I've had a rough go of it lately.
It turns out I had a cracked and infected tooth for the past 4 months. I had gone to the dentist several time complaining of jaw pain and tooth pain but we both thought it was from a recent crown. About five days ago the pain worsened but still I carried on, because that's what I do. A few days ago I was on the floor in more pain than I've experienced in a long time.
I've had tooth pain before but not like this. This was out of control. No dull aching here. Nope, this was a sharp, stabbing pain that wouldn't cease. I couldn't even scream or cry or moan or do much of anything. I couldn't drive or walk. It was the first day in my entire career as a health care practitioner that I called/texted and canceled all my patients. I've even gone into work twice in the past with migraines. There's a point to all of this - I'm getting there :)
In the end I went to the dentist and got it taken care of, or at least diagnosed and am now on antibiotics and pain killers with an appointment for an extraction or root canal.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because it circles around to a very important lesson that apparently, I'm still learning and that lesson is self care. I have a long history of putting other's needs before mine and even suffering silently while I care for them. My patients (who I love), my partners, my friends, my family, even my pets. Co-dependence at its finest.
And even when I was on the floor, I called the dentist and explained that I couldn't possibly come in that day because I had to go to work. But then I looked at my new tattoo, one I got this past week, the night before this debilitating tooth pain as a matter of fact and I called the dentist back and told her I was coming in immediately.
The tattoo I got is for self care, to remind me to put myself first. It's a version of a heart I draw and it's the not so subtle - look at me Chloe, what the F are you doing right now - reminder. So YAY, it worked, it IS working and I'm learning, day by day. Tomorrow I get the tooth taken care of :)
An Unedited Piece I wrote During Rachael Herron's Amazing Writing Class in Venice Italy, 2018
When the observer becomes the observed can be looked at as a dance between two partners. Although I didn’t experience that when I was observing, I have experienced it many times in the past, as I labeled myself a people watcher in my 20’s and 30’s.
There is something haunting and beautiful about this imagery, this exchange of energy. When we observe other people we are adding narratives to their lives that don’t truly exist. They may exist for someone somewhere but not for the person or people we are watching.
What then is our story as seen and interpreted by the outsider? Who are we if we are watched, judged and juried by our peers without even a word exchanged. Am I ever seen as a magical fairy princess by a child? A martyr or spinster by a man? A mother of fifteen children by a nun? Is there something in every single one of us that carries a kernel of truth by the observed? Everyone has a story, real or imagined. Everyone has a past, full of wants, desires, suffering, joy and love. So there’s the commonality of it all. Humans trying to make sense of each other in whatever way we can. And what are the different ways each person observes? Does one look at you and think “she reminds me of my sister or my mother or a teacher I had in fifth grade.” Does another think, “I wonder what her life is like or if I could walk a day in her shoes.” Does a third have a blank slate and only see what we’re wearing and register our eyes?
What do I notice in another person? What stories do I make up? What stories do I tell? Am I looking at everyone as a potential character in a book or as a blank canvas of which to add the paint, the touches of color, the burnt sienna of their long hair, the crystalline ocean wave of their eyes, the majestic way of their carriage? Is what I notice from each person different, depending on them or dependent on myself and my mood? My thoughts of the moment? Do I see their clothes or their life? And even when we know someone, someone we’ve conversed with for as long as we can remember, do we truly know them? Or do we only know what they want to show us, what they want us to see?
This always leads me back to my father who has never truly seen me and it’s as much my fault as his. I pretended, my entire life, to be someone he would love and be proud of, yet he never did and he never was. I was a story he told and a false one at that. I was a made up caricature and it hurt me to my core.
So how am I different? Making up stories for all who surround me? For those I know and love to those I only watch while they pass. The woman and her dog? I deemed her cruel or too old to care for him. Too out of touch with his feelings. Such is life, merely a story we tell ourselves.
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So yes, I've been back and inundated with editing Blazing Light and also a novella, Inconceivable Origin, for a new Reverse Harem Anthology (Realms and Rebels) for a little over a month. This means I haven't been writing anything NEW and since that's my happy place, I have been challenged. The good news is that I got Inconceivable Origin finished and my editor loved it. The bad news is that I'm still editing Blazing Light and it's pretty much due tomorrow. The good news is that I get to start writing new content on Wednesday!!! THIS WEDNESDAY! I will be outlining the second book in the Chronicles of Tara Trilogy (Synergist) - the fairie RH and writing a smoking hot short for Carina Press.
During editing mode, most things fall to the wayside. This past few weeks though I've been able to edit sitting out in the sun in my "garden", edit at my standing desk, edit on my couch, keep up with the day job, take the dog for walks and watch a little mindless television. I've gone through several audio books and a few hours of therapy sessions :)
Life has proven challenging in other ways but that's always when we learn and grow the most. Even though I prefer even-keel with no drama, it can lead to stagnation. Since returning from Italy I haven't been motivated to blog much. I've journaled a lot, started a new writing class to do with productivity, meditating and finding/making time to re-group.
This summer will be filled with work but I'm trying to fit in some time to visit friends close by, go to museums, see movies and maybe even do this thing people call relaxing.
I've been busy as of late. Busy and a tad overwhelmed. The day job is great and I love it, I really do but it wears me out. Helping others, which is what I've always dreamed of doing, takes its toll. This particular toll = time and massive amounts of energy.
I was just talking to a patient about one of my favorite topics - traveling or better yet - relocating! We live in the most expensive place in the world and I was telling her that I work 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week just to be able to afford living here. But if I moved anywhere else I could write full time and actually have days off to play in the sun or the snow. In the meantime I am looking for ways to "fill the well" - pull in the energy, space and drive to keep going day after day after day.
It's always been travel for me because I can't seem to carve out the time to sit still when I'm here at home.
The future - I've been ready to leave California for awhile but I know it's still not quite the right time so I keep plugging away, akin to actually sticking my finger into an electrical socket, surging with energy and then burning up to a blackened crisp.
The way to combat overwork and come back to center, IMO (as I said above), is to travel when one can - even a day in the mountains, forest or beach can rejuvenate!
In a week I'll be in Italy for the first time in many years. Sure, it's for work but since I haven't gone anywhere in 2 years I'm counting this as a vacation too. A working vacation!
I'll post pics on Instagram and I'll probably blog about it as well :)
I'd love to hear what you do to fill yourself up? Feed your passion and fire, fill your creative well, nourish your soul...
I like to tell my Oscar Story because IMO it’s an important one. So here goes and I hope no one will judge me for this but if they do, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m all about just throwing up some truth right now.
The Prologue: I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up with famous actors, it was the norm. Sally Fields and Burt Reynolds drove me to school (not everyday, they were in our carpool). I was friends with Frank Zappa’s daughter Moon and one easter Frank chased me around his living room with his boa constrictor (that sounds all kinds of wrong but it was an actual snake). I went to school with many famous people who were in many big name movies. I grew up playing on the beach with Brooke Shields. My father was a healthcare person and treated people like Keanu Reeves and David Bowie. The list goes on. I knew so many “famous” people that I can’t remember them all and they were just regular people to me because, in actuality, they are just regular people.
Act I: The Oscars were a huge deal in my house. Every year we watched them and my mom made her famous caviar, sour cream, onion and egg dip (sounds gross but it was amazing). We watched all the movies prior to the event. Nowadays both my mother’s partner and my brother-in-law are part of the academy (one was an editor and the other is an award winning sound designer) so they get screeners but back then it was just the family going to the movies. A week or so before, the LA Times would print the list of who was up for what. We’d snip it and we’d make our predictions. Then we’d sit together and watch, starting early so we could see what everyone wore on the red carpet. This was back in the day of Joan Rivers' pre-show and Barbara Walters' post show. We’d oooh and ahhh at the clothing. Then we’d sit back and watch the show. It held a special fondness for me. Big time. Why? Because it was the one night of the year that my family actually got along. Don’t violin me right now, it’s true and now that I’m a grown ass woman, it’s no longer sad.
Act II: After I left home - I tried for years and years to carry on the tradition. I held oscar parties and went to them. I made my mother’s caviar dip. One year I invited a group of people, the same group that celebrated with me every year. I spent more money than I made in a week at that time on food for the party. I cleaned the house, I even ordered cable because I didn’t have it at the time. I dressed up - oh yes this was part of the tradition as well. I made all the food, I had champagne, the works. And no one showed up. It was pouring rain and I had moved outside of the city and no one came. They each called, one by one, and flaked. I felt sorry for myself over that for about ten years. I never threw another party. But — it’s okay because what I learned was more important.
The Epilogue: I didn’t watch the Oscars this year. I didn’t even try. I edited a book instead. I didn’t see any of the movies except Get Out, which I loved. My mother called me the night of—to watch it with me over the phone but I didn’t know because I was working. This was the first year I didn’t try to watch them. The first year I decided it no longer matters. I can officially let go of my memory of that perfect moment (now in the past) and I can move forward to create other, better, perfect moments. Moments that are more meaningful and not based on how much money one is wearing or how famous one is or what someone looks like on that red carpet. Because that’s not what’s important and I’m ashamed that for me, it ever was.
My friends and family don’t read my books and although I prefer that and think it’s a good thing, whenever something exciting happens I have no one to tell. Basically I run around my living room alone screaming in excitement and scaring my dog. Is it lonely at the top too? It sure is lonely at the bottom a lot of the time. haha - yes I'm being overly dramatic (kind of).
Today I got a sample of my new narrator reading part of my book. As I mentioned in a previous NL post, I’ve been a professional actor myself. I was on TV for many years, performing dialogue I wrote myself. I’ve hired professional actors and watched them read my dialogue on television. Yet this was completely different. This brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with excitement and joy.
And still, I sit here alone with no one to care. LOL. I immediately texted a couple people but no one responded. This is hard for me. I’m not looking for people to be effusive or fake over any accomplishments but I was expecting people to care. After all, I care and get excited when other people achieve their goals. Shit, I’m everyone’s cheerleader. That’s my actual day job!
Thankfully I have a therapy appointment tomorrow and my therapist cares. Sure I pay her to care but I suspect that even if I didn’t, she would. She asks to see all my book covers and will ask to hear the sample. She is MY cheerleader. Albeit an expensive one but so what? That still counts!
My reason for writing this musing is not to garner “poor me’s” or have people say “wow Chloe, that’s awesome, we’re excited that you’re excited”. I’m writing this to remind you to get excited and show interest for people in your life when they have something exciting happen! Your family and your friends. When they come to you with something they’re excited about or proud of, even if you really don’t care, fake it and support them. They’re telling you because they want to share that moment with you. It’s my opinion that if we just ignore other’s accomplishments, we’re not really living up to our own full potential, which includes giving back and supporting the people around us. To truly live is to truly give.
I've been wanting to release a serial for awhile, since before I published my first novel in May 2017, starting about 3 years ago in fact. When I first heard about serials from the SPP guys and their Yesterday's Gone series. But I was afraid. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to sustain the full plot by releasing parts. I was afraid readers would be upset that each part was so short. I was afraid that the story wouldn't be cohesive, the characters wouldn't be rich enough in segments (not monetarily wise, they are rich monetarily). I was afraid I'd missed the boat - after all - David Wright and Sean Platt started their series in 2011.
And yet I'm the kind of person who faces my fears head-on. I've always been this way. I was terrified of heights (still am to an extent) so I became a trapeze artist. Last week at the museum of modern art and walked across the suspended metal bridge, designed by Bill Fontana, so you can see through it when you walk across, down several floors, to the bottom. It's absolutely terrifying and exhilarating and amazing.
For my first series I was on a quick/er release schedule and it's now complete at 4 books - Love on the Edge but I didn't want to have to wait and hold onto books already written before releasing them again. Before I ever published, this worked well but now that I'm indie, I want to keep going. I want readers to benefit and not have to wait for several months between releases. In this genre, reverse harem, when I saw several other authors releasing serials I thought - this is the time, if you're going to try it, JUMP NOW. I had to make peace with what readers may think. Some will hate, others will love but I truly hope that all are entertained.
Back in a past lifetime (it seems like that now) when I was a teacher I believed if I could reach just 1 student out of the entire class of 20 or 30, then it was enough, I'd accomplished my job. Writing is similar. I won't touch everyone with my words but those of you that are touched by them make the hours of work and emotional vulnerability worth every damn second.
I may not be able to find you, my peeps, but you - will find me and when you do and you're like "why the hell did she write a serial?" - now you'll know :)
Yippee, the holidays are over!!! I'm so excited :) Now I can focus on my thrilling to do list! But first - my 2017 wrap-up :) Then a look ahead to 2018!
I published my very first book - A Witch's Mortal Desire on May 3rd of 2017. I published my 5th book, Distant Light last month in November 2017. It was a busy year! I hit so many goals that if I stop and think about everything that happened, my emotions may well up. I completed my very first series - Love on the Edge and began a second series - Tales from the Edge - A Reverse Harem starring Iphigenia, the youngest witch sister. And Synergist - the first part of my new serial, also a Reverse Harem, will launch on 1/1/18.
I spent four months living underneath a very sick person who tortured and tormented our entire neighborhood. She screamed obscenities at the top of her lungs and held all night parties. And yet I managed to write and edit book after book after book during that time, figuring out whatever I needed to do to push forward and make it work - in addition to maintaining my day job.
At the end of 2016, but bleeding into 2017 I lost my father. Not to death but by choice when I decided the relationship was too toxic and abusive and I walked away. It was one of the most painful things I've ever done but for self-preservation I had run out of options. In retrospect, it was one of the most important and best decisions I've ever made. I will love the man forever and have finally been able to let all my resentments go. I learned that loving someone doesn't mean you have to keep them in your life if they don't have your best interests at heart.
I grew closer to my chosen family and friends - whom I consider my family. I rediscovered play by hanging out with a pre-teen and this was a personal accomplishment and an important goal for me. I had lost my ability to play and have fun. Toward the end of the year I started practicing balance - a long term goal, many years in the making.
For 2018 I plan to finish both new series - the Distant Light Trilogy (Tales from the Edge) and Synergist which is currently planned for 4 books. I also started, and hope to finish a non-fiction book that I've been contemplating for several years now on how to remain healthy while being a writer. This book can be read by people in all professions and since my background is in health and nutrition the topic is very close to my heart :)
In 2018 I'm going on a writing retreat in Venice Italy led by the amazingly talented and uber nice Rachael Herron. This is exciting on many levels - but the main reason is that I love to travel but put myself on a 2 year traveling hiatus in order to pay back debt and save. My two year self-imposed ban is up the month before the Venice trip and (student loans notwithstanding) I'm almost out of the hinterland.
I will continue to practice balance, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle which is what I'll be blogging about in 2018 as well - for the upcoming book. I hope to shoot some youtube videos and turn that into a podcast but that may be overly ambitious. We shall see! I started my channel :)
And lastly, there will be an audio version of Distant Light before 2019!
Those are just a few of my plans - what are yours?
I'm a pretty disciplined, self motivated person. I have a part time day job that's really intense and on the days I work, I work 10 hours straight without a break - helping other people. I love it but it's a lot. The work is hard, mostly listening to people's health issues, family issues, financial issues and doing what I can to make their lives a little better. And all while standing on my feet!
During the other days of the week I write, edit and run my author business. I always have a long "to do" list - like most of you, I'm sure. And a few days a week - one at least though it used to be more, I travel and hour to work out at the circus, on the static trapeze, for fun. But what I don't do every single day that I need to do and want to do is exercise, mostly stretching. I can get some cardio in but not enough. I can even get my handstands in but not enough! So what's missing? What I want, strive to do is an hour of exercise every morning though I'd be happy with 30 minutes :)
The book The Miracle Mornings, lays out a great morning schedule that you can even do in as little as 6 minutes a morning BUT I don't. Some days I do but I'm just not consistant and I want to be.
So I'm starting an accountability habit project. They say that it takes 66 days to form a new habit - that's what the new research says anyway. I'd love to be accountable to a partner every day and thus started a private FB group to do so.
The reason I'm blogging about this is also for accountability. I will check back in here every so often and let you all know how I'm doing. If anyone wants to join this project, email me. I'm matching strangers up and each partnered group must check in every eve with a photo of their completed daily project. Some people are starting with a simple 5 minute daily meditation. Another with 1 minute of handstanding. It can be big or it can be small.
I'm going to do at least 30 minutes of a morning routine that include exercise, meditation and affirmations. After the 66 days we each pick a new habit we want to form.
Whether you join us or not - if that's something that you are looking to do in your life, I encourage you to jump right in - find someone to hold you accountable and do it :)
During my late teenage years I was briefly employed as a phone sex operator. It wasn’t live phone sex, it was recorded. The name? Cherry Prep. The idea? A bunch of barely legal teen girls in an all girl prep school. The subjects? Losing virginity, sexual exploration and lesbianism. What was funny was that I had little to no experience in sex. I was no longer a virgin, just barely. I knew nothing about my body and was afraid of trying new things. The only female I’d ever experienced was Sharon Brown, my first kiss in second grade.
Basically I knew nothing and it showed. Sitting in a recording studio week after week behind a microphone and reading a script was the easy part. The character I played was a lesbian and I would record the scripts with another girl.
I was an actor in college getting my degree in theater so I could pull most of it off. I had a high squeaky voice and an innocence that couldn’t be denied.
The producers, an older married couple, who were self proclaimed perverts, loved me. They loved my naïveté and as I came to learn later, they were sexually attracted to me as well.
The one thing that I could not do and never was able to do was fake an orgasm, on mic or off. And since I have so much to say on that particular subject I will devote another blog to it.
I was so bad at faking an orgasm on mic that the producers and other actress would laugh, which is not the ideal reaction when you’re trying to get strangers off. Even so my co-actor/actress was always kind and as helpful as she could be. The scripts themselves were cringe worthy and in retrospect I’m sure my acting was too. Still, it was good money and it was a lot of fun.
Until it wasn’t…
One day it turned ugly and if you’re triggered by non-consensual sexual situations please stop reading here. My reasons for delving into this is because I want to be honest. I want to be transparent and vulnerable and not worry about what I can and can’t say on my own blog. I spend most of my time in my real life buttoned up, because I have to. So here, I’m lettin’ it fly.
I was sitting in a chair, behind a microphone taping the script. It was a solo, which happened often for masturbation fantasies. But this time, after I finished recording but before I stood up, the female/wife producer sauntered over and began talking to me. She gave no indication that anything was awry but in retrospect she was trying to distract me. While we talked her husband, the male producer quickly duct taped my wrists to the chair. It happened fast and I thought they were joking which is why I didn’t scream and struggle, at first. I trusted these people. They had been my friends for years and I’d been working for them for quite awhile without incident. Once I was taped, the husband flipped the chair over gently so that I was on my back. That’s when I started to scream and try to free myself. He rubbed my pussy through my underwear and I was shocked and embarrassed. The wife laughed. I began to cry and beg them to let me go.
They did, realizing I was not into their game. It could have been much worse. I’m thankful they stopped when they did. But that incident opened my eyes and I quit soon after.
While I do not believe that working in the sex industry in any fashion should ever lead to sexual assault, it happens far too often. As we’re seeing in the news lately, it happens in every aspect of life and it’s horrible. Women aren’t exempt. Men aren’t exempt. All we can do is talk about it, not blame the victim and prosecute the abusers.
I’m posting one of my experiences to shine a light on it yes, but mostly because the idea “I was a phone sex operator” is a lot cooler in theory than it was in actuality.
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. You want to read my books? :)