Monday 30 April 2012

Z is for Zanzibar

Congratulations! We did it -though I missed on the 'Y'. Life got in the way, and things didn't roll the way I wanted them to. I feel blessed, as I met a lot of wonderful people during this challenge, and got to read lots and lots of wonderful posts.Wouldn't have happened if I hadn't taken this challenge. Thank you for taking time to comment and follow me, and sending you *hugs*

Zanzibar, known as the Spice Island,  is made up of a series of islands, and is located approximately 25 kilometres from Tanzanian Coast, and is known for its brilliant white beaches, lapped by shimmering blue and turquiose waters of the Indian Ocean. The local people are a mixure of different ethnic backgrounds. indicative of Zanzibar's colourful history. Zanzibaris speak Swahili, - Swahili is spoken extensively throughout East AFrica. The island got his name as a result of plantations developed to provide spices.  Zanzibar being on the Indian Ocean gave it an advantage, as it became  famous for booming slave trade, giving it an important role in the Arab slave trade.

The Stone Town lies along the Indian Ocean, and is characterised by its maze of narrow passages some which are too narrow for cars, and mostly used by people on scooters and bicycles. It consists of shops, bazars, mosques and houses.
The architecture was influenced by Arab, Indian, European and African style.

 The Sultan's Palace, commonly known as the House of Wonders was built in 1883 by Sayyid Barghash  the third Sultan of Zanzibar. source used mainly for residential purposes

The long history of Zanzibar has its darker side. During the 18th and 19th centuries it was the main base for the trade in African slaves brought from the interior by Arab traders, who often purchased their captives from warring tribes. The slaves were sold to European and American merchants, and shipped in appalling conditions to the Americas and the Caribbean. It is still possible to visit the old slave pens, but an Anglican cathedral has been built on the site of the slave market.Source: usslav

Sunday 29 April 2012

Beckoning Light and Perilious Light Blog Tour

Book Summary:

As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.

Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she's going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she's completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.

Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it's up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses

Book Summary

Would you sacrifice everything for a world you barely knew?

A year has passed since Charlotte and Kevin first stepped
through the gate into Energo and neither has been able to settle back into their normal lives. Charlotte tries to distract herself from thoughts of Calvin with the antics of James and her growing friendship with Liam. Kevin can’t seem to shake his feelings for Samantha as he adjusts to his new identity as a college basketball player.

When they unexpectedly return to Energo, both Charlotte and Kevin must face their fears and become the leaders they were always meant to be.

My Review: Beckoning Light

Beckoning Light is written in two POVs, Charlotte and her brother, Kevin. 

Charlotte is a normal teenage girl, or so she thinks she is until events start happening, spurning the story forward sailing the reader through the world of Energo, a world completely different than our own, where Charlotte discovers things about her, and the nature of who and her brother are.

Kevin, first enters energo in seearch of his sister, accompanied by his uncle Monty and his best friend, Liam. - Liam's loyalty is astounding. Makes me wish I'd have a friend like him. Kevin also discovers who he is, and the power within him. 
I really enjoyed reading this story from the first sentence "We were flying over Canada when the panic set in.  to the last sentence "Don't worry Charlotte. No matter what everyone else sees, you will always have the afterglow."  The story is suspense and romance, a wonderful combination, and enjoyed the how the descriptions were done.

Alyssa Rose Ivy did a wonderful job with Energo's worldbuilding,  as well as portraying each character's traits. This is the first book in beginning a wonderful series, and I am looking forward to continue Perilous light where Beckoning Light left off. 

Rating. 4/5 Stars

Friday 27 April 2012

Friday Fantastic Feature Author Feature

Today I'm really glad to have Nancy Medina - writes under Lissette E. Manning -  here with me.  Without further ado, lets get up and close with our guest.

About Nancy Medina

Nancy Medina is an author from Connecticut who writes under the pseudonym of Lissette E. Manning. She has been writing since she was six-years-old and spends most of her time trying to place her thoughts into order and giving life to the stories that are always brewing inside her head. 

She enjoys reading books, listening to music, playing the occasional video game, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family. She's also a bit of a computer geek.

Her writing genres of choice are Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Romance, Erotica, Paranormal, Short Stories, as well as Poetry. She's currently working on several projects due out sometime in the new year, as well as her finishing her NaNoWriMo project, The Corsicanth Princess.

*CeCe*:  Welcome to my den,Lissette. Please tell us your name, officially that is. :)

*Lissette*: Hi. I’m Lissette E. Manning.

*CeCe*: What project are you currently working on?

*Lissette*: I currently have several projects  that I’m working on.

One is a Romance/Comedy novel (sort of) titled Until There Was You. It centers around Angelia Montgomery who’s been in love with a celebrity friend of hers for years. She finally gets to meet him face to face and all sorts of shenanigans ensue.

There’s also a Science-Fiction/Fantasy novel titled Marius that’s centered around a series I’m working on called Tales of Velosia. Marius discovers he’s a shape-shifter and learns how to deal with that aspect of his life along with protecting the realm against outside forces.

I’m also in the process of editing and rewriting my NaNoWriMo project from last year titled, The Corsicanth Princess. It’s pretty much about a teenage faerie who must accept the circumstances surrounding her birth and exile to Earth in addition to restoring balance to the world she really comes from.

These are just a myriad of projects I’m working on, of course.

*CeCe* : What inspired you to write the first book?

*Lissette*: I wrote my first book, Closure, via a writing class I was taking online back in 2010. It was for an assignment I was given that grew into the story it is now. Self-publishing it was an experiment, of sorts. I wanted to see what would happen and if I could make something of my writing. I’m very glad I took that chance and have enjoyed the journey, thus far.

My inspiration behind it, I confess, is Ben Barnes. There’s just something about him that intrigues me so I modeled my character, Ben Morgan, around him.

*CeCe* I know what you mean about Ben Barnes. I find him quite intriguing. What genres do you write?

*Lissette* I write Science-Fiction/Fantasy in addition to Romance, Erotica, Paranormal, Young Adult, Poetry, and Short Stories. I think we can safely say that most of my stories center around Romance themes so I guess that would be my main genre, right?

I do dabble in other genres, though, and am also currently working on a Horror short story called Marty Pattinson which centers around a vampire/ghoul who seeks revenge on those who wronged him.

*CeCe*  How do you create your characters? How do you mould them to fit what you require for the story?

*Lissette* Hmmm . . . this is quite a intriguing, mostly because the characters seem to just pop in my head and don’t stop speaking until I write what they want me to. Of course, there’s also my muse who will fuel the urges to write so that I can make each character come alive.

I mostly just listen to what the characters have to say and write down their life stories and experiences. Each of them has a unique voice and I do my best to make them seem as real as possible.

Of course there are times when my muse will throw a curve ball at me and will change a story idea out of the blue. When that happens, though, I use things to my advantage so that I don’t lose the voice for whichever character I’m writing of/about at that given moment.

*CeCe*:  What is your writing style like? (more description, dialogue…)

*LIssette*: My writing style is a balance of description and dialogue. Not too much and not too little, so to speak. Just enough to keep a reader interested in the story.

Ironically that’s what a friend of mine told me recently when I shared an Erotica piece I wrote titled Forever Yours that pertains to Tales of Velosia. He said, “You have a nice knack for giving just enough to enlighten the reader without overdoing it with back story. 

*CeCe*: Have you ever hated a character/ a story you wrote?

*Lissette* I don’t exactly hate a character or a story I’ve written, really. I’ll just be displeased with the fact that things didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. Mostly, I’ll just set the character or story aside when this happens and work on them later on in order to make them more likeable. Sometimes, I can make that work, but on others they prove to be lost causes and I’ll never work on them again.

*CeCe* How did you do the research for the book you are currently writing?

*Lissette*: For the current book I’m writing, I haven’t had to do much research for it. The characters are centered around real-life people so I’ve been using what I know about those I’m including in the story to make them real and likeable. The story has pretty much been writing itself, so to speak, since I’ve had so much inspiration from my friends and those I’ve included in the story.

*CeCe*:  What project are you promoting?

*Lissette*: I’m currently promoting my book, Broken, a Romance/Drama short story centered around Ellie Morgan, Ben’s now ex-wife, from my first book, Closure. It’s her take/feelings on what’s she gone through since leaving Ben.

It’s found for sale exclusively at Amazon:

Book Blurb:

The past is hard to bear, but sometimes, we must face it, no matter the cost.

Displeased with the life she’d led, Ellie Morgan walked away from it all in hopes of finding happiness amidst all the turmoil. She knows it’s only a matter of time before she has to face the bitter reality of the repercussions caused by her past actions.

Broken and bereft, she tumbles head first into her despair. Yet there’s always a silver lining to every cloud, a certainty she knows is there if she’ll allow herself to see it. To do that, she must let go of the past and put her ghosts to rest, once and for all.


The alarm went off, its loud shriek grating within my ears. Groaning loudly, my hand sneaks out from under the duvet and slams down on the button in hopes of turning it off and promptly missed the mark.

The clock slides off of the night table, clattering to the floor and shattering into a million pieces. Peeking out from under the covers, I slowly crawl over to the edge of the bed and stare down at the mess I’ve inadvertently made.

Broken shards of plastic are scattered in every direction. Large, small, and even some minute pieces it would take forever to find them.

As I stare at the damaged clock, I come to the realization that it sort of resembles certain aspects of my life. There were so many pieces needing to be glued together that I’d never be able to put them back together again. A slight shiver crawls down my spine as I consider the significance of what I’m seeing.

Giving myself a mental shake, I shove the bed covers aside and slide out of bed, careful not to step on the splintered pieces. Walking towards the kitchen, I grab the broom and dustpan and trudge back to my room to clean up the debris.

Satisfied with my efforts, I hurry back to the scullery and toss the pieces into the trash can. I tuck the broom and pan into a corner of the pantry, grabbing a can of instant coffee, a bag of flavored oatmeal, and the bottle of Nutella.

The door swings closed behind me as I step up to the kitchen counter and deposit the lot onto its shiny surface. Whirling about, I yank open the refrigerator and rummage about until I find what I’m looking for. Dropping a new set of ingredients beside the rest, I take a moment to run down the hall and into the bathroom to brush my teeth clean.

As I stare at the reflection in the mirror, I mull over the thoughts that have been consuming me this cold and dreary Tuesday morning. Images of the broken clock keep rising to the surface. With each one, certain parts of my life spill forth in vivid detail. The miscarriage, my walking out on Ben, Mom’s ending battle with cancer, and Luli’s suicide.

The film of the life I’d lead tumbles forth, weaving and converging as I try to make sense of everything I’m feeling. The hurt, pain, betrayal, lies, and anger - I hate feeling this way. Deep inside, I have no wish to acknowledge what I’ve locked away for so long.

Here are other books by Lissette E. Manning:

Love is supposed to be forever. Sometimes, we're not meant to keep it. 

Ben Morgan thought he had it all - fame, fortune, a beloved wife, and a loving family. His work kept him out
of the country for long stretches at a time, but he did his best to provide for those he loved. He never
imagined that his being away so much would have severe repercussions. When his life starts to shatter and
his wife walks away without another glance, he's left to deal with the pain and sorrow of the choices that
he's made in the past. 

A world too different from what we once knew . . . all we hold onto now is survival.

Memories of the dead remind Annie Page of the world she'd once known. Renegade forces are closing in, seeking to command the little that remains. Yet she refuses to stand by and watch the world crumble.

Her children’s love the driving force behind the choices that she’s made, she’s determined to make their world a better place. Yet their survival comes with a price – one that she never meant to pay.

Thank you so much for coming over today, Lissette. 

X Is for X-Files

''The Truth is Out There''

I am a Sci-fi fan (when done right)  and a huge fan of this TV series. As a teen, I'd sit in the living room, my eyes, unblinking, glued to the TV, my heart pounding inside my chest as I watched excitedly, but couldn't pull away.  Other than Alien abductions (which I truly loved as a teen) and suff, I enjoyed how Agent Scully and Agent Mulder worked together. Although Scully was at first placed in pretense of helping Mulder with his investigations, they came to find out that they could only trust each other and no one else. I enjoyed watching Scully change from Sceptism as the series progressed, and  how their friendship changed from Platonic to romantic (I'm a hopeless romantic).

At times some series were seriously creepy, but very interesting.

Are you fan of X-files or sci-fan?

Thursday 26 April 2012

W is for Warrior

The picture that comes to mind when I think about a Warrior is fearless, intense and hust out for justice.

According to TheComplete Writer's Guide to  Heroes and Heroines: 16 Master Archetypes by Tami C Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders, the warrior is driven, remote and controlled. Dark and dangerous, justice is this man's watchword. He sees everything i black and white, right or wrong. Shades of gray are an anathema to him. He is the judge and jury, and if necessary, the hangman too. He is Tenacious, Principled and Noble. His flaws  are: Self-righteous, Relentless and Merciless.
 Whoa! *taking a deep breath*. This guy is all sorts of intense, I think.

Just the other day, I watched Braveheart, one of my all time favourites, starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace and began analysing his character. It's a bloody movie, but gives a wonderful example of the Warrior Archetype.
 After returning home from abroad, William Wallace falls in inlove with his childhood sweetheart and secretly marries her. The next day one of the soldiers attempt to rape her, but is comes through ok and  Wallace sends her off on horseback, but is later captured and executed. All in all after witnessing the injustices surrounding him and losing his loved ones, he is compelled to rebel against the English and helps his army leading them to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Even to his death, he refuses to beg for mercy and he was still shouting 'Freedom' as his last words before he is executed.

Bloody, dark and a film that potrays a true warrior. There are other films out there that portray this archetype, but this is the one I came up with when I thought about the 'W' letter.

Oh, yeah Buffy is a warrior, unafraid to rush in and slay those vampires.

What characters do you admire in a Warrior? Any examples of Warriors you know, whether from personal experience or books or movies?

Wednesday 25 April 2012

V is for Venice and Vienna

Oh, Venice! The home to the famous Italian baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi, and one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Venice is one of those places right up there on my list that I'd love to visit hopefully soon.

Things to do while in Venice - although I hear it is expensive, they have a gift for bargaining the price. And if they do it like we do in Kenya, then I'm sure I'll be fine. haha.

1. Get around in a gondola -this is is up, up there on my list :)
2. Visit the carnivale dressed and masked like it's going out of style.
3. Check out Casa Di Giuletta, probably write a note or two to Romeo -oh which reminds me of the movie Letters to romantic.
4. Take a Grand Tour on the Canal

The carnival starts 40 days before Easter and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. According to history, the Venica Carneval tradition started in 1162.

Vienna and Venice have one thing in common. Well, alot, but one thing I found out while researching for a project was that Vivaldi moved from Venice to Vienna.

Vienna is where I live, and it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived in. It is  the capital city of Austria, the City Of Music, and the place Sigmund Freud developed his ideas. Although, he was born in Moravia, his family moved to Vienna when he was 5. There are also other important personalities who were known to have been born or had lived in Vienna. Another example is the brilliant Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although he was born in Salzburg, was a court musician in Salzburg, he visited Vienna in 1781 and chose to stay. Maria Antoinette the Archduchess of Austria and Queen of France was born here as well.
It is said that the name Vienna is of Celtic origins. The history of Vienna goes back to 500BC when the Celts settled along the Danube river. Later on during the middle ages, Vienna was home to the Babenburg Dynasty and later became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasties

Things to do while in Vienna:

I wrote a couple of posts of places to visit for this challenge, like Schönbrunn Palace, the Opera. Other places worth seeing are the St Stephen's Cathedral which is located in the 1st District in Vienna. The interior is magnificent and so is the view up on the Northern Tower of the Cathedral, where you experience a beautiful view of the city.
In summer, one can enjoy sitting outside the cafes, enjoy Viennese coffee and pastries, or have the most delicious ice cream ever. Take a walk along the cobbled stoned 'Am Graben'. This street is reserved for pedestrians and is scattered with shops, cafes.

The Mozarthaus is one place to visit if you'd like to know more about Mozart and his geniusness. Everything Mozart plus conzerts are held here. This is the entrance, the area around it is still maintained - sort of medieval style.

Belvedere - this is a historical building which used to be the summer palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy. It consists of two Baroque palaces. Belvedere is know for its beautiful gardens and museum. This is quite a huge place, and worth the time.

Prater - It's a large public park and houses the  largest amusement park in Austria, known for the Giant Ferris wheel.

Last week, my daughter and I did an impromptu visit to Madame Toussands at the Prater. She wasn't feeling so well, and her paedetrician's is to the park. It was fun. Here are some photos of her. I can guarantee you after this trip, she was feeling much, much better..LOL

Tuesday 24 April 2012

U is for Unwritten

Sometimes life seems to spin round and round, and hardly have my toes touched the ground, it takes off again.

Ever woken up and felt as if everything seemed to be repeating itself like the previous days, months, or years before? Feel as if you neither moving forward not back, always standing in the same place, sinking, sinking into the quicksand called life?

Yep. I felt that way today. Sort of like that movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. Alarm went off, woke up, zombie-shuffled into the bathroom, took a shower, drank my tea and dashed out of the door to catch my bus at 6am. Yesterday was the same, and the day before, and the day before (I'm really glad I have some off days coming up..phew. :D)

Anyway, once I plugged my earphones in my ears, and pressed a song from my mobile and relaxed, I realised it was one of my favourite songs. And I haven't listened to in a while: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. Not only are the lyrics uplifting, she has a fantastic voice.

Later on I thought  about my morning. Every morning I get the gift of waking up, watch the sun rise (or the drizzling rain). What I choose to do about my day, is up to me. I have the ability to decide if it will be as boring or consuming as the previous one. Open a blank page, write. No one else can write it for me. With that I'd like to share Natasha's song from Youtube. Hope it brightens your day. :)

Ever felt as if you are having Groundhog Day? What do you think about 'writing the unwritten'?

Monday 23 April 2012

T is for Tsavo

In mood for a safari? Tsavo National Park is the place to be.

Tsavo National Park is Kenya's largest parks. It is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West. The difference between these two is the terrain. Tsavo West has more hills and mountains than East. This park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The climate is warm and dry, ideal for any safari fan. Tsavo East is patrolled by large herds of elephants. The largest lava flow in the world, about 300 kilometres in length can be found in this area. There is an abundance of lodges and camps, whichever one prefers.

From 1996 to 2001, I worked in one of the most beautiful lodges in I have even been to and seen. Salt Lick Lodge in the Tsavo West. At that time they were owned by Hilton Hotels, but now belong to Sarova Hotels.  This beautifully built lodge is divided into two wings. A bridge connects the two. The restaurant and reception are at the centre.

The area around the Salt Lick Lodge is not fenced in, so the wildlife strolls by and during the dry season, come in search of water. (There is a water hole at the front)

The other attraction is, watching the sun rise while flying inside a hot air balloon. This was one of the best experiences ever for me.  It gives one a whole new dimension of game viewing, as well as this exhilirating feeling that I can't just describe.

Man Eaters of Tsavo (The scary and dangerous times)

Written by Colonel JH Patterson, it is a true story and tells of when he was in charge of building a bridge for the Uganda Railway over the Tsavo river in 1898. During the night some of his workers were continually being dragged from their tents and then killed by to large male lions. After some time the workers started to believe that because the lions were so fearless, it was actually the Devil in the shape of a lion that was doing this.

In December 1898, after the death toll had risen to 28 Indian workers and a large number of locals, work on the bridge was brought to a halt, until the lions had been shot. After many nights of waiting, Colonel Patterson did eventually kill the lions, which are now on display in the Chicago Natural History Museum in the USA.Source

Sunday 22 April 2012

Author Interview with T. Michelle Nelson

Today I have the pleasure of hanging out with another talented Inkspeller, T. Michelle Nelson, on my blog. Welcome, T. So glad you are here, it being Sunday and all. :)

CeCe: Please tell us your name

Michelle: T. Michelle Nelson

CeCe: Please tell us about your book. When will it be released and by which publisher

Michelle:.The Life and Death of Lily Drake will be coming out in August and is published by Inkspell Publishing. It is the story of a single mom, Lily Drake, who is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, she finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.

The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene. How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn? Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

CeCe: Lily Drake sounds like a wonderful character. :) And a mom? I'm all in.What project are you working on?

Michelle: Currently I am working on a sequel to this novel. Several of the original characters will be making appearances. It was too hard to let them go!
CeCe: Oh, I know what you mean. The characters we create are part of us, so hard to let go. :) How much research did you do for this project?

Michelle: The majority of research involved was getting historical facts straight. I love history, but I wouldn’t call myself a history buff. I do well to remember my own birthday! Some of my vampires are very old, so I had to get dates and time periods correct.

CeCe: Oh, I do love a story with some Vamps in it. And it sounds like a blast. How did you come up with the story idea?

Michelle: Actually, it started as a dream then it gradually developed into the story it is now. Lily Drake is a little bit of me, and a little bit of who I’d like to be, and has traits like some of my best friends. It was really important to me to write a story that of course, was fantasy, but had a realistic main character that was relatable.
CeCe: Which genre is the book?

Michelle: I’d call it a paranormal romance for lack of a better term.

CeCe: Which genres do you enjoy reading and writing?

Michelle: I enjoy reading almost everything short of instruction manuals. I’m a “wing-it” kind of gal! But as far as writing, I don’t necessarily mean to write romance, it just happens… and it always does!

CeCe: Where can readers and fans find you - online that is?

Michelle: Website is coming soon, and I’m on facebook and twitter under T. Michelle Nelson.

 Definitely looking foward to The Life and Death of Lily Drake in August . Thanks for the interview, T. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday 21 April 2012

S is for Schönnbrunn (Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna)

Schönnbrunn (Schönnbrunn means, 'beautiful spring') Palace is one of the most beautiful and historical sites to visit in Vienna. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens, fountains, statues and mazes, which illustrate the interests and tastes of the Habsburg Monarchy. 


At the end of the 17th century Emperor Leopold I commissioned the gifted Baroque architect Bernhard Fischer von Erlach to built a palatial hunting lodge for the heir to the throne. On the site of the old imperial château de plaisance a splendid edifice was to arise.

Half a century later under Maria Theresa Schönbrunn Palace was to become the magnificent focus of court life. From that time onwards it played host to the leading statesmen of Europe. Although Austria is now a republic, Schönbrunn has remained a place of political encounter at the highest level.

The magnificent architecture and the exquisite décor of its state rooms marks Schönbrunn out as a cultural treasure and tourist attraction of the first order.
Who owns the palace?

In the possession of the Habsburg dynasty since Maximilian II, the palace passed to the ownership of the Republic of Austria at the end of the monarchy in 1918. source

The History of Schönnbrunn is quite extensive, and goes way back to the beginning of 14th century. Click HERE for more info.

The Palm House which is located in the the Schönbrunn gardens. It hosts mediterreanean, tropical and subtropical plants.

Emperor Franz Joseph commissioned the construction of the Palm House in 1882. Architect Franz Segenschmid had his hands full: with a length of 111 meters, 2,500 square meters in area and 4,900 square meters of glass, it is the largest Palm House on the European continent. 45,000 glass panes were installed.

The Palm House is divided into three pavilions and three climate zones, which are connected to each other by tunnel-like corridors. The tallest room exhibits plants from the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, South Africa, America and Australia. The northern room houses plants from China, Japan, the Himalayas and New Zealand. Tropical and subtropical plants grow in the third area. Plants on display in the Palm House include a23 meter-tall palm and in spring/summer the largest water lily in the world (with a leaf diameter of 1.20 meters). Temperatures range between 8 and 17 degrees Celsius. Source

Sunshine Blog Award

A week ago, I received the Sunshine blog award from Martina, a good friend and blogger. Sorry Tina, took me this long to post.

Here are the rules…
1. Include the award logo in your post or on your blog

2. Answer 10 questions about yourself – You can made up your own or you can use mine

3. Nominate 5 – 10 other wonderful bloggers

4. Let the other nominees know they are nominated and include links to their blog

5. Link the person who nominated you

I'll go ahead and use your Qs. :)

1. What book are you currently reading?

I'm reading two books.  The first one is Deadly Pleasures by Mary Firmin and the second on is Destined by Jessie Harrell.
2. Vampires or werewolves?

 No Dragons? I love dragons!
3. How many books have you read so far this year

I'd say about 10. I'm the slowest of readers.

4. Who is your favourite character in a book you’ve read?

I have a few of those. I loved Dhiren from Tiger's Curse, loved Barron from Fever Series, Clay from Whitney, My Love..
5. Heels, sneakers, flip flops or clogs?

6. What’s your dream vacation?

Cruise ship. And I look forward to fulfilling that dream in August. :D

7. Who is your favourite author?

Nalini Singh, Karen Marie Moning, Casandra Clare, Judith McNaught, Terry Pratchett

8. Favourite book/series?

The Highlander Series, Fever Series, Mortal Insturments, 

9. Tea or Coffee?


10. What are you doing in your sparetime (besides reading)?
My day job, Spend time with my kids, knitting, (when I can), cleanining, laundry, napping (Oh I love this one) hang out with friends, watch tv.... 

So, here are my nominations.

Shadow of The Witte Wieven Release Day + Giveaway

Book Title: Shadow of the Witte Wieven 

Author: Debbie Peterson 

Genre: Paranormal Romance 

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing 

Publication Date: April 21st 2012 

Format: eBook, Kindle, Paperback

Book Synopsis:
Despite a contract on her head, lone Drug Enforcement Agent, Aliyana Montijo must ferret out a mole and stop the assassination of top DEA officials, as so ordered by the Colombian drug lord she seeks to take down. The task is a daunting one, for there is no one she can trust. No one that is, until she encounters a most unlikely ally.
Former seventeenth century captain of the Dutch West Indies Company, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness, now from a parallel dimension, encounters the beautiful agent during an unearthly storm in the Bermuda triangle. Drawn to the Spanish beauty he rescues, he pledges his assistance, despite her reluctance to accept either his help or his heart.
Can Wolf bridge both space and time to claim the woman he loves?
Purchase the book:

Giveaway 5 eBook copies Shadow of Witte Wieven

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 20 April 2012

R is for Rumpelstiltskin

In Grimm Fairy Tales, Rumpelstiltskin is potrayed as the Villain of the story. The story themes revolved around greediness, cunningness as well as lies.

Here is the Plot Summary:

In order to make himself appear more important, a miller lied to a king, telling him that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The king called for the girl, shut her in a tower room with straw and a spinning wheel, and demanded that she spin the straw into gold by morning, for three nights, or be executed (other versions have the king threatening to lock her up in a dungeon forever). She had given up all hope, when an impish creature appeared in the room and spun straw into gold for her in return for her necklace, then again the following night for her ring. On the third night, when she had nothing with which to reward him, the strange creature spun straw into gold for a promise that the girl's first-born child would become his.

The king was so impressed that he married the miller's daughter, but when their first child was born, the imp returned to claim his payment: "Now give me what you promised." The queen was frightened and offered him all the wealth she had if she could keep the child. The imp refused but finally agreed to give up his claim to the child if the queen could guess his name in three days. At first she failed, but before the final night, her messenger discovered the imp's remote mountain cottage and, unseen, overheard the imp hopping about his fire and singing. When the imp came to the queen on the third day and she revealed his name, Rumpelstiltskin lost his bargain. Source

According to Grimm tales, the story ends with Rumpestiltskin, in a state of rage, stamped his foot on the floor until it sank to his waist and used both his hands to pull it out. Then made his way off, while the nurse laughed and the court jeered.

Lessons learned:

Boasting leads to only more problems.
Greediness is a sin.
Being cunning and greedy isn't a very good combination.

After rereading the story a few more times, I began to analyse it. Was Rumpel the only Villain in the story? mmm I don't think so. Maybe he was just a businessman -imp - going about his usual business, being his usual cunning self and providing services expecting payment in return. What about the greedy king? What do you think?

From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty seconds Blog Tour + Giveaway (International)

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Amy L. Peterson' s blog tour. She is the author of From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds. Welcome Amy. :) Before we get to her guest post and chapter excerpt from her book, here is the book summary that tells us a bit about her book. For a chance to win a paperback (International) please leave a comment + email address on the comment box. Giveaway open until 28th April,2012

Amy is a 30-year-old woman who spent many years polishing an unapproachable outer shell and maintaining a long list of reasons why not to have children. She keeps a canoe on her front porch, a mountain bike in her kitchen and a balance in her checking account.

Mark is an older, divorced man with four kids. He sleeps on an Army cot and eats out of pots and pans given to him by his therapist. He has a Ph.D. in stream ecology, a VW Rabbit with 285,000 miles on it and enough fishing tackle to sink a small boat.

Amy falls for Mark hook, line and hundreds of dollars in sinkers

A Guest Post  and Excerpt by Amy L. Peterson.

First, thank you CeCe for giving me this opportunity and for being a host for my April 8-28th book tour.  I hear I hit you up for this during a time you are promoting your own book, and I’m really glad you figured out which book was more important to promote today (hah!).  Seriously, thank you.

From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds is my humorous story about falling hook, line and sinker for a guy with four kids.  They were three, five, 13 and 15 when I met them; the man in question was older and divorced; and I was 30 and clueless. I didn’t know that a Water Baby needs to have water inside it to come alive, that teenagers are seldom happy in the company of adults,  and that men can sometimes act like teenagers. 

As a result of learning these and other important things, my book is filled with tips for stepmoms and future stepmoms.  Consider “Tip #17:  Not everyone will be happy with your choice of men.”  That, of course, was my mother, who had foolishly envisioned my future husband as having a car with fewer than 295,000 miles on it, pots and pans that were shiny and new instead of from his therapist, and a bed other than an Army cot.  Mom was also good for “Tip #36:  Anyone who says you have no idea what you’re getting into, is right.”

My goal in writing my book was to provide a few good laughs and a whole bunch of sound, light-hearted advice for other stepmoms and future stepmoms.  Because, with the right guy, being a stepmom is worth the misadventure.  And I know I have the right guy because he didn’t care that on my book cover, the bride’s fishing pole is connected to a larger fish than the groom’s.

I was also blessed with four great stepkids, and I must say, that helped a lot.  Only one called from jail in the wee hours of the morning, only one jumped on top of the roof of their car and used a toilet plunger to suck it back out, and only one called in “sick” to work so they could play video games with their friends.  All four kids are 21 and older now, and seldom miss out on birthday parties and holidays.  That’s my best evidence that at least some of my tips might prove useful.

The excerpt below is from Chapter 9, “Can’t We Just Duct Tape Them Together and Send Them Outside?”  This chapter describes what it was like to have all for kids move into a two-bedroom apartment with Mark and me for the entire month of July.  This chapter includes “Tip #39:  There is no time to unwind when children await you at home.”

After work, I stood outside my apartment and took a deep breath.

“What’s the matter?” Mark asked.

“I just realized that my days of unwinding after work are gone.”

“Welcome to instant parenthood.”  He grinned as he opened the door for me.

The first thing I heard was the shrill voice of Alfalfa so-called singing in a “Little Rascals” movie. 

From what I assumed was the kid’s bedroom, came a Beatles song, interspersed with the bleeps and dings from the Sonic the Hedgehog video game. 

I put my purse on the dining room table next to the Creepy Crawler cooker.  On the kitchen stove, several rubbery red and black rubbery scorpions, butterflies and the like were cooling.  In the living-room-family-room-storage-area, there were two glasses of pop on the TV.

“You’ll get used to it, Honey,” Mark said.

“That’s not comforting, but thanks for trying.”

I followed him into the living-room-dining-room-storage-area where Conrad was watching TV and Elizabeth was making “presents” out of pieces of construction paper and tape.  “Off the TV,” Mark said.  “Get your butt outside.”

“See my presents?” Elizabeth asked. 

Mark bent down and complimented her on her presents.  “Now, clean up this mess and get yourself outside.”

He then addressed the reverberating walls of music with, “Simone, shut that radio off, now!”  Once it was silenced, he said, “If you can’t play it quietly, I’ll take it away from you.  Go blast it outside somewhere if you need to be cool or whatever.”

“Whatever, Dad,” Simone said.

“Hey, Samantha,” Mark said.  “Why don’t you wrap it up with ‘Sonic’ and head outside, too.  It’s nice out there.”

By the time Mark and I changed our clothes, all four kids had wandered outside, looking sad and forlorn.  Mark and I immediately started making dinner and had five minutes of relative solitude before Elizabeth popped back inside and said that Samantha and Conrad were being mean to her.

Mark told her to come in, and when she did, Conrad tried to follow.  Mark kicked Conrad back outside with, “And stay out until I call you for dinner.”

“Can I help make dinner?” Elizabeth asked.

At four, she wasn't particularly helpful with the tasks she thought she wanted to do -- like chopping onions -- and carrying out the tasks she could do -- like setting the table -- took step-by-step instructions on what to place where and how many of each item was needed and let’s practice counting now, okay?  So exhausting was this play-by-play that by the time she was done with one task, I suggested that she go outside to see what her brother and sisters were doing, giving me five minutes to sing, twirl around, swear and have one single, private thought.

And then they came in for dinner.

It was like a mini-stampede, complete with one monkey, one elephant, one gorilla and a puppy dog, all trying to beat each other into the bathroom so they could dewater themselves and wash their hands.  The pecking order was by size, so as expected, Elizabeth was the last one to get to the table.

Once everyone was seated, all four kids started talking at the same time.  Mark let this go for a few seconds, then raised his hands and said, “One at a time.” 

As we listened and tried to respond to the days’ events, we also had to direct the movement of food around the table, as it seemed taking some of something and passing it wasn’t the norm yet.  We had no napkins and Mark and I didn’t have the energy to get napkins or tell one of the kids to get some.  Besides, no one knew where the napkins were. 

After dinner, Mark and I cleaned up and encouraged the kids to go swimming, feed the ducks, catch frogs, or go skating.  Later, a video was thrown into the machine and I escaped to my room to write.

Only at 11 o'clock -- after three kids were tucked away in the kids' bedroom, and with Simone on my futon in the living-room-family-room-storage-area -- did the movement stop and the noises blend into the gentle hum of the air conditioner.

Exhausted, I collapsed into Mark's arms and mumbled, "Is the entire apartment moving, or is it just me?”


To read more about how I coped with four kids, you just might have to buy my book at  It is available as an e-book and a paperback.  Review comments are summarized on my web site.