Google+ Followers

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wired Rogue

Come and meet author Toby Neal today. Toby is launching Wired Rogue, a mystery/police procedural available as of November 25th. The author is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which runs November 28th-December 16th.



Toby Neal will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, Please us the following link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2046

Blurb

‘Wired in’ to her computers, MMA-fighting tech agent Sophie Ang has been content in her clean, cool tech lab, where she chases criminals online, continuing a dance in the dark with the enigmatic vigilante known as the Ghost. Tumultuous changes from without and within eject her from her agency cocoon to the front lines, where she finds herself in partnership with a brilliant, overbearing, larger-than-life ex-Special Forces operative, Jake Dunn. They climb walls, dodge bullets, kidnap children and dig up bodies for a case that might cost her life—and has already taken her badge.



Excerpt

Children shouldn’t be treated as slaves. Anger tightened Special Agent Sophie Ang's hands as she adjusted the binoculars a little more to focus in on ten kids of various ages, bent over in a water-filled patch of land planted in the deep green, heart-shaped leaves of the Hawaiian kalo. They wore bathing suits and palm frond hats as they worked in the hot sun, an adult supervising from the shade of a nearby palm tree.


Taro farming was back-breaking work, and it looked like the Society of Light cult was using their shortest members to work with the submerged tubers. Sophie’s partner in the operation, Ken Yamada, shifted restlessly beside her in their camouflage surveillance tent on a rise of ground across the river from the compound. “Ten is more children than we were told about.” he murmured.


“We have to locate the two targets,” Sophie said, for the benefit of their SAC, Waxman, monitoring through their comms. “Can’t identify the children positively yet.” The homemade hats hid the red blond hair the children’s mother had told the agents to look for. Sophie widened her scan, and took in the rest of the cult's property.



Author bio and links

Social worker turned author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. 
Neal is the author of more than twenty novels in the mystery, romance and young adult genres, including the twelve-book USA Today bestselling, award-winning Lei Crime Series. This police procedural mystery series centers on Leilani “Lei” Matsumoto Texeira, a multicultural detective with issues, her dog Keiki, and her love interest, Stevens, as they solve a range of complicated crimes in the Hawaiian Islands. 

The Lei Crime Series has sold over a million books since its debut in December of 2011, and in 2015, Amazon launched the Lei Crime Kindle World, which allows authors to build licensed fan fiction upon Neal’s characters. There are close to fifty fan fiction spinoff works in the World currently. 

Neal is a 2016 Independent Publisher Book (“IPPY”) winner for Best Mystery/Thriller for Rip Tides and in 2015 for Twisted Vine. She’s a Notable Indie 2016 Winner, 2015 National Indie Excellence® awards winner, Best Multicultural Novel winner for Torch Ginger, and many more.

Outside of counseling work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life in Hawaii through beach walking, swimming, gardening, photography and hiking.



Resources:
Website: http://tobyneal.net
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Toby-Neal/e/B006NR5PW2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1%20Lei%20Crime%20Kindle%20World:%20https://kindleworlds.amazon.com/world/LeiCrime
Twitter: @tobywneal
Facebook: Toby Neal Books 
Instagram: Tobyneal0
Google+: Toby Neal
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tobyneal/
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

IBooks 
Kobo

Clever ideas can bring a lot of success

And heaven knows, I wish I'd ever had one!

Sometimes you see something launched - an idea, so simple, so clever - and you think: why haven't I thought of that???

Examples galore. One of my former colleagues invented a football game and won a lot of money by marketing it. Of course, he's a computer geek. I don't have such skills.

A few years ago, there was a show on tv where people could present an idea and the winner's was marketed. The winner was a woman who invented 'speculaaspasta' - a bread spread made of what we call speculaas (and is some sort of gingerbread). Most people put their piece of speculaas into their coffee before eating it, so this woman thought 'why not make a spread out of it'? She won the competition, but soon afterwards a big holding company (Lotus) bought the idea from her and is now marketing it worldwide. I would have asked for a percentage...

A ex-student of mine, Rembert Van Cauwenbergh, has launched a company with a friend. They have created AddMyBerry. The idea is also quite simple: they sell t-shirts and whatever with a print. But you can scan the QR-code of the print with your smartphone. For instance, when you buy a t-shirt from The Jane (2star restaurant of Sergio Herman in Antwerp) you scan the print and then you'll see a film where Sergio is preparing a meal, you can see sphere images from the restaurant, etc. They started out quite small, but now they are expanding. They also have selling points in the US and are now conquering New York.



All of this is quite clever, right?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bounty's Song

Please welcome author Mandy Colton, who's doing a virtual super book blast tour for Bounty's Song , a contemporary romance available now from Cavalcade Press. The Super Book Blast Tour will take place on November 28, 2016 to December 2, 2016.




Mandy will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. So please comment as much as you like, using this link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2028

Blurb

Gage Knight is a Texas bounty hunter and just doing a tough job when he’s sent to Nashville to pick up a grifting high-dollar fugitive. He arrives at the right place at almost the right time, but he makes a big mistake when he leaves.

Once a debutante, Danica Chastain is now a struggling songwriter with a dream of landing a job in the music business. On the day when her hard work seems to be heading in the right direction, a gruff man with a dark presence and wolfish eyes arrives at her door.

Although their immediate chemistry is off the charts, the two clash—for good reason. Danica is not who he thinks she is, and he’s not listening...




Excerpt

That little bitch had pulled her con off so smoothly, Danica knew just like she knew her rent hadn’t been paid that Tara, if that was even her real name, the money, and her stuff was long gone. She would just wait and call the cops after her appointment at the record company tomorrow. Focus on your meeting with Hank, Danica. If that went well, she’d just find her another roommate, take what was left of her clothes, and leave this dump. She would hold her head up and keep moving forward with her mind on her future and dreams.
* * * *
The next morning, Danica spent much of her time stomping around and grumbling. Her routine was screwed. She’d found the coffee pot gone first and then, after taking her shower, found her blow dryer lifted as well. She’d had to painstakingly brush her hair dry. Then there was the underwear dilemma she’d faced next. She had none. It was all gone, and the only thing she could do was put the bra back on from the day before, which was not going to work for the
panties. There had been too much freaking out the night before about bigger issues than to remember to wash them out or even worry about something as minor as going sans the drawers. She’d just have to temporarily go commando and leave early enough to buy herself some undies on the way to her appointment.

She was about ready to leave the apartment when there was a knock on the door. Danica looked out the peephole but didn’t see anyone. Hmm. She shrugged, opened the door to take a step out and look, immediately walking into a wall of man and muscle. Yelping in surprise, she quickly moved her eyes up to his face. Whoa. At first glance, the guy had a dark, daunting presence, almost intimidating as he loomed over her. A closer inspection made another thought cross her mind. What a hunk-o-man! Talk about tall, beefy, and ruggedly handsome. Not exactly swarthy but deeply tanned and a nice amount of past-five-oh-clock shadow framed a nicely chiseled jawline. The whole package made her shiver a little. She could smell the guy, he was so close, and his cologne was a heady alpha male blend of sweat, the non-stinky man-musk kind, and spice. Ooh, and leather. In fear of being zapped by a jolt of supercharged testosterone mixed with potently virile pheromones, she took a step back.

He stood there, intimidating-like, looking down his nose at her, eyeing her, nothing moving except for a pair of odd color eyes. They were mesmerizing. He cleared his throat, which broke her staring spell.

She finally said, “If you’re looking for Tara, she’s gone.” She scanned him again. At least the bitch had a little taste in who she screwed. Couldn’t say the same for the guys.

Suddenly his eyes changed and he looked a bit amused. What a pair of peepers he had on that strikingly handsome and chiseled face. The guy had bright-gray eyes, like a husky dog or a wolf. My goodness, how beautiful they were and framed by lush lashes, those making her a little jealous. Danica was curious if the eye color was real or if he might be wearing contacts. Before she had the chance to ask, he opened his mouth.

“Is that right?”

Wow. The beefcake wasn’t the meathead she was expecting, he could speak. Smooth, sexy voice too. “Yup, bitch is gone. That’s for damn sure.”

He snickered at that. “Mind if I come in?”

“As a matter of fact, I do. I have somewhere I gotta be.”

The guy rudely bumped her aside with his broad chest and walked right past, making her gasp because he didn’t have permission and she was pretty sure that brief contact had created a few sparks underneath her chassis. Sparky, like after a bump in the road and your loose muffler intermittently drags the asphalt before scraping your undercarriage again with a zing. Yeah, like that.

Danica put her hands on her hips and cleared her own throat this time. “Excuse me, but I think I just told you that Tara’s not here and I have someplace to go.”

He walked right through the apartment, opened a bedroom door, and turned to grin at her. Then he walked to the other and opened it. “Mmhmm. Bet you do have some place to go, being that
you just missed your court date. Again. Skipping for a second time on the same bondsman. He warned you last time. Somebody was gonna be comin’ for your lily-white ass.”

“Why are saying ‘you’? Like I did that? I don’t have a clue what you’re even talking about. I haven’t done anything, and for your information, my white ass is clean. I have never needed a bondsman.”

That made the corners of his mouth quirk upward into a smile. “Nice to know. Let’s see some ID, sweetheart.”

She still had her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes at the guy. “What? You think I’m her, don’t you?” Thoroughly insulted by the thought, she continued, “Freaking Jesus H. Believe me, I could never be as bad as that nasty-ass, thieving, nympho skank is.”

Those sexy lips began twitching at that. She couldn’t stop focusing on them. He stuck his hand out, doing a “give it”-type motion with his fingers. “ID, please.”

Aggravated now, she grabbed her bag and snapped, “Fine! Who the hell are you, walking right in and demanding ID? Why are you here?”

“I’m a bond enforcement officer working on behalf of the bondsman in Texas. The law and bond was broken by not showing on the scheduled court date. I’m here to collect Tara Morgan and take her to jail. If you’re not her, then just kindly show me some ID and I’ll go.”




Author bio and links

Mandy Colton is from Louisville, KY, and lives a very quiet life with her husband and teenage son. A fan of romance, fun adventure, drama, humor, and on occasion, sci-fi stories. Her first book, Way to Go, and the continuing series came from her years, own adventures and experiences working in the travel industry.

Although she’s a great fan of the human imagination, she is also of the opinion that there are just no better stories than those that involve a bit of true life.

If you like my books, please review on Amazon or Goodreads. Subscribe for notifications on future new releases!

Links:

www.mandycolton.com

www.cavalcadepress.com
The book is Free on Kindle and Nook During the Tour
Amazon Author Page –  https://www.amazon.com/Mandy-Colton/e/B00X1MMJ2Q/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13894995.Mandy_Colton
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mandycoltonfiction
Twitter - https://twitter.com/mandycoltonfic
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/mandycoltonfict/mandy-colton-fiction/

The first cold of the season

Today we woke up to a minus zero temperature. That's quite unusual for the end of November, when you may expect some 7-8 degrees Celsius. It's still quite cold now and for tonight it's going to freeze even more.

Well, I don't mind. The sky is blue and the sun is out. You can dress against cold. Besides, I never feel cold when it's freezing. I only feel chilled when it's raining and there is a lot of humidity in the air.

I was out this afternoon and really enjoyed my walk. Because of my short hair I was wearing a hat, but I didn't put on gloves. Also don't dress in thick pullovers. No need for that. I've got a warm jacket (bought it years ago in Canada and it's still in prime condition) and didn't feel anything from the cold.

How's the weather where you are living?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

Don't you agree that Beauty and the Beast is one of the most wonderful fairy tales ever told?

When I was a little girl and my grandma read this tale to me, my fantasy went in overtime. And of course, later on we could watch the animated film by Disney, with even later the musical version. I've seen them all.



And now there will be a film with Emma Watson as Belle, coming in 2017. I think the casting for this movie is great.

What drew me from the advance to this tale is the fact that Belle loves to read. I was just the same as a kid - an accident could happen right before my nose, but I wouldn't see it because I was deep into a story. I didn't like to play outside a lot. Sometimes I climbed into a tree and stayed there perched on a branch, reading away until the other kids decided to go home.

In the Beast's castle Belle discovers the library - a dream to everyone who loves books! Oh, I'm already looking forward to seeing this film!

I don't know if anyone still remembers the French version of this fairy tale? La Belle et La Bête - once a black-and-white film. I remember all of us (the other girls in my class) swooned when we watched this film. Not everyone had a TV set at that time, so my best friends were invited to our place to watch.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

For all my American readers: happy Thanksgiving! Don't let the turkey burn and enjoy your meal.



Here in Belgium we don't have Thanksgiving. For us it's just an ordinary day - although... Not quite ordinary! My sister had an accident while cutting carrots (tip of the finger cut off) and now she's incapacitated. Which means I have to do everything! Now slicing, cutting etc. is not my forte - I always get complaints the cubes are too big. But I had to finish cutting away those carrots + onion for the soup, and then bring it to cook. A bit later this afternoon I have to start slicing mushrooms for today's dinner. Gosh, I hate to cook! I can do it, but I really don't like it.

And I'll also have to clean out the pots and pans - grr!

I often wish I had a house full of servants, who would care to my every desire. Meaning, THEY would do the housekeeping and let me concentrate on my writing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Preparing for Chrismas

Coming Saturday it's exactly 4 weeks before Christmas (and my sister's birthday). So time to check what kind of Christmas decoration we're going to use this time.

I don't like a real tree, as it sheds needles - and anyway, we wouldn't be able to pick one up on foot or by bike. The artificial ones are just - artificial. So we like to go for something which is beautiful to the eye. Last year during our trip to Copenhagen (Denmark) we saw nice decorations, but as we only had hand-luggage we couldn't bring it home.

This afternoon we've been in some shops, but all the decorations looked rather trashy. Hopefully we'll be able to find something in the DIY shop tomorrow. We have an antique stable with (very) old figurines, but that's not near enough. We've also filled some glass containers with colored balls. We have reindeer from Alaska, but something is still lacking. A nice wooden construction in which you can attach balls and figurines, that'd be great (that's what we saw in Copenhagen). But up to now we haven't come across one.



This is kind of what I'd like. I found this picture on the net but alas, they don't sell these in Dendermonde!

If we don't find something similar, we have to go to the floral shop, to buy a nice decoration there. You'd only use it once, though. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Online booking

Ever since the internet came into existence, my sister and I have done our bookings online. Up to now we never had a bad experience.

Of course, you need to be careful. Some online offers seem to be good to be true, so it's best you stay far away from them. That is the main reason why I don't put a lot of trust on sites like Booking.com or any other site that offers hotel stays. Too many times I've heard from people who had made a booking through one of these services, then arrived at the chosen hotel to hear there was something wrong with the booking - or once the hotel even didn't exist anymore!

I prefer to book directly with the hotel. When their prices vary from those of the likes of Booking.com, just mention you've seen a better deal. They'll lower their price as well. Also, with hotel chains, loyalty pays. We often stay at Hilton hotels and this way we built up a nice sum of points. With them, you can book a stay for free! We've already had a free 4-day-stay in Amsterdam and more recently we had an entire suite for free.

When you want to book airplane tickets, it's like a game. For overseas destination, it's good to book about 10 months in advance. You'll pay directly for the tickets, but they will be way lower than when you book later on. For instance, we had a look at the airfares for Buenos Aires. At the moment we looked the lowest fare was 2,400 € for two people. That was in 2015. But when we actually booked the tickets earlier this year, we only paid 1,700 € (including annulation insurance). For flights in Europe, you just have to wait until the airline announces a reduction. Sometimes you can fly to destinations inside Europe for just 39 €! Beats Ryan Air. We mostly travel with Brussels Airlines or any other airline that is in the Miles & More program. For 10,000 miles you can travel for free.

Care to share your experience with online booking?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frustration

I'm feeling a bit frustrated because I've been spending more than a week online trying to find a restaurant in Budapest which will be open on Christmas Eve.

We'd planned a trip to Budapest, Hungary but we couldn't imagine everything would be closed for the Christmas period. I didn't think Hungary was a catholic country. Hell, even in Spain and Italy you'd find restaurants open for business on these days - also in our own country.

So we still don't know if we are going to continue with this trip. Most of the businesses, museums etc. will be closed as well. We can cancel the hotel without penalty. We'd only lose the airplane tickets, but these were cheap, so not so important (and you are paid back the taxes - found this out some time ago when we had to cancel another trip).

2016 has been a year in which many things didn't go as planned. The terrorist attacks on Brussels airport, a concert that was cancelled, the fire at the Paris theater Mogador.... Hopefully 2017 will be less eventful!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Home-made apple compote

Those who read my blog on a regular basis will know by now we often use the Thursday afternoon for cooking.

Some time ago we gathered fallen apples near the railroad. There are a couple of apple trees on the hard shoulder of the tracks, and this land is more or less no man's land. Actually, it belongs to the railways, but they don't seem to know it and say it's ours (and that of my neighbors). So we all asume we can collect the apples, right?

We have a whole bunch of them in our cellar (cellars are quite good for keeping food, like fruits, potatoes, onion, ...) and  this afternoon we decided to make a bunch of compote. Once ready, we freeze it in handy portions.



The principle is quite simple: skin the apples, remove the core and cut into pieces - bigger or smaller, according to the need. Then add some water, sugar and cinnamon. Let it stew on a low fire until it's ready.

The finer compote is great as an additon for cakes, desserts etc., while the one with chunks is ok to eat. Some recipes are great with apple compote, like black tripe, or chicken. We mostly eat it with vegetarian hamburgers (grilled and with fried onion added) and grilled potatoes (not baked, just slices of potato put under the grill).

Monday, November 14, 2016

Angel Boy

Hello! Come and meet author Annalisa Russo who's doing a book blast tour for her latest publication. Angel Boy is a historical romance (20th century) available from Wild Rose Press.

Annalisa will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour. Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2026


Blurb

Private Investigator Meg Cavelli wonders why her traitorous family has trotted out the fatted calf for Seth Truitt, the boy who left her flat eight years ago. Now he’s back, sexier than she remembers, and needs her help. How can Meg accept Seth’s no-strings-attached deal in return for bringing a deranged predator to justice, when their steamy attraction to each other might very well get in the way?

Army Air Corps pilot Seth Truitt needs help to erase his dark-stained past, but soon realizes helping Meg Cavelli solve a dogged criminal case in return for salvaging his military career might be more dangerous than flying P-26 fighters for USAAC. But since Seth has no intention of letting Meg go again, he’ll stop at nothing to keep her safe from the twisted, unnatural threat they dubbed “the monster” as kids.

As the mystery unfolds, joining their minds and hearts might be the only way to stay alive.




Excerpt

Seth Truitt stood on the street in front of the only home he remembered. The autumnal drizzle of mid-October wet his thick mop of brown hair and plastered the starched shirt of his uniform against his skin. He turned back, grabbed his leather flight jacket and small duffel bag off the back seat, and paid the Yellow Cab hackie.   

As the cab sped away he let the sight of Bellaluna sink in, soothe. 

Bellaluna, beautiful moon in Italian, the ancestral home of the Cavelli family—people who took him in—raised him really—a place for family, for love, and now for sanctuary, he thought. 

His Army Air Corps-issued boots crunched gravel underfoot on the long walk to the back yard. The overspent blooms of summer stretched proudly upward from terra cotta pots set on the flagstone portico. Faith’s attempt at a green thumb—his sister, Doctor Faith Cavelli now, and only living blood relative. 

Two automobiles were parked out front. One vehicle he hadn’t recognized—a snazzy, brand-new Buick Coupe in hot red. Maybe from Gabriel Cavelli’s auto and motorbike collection. Gabe…one of his titulary uncles. 

The three Cavelli brothers: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, named after the archangels by their overly optimistic mother; Michael, proverbial head of the family, shrewd, astute businessman; Raphael, globe-trotting archaeologist, now curator of the Field Museum; and Gabriel, confrontational, Harley-riding badass, self-made entrepreneur.

He wasn’t related to any of them by blood… but he was by heart, by love.


Author bio and links

Annalisa Russo is a Midwest girl who grew up in an overpopulated first-generation Italian family in the burbs of Chicago, the setting for her historical romance novels based in the 20th century.
Her first series will be completed with the release of Angel Boy, the fourth book of The Cavelli Angel Saga. The series chronicles the lives of Italian immigrants in the 1920’s and 30’s. Along with a passion for reading and writing, Annalisa enjoys gardening, cooking for company, and frequently invents reasons for traveling. The mother of two grown children, she inherited a narcissistic tabby named Buster who really runs the show.



Buy links:
Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Boy-Cavelli-Saga-ebook/dp/B01M16JAG1
Kobo:  https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/angel-boy-4
All Romance Ebooks:   https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-angelboy-2114596-367.html
BookStrand:   https://www.bookstrand.com/Angel-Boy

Sites:
Website: http://www.annalisarusso.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnalisaRussoAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RussoAuthor
Goodreads:  https://goodreads.com/author/show/6453898.Annalisa_Russo

Gray skies and rain

It's real November-weather. The skies are dark grey and laden with cloud, and at the moment some light rain is coming down.

Quite depressing, this kind of weather! Luckily I can keep myself busy - I've got to go through the proof of my latest novel once more, this time to make sure there are no mistakes overlooked. And then once more, I can concentrate on my next novel.

For the rest, I try to keep up with the fallen leaves day by day to keep my yard tidy, I run some errands every now and then and I read. I'm going through Strange Affair by Peter Robinson at the moment. It's one I missed when I was reading through the DCI Banks series previously. Yes, I'm the kind of reader who doesn't read a book once, but many more times. Why buy a book to read it only once?

Also, I'm a bit vexed because I've been trying to find a restaurant in Budapest that's open on Christmas Eve. I did not know Christmas was that important in Hungary! I've contacted like 50 restaurants already (most have email) and none of them is open. There were two which open on that date, but they offer a special Christmas Eve dinner and they're way too expensive for what they offer. Will have to eat something at the airport, I suppose. If we had known before, we wouldn't have chosen this period to go to Budapest.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Day of remembrance

We're staying at the seaside right now, and this morning we attended the celebrations for November 11th.

They do it either in the center of Heist or Knokke. This year it was again Heist. There were speeches, bands playing and several organisations putting flowers at the monument of the fallen soldiers. Mayor Count Leopold Lippens was present, and of course many people who've lost dear ones during the former wars.

Our own grandfather fought in the two world wars, but he lived to tell. He did not share a lot about World War One, but talked freely about the second one. I suppose that one must have been less bad in his way of thinking. He spent about three years underground, having escaped the German POW camp and fled to France. He was there working in a vineyard near Bordeaux, and I guess we have inherited his love for wine from him!

The celebration happened under a clear blue sky. It's rather cold, but I don't mind some freezing. The sun was out and that warms up pretty well. After the speeches, there was a reception for everyone present, with a selection of mulled wine, brandy, chocolate milk and fruit juice. Along with all sorts of cookies, chips, nuts...

Hope to attend in two years' time, when World War One ended exactly 100 years ago!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pea soup

Well, that could mean a lot... In our speech, it can mean the sky is laden with grey clouds and mist, and you don't see a thing. Pea soup, thus. Or it can mean the future is not clear - like today, without doubt, in the United States.

But right now I mean the soup only. While listening to the latest news on the radio - all the reactions and comments on Trump's victory - we've made pea soup. The old-fashioned way, like our grandma did.

This means you let split peas soak for a night in water. This will make your soup better to digest. For the rest, you also need 2-3 leeks, some onions and a few twigs of celery. Start by putting a big pot on the fire and melt some butter (real one is the best). Then add the onion, leek and celery. Let stew for a while and then add the peas. Later on you add about 3 liter of water. Wait until the water boils and then drop some stock cubes (6, and preferably of beef). Once they are dissolved, you let the pot boil for another half hour to 3/4 of an hour. Mix, and your soup is ready.

To make finer, you can also add some bacon and cream.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

America votes

Just a while ago, the East Coast awoke to a new day - in which there has to be voted for either Clinton or Trump. Who'll win this election?

Election poles predict a win for Clinton, but as we know from what happened in Great-Britain (Brexit) a prediction doesn't always give the result we want.

Not being American, I wouldn't know whom to vote for. I was talking to an American guy last summer, and he also didn't know. Not one of the candidates was ok in his mind.

So I just look at what's happening on TV. I wish Hillary would choose something else to wear. Always those costumes à la Mao! And why must she shout that much?

On the other hand, Trump sometimes makes me laugh. And I love to watch his hand makes moves all the time. I'm told creative people do that - my sister says I also do it a lot.

Tomorrow morning we will know which way it has gone. That election system is also quite something. Most Europeans wouldn't understand it. And here in Belgium, not many people care for politics - who would, in a country where vote or not, those in power do what they do best: fill their own pockets and those of the multinationals, and make the poor more poor.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Loving a Lawman

Please welcome author Amy Lillard, who's doing a book blast tour today for her contemporary romance Loving a Lawman, available from Penguin/Signet. For this occasion, Amy is giving away a small gift bag and a $25 gift card (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn commenter via rafflecopter. Please place your comment via this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2017



Blurb

As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it can hurt like hell to fall off a horse. But it can hurt even more to fall in love. . . .

Sheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .

Excerpt

Jessie sat at the end of the building farthest from the door. Her breathing had returned to normal and her head was down as she contemplated only heaven knew what. Her hands were braced her on her knees, and her hat was pulled low over her eyes.

Seth didn’t need to see them. He knew what color they were, had memorized it long ago—storm-cloud gray and just as dangerous, with dark rings around their irises that made them look twice as big as they really were and sooty lashes that should have belonged to a brunette.

“Jessie?” he said softly. It was the voice he used when talking to frightened mares and skittish colts and red-haired angels who had fallen from grace.

She didn’t look up, just raised her arms out in front of her, wrists lax, hands dangling, anger spent. “I’ll go peacefully. Just get it over with, Seth. Handcuff me and take me to jail.”
Handcuff her.

Now, there was an image Seth could’ve lived without.

He swallowed hard.

Despite his brother’s tomcat morals, and the fact that he didn’t deserve . . .

Well, despite everything that Chase didn’t deserve, including the sassy redhead, Jessie was Chase’s girl. Always had been. Always would be.

“I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

She dropped her hands back to her lap and shrugged. But he still couldn’t see her face, couldn’t read what was going on inside that pretty little head of hers.

Uh-hum . . . did he say pretty? He’d meant . . . well, he’d meant something else, that was all.

Author bio and links


Amy loves nothing more than a good book. Except for her family...and maybe homemade tacos...and nail polish. But reading and writing are definitely high on the list.

Born and bred in Mississippi, Amy is a transplanted Southern Belle who now lives in Oklahoma with her deputy husband, their genius son, two spoiled cats, and one very lazy beagle. Oh, and don't forget the stray kitty that has taken up residence on her front porch. ^..^

When she's not creating happy endings, she's chauffeuring her teen prodigy to guitar lessons and practice for whatever sport he’s into this week. She has a variety of hobbies, but her favorite is whatever gets her out of housework.

Amy is an award winning author with more than thirty novels and novellas in print. She is a member of RWA and ACFW and loves to hear from readers. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. For links to the various sites, check her website:
www.amywritesromance.com

https://www.facebook.com/AmyLillard918/

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Falling leaves

Just came home from a stay at the coast, to find our yard covered in fallen leaves. We spent half the afternoon clearing them away. While we were picking up some, other kept coming down.



This is why I once wrote a short story about falling leaves - in my collection for Halloween: Face in the Mirror and Other Stories. It's not a nice story, but rather malicious.

What vexes me most, is the fact that none of these trees which shed leaves is on our property! They all are trees planted by neighors, but of course the bulk of the leaves comes down in our yard. Get the feeling???

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Eye of the Pharaoh

Please welcome author Nancy Fraser, who's doing a virtual book tour for her paranormal/time travel novel available from Soul Mate Publishing.

For this occasion, Nancy is giving away a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter. So don't hesitate to leave yours, and please follow the tour to stand a better chance of winning! Please use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f1951



I asked Nancy what she finds so interesting in Egyptian history. Here's what she answered:

My interest in ancient Egypt and the Egyptian culture was first piqued in an elective course I took in college many, many years ago. I found the everyday life of both the nobility and the average citizen fascinating.

Then, in 2004, I was in Chicago for a writer’s conference. Having arrived a day early, I decided to take a trip to the Field Museum. Inside Ancient Egypt was, and still is, one of their premier displays. The avid interest that had laid dormant for a number of years was revived in a big way. I spent hours inside the exhibit, and far more money than I’d intended in the gift shop. However, I came away with some wonderful research books and, best of all, the renewed desire to set a romance among the ancient pyramids.

One of the things I found most intriguing was the way women, even those of a lower class, had more rights than women in the U.S. up until the twentieth century.

In ancient Egypt, although women were expected to obey their fathers and husbands, they were equal to men in many ways. They had the legal right to participate in business deals, own land, and were expected to represent themselves in court cases. Women even faced the same penalties as men. Sometimes wives and mothers of pharaohs were the "real" ruling power in government, though they ruled unknowingly to common people. Queen Hatshepsut was the only woman who ruled out right by declaring herself pharaoh. And, because of Hatshepsut’s daring, I purposely included her persona as one of the supporting characters in Eye of the Pharaoh.

Marriage in Egyptian times was another area of interest for me. Again, they were way ahead of modern times. Peasant girls usually married around the age 12, the boys were a few years older than the girls. Girls of more affluent families married a few years older. The marriages were arranged by parents of the children although some young people chose their own spouse. While the ordinary man normally had one wife, the kings always had several. Before the marriage ceremony, an agreement was signed by the couple. The pre-nuptial agreement stated that the wife was to receive an allowance from her husband. The contract also stated that any material good the wife brought into the marriage was hers to keep if the marriage ended for any reason. Both could own land separate from each other but the wife usually let her husband administer her land along with his.

I’m currently working on an outline for a second Egyptian-themed romance, this one set in ancient times, rather than utilizing time travel to get my characters among the Pharaohs. I anticipate many months more of research and I’m fine with that.

I don’t have all the details worked out as yet, but I do expect it will be as steamy a romance as the hot, Egyptian sun! 



More info about the novel:

Blurb

Publicist Teri Hunter has her hands full promoting Professor Joshua Cain and his new non-fiction book, The Pharaoh’s Mummy. She’s not even sure it’s possible to turn this absent-minded, modern-day, Indiana Jones into a best-selling author. Dr. Cain’s PhDs in archeology and art history have prepared him for almost anything on the lecture circuit and among ancient ruins. He’s just not sure about a book tour...or the sexy publicist sent to monitor his every professional move. When an odd request falls in their laps while in New Orleans, Josh and Teri find themselves transported to 1920’s Egypt where they must resolve an ancient curse in order to be sent home. Will the dangers facing them hinder their success and threaten their very lives? Or will help from an other-worldly guardian keep them on-track and safe?


Excerpt

Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.


Teri Hunter mouthed the motivational phrase she’d chosen for her personal mantra as she stepped across the threshold into the dark and musty storeroom.


A dim light shone from a glass-enclosed workroom in the far corner. Taking a tentative step forward, she faltered when the floorboards creaked beneath her feet. Something fast and furry brushed against her ankle. A shiver ran down her back, yet she fought the urge to retreat.


Do one thing every day that scares you.


This was obviously today’s obstacle. Were it not for her professional commitments and intricately organized schedule, she’d have no doubt bolted for the door and returned to the safety and illumination of the main building.


‘Sorry, but the storage area doesn’t have overhead lighting. Preservation of the antiquities. You understand.’ The dean’s words echoed in her head. What little outside light there was had become nearly non-existent due to an impending thunderstorm.


Drawing a deep breath, she took a second step and then a third, winding her way past a half-dozen crates, some open, some not. To her left she heard a rustling of paper; to her right the distinct sound of footsteps.


Her apprehension grew, the hair on her forearms stood at attention. She’d barely made it halfway across the room before bumping into something large and solid. Reaching out, she laid her hand against the oversized object. Slowly, she raised her head and came face to face with the painted mask of an Egyptian noble. The chipped finish gave the death mask a deranged look.


“You come here often, big boy?” A nervous giggle followed her softly-worded, albeit silly, question and she pressed her fingertips to her lips to stifle an outright laugh before lowering her hand to her side.


Go big! Home is boring.


Silently she cursed her habit of dredging up poster-worthy quotes to mask her fears.



Author bio and links

Like most authors, Nancy Fraser began writing at an early age, usually on the walls and with crayons or, heaven forbid, permanent markers. Her love of writing often made her the English teacher’s pet, which, of course, resulted in a whole lot of teasing. Still, it was worth it.
Published in multiple genres, Nancy currently writes for four publishers. She has published twenty-two books in both full-length and novella format. Nancy will release her 25th book in early 2017. She is currently working on a Valentine’s Day novella, her next Rock and Roll novella, and a story about a racy Scot titled “Kilty Pleasures”.
When not writing (which is almost never), Nancy dotes on her five wonderful grandchildren and looks forward to traveling and reading when time permits. Nancy lives in Atlantic Canada where she enjoys the relaxed pace and colorful people.
Media:
Website: www.nancyfraser.ca  Blog: http://nancyfraser.ca/wordpress/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nfraserauthor@nfraserauthor
Facebook: http://facebook.com/nancyfraserauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7206382.Nancy_Fraser

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

All Saints

Today, on All Saints' Day, lots of people will go the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of their beloved.

There are many way to grieve, though. It's not my way to visit a cemetery (other than visiting places of history, like the famous Père Lachaise in Paris) and talking to a headstone.


I remember those I lost by dreaming about them. Not one week passes by when I don't have a dream in which my father, my mother or my grandparents occur. Last night I dreamed about my dad.

My sister and I also talk a lot about those who are not there anymore. Not in a morbide way, but just thinking back of happy moments.

My grandfather has a honorary grave for those who fought in the World Wars One and Two. Also my grandmother and father are busied in the same cemetery. But our mother was cremated and we have buried her ashes in the back of our garden, next to her budgy and her beloved cat Minou. We've put little markers there. I believe mum would have loved to be next to Pietje and Minou, because she always said she'd love that. And now it is possible.

How do you remember your dead?