Newsletter #73 December 14, 2019
Wow! December started off with a bang in many places including Toronto. Freezing rain, wind and snow are never a nice combination. If you were traveling, I hope your journey ended safely.
It’s that busy time of year again. I hope it’s a ‘good busy’ for you and that your celebrations include happy times with family and friends.
To help with the festivities this month, several of my friends are offering holiday stories in this month’s giveaways. So I’m going to get started sharing them with you now. Think of this as an early holiday gift! Take your time reading through everything and enter as often as you like. Let us bring some cheer to you!
Giveaway #1 ~ Judith Keim is offering to take you to sun-kissed Florida on the pages of this heartwarming story, A Christmas Star. Enter to win one of two ebooks of A Christmas Star. For more information about her work, visit Judith’s website.
Giveaway #3 ~ Are you ready for a feel good read to get in the festive spirit? Enter to win one of two ebooks Susan Schild is offering of Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort. Connect with Susan at her website.
Giveaway #4 ~ There are two stories in this giveaway by Tess Thompson. The Santa Trial is a sweet holiday novella and Riversnow is part of Tess’s River Valley series. Enter to win either an ebook and or a print copy of each. Please indicate which format you would like. Find out more about Tess’s work on her website.
Giveaway #5 ~ This giveaway is not about the holidays, but it is about my favourite topic … and I know many of you feel the same … FRANCE! Keith Van Sickle is offering one audiobook and two ebooks of Are We French Yet? Have fun learning about the ongoing adventures of Keith and Val as they follow their dreams living in France. Connect with Keith here.
Doing these giveaways each month is a pleasure. I hope you are pleased to meet 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.
As always, to enter, simply send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This month there is no question to answer … simply share your good wishes and know they are received with thanks!
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 invite you to join the Blue Sky Book Chat FB page and come and chat with me on January 7th when this book will be the featured read! I’ll be on LIVE … and hopefully not upside down or sideways (as I have been known to be in the past)! It would be great fun to have you join in the chat!
I’m finally almost through edits on Book #3. Whew … life interfered a few too many times as I worked on this book. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Watch for the cover reveal in January!
Congratulations to Tammy Lenski, the winner of the market goodies from France! Your package will be off to you this weekend. Félicitations!
Now I am delighted to share a story that has warmed my heart for several years and I am happy to help support Rikki’s efforts each year. It’s such a fine example of how one person can gather others around and make a difference in the lives of some children. Rikki Neukom is a busy mother of three, living in beautiful Alberta. Here’s how the 40 Books in 365 Days project began, in her words: “It was 8 years ago when I began my journey of reading 40 books leading up to my 40th birthday. The inspiration to do more with this challenge came along that July to buy backpacks and school supplies for some children at Dago Kokore Primary School in Kisumu, Kenya. That year we raised enough money to purchase 123 backpacks, 2000 exercise books and 8000 pens. From then, I felt like I couldn’t just stop. I found a way to help some children in Africa, keeping them in school and giving them an ounce of joy as well as making something a little easier for them.”
This project has only continued to blossom and you can read all about it here.
And just because we all love photos from France. Here are a few from my return to Paris last September, before I went on to Nice for our 2019 South of France Memories tour. It had been four years since my last visit to the magnificent City of Light and it was just as beautiful as ever. Of course, there was heartbreak seeing Notre Dame in scaffolding … mixed with hope for the future. Some of these shots are from the area in the Latin Quarter that I consider my ‘hood. If you are planning to visit Paris, don’t hesitate to send me any questions you may have.
I can’t wait to go back! Click here to see my photo journal of Paris from a previous trip.
One of my favourite traditions of the season is baking shortbread, just as my grandmother and mother did with me. For many years now this has been a special day with our grandchildren.
Do you pass along holiday baking traditions in your family?
Every year I like to share this. Here’s 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.
And now I need to start thinking about Christmas shopping. I hope yours is going well!
I am so immensely grateful to each one of you for your support and encouragement through the past years. It’s my pleasure to be connected with you and I am sending my warmest wishes for you and your family. May the New Year bring the best of health, happiness and the opportunity to follow your dreams. See you in 2020!