Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I am a stalker

Merci, AH!  J'adore cette tasse!

Yes, you read it right.  I am coming out of the shadows.  I am a stalker.  I even admitted it in public on Saturday.  I feel so much better.  And, by the way, when did stalking get such a negative connotation?  That's what I want to know.  My students say the word as if it is un gros mot- a dirty word.  And no wonder.  I looked up stalk and stalker on the Merriam-Webster website.
For word nerds:  The word comes from Middle English and its first use was in the 14th century.
This is the time of year when hunters are stalking the woods for deer. 
Okay.  Not too bad unless you hate hunters and are a vegetarian or you had nightmares after watching Bambi as a kid.
She called the police because her ex-boyfriend was stalking her.
Um.  Not good.
to stalk:  to pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment 
In French, from Webster's New French Dictionary:
stalker:  un admirateur obsessionnel qui harcèle une célébrité
              an obsessed admirer who harasses a celebrity
At least Webster is consistent in the two languages I speak.

The lovely photo mug of Johnny and me in Paris is a gift from an 8th grade girlie.  She worked some Photoshop magic and made this for me.  The pen in the mug has the same photo on it.  My students know about my love for Johnny.  I have to have someone to use in my class examples, n'est-ce pas?
No, I have not stalked him.  But I make no promises should I ever encounter him strolling the streets of Paris, mes amis.  (Hmmm... should I post this blog on his Facebook page?  Is that stalking?  Oh, who cares?)

This past Saturday, I attended a workshop for aspiring writers.  I met with a publisher who listened to my book pitch and gave me some great advice.  She publishes romance novels, mine is a memoir. But I am considering becoming a romance novelist now.   47-49% of books purchased are romance novels. There were a couple of publishers there, along with a couple of agents, some bloggers, reviewers, authors, and fans of the novelists.  Let's just say that there was an "Amen corner" for the Stallion brothers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, created by Deborah Fletcher Mello.   I made my public confession at this workshop.

A few years back, I read a novel called Blame it on Paris.  I stumbled upon it at Barnes and Noble.  It was signed by the author and about Paris.  A no-brainer for moi.

Romance, memoir, Paris, handsome Frenchie.  After reading it, I googled Laura and sent an email.  I discovered that she lives right here in Durham, too.  Even better.  We exchanged a few emails and then I went to one of her book signings at The Regulator.  I was thrilled to meet her in person.  Her signing involved chocolate, too, really good handmade chocolates because her subsequent books are all about handsome chocolatiers and falling in love and Paris, with an occasional foray into Provence. And some steamy scenes.  Oh là là.  In one of them, there is a scene set in the snow in Paris.  When Arles Lucy and I were there three years ago in March, it started snowing and that novel is all we could think about.  Well, that and keeping warm.  And wishing we had a handsome chocolatier to keep us warm on the Ile Saint Louis and make chocolat chaud for us.  Gros sigh...

Anyway, Laura was on the panel at this workshop that was held at the Durham Public Library's Southwest branch.

(I took Laura and her book photos from the internet.  I took some photos on Saturday, but they didn't turn out very well.)

She, Katharine Ashe, and Jennifer Lohmann were part of a panel discussion about balancing a "real" job and writing novels.  Laura and Katharine are professors at Duke and Jennifer is a librarian.  (I discovered I need to plan time to write and set myself a schedule. Oui.)  

During a discussion about authors' relationships with their readers, I confessed to more or less stalking Laura.  I thought that she had left the room but, to my embarrassment, she was in the back listening in.  She graciously accepted my hero worship and gave me a gift!  Another awesome mug!

I am sleep deprived today because I stayed up too late last night (and the night before) reading All For You.  Perfectly normal behavior for me when I cannot put a novel down.  Merci, Laura, Joss et Célie.

One of the 7th grade girlies made very appropriately timed chocolate treats for her class.  

She wrapped them beautifully.  Très français!  Her classmates were very happy, needless to say.

Elizabeth's Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe


1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. white sugar
18- 1 ounce squares bittersweet chocolate
1 c. unsalted butter
6 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F (150˚C).  Grease one 10-inch round cake pan with butter and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, and sugar.  Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
  3. Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven, melt the bittersweet chocolate.  Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
  4. Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time.  Beat in the hot sugar-water.  Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the bottom pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
  6. Bake cake in the water bath for 45 minutes.  The center will still look wet.  Chill cake overnight in the pan.  To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.
All the talk about novels, reminded me of The Beatles and their song Paperback Writer.  I hope the link works.  Paul was probably my first crush...  Well, other than the cute boy in my first grade reading circle.

Bon appétit, to all writers and their loyal readers!  And to those of us who stalk ever so innocently.

1 comment:

Laura Florand said...

Just so everyone knows, Teresa is an amazing teacher and blogger and not the least bit a stalker! :) I actually teach quite a few of her students a few years after she taught they a love of French language and culture, and they all love her.

I'm looking forward to seeing your memoir or your romance novel (or both, like me!) when they're done, Teresa. :)

And this flourless chocolate cake recipe looks delicious!