Wednesday, December 26, 2018

How was your Christmas?

Have you spent a nice Christmas? We did, as Christmas (or rather, Christmas Eve) is also my sister's birthday.

She already got a nice surprise during our flight to Mexico City. Although it was still a day early, one of the stewards brought her a box of chocolates. That was really a nice attention!

We made a guided tour on our first day in Mexico, and when we went for lunch the guide had arranged a birthday cake and the whole restaurant sang along.

Christmas is the sort of feast you spent with family. Our family is only small but we Skyped with the one cousin who still keeps contact. Was nice! Just thinking how technology has changed our way of life...

Well, we're off for another day of exploration. Today we are going to see Aztec pyramids.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Feliz Navidad

For everyone a Merry Christmas!

We are currently just arrived in Mexico City, where we spent the day discovering downtown with a private guide - but more about that in my travel blog which  I'll post after our return home.

It was a long journey and we didn't sleep for a long time. Will see our bed early tonight!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Record year for Brussels airport

It appears that our national airport, Zaventem (or: Brussels Airport), has well recovered from the terrorist attack in 2016 which killed a number of people and destroyed half of the buildings. The number of passengers sank just after the attack, but right now they'll count at least 25 million for this year!


This means that an average of 70,000 people will board a plane at Brussels daily, with days that the number goes up to 90,000 or even more! Like now in the Christmas period. Already yesterday 79,000 people were leaving and sure there will be more today and tomorrow.

Not only Belgians take the plane here, but lots of Dutchmen and French as well. It's easier to reach Zaventem from the south of Holland or the north of France than it takes them to go to Schiphol or Charles de Gaulle.

One other advantage is that Brussels airport still allows for more growth. By 2025 a new pier will be ready and bigger planes will be able to go up and land.

Needless to say, the CEO is very satisfied!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Warmest Week

Since a couple of years, the week before Christmas is in Flanders 'The Warmest Week' - where everyboby cares for everyone. National radio station StuBru organises this event, in which more than 2000 worthy causes are supported by all kind of actions, like a warmathon, a pancake bake, just name it. The center of these actions is the provincial estate of Wachtebeke, where 3 DJ's of StuBru have taken up station and broadcast live.


There will be a live show on TV, where it will become known how much money was collected this year. Of course the organisation hopes for a lot!

The group of schools for which my sister works, also has undertaken an action. They have a Christmas market and also broadcast songs (for pay) on a local radio station.


We have also made our contribution by sending Hallmark cards to our friends and family. By buying these, a percentage of the proceeds goes to The Warmest Week.

Monday, December 17, 2018

What a Widow Wants

Please welcome Jenna Jaxon today. Jenna is the author of What a Widow Wants, a historical romance available December 18th from Kensington Publishing. To promote this release, Jenna's doing a virtual book blast tour today.


Jenna will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2888

Blurb

Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are returning to London society—with their futures in their own hands . . .

The widowed Lady Stephen Tarkington, Fanny to her friends, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman god Fanny kisses during a masquerade turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago . . .

Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he’s on the hunt for a wife. He’s more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can’t wait forever. And now Fanny’s position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it’s possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved? . .



Excerpt

Heart pounding, Fanny ran on tiptoes in an effort to keep up with him. This was madness. Wherever was he taking her? And what on earth did he have in mind? Oh, but she knew what that was. That deep desire in his eyes told her exactly where his intentions lay. Would she allow him to have his way with her? She didn’t quite recognize him; the mask hid just enough of his face. Still he reminded her of someone. Someone who had been most dear to her what seemed a lifetime ago. But that man had left London, swearing never to return to the ton years before. He’d retreated to his country estate and had not been seen in Town for seven years.

They raced down the corridor, Pollux still in the lead, Castor right behind her. That gave her some comfort. Pollux wouldn’t ravish her in front of his brother, or friend rather. Still, the urgency of his headlong flight, dodging wide-eyed guests left and right, persuaded her that this man would stop at nothing to get her alone.

He turned a corner into a deserted hall and slowed finally. Stopping at a door on the far end, he glanced around then put his hand on the latch. “Keep watch, Cas. No one enters.”

Castor grinned. “Not a soul, Pol. My word as a gentleman.”

Pollux pushed down the latch, opened the door into a shadowy room, and drew her inside.
The flickering fireplace across the room gave the only light. Fanny’s eyes took a moment to adjust to the dimness. A moment in which Pollux pulled her hard against him, crushing her breasts against his unyielding chest. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her to him, and sank his mouth onto hers.


Author bio and links

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.”  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats and one silent one. 
Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has four series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France, and The Widows’ Club series, also set in Regency England and available from Kensington Publishing in both print and digital.
She currently writes to support her chocolate habit. 



Find Jenna Jaxon online:
BLOG:  https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenna-Jaxon/146857578723570
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Jaxon/e/B005CHPBD2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1
Buy the book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1516103297/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-a-widow-wants-jenna-jaxon/1128297334

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Red Lions World Champion Hockey!

Go back a couple of years, and hockey meant nothing in Belgium. Our national team was like a pub crew and just did nothing. Then a new coach came and he brought in a new swing.

At the Rio Olympics our Red Lions already played the finale, but lost it against Argentina. Today, they played finals once more (against Holland) and WON. This is just fantastic!


It's good to see how our little country can be the best of the world. Not only in hockey and soccer, but also in athletics and gymnastics. A great generation of excellent sporters has come and hopefully we'll see more gold medals in the future!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Dreaming of a big win

Tonight, at the Euro Millions draw, there is a jackpot of 85 million Euro to be won. Doesn't everyone secretly wish he/she'd be the lucky one?

I do. That's why I play every week for a modest sum. Sometimes I win (although always only a small sum) but most of the times I don't. But every week I dream about what I could do when I had that kind of money...

With this jackpot, it would be easy. Most of the money would be given away to the fondation against cancer. I don't need so much money. I only wish I had enough to be able to demolish this old house in which I'm living and build a new one on the same site. A house that would have every standard necessary now (such as isolation everywhere, a heating system that doesn't rely on gas or fuel - which can be very expensive - a kitchen that has everything my sister wants, a dream of a bathroom...) And of course I'd wish that there was enough so Chris could stop working as well and we could both enjoy our pension and travel as much as we like.

What would you like?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bringing some Christmas spirit to the house

Now that Saint Nicholas has left our country for sunnier parts (he resides in Spain, according to the tale) it's time to think about Christmas. It's one of my favorite times of the year, and I like the atmosphere around it.

The radio has begun to play Christmas carols and last weekend we've decorated our house to match the Christmas spirit. We don't have a big tree - there wouldn't be space for it. And also, I don't like to pick up dried needles every time of the day!

So we just have a (very) small artificial tree but lots of other decorations. Everywhere you look, there is something referring to Christmas.


My sister has her birthday on Christmas Eve and I have prepared a nice surprise for her. She'll be happy when she sees it! I remember my mother telling that the nurses in the hospital where she delivered my sister always asked her why she didn't wait until Christmas morning? Well, my sister was clearly in a hurry to be born! Mum got her first pain and not an hour later my sister was born. Giving birth easily runs in the family. Our grandma had her four kids the same way and didn't make anything special of it.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Looking out to the next trip, already planning other ones...

Not long now before we head to Mexico. I've dreamed a long time about going there, ever since I read about the Aztecs. No wonder that one of my first novels (I wrote the first draft of it when I was about 15) was about a girl who moves to New Spain (as Mexico was called then) and has a lot of adventures there! Of course, it took a long time before the actual novel was published. It bears the title Maria Gonzalez and it's not entirely about Mexico. Maria has adventures there, but also in Spain and England.

We'll first spend some days in Mexico City, from where we are going to do some day trips to see more of the culture of the country (and the famous pyramids, of course). Later on we move to a rancho where we are going to do some horseback riding at our leisure. That's another way of seeing something of the environs!

So, even when this trip is coming up, we are already thinking of what we're going to do in the coming months. For 2019 most trips are already booked (but there will be some unexpected ones in between, for sure), going to for instance Florence and Nice (with a visit to Monaco). And we're also going to Leeds and Rotterdam. Right now we are thinking of our big trip for 2020. Thinking of Jordan - always wanted to see the Dead Sea and Petra.

Are there others around who also act this way? Totally infested with the travel bug???

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Saint Nicholas

Today, 6th of December, is the day Saint Nicholas walks over the rooftops and his helper, Piet, drops presents through the chimneys for all the kids who were good the past year. At last, that was how it used to be.

Nowadays, there is discussion about the fact that Piet has a black face - accusations of racism galore! But Piet was a chimney sweep, so he HAD a black face. Piet isn't of African descent. He's just an ordinay guy who gets smudges on his face because of his job.


In Belgium, everyone knows this tradition. There is just a little difference in region. In some of these, not Saint Nicholas but Saint Martin visits. Same sort of saint, just another day (November 11th). In our parish, it was Saint Martin, but just a little but further it was Nicholas. So we figured as kids that we could have presents and chocolate twice (ha, ha!)...

Most young kids still believe in the holy saint. It's endearing to read the letters they sent him. B-Post has a special address to where such letters can be sent, and the kids even get an answer.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Final Notice

Please welcome Van Fleisher today. Van is the author of Final Notice, a thriller/political satire available now. To promote this launch, Van is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which will run December 3 - January 4.


Van will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2872

Blurb

The year is the very near future.  A brilliant young doctor and mathematician, Vijay Patel, has invented a new health/sport watch that monitors blood chemistry so accurately, it can actually predict when someone will die – within 10, 20, or 30 days.  The intention of this “Final Notice,” as it is called, is to allow people to get their affairs in order and reach out to loved ones before it’s too late.  But when those notified have easy access to a gun, the result is sometimes lethal for more than just the watch-owner.  

These are the stories of several people who receive their Final Notice and their very different reactions ... including a desire to get revenge with impunity.  They range from an 89-year-old resident in a retirement home to a U.S. Senator...from a benevolent widow to a crass tycoon to a noted climate change scientist.  

But in this fresh, fast-paced page-turner, their stories are all set against the all-too-recognizable backdrop of a guns-gone-wild America, and the relentless push by the NRA and their surrogate politicians to make guns even easier to acquire.

There is plenty of dark humor and political satire in FINAL NOTICE, as well as touching scenes and outright suspense.  So expect to laugh out loud, dry some tears, and bite your nails (not necessarily in that order).


Excerpt

And sure enough, in 1.24 seconds, Trudi had 1,620,000 results. “Here it is. California law protects us if we shoot a burglar in our home. Still, it wouldn’t help if we didn’t hear them until they burst into the room. I can’t see either one of us having the presence of mind to reach for the gun, roll out of bed and blast away. What are you smiling at?”

“At the image of you doing just that!”

“Hey. I’ve been watching Angelina Jolie and I think I can manage the moves.”

Author bio and links


“After 21 years with an airline, and 30 years in management consulting, I retired and found that my phone didn’t ring and the only emails I got were asking for money. So, since I was at my computer, I decided to write a novel.” 
This is only half the story. (Van is notoriously modest.) The author was Director of International Marketing with TWA, and an International Management Consultant – taking him behind the closed doors of boardrooms and executive offices around the world. He knows how business works, which gives the slightly “sci-fi” premise of Final Notice a realistic feel. Moreover, his two careers led him to live abroad for much of his life. After growing up in New Jersey and Florida, where he never thought much further than the length of a football field, and going to college in New Mexico, he wound up living in England, Scotland and France, travelling frequently to the Middle East and Asia. He even spent a year living in India. And his first-hand experience with – and respect for – other cultures is apparent in this book.
“Final Notice is meant to highlight, my concerns with America’s handling of three important issues: gun control (not anti-gun), ageism and the importance of immigration. The book won’t fix these issues, but there are a number of great organizations with even greater people working on our behalf to right these wrongs. Proceeds from sales of Final Notice will help support those efforts.” 


www.finalnoticebook.com 
https://www.facebook.com/finalnoticebook
https://twitter.com/vanf44
https://www.amazon.com/FINAL-NOTICE-What-would-certain-ebook/dp/B0798XNY6P

Weekend away

I'm just back home from a long weekend at the coast. Although the weather didn't cooperate, it's always nice to be away for a while.

On Friday, the boiler got its check-up, so it was handy I was there already. In earlier years, we always had to ask the guy to come on a Saturday and that wasn't always possible. Everything was ok, no worries. Our heating system works fine.

My sister had some problems getting to Heist. Someone threatened to jump under a train and because of that all train traffic between Ghent and Bruges was stopped. She arrived quite late, and I felt really  hungry in the meantime!

On Saturday we went to see a fashion show in one of our favorite boutiques, and of course couldn't resist buying something! Later that evening, we went out to dine at Bartholomeus, the best restaurant in the neighborhood.

Yesterday it was raining a lot, but nevertheless we went outside for a walk. There were not a lot of other people around, but who cares? When you are dressed for the occasion, it's great to be outside, even with wind and rain!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

The change in perception

When you are a little kid, the perception of time and space is quite different than when you're older.

Children look differently at the world that surrounds them. A park - not too big by normal standards - looks like a huge forest full of surprises. Anyway, that's how we perceived it as kids. We used to play in the dunes of Heist (a park between Heist and Duinbergen, actually not that big!) and it just looked to go on and on. We could run and hide behind shrubs and there seemed to be no end to it. Nowadays, as you walk through it you do that in only a quarter of an hour.

Also, when we looked ahead to some festivity (like Christmas, a wedding party, ...) it appeared to take ages before the day of the feast was there. Years seemed to last endlessly.

Nowadays, I look back at an event and say to my sister: 'Is that really already two years ago?' I seems like only yesterday.

Strange, isn't it? Of course now I'm over 60 and the older you get, the faster time seems to go. Do you have that same feeling?

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Night Before Christmas

Please welcome author K.S. David today. She's doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for The Night Before Christmas, a romantic suspense available now. The tour began on November 19th and will continues until December 7th.


K.S. David will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2863

Blurb

From the author of A Promise Kept and Every Single Wish, comes an exhilarating romantic suspense for the holidays.

As Center City and its quirky residents get ready to ring in the holiday with merriment and good cheer, Calista Tate is forced to make a terrible decision? Does she stay and fight for the life she's created or - does she run away? One man could be her angel - her saving grace. And, the promise of love may be strong enough to make her hold her ground. The wrong decision could put them both at risk.

Calista Singletary decided it was finally safe to settle down. She opened a small bakery, has a new home and life is good. That is until she gets arrested for killing her elderly neighbor. It doesn’t help that she chased the old man out of her house with a rolling pin two days earlier.  The same rolling pin is found under his bruised and bloody body. Calista thinks some trickery is underfoot. Good thing her sexy attorney, Marc Collins, thinks he can get the charges dropped.

But Calista knows that when the authorities start digging, they’re going to uncover her true identity. That’s when the real horrors will begin. She usually stays packed and ready to blow town at the first sign of trouble - assuming a new name, a new look, a new story. But she’s growing close to Marc and just once, she wants to feel normal. Will the cost be too high?

Three years earlier, the man Calista loved sucked her into a world of indescribable horror. She’s the only one who can testify to the atrocities he committed by Thomas Langston. She stole three million dollars of his money and maimed him the day she left. In return, Thomas made her a promise. He would always love her. He would never stop looking for her. And the next time he saw Calista - he was going to kill her.

Excerpt

A small crowd was gathered on the edge of my lawn. Neighbors hollered so loud that I couldn’t even hear myself think. A wall of hickory trees covered in a new dusting of snow stood above us caught our noise, bounded it around and threw the sounds back down. The strange vibration of our voices echoed in my ears.

“Calista! Really! Chasing an old man with a dough roller in the middle of the night! You should be ashamed," chastised Alma Douglas. Her blue curlers peeked out from beneath a large sateen scarf infested with brightly colored butterflies. Her thin pink cotton robe barely closed over her ample bosom. Her feet were thick, feet were shoved into a pair of matted blue slippers.

"Ashamed?" I snorted. "I found him in my house! What woman runs out of her home in the middle of the night screaming, if nothing is wrong?”

"He's harmless," Mr. Landy gagged back a chuckle. "Wouldn't hurt a fly." Then leaned forward and whispered, "The lights are on, but no one's inside." He whistled and made circles around his head. "You know what I mean, right?" Meager strands of gray hair had escaped hair band and whipped around the balding halo of his scalp. 

The subject of our discussion was my elderly neighbor, Fred Guthrie. The man was stooped with a slight hump in his back. I had been living next door to him for a few months but had only seen him a hand-full of times. Shuffling his feet back-and-forth, he was oblivious to the argument surrounding him. The man was thin. A good wind could have knocked him over. Standing between us, Fred Guthrie was immune to my argument. His yellow, rummy eyes were downcast. Blue veined hands quivered at his side as he hummed faintly.



Author bio and links


K. S. David lives in the Mid-Atlantic with her husband, their three children and a menagerie of pets. New storylines are constantly running through her head. She keeps notebooks tucked in pockets of the car, the nightstand and makes voice recordings just about all day long. She's addicted to true life mysteries and crime shows, both of which marry well with a great romance. Some of her favorite things are long walks, reading in bed, baking and of course, writing her next novel. 

Links:
https://www.amazon.com/K.-S.-David/e/B00BP1U4BI
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6979268.K_S_David
https://twitter.com/ksdavidromance
https://www.facebook.com/ks.david.52
https://www.amazon.com/Night-Before-Christmas-K-David-ebook/dp/B07K7151P1

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Off to the ballet

Do you like ballet? I do, and so does my sister. We got the feeling for it when we befriended Hortense, who had a knitting shop in the town center. She had two daughters, who both loved dancing. The eldest became a show dancer in the Moulin Rouge in Paris, and Bernice became a prima ballerina. That's how it went: each time Bernice had a school performance, we got tickets for it and so we went to see a ballet very often!

In later years, the ardour dimished a bit, but we still love a beautiful ballet. The last one was Matthew Bourne's Cinderella in London. Later on today we are going to see Anna Karenine by the Eifman Ballet, in Antwerp. When we see a performance, we mostly go to Antwerp. Our grandmother was born there and we inherited a love for this town. As the inhabitants call it " 't Stadt". I can even speak the dialect when I'm among those who use it.


I'm sure it will be a great performance. We saw some trailers on YouTube and we didn't hesitate to buy our tickets!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Black Friday

My mailbox is overflowing with Black Friday deals. I think that's a bit crazy! For starters, we live in Belgium, not in the US. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving and don't have a Black Friday to go shopping. It's a custom that has blown over. Here we have Saint Martin and Saint Nicholas who give away presents and chocolate to the kids who were good (!). It depends in which part of the country you live if you either have Martin or Nicholas visit you. Here in Dendermonde it was Martin, on November 11th. I used to think, as a kid, that we got the day off because of the Holy Man! Did I know it was to remember the end of World War One...

Well, returning to Black Friday. You can't escape it. On the radio and in the newspaper, on tv. It is as if they force you to go shopping.

Well, I do like shopping, but I only go shopping for what I need - and when I need it. If at that moment, I can buy something for less than the usual price, it's fine. Like some time ago, you got an extra pack of (very fine) coffee when you bought one. So you had them both for half-price. That's great. And when you need a new refrigerator and there's 20% off that's also great. But I wouldn't buy it just because there's a discount, see.

And how about you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Invasion of the cold

The weather is really crazy! Up to three days ago, it was way too warm for the time of year. We got sunny days that reminded more of late summer than of autumn. And now we're into deep winter!

From one day to another, the temperature dropped and it began to freeze at night. Add to this a strong wind blowing in from the east, and you get a feeling of being dropped in a freezer.

I've been going out, dressed like one who goes to Siberia. Various layers of clothing, a warm coat, sjawl, warm bonnet and gloves. I normally never wear gloves, but now they are useful.

When I'm walking, I need constantly to wipe the tears from my eyes, and blow my running nose.

Normally I don't mind the cold, but I hate it when there is so much wind! If this drops, the temperature will become bearable again.

How is the weather where you live?

Monday, November 19, 2018

Haven't been around for a while

I must apologize for not posting a blog earlier. The past few days, I've been occupied with some personal issues.

That's how it is with me. When I'm occupied otherwise, I can't put my mind to writing. That's also the reason why I don't find the drive to continue on my latest novel. It's always been like this. Sometimes I can't write for years - and then all of a sudden I start writing like mad!

The last months I've managed to keep up with this blog but the WIP just waits patiently. I definitely must continue on it some time. Perhaps inspiration will return after our holiday in Mexico?

Well, no more excuses! I promise to write my blog more regularly and don't allow myself to be sidetracked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

House of Ashes

Please welcome Loretta Marion today. Loretta is the author of House of Ashes, a mystery available November 13, 2018 from Crooked Lane Books. This author is now doing a book blast tour to promote her book, which will take place November13-19,2018. 


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

Blurb

Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it's by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what's happened to the young couple...even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can't help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family's dark curse destroys everything in its path? 


Excerpt

Present day ~ Whale Rock, Massachusetts ~ Cape Cod 

September ~ three days since the disappearance


Back at home, I took a good look at my beloved Battersea Bluffs, with its towering widow’s walk, double chimneys, and impressive wrap-around porch. It had become part of Whale Rock’s lore that the majestic Victorian sitting high above the cliffs on the craggy northern end of town was possessed by the spirits of my great- grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, its original owners. The legend evolved from a rumor initiated by my father when he was trying to take back his rightful home. It had been a successful strategy, but he could never have guessed how prophetic his fable would become—or maybe he’d already sensed the mysterious aspects of the old house. To be fair, Papa and I had never discussed the lurking scents and sounds presented by the spirits sharing our home.

I unlatched the gate, to a warm greeting of soft whimpers and an exuberant tail.

“You’re missing them too, aren’t ya, buddy?” I reached down to stroke the German shepherd’s glossy black fur, those usually erect ears momentarily relaxed. I widened the gate.

I followed the dog to the ledge of Percy’s Bluffs, so named after my great-grandfather’s dramatic leap from the cliffs overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I stared down to where the waves were crashing against the rocks below. Through the years, this spot had become my refuge, where I’d come to contemplate decisions or brood over troubles. Exhausted and numb, I sank to the ground and
idly fingered an abandoned champagne cork, probably left here the night Vince and Ashley moved in with me. We’d brought a bottle down to the cliffs to toast our new alliance and the home they were going to help me save. I closed my eyes to bring to memory the feel of the fizzy liquid against my tongue, the first I’d tasted in years.  There’d not been much to celebrate in recent times. But that night, a sense of hope had returned to me.


Author bio and links

A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion's affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool's Truth, was a twisty mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.
When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador”.


Website:  https://www.LorettaMarion.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LorettaMarionAuthor
Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/House-Ashes-Haunted-Bluffs-Mystery/dp/1683318439
Barnes&Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/house-of-ashes-loretta-marion/1128856330?ean=9781683318439#/
Books-A-Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/House-Ashes/Loretta-Marion/9781683318439
Indiebound:  https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781683318439

Solving problems isn't always simple

We have a problem - with mice. An army of mice has infested our house. Mind, they're not running free in the house; no they are running and scratching on false ceilings, after plints, over the beams of the roof construction, ...

We can't put down any poison because they never appear. The problem lies with our neighbor, who keeps birds and doesn't do anything about the problem. Not only the noise of scratching and shrieking is bad, also the stench that comes from so many dead bodies (there must be lots of them). I've repeatedly asked the neighbor to do something about it, stating our problem. He always promises to put out poison, but I don't think he does anything.

I've contacted the environmental service of our city, but apparently they cannot do anything either, because it's a private home. I don't want to go to court immediately, because that is a long and expensive business. Also, I don't want war with the neighbor. The best thing would be he'd do away with all those birds, but that won't happen, I'm afraid. And I think he doesn't want to put out poison because he has a couple of little dogs who might eat from it.

You see, this won't be an easy problem to solve. In Belgium, going to court for problems with the neighbors isn't encouraged and I don't suppose a problem with mice would be considered as a major problem. It would be different if his dogs barked all day. Something could be done about that. He'd have to keep his dogs quiet or he'd pay a big fine. Or even do away with the dogs.

I'll have to look into other possibilities to find a way to solve this. If anyone can help, please don't be afraid to contact me.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Weekend of remembrance

Tonight, I'll  be packing my weekend bag because I'm going to the coast tomorrow morning (my sister will follow after work, in the afternoon).

It's the weekend of November 11th. Most people will have a day off on Monday, except those who work for the government. They cancelled that free day some years ago. But Chris takes a half day off anyway - she's worked hard enough to be able to take up some overtime.

On Sunday morning, at precisely 11 o'clock it will be 100 years ago there came an end to the Great War of 1914-18. The past four years have been very busy in the west part of our country. That was the place where most of the action took place in that war.

There will be a ceremony in Heist to remember the end of the Great War, and we'll be attending it to be sure. Our grandfather also fought in that war, although he never talked about it. It must have been too awful.

It will also be a time to remember those who aren't around anymore. I have fond memories of my grandparents at mother's side (my dad's parents both died when I just was a little kid, so I never got to know them). I now realize I have much to thank them for, because they were responsible for my being the woman I am now. More than my parents they were responsible for my upbringing. From my grandfather I learned to be strict, meticulous and precise. Grandma taught me not to be afraid and to be preparend for whatever situation. Also to follow my own mind and not copy others. Those are valuable lessons, and I appreciate them even more when I'm myself getting older and wiser.

Hopefully the weather won't be too bad. Rain is expected, but at the coast the wind blows away the clouds more rapidly than inland! It would be a shame when the ceremony was spoiled by rain.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Wedge of Fear

Please welcome Eugene M. Gagliano, author of Wedge of Fear, a middle grade available now from Crystal Publishing. Eugene is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour to promote his work, and this tour takes place from November 5th to November 16th.


During this tour, Eugene will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2836


Blurb

Overshadowed by the death of his brother, Tony is about to encounter the western way of life when his parents move from the East Coast to Wyoming. Starting in a new school as a sixth grader isn’t easy when your controlling mother is fearful of everything. Tony likes his new teacher, Mr. Brunswick, but Regina, the class bully, does her best to makes his life difficult. Jed, the son of a rancher, befriends Tony and helps him adjust to his new environment. Life becomes more complicated when his grandmother dies and a series of unpredictable events causes his father to question his ability to take care of himself and be responsible. In the end, Tony is tested when a tornado rips through his neighborhood.


Excerpt

“Pssst. Pssst,” Regina said, waving a folded piece of paper under her desk. Through the classroom window, the early morning sun turned her hair to gold, as if she wore a halo. It should have given her horns instead. Tony looked at Regina. Why was she giving him a note? He ignored her.

“Come on, take it,” she whispered, pushing the note toward him.

He reached over and took the note. Tony unfolded it and read, MR. BRUNSWICK IS A JERK!
Tony glared at Regina. She gave him an innocent smile and raised her chubby hand.

“Mr. Brunswick. Tony’s passing notes,” she said.

“Tony, let me see the note.” Mr. Brunswick placed a math book down on his desk.

Tony stiffened and clenched his fists. He could feel his face turning red. “But I didn’t…” Tony was
afraid to say that Regina wrote the note. Who knew what she might do to him? But he didn’t want Mr. Brunswick to think he didn’t like him. Frustrated, he bit his lip and fidgeted in his chair.

“Just bring it here, please.”

“Yes, sir.”

He brought the note up to Mr. Brunswick. Tony plunged his fists deep into his pockets and glared at Regina. Mr. Brunswick looked puzzled as he read the note.

“Tony, I’m surprised at you.” He frowned. “I want to talk to you after school.”

Tony nodded his head in agreement and hurried back to his desk. He slid into his seat. Regina smiled at him with folded hands, looking innocent as an angel.

Author bio and links


Wyoming’s State Poet Laureate, known by many children as the “teacher who dances on his desk,“ Gene Gagliano is a retired elementary school teacher with a great sense of humor, who lives with his wife Carol at the base of the Bighorn Mountains in Buffalo, Wyoming. Gene is the author of:  C is for Cowboy, a Wyoming Alphabet; Four Wheels West, a Wyoming Number Book; V is for Venus Flytrap, a Plant Alphabet; My Teacher Dances on the Desk; Little Wyoming; The Magic Box; Angel’s Landing; Booger, Dee and the Mammoth, and Is It True, a collection of humorous poetry. 
His newest book is a middle grade fiction book titled Wedge of Fear. He enjoys making his educational, entertaining and inspirational school visits, as well as presenting for adults at conferences and library functions. Gene’s hobbies include hiking, canoeing, singing, reading, painting, and gardening.


To learn more about the author go to Gene’s website, http://www.gargene.com/main/ and to his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/dancingteacher/
Wedge of Fear is available on Amazon.com, http://a.co/d/gY2VS8O

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Nina Derwael wins gold!

At the World Champignonships Gymnastics in Doha (Qatar) our countrywoman Nina Derwael wiped away the opposition and awon the gold medal at the uneven bars. This is her favorite apparatus in gymnastics, although she also does well in other elements. She has a fair chance of winning medals in the all-round competition as in the individual one at the comeing Olympics in 2020.


Until a few years ago, Belgium meant nothing in the world of gymnastics. They already felt lucky when they were even selected to compete and then ended last of forelast. But with the coming of two new coaches (French) a miracle happened. These coaches were able to convince our gymnasts they had as good a chance of winning as everyone else. They worked with young people and trained them.

Nina is one of them. Two years ago, at the previous Olympics, she was denied points because Belgium meant nothing to the judges, even when she did very well. At the coming Olympics, the judges won't be able to neglect Belgium. Next to Nina Derwael, we have a couple of others who are equally fine gymnasts.

It will be very easy this year to decide who'll be sportswoman of the year!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Michael Bolton live

Yesterday evening we returned from a short stay in Manchester, UK. Our main reason for the trip was that we wanted to see the concert of Michael Bolton there on Monday evening. Normally Bolton should have been in the UK in February, but there was a problem and the events were postponed to October.

It's not the first time we were in Manchester. We've been there twice before, but then stayed in Salford, near Media City UK. This time we stayed in the town center. Great hotel, quite near to everywhere we wanted to go.

We were also lucky with the weather. It was a bit cold, but mainly sunny and most importantly, dry. You can dress against the cold!

The concert took place in Bridgewater Hall, a concert venue that was near to our hotel. I believe all seats were taken, even those high up at the upper circles. We had seats on the third row, center stalls. Not cheap, but we like to have a good seat! This way my sister was able to take some great pictures. We have a new camera and the pics are sharp. The pic underneath is taken by her:


Btw, the concert was great!Although already 65, Bolton still has a great voice and you must admit, he looks good!

We remained in Manchester on Tuesday, because the concert ended quite late and we wanted to sleep somewhat longer and then do some sightseeing and shopping.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Start of the autumn break - and strike at Brussels Airport

The autumn break is traditionally a good time to make a trip. School started early in September, and after 8 weeks both parents and kids feel like having a bit of fun.

Right now, during this busy period for travellers, Avia partners (those who handle the luggage) decided to strike against the bad circumstances in which they work. Mind, I agree with the fact that th the pay is too low for what they have to do, but they could have chosed a better time!

Yesterday, lots of flight of Ryanair and TUI travel were cancelled and thousands of tourists had to make other arrangements or wait for another flight. Those who travel with Brussels Airlines were not affected because Brussels Airlines works with another luggage handler, Swissport.


The strike will probably continue today and tomorrow. Luckily we don't travel by air this time. We are taking the train. Even then, we already got a message that it will be very busy and we have to come early to Brussels Midi.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Waltz With Me, Cowboy

Please welcome Debra Holt today. Debra is doing a virtual book blast tour for Waltz With Me, Cowboy, a contemporary romance available now. The book blast tour will take place on October 22nd-October 26th and during this tour Debra will be giving away a $10 Amazon/Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2845


Blurb

Calla Rose returned home to McKenna Springs to help save her family's business... The Yellow Rose... a ninety-year old Texas dance hall. She also came home to heal. Being a victim and finding her trust level in men damaged, she is determined to succeed in this one thing for her family and nothing is going to deter her from doing just that. Now even a green-eyed cowboy/mayor with heart-stopping smiles and kisses that threaten to thaw the ice around her heart.

Ty Conners wasn't looking for love. He had simply stopped in to welcome the latest business owner to town. But coming face to face with Calla Rose would prove an unforgettable experience in more ways than one and send his heart into a tailspin. Never a man to not face a challenge head-on, he prepared to get past the barricades she had erected between herself and the male population. But it was easier said than done, and just when he's within reach of her heart, a lie brings memories of pain and distrust and Calla's heart may be out of his reach for good.


Excerpt

“You’re right. It’s the best offer. And I’ll take you up on it.” She placed her hand in his in order to get a hand up from the step. Mistake. His hand was warm, and the warmth seemed to flow up her arm and fill her with a sense of peace that was most disconcerting. Once on her feet, she gave a slight tug and he released his grip. Was she sorry? Silly thought. Her mind was just tired from the long and trying day. The fresh air would do the trick to put things in their proper perspective... including the man beside her.

A few minutes later, Calla felt the tenseness leave the neck muscles and the corners of her mouth curved upward of their own accord. The windows were down, and the pickup was making its way along the country lane as it followed the curves of the river, crisscrossing bridges from one side to the other as it went deeper into the tall canyon. The breeze ruffled through her hair. Here she was, taking a ride in a pickup, listening to a lively George Strait swing tune on the radio, and a good-looking cowboy beside her. If those people from her old life could see her now… would they think she had lost her mind? Did she think she had?

Or would they think she had finally found it? That sudden realization brought a strange feeling with it. If she didn’t know better, she’d think she had finally found where she belonged.  But that couldn’t be… could it? The city life and a stately courtroom had been her mecca. How did things switch course in mid-stream on her? Calla’s gaze went to the man beside her and just then, he turned and gave her a look and smile that answered her unspoken question. Silly! She jerked her gaze back to the open window. How could he know what she was thinking? When she wasn’t sure of it herself?

Author bio and links

Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers.  Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!). 
When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  She read her first romance...Janet Dailey's Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles...and sighs...to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.


Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com.  She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebraHoltBooks
Buy link:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FRKGCGW/ref=x_gr_w_glide_ku_bb

Almost Halloween

Up to some years ago, here in Flanders nobody had heard about Halloween. But trends do travel around and we watch American films. So Halloween has finally reached our parts.

The shops take advantage of it, of course. Already some time now, you can find decoration for Halloween in every bigger store. Must confess, I like to decorate my house according to the season, too. So right now we have Halloween decoration: witches, sketetons, skulls, spiders, pumpkins (with or without lights), ...


In November, it will be time to put up the Christmas decoration. And after that, the one for St. Valentine and Easter.

Do you like to decorate your home according to the season?

Monday, October 22, 2018

End of the Indian Summer

Today definitely marks the end of a prolonged Indian Summer period, with lots of sunshine and temperatures up to 21° Celsius!

It's raining, there blows a fierce wind and it is certainly a lot colder than before. Time to get the winter jackets out!

What I like about autumn is that the dark comes early, and it's ever so cosy to cuddle up in the sofa with a good book and a glass of wine.

Also making walks through a forest, full of fallen leaves. Talking about falling leaves, what I don't like is to have to clean them up in my garden... We have a big chesnut tree and it's shedding its leaves right now.

After a long walk a cup of hot chocolate will be fine (every now and then I can have something sweet, as my sugar levels are more or less under control). And roasted nuts...

And it's not long now before it's Halloween and All Saints. Time to read ghost stories (see Face in the Mirror and Other Stories which I wrote some years ago - I still think it's a great read for such days).


Some of these short stories are also the start point of an entire novel. The Black Coach is based on one such story and the WIP I'm working on now, The witch of Hawestone Moor, on another.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Counting off to the next trip

My sister and I are really taken in by a travel itch! Don't actually know where it comes from, though I suppose it has something to do with the fact that our grandparents already talked a lot about the trip they made to for instance Italy (Rome, Florence, Milan, ...) or Germany (Schwarzwald), France, Switzerland, ... That in a time when travelling was barely done (remember, those were the nineteen thirties and early forties, then continuing after World War II). As a little kid I heard stories about the beauty of other places, of performances in the Scala, just name it.

And also my mother, on marrying our dad, loved to travel. Luckily Dad was in the same mind! I also remember that one day they had the option to buy a house in our neighborhood. It was brought to discussion at the dinner table. If they bought the house, that would mean there was no more money for trips. So we had to decide - and we all voted for the trips! We rather went away than having the house.

It's still the same with us. I guess that in the course of  years, we have spent so much money on near and far trips that we could easily havc a mansion with park around it. But that doesn't appeal to us. We do have a house of our own - albeit it an old one, which needs a lot of upkeep - and a flat at the coast. Nothing too big or too posh, but it's enough for us.

We also don't have a car. We like to walk and do our errands either on foot or by bike. With a bit of organising, that works fine. Don't spent (too much) money on clothes or shoes (one thing only: they should be comfortable and in leather) but pay a lot for food. That another thing we have from grandma - she always claimed that you were rich as long as your belly was full and you had a warm bed to sleep into.

No long now before we take a trip once more. This time to Manchester. Not because it's especially appaling, but we go to a concert there in Bridgewater Hall. And then in December it's off to Mexico. Now that I can walk well again, it's a relief to be able to do all the discovering on foot once more.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Shadow's Way

Please welcome author Barbara Frances today! Barbara is doing a virtual book blast tour for Shadow's Way, a suspense available now.


During the tour, Barbara will be giving away a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use this link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2823


Blurb

Prepare to be spellbound. Barbara Frances' long-awaited third novel, “Shadow's Way,” takes you to the coastal, deep South, where the past and the present mingle in a gothic tale of insanity, murder, and sexual intrigue.

You'll meet the beautiful Elaine Chauvier, former actress and proprietor of Shadow's Way, her family's antebellum home; the esteemed Archbishop Andre Figurant and his fallen identical twin, Bastien; newly arrived Ophelia and Rudy, here to explore their Chauvier roots and their ties to Shadow's Way; and the mysterious Madame Claudine. Under a veneer of piety and graciousness, i.e., the questions: What is good? What is evil? What is reality?


Excerpt

Her timing was perfect. As she rounded the corner, daily Mass had ended, and the Archbishop was standing outside the ornately carved doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

His followers were tiered below him on the steps. He turned and allowed his eyes to trace the contours of her body and she felt the thrill of power. A sheer white muslin shift clung to her black swim suit, still wet from morning exercise at the community pool. Despite the heat and the humidity from the Gulf of Mexico, she strolled by as if it were a cool spring day in Vermont.
Elaine Chauvier was a stately woman, aware of her long legs and enticing figure. Some said she was a snob and she would have agreed with them. After all, she was from aristocracy. Her great grandfather and General Robert E. Lee had been close friends, and her family had owned
sections of plantation land and nearly a hundred slaves. No one could give this woman a passing glance without being momentarily transfixed. Soft black hair, always a bit ruffled to give a false impression of casualness, framed a face of classic perfection. Piercing dark eyes conveyed the superiority she felt over everyone.

Archbishop Andre Figurant gave hardly a thought to the man who knelt to kiss his ring or the mother holding up her baby for a blessing. His focus was across the street, beyond the wrought-iron fence surrounding the Cathedral’s property. The gliding presence hypnotized as well as beguiled him.

Two chapters available at http://shadowsway.com/chapters.html

Author bio and links

Barbara Frances has plenty of stories and a life spent acquiring them. Growing up Catholic on a small Texas farm, her childhood ambition was to become a nun. In ninth grade she entered a boarding school in Our Lady of the Lake Convent as an aspirant, the first of several steps before taking vows. On graduation, however, she passed up the nun’s habit for a college degree in English and Theatre Arts. Her professors were aghast when she declined a PhD program in order to become a stewardess, but Barbara never looked back. “In the Sixties, a stewardess was a glamorous occupation.” Her career highlights include dating a very gentlemanly Chuck Berry and “opening the bar” for a planeload of underage privates on their way to Vietnam. 
Marriage, children, school teaching and divorce distracted her from storytelling, but one summer she and a friend coauthored a screenplay. “I never had such fun! I come from a family of storytellers. Relatives would come over and after dinner everyone would tell tales. Sometimes they were even true.” The next summer Barbara wrote a screenplay solo. Contest recognition, an agent and three optioned scripts followed but, weary of fickle producers and endless rewrites, she turned to novels. Shadow’s Way is her third book. Her first, Lottie’s Adventure, is aimed at young readers. Her second, Like I Used To Dance, is a family saga set in 1950’s rural Texas. Barbara’s fans can be thankful she passed up convent life for one of stories and storytelling. She and her husband Bill live in Austin, Texas.


Links:
Barbara welcomes questions or comments about Shadow’s Way at barb@barbarafrances.com
http://shadowsway.com
http://barbarafrances.com
Buy the book at https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Way-Barbara-Frances-ebook/dp/B07FZ895H1/ref=sr_1_1

Tomorrow is Day Against Cancer

Tomorrow both my sister and I will be wearing a yellow ribbon, to show our solidarity with all those who come into contact with cancer.


Every day, lots of people are diagnosed with cancer. Some live, other don't. In our street alone, we lost two people against this illness. Lung cancer and a tumor in the brain.

Last year, I was also diagnosed having a tumor in my right kidney. It was removed without any problem, but since then I need to be very careful with what I do.  I only have one kidney, after all. I have to take a very poisonous pill daily (can't touch it with bare hands), one of the new generation of drugs that luckily for us are paid back by our health care, thanks to minister Maggie De Block. You know, one such pill  costs 69,00€! For a box of 60 you'll pay about 3600,00€. Most people wouldn't be able to keep that up if the governement hadn't decided this medicine was admitted.

The pills work well, though. My latest scan showed no new growths, so that's good news. I also know that the tumor wasn't of the agressive kind, so that is also something.

Nevertheless, I live from day to day now. I feel fine, especially as the pain in my feet (one of the side effects of the pills) has completely gone and I can make long walks once more. I look forward to doing much more trips with my sister and still have meetings with my friends.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Baby Plan

Please welcome Joan Carney. Joan is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for The Baby Plan, a romance available since October 1st. This tour will run October 1-26.


Joan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2813

Blurb

The itch of ‘baby lust’ has prickled just under the surface of Tessa’s skin since she turned thirty. Five years have passed since her thirtieth birthday, and her obsessive nature has stoked the minor irritation into a full-blown fertility frenzy. She’s given up waiting for the right man to put a ring on her finger and, instead, decides to actively seek out a man with the right genes who will give her the child she wants with no further involvement. Love wasn’t in the plan, but Karma had other ideas.



Excerpt

“I’m going to have a baby.” Spoken out loud for the first time, those words sent a rush of adrenaline through her veins. Warmth swelled from her heart as the vision that had taken center stage in her dreams for the last five years, captured the spotlight in her mind’s eye. Her arms circled her own body, aching to cradle that bundle of cooing softness.  

Owen’s fork remained suspended in mid-air inches from his open mouth, his face frozen and pale blue eyes wide and staring. It took a moment for him to regain his composure enough to speak. 

“You’re what? Are you sure?” He shook his head, put his fork down and rested his back against the seat. Tessa was sure the incoherent mumbles that followed were a litany of swear words, but she stayed calm. 

His gaze scoured the ceiling as his voice groped for a public-appropriate response. “How did this happen, Tess? You, of all people. I can’t believe you’d let yourself get into this predicament. You never told me you were seeing anyone. Who is he? Does he know? Are you in love with him?”

Tessa shook her head to focus as much as to explain. “No, no I’m not pregnant now. I mean I plan to get pregnant.” 

Her breath stilled then released as the panicked expression on Owen’s face softened to one of mere annoyance. But she wasn’t out of the woods yet. She’d only started to lay out her plan. Stalling for time, Tessa pushed the chopped antipasto salad around the plate with her fork. 

“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, Owen, and I’ve made up my mind. You only need you to back me up when it comes time to tell Mom.”


Author bio and links


A transplant from the concrete sidewalks of New York City to the sunny beaches of Southern California, Ms. Carney enjoys writing stories about women who are strong—whether by nature or circumstance—and the men who love and respect them for who they are. Things that make her happy are rainy days (too much sun is a bore), writing the perfect first line, family get-togethers, reading books that grab her heart, and finding new connections in her genealogy research. Bold coffee and dark chocolate fuel the artistic fire inspired by her family, friends, and psycho, lizard hunting cat. 



Links:
https://www.joancarney.net
https://twitter.com/jcarneywrites
https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Plan-Joan-Carney-ebook/dp/B07GY2KY7G

Warmest mid-October weekend ever

Ever since they began the observations somewhere around 1850, this is surely the warmest ever October weekend we've known!

Yesterday, the sun got to 26° Celsius, which is just like in summer! And today is not much less. A very nice weekend, thus.

A very busy one, too. Yesterday we walked into town to do some shopping (mostly for food) and in the late afternoon we went to visit a former neighbor of ours. When we were kids, there were 4 girls living next to each other: me and my sister, Christel of next door and next to her Marian. We often played together, although I was somewhat older than the rest.

Christel and Marian married and moved away. Christel is still married to her Erwin, but Marian got a divorce. Both girls have two daughters and Marian just became grandma for the first time a couple of days ago.

Every once in a while, we get together to talk about the old days and have lots of fun. So yesterday we were at Christel's and like before, it was great fun and it was quite late when we got back!

This morning, we had to go voting (yes, we are obliged to go here in Belgium) for municipal elections. Don't suppose much will change, though.

Unfortunately, the weather is about to change in the coming week. Looks like we're getting into autumn for real!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

And Then He Was Gone

Please welcome Joan Hall Hovey today. Joan is doing a virtual book blast tour for her suspense novel, And Then He Was Gone, available now from BWL Publishing Inc. This tour is running from October 8th to October 12th.


Joan 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:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2798

Blurb

WHERE IS ADAM?

Julie Raynes’ husband is missing. Devastated and confused, she refuses to believe that he would leave her voluntarily, though her best friend thinks differently. However, her Aunt Alice, a psychic, tells her Adam has been murdered, and when she reveals how she knows this, any hope that Adam is still alive, dissipates.

The police also believe that Adam Raynes was murdered. And Julie is their prime suspect. Her life in ruins, Julie vows to hunt down whoever is responsible for Adam’s murder and make them pay for their crime.

In the meantime, David Gray, a young man who was pulled from a lake by a fisherman when he was 9 years old, wakens from a coma after nearly two decades. Unknown to Julie, Adam and David share a dark connection, a darkness that threatens to devour them both.


Excerpt

Read the first chapter: http://www.joanhallhovey.com/432547197

Author bio and links

This is what Joan tells;

Writing gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction that nothing else does. (Except having my babies.) And that's not a bad analogy, if not an original one. Holding your published book in your hands, (especially that first one), running your fingers over its smooth cover, tracing your name there - is heady stuff! These days of course, knowing my readers are downloading my books onto their Kindles and ipads and Kobos, and so on is just as great. For me, a dream come true, even though it's been awhile since I wrote my first book. 

I am drawn to explore the dark side of humanity, and my intention is to give the reader a roller coaster ride that will resonate long after the last word is read. I know that I am truly blessed to be permitted to work every day at what I most love and need to do. I think you appreciate it even more when you've had to go to those awful 9 to 5 jobs you hated, because the bills have to be paid. And I've had my share of them over the years -- hulling strawberries, waiting tables, grading eggs... (top that one). A couple of those jobs have left scars. I've been stalked by a psychotic customer when I was selling 'CAA'. (Canada's version of 'AAA'.) I've been chased around the desk by a so-called pillar of society while working as a secretary. But while I wouldn't want to repeat it, I wouldn't take back a single moment of any of it. All is 'grist' for the writer's mill.

The next best thing is hearing from my readers. You have been so generous in your comments, so kind to take the time in your own busy lives to write to me. Telling me that my novels kept you up all night, or that you couldn't put the book down is music to my ears, and keep me going in the dark times that come to all writers, while I find my way about in the unknown, unlit territory of that next book. 


In addition to her critically award-winning suspense novels including And Then he was Gone and The Deepest Dark, Joan Hall Hovey's articles and short stories have appeared in such diverse publications as The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, Seek, Home Life Magazine, Mystery Scene, The New Brunswick Reader, Fredericton Gleaner, New Freeman and Kings County Record. Her short story Dark Reunion was selected for the anthology investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.
Ms. Hovey has held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries in her area, including New Brunswick Community College, and taught a course in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. For a number of years, she has been a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.She is a member of the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers.
Her books are available at most online book stores, including Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and more.  Check out her website at http://wwwjoanhallhovey.com
She lives in Saint John, NB, in an uptown building over 100 years old, with her cat Bella. Aside from writing (and reading of course) She enjoys playing piano and spending time with her grandson.  She is presently at work on her latest suspense novel.
Her novels include:
And Then he was Gone
The Deepest Dark
The Abduction of Mary Rose
Tragic Spawn
Night Corridor
Chill Waters
Nowhere To Hide
Listen to the Shadows

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Then-He-Was-Gone-ebook/dp/B01NBANC1Q