Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Multifarious



I totally used Google on this title. I wanted something different and I think I may have found a new favorite word. I thought I would write a blog on music. Most people describe my music as eclectic or just all over the place so I wanted a title that said that.

We have all read that a lot of authors listen to music when they write. I am not sure how they do this because I find myself singing and not writing. Music used to be a passion of mine that I am finding I am reverting too.  As a few of you know I am child number ten out of eleven.  That’s right I have nine older siblings.  What can I say my Momma was slow to figure out where babies came from.  But back to the subject at hand, growing up with all those older siblings I was exposed to a lot of music. My oldest sister who was in charge of babysitting was sixteen when I was born so music was something that was always around. I grew up with the music of the sixties and seventies. My sisters loved everything from rockabilly to surf music. My parents were hard core country fans but my Momma’s secret passion was the music of Big Bands. As I got older my brother’s influence kicked in, mostly in the seventies and then it was all about Kiss and other hard rock bands.

I never really got into music till I was a teen that meant the eighties, yep I was a hair metal junkie. I loved all the bands. We didn’t have the money for a lot of purchases so it was all about the radio. Yes, we did tape our favorite songs from the radio to cassettes (yes you can Google cassette and see what I am talking about). 

My very first concert was The Bay City Rollers, I do still love a Scottish accent. I was maybe seven and my sister Marina was going to get to go see them at the Illinois State Fair. I was devastated because I couldn’t go but my sister Sharon who was taking Marina couldn’t stand the crying so she gave me her ticket.  She made me a little plaid outfit (thank Gods there are no pictures of that) and off I went. I can remember standing in my seat just singing along with all the songs.  It was the best time ever for a seven year old!!!
I never had the opportunity to go to another concert till I was a teen. One of my friends from school was able to get tickets to see Duran Duran in St. Louis. I had never been to St. Louis at that point. OMG it was a shock coming from nowhere Illinois to a city. I couldn’t stop looking at all the buildings and more people than I have ever seen in my life.  Back to the music, I had so much fun it was insane. When we got back to school on Monday we were the popular girls for about five minutes. One of my favorite classes was choir. I probably can’t carry a tune in a bucket but loved to sing. I hated the song choices but whatever. The best part of choir was every Friday, the choir director did his own thing during that hour so he put on a mix tape of classical music. This was my first exposure to the classics and I fell in love with them.

As I became a young adult my music taste shifted to country. I became obsessed with Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Reba McEntire, and all the country artists of the nineties. I am not sure why the shift happened but I loved it. I was on my own somewhat (I shared an apartment with my sister) and I had my own money to spend. One of the happiest days of my life was when I found out that a small little town about 20 minutes south of Springfield was opening an old movie theatre and putting in a stage for country concerts. I saw lots of the big name artists there. In a five year span I probably went to 300 concerts.  When the owners retired the place closed down and my music seemed to fall by the wayside. I started to read even more. Television became my addiction. I seemed to lose interest in most music. There were no bands that inspired me to become a rabid fan. I am not saying that I didn’t listen to it; it just wasn’t a big part of my life any longer.

Then one day I was at work and at the time Target had tv’s playing video’s and music above the entertainment section. I heard something different and yet intriguing to me. It was a pop song that I had never heard. I asked my music man; Andy and he told me it was a new band called Maroon 5. I thought it was just one song that caught my attention but as the weeks went on Target added more songs by Maroon 5. I became addicted to singing them.  I ended up buying the cd. I became a huge fan. I then started to get back into music. I started to buy more cd’s and ended up with a huge collection. I started becoming a pop music girl again till I heard Nickelback. Then I moved on to hard rock again. Lately I have been hearing a lot of country being played so now I am back to being eclectic in my music choices. One of my boys at work, Zach made fun of my music choices and decided I needed to broaden my horizons. He loaded a thumbdrive with tons of alternative/rock songs for me. I am happy to say he has some good taste. One of my other boys, Lance cannot be out done so he is now loading more music for me to try out. I love that these boys feel the need to search out music for me because it is something I probably would not have done on my own. I now know who some of these new artists are before they really have any hits.

I think music says a lot about a person. Mine says I am all over the place and that I am open to all types of music. If I looked through your music collection what would I find and what do you think it would say about you?

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Shmuttmeister

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Joy Of ......


Nope,this is not about sex well I guess it could be but it’s not so nanananana. This blog is about skype. Yes, I will admit it I am a skype whore. I talk to a couple of people daily on skype. Why do you ask?? Because I am a yappy bitch. Most of the time I am chatting with Luna but lately I have been skyping with Mia. Why would I want to do that, because I feel sorry for her. I am just messin with Mia, in truth it is because skype makes it so much easier to multi-task. For instance as I type this we are both writing a blog, me for The Righteous Perverts Pulpit and she is writing one for her personal blog. Well kind of she is writing for a blog hop. This makes it easy for me to tell her she is doing a great job (even when she sucks).

I have found that skype is both a blessing and a curse. Let’s start with the blessing. I guess that means I have to be positive so this may kill me. I have had skype for over a year but it has only been the last couple of months that I have started my love affair with it. It started out as a way to screw over the phone companies who charge way too much to call The Great White North. So suck it AT&T.  I am I know I am getting ready to ramble on about the evil telephone companies but I have caught myself so back to the blog. I only have a few people on skype mainly because I don’t like people but I also think that it is because most people have not thought about using skype or are afraid of it. I know I was one of those who had no idea how to use it and really still don’t but I can figure it out and if not I am not afraid to call someone and ask. Now I guess I should clarify I do not use the video part of skype because I like to skype nekkid. Yep, that put a bad visual in your melon didn’t it. I am just messing with you……….. maybe.

Now I am going to talk about skype courtesy. Yes, I know most people use it but there are some that are oblivious to it. Please warn someone if you are going to be eating while skyping. If you feel the need to eat try to munch on something that is not going to be too loud. It is just kind of gross to hear crunching on the other end of the call. By the way if you are skyping and eating chips I just visualize that you are gnawing on a dog biscuit. Next up is leaving the computer while talking. When Luna and I skype we both take a break at the same time to refill our drinks or take a tinkle break.  See we have a plan when we skype, we are just good like that. Now the one I am guilty of is sometimes while I am yappin’ my sister will step into the room and ask me a question or just yell it at me. I will answer her or just flip her the bird depending on where she is. I try not to do it but sometimes it just happens.

On to my favorite thing which is bitching. One of the evils of skype is the fact that the call quality sometimes is bad. There have been many a time that while I am in the middle of watching porn with Luna and Mia that skype just drops the call. It is very annoying and I want to hunt down the techs and beat them. The other thing the we have had happen is that a commercial with randomly start playing. I have no idea what that is about. I have had to contact them for things like that but for the most part I just bitch about it and fill out the surveys. 

There you go that is my take on skype and I think that most people should use it. Now since I like to ask questions here is today’s. Are you a skyper or do you still spend a small fortune on your phone bill?

Sinfully Sarcastic,
Shmuttmeister


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Mia Experience

                                      

I have already told you about getting to know Mia and now I am going to tell you a little story about meeting her for the first time. Let me see if I remember the details.

I had been chatting with Mia for about six or seven months when the idea of trying to get together came up.  A group of us Righteous Perverts were talking about the Romantic Times convention and how it was in Chicago that year.  I live about three hours away and several other Perverts lived close too so we all decided to try and meet up there. Now if you have not been to RT I will just tell you that it is expensive. We all decided to do just a day trip so we could go to the signing but really we were all just looking for an excuse to get together.

I took the train and Sheri Vidal and her spawn, Mikey picked me up at the station and we headed off to the hotel. It was about a thirty minute drive and we just chatted away the same way we do on Facebook. Did I mention this was the first time I also met Sheri.  This is where things get fuzzy for me. I remember getting to the hotel and we headed up to our room where the fourth member of our party, Dawn was waiting. I called Mia and told her what room we were in and she had to go to retrieve her bags from another author’s room where she had stashed them when she arrived. While we were waiting on Mia, I called our good friend Kris Cook and let him know we had arrived. While waiting we realized that we had a smaller room that we were supposed to so Dawn went all sweet and forceful on the hotel and we had to move to another room.  Kris and cover artist Kendra Egert arrived in our room and we all started chatting. We were having a good time just yappin when there was a knock at the door. I went and opened it and there she was standing there looking a bit nervous. MIA ASHLINN in the flesh. She came in and hugs were exchanged and from that moment on there was no separating us.  She was just like she was online….not. She is actually kind of shy but you would never know it if you talk to her. I thought she might pass out when she noticed all the other people in our room.  I am sure it was a really overwhelming for her because I had already met Kris, Dawn, and Kendra and I was a bit nervous. Once Mia relaxed we had nothing but fun and she is very quick witted and says some of the most lovably dorky things. We all hit it off and hung out just being friends.  We went to the autograph signing and Kris kidnapped Mia and took her around to meet all these authors. I think she was a bit shell shocked by Kris. He is one of our favorite authors and one of the most wonderful people I have ever met but shy is one thing he is not.  The signing was fun and we met lots of our favorite authors and we fell right into our friendship like we had met a thousand times before.

We went out to dinner just the four of us and Mikey.  We were heading back to our room after dinner when the most exciting thing happened. We passed Anne Rice in the hallway. We all looked at each other and Dawn being Dawn she stopped and turned around and asked Ms. Rice if we could get our pictures taken with her. She was so sweet and her son was nice enough to take all the pictures we wanted.

After we calmed down we went down to the lounge and met up with some of the other Siren authors and just had a great time. We talked way into the night and did a few touristy things on Sunday before we all had to head home. We all had a great time and have met several times since that weekend and always had a great time.

That is the first time I had ever met Mia and maybe next time I will tell you of the time I slept with her.

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Shmuttmeister

Friday, 11 July 2014

Surrounded But Alone

 So, I am sitting here at the St Louis airport watching all the people rushing around and I still have almost two hours to wait. I have noticed something and yes it is kind of funny that I am writing a blog talking about the fact that everyone here is on a phone or computer. I remember when you would actually talk to people. Now it seems that everyone is in their own little world. No one bothers to get to know each other or even looks up from their devices to engage the person that is sitting just inches from you. Hell, if I am close enough to smell your breath then the least you can do is smile at me.

I like to people watch and if I catch someone’s eye when they do glance up it seems like I am creepy by the look they give me.  Even if I am smile at them and pretend that I like them they are a little freaked out.  There are maybe 50 or 60 people sitting around me all of them are so consumed by their devices that they are not even noticing that their planes are boarding and then they are rushing to get on the plane since they waited till the last minute.

Now, I check my phone for calls and text but really I don’t usually do much playing on Facebook or twitter or whatever other social media is hot right now. I will admit I posted a few pictures this time.  I take pictures regularly but I rarely do I post them unless there is something going on. This time lots of people wanted to know where I was so I tried to keep them abreast of my adventure.

Sitting in airports is still new to me therefore I am still excited to look around. Since I travel by myself I want to share my excitement with the people around me and to find out all the little tricks to travel. But I am afraid to bother someone so here I sit a bit bored.

I can remember traveling as a kid, with my family, in the grocery getter, otherwise known as a stationwagon.  We would pile in and stop for picnic lunches at a park or just in the woods near whatever road we were on.  Those are some of my favorite memories. Just stopping somewhere and getting out and talking to strangers who happened to be around. They always made the trip more interesting. They would tell us about their town and anything that might be in the vicinity that we might find fun. We learned about their lives and everyone shared a fond memory of their own. Conversations like these with people made us all feel like we were connected if even for a minute with someone else in the world.

I miss learning about others and what makes them tick because everyone is wrapped up in their own lives.  All of the gadgets that we all carry help isolate us when they were originally intend to bring the world closer together.  So the next time you are sitting around an airport or a train station put down your devices and look around and I bet you can find someone to connect with if even for a moment.

Sinfully Sarcastic,

Shmuttmeister    

Thursday, 3 July 2014

And Now A Word From A Guest Blogger


 (Tap, tap, tap) Is this thing on? Testing one, two, three.

Hi, my name is Robin and I would like to get out my soapbox for a minute and talk to you about reviews. That’s right, reviews. Those reader comments that authors have a love/hate relationship with.

As a reviewer for a blog, I take reviewing very seriously. Do I get paid for it? Of course not. In a perfect world, I could make a living doing it but no such luck at this time. What qualifies me to be a reviewer? First of all, I am a romance novel addict. I have been reading romances since my teens, which if you do the math, comes to more than 35 years. As a fan, I have read a lot of books and have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn’t. I also have never had much of a problem sharing my opinion whether you’ve asked for it or not.

But I do have other qualifications. I graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication with a Bachelor’s in Journalism. Sounds fancy, right? What that means is I know how to write and I take my writing very seriously. I even specialized in Public Relations so I have written more press releases and articles for newspapers than I would like to admit to.

So when the opportunity came about to write reviews for a blog, I jumped at the chance to combine my education with my passion. I went into reviewing a bit na├»ve. I thought that others had the same attitude to reviews that I did – professional, thoughtful and respectful. Wow did I get my eyes opened the hard way. I started to read other reviews and was shocked at many of them. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of reviewers that write quality, honest reviews that I admire. But it seems there are more that don’t.

I’ve seen reviews saying that they didn’t like a book because there was too much graphic sex. Gee, that would be why the book came with a disclaimer that there is a lot of graphic sex in it. I’ve seen reviews that say an author should find another career. Excuse me? Maybe that reviewer should find a different career. I’ve seen reviews that use profanity. I don’t understand. Can’t you get your point across without using profanity? After all, authors take their work seriously so we should take our reviews seriously.

Then I discovered that a lot of authors don’t read the reviews because of the mean and nasty things said. While I ultimately write my reviews for readers, I do want authors to read them because either I want them to know that they are doing a fantastic job and they should keep it up or because I have offered some profound advice (or at least profound to me) such as more dialogue or the plot was too convoluted to easily follow.

 I give a lot of thought and time to writing reviews so that they are clear and concise. I pride myself on writing professional, respectful, considerate reviews. In fact, if I have to give only one or two stars to a book, I will give even more thought and time to that review so that I can ensure it is never cruel or heartless. For an example, I had to give a book only two stars. This is what I wrote:

“My hat is off to the author because at least her writing pulled me in enough to have some emotions about this book. I certainly didn’t walk away feeling apathetic which would be even worse than disliking a book. I appreciate her efforts in trying to create a hero who could redeem himself, it was just too little too late for me. I still want to read more by this author. Hopefully the next in the series will feature more sympathetic characters.”

See, I was completely honest but still outlined what didn’t work while being respectful. It can be done folks. Another thing that many reviewers do is give spoilers in their reviews. Come on, seriously? That’s just crap. I have a simple rule in my reviews. If a plot point is not mentioned in the synopsis of the book then it won’t go in my review. The fact that there is a happy ending is not a spoiler because I think we expect that in a romance novel. But the fact that the hero is blind may be a spoiler. Just avoid spoilers in your reviews. It’s that simple.

Sometimes I want to smack other reviewers because of their mean and heartless comments. It frustrates me that they are giving reviewers like me a bad name. But there is a way to combat them and so this is where I challenge you to help out.

First of all, read reviews. It’s important so that you know which ones are good and which ones are bad. If you are on Goodreads, then start following the reviewers who write quality reviews. If you’re on Amazon, mark a review as helpful so that it ups our reviewer ranking. Mark the bad reviews as unhelpful. This will hopefully encourage the good reviewers to keep writing and tell the bad reviewers we don’t like what they are doing.

If you are an author, help out the good reviewers by promoting our reviews/blogs on your websites when we review your books. Get the word out about which blogs offer high quality reviews. And most importantly, don’t lump us in with those crappy reviewers.

If you can identify the bad reviewers from the professional ones, then you know which reviews to avoid and which ones to read. And authors please don’t be afraid to read reviews – even those that don’t give you four or five stars. You never know when we might give you some great advice or motivate you when you’re feeling down.


So that’s my sermon. Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest. I feel much better. Now I will get down off my soapbox now and return to reading and reviewing.  Have a great day!

Robin Matloff Seitz