There’s life before you’re a published author, and life afterwards. I was worried that once the excitement of the Provenance Unknown launch had died down, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

Panoramic landscape showing a wooden boardwalk disappearing into sagebrush.
View at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, August 2021. (Author photo)

It’s partially true. With my second book, A Year of Summer, still with my test readers, I suddenly have time on my hands. Odd.

I couldn’t sit still for long, though. I’ve started researching and plotting my third book, which takes place in Sicily, Italy. (I’ve even connected with an olive farm there, and the owners have invited me to visit. Better start saving up now … ) But a recent stomach bug that swept through my house forced me to slow down.

Message received. Ish.

The Marketing Machine

It never stops. Most authors hate this part of the industry, but it’s actually my favourite. (In fact, I’ve been told I should start a business to help fellow authors with this side of things. I’m considering it!) And thanks to my friend technology, I generally don’t have to get out of my pyjamas to do it.

In April, I participated in MoodPitch, a Twitter pitch + moodboard event. Held twice a year, it allows authors to share a quick snapshot of their story in the hopes of grabbing an agent’s attention.

Who are we? Well, we are passionate authors who created this Twitter pitch event because we, like so many other writers, LOVE moodboards to go along with our WIP (works-in-progress). We love looking at them, we love making them, and we love using them to maintain the excitement while drafting our projects. And we know so many of you do, too! But there’s a lack of pitch events on Twitter that allow the use of moodboards. So we wanted to create something that allows for these beauties to be showcased.

From the MoodPitch website’s About page.

Though I didn’t attract agent interest this time around, pitching A Year of Summer helped me refine my hook for the book—plus I connected with some new author friends. Here’s my moodboard. Let me know what you think!

Miss Congeniality X National Lampoon’s Vacation

🤡 Clowns
🤴🏻 Handsome prince
🙎🏻‍♂️Suspicious stranger
🎡 Festivals and fairs
🌵 Small town kitsch, in a desert setting
🚐 Vintage Winnebago

Better buckle up—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

#MoodPitch #CR #A #RC

Mood board for A Year of Summer book showing primarily photos relating to desert landscapes, and festivals and fairs. Images are arranged in three columns on a white background. Row 1) Clown; man and dog in woods, travelling away from viewer; star-shaped string lights; blond woman in toque looking up, snowy background. Row 2) Landscape showing undulating hills with big clouds in sky; mini-donut stand at a fair; a mid-1980s Winnebago. Row 3) Painting of a cactus with orange ground and yellow background; boardwalk through desert landscape; Snow White and Prince characters walking in a parade. Row 4) Lit-up carousel at dusk; close up of cacti and spines; Ferris wheel.
Screen shot from Twitter of moodboard and pitch for A Year of Summer.

Poetry to Podcasts

The Valentine’s 💘 issue of Poetry as Promised Magazine was worth the wait! Once again, they’ve made the poems so visually stunning 🤩. Find my contribution, “Crown Shyness”, on page 12—but definitely read ALL the wonderful work from the featured poets.

Made by our hands to find a home in yours

Poetry As Promised Magazine is a homemade literary magazine devoted to publishing your poetry, prose, short stories, photography, and visual arts in a way that speaks to the readers and you! With 2 poet/photographers looking over every submission and handmaking each page, we ensure your work is in very loving hands. We pride ourselves on our eye for detail and promise to do everything in our power to deliver a masterpiece you can be proud of too.

From the Poetry As Promised Magazine website.

I was also delighted to receive an invitation from For Page and Screen Magazine, which published my short story “Through the Looking Glass”, to be on their new podcast as a past contributor. This will be part of their first-ever Summer Interview Series. This should be a lot of fun, and I’ll be sure to share the links (both audio and YouTube) once the episode is up.

My Book Baby

I couldn’t stay away from Provenance Unknown for long! The momentum around it right now is wild, and, quite frankly, blowing my mind. Just because I’m still riding the high of the launch, I’ve included a few more photos below. But first, news!

Library Love

Toronto folks! Provenance Unknown will soon be available at a public library near you. I’m thrilled to announce that the Toronto Public Library has ordered 5 copies. Watch for them soon at the following branches:

  • Armour Heights
  • North York Central Library
  • Don Mills
  • Swansea Memorial
  • Toronto Reference Library

It’s easy to suggest a title for your library to purchase! Here are a few links:

Please consider suggesting a title through your local library to support the authors you love.

Praise for Provenance Unknown

5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel archivists will enjoy!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 12, 2023
Verified Purchase
This story will be enjoyed by archivists and researchers everywhere who regularly use Archives. Sonia Nicholson has woven an intriguing story around her protagonist who works in an Archives and discovers a diary she feels drawn to - so much so that it takes her to Paris to right a wrong for a family. In the process she discovers her own past. Nicholson's research is admirable and Provenance Unknown - her debut Novel - is excellent.
Review on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great debut novel!
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 15, 2023
Verified Purchase
Nicholson's book features a protagonist you root for, mystery steeped in history, unexpected (but entirely satisfying) twists, and such vivid descriptions of Victoria and Paris that you'll be craving nanaimo bars and croissants - or booking flights. Thoroughly enjoyed this read, and can't wait for the next one!
Review on Amazon.

Five star review
April 11, 2023
I’m hoping Sonia’s second book is a sequel; I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Review on Goodreads.

Thank you to everyone who’s purchased and read Provenance Unknown! 🎉

Could you help me out by writing an online review? 🙏 In a world of algorithms, they make such a difference to authors. And they don’t have to be long!

As jealous as I am of my book’s recent travels in Paris without me, I’m still hoping to see—and share—more photos of its adventures. Going to Paris soon? I’d love it if you would take a copy with you and document the fun. Reach out and we can chat about it.

Les Bouquinistes

Will There Be Wine, by Whitney Cubbison

Austen Keller was living her dream. She landed a career-defining job which moved her and her husband to Paris. <Swoon!> Shortly thereafter, she was divorced. <Thud.> This wasn’t the plan. Yet there she was—pushing 40 and starting over.
A decade after she’d last been single, Austen enters the dating scene playing by a new set of rules in a different language, culture, and lingerie standards. She experiences every type of miserable first date imaginable and lives to tell the tales of Pierre the Mansplainer, Simon the Snoozer, Emile the Over-Sharer, Guillaume of the Gym Shorts, and many more. On most dates, she struggles to get past one glass of Bordeaux without wanting to bolt. Even worse, no one chases after her when she runs. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that whoever said French men were romantic deserves a swift kick in the pants.

A rewarding and high-powered career. <Check.> 
Fabulous female friendships. <Nailed it!> 
True love. <Umm?> 

Austen continues to ask herself: Is “having it all” too much to ask?

A genuine and tragically hilarious novel about an ex-pat woman’s journey of self-discovery through a string of disastrous dates, relationships forged in a deep cultural divide, world travels, and wine. A lot of wine.

Illustrated cover on blue background. Include Eiffel Tower, and a cell phone screen showing a dating app.
Cover for Will There Be Wine? by Whitney Cubbison.

Lost in Paris, by Betty Webb

Zoe Barlow knows the pain of loss. By the age of 18, she’d already lost her father to suicide and her reputation to an ill-fated love affair, not to mention other losses too devastating for words. Exiled from her home and her beloved younger sister by their stepmother, Zoe has been dumped in Paris without a friend to help her make her way.

Now, four years, later Zoe has forged a new life as a painter amidst fellow artists, expats, and revolutionaries who are all struggling to make sense of the world in the aftermath of the Great War. Zoe has adopted this Lost Generation as her new family, so when her dear friend Hadley Hemingway loses a valise containing her husband Ernest’s writings, Zoe happily volunteers to track it down. But she doesn’t realize that her hunt has put her in the crosshairs of a merciless killer.

Betty Webb is the author of three mystery series—her new PARIS series, the LENA JONES series, and the GUNN ZOO series. Before writing full time, Betty was a journalist, interviewing everyone from U.S. Presidents, astronauts who walked on the moon, and Nobel Prize winners. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Woman painting. A Paris bridge and the Eiffel Tower are in the background.
Cover for Lost in Paris by Betty Webb.

As always, thanks for reading. Merci!


Departures and Arrivals

Palm trees, beach, lounge chairs, and day beds.
Beach scene at a tropical resort, March 2023 (Author photo)

What better place to celebrate the launch of my debut novel than a much-needed, relaxing vacation to somewhere tropical. Now that I’m back, I can forget about all the stress and anxiety (MAJOR anxiety—did I mention anxiety?) leading up to it and focus on the wonderful memories I made.

Plus, I can celebrate that while poolside, I finished my first big round of editing for my second book, A Year of Summer. And before you judge me for working on vacation, I find it relaxing to get lost in the story. Now, it’s in the hands (er, devices) of my trusted test readers.

View from lounge chair to pool and palm trees.
Editing by the pool. (Author photo)

Provenance Unknown Book Launch

Speaking of travel, I’m grateful to the friends, family, community members, and strangers who came from far and wide to attend the first Provenance Unknown book launch celebration on April 2, hosted by the Roundhouse Cafe in Saanich (Greater Victoria, British Columbia). Right next to Rutledge Park, the venue gave attendees a first-hand look at one of the key locations in the book!

Sonia Nicholson at Roundhouse book launch.

Bonus: for the first time, the Archivists Who Write critique group met in person, and it filled my heart. Learn more about the group through a two-part blog post from the Association of Canadian Archivists.

The Archivists Who Write.

Missed it? Fear not! I’m hoping it was the first of many bookish events. If you have one you’d like me to attend, please reach out using the Contact page.

Where It All Began

The day after the launch, I dropped off a gift for Rutledge Park neighbours at the Rutledge Park Little Free Library. 📚 🎁

The park—including its signature pink elephant—plays a major role in this story, so it was only fitting that I share the book with area residents!

Have Book, Will Travel

While I’ve been occupied with launch-related work, my book is having fun in Paris. (Without me 😭). After checking out the rooftop view from Galeries Lafayette, this copy of Provenance Unknown ended its adventures by hiding out somewhere in Shakespeare and Company. If you find it, it’s yours!

Despite being jealous of everything my book is getting up to 😆, I love getting book photos from readers. Keep them coming!

Provenance Unknown with Eiffel Tower in the background.
View from Galeries Lafayette, Paris. (Photo provided)
Lineup outside Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris. (Photo provided)

Victoria: City of Gardens

I’m sensing a theme here. People. Places. Travel.

I got my copy of Rivanna Review – Issue 7 in the mail a few days before jetting off. My article, “Victoria: City of Gardens”, is a feature! If you like a side of archival research with your travel writing, this one’s for you.

Here’s a peek; get the full piece by ordering online.

Les Bouquinistes

My Grape Escape by Laura Bradbury

I didn’t realize until after I’d read the book that Laura is a fellow Victoria resident. Bonus! While not a Paris book, it’s 100% French. And just such a great, smooth, read that I’m confident in selecting it as my pick for this month. My favourite part? The cast of characters the author meets in and around Beaune, Burgundy. Note to self: go back and read the whole series.

Here’s the blurb from the author’s website:

Is Laura’s sudden decision to choose a Revolutionary-era ruin in a tiny french village over a legal career in London profoundly wise or utterly insane?

In My Grape Escape, the fifth book in Laura Bradbury’s #1 bestselling Grape Series, Laura emerges from her final law exams at Oxford far from unscathed. Everyone expects her to follow the well-trodden path of establishing a prestigious legal career in London, but instead she buys an eighteenth century ruin near her husband’s village in Burgundy.

Laura’s idealistic visions of bicycling through French vineyards with fresh baguettes under her arm had not included steaming plates of veal brains for breakfast or taming an electrician named Tin Tin. Still, as Laura learns the art of bartering for antique furnishings and rekindles her romance with Franck, she gains a newfound perspective. Will running from the law to the vineyards of France trump the expectations she has long held for herself? Find out in My Grape Escape, book five in Laura’s beloved Grape Series.

Cover for My Grape Escape: woman, facing away, standing in a sunny field of sunflowers.

The past little while has been hectic for me, for obvious reasons. I promise to have more Bouquinistes picks next month!

As always, thanks for reading. Merci!


Spring Break and Other Distractions

Author climbing stone steps in Paris. (Author’s Collection)

It snowed last night. In Victoria, we usually get one dump every February—some bigger than others. After that, we know we’re in the clear and the daffodils will open soon. Luckily, this time we received only a skiff. Bring on the blooms. [Author’s note: it’s now March 8, and the daffodils are indeed ready to burst!]

I’m writing this March newsletter at the end of February because I’m looking at my calendar for next month, and it’s, um, pretty booked up. I’ve referred to these scheduled items as distractions in the title above. The term isn’t fair, though. It’s a catch-all for everything from dentist appointments and meetings (yuck) to my book launch and even a tropical getaway (yay!). Bring on Spring Break.

You would think there wouldn’t be much to say this close to the last post, but you’d be wrong. I was certainly surprised once I started jotting down what’s come up in the past couple of weeks, (and I don’t just mean flowers.)

🚨 Giveaway! 🚨

Enter to win one of two advance, signed copies of Provenance Unknown on Goodreads! Contest open to residents of Canada and the United States—enter by March 10. Please share far and wide.

(And if you’re not lucky enough to win but you do purchase your own copy, a friendly reminder that posting a review is hugely helpful to authors. nudge, nudge)

Bonus: My publisher, Sands Press, put together a nice little video promo. Provenance Unknown is still on pre-order until the March 28 release date.

Screenshot from video promo showing book spine.

When it does come out, a little birdie told me it’ll be also be available as an audio book! Recording is already underway.


Reviews are starting to come in for Provenance Unknown. In a world of algorithms and online presence, they make a big impact for authors. It’s the easiest way to show your support. 🙏

… The author has written a love story wrapped in a love story—that of Michele and Sébastien, as well as her grandparents. Each chapter begins with an excerpt from the diary, telling about her grandparents’ romance. It is an interesting juxtaposition of the present and the World War II era. Some readers may find it difficult to sympathize with Michele early on. She makes decisions like an impulsive teenager. As the story unfolds, however, the author deftly portrays a young woman struggling to get her life on track who undergoes a transformation through learning about those who came before her. She emerges with a more mature outlook. This romance novel should appeal to fans of the genre, as well as anyone who has experienced and understands the excitement of researching their family history.

From review by Glenda Vosburgh
5 stars. Delightful story about a young single mom finding her way in the world and discoverying her roots. It shows how coincidences can change the course of your life.
This book has inspired me to research my own genealogy and has opened my eyes to the job of an archivist. If you have interest in your discovering your own family background, this book is a must read.
Goodreads review

And this one’s not a review, but made my day nonetheless.

Just wanted to say I found your post because Facebook suggested it. But I read the blurb on Google books about Provenance Unknown, and I'm already hooked. Archivist? Yes. Family stuff and mystery? Double yes. My fav North American city (and the most haunted!) As well as my fav European city? I'm beyond sold. Very grateful for Facebook, for once :)
Comment on Facebook post, 7 March 2023.

Les Bouquinistes

Here are my Paris picks for this month. Get your French fix through these books, websites, and podcasts. If you have any to add, please use the Contact form to send them my way.

In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art by Sue Roe

Cover for In Montmartre.

Not a new book, but new to me when I read it in 2022. A must-read for anyone interested in the creative scene in Paris at the start of the twentieth century.

A lively and deeply researched group biography of the vibrant figures who invented modernist art in bohemian Paris at the dawn of the twentieth century

When the young Pablo Picasso first arrived in Paris in 1900, the most progressive young artists all lived and worked in the seedy hillside quarter of Montmartre, in the shade of the old windmills. Over the next decade, among the studios, salons, cafés, dance halls, and galleries of Montmartre, the young Spaniard joined the likes of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more in revolutionizing artistic expression.

Blending exceptional scholarship with graceful prose, Sue Roe paints a remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of such movements as Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse. She shows how daily life in Montmartre—which brought artists together with acrobats and dancers, prostitutes and clowns—provided an essential cauldron for artistic experimentation and for the colorful relationships, friendships, loyalties, and feuds that gave rise to some of the most pathbreaking and lasting works of the twentieth century.

In Montmartre is a thrilling account of an extraordinary group of artists on the cusp of fame and immortality that brings vividly to life one of the key moments in the history of modern art.

This French Life (

Illustration of a woman wearing red scarf and shoes, striped shirt, and navy pants, carrying a bag with wine, flowers, and baguettes. The words “This French Life” appear in script across her.
Logo for This French Life.

I stumbled on the Instagram account for This French Life first and then went down a (pleasant) rabbit hole.

This website and blog provide tips and tricks for everyday expat life in France—along with stunning visuals. There are so many resources available that’s it’s hard to summarize them. But core topics covered include French food, travel, style, garden and home, culture, and moving to France. Whether you’re looking to dip a toe or dive right in, This French Life is a great place to start.

I believe that France is the most incredible country in the world! I am absolutely in love with this dream I’m living every day.
My goal is to be a resource to all of you who want to live your French life.

Shannon Pratuch, This French Life.

Don’t Mind If We Do (Podcast)

Logo for Don’t Mind If We Do, a podcast for women.

Season 2, Episode 3 of this podcast from Victoria-based photography studio Vintage Chic recaps their recent trip to Paris, where they took a group of women for luxury experiences, photo shoots, wine, and more. 🥰 (And they’re going to do it again in Italy in 2023.)

Listen to co-hosts Chelsea and Michelle make each other laugh—and cry—as they recall the Eiffel Tower, champagne, Versailles, broken down boats, food tours, perfume … and photo shoots, of course! Find out what a Vintage Chic dream trip looks like, and learn about the upcoming trip in October 2023 to Montelparo, Italy!

Listen below:

Vintage Chic photoshoot on the Trocadéro, Paris.
(Image from the Don’t Mind If We Do Facebook page.)

See you in April. As always, thanks for reading. Merci!


Le printemps arrive. (Spring is coming)

Carrousel de Paris (Author photo, edited)

Let’s get right to it. There’s been a lot happening on the writing/publishing front for me over the past month. Spring is coming, and the year’s picking up speed. Here’s the recap:

Book Launch Celebration Event

Yes, that’s an unnecessarily long and awkward title. But while at first I thought you could only have one actual book launch, I came to the realization that and is better than or. There’s nothing saying I can’t do a whole series of events. Mind. Blown. 🤯

So in that spirit, the first book launch celebration event for Provenance Unknown will take place on Sunday afternoon, April 2, 2023.

The venue is the Roundhouse Cafe in Saanich (Greater Victoria, British Columbia), right next to Rutledge Park, one of the key locations in the book!

What to expect:
✍🏻 Author meet-and-greet
📚 Books available for purchase ($20, cash only)
📖 Book signing

Grab a coffee and treat (support local!), pick up a copy of Provenance Unknown, and see some of the locations featured in the story, (including Rutley, the pink elephant structure). Drop in anytime between 1:00 and 4:00 pm.

Thank you to the Roundhouse Cafe for hosting. Situated right in the heart of main character Michele’s neighbourhood, it’s the perfect spot for this event.

Rutley, the pink elephant structure at Rutledge Park. (Author photo)

Where’s the Writer?

Like Where’s Waldo. Sort of.

As book promotion kicks into high gear, I’ve been “spotted” both around town and online. Postcards continue to be distributed in little free libraries across Greater Victoria, thanks to Saanich Councillor Dr. Teale Phelps-Bondaroff. (See his Twitter account for photos!)

In the last year, the Association of Canadian Archivists In the Field blog has interviewed archivists “who have written novels in addition to RAD descriptions.” (A little archives humour.) In a two-part series, they featured the Archivists Who Write, a writing group made up of Denise Dale, Emily Lonie, Sylvia Stopforth, and myself. In Part One, read about the ups and downs of the writing life and the value of the connections found in a group like this one.

Important sidebar: I couldn’t have asked for a better critique group—I feel lucky to have found these supportive, talented people whom I now call friends.

In Part Two, meet each member of the writing group and get to know the why, how, what, and where of our writing practice. To read both blog posts, head to In the Field.

Author and her novel Provenance Unknown paired with Bourgogne Chardonnay, Maison Louis Latour, 2020. (S. Nesbitt photo)

In other news, I’m officially part of the Books and Bevies family! 🥂 Check out my 🇫🇷 French wine pairing, and while you’re on the blog, find other wonderful authors to follow and support. 🎉

The brainchild of author Kerry Fryar Freeman, the blog features writers … with a “twist.” Authors choose the perfect beverage to pair with their work. It’s a fun concept, and I’m glad I decided to participate.

I was also happy to be a guest on the South Branch Scribbler. Thanks to fellow Canadian author Allan Hudson for having me. In the post, I share “the story behind the story” for Provenance Unknown, plus some insights into me as a writer. If you’re a fan of behind-the-scenes, give it a read!

Brick wall in black and white. A silhouette of a person wearing a hat is painted on the wall. The words “South Branch Scribbler” are written in red script at the top right corner.
South Branch Scribbler logo.

I met Sonia on Twitter when I was drawn to the beautiful cover on her debut novel and she kindly accepted my offer to be our guest this week.
When you visit her website you will read,
“Using my words for good.”
I like that.
Let’s go meet Sonia.

South Branch Scribbler

What About the Writing?

It may seem like all I’ve been doing lately is promotion, but occasionally some actual writing happens. I’ve nearly finished the first draft of A Year of Summer (more on that another time)—I’m in love with this novel and can’t wait to share it with you. I know, I know: one step at a time. But the finished product will be out there eventually. Maybe next year? 🤞

My latest publication credit appears in For Page and Screen, a magazine which began as a single-person blog run by writer/filmmaker Sarah Edmonds. It has since expanded to include a variety of voices from all different kinds of storytellers. Their goal is to explore the creative process. To find similarities and differences in how they tell stories across genre and form. Recently, they’ve added their own literature and film magazine to the mix so that they can help to showcase amazing work from storytellers around the world.

“Through the Looking Glass” is one of only six stories in Issue 3: “After”. 😮 Sincerest thanks to For Page and Screen for including my work.

Sometimes the routines and mundanity of our day-to-day lives can trick us into believing that the present state of being is as it will always be. In reality, we and the world around us are in a perpetual state of change. Our lives may change from the expected to the absurd, from feeling content to being ripped from your comfort zone, or even moving from a place of hopelessness to finding that one small thing that makes tomorrow worth living. While the reality of our lives is fluid, we often measure our time in moments and define our growth by the moments of greatest change. The amazingly talented storytellers included in this third issue of For Page & Screen Magazine understand that, when every moment holds so much potential, there is only one question left to answer. What happens after?”

Introduction to Issue 3, For Page & Screen.

Les Bouquinistes

Les Bouquinistes, riverside booksellers, are an enormous ‘open-air bookshop’ that is a part of the Parisian landscape, adding to the charm of the Seine riverbanks. They provide a lively atmosphere, cultural attraction, and literary and historic heritage. Located on the Right Bank, from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the Left Bank, from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire, some 226 riverside booksellers with their 900 ‘book boxes’ have 300,000 or so old and modern literary works to discover – a veritable treasure.

Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau

I won’t be able to offer nearly as many books as they do, but it’s a fitting name, I think, for a new feature where I share Paris-themed books, blogs, and more. A small way for me to pay it forward after receiving so much support on my publishing journey. Read on to discover a few gems—if you haven’t already found them on your own.

An American in Pandemic Paris. A Coming-of-Retirement-Age Memoir by Michelle Facos.

What would you do? Stay in Paris indefinitely or return to one of two homelands: a polarized and chaotic U.S. or a let’s-pretend-everything’s-normal-even-though-it-isn’t Sweden? After two weeks in Paris, Michelle’s choice was clear, persuaded by President Macron’s reassuring leadership and the imagined thrill of frolicking in a tourist-free Paris. A series of incremental incidents that left her ‘stranded’ in France without income converted Michelle’s two-month stay for camaraderie, cuisine, and culture into a transformative sixteen-month journey of self-discovery, path realignment, romantic adventure, and a deeper relationship with the City of Light, one often haunted by memories of her rich, insouciant ex-lover, Trocadéro Man.

Join Michelle the Art Historian as she explores the jasmine-scented streets of Paris, navigates the world of senior dating, weekends with aristocrats, winters on the Côte d’Azur, and converses with her favorite artworks. Meet the new people in her world–Puzzle Man of Montparnasse, Amazing Accordionist, Madame Chocolat, Jim the Expat, and Caroline the Professor–who made her (first) pandemic year one of metamorphosis and joy.

Book cover for An American in Pandemic Paris.

The Honeybee Emeralds by Amy Tector

The Honeybee Emeralds is a lighthearted mystery set in the world of Parisian expats as four women work together to uncover the secrets of a stunning diamond and emerald necklace.

Alice Ahmadi has never been certain of where she belongs. When she discovers a famed emerald necklace while interning at a struggling Parisian magazine, she is plunged into a glittering world of diamonds and emeralds, courtesans and spies, and the long-buried secrets surrounding the necklace and its glamorous former owners.

When Alice realizes the mysterious Honeybee Emeralds could be her chance to save the magazine, she recruits her friends Lily and Daphne to form the “Fellowship of the Necklace.” Together, they set out to uncover the romantic history of the gems. Through diaries, letters, and investigations through the winding streets and iconic historic landmarks of Paris, the trio begins to unravel more than just the secrets of the necklace’s obsolete past. Along the way, Lily and Daphne’s relationships are challenged, tempered, and changed. Lily faces her long-standing attraction to a friend, who has achieved the writing success that eluded her. Daphne confronts her failing relationship with her husband, while also facing simmering problems in her friendship with Lily. And, at last, Alice finds her place in the world―although one mystery still remains: how did the Honeybee Emeralds go from the neck of American singer Josephine Baker during the Roaring Twenties to the basement of a Parisian magazine?

Book cover for The Honeybee Emeralds.

Bonjour: A Francophile Blog (

“Written in California by a Francophile who loves books, movies, music, and more.”

The 5-year-old blog is run by Darlene, a San Francisco Bay Area native, mom, and academic human resources professional. She admits to being a Francophile since she was 12 years old. (I can relate!)

It aims to:

  • connect with people from all around the world and exchange ideas
  • inspire more travel through its postcard series
  • promote the study of French language and culture through a French song playlist, book reviews, and more

Read the blog, or follow the content on Twitter or Instagram.

Logo for Bonjour: A Francophile Blog.

Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles (

The blog is meant to accompany the Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles podcast about all things French. Episodes provide “tips and ideas that aren’t in the tourist brochures for Aussies travelling to France” (but I’m sure are applicable to all!), and share French experiences and inspiration. The links to listen to the podcasts are in each blog post.

Subscribe wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts or follow Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles on Instagram and Facebook to be notified when new episodes are out.

Logo for Loulabelle’s FrancoFiles.

Thanks for hanging in all the way to the end of a newsletter that turned out to be much longer than I expected. Things at this time of year have a tendency to grow. It’s almost Spring, after all. (In Victoria, anyway.)

As always, thank you for reading. I truly appreciate your support.



Hit the Ground Running.

Start off with a bang. All the cliches for the New Year.

Sunset at Willows Beach, Victoria, British Columbia, early January 2023. (Author photo)

It’s not what I was expecting at all.

You know that feeling, when things are shifting around you, and you’re being pushed in a specific direction? Deep down it’s right—what you were meant to do. What you’ve always wanted. And it’s close, so close. But when you find yourself swept up in that momentum, the panic comes. You want to put on the brakes. Slow down.

That’s how I felt as I started writing this update. Excited, but scared. (Life’s thrown some curveballs since then, but nevertheless …)

Things are happening

2023 began with an acceptance … and then another one.

I’ll send links in a future post once the pieces have been published. Watch for my flash fiction, “Through the Looking Glass,” in Issue 3 (“After”) of For Page and Screen. It’s a short story about the day in March 2020 after the world shut down, based on my own experience.

Circular logo with pale pink background. Inside is a black outline film reel projector sitting on top of a stack of books.
For Page and Screen logo. (From magazine’s website)

If poetry—especially the visual variety—is your thing, check out Poetry As Promised. They hand-make each page of the magazine! Believe it or not, my poem “crown shyness” was written, submitted, and accepted on the same day. Can’t wait to see the visual magic they’ll do with it for the Valentine’s Month issue.

Portions of typed pages have been cut and pasted onto a brown background. There is a female pin-up cut out (upper half of body) on the top right corner.
Poetry as Promised hand-made page: submissions call for
Valentine’s Month issue. (From magazine’s website)

More surprises: I was asked by Rivanna Review to write another travel article for them, (forthcoming March 1, Issue 7). While last time I introduced readers to my hometown of Osoyoos, British Columbia, this time I explore my adult home, “Victoria: City of Gardens”—and the historical context around why we’re so obsessed with flowers, planting, and growing here.

Postcard: “Butchart’s Sunken Gardens, Victoria, B.C.”
(Saanich Archives 2018-030-103; used with permission)

Over on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), I’m doing a #FrenchFriday feature. With Provenance Unknown coming out March 28, I’ve decided that between now and then I’ll post a photo every week from my own adventures in Paris. I’m already a few weeks in, but here’s the photo from my first instalment.

Woman in Paris, with Eiffel Tower in the background. She is wearing sunglasses and smiling.
Sonia Nicholson in Paris, late 2000s.

There’s more to come, too.

After asking in a couple of Facebook groups, I found two different people going to Paris this spring willing to take a copy of Provenance Unknown with them. (In March, pre-publication; and April.) They’ll get photos of it all over the city—think travelling gnome, but with a book. Can’t wait to see (and share!) the pics.

Provenance Unknown in a Victoria-area pub, December 2022.
(Author photo)

In the process of searching for a willing traveller, I made new friends, including a kindred spirit who not only ordered a copy of their own and followed links to my article in Inspirelle, but also sent me the nicest response I’ve ever received to my writing. (You know who you are.) If you’ve ever thought about reaching out to an author because their work resonated with you in some way, don’t hesitate. It means a lot—trust me.

And from now through March, I’ll be featured in a number of blog posts including the Association of Canadian Archivists “Archivist Authors” series, and Canadian author Alan Hudson’s South Branch Scribbler. Others are awaiting confirmation. Given how busy I am these days, I’ll likely be surprised (in a good way) when some of these come out.

I’ve received a lot of support on my publishing journey, so I’d love to find a small way to pay it forward. Are you an author with a new or new-ish Paris-related book? Or have you read a good one? Send your recommendations my way so I can share them on future blog posts and/or my social media channels. (Preferred genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit, Women’s Fiction, Memoir, Travel.)

As always, thanks for reading! Merci!

Graphic showing 15 ways to support an author. Source:
Ways to support an author. (Graphic source:

Around the World, the City, the Year

Osoyoos Homecoming

Sunlight path through vineyards.
Osoyoos vineyards at sunset, August 2022 (Author photo).

Not gonna lie: I’m extra proud of my latest writing credit! My first piece of travel writing, an essay on my hometown of Osoyoos, British Columbia, is out now. In fact, it’s a feature in Issue 6 of Rivanna Review, a journal out of Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a paid publication and the content isn’t online, so you’ll need to visit their website to buy a copy. I (and they) would appreciate it!

From their website:

Rivanna Review is a print quarterly and cable TV monthly in Charlottesville, Virginia, on the Rivanna River. The content is general interest—stories, features, and book reviews. The format is 8.5" x 11", black and white, stapled.

The single issue price is $8.00, and a one-year subscription is $32.00, within the United States. International prices are $12.00 and $48.00. Please send a check with your name and mailing address to: Rivanna Review, 807 Montrose Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22902.

The television program they produce is a half hour of excerpts read aloud with illustrations. It is broadcast on the Charlottesville community channel, but episodes are also available on Vimeo. (Search for “Rivanna Review”.) Watch for an excerpt of my essay in the next episode!

Line drawing of attached buildings (row houses).
Rivanna Review logo.

Book Mail

Merry Christmas to me! This week, I received a package in the mail—and I had a pretty good idea of the contents. Believe it or not, I actually did not rip the parcel open right away … I was too nervous. (Watch the unboxing reel on my social media channels.)

Copies of Provenance Unknown under the Christmas tree. (Author photo)

It’s an indescribable feeling to hold a physical copy of my debut novel in my hands. The imposter syndrome is real, but I’m going to try my best to cherish this moment.

Next on my wish list? Having someone in Paris—or, someone from elsewhere who’s travelling to Paris—take photos of the book in various locations there. If you’re willing and able to make this happen, please reach out!

Hooray for Little Free Libraries!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll already know how thrilled I am to have my Provenance Unknown postcards going into Little Free Library locations across Greater Victoria! A huge thanks to Dr. Teale Phelps Bonderoff (Greater Victoria Placemaking Network’s Pocket Places Project) for supporting local authors and delivering this promo swag all over the city.

They’re beautiful cards, if I do say so myself. Of course, it’s easy to make them look good when my publisher, Sands Press, provided such a lovely cover. And because part of the story takes place here, the little book boxes are a great fit for spreading the word.

I still have some cards available, so please reach out if you’d like one—or more to share. And let me know if you spot any “in the wild”! Bonus points for photos.

Year in Review

I’ve been writing off and on for most of my life, but started putting my work out there publicly only recently. A blitz of credits defined 2022, and that blows my mind! Of course, now I’m paranoid that I’ll never repeat this accomplishment to the same extent. (So. Much. Pressure. From myself, but still.)

Screenshot from Credits page listing 2022 published work.

If you missed any of my work this year, or just want to read it again, the links are on the Credits page of my website.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday season!

The Christmas Cactus, The Poetry of Wine, and Other Seasonal Delights

Christmas cactus with single bloom. (Sonia Nicholson photo)

The Christmas Cactus

“There’s something wrong with this plant,” I say to no one in particular.

I know that already, though. I’m a cacti serial killer.

For whatever reason, my husband continues to buy them. I admire the faith he has in me. In my ability to nurture these delicate forms of life.

I do alright outdoors. Give me fruit trees: figs, Macintosh apples. The spindly peach tree I got for free off a local used site a few years ago; it’s doubled its yield annually. To be clear, I still don’t know what I’m doing. But at least I’m successful with these, even if I don’t always understand how or why.

Inside, my green thumb is effective with basic green houseplants. That’s it. Flowering? Nope. Cacti? Ha ha, I don’t think so. Sooner or later—usually sooner—they end up in the compost heap.

It’s where this Christmas cactus should be. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I assumed a long time ago it was dead. Now I poke around the base. The cactus isn’t even in proper soil. Lacking the wherewithal to buy more at the time, I quickly dug out a sad mix of gravel and dirt from around the deck posts outside.

So hard, it’s only a step below cement.

Maybe that’s why the leaves resemble my late grandmother’s hands. Dry. Wrinkled. Curled.


Except now one of them looks different. A pustule at the tip.

I’ve never seen that before.

There’s something wrong with this plant. Something happening.

I check it every day. Several times. Before and after work. Once in a while, I mist it. The boil grows. A second one forms. I’m intrigued.

Soon, a hint of pink. And then I know for sure.

This thing’s not dead.

Even before the flower appears, the cactus is the best part of my week. I tell family members about the miracle on my coffee table. They smile and nod.

Clearly they’ve underestimated the appropriate level of wonder.

I’ve had the Christmas cactus for years. Years! Written it off. Administered last rites. All that’s left is a proper burial.

Good thing I’ve been busy.

I study the bloom. A flash of colour. Dainty. Strong. A perfect little package.

If this isn’t a sign to never give up, I don’t know what is.

The Poetry of Wine

I love, love outside-the-box options to submit writing to! Kudos to Judd’s Hill family-run winery in Napa Valley for encouraging and supporting poets with a wine-themed poetry contest since 1999.

You’ll find my poem, “too much”, in the class of 2022. Read all of the wonderful entries on the Poetry page of their website. (Scroll to bottom)

Hopefully, I’ll be able to visit Judd’s Hill one day! 🍷

Judd’s Hill, Napa Valley (Screenshot from website)

Other Seasonal Delights

And by “Seasonal Delights”, I mean “updates”! I’m currently focusing on finishing my second novel, A YEAR OF SUMMER. I’m on Chapter 9, and aiming to have the first draft done by the time PROVENANCE UNKNOWN comes out at the end of March. It’s an arbitrary date—one book has nothing to do with the other—but it’s a date, and it gives me a deadline to work towards.

So, I’m not submitting as much poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, etc. these days. BUT, I do have a travel article on Osoyoos, British Columbia (my hometown!) forthcoming in Rivanna Review. I’ll send out more information when it comes out.

Happy holidays!

The Day Before (a checklist)

They say writers should resist the urge to submit something immediately after writing it, and that’s usually true. Recently, however, I ignored this advice—and I’m glad I did, (this time).

Morning walk, Autumn. Sonia Nicholson photo.

I wrote “The Day Before (a checklist)” on, appropriately, the day before the first day of school. It was a busy day that even included a mini family reunion. Change—and BBQ!—was in the air. I started jotting down the various activities I had already done that day, adding more as they occurred. Everyday, ordinary things. But on that unofficial start of Autumn, poignant things. By the time we’d consumed the last piece of spice cake, packed everyone up, and gone home, this poem was the result.

Given its themes of home, presence, reflection, and the familiar, as well as its seasonal nature, I thought it might be a fit for Heimat Review’s inaugural, Autumn issue. Luckily, they agreed!

Screenshot from Heimat Review Twitter account
showing list of Issue 1 contributors, 7 October 2022.

This how they describe their publication:

Heimat means “home.” More than a house or city, heimat is the place of being, of presence and reflection. It is the moment in time when you are invited to ask “where am I” and “where should I be?”.

Heimat Review is an online journal that seeks to be a home for your prose and poetry. It is a journal of treehouses and chipped coffee mugs; creaky floors and dusty corners. A place to tape your work to the kitchen fridge.

We are interested in your reflections and nostalgia, your narratives of familiarity and strangeness, the things that draw you back to where you are – and where you hope to be.

It’s such an honour to be in Issue 1! I’m thrilled that “The Day Before (a checklist)” found a home in its pages. Read my work, and all the other wonderful pieces, on the Heimat Review website.

Family reunion group photograph (detail). P. Nicholson photo.

never you never

Person standing on a point at the shore. They appear as a silhouette. A beam of light appears behind them on the water.
Silhouette. Sonia Nicholson photo.

Visual poems are a challenge to publish online because it’s hard to maintain spacing. I’m sharing this one as an image, but the text is included below it, as well as in in the alt-text. Tip: try it in reverse order! As always, thanks for reading the words I put out into the universe. –Sonia

never you never between bricks and mortar 
show yourself
Yes-Man yes to everyone knocking hands elbows out
in demand 
stocks the best now

everyone wants a piece of 
the words the right words yeswhenofcourseillbethere 
give them your minutes and 
the whole
damn clock

keep up, now,
can you standup sleeping, love,
be the star burn -ing out inside the walls
with the rest
always never always

full stop.

beyond, remember,
another version one cresting over buildings brick and mortar 
unbuilt you outside open
of constellations
missing one piece 

for now

show yourself 


never say

Text (without spacing):

never you never between bricks and mortar show yourself
Yes-Man yes to everyone knocking hands elbows out
in demand business
stocks the best now

everyone wants a piece of
the words the right words
give them your minutes and
the whole
damn clock

keep up, now,
can you standup sleeping, love,
be the star burn -ing out inside the walls

with the rest
always never always

full stop.

beyond, remember,
another version one cresting over
buildings brick and mortar
unbuilt you outside open
of constellations
missing one piece

for now

show yourself


never say

Provenance Unknown – Available for Pre-Order!

Exciting news! (At least to me. Not only exciting, but a little terrifying too…)

Cover for Provenance Unknown. Image courtesy of Sands Press.

My debut novel, Provenance Unknown, is up on Goodreads and WorldCat, and available for pre-order on Barnes & Noble and Amazon (just in time for Prime Day). I’m assuming it will be coming soon to Coles/Chapters/Indigo as well — I’ll let you know when I know! And for any other book retailers, bulk orders are available directly through Sands Press.

The links to the above are also on my Linktree, which I’ve added to my Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as my author Facebook page. Please spread the word! I’d really appreciate it.

Screenshot of listing for Provenance Unknown on Amazon.

So, when can you expect your copy? The release date is March 28, 2023. If you’re in the Victoria (British Columbia) area, the book launch will be held at the Indigo store at Mayfair Shopping Centre — details to be announced!

Screenshot of Sonia Nicholson’s Linktree.

In the meantime, I’m nearly halfway through writing my second book. You can learn a little bit about A Year of Summer on the “Books” page of my website.

As always, thanks for your support. Happy Summer!

Edit: And Indigo, Chapters and Coles have joined the party! Provenance Unknown is also available for pre-order on their online store.

If you’re in the Victoria area, watch for a book launch event next Spring. 🎉

Screenshot for Provenance Unknown on Indigo.

some things maybe

Another publication announcement!

Cover of Pinhole Poetry’s Volume 1, Issue 2 cover, July 2022.
Courtesy of Pinhole Poetry.

The pieces in Pinhole Poetry’s Issue 2 are beautiful and poignant. I’m not sure how my little poem “some things maybe” got lucky enough to be included, but I’m grateful! It’s in excellent company. ☺️

Pinhole Poetry is a “digital poetry journal that loves the upside-down view and the fact that some art can only happen in the dark.” They “aim to be the pinprick of light for your work”, and publish poems and lensless photography on a quarterly schedule in April, July, October and January.

Banner from the Pinhole Poetry website.
Courtesy of Pinhole Poetry.

They will be featuring the various contributors to this issue on their Twitter and Instagram accounts throughout the month of July; contributors had the option of responding to questions, and some of these answers will be shared online. I did submit, so watch for those soon.

List of pieces and contributors, Pinhole Poetry Volume 1, Issue 2. C
ourtesy of Pinhole Poetry.

“some things maybe” is special to me, so I’m thrilled that it found the perfect home. The event that inspired it took place many years ago in Paris; I’ve been waiting for just the right time to write about it ever since!

Check out Pinhole Poetry online — they would appreciate the support.

Fifteen Minutes to Cavendish

Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, 4 June 2014. (Author photo)

I’m happy to share that Literary Heist has published my short story, “Fifteen Minutes to Cavendish”, in their Summer 2022 edition!

Screenshot from the Literary Heist home page,
showing content from the Summer 2022 edition.

The introductory blurb describes the premise as, “A relationship viewed through a discussion on real estate. We get so caught up in ‘What-Ifs,’ we lose sight of what’s right in front of us.”

Screenshot from Literary Heist of the
“Fifteen Minutes to Cavendish” short story.

Literary Heist is an Ottawa-based online literary and arts magazine that also publishes a yearly compilation into an electronic book. It is published by Ryan D Brinkhurst, a writer, web developer, and publisher. It relies heavily on submissions from “great writers and artists around the world to make it complete”; and “gives a voice to transformative writers.”

The Literary Heist Summer 2022 edition includes art, articles, short stories, and poetry. It’s wonderful to have my work included with all of this fabulous content. Have a read!