Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marilyn Brant's European tour stops here and we're giving away her latest novel!

**Giveaway is now closed**

We are thrilled to have Marilyn Brant back at Chick Lit Central. She was first here in the fall of 2010 to talk about "Friday Mornings at Nine." She's now sharing her latest novel, "A Summer in Europe" with us in a very cool way. Over the past month or so, she has gone on a blog tour by sharing a different European highlight at each stop. We are honored that she saved Paris for us, as Melissa P. is a huge fan of the city. We've also been featuring a lot of Paris themed novels lately, so it's a perfect fit!

Thanks to Kensington Books, we have TWO copies of "A Summer in Europe" for some lucky readers in the US or Canada.

You can visit Marilyn at her website and blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can also read an excerpt from "A Summer in Europe."

Should you wish to travel the full book/trip itinerary with Marilyn, the stops include:
Friday 11/25: Rome at Magical Musings
Monday 11/28: Pompeii at
SOS Aloha
Tuesday 11/29: Isle of Capri at
The Stiletto Gang
Wednesday 11/30: Venice at
Girlfriends Book Club
Thursday 12/1: Budapest at
Women's Fiction Writers
Friday 12/2: Florence at
Writer Unboxed
Monday 12/5: London at
Austen Authors
Tuesday 12/6: Salzburg at
Robin Bielman's Blog
Wednesday 12/7: Lake Como at
Brant Flakes
Monday 12/12: French Riviera at
Get Lost in a Story
Thursday 12/15: Pisa at
Fly High
Wednesday 12/21: Vienna at
What Women Write
Friday 12/30: Verona at
Brant Flakes
Monday 1/9: Brussels at

‘A Summer in Europe’ Adventure: Visiting Paris

First of all, many thanks to Melissa A and P, Amy and everyone at Chick Lit Central for inviting me to visit today. It’s wonderful to be here!

For the past month and a half, I’ve been celebrating the release of my third women's fiction book, "A Summer in Europe," by taking a journey around the web and talking about some of my favorite European sites, specifically the ones that appear in the new novel. The story is about a teacher named Gwendolyn Reese, who gets a month-long tour through Europe as a 30th birthday gift from her eccentric Aunt Bea and her aunt's Sudoku-and-Mahjongg Club. Gwen takes a chance and goes on the trip, and she soon finds herself zipping through famous capital cities, tasting wondrous regional dishes and meeting unusual people as she explores Italy, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Belgium and England.

One of the major cities Gwen visits late in the novel, and the place I’ve selected as my final stop for my blog/travel tour, is one of my European favorites: Paris. I usually hate to see a long trip come to an end but, if there must be a finale to the journey, the “City of Light” makes a lovely choice! I’ve been fortunate to visit Paris twice; both occasions were with my husband early in our marriage. Once upon a time, it had been the last city on our own grand European tour, back in the mid-1990s. My husband and I backpacked that summer from Munich to Vienna, all the way around Italy and up through the Swiss Alps to northern France. We then spent our last three uninterrupted days in Europe crisscrossing through Paris in every possible direction.

I still remember our hotel—a tiny inn near the Gare du Nord train station (really inexpensive!)—which had creaky wooden floors, a shared bathroom down the hall and a charming view of a neighborhood Parisian street. After picking up a tart or quiche from a shop nearby for breakfast, we’d trek into the center of town for the day…sometimes strolling, sometimes racing through the famous sites. I got to spend a little more time in the Louvre than my heroine does (she’s only given an hour to view the artistic masterpieces, while I had about five hours) but it still wasn’t long enough. That trip inspired me to learn to paint, so I wanted to see as much art as I could in the city, especially the Impressionists at the Orsay Museum, the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and the famous Rodin sculptures—all amazing.

My husband, who loves and teaches world history, insisted we visit Napoleon’s Tomb/Les Invalides, the site of the Bastille and the Place de la Concorde, but he also appreciated other major landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacré-Coeur Basilica and the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens (the photo of me alone by the flowers was taken there). We saw as much as we could in between what I felt was our REAL Parisian task: to taste-test all of those great pastries!!

Special thanks to Marilyn for the armchair adventure and to Kensington for sharing "A Summer in Europe" with our readers.

How to win "A Summer in Europe":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note:Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: Do you have a favorite city anywhere in the world that sparks your imagination? One that calls to you and has you daydreaming of taking a trip there?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends January 16th at midnight EST.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really fun travel novel, I'd love to win one.
1. I've been to Athens many times but I often daydream about going back.
2. I do follow this blog.
3. I have posted this contest on Twitter.
4. I am a member of Chick Lit Central on Facebook.
Thanks for the giveaway op...Carl

Anonymous said...

I have not one favorite city, but many! I've never been to Europe, but dream of taking the grand tour one day...

ndbh39 AT yahoo DOT com

Marilyn Brant said...

Carl, I've only been to Athens once but I *loved* it!! I daydream about going back there again someday, too...

ndbh39/Anonymous, I agree with you! It's so hard to choose just one amazing place, isn't it? Hope you'll get to go on a grand tour in the near future ;).

Anonymous said...

I love London and Inverness. I definitely hope to go back to London, but it's possible that Inverness just really suited our needs when we were there, and might not be as special if we went back...not sure if I want to burst the bubble! It looks as if we might go to France this summer, so I will make note of Marilyn's favorites for Paris...and I'm sure I will spend much of my time evaluating pastries.


Marthalynn said...

What a fun book! It would definitely light my wanderlust fire.

I have never been to England, but I would love to wander the countryside and see the old manors and castles and imagine the lives that have happened in them.

I'm a follower :)

marthalynn16 (at) gmail (dot) dom

Kim W. said...

1. New York! I've never been but will make it there one day!

2. I follow the CLC blog

3. I posted this on FB

4. I belong to CLC on FB


Alexa S. said...

This book sounds like a dream - I've always wanted to go on my own journey to Europe! Hopefully, that happens someday, but for now, I'd settle for being able to read this novel.

The cities I want to visit someday (or at least my top choices!) are Paris, London, Santorini and Barcelona :)

alexalovesbooks AT gmail DOT com

The Book Chick said...

I would love to win this one- I'm a Marilyn Brant fan!


I have never been to London, England, but I have always wanted to go.

I am a GFC follower.

I am a Facebook member.

The Reading Frenzy said...

Wow, this is your last stop. What a ride it's been Marilyn. Well it's not someplace I've ever been but I've always wanted to visit the Highlands of Scotland, maybe meet someone wearing say a kilt :)

Stephanie said...

I'd love to go to Ireland someday.

I'm a gfc follower.


Literary Chanteuse said...

My favorite city is Lucerne, Switzerland. It is so beautiful! When I went there I literally held my breath for a moment when I got off the train and stepped out of the station and took my first look. It is breath taking! I want to go back!
I'm a follower.


Marilyn Brant said...

Kristin, I love London (the landmarks, the theater, the tube, the Cadbury bars... :) and wish we had gotten as far north as Inverness. You'll have to tell me about it sometime! And, ohh, if you go to France this summer, I'd LOVE to hear all the details!!

Marthalynn, thank you for your lovely comments about the book! I hope it's a story you might enjoy. And as for castles, it would be fascinating to see those in England. My husband and I went to a couple of them, but I saw a PBS program once that showed some really cool ones (Conway?) that I'd love to visit, too!

Kim, New York is *awesome*!! For the longest time, I was afraid to go there (I think I watched too many movies of "dangerous NYC" back in the '70s/'80s :), but I was just there for a big writing conference this past summer and fell in love with it all over again. Hope you'll get to visit it soon!!

Alexa, thank you so much for saying that! I tried very hard to make the story feel like a real European journey for the reader ;). And I love the places you mentioned -- all 4 of them!! Each so different but so fascinating...

Marilyn Brant said...

Jonita, I love London, too!! And I'm sending you a virtual hug for saying you're a fan -- thank you!! :)

Deb, LOL!!! I have, perhaps, read a few too many Scottish historical romances not to also long to see a Highland hero in a kilt... xox

Marilyn Brant said...

Stephanie, thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you'll get to visit Ireland, too -- it's beautiful ;).

Margaret, it's so nice to see you here! I've only been through Lucerne, but I loved visiting Switzerland as well. Those mountains are just gorgeous!!

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this fabulous novel :)

my daydreaming city is...charleston, south carolina

i'm a follower, too!

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Kristen said...

Are you sure the prize can't be to just hop in your suitcase and take the rest of the tour with you? :) It sounds awesome!

Favorite daydream location is Hawaii!


Queen of Reading said...

I don't have a favorite city.

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

I follow via gfc, twitter and facebook

Robin Bielman said...

Hi Marilyn! I couldn't miss this last stop on your tour! You know I can't wait to get to Paris one day. Loved the pictures you shared, and huge thanks for taking us along on this awesome virtual trip around Europe.

(Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I have a copy of the book. And LOVED it!)

Heather said...

I love Europe, but I'd really love to see Australia some day!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Heather said...

I'm a follower!
ra6352 (at) gmail (Dot) com

Heather said...

I'm a member of CLC!
ra6352 (at) gmail (dot) com

Jeryl M. said...

I don't have a favorite city but I have always wanted to go to the scandanvian countries.

I am a Facebook follower.

I am a subscriber.


StereoQueenBee said...

1. Please tell us: Do you have a favorite city anywhere in the world that sparks your imagination? One that calls to you and has you daydreaming of taking a trip there?

Mine is NYC so far, but I also really want to experience London and SF.

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow this blog.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

Am a member

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Marilyn Brant said...

Karen K, Charleston, SC is really beautiful -- I can see why you love it!

Kristen, LOL!! I love the way you think! Believe me, I wish I could offer that prize -- for me as well as for you ;).

Queen of Reading, thanks for stopping by!

Robin, I think of you when I think of Paris now :). You will get there sometime soon -- I know it! -- and will have a well-deserved, wonderful time! xox

Heather, I was an exchange student in Australia when I was in high school and I absolutely fell in love with it...sigh. Wish I could go back and take my kid (who LOVES koalas!). Gorgeous country!

meandmom/Jeryl, I hope you'll get to visit Scandinavia! I was there only once, but I'll never forget how beautiful the fjords were...

StereoQueenBee, first of all, thanks so much for sharing this post -- I appreciate that! And, also, you've chosen some really incredible cities. I love all three ;).

Erica said...

Can't wait to read this. I'd LOVE to win a copy.


1. Paris [of course]. It's magical.
2. I am a follower already.

Lilian said...

1. I love city life, so NY definitely, if only I could live in a hotel overlooking Times Square for life.

2. Followed~

3. https://twitter.com/circustoybox/status/157228259380170755

4. Joined Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

settings.lilianxcheng AT gmail DOT com

Lilian said...

oops, the twitter link was wrong, heres the right one: https://twitter.com/circustoybox/status/157233858817961984

ADR527 said...

I'd love to go to Rome.

I follow on twitter,facebook and the blog.

adr52775 at aol dot com

Marilyn Brant said...

Erica, thank you!! I hope it's a story you'll enjoy, and I agree with you on the magical nature of Paris ;).

Lilian, thanks! NYC is amazing, isn't it? I can't believe the energy in Times Square... What an incredible city.

ADR527, ahhhhh, me, too! My husband is half Italian, so Rome was one of our first must-see cities. We loved it :-).

rubynreba said...

Sounds like a book I would really enjoy.

My ancestors came from Sweden and I would love to visit Stockholm.

I am a follower.

Facebook member.


bn100 said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

1. Rome
2. I am a follower


Anonymous said...

Hi Marilyn, Good luck on your tour!
I have to say my favorite vacation city of all has been Sydney, Australia. While down under,I enjoyed attending the ballet at the Opera House. We then traveled to Alice Springs and spent several days in the outback. That's where Ayers Rock is located and that was spectacular!
I follow CLC. writeoncindy(at)yahoo(dot)com cindy in miami

Marilyn Brant said...

rubynreba, I only had the pleasure of visiting Stockholm once, but it was a wonderful city and I would love to go back. Hope you will get to visit it sometime soon :).

bn100, I love Rome, too!! Thanks so much for visiting!

Cindy, I was an exchange student in Australia when I was in high school, so I got to see a little of Sydney (such an amazing city!), but I never got to go that far inland. I've heard that seeing Ayers Rock is incredible!!! So very cool that you got to visit there!

Courtney said...

I haven't been to the Carolin's since I was a little kid and I dream about going back there all the time.

I am a blog and Facebook follower.

I reposted this giveaway on Twitter.

courtney (dot) marie (dot) turner (at) gmail (dot) com

Anjana said...


1.Los Angeles is my favorite city in the world, hands down.
I've been there a lot of times before but always want to go back!

2. Already follow your blog.

3. Tweeted about it : https://twitter.com/#!/anjanavasan/status/158088447540740096

4. Am a member on FB!

Wendy said...


I can't wait to travel thru Europe via this novel :) Italy has always intrigued me; I would love to visit Rome sometime soon!


I am a member at Chick Lit Central on Facebook

Anonymous said...

I am a member on both GFC and FB.
I posted this giveaway on my blog.
Jencey: jenceyg msn com.

I have always had the desire to see Venice Italy. :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Courtney, that's a beautiful part of the country! I can see why you'd want to go back ;).

Anjana, I've never visit L.A. as a grown up, and I should... I was only there for a couple of days when I was a teen, but it's not the same as getting to explore a huge, fascinating city like that as an adult who can drive!! (Although, I've heard wild stories about the traffic there. :)

Wendy, probably more than anywhere in the world I daydream about Italy. It's just such a beautiful country. I hope you'll get to visit, and I really hope you'll enjoy the journey in my novel!

Jencey, thank you for stopping by! And...Venice, Italy...sigh. What an incredible and unique city!! I love it.

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Love, love, love the cover of this :o) It sounds like a great story too!


+1 I love Savannah, GA! I've never been able to spend a lot of time there, but I hope to live nearby one day in future - maybe have a bookstore IN Savannah :o)

+1 I'm a GFC follower :o)

+1 I've joined on fb (Rebecca M Fleming)

Bonnie said...

I am a follower!

Bonnie said...

I have always dreamed of going to Santorini in Greece!

Bonnie said...

I follow on Facebook.

Bonnie said...

Shared contest on Facebook.

Bonnie said...

I follow on Twitter.

Bonnie said...

Posted contest on Twitter.

Allison said...

Not a city but a country. India! I just went and would love to go back to anywhere in the country!

I am a GFC follower


Marilyn Brant said...

Rebecca, *waving*! Very nice to see you here, and thank you ;). I was only in Savannah for a brief time, but it was a gorgeous city!!

Bonnie, thanks so much for all the sharing you did!! It was so nice to meet you on Twitter today, too! And Santorini...sigh. How beautiful that is :).

Allison, I've never been to India, but I can imagine what a fascinating place it must be!! You must have really loved it if you just returned from there and already want to go back! I'll bet it was wonderful...

Nancye said...

I would love to win a copy of this book! It sounds like a great book!

One of my favorite cities in the world is Kunming, Yunnan, China ---the city where my daughter was born. The city is also called the "Spring City" because of it's mild temperatures and beautiful plants and flowers.

GFC Follower

I Tweeted!

FB Post
FB ID: Nancye Epperson Davis

I like you on Facebook

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Marilyn Brant said...

Nancye, thank you so much for sharing this on Twitter & FB and for taking time to comment! It's nice to see you here ;). China is a country I've never visited myself, but my aunt and uncle went there a few years back and LOVED it! I can imagine it would be especially meaningful to you and your family to visit since your daughter was born there. I love the sound of "Spring City"...

Thanks again to everyone at CLC for hosting me (I love visiting here :) and to all of you for your fabulous comments. I've enjoyed reading every one of them!!