Sunday, July 21, 2019

21st July

Today is for the Belgians what 4th July is for the Americans or 14th July for the French - a day of national pride and  unity. Although...

The problem is, most of the time we don't feel 'Belgian'. We are Flemish or Walloon. Belgium is a country that was made artificially. After the Napoleontic wars, some big numbers decided they'd make a  new country, in which Leopold (related to Queen Victoria of England) could be king. So they just put together some pieces of land. Never mind that in one part Flemish people lived, and in the other French speaking. Two nationalities that don't agree a lot in most cases. Later on, after the World War, they even added a little part of Germany, with German speaking population. This is the reason why we have three official languages in Belgium: Dutch (or better named Flemish), French and German.

Each region has it own government (!) and there is also a federal government. Now, after the elections of last May, the differences between the regions stand even sharper. Flanders voted ultra right, while Wallony voted more to the left.

It'll be tough to form a new federal government, that's for sure. Our king, Filip, gave a speech yesterday in which he expressed his hope that a government would soon be formed. Of course he wishes this, because his job depends on it - he 'king of all the Belgians'. In Flanders there are ultra right parties which look for the independence of Flanders. The Walloons are very much afraid of this, because their main stream of tax money comes from us.

The only thing in which we are all Belgians is soccer. When the Red Devils play, there is a wave of national feeling.

Can Belgium survive? It remains to be seen...

Friday, July 19, 2019

Second heatwave coming...

And not before time! The past week it's been rather cold and windy here at our part of the coast. Even today grey skies dominate, while in the rest of the country the sun is shining.

That's something that happens often. Sometimes it's bad out here and fine inland, or just vice-versa. And it may rain in Blankenberge (a town a little bit further along the coast) while the sun is out in Heist and Knokke.

A few days of warmth and sunshine will be welcome. I do love warm temperatures and sun. This past week we've kept ourselves busy by going to the DIY store to fetch materials and make some new furniture for the flat. My sister is rather good at that, while I'm good at destruction!

Luckily we had our trip to Italy to have some sunshine already. Next winter we'll be in Egypt where the sun will also be shining. And then some weeks later to South Africa. The last years we look for destinations where you don't have to wear thick coats and bonnets. In 2020 there will also be trips to Barcelona and Morocco - perhaps also one to Israel.

Who loves the sun as well?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Extinction of All Children

Today we welcome author L.J. Epps. The author is doing a virtual book blast tour for Extinction of All Children, a YA fantasy available now. The Book Blast Tour will take place on July 15 - 19, 2019.



L.J. Epps 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


The futuristic world of Craigluy has been divided into three territories and three economic classes. A large wall separates the territories, so the poor cannot mingle with the rich.

Since President Esther, the ruler over all of Craigluy, believes the poor do not have adequate means to take care of children, they are no longer allowed to procreate. Pregnant mothers are imprisoned until their babies are born, then the infants are taken away.

Emma Whisperer is the last child to survive. She is the last child born in lower-class Territory L before the law was instituted in the year 2080. She is the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma struggles to understand why she was spared while others weren’t. She doesn’t like the laws and believes they should be repealed. Her family doesn’t agree with her; they discourage her rebellious streak. Yet, she helps them to cover up their own family rebellion. She helps them to hide a big secret, a secret that could be both disastrous and deadly for members of their family.

As she meets new people along the way, Emma learns who she can and cannot trust. And, in the end, she makes a gut-wrenching decision that may be disastrous for everyone.


She finds herself in danger for doing what she feels is right



Excerpt


“On your feet.”

I hear a loud voice. My heart jumps. It sounds like Rich.

There are no windows here, but my internal clock tells me it is bedtime. I was waiting for the lights off in ten minutes call. Instead, I see him standing in front of my cell. He looks the same yet scarier, and his green eyes peer at me. His hair looks as bright as a ripe cherry. My hands shake.

“I’m not going to say it again. You’ve been summoned to see the president.”

“But it’s almost time for lights out.” My voice quivers.

 “I don’t care what time it is. I gave you an order.”

 I stand and my knee twitches. The ice pack, lying on my side, falls and crashes to the floor. My cell door opens with a squeal, and Rich steps inside. He is dressed in his uniform, and he smells of musk and liquor. I didn’t think guards could drink while on duty, but what do I know.

“Let’s go,” he says, clutching my arm.


Once I’m out of my cell, he snaps the handcuffs on. The coldness straddles my wrists. Like a dog on a leash, he leads and I follow. My stomach is in knots. I don’t know what to expect once we reach the president’s quarters. But, we don’t go to the fifth floor; the elevator dings on the second floor. He pulls on my handcuffs and yanks me off the elevator.

Author bio and links


L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

LINKS:







Monday, July 15, 2019

Groundwork for Murder

Please say hello to authors Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman today. They are doing a virtual book blast tour for Groundwork for Murder, a women's fiction with elements of romantic suspense available July 10th from The Wild Rose Press. This book blast tour will take place July 10 - 16.


The authors will be awarding a 16x20 signed matted print 'Flora Blanca" by author and Florida artist Sharon Goldman, 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/28e4345f3094/




Blurb

Landscape artist Alexandra Newborn dreams of a one-woman show at the Diamond Gallery. But the gallery owner dismisses her paintings as "old, tired, and dull. Lacking excitement." Those words also describe Alex's unhappy marriage.

Alex's shocking reunion with her college art professor, Dominick "Nick" Anselmo—once a world-celebrated Italian artist, now a homeless lawn man—reignites their passion and fuels a creative spark for both, helping Nick recover from his wife's death.

With Nick's provocative sketches, art imitates life, but Alex doesn't realize they reveal a dangerous liaison between her husband and the gallery owner. Without Nick's knowledge, Alex arranges an art opening that includes his drawings.


When the torrid affair between Alex's husband and his mistress is exposed, the seeds are sown for murder, mystery, and romance.


Excerpt

The subject matter was unexpected and provocative. She’d thought that, in his new life as a
lawn man, Nick might just draw a tree, or a garden, not a couple caught in a passionate embrace—her face against his cheek, his face buried in her neck to hide their identities and keep the world at bay.

He had captured them in a clinch that seemed to portray more lust than love. The sketch spoke of
forbidden moments. The lines revealed movement, as if the couple had had to love and leave. All that sexual desire was combustible. And yet there was love there. Maybe not love between this couple, but Nick had obviously transferred his own feelings of lost love and longing onto the paper.

“Always leave something of yourself in your work.” That’s what Professore Anselmo had taught his students in college. And he had managed to do that brilliantly in this drawing. The passion was raw, and it exposed everything that was missing in her relationship with Mark. And everything that was missing in her art. Something vaguely familiar about this couple tugged at her memory, but she quickly dismissed it.

Alex knew great art could have that effect on your soul. It was similar to a writer who paints word pictures that draw you into the story and elevate the everyday into the sublime—word pictures that are often too close to home, too real to examine too closely.



Author bio and links

Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman are sisters. Groundwork for Murder won first place in the Suspense Romance category of the Ignite the Flame Contest, sponsored by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers Chapter of RWA. 

Marilyn Baron

Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She and her sister even wrote a musical called Memory Lane.

She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel The Alibi. Her novel The Siege was nominated for the 2019 GAYA Awards in the Romance Category.

Groundwork for Murder is her 24th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, she is chair of the Roswell Reads Steering Committee.

A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a B.S. in Journalism—a major in Public Relations and a minor in English (Creative Writing). She met her husband at UF and both of her daughters graduated from UF. Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband.

Find out more about Marilyn on her website:



and follow her on Twitter @ MarilynBaron.


Sharon Goldman

Sharon Goldman is an award-winning artist whose paintings are in private collections and who has exhibited in numerous galleries throughout northeast Florida, including the Haskell Gallery in the Jacksonville International Airport.

As a native Floridian, Sharon strives to create work that captures the spirit of Florida. Her colorful palette, unique cropping, and background as a designer and art director help her envision her novel compositions, which she describes as painterly realism.
Sharon has taught art school in her home studio to more than 200 students in her community. Sharon has also written and illustrated a children’s book.

Sharon is on the Dean’s Leadership Council at the University of North Florida’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library, where she gives monthly tours of one of the largest permanent art collections of regional artists in the state.

A graduate of the University of Florida in Fine Arts, Sharon had a long career in the advertising business. After having three children (now college graduates), she has more time to bring her ideas to light.

To view Sharon’s art, visit her website at:




Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bittersweet Alliance

Please welcome author Kathleen Rowland today. Kathleen is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for her romantic suspense, Bittersweet Alliance. This novel is published by Tirgearr Publishing and the tour will run July 8 - August 2.


The author will be awarding ten gift bags each containing a shell necklace, chocolates, and a flower pen to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour (international giveaway). Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3088

Blurb

Will a snap decision change their lives forever? Bizarre kidnappings stun the Big Island of Hawaii, pulling Danker Donahue back into the game and forcing him to partner with Jolene Kualoha, the woman who left him seven years ago when his DNA showed up in paternity lawsuit. The prejudice-motivated hate crimes are the wildest anyone has ever seen. Victims are being poisoned then released once the ransoms are paid, many losing their lives. In the shadow of Jolene's success as a helicopter pilot, a troubled woman develops a fixation on Jolene and imitates her appearance. Matters turn dark when the copycat is shot dead. Was Jolene the target? Threats mount when she barely survives an accident after her brake cables are severed. When these crimes threaten her sanity, Jolene is forced to trust the one person she thought she’d lost forever, Danker. Instantly, sparks fly between them, and as much as she wants to rekindle their relationship, she must protect her heart. An old enemy, Seamus McGinn, breaks out of a maximum-security prison and invites Danker to a meet-up. Surprisingly, the kidnapper joins forces with McGinn along with his sick fans. McGinn trumpets his ‘murders by ice pick’, and it’s up to Danker to stop him. The whole island is on edge with a live feed from the maniac’s website. In a stolen moment, Jolene shows him hope, and he makes a snap decision that will change their lives forever. Will he make it back to show her?



Excerpt

Seven years since their breakup, Jolene Kualoha spotted Danker Donahue, ambling from the parking lot toward the store. She recognized him by his height and long gait. Wind from the north ruffled his hair and brought a bone-biting chill to her heart. Nuts, here he was, ducking his head to miss the bell overhead. It tinkled, and a strange twisting sensation hit her in the stomach.

This happened at the Kalua-Kona Food Emporium on a Sunday morning in July. She stared from where she stood near the avocados. His dangerous edge drew her in, but she turned her back to him. Her body reverberated like when her cellphone was on vibrate in her pocket. Stunned with minor electric shock, she froze.  Maybe he wouldn’t see her.  Wouldn’t recognize the back of her head or the once familiar shape of her ass.

Was someone waiting for him in the parking lot? Someone like Louella, the baby’s momma who’d summoned him for an immediate DNA test? For a split second, she craned her head around but didn’t see her with him. 

She and Danker were a couple when the test confirmed his fatherhood. Her heart ached at the memory. Love hurt, but that wasn’t all. Loneliness hurt. Losing someone hurt. Decision-making hurt when you force yourself to do the right thing. 

She’d pulled away, giving him space to work on his previous relationship for the sake of their child. The most shameful thing a woman can do is take parents away from a baby, and this began her year of stubborn steadfastness. 

I did the breakup rituals. Got the dramatic haircut. Engraved a piece of jewelry he got me with a new message. Deleted the photos that made me cry. 

To have been his woman was like living where the air flowered with jasmine, and the weather day after day was flawless, but the forecast was a hurricane. 



Author bio and links


Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write!  Kathleen is an in-house author at Tirgearr Publishing. Her Irish-American Donahue Cousins series includes Deadly Alliance, Unholy Alliance, and another, Bittersweet Alliance is in the works. One Night in Havana (in the City Nights series) has a release date of January 31, 2018.


What reviewers say about Kathleen Rowland:
Windward Whisperings--Kathleen Rowland spins a creative story with romance, passion and suspense making it an adventure hard to put down. The banter she creates between the two lovers is spine-tingling robust in this keeper of a read. http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/windwardwhisperingsrowland.htm
Deeds of Deceit-- Circled by the bloodthirsty and untrusting, you learn to appreciate the few allies you have. Deeds of Deceit is an excellent addition to any thriller assortment. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/mar_12.htm
A Key to all that Glitters is a mesmerizing love story that vibrates with love and suspense. http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2009/05/key-to-all-that-glitters-by-kathleen.html
General links:
http://www.kathleenrowland.com
http://www.kathleenrowland.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.rowland.50
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bittersweet-Alliance-Donahue-Cousins-3-ebook/dp/B07S8QYH7F/

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Computer problems

Since yesterday evening I've been experiencing problems with my pc. I don't know what's wrong with it. It's an old computer, but it worked fine until yesterday. Now I can just open up a browser but I can't switch off in the correct way, nor can I open up other files.

Worries, worries! I'm not computer savvy since wse never learnt how to work a computer at school. In my days, we didn't even have computers. I'm from 1956 so I saw a lot of change in my time. First we had typewriters (Remington) which turned into electrical ones some time later. Then came a sort of pc which only worked well for text writing - which was in those days a great plus because you could change freely in your text and only needed to print it out. In the 1990s came internet. First with a modem - tuut-tuut-tuut. Where are the days??? People born nowadays can't imagine how it was in earlier times. I could spend an hour relating all of this to my students when I was still working. They were fascinated by it.

Well, I hope that by some miracle I can sort out my problem here with the pc so it works as fine as it used to do.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Holiday at the coast

Since Monday we are staying at our flat in Knokke-Heist. It's our intention to go living there permanently when my sister takes her pension. Our flat is ideally located; entrance at the sea promenade, terrace facing south (takes the sun - when it shines - all day), top floor with a beautiful panorama. It's not very big, but you don't really need too much space when you're getting older. We have a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher and washing machine, a nice bathroom and a bedroom big enough for a wall-to-wall dressing and space for two beds. What more do you need?

We also have nice neighbors next to us. When the sun is shining, we are all on the terrace having an animated conversation and enjoying the good life.

Heist (the less expensive part of Knokke-Heist) is not very big, so everything you need is close-by. Just take the underground passage to cross the road and you're at the (big) supermarket. Doctors and dentists, banks and other shops are at a 5 minutes walk. The hospital is ten minutes by bike, just like in Dendermonde.

So we like it here very much. It is also our home and we know more people around than we do in Dendermonde. Perhaps this is because we've been coming here since we were little kids and we went horseback riding in our teens and twenties. All the shopkeepers know us by name. Of course, you'll never be 'someone from Heist' even if you live there your entire span of life. You'll always remain an outlander.

An added plus is you don'r pay city taxes in Knokke-Heist. That will save some money later on. In Dendermonde you pay about 12% on the amount you're taxed for. With our combined two pensions and the house in Dendermonde sold, we'll be able to live without any monetary worries here, as a lot of the costs of right now will fall away. Like now I pay for two internet-tv-phone deals. Later on I'll only pay for one. Also I have some insurances on the house and what's in it.

I'm looking forward to being here permanently!