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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The novels of Liza Marklund

In recent times, Scandinavian crime writers have begun to become more and more popular. Until 10 years ago, you never heard about any Swedish, Danish or Norwegian author, but now they are around everywhere. Also the TV makes adaptations of their work.

The last few months, our local station has been broadcasting several Swedish and Danish series, like Inspector Winter and right now Liza Marklund, featuring reporter Annika Bengtzon.


Liza Marklund was born in 1962 in the small village of Pålmark, close to the Arctic Circle in Sweden. She is an author, journalist, columnist, and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. She is also co-owner of Piratförlaget, one of Sweden’s most successful publishing houses. Since her debut in 1995, Liza Marklund has written eleven novels and two nonfiction books. Liza co-wrote the international bestseller The Postcard Killers with James Patterson, making her the second Swedish author ever to reach No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Her crime novels featuring the gutsy reporter Annika Bengtzon have sold more than 13 million copies in 30 languages to date.

Only a couple of days ago, Last Will, the sixth installment in the Annika Bengtzon series, has been awarded the inaugural Petrona Award for 'Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year'!

I haven't yet read the novels (I do know some Swedish, but they are also published in English, which makes it more convenient to read) but plan on doing so in the near future. I do like the TV-series a lot and the plots are great. Annika is a reporter who wants to find out the truth, even when it brings her into danger and difficulties.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tour de France 100 years old

Today the annual Tour de France for cyclists started. In Corsica, which was a first ever. Most Belgians are fond of this sport, but although I like riding a bike, I'm not a big fan.


I used to be, when cycling was a sport for amateurs. I remember we had a yearly cycling race in our part of town, and the young guys used to come and wash in our shed. Of course I could not watch, both my mother and grandma said so, but you know how kids are... I always managed to get a peak at the well-formed bodies of those young men!

I also remember that once the guy who used our shed to bathe won the race and I was the one who could present him with a bunch of flowers. I got three kisses and a big smile for it.

But the professionals, that's another story. I suspect there are only a handful of cyclists who are totally clean. Most of them take drugs in one form or other, to go faster, to have more endurance, to climb better... and then they drop dead when they are only 40.


Doping is the curse of professional sports. It exist everywhere, they even dope horses! Why don't they go back to those time where you only reached the finish for the honor it brought, and for only a small reward?

Friday, June 28, 2013

Last schoolday

Today, we had our last day at school for this school year. Our students all got their yearly report, with the result of their exams and daily work. I was very glad that my class all had straight A's. No problems with their exams, everything satisfactory. It's a pleasure to be able to tell those kids they passed without one problem!

We spent the morning dealing out reports and having a last talk to the students, and then it was time for a 'teacher's meeting'. Well, in our terms that means a festive dinner and free drinks. First a glass of champagne to get more appetite (along with little tidbits to eat) and afterwards we had a very fine barbecue, with fish and meat.

A couple of teachers were leaving, so they were in for a surprise speech and other surprises, plus a nice present. I only got back right now, so fancy how long it took (we started the drinks around noon).

And so we're on our long summer holiday. Two months of doing nothing!!! Most likely I won't be posting every day now, as sometimes you just have other things to do... But when I have something interesting, then I'll certainly post a blog.

So see you around!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Charles II's illegitimate offspring

I like history a lot. I grew up reading novels about historical events and developed a strong liking to the 17th century. Louis XIV ('le roi soleil') of France, Charles II of England... Musketeers, civil war, ... so much happened in that century.

When reading through all of these books (the internet did not yet exist when I was young), I eagerly noted down facts (my own filing system, and one I still use nowadays) and so I found out that Charles Stuart already became a father when he was only 16. A son, James, who was later to become the Duke of Monmouth. So when thinking about a novel I wanted to write, I started from this fact. If Charles could have fathered a son, why not a daughter some months before???

For American readers: in those times, in Europe, you were already considered an adult when you were fourteen years of age. Girls often married when they were only sixteen. And you were old when you reached forty!


This became the key to the story line. The reader is aware of the fact, but our heroine isn't. For all she knows, she is Sarah Jennings, and her father is an innkeeper in Cherwell St. Mary (not far away from Oxford). Only when her mother dies, she learns she was fathered by a young nobleman during Civil War.

From then on, Sarah always feels a nagging yearning to meet that father, and this quest will take her away from her rural village to the big city of London, where she becomes one of the first actresses in the Theatre Royal.

When King Charles visits one of the performances, great is his surprise to see an actress on stage who
could be a younger version of his late sister Henriette - and also bears likeness to his sister Mary. He starts investigations of his own.


The Gold Crucifix is a romance novel, of course, so apart from the historical settings there is also a nice romance intertwined. Because Sarah falls in love with Richard, who is the brother and son of an Earl. How can she ever become his wife?

Another historical figure in this novel is Nell Gwynne, who is Sarah's friend in the story. She is to become the mother of one of Charles's sons, also mentioned in the story. Believe it or not, but Sarah's daughter and Nell's son could be brother and sister. So is she right to assume she has a Stuart as her sire?


If you want to find out, please read the novel. People tell me they like it and you don't often find novels like this anymore. You can find it on Amazon, or order it from the publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Highand Games

As I probably told some time ago, we are going to travel to Scotland this summer. Some time after booking our trip, while browsing the web, we found out that the famous Highland Games were taking place and we would be able to attend one festivity during our stay.


I just hope the weather won't be too bad! Because it will be a feast for the eyes to see all these men in kilt throw trees or iron balls around, or pull at a rope, while their kilts whirl around. And of course, we also will be tasting that single malt, which is really a must while being in Scotland!


While I do hope it doesn't rain that day, I silently hope for some wind. Just hoping to see one of these kilts go up, especially when the Scot looks like this:


Do you also have these ancient games where you live? Here in my town our men play a ball game that is not widely known. They just do it in the street, where cars are for once banned. It's called 'kaatsen' and as far as I know it only occurs in our region.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two hundred and forty-five millions

Can you even imagine it? Tonight you can win 185 million Euro (or 245 million dollar)  if you have the correct 5 numbers and two stars of the Euro Millions draw.

Just imagine what you could do with all this money... Because yes, you do receive this sum entirely, it will be in your bank account after you've signed the necessary papers ... and it's tax-free!

One thing I certainly would NOT do is reveal my identity. Some (especially British) winners had their pictures in the dailies the day after they won a huge sum - and still regret the fact. When people suspect you only have some money, they'll approach you to ask for loans, for charity, for whatever, and you'll never live a day without bother.

So remaining anonymous is an absolute must. You can demand the Lottery will not mention who you are, where you live. Just tell the world the big pot was won in Belgium.

Of course, remaining completely out of shot still remains difficult even when you remain anonymous. Your neighbors will soon notice you don't have to work anymore. Well, in our case (my sister and I are both in our fifties) we could say we've taken pre-pension. But it would still be safer to move to the coast, because especially Knokke-Heist is a place where many millionaires live. One more or less...

But what do you do with all that money? As banks are not quite safe anymore, it would be best to sell realty. In our country realty never loses its value. But not houses or flats, because when you rent them out you can have trouble with your hirers. Better invest in garages (they don't get destroyed) or flats for old people. There is a big need for them and a pensioner who can't afford a service flat won't ask for one.

And go on a lot of trips, I guess. As this year (and without a lot of money) we already go 8 times away on a trip abroad, I suppose our total would mount to 20 or more. And finally make those trips we've been longing to take, to Australia, Terra del Fuego, Easter Island, ...

I once made a calculation of how much money I'd need to live out my life in all comfort (so without having to work or worry about my pension) - and 1,5 million would be more than enough already.

185 million? Crazy!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Spring's Surprise

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Blast Tour for Spring's Surprise by Cynthia Gail, a Contemporary Romance available now from Soul Mate Publishing. The Book Blast Tour will take place from June 24 - 28, 2013.

During this tour, Cynthia will award one $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter and a $15 Starbucks GC to another randomly drawn commenter.
 
Cynthia and her husband live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with their eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found with family and friends.  She loves to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, she sneaks away from everyone and curls up with a good book.
She hope you’ll enjoy her stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to pen. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.
You can visit Cynthia at her website: http://www.cynthiagail.com/

Blurb:
Sara Michaels is single again. And she’s celebrating her thirtieth birthday with a complete spa makeover and a day of boutique shopping with her two best friends. After a ten-month battle for freedom, a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee is just what she needs to erase the memories of a broken heart.

Jack Tanner is the soon-to-be new partner at Chester & Dorsey Development Firm. Jack’s love life has been on the back burner for years as he’s built a successful career. But the moment he meets Sara, he takes a hard look at his life and his priorities.

Sara steps out of her comfort zone and spends an unforgettable weekend with Jack. She’s never felt so carefree. Until she realizes too late that three days can change everything.

 

Excerpt:

Jack was leaning against a post, about halfway between the barn and the porch, when he saw Sara come out of the house.

God, she was gorgeous. Every inch of his body stirred as he watched her approach him in a pair of form-fitting black jeans. She had her hair down and wore a long necklace that hung low on her neck, bringing his eyes to the low cut of her shimmery blue blouse.

If that wasn’t enough to make his blood boil, she was wearing a pair of high-heeled black sandals that showed off her sexy red toenails he’d noticed the previous night.

He felt like a teenager going on his first date. He didn’t know what to say. You’re pretty didn’t seem to do justice, but he hated to be the slobbering fool, constantly telling her how beautiful or amazing she looked. Even though she did.

He wished their situation wasn’t so complicated. He was getting ready to make a huge move in his professional life that would take him farther away from her.

How could life be so cruel, to introduce him to such an amazing woman, the kind he could really see himself falling for, just to say that he couldn’t have her?

Or maybe life wasn’t saying he couldn’t have her. Maybe long distance was just temporary. Maybe . .

Buy link:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nickie's Ten Questions to Barbara Freethy

Those who like to read my blog know I try and bring an author interview from time to time. Today bestselling romance author Barbara Freethy is so kind to respond to my questions.


Like to see what Barbara says?

1) Growing up, did your realize you wanted to become an author?

I was an avid reader as a child. My mother filled our house with books and when I'd read all of those, I'd head to the library, so I really came into the world of books as a reader. I was making up my own stories in my teens and in college, I took a lot of writing classes, but I didn't imagine at that point that I could make writing a career. So when I graduated from college, I went into public relations and I wrote lots of non-fiction articles on high tech and semiconductors. That was super boring and in my spare time, I started writing my first novel, which went on to sell to Silhouette Romance as PROMISE OF MARRIAGE under the pen name Kristina Logan.

2) How hard was the way towards your first publication?

I did end up selling the first book I wrote, but it took me two years to write that book, and another year to figure out how to sell it. I submitted my manuscript to several editors and one was kind enough to write me a long letter about how I could improve it. I took all of her advice and ended up selling the book to a different editor, but I was always grateful that she took the time to help me.

3) Can you handle criticism?

Absolutely. Writers have to have a thick skin. Criticism awaits around every corner from critique partners to editors and finally to readers. Reading is a subjective experience and a book that one person loves another person will hate. So I try to stay true to my vision while also taking into account any professional advice. Writers get wrapped up in their story and sometimes it helps to have an objective third party look at the book with fresh eyes.

4) Is there any reason why you chose romantic fiction as your genre?

I love reading romantic fiction. It's my favorite genre so it made sense for me to write in that genre. The great thing about romance is that you can add anything to it. I often include a mystery or suspense plot, sometimes a paranormal element, sometimes a relationship story between sisters, etc., as well as the main romance. So I look at the romance genre as a big umbrella under which I can write anything I want.

5) How did it feel to receive a RITA for Daniel’s Gift?

Fantastic and amazing! And DANIEL'S GIFT is one of my favorite books so that made it even better. I'm actually nominated this year as well for THE WAY BACK HOME, which came out last July.

6) When you create a story, how do you go about it?

I usually have a few key points or seeds of the story in mind. And then I jump in. I do lots of rewrites as the story develops in my head through the writing. I try to outline a few chapters out in advance, but they always change. I wish I could be more structured but that's just the way the story comes to me.

7) Why did you decide to go the way of self-publishing (to such great success)?

I got into self publishing because I wanted to get some of my older titles back on the market and self publishing was the way to do that. I then discovered that I loved being in control of my writing/publishing career, and I turned out to be pretty good at the publishing side. I understand what my readers want and I understand what covers best reflect the brand of books that I'm putting out. It was a steep learning curve, and it has been exhausting, but incredibly rewarding. In the past two years, I've sold over 3 million copies of my ebooks and that's been just incredible. I'm now self publishing all of my new books. I recently put out the WISH SERIES: A SECRET WISH, JUST A WISH AWAY, and WHEN WISHES COLLIDE. And I'm currently working on a connected family series, THE CALLAWAYS. ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS (#1) and SO THIS IS LOVE (#2) are currently available and FALLING FOR A STRANGER (#3) will be out July 17th.


8) Are any of your characters based on yourself or people you know?

I think there are bits and pieces of myself and people I know in my books, but never one whole person. It's much more interesting to create my own characters who can have fun, quirky traits and do anything I want them to do.

9) The first Barbara Freethy book I bought was A Secret Wish. It was recommended on Facebook by Teresa Medeiros. Are you two friends?

Teresa Medeiros and I are friends. We met at a publishing conference some years ago and for a while wrote for the same publisher. I love her stories, and she's been kind enough to recommend some of mine to her fans.

10) How long do you intend you go on writing?

I think I'll be writing forever! There's definitely no end in sight. I'm only on book #3 of an 8 book series, and I have lots of other ideas as well. So I'm going to keep writing and publishing for as long as I have stories to tell.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fatal exposure

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Super Book Blast Tour for Fatal Exposure by Gail Barrett, a contemporary romantic suspense available June 4, 2013 from Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon / BN (or other bookstore of the winner's choice) GC to one randomly drawn commenter during both tour dates.

A former RITA® and Daphne finalist, Gail Barrett has received the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, The National Readers’ Choice Award, and numerous other awards.  She lives with her husband in Western Maryland.  Readers can contact her through her website: www.gailbarrett.com.



Blurb:

Cold-case detective Parker McCall has spent fifteen years trying to solve his brother’s murder.  Now a chance photo of the killer in the newspaper sets him hard on the woman’s trail.  A former teenaged runaway, reclusive, award-winning photojournalist B.K. Elliot chronicles the harsh reality of life on the streets -- until a photo in the paper reveals her identity, blowing the lid off her secret past.  With a powerful murderer now dogging her heels, and her police officer step-father determined to silence her permanently, the last person she can afford to trust is a cop.  So why does sexy police detective Parker McCall tempt her to break her silence and resurrect ideals she’d lost years ago?  As danger closes in, and with more than her own life at stake, Brynn must decide if the duty-bound cop will betray her...or heal her battered heart.

Excerpt:

“I can’t breathe.”

Parker didn’t doubt it. He probably had seventy pounds of muscle on her.

“Please.” She sounded desperate now. “I…can’t…breathe.”

Unable to dredge up any sympathy, he steeled his jaw. “You going to talk to me this time?”

“Yes.”

“Somehow I’m not convinced.”

“I said I would.” Despite her predicament, temper flared into her voice.

“You’d better,” he warned. “You try running again, and I’ll hurt you for real this time.”

Too ticked off to trust her, he rolled over, positioning himself on top.  Then he lumbered to his feet, every sense alert in case she tried to bolt.  When she didn’t make a move to join him, he reached down and pulled her up. Still breathing heavily, he pulled out his badge and held it up.

“Put your hands behind your back and face the fence,” he ordered, taking out his handcuffs.

“What?”

“You heard me.” He wasn’t taking the chance that she’d run again.

“You have no right—”

“You ran from the police. You assaulted an officer. I don’t need another reason than that. Now turn around—unless you’d rather I haul you in.”

Her gaze flicked to his shield again. Even in the dim light trickling from a nearby row house, he could see her jaw go tight. But she turned and held out her hands.

Wary of another trick, he slapped on the handcuffs, the delicate feel of her wrist bones causing a startling burst of heat in his blood. Forget that she’s a woman, he reminded himself as she whirled around. She was a possible suspect in his brother’s death, the last one to see him alive, not a potential date.

He picked up the backpack she’d dropped and searched it, unearthing the small, semiautomatic pistol she’d hidden inside. Still keeping one eye on her, he removed the magazine. “You have a permit for this?”

Her gaze skidded away.

“Right.” Stupid question. He stuffed the gun in his jacket pocket and shouldered the bag.

Her eyes returned to his. “So what do you want?”

“Information.”

“You always tackle people you want to question?”

“You always climb out the window when someone knocks on your door?”

Her mouth pressed into a line.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Guest blog: Grace Burrowes

Hello everyone! Today I have a special surprise for you, as bestselling romance author Grace Burrowes kindly agreed to write a guest blog especially for us! And more importantly, she also had a surprise for one lucky commenter!


This is what Grace tells us about becoming an author:

The only person surprised when I became a published author was myself.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, enjoyed the feel of a pen in my hand or a keyboard beneath my fingers. I’ve enjoyed Once-Upon-Time-ing, and What-If-ing, and I’ve read voraciously.

I cannot recall when that impulse—to write down stories—shifted to a pursuit of publication. I had more than twenty completed manuscripts before I went to my first conference, and I’d heard more times than I can count, “When are you going to get those stories published?”

That never mattered to me as much as creating the stories. The impulse to make up stories probably came from two places. First, I needed an outlet for creative self-expression, and second, I needed a happy place.

Many of us ping from work responsibilities, to home responsibilities, to relationship responsibilities. Our day is filled with lists, obligations and deadlines. We lack someplace that isn’t work or home, where we’re accepted and affirmed for who we are.

The astute and the lucky build these places into their lives—the darts team, the church committee, the reading group, the gym. Many venues have the potential to become places of renewal, safety and honesty. The trouble is, you have to make time for those places in your life, you have to physically get to them, you have to be able to afford admission.

As a single mom running her own law practice, I could get to books. I could save them up for the last few minutes of a long, long day, and treat myself to an imaginary world where love conquered all, and courage of the heart was rewarded with a happier, more meaningful life.

I like that imaginary world, and believe it has a relevance to this other world, where bills must be paid and deadlines met. Writing is a way to hang out in that good place, and to champion its values in my life  

In my books, my identity and values are affirmed, and I get to express myself pretty much however I please to.

The difficulty is that many aspects of publication can kill the joy of writing—get-the-author reviews, contract wrangles, constant pressure to promote, and market uncertainties among them.
 

When those undertoads come hopping by, I remind myself that I love to write, and regardless of the vagaries of publication, I get to keep that love. That publication allows me to share it with readers, and maybe make a few minutes of their day more enjoyable, is so much butter cream icing on the dark chocolate cupcake.
 
And Grace also likes to ask you:
 

What do you love so much, you’ll pursue it without any thought of reward? In what places do you feel accepted and affirmed?


 And she promises:

To one commenter, I’ll send a signed copy of “Lady Eve’s Indiscretion,” a tale about a two people whose love and courage did indeed, lead them to a happily ever after.

So please, leave as many comments as you like - the prize is worth it! And don't forget to leave your name + email addy, so Grace can contact you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Suspense from Joan Hall Hovey

Today I’d like to introduce you to Joan Hall Hovey, author of Defective and Nowhere To Hide – winner of the Eppie for Best Thriller in 1992.


Joan is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for these publications with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour will run from June 17th to July 19th.  For this occasion, the author will be giving away a $50 gift certificate for sunglasses at Sunglasses Shack (US/Canada only) to one randomly drawn commenter. So don’t forget to visit as often as possible and leave your comments!
In addition to her critically acclaimed novels, 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, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

 
Praise for Joan Hall Hovey’s Books

“…suspense that puts her right up there with the likes of Sandford and Patterson..."

Ingrid Taylor for Small Press Review

"...Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King come to mind, but JOAN HALL HOVEY is in a Class by herself!…"
J.D. Michael Phelps, Author of My Fugitive, David Janssen

"…CANADIAN MISTRESS OF SUSPENSE
…The author has a remarkable ability to turn up the heat on the suspense… great characterizations and dialogue…"
James Anderson, author of Deadline

...a gripping style that wrings emotions from everyday settings. Oh and by the way ...is your door locked?"
Linda Hersey - Fredericton Gleaner

"...will keep readers holding their breath until the very end..."
nthelibraryreview, Melissa Parcel

"This one is a chiller - you won't be able to put it down - guaranteed!"

Rendezvous Magazine

"If you are looking for the suspense thriller of the year-look no further…you will find it in Nowhere To Hide..."

Jewel Dartt Midnight Scribe Reviews

 
But I bet you’re looking forward to hearing more about the books and read some excerpts! So here they are:



 
Blurb for Nowhere To Hide

 
SHE DARED TO CHALLENGE A MERCILESS KILLER

Raised in an atmosphere of violence and unpredictability, Ellen and Gail Morgan have banded together, survivors of a booze-fertilized battleground, forming a fierce united front against an often cold and uncaring world. When their parents are killed in a car crash, Ellen becomes the mother figure for Gail.

When fifteen years later Gail is brutally raped and murdered in her shabby New York basement apartment, practically on the eve of her big breakthrough as a singer, Ellen is inconsolable. Rage at her younger sister's murder has nearly consumed her. So when her work as a psychologist wins her an appearance on the evening news, Ellen seizes the moment. Staring straight into the camera, she challenges the killer to come out of hiding: "Why don't you come after me? I'll be waiting for you."

 Phone calls flood the station, but all leads go nowhere. The police investigation seems doomed to failure. Then it happens: a note, written in red ink, slipped under the windshield wipers of her car, 'YOU'RE IT.' Ellen has stirred the monster in his lair … and the hunter has become the hunted!



 
Blurb for Defective

Therapist Melanie Snow is driving to her office when her Honda is struck by a dark-colored van and sent spinning into a ditch, where it catches fire. The driver never stops. A passerby pulls Melanie from the car just seconds before it explodes.

Waking from the coma nine days later, she is devastated to find she is blind.

As Melanie struggles to cope with her new reality, life as a blind woman, her fragile state of mind is further threatened by a madman who is stalking and strangling disabled women. The first two victims were mentally challenged and Detective Matt O’Leary, who carries a torch for Melanie, (even though Melanie is engaged to someone else) tells himself she is not the killer’s targeted prey. But then a woman who lost a leg to cancer is murdered, and another physically disabled woman is stalked. Even with a whole town in terror, Melanie refuses to live her life in fear and reopens her practice in the basement of her home. She has a living to earn.

And Detective Matt O’Leary must find a way to keep Melanie safe until the monster is caught. But how? Her door is now open to the public and the killer can just walk through anytime he chooses.

And he does.

Exerpt from Defective
It was mid-afternoon, overcast, and The East End Mall in Kingsdale was crowded with shoppers. The Eraser, as he liked to think of himself, sat at one of the molded plastic tables by himself, nursing a Pepsi and eating fries from a small cardboard plate, and people watching. It was one of his favorite things to do, especially in nice weather when the girls wore shorts or tight jeans, some with their tanned midriffs bare, skimpy tops that showed off their boobs and skinny jeans that accentuated their tight little butts. Why not? He was a normal guy, he told himself.  He avoided looking at the ones with flab hanging over their waistbands.  He had girlfriend once or twice, but it didn't last. The last one said he was weird and just stopped returning his calls. Well, to hell with her.

His eye strayed momentarily to the big screen monitor advertising Nike sneakers. Then it changed to a rent-a-car commercial and on to something else, but he'd already looked away. Idly dipping a French fry in the small pool of ketchup on his plate, he popped it in his mouth and went back to girl-watching. They did little for him today. His hand moved to cover the scratch that the retard left on his cheek, though it was fading now. That Polysporin ointment was good stuff.

Music played over the sound system, competing with the jabbering of shoppers, nothing he recognized. Probably supposed to keep people shopping, buying junk they didn't need.  His gaze narrowed ever so slightly as a young girl with a silver ring in her lower lip and wearing black eyeliner got up from a table not far from him and limped heavily to the waste bin and dumped in the remainder of her meal, a half-eaten hamburger, fries. She sat the tray on top of the stack. Behind her, someone called out, "Hey, Lana," and the girl turned in his direction and took a step forward so he could see her full-length; she looked past his shoulder and waved. He felt his heartbeat rev up, his throat go dry.

She had short dark hair, and was wearing a khaki skirt and cream-colored blouse. Her dimpled smile, the gleam of white, even teeth barely registered on him. He didn't even glance behind him at the woman who had called out to her. He had no interest. As he had no genuine interest in the woman who returned the wave, really.

No. It was her foot in its big brown shoe that drew and held his attention. Not brown exactly, but like tea when you put milk in it. Taupe. Yes, that was what his mother called that color. It was all he could see when he looked at her: that big clunking shoe.  So ugly it offended him, as deformities of any kind offended him. Even horrified him. A chill had crept down his back. He had to work extra hard to keep the disgust and pity from his face. She was a mistake. A blight, a tragic spawn. She must be erased. Like when you're a kid and you draw a picture of something and it doesn't come out right. You just erase it. Or rip out the page, and start again.

He was the eraser of mistakes. The good Lord had chosen him to do this work. Not that he was blaming God. No, there was no blame to be handed out here. Some small voice told him his reasoning was flawed, that that wasn't why they had to die. But he wasn't listening. As people were born of sin, women carried the faulty limbs, twisted features and minds within them. Carriers. As his mother had been a carrier, her womb spewing forth a defective, barely human—thing. Not the defective's fault either. But since the flaw couldn't be repaired, the whole issue had to be erased. The burden lifted. The Eraser held that kind of power; he could end suffering, change lives for the better. He remembered well the very moment he had changed his own life   but no time for that now. She was heading for the exit doors. He rose casually from his chair, tossing the remainder of his own fries and drink into the trash, dropped his tray on top of hers, and followed. He was really following the 'shoe'. His eyes were riveted on the shoe. It filled his vision, his consciousness. That big, ugly shoe that rose and fell, rose and fell, her left hip dipping in sync, the shoe dragging it downward, seeming an entity in itself. When she stepped through the automatic doors into the grey, drizzly day, he was right behind her. Close enough to touch her. He buried his hands deep in his pockets to stifle the urge.

The bus pulled up with a hiss of air brakes and a belch of exhaust, and she hitched herself up onto the step. He followed, paid his fare. His bike was chained and locked in the parking lot; it would be fine. She took a side seat near the driver, and he sat himself two seats behind her and pretended to look out the window.

In the grayness of the day, his reflection in the glass was faint, but almost at once he could see his reflection begin to morph into that of another, as she had once been. A raindrop ran down the window and caught one corner of her mouth like the drool he remembered, couldn't forget, and he could not tear his eyes away. The small voice in his head spoke to him, sending the familiar chill through him, as if his heart had just received an infusion of ice water. The voice could form words now, where once it was capable only of mindless gibberish. "You know it's me in there, don't you. I'm watching you. I've come back. I'll always come back. I'll never leave you."

"No! No!"

Fearing he had cried out, he jerked his head around in sudden panic, but no one on the bus was looking at him. One man was reading a newspaper. A woman was talking and smiling at her little boy. Relief swept through him, but he was trembling just the same. A Chinese man seated across from him turned the page in his paperback, paying him no mind.

The girl had put earphones in her ears and her lips were moving to a song only she could hear. Her legs were crossed, the shoe swinging in time, mocking him.

Some useful links:

Joan’s website: www.joanhallhovey.com
Defective on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Defective-A-Novella-ebook/dp/B00CO81XAW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367880554&sr=1-1&keywords=Defective

Nowhere to Hide on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-to-Hide-ebook/dp/B0045Y2F4G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335885750&sr=1-1

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Accidents can happen...

Those who are reading my blogs, should know by now we are only the two of us (two sisters) so the maintenance of our house is our responsibility. No father, no brother(s) to share the burden.

This year, we need to do a lot of painting. All our walls are in glass fibre, which is easy to paint. Also doors, windows, ... We took a start today. We began by painting all door frames and doors in a dark slate color, which goes nicely with our floor.


A chance we mind the environment, so we only buy paint that can easily be washed away with water only. Because what happened? I bumped against a pot of paint, and it spilled completely over the floor!

We used what we could to continiue on the doors, but the remainder of the paint had to be cleaned of the floor. With a couple of buckets of water and a rough spunge it went rather well. By now you don't see any stains anymore.

I'm just as handy as my late dad, who used to spill paint all over and once managed to get one over his entire person!

Well, once we have finished with all the painting, our downstairs will look so much nicer, because all the color schemes are matching.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Who are your favorite characters in a book?

Everyone who likes to read surely has one (or more) favorite character(s). As I am mostly into adventurous historical novels or nail-biting thrillers, my favorites fall into these categories.

My female heroines are women who are daring, will do anything for their love. Women like Mara, the young slave girl in Eloise McGraw's 'Mara, Daughter of the Nile'. Mara takes a great risk to save the life of the man she loves, Lord Sheftu.


Or the French heroine Angélique, out of the novels of Anne and Serge Golon (the first series also available on film). I don't know how many perils Angélique must suffer, but she comes through spendidly!


What concerns men, I admit I do have a big liking to Dirk Pitt, a character created by Clive Cussler. Pitt is the man who can do anything and saves the world singlehandedly. He can kill and love, is creative and has a sense of humor. A man after my heart!


In the past, another man caught my fantasy - the Scarlet Pimpernel. He looks a fool, but isn't. He is able to rescue lots of French aristocrats from the guillotine and always the day.


So, who are your favorites?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Disillusioned

Today I’d like to present you to D.J. Williams, author of Disullusioned.


With the DNA of a world traveler, Williams was born in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East, to share stories of those who are overcoming incredible odds. He is the co-author of Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse and has produced and directed over 140 television episodes syndicated on NBC, ABC, FOX and various cable networks worldwide. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife.

Some links:



Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour for DISILLUSIONED, a suspense, mystery, adventure novel available in May from WestBow Press. The tour will run June 3-28 and one randomly drawn commenter will win a $30 Amazon gift certificate. So don't forget to leave your comments!

 

Blurb:

A mother’s suicide threatens to destroy a family legacy. Her sons, Sam and Daniel, are forced to leave their comfortable worlds behind and search for a woman they believe can unlock the secrets that have remained hidden. They are propelled into separate journeys from Los Angeles to the heart of the Zambezi where they are forced to confront a man known as Die Duiwel, the Devil. On their adventures they will find themselves in a place where death is one breath away, where thousands of children are disappearing into the darkness, and where the woman they are searching for is on the hunt for revenge. When they stand face-to-face with the forgotten slaves of Africa they will fight to redeem what has been lost.    

Excerpt:

Drops of rain turned into a torrential downpour as Danny and Sam stood drenched at the edge of a deep hole and a fresh mound of dirt. The casket had already been lowered into the ground, evident by the arm of a crane hovering overhead. A groundskeeper kept his distance a few yards away, careful to allow the boys their final goodbye.

A week ago they were living their own life, far removed from the darkness that had stolen their mother. One shouldered the guilt of a tarnished legacy while the other grew increasingly restless to return to his isolated world.

Danny was still reeling from his face to face with Bowman. How were they going to pay back the money? Where was the money? Why was it stolen in the first place? Should they even do anything, since neither was legally liable? He needed answers.

A wave of anger flushed over Danny as he thought of all his family had lost. Thousands of sermons preached by a man who now seemed as addicted to the almighty dollar as the people who passed the offering plate. He knew his father kept secrets, but nothing had prepared him for the news Bowman planted on him.


Praise for the novel:

“A fast-paced mystery…you won’t put it down until you’ve unlocked the secrets and lies to find the truth.”

Judith McCreary, Co-Executive Producer Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, & CSI

“Riveting...an indelible picture painted with suspense.”

Mitch Kruse, Author of Restoration Road

“An engrossing tale…makes you think about the world we live in and your place in it.”

Tony Guerrero, Founder of F.A.C.T. Alliance: Fight Against Child Trafficking