Amazon, Anne of Brittany, Brittany, Charles VIII, Claude of France, Duchess of Brittany, Europe, European history, France, French Queens, Kindle Scout, Louis XII, Medieval rulers, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Salic Law, Sense of Touch, women of history, women's issues, women's self-identity
Sense of Touch is coming soon. My seventh and latest novel is based on the life of Anne of Brittany, twice Queen of France. Her dates? 1477-1514.
Sense of Touch has been chosen by Kindle Scout for a 30-day pilot program to see if readers get interested in this story. If the book receives enough nominations by Oct. 19, 2015, it will be chosen for publication by Kindle Press. That’s a very big deal. Why? Worldwide distribution.
Here’s the link to nominate Sense of Touch for publication. It’s free, and if Sense of Touch gets picked up for publication, you will receive a complimentary advance copy. I will include your name on my acknowledgments page if you let me know you voted. Thank you.
Why am I excited about Anne of Brittany? This remarkable woman, Duchess of Brittany in her own right, and twice Queen of France due to marrying well, lived exactly at the convergence of the Middle Ages with the Renaissance. What does that mean?
Quick answer: Goodbye, Middle Ages. Hello, Renaissance.
To put it in a nutshell, it means goodbye to collective identity and hello to self-identity. My writing platform is all about self-identity, as in how do women achieve their own? Then, how do they hone it through the years as professional and family obligations conspire to obliterate their special je ne sais quoi?
Anne of Brittany did a great job of maintaining her own sense of self. Her motto? A ma vie, to my life. It takes a confident woman to have a motto like that.
Here’s the gist of Sense of Touch.
NICOLE SAINT SYLVAIN serves at the court of Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, in 1497, at age fifteen. Working with horse trainer Philippe de Bois to heal the Queen’s stallion, she shows an aptitude for diagnosing horses’ ailments through her sense of touch. Soon she has fallen in love, but not with the man her father has chosen for her. Duty pulls Nicole and Philippe in different directions and Nicole becomes a wife, mother, then widow while immersing herself in the healing arts. When Anne of Brittany begs her to save her infant daughter, Nicole works alongside a physician from the South whose reputation for healing began with his work with horses. Will Nicole succeed in saving the Queen’s daughter? And if she does, will the Queen reward her with the greatest desire of her heart—marriage to the only man she has ever loved?
ANNE OF BRITTANY inherited the Duchy of Brittany at age eleven upon her father’s death in 1488. Three years later she married Charles VIII and became Queen consort of France. Instrumental in introducing new techniques of architecture and craftsmanship from Milan to France, Anne of Brittany ushered in the Italian Renaissance to France. By age twenty-one she had buried her husband and all four of her children. Within nine months she became wife of the new king, Louis XII. Pregnant fourteen times, seven times by either king, she raised two children to adulthood. Both were daughters.
She is known as the first female ruler of France to bring together young women of noble birth at court, where she educated and trained them, then arranged appropriate marriage matches. A ruler of influence, refinement, and resources, she rose above personal loss with dignity and grace while espousing the cause of women’s advancement. Her story is for women everywhere.
I would be delighted if you would click here to nominate Sense of Touch for publication. You’ll find an excerpt from Sense of Touch too. Enjoy and thank you.
Author Rozsa Gaston, be here now, Budapest, career, career and romance conflicts, contemporary romance, dating, Dutchman, Hungarian American woman, Publishers Weekly review, Szechenyi Baths, thermal bath spas, thoughtful romance
Publishers Weekly weighs in on my Dec. 2014 latest release Budapest Romance in its June 22, 2015 issue:
“The traditional healing properties and beauty of the thermal spa baths still enjoyed throughout Budapest are the true stars of this thoughtful romance.”—Publishers Weekly
Budapest Romance is now available on all major online retail sites. Thank you, Publishers Weekly, for this greatest of all honors, a review in the publishing industry’s most respected news magazine.
Readers—for those of you who read and post a short review of my tender romance set in Budapest’s thermal bath spas, I will be delighted to send you an eBook thank you gift of your choice of any of my other books.
Enjoy and stay playful. —Rozsa Gaston
Budapest, Cafe Gerbeaud, eBooks, fiction online, fitness, Gellert Hotel, Hungary, Kindle, pleasure, promotion, publishing, pursuit of pleasure, relationships, romance, self-discovery, self-esteem, seo, spa, spa baths, spa culture, Szechenyi Baths, travel
Budapest Romance comes out November 17, 2014, darling readers. My latest book is a contemporary romance. Set in Budapest, it’s the story of an American woman meeting a Dutchman at a thermal bath spa hotel. Ready to help me decide on the cover?
Let’s go to Budapest and soak in this mineralized pool at the Gellert Hotel Spa while we consider cover choices.
Hot pink or light pink? Big title font or smaller title font? Interested to review and advance copy and send me your review to be posted on launch day in a place of honor? Here’s the story:
But from the moment she sets foot in the city of her father’s youth, it’s pleasure that pursues her. At the thermal bath spa hotel where she’s staying, she meets a Dutchman who reminds her of Béla Dunai, a Hungarian refugee who fled his homeland shortly after its 1956 revolution.
Jan has never met a woman like Kati before. Her blend of New England restraint with gypsy spirit captivates him. While Jan introduces Kati to Budapest’s leisurely pace of life, Kati introduces Jan to her own leisurely pace of sensual exploration as their attraction to each other grows over six magical days.
When Kati returns to New York, their relationship continues. But it’s not just an ocean that separates them. Kati’s corporate job with lots of travel is the antithesis of the slow-paced pleasures she enjoyed in her father’s favorite city, one of Europe’s crown jewels.
Which will Kati put first—her new career or her new love; a man who reminds her of the father she never fully understood? And is it the Hungarian pleasure-loving side of herself that she really needs to understand before she can offer her heart to the man who has awakened her to who she truly is?
Now darlings, if you really want to enjoy a book that’s already out there, take a trip to Paris without the airfare with Paris Adieu.
And if you want to be part of the final design and advance review team for Budapest Romance, send me your thoughts on cover design choice or request for advance review copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1956, Black is Not a Color, book signing Doncaster Boutique, Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones' Diary, Carrie Bradshaw, fiction, Greenwich authors, Hungarian, Hungarian uprising, Hungary, local authors, Paris Adieu, Rozsa Gaston, Sex and the City, Translyvanian, Transylvania
Many authors, when looking for subjects of the most emotional value, turn inward to their own lives as a jumping off point. And that’s just what Greenwich’s Rozsa Gaston has done in her latest novel.
In Black Is Not A Color (Unless Worn By A Blonde), Ms. Gaston writes of a young woman reconnecting with her father after many years of estrangement. In this story, Ava Fodor is a woman with a thriving career and a budding new romance who was not raised by her father only to find herself having to take care of him over the course of the final year of his life. Despite not knowing her father, and having all the resentment and confusion that comes with that, Ava finds herself drawn to the eccentric Transylvanian/Hungarian man with his passion and zest for life even as it slips away.
“It doesn’t start that way, but this is a book that ends up being about elder care,” Ms. Gaston told the Post in an interview last week. “That’s not a very sexy subject, but it is an extremely topical one and this is definitely a book for Baby Boomers to read and also for those younger than Baby Boomers who are going to be facing this down the line. This is about caring for an aging parent who didn’t raise you as a child. That changes the conversation. Her relationship with her father is she’s just discovering him for the first time as a 30-year-old woman and he’s from a completely different culture.”
Ms. Gaston indeed drew from her own relationship with her father for the book but only in a loose way. It might be the genesis for the story, but it quickly goes in its own direction.
“My father was a Hungarian/Transylvanian refugee from the 1956 Hungarian uprising and I did not get to know him until I was older,” Ms. Gaston said. “I met him when I was about 16 and I wanted to work through feelings about our relationship. Writing the book ended up being a wonderful eye opener for me to realize how much my father actually did give me and how satisfying it was for me that when he did die I did the right thing. I might not have done the best job of doing the right thing, but I knew I did the right thing. I wanted to share that journey and writing this book allowed me to develop a deeper appreciation for my father.”
In the book, while Ava finds herself trying to relate to someone she doesn’t know and who comes from an entirely different cultural frame of mind than she has, she also has to struggle with the feelings of abandonment she has always had toward her father while finding herself drawn to him and his unique style. The more she learns about him the more she relates to her father which makes things even more difficult and that’s before life further complicates her romance…but to find out more you’re going to have to read the book which is available at Amazon.com and can also be ordered from Rozsagaston.com.
“The great thing about this book is that there’s progress between Ava and her father and the reason there’s progress is that her father is very forgiving,” Ms. Gaston said. “He didn’t parent her and she’s his only child so he didn’t parent anyone and he knows he was not a father at all. So he forgives her for whatever she says to him and how she acts toward him. He just wants to get to know her because he does love her and always has loved her.”
This book, which was first released in March, is a sequel to Paris Adieu, which had Ava living as an au pair coming of age in Paris. The romance between Ava and Pierre that began in the first book is a major theme in this new book. Ms. Gaston is quick to compare her lead character to widely known characters like Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City in that she’s no saint and can be a complicated person, but is someone readers want to root for.
“As soon as I finished Paris Adieu, I realized that Ava took on a life of her own and that I owed it to her to continue her story,” Ms. Gaston said. “And I owe it to her now to also continue her story through another book if not more.”
That book is still in the planning stages but Ms. Gaston is eager to get to work. A driven writer with several books to her name, Ms. Gaston said she loves to think ahead. Her next book, Sense of Touch, is inspired by the famed The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Museum in Paris. No one has ever definitively sourced who the women are in those tapestries, which date back to the 1490’s, and this story is a historical fiction exploring that mystery.
However that story might have to wait until 2015 as Ms. Gaston is planning on having her sequel to Black Is Not A Color done by the fall.
“I can’t stop and I don’t want to,” Ms. Gaston said. “The projects keep coming to me one after the other.”
But she will stop long enough to sign copies of her book this week. Tomorrow, May 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Doncaster pop up boutique at 219 East Putnam Avenue in Cos Cob, Ms. Gaston will be on hand for a book signing. Details below.
Party with Moms interviews Rozsa Gaston today as their Mom of the Week. Read here and if you enjoy, sign up for the Party with Moms weekly newsletter. http://partywithmoms.com/party-with-moms-interviews-rozsa-gaston-prolific-author/
Imagine my delight when I realized that Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were terribly tickly, not to mention positively ribald in parts! Not some old, moldy, medieval stanzas, but colorful, naughty and well worth the effort to make out the Olde English words.
Here’s first twelve lines of the most sensational poem written about April I’ve ever come across. Enjoy!
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the fleur;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,
So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
Excerpt from Black is Not a Color
“Did you sleep?” Narcisa whispered to me as the owner of the male voice headed toward the nearest silver-tray-carrying waiter to capture two glasses of white wine for us.
“Did I what?”
“Did you sleep?” she asked again.
“Yes. I slept well, thank you” I answered confusedly. Did I look tired to her?
“You don’t have to tell me who it was. But tell me—who was it?”
“Uh—it was me. I mean I slept well. Didn’t you?”
“Ohhh no. I didn’t sleep. I had friends who helped me,” Narcisa whispered back, one eyebrow lifted significantly.
“Ohhh, I see. Uh—no I didn’t sleep. I—uh- took the tests last spring and they called me the beginning of August.” Startled by the conversational curveball, I stepped back from Narcisa, still intrigued but alerted that I had no idea who I was dealing with. The U.N. was on international territory. American rules no longer applied.
“The tests. Everyone takes the tests. So what? How did you get the job?” she pressed.
“Like I said, I took the tests. That was it. I waited, I gave up hope, then they called.” I shrugged in what I hoped was the classic Gallic way, perfected by my recent stay in Paris.
Narcisa studied me as I spoke. It was like taking a lie-detector test. Suddenly I felt as if I’d slept even when I hadn’t.
“So you just took the tests and they called you. That was it?”
“Yes,” I said, crisply. I tried to look like I wasn’t lying, even when I wasn’t. It was confusing talking to Narcisa.
Black is Not a Color © 2014 by Rozsa Gaston
The point in life…is to find equilibrium in what is inherently unstable.~Pierre Reverdy from Coco Chanel by Lisa Chaney
Reverdy was a dear friend of Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Handsome, independent, a trifle brutish, he appealed to the peasant woman buried deep inside the exquisite Chanel.
Find out more about bad boys in my latest book Black is Not a Color, sequel to Paris Adieu. Out in audiobook, it’s the story of Ava Fodor’s struggle to care for her father while cultivating her relationship with her new French boyfriend Pierre. Not a bad boy. Too good for Ava, in her mind, in fact.
Ava is not the only grown up child of a parent who didn’t raise her. There are many men and women with such a tale out there. Coco Chanel was one. If Ava’s idol Chanel could get beyond a rough start in life, so can Ava. So can you.
Listen to Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color and take inspiration. Move out of the shadows of a less than ideal childhood and take your place in the sun. Coco Chanel is your lodestar. And Ava’s story in Black is Not a Color will help you find the hero within yourself.
aging parents, career, chicken paprikash, contemporary romance, culture, dating, elder care, Elizabeth Taylor, Fellini, free book, Hungarian culture, Hungary, Jackie Onassis, Judith Krantz, New York, personal growth, romance, Scruples, self-discovery, United Nations, women's issues, Yale
“When my father said black is not a color unless it’s worn by a blonde, he wasn’t just talking about the color black or women who were blonde. He was talking about the animus inside the packaging—the spirit inside the body, the woman inside the dress.”—Rozsa Gaston, Black is Not a Color
When Ava Fodor returns to New York from Paris, she leaves behind her budding romance with Pierre and turns her attention to another man: Zsolt Fodor, her father. He’s a penniless Hungarian poet transplanted to New York in the wake of the failed 1956 Hungarian uprising. Raised by her New England grandparents, Ava barely knows him. Dramatic, effusive, emotional, he’s everything her grandmother warned her against. Yet his crazy conversation fascinates her. His chicken paprikash isn’t bad either.
Pierre’s pull draws Ava back to France, to the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. There, his tender care of his ailing mother awakens Ava to something lacking in herself. Unless she finds it, she can’t give him her heart.
When her father has a heart attack, Ava is thrust into a caregiver role, looking after a man who never looked after her. She’s terrible at it. So was her father, so he forgives her. But can she forgive him? Until she learns to love the man she has every reason to abandon in his hour of need, she can’t move on. Only her father can show her the way. But will she let him? And if she can, will it be too late for Pierre and her?
Praise for Black is Not a Color
“Imagine if Judith Krantz had been a history scholar at Yale when she wrote Scruples. If this idea appeals, you are likely to be engaged and fascinated by Black Is Not A Color. The book is at once witty, smart and touching. It will make you want to devour chicken paprikash and then go shopping at a chic Manhattan boutique with your best girlfriend. A sensitive delineation of family dynamics and some wonderful insight into geopolitical geography.”
—Jane Stern, author of The New York Times bestselling Elvis World, Roadfood, and many other books on food and popular culture
“Rozsa Gaston takes us on another delicious adventure through France and
beyond. Sexy, thrilling, and deeply moving, Black is Not a Color has everything
you’d want in a novel, plus lots of spice, specifically paprika.”
— Jamie Cat Callan, author of French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, Bonjour Happiness! and Ooh La La!
“Readers will be delighted, intrigued and entertained by Black Is Not a Color. This enjoyable continuation of Ava’s worldly tale, begun in Paris Adieu, is full of vibrant characters with great chemistry. Gaston writes this story with intelligence, emotion, creativity and heart.”
—Laurie Weiner, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, CT
“Heartwarming, romantic and sexy, Black is Not a Color touches upon friendship, romantic relationships and the strength of familial bonds. This moving read for sophisticated readers evokes both a desire for European travel and a renewed appreciation for my hometown of New York City.”
— Meredith Schorr, author of Just Friends with Benefits and Blogger Girl
—Atessa Helm, film producer, script and story consultant
African-American literature, Afro-Caribbean culture, Beloved, black writers, Caribbean culture, gender equality, Home, junot Diaz, literature, New York Public Library, Paris Adieu, Paul Holdengraber. Rozsa Gaston, race, Running from Love, Song of Solomon, Sula, Toni Morrison, writing
“Two eyes, one tongue, searching for beauty,” was the seven-word phrase Toni Morrison came up with for Director of Live from NYPL Paul Holdengraber, on Dec. 12, 2013 at New York Public Library. He asks for a seven-word phrase from all his guests. Junot Díaz was co-guest. His phrase? “The poor immigrant kid in this library.”The evening marked the first time Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz shared the stage together. Their conversation? Scintillating.
Toni Morrison talks and Junot Díaz shows us a new way to be a man
at Live from the New York Public Library, Dec. 12, 2013
Rozsa Gaston for Wild River Review
On December 12, the making of a new American hero took place at the New York Public Library.
Not Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison; she already is.
But Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, who paid homage to Morrison in a one-hour talk.
Díaz doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk of a new way to be a man.
The Dominican-American author opened the conversation by saying “Certainly the axis of the world shifted for me when I first went to college. In my first class, first semester, first week at Rutgers University, I was in my first class with Abena Busia, and she was teaching Song of Solomon. The axis of my world shifted and has never returned.” He referred to Morrison’s 1977 novel, which put her on the map.
Morrison asked, “Has it improved, then, do you think?” Soft-spoken, playful, flirtatious.
Díaz’s response: “Yeah. Much warmer and brilliant place I am in now.” Ungrammatical and unable to take his eyes off Morrison, Díaz appeared captivated by the stunning, 82-year-old woman seated across from him onstage.
Díaz commented that Morrison, as an editor for black authors, shifted the entire canon of black literature. “There was an unspoken premise of your books that there is a black woman as the reader,” he pointed out.
Morrison concurred. “It would be like being Tolstoy. You’re Russian and you write for Russians, not for little colored girls in Ohio. However, once you take your own area in your own soil and dig deep into that, and if you’re good enough at it, it’s available to everybody. You don’t have to direct it at a vague audience that you think is perhaps not yours.”
Díaz brought up the thin line between the animal and the human as “something that occurs throughout your work.” He referred to the image in Morrison’s 2012 book Home of two fighting stallions “that rose up like men. We saw them. Like men they stood.”
“Besides the fact that you can outwrite every motherfucker on the planet, sentence by sentence,” Díaz said, flashing a peace sign to the audience with boyish enthusiasm, “no matter what the hell’s going on in the world, I’m always lying in bed and I’m like, yeah, the best writer in the world is of African descent.”
Morrison responded that when you see those horses stand up and fight, then “you know something about masculinity, beauty, brutality, and power. It’s a way to pull the reader in, so that they have a truly visceral response to a character’s thoughts.”
The beauty of Junot’s own restrained masculinity was on display throughout the evening. His questions were discerning, considered. He didn’t get in the way of Morrison’s responses.
Referencing Morrison’s 1973 novel Sula as an example of female friendship not often explored in literature, Díaz derided the cultural imperative for female characters in literature or “that hetero-normative over-emphasis on the dude who is going to enter her life,” as false. “My sister’s most important relationship was with one of her girlfriends,” he told the audience.
At the end of their discussion, Díaz concluded reverentially: “So, I wanted to thank you, Madame.” Then he turned to the audience, stipulating he would take four questions: two from people under thirty and two from women. In fact, he took questions from three women and one man.
A woman asked which authors had inspired Morrison. Her response was “none.” She paused, then added, “Sometimes a line of poetry will kick something off. I just relish other people’s writings enormously. As an editor, I have to have that separation. The inspiration thing is a little bit overdone.”
With questions over, the audience rose, joining Díaz in a standing ovation for Toni Morrison.
Some of us applauded for Díaz too. He’s showing the world how to be a new kind of man. Not easy for a Dominican-American dude from New Jersey.
Catch the Toni Morrison/Junot Díaz conversation at: http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/watch-toni-morrison-junot-diaz-in-a-live-online-conversation.html
Photos courtesy of Jori Klein/The New York Public Library