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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Banished Love

Free-Spirited… 

Clarissa Sullivan dreams for more from life than sipping tepid tea in stifling parlors in Victorian Boston. She defies her family’s wishes, continuing to teach poor immigrant children in Boston’s West End, finding a much-needed purpose to her life. 

Radical… 

As a suffragette, Clarissa is considered a firebrand radical no man would desire. For why should women want the vote when men have sheltered women from the distasteful aspects of politics and law? 

Determined… 

When love blossoms between Clarissa and Gabriel McLeod, a struggling cabinetmaker, her family objects. Clarissa’s love and determination will be tested as she faces class prejudices, manipulative family members and social convention in order to live the life she desires with the man she loves. 

Will she succeed? Or will she yield to expectations? 

BANISHED LOVE follows Clarissa Sullivan on her journey of self-discovery as she learns what she cannot live without. 
A novel by Ramona Flightner – historical women’s fictions with strong romantic elements. Available January 28th, 2014 from Grizzly Damsel Publishing.

The author is doing a promotional tour with Goddess Fish Promotions right now, and she encourages you to leave as many comments as you like. One lucky commenter will be awarded with a $50 Amazon/B&N gift certificate.

Please use this Rafflecopter code to enter your comment(s): http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43459/



An excerpt from the novel:

“If you don’t mind me saying so, Mr. McLeod, you seem quite domesticated,” Savannah said in a haughty tone.

Gabriel laughed. “Like a favorite pet, Miss Russell?” He glanced toward her with humor. “I always think domestication ruins the better part of the beast.”

“But you wouldn’t want a wild dog in your house,” Savannah protested. “And horses must be tamed.”

Gabriel nodded. “I would hate to think you compared me to a horse or a dog, miss. I hope I have better manners than that?” he asked, raising his eyebrows mockingly toward Savannah. “Though, I agree, horses are most useful for our purpose when tamed, but I wonder if they truly enjoy working for us?” He looked toward me, although he did not push me into the conversation.

He let out a long theatrical sigh. “Domesticated cats, dogs. Domesticated women. Wonderful creatures. Wouldn’t you agree, Miss Sullivan?” He looked toward me wickedly. I had bolted so hard in the rocker at his words I had nearly flown onto the floor. I watched him with wide eyes, wondering why he pushed Savannah so.

Savannah replied, “Now you are offensive, sir.” She vibrated with anger.

“Isn’t that what all young women long to be?” Gabriel asked Savannah, setting down the filled mugs with a clunk. “Domesticated. Demure. Tamed to the needs and ways of their husbands?”

“You know perfectly well you are describing the ideal wife,” Savannah spat out.

“Am I?” he asked, sounding unconvinced. “What do you think, Miss Sullivan?” he turned to me. “Is that what you long to be, a domesticated woman?”

“No!” I blurted out before I could stop myself.

“Rissa!” Savannah scolded me, eyes flashing. She had begun to breathe heavily, and I feared she would faint with her tightly laced corset.

I blushed but met Gabriel’s eyes. “No,” I said. “I have no desire to match that description. Slightly less clumsy, perhaps,” I muttered.

“Yes, I agree,” Gabriel said, causing me to worry he agreed with my assessment about my clumsiness. “Domestication is akin to docility which is an unattractive trait in a woman.” He smiled knowingly at me, and I felt a flash of pleasure.

“Do you speak in earnestness, sir, or are you in jest?” Savannah demanded. When Gabriel merely turned to look at her, she continued. “Men want docile, demure women,” she expounded, as though teaching a rudimentary fact to Gabriel.

“Well, pardon me, ma’am, for not learning my lessons well,” he replied, nodding his head deferentially.

I watched Savannah’s face become flushed red with anger and was worried she would erupt. She generally kept her temper under control, but, when it blew, it was a frightening thing to behold.

“I’d actually like to meet a young woman who can think for herself and doesn’t want only what her father or husband wants.” His quiet statement made my pulse quicken.

Savannah scoffed, “That path leads only to misery.”

“Or tremendous contentment,” Gabriel countered.

Savannah stood, knocking into the table with such force she caused tea to spill out of the mugs. “I will not sit here any longer and listen to your insolent beliefs,” she declared. “Rissa?” She turned toward me expectantly, then headed toward the door.

I looked at Gabriel with remorse, wanting to have spent longer time in his company. “I enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we could continue it one day at the school?” I watched him, hopeful he would agree.

He smiled, releasing a sigh of relief. “I would enjoy that very much, Miss Clarissa.”

I had forgotten how his voice could feel like a caress. I closed my eyes for a moment, having missed hearing his gentle baritone. No matter how much I had enjoyed his letters, I had missed him.


Author bio and links:

Ramona Flightner is a native of Missoula, Montana. After graduating from Tufts University with a B.A. in Spanish, she earned a Masters degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Montana. Her Master’s thesis, Chilean Testimonial Literature: the collective suffering of a people, highlighted her continued interest in the stories of those who were at risk of being forgotten or silenced.
           
She studied nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a Master’s in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has worked for ten years as a family nurse practitioner providing care to the poor and under insured at two community health centers, first in Wilmington, Delaware and now in Boston, Massachusetts.
           
An avid reader, she began writing three years ago. She enjoys the demands of research and relishes the small discoveries that give historical detail to her books.
           
Ramona is an avid flyfisher and hiker who enjoys nothing better than spending a day on a remote Montana river, far from a city. She enjoys research, travel, storytelling, learning about new cultures and discovering new ways of looking at the world. Though she resides in Boston, Massachusetts, Ramona remains a Montanan at heart.
          
 Her dreams are to see the plains of East Africa, marvel at the wonder of Petra in Jordan, soak in the seas of the South Pacific, and to continue to spend as much time as possible with her family.
           
Banished Love is her first novel and is the first in the forthcoming Banished Saga.





Buy link: AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/Banished-Love-Ramona-Flightner/dp/0986050210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391389874&sr=8-1&keywords=banished+love

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Black Coach

And no, I don't mean a person - guess most Americans would think that 'coach' means someone who coaches a sports team. But in British English 'coach' also means a means of transport, i.e. a carriage.

The said black carriage is the leading thread in my latest novel, which is slowly getting towards its ending. I hope to finish the story in the course of the following month, and then of course it goes to the publisher and that also takes some time, with the editing and rewrites and such.

But right now I have all of the story right in my head. I began this novel after writing a bunch of short stories for Halloween. One of these was named 'The Black Coach' as well, and it even had two different endings.

The original short story is situated in the village of Pickering, in Yorkshire. I don't know if such a place exists, but it sounded English enough to use in my story. The villagers there believe in the devil, who rides a black coach at nights and carries away the maidens...


So some time later I thought, why not make a full novel of this? Write the story behind the village legend. And thus I developed the character of Maggie (Margaret in full), who lives in Victorian England. She is orphaned. In those days orphans were often placed in work houses, but Maggie is lucky in the fact she is only sent away as a servant for a rich family in the town of York. Alas, her employers are not very nice people and at long last Maggie runs away.

But the weather is nasty and she is near to starving. Somewhere on the road she succums to the forces of nature. Hours later a (black) coach passes by and the person in it is Neil Harrington. He saves her from impending death by taking her to his home and giving her a place to stay. Maggie is very thankful to him, but she soon learns the house has hidden secrets.

And some time later, a girl is found murdered near the village. A vile death, something matching the acts of Jack The Ripper. Not much later, another body is discovered.

You see where it's going? I won't tell too much, because I'd appreciate you'll read the full story once it is published. I can promise you though there is a nice romance in it, and of course also a true villain, who doesn't escape his dues at the end of the story. I believe in happy endings and girl gets boy to finish.

Watch out for more news about his upcoming novel...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two Degrees From Zero

Wild about snowboarding? Then you must certainly read M.J. Stewart’s novel Two Degrees From Zero: a snowboarding adventure.

The novel is a middle grade action/adventure story, available now. To promote the book, the author is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. This tour will run from February 27th to March 14th, 2014.

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.


Blurb

Thirteen-year-old Derek’s cool snowboard adventure does a dangerous rewind, because his Burton Hero board holds the key to an unsolved crime.

Two Degrees From Zero is a story that opens up the world of snowboarding and surviving hazardous winter conditions in Keystone, Colorado.

Derek, his mom, and teen friend Janae (The Clan) are invited on a snowboarding vacation by his mom’s new romance Thomas. A blizzard hits during a sleigh ride and dinner at an isolated yurt miles from Keystone. The Clan accepts an offer from two arrogant snowmobilers for a way home. But to The Clan's dismay instead of going home, they are abandoned in a creepy backwoods cabin.

Derek and Janae sneak out of the old cabin and make a dangerous trek across a white wilderness to find help while the snowmobilers are on the loose. Just as the teens find temporary shelter in an old car, another blizzard rages all night, leaving them hopelessly stranded. And their adventure has only begun.

Derek and Janae must escape the frozen ravages of the blizzard. Derek’s determination to save The Clan while outwitting the thieves is unstoppable. And the thieves are just as determined to find Derek’s snowboard because of the valuable information hidden on the board.

Excerpt

“You know we’re missing an ultimate powder rush, because we have to ride in this goofy sleigh,” Derek said to Janae.

“Here you go,” Janae said. “Ruining this amazing experience because of your grumpiness.”

“Not grumpy on the slopes today,” Derek said. “Thomas spent lots of bucks on this trip, but I wish he’d stop acting like my dad, or really my Fake Dad.”

“Be nicer to your mom’s friend.”

“Easy for you to say,” Derek retorted. “Want to do the rails with me tomorrow?”

“Maybe. You were so full of yourself ripping through the pow,” Janae teased. “You’re a hucker, and you’ll try whatever trick you see another guy doing. You charge fast, fly through the air, and sometimes you even land upright.”

“I’m not a hucker. Wish I could lay down some cool tricks like the pros do,” Derek said.

“I saw you rolling down the windows a couple of times,” Janae said. “I’ll stick to the jumps.”

“Guess you’ll do anything to catch your balance. I like my cool Burton board I got at the rental shop. Except the left strap gave me trouble,” Derek complained.

“So that’s your excuse for not landing tricks,” Janae said.


Author info and links

M.J. Stewart is a Colorado author and lives in Colorado Springs. Her love for the outdoors has provided many exciting adventures and include downhill skiing, biking, hiking, camping, and nature photography.

The author is on Facebook at:  martha.lancaster@facebook.com

She’s also on Twitter at: @hike4ski


Amazon.com buy link:  http://www.amazon.com/Two-Degrees-Zero-Snowboarding-Adventure-ebook/dp/B00GODMSJS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1385687435

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sunday joke

Don't know if you heard it, but a wild animal park in Belgium just got two panda's on loan from the Chinese government. What a spectacle was made of it! Even the Prime Minister was there to make a speech....

So I thought why not post a joke about panda's today? So here goes:


A panda walks into a bar and gobbles some beer nuts. Then he pulls out a gun, fires it in the air, and heads for the door. “Hey!” shouts the bartender, but the panda yells back, “I’m a panda. Google me!” Sure enough, panda: “A tree-climbing mammal with distinct black-and-white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stromae

Belgium doesn't only export beer and chocolate. Since lately we also have other export products, like good films made in Flanders (see The Broken Circle Breakdown, nominated for an Oscar), good singers (like Selah Sue).

Stromae is another of these artist who'll make it worldwide. Stromae is a Belgian singer-songwriter of electronic music and hiphop, born as Paul Van Haver. His father was Rwandese, his mother originates from my town of birth, Dendermonde. Paul was born in Etterbeek (Brussels) and is French-speaking.


His first big hit was 'Alors on dance' - a number one hit in nummer 1-hit in Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Bulgaria and Belgium. For this song he won two MIA (Music Industry Awards) in 2010.

Last year his second album, Racine Carreé was introduced, and some of the singles are already big hits, like 'Formidable' and 'Tous les mèmes'. In France he sold more than a million of this album and he won three Victoires de la musique' (the French version of the Grammy's).

Better still, well-known blogger Perez Hilton praises Stromae in his blog. Well, we all know that Perez likes Belgian artist. It's thanks to him that Selah Sue has won some recognition in the States (also Prince likes her and when possible attends her concerts). He wrote he cannot understand why Stromae is still a big unknown in the States.

Personally I'm not quite into French songs, but I do like the songs Stromae makes. It's music I can listen to and sing along with.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shadows of Damascus

Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.

Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.

Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.

Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?


Shadows of Damascus, by author Lilas Taha,  was released by Soul Mate Publishing mid January, 2014. It is a book in the genre of soft temporay romance for new adults.

The author is doing a promo tour right now for her book, and for this occasions she is giving away a $50 Amazon/BN gift card  to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So don’t hesitate to leave a comment, using this Rafflecopter code : http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43467/

Who is Lilas Taha?

Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choice. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.


Author Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/LilasTahaAuthor
Twitter: Follow @LilasTaha https://twitter.com/LilasTaha


An excerpt from the novel…

PROLOGUE
YASMEEN

Damascus, Syria
Summer 2006

The seductive fragrance of Damascus roses drifted through the open window and flirted with fifteen-year-old Yasmeen’s olfactory senses. The potent flowers in her neighbor’s yard delivered the best awakening. She loved beginnings, especially early, mid-summer mornings like these. Stretching across the bed, her imagination raced with possibilities for the promising day.

Thursday. The day her older brother’s friends visited and stayed well into the evening. Yasmeen ticked off potential visitors in her head, dashing young university students who loved to talk politics with Fadi. Today, she would do her best to discover the name of the quietest member in the group, the thin one with round-rimmed glasses. On her nightstand, the sketch she worked on during the last visit waited for his name, and more details around the eyes.

Peeling off the covers, she tip-toed to the window. Lively noises matched her optimistic mood. Nightingales sang greetings. Clanging dishes and pots resonated from surrounding houses beyond high walls. Mothers called out for their daughters to get breakfast ready. Men’s deep voices describing fresh fruits and vegetables with tempting traditional phrases drifted above hidden alleys. One vendor claimed his cucumbers were small as baby fingers, and likened his ripe apples to a virgin bride’s cheeks. Another boasted his plum peaches shed their covers without enticement, and his shy eggplants hid well in a moonless night.

Yasmeen succumbed to the enlivening chaos spilling in from her bedroom window, her own special and personal opening to the world. Tilting her head back, she exposed her face and neck to the sun, allowing its invigorating rays to paint her cheeks.

Today, her mother told her she would be allowed to take a coffee tray into Fadi’s room once all his friends arrived. What would she wear? She should tell her best friend Zainab to stop by earlier than usual to go through her wardrobe. She could help her decide. Perhaps one of Fadi’s friends would notice her. More than one? Why not?

Draping her arms on the windowsill, she looked at the neighbor’s yard, counting the blooming roses, a ritual she performed each morning since the season started. In the north corner of the largest flowerbed, two violet buds grabbed her attention, their delicate petals about to unfold. Once they came to full bloom, their deep purple color would dominate the landscape.

A knock sounded at her door.

“I am awake.”

Her father walked in. “Good. We have work to do.” He held a hammer in one hand and a couple of boards in the other. “Move aside, Yasmeen.” He approached the window.

She stepped away and pointed at the boards. “What do you need those for?”

Her father closed the windowpanes, locked them, placed one board across the frame, and hammered it in place.

“What are you doing?”

“This window is not to be opened again, child.”

She could not believe her ears. “Why?”


“Neighbors moved out last night.” Her father nailed the second board in place. “Mukhabarat took over their house.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who's behind the mask?

This is THE questions that currently occupies most minds over here. Is it Kate Ryan, or...?

Each Sunday night 'Eurosong' is aired, a talent show in which the candidate for this year's Eurovision Song Contest is appointed. Alternatively the Flemish TV1 and the French La Une organize this event, in which the Belgian candidate is chosen.

So this year it is TV 1 and they decided to have a few nights of talent searching, mostly to attract more viewers. Some well-known artists from Flemish stock are taking part, but what draws most comments is the performance of a group of masked men and one woman, who are doing rather well.


From the first day, everyone was guessing who is this masked female. Most people think it is singer Kate Ryan, who already took part in Eurosong some years ago and was chosen to go to the Contest. She did not end up first, but who cares?


Kate Ryan herself denies the suspicions. She is in Sochi, she says, because she was asked to perform there. So she could not well be in two places at the same time. But is this true? Some claim to have seen Ryan boarding a plance AFTER last Sunday's broadcast...

Well, it is certainly something that will keep viewers wondering for some time longer....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Don't teachers deserve more respect?

Today's newspaper (and also the radio news) talked about a court case, where a mother is suing a school because her daughter did not get an A-attest. (In Belgium you need an A to go to the next year.)

This has already caused a lot of reactions, among which one of the head of the catholic schools. This is showing a lack of respect for the job of teacher, she claims, and when this doesn't come to an end, more cases will follow.

One hundred years ago, a teacher was respected. Along with the mayor of the town and the priest, he represented authority in the region and was either feared or liked by kids and their parents. But today a teacher can be sued whenever a parent feels like it - most of us already have an insurance against such practices!

In my opinion - and being a teacher myself - I know (most) teachers don't thread lightly when the future of a young boy or girl is concerned. We discuss their results in a meeting with all the other teachers of this class and we don't give a B (needing to go to another option, but not failed) or C (failed) just for fun. But when we decide a pupil can only have a C, it is a decision that has been talked about over and over.

The pupil mentioned in the article had 4 subjects in which she failed. Most likely, they were major subjects in the option she was following. When someone take bookkeeping, but has not scored enough in economics, for instance, or in mathematics, a teacher can only say he or she won't be able to make it to the next year.

I think parents should understand this. We do our best, but we cannot make kids do better if they don't have a feel for the subject or the intellect. Then they are better off doing something else - but this is what most parents don't like to hear. Their kids should all be doctors or lawyers, not plumbers or carpenters. Hell, they still don't know plumbers and carpenters make more money!

There should be a law against parents suing the decision of the class meeting. If this decision is binding, they'd have to comply and their kids would probably be better off.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Riddle of Prague

When 18-year-old Hana Silna travels to Prague to reclaim her family’s home, she discovers a riddle that may lead to a long-last flask.

The contents of that flask could change the fate of the world. When a ruthless enemy kidnaps her family Hana has to find the flask to rescue them. On her quest she meets a mysterious man with a penchant for poetry, a Gypsy girl with a haunting past, and Alex, an all-American boy who’s trying to save his sister from a crippling disease.   It’s hard to trust anyone when the stakes are this high — especially when surrounded by experts in deception.

There’s only one flask, and Hana desperately needs to find it.

You’ll find all the answers in The Riddle of Prague – a Young Adult Thriller available now from Quicksilver Legacy Books. The author, Laura DeBruce is doing a promotional tour for this book right now, and for the occasion she is giving away a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. So don’t hesitate to post your comments, but please use this Rafflecopter code: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e43468/


Here’s an excerpt from the novel:

JFK Airport, New York, 1991


My mother says when we face our fears, we tap into a reservoir of courage. I’m not so sure. I’m strapped to this seat like a captured beast, and all I feel is panic. The airplane screams down the runway and thrusts its 800,000 pounds of steel into the sky. We’re taking off in the middle of a thunderstorm. My seatmate, immersed in a book, seems oblivious to the danger.

He’s got curly, blond hair that’s a little on the long side and one of those perfectly sculpted noses, and he’s wearing jeans and a batik-patterned shirt. Early twenties, I’m guessing. Not much older than me. The airplane gives a sickening lunge, and I tug the seatbelt tighter. My seatmate glances over, a bit eagerly, with piercing blue eyes.

“You all right there?” he asks with a crisp, European accent of some kind.

“I’m fine.” I’m not fine at all, but I don’t want to tell him that.

“This is the amazing part.” He gestures out the window, twirling his hand as if he’s conducting the storm outside. “Look!”

“I’d rather not.” The plane shakes, and I grab the armrests.

I’m only on this flight because my mother has inherited a house in Prague. Actually she’s reclaiming a house—the one where she grew up. The one the Communists took from her family when they seized all private property. My mom and dad had to escape when the Soviets invaded Prague in 1968. Now the Iron Curtain has lifted, and the people who left can finally return without being thrown into jail. Unfortunately for my mother, now means surgery and doctors. She’s at a hospital and can barely walk down the hallway, much less haul herself onto a plane. This didn’t matter to the bureaucrats in charge of the restitution of property. If the transfer of the house doesn’t happen immediately, they say it might not happen at all. That’s why my mother is sending me, her only child, in her place. That’s why I’m on this airplane instead of at the hospital at her side, where I should be.


Some author bio and links:

Laura DeBruce is a documentary filmmaker and writer. She grew up traveling all over the world thanks to her father’s work with the U.S. Embassy. She and her husband spent twelve years living in Europe including Prague, Paris, Amsterdam and London where she found inspiration to write The Quicksilver Legacy Series. In Prague she worked as a lawyer for the first private nationwide television station in the former Communist bloc.  It was there that she fell in love with the ancient city of Prague and its legends. 

She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and son and an unruly Golden Retriever. 

Website with blog and trailer:  http://theriddleofprague.com





Also good to know

All of the paintings in The Riddle of Prague are based on real artwork.

Hana finds Elizabeth Weston’s notebook that includes this scene.

Don Julius invited us all to watch the great painter Bartholomew Spranger put the finishing touches on a portrait of Don Julius and Markéta posed as Bacchus and Venus. Don Julius called it a tribute to the start of their immortal reign over Krumlov. As he said these words, a shudder of horror passed over Markéta’s face. Imagine being doomed to all eternity with such a man!

(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Seventeen, Westonia’s letter to her daughter.)

Here is part of the actual painting by Bartholomew Spranger who was a painter at the court of Rudulf the II.


At some point in the story, Alex and Hana travel to a town called Benatky where they see two paintings. The first is of famed astronomer Tycho Brahe.


She points to a portrait of a man in old-fashioned clothes. “My brother,” she says with a funny little smile. “It is sad he didn’t live to see the triumph of my work.”

Alex and I exchange a wary glance. The painting is obviously hundreds of years old.

(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Twenty-Two, Portrait of Tycho Brahe.)


The second painting is of the Polish alchemist Michal Sendovogious who was also a part of Rudolf II’s court. The painting is by Jan Matejko.

In the big room, Alex is standing near the paintings on the wall. He pulls his hand back from the frame of a portrait when he sees us. The painting is of a  red-haired man with a long, rust-colored beard kneeling in front of a fireplace before a group of admirers.


(The Riddle of Prague, Chapter Twenty-Four, Painting of Sendovogious.)


Later in the book, Hana is searching for clues in Edward Kelley’s riddle. There’s a reference to Vertumnus that’s a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II.




Saturday, February 15, 2014

How was your Valentine's Day?

Yesterday was February 14th, the day for lovers. Lots of men hurried to the flower shop to buy a nice bouquet for their spouses, or bought chocolates and/or other presents.


If you have a lover, or husband, or boyfriends that's ok. You get a present - or you may expect one, at the least.

But what for those who don't have somebody who loves them? Don't they get a special treat?

All in all, I think Valentine's Day is a bit too commercialized. All the shops offers products for Valentine and it looks as if you are obliged to buy something. You get mails offering Valentine's cards to send around. Everyone talks about it.

I'm not married, and don't have a boyfriend. So I never get anything on this day. Well, I'd be lying, because yesterday a political party (we have elections in May) handed out chocolates to everyone taking the train in the station of Dendermonde. And when arriving in Sint-Niklaas, I got another one. But never a card, or flowers ... poor me!

So I'd suggest to all those who did not get anything yesterday to treat themselves to something special.  I got myself a big box of chocolates today, and I'll have a couple of them tonight!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Prayer

Do you Believe in Miracles? 

Do you Believe in Eternal Love? 

Do you Believe in Answered Prayers? 

YOU WILL !!!

The Prayer, A Love Story is the inspirational true story of one woman who discovers the secret to living a life filled with miracles, unconditional love and answered prayers. 

The journey begins with a divine promise, continues with unforeseen life challenges, and eventually leads to Jerusalem. Inside the Old City, a prayer will unlock the key to a life of miracles. This journey is proof heaven is real and its gifts are available to you now. Whether you have stopped believing in God or not, God believes in you. 


The journey holds a promise for everyone. No matter how much darkness exists in your life, it cannot diminish the flicker of even the tiniest light. That light will lead you to your destiny and it will change your life forever.

The author

Meet author Jacqueline von Zwehl, who wrote this inspirational romance book available now from Johann Press. Right now Jaqueline is doing a promotional tour to promote her book, and for this she is giving away a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter!

Please use this Rafflecopter code to place your comment: 


Jacqueline von Zwehl, is a faith based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. The Prayer, A Love Story is her debut book. Jacqueline von Zwehl, is a faith based relationship expert. She holds a BFA from New York University and a MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Jacqueline travels the country as a motivational speaker encouraging singles on the path to finding their soul mates. She has appeared on Nite Line, The Harvest Show, EWTN, TCT TV, Victory TV, CatholicTV, Telecare, Changing Lives, CatholicLife, That's the Spirit, The Church, The Cardinal and You, NPR, and more. Jacqueline lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her husband Christopher, their two daughters and dog. The Prayer, A Love Story is her debut book.

Read Jacqueline's Blog at www.jackievonzwehl.com







And a few words from the author... answering the question what kind of writer she is.

Are you ready to learn one of the greatest secrets to life.  Yes, I know everyone claims to have a secret to improve your life but in this case it's true.  The best part is it won't cost you anything except a few minutes of your time to read this and allow the following to enter your heart.  The secret to life is living with joy and passion.

I know, you're thinking that's too easy.  I've heard that before a million times and it's not a secret.  Perhaps that's true but ask yourself are you passionate about life?  If not, why?  Passion and joy are the reasons we live.  What is life without living passionately?  At this point, I usually get the normal round of excuses like I have to work to pay my bills, I have responsibilities, or I have no idea what my passion in life is?  Well, here is a second secret, the people who are always ready with an excuse will never be ready with the solution.

Sometimes life's responsibilities do get in the way of our ability to fully live our lives with passion but it doesn't mean you can't have a plan.  Every day we each have a choice regarding how we live.  We can choose to live life as victims, complaining about the world, the government, and how unfair everything is or we can choose to live our life with purpose, joy and passion.  It's a choice.

I always chose the latter.  As a wife and mother of two small toddlers sometimes my life feels like it's on a roller coaster I can't control but I can control how I feel.  I'm in charge of my attitude and I'm always searching for joy in every situation.

The question of the day is, what kind of writer am I? The answer is simple.  I'm a passionate writer.



The novel

A little teaser:

Wedding Day

I often wonder about the idea of a miracle. Is it something you feel? Can you see it? Or is it some- thing you just know? Miracle is a very big word, perhaps best saved for big events like the birth of a baby or the first man walking on the moon.

As I ponder this thought, I’m surrounded by lovely, fresh-cut flowers. Isn’t the blossoming of these flowers a miracle? A tiny little seed in the ground, nurtured with rich soil, water, and light, grows to reveal its unique beauty. When we look at the seed, we can’t see the miracle. It’s only later, after its potential has been manifested, we realize what that seed carried all along. Isn’t that how we all are? On the journey of our destiny in this life, all of us start as seeds. Some of us are still in  the  ground, waiting  to  grow. Some  of us have sprouted a few leaves, and some of us have fully blossomed. Is the miracle the blossoming of the flower, or is the miracle knowing with certainty that everything is already in the seed? Yes, for me it always comes down to certainty. When all I can see is a seed in the ground, the miracle is certainty in my knowl- edge of what the seed is destined to become.

These were the thoughts I recorded in my journal on the morning of our wedding. I have heard that most brides wake up jittery and full of excitement, perhaps thinking about their hair and make-up, the excitement of the day ahead, and how the weather will hold up. I woke up and started writing.

‘What is a miracle? Today I will get married. I will marry the man who makes my heart sing and who was sent as the answer to my prayer. A man who calls me his miracle. Today is our seed, the first day of our journey as husband and wife.We don’t know how our seed will grow. We don’t know how many leaves will bloom or what its flower will look like. We don’t know what storms we’ll face. We do know with certainty that this seed is our destiny. It is our miracle.’

We were all ready. The driver took my hand and escorted me to my seat in the limo.