More about TBC characters- Jane

Wow! It’s been fun to hear how many of you related to the Sea To Sky Highway, Jane’s favourite drive (Chapter 3). It’s an awesome drive from Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver, along the coast and then carved out of the steep cliffs overlooking the always breathtakingly beautiful Howe Sound, up past the in-your-face monolith The Chief in Squamish, to the abundant pleasures of Whistler and beyond to the open valley spaces of Pemberton. The Duffey Lake Road takes over from there to Lillooet. It’s all part of Highway 99 and prior to the major improvements for the 2010 Olympics, this section has a checkered history. Fifty years ago it was a two-lane undivided highway with no outside barrier. White-knuckle driving, I well remember! In those days, a number of motorists lost their lives due to inclement weather, poor visibility, speeding, passing slower vehicles, or drunk driving. Local media have called it variously the “Killer Highway”, the “Highway of Death”, and the “Ski-And-Die Highway”. Not infrequent rockslides have also added “Sea-To-Slide Highway”. Negativity aside, this drive is often in the top ten of “beautiful drives you must do” in travel magazines. Click here for photos
I knew when I began my novel that somehow I would work this drive and skiing in Whistler into the story. It’s a passionate part of my history. So I gave those same passions to the character Jane whose zest for life grew from her childhood summers in those spectacular surroundings. Perhaps it was that same zest for life that allowed her to come to terms with her sexuality and recognize who she was with grace and ease. Some might say surprisingly so. I have no doubt it was that same zest for life so appreciated and admired by the rest of The Bridge Club that helped them overcome the shock of her announcement and support her on her journey. Friendship at it’s finest, although not without some hurdles – that’s the women of The Bridge Club.

Guest post on Rachel Howzell Hall’s site

Rachel, thanks so much for inviting me to post on your blog. Writing is such an individual undertaking, it’s always interesting to hear how others make it happen and using your blog as a platform for this is a great idea. Click here to see my post and check out Rachel’s blog and website. Rachel is the author of A Quiet Storm and The View From Here, both available as e-books.

Thank you, Audrey Grant and Barbara Seagram

What an honour to have The Bridge Club read and reviewed by the internationally renowned bridge educator and author Audrey Grant as well as Barbara Seagram, owner of the popular Barbara Seagram School of Bridge in Toronto.

Audrey’s article is in the current publication of Better Bridge and Barbara’s can be found on page 6 of her online newsletter. Both are excellent sources of information, instruction, and resources for the fabulous game of bridge. If you have never played the game of bridge, try it – you’ll like it!

Time … as they say … flies

So much for my good intentions in keeping up with the blog! I’ve had so much to write about I kept procrastinating. Now the list is way too long to blather on about so I’ll simply record the highlights:
– Amy, the bright and energetic young lady who helps me with social media (thank goodness!), and I are working on adding some new links here and on my website. We have set up a PayPal link and signed copies of The Bridge Club can now be ordered directly from me. Progress!
– I had the pleasure of meeting the effervescent Micki Moore at a dinner party before Christmas. Some of her time now is spent in media coaching and last week we spent two hours in a recording studio as she nudged and pushed me through improvisations to become more aware and effective during interview opportunities. Priceless, really, and she’s so good.Here’s her website
– At the Writers and Editors Network Breakfast meeting last Saturday, the snowstorm didn’t deter a good crowd from turning up to hear Michael Mirolla, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Guernica Editions, speak on assorted topics.
– Along with finding time to write, to research, to continue to navigate through social media, oh yes – and have a personal life, I also finally picked up the new Mac my husband gave me for Christmas which meant a few trips to the Apple store to sort out some “issues”.
– As you can see, we’re experimenting with the look of this site. Comments are always appreciated. A young lady at Author House did a fine job of pasting artwork from my book cover here and I’ve managed to mess it up within 24 hours!
To be continued…

Kindle Author interviews me – thanks!


Kindle Author Interview: Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands, author of The Bridge Club, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about The Bridge Club?

PATRICIA SANDS: The Bridge Club is a novel about eight women who have been friends for over forty years. It’s a story about challenges in life and how strong friendship empowers us in the choices we make to face issues that confront us. The reader takes a journey from the psychedelic 1960s when the eight friends were liberated twenty-somethings to the present day as these vibrant women enjoy their “zoomer” years. A life-altering decision in the final chapter profoundly affects each of them.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

PATRICIA SANDS: The foundation for this book is the forty-year friendship I have shared with my real-life bridge club. The characters are all either somewhat based on actual people or composites of them. These are women with distinctly different personalities but very common values. Needless to say I had the full support and co-operation with these friends as I wrote the story.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

PATRICIA SANDS: Women over forty are probably ideal but I have received messages from women in their twenties and eighties who have written very positive comments about their response to the story. It’s incredibly rewarding as a writer to hear how readers can easily relate to the characters in the story. They also write about their own friendships and how this story makes them appreciate and value what they have in their own lives. (I love it!) I’ve also heard from men who liked The Bridge Club. In fact a quote I use from a man about The Bridge Club is this: “A few years ago Hollywood gave us a movie about what women want. Patricia Sands has written a book about how women think.”

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

PATRICIA SANDS: I have always been a storyteller through photography and in my profession as an educator writing was important. A few years ago I began writing this story purely for the amusement of my friends but it began to take on a life of its own and I was encouraged by others to consider publishing. At that point the writing turned into fiction rather than fact although much of the story is indeed true.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

PATRICIA SANDS: Having never been an early riser, I now waken around 6:30 a.m. and am compelled to get to the computer to write what is swirling around in my head. I spend a good part of each day researching details and making certain I know the facts I should. However I do take time off to play golf or go out with my husband and talk to him about something other than my writing, although he has been long-suffering and supportive through the four years it took me to write The Bridge Club.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

PATRICIA SANDS: Carol Shields, John LeCarre, Charles Dickens, Janet Evanovitch (she makes me laugh)—how’s that for a wide spectrum? Also Stephen King for his amazing ability to provide aspiring writers with understanding, inspiration and motivation through his words in On Writing. Every writing workshop I attended recommended this book and I have found none more helpful or more “real.”

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

PATRICIA SANDS: Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

DAVID WISEHART: How did you create your cover?

PATRICIA SANDS: I self-published through iUniverse and as a recipient of their Editor’s Choice and Rising Star awards, their design team worked with me to develop the cover. The colours and patterns were their suggestions based on research as to what appeals to readers right now. It appears they were right as people do respond very positively to it on the shelf.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

PATRICIA SANDS: Through iUniverse, The Bridge Club is in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Chapters, and some other booksellers. However most of the marketing and promoting has been done by me through my launch party and social media marketing. It’s been a steep learning curve! I’ve approached several independent bookstores in Toronto who are carrying the book in store and are very supportive. Fortunately I’ve been acquiring a group of people who feel The Bridge Club has great potential and we are working on marketing ideas. There’s no doubt exposure is all that is needed as more people discover how the story resonates with their own lives.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

PATRICIA SANDS: The future of e-books looks very bright! As much as I love to hold a book and turn the pages, I am also thoroughly enjoying my own Kindle. As one who travels a lot, this is the only way to take your library with you. As the technology improves, reading ebooks becomes an increasingly more pleasurable way to go.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

PATRICIA SANDS: I would encourage them to seriously consider this option. In fact I will be putting a link to your site on my blog and talking about it in the future. The world of publishing is changing quickly and dramatically and Kindle Author is establishing itself in the most reputable way.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.

Click here to visit Kindle Author Blogspot

Cass (Chapter Two) – continued

Cass was a risk-taker long before she even realized she was. A good example is the way she changed how people addressed her when she moved to Toronto to go to university. All through her school days she had been called Sandy or Sandra by her peers, teachers, and most family members. It seemed a logical shortening of Cassandra and when she was younger she liked that abbreviation much better than the long name. The minute she hit the city though she introduced herself as Cass and before long everyone knew her as that and she loved it. She felt her whole personality open up.

Interestingly, I have a friend who made a similar change to her name after a divorce. She had never liked her first name but by changing the pronunciation ever so slightly, she turned that name into one that was very lyrical. New people would comment on how lovely it was when they first met her and they were right. I was always amazed at how such a small alteration could make such a difference. Her old friends had to struggle to remember to address her in the new way but with patience we all got used to it. Such a simple change but so important to the person involved. It takes courage and commitment!

Cass changing her name was her first conscious step outside the box. Going to Europe for a year with Pam in 1967 was the next. Leaving the security of job, family, and friends became almost a rite of passage in the sixties but for those small-town girls it was a huge step. Later on, leaving her marriage with a toddler in tow after just a few years was perhaps the greatest challenge she faced. Her reasons were clear and strong but nevertheless this was a decision that went against the values with which she had been raised. It was never a decision lightly-made. Ten years later as she tenderly embraced her son for the last time for a while, waved goodbye to friends and sailed off to unknown adventure, Cass again recognized her life was taking her places most women would not choose.

Certainly it is widely accepted today that the key to change is to free yourself from fear. In every period of change in her life, Cass calmed her fears (which doesn’t mean they never revisited), educated herself about the path she was choosing, and went for it.

Change does not have to be as dramatic or profound.  There are always issues that need to be considered in everyone’s life, things that we’re not happy about. As a writer, the lessons I hope readers learn from Cass are to believe in yourself, calm your fears, and learn some new dance steps. The way in which her life unfolded is not for every woman but on the other hand Cass is not alone. If Cass reminds you of yourself, write and tell your story!

As with everything else these days, there is an over-abundance of websites to access when it comes to reading about change. I’m reluctant to recommend one in particular but I liked what this site had to say so it might be a good place to begin if you are so inclined. When I find a better site or if anyone suggests a better site, I’ll change it!  Click here to begin.



Let’s begin 2011 by answering some questions

Ok – the decorations have all been carefully put away for another year. The suitcases have been unpacked. The last of the shortbread has mysteriously vanished. It was a wonderful holiday season and now it’s time to get back to business.


I’ve decided the first challenge I’m going to tackle in 2011, from a very long list, is to answer some of the questions I’m receiving from readers about different characters in The Bridge Club. Today let’s talk about Cass!

Yes, her character in real life did in fact live on a sailboat on the other side of the Atlantic for eight years with the man in her life at that time. Her experience was very much as described in the novel and she and I spent many long hours talking and reminiscing as I developed the chapter. She did indeed make tapes and send them to us from time to time which we then returned to her. It was a fantastic way to stay connected and of course long before the days of computers. If only  we had been able to Skype! The journey came to an end as described and she did meet her current employer a few years later when she worked as a cook on his yacht. Even though she made some very unconventional choices in her life, everything somehow worked out. Her relationship with her son is strong and he is a fine young man. To the rest of our group, in her real life the model for Cass really does exemplify the saying to “dance as if no one is watching”. She is proof that for some women, thinking outside the box is the way to go. It has certainly worked for her! If you have a dream, pursue it.

2011 is here – make it good!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Pursue your dreams, shower the people you love with love, and take a few minutes every day to be grateful.

Tim Wimborne / Reuters
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House during a pyrotechnic show to celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1, 2011. Local authorities planned for over 1.5 million people to crowd Sydney Harbor and welcome in the new year under the massive fireworks display.

Thanks again Dan!

In the blink of an eye we are back in Toronto. The nine wonderful days in Whistler flew by. Christmas with some of our family out there was a very special time and Mother Nature co-operated by providing a magical winter wonderland. Ski conditions were fabulous even though the upper mountains were closed because they had TOO MUCH SNOW! Oh for that problem at our southern Ontario ski areas! Thanks once again to Dan and his very helpful staff at Armchair Books in Whistler Village for hosting a book-signing for The Bridge Club. It was a most enjoyable afternoon full of friendly, interesting people – locals and tourists alike. Great fun! More and more book clubs are discovering The Bridge Club and its many points for discussion. Thanks for letting me know!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Season’s Greetings!

Joyful wishes to everyone no matter what you may celebrate! In fact, we should all simply celebrate every single day and that might be a good resolution for the new year if it’s not part of your routine now.

Life drops challenges in our laps on a regular basis – some small, some mighty. My wish for everyone is a trusted friend by your side.

May 2011 bring each of us the best of health and happiness.