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.







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

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.


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.


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! 


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 ~ Bonne chance/Good luck!

November’s news ~ #51

Bon weekend, everyone! In case you haven’t read my November newsletter, it’s posted here for your convenience. Enjoy! Enter the giveaways! Bonne chance!

View this email in your browser
Newsletter #51                            November 24, 2017

Bonjour Patricia

This letter will probably arrive as the long American Thanksgiving weekend is drawing to a close. Is everyone resting today?  I trust you all enjoyed a memorable time ~ either with family, friends and fine food or quietly at home in your comfy clothes or perhaps serving a meal at a homeless shelter. In whatever way you spent your Thanksgiving, I hope that it was a good day with an attitude of gratitude prevailing.

Our Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated in October and it’s my favourite holiday. When we asked the question of you last month, it seemed that Thanksgiving was the winning response there too.

With December on our doorstep, we all know what’s coming next. I’m not sure I’m ready, are you? I see a lot of decorations up already!

But one thing I am ready to do is send off my 2018 calendars. All the orders have been placed. We should have signed calendars ready to mail in two weeks’ time, to those who ordered them.

As usual, I’m also offering a chance for five people to win a calendar. If you would like your name entered in the giveaway, follow our usual procedure and send an email to with the words “Calendar Giveaway”. Good luck!

I’ve been working on a new photo essay of Nice which means I’ve been spending many happy hours (in between writing) sifting through my albums. I thought I would share a few shots in this letter.  The header photo is of the rooftops of Vieux Nice. As much as I love to take photos of doors (see today’s post on my blog) and windows in France, I also have a thing about rooftops. Do you?

This entrance to an apartment building is on a street in Nice I often walk down. It’s on my way from the train station to the Promenade and it makes me smile.  It’s a perfect entrance for a writer, don’t you think?

And here are a few more random shots in Nice. It’s the perfect town for strolling and photo ops are endless.

Okay, enough dreaming for me. Back to the letter!

Congratulations to the October giveaway winners of print and ebooks:  Kay Simmons,  Tanya Grygaski, Kathleen O’Donnell, Debbie Scarpari,  Carol Luciano, and Petrina Bennett.

Betty Apsley is the winner of the French market gift box! Félicitations!

Amy Cooper, my indispensable 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.

Here are the tempting giveaways for this month. Good luck everyone!

#1 ~ Ho! Ho! Ho! Women’s fiction author, Judith Keim is kicking off the holiday season in our giveaways this month with two signed copies of Christmas at the Beach House Hotel. A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Judith writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way.

Originally from Elmira, New York, Judith now makes her home in Idaho with her husband, their long-haired dachshund, Winston, and other members of her family. Connect with Judith here.

A brief synopsis: Ann and Rhonda are fed up with the way the new, majority owners are changing The Beach House Hotel from the small, elegant hotel they once owned and operated into a tacky, South Beach wannabe property. What’s their only recourse? Buy back the property to save it from getting even worse. And with the new management ruining Ann’s daughter’s plans for a Christmas Eve wedding, they have to get to work right away to regain control of the hotel. Facing a number of challenges along the way, including rumors of Vaughn’s dalliance with Ann’s old nemesis, Lily Dorio, Ann and Rhonda work to make it the best-ever Christmas at The Beach House Hotel.

Amazon review: “I could not put this book down… as a matter of fact I read it in one day.”

#2 ~ To keep up with the holiday spirit, Andrea Hurst is offering two ebooks of her delightful new release Christmas on Madrona Island.

Not only a successful women’s fiction author, Andrea is also a literary agent. When not visiting local farmers’ markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea enjoys writing stories that take readers on a journey to another place and leave them with an unforgettable impression. Her books deal with friendship, family, and the power of love.

She lives with her little dog in the Pacific Northwest, on an island much like the fictional Madrona, with all of its natural beauty and small town charm. Connect with Andrea here.

Here’s a brief synopsis: With challenges mounting, will the true meaning of Christmas prevail and make this the merriest season of all?

 This holiday season, enjoy the most wonderful time of year with the residents of Madrona Island in this heartwarming novella from the Amazon Bestselling author of The Guestbook. This Christmas story takes place a few years after the end of the third book, Island Thyme Cafe, in the Madrona Island series. However, this book can be read as a standalone. 

Amazon review: “A heart-warming Christmas story about family (both 4 footed and 2), friends, giving, and the bustle of the holiday season. Take time in your schedule to read this and recharge yourself.”

#3 ~ Next, attention all foodies! Fellow women’s fiction writer, Peggy Lampman is offering an ebook of her delicious new release, The Welcome Home Diner , and a print copy of her first novel, The Promise Kitchen. Trust me, Peggy’s writing is equally as scrumptious as her recipes!

From Birmingham, Alabama, after graduating from the University of Michigan, Peggy moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the store, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. Connect with Peggy here.

Here’s a brief synopsis for The Welcome Home Diner: Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

Will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

Amazon Review for The Welcome Home Diner: “The first thing I have to say about THE WELCOME HOME DINER by Peggy Lampman is this story will make you so hungry!!!! With mouth-watering descriptions of food throughout, I could almost taste the rich pancakes drizzled in maple syrup, so my advice is make a cup of tea and have a lovely piece of cake to hand when you settle down to read this touching novel.”

Brief synopsis for The Promise Kitchen:

Shelby and Mallory couldn’t be more different. But through their shared passion for food, they form an unlikely friendship—a bond that just might be their salvation.

This heartwarming and lyrical tale reminds us that family isn’t necessarily whom you’re related to—it’s whom you invite to your table.

Amazon Review for The Promise Kitchen: “This is a wonderful book that has a uniquely southern voice and food is one of the main characters, as it is in many of our lives.”

As always, to have your name entered for the random draw for each giveaway, send an email to This month, please let us know the name of your favourite holiday story or song. Good luck with the draws! Bonne chance!

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 on Amazon and Goodreads, even better, and always appreciated. Trust me … I didn’t realize this until I became a novelist. Before that I had never written a review. Now, it’s the first thing I do when I finish reading a story.

The holidays are a great time to give books as gifts, so I will be doing a Goodreads giveaway for five print copies of Drawing Lessons in December. As soon as we know the dates for this, I will send a quick announcement out to all of you. I wouldn’t want you to miss it!

While I was going through my Nice photo files, I kept coming upon photos of pan bagnat. This traditional Niçoise sandwich is often described as salade Niçoise in a bun … and that’s about right! We often pick one up from a boulangerie to have for lunch or go to the market for the ingredients and go home and make one. They are delicious! And apparently I enjoy taking photos of them too! So here’s one for you.

Here’s a good recipe for this easy to make meal. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about these tasty treats in an earlier newsletter, but I couldn’t resist it again when Nice is on my mind! Bon appétit!

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!

If you have read Drawing Lessons and can find a minute to leave a short review on Amazon and Goodreads.  I thank you in advance.

AmazonUS | AmazonCA |  AmazonFR  |  B&N  |  iTunes

J’adore ‘doors’

As many of you know, I have an addiction to photographing doors and windows in France. Today I’ve been writing about a door in a story I’m working on. I spent quite a bit of time sifting through door photos, so I thought I would share a few of my favourites here.

I walked past this door (below) several times a week on my way to the daily marché in Antibes last summer. I fell in love with it and it’s going to be on the cover of my 2018 calendar.


The fancy iron grills at the top of many doors were part of the early method of “air-conditioning”. Fresh air would be drawn in through those openings and flow through to an inner courtyard where it would rise up and out an opening at roof level, helping to cool the interior. Look for them when you are walking through the vieille villes (old towns). These grills alone make pleasing photo collections.







These intricately-carved doors of the 16thC parish church (that served as a cathedral from 1624 to 1790) in the intriguing medieval village Entrevaux, depict the history of the time. Katherine was here in Promises To Keep. (I’m certain she took this same shot.)

La Colombe d'Or-PSandsPhotos

The door in this wall leads to the restaurant terrace of the famed La Colombe d’Or in Saint Paul de Vence. Click that link to read the entertaining history of this inn. It’s quite the story! If you visit in the summer, be sure to make a reservation.


Now we’re strolling in the charming village of Tourrettes sur Loup. Stop here for violet ice cream and visit Le Bois d’Olivier, IMHO, the shop with the best handcrafted olive wood products in the region. Click on that link and look at the photos on their website. I think you will agree.

Blue in Saint Tropez

Blue in Saint Tropez

Visiting Saint Tropez above. This pretty portal below may look familiar … I keep it on the home page of my website.






Imagine the size of the keys they carried around!



When one door opens, who knows what lies beyond?


Something old, something new (note the repair at the bottom). What else do you do when your centuries-old door starts rotting away?


The lower door was once for the donkey.

IMG_6311See the date on the left side? 1581 … After the villagers and farmers of the area survived a deadly plague, they had these doors carved for la chapelle Saint Bernardin in Antibes to give thanks to God for sparing their lives. When we lived in Antibes while I wrote The Promise of Provence, I would walk past these doors every day and often stopped just to press my hands on them. There was an aura and sense of history about them that inspired me.

Do you like to take photos of doors when you travel? Where have you found your favourite portals? Bon weekend tout le monde!

All photos on this site are the copyright of Patricia Sands.

Thanksgiving giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating in the USA! 

Even though we have already celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada, my philosophy is that every day is one of thanksgiving, a gift, and an opportunity to feel grateful for so many things … as well as a chance to do something for others, no matter how big or small the gesture.

Pop on over to my Facebook Author page and join in this giveaway. Leave a comment there about your Thanksgiving thought and have your name entered for a random draw for one signed copy of whatever your choice from the Love in Provence series. Click right here.

Bonne chance! Good luck!

And while I’m here, my husband just forwarded this story to me and I hope you will share it with others. What a wonderful story to celebrate! There is goodness in this world. Click right here to see what happens to a man who was giving free haircuts to homeless people. 

It will make your day, as it did mine!



Pétanque? Paul Shore explains in UNCORKED!

It’s a pleasure to have a visit today from Canadian author, Paul Shore, who currently lives in one of my most favourite places on the planet (apart from the south of France, of course) … the magnificent mountain community of Whistler, British Columbia.

Paul has written a delightful memoir, Uncorked,  about the year he spent in France living in Saint-Paul de Vence ~ another stunningly beautiful venue.  He did not realize his good fortune when he first discovered he was going to live in this ancient hilltop village. But the affection he gradually developed for his temporary home is obvious as his tale unfolds.

The charm of Saint-Paul is widely known and it is a popular stop (to say the least) during tourist season, with its close proximity to the Côte d’Azur. However, when visiting during quieter times, one understands immediately the lure that drew so many famous people to stay here (Chagall, Miro, Bracque, Picasso, Yves Montand and Simone Signoret ~ to name just a few.)

Saint-Paul de Vence is also the home of the iconic restaurant and inn, La Colombe d’Or. Its history is well worth reading and informs more about the charm of the area.

But today our story is all about Paul and pétanque.

He’s explained a bit about his book in our brief interview here.

PSands ~ How did you come to live in the village of Saint-Paul de Vence?

PShore ~ I was assigned by the software startup company I was working for to relocate to the Nice area because our largest business partner, Texas Instruments, was based there.  I told the relocation agency, who had been hired to find me a place to live, that I wanted to live in a small village, rather than living directly in Nice.  The first apartment they showed me that wasn’t a run-down mess was in Saint-Paul, and I jumped at it because the town was quaint and I needed to find a place to quickly, so that I could get on with my work. Little did I know what an amazing place I was about to live in, or that Marc Chagall had lived there for much of his life.

PSands ~ Why did you want to play pétanque?

PShore ~ I love games that involve coordination and strategy and, just by watching, it was clear that pétanque required both. I also was having a hard time making friends and breaking in to French culture, and I thought that if I could learn this game that might change.

PSands ~ How did you meet Hubert and get him to teach you pétanque?

PShore ~ Hubert was a neighbor, who ran the town’s website, so we connected easily over our common interest in technology. Getting him to teach me pétanque was difficult though. At first he didn’t want to teach me because I was a foreigner. After a lot of persistence (and nagging) on my part, he finally agreed to teach me… in the dark of night, when nobody would see.


PSands ~What is your fondest memory of your year in France?

PShore ~ After having been accepted as a good player, who deeply understood the game and its importance, I was surprised one day to be invited into the private member’s club that no tourist ever is allowed to set foot in.  I was then presented with a permanent membership card that I still cherish to this day.  With this little card I was welcomed into the local pétanque fraternity, with a kiss on both cheeks, by one of the respected older female players, who I had always looked up to.  I will never forget the emotional moment that deep honor was bestowed on me!

PSands ~ You write with a wonderful wry wit and yet you manage to always show respect for French culture.  How do you maintain that balance?

PShore ~ I make frequent use of self-deprecating humor to tell anecdotes that find humor in my missteps rather than needing to poke fun at locals.  And when I do happen to poke fun at a local or at a local tradition, I make it clear that I am fond of the very quirk that I am targeting.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Paul. It’s an absolute pleasure to get to know you and share your work here.

Buy UNCORKED by clicking here.

Paul Shore is an award-winning author and technology industry veteran, who has worked around the globe. His second book, “Uncorked”, is an Amazon Best Seller, a Whistler Independent Book Award Winner, and a Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist.

Learn more on Paul’s Amazon Author Page, Facebook and his website

Note to readers ~ The game of pétanque is played every day in every city, town, village, hamlet throughout France. Everything you ever wanted to know about the game of pétanque, or boules, is explained in great detail in Paul’s book. He leaves no nuance left unturned! For the first time, I actually understood the game after reading Paul’s book.