Party on!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …


Macarons for everyone! They go very well with champagne … and I would love to serve a glass to each and every person who helped make the launch of I Promise You This such a success last week. Thank you a million times over! Merci mille fois!

I want to send a special shout-out to all13319825_1109259932473766_2839702569582002087_n the readers in UK who, not only supported I Promise You This, but also bought The Promise of Provence in record numbers. I didn’t think to take a screen shot earlier this month, but did today to show how Book 1 in the Love in Provence series has been in the Top 100 for the past two weeks.

The online release party with BookRhythm was a lot of fun and so well-attended by readers from all over the globe, it was hard to keep up with everyone! Thanks again to all who took part and congratulations to the winners! There were a lot of you! Everyone will be notified shortly, if you haven’t already heard.

Now I’m working on my next novel and preparing to leave for France in two weeks. I know you will all be keeping me company and you can rest assured I’ll post lots of photos to help you feel you are there. I love taking you along!

Let’s start with this. Are you coming?


Mark the dates and come celebrate!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Bonjour tout le monde! This is a celebratory week for me

[ File # csp10027102, License # 3244654 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / All32

… and I hope for you too! On Tuesday, May 17th, I PROMISE YOU THIS ~ Book #3 in the Love in Provence trilogy will be released by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing!

Thank you to all the readers who have been patiently waiting and sending me lovely messages in the meantime. I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy the next part of Kat’s journey.

There’s still time to enter the print copy giveaway that Amazon is hosting until May 17th, on Goodreads. Just click here to enter.

On Thursday, May 19, as you can see here. I’m having an online launch party, hosted by the fabulous ladies of BookRhythm ~ a topnotch author services group.  Simply go to this link to join us.

These parties are always fun … although a little crazy to follow sometimes … REMEMBER TO KEEP REFRESHING YOUR PAGE TO FOLLOW ALL THE THREADS! It took me a while to learn that.

Some of my best writing friends are joining the celebration and there will be lots of great chat and tons of giveaways! Look at this lineup (in alphabetical order) ~ Bette Lee Crosby, Jillian Dodd, Jacquie Gauthier, Linn B. Halton,  Steena Holmes, Suzanne Kelman, Toby Neal, Christine Nolfi, Liza Perrat. Definitely a good time group! We’ll be talking about a lot of new releases from these fine authors too! See you there!

IPYT FB Book Launch 3 (1)

Just to get us in the mood … and because we all know we love photos like these, here are a few old favourites for your viewing pleasure.

Bon weekend everyone and I hope I will see you next week to join in the fun!



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À bientôt ~ see you next week!




It’s here!



If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Bonjour! Here’s a Friday morning shot from Antibes … starts my day off right. Yours, too, I hope! This might be the street where Katherine lived in Antibes. You know that kitchen window where she liked to sit and look out into the back allée? Picture her there! In fact, it looks like she’s just disappearing around the corner on her bike … Find out more in my Love in Provence series.

And now the trilogy is complete because this box was delivered by the postman yesterday. I Promise You This, Book #3 in the series, will be launched on Amazon on May 17. In fact, it’s been available for pre-order for the last month and I can’t believe how many of you have done just that! Merci beaucoup!

You can order it online, of course, and if it is not on the shelf at your local indie bookshop after May 17th, any bookstore can order it from their distributor. I promise you this!  13087376_1090597354340024_1947364087370167836_n

I’m thrilled with the way the three novels look together!


Gratitude. I’m filled with it.

I have a lot of thanks to share for this new addition to the series:

Thanks so much to the talented Scott Collie in Toronto for his beautiful artwork on all three covers.

Thanks to Amazon’s women’s fiction imprint, Lake Union Publishing, and the fabulous, hard-working, supportive, enthusiastic team that worked with me … Gabe, Mike, and all the gang in Seattle, my talented developmental editor, Amara Holstein, and my patient editor in New York, Miriam Juskowicz.

Thanks to Senior Acquisitions Editor at Lake Union, Danielle Marshall, who brought us together.

And the biggest thanks of all goes to every reader who has been so enthusiastic and loyal to this series! Thank you for your emails and reviews and for telling your friends and sharing your books and opinions. You made this happen!

Where would any of this be without the all-consuming beauty of the country and people of France and the region of Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur that provide me with constant inspiration. Nor should I forget my vibrant, much-loved hometown of Toronto, which has also played a big role in these stories.

There will be more! Because so many of you have asked, I’ve begun working on three more books that will carry forward the story of Kat’s journey … in a slightly different way. Stay tuned!

Right now I’m going to toast everyone I’ve mentioned … and lots more I haven’t … and enjoy the rush of publication. It’s a very good time to be an author and I feel blessed to be part of the incredibly collegial and connected global writing community.

p.s. Amazon is celebrating by giving away 20 print copies … TWENTY … on Goodreads. Click right here to enter!

If you are on FaceBook, join me there on May 19th, from 6 to 9 EDT. I’ll be celebrating the launch of I Promise You This with some of your favourite authors: Bette Lee Crosby, Christine, Nolfi, Jillian Dodd, Steena Holmes, Toby Neal, Suzanne Kelman, Jacquie Gauthier and from England, Linn B. Halton, and from France, Liza Perrat!

There’ll be tons of giveaways and great conversation. Join us!

IPYT FB Book Launch 3 (1)


Wherever you are, take a few minutes to drop into your  local independent bookstore tomorrow.  They put a lot of love into bringing you the best choices in literature. If it’s not on the shelf, they are happy to order for you. Like libraries, they’re an important part of our communities.


If it’s Friday, it must be Finland …

If it’s Friday, it must be Finland …

That’s it! I’ve decided not to write about France any more. I’m sure I’ve said more than enough about it these past few years. I don’t want to bore you. It’s time to move on.

Finland seems like an interesting and beautiful country for us to explore. I hope you’ll enjoy our change of scene as much as I will.

canstockphoto8527924 canstockphoto20269418

APRIL FOOLS! As if you hadn’t already guessed! As lovely as Finland might be, you know I’m addicted to France.

And so we’ll carry on … like this …

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I never get tired of sharing scenes like this with you and I hope you feel the same way.

As I wrote in a blog post last year, April 1st is celebrated in an altogether different way in France.

Imagine my surprise the first time I saw childrenimages sticking paper fish on each other’s back, whispering and giggling, and then hollering, “Poisson d’Avril!”

Excusez-moi? Fish?

As Wikipedia explains: “In Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages (pesce d’aprile!, poisson d’avril! and aprilvis! in Italian, French and Flemish, respectively). Such fish feature prominently on many late 19th- to early 20th-century French April Fools’ Day postcards.

I had no idea where the tradition began and, after a bit of searching, found this explanation on France Travel Guide.

“Although the origin of April Fools is obscure and debated, the most widely accepted explanation actually credits the “holiday” as starting in France. The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool’s Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century.

The theory goes like this: In 1564 King Charles XIV of France reformed the calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1.

However, in a time without trains, a reliable post system or the internet, news often traveled slow and the uneducated, lower class people in rural France were the last to hear of and accept the new calendar. Those who failed to keep up with the change or who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them.

Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born.”

poisson d'avril

poisson d’avril

Boulangeries and patisseries deliciously get into the spirit with fish-shaped goodies. Oh … and did I mention the chocolatiers? Schools of fish of all sizes fill shop windows, the larger ones often filled with smaller treats. To a chocoholic, fish never tasted so good!

Since Easter usually falls around the same time, fish feature predominantly in shop windows through that holiday as well.

Maybe we should adopt a symbol for April Fool’s Day in North America, so there would be a good excuse to buy special chocolates on that day over here. Not that we ever really need an excuse for chocolate …

Wherever you are, have fun on April 1st and enjoy some chocolate.

Are you a prankster on April 1st or do you just grit your teeth and hope the day will pass quickly? Is there one April Fool’s Day joke in particular that you will never forget?

On  The Good Life France   (amazing photography and articles ~ you know I’m a huge fan!), there’s an article by Margo Lestz on this same topic.  Margo writes great articles, as well as entertaining books about some of the quirky history and traditions of France.  Click here and enjoy!




The real deal!

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I’m having a throwback to our time in the Pays Basque of France in April/May last year. Two weeks ago I wrote a post for The Good Life France about these cookies. Les véritables macarons of the Pays Basque were such a surprise when I discovered them … how had I not known? They truly are the real deal when it comes to macarons.

IMG_9295 9.58.52 AM

Click right here to read my article on TGLF and you’ll see what I mean.

I used to think all macarons were like these:  the trendy, frou-frou, multi-colored, every-flavor-under-the-sun kind that have become so popular in recent years. Don’t get me wrong, many people love these … and I have tried my best to love them too, with mixed results. But the moment I tasted the crisp crust and soft interior of the richly-flavored Basque macaron, the truth was revealed to me.

A single layer of gustatorial goodness. No filling required. Locally it’s called “mouchou”, from the Basque word musu, meaning kiss. Yes.

But my post on TGLF explains that.  Writing that article had me lingering in my photo files from our trip. I was reminded of the very different and fascinating Basque country of the Pyénées-Atlantiques departement of France. Although we were based in beautiful Biarritz, we explored widely … as we do.

Here’s the main beach, one of many, in Biarritz. A surfing capital of the world, a lot of newbies learn and experiment at this beach. The more serious … and I do mean SERIOUS … put on amazing spectacles just around the corner, when the surf is up.

IMG_8743IMG_8716The palace (shown below) was originally built by Napoleon III for his wife, Princess Eugenie, and entertained many aristocratic and royal guests during the golden years of the resort in 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s now a luxury destination with a first-class restaurant.


But today I want to share a bit about the birthplace of the scrumpdiddlyumptious Basque macaron. The town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is just twenty  minutes south Biarritz and even closer to the Spanish border. Fabulous San Sebastian, Spain is only a half-hour away … but that’s another story and I will definitely do posts later about those places.

Famous for its crescent-shaped bay on the Atlantic and its history of fishing, pirates and royalty, today many of the attractions are the beautiful beaches and golf courses more recently developed.



Away from the sea, the countryside is pastoral and gently leads up into the Pyrenees. Dotted with farms and rustic villages,IMG_8550 the quintessential white-washed homes and outbuildings are finished with  wood timbers. Doors and shutters are stained blood red or deep green, the colours of the Basque flag. Garlands of local hot peppers hang everywhere.

The Basque people are proud of their ancient roots and language (Euskara), the latter spoken extensively and found on signage throughout the region. Lively traditions and delicious cuisine (particularly charcuterie, cheese, ham, seafood) are mainstays of the area, celebrated with frequent festivals. Click here for an excellent detailed article.


Oops, I’m losing focus … as I often do! There’s just so much good information to share.

The heart of Saint-Jean-de-Luz history revolvesIMG_8564 around the royal wedding in 1660 of Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’, and Maria Theresa, the Infanta of Spain. The chapel where the ceremony was held and the buildings in which the newlyweds and their entourages held court exist, along with much of the old town, as they did all those centuries ago.

The local pâtisserie, Maison Adam baked their popular macarons, even then. Apparently the king’s bride-to-be and his mother loved the cookies, so they were served at the wedding.


The closely guarded recipe remains the same to this day and, through all these centuries, the family business has been handed down through father and son. Baked into rustic rounds that are sold as single biscuits, until recently, these Basque macarons were seldom found outside the Pays Basque.


Visit the shop, in the same location, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or in Biarritz. They also craft irresistibly delicious chocolate … warning: there is a chocolate fountain in the store in Saint-Jean. If you have time, even if you don’t want to practise your French, take a look at this gorgeous website with vintage photos.



I could go on here for pages, but will just share some more photos. As I mentioned above, this link is the one to read for a truly fine article … and, don’t worry, it’s not too long. You may even want to plan a visit to the Pays Basque of France by the time you finish reading. We would definitely return.

Oh, and berets! The Basque beret! That’s one of the reasons I wrote some characters from the Pays Basque into I Promise You This. I loooove the berets! *Promotion opportunity here ~ I Promise You This, Book #3 in the Love In Provence series will be released by Amazon on May 17th! It’s available for pre-order now. I can’t wait for you to read it. 


Have you visited the Basque region of France or Spain? Have you ever tried the P’tit Basque or Petit Basque cheese? It’s mild and delicious and your local cheese shop might carry it. Check it out.

Bon weekend!

The Good Life France SPRING Magazine

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

When this publication arrives in my mailbox, I’m done. Whatever I am working on is set aside, while I take a quick look through the entire magazine. Then I decide which article I will settle into first. My weekend is planned!

Here’s the SPRING EDITION OF THE GOOD LIFE FRANCE MAGAZINE ~ as always, FREE AND FABULOUS! The photography and presentation simply keeps getting better … and it was always superb from the beginning. Take your time, mesdames et messieurs, and savor this gem. Once again, kudos to Janine Marsh, the tireless editor.

On y va!


The new issue of The Good Life France Magazine SPRING 2016 magazine has been published.

You can now access it instantly HERE.

The digital magazine technology requires no special software and loads quickly in your web browser. Just click on the magazine cover or link above to begin reading now!

If you will be asked for an access key to view the magazine use this: nzaDE4


Copyright © 2016 Joomag. All rights reserved.


There’s nothing else I could post on this page today to compare with the goodness found in this magazine. Dive right in and enjoy it! That’s what I’ll be doing!

À très bon weekend!

Nice, France


Travel planning ~ how do you begin?


If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Spring is coming. At least, on Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil predicted it would be early and who would argue with him?

The declaration was made:

“There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast!”

Needing no more encouragement, I’ll take it as my signal that it’s time to plan our stay in France for this year. I love studying maps and thinking about the possibilities. Is that how you begin your travel planning?canstockphoto19927105

Of course, you know where we always spend part of our time in France. Do you recognize it from the air?


I like to spend time studying maps, even when I’m not going anywhere. Do you?


Did someone say “Chocolat”?

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Val de Loire

This week I wrote a post  about chocolate in France for my friend Janine Marsh’s wonderful website The Good Life France.


Click right here to see the post. Chocolate + France … two of my favourite topics. It was fun to write, as you can imagine. If you do go in and read it, please click on some of the links at the bottom of the article. It all helps!

If you follow me regularly, you’re probably already a subscriber to Janine’s amazing newsletter and ezine. There’s a link to the virtual magazine in the column here on my blog. ====================>

Or just click right here to see back issues of the magazine, too.

While I was doing research for that post, I spent some time revisiting the wonderful film Chocolat. Remember that?  I loved it so much, I own a copy. So we watched it again this week.

You also might want to read the novel by Joanne Harris and check out her other work including, Peaches for Monsieur le Curé.

This photo is one of my “shoot through the open window of the car as my husband zooms by shots” … otherwise I would be asking him to stop every two minutes … and he really is great about pulling over. But sometimes it is simply not possible. French roads often have no shoulders or there’s someone right on our tail. In spite of that it’s surprising how often the photo turns out!


So, back to the movie. If, for some bizarre reason, you haven’t seen Chocolat, get on over to Netflix immediately. It’s a great story … and of course, there is Johnny Depp … but the setting ,,, ah oui … the setting … that’s what’s really delicious!


It was filmed in the medieval village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in Burgundy and on the Rue De l’Ancienne Poste in the charming commune of Beynac-et-Cazenac, in the heart of Périgord Noir. These photos of mine are from that latter general area.


Beynac is found on the banks of the Dordogne River with a well-preserved 12thC castle, clinging to a steep cliff, once besieged by Richard the Lion Heart. Just ten kilometres from Sarlat, this village is distinctive with “lauze” stone slab-roofed houses and well worth a visit.


Are you a chocophile? Dark, milk, white? All of them? What’s your pleasure? Be sure to have a supply nearby while you watch the movie.  Bon weekend!


Nothing ventured …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

I’m trying something new here today. With a number of writing deadlines looming, I’m feeling a little pressed for time. It may not seem150626-214-Edit-sm-CarmenBlike-R5 like it, but blog posts and newsletters and other assorted writing joys (I’m not being sarcastic ~ I love doing it all!)  take a lot of time. So today I’m experimenting by posting the newsletter here that I sent out to subscribers yesterday. If you already have received it, you won’t need to read it again … but feel free if you like! And thanks for subscribing!

If you aren’t a subscriber, you might be inspired to sign up!

There’s a link to do it right there in the column ========>

I love writing my newsletter because it makes me feel like I’m speaking to everyone individually who has said they want to hear from me. You’ve often heard me say that hearing from readers is an author’s best reward and that is so true.

So this is from me to you on my website today too.

I wondered if I could simply move the newsletter here … and it worked! For a timid technophobe like me I have to say that was quite a thrill!

I hope you don’t mind … oops, and I just realized it’s Thursday not Friday … sigh … but I’ve already hit “Publish” so I’ll just leave it … get the picture … ?

  • Newsletter #29                                                                       January 15, 2016Happy New Year! Bonne Année!

    Here we go again, my friends, another year to fill with lasting memories!

    If you happen to check in on my blog (thanks if you do ~ please say hello), you’ll know I’m repeating the wish I shared there in my first post of this year. It’s what I hope for everyone.

    Each New Year brings with it fresh hope and gives us renewed confidence and courage for a fresh start. 2016 has arrived filled with opportunities and promise.

    Keep the good memories of years past, learn from loss and mistakes, and move forward, always hoping people everywhere may live with the peace and respect we all deserve.

    My wish for each of us is this:

    We didn’t have any snow in Toronto for Christmas this year and I missed it. Particularly after last year’s great abundance of the fluffy white stuff! But today the city is turning white. Yay! I hope the ski areas in Ontario are getting snow as the season got off to a dismal start here, unlike Whistler and western Canada. How was the weather during the holidays in your neighbourhood?

    January has brought some good news.

    Who doesn’t love a good deal? Amazon has included The Promise of Provence and Promises To Keep in the January Kindle Holiday Store Deal. Until the end of this month the books are on sale for $1.40 U.S. ~ almost free for heaven’s sake. If you don’t have your copies, now is a good time to pick one up or gift a few to your friends!

    I’m also excited to let you know that I Promise You This, Book 3 in the Love in Provence series, is available for pre-order. That means you can order your copy now from Amazon and be assured of receiving it the moment the book is published by Lake Union on May 17th. Just click on this link to pre-order AND read a synopsis.  You’ll be the first to know when I have permission to disclose the new cover.

    January also brings us the next great edition of The Good Life France digital magazine. Remember, it’s free and fabulous! Filled with excellent photography and articles, click right here for your copy.

    I’m in Toronto at the moment and the falling Canadian dollar, along with the state of the economy, is an ongoing concern. In an attempt to maintain a sense of humour through it all, I want to share this cartoon sent to me by a reader this week. Thanks, Terry! I thought it was hilarious and I hope it gives you a chuckle too.

    All the more reason to keep writing stories that people enjoy and that offer an opportunity to escape into our imaginations from time to time. That’s why I’ve begun writing the first book of the next trilogy that continues to follow Kat and Philippe along with your favourite characters and a number of intriguing newcomers.

    I’ll be back in the south of France in June and July to do research, take photos and enjoy sharing it with you. I promise you that! Once again, we have arranged two excellent home exchanges for our stays in France. Most you know by now that my husband and I are fans of this travel option. I’m often asked how we arrange our exchanges, so I want to include the following links for anyone who might be interested.

    First of all, here’s a link to an article about home exchange for which I, along with a few others, shared information and experiences for the January 2015 Living France magazine.

    These are the exchange websites we recommend:                 HomeBaseHolidays

    I’ll be honest: I’ve already begun counting the days to our departure!

    Beautiful Arles in the Bouches-du-Rhône departement will be our first stop for a few weeks. We have visited there before but are eager to have a longer stay to explore and learn more about the distinct culture of this region.

    And then we will be in Antibes/Juan-les-Pins for the month of July. You know how I feel about that! It’s like going home. And now I have all the Love In Provence characters keeping me company wherever I go. Seriously!

    Speaking about travel is a good segue to the next part of this newsletter. This month we have a change in our giveaways from fiction with two memoirs. I love hearing personal stories others have to tell! One hilariously follows a reunion of three long-time friends as they explore colourful, exotic, India … oh, and they eat a lot of delicious food. The other takes us on a bittersweet personal journey from Canada to Africa.

    Barb Taub began, “in a former life before children”, as a humor columnist for several Midwest newspapers. Now she lives in Scotland where she reads, reviews, blogs, writes and collaborates with her daughter, Hannah, on the Null City series. She has just publishedDo Not Wash Hands in Plates along with some of her besties, Jayalakshmi Ayyer and Janine Smith.

    Barb tells us, “Basically, this is the story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha…and the kindness of Indian strangers.”

    Jacquie Gauthier’s memoir, The Gift of an Elephant,  is a story about faith, change, struggle and, ultimately, love. In her native Canada, Jacquie was a local radio and television personality, a playwright and producer, and for a short time, a politician. Then a foreign aid trip to South Sudan changed everything. As well as writing this memoir, Jacquie is the co-founder of and image co-creator at Two Girls and an Elephant, a company combining stunning photography, art and elephant conservation.

    There are two ebooks of each title for giveaway this month. Send an email and mention the most exotic place you’ve visited … even if it’s your back yard! Good luck/bonne chance!

    Congratulations to last month’s winners of Promises To Keep, Karla Nodorft Heller and Nancy Jones, and to Jackie MacKinnon and Andrea (I’m sorry I don’t have your last name on file), who will hear from Christine Nolfi about their book from her. Thanks so much for all the entries! Your enthusiasm is inspiring!

    If you are hunkering down with cold winter weather swirling around, as I am in Toronto today, this recipe will warm you up.  Best served with fresh baguette! Potage aux Legumesis described as Green Vegetable Soup (even though it does have carrots) and as the ingredients indicate, it’s a healthy, hearty meal in itself.

    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!

    Bon appétit et à bientôt!

     My books can be found on:
    AmazonUS  |  AmazonUK  |  AmazonCA  |  AmazonFR

    Follow Me and please feel free to share my newsletter!
    Copyright © 2016 Patricia Sands, Author, All rights reserved.

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Dreaming, I’m Always Dreaming …

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Even though January is only half through, my thoughts keep floating ahead to June when we will head back to France. Here are a few things I’m dreaming about:


The jacaranda trees will be in bloom and so will the fields of sunflowers,


and the lavender … I can smell it now! My shutter finger is already beginning to twitch …


There will be two glorious weeks back in Arles, following the footsteps of Van Gogh and being a flâneur … making notes … taking photos …

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And then … be still my heart … back to Antibes to discover more about Katherine and Philippe and Simone and Nick … and who knows what else …


And Nice … oh yes, Nice … days in Nice with friends and French lessons and the turquoise waters of the Med … and more notes for stories …


4.IMG_9482 2

Yup, dreaming … I’m always dreaming …

Have you begun dreaming about how 2016 will be for you? Even if it’s not going to happen, it never hurts to dream. Dream along with me! I’ll take you with me on the blog and bring you to the south of France in another new novel. Avec plaisir … 

Bon weekend, everyone!

Okay, I have to admit something now. From the minute I wrote the title for this post, a song has been playing over and over in my head. You know how that happens sometimes? It has absolutely nothing to do with France … and comes from waaaaaaay back in the day for me. Probably before your time!  So I had to find it and share it … ah, yes, memories of the Friday night Teen Town dances … a great jive song too! Excusez-moi while I have a little burst of melancholy!