South of France Memories Tour 2019

It’s that time again! Time to book your place with us from September 15 to 27, 2019, to come along on our awesome South of France tour.

My good friend, Deborah Bine aka Barefoot Blogger, and I have the pleasure of spending 12 memory-filled days with 16 women as we share our passion for the south of France. We visit the charming, historic towns and villages featured in my novels and on Deborah’s website. We only change hotels once in the 12 days 🙂

Bring along a friend or relative, but we also guarantee you will have a wealth of new friends after the first day! Read the testimonials from past tours to see what an unforgettable experience this is! Join us! ???☕️✈️?? Sept 15-27/19 ~ four spots left!
Click on this link for all the details

Click here to go to this page on my website.  You can then follow along day by day on last year’s tour. The following photos tell a small part of the happy story!

How it all begins!
Shopping at the markets!
Join us for the trip of a lifetime!

Does the word “truffle” mean chocolate to you?

Find out the real story about truffles and enjoy a short but sweet video from Deborah Bine/Barefoot Blogger. As well as being great friends, Deborah and I co-lead a women’s tour in the south of France in September. When she’s not visiting friends and family (especially adorable grandchildren) in the States, Deborah lives in the heart-stoppingly (I’m sure that’s a word in France!) charming vieille ville of Uzès.

Read on!

Much Ado About French Truffles in Uzès
Uzès is famous for French truffles. Black ones. Pigs and dogs sniff them out from beneath the roots of trees.
Before I moved to France I knew very little about truffles. This naive southern belle thought truffles only came in a fancy gold box from Godiva. My favorite truffle was a divine, creamy dark chocolate.

To read the rest of this post about “black gold” in France and see the video, click right here!

Bon weekend! Relax, stay warm and enjoy a good read!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I trust your new year is off to a good beginning! Let’s celebrate the first Friday of 2019 with a few of our favourite photos from France, that I hope will make you smile.

I hope you enjoyed this brief break from reality. I look forward to spending 2019 with you, sharing our thoughts about books, reading, writing, life, friendship and whatever else we want to add in there … and of course, France! Bon weekend!

Warmest wishes for the new year ~

Greetings one and all! Are you in post-holiday relax mode? Or are you in high gear to get this new year started?

WordPress has set me back a peg or two while I learn to navigate the changes they have decided we need to create our blog pages. So this message will be a short one. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it works!

I hope your Christmas was merry and bright! May 2019 bring you and yours the best of health, happiness and an abundance of fine books to read.

Let’s also continue with our never-ending wish for peace on earth, goodwill to all. We live in hope!

I’m going to take some time this week to figure out these layout changes. With a 6:30 a.m. flight to Florida tomorrow, I’ll have a few hours to play around with the different options … unless there are some good inflight movies. Just kidding! I want to understand what I need to know here, so it doesn’t take me twice as long as it should to create a post.

Thanks goodness, Barb Drozdowich has put together a YouTube video going step by step through the changes for people like me!

You know how it is when you have all kinds of plans and not enough time? I was definitely in that category for the past few months! The most important thing to me then was to get all the daily posts up for our amazing South of France Memories Tour. That took me longer than it should have, but I did it! Did you take some time and enjoy the tour here? If you didn’t, I hope you will scroll back through the posts and see the fabulous experiences Deborah Bine (aka Barefoot Blogger) and I had with the sensational sixteen women on this tour.

As a result my blog did not get much attention after that, while I was finishing editing and then publishing The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes.

But it’s a new year, with a new approach here. I’ve got some fabulous guests lined up to visit with us. So let’s plan some great adventures together! Who knows where the path will lead?

On Amazon, B & N, Kobo, iBooks and wherever fine books are sold.h

Memories tour/18 ~ day 12

And what a day this was! Have you dreamed of a mas in the south of France like this? Everyone in our merry band of travellers agreed they had.  This was a dream come true  … Mas de Valériole … on the edge of the Camargue. Established in 1456. Yes. The owner then was a doctor in Arles. Please click on this link to see a wonderful portrait of the three generations of the Michel family now in charge of this organic vineyard and rice farm. Read the history here.

Here’s how our memorable day played out. We were welcomed graciously by Madame Michel and then learned about the grapes grown here. A wine tasting followed. After that we were invited into the vineyard to learn how the grapes are harvested. The photos tell the story.

There’s a grape stomper in every group …

Quality control …

But that wasn’t all … next came a lovely buffet lunch in the shade of the magnificent centuries old trees …

And how could I ask for a better promotion shot for Drawing Lessons than this amazing collection of awesomeness? I’m grateful to each one of these ladies and the wonderful bond of friendship they generated during our days together.

No afternoon in France is complete without a game of pétanque.

But the day wasn’t over yet.

Nancy McGee had a surprise planned for our last evening that I didn’t even know about. Dinner in the courtyard garden at the 18th century Hotêl Particulier in Arles. Again the photos tell the story.


Is it any wonder no one wants to go home?

Deborah, you were in our thoughts all day and evening. We know you are recovering, but you have been missed.

p.s. Does anyone have a shot or two of the birthday “cakes and candles”?

Remember to visit Deborah’s Barefoot Blogger website for information on all of the places we have visited during our tour. When she isn’t in the hospital, that lady gets around!

Memories tour/18 – Day 11, part 2

After our visit to breathtaking Pont du Gard and charming Saint-Quentin-la-Potèrie, our intrepid travellers continued a short distance down the road to the town of Uzès.

The elegant medieval heart of the town entices with narrow winding streets lined with 17th and 18th century private mansions, many now converted to apartments for a large ex-pat community. The castle of the Duke of Uzès, is occupied by the family of the current Duke whose family has undertaken an amazing restoration. The is the oldest Ducal peerage in France and its history is fascinating and well documented. Read about the history and castle here as well as visiting hours. 

Every one of us wished Deborah was with us here and she never was far from our thoughts. Here’s how our day unfolded without her.

Everyone was captivated by the soothing fountain in the main square. Enjoy a zen moment here yourself.

For a lot more great information about life in Uzès, pop on over to Deborah’s Barefoot Blogger website.

Now that American Thanksgiving is over, it’s inevitable that thoughts will turn to the December holidays. My new release, The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes is waiting to help you get in the mood … and only $2.99! Click right here and enjoy!

Paperback will be available in December ~ I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Memories tour/18 ~ Day 11(part 1)

Today was supposed to be a special day for my BFF and co-leader (aka Barefoot Blogger),  Deborah Bine, sharing her stomping grounds with us. Instead she was recuperating in the hospital and in our thoughts constantly!

First stop was the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pont du Gard. Truly an engineering marvel, this aqueduct was constructed between the years 19 AD and 1 AD to carry water to the Roman colony of Nemausas (Nimes). Click here to read the entire history and understand how it survived so intact.

Today we are in the Gard department, rather than the Bouches du Rhône where we are staying in Arles.

Read what Deborah has to say about Pont du Gard on her blog.

The accompanying plaque next to this 1000-year-old olive tree states it was transplanted from Spain in 1988.

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France joined us for today and tomorrow and we’re delighted to have her company. Her friend, French artist, Aurélie Malbec, is shadowing our group today and sketching memories to create a booklet for everyone. 

After a few hours of strolling and taking photos, we moved on to the charming potters’ village of Saint Quentin-la-Potèrie. This ancient community, with its narrow winding streets, has a history of pottery making for centuries. Deborah had arranged for us to visit a few of her favourite workshops. We were warmly welcome and impressed by the quality and variety of workmanship.

This was a busy day! Finally we headed off, just a few kilometres down the road, to the elegant medieval town of Uzès. I know Deborah was so looking forward to sharing her beautiful town with us. We felt her absence keenly …

I’m going to turn this into two-part post, since there are so many photos. Enjoy … and stay tuned for part 2!









and after this we are off to Uzès, Deborah’s home town.






Pop on over to Deborah’s blog, Barefoot Blogger, to read more about our stops today.

Newsletter #62

Do you subscribe to my newsletter? In case you don’t, I’ll post it here today. Good luck with the giveaways! Bon weekend!

Newsletter #62                                                             November 15, 2018




I’m excited to let you know that today is a special one for me! It’s launch day for The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes. This is a Christmas story featuring Katherine, Philippe and friends from the Love in Provence series. I wrote it because so many of you have asked what was happening with them. I love becoming engaged with characters in books I’m reading, and it’s a thrill for me when someone writes and tells me the same about my characters.


I must admit it was a lot of fun for me to be back on the pages with those familiar personalities. As happens so often with fiction writing, they had a few surprises in store for me!


The header photo above is one that I often referred to as I was working on this book. The story is about the first Christmas/Noël that Katherine and Philippe are celebrating in their restored villa. Katherine hopes there would be snow on the mountain tops, just like in the picture.

This is the café where Kat likes to sit to read her copy of Nice-Matin and practise her French. I like to do the same when I’m in Antibes and it was here that I worked on edits last summer for The First Noël.

The cover of this book has a special story to it. The artwork was created by two talented women, Clare Strohman and Donna Fedele, who were on the September tour in France that Deborah Bine and I led. The three of us talked about concept, colour, and effect and they went to work to produce this lovely result.


I am going to write three books in the Villa des Violettes series. The next will be published in the spring and another in the fall, and the cover will be the same but with changes to the vine and the flowers in the pots. How do you like that concept? The stories will all be a bit shorter than a full novel and I hope you will enjoy them.


So today is launch day for the ebook and the print copy should be out by December 1st. Thanks for spreading the news!



As Thanksgiving in America approaches, I’m sure many of you are busy with plans for the holiday. Are you travelling or are friends and family coming to you? Who is cooking and what? Are you turkey lovers? And football is a must, right? Tell me all about it when you enter this month’s giveaways.


It’s gratifying to see so many of you enter your name each month for a chance to win a book. 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 about how they appreciate your thoughtfulness.


In keeping with the upcoming December holidays, here are some festive Christmas stories for you, including mine!  Rest assured all of these enjoyable stories will help to fill you with the Christmas spirit!


Giveaway #1 is for two ebooks of A Season for Hope  by Tammy Grace. Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Connect with Tammy at her website



Blurb:  A Season for Hope is a charming story about the kindness of strangers and finding hope where you never expected it. Cozy up with a holiday read sure to warm your heart.


Giveaway #2 is another holiday read to warm your heart from Judith Keim, who is offering two ebooks of A Christmas Star.

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

Judith writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her loyal readers love.

Connect with Judith at her website



Blurb:  A page-turner that perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas. A chance meeting, along with an act of goodwill, will lead one woman on a journey that will help her to heal her broken heart…and once again believe in the magic of Christmas.


Giveaway #3 features two stories from our very own Hallmark Movies star! USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a dash of suspense and a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series, Adams Grove, while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre farm. She went on to produce works in collaboration with other authors, including the hilarious southern fiction G Team series. A Romance Writers of America Honor Roll author, her books have been translated in multiple languages and received favorable reviews from major trade journals. Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, antiquing, and horseback riding with friends. A Virginia girl at heart, Nancy now calls North Carolina home.

Crown Media is bringing two of Nancy’s novels to Hallmark’s holiday programming. Nancy is also currently working on original novels for Hallmark Publishing.


You can connect with Nancy at her website.


Nancy’s first offer is an ebook of Christmas Joy. Did you see the movie on the Hallmark Channel on November 3rd? It was fabulous!



Blurb:  A heartwarming Christmas story about family, friendship and finding love in unexpected places.


Nancy’s second offer for you is a print copy of Hope at Christmas. WATCH FOR THIS TO DEBUT ON HALLMARK MOVIES & MYSTERIES ON NOVEMBER 20th!



Blurb:  Nancy Naigle delivers a heartwarming Christmas story that proves you can always go home again in Hope at Christmas.


Giveaway #4 is for three ebooks of The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes to help celebrate this launch day!




Everything was going so well in Kat and Philippe’s life together. Then suddenly it wasn’t. Philippe hoped a weekend trip to the famous Christmas markets of Strasbourg would solve everything.

As it happened, things were about to get worse.


As always, send your entry for these giveaways to Names will be chosen randomly. Tell us how you are celebrating Thanksgiving or do you have different plans?


It’s a pleasure to offer these giveaways from my writing friends. Thanks for the great response each month. I’m glad you appreciate them and are so keen to enter. 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:  Audrey Wick, Jessica Chappell, Theresa Timlin

French Market Giveaway Package winner: Laurie Blum


Now it’s time for some photos from France. The setting for most of my Christmas book is in and around Antibes, with the exception of one weekend when Kat and Philippe visit the famous Christmas markets of Strasbourg. Have you ever been to those markets?



I have photos of the marché de Noël in Antibes and can’t find them! Does that ever happen to you? I need to take a few months and completely reorganize my photo files. Since I want to send this off today, I’ll post a few of Katherine’s favourite spots in Antibes.


I have almost finished posting pictures from our September women’s tour in France. I just have two more days to go. Have you been following along on my blog? Click right here. (


Instead of sharing a recipe today, here’s another opportunity for a great Christmas gift … a Kindle Fire 7! The contest is open until the end of this week, so try your luck and bonne chance!



Click on this link for all the details! 

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.

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It’s launch day! New release!

I’m excited to introduce this first book in my new mini-series, featuring those beloved characters from the Love in Provence series.

Christmas markets, French pastries, family, friends, all come together after unexpected challenges threaten a joyeux Noël or a merry Christmas. Then there are those two adorable Chocolate Lab pups! Spend time on the stunning Côte d’Azur as Kat and Philippe deal with one crisis after another.

It was so much fun to get back on the pages with all of the characters! Stay tuned for Book Two of the Villa des Violettes series in May and Book Three in October.

I hope you love the cover as much as I do! In September, when I was co-leading our South of France Memories Tour with my BFF, Deborah Bine (aka Barefoot Blogger), two women on the tour offered to help design the cover. Talented artists and good friends, Clare Strohman and Donna Fedele, worked with me to create the cover I envisioned … and they made it even better!

(May I just add how amazing these two women are in every way? And we were not intentionally colour-co-ordinated for this photo. Just sayin’! Our entire group of 16 women on the tour were a dream to travel with.)

Then, with the help of literary/tech assistant Carolyn Ring, fonts and placement of the title and my name were chosen and … badda bing, badda boom … the cover was born. My gratitude to each of those clever women.

Kate Rock and Tonni Callan, the founders of Literally Connected, made magic happen behind the scenes. A bouquet of thanks to them.

Also, thanks to everyone who helped make this happen today. Mille mercis! I’m grateful to each and every one of you.

Click here for the Amazon link.

Here’s the blurb:


Everything was going so well in Kat and Philippe’s life together. Then suddenly it wasn’t.

Roman ruins delayed the work on the Villa des Violettes. The Russian drug gang might be back in the neighbourhood. On top of that, Kat had worked herself into what Molly classified as a full blown “Christmas conundrum.” Kat wanted the holidays to work perfectly as she blended a Canadian Christmas with a Provençal Fête de Noêl for the first time in their new home. Now she’d lost her confidence and, with it, the holiday spirit.

Philippe hoped a weekend trip to the famous Christmas markets of Strasbourg would solve everything.

As it happened, things were about to get worse.

Are you feeling ready to embrace the holiday season? Have you started to decorate or do you wait until December arrives?

Memories tour/18 ~ Day 10

Catching up on our tour! I think I may have published the last post twice so sorry about that. It’s been a crazy two weeks.

On Day 10, our first stop was the renowned and lively Wednesday market that winds through much of the old town in quaint St. Rémy-de-Provence. The exceptional selection of wares spill from stalls that fill narrow alleys and shady squares … every Provençal product your heart desires may be found here.  With a wide choice of bistros and cafés to stop for a break and plenty of street music to entertain, the morning passed quickly.

As the happy shoppers returned to the bus, after lunch, it was noted that several new suitcases had been purchased. Hmmm…

Then we had a short drive to the edge of town, stopping at the monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole, which was also an asylum when van Gogh admitted himself there in May 1889. He remained until May 1890 and painted some of his most important works during that time. There is a peace and serenity found here, inside, and also in the back garden as well as in the stunning Romanesque cloister. You can feel Vincent’s spirit here. It’s one of my favourite stops on our tour.


Then we hopped back on our coach and a half-hour later arrived at another special spot … Les Carrières des Lumières … for a spectacular multi-media presentation in an old quarry below the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence. This year’s exhibit is based on Picasso and other Spanish artists. It’s a truly breathtaking experience.

Next was a photo op at the best place to capture the image of the medieval hilltop village of Les Baux, ruins and all.

And a surprise stop, thanks to our bus driver, at the Abbaye de Montmajour.

Now I need your help, ladies from the tour! My dinner photos have vanished! Please send me a few. Thanks!

Most of all today, we missed our co-leader Deborah Bine after her accident the day before.  Please visit co-leader and BFF, Deborah Bine’s Barefoot Blogger site to see how she is coming along. Remember too, she regularly posts all sorts of great articles on her travels and life in France. 

Want to join us in 2019? Contact travel expert extraordinaire, Nancy McGee, at Absolutely Southern France. She already has an “early bird” list filling up.  We’re excited!