Thank You For Being A Friend

Welcome to another edition of Tuesday’s Featured Writer Posts!  The fun was kicked off by thriller writer CJ West and you can still find out why Dexter Morgan might be CJ’s best friend or what his Top 10 Chocolate Guilty Pleasures are!

Today, I’m chatting with Patricia Sands, author of her mostly true story, The Bridge ClubAnd guess what?!  She’s giving away a FREE E-Book Copy to one lucky commenter!  To better your chances of winning, just tweet this post about friendships and I’ll enter you for a SECOND chance to win!

E-Book Cover

For more than forty years, the mantra of the eight women in the Bridge Club has been one for all and all for one. Beginning their monthly soiree in the psychedelic Sixties, unpredicted twists of fate weave through the good times and strong friendship they share as the years pass. The constant from one decade to the next is loyal and nonjudgmental support, even when agreeing to disagree is the final solution. From the exhilarating cultural changes of their early times together through the zoomer years, their connection never falters.

As they celebrate turning sixty (give or take a year) at a group birthday weekend, each woman recalls a challenging time in her life when the Bridge Club came to the rescue.  After tossing around ideas mixed with a generous helping of common sense and a large dose of laughter they decide to refer to that time as their SOS. Eight chapters document each one’s story.

Paperback Cover

Everything is put into perspective and the strength of their friendship is truly tested when one of these women faces a life-altering decision. Her choice profoundly affects all members of the group, pushing the limits of their beliefs and values. The unique alliance they share is confronted with a crisis none of them might have imagined.

*****

Let’s begin!  Girlfriends.  You got ’em?  You know, those women in your life who are there when you’re having fun, and even more so when you’re not.  Long lasting female friendships are hard to find.  In today’s world and economy it’s likely you’ll move around looking for jobs, lose touch, or maybe you remain friends, but it’s only a random birthday message on Facebook once a year.  I have more conversations waiting in line at the post office!

So what makes a good friend? 

I think for me it’s total acceptance.  It’s about knowing someone has flaws, but loving them unconditionally so they know they can say anything to you, and you’ll both survive.  I have 3 good female friends that fit this bill.  My dear friend, Amy, whom I visited in South Korea this past April, my friend (and someday sister-in-law) Jen, who’s asked me to be a flower girl in her wedding (Yep, flower girl!  And I’m totally excited!), and Cat, who is also getting married and asked me to perform the ceremony!  You can probably all start calling me Pastor Jess now.

But I have another great group of women in my life whom I met just last year August.  My book club.  We recently took a book club getaway to Madeline Island, which is part of the Apostle Islands, to tour a bunch of sites that were in the books we read, Moon Over Madeline Island and Back to Madeline Island.  This is us.  *Note: We are missing 4 members who couldn’t make it.  😦

L to R: Pat, Sharon, Dorie, Candy, Nan, Me and Mike. We’re wearing our matching Madeline Island t-shirts!

Many of these women have been friends for upwards of 20+ years.  Coincidentally, they all lived on the same block while their kids were growing up.  Though all but one has moved from that street, they still get together for book club, and bunko, and wherever friends are needed.  I was invited into the mix by Candy, who works with me and knows how much I love to read.  These wonderful and inspiring women invited me in and now brag to other book clubs that they have a “token young person.”  I’m not sure I can speak for everyone in their mid-20’s, but I sure do love chatting with these women!

So when I read Patricia’s book, The Bridge Club, and listened to the stories of the women in her life, I imagined my book club.  I feel so honored to hear their stories each month because they’ve all gone through so much and come out stronger.  That is exactly the kind of friendship that Patricia lives, and oh yah, she writes about it too!

Take it away, Patricia!

Patricia Sands

Thanks for inviting me to hang out with you on your fabulous blog, Jess! Who wouldn’t want to spend time in the Happiness Project and when you suggested we talk about friendship … well … what could be better?

I was SO delighted to hear about your book club! Who knows where it might lead?

As you know, I’m all about friendship. It’s what prompted me to write The Bridge Club and I am certain the connections women share will always be the underlying theme of anything I write. I’m excited to report I’ve just finished the first draft of my next novel and have sent it off for editing. I’d love to tell you the name but still haven’t decided on a title. Yikes! I’ll keep you posted!

The whole premise for TBC was indeed the awesome friendship the 10 women of my real-life bridge club still share after more than four decades. That calls for another “yikes!” – time flies, my friend, so treasure all of it! And ten for bridge? Don’t ask. That’s another story! As it says on the book cover, “it was never just about the cards”.

From our days in the psychedelic 1960’s as hip, liberated twenty-somethings (or so we thought) to our present day status as “zoomers’”, vibrant, active sixty-somethings, our connection has been a constant.

Although we are all the same age give or take a year and share the same values, that’s about all we truly have in common. We have very diverse personalities, opinions, sizes, shapes, hairstyles, careers, bank accounts, and families. Yet at the same time, we are one.

The Bridge Club (That’s Patricia in the middle)

We share a history full of memories that range from deliriously happy to devastatingly sad and encompass everything in between. It’s been quite a ride made all the more meaningful by knowing each one of us is “there” for whatever we need. It hasn’t always been everyone responding at the same time but rather whoever had the best to offer the situation. No matter what, we are always all in the loop and ready to bring what we can.

Honesty, trust and reliability define the best of friends. You know when friendships are real and unconditional. They are the voices that unselfishly celebrate your successes, pick you up when you are down, give you honest feedback (particularly on early writing drafts!), and make you laugh out loud when you need it most. You do the same for them. It all goes without saying.

Who can’t find time to be a good friend? Women’s friendship supports, empowers and inspires. We share our dreams with each other and encourage success, helping however we can. Women “get it”.

Since publishing TBC, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving e-mails from women of all ages (the youngest being 24 and the oldest 82) writing about the valued connections they share with other women. It’s such a buzz to hear what readers have to say about their own experiences and how they relate to the story.

I’ve been fortunate to have great friendships throughout my life and I hope that somehow I inspire others to treasure the ones they have. On occasion I hear from readers who tell me they have never experienced true friendship. As sad as that is, it’s never too late. Take a deep breath. Take a chance. Connect.

Whether you are 15, 35, 65 or 85, girlfriends are girlfriends … if friendship is honest and true some things never change. To have a good friend, you must BE a good friend. It’s as simple as that!

*****

Thank you so much Patricia for hanging out at the Happiness Project, and Thank You For Being a Friend! 

Be sure to follow Patricia and her upcoming new book!  You can find her at Patricia Sands’ Blog, on twitter, and on Facebook!

And now, to serenade you, a favorite song of Patricia’s!  Tune in and tell us about the friendships you’ve made in life, or the ones you’re still hoping to form!

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27 responses

  1. I’m the wrong sex to use “girlfriends” in that context, and there is no way in hell I’m going to write about “boyfriends” so I’ll just leave it as a generic “friends” and say what I look for is somebody who accepts you for the person you are, even though you may have deep ideological differences. For instance, one of my closest is a conservative Republican who can’t stand Led Zeppelin. Oh, the horror! But we get along great because we respect each other, and that’s key.

    1. Absolutely! I agree that it’s all about respect! And you are very lucky that you’ve found a way to make it work with each other. Political differences can be a big deal if you let them. I’m glad you two have mutual respect for those beliefs and mostly that you overlook his poor taste in music. 😉

  2. I think a friend is someone like you, Jess. Thanks for being mine.

    1. David, my cup runneth over. Thank you! Hope all is well is you!

  3. […] recently about her fabulous book club and we got talking about friendship and  … well … click right here and hop on over to join our chat. You know I’m all about friendship! We would love to hear from you AND THERE’S A […]

  4. Jess, thanks so much for inviting me to visit your Happiness Project. I’m so delighted to count you as one of my friends in this wonderful online community of writers/readers and plain ol’ good folks. It’s a party!

    1. Thank you for being a guest, Patricia! I had so much fun chatting with you and swapping stories! You are fabulous! Much success to you on your new book and say hello to your bridge club for me!

  5. Great post! There’s nothing quite like having special girlfriends that you can just be yourself with. That circle of friends is the net below us as we walk the wire.

    1. What a beautiful metaphor, I’ve never heard that before. Thanks for coming by Diana!

  6. I don’t have a lot of friends from my childhood – maybe 2 that have lasted through those years. Most of my BFFs are friends that I made in my 20s and I can only hope and pray those friendships stand the test of time like the gals in TBC book and Patricia’s real life.

    1. I know! They’ve seen and done it all! And I don’t know if you’ve read it or not, but the last chapter is mind boggling! That is friendship!

  7. What an awesome group of friends! Wonderful post about friendship. I wish you all many more happy years together. 🙂

    1. Thank you Rhonda! I wish you wonderful friendships in your life as well! Glad you stopped by!

  8. This was a lot of fun getting to know Jess a bit more (I had a bit of a teaser with all the DFWCon reports on how fabulous she is!). Of course I absolutely adore Patricia and that’s one of my favorite pics of her up there ~ the one where she’s laughing in the blue. Love that!

    All of your friendships really touch my heart. I’ve made some amazing friends here in the blogosphere and I’m fortunate enough to have some truly wonderful friends offline as well. Together they all make life fuller, more exciting, and at the same time more peaceful.

    1. Well said! The friendships in the blogosphere sometimes touch us more than the ones nearby because not all of us have close writer friends who understand our struggles. I think we need strong friends around us in all walks of life.

      And Patricia does look amazing in that photo!!!

  9. […] writers!  Thriller writer CJ West kicked us off, and in case you missed her, women’s writer Patricia Sands joined me yesterday!  Next week I’m thrilled to host a WISCONSIN writer!  And the series will finale with a New […]

  10. I love books about friendships! And, Jess, how cool that your group went away together. WOW!

    1. Hahaha! I kept thinking of you and going, “It’s so sad Nina doesn’t like book clubs.” You’d like mine. And I know you’d be interested in this book cause I was also thinking about MWF Seeking BFF. Good minds think alike!

  11. […] Bridge Club, and she shared stories about her real life bridge club last Tuesday in a guest post, Thank You For Being a Friend!  Be sure to enter the e-book giveaway by commenting on that post too!  Contest ends Saturday at […]

  12. It’s so great to read everyone’s comments and hear about the friendships in their life. Now if we could all just get together and share those stories in person, with a nice cool beverage in hand … Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It was fabulous to spend time with you Jess and I’ll see you over on my page next month! Can’t wait!

  13. I too have been in a card group with the same women for almost 30 years now. Although we don’t play bridge..we play a game called 500, we have enjoyed each other and have “grown up” together.We raised children, survived divorces, illness, death of loved ones, and now a dear member has early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. These days we chat more than play cards, but the friendships continue. These women are my extended family and am happy to have the opportunity to known what real friendships are about. I must add that I love to
    now call Jess a friend..thank you Jess.

    1. Wow, Heather, you HAVE to read Patricia’s book. You and your whole card group! You are going to find many similarities in the struggles these friends have helped each other through. I’m glad you have such supportive women in your life.

      And thank you for being one of the important women in MY life! You always let me vent if I need to and lend a good perspective. THANK YOU! Here’s rooting for you in the giveaway!

  14. Sorry to be so late to the party! Patricia’s one of my fave friends, as are you, Jess! I’ve made so many friends in our writing community. Can’t wait for Patricia’s new book! And, so happy you’ve found a ‘home’ in your book club. What a great feeling!

    1. THANK YOU for introducing us!!! I’m overjoyed and honored to have shared a phenomenal woman post with Patricia!

      Marcia Richards=The Connector

  15. […] that was more of an ongoing project.  It’s been a really rewarding one having had CJ West, Patricia Sands, and now Wisconsin Writer Jay Gilbertson all guest on my blog!  And guess what team?!  I talked […]

  16. […] recently about her fabulous book club and we got talking about friendship and  … well … click right here and hop on over to join our chat. You know I’m all about friendship! We would love to hear from you AND THERE’S A […]

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