Thursday, September 18, 2014

I'll Have What She's Having

I'm happy. And yes, I do feel like a room without a roof. I'm even happier than this gal...

Is that a clump of cilantro on her head? Seriously, what's going on there? Oh, well. I'm happy because my first collection has just been picked up by Excessica Books!

If you're not familiar with Excessica, it is one of the biggest and most successful publishers of erotica in the industry. In fact, when I wrote Hot Secrets, I took it straight to Excessica, but they weren't open to submissions at the time, which is why I self-published. Two years later, they reopened to submissions and immediately accepted Hot Secrets. It will be released by them in October.

So whoopedy-do! And pass the cilantro!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Waitressing Should Be 1 of the 7 Deadly Sins

I've waited my fair share of tables. And sure, there are good things about waitressing, like free food and bunions. Wait, no. Not bunions. Like... uh... free food and exercise. Because no matter how many french fries I stuff into my face, as long as I'm waitressing, I stay in pretty good shape.

But there are sucky things about waitressing, too. Like when the food is not free. If I've just worked a double shift and cleaned what I'm pretty sure is urine from a high chair, you seriously expect me to pay for those french fries? Which cost you .0000008 cents? Lame.

Here are some other sucky things about waitressing:

  • Vindictive management with unjustifiable, over-inflated egos.
  • Coked-up vindictive management with unjustifiable, over-inflated egos.
  • Coked-up vindictive management with unjustifiable, over-inflated egos who leer at the waitresses.
  • Showing up for a shift and being cut after two tables. I had no idea my time was so worthless!
  • Dine-n-dashers. They should eat their meals in prison.
  • Shitty tippers. Everyone should have to wait tables for 6 months. Then there would be no more shitty tippers.
  • Clueless parents. Okay, I don't think they're actually clueless. I think their brains have been eroded from so much sleep deprivation, whining, and poop that they willfully shut down any previous inclinations they may have had toward acceptable behavior in a restaurant. 
  • Sidework.
Perhaps I sound too bitchy. Yes, that was a bit of rant. Here's the offset.

  • I have friendships from this industry that will last for life.
  • I'm an excellent tipper and always kind to my waiter.
  • I excel at the clean-as-you-go method in my own kitchen.
  • I have calves of steel.
  • I can now highlight my silverware rolling skills when applying for a job.
  • Not all managers are sucky.
  • Some customers rock.
Most days, though, I'm pretty sure Dante waited tables.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Yoga Fail: When Good Thoughts Go Bad

The hardest part of yoga, for me, is not "standing forehead to knee" (though let's be honest, I'm years away from that pose). The hardest part of yoga is the mental challenge, to keep my thoughts from running away and staying in the moment.

Here's an example: The instructor says "you want to get your forehead to touch your knee" and I think... forehead to knee, forehead to knee, almost there, this would be much easier for my friend C- because she has such a long, elegant nose, she wouldn't have to bend as far, they sure are a nice family, they're going to miss their two oldest kids when they go on that trip this summer, I hope their plane doesn't go down, losing a child would be unbearable, I can't imagine how they'd recover if that happened, the grief would be crushing. 

And just like that I'm not in the moment and depressed about things that have not happened and on the brink of tears.

Here's another: This class is going great, I'm in the moment, I'm happy, yay for me, life is beautiful, life is beautiful... Life Is Beautiful was a really good movie but man it broke my heart, what the father did for the son and I don't think I'll ever get the image of the smile on his face as he marches to his death out of my head.

And there I am on the mat getting choked up about the Holocaust.

So that's my big challenge. Staying in the moment, staying positive, and keeping thoughts of suffering and death out of my practice. By comparison, "standing forehead to knee" doesn't sound so hard, after all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Yoga Fart

The room was packed. We were a third of the way through an eighty-minute hot yoga class. And it wasn't even while doing a pose, but while turning around to sit down on the mat and take a rest. And no, it wasn't me. But it could have been.

The woman was between me and the wall, but her mat was a few feet forward of mine, which pretty much put my face in line with her butt. Since it happened when we were sitting down to take a rest, there was no music on. The room was quiet. And it wasn't a tiny fart. It was a big one, unexpected, because when you're sitting down to rest, you have your guard down about that sort of thing. It echoed throughout the room. It was unmistakable. 

What could anyone do but continue on? Pretend it didn't happen? The next sound in the room was the instructor advising us to "Take deep, rich breaths." Being in the position I was, I didn't really want to take deep, rich breathes. "And focus on your intention." 

Focus, I thought. Focus on your intention. My intention is always the same: kindness. And that's what I focused on. I focused on sending kindness to the woman who'd let one slip. I sent kindness and love and understanding. I sent calm and peace and comfort. No one will laugh or point or think any less of her. I sent the assurance that we all experience these moments at some point, that we're all in this together. With every fiber of my sweaty being, I sent positive energy and friendship her way. I sent a reminder that yoga is not about judgement. That the mat is a safe place. And that everything is going to be okay. Because sure, it wasn't me this time. But it could have been. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is a Blog Tour Worth It?

Last month I did a blog tour with Pump Up Your Book. This is the sort of thing that you could arrange yourself, contacting book bloggers and asking them for reviews. I was daunted by the time involved and opted to pay for a tour instead. There are different levels of tours that come with different price tags. I chose the $199 version.

Here's How It Works: You provide the tour company (in my case, Pump Up Your Book) with your cover art, first chapter, bio, media links, and maybe a short interview or guest blog. The more expensive, longer tours will require more posts and information. You are then given a tour page and schedule. Here's mine. As you can see, the tour ran from April 7th to 30th with links each day to the site where my work was featured. To get the most out of the tour, each day you see where you are featured and share the link through your various social media outlets.

The Good: 

  • Most of the reviews were positive and some of the bloggers go the extra mile to post their reviews on Amazon, not just on their own site. 
  • Pump Up Your Book made some phenomenal ad graphics that went out on Twitter during the tour. 
  • Internet buzz, meaning increased mentions of my name and book titles, translates to better internet rankings for both my books and my site. 

The Not-So-Good:

  • That buzz doesn't necessarily translate to an increase in sales. 
  • Some tour stops are identical, meaning on Thursday, a blog features my bio, cover and synopsis. Then on Friday, a different blog features my bio, cover and synopsis. It's hard to promote these stops to followers if you're showing them the same thing you showed them yesterday.
  • Some (but not all) of the blogs (ie tour stops) are very amateurish sites which make you question whether you really want them to "feature" you.

So, the big question... was it worth it? Yes. I gained genuine fans along the way, a few critical and insightful reviews, and I'm a firm believer in trying everything (when it comes to marketing) at least once. Will I do it again? Probably not, but PUYB was fun to work with and I'm glad I had the experience.