Tuesday, September 29, 2020

It's all about the money...

 With a bit of luck, we'll have a new (!) federal government after more than a year. In May last year (2019) there were general elections. But they don't follow any logic. The results of the vote clearly gave extreme right a majority. However, the more conservative parties in our country couldn't agree with that - with the result they kept on talking and talking. More than a year!

Now at last they've found 7 parties which can agree to work together. Flemish and Walloon, but with a majority of Walloon. That sits painfully with extreme right, which wants Flanders to be independent. But the Prime Minister will most likely be Flemish - Belgian compromise. 

Right now the 7 parties have been sitting together to discuss the details (!). Which means - it's all about the money! Each party wants something - like a minimal pension of 1500,00 € or more money for the police, education, health care,... When they'd grant everything, they'd talk about around 11 billion. And there's no money for that. So they have to drop some of their wishes - like saying the 1500 pension is untaxed, and the end result would be around 1200 € 

We'll see what happens!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dead in THAT Beach House

 Today we welcome M. Glenda Rosen, author of Dead in THAT Beach House, a mystery available now from Level Best Books. The author is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour to promote this novel and the tour will run September 14 - October 9.

M. Glenda Rosen will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3495/


Blurb

August 21, 2020, A Senior Sleuths Mystery, “Dead In THAT Beach House,” Published by Level Best Books is the third in the series and available at your local book store, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. This series of murder and mayhem is written in a modern noir style with charming, witty, deliciously clever soft-boiled sleuths.

 

***

 

Once we had arrived in the Hamptons, settled in and I felt comfortable, I began to add small amounts of poison to the evening cocktails. It was from the oleander flowers. I had planted them carefully behind the barn in Ames. After only weeks, they were falling ill, listless, crying to go back to Ames. They felt too sick at the beach house. It was simple.

 

I know you must think I’m a monster. But, really, they felt very little when I strangled them to death thanks to the poison in their system. When they were dead, I filled my library with books about murder and witchcraft. The note I leave for whomever might find them might explain what happened...

 

The Senior Sleuths, Dick and Dora Zimmerman, much like Nick and Nora Charles from the Thin Man series, and their cozy group of interesting, quirky friends take on crooks and murderers while dealing with an outrageous case of elder abuse.

 

Later: “Shall we say invitations are mandatory?”

 

“Absolutely, dear. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss the fun”

 

“They’re either belligerent, arrogant, or simply annoyed,” Zero whispered to Cloud as the so-called guests arrived. They were all murderers and those who had committed crimes against the elderly.

Excerpt

There were one hundred years between the murders of Lily’s aunt and uncle and those decaying bodies locked in the house thanks to the restriction imposed by the trust.

Police Chief Arthur Sanders allowed Lily, Jake and his parent to visit the beach house, in hopes they might be able to shed some light on what had happened          

Before the visit Dick and Dora read through the papers Lily had requested from the law firm handling the trust.          

Lily, Jake and his parents moved, shocked, slowly through the house, the reality of death heavy as they walked from room to room. The cobwebs, thick layers of dust and mice droppings would be cleaned and cleared later when the yellow crime scene tape was removed.      

“Why would anyone want to kill them? They’ve never even been to the Hamptons.” Lily obviously and understandably having difficulty processing what was happening.  

She stayed downstairs with Dick while Dora and Jake went upstairs. They wandered in n and out of the bedrooms and several bathrooms. The police had already left their footprints in the dirt and dust smothering the floors   

Dora opened closets and dresser drawers, moved around old fashion clothes and surprised, she felt something hard under a long black and white striped petticoat.        

“Shh, come with me.” Jake knew that shh meant :”Don’t tell dad.” They had that secret code since he was a young boy.

Author bio and links

For over 25 years, owner and founder of a business/marketing and public relations agency and consulting firm in New York City, The Hampton’s and Albuquerque, New Mexico where the company served as advisors to a wide range of national, regional and local clientele including major pharmaceutical companies. The agency provided a special expertise to the healthcare industry including: hospitals, nursing homes, senior centers, medical facilities, non-profit healthcare organizations and literally dozens of healthcare providers.  It was the second largest public relations firm in New Mexico when sold. The agency was built on Marcia’s business experience as owner of two-day care centers for ten years in upstate New York.

Parallel to founding and running her agency, Marcia was also an active advocate and advisor for women's economic development and success. Along with Betty Friedan, she was honored by the City of New York in celebration of Women's Empowerment Day for "helping thousands of women advance their careers and succeed in starting their own companies."  She was also honored as the East End Women’s Network’s 20th annual “Woman of the Year,” and nominated for New York State“ Women of Distinction Award. In New Mexico her agency received awards and accolades for the many volunteer services it provided.

She has served on numerous organization boards including, The New York Women’s Agenda, Columbia Hospital Breast Cancer Initiative, American Cancer Society, Venture Fund for Women, The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, PULSE (helping to prevent medical errors), Boardroom Bound Alliance and others over the past twenty years.

Marcia presently lives in Carmel, California and is planning on moving back to Albuquerque early 2021 or end of 2020.   She has author clients in New York City, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Long Island, the Hamptons and Vancouver.

Facebook: @MarciaGRosen

Twitter: @WriterMysteries

Instagram: @mglendarosen

Pinterest: marciaglendarosen

www.creativebookconcepts.com

www.theseniorsleuths.com

https://www.amazon.com/Dead-THAT-Beach-House-Sleuths-ebook/dp/B08FCY3R93

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Scan tomorrow

 It's time again for my 4 monthly scan of the abdomen. I hope it goes somewhat better than the last time, in May. I'm not talking about the result (I'm not worried about that) but about the organisation.

To start with, the previous scan was in lockdown time. I had to take a corona test before I was permitted to have the scan. When I presented myself at the hospital, I didn't have to go to the normal unit (the day-clinic, as they call it here) but somewhere in a ward. The procedure goes as follows: an hour before the actual scan is taken, you need to drink one liter of a fluid (that way they see better what's inside) and then you go to the unit and you're allowed inside. That time I sat in the waiting area for more than half an hour. Very pleasant when you've drunk a lot of fluid and need the toilet - which you aren't allowed before the scan!

Now, I wasn't invited to take a corona test, so hopefully the rest goes as usual too. I'm rather in the day clinic where you know people and can have  a talk (corona proof, as the distance between the seats is wide enough) and you also know the nursing personel by sight. 

We'll know tomorrow!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The last (?) sunny weekend at the coast

 The first three weeks of September are pretty hectic for my sister. In her line of work (administration for a group of schools - her being responsible for over 500 personel) there's a deadline to get around half of September. That means working many hours a day, until late in the evening, and also the weekends. Just like any other year, Chris managed to get everything done before the deadline. So she was entitled to having a weekend off for a change.

We left for the coast early Friday afternoon. We are lucky with the weather, as it is sunny and warm - a real Indian summer. You're no longer obliged to wear a face mask when walking in Knokke-Heist (only where it's extremely busy) and that's a relief. I really don't like wearing a mask!

We've been relaxing as best we can. Yesterday we went for a little walk and afterwarts spent some time on our terrace, enjoying the sun. 

It's also a good opportunity to wash as much of the summer gear we won't be wearing for the coming months and put it away clean and fresh. One of the advantages of having such a big roof terrace is that you can dry the washing outside. With all this sunshine it really doesn't take long to dry - and it's cheap, right? At the moment a second batch of washing is hanging out to dry.

We'll go lunching out later today - always nice when you don't have to cook yourself. Our new favorite restaurant is @Sea - they have a varied menu and the prices are fair. They work with really fresh ingredients, which I think is important. Everything is made in the house, what isn't so in many of the other restaurants along the promenade.

We'll go home again tomorrow morning, as Christine is working from home on Mondays, and she can answer the phone of the train just as easily, or fill out a form on her tablet. 

When all goes well, we'll go to Antwerp next weekend. Of course we'll have to wait what will be decided on the next meeting of the Security Council next Wednesday. They are sure to take new measures to curb the corona crisis, which is exploding once more.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Canoodling Up North

Today we say hello to Shawn M. Verdoni. The author is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for Canoodling Up North, a romanca available as of September 1st, 2020. The tour will run from August 31st to September 25th, 2020.

Shawn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn commenter via rafflecopter during the tour. In addition the author has decided to add 5 Apple copies of the book as prizes. Please use the following link to place a comment:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3480/


Blurb

At first glance, Damon MacGregor is living his best life as a bachelor and veterinarian in rural Wisconsin. That is until a wounded crane and an enchanted stranger bring his house-of-cards life crashing down. Not exactly where she expected to be at this time in her life, Catrina “Cat” Carneri has left her dreams in Montana to move back to her hometown where she is nursing a broken heart and working for an ungrateful boss.

 

A chance encounter at a wildlife rescue changes everything. Cat’s calm and organized demeanor impresses Damon. However, it is how her hair reminds him of autumn and is complimented by her curvaceous figure that beckons him to pull Cat into his arms, claiming her as his own. Damon’s compassion and gregarious personality intrigues Cat. Yet it is his cobalt blue eyes that first capture her heart; so infinite in their depth, she knows the moment he touches her, he takes a hold of her soul.

 

Soon after forging their passionate bond, a secret from Cat’s past has her facing a difficult decision. If she tells Damon the truth, he may leave or give her the chance to rebuild his trust. If she keeps the secret and Damon finds out, he will leave her forever.

 

Canoodling Up North is a love story about building fulfilling relationships; fostered in traditional values, confronted by modern complex challenges, while being nurtured by Wisconsin’s natural, cultural, and spiritual beauty.

Excerpt

Damon MacGregor was the kind of man people noticed. Towering at 6-feet 6-inches with a shock of red shaggy hair that melded into a closely trimmed beard and mustache, it was easy to see that he would stand out in a crowd. It also helped that his preference of clothing made him look like a lumberjack most of the time; jeans, brown work boots, and a plaid cotton shirt during spring and summer switched to flannel in the fall and winter. Damon took up space when he entered a room because of his broad shoulders and muscular thighs that showed through his jeans. He didn’t deliberately wear tight jeans; it was just that he always found it difficult to find jeans long and wide enough to fit his build, and he wasn’t about to spend an obscene amount of money on clothes that he could easily buy at a big box store.

As much as his appearance screamed, “Notice me!!!” he had other features that were just as intoxicating. Against his creamy white skin and shocking red hair, his ice-blue eyes were striking. A person could look at them and feel like they were looking out into an immense ocean, the color so crystal clear that you could see to the bottom. Just above his beard line lay another surprise. When Damon smiled or laughed, twin dimples appeared in his apple cheeks.

With her eyes still closed, Cat tried to clear her head. However, being a firstborn child, that was hard to do. Always trying to pay attention to the details, always trying to be the best, always trying to be perfect took a toll on her in more ways than one. At least she granted herself this moment to not do anything or be there for anyone else. This was her time and her time alone. She deserved it. She deserved to not do anything at all. Though she was no longer a kid, in Marshall’s eyes she would always be one, and therefore the one and only rule for Loon Lake, “kids rule,” was guaranteed to Cat if she came to the cabin to visit.

After her sun-kissed meditation, Cat squinted her eyes open and looked at the sky. If she had to guess, it was getting close to dinnertime. She felt something prickly on her leg and looked down. A pale-blue dragonfly with black wings had landed on her thigh. For such a beautiful creature, she was surprised at how coarse their legs felt on her skin. Cat smiled, noticing how the dragonfly’s coloring matched her swimsuit. She wondered if the suit attracted it to her. Since no one was around, Cat talked to the dragonfly as if it could understand her. “Hello, Mr. Dragonfly! I want to thank you for eating up the mosquitoes up here.

Author bio and links

Shawn M. Verdoni is the author of Canoodling Up North: Book One, Canoodling Out West: Book Two, and is working on her third book.  She attended UW Whitewater for her degree in secondary education and is currently attending MSOE to complete her Master’s in Business Administration.  Her best days are spent with her husband, two children and two dogs just hanging out.  She loves living in Wisconsin, especially in fall when you can find her in a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard collecting tart baking apples for her famous crumble crust apple pie.

 


Website: http://shawnverdoni.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shawnmverdoni

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShawnVerdoni

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/shawnmverdoni/

 

Order Canoodling Up North: Book One today :https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088MKFWMC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_iUzgFb4CE9Z1X4

BN https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/canoodling-up-north-shawn-m-verdoni/1137072582

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Canoodling-Up-North-Book-One-ebook/dp/B088MKFWMC

Amazon.ca  https://www.amazon.ca/Canoodling-Up-North-Book-One-ebook/dp/B088MKFWMC

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Shawn_M_Verdoni_Canoodling_Up_North?id=IRvsDwAAQBAJ

 

Online sales

 During the lockdown, most things were done online. People worked from home (still do, for the most part), we went shopping online, viewed shows, visited a museum, ... Also house or flat sales are becoming more popular being done online.

The house next to ours is for sale, after the death of Willy. And it's on Biddit, an online platform to bid and become the owner of this house. The house itself needs a lot of renovation, it's in poor order. Our neighbors did not have a lot of money and therefore could not do expensive renovations to their house. So the start price of the house was set on 125,000 €. Not a lot, but if you know I bought my house for only 25,000 € (of course, then it still was in Belgian Frank), it's not so bad. The online bidding started yesterday afternoon, and right now the new price is set on 126,000 €. I'm curious to see how high it goes, because we plan to sell our house in three years' time and then we at least have a clue how much it can go. 

Our house is in much better condition. We have an isolated roof, double glazing everywhere, central heating and a condensation heater. My sister has repared every little crack in the ceiling (it's an old house, almost a  hundred years old) and we have a modern kitchen and bathroom, plus a nice garden and terrace.

So I may expect to get at least 140,000 € for this old place. If we move to the coast, the cost of living will go down a lot, as you don't pay city taxes in Knokke-Heist. And costs of electricity, heating, internet etc. will be lower as well, as we only need to pay for one address. So - s not so important how much the house goes. It's a nest egg anyway. We both have enough income - I have a good pension and my sister may expect the same - and have already saved up some. And now we can't travel we save a lot - just come to consider we might have a mansion with a surrounding park if we had never spent a euro on travel...

The bidding will end next week Thursday at 2 pm. You can view it online. I'm curious!!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sleeping with the Enemy

Author Jackie Barbosa is doing a virtual book blast tour for Sleeping with the Enemy, an Historical Romance available September 15, 2020. The Book Blast Tour will take place September 14 - 18, 2020.


Jackie Barbosa will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
Blurb

When Mrs. Laura Farnsworth discovers the blood-stained body of a man wearing the distinctive red coat of the British army, her first instinct is to let dead dogs lie. It has, after all, been just two days since the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the disposition of enemy corpses is hardly her purview. But then the man proves himself to be very much alive by grabbing her ankle and mumbling incoherently.

After almost twenty-five years in His Majesty’s service, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Langston never expected to wake up in heaven, much less being tended by an angel. But when he regains consciousness in the presence of a beautiful, dark-haired woman and with no memory of how he came to be there, what else can he think? Except it’s rather odd for an angel to have an American accent.

As the long-widowed Laura nurses the wounded Geoffrey back to health, the attraction between them heats from a simmer to a boil. Bound by his oath to the British crown, Geoffrey should be working to find his way back to his regiment and from there, to England. Instead, he’s sleeping with the enemy…and thereby committing the crime of desertion if not treason. But then, who’s going to find out?


If only Geoffrey didn’t have a family back home who refuse to take “missing in action” for an answer.


Excerpt

Where the hell was he?

Well, in a room, certainly, since there were four white walls and a white ceiling. And since he was lying on a bed, covered by a white—well, perhaps it was more cream-colored—duvet, it would be reasonable to posit he was in a bedroom. But a bedroom where?

The last thing he remembered was… He frowned in concentration, which hurt, so he immediately stopped.

He had been encamped with his battalion on the north side of the Saranac River, awaiting the order from Prévost to begin the ground offensive.

Well, this certainly was not a tent in a military encampment.

So where the hell was he, and how had he come to be here?

Gingerly, he turned his head…and found an angel.

She sat in a chair that had been pulled up alongside the bed. Her dark hair had been arranged in a simple knot at the back of her head, but curling tendrils of it escaped here and there to brush her cheeks and forehead. The dress she wore was not white, but a very pale shade of gray that sparkled in beam of light streaming in from the window behind her. In profile, her features were as fine and lovely as a porcelain doll’s, the way he imagined an angel’s would be, though there were tiny laugh lines around her eyes and mouth that seemed a trifle out of place on a divine being. But then again, perhaps angels had a lot to laugh about, seeing as how they lived in paradise. She didn’t seem to be laughing now, however. Instead, her head was bowed and her expression conveyed a state of relaxed concentration.

Prayer?


He squinted. Maybe the question was not where the hell he was, but where the heaven he was.


Author bio and links


I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer when I grew up, but there were plenty of times when I wasn’t sure I ever would be. As it turns out, it just took me about twenty years longer to grow up than I expected!

On the road to publication, I took a few detours, including a stint in academia (I hold an MA in Classics from the University of Chicago and was a recipient of a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities) and many years as a technical writer/instructional designer for a data processing company. I still hold my day job, but my true vocation has always been writing fiction and romance in particular.
I’m a firm believer that love is the most powerful force in the world, which that makes romance the most powerful genre in the world. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise!






Buy Links for Sleeping with the Enemy