SEE YOU THERE ~ 6:00/11:00 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, July 18


It’s time for the Women’s Fiction Fans Summer Party!

If you know our enthusiastic group of authors and readers, then it won’t be a surprise to see how much fun this party will be. If you’re new to our group … WELCOME! Here are the details:

JOIN THE PARTY for FUN, PRIZES and GIVEAWAYS ~ click right here
Nine of your favorite Women’s Fiction Authors have joined in to make this the event of the season for book lovers! There will be author chats going on all evening, loads of paperback giveaways and since it is summer…lots of beach-themed gifts. In short it’s a party you won’t want to miss!
Plus, Bette Lee tells us she will be be offering a Value-Packed Party-goers Special that will be for this one evening only…but it’s a secret and the only way you can find it is to stop by the party.
The festivities start with Grace Greene at 6:00 PM (est). She’ll be sharing the behind the scenes story for “The Memory of Butterflies”
Following her is the fabulous Ashley Farley (rumor has it that she may be giving away a copy of her new release “Sweet Tea Tuesday”)
At 7:00 Christine Nolfi will be here to celebrate her latest novel “The Comfort of Secrets” sequel to her bestseller “Sweet Lake”
Bette Lee Crosby will be on hand at 7:30 with a party-goers special, a giveaway that gets you ready for the beach, and three Winner’s Choice paperback giveaways
At 8:00 Patricia Sands will chat with readers and share pictures from her stay in France this summer & have a surprise draw!  Plus, she’ll be giving us a sneak peek into her upcoming release “Drawing Lessons”.
At 8:30 you’ll meet Andrea Hurst, author of the Madrona Island Series. She not only has some fun giveaways but will share some of her own island experiences
At 9:00 Barbara Hinske will be flying in from Arizona with giveaways and some secrets about what is happening at Rosemont. It promises to be delicious fun.
At 9:30 we have Dete Meserve, author of “Good Sam” and “A Perfectly Good Crime” Dete has giveaways and plenty to say about spreading kindness and good will.
At 10:00 Nancy Naigle, a favorite for romantic suspense stories, will be on hand. She’ll be sharing some insight into what’s next and have plenty of giveaways
This is an all-evening party, so stop by whenever you can and join the fun. This event comes with a guarantee of a good time for all! See you there!

Click right here to sign in.

Time to catch up!

I have some catching up to do here on the blog … thanks for your patience!

I returned to Toronto last evening after two wonderful months in the south of France, spending time between the Côte d’Azur and the countryside of Provence.

It was good to get back in time to celebrate Canada Day! I hope everyone in our beautiful country has been enjoying this special 150th birthday. What was happening in your neighbourhood?


If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I’ve been happy to have you along and you know what a busy time it was. For the first five weeks, my husband and I were is a charming little house in the old town of Antibes where I was able to absorb the atmosphere and history of the centuries-old streets that truly are a writer’s dream.

Making notes, taking photographs, observing details from the important to the mundane, talking to locals and asking questions, and listening as life unfolds each day, are all ways of researching the next story. I feel so grateful to have those opportunities.

Then I …

Well, instead of repeating myself, I’m going to post my most recent newsletter and let you catch up with it. If you happen to subscribe and did not receive it, please email me and let me know. There have been some technical “issues” and it will help to know if it is not getting through.

Here you go!


Greetings from beautiful Provence!
Newsletter #46                            June 28, 2017


Have you been battling a heat wave?  I’m still in France, but I’ve been reading about the record hot temperatures in some parts of North America. I hope you’ve been keeping cool in one way or another.

Here in Provence it’s been hot, hot, hot too! La canicule! This header photo is one I took in Antibes last week. That shady doorstep was an inviting stop for a few minutes.

Remember the writing event on June 3 in Nice,which I told you about in my last newsletter? Well, it was a great success. Please check out my blog next week when I will post all about it. It was a fabulous afternoon spending time with fellow authors and so nice to meet and mingle with enthusiastic Côte d’Azur readers.

This is my last week in France for 2017 and June has been a busy month. From June 6th to 18th, my friend Susan Sommers and I led our third tour of Provence. Sixteen women from the UK, the USA and Canada joined us for twelve specially-planned days, and we all had a fabulous time. The women were great travellers and interested in everything we had scheduled. Most had read my books and were delighted to visit places they had become familiar with in the stories.

We could not have asked for a more congenial group and it was great fun to watch everyone get to know each other and become friends. This is one of my favourite photos of the entire group, including Susan and me. That’s the beautiful village of Roussillon in the background.

I posted photos of each day of the tour on the Womens Travel Network blog. If you would like to see all the beautiful days we shared, just click right here and enjoy!

I want to send out a special “thank you” once again to each of the sixteen women. It was a pleasure getting to know you and you certainly helped create memories that will last forever.

The two months here in France have flown by. The weather has been wonderful, even with the extreme heat of the past three weeks. I’m not complaining.

I spent many afternoons writing on the roof terrace of our rental house … and many hours dreaming there too!

Even though it was a little early for lavender this year, we did see some fields in bloom. And we found sunflower fields, as well as the last of the poppies. It’s hard to catch everything at its peak, so we were thrilled with all that. Even though those are the most popular flowers to find this time of year, the south of France is full of colour from the many other plants and shrubs that create such beauty all around us here.

For this last week, I am in St. Remy with two of my best friends from Toronto. We’re having a girls-only getaway and I’m reminded every day of what a special thing it is to share such meaningful experiences. I hope you have similar types of priceless friendships in your life too.

And while I’m talking about France, I hope you have downloaded The Good Life France summer magazine. You know how I always like to say it’s free, fabulous and all about France. Click right here if you haven’t seen it yet. You’ll be glad you did.

In the midst of this, I’m also working my way through the final proofread of Drawing Lessons. And for that reason, I’m going to keep this newsletter short and catch up on more news with you next month.

Congratulations to the winners of last month’s giveaways:  Tara Brown, Ruth Thomas, Jana Leah Burkhardt, Catherine Lemanski, and Jane Coward.

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.

And now for this month’s exciting giveaways! You will recognize these writers from their bestselling releases last year. Now they both have new novels out for us!

Giveaway #1 is for two ebooks of Camille di Maio’s brand new release, Before The Rain Falls.

Camille always dreamed of being a writer, and those dreams came true with her bestselling debut novel, The Memory of Us. She and her family have just completed an exciting move to live in historic Williamsburg, VA.

Connect with her at

From an Amazon reviewer: “5 Stars ~ A wonderful story with rich, well defined characters set in west Texas spanning 70 years with lots of twists and turns.”

Giveaway #2 is for two ebooks of Suzanne Kelman’s new novel, Rejected Writers Take The Stage (Southlea Bay Book Two).

This is the follow up to Suzanne’s debut novel, The Rejected Writers’ Book Club. An award-winning screenwriter, Suzanne was born and raised in the United Kingdom. She now lives in Washington State in her own version of Southlea Bay with her husband, Matthew; her son, Christopher; and a menagerie of rescued animals.

Connect with Suzanne at

From an Amazon reviewer: “One terrific book to read, makes you laugh throughout the story. Just shows how a small community can bond together to help one another. Highly recommended reading for anyone.”

If you didn’t win in our giveaways last year for Camille’s and Susan’s debut novels, perhaps this will be your turn to do so! Good luck!

To have a chance to win, just send an email to Let us know which novel you would like or take a chance on winning both. You never know! It just may be your lucky day!

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!

And now, here’s a date to mark in your calendar! On July 18th, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, I’m inviting you and your friends to our Women’s Fiction Fans (Facebook Group) Summer Party. Join me and Bette Lee Crosby, Ashley Farley, Grace Greene, Barbara Hinske, Andrea Hurst, Dete Meserve, Nancy Naigle, and Christine Nolfi.

We are having a bookclub theme and the winner of the grand prize will receive nine ebooks and a virtual visit to their bookclub from one of the nine of us. It will be great fun! We love visiting with bookclubs … and readers in general!

If the winner doesn’t belong to a club, then other friends can be invited to join in the visit.

Of course, there will be plenty of other prizes and surprises!

I hope to see you and your friends there! My time slot is 8 p.m. but I’m certain I’ll be watching everyone else’s visits to the party too. There are always a lot of good things going on when we all get together!

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! I’m excited it will be ready for you in October. Poppies play an important part!

I’m going to sign off now and get back to finishing up the work on my proofread so I can send it back to my patient Amazon editor, Danielle Marshall. Then I can have more fun exploring with my BFFs this afternoon. They’ve gone into the village for coffee so I can finish my newsletter. True friendship!

Here’s the salad I had for lunch yesterday. It was scrumptious and I want to share it with you. So easy for any of us to make … just fresh greens, a round of chèvre (goat cheese – this one has poppy seeds on it but you can change that up), ripe figs, and raspberries. Just add a light vinaigrette and there you go!
Fresh baguette on the side, bien sûr!

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!

Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July to all celebrating those holidays next week! I better get this June letter out before then!!!

Bon appétit et à bientôt!

P.S. If you would like to read some of my past newsletters, you can do so at this page on my website.

 My books can be found on:
AmazonUS  |  AmazonUK  |  AmazonCA  |  AmazonFR  |  B&N  |  iTunes

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Talk books, writing and France ~ June 3, Nice, Côte d’Azur

If it’s Friday it must be France …

Bonjour! If you are going to be in Nice on June 3rd … or have a friend or friends who will be, please mark the date on your calendar and join us.

This is the third year the event has been organized and it’s always a good afternoon of conversation and connecting!

Meet the Authors-2

May 1st ~ a very special day in France

Bonne fête du muguet!

I recycle this post every year because I don’t want to change anything about it. If you read it last year … or the year before , I hope you enjoy it again. Listen to the cheerful May 1st video and do a happy dance!

En mai, fais ce qu’il te plait!

Provençal proverb ~ In May, do what pleases you!

2013-06-09 09.51.55

Here’s my May 1st muguet to each of you.

Every May 1st I love to talk about one of my favourite traditions in France ~ La Fête du Travail or La Fête du Muguet. The day is a national holiday ~ International Workers’ Day, like Labour Day in North America. But more than that it is an occasion when people give little bouquets or sprigs or pots of  le muguet (lily of the valley) to each other. Like so many of the things we love about France, the tradition has lasted for centuries. It began in 1561.

In my early years of blogging, I read a post by my friend, the talented writer/reviewer Claire McAlpine and I like sharing her story each year. It’s sweet, and explains the tradition so well.

Please click here to read it.

Two years ago, my husband and I had just finished a magical stay (but then isn’t it always?) in Paris and the Loire Valley. We were driving south to the Dordogne region and in every town, big or small, this was the scene. Even on a drizzly day. I loved it!

Dordogne and Les Muguets

Dordogne and Les Muguets 2

Dordogne and Les Muguets - Version 2

Obviously, young or old, everyone puts a lot of thought into this tradition.

Le muguet or lily of the valley represents a porte bonheur, a good luck charm, to special people in your life.  Sing along!

Does your culture or country have a special May 1st tradtion?

April Newsletter

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Happy Friday to you! I’m doing last minute organizing and packing … as you will see below, we are off to the Côte d’Azur on Monday. And you know me … I couldn’t be happier!

So I’m posting the newsletter here that just went out yesterday. If you already received it, I hope you enjoy the photos again!  It’s got all the news I want to share and … full disclosure … I’ve got to finish packing!

Fasten your seatbelt and prepare to take off with me on Monday. It will be magnifique over there and, if you like, I’ll be delighted to take you everywhere with me!




Are you ready for some warm spring weather? I am! It really hasn’t reached Toronto yet, although we’ve had some nice sunshine. I’m ready to stop wearing a jacket! Bring on the sandals!

Hopefully this time next week I won’t be grumbling about the weather. We will have arrived in Antibes! As most of you know, this header shot is one of my favourite views of the town that stole my heart.

My husband and I have rented a quaint, restored fisherman’s cottage for 5 weeks in the vieille ville, a few minutes from the daily marché. Yes … that marché where Kat met Philippe.

I can’t wait to take you along with me! Stay tuned for photos.

Antibes Market

This is one of the neighbouring streets that I’ll stroll to go to the market, and I promise to take you along many other charming streets just like it.

Antibes street

When I’m in France, I’ll share a new photo or short video every day on Instagram. Click here for the link to my gallery.  Apart from sharing my photos, I love IG because of all the other amazing photography you find there from all over the world, and on just about every topic you can imagine. It’s a free app on your phone. If you enjoy photography in one way or another, check it out! Be sure to say hi to me if you do.

Patricia with camera

In my last newsletter, I mentioned I had completed the developmental edit for my new novel. Today I returned the copy edit to my editor at Lake Union, and now I wait for the proofread to come to me and the cover design. As you can see, it’s a lengthy process! But I love every bit of it and always learn something. Most importantly, it means we’re working hard to bring you books of the highest quality.
I hope to show you the cover in the next newsletter, before anyone else sees it.
What I can tell you now is the title ~ Drawing Lessons ~ I mentioned the story about the title in my last newsletter … and I give full credit to my husband!
Here is Amazon’s book description. You are seeing it before anyone else!

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.

After falling in love with all of my characters in the Love in Provence series, it was a challenge at first to get connected to an entirely new collection of personalities. That’s part of the fun of writing fiction! It didn’t take long before all of these characters became very special to me as the story unfolded and I got to know and love them! I think you will like them too!

This is one of the streets I often visualized as the characters were strolling in Arles, taking notes and sketching in their art journals.

Arles Street

Giveaway time!  Today we have three! It’s fun to see how many of you enter the giveaways, so I’m thrilled to offer these great books to you this month. Good luck! Bonne chance!

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.

Giveaway #1 ~ Janine Marsh’s memoir My Good Life in France is available for pre-order and will be published on May 4th! She is offering two ebook copies here. As the creator of The Good Life France website and magazine, you’re no doubt very familiar with her. It’s quite a ride to read the story of how her adventure has unfolded. Here’s my blog post about it.

Connect with Janine here.


Giveaway #2 ~ Popular crime writer  (25 books! Wow!), Diane Capri, is offering two ebooks of Wasted Justice, part of her best-selling Willa Carson series. It’s a mystery involving mothers and her readers love it. Diane says she “writes mystery, thriller and suspense for the same reason she reads: for fun, excitement, to find out what happens, why people do what they do, and how to bring justice to an unjust world.” Full of thrills and tension – but smart and human too.” —Lee Child , #1 World Wide Bestselling Author of Jack Reacher Thrillers

Connect with Diane at her website.

Wasted Justice Book CoverDiane Capri


Giveaway #3 ~ Kay Bratt is the author of eleven full-length novels and two children’s books. She is offering one ebook and one print copy of her touching novel Wish Me Home.  In her first work of contemporary women’s fiction, bestselling author Kay Bratt draws on her own life experiences to create a raw, yet inescapably warm, novel about friendship and a wary heart’s unexpected capacity to love. And there’s a dog!

“In this inspiring story of a woman’s search for the deepest wish of her heart, Bratt paints a realistic portrait of the dark side of the foster care system, while simultaneously reminding us that there is always hope, and that home and family can be found in unexpected places.” —Kerry Anne King, bestselling author of Closer Home and I Wish You Happy

Connect with Kay at her website.

Wish Me Home Cover Graphic

For those of you who are new to the newsletter, all you have to do to enter our giveaways, is send an email to and let us know which book you would like. Please indicate if you would like an ebook or print. This time we’re asking you to share with us whether you read novels on your phone or not. Don’t be shy to admit it … I do! (Practically all the time, thanks to this chaotic schedule I seem to keep!) I love having all my books with me whenever I want them.

Congratulations to last month’s winners:  Jackie Tansky, Beverly Eanes, Linda Kish, Jane Pinder, Barbara Mitchell, Athena Kelly, and Margaret Bostock. I’m sure you’ve already heard from Amy and received your books.

I will be sending the audiobooks to Jackie and Beverly in the next day or two.

News Flash ~ The Bridge Club is discounted to $.99 until the end of June because of some marketing promotions.  If you already have a copy, gift some to your friends!

As I mentioned last month, a few writers have organized another Meet The Author event in Nice on June 3. Here’s the information about  the venue and I’ll put the other details on my FB page in a week or so. I’ll also let you know in my May newsletter. If you have any friends in the area, please share the info with them. It’s always an entertaining few hours and we’re making it even bigger and better than before! Allez!

Meet the Authors

I’m going to dash now as I’m off to visit with a book club this evening ~ one of my favourite things to do! Don’t forget to let me know if you would like to organize a chat with your book club ~ we can always do it through Skype or FaceTime ~ no matter where you are. Talking about books is always fun!

And, since I’m dashing I thought I would leave you with one of my favourite quickie recipes for entertaining. We all have left over cheese from time to time, oui?  I’m popping this cheese photo in just because I like it … and I love this cheese … but, seriously, you can make this yummy treat with any kind of cheese and mixing a few together often is even more delicious! Just pick up a fresh baguette and you are good to go.

Make some Fromage Fort … and if you do, tell me how it worked for you. Click here for the recipe.

My next newsletter will be from Antibes and I’m excited to chat with you from there again!

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!

Bon appétit et à bientôt!

P.S. If you would like to read some of my past newsletters, you can do so at this page on my website.




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:


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.

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)



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.

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 ============>