Category Archives: News

In a sharing mood…

My favorite George Michael songs as a small tribute to a wonderful musician. I remember when Wham! came out with their first songs here in the U.S. I was in high school and didn’t miss a Friday night skating to this music. As a musician myself, it always hits home when we lose someone like George…or Prince, or David Bowie. *sigh* This has been an extraordinarily tough year.

UPDATE: Just learned that the links to the videos are not displaying correctly. Working on it…

UPDATE: All fixed!

Freedom ’90

Father Figure

I Knew You Were Waiting

Careless Whispers

Come on 2017

I don’t usually share too much of my personal, day-to-day information online. Today I’m going to make an exception. Why? Because I think it’s important to remember that we’re all human, we all have ups and downs and we all have great and awful times.

My life isn’t much different than yours. I love reading. I love my family. I’m a total geek who loves food and playing with the grandbabies.

I’m also SO happy that 2016 is almost over!

I lost my job earlier this year. It was a horrible and completely unexpected situation. It was the first time in almost 20 years that I didn’t have a day job to fall back on and we almost lost everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I was totally stressed and while I love writing, it doesn’t pay the bills, so a day job is important for my, and my family’s sanity.

I did a lot of talking to myself this year:

  • “Yo, T.J., don’t flip your wig woman. Things will work out!”
  • “Hey you, uh, I mean me, keep a positive outlook. The money will come. You will pay your mortgage. Everyone will eat and the lights will stay on, damn it!”
  • “Don’t worry about your family. They will leave the house and return again safely.”
  • “Have faith in humanity! Not everyone is shortsighted and full of hate.”
  • “Not all of your favorite musicians and actors are dying this year! Relax!”

And it went on and on. Needless to say, this year has sucked in so many ways that I’m seriously counting down the days to next year. Oh, and I’m not even going to get into the nutball politics this year. I’m glad to say that I didn’t think I’d be motivated to write a single thing, but that’s changing and the plot bunnies are hopping around like crazy *YAY!*

Also to celebrate the landing of a new day job, we are going to feast like there is no tomorrow. This is part of the plan. Ever had it? If so, share your favorite recipe for…PORCHETTA! Click the picture to hop to the recipe.

Oh, and 2017, hurry up already.

 

Cuttin’ the cord!

I’ve recently cut the cord, meaning I don’t have cable anymore, and it’s been a serious challenge to find a service that will allow me to watch premium (or premium according to my former cable provider – ugh) channels without paying an arm, a leg and half a liver.

So far, I’ve tried two providers – Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. This week I’ll talk about Sling TV. Next time, I’ll get into my experience with PlayStation Vue.

Sling TV – This service provider is actually owned by DISH Network, the satellite TV guys. You can get it as an ‘app’ if you have a TV with a Roku interface. I’m sure there are other ways to get it as well, but I have Roku, so that’s as far as I went. My thoughts on the app itself? Well, given I’ve been a professional in the ever-evolving world of tech for almost thirty (30) years, the interface and ‘feels’ of this service seem to be in its infancy, but the ‘bones’ are pretty solid so they can really expand the functionality of this app A LOT,  if they choose to.

Sling PROS

  1. It’s SUPER CHEAP! If you’re used to paying over $100 a month for cable, minus a premium channel like HBO, then you’re going to love Sling TV. It’s about $25 a month and I get the channels I love, like Syfy (This is required so I can get my Killjoys fix!), BBC America, the History Channel, HGTV, etc.  If you want HBO, it’s an additional $15, which still brings you in at well below that $100 cable bill.
  2. It has a guide function that allows me to see what coming up on the channels I want to watch, as well as an On Air tab that allows me to see only what’s on right now.
  3. Search function is standard and allows you to search for specific shows, as well as channels. I like the channel search because it shows me everything coming up on that channel along with any On Demand programs.
  4. If you want to rent movies, you can do that as well. While you can opt in to purchase a premium channel, you don’t have to. If you want one movie rather than a whole month of HBO, you have that option.
  5. Bandwidth choices! This is huge, especially if you have a crappy internet connection, like we do where I live. You can choose the maximum bandwidth that the app is allowed to use, from no limit (best quality) all the way down to .8 Mbps.
  6. CUSTOMER SERVICE IS AWESOME! These people are super responsive, even on Twitter (@SlingAnswers). There is a real, warm-blooded dedicated staff and they will absolutely talk to you if you need help.

Sling CONS

  1. Where’d the menu go? – When you first sign in, you can add your favorite channels to the My TV area. Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out how to get this menu to reappear so I can add more channels to it. Help says ‘click the Add button’…but there isn’t one, so…yeah.
  2. Favorites – The fav button doesn’t always show up where you expect it to. As an end user, what this really means is that the buttons for ‘MyTV’ and ‘Favorite’ look too much alike (both have a little heart at the center), so when you think you have one, you really may have the other (searched the Help Center but didn’t see any explanation). If you think you see Fav, and it’s really MyTV, when you click it will take you to the Favorite section under My TV…and since you didn’t actually ‘fav’ your show, of course it isn’t listed.
  3. For shows that are truly marked as Favs, you sometimes get these weird gray boxes (see screenshot) and multiple iterations of your show. I have no idea why this is. For example, I have two grayed out boxes, one for Killjoys and one for Dark Matter. I also have two listing with the actual Killjoys and Dark Matter graphics. I can’t tell what’s what until I click on them. Turns out, one listing contains the entire series with all the episodes grouped together (you have to actually watch them in order for them to appear, so no DVR capabilities here), the other listing is a single episode. This single episode is also listed with the grouped series, so I have no idea why they’re here at all.0810161101
  4. On Demand is limited, but they are working on adding more shows.
  5. Occasionally the menus don’t align. For example, I selected a show called PlanetEarth and it had a StarTrek TNG description.

In the end, I selected Sling TV. The product is off to a good start and for what you get, the cost is super affordable. But honestly, what sold me is the amazing customer service! But I’ll tell you about that next time…

Cover Reveal and a New Release Coming Soon! #WindAndFire

Gathering of the Storms 1 - Wind And Fire - Hidden Cover

This is the first in a new post-apocalyptic paranormal series
by NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author, T.J. Michaels.

BLURB COMING SOON!


Wind & Fire
by T.J. Michaels

Series
Gathering of the Storms

Genre
Post-Apocalyptic
Paranormal Romance

Publisher
Bent West

Publication Date
July 19, 2016

PROMOTION DATES
Cover Reveal – June 14th
Release Day Blitz – July 19th

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Cover Reveal Button 2

Blitz ButtonReview Request Button

30 Day No Bullshit Challenge

…is coming!

I see all these challenges, like the 30 Day Plank Challenge, 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Journal Challenge. 30 Day Whatever-The-Heck Challenge. How about a 30 Day No Bullshit Challenge? Well, it’s coming people.

NoBS

A Certified Master Life Coach is going to take us through 30 days of true life-changing challenges to our own status quos. Want to kick dysfunction? Want to better your personal relationships? It doesn’t matter what kind, whether it’s friendship, marriage, family or whatever. She’s prepping…then we’re coming for you.

Stay tuned – start date will be announced soon. ‪#‎30DayNoBS‬

Our coach’s name is Tamara Mays-Sheeley. Her area of expertise is polishing women into the gems that we are. If you want personalized instruction, you can enroll in her classes directly.

If you’re in the Savannah, GA area in August, drop into the Authors After Dark reader convention where we’ll both be signing!

Links:
Info on Authors After Dark
Info on The Polished Gem Academy
Link to Tamara’s book on Amazon

 

A Different Kind of Yum!

Okay, I’ll be completely honest here — when I first heard of this recipe my first reaction was “EWWWW!” But after reading what’s in it, it sounds absolutely delish and perfect for a holiday picnic or outing.

If you make this, let me know how it turns out!

Layered Cornbread Salad (courtesy of The Food Network)

FNM_050113-Layered-Cornbread-Salad-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeTotal Time: 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Yield:6 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups crumbled cornbread
2 15 -ounce cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese

Directions
Toss the tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, lime juice, chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Assemble the salad: Sprinkle half of the cornbread in a glass bowl or trifle dish. Top with half each of the black-eyed peas, corn and the tomato-pepper mixture, then half each of the sour cream mixture and cheese. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients, ending with cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Photograph by Con Poulos

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/cornbread-salad-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Thirsty Thursday – Peach Iced Tea

Just PeachyIn celebration of the upcoming release of Just Peachy, we’re spending out Thirsty Thursday exploring delicious peach drinks and nom-noms.

Due to some technical difficulty (basically my computer doesn’t want to convert the .flv video file of my peachy video with Ms. Lisa B) we are posting a recipe for homemade iced peach tea instead of the peach crush we planned to share with you. But we’ll get this worked out, and soon.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Coming June 7th — #AmWriting

Knowing what you know now of writing, publishing, and putting your art out into the world, if you could go back to the day you sat down to start typing in your very first manuscript, what words would you offer to yourself? Words of encouragement? Words of advice? Caution against certain pitfalls? Would you change anything about how you got to where you are today?
Continue reading Coming June 7th — #AmWriting