I'm so happy this year is coming to a close. Like most years in recent memory it's been brutal. I've stopped asking when there will be a good year or even worrying about it because every year, from as far back as I can remember, has been crap. Not the entire year of course. There are always amazing events, wonderful epiphanies, beautiful friendships and growth but each and every year as a whole - not so much.
I’ll tell you how I measure. Not on a scale like: 40% was great and 60% was crap. Nope, I measure it by my overall feeling. Was I more discontented than contented? Did someone or someone's cause me more grief than happiness? And 2018 rides high on that scale.
In writing I did well. I got my 9th book published and my 13th written. I released three books on audible. I started a fun new blog.
Personally I did well. I ended an abusive relationship with a man who tried to control me, blame me, insult me, shame me and never stopped disrespecting my boundaries. But because of that I experienced much more grief than happiness.
And... it was worth it because this man’s obsessive compulsive behavior led me to reach out to a past boyfriend whom I had an amazing seven year relationship with, a decade ago. I’ll call him Gregory.
It’s interesting to me how one small thing can change the course of your life forever. Because my crazyhead ex wouldn’t respect my boundary of first - no contact for 1 week, then, no contact for 6 weeks and then, no contact forever I remembered how Gregory had.
When I broke up with Greg, ten years ago, I asked for no contact and being a healthy person, he respected my wishes and never contacted me again. It didn’t matter that we parted with each other’s things. It didn’t matter that feelings were not spoken. His three children didn’t play a part in it either. He simply respected my request and that was the end of that. As it should be. If you’re a woman who’s seldom heard or listened to, a woman who’s disrespected, a woman who’s harassed by a man or men; I don’t have to tell you how important this is. It’s respectful, it’s validating, it’s healthy and normal. It even eliminates drama and resentments.
Gregory and I have now reconnected and it’s been amazing. Beautiful and healthy and everything I remember. He’s not jealous, he’s not controlling or manipulative. He just respects me, my processes and accepts me for who I am and what I can give.
I don’t know where it will lead. I’m not looking for a happily ever after, just a happy for now. Maybe Gregory will be influential in helping 2019 be a better year than 2018 was. However, I am not pinning that responsibility on him as that would be unfair. I’m looking at my relationship with him as a new chapter. I’m open to all possibilities. And not only is it a romance trope, second chance love, we already know each other to a certain extent. We may not know the last ten years of each other’s lives but he knows the core of who I am and visa versa.
Traveling: I was able to travel in 2018. Some of it good and some of it not so much. I am traveling more in 2019. What I know about travel is that while it’s amazing and life affirming, it can also be difficult at times. So this coming year I’m going into it with open eyes and an open heart. Which leads me to… I had to close my heart (again) in 2018 for protection against abuse and now, in 2019, I get to open it and love once more.
Will 2019 be an amazing, all around year? I don’t think so but I sure hope it’s better than 2018 was!
So often in my life I've been that person who's overextended. I spent as long as I can remember always saying yes, even when I wanted to say no, especially when I wanted to say no. In retrospect I realize it was people-pleasing and codependency. If someone needed something or invited me somewhere I couldn't turn them down. I may disappoint them. This was my life for a very long time and I'd get resentful for not getting my own needs met, which is no one's responsibility but my own.
There are two times in my life when I said no, to pretty much everything. The first time was in medical school. Studying took priority after all.
And then again, when the writing deadlines started to pile up, no became my go-to word. I couldn't possibly do this or go there if a manuscript was due in a week or two. This has been the last two years of my life. During the five years it took me to get my masters in school, I looked back and felt I'd missed out on life. I don't want that to happen while I'm writing. This may not be my only job right now (I still have the day job) but it is the one I want for the long haul and saying yes to things that light me up is part of tending my garden.
So this past week I said yes to two fun things. I went to see the long standing San Francisco night club musical, Beach Blanket Babylon. I've lived in the Bay Area for over half my life and yet I'd never seen it before. If a close friend hadn't invited me, I would never have even thought of it. That was one very fun yes.
And then on Sunday night some new friends invited me to see the band, Smashing Pumpkins, who I've always loved. I'm not a spontaneous person at all but I sucked it up and said yes. The concert was on Monday and it was incredible. These two events lit my fire and I've been able to get back to the editing with renewed vigor.
Neither of these events, or friends put any pressure on me. They simply invited me and let me decide. It was exactly what I needed. A slice of YES in order for everything else to fall back into place. Try it—if you usually say no to things, say yes and visa versa! You'll never know what unexpected magic will happen until you do.
I started writing Reverse Harem Romances a little over a year ago. I have one completed series, Tales From the Edge and another in progress plus a stand alone that releases next week in the Realms and Rebels Anthology - 22 books!!!
I was just posting in a group on FB where I asked the question - what's the number in your perfect harem? One person wrote - 7, one for each day of the week - which reminded me...
I had 7 once and no it's not something that's easily forgettable. I was involved with seven men at one time for awhile and that was my reasoning as well, one for each day of the week. They all knew about each other and they were all cool with it. Sounds like a dream come true? It was but I quickly got very tired! I often called them by the wrong name and had trouble keeping track of what I did with whom.
I did assign each one a night and since all my other nights were booked by the others, they couldn't deviate. I liked some more than others and though I've lost track of them now, I did stay friends with my favorite one for many years, even after he married an amazing woman, whom I also became friends with.
There is a reason I did this but the reason was based on healing a trauma that's not fun to talk about. But it worked! It was a fun experiment that I have no interest in repeating but I'm very glad I did it. Four men sounds more reasonable ;)
Seriously though I have had fun experimenting with many different trysts in my life - from mono to poly, from one partner to seven, from BDSM to vanilla, from menage to not. It helps round out my writing, interests, conversation and fun! #whychoose? #whynot?
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 :)
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. If you're looking for the Journey of Rain Star (blog/story) you can find it here. If you want to read my books, please go here :)