This letter is full of book love for all of you! For starters, the February sale of the Love in Provence trilogy is almost over and I don’t want anyone to miss out. As you know, these novels are my love letters to France and j’adore sharing them at this price with you! If you already have your own copies, pick some up for friends by clicking the “Give As A Gift” link on the Amazon page. Easy, peasy! At this price you can’t go wrong. Click here for the link to lead you to all three books.
Moving on, what is going on in your world? Have you been feeling some extra love this month? The way some things are in the world today, we probably all could use a little more attention to the heart.
These words are a gift from Victor Hugo, my favourite French writer from the Romantic Movement: “What a grand thing, to be loved! What a grander thing still, to love!” Feel free to use this quote, share it, and to remind us all to feel and show love in so many simple ways. Let’s all work on it.
February, of course, is the month when hearts and flowers and mushy love songs are celebrated on Valentine’s Day. But it should not be forgotten that there are many girls and women around the world who receive none of those. At the other end of the spectrum the vitally important messages of One Billion Rising should also be front and centre.
Here’s a song that is worth watching, that too is about love. This infectious anthem shares a universal message. Share it everywhere you can. Help break the chain of violence towards women and girls.
Click here to see the video. BREAK THE CHAIN.
In an entirely different way, there is a lot of love and joyfulness in the air on the French Riviera this month with festivals in many town. On the Côte d’Azur, once February arrives in Nice, you know Carnaval is not far off. Revellers arrive from around the world to join in the celebration that lasts for two weeks. This year’s theme is the King of Fashion.
Parades, floats, flowers, bands, magicians, fireworks, presentations, and food … all this and more! Festivities take place day and night for 15 days with a variety of themes and more than 1000 musicians and dancers. The enormous papier-maché configurations are spectacular, including the famous Grosses Têtes ~ the Big Heads. The amount of work that goes into the preparations is impressive. Click here to see a short video that gives you an idea of just how labour-intensive it is. Even though the video is in French you clearly get the idea.
Gigantic balloon figures dominate the daytime spaces and breathtaking fireworks over the Mediterranean turn every evening into a pyrotechnical fantasy world. It’s loud, crazy fun!
If you read Book two of the Villa des Violettes series, A Season of Surprises, you will already be familiar with what goes on during this celebration. I had great fun reliving Carnaval as I wrote about it and hope you felt like you were there too.
My friend, Kathy Foreman Schlitzer, is staying in Nice this month and she posted several photos from her time at Carnaval. The following three photos are courtesy of Kathy. Click here to see her entire post. You might want to follow along on her adventure. Kathy was one of the 16 wonderful women on our 2018 South of France Memories Tour and after that she decided to spend two months this winter in Nice and Aix. She writes the experience is even better than she anticipated! No surprise there!
And watch out for silly string! Really? To read more about the long (and often hilarious) history of this carnival, please visit this post by Margo Lestz. She always uncovers the most fascinating details!
When Victor Hugo speaks of love in his quote at the beginning of this letter, he refers to many things. One common love subscribers to this newsletter share is to all things French! To celebrate this Francophile amour of ours this month, eight … yes, EIGHT! … special author friends have joined in this exceptional collection of giveaways. I’m delighted to share them with all of you!
It’s a SOUTH OF FRANCE FEBRUARY LOVEFEST BOOK BONANZA! HERE WE GO! ON Y VA!
Giveaway #1 ~ From Kristin Espinasse, one print copy of Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France. We all love Kristi through her French-Word-A-Day blog. Steeped in French culture but experienced through American eyes, in this book she shares the early years of her adjustment To follow Kristi, click here.
Giveaway #2 ~ The creator of the fabulous website and ezine, The Good Life France, Janine Marsh is offering one ebook of her delightful memoir, My Good Life in France.Good news! Book Two continuing the saga will soon be out! You can click right here to pre-order this sequel, that we know will be as entertaining as the first.
To follow Janine, click here.
Giveaway #3 ~ Let me introduce you to Carole Bumpus, a freelance food/travel writer from California. She is offering one ebook and one print copy of her recent delicious-in-every-way, part culinary memoir and part travelogue, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book One.
To follow Carole, click here.
Giveway #4 ~ Award-winningBritish author Deborah Lawrenson, writing with her husband, Robert Rees, under the nom de plume, Serena Kent, is offering one print and one ebook of Death in Avignon. This is the second book in the charming mystery series set in Provence, featuring the unflappable amateur sleuth Penelope Kite. It’s described as perfect for fans of Peter Mayle and Agatha Christie.
To follow Deborah, click here
Giveaway #5 ~ Mystery and murder in the south of France, solved by the intrepid Maggie Newbury, are featured in #16 of this popular series, Murder à La Mode. USA bestselling author Susan Kiernan-Lewisis offering two ebooks of this story set in a fictional village in Provence.
To follow Susan, click here
Giveaway #6 ~ Canadian author, Laura Bradbury’s Grape series takes the reader on a romantic adventure into the heart, soul, and people of the beautiful Burgundy region. An almost fatal health issue kick-started Laura’s writing journey that has become prolific. Don’t miss her inspirational blog and entertaining stories based on her own experiences with her French husband and his warm-hearted family … and wait until you see what she offers as a possible prize on her website! Laura is offering 2 print copies of My Grape Year, Book One in her Grape series.
To follow Laura, click here
Giveaway #7 ~ Writer Margo Lestz lives between England, France and Italy, and loves to dig deeply into the culture of France (and other places), discovering the most fascinating details. She is offering two ebooks of Berets, Baguettes and Beyond.
To follow Margo, click here
Giveaway #8 ~ Ex-pat Gayle Smith Padgett has written a memoir, in a humorous personal style much like a diary. She shares the experiences encountered as she and her husband followed their dream and settled into life in charming Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. One print copy and one ebook are offered of Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie.
To follow Gayle, click here
As always, to enter simply send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This month let us know what you love most about reading stories set in France. Please specify your choice of book and if you wish to win an ebook or paperback. All winning names are randomly drawn. Good luck! Bonne chance!
Doing these giveaways each month is a pleasure. I thought offering you a jumbo giveaway of books this month, fit into the theme of love … and would be époustouflante (one of my favourite French words) … amazing!! Something different that reinforces our love of all things French!
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.
Thanks to Denise Birt, of Wild Sage Book Blog, who designed this wonderful graphic
And now a little something chocolatey that also fits in with the love theme this month. Moelleux au chocolat ~ molten chocolate cakes or as described here “Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes with Runny Hearts”. This recipe is from one of my favourite food bloggers and Instagrammers, Jill Colonna ~ Paris-based of course, @madaboutmacarons. And it’s a dessert I often order when I’m in France. Is it a favourite of yours too?
Before I say au revoir for this month, here’s one more addition to our billet-doux. Deborah Bine and I would love to share our passion for the south of France with you on our 2020 Memories Tour. There are just a few places left. Click here for details and join 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. See you next month!