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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Extremely busy weekend ahead for Brussels Airport

Starting as of tomorrow, Brussels Airport is in big business. The airport expects some 232 thousand passengers between Friday 30th of June and Sunday 2nd of July. This proves the airport has well recovered from the terrorist attack last year in March.

Tourists who enter the airport shouldn't take a fright when they meet one of the two BRUce Pepper's. They are robots, who zoom around the income hall. They'll greet you and you can have your boarding pass screened by them. The robot will then give you flight information, which weather to expect at your holiday destination, or which gate you need to be at. They can even show you the way to the toilets, take a selfie and whatever.

Guess they'll be fun for the many kids, who get easily bored while waiting for their plane.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Fortune Teller

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing a virtual blurb blitz tour for The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack, a romantic thriller available June 6, 2017 from Macmillan/ Picador Publishing. The tour will run June 5 - 30.

Gwendolyn will be awarding Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-waite Tarot: Deck & Book Set (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link:


Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, deciphering ancient texts―and when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the tarot deck? As the mystery of her connection to its story deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Bossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere―someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Bossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.


She shut the door and leaned back against the heavy wood and closed her eyes.


Startled, she turned to find Theo standing in the doorway of his father’s study. He was waiting for her. He had changed into slacks and another sweater. Her eyes reflexively swept over him, but then she caught herself.

“Did you have a chance to take a last tour around the house before you’re off?” A knowing look danced in his eyes.

Semele’s heart hammered in her chest. He had seen her upstairs. “I—I . . . I wanted to look at your Orbis. . . .” She hesitated, thinking that didn’t sound right.

“Did you? Look?” He walked towards her.

She watched him close the distance between them. “Is it really an original?” She hated how nervous she sounded. Her conscience screamed for her to back up, to look away, to figure out how to the leave the room, but she couldn’t resist the spell that was weaving itself around them.

“I’m afraid this house is full of surprises,” he said softly. “God knows I shouldn’t be down here.” His hand came up and trailed along her cheek. “Tell me to go.”

The desire in his eyes made her forget every thought running through her mind. She wanted him—had wanted him from the first moment they met. Their lips locked, seeking each other, and the tension that had been building between them all these weeks turned into an insatiable dance. It was as though a hand reached insider her and turned her like a spinning top.

Copyright © 2017 by Gwendolyn Womack. All rights reserved.

Author bio and links

Gwendolyn Womack is the author of the RWA Prism award winning novel The Memory Painter. She writes metaphysical thrillers and love stories that travel history, exploring divination, reincarnation, magic, and time travel. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and is currently working on her third novel. 

Website:  http://www.gwendolynwomack
Book Video:

Buy Links for The Fortune Teller:
Barnes & Noble;jsessionid=6DF5A2E53A3AAA8BA204FAB563CDDC4D.prodny_store01-atgap014
Independent Bookstores

Monday, June 26, 2017

Seven Days With You

Another author joins us today, namely Hugo Driscoll. He's the author of Seven Days With You, YA romance. Hugo is doing a virtual book tour and you'll be able to leave a comment during the tour. One lucky winner will win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Please use the following link for your comment:


Sean Johnson’s life as a small-town farmhand has been nothing but predictable, but when he meets Sophia Hillingdon at the local animal sanctuary, she gets him out of an eighteen-year rut, away from the mundane existence on the farm, and a grieving, drunken father.

Sophia is the first person who understands him and makes him believe that he might get out of their small town, who tells him, he has the potential to be whoever he wants to be and do whatever he wants to do.

But as their relationship unfolds, it is the most devastating of news that will change both of them forever.


I hadn’t been anywhere, but my mind had been everywhere. That’s how I felt that summer. Or more precisely, that’s how Sophia had made me feel by the time summer neared its conclusion.
The months of July and August had followed identical patterns to June in that we rarely spent a day apart. We rode with Violet across the Suffolk countryside, sometimes for miles on end, often stopping by at local pubs. Then it would be Saturday. That was the best day of all for there was no work on Sunday, which meant dancing with Tom and Jessica until our bodies could no longer stand. We drank, we laughed, and most nights after, we made love as we tip-toed up the stairs of my father’s house. I was obsessed with everything about her. Yes, Sophia Hillingdon, the girl I’d known for barely a few months was the girl I now wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And though we often drove each other crazy, we soon laughed and made up as if nothing happened. It often puzzled me as to why Sophia found our fights so amusing seconds after we were hot from the exertion of spouting obscenities at each other. Red-faced, she’d often say, “You drive me mad Sean. But, you know something? That’s just how I like it.”

“Why?” I’d ask.

“Us,” she would say. “I love how angry you make me because…. Well, I’m obsessed with you… even our arguments sound oddly beautiful.”

Author bio and links

Hugo Driscoll is a 25-year- old British journalist and content writer for an online publication in London.
When he's not working, you can usually find him writing in the basements of cafes or lamenting the unfair treatment of millennials in overcrowded London bars.
You can also find Hugo on Twitter, Facebook, and his personal blog, which he updates regularly. 
Seven Days with You is his first novel.
Buy Link:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Harper's Place

Today's guest is author Sheryl Winters, who's doing a virtual book blast tour for her novel Harper's Place, a romance available now from Roane Publishing.

Sheryl will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  Please use the following link to place your comment: 


Harper Grey is fed up with over-bearing men. Her father wants to sell the family hamburger joint to her brother because a woman could never make it successful.

Harper knows she has the same flair for business as her mother, and sexy Navy SEAL Patrick O’Brien dares her to prove it to the world.

When duty calls and Patrick must leave her side, will Harper be strong enough to make her dream a reality?


“How would you bring in new business, though?”

I’m amazed that he seems to find our conversation interesting. He’s an audience willing to listen and I’ve not had that in a long time. Damn this crush of mine. It won’t be easy to tame after tonight.

“New menu items, specials, things like that. Start serving dessert, like pies. Easy cook items. With the new burgers I’ve created and a new d├ęcor, I’d open in the summer when the air is fresh and everyone is happy to be out of the snow, hungry for grilled food. I think we could do fine.”

“What’s your hold up?”

“Tony, Dad. It’s complicated.” I shrug. His arm feels good, and I have the overwhelming urge to nuzzle against it. "Did you kiss Amy Parker when you were twelve? She still brags about it." Did
I just ask him about kissing? What is wrong with me? Will this mouth of mine never shut up? Stop it, Stop it, stop it!

"That I did, in a closet over at Robert Anderson’s house."


"I was twelve and desperate. You can't blame me. I do blame that stupid soda bottle.  And your first kiss?" There is a challenge in his voice.

"Kevin Monroe at the Klines Movie Theater. He sent me a six-page note the next day about how much he loved me, and I freaked out and dumped him."

"Any regrets?"

I choke back a giggle. "Naw, ‘cept I remember I liked his cologne. It could have been aftershave, but it was nice." It’s not half as nice as the Aramis that Patrick has on. Something about it sends a shiver up my spine that has nothing to do with the zombie waiting in Dad’s office.

"The dark isn't so bad, now is it?"

"I guess not."

Silence surrounds us. The fear that enveloped me seems to disappear.

"Are you seeing anyone?"

"No." It sounds terrible now that I've said it out loud. Like I’m admitting to being a desperate and dateless leper.

"So," he drawls out, "ever thought of dating a military guy?" He squeezes my fingers.

Is he serious?

His fingertip smooths over the rough callouses I've gained from years of hard work. Suddenly my wasted evening of not going out to celebrate is starting to look better. "I think it would depend on which military guy."

"You're killing me. You know that, don’t you?" His strangled tone only sets off a case of the giggles.

"Are you asking me out, Patrick?"

"Trying to, but you're not making it easy.” The challenge is back in his voice.

"I wouldn't mind a date or two,” I manage to squeak out. Breathe, Harper, just breathe, calmly through your nose, out your mouth. Sainted Mother of God, Patrick asked me out! I hit the jackpot! Now all I have to do is not hit him.

Author bio and links

I never set out to be an author. Only a storyteller. Some days I succeed better than others.
Buy Links:
Roane Publishing:
Amazon (UK)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo Books

Friday, June 23, 2017

School's (nearly) finished

Most students here in Flanders took their final exam this morning. The following days they won't have to be at school, as the teachers will be discussing their results. They only have to come in once more to take in their books and maps (every class needs to appoint three students who have to keep theirs, for reason of being able to check when necessary). And then they'll get their final report - good or bad.

For teachers now begins the most taxing time of year. I can assure you it's no fun to sit into a packed room where the air gets stale, with all your colleagues and discuss class after class. I remember my days in Germany (long, long time ago, in the 1980's) when we started at 9 a.m. and only ended up at 2 a.m the next day - with only a sandwich to go by and streams of coffee.

Lots of parents will already take their kids on a trip next week. The big majority of them don't think a report is all that important - times have not changed for the better. Outlandlish trips are cheaper in the last week of June, and for a family it can mean a lot.

My sister is also looking forward to the end of this schoolyear. As of next schoolyear, she'll be head of the office and gets two younger people to boss around (good prospects!) The chief director of the group of schools (more than 1,000 teachers and administrative personnel) has given her this opportunity, as she has a vast knowledge and these are also her last years in service.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homo Flandriens

One of the most popular broadcasting companies in Flanders is TV One. Following the good old recipe, they program shows before 9 pm that have shown their value. One of them is 'Blokken' (a quiz), followed by the 7 pm news and then comes 'Iedereen Beroemd' (Everyone Famous). It's a reality show in which ordinary people are shown in unique circumstances. A laugh and a tear, so to say. One of the returning items in this show is weekly Homo Flandriens. Here a guy looking like Livingstone and named Sir Alastair tries to find out what ticks the so-called Homo Flandriens.

He speaks in Oxford English (and almost without an accent) and he does pseudo-scientific research of the habits of the people here - and some are quite curious! It always brings a smile to my face to watch this show.

TV One is quite good in producing such programs. Before Everyone Famous they had another show named Man Bites Dog. This was made by an extern producing company, but as One had to cut expenses (they are state-owned) they had to make this kind of program themselves - and it worked, as their program is even more popular than Man Bites Dog has been.

I wish tv-makers would more chose this kind of program, instead of all these shows in which people are made ridiculous, are being insulted and much more. Or shows which are too vulgar to watch, with almost porn-like themes.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Back to 1976?

More and more, it looks as if we're back into the seventies. Weatherwise, I mean. For days now, it has been very warm and sunny - and also very dry. I remember that summer of 1976, when the sun began to shine at the end of May and continue to do so until the end of September. A time when it was forbidden to take a bath (only a shower), to wash your car, to water your garden (you could only do so with used water from washing the dishes). A summer when the sale of ice-cream went over the top and all out-events made a big profit.

And right now there can be comparisons. It looks like the weather isn't going to break soon. When there is a (little) bit of rain, it is immediately followed by another spell of more than fine weather. Right now is is so warm it is advised to stay indoors if you can and drink a lot of water.

And the soil is becoming extremely dry, as well. A disaster for the farmers. Of course, last year when it rained all the time, they did also complain. Moorland and forests are to be watched constantly for fires.

What a disaster yesterday in Portugal, where so many people found their death in the blaze. Just imagine you live in a region where such fires are commonplace. Another disaster was the fire in the Grenfell Tower in London, where a likewise number of people died.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Carpe Diem

I'm a fond believer of taking each day as it comes - and enjoying it. Especially when you know it may be your last ever...

Today I got the diagnosis of cancer in the kidney. The surgeon, on my request, was quite straight with us (my sister came along). From what she told us, we can assume she doesn't think I have much of a chance at survival.

The tumor in my kidney is quite big already, and there are also secondary tumors in my lungs and pancreas. The strangest thing, however, is that I still feel fine and healthy. No pain, not being tired, not caughing blood, nothing. According to what we read on I should be experiencing all these things.

Next week they are going to do a biopsy to decided on the follow-up. If the tumor in my pancreas derives from the cancer in my kidney, then an operation is possible and a treatment afterwards. When not, it can be the end any time.

Not something nice but I remain positive. As long as I feel ok I'll continue to write and hope to still finish that novel I'm working on.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Last Sunset

Once more I welcome a fellow author at Rogue Phoenix Press: Christian Chiakulas. Christian has a new novel and therefore is doing a virtual blog tour. He will be awarding a digital copy of My Last Sunset at one randomly drawn commenter.


My Last Sunset is a hardboiled detective story set in a contemporary American high school. Damon Riley is an angry, antisocial teenager with a penchant for solving mysteries. His life is shaken up when Jessica Carpenter, a girl in the grade below his, shoots herself in the halls of the school itself, leaving behind a note that names him as the culprit for driving her to suicide. Taking the bait, Damon embarks on a quest to find out what really happened to Jessica, leading him through a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and brutality. Along the way he learns more than he ever dreamed possible about the girl he could never have saved.


Michael might be having the same idea as me, because he says, "Hey, you hear about that freshman who killed herself?"
"She was a sophomore," I say, staring ahead at the blackboard.
"Oh," Michael says. He's a senior, so it makes sense he wouldn't know. "That's right, I knew that." Liar. "You heard she did it here?"
"Yeah, in the bathroom downstairs," I say. This class is on the fourth floor. Jessica killed herself on the second. The music was so loud from the dance that nobody heard the gunshot, and she didn't get found until a janitor came in the next day. She'd been absent from school Thursday and Friday last week, and I heard her mom had reported her missing to the police. Then, for whatever reason, she came back to school to end her life.
What the hell, Jessica.
It's not that I can't believe it. Jessica was a nice girl, I think, and seemed happy a lot of the time, but seeming happy and being happy aren't the same thing; you don't have to be smart to know or even articulate that. Like I said, I didn't know her that well, but I knew her a little; enough to see that, like the rest of us, she had shit going on she didn't talk about. What I didn't see was that she was the kind of person who couldn't deal with it, like we all do.
Or that it was the kind of shit that can't be dealt with.
"Heard she left a note," Michael says, and now I'm aware that he's looking at me even though his face hasn't moved. His eyes moved.
I didn't hear anything about a note. Whatever was going on with her, she definitely wanted to be found, wanted somebody to know.
Or maybe everybody.
Half a dozen more people stream in over the next two or three minutes; this class is pretty small to begin with and there are four absent. The eight o'clock bell rings just as Goldman appears in the doorway. Behind him is Panzer, one of the school's security guards (not his real name, but it should be).
I raise an eyebrow as Goldman enters the classroom and the talking dies down. Then he looks right at me and says, "Damon, could you please go with Mr. Cousins to the dean's office?"
A low "Oooooh..." goes through the small class, and I stand up, wondering what the hell I did. Usually when I'm in trouble, I know exactly why. As I cross the room to where Panzer is standing, arms folded across his chest, I notice the two girls who'd been in the room early shooting me nasty looks, like I personally wronged them. I don't even know their names.
Panzer steps aside to let me exit the room first then closes the door after us. I throw my messenger bag over my shoulder and look at him.
"What's this about," I say, a little worried.
"Just walk."
The halls are deserted, and I stare at the floor as we walk to the main nexus where the stairwells are, passing over the blurry reflections of the fluorescent lights in the freshly-waxed floor. The dean's office is on the second floor, right down the hall from the girl's bathroom. I stare at the door as we pass it.
The dean's office is small, considering there are three deans that share it along with a secretary and the school's sole counselor. The hub is a yellow-painted room with the secretary's desk, several file cabinets, a large wooden conference table, doors to the private offices of the deans and counselor, and plastic bins hanging on the walls filled with handouts and leaflets about substance abuse, sexual abuse, good ol' fashioned domestic abuse, birth control, STDs, juvie, and there at the end—
The three deans are all sitting at the conference table along with the counselor, Mrs. Mullen, and the school's police liaison, Officer Pasture. A pit drops into my stomach. Whatever I did, it must've been bad.
"Damon, please sit," Dean Goodfellow says. He's a pudgy man with long blonde hair and a face like a bulldog; if you're picturing him comically, stop, because everyone in this school is terrified of him, including yours truly. The other two, Dean Haskins and Dean Washington, are serious men, but none attack their jobs with the rage-filled passion of Dean Goodfellow. He runs this school like it's the streets of Baltimore in The Wire, keeping detailed, ever-growing files on every student with the misfortune to cross his path and trading favors to some of them for information. I'm not gonna lie, I've gotten out of more than one detention this way. Wouldn't you know it, he's in charge of students with surnames P-Z.
But they're all three here, which means this is really serious. I pull up the blue plastic seat across from him, willing myself not to break eye contact, and Panzer disappears outside. The secretary isn't here either. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. What's going on?
"Damon," Goodfellow says, shifting in his seat and locking his fingers together on the table in front of him. Everybody else at the table is staring at their laps; they know the drill. When Goodfellow is working...
interrogating, more like let him be.

Author links

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Website URL:
Blog URL:
Facebook page:

Twitter handle: @ChrisChiakulas

Writing as therapy

When I get bad news, my immediate reflex is to begin writing. That's my way to cope with things that are hard to express. I've always been better in writing down what I think than actually saying it. Also, when you look back on what you wrote, it all looks less grim.

When I was studying languages way back (began in 1974 and ended up with my Master's degree in 1978) one of the profs once mentioned I had a flair for psychology. Also my editor says I've good psychological insight in my characters. So right now I'm doing some self-psych-session.

I got bad news yesterday. On May 19th I had a CT-scan taken of the abdomen. The doctor had ordered it because she wanted to have a clear insight of what was wrong with me. Those who read my blog will remember I wrote about spotting a swelling at the base of my throat (combined with finding out I have diabetes). For that cyste, various echoes and scans were taken. The good news it that the cyste is harmless, but the bad news is they've found a mass near my right kidney. This could - or couldn't - be cancer. I now have an appointment with another surgeon who will discuss the case with me. Most likely they will cut away the mass, and then send it to the lab. Depending on the outcome, treatment will follow (if it's still possible). Cancer of the kidney doesn't correstpond well with chemotherapy.

My biggest worry is about my sister. I've always assumed she'd go before me and that wouldn't be a bad thing. I am better suited to be all alone. She won't be able to cope, as I can already tell from her reaction yesterday. She already sees me buried. I try to remain positive. And if this the end, then I can look back on a nice life.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What's good for one, is bad for another

Which is a saying that goes up every time. Take right now.

The sun is shining brightly, and it hasn't been raining like it uses to do. So most people are very happy with it, but the farmers complain it's way too dry and their harvests will not be good...

It has been dryer than previous year - in fact, it hasn't rained enough (for the farmers) since November 2016.

I however remember they also complained last year, when it was raining more than enough all through Arpril, May, June and July. We didn't have a summer then. Then it was too wet - have you ever known a farmer who's happy with the circumstances?

Well, we don't complain. It looks like it's going to be a great summer. The weather seems to settle quicky for the better each time some rain has passed. Those old enough look back on the summer of 1976, which counts as the best one ever (and when water use was restricted). That one also started at the end of May, when nice weather became the daily sight. It turned really hot by the end of June and I sat in the cellar of our house, with my feet into a bowl of cool water to study for my next exam at the uni. Btw, the profs were pretty lenient then. That is now 41 years ago. So I reckon we've deserved another one of these great summers!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Champions in recycling

Yesterday morning, I read in the newspaper that we Flemish are champions in recycling. We import over one billion waste (from all over the world) to recycle here. Companies here in Flanders get precious metals out of thrown-away electronics, we recycle used batteries, used wood from old tables, chairs etc. which become carton or paper.

Everyone here knows well-enough in which bag to put the waste - have been doing it for years.

And here at home we were even pioneers! Our dad already organized our cellar and put down boxes in which we put our glass, our plastic bottles, our paper, .... Once they were all full, we took them to the recycling park at the border of town.

And as kids we even undertook cleaning up the brook that runs at the back of our garden. We fished out everything that didn't belong and put in into waste bags.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Hello! Come and meet Elaine Cantrell, author of Flood. "Flood" is a contemporary romantic suspense, available from June 1st from Wings ePress. The author is doing a virtual excerpt tour at the moment (June 5th-30th) and today she stops here.

Elaine will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Drawn together by their love of animals, Aria DeLuca and Caleb Hawkins burn for each other. They never suspected that malignant forces were successfully plotting Caleb’s ruin from the moment he entered her life.

When the flood of a century strikes Aria’s hometown, an alienated Caleb is all that stands between her and catastrophic loss.


Aria watched as Caleb Hawkins shouldered his pack and walked down the driveway. She had offered to drive him to the motel, but he had turned her down, saying that after spending three years sitting in prison, he enjoyed walking.

She didn’t know what she had expected, but whatever it was it didn’t fit Caleb Hawkins. The man could have been a male model, selling everything from designer clothes and jewelry to outdoor sports equipment. He stood about six one and didn’t have an ounce of fat on him. The way his muscles bulged when he picked up his pack had sent a thrill racing through her. His hair was dark, his eyes a deep blue shade that reminded her of the sky just as the sun set in the evening. 

Would she regret offering him a temporary position? Maybe, but probably not. Melissa’s maternity leave would be up in six weeks so he wouldn’t be around forever. He could use the time to acclimate to being out of prison before he set about finding a permanent job. Paying for
his room and board would eat up some of his pay, but he’d still have a few dollars left over. He could save it or maybe buy a few clothes and other things he needed.

Author bio and links

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina where she obtained a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University.  She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators and Romance Writers of America.  Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest.  When she’s not writing or teaching, she enjoys movies, quilting, reading, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. 

Find Elaine at the following locations:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Some nostalgic thoughts

The older I get, the more I seem to look back at the past. Don't take me wrong, I try to live in the present as much as possible, but sometimes I get a little nostalgic.

This morning, I went up to the attic to bring some laundry downstairs to iron (We've turned our unused attic room into a drying station for all our washing. We used to hang it out to dry outside, but those damned birds always shit on it.) I didn't intended to, but involuntarily my eyes were drawn to my grandfather's library cupboard. There I used to display my collection of Barbie dolls. Dolls from the early 1960's, with dresses designed by Balmain or Dior. They are not there anymore. My sister and I decided to donate them to the Toy Museum in Mechelen. The people there were very grateful, as I had kept the original boxes (I always cared a lot about the things I owned) and there were many dolls and even more dresses.

I also wondered where in heaven's name some of the things we had have disappeared. I know I had some paper dolls, with paper clothes to fold around them  - and I can't find them anymore. I've climbed into the hidden part of the roof (through a trapdoor over the entrance to the attic). There still are a lot of boxes there, but what I was looking for I can't find back. And I know I never put them out with the trash. The same goes for the Tiny books my sister used to have. Gone as well. Most likely, it was our dad who put out some of these boxes, without asking if they contained something we'd like to keep.

In the library are some books which belonged to my grandfather. Brings back memories of sitting on his lap, listening to him reading from Alexandre Dumas (in French). No wonder I like to write historical fiction, with lots of adventure and action!

Are there any of my readers who feel the same about old things?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Long weekend at the coast

One catholic holiday after the other, so we're not at home in Dendermonde. Last long weekend we spent in Krakow, Poland and right now we're enjoying rather nice weather at our Belgian coast.

The sun is out, but it's as warm as it was last week. Warm enough though, I don't need extreme heat. We were able to make a nice walk to Knokke (although Knokke-Heist is considered one town, it actually are three different villages), got to the Lippenslaan (where you can do some shopping) and enjoyed a cool beer on a sunny terrace.

This afternoon we made a walk through a nature reserve close-by. You know, even after so many years, there are still spots in Heist we never been to. It's a stretch of land around an old light tower and it's quite wild, with lots of birds and other small animals.

Later tonight we're going to dine out at Bartholomeus - the one two-Michelin-star restaurant Heist has. We go there if we have something special to celebrate, right now for my birthday and the start of my pension.

We know dinner will be superb, like always. I'm not the only one who thinks Bart deserves a third Michelin star! Best thing is, we have been going there for over 20 years and never ate the same dish. Bart is very creative and every dish is a feast not only to the palate, but also to the eyes.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Before the Dawn

Today author Courtney Rene is my guest. Courtney - also at Rogue Phoenix Press - writes young adult paranormal stories, and Before the Dawn is part of the series A Howl in the Night (this is book nr. 3). She's doing a blog tour right now, and will be giving away a digital copy of this publication to one randomly drawn commenter.


Seventeen year old Abby can’t shake the darkness that continues to haunt her since her escape from the Hunterz. She can’t let it go. Questions continue to circle. Questions no one will answer. Who are they, really? Why do they hate the wolves so much? The answers could be found in a young boy named, Sam. He may be from the Hunterz, but he smells of wolf. Derek wants to believe her, and tries to help, but Abby still hasn’t learned how to accept help from others. Her relationships with her mother and father continue to deteriorate, but Derek is a puzzle. Some days he’s exactly what she wants and others he is all that she despises. Being a shifter isn’t as simple as she thought it would be. The wolf part is easy. It’s the human side that needs a little work.


I huddled in the darkness, barely aware of the passing hours and days. The wolf ate when she was hungry. She found mice and rodents to catch and devour. I was barely aware of the chase or the joy she found in the hunt. The wolf drank from streams and creeks along her journey. She slept when she was tired and traveled the rest of it.
I was aware the forest was starting to look familiar, but I didn't care enough to wonder why or where I was. When the big white sprawling house came before us, I realized the wolf had brought us to the only other place she knew to go: Aunt Lilly's.
I didn't leave the safety within the wolf when we arrived at the house. I was aware when we stepped onto the porch and dropped to the cool white washed boards where the wolf curled up and slept, but I stayed safe, hidden deep. The wolf and the instincts that drove her protected us. I was happy to let her lead. I was happy to be carried wherever she decided to go. I slept as the wolf did throughout the rest of the night.
When the wolf woke, I woke with her. We were still curled on the porch, but we were within a pile of dogs that had come to keep us safe and warm and offer company. The wolf was happy for the companions, as I was not able to be one. I was silent and empty and had nothing to give right then. I had nothing left to offer her.
I saw my Aunt come out on the porch, and I saw the moment she recognized me for what I was. "Abby, honey. What are you doing here?"
I shrank back deeper within the wolf, and as the wolf had nothing to say to her in that form, Aunt Lilly was left at a loss. She crouched down before us and ran her hands over my head and down my back. "You look a little worse for wear. Do you want to come in and eat? Maybe get a shower and some clothes?"
I wasn't coming out of the wolf form. I realized that had been my intention the whole time. I simply hadn't been ready to face it. I was obviously not very good as a human, so I would try being a wolf for a bit. I used a little more energy and turned my head away from her and dropped it back down on my front paws.
"Abby? What's wrong?"
I had no answer for her, so I didn't move or acknowledge her question. I didn't know what to tell her. I was still feeling sorry for myself, and I didn't have a plan of how to fix it other than to ignore it. I was happy as a wolf. Why did I have to be a human anyway?
She stayed crouched down next to me for a long time. She tried to talk to me, but I didn't answer. Finally, she gave up and stepped back. Her dog friends stayed with me, protecting me in their own way. She surveyed the pile of us then said, "Well, I guess I'll check on you in a bit."
I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. I spent the next few days hardly moving a muscle. What was the point? Aside from getting up to empty my bladder or get a drink of water, I stayed on the porch, quiet and still. Aunt Lilly stopped trying to talk to me, but she did continue to sit with me and offer what comfort she could by way of gentle caresses or tidbits of food she could tempt me with, or just simple water. The best part was when she sat in the white rocker and just rocked. Her being there was enough. Sometimes when she sat there, I would get up and sit next to her, just to be close to someone who gave a damn about me. Just me. Not what I could do for her, or what I could do for the clan. She just cared about me.
Why was I so unlovable by everyone else? Why didn't my mother want me anymore? Why did my father only see me for what I offered the clan? Why didn't Derek just want me? Why. Why. Why! What was so wrong with just being me?
It was times like those that even in wolf form I was able to cry. When the hurt of the world grew to immense I could not hold it in anymore. I cried the sounds of the wolf, even if it didn't come with the tears of a human. Aunt Lilly wouldn't press or talk, she was simply there with me as I tried to handle the sadness overwhelming me. She'd caress my head and continue to rock.

I don't know how long things went on like that. Maybe a few days, maybe it was an entire week. I do know when it came to an abrupt end. Morning arrived with a definite chill in the air. I didn't notice the cold all that much, thanks to my warm fur, but also because Aunt Lilly's dogs took shifts with what I thought of as protecting me. There were always a handful of them, either lying next to me or with me, or whatever. I was never cold or alone. They knew I was hurting and they in their animal wisdom stayed with me as comfort. Animals are awesome. People…suck.

Author bio and links

Courtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night and the Shadow Dancer series, published through Rogue Phoenix Press. For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot com or feel free to contact her at


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Twitter handle: @ctnyrene