le defi

Les Chaises Marseillaises (c) Kristin Espinasse
This image, though it might be the set for a romantic comedy, exists in reality... in a far-off fishing village at the end of Marseilles. The grandeur of the scene has little in common with fishing, but who says there has to be a logic to everything? Read on, in today's story....

le défi (day fee)

    : the challenge


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Did you ever notice how a proper break, or pause, from the train-train of work and "everyday" has a way of renewing hope and rekindling old dreams? This happened to me, sometime this week... when I decided, after a 12-day absence, to come back to work... and to begin a new project:

The Publish-A-Book in 21 Days Challenge!

Beginning today, I will be assembling a couple of handfuls of stories from this blog's archives, putting the episodes into manuscript form, and self-publishing a new book! Le défi, or challenge, will be to get the book on-line and available for purchase in 21 days!

Only, with over 1,500 stories, one wonders Where to begin? Should there be a theme? ...only stories about characters? ...only stories about cultural differences? Because there is no time to dawdle... I've decided to hone in on a period in 2005--picking up near where my house-published book (also a collection of blog posts) left off. This fly-by-seat story compilation will, therefore, include a season of stories--or a few dozen anecdotes. I'll be jumping into the December archives and working my way forward... choosing stories which meet one or more of a 5-points criterion:

  • Is the story simple and straightforward?
  • Does one learn about French life and/or culture?
  • Is there a hopeful, or heartening message?
  • Does the story stand on its own?
  • And, finally, because I also write these missives as a way of documenting family life (I do hope my grandchildren will enjoy them one day): Does this particular story include a family milestone? 

In the next three weeks I will be sharing with you this book publishing-process, as I work quickly to decide which stories to include, to create a simple book cover, to come up with text for the back cover and for the author-bio paragraph, to name the book, to write an acknowledgments page, to decide how to price the book, to think up marketing strategies, and to attend to any other considerations that pop up along the way. 

I hope that by my sharing this publishing process with you, via the next nine posts, you will be inspired to pursue your own personal challenge, whether that be bookmaking or bodybuilding! We all need to shake things up from time to time, and perhaps, by putting a little fire beneath our feet... we will succeed in a new défi... and so accomplish a longtime dream.

And now, for a very big favor! Would you please join me in the book-editing process? Be so kind as to lend me your eyes by reading one or both of the following stories? Please report any typos or misplaced commas or faulty punctuation. 

In reporting errors--or in commenting on this project--thank you for using only the comments box (corresponding to the post in which the story is found), so that I may keep track of your messages, which may otherwise be lost in my in-box. 

First two stories to edit:

L'Espoir ("Hope") : An introduction and a story about following one's dream to write... against all odds. Read this story and report any edits, here.

Le Dédommagement ("Compensation"): One French woman's sweet way of recompensing a local merchant... click here to read or to edit the story "Dédommagement".

...and one of the stories that did not make it into this compilation--because of its wordiness, lack of flow, and other stylistic catastrophes... is this one: Moquette ("Carpet"). I do like the theme (about a no-nonsense, style-unconscious traveler who always takes the road less traveled--or the back way into a 2-star hotel...) and hope to work on the story when there is more time!

Note: by clicking on the story links, you will see the most recent version of the story. I will be incorporating edits and suggestions as they arrive into the comments box. 


Finally, don't let this breezy approach fool you: I'm one big ball of nervous fatigue, as I send out this post and officially announce my goal! Thank you very much for your support, as always!



Comments on this post are welcome, here. 


A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety