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Monday, September 30, 2013

To Steal a Highlander's Heart

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Blast Tour for TO STEAL A HIGHLANDER'S HEART by Samantha Holt, a historical romance available from September 30th.

One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

 
 
Blurb

Alana sets eyes on Morgann for the first time in several years and what does he do? He captures her! But Alana refuses to go meekly with the sexy Highland warrior. Her kidnapping will reignite the rift that’s existed between the two clans since her father accused Morgann of theft and she doesn’t want to see her father harmed in the inevitable war that will ensue.

Unfortunately for Alana, the faeries seek to interfere with her plans to escape. The sidhe have a debt to repay and Tèile, the green faery, is determined to mend the rift between the clans for good. And that means ensuring Alana and Morgann marry.

Morgann has his own reasons for taking Alana and they are nothing to do with marriage or war. He wants to use her to reveal a secret from the past, the one that had him accused of theft. If only he didn’t find his childhood friend so attractive. When circumstances force them together, Alana’s life is threatened and war is imminent. Can Morgann reveal the truth without losing Alana? And will the faeries meddling help or hinder his cause?

 
Excerpt

Endless moments stretched on as she waited for Morgann to look away, to break the connection, but he stared brazenly on as his gaze trailed over her face. What did he see? As she gaped up at him, the irate warrior dissolved into a flesh and blood man and she recalled how much she used to adore him. When Morgann was banished from her father’s lands, she’d been heartbroken at losing her friend, but with the blazing sensation of having him flattened against her, she remembered that it wasn’t just the loss of his friendship that hurt her so. She’d always silently hoped Morgann would play a bigger role in her future.

But that didn’t change the fact that he was taking her against her will and she would not go meekly, regardless of what she once felt. If only she could ignore the sensuous pull of his lips or the darkening of his pupils as a rough finger drew a path over her cheek.

A crack ripped across the sky and they both jolted. Pushing to standing, Morgann helped her up and grimaced as he eyed her. Aware of the mud coating her, she swiped a hand across her face as her cheeks heated. Titling her head up, she hoped the rain would at least be useful for something and would not only rinse away some of the dirt but also cool her down. The way the man made her skin blister was extremely disconcerting.

Morgann muttered a curse, drawing her attention back to him as he raked a hand through his hair and yanked some rope from the leather pouch hanging from his saddle. As he turned back to her, rope held out, Alana shrank away. “Ye cannae mean to tie me up, surely?”


 
About the author

Samantha resides in Warwickshire, England with her twin girls and husband. She's a romance addict and has been devouring all kinds of romance for as long as she can remember.

Having studied archaeology, Samantha likes to blend her love of the past with her passion for romance to create thrilling and passionate tales set to medieval backdrops. She thinks there's nothing sexier than a rugged warrior and a feisty maiden falling head over heels for each other.

 

Website/Blogwww.samanthaholt.org.uk



 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday joke

Due to the fact I don't have a lot of spare time on weekends, here's just a short joke to cheer up your Sunday:

A blonde and her husband are lying in bed listening to their next door neighbor's dog. It has been in the backyard barking for hours and hours.

The blonde jumps out of the bed and says: "I've had enough of this!"

She goes downstairs and stays away for quite some time.

When she finally returns to the bedroom, her husband remarks: "That dog is still barking. What have you been doing?"

And she answers: "I put it in our backyard. Let's see how THEY like it!"

Saturday, September 28, 2013

FDT: Gentse Waterzooi

As I noticed a lot of you enjoyed the article about Stoofvlees Friet, I decided to post another original Flemish recipe. This one originates from Ghent, the capital city of the province of East Flanders, and once home to the Counts of Flanders.


What do you need?

For 4 persons, you need two whole chickens, green selery, leek, carrots, onion, cream, 1 egg, 1 spoon of flour, butter,  1 liter of chicken broil, one spice bouquet, parsnip and pepper.

How to proceed

Clean the vegetables and cut them into smaller pieces. Chop the parsnip. Cut the chicken into parts and remove the skin.

Put some butter in a pot and add the vegetables. Let them stew for a couple of minutes and then take them out of the pan.  Now you bring the chicken broil to the cooking point and then add the chicken and the spice bouquet. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the vegetables and put the lid on the pot. Leave it for another 5 minutes, until all the veggies are soft.
Once more, remove the vegetables and the pieces of chicken. Remove the spice bouquet. Let the chicken broil cook until you only have two-thirds of the fluid.
Put a spoon of flour into a cup of water and bind the sauce with this. Let it cook for at least 3 minutes.
Break the egg and use the yoke only. Mix it with the cream and add to the sauce. Don't forget to stir and don't let it cook anymore. Use spices to your own taste.
Add the chicken and vegetables once more. Let them warm up.
Dress the sauce with leaves of parsnip and bits of selery.
Serve with boiled potatoes (or rice, if you like this better).
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The wonders of technology

It is definitely true that technology has changed our lives a lot. Just imagine your daily life without a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a cooker, a telephone, a computer, ...

Of course technology also has it negative points. Some inventions are only good for terrorism or for other practices. But sometimes the scientists come up with great inventions.

Take robot ZORA, which is now in use in the University Clinic of Gent. ZORA is 57 centimeter high and is programmed with several sensors. This is the first time this kind of robot is used to help with the revalidation of children and to spot falling down with epileptic patients and the elderly.


Of course, ZORA won't replace the nurses. She (or he?) is only there to help out. ZORA can do tasks to relieve the medics from certain pressure.

Right now, ZORA is used to teach children the correct moves (which can be rather dull and take up a lot of time from the nurses). And the kids love the robot! ZORA is very polite - always says 'thank you' when it's given something - and it cheers the kids who make the moves correct moves. When the children have to move their hands in the air, it even plays music to accompany it.

A robot like ZORA will cost around 25,000 € (in dollar: multiply by 1,3) but the experts think they will get cheaper in the near future. Who knows, in ten years' time we all will have such a robot in the house, to help us with our chores and who watches out and will call the doctor when something happens to us. A nice thought, as most likely my sister or I will remain alone after the other dies, and I for one would like to stay in my home for as long as possible.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How do you spend your money?

As we are all individuals, there are many way of how to treat money.

Some see it just as something they need to pay the bills. Others think it is a reward for hard work. It really doesn't matter, what counts is what you do with this money.

I'm sure psychologists would put people into different categories. I don't claim to be one, but I can easily distinguish some types.

There are the savers. They put aside everything they don't need (and sometimes also which they DO need, but don't see it that way) and save up to buy a house, a car, whatever.

There are the spenders. Easily gained, easily thrown away. No savings to fall back when times get harder. All the money gone by the end of the month (which sometimes results in huge debts).

And then there are those who know the value of money but also like to get something out of life.

I guess my sister and I belong to the last category. We are careful with our money, and we do have something set aside for bad times - but we can easily decide to go to a concert and spend some 1,000 Euro on it. No regrets, only good memories. Why should we save up everything? We don't have kids, no grandchildren, only far away relatives who don't give a damn whether we live or die. They'll never get our money when we die. Which brings me to inheritances. What we did is to make up a will which donates everything to the good cause. They won't have to pay a lot of registration taxes and the good cause will be helped. I'm quite happy with that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lack of inspiration

What do you do when you want to write a blog, but don't find the inspiration?

All kind of thoughts go through your brain.... Like where to go on holiday next year. First of all we wanted to make a trip to Greece - see Athens and then a couple of the islands. Next my sister wanted to go on a cruise. We found one which looks interesting: cruising from Venice to various other places like Santorini, Istambul, Corsica, Nice, ... But as we had finally decided on the route, we found out we could not book this cruise online. Yuk! We don't like going to a travel agency and wait for more than an hour before we can be helped. We've been booking our trips online since the Internet came into existence and we don't plan to do otherwise. So now we have to find another destination. Any suggestions? (Please take into account that we are no millionaires.)

Also been thinking about the criticism my sister always has when I've done cleaning. She doesn't do it, but it is easy to comment later on. She always sees something like a bit of dust (which could easily have fallen AFTER I mopped the floor). That goes on my nerves, sometimes.

And still feeling a bit tired after the weekend away in Birmingham. Two late nights - the first one because we only arrived at the hotel around 10 pm and then had some wine and cheese snacks, and the other because the Barry Gibb concert lasted until 10.45 pm and then we had to go back to the hotel so we weren't in our beds before 11.30

Also disturbed because there was a horrible raw next door. Our neighbor's son came to complain about being sued (he's over his head in debt, and mother refuses to pay anymore, so he says she can't see her granddaughter). We really thought he was going to kill someone, so we called the police. I must say they arrived rather soon, but not soon enough for Tom to have kicked in the door (heavy wood) and threatening his mother and stepfather with a metal object (something out of his van, he works in construction).

Well, hopefully I have something interesting to write about tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FTD: Stoofvlees friet

As I suppose most of you readers won't understand what this title means, I'll just explain it.

FTD stands for Flemish Traditional Dishes

Stoofvlees friet is stew with fries.


Ok, so this is about cooking! Here in Flanders we have some traditional recipes that I'd like to share with you, as they are all quite tasty.

How do you make Flemish Stew?

Well, you need beef. For 4 people I'd take about 1 kilo, as eaters always take seconds while tasting this stew. The beef should come from the shoulder or neck of the cow, and it needs to show some fat. Yes, I know, but when you take beef without fat, the taste will go down the drain.

You also need onions (also about 1 kilo), a few teaspoons of mustard, butter, sugar, salt, pepper and laurel. And a bottle of Flemish beer, like Grimbergen or Leffe brown.

And now the preparation

You begin by cutting the beef into cubes. The onions need peeling and cutting into not so tiny cubes too.
Then you put butter in a pot and when it melts, put in the cubes of beef. Use pepper and salt to season the beef.
When the beef is not red anymore, add the cubes of onion, the mustard, the sugar and the beer.
And then let it stew for a couple of hours on a small fire.

How to serve the dish

You serve the stew with fries. It's a mistake to think fries come from France (French Fries) because they are Belgian in origin. To make fries you use the Bintje variety of potatoes and you peel them and slice them into fries. They need to be fried twice, and if you want them really Flemish, you do it in reuzel which is a special kind of fat (animal fat, comes from the pig).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mytholoy The Tour

When his brother Maurice died, pop icon Barry Gibb said he wouldn't perform anymore. (Well, he made some exceptions, mostly for a good cause.)  Other brother Robin wanted the both of them to continue as The Bee Gees, but then decided to continue as a solo performer. Robin died last year, and Barry got into a depression. His wife and some good friend (among whom Eric Clapton) advised him to go touring again.

And so he did. He began the Mythology tour early in 2013, doing some gigs in Australia first (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, for sold out arena's). Then a pause, and now he's doing some more gigs in the UK (Birmingham, London and Manchester) and Ireland (Dublin). The first concert took place in the LG Arena, Birmingham on Saturday 21st September.

As my sister was - and is - a huge Bee Gee fan, she wanted tickets at all costs. Due to illness, she missed the only Belgian concert of the Bee Gees in Brussels, sometime in the 90s, and so she absolutely wanted to see this unique concert. We had already seen Robin perform, shortly before his death, but Robin alone can't make up for the sound of the Bee Gees.

The tickets cost us 200 £ each, as we could not buy them from the LG Arena itself. We had to buy them from third parties, and so the price goes up. There were tickets for even 1,000 £! Now, we were lucky in this way that the guy who sold them to us immediately sent them by UPS and also that it were prime seats, right in front of the stage!

We booked a late evening flight to Birmingham (only an hour and ten minutes) and stayed at a hotel near the LG Arena. It was quite easy to go into town, as you can take a train from Birmingham International to Birmingham New Street, for only a little bit of money. We took some time to see the second biggest town in the UK, and of course did some shopping!!! I finally found the winter coat I'd been looking for, and also treated myself to a cocktail dress from Harvey Nichols for the coming festivities in December. Chris couldn't resists a handbag (DKNY).

We got back in time to have a shower and a light bite, and then walked the short distance to the LG Arena. The program started at 19.30 pm, with a local band (I think) which was quite good. An hour later, the lights went out for the Barry Gibb concert.

 
And boy, what a concert it was! Surrounded by his excellent band (among which his eldest son Stephen, his niece Samantha - Maurice's daughter - and backing vocals, Barry thrilled the entire house (which was loaded off with people around my age, but also with younger ones). Naturally he brought the hit songs which made the Bee Gees world-famous and still in hold of the world record of having five number one hits in one year, but he also did some less known work. The voice was still great and the falsetto even better.


The entire concert was mainly a hommage to his three deceased brothers: Andy, Maurice and Robin.

Barry took the time to talk with the public, made jokes and also declared his love for his wife Linda. The whole audience went very quiet when Barry began 'I've started a joke', the song that made Robin great. Tears rolled down many cheeks when a video of Robin singing this song was projected.


The whole concert lasted two hours and fifteen minutes, which is quite something. There were also duets with son Stephen, niece Sammie and backing vocal Beth Cohen. She worked with Streisand and other great singers, and when she brought 'Woman in Love' she did it as well as Streisand herself.
 
We were hoarse when we returned to our hotel, and of course we kept singing Bee Gee songs all night!





Friday, September 20, 2013

How absurd is this?

For a couple of days already, one subject heads the front of the newspapers here in Belgium. It is an article about two infants (2,5 and 3 years young) who had a 'fight' in Kindergarten.


Baby One took away the cookie of Baby Two, and consequently Baby Two wanted his cookie back. Result: a tuft of hair (or a little piece of milk tooth, according to the source) was plucked off and Baby Two also set his teeth into the hand of the other (most likely he thought he'd bite in his cookie).

Nothing strange, but the parents of Baby One have begun a court case against the school and the parents of Baby Two.

Makes me wonder what's happening to the world? What do parents think these days??? I remember my school days well enough. If anyone had wanted to take away my cookie, I'd certainly have trashed him or her, and they would not do it again. If I did something like that (which I never did, thanks to my parents' upbringing) I'd be certain to get a good beating once I came home.

There was a picture of Baby One in the newspaper today and I can easily spot this young man will do worse things once he gets older...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Last Straw

Hello folks! Today I have a special treat for you guys. Author Nia Simone is making her debut in writing – her first novel being  titled The Last Straw – and for this occasion she’s doing a book blast tour with Goddess Fish Promotions.

The author is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, AND during the week this tour last, the novel will be FOR FREE on Amazon!!!

 
Who is Nia Simone?
Nia Simone grew up on the side of a ski slope in Squaw Valley, USA. Later, while learning the craft of story writing, she worked in nonprofit and then high-tech.

The best part of working in the computer field was meeting her husband. He took up skiing and she helped him document his computer inventions! They live in "Silicon Valley" in California where their favorite thing to do is cook together for friends. Nia’s specialties are dessert and veggies while her husband’s are entrees and sourdough bread.

Their only pet at the moment is the sourdough starter, which lives in the fridge and requires bi-weekly feeding.

Nia blogs every day about travel, food, writing, books, skiing and photography at niasimoneauthor.com (where she won the Versatile Blogger Award and Inspiring Blogger Award).​


 
What’s the book about?

Ally Tobin left New York after one too many bad dates, determined to rebuild a stable life and career as a private investigator in Silicon Valley. But when the man she knew as one name walks into her office with another, will her curiosity once again lead her to risk her heart?

The last thing Special Agent Jared Green needs is "security risk" stamped on the resume of his latest undercover identity. Especially by the woman his job forced him to leave in New York without any explanation. She may threaten his cover, but it's his heart on the line. 

He's good at playing a part. She's good at catching a fake. Can they trust enough to give love another chance?

 
An excerpt:

 He sauntered through the door, a white, button- down shirt tucked into belted khakis. When his dark gaze found her, he stopped. Stared. Her throat dried and a rustling motion stirred in her abdomen.

“Hi. I’m Darren Ray.”
Keep your cool, she commanded herself, standing and reaching across the desk. His hand was rough.

She yanked her hand back and waved at the chair. “Please, have a seat.” He waited for her to sit before settling in the visitor’s chair. “So, Darren, according to this, you’re being considered for a programmer position in the IT department. Tell me about your background.”

A professional mask settled over his features. “As you can see on my résumé, I have several years of consulting experience.”

“Tell me something about your experience as a mechanic.” Working on his prized old Mustang had been a favorite hobby.

The corner of his mouth twitched. “What do you mean? That’s not in my résumé.”

“You don’t have the hands of a programmer. More of a mechanic.” Oh, his hands.

“Okay, you got me.” He was going to confess. This should be good. “When I’m not programming computers I’m working on my car.”

“And what were you doing in New York City?”

He reached across her desk for a piece of paper, plucked a pen from its stand and scrawled something.  When she took the note their fingers brushed. Meet me for dinner at Pico’s at 7. I’ll explain everything. Can’t talk here.

Some links:




Twitter: @niasimone4

 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cape Cursed

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for Cape Cursed by Janice Lane Palko, a Romantic Suspense book available September 1, 2013.

Janice will be awarding a $25 gift certificate to the OBXstore to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please use this Rafflecopter code to post your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8df3027/

 
Blurb:

Bliss Sherman doesn’t believe in curses—that is until she arrives at Cape Destiny, North Carolina. Bliss comes to the cape determined to make a name for herself and her new firm by accomplishing an incredible engineering feat—moving the Cape Destiny Lighthouse inland before it's swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean.

Bliss, who has struggled with dyslexia, discrimination, and betrayal by her ex-husband and former business partner, Jonathan, faces her greatest challenge when she falls in love with the handsome, mysterious descendant of the lighthouse keepers, Parker Swain, who is vehemently opposed to the lighthouse’s move.

When someone targets Bliss, she begins to wonder if the curse that is rumored to be attached to the lighthouse may be true. Who is sabotaging her dream? Who is trying to harm her? Who wants to kill her? When all clues point to Parker, she dismisses her suspicions, deciding to trust him and her heart. But as the evidence mounts against Parker, she begins to doubt not only herself and her heart, but also Parker.

Can she trust her judgment? Can she trust Parker? Most importantly, when she is trapped inside the lighthouse with him during a raging hurricane, can she trust Parker with her life?

A romantic suspense with all the seaside moody romance of du Maurier’s Rebecca and the spine-tingling thrills that keep you turning the pages, Cape Cursed casts a spell of sensous deception and seductive danger. A Category 5 of a romantic suspense novel,Cape Cursed, barrels in packing a surge of suspense that knocks you off your feet and a blistering romance that sweeps you up and carries you away.

Excerpt:
“Destroyer of your lighthouse?” Bliss cried, shocked that Parker had shifted from Southern gentleman to bully so quickly.  “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about your jeopardizing a national treasure.”

Bliss was well aware that some of the residents were opposed to the move, but she didn’t expect to be blamed.  “Look, I came down here to save it,” Bliss said, trying not to further raise his ire.  She wanted this move to go smoothly.  Her career was riding on it, and she didn’t need any more enemies.  Jonathan Lavere was enough.

“What do you know about my lighthouse?” Parker asked, puffing out his chest.

“I know that if it’s not moved, it’ll soon be swallowed up by the sea.”

“I don’t believe that.”

She tossed her hair back.  “Have you checked the beach?  There’s only fifteen feet separating it from the Atlantic.”

He sniffed.  “Checked the beach?  I don’t need to check the beach.  I’ve lived here all my life, and I don’t believe it’s worth risking my lighthouse just because some pinhead in the capitol thinks it should be moved.”

“Well, I’ve seen the studies, and I’m telling you, Mr. Swain, one more hurricane and your beloved lighthouse could be washed out to sea.”

Parker swept his hand toward the direction of the beach.  “I know this place.  No one can predict that ocean.  With the next storm, it could very well add ten feet of new sand to the shoreline.”

Bliss sighed impatiently.  “That’s highly unlikely.”

Parker’s soft brown eyes hardened as he glared at Bliss.  “I believe in the unlikely.  I know the impossible happens.”

 


Author info and links:

In addition to Cape Cursed, Janice Lane Palko is the author of the romantic comedy St. Anne’s Day and the Christmas novel, A Shepherd’s Song.  She has been a professional writer for nearly 20 years.  During her career, she has written everything from greeting cards to web content and has taught several classes at the local community college including Building English Skills to Creative and Memoir writing.

She is currently on the staff of the website Popular Pittsburgh and has been the executive editor of Northern Connection and Pittsburgh 55+ magazines, where she also contributed to the editorial content, writing her own column and numerous features. Palko has also been a columnist with the North Hills News Record.

Her work has appeared in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and her essays have been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

A graduate of Union Institute & University with a B.A. in Writing & Literature, Palko has won several awards for her writing including the prestigious Amy Foundation Award of Merit. Her writings have also garnered accolades at the The Kent State Writer's Conference, and she has been selected as Writer of the Month by Oatmeal Studio greeting cards.

She is at work on her next novel, another romantic suspense entitled Most Highly Favored Daughter.


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Keep in touch by following or contacting her at:






 

You may purchase her novels at:




 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Painter joke

As I've spent the entire day painting our hallway (up to the attic!) and don't have time (or energy) to come up with an original post, I thought I could share a joke about painting.


Here goes:

John was going around door to door looking for chores to do. He went to this house where an old man lived and the old man had a chore for him.

He said he would pay John 50 dollars if he painted his porch in the back. John said ok and got to work.

One hour and thirty two minutes later he came out and told the old man he was done. The old man paid him and as John was walking away he said:

"By the way its not a Porsche.... its a Lincoln."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Going on strike - acceptable or not?

The constitution grants us many rights - one of them the right to go on strike.

There have been times when workers were underpaid and often had to work long hours (more than 16) in dire circumstances. Think back to the late 19th century, when the industrialization happened and factory owners wanted big profits (well, they still want them...).

This was the time the unions came into existence, and then they did a good job. They obtained that workers got rights. A right to decently paid work, to holidays. But as time went by, especially in the 1960s and 1970s workers here in Belgium got overpaid. Not for nothing they are the most expensive in the whole of Europe!

There is no working class in Belgium left, as factory workers can buy a house (and even a big one), go more than once on a trip abroad and own a big car, like a Merc or BMW.

Don't take me wrong, I'm not against people being paid for the work they do. But I do have my objections to the fact that people with a university degree sometimes are paid less than those who don't have any degree. It's true, in some big factories the workers get paid better than we are (and then compare the job: doing a no brainer job or having to deal with youngsters who have all kinds of problems and attitudes).

Today I'd be willing to say that those who strike should lose their job. Selfish reason, of course, because I've booked airline tickets for a trip abroad and now the airline is about to go on strike. They'll only know Monday.  I know passengers have rights, but where do they leave you if on the day you want to leave they announce they don't fly, and they don't offer any alternative? And I can't book a ticket for the train yet, because doing so would mean I am not entitled to a refund. Damn strikers! I didn't know working in the cabin of a plane was that though a job... Pushing a cart with food and drinks and showing how to leave the plane in case of need?

Grrr...

And that's not all. Also the custom officers are on strike. They are not satisfied to get a fixed sum for their weekend work - they want a compensation for every hour they 'work' in the weekend. Now you have to know they only stand around, chatting to their college, most of the time. Only when a dark guy passes by, they'll do a check. I'd better stay quiet and continue 'work'!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why don't we put those tables together?

I'm really back in memory lane. So I'd like to share an anecdote about a ski holiday - during the days we still went skiing every winter. We don't anymore, because my sister suffered an accident and as long as the doctors don't know what caused it, we don't trust to out there on the slopes.

It was in the winter of 1994-1995. We had booked a trip to Banff, Canada to go skiing there. We had been to Aspen the year before, and we got to like the powder snow a lot. So we decided to see more places in the Rockes.

That year, it was a very severe winter. One of the days it froze minus 35°Celsius. (Can you believe, even then people bought icecream cones?) We did a sleigh ride with huskies that morning, and after a while sitting still in the sleigh got a bit in our bones. So when finished the trip, we headed into town and entered a TexMex restaurant, which had been recommended to us by our guide. It was around 12.30 and when we came into the dining room, it was quite empty. Well, no bother. I don't need other people around me to enjoy my food.

But about ten minutes later, another party also sought a table. It consisted of one adult man and a bunch of kids. As their table was not so far from ours, we could easily overhear their conversation. It went about penthouses in New York, visits to London, Mick (Jagger?) and other names we could associate with the music industry.

What was more, the guy looked somewhat familiar. Both my sister and I were sure we had seen that face before in some or other magazine. We assumed he was also a musician, but could not think of his name.

Anyway, after a while those kids began conversation between themselves and the guy turned to us for a more adult conversation. This went on during our lunch, but as soon as the plates had been taken away he asked if we didn't want to put the tables together, so we could more easily talk to each other.

We sat there until 4 pm...  We really had a good time. The unknown musician offered to pay the entire bill (theirs and ours) but we could not accept that, of course. So he offered us coffee first and then something stronger - which we accepted in good grace.


Only a couple of weeks later, when reading another article in the newspaper (with a picture to go with it) we finally knew whom we had been talking to. It was Eric Clapton and the Mick mentioned was indeed Jagger. He had visited Banff the year before and had recommended it to Clapton.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Evolution

While I was riding my bike this afternoon, this thought went through my mind : how would a mediëval guy react when he saw me now?

A woman, hair cut short like a man's, wearing trousers, a windjacket and sneakers, plus spectacles! And riding a bike... A smart phone in the pocket...

I think this guy would just go mad. My bike would look like a devil's contraption, a monstrosity in metal with wheels, which he certainly would not be able to ride.

And when that phone would ring, what'd he think then? I could show him then how to go on the internet, and send messages to people...

Another thought: my sister and I would have been branded as witches, for certain. Not married, independent, fond of cats...

Do you ever think what would happen if you could travel through time???

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Room of Tears

Hello folks! Today I’d like to introduce you to Linda Merlino, author of Room of Tears. A novel of suspense published by Imajin Books.

Linda is doing a virtual book tour, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions and will be awarding a $25 Amazon or BN.com gift card each to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.  To post your comment, please use this Rafflecopter code: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43420/

 
Author information:
Linda Merlino is the author of  Room of Tears (July 23 2013), Hudson Catalina (2008-Belly of the Whale & re-release 9/14/12), Swan Boat Souvenir (self-published 2003) she began writing fiction as a young mother on the sidelines of endless soccer practices.  Linda wrote anytime any place.  A manuscript filled a carton in the back seat of her car.  Many years have passed since those early beginnings, but her work continues to be inspired by her children.

The author has a fascination with heroes and writes her fiction to honor ordinary men and women who react unselfishly in extraordinary circumstances.  She extends her gratitude to all who keep us safe and free.

Her hometown is outside of Boston.  She lived for many years in New York City and more recently calls Connecticut her home.



Blurb:
Out of tragedies come heroes and miracles…

At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, Diane O’Connor’s life as a firefighter’s wife changes forever, shattering her faith. Four decades later, a note still hangs on her kitchen cabinet in Queens, the paper yellowed with age. Diane knows the scribbled sentences by heart; she'd left them the morning of 9/11 for her husband, Billy.

In the summer of 2041, Diane invites Friar Antonio Ortiz to her home. He is a man destined to become counsel to the first American pope—her son, Peter. Antonio asks no questions and arrives in secret, promising to wait nineteen years before passing Diane's journal to Peter. Only then will Billy’s story be told, along with answers to Peter’s questions about his father’s last days.


Excerpt from chapter one:
Absorbed, Antonio neglected to notice that Diane had disappeared into the kitchen. He thought to ask her about the two men in the photographs, and when he turned in anticipation of seeing her next to him, he took a step toward where she might be standing. His right foot struck a pair of boots propped upright against the wall. He stumbled and put a hand out to that empty place where he thought she might be, but his face did not meet hers, and instead came within an inch of a firefighter’s helmet, the medallion of its FDNY ladder company polished and gleaming.

On the edge of that moment, trying to regain his balance, each breath he took tightened in his throat. Antonio began to gag. His mind raced. What could be happening? One minute he was looking at photographs and the next his throat was constricting. An acrid odor rose to his nostrils. He shook his head—the same faint smell he’d noticed from before, at the door, but stronger, sharp enough now to sear his soft membranes. My God, he thought and recoiled. Sweat sprang from his face and neck. A heart attack? He clutched his chest. No, not that. His heart was fine except for the galloping beat under his ribcage. Heat emanated from the helmet as if it had just come through an inferno. “My God,” he said aloud. Perhaps a fire burned inside the wall, hot enough to choke him.


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Monday, September 9, 2013

Wrage

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Tour for WRAGE by Joseph Spencer, an occult crime thriller available now from Damnation Books.

Joseph will be awarding a $25 Starbucks gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so don't forget to post your comment!

                                        
 
For the occasion, Joseph was so kind to write a guest blog about the making of Wrage. Here is what he says about it:

My creative process which went into composing Wrage had a different feel than when I worked on my debut novel Grim.  The challenges I faced in working on Wrage ended up being tougher. I spent more time planning and writing Wrage than I had with Grim. I also had more feedback from editors, critics, readers and publicists to consider when I went about writing Wrage.

I noticed as I began work on Wrage that my motivation in writing the novel ended up being completely different. Prior to Grim, I’d never written a full-length novel. I felt like a man a mission who had to finish that novel to accomplish a personal milestone and prove something to myself. After I’d finished Grim, I wasn’t sure if a publisher would pick it up, but I took the attitude that I’d go as far with the manuscript as I could go. Fortunately, Damnation Books and a few other independent publishers expressed interest. With Wrage, I felt a lot more pressure. I wanted to deliver a manuscript which I felt confident was equal or superior to the story I told in Grim. I felt like I became a lot more critical of myself in an effort to learn from my mistakes and to make Wrage live up to higher standards I’d set for myself.
Wrage also posed a few additional obstacles which I hadn’t encountered with Grim. The first big decision I had to make involved whether to build a continuing story arc for a series or go off in a different direction from Grim. When I felt certain I could develop my Sons of Darkness Series, I added a small chapter to the end of Grim to set up the action which would continue on into Wrage. Unlike most series, I didn’t have many characters with continuing storylines from the first novel. I liked the idea of having a different lead character for each book in the series, sort of like changing actors to play Doctor Who or James Bond. So, the next challenge I faced involved building back stories and storylines for characters which played only a small role or no role at all in Grim. The biggest setback occurred when I had finished writing about half of Wrage. I had a hardware failure on my laptop which caused me to lose about 40 to 50 pages of work which I thought I’d backed up on a flash drive, but I hadn’t. I actually cried that day because it was so much time I’d invested that I just lost.

The material I squandered took an emotional and motivational toll on me at that point. I ended up taking a month off from working on the project because I felt so upset in trying to remember everything I had written just as I’d written it that it caused me to get writer’s block. It gave me time to infuse some new ideas and go in a bit of a different direction from which I’d initially planned. I did a lot of research into the Dead Sea Scroll prophecies and tried to adapt the idea of an apocalyptic fight between the Sons of Darkness and Sons of Light as a driving force into the continuing story. That spawned some more new ideas. With the time I took refocusing my efforts and with increased demands from my full-time job at the 9-1-1 emergency communications center where I work, my writing and editing time for Wrage lasted about 14 months which felt like an eternity after it took me only about five months for Grim.

As I wrote Wrage, I also tried to consider some of the feedback I received about Grim while trying to remain consistent to the ideas and storylines I wanted to tell. Many of the critics and reviewers mentioned that they felt Grim had gory content which was too descriptive for the taste of some readers. In my books, I’ve attempted to attract fans of mysteries, paranormal fiction and horror, so I took the feedback as constructive because I didn’t want to alienate readers unnecessarily. That said, I’ve elected to write adult books which are by choice dark in nature, so I know I can’t please every reader.
It’s my hope with Wrage that fans of Grim will enjoy the continuation of the story, and that a new group of readers will discover both books. I’m in the development stages of my third book of the series which will be titled Malice. It will feature Malice Madsen, a notorious rocker patterned after Marilyn Manson, who will embody the sin of pride.

Blurb:

Sometimes the toughest fight lies within yourself.
 
As more dark secrets come to light, the battle for sould pushes Prairieville to the brink of war in the living and supernatural realms.
 
Jeff Wrage swears a blood oath to Abaddon, the supernatural avenger of murder victims, to hunt the crooked cop who butchered his wife. Jeff wonders whether he can be the executioner Abaddon requires. Their pact throws the supernatural realm in chaos and threatens to trigger an apocalyptic fight for control of the afterlife between the Sons of Darnkness and Sons of Light foretold in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
 
Orlanda Marino sees the death of Cyrus Black as his opportunity to restore the Marino family's stronghold in Prairieville's organized crime scene and become a mob kingpin. He unleashes a plague, turning its victims into mindless followers. Cyrus' heir is busy rooting out a traitor and is unable to stop the coming turf war in the realm of man. The fate of all rests with Homicide Detective Anna Duke, who steps into the shoes of her mentor while coming to term with unrequited love. As she tries to clear the fallen hero's name, she takes on a case where corpses go missing. Her new partner is reported dead. She learns the truth about her true identity and uncovers a trail of secrets questioning her tragic past. She journeys to avert the destruction of all creation.