Newsletter #71

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

It’s the first Friday in September and my bags (a carry-on and a computer bag … whoopee, I did it!) are organized as I fly to France on Sunday evening. I will be there until the end of the month and for twelve of those days I will be co-leading our South of France Memories Tour with my BFF, Deborah Bine (aka Barefoot Blogger)

I’ll be posting daily photos here and hope you will follow along. On y va!

Meanwhile, south of the border ~ Hopefully Dorian has blown out to sea and life for most is returning to the best kind of normal. For those who can help in any way with the heartbreaking reality in the Bahamas, here is a link with information.  Every little bit helps. Please share the information and let us all do what we can. 

And, in case you haven’t subscribed yet, here’s my most recent newsletter. Enjoy … and good luck with the giveaways. Bonne chance!

Newsletter #71                                                     August 27, 2019

Bonjour mes amies

Where are you spending these last few days of August? As I write this, I’m looking out a window with a beautiful view of Georgian Bay, two hours north of Toronto. A strong breeze is rustling the leaves of birch trees and a light drizzle is falling. No tennis with grandkids this morning!

And that is just as well, since I need to get this letter off to you. I always plan to write my newsletter mid-month, and then find myself scrambling to make it before the month is gone! Sigh … I’m not really a procrastinator, but things just seem to pile up. Know what I mean?

What’s piling up for me this month is a lot of writing, as I attempt to finish Book #3 in the Villa des Violettes series before I leave for France in two weeks. And leaving for France is, as you might imagine, a serious distraction. I  c a n n o t  w a I t.

The sun did come out later this afternoon and with it came a much-improved word count!


I’m going over to do this year’s South of France Memories Tour with my BFF and co-leader, Deborah Bine. Once again, we have a great group of women joining us who have all been getting to know each other on a private Facebook page. The excitement is mounting and I’ll be posting lots of photos on my blog as usual. I hope you’ll join us in spirit!

A lifelong friend is also coming on the tour, which makes it even more special for me. We treasure our girlfriends, right? Right back to when we were 19 and 20 and shared an apartment in Toronto … and then we went to Europe together for the first time … oh the memories! We are going to spend a few days in Paris first before the tour and a few days in Antibes afterward. More memories!

The header this month is one of my favourite views of Nice as the plane approaches the airport. If you have visited the south of France, you know what beautiful views you have along the Côte d’Azur with the plane at such a low altitude. The Nice airport is right in town … seriously … and simply provides a spectacular show on the way in, with the runways built out into the Mediterranean. I may have just sighed out loud as I wrote that …

This next shot is one taken right above the vieux port in Nice and after that above  Antibes on another approach. I never get tired of this trip.

While I am on the subject of travel, I want to share some exciting information about a trip my good friend (and sister Lake Union author) Steena Holmes has organized this year. After traveling there herself, she has arranged a Christmas Market cruise and many of her readers have signed up. She let me know there are just three cabins available, if you hurry!

 I would love to go on this some time! After writing about the Christmas Market in Strasbourg in The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes, I’ve wanted to revisit some of those amazing towns that transform into something even more magical in December. Steena’s cruise will go along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland from December 4th to 11th and the return flight is from Zurich.

Click right here for the link to the trip with all the contact information.

Let me know if you go!

The giveaways this month are from three of the eleven authors in our Blue Sky Book Chat group. If you haven’t joined this welcoming community of book lovers, simply click on this link and don’t miss out a minute longer.

Giveaway #1 ~ One ebook of The Promise Kitchen and one print copy of The Welcome Home Diner are being offered. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Peggy Lampman lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan and writes stories that are delicious in many ways, including food-related. She says her free time is spent herding kids and indulging in her barbecue addiction with Big Green Egg cult cookery. She also keeps her foodie fans happy at

You can connect with Peggy here.

Giveaway #2 ~ Kellie Coates Gilbert is offering one ebook and one print copy of Sisters (Sun Valley series, Part 1). Kellie is a former legal investigator who was born and raised in Sun Valley, Idaho. She now lives with her husband of over thirty-five years in Dallas, where she spends most days by her pool drinking sweet tea and writing the stories of her heart.

You can connect with Kellie here.

Giveaway #3 ~ Marilyn Simon Rothstein is offering one ebook and one print copy of her hilarious debut novelLift and Separate. You may already be familiar with the great humour Marilyn brings to every conversation. Her sunny outlook is catching! She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, married a man she met in an elevator, and owned an advertising agency for more than twenty-five years.

You can connect with Marilyn here.

As always, send your entry for these giveaways to Names will be chosen randomly using This month please tell us a book you read this summer that you would like to recommend. We will make a list and share it. Thanks! Good luck with the draws! Bonne chance!

It’s a pleasure to offer these giveaways from my writing friends. Thanks for the enthusiastic responses we receive each month. I’m glad you appreciate the opportunities and are so keen to enter. In case you wonder, we read every single one of your entries and appreciate them! 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 last month’s winners: 

Anne Hardy 
Lesley Poole 
Margo Arel 
Barbara Pacific 
Kellie Metzker 
Diann Pickard 
Mimi Howenstine 
Sharon Losee 
Maria Styacko


Have you marked your calendar for our Blue Sky Book Club meeting on September 4th?  At 7:30 EDT we will be discussing Alison Ragsdale’s poignant new release, The Art of Remembering . See you there to share in the joy of reading and the fun of friendship.

All members of Blue Sky Book Chat on Facebook are welcome to join in and post questions and discuss. It’s a book club that you don’t have to leave home to attend. Come in your jammies!

In a recent newsletter, I wrote about the awesome Soul Safari trips organized by my good friend, author Jacquie Gauthier, who lives in South Africa. is another project that is an important part of Jacquie’s life and I’m happy to share this information.

Nourish is a not for profit organization based in one of the most poverty stricken and under- served areas in South Africa.  We believe that anti-poverty is anti-poaching, and that by helping to grow healthy, educated communities with access to economic opportunities we can break the poverty cycle and impact the poaching happening in rural areas.  

 Nourish is based on five pillars: education, conservation, tourism, economic development and sustainable farming. Our projects are all interlinked to help create a resilient, sustainable community. Depending on your interests and talents you will be able to shape your volunteer experience by choosing to focus on one or more of the many projects we have going. 

To find out more visit

Don’t you love the giraffe photobombing this shot?

I often hear from readers who are involved in extremely worthwhile projects, both locally and far spread. It’s heartwarming, encouraging and inspiring to hear your stories in a world where we often become bogged down with bad news. So many people truly are working to make a difference in other’s lives. An excellent book I recommend to support this is Random Acts of Kindness by Dete Meserve and Rachel Greco.

And now I better get back to story writing and thinking about organizing my packing.  I’m on my “pre-France lose a few pounds regimen” now so I can indulge in patisseries guilt free while I’m away. Salads are helping! Click here for a few of my favourites from which to choose. Bon appétit!

One reason for my diet? Odette! It will be one of our first stops in Paris … right around the corner from our hotel and just up the street from the Shakespeare & Company book store (our second stop!). There will not be a newsletter in September while I’m on the road, but please do drop by my blog and join me in spirit!

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. Bonjour Patricia,
    We are sitting in St. Remy as I write. We planned a month long trip to France to celebrate our 50th wedding. We picked to stay mostly in the Provence and Antibes area thanks to me reading your books. We will be in Antibes from September 13th for a week.
    Kindest regards, Berry

I love hearing from you ~ thanks for stopping by


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.