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.
Hello Enthusiasts and Freaks - I'm coining this right now because to me these are complimentary words and they embody both myself and the awesome readers I've been talking to <3 If the word freak or geek or weirdo rubs you the wrong way please replace it with the word of your choice. Personally I'm over-enthusiastic about most everything and I am definitely a freak, self proclaimed geek and a complete (and proud) weirdo! OK moving on....
The holidaze - AHHHHH - I am one of the few (though I meet more of me every year) who does not love the holidays. Yes I realize I'm hypocritical by saying I'm enthusiastic - but I'm also human! For me the holidays have always represented high stress, unmet expectations and more stress. As time goes on I find the best way for me to get through them is to remove myself from the stressful situations as best as I can. I'd love to hear from you - about what your holiday experiences are like! Do you love them? Hate them? What do you do to cope?
And here comes the sharing part, the real part, the vulnerable part (per Martha Carr, thank you)... Last year on Thanksgiving I had a major falling out with my father and he disowned me. Seems very dramatic and it was (complete with threats of violence on his part) and a year of me fighting a lung infection but the reason I'm sharing this is because it changed me forever. How could it not? It actually made me a much better person. Before that I took a lot of crap from people. I wasn't a "pushover" but I was uber tolerant. I could (and still can) see all sides of most situations. So I may not agree with someone's point of view but I can understand why they have it and I can respect that. This, does not always lead to diplomatic relationships - which is what should happen in healthy communication = diplomacy. And my family pushes my buttons. Often times parents can't see their children as grown adults with their own opinions, their own personalities and their own lives. They see us as 5 year olds and even when we're 55, they still try and control us. Unfortunately this was the way my father treated me. He also treated me with complete and utter contempt. Nothing I ever did was good enough, I was always a disappointment and a failure in his eyes. And I spent many years trying to "make him love me" trying to "make him proud". But no matter how much money I made or how many degrees I acquired, it was never enough. Now that I've had some time away from him I can see that it all had absolutely nothing to do with me. It had to do with the way he felt/feels about himself.
People who have no control over their own lives try to control others. Some unhappy people want others to be miserable too. Using addicts, caught in their disease of addiction exhibit some scary and abusive traits which include but are not limited to: gaslighting, abuse (physical, emotional, psychological), criticizing, condescending, patronizing, manipulation, ignoring, teaching you that you're less than or that your needs don't matter - and the list goes on! One of the many pathologies of this is becoming an identified patient (treated as the "black sheep" of the family).
I'm obsessed with pathologies because I know that every antagonist believes that what they are doing is right, just as my own father believed that he was abusing, controlling and manipulating me "for my own good".
Was it painful and horrible and heartbreaking to lose my father? Of course it was. Do I still think about him every day? I do. Do I still love him? I do. But that doesn't mean that I would welcome that kind of horror back into my life. I think that if he ever got sober and stepped back to really look at me for who I truly am (something he was never able to do) - he'd actually be proud of me. Do I need that anymore? Nope. Do I think that will happen in this lifetime? Not holding my breath!
I have to look at it as a blessing in disguise because it helped me shake off that last little bit of of myself that was no longer serving me. If I am not my best self for ME, I can't be my best self for anyone else. Losing my father was one of the hardest things I've had to deal with and it was also the most liberating.
I started my daily Facebook Live challenge this past Monday and it seems that somewhere around that time FB changed its algorithms and thus by Wed I had to stop. I just wrote a long rant here about it - but how boring is that? So I erased it. The short of it is - if you want to watch the videos, you can see them here. I will do a smattering in the future and may try another platform like Instagram or YouTube but daily FB is out for me unless they change the pay to play model back again to just "play".
But what I'm really excited about is that I finished Iphi's first book - titled - Distant Light - book 1 in Tales From the Edge and I sent it off to the proofreader (after 3 rounds at the editors - who saved both it and me!) My cover designer just sent me the final cover and I can't wait to show everyone, it's gorgeous! As soon as it goes to the ARC readers, I'll do a cover reveal and put the book up for preorder :)
Going into the holidays means more writing, more eating and more hibernating - my three favorite things!!! Hopefully we'll all pass through unscathed.
Thank you for reading, for being part of this process and for listening!
I am so honored that Rachael Herron asked me to be on her Podcast "How do You Write?" -- which features inside information, tips and tricks for all writers whether you're new or a seasoned veteran.
I haven't watched my ep and it was video recorded but I hope that y'all gain at least one insight from it or that it entertains or both! I highly HIGHLY recommend Rachael's Podcast - it's super duper awesome!!! And I'm not talking about the episode I'm on - I'm talking about all the episodes! Rachael interviews great people who talk about their writing and publishing processes. Every ep is chalked full of fantastic information and Rachael herself is inspiring, helpful, knowledgeable and humble! She also has another podcast that I highly recommend with J. Thorn about how they both quit their day jobs to become full time writers and how you can too! Petal the Metal. I really can't say enough good things about this amazing woman!
Go read Rachael's books!!!
I'm going to start a facebook live challenge on my author page. One that I'm giving to myself! I will go live on Monday 10/23 and I will post a live video each day at 7am PST for 11 days. For the 3 days following (11/3 - 11/5) I will post live at a writer's conference I am attending in Vegas.
That will be 2 weeks of daily live posts and then I'll post regularly at least 1 time per week but maybe 2 after the initial challenge.
I'm blogging to you about the challenge for accountability, which is one of my favorite things to talk about :)
So what will I be facebook living about? I've decided to cover a variety of topics which include the things I am most passionate about. Health, sustainability and helping the planet, cooking, exercise, motivation, accountability, the writing process, optimism and peeks into my life. Why am I doing this? Why not? Just kidding :) I'm doing this to connect with readers, to form a community and to have fun!
I do have a background in TV production (and I even had a live TV show once upon a time) but this is very different. This is scriptless (bullet points only) - darn I miss that teleprompter already. This is personal. This is unedited. Exactly like these musings!
There will be mistakes and flubs and maybe even tea cups crashing to the floor, certainly my dog will bark during at least one of them. But so what? That's what live video means!
I'm not worrying about viewership or follows - though all that would be nice. But that's not why I'm setting up this challenge. I'm doing this challenge because I love to be challenged, it makes my blood swirl and twist, writhing through my cells like a tornado and no I'm not talking about the adrenaline. Challenging myself to jump out of my comfort zone, to do something new and different and to follow that process is what makes me smile. I hope, that at least once during the live videos, I can make you smile too! Because this truly is about you, the viewer, not me!
Some of this comes out in Iphigenia's book, which I'm editing now but I had a wonderful reader ask me "what is up with Aurelia?" - though she didn't use those exact words.
But the questions I hear about good 'ol mom are:
1. Why is she such a b?
2. Why do some of her daughters try so hard to get through to her - are they gluttons for punishment?
3. What is her backstory?
And the answer to those 3 questions is the same -- Aurelia, at now 187 years old, has seen a lot in her lifetime but what most people don't know is that before Chrysothemis, Sadie and Iphigenia -- before Taylor and Alistair, Aurelia had another life.
When she was a young girl she met and fell in love with a human. This was also before she was as powerful of a witch as she is now. They got married and had children but because he was human and the children were human - and she was not powerful yet - everyone eventually died.
They all died and they left Aurelia alone. She swore off love and didn't want any other kids and was alone for more than a century. This proved to be even more painful and with all that time to think her pain and grief faded enough for her to try again. This is when she met Taylor and had the 3 girls. But after he disappeared without a word, leaving her to raise three daughters on her own, she dove completely off the deep end of bitterness.
Aurelia acts harsh and uncaring to her children because she wants to protect them. She is the mamma bear and though her bite is just as bad as her bark, she does what she does out of love - or so she tells herself. Tough love is Aurelia's motto.
She gets pigeonholed as an antagonist in some scenarios but there are others far worse than she. Aurelia is misunderstood. She's not evil, she's not a sociopath. She truly loves her children but she also holds grudges and covers up her pain with harsh words and actions.
It is the author's hope that knowing this will help you relate to her and understand her motivations.
Inspired by Rachael Herron's latest podcast - How Do You Write - Episode 60 (one of my #1 favorite podcasts of ALL TIME!) - I remembered a blog I wrote about 2 years ago for my day job and figured this would be a good time to upcycle/recycle it :)
If you live in America chances are you’re stressed. There are ways to combat stress with supplements, any adaptogen will help. There’s also diet and exercise. But one of the best ways that you can start today and it won’t cost you anything is to learn how to meditate.
Here are 6 easy techniques for beginners:
First - sit in a comfortable position either crossing your legs on a cushion on the floor or sitting comfortably on a chair, the bed or the couch.
Whatever mantra you choose (and you can change it up), the idea is to repeat it silently over and over and over and over. That’s it.
5. Walking Meditation - I love walking meditation! You walk slowly, eyes cast downward so you don’t trip and focus on your steps, you can count them or not. Or if you’re good at multi-tasking you can walk and count your breath or recite a mantra. Regardless, the idea is to walk very very very very very slowly.
6. Exercise as Meditation - People who do extreme sports will find that their exercise is their meditation because if you don’t focus completely on what you are doing at every second you could seriously injure yourself. I have a friend who uses running as her meditation. I use aerial arts. Anything where you have to completely focus can be used. So for example if you’re riding your stationary bike at home and watching TV that is not meditation.
Overall meditation advice no matter which form/s you choose:
If your mind wanders that’s completely normal and just gently bring it back to your meditation (breath, sounds, dot, whatever). If you suddenly feel an inspiration or your mind is telling you that there are other things you need to be doing as soon as you’re done meditating, let it go. Those thoughts will still be there when you’re done. Don’t admonish yourself for having them. Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge the thought and then go back to the meditation.
Remember that many forms of meditation are to help you quiet your mind. If you can practice even 1-5 minutes a day you will notice a huge difference. Your stress will lessen. You’ll be less reactive to your children, friends, spouse, other drivers... You’ll develop better planning skills, better organizing skills and a calmer demeanor. You’ll be able to relate more to the world and people around you.
There are dozens of types of meditation, more advanced forms can focus on listening to your mind and more. The point of this article though is to give you some simple tools to begin and find one that will work for you. This too can change over time. Like everything in life meditation is fluid, not static.
Set a timer if you have time constraints. After the meditation is over, don’t jump up and go, go, go. Allow yourself 3-5 minutes of “getting back into your body”. It can be a mind-altering experience and you want to honor that. Ideally you want to meditate for 20- 30 minutes a day and if you can eek out 20-30 minutes twice a day, you will be floored at the benefits you will receive but even 1 minute a day is better than zero!
AKA - Confessions of a Girl Gamer From "Long Ago"
I completely realize this will "reveal" (kind of) my age but I'm OK with that and here's why! 1. I don't look my age, peeps 20 yrs younger than me think I'm younger than they are. 2. I don't act my age. 3. I'm proud of my age (probably because of reason #1). 4. Screw ageism. 5. Whatevs.
So my first game was pong. Yup, you read that correctly. I was a kid so I have no idea when the family got it but we played it as a family and we loved it. My dad had a patient who worked for Mattel so when I was a kid I had all the handhelds (old school handhelds!) Remember Merlin? This was BEFORE that! The racing game was my favorite - blips of light, that's all it was. There was a fun football game I remember too. Then I played intellivision. For some reason that was crazy fun.
I spent a lot of my high school years in a bowling alley because they had - you guessed it - video game consoles! Of course I loved Pac Man and learned "the quarter on the string" trick early on but my favorite was Centipede. I could play that game for days (years more likely).
When I was a roommate in college my flatmate had a box Mac (not sure what it was called) and he had this dungeon game with ridiculous "graphics" ie: non-existant but I played that game for a bazillion hours. In 1988/ish I bought my first PC and went to have it built (eventually I learned how to build my own). It was crazy huge and expensive and I asked for an EGA card. The guy at the store asked "why would you want color?" and I said "for gaming" and he said "what's that?" Back then most gaming was text based! Which is a very happy place for me because it combined reading (my favorite) with gaming!
When Mario 16 bit came out - I stayed up all night long with friends - for days on end. For that and for Zelda. Those were some magical days/nights indeed.
Eventually things got serious and so did I. After college I worked for GamePro Magazine and was a game tester. These interests finally led me to co-create the first video game review TV show in the US. It was an interesting path. One thing led to another, to another, to another. There were a few years where I got an inflated ego because strangers in public recognized me and I had some fan mail (very little mind you!). I was flown in a helicopter to a game party, I lounged in the grotto at the Playboy Mansion, I drank champagne and traveled the US. In the end though, I lost part of my soul.
But back to the games - In the early 2000's I became an evercrack (Everquest) fanatic, leading me on yet another journey. I've played a myriad of games, I'm not a fantastic player but I was always "good enough for a girl" and now all that has changed. And I'm so happy about it! Girl gamers abound! Back in the day, guys would come up to me with weird expressions and say "you're a gamer?" but now it's commonplace and some girls even get paid for it! How awesome is that?
Our grandparents may measure their lifetime changes in one form of technology (washing machines, cars, etc.) and we may measure ours in another - video games. I suspect the future will measure theirs in sentience and longevity. If we don't destroy the planet and each other before then.
But for now - take some stress off and go play a video game!
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 :)