~ IN THE GOOD OL' SUMMERTIME ~







Summertime is a special time of year for me because, as a lunch lady, I'm off work! Or, at least my day job. It's a time when I feel like I finally am able to devote some good time to my writing. But, even though I am at home all summer, I still don't feel like there is enough time to do all of the things I want to do, read all of the books I have on writing and marketing, or the articles I've saved, or read my fellow authors' books. I did get two read this week though, so I'm quite pleased with that!





And one of the really fun activities I've enjoyed this summer is taking part in Buy the Book Tours' Feature Friday Summer Block Party Blog Hop! People have been sharing some great recipes, in fact, I'm trying one tomorrow, and I have added some fun summer facts to the mix. So, without further ado ~


In 1816, the northeastern United States experienced snow and cold weather throughout the summer. Scientists cited a volcanic eruption in Indonesia as the cause. We've had some very unusual weather here in the Midwest as well. Beautiful! Between the 70s and 80s. After a LOOOONG cold winter we'll take it!




                                                       

The frequency of a cricket's chirps fluctuates with the temperature. If you count a cricket's chirps for 15 seconds and add 37, you will have the approximate outdoor temperature (in Fahrenheit). Or you could just look it up on weather.com. In our family we like to think of the locust sound outside as the insects arguing. "No, I didn't." "Yes, you did." "No, I didn't." "Yes, you did..."

The Folies-Bergere theater in New York began offering air conditioning in the summer of 1911 to lure audiences in to watch films and cool off. Not a bad marketing ploy, huh?

Now that you are uber-educated on all things summer, make sure you hop on over to the other authors' blogs who are participating in Buy the Book Tours' Summer Block Party Blog Hop.

Thanks for joining me today! If you leave a comment below with your email address (so I know where to send the prize) you will be entered to win an e-copy of my summer release, DAMAGE DONE. Here's a blurb:



When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged,



will Teddy Mckee be able to find love?

“Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more.” When he falls in love with the dark haired beauty born of an Irish father and a Spanish mother, will Gabrielle Quinn be able to restore his balance? And what about the charming Sean Hennessey? When Gabby catches his eye, too, will Teddy’s playboy best friend cause his own damage?



Fourteen years later, will Teddy and Gabrielle’s son be able to overcome the damage done to him in his childhood?

“Even through bloodshot eyes he could see she was different.” But can Michael leave behind the bottle, and his womanizing ways, to win over the lovely Tess Flanagan? Tess has sustained some damage of her own. Can she and Michael overcome the terrors of the past and learn how to love each other?



And if they do, will they be able to elude those after them who want to create their own damage?

On the run after an altercation leaves their boss in a pool of blood, will Michael and Tess be able to stay one step ahead of their pursuers? Or is it simply too late to correct the damage that has been done?







Now continue your summer fun by hopping over to these authors' blogs.


~ HOP INTO SOME SUMMERTIME FUN! ~






As a tour host for Buy the Book Tours I was invited to join in on their Feature Friday Block Party Blog Hop. Whoo! That's a mouthful! But it is a great idea, so join us for some fun in the sun! I'm going to continue to share some interesting summer facts with you. 



Feature Friday Block Party Blog Hop


I scream. You scream. We all scream, for ice cream, right? July is National Ice Cream Month. More Americans buy ice cream in July than any other month. Good on me! I love ice cream!


Summers spent throwing a Frisbee back and forth owe their game to a pie maker named Mr. Frisbie. In 1871, in the wake of the Civil War, William Russell Frisbie moved from Bridgeport, Connecticut to New Haven, where he was hired to manage a new bakery, a division of The Old Baking Company of New Haven. He soon bought the bakery, naming it the Frisbie Pie Company. When he died in 1903 his son Joseph P. Frisbie took over and manned the ovens until his death in 1940. In his time the company grew from six routes to two hundred and fifty. Shops were opened in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island. By 1956 the company produced 80, 000 pies per day! There are two camps at Yale University that are staunch advocates for their particular theory of the origin of the Frisbee. They differ in one detail. One side believes that the Frisbee originated when Yale students tossed Frisbie's pies to each other, yelling "Frisbie!" as a warning; the other believes the moniker is derived frim Frisbie's sugar cookies instead! So there you have it! You now know what Frisbees and pies have in common! 

And one last fact to share with you. We all know the month of June is the most popular month for weddings. But do you know why? Romans began this summer wedding tradition as a tribute to Juno, the goddess of love and marriage. Well, that and the weather's usually very nice!

Thanks for joining me today! If you leave a comment below with your email address (so I know where to send the prize) you will be entered to win an e-copy of my summer release, DAMAGE DONE. Here's a blurb:



When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged, will Teddy Mckee be able to find love?

“Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more.” When he falls in love with the dark haired beauty born of an Irish father and a Spanish mother, will Gabrielle Quinn be able to restore his balance? And what about the charming Sean Hennessey? When Gabby catches his eye, too, will Teddy’s playboy best friend cause his own damage?



Fourteen years later, will Teddy and Gabrielle’s son be able to overcome the damage done to him in his childhood?

“Even through bloodshot eyes he could see she was different.” But can Michael leave behind the bottle, and his womanizing ways, to win over the lovely Tess Flanagan? Tess has sustained some damage of her own. Can she and Michael overcome the terrors of the past and learn how to love each other?



And if they do, will they be able to elude those after them who want to create their own damage?


On the run after an altercation leaves their boss in a pool of blood, will Michael and Tess be able to stay one step ahead of their pursuers? Or is it simply too late to correct the damage that has been done?


Now continue your summer fun by hopping over to these authors' blogs.








Once again it is time for you to decide the outcome of a match between two characters! This week we have Animal from the Muppets vs. Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. These two are pitted against each other in a no holds barred cage match. Who comes out on top?

To refresh your mind--->

Animal~>








vs.


Oscar the Grouch ~>






So now's your chance to show your puppet punch savvy. Who's the winner? And why? (Make sure you tell us why you think one of the contestants would win. That's the fun part!)



~ JOIN US FOR FABULOUS FRIDAY FACTS ABOUT THE GOOD OL' SUMMERTIME! ~












As a tour host for Buy the Book Tours I was invited to join this awesome blog hop! We're trying to recreate a summer block party atmosphere online, so, since it is also Fabulous Fact Friday, I thought I'd share some fun summer facts.



Feature Friday Block Party Blog Hop


So sit back and pour yourself some ice-cold lemonade and relax, because you deserve to. It's summer!Then enjoy these interesting facts about the season--->


I always thought that The Dog Days of Summer were those late hot days, after it has already cooled down and the weather turns summery for a few days. Or I thought people used that expression for the hottest days of the year, when the dogs only move to snap at bugs that are bothering them. But it actually refers to the time period between July 3rd and August 11th which are named after the Dog Star (Sirius) in the constellation of Canis Major. Ancient Romans and Greeks blamed Sirius for everything that happens in those late days of summer. From the extreme temperatures, to sickness and drought.


Mosquitoes, summer's worst pest, have been around for more than 30 million years. Scary, huh?

Watermelon is summer's most popular vegetable. That's right, vegetable! It is part of the cucumber, pumpkin, and squash family. The average American eats 15 pounds of watermelon a year. Our family has to be pulling those stats down because we rarely have it.They are made up of 92 percent water. Our bodies must desire them to offset the loss of fluids when sweating. 

Thank you for joining us and please come back for some more fabulous facts next Friday. If you leave a comment below with your email address (so that I know where to send your prize) you will be entered to win a copy of my summer release, DAMAGE DONE! 


Here's a blurb:



When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged, will Teddy Mckee be able to find love?

“Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more.” When he falls in love with the dark haired beauty born of an Irish father and a Spanish mother, will Gabrielle Quinn be able to restore his balance? And what about the charming Sean Hennessey? When Gabby catches his eye, too, will Teddy’s playboy best friend cause his own damage?



Fourteen years later, will Teddy and Gabrielle’s son be able to overcome the damage done to him in his childhood?

“Even through bloodshot eyes he could see she was different.” But can Michael leave behind the bottle, and his womanizing ways, to win over the lovely Tess Flanagan? Tess has sustained some damage of her own. Can she and Michael overcome the terrors of the past and learn how to love each other?



And if they do, will they be able to elude those after them who want to create their own damage?

On the run after an altercation leaves their boss in a pool of blood, will Michael and Tess be able to stay one step ahead of their pursuers? Or is it simply too late to correct the damage that has been done?



Now join some other rocking authors on the Buy the Book Tours' Feature Friday Block Party Blog Hop and see what kind of summer time magic they have up their sleeves!



















It's Throw Down Thursday! Time for our own special brand of silliness. 



Ding, ding, ding! In this corner we have...weighing in at 250 lbs. including the seasonings, boldly flaunting his russet-colored scarf, the one, the only, Jol-ly Gr-r-reen Gi-i-i-i-a-a-n-n-t. His opponent, tipping the scales at a lean 225 lbs, wearing a spotlessly white t-shirt and pants, unafraid to don an earring, the Master of Cleanliness, the Prince of Sanitation...Misstterrrr Cl-ean!

When they meet on the mat, who's going to come out the winner?

Just to keep things fresh in your mind, we've got--->

The Jolly Green Giant-





vs. Mr. Clean-





Now's your chance to predict the outcome. Who will be the victor? Be sure to give us your reasoning (that's the best part!)


~ I HATE THE DENTIST!!! ~







It’s Two Cent Tuesday, the day of the week when M.J. takes what would normally be an inordinately long Facebook status and turns it into a blog post. Today we’re talking about the dentist.

I HATE THE DENTIST! And I DON’T use that word lightly! More accurately, I hate going to the dentist. The dentist himself is a very nice man, except for his propensity for causing me excruciating pain. That habit I’m not fond of.


First of all, I loathe that little curved mirror thingie. The dentist uses it like a shepherd’s crook to stretch my mouth to obscene lengths. I want to scream out, “My mouth doesn’t get that big!” But I can’t. Because there are 342 dental instruments in my mouth! I’m talking the water thingie, the sucky thingie, that pick axe thing he uses, and 339 other instruments. And a piece of gauze whose only function seems to be to choke me more. Sometimes I don’t think they even know what certain instruments are for, they just know that they need to shove them in my ever-expanding gob!

My mouth is fairly small (I know! Shocking!) so when they take x-rays, they have to use a child-sized film holder, and even that cuts into me like a switch blade. I mean, I really HATE going to the dentist.

Even when it’s just for a cleaning. They pick and pick at that protective covering that you’ve worked so hard to establish and then they wedge floss between your teeth until it suddenly gives and goes plunging into your gums, making them bleed. And let’s not forget the whole fluoride process. I love how they let you choose the flavor--like one of those puppies is actually going to taste good! And then they’re spinning that instrument and tickling your gums so badly you want to cry and you just have to move a little to make it stop. And when it’s all over they offer you a toothbrush. Like that’s the grand prize you’ve been waiting for all of your life. Your teeth feel so big as you walk out to your car, you wonder if you’ll be able to fit both your body and your teeth in it.


And that is just a cleaning. Today I went in to have a cavity filled.

Let me ask just one question here. Why can’t one shot numb you? Today he did like five. They hurt like a booger when they go in and hurt even worse when they squeeze the syringe’s plunger down. The kind of hurt that brings tears to your eyes first and then you close them, thinking that if you don’t see anything, maybe it won’t hurt as much. It’s a lie.

At approximately this point in the procedure your nose begins to itch like the dickens and you CAN’T SCRATCH IT! You’re thinking to yourself, if the Spanish Inquisition had only used these methods they would have found out everything they wanted to know the first day.


Meanwhile, they’re drilling on your bottom teeth while knocking your top teeth with their instruments and if you could feel your lips you would so like to cuss them out, although you know they don’t deserve it and they’re only helping you. If you’re lucky, you get a whiff of the bone they’re burning away, because that is so pleasant. Nothing like the smell of body parts smoking. After they’ve drilled their nice little canyon, they have to press the filling material in it. So they are pulling your lips to the right so hard it feels like the corners of your mouth are going to crack, while at the same time they are applying pressure in the opposite direction as they press the filling material in place.

And then there’s that awful taste! I don’t know what the heck they are doing at this point but all of a sudden your throat is full of the most vile flavor, a mixture of molten lead and blood, like they’ve opened up both a vein of ore and your actual vein! And you’re numb up to your eyeballs and today the water spraying thing seemed damaged because it was squirting both in my mouth and down my cheek at the same time. Talk about adding insult to injury! I SO detest the dentist.

And I’ve been numb now for four hours and I’m starving, but I’m afraid to eat because I know I’ll bite my 6” thick tongue or the side of my mouth, which has managed to stay out of the fray thus far.

Today I got a filling. In August I’m having a tooth removed. May the good Lord help us all on that day!

What about you? Do you like the dentist? My crazy big sister actually likes going to the dentist and getting her teeth cleaned. When we were kids, knowing about my enmity for the dentist, she used to go in my place, and oddly, no one was the wiser. Come to think of it, that may have been what got me into this spot in the first place…


Tell us your dental horror stories. Just let it out, this is a safe place to vent. What’s the worst part, in your opinion? Anything particularly gruesome ever happen to you while in that contoured chair, that blinding light roasting your corneas? Come on. You know you’ll feel better if you share it.

Did I ever tell you about the time I had my wisdom teeth removed…?

~ M.J. SCHILLER ~ ROCKING REALITY! ~







Hi! We’re going to play a little game. Ready? What do you think of when I say the words—rock star. Go!

Okay, so did you think--partier, drugs, drinking, women, fans...? It is true, those do seem to be more prevalent in the life of a rocker than say, the life of your average telephone repair man. A lot of rock romances focus on this, what has become a stereotype of a rocker. And that’s great. I’m all for it. I enjoy reading those books. I just write my stories a little differently. I like to keep it real. Or as real as fiction can be.

For instance, you are not going to see paparazzi splashed over all of the pages of my books. You’ll see them more when my characters are in L.A. or New York, but not if the band is playing Kansas City or St. Louis or even Chicago. While photographers and fans are a huge part of these musicians lives, it’s not necessarily a 24/7 kind of thing. So the city matters, and so does the specific location. Are they at the mall? Or at a private club? Are they in town for a show? Then people might have a heightened awareness of their presence. Are they at the venue? Crowds are definitely going to show up there.

It also depends on what kind of rocker we’re talking about. Chad Evans, from Trapped Under Ice would draw a little bit more attention than Chase Hatton of Abandon All Hope. Chad is much more comfortable in the limelight. He works the crowd, he makes appearances, but even he is not as outgoing as his partner Roger. Still, Chad dates models, is seen in the tabloids, has a body guard. There is a scene in Trapped Under Ice when Beth and Chad and the boys are walking to the bus through a crowd of onlookers who are held back by barriers and security. This is a big part of the story and is told through Beth’s eyes, someone who is new to it all. They are in Kansas City, a fairly sizable town, and at the venue. Later, when Chad visits Beth in Bloomington, Illinois, they don’t have to deal with fans. “They had dinner with Cassie at a nearby restaurant Pete [the body guard] checked out beforehand. There were a few stares and some whispering, but since Trapped Under Ice wasn’t playing in town, most people chalked it up to a phenomenal resemblance.”

Now Chase Hatton is a different breed of rocker. He’s a loner. He’s not part of a band, he’s the main act that is backed by a nameless band. Think Cher or Madonna. We don’t know the names of most of the members of their bands either. Chase also keeps a low profile when not on stage. He’s not out hobnobbing with the rich and famous. He probably wouldn’t have a Twitter page. It’s not that he’s not personable, but he’s from Nebraska, grew up in a middle class family—he likes things pure and laid back, like Hope. Still, when in Chicago he avoids public transit and wears a baseball cap to the zoo so that he won’t be recognized.



(My picture~Seether at The House of Blues, Chicago~May 2014)


Another factor is the genre of music. Pop stars, by
definition, are popular and therefore recognizable, for the most part. Rock band members, not so much. Even though I’ve seen 5 Finger Death Punch several times, lead singer Ivan Moody could walk right by me and I wouldn’t blink, unless I was at the venue. He doesn’t have any really distinguishing features. He wears the same kind of clothing that his fans do. He blends in, until he opens his mouth to sing.

And I think it also depends on whether the star wants to be seen. I’m thinking Reese Witherspoon could walk through an airport and not be hassled, if she chose to, or saunter through the same airport and sign tons of autographs. If she was willing to stop and speak with her fans, she’d be dolled up and make a lot of eye contact. In a rush or not in the mood to deal with that? Dressed down, wearing a ponytail, and keeping her head low.

Here’s a little story to illustrate my point. A while back Nickelback was in town for two weeks, secretly testing their new stage in our coliseum. They ate at local restaurants, drank in local bars, went to the phone store…and yet I NEVER KNEW THEY WERE HERE! Mind you, I have snuck back stage at three Nickelback concerts (and gotten thrown out). If I had seen them on the street I guarantee you there would have been a scene, believe me. However, they are four somewhat average looking guys, wearing t-shirts and jeans. I would have recognized them, if they were together, but maybe not individually. If I saw just one of them I might have been like, “Hey! That guy looks like Ryan Peake!” But knowing that Nickelback wasn’t playing in town, I might have blown it off. I would have definitely recognized all four of them, yet there were people in town that carried on lengthy conversations with them without even knowing who they are. (That burns me!)



(Seether again~House of Blues, Chicago)

I had a little fun with the idea of being recognized in my latest release, ROCK ME, GENTLY. Josh Dunningham, of Money Back Guaranteed, is told by several people that he looks “just like” Josh Dunningham of Money Back Guaranteed, but people still don’t believe that it’s him. Except for a pair of fans who do cause a scene at a restaurant despite Josh’s attempts to keep his identity on the down low.


So how about you? Ever have a run in with a celebrity? Now’s your time to shine! Tell us about it. Brag! Go on, it'll do ya some good!