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.

Happy Valentine’s Day~One Billion Rising

Bonne Saint-Valentin! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Along with heart and flowers, there’s so much to celebrate about love today and every day. So I want to share this link to my February 14th message from previous years as this information can never be repeated too often. I hope you find a couple of minutes to check it out. Be sure to watch the video.

I’m posting this on the 13th so you can check to see what’s happening in your community tomorrow. Join in … if you are not snowed in!

One Billion Rising 2017 is an international campaign to end the exploitation of women. Here’s a way we can all make a contribution. Click here to see events happening around the world today.
“Like” the Facebook page. Follow on Twitter. Let’s all do our part!

One more way you can help is to share this post. Let’s spread the word far and wide.

And please remember it all starts right here … with you:

Are there One Billion Rising activities in your town? Share them here with us!

The countdown is on … start packing!

It’s official! Our 2017 tour, Promenade En Provence, is filled to capacity with sixteen enthusiastic women who will spend twelve glorious days in June, exploring the beauty of the south of France with me and my good friend, fellow author Susan Sommers

Click here to visit Susan’s informative new website , Power Source For Women. On our trip, Susan will accompany those interested on morning walks and easy hikes along scenic routes. Her new book, Love Your Body ~ Embrace Your Life offers a wonderful combination of fitness, nutrition, spirituality, and health for women of all ages.

I will be waiting in France for you at the hotel. We can begin our time together with a toast on the beach!

Arrivals will be coming from Canada, the U.S.A. and the U.K., and we’ll make our first rendezvous at the elegant Hôtel Beau Rivage (my favourite!) in Nice. With the glistening turquoise Mediterranean across the street and the famous daily market of Cours Saleya in the old town just steps away, there’s not a better place to begin.

Each day will bring a new adventure with guided day trips to stunning nearby destinations, but there will also be plenty of time to rest, shop, or take a dip in the Med.

After six days, we will settle into the ancient walled town of Avignon. With just one hotel change during the entire trip, we can get comfortable once again. Our day trips will take us to picturesque medieval villages in the storied countryside of Provence, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, as well as endless fields of sunflowers and lavender.

 

I promise you an experience also filled with fine food, good company, laughter and lovely new friendships.

It’s such a pleasure to share my love of this exquisite part of the world on these tours. I’m already hearing from many who are eager to walk the same streets and discover the villages and scenery they read about in the Love In Provence series. We will do it all! On y va!

Susan, along with Debbie Ross, owner of the Womens Travel Network, will be hosting a Meet and Greet in May for anyone joining us from the Toronto area. Thanks to Debbie’s expertise for organizing all of the many details that make a trip like this possible!

Click here for photos of previous tours … and start planning your packing! I will be posting some packing tips later and also will send a list of great books you may want to read in advance. 

Are you excited? Susan and I can’t wait!

 

Travel theme: Game ~ Photo challenge

It’s been a while since I’ve joined in one of these photo challenges.

Boules or pétanque is a game played in the smallest villages right through to the grandest cities in France. It’s a storied part of the culture and a standard of daily routines. Click on the links above for more details … and there are plenty!

Observing, pondering, commenting … it’s all part of the game!

Mastering the technique!

A game in the Place du Jeu de Boules, the famous pétanque pitch in Saint-Paul de Vence and apéros at the Café de la Place (below) are timeless traditions. The under-stated sculpture honours the game and those who play. You can organize a lesson there if you visit.

Have you played or watched a game? Do you call it bocce, boules, or pétanque?  Here’s some Provençal history about the game.

It’s always so much fun to see the variety of participating entries in the photo challenge, click on this link and enjoy! I find it’s a great way to take a relaxing break from … whatever, and I hope you do too.

Are you on Instagram? I am and would love to connect with you. You can find me there @patricialsands  and I look forward to following you. 

Have you discovered The Happiness in Between?

Let’s give a hearty welcome to the talented Grace Greene! Thanks so much for dropping by.

Patricia, thank you for inviting me to meet your readers. For those who don’t know me, I’m a USA Today Bestselling author and I write women’s fiction set in Virginia, along with sweet romance with inspirational elements set at the beach in Emerald Isle, NC. The Virginia books are mostly single titles (standalones) set in the rural areas outside of Richmond and my upcoming Jan. 31st release, THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN, is one of those.

Between what you think you want and what you find = The Happiness In Between.

THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN highlights the protagonist, a woman named Sandra, who tried to please everyone and ended up pleasing no one. I feel a ton of empathy with Sandra who tried to do everything asked of her, yet who never felt in-step with her peers or even with the expectations of the adults she tried to emulate and please. Though, to others, she appeared to succeed at school and marriage, it never felt true within herself and she couldn’t keep it together. For those of us who don’t easily fit in, we know that no matter how hard you try to hide your awkwardness behind a polished social demeanor, eventually it will break you.

Luckily, my situation wasn’t as extreme as Sandra’s, but as an adult I would look around me and see people struggling for the approval of others instead of finding their own way. Living for external approval is a sure path to misery.

In THE HAPPINESS IN BETWEEN Sandra wants yet another chance to remake her life, but to succeed, she must first understand the core problem—herself. Unfortunately, to accept one’s own flaws requires belief in oneself, and her self-confidence is sorely lacking. Not her courage, though. She dredges up enough to run away from her manipulative husband, but she’ll need a lot more to make a real difference in her life. She goes into hiding at Cub Creek where she’ll find peace and quiet, but the hope she finds within herself may be the true key to a happier life.

Order the ebook, print book or audio before release day and you’ll get the Amazon lowest price guarantee: The Happiness In Between.

I love to hear from readers! You are always welcome to contact me via my website, GraceGreene.com

P.S. Grace is a member of the exciting new Women’s Fiction Fans Facebook page. She joins 7 other Women’s Fiction authors (in alphabetical order) Bette Lee Crosby, Ashley Farley, Barbara Hinske, Andrea Hurst, Dete Meserve, Christine Nolfi, and me!

We hope you will take a minute to pop over to the Women’s Fiction Fans page and join us.  You will find daily opportunities to chat, and share information about your favourite books, with us and tons of other readers. We’ll be doing regular giveaways and look forward to learning more about all of you.

 

 

Our June trip to Provence ~ are you coming?

 

Now that 2017 is underway, our women’s trip to Provence feels like it is just around the corner. As always when we do one of these fabulous trips, I’m already excited about it! I’ve received emails from several of the women who are coming with us and they can’t wait too. The countdown is on!

Our hotel in Nice is in the photo above on the Promenade des Anglais and just down the street from the daily market. There’ll be time to shop and go to the beach.

We spend a day in Antibes and visit the market where Kat met Philippe! ===>

At the moment, there are just four spots left out of the 16 offered. I’m posting info here about the trip in case you haven’t read about it. Please feel free to share it too.

Here’s the link to the women’s tour of the south of France that I will accompany from June 6 to 18. My friend and fellow author, Susan Sommers, goes with me. She writes non-fiction books about fitness for women over 50 and organizes some pleasant walks during the trip (purely optional in case you would rather shop!).
The cost of the tour (including daily breakfast and 11 dinners) CA $4995 and at the moment that cost is roughly US$3700. Plus airfare. It’s extremely well-priced for all that is offered AND it’s very personal, relaxed and a lot of fun.
You can find photos of the two previous tours on my website by clicking here.
 
I’m happy to answer any questions. We’ve had wonderful mother/daughter, sisters, and best friends combinations join us. Women who  have come on their own have all enjoyed the trip and made great friendships. It truly is a very special experience.
Many of the women who join us have read the Love in Provence series and are thrilled to explore the same places as Katherine does in the story.
I’ve put together a reading list to share and will post it here soon, as well as sending it to all on the tour.
Thanks for spreading the word … and, even better, for coming along with us on this great escape!

Ashley Farley’s New Release~Jan. 18th

Another release day to celebrate!

Fans of Ashley Farley‘s Sweeney Sisters Series will be delighted to know that Book 4, Tangle of Strings, is now available!

Here’s the synopsis:

A nearly tragic accident leads to a discovery that rocks the Sweeney family’s world.

Some families never resolve conflicts. Not so with the Sweeneys. Their sense of family, their love for one another, and their willingness to forgive have always triumphed and brought them back together. Until now. The latest crisis threatens to tear the family apart and crumble the foundation that has always proved itself rock solid.

At the heart of the matter are sixteen-year-old Annie Bethune and her boyfriend, Cooper. At stake are their dreams for the future. As to these dreams, no one in the family holds back when asserting an opinion.

Annie soon begins to feel like a puppet on strings with all those she loves telling her what to do. When those strings become tangled and a family feud develops, Annie, unable to bear the pressure, runs away. Straight into the arms of danger.

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, she’s done her job. Visit her blog where she shares book reviews and recipes and talks up close and personal about maturing women’s issues.

Ashley puts on Facebook parties that offer a great opportunity for readers to chat with her and with each other about books, reading, writing and just about anything you have on your mind.

Just click right here to join the fun. I’ve got a giveaway going there right now!

Drop by!

 

 

 

 

Celebrate this new release by Bette Lee Crosby!

Having just finished the first draft of my next novel … yes, really, I did type “The End” and now it will go off to my Lake Union editor … I know how satisfying and exciting it is to reach the best day of all ~

RELEASE DAY

and today we are celebrating the beloved author BETTE LEE CROSBY!

Bette Lee Crosby has done it again! If you pre-ordered your copy, I’ll bet you are already buried in the pages of this gripping story.

Today is the release day for Beyond The Carousel!

Here’s a little taste for what awaits you:

Laura Wilkes has everything a woman could want when she snaps the carousel picture. Her daughter, a happy little five-year-old, is holding the brass ring and smiling at a daddy who adores her. Each time the carousel circles around Laura snaps another picture, seven in all. This is a day of unforgettable happiness; one of the few Laura has left.
In the months following the stock market crash, Franklin Wilkes is killed; gunned down in senseless act of vengeance. The police know who did it, but the man has disappeared. It’s the height of the depression and there are hoards of nameless, faceless men living in freight train yards and back alleys. The murderer is never caught, but Laura and Emory, her father, never give up hope of finding him.
Now, twenty-five years later, Laura’s daughter has fallen in love with Jack Mahoney a policeman working crowd control with the strikers at the Telephone Company.
Right now Mahoney is a rookie, he has little or no power, but Emory is hopeful he is the one person who can ultimately find Franklin’s killer and deliver the justice the family has long awaited.

Readers of the other Wyattsville books will welcome the chance to get to know the kind-hearted Spare Change detective as a young man about to fall in love.

Purchase Beyond the Carousel on Amazon or iBooks.

 To celebrate Bette is giving away four signed paperback books.

There will be 3 copies of the USA Today Bestseller Spare Change, which is book one in the series, and 1 copy of “Beyond the Carousel”.

To enter, go to Bette’s FB page by clicking right here and leave a comment on the thread for the giveaway.

A random draw will decide four lucky winners.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win numerous other awards, including The Reviewer’s Choice Award, The Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal, FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal and The Royal Palm Literary Award.

Crosby originally studied art and began her career as a packaging designer. When asked to write a few lines of copy for the back of a pantyhose package, she discovered a love for words that was irrepressible. After years of writing for business, she turned to works of fiction and never looked back

Find out more about Bette’s books on her Amazon author page … don’t forget to click on the link to “Follow” her, while you are there. That way you won’t miss any exciting news!

Visit Bette at her website for more news, information, and good fun!

Last day to enter!

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of The Good Life France website and emagazine that are the extraordinary creations of Janine Marsh. Here’s a post from my blog when Janine visited a while ago.

Honestly … she is living my dream! And she makes dreams a reality for tens of thousands of subscribers with the fabulous photography, articles and information published on her sites. If you have never checked before, do it now. You won’t be disappointed.

It’s a pleasure to write articles for TGLF from time to time and it’s been very exciting to have this giveaway in the winter emagazine! The deadline to enter for this prize is tonight! This is a different giveaway than the one that was here on my blog, so it means you have another crack at it! If you haven’t entered, now is your chance.

Good luck! Bonne chance!

Win signed copies of all three of Patricia Sands’ best-selling Love in Provence Series books. Provence, romance and starting over… It all starts on the eve of her…
THEGOODLIFEFRANCE.COM

Eat cake like a king!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

If you are in France, it’s again time to celebrate  … oui …  bien sûr … more food! Don’t you love it? This time it’s all about a rich, almond cream (frangipane) enveloped by layers of light, flaky pastry (feuilleté).

Another joyful opportunity to bring friends and family around the table to share La Galette des Rois/The Kings’ Caketakes place on the first Sunday of January or January 6th and recognizes Epiphany, the arrival of the three wise men (Magis). This special pastry’s history can be  traced to Roman times.

During the French Revolution, the name was replaced with ‘Gâteau de l’Égalité’ (equality cake), as the word ‘king’ was a little out of fashion!

It’s so popular, many patisseries make the scrumptious cake through the entire month of January.

The cake is cut in the specific number of slices for the people present, with one extra symbolic slice for the first poor person passing by. The youngest child  (or the most innocent adult, if no children are present, which can result in great hilarity) goes under the table and calls out who will receive each slice to ensure fair distribution. The greatest excitement comes when one person discovers la fève (a lucky charm) hidden in a single slice.

Bon appétit!

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Click here to read an excellent account of the history and traditions of this special fête by my friend, Margo Lestz.

And speaking of food, have you signed up for the BECOME A FRENCH FOODIE IN 30 DAYS course with eFrench Café? Check with Ida Young-Bondi and see if you can still squeeze in!