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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Citytrip to London

It's the start of a long weekend (Catholic holiday) and thus we are off to other places. Once more we favor London.


London is a city I simply can't get enough of. I often say, when I'd win the lottery I'd buy a place in London and spend half of the year there. There is so much going on, so much to see and do.

This time we're staying in Islington, which is not too far away from St. Pancras station where the Eurostar arrives. It's also not right in the center of town, which (hopefully) means a quiet neigborhood so we can sleep without interruptions.

Tomorrow we are going to see the new version of Miss Saigon. And we're also going to see War Horse. For the rest it will depend on the weather. With nice and dry weather you can do more than when it rains. But of course there are enough shops to keep ourselves occupied when rain is coming down...

I'll try to post another blog one of the next days, when I'm not too busy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Perfect Score

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for The Perfect Score by Beth Albright -  a contemporary romance available now from Tule Publishing Group. This Super Book Blast Tour will take place May 27 - 30, 2014.

 Beth will be awarding a $15 Target gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please use this code to enter your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e434164/


Blurb

Ginny Bloom Hunnicutt is crawling back home to Cottonwood Cove Alabama-- her promising CNN news-reporting career in shambles when an on-air flub cost her the job and cost CNN a lawsuit. Putting ego aside, she takes a position at the Chatterbox – the local weekly newspaper run by her mother, the town gossip. What’s a southern belle to do in a crisis but run home to her mama?

But when a mysterious hot high school football coach rolls into town, Ginny’s luck begins to change. Seems he has more secrets than a shady politician and Ginny’s determined to dig up the truth, and write the story that will get her career back on track. Everyone knows in a small, southern town, nothing stays private.

But the more she delves into his past, the more she begins to fall for the former college football star.

The coach’s star player has some secrets of his own and when Ginny uncovers it all, she must decide if she should reveal everything or follow her heart and protect the people she has grown to care for.


Author Beth Albright weaves a saucy southern tale filled with intrigue, romance and laugh out-loud comedy. From the bright lights of Friday night football to the darkened bedroom of unexpected lovers, it’s a richly layered story with more twists and turns—and mud, than an Alabama back road.

Excerpt

“I’ll have another,” I said as I ordered my second dirty martini. The Sand Box was a dingy little bar near the pier in Cottonwood Cove, Alabama.

Covered in fishing ropes and other remnants of the life on the lake, the place was a dive for the small-towns folk who lived here, and for the kids who were lake rats during the summer. But summer had ended weeks ago, the kids back at school, and we were well into September now. Late that night, the place was nearly empty.

I sat there nursing my drink, drowning myself in what I had come to believe was the most embarrassing moment of my career. The dim lights swung in old metal fixtures from the ceiling of the Sand Box. A jukebox playing Hank Williams Jr. stood missing some of its colored lights in the corner. A few old wooden tables were scattered around with a couple of red vinyl booths shoved in the corner near the pool table and dartboard.

I had come home, tail tucked neatly between my legs, to lick my wounds. My name is Virginia Bruce Hunnicutt. I go by Ginny. My sisters and I all have my mom’s maiden name as our middle name. I kept it as my last name for my TV job. Ginny Bruce, reporting. I was a reporter for CNN in Atlanta. Was being the key word here. I had been fired two weeks prior because one of my sources was a fake. I swear I checked the credentials but the story turned out to be full of inaccuracies and CNN is now in a lawsuit. I may never work in the media again. And CNN was my dream job.

My name is now as muddy as the Alabama red dirt, which is exactly where I ran home to: Cottonwood Cove, Alabama. It’s the safest place to be. And even though I had become quite the big city girl, the one I had always dreamed of being, somehow, the safety of being home in Cottonwood Cove had its perks. Like being in this dive bar in the middle of the week late at night, with only one other soul in here besides me. Oh, God—and he was making his way over to me just as I was finishing my second round.

“What’s your poison?” he asked in his deep sexy baritone. He was beautiful. Rugged and sculpted with dark wavy hair and gorgeous lips; he was about six foot three and deliciously well built. His dark blue eyes undressed me as he moved closer to me—or maybe that was just me thinking I’d be more comfortable with my clothes off with this gorgeous man. He was dressed in a navy Polo button-down and perfect fitting blue jeans. His large muscular thighs and broad defined shoulders were evident even under his clothes. One dimple accentuated the right side his cute, boyish face. He smiled at me like he was fixin’ to eat me up, and oh, I was feeling like dessert as he slid in next to me at the bar.  He looked like an athlete. Or a god. Come to think of it, in Alabama, those are one in the same. Regardless, he was heaven to look at, or maybe I was seeing him through double martini glasses. Probably the latter since I only weighed about 125 pounds and I knew better than to have more than two drinks. Ever.

“I’m having dirty martinis,” I answered. “You?”

“I’ll have the same,” he said to the bartender.


Author bio and links

Beth Albright is the author of the award-winning, best-selling series The Sassy Belles. After knowing Beth for just a few short seconds you are sure to learn she is from Alabama. No, its not the lilt of magnolia you can still catch in her voice, or even the way she lovingly describes her undying love for her famous alma mater's football champions. She will tell you she loves Tuscaloosa, even after living quite literally all over the country. Though Beth has had a remarkable career, from New York City to Hollywood, and all points in between, she has never forgotten where she came from...and what she loves. That's why when it came time to write, Beth had no choice but to write about Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama, and all the quirky people she still calls family, though some do not actually share her bloodline!

Beth Albright has always been a storyteller. After spending nearly 15 years in talk radio, as a talk show host, playing the part of a principal character on the soap opera, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, owning her own acting school and children’s theater, and raising a son who was a nationally ranked figure skater, Beth has decided to return to her roots; storytelling. When she was in the sixth grade, her teacher gave her the floor every Friday to tell her stories. See, Beth was a talker, a future talk show host in the making, and she was telling stories so much that her teacher couldn’t teach. The teacher told 12 year old Beth if she would begin writing her stories down, she would be allowed time to share those stories with the class.

And she’s been writing, AND talking ever since. Beth has interviewed Bob Hope, Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Wolfgang Puck and George Burns live from the Chinese Theatre, as well as numerous other celebrities, and authors. Then Beth became a principal character on Days of Our Lives. But through all of the excitement of talk shows and soap operas, Beth loved telling stories to her audience the most. With a degree in Journalism from her beloved University of Alabama, She always remains true to her roots, born and raised in Tuscaloosa, “My grandfather was the play by play announcer for the Crimson Tide in the 50s!” Beth will proudly tell you.   She is a down homespun girl, although she currently lives in San Francisco with her TV producer husband and her brilliant son. But her heart is always in Alabama.









Sunday, May 25, 2014

Election joke

Guess this is the way lots of politicians work... (You can figure out I don't have a high opinion of them.)

Two friends with radically different political views are on their way to the polls on election day. One guy turns to the other and says "You know, we've argued about this for months, and we're obviously going to vote for different candidates. Our votes will cancel each other out anyways, so why don't we just call it a draw and go home instead?"

The other guy agrees, they shake hands and part ways.

Another guy who overheard the conversation approaches the dealmaker and says with admiration, "That's a real sportsmanlike offer you just made!"

"Not really," the guy says, "Just this afternoon I've already done this three times."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How tastes evolve throughout time

When I was a little kid my most favorite food was red cabbage with sausages and lots of potatoes. For most people in Flanders, potatoes and sausages are the main ingredients of their daily cooking. Also cabbage is a popular vegatable, along with carrots and onion.

When someone would have offered me raw fish, or a curry of rice, I would have become ill at the thought! I also did not like tomatoes then - and knew nothing about vegetables like fennel and red beet.

It was only when I began to accampany my parents on their travels that my taste began to change. Coming to other places in Europe gave me a taste for Italian food especially.  Right now we eat pasta's at least once a week.

Our weekly menu consists of a mix of meat, fish and vegatarian. We also eat lots of vegetables and very often rice and pasta, next to our home potatoes.

My sister likes to spice up our dishes, and she uses curry in abundance. Last summer we went eating in an Indian restaurant (for the first time) and really liked the spicy dishes. My stomach never plays up.

When we prepare a paella, we use sharp tasting chorizo to spice up the rice. We also add red bell pepper, onion, mussels, chicken, scampi and saffron.

How has your taste changed when growing up? Are there things you loved then but can't eat anymore now?
Feel free to share your thoughts!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

No Hard Feelings

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for No Hard Feelings, A Kate Stanton Mystery by Marta Tandori, a Mystery available now.

Marta will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Blurb

Some secrets can’t stay hidden, especially when they involve murder… 


Liz Farrell is still reeling over the murder of her mother almost a year earlier at the hands of her father, Leo Bauer, when she receives the startling news that she’s inherited her estranged father’s sizable estate. Unable to come to terms with her father’s unspeakable legacy, Liz and her grandmother, Kate Stanton, visit Leo’s property in Benedict Canyon, desperately hoping to find closure. Instead, they find a bunker hidden under an old hunting lodge that had been used by Leo at one time to hold Liz’s mother captive. Horrified by the discovery, Liz immediately orders the bunker filled and the lodge destroyed but the ensuing demolition quickly comes to a grinding halt after a man’s remains are discovered in a shallow grave at the base of the old lodge. Once the press get wind of the gruesome discovery, rumors quickly surface, linking the remains to a murder spree that took place at the same address almost half a century earlier; a murder spree conveniently covered up by the governor at the time who also happened to be Leo Bauer’s stepbrother. Liz and Kate’s efforts to uncover the truth behind the murders are soon hampered by family secrets and a killer who’s intent on finishing the job started almost fifty years ago.


Excerpt

I need to escape him.  I need to escape the man who is both my lover and my captor, but there is nowhere to run.

With a firm grip on my good arm, he pulls me along after him through the crush of humanity, toward the converging crowds gathering at Pandora’s Box on the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights. The closer we get to our destination, the louder and more boisterous the crowds of protestors and police seem to become. I cry out in pain as my body is jostled, hurting my dislocated left shoulder, which is supported only by the flimsy sling he has fashioned for me. However, he doesn’t hear me cry out because he’s too busy trying to keep up with his two friends.

 For a second, I actually toy with the idea of wrenching my arm out of his grip and making a run for it, but almost immediately, I’m overcome by a fear so paralyzing that I’m barely able to breathe. He’s already given me a nasty taste of what he will do to me if I ever try leaving him. He’s promised to stop at nothing—and spare no one—until he finds me, even if it means killing every member of my family. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living with this monster, it’s to always take his threats seriously. With a sinking heart, I realize I am nothing more than a pawn to him; valuable when needed, but as with everything in his life, sadly expendable once I’ve served my purpose in his pursuit of his master plan.  He has very few displays of human emotion, so it’s difficult to figure out what he’s thinking at any given time. One thing I am sure of, though, is that he trusts no one, least of all me.

Author bio and links

By the time Marta Tandori reached fifth grade, she was an avid reader and writer with a stack of short stories collecting dust in a box under her bed but it wasn’t until she began studying acting in her early twenties at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that Marta realized acting wasn’t really her passion – writing fiction was. What followed was years of writing workshops as well as correspondence courses in writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut. She credits the award winning author, Troon Harrison, as the instructor who helped her find her literary voice. Marta’s first work of middle-grade fiction, BEING SAM, NO MATTER WHAT was published in 2005, followed by EVERY WHICH WAY BUT KUKU! in 2006. With her more recent endeavors, Marta has shifted her writing focus to mysteries and suspense having “strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives”. To learn more about Marta, please visit her website  or her Facebook Author Page.


Links:



Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MartaTandori">@MartaTandori 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Election Fever

On Sunday 25th May, we are having elections in Belgium. We have to chose candidates for the Belgian Federal Parliament, for the European Parliament and for the Flemish Parliament.

Perhaps you'll remember, but the last time we had general elections (in 2010) it took over one year to form a legislation... I wonder if this situation will repeat itself this year.

The big questions that keep people talking are the following:

1) the high umemployment rate
2) the (very) high taxes we pay, also on labor force
3) the things that'll change with the transfer of federal to Flemish government (childcare bonus, bonus for owning your house or flat, pensions, health care, ...)

Some parties (N-VA, Open VLD) would like to exclude the unemployed from receiving unemployment aid after being on the dole for 2 years. After that, they'd have to go to the OCMW (which is something like aid for those in need) where they'd receive a sum that is hardly enough to survive -AND they wouldn't receive anything if they have a house or other property.

Now I've been unemployed at times myself and I know this would not be fair. Not everyone without a job doesn't want to work. But sometimes you just can't find a job. In the 1980's the situation was so bad for teachers I could not find work for a couple of years. And if you are older, who wants you?

Another thing that keep people guessing is what will happen after the transfer of some authorisations to the Flemish government? Now we can bring in some of the expenses concerned with owing a house (the interest on the loan we pay off, the capital we have returned) and they are deducted from our taxes. Will this remain the same, or will it change? Some parties will want to keep everything like it was, but others want to do away with it.

And how will you make labor less expensive? In our country, one laborer costs more than in other countries. If he or she has net wages of say 1,500 Euro, the employer has to pay 3,000 Euro of taxes to the government. If you want to make labor less expensive, you can charge a millionaire tax (the liberals are against that, of course), or you can raise the BTW (or VAT).

So you see, these elections will have a big importance. I can't see in a crystal ball, so I don't know which party will be the greatest. N-VA hopes to be, but will they win? Imo they have lost a lot of their impact already and they haven't made themselves popular in the news lately.

We'll have to be patient...


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Introducing author Jenn Nixon

This time it's not a Goddess Fish promo tour, but I'd like to introduce you to an author who needs some more promo. Hey, author should help each other, right?

Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

Purchase links:


Lucky's Break

After almost losing her Uncle Phen during the investigation of her mother’s murder, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino cut all ties and ran away, hoping her family would move on and forget the promises they made. Putting the past behind her has never been easy, but Lucky knows the job is slowly destroying her already fractured psyche. Staying away, especially now that her family is in danger, is the only way to keep everyone safe.
Kenji Zinn, determined to locate his ex-lover, tracks Lucky to a small island with her family’s help, and finds her in a miserable and self-destructive condition. His connection to her is strained after months apart but his feelings haven’t change, and he attempts to persuade her to come home, to protect her family and keep her promise. Despite her obvious mental fatigue, only Phen is able to convince her that the way to get closure is finding an elusive man named Quimby and take him out permanently. 

Once home, Lucky breaks it off with Kenji, and agrees to go back to work if Phen promises to let her go when it’s done. While her family continues to track their target, Lucky returns to work for the network—struggling through each job, aware that pushing her family away won’t bring anyone the peace they deserve. As she begins to repair her shattered relationships, her true feelings for Kenji are tested when she almost loses him completely. Before it’s too late, Lucky realizes he’s her best ally to help her finish what she started and find Quimby before he strikes again.


Excerpt

Kenji is at ‘the compound’ recovering…

Kenji jerked up, waking the instant the doors shut. Looking over, he saw her walk in. His heart thumped. His stomach churned, causing the wound to throb. It felt like he was dying a slow, poisonous death.
Wearing a sports bra and tight spandex shorts, Felicia moved to the mat and stretched. The thick, curly locks pulled back to reveal her stunning face and bright golden, catlike eyes. She appeared healthier, vibrant again. Filled out, with the curves he loved to trace.
Kenji shuddered, attempting to ignore his natural response to her as he stood up. Noticing immediately, she spun around and gawked at him.
 “Didn’t know anyone was here.” She turned, picked up her towel, and went for the door.
 “Felicia,” he said and crossed the room, forcing his body to move faster than it liked. He winced near the treadmill, paused, and grabbed the rail. She lurched forward.
 “Easy,” she chided and bit her lip.
“I am fine,” he said. “I will be leaving shortly.”
 “Okay,” she said while hanging her head. “As long as you’re well enough.”
 “Irrelevant. I have stayed too long.
 “Don’t let me being here stop you from getting better. You won’t see me again.” Her tone turned tight, sharp.
He bridged the distance slowly, nearing the weight bench. “Until you sneak into my room again.” Felicia whipped around, storming toward the exit. “How long will you ignore what you feel for me?”
“What?” She seemed genuinely shocked by his question but didn’t miss a beat with her retort: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
 “Why did you come to my room?” He followed her to the exit.
 “To say good-bye,” she said.
“Every word you speak is a lie. You do not want me to leave anymore than I want to go.”
“Keep telling yourself that, maybe you’ll believe it one day“Is it so hard to admit you care?” She paused at the door and stared at him, emotionless. “No, you are too stubborn. You will realize you want me, and it will be too late. I hope you are willing to live with your choice.”
“I am,” she said.
 “Go. All you do is run away.” He wave at hand to the door and shook his head
“Fuck you."
“Do you fear what I make you feel that much?”
“Listen, I just wanted to tell you my side, okay? That’s all. I know what I did was wrong. I tried to make that perfectly clear. It was despicable and hurtful. The drinking wasn’t an excuse; it’s just an explanation. I wasn’t myself. I don’t expect you to accept my apology. I just wanted you to have it because it’s the right thing to do. Gives us both a clean break.”
Kenji wasn’t getting through; Felicia ignored everything he said. He didn’t care about that anymore. He wanted her to admit the truth. Confess what he saw in her eyes. Want him to stay. “You think a few words etched on a sheet of paper are a proper apology? Why not tell me to my face?”
Her pitch rose. “You didn’t want me to know you were here. Why would I think you’d want to see me?”
“You were on assignment. I know you did not need another disruption.” He looked knowingly into her eyes; she glanced away. “I said I would never trouble you again, and I have stayed true to my word. You approached me.”
 “You barged in on my family!”
“They offered help if I ever needed it. I left you alone,” he said, the anger seething like an overcooked broth, rising to the rim. “If not for you, this injury would not be here!"
 “Oh, so it’s my fault you did a shitty job?” She placed both hands on her hips in defiance. His blood boiled, but he didn’t dare move closer. Then she laughed. Kenji almost snapped. “It’s all over your face; you fucked up all on your own, fella.”
“You know that is a lie. Have you been flawless these last few months?”
 “I’m fine,” she said, slapping her thighs.
 “You have wanted to tell me how sorry you are, for this long, and I am supposed to believe you are fine? The shame must have been torture for you; a confession only helps so much."
“It was an explanation.
“How long have you wallowed in your suffering?” When she glared at him, he smirked. He had ammunition to use as well. “I know you, Felicia.”
 “You used to.” She crossed her arms over her chest.
 “I see through your armor, remember?”
Felicia tilted her chin higher, eyes narrowing. “I’m bulletproof now.”
“I waste my words on you,” he said and approached. The slight trembles in her body told him the truth. Yet she stood there, resistant as ever. He looked down at her before passing. “Sayōnara, Felicia.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

Getting ready to barbecue

With this nice weather - and the prospect of even better days to come - the barbecue season is in full swing.


Do you love to barbecue? I do, but unfortunately I am not good with the classic barbecue set. I don't know what happens (I seem to do everything right) but either the charcoal doesn't want to burn, or when it does it only keeps going for half an hour.

So because we do like to barbecue on warm summer nights, we got ourselves an electric barbecue. I admit, not the same taste - but oh so easy to handle! (And most likely better for your health!)

What is your favorite food on the barbecue? Most Belgians go for sausages and ribs. Personally I prefer fish (like salmon) or seafood on the grill. We have some great recipies with these ingredients.

Please respond if you want to share ideas!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunny joke

Couldn't resist on posting a joke about the beach and the sunshine...


Two priests were going to Hawaii on vacation and decided that they would make this a real vacation by not wearing anything that would identify them as clergy.

As soon as the plane landed, they headed for a store and bought some really outrageous shorts and shirts, sandals, sunglasses, etc.

The next morning, they went to the beach, dressed in their "tourist" garb and were sitting on beach chairs, enjoying a drink, the sunshine and the scenery.

Presently, a "drop dead gorgeous" blonde in a tiny bikini came walking straight toward them. They couldn't help but stare.

As she passed them she turned, smiled, and said: "Good morning father, good morning father." Nodding and addressing each of them individually.

They were both stunned; how in the world were they recognized as priests?

They went back to the store, bought even more outrageous outfits and again they settled on the beach in their chairs to enjoy the sunshine, etc.

After a while, the same gorgeous blonde, wearing a string bikini this time, came walking toward them again. (They were glad they had sunglasses, because their eyes were about to pop out of their heads).

Again, she approached them and greeted them individually: "good morning father", "good morning father" and started to walk away.

One of the priests couldn't stand it and said, "just a minute young lady. Yes, we are priests, and proud of it, but I have to know, how in the world did YOU know?"

"Oh father, don't you recognize me? I'm Sister Kathryn!"

source: http://www.jokebuddha.com/joke/Clergy_on_the_beach#ixzz32596EqgF

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Glorious weekend

Hi there folks! For those of you who have to work right now I have to say I'm sorry, but I'm enjoying the best of weather the Belgian coast can offer.

The sun is up in the sky and the temperature is very nice. We've been walking around and had our coffee on the terrace, where it was up to 20° Celsius.

The predicted nice weather, after a period of about 10 days in which it was too cold for the time of year, drew a lot of people to the coast. There were traffic jams yesterday afternoon and evening, and this morning as well. The train we took was pretty full too.

It's always nice to be away only for just a weekend. The past two weekends we have been painting the walls in the hall of our house and up the staircase. Just being able to relax means a lot.

Tonight we'll be dining out to celebrate my birthday (which was two days ago). I'm 58 right now but still feel young at heart.

What are you doing this weekend?



Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Magnolia Bay Series

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for Contemporary Romance books, Bet the House by Erika Marks and Sweet Home Carolina by Kim Boykin, part of the Magnolia Bay Series, available May 12, 2014 from Tule Publishing Group.

Erika and Kim will be awarding a $15 Starbucks card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please use this Rafflecopter code for your comment:

Blurbs:


BET THE HOUSE

Willamena Dunn is having a lousy week. Not only is her baby sister about to marry into the family of Dunn-Right Preservation’s biggest professional rival, but the historic bungalow of her dreams has just been bought by the most infuriating (not to mention exceedingly handsome and notoriously wicked) man to ever hammer a nail in Magnolia Bay, Knox Loveless.

But when Knox offers her a wager she can’t refuse, a bet with the coveted bungalow as its prize, Willa is sure her bad luck might finally be turning around—until Knox surprises her with a passionate kiss, and suddenly all bets are off.

Could this be just another one of Knox Loveless’ games, or will two rivals finally surrender to a long-simmering attraction and declare a truce once and for all?


SWEET HOME CAROLINA

Darcy Vance has sunk every cent she has into making Mimosa House the best bed and breakfast in Magnolia Bay. But the key to her success lies in the hands of the Historic Preservation Society run by the Bloom bitches who are embarrassed about their father’s connection to the storied house and they have no intention of validating it with a spot on the society’s registry.

After losing his PGA card, Trent Mauldin has come home to Magnolia Bay to lick his wounds and has no plans to stay. Until he falls for Darcy. Things heat up between the two until Trent’s good intentions to help Darcy go sideways. While Darcy works to save her house, Trent fights to win her back and keep her in Magnolia Bay for good.

Excerpt

SWEET HOME CAROLINA

The ancient clock that came with the house chimed the hour. As I shinnied down the ladder, I ran through the to-do list in my head—shower at ten, hair appointment at eleven, then back to the grind of turning Mimosa House into a stellar bed-and-breakfast. My brain counted the bongs as they reverberated off of the walls of my new lease on life that came with a seven-figure mortgage. Nine. Ten. Eleven. “Eleven? Shit.”
I stepped into my good flip-flops by the front door, the ones with hardly any paint on them, grabbed my purse and keys, and sprinted toward the Jeep.

“Yankee.” The hiss came from my lovely neighbor, Mr. Hunsucker, who was somewhere between five and a hundred and five years old and wasn’t at all happy I was opening a B&B. He was watering the prize roses he’d accused me of pilfering on more than one occasion. Okay, so when I thought no one was looking, I’d pulled a spent blossom off, just to smell it, which made me a flower thief and a Yankee.

“Good morning, Mr. Hunsucker,” I called and then ducked into the Jeep before the spray drenched my windshield. Missed me.

Looking up at him in my rearview mirror, he only held up his middle finger a few seconds this time. A new record. Yep, I was definitely growing on him.


Author bio and links


Kim Boykin is a women's fiction author with a sassy Southern streak. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair, Steal Me, Cowboy, and Palmetto Moon (Summer 2014.) While her heart is always in South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, 3 dogs, and 126 rose bushes.







Erika Marks is a women's fiction writer and the author of LITTLE GALE GUMBO, THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, THE GUEST HOUSE and IT COMES IN WAVES (July, 2014). On the long and winding road to becoming published, she worked many different jobs, including carpenter, cake decorator, art director, and illustrator. But if pressed, she might say it was her brief tenure with a match-making service in Los Angeles after college that set her on the path to writing love stories (not that there isn't romance in frosting or power tools!) A native New Englander, she now makes her home in Charlotte, NC, with her husband, a native New Orleanian who has taught her to make a wicked gumbo, and their two little mermaids.





Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tax on Web

This afternoon I finished my tax declaration. Here in Belgium we have to fill in a tax declaration before the end of June. This year it is about the earnings of the year 2013.

What is easy, is that we can do this online. This service is called 'Tax on Web'. Most of the figures are already filled in (like those of your wages). I only had to fill in the amount of gifts I donated and the interests on the capital I pay back on my second loan (which I used to renovate my house). When you are just a simple working man or woman a tax declaration is never difficult.


Also nice about the online service is that you can see immediately whether you  have to pay extra taxes (most people have to) or get money back from the state (I am always among the lucky!). The amount is more or less correct, only differs one or two euro's when the actual bill is presented.

Tax on Web has existed more than 5 years already. It was introduced by minister Vi.ncent Van Quickenborn. He thought it could save paper when people used their computer to fill in their tax declarations. At first, not so many people used Tax on Web. But right now, around 3 million users are listed.

Are there any other countries where a sortlike system exists?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What a small grudge can accomplish...

Neighborhoods change. Years ago, you lived on a street and you knew all your neighbors. When there was a situation, you could count on a neighbor to mind your children, to help out with grandma or granddad, to fetch errands for you, etc. Everybody knew everybody and kept an eye on what was happening.

Nowadays you live somewhere and most of you won't know who's next to you (or above, or under). Nobody cares a lot. Thieves have more and more success breaking into houses at daytime, just because the neighbors don't know rightly who belongs where.

This new attitude also results in the fact that more and more neighbors file complaints against each other. This had lead to a hilarious situation in the environs of Ghent.

Somebody in a newly built housing estate filed a complaint because he/she could not arrange the garden as he/she wanted. According to the complaint, the neighbors had done the same and they had not gotten a control... 


Now the city council decided to come and see all the gardens in this neighborhood. The result is that hundreds of people have to rearrange their gardens, according to the stipulations by the housing permit. Can you imagine anything like this happening where you live???

I'm very happy to live in a street where I still know my neighbors. The neighbor on my right looks after my house when I'm not there, and the one on the left lends me his tools when a job needs to be done. I could also complaint about some things, but why risk a good relation with your neighbors?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Absent Mind

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Tour for An Absent Mind by Eric Rill, a Mainstream Fiction book available now from Avante Press. 

The tour will run May 5 - 30, 2014. Eric will be giving away a $50 Amazon/B&N gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter, so please don’t forget to leave your comments. You are requested to use this Rafflecopter code to leave your comment:

Blurb

A riveting new novel from Eric Rill, author of Pinnacle of Deceit and The Innocent Traitor, is about a race against time. The ticking time bomb is Saul Reimer’s sanity. His Alzheimer’s is going to be the catalyst that will either bring his family together or tear it apart. 


Excerpt

Saul: The Façade

It’s been almost two years since they told me how sick and useless I was. I am able to keep it more or less together most days. And I stress days, because by dinnertime my mind is exhausted. I never knew you could have an exhausted mind, but I do now. The sheer weight of having to pretend I am normal all day for my friends, or the store clerks, feels like a boulder around my neck. What happens toward sundown is like when you hear the snap, crackle, and pop when the transistors in your old television go bad. Everything numbs and becomes foggy. Sights, sounds, and smells meld into a ball and explode toward the sky. It’s as if I’m not the same person I was when I got up.

As of now anyway, I can see everything I want to say as clear as ice. It’s right there on a blackboard in front of me, spelled out perfectly. But then to actually say what’s written on the blackboard isn’t always a piece of cake. Sometimes it’s easy, like it is right now. I know what I’m saying to you is coherent and that my vocabulary is correct—but that could suddenly change and become difficult, sometimes impossible.

In the morning, I can be happy—well, maybe not happy, but not feeling sorry for myself. It’s different by lunch—if I remember to eat, and I generally do because it’s on my list, although I have been known to leave my pad somewhere and not be able to find it; if that happens, Monique usually reminds me. At least I think she does. Regardless, by lunchtime things generally start to go downhill.

Today, while I was sitting in my easy chair, she bent down to kiss me and brought her hand quickly to her mouth.

“Whew,” she said, or something like that. “You didn’t brush your teeth. Why did you check it off?”

I didn’t bother answering, not because she was interrupting my soap opera—I really wasn’t focusing anyway—but because I didn’t know the answer. Maybe I didn’t check the toothbrush to see if it was wet or dry, like I’ve been doing. Then she scolded me, like it was my fault. First they tell you you’re sick because you can’t remember anything and then they give you hell for not remembering.

The doorbell rang, and Monique disappeared for a minute, reappearing with Arthur Winslow in tow. I was standing there with the telephone receiver in my hand. Monique took it from me and put it back in the cradle.

Arthur was in high school with me and was actually the one who squealed to the principal that I was the one who decked Ian Coulter. Coulter, even though one of the great anti-Semites of all time, lived by a code of honor and wouldn’t have turned me in, but Arthur did, and I understand why. You see, Arthur was the goody-goody of the class. He would have turned in his own mother if she had done something wrong. But other than squealing on me, he was a true and trusted friend.

Arthur lives down the street—at least I think he still does—and faithfully drops in to see me. Sometimes I think he has nothing else to do. I can’t tell if he has missed any days visiting, or, if so, how many, but that doesn’t matter now. What I do know is he cares, and I hope he keeps coming, even if I don’t recognize him one day.

I already know that there will come a time when I won’t know him, or people like Bernie. Frankly, I don’t give a damn if I don’t recognize Bernie—in fact, that could be the Lord’s gift to me, something to make up for what lies ahead. What does bother me—in fact, scares the hell out of me—is not recognizing the kids. As inconceivable as that seems, they say it will happen as sure as night follows day. Who, you may ask, are they? I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would always quote the almighty they. I would ask her, “Who are they, Granny?” She would always answer, “You know, they.” I think maybe she had Alzheimer’s!

Author bio and links

Eric Rill was born in Montreal and graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts, and from UCLA with an MBA. He held several executive positions in the hospitality industry, including president of a global hotel group. His hobbies include trekking, scuba diving, and collecting antique carpets.  Eric has two sons and divides his time between his residence in Panama and international travel. You can reach him at his website at: www.ericrill.com

Buy Links:




Some questions to Eric

Tell us about your latest release.

An Absent Mind is a story about a fictional family where the patriarch develops Alzheimer’s. It is about the family dynamics and struggles as this crippling disease advances. I wrote it to show in a work of fiction what Alzheimer’s really is and how it affects those close to the patient.

What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?

I was halfway through another thriller, when I stopped to write this book. It may have changed my direction in writing. It’s a difficult subject, but rewarding if it helps people realize they are not alone and educates those who have not been affected as to what Alzheimer’s really is.

If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?

Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free…you may not want to come.

First book you remember making an indelible impression on you?

Encyclopedia Britannica…they were damn heavy and I was selling them door-to-door.

Any weird things you do when you’re alone?


It’s on a need to know basis.