Are you a reader, a watcher, or a listener?

The Authors’ Billboard: a great place to find Free & Bargain Books & Box Sets

We all love to be entertained… or to entertain. Some of us wear both sombreros. Before there were books, entertainers – jesters and gladiators of one sort or another – strutted their stuff to elicit reactions. Then folks learned to write. Can you imagine the thrill when someone figured out how to go beyond hash marks for tallying sheaves of grain and used scribbles to create words to share stories and histories?
Coming forward a few millennia, new ways have been developed to entertain us. I still like the written word, but I can’t read and drive, shop, garden, or clean house (ugh) at the same time. Well, I can – sort of – if I ‘listen’ to my book. Audiobooks are cool, but unless you have a fantastic public library that lends them, they’re pricey to buy and only a small percentage of books are recorded.

The solution to reading while driving, washing dishes, pulling weeds, swinging from the trees… whatever… is to enable text-to-speech on your phone, computer, or other smart device. Chrome, Apple, and Amazon all have their own versions of TTS. I couldn’t test Apple’s because I have a PC, but here are two other options.
The Chrome Store has a free app that will read several different formats (Kindle, Google Play, Scribd, Overdrive) to you. The reading pace is adjustable in settings, but the speech is mechanical. I’d have to be desperate or really mad at Amazon to use it.


The other way to go is with Amazon. I think all their Echo and Fire devices are now Alexa enabled. I love my Echo units. I can start ‘reading’ (listening) to a book in the car, walk into the store and continue listening through the wee speakers in my Echo glasses frames, come home and listen to more on the Echo Show, then fall asleep as Alexa continues to read on the Kindle Fire. No eyestrain involved plus all the devices automatically sync to each other. Alexa’s voice is sweet and the rate and manner of speech are great, too. Oh, and she also pauses, skips forward or back, or changes books when you tell her to (no fumbling for a keyboard). Awesome if you missed a passage.
Now, no excuses for not checking out a great read. Go ahead. Put in your earbuds and listen to a book while your sweetie is watching a ball game or you’re hauling kids to karate class. You deserve a break today. Just try and time it right so you’re not at an emotional moment in the story when picking out produce. The other shoppers might wonder if you’re crying at the prices or losing it completely. They won’t know it’s because Claire just left Jamie (again).

NEW RELEASE! Sweet Romantic Nights – A Fabulous Freebie Collection

A great place to start! SWEET ROMANTIC NIGHTS: Seven stories, all sweet, a few are also funny, but all were created with love by @gr8authors from The Authors’ Billboard. Available everywhere for Free. Limited Release, so grab it now.

Chocolate Lovers by Mona Risk

According to a study from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, eating something sweet can lead to heightened feelings of romance. The researchers found that after getting a taste of sugar, participants who were single were more interested in starting something romantic.

Terms of endearment such as ‘‘sweetie,’’ ‘‘honey,’’ and ‘‘sugar’’ are commonly used with close others and especially in reference to romantic partners.

In “Sweet Love: The Effects of Sweet Taste Experience on Romantic Perceptions,” the results showed that sweet taste and romantic perception are entwined. 

Overall, people were more romantically inclined if they were in the group that had their sweet tooth treated. When talking about their made-up loves, the singles expressed that they’d be more satisfied and committed. The sugar also upped the singles’ interest in the people in the dating profiles and how attractive they thought they’d be. 

Moreover, chocolate turns on happy feelings in our brains. The sweet treat has been shown to cause the brain to release the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, a pretty decent explanation for why our love for the delicacy can sometimes reach the level of sexual attraction.

Are you a chocolate lover? My husband is. In addition to a full drawer he’s appropriated in the fridge, he safeguards more chocolate in secretive locales that I can’t access. He checks his stock daily, and hastens to replenish if the drawer shows empty corners. With all this chocolate around, you’d think he’d binge on it. No sir, he takes one little square a day with his afternoon tea.

I’m not a chocolate person. More of a nut person–hmm… My good-mood stock consists of almonds (without salt) and pistachios (with little salt). The problem is that when I start nibbling on my favorite nuts I can’t stop. I also discovered that ginger candies are excellent remedies for the stomach. I managed to discontinue all my prescription drugs for stomach problems from the day I started taking 4-6 chewy ginger candies per day. Try it, you’ll thank me.

Yet there are moments when I need my chocolate taste, and I found the perfect formula: dark chocolate covered Espresso Beans and the decadent chocolate covered almonds. With these I really don’t need regular chocolate.

While my heroines are too busy pursuing their romantic heroes to eat chocolate, despite my above advice, the older mothers and mothers-in-law in my romance novels regularly help themselves from a silver or a crystal bowl, and sing the benefits of chocolate.