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Interesting Reading

April 2014
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Please welcome today’s guest M.J. Taylor. M.J. is here today to share some interesting information about toilets. Be sure to scroll down to the part about the toilet themed restaurant. That part made me smile for sure. 

Also, don’t forget to  leave a comment and fill in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win one of our weekly grab bag prizes. 

After baseball, the next most popular American pastime is “taking things for granted”, at least that’s what my grandmother always tells me. And any visit to a State park outhouse or a construction site Honey Bucket lets you know in a heartbeat that flushing toilets is something we take for granted big time!

While billions of people around the world are taking care of business whilst hovering over a deep dark hole, only .5% of US homes today lack indoor plumbing. Think about that the next time you complain about single-ply store-brand toilet paper.

So at any rate, in honor of the modern marvel that whisks away all of our unspeakables to the sewage treatment plant in the sky, let’s take a look at these fun facts about toilets:

It’s good to be the King!

The world’s first flushing toilet belonged to King Minos of Crete in the 18th century B.C. (Before Crapper?). Maybe that’s why the toilet is appropriately called “the throne” in many households.

Hold on, I’m on a call.

Across the globe, more people own a cell phone than own a toilet. I wonder how many people call up their friends to ask “Hey, it is OK if I come over and use the john?” Anyone with an overflowing toilet will be glad for the plumber’s hotline.


Do you find it mysterious and inexplicable how you can flush the toilet, go about your day, and come back to find the tank ready for another round?

Well, you can think Kurdish inventor al-Jazari for inventing this flush-and-fill mechanism. Over 800 years later, virtually all modern toilets use the same technology.

Can I get a nickel?

The average American household spends 5 cents per day flushing their toilets.

And you thought Europeans were more civilized.

Up until the 18th century, most city dwellers in Europe used chamber pots to gather bodily waste and then casually tossed it into the streets. Um, yeah, I think that I’m going to move out to the countryside.

“To spend a penny.”

“To spend a penny” was once English slang for using the toilet, and the story behind the phrase came from the first public toilet at London’s Crystal Palace in 1851. Guess how much it cost to use one?

You gonna be in there long?

The average person spends a total of 3 years over the course of their lifetime sitting on the can! No wonder we’re always looking for something to read.

Can I just get a plate, please?

In Taiwan there is a toilet themed restaurant where patrons eat their meals out of miniature toilet replicas, while sitting on the real thing – with cushions, of course. It’s called Modern Toilet. I just really don’t know what to say about that.


In the United States, more toilets are flushed during the Super Bowl halftime show than at any other time of the year.

An urban legend.

Thomas Crapper did not actually invent the modern toilet, but he did sell them, lots of them. In the late 1800s he founded a very successful plumbing company and was awarded many patents for his improvements. English soldiers in WWI started using the term Crapper as slang for the toilet because of all the advertisements for Crapper’s Plumbing throughout London.

Oui, oui!

The word “toilet” itself comes French. Toilette is the act of cleaning or grooming one’s self.

How dare you!

The film Psycho was the first movie to show a flushing toilet on screen. Complaints flooded the studio and movie houses about the indecency. Um, yeah, I don’t think that they’d want to see what’s on the boob tube nowadays!

Great Scott!

Toilet paper used to be sold in individual sheets, but you can thank the Scott paper company for today’s rolling version. They began selling rolls of toilet paper in 1890. Do you ever think about what people did before toilet paper? Yeah, it’s probably best that we don’t think about that.

And the grand finale – a serious note:

World Toilet Day is on the 19th of November every year. The organization works toward improving sanitation in parts of the world where there is no indoor plumbing.

Featured images:

By M.-J. Taylor

Author M.-J. Taylor writes for a variety of clients on home improvement and real estate related topics.

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Please welcome today’s guest, Sheila Roberts. Sheila joins us to talk about her novel THE COTTAGE ON JUNIPER RIDGE but I’m sure she can be coaxed to talk about her other novels as well. One of her previous novels has been made into a movie and another has been optioned for film. I know I have some questions about that, as I’ve always thought it would be interesting to see a novel come to life in a movie or on stage. 

Be sure to leave your question or comment for Sheila here at this stop. She will be awarding a $25 B & N gift card and an eCopy of The Cottage on Juniper Ridge to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Be sure you scroll clear to the bottom of this post (after the other books by this author) and fill in the Rafflecopter there to enter BVS’s weekly Grab Bag Giveaway.

Once you’ve left your questions and comments for Sheila here and you’ve filled out our Rafflecopter be sure to head over to where you can find the other stops on this tour and leave your comments there as well.


Why Write, Anyway?

By Sheila Roberts

AuthorPicPeople often ask me why I write. Let me tell you, it’s not for any one reason. More like several.

First of all, I enjoy making things up. I’ve always had an abundance of imagination, and if I didn’t make up stories where would I use that imagination? You can only tell so many fibs about why you fell off your diet or why you were late (which I am, a lot).

I also enjoy seeing what starts out as imaginary friends living in my mind, coming to life on the written page. It’s exciting to see the cover art for the new book, hold the finished product in my hands (or see it up on Amazon) and know that it all started with a simple question: What if?

And seeing a story told on the screen? Even better. A few years ago one of my Christmas novels, On Strike for Christmas, got made into a movie. It was so much fun seeing characters step off the page and become real, talking people. Granted, some of them changed into people I’d never met, but hey, it was still fun. And, let me tell you, we celebrated big time with the world’s largest chick flick party. My novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, has been optioned for film and I can hardly wait to see how the characters in that book evolve. It should be a Hallmark movie this holiday season. Time for another chick flick party. Woohoo!

Another reason I love to write is because I like being in charge. This doesn’t happen all that often in life. In fact, it seems like just when I think I have everything under control … I don’t. But when I’m writing a book I rule that world. Queen Sheila. Yes, I like the sound of that! Everyone does and says exactly what I want them to. Where can you find that in real life? Years ago we went through some tough times financially, and writing was not only an escape to a world I could control, it was something I could do to help bring in income. If I started fretting about bills I would go to my computer and get to work. That always made me feel better.

There’s one final reason I write, probably the biggest one: readers. There’s something so special about people who love to read. They, too, have imagination, and a sense of adventure. A reader is always willing to go on an adventure with me and I so appreciate that. So, for those of you who take time from your busy schedules to spend time with my imaginary friends and the friends of other writers, thank you. It’s no fun to tell a story and have nobody listen. You make the story-telling fun.


The Cover Blurb For The Cottage On Juniper Ridge

By Sheila Roberts

Cover_The Cottage on Juniper RidgeCan a book change your life? Yes, when it’s Simplicity, Muriel Sterling’s guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, overcommitted life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong.

Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She has a teenage daughter who’s constantly texting her friends, a husband who’s more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who’s consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life.

Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they’ve taken on.

But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn’t always happen simply!


An Excerpt From The Cottage On Juniper Ridge


Sometimes we get so used to the status quo that we forget we can change it.

Muriel Sterling, author of Simplicity.

Jen Heath hurried along the downtown Seattle sidewalk, hunching her coat against a freezing rain, her holiday to-do list dogging her every step, breathing down her neck. Trees along the street twinkled with white lights and store windows boasted displays of Santas, presents, and happy elves. A steel drum band had set up in the Westlake Mall and was playing Jingle Bells. Bah, humbug, she thought grumpily as she strode past them.

Anyone peering inside her head would think she hated the holidays. She didn’t. She loved them. She just didn’t love being so darned busy.

How had she gotten stuck in charge of planning the office Christmas party? Oh, yeah, Patty Unger, her supervisor, had volunteered her. Thanks, Patty. Not that Jen minded planning a party. But having to plan one this year wasn’t fun. It was just one more thing to add to a very long to-do list.

In addition to her full time job, she sold Soft Glow Candles on the party plan – all so she could whittle down what she owed on her credit cards, keep up her car payments, and make the mortgage on her First Hill condo that she could barely afford. The car she’d needed, but the condo? What had she been thinking when she bought it? Oh, yeah. She hadn’t been thinking. She’d taken one look at the granite countertops, the hardwood floors, and the view of the Seattle skyline out the window and condo lust had come over her like a fever. By the time the fever broke she was a homeowner. (Thanks to the bank and her parents.) And her charge cards were maxed out. (Because, of course, she had to furnish the new condo.) Now she was a stressed homeowner.

Who was never home. She had three candle parties booked this week and two more on the weekend. The following weekend she had another candle party on Saturday, and then on Sunday a cookie exchange at her sister’s followed by the church choir concert. Oh, she would be home later that evening, right along with the eighteen other people she’d invited to her place for the post-concert party. (This was the symptom of yet another fever – - new owner pride. She’d been dying to show off the condo, and hosting a party had seemed like the perfect way.) The day before she’d gone to see the gingerbread house display at the Sheraton Hotel with her mother, her sister, and her niece Jordan. She’d been pooped, but when she tried to wiggle out of going Toni had reminded her that this was a tradition and, anyway, she needed to spend time with her family. Guilt, it was the gift that kept giving. After that she’d visited her grandma, who was complaining that she’d almost forgotten what her granddaughter looked like. It seemed everyone in her family was giving guilt for Christmas this year.

Tonight she absolutely had to do laundry. But what she really wanted was to flop on the couch and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. None of her friends understood what she saw in that old movie but she’d been watching it with her family every year at Christmas since she was a kid. Well, except for the last couple of years. Between having her marriage fall apart and getting a divorce she’d been too busy for a wonderful life.

Those days were over now. No more fights about money. No more fights about how she mismanaged her time or how impetuous and irresponsible she was. No more fights about, well, you name it.

When they’d first married Serge had loved her spontaneity, her joie de vivre.  After a year he developed a vision problem and saw only her flaws. They fought about everything from money to the amount of time she spent with her friends. “I don’t know what we’re doing together,” Serge had finally stormed one night, throwing up his hands.

Neither did she. So Serge had moved out and moved on. She’d run into him at The Last Supper Club six months after the divorce was final when she was trying to enjoy a night out with the girls. He’d been with a skinny tattoo queen with maroon hair and ear gauges. And he’d complained about how impulsive Jen was?

She’d wanted to hit him and his new woman, too. Instead, she’d buried herself in the crowd and danced until both her feet and her heart were numb. Good riddance, she’d told herself, but later that night she’d cried herself to sleep.

Now it had been a year since the big D and she was so over him and so moving on.

Now she was in charge of her own destiny, her own life, and that was fine with her.

Except so far this new life wasn’t exactly playing out as she’d envisioned it would. When a girl barely had time to wash her bra she was in trouble. When was she supposed to squeeze in things like dating? And if she didn’t even have time to date, well, what was that going to do to her sex life?

She scowled. Many of her friends were now having babies and she’d love to have one of her own. She sure didn’t see a bassinette on her horizon though. At thirty-two were her eggs giving up all hope of ever meeting a sperm?

Well, girls, I don’t know what to tell you. You’re just going to have to hang in there because right now I don’t have time to find a new man. Now, there was a depressing thought.


 About Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts is married and has three children. She lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have appeared in Readers Digest Condensed books and have been published in several languages. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her her novel The Nine Lives of Christmas has been optioned for film. When she’s not writing songs, hanging out with her girlfriends or trying to beat her husband at tennis, she can be found writing about those things dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.



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Today’s guest, Chacelyn Pierece, the author of THE EMPEROR’S TREATY is here to share an excerpt from the book. Please make Chacelyn feel welcome by leaving a question or comment for her. 

Chacelyn will be giving away a $15 Starbucks gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment at one of her stops during the tour. When you’ve left your comment here, be sure to follow the rest of Chacelyn’s tour by going to:

Be sure to scroll clear to the end of the post to fill in the Rafflecopter entry form to enter to win Black Velvet Seductions’ own Weekly Grab Bag Giveaway. 

The Emperor’s Treaty

by Chacelyn Pierce

MEDIA KIT ETbigThe Emperor’s Treaty (The Calaeron Duology, #1) Arryn, the newly crowned Emperor of New Phalba, must find a means to strengthen his kingdoms from impending foes. To end a blood war that has carried over millenniums, he petitions to marry one of his race’s mortal enemy—the Moekan dragons’ crowned princess. Even though the bond with the Moekan dragons will aid against a looming attack on his empire, Arryn can’t help his attraction to the dragon princess Shann living in his palace.

Eager to make the best of her situation and please her new husband, Shann is willing to face the challenges of a dragon ruling the Fae Empire. Winning his trust proves to be a tougher challenge with odds stacked against her. Will the lies about her cause Arryn to break the new peace treaty? And can she stop him from starting a war that will change everyone’s future?


An Excerpt From The Emperor’s  Treaty

 Arryn tilted his head back in fatigue, he’d been slaying the mammoth dragons night and day, and he hated it. But no prince ever sat aside for battle. It was tradition for him to participate in skirmishes that would be renowned through the ages. Nevertheless, glory left him barely able to stand on two feet. All for blood and exaltation; no time to frown or complain about the lack of rest. His father’s words echoed though his exhausted mind and filled him with enough strength to finish the task at hand.

He gazed up at the dreary sky, noting the stirring winter firmaments. The soft morning light peered over the Jertan city ruins, casting a somber glow on a once-mystical place. It would seem beautiful, if not for the chaos and bloodshed that had befallen the crumbling silver spires of the ancient Jertan castle.

The mourning cries and pleas of fallen Phalban soldiers resonated through the gorge. The ditch his men had dug around the cloister became a pit of pain. The injured were carried there to seek aid, but he was certain it would be filled in with dirt and marked as a mass grave before sunset. He glanced around, looking for some shred of peace or happiness in the madness. His father spoke of war as if it were a prized stag on a wall of gold. He did not see it as such. No matter how many times he willed his mind to focus on something else, it was always brought back to the horrific battlefield. Broken bodies of his kin were scattered around like debris. Many pleaded for their brothers to end their misery and give last testaments to their family. It was heart-wrenching…and unnecessary.


 About Chacelyn Pierce

MEDIA KIT Author Photo cppicA rocker by heart, Chacelyn Pierce is constantly ear plugged with heavy tunes blaring to stir up the phantom personalities that swarm her mind. It’s no surprise that she enjoys writing and reading to satiate her appetite for the male antagonist in a story. Married to a blatant redhead and mothering a diva, there is never a dull moment in the house. As a native Texan, she doesn’t personally own a horse but follows the unwritten southern rule of knowing how to ride one. When she’s not testing the emotional capacity of her characters, she works as a dog groomer.









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