Tomato Tart Recipe - La tarte à la tomate


Camaret (c) Kristin Espinasse
The iron campanile in Camaret-sur-Aygues, where the following drama takes place....


to chase

In the town of Camaret-sur-Aygues, we had found good seats beneath the shady platane at an outdoor café when our luck took a swift turn for the worse.

Our five-month-old chiot, Braise, had curled up beneath the table, her leash attached to the leg of a bistro chair, when our son rose from the same chair, announcing that he and his sister were off to play in the vieux village behind the café.

Our golden retriever's ear trembled as she listened to the kids' voices trail off down the street. Curious, she shot up and set out to follow the children's laughter. But as she advanced, so did the chair to which she was attached!

The grating sound of the chair dragging against the stone path soon distracted our pup. Turning to discover the source of the noise, she was startled to find herself pursued by a screeching four-legged alien!

Braise's eyes shot open as she peeled out of that terrace café, the bistro chair flying off—bumpity-bump-bump—with her! The scene might have been comical if it hadn't been cloaked in what looked to be impending doom.

Braise swung left along la grand-rue, entering the town's ramparts, and continued full throttle down the pedestrian walkway. In vain, she fled the bouncing bistro chair, screaming bloody murder as only a dog can: in a gargle of excited barks. The commotion resonated throughout the town as Braise and the chair rocketed down the narrow street. Windows flew open as villagers poked their heads out of their homes to find out what the racket was about. 

Terrorized by her screeching and bouncing pursuer, Braise tried desperately to outrun the chair monster, but the faster she ran, the faster it followed, menacing and angry in her tracks.

In a panic, I chased after our puppy, screaming her name. When Braise was halfway down the street, the leash snapped and the chair fell away, spinning on its side to a full stop. Braise didn't look back but turned on her paws and headed, full steam, back to  the terrace café and to the busy street beside it!

It was when she rounded the corner, at record speed, that I heard the screech of tires.... 

BRAISE!!! I screamed. BRAISE... With my heart in my throat I raced around the corner. It was her tail that I saw first...

Her lovely wagging tail! Next I saw the sparkle in my husband's eyes, lucky stars of thanks that our dog had stopped just short of the oncoming car. Braise, elle l'a échappé belle.

Click here to suggest edits for story! Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

French Vocabulary

le platane = plane tree
le chiot = puppy
vieux = old
la grand-rue = main street
l'échapper belle
= to have a narrow escape (and avoid an accident)

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Diane Young

paragraph #1 "we had found"

Later paragraph delete one of the "after" in "I chased after after"

Diane Young

"bumpedy", no "i" in word. Derived from past tense of bump - bumped.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Diane!

Louise Tramontano

Good morning Kristin,
What a wonderful story. The only change I might make is instead of the "chair in question", maybe the same chair.
But it is a great story.

susan standke

what a great tell it so well...i imagined the whole moment and was very relieved at the happy ending....your puppy could have a volume of his own....susan

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Louise! I had been looking for another way to say that. Same chair is perfect! Bravo!

Susan, so glad to see your response to this story. Merci!


Fun story :)
I know what you mean about writing--sometimes we just have to begin, and it's been my experience, the mundane opens a door to creativity. As for suggestions:
You did use "shot up" several times.
It was a fun read. Your site is a welcome visit in my day.

julie camp

JUST checking, last paragraph: "had just stopped short" or "had stopped just short"?

How is that for hair-splitting?

Re writer's block: you subject your stories (babies) to the scrutiny of friends while you entertain others at wine tastings, while you publish another book, while you tend to your health, home & family. Is it any wonder that your focus on writing is disturbed. Lose yourself in NOW, trust.

Rebecca Q. T. in Baltimore

Here are my suggestions:

1) I would recommend omitting the comma in "voices trail off, down the street" as it is unnecessary and cuts the sentence's flow.

2) "Curious, she shot up... and set out to follow the children's laughter." I think the ellipsis here is unnecessary. I understand you are including it to try and keep the rhythm light and conversational, but I think it comes across as a crutch that is marring an otherwise beautiful story. Either eliminate it altogether, which most certainly works, or change the structure of the sentence, i.e. "Curious, she shot up, setting out to follow the children's laughter."

3) In this sentence: "When Braise was halfway down the street the leash snapped and the chair fell away, spinning on its side to a full stop." I think you need to add a comma after "down the street" i.e. "When Braise was halfway down the street, the leash snapped..."

Anyway, as usual, just some suggestions that I hope are all received in the spirit of friendship and helpfulness in which they are offered.

This story would make a hilarious and wonderful illustrated children's book... just an idea.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Julie, thanks for checking that. I double-checked with Bill (who edits the thrice-weekly missives) and he agrees with you about this one being a misplaced modifier (never thought Id use that word!). That said, he thinks I can keep it as is because so many people say it this way. Thanks again for checking! I learned some grammar in the process :-)


Our dear Kristin,
Hardly writer's block! NO WAY!!!
I really loved the story the way it is!
You appeal to every dog lover (or even non dog lovers,for that matter)!!
Perfect grammar is great! (I didn't see THAT many errors);to me there is something so je ne sais pas about a story that wraps itself around my heart AS IS,without worries .... Love, Natalia XO


I think Grand Rue should be spelled grand'rue (that's according to my dictionary, which explains that an 'e' is left out).

Also, elle a echappe belle should be: elle l'a echappe belle (sorry, can't do accents here!

Kathy, Sacramento

Love the story. It would indeed make a great children's book. :-)

Agree with Julie, not Bill. I'd rather see "had stopped just short" regardless of what people may say. There's time to make it better when you write that people don't have in casual speech.

"Had found" works with what follows it.
Agree with all of Rebecca's points.
Keep on inspiring us, making us smile and encouraging us to grow!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago


Same village? First is photo caption, second is in the text.
Lovely photo, by the way. Essence of a vieux village.

Geat new puppy & child story. She can only be held by a chair with a person on it.

'stopped just short' does make the point more dramatically.

l'échapper belle, a good expression to know!

K from TN

the word "bumpedy" is incorrect spelling - should be "bumpity" - this is still a wonderful humourous heartwarming story. So glad that Braise was safe!

Mary Lou Johnston

I am not a new reader but a new "editor." I had all the same reactions as Rebecca. And, yes, it should be bumpity. Lovely word!

Your story is wonderful, full of action and rather like short film.

Mary Lou in NJ

Kristin Espinasse

Rebecca, thank you very much for these suggestions -- all very helpful (and all incorporated into the text. I'd love to make that a goal--to write a children's book based on this colorful episode. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration!

Natalia, your enthusiasm means so much!

Pamela, The name of the pedestrian street is indeed "Grand Rue". However, I like your suggestion (which adds to the vocab section, below!) and eliminates any confusion. Thanks for the "l" in l'échappé belle!

Kathy, thanks for the lovely cheers and for confirming that the grammar edits are good to go!

Sarah, thanks for the confirmation for the previous edits and for your correction (yes, it should be "Aygues". Glad you liked the photo -- I've decided to include it in the book!

K, thanks for the bumiTy spelling. Ouf, almost missed that one. Also, good to read your response to the story.

Mary Lou, thanks for backing up K and for an equally lovely response. Feeling good now about this story selection.

Any other edits or comments before I transfer this story to the manuscript? 


Lovely story!

In the second paragraph, 'announcing that he' sounds better than just 'announcing he'.

5th paragaph: 'if it hadn't been' rather than 'if it weren't'.

Last few paragraphs: put a space before the three dots (and make sure there are only three - one has four).

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Linda, for the edits. RE the three dots... I believe this will be worked out by Erin (our wonderful typesetter!)


Here's a challenge- Elementary French Children's Book. I worked in a French Immersion School - This would be great! Yes, in French!


First, I loved this story. Animal lover that I am I don't like to think about the little cuties getting into harm's way. Sooo happy this story had such a happy ending.

Now, I have only one suggestion. In the paragraph which begins...Braise swung left, etc., how about trying this:

The commotion resonated throughout the town as Braise and the chair rocketed down the narrow street. Windows flew open as villagers poked their heads out to have a look.

Run-on sentences always "muddy up" the text. Better to use separate, shorter sentences to get the point across. In writing, especiailly descriptive writing "less is best."


Hmmm, "especially" not as spelled above. Should have used my spell check.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Luci. Looking good now!

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