Google+ Followers

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Denouement

To promote her latest novel, Denouement, author M.O. Kenyan is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which began on November 24th and will end on December 5th. My blog is one of the stops on this tour.

The author will be awarding digital copies of Red Tears Blue Blood and Covert Existence to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter.
Here is the link;



Blurb

Marietta Parks believes that the only way to stop surprises from happening in life is to control your own fate. Paying attention to every detail she scripts out her own life. Leaving love, romance and children out of it. But then she meets a man who just has to be added into her story, Tobias Harden was the man of everyone’s dreams but he was a lovely addition to her already scripted life.

Tobias Harden was the modern day Casanova. Love was not in his vocabulary, and he was allergic to the word commitment, like poison Ivy to the bare skin. A chance kiss with Marietta Parks makes him question his single life. He was to be the best for her, and oddly enough she happens to be the only woman he wants to kiss. Tobias convinces Marietta that she needs him in her life. But after three years of marriage and life’s obstacles, he finds himself in bed with another woman. He has to convince her that he is still the man for her, especially now that she’s pregnant.

Excerpt

“How long has he been here?” Marietta looked at him, her eyes heavy with sleep. She felt so tired for a second she didn’t think she was awake. But the pain in her back and her abdomen brought her back to reality. Her heart hurt too.

“He arrived a few minutes after they sedated you. He’s been here through out, no bathroom or snack breaks. He just sat there holding your handing and staring at you. I, on the other hand had to get a burger,” Jesse said.

Marietta laughed but winced in pain, “Please don’t make me laugh.”

 “I was scared for a minute there. Especially when… when, they asked about what to do with the baby. I’m just glad he came when he did.”

“So he knows?” She took a deep breath that seemed to tremble out of her when she exhaled. “What did he say?”

“I think he still can’t believe it. It might be the shock or the fact that you are as skinny as a pencil.”

A knot of nerves formed in Marietta’s throat. Her heart frozen in her chest she bit her lip then asked, “He doesn’t think the baby is his?”

“Can you blame him?”

“I don’t think I can.” Marietta smoothed her hand over her belly. She still couldn’t believe that she had been walking around all this while not knowing there was a life growing inside of her. Now that the baby was no longer there she had this strange eddy feeling of emptiness and loss.



Author bio and links

Reading,Writing,Romance, Creativity and Imagination. These are the words that describe my work.
I was born in Nairobi Kenya and had a passion for books ever since I could remember. Romance and love have always been a strange phenomenon for me. I have always wanted to change the ending of a love story. I decided to start writing my own.
Enjoy!!!






Decorating for Christmas

I don't know about you guys, but this afternoon my sister and I have been busy decorating our house for Christmas. It was a dreary afternoon anyway, cold, dark and foggy. The temperatures are changing and they predict freezing for tomorrow.


I always think that the house looks more cozy during this festive season. All those little trees and other decorations give a festive touch, and especially with the lights on it becomes a fairy tale. Well, we'll have to be careful with the lights - it has already become a standard joke. Especially our neighbors the Dutch laugh at the fact the government has asked to be careful with energy to prevent a black-out. Imo it's a just a way to try and raise the prices of gas and electricity, but who am I?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

3 days in Sydney, and yet no kangaroo!

Sometimes you read funny things in a newspaper. This morning, I had to laugh about the following article - a bunch of quotes right out of the book 'Flaters in het reistheater' by Mario De Wilde. In this books he quotes telephone calls to touroperators and other travel bureaus. Sometimes it looks like going on a holiday is also a bit of suffering...

Here's a taste of the funny stuff.

I have been spending three days in Sydney, and yet I haven't seen one kangaroo in the city center...

I bought a Rayban in Hongkong for 4 Euro. Only now I see it's a fake.

I was bitten by a mosquito. The travel brochure did not mention mosquitoes in this area.

I've never seen so many migrants at work in our hotel in Tunesia!

The beach was too sandy. We had to wash our feet when we returned to our room.

Nobody had told us there would be fish in the water. Our kids were scared to death.

We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers. They were all Spanish.

I took an all-in holiday for the first time and I gained 5 kilogram. You should have warned me!

When we take a cruise on the Nile, can we leave from Zeebrugge (= harbour town in Belgium, at the North Sea)?

We booked a room with two seperate bed. We got a double instead. I hold you responsible for the fact I'm pregnant!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Found, Near Water

Rena Sutherland wakes from a coma into a mother’s nightmare. Her daughter’s is missing – lost for four days – but no one has noticed; no one has complained; no one has been searching.

 As the victim support officer assigned to her case, Christine Emmett puts aside her own problems as she tries to guide Rena through the maelstrom of her daughter’s disappearance.

 A task made harder by an ex-husband desperate for control; a paedophile on early-release in the community; and a psychic who knows more than seems possible.


 And intertwined throughout, the stories of six women; six daughters lost.

This is what this mytery by Katherine Hayton is about. Katherine is also promoting her new novel. This virtual book tour started on November 17th and will run until December 12th. One lucky commenter will receive a $50 Amazon/BN gift certificate, which will be drawn by Rafflecopter. Here is the link to place your comment:


Excerpt from the novel

I set out the chairs in a circle. In my head I counted off each person as I placed their seat. Terry, dead daughter; Ilene, missing daughter; Kendra, missing daughter; Joanne, sick daughter; Christine, dead daughter. That last one is me, by the way.

There used to be a need for more chairs. I had quite the group running at one stage. Not now. We’ve dwindled and whittled our way to a close knit bunch. Like a knitting circle with barbed tongues driving all the young and optimistic members away.

I remember when I was talked into setting up this group. I was whining away to an old colleague one day and she mentioned that I may be helped by a support group. A support group! I “reminded” her that I was a fully qualified psychiatrist who had once had a roaring career until I realised how futile the entire field was. I wasn’t someone who attended a support group. I was the one to run it.

Famous last words.

There was a crunch of gravel outside and I walked to the window to have a nosey. Not one of mine. An elderly gent made slow progress towards the temporary library. He swayed so deeply from foot to foot he looked like a Weeble in full wobble.

I laid out a half packet of stale gingernuts which had mysteriously survived in our pantry and hoped that no one was feeling too hungry.


Something about the author

Ever since I was three year’s old I’ve been reading everything I can lay my hands on. It’s been my passion, my solace, my comfort. I used to look forward to Wednesday nights which were the time that my mother would take me, and any of my siblings who wanted to go – so usually just me, to the library.

It would be wonderful, thrilling, and risky. I was only able to take three books out each week, and only one of those could get a free pass on fees. If I picked the wrong one I would be stuck with it for a whole week. Not only stuck with it, but I’d have to read a bad book cover to cover because otherwise I’d have to do something else, and that was not really what I was after. I did go outside, and played outside, and watched TV like any normal kid, but that was just stuff you filled in time with until you could read again.

Throughout my childhood there was never anything I wanted to do but become a writer – it seemed the only natural progression to my life. Then I crawled inside a bottle for fourteen years, and when I popped back out I was working in an office job in a travel agency, my mother was dead, and I was clueless as to how I was meant to get my life back on track.

About the time I started to seriously study the craft of writing, something that used to come naturally to me but had grown incredibly hard through lack of use, I also had a change in career path into insurance (not as big a change as it might seem as it was really from one office job to another with a brighter future and better career path.) I started to challenge myself in my professional life, and my personal life, so instead of focussing in on writing I instead tried out a range of different hobbies, followed up on fleeting interests, tried to learn to play the saxophone which my partner was glad was a short-lived affair, and generally did all of the things I should’ve spent my teens and twenties doing but hadn’t.

But of course I always circled back to writing. Reading and writing. My passion remains the same but instead of skimming widely across any and all genres I’ve narrowed down and done a deep-dive into crime fiction which has been my favourite for over a decade now.

I love the fact that I’ve been reading the same genre of fiction for more than ten years now, and still find new and interesting things with every book that I pick up. Now I’m trying to bring something new and unique to me to the genre. And soon I might finally get back on track to being the person that I always wanted to be.



Amazon Links:

Author Page: amazon.com/author/katherinehayton

Twitter:


Blogger:


Facebook:


Goodreads:


Website:



Happy Thanksgiving

To all the American readers of my blog: Happy Thankgiving!


Don't overdo on the turkey and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reading to children

Tomorrow all the schools in Flanders will have a 'read to' day. They want to stress the importance of reading to children. Our Queen, Mathilde, gave the example by coming to Lokeren where she read to the elderly and youngsters alike.


As a teacher myself, I know how important reading to kids can be. I was a lucky one. I grew up with doting grandparents (both parents were at work when I was little). Both my grandmother and grandfather read to me.

As soon as I could sit on his lap, my granddad read from his French novels. Even though I did not understand what he was saying, I must have absorbed quite a bit, as I can tell you without doubt how the plot of let's say 'La Reine Margot' by Alexandre Dumas is about. Granddad also taught me how to be careful handling things (he was a keen collector of stamps and had some of great value) and how to enjoy a good glass of wine. Well, my mum was quite angry when she found out the last! But of course I stilll like wine a lot...

My grandmother went to the lending library every Tuesday evening. When I was about 2 and a half, she took me along. As we did not have a car, we went on foot. Quite a walk for a small child, but I did not mind - at the end of the walk I got my portion frites with mayonaise!!! And of course I stood in awe for all the large bookcases in the library. Grandma borrowed strips for me, and she read them aloud. Before I was 6 years old, I could read and write, just by looking at all those books and letters.

I also have the ability to 'invent' stories right out of head when I'm minding kiddies. I remember that once at a school I was responsible for the child care after school. I usually had 6 to 10 kids waiting for their mums and I kept them busy not only with games, but also by telling them stories about a beautiful princess and her prince. They fought for a place on my lap (I could manage four of them) and once one little girl told her mother to wait until the story was finished!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pie Girls

Author Lauren Clark is doing a promotional virtual tour (started September 16th) to bring attention to her novel, Pie Girls. This is a work of southern women's fiction, with strong romantic elements and it is published by Camellia Press.

During this tour, Lauren will pick one commenter who'll win a $20 Amazon GC via Rafflecopter. So please use this code to place your comment(s)):
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f330/


Blurb

Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.

But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.

Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.


Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.


Excerpt

Chapter 5


Thirty minutes later, I am decked from head to toe in the finest lingerie Saks Fifth Avenue has to offer. Wrapped in a lovely camel Armani overcoat, belted securely, I smooth the deep red cashmere scarf against my bare neck.
           
The sensation of wearing barely anything gives me a heady rush of power. The garter belt, slug low around my hips, allows a satisfying tug when I take a step. Silken stockings caress my legs, and Lucinda opted for a buttery-soft pair of black thigh-high boots to finish the outfit.
           
After smoothing and coaxing my hair into submission, Lucinda talks me into some lotion, and then a dusting of sparkly powder to highlight my décolletage. She wields a huge brush and swishes the iridescent flecks onto my skin with expert precision. The result is amazing.
           
"Perfect." I blink at my reflection. My skin appears softer and luminous, almost flawless. The glow makes my eyes seem brighter, even in department store lighting.
           
"You look fabulous," my personal shopper agrees. She steps back to survey her work and gives me a satisfied nod. "He won't be able to help himself once he sees what's under that overcoat."
           
Lucinda squeezes my hand. "Good luck with everything. I think Alton will come to his senses." She pauses and frowns. "He'd better."
           
As for Pamela Pryor, she'd better watch out.
           
This is war. No price is too high.
           
I am going to win my husband back.


Author bio and links


Lauren Clark writes contemporary Southern novels sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets. A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends.

She is the author of four award-winning novels, Dancing Naked in Dixie, Stay Tuned, Stardust Summer, and Pie Girls, as well as a short story, A Very Dixie Christmas, published in the Merry & Bright holiday collection. Lauren is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association and the Mobile Writers Guild. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com.

Website

Blog

Twitter
@LaurenClark_Bks

Facebook

Pintrest


Finally, I asked Lauren how she came to writing. Here's her answer:

In many ways, my literary career began with a microphone, a notepad, and 90 seconds to tell a story. As a fledgling television reporter in Upstate New York, I interviewed local leaders and influential politicians, among them, Geraldine Ferraro, Eliot Spitzer, and Chuck Schumer. Glamorous assignments, perhaps, but my time in the trenches taught me far more. It was the emotion-soaked stories that ignited me—a family’s reunion after a soldier’s return from a tour of duty, the international adoption of two Russian twins (a process that took years), dramatic rescues, and tales of people persevering under the most challenging of odds.

My early work was far from perfect, but began to take shape under the tutelage of our assistant news director, a word-surgeon whose passion for editorial perfection terrified most hardened journalists. She challenged me to the core, pushing me to stretch further and reach deeper with my writing. I carried her lessons with me when I accepted a new position at WTVY in Dothan, Alabama, where the Associated Press later honored me for anchoring and reporting.

Buoyed by the awards, and armed with an arsenal of ideas, I left the frantic pace of television journalism and blithely, naïvely ventured into fiction writing. In the bowels of my home office, a tiny closet with a rickety wooden desk, I wrote. When away from the keyboard, I absorbed and studied novels by John Irving, Anne Patchett, and Sue Monk Kidd. My other favorites include Pat Conroy, Barbara Kingsolver, Ian McEwan, Chris Bohjalian, and Janet Fitch. 

But despite my experience, my bachelor’s degree in English, and a graduate degree from Ohio State, my first novel was an exercise in discipline, disaster, and humility. After finishing my second and third, I sought direction and guidance, and was fortunate to work with a few stellar editors, including Alan Rinzler. With much instruction, and a little tough love, I began to meld creativity with craft, improving story structure, character arc, and conflict.

I’ve since released four novels and one short story (it’s included in a holiday collection called Merry and Bright). I have a particular love for writing about the Deep South, its people, and culture, so all of my books include some flavor of life below the Mason Dixon line.
I guess that I’m doing something right, as Pie Girls won three awards this past week: two from RWA (Romance Writers of America – one local award and one national) and one from WritersType.
I haven’t done it all by myself, though. I’m indebted to my teachers, fellow writers, bloggers, book reviewers, and readers—everyone who’s been kind enough to help me along the way. Thank you so very much.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Soulfood: macaroni with plums

Now that the days grow dark around 4.30 pm, I think it's nice to have something warm to eat. You can eat this macaroni as lunch, but it's also a snack.

What do you need? Well, take about 150 gr of macaroni per person, and 15 plums with stone. You will also need vanilla powder, milk, white and brown sugar.
wh
To start with, you need to put the plums into some water in which you add brown sugar. Let them there for a couple of hours. Mind that you use enough water so that the plums are always covered with it.

When you want to eat, you cook the macaroni. But don't take water, use milk. You add sugar to your own desire, and also vanilla sugar. The macaroni should be thick and the milk also when it has cooked long enough. Pay attention to the milk, you'll need a lot!

When the macaroni begins to thicken, put the water with plums on the heater as well. Bring the water to the cooking point.

This is the way we eat this dish. It comes from our grandmother, who learned it from her mother. You can mix macaroni and plums, yummmie! Of course there's a lot of sugar in this recipe, but heck, a little sugar every now and then is not bad, right?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dicte

Just finished watching an excellent Danish TV drama, based on the novels of Elsebet Egholm.


Dicte tells the story of journalist Dicte Svendsen. Aged 16 and belonging to a family of Jehova's Witnesses, Dicte gets pregnant by a boy not belonging to their community, and is thus forced by her parents to give her little son away as soon as he's born. (This son, Peter Bautrup, will figure later in the series and also gets a new series of books by the author)).)

Dicte runs away from home and finds shelter and friendship with two other women, Lisa-Marie and Anne. This friendship will remain through adulthood.

Years later, Dicte has been married (and divorced) and has a daughter, Rose. She works for a Danish newspaper in Aarhus. Aarhus is where she lived with her parents. She had bought a house there, and also her ex-husband comes to live in the neigborhood. After a hesitating start, she finds her way at the new office and becomes friends with the photographer.

Soon she is involved in a case, which is also investigated by Inspector Wagner and his aide Bengtsen. Things don't always go well between press and police, but in general Wagner has a broad mind and can understand why Dicte needs to do things.

In the course of the series, Dicte's lost son turns up. In the last episode it is shown Peter has been in prison (convicted for murder) because he wanted to protect a girl who was in the same home as he was as a child.

This was really a very good series and I can recommend it. Better still, now the new series of books, featuring Peter Boutrup, is also available in English on Amazon!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Casts a Shadow

Author Seth Mullins wants to promote his latest work,What Casts a Shadow  by doing a virtual super book blast tour. This event will take place on Friday 21st November.

Seth will be awarding a $50 Amazon/Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter, by rafflecopter. You'll find the link here:

I asked the author some questions, and here's what he answered:

1. What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
Once a girlfriend gave me a copy of Faeries, signed (with a little sketch) by Brian Froud, for a birthday present.
2. What kind of music you like?
Mark Lanegan, Syd Barrett, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Sabbath, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Celtic Frost… so much. Overall, my favorite eras for music are the late ‘60s and the early ‘90s. There was a lot of experimentation and innovation happening during those periods, musicians taking risks, pushing the boundaries, finding their own voices and shaking the culture up. I like all kinds of genres – psychedelic rock, Celtic, heavy metal, ambient, folk, punk rock, etc. – so long as there’s some honest feeling there.
3. Do you like to dance?
Yes. I’ve never taken actual lessons or anything like that. I just find my own groove. I’ll even get out on the dance floor by myself, like if I’m out seeing a band play and I’m not with anybody.
4. Can you describe your dream home?
Close to a quiet lake, and sheltered by old, tall trees. Two storeys, but not too spacious; maybe just an extra guestroom or two. Couple of wood stoves for heat. A comfortable basement – clean, carpeted – that serves as an entertainment space with pool table, table tennis, guitars and amplifiers, etc.
5. If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?

Probably Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. His was hardly an easy or simple existence, and yet he had a high destiny. And he’s the yardstick by which I measure honor and integrity. 

AND NOW... MORE ABOUT THE BOOK!
Blurb
A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from the wilderness...

When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing - one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss - begins.



Excerpt

The Edge

I suppose you could compare it to driving on a high mountain road. You don’t realize how close you are to free-fall, or how sheer and far is the plunge, until you go around a bend where one side is exposed to open air and then there it is: The Abyss.

There’s this edge that you can come to – I imagine it’s a different place for each of us – and you just know that once you get swept over it you won’t be coming back. By the time you’re close enough to see it it may already be too late. You could find yourself teetering, suddenly hearing the warnings that life had been giving you all along, knowing that it’s become impossible to step back; because by that time, those other forces – the ones pounding like the rapids at your back, always trying to push you towards that edge and then over it – have grown too strong.

Tommy and I first talked about forming a band together before either of us had learned to play an instrument. We both perceived music – particularly, its heavy, extreme underside - as the ideal vehicle for our personal salvation. The first guitar that I purchased, a Fender Telecaster that I immediately spray painted black to my father’s horror, became my refuge. It was my best friend and confidante. It gave me a convenient excuse to avoid social situations that, more often than not, would only remind me of how far off the beaten path I really was.

Author bio and links

Seth Mullins draws upon the great sweep of human soul-journeying to weave his tales. He's inspired by music, shamanism, dreams and the mysteries and miracles of our inner life. His greatest love as a writer is for fiction that depicts a journey towards self-awareness in the deepest sense.

"Probably the most valuable thing that I learned throughout my spiritual journey in this life is the importance of trusting in one's self. Many of our cultural lessons encourage us to ignore or even fear our inner reality. And yet it is this realm that really does hold the answers to all of our questions, and can point the way towards the most fulfilling life experiences possible for us."

Mr. Mullins has lived in Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.

 (Humanity's Way Forward - his website)

 (The Edge of the Known by Seth Mullins - his blog)

"What Casts the Shadow?"  (The Edge of the Known) on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1rkhffS
  
His Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/sethmullins




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No snow for Christmas?

Just having finished reading my morning newspaper, I wonder whether or not we'll be having snow for Christmas?

Here in Belgium (and most parts of Europe) it has been extremely soft the last months and even now the skies are grey but the temperatures are higher than normal. No snow in sight. Also no snow yet in the Alps.

We're travelling to Switzerland in good 4 weeks' time, to spend Christmas there. While we don't ski anymore, we still love to see some snow on the rooftops at the least. It's ever so wonderful to see this winter landscape in the snow and put your good waterproof walking shoes to proof. 


The region, Unterengadin, is one of the most beautiful and panoramic in Switzerland. Well, we just have to wait and see, I guess.

It's happened before we left without snow, and on our first night there, the skies opened and a white carpet covered the ground the following morning...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shimmy for Me

Last Monday (November 17th) Shimmy for Me was published. This novel by DeAnna Cameron is contemporary romance from Fine Skylark Media.

To promote the book, DeAnna is doing a virtual super book blast tour, which takes place on Wednesday 19th November 2014. During this tour, the author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/B&N GC to a randomly drawn commenter. You are advised to leave as many comments as possible, using this rafflecopter link:


Blurb

Juggling two jobs to keep her belly dance studio afloat keeps Abby Anderson’s mind off her shattered love life—until a reawakened pain sends her into the arms of an anonymous stranger she plucks from the audience of her tribal belly dance show. No names, no strings, no romance. She tells herself it’s a harmless hookup.

Until he turns up at her day job . . .

Derek Collier, the sexy heir to the Collier media dynasty, just landed everything he’s always wanted: the publisher’s seat at the Orange County Herald. Except his first order of business is to sell the newspaper. Reeling from his family’s betrayal, his only comfort is the memory of that mysterious belly dancer and the perfect night they spent together.

He won’t rest until he finds her again.


She’ll lose everything if he does.

Excerpt

“It’s only sex,” Abby Anderson said, keeping her focus on the mirror propped on the desk in front of her and the black eyeliner wand in her hand.

In the corner, Melanie flipped through a tattoo magazine. “It’s about time. How you managed to go a whole year is a mystery to me.”

“It’s not like I planned it. It just happened. I’ve been busy.”

Busy working two jobs—three if you counted the belly dance studio that was consuming every spare minute and dollar she had. It didn’t seem possible that so much time had passed since her ex had given her the ultimatum: him or the studio. He didn’t understand how she could leave graduate school and the prospect of a comfortable career to devote herself to what he considered a dead-end business. That’s when she knew he didn’t understand her—and he never would.

Most days, she was too busy to think about her wreck of a love life. Today she could think of little else.

May 1. Seeing the date on the calendar had brought it all back. That last terrible fight. All the awful things he’d said to her. She knew they weren’t true. Pursuing her passion didn’t make her selfish. It didn’t mean she was damaged goods.

She’d find love again. Eventually. But tonight it wasn’t love she was after. She just wanted to think about something besides that brain-dead temp job at the newspaper, the skimpy dance tips she earned at the restaurant, and the studio that sank her deeper into debt every day, even if it was the only thing that could still make her smile.

She wanted to remember how it felt to be touched. To feel lips pressed to hers, hands on her waist, maybe a caress or two. All the belly dance writhing and grinding in the world wouldn’t scratch that itch.
           
She needed a man.


Author bio and links

DeAnna Cameron writes novels featuring feisty heroines transformed by true love and belly dance—the oldest and most exciting dance form in the world. Her novels have been translated into Japanese, Polish, and Serbian, and her work has been praised for its “deft prose, energetic characters and . . . colorful images” by RT Book Reviews and called “most entertaining” by the Historical Novel Review. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as its Orange County chapter. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she can usually be found at her jeweler’s bench, creating new wire-wrap, bead, and multimedia designs. She lives in Orange County, Calif., with her family.





Monday, November 17, 2014

The Missing

Are you also watching the new BBC series The Missing? It aires on Tuesday nights, right after Holby at 9 pm English time. The first episode was broadcasted on 28th October, and tomorrow we can already watch episode 4. In total, there will be 8 episodes.

The Missing tells the story of Tony (James Nesbitt) and Emily (Frances O'Connor) Hugues, whose son Oliver was kidnapped in 2006. The couple was on holiday in France and one night there is a celebration for the World Cup Soccer, and Oliver gets lost in the throng. Tony and Emily don't know whom to trust, and no trace of Oliver is found.

Eight years later, Tony and Emily are divorced. Tony takes it upon himself to keep believing Oliver will be found. He travels back to France, where he can persuade the officials to renew the investigation. In an abandoned house, he finds a drawing only Oliver could have made...

This is a series that will keep you glued to the screen. I try to figure out how it will continue - always a nice excercise for the mind. I do the same with every thriller I read and I'm not often wrong in identifying the culprit.


But did you know this series is a co-production with Flemish TV? Thanks to the Belgian Tax Shelter scheme, it is made easy to film in Belgian, more specifically in Flanders. Some of the other main roles are played by Belgian actors. One of the suspects is portrayed by Titus De Voogdt and the female police commander is Emillie Duquenne.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Sexist) Laugh for Sunday

Ladies, if you're easily offended, don't read this. If you're a guy, then this is for you!

A Woman Should Have  ......

Something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A youth she's content to leave behind....

A past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

One friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

What Women Want in a Man:

Age 20

  1. Handsome
  2. Charming
  3. Financially successful
  4. A caring listener
  5. Witty
  6. In good shape
  7. Dresses with style
  8. Appreciates finer things
  9. Full of thoughtful surprises
  10. An imaginative, romantic lover

Age 30

  1. Nice looking [prefer hair on his head]
  2. Opens car doors, holds chairs
  3. Has enough money for a nice dinner
  4. Listens more than talks
  5. Laughs at my jokes
  6. Carries bags of groceries with ease
  7. Owns at least one tie
  8. Appreciates a good home-cooked meal
  9. Remembers birthdays and anniversaries
  10. Seeks romance at least once a week

Age 40

»
  1. Not too ugly [bald head OK]
  2. Doesn't drive off until I'm in the car
  3. Works steady - splurges on dinner out occasionally
  4. Nods head when I'm talking
  5. Usually remembers punch lines of jokes
  6. Is in good enough shape to rearrange the furniture
  7. Wears a shirt that covers his stomach
  8. Knows not to buy champagne with screw-top lids
  9. Remembers to put the toilet seat down
  10. Shaves most weekends

Age 50

  1. Keeps hair in nose and ears trimmed
  2. Doesn't belch or scratch in public
  3. Doesn't borrow money too often
  4. Doesn't nod off to sleep when I'm venting
  5. Doesn't re-tell the same joke too many times
  6. Is in good enough shape to get off couch on weekends
  7. Usually wears matching socks and fresh underwear
  8. Appreciates a good TV dinner
  9. Remembers your name on occasion
  10. Shaves some weekends

Age 60

  1. Doesn't scare small children
  2. Remembers where bathroom is
  3. Doesn't require much money for upkeep
  4. Only snores lightly when asleep
  5. Remembers why he's laughing
  6. Is in good enough shape to stand up by himself
  7. Usually wears some clothes
  8. Likes soft foods
  9. Remembers where he left his teeth
  10. Remembers that it's the weekend

Age 70+


  1. Breathing
  2. Doesn't miss the toilet 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The absurdity of dreams

Does this also happen to you?

This morning I woke up, remembering the dream I had before my alarm went. The dream went as follows: I was sitting in a small plane with my sister. Apparently we were flying from some place in Alaska to another place in the US. Then we were in a sort of hotel, where our grandmother waited for us. We were sitting in a lounge and I was reading on my Kindle. Then I went for a cup of coffee and when I returned the Kindle was gone. None of the other guests had noticed anything. I felt very sad, regretting the fact I could not buy another  Kindle. And grandma said she'd buy it for me.

Just imagine! My grandmother died in 1986 and she has never been out of Europe. She did however buy a lot of things for me and my sister and always helped out when she could. And we have been on a cruise to Alaska and once sat in a very small plane, on a panoramic flights over some mountains.

Funny how you combine all these things in your dreams. Of course, it's a way to remember those who are gone. I regularly dream about my parents and grandparents. When they figure in one of my dreams, they look just as they used to, forever remaining young.

Most of the time, I can tell which dream I had. I also dream in color and am able to taste and smell. I've dreamed scenes of a novel I was about to write. In the dream it all came together, and then I only had to write down what I remembered...

Do you also dream, and can you tell what you dreamed?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Depressing start of the weekend

It could not last. We've been having dry weather for quite some time, but right now the rain is pouring down. I pity my sister who is away on her bike..  I'm cozy at home, and don't need to go outside for anything but throwing away some garbage in the green bin.

Rain is not the only depressing thing. Just heard on the radio that as of next year we won't be able to subtract as many from our taxes as before. Like saving for your pension, the interest on your savings account, ... Why don't they find the money with those who have more than enough? But a goverment full of liberals (who own all the main businesses) and NVA (have a lot of small business owners in their midst) won't take on those who have a lot.

Just hope the protests will bring something positive.

For the rest, I'm thinking about what to eat during this weekend. A good steak for tomorrow, perhaps, with some sliced and baked potatoes and lots of bell peppers and onion! And on Sunday something with venison, which is quite cheap nowadays. Must look up a good recipe.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

By the sword divided

Reading Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell-Barnes some time ago, my thoughts went back to a BBC series from long ago.

That was in the time when cable tv not yet existed, not to speak of digital tv! We had an antenna on our roof, that was it. One day, during a particular violent storm, the antenna came down and was completely destructed. So my dad bought another (stronger) one and put it back on the roof. Ever since we were able to pick up Dutch TV channels and on some good days even the BBC!

So sometimes we caught some minutes of this series about the English Civil War. Now looking it up on Google, I found out it was titled By The Sword Divided and told the story of a Lacey family. From what I saw it must have been a good plot, with a Romeo and Juliet theme mixed in.

Never saw this series on Belgian TV, though. Today, we broadcast a lot of English series, and some of ours are even broadcasted in the UK... (Think of Salamander, which was one of the best series made here ever.)

As I grew up and began to write longer stories (I started with my remake of the fairy tales) this series about the Civil War must have inspired me to write what is now The Gold Crucifix. My novel also begins during Civil War, when Rebecca Flint - daughter of a severe puritan vicar - allows a bunch of royalist fugitives to find refuge in the vicarage. She shares one romantic night with the youngest of them. When they depart the next morning, he gives her a small token of his affection: a beautiful gold crucifix on a golden chain.


When she is dying, Rebecca reveals to her eldest daughter she is not the child of Amos Jennings, but of an unknown noble. Since then, young Sarah can't find peace of mind anymore. She wants to find out the identity of her true father. But this journey proves a difficult undertaking. When she falls in love with Richard, who is the brother of an earl, the same faith as her mother threatens to befall her. So she escapes to London, where she will become one of the first female actresses at the Theatre Royal.

If you want to find out more, I suggest you buy the book! You can get it from my publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press, or from Amazon and other online booksellers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11th - Day of Remembrance, Saint Martin and waffles

The 11th of November is the day we remember the deaths of Word War One. That is something everyone knows. There were ceremonies all over the country. Here in Knokke-Heist there was a ceremony at the Heldenplein (square for the heroes). All kinds of officials placed flower at the monument and bands played fitting music. One of them was a Scottish pipe band - and I do love the pipes! Afterwards (and that's typically Flemish) there was a reception for all the inhabitants of Knokke-Heist and those who own a second home there. Hot wine, brandy, chocolate and chocolate milk for the little ones...

But what not so many know is that November 11th is the feast of Saint Martin. In some Flemish towns and villages the good saint comes that day to bring presents to the kids who have been good.
Just like Saint Nicholas in December or Father Christmas.

And to celebrate that occasion (Saint Martin visited our home when we were little) our grandma baked waffles for the entire family. Brussels waffles, with powder sugar on top. Yummie!


We're having waffles too, tonight. For sake of tradition, and to remember our grandparents, who were young people during the first world war and had to suffer through it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

High Andes

Another author takes the stand today. Rolf Margenau has written the thriller High Andes, published by Frogworks Publishing. To promote his book, Rolf is taking a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. This tour will run from November 3rd until November 28th 2014.

Rolf will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. So don't forget to leave a comment AND USE THIS RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f526/

Blurb

Wylie Cypher, suffering from a mid-life crisis, decides to challenge fading youth by taking a trekking vacation across the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountains) of the High Andes in Peru with his daughter, Mercy, just graduated from college. It is 1981.

While working with legal clients in Lima, he inadvertently acquires documents that contain explosive and damning evidence about the Peruvian government’s extreme interrogation techniques. He learns that something is amiss when police detain and torture him. He loses his little toe. A series of misunderstandings precipitate a heart-pounding chase across the high mountains as two sets of villains - government thugs and members of the communist guerrilla Sendero Luminoso – seek out the Cypher group with murderous intent. Combat in the thin air of the mountains, deceptions of numerous sorts, hairbreadth escapes, torture, action in underground caves populated with mummies, and unexpected plot twists fill the pages of this book.

It is in the United States’ national interest to observe the growing communist threat in its hemisphere, so C.I.A. agents are involved. While Wylie and his cohorts are running for their lives, the author also reports on international smuggling of historical artifacts, the fate of a 600-year-old child mummy, and the ancient spirit of the mountains, Pachamama.


Excerpt

The special child seemed almost weightless in his arms as he approached the niche in the rocks where he intended to place her. Ayar continued to gauge his ascent carefully, constantly scanning the path below and the horizon. Special concern was necessary, as the Chimu had not yet settled the war between their nations. They still sent out raiding parties even as far south as Huaraz.

The body of the four-year-old girl he carried was the daughter of Cuca, wife of Maita Capac. Cuca herself was now sick with the plague that lay like a dark hand on the people of the White Mountains. That disease had quickly taken the life of her firstborn, the lively and adored Cocohuay, named for the turtledoves kept in a dovecote outside her window.

The sickness spread almost faster than the noble runners could report. There was news about strange white people at Tumbes in the north. They wore silver jackets and sat on four-legged beasts three times the size of the largest llama. They had huge wooden houses that went on the sea, and sticks that carried thunder.

The plague began at Tumbes, and the wooden houses left two of the strange men there and sailed away. Huayna Capac sent to have them brought to him, but they were lost along the way. Now the ruler’s people in Chavín de Huántar were dying. The embalmer’s services were in high demand.

Cuca called Ayar when her little daughter died. As wife of the regional administrator, Cuca was highly placed and her demands took priority. Not that the embalmer would have denied her. Once he saw the frail little child carefully arranged on the low table among sweet-smelling grasses and flowers, and noted the florid flush of her face and body, his heart went out to the grieving mother. He would do all he could to prepare the little girl.


Author bio and links

The author of Public Information has had a varied career.  He has been a scrub nurse in an operating room, a professional photographer, a soldier during the Korean War, a correspondent for the Pacific Stars and Stripes, an attorney specializing in international corporate law, a volunteer executive running a not-for-profit dedicated to housing the homeless, a manager of large and small businesses and, lately, an author and Master Gardener.  

He first published short stories as an English Major from Yale.  Finding the double-digit pay for that work insufficient to support a wife and one and a half children, he went to law school in hopes of finding better paying work. Fortunately, that proved to be the case.  

When the author discovered that his wife kept all the 300 plus letters he wrote her from Korea, he decided to use that material as the basis for a novel about the Korean War. It was a story he had wanted to tell for many years.

Public Information is based on his experiences as NCO in charge of a combat Infantry Division Public Information (hence the title) Office in Korea.  It tells the story of Wylie Cypher, a hapless young soldier who arrives in Korea in the midst of bloody combat.  Wylie manages to survive his sixteen-month tour of duty as Margenau recounts in gory, ribald, poignant and accurate detail.  His adventures are recounted in military jargon and his sometimes abrasive involvement with the “Army way” describes the good, bad and incredible of life in the military. Along the way, Wylie manages to find and lose love.

Other veterans have found the story authentic and highly illustrative of the background and details of the Korean War.  Publisher’s Weekly commented on the author’s ability to create a sense of time and place.  During the summer of 2012, Public Information became an Amazon.com Kindle best seller.

Pistils and Poetry is the author’s second book.  It is a compilation of Margenau’s favorite Elizabethan poems (Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, and numerous others) juxtaposed with the author’s photographs of flowers.  It is a rich and engaging poetry book, enhanced and complimented by luscious photos of flowers.  The book is considered as an elegant way to tease reluctant poetry readers into an appreciation of the beautiful sentiments and language of long ago masters of the English language.

Encouraged by the reception for his first novel, Margenau published Master Gardener, his second novel, in March 2013. It is a story that explores conflicts between the benefits of engineered crops and their potential for ecological disaster.  Wylie Cypher, the hero of Public Information, is now seventy-five years old.   He uses his life and legal experience to defend one of the women in his life, Anne Proctor, against the machinations of malevolent BIG AG.  Senior citizens band together as eco-terrorists to save the monarch butterfly, and Dick Geier, the ruthless and profane CEO of BIG AG, engages in corporate shenanigans that reflect current headlines.  The story is set in Middletown, New Anglia, not too far from Philadelphia, and episodes along the Amazon River in Peru bracketed by episodes along the Amazon River in Peru..

His third novel, published in August 2014, is High Andes. The central narrative follows Wylie Cypher, in his mid-forties and suffering from a serious mid-life crisis, and his daughter, Mercy, as they try to elude various villains chasing them across the White Mountains of Peru. The story deals with armed insurrection by Maoist guerillas, smuggling ancient artifacts, “disappearances” of troublemakers, a five hundred year old child mummy, and the CIA.

Rolf Margenau lives in rural New Jersey with his wife, three dogs, a 1932 Chrysler convertible, and a flower garden favored by monarch butterflies. He is now working on his fourth novel. Tentatively titled National Parks, the story recounts what happens, in the near future, when Congress decides to nationalize America’s National Parks.