Monday, March 30, 2015

The Soul Retrieval

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Blast Tour for THE SOUL RETRIEVAL by Ann W. Jarvie, a historical suspense available March 31 from JazzComm Publishing. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Tuesday, March 31.

Ann will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the code underneath:"


Inspired by a true story, The Soul Retrieval is a suspenseful tale of love, loss and healing which follows traumatized southern beauty Henrietta Clayborn as she moves between her home in a small South Carolina town and the New Mexico Native American reservation whose spontaneous healings keep drawing her physician husband back. Tortured by her awful secrets, Henrietta struggles to thrive in either locale, but it is her unlikely friendship with Joe Loco––an eccentric Native American mystic with an Elvis fetish and a gift for healing––that shows her the way to be whole again.

Set in the late 1950s, The Soul Retrieval is richly woven with spiritual insights but also deadly secrets, forbidden healings, a murder mystery, stunning scenery and an unforgettable cast of characters.

A story of transcendent and inspiring power that is both entertaining and enlightening, readers will be cheering for the uptight woman from South Carolina to push through her fears of the forbidden as she searches for truth and healing, faces great obstacles on the frontier of self and ultimately becomes more than she ever thought possible.


“It’s just as Bear foretold,” the Apache said. He closed his eyes and moved his hands in small circles with palms out. “The fire’s burning, but no one’s home in your teepee.”

“Excuse me?”

“You don’t feel like yourself, you’re feeling vacant and disconnected, like something’s missing.” Joe spoke as he opened his eyes.

She gaped at him in stunned silence before whispering: “How … why would you say something like that?” Henrietta’s heart thumped in her chest as she nervously glanced toward the living room. Her husband was still talking on the phone.

“Your soul speaks volumes through your eyes.”

“You see something in my eyes?” And she rubbed them again with her handkerchief.

“I see what was there, what should be there, but is not now.”

“Don’t be silly. I’m fine. My eyes were just watering, that’s all.” She winced, knowing that it wasn’t true, hating that she’d become such a liar.

“It’s okay, I’m here to help,” Joe said. He placed his folded hands on the table after sitting down.

His smile and disarming empathy surprised Henrietta, but she wasn’t going to be moved by what seemed like a sweet and insightful gesture. Joe Loco was absolutely the last person in the world she’d choose to confide in.

“Don’t worry. It’s obvious your soul has fragmented and is in need of repair,” Joe said with a calm certainty, as if it was an everyday matter to be dealt with.

“What?” Henrietta put her hands down and stared into space, bewildered by his words. In the quietude, the sizzle of the frying eggs and bacon filled the room like a choir of rattlers. My soul has what? When she looked again at Joe, planning to demand exactly what he meant, his eyes were closed, and he was whispering and holding his palms up as though in prayer.

So she placed the cooked food on a plate, poured a glass of milk and put both down in front of him. He opened his eyes and smiled up at her.

“That’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard—a soul fragmenting,” she said. “How would something like that even be possible?”

“It can happen when we believe or experience something bad we don’t want to face.” He took a bite of eggs and grits, closing his eyes again to savor the combination. “Oh, this is yum-yum,” he said.

When he looked up, it was Henrietta who was staring.

“The good news is that lost soul fragments can be recovered and healed. It’s not hard, if you know how, if you know the secret,” Joe said.

“Are you saying you know how to do that? That you know the secret?”

“The Great Spirit works hitherto and I work.”

She crossed her arms. “So what are you, some kind of soul repairman?”

Author bio and links

Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and more than twenty-five years’ experience as an award-winning writer in advertising and public relations agencies, both in South Carolina and Chicago. She now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends part of her time as a freelance copywriter and the rest writing fiction.

The Soul Retrieval was inspired by Jarvie’s maternal grandmother’s fascinating life on Indian reservations, where she lived with her physician husband until his mysterious and untimely death.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Summer time

During the past night, we switced again from winter time to summer time - which means we could sleep one our less.

I don't know about you, but I've always wondered what the use of this is. One extra hour of light in the evening, but one more dark one in the morning. What's the difference? Morever, this change of time makes people cranky (and not only people, but also animals) because they've been robbed of an hour of sleep.

For my part, they can abolish this summer/winter time use. What do you think?

Friday, March 27, 2015

French airplace crash: kamikaze co-pilot

Yesterday it became known that the co-pilot of the German Wings airplane which crashed in the mountain of southern France, has probably commtited suicide.

Well, if you can call this suicide. I'd rather call it murder. If you take along 149 people because you want to end your life, then you are a murderer in my point of view.

I've never been able to understand suicide. All members of our family have grown up in an atmosphere where it was - and is - important to fight against adversity. If you have a problem, discuss it with others and try to find a solution. Nobody has ever had a mental illness. My grandparents had to live through two world wars and arrived in dangerous circumstances. They valued life more than ever. My father grew up in a family where both the father and mother drank themselves to death, so he had to take care of his younger siblings. He fought for a better life for them and himself, and for his own daughters nothing was ever good enough.

So I can't imagine how it feels not to see a solution - for there always is one, if you go looking for it. 'No mountain high enough, or you can climb it,' grandma used to say. That goes for many things.

Psychologists are already looking for excuses for this cowardly deed of the co-pilot. 'People can have tunnel-vision, they don't know what they are doing...." Rubbish! We have been given a mind of our own, so we decide. But people who commit suicide don't think about others. Why could this German guy not take some pills, if he wanted out? Or hang himself in his garage? What weird pleasure did he find in taking along 149 innocents???

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Start to run

The previous weekend, the local school organised a running competition. This time there were 3,000 people, while the previous year there were 2,500.

In recent years, campaigns like 'Start to run' were set up to urge people to go running. 1 kilometer, a marathon, ... So nowadays you see (nearly) everyone running around the local lake or just through the streets of our town.

Well, running may be a healthy business, but I don't like it! I've never seen why you should run (perhaps when your life is in danger?) for no urgent reason while you can just as well walk or cycle. So you can imagine I was no big sports fanatic either.

I try to live healthy. I watch my food, I walk and cycle every day. That's enough for me, although sometimes I go swimming and when I was younger I also went skiing and horseback riding.

What about you? Do you like running, or not?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Unexpected act in Belgium's Got Talent

Those who watch this kind of program know you're often in for a surprise. Remember Paul Potts and Susan Boyle in Great-Britain, and last season's singing nun in the Italian The Voice.

This time it was the public and jury of Belgium Got Talent who got the big surprise. A young boy of 15 - an ordinary kid, who goes to school and does well there, has friends and goes out in the weekend - announced he was going to sing 'a song' to take his chance in the competition.

But to everyone's surprise the boy did not sing a pop or rock song. No, Steff Philipsen brought the aria 'O, mio babbino caro' which was also done by Maria Callas and Montserrat Cabbalé. And he did this with his most unusual voice.

Steff likes to sing. He has a falsetto voice, but he doesn't care that people are unable to tell he's boy or girl. Also his friends at school think it's cool.

Steff can't read sheet music. He's never been to music school or taken any training. He watchet a lot of You Tube video's and practised. He sings on feeling. 'There are others who couldn't read sheet music,' he says. 'And they still became big stars.'

Of course Steff hopes to have a career in music - but he'll be just as happy to work in his dad's company when the musical dream doesn't work out. Quite the ordinary guy, right.

If you like to take a look at this audition, here's the link:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Balancing the accounts

Does it ever happen to you? You pay your purchases and bills cash or online, but you also mark those sales on an accounting sheet.

I check my home accounting weekly against what my bank excerpt shows. Most of the time both are equal. However, today I noticed that my post for electricity/gas was way too high. And that the post for housekeeping purchases was too low. Then you need to check back all your bank details to find where you have gone wrong. I found the mistake - I had put amounts in the wrong column!

Yes, it's not always easy to keep the balance in check! Sometimes you have to be quite creative as well - especially when faced with unforeseen expenses!

Still, I've never went into the red on my bank account. I have always lived to the rule: don't spend what you don't have.

What about you?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Key to Lawrence: Special edition

Interested in history? Then you'll certainly look forward to this book: Key to Lawrence, by Linda and Gary Cargill and published by Cheops Books. The authors are doing a promo tour which takes place 20th March.

They will be awarding a historical postcard of the Lusitania from one hundred years ago, a valuable collector's item, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link: 


Water rushed into the four great smoke stacks of the ship as they, too, hit the waves. Tremendous, churning whirlpools sucked victims inside. A few were ejected, blackened with soot. Propellers rose above the maelstrom. The rudder lifted higher than the smoke stacks. The ship's prow pointed down toward the deep. It looked as if the ship's nose would hit the sea bed hundreds of feet below. The Lusitania sank in only 18 minutes after being torpedoed on May 7, 1915. Dora Benley vowed revenge on the enemy. Key to Lawrence tracks the beginning of her quest for justice in this special edition of the first volume of the Edward Ware Thriller Series. It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Great War.


Manhattan — Saturday, May 1, 1915

The stranger stared at Dora’s package. A wide-brimmed hat shaded his face, revealing only a dark beard and mustache. Smoking a small, cheap, stubby cigar, dressed in a nondescript, ill-fitting dark suit, the man strutted towards her in a menacing fashion. Blueish-white cigar smoke curled upward in a lazy corkscrew. It vanished into the air several yards above his head.

Twenty-year-old Dora Benley quickly stuffed the surprise birthday gift for her father into her satchel. Holding a green parasol edged with black fringe over her head she skirted crowds of well-dressed, gossiping passengers waiting to board the Lusitania. Dressed in a full-length, aquamarine dress with white lace around the sleeves, Dora moved as far away from the intruder as she could without falling off the edge of the pier.

She searched impatiently for her parents. They were supposed to rendezvous with her at 11:00 AM. By now it was almost noon!

A man and woman reporting team burst upon the crowd at Cunard’s Pier 54. They were trailed by a photographer and his assistants carrying a large folding camera and a tripod. The reporters hurled themselves at the passengers.

“What do you think of the German announcement?” The male reporter thrust a copy of The New York Times at Dora. He pointed to the advertisement prominently displayed on the front page: 

Author bio and links

The Cargills docked at Southampton and explored the South of England in preparation for this thriller, Key to Lawrence. They also sailed the North Atlantic just like Dora Benley. But their transatlantic voyages were on the Queen Mary 2 instead of the Lusitania. They made use of the American Southwest where they live to depict the Syrian Desert that was home to Lawrence of Arabia. Visit their website. Read their blog. Linda also has a Facebook Fan Page.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Truth : Diary of a Gutsy Teen

Those who visit my blog will remember my previous post about author Barbara Becker Holstein. Today, she wants to give her first novel in the series another push. The Truth: Diary of a Gutsy Teen is published by Sky Pony Press and is considered a good read for young adults (8-12 years old).

As always, Barbara will be awarding a  $20 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter. Please use the following link to add your comment:


"I hate Angela and I wish she would move away tomorrow!" "I get so worried when I hear my parents fighting at night." "My mother thinks my crush is silly. I know I am in love!" "I have so many questions about growing up. Who will answer them?" "I feel so awful when Jake makes fun of me." "When I grow up I going to remember how to have fun with my kids and never look away." Growing up is tough. Adults don't always understand you (even though they were once kids), and children today face increasing pressure to be, look, or act a certain way. Written in the voice of a girl on the cusp of becoming a teenager, The Truth provides young girls with an opportunity to see how a girl, who is in many ways like themselves, handles her toughest problems and most personal thoughts. Each new page brings forth a discussion to help girls handle everyday problems: How do you survive a bully? How do you handle a crush on a boy? What can you do about relentless teasing by your peers? What really matters as you grow older?

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, The Truth is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.


Date: July 7

Dear Diary:

I feel so lonely. I can’t believe my parents made us move. Don’t they understand how awful it is for me? I don’t have anyone to share secrets with. I talk to Angela on the phone, but it isn’t the same. Sometimes when I’m on the phone with her I get the feeling that she is on her computer at the same time or maybe just thinking about other stuff. I don’t feel that closeness with her anymore. I want to feel it, but I don’t know how. I’m afraid to ask her if she is playing a game on the computer or chatting on Facebook at the same time as she’s on the phone with me.

The only good thing that happened is I asked Angela if she wants to send selfies back and forth to each other. My phone is old and I don’t have FaceTime, but I can still take pictures and send them to her. She loved the idea, so I spent hours yesterday sending her pictures of me in different rooms in my house and in the backyard, too. It was a lot of fun. I dressed up as if I was putting on a play and each room was a new scene. I wore a velvet scarf and one of my mom’s fancy hats and put on an old long petticoat I used to dress up in as a kid and then I went outside and stood on the swing that is hanging from a tree. It was hard to keep the swing still enough to get a good Selfie, but finally I did, and I sent it to Angela. She sent back a selfie of herself dressed up like a Flapper girl from the 1920s, posing with a long stick as if it was a cigarette in a holder. We laughed and laughed on the phone, and it was the best I have felt since we moved. The best part was that if felt like we were together again even though we are apart!

Author bio and links

This is what Barbara herself says:

I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!  My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years.  The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web. In particular,,, on Facebook at Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein: Psychologist & Author, on Pinterest at and on You Tube. Just look for me on You Tube via Barbara Becker Holstein.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Exposed by Rage

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a Virtual Book Blast Tour for EXPOSED BY RAGE by Sherrel Lee, a Romantic Suspense available March 15, 2015. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Monday, March 16.

Sherrell will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


He has a dead body. She has the seedy connections. To solve the crime they are forced to work together.

To keep her mother’s reputation from destroying her, Ashley Dix Gibson had to learn at an early age to persevere and tune out the lies, gossip, and the bullies. Detective Michael DeMarco has no desire to team up with a woman with ties to the underbelly of the porn industry but if he wants to solve his case, he has no other options. When Ashley and DeMarco combine their resources to find a brutal killer, sparks of distrust turn into the fires of passion.


The house was large.  Actually--more than large.  A mansion with dozens of rooms upstairs and many more on the ground floor.  I took the long way, thinking I would give a light tap on Jillie’s door, just in case she was in and maybe had company keeping her occupied.  There was a staircase, just past Jillie’s room, down to the kitchen.  More for the use of the household staff, but Jillie didn’t have anyone who lived in so it was only used when the help came on their usual days.

 Sucker punched.  The odor.  Undeniable.  Unmistakable.

Knowing it wouldn’t make a difference, I prayed to the gods for a break.  There wasn’t a chance it was anyone but Jillie, but for once, I found that small molecule of hope glowing in my heart.  Hesitating, just for that moment, I gathered my strength.

The master suite was down a short hallway opposite the dining room.   The hallway narrowed and lengthened.  A scream inside my head ordered my legs to move.  Great, now Master Sergeant Craven was in my head.  I forced myself forward. 

I knew what to do at a crime scene.  I’d been an MP for the last four years and had seen more than I wanted to.  

My stomach rolled and pitched.

Author bio and info 

Wrangler of a fearsome Yorkiepoo named Rogue (Half Yorkie half Poodle weighing in at a hefty eight pounds). Obsession controlled writer with a passion for making up names and twisting myths. 

 Sherrel, as the daughter of an Emmy winning cameraman, learned early in life the dark secrets of creating all those incredible fantasy characters for the large and small screen.

 Refusing to be crushed at the discovery the monsters, aliens, and Robby the Robot weren't real, Sherrel's imagination soared. She became a SELF-proclaimed voyeur of special-effects and expert at fictional character creation.

Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @SherrelLeeBooks (Romantic Suspense) @gryphoenix (Urban Fantasy)

Message from the author:

  • Between Monday, March 2 and April 1, 2015 go to my campaign at:
  • Browse by Category or Search for Exposed by Rage.
  • Read the excerpt.
  • If you like it, please nominate it for the next round.
  • Let all your friends know.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Writing an evaluation

Most of you who read my blog know I'm a teacher. Over the past two weeks I had trainee teachers giving lessons, and I have to evaluate their work.

I find this quite difficult. Especially when you look at the forms the poor things bring along, from their training college. The things that are asked!

For me, it would suffise that I just stated what was good in their lessons, and what could be better. Some short paragraphs, more than enough. I hate using too many words. Also in my writing.

So I just tried to fill in those forms to the best of my knowledge, and kept remembering my training days. It's impossible for these young girls and boys to do everything right already. Even after more than thirty years of teaching, I still find it hard (at occasions) to find the right attitude for a class.

What do you think about this?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Global Positioning Systems don't always work properly...

Yesterday's fun topic in the news was the busdriver who drove his bus La Plagne - but not the La Plagne in the Alps, but another place near the Spanish border. Luckily for him the guys he was transporting (a group of men who wanted to do a weekend of short ski) could see the humor of it. Better still, they did not have to pay for their trip.

The cause of the problem was that the busdriver did not have the correct address. He just knew the group needed to go to La Plagne. Evidently, there can be a problem when two towns (or villages) with the same name exist.

I also know of a friend of mine (in the early days of GPS) who followed the instruction faithfully - and drove into the open garage of complete strangers!

Do you have good experiences with your GPS?

I don't use it. When I need to go somewhere, I consult a good old fashioned street map. Old-fashioned or not, I haven't lost my way yet!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Brothers' Keepers

Hi there, everyone! Allow me to introduce you to Matthew Peters, author of thrillers. Matthew is doing a virtual book tour for his latest release, The Brothers' Keepers (by MuseItUp Publishing), and now he's stopping over at my blog.

During this tour, Matthew will be giving away a $10 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter, by Rafflecopter. So please use this code:"

Matthew wrote a blog post for his stop here. Here is what he writes:

The topic of this post is how I became interested in linking the Bible with suspense.
Regardless of your religious views, the Bible is one of the most interesting books of all times. Combining history, poetry, music, narrative, epistles, and parables, it practically contains something for everyone.
At some point, however, I think many readers of the Bible reach a point where they ask themselves, “How much of what I’m reading is fact, and how much of what I’m reading is fiction?”
As a child I stood in awe of the familiar Bible stories: Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Moses and the Red Sea, David and Goliath. I was especially captivated by the Gospels and the central role Jesus played in bringing about salvation to humankind. I was always mystified by the concept of the Holy Trinity: how three could be one and one three.
As I got older I began to question certain aspects of my Catholic faith. Was there really a heavenly afterlife? Did the priest’s incantation over the bread and wine really change them into the body and blood of Christ? Was a virgin birth conceivable? Had Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, and raised the dead?
I think the Bible is the most suspenseful book ever written. To me suspense is inherent in the very issues it raises. What could be more suspenseful than answers to questions like, Is there a God, and, if so, what type of God is He/She? Did Jesus rise from the dead, and was he truly the son of God? Is there an afterlife?  
Unlike other fictionalized suspense, I wanted to place something “real” at the center of my novel, something that carried enormous consequences, if true or false. To me, that is the definition of suspense: whether or not something is true. The Brothers’ Keepers asks fundamental questions and proposes answers to them. Of course, it is fiction, but the questions and issues raised aren’t. They impact nearly every facet of our lives, from the social to the political, to the type of human being we are and strive to become.

I hope you find The Brothers’ Keepers among the most suspenseful books you’ve ever read!


Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?

Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.

It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.

Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.


Father Rawlings drained his cup and set it on the table. “What I’m about to tell you may sound ridiculous and melodramatic. At best it will seem the stuff of conspiracy theories and spy novels. However, I assure you it is not.” He fixed Branson with a steely gaze. “As God’s soldiers, we are engaged in a battle, Nicholas. As real as any battle ever waged. The war we fight has raged for centuries, but the battle we fight now could well be the last. And we, you and I, the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, must emerge victorious. Nothing less than the foundations, the stability of the Christian world is at stake.” He smiled again, this time with bitterness.

“Of course it sounds unbelievable, even paranoid, but believe me, it is neither. I choose my words carefully. I don’t make bold assertions I cannot support. I assure you I am telling you exactly how things stand, exactly what is at stake. Before I go on, however, I must demand a pledge from you, your promise to help the Church in the epic struggle in which we currently find ourselves. We require your guarantee, your warrant if you will, that you will use all your energies, resources, and powers to secure the interests of the Church, and that you will let nothing deter you from the task at hand. With this binding agreement comes an inexhaustible supply of resources: anything and everything you deem necessary to accomplish your mission. But I must have your pledge before we proceed.” Rawlings rose from his seat, motioning for Branson to stand as well. “Before you give me your answer, listen again to Jesus’ words: ‘He who is not with me is against me.’ Nicholas Branson, tell me now: Are you with our Lord, or against Him?”

Author bio and links

Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual diagnosed. In addition to The Brothers’ Keepers, he is the author of Conversations Among Ruins, which features a dual diagnosed protagonist. Currently, he is working on a sequel to The Brothers’ Keepers.

*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.

Barnes & Noble:

MuseItUp Publishing:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Love Never Dies in Hamburg

Those who read my blog, know both my sister and I are really great fans of muscial theatre. We do have our favorites though, like Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera.

But also the sequel to Phantom is a great show. When first shown in London's West End, it closed after a year or so. I really don't know why. The story was good, the music great and the performances of Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess superb. We saw the show twice, the second time already with light changes to the original.

But then the show closed down and it took years before a team of creatives in Australia dared to put the show back on the bills. They changed the concept greatly, but I think they made a better show of it. Unfortunately, the lead characters could not convince me as much as Ramin and Sierra. And even if we wanted to see the show, Melbourne and Sydney are a bit far off... Just like Tokyo, where the show went next.

As from October of this year though, the show will come to Germany. It will be staged in Hamburg, in the north of the country. The cast has not been announced but I hope Drew Sarich will get the lead role as Phantom. Sarich has a great voice and presence, and the lyrics in German are very well made. German is a language that works for muscial theatre, unlike Dutch.

We already secured our tickets for this show, and we'll take the opportunity to discover Hamburg and its environs as well!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unwanted calls

Do you ever experience this? An unknown number calls you repeatedly and when you pick up the phone, you hear nothing?

I've been experiencing this for a while. Luckily, we are able to list a complaint and I must say the authorities take this seriously. It is not an ordinary phone number that calls. It's not a fax either. I've never seen a number like this before.

Years ago, we were also bothered by unwanted calls. My sister had a boyfriend at that time, and the calls came from his ex. She was clever enough to let the phone ring just long enough not to register the number. But one day she was a sec too late and the number turned up. I have then called back and told her plainly she should stop or I'd contact the police.

I wonder if I'll ever learn where this strange number originates from?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack

Laura Lynn Ashworth, author of YA historical fiction, is doing a promotional Name Before the Masses tour to promote her latest novel, Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack. This tour runs every Monday for 16 weeks, starting on February 9th.

Laura Lynn will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour, via Rafflecopter. Here is the code:

Now I want to share a comment Ms. Ashworth gave on one of my previous posts. This is what she says:

I found Nickie Fleming’s post, Everyone Talks About…Sex, intriguing.  She brings up a very important point and one we really don’t think about often.  Why do we, movies, TV shows, etc., focus on sex? As a hopeless romantic, I think the reason for the focus is that sex brings forth new life and hope for a better world.  In fact, many would say our sole purpose in life is to bring forth new life.  If that is the case, then little wonder we spend so much of our time thinking about love, romance, sex and finding that perfect mate.  Future generations will either benefit (or not) from our choices.  Therefore, love and sex make the world go around and go forward. 

In looking at the relationship between teenagers Sal and Loretta, the main characters in Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack, you can see how important finding that right person is.  Sal and Loretta start out as neighborhood friends and as they mature and get to know each other, the love between them grows and takes many turns and twists all during the final terrifying years of WWII, the war of wars.

Sal, deciphers code for the Navy on a minesweeper in the Pacific.  He writes countless love letters to Loretta.  Loretta, 15, is very interested in boys and somewhat Sal.  She answers his letters and together they discuss in detail and with great humor, their feelings, the war, family and friends.  Reading these letters makes you feel as if you have traveled back in time.  You can see through their young, innocent eyes what it is like to live through a war, both in battle and on the homefront.  You also get to experience what it is like to be in love or like as a guy or gal.


Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1946.

Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.

Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.

Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.


October 25, 1944

Dearest Sal,

Guess what the latest rumor in the neighborhood is? That George was wounded in the knee cap. He wrote two letters to Laverne and signed 'em “Love George.” She's soooo thrilled. And do you want to know a “lil” secret? Of course you know Rita. Well she is going to have a baby. Yep! A baby. The only trouble is that she forgot to get the marriage license. She's engaged, though! To Alex. You know, Tillie's brother. He was in on furlough about four months ago. Boy, I'd hate to be in her shoes.

I saw Hinks last night. He took us (Dolores, Elaine and I) out for a drink (of coke). We had pretty much fun. He's a good dancer. But I bet you could “outshine” him any day. Laverne started out with us yesterday but met up with Sonny. He took her to El Chicos. Personally I don't care for him, maybe it was because I never really got to know him, but I'm sure I'm not missing anything. Laverne always does that. When we girls get together occasionally, we tell each other “No one is to leave the crowd.” But leave it to her (Ain't I the catty one?) Even though we got along without her. Hinks left us after a while. Tillie came later on and gave us back our foursome. Hinks is working today. Poor boy.

Well today is Sunday and I just finished washing my hair. And then I start thinking about youse. So I says to myself, I think I'll write youse a letter to let youse know I'm thinking of you—you great big hunk of a man, you.

Excuse me, I'll be back in five minutes. I have to go and put my hair up in curlers. I got me a date for tonight. You'll be there in spirit, and when I kiss him goodnight, I'll be wishing it were you instead. Now just close your eyes and picture me with my hair in curlers and be glad you're not here.

Just think, work tomorrow, and can you imagine, I worked all last week—I wasn't out one day—the floor lady came over and congratulated me.

Well, I think I'll do my aunt a favor and do the dishes. Ooops! Just a minute, my aunt just passed by. You know dishes are a little out of my lines, but I'm making an exception today on account of I feel so good.

Laverne and Elaine just dropped in so I'll have to be closing now so write more often. After all, I need a little inspiration. So until I hear from you I remain as ever, yours truly and sincerely,

Yeah! I send my love, too.

Author bio and  links

Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist.  While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance.  Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors.  She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

10% of author proceeds will be donated to the USO and VFW in loving memory of Sal and Loretta.


National stoofvlees-friet day in Belgium

Today, lots of people will cook THE national classic: a beefstew with home-made pommes frites. Ask anyone in Belgium what he or she likes to eat best, and this will be the answer...

If you want to try it, here's how.

What you need (for 4 persons)

For the stew:
1 kilogram of beef (chose a side of meat with fat in it, otherwise your stew won't have taste) which you cut into pieces, 2 big onions, a bottle of brown beer (abbey beer is thought best), 2 soup spoons of syrup (from Liége), spices (thyme, cloves, laurel, pepper and salt), a slice of brown bread, mustard, vinegar and butter.

For the frites:
1 kg of potatoes

Finishing touch:


The stew:
* Peel the onions and cut them in pieces
* Heat a big pot and melt some butter in it. Put the pieces of onion into it and let them bake.
* Take a pan and bake the pieces of meat in it. They should turn gold-brown. Spice the meat with pepper from the mill and a bit of salt.
* Remove your pan from the fire and put the meat into the pot with the onions. Add the beer, along with thyme, cloves and laurel. Also add the syrup.
* Spread mustard on the slice of bread and put this bread into the pot, with the covered side down.
* Allow the stew to cook a rather long time (2 to 3 hours) on a low fire. Stir every now and then and check if you meat is soft enough.
* At the end of the cooking time, add a little bit of vinegar and stir well.
* Add more pepper and salt to your liking.

The pommes frites:
* Peal the potatoes and cut them by hand into frites. They don't have to be too thin: an ideal Belgian frites is 13 mm.
* Don't wash the pommes, because then you remove the starch.
* Heat the oil or fat on 140° Celsius.
* Bake the frites for the first time, but don't let them color.
* Cool down the frites by putting them on kitchen paper.
* Then heat your fat to 180°.
* Now bake the frites until they are colored and 'sing'.
* The baked frites again go in a bown with kitchen paper.

Serve your frites and stew with a bit of mayonaise. Enjoy!