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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hey, Joey Journal

Meet Colleen June Glatzel, one of my fellow authors at Rogue Phoenix Press. To celebrate the release of her novel, Colleen is doing a virtual book tour. She'll be giving away a digital copy of this book to one randomly drawn commenter.



Blurb

After the psychologically scarring death of her father, wild child Rosie Dwyer is introduced to journal keeping. She initially considers this writing form to be cliché. Before the death, Rosie valued chaos and rebellion- from “protest-peeing” in class to shoving a Twinkie in a classmate’s eye. However, once Rosie gives into this mode of writing, a cathartic obsession begins.


Her entries often focus on her childhood enemy, Logan Fields, after he becomes Rosie’s permanent peer editor in creative writing class. While Rosie loses touch with both loved ones and reality, an unlikely friendship builds between her and Logan. Together, they must try to find the meaning behind insanity- in the school theatre, in the public library, and in the middle of a false Apocalypse.

Excerpt

August 17, 2012

Hey, Journal,

That “Dear journal” shtick is overused, so I’ll address you with the word “hey.” Hey, journal. I usually write exclusively on scraps of paper. Underneath my bed is my literature’s habitat and the paragraphs are seldom about anything. Last year, I discussed career goals with my high school’s counselor. Once my writing aspirations were revealed, Counselor became giddy and asked about my writing style. She said, “I’d love to hear about it, Rosie.”

“It’s disorganized,” I said. Then she handed me this ginormous journal and I witnessed a disgusting “I’m-a-cool-adult” wink.

This is the first time I’ve cracked you open.

Time seems to have decelerated. The slowing of time is the only gift August 2012 has coughed up. There’s been a drought, among other eyesores. I’m beneath our backyard’s oak tree, its gargantuan arms stretching far, shade encompassing the entire lawn. Many leaves are dehydrated. It’s as pleasant to lie beneath as Magic Mike is to watch. Allow me to explain that analogy. The film’s previews had me expecting a rollicking rom-com...something less serious. It differed from the ads. Still, every scene featuring scantily clad men made it worth the cash. That’s what happened with this shade. I’m below it, experiencing a full body itch, but it could be worse. Due to lacking rain, the ground isn’t summer turf in the slightest. Imagine wearing a pantsuit crafted out of hay and sandpaper. The shade is nice, though. Makes me able to bear my eyes being open.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. I kid you not, as I placed the period after “open,” a bird landed in my eye line and inched toward me. Soon, it was atop this journal. I thought, Birds are flighty. Timid. Not this one. Its eyes were a familiar mess. I was confronted by the undeniable fact that birds were my dad’s favorite animal. I blinked, eyelids capturing wetness and holding it hostage. Moisture subsided and the bird was all kinds of nowhere.

I wonder what it would be like to sprout wings. To be gone. My pencil is begging me to release it from my monstrous grip and my legs are screaming, “Let us run far away, Rosie.”

I’ll do what I do best and let my impulses win. Run until I get scared and retreat. Run until I realize it’s not the same as flying. Run.


August 18, 2012

Hey, Journal,

I’m not counting the days that have passed since it happened. When a person starts counting the days following an event, it becomes part of a timeline. Then, by consequence, it is cemented in reality. I’m fortunate. My brain is still too immobilized to visualize random numbers floating in space. I’m unable to make numbers relate to each other, events, time or anything at all. Because of this, I don’t know how long it’s been since he died. It’s messed up, but I prefer this ambivalent uncertainty.

I’ll speak of something I know for sure. Today’s bike ride destroyed me. August is going too fast. It’s only the 18th, but it feels like the month is nearing its conclusion. The weather is far too chilly, honestly. Deflated bike tires carried me down the sidewalk of my street. I normally ride in the road, but I haven’t been in the mood to care about the well-being of pedestrians lately. Those tires were spinning, moving like the earth’s orbit around the sun, constant and circular, at least seemingly so. Home was in sight. My eyes were on the trees above. I was gliding. Gliding. The leaves were rustling. The world was unsettled. God attached a handle to the South Pole, stuffed the globe full of beads and shook this planet like a giant rattle. God’s infant-like cries resonated and the wheels came to a screeching halt, all because the malicious fates placed a tiny, dauntless bird on the sidewalk of Kale Avenue. I ran over the motionless bird. Accidentally. Then I pried my fluttering hand from my mouth and threw my wheels into the street. Seconds later, a police car demolished the bike and veered to the roadside.

Fun.

The uniformed man shot out of his vehicle, completely uncentered. There was a restricting quality to his aura, accompanied by an unprecedented ability to snap. Light brown is the color of a traditional rubber band, and when it comes to auras, it’s a color associated with discouragement. His body language was discouraging me the second he exited the car.

No, I’m not a psychic. I don’t see colors framing the forms of people. However, I do see people for who they are and enjoy describing this reality I perceive with the same language aura seers use. I heard all about auras growing up under the care of parents who lived to study metaphysical concepts. Much of the gobbledygook they taught me is too much for my logical brain to handle. Both my parents underwent past life regression, for example. Listening to my dad talk about his life as a Vietnamese peasant girl creeped me out. But auras? I was somehow able to get on board.

While laying eyes on me, the uniformed man eased. He’s one of the cops who came when my dad’s body wasn’t doing things it should be doing. Like, you know…living. I was the girl the cops found in the disheveled garage, after I found… Nope. No. Nope.




Author bio and links

Colleen June Glatzel is a writer from Waukesha, WI. She writes mostly fiction, but is interested in exploring other categories now that her first book, Hey, Joey Journal, is published. When Colleen isn’t writing, she deals antiques, acts, performs improv comedy, makes collages, paints and spends time with her family.


Social media:

Blog: http://fictionfortunesfinds.tumblr.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fictionfortunesfinds

Monday, September 18, 2017

Belgian team into Davis Cup Final!

The Davis Cup is a tennis competition between countries. More than 130 countries from all over the world compete in this, already since 1900. Each year the 16 countries in the World Group fight each other; the rest of the countries plays in the regional zones (the America's, Asia/Oceania, Europe/Africa). Belgium made it into the World Group.

What a great stunt of our tennis men yesterday! Despite a 1-2 score against Australia (team leader: Leyton Hewitt) our two best players managed to win their individual matches - and in a great way. David Goffin and Steve Darcis did what the nation expected of them, and won. Goffin even played his best match ever!


So now they are once more into the final of the Davis Cup. This is the third time already, after 1904 and 2015. The team works well under the lead of captain Johan Van Herck, who managed to bring a good atmosphere inside the group. He's also fluent in both Flemish and French.

The opponent this time is France, which won against Serbia. They already won the Davis Cup 9 times, the last time in 2001.

As France is quite near to Belgium, lots of tennis fans will try to attend this final, which will take place during the last weekend of November. They'll be ready to cheer their team forward, and of course we hope to win the cup. It would be a great prestation for our little country.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September: a month full of events

Following a yearlong tradition, the month of September here in Belgium is one for active weekends. Every weekend, there is something to do - at least if you are inclined to.

It already starts with the first weekend of September. That's the weekend reserved for a happening around the city of Brussels. People can go walking or cycling around the perimenter of town, and of course there is enough to eat and drink, as well as entertainment by groups and artists. The event originated from the Flemish-speaking citizens of Brussels, who wanted to let their presence be noted (in Brussels people mainly speak French, although it's supposed to be bilingual).

The second weekend of the month is Open Monument Day (see one of my previous blogs). A chance to visit places that are not open for public or where you have to pay entrance fees otherwise.

This weekend (the third one) is Car-Free Day and also Harbor Day. Especially the last is interesting. You can go to the harbors of Ghent, Antwerp or Zeebrugge, and enter ships, make trips around the harbor, climb on a crane and help to move a container from the quayside to the ship, ....


And the last weekend of September is also a good one! Then it's Customer's Day in most shops. Which means if you buy something there, you also get a nice present from the shopkeeper. Like if you buy a bread, you'll get some chocolates from the baker. Shops where you buy a lot will even give you a more expensive present.

So when the weather co-operates, you have excuse not to leave your house on these weekends!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Should parents control their kid's online presence?

A research report, published lately, tells us that more than 50% of the parents control - by any means or other - their offspring's presence on the net. I spy, with my little eye.


Is that good or bad? I never had kids of myself, but spent my career in teaching. Imo it's wrong to spy on your children.

When my sister and I were kids, we were given rules by our parents - and we were also told what the world was about. We left the house for hours at an end, and I suppose our parents didn't have a clue as to what we were doing. We were trusted to do the right thing, and we knew we could always talk to our parents when something happened.

So I think parents can better spend time to make their kids understand that some care needs to be used in online presence. You can't deny it exists anymore. But why not warn your kids about the risk they are taking? Fifty years ago, we were told never to accept sweets from a stranger, or not to go with them when they promised us a toy. It's the same now. The bad guys are also on the web, but if you take care you can avoid being choses as their victim.

And you should also make kids aware that presence on the web is not everything! I remember a conversation I had with one of my ex-students. She was a beautiful girl, ripe beyong her age. She alway put up sexy pictures of herself on Instagram - and then she was surprised she got all kind of messages from guys who wanted to meet her! I explained it was partly her own fault. I advised her to only put up pictures decently dressed and not in sexy poses. The pestering stopped.

I think that young girls and boys must learn to follow their own mind, and not so much follow what other think or do. We've been raised that way, and it still comes in handy.

What's your take on this?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Planning is half the fun

Both my sister and I LOVE making plans! We plan our trips always a year ahead, for instance. Or discuss how we are going to decorate and paint the living room, hallways etc.

We find that making - and changing constantly - all of these plans is a lot of fun. Don't you agree? The wonderful thing about a plan is that you can change it as much as you like - and sometimes, when you realized your plan, you already start thinking of how to make it better still....

For 2018, we've more or less planned our trips - leaving space for some surprise trips (you never know when something comes up). And planning doesn't have to cost you. Although we make reservations and buy airplane tickets, we see to it we can cancel at any time without having to pay. Agreed, it will cost you a bit more, but in the chance that something wrong comes your way (like my surgery in July) you are glad you can have your airfare back and not having to spend a dime on your hotel.

The redecoration of our living room has been postponed to next summer. Normally we should have done it this summer, but fate decided otherwise. I couldn't do much after my surgery. But this means we can reconsider our color scheme... It has already changed a couple of time, but in the end we'll have to decided on a color. May be white (or off-white, light grey, ... Should go with the furniture and the curtains, because they are still in good shape.

Well, we'll see!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Unchartered Waters

Meet author Micah Persell, who's doing a virtual book blast tour for Uncharted Waters from Simon and Schuster's Crimson Romance line. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Monday, September 11, 2017.



Micah 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:

Blurb

When a hermit and a scientist are snowbound in a cabin in the woods, the sparks they generate just might melt it all down in this scorching and sensual romance.

Scientist Bethany Morgan discovers the schematics to a world-changing recycling system that will help her realize her greatest dream: providing clean water to the world. The only problem? She must track down the creator, a Dr. Anderson, to help her complete the prototype, and he’s been missing for decades.

James Anderson has clung to the quiet, pain-free existence he’s made in the mountains since his father’s death years ago. But when the determined scientist he rescued gets snowed in at his cabin for an undetermined time, his world is turned upside down...


Excerpt

Her pillow would not stop wiggling. She gritted her teeth, furrowing her brow. Cracking one eye, she found herself staring at flannel. A short distance away, her hand lay sprawled across a row of buttons. As she watched, her hand rose and fell.

Ah, not a pillow, then. James.

She opened her other eye and raised her head a bit, gazing down at their bodies. She was all over him, plastered against his side with her arm across his chest and her leg across his thighs.

She didn’t know what had happened to James’s fastidious blanket wall, but she’d probably had something to do with its demise. She craned around enough to look over her shoulder without relinquishing her hold on her lumberjack pillow.

The blanket was on the floor beside the bed.

Author bio and links

Micah Persell lives in Southern California with her husband, 1.7 children, and menagerie of pets. She writes romance with strong women, smart minds, and scorching love. Visit her online at www.micahpersell.com , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MicahPersell and on Twitter @MicahPersell.


Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Uncharted-Waters-Micah-Persell-ebook/dp/B073BMXKTR

Simon & Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Uncharted-Waters/Micah-Persell/9781507206119 Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/uncharted-waters-10

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Open Monument Day

Tomorrow, lots of monuments can be visited for free. It's the biggest cultural event of the year, and they are already into their 29th edition.



Here in our region, you can take a ride (for free) on an old steam train, between Dendermonde and Puurs where the old train line ran. While you're there you can also visit the old Cockerill factory, where these old steamtrains were made.


You hear the train coming from far! And see the black smoke. All the birds in the neigborhood will fly away when that steam train is coming. But hey, I can still remember the times when they rode past our house every day. That's what getting older means. You know a lot more than the youngsters (although you feel young yourself).

Our town has a lot to offer, so when the weather is not too bad we're sure to visit some of the sights, like the Belfry and Old Cloth Hall, the Meat Hall and the ancient Our Lady's Church with its baptism fountain in Roman style (I was baptised at it).