Daylight Savings Time

One of my favorite days of the year is coming up, the Sunday that we fall back, and I gain an extra hour. Before I stated working weekends this extra hour was extra time spent sleeping or doing just nothing. Now on Saturday night I enjoy going to bed knowing I have an extra hour to sleep before my alarm clock goes off for work or if I am reading a good book, I know that I can stay up a little longer.


By | October 31st, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Leigh AAR, Real Life|2 Comments

Speaking of Audiobooks: Audible's New Coming Soon List, Preordering & More!

Here at Speaking of Audiobooks, we have bragged on Audible in the past, encouraged others to give Audible a try, alerted listeners to Audible specials, and followed Audible’s romance releases day by day – reporting back to fellow listeners, both here and our affiliated Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, those unexpected releases we know will cause excitement. And we have wondered out loud many times just why Audible doesn’t provide a comprehensive Coming Soon list for all genres and romance in particular.

Well, change is a coming. A few months ago at Audible, I started noticing a few future releases (with preorder ability) tucked in a corner here and there if the book was part of an ongoing series. Good. Then I noticed Audible had increased their Coming Soon section on their Home Page with the ability to sort by genre. Better. And then I realized you could preorder those Coming Soon titles. Even better. […]

Cold Weather Foods

LinnieGayl’s  comfort food blog and the recent colder weather started to remind me of dishes I typically eat during the winter.  One of the first dishes I turn to is beans.  With my parent’s southern roots, even living in the west, I grew up on a lot of pots of beans.  Pinto beans, and great northern beans with a ham bone were big favorites of my mother and I don’t really remember those dishes being seasonal.  However when it turned cold my mother turned to a big pot of chili or stew.

I don’t do the stew but always turn to chili.  In fact, I am probably going to make chili today.  I don’t have any special recipe and to be honest sometimes my dish is good and sometime it is average.  So I thought maybe I need a more definite recipe instead of a little bit of this and that.

The Today Show had a chili cook-off and I am just not sure about the three top contenders? Here are the ingredients: […]

By | October 29th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Contests, Cooking, Leigh AAR|9 Comments

Do Contemporaries Ever Become Historicals?

Lately I’ve been thinking about the boundary between contemporary and historical romances as I try to place new submissions for the Special Title Lists appropriately. Although not a romance, my reading of the Flavia de Luce mysteries also has me thinking of this boundary.

The Flavia de Luce mysteries, set in post-World War II England, are considered historical mysteries. But what if they were romances? According to Wikipedia and numerous other Web sites, contemporary romances are set after World War II, while historical romances are set before or during World War II; by that criterion if Flavia grows older and falls in love her book might be considered a contemporary romance. I say “might,” because Wikipedia also notes that contemporary romances are generally “set in the time when they were written, and usually reflect the mores of their time.”

By | October 29th, 2012|Categories: LinnieGayl AAR, Settings|Tags: , , , |24 Comments

Comfort Foods: Make Mine Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Ah, comfort foods. We all have them. When it suddenly turns cold. When it’s raining. When we’re sick or stressed, comfort foods can bring immense relief. For some of us all it takes is some good chocolate. For others it’s ice cream. I do have my moments when the supreme comfort food is sweet, generally in the form of rice pudding or tapioca pudding. But most of the time my ultimate comfort food is savory. And for me, nothing quite says comfort like tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.

And what’s not to love about the combination (well, aside from the calories). They’re creamy and warm, particularly nice for the suddenly cold weather. And they harken back to my childhood when my mother would make me tomato soup (Campbell’s, of course, made with milk) and a grilled cheese sandwich (white bread with Velveeta cheese).

I’ve definitely moved beyond my childhood grilled cheese sandwiches, preferring them now on whole wheat or bakery bread of some kind. I also like to experiment with various combinations of cheeses, and usually add something to the mix, be it sliced green olives, or diced sun dried tomatoes, or even some slices of fruit (apples and pears are particularly nice). But […]

Am I Asking the Impossible for Halloween?

Ever since I was a kid reading ghost story collections, I’ve enjoyed reading scary stories. There’s something about unsettling tales that just unlocks the imagination even if it does sometimes make one want to sleep with the lights on. I devoured(and got freaked out by) the works of Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and any of a number of other storytellers of the bizarre, ghostly and disturbing. As Halloween approaches, I find myself trying to find the perfect Halloween story for a romance lover. Is there something out there both genuinely romantic and also creepy?

Romance readers certainly don’t shun things that go bump in the night. The plethora of books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts and so on stand as testimony to that. Some of Nora Roberts’ books have a ghostly element, and I have certainly enjoyed paranormal romances striking a variety of tones, from the […]

By | October 26th, 2012|Categories: Books, Lynn AAR|Tags: , |25 Comments

Brain Cookies with Blood Glaze

emsp31_brain_cookies_lgre you ready for Halloween? I haven’t done anything except buy the cake mixes. I plan to go to craft store today for food coloring.  I promised you the recipe for Brain Cookies.  You can go to

Brain Cookies with Blood Glaze
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002
Add Timer
Brain Cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 […]

By | October 24th, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Cooking, Leigh AAR|2 Comments

Reading about Reading

For my last book club meeting, we all read biographies – any biography. While I had enjoyed some biographies in the past (I loved David McCullough’s biography of John Adams), I don’t really gravitate toward them; usually if I am reading one it is because someone else chose it for book club. I hemmed and hawed over my choice until I spotted a book that caught my eye: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. It’s more of a memoir than a biography, but to me it was close enough to be on topic. Better yet, it was of high interest to me because it was essentially someone else talking about her reading life.

That was, in fact, the main draw for me. Almost as much as I like to read, I like to talk about reading, hear about reading, and read about reading. And discussions of childhood reading are probably my favorites. I like to know what drove other people to read what they did, and why they loved their favorite childhood books. […]

Earworm of the day: Luka by Suzanne Vega I have very mixed feelings about Suzanne Vega. When I was at university, for six months I lived next door to this very nice girl named JoAnn, who loved listening to music. Really loved it. Did I mention the walls were thin? Her favorite albums were Suzanne Vega’s Solitude Standing and Tracy Chapman’s Tracy Chapman. And believe me, there are only so many times a day you want to listen to Tom’s Diner or Talking ’bout a Revolution. That said, I have since recovered from Vega overload and have come to quite like her. Luka, with its harrowing lyrics and lovely melody, is probably my favorite song by her.

Are there songs that you hated due to ever-exposure in the past, but that you like now?

– Rike Horstmann

By | October 23rd, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Music, Rike Horstmann|Tags: , , |2 Comments

And Another Happy Ending!

Sometimes we think we are having a really bad day. Check out this video. I don’t know who has it worst – the people trying to get the baby elephant out of the well, the baby elephant, or the mama elephant.

– – Leigh AAR

By | October 22nd, 2012|Categories: AAR afterhours blog, Leigh AAR, Real Life|2 Comments