bonne lecture

maison d'édition

Les arcs 018
These days you can publish a book anywhere... even in your own home! Read on, in this blog series Publish A Book in 21 Days--and see if I can do it myself! (Photo taken in the village of Tarradeau, at a goat cheese farm)

la maison d'édition (may-zon-day-dee-syon)

    : publishing house

No help with a fancy house publisher for my next book.... But that doesn't mean we are all not having a blast editing it together! I can't thank you enough for your help, all who are reading now, in looking over today's story selections and letting me know if there are any needed changes! Meantime, why not forward today's post to someone who loves to write? Or who is interested in the book-publishing process?

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

The behind-the-scenes stories that are taking place as I rush, to speed-publish, would make a lively novella—or memoirella—of their own.

There are the nightly calls to Mexico, for one, in which I spend a lot of time keeping an enthusiastic Book Director in line.

"I think you should keep the SONGE story," Mom votes. "The writing may be awkward, but is a record of your growth as an écrivaine—is that the word, Honey?—anyway...the story marks the moment when you began to pay attention to the rhythm of words! Oh, by the way, did you see Nancy's website? You've got to watch the video!" and with that Mom is off on other tangent, talking about all of the people she has encountered in the comments boxes, those readers-editors who are helping with the speed publishing project (psst, dear Reader, I'm talking to you. Are you helping, too? I hope so!). 

"Mom, keep to the subject. There's no time for this! We need to talk about the book's title. And there's the back cover to think about... and what about book blurbs? We need to ask readers for those!" I try to channel my Book Director's energy. God knows there is plenty of it!

"Now I've been thinking about that...." Mom says, calmly, and I notice how she has downshifted her gears, lest I suspect for one moment that she can't center herself... in time to center me!

"I have your book Wish, Prune, Pray here, and I've been looking at it... What a cover! By the way, you have got to republish that book! The intro takes my breath away! Here let me read it to you..."

When my French husband shared with me an announcement for a vineyard in the Rhone Valley, a fluttering in his voice told me that this time would be different...

From behind the computer screen, where I fed my own passion—writing—I listened to a renewed enthusiasm coming from Jean-Marc. As he stood before the window of my office, I noticed a change coming over him. Where once darkeness gathered beneath his brows—the shadows of an unfulfilled dream—light now shined, this, from behind the window to his inner farmer's soul... 

"Mom! We don't have time for this!" I barked, interrupting her reading. There are only 16 days left! Now let's keep focused! Besides, we've already done an intro for this book, it's the ESPOIR story—remember? Moving on now to chapter order: I'll need to bring in all of the characters in the first five chapters. We've met Jean-Marc and the kids in the opening stories. I now need an anecdote about my mother-in-law... and a story about you, bien sûr!"

"OK," Mom answers, and I can actually hear her bed sheets ruffle as she straightens up, determined to do her best to keep her energy focused this time.

"Honey, she says, sliding again... "that Bruce—he sure knows his stuff! So glad we have HIM on board."
"I know. Did you see his website?"
"He has a website?" And with that, Mom has managed to pull us off topic once again, until we are talking about all of the interesting people we meet in the comments area, and wouldn't it be cool to publish the comments box?

"Mom," I say, "you are high and I am obsessed!" Neither of us gets our feelings hurt as I call our behavior for what it is ... just a little bit manic...; instead, we break out in laughter and shake off this latest burst of creation-frenzy.

Apart from the creative lapses, Mom is proving to be a savvy and efficient assistant. "You'll need to work on more than two stories per post if you want to have enough chapters to fill this book!" With that, she's given us all extra work (from now on there will be three stories per post to edit!).

"And, personally, I still don't think that's enough," Mom puffs, driving in her point.

The other day she sent a list of twenty stories for inclusion into this project. I was humbled to realize that she had taken hours and hours to scour the archives (this she downplayed: "But all of your faithful readers are doing the same. Don't you realize that?); she was busy looking for stories that fit into the 5-point criteria I had drawn up, on Day One of Le Défi

More than book director, Mom has been Doting Nurse and Spiritual Advisor—for if I threw myself into this whirlwind project, part of that was to take my mind off other worries. Bref, between chapter-editing and book design, I've spent a fair amount of time staring into the mirror, obsessing about the healing process. Each time I do, an old English idiom pops into my mind: "A watched pot never boils."

I think I much prefer a different, French, expression: Le temps guérit toutes les blessures.... 


Bon, we all have a lot of work to do now—so no more side-trekking. Here are three (are you reading, Mom?), yes three stories that need your attention. Would you kindly volunteer to read one (or more) of them, and to point out any typos in the corresponding comments boxes. Mille mercis!


EPUISER: Mom teaches us to sweep, during a lesson in "lightening up"

TRAINEAU: Our golden retriever "The Drag Queen"

NOYAU: My mother-in-law finds a job for her lonely neighbor


Coming next, THE BOOK COVER! Here's a preview. What do you think? I used a photo, taken in Grignan (when my aunt and uncle came to visit) -- and played around in Google's Picasa, until I found the typography I liked (does the lettering look amateur? Any suggestions? I think I need to color in my name with a different hue....) 

Le Coin Commentaires

Please share your thoughts about the stories, the project, the book cover or title, today's post, my mom, or anything that strikes your fancy, here, in the comments box.



I know: my name is a little large... you can blame the Book Director (my proud mom) for this detail! P.S. notice the subtitle, which I hope speaks about the life lessons that are learned... in the process of learning French....

In Roussillon
And here's my beautiful Book Director-Mom, here in Roussillon, where she participated with me at the local book fair.

This picture speaks volumes. In my usual author event cluelessness, I have thrown a bedcover over the table and scrambled to find as many books as I could, from my personal stock. The results were dismal, and I wanted to hide under the bedcover (literally...) as all of the professional authors set up their stands with lovely lace table cloths and books-à-gogo... Mom, do you have any comments to add, regarding this image? (Photo taken 2 or 3 years ago.)

French Christmas CD 

 You'll love this French Christmas CD, click here!



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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Can you translate the saying you said you preferred???" le temps.."

Suzanne White

Kristin, I had no idea you were publishing a book. Please do not call it "Vignettes from Provence". If you want, I can ring you. I am in Draguignan now. We would be able to brainstorm a catchier English title. "Vignettes de Provence" does work in French. But not in English.
I have written and published more than ten books in both languages. Promise. You know I wouldn't steer you wrong. I want to see you succeed. I have self published 3 books in the last 3 years. Trust me, you can make money from your book. But not with a title which doesn't grab people by the collar. Love, Suzanne

David Simmons


Strictly speaking for an English title, "french" on your cover should be capitalized as "French".


Geraldine Ventura

Kristin, Love all your stories. It must be difficult to decide which to include, but the sugar theft story is one of the best! We've all been there, and this story brings back memories and a good laugh.


Le temps guérit toutes les blessures.... Time is a great healer.

I like the front cover photograph very much. Glimpses of Provence perhaps.




I have been very negligent about keeping up with the blog and posting comments. I am going to speed read through what I have missed and catch up.

Love the idea about the new book. I really like the cover too. But I love all of your photos!

Margaret is coolish NC.


David - I think it is capitalized. It is the font that is a bit deceptive.

Sandy Kimble

How about something like "Windows into Provence... and Life" or "Windows into My Life in Provence"

pamela Singer

Kristin wonderful work...Title?
Vignettes From Provence....Voyages beyond
I like the idea of voyage as your stories DO take one on a little sejour into the heart, into the mind, and into oneself...The cover photo is beautifully the "resder's" chair..
keep sailing........winds are up and constant
xxxx pamela


I like the title suggested into provence...especially since you have two windows in your picture. You have Provence from the Inside Out with the door open, too. Agree that the title has to grab the reader. It would be fun to have an online brainstorming session on this. The title is such an important decision.

Rebecca Q. T.


Love the photo. Love the title font. Do not care for the subtitle font--it is jarring when compared to the title and the name. I like the idea of an italicized font but think you could find something a bit more classé. I love the photo and the placement of the text.

I love the title--it is perfect. It captures exactly what the book has in store and yet is also a sort of interesting allusive jeu de mots--to me, vignette makes a nice reference to vin, vigne, vignoble, etc. I will say I am not a huge fan of the subtitle. I find it a bit clunky. I like the idea of life lessons that you mention in your caption--perhaps something like "lessons on life and love in translation". Just an idea. Keep going.

I have read your stories for years but rarely comment. I will be sure to help proof read your links tout de suite.

A warning to your mom's idea--dont have us, your loyal readers, re-read every post you plan to include in the book. Otherwise, we, your target audience, wont have too much impetus to buy the book, now will we?

Je vous envoie mes meilleurs souhaits....

Jan in Colorado

"Time heals all wounds"...or as we used to say "time wounds all heels". At any rate, it won't heal if you obsess about it--the watched pot thing!

Where is Newcastle? I haven't seen any entries from her in ages. Should I be worried? Maybe I just missed something.

Kristin Espinasse

Suzanne, I appreciate your thoughts. Vignettes is a reference to the first story in the collection, in which my first readers teach me words (and even grammar). Ill never forget learning the synonyms to short story (I loved learning missives and epistles and more.

Thanks, David. But I think Margaret found the answer: its the typography! Ill double check when I re-edit the cover.

Geraldine, glad you like the sugar story! The stories in this compilation are those written before 2007. Ill keep The Sugar Snatchers in mind for the next compilation...

Sandra, thanks for translating the saying.

Margaret, so happy you are on board to help. Sos your sister. Now to get Portia involved :-)

Sandy, thats a lovely title!

Pamela, I like your reference about the séjour into the heart...

Marie-Louise, I hope to have such a title brainstorming when we get to that post... if we get to it!

Thanks, Rebecca, all good points! 

Jan, Newforest sent me a nice note last month; all is well... sometimes a break from French Word-A-Day can be a good thing, too ;-)

Nancy Rexford

Hi Kristin,
I too am just discovering your book project today after months where the day job had become a day-and-night job.

It didn't occur to me to question the title until another commenter did, but now I think perhaps it is worth re-considering. I wonder if there is some word from gardening or viticulture that suggests that you have harvested more than words. It isn't enough to substitute "harvest" or "vintage" for "vignettes" because a title needs to be rhythmic and easy to say. There would be too many contiguous consonants between words ("harveST FRom" for example). One phrase that might inspire you to something else is from Psalm 126: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Regarding the cover design, I like the elegant title typeface, but I think your name should match it - the serif and sans-serif typefaces look as if they're not from the same book (using sans-serif for the subtitle, however, strikes me as OK because it is smaller, in italic, and serves to differentiate subtitle from title). Also your name looks a bit crowded at the bottom edge, very far from the title, as if it weren't completely committed to inhabiting the page. It might look more graceful on two lines in the lower left corner of the picture with a bit more space around it, if you can alter the background enough to make the name stand out properly.

I'm looking forward to spending more time on your site in the future. Good luck with this! It's fun - and rather brave of you! - to "crowd-source" your editing!

Rupert  Suren

Hi Kristin,

The front cover of your book has THREE different typefaces! One typeface only and vary the font size to differentiate between the tile, the author and the description.

What's on the back cover? Hopefully YOU.

What about the spine of the book? This is important as this will in most cases be the first thing that your readers will see on the bookshelf of their local bookshop. Have you noticed how 'English' books have the title on the spine running from top to bottom while the French run from bottom to top?
Are you publishing the book on a print on demand basis? This could save you a lot of money should the book not sell in high numbers while giving you the flexibility to reprint (good selling point to see a book has been reprinted - must be successful and therefore a good read.

Jan in Colorado

Oops! I knew it was Newforest. I guess my brain isn't adjusting too well to the time change this past weekend. Thanks for the update, Kristin.

Priscilla Fleming Vayda

Re: the font size of your name ... as author I think your name should be one size smaller than the title. Perhaps the overall look of the page would be smoother if you used the same font for your name as in the title. I like the italics of your subtitle. That said, as the author perhaps you should rely more on your own gut (what would be the French translation for that be?) feelings than listening to too many other voices. You are a wonderful photographer and I think the same voice that clicks the shutter should have the final say in the lay of the words. Bonne chance! Priscilla Vayda (I am a writer and a painter who struggles to conquer the French language. I too love Provence and Paris. Aix and Paris are my two most favorite places in the world! I live in Nouvelle Orleans, here in Louisiana.)

Caroline, California

Your name in green


Hi Kristin, I feel so guilty that I do not have a moment to spare to help/contribute to your amazing book adventure....but I am following it closely. Always sending prayers for the perfect "mot" to rise up. Mary

Bruce T. Paddock

I love the cover. The picture is gorgeous, the title and subtitle fonts lovely, and the color of the type is the one I always associate with your blog, the one I see in the left and right columns right now.

"Vignettes" is perfect — that is, after all, what you write, and you reference the word in the very first column in the book. And I hadn't even thought of all the associations Rebecca did.

Love the subtitle, although I can't decide if I would capitalize the "L" in the first word or not (yes, I know it's not a complete sentence).

I'm not keen on the brown for your name. If you don't want to use the same color as the title/subtitle, maybe you could choose something prettier? The rest of the cover is so light and soft and lovely.

For what it's worth, the font your name is in doesn't bother me, but I don't love it, either.

Dang, that's a beautiful cover!


NOT "Vignettes from Provence"!!! PLEASE!! It sounds like something that's been done before! Can't offer anything better yet, but your stories are more vivid than mere vignettes!

Nancy Rexford

Am I the only one who missed what I now realize must be the French pun on vigne - vignette -

Blushing apologies! I was clearly only thinking in English.

Lynn at Southern Fried French

LOVE the cover photo, LOVE the title font and subtitle font, and I think the subtitle wording is just perfect. Don't love the font for your name; it's not just that it's too big, it's in the wrong font in my opinion. Hard, when the other fonts are soft, and a very contemporary font as well.
I'm thinking too about that title. I like it actually, and vignette is a French word too, nice touch. You definitely need the word Provence in the title. It might be nice if the title alluded more to a journey, as the subtitle does, but I can't come up with anything better at the moment.
Now when you're finished with Jules, may I hire her as a Book Director?

Diane Scott

I think, Kristin, that your name should match the font of "Vignettes" for continuity. The title and picture are lovely. Any francophile/phone will certainly "get" the title, especially if it segues the reader into the first story. Editor's note: avoid contractions in the narrative if possible, such as "I'll," as opposed to "I will," unless "I'll" is essential to the quote. Smoother reading. I don't (whoops), do not envy your task, especially with so many of us adding in our "two cents." Instead, we should save those pennies to purchase your book. All those centimes could make you a millionaire!

Barbara Berndt

It's great that you are diving into this project. I love your work, and although I have not commuicated recently, I remain a faithful reader.

Much as I enjoy your writing, I have never liked the way you indicate pronunciation. Yes, I understand that the intent is to give English speakers--or rather American English speakers an idea of how the words sound in French, but to me, it is a senseless and often inaccurate metalanguage. I always discouraged my students from trying to remember pronunciation that way. Learning the IPA is much more helpful in the long run.

That said, your version of the sound of "noyau" is particularly misleading. If you must use the current method, I would suggest something more like (nwah-yoh).

Finally, I think you are unwise to mix 3 fonts on the cover. Re-think size, too.

Linda R.

Kristin - I absolutely love the photo that you have chosen. You have such a beautiful eye for finding and capturing the scene. I think the title is great (words, color, font, etc.) No earth-shaking suggestions on my part - maybe upper case regarding "French language" and consider writing your name in one of the title fonts. ENJOY - I'm looking forward to finding the book in the bookstores when it comes out.

Mary in Seattle

Hi Kristin,

I am new to your blog, but love your stories. You are helping me improve my learning the french language with your wonderful anecdotal stories of a "day in the life". You are also growing into a wonderful and engaging writer. Congratulations on publishing your first book! I want to comment on your book cover. Everything is lovely. The one thing that does not work is the typeface for your name. The fonts you use for the title and subtitle work, but you use a completely different style font with your name. Either it's the right font in too big of a size, or it is the wrong font altogether. I agree with Barbara B that using three different font types is unwise.

Jules Greer

I am delighted with all of your posts this morning and amazed at the collection of interesting people I am meeting here in La Coin Commentaires. As Kristi already knows I am a junky in the comments box - I always check out everyone I can and today I was delighted to meet many of you for the first time. I am impressed by the fact that so many of you are published authors and have been through this process and succeeded (sp?) so well in a profession that is so daunting to the rest of us.

Beware of listening to anything I say here too closely as I am only the DIRECTOR of Kristi's life. Kristi is the one running this show (or driving this train we are all on)- does that make her C.E.O.

Once again I am just blown away by the interesting people on board. You are all so smart and interesting.



You have taken many pictures of windows. Could that be a place to start the search for a title?


Riffin' on windows:

Learning to See in French
(The Mistral Has Not Yet Driven Me Crazy)
(Nose to Window, Heart to Soil)

French Glass; Window and Mirrors, Visions and Reflections

French Glass; Windows, Mirrors and Glasses of Wine

Windows, Mirrors and Glasses of Wine

Windows and Mirrors in Provence.

The Light IS Different in Provence.

The Light of Provence Changed Me

Myra Wood, New Orleans

Dear Kristin,
The proposed cover of your new book brought me back to a post from a few years ago, one in which you included, side-by-side, your photos and Warren Plauche's painting of your photos. Coincidentally, when I contacted Dr. Plauche, he lived not far from me in the New Orleans area. We met and I purchased several of his beautiful paintings. Are you, by any chance, still in touch with him? I tried to reach him by email and by phone and neither contacts are active. I would so love to let him know how much I still enjoy his art!
And, Kristin, as always, I so thoroughly enjoy your French-Word-A-Day! Thank for you continuing. You make my day!

Linda Cain

There was a story about Jules that I really liked, where you described her arriving for a visit in her beautiful bright artist-made coat (maybe the one she is wearing in the book sale photo). It really introduced her well --her flair and her expansive personality. I hope it gets due consideration for the book!

Beth McNamara

Kristin- I imagine all this input could be overwhelming to you! But nice so many people care. In the end you'll figure out which suggestions ring true for you and your story. Fonts do make a statement and have their own way of telling a part of the story, don't they? Who knew that the shape and curve of a letter could carry so much feeling?
I might suggest the subtitle:
Learning the Language of Life in France....
Best to you in this project. I love your blog. Thank you for it.
Beth McNamara- - Oregon

Kristin Espinasse

Nancy, I see what you mean about reading vign or vine into the title. However, this story compilation will not focus on our time at the vineyard (only stories from before the move). Thanks for your thoughts about the placement of my name and the font -- Ill see about that.

Rupert, Ill keep the one font idea in mind. I had been looking at a lot of covers and noticed that, occasionally, different fonts were used. Quelle idée! I lot, going a little overboard on this experiment. Re printing: yes, print-on-demand. I need to talk about this choice and who I am using; first, I will need to get into contact with the company (I am waiting for customer service call....) Oh, and the spine! Ive just added this to Mom and my To Do list!

Priscilla, I appreciate your thoughts on sticking to my gut feeling, on this one :-)

Mary, no worries--your prayers are all I need. Sending one your way, too!

Bruce, Yes! So good to have your opinion on this one. I have re-fonted (?) my name at the end of the page. 

Thanks, Maureen. I see your point, but, as Lynn says--it is an important bit of information (Provence) to the title. And thanks for your very kind words!

Lynn, I may need to add quotes around Vignettes... The word would then become meaningful, once readers read the first chapter.

Diane, I work on the I am versus Im. It will depend on consistency, I think... Im afraid (oh, there I go) Ive used the contraction most often.

Barbara, I do need to learn the IPA... only, would everyone understand it? Meantime, thanks for nwah-yoh--much better. Ill fix that soon.

Linda R. hmmm, upper-casing for the last two words--had not thought of that! Will give it a try!

Mary, good to hear from you.

I see Mom has left a comment. On my way to read that now....

French Word-A-Day

Lindsay Tognetti

Love the photo, but suggest that your name perhaps be in the same font as "learning more than the French Language" only capitalize your first and last name. For some reason, the font and size of your name creates unrest/is bothersome (at least with me). I am not an expert by any means, but am just sending along my thoughts. I so love your French Word-A-Day, and congratulations on the new book!

Lisa Teed

The first part of the title is good. I like the color and lettering. The word (from) in French maybe. I think the 2nd part of the title should stay the same-- a day in a French life. It would be cool if you could trail off one of those letters into a vine-type design.


French Windows
Windows on Provence


I like the title and the subtitle. The only thing that struck me was that the beginning of the subtitle is just a little too close to the door. One's eye is drawn first of all to the door, before moving quickly to the first word of the subtitle.

Barbara B's point about pronunciation is a valid one. I've noted several examples over the months of the pronunciation being that of a southern French speaker. It should really be given in standard French.


Please do not forget an old adage - Too many cooks spoil the broth!

alicia brown

the different font of your name and the size overtake the title.

Jane Le Maux

I love "Vignettes from Provence" as a title and the picture and even the font - but feel the font and size of font for your name is all wrong.


I have your first book which I have totally enjoyed so I am really looking forward to this one. I love the picture you have chosen from the cover but agree with you about the type and color for your name. Maybe one of the shades of gray-blue in the shutters and doors would set it off a little more. For the font, maybe a slightly larger version of the script you used for the subtitle.


Hi, Kristin
The photograph you chose for the cover is gorgeous, enchanting, and that, together with the word Provence, will really entice buyers. I read through "Epuiser" and I found one sentence that I would change: "I recognize the hardbound editions, which were photographed on my memory." I know it's part of your style to play around with the way words are usually used, but that sounds wrong to me. I don't think things can be "photographed" on our memory. You could say "imprinted" instead. Or instead of I recognize, you could say "I can still see perfectly in my mind..." Or "There they are, the hardbound editions I can still see perfectly..." The titles are a really interesting detail. I am a librarian and always love to peek at what people are reading and to study people's bookshelves. Good luck!


I, too, like "Vignettes from Provence". However, if others influence you to change it, then I suggest that you choose a first word that begins with a letter that appears earlier in the alphabet than V or W. I recommend something between A and U so that if your book is ever lined up with others according to alphabetical order, then yours won't be near the end of the alphabet. That's just a suggestion from someone whose last name begins with W.


I like the proposal for the book cover. Did you choose the title because of the "vigne" in vignette (etymology) and in this manner, introducing your husband dream? Is it a vine growing around the chair? Just cutious.

Stacy ~ Applegate, Oregon

Great work, Kristi! Wonderful cover! I agree with changing the font/color/size (?) of your name.

Enjoyed your Noyau story and agree with leaving the Braise Drag story out. For me the thought of worms gets in the way of enjoying the tale.

I think the picture from the book fair does speak volumes about how kind and beautiful you and Jules are. Those lovely smiles are so very welcoming! Off to the dentist now… guess the crack-crack of pits or seeds has caught up with me :)


Hi Kristin,
OK about the book cover - love the title and photo, but not so crazy about the subtitle "learning more than the French language."
I feel or think i know what you are intending in the subtitle, that is to say that you are living and learning so many things in France other than just the French language (culture, customs, food, wine, dress, well all ways of being au francaise).It is like you are becoming "wise" or "learned" in all things French. Can you come up with a few more blurbs? Or leave it out - the title insures that you will tell all to the reader in your vignettes anyway right? So excited about you doing this.

Kip Ingham

I agree with Stacy and several others about the need to change the font/color/size of your name...keep experimenting. Also I think Vignettes is an awkward and unfamiliar word to many of us. I love the idea of Windows.

I am impressed with all of your followers. Please ask them (again) to state where they are writing is so interesting!

Dear old Dad in Palm Desert, CA

Betty Gleason with blue pencil in hand

Blossoming in Province

That's what you all have done so well.
On to the stories.

Janet Allen

Hi Kristin,

The cover is beautiful! I love your photo!


edith schmidt


Like the look of the book cover. You might try using variations of the same typeface either the sans serif that your name is in or the typeface you have used for "vingnettes." I would probably make your name a bit smaller and keep the typeface colors all the same.

Edie from Savannah

Betty Gleason with blue pencil in hand

Or "Blooming in Provence" - you get the drift.

Truly love the cover!

77 & setting sun in Hobe Sound, FL

Sandra Vann

Oh my...what wonderful input and advice...for now with a cold from Sandy in CO just simply:
All the the cover photo and of course the beautiful photo of you and Jules.
Admire your courage and energy Kristin...just trying to keep up. When my head clears hope to be more helpful. Always you inspire me as I have yet to start my first book! Happy writing, editing and formatting...follow your heart and intuition and yes much of the great advice as well. I wish you the very best.

Julie Decker-Steinkraus


I love the cover, great photo (very inviting) and title! I do agree, though, that French should be capitalized. That's all I would change.

Susan a

You will probably have as many different opinions regarding your book as people who write in...How not to be overwhelmed by all that imput!

anne marie

J'aime bien the cover but think your name should be a different color, periwinkle blue or deep green like the vine.

Nancy R. Smith ASID

Kristin---Your name, as author, should be in a lighter color than the title of the book. And I would completely skip "learning more than the French language"----every French book doesn't have to relate to language and yours certainly does not---so why even include it as a suggestion?

From an interior designer and book author in the U.S.A.


Love the picture of you and Jules, but would crop it differently so that "l'etrangere" (to us) in the background is not in the picture.

Am thinking about the title and subtitle.


I think "Vignettes from Provence" is good. It may not be what you end up with: I like all the brainstorming and think it should continue. The subtitle is unnecessary and seems somewhat self-deprecating. Your name in the title font, slightly smaller--perfect.
The picture of you and your mom is gorgeous, and I imagine that the others at the fair envied your flair!


I LOVE your book cover! Did you really do it all yourself?

My only hesitation is the subtitle "learning more than the French language" especially in that strange font, leaves me with a creepy feeling, like it's a horror story. It seems out of place with the elegance of the rest of the cover.

Susan Carter

I love the picture for the cover, really makes me want to pick the book up and read. I'm swamped and feeling guilty (almost) that I don't have time to read the stories so I'm doing my best to keep up and will buy the book to read the stories.


You must be very confused by now!! :-)
OK ...for my two cents worth ( and you can ignore me if you like!)... while I love the cover photo I am wondering if the elegant greyed off look is reminding me too much of Paris rather than Provence. My memory of Provence is of a wonderful light and softly saturated colours. What do you think if you were to warm the yellow up a little and maybe saturate the colour slightly? Also wondering if the title text could perhaps be a warmer red....these colours may also catch the "eye" a little better as a book cover. Perhaps your name could remain in the darker red but a little smaller( as you mentioned) and have a play with using the title text with it ( maybe, maybe not...)
Also I rather like the idea of a French title "Vignettes de Provence" as suggested by Suzanne. We all love the exotic sound of the French language and don't need Franglish! As for the word "Vignettes" I enjoy the story behind the use of this word....has a slight tang of the vineyard in it as well! ....just a few thoughts.... :-)

la voisine

Vous êtes magnifiques toutes les deux <3

Christine Dashper

Hi Kristin,

I am loving the cover and the title!

Looks great!


Pascal et Isabella

Good luck with your book, we have just published a bilingual book "Dear France, sweet country of my childhood - Chère France, doux pays de mon enfance" and loved the experience of putting it together and then promoting it and meeting our readers.

A bientot !

Kristin Espinasse

Oh, dear, I dont know where to begin. Thank you MILLE FOIS. Im taking every word into consideration... that is, my Book Director and I are :-)

Suzanne, Yes, I really did make it on my own: so simple with the free program Picasa by Google. A tip is to find a very simple image and to keep things simple, I thinks :-)

Mom would like a bold frame around the image (I like it as is, and if Moms reading... then this is the first shes heard of it!) Ive changed the name font and even the title.... I ADORE Bettys suggestion!! And all of the windows suggestion, following Sandys suggestion, are so apropos (sp?) !

tammy @ arizona

no time to read the stories just now, but i love the cover, the title, the font...but maybe your name could be script so it looks as if you signed it and it is differentiated a bit from the rest?

You are too hard on yourself, the table cover for your book signing is beautiful. Ok, more books would have been nice...but quit beating yourself up! Do the best with what you can at the time and let it go.

Nancy Rial

The cover looks great- a "pick me up and read me" image; I agree with some others that the subtitle is not necessary; if you do keep it, however, try a different font or pull it up (just a bit) off the window sill it looks like it is resting on. Your name is good as is, but would be even more effective if you could blend in a bit more grey on the bottom, so your name could be read even more easily. Can't do that? Then leave it alone, and don't worry.
Thanks for the shout out, Jules. I designed my entire book alone using iPages, and my son did the trailer. You can get this done!


Ditto to many of the comments above - the font for your name should be softer - smaller and similar to the title and subtitle.
The subtitle should be a little further from the door - it is hard to read.
The picture is perfect - the chair is inviting the reader to come and sit down with you. The windows are the eyes into your vignettes and the door is an open invitation to join you.
Sorry that I have not been reading the past stories and helping you with the editing, but I have been too busy.
Bon chance.

Rupert  Suren


A good print on demand company with a lot of helpful hints on their website is

A friend of mine has used them for five books starting with some very modest print runs and building up over time to some revenue generating qunatities.

Looking at the comments here you have inspired so many people with so much love which is such a special gift.


OMG! Just catching up on your blog and as requested, thought I would post a comment about your beautiful book cover to see that you have already been inundated!! Read all the comments and the only thng I would like to add is just lift the subtitle a couple of mm's up, so it moves away from the shadow of the window and door - otherwise fab! (It's the old ad industry person in me rearing it's pedantic head) Good luck with the countdown.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Rupert. I had really wanted to use Lightening Source, but, at the time, could not figure out how to get my hands on a good book template, or how to fulfill the technical requirements for a book cover... and the ISBN thing (a little trickier to obtain, when living in France). I should try again. Meantime, I am using another service, which I will write about soon...


wish i had more time to read your stories, but just a quick comment on the book cover. i love the photo, the title font and color. i'd agree with the commenters about the title itself though, something a bit more eye-catching, maybe alliterative? if i come up with a good suggestion, i shall let you know! also the font of your name does not mesh with the rest. the size is great, but i'd try looking at another serifed font at least-does the one of the title look odd? the color of your name looks like it needs to either be black or match the title. good luck!

Jane Snowden

Love the cover photo and the title (once "french" is capitalized)! Good luck!


I agree that the title needs to be stronger. From a publishing professional, keep in mind that the title should evoke emotion and the subtitle should provide information. You write with candor, humor, and honesty. Show that in your title as well. Perhaps even use the title of one of the vignettes as your book's title.


Kristin, I would LOVE to help you with your book cover. It's what I do for a living and I could at least help you with the technical aspect. Please e-mail via our site if you'd like to consider it:

Kathleen Freeman

for your name on the cover - suggestion (your name, a rich deeper blue tone) compliment blue tones in photo.

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