Coffee Shop as Office

April 29, 2014

Once again I recently walked out of a tea/coffee shop without making a purchase because every single table was occupied by individuals with computers using the business as their personal office space.

I just wanCoffee Shop as Officeted to sit for half an hour and enjoy a cuppa and maybe a snack, depending on what the food options were. Since this was a new-to-me-establishment, I had not yet had a chance to check out the menu. I didn’t bother. I won’t go back.

I understand that some people don’t have a convenient place they can work, write, or do homework. I know there are others who find the environment of a busy coffee shop inspiring. I understand that some businesses don’t want to alienate “customers” by setting a time limit on how long they can hog a table.

And, if they mostly rely on takeout customers who grab a cuppa and run off, it may be a viable business plan.

But, how many potential customers like me are driven away each day because the tables are monopolized by those who purchase one beverage and stay for hours upon hours? How much money is the establishment losing to those who allow it to pay their overhead and provide them a free place to work? (And, no, even a $5 cup of coffee is not appropriate “rent” on table space for more than half an hour.)

In reality, these people do have other options: the public library, student facilities, their own damned bedrooms, a corner of the sofa in their living room, their hotel room when they’re traveling. I’ve worked, written, and done homework in them all.

Whatever excuses given for the “need” to work in coffee shops, the reality is those who do so are parasites. The business pays for the electricity that powers their laptop and their phones, the rent on the space they’re occupying, the water they use in the restroom. The establishment purchased the table they pile their books/reference material on, the chair their ass occupies and the one they put their backpack on to prevent anyone else from sitting at “their” table.

All the shop owners get in exchange is the sale of one measly cup of coffee and maybe, if they’re lucky, a sandwich.

Why has this become an acceptable practice?

I will not pretend I have never written words in a coffee shop. (And, I did write a story in which the character did so regularly, but that was fiction.) I occasionally attend write-ins to socialize with other authors and write in tandem for a few hours. But these are rare events and I always try to purchase more than one item. We’re also half a dozen writers occupying six seats not one writer monopolizing two or more. And, when I can, I encourage the scheduling of them at hours when business is slow and no one else would be using the space.

The particular day mentioned at the beginning of this post, the shop was our last stop. We went home and Patrick made me a pot of tea and heated up some coffee for himself. I worked on my computer while enjoying my rooibos, in the space I own, where I pay the bills, at a desk I bought, sitting in a chair I purchased. But, I put fewer dollars out into the community and perhaps missed an opportunity to try a tea I’ve never tasted before. Plus, a business that has been on my I-want-to-check-it-out list lost its spot without an opportunity to win me as a regular customer.


Talking to Your Daughters About Sex

April 3, 2014

Parents who refuse to provide accurate sex education for their own children often become caretakers of their teenagers’ grandchildren. Today’s guest, erotica author Missy Jane, discusses why she has no intention of repeating her parents’ mistakes.

Talking to Your Daughters About Sex
by Missy Jane, author of Erotic Influence

As the mother of four daughters I had some serious decisions to make when it came to educating them about sex. At what age should I have the talk? How much is too much, and how little is too little? What do I think they need to know, and at what point do they need to learn for themselves?

My own experience was very limited. No one in my house was allowed to talk about sex. To be honest, I’ve no clue how I learned. I do know that both of my sisters got pregnant and ran away from home as teenagers. I also know by the time my mother finally agreed to put me on birth control I was already pregnant. This is not the outcome I want for my girls.

Luckily my daughters know what I write. They know I’m always open about sex and they can ask me anything. I chose to educate them young, around eight years old. Why? They were already hearing things at school that brought up questions most parents would cringe at. When your third grader hears the words blow job you really have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I chose to be completely honest with my girls and educate them on the birds, bees, condoms, and VDs so they wouldn’t learn the hard way. So far, we seem to be on the right track and the honesty flows both ways.

I have a serious problem with not educating our kids about safe sex. I do understand the religious reasons some people are hesitant. I was raised Catholic, in a family that tried to stick to the doctrine as much as possible. It obviously didn’t help (see mention of sisters above). So, there comes a time when you have to ask yourself, who am I hurting here? In my opinion, giving my girls all the facts and letting them know all the options, hurts no one. I’m not going to get into a religious discussion here, but I don’t feel I’ll burn in hell for talking openly and honestly to my children. If anything, I feel it makes them safer. We talk about gun safety, food safety, car safety, and numerous other threats to our kids. Why in the hell not safe sex?

Having four daughters can be nerve wracking for many different reasons, but I don’t want to raise my grandchildren because my daughters are kids themselves when they have them. I’m raising girls with long-term goals to have careers and lives before making babies. I’m also raising girls with enough self respect to know when to say no. I’ve taught them to think for themselves and recognize the boys who won’t respect them as they deserve. They know there’s a man out there for them when the time is right. What kind of romance author would I be if I didn’t talk up the perfect hero?

Overall, I think the most important aspect of sex education is to not expect anyone else to give it to my children. The one thing I don’t do is wait for their schools to inform them about sex. By the time the school decided to show them the infamous film for girls, I had already told them all about it. I’ve taught them how to walk, talk, eat, and many other things. Teaching them to be safe once they decide to be intimate is a no brainer. Teaching them there is a time and place for intimacy, and a certain age when it’s not yet acceptable is also common-sense in my book.

Sure they’ve read YA books, seen movies, and even TV shows where a young character decides to have sex. Does that mean they’re going to run out to look for a partner? Nope. And I can say with confidence I’m not being naïve because I spend time with my girls and know them well. I also talk to them and most importantly, I listen.

About Missy Jane
Missy Jane is the alter ego of a married mother of four who was born and raised in Texas. A few years ago she finished reading a book by Mercedes Lackey and thought “Now, what if…” and a monster was created. Missy now spends most of her time lost in worlds of her own making, alternately loving and hating such creatures as vampires, shapeshifters and gargoyles (to name a few). When not writing, she spends her time reading, taking photos of her beautiful daughters, and training her husband to believe she’s always right. Excerpts from Missy’s paranormal and erotic tales can be found at on her website and blog. Missy can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

About Erotic Influence (Sequel to Erotic Images)
Annie may be a shy twentysomething who spends her days keeping track of her wayward teenage sister, but Rick noticed her living across the street as soon as he moved in. Now he can’t stop fantasizing about his sweet, innocent neighbor and wanting her has become an obsession. He just has to convince her to give him a chance instead of always running away.

Buy it at Ellora’s Cave.