Twitter Chat & Marco Island Writers talk

Good morning! It’s a new week with lots of good things happening. Is today a holiday for you? It’s Family Day in Canada and President’s Day in the USA!

I’m just popping by to remind you about our great Twitter Chat tomorrow … if Twitter’s your thing! Check out the schedule at the end of this post to see when your favourite authors will be on. I’ll be there from 1:30 to 3:00 tomorrow and would love to answer some of your questions. The giveaways will be awesome! 

More news …

If you happen to be in the Naples, Florida, area this Wednesday, February 21, please drop by the Marco Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterbery Dr., Marco Island at 6 p.m. I’m delighted to be speaking at a meeting of the Marco Island Writers group. It’s always a pleasure spending time and exchanging thoughts and ideas with other writers.

The public is always invited and first time visitors are free. Thanks so much for the invitation,  Michael Meguid and Joanne Tailele.

Please feel free to share with your friends in the area. We’ll be happy to see them!

Here’s the full agenda for tomorrow’s twitter chat. (You may need your reading glasses! )What time works for you?

What are your plans for the week? Whatever they are, I wish you a good one!

Come to France with us in September!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Would you love to find yourself taking a photo of this view? Come to the south of France with Deborah Bine and me in September 2018 and we will take you here … and many other beautiful places too!

There are just a few openings left on our Memories You Promised Yourself women’s tour and we hope you and a friend, sister, daughter, mother or …  some of your book club … might want to join us.

Here’s a letter that Deborah sent to her newsletter subscribers this week. I couldn’t say it better myself, so she gave me permission to post it here for you too. Deborah is kind like that … and such a good friend! Have a look … and feel free to share!

 

Hello Barefoot Blogger Friends,

I’m reaching out to you by email to personally invite you to join me on the “Memories You Promised Yourself” women’s tour of the south of France, September 10-23. Hopefully you read my recent post with highlights of the tour. I want to encourage you, if you’re the slightest bit interested, to come along with me and best-selling author, Patricia Sands, on this adventure.

I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Patricia has led tours the last four years for readers of her “Love in Provence” novels. This is my first go at it. Needless to say, I’m beyond excited. Just like my move to France, it’s a dream come true. Not only do I get to spend twelve days with Patricia, who is one of my dear friends, I also get to meet interesting new people like you.

To briefly summarize our tour, we’re covering a lot of bases on the itinerary – the famous Côte d’Azur, or “Riviera”; romantic towns and marketplaces in Provence; historic landmarks of ancient Gaul and the Romans; bustling seaports and wildlife sanctuaries; as well as picturesque villages that inspired Cézanne and Van Gogh.



For twelve days we’ll taste the favorite foods of the south of France, we’ll drink the wine, we’ll experience the lifestyle and we’ll enjoy sharing time with fun-loving, adventurous, interesting and like-minded women. At the end of our time together we’ll look back and honestly say it was the “trip of a lifetime.”

Only a few spaces are remaining, so please check out the trip details onlineand make your reservation. Invite a friend or family member to join you and receive a $100 discount.

I look forward to spending time with you in the south of France!

So do I! If you have any questions, be sure to send them to me. If you have concerns about traveling on your own, listen to this video from Liz Hore. Liz was  one of the unforgettable group of women on our tour last year. Thanks for this, Liz!

 

Sweet or savoury?

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Sweet or savoury?

Now that we’ve finished celebrating January in France by eating la galette des rois, the king’s cake, it’s time to sweep away those crumbs and haul out the crêpes pan!

February 2nd, is La Chandeleur, Fête des Lumières,  Jour des Crêpes. You might know it as Candlemas.French-Candlemas-La-Chandeleur-Crêpe-Day

Churches will celebrate the tradition of the lighting of candles.

Then it will be all about … what else, this IS France … food!

Crêpes and cidre. Unlike our apple cider, this drink has a touch of alcohol.

The day is often accompanied by fortune telling and in many kitchens, crêpes are flipped in the air with the pan in one hand and a coin in the other. If the crêpe lands back in the pan, the year will be a prosperous one. Children hold their breath in anticipation!

Similar to our North American, Groundhog Day, there’s a prediction about winter. “Rosée à la Chandeleur, hiver à sa dernière heure.” If  there is dew at dawn, winter will soon be over.

As the French do so well, the day is a fun-filled, family time. If you’re tempted to celebrate your own Jour des Crêpes, they are delicious and light  and easy to make. Click right here for a recipe.

images-2There are crêpe stands or crêperies everywhere in France and today, as well as through the weekend, there will be few people not enjoying this simple and delicious food with a filling of choice ~ sweet or savoury.  Crêpes have a history that goes back to Biblical times and in France, Britanny is said to have established the true crêpe recipe.

Get in line right here! Bon appétit!

Have you ever made crêpes? Which do you prefer, the French crêpe or it’s slightly heavier English cousin, the pancake? Are you a fan of sweet or savoury?

Here’s what  The Good Life France has to say about French traditions on February 2nd.

 

It’s happening! South of France Tour 2018

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Picture yourself flying to the breathtaking Côte d’Azur!

Introducing our September  2018 tour :

(Logo design by FoxandForeststudio.com)

It’s official! Deborah Bine (Barefoot Blogger) and I invite sixteen women to join this tour for twelve exciting days in the south of France. Most of you know that we both are totally in love with this part of the world and enjoy nothing more than sharing that passion with others. We will wine, dine and tour you to the most remarkable settings as you gather memories to last forever … avec plaisir!

We are SO pumped about the fabulous itinerary we have planned that combines the right balance of active and leisure time. Arrangements were organized through the talents of Nancy McGee, owner of Absolutely Southern France travel company.

We begin in Nice and explore, for five magical days, the Côte d’Azur settings from my Love in Provence series. Then we will stop in Aix-en-Provence for a market day morning and afternoon stroll in Cézanne’s footsteps, before we arrive in the ancient town of Arles.

Arles is the setting for most of my latest novel, Drawing Lessons. We’re going to be based here for the next week and I’ll share some of the characters’ favourite spots around town. We will feel the spirit of Vincent van Gogh throughout the winding streets and be surrounded by amazing monuments from centuries of Roman civilization. Some days will be spent discovering the fascinating environment of the Camargue.

 

During this second week, Deborah gives us the inside stories from some of the  special towns and breathtaking sights in the area she calls home! Drop by her website to see more photos and videos from the spectacular area around charming Uzès!

Click here to see more details about costs.

Per person US $4375 based on double occupancy / 16 participants

(There is also a roommate matching service or singles supplement, for those travelling alone.)

$ 100 Early bird discount (ending January 31st)

First three firm reservations will receive signed copies of Patricia Sands’ novels, Drawing Lessons and The Promise of Provence.

Past participant  $100 discount

Bring a friend $100 discount

Contact Absolutely Southern France to make arrangements and see all the details of the itinerary.  Don’t hesitate to contact Deborah or me, if you have any questions. The adventure is waiting to begin! Are you going to come along?

Marlie by Anneli Purchase ~ new release

It’s a pleasure to welcome my friend, author Anneli Purchase to talk about her newest release, Marlie. Anneli taught elementary school on the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii) for several years and had the opportunity to see much of the islands’ beauty by boat. She must be a true islander as she still lives on an island, having simply exchanged Haida Gwaii for Vancouver Island as her residence.

Here’s Anneli with a peek into the pages of Marlie, a heartfelt romance of love and loss and love again.

Who among us has never made a bad decision? Marlie, in her mid-twenties, is young, pretty, and smart. But already her life is messed up.

Here she is on the cover, taken from a painting by Jan Brown.


Running away from her troubles, she takes a teaching job in Masset on the mystical Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). The small town is rougher than she anticipated. People relate to each other in a much more personal way, and get to know each other well. Masset is on an island—no one is going anywhere. Couples may trade around. Everyone knows everyone else’s business.

Marlie meets an artist who pays her a lot of attention. He seems like a gentleman … but is he?

The fisherman who has befriended her takes her on wonderful boating trips. Sparks are flying. Life is looking better every day.

But Marlie has made a serious error in judgement.

That one bad decision will rattle her nerves for months. Being new to the islands, she has no one to rely on but herself. All the beauty of the islands can’t take away her pain.

 

 

Devastated, at the downward turn her life has taken, Marlie’s confidence is shaken. She throws herself into her schoolwork and concentrates on her students, but she wonders if she was ever meant to find happiness.

For a raw adventure in the lonely northern islands of Haida Gwaii, read Marlie and see how she deals with being single and newly arrived in this remote place. Find out if she can outrun the bad decision she has made.

Anneli loves photographing and writing about nature, and the west coast of British Columbia is ideal for this. You can find more of her excellent nature photography and entertaining anecdotes on her website.

YOU CAN PURCHASE MARLIE FOR KINDLE AND IN PAPERBACK FROM:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

FOR E-BOOKS OTHER THAN KINDLE GO TO:

Smashwords.com

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANNELI PURCHASE AND HER OTHER BOOKS VISIT:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/

www.anneli-purchase.com

FOLLOW ANNELI ON TWITTER:

https://twitter.com/anneli33

@anneli33

 

Win a signed copy ~ enter until January 22nd

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Until January 22nd, click right here to have your name entered for a draw to win one of two signed copies of Drawing Lessons in The Good Life France Winter magazine.

It’s as easy as that!

Once you’ve entered the draw, be sure to take a look through the rest of the magazine. The articles and photographs are always outstanding! The magazine is published quarterly by my good friend, the tremendously talented Janine Marsh. The day it arrives in my mailbox is one of my favourite times … and, as I like to say, it is FREE, FABULOUS AND ALL ABOUT FRANCE!

Speaking of Janine, have you read her hilarious memoir describing how she and her husband bought and restored a rundown old barn ( her words) in the Pas de Calais area?

My Good Life in France is a wonderful story that will have you laughing out loud and possibly will persuade you to follow a dream of your own. Pourquoi pas?

Have you ever considered spending an extended time in a foreign country? Another good book to read along this same line was featured here on my blog a few weeks ago. Click here to read about Keith Van Sickle’s, memoir, One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence.

On the subject of following a dream, here are a few photos that always stir my French fantasies and have me counting the days until I return to the Côte d’Azur. Enjoy!

Good luck with the draw!

Do you spend time dreaming of a life somewhere else?

 

 

On sale for January in the USA

My publisher has a gift for you and any friends you share this with! Please don’t hesitate to spread the word!

Drawing Lessons is available in the USA through January in a special promotion:

$1.99 for the ebook and $7.99 for print!

Just click here http://amzn.to/2hXwIF0

Here’s a message I received from a reader today: “I truly, genuinely, honestly believe it’s the best of your books! I loved every word on every single line on every page! I literally cried at some parts – that happens very little! Thank you. X
That made my day!

 

2018 … the countdown is on …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

The New Year is just around the corner … it presents a clean slate on which to write hopes and dreams … here’s one of mine …

In a world where uncertainty about many things often creates the headlines, let’s focus on the positives of 2017 and dream a few dreams for 2018 … 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas greetings to all

Best wishes to everyone ~ Meilleurs voeux tout le monde!

 Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” ~ Ruth Carter Stapleton

May everyone, alone or with loved ones, feel the spirit of the season … and may we all live with this spirit of giving and caring each day of 2018.

Let the fêtes begin

It’s that time of year again! Let the fêtes begin!

Every year the holiday season seems to roll around a little faster! Do you agree?

It always takes that first snowfall in December for me to feel fully committed to Christmas. This year it appears that France is enjoying the fluffy white stuff before we have any in Toronto. Videos of snow falling in Paris, Provence and other areas, flooded the internet these past few days.

Speaking with a friend in Nice today,  I was told the tops of the Alpes-Maritimes nearby are becoming covered in white again. I love the dramatic effect created by the combination of the snow-capped mountains, that are the backdrop to the area, and the sparkling azure Mediterranean. The shot below is one I took a few years ago, driving along the Bord de Mer on the way to Nice.

A number of ski areas are already open just an hour from Nice! If you want to keep in touch with the ski conditions on those slopes, click right here.

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Calendales (from the provençal word for Christmas), begins today in France, December 4, Saint Barbara’s Day or la fête de la Sainte-Barbe. This marks the beginning of a lengthy period of celebration that blends Christian and pagan traditions.

In most homes and shop windows, on the counter at la Poste, on the bar in all the cafés and even in the windows of the patisseries, saucers of sprouting lentils and wheat seeds will be on display.

Read this excerpt to see what it is all about!

Excerpt from Promises To Keep: “Joy had explained on the phone. “It’s a tradition that goes back to Roman times. The sprouts are carefully nurtured, and if they grow straight and green, there will be a bountiful harvest in the coming year. If they go yellow or droop over, then that’s bad news. Some of the wheat is used to decorate tables and crèches on Christmas Eve, but most bunches are wrapped with a red ribbon and cared for right through to la Chandeleur, la Fête de la Lumière, on February 2.”

It was a surprise to discover how this ancient tradition still is so lovingly observed in shops and homes.

Christmas markets in France are well under way, many with ferris wheels and skating rinks as well as the ubiquitous, decorative carousels. Enticing aromas of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts fill the air.

This photo is from Place Massena in Nice and was sent to me by my friend, Teresa, a couple of years ago.

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When do you begin your holiday celebrating? Is there a special Christmas market in your town? If you have a Christmas tree, is it already decorated? The Christmas market in the Distillery District,  in Toronto is up and running.  It’s always a treat! 

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Let’s start celebrating December with more good news! Enter this new Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of five signed editions of DRAWING LESSONS. This giveaway is live until December 14th ~ feel free to share it with your friends.

Click here http://bit.ly/2AvvmZI ~ Bonne chance/Good luck!