January Newsletter ~ with links to our 2020 South of France tour!

Do you subscribe to my monthly newsletter? There’s a sign-up link to the right of this post. In case you missed it, here is my letter from January.

Newsletter #74   January 25, 2020


With all the crazy weather patterns floating around and many people being visited by a polar vortex or two, I thought some sunshine from the stunning Côte d’Azur might be in order. This header photo was taken looking down on the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, just east of Nice. The ancient old town is one of my favourite places to wander and photograph.

Feel the warmth! 

Even though I won’t be back to France until June, once the new year began my thoughts definitely turned in that direction. I know the time will fly by and I’ll be on my way. But more on that as we get closer to June.

 This month my husband and I relocated to our winter getaway in Naples, Florida. We feel fortunate to spend time here and definitely appreciate the great weather … even when there is a “cold spell”. In Florida that’s quite a different thing than up north!

In the meantime, no matter where I am, there’s much work to be done.

  I’m happy to say that Lavender, Loss and Love, Book 3 in the Villa des Violettes series has just been published. The cover reveal happened on Friday.

Since I have indie published the three novellas, it’s been fun to work on each of the covers. It’s such a collaborative venture. I talk with Donna Fedele and Clare Strohman in the beginning about the story and the details I would like on the cover. After that, they work their magic. Donna creates the drawing and her BFF, Clare, then paints in the colour.

I know I have mentioned this before with the previous covers, and hope you don’t mind if I repeat the story. Donna and Clare were on our 2018 South of France Memories Tour. One morning as we were on our private coach going to explore another charming village, I mentioned I was going to need original covers for this series. They asked a lot of questions, as artists do, and then offered to take on the projects and … voilà! I’m very grateful to them.

It was one of life’s surprising coincidences that occur when we least expect them. You just never know what’s around the corner …

This book is a tad behind schedule as that lovely cover with the autumn overtones was supposed to publish in November. I know I mentioned to you then that I was stepping back a bit from writing, as I was struggling with the loss of several dear friends. It’s taken a while to get back on track and feels good to have it out in the world nowHere’s the Amazon link and the book is also on Kobo and Nook.

Thanks to everyone who has already helped Lavender, Loss & Love at the Villa des Violettes acquire one of Amazon’s golden banners!

Since I mentioned the South of France Memories Tour above, I’ve got more to share with you about it. I’m thrilled to say that Absolutely Southern France Travel is ready to receive registrations for our 2020 tour. The dates are from September 28 to October 10 … we Canadians will get home in time for Thanksgiving!

All the information is available at this link and Deborah Bine and I are excited to greet this year’s group and share our love of France with them! You can see from previous testimonials that the tour is always a great success. It is so satisfying for us to see each group of women become such good friends!Why don’t you join us? On your own, with your BFF, your book club (!), sister, daughter, mother ~ whatever works for you. We guarantee wonderful memories that will last a lifetime!

In fact, today I am having lunch in Fort Myers with five women who were on our 2018 tour. I can’t wait! Of course, we will talk about France … and Katherine, Philippe and the gang … and reminisce about the memories we made.

And now for this month’s fabulous giveaways!

Giveaway #1 ~ Rochelle Berger Weinstein has an exciting new release, This Is Not How It Endsand she is offering one ebook and one print copy. Please specify which format you would like. Rochelle is the USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of emotionally driven women’s fiction, including Somebody’s Daughter, Where We Fall, The Mourning After, and What We Leave Behind. She lives in south Florida with her husband and twin sons (when the boys aren’t away at college). She is also one of my sister Lake Union authors. When she’s not writing, Rochelle loves to hike, read, and find the world’s best nachos. She is currently working on her sixth novel.

Blurb: This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go? When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away. As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to e-examine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

Connect with Rochelle here at her website.

Giveaway #2 ~ Sara McFerrin is offering two ebooks of What She Sawa humor-filled cozy mystery from the popular Trunk Doctor series. Sara writes wonderful southern humour and cozy mystery novels. Be sure to try some of the excellent stories from her extensive backlist! She is a five-star, number one best selling author on Amazon and lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and a sixteen year old Spaniel named Freckles. An avid fan of the Food Network, cooking is her favorite pastime.

Blurb: You never know what lurks among the treasures hidden in an old trunk that has been locked for thirty years. The Trunk Doctor, aka Jix Haynes, discovers a decades-old diary in a customer’s heirloom trunk. The ever curious Jix finds more excitement than she bargained for as time-worn secrets turn to real and present danger in her own life. As she sifts through the dreams, wishes, and fears of a teenage girl, mystery and danger pave a path leading to a face-to-face confrontation with a cold-blooded killer.

Connect with Sara here at her website.

Giveaway #3 ~ Peggy Lampman’s new novel, The Ruby of the Sea, will release on February 5th and she is offering two ebooks. Her passion is writing novels that break down familial and cultural barriers. For her, creating a cast to populate a story is one of the great, cathartic joys of writing.  She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, but moved back as an adult to Ann Arbor, her college town. Peggy is also a sister Lake Union Author! Her free time is spent reading, binge-watching NetFlix, herding kids and indulging in her fascination with Big Green Egg cult cookery and other deliciousness on her popular website dinnerfeed.com

Blurb:  Lush with devastating secrets, lies, romance and psychological drama…”You tell me about a family without some sort of dysfunction, and I’ll tell you that family is lying.” 

After aimlessly traveling the country for fifteen years, Linnea Chandler returns to her hometown of Key West, Florida keeping the genesis of a life-altering phobia to herself–not a good idea, as she comes to find out. The 19th Century lighthouse that she, her parents and two sisters call home also has a troubled past, carrying the frightening myth that eerily mirrors the mystery of her younger sister today. Should Linnea run while she can? 

The women must decide to what extremes they are willing to go to protect their secrets. Ignore the brutality behind the retrieval of spoils from a fatal shipwreck in 1857? Defy a 2017 hurricane threatening to pummel their town? And when their world is upended, do the women have the strength to move forward?

Connect with Peggy here at her website. Also please visit dinnerfeed.com.

Doing these giveaways each month is a pleasure. I hope you enjoy meeting authors who might be new to you and to connect with those you already follow. Savour their books, find out more about the writers and pass along their information to your friends. Write a short review, thanks! The best way to hear about a good book is by word of mouth from dedicated readers like you.

As always, to enter, simply send your email to patriciasandsauthor@gmail.com. This month enquiring minds want to know your favourite winter beverage to drink while reading. Are you a coffee, tea, hot chocolate fan or does a relaxing glass of wine hit the spot?

This month’s winter recipe is one I shared a couple of years ago with you. Fans of Drawing Lessons will recall this soup being served in the story.  🙂 This soup is a popular family recipe and is often served on a cold winter’s evening as an entrée (remember that is the first course in France). Enjoy Potage Parmentier or Leek and Potato Soup. Here’s Julia Child’s recipe and also some suggested variations.

Bon appétit!

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. It seems always to be summer there.

    • Patricia Sands says

      LOL ~ You could say that Anneli … or perhaps it is just that I tend to post photos from the spring, summer and fall. I’ll have to pop some on in winter too. Although it sometimes looks the same with the beautiful light in that part of the world. Not so many flowers though! And there will be snow on the mountain tops.

  2. Carole Handel says

    Hi Patricia
    I have been reading your books and following you for a few years now. My husband and I have a trip to France booked for June/July and we are going to be spending a week in Antibes. We been there twice before but just for lunch and a visit to the Picasso museum. Do you have any suggestions? Especially restaurants.
    Also, if you don’t mind me asking you, and feel free to say no. I hope to start my own travel blog and I was wondering what you think about WordPress, especially for someone who is not tech savvy. Any tips?
    Thank you so much for the stories

    • Patricia Sands says

      Hello Carole
      I’m excited to hear you and your husband will spend time in Antibes. Since you have been there before, you know how special a town it is. My favourite restaurant is Le Phenicia ~ excellent Lebanese food and a good view of the Med. http://lephenicia-antibes.com
      Another one we like is Mamalu, at the far end of the market. 1100 Cours Massena.
      If you like the authentic Provençal aioli dish, I recommend the tiny Le Bistrot du Coin in Safranier. It is only served on Friday and you must make a reservation. Also, La Taverne du Safranier is a favourite. That’s the part of town where we always stay. You probably have booked your accommodation, but if not I always stay at Le Relais du Postillon in the old town, a family-run 2-star hotel that I love (and have had my characters stay there in the series). The only problem is that a new development is going in across from it now and the construction may be an issue. If you do stay there, tell them the Canadian author sent you. 🙂 Good luck with your travel blog! How exciting! I have been happy with WordPress although there are some recent issues and I’m not sure what is going on. I have to admit I have a tech assistant who really handles any problems. I just write the posts and put the photos in. If you would like her name, I would be happy to recommend her. Have a wonderful visit. Normally I am there in the summer but this June will just be there for one day with our tour. Then I will be back in September. Can’t get enough of that part of the world! Bon voyage!

  3. Carole Handel says

    Hi Patricia
    This is wonderful information and thank you for sharing it all. We are staying in a house in a residential area close to the water and near the lighthouse and chapel, but that suits us because we have a van and our bicycles which we plan to ride along the seafront in the mornings. I hope to do some painting too.
    Thank you for the encouragement with the blog. I am still tossing up between a few different options.
    Looking forward to reading Lavender, Loss and Love very soon.

    Best wishes

I love hearing from you ~ thanks for stopping by


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