Thursday, August 18, 2022

Checking in with Dee a book giveaway

Today we welcome Dee Ernst back to CLC to talk about her latest rom com, Lucy Checks In. If the stunning and picturesque cover hasn't already grabbed you, then the synopsis definitely will. Her previous novel is Maggie Finds Her Muse, but Dee is here to tell us how she found HER muse. She also has TWO copies of Lucy Checks In to give away!

Dee Ernst was born and raised in New Jersey, which may explain her attitude toward life. She moved around a bit, had a husband or two, a daughter or two, and settled back in New Jersey where she writes women's fiction, romance, and cozy mysteries. And a bit of YA and SFF.

She has self-published under the 235 Alexander Street imprint. She has been published by Montlake, Lake Union, and in 2021, released Maggie Finds Her Muse with St. Martin's Griffin. 

Visit Dee online:


Lucia Giannetti needs a fresh start. Once the hotel manager of a glamorous NYC hotel and intimately involved with the hotel’s owner, Lucy had her entire future planned out. But when the owner disappears, taking millions of dollars with him, Lucy's life as she knows it falls apart.

Two years later, forty-nine years old and unemployed, Lucy takes a job in Rennes, France to manage the Hotel Paradis. She pictures fur quilts and extravagant chandeliers, but what she finds is wildly different. Lucy is now in charge of turning the run-down, but charming hotel into a bustling tourist attraction. 

Between painting rooms, building a website, and getting to know Bing, the irritatingly attractive artist, Lucy finds an unexpected home. But can she succeed in bringing the Hotel Paradis to its former glory?

Witty and heartfelt, Lucy Checks In is an inspiring and feel-good novel about reclaiming your life, finding love, and creating a home in places you never thought possible. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

"This funny, heartwarming story has all the charm of a small-town romance, with a delightful French twist." 
~Publishers Weekly

How I went to France and wrote my heart out

Five years ago, my oldest daughter decided to move to France. Rennes, in Brittany, to be precise. She wanted to study at the University there and decided, on a previous visit, that Rennes was ‘her place.’ She worked, sold everything she owned, got the money she needed and, with literally all her possessions in a backpack and two suitcases, flew to Paris, then took a train to Rennes to start her new life.

As her mother, of course I had to go with her. After all, she needed somebody to claim that extra suitcase of belongings, right? And help her move into her new place?? And to see Paris???

We had an amazing time playing tourists; we stayed in fabulous apartments through VRBO, ate incredible food and saw all the sights. I was smitten. I thought that maybe France could be my place too.  I returned to New Jersey desperate to write about what I had seen, heard, ate and drank. 

I was fascinated with the country and its people. For one thing, everything there is so old. Yes, I know that we’re a younger country, and we don’t have buildings dating back to the 1300’s.  But it’s not just the age of the buildings. Those buildings are not torn down and replaced with something new. Tommy Hilfiger shops are in 16th century storefronts. Cobblestone streets remain smooth and well-used. Timber framed houses lean and no one thinks to tear them down. 

Are there cultural differences? You bet. You bag your own groceries, for example, in your own bags. No tipping. When you enter a shop, you’re expected to say hello. People in cafes talk to each other, not their phones. I wanted to write about all of it.  In a casual conversation with my accountant – probably over wine (yes, she’s a friend) – she told me that if I wrote a book that took place in Paris, I could deduct the cost of the whole trip as research. 


So, I wrote Maggie Finds Her Muse, about a romance writer who’s on deadline, is totally blocked, and goes to Paris for inspiration. And why not? After all, I’d been inspired. The book sold to St. Martin’s Press and came out in 2021 and readers loved the descriptions of the city, the people, and the food.  Everything I had found so interesting about France went into Maggie Finds Her Muse and helped bring the story and country to life.

When I went back two years later — another research trip — I took notes. And pictures. My daughter, still living in Rennes, had just gotten married to a French musician, so we saw life through the eyes of a native, not a tourist, and what a difference! Then I went home to write my newest book, Lucy Checks In.

Lucy Checks In takes place mostly in Rennes, because it is such a beautiful city. Walking down its streets, you can easily imagine what life was like hundreds of years ago. I wanted my character, Lucy, to find a new life for herself in an unexpected place. I wanted a fish-out-of-water story, and I really wanted her to be in charge of a hotel that people would want to visit in real life. The Hotel Paradis is not real, but if it was, it could easily be in Rennes.

I can’t wait to go back to France. This time, I want to go to Avignon. And Lyon. And…well, anywhere would suit me just fine. And will I write another book? You bet. After all, why waste all that research!

Thanks to Dee for visiting with us and for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

Giveaway ends August 23rd at midnight EST.

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Toni Laliberte said...

My best hotel experience was when I stayed with two friends, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, in 2005. We were there for five days/four nights and it was very comfortable, good food and great amenities, like money off Broadway shows. It's a beautiful hotel and in a great location.

Christina Lorenzen said...

Hi Dee,
Both of your books sound wonderful and as someone who has been wanting to go to Paris, and almost made it in 2020 but then you know (the pandemic had just begun), I want to read them both. I'm looking forward to armchair traveling with you through your books. I'll be sure to follow you on Amazon to see what else you have coming out.
Great post!

Rita Wray said...

I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel, it was great.

Nancy P said...

Holiday Inn Express in Orlando, FL - Treated like VIPs!

Mary C said...

Hotel du Vieux Quebec in Old Quebec City

Anonymous said...

Susieqlaw: I stayed at the Embassy Suites. It was dreamy. Really nice rooms and beds. Delicious breakfast buffet. Evening reception. I slept so well.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

Let's just say when you go for the cheapest all-inclusive package, you get what you pay for. They just don't seem to keep up the decor of the buildings. And then there are the ones that snag you for time-share. They take up your whole first day there when you could be enjoying the sunshine. And the only good suite are actually the time share suites, the rest are just as run-down.

Mary Preston said...

How about live electrical wires hanging down in the shower - China.

holdenj said...

Had to travel during the early part of the pandemic due to emergency. There may have been no breakfast bars, but one hotel had individual baggies of ice. At the time, it seemed very special.

bn100 said...

on the beach

jpetroroy said...

The hotel that had a dance club on the ground floor. Base thumping until two in the morning—it was awful.

diannekc said...

When we stayed at Opreyland inits Nashville. The hotel is so big, it's easy to get lost. There was a banana tree outside our door. There is so much going on there,
It's hard to get bored.