Lisa's Lair

Hi Everyone –

I got some great news this weekend… Night Walker got 2nd Place in the Finally a Bride contest!!! This is especially exciting because the Finally a Bride contest is only open to novels that have been contest finalists before, so I feel very honored to have placed in such a tough competition…

This is going to be a crazy week for me because this time next week, I’ll be writing to you from Bruges, Brussels!!! My son, Reno, is heading to Europe to sing with his high school choir for a week and I get to go!!! They’ll be singing in the cathedral at Notre Dame in Paris, and at the D-Day Memorial on the beach at Normandy, along with a few other cathedrals in Brussels and France… I’ve never been to Europe, and to be able to go and get to see Reno sing in Notre Dame is beyond cool.

So if you have some great traveling tips for Europe, I’d love to hear them! J

I’ve got a new flash fiction story for you this week. I’ll be teaching an online class on flash fiction in October, so I’ve been trying to write more so I’ll have plenty of examples. This one is a little different… No murder!!! J I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway…

Have a great week!



Spring Fever – By Lisa Kessler


Ris tottered around the tables with her cracked clay pot of ale, filling empty mugs. “Spring is right around the corner.” Her voice whistled through her oversized front teeth. “You boys should be tendin’ to yer work before the thaw comes.”

Zek knocked back his mug, slammed it on the table and belched. “Quit yer worryin’, Ris. The dam will be finished. No need to be gettin’ spring fever already.”

She rolled her eyes, grumbling under her breath. “Nobody’ll be laughin’ when the old dam breaks and we have to move away to keep from drowning.”

She eyed the overweight males and sighed. Lazy bastards. With the cracked pot safe on the shelf, she grabbed a snack, gnawing at it with her front teeth.

Zek passed by wearing an inebriated smile. “Don’t be sore at us, Ris. We got ourselves a secret weapon this year.”

She lowered her snack. “What kind of secret weapon?”

His whisper whistled beside her ear. “We got one of those power saws the humans use, and a joiner to notch out the branches so they fit tight.”

“Is that so?” Ris started to laugh, leaning back against her wide tail to keep from falling over backwards. “Well Mister High-and-mighty-male-beaver I’m afraid you forgot one thing about human tools.”

Zek scratched at his head. “Really?”

She nodded, grinning around her elongated beaver teeth. “Electricity.”

Ris and the other females grinned, watching the fattened males rush out of the den. “Men and their tools.”

The End

(For Marvin we had Spring Fever, I used a power saw and joiner for the woodworking tools, and mentioned a cracked pot! J )


  • Marvin Martian

    8 points Earthling! 🙂
    WooHoo! Look at you going to Europe! Sadly I cannot ease your trip as I have not been there myself but I do believe you have a few friends that live there! Ruggi, Stephen (slj) and Sally (Miss Mojito) I am sure they can advise you well!
    Have fun and gotta say it…Lucky you!


    • Thanks for visiting Marvin!!! I hope the European Blogophiliacs will chime in with some great travel tips… 🙂

      Thanks for the points!

      Lisa 🙂

  • Irene Melgoza

    How exciting! Congrats to Reno…and well, you….you get to go. : )

    I’ve been to Brussels and Paris. Wow! To be part of this experience with your son. I feel like I am the one going. LOL

    Have fun!!! Be safe.

    • I’ll try to get pictures posted during the trip so it can feel like you really are coming with us! 🙂

      Thanks for reading and ocmmenting Irene!!! Hope you have a great week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • Another Government Empoy

    I was going to say that Ruggi isn’t all that far away (2 hours?).

    • Thanks for the tip!!! I’d love to meet some of our European writing friends! 🙂

      Sounds like Stephen will be in Paris right after I get back to the states… Shoot!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a great week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • One of my favorite restaurants is near Notre Dame. I’ll have to see if I can locate the address for you. If you get a chance, try it. Great local place. Have a blast. Paris is one of my favorite cities! LOVED your flash fiction. 🙂

    • Hi Ciara! *waving*

      Oh please let me know the restaurant if you can find it! 🙂 We’re on our own for lunch everyday so I could definitely grab a lunch there and take pictures for you! 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story!!! I find flash fiction fun and addictive for sure… 🙂

      Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading and commenting!!!

      Lisa 🙂

  • sue

    Wow ! Good news on book and going to gay Paree !! Bonus !
    That was short and sweet story – I love your little characters !

    • Thanks Sue!!! I’m glad you enjoyed the story! 🙂

      I’m hoping to be able to post pictures during the trip so we’ll see what happens…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Have a great week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • Lisa, pack well. Layer…thin long sleeved shirts, heavier sweaters, a raincoat, a hat. It will rain and SNOW in Paris, so be prepared! Ditch the heels and go with excellent walking shoes (caution – white tennis shoes shout that you’re an American). Jeans are fine, but a heavier dress pant is also good.

    Learn at least a couple of phrases in French, simple ones like, I’m sorry but I don’t speak French – will you help me? The French love it if you TRY to speak the language. I’ll go through my phrase book and email some good ones for you. Unless you already speak French, that is!

    Most important – take pictures and keep a written diary, and have fun!

    Huge congrats!

    • Well shoot my white tennis shoes were planning on coming with me to Europe! LOL

      I’d love the handy phrases… I’m planning on taking lots of pictures and hopefully I’ll be able to post some while I’m gone…

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! I really appreciate your tips! 🙂

      Have a wonderful week!

      Lisa 🙂

  • What a great opportunity. I hope you have a wonderful trip. Take pics, pics, pics! Congratulations on Night Walker. Cheers!

    • Thanks Elen!!! Now I just need to find a publishing home for Night Walker… 🙂

      I plan to pake lots of pictures and in spite of my techno-weenie status, hopefully I’ll be able to get them posted while I’m there… We’ll see!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Hope you have a wonderful week…


  • Caroline Henry

    Bon jour mon ami! If you have an iphone you can always look up French phrases with translattion sites, faster than flipping through and carrying a phrase book around everywhere. Christine is spot on with learning some phrases, the French will love you for it (and maybe even call you a petite anglaise :), and Christine is incredibly asstute regarding the “American” tennies 🙂 – one simple word suffices here regarding anything that remotely looks like a tennis or running shoe and it is NO 🙂 If you buy only one thing for your trip it is a pair of good looking shoes that can walk and you can dress up or down.

    Did Reno’s school arange the entire tour or do you have your choice of where you stay and meals and such? Be prepared for very tiny hotel rooms unless you stay in the Crillion (and if you stay there I be green and jealous forever 🙂 , however, they always include a wonderful french breakfast of croissants, baguettes, fresh jam and the most divine coffee you will ever taste – dark and rich – my mouth is watering already… If you are taking trains to and from your venues always grab a baguette and a bottle of wine – cheese and water before you board – a wonderful meal and they will be exponentially more expensive once you get on the train. You can buy an exquisite bottle of wine for about $3 – the French don’t know how to make bad wine. In the block before you reach le gare you will find vendors selling wine/cheese/water/baguettes – don’t pass them buy (and remember not to ask where “le guerre” is instead of “le gare” simple pronunciation error – or the French will think you want to remind them of how we saved their derrieres in ’44 – the dumb mistake I told you I made :). Make a point to ask a local for a reference for a dinner restaurant that only locals know about that tourists don’t frequent. They are very proud to give their favorites and appreciate foreigners that want to avoid the tourist areas for true French culinary experiences. Typically you will find an amazing meal for under $15 this way. The restaurant will be off the beaten track and a memorabe experience. Make sure you do not leave without having some Creme Fraiche on strawberries. In the US we just can’t make it the same, it’s like sweet thick sour cream on the most enormous strawberries you have ever seen (they look mutant :). When you order don’t forget to say “je voudrais and not je veux” – it’s the more polite phrase and never never say to a waiter “je suis finis” when he wishes to clear your plate and you are done with your meal 🙂 When you are full the phrase is not the literal “I’m finished” but “je suis complet” – the other embarrassing faux pax my French teachers forgot to mention…. seared now forever on my brain 🙂

    If you have any free days take the bullet train to the Loire Valley and visit a Chateau (castle – if you remember your high school French), of everything I did when I was in school in France, including all the adventures I had in Europe, the Chateaus were the memories that left an indelible imprint on my mind. You will feel like you stepped back into time literally and for every French aria you have ever sung you will feel like you were transported back into time from whence the composer’s inspirations had come. Imagine yourself in the court singing for a duke 🙂

    It sounds like you will be so busy you won’t have time to shop but you must make an effort 🙂 I spent a short time in Brussels as I had to attend the Parliment as an observer and write a paper on the day… I did no sight seeing there but my experience in a youth hostel made me homesick for Paris.

    This is becoming a short story in and of itself so I will email or call you with any last instructions 🙂 I wish I could stow away and come with you. What fun we would have, I will be thinking of you as I sing The Lord Bless You and Keep You and praying he does the same for you and Reno. A bientot!!! xoxo, C

    • Awww thanks Caroline!!!! 🙂

      The hotels we’re staying in look really nice! *fingers crossed* With any luck I’ll get to post some of my pictures while I’m there…

      Thanks for subbing for me and for all the great travel tips!!!


      Have a great week…


  • Ken

    Can’t wait to see your pictures! And the video! I’m sure you and Reno will have any amazing time!!!


    • I’m gonna miss you!!!! But I’ll send emails and hopefully find phones to call! 🙂

      Can’t wait to show you video of Reno singing in Notre Dame!!!


  • WOW! Congrats to you first of all, and second of all, you are going to LOVE LOVE LOVE Paris! I was there in summer 2002, spent 4 nights there (not enough time….). You will LOVE Notre Dame, it was a completely moving experience for me inside the cathedral as well as touring the bell towers and snapping pictures of all the cool gargoyles (you will LOVE that!) Make sure you take lots of digital pictures and bring extra memory cards, that is my photographer’s tip! Unfortunately when I was there, it was before I had a digital camera. We did all the usual tourist things, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower etc. But for me, the best memory (and pictures) was when we did our own wandering on the Champs Elysse, and it began to rain. We walked the whole way back to the hotel, trying to navigate the winding streets. To me, this was the ultimate adventure!

    The food is great in Paris, especially in the small bistros and cafes. We also enjoyed walking to the market down the avenue and buying an assortment of cheeses, bread, sweets and wine for evening snacks!

    Have a fantastic time, Lisa!! And memorize this phrase “Ou est la toilette?” hehe…. Oh yes, I forgot to add…. cute story!

    Au revoir, mon ami! 😀

    • Ha! Thanks for the VERY important phrase Colleen!!! LOL

      I have my digital camera and a little flip video camera so with any luck I’ll be able to post video of Reno singing in Notre Dame before we even get back home! 🙂

      We’ll see….

      Thanks for the tips!!! HOpe you have a wonderful week…


      Lisa 🙂

  • Oh my word. How fun is that. Enjoy the trip. Congrats on the placement in the contest. That’s AWESOME!
    Write on, my friend.

    • Thanks Lynn!!! 🙂

      I’m so excited about the trip!!! Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!!!

      Have a wonderful week…

      Lisa 🙂

  • ooh la la! Paris, baby! Get you 🙂 Miss global!! Best wishes for safe travel and here’s to a wonderful performance.
    And, as for the news about Finally being a bride…remember to through that bouquet to me !! hehe and congrats xx

    • Ha! 🙂 I think 2nd place means I moved up to Maid of Honor, right? LOL I’d definitely toss the bouquet your way…

      Thanks for reading and commenting JoAnne!!! Can’t wait to post from France! *boggle*


      Lisa 🙂

  • Caroline Henry

    PS re your message to Ken about phones – you can buy prepaid phone cards to use in phones there – but buy them before you leave, sometimes hard to know where to shop for specific things like that when you’re there and most hotels don’t have gift shops like we do in the states. (I had a hard time finding post offices to mail home letters). Oh and if you accumulate too much “stuff” you can stash it in keyed storage lockers at a nearby train station close to your hotel or the airport for a small fee.

    Can you send me a postcard? Please 🙂 ??? You have my address…

    bonne chance!

    • Oh I forgot about postcards!!! I’ll have to send a few of those! 🙂

      They won’t have phone cards and postage stuff at the hotels?

      I can’t wait… Leave in 4 days can you believe it??? Yow!


      Lisa 🙂

  • Bring your own roll of soft toilet paper. Oh, and have a fantastic time.

    • Yikes! Do they have scary scratchy toilet paper over there?

      Thanks for the tip Boone! 🙂 I can’t believe I’m leaving in 2 days!!! *boggle*

      Lisa 🙂

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