Friday, August 31, 2018

Dendermonde celebrated Katuit 2018

Like every other year, on the last Thursday of August, the town of Dendermonde is the center of folklore. At 8 pm - because the spectacle looks better when dusk sets - the streets in the town's center crowd with spectators who want to see the giants dance.

Katuit is an old tradition, dating back to the times of the guilds. Remember, Dendermonde was a medieval town with town charter and surrounded by walls, just like Bruges or Ghent. Each guild had a patron saint, and to honor these saints processions were held. The giants were created to represent the guilds: Indian (reminds of the discovery of the Americas) for the long bow archers, Mars for the armed forces with firearms and Goliath for the guild of cross-bow archers.

As tradition demands, the giants (several meters high and heavy) are not put on wheels and driven along, but they are CARRIED. The carriers are men who descend from families who used to work the docks. For each giant, there are three guys who will carry it each at their turn. Underneath the giant is a system which allows to put a harness on the shoulder and thus the giants walk and dance. When the audience is very enthusistic, the giants make an extra effort and even dance wildly. You have to come and see if you don't believe this.

Yesterday evening's spectacle stood in honor of the death of the local painter Franz Courtens, who died 75 years ago. Some of the floats depicted how life was in his time.

But like I said, the finale is always the grand spectacle of the Great Market, where the giants dance for the last time that day and afterwards there's a giant fireworks display.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Another Five Minutes

Please welcome Destiny Booze today. Destiny is doing a virtual book blast tour for Another Five Minutes, a romantic suspense novel available as of August 24th. This tour will take place from August 24th to August 30th.

Destiny 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:


Loving him is easy.

Fearing him is necessary.

Trusting him could be a deadly mistake.

Born deaf and living with an anxiety disorder, Brooke Hartley manages life in five-minute intervals. It’s all she can do to get out of bed each morning. She’s hidden inside her sister’s apartment for over a year.

Everything changes when Brooke’s sister goes missing. Her fragile world crashes. She is desperate to find her, and she’ll need help.

Haunted by a past he needs to forget, Scott Derrico keeps to himself until his gallery manager, Autumn Hartley, suddenly disappears. He is forced out of his isolation to help a woman that needs him with a terrifying intensity.

Scott tries to deny his attraction to Brooke. He doesn’t want to get emotionally involved but he craves her like nothing else. And, for her, he is a dark and sexy diversion to overcome her fear.

With a genuinely flawed and relatable heroine and a mysterious and protective hero, you won’t want this love story to end. You’ll beg…for another five minutes…


Brooke turned back to Scott, making a clawing motion and scrunching up her face in the most adorable look ever. He wasn’t sure what she was saying to him, but he thought he understood the gist of it. “Everyone says my paintings are too dark.”

She shook her head and reached for his hand. She wrote, A.N.G.R.Y.

“True,” he offered.

She turned the tables on him, staring hard. It was only fair since he’d been staring at her all day. She gestured out of the room with a shrug.

“No, the one in the living room isn’t angry,” he said, but he wasn’t going to talk about that. Trying to distract her, he moved forward, closer than what was comfortable between acquaintances. He wanted to get her mind on something other than asking about that painting.

“I guess I paint what I feel at the time. Do you want to know what I would paint right now?”

Looking nervous, she didn’t answer. He could see her chest rise and fall as her breathing came quicker, and he liked it.

He should have left her alone. He’d brought her here to protect her, to make her feel comfortable. But, he couldn’t make himself do the right thing. Instead, he moved in even closer, reached for her hair, and pulled out the band holding it back in a ponytail. It fell to her waist, and he fanned it out, loving the feel of the silky texture sliding through his fingers.

Her eyes went wide open, and he heard her next breath come out in a rush.

“I would paint you.”

Author bio and links

Destiny Booze is an interesting name, true? Destiny’s mom found her first name in a romance book. Her last name was a gift from the man she loves.
She writes novels with intense conflicts, ongoing suspense, romance, and happy endings. She grew up at a campground where she spent her summers working long hours mowing, cleaning bathrooms, lifeguarding, and leading activities. 
Destiny resides in Botetourt County, Virginia where she strives to be the best wife, mother, and writer that she can be. Her family is always priority number one. Other things of great importance to her are friends and her readers!

Follow Destiny on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter @destinybooze, or her website  Go to her website and sign up for her mailing list for updates on book releases and book giveaways.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Moisture is bad for the bones

The weather lately hasn't been worth mentioning. Rather cold, wet, cloudy, ... I don't understand why people say that the summer of 2018 has been one of the best. That's just not true, not here in Flanders. July was wonderful and the first five days of August, but the rest of the month hasn't been much.

What's worse, whenever the weather is like this, my joints ache. Some times they are stiff and I can't move properly. I really wish I'd had the money to buy a place in some sunny part of the world and stay there the whole time. The sun is good for me. I feel less aches and I can bear the heat.

Bad weather is also rather depressing. I have to go out to run some shopping, but I'm postponing it
until it get somewhat better. I hate to take the bike out when it rains. The weather forecast says it should turn drier in the afternoon and there could even be a ray of sunshine. I guess I'll wait until then!

Who also suffers from bad weather?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Back home

The summer vacation has ended for my sister. Today she started work once more - well rested and full of new energy.

Even if I don't have to work anymore, I returned home with her. We've been living together our entire lives and are more or less like a couple. I've take the opportunity of running the washing machine already as inevitably there is a lot of washing to be done if you've been away for 8 weeks.

The kids have one more week of school vacation to go before they start a new schoolyear. So it was very quiet in town when I took my bike to run some errands. Lately, I use the bike more often to save my poor feet, which still hurt like hell at days. That's the one negative about the medication I'm on. But riding a bike is healthy (as long as you don't take a fall...) and you can carry quite a lot in the saddlebags.

When I returned home, the washing was done and I could hang out the wet linen. Not outside, as there's a threat of rain, but in our attic. It's a big space (all over the house) and ideal to dry the washing. It has windows that let through ventilation and in winter there's even heating provided. The attic is also well-isolated so in general the wash is dry in one to three days (depends on the weather).

Soon I can also start once more on my proofreading for Rogue Phoenix. Next to this I have so many things I like to do that I never feel a single dull moment.

And how is is for you?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tail of the Dragon

Say hello to Connie di Marco today! Connie's doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for Tail of the Dragon, a mystery available August 8th from Midnight Ink. The tour will run from August 13th to September 7th.

Connie 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:


San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but now, Julia’s former boss and current client has asked for help.  He has serious problems at his law firm.  Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled -- the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire.  Julia’s convinced a woman is behind the threats, perhaps even the widow of the man who died in that same fire, but no one wants to believe that astrology could provide a clue.  Before Julia can help her client, two lawyers are dead and her own life is threatened.  Can she unmask the killer before he (or she) takes another life?


I settled into the office chair and flicked on the computer.  Samantha, at the Chronicle, had sent forty-three AskZodia emails.  I heaved a sigh.  So many people asking for advice.  I separated out the letters that asked no particular question and then separated the emails into male and female groups.  

A few of the emails were quite intriguing.  One woman wrote to ask about the dynamic between her brother, now deceased, and her mother.  Her mother blamed herself for her son’s death and was torturing herself with guilt.  I could tell by the brother’s chart, strong Uranus and Mars aspects, that there was absolutely nothing her mother could have done to control her son.  The mother had done the best she could and needed to let go.  

I clicked on another.  

Dear Zodia ~

I’ve been happily married for twelve years.  My wife is a wonderful woman and a loving wife and mother.  For the past few months I’ve found myself attracted to another woman.  I know I shouldn’t be, but I can’t help myself.  It’s become an obsession and I don’t know what to do.  I’ve never cheated on my wife but I find myself thinking about it all the time.  I think this other woman is also attracted to me, but I’m not sure.  I’m so confused, I don’t know what’s happening to me and I don’t know what to do.
~ Confused

Dear Confused ~ 

I’ll be very direct.  It’s really not a choice between one woman or another.  You are yearning.  You are seeking an aspect of your own ‘anima’ or female self.  Neptune is currently opposing your natal Venus and you, believe me, are most likely projecting all sorts of qualities on to this other person, most of which you would ultimately discover are not real.  

We experience great yearnings with Neptune transits and tend to believe that the answer is ‘somewhere else.’  Under transits of Neptune, especially, it is not possible to see things clearly.  You and your wife are quite compatible astrologically.  It would be a shame to destroy your marriage for what may be no more than a passing wraith.  

I recommend seeking professional help to discover what you are missing in your life and your love life.  Often, the ‘other’ that you are attracted to turns out to be much like the person you are currently with.  There is an excellent book on this very subject:  ‘Love Triangles’ by Julia Bonatti, published by Stargazer Press.  This might be a start in helping you sort out your feelings.  

~ Zodia 

Samantha would get a kick out of this response.  Me, anonymously, plugging my own book, but I really did think it would be a help to this man.  

Author bio and links

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti.  The Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.  You can visit her at, at Facebook or Twitter @askzodia.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime.  You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  Connie is a member of MWA, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.

Tail of the Dragon
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Monday, August 20, 2018

Path to Passion

Today we welcome author Nana Prah. Nana is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for the promotion of her novel Path to Passion, a contemporary romance available since August 1st from Harlequin Kimani Romance. This tour will run from July 30 to August 24.

Nana will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Heir to his family’s global empire, branding genius Miguel Astacio turns everything into marketing gold. Only his best friend’s sister seems immune to his magic touch. Until Tanya Carrington comes to him to save her floundering nightclub. Miguel is ready to rectify past mistakes. But will his supreme sacrifice win the heart of the woman he loves?


Firm hands held her by the shoulders and turned her around before she could grip the handle of the door. When he pulled her in close, she pressed her hands against his chest and tried to push away. She really did, but ended up gripping the lapels of his suit jacket so she could rest her head against his broad chest.

For the first time since the night he’d destroyed her, she released the pain she’d been holding in. The sobs shook her body as he rubbed her back. She cried so hard that his words were lost on her, but the calming vibrations passing into her chest soothed. When the dam finally closed, she sniffled as the hiccups made their unfortunate appearance.

He released her and looked down into what must look like a monstrous mess of a face. Wiping the tears from her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs, her heart stilled when for the briefest of moments, he angled his head as if he was coming in for a kiss. Her captured breath burned within her lungs in anticipation, ready to relive his soft lips pressed to hers. Her nipples tightened at the prospect. Without warning, he stepped away.

Leading her to the couch, he sat her down and handed her a box of tissues. The unladylike sound that came when she blew her nose didn’t make her feel any more comfortable. He went to the refrigerator, took out a bottle of water and twisted off the cap before handing it to her.

Tanya gulped the liquid to reduce the flame of mortification heating her head while she avoided his gaze. Had she actually thought he’d kiss her? She may have lost weight and looked okay, but he could have any woman in the world. Why would he want her? She’d never forget how he’d treated her.

Author bio and links

Nana Prah first discovered romance in a book from her eight grade summer reading list and has been obsessed with it ever since. Her fascination with love inspired her to write in her favorite genre where happily-ever-after is the rule. She is a published author of contemporary, multicultural romances. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s, over-indulging in chocolate, enjoying life with friends and family, and tormenting nursing students into being the best nurses the world has ever seen. Nana loves to connect with her readers on Twitter @Nana Prah and Facebook at Nana Prah, author.

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Quiet weekend

We had a very quiet weekend at the coast. The weather still isn't much to mention, cloudy and often a hard wind. Not nice!

So we spent most of the time working. Yeah, that sounds not ok, but it doesn't really feel like work - more a way of spending the time. This doesn't mean we don't go out for a while, of course we make a walk or go for a bike ride.

And yesterday evening we went eating out. That's always a treat. The bistro next door is just ideal. It opened some 16 years ago. A mother (divorced) with her eldest daughter. Christine did the serving and Evie the cooking. At first they didn't get a lot of customers. New businesses always have a period of trial here in Heist, especially since the two women were not born here (yes, that is still a problem, we are considered as foreigners even if you live here for years). But then it started to pick up and now it's busy every evening. The prices are reasonable and you get big portions. The food is prepared with care and tastes fine. Also the house wine is of a decent quality.

Since this bistro is just next door, we often go eating there - when my sister doesn't feel like cooking herself. Yesterday we took a menu with starter, main course and dessert. I had scampi for starters, then baked sole with salad and french fries, and an icecream for dessert. We drank a bottle of white house wine and had a prosecco for aperitif. Nice evening!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Helping out

What can you do when the skies are dark grey, the wind is blowing fiercely and there's a threat of rain?

Yes, stay indoors. But you can't spend all the time reading or browsing the net. So my sister decided to do some work for school already (she's an administrator, responsible for over 500 teachers) as there needs to be done a whole lot before the end of September. Normally she only starts work at the end of August, but if she does that, she'll surely miss the deadline because the whole bunch of documents needs to be send to Brussels around September 20th.

My sister only has one colleague, who is equally responsible for another 500 people. And each school year more teachers join the group, and more demands come from the government. Chris and Stijn has asked more than once for at least another person to help out, but there's no money for it.

So I've decided to help out where I can as I'm not working anymore. Yesterday afternoon the both of us were able to do the administration of one big school already - and as it looks it'll be the same kind of weather today we'll probably do another one.

That way, a lot of work will already be finished before she goes to her office and she'll be able to relax more in September!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rules should be respected

Nowadays, more and more people seem to disrespect every rule. And it's not only the younger generation. No, even the elderly are quite rude sometimes. This morning in the supermarket, I was pushed aside by a man who was easily ten years older than I, because he wanted something from a counter where I was standing. Another time someone hits your heels with their shopping cart because they are hurried and don't look out.

Also, a lot of people seem to forget they don't live alone in a block of flats. An example is the garbage left everywhere. Some don't seem to realize that even when vacationing they need to put the garbage where it belongs. And others clearly have not read the house rules (which are binding in court, when necesarry). The apartment beneath ours is rented out and since last year November a bunch of people from one or other eastern country (it's not Polish or Russian, those languages I can recognize) are living there. They specialise in making a lot of noise after 11 pm and before 7 am. They bang the doors and let the toilet seat drop with a thud. While doors have handles and toilet seats can be lifted and dropped without making a noise. My sister always wakes up by that noise in in her turn wakes me.

Something needs to be done about this. Talking to the guy who's responsible (the "syndicus" - I don't know the word for it in English) for our block won't help. He's quite old and doesn't care a lot anymore. But we'll find something. We have had other noisy under-neighbors and all the time they sold the flat or ended the rent. I'll have to find out if the owner rents legally. If not, something can immediately be done. Or find out who those people are. They don't speak a word of Flemish and pretend not to understand what you are saying. Good chance they're illegal or part of one or other thieving gang. There are a lot of Romanian and Bulgarian gangs operating in our parts. We have already noticed they are not always the same who come and go...

I don't have a problem with rules. We were taught to respect them from the time we could walk. We were also taught to pick up our dirt and put it in a bin. I won't throw a paper or something else on the street. When  I don't see a garbage can I just keep like a dirty handkerchief in my pocket and throw it in the garbage bin when I come home. The same with empty bottles or cans. But lots of others seem to think otherwise. What you see on the pavement when you walk home from the railways station to our home (a good 900m) - empty pizza boxes, cans, cigaret ends, dirty handkerchiefs.... You could fill a garbage bag with it. I wish Belgium had laws like in Singapore, where you are severy punished when you throw something on the pavement.

What about you?

Monday, August 13, 2018

19 medals in two weeks' time

The European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin have been quite succesful for the Belgians. They won 6 gold medals, 5 silver ones and 8 bronze ones.

Nafi Thiam won the heptathlon competiton, after becoming Olypmpic champion and world champion in this discipline. She's just the best!

And we got a big surprise in the marathon. 47 years after Karel Lismont won Koen Naert the gold medal. He seemed super fit and was lenghts ahead of his opponents.

In gymnastics it was Nina Derwael who won gold, in cycling Victor Campenaerts and the duo Kenny De Ketele-Robbe Ghys.

And another triumph for the Belgian Tornados in the 4x400 m. The three Borlée brothers (Kevin, Jonathan and Dylan) ran the race, along with young supertalent Jonathan Sacoor. The last one is already world champion with the juniors and is only 18 years old. He could be a great one.

And let's not forget Emma Plasschaert, who won the gold medal in sailing, laser radial class. Or the Red Devils, who won bronze in the world soccer championship in Russia...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

End of the heatwave

The long stretch of extremely warm and sunny weather has come to an end, with some thunderstorms on the go. Here at the coast it was not so bad, but other parts of the country (and also neighboring countries) shared in the flood and inundations.

The change was marked by an extremely cold day, with storm-force wind to go. Not very nice!!! Today looks a bit better, as we see the sun through the clouds. Could finally do some washing, as here we depend on nice weather because we have to dry outside. And tomorrow should even be better.

For me it didn't have to be that warm anymore, but I'd hoped it could stay nice enough until we head back home later this month. Two more weeks, was that too much to ask?

So 2018 won't be one of the best summers ever. I keep a journal about the weather in summer since 1993. I mark the weather conditions of each day, and so I can say that up to now 1995 has been the best summer ever (44 sunny days on a total of 62 of July and August), while 2013 comes up as second with 43 days. July 2016 was the best July ever, with very hot temperatures and 25 sunny days.

Do other people also keep stats about the weather? If so, please leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rescued by the Captain

Say hello to Laura A. Barnes today. Laura is the author of Rescued by the Captain, a historical romance available now. She's doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which will run from July 30th to August 10th.

During the tour, Laura will be awarding a 10$ Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Abandoned at sea
When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea
Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?


Thorn stood at the bow of his ship ‘My Hedera’ starring out into the dark night, lost in his deep thoughts. The brigantine dipped and swayed into the huge waves that rocked the sea. Dark storm clouds stretched across the skies blending into the black sea. None of the stars lighted the sky tonight; because the heavens had opened for a fierce storm. As he ran his fingers through his long, dark, wet hair he brought them down to his sides, fisting his hands in anger. The storm was nothing compared to the turmoil of emotions that were running through him.

“Captain, do you think it is her?” Sammy his first mate shouted to be heard above the thunder as he twisted his hat in between his hands.

“I don’t know Sammy, I don’t know.” Thorn whispered into the storm. 

Marcus Thornhill, Thorn to his friends continued starring out into the dark night. He knew it was her; he just didn’t want to admit to it. While trying to get control of his anger he tried to figure out who would have done such an awful thing to her. Before he returned to her he needed to be calm. He was angrier with himself than with anyone else. If he would have come home sooner, he could have prevented something like this from happening.

Author bio and links

I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon. 

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Weekend London

We've left the coast for a couple of days. On Thursday I needed to go to the day clinic to have my blood checked (monthly check-up for my cancer treatment). All was well again.

The next day, we left early to take the Eurostar to London St. Pancras. Man, that was a hot day! In England they called it Furnace Friday... We checked in at our hotel and then did some shopping. I was able to buy a nice summer dress for only 25£. For the rest, we took time to wet our throats (has to be done when it's that warm) and relaxed a bit. In the evening we went to see Knights of the Rose, a new musical at the Arts Theatre. It was good in my opnion, although some critics think otherwise. One of our countrymen played one of the leading roles. His name is Ruben Van Keer. We had to chance to chat to him after the show.

On Saturday morning we visited the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace. We'd been planning on doing so for a long time. It was quite interesting, and well organised. After the visit, we had tea in the garden of the palace. The afternoon was spent with more shopping (girls are girls) and in the evening we went to see The King and I at the Palladium. Big production, with stars Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe.

On Sunday afternoon it was back home. But we got a nice treat. I went to the Eurostar counter to check if our seats were forward facing. The employee said they weren't, but he's check to see if he could give us other places. So we got a new ticket. When we boarded the train, we noticed we were in a first class wagon! We made the trip in first class, with everything that goes with it (lunch, free drinks...) Must say, you can get a like for it! (Pity that it normally costs a lot)

Now we're back at the coast to enjoy the last weeks of vacation before my sister goes back to work.