Shannon Stacey
How I feel about Apple AirPods

I’ve struggled for a long time with headphones/earbuds. The first problem (and the most annoying for an author who works in her living room) is that I can’t use anything noise-canceling. I’m part of that very small percentage of people who get motion sick from the [insert a lot of tech words here]. Basically, those sweet Bose noise-canceling headphones make me car sick.

I also belong to that very large percentage of people who have weird ears who can’t keep earbuds in worth a damn. The ones with the foam/jelly/whatever round balls don’t even stand a chance of staying in. I had great luck with Bose SoundSports, with the soft rubber fin that holds it very comfortably in the ear, but they’re a bit expensive. I can (and often did) use the Apple EarPods that come with the phones if I put a really cheap slipcover over them with the soft ear hook that mimics the Bose.

Apple EarPods with silicone slipcover with ear hooks

But those are wired and a pain in the ass, and I really wanted wireless. I had no luck with the wireless Bose SoundSports because they were too heavy and awkward. I had the best luck with the Bose SoundLink wireless headphones (not noise-canceling) and used them a lot. Good sound, good battery life, wireless. I think if I wasn’t sensitive to certain sensory things, the Bose SoundLinks and I would have lived happily ever after. But having cups (even comfortable ones) over my ears and the constant, slight (but not uncomfortable) pressure on my head makes me anxious after a while and I have to take them off.

So, the Apple AirPods. (I know, it’s about time.) They look like the regular, free-in-the-box EarPods you get with the iPhone, except stubby because there are no wires. And they’re a lot more expensive than free-in-the-box.

Apple AirPods

There are alternatives. I have an Apple-loving friend who swears by these VicBay wireless earbuds (and they’re only $26!). But those look like they’d need duct tape to stay in my ears, and I really wanted the built-in functionality Apple brings to the AirPods. I knew, though, that they’re the same shape as the EarPods don’t stay in my ears without the silicone covers. And the silicone covers on AirPods wouldn’t fit in the charging case. But I finally decided they’d be worth putting the silicone on and off and asked for them for Christmas.

I love these things.

AirPod Selfie

They look a little weird, I admit. I also admit I don’t care. Without the weight of the wires and the catching on everything, they stay in my ears without the slipcovers with no problem. I’ve yet to have one fall out. (Disclaimer: let’s not even pretend I wear these jogging or doing anything else strenuous. But I’ve not had a kitchen dance party interrupted by one dislodging yet.)

They’re super light and comfortable. As a matter of fact, if I pause what I’m listening to because somebody talked to me and then get distracted, I’ll forget they’re even there and may have left the house with them accidentally still in my ears once. Or maybe twice.

A couple of things that aren’t OMG, I love thesejust to mention them:

They’re no Bose. The sound is a good enough quality for me, but even I know they’re no Bose.

The tapping functionality is limited. For example, you have to use the device or Siri to do things like change the volume. (And a few other things that most earbuds allow you control via the controls on the wire or an earbud.) You can also use the Apple Watch, but I gave mine to my kid. (And even though it’s great for controlling the AirPods, I have zero regrets.) One of my goals for 2018 is to finally use Siri, so it might be the kick in the ass I need.

They’re not only noise-canceling, they’re not even really noise-reducing. But I don’t mind. I don’t like anything that isolates me. And when I play my working playlist (generally the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Original Game Soundtrack) at a volume comfortable for work, I can hear what’s going on around me, including PS4 warfare, but it’s enough to keep that PS4 warfare from being the “other sound” my brain listens to. (That’s hard to explain. Sorry.)

But the bottom line: I love these things and I hope my AirPods and I will be living happily ever after.

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The snow hurts my eyes

Backstory info dump: I’ve worn glasses since I was a little girl. Maybe six or seven? I don’t remember when I got my first pair, although I do remember two things very clearly. 1) I could read words written on the chalkboard at school (I’m chalkboard-years-old) and finally figured out how my classmates knew things I didn’t. And 2) I felt very much like Mr. Magoo for the first few days. (I’m also I-know-who-Mr. Magoo-is years old.)

Mr Magoo

But I got used to them and, over the years, they just became part of my face. I’ve never considered contact lenses because I wasn’t a very responsible kid and I’m not really faring any better as an adult. They seem like a lot of work. And there are dusty days on the ATVs when, despite my face shield, my eyes are red and gritty from the dust and my tear ducts are packed with mud. I’m not sure that’s a contacts-friendly activity.

In January of 2008, I got my first pair of the glasses that magically tint when the sun hits them. I think because glasses had been part of my face for so long, I was super sensitive to the tinting and felt something akin to motion sickness as they changed for the first few days. Several years ago, when I turned bifocals-years-old, I stayed with the magic tint. (I forget the actual word for them. UV something something.) But I also bought a spare pair without the tint for head shots outdoors in natural lighting. (Which are still on my to do list.)

The tinting in the sun is something I haven’t given any thought to since the first pair, once I stopped feeling swimmy when they’d darken. Occasionally I’d see a picture taken outside and realize it looks like I’m wearing sunglasses, even though they didn’t look different to me.

Until now.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with my glasses. I can never get them clean and parts of them seemed blurry or smudged. (I don’t care what the lady at Lenscrafter said, the new anti-glare coatings attract the oils from your skin—fingers, cheek, taking it off your freaking eyelashes—like crazy.) Yesterday I decided to put on the spare pair while giving my glasses a thorough cleaning.

Scuffed eyeglasses

Yeah, there’s no cleaning that. I know I’m well overdue for an eye exam/new lenses, but I didn’t realize how overdue. (And I’m sure cleaning the dust off with the hem of my shirt while four-wheeling doesn’t help.) The coatings are pretty much gone and I seem to be grinding them into a whole new prescription. You’d think since I can’t even tell my own kid from some other kid when I’m in the same room without them, I’d be better at taking care of them. (See again: why Shannon doesn’t just wear contacts.)

So now I’m wearing the backup pair, which seemed fine despite being so very clear my eyes couldn’t cope and I got a headache. Then I went outside this morning with Taz.

And the snow glare pierced my skull like a blast of lightning from Thor. Picture me staggering around a yard full of snow reflecting the brilliant sun at me like a mirror, with my eyes closed and my hand over my eyes while pain throbbed between my eyebrows.

My pupils were all “eh, the glasses got this” and the glasses didn’t have that.

I can’t go outside. 😂

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My Best of 2017 list

Song: What Ifs by Kane Brown, TV show: Queen Sugar, Movie: Wonder Woman, and book: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Song: What Ifs by Kane Brown

TV Show: Queen Sugar

Movie: Wonder Woman

And….*drum roll*…

Book: Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

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Don’t miss this fun holiday open house!

🎄Mark your calendars for The Romance of Reading Holiday Open House at the Romance of Reading Facebook group this Saturday!

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A roundup of my holiday novellas to date!

Covers for the novellas listed below

Click on the titles for buy links and excerpts!

Holiday Sparks

House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.

Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays.

Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s.

But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing?

* High school crush – back in her hometown – super cute dog – hot electrician

Mistletoe & Margaritas

Claire Rutledge still believes in love, despite losing her husband. So, after two years, she’s not surprised by the steamy dreams telling her it might be time to start moving on. But she didn’t expect her friend Justin to have the starring role.

Justin McCormick has loved Claire since the moment he first saw her, but his best friend got there first. Now that Claire is ready to move on with her life, Justin is finding it harder than ever to hide his true feelings. And when they both get caught up in the holiday spirits at a party, their simmering mutual attraction boils over into a night neither of them can forget…

* Friends to lovers – His best friend’s widow – Cute cat – Sex in a plow truck

Snowbound with the CEO

Adrian Blackstone built a million-dollar business with hard work and determination—and by remaining professional at all times. Denying his longtime attraction to his beautiful executive assistant hasn’t been easy but it’s necessary. She’s indispensable, and he can’t stand the thought of losing her if things didn’t work out.

For more than a year, Rachel Carter has been quietly dreaming of all the ways she’ll never seduce her sexy, buttoned-up boss. She’s worked too hard to get where she is to cross that line, no matter how badly she’d like to act on her fantasies. But then a wicked snowstorm leaves them stranded in a romantic winter wonderland…

What begins as a single kiss and a few bad Santa jokes turns into a weekend full of breathless passion and hopes for something more. But with Monday comes a return to their complicated reality—and Adrian must prove that promises made are promises kept, especially at Christmastime.

* Snowed in – Falling for the boss – Bad Santa jokes – Blue-collar millionaire

Her Holiday Man

Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.

Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.

As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.

* Single mom – Widower – Back in his hometown – Cute kid – Small town Christmas parade

A Fighting Chance

All work and no play makes Adeline Kendrick a dull girl, so when she heads to a casino resort for a friend’s bachelorette weekend, she’s ready to have a good time. Until she runs into Brendan Quinn, professional fighter and the one who got away—the one her family drove away—and things take a turn for the interesting.

Running into his ex won’t shake Brendan. Even if it brings up the old pain of loving her when she was only slumming. Even if she looks really good. In fact, what better way to get over the past than to take advantage of the still-sizzling chemistry running hot between them? He’s there to win an MMA fight, but he won’t say no to a little physical relief of a different kind.

But when the weekend is over, Adeline isn’t ready to give up her second chance that easily. Brendan is still the one for her, no matter what her family thinks. Now, if only she can convince him of that…

* Second-chance romance – Sexy MMA fighter – Hotel sex

Holiday With A Twist

After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she’ll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school.

Leigh’s best friend broke Croy Dawson’s heart, and Croy knows it was Leigh’s fault. They’ve never liked each other, but Croy isn’t cruel: he’d never turn away a pretty woman in need of some family-Christmas fortification. He doesn’t expect her to drink just enough candy-cane martinis to tell him her secrets—and he definitely doesn’t expect to get caught up in her holiday madness.

Despite the surprising love and laughter, Croy and Leigh can’t escape the truth: he can’t walk away from his family obligations and she has a life and career to reboot. But anything is possible if your holiday comes with a twist…

* Home for the holidays – Friends-to-enemies-to-lovers – Candy Cane Martini – Hot bartender – Cute baby – Even cuter Pug

Hold Her Again

Ava Wright isn’t happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He’s only come back to bury his estranged father, but there’s no way she’ll be able to avoid him. No one can: he’s become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.

Jace Morrow grew up believing “money can’t buy happiness” was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it’s the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he’ll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.

When Jace is roped into being part of the town’s annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava’s forgiveness. And though Ava’s heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he’s hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they’re both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.

* Second-chance romance – Back in his hometown – Sexy country music star – Forgiveness – Biscuits and gravy

In The Spirit

In The Spirit coverAnd my very first holiday novella, IN THE SPIRIT, is only 99 cents for Kindle (and also available through KU)!

When a holiday-loving ghost tries to rock around the Christmas tree with a Grinchy guest, will they both wind up on the “naughty” list?

Even though Zach Roberts died in an incident involving a string of lights and an inflatable Santa, he’s determined to deck the halls in a big way. But being trapped in a rental cabin with the Ghost of Christmas Overkill isn’t on Jessica Newton’s bah-humbug agenda.

Together they discover it’s nice to be naughty, but can he help her find her holiday spirit?

* A Grinchy heroine – A hero who can’t get enough of Christmas – Holiday hijinks – Oh, and he’s a ghost

 

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