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Monday, June 30, 2014

Rail strike

Once more, the socialist union of Belgian Rail is on strike. They complain because they are not able to take their holidays when they like.

I can understand them in a way, because my own dad worked for Belgian Rail, and already in his days there were problems enough. Not enough personel, too many bosses, for example. I guess the problem still exists.

But I also understand all of those who could not get to their work today or missed out on their holidays. I heard on the news that also Eurostar is on strike. So when you need to go to London to board a plane there, how in heaven's name are you going to get there?

I also feel lucky because we aren't leaving today for our trip. The strike is only for one day, so we shouldn't have any problems when we are travelling to London.

There should be other ways to show you are not satisfied with  a situation. Why not let everyone board the trains for free? Or hand out leaflets to everyone? But going on strike is very Belgian. We often joke about it, because most strikes are either on a Monday or a Friday, so those who are on strike have a long weekend....

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Keep up the spirit!

In honor of the World Cup – here are some soccer jokes to keep your spirits up (even if your team is down).

(Definition: Soccer is a game consisting of 22 skilled players, one impartial referee, two eagle eyed referee’s assistants and one stupid ball.)

Q: Why did Cinderella get kicked off the soccer team?
A
: Because she ran away from the ball!

Q: Why do soccer players do so well in math?
A: They know how to use their heads.

Q: What’s harder to catch the faster you run?
A
: Your breath!

Q: Why should you not play sports in the jungle?
A
: There are too many cheetahs!

Q: Why did the soccer ball quit the team?
A: She was tired of being kicked around.

Q: What lights up a soccer stadium?
A: A soccer match.

Q: How did the field get all wet?
A: The players dribbled all over it.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Who's going to win the FIFA World Cup?

I'm not the one to wager - unless I know I can win (I used to do this often when living in Germany, being a twenty-something - I always wagered with the boys for a bottle of champagne or a dinner at the best restaurant in Soest).

So I wonder who's going to go on the the quarter finals and who'll finally win the tournament?

Today there are two 1/8 finals going on. Brazil (with Neymar) against Chile, and Colombia against Uruguay. Then tomorrow is The Netherlands against Mexico and Costa Rica against Greece. On Monday France against Nigeria and Germany against Algeria (I hope the Algerians win!!). Finally on Tuesday it's Belgium against the USA (go Belgium, go!) and Argentina (with Messi) against Switzerland.

Any pronostics?

I honestly have no idea. Of course I hope my country will go on to the quarter finals, where it will probably meet Argentina. And then it's Messi against Hazard....

And of course the Dutch also think they'll become World Champions, as do the Germans, the Brazilian, the Argentines...

What's your opinion?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for The Ten Brides for Ten Heroes Anthology, a Contemporary Romance anthology by ten bestselling authors available June 27, 2014. The Super Book Blast Tour will take place on Friday, June 27, 2014. 

The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to TWO randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour. Please use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e434191/

Blurb

Ten Brides for Ten Heroes spans the gamut of the ever-popular wedding romance genre—from heartwarming laughter to thrilling adventure, from sweet to steamy. This 10-book bundle features novels by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. So get ready to toss the bouquet and say, "I do!" as ten brides risk it all to find their happy ever after. 


Patrice Wilton:
Wedding Fever by Patrice Wilton - The romantic comedy series, Serendipity Falls.
Mila O’Reilley owns Wedding Fever, a bridal boutique in Serendipity Falls Mall. She sells more than dresses, she sells dreams along with the belief in happily-ever-after – a sentiment she personally doesn’t share. Can a jaded bridal consultant and a cynical news reporter uncover the true mystery of Serendipity Falls without being swept away in the madness?
Find Patrice at: www.patricewilton.com

Helen Scott Taylor:
The Army Doctor's Wedding by Helen Scott Taylor - The Army Doctor's Series
Major Cameron Knight throws himself into the danger of front-line, battlefield medicine to keep the demons from his past away. When he rescues an injured charity worker who's saved a tiny newborn baby, he marries her so they can take the orphan back home for surgery. With this brave woman he finally has the chance to redeem himself and find love.

Mona Risk:
Wedding Surprise by Mona Risk – The Holiday Babies Series
Claire and David faced many challenges over the years. Finally, Claire's dream of a wonderful white wedding to the man she loves is about to come true. Two weeks before the wedding, Adriana, the high-school classmate who’s tried to snatch David several times, makes an announcement that threatens to destroy the couple's happiness. Is Claire and David’s love for each other strong enough to turn the worst wedding surprise into the best?
Find Mona at: www.monarisk.com

Alicia Street:
Tomboy Bride by Alicia Street – The Dance 'n' Luv Series   
Kendra returns home for her brother’s wedding determined to get her age-old crush to finally see her as more than a tomboy. But will her game of making him jealous with a hot and handsome faux-beau make him fall for her—or backfire and leave her in ashes?

Rebecca York:
Destination Wedding, by Rebecca York – The Decorah Security Series
From the moment Nick Cassidy signed on as one one of Camille Norland’s bodyguards, sexual sparks flew between them. Although determined to keep his emotional distance from her, Nick is forced to admit his real feelings when she’s kidnapped by a ruthless Russian mobster with matrimony in mind.  Can Nick rescue her before the wedding night?  Can they escape from Victor Zanov’s tropical island death trap?  And can they come to terms with their complicated relationship?
Find Rebecca at: www.rebeccayork.com

Annie Jones:
Summer of Love by Annie Jones
Brides, Beehives and Barbecue! Can mother daughter mayhem be far behind? Bless her heart, it's 1967 and a determined southern bride isn't sure love is really all she needs.
Find Annie at: http://theanniejones.com/

Donna Fasano:
Return of the Runaway Bride by Donna Fasano
Savanna returns to her hometown to explain why she fled on her wedding day, but she never imagined how her escape all those years ago changed Daniel. Can she make him understand—and forgive?
Find Donna at: www.DonnaFasano.com

Rita Herron:
Single & Searching by Rita Herron
A woman looking for love... A reporter looking for a story... A mad rush to find a criminal... When the truth comes out and danger strikes, will they succumb to the passion burning between them?

Find Rita at: www.ritaherron.com

Theresa Ragan:
Here Comes the Bride by Theresa Ragan
Samantha Johnston, a reporter for the LA Beat, attends the wedding of one of America’s hottest actors in hopes of learning the identity of his mystery bride, and ends up saying, “I do.”
Find Theresa at: www.theresaragan.com

Mimi Barbour:
Love Me Tender by Mimi Barbour – The “Elvis” Series
After her year in Texas as an exchange student, Annie leaves pregnant and heartbroken. Nine years later she returns to introduce her eight-year-old son to his American family. And to the man who still haunts her dreams – the handsome, embittered rancher who never knew he’d fathered a son.
Find Mimi at: www.mimibarbour.com  

LINKS:



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A summer full of sports

If you are into sports, you can watch a lot of it nowadays.

The FIFA World Cup Soccer is going towards the 1/8 finals (and hurray, Belgium is part of it!) and this will cause a surge of national feeling no politician or king has ever established. The streets simply color black-yellow-red. Flags are everywhere and those who are more creative even paint their house in the tricolore, or put up garlands around their fences or hedges. Cars have tricolore 'coats' over their side windows and flags on top of their roofs. We always said the Dutch went crazy when there was football, but now we are just as crazy...


Next there is Wimbledon - perhaps a bit forgotten with the soccer game. Our Belgian women all got into the next round, which is good already. We have Kirsten Flipkens, Yanina Wickmayer and AllisonVan Uytvanck. A pity the days of Henin and Clijsters are past!


And for those who love cycling,  next week the Tour de France will start again. Who will win this year?


Locally, we have had a championship rugby, with teams from all over the world. Heard some Aussies when we went to the station to take the train to the coast. I know from someone who lives around the sportsgrounds that this rugby tournament is always a big event. After the matches, the players just stroll around and often share drinks with people who live in the neighborhood.

What's your favorite sport to watch? Please share!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Evidence of Trust

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Super Book Blast Tour for Evidence of Trust (Colorado Trust Series - 1) by Stacey Joy Netzel, a Romantic Suspense available now. The Super Book Blast Tour will take place June 18, 19, 20, 23 and 24, 2014.

Stacey will be awarding a $20 gift card (winners choice) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e434167/

Blurb


Sparks fly when a headstrong wrangler and an alpha park ranger are thrown together while he searches for evidence to stop the poacher killing animals in RMNP. When the monster turns his sights on Brittany, Joel discovers he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her—even give his own life.


Trust makes all the difference when love and danger collide.


Excerpt

He radioed into headquarters to report his location for the night as he swung into the saddle.  

One of the rangers who’d been assisting with his investigation answered the call.

“Find anything interesting up there?” Randy Gifford asked.

“Just a camper in a restricted area.”

“You think it could be the guy you’re looking for?”

“It’s a woman. Camping where she shouldn’t be. I’m going to make sure she leaves in the morning, then return to my original route.”

“You may want to reconsider. That storm front I mentioned earlier is moving a lot faster than expected. It’s over the Never Summer Mountain Range and will reach your area tonight. Temperature’s dropping, too, so be prepared.”

Joel surveyed the heavy, gray clouds he’d noticed earlier. “What are they forecasting?”

“If it keeps moving, a couple inches. If it stalls, up to a foot.”

He muttered a curse. That would be a problem. “If that happens, we could be up here for a few days, so yeah, scrap the original route. The closest trailhead is Longs Peak, can you get someone to drop off my truck and trailer over there in the morning?”

“Will do.” 

Five minutes later, he rode back into Brittany Lucas’s camp as she threw a couple pieces of wood on the campfire that’d been nothing but banked coals when he left. She brushed off her hands before bracing them on her hips.

“Now what?”

He dismounted to unpack his gear. “I’ll be camping here with you tonight.”

“Ranger Morgan, let me assure you, I have every intention of leaving in the morning.”

“And until then, I’ll make sure you stay safe.”

“I don’t need you to babysit me,” she insisted, irritation flooding her voice as she sat by the fire.

Ignoring the fact she’d heard him earlier, he met her stare over the top of Nobel’s saddle. “You got a gun?”

Her gaze faltered. “No.”

“Well, the poacher does, so I’m staying.” That shut her up, until he tossed his sleeping bag inside her tent.


Author bio and links

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Stacey Joy Netzel is an avid reader and loves all movies with a happily ever after. She lives in Wisconsin with her family, a couple horses and some barn cats. In her limited free time she enjoys gardening, canning, and visiting her parents in Northeastern Wisconsin (Up North), at the family cabin on the lake.







COLORADO TRUST SERIES

Trust makes all the difference when love and danger collide.

Evidence of Trust, Book 1 - Special Sale price $0.99 (regular $3.99)

Trust by Design, Book 2

Trust in the Lawe, Book 3

Shattered Trust, Book 4

Dare to Trust, Book 5



EVIDENCE OF TRUST








Saturday, June 21, 2014

End of the schoolyear

For most students in Belgium's high schools, the long summer holidays have begun. They have finished their last exam, and only need to pick up their report sometime next week. Some of them don't even do that.

It's been a tradition too in Belgium that holiday trips in June are cheaper than those in July or August. So many parents want to travel the last week of June, when prices are a lot lower. Normally this is not condoned by the authorities, but up to now little is done about it.

My own parents were very strict in this. We never travelled before June 30th. Even when all the teachers went on strike, we had to go to school!

For us teachers, there remain of course days of deliberations and then we have to fill in the reports and hand them out to our class. But our minister has granted us leave from June 28th (27th being a Friday). We don't have to be at school on June 30th.

And then we can do whatever we like for two long months. For us two trips abroad are on the program; first a trip to Jersey in the Channel Islands, and later on in August a trip to Ireland. In-between we'll be staying where we are now, at the North Sea coast. We had another beautiful day here, which we really did enjoy. What a luxury to be able to buy an icecream cone while walking along the boardwalk!

What are your holiday plans?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bullying

A couple of days ago, we had a guest post by Catherine DePino. She wrote a novel about a boy who's been bullied at school. An interesting topic, especially when you are a teacher and come into contact with bullying on a daily basis.


In my long career as a teacher - and I make excuses in advance if anyone thinks differently - I've often noticed that kids who are bullied often have parents who make their child more vulnerable than it should be. Parents want to protect their children, I understand that, but you don't do it by making your kid afraid to come to school.

In my opinion, there is only one way to prevent bullying. You have to make your kid aware of what he or she is worth. Self-consciousness is the key to getting respect of others.

I can take myself and my sister as examples. I have an eye that despite an operation (by the best doctor available at that time) still isn't quite right. My sister, on the other hand, is quite sturdy. So there were reasons galore to be bullied - only we never were.

Our parents and grandparents taught us from a very young age (I guess we were not older than 1,5) that we were what we thought of ourselves. We learned what our strenghts and weaknesses were. Somehow that radiates out to others. Nobody at primary school ever said anything bad about my eye as they were well aware I would not let them. The same with my sister.

As a teacher, I only once had a student who made a remark (because he was mad because he had a bad test). I never said anything in class, but later on I took him aside and asked him if he would like to be called Rabbit every time I addressed him - he had the biggest rabbits teeth I've ever seen. Of course he said no, and I told him if he did not like that, he could restrain of calling me names. He made his excuses immediately, and that was it.

Because you must know that everyone has a fault. It's obvious, or less obvious. It can be in looks, but also in character, or behavior.

Those who bully are very unsure of themselves. They bully because they don't want to be bullied.  Most of the times you can make them shrink away when they see they can't hurt you.

What's your take on this?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waar is da feestje? Hier is da feestje!

When even a king goes crazy about football (soccer) I guess I can't do anything elso but comply. Yesterday evening,  6 pm our time (1 pm Brazilian time) our national team, the Red Devils, began their first match in Group H against Algeria.

Before the start of the match, everyone agreed that Algeria wouldn't be much of a threat. Especially when we have the best team in the world (?)! But guess what, after some twenty minutes of playing time, the first goal was for Algeria.

A penalty, caused by a fault of De Bruyne. And of course the ball went into the goal of keeper Courtois.

Big disappointment on Belgian side. Everything went quiet. The black-red-yellow flags that adorned nearly every house or building hung quietly in the air. But when the first time was finished, coach Wilmots made some changes. Fellaini in, also Origi and Mertens.

And wonder above wonder, Fellaini did it! He made the first goal for the Belgians, making equal. And not much later, Dries Mertens could get another one in. Euphoria in Belgium - even King Filip went out of his normally formal behavior. I guess our neighbors will have heard the scream of my sister as well - well, good for them as we often hear Richard talking very loudly when we're already in bed.


Shortly afterwards, the party exploded. Cars drove by hooting wherever they spotted flags (we bought one especially just last weekend). This morning, all the newspapers turn Red Devil. In Brazil, the supporters who took the trip to Brazil (costed more than 3,000 Euro) shouted so hard they were without voice. But no problem, the Brazilian populace took over. They easily sang 'Waar is da feestje, hier is da feestje!' as they heard the Belgians do. It's a carnival song that has become quite popular. Translation: Where is that party? Here is that party!

And Belgium is the leader in Group H. Russia and South-Korea was 1-1. So when we can win against Russia next Sunday, we go to the 1/8 finals. Fingers crossed?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Tour for Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: a book about bullying by Catherine DePino. This is a Middle Grade (8-14) fiction book available now from Book Baby Publishing. The tour will run June 16, 2014 to July 18, 2014 and this will be the first stop.

Catherine will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Now I asked Catherine why she chose bullying as the theme for this book. Was she bullied herself, or does she know someone who was? As a teacher myself, this topic interest me a lot, of course.

Here are Catherine's answers:

I write books about bullying (three for children and two for parents) because I’ve witnessed a lot of bullying in city schools where I’ve worked as a teacher, department head, and disciplinarian. I also personally experienced bullying once in a Catholic high school when a group of girls I thought were my friends started teasing me and trying to frighten me with lab mice, my greatest fear. I never forgot the experience and learned from it. I learned that I had to be assertive and stand up for myself and that body language reinforces this aura of strength and confidence. Of course, when dealing with a bully, one has to strike a happy medium by appearing strong, but not combative and arrogant, which will only provoke the bully more.

Although my books address bullying that involves kids, bullying is everywhere: in schools in the workplace, in retirement communities, and in our own peaceful neighborhoods. We all need to work together to stamp out bullying. Many children and their parents feel helpless in the face of bullying. They’re not sure of where to turn or what to do. I agree with you, Nickie, that we need to motivate kids to build up their defenses. That’s what my protagonist Elliot did to cope with his bullying issues. The problems began with his being locked in a supply closet at school and continued to get worse until the bullies brutalized him by giving him a horrendous head dunk in a toilet. Elliot, like all bullied children, needed help from his family and the school community to stand up to the bullies. His mentor, Mr. Boardly, the school custodian, paved the way for Elliot to ultimately prevail over his tormentors.

In line with this, I believe that the most important factor in stamping out bullying is a team approach. Adults need to be open to the signs that kids are being bullied (withdrawal, sadness, lack of interest in activities, etc.,). However, some children show no obvious signs they’re being bullied. That’s why parents, relatives, and school personnel need to keep talking to kids openly. They need to draw them out to see if they’re experiencing any problems in school. Adults have to let kids know that they will keep their problems in confidence so that kids will feel safe talking to them. Extended trusted family members, such as grandparents, can often get kids to speak freely and can guide them in finding viable solutions to their bullying problems. In summary, a team approach to bullying gets the most results. Children cannot do it alone. They need our help and support along the way. We can help eradicate or at least minimize bullying if we all work together. 

Blurb

The kids at Ralph Bunche Middle School love to pick on Elliot Kravitz-Carnucci. He struggles with his weight, looks like a geek, makes top honors, and lives above the Carnucci Home for Funerals in South Philadelphia with his distant, workaholic father and Nonna, his quirky, overbearing grandmother. 

Since his parents divorced, he splits spending his time with his funeral director father and his mother Rayna, who dreams of becoming the queen of commercials on the west coast. 

At the hands of his peers, Elliot experiences a series of bullying episodes that escalate from entrapment in a school supply closet to a brutal “swirly” (head dunk in the toilet) that lands him in the hospital emergency room. 

Elliot has a small circle of loyal friends and a mentor named Duke, an aging school custodian, who root for him to overcome his bullying issues so that he can enjoy his life as a teenager and a budding singer/performer. Can Elliot win his fight against the nasty bullies, or is he doomed forever? Read this funny, sad, and crazy book to find out. 



Excerpt

“Help–I can’t breathe–let me out. Somebody help...”

I pounded the inside of the musty supply closet until my knuckles turned blue. Did anybody even have the key?
           
What if they don’t come? What if I’m trapped here all night?
           
I could hear loud voices and laughing, so I knew Kyle Canfield and one of his friends from the basketball team were there, waiting to see if I would cave in and plead for mercy.
           
The bell blared. Classes changed. Kids stampeded through the halls. Then, silence.

Finally I heard someone shout, “I’ve got the key, Doc.” 
          
“Thanks, Duke,” Doc Greely, the assistant principal, said to Mr. Boardly, the man who’d sprung me loose.

Mr. Boardly, the head custodian, better known as Duke, offered me his arm, and I stumbled out of the closet. He was as thin as his mop handle, but all muscle–no flab like me. A scruffy white beard covered half his face.
           
He slammed the closet door shut and bolted the lock. “One of the hall guards reported noise coming from this area. We came as soon as we heard.”
           
Duke patted my shoulder. “Let me know if I can help, Elliot.” I could hear his keys clanging as he walked down the hall humming “Duke of Earl,” that old sixties song he loved. That’s where he got his nickname.

“Up to their old tricks again, Elliot?” Doc asked on the way to his office.

Author bio and links

Catherine DePino has sold thirteen books for parents, teachers, and children to mainstream publishers. She self-published her fourteenth book, Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying because she wanted to give it a wider forum. Her background includes a BS in English and Spanish education, a Master’s in English education, and a doctorate in Curriculum Theory and Development and Educational Administration from Temple University. The author worked for many years as an English teacher, department head of English and world languages, disciplinarian, and curriculum writer in the Philadelphia School District. After this, she worked at Temple as an adjunct assistant professor and student teaching supervisor.

Catherine has also written articles for national magazines, including The Christian Science Monitor and The Writer.

For many years she served on the board of The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference.  She holds membership in the Association of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Her new self-help book, 101 Easy Ways for Women to De-Stress, Reinvent, and Fire Up Your Life in Retirement,appeared on the market in March, 2014.

Visit her website at www.catherinedepino.com


Links


Fire Up Your Life: 101 Ways for Women to Reinvent Themselves


Elliot K. Carnucci is a Big, Fat Loser: A Book About Bullying


Excuse Me, Your Participle’s Dangling: How to Use Grammar to Make Your Writing Powers Soar


Who Says Bullies Rule?: Common Sense Tips to Help Your Child Cope


Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for teenage girls


Real Life Bully Prevention for Real Kids


In Your Face, Pizza Face: A Girl’s Bully-Busting Book

                                                                                                                          
101 Ways to Help Preschoolers Excel in Reading, Writing, and Speaking


Quick and Easy Grammar Games to Boost Writing Power


Blue Cheese Breath and Stinky Feet: How to Deal with Bullies


Hi, God, It’s Me: e-prayers for Teenage Boys


Ready, Get Set, Go, Grammar!


Grammar Workout: Twenty-Eight Lessons, Exercises, and Activities to Jumpstart Your Writing


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Soccer joke

With it being the Fifa World Cup, a joke about soccer is at its place...

A man takes his seat at the World Cup Final. He looks to his left and notices that there is a spare seat between himself and the next guy.

The man: “Who would ever miss the World Cup final?”

The guy: “That was my wife’s seat. We have been to the last five World Cup finals together, but sadly she passed away.”

The man: “That’s terrible, but couldn’t you get another member of the family, friend, or someone else to come with you?”

The guy: “No…they are all at the funeral!”

Friday, June 13, 2014

And the Word Cup Soccer has begun....

I don't know about you, but nowadays you just can't escape the craziness of the World Cup Soccer in Brazil. Every time you hear the radio news, it's about soccer and the supporters. If you read a newspaper, just the same.


Are you interested in soccer? I'm not. Luckily we have a vast selection of films on DVD and recorded programs, so we can watch anything else but soccer on TV.

And of course every country claims to be winning this world cup. Also our own country has gone mad, for the first time. The Belgian Red Devils are supposed the win the World Cup. Now they do have some good players (most of them play abroad in England), like Kompany, Fellaini, Hazard, Van Buyten.

Do you watch soccer? And if so, what team do you support? Do you think they can win?

Or are you also one of those white ravens who doesn't like soccer? What do you do on these nights?

 Comments are more than welcome.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Calculated

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Blast Tour for CALCULATED by Renee Novelle, a psychological thriller available now. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Thursday, June 12.

Renee will be awarding a $10 to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Please use this Rafflecopter code to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d754d0/

Blurb

An investigative journalist gets an unlikely tip from a mysterious informant. Dismissing it as impossible, she disregards the information and drops the story. Until the informant turns up dead, as predicted. 

Plunged into the murky waters of a seedy underground prostitution ring, this psychological thriller provides twist upon dark twist in a story that would ultimately pin the church and several government officials in the largest murder cover-up the city has ever witnessed. 

But is it true, or has the journalist merely been used as a pawn in a greater scheme? And how many people is she willing to sacrifice trying to figure it out?


Excerpt

When she arrived at the little facility her building provided, a quick look around confirmed she was the only one there. Just as she’d hoped, and exactly how she liked it to be. Smiling in satisfaction, she flipped on the television that was perched on the wall, and turned up the music on her iPod as loud as she could handle it. The multiple distractions would help her get through the extra mile she was planning to conquer. With chilled water bottle in place, she cranked up the treadmill to a nice brisk pace. 
As her breathing picked up speed and her muscles began to warm, Ana’s eye caught a red flash along the bottom of the screen. Breaking News filled the bar, and the too-chipper-for-their-own-good reporters were suddenly getting serious. Since the volume was still muted, Ana couldn’t understand exactly what was going on, only that they were showing the wide stretch of river that ran along the outskirts of the city. She wiped the first beads of sweat from her brow, and used the remote to turn the volume of the television higher while simultaneously adjusting her music.
As the reporters spoke, home-video footage of something floating in the water rolled before her eyes. The camera zoomed in, the frame ever so shaky, and it became clearly apparent that the “something” was a person - face down with long brown hair spread out like a Catholic halo. It appeared another victim had been pulled out of the water; the count was quickly tallying up. A young woman this time, and possibly one who had gone missing the night before. 
Ana’s pulse skipped a few beats as they replayed the video over and over. There was something familiar about the long, lean body. Slowing the treadmill to a stop, she ripped the ear buds from her head to give the segment her entire attention.
...it appears at first glance that the victim suffered from a deep cut to the throat, and received multiple stab wounds to the chest...
The beads of accumulated sweat turned cold on Ana’s brow. She immediately reached for her phone and dialed Kylie’s number.
“What the hell, Ana?” Came her friend’s groggy voice.
“Turn your TV on. Channel four. Hurry.” Ana said, eyes transfixed to the screen in front of her. “Recognize that face?”
...It’s thought the victim may be one of the young girls recently reported missing. The screen flashed candids of three possible women. All brunettes. All tall and thin. All roughly the same age. Among them was a photo of Mara, just as Ana had expected there would be
But the body was too bloated and disfigured to be absolutely certain, and an autopsy would be needed.
... The body will be taken in for processing where officials hope to shed more light on the case in the near future. In the mean time, they’re cautioning residents to avoid....
“Did you see that?” Ana’s voice escaped in more of a demand than a question. “Please tell me I’m seeing things.”
“Oh my god...” Kylie whispered into the receiver, confirming the dread that was building in Ana’s stomach. “Do you really think it’s her?
“I know for a fact it is.” Ana declared, the pull in her gut getting stronger by the minute. “The autopsy will confirm it.”
“So, what does this mean exactly now?”
“That maybe I should have been listening a little closer when I was talking to Mara.” She said with regret as she swiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “And maybe I should have asked more questions. There’s a story here, I’m sure of it now.”
“What are you going to do?” Kylie’s voice was decidedly more alert now.
Ana shook her head. “I have no idea.”
Though if she were to be truthful with herself in that moment, she’d already made up her mind. Ana flipped off the television, and left the little gym to get started.

Author bio and links


Formerly a freelance journalist, Novelle has found placement of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her writing to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She has launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.

In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love – fiction. Writing under the names Renee Novelle and R.S. Novelle, she has a publication schedule that includes Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Paranormal Fiction, Contemporary Women’s fiction, Chick Lit, and New Adult.

Though she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication, summa cum laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes “no” as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life’s problems. She believes in following dreams, and that in the end, you always end up where you’re meant to be.

You can find out more about her books and connect with her here:



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Monday, June 9, 2014

Love, God & Tattoos

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Blurb Blitz Tour for Love, God & Tattoos Bundle by Aleshia Robinson, a YA Inspirational series available now from Authenticity Press. The tour will run May 26, 2014 to June 20, 2014.

Aleshia will be awarding a print copy of the Love, God & Tattoos Bundle (US and Canada only) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Blurb

Love, God & Tattoos is a series of young adult novels written by American author Aleshia Robinson. The story chronicles the spiritual journey of 21 year old Alcatraz, a troubled tattoo artist, and her struggle to have a positive relationship with God and herself.

ALCATRAZ THE LOST PEARL
Fifteen year old Alcatraz is being chased. Born and raised in a loving family, she suddenly finds herself fending for her life on the streets of Los Angeles. Consumed with anger, hurt and confusion, Alcatraz turns to the spiritual realm to find life’s answers. While experimenting with pagan spells, Buddhist chants, and yoga sutras, she continually encounters a spirit who claims He is God. The Truth she learns from this spiritual quest introduces her to the unexpected world of divine healing, acceptance and unconditional love.

ALCATRAZ THE RIGHTEOUS PEARL
After two years of spiritual searching, Alcatraz has finally decided who the One true God is for her life. But trouble soon follows. Being rejected by her new found religious organization because of her appearance and discharged from the tattoo shop for her beliefs, Alcatraz is forced to enter the Hollywood adult entertainment life with her best friend Kuriko. The nightmares she experiences living on the dubious streets of Los Angeles causes her to struggle to keep her faith.

KURIKO THE DAMAGED PEARL
Alcatraz has desperately wanted to learn more about the mysterious past of her street-smart Japanese best friend, Kuriko. Now her wish has come true, but not in the way she expected. Kuriko handed Alcatraz a black bamboo box before the tragic accident. Inside, Alcatraz finds the diary of a nineteen-year-old girl's struggle with sex trafficking, powerful men, abuse, betrayal, and surprisingly, a burning desire to know God. After two years of living with the secretive, over-protective high-dollar prostitute, Alcatraz learns the dark truth of Kuriko's inhumane journey. Now she wishes the past could have been buried with her best friend. 


Excerpt from : ALCATRAZ THE RIGHTEOUS PEARL

 “What!” I shouted. I couldn’t believe it.

“I’m sorry, kid, I have to let you go,” Moon said.

“What do you mean, let me go? I have appointments booked for the next two weeks.”

Blue Moon stood guard at the reception desk. He wouldn’t let me go to my booth.

“Alcatraz, I believe you are a very talented and promising tattoo artist who will no doubt go far in the field, but I can’t have outbursts like I had yesterday in this shop, kid. Highly unprofessional. That makes people here extremely uncomfortable, and I’’m one of them. So I went ahead and packed up your station for you. All your supplies are here. I even threw in some extra materials so you can freelance. Sorry it had to end this way, kid, but I’m in a tough spot here.”

“Moon, come on, surely we can work this out. I experienced a supernatural love yesterday. I didn’t know that was gonna happen to me or else I would have waited until I got home. Come on, man.”” I threw up my hands. “You can’t fire me because of that. I work too hard here and I know you see that. I’ll keep it under control from now on. I promise.”

Moon hesitated for a moment. “Here.” He slowly reached behind the desk and handed me my stuff. I could tell he didn’t want to do this. He must have felt strapped because Josh was a cash cow. Moon looked back towards the other tattoo artists then turned to me. “If you need a recommendation just have ’em call me. I’ll refer you to any shop in town. You won’t have a problem getting another gig. I’m sure of it.” He turned around and walked towards his office in the back.

I walked slowly back to my condo with several thoughts running through my mind: What am I supposed to do for work? How am I gonna pay rent? Where am I gonna get a job at fifteen years old? Moon did Kuriko a favor by offering me an apprenticeship but there’s no guarantee another shop owner will extend the same favor. I wouldn’t even turn sixteen for another three and a half months! I didn’t have any legal identification, social security card or birth certificate to even apply for a real job. I didn’t even know what state to begin digging for those documents. California, where I was allegedly born? Illinois, where I was state property or Utah where the Robinsons adopted me last July?

Losing my job at the tattoo parlor turned my world completely upside down. Other fifteen year old girls loitered around in the tenth grade in their cute plaid skirts, studied for SATs, borrowed their daddy’s car for driver’s ed and worked at Forever 21. I was an eighth grade dropout, runaway, semi-tattoo artist rooming with a battered Japanese stripper. I didn’t have a mommy or daddy to get me out of difficult situations in life. The only person I had was three years, three months and twelve days older than me, and I decided to wake up.


Author bio and links

Aleshia Robinson was born in Chicago, Illinois and enjoys writing edgy inspirational fiction, traveling, decoupaging, empowering women in the sex trade and providing clean water for mankind.



TWITTER: @lovegodtattoos