Grandma C's BlogGMAS Blog

Grandma Carole's
French
Adventures
Grandma Carole

Hi, I'm Carole Carson. I moved to France at 80 to re-invent myself once again—and to write novels!

Over the decades, I've played many roles: wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, educator, entrepreneur, community organizer, and survivor. But in my heart, I've always been a writer.

I've written over 800 articles that have appeared in newspapers and websites, including the Huffington Post, the American Association of Retired Persons website, The Nevada County Union, and the American Association of Retired Persons website. I've also written two non-fiction books.

At GMASBlog, you'll find posts on whatever catches my interest and content about my four-book fiction series.

Blackbird (the first novel), My Mother's Daughter (the second novel), and The Perfect Mother (the third novel) are available on Amazon and at bookstores. The fourth novel (The First and Last Lesson) will be published in spring 2024.

Together, the quartet represents my vitae opus.

Blackbird Series: Reviews & Trailers

I began writing Blackbird in 1966, the first in a four-book fictionalized memoir chronicling the life of Jane Bertram. Love, loss, abuse, abandonment, hope, seduction, and despair give color and texture to her story. Telling Jane’s story made me richer, freer, happier and more loving. May readers receive the same blessings. Additionally, book two, My Mother Daughter, and book three, The Perfect Mother, are now out.

Book One: Blackbird

Leslie Kathleen HankinsProfessor and Chair, Department of English and Creative Writing, Cornell College
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“Powerful. Compelling. Honest. Searing. I read Blackbird nonstop. I could not put the book down. In stark times, we need stories of earned triumph—and Carole Carson has delivered one. Blackbird is a must-read.”
Ayumi Moore AokiFounder and CEO, Women in Tech
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“Blackbird is the story of a bright girl abused by a toxic mother, making a lie of the myth that all mothers are loving. Jane finds an escape through education on her journey to heal and break the cycle of violence. But her raw experiences along the way reveal the high price women pay for being held back. I look forward to Carole’s next book.”
Jan BorgmanFounder of Literary Miners Book Club
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“Once I started reading, Blackbird was hard to put down—I was eager to find out what happened next to this gifted girl determined to escape the dysfunction of her family for a better life.”
G. RileyArtist
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“Reading Blackbird was a wow experience. The abundance of descriptive yet succinct dialogue sometimes felt like a play, so I could pretend no one would have to endure such a negative upbringing. All the way to the end I worried Jane’s indomitable spirit might falter, yet somehow this young girl grew up not only gaining freedom of personal choice but evolving an ability to value living, love learning, respect decency, and objectively understand others.”
Debra WagnerRetired Director of Business Development, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
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“Blackbird grabs your attention in the first chapter. You eagerly read to see how Jane will survive her tragic childhood. Her story inspires others to never give up! An amazing accomplishment.”
Susan Bridgit CooperLife Coach
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“In her new novel, Carole Carson tells a riveting tale of pain and transformation. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. It is both heartbreaking and inspirational! I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.”
Kathy TrioloNevada County Camera Club
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“Carole Carson has written a compelling story with a woman’s voice of endurance, survivorship, perseverance amidst overwhelming neglect, and raw emotional-tsunami events."
Rev. W. Thomas ClarkRetired United Methodist pastor
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“A riveting novel that reveals the spirit of a human being who is able to overcome devastating traumatic experiences and find fulfillment in life. It reflects ultimate hope when one is able to grasp the possibilities life offers.”
JoelAnn FooteRetired manager, agriculture business
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“This is a disturbing story, yet I could not put the book down. At first, the display of unjust brutality made it hard to read, but ultimately empathy and understanding set in. The story, laced with relationships, gives hope that despite grim circumstances, one can still realize success—and hopefully happiness.”
Rhonda Cundy
Rhonda CundyProfessional singer, stage director, and retired university professor
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“Carole Carson’s writing is transformative art—a brave and well-crafted testament to artistic expression that both helps sustain health and surely heals!”
Helen HansenVice President, Hansen Bros. Enterprises
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“Blackbird demonstrates that it doesn’t matter where you come from. Jane Bertram rises above her circumstances and makes her own path with hard work. And yes, even when she misses a few steps along the way, you are confident she will still achieve her dreams.”
Dr. Linda Pitcherformer Assistant Superintendent, Northville Public Schools
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“I found reassurance and certainty in Blackbird—an unwavering conviction that our lives have meaning.”
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Book Two--My Mother's Daughter

Leslie Kathleen HankinsProfessor and Chair, Department of English and Creative Writing, Cornell College
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“Caught in a strange dynamic of both arguing with her abusive mother and becoming a version of her, Jane must dive deep and wrestle through the hot messes she all too often makes.”
Debbie Wagner, retired Director of Business DevelopmentDignity Health
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“Trying to change her family trajectory and escape a dead-end childhood, Jane is forced to strike out on her own. She makes costly mistakes, but her resilience, perseverance, and determination to build a better life sustain her. You will be reminded that new beginnings and redemption are always possible.”
Linda Krause
Linda Krauseretired educator
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“Jane shows us what is possible when one is willing to take charge of one’s life. The Jane Bertram who speaks at the conclusion of this book is not recognizable as the woman I met at the start. Her harrowing experiences helped her become her own person.”
Dr. Linda Pitcher
Dr. Linda Pitcherformer Assistant Superintendent, Northville Public Schools
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“Jane starts a new life in Chicago. But although she leaves her mother behind in Iowa, she can’t escape her mother’s voice—it is lodged in her head. I’m looking forward to reading the next book to see if she becomes the person she wants to be.”
Elisa Parker,
Elisa Parker,Equal Future, Fund for Women’s Equality
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“It became clear Jane is a hostage to forces she does not understand, as her life and mistakes eerily echo those of her mother, despite her best efforts to the contrary.”
Julie Marlay
Julie Marlayretired Industrial Engineer, John Deere
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“Jane is learning to live without her mother’s direct influence. However, she continually fights the negative thoughts of self that her mother instilled. A fascinating tale of working against the defeatist view she learned while fighting to become her own woman.”
Ernie Norris
Ernie Norrisretired businessman
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“As she continues grappling with the emotional scars her horrific childhood experiences created, Jane struggles to perceive the differences between loving, being loved, and making love. She is unwilling to be a victim and won’t give in to the many challenges she encounters.”
Karen Uglem
Karen Uglemwife, mother, and retired schoolteacher
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“Jane is ready to leave her past behind, but her mother’s voice keeps haunting her. One passage that struck a chord for me was when Jane had to tie her own knots for ziplining, emphasizing the point that our lives are in our own hands—food for thought!”
Annette Domgaard
Annette Domgaardetired insurance secretary
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“Jane struggles to overcome her abusive past and avoid becoming like her mother. She begins to understand herself and her mother when she is forced to confront the messes she makes resulting from her poor life decisions. I am rooting for her.”
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Book Three--The Perfect Mother

Dr. Linda Pitcher
Dr. Linda PitcherFormer Assistant Superintendent, Northville Public Schools
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“This third novel in a series of four is exciting and difficult to put down.  Carole Carson is a talented, imaginative writer who deals with tough human issues with honesty and clarity.”
Mary Wood
Mary WoodAuthor and retired secretary
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“In this well-written novel, Jane Bertram deals with old hurts while discovering what’s really important in life. She also figures out when enough is enough and when it’s time to pursue her lifelong dreams. Reading how Jane makes important decisions may help others on their journey.”
Kathryn Craft Rogers
Kathryn Craft RogersRetired senior manager, human resources and business operations
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“A well-written captivating book on the transforming power of forgiveness and love. Should be liberating to any reader trapped in the prison of bitterness.”
Charlotte Belisle
Charlotte BelisleMSN, RN
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“This book gave me goosebumps! Carole Carson is an artist in the way she paints the story so the reader feels deeply not only Jane’s pain and sorrow but also her enlightenment and joy. This is a must-read!”
Kathy Pappola
Kathy PappolaReal estate broker associate
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“An outstanding work that will give readers insight into how to fulfill their dreams and strengthen their relationships. Life constantly challenges Jane Bertram to learn to accept herself and those around her, especially her difficult mother. The eye-opening experiences are difficult. However, a positive approach opens new doors for Jane—as it will for readers!”
Joni D. Mahler
Joni D. MahlerMEd, educational therapist
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“The Perfect Mother continues the fictionalized story of Carole Carson’s unbelievable journey through life. The twists and turns are plentiful and make the reader feel emotionally connected to Jane Bertram (the author’s alter ego). Heartily recommended as both a page-turner and inspiration for making the most of life.”
Ernie Norris
Ernie NorrisRetired businessman
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“Carole Carson takes us through the next phase of Jane’s battle to overcome a horrific childhood. I am delighted that Jane makes impressive, if uneven, progress toward not just a normal life but an exceptional life. This provides an important lesson for us all: just how much support and guidance from others can help us overcome our personal challenges. Ms. Carson’s writing is skillful and entrancing.”
Ginny McLaughlin
Ginny McLaughlinTeacher and artist
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“The Perfect Mother is Carole Carson’s distillation of a life well-lived despite enormous challenges in the youth of the main character and the experiences of her adult years. While always looking forward for ways to make life better can take a person a long way, a discerning look at the past, with forgiveness, frees up the present for amazing creative adventures. Carole captures this journey in her novel with grace and appreciation.”
Julie Marley
Julie MarleyRetired industrial engineer, John Deere
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“After decades of despair over their relationship, Jane Bertram finally comes to terms with her mother. She also learns to accept that she is not a perfect mother. But like her mother (and perhaps all mothers), Jane is doing her best with the hand she was dealt. I look forward to the final book, The First and Last Lesson, and how the story comes full circle.”
Debra Wagner
Debra WagnerRetired Director of Business Development, Dignity Health
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“Seeing Jane face her fears, doubts, and insecurities yet still persevere was inspiring.  Central to her maturing is her reliance on prayer and relinquishment of control. Watching Jane marry and learn to trust and forgive was wonderfully satisfying.”
Karen Uglem
Karen UglemRetired teacher
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“The Perfect Mother is a great read by a very talented writer. Jane Bertram still has the childhood impact of her abusive mother influencing her life. But a therapist helps her realize that her mother’s contributions made Jane’s later accomplishments possible. I look forward to the final book.”
G. Riley
G. RileyArtist
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“I felt inspired by the story. I’m a better person for having this glimpse of real life lived tenaciously—learning to go beyond crushing meanness, to gain the talent to rise above petty living and poverty, to learn to change one’s seemingly justified perspectives to appreciate the value of difficult people better and of prioritizing one’s dream.”
Heather Bathen
Heather BathenDistrict nutrition program manager
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“A workaholic, Jane Bertram, wants to find love but does not know how to love herself. She doesn’t want to end up like her mother but is on the same path until first a friend and then a therapist intervene. I’m already looking forward to the next book to see what Jane does in ‘retirement.'"
Susan Schmidt
Susan SchmidtRetired legal secretary
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“Carole Carson’s writing is engaging and makes the reader eager to keep reading to see what happens to Jane Bertram and peer into her thinking process.  I felt anticipation while reading the book, looking forward to seeing Jane’s successes in many areas of her life and how she deals with struggles and inner turmoil with relationships.”
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Blogs:

Help! I Need Somebody!

Specifically, I need somebody—hopefully you—to take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon for my three novels. It can be a few words

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Bits and Pieces

During the holiday season, I found several interesting stories and videos that I’d like to share with you. No Dry January in France For the

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