I've been considering writing straight up contemporary chick lit for some time now. This is a completely unedited first go . What do you think, should I carry on?
You know that old saying, when a door closes a window opens? Well, this story is not like that. Just a door slammed in he face. Truth be told, Maggie desperately searched for a window, but she just couldn’t find one.
The dingy slush was only making the grey day more miserable. The once pristine snowfall, now a snow cone of dirt, exhaust and garbage. Skeletons of plump fir trees blew down the almost deserted street like a tumbleweed and no one could bother to move them.
Those who braved -or had no choice but to walk, kept their heads down as the bitter north wind whipped the faces of those who dare look up. Only two weeks after the holidays and warm greetings and kind gestures were all but a memory as the passerby’s grumbled in to their scarves.
Maggie normally loved to walk at this time of year. The sidewalks were easier to navigate, and the brisk wind put a spring in her step. Gave her a sense of purpose. But today she trudged along like the rest of the poor souls out and about.
The wind caught the door of the coffee shop as Maggie dashed in and she slipped on the pavement landing in an icy puddle. Perfect! She thought as she brushed the water from her puffy coat and carried her bruised ego gently inside.
Laura, Maggie’s best friend was sitting at their favorite table, head buried in a book as usual. The warm steam and scent of freshly brewed coffee was improving Maggie’s mood already. She carefully dodged the wet floor sign and carried her latte and raspberry scone to the table.
“Well, look what the cat dragged in!” Never a hair out of place, Maggie took in the winter white cashmere ensemble her friend Laura wore so effortlessly and moved her own coffee to the other side of the table. Hanging her coat on the chair, Maggie sat gingerly leaving the icy wet spot on the thigh of her leggings hanging over the edge of the chair to dry.
“You walked again, didn’t you? I told you it’s too damned cold for that. You can’t afford to get sick now.” Laura had a toddler at home and had assumed the mother role with everyone. It had come to her so naturally, like the mother goddess accepting her destiny. Maggie marveled at the comfortable ease her friend seemed to inhabit in all things. Babies, Maggie couldn’t keep her plants alive. A giver to the extreme, she usually overwatered them until they drowned.
“I know, it is just that cabs are expensive and with no job…
“Don’t worry about that. I’m telling you, it will be fine. You always find the perfect job.”
“Well this time, I’m not so sure. I just can’t seem to get enthusiastic about any of the opportunities out there. I think I am burned out on the whole chef thing. I might be getting too old for all those hours, maybe need to shake things up.”
“Too old? You’re only 34! I know you started young and it has taken its toll in the last year, but what will you do instead?”
“I don’t know. I understand why Edward had to let me go after I dropped off the face of the earth for a week, but I am not sure how much it has affected my reputation.”
“Maggie Evans can do no wrong in the restaurant scene. Besides, you called in and warned him.”
“Yes, two weeks before the Christmas rush. Not a good thing to do to anyone. I just felt so humiliated. In retrospect, it probably made matters worse. Oh Laura, I just don’t know anymore.” Maggie hated to whine, but as she stared at the white lines of drying salt criss-crossing her new leather boots, she sighed, feeling lost.
“Maybe you could become a blogger?”
“Everyone in this town would recognize me.”
“Well, that what happens when you have won as many awards as you have.”
“Eh- well, I suppose.” Maggie felt the heat rise to her cheeks and lifted the saucer-sized coffee mug to her face until the feelings of inadequacy passed.
“How about a food writer?”
“Maybe, but that won’t pay the bills.”
“Well, you have a little nest egg, you could live carefully and...
“Hmm, let see, my studio apartment that sometimes has heat is pretty posh and all, but … and besides my lease is up next month and I know the rent is going up.”
“Okay! I get it, but you can’t just say no to everything.”
“Saying yes hasn’t worked out too well for me.”
“Honey, one day you are going to wake up and realize how lucky you were that Peter married that skinny, uptight society girl. They deserve each other if you ask me.”
“You’re probably right, but he might have broken off our engagement before he married her- just saying.” This time the heat of anger rose up the column of her throat. Maggie tried to breathe through the palpitations and slow her racing heart.
“I know, Mags. I can’t imagine how awful it was to read it on Page 6, but I am so proud of the way you handled yourself. He doesn’t deserve one second of you feeling bad about it.”
“There is something I’ve been thinking about…
“Oh no, it must be something crazy. I can always tell.” Laura grabbed the edge of the table for support, she had been here before.
“Well, you’ve known me for 20 years, I would hope so!”
“I was thinking of maybe taking that gap year in Europe.”
“Gap year? You’ve been out of school for 12 years. Maggie,” Laura took Maggie’s hand and softened her tone, “Sweetheart, you can’t run away from your problems.”
“Why not? I have no job, nowhere to live, and no dependents. It is the perfect time to run away. Maybe I will find a new outlook on life.”
“Outlook is fine, It’s the handsome Italian gigolo or French chef that I am more concerned about. Life is not a chick flick, you know.” Laura sighed, face in her hands. She knew she was wasting her breath.
“Don’t look so sad Lorelei, we can skype.” Maggie smiled knowing the long-standing nickname would turn her friend around, but the truth was, she would miss her best friend just as much.
“It’s not the same and you know it Maggie Mae, but if you think it is what you need, then I support you one hundred percent.”
“I love you, Laura. What would I do without you?
“Guess you’re about to find out. Now, let’s go shopping. We can’t have you running around Europe looking like a downtrodden tourist!”
Maggie stared at the rather forlorn looking containers by the door that Laura had offered to keep in her storage area. 34 years old and all I have to show for it is a couple of beat up cardboard boxes worth of mismatched memories and faded dreams.
She checked- for the third time- that her luggage was locked, and she had her ticket and passport in her purse.
Laura’s husband Nate rapped on the door and grabbed the boxes. Maggie wrapped the leather handle of her carry on around the metal poles of her wheelie bag. With a final glance in to the empty apartment, she kicked her suitcase out behind her and headed down to the car.
Laura was waiting in the back seat and Maggie crawled in beside her. She could tell her friend was weepy and Maggie swallowed hard pushing the emotion into the dark hole where it needed to stay. It was getting pretty crowded in there.
“Ooh, I can’t believe you are spending Valentine’s day in Paris! I am sooo jealous.” Maggie knew her friend was trying to be brave, but somehow it made Maggie sadder.
“Yes, well I can see why you would be. A single woman in her mid-thirties alone in Paris for Valentine’s day. I am such a cliché. Timing and all that. Besides, you know I have to be in Kent by the first of March.”
“I can’t believe you found a job. I am so pleased for you. Jealous, but pleased. It would have been nice to have found one in Spain or Italy where it is a little warmer, but at least they speak English.”
Fear aside, Maggie could feel the excitement building. A whole new world awaited her A second chance…
One last tearful glance back to Laura and Nate still standing by the curb and Maggie lifted her head and strode purposefully to the check in area.
As the plane sailed across the Atlantic, Maggie just couldn’t believe the change in her luck. The personal chef gig was icing on the cake. A friend had mentioned an American family in the UK that was getting tired of curry and fish and chips. They needed a taste of home for the next few months before they shipped out to another diplomatic post. Maggie sent them a resume and they could barely wait for her arrival.
She had already planned the Paris trip. She had waited 34 years and it would not wait a minute more. It was her dream destination, like Venice and Cairo and Barcelona… Any place she had not been before, was her dream trip. The sense of freedom washed through her like a cool chill and Maggie once more found herself smiling like an idiot.
Memories of her recent troubles were starting to disappear with each mile behind her and Maggie made a mental note to text Laura that she had been right: marrying Peter would have been a huge mistake indeed.
By the time she reached St Pancras Station, Maggie was running on adrenalin. Her first time in Europe and she wanted to inhale every moment of it. The bustling station was a mix of station was the perfect mix of WH Smith and the WH Barlow. Old and new converged with every step.
The haunting melody of Moonlight Sonata made Maggie choke back a sob as the melancholic notes echoed off the high ceilings. Maggie noted a girl of no more than 7 or 8, playing an old upright in the center concourse. She saw several more rescued pianos scattered throughout the terminal and thought, how utterly romantic.
Up the Eurostar ramp to her train, the excitement was palpable. Everyone seemed happy to be going to Paris. Of course, would anyone not be happy to go to Paris?
Glad she had sent most of her luggage ahead to Kent, she tossed her well packed bag on to the rack and searched for her seat. She squirmed as the train left the station, afraid of the Chunnel, she knew there was no stopping it now.
She closed her eyes and breathed deliberately. She was off to Paris on her own, starting a new life. Being afraid of a brief ride through a tunnel seemed ludicrous. After what she had been through, this seemed easy in comparison. She tried to push the thought of Peter from her mind, but sometimes it was difficult. As much as she hated what he had done, she had loved him madly. Shaking her head trying to throw the images away, she sighed. Perhaps, it had all been an illusion, after all, how could she love a man that could be that cruel.
Before she knew it, the sun was shining, and she was served a beautiful lunch. The wine might have been a mistake though as the jet lag started to hit her. She had not slept on the plane and had lost track or the will to care, about what time her body thought it was.
As the train wandered into Gare du Nord, all that changed. She was in Paris and that was all that mattered.
A misandrist walks into a bar…what, you ask is a misandrist? The Oxford Dictionary online offers this: A misogynist is a person who hates women. A person who hates men can be described as a misandrist, and the corresponding noun is misandry.
A lively coffee break discussion at The Manor had us wondering why the use of misogyny was so prevalent where misandrist was not. Oxorddictionary.com continued with this: “But however prevalent the attitudes described by these words may be, the words themselves aren't common. There are currently only 29 examples of misandrist in the Oxford English Corpus, while misogynist appears more than 1,500 times; 68 uses of misandry are overshadowed by over 2,000 examples of misogyny.”
And why is that? It may be the very definition of the words explain it. Our society has come a long way, yet there are still many outdated notions of the roles between men and women. And is hate really the word to use to describe the myriad of emotions involved in men’s anger to woman or vice versa?
I recently began re-watching Ally Mc Beal. So far, after 20 years, it seems to hold up. In the pilot episode a man is accused of very obvious sexual harassment at Ally’s law firm. She sues, but he manages to get away with it. Frustrated she turns to her boss for help, who ends up hiring the guy because of his skill in getting the case dismissed. In the end it was just a trick to get him to confess, but in the moment, I couldn’t help but think that the ‘good old boys club’ had won another one.
I grew up during a time when sexual harassment in the office was almost de riquer, although frustrating and sometimes frightening, it was the way it was, and you had to stand up to it in fear of ridicule or just allow it and move on. The #metoo movement has certainly made inroads toward not solving this problem, but at least bringing out of some ugly truths that had been simply ignored as the norm.
Is there then a valid reason for straight misandry? Do we hate all men for the few—or many- that have been horrible? Many who claim to be misandrist are simply women who have been deceived, abused, and developed a mistrust of men period.
We use this rally cry of I HATE MEN! for many purposes, but often the truth is just the opposite. We love men, but only the good ones. Or do we? Don’t get me started on the whole “I like bad boys’ thing!
I KNOW, Jezebel stop talking about all this nonsense and let me know how it connects to sex.
Well, I will tell you, Sex is almost certainly at the very hear of the matter. It is why we exist. It is used as currency, as power, and as punishment. It is also, one of the reasons we find that hating men is not the answer. We may choose to ignore certain traits. We cannot change the fact that men and women were created for much different purposes. Therefore, trying to turn a man into a woman, does not at all work. We must find the one(s) that work for us.
So, yes, it is fun to sit with the girls and scream, ‘I hate men.’ It is fulfilling in strange ways to discuss what pigs’ men are. It is even likely we will bring up only the worst of your habits, but in the end, it is only because we want or wanted you to be the one. We wanted life to be like what we were told it would be in the fairy tales. In some scenarios we may even be trying to ‘one up” each other for the biggest relationship nightmares. It is no wonder that men and women have so many relationship issues!
This whole crazy discussion began when one of the interns shared an article that Anna Goldfarb contributed to Vice asking women to sum up their worst sexual experiences in 6 words , these are just a few of the selections:
"Farted in my face during 69." - Kylie, 31
"Baby carrot dick kept slipping out." - Louisa, 31
"Cat maintained eye contact entire time." - Carrie, 35
"Broke up with me while climaxing." - Lexie, 29
"Skinny penis looked like gnarled parsnip." - Erica, 39
"Kept thanking me while penetrating pussy." - Nora, 23
"Talked in British accent. Not British." - Lynne, 28
There are many choices that caused us to roar with laughter, but some were just downright mean. Again, we sometimes think we have valid reasons, but being the stronger sex, can we try to just move on? Given the division that currently rules so much of the World, maybe a little less hate would be good.
Of course, I’m one of the lucky ones. I get to take out my frustrations in many of the Fem Dom audios I record. You may even find a theme amongst them. Oh, don’t worry, you know I would never harm you- after all it is only your pleasure that propels me onward…
Happy Valentine's Day!
I have mentioned before an old clock on the wall that has been in my bedroom for many years. In the past I had glanced at it while running out the door. I had stared at it endlessly, ashamedly waiting for time to pass quicker- until this or that occurred. I had ignored it, reset it, dusted it. It was just always there.
When I moved to my new place, I discovered it no longer worked, but I decided to hang it anyway. It was home. Familiar. I set it at high noon and simply enjoyed the decorative part of it.
I thought I noticed a subtle movement but paid no mind. Then being gone for months at a time, I returned to see that minutes had passed. I assumed that the vibration from the spin cycle or a particularly powerful train had caused the movement. I set it back to noon and forgot about it. Soon I was off again to my other home and when I returned more time had passed. I now believed there was a purpose.
The clock moves slowly, 10 minutes in not quite 4 years. But it seems to move forward just when a major life change is happening. Coincidence? Possibly, but I’ll take the mystical every time. After all, what is time? How does it really work?
Time is basically a construct created to manage- well, time. Do we truly know that it is linear or is it at all times, everywhere? Is it different for everyone? Each of us experience our own realities, so, time does move differently for all of us.
Can we travel backward and forward through our timeline? Of course, we can. Time travel is possible every day. Given that our brain experiences fantasy and reality much in the same way, when we daydream about the future, we have moved time forward. When we remember the past, we move back in time. What wonderful experiences we can have!
It seems for many the most difficult part is living in the here and now. We often think about the future in the “If only” this would happen I would be happy or in the past tense, as “I wish” it had been different. We make living in the moment much more difficult than it need be. We only need to be. We don’t need to create a daydream or dig in to a memory, we just need to experience our life good or bad. The feeling we get from daydreaming or remembering can be used at any time to feel good about today.
Is it possible that time runs concurrently with other lives or universes and we have all the things we wished for in another time and place? I believe it is true, however, that also means that in those other places we still have regrets and desires, but they are different. Perhaps even a complete opposite switch from what we wish for or remember in this time.
Time is relative. It gives us hope and makes us weary. It brings good times and softens the pain of loss. It exists always and we move along with it, but with some effort we can manipulate the way we manage it.
I’ve always enjoyed time travel stories and after reading the books, I’m currently into Outlander the TV series. I have always thought how romantic it would be to travel back to a simpler time, but then when I see the reality of that given time, I know that more than likely it would not be the case.
Would I cross through the stones to be with the man I love? Absolutely. And just like a dream that lasts for seconds, yet, can seem a day has passed, I would slip back in to this world with only a faint hint of memory. As I matter of fact, I’m sure that I do that all the time because when I return, the hands of the clock have moved just a little further…
I have reluctantly admitted my guilty pleasure of watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I thought at first it was just an easy feel good moment, but recently a friend posted a picture of her with a popular Hallmark actor and I was shocked at how many of her friends admitted to watching them too.
Now, I dont mean to be unkind to all the people that work hard to make these movies possible. After all, we are watching them. The Christmas Movie Season is the Super Bowl of chick flicks. There is even an app this year, so, you don’t miss any of your favorites, but why is it a guilty pleasure? Perhaps it is the standard dialog and reused sets. Maybe the blown in now or worse, cotton batten. The slightly hokey titles and product placement doesn’t add much virtue either, so, why do we watch?
Hope. Hope that the season will finally be what we wish it to be. Hope that our childhood memories will bolster our melancholy. Hope that maybe this year that miracle will arrive. Hope that things will turn out just the way they should. It is the possibility, the hope of the future- the believing- if only for a moment, that life will be like a Hallmark movie. That everything will magically fall in to place.
Just like a steady diet of Hallmark movies would not nourish the brain, a steady hope of all being well would not nourish the soul. We wish for things, hope for things to be perfect, but in truth, they never are. Nor, would I want them to be. Our lives are lived through our perception. You can be happy with little and depressed with much. You might get what you thought you wanted, and realize too late, it was not what you wanted at all. It seems there is always something just on the other side of hope that we wish for and it is the striving, the overcoming of obstacles, the climb that makes us feel most alive.
Hope moves us forward. It has a sneaky way of multiplying into bigger and bigger hopes. It is the coal that fires the train of our dreams. The life we choose to live and the purpose by which we live it. Without hope, the train derails or rusts on the track. Dreams are lost or put on the back burner. The spring in your step disappears. The glow fades into dusk. Hope is as important as breathing.
The holidays can be a difficult time for many of us and it is an important time to practice self- care. If your new version of a perfect Christmas is take-out and a movie, then do it. If you need some time to gaze in to the fire and let the melancholy take over, then do it. Buy yourself a gift, have a pedicure, take a bubble bath- whatever works and as often as you need to. We spend so much time doing for others that we burn out, don’t enjoy any of it and then wonder why we are disappointed with the season.
So, if you need to, put on those fuzzy jammies, make some hot cocoa, and in the sparkle of the fairy lights watch a schmaltzy Christmas movie--even the comedic holiday movies are heartwarming enough to bump up the hope quotient.
I see the flurries starting outside my window, and like a child my heart races. I hope it is a white Christmas. Even though it is unlikely, I still hope. Christmas is a time for miracles and anything is possible.
I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and a peaceful season in the New Year.
All animals have nesting rituals to prepare for a new birth. Parents begin their nursery preparation often finishing just in time. I did not have that luxury. I picked out the paint color, but my son did not wish to wait the six weeks until his due date, so, his dad painted while we were still at the hospital.
Giving birth can be an extraordinarily painful experience, but I suppose like any joyous moment you cannot truly appreciate the wonder without the pain. Thankfully, the memory of the pain itself becomes blurry or many women might just stop at one!
We continually give birth to new life within us. Experience, circumstance, time- all work to bring change and although we usually adapt without much fanfare, when we look back we can see how far we come. Sometimes we are forced to make more premature changes. The easy flow of existence and growth suddenly pushes us to make choices we might not be prepared for. And through the excruciating pains of labor we finally emerge, and a new life begins.
The pain once again, becomes blurry around the edges with time and we move forward ready to meet the next phase of our life. All of the preparations, worries, pain and doubt only serve to take away our peace because whether we want to grow and thrive, or not , it will happen eventually—sometimes it is a long, difficult period as we fight to stave off the pain and hold on to what we know, while other times it seems to happen easily and when we least expect it. No matter how we reach the moment, it will happen and eventually, the joy of new beginnings will be all we remember.
Growth is difficult. Change is hard. Seasons come to pass, and we look back and think: how did I end up here? I am a bit of a fatalist and believe that every moment, every meeting, and every choice we make is part of an intricate map that leads us exactly where we need to be. Not that it cannot be changed or adapted by how we get there, but the basic core of our life that resides in our soul, is always constant. The road may be long and twisted, taking us down many paths. We might get lost along the way and have to ask for directions- (men can ignore that part, since they never do!) but regardless we will still end up at the same place. I prefer the wandering method as there is much adventure along the way.
Others wake up one day and say; this is my road and I will follow it to the end. They stay on the straight and narrow and it works for them. Is their surety a form of advanced knowledge? Have they reached a point in life where they have come closer to their true self than others or is it simply the mix that allows us all to coexist and is required to help find our way? It would be terrible if everyone was wandering lost- or equally so, if all followed the straight path.
Unfortunately, so many are wrapped up in their own opinions and little worlds of technology that we often are afraid to reach out to the others that could help facilitate out journey. So much anger and fear causing so many to retreat within. What a shame, when the many can offer so much; if not propel our journey, at least enrich it in some way.
Not everyone on our path is meant to stay with us. Some journey a way beside us and then veer off to their own paths. Some we cannot cajole to move from their purpose to take “the road less travelled” along with us, while others take us by the hand and remain on the path with us as long as they are needed. Yet, in the end, it truly is a solo journey.
With each new birth, we move forward with a chance to create a new life, learn new things, and grow closer to our true self. Painful? Often. Scary? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely! Like a baby, we can only trust our inner voice and those that support us on our journey. We have no idea what lies ahead or how we will get there, but growth will unfold as we move forward. Life, death, rebirth : the endless cycle.
I have been painting and laying floors. I am re designing my habitat to prepare for the new birth. This time, I have had plenty of time to get ready, yet, I pushed it to the very end anyway. It’s almost here, just keep breathing through the pain, all the wonder and magic of new life is just on the other side of fear.
I have always had an adventurous spirit. I’m not complaining or anything, but sometimes it does get me in to a bit of a bind. Since I am a writer, I’ve been considering the best way to capture some true stories in a fictionalized way.
Writing is difficult. It is a way to say all the things you cannot speak, but the thoughts somehow come out under the guise of a character: any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidence. I think we all know why that was added to the information page of novels. Writing this way, whether consciously or not, can take a physical and emotional toll on the author. Often after I finish a novel I need time to decompress, to let go of that world and those people(characters) that have filled many days and hours.
So, what of writing a memoir then? How does one manage the inevitable pain of revisiting the past? The happy memories will help, but each memory carries with it sights and sounds and scents of a different time. Some better than others. And it seems that once you delve into the memory pool, other things you haven’t thought of in years begin to come forward. Each moment carrying you to other moments until you are immersed in a sensory explosion of emotions.
I am immensely grateful to have these experiences to share. No matter how embarrassing some might be… the most pleasure I get from writing is when someone says: I could relate, I’ve been there and I’m glad you told it the way it really is. It creates a sense of community and sometimes, that is just what they need.
Not all my tales are pretty. Not all are happy go lucky, but I’ve always made my choices knowing that sometimes, things don’t end up the way you plan. Sometimes you get lost. Sometimes you give up. And sometimes, you make bad choices. Still, I would not change a thing because what if…
It’s not for the feint of heart. Often my friends who’ve chosen a more secure lifestyle, say: I wish I could travel alone, live in another country, give up my day job, follow my heart… Sometimes they can but are afraid. Sometimes they have obligations, but more often I think they enjoy the vicarious fantasy of it all, but know it is not their path. I have always encouraged others to live their dreams and maybe someday they will too, yet, I caution them--it isn’t an easy choice. When envy raises their head and they whine, I ask them to walk in my shoes for a minute. Most do not take me up on it.
I still have plenty of adventure ahead. I’m not sitting debating how someday old age will find me, I’m deciding how to pack the most in to every day I have. With the loss of my parents and the inevitable departure of my now adult son, I find myself on the precipice of a freedom I’ve never known. I have always been a wanderer and soon I will be off again. Our worlds change every day. In a heartbeat, nothing is the same as you’ve known it, but when you open yourself to new places and new people, that happens more often than not.
We are all on our own journey. Looking for something that fills that sacred place deep in our soul. Sometimes we find it, but it can be tenuous. Sometimes it fills us so full, we are bursting with it and other times we must journey on until it is our time. I have pushed through fear and indecision and heartbreak, yet, I still rise each day and hope to conquer my fears again. I have experienced true joy and unbearable sadness. To that end, I am grateful that my life has been so full of feeling. I have logged miles and days and years of living and still I carry on searching for more.
Will I write of my adventures? I am not sure. Perhaps they aren’t as thrilling as I think, but if I do, you can be sure that I will tell it just like it is (or was)—and if not, I’m sure my characters will tell it for me.
One thing you can be sure of, each new step of a journey is scary. I am not the bravest person, but I do it any way. What are you afraid of? You will probably come up with many answers, but start small and one day, you will find the adventures that are waiting for you.
Audio Arts Collective @eSensual is a unique way for talented audio creators to gather together and mutually increase audience awareness, sales, Patronage and more.
1. Adult Filters!
Being in the dungeon can be a good thing… sometimes, but erotic and sensual content is hidden behind increasingly impenetrable ‘filters’. Microsoft, Amazon, Audible, iTunes, YouTube and Patreon to name just a few, are censoring and hiding away our work from the public. With new internet laws in the United States opportunities continue to narrow. Findaway, Author’s Republic, Audasy and other distribution only services cannot guarantee that their retailer outlets will even take our audios.
Retail sites change our prices, offer freebie and subscription services without reference to us, so, our income is consequently variable and out of our control. What seems like a good deal at 50% or even 70% share of sales, becomes very disappointing when the price to our buyers is slashed by the retailer. With greater uncertainty of the market, not knowing if content will be pulled, or if the payment providers, such as PayPal and now, credit card companies, suddenly stop processing payments for our work, it is getting harder to prosper.
3. Building Your Audience
We know that GWA, Soundgasm & Literotica are great to build your fan base, that Patreon can provide income for those with an established following. But to become recognized as a “professional,” it is going to take cooperation and working together.
We want to bring the community of audio artists together to not only showcase your work, but to provide a supportive place to discuss issues and share information, experience, and advice. A collective to support and promote our work to fans and share opportunities to grow as a consequence.
4. Professional and Recognized
Here at eSensual we have over 6 years of showing a solid increase in retail sales and an ever-growing listener base, in part due to many of you providing such great content. We strive to curate quality erotic audio, audiobooks, DEV, ASMR and more. We have become known as the place where listeners can go find what they need in an easy, straightforward way.
We have clear and negotiable distribution terms, on time payments, and more importantly, we have a platform that does not hide away your content. Your work is very personal to you and we treat it just like our own.
5. WE KNOW HOW BUSY YOU ARE!
No commitments, no dues, no mandatory meetings. The Collective is open to all artists. Tell your friends and help us create an artist’s collective that will rock the audio world.
Wont you lend your expertise to our quarterly ezine? Link back to other artists? Share promo for the greater good? Join the advisory panel or just stop by to support a unique gathering of talent who are encouraging one another.
Together we can decide what will work best for us all. The Audio Arts Collective @eSensual is to be a mutual initiative.
Become a founding member today!
Please comment below, or email email@example.com.
We have a new website we are preparing just for the Audio Arts Collective and we look forward to your input and participation.
Some years ago, I read about medical phenomenon called Broken Heart Syndrome. Being a romance writer, I added it to my file of tidbits that might make a good story someday.
From www.heart.org: Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. (Tako tsubo, by the way, are octopus traps that resemble the pot-like shape of the stricken heart.)
Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, breakup or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery.)
Broken heart syndrome may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms and test results are similar. In fact, tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome.
Although at the time of learning this, I smiled thinking back to teenage years when I would lament that I would certainly die of a broken heart if some boy or another wanted to break up, I now realize there is nothing romantic about heart problems.
Did Elizabeth clutch her chest when Mr. Darcy walked away? Did Jane Austen write that angst from experience while her own heart palpitated and ached? (Most likely, but still, she did not die of a broken heart.) Does every chick flick end up with ‘the chick’ dying? No! Though writing from a place of pain is often the most creative and productive time for many writers.
We read of long time couples who die within months of one another: the family shakes their collective head and sigh, she was broken hearted and could not live without him. I always believed that to be true. And perhaps in some ways they are the lucky ones, not the others that must learn to live without their true love for the rest of their days. I reiterate from last month’s blog: 'Rabbit, how long is forever?' 'Sometimes just one second.' Aside from the grief, pain, and death, to know that one has been loved so completely is indeed romantic.
And what of the lovers lost, forbidden, unrequited? What of those who made plans and dreams that never came to pass? The miles that separate the touch of so many? How about those that spend their nights weeping into a tub of ice cream or a bottle of wine? The tough ones who push through with false bravado? Do they not too have Broken Heart Syndrome? And is there a cure? Yes, but it isn't an easy pill to swallow. Time is the only cure for many, and if not a cure, then surely a way to keep the symptoms in check and prevent further damage.
Though, fortunately, I am not suffering from the Broken Heart syndrome, I recently began taking a medication for my racing pulse. Normal resting pulse for me is around 90, but the DR said we should control it and see what happens. I was horrified! How would my heart pound when my lover stepped through the door? Would it no longer race when he whispered my name?
Well, after a week, that was the least of my worries. I quickly became a walking shell of a human being. Dazed and confused… unable to drive and little energy for pounding or anything else. It was as though a fog had settled all around me. Ah, but the quiet of 70 pulse rates, the lack of thudding in my chest, and the lazy days were not without benefits.
As I weaned myself off the medication, I could feel the curtain lifting and could see the clear skies around me. I will probably have to start something new, but until then I am enjoying the return of ‘me.’ I am working hard to do all I can to control my physical issues without drugs and trying to remember that I have survived broken hearts before and so, I shall again. Ice Cream may not be the best choice, but I admit it does help. Everything in moderation…
Stress, depression, loss, heartache can all cause very real physical problems and should never be dismissed. It is often the strongest that end up with problems as they push their issues down and carry on until it presents in a physical way. It has been a long, complicated season for me. Much has changed and continues to change, and I have finally learned that there are many things I cannot fix or control. I must simply breathe, trust and let go of the things that make me crazy.
If you ask the romantic in me, I’d say, ‘my heart has been broken so completely that it cannot be fixed’ but the truth is we just need to take more time for ourselves. Time to breathe, to take care of our bodies, our minds. Time is the best medicine of all, so, take all you need- your heart will keep beating while you do.
Besides, it would be terrible to win the lottery and have stress take you before you could claim your prize!
Author's Note: If you are experiencing any chest pain, shortness of breath or heart related issues, call your DR or 911 immediately.
DST will soon be upon us and the days are already growing longer. It has been a long, frigid winter and I am looking forward to more sunshine.
The adjustment of an hour can sometimes take days to recover from. Almost a mini jet lag of sorts, but then, time zones have always been an issue for me. Interrupted sleep, the urge to do more, difficulty in justifying down time all grow stronger as the spring turns to summer. After long months of hibernation, it only makes sense to hurriedly prepare for the lazy days of summer.
So, time marches on… we often think there are not enough hours in the day, busily hurrying from one task to the next until our bodies say enough and we drop in to bed. But time moves at a different speed for everyone. Yes, 60 seconds make a minute for us all, but how we perceive that minute is our reality of time.
When life is good, and love is new, we say: I wish this moment could last forever. When life is challenging it brings to mind Alice’s question: “Rabbit, how long is forever?” To which he replies: “Sometimes, just one second.”
We have such limited time on this Earth, we should be cherishing every moment, but often the days go by unheeded and turn in to years, then decades… when our time comes to move on will we wish we had more time? Or will we just wish we used the time we had differently?
And what of the moments and memories that are timeless? Family and friends that have always been the closest to us. People that even after months or years of not seeing one another, pick up right where they ended the last time. Does time then stand still during the moments apart? Are vivid memories a moment from our past or a simply a way to relive these moments time and time again?
They say the ancient calendar and time keeping systems were created as a way to follow the stars, track the weather cycles and give people a way to manage a day. But even without tracking the hours, days, months of our lives, time continues and shows us the natural progression of life. The cyclical nature of things. The urgency to do or the time to rest. Life does, and will go on, whether we choose it to or not, how slow or fast that occurs is up to us. DST may give us an extra hour of daylight on the clock, but the time is still the same as it was the day before. One long moment from birth until death.
So much time is spent on our phones and computers. Whittling away the hours reading ‘fake news ’and watching cats play with yarn or babies bouncing on a chair is easy. Before you realize it, hours have passed. Some days, the only human interaction we have is through a text message.
We always think there will be time. Time to reach out, to right a wrong, to fix, to change, to grow. While we don’t know how much time we have left, we can take those moments and make them count. We can build memories that will give us moments over and over, we can love enough to transcend time. We can share our time with those who need it most.
Take a walk and really look at what is around you, read a book, phone a friend just because. Look up and smile at someone passing by, ask the clerk ‘how are you today?’ or even play with your dog. It only takes a moment and really, how long is that? Besides, you have an extra hour to fill, so, why not give it a try.
Tick-tock. Time waits for… and all that. I think the Super Blood Blue Moon Eclipse has stirred things up. The New Year always brings thoughts of rebirth, starting over, trying again or simply moving on to new and different things.
They say- whoever, they may be- that endings leave room for new beginnings. That old memories can hold us back from a clear path forward. That we can keep them tucked away in a box to be admired from time to time, but not letting go of the past can mean we are destined to repeat our mistakes.
Past memories are integral in creating who we are. Good memories, bad memories, even fuzzy memories are all stored within us and help us to make decisions every day. Sometimes they will poke us hard and say, “You really don’t want to do that again do you?” Or other times they cheer us on to new heights: “Remember, you accomplished that, so, you certainly can do this!”
I have learned the hard way that revisiting them in an effort to change things, make it right, fix something, is futile. The only option we have is to use them to make different, hopefully better, choices moving forward.
Can we count on them to make sure we never make another mistake? If only… but then again, would we want that? Then how would we know the next time…
The world has changed so much in the last few years, I know that these growth spurts are important to progress and when my great-great grandchildren look back at our present they will see it very differently, but for now we still have a chance to rewrite our future history. Every day is a new beginning, a fresh start and with our growth we need to be cautious that we do not make the mistakes of our past.
The day of the eclipse I rose early in hopes of gaining some insight and guidance from this powerful lunar event- or at least see it moving through my piece of sky, but the weather did not cooperate. Thick clouds and snow flurries. Instead, I tuned in to the live NASA feed and watched from the warm comfort of my home. As the event unfolded, comments from all over the World scrolled across the screen. I sat and watched with almost 100,000 other strangers and yet we were all joined by a common goal. To witness the incredible beauty and wonder of Mother Nature at her finest.
As I read through some of the comments I noticed that every third one or so, was a wish for peace and prosperity. Not just for themselves, but for the world. I began to weep with the magnitude of this moment. Strangers from all across the globe wishing for the same thing. I believe the Universe has heard those wishes and taken them in to account. Perhaps, we now have a chance to move forward remembering our past, good and bad and begin making better decisions.
We all have the same DNA at our core. We are (mostly) programmed to want the same things. So, it would serve our World if we concentrate on that and let go of all the “fake news’ out there. It is important to be aware of the changes, they remind us of past times that were a mistake. They also remind us there is so much good in the World. It is more important to move forward with hope and peace in our hearts. With a collective wish for peace and prosperity for the World.
I know I sound a bit like a bleeding heart, but honestly, is there any other way to save our world? Will we live the reality of the few who wish to dictate our choices, or will we bravely continue to pave the way for a better future?
Some may say, I can’t make a decision, that I’m always straddling a line, (the curse of a Libra) but I know that I must look at both sides carefully because usually, there is some merit to both– or at least I can make myself believe that long enough to make a decision. We all believe what we choose to and that is our reality. Is that wrong? I don’t think so? Why on earth would we choose someone else’s idea of reality to guide our lives.
We may only have one chance here on Earth. Maybe in alternate universes we are experiencing this life in other ways, but without knowing that, this is our reality. If we can come together with a better vision of reality for our future, a collective consciousness of reality for peace, then we just might be able to make a difference.