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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Counting off to the next trip

My sister and I are really taken in by a travel itch! Don't actually know where it comes from, though I suppose it has something to do with the fact that our grandparents already talked a lot about the trip they made to for instance Italy (Rome, Florence, Milan, ...) or Germany (Schwarzwald), France, Switzerland, ... That in a time when travelling was barely done (remember, those were the nineteen thirties and early forties, then continuing after World War II). As a little kid I heard stories about the beauty of other places, of performances in the Scala, just name it.

And also my mother, on marrying our dad, loved to travel. Luckily Dad was in the same mind! I also remember that one day they had the option to buy a house in our neighborhood. It was brought to discussion at the dinner table. If they bought the house, that would mean there was no more money for trips. So we had to decide - and we all voted for the trips! We rather went away than having the house.

It's still the same with us. I guess that in the course of  years, we have spent so much money on near and far trips that we could easily havc a mansion with park around it. But that doesn't appeal to us. We do have a house of our own - albeit it an old one, which needs a lot of upkeep - and a flat at the coast. Nothing too big or too posh, but it's enough for us.

We also don't have a car. We like to walk and do our errands either on foot or by bike. With a bit of organising, that works fine. Don't spent (too much) money on clothes or shoes (one thing only: they should be comfortable and in leather) but pay a lot for food. That another thing we have from grandma - she always claimed that you were rich as long as your belly was full and you had a warm bed to sleep into.

No long now before we take a trip once more. This time to Manchester. Not because it's especially appaling, but we go to a concert there in Bridgewater Hall. And then in December it's off to Mexico. Now that I can walk well again, it's a relief to be able to do all the discovering on foot once more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Shadow's Way

Please welcome author Barbara Frances today! Barbara is doing a virtual book blast tour for Shadow's Way, a suspense available now.

During the tour, Barbara will be giving away a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use this link to place your comment:


Prepare to be spellbound. Barbara Frances' long-awaited third novel, “Shadow's Way,” takes you to the coastal, deep South, where the past and the present mingle in a gothic tale of insanity, murder, and sexual intrigue.

You'll meet the beautiful Elaine Chauvier, former actress and proprietor of Shadow's Way, her family's antebellum home; the esteemed Archbishop Andre Figurant and his fallen identical twin, Bastien; newly arrived Ophelia and Rudy, here to explore their Chauvier roots and their ties to Shadow's Way; and the mysterious Madame Claudine. Under a veneer of piety and graciousness, i.e., the questions: What is good? What is evil? What is reality?


Her timing was perfect. As she rounded the corner, daily Mass had ended, and the Archbishop was standing outside the ornately carved doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

His followers were tiered below him on the steps. He turned and allowed his eyes to trace the contours of her body and she felt the thrill of power. A sheer white muslin shift clung to her black swim suit, still wet from morning exercise at the community pool. Despite the heat and the humidity from the Gulf of Mexico, she strolled by as if it were a cool spring day in Vermont.
Elaine Chauvier was a stately woman, aware of her long legs and enticing figure. Some said she was a snob and she would have agreed with them. After all, she was from aristocracy. Her great grandfather and General Robert E. Lee had been close friends, and her family had owned
sections of plantation land and nearly a hundred slaves. No one could give this woman a passing glance without being momentarily transfixed. Soft black hair, always a bit ruffled to give a false impression of casualness, framed a face of classic perfection. Piercing dark eyes conveyed the superiority she felt over everyone.

Archbishop Andre Figurant gave hardly a thought to the man who knelt to kiss his ring or the mother holding up her baby for a blessing. His focus was across the street, beyond the wrought-iron fence surrounding the Cathedral’s property. The gliding presence hypnotized as well as beguiled him.

Two chapters available at

Author bio and links

Barbara Frances has plenty of stories and a life spent acquiring them. Growing up Catholic on a small Texas farm, her childhood ambition was to become a nun. In ninth grade she entered a boarding school in Our Lady of the Lake Convent as an aspirant, the first of several steps before taking vows. On graduation, however, she passed up the nun’s habit for a college degree in English and Theatre Arts. Her professors were aghast when she declined a PhD program in order to become a stewardess, but Barbara never looked back. “In the Sixties, a stewardess was a glamorous occupation.” Her career highlights include dating a very gentlemanly Chuck Berry and “opening the bar” for a planeload of underage privates on their way to Vietnam. 
Marriage, children, school teaching and divorce distracted her from storytelling, but one summer she and a friend coauthored a screenplay. “I never had such fun! I come from a family of storytellers. Relatives would come over and after dinner everyone would tell tales. Sometimes they were even true.” The next summer Barbara wrote a screenplay solo. Contest recognition, an agent and three optioned scripts followed but, weary of fickle producers and endless rewrites, she turned to novels. Shadow’s Way is her third book. Her first, Lottie’s Adventure, is aimed at young readers. Her second, Like I Used To Dance, is a family saga set in 1950’s rural Texas. Barbara’s fans can be thankful she passed up convent life for one of stories and storytelling. She and her husband Bill live in Austin, Texas.

Barbara welcomes questions or comments about Shadow’s Way at
Buy the book at

Tomorrow is Day Against Cancer

Tomorrow both my sister and I will be wearing a yellow ribbon, to show our solidarity with all those who come into contact with cancer.

Every day, lots of people are diagnosed with cancer. Some live, other don't. In our street alone, we lost two people against this illness. Lung cancer and a tumor in the brain.

Last year, I was also diagnosed having a tumor in my right kidney. It was removed without any problem, but since then I need to be very careful with what I do.  I only have one kidney, after all. I have to take a very poisonous pill daily (can't touch it with bare hands), one of the new generation of drugs that luckily for us are paid back by our health care, thanks to minister Maggie De Block. You know, one such pill  costs 69,00€! For a box of 60 you'll pay about 3600,00€. Most people wouldn't be able to keep that up if the governement hadn't decided this medicine was admitted.

The pills work well, though. My latest scan showed no new growths, so that's good news. I also know that the tumor wasn't of the agressive kind, so that is also something.

Nevertheless, I live from day to day now. I feel fine, especially as the pain in my feet (one of the side effects of the pills) has completely gone and I can make long walks once more. I look forward to doing much more trips with my sister and still have meetings with my friends.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Baby Plan

Please welcome Joan Carney. Joan is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for The Baby Plan, a romance available since October 1st. This tour will run October 1-26.

Joan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


The itch of ‘baby lust’ has prickled just under the surface of Tessa’s skin since she turned thirty. Five years have passed since her thirtieth birthday, and her obsessive nature has stoked the minor irritation into a full-blown fertility frenzy. She’s given up waiting for the right man to put a ring on her finger and, instead, decides to actively seek out a man with the right genes who will give her the child she wants with no further involvement. Love wasn’t in the plan, but Karma had other ideas.


“I’m going to have a baby.” Spoken out loud for the first time, those words sent a rush of adrenaline through her veins. Warmth swelled from her heart as the vision that had taken center stage in her dreams for the last five years, captured the spotlight in her mind’s eye. Her arms circled her own body, aching to cradle that bundle of cooing softness.  

Owen’s fork remained suspended in mid-air inches from his open mouth, his face frozen and pale blue eyes wide and staring. It took a moment for him to regain his composure enough to speak. 

“You’re what? Are you sure?” He shook his head, put his fork down and rested his back against the seat. Tessa was sure the incoherent mumbles that followed were a litany of swear words, but she stayed calm. 

His gaze scoured the ceiling as his voice groped for a public-appropriate response. “How did this happen, Tess? You, of all people. I can’t believe you’d let yourself get into this predicament. You never told me you were seeing anyone. Who is he? Does he know? Are you in love with him?”

Tessa shook her head to focus as much as to explain. “No, no I’m not pregnant now. I mean I plan to get pregnant.” 

Her breath stilled then released as the panicked expression on Owen’s face softened to one of mere annoyance. But she wasn’t out of the woods yet. She’d only started to lay out her plan. Stalling for time, Tessa pushed the chopped antipasto salad around the plate with her fork. 

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, Owen, and I’ve made up my mind. You only need you to back me up when it comes time to tell Mom.”

Author bio and links

A transplant from the concrete sidewalks of New York City to the sunny beaches of Southern California, Ms. Carney enjoys writing stories about women who are strong—whether by nature or circumstance—and the men who love and respect them for who they are. Things that make her happy are rainy days (too much sun is a bore), writing the perfect first line, family get-togethers, reading books that grab her heart, and finding new connections in her genealogy research. Bold coffee and dark chocolate fuel the artistic fire inspired by her family, friends, and psycho, lizard hunting cat. 


Warmest mid-October weekend ever

Ever since they began the observations somewhere around 1850, this is surely the warmest ever October weekend we've known!

Yesterday, the sun got to 26° Celsius, which is just like in summer! And today is not much less. A very nice weekend, thus.

A very busy one, too. Yesterday we walked into town to do some shopping (mostly for food) and in the late afternoon we went to visit a former neighbor of ours. When we were kids, there were 4 girls living next to each other: me and my sister, Christel of next door and next to her Marian. We often played together, although I was somewhat older than the rest.

Christel and Marian married and moved away. Christel is still married to her Erwin, but Marian got a divorce. Both girls have two daughters and Marian just became grandma for the first time a couple of days ago.

Every once in a while, we get together to talk about the old days and have lots of fun. So yesterday we were at Christel's and like before, it was great fun and it was quite late when we got back!

This morning, we had to go voting (yes, we are obliged to go here in Belgium) for municipal elections. Don't suppose much will change, though.

Unfortunately, the weather is about to change in the coming week. Looks like we're getting into autumn for real!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

And Then He Was Gone

Please welcome Joan Hall Hovey today. Joan is doing a virtual book blast tour for her suspense novel, And Then He Was Gone, available now from BWL Publishing Inc. This tour is running from October 8th to October 12th.

Joan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:



Julie Raynes’ husband is missing. Devastated and confused, she refuses to believe that he would leave her voluntarily, though her best friend thinks differently. However, her Aunt Alice, a psychic, tells her Adam has been murdered, and when she reveals how she knows this, any hope that Adam is still alive, dissipates.

The police also believe that Adam Raynes was murdered. And Julie is their prime suspect. Her life in ruins, Julie vows to hunt down whoever is responsible for Adam’s murder and make them pay for their crime.

In the meantime, David Gray, a young man who was pulled from a lake by a fisherman when he was 9 years old, wakens from a coma after nearly two decades. Unknown to Julie, Adam and David share a dark connection, a darkness that threatens to devour them both.


Read the first chapter:

Author bio and links

This is what Joan tells;

Writing gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction that nothing else does. (Except having my babies.) And that's not a bad analogy, if not an original one. Holding your published book in your hands, (especially that first one), running your fingers over its smooth cover, tracing your name there - is heady stuff! These days of course, knowing my readers are downloading my books onto their Kindles and ipads and Kobos, and so on is just as great. For me, a dream come true, even though it's been awhile since I wrote my first book. 

I am drawn to explore the dark side of humanity, and my intention is to give the reader a roller coaster ride that will resonate long after the last word is read. I know that I am truly blessed to be permitted to work every day at what I most love and need to do. I think you appreciate it even more when you've had to go to those awful 9 to 5 jobs you hated, because the bills have to be paid. And I've had my share of them over the years -- hulling strawberries, waiting tables, grading eggs... (top that one). A couple of those jobs have left scars. I've been stalked by a psychotic customer when I was selling 'CAA'. (Canada's version of 'AAA'.) I've been chased around the desk by a so-called pillar of society while working as a secretary. But while I wouldn't want to repeat it, I wouldn't take back a single moment of any of it. All is 'grist' for the writer's mill.

The next best thing is hearing from my readers. You have been so generous in your comments, so kind to take the time in your own busy lives to write to me. Telling me that my novels kept you up all night, or that you couldn't put the book down is music to my ears, and keep me going in the dark times that come to all writers, while I find my way about in the unknown, unlit territory of that next book. 

In addition to her critically award-winning suspense novels including And Then he was Gone and The Deepest Dark, Joan Hall Hovey's articles and short stories have appeared in such diverse publications as The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, Seek, Home Life Magazine, Mystery Scene, The New Brunswick Reader, Fredericton Gleaner, New Freeman and Kings County Record. Her short story Dark Reunion was selected for the anthology investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.
Ms. Hovey has held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries in her area, including New Brunswick Community College, and taught a course in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. For a number of years, she has been a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.She is a member of the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers.
Her books are available at most online book stores, including Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and more.  Check out her website at
She lives in Saint John, NB, in an uptown building over 100 years old, with her cat Bella. Aside from writing (and reading of course) She enjoys playing piano and spending time with her grandson.  She is presently at work on her latest suspense novel.
Her novels include:
And Then he was Gone
The Deepest Dark
The Abduction of Mary Rose
Tragic Spawn
Night Corridor
Chill Waters
Nowhere To Hide
Listen to the Shadows

Buy Link:

Monday, October 8, 2018

Goddess Fish Promotions Anniversary

This time we welcome Goddess Fish Promotions, to celebrate their tenth year of helping authors succeed. This tour will take place each weekday from October 1-31, 2018. Marianne and Judy will be giving away a load of prizes!

For everyone: one $50 Amazon/Barnes&Noble GC, two $25 Amazon/BN GC's, two $10 Amazon/BN GC's. Please use the following code to place your comment:

For authors: two $10 GC for any Goddess Fish Promotions service, winner's choice of either a free blurb blitz (2 wk) or book blast (5 day), 50% off any tour (excludes review tour of full service tour), four free 25 page complete book edit, two winner's choice of teaser or social media cover graphic design. Please use the following link to place your comment:

About Goddess Fish Promotions

Welcome to the Goddess Fish Promotions Tenth Anniversary Month Long Celebration!

Who is Goddess Fish Promotions? And what do we do? We're glad you asked!

We didn't want your visit here to be dry and boring, so we decided to have a poetry competition and put what we do into verse. Here are the initial entries:


Roses are Red.
Violets are Blue.
I'm awful at poetry.


We can edit your book
find things you didn't see
It will be fun to look
at the changes from me.

Yeah, for some reason, Judy won!
Even better, her poem is correct. We DO offer editing as one of our options. Here are a couple of testimonials from clients:

I worked with Marianne on a complete edit and was very happy with the results. Her feedback was clear, easy to follow, and she probed on things I hadn’t thought of. She was also responsive whenever I had questions and helped me work through a few issues. Her feedback and guidance improved the quality of my manuscript, all at a very fair price. I’m working on my next book and plan to use their services again.

-J B Glazer, author, In Search of Mr. Anonymous

Choosing the right editor for a project is incredibly important to an author. Let’s face it, we want the best for our books. When I was considering editors for my first indie-published book, Regenerate, I naturally thought of Goddess Fish Promotions–and I’m so glad I did.

Marianne Arkins and Judy Thomas are incredibly attentive and professional during the entire editing process. Their input was invaluable and the story is much stronger because they cared enough to help unsnarl plot points and find order in the chaos..

I can’t wait to work with them again. Truly, a top-notch editorial team! – Sarita Leone, award-winning author of Regenerate

We also offer Virtual Book Tours, Graphic Design, Social Media Promotion and more. You can see more testimonials here.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little (more information is below) and we'd like to do the same. We'd LOVE to see a little poem that tells us a bit about you in the comments. We'll be awarding random book giveaways and $5 Amazon GCs to some of the best poetry we find. It might not be at every stop, but when something really makes us smile, we'll reward it! Come on, be daring...

And now, more about us:

About Goddess Fish Promotions

Goddess Fish Promotions was established October 14, 2008. Why? Well, when Marianne became a published author and got her the first taste of trying to promote a book on a budget, there was only one other virtual book tour company in place at the time, and their fees were simply too high for a small press author. After coordinating and running her own tour, she knew other authors could use the same service for a reasonable price. Thus, Goddess Fish Promotions was born.

Because both Judy and Marianne were authors and editors prior to running Goddess Fish Promotions, they approach the business with a unique point of view, and treat their clients how they would expect to be treated.

The people behind the fish

Judy Thomas

Judy has a college degree in English and she’s worked in retail, education, at her local library as well as an editor for a small press and for the now defunct ShadowKeep Ezine. She’s also a published author so can see things from both sides of the fence. In 2013, she “retired” and now spends her days helping authors make their dream come true—as well as working as much as she can with her local theater group.

Marianne Arkins

Grammar freak and coffee lover, Marianne wrote her first novel at ten years old, built her first commercial website in 2000, and published for the first time in 2006. She worked as a
professional editor for just over a year, and knows what it’s like to write, edit and promote a book on a budget.

Marianne's Top Five Romance Tropes

1. Friends to Lovers
2. Second Chance at Love
3. Enemies to Lovers
4. Gender role reversal.
5. Love Triangle.

Friends to lovers is hands-down my favorite because of the familiarity between the H/h and the unfamiliarity of their new feelings.  Written well, it’s so much fun to read.

Second chances are similar because the H/h are so familiar with each other, but have something to get past… whatever the reason for their original break up was.  Forgiveness is hard, but that tug of love is stronger.

Enemies to Lovers works well because it’s amazing to watch two people who apparently have less than nothing in common find their way past it because of an attraction that eventually becomes love.

Gender role reversal is fun to watch because our own expectations have to be flipped as well.  One of my own books includes this: a male chef and a female tow truck driver/mechanic.  I loved writing it.

Love triangle.  This one is tough. Written badly, they’re boring. When it’s clear there is only one good choice for the hero or heroine, it’s no fun to read. BOTH choices need to be viable.  I was a little disappointed in “the Hunger Games” when (::: SPOILER ALERT::: ) they made Gale no longer a good choice for Katniss.  It was a little redeemable when they didn’t have her immediately fall into Peeta’s arms, but instead let them get to know each other again, and slowly fall into love.

So there you have it. My own choices.  What are some of yours?


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