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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Second Time Around

Hi there! This time, romance author Ella Quin is my guest. Ella is doing a book blast tour for her new publication, The Second Time Around (historical romance by Kensington Publishing).

Ella will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment(s):
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2189


Blurb

Can a beautiful Worthington widow find love again? Depends on who’s asking . . .

Before he died, Patience was the Earl of Worthington’s second wife. So why shouldn’t Patience be allowed a second chance at marriage, too? Of course, finding a new husband was not something the mother of four had ever planned on. But a surprise encounter with her first love has suddenly made the impossible seem possible all over again . . .

It seems like a lifetime ago that Richard, Viscount Wolverton, was halfway around the world, looking for adventure . . . while Patience, at her coming-out, was left with no choice but to take old Worthington’s hand. Richard never forgot the woman whose heart he yearned for—and now that he’s back, he’s not going to let her slip away again . . .

Excerpt

Pulteney Hotel, London, 1815

“And this is Viscount Wolverton.” Patience Worthington watched as Almeria, Lady Bellamny, smiled as she introduced the gentleman to the Duchess of Bristol. Almeria turned her black eyes on Patience. The smile didn’t fade at all as she said, “Wolverton, I believe you have already met the Dowager Countess of Worthington.”

What in God’s name is he doing here? Patience inclined her head and held out her hand. “Indeed. The years have treated you well, my lord.”

Bowing, he took her fingers in his. “As they have done to you, my lady.”

His lips hovered over her hand as she prayed he would do nothing more than kiss the air above them, but no. The devil pressed his warm, firm lips to her knuckles; even through her gloves she could feel his touch and fought the urge to suck in a breath. “Thank you, my lord.”

One would think after all these years and his betrayal she would be immune to him. And one would be wrong. She held her breath, counting—One, two, three, four, five. Thank God—until he finally straightened and returned her hand to her. Thank God! Patience let out the breath, yet she could not control the pounding in her breast. It took all the control she had not to make an excuse and leave the room. Yet, she could not do that to Dotty Stern, soon to be the Marchioness of Merton.

“He has been a friend for a very long time,” Almeria continued, as if she had no idea of the havoc she had created by inviting Wolverton. “Though he hardly ever comes to Town.”

“Well, my dear,” Lord Bellamny said, “you couldn’t be here so often if it wasn’t for the help he gives me. Someone must assist me in my experiments.”

“Very true, my dear.”

Patience made the mistake of glancing up at the same moment Richard Wolverton stared down at her. His amber eyes smoldered as they had the last time she had seen him, only days before her marriage to the old Earl of Worthington.

Author bio and links

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

 She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!



Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor
Twitter www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor
Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Ella-Quinn/e/B00CAE0FSQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0
Buy Link
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Time-Around-Worthingtons-ebook/dp/B01KRUMV2W/ref=sr_1_1

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Carnival tide

While I'm writing this, carnival is all around. We hear the music of the groups (and hope the wind will blow it away because they tend to go well after midnight).

Needless to say I'm not a carnival person. I think you must be mad to dress up in funny costumes and drink yourself half blind.

Here in Heist carnival is big. It originated by the local fishermen who wanted to feast once a year, forgetting about the dangers of the sea. But also in other towns in Belgium they celebrate wildly. In Aalst, in Binges, in Ostend.

What I would like to do once, though, is to be in Venice during carnival time. I like that city very much and carnival is all about the most exquisite costumes, like we saw in a shop last summer. Or in Rio de Janeiro, where carnival is something special as well.



And what about you? Are you someone who likes to party?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Flight to sun & snow

Officially, the so-called 'Crocus Holiday' only begins tomorrow. But already today, ten of thousands of people are leaving for better places. Our national airport expects around 50,000 passengers today, and also in local airports lots of flights take off direction sun or snow.

Skiing is gaining popularity, but skiers in the Alps might not be so lucky as to have loads of snow. It's been way too mild for the snow to keep and you need to go up higher than 2000 meters to find good snow.

Just as many people are going to countries where sun can be found: the south of Spain, Tunisia, Morokko, the Caribbean.

I must confess, were it not that my sister still has to work, I'd be truly considering renting a flat somewhere in a warm village and spend the winter month there. I suffer a lot from the humidity which rain carries. I can barely use my fingers. When I'm in a place where the air is dry and the sun shines, the pain goes away.

Alas, we're still stuck in this rainy town for more than 6 years. My sisters was not among those fortunate enough to still take their pension at 60. And especially these last years, she has to work harder than before. Her tasks keep go up year by year. I'm afraid she's going to have a breakdown when this continues - and the worst thing is that I can't help. My advice would be to quit in a year or so. Her pension wouldn't be that much lower. But she doesn't want to do that. Guess she inherited her stubborness from our granddad. She still thinks she needs as much as now when she doesn't work anymore. I keep telling her that's not true, especially when we sell this big house and go living in the coastal flat.

Well, can't be changed. So we'll just go to the coast next week - where it will be just as rainy as here!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Most memorable vacation?

Since Christine and I have widely traveled, we often get the question: "What was your most memorable vacation ever?".

Well, that's a hard question. There is only one vacation I didn't like so much in the many we had: a trip to Austria (long, long ago) when the only thing served in the hotel was colored rice: blue, pink, yellow,... YUK!

All the other vacations were just lovely. But of course, some more than others. When considering the most memorable, then I have to split up in various opinions.

The most spectacular view ever was being high up in the Andes mountains and looking down on the ruins of Machu Picchu. We were there in 1982, before lots of tourists began to tramp down the place. We can really say we saw the sun go down in Cuzco.



The most spectacular healthwise was during a trip to Kenya, when I drank alkali-poisoned water (without knowing, of course) and suffered a severe blood poisoning. So bad the camp director said she was going to call the Flying Doctors and have me transported to Nairobi. And guess what? The  next day I was completely recovered and could eat a horse!

Very adventurous was an episode in Bangkok, Thailand, when we were doing a tour with a touk-touk (sort of threewheeler with chauffeur) and the guy drove off the given path and gave us a tour of the unknown. We arrived safely where we needed to be...

The most threatening was during that same vacation, when we also visited Bolivia and arrived in La Paz right in the middle of a revolution and got warned not to leave the hotel, because there might be shooting.

The best feel-good moment was our trip to Venice last summer. Oh boy! We had a great room in the Hilton Molino Stucky (looked out over the canal) and entry to the executive lounge (got it during the winter sale the year before, with a big discount). The sun was shining brightly and we quite enjoyed the Venetian way of life. We could have dinner outside, along one of the canals. And we even met Michael Bolton during on our last-but-one day of our stay. He went along on a trip to the islands of Murano and Burano and kept in our neighborhood. We had a lovely conversation, and boy, I must say, he still looks good for his age!

The cutest pic taken during a vacation is the following:



Don't you agree this baby looks absolutely cute?




Monday, February 20, 2017

Wenna/Schooling the Viscount

Today I have two ladies present, who want to present their historical romances. Meet Virginia Taylor and Maggie Robinson.

The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. For that purpose, please use the following link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2161



Wenna

Blurb

The lady’s maid meets her match…

Wenna Chenoweth’s future is secure, until dashing Devon Courtney’s illicit flirtation gets her dismissed from her job as a lady’s maid. With nowhere to turn, Wenna is forced to accept Devon’s bold proposal: To be his bride. To enter society on the handsome aristocrat’s arm. To give him the heir he requires. It’s a foolproof plan. Except Wenna finds herself falling hard for a man who can never love her for who she is….

Wenna is passionate, mysterious, and ill-suited to the idle life of a society wife. She’s also exactly the kind of woman who could endanger Devon’s hopes to build his own future far from his family’s influence. For the spirited beauty has embarked on an unthinkable plan of her own—one that could lead him to surrender his resolve, and sacrifice everything he believes he holds dear….

Yet amid the wondrous landscape of colonial South Australia, anything is possible. Perhaps even love between two people the boundaries of society would keep apart….



Excerpt

“Does the color suit me?”

“It looks better on Mrs. Brook,” she said, her chin raised. “With respect.” Evading his gaze, she scooped one hand around the bodice of the at his chest height and the other under the fullness of the skirts. The top of the gown dropped onto her arm, but the bottom didn’t move. She tugged.

He might have not noticed the lace had caught beneath the placket of his fly buttons had she not given an almighty jerk, which almost pulled him forward. Strangely, his voice came out husky. “You’re gripping my fly. I don’t mind, of course, but if you leave your fingers there, I’m liable to think far too kindly of you.”

She reared back, only to be stopped by the skirts again. “Can you—oh dear Lord—untangle the lace from yourself?”

He glanced down, trying not to laugh again. “I’ll likely need to unbutton my trousers.”

“Better you than me,” she said, staring at his fly with exasperation.

“I don’t want to damage the gown. You’ll be quicker.”

“Stand still.” She worked the fingers of one hand into the material, apparently trying to feel her way to the right button.

“That’s good,” he said encouragingly. “A little lower.”

She lifted her head. “I’m not doing this for your amusement.”

“I’m not as amused as I was. Now I’m downright interested, which you will feel if you keep groping blindly in that area. You can either get down on your knees to see what you are doing, which will maintain my interest, or we can go into my bedroom, where I can fiddle around with my trousers without an audience.”

“Well, there’s a choice,” she said, sounding frazzled.

Her fingers moved faster, his cock twitched for attention, and suddenly the material came free.

“Chenoweth!” He turned his head and saw Patricia standing at the end fo the passage, her eyes

Author bio and links

After training at the South Australian School of Art, Virginia Taylor worked in an advertising agency. This segued into re-training as a nurse/midwife before meeting the man of her dreams, marrying and producing two children. Over the years Virginia has been a theatre set painter and designer, but now she fills her days as a full-time writer.



Author Links:
Website: http://www.virginia-taylor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorVirginiaTaylor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorvtaylor
Buy the book:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wenna-South-Landers-Virginia-Taylor-ebook/dp/B01EQ2N1RQ/ref=sr_1_1
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wenna/id1128181848?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Virginia_Taylor_Wenna?id=K70IDAAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wenna

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wenna-virginia-taylor/1123717625


Schooling the Viscount

Blurb

Welcome to Puddling on the Wold, where the sons and daughters of Victorian nobility come for a little rest, recuperation, and “rehab,” in this brand-new series of rebellious romance from Maggie Robinson.

After a harrowing tour of duty abroad, Captain Lord Henry Challoner fought to keep his memories at bay with two of his preferred vices: liquor and ladies. But the gin did more harm than good—as did Henry’s romantic entanglements, since he was supposed to be finding a suitable bride. Next stop: The tiny village of Gloucestershire, where Henry can finally sober up without distraction or temptation. Or so he thinks…

A simple country schoolteacher, Rachel Everett was never meant to cross paths with a gentleman such as Henry. What could such a worldly man ever see in her? As it turns out, everything. Beautiful, fiercely intelligent Rachel is Henry’s dream woman—and wife. Such a match would be scandalous for his family of course, and Rachel has no business meddling with a resident at the famed, rather draconian, Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation. All the better, for two lost souls with nothing to lose—and oh so very much to gain.



Excerpt

“Quite right. I haven’t the best reputation. A sensible girl like you is wise to be wary. See, that’s why I want to marry you. You’re sensible.”

Rachel curbed the urge to throw her inkpot at him. She didn’t want to be sensible at the moment! But really, of course Henry didn’t love her. She didn’t love him either. She hardly knew him, and she wasn’t even supposed to know as much as she did. She’d be getting a visit from members of the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation any second to accuse her of sabotage. 

Someone would have noticed him walking down the hill to the school on such a filthy day, and would blame her for being some sort of Circe. Unless he was planning on plunging into the stream and getting even wetter, the school as the final destination. 

She stood up. “While I am grateful for both your offer of escort and of marriage, I must decline both. Good day, Lord Challoner.” 

He rose too, with a blinding smile. “At least take my umbrella.” 

“Did you hear me?” Rachel cried. 

“Yes. I have my good ear turned toward you. And I’m getting better at reading lips. Of course, when I look at yours, I forget what you’re saying and just want to kiss you.” 

Well, that was almost romantic. Rachel tried not to feel a pleased flutter. 

“I insist you take the umbrella.” Henry propped it against her desk. “I assume you don’t wish to be seen with me.” 

“You assume correctly.”

“Very well. Shall I leave first?”

“Don’t you have a hat?”

“No, I hate them.”

Blast. He would be soaked by the time he climbed back up the hill. 

He was probably used to marching in the rain. Beneath the scorching sun. Under conditions in countries she couldn’t even fathom or find on a map. It wasn’t as if it was an Indian monsoon out there—just a heavy warm English rain. Rachel had not been looking forward to it herself, but hadn’t been afraid to brave the elements. Why should she worry about a strong, healthy man?

Yet she did. She’d worried last night when she’d left him unconscious in the cool night air. Henry needed someone to take care of him. Care for him. 

No, Rachel. No. But she picked up the umbrella and took hold of his arm, ignoring the warning voice in her head. Sometimes being sensible was overrated.

Author bio and links

Maggie Robinson didn’t know she wanted to write until she woke up in the middle of the night once really annoyed with her husband. Instead of smothering him with a pillow, she decided to
get up and write—to create the perfect man—at least on a computer screen. Only to discover that fictional males can be just as resistant to direction as her husband. The upside is that she’s finally using her English degree and is still married to her original, imperfect hero. Since she’s imperfect, too, that makes them a perfect match. Until her midnight keyboarding, she had been a teacher, librarian, newspaper reporter, administrative assistant to two non-profits, community volunteer, and mother of four in seven different states. Now Maggie can call herself a romance writer in Maine. There’s nothing she likes better than writing about people who make mistakes, but don’t let the mistakes make them.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.maggierobinson.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maggie.robinson.165
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maggielrobinson
Buy the book:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Schooling-Viscount-Cotswold-Confidential-Robinson-ebook/dp/B01FBZXR0S/ref=sr_1_1
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/schooling-the-viscount/id1125800311?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Maggie_Robinson_Schooling_the_Viscount?id=UHQhDAAAQBAJ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/schooling-the-viscount
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/schooling-the-viscount-maggie-robinson/1123772354

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Calculations

It's the weekend, and then you have time to spare. My sister and I spent some of this time trying to calculate how high (or low, depends on interpretation) my actual pension will be. Earlier on, I got news I could make my application for pension, which I did. But the official services always take their time in figuring out how much you'll actually get.

Luckily, I have a sister who knows a bit about how this pension is calculated. For me, it's important to know how much net I get. You have to pay taxes and for social security, but it depends on the gross sum. At least now I know more or less how it will turn out (she might be a few euro off, she knows from experience).  I'll get my pension as civil servant this year, and once 2019 I'll get an extra pension for the time I worked as publisher and freelancer, and also something for the time I was unemployed (it was a bad time in the 80's when like 3000 teachers were put on the streets by closure of schools).

Well, I guess I'll sleep without worries now! A pity my sister still has to work six more years... Otherwise we could move to the coast immediately and travel when or where we like to go.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday afternoon and feeling bored...

Although I quite enjoy not having to work anymore, sometimes I feel a little blue. Like this afternoon. I had a pretty busy morning, running errands, doing some reading and some writing and then having lunch.

After lunch, I began cleaning the house, but that didn't take very long as it was not very dirty. Hey, I'm not one who runs around with a Swiffer but I still like to see my house clean. But with only two adults inside, there is not so much that can get dirty.

After my cleaning, I had a cup of coffee (which I still brew like in the old days, pouring water through a filter) and read some more. But now I don't know what to do next. So this is my therapy to escape boredom!

Writing really helps to filter feelings. You can write away frustrations, anger, joy, whatever. I remember I once was so mad at a guy I imagined killing him in different ways. That prose lies around somewhere in my attic. Writing about my intentions was enough not to act upon them. Otherwise I'd be in  jail for murder. I can also make up nicer stories, like meeting the man of my dreams (although, nowadays, not so much any more) or even better, about winning a big pot in the lottery. Oh, what I'd do with all that money....

So, how is your Friday???

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The do's and dont's

Every seasoned traveler knows how important it is to be acquainted with the customs and ways of a country he/she will be visiting. Because not everywhere they have the same way of living as you're familiar with.

So because of our upcoming trip to Argentina, I've been spending some hours a day lately to read as much about the country as I possibly can. Well, the general things remain the same: don't flash your (expensive) smartphone, don't wear costly jewelry, and take care of your purse and credit cards.



We've been to South America before (Peru and Bolivia) so we know to take care of pickpockets. One member of our group got robbed of his expensive camera and I lost my gold earrings. Nowadays I travel without earrings and just take along some cheap ones (2-3 €) to wear for dinner.  We also take along an old-fashioned phone (of some ten years ago) in which we put our SIM card. It still works and in time of need you can make a phone call. Credit cards and ready cash we always try to put in a deep pocket, so we don't need a handbag. That way you don't look like a tourist at first sight. We equally have an old camera (still in working order) so we can take pics but don't need to be afraid someone will be wanting that old junk!

For the rest, mostly it's only common sense.  By trying not to be a tourist at first sight, we've visited many places and never been robbed of anything. Once a lesson learned...

What I haven't done is taking lessons in Spanish. Both my sister and I know some elementary vocabulary from earlier trips to Spain and anyway, they don't speak quite the same in South America. I had a student from Venezuela some years ago, and she has told me a lot about the difference in pronunciation. We're quick though to pick up local speech, and it won't take too long before we can order our food in what counts for Spanish, or ask for directions, etc.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine

On the early side, but I'd like to wish everyone reading this a Happy Valentine!



Like I told before, my sister and I like to decorate our house according to the season. This is just a sample of how the entire house looks/

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Making arrangements for our upcoming trip

This morning we had to go to town hall to make an application to get a passport. Normally, when traveling in Europe you don't need one. Only an identity card.

We used to have a passport until 5 years ago. We traveled a lot across the ocean or towards the East when we were younger. The last few years, we've been making trips in Europe only (albeit it sometimes 6 or 7 times a year). There were so many places in countries such as France and Italy which we hadn't seen before. So went to La Rochelle and the Côte d'Azur, to Rome and Venice, to Budapest, Stockholm and Visby, to the Channel Islands and various places in the UK.

But as we are now going to Argentina, we need a passport. The new one will be valid for 7 years, so that will give us much opportunity to make cross-continent trips. We are already considering Oman for next year and would also like to do some cruises.

Btw, I'm glad to be inside because it's snowing lightly. Not much fun outside, unless you're a kid. My sister also needs some rest in the weekend, as her job is very demanding and she's not getting any younger either.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Soldier's Woman

Allow me to introduce author Kelly Lyonns today. Kelly is doing a virtual book blast tour for the publication of her novel The Soldier's Woman, a historical regency romance available as of today from Atlas Productions.



Kelly will be awarding a digital copy of The Soldier's Woman to 5 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Leave a comment, and you can win. Please use the following link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2144

Blurb

It is 1810 somewhere in the chaos of war-ravaged Napoleonic Portugal. Miss Charlotte Everslea, dedicated member of an ancient secretive Guild and skilled paranormal artefacts hunter, has found herself trapped behind enemy lines. Colonel Maximillian Bladewood is used to giving orders and having them obeyed, both on and off the battlefield. But the petite golden-haired hoyden, to whose accidental intervention he owes his life, challenges both his authority and his sanity. Their cross-purposed journey will reach a crossroad where one or both of them will need to compromise.



Excerpt

When Charlotte met Maxmillian


He was still holding her, and she wasn’t quite sure what to do next. There was a pause as she felt him lean back a little, probably trying to catch a glimpse of her face. It was extremely silly, but despite everything she had already faced, she couldn’t look him in the eye, couldn’t bear him seeing the red puffy proof of her crying. 

“I wish I had a handkerchief to offer.” The deep quiet voice above her head paused, “Sadly, mine are with my dress uniform in a supply wagon, somewhere on the other side of this battlefield I should think.”

She was grateful for his attempt to invoke the humour and even a little civility to their situation.

“I most sincerely apologise, Sir.” Heavens above, her voice came out as a wavering snuffle. She could absolutely not look up.

He neither moved nor answered for some long moments. She felt a little trill of something like panic building in her chest. When he did speak, the words were all gentleness, despite the dust roughened rasp. 

“It is of no consequence Madam. I think that we find ourselves in an unusual situation.” He cleared his throat before adding quietly, “I have seen strong men break down and weep after a battle. There is no shame in this.”

The little alarm that had been building evaporated. She still stood inside his arms. He had made no attempt to release her, but then neither had she made any sign that she wished it. Suddenly realising she needed to do exactly that, she stiffened in his arms and gave the barest push with her hands. Was it her imagination, or was there a moment of hesitation before he let her go? With an unsettling mix of relief and regret she stepped away, head averted to avoid his gaze. She was glad there was no witness to their strange introduction. What an impression she was making.  

“Nevertheless, I apologise for such a display.” 

 “Please do not berate yourself for such a social lapse. Not here… in this Godless place.” 



Author bio and links

After earning a living as a freelance environmental scientist, writer and editor, Kelly Lyonns has evolved into a creative writer. She cohabitates with three cats, two children and a husband in a house so packed with character even the termites live next door. Burning questions about ecological sustainability and how to tie a Regency bodice, keep her on the internet deep into the night. 

She enjoys tea, meditating, Jane Austen, solar punk, science fiction, sculpting and science. She frequently succumbs to the need to write. She rarely succumbs to the need to vacuum.




Connect with Kelly at:

Website:  http://kalyonnswrites.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyLyonnsAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellylyonns

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dragons of the Ice

Dragonlings are a challenge at the best of times. When a plot is discovered to extinguish the dragon shifters of the world, parents-to-be Petra and Dagmar, Olga and Lee fear for the future.

Meet author C.L. Kraemer, one of my co-authors at Rogue Phoenix Press. Our publisher is organising a virtual book tour for the new publications, and this is one of them. Just like with any other book tour, it pays to leave a comment, because you can win a prize. Christie Kramer will be awarding an ebook copy of one of her titles to one randomly drawn commenter.

Blurb

Unexpected dragon shiftings have increased since the conference in China. More deaths being covered up inexplicably sends Lee Svensson to Japan to investigate from the Swedish Embassy. Why is it World Watch, Inc., a marketing company, is always on site when a shifter dies? Lee is charged to find out. When the husband of his wife’s best friend discovers an account he is managing, World Watch, Inc., is manipulating oil companies by buying up all available stocks, the two realize their paths are the same. Now that their wives have announced the impending births of dragonlings, it is imperative the men solve this riddle. An American dragoness shifter and former full blood warrior dragon will prove courage comes in all sizes.



Excerpt

Japan

The flight to Tokyo was tedious and Lee Svensson was not a good traveler. Airplanes exacerbated his claustrophobia, and the air turbulence upset his stomach. He disembarked with the passengers heading into the terminal. It never ceased to amaze him how polite Japanese travelers were. The walkways, while crowded, found the citizens accommodating to one another and foreigners. Lee located his luggage at the baggage retrieval. A close by kiosk offered instructions for the second leg of his journey. He purchased a rail ticket to Sapporo and flagged a vacant taxi willing to take him to the station. After settling in his window seat, Lee opted to close his eyes and allow the gentle movement of the bullet train lull him to sleep. There were two changes to make before he reached his destination far to the north of Tokyo in the Hokkaido prefecture.
This was his first trip away from Olga since they'd wed before the spring conference. If there hadn't been so much evidence against the target, he would've passed off this assignment to another. The nature of the investigation, however, required his presence at the offices in Sapporo.
"Sir? Excuse me, sir. We're at your stop."
The uniformed train attendant woke him, opting to gently rouse the stranger.
"Domo arigato."
She smiled, a shy affair showing a small dimple in her right cheek.
"You're welcome, sir."
Lee rose from the seat and stretched his muscles. He was facing one more transfer then eight hours of sleep. His meeting wasn't for two more days, but he felt the need to be rested. He'd be glad when he could stop moving and call Olga. She'd been acting very odd before he left yesterday. Was it just yesterday? He shook his head realizing his sense of timing had flown out the window after several time zone changes.
The second transfer was quickly accomplished as Lee settled his briefcase next to him. Safely ensconced in his seat on the final leg of his journey, his eyelids began to drift toward his cheeks.
The ring of his cell phone startled him awake.
"Hello? Olga! Good heavens, what time is it there?"
He listened to the voice of his lifemate, feeling tightness in his shoulders disappear. His lips slid into a smile and he stretched his legs before him.
"I know, my love, but just put up with her while I'm gone. She is, after all, the one who promoted you to the council and encouraged them to use your work."
The countryside was giving way to homes. Lee straightened and started checking around his seat for anything he may have left.
"What? Olga? What did you just say?"
The sound must've been distorted by such a long distance.
"Olga? Let me call you back. We're at the final station, and I need to get to my hotel room. I'll be able to hear you better from a landline. Okay?"
He sensed she wasn't thrilled but clicked off his phone knowing she would wait for his call. Lee made his way to the hotel and his room.
Showering away two days of travel, he reveled in the hot water sluicing down his body chasing away the aches and pains of sitting for so long. Over-sized, terrycloth towels specifically set out for him as per his reservation request, warmed and relaxed the remaining weariness from his bones. The urgency to sleep was exerting power over his need to speak to his wife. He shook off the need to sleep. He'd better call Olga or she'd worry unnecessarily.
Once he'd gone through the hotel's phone exchange, he waited on the bed as the phone rang at the other end.
"Hello?"
Finally. "Hi, sweetheart. I couldn't quite hear everything you were saying while I was on the train. Now, what did you want me to know?"
He sat listening to his wife relay the news to him. This changes everything.
"I think we best talk seriously about this when I get home. I'll be here for at least a week following up on a… situation. The outcome here will determine my next assignment. I miss you, Olga."
"I miss you, too, Lee. Be safe. If this has anything to do with the events at the spring meeting, I want you to promise me you'll be especially vigilante."
"I promise, love. I'll call you every day."
Stunned, he crawled beneath the covers depositing the damp towel on the chair next to the bed. Before he thought to turn out the light, his eyes betrayed him and closed.
Lee Svensson was sound asleep, the worries of the coming day temporarily forgotten.




Author bio 



A traveler for most of her life, C. L. Kraemer has settled in the Northwest with her husband and two cats. When not creating a new world or entity, she likes riding next to her husband on their Harleys.


Review

An intriguing shape shifter novel! 5 Stars!


Dragons on Ice is epic in scope-- and its global vision and cinematic presentation will remind readers of a James Bond film. The author works on numerous current modern themes, including the influence of big oil, political manipulation, and the intricacies of marital relationships. Readers will learn a great deal about the classes of shapeshifter dragons which robustly populate the earth, including their history, mating rituals, and birthing practices. Yes, there are many wing-flapping flying scenes and numerous spouts of flame images. The bad guy is a most-villainous creature who pits himself against the decent shape shifters just trying to get along with the "two-leggeds." A fun read combining fantasy and political intrigue!
(Jeffrey Ross)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Working on a new novel

The end of last month saw at last the publication of a new novel (The Black Coach). It had been 5 years since the previous one was published. That's because I'm a hobby writer. I only write when I feel like it, I don't have deadlines. Honestly, I couldn't work that way. I know authors who have to 'deliver' three (or more) novel per year. When there is so much pressure on you, my creativity gives up.

So I'm glad to be with this small publishing house, where there is no pressure and a very good working relationship with publisher and editors.

For years I have been trying to find a good sequence to Diamonds for the Devil. I feel the second book should be just as good as the first one, which I totally like. I thought I had found a way to continue but there is something cursed with this plot (hey, the working title is Curse of the Diamonds). I don't doubt the book will be written sometime, but it won't be now.

I've dropped the manuscript and a couple of days I began with a fancy. I've experienced those make great stories. Just like The Black Coach. That book was written in a whiff. It felt like it was writing itself. And that's the way it is going now as well. The thought came to me I could take another of these short stories (Face in the Mirror and Other Stories) and expand on it. Now I'm creating the adventures of The Witch of Hawestone Moor and there will be some time-traveling involved. In just a couple of hours, I've already done various chapters.

So perhaps there can be a new publication later this year, or early in 2018...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Davis Cup

I like watching tennis. I try to watch as many matches from Roland Garros and Wimbledon (and in relay those from the US Open and the Australian Open). I've never played tennis myself, because of my bad eyesight, but I like looking at the play.

Especially those matches for the Davis Cup are interesting. Here the teams play for the glory of their country. Today Belgium won against a stronger Germany, just on team-spirit and endurance. Without their best-placed player, David Goffin, the Belgian team nevertheless could take 2-1 points against the enemy, Germany. (Well, if you look at history you should have know the outcome.) Steve Darcis won his first match, and also the double team won against a team which on paper was far superior. But the Belgians really played together and the few Belgian supporters in Frankfurt shouted them along. 1-1 on the first day. Today Steve Darcis had to play against Sacha Zverev, and he won in the end!!!



Looks great, especially when Italy can win against Argentina, because then the next games will be played in Belgium.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Lady Who Drew Me In / To Tempt an Heiress

Today authors Thomasine Rappold and Susanna Craig are my guest. They are both romance writers, who have new publications (historical romance), available from Lyrical Press Publishing. During their blurb blitz tour they are giving away digital copies of both books to a randomly drawn commenter via rafflecopter. Please use this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f21110


The Lady Who Drew Me In

Blurb

Daisy Lansing's ability to transfer images from people's thoughts onto paper was a novelty she used to trot out to amuse her friends. But when her “entranced drawing” begins to cause serious trouble for her guardians, she is banished to the country and forced to marry a man twice her age. After the joyless wedding, Daisy is determined to bury forever the strange skill that upended her life. However, she soon finds herself a widow and in dire financial straits. Suddenly, her curse may be her one chance at true independence.

Jackson Gallway's reputation as a rogue has far surpassed his success as a lawyer. In the wake of yet another scandal, he decides to head west. But before he can escape Misty Lake, Jax makes a promise to find an elusive killer. When he encounters a lovely young artist with an unusual talent that could help him in his search, what he finds is something neither of them can escape . . .



Excerpt

The man was controlling her from six feet under. Daisy Lansing stared up at the portrait of her late husband, so angered by his betrayal she could scream. Monthly allowance, my foot.

She checked the hour on the gold watch around her neck. Her appointment with William Markelson was at three o’clock, so she had only minutes to brace herself for more bad news. Rubbing her temples, she soothed the budding throb of a headache. At the sound of a woman’s laughter outside, Daisy glanced to the window. Felice Pettington.

Daisy shot to her feet. “It’s about time,” she mumbled, scooting around the desk for a closer view. Misty Lake’s most celebrated summer guest strolled up the walkway, blond spit curls bobbing beneath her stylish bonnet as she slathered her charms on the tall man at her side.

And who do we have here?

Daisy craned her neck toward the window. The pretty heiress nestled against her handsome escort, her gloved hands like twin boa constrictors coiled around his arm. Curious as to whom the woman had snared to join her on the impromptu visit, Daisy hurried out to the porch. Felice’s sweeping yellow skirts brushed the blooming shrubs flanking the stone walk, stirring petals and the scent of rhododendrons through the air. Her mousy maid followed in the flurry.

“Yoo-hoo!” Felice unfurled her grip on the man just enough to wave her gloved fingers. “This is Mr. Gallway.” She leaned toward the man’s impressive shoulder, batting her lashes as they stepped up to the porch. “Mr. Gallway is from Troy.”

Daisy’s heart lurched, as it always did, at the mention of Troy. Even after all this time, the painful memories of her past in the city hadn’t faded a whit. Felice smiled smugly. “He’s an attorney.”

Daisy took a deep breath. Of all the lawyers Felice might have cajoled to browbeat Daisy on her behalf, the woman had enlisted a relative of Daisy’s closest friend. Tessa Gallway had gushed that her rakish brother-in-law was handsome, but the simple description hardly did him justice. Daisy gave a slow nod, her aversion to lawyers suffering a brief lapse as she studied him closer.
Layers of wavy black hair matched his thick brows and the sideburns that led to his jaw. His sapphire eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

And his mouth. Good Heavens, his mouth. Daisy swallowed hard, awed by her response to the man. He was nothing like she’d imagined, yet everything portrayed in the gossip. A notorious rogue intent on skirting marriage and sowing a silo’s worth of oats in the process.

His smile widened, as though he’d heard Daisy’s unspoken assessment and expected no less. More likely he was simply too arrogant to care.

“You can wait for me here, Myrtle.” Felice waved her maid toward one of the rocking chairs on the porch.

Daisy ushered them inside, and then led them down the hall to the library. After all this time, the scent of Lawry’s final cigar still clung to the paneled walls. The familiar smell she’d relished so fondly after his death affected her differently now. How could he do this to her?

Blinking back tears, she returned her focus to her guests. Felice batted her lashes, then proceeded with a formal introduction. Extending an arm toward Daisy, she said, “Mr. Jackson Gallway, I present the Widow Lansing.”

Author bio and links

A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, Thomasine Rappold writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. She lives with her husband in a small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series. When she’s not spinning tales of passion and
angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod. Thomasine is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Capital Region Romance Writers.



http://www.thomasinerappold.com/

https://twitter.com/ThomRappold
https://www.facebook.com/ThomasineRappoldAuthor
Buy links: Buying options at: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34076


To Tempt an Heiress

Blurb

After her beloved father dies, Tempest Holderin wants nothing more than to fulfill his wish to free the slaves on their Antiguan sugar plantation. But the now wealthy woman finds herself pursued by a pack of unsavory suitors with other plans for her inheritance. To keep her from danger, her dearest friend arranges a most unconventional solution: have Tempest kidnapped and taken to safety.

Captain Andrew Corrvan has an unseemly reputation as a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard—but those on his ship know differently. He is driven by only one thing: the quest to avenge his father's death on the high seas. Until he agrees to abduct a headstrong heiress…

If traveling for weeks—without a chaperone—isn't enough to ruin Tempest, the desire she feels for her dark and dangerously attractive captor will do the rest. The storm brewing between them will only gather strength when they reach England, where past and present perils threaten to tear them apart—even more so than their own stubborn hearts…



Excerpt

Captain Andrew Corrvan would never claim to have always acted on the right side of the law, but there were crimes even he would not stoop to commit.

Kidnapping was one of them.

This conversation ought to have been taking place in some dark dockside alley, not in the sun-dappled sitting room of the little stone house occupied by the plantation manager at Harper’s Hill. Andrew had never met the man before today, although he knew him by reputation. Throughout Antigua, Edward Cary was talked of by those who knew him, and by many more who didn’t, as a fool. As best Andrew had been able to work out, he had earned the epithet for being sober, honest, and humane—a string of adjectives rarely, if ever, applied to overseers on West Indian sugar plantations.

As the afternoon’s exchange suggested, however, even a paragon of virtue could be corrupted by a villainous place. Why else would Cary be attempting to arrange the abduction of a wealthy young woman?

“So, the talk of valuable cargo was just a ruse to lure me here?” Andrew asked.

“Not at all,” Cary insisted with a shake of his head. “Between her father’s private fortune, which she has already inherited, and Harper’s Hill”—he swept his arm in a gesture that took in the plantation around them—“which she will inherit on her grandfather’s death, Miss Holderin is worth in excess of one hundred thousand pounds.”

Despite himself, Andrew let a low whistle escape between his teeth. The chit would be valuable cargo indeed. “And how do you benefit from sending her four thousand miles away?”

“I don’t,” Cary said, and behind that rough-voiced admission and the mournful expression that accompanied it, lay a wealth of meaning. So the man had taken a fancy to his employer’s granddaughter, had he? “She has always been like a younger sister to me,” he insisted; somehow Andrew managed to contain his scoff. “When Thomas Holderin was on his deathbed, I gave him my solemn oath I would do all in my power to look after his daughter.”

“And now you wish to be rid of the obligation.”

“I wish—” he began heatedly. But apparently deciding his own wishes were beside the point, he changed course and said instead, “I believe she will be safer in England.”

“Then book her passage on the next packet to London.” Andrew thumped his battered tricorn against his palm, preparatory to placing it on his head and taking his leave. At his feet, his shaggy gray dog rose and gave an eager wag of his tail, bored with all the talk and ready to be on his way.

“If I could, I would. I have tried many times to reason with her. But Miss Holderin is . . . reluctant to leave Antigua. She believes she is more than a match for the dangers the island presents.” Cary turned toward the window. “She is wrong.”

Andrew followed the other man’s gaze. Fertile fields, lush forest, and just a glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea where they touched a cerulean sky. It would have been difficult to imagine a less threatening landscape, but Andrew knew well that appearances could deceive. The dangers here were legion.

“Why me?” Andrew asked after a moment, folding his arms across his chest and fixing the other man with a hard stare. “Do you know the sort of man I am?”

Unexpectedly, Cary met Andrew’s gaze with an adamant one of his own. “I do. You are said to be a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard.” Andrew tipped his chin in satisfied agreement. He had spent ten years cultivating that reputation.

“But of course, the sort of man you are said to be might not be entirely accurate, I suppose,” Cary continued, steepling his fingers and tilting his head to the side. “Your crew tells a slightly different story, Captain.”






Author bio and links

A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat. 



http://www.susannacraig.com/
https://twitter.com/SusannaMCraig
https://www.facebook.com/susannacraigauthor

Buy links: Buying options at: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34059

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Never too old to learn

Since last weekend I have a smartphone. It comes with lots of app and other gadgets, and of course I need to find out what everything is and how it works.

The (young) girl in the shop asked me 'do you need me to explain how it works?'. Well, I may be over 60 (will become 61 in May) but I still comprehend how to work a new gadget. I can set up a computer when I buy a new one and also know how to operate the programming on the tv and decoder. I even know what to do when it doesn't work, so when I phone the tele-company I know at least it has nothing to do with a bad connection. Saves time and when you're lucky you immediately get a technician who can help you.

So now I have discovered new social media, like Instagram. Fun! I even found out how to upload pics from my computer and import them to my smartphone.



How are you about learning new technologies and such? There are people who assume elderly people won't know a thing about new technologies. That is so wrong. I bet some of us are more clever than lots of younger people. Our dad got to work with a computer program (for trains) just before his pension. Can you imagine, lots of his younger colleagues came to call on him when they had to work with that program?