s'envoyer des fleurs & a request for blurbs!


Chairs in Bonnifacio (c) Kristin

When this madcap publishing adventure is over, can we all just sit down and have a drink together? Speaking of sipping, here's a word from Chief Grape:

Invite Rouge-Bleu wines to your table for Thanksgiving. They will assure you great success, even if you burn the Turkey. Click here to locate them or Email Chief Grape if you can't find a local retailer. Thanks for your support.

fignolage (fee-nyo-lazh)

    : touching up, polishing

C'est presque fini. Le reste c'est du fignolage.
It's almost done. The rest is finishing-up work.

 Also: un fignoleur/une fignoleuse = a meticulous worker

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

It may take a miracle to meet this Wednesday's publishing deadline, meantime... please have a look at the book description that I have just written up! It will go on the book page at Amazon and it may appear, in part, on the back cover (or on the first page of the book, followed by reader blurbs, which I hope will complete the book's description).

Note: I've given the sensitive job of choosing blurbs to my Mom! I hope to include many more blurbs on the first 4 pages of the book (do you think 6 pages would be overdoing it? Talk about sending oneself flowers! By the way, thank you so much for the blurbs you have sent!)

The following text will appear on the sales page for this book:

Blossoming in Provence

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of this blook.*

Following an emotional "scrape" with skin cancer, author Kristin Espinasse (Words in a French Life) decides to refocus her creative efforts. Rather than let a colorful imagination dispirit her, she puts her mind to work in a spirited project: "Publish a book in 21 days!" 

The madcap literary adventure that follows takes on a life of its own when Kristin invites her blog readers—and her mother—along for the ride!  

Opening up the heart of her blog, Kristin asks readers to edit her stories. Soon, everyone from a high school dropout to a literary agent begins to fix the author's punctuation and cure her misplaced modifiers. Offering forth a comma or a dash or a needed splash (Lourdes holy water, bien sûr!), these accidental editors give more than grammar tips—they give their heart and soul in an effort to help Kristin choose the best stories for her forthcoming book Blossoming in Provence (heck, they even come up with the book's title!). As the project careens forward to a self-imposed deadline, a parallel adventure in healing is taking place. 

Thanks for the behind-the-scenes, but what's the book about, anyway?
The result of these combined efforts is a semi-polished collection of over two dozen episodes "in a French life". Blossoming in Provence includes stories from the archives of French Word-A-Day. Go back in time with Kristin as she encounters, among the lavender and the locals, more language and cultural snares and learns that the only way to break free is by growing inwardly.  

Over two-dozen full-page black-and-white photos of Provençal life accompany these inspiring stories of cultural and inward transition.

Editorial Reviews

"Kristin Espinasse is the American Everywoman who opens our eyes to French life from the inside out. From back-breaking vineyard work to the joys of family, food and unique village characters, we walk the lavender-scented paths of Provence with her - and we believe." —Ellen Aragon

"Using the definition of a French word as a starting point, Kristin shares - with warmth and humor - her love of her adopted language as well as the challenges of marriage and motherhood. Kristin's gorgeous photos perfectly complement her descriptions of la vie quotidienne that make France come alive wherever you live." —Maureen McCormick

"Kristin's vignettes of life in France and her discoveries of the nuances of la belle langue are refreshing to both the novice francophile and the seasoned traveler. Because she explores France and French with the eyes of an American expat, her discoveries consistently reveal the complexities of language and culture. Never pretentious, always self-revelatory, Kristin demystifies the ways of France to the American reader." —Tim Averill 

"An American living her dreams and passions in the south of France, Kristin invites us, with remarkable frankness and generosity, to share her own and her family's challenges and triumphs. She inspires, enlightens and entertains with down-to-earth vignettes of daily life that sparkle with her wry humor, zest for life, energy and bon courage." —Lana Holmes

"The human expression of her experiences in life and France are generous, candid and warm. I have never met her, and I feel I know her very well. Her writing is like hearing a friend speak. Her willingness to be vulnerable I find inspiring; her quest to publish I feel is encouraging to me as a writer." —Hilary Tayeb

 * blook: a printed book that contains stories from a blog

Note: we still haven't chosen which blurbs will go on the back cover. If you have any suggestions let us know in the comments box below. 

*     *     *                  *     *     *                 *     *    *

Le Coin Commentaires

Do you think the text, above—along with the editorial blurbs—adequately explains the book's contents? Is it good to go? Let me know here, in the comments box

 Meantime, for those who would like to help me catch any typos, here are the next three stories to edit. Merci!


 Noeud: Learning to tie shoes in French

 S'Occuper: Josephine Baker and my Josey, Baker of pizza

Ceinture de Securite : buckling up my toddler, I receive an impromtu lesson in pronunciation

 For Editors Only: for those of you who have submitted edits and helped work on the stories in this collection, don't forget to add your name to the credits section, here!



  Photo and cover work (c) Tamara Dever, TLC Graphics & Narrow Gate Books

Many thanks to Tamara Dever, of TLC Graphics, for designing this book cover. Check out some of the gorgeous covers Tami has made, here

It is still a toss-up between this one... and the No. 2 cover, but we are getting there! Now to get the back cover squared away... the clock is ticking! Also, we are thinking of using reader Betty Gleason's catchy phrase, on the cover:

"As satisfying as a seven-course French dinner with lots of good wine and laughter!" —Betty Gleason

(Betty also came up with the title. If she isn't in publishing, she should be, don't you think?) 


A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Betty Gleason

This is getting embarassing! I just wanted to help someone I thought of as a friend, which from the outpouring of blurbs, most of your readers feel the same way.

Judith Harris

By all means include the last blurb in today's post. The part about your becoming a friend to many who have never met you is absolutely true.


Hi Kristin, I love every word I read. This blook is an adventure in love. Sending prayers every day for healing and even more love. Mary

Jan Marquardt

I'm so sorry I haven't helped with this project. I've been teaching, traveling, lecturing and trying to complete two books myself!! Know that I continue to follow your stories and my heart, if not myeditorial eye, are with you.


What an amazing project! It takes a village to raise a book. On y va!


Just a quickie - Tim Averill's blurb has a typo saying "then" not "the".

Glad it's all come together, and I agree - the front looks great!

Good Luck with the sales!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Nigel. Ill fix that. The quotes on the back cover may be different from the ones you see here. Well see what happens. Taking this one day at a time. 

Chère Betty, sorry to have embarrassed you. All the blame goes to the book designer (Tami) and director (Mom), who love your quote and title!

Jules Greer

Kristi Darling,

I was just thanking God a few minutes earlier for choosing me to be your Mother 43 years ago. I am always surprised when I open up your FWAD post - today you have once again set the standard for how we should use our talents and gifts from God.

I am always so proud of you, my heart is overflowing with love for you this morning.

Most of all I am most impressed with how much you value and love all of your friends here in 'La Coin Commentaires'. This is your greatest gift.



Sushil Dawka

Tim Averill's review has typos:
Incorrect spelling of your name (twice) and "ex-pat" should be "expat".

Jules Greer

Why isn't your full name on the spine of YOUR book?



Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Sushil. Ive just fixed these.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for catching that, Mom! 


hello :)

It may well be grammatically correct (I've looked at it so long now that I can't decide if it is or not), but 'another invasive surgery' just doesn't sound right to me. Shouldn't it be 'more invasive surgery' or 'another invasive operation'?

loving your work, though!


Sushil Dawka

Train ride?
More like a roller coaster!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Sushil. Should I change the text to roller coaster? Mom had a term shes used (over these past two-and-a-half weeks... I thought it had something to do with train.

Julie, I appreciate your note the word invasive. In addition from hearing it from friends (including readers) Ive looked it up:



The cover is beautiful! The French blue/lavender color of the volets picked up in the border is the essence of Provence.

Jan in Colorado

Another minor typo: "Opening up the heart of her blog, Kristin asks (not ask) readers". I love it all, the "flowers", the cover, the contents. I'm humbled by your readers who themselves have such a way with words. Beautiful!

Jean Lillibridge

Kristin asked (not ask). Can't wait to read the book.


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Jan! Ive fixed that typo.

Im humbled too, by the outreach of readers. I cant wait to get back to writing more French life episodes, and I hope to try out some of the grammar stuff I have learned over the past two weeks!

Sushil Dawka from Mauritius

Hello Kristin,
Please do consider changing to roller coaster. I too am along for the ride and this feels like no train!
I wouldn't comment if this wasn't part of your book but "another invasive surgery" is correct usage. I'm a Professor of Surgery who is hypersensitive to medical mangling of English.

Bruce T. Paddock

Jules -

A quick perusal of my library shows many more books with just the surname on the spine than with both names. And the ones with both names tend be the "household name" authors.

Of course, Kristin is a household name in my household, and if she wants both names on the spine, she should do it.


Kristin I like Tami's design for the book cover. Haven't been able to contribute to your project but know that you are in my thoughts. Sending best wishes for good health and for your wonderful book.


...a few things I noticed:

...one doesn’t have „a“ surgery....

Perhaps "Another bout of invasive surgery"?

NOR „an“ imagination.

To work „on“ a project, not "in".....

LOVE the whole project and the book looks really tempting. I would pick it up and browse.

Good luck, Kristin, I second all the compliments your fans give you. You're a very special woman! hugs, Maureen

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Love the book cover. When I look at it I get an "ahhh" feeling. I am enjoying riding the train with you and my friends at FWAD!


Sushil Dawka

'Surgery' is also a countable noun, a synonym for ' surgical operation' and "possibility of another invasive surgery" is correct usage.

Usage example from Oxford Advanced American Dictionary:
'She had three surgeries over ten days.'

Melanie Peterson

Love it. Sums up exactly why I have continued to be a faithful follower of your blog over the years. Great project - you go get 'em fillette!

Linda R.

Today's cover is beautiful - may it be your final choice. What a wonderful undertaking - best wishes and ... way to go!!

Marijcke Jongbloed

That was the cover I would have chosen. and I think Tim Averill's blurp is best for the cover of the book. the whole project is a marvellouus idea!
good luck

Sophie Day

Bonjour Kristin, I haven't been able to participate in this wonderful book-building effort because of work, but I am very excited to see it published. I have found the 21 day process inspiring and I commend your efforts. I look forward to buying it and rereading all your adventures in La Belle France! It will make a wonderful Christmas present for friends in France and well as the US. Bises, Sophie


As a recovering English instructor and tutor, I experienced a knee-jerk reaction to a comma splice. Therefore, I inserted a semi-colon after "tips" in the following sentence. "Offering forth a comma or a dash or a needed splash (Lourdes holy water, bien sûr!) these accidental editors give more than grammar tips; they give their heart and soul in an effort to help Kristin choose the best stories for her forthcoming book Blossoming in Provence."

I wish you well in your project.

Blessings, Mary Hunt Webb

Candy in CO

You are awesome!!! Can't wait to see the finished product! Not sure I like either the "train ride" or the "roller coaster" analogy. To me it's been more like a "whirlwind adventure". (just adding my 2 cents worth) :)

alicia brown

you have more than enough blurbs to choose from!!! How many? I'd choose 5.

You are ready to go!!! Best with the cover choice...I think I like the #2 better than #1. It pops more!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Mary. What if I change that to an em dash? ;-)

Offering forth a comma or a dash or a needed splash (Lourdes holy water, bien sûr!) these accidental editors give more than grammar tips; they give their heart and soul in an effort to help Kristin choose the best stories for her forthcoming book Blossoming in Provence.

Beth McNamara

Settle down into your favorite chair and travel to the South of France, where a transplanted Kristin Espinasse has translated her love of 'all things French' into a love of 'all things Life'. Join her on this journey as you read her wonderful stories and savor stunning photos of the life she's created in this place that has become her heart's home--France. From the first page you'll be transported as you meet her family, get to know the locals, and learn the beautiful French language, all at once - - and all of it told with a sense of intimacy, wonder,and gratitude. Pack your bag, crack open this book, and Bon Voyage!!
Beth McNamara

Bruce T. Paddock

The stories collected here show Kristin's writing at its best — entertaining, unpretentious, familiar, and profound.

Bruce T. Paddock

Ack! Let me change that.

The stories collected here show Kristin's writing at its best — entertaining, unpretentious, universal, and profound.

Sandra Vann

Bravo to you Kristin and all of your friends and helpful editors! Love the choice of the book cover (definitely the ONE)!
Betty's blurb comments and Beth's above among the fabulous. Bon chance ...you seem to be nearly there. Amazing accomplishment...it takes a village..in this case and blog readers! :) To much success, joy and at last soon hopefully some rest. Happy Thanksgiving Kristin to you and your family.
Will email Jean-Marc re: finding the wines in Colorado!

Kathleen Freeman

okay, out of all the times I wasn't following this daily. Cover - okay. either one... love the quote. Main reason why I posted now. I have enjoyed the progression. It does motivate me to grow and move on. I have been away from the computer dealing with some of my own personal cares. It motivates me to write. My mother passed away earlier this month. Your musings and thoughts have helped me to keep moments of joy present in my soul. I have been a language teacher. Yet, it is the love that comes through your writings that makes me come back and read. May be my writings may help someone like you have helped me. I am not in Provence yet... I am raising my children on a sheep farm in central Ohio with a culture all it's own. Golden retriever and Pyrenees guard dogs with my Tunis sheep in pasture is my scenery for the day. And I find comradery from you in Provence. It is probably the ever present attitude that one may learn and humour never hurts to help heal. The words of another language are an extra gift. Thank you.

Kathleen Freeman

Oh and I agree with your mother's personal message. It is important how we use the gifts that God has given us. Thank you for using yours, may I wisely use mine now.

Diane Scott

Why not change "fix" to "correct" in "begins to fix [correct] the author's punctuation and cure her misplaced modifiers." Alliterate, alliterate! Also, since all preceding is in the present tense, should "gave" in the following be "give?" (heck, they even gave her the book's title... thanks, Betty!).


Go for the pale yellow cover, which makes it easy to spot on a bookshelf alongside your first one. Also, no further blurb on the front - it will clutter a clean design. And please delete the "thanks, Netty comment re the name of the book: makes it seem too chummy and inbred to non-blog readers. Otherwise: hooray for you!


Instead of "Publish a book in 21-Days!" it should be "Publish a book in 21 days!"

And I'm with others: I'd change "along for the train ride" to "along for the ride." (What train ride?)


Denise Givens


Unfortunately I haven't had much time lately to read or comment, but I can't wait to read the book when it comes out! I love the title and the cover - very inviting! And I always enjoy reading your Mom's comments!

All the best,


Betty Gleason

I wouldn't want you to spoil the clean lines of the cover with a blurb. The blue color will stand out no matter what background it is on. #2 would disappear if on a light background. I think it is perfect as is.

Betty Gleason

Thanks for the shout out on the sales page, but I think it disrupts the flow.
If you keep mentioning my name, I'll be asking for royalties. LOL

gail bingenheimer

Je viens d'avoir un coup de fil de la part de qui tu sais.
I just had a phone call from you-know-who.

Votre éditeur; éditrice (your publisher)


Awww, you posted my blurb! :-))
But really it is not as strong as some of the others. I vote for McCormick, Averill, Tayeb and Gleason as the set of blurbs (no blurb on the front - the cover and colors are perfect as is!). Any chance you can print the photos in color? I'm sure it may be too expensive, but you frame things so well using color as well as shadow.
As for the back cover text, others may disagree, but I don't think you need to describe the surgeries here or emphasize that these stories are from 2005-2006. Either of these things could be a turn-off for some people (like the word "madcap" is for me! - I personally believe it is not to be used outside of the Wonderful World of Disney). Oh, Kristin, it will be enough for people who want to read about life in France to know that here are more stories in the continuum of a real, complicated and human life that just happens to be lived in a place where irises save the lives of kings!

Meredith Entin

For you Kristin, The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
- Henry David Thoreau
Dear Kristin,
I'm just now catching up on your latest blogs..I would like to add that I know through your eyes I will see beauty; truly; because you are able to put beauty into words and photos, it is a wonderful gift and we can sense it too. It's like looking at a beautiful painting and sensing the wonder of it. Mille Mercis. Merci beaucoup.

Kristin Espinasse

Ellen, I think you are right about that. Ill remove the surgery part, from this sentence (see the update in the blog post, above):

Following an emotional scrape with skin cancer and facing the possibility of another invasive surgery, author Kristin Espinasse (Words in a French Life) decides to refocus her creative efforts.

Now to see about removing the dates (2005/6)...

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Diane. Ive switched the past tense to present. Re why fix? I am trying to keep a parallel process here: the readers are fixing and curing my grammar (and, at the same time, healing is taking place... via the fixing and curing of my wound).


Hi, Kristin,

Just some thoughts... I think the cancer part is too scary. It doesn't really fit in with the tone of the book. And the "scrape" pun doesn't sit well, especially if one has had cancer. I would leave reference to it out, Also, I agree with a commenter above about leaving out the 2005-2006 reference. People might want something more current, or timeless even.

Also, as a retired (and sorry, non-recovering) editor, I would suggest going through your description and taking out some unnecessary commas so the sentences flow more easily. For instance, "As the project careens forward to a self-imposed deadline, a parallel adventure, in healing, is taking place." You don't need all those commas. "As the project careens forward to a self-imposed deadline, a parallel adventure in healing is taking place." Reads much more smoothly.

And if you leave the reference to Betty in, it should be "Thanks, Betty" instead of "Thanks Betty."

In the US, we put most punctuation inside quotation marks unless it is an exclamation point, semi-colon, or following a book title. "Publish a book in 21 days!" would have the exclamation point outside of the quotation marks unless that's a title, as in "Publish a Book In 21 Days!". (In which case, those words would be capitalized.)

"... two dozen episodes in a French Life". In this instance, the period would go inside the quotation marks. But maybe you are using another form of English grammar--British, maybe?

Another comma sentence: Go back in time now, with Kristin, as she encounters, among the lavender and the locals, more language and cultural snares, and learns that the...

How about this? Go back in time with Kristin as she encounters, among the lavender and the locals, more language and cultural snares and learns that the, etc.

It just needs to flow more smoothly to the reader, in my opinion.

I can't wait to read it all in one book! I hope this project will be successful enough to spur you on to more!

John Cunnington

Hello Kristin,
It would be cover No 2 for me, for sure !
I think it will appeal to more people when viewed on the book shelves. Light blue is lovely but a little cold looking.
Good luck with everything.
Kind regards, John. Exeter Devon UK


Bonsoir, Kristin! Just a little word of encouragement as I read yesterday's post and lovely blurbs people have offered... Everything is looking wonderful and this process is really fun to watch/be a part of. I have been trying to publish a book for a few months, so I can see how having such great friends and supporters rally behind you would be of great help for such a time crunch.

I really like Ellen's, Maureen's, and Hilary's blurbs in the post. Their wording I find just as charming as your stories. Best of luck making the selection.


Olga Brown

I don't know how it could happen that my big comment I wrote yesterday did not come through.
I have to repeat it. I think you should change the part about your cancer and surgery problems, because it sounds scary fron the very begining. You can smooth it out by writing something about your emotional roller coaster and leave that train where it it now.
Another thing I'd think you can change is the part about people helping you with editing. I would not mention that every high-school dropout could correct your spelling and stuff like that. Instead of going so deep into details I would thank my helpers for giving some ideas, suggestions, etc. with warm phrases and that's all.
I do want you to avoid mistakes and everything to work for you, showing your best sides and your book to be a bestseller.


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you very much Ellen, Olga, and Cyndy! I am taking your suggestion and leaving out the scrape and the references to it. It does take away from the raison dêtre behind the project, but this doesnt matter: what matters is that people understand whats inside the book.

Susan Carter

I can't wait to read the book - and I love the blue cover.


I'm very impressed by the accompanying text. It sweeps one off one's feet in an inclusive, compelling manner. Whoever wrote it deserves a gold star (and a bottle of your wine).

Paul Heffron

Hi Kristin,

How about publishing some of the commentaries as they are? Most are quite good.

Paul H.

Marianne Rankin

The various comments adequately explain the book's content. The blurbs are also well done. But in a later FWAD, you ask if there should be 6 pages of them. I think that might be too much. Let some blurbs/comments encourage the reader, then let the book speak for itself. Save the pages for the actual content.

Putting the stories in chronological order (and I've not gone back to check if they are already or not) would enable readers to follow the development of your family's adventures, especially as you move into wine-growing.

Gillian Michell

The blurbs are fine but in the description of the contents, take out the quotation marks, all of them! They're all unnecessary and tend you make your text sound cutesie, which you're not.
Good luck with the fignolage (great word!). The end is in sight!
- Gillian Michell, the former professional copyeditor

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