Sharing my May newsletter

Hi everyone! Bonjour and Buon Giorno!

I’m traveling in Italy with my husband before we settle in Nice on June 5th.  We are revisiting some of our favourite places here and, as you can imagine, my camera shutter is steaming. Check in to my Instagram account if you would like to see some of my shots from Italy … a bit of a change for me, oui?

In the meantime, here’s my May newsletter that went out last week just before we left Toronto. There’s still time to enter the giveaways!

Newsletter #56                            May 21, 2018Bonjour Patricia

Spring has finally arrived in Toronto! I hope it has appeared in all its glory in your neighbourhood too.  One sign of spring in France is the proliferation of peonies ~ les pivoines ~ in the markets and florist shops. I can’t wait to bury my nose in them.

As I write this, fireworks are bursting into colour in the night sky over Lake Ontario. We are enjoying the performance from our condo as we celebrate the last hours of Victoria Day. If you aren’t Canadian, allow me to explain. This is the unofficial start to summer here and Mother Nature has blessed us with appropriate weather.

Along with glorious pyrotechnic displays, this long holiday weekend also traditionally involves picnics, bike rides, hikes, parades, garden planting and long lines of traffic heading to various areas of cottage country. Opening cottages, getting boats in the water, clearing summer properties of reminders of winter storms, are hallowed May 24th rituals for many Canadians. We all hope for a warm summer to enjoy those efforts.

One of my spring rituals is preparing to leave for France. Planning and packing has been the focus this week as well as spending time with family. Now my husband and I are ready to fly off tomorrow evening. *doing a happy dance*

We’re taking a sentimental side trip to Italy for twelve days before we arrive in Nice. I’ll take you along in Instagram and blog photos and hope you will enjoy the journey.

Having said that, I still have a little to-do list, so I will move right along with this letter! As always, there are some great giveaways and in a variety of genres. It’s gratifying to see so many of you enter your name each month and thank you also to winners for taking the time to send thanks to the authors whose books are sent to you. I’ve heard from many of my author friends how much they appreciate your thoughtfulness. Book lovers rock!

Giveaway #1 ~ A Bad Night for Bullies (The Goolz Next Door) by Gary Ghislain. This is a book for children over 8, either to read with them or for them to read on their own. There are some scary bits that are totally offset by the humour.

Gary is offering 1 print copy to any destination!

Here’s a blurb: In this humorous, witty ghost story, Harold, who uses a wheelchair, accepts a mysterious artifact from a horror novelist’s daughter and discovers that while it may help him fight bullies, its power can’t be controlled.

This school review puts everything in perspective very well. Kids love this book and parents approve of the important lessons about values skillfully woven into the narrative.

“From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Harold, a wheelchair user since an accident at the age of seven, is a quiet 12-year-old. He lives with his mum and enjoys the quiet little town of Bay Harbor. But the arrival of a famous horror writer, Frank Goolz, and his two daughters, sees Harold’s world shaken up as he suddenly finds himself skipping school, chasing ghosts, and battling the bullies he’s been trying to escape for years. Not only do the adventures take a paranormal turn, but Harold is quickly drawn to Ilona Goolz, and a budding romance adds a bit of a realistic touch to this fast-paced supernatural jaunt. VERDICT The ending hints at more to come from Frank Goolz and his outfit of paranormal sleuths. Younger middle grade readers looking for something spooky without too much gore will snatch this up.—Stephanie Wilkes, Good Hope Middle School, West Monroe, LA”

Connect with Gary here.

Giveaway #2 ~ A brand new release from bestselling Canadian author Steena Holmes. I know many of you are very familiar with Steena, a sister Lake Union author, mother of three busy teenagers and prolific author. She describes herself as a writer, travelholic and coffee addict. I might also add chocolate lover extraordinaire … and I can prove it!    And just as sweet!

Steena is offering one ebook and one audiobook! She also asked me to include this comment from her. I’m blushing … but we do share a special friendship. “It’s rare to find people you connect with right away. It’s even rarer for the connection to last for years. I feel that with Patricia (who is a full bottle of awesomeness herself). Thank you for sharing me with your readers!

Her new story is creating quite a stir!  The Forgotten Ones, is a spellbinding novel about an unspeakable secret that could destroy a family.

Here’s the blurb:  Elle is a survivor. She’s managed to piece together a solid life from a childhood of broken memories and fairy tales her mom told her to explain away bad dreams. But weekly visits to her mother still fill Elle with a paralyzing fear she can’t explain. It’s just another of so many unanswered questions she grew up with in a family estranged by silence and secrets.

Elle’s world turns upside down when she receives a deathbed request from her grandfather, a man she was told had died years ago. Racked by grief, regrets, and a haunted conscience, he has a tale of his own to tell Elle: about her mother, an imaginary friend, and two strangers who came to the house one night and never left.

As Elle’s past unfolds, so does the truth—if she can believe it. She must face the reasons for her inexplicable dread. As dark as they are, Elle must listen…before her grandfather’s death buries the family’s secrets forever.

“Buried secrets, a family mystery…The Forgotten Ones is a haunting tale of loyalty in the face of mental illness and the name of love. Heartbreaking, utterly compelling, the kind of book that grips you and will not let you go far beyond the last page.” —Tosca Lee

Connect with Steena at her website by clicking here.

Giveaway #3 ~ Another new release! Also from a sister Lake Union author! Award-winning writer, Camille Di Maio lives in historic Williamsburg, Virginia with her husband and four children. Her third novel, The Way of Beauty, is an expansive story that brings the reader on a journey through the first 63 years of twentieth century New York.

Camille is offering one ebook anywhere and one print copy.

Here’s the blurb:  Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.

Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.
Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

““The Way of Beauty is a charming multi-generational love story, but it is more than that: it is a story of family, love lost, and love found…A loving tribute to the workers who risked their lives and health in building iconic structures in New York City…” —Historical Novel Society

Connect with Camille here.

Giveaway #4 ~ Rituals of The Dead: An Artifact Mystery  is the third in the exciting Adventures of Zelda Richardson series by Jennifer Alderson. Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Her love of travel, art, and culture inspires her ongoing mystery series, the Adventures of Zelda Richardson. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

Jennifer is offering two ebooks.

I also want to give Jennifer a shout-out for being the creator of the TRAVEL BY BOOKS Facebook page. It’s a fabulous place to discover books, both fiction and non-fiction, that carry you off to wonderful places around the world. Be sure to drop by on a regular basis!

Here’s a blurb:  Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Alderson’s latest art mystery thriller, Rituals of the Dead, book three of the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series.

Art history student Zelda Richardson is working at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua—the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When his journal is found inside one of the bis poles, Zelda is tasked with finding out more about the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects.

Zelda is pulled into a world of shady anthropologists, headhunters, missionaries, art collectors, and smugglers – where the only certainty is that sins of the past are never fully erased.

Join Zelda as she grapples with the anthropologist’s mysterious disappearance fifty years earlier, and a present-day murderer who will do anything to prevent her from discovering the truth.

“Jennifer Alderson’s first-hand experience and meticulous research make this well-written novel a fascinating read. Her attention to detail is bound to captivate anthropology fans. It also poses the moral question as to who owns the rights to ancient artifacts and how they should be treated. The protagonist, Zelda Richardson, is an engaging, ethical researcher that readers will easily applaud. My compliments to Jennifer Alderson for another enjoyable read.” – Pamela Allegretto

Connect with Jennifer at her website by clicking here.

To have your name entered for one of these great prizes, as always, send an email to and answer the following question. Where will your summer travels take you or are you planning a relaxing staycation?

It’s always a pleasure to offer these giveaways. I hope you enjoy meeting authors who might be new to you and connecting with those you already follow. Savor 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.

Congratulations to the winners of the last newsletter giveaways: Valerie Hildebrand, Jan Tomalis, Carol Boyer,  Mary Furman, Robin Batterson and Marla Bradeen.

Good news for our UK readers this month! Amazon is featuring Drawing Lessons in its May Avid Readers Promotion for £1 ~ DEAL until the middle of June! If you already have your copy, why not gift some to your friends? That’s what I do whenever I see a great book on sale.

And speaking of the UK, did you watch the royal wedding last Saturday with millions of others of us? Wasn’t it a wonderful diversion from the usual news? If you are still feeling in the mood for something kind of British, here’s a wonderful dessert with a French flair. This recipe is from one of my favourite bloggers, who is also on Instagram ~ Jill Colonna, of Mad about Macarons. She’s a Scottish-French foodie, who lives in Paris, and is absolutely delightful!  The photo is from her blog too.

Try her Macaron Berry Sherry Trifle and let me know how you like it. Bon appétit!

I’ve got to dash. It’s almost time to go to the airport and I still have a few of those little last-minute “things” to take care of. As long as they don’t involve packing one more item in a suitcase, I’ll be all right!

See you from France next month!

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 the The Bridge Club or any of the Love in Provence books or 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

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About Patricia Sands

Family, writing and travel are my passions ... okay, and chocolate ... and I'm seldom without a camera. I write women's fiction and keep in touch with readers by a monthly newsletter that also has giveaways and contests. Come and join us by signing up on the right. See you there!


  1. Looks like you’re having a wonderful trip! Enjoy.

    • Patricia Sands says

      Thanks, Karen. We are loving being back in Italy and, of course, looking forward to settling down in Nice for a while. That’s when I get back to a strict writing schedule … but it always feels like the right thing to do there. 🙂 You have an exciting summer ahead of you! Enjoy this special time with your sons … and plan a trip to Scotland … Texas too, of course. You must be proud of both your boys. 🙂

  2. Your newsletter is my all time favorite newsletter. You always have such cool photos and interesting things to say. Keep them coming.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Patricia Sands says

      Patricia, one of these days I believe I will have the chance to give you a big hug! In the meantime, please accept this one virtually. {{{{{{{ <3 }}}}}}}

      • Hug received. I’m hoping to get to the next RWA conference. Hopefully you’ll be there as well and we can hug for real. If not, it’ll happen at some point.

        Meantime, keep taking awesome photos and sharing them with us. I look for ward to your beautiful and classy posts.


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