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:


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.


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. 


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:


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? 


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”.


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:


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.


“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, and to his Facebook page,
Wedge of Fear is available on,

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.