Friday, April 25, 2014

 Clock Chimes, Cow Bells, and Alpenhorns—Sounds of Spring in Switzerland
Swiss Clocktower
When someone asks, “Guess where we’re going?” do you get tired of the guessing game after about the fourth try? Yep, me too. Just tell me already! “Switzerland,” my husband said after one such game. When he broke that news, my mouth dropped open wide, watering for Swiss chocolate. He’d been tapped to give a keynote address that landed us in Switzerland in the spring!
We arrived in the old city of Lucerne, the sheer age of the place giving it a romantic and mysterious vibe. Fourteenth-century rampart walls rose high on the hillsides, still standing guard, impervious to time. And the Swiss are serious about time. Take the chiming of the hour in Lucerne. Clocks far and wide ring in each hour with a chorus of bells. But from high in a fairy-tale tower built into the rampart wall, the oldest clock in the city is allowed to chime first—a full minute before all the other clocks.
Stuffed Cow
Lake Lucerne glistened at the base of the hillsides. Flower boxes hung from covered footbridges spanning the lake, and countless swans swam along the shore. As if the place hadn’t maxed out its beauty quotient, the Alps rose up in the distance—a picture-perfect backdrop.
The Swiss mean business with their mountains, too. During our aerial gondola ride up to the peak of massive Mount Pilatus, the rustic clang of cow bells rose from the pastures below. If I hadn’t seen the cows moseying around down there, I would’ve sworn they were dancing! Green grass and trees gave way to craggy rock as we neared the mountaintop. At the peak, we ate lunch on a sprawling terrace. The sky glowed electric blue. The snowy Alps stretched for miles in the distance. And men dressed in lederhosen played alpenhorns. Seriously, lederhosen. But the soothing music helped me forget the fashion fright!
Our trip to Switzerland is a couple years behind us. But if I get real quiet and close my eyes, I can still hear the sounds of Lucerne in the spring. Each of us seems to remember the sights of our favorite places, and pictures help keep the memories fresh. But do you recall the sounds? What are your favorite places, and which sounds do you remember most?
A Shot of Red - Final Cover
  After fleeing DC following a one-night stand that had her reeling, biotech company heiress Mia Moncure has thrived working with a humanitarian aid team administering vaccines in Haiti. When the United States is threatened with a flu epidemic, Mia’s grandmother demands her return to unveil a new flu vaccine for Moncure Therapeutics. She arrives to find that her ex-boyfriend, the company’s PR Director, has died in a suspicious accident in Switzerland that Mia soon suspects was murder. Determined to reveal a killer, Mia heads to Switzerland, where she’s threatened as she discovers a plan to infiltrate the vaccine for nefarious purposes. Desperate for backup, she turns to sexy Gio Lorenzo, Communications Director for her mother, a high-ranking senator—and Mia’s one-night stand. While negotiating their rocky relationship, they race to uncover a deadly scheme that could ruin her family’s reputation. But millions of people are being vaccinated, and there’s more than her family’s legacy at stake. Mia and Gio struggle to discover the truth about the scheme and their feelings for each other, but it just might be.

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Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after. Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its. Tracy lives in Yorktown, Virginia, with her superhero husband who works for NASA.

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