Monday, January 18, 2021

Living at the building site

Since our neighbor Willy died, his house has been standing empty for over a year. Then there was 'For Sale' sign for a while, but when I checked online, the sale was cancelled. That was last summer. Then just before the Christmas holidays some workers (Polish or such) began breaking and banging. When we returned from Heist after the holidays, it was quiet for a week (being from the Eastern European countries, they had to go in quarantine for a week) but last Monday work began anew

Sometimes the banging was so heavy our whole house was thrilling. We saw five loads of wood being caried away, and now there's already the second container for stone and sand. 

I tried to contact the municipal services for building permits. I had to try a couple of times, and at last got someone on the line this morning. They don't know anything about renovation at nr. 16 at this desk. No building permit is granted. And works such a these certainly need one! Now they are going to investigate - it's a bit difficult because nobody know who owns this house - and if they find out there will be heavy fines and perhaps an order to stop the work. 

I don't care. I have always done as was requested when I renovated. I paid a couple of times for a permit, and well enough, as you can always get into trouble when you don't. The last permit was for a drainage pipe to the city network. Cost me 600 €, just to allow the rain from my roof to go down. 

In the meantime, we're "enjoying" the drilling, the banging and shouting in some or other Easter European language....

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Without a Head

 Today we welcome M. Glenda Rosen, author of Without a Head, a mystery available now from Level Best Books. She's doing a virtual book blast tour, which will take place on January 11 - January 15.

M. Glenda Rosen will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Jenna Preston is used to investigating cheating spouses, fraud, and even a murder or two in her role as a private investigator. But she’s never consulted on a case quite like the one at Darcy’s Salon in East Hampton. A killer has struck and left behind a woman’s head in the upscale salon’s shampoo sink. 

As Jenna struggles to make sense of the what’s happened, she comes up against entitled and badly behaved beach dwellers, greedy parties with motives all their own, and the billion dollar beauty industry. With her loyal dog Watson at her side, Jenna pieces together clues and tracks down a killer who claims victims that are dying to be beautiful.


Saturday, as always was an exceptionally busy day, “in season” at Darcy’s Salon, which is why she had gotten there so early. She always wanted the salon looking perfect, ready for stylists and clients, who this day had appointments beginning at 7 am.

Located off the main avenue of this posh resort at the East End of Long Island, less than ninety miles from Manhattan, the salon was known for catering to the rich and famous, as well as some of wanna-be customers, primping for weekend parties and fundraising events. 

The salon was truly beautiful with warm color tones and soft matching leather client chairs facing gold (well, fake gold), trimmed mirrors. There was a reception area with the latest issues of fashion magazines from Paris and Rome, and a few of the more popular Hampton rags, like Dan’s Papers were spread out on a marble table, next to it a coffee machine offering gourmet flavored coffee and teas

Most of the women who came to Darcy’s Salon had plenty of money, some from their own success, although others were arm candy for much older, wealthy men. Sometimes one of them would joke (maybe not) that they were “Dying To Be Beautiful” like some of the famous models and celebrities, many of who summered in The Hamptons.

 “Jenna, you’ve seen how difficult and fussy they can be, and their egos—they’re constantly seeking confirmation of how beautiful they look. They want to come to a high-end salon, expecting to be treated like royalty. And believe me, we do.”

Author bio and links

Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is author of ten books including The Senior Sleuths and Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series and The Gourmet Gangster, Mysteries and Menus (with her son Jory Rosen). She is also author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award-winning My Memoir Workbook.  Marcia was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations agency, received numerous awards for her work on behalf of business and professional women and has given many presentations, now as Zoom Events, such as: Encouraging the Writer Within You, Writing A Mystery...Not A Mystery, Book Marketing with Zoom and Podcasts, Writing From Your Soul, Memoir Writing and The Senior Sleuths & Dying To Be Beautiful Mysteries. Member of Sisters In Crime, Southwest Writers, Central Coast Writers and Public Safety Writers Association. Board Member, 2021, National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.

Sample of Scheduled Zoom Programs: The National Steinbeck Center (6 week program on About Being an Author), Shelter Island Library, an hour marketing presentation. Public Safety Writer's Association Encouraging the Writer Within You, Central Coast Writers “About Being an Author,” Podcast Marketing for Southwest Writers, Murder on The Beach bookstore, Memoir Writing Sessions, Shelter Island and Westhampton Beach Library, “Writing Mysteries…Not A Mystery,” and other venues and topics for 2021.


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Sunday, January 10, 2021

The fight against covid-19

The corona virus is still pretty much present in our present-day life. It's especially bad in some parts of Europe and in the USA. Thousands of deaths each day. 

Here in Belgium we've advanced from the worst pupil in the class to one of the better. The number of hospitalisations is still decreasing and the number of deaths decreases as well. Perhaps because our government took measures in October already and allowed only one contact outside your family bubble. Restaurants, pubs, non-essential stores have been closed since then. Contact occupations (such as hairdressers, nail artists, sauna's, etc.) are forbidden, until further notice.

Also, vaccinations have now started in earnest. By the end of this month, all the inhabitants of homes for the elderly + their attendants will be vaccinated. In February doctors, nurses and all who work in care get their shot. In March they begin with people over 65 who are still living on their own and also those over 45 who suffer certain illnesses. In April they take those people who work in an essential occupation (firemen, police, teachers, ...) As of May they begin with the rest of the population (11 million Belgians) and hope to be ready by the end of summer.

I'll get my vaccination in the course of March. I'm looking forward to it, because it will allow me to travel once more. My sister should get hers in April. 

We have been given perspective once more. It will be safe to travel after summer, and hopefully we can get back to normal life as it was before corona governed the world!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

First Light in Morning Star

Please say hello to Charlotte Hubbard, author of an Amish inspirational romance. This romance is named First Light in Morning Star, and is available from Kensington Publishing as of December 29, 2020. Charlotte is now doing a virtual book blast tour to promote this publication. The Book Blast Tour will take place January 4 - 8, 2021. 

Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Founded by five enterprising Amish maidels, the new Morning Star Marketplace is a joyous success. What’s even more remarkable is the gift the business bestows upon each of these unmarried women—the unexpected blessing of love . . .


Leaving Flaud’s Furniture to teach at the community’s new school is a joy for Lydianne Christner. Old Order Amish, but new to Morning Star, she’s grateful that the congregation trusts her with the position—but she panics when handsome Bishop Jeremiah Shetler asks about the life she left behind. If anyone discovers the secret she’s hiding, she would, quite rightly, be shunned.


A widower, Bishop Jeremiah admires young Lydianne’s youthful energy and skill with the children. He’s also curious about her past, and the burden he senses on her heart. When his request to court her is refused, he’s stung, and lonelier than ever. It isn’t until a crisis prompts a tearful Lydianne to confess to him that Jeremiah is faced with a choice that requires all of his faith—and teaches them both that love and forgiveness go hand in hand.


“Miss Christner, we’re pleased to offer you this teaching position,” Bishop Jeremiah said as he grasped her hand, “and if you need time to consider your answer—”

“Oh, no, I’ll be happy to accept!” Lydianne interrupted gleefully. “Denki so much for considering my application. What I lack in experience, I’ll make up for with careful preparation and my love of learning. I won’t let you down.”

“That thought never entered our heads,” the bishop put in. “And with Lorena Flaud and Clarence’s Lucy being in their final year of school—and with their sisters right behind them—you’ll have plenty of eager assistance as you teach the youngest ones the basics of reading and arithmetic. I anticipate a productive—and fun—year for our scholars.”

“This is so exciting!” Lydianne said as she shook each man’s hand in turn. “Maybe this sounds silly, but I still love the smell of fresh packages of notebook paper and new bottles of glue, and the joy of opening a fresh box of crayons—thinking of all the drawings and reports and projects that lie ahead of us.”

As she left the schoolhouse and drove down the road, Lydianne floated on a cloud of euphoria. After she turned off the main county highway to head for home, she paused at the sight of a little blond girl chasing a butterfly on the front lawn of Tim and Julia Nissley’s place. With the sunshine shimmering on her golden hair and upturned face, six-year-old Ella Nissley looked for all the world like a little angel. Her laughter rang out as she ran and reached eagerly for the butterfly, followed closely by a little brown puppy that yipped and yapped

Lydianne’s heart overflowed with a wave of emotions. Her dream had come true: she would now be Ella’s teacher. But she would have to be very, very careful. Ella was the apple of her adoptive parents’ eyes, and Lydianne had no intentions of interfering with their happy family.

No one else, including Tim and Julia, knew that Ella was the newborn baby Lydianne had given up when she’d been an unwed mother.

Author bio and links

In 1983, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. She wrote around 70 of those confession stories, and she’s sold more than 50 books to traditional or online publishers. A longtime resident of Missouri, she’s currently writing Amish romances set in imaginary Missouri towns for Kensington. She now lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.


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Thursday, December 31, 2020

On to a better 2021

 On this last day of the year, I'd like to wish everybody who reads this blog all the best for the new year.

May 2021 bring you health, love, friendship, freedom to do as you like and go where you like, hug your family and friends, meet people without wearing a mouth mask.

May we go back to what life used to be, before corona. May we hope that this virus will be something of the past within a few months. The more people get vaccinated, the more chance is we'll get back to normal. 

Until then, keep it safe tonight.

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Calling

 Today we welcome Branwen Oshea, author of The Calling, a young adult science fiction available December 29, 2020 from Sigma Orionis Publishing. Branwen is doing a virtual book blast tour, which runs from December 28 to January 1, 2021.

Branwen will be awarding a prize pack of 1) one signed paperback, 2) one tote bag with the Finding Humanity series logo (Savas' Compass) and 3) two different bookmarks for The Calling, one sined by the author to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Humanity’s wake-up call. Answer it or face extinction.


When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.


Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared. But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.


But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.


A bloodcurdling howl pierced the darkness nearby. He startled, and the rover lurched to the side, the treads grinding against the ice. In all his years of secret studies, he’d never considered studying animal vocalizations. Anything, including the Undescended, could be making the howls beyond the range of his snow rover’s headlights. As much as he had longed for this world, he was lost here.

As he scanned the inky horizon, a large dark blob drew his gaze to an elevated area of ice. Did it move? He narrowed his eyes, straining to confirm reality. Just get to the camp. Just get to the camp.

It moved.

“Base, something’s out here…pacing on a hill above me. I’m maintaining course, but I’m going to have to pass below it. Should I change course?”

“You heard Commander Savas. Shoot it as soon as it’s in range. Continue course.”

“Continue course. Got it, sir.” Bleu hastily checked his gun, wishing for Stamf’s longer-range rifle. It’s not close enough yet… 

His hand tightened on his gun. I don’t even know what it is, and I have to kill it? The rover sped along as his indecision churned within him. Trust your instincts, Bleu, his mother had said. It lured us, Savas had said.

In his mind, Bleu replayed Neviah’s terrifying video footage. That creature could be stalking him right now. Orders were orders. He raised his gun. 

Author bio and links

As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.





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Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas at the coast

Since long we won't be spending the Christmas holidays anywhere abroad. Last winter we were in Egypt, the one before in Mexico and the years before in Hungary, Denmark and Great-Britain. Now we're following the advice not to travel (won't do this before I get vaccinated) and have just taken the train to Knokke-Heist.

A stay at the coast is always something of a holiday. You have the fresh sea air, walks on the beach or in the dunes, cycling through the hinterland. The only negative is that restaurants and caf├ęs are still closed. So you can't venture too far away in case you need the toilet... for which the only place is home.

I suppose it will be pretty busy here anyways. Lots of second-home owners will arrive this evening or tomorrow and when the weather is nice, lots of day tourists as well. Knokke-Heist has the most second homes of the whole Belgian coast. You could say we make their living and pay their taxes - inhabitants of Knokke-Heist don't have to pay city tax because the income of the tax on second homes is high enough (goes into the millions).

My sister is still at work. She had two online meetings today, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. That last one should be finished by 3.30 pm so with a bit of luck she can get the 16.02 train to Ghent and from there the 17.02 to Knokke.

For both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve we've ordered take-away dinners. It's nice not having to cook on these occasions. We'll celebrate just the two of us, and although we're sisters we never hug or kiss, so that makes us less vulnerable of catching corona.

Hopefully the weather is somewhat nice the coming week and the next one. When it's dry you can go outside for a walk or a ride. Otherwise we have to keep busy by making some new furniture (Chris wants to redo a little sideboard because she's not happy with the present one). 

Happy holidays!