October 30, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop Winners

The winners for the Howloween Blog Hop are:


Image courtesy of [nuchylee] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Urb: brendurbanist AT gmail DOT com

JPadawan11@gmail.com






I've also notified the winners per e-mail. Thanks to everyone who participated, and welcome to the new followers, I really appreciate that you took the time to comment!

~ Chris

October 27, 2012

Germany: Fortress Ehrenbreitstein

In honor of the Howloween Blog Hop (you can still enter the contest to win one of my books) I'm talking about the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein today. The fortress is situated on a mountain on the right side of the Rhine, opposite of Koblenz. Please visit this site for detailed historic information.

When my good friend remydoodle and I visited Koblenz this summer we also made a trip to the fortress. We spent a long time there, and saw a lot. Too bad remydoodle insisted on going there via the cable car... Well, she had fun while we slowly crept upward. Here's a video from the cable car ride down (it took about five minutes but remydoodle sped it up to 38 seconds):


This is the view on the fortress from the left side of the Rhine (including a rainbow):



Pictures from inside the fortress:







October 26, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop


Who says trick-or-treating is strictly for the kids?
 
Welcome to the Howloween Blog Hop! There are 270+ authors and tons of goodies to be won. So put on your costumes, PJs, or fanged teeth and go a knockin’ at each of the blogs below! Click on the link for a spooktacular time. *evil cackle*
 

STARTS:

Friday, October 26, 2012

ENDS:

Monday, October 29, 2012 @ midnight.
 
This is my first time participating, and I'm really excited to be part of it!



In Germany Halloween isn't a traditional holiday but more and more people celebrate it now. It's rather popular with the kids. ;-)


So, in honor of the Howloween Blog Hop I’m giving away an e-copy of Seizing It or Silver Lining or the Animal Magnetism Anthology (winner's choice)  to two winners. 

Here’s what you do:
Contest:
~ I'd love if you'd join my blog but it's not mandatory to enter the contest.

~Leave me a comment. Tell me which book made you hide under the bed or leave the lights on.
~Leave me an email address, so I can contact you!

I’ll announce the winners Tuesday afternoon/ evening by email and on here. Please respond to the email!


Hope everyone has fun during the hop.

October 24, 2012

Cross Stitch Wednesday & Free Pattern #3

I'm still fighting, er, working on the horse project. I'm getting there but it's going slow.

I'm always looking out for websites that offer free patterns and this website offers free patterns as well as instructions, tips and what supplies you need.

On to this week's free pattern. This time we have a cute beagle puppy:



Here's the download-link for the pattern.

October 20, 2012

Germany: Koblenz

Koblenz is situated in Rhineland, more precisely in Rhineland-Palatinate (in German: Rheinland-Pfalz). It's one of the most beautiful old towns in Germany and well worth a visit.

There are a lot of monuments, historical buildings and of course the Rhine promenade. There are several places where you can board a boat and take a trip on the Rhine. When my good friend Rosie and I visited Koblenz we took two boat tours. One was an one hour trip and the other one was a seven hour tour, where we also saw the statue of the Loreley (more information and pictures will follow later).

Here are some pictures (courtesy of remydoodle) of Koblenz:

 This is the view from our hotel room. Nice, isn't it?


That's the row with hotels at the Rhine promenade:






 The other side of the Rhine:


Walkway along the promenade:






This is the fountain "Historiensäule". The sculpture tells the whole history of Koblenz (2000 years!) and is a great place to visit and look.


Close-ups:







That's it for today, have a great weekend!

October 18, 2012

The Pond (Ben/Joey)

A short explanation to those of you who are new to this storyline. Ben & Joey are a couple in a disciplinary relationship (for more stories please see the links at the right sidebar), so if that's not your thing you better skip this story. There is no spanking in this story but there are spankings in other ones.
Words in italics mean Joey is speaking telepathically.
Joey is also a shapeshifter; he's able to shift into a black cocker spaniel puppy. This isn't a puppy picture but it comes close:

Image courtesy of [Paul Martin Eldridge] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


 
The Pond
(Beta: Dizzy--thank you!)

Ben held the stick high above his head, grinning down at Joey who wagged his tail wildly.

Come on, Ben!

Ben pretended to throw the stick but Joey merely flinched, then stood still, his whole body posture showing how alert he was. Taking pity on the black spaniel puppy, Ben let go of the stick and watched it sail through the air. Joey whirled around, and sprinted after the stick, barking. Just before the stick hit the ground Joey caught it in the air. He landed ungracefully on his side, scattering the yellow and red leaves around him.

Joey?” Ben called as he strode toward Joey. “Are you all right?”

Joey bounced back to his feet, shook himself and ran over to Ben. Jumping around him, Joey requested, Throw it again!

Sighing, Ben crouched down, grabbed the puppy and pulled the stick from Joey's mouth. “One more time, okay? Then we'll go home.”

Whyyyyy?

Because we've been at it for over an hour and I'm hungry.”

Oh. Okay, you have a point. I'm more thirsty than hungry though.

Well, you ran around like crazy.”

Because it's fun! Come on, Ben, put me down! Joey wiggled in Ben's arms, making it impossible for him to hold on any longer.

When Ben stood, Joey danced around him, barking this peculiar puppyish bark he had. Ben sometimes couldn't believe how lucky he was—he had the best of two worlds, a lover he loved with all his heart and occasionally he also had an adorable puppy.

Not wanting to leave Joey waiting for too long, he threw the stick again, wincing when he heard a loud splash. Seconds later he heard an even louder splash. Ben groaned at the sight in front of him. Joey paddled in the small pond that marked the middle of the little park, the stick locked between his teeth.

He kept his distance until Joey emerged from the water. Joey put the stick on the ground and shook himself vigorously, drops of water flying around him.

Smiling fondly, Ben walked toward the puppy when Joey stepped back into the water and eagerly lapped from the pond.

No!” Ben shouted, startling Joey.

What?

Don't drink that water! I don't want you to become sick.”

I won't.

Joey turned his back to Ben and gulped down water. Ben couldn't believe his eyes. Hastily he strode toward Joey and picked him up.

Hey! Joey protested.

I said no. What exactly didn't you understand?”

But I'm thirsty, Ben.

Then you'll have to wait till we're home.”

But it'll take us at least ten minutes!

You'll survive.”

Ben scratched Joey behind his ears, dropped a quick kiss on the puppy's head and put him on the ground. A moment later he cursed. “Joey! Come out of the water right now.”

Oh, I had a water-loving dog too before I got Princess,” an elderly woman informed Ben.

Ah, yeah,” Ben stammered. “The thing is that I specifically told him not to go back.”

The woman's eyes lit up as she smiled at Ben. “He's just a puppy.”

Uh,” Ben said, then shrugged.

Joey paddled back toward him, a cautious expression on his little face. You can't spank me now.

Ben raised an eyebrow and slowly crossed his arms over his chest. He tapped his foot, waiting for Joey to come closer.

Joey's head dropped lower as he very, very slowly trudged to Ben. But I guess you will when we're home?

Aw, he's so cute! Look, he's all ashamed for having disobeyed you. Now that's a fine puppy you have there,” the woman cooed.

She held her hand in front of Joey who indulged her and sniffed at the offered hand. Ben watched while Joey allowed the woman to stroke his wet fur. His momentary anger quickly dissipated when he saw how happy the woman was.

Joey nudged the woman's hand with his nose, eliciting a giggle from her. Expelling a long breath, she said wistfully, “It's been a long time since you were that little, isn't it, Princess?”

She bid Ben any Joey goodbye, which left a small unhappy looking bundle sitting at Ben's feet.

Ben? I don't feel so good.

I wonder why that is,” Ben replied.

No, I mean, I really don't feel good. Like the content of my stomach is rolling around? I don't know how to describe it. I--

Joey broke off when a bout of nausea wracked his body. Ben crouched next to him, one hand on Joey's back while Joey vomited. He felt the puppy shake underneath his hand and sighed. “I really want to say 'I told you so' now.”

Ben, what's happening with me?

You're sick, sweetheart.”

Sick? Joey screeched. Ben massaged his temples with his free hand, still not used to the volume of Joey's voice in his head.

I don't want to be sick! Remember the last time I was sick? It was horrible!

I know. Come here, I'll carry you home.”

Ben lifted the trembling puppy in his arms, ignoring how wet he was. He positioned him in such a way that Joey's head rested on his forearm, explaining, “In case you need to puke again.”


Ben made it home in little more than five minutes. They only had to stop once for another bout of nausea. Inside their apartment, Ben took a large bowl from the kitchen and placed it next to his nightstand in their bedroom. Joey lay apathetically in his arms.

Lowering Joey gently into the shower stall, Ben said, “Shift, please.”

Joey yipped but did as Ben told him. Ben turned his back while Joey shifted, shed his jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves. When he turned around again, Joey sat on the shower floor, his knees tucked up under his chin and his arms wrapped around his legs, his whole body quivering.

Here, let me help you up. You're taking a quick shower to warm you up, then you'll lie down.”

I'm sorry, Ben. This isn't how the rest of the afternoon was supposed to go.”

Ben helped Joey to stand and opened the tap. “I know, sweetheart.”

Are you mad at me?” Joey asked, nervously rubbing his ass.

Ben had to suppress a smile at the unconscious gesture of his lover. “No.”

Really?”

I take it you won't drink from this pond again?”

Joey shook his head. “No!”

Good.”

You're... are you going to spank me later?”

Sweetheart, you're sick. I think that's a worse punishment than any spanking.”

Nodding, Joey said, “I really don't like being sick. My stomach feels all weird and it... hurts.”

Cramps?”

How am I supposed to know if they are cramps? I told you I don't get sick,” Joey whined.

Ben guided Joey out of the shower, briskly rubbed him dry, then helped him into their bedroom and there into boxers and a long-sleeved shirt. Ben tucked Joey into bed, kissed his forehead and told Joey, “I'll make us some tea and for you I'll top it off with a hot water bottle.”


When Ben came back he carried a tray with two mugs, a thermos, tea bags and a hot water bottle. He set the tray on his nightstand before he changed clothes as well. Joey was curled on his side, his hands pressed against his belly. Joey looked at him from large dark and anxious eyes.

I really didn't think it would affect me like this.”

You never drink water except bottled water when you're in your pup form usually. We'll shelf it as a learning experience,” Ben said, not unkindly.

My belly really hurts.”

Ben slipped under the cover, pulled Joey to him and carefully placed the hot water bottle on Joey's belly. Joey flinched and for a while he squirmed, trying to find a comfortable position. Ben remained silent, merely stroked Joey's chest and kissed the tousled mop of hair every now and then.

When Joey's squirming seemed to get worse Ben looked around, hoping that something would spark a thought how he could help Joey. His gaze got stuck on the book on Joey's nightstand.

Did you start reading the book?”

Not yet, and I don't think I could hold still enough to read now.”

Ben moved around until he could reach the book, then arranged them into their previous position again. “How about I read it to you?”

Uh... you want to read it to me? Isn't that a bit... a bit...” Joey trailed off.

No, it's not. It might work as a distraction.”

But won't it be weird? We're two adults!!

Ben shrugged. “Who cares? You're able to shift into a puppy whenever you want, that's way weirder than me reading a book to you. Want to give it a try?”

Okay.”

Ben opened the book and started reading. Soon, Joey's squirming lessened and he listened attentively. An hour later, Joey was relaxed and shoved the hot water bottle aside.

Do you need me to refill it?”

No, I think I'm done with whatever it was. Didn't you want to eat something? I could order something and then we could still go to the movies like we planned.”

I'll get us something to eat in a few minutes but we won't go anywhere tonight.”

But--”

Joey, it's okay, really. I'm not mad at you, and I know you weren't all that eager to see that movie.”

Blushing, Joey asked, “Aren't you disappointed?”

I'll live and this is nice too, isn't it?”

Yes, it is.”

Would you like me to keep reading?”

Even though I don't feel all that sick anymore?”

If we both like it, why not?” Ben asked.

Okay.”

Ben read for a long time, very content to hold a relaxed Joey in his arms. Sometimes the simple things were better than anything else.


October 17, 2012

Cross Stitch Wednesday & Free Pattern #2

Before we get to the scheduled program, I'd like to point out a very nice review I received for "Silver Lining" from Don at Hearts on Fire Reviews.  I particularly liked this line: " I found this to be a terrific love story that showed just how deeply true love goes."

Okay, that's enough bragging. ;-)


I'm still working on that never-ending horse cross stitch project... I swear I'll only do smaller projects once I've finished it. I might try my hand at stitching an iPhone case. Yep, you heard right, you can cross stitch your own iPhone case. Want to have a look? Here's a link.

Without further ado, here's this week's free pattern:





Here's the download link.

October 13, 2012

Germany: The German Corner in Koblenz

I almost forgot to post... but, hey, I have a good reason! I'm editing "A Purrfect Match". I'm really excited about this book.

Anyway, to today's, um, tonight's topic: The German Corner in Koblenz.

Koblenz is one of Germany's oldest towns, and I'll talk about this city in one of the next posts. For more information on Koblenz, please visit this site.

The two rivers Moselle and Rhine merge together at the German Corner. As you can see here (all pictures taken by remydoodle):



 The little cars you see hanging in the air is the cable car between Koblenz and the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein on the other side of the river. And yes, I was inside one of these cars but only because remydoodle made me do it!

Located at the German Corner is the monument of Emperor Wilhelm I. This is a replica of the original statue and was inaugurated in 1993. For more information about the monuments history, please visit here.





It is a very impressive statue and a real tourist magnet. Oh, and look, the horse is pretty well endowed. ;-)


October 10, 2012

Cross Stitch Wednesday & Free Pattern #1

So, I'm trying to establish a weekly column about cross stitch. That's the idea anyway--we'll see if I'm able to keep it up. But before we go there I wanted to thank everyone who downloaded "Seizing It" during Dreamspinner's Tweetaway event yesterday!

If you're like me you're probably searching the internet for patterns regularly. Often enough I like the patterns but can't afford to buy them or I want something very specific and can't find it anywhere.

To receive a variety of patterns I subscribed to a Cross Stitch Magazine, called Cross Stitch Crazy.  The patterns are lovely and each issue offers a free gift. On their website you can also find a chart shop with lots of free patterns; definitely worth checking out!

I'd like to offer a free pattern each week, so here we go!


If you'd like to cross stitch this cute little fellow you can download the pattern in pdf.format here.

October 09, 2012

Get "Seizing It" for free! Be quick!

For the next hour (2PM-3PM GMT), Dreamspinner is offering a free copy of my ebook “Seizing It“.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2858

In case you’re interested, please help yourself. Also, if you’re on twitter, please retweet?



Blurb:
Veterinary receptionist Kit Hall doesn’t get close to people, and for good reasons: his epilepsy makes him feel like a freak, and his ex was an abusive jerk. But that doesn’t always deter people from wanting to get close to Kit. When a Good Samaritan saves him from his wannabe boyfriend in a parking lot, he doesn’t expect to find the guy so attractive. He definitely doesn’t expect his savior to turn out to be his new boss.
Dale Miller, veterinarian and old-fashioned guy, sees right through Kit’s prickly facade. He likes what he sees, but convincing Kit to give a relationship a shot isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Of course, for Kit, resisting Dale isn’t going to be easy either.

October 06, 2012

Germany: Cologne Cathedral

Most of you--or some at least--know that I'm from Germany, which means English is only my second language.

I thought it might be interesting to feature a part (monument, museum, etc.) of Germany each Saturday. Since my dear friend remydoodle visited me in July this year she took tons of pictures and I saw some parts of Germany with fresh eyes.

During her stay we visited the Cologne Cathedral. I've been inside the cathedral as a kid the last time, so it was a real treat to visit it again. Well, and the large ice cream afterward didn't hurt either. ;-)



The cathedral is located directly at the Central Train station of Cologne, which makes it very easy to travel. If you're interested in information about the cathedral, this site provides you with all the information needed (including a virtual tour).

Here are some pictures (credit goes to remydoodle):







October 03, 2012

Cross stitch

When I'm not working, taking care of my family or writing, I indulge in cross stitching. It's a hobby I picked up after crocheting led to inflamed wrists. I learned this craft from my grandmother but only did it sporadically for years.

Since three or four years I'm a very happy cross stitcher. :)

Cross stitching is an old embroidery technique and I only do counted cross stitch. It's a very relaxing hobby that keeps my hands busy but leaves me free to dream up new stories. If you'd like to learn how to cross stitch here's a good how-to site (including a video).

You can create smaller objects with cross stitch or large ones. Here are examples for bookmarks (which I love to make because they are quick and easy):




A card:


Towels:


An apron:



Pictures:










My current project is a horse picture for my daughter. This project is driving me crazy because it's taking FOREVER!

Here are some pictures:






I know that at least one person (yep, Rosie--I'm talking about youuuu!) started to do cross stitch too. How about you? Anyone else likes to do cross stitch? Do you have pictures you'd like to share?