Monday, January 30, 2017

Triple Love Score

Good morning! Please welcome author Brandi Megan Granett today. Brandi is having a virtual book blast tour for Triple Love Score, a contemporary romance available now from Wyatt MacKenzie Publishing.

Brandi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:

Important: the book will ba only $0.99 during the tour!


Miranda Shane lives a quiet life among books and letters as a professor in a small upstate town. When the playing-by-the-rules poet throws out convention and begins to use a Scrabble board instead of paper to write, she sets off a chain of events that rattles her carefully planned world.

Her awakening propels her to take risks and seize chances she previously let slip by, including a game-changing offer from the man she let slip away. But when the revelation of an affair with a graduate student threatens the new life Miranda created, she is forced to decide between love or poetry.


“You sure you don’t want to take a cab?” Scott asked her.

“I’m sure. Then we wouldn’t see the diamonds,” Lynn said.

“Tiffany’s?” Miranda asked. “You’re a little young for that aren’t you? Though you are Bunny’s granddaughter.”

“Not like Grandma Bunny’s diamonds! The diamonds on the sidewalk. Look!”

Sure enough, the concrete in front of them sparkled. Four or five runs of sidewalk shimmered with mica flecks, then it went to plain for a block or two, then more that sparkled.

“I want to know what makes them different,” Miranda said to Scott, pointing at the abrupt change from sparkle to non-sparkle on the sidewalk in front of them. 

“But knowing the difference would ruin it,” Scott said.

“You’d rather think it was magic?”

“I like the idea of magic. Don’t you?” he asked.

“I don’t take much stock in that,” Miranda said.

“Daddy, look!” Lynn said.

And there in front of them was a huge elephant balloon with a circus ball balancing on his trunk. The ball wasn’t all the way inflated yet; it wobbled a little and the sides of the elephant shuddered some as the helium pumped in. But an elephant as tall as a house at Central Park was a sight to behold no matter the size or amount of helium left to go.  The crowd around them seemed to holding their breath in anticipation as the ball slowly rose. 

“See,” Miranda said, “to people watching on television that's magic. But it’s not magic. It’s a year of planning and then people working all night on the day before a family holiday to pull it off.”

“But it’s magic to her,” Scott said. 

Lynn strained at the barricade, craning her neck to see down the street and the rest of the balloons staged there.

“Sure, it’s magic to her. She’s a kid. Kids have to believe in magic. When you really grow up, it’s different.”

“I guess I’m not really grown up then,” Scott said. “And maybe I don’t want to be.”

Author bio and links

Brandi Megan Granett is an author, online English professor, and private writing mentor. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, a Masters in Adult Education with an emphasis on Distance Education from Penn State University, and a BA from the University of Florida.

Granett is the author of My Intended (William Morrow, 2000). Her short fiction has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Folio, Pleiades and other literary magazines, and is collected in the volume Cars and Other Things That Get Around. 

In addition, she writes an author interview series for the Huffington Post, and is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers, a community of writing professionals committed to growing relationships, promoting the work of its members, and connecting authors with each other and with readers.

When Granett is not writing or teaching or mothering, she is honing her archery skills. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Author Social Media Links
Facebook:   Brandi Megan Granett, Author
Twitter:   @brandigranett
Instagram: @mrsgranett
Goodreads:  Brandi Megan Granett
Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Finally succumbed

For some time, I didn't see the necessity of getting a smartphone. I rarely call while under way (only if I run the chance of being late somewhere, or when there's an emergency). So I kept on to my (very) simple mobile - one that allowed me to phone and to send a text message.

But now, with the sales in the stores getting into their last days (up to -70% on the normal price) it was the time to get me a smartphone. I could get one for only 49€! It's a Samsung, and that made it already somewhat easier to use, while I also have a Samsung tablet.

Nowadays, you are practically forced to have a smartphone. You can pay your errands with an app, you get your boarding passes for the airlines or international trains, you can find out where you are at a glance, ...

My sister is getting one when the next period of sales comes, in July. Guess it's time we got along with the progress!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Busy Friday

It's been quite a busy day up to now! After breakfast, and saying 'bye' to Chris who's off to work, I did some work (proofreading) on a novel I've been sent. Then it was time for lunch (a bowl of home-made pea soup with bacon).

After lunch I began my weekly cleaning of the living room and kitchen. Because there are only the two of us, our home doesn't get dirty quickly. Nevertheless, I keep to cleaning at least once a week (not just dusting, but wiping floors and all). I was practically ready with this chore, when Dirk came calling. He's our electrician. He needed to replace a special lamp that has broken down just before Christmas. The new lamp had to come from Germany, and with the festive season it all took somewhat longer than usual.

When showing Dirk out, another guy came calling - Georges, the son of our former neighbors right across the street. He does garage sales for his hobby. I'd promised him a stack of old book last time I saw him, and now he was passing by and asked if he could take them along. I had to run up and down the stairs to the attic, where most of these books are kept.

So now I'm finally enjoying a cup of coffee and hope not to be disturbed anymore!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dreams of 1001 nights

Those who regularly read my blog will know by now we're fond of traveling. When we were just kids it was mainly Europe. In our twenties we decided to head somewhat further and then made trips to Kenya, Thailand, Peru & Bolivia, while in the meantime going skiing in the Rockies (US and Canada). In more recent years we began to explore our neigboring countries, finally discovering France and Italy. By now we have seen most of Europe, including Russia and Turkey.

You should also know we like to plan a year ahead... So while we have most of this year reserved already (coming up: trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina - Krakow, Poland - Florence, Italy) we are looking around at where to go next year!

First we thought of going to Israel, but there's trouble brewing there and it's not the best place for the moment. Then we thought of Canada. We have been there a couple of times already, but there are always places you haven't seen. And then we began to look at Oman. This Gulf state is relatively safe and it's said the Omani's are kind people. You begin to look at the different websites.... and dream away. Oh, those sights!

I wish I had heaps of money (unfortunately, I haven't) so I could book a trip with HudHud Travels. They do exclusive private tours completely to your wish (but it would cost 1600  € per night at the least). Well, perhaps we'll win the lottery and can book that trip after all?

So we looked at more affordable options. We've found some, but need to find out more. The following weekends will be spend at planning the entire trip, that's for sure.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just love a good thriller

I had to take the train to Brussels this morning (had to go and see someone at the pension service) so I took my Kindle along and read some during the journey.

There're about 500 books on my Kindle already. I stopped reading printed books once they invented the e-readers. It's so much easier (also on the eyes) and you don't have to carry along a heap of (heavy) books when you're travelling.

The greatest number of books on my Kindle are thrillers. I just love a book that can set me on the edge of my chair! And I must say I've read some good one lately. Often I receive recommendations by Amazon and lots of times you can buy books for just 1 dollar. That's an offer I can't resist, so I end up with lots of books on my TBR pile (well, figuratively speaking). When I finish my current novel, I'm going to read Simon Wood's latest, Deceptive Practices. And then it's Cold Earth by Anne Cleeves, The Watson Girl by Leslie Wolfe, Nick of Time by John Gilstrap ...

I really liked Wood's previous book, The One That Got Away, and also the Erika Forster novels by Robert Bryndza, just like The Body Reader by Anne Frasier and the McMann trilogy of T.R. Ragan.

Other lovers of thrillers???

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First weekend at home for a long time

We're enjoying a weekend home right now. Can you imagine, we haven't been here for 5 weekends? First we were in Budapest, then we were at the coast, next in London and last weekend was spent in Antwerp. Pretty busy, so a relaxing time at home is welcome.

Well, the term 'relaxing' is broad one. Yes, we could sleep somewhat longer and we have time to watch some tv programs. But for the rest... cooking (dinners for Saturday and Sunday, while the last one is a stew which will serve at least two or three double portions + making a big pot of soup), writing a complaint (something to do with my sister's career) in the hope it will get noticed, planning for next year's holidays. Just as always, different places and regions are looked at, finding out which or what is most interesting. We're looking at Canada (Calgary & Toronto), Israel and Oman.

Also, we're both recovering from a bad cold. Chris still sneezes and coughs a lot, I'm somewhat better off. I only had a running nose. Lots of  people are ill here in Belgium. That's because of the mild weather until late December and then the snow and cold. Skiing is possible in the Ardennes. They have plenty of snow. Here in Dendermonde it hasn't snowed (luckily) - I hate clearing the pavement of snow. It's always I who has to do it, as my sister has to go to work. And afterwards the yard...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Reward programs

If you like to travel, it's useful to sign in for reward programs. You can do it for airplane tickets, hotels, trains, ....

Up to a couple of years, we didn't do this. But now we are convinced it's a great thing. More than once now, I've been able to book Eurostar tickets with a reduction, or have one (even more) nights free in a hotel we like to stay at.

Sometimes, it allows you to travel practically free of charge. For instance, you can book a flight with miles you've saved up, and then have your hotel room with points... And then when this hotel is a Hilton and you pick an executive room, you only have to pay for lunch! (You get breakfast, snacks and happy hour for free.)

Also some bigger shops have such programs. Delhaize and Carrefour give points with every purchase you make. Once you have 500 points, you get a check for 5€ which you can exchange in the shop for special lines of presents, or it goes from the total you pay.

Just a few minutes ago, I've booked such a almost free stay in London later this year. Just like the previous year, ENO brings a muscial revival (last year it was Sunset Boulevard with Glen Close). They're bringing  Caroussel with Katherine Jenkins and Alfie Boe. We were able to get tickets and now booked train and hotel.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Going to the recycling park

Here in Flanders, each town has a recycling park (or more than one). In Dendermonde, we have two of them.

We finally found someone who wanted to drive us to the reclying park. We don't have a car anymore, but big things we can't bring away on our bike. So we had to ask a friend for a ride and now it finally worked out for all of us.

The last few days, we've been inspecting each room in the house and putting aside those items we didn't need anymore - old ski's and boots, pots still full of paint we don't use any longer, wallpaper of some ages ago, old furniture,...

Luckily Erwin has a pickup truck, so we could put all the stuff in it. Cost us 6€ to drop everything in the right container.

But the house is empty of junk now - the attic room looks again like a ballroom (before that it was cluttered with all kind of stuff). Will save time too when we move to the coast, in a few years' time.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Blue Monday? No, Happy Monday!

Listening to music can really bring you into a good mood. Especially when they're playing your favorite song.

That's why the radio makers of Radio Two (the most popular station in Belgium) decided to play only those records that were requested by their listeners, to make a happy day out of this Blue Monday (festivities are all over, our wallet's empty).

A fine conclusion to a great weekend, even despite the nasty winter weather (it began to snow and grew quite cold over the weekend). As mentioned, we spent this weekend in Antwerp. We went to see Jesus Christ Superstar, which was a really great show. Ted Neeley - despite his advanced age (72) - still had it in him and made a good Jesus. Also those actors who did Judah and Mary Magdalen were great singers.

And of course, because of the sales, we went shopping on Saturday morning (tried to restrain myself but ended up buying, of course) and made a walk through hail and ice-rain in the streets of Antwerp, discovering places we've never been before.

The evening ended with a visit to a restaurant not far from our hotel - De Peerdestal - where we ate very well.

The coming weeks will be a bit calmer. No more trips in the near future - but counting off to our trip to Argentina in April.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Discovering your own country

Don't you agree that most people tend to explore places outside their own country?

While I live in Belgium, there are many places/towns/regions I haven't yet visited. I've been to most European countries, North and South America, Asia and Africa but for instance haven't seen the Gallo-Roman museum in Tongeren.

That's why we are going to do some exploring when in Antwerp the coming weekend. Our grandma hailed from this city (where inhabitant think they're a bit better than most other Flemings, and where they just call it 'the town') but when marrying our granddad, she moved around quite a bit.

Of course, we've done school trips to Antwerp. But that was always on the quick, and frankly I don't remember a lot of it anymore. You were way to busy watching the students than actually seeing what you visited.

There is the house of Pieter Paul Rubens, for instance. Never been there. And the MAS (museum of modern art) - just the same. The only places in Antwerp I know well are a restaurant (Horta) and the city theater and opera house.

A visit to the theater is mainly the reason we're going to Antwerp. The performances (of Jesus Christ Superstar, with Ted Neeley) are only in the evening, and when you live in Dendermonde there is no way you can get back home that evening. Our trains don't run late at night. So we had to book a hotel room and figured we could make a weekend out of it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

If I'd believe...

... everything that was sent to me by mail, I'd be a billionaire already! Or or world-famous author with world-wide sales.

Really, the junk you get by mail! Every day tens of mails for penis enlargement (now I wonder, don't they know I'm female?), to give up your passwords to your bank account (there's a problem with your online account....), friendship requests (by men who prey on older women).

But the best are those where you're promised thousands, millions of dollars or euro's. Sometimes it's about an inheritance (of that distant uncle who left you his hidden capital), or better still, a request to transfer crime money and you'll get a percentage. And then those so-called lotteries by Google or Microsoft, where you are the only winner of a couple of millions.

Roughly calculating, I'd be a billionairess when I'd believe all of this. Can't imagine there are people who fall for such silliness! But there must be, otherwise the criminal minds wouldn't be sending around these mails.

When I receive such a mail, it goes right into the junk. I don't even open it. And what about you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cold is coming our way

The east of Europe is already 'blessed' by extreme cold. That's not surprising in countries such as Russia or Poland, but even in Greece and Italy it's super cold and are there lots of snow!

And it looks like this cold weather will also come our way. Luckily enough, they don't predict too much snow for Flanders (I must admit I hate it when it falls here, because with all the salt they put on the roads it soon becomes a mash that ruins your shoes). But in Wallony they'll get even more snow and there will be skiing and sledriding during the weekend.

It should freeze as of next week. That I like! Against freeze you can dress: a warm pullover, socks, warm coat and a hat. And then you can bear any cold. I've experienced up to -35° Celsius, years back in either the US or Canada during winter. I never felt frozen, even ate an icecream cone once when it was that cold.

Freeze would be a good thing for all those people who now suffer from a bad cold. My sister is one of the victims. You should see her face - looks like she's been boxing. And they should put a tap on that nose, it just keeps running. Poor girl, she has to work in this condition. And I who am at home, I don't even sneeze.

Guess cold agrees with me. And with you?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Flash Crash

Please welcome author Denison Hatch today. Denison is doing a promo tour to launch his thriller Flash Crash. For this occasion, he is giving away a copy of Flash Crash to a randomly drawn winner during the tour. Please us the following link to place your comment:


When a rogue quantitative programmer intentionally crashes the gold index, it seems that Wall Street's worst nightmare has come true. In truth, the crisis has just begun. Across town, an armored truck filled with $120M of gold bullion is hijacked by an ingeniously crafted electromagnetic crane and seemingly driven into thin air. Programmer David Belov discovers that his virtual "Flash Crash" was simply a required stepping stone towards the largest physical gold robbery in history, and that's he's been framed for the resulting chaos, the lives of his beloved wife and son on the balance... With brooding, hardboiled detective Jake Rivett and the NYPD's finest operators from the Major Crimes Division actively seeking to locate and arrest David, and other, darker elements nipping at his heels, David is forced to confront his own past in order to have a future.


At the time, David was running because he couldn’t stop himself from waking up before dawn. Every single morning, by five o’clock sharp, his entire body was strung out with the anxiety. Life was an immensely stressful puzzle. He’d spent a few years slowly pulling his way up by the bootstraps. While living in a tiny walkup apartment with his girlfriend Marina, he studied for his undergraduate math degree, followed by his masters in computer science at Stony Brook in Long Island. During that period, David found it hard to stop thinking about what would happen if he failed. The weight of said pressure would seize him each and every morning. It would fling him from his bed, into his shoes, and out the door. The run provided more comfort than sleep ever could have. He craved the consistency as he curved right along the park and was greeted by the looming skyscrapers of Gotham. The buildings were the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen, and he could even make out the open oval at the top of Montgomery Noyes’ headquarters at the bottom of Wall Street. When the sun finally ascended midway through his run, David wouldn’t actually watch the sunrise itself. He would watch the sun’s reflection off the buildings in the city that he aspired to matter in, and he wouldn’t look away until his route forced him back home.

Author bio and links

 Denison is a screenwriter and novelist. He has a number of feature and television projects in development, including his original screenplay, Vanish Man, which is set up at Lionsgate. A graduate of Cornell University, he lives with his wife and a big dog in a little house in Hollywood. He is presently working on the third Jake Rivett thriller.

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Purchase Flash Crash on Amazon:

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shopping can be exhausting!

We have spent a couple of days in London and this is the first time I feel my legs! I love to go shopping, but today I'm nackered.

London is a town where you never feel  bored. Every time we're here (and we've been doing tbis since 1972) we discover new places and new things to see. This is such a great town - I could really live here if I had enouvh money.

We saw two great shows: 'School of Rock' and 'Aladin' and we've done a lot of walking (I love the South Bank)  but shopping is not really for me. I like to buy new things, but going in and out of shops is not for me anymore!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hectic days

This holiday is quite a busy one (that's why they name it 'holiday'!). First, we've been to Budapest for a couple of days - a very nice trip, to a city which I can certainly recommend as a must-see. Because the city is divided in two by the river Danube, it has a certain charm. I liked it better than Vienna, which is also along this river.

On returning home, we spent one night there and headed towards the coast the next day. That was because we like to celebrate New Year's Eve there, in our trusted restaurant where we know almost everyone. And now we've come home once more, to spend another night before heading to London.

I always like to spend some time in the capital of Great-Britain. There is so much to see and do, there are great shopping venues (especially now, with the winter sales going). And of course there are the many shows and theater plays! We're going to see 'School of Rock' and 'Alladin' this time.

By now, we're quite experienced in packing (and unpacking) a suitcase. We now perfectly well what to take along to be dressed well, but at the same time we never take too much. As long as you can carry your suitcase, you're fit to travel, I think! Even on longer trips, we travel relatively light. Most hotels have laundry service, so no need to take too many clothes with you.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cooking is a serious business

In our home, we take cooking seriously. Like this afternoon, we talked about a hour on what to cook the coming days.

We like to have variety in what we eat: sometimes meat, sometimes fish, sometimes poultry, sometimes veggie. And also a variety of potatoes (cooked, mashed or in the form of frites), brown rice or wholemeal pasta's or quinoa and sorts.

A lot also depends on how much time is needed to prepare the meal you want. There are meals which are ready in less than half an hour, others take longer. So when you're pressed for time, you don't go preparing something where you have to cut up vegetables for more than an hour, or make a marinade. You take something simple (like boiled potatoes with a vegetable and meat you bake or grill - or an easy pasta dish).

With us, dining is a family business. We've always had the tradition of eating all together, around the big table in the old days. Grandparents, parents and us kids. Eating was fun (still is). Sitting around a table with something good on your plate, sharing thoughts and plans, laughing and sometimes weeping, that's how it's always been for us. Even now I don't work anymore, I still wake up at the same time my sister does, so we can have breakfast together. And of course we have dinner together.

When we were young, our grandmother liked to bake. So every Wednesday afternoon (no school), a lot of kids gathered in our house to have some of the cake or pancakes she made! Guests were always welcome, as there was enough food to feed an army. As a result, buying food is still a big spending post in our weekly budget. As grandma used to say: 'As long as you have food in your stomach, sleep in a warm bed and keep dry, you're rich!'.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let's hope this is a better year than 2016 in which peace gets a chance.

All you can wish for, but especially a good health. Those who are advancing in years know how important this is.