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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saving old pictures

Technology evolves all the time. When my sister and I were young, we took pictures with an old Kodak instamatic, first in black-and-white, later in color.

What's odd is that the old black-and-white's are still nice to look at, while the color ones are fading. A pity, because they are lovely memories!

So now we're scanning all these old pics, and we photoshop them, so we can save them on the pc or on any carier.

Keeps you busy, when the weather is too bad to go outside (it's raining, a good start of autumn!). It's best to scan one picture after the other, because we have to cut them to measure and then only we can start working on them.

Does anyone have other ideas on how to save old pictures for future use?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When I Fell For You

Today my guest is author Candace Shaw, who's doing a virtual book blast tour for WHEN I FELL FOR YOU, an African-American romance available now. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Thursday, September 28.



Candace Shaw will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use this link to place your comment:


Blurb

Has a wedding planner with a commitment phobia finally found the man to make her fall head over heels in love?

Reagan Richardson loves planning extravagant, classy weddings as the head planner of Precious Moments Events. Though the notion of walking down the aisle has never entered her mind … considering none of her boyfriends have ever lasted long enough thanks to her. However, meeting Dr. Blake Harrison changes all of that in a glance and she finds herself in uncharted territory.

Blake knows all about Reagan’s fear of commitment but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing the ravishing beauty. Breaking down the wall guarding her heart isn’t as easy as he thought but being with Reagan has stirred emotions in him that no other woman ever has. Can he convince her that history isn’t going to repeat itself this time around? 



Excerpt

“And you’re going to try parasailing? I’m driving the speedboat.”

The thought of being attached to a parachute high above the ocean while dragged by a speedboat made Reagan nauseous. “I’m still contemplating, but I will go jet skiing with you.”

“Perfect. Can’t wait either way. I don’t care what we do as long as I see your fine bod in a bikini.”

Heat rushed to her cheeks. Blake always knew what to say to make her weak at the knees. Now she had to go shopping to find a sexy new bikini and a cover-up considering it was a family outing. She couldn’t be too sexy. 

“You just concentrate on keeping me safe on the jet ski and the parasailing.”

“So, that’s a yes to the parasailing?”

“Mmm … only if you go really slow.”

“I’ll drive at whatever speed you can handle,” he said in a low, deep voice. “Just scream out my name when you’re comfortable and want me to go faster.”

“You have a dirty mind, Doc.” Not that I care.

“What?” he asked in an innocent manner. “That’s your mind in the gutter. Just want to make sure you can handle the excitement and stamina of it all. It’s a very … uh, thrilling adventure.”

“I bet it is.”

“Can’t wait for you to find out.”

“Are we still discussing parasailing?” she asked, crossing and uncrossing her legs. This conversation was causing her to have the urge to jump in the car and speed to his bed where he’d just finished his nap.

“Were we ever talking about parasailing?”

Author bio and links

Candace Shaw writes romance novels because she believes that happily-ever-after isn’t found only in fairy tales. When she’s not writing or researching information for a book, you can find Candace in her gardens, shopping, reading or learning how to cook a new dish. 
She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her loving husband and is currently working on her next fun, flirty and sexy romance.

Social Media and Website Links
Website: https://candaceshaw.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCandaceShaw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Candace_Shaw
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/candace_shaw/
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+CandaceShaw08
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829266.Candace_Shaw
Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/candace-shaw?list=author_books

Buy Links for When I Fell for You
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2v5UEqB
Amazon Ca: http://tinyurl.com/y74377jx
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/ycvnl3ps
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-i-fell-for-you/id1273128330?mt=11
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y72erpfl
Nook: http://tinyurl.com/yb8t5o2x
Smashwords:  http://tinyurl.com/y93qqya4

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The best diet includes cheating

The things you read in your daily newspaper... According to a study of the University of Tasmania (Australia), published in The International Journal of Obesity, it's allowed to eat a pack of potato chips or a burger when you're on a diet.

I'd say this is good news for lots of people. Because who can really stick to a diet? I couldn't, that's why I don't follow one.

According to this study, those tested were divided in two groups: one that had to follow a strict diet for a given time, and a second one that could sometimes have a break with a meal full of calories. And you know what? It was the second group which lost most weight in the end.

When your body is given a strict diet, you'll lose some weight initially, but after some time your body goes into a mode of self-preservation, like in war times. Some sort of winter sleep.

So it's better to break off your diet with normal eating and in the end you'll be fitter and slimmer than ever before!

Personally, I think moderation and variation work the best. Both my sister and I have lost weight over the past few years, by changing our eating patterns a bit (by necessity, as both our blood pressure was too high, and also our blood sugar on the high side). We eat less bread (and then only brown), less potatoes. We switch bewteen meat, fish, poultry and vegetarian. And of course eat a lot of vegetables and fruit daily. Also drink lots of water, and less coffee.

This message won't be cheered on by everyone. It's not so popular to claim you don't need a diet to lose weight, a better slogan is "Lose 5kg in a week's time', right?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lovely weekend at the coast

It was time for a weekend away. My sister has been working (too) hard these last three weeks, to see to it that everyone of the teachers (over 500) will be paid this month. You have to work in education to understand how difficult it is to manage this! It means working practically night and day, 7/7.

So after all that hard way you deserve a break. I already left for Heist early Friday morning (which is fun, now that I'm no longer working). I could already run some errands and make a long walk on the beach, as the weather turned to nice after being cold and rainy for over four weeks. Chris arrived late afternoon.


Yesterday we woke to glorious sunshine and it turned out to be a lovely day. We walked some, and also did some shopping, as it was fashion week. I couldn't resist buying a lovely little black for special occasions! And at night, we went dining at Bartholomeus, the two-Michelin-star restaurant here in Heist. Always a treat!


Today we're going to make a tour on our bikes and pass by Marie Siska, where you can eat the most delicious waffles at the Belgian coast! They won't give away their recipe, though....


The waffles have a special shape, as you can see. I suppose they put beer in the batter. I prefer them with whipped cream, although you can also eat them with sugar, chocolate or fresh fruit.

We're taking the train back home tomorrow morning. Like this, you have a nice long weekend and especially when the weather is fine like now, you can really enjoy.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Diplomat's Daughter

Today my guest is Karin Tanabe, who's doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for The Diplomat's Daughter, a historical fiction available now from Atria. The tour will run September 18 - September 29.



Karin Tanabe will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host. Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2424


Blurb

Author Karin Tanabe’s Japanese father was three years old when the firebombing of Tokyo and Yokohama occurred in May of 1945—his very first memory was seeing his city on fire and hearing the cries of babies on the shore, where they had been carried for safety. While many Americans associate World War II with a parent or grandparent who fought bravely in Europe, Karin’s understanding of the war started with her father being attacked by American bombs. 

These memories, as well as those of a family friend whose own wife and family were interned in a war relocation center, and additional friends who were born in captivity, piqued Karin’s curiosity, and spurred her to write a love story born out of one of the most unlikely places: a mixed-race internment camp. THE DIPLOMAT’S DAUGHTER is a captivating and informed tale of three young people divided by the horrors of World War II and their journey back to one another.




Excerpt

Work would help keep Christian’s mind off things. That’s what Franz Lange had said when he explained that he was working in the camp’s central utility building. A classmate named Kurt Schneider had told Christian he should volunteer for the milk prep job before he was given a
much more painful assignment than washing and filling milk bottles. In the camp, all the men and older boys  had their jobs assigned by Joseph O’Rourke, the camp commander. Kurt said that if he told O’Rourke that he was already a milk slinger, he’d let him remain a milk slinger.

“You caught up fast,” said Kurt as soon as Christian was next to him again. They spoke English, as Kurt’s German was so poor that he was only in the fourth-grade class in the German school despite being seventeen years old.

“So your Deutsch is good enough to put you in twelfth?” asked Kurt, taking long strides to keep up with Christian’s.

“Yeah, I grew up speaking German at home. I’m decent. My writing’s not, but I’ll survive.”

“Lucky you. You might have teachers who aren’t completely stupid. My teacher is a pig farmer. And the tenth-grade history teacher is an electrician. Only teaches the history of the lightbulb. Most of the German teachers didn’t even go to school. I heard the kindergarten teacher used to be in prison.” Kurt grinned at a passing group of girls and whistled. Christian stopped walking and Kurt shrugged. “You got to try with all of them, then maybe it will work with one of them. I don’t look like you, Hollywood. All tall and blond. I need a different approach.”

“Working the odds,” said Christian, moving again. “I respect that.”

“Anything to keep your mind occupied in this place. You don’t want to get fence sickness. You’ll be in the hospital for something while you’re here. Everyone is. Just don’t make it for fence sickness.” He stopped in front of the mess hall and looked down the road to where a group of mothers was standing. “Was that your mother you were talking to before?” he asked. “She’s a—”

“Don’t elaborate or I’ll have to knock your teeth out,” said Christian. He had no desire to knock anyone’s teeth out; he just felt it was obligatory to say it, especially given his mother’s current state. The thought of a fight made him think of Jack Walter the shoe thrower and he wished he were still in his room at the Home instead of fenced in in Texas.

“Come on, Tarzan,” said Kurt. “I’ll introduce you to Herr Beringer, who can put that aggression to work moving dairy products.”

Author bio and links

Karin Tanabe is the author of The Gilded Years, The Price of Inheritance, and The List. A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and The Washington Post. She has made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and The CBS Early Show. A graduate of Vassar College, Karin lives in Washington, DC. To learn more visit KarinTanabe.com and @KarinTanabe.
Buy links: 
https://www.amazon.com/Diplomats-Daughter-Novel-Karin-Tanabe/dp/1501110470

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-diplomats-daughter-karin-tanabe/1124863895


Intact German submarine from WWI found

Thanks to Tomas Vermote, an undersea archeologist, a UBII-submarine from World War One has been located. A unicum, because this submarine has been buried underwater for more than 100 years and is still intact, the only damage being to the bow (it probably caught a seamine). This means also the 23 crew members are still onboard.



The submarine lies somewhere in the neighborhood of Ostend. Both the governor of the province and the finder don't want to disclose the exact spot, because otherwise treasure hunters and scavengers would be attracted.

Vermote doesn't want to earn money with this find, either. He and his father have spent their entire lives looking and locatin old wrecks, and putting them on the maps - just for the sake of science.

The government has sent a message to the German officials, to find out what they want to do with the wreck. It would cost millions to raise the wreck, which is also a seamen's grave for the dead crew.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hey, Joey Journal

Meet Colleen June Glatzel, one of my fellow authors at Rogue Phoenix Press. To celebrate the release of her novel, Colleen is doing a virtual book tour. She'll be giving away a digital copy of this book to one randomly drawn commenter.



Blurb

After the psychologically scarring death of her father, wild child Rosie Dwyer is introduced to journal keeping. She initially considers this writing form to be cliché. Before the death, Rosie valued chaos and rebellion- from “protest-peeing” in class to shoving a Twinkie in a classmate’s eye. However, once Rosie gives into this mode of writing, a cathartic obsession begins.


Her entries often focus on her childhood enemy, Logan Fields, after he becomes Rosie’s permanent peer editor in creative writing class. While Rosie loses touch with both loved ones and reality, an unlikely friendship builds between her and Logan. Together, they must try to find the meaning behind insanity- in the school theatre, in the public library, and in the middle of a false Apocalypse.

Excerpt

August 17, 2012

Hey, Journal,

That “Dear journal” shtick is overused, so I’ll address you with the word “hey.” Hey, journal. I usually write exclusively on scraps of paper. Underneath my bed is my literature’s habitat and the paragraphs are seldom about anything. Last year, I discussed career goals with my high school’s counselor. Once my writing aspirations were revealed, Counselor became giddy and asked about my writing style. She said, “I’d love to hear about it, Rosie.”

“It’s disorganized,” I said. Then she handed me this ginormous journal and I witnessed a disgusting “I’m-a-cool-adult” wink.

This is the first time I’ve cracked you open.

Time seems to have decelerated. The slowing of time is the only gift August 2012 has coughed up. There’s been a drought, among other eyesores. I’m beneath our backyard’s oak tree, its gargantuan arms stretching far, shade encompassing the entire lawn. Many leaves are dehydrated. It’s as pleasant to lie beneath as Magic Mike is to watch. Allow me to explain that analogy. The film’s previews had me expecting a rollicking rom-com...something less serious. It differed from the ads. Still, every scene featuring scantily clad men made it worth the cash. That’s what happened with this shade. I’m below it, experiencing a full body itch, but it could be worse. Due to lacking rain, the ground isn’t summer turf in the slightest. Imagine wearing a pantsuit crafted out of hay and sandpaper. The shade is nice, though. Makes me able to bear my eyes being open.

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. I kid you not, as I placed the period after “open,” a bird landed in my eye line and inched toward me. Soon, it was atop this journal. I thought, Birds are flighty. Timid. Not this one. Its eyes were a familiar mess. I was confronted by the undeniable fact that birds were my dad’s favorite animal. I blinked, eyelids capturing wetness and holding it hostage. Moisture subsided and the bird was all kinds of nowhere.

I wonder what it would be like to sprout wings. To be gone. My pencil is begging me to release it from my monstrous grip and my legs are screaming, “Let us run far away, Rosie.”

I’ll do what I do best and let my impulses win. Run until I get scared and retreat. Run until I realize it’s not the same as flying. Run.


August 18, 2012

Hey, Journal,

I’m not counting the days that have passed since it happened. When a person starts counting the days following an event, it becomes part of a timeline. Then, by consequence, it is cemented in reality. I’m fortunate. My brain is still too immobilized to visualize random numbers floating in space. I’m unable to make numbers relate to each other, events, time or anything at all. Because of this, I don’t know how long it’s been since he died. It’s messed up, but I prefer this ambivalent uncertainty.

I’ll speak of something I know for sure. Today’s bike ride destroyed me. August is going too fast. It’s only the 18th, but it feels like the month is nearing its conclusion. The weather is far too chilly, honestly. Deflated bike tires carried me down the sidewalk of my street. I normally ride in the road, but I haven’t been in the mood to care about the well-being of pedestrians lately. Those tires were spinning, moving like the earth’s orbit around the sun, constant and circular, at least seemingly so. Home was in sight. My eyes were on the trees above. I was gliding. Gliding. The leaves were rustling. The world was unsettled. God attached a handle to the South Pole, stuffed the globe full of beads and shook this planet like a giant rattle. God’s infant-like cries resonated and the wheels came to a screeching halt, all because the malicious fates placed a tiny, dauntless bird on the sidewalk of Kale Avenue. I ran over the motionless bird. Accidentally. Then I pried my fluttering hand from my mouth and threw my wheels into the street. Seconds later, a police car demolished the bike and veered to the roadside.

Fun.

The uniformed man shot out of his vehicle, completely uncentered. There was a restricting quality to his aura, accompanied by an unprecedented ability to snap. Light brown is the color of a traditional rubber band, and when it comes to auras, it’s a color associated with discouragement. His body language was discouraging me the second he exited the car.

No, I’m not a psychic. I don’t see colors framing the forms of people. However, I do see people for who they are and enjoy describing this reality I perceive with the same language aura seers use. I heard all about auras growing up under the care of parents who lived to study metaphysical concepts. Much of the gobbledygook they taught me is too much for my logical brain to handle. Both my parents underwent past life regression, for example. Listening to my dad talk about his life as a Vietnamese peasant girl creeped me out. But auras? I was somehow able to get on board.

While laying eyes on me, the uniformed man eased. He’s one of the cops who came when my dad’s body wasn’t doing things it should be doing. Like, you know…living. I was the girl the cops found in the disheveled garage, after I found… Nope. No. Nope.




Author bio and links

Colleen June Glatzel is a writer from Waukesha, WI. She writes mostly fiction, but is interested in exploring other categories now that her first book, Hey, Joey Journal, is published. When Colleen isn’t writing, she deals antiques, acts, performs improv comedy, makes collages, paints and spends time with her family.


Social media:

Blog: http://fictionfortunesfinds.tumblr.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fictionfortunesfinds

Monday, September 18, 2017

Belgian team into Davis Cup Final!

The Davis Cup is a tennis competition between countries. More than 130 countries from all over the world compete in this, already since 1900. Each year the 16 countries in the World Group fight each other; the rest of the countries plays in the regional zones (the America's, Asia/Oceania, Europe/Africa). Belgium made it into the World Group.

What a great stunt of our tennis men yesterday! Despite a 1-2 score against Australia (team leader: Leyton Hewitt) our two best players managed to win their individual matches - and in a great way. David Goffin and Steve Darcis did what the nation expected of them, and won. Goffin even played his best match ever!


So now they are once more into the final of the Davis Cup. This is the third time already, after 1904 and 2015. The team works well under the lead of captain Johan Van Herck, who managed to bring a good atmosphere inside the group. He's also fluent in both Flemish and French.

The opponent this time is France, which won against Serbia. They already won the Davis Cup 9 times, the last time in 2001.

As France is quite near to Belgium, lots of tennis fans will try to attend this final, which will take place during the last weekend of November. They'll be ready to cheer their team forward, and of course we hope to win the cup. It would be a great prestation for our little country.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September: a month full of events

Following a yearlong tradition, the month of September here in Belgium is one for active weekends. Every weekend, there is something to do - at least if you are inclined to.

It already starts with the first weekend of September. That's the weekend reserved for a happening around the city of Brussels. People can go walking or cycling around the perimenter of town, and of course there is enough to eat and drink, as well as entertainment by groups and artists. The event originated from the Flemish-speaking citizens of Brussels, who wanted to let their presence be noted (in Brussels people mainly speak French, although it's supposed to be bilingual).

The second weekend of the month is Open Monument Day (see one of my previous blogs). A chance to visit places that are not open for public or where you have to pay entrance fees otherwise.

This weekend (the third one) is Car-Free Day and also Harbor Day. Especially the last is interesting. You can go to the harbors of Ghent, Antwerp or Zeebrugge, and enter ships, make trips around the harbor, climb on a crane and help to move a container from the quayside to the ship, ....


And the last weekend of September is also a good one! Then it's Customer's Day in most shops. Which means if you buy something there, you also get a nice present from the shopkeeper. Like if you buy a bread, you'll get some chocolates from the baker. Shops where you buy a lot will even give you a more expensive present.

So when the weather co-operates, you have excuse not to leave your house on these weekends!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Should parents control their kid's online presence?

A research report, published lately, tells us that more than 50% of the parents control - by any means or other - their offspring's presence on the net. I spy, with my little eye.


Is that good or bad? I never had kids of myself, but spent my career in teaching. Imo it's wrong to spy on your children.

When my sister and I were kids, we were given rules by our parents - and we were also told what the world was about. We left the house for hours at an end, and I suppose our parents didn't have a clue as to what we were doing. We were trusted to do the right thing, and we knew we could always talk to our parents when something happened.

So I think parents can better spend time to make their kids understand that some care needs to be used in online presence. You can't deny it exists anymore. But why not warn your kids about the risk they are taking? Fifty years ago, we were told never to accept sweets from a stranger, or not to go with them when they promised us a toy. It's the same now. The bad guys are also on the web, but if you take care you can avoid being choses as their victim.

And you should also make kids aware that presence on the web is not everything! I remember a conversation I had with one of my ex-students. She was a beautiful girl, ripe beyong her age. She alway put up sexy pictures of herself on Instagram - and then she was surprised she got all kind of messages from guys who wanted to meet her! I explained it was partly her own fault. I advised her to only put up pictures decently dressed and not in sexy poses. The pestering stopped.

I think that young girls and boys must learn to follow their own mind, and not so much follow what other think or do. We've been raised that way, and it still comes in handy.

What's your take on this?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Planning is half the fun

Both my sister and I LOVE making plans! We plan our trips always a year ahead, for instance. Or discuss how we are going to decorate and paint the living room, hallways etc.

We find that making - and changing constantly - all of these plans is a lot of fun. Don't you agree? The wonderful thing about a plan is that you can change it as much as you like - and sometimes, when you realized your plan, you already start thinking of how to make it better still....

For 2018, we've more or less planned our trips - leaving space for some surprise trips (you never know when something comes up). And planning doesn't have to cost you. Although we make reservations and buy airplane tickets, we see to it we can cancel at any time without having to pay. Agreed, it will cost you a bit more, but in the chance that something wrong comes your way (like my surgery in July) you are glad you can have your airfare back and not having to spend a dime on your hotel.

The redecoration of our living room has been postponed to next summer. Normally we should have done it this summer, but fate decided otherwise. I couldn't do much after my surgery. But this means we can reconsider our color scheme... It has already changed a couple of time, but in the end we'll have to decided on a color. May be white (or off-white, light grey, ... Should go with the furniture and the curtains, because they are still in good shape.

Well, we'll see!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Unchartered Waters

Meet author Micah Persell, who's doing a virtual book blast tour for Uncharted Waters from Simon and Schuster's Crimson Romance line. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Monday, September 11, 2017.



Micah 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:

Blurb

When a hermit and a scientist are snowbound in a cabin in the woods, the sparks they generate just might melt it all down in this scorching and sensual romance.

Scientist Bethany Morgan discovers the schematics to a world-changing recycling system that will help her realize her greatest dream: providing clean water to the world. The only problem? She must track down the creator, a Dr. Anderson, to help her complete the prototype, and he’s been missing for decades.

James Anderson has clung to the quiet, pain-free existence he’s made in the mountains since his father’s death years ago. But when the determined scientist he rescued gets snowed in at his cabin for an undetermined time, his world is turned upside down...


Excerpt

Her pillow would not stop wiggling. She gritted her teeth, furrowing her brow. Cracking one eye, she found herself staring at flannel. A short distance away, her hand lay sprawled across a row of buttons. As she watched, her hand rose and fell.

Ah, not a pillow, then. James.

She opened her other eye and raised her head a bit, gazing down at their bodies. She was all over him, plastered against his side with her arm across his chest and her leg across his thighs.

She didn’t know what had happened to James’s fastidious blanket wall, but she’d probably had something to do with its demise. She craned around enough to look over her shoulder without relinquishing her hold on her lumberjack pillow.

The blanket was on the floor beside the bed.

Author bio and links

Micah Persell lives in Southern California with her husband, 1.7 children, and menagerie of pets. She writes romance with strong women, smart minds, and scorching love. Visit her online at www.micahpersell.com , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MicahPersell and on Twitter @MicahPersell.


Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Uncharted-Waters-Micah-Persell-ebook/dp/B073BMXKTR

Simon & Schuster: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Uncharted-Waters/Micah-Persell/9781507206119 Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/uncharted-waters-10

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Open Monument Day

Tomorrow, lots of monuments can be visited for free. It's the biggest cultural event of the year, and they are already into their 29th edition.



Here in our region, you can take a ride (for free) on an old steam train, between Dendermonde and Puurs where the old train line ran. While you're there you can also visit the old Cockerill factory, where these old steamtrains were made.


You hear the train coming from far! And see the black smoke. All the birds in the neigborhood will fly away when that steam train is coming. But hey, I can still remember the times when they rode past our house every day. That's what getting older means. You know a lot more than the youngsters (although you feel young yourself).

Our town has a lot to offer, so when the weather is not too bad we're sure to visit some of the sights, like the Belfry and Old Cloth Hall, the Meat Hall and the ancient Our Lady's Church with its baptism fountain in Roman style (I was baptised at it).

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Blame it on the Bet

Please welcome my guest, author L.E. Rico who's doing a virtual book blast tour for Blame it on the Bet, a contemporary romance available September 11, 2017 from Entangled Publishing. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Thursday, September 7, 2017.



The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. So please, use the link below to place your comment:

Blurb

Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, where the cats wear sweaters, the local priest dispenses dating advice, and you can find your fortune in the bottom of a pie pan.

When her family’s pub is threatened with foreclosure, Hennessy O’Halloran, along with her three sisters, is determined to raise enough money to keep it out of the hands of the L.A. real-estate developer trying to raze it and replace it with a—god forbid!—multiplex theater.

Bryan Truitt always gets what he wants. And what he wants is the sweet corner property on Mayhem’s Main Street where O’Halloran’s Pub sits. But his “quick business” turns into more than he bargains for when he meets the feisty Hennessy. Next thing he knows, he’s betting her he can outlast Mayhem’s punishing winter in time to make the pub his—or he’ll gift it to her for free.

Hennessy knows better than to flirt with the enemy. But suddenly Bryan’s not sure which he wants more…the property or the woman who owns it.


Excerpt

Hennessy O’Halloran is looking progressively more fidgety as I close the distance between us.

“I–I…I mean, considering our…you know…our arrangement…” she stammers.

“Which arrangement?” I ask innocently.

“You know…our wager…”

“Oh, that arrangement. Yes, you’d think things might be awkward between us. But they’re really not, are they?” I muse. She doesn’t reply—nor does she make a move to thwart my approach. “Quite the opposite, actually. It’s the damnedest thing, Hennessy. I just can’t seem to stop thinking about…” I let the sentence hang between us until, finally, she clearly can’t take it anymore.

“About what? What can’t you stop thinking about?” she asks quietly.

We’re only a foot apart now, and she has to look up to see my face. That means I get to look down into her perfect, milky complexion. I’m so close that I could actually count the freckles dotting the bridge of her nose. I wonder if she has them anywhere else…

Before I can stop myself, I lower my head close to hers, and for a split second, I know we both think I’m going to kiss her. But at the final moment, my mouth veers to her left ear. I’m sure she can feel the warmth of my breath as I whisper the single word.

“You.”

Except it doesn’t sound like a word. It’s an exhalation—a sigh—and it floats from my mouth to her ear and heats the space between us for the brief moment before I turn and leave her looking after me as I walk back down the hall, self-satisfied smile on my face.

Oh, God.

I am in so much trouble here.




Author bio and links

L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. And, while she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, she spends even more time composing her own great stories.


Social media:
Website: www.LaurenRico.com
Twitter: @RadioRico
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenRicoAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurenricoauthor

Buy links: This book can be pre-ordered for just $0.99.  
Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/Blame-Whiskey-Sisters-L-E-Rico-ebook/dp/B074ZLDGZR/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1503526674&sr=1-1&keywords=blame+it+on+the+bet
B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blame-it-on-the-bet-le: rico/1126998403?ean=9781640633742
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/blame-it-on-the-bet
Entangled:  https://entangledpublishing.com/blame-it-on-the-bet.html

Writers block

I'm not the only one. More than one author suffers from writer's block every now and then. Mostly it has to do with personal circumstances, like a terrible loss (Pieter Aspe - Flemish crime writer - who lost his wife some time ago).

My case is somewhat different. For one reason or another, I have periods in which one idea follows the other, and a book writes itself - but then there areperiods in which I don't feel like putting one word on paper.

And I suppose there's a curse on a book I plan to write. It's the sequel to Diamonds For the Devil (book one of The Medici Diamonds). I had more or less an outline for this book, but at a given point I found out there was something wrong with it. In the meantime I wrote other books...

Earlier this year, I finally came up with a solution to this problem. I began to (re)write the beginning of the new novel - and then the news came I have cancer! Surgery followed and you can already guess - no more inclination to continue writing. By the way, I'm feeling fine after my surgery, the surgeon assured me she has taken out the entire tumor. Could be I need to get some medicine against secondary tumors, but there's a chance I won't need them.

Well, as you can tell I'm sitting behind my pc and I'm writing. A blog, that's easy and the inspiration never fails me for it. And yes, I've got an idea for a novel - but another one. I've always felt it best to write something different when you're stuck with another one. I guess Curse of the Diamonds is really cursed!!!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Billionaire in Her Bed

Today my guest is author Regina Kyle who's doing a virtual book blast tour for The Billionaire in Her Bed, a contemporary romance available September 4, 2017 from Entangled Indulgence. The Book Blast Tour will take place on Monday, September 4, 2017.


Regina will be awarding a signed copy of Triple Score, her last book for Harlequin Blaze to a randomly drawn winner (US only) via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2411

Blurb

Real estate mogul Eli Ward needs to keep a low profile on his new project. He’s expecting a fight from the somewhat eclectic folks currently living there. What he doesn’t expect is for that fight to be led by Brooke Worthington, the woman who rocked his world one unforgettable night. The one woman who doesn’t know who he is, which is a good thing. She just sees him as a regular guy. It’s refreshing.

Graphic designer and part-time bartender Brooke Worthington refuses to follow her family’s plan for her. She’s too busy building her artistic career. She doesn’t have time for relationships, either, especially with the super hot Eli, because she has to save the building she lives in with people she thinks of as her real family from some greedy real estate billionaire.

These two have secrets and chemistry that is nothing short of explosive.


Excerpt

Brooke cleared her throat for attention. “Okay, people.As exciting as our new addition is, we’re still in the middle of a meeting here.”

“We can deal with the garden later. I want to hear more about Eli.” 

An older woman eyed him appraisingly from the sofa. The gray-haired man next to her blew a loud raspberry,but she continued, undeterred. 

“I don’t see a ring on your finger. Tell me, young man, do you have a girlfriend?”

“Or a boyfriend?” asked David, the arm around Chris tightening.

“I’m straight,” Eli assured him, then directed his gaze at Brooke. “And single.”

She ignored him and started in on the bean dip.

“Oh, what a pity.” The older woman tsked her disapproval. “A handsome young man like you should have someone to come home to.”

“Get a dog,” the man next to her suggested. “Less expensive than a woman, and they never talk back.”

“Or cook dinner,” said the woman next to him, who Eli had figured out must be his wife. “Or do your laundry. Or…”

“See what I mean about talking back?” Her husband pushed his wire-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose.

“Dog’s definitely the way to go.”

“About the garden…” Brooke tried again.

“Is it true, what Chris said?” Charise piped up. “Do you and Eli really know each other?”

“Were you two an item?” 

David asked, jumping on the way-too-personal bandwagon.

“Despite what you all seem to think, this is not Melrose Place.” 

Brooke adopted a Wonder Woman power pose,hands balled into fists on her hips and feet planted firmly apart. “And I am not sharing the details of my private life at a tenants’ meeting.”

Author bio and links

Regina Kyle knew she was destined to be an author when she won a writing contest at age ten with a touching tale about a squirrel and a nut pie. By day, she writes dry legal briefs, representing the state in criminal appeals. At night, she writes steamy romance with heart and humor.
A lover of all things theatrical, Regina lives on the Connecticut coast with her husband, teenage daughter and two melodramatic cats. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely singing, reading, cooking or watching bad reality television. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of her local RWA chapter. Her book Triple Dare was a 2016 Booksellers’ Best Award winner.


Social Media:
www.reginakyleauthor
www.facebook.com/reginakyleauthor
www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomreginakyle
https://www.pinterest.com/reginakyleautho/
https://twitter.com/Regina_Kyle1

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074SYQX47
BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/billionaire-in-her-bed-regina-kyle/1126974476?ean=9781640631946

Friday, September 1, 2017

Dendermonde loves its folklore

Yesterday evening, the last Thursday of August, the giants danced once more through the streets of Dendermonde.

Dendermonde is a medieval town (got its town charter in the 12th century) which used to be surrounded by walls and a moat. Not much of it remains, though. Throughout time the walls crumbled and only two of the city gates are left to witness. Most of the medieval buildings are fake too, as the town was completely burned down during World War One.

However, traditions remain well alive. To understand their meaning, you have to go back to the Middle Ages, when a town had guilds (carpenters, butchers, weaver, dyers, shiploaders, etc.). These were well respected free citizens who got rights. One of these was they could have a yearly procession in honor of their patron saint. In the course of time, the various processions melted together to only two: that of Horse Bayard and that of the Giants. Both are UNESCO World Heritage.



Bayard only leaves his stable every ten year (next time coming up on May 24th 2020) but the Giants dance every year. They are constructions made a very long time ago. The heads (in wood) even date back to the 15th-16th century. The frames, of course, need to be remade from time to time. Indian is 4,45 m high and weighs 71 kg, Mars is 3,70 m and weighs 79 kg, while Goliath is 4 m high and weighs 76 kg. Each giant is carried by ONE man only, who puts the frame onto his shoulders. You need special skills to be able to carry such a giant, walk with it through the (sometimes narrow) streets and even dance with that weight on your shoulders.... The people who carry these giants are descendants of the former shiploaders guild, they were used to carry heavy burdens.



Of course, the giants are not the only participants in the event. A lot of other groups take part. You see carts on which tableaux of old times are depicted. A lot of fun (and for some, some fright) are the Knaptanden. These are guys who wear a costume and a head with sharp teeth. They refer to the find of an odd kind of fish in the river Schelde. They can clap their teeth and like to 'scare' people.



If you ever happen to take a trip to Europe and visit Flanders, be sure to come and see our giants in August. Even if you are not from town, you'll be taken in with the atmosphere!