Newsletter #84 January 27, 2021
Well, how are you doing in this new year of ours? We said goodbye to 2020 and with a minimum of fanfare, compared to most years, we welcomed 2021. We kind of had high hopes, didn’t we? And sadly … we are still clinging to those hopes as not much has changed where the virus is concerned. So we need to dig in and keep the battle going.
If I could, I would send these sunflowers to each of you with a wish they would bring you a smile and hope. Most people I hear from are feeling the effects of “COVID fatigue” … and no wonder! Who knew the virus would go on this long.
But, as I say to our grandkids, this is a war and we all have to do our part to fight it. Imagine if people in Britain during the Blitz of WWII had said, “I’m tired of this and I’m not going to use my black-out curtains anymore.” Or if people in war zones where bombs could fall on them at any moment, went out and partied because they felt like it? We are fighting an invisible enemy and must do all we can to obey rules meant to help everyone.
I hope you are doing all you can to keep yourself and others safe. And I hope that my photos of France bring a smile and a momentary escape. Like you, all I can do right now is enjoy them too. Are you spending time going through your own photo albums and reliving happy memories?
Right now in the south of France, the mimosa trees are about to burst into bloom.
I wrote about mimosas in Book 2 of the Villa des Violettes series, A Season of Surprises. Kat had never seen the spectacular fragrant blooms and went on a hike along part of the Route du Mimosa, needless to say taking tons of photos.
Here’s an excellent article from my friend Carolyne Kaiser-Abbott in her Perfectly Provence website. Take a minute to enjoy the beautiful photos and information. The Route is a perfect day trip, just 130 kilometres or 80 miles of golden bliss!
And now for some random shots that I hope bring you pleasure. I looove the rooftops of France as much as doors and windows ~
You’ve no doubt seen me post this photo (below) before as I love to share it. These are the women on our 2018 Memories Tour, when we spent a day at this magnificent mas (farmhouse) outside of Arles picking grapes in the vineyard and dining al fresco in the stunning surroundings. It was a good opportunity to take some photos with my novel Drawing Lessons, since the story is set in that area … and the ladies were only too willing to oblige!
What a great day that was … just like the previous eleven! How Deborah Bine and I hope our tours can begin again soon. Our optimism runs high! Click here to read my article in this month’s JourneyWoman newsletter, to tempt you and other friends to join us!
I’m posting that photo again because (a) I love to as it makes me smile remembering these fabulous ladies and the great time we shared together and (b) to share the news that Drawing Lessons has been having a busy time lately.
First, the novel is one of the chosen reads for the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys 2021 Book Club (a November bonus book).
Who? Pulpwood wha… ? You ask. Let me explain. Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to talk about Drawing Lessons on an author panel moderated by Annie McDonnell, when I attended (virtually, of course) the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys International Book Club 2021 Girlfriends Weekend Zoomathon Slumber Party … hmm, yes … I can hear you muttering and wondering what on earth I’m talking about. You can read about it in this article I wrote for Women Writers, Women’s Books.
And yes, we all wore a tiara for four days. It’s Pulpwood creator Kathy L. Murphy‘s rule ~ “Where TIARAS and CROWNS are mandatory and reading our good books is the ONLY rule!” Who says authors’ lives are too serious?
This week I was delighted to receive this notification from the Womens Fiction Writers Association and BookTrib. “BookTrib is excited to present the first 2021 Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) curated list of books. Now fourteen-hundred members strong, WFWA is an international professional organization for writers of women’s fiction.
January’s list features seven stories where a mentor, some with good intentions and others questionable, shapes the lives of the characters. From historical to contemporary works, some even based on true events, this month reveals the power and influence mentors have in our lives.”
I’m particularly proud that Drawing Lessons was chosen in conjunction with six other stories that show how through friendship, support and mentoring, we help others who may be coping with challenges.
As those of you know who have read the story, the protagonist Arianna has gone to an artists’ retreat near Arles after more than a year of heartbreaking challenges with her husband’s frontal lobe dementia. Through the kindness and encouragement of the artists guiding her and through listening to their stories, she begins to see hope and promise for the future. In this time of COVID, we know only too well how important it is to help each other through challenges. Kindness counts.
Here’s a new trailer recently created for the story.
Here’s the link to Amazon to order Drawing Lessons or ask your favourite indie bookstore to order it for you. You also can have your library bring the book in if it is not there yet. It’s easy! Just ask!
And now to this month’s giveaways. It’s a pleasure to introduce you to three of the six authors who joined me on the panel I mentioned above. I’ll have the other authors in my next newsletter. If you have not read anything by these authors before, you are going to be thrilled to learn about them now. I am so grateful to all of my author friends who generously offer free books each month.
To enter to win one of these books, you know the drill … send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and, this month, mention your current favourite read. We love to hear book tips and share them. Good luck/bonne chance with the random draws for winners!
Giveaway #1 ~ Nola Nash, has recently released two books in her Crescent City series and is offering two ebooks of Crescent City Moon, Book One. Originally from south Louisiana, Nola now makes her home in Brentwood , Tennessee, with her three children. Her biggest writing inspiration was the city of New Orleans that gave her at an early age a love of the magic, mystery, and history.
When she isn’t writing, Nola is teaching middle school English or hosting The Second Line Show – A bookish live talk show on Facebook and YouTube. She also considers tacos and coffee major food groups.
Connect with Nola here.
Blurb: Things put underground in New Orleans don’t often stay there. Even things that should – like bodies, and secrets.
How do you fight an enemy you can’t see that can kill on a whim? In 1820s New Orleans, on the eve of her twenty-first birthday, Zéolie Cheval discovers the mangled body of her father murdered in his bed and a maniacal voice haunting the recesses of her mind. When the priest sent to comfort her is killed while the house is swarming with police, Zéolie becomes entangled in a web of mystery that takes her from the French Quarter, to the Ursuline Convent in the Ninth Ward, and deep into the Louisiana swamps.
Officer Louis Saucier, who is losing his heart to Zéolie and his grip on logical reality, helps her find the pieces to her puzzle. The mother superior of the Ursulines offers assistance from a mediumistic nun and a voodoo priestess, blurring the lines between the spiritual and the supernatural.
After opening the family crypt to find it uninhabited, Zéolie realizes that her father lied about her mother’s death – amongst other things. Now, Zéolie must come to terms with magic she inherited from her grandmother and the price that comes with it.
Step inside the magic and mystery of the 1820s French Quarter to see if an unlikely menagerie can help Zéolie take down a murderous maniac while she shields the officer she loves. Can she harness powers she didn’t know she had? Or, will she make the ultimate sacrifice?
Giveaway #2 ~ Claire Fullerton offering two ebooks of her newest, multi-award-winning novel Little Tea, set in the Deep South. Claire hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is also the author of 12 X award winning Mourning Dove and 3X award winning, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived.
Connect with Claire here.
Blurb: One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.
Giveaway #3 ~ Michelle Cox is offering two ebooks of A Girl Like You, Book One in her multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She also writes a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.
Connect with Michelle here.
Blurb: Henrietta Von Harmon works as a 26 girl at a corner bar on Chicago’s northwest side. It’s 1935, but things still aren’t looking up since the big crash and her father’s subsequent suicide, leaving Henrietta to care for her antagonistic mother and younger siblings.
Henrietta is eventually persuaded to take a job as a taxi dancer at a local dance hall―and just when she’s beginning to enjoy herself, the floor matron turns up dead. When aloof Inspector Clive Howard appears on the scene, Henrietta agrees to go undercover for him―and is plunged into Chicago’s grittier underworld.
Meanwhile, she’s still busy playing mother hen to her younger siblings, as well as to pesky neighborhood boy Stanley, who believes himself in love with her and keeps popping up in the most unlikely places, determined to keep Henrietta safe―even from the Inspector, if need be. Despite his efforts, however, and his penchant for messing up the Inspector’s investigation, the lovely Henrietta and the impenetrable Inspector find themselves drawn to each other in most unsuitable ways.
Good luck/Bonne chance! As always, 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. Write a short review, thanks! The best way to hear about a good book is by word of mouth from dedicated readers like you. And if you take a minute to thank an author when you win a free book or post a photo on Facebook, trust me, we all appreciate that more than you know.
Congratulations to last month’s winners: Theresa Timlin, Audrey Wick, Karen Matson, Jean MP, and Debbie Bishop
Are you a member of Kindle Unlimited? If so, you can read the three novels of the Love in Provence Trilogy for FREE! SERIOUSLY! If not, of course, each of the ebooks costs less than your favourite latte, so treat yourself to a wonderful adventure if you haven’t already.
For this month’s recipe, I’m sharing one of my favourites ~ Julia Child’s Leek and Potato soup. In fact I just made this two days ago and we devoured it with gusto, as we always do. We eat it hot in the winter and in the summer serve it cold with chopped chives on top (Vichysoisse). Also, I use chicken or vegetable broth rather than water and don’t always add the heavy cream. It’s delicious with or without. Bon appétit!
Before I close, I know I’m repeating myself here from my past letters, but these thoughts are on my mind constantly.
If your health or that of someone you know has been affected during these challenging times, I hope the road to recovery is in sight. If there has been a tragic loss, please know everyone mourns with you.
So many of you are working from home and at the same time trying to take care of your family.
So many of you are home schooling children and doing your best to keep your world and theirs revolving in some kind of “normal”. Families and friends are talking to each other more than ever before. Let’s keep that going.
So many of you have had your employment seriously impacted and are being forced to rethink how the rest of your life looks. You have strengths. Keep believing in yourself.
So many of you are taking risks every day and leaving the safety of your home to take care of the rest of us in a multitude of different ways.There are not enough words to express our gratitude and admiration to all of you, and also to all those people around that I see doing such thoughtful acts of kindness, day in and day out. Let’s keep believing that we will get through this by continuing to help each other.
I will keep sharing this graphic until the day comes when we can all do our part again. No matter what, we will never stop saying thank you to all who keep life going for the rest of us.
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. 2021 is here and with it we hope are vaccinations and forward movement to better things. Let’s follow guidelines, wear a mask where we should, and continue to be kind and helpful to each other. Treasure the memories of past moments and believe those times will return. Stay safe.