Monday, December 30, 2013

What does 2013 remind you of?

The year is coming towards its ending, and soon we'll be thinking back of what happened in 2013- and what it meant to us.

I'm sure it will mean something different for everybody who reads this. So it would be interesting to find out what exactly.

For me 2013 will be the year I finally knew my heart was still working fine. I've had some worries concerning, but a couple of check-ups and scans later the heart surgeon could tell me my heart sometimes beats too fast, but it gets enough rest when I'm sleeping. He told me to avoid stress situations as much as possible and not worry about the rest. I've taken his advice to heart (!) and since then my heartbeat is reasonably low.

For the rest, nothing much. We had a very harsh winter, with lots of snow and ice, and also a warm and sunny summer. Who could wish for more?

We got a new pope and a new king. Filip seems to be doing very well, and is a lot more modern than his father, king Albert II.

But what I'll remember most is that 2013 is the year in which we went abroad 8 times! We made trips to Switserland, to Wales, to Liverpool, to Manchester, to Scotland, to Portugal and finally to Birmingham. We saw Barry Gibb (of the Bee Gees) perform for the first time since long in the UK and we also saw some great musicals, with Marti Pellow and Michael Ball - and we had the chance to talk to both gentlemen.

So what about you?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday fun about New Year's Eve

As I probably won't have the time (nor the intention to) on New Year's Eve itself - I'll be busy watching the fireworks, to mention one - here are some funny thoughts and quotes about the end of the year.

To begin with...

On New Year's Eve, a woman named Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing newt to the one person who made hislife worth living.
As the clock struck twelve the bartender was almost crushed to death.

Some quotes...

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. - Mark Twain

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. - Bill Vaughn

God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. - Author Unknown

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. - W.H. Auden

Saturday, December 28, 2013

FDT: Macaronitaart op grootmoeders wijze

For the holiday season, I'd like to introduce you to another of our typical Flemish goodies: a macaroni pudding like grandma made. A beloved dessert, which everyone likes!

What do you need?

75 gram of macaroni
50 gram of sugar
half a liter of milk
25 gram of vanilla pudding powder
half of a bag of vanilla sugar
1 spoonful of raisins
a little bit of butter

How to go ahead?

1. Warm up your oven to 200° Celsius

2. Put some milk into a cup and stir vanilla powder through it.

3. The rest of the butter is brought to cooking with the raisins, the sugar and vanilla sugar and the butter.

4. When the milk is cooking you add the macaroni and wait until it's ready.

5. Bind with vanilla pudding powder solved in milk.

6. Pour the mixture into an ovendish and leave it in the oven for 20 minutes.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Nickie's Ten Questions to Aaron Paul Lazar

When you read this blog on a regular basis, you'll remember Paul Lazar did a virtual book tour some while ago, to promote his newest novel The Seacrest.

This time, I've asked Paul some questions, and here are his answers:

1)      How did you come to writing?

Nickie, I’ve always loved writing, and had this idea that some day I’d write a mystery series much like the books I loved growing up. I used to devour John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, Agatha Christie, PD James, Rex Stout, and so many more. But my father died in 1997 and it really threw me for a loop, because I’d just lost seven other people in my life – family and friends alike. So I needed “something,” and writing provided a nice therapy. I never expected I would have finished twenty-one books by now!

2)      Did you complete a full novel at your first try?

I got about halfway through writing Double Forté when I just stopped and gave up for a while. Then my mom—who’d been reading along with me as I wrote each chapter-- called and said she really wanted to know what was going to happen to Gus LeGarde. I picked up the book again and started writing in earnest in 2001. When it was done, I wrote another five books in the series within the next year or two – I couldn’t stop!

3)      How do you get along, when planning and writing a book?

I usually start with a general idea of setting, plot, and characters. Once I put fingers to keyboard, much changes, and it’s almost as if the characters take over! Many times my plots get twisted up and change significantly once I actually start writing. It’s a strange process, but it works for me!

4)      How many publishers did you contact before your first novel was published?

Wow – it was such a long time ago I hardly remember that long ago, LOL. I did have two agents at one point, who failed to place my book(s). My first publisher for Double Forté and Upstaged was sort of a self-publishing company. I didn’t have to pay a penny to get the book out, but it wasn’t considered a “real” publishing company by many. I eventually landed a great gig with Twilight Times Books, and all my mysteries and writing books are now with them.

5)      How important are your readers to you?

 I love my readers! They make it all worthwhile. They are incredibly important. The best part of being a
 writer is connecting with my readers. ;o) I always answer their emails personally, and feel honored when 
they take the time to write to me about my books!

6)      What is your favorite genre in books?


7)      Some say men can’t write romance. You do. Care to share your insights on this topic?

Heh, I wasn’t sure if I could, either. But I wanted to write a love story, more than a romance. So I started out with that in mind, and I guess it seems to have worked. I don’t think you have to be a woman to know what is romantic, what is love, how hard it is to win love or keep love alive… you just need to have lived life! My love married me 32 years ago and is still by my side, so I have good experience with that!

8)      How much of your personality and your personal life in weaved into your stories?

A great deal. My environment is almost always in the books (whether it’s the Genesee Valley, Cape Cod, Europe, Maine, or the Adirondacks). I base my characters on many qualities I’ve seen and loved in others. And also make up a fair amount. In my LeGarde Mysteries I based several people on grandparents I’d loved and lost, and that was actually quite comforting to me. It was like I had little “visits” with them when I wrote about them!

9)      You have won many awards already. How does that feel?

Nickie, it feels validating, it really does. Because no matter how many awards you win, many writers are still craving validation. Strange, huh? I still wonder sometimes if I’m a “real” writer. ;o)

10)      What do you like to read privately?

I love Alan Bradley’s Flavia DeLuce mysteries, Stephanie Osborne’s Displaced Detective series, and all of the books by Dick Francis. My all time favorite writer is John D. MacDonald.

Thanks for having me here today, Nicky! It was a great pleasure. ;o) If folks want to check out my books, they are all at

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to everyone

To all those who read my blog, I want to wish a Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful feast with all those you love and lots of presents - the best being a good health and joy in life.

With all my best wishes,


Monday, December 23, 2013

Doing the Christmas shopping

This morning, we went to our usual supermarket Delhaize to buy everything for the coming feast. Man, how crowded it was! Lots of people hanging around, not able to decide what to buy and of course always in your way...

We entered the shop around 9.30 am and only arrived home after 11.30 am. (And the walk home only takes 5 minutes.)

Our fridge is well filled now. And yet we don't plan anything sumptuous. We'll have an appetizer of oysters (just on ice, with a bit of lemon and some black pepper) and a glass of champagne, then lamb steak with a soft honey sauce, accompanied by sauteed potatoes and caramelised chicory. With this we'll have a glass of a nice red wine. Then afterwards some truffels, which we can eat while watching the Christmas program on tv.

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A guide for the perfect Christmas gift

What can you give:

* a man? Something that can be assembled, fixed, eaten, or played with.

* a woman? Something that can be related to.

* a child? Something that can be broken, eaten, or played with.

* a teacher? Something with class.

* a dog? Something that can be chewed, eaten or chased.

* a dentist? Something that be can drilled, filled or pulled.

* a postal worker? Something that can be licked or stamped.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

FC De Kampioenen

Has been a very long time ago, but this afternoon we went to the cinema to see the film of FC De Kampioenen (FC The Champions). It's based on the tv sitcom which has been running for ages and still gets the highest viewer figures after the 20th repeat!

It's the story of the member of a village soccer team. They play in an obscure class and almost never win a match. The keeper, Xavier, loves his pints more than trying to keep the ball out... He is married to Carmen. They don't have kids, but Carmen has a little dog, Nero, which she treats as her little boy. The trainer is the sports teacher at school and he still believes he can tell everyone what to do on the field. He lives with Dora but up to now they haven't married, although Doortje desperately wants to.

The team gets together in café De Kampioenen, run by Pascale. Her ex-husband was the first trainer of the team. Now she is together with Maurice, who is a knight (a real one) and has a castle somewhere, although he pretends to be an ordinary carpenter. Pascale has an adult daughter from her first marriage, Bieke, who is married to Mark(ske) - in Flemish this the 'ske' means 'little one'. Mark never seems to grow up, and does everything wrong. Still he is sympathetic and gets most fanmail;

The sponsor or the soccer team is Balthazar Boma, who makes sausages in his factory - sausages that nobody wants to eat.

Across from the football fiels, there is a garage. It was owned by DDT (Dimitri De Tremmerie) who wants the soccer players gone. Now Dimitri is in jail and his place is rented by 'antique' dealer Fernand Costermans.

It's very basic humor, but everyone in Belgium can recognize him or herself in one of the characters. This is what makes the series so great.

And now there the film. FC De Kampioenen is invited to play a football match in the south of France. You can imagine what will happen there...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nickie's Ten Questions to Ken Bruen

Hello everyone! Today I have the pleasure of having Ken Bruen (pronounced: Brewing) as a guest to answer my ten questions. Ken latest Jack Taylor novel has just been published, by the way. It’s titled Purgatory.

I can strongly advice reading the Jack Taylor books. Taylor is a detective, but not the ordinary sort. He’s often bad tempered, has a alcohol problem and doesn’t seem to be able to have a normal relation. He was kicked out of the Guards (the Irish police force) and is down on his luck. The only thing he is capable of is… finding things. And thus he becomes a detective of sorts.

1) The obvious question: how did you come to writing?

I only ever wanted to be either an actor or a writer and as I turned out to be brutally bad at acting, it's writing.

2) Were you succesful at your first attempt or did you need more than one try?

I wrote poetry for years, very bad poetry as an apprenticeship and my first crime novel was turned down maybe 30 times.

3) How do you deal with criticism?

Badly, I sulk.

4) You studied at Trinity College. How was that?

Terrific, especially as a catholic who had been refused permission by the church to attend
I met Paul mc Guinness, the manager of U2 there and Chris de Burgh plus sons of Ian Fleming, Yule Brynner.

NOTE OF NICKIE: Awesome! I only was at uni with Dirk Blanchard (musician) and Herman Brusselmans (bestselling Flemish author – big mouth, but good heart).

5) How much of you is in Jack Taylor?

The reading and the bad temper. 

NOTE OF NICKIE: You must have a look at all the books Taylor reads. Shows how well-read Ken is.

6) Why did you make Taylor an alkie?

My older brother died of alcoholism in a horrendous way and I wanted to show that.

7) Is Galway in reality the same you describe it in your novels?

Yes but without the dark crime.

8) Religion still seems to play an important role in Ireland. Is this why it takes an obvious place in your stories?

The church crucified us for so long and even now they will not accept that we are almost.......almost free of their arrogance.

9) What do you think of the Jack Taylor films? (Btw, I think Iain Glenn looked like I imagined Jack would be.)

I think they are very fine and Ian is my perfect Jack plus the cinematography is astounding 

10) How many more Jack Taylor books do you plan to write?

I am currently writing Taylor-made which is a whole different slant on Jack and it is the last as I am writing a series for US TV and I think I have pretty much exhausted the novel form after more than 35 books so it is screenwriting next.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The disintegration of our language

I don't know about you, but every time I read the newspaper or watch the news on tv, I see and hear mistakes against spelling and structure. I find this really disturbing.

Young people often make mistakes against spelling. I teach our mother tongue, and often must state my students make mistakes against the use of 't' and 'd'. I admit, it's not always easy, but we learned, so why can't they???

Well, young people can be forgiven. They can still learn better. But what about an editor for a national newspaper who doesn't notice a big mistake in spelling/structure? Years ago, you only saw one or two mistakes once in a while - now I find them every day. It's a disgrace.

My advice would be to read more. And then not on the internet, but books galore. By reading you can not only broaden your horizons but also see how language should be used (well, most of the times...) I also advise students who have problems in spelling to practice a short dictation every day, with the help of their siblings or parents. It takes five minutes tops and it does improve your ability to spell a word correctly.

What's your take on this?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Position

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for First Position by Prescott Lane, a Contemporary Romance book available now. The Super Book Blast Tour will take place on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

Prescott will be awarding an eBook copy of "First Position" to 5 randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

About the book


Emory faces life’s challenges at the one place that’s never failed her, the ballet barre.  But even the barre can’t steady her when fate brings her face-to-face with her old college flame, Mason, who’s hoping to return to the NFL after a career-threatening injury.  Before they can surrender to their sexual desires and find salvation in each other’s arms, they need to come to terms with their past.  Mason must confront the demons that have set him on a path of self-destruction, while Emory must decide whether to keep her painful secrets locked away, or expose them and risk losing the love of her life.  But nothing can prepare Mason for what Emory has kept hidden, or the possibility that he himself may be to blame for the very secrets she keeps – and why they continue to haunt her.


Emory sat between Olivia and Wesley, as three nail technicians worked on their feet.  “This is the best idea you’ve had in a while, girl,” Wesley said, wiggling his toes in the water.  “Thanks for inviting me.”  Emory pointed to Olivia giving her credit.

“She told me about Tomás, and honey, there’s nothing better for a broken heart than hitting the spa.”

“Thank you, Olivia, I’m feeling better already.”  Wesley leaned his head back, easing his mind.  “We’re not just doing feet, huh?”

“We’re doing it all!”  Emory said, giggling.  “Manis, pedis, facials, massages, and Olivia, you’re getting your hair and makeup done for our shoot.”

“We deserve it all,” Olivia said, “for all the shit we put up with from our men.”  Wesley and Emory nodded in agreement, but then Olivia turned serious.  “But what I really need is a wax.  Must be a damn forest down there by now!”  Wesley and Emory, along with the technicians, erupted in laughter.  “Was that inappropriate?”

“No way,” he said.  “I come here once a month to take care of that area.  They have this hard wax they use.  Hurts less.”

Olivia appreciated the tip.  “I might try that.”

“Too much information, Wesley,” Emory said.

“Whatever, it’s not like I said she should vajazzle herself.”

Emory hid her face, mortified, regretting she’d allowed Wesley to come, but Olivia was intrigued.  “Is that popular in Charlotte?  It seems all the Texas housewives are doing it.”

Wesley quickly asked, “Emory?”

“I wouldn’t know,” she said, then apologized to the technicians for her friends.

“Oh, come on,” he said, “we ballerinas are all bare down there.  You can’t have more than a landing strip.”

“I prefer Brazilian,” Olivia volunteered.

Emory turned bright red.  “Someone help me!”

Author bio and links

Prescott Lane is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and graduated from Centenary College in 1997 with a degree in sociology. She went on to Tulane University to receive her MSW in 1998, after which she worked with developmentally delayed and disabled children. She currently resides in New Orleans with her husband and two children.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Lady of Corpsewood Manor

Once more I welcome author Hawk McKinney to my blog. Hawk is a busy bird, right now promoting another of his novels: The Lady of Corpsewood Manor, book 4 of the Craige Ingram Mystery Series, a Contemporary Mystery Suspense book available now from Wandering Sage Publishing.
For this promo tour, Hawk will be giving away a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter – so don’t forget to leave a message here!

What is the book about?

In the spacious den of Moccasin Hollow, his ancestral South Carolina home, part-time PI, exNavy SEAL Craige Ingram examines a platinum brooch designed like a dragonfly inside a jeweler’s box that he has discovered at the crime scene of Corpsewood Manor. It is a remarkable piece of art…its wings and body worked in exceptional detail. Focusing toward the expected bulbous round eyes, his suspicions jar full throttle. Instead of a head, the empty sockets of a skull leer at him. His gut feelin’s tell him his SEAL buddy Grayson MacGerald’s investigation is considerably more than arson and a double murder trying to hide the theft of classic automobiles. The smoldering rubble of secluded Corpsewood Manor leads Ingram and another of their SEAL Team, Colorado Aspen ski buddy Spinner Krespinak, into a seedy tangle of smuggling crisscrossed and an unexpected encounter with a dead assassin from one of Spinner’s “closed” cases.


“You been told to stay away from Corpsewood.”
Kenyon said, “Ain’t got no other place ‘cept them leaky sheds out behind the garage.  They don’t leak much.  Least before the fire I had a place to sleep.  Got kicked out of my other place.  They let me sleep here.”
“I’ll just bet they let your sweet cheeks sleep-over.  You’re just the kind of meat they liked to sucker in.”
“Now I got no place, an’ nights are gettin’ colder.”
“They the ones that hooked you on crystal?”
“I told you.  I don’t do drugs.”
“Cut the crap…I heard all the stories.  Nothing out’a your mouth ever made sense—only a bunch of your twisted whining.”  Somewhere between a snarl and a chuckle, “I’m suppose to believe you never done meth,” raven-black stab of a look.  “Sure…you’re clean all right except for pushing crank or whatever up your nose or stoking it in your arms,” glanced at the needle tracks on both arms.  “Got a problem?  Run out’a veins in your arms?  Using the ones in your ankles?  Clean yourself up.  Wash your greasy stringy hair and get it cut.  Stop acting like some fool animal that needs to be caged.  Take a bath.  Get a job.  Quit blowing your money, you’d have a place of your own.”
“I don’t snort crystal or Nazi dope,” Kenyon griped.  “You’re like ever’body else, judging someone by the way we live.”
“I don’t care what you’re on, but anyone fool enough to supply you is askin’ for trouble.  We got enough trouble with the Corpsewood fire and that goddamn homicide Lieutenant MacGerald nosing around with his friggin’ PI SEALmate Ingram helpin’ him dig.”

Author info

With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention.  Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.

"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."

Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something to think about...

As Christmas is nearing, I thought it would be nice to place a little poem (no, I didn't write it myself, but the author is mentioned) about this festive event.

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to "Elves,"
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."

And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.

Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's war-like or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.

So here is that gift, its price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

(c) Harvey Ehrlich, 1992

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Despite the fact I'm advancing in age (will be 58 next May) I don't dislike change. What especially gets my interest is the new technology concerning computers and smartphones/tablets.

I don't have a smartphone (well, I used to have a Blackberry) as I only use the handheld to make calls in case my train runs late and I'll be too late at work or at home. Instead I've got myself a tablet and I use this mainly to have the opportunity to watch video's on You Tube and read/answer my mail. Also handy if you need to research something on the net. We get free wifi on trains and in a lot of spaces, like shops etc.

Now they have made a new app for tablets: Stievie. It's an app to get television (right now they start with Belgian tv only) for about 10€ a month. This is very handy, because you can watch those programs in real time or in relay. If you do that on your tv at home, you have to pay any time you use relay. Now when we are travelling, we can watch our favorite programs (like the news and our soap Thuis) anywhere we are (and where we get free wifi). As we travel a lot on trains, that's no problem. Eurostar and Virgin trains always provide wifi. And of course, we only book hotels where wifi is included in the room!

I often wonder what the future will bring in this aspect. Who could have believed we do what we do now fifty years ago??? My grandma would have declared me mad!

Friday, December 13, 2013

FDT: Chocolade truffels

To start the weekend, why not make a festive dessert? Here in Flanders ‘truffels’ are really poular, and this is how my sister usually makes them:

What you need for approximately 20 ‘truffels’:

100 gram of chocolate (pure, the kind you use for sauces and dessert – for instance, Barry Callebaut)
50 gram of butter
75 gram of powdered sugar
1 yolk of egg
Chocolate granules or chocolate powder

How to go ahead:

Melt the chocolate ‘au bain-marie’ (= put one pot into another filled with hot water) and mix it with the butter. Add the sifted powdered sugar and next the egg yolk.
Leave this mixture to harden inside the fridge.
Afterwards, make the truffels (you roll little balls or any other form you want) and roll them through chocolate granules or chocolate powder.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Eigen Kweek

Yeah, I know, for people not speaking Flemish this will be an expression they don't understand. 'Eigen kweek' means so much as home-made. We do have a flair for expressions...

The last six weeks, one program always topped the list of viewing figures in Flanders. It was the tv-drama 'Eigen Kweek', a tragi-comedy about a family of farmers in the west of Flanders (a typical area for farming - the West Flemings are know to be hardworking, wanting to make money and keeping to old traditions).

Jos and Ria are the parents. They have a large farm in Heuvelland, a village in the west of Flanders. Jos grows potatoes and has always made enough money from it. He looks for a way to invest some money and listens to the advice of his nephew Geoffrey, who works in a bank. He advises him to buy some stock. Jos does and also persuades his eldest son Frank to to the same.

Frank works in a garage and is single. He doesn't seem to find a girlfriend, and so he orders a postorder bride from the Phillipines. Julita arrives in Belgium the same day father Jos learns that Geoffrey has disappeared with his money and also that the potato crop is doomed. There will be no money this year...

Steven, the youngest son who helps out on the farm, suggests they grow weed. He can persuade Jos and they begin to grow a crop of weed in a deserted barn on their land.

The plot really works well, even when the makers got the idea from 'Saving Grace'. Translated to the West Flemish background it becomes believable and the whole of Flanders was laughing out loud whith Frank's 'steenkolen Engels' = English with a more than Flemish accent. For instance, he's ask Julita: 'Do you want muizenstrontjes on your stutje?' (translation: muizenstrontjes = flakes of chocolate and stutje= slice of bread).

But it's not all drama. Frank fall is love with Julita and she also truly loves him. The family grows tighter with all that happens and Jos has more understanding for his sons and for his wife.

If ever this series is broadcasted somewhere outside Flanders, be sure to watch for it. It's great!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Love For The Holidays

Today I’d like to present to you a compilation of romantic stories for the holidays, titled Love For the Holidays by Noelle Adams, Samantha Chase, Rachel Curtis and Zoe York. This contemporary romance five book is available now and because they are doing a promotional tour, the authors will be awarding a $25 GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

MIND: use this Rafflecopter code to place your comment:

What is the book about?
From fake relationships to secret affairs to best friends falling in love, everything changes at Christmas.

This holiday bundle includes five stories, from steamy to sweet, including two new, exclusive stories from New York Times bestselling authors.

HOLIDAY HEAT by Noelle Adams - After being hit with heartbreaking tragedy, Carrie has thrown herself into a hot, secret relationship with Matt. With Christmas approaching, she realizes she might want even more from her sexy, damaged artist, but the boundaries around their relationship make anything deeper than sex impossible. A new, steamy romance.

MISTLETOE BETWEEN FRIENDS by Samantha Chase - Lily and Cam have been friends all their lives, and their relationship has never been romantic. But when they pretend to be dating so they can spend the holiday with their families in peace, they realize their fake romance might actually be real. A new, sweet romance.

THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE by Samantha Chase - Spending the night trapped by a blizzard in a romantic Christmas cottage with the man she's loved for years has Lacey wondering if fairy tales really do come true. A sweet romance.

EIGHT CHRISTMAS EVES by Rachel Curtis - One Christmas Eve, Cyrus Owen, the over-indulged teenage son of a wealthy businessman, finds ten-year-old Helen on the side of the road. Eleven years later, he is desperately in love with her. This is how it happens... A mostly sweet romance.

WHAT ONCE WAS PERFECT by Zoe York - For Laney, the worst part of returning to her hometown for Christmas is confronting Kyle, the man who broke her heart twelve years ago. When they rediscover their perfect chemistry, Kyle has to convince Laney to let him back into her heart.
A steamy romance.

An excerpt

From Holiday Heat by Noelle Adams

“Why is it so hot in December?” she wailed, forcing herself past a faintly tender pull at the sight of his sated eyes and relaxed body.

“Heat wave. Some sort of tropical front. It’s moving up the east coast, from—”

“Oh, shut up.”

Matt’s lips quirked at her grumpy tone, but he didn’t continue his discourse on the unseasonable December weather.

She shouldn’t enjoy his company so much. She shouldn’t like him. She certainly shouldn’t trust him with her body—or anything else.

There was no future with him. He’d told her the first night they met that a real relationship was impossible for him, and nothing about that had changed.

Being with him wasn’t anything like being with Henry. It didn’t feel safe and familiar, even after three months. She had no delusions about a future with Matt. She never would have had sex with him at all if there had been any possibility of a future.

“Next time, I’ll pick the hotel,” he said, his eyes resting on her with a gaze that was almost soft.

“No, I told you before. When you’re involved in a sleazy affair, then you pick a motel that’s appropriate for the occasion.”

He cocked an eyebrow, obviously amused. “Is that what we’re doing? Having a sleazy affair?”

“Of course.”

“Neither one of us is married. I’m not sure ‘affair’ is the correct term.”

“Of course it is. You don’t have to be married to have an affair. It just needs to be secret.” No one knew that Carrie was regularly screwing Matthew Lynch, and she intended to keep it that way.

“I see.” He looked eminently unconvinced. And still amused. And definitely superior.

“Don’t be an ass.” When he opened his mouth to respond, she spoke over him. “You know exactly what ass-like behavior I’m referring to.”

Since that first night, they’d gotten together at least once a week for sex, although recently they’d been getting together more often.

Matt was her hot secret. Her shameless indulgence. Everyone thought she was quiet and withdrawn—keeping to herself, working in her coffee shop, never taking risks. No one would dream she’d have a casual affair with a gorgeous, notorious, wounded artist.


Author bio and links

Noelle Adams, Samantha Chase, Rachel Curtis, and Zoe York are four bestselling authors of fun, smart, and contemporary romance, from sweet to sexy, who are collaborating on this holiday anthology.

Beginning on December 11, Love for the Holidays will be on sale for just $.99!

Author websites:

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