Whoooosh! And there went November! Sadly, the virus did not disappear with the month but instead became more pervasive and deadly. I SO long to be able to begin my newsletter with happy news like the good old days. So far it simply is not happening and my heart goes out to all who are suffering. I know there is very little joy in our days right now, but my wish is that it will soon return for everyone.
For those who have had the good fortune to remain healthy, in the United States, I hope your Thanksgiving was celebrated safely and with someone you love. If we dig down deep, we can be reminded that there is much for which to be grateful and we need to hold on to that. Our Canadian Thanksgiving occurs in October, so there were no big turkey feasts for us this month.
I’ve been so busy with the release of the Tenth Anniversary edition of The Bridge Club, that I found myself behind with other things … like this newsletter. So this is going to be a combined November/December mailing.
The new book launch went well and I’m happy to have it out to readers now. Thank you to those who have already posted reviews. We’re excited about the beautiful new cover. Full credit for the cover goes to the talented Sharon Clare of Clarity Book Cover Designs.
This is still the original story with a few small revisions and then a completely new epilogue that brings the women together in 2020.
Here’s the announcement:
It’s release day for THE BRIDGE CLUB TENTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION IN PRINT AND EBOOK! For every woman who believes in lifelong friendship! This is a great gift to yourself or for your BFF (hint – holiday shopping!) and if you are a bridge player, BONUS, as there is a new bridge hand at the end of each of eight chapters, contributed by Canada’s international bridge expert (and wonderful friend!), Audrey Grant.
HERE’S THE LINK FOR YOUR COPY ~ https://amzn.to/3lPG7d2
There have been so many great graphics created for this edition of The Bridge Club and this is one of my favourites.
As I mentioned, for you and those bridge players in your life, this new edition contains eight original bridge hands by Canada’s international bridge expert, Audrey Grant. For more information about Audrey, check out her website BetterBridge.com with the very cool logo.
I hope you have been discovering ways to bring new diversions into your life as we all deal with lockdowns and more confinement at home. As I’ve mentioned previously, going through photos is one way I escape. I hope you continue to find some pleasure from these photos, as I do. The beauty of photography is how memories are captured and retain their magic in our hearts.
I took this first photo from the roof terrace of a sweet, restored fisherman’s cottage that we rented in Antibes a few years ago. The view takes us across the azure water of the Mediterranean to Cap d’Antibes. Fans of my Love in Provence trilogy will be able to imagine Kate and Philippe’s Villa des Violettes set on the hillside, shaded by the magnificent Umbrella and Aleppo pine trees.
I hope some of you have been getting a lot more reading done during this past year.
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 favourite holiday food. Further down this letter you will discover mine. Good luck/bonne chance with the random draws for winners!
Giveaway #1 ~ My dear friend, Heather Burch, is offering two ebooks of her newly-released novel, Whispering Beach. Heather is an international bestselling author of contemporary fiction, romance and angsty teen urban fantasy. After years in sunny Florida, she recently moved back to her hometown in Ozark Mountain country where any nearby coffee shop may become her office for the day. Connect with Heather here.
Here’s the blurb: But Angela’s journey is also one of self-reinvention as she navigates life free from the bonds of her controlling ex-husband. With her handsome neighbor and new friend, mystery novelist Ryan North by her side, Angela embarks on a voyage of discovery but the trail quickly runs cold until she’s whisked away to the romantic streets of Paris, France. She realizes the bonds of love shared by her groundskeeper and the young woman run as deep as the brooding Atlantic Ocean.
Along with that love are dark secrets, long hidden, but with the power to threaten life as she knows it.
Giveaway #2 ~ Here are two lovely seasonal reads! Christmas Sisters and Christmas Kisses are the first books in this exciting new series, that my sister Blue Sky Book Chat author Judith Keim introduces to you here. Judith writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. She 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. Connect with Judith here.
The first book is FREE, SO EVERYONE CAN DOWNLOAD. YAY!CHRISTMAS SISTERS – the first book of six books in the Soul Sisters at Cedar Mountain Lodge series and is an introduction to the characters in the series and is FREE. Here’s the blurb: Random circumstances brought them together. Love made them family.
When a terrible accident takes Madeline Kirby’s husband and only child, the school guidance counselor is sure she can’t go on. Left behind with nothing but her work and an empty heart, she vows to survive Christmas by reaching out to comfort someone else who knows similar pain.
Fostering four motherless children for the holidays is supposed to be temporary, but as Maddie tends to defensive Stevie, distrustful Jo, delicate Alissa, and frightened little Hailey, the ache in her own heart slowly becomes bearable. And before the season of giving comes to an end, it becomes clear that life intended for them to find each other. Judith’s story: CHRISTMAS KISSES comes next and is the story of the youngest, fifteen years later. Hailey Kirby plans to spend a wonderful Christmas holiday at the Cedar Mountain Lodge with her family, celebrating her sister’s wedding as Maid of Honor. Things go awry when the wedding is called off. Hoping to comfort her sister, her mother and three sisters decide to go ahead with their winter vacation plans at the Lodge.
Hailey works in town as the children’s librarian, and under the pen name of Lee Merriweather is secretly the author and illustrator of picture books. Young children adore the stories of Charlie and his dog, Zeke, including Regan, the niece of Nick Hensley, a rock star musician who’s recently moved back to Granite Ridge. When he reaches out to the author to seek permission to write songs to go with the stories, Hailey is forced to confess who she is and the painful reason why she’s been hiding behind a pseudonym.
As Hailey and Nick put their creative minds together, they form a friendship that quickly grows to much more. Hailey learns to trust and discovers some chances in life are worth taking.
Giveaway #3 ~ Now here’s a treat! The exceptional Laura Bradbury, author of the delightful Grape series, has just published a fabulous cookbook with her friend, Rebecca Wellman. Rebecca is a talented photographer as well as an author. They are truly a dynamic duo! Laura’s giveaway is a wonderful gift for you or a special person on your list, one hardcover edition of Bisous & Brioche.Connect with Laura here.
Here’s the blurb: A book of recipes from the author of the Grape Series memoirs that will transport you to a rustic French cottage surrounded by vineyards, no matter where in the world your kitchen might be.
For years readers of Laura Bradbury’s bestselling Grape Series memoirs have been clamouring for the secrets behind all the mouth-watering meals described in the stories about her life in Beaune, Burgundy. Together with her friend, photographer and cookbook author Rebecca Wellman, Laura shares recipes that have been handed down through her husband Franck’s family or passed on by French friends and neighbours, and that now feature regularly on the menu at her house.
Bisous & Brioche features classics like vinaigrettes, madeleines, crêpes, crème fraîche, tarts, cassoulet, coq au vin—dishes whose names alone will warm the heart of any Francophile. The recipes are served up with anecdotes about their arrival in Laura’s life and are accompanied by Rebecca’s sun-soaked photos of market visits, meal prep, and lazy lunches in the vineyard.
Giveaway #4 ~ Every year I produce a calendar with some of my photos from France. I have two to give away! Please try and email soon so we can mail them off to you before the end of the year.
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: Sandy Pochapin, Joyce White, Jackie Peters, Sandy Fields, and Jan Tomalis.
My December gift to readers is the $.99 price for The First Noël at the Villa des Violettes. Click right here for your copy or to gift the book to someone.
I hope you will mark your calendar for December 21st, when I will be chatting with readers about The Bridge Club Tenth Anniversary Edition at our Blue Sky Book Chat book club evening. 7 p.m. Eastern. It would be great to see you there! I haven’t got a graphic for it yet … things have been a bit busy promoting the release and this just reminded me I better get that done!
As I mentioned, the holidays this month are going to be very different than ever before. Most of us will not be out in stores shopping, but don’t forget how easy it is to buy books online from your favourite book seller. Independent bookstores have provided amazing service through this pandemic with easy online browsing and they either deliver books or have curbside pick up. Let’s continue to support them when possible!
Do you pass along holiday baking recipes in your family? One of my favourite traditions of the season is baking shortbread, just as my grandmother and mother did with me and my children. For many years now this has been a special day with our grandchildren.
Here’s my Gram’s shortbread recipe. Give it a try! It’s simple and delicious!
1. 1 lb. salted butter – softened overnight
2. 1-1/2 cups golden yellow (brown) sugar (no substitution, Gram insisted)
3. 4 cups enriched white flour
In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix #1 and #2 thoroughly by hand (this is important) and then gradually add #3, again mixing by hand, until dough does not stick to bowl.
Flatten with your hand and cut cookie shapes. Add sprinkles if you like. Bake at 300 F for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on oven) on ungreased cookie sheet.
When cookies begin to look golden brown, they are done.
You can decide how dark you like them. Enjoy plain (our favorite) or add sprinkles before baking or icing when cool.
WARNING: these cookies are extremely addictive! Let me know if you try them.
Thank you all for another year of connecting. It has certainly been unusual and we can only hope that 2021 will being a vaccine to everyone and a return to some sort of normal. In the meantime, 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, 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. Some 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. 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.
Let’s follow guidelines, wear a mask outside and in crowds, and continue to be kind and helpful to each other. Treasure the memories of past holidays and believe those times will return. Stay safe.
See you next year! 2020 be gone!