Friday, August 23, 2019

On my own

My sister returned home yesterday evening (and while near to the station, she remembered she had forgotten something, so I had to run back to the flat and fetch it before the train left...) to work at the office today. That means I'm all on my own for a while.

Yesterday evening I watched the film of Les Misérables and then went to bed. I woke up around 8 am and after breakfast I put in some washing. While the machine did its work, I did away with a bunch of ironing. Yes, I always keep busy when I'm on my own. That way times goes by faster.

Right now, the washing is done and the fresh linen hangs out to dry outside. I've just made some coffee and am now at my computer. I'll read the newspaper and then go out to fetch a sandwich for lunch.

After lunch I'll read half an hour, and then go cleaning the bathroom. The rest of the afternoon I intend to spend relaxing in the sun on the terrace.

How do you cope with being on your own? Do you also keep busy while waiting for the other one to come home?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Julian Fox: The Dream Guardian

Please welcome author E.J. Miranda today. E.J. is doing a virtual book blast tour for Julian Fox: The Dream Guardian, a YA Fantasy available September 18, 2019. The Book Blast Tour will take place August 19 - 23, 2019.



E.J. Miranda will be awarding a 1st prize: $50 Amazon e-giftcard, and a 2nd prize: $40 Amazon e-giftcard, to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3133/

Blurb

It is said that dreams are just that: only dreams. But believe me, this is not always true. Some dreams are as real as the dreamer.

Thanks to their dreams, dreamers can receive the special visit of eternal wisdom that has inspired the creativity of great inventors, scientists, musicians, and even writers throughout the ages.

This creative wisdom is not always the type that appears to the eager conscience. Sometimes, a Defiler, a destroyer of dreams, is the one who tries to appear before the dreamer. These creatures were once humans, but they allowed their pain and desire for revenge to take over and seek the same miserable fate for the one who dreams.

You must not fear — Dream Guardians, also known as Kelsdrant, will always protect the one who dreams, even with their own life. They are people of flesh and bone, just like you and me, or at least they are on Earth.

The following story is dedicated to the fun, extravagant, and enlightening life of Julian Fox, the Dream Guardian.

Be prepared, dear reader. It is time to dream, laugh, reflect, and even maybe cry.


Welcome to the Land of the Wise Dreams.


Excerpt

Chapter 1: The Fox Family

           
There is no perfect family. This is a universal truth, but if the imagination of a pair of mischievous minds is added to reality, the result can be an explosive combination that shuts the door to normalcy.

Sonia and William’s marriage is an example of how patience can be extended to the absolute limits. After all, parental love can only tolerate so much nonsense from the ingenuity of their children, especially when they happen to be Julian and Nicholas Fox.

This outlandish story begins at the crazy end of a pleasant vacation. The two brothers, Julian and Nicholas, were enjoying the afternoon heat near the banks of the river that crossed their ranch. They lay in the shade of an enormous tree, listening to the torrent of water as if it were a magical lullaby.

Julian, the eldest, was twenty-one years old. He had just completed his university studies and the memories of experiences with his classmates were still fresh in his mind. Nicholas, the youngest and last of the two children, was twenty years old and he was still studying in college.


They stayed silent for several minutes with their eyes closed, hoping that a miracle would occur and the family vacation would continue for a while longer. But, resigned to returning home in just two days, they decided to make the most of nature’s sweetness.

Author bio and links

E. J. Miranda is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveler, and a passionate author. Her great sense of humor and love for nature have granted her a rebellious writing style: Her approach describes the adventures of life but in such a way that each reader can have an individual take on the matter. Her inspiration comes from her curiosity about other countries’ cultures and peculiarities. A few countries in particular that spark her curiosity are Colombia, Italy, Costa Rica, England, Belgium, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. Her favorite places to visit are historical sites and museums, locations that allow her to explore important and even overlooked details. She currently lives with her husband in Colombia but frequently travels to Houston to visit her daughter and son. E.J. Miranda has a degree in tax accounting, but she prefers interacting with people to calculating their taxes. 


Links

To learn more about her life and work, visit www.ejmiranda.com

To check out the book on Goodreads, visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46288494-julian-fox



Buy Links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/julian-fox-the-dream-guardian-e-j-miranda/1132532225
https://www.amazon.com/Julian-Fox-Dream-Guardian-Miranda/dp/173379820X/ref=sr_1_1

Monday, August 19, 2019

The rise and fall of social media

Big title in the weekend paper: Facebook is in the decline. Not a wonder, really. These are just trends, and all trends end one day or other. Some take a bit longer, others go after a couple of days.

Who rembers MySpace? I don't actually recall when it was in fashion, but it was hugely popular at its time. I had numerous friends on it, I remember, among which some who were really important people like Sophia Coppola or singer Tony Christie (who actually mailed me a couple of times). The system was as it always it: someone makes a friendship request and the other one accepts.

And then came Facebook. I never thought it was clever to share a lot about myself on it (I'm not that kind of person) but it was a good way to learn what happened to old friends and schoolmates. Got into contact with some on them thanks to Facebook.

Young people nowadays tend to go for Instagram or Whatsap. Can't blame them. I also use Instagram a lot and neglect Facebook. Doesn't interest me anymore! Most of my old pals and ex-students are on Instagram too and it's fun to share pics.

I wonder what's going to be next?

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Lazy weekend

What can you do when the weather doesn't play nice? Stay indoors and relax. Yesterday afternoon we braved the rain to get to some nearby shops and browsed around. I left with a great deal, because I could buy brand new pants for only 8€! And in the other shop my sister tried on a coat that had only seconds before been displayed - it fitted her nicely and so she has bought it as well. I also saw a nice skirt which was not too expensive; one you can wear winter and summer because of the color mix. Boots or sandals, everything goes.

Later in the evening we went out dining. Not in the bistro next door, but a couple of doors further down the promenade. Here in Heist (Knokke-Heist) you have restaurants everywhere! This one is called De Waterlijn and the cuisine is comparable with that of La Guera where we also like to dine. We had a very nice dinner (mainly fish) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This morning we woke up again with rain, so we decided to run our errands later this afternoon when it's hopefully dry. Now after I finish this blog entry I'm going to read my online newspaper, the weekend edition is always full of nice articles. I especially like the entry of chef Luc Bellings who always tries out national dishes. This time he's trying out stoofvlees-friet (beef stew in beer with fries). He goes to several places along the coast and gives points from 0 to 10. A ten is not often given, though. That means perfection. Only one or two restaurants got that honor.

For us the long summer vacation nearly comes to an end. At the end of the coming week, Christine returns to work and so we're heading home on Thursday coming.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

August 15th

For all catholics, August 15th is a feast day. It remembers the death and going to heaven of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here in Flanders it is also Mother's Day in certain parts of the country (mostly the province of Antwerp - for all others Mother's Day is in May).

And here in Heist, they remember those who were killed at sea on this day, and the fishing fleet gets a blessing. We can watch most of the ceremony from our terrace. First there's a open air mass attented by practically all inhabitants of Heist (which is in itself a rather small village, in the earlier days a fishing village) and around noon all the fishing vessels whose owners and skippers  are from Heist sail to a spot near the beach from where they are blessed by the priest.

The number of fishermen died at sea grows larger year by year. Don't forget, fishing is a risky business.

When we were kids, we used to rent part of a house from a fisherman. Frans and his wife Marie shared with us their love for the sea and that's mainly the reason why we like it here so much. We also learned to eat fish from early on! Frans always brought home the last of the catch and he willingly shared it with us. So we were treated to salmon, shrimps, lobster, cod, hallibut and plaice, just name it. We still like to eat fish, and do this regularly. We don't eat meat very much, about once a week.

When the weather doesn't worsen (it's cloudy right now) we are going to walk to Zeebrugge where there are also festivities for today. There'll be a possibility to taste morsels of fish preparations and you'll be able to go on board of a fishing trawler.

Monday, August 12, 2019

In Pursuit of Perfection

Please welcome author Jacki Kelly today. Jacki's doing a virtual book tour for In Pursuit of Perfection, a romance available since August 1st from Intrigue Publishing. This tour will run from August 5th to August 30th.


Jacki Kelly 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/28e4345f3118/

Blurb

The next man in Macy Rollins’s life must be perfect. She’s had enough impostors and isn’t willing to settle for anything less. All she has to do is get through the company contract negotiation season and she will get that promotion she has been working so hard for. Avery Malveaux – one of Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelors – has been hired to work with her as legal counsel for the company. From the moment they are forced to work together tensions are high and expectations are low. He questions her ability, she questions his intentions. After Macy is suspected in an accounting shortage, she accuses Avery of betraying her confidence. Has she once again been deceived by a man she thought she could trust? Can she clear her name and win her job back? And can there be any hope for Macy’s pursuit of perfection

Excerpt

Macy rubbed her forehead. Right now, wasn’t the time to fire Michelle and start interviewing for a new assistant. The world needed to stop spinning for just a few moments. Her job depended on finding that money. She picked up the phone and dialed accounting.

“Connie, I need your help,” she said. “Can you run monthly balances on my account, starting with January?”

“You want everything? That’s a lot.”

“Yeah. How soon can you get it to me?”

“Give me a day or two.”

“Connie, one more thing. I’m seeing a lot of new accounts. Several that I don’t recognize. I know we’re going after market share, but I didn’t expect this many. If I send you a list of the names, what information can you provide on them?”

“Well, I can tell you when the account was set up, by who, and purchasing activity. What else would you need?”

“That’s a good start. Thanks.”
Macy ended the call, but the nagging didn’t subside.



I asked Jacki why she chose romance as her genre? Here's her answer:

For years Romance novels have been looked down on in the Publishing industry. There have been times when I tell someone I write romance and I heard snickers. But I am a firm believer that romance is in more books, movies, and television shows than we realize. Even in the most action-packed drama, many times there is a love story going on behind the destruction of the building or the exploding car. There are more romance books sold each year than any other genre. There used to be a time when women hid the fact that they read romance novels, they hid them under book covers so that others couldn’t pass judgment. Those days are behind us now. Romance has experienced a renaissance.
In life what humans want most is someone to care for and someone to care about them. And I am no different. Writing romance is easy for me. I write what I enjoy. I love the magic that happens when two people find love.
I’ve always been an optimist so books with happy or satisfying ending appeal to me. When a reader picks up a romance novel, there is a guarantee that the story will end happily. This is true for all types of romance, paranormal, suspense, historical, inspirational, young adult and erotic. Where else can you get a guarantee like that?


Author bio and links


Men and women have always sought the promise that only love can offer. Jacki invites you into an intriguing world where romance abounds around every corner and down every street. You’ll be amazed at the crazy things we do and don’t do for the promise of love.
Jacki has been writing since her fourth grade teacher made her keep a journal for a grade. Now she does it to keep track of all the fascinating and heartbreaking moments that life throws our way. Poetry, personal essays, short stories and novels have all occupied space in her heart and her hard drive.
Jacki lives in the northeast where the winters are too cold and the summers are warm. But, she wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else, well maybe for a fabulous house on the sunny sands of Miami Beach in February. Her loveable husband and adorable floppy eared dog endure her long periods behind the computer creating happy-endings for her amazing hero and heroines. Romance makes the world go round and Jacki is enjoying the ride.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Gone with the wind

Yesterday was a totally crazy day! The sun was shining, but at the same time there was a gale force (5-6 Beaufort) blowing. When we closed the entrance door to our block of flats, waves of sand came rolling in.

We made a rather long walk nevertheless. Luckily I have a hair coupe that doesn't allow the hair to blow into my face, but I suppose I looked like a crazy professor (Einstein type)! My sister had to tie her hair up because it was just impossible otherwise.

When we returned, we had sand everywhere on our body. A quick shower took care of that. But what was worse, we had to keep most windows closed, as the wind raged heavily on the rooftop. And I don't like it when there's no air.

Fortunately, late evening the wind began to lose power. By the time we got to bed, we could at last open up two (smaller) windows to let in some fresh air.

Did anyone else experience this gale force?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

April in the Back of Beyond

Please welcome author P.M. Terrell today. The author is doing a virtual book tour for April in the Back of Beyond, a Romantic Suspense/Ghost Story available July 19 from Drake Valley Press. The tour will run August 5 - August 30.



P.M.Terrell will be awarding a $25 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/28e4345f3120/

Blurb

Writer Hayley Hunter has arrived in Ireland to complete a book on Irish history. When she discovers the old carriage house she is renting is haunted, she is determined to uncover the truth behind the burned ruins of a nearby manor house and the abandoned British barracks it overlooks. With the assistance of Shay Macgregor, an Irish historian, her quest will take her to 1919 and the Irish War for Independence, exposing the murders of two young men and why their mother, April Crutchley, refuses to leave the back of beyond even in death. With a budding romance and the opportunity to begin life anew, Hayley finds her own life is now in jeopardy as she gets closer to a truth the villagers have long sought to bury.

Excerpt

I could not hear the cattle though we continued to approach. I saw a head dodge this way or that, could envision their mouths opening in snorts or grunts. Two dogs came into the picture as though there were curtains on either side, appearing from behind the veils to join the cattle on center stage. They ducked and darted, their heads held low, ever on the watch for a strayed cow and yet the yips and barks I should have heard were lost in the winds that blew through here a hundred years ago.

The road stopped and yet Shay continued to press forward, the terrain becoming steeper and rockier as we drew ever closer. I was panting now and my forehead was covered in perspiration and yet I knew I could not turn back. I had to remain with Shay. I longed to ask why we were moving steadily toward the ruins, or what he hoped we could possibly accomplish there, but the words were frozen on my lips.

The air grew icy but there was no wind, as if time itself was suspended.

Then the herd parted to reveal two young men, boys really; and they were looking at us.

Shay stopped and I was so mesmerized that I started past him but he reached out to grab my arm. I have no idea what amount of force he might have used because in that instant, I barely registered his hand upon me. I only knew my feet had stopped and I was staring uphill at two boys that stared back at me.

Their baggy pants were dark, their shirts light, but I could see the giant tree that stood behind them. My brain slowly registered that I could see it because I was looking through them; the combination of their light and dark clothing was casting the tree into curious shadows. I knew they were looking at us though I could not see their facial features, but rather judged their stance from the position of their bodies. Their faces glowed eerily, the outlines blurry. They grew even hazier as I realized they were beginning to run.

In an instant the cattle dispersed in a panic, rushing down the hill toward the pasture from whence they’d come while the two boys raced upward in the opposite direction toward the house. They reached the open doorway almost at the same time, catapulting over the threshold. As they stepped inside the walls, everything vanished: the boys, the dogs and the cattle were gone. All that was left were the skeletal ruins, dark and forbidding against a sky filled with ominous clouds.


I asked the author if she truly believes in ghosts. Here's her answer:

April in the Back of Beyond is both a mystery and a ghost story, one of several books I’ve written that included ghosts. I have always loved ghost stories; I think it began when I was just a little girl and my older sister Susan would tell me ghost stories that had me scared half to death. My dad had a car that seemed to be all windows and we would sometimes visit his sister, which involved driving well after dark on winding, shadowy roads while Susan told her stories.

The first time I saw a ghost was when I was in bed with my mother, sister, and two brothers. I was about 5 years old, and she was reading a book to us. All the sudden, she stopped reading and looked at the foot of the bed. I followed her gaze and saw a man at the foot of the bed just looking at us. She called for my father and when he entered the room, the man disappeared. My mother found out two days later that a man she had dated for nine years had passed away that night. He’d never married, had always carried a torch for my mother, and he was alone when he passed. I will always believe that was him saying good-bye to my mother as he departed.

Other members of the family have seen or felt loved ones as well. My aunt was busy making breakfast for my grandfather when she felt his hand strong on her shoulder. He was blind and increasingly infirmed and she blurted out, “Daddy, how did you get in here?” But when she swirled around, he was gone. She knew in that instant that he had died. She was a nurse and she rushed to his room but he had already passed over. She said she would always believe he was saying good-bye to her.

I’ve seen many ghosts in my lifetime. I am often asked if they frighten me. I believe each one is the spirit of someone that lived here in the past, some of whom I know and some that are strangers to me. Whether they frighten me depends on the spirit and the situation. It’s much like walking down a street and seeing someone that appears friendly and you smile, while someone else might appear threatening by their expression or their movements and they are frightening. Since I’ve begun writing ghost stories, I’ve had many people tell me of their own experiences, especially of sensing or seeing loved ones that have passed over.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Author bio and links


p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 23 books in multiple genres, including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional, non-fiction and children’s books.

Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.

A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely, who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN).

She was the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.


For more information, book trailers, excerpts and more, visit the author’s website at www.pmterrell.com

Twitter: @pmterrell

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Cocktails

Normally, I don't drink cocktails. They're often too sweet. But since our trip to Firenze in July, I developed a like for Aperol Spritz.

It's a drink that's easy to mix. Just fill a big glass with ice cubes, then add a measure aperol, two measures prosecco (or even a bit more) and a slice of orange. Stir, and it's ready.

It's a great drink for when it's hot. Sitting on the terrace, watching everything go by (from where we are: ships entering and leaving the port of Zeebrugge, the traffic on the coastal road below, the pedestrians who take the underground tunnel to cross the road, ... we can even see the church towers of Bruges when the weather is clear), sipping an Aperol Spritz. Yes, life can be good!

Unfortunately, the weather isn't that great nowadays. There is some sun, but also some cloud, and the temperatures are around 23° Celsius. Not bad, but not good either. For me summer means temperatures of at least 25° and lots of sunshine.

And what about you? What's your favorite cocktail? Or what means summer to you?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Trip to London

Yesterday evening, we returned from London. We were there just for a short trip, mainly to see a musical show in the Palladium.

This time we stayed in a hotel in Islington, not far away from Angel tube station. Islington is quite a nice neighborhood, I must say. Lots of shops and pubs and restaurants - and quite a bit cheaper than in the center of town. From Angel you quickly reach St. Pancras/King's Cross and there you have practically every tube line available.

We had a nice and quiet room at the hotel and slept very well. No pubs around from which you can have noise - we arrived on Friday and the Brits are known to love pubbing in the weekend. At some places we were, they stayed on the pavement shouting and laughing until the wee hours of day.

We did go to the pub, but in the late afternoon during happy hour. We got a taste for aperol spritz after our recent stay in Florence!

Also had some nice lunches. One local in a restaurant named Desperados (Mexican style food) and another at Cicchetti's Covent Garden (Italian). Been there before and I can recommend it!

On Friday night we went to see the renewed version of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with Sheridan Smith as the narrator, Yac Yarrow as Joseph and Jason Donovan as the Pharaoh. After the show we waited at the stage door to get a picture and a signature. There were more than enough people, but we got in front and managed to get what we wanted.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Time for administration

Just came home from the coast to spend a night at home. I'm due at the hospital for a check-up tomorrow, which is practical as we go afterwards to London.

It's a good time to do some administration. When you've been away for a couple of weeks, a lot of things need regulation. Bank affairs, credit card statements, etc. All need printing, and we don't have a printer in Heist. So I'm doing all this this afternoon and before we go to the hospital tomorrow. A bit boring, but it can't be helped!

I like to have everything in order, wherever I am. So I always arrange my check-ups to suit or way of travelling. The doctor knows it, and she is prepared to shift some dates to suit our needs. Quite like that doctor, she's a very good oncologist. When I first met her, she asked if she could speak her mind. So now we know everything she states to be correct. When there's bad news, I want to know. I can take that. When I first heard about my cancer, I made a list for my sister with all the things that need to be done when I'm not there anymore. She wouldn't know half of it. Two years have passed since then, but even now I sometimes add something. Chris knows where to find the list on my pc and also knows my entry code.

It's good to have everything in order, just in case. I hope to live for some years to come!!!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Upcoming trip to London

Around the midst of the summer vacation, we normally take a short trip to London. It's always fun to be there, because you never stop finding new places and unexepected treasures. We travel to London a couple of times a year and now we begin to get a feel for the city.

Eurostar made travelling to Great-Britain very easy. Before that you had to take either the plane or the ferry (later on hoovercraft) from Ostend. When you go by plane, you have to be at least one hour before at the airport, and then you arrive in Heathrow, from where it takes about an hour by tube to reach the center of London. By ferry/hoovercraft you arrived in Dover and then it was also a ride by train to London (more than an hour). Right now you just board the train in Brussels-South and two hours later you are in London St. Pancras. Beats everything! Another plus: when you buy the tickets way in advance, you get the lowest fare.

This time the trip won't cost us much, because we could exchange Hilton Honor points to pay for the room. And we got the low fare for the train as well. This means we'll only have to spend money on our food and drinks.

Of course we'll pick a musical when we're there. This time we have tickets for the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat, with Jason Donovan as the pharaoh.

Let's hope the weather plays nice!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

We survived the hottest day ever

Last Thursday, July 25th, was the hottest day ever in Belgium. The maximum temperature reached over 40° Celsius, which is absolutely very hot! The past record dated back to 1947, when it became 36° - as kids, we often heard our parents and grandparents relate how warm the summer of '47 was. But apparently, the summer of 2019 was the hottest.

Already early in the morning, when we went to the supermarket to buy food for the day, it was almost unbearable warm. Since we have a rooftop flat, facing south, the sun burnt down relentlessly on it. We kept all the window closed and the shades down, but even then the temperature inside reached 32° - even today it's still 29°.

We  kept quiet and tried not to move too much. Cooled our hands and face regurlarly with cold water. Only when the sun was gone, it was doable to go outside. We sat way past midnight on our terrace, trying to catch that little bit of wind which was blowing.

Several people died of the heat and lots of them got second-rate burn wounds from exposure. How foolish can you be to be taking the sun when it's so hot?

Belgium was not the only country to be affected by this big heat. Also Holland got these crazy temperatures.

How was it where you live?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Murder in a box

Jimmy Cowé, an ex-cop who worked for the federal police for years as co-ordinatior of cases and analyst, has created an online game that's really fascinating: the crimi box. For about 35 € you can order an online box that has all the components to lead a real police investigation. Like a Hello Fresh box which contains everything to make a yummie meal.

It's been a success from the start. At first Cowé worked on his own, now he has 3 men working for him. His customers amount gradually, and those who bought a first box gladby buy a second or a third. Up to now there were 4 new games per year, but now it's going up to 6 already. And Cowé is ready to conquer the US after his success in Europe.

I suppose we'll be ordering a box soon too. I love reading detectives and thrillers and I'm usually good in finding out who did it before I reach the end of the book.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Preparing for the heat

As of today, the temperatures are rising quickly. Today it will be between 29° Celsius at the coast to 35° more land inward. Tomorrow it's going to be in the thirties all around and on Thursday the weather bureau expects the hottest day ever since they began their measurements. It will easily mount to 39°. In Holland they even expect temperatures around 40°. Sometimes you can believe you live in the south of France!

Of course, people need to be careful in this heat. Especially youngsters and the elderly have to pay attention. The KMI (weather bureau) advices to stay indoors as long as the sun is out. And to keep your house as cool as possible. In Dendermonde, this is relatively easy but here at the coast it's nigh impossible. We have a rooftop flat, fully exposed to the south. While this is a big advantage in winter, in the heat of summer it's not a blessing. The sun comes down relentlessly on the roof, and the only thing we can do is let down the blinds and not move too much. Learn to sleep in a bedroom that's a sauna (well, normally we manage). And drink enough water and eat normally. Just take a bit of care of what you eat. Dishes with a cheese sauce are not for these days! But a fish risotto Indian style is great now. 

Around the weekend the weather should turn and it will become cooler. Not too much, I hope. We haven't had a lot of good weather this summer yet. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

21st July

Today is for the Belgians what 4th July is for the Americans or 14th July for the French - a day of national pride and  unity. Although...

The problem is, most of the time we don't feel 'Belgian'. We are Flemish or Walloon. Belgium is a country that was made artificially. After the Napoleontic wars, some big numbers decided they'd make a  new country, in which Leopold (related to Queen Victoria of England) could be king. So they just put together some pieces of land. Never mind that in one part Flemish people lived, and in the other French speaking. Two nationalities that don't agree a lot in most cases. Later on, after the World War, they even added a little part of Germany, with German speaking population. This is the reason why we have three official languages in Belgium: Dutch (or better named Flemish), French and German.

Each region has it own government (!) and there is also a federal government. Now, after the elections of last May, the differences between the regions stand even sharper. Flanders voted ultra right, while Wallony voted more to the left.

It'll be tough to form a new federal government, that's for sure. Our king, Filip, gave a speech yesterday in which he expressed his hope that a government would soon be formed. Of course he wishes this, because his job depends on it - he 'king of all the Belgians'. In Flanders there are ultra right parties which look for the independence of Flanders. The Walloons are very much afraid of this, because their main stream of tax money comes from us.

The only thing in which we are all Belgians is soccer. When the Red Devils play, there is a wave of national feeling.

Can Belgium survive? It remains to be seen...

Friday, July 19, 2019

Second heatwave coming...

And not before time! The past week it's been rather cold and windy here at our part of the coast. Even today grey skies dominate, while in the rest of the country the sun is shining.

That's something that happens often. Sometimes it's bad out here and fine inland, or just vice-versa. And it may rain in Blankenberge (a town a little bit further along the coast) while the sun is out in Heist and Knokke.

A few days of warmth and sunshine will be welcome. I do love warm temperatures and sun. This past week we've kept ourselves busy by going to the DIY store to fetch materials and make some new furniture for the flat. My sister is rather good at that, while I'm good at destruction!

Luckily we had our trip to Italy to have some sunshine already. Next winter we'll be in Egypt where the sun will also be shining. And then some weeks later to South Africa. The last years we look for destinations where you don't have to wear thick coats and bonnets. In 2020 there will also be trips to Barcelona and Morocco - perhaps also one to Israel.

Who loves the sun as well?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Extinction of All Children

Today we welcome author L.J. Epps. The author is doing a virtual book blast tour for Extinction of All Children, a YA fantasy available now. The Book Blast Tour will take place on July 15 - 19, 2019.



L.J. Epps will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:

Blurb


The futuristic world of Craigluy has been divided into three territories and three economic classes. A large wall separates the territories, so the poor cannot mingle with the rich.

Since President Esther, the ruler over all of Craigluy, believes the poor do not have adequate means to take care of children, they are no longer allowed to procreate. Pregnant mothers are imprisoned until their babies are born, then the infants are taken away.

Emma Whisperer is the last child to survive. She is the last child born in lower-class Territory L before the law was instituted in the year 2080. She is the last eighteen-year-old.

Emma struggles to understand why she was spared while others weren’t. She doesn’t like the laws and believes they should be repealed. Her family doesn’t agree with her; they discourage her rebellious streak. Yet, she helps them to cover up their own family rebellion. She helps them to hide a big secret, a secret that could be both disastrous and deadly for members of their family.

As she meets new people along the way, Emma learns who she can and cannot trust. And, in the end, she makes a gut-wrenching decision that may be disastrous for everyone.


She finds herself in danger for doing what she feels is right



Excerpt


“On your feet.”

I hear a loud voice. My heart jumps. It sounds like Rich.

There are no windows here, but my internal clock tells me it is bedtime. I was waiting for the lights off in ten minutes call. Instead, I see him standing in front of my cell. He looks the same yet scarier, and his green eyes peer at me. His hair looks as bright as a ripe cherry. My hands shake.

“I’m not going to say it again. You’ve been summoned to see the president.”

“But it’s almost time for lights out.” My voice quivers.

 “I don’t care what time it is. I gave you an order.”

 I stand and my knee twitches. The ice pack, lying on my side, falls and crashes to the floor. My cell door opens with a squeal, and Rich steps inside. He is dressed in his uniform, and he smells of musk and liquor. I didn’t think guards could drink while on duty, but what do I know.

“Let’s go,” he says, clutching my arm.


Once I’m out of my cell, he snaps the handcuffs on. The coldness straddles my wrists. Like a dog on a leash, he leads and I follow. My stomach is in knots. I don’t know what to expect once we reach the president’s quarters. But, we don’t go to the fifth floor; the elevator dings on the second floor. He pulls on my handcuffs and yanks me off the elevator.

Author bio and links


L.J. Epps is a lover of all things related to books: fiction and nonfiction novels, as well as biographies and autobiographies. She has also been known to sit and read comic books from cover to cover, several times over.

Over the last few years, L.J. has written several manuscripts; her mission is to publish all of them. She enjoys writing fiction in several genres, including contemporary romance and women’s fiction, as well as young adult dystopian, science fiction and fantasy. She loves to write because it immerses her into another world that is not her own.

LINKS:







Monday, July 15, 2019

Groundwork for Murder

Please say hello to authors Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman today. They are doing a virtual book blast tour for Groundwork for Murder, a women's fiction with elements of romantic suspense available July 10th from The Wild Rose Press. This book blast tour will take place July 10 - 16.


The authors will be awarding a 16x20 signed matted print 'Flora Blanca" by author and Florida artist Sharon Goldman, 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/28e4345f3094/




Blurb

Landscape artist Alexandra Newborn dreams of a one-woman show at the Diamond Gallery. But the gallery owner dismisses her paintings as "old, tired, and dull. Lacking excitement." Those words also describe Alex's unhappy marriage.

Alex's shocking reunion with her college art professor, Dominick "Nick" Anselmo—once a world-celebrated Italian artist, now a homeless lawn man—reignites their passion and fuels a creative spark for both, helping Nick recover from his wife's death.

With Nick's provocative sketches, art imitates life, but Alex doesn't realize they reveal a dangerous liaison between her husband and the gallery owner. Without Nick's knowledge, Alex arranges an art opening that includes his drawings.


When the torrid affair between Alex's husband and his mistress is exposed, the seeds are sown for murder, mystery, and romance.


Excerpt

The subject matter was unexpected and provocative. She’d thought that, in his new life as a
lawn man, Nick might just draw a tree, or a garden, not a couple caught in a passionate embrace—her face against his cheek, his face buried in her neck to hide their identities and keep the world at bay.

He had captured them in a clinch that seemed to portray more lust than love. The sketch spoke of
forbidden moments. The lines revealed movement, as if the couple had had to love and leave. All that sexual desire was combustible. And yet there was love there. Maybe not love between this couple, but Nick had obviously transferred his own feelings of lost love and longing onto the paper.

“Always leave something of yourself in your work.” That’s what Professore Anselmo had taught his students in college. And he had managed to do that brilliantly in this drawing. The passion was raw, and it exposed everything that was missing in her relationship with Mark. And everything that was missing in her art. Something vaguely familiar about this couple tugged at her memory, but she quickly dismissed it.

Alex knew great art could have that effect on your soul. It was similar to a writer who paints word pictures that draw you into the story and elevate the everyday into the sublime—word pictures that are often too close to home, too real to examine too closely.



Author bio and links

Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman are sisters. Groundwork for Murder won first place in the Suspense Romance category of the Ignite the Flame Contest, sponsored by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers Chapter of RWA. 

Marilyn Baron

Marilyn Baron writes in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal/fantasy. She and her sister even wrote a musical called Memory Lane.

She’s received writing awards in Single Title, Suspense Romance, Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, and Paranormal/Fantasy Romance. She was also The Finalist in the 2017 Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) in the Romance Category for her novel Stumble Stones, and The Finalist for the 2018 GAYA Awards in the Romance category for her novel The Alibi. Her novel The Siege was nominated for the 2019 GAYA Awards in the Romance Category.

Groundwork for Murder is her 24th work of fiction. A public relations consultant in Atlanta, she is chair of the Roswell Reads Steering Committee.

A native of Miami, Florida, Marilyn graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a B.S. in Journalism—a major in Public Relations and a minor in English (Creative Writing). She met her husband at UF and both of her daughters graduated from UF. Marilyn now lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband.

Find out more about Marilyn on her website:



and follow her on Twitter @ MarilynBaron.


Sharon Goldman

Sharon Goldman is an award-winning artist whose paintings are in private collections and who has exhibited in numerous galleries throughout northeast Florida, including the Haskell Gallery in the Jacksonville International Airport.

As a native Floridian, Sharon strives to create work that captures the spirit of Florida. Her colorful palette, unique cropping, and background as a designer and art director help her envision her novel compositions, which she describes as painterly realism.
Sharon has taught art school in her home studio to more than 200 students in her community. Sharon has also written and illustrated a children’s book.

Sharon is on the Dean’s Leadership Council at the University of North Florida’s Thomas G. Carpenter Library, where she gives monthly tours of one of the largest permanent art collections of regional artists in the state.

A graduate of the University of Florida in Fine Arts, Sharon had a long career in the advertising business. After having three children (now college graduates), she has more time to bring her ideas to light.

To view Sharon’s art, visit her website at:




Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bittersweet Alliance

Please welcome author Kathleen Rowland today. Kathleen is doing a virtual blurb blitz tour for her romantic suspense, Bittersweet Alliance. This novel is published by Tirgearr Publishing and the tour will run July 8 - August 2.


The author will be awarding ten gift bags each containing a shell necklace, chocolates, and a flower pen to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour (international giveaway). Please use the following link to place your comment: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3088

Blurb

Will a snap decision change their lives forever? Bizarre kidnappings stun the Big Island of Hawaii, pulling Danker Donahue back into the game and forcing him to partner with Jolene Kualoha, the woman who left him seven years ago when his DNA showed up in paternity lawsuit. The prejudice-motivated hate crimes are the wildest anyone has ever seen. Victims are being poisoned then released once the ransoms are paid, many losing their lives. In the shadow of Jolene's success as a helicopter pilot, a troubled woman develops a fixation on Jolene and imitates her appearance. Matters turn dark when the copycat is shot dead. Was Jolene the target? Threats mount when she barely survives an accident after her brake cables are severed. When these crimes threaten her sanity, Jolene is forced to trust the one person she thought she’d lost forever, Danker. Instantly, sparks fly between them, and as much as she wants to rekindle their relationship, she must protect her heart. An old enemy, Seamus McGinn, breaks out of a maximum-security prison and invites Danker to a meet-up. Surprisingly, the kidnapper joins forces with McGinn along with his sick fans. McGinn trumpets his ‘murders by ice pick’, and it’s up to Danker to stop him. The whole island is on edge with a live feed from the maniac’s website. In a stolen moment, Jolene shows him hope, and he makes a snap decision that will change their lives forever. Will he make it back to show her?



Excerpt

Seven years since their breakup, Jolene Kualoha spotted Danker Donahue, ambling from the parking lot toward the store. She recognized him by his height and long gait. Wind from the north ruffled his hair and brought a bone-biting chill to her heart. Nuts, here he was, ducking his head to miss the bell overhead. It tinkled, and a strange twisting sensation hit her in the stomach.

This happened at the Kalua-Kona Food Emporium on a Sunday morning in July. She stared from where she stood near the avocados. His dangerous edge drew her in, but she turned her back to him. Her body reverberated like when her cellphone was on vibrate in her pocket. Stunned with minor electric shock, she froze.  Maybe he wouldn’t see her.  Wouldn’t recognize the back of her head or the once familiar shape of her ass.

Was someone waiting for him in the parking lot? Someone like Louella, the baby’s momma who’d summoned him for an immediate DNA test? For a split second, she craned her head around but didn’t see her with him. 

She and Danker were a couple when the test confirmed his fatherhood. Her heart ached at the memory. Love hurt, but that wasn’t all. Loneliness hurt. Losing someone hurt. Decision-making hurt when you force yourself to do the right thing. 

She’d pulled away, giving him space to work on his previous relationship for the sake of their child. The most shameful thing a woman can do is take parents away from a baby, and this began her year of stubborn steadfastness. 

I did the breakup rituals. Got the dramatic haircut. Engraved a piece of jewelry he got me with a new message. Deleted the photos that made me cry. 

To have been his woman was like living where the air flowered with jasmine, and the weather day after day was flawless, but the forecast was a hurricane. 



Author bio and links


Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write!  Kathleen is an in-house author at Tirgearr Publishing. Her Irish-American Donahue Cousins series includes Deadly Alliance, Unholy Alliance, and another, Bittersweet Alliance is in the works. One Night in Havana (in the City Nights series) has a release date of January 31, 2018.


What reviewers say about Kathleen Rowland:
Windward Whisperings--Kathleen Rowland spins a creative story with romance, passion and suspense making it an adventure hard to put down. The banter she creates between the two lovers is spine-tingling robust in this keeper of a read. http://theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/windwardwhisperingsrowland.htm
Deeds of Deceit-- Circled by the bloodthirsty and untrusting, you learn to appreciate the few allies you have. Deeds of Deceit is an excellent addition to any thriller assortment. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/mar_12.htm
A Key to all that Glitters is a mesmerizing love story that vibrates with love and suspense. http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2009/05/key-to-all-that-glitters-by-kathleen.html
General links:
http://www.kathleenrowland.com
http://www.kathleenrowland.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.rowland.50
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bittersweet-Alliance-Donahue-Cousins-3-ebook/dp/B07S8QYH7F/

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Computer problems

Since yesterday evening I've been experiencing problems with my pc. I don't know what's wrong with it. It's an old computer, but it worked fine until yesterday. Now I can just open up a browser but I can't switch off in the correct way, nor can I open up other files.

Worries, worries! I'm not computer savvy since wse never learnt how to work a computer at school. In my days, we didn't even have computers. I'm from 1956 so I saw a lot of change in my time. First we had typewriters (Remington) which turned into electrical ones some time later. Then came a sort of pc which only worked well for text writing - which was in those days a great plus because you could change freely in your text and only needed to print it out. In the 1990s came internet. First with a modem - tuut-tuut-tuut. Where are the days??? People born nowadays can't imagine how it was in earlier times. I could spend an hour relating all of this to my students when I was still working. They were fascinated by it.

Well, I hope that by some miracle I can sort out my problem here with the pc so it works as fine as it used to do.