Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Bring On The Funk


So I am in a weird mood and have been for a while. One of the guys I work with said I should write about what is bothering me. Well, here it goes. Now this is not about anyone but a chronicle of stories I have heard lately. I am not sure if it is the weather or just a general sense of unhappiness from a lot of my friends but we all seem to be getting depressed. I am not talking suicidal but just a feeling of not wanting to do anything or talk to anyone possibly ever again.  Yes, I may be a bit melodramatic but it is how several of my friends and I have been feeling lately.

I normally just buy books to make me feel better but even that is not really working right now.  I have bought Lexi Blake’s book and anyone who has ever talked to me knows that I am addicted her books. I am hoping by the weekend I will be able to give the book the attention and love it deserves. I am worried about reading and that has to tell you something. I mean who worries about reading a book. Books are supposed to bring the reader a sense of happiness and I am not sure that I am in a place that it is possible for that to happen.
 The only joy I have gotten lately is from beta reading for a friend.  I was not sure it was the best time for me to do it but I love this author so I thought I would at least give it a try.  I was happy that the book that I have been asking for was finally in my hands but I was scared.  I was frightened that I would not love the book and I think if it had not been so good I might have just cried. Alas, the author knocked it out of the park.

Books have always been my refuge and anytime that I am depressed books have always worked to bring me back to life.  I have found so many bad books lately that I am afraid to start a new author. I spent 4 hours last weekend going through all my ebooks and organizing them. I have close to 300 authors and multiple books by each author. I am apprehensive about starting a new author and I have read my favorites so many times that I can’t work up the enthusiasm to reread. 

My fear is getting out of hand; I am beginning to think I will never get out of this hole of reading despair. I know I should just suck it up and pick a book and get to reading but I don’t want to do the author or book an injustice. To me this is of paramount importance. Even though I do not write reviews I still give my opinions to friends not to mention the people who come into the store where I work and ask for recommendations.

One opinion I have heard is from a friend who is suffering the same issue. She tells me that it doesn’t help when authors sometimes to solicit reviews or beg for likes on their pages. She has said that when an author is doing things like that it sounds like the author is afraid to let the books speak for themselves. I also have that feeling sometimes. No, this is not a slam against any author; it is just the way it looks from an outsiders view. 
Lots of things will turn me off of a book or an author and that just makes my reading funk worse. A bad cover, hearing too much about the book or even just blurb will make me not want to read a book.  I sometimes think that I want to read a book and I will buy it but by the dedication or acknowledgements I want to toss the book across the room. I am not sure what it is about those first few pages but my mind wanders away from the story and into the No Reading Zone.  I can pick the book up later and have no problem getting into the story but only if I skip those first couple of pages.  

Another thing that I have heard is that if an author has too many series it just gets to be too much. This doesn’t bother me but I do have a friend or two that gets confused easily. They have told me that it feels like the author is all over the place and if the reader doesn’t reread the series they forget which series is which unless they are radically different and if they characters crossover just forget it. I normally do not have a problem but it has happened to me in the past too.

I think I am beginning to ramble so I pose this question to you. Have you ever suffered from a reading funk, and how do you get yourself out of it?

Sinfully Sarcastic,


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Good Ole Days

I just bought a new keyboard for my desktop computer. It’s wireless, solar, and completely freaking awesome. This sleek, shiny bit of silver heaven has keys that clack in just the right tone, respond to the exact amount of pressure, and are as smooth as Scottish whiskey. I’m in heaven, can you tell?

I’ve admitted before that I have a serious office supply issue. I hoard the stuff. I LIVE for back to school sales even though my kids are using materials I bought ten years ago. (Hey, when Target has a sale on a six-pack of spiral notebooks for a penny, you are obligated to clean them out.) However, the day I brought home Laird (that’s my keyboard. Don’t even try to follow my logic with that name. It involves comics, surfing, and Scotland. Somehow.) I sat and stared at it for a good long time and thought back to my eight grade year of junior high. When I learned how to type. On a typewriter.

I can hear some of you asking “What’s a typewriter?”

The dictionary has some weird-assed explanation about imparting letters on papers when keys are struck in a ribbon-operated machine. I prefer to think of a typewriter as a joyous conduit to the land of creativity. Computers are awesome. They make writing, re-writing, and submitting much easier than a typewriter. No more having to re-type whole pages of a manuscript because you’d changed something. No more strange white flakes from using the correction tape. No more XXXXs over strikethroughs and moving on.

It is true computers don’t have the charm of a typewriter. There’s no resistance to finger pressure on the keys, no metallic ding as you write your words, no charming chatter of the return bar as it slides from one end of the page to the other. The younger generations will never know the joy of centering a piece of paper into the roller and winding it to the exactly perfect spot to start their epic novel.

Ah, the good ole days.

I really liked writing on a typewriter but I’m a techno geek, too. In the 80s, I remember begging my parents for the latest and greatest invention — a word processor. Yes, computers were around by then but those were the models with KB of RAM and too darn expensive. But a Smith-Corona four line personal word processor that used 31/2 inch diskettes? AND could print? Now we’re talking. I put away my well-worn typewriter and proceeded to wreak fictional havoc on my SC. I still have some of those diskettes, though the contents are nowhere near readable.

After the 80s, things got hot and heavy in the computer world. Prices dropped, memory and capabilities increased, dot matrix printers were replaced by laser printers. My faithful Smith-Corona joined its dusty comrade the typewriter and I haven’t looked back since.

These days, I write on a desktop, a laptop, a Galaxy Tablet, and my phone. All this newfangled, spectacular technology is a wondrous thing but sometimes I long to pull out my old typewriter, roll up a crisp, blank page and go to town.

I wonder if I can still buy ribbons for it?

Happy Reading
Jennifer August
Twitter: @jennifer_august
Facebook: JenniferAugust08

Thursday, 20 February 2014

NO !!!!

This is one of my favorite words. I know most people hate the word. No, not me. I am one of those people that see the glass as half empty. I also kick dogs and hiss at kids. I am just kidding about the dog part.
You might ask me why I like the word no. It is because it allows you to have power over your life. If you are one of those people who say yes then others are more than willing to take advantage of your good nature. If you are a no person then people don’t want to ask you for money or to do things they have need to do themselves. I used to follow all the rules and say yes to almost anything because I was a pleaser, but inside I was an “if I could get away with it, I would smack you around” kind of girl. I didn’t learn till later that being a pleaser would never make me more acceptable to people.

I always wanted to try and fit in. But I never did, no matter how hard I tried. Inside, I have never been a half full kind of girl. I find that I am rarely disappointed when things happen and if plans are changed then I am more able to deal with it. Don’t get me wrong. I will still have a hissy when plans are changed but after a few minutes, I am back to being my normal bitchy self. I know. Me? Bitchy? NEVER. I hide it well, don’t I?
I am, also, one of those strange people who also enjoys getting up when most people are just going to bed. You know, 2 am. I find that if I am up before most people are going to bed, I have time to myself to do shopping and, if I wasn’t so lazy, go to the gym. Okay, I would have to have a gym membership too. But that is not the point. If I did belong to a gym, I would probably drive a trainer crazy because, again, I would use my favorite word all day long. I would also probably tell them to fuck off too. Let’s face it. I am one of those people who lives to piss others  off. I know that all the trainers out there say “No, I am willing to push you and you will not piss me off.  I am stonger than you mentally.” I know better. I grew up with so many siblings and their friends that I can take whatever they dish out and give it right back to them with an evil grin. I may not be able to breathe when I do it. But damn it, I will do it anyway. 
Now I work in retail—some of you know it as Hell—or, at least during Holiday time, you do. This is my favorite time of year. I love the holidays in retail. It is like a trip to the asylum. Crazy people running around acting like five year olds when they can’t get what they want.  And the big bonus is I get to use my favorite word. All day long I get to tell them that “No we don’t have that”, “I know it was in the ad but today is Friday and we sold out of it on Tuesday” and my personal favorite “No, I will not call you and let you know when it comes in”.  Please tell me you are not one of those people who do that because I may have to climb through the internet and strangle you. I don’t mind people who call and ask if something has come in. Hell, I encourage that kind of behavior. But really, I am not your personal shopper. I don’t have time to run all over the store checking to see if we carry something just for you. The best one is when you are working in toys and someone comes in and says something like “Yeah my daughter wants some doll” Yep, that is the description I get a lot of times. Wow. Way to narrow it down for me. Or there is the person who comes in with an ad from another store and says “But it says you have it one sale right now”.  Are you getting the picture of why I like the word no now? I get to use it over and over and over again. All day long. It is guaranteed to piss people off and that just makes me happy.

If you ever want a life changing event, get a part time job in retail. It will change your whole outlook on people. You will be inspired by the sweet old couple who comes in every week and still holds hands while shopping. Then you will see a woman who has 6 kids trying to get everything in the cart that needs to be there and nothing that doesn’t. She will also be the woman who’s children are the best behaved. You will see some of the best in men as well because we have lots of Dads that come in carrying a baby and pushing another in the cart while Mom is  taking a day to enjoy herself. Working in retail is seeing the best in people and the worst. And BINGO BABY you will get to use my favorite word a lot. NO!!!!

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Supernatural with Julie Shelton

Have you ever had a supernatural experience?  Do you scoff at the idea that “something” unknown, unseen, unheard is out there and might be trying to communicate with us?  I was once one of those scoffers, but now I am a true pervert—um, convert.  Yes, convert.  (Okay, I’m a pervert, too, but that is neither here nor there).

When I was fifteen and we had to move away from Indianapolis, a place where I had a lot of really good friends, to Knoxville, Tennessee, a place where I knew no one, as a going-away present, my best girl friend gave me a Ouija board.  I’d never heard of such a thing and when I asked my father how to play with it, he said, “Oh, everybody puts their fingertips on the little table and you ask it questions and supposedly the little table moves around and spells out the answer.  But that’s a lot of bunk.  Someone is actually moving the little table.”  Which begged two questions: 1.  How did anyone who’d never seen or heard of the game before know that THEY had to move the little table?  And 2.  What if EVERYONE knew they had to move the table and they all tried to move it at the same time?  And if everyone knew that one of them was moving the little table, what was the point?  Okay, that’s three questions, but I digress.  The Ouija board got packed up and somewhere in our dozen or so subsequent moves, got lost or thrown out, which was fine by me because it was a stupid game anyway.

Fifteen years later, my then-boyfriend wanted me to meet some of his friends, Landon and Sylvia, so we just dropped in on them, unannounced.  They were sitting in the middle of their kitchen floor on two kitchen chairs, facing each other with their knees touching, with a Ouija board in their laps.  (And no, the eerie part is NOT that that was MY old Ouija board, lost and now found, lol).  “Oh, you’ve got to try this,” they cried, “it’s really hot tonight, we’ve never seen it so active!”

Ri-i-i-ight, I thought to myself, hoping my superior smirk didn’t show on my face.  Landon is moving it and Sylvia doesn’t know.  Boy, has he got her snookered.  In spite of my reluctance, they finally managed to convince me to ask it a question.  One they couldn’t possibly know the answer to.  So, I said, “What is my mother’s first name?”

Immediately the little table began going crazy swirling and looping all around the board, until it stopped abruptly, pointing to the letter H.  And that’s when I’m afraid my superior smirk started to show a little.  Because my mother’s first name began with E.  So, I was standing there feeling all smug and chanting in my mind, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and the little table went berserk again and landed on the letter E.  Then it swirled around and pointed to the letter L.

And that’s when the hairs on the back of my neck rose to attention.  Because the only name my mother had ever gone by for her entire life was Elizabeth.  But, in actual fact, Elizabeth was her middle name.  My mother’s first name, a name she NEVER used, was Helen.  Which the damned Ouija board spelled out as clear as day.

So, there IS something out there, though just what, I’m not exactly sure.  But be afraid.  Be very afraid.



Barnes & Noble:

Barnes & Noble:


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Loving the Cold and Gold


I am sitting her writing this blog and watching the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Winter Olympics. I have been watching the Olympics for as long as I can remember. I am not a sport person as a rule but something about the games draws me in to watching. I remember the days before the athletes were paid for playing their sport. I miss when the athletes did it for the joy and love of whatever sport they participated in. Now is seems like they really don’t care about the games as much as if they are going to get their names in the news.  Yes, I am a little bitter but I think that part of the games was the fact these are people who sacrificed so much with no guarantee of a return. Sure, some of the big names went on to amazing careers because of their Olympic experience but most just moved on to the next phase of their life. Whether it was getting married and raising kids or becoming a coach and mentoring other athletes.

I can remember one of the most proud moments in my life was watching the 1980 Hockey team beat the Russians. For a kid who was only 12 and was watching the news every night worrying about the hostages in Iran, the games seemed the only bright spot that filled up all the depression. I know that is a little strange but I am from Southern Illinois where the local news was from St. Louis and there was a native son who was held for 444 days. I can still remember his name, Rocky Sickmann, he was just 22, the same age as a lot of the athletes. If you don’t know about the hockey team just watch the movie Miracle, yes when I watched it the same feelings came rushing back as to when I watched the games live.  I still tear up when I watch Mike Eurzione jumping up and down after scoring and who can forget Al Michaels famous call of “ Do You Believe in Miracles”.

That was just one of many moments of the Lake Placid Olympics that remember. Eric Heiden was one of the athletes that really struck chord for me. He was so humble and I had never really heard of speed skating but wow that made me love it. Eric and his sister Beth were some of the best participants in the games. I remember she was hurt and was not doing well and Eric spent a lot of time with her while still preparing for his 5 gold medal races.

 I also loved watching the figure skating. Robin Cousins was amazing on the ice and when he won even though he was British I was still so happy for him because he was fantastic. I don’t like to be cold and here I was wishing I was able to ski.  I was so enthralled by all of the speed and grace of the athletes.

The 1984 Olympics was a letdown for me because I was such a huge fan of the hockey team. My stepmonster was trying to kiss up to me so she bought tickets to a game between the Olympic team and the Peoria junior league team. I was sitting next to the walkway and one of the players gave me a puck. I cannot tell you how excited I was to get that puck.

The twin Mahre brothers, Phil and Steve winning gold and silver slalom skiing medals was so exciting. And who can forget the first gold in downhill, by Bill Johnson. The other big ones was Torville and Dean winning the ice dancing Gold with perfect scores in the artistic part of the scoring. I don’t believe it has ever been duplicated. Scottie Hamilton winning the gold and looking so tiny next to some of the other skaters. It was so sad to see what happened a few years later when Yugoslavia descended into civil war and seeing all those beautiful venues destroyed.

1988 Winter Games were held in Calgary and I can remember the opening ceremonies and all the cowboy hats. For some reason I never realized how many ranchers were in Canada. I am not sure why I really never got into this Olympics but I think it had something to do with allowing professional athletes.  I can remember Dan Jansen falling just hours after his sister died from leukemia. I still see him sitting there after his second fall crying.

After they started to allow the pros in the games it kind of took away some of the love I had for them. I still try and keep up with the games but I don’t follow the way I used to. I watch the opening and closing ceremonies but it is not the same.

My question for you is do you watch the games or any sports? What are your favorites?

Sinfully Sarcastic, 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Today’s blog is brought to you by…my laundry.
Yep, you read that right—my laundry.

I was sitting in the laundry mat, just minding my own business, when another woman started to talk to me. I have never seen this woman before but she was friendly and I noticed her reading a book. That was all it took for me to start yappin with her. I know me chatting with someone is shocking because I am so shy and retiring. (Don’t roll your eyes at me, Mia, you know I am so quiet that you have to pull a conversation out of me when we are on the phone or in person.)

Anyway, back to the blog.

It is a strange how the simplest thing will set your mouth and sometimes your imagination off on a tangent that has nothing to do with you. I had a 30 minute conversation with this complete stranger. We talked authors and, of course, I had to pimp out some of my favorites. As a matter of fact, I actually wrote a list for her. She normally reads Harlequin books, but she kept hearing things about 50 Shades so she picked that one up. I asked her how she liked it and she was hesitant to tell me. I wasn’t sure if she was embarrassed that she read a book with BDSM or if she was going to be embarrassed that she liked it. This lady was about 12 shades of red by the time she was finished telling me about how she was interested in BDSM and Erotic romance. We talked about how hard it was to find friends that were interested in reading those kinds of books.

As we sat there discussing books, she started to feel more and more relaxed. I was a bit afraid she was going to step into the TMI zone but she kept it in the normal range of conversation. I told her about some of the many groups on Facebook and that I was sure she could find a group that fit her needs and interests. She said she had FB but only used it to keep up with family and friends, never knowing that she could make friends on there that she may never meet in person. I told her a bit about RP and how some of us had never met and may never meet but that we had become close friends and that a few of us met our best friends there.

We moved on to how I had friended several authors and that they would actually talk to their fans. She was gobsmacked that the authors would spend some of their time just shooting the shit with their readers. I mentioned that a few authors even had their own groups and they ran contests and that it was a great way to learn more about the authors. I told her that the best part was that it was a great way to keep up with release dates and what the author was working on and what to expect from upcoming books.

She said she had always wanted to meet and talk to a few of her favorite authors and that she just didn’t know how to go about doing it. This brought up The Romantic Times convention and Authors After Dark along with some of the other conventions. She said she would look into it and hopefully be able to go to a few. She was excited at the prospect of meeting other readers and authors.

By the time we finished talking conventions, her laundry was done and she said that this was the most enlightening book conversation she had ever had at a laundry mat. She gathered her laundry up and headed out, and I started this blog. Who knew that a great book discussion could be had with a complete stranger that I will probably never see again.

So where is the strangest place you have ever had a book discussion? 

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

For the Love of Chocolate by Tilly Greene

How far would you go to have something you crave, no, love? To the next town or three over? What about going to the nearest big city or, even bigger, another country?

My love is for hot chocolate and I will go wherever I must. One cup of something new, thick and brown will do me and make the journey there worthwhile. I’ve tried the wicked sweet stuff in foreign to me countries and across the US. It’s all good and not one cup is the same.

I’ve mentioned before the fun hunt I made in Paris, trying them in Belgium, Italy and England, as well as from New York City to LA. They were all good, great, fantastic, and I’d recommend any of the places we went to whoever asked. I’ll give shop names, addresses, closet train or tube stations, whatever helps you get to the table. However, what I haven’t done is share what has been my all time favorite until now - the Righteous Perverts get that big revelation.

One of the best cups of hot chocolate I’ve been lucky enough to try so far was found in Amsterdam … De Bakkerswinkel.

The offering doesn’t come in a traditional cup but a glass, a tall one and you need the long spoon that comes with it. Funny enough, the glass offers a conundrum of sorts. The hot milk radiates heat making the glass and metal spoon too hot to hold onto, but you must. At the bottom of the glass are chunks of chocolate and toffee, spices and more delightful treats that must be stirred until it all melts and makes a delightful glass of hot chocolate, but how to stir with all the heat.

How to make the magic happen is a unique process, but I’m going to share the secret with you. Using the long spoon, I stirred it up and then set it aside to cool down before repeating the process. Keep repeating until the hot chocolate has a frothy top and is at a drinking temp. So, how did I figure this out?  The older gentleman we spoke with at our communal table helped me out and explaining the science of it all at the same time.

The setting helped make this a wonderful experience, but this was truly the best cup, no, glass of hot chocolate I’ve had to date. Now, is it possible to make a cup of hot chocolate made at home just as exciting? Absolutely! Here are a few simple tips:

1.  Use milk instead of water, whisk it in the pan [or purchase a mini cafĂ© frother] and whip it up before pouring into your warmed cup [swish a little hot water inside before pouring the good stuff]. Also, this may sound odd, but a spoonful of butter melted into the milk adds something special to the party.

2.  Add a small square of a chocolate bar in the bottom of your warmed cup and let the hot chocolate melt and mix in to bring the chocolate yumminess bar up even higher.

3.  Whether you add mini marshmallows or whipped cream, save a little bit of the chocolate powder to sprinkle on top - presentation is just as important to the experience.

In the end, no matter how you go about it, a cup of hot chocolate is a delicious treat so make it a special moment! Now, I’ve shared my sweet love for hot chocolate, what do you take a quiet moment to enjoy?  I have a canvas bag of goodies and one chocolate treat with zero, yes, ZERO calories to give away! You have through February 9th to share.

Thanks you Oh Righteous Perverts for having me, I shall see you on March 12th for a chat!
Tilly Greene
Scorching romances full of twists, turns and ties.