pronounced: ‘aches’) -en-Provence and booked mini-van day tours to surrounding towns, just as my heroine did.

While each town was charming, with specific traits that made them unique, we discovered similarities that linked them.

First, the light. It’s golden. Everything appeared tinged in a caramelised aura. It had us turning our face to the sun and basking in the gentle glow: something we rarely do in the harsh Australian sunshine. While now I can’t remember the exact shade, I still recall the impression of the faint butterscotch blush and I tilt my head up when I call it to mind, as though the memory and the action are linked. It was easy to see why the great painters Cézanne and Van Gogh favoured this unique light and created their most famous paintings in this area.

Second, the scenery. Every aspect is postcard worthy. I was producing photos similar to those filling my ‘365 days in France’ calendar. I, as the photographer, needed no skill; Provence did the work. Each cobbled-stone laneway, fountain and potted plant appeared to have been designed with the camera in mind (yet with that nonchalance at which the French excel). While we, the models, may not have always photographed our best, Provence provided the perfect backdrop without fail.

Third, the food. Buttery, flaky croissants accompanied by creamy coffee or rich hot chocolate for breakfast. Crunchy baguettes filled with fresh produce for lunch. Whole roasted Camembert topped with stewed cinnamon apples for dinner. Need I say more?

Fourth, the friendliness. To be fair, I speak basic conversational French and tried to use it as much as possible, but we found the locals were warm and helpful. Our experiences started with a Boulanger, sucking a cigarette outside his bakery, who fixed a problem with our accommodation then gave us crisp pastry treats in a sweet little bag to enjoy while we waited. Two waiters shared a Limoncello with us ‘on the house’ during their shift. A stall holder in Roussillon engaged us in charming conversation after having seen us wander the market in Saint-Rémy the previous day. And a married couple from Marseille, who we met on the flight from Provence to Venice, insisted we join them in their private water taxi from Venice airport to the main island, instead of travelling by crowded water bus!

Outside Aix-en-Provence is the village of Puyricard, and home of France’s famous chocolaterie of the same name. This became the inspiration for my hero’s world and the location for much of my story. (My daughter and I actually outlined the story one evening on the walk from our accommodation to the café; by the end of dinner we had full stomachs and a basic plot!)

In SWEET PROVENCE, children’s book author and illustrator, Katie Monroe, seeks inspiration when she travels to Provence. But romance finds her in the form of Luc Julienne, the owner of France’s famous chocolaterie.

When distance and work conflicts threaten their relationship will Katie choose the job she loves or the man who has melted her heart?

LOVE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES presents sixteen stories that capture both the sweetness and variety of a box of chocolates. Ranging from new loves to rekindled relationships, these stories are filled with sweet meet-cutes, nutty quirks, and the unexpected richness hidden beneath the surface of the characters and their developing relationships.

You can purchase a copy of Love is Like a Box of Chocolates from your preferred retailer here:

www.books2read.com/LoveIsLikeChocolate

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084S7D6NC

Winter At The Beach by Adele Downs #photography #beachlife #writerslife #authorslife

It’s winter here at the beach, but spring is in the air. Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog from the town of the same name, predicts when spring will arrive based on whether or not he sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, February 2.

Phil predicted an early spring for 2020, and I believe him. My daffodils and crocus are already out of the ground.

Thanks, Phil!

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2020

January Beach by Adele Downs #photography #beachlife #writerslife #authorslife

It’s winter at the beach. I live in the southernmost part of Delaware, where the weather is generally milder than neighboring states to the north, but not as warm as those in the US Deep South. It’s 46 degrees here, and dreary, and though the ocean and our beaches are ever present, they seem just out of reach. The best we can do is walk along the shoreline and breathe its briny scent while we wait for spring sunshine and the heat of summer.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2020

Fall Sunset by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

Sunset over the bay, Fall 2018, Delaware.

Except for my signature, these photos are unaltered. Nature doesn’t need artificial colors.

Photos copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Beach Before Dusk by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

In the off season, the beach is often deserted in the late afternoon before dusk. I sometimes sit in my convertible and read a book or eat a simple meal while enjoying the scent of the salt air and the feel of the breezes on my skin. And sometimes I take pictures, like this one, from the driver’s seat of my car.

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

October Beach by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

I finished the final draft of a new novel, then took a walk on the beach, imagining my love was with me.

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Flamingos in Maryland by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

Flamingos in Maryland? Yes, at the Salisbury Zoo. I had no idea these creatures were so noisy! They sounded like a flock of honking geese.

The colors in this photograph are unaltered and exactly as they appeared through my camera lens.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

October Beach Day by Adele Downs #photography @Adele_Downs

On the beach on a warm October 2 afternoon, after a morning of writing. Yes, I’m writing again!

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Alone On The Bay by Adele Downs #photography

The summertime beach crowds are gone and I had the waterfront park on the bay all to myself while I read in the shade for a few lovely hours.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Early Morning Walk by Adele Downs #photography

Early morning walk along the beach in Delaware.

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Beach Chairs On The Bay by Adele Downs #photography

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

Alone At The Beach by Adele Downs #photography

Except for my signature, this photo is unaltered.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2018.

It’s Freezing Cold, Dark, and Gloomy #HappyNewYear2018 #NewYear

It’s dangerously cold here on the U.S. Mid-Atlantic coast, and even the beach looks dark and gloomy this holiday weekend. Polar Bear Plunge fundraising swims have been cancelled in several beach communities due to concerns about public safety, and a news story reported that sharks are freezing in the frigid waters. I’m blowing the dust off my treadmill to exercise inside, since it’s waaaay too cold to take a walk on the boardwalk or around the park.

I’ll spend New Year’s Eve with Netflix, a cozy fire in the fireplace, and a glass of wine. Have I mentioned that I hate winter?

Stay warm, everyone! Happy New Year! Wishing you the best in 2018.

Photo copyright Adele Downs, 2017.

Lilly Plates by Adele Downs #photography

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Boardwalk Artist by Adele Downs #photography

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017

Mornings By The Bay: Fishing and Crabbing #fishing

Where has the summer gone? Beach season has flown by. In addition to enjoying life on the Delaware coast, I’ve been busy helping my husband remodel the beach house guest bathroom. I’ll post before and after pictures when the room is done. I’ve also been working on a new novel, and have other publishing projects in the works that I can hardly wait to tell you about after the contracts arrive.

Blue claw crabs have been plentiful at the beach this year, and we’ve had good catches since May. Steamed and cleaned right out of the bay is the best way to enjoy them at dinnertime. Fresh corn on the cob from a local farm and a cold beer makes the perfect meal.

If you’d like to try your hand at crabbing–either from a dock using string and bits of chicken, or with handheld traps filled with bait, or by investing in crab pots that stay in the water overnight, you’ll need a fishing and crabbing license, and will have to follow the rules set by your state about keepers, but a seasonal license is well worth the enjoyment your family will have.

Here’s a picture of our overnight crab traps. Each household in our Delaware bay community is allowed a maximum of two. We use a combination of chicken and bunker fish for bait and the crabs love it.

This guy was definitely a keeper! On this particular day, we caught over 50 crabs, and though nearly half of them were too small to keep and had to be returned to the water, our catch yielded enough food for two meals.

Add side dishes for a great summertime feast.

When I’m feeling especially energetic, I make crab cakes or homemade crab bisque, which can be frozen and enjoyed during the winter months when we’re dreaming about warm weather.

It’s been a great summer in Delaware. I’ll be sorry to see the season end.

Tropical Flowers by Adele Downs #photography

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017

Waterfall by Adele Downs #photography

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Water Lillies by Adele Downs #photography

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Livin’ For The Weekend by Adele Downs #photography

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Beach Retirement by Adele Downs #photography

I think this might be my favorite picture, ever.

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017

Beach Day by Adele Downs #photography

beachdaysigned

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

Sand Castle by Adele Downs #photography

sandcastle2signed

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017

Seagull Beach by Adele Downs #photography

gullsonthebeachsigned

Photo copyright Adele Downs 2017.

Winter Sunset by Adele Downs #photography

sunsetinwinter17signed

This photo of a winter sunset over a bay in Delaware is unretouched and unchanged; shown exactly as nature intended. The only exception is my signature.

Copyright Adele Downs 2017

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