My Good Life in France ~ Janine Marsh ~ pre-order

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I’m SO excited to share this news with you! May 4th is the publishing date for this long-awaited memoir by Janine Marsh!

Even more good news is that the book is available for pre-order on Amazon right now! Click here to purchase your copy of My Good Life in France.

As we all know, Janine is the founder and editor of the fabulous The Good Life France website and ezine. For all of us who love to dream about France and read about and see photos of and plan trips to and … well, you know … there’s no better resource!

And now Janine tells the entertaining story of how her life in France all came to pass. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy and am happy to share my review here with you:

 5*****

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the publication of Janine Marsh’s memoir, My Good Life  in France, and was honoured to receive an ARC for an honest review. It’s no surprise that this book is everything readers hope it will be. With her sharp insight after many years as an ex-pat in France and her engaging sense of humour, Marsh takes us on the bumpy road of highs and lows restoring a “truly awful” (her words) property in the north of France that captured her heart. 
 
Through the author’s eyes and experiences we discover the (relatively unknown to tourists) Seven Valleys area in the Pas-de-Calais, which is now on my “must visit” list. Easily drawn into Marsh’s entertaining narrative by her sharp observations and warm-hearted nature, we get to know her neighbours, the local traditions and her growing family of dogs, cats, and assorted feathered friends.
 
Thank goodness for an understanding husband who is also an enterprising craftsman. There are challenges that would deter most from staying the course. Yet not only do the Marshes survive, but a brilliant new career path is born.
 
This book is a delightful read that I highly recommend.
Click here to read an earlier post when Janine visited my blog.
If it’s cool and rainy in your part of the world, as it is in mine today, pour yourself a warm cuppa (a hot toddy sounds good to me!) and lose yourself in the pages of The Good Life France Spring Magazine. You’ll be glad you did!
Bon weekend!

Reading suggestions for our 2017 France tour

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

 

 

Our 2017 women’s tour of Provence is just weeks away! I know the time will fly by and can’t wait to greet the sixteen women when they arrive in Nice on June 6. Our beautiful Hotel Beau Rivage, is just out of this photo to the left. The vieille ville (old town) and colourful daily market are located there as well, footsteps away. So this will be our ‘neighbourhood’ for six days before we move on to Avignon for another six days of exploring the countryside of pastoral Provence. Lavender will be in bloom!

One of the great features of this tour is that we only move once. From our base hotels, we have wonderful day trips with well-trained guides and bus drivers. My friend, author Susan Sommers, and I are along to ensure that everyone is happy and organized every day. We have the best time!

I recently sent some reading suggestions to the group in advance of their arrival in France and I thought I would share the books with you too. You may well be familiar with the titles as they are favourites of mine that I frequently recommend. Enjoy!

 

Click here for Kristi’s book.

Click here for Ted’s book.

Click here for Anne-Marie’s book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love the south of France like I do, you would enjoy reading all of these books too.

Of course, #PeterMayle is the writer who began it all … back in 1991! Click here for A Year In Provence.

Whether you are preparing to visit France or not, you will find hours of reading pleasure in these books!

 

 

Of course we’ll be visiting many of the beautiful locations written about in the Love in Provence series. Most of the women on our tours have read the stories of Katherine’s adventure in France and it’s great fun to experience their enthusiasm as we visit the special places they have discovered in the books. Antibes is a highlight!

 

 

Where have you taken vacations in books? And did you actually visit those places at another time? 

 

 

 

Joyeuses Pâques~Happy Easter~Chag Sameach~Passover Wishes ~ et bon weekend to all🌷🌷🌷

The definitely NOT solitary life of a writer

I know I keep repeating myself about this and I hope you’ll indulge me as I say it again. One of the best parts of being involved in the writing world is the opportunity to spend time with so many interesting and diverse people: readers, writers, and others involved in the many different aspects of the writing world.

We interact on all platforms of social media, attend conferences and share information and experiences on a daily basis. Wonderful friendships are forged.

Two women who go out of their way to bring readers and writers together, are authors Suzanne Kelman and KJ Waters. Each week they present a new podcast interviewing authors in entertaining and informative chats about writing habits, social media strategies, publishing tips, book marketing advice and more.

To date they have eighty … yes, that’s right 80 … episodes for your listening pleasure. You can search the name of your favourite author on the site.

How they find the time to do this and still write their own novels, amazes me. But, write they do!   Suzanne’s new novel, Rejected Writers Take The Stage, will be published on June 6 and is available for pre-order right now. Click right here to check it out.

You can order KJ’s suspense-filled stories, Blow and Stealing Time, right here.

Just over a year ago, I was invited to spend some time with Suzanne and KJ. I thought I would share the link with you again. When you have some time to put your feet up and relax with us, here’s the link to our chat.

http://blondieandbrit.podbean.com/e/patricia-sands-episode-25-love-in-provence/

It used to be said that a writer’s life was a solitary one, as per quotes like this:

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking. (Jessamyn West – American author, born 1902)

I BEG TO DIFFER!

THANKS TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO HELPS TO BUST THAT MYTH ON A REGULAR BASIS ~ THIS POSTER BELOW IS FOR YOU! IT’S DEFINITELY WHAT YOU DO FOR ME AND I COULDN’T BE MORE GRATEFUL. 

April 1st and Chocolate Fish in France ~ no joke!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

imagesApril Fool’s day is tomorrow. Imagine my surprise the first time I was in France on April 1st and found children sticking paper fish on my back, whispering and giggling and then hollering “poisson d’avril”!

Excusez-moi? Fish?

As Wikipedia explains: “In Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!, poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools’ Day postcards.

April-Fools-vintage-Image-TheGraphicsFairy.com

April-Fools-vintage-Image-TheGraphicsFairy.com

I had no idea where the tradition began and, after a bit of searching, found this explanation on France Travel Guide.

“Although the origin of April Fools is obscure and debated, the most widely accepted explanation actually credits the “holiday” as starting in France. The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.

The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles IX of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slow and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.”

poisson d'avril

poisson d’avril

Boulangeries and patisseries deliciously get into the spirit with fish-shaped goodies. Oh … and did I mention the chocolatiers? Schools of fish of all sizes fill shop windows, the larger ones often filled with smaller treats. To a chocoholic, fish never tasted so good!

Since Easter usually falls around the same time, fish feature predominantly in shop windows through that holiday as well.

Maybe we should adopt a symbol for April Fool’s Day in North America, so there would be a good excuse to buy special chocolates on that day over here. Not that we ever really need an excuse for chocolate …

Wherever you are, have fun on April 1st and enjoy some chocolate.

My friend, author Margo Lestz, has this tidbit to share on her blog about April 1:

“The annual “April Fish” in Nice, France ~
The city of Nice has its own special April Fool’s joke. Normally there is a cannon shot every day at noon from a hill overlooking the town. (It’s really a firecracker, but it used to be a cannon so they still call it one. You can read more about it here.) This noonday boom alerts the people of Nice that it’s lunchtime and it goes off every day at exactly noon. That is, every day except on April 1st when the “cannon” goes off one hour early and everyone is thrown off schedule. If you are in Nice on April 1st listen carefully after the boom and you might be able to hear a shout from the hilltop – “April Fish!”

Take some time and visit her website, The Curious Rambler, for entertaining posts about traditions and history based on her extensive travels in France, Italy and England.

Are you a prankster on April 1st or do you just grit your teeth and hope the day will pass quickly? Is there one April Fool’s Day joke in particular that you will never forget?

Party time on the Women’s Fiction Fans FB page

Hey everyone! Join all of us who host the Women’s Fiction Fans FB page on Tuesday, March 28th, for our spring fling! We love to connect with our readers and share thoughts and comments about books you love or simply about reading in general … or anything else that’s on your mind. Ask us questions at the party, enter all the great giveaways we have planned and feel free to invite your friends!

Don’t forget to keep refreshing your FB page. That’s how you can keep up with the conversation threads. I know it gets a bit crazy at times …  but you all make it so much fun!

Here’s what the schedule looks like … see you there!

Enter the special code word from the party in a comment here, for a chance to win a free audiobook of The Bridge Club! Good luck everyone!

The winner will be announced in my April newsletter. Have you subscribed yet?

The link is over there in the column to the right ============>

 

Indie Author Fringe 2017 ~ March 18 ~ you’re invited!

It’s that time of year again! The London Book Fair is on as we speak (March 14 -16). That means we should be getting ready for the INDIE AUTHOR FRINGE 2017, this Saturday, organized by ALLi ~ the Alliance of Independent Authors.

There’s no better one day blitz of the most up-to-date information, guidance and ideas for indie authors. It’s available to everyone everywhere ~ and ~ tadaaaa ~ it’s FREE!

This amazing day is specifically geared to writers interested in self-publishing but, trust me, there is a ton of information that every writer will find informative no matter how or where you are published. There are sessions for beginners, emerging and advanced authors, together with discounts, deals and all sorts of special giveaways.

To check out all the speakers and presentations, click here.

Prepare your beverage of choice, put your feet up, wear whatever you like and get ready to discover more publishing/writing information in one place than you ever dreamed possible. The action begins at 10 a.m. (GMT i.e. London time). Click right here if you want to see what time that means in your corner of the world.

Running 24 sessions over 24 continuous hours allows authors round the globe, to attend some live sessions, no matter where they’re located. (But don’t worry, you aren’t expected to stay up all night! You can always catch up later. Read how when you register.)

Register right now and find out how to attend, together with details of the fantastic lineup of speakers, sessions, competitions and giveaways. *See* you there! Oh … and tell all your writing friends!

Click on this “Register Here” link and plan your day! It will take you to the banner displayed below and you will be on your way.

This free Online Conference runs three times a year, fringe to London Book Fair (March 18th 2017), Book Expo (June 3rd 2017) and Frankfurt Book Fair (October 14th 2017).

International Women’s Day 2017

What’s happening in your community to recognize this important day?

Be sure to visit the IWD2017 FB page and website ~ there’s so much of value there from around the world! Share these messages and be a constant reminder. #BeBoldForChange #IWD2017

For all of the daughters, granddaughters and generations to come …

PARTY TIME IS NOW! MARCH 7~4:30 to 9:00 EST

IT’S PARTY TIME! ~ IF YOU’VE POPPED OVER FROM THE TWITTER CHAT, SIMPLY LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG OR NEWSLETTER (LINKS TO THE RIGHT —-> )

AND LET ME KNOW WHICH BOOK YOU WOULD LIKE TO WIN.

GOOD LUCK/BONNE CHANCE!

I’ll announce the winner in a post here and in my March newsletter.

WE’RE HAVING A PARTY AND YOU’RE INVITED!

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7th, there will be over 30 Lake Union authors dropping by this link and waiting to chat with you, Twitter-style. As only Twitter can be, it will be fast and furious and great fun!

Every author will be giving away books and who knows what else!?!

30 x ? = a whole lot of great reads to add to your bookshelf, both ebooks & print

Two people will win a print copy of The Promise of Provence or whichever book in the series you might want … and I just might add a surprise or two to that. Come along and see!

 

I hope you will join us to share thoughts and comments about books you love or simply about reading and writing in general … or anything else that’s on your mind. Ask us questions, enter our giveaways and, by all means, please invite your friends! Share this link with them. Don’t forget to click on “Going” to let us know you will be there.

All of us will be popping in and out through the five hours of fun. But for sure I will be there from 6:00 to 6:45 EST, hanging out with Steena Holmes, Virginia Franken, Christine Nolfi and Barbara Taylor Sissel.

Use #LakeUnionAuthors to participate.

Mark you calendar ~ March 7th starting at 4:30 EST.

Settle in with your beverage of choice, a snack or two, and join in the chat!

Writers love talking with readers and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the how, what, where and why we write. Nothing is sacred!

There will be 37 of us participating ~ many of whom you already know and the rest you definitely will want to know!  There’s something for everyone in the stories we write, including women’s fiction, historical, contemporary, mystery, romance, humor.

We’re all looking forward to seeing you there! 

March 7th beginning at 4:30 EST. Hash tag #LakeUnionAuthors 

Christine Nolfi’s sweet new release!

Christine Nolfi’s latest novel is released today!

It’s a classic heartwarming and entertaining story in the style we’ve all come to expect and love from her.

Here are the details straight from Christine herself!

Welcome to Sweet Lake

Booklist gave me happy feet when they said my February 28th release “…has such a charming small-town vibe and endearing characters that readers will find themselves falling in love with quirky Sweet Lake and hoping for a series.”

There’s no need for hoping: look for the second book The Comfort of Secrets in summer, 2017.

If you’ve read the Liberty Series, you know I love writing stand-alone stories without cliffhangers, and with characters reappearing in later books. Creating a fictional town packed with eccentric, heartwarming people that readers will enjoy visiting time and again—is there anything more exciting? For me, there isn’t.

In Sweet Lake, Linnie Wayfair battles to wrest control of the family’s inn, a historic Ohio landmark, from her flamboyant, filmmaker brother. During the tussle for control, she inadvertently sparks a romance with his attorney. Not that she thinks romance is a great idea: the tourist town of Sweet Lake, Ohio is dying. If she doesn’t turn the Wayfair Inn around, her beloved hometown will be all but shuttered.

She has help along the way from her two closest friends, Jada and Cat. She’s also aided by a group of older women in town who refuse to see the inn shut down. The Sweet Lake Sirens intervene on Linnie’s behalf in hilarious, and often poignant ways.

I don’t want to give all the fun away. Let me leave you with this quote from Kirkus Reviews: “The theme that ‘any event capable of breaking a woman could break her open instead, to reveal her true beauty and power’ reveals itself in surprising ways. In this uplifting and charming story, each room of the inn is filled with friendship, forgiveness, and love.”

Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her debut Treasure Me is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists the books in the Liberty Series as “highly recommended” and her novels have enjoyed bestseller status. Look for her 2017 series, Sweet Lake.

Join her mailing list by clicking here.

Christine’s website ~ click here.

Goodreads page ~ click here.

Facebook page ~ click here.

Christine on Twitter @christinenolfi

Link to Sweet Lake on Amazon by clicking here. 

Link to the Liberty Series on Amazon by clicking here.

A love story, part 2 + elephants

Here’s  another kind of love story I am happy to share with you. You may recall reading about my friend Jacquie Gauthier here on the blog last April. Click here to see the post. 

I love Jacquie’s story for a long list of reasons, but mainly because she took a chance with life. Volunteering in the South Sudan, an email romance, elopement, moving from Canada to South Africa … as I’ve said before, she’s a true possibilitarian! We’re in touch online regularly, but I thought it was time to bring an update to all of you. You’re going to love how her adventure is playing out!

PS ~ Welcome back, Jacquie! We’re all looking forward to reading your update.

JG ~ Thanks, Patricia! I’m happy to be here again! In the lingering spirit of Valentine’s Day this week, I’ve been reflecting on how lucky I am in love!

It’s been seven years since I met Johann while on an Aid trip to South Sudan. After a six month email courtship, we eloped and soon after we moved to his native South Africa. Not only do I have an ongoing love affair with the man I married, I’m totally besotted with this beautiful country, its people and its incredible wildlife .
We won’t be celebrating this Valentine’s Day together; Johann is currently away working as a medic on the set of a reality television show being shot on location in the bush. We won’t see each other for another few weeks, but that’s normal for us.

PS ~ It sounds like you are adjusting very well to your “new normal”.

JG ~ The nature of our life together has taught us to be flexible and to appreciate any time that we spend together. I’m no longer very attached to celebrating holidays or anniversaries on a specific date.We can make any day special by taking a drive down to our favourite spot in the dry riverbed and enjoying a sunset picnic while we wait to see which animals will choose to join us!

PS ~ That sounds idyllic and a way of life most of us can’t even imagine. I know you have become involved in some important projects involving conservation and the environment.

JG ~ Absolutely! I’m loving all the projects I’m creating or becoming involved with. It’s clear to me that conservation has to be achieved through poverty alleviation. Early childhood education is critically important, so I’ve been working with a wonderful NGO called Nourish on a project called Rise.

The goal is to provide safe, clean and stimulating environments for pre-schoolers to give them a solid foundation. We also strive to incorporate environmental education so the children grow up feeling more connected to the environment. Many of the local children live only a few kilometers away from Kruger National Park, but have never seen an elephant. That has to change for them to become passionate protectors of their natural heritage. www.nourish.org.za

PS ~ Last year you told us about your exciting new venture with Alicia Fordyce, Two Girls and an Elephant. I love your tagline ~ Art with Attitude.

JG ~ Two Girls and an Elephant ~ Art continues to be a passion project. It’s always so satisfying to create beautiful images, and even more so when that leads to raising money for Elephants Alive.

There have been many setbacks on the road to elephant conservation in the last several months, but those have been completely overshadowed by the monumental decision of the Chinese government to shut down the ivory carving factories in that country.

PS ~ YES! What fantastic news that was!

JG ~ The closures are scheduled to start next month, and I believe this change in policy and in attitude will make a huge difference in the efforts to save the elephants! www.twogirlsandanelephant.com and www.elephantsalive.org

PS ~ You are one busy lady! Even so, I know you have some good book news for us.

JG ~ I’m thrilled to say that the first draft of my new book is finished! I expect to release Twenty Eight Elephants ( and other every day miracles) in October. Meanwhile, the German version of The Gift of an Elephant will be available on Amazon soon!

PS ~ Yay! We will all look forward to that! What else is up next for you?

I expect to be back in Canada in October and November to launch the new book, and speak at several events, including the Power of the Purse women’s conferences. Dates and venues still to be confirmed, but I will post the information on Facebook and on my Amazon Author’s page as soon as the details are finalized.

PS ~ See you in the fall, Jacquie. Keep doing what you are doing and thanks for stopping by here to bring us all up to date!

Want to see more of Jacquie’s fabulous photography and learn about life in South Africa? You can connect with her through the links above.