Living the dream in Provence

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

This photo is one I took from the top of the hill in the beautiful village of Bonnieux. There’s something about that patchwork quilt landscape that inspires one story after another.

Today I’m happy to bring you a visit with Keith and Val Van Sickle who are living the dream of spending part of each year in Provence.

Keith has written a delightful book of humorous vignettes about the daily life he and Val have experienced ~  One Sip at a Time ~ Learning to Live in Provence

PS ~ You live your life between California and Provence.  How did you make this decision?

KVS ~ My wife Val and I once had the wild good luck to be expatriates in Switzerland.  It changed our lives!  We traveled all over Europe on the weekends, trusty dog in tow, and discovered that life is a lot different over there.  For one thing, people don’t work all the time and are not constantly busy. There’s this thing called joie de vivre and it’s real—instead of constantly working, you spend more time with friends and family, especially over long meals.

Once our time in Switzerland was up, we dreamed of living in Europe again.  We searched for other expat gigs but couldn’t find any.  Finally about ten years ago we decided that hey, life is short, let’s figure something out!  And we invented our own expat gig.  We quit our jobs (that was scary!), became consultants to give us flexibility, and began living several months a year in Provence.  Oh, and we didn’t speak French.

PS ~ Excusez-moi! You moved to France without speaking French?  How did you overcome that rather large challenge?

Well, Val could speak a little and I could order at a restaurant.  But that was about it.

The thing that really helped us was finding language partners.  This is someone who is learning your language while you are learning theirs.  You get together regularly and speak in one language and then the other, patiently listening and correcting each other.

I still make mistakes but I don’t worry about it.  I can hold a conversation and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it—communicating?

But here’s what you have to watch out for…

There are many words that are the same in French and English, like nation, pause, and danger.  If I don’t know a word in French, sometimes I will just fake it by using the English word with a French accent.  It works most of the time but you have to be careful, because some words exist in both languages and have entirely different meanings.  These are the infamous faux amis, or “false friends.”  Ask Val about the time she shocked some friends by talking about preservatives in food.  Oops, preservative means “condom.”

PS ~ With your sense of humour and personality, I ‘m sure you’ve made many friends in France. How would describe those friendships?

KVS ~ Yes!  The French have a reputation for being standoffish, especially with English-speakers, but we haven’t found that at all.  We have lots of good friends in France and they are incredibly warm and generous.  We have vacationed together in France and they have stayed with us in California.  Our French friends enrich our lives.

When we moved to Provence we made a real effort to meet people.  We would make the first move by inviting them for coffee or by giving them a little gift from California—kitchen towels with the Golden Gate Bridge on them were a big hit.  It’s not easy to “put yourself out there,” especially when you don’t speak the language well.  So Val and I embarrassed ourselves plenty of times but what the heck? We have found that most people really appreciate the effort and respond in kind.

Luckily, Val and I love food and wine and there’s nothing nearer to French hearts.  Many of our friendships have been built over looooong meals that were bien arrosé (“well watered.”)

PS ~ I know you have settled in one of my favourite towns and can well understand why you chose it. 

KVS ~ We fell in love with Provence when we lived in Switzerland.  It has beautiful scenery, charming hilltop villages, fascinating Roman history, delicious food and wine—what’s not to love?  And all within a small area!

After exploring different towns in Provence we’ve finally settled on St.-Rémy-de-Provence.  It’s next to the Alpilles, the low mountain range where we like to (very slowly) bike around.

When did you feel inspired to share your vignettes in a book?  Have you always been a writer?

I’ve only come to writing recently, having spent my career in the high-tech industry.  My last company had a product so geeky I’m still not sure what it did.

My book started with a travel blog I kept for friends and family.  I would turn our many faux pas into funny stories—it’s always better to laugh at your mistakes, isn’t it?  My friends encouraged me to turn those stories into a book and I finally decided, what the heck—life is an adventure!

Writing has been a lot of fun and I’m now a regular contributor to Perfectly Provence, The Good Life France, Frenchly and other publications for those of us who love France.

This field of poppies says “Provence” to me.

It’s been a pleasure to chat with you here, Keith. I can feel your humour and joie de vivre resonating through all your answers! I wish you and Val a lifetime of happy years living a dream that many readers share with you. 

Click right here to purchase Keith’s book.

Follow along on this lovely adventure and find all social media links at Keith’s website.

Here’s Keith’s Facebook link too!

Thanks for a great launch of Drawing Lessons!

It’s been eleven days since my fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, was released and I want to say thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy. With an overall rating of 4.8 stars, I would say you are loving the story … and I loved writing it.

Thanks also to everyone who has posted a review on Goodreads and Amazon.com. If you have the time to copy your review onto Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com.au, it would be most appreciated! I’ve linked to the pages here and hope you don’t mind me making the request, it really helps! Merci mille fois!

Thank you to artists, Lake Union Publishing and you!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

This Sunday, October 1, is the launch day for my fifth novel, Drawing Lessons.  

I’m happy to finally share this story with readers and owe a big thank you to the amazing team at Lake Union Publishing for making this launch happen. Writing the story is just part of the journey. The other part is the expertise and guidance of acquiring editors, developmental and copy editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and marketing wizards along with an indispensable author relations manager … and even that list may not cover everyone. Forgive any omission and know your contribution is valued. Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency, it all began with you. Merci!

Writing this story was a challenging and rewarding experience for me in many ways. In particular, was the opportunity I had to connect with several visual artists as I attempted to learn as much as I could about their world, in order to write with a degree of credibility within the story. I’m grateful for, hopefully, grasping a smidgen of understanding of the philosophy and craft of creating visual art in many different ways.  Thanks too for the detailed information about materials and their use. I couldn’t have written this story without that help.

It was Irish artist, Patrick McCarthy, who sparked the idea in my head of Arianna, the protagonist, being an artist.

In June, 2016, a few of us were spending an evening at a dinner party at the always rolicking home of dear friends, perched in the hills overlooking the Côte d’Azur.  I was fascinated as Patrick took out his traveling box of paints, his case of brushes and pens, and his sketch book, and began to draw the panoramic view, high above Saint-Paul de Vence.

Thus began the unfolding of a new story in my imagination. I had already decided the setting would be the area around Arles and the Camargue, where my husband and I had recently spent two weeks. But it was news to me that Arianna would be an artist. It’s fascinating how story details develop sometimes. That’s part of the fun of writing fiction!

I realized I had a lot to learn about sketching, drawing, painting and … gulp … the entire world of visual arts.

Little did Patrick McCarthy know what he unleashed in my mind.

To honour the aspect of the artists’ workshop/retreat that plays a major role in Drawing Lessons, I asked three of the artists with whom I spoke to write a few words for this blogpost.

Here are three brief contributions, each expressed from the artist’s slightly different perspective.

First, please welcome, JoAnn Sanborn. Our serendipitous meeting at her studio on Marco Island, led to an incredible coincidence. As I explained the basic premise of my story to her, she gasped as she said, “You’re telling my story.” I was covered in goose bumps as she explained. Read on, please.

“I’m a landscape painter whose main subject is the Florida Everglades.   When my husband  was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease,  I began to spend more time in my home studio to care for him.   When he passed away, someone at the funeral said to me “Now you will be able to do whatever you want.” Her words disturbed me.  I didn’t want to do anything but to have him back.

I barricaded myself into the studio playing sad songs of love and loss.  Two months later, I received an email from an artist friend offering to take a small group to paint in France.   Did I want to come along?  France!  At first I didn’t consider it.  Still, the idea tugged at my mind.  I made all sorts of excuses.   I’m in mourning—it’s too soon.  I’m an acrylic  painter—how would I manage with oils?   Would I be good enough? 

My friend’s words popped into my mind.  I didn’t have to ask permission of anyone—but did I dare?

I trusted my heart and jumped.  At La Vieux Couvent  there were stone buildings,  Caribbean blue shutters, climbing pink and yellow roses, church bells, sheep in the fields and delicious farm-fresh food.  I painted in the studio, in the gardens and at the lily pond.  Painting “en plein aire” in a landscape so different from my usual Everglades was refreshing.   Other artists shared ideas and encouragement.  Sketching, journaling  and shopping through the small French towns was fun.  There was even an exhibition of our work for the neighbors at the end of our trip. 

The decision to go had been the right one.  Taking that step renewed my faith in myself and taught me that although I will never get over my loss, it’s OK to keep on living.”

See? Goose bumps. Thank you, JoAnn. Please visit her beautiful website.

Next, please welcome Tessa Baker, a British artist living in Provence, who offers workshops just like Juliette and Maurice in Drawing Lessons. Tessa’s stunning property and website offered inspiration as I developed my story. We met online a few years ago through our mutual friend, Kristin Espinasse.

“What do you do when you are an artist living in an old tumble down Provençale farmhouse, surrounded by vineyards and hills with endless inviting views and entrancing medieval villages perched high on hill?

 What do you do when you live 35 minutes from some of the most scenic of coastal land and seascapes in all of France and 35 minutes from one of the most luxurious turquoise lakes deep in the valley of purple and ochre mountains, scented by lavender and wild herbs? With gorges of such extraordinary natural beauty you stand and gaze in awe?

Well, perhaps you do as I do. I run One Week watercolour workshops. You are looked after and catered for from the moment we pick you up at the airport or train station to the moment we drop you off. Anna is one of the best chef’s I know and provides us with gourmet meals and picnics.  

I teach techniques and colour mixing, observation and composition. We paint plein-air as often as possible. If the weather is rainy or cool, I have a spacious studio for us to use.

The whole week is filled with creativity, learning, joy and laughter and plenty of wonderful food and local wines. Every day we travel to yet another glorious location and everyday your art will improve.” An experience like Arianna’s! Connect with Tess at her charming  home ~ www.paintprovencewithtess.com 

Next, please welcome, California-born, Australia-based artist Georgia Mansur. We met, quite by chance, at  the Monastère Saint-Paul de Mausole, in Saint-Remy de Provence where Vincent Van Gogh spent 53 prolific and often tormented weeks, beginning May 1889.

Georgia travels the world teaching and mentoring groups of artists. Approachable and friendly, she and her students kindly gave me permission to photograph some of their materials and shared thoughts about painting in that remarkable setting.

Her musings:

“I have been taking students to Provence to paint in the footsteps of the impressionists masters for the past 8 years. The beautiful soft light and the gorgeous rural countryside inspire me to tell its unique story in paint so others can also enjoy it.

I am very passionate about sharing my creativity and art with others and helping them express themselves, whether they are a beginning artist or a seasoned professional.

My students have given me the nickname ‘The Art Whisperer’ and I hope to inspire, move and engage people more each day with art and the creative process.

We are all creative but some have lost touch with that part of themselves. I get a lot of joy helping others gain access to their artistic side and love sharing my favourite painting spots that only locals know. Although i teach about 8 months of the year around the world, Provence holds a special place in my heart.

In my workshops I share everything I have within my power with my students ~ in the words of Vincent Van Gogh,

“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in with all my heart.”

Please take some time to visit Georgia’s website.

My sincere thanks to JoAnn, Tessa and Georgia for everything you shared with me. In large and small ways, I gained valuable insight from each of you. It’s my distinct pleasure to have met you.

To you, dear readers, I hope this gives you interesting information about some of the research involved in writing fiction. I have another emotional and meaningful conversation to share with you in another blog post. This was with a friend who has also lived part of Arianna’s story. See you next week.

Bon weekend and thank you to everyone for celebrating the launch of Drawing Lessons with me. You are the reason I write!


 

Drawing Lessons ~ prelude to publishing!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

(There’s giveaway info at the end …)

It’s no secret that I have an obsession with France … the south of France, in particular. I love writing stories set in alluring and evocative locations there that bring history, beauty, character and ambience to the reader. When someone writes and tells me they were transported to France in the story … my work is done. And I am so grateful.

Thank you to every person who takes the time to share their thoughts in a review. Your words are important to me, as well as to other readers. Reviews don’t have to be long, just sincere.

October 1 is the publishing day for my fifth novel, Drawing Lessons. It’s always an exciting day for a writer after a long journey that begins with the seed of an idea. After months of research, writing, editing, re-writing, critiques from advance readers, re-writing, copy editing, proofreading, cover design, and many other details to consider, the release day arrives. Whew!

Drawing Lessons begins in Toronto before the story settles in and around the ancient town of Arles and the intriguing Camargue. After visiting Arles several times, my husband and I spent two weeks there while I took photos and filled notebooks with details.  Here’s an excellent tourism website. It’s definitely an area to visit.

I loved writing this story and learned a lot about many new topics in the process. That’s part of the fun of writing fiction. Every story is an eduction for the author. There are many other people to thank and that will happen in another post. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s the blurb:

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.

Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

Thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered! If you haven’t, you can do so easily by going to this link. This guarantees your book will be in your hands as soon as it is published. No waiting!

Until then, there’s still an ebook giveaway going on until September 30. ONE HUNDRED EBOOKS ~ CLICK RIGHT HERE TO ENTER … GOOD LUCK! BONNE CHANCE!

 

For your weekend reading pleasure …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I know what I will be reading when I take writing breaks this weekend …

… the autumn edition of THE GOOD LIFE FRANCE online magazine … as I like to say, it’s FREE, FABULOUS and all about FRANCE!

CLICK RIGHT HERE AND ENJOY! 

Then make sure you subscribe … in the meantime, you can be certain I will always share it with you right here!

Merci mille fois, Janine Marsh, for another exquisite publication! J’adore!

BON WEEKEND, TOUT LE MONDE! WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS?

A brief respite from bad news …

 

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Some days it feels like there’s nothing but bad news. Here are a few of my favourite photos from Provence to bring you a moment or two of day-dreaming … let’s fly away together … allons-y …

That top photo is our view of the eastern side of Nice and the vieux (old) port as we fly in. How is that for a welcome?

 

I hope this helped to brighten your day! Wherever you are, I wish you safety and, with any luck, a bon weekend. Our thoughts are with everyone.

Torre DeRoche is back!

One of the things I like best about the internet is the opportunity it offers on a regular basis to connect with people you might otherwise never have met.

One such connection that occurred six years ago was with writer Torre DeRoche.

SIX YEARS AGO? How can that possibly be, I asked myself when I looked at the date on my first post about her. You can read it right here … and I hope you take the time to do so.  IMHO, Torre is an unconventional young woman and a talented writer, with a perceptive and unique literary voice. I also see her as sensitive, with strong values, and a wicked sense of humour. Full disclosure, she does swear.

Here’s how she describes herself: “I live in Melbourne, Australia, but hold two passports, because I was born to American parents. I’ve always felt conflicted about whether I’m a bohemian Californian flower child or someone who gets intimate with dangerous wildlife and uses too many swear words. I settled somewhere in the middle.

It absolutely boggles my mind the way time flies! But, it does … and that’s a fact … so opportunities should not be missed. This is one.

In October 2011, Torre had recently published her first book. The title and cover were different and the novel was published again in 2013 as Love With a Chance of Drowning.

I read a review of the memoir and knew I wanted to read the complete story of Torre crossing the Pacific on her boyfriend’s 32-foot sailboat, in spite of her debilitating fear of water.  A Kirkus review said: “”A funny, irresistibly offbeat tale about the risks and rewards of living, and loving, with an open heart.” I loved the book.

Finding my way to Torre’s blog, I immediately wanted to discover more about this engaging young woman who could bring a reader to tears of laughter and sorrow in the same sentence.

The first post of hers that I found, was a poignant recounting of how excited she was with the success of her book … only to discover that her beloved father had just received a devastating cancer diagnosis. The manner in which she described the clash of emotions within her, touched me to the core. I wrote to her about loss and grief and life, sharing my experience of being widowed when I was 43 with two young sons. We then exchanged some personal emails. After a while, life moved on with me writing and Torre living a life of adventure with her boyfriend and her father responding to treatment.

I followed along on her blog until at one point she seemed to disappear. From time to time I would catch sight of an Instagram posting and be assured she was still around. What I gathered was that she was not writing, but walking … and worrying.

Now Torre and I have reconnected and I know the whole story. So will you. It’s all documented in DeRoche’s new memoir, The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World: Love, Loss, and Other Catastrophes–through Italy, India, and Beyond.

The release date is September 5th ~ two more days! You can pre-order here.

Sadly, Torre’s father died and around the same time her 9-year love affair also ended. Not surprisingly, she was devastated and consumed by grief. Wracked with fear, doubt and anxiety, on a whim she set off to confront the darkness and discover a new light … if indeed there was one. Along the way, she met up with unconventional pilgrim, Masha, a woman who was pursuing her dream to walk the world.

Together they walked through parts of Italy and India, talking, laughing, eating, and drinking as a powerful friendship evolved. Through it all, de Roche searches in her inimitable way for answers to her admitted neuroses and interweaves researched facts and thoughts to help support her quest for meaning in her life.

Author Janice MacLeod describes this book as, “”A moving account of conquering fears while walking a pilgrim’s path. Also funny as f@#k.”

I’m glad to see Torre is writing again. She makes me laugh out loud … and ponder “stuff”. On her website, The Fearful Adventurer, she promises new ventures. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Her blog has been profiled in NatGeo and was one of Viator’s Top Travel Blogs of 2015. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel and alongside Cheryl Strayed, Dave Eggers and Sloan Crosley in the Lonely Planet travel writing anthology, An Innocent Abroad.

Connect with Torre on Facebook here. All other social media links are on her website.

Are you a worrier? Have you ever taken a pilgrimage of one sort or another to try and find answers to your questions about life? Curious minds would love to hear about it, so leave a comment. 

Torre will be offering a giveaway or two in my next (September) newsletter. 

 

Labor Day Book Bonanza!

Have you entered? It’s not too late!

Just four days left to take a chance on winning nine signed paperbacks AND a $100.00 Amazon gift card!

Click right here and away you go!   Good luck/Bonne chance!

 

August means it is still summer!

Do you know people who start saying summer is almost over once the month of August begins? I do! I go to great pains to point out that our summer is just at the halfway mark. The warm weather season in Toronto is short enough without some folks wishing it away! So keep doing all those summery things and set the naysayers straight!

I took this shot while we were on a bike ride last week. It still looks like summer to me! What do you say?

I don’t have a post today, but I do have my July newsletter to share with any of you who may not subscribe. If you do subscribe, but did not receive this last week, please let me know. Sometimes the mail delivery system has a kink or two!

 

Newsletter #47

 

How is your summer going? I hope the answer is a resounding “GREAT” for most of you. If any of you, or your loved ones, are living in one of the areas around the world affected by the terrible wild fires, please know you are in the thoughts and prayers of many.

It’s three weeks today since I returned from the south of France. As you know from my last two newsletters, every day was memorable. However, it didn’t take too long to get settled back into life in Toronto.  After time away, it’s always so good to get caught up with family and friends. (And then get back to serious writing, of course!)

We love the view from our condo (above), but I can’t say France is far away from my thoughts! Bring on 2018!

I must admit I didn’t accomplish a lot of proper writing while I was away. What I did was a tremendous amount of observing and absorbing and note taking. My camera shutter was steaming! Details, images and memories were captured that I will use as I write more stories for you.

The header shot in this letter is one of my favourite photos from this summer. The colours, textures, and play of light/shadow were impossible to resist. I walked past this door whenever I took one of several routes to the daily marché in Antibes. It took my breath away every single time.

Our Women’s Fiction Fans Summer Party was an enormous success, and we are so grateful to all of the enthusiastic readers who joined in the fun! We can’t begin to thank you enough! Congratulations to all the winners of books, bags and macarons! Those were just some of the sought after prizes!

If you haven’t had an opportunity to join our group, just go to this page and click on “joined”.  It’s as easy as that!

I would also like to invite you to join me at our #LakeUnionAuthors page. Click on this link and be connected. Every week one of the 72 authors signed to Lake Union Publishing hosts the page. I will be hosting from August 7th to 13th and hope you will find some time to visit with me then.

With both of these groups there is absolutely no commitment on your part, except to learn about new reads, chat with authors and connect with book lovers like yourself. You can be as engaged as you like … or not. But do be part of the community! We look forward to spending time with you!

The aim of these friendly groups of authors and readers is to share thoughts and comments about books (old and new), or simply talk about reading in general … or anything else that’s on your mind. Ask us questions, enter our giveaways, enjoy our special events and, by all means, please invite your friends!

Now it’s time for this month’s giveaways!

You are no doubt familiar with my friend and fellow Lake Union author, Christine Nolfi, as we are often involved in author events together. We’ve met several times in person and will be together again at the Novelists, Inc. (NINC) writers conference in October. Can’t wait!

A few months ago, Christine gave away copies of her new release Sweet Lake. This month you have the opportunity to win one of two ebooks of the sequel, The Comfort of Secrets. Isn’t it a beautiful cover?

From an Amazon reviewer: 5 stars ~ “This is a delightful and charming story that describes the Wayfair Inn in Ohio and the quirky, complex and complicated characters. Many of the characters are the same as in the first book.”

Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her novel TREASURE ME, Liberty series book 2, is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists SECOND CHANCE GRILL, Liberty series book 1, and the other Liberty books as “highly recommended”. Connect with Christine here.

Our next giveaway is for one of two ebooks of the exciting new release, I Wish You Happy, from another fellow Lake Union author, Kerry Anne King. I don’t know how Kerry manages all she does. She spends her days working as an RN in a clinic, spinning her tales early in the morning and in the evenings after work. She believes passionately in the idea of the “whole self” and is ever in pursuit of balancing mind, body, and spirit. She also writes fantasy and mystery novels as Kerry Schafer.
Connect with Kerry here.

From an Amazon reviewer: 5 stars “I Wish You Happy is a heartfelt book, a story that exudes warmth and feelings. The characters in this book are quirky, genuine, and a bit tortured; they are all searching not only for their own happiness but also for the happiness of the people they love.”

As always, to have your name entered for the random draw for each giveaway, send an email to patriciasandsauthor@gmail.com . This month please tell us your favourite summer activity. Good luck, everyone!

With the giveaways in my newsletter, I hope you enjoy meeting authors who might be new to you and connecting with those you already follow. Savour their books, find out more about the writers and pass along their information to your friends. The best way to hear about a good book is by word of mouth from dedicated readers like you.

If you have time to write a short review, even better, and always appreciated.  Good luck! Bonne chance!

Congratulations to the winners of last month’s giveaways: Camille Clark-Laclergue, Donna Faulkner, Cynthia Daniel, Barbara Taptich, Helen Hoadley, and Janet Graham.

Amy, my irreplaceable right hand, is always on top of things so I’m certain you have all heard from her by now. If not, please let us know.

Who wants to win a Kindle? Take a chance in this event and add some new books to your summer reading list. Good luck. Click right here to enter!

A few summers ago, we discovered this delicious drink at Le Phenecia, an excellent Lebanese restaurant overlooking the Med in Antibes. They call it Lebanese Lemonade and here’s the closest recipe I could find. At the restaurant they said they added only a pinch of sugar. To help sweeten, they added a dash of fleur d’oranger, as the French often do.

You may have to play with the recipe a bit for sweetness. Make sure the mixture has a nice frothy topping. It’s deliciously refreshing!

I took this photo one day in Antibes when I met a reader who asked me to sign her copy of I Promise You This. That made the moment even more pleasurable for me!

Stay well, my friends, be kind to one another, read a lot and appreciate every single day. Profitez de tous les jours! I’m reminded on a regular basis that the best part of being an author is hearing from readers. I value the messages I receive from you. Thanks also for sharing my books with your friends and for the reviews you write. It’s all most appreciated and inspiring. See you next month!

À bientôt!

Thanks and mille mercis to everyone who has pre-ordered my new novel, Drawing Lessons. If you still haven’t, you can do so by clicking right here! Right now I’m awaiting the final sign off on the manuscript. We’re eager to have the book available on Net Galley for everyone who is interested in writing a review. Stay tuned! I will let you know the minute it is there.

 

A brief retrospective

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

How was your week? Our Women’s Fiction Fans Summer Party on Tuesday evening was an enormous success. We were blown away! And we’re so grateful to all of our enthusiastic readers who joined in the fun. We can’t begin to thank you enough!

Congratulations to all of the winners. Books, bags and macarons! Those were just some of the sought after prizes!

If you haven’t had an opportunity to join our group, just go to this page and click on “joined”.  It’s as easy as that!  The aim of this friendly group of authors and readers is to share thoughts and comments about books or simply reading in general … or anything else that’s on your mind. Ask us questions, enter our giveaways, enjoy our special events and, by all means, please invite your friends!

Right now I’m awaiting the final sign off on the manuscript for Drawing Lessons. We are eager to have the book available on Net Galley for everyone who is interested in writing a review. Stay tuned! I will let you know the minute it is there.

In the meantime, Drawing Lessons can be pre-ordered right here.  This just means that the day the book is published, you will receive your copy. Great service! And thanks!

I’m also working on my July newsletter tonight, so with all that going on, I’m going to leave you with a few of my favourite shots from May and June in the south of France. Enjoy! Profitez!

Villefranche-sur-Mer ~ How many times am I going to take a photo here? Year after year, the view is simply too irresistible.

It was hot, hot, hot! There were few breezes through the narrow streets in the towns and villages of Provence. Shutters were closed to keep the cool inside. The cicadas hummed.

The little yellow house with the blue shutters. I’m writing about one now. 🙂

Chilled rosé (extra special because it comes from a friend’s vineyard ~ Jean-Marc Espinasse, husband of the delightful Kristin) + delicious nougat + strawberries so sweet they taste like candy.

A favourite shot ~ on one of my daily walks to the marché. Can’t you almost taste the colours?

The Women’s Travel Network’s 12-day tour of the south of France, based on my Love in Provence series. Sixteen fabulous women who made each day an absolute pleasure.

Ten days with two BFFs ~ 4 in Antibes and 6 in St. Remy. Girls’ getaway. Friendship is priceless.

The garden behind the 12thC former monastery and asylum of Saint-Paul de Mausole. Vincent van Gogh spent May 1889 to May 1890 here, one of his most productive periods. Van Gogh and this setting also feature in my new novel. This is truly a peaceful, spiritual place.

The delicate beauty of poppies is symbolic in Drawing Lessons. I wanted to take photos for marketing and graphics for the new novel. The poppy season was almost over but then we got lucky and voilà!

I hope you have an excellent few days planned. Bon weekend!