My Grape Village Paperback now available!

cover_my-grape-village Mes amis! I promised I would let everyone know when My Grape Village was released in paperback and c'est fait!  My advice is to order it directly off which provides the quickest delivery by a long shot. Just click here to order.

Also, our contest winner will be drawn and announced on Monday, so stay tuned...

Grape Titles!

I have had a lot of people ask me why the books in my Grape Series have similar titles. They do indeed: My Grape Year (currently writing)

My Grape Paris (to be written)

My Grape Escape (published)

My Grape Village (published)

My Grape Town (to be written)

My Grape Baby (to be written)

Interspersed between these will be a scattering of smaller memoirs (memoirellas?) such as My Grape Wedding, My Grape Cellar, My Grape Summer, etc.

For our French life, "grape" has always been highly emblematic. Our network of vacation rentals is called "Grape Rentals". I liked the play on the word "great" plus in my mind a grape evokes so many things that are profoundly Burgundian - the earth, tradition, the rhythm of the seasons, the combination of man and nature to create something truly sublime...

These titles came to me right away, whereas the title for my paranormal romance continues to elude me. The working title is "Silver Fish", pulled from the poem by early Canadian poet Isabella Valency Crawford that inspired my epic story idea over a decade ago.

The line goes "Love is like a silver fish, shy of line and shy of gaffing."

Unfortunately, I was informed very quickly by my fellow writers (who are, thank god, blunt when they need to be) that "silverfish" were also pestilential insects that called for reliable fumigaters. Not really an association I wanted for a paranormal romance. So....back to the drawing board, except that I'm still waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration. If you have any ideas, please help me!

Anyway, back to The Grape Series. I realized after I had already decided on the "Grape" titles that one of the reasons having the almost-identical title repeated again and again was that it reminded me of my first love in the world of memoir writing:


Who else is with me on this one?

At Thanksgiving dinner this weekend when my sisters and I were gushing over the "Little House" series my brother-in-law Mark said, "Christ! I frickin' hated those goddamned books." Maybe there is a gender split here, but in any case I LOVED them. Also, I have never forgotten this section near the end of Little House in the Big Woods that struck me as a six-year-old when my mom read Suzanne and I the whole series one winter, and stays with me still. To me, it embodies the magic of memoir:

When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, "What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?"

"They are the days of a long time ago, Laura," Pa said. "Go to sleep, now."

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa's fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, "This is now."

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

Hang Out With Moi

photo[9] Come hang out with me and let's talk writing, self-publishing, and mustering up the courage to create:

FACEBOOK - You can find me at where I procrastinate a tad too much, posting anything useful and inspiring about living a writerly life.

TWITTER - I fart around on here as @Author_LB , hanging out with other writers and the self-publishing community (it gets lonely sometimes), posting word counts to keep me motivated, and participating in writing sprints.

INSTAGRAM - I keep a photo diary of my daily life as laurabradburywriter : the good (my family, my writing life, and the beach), the bad (my rare auto-immune liver disease), and the ugly (even ugly on Instagram looks beautiful, which is why we are all addicted).

PINTEREST - Eh oui, I too have fallen down this vortex of gorgeousity. My boards are under my vacation rental persona as graperentals and will likely make no sense to others and illustrate once and for all that my brain is a messy place. However, suffice to say I have discovered the art of creating mood boards for my stories and I am hooked.

Paperback of MY GRAPE VILLAGE - sneak peek!

MGV Full cover Master Pink This feels disloyal but I have to admit it - I vastly prefer reading a paperback or hardcover book to a digital book. Kindles and Ipads are very practical when traveling, or in bed when your grumpy husband doesn't understand why you need to stay up so late because you are deeply engrossed in a story (!), but I look at a screen all day when working. The tactile experience of shifting to an actual book for me is pure pleasure.

Since publishing the Kindle version of MY GRAPE VILLAGE - you can also download the Kindle app for free on your Ipad and read it on there - if I can figure it out, anybody can! - two days ago, I have had many people ask when the paperback is due out.  Rebecca, my graphic designer, Paul, my formatter, and me are working very hard and the estimate is about October 15th.

Rebecca sent me this mock-up of the paperback cover yesterday and I got so excited I thought I'd share it with you. What do you think? I'd love to know.

The first review of MY GRAPE VILLAGE was posted last night (from a very speedy reader as the book does clock in at over 110,000 words). As always, reviews are HUGELY appreciated and make a massive difference for us authors. I am tres, tres curious to find out what you lovely people think of my story. This is the nerve-wracking part of putting my writing out there to share with the world. That, at least, never changes!

Here it is:

"5.0 out of 5 stars Just As Captivated With This Sequel October 8, 2014
By ina
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved Laura's first book "My Grape Escape" and found that I was just as captivated with this sequel. Like the first book, it is a lovely and entertaining read by an author who has a detailed eye for cultural differences and a gift for sharing it in her writing. You get drawn into the characters in their new situations and roles. Burgundy becomes your next travel destination. I read it in one sitting. Being relatively new to digital books, I found myself checking and hoping that I wasn't reaching the end soon. (The sign of a great book for me.)"

MY GRAPE VILLAGE is now available!

9 After eleven months of writing, coffee, rewriting, coffee, editing, coffee, more rewriting, more coffee, and still more endless editing MY GRAPE VILLAGE is available this morning on Kindle. The paperback will be out in the next two weeks.

Behold the blurb!

Five years after “My Grape Escape,” Laura and Franck are back in Burgundy to tackle their newest project, a derelict 16th century winemaker’s cottage located behind Franck’s family home. Not only is this a daunting rebuild from the ground up, Laura and Franck now have two preschoolers adjusting to the foreign customs of a French school. 

Navigating the different rules for raising children and managing a family in a small French village prove every bit as challenging for Laura as learning to drive a stick shift through narrow streets, or arguing with the Architect of French Monuments over permissible paint colors (spoiler alert: any color as long as it’s gray). Come along on this evocative and honest journey where love, coupled with good French food and local wine, pave the way to la belle vie.

I cannot wait to hear your feeback and I hope you have as much fun reading MY GRAPE VILLAGE as I had writing it. As always, I am forever grateful for your ongoing love and support (and your reviews on Amazon or Goodreads). Please shout out the joyous news to the rooftops (or, better yet, share it on social media) that book #2 in The Grape Series and the sequel to the Bestselling MY GRAPE ESCAPE has arrived.

I'm off to eat a square of chocolate to celebrate! Merci mes amis. Bisous to you all. xo



My Grape Escape Pilgrimage


This is so fun! Friends of friends read My Grape Escape recently and were inspired to make a pilgrimage to Magny-les-Villers and La Maison des Deux Clochers. Even better, they blogged about it! Read all about their adventures in Burgundy here. I love that they took our advice and lunched at our favorite local routier "L'Auberge du Guidon" in nearby Comblanchien and familiarized themselves not only with French truckers (and their moustaches) but huge communal bottles of wine and gargantuan "help yourself" cheese platters.

During their stay in Magny they ventured out to the epic Monday morning market in Louhans and blogged about it  (scene of our memorable day with Rene when we ended up going home with a freshly butchered poulet de bresse and a pile of dirt cheap Emile Henry kitchenware). That was when Rene reminded me to "never confuse what is urgent with what is truly important."

I hope you enjoy these two blog posts as much as I did. I wonder what trips My Grape Village will insipre?



Grape Harvest has begun!

The grape harvest in Burgundy has begun! Sue Boxell from "Burgundy on a Plate" wine tours sent this photo yesterday. 10661875_949176025108271_725547513571219349_o I'm currently finishing up one of my LAST round of edits for "My Grape Village" which will be published next month. I'm at that stage where I feel as one writer friend put it, as though somebody has locked me in a dark closet and is forcing me to smoke every single page of my manuscript without a break! The same day that Sue sent this photo I was editing this scene of Charlotte and Camille taking part in the harvest shortly after our move back to Burgundy. I thought you might enjoy the excerpt!


Hand in hand, with the girls skipping in front of us, casting up the ochre vineyard dust, we made our way over to the harvesters. They were a motley crew, dressed in filthy clothes, with T-shirts or shorts tied around their heads to protect them from sunstroke. I knew that some of them were probably doctors and lawyers or other well-heeled friends of the winemaker who came and did the harvest every year, picking side by side with backpacking teenagers and unemployed youth. Harvesting was the great equalizer and they would all be complaining about the heat of the beating sun and sore backs from kneeling down in the dirt all day long.

Unlabeled bottles of wine were being passed up and down the rows. Charlotte and Camille stood at the head of the row, wide-eyed and tiaras askew.  

“Do you want to try to harvest some grapes?” A man with an impressive girth and a pink t-shirt wrapped around his head came over and kneeled down beside the girls. He held out his wickedly sharp shears.

“Go ahead,” I said, while Franck began chatting with another bare-chested man wearing a fraying straw hat. Franck and he seemed to vaguely know each other. I watched as the pink T-shirt man took Camille and Charlotte half way down the row and showed them how to separate the grape bunches from one another and where to cut the grapes off the vine. They cut off several bunches each until the man’s bucket was full.  

He kept up a constant stream of chatter and the girls occasionally nodded yes or no and Charlotte even squeaked out an occasional oui. When he asked them if they were from Savigny the girls shook their heads and Charlotte whispered “Non. Nous sommes Canadiennes.”

“Canada!” he exclaimed, then stood up and shouted out to his fellow harvesters “We have little girls here that have come all the way from Canada to help us with the harvest. Everybody say bonjour to les petites canadiennes!”

Everyone shouted bonjour and Charlotte and Camille were immediately swept into the team of harvesters. My girls snipped off grapes, helped haul buckets to the tractor and then, when that was full, they were invited to ride on the tractor that was festooned with grape vines back to the village. 

Franck and I followed behind on foot through the vineyards.

“Did you know that guy you were talking too?” I asked.

“Vaguely. Turns out he’s a distant cousin, maybe second or third cousin. We couldn’t really figure it out.” This happened often since we arrived in Burgundy. Sometimes I wondered whether Franck wasn’t related in one way or another to most of the people here.

The tractor wove through the narrow streets and into the cuverie at a local winemaker’s family Domaine where the grapes were dumped out on the sorting table. We were all given a glass of freshly pressed grape juice to sip, although our new friend used imaginative miming to explain to the girls that they had to be careful not to drink too much or else they would get an explosive case of diarrhea.

About two hours later we all wandered out of the massive cuverie, Camille and Charlotte both wearing crowns of grape leaves and vines laid over their tiaras. They were smiling from ear to ear. 

CRUSHES - Philosophy of Preschoolers - Volume 2

I just wrote down this recent conversation between Clem and Anna for Volume 2 of Philosophy of Preschoolers. It just gives you a little glimpse at the nuggets of wisom contained inside! ***

Clem: "I still have a crush on Riley you know Anna."

Anna: "Why are you telling me that Clem?"

Clem: "It's important. I realized that maybe after the summer you didn't realize that I still had a crush on Riley after all this time, but I do. Cousins need to tell each other important stuff."

Anna: "You're right. I'm having a princess party for my fifth birthday. I'm going to have a princess cake and princess crowns and-"

Clem: "Why are you telling me this Anna?"

Anna: "Because it's important."

Clem: "But not important like a crush."

Anna: (mutinously) "It is. Princess parties are so important...anyway, what does it mean to have a crush?"

Clem: "It means I still love Riley."

Anna: "Why is it called a crush then? Why don't you just say that you love him?"

Clem: "'s called a crush because when you really love someone you want know...crush them on the ground or against a fence."

Anna: "That would hurt them."

Clem: "You have to crush them otherwise they might escape. They need to be trapped."

Anna: "Oh. That makes sense."

Clem: "You don't want the boy you love to escape, you see, but they always try to escape and run away. That's what's so hard about crushes."

Anna: "I'm glad I don't have a crush."

Clem: "It's not easy."


"My Grape Village" Publication Update

village_door_by_annamarcella24-d5kdmzc Dearest amis. With my publication of my ebook Philosophy of Preschoolers a couple of days ago, I didn't want you to think I had been neglecting the sequel to My Grape Escape entitled My Grape Village. Pas du tout! 

Philosophy of Preschoolers has been hugely fun to put together during those weeks when I was waiting for one or another of the rounds of edits from My Grape Village to come back to me. Here is a great review that was posted today on that does a much better job of summing up this hard-to-describe chef d'oeuvre of the preschool brain than I can:

"I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading The Philosophy of Preschoolers, but what it turned out to be was a complete delight. Clem is a wildly imaginative five year old trying to make sense of the world, and Anna is her smart as a whip, practical three year old cousin. Mom chimes in occasionally, but basically it's a brilliant My Dinner with Andre, courtesy of Clem and Anna. I laughed aloud multiple times, once or twice wiping tears of laughter, too. Highly recommended!"

I just received the My Grape Village mansucript back from my beta-readers and am racing through this second to last round of edits. Lastly, I will need to do the copy edits but that generally goes quite fast. So if all goes well (fingers & toes crossed) My Grape Village should be available for purchase as both an ebook and a paperback at the beginning of October.

It is also turning out rather larger than My Grape EscapeMy Grape Village is clocking in at about 110,000 words whereas My Grape Escape was around 75,000. So, LOTS of new adventures in Burgundy contained between its covers!

I am teaching a workshop on self-publishing at the fantabulous Surrey International Writers' Conference at the end of October (in the company of Herself aka Diana Gabaldon *gasp*) as well as doing a Keynote speech on giving youself permission to be a writer (before it's too late) on the Sunday morning. I am determined to have My Grape Village all ready and published by then.

In the meantime this means you are still eligible to win a free week at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne if you go to my website and sign up for my mailing list before then. Tout le monde on my mailing list will be eligible for the draw.

Bonne chance, keep in touch, and rest assured I am constantly writing, editing, and publishing new things for my readers - truly the loveliest and most supportive people in l'univers.  I think you all deserve a big french bisous. *smack*

Philosophy of Preschoolers Published!

Philosophy of Preschoolers has arrived! If YOU need a break (and...come's September, who doesn't?) from being grown-up treat yourself to the "Philosophy of Preschoolers" ebook - 50 of the most hilarious conversations with and between Clem, Anna, and co.. Insight, humour, boogers, contemplation of important questions such as whether Celine Dion farts or's all here for the modest sum of $2.99 US (or $3.25 on Just click here to buy. 

I just published it yesterday afternoon and already this happened...

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.27.21 PM

As well as this...

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.27.03 PM

So thank you SO MUCH. If you can write a review you will earn the eternal gratitude of me, Clem, and Anna! Reviews really count on Amazon and makes them show our chef d'oeuvre to a huge amount of prospective readers.

PoP cover-green-1[2]below title


Race to the Finish Contest Update


Bad News for you / Good News for Me: I have edited 84,000 of 88,000 words of "My Grape Village"

Good News for You / Bad News for me: I realize I need to write and insert about 5-10 more scenes to make the mansucript complete before handing it off to my editor on June 23rd.

So, if you haven't entered already, all you need to do to qualify to win a free week at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne - our restored winemaker's cottage that dates back to the 16th century is sign up for my mailing list by clicking here.

Rest assured, I hate spam as much as you do! I generally email out my blog posts, book reviews, and absurd things my girls can unsubscribe as soon as you start finding me tedious. I am simply not prolific enough to clutter up your in-box.

But as soon as "My Grape Village"is published, it will be too late to qualify!

Five Reasons Why Self-Publishing was the Right Choice for Me

The debate between self-publishing and traditional publishing rages on. I am the first one to pounce on any essay or blog post by self-publishing trailblazers such as Hugh Howey, Martin Crosbie, or Jasinda Wilder to name only a few. They are invariably a damn good read. Rather than pit black against white, however, my choice to self-publish boiled down to five highly personal and idiosyncratic reasons.


1. I wanted to teach myself how to self-publish a book

I am not the sort of person who learns well when someone is trying to teach me things.  Within five minutes I zone out and ants start to hatch in my brain.  I can only learn things by hurling myself in the deep end and doing them.  This accounted for my appalling French mark all through high school (to the desperation of my parents, my french teachers, and my french tutors).  When I went on my Rotary exchange to Burgundy in high school and lived with four non-English speaking French families, I was fluent in four months.

I wanted to learn how to build a house from the ground up, so we built a house in Victoria in 2010. I now know how houses are built.

When I decided I wanted to know how to self-publish a book, I knew the only way I could learn was by doing it myself.  This doesn't mean I did everything myself - far from it.  Just like we had a general contractor and plumbers and electricians build our house, I recruited great people to help me with the parts I knew I couldn't do well - the conversion of Word documents to Createspace and Kindle files, cover design and format by a graphic artist, etc.  However, I did figure out how the process worked from beginning to end and learned a ton that I will apply to publishing my next book.

2. I am impatient

You can just ask my husband, impatience is one of my dominant qualities.  Being diagnosed in 2012 with a rare and serious auto-immune liver / bile duct disease (PSC) exacerbated it by about...oh...around one hundred per cent. One of the most difficult things us PSCers have to live with is crushing uncertainty. There is currently no effective treatment for our disease except eventual liver transplant, which of course brings its own set of risks.  We are at a far higher risk for liver and bile duct cancer than the general population, and because the disease varies so much from person to person we could be asymptomatic for 20-30 years or need a transplant next month.

All this uncertainty compounded my impatience. I decided that I was unwilling to surrender the timing of My Grape Escape's  release to anyone.

3. I knew I had a ready-built market for the book 

We started renting La Maison des Deux Clochers fifteen years ago.  I learned quickly that we did not have to work very hard (or at all, actually) to sell the idea of France or Burgundy. It has already been accomplished in the collective consciousness, and rightly so.

When we lived in Burgundy for five years between 2004-2009 I wrote a popular blog called "The Grape Journal."  Over the years countless guests, many of who we have stayed in contact with, asked me to write a book.  So before I even started the self-publishing process of My Grape Escape I knew that I had 15 years of past vacation rentals guests who would have a personal interest in my memoir about our Burgundian renovation.  I was able to market it on our Grape Rentals Facebook page and we will soon be redoing our Grape Rentals website and linking it more effectively to my book(s).

4. I wanted to donate a portion of my royalties 

Because PSC is so rare (only around 100,000 people in the world have it so it is officially an "orphan" disease), most pharmaceutical companies have no interest in researching treatments - there is just not the return of a new treatment for something far more common, unlike a disease such as Hepatitis C.  One doctor actually laughed in my face when I asked about new treatments coming down the pipeline.

I do indeed donate 10% of all my royalties to PSC Partners Seeking A Cure (and will continue to do so with everything I publish and sell).  This motivates me to write more books and sell more books.  It is a win-win for me.  I could be mistaken, but I suspected most traditional agents or publishers wouldn't have agreed to this and it was of primary importance to me.

5. Most agents wanted me to remove every mention of my struggles with anxiety from the manuscript.  

I went into this in more detail in an earlier blog post "Panic Attacks and Pain au Chocolat" . Basically, almost all the agents who read the full manuscript of My Grape Escape said they were uncomfortable with the fact that I wrote about my struggles with anxiety during and after my Oxford law degree and while we renovated La Maison des Deux Clochers.  They felt it just didn't "fit" with an often humorous memoir about the renovation of a revolutionary era house in Burgundy.

I thought long and hard about their comments, but concluded that for me the anxiety was a crucial part of the story I wanted to tell.  Self-publishing gave me the freedom to publish the book as I wished.  So far the overwhelming majority of readers do not seem to feel it is out of place. On the contrary, they tell me that exposing my own vulnerabilities allowed them to connect with my story.

So there you have it - the highly personal reasons why self-publishing was the right choice for me. I'm grateful that writers have options these days.  It wasn't like that in the bad 'ole days ten or even five years ago.   

How about you - what made you choose either self-publishing or traditional publishing (or that new beast - the hybrid)?