interview, womans fiction

#Interview & #Giveaway: Get to know more about author, Patricia Sands

Patiricia Sands#Giveaway:

Patricia is giving away both of her “Love in Provence” books.  Winner will choose whether they want print copies or eBooks.

Winner will be announced Monday, after 5pm.

Please leave a comment below to be entered!!  Thank you, Patricia!

Interview with Patricia Sands, author of the women’s fiction novels, The Bridge Club and the Love in Provence series: The Promise of Provence, Promises to Keep and I Promise You This (coming Spring 2016)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? The Bridge Club

It actually happened quite by accident! Ten years ago, I began writing a book about my real-life Bridge Club, strictly for our little group. We’ve all been friends since we were in our twenties, some even earlier. A few friends began to read bits and pieces of what I had written and encouraged me to publish, saying their book clubs would want to read it. They felt I was telling women’s stories that should be shared. So that’s how the journey to publishing began. The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and an exciting new career began for me in my sixties.

Annie:  I think it is great that you began to write more for yourself, and now you have this amazing career.

Q:  Will all of your stories bring us to Provence, France, and make us fall in love with it..as I am already in beginning the first book!!  Did you visit France, and say…”Ok, now I need to write a book about this place”?

The Promise of ProvenceThe Bridge Club is set in Canada. Once it sold well and I realized I wanted to continue writing, I knew I would set the next story in France. I’ve been in love with that country since 1967, when I backpacked around Europe for a year with friends. It truly was love at first sight for me when we arrived in Provence. Fortunately I’ve travelled there many times since and for the past 15 years, my husband and I spend time in the south of France every year. We stayed in Antibes for five months when I wrote the first draft of The Promise of Provence. As you can tell from the Provence books, I love to share my feelings about that beautiful part of the world in my writing and photographs.  It’s been a great pleasure to discover how many readers love to read books set there.

Annie:  Your writing style really does make you feel like you are visiting France, yourself.

Q:  When will the next book for your “Love in Provence” Series be released?  

I Promise You This is the title of Book 3 and it will be released by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing in Spring 2016. Amazon approached me in January and invited me to sign a contract for the Provence series. They are going to re-launch the first two books in October to their worldwide readership. There will be three more books coming after I Promise You This. I love writing this series!

Annie:  I am reading The Promise of Provence to review for Chick Lit Plus, and I am really in love with this story. I can tell I am going to be following this story, and any others you write.Promises to Keep

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

A lot of work goes into finally bringing a book to its release, so it’s incredibly satisfying and exciting to finally feel the work is done. The best part is feeling happy about writing a story that will please readers. Even after having beta readers and editors help make certain your book is the best it can be, there’s always a little nail-biting time as you wait for reviews to come in.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

I absolutely love hearing from readers ~ right from aged 20 to 87! It’s a thrill to have someone write and tell me how and why she (or he … I do hear from men too) enjoyed my novel. To know that your words have impacted people and sometimes even helped them with an issue they were dealing with in their life, is truly rewarding and humbling. It makes me very happy when people tell me they felt they were right there in France as they turned the pages. It’s fun to see how engaged readers become with the characters and want to hear more about them. Writing is hard work and readers make it all worthwhile with messages and reviews. They are my inspiration.

Another positive aspect of being an author is the incredible collegiality of the writing community. Authors are friendly, supportive and happy to help each other by sharing experiences. I’ve become friends with some amazing writers from all over the globe … an unexpected pleasure! I’m constantly learning.

Annie:  And, you treat your reviewers wonderfully!

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers; they really make you dream of being in Provence!  Are they hard to choose, design?

Thanks! I love my covers too and was really pleased when Amazon decided to keep the original artwork. They have changed the appearance of the title and my name but you can still see the artwork. I hired a Toronto artist to do watercolour paintings after we met and talked about what I wanted. I also provided him with some of my photographs to use for ideas. Once his original work is done, then a tech person formats it into a book cover.

IMG_1107 (1)Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

Oh, this could be a long answer! I’ll keep it simple though. I write wherever my laptop is. Because we travel so much, my “office” changes constantly and I have fun posting photos on Facebook showing where I’m writing at different times of the year. Wherever we happen to be, I like to start writing early … around 6:30 or 7:00 and there are days when I will work write through until after midnight. It’s a bit of an obsession! But I love it and because I began writing in my sixties, I feel I have to make up for lost time. Of course I don’t do that every single day. With a blended family of seven adult children and six grandchildren, life tends to interrupt my writing on a regular basis. I love that too though!

Annie: Your view is gorgeous.  I bet it is very inspiring!

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

That’s a question I’m often asked and simply can’t answer. There are so many great authors I admire and enjoy and the list of books I love keeps growing. So I’ve never been able to narrow it down. I like all genres but, if I have to choose one, my favourite is historical fiction.

Annie: I love historical fiction, too!

Q:  Is there a special message you want to share with your readers through your writing?

Since I write women’s fiction, I try to write stories that will speak to women of all ages. However I definitely write to an older demographic and those women are happy to discover a main character who is over fifty. One message I hope I pass on with my work is to encourage people to follow their dreams and not be afraid to try something new no matter what their age. It’s fun to write about women who discover they are stronger than they thought they were. There are adventures waiting for all of us, if we take a leap of faith and look for them. We should all be possibilitarians!

An unexpected bonus of writing women’s stories is that I’m often asked to speak to women’s groups where I also get to share that message. It’s such a buzz to hear the stories many of the women share about the inspiring ways they are pursuing life. I have women of all ages connect with me about writing advice and indie publishing and I also love to share the benefit of my experience.

Annie:  I can see that you inspire many women…and, I love that women of all ages enjoy your stories.

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Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?

I have a library full of lovely print books but I have to admit I am a convert to ebooks and read novels on my iPad or … gulp … this always sounds a bit weird … on my phone. Actually, I know quite a few people who read novels on their phones now so I don’t feel quite so embarrassed to admit I do. I love having my library with me at all times. Having said that, when I see a cover that I love I usually do purchase a print copy too.

Annie, thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you. It’s a pleasure!

Annie:  It is always fun to learn more about an author, and what brought their books to life.  Your story is amazing!

author spotlight

#AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands Biography

Patiricia Sands

We had an intimate interview, that will post on Friday.

We will also be Hosting a Giveaway of the 1st two books in her “Love in Provence” Series.

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist and a 2013 Finalist in Literary Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards. In 2015, eLit Books Silver Award (Literary Fiction) ~ and ~ eLit Books Gold Award (Travel Fiction).

Due to tremendous reader response, The Promise of Provence became Book #1 in the Love In Provence series. Promises To Keep ~ Book #2 was released in Summer 2014. Book #3 will be released in February 2016. The series explores a mid-life coming of age and allows readers to lose themselves in the beauty of the south of France without leaving home. Patricia was invited to join the Lake Union imprint (Women’s Fiction) of Amazon Publishing in January 2015.

Celebrating the rewarding friendships and bonds women share, her stories examine the challenges life often throws in our paths. Location features prominently in all of her novels.

Frequently invited to speak with women’s groups on the subjects of writing and self-publishing, topics also cover the importance of valuing our personal stories and seeing ageing as opportunity. At other events along with her Sommers & Sands speaking partner, through keynotes, workshops and conferences, audiences are encouraged to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities.

Her philosophy is that it’s never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it! Hearing from readers (both men and women, from ages 20 to 84) is her greatest reward.

book review, Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview: “Little Woman in Blue” by Jeannine Atkins

Little Woman in BlueSummary:

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jeannine Atkins brought back to life a wonderful memories, and I learned so much!  I am glad I had the chance to learn more about the Alcott’s lives.  This book is one I will always treasure.  It is already up on my bookshelf next to Louisa May Alcott’s books.  Jeannine was a genius to write this book!

I devoured this book from beginning to end.  It was like reliving my youth.  I was meeting new characters, but, they already felt like “home”.  I never knew that “Little Women” was loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s family.  Needless to say, I will be going back to read that book again!

I have so much to learn about Louisa May Alcott.  Her book, “Little Women” is one of my all-time favorite novels.  It was the first book I read as a young lady that made me realize that I really wanted to read, and possibly write.  As influential as this book was to me, I knew I had to read, “Little Woman in Blue” once I laid my eyes on it.

Jeannine Atkins brought us back to the same family referenced in Louisa May Alcott’s book and it was such a joy to read.  Her writing is nothing short of brilliant.

Amy March was not the most likable character in “Little Women”, but this book will help you see that was just an embellished story, by an older sister…..that may have been a little jealous of her youngest sister.  Louisa May Alcott based Amy on her real sister, May Alcott.

This story is all about May Alcott and her love of life.  She had goals of being an Artist.  One that would be featured in Museums, and sought after. She wanted to be married, and she wanted to be a mother.  The question is: Is this too much to ask for?

I highly recommend this book, as I am off to do research on the Alcott’s and see if Jeannine Atkins has any other books…because I will certainly be more than pleased to read them.

Fantastic. Inspiring. Brilliant.

5 Stars.

book review, Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview: “Once Lost” by Ber Carroll

Once LostI was given a copy of this book from Chick Lit Plus in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Are some things better left unfound?

Best friends Louise and Emma grew up next door to each other in a grim inner-city suburb of Dublin.

Now Louise, an art conservator, is thousands of miles away in Sydney, restoring a beautiful old painting. She meets Dan, whose family welcome her as one of their own, but she will always feel lost until she finds her mother who walked out when she was just eight years old.

Back in Dublin, Emma is stuck in a job where she is under-appreciated and underpaid, but her biggest worry is her ex-partner, Jamie. Emma has lost so much because of Jamie: her innocence, her reputation, almost her life. Now she is at risk of losing Isla, her young daughter.

So where is Louise’s mother? Will Emma ever be free of her ex? Both women frantically search for answers, but when the truth finally emerges it is more shattering than they had ever expected.

Review:

“Once Lost” had me at hello!  Now, I need to read all of Ber Carroll’s books!!!

Ber delivers a wonderful literary menu: Best Friends. Dublin, Ireland. Women’s Fiction. Women’s Dilemma’s. Turmoil from the past. Friendships. Motherhood. Romance. Travel.

It had everything I love and more.  An intricately written story that will have you flipping the pages until you are finished.

Louise moves from her home; Dublin, Ireland and travels the world for her business, which is conserving art work.  As a Conservator she can spend months, even years working on one piece of art work.  Louise has to “go to the art”, so she has spent time in places like New York and London, to name a few.  At the beginning of this story she is searching for a place to call home in Sydney, Australia…thousands of miles from her home in Dublin, Ireland…and her Best Friend, Emma.

I loved getting to know Louise. She was just an awesome character.  Her mother abandoned her when she was 8 years old.  All she had was her Step-Father, and her best friend, Emma next door.

Emma is still in Dublin and she is missing Louise something fierce. Emma has a daughter named Isla, from a previous relationship with a man named Jamie.   He is a terrible father figure, but the courts say that Isla must see her father.  Emma spends most of her time worrying about Jamie, and trying to take proper care of her child.  She now lives with Eddie, and he is a fabulous character in this book, as well.

I loved bouncing back between characters and countries.  I loved being in Dublin most, but I am biased as I lived there when I was younger.

This is a marvelous work of woman’s fiction.  Ber Carroll’s books are going to be added to the bookshelves in my Library. (My version of my husband’s Man Cave)

5 Stars.

You can purchase “Once Lost” here:

http://www.amazon.com/Once-Lost-Ber-Carroll-ebook/dp/B00VSIRCI6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442562548&sr=1-1&keywords=once+lost+ber+carroll

book review

#BookReview: “Things Unsaid” by Diane Y. Paul

Things UnsaidSummary:

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story was almost hard to digest, because it speaks of a family in such dysfunction that it is painstaking to read.  But, that is exactly what makes this story so wonderful and different.

To tell a tale of a family that is always at its breaking point must have been hard to do; but, Diane Y. Paul gives them a very loud voice.  While uncomfortable at times, I did enjoy this book.  I almost had to put it down at the beginning because of the sheer amount of pain on each page, but I am glad I didn’t. I ended up reading the entire book, in just one sitting.  I was completely enraptured with the story.

This is the story of Bob and Aida Whitman and their three children, and grandchildren.  We learn how Bob and Aida meet, and how they raise their two daughters, Jules and Joanne and son, Andrew. And, then years later, we learn how these children figure out how to take care of their ailing parents.

Their eldest daughter, Jules was a hero to me.  She tried to do everything right by her parents, even if they had not done the same for her.  She was the entire family’s safety net.  Losing herself along the way may have been enevitable.

Diane Y. Paul writes of a time in life that we will all encounter.

No matter what, losing our parents is never easy.  Not even for the Whitman family.  Even when walking away may have been the easiest thing to do.

This is a wonderfully engrossing read.

4.5 Stars.

Releasing on October 13th, 2015, you can grab it right here:

http://www.amazon.com/Things-Unsaid-Diana-Y-Paul/dp/1631528122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442333356&sr=8-1&keywords=things+unsaid