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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The need to explore

The older I get, the more I feel the need to explore as much as I can. Normal, I presume, as you're advancing on in age and are not sure when it will end...

That way, we like to plan trips and do as many as we can afford. We don't need to save up for our children, as we don't have any, nor have grandchildren. Neither is one of us godmother. And the state should get all our money if we are gone; they've robbed us enough (know that half of our wages goes to taxes and social security). We do keep a small reserve for emergencies, but the rest goes to travel.

We have always liked to explore the world around us. First Europe with our parents, then stretching our wings and flying to North and South America, to Asia and Africa. Recently, we undertook a trip to Argentina, and we've already booked a trip to the United Arab Emirates for next year, while already thinking about going to Mexico the year after. In between we do smaller trips, like the one coming up to Poland. Our neighbor is Polish born, and he talks a lot about his home country. That made us want to see it personally. So we're off to Krakow, which is one of the main cities in Poland. It's an old town with a lot of history, especially because to the German concentration camps. We are going to visit Auschwitz and also the salt mines not far off.

When I find the time (!) I'll post a short blog about our experiences there and then later on a full report on my travel blog - http://nickiestravelblog.blogspot.com

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Debra Holt books

Today, my guest is author Debra Holt, who's doing a book blast tour for three of her publications:
Mercy’s Rescue from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina’s, Love Beneath the Blue Texas Sky from Kindle Direct Publishing, and His Country Bride from Tulip Romance Publishing, all available now.


Ms. Holt will be awarding a $10 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

Mercy’s Rescue   


Fighting for his life after an ambush, Sheriff Josh Wellman awakes to find himself looking into the eyes of a real-life angel of mercy. Despite his groggy condition, he knows his life has changed the instant their hands touch. Devastating heartbreak has left Mercy Smith's faith in tatters, her heart guarded against more loss. Her dedication to the air evac trauma team she leads has insulated her from the realities of the earth below, so now Josh faces the biggest challenge of his life. Can he find a way around the walls that fortify her heart and convince this angel to stay on the ground with him? Can Mercy open herself to life again and find a way to restore her faith in God ... as well as love?


Love Beneath the Blue Texas Sky 
  

J.D. Sterling shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned… not as the poor country boy who left to follow his dream, but as country music’s sexy superstar. He has everything he always wanted except for the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.

Years come and go and people change. Amanda Lawson has grown up. From heartbreak and struggling to survive to becoming a successful businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. Once before, she had survived the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. Then he left her behind with nothing but his hollow vows and a shattered heart.

Mandy was his muse. J.D. was her dream. But tragedy and broken vows can be insurmountable obstacles. Can they find their way home to each other again… or is it too late?


His Country Bride 


"Sheriff's Department! Raise your hands above your head and don't move."

She’s a runaway bride who left her two-timing fiance at the altar. He’s a county sheriff determined to keep the peace in his country and leave city girls alone after his own fiance left him for the bright lights of the city. Neither of them planned on running straight into each other...over a burning wedding dress.

Ellie and Lucas planned on never trusting their hearts to love again. When danger follows her from the city, the sheriff must do his duty to protect her. However, it isn’t long before he discovers the real danger may be to his heart. Ellie just might teach him that even a city girl can be a country girl at heart.



Excerpt  (from His Country Bride)

Lucas set the extinguisher on the ground and used a couple of fingers to push the hat back on his forehead, hands on his hips, obviously considering the options before him. “Do you have any other clothing with you, ma’am?” A furrowed brow preceded her reply. “Why are you calling me ‘ma’am? I’m not that old. And just who are you, anyway?” “Lucas McCann. I’m the sheriff of Joshua County, which is where you are at the moment. I use respectful manners and call you ‘ma’am because I don’t know your name.

The woman turned in a huff and stomped toward the porch steps behind them. Perhaps stomped wasn’t the right description Lucas amended, as he folded his arms across a broad chest and watched her negotiate the uneven stones of the walkway leading up to the porch...all in her ridiculously high heels. Of course, the sight of those long, tanned legs and spiky heels caused a definite stirring in his midsection. That realization made his jaw set harder as he sought for the calm control he always demonstrated when performing his duties-that is, until he came across her. 

A slow shake of his head. “I have to hand it to you, lady. You’re one cool customer, under the circumstances. You also may be used to giving orders to people wherever you come from, except there’s on problem with that at this moment. You’re in my county now. Here, I give the orders and as a general rule, people follow them.”

Author bio and links

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!). 
When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance...Janet Dailey's Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles...and sighs...to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.  
Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com.  She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBookss
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/DebraHoltBooks
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/debra+holt

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Weekend at the coast

After all the misery of late, it's nice to spend a weekend away from home. We're at the coast right now, and enjoying it. This afternoon, we've been on a shopping spree as it is Nina Day (this is a magazine, which is published once a week and given with the weekend edition of the largest national newspaper of Flanders). With the Nina card, you get 20, even 30% off the prices at certain shops.

So of course we couldn't resist and went looking for new things. I need to buy a lot of new clothes anyway, as I've lost quite some weight and nothing fits me anymore. I found two lovely 3/4 pants and Chris also bought one - plus a very chique blouse and a new handbag.

Later on tonight, we're going out to dine and tomorrow we'll enjoy a lazy breakfast, before going out for a nice walk on the beach.

The weather is improving, after a couple of days which were not so good, and tomorrow should be all sunny and warm.

Not long now before the long summer vacations start. Chris doesn't have to work in July and August, so that's fun. When she too goes on her pension, we'll be able to travel out of tourist season. Plane tickets and hotels can get a lot cheaper when kids are at school. Not fair, but that's the way it is.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sorry!

I know, I've been neglecting my blog for some time already. To my defense, I can say I haven't had a lot of time. I'm running from one doctor's appointment to another hospital visit, and in between I need to do my ordinary chores (a pensioner doesn't have a lot of spare time, right?).

These past weeks, ever since our return from Buenos Aires, have been quite something. Thinking I was completely healthy, I now know that a) I do have diabetes, b) I have a cyste at the base of my throat, and c) there are also some cysts around my right kidney. Well, as long as none of these cysts is malignant, there is no real worry.

Today's medicine can keep the diabetes under control (especially when the patient takes the pills/insuline in a correct way and pay attention to the way of living) and the throat cyste can be taken away by relatively innocent operation. My GP says cysts around the kidney are fairly common, and most of the time don't need special attention.

Tomorrow is my last scan for the time being, and hopefully after that I can lead my normal life once more.

I promise to write more often then!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lyrical Press Historical Romances

Today features Lyrical Press, which is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for two of its publications: Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel and Knight Secrets by C.C. Wiley - both historical romances available now.



The authors will be awarding a digital copy of both of the books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please make use of the following link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2258/


Blurb

Foolish Bride

Sadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true?

Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancĂ©, will tell her why.

Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?



Knight Secrets

Sworn to protect the crown, a Knight of the Swan must never surrender—not even to love . . .

England, 1415. Ordered never to leave the lonely tower on her family estate, Lady Clarice Margrave is suddenly set free when her home is plundered. Now she is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s alleged treason. But an act of daring only propels her into a new
prison, with the very knight who destroyed her home as her keeper. Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, is ruthless in his inquisition, though there is a searing tenderness in his touch. Is it possible her bold jailor is the Red Wolf of whom her father spoke—and the one man she might be able to trust?

As a knight, Ranulf never questions his troth, but his beautiful prisoner stirs his heart and mind like no other. Clarice is achingly vulnerable—and extremely closed-mouth about her possible ties to the plot against the king. Duty demands he keep his distance, though he yearns to take her to his bed and adore her until he discovers what lies within her heart. And he would—if he weren’t in danger of losing his own . . .


Excerpt (out of Foolish Bride)

Her heart beat wildly. “But is that not why you pursued me?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “I will not deny I came to London this season because I needed to marry to restore the money that my father squandered.” He kissed her cheek. “I had every intention of finding a rich bride to enable that plan.” He kissed her other cheek. “Then I met you, and you were the perfect solution to my problems.”

She tried to pull away,  but he held her close and kissed her lips. It was only a peck, but the thrill of it traveled to her toes and hit everywhere in between.

His body filled all her curves as he hugged her and spread kisses along her cheek and neck. “I knew you were the one, Elinor. So beautiful, charming, and sweet, I could not resist you. I want to be worthy of your love, and in the weeks we courted, I found a way to get enough money to repair my country home and still have enough to make a good start of the marriage. I made the deal on some grain. It will take a bit of time for my plans to pan out, but in a couple of months, I should be able to show your father that I am worthy of you.”

Author bio

A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.



Author Links:
Website: http://www.asfenichel.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/A.S.Fenichel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/asfenichel

Buy the book:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781601839657
Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781601839657?uo=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781601839657&c=books
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9781601839657
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/9781601839657
 

C.C. Wiley is a longstanding member of the Romance Writers of America, and a published author with Samhain Publishing. She lives in Salt Lake City with her high school sweetheart of over 35 years and their four wacky dogs. When given a choice, she prefers a yummy, well-written, historical or contemporary romance that is chock-full of hope, love and a Happy Ever After. She believes there are wonderful courageous characters waiting for someone to tell their story. It's her hope that each adventurous romance she writes will touch the reader and carry them away to another place and time, where hopes and dreams abound.



Author Links:
Website: https://ccwiley.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CCWileyAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCCWILEY
 
Buy the book:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781516101009
Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781516101009?uo=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781516101009&c=books

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9781516101009

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/9781516101009 

Original birthday wishes

It's my birthday today, and no, I'm not fishing for compliments. Just wanted to share what a nice surprise my sister had for me!

I normally expect a (rather original) birthday card from her, but this time she's overdone herself. Believe it or not, but this morning I received an e-card for my 61st year, where no-one else than Michael Bolton sang Happy Birthday for me.

We met up with Michael Bolton last year in Venice, where he joined a boat trip to the isles of Murano and Burano. He didn't say who he was, but we could derive it from what he said. When you think you're not recognized, you let your guard down and let slip some things you shouldn't have. Well, we did as if we didn't know him either, and had rather a nice chat with him. He kept our company all during the trip, which was rather flattering.

Anyone else sharing this birthday, May 15th?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekend coming up

Once more it's Friday afternoon, and soon the weekend will start anew. Not a trip to London this time, just stay quietly at home. You need some rest, after all. And my sister has a pretty strenuous job. This is once more a period when the workload seems to pile up and she's trying to beat it. I'll be happy when she doesn't have to work anymore, because sometimes I think she's going to have a fit.

The weather forecast is not too bad. Since the last couple of days, the cold has finally left us and the days are mostly sunny and warm now. We had a heavy thunderstorm yesterday evening, but we didn't have to go anywhere, so no problem.

For tomorrow and the day after, the weather should be rather nice. Perhaps we can try out the new terrace set I bought. A barbecue wouldn't be bad. Chris suggested we'd do something special, as my birthday is coming up. I'll be 61 this year - getting on in age.

We could also do some work outside now. The terrace needs cleaning after a long winter and the walls of the house could use some paint. We"ll see what we do.

Enjoy your weekend!