Forget Me Not

Never let somebody make you forget who you are.

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It’s raining in Maryland. Has been for days. It sets a tone.

I’ve been working on “Red Hunter” which is book three in my Red August series. It’s been flowing, but it’s been emotionally exhausting. When I started out writing fairy tales a few years ago, I was going to write short sexy erotic fairy tales. Instead, I’m mired in examining relationships, the way love works, who you’re “supposed” to have sex with, and why people manipulate others. About manipulation, spoiler:  it’s usually to get something they want, even if they don’t consciously realize they are doing it.

One of the things I’ve noticed about the people in my past who have manipulated me is that they all gaslighted me. It really knocks you off of your center when it happens, and usually you don’t see it coming. You think things are going well. You’re getting all this positive feedback and reciprocal joy, and then one day, BAM, you’re being accused of the very things that person was doing. Oh, and nothing is EVER their fault.

I think aside from the rain and the writing, the show The Handmaid’s Tale is making some of these old scars ache. Seeing all of those women climb over each other, use each other, and all of society controlling their most basic rights, it’s jarring. They’ve done a good and terrifying job of it. Feels a little too close to reality right now.

One thing that I do to help me get past this sense of foolishness for believing a person when they say they like me, or trusting somebody who was not trustworthy, is trying to REMEMBER WHO I AM. How can another person MAKE YOU FORGET WHO YOU ARE? I can’t really answer that. But you see it all the time. And these measures are temporary because there is always the chance that something will trigger all those old traumas and make you live them for a little while. At least, in time, the duration is shorter and the pain less severe.

Probably everybody but sociopaths go through this. Even gaslighters have their reasons for gaslighting. The important thing is to NOT forget yourself. Remember who you are. Also, there is always room for growth in all of these things. Even if that means putting up a wall and being less trusting–that’s still learning!

The other thing I noticed about being on the receiving end of gaslighting, is that people who CARE that they’ve upset, or hurt others will make the gaslighting even more effective on them. You question everything you ever did or said with that person and read and re-read your texts and emails and try and find the blame in yourself, because that’s who you are. YOU GIVE A SHIT. They don’t. They have to remain blameless or it unravels all the good stories they tell themselves about who they are. If you see something that you could have said or done differently, remember that. If you know better, do better. We all make mistakes.

On the one hand, I’m not sure writing this story is always good for me. Mostly, it is. It’s not much different than making soul-searching art. But . . . it’s just supposed to be a version of Red Riding Hood. It’s supposed to be a modern day fairy tale. Fairy tales are fun! Right? It’s grown into much more than that for me. It’s a way to examine societal standards. Love language. Age differences vs. maturity differences. Who we are told is “right” for us, and what the shape of a family should be.

I want to approach these topics with intelligence, maybe a little purple prose (it is a paranormal romance after all), and with a lot of heart where the hurt was.

I’m 5400 words in. Let’s see where this ship takes us, shall we?

 

 

She Wanders a Little

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I told my therapist about my inward energy. “I’m in a downward cycle,” I said. “That’s what I call it.” She already knew. I’m normally big and outwards. I was more pensive, and my responses measured.

“Not like when I was younger. Not downward like that.” Or something like that. And what I mean is, I don’t rock in a dark bathroom hurting myself anymore, like I did when I was in my twenties and didn’t understand what all of these …. feelings? … were. Continue reading

Love is Complicated

I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Beyonce and Jay-Z for opening up their personal marital struggles to the world. So often we look at celebrities and we only see the money and the beauty without the struggles the rest of us seem to face. They are breaking down those barriers by talking about stuff that is, well frankly, freaking embarrassing as hell. Being cheated on. Breaking vows. Giving in to baser desires and hurting your loved ones. This is deep stuff we are all looking at here with the release of Jay-Z’s 4:44. Continue reading

Yoni Coloring Book Giveaway

CLICK HERE to enter a chance to win my newly released Yoni Coloring Book!

Want to buy one? Maybe have a get-together with your lady friends and celebrate with goddessy vulva pride? They are only $8.99 – go HERE – where I can show you mine.

Great idea for bridal showers, baby showers, Mother’s Day, a night with your goddessy friends, some time to just relax and binge on Netflix while you color something soothing and lovely.

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Yoni Fun

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Hello everybody! I wanted to let you know about a little side project I had been working on in my “spare time.” That actually means something I did when I was supposed to be relaxing, but I can’t seem to let a minute in the day go by without being engaged. Sometimes I miss the days before smartphones and on-demand tv-binges when my brain would actually wander. I had a minute or two to get BORED! Do you remember the days of being bored? Yeah, me neither.

So, before I was all into this writing gig I was doing a lot of photography and art. I still like to do both. I would draw while while re-watching things like Fried Green Tomatoes, Labyrinth and Chocolat for the 400th time, or listening to my girl power playlists, I would ink these drawings of vulvas. To be totally honest, sometimes I was binging on Midsomer Murders and Psych, because this girl loves a mystery. Aside:  did you know there is a page that encourages you to come see where Midsomer is filmed? Might wanna make sure that you don’t have a penchant for blackmail though, because there are a LOT of murders of blackmailers in Midsomer – just sayin’.

Anyway…

I thought the drawings would make a fun and female-power oriented adult coloring book. I actually think that it would be good for kids, too – to sort of introduce them to the concept of talking about genitalia and possibly segueing that into discussions of gender and sex, if you like.

As I drew these I dreamed groups of ladies getting together and coloring them, their happy faces open and chatting and sipping wine. I envisioned parents talking to their kids about body positivity. I imagined Instagram images of laughing women coloring them in and showing off their final work all colored in.

The book is $8.99 and available here: The Yoni Coloring Book.

Here are some images of the proof and Kali helping me check it for errors. She’s ever-helpful that one. It doesn’t look like it, but that is her “I approve” face. The little darling.

 

Theatre and Relationships Podcast

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I was a guest on Raven Heights Radio again – YAY – and this time my sweetheart William C. Hardy was with me, too. Will answers questions like “How many accents can you do?”  And I mostly say how much I love people and giggle.

He talked about theatre and the amazingly creative people we have worked with and our friends.  We also talked about the night Will and I met, which involved giggling during the discussion (some perhaps owed to the wine).  Also – mush.  There is some romantic mush.

Raven Heights Radio – Red August – Episode 48

Red August will be available August 19th on Kindle – and if all goes according to plan, a variety of other platforms as well!  You can find out where to buy Red August at www.hlbrooks.com as soon as the links become available.

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Erica of Raven Heights Radio

As I posted in a quickie post yesterday, I was a guest on Raven Heights Radio.

I wanted to go ahead and do a little episode guide of sorts, to provide links about things that Erica and I discussed, as well as clarify a few points.  Because, as I stated in the episode, being misunderstood is kind of my kryptonite.

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I DO realize that some people make it their MISSION to misunderstand people, so those are NOT the folks I’m worried about.  So long as I do my best to be clear, I know I’ve done my part.

Before I want to get on with the links I want to make it clear that I don’t think there is anything wrong with classic romance where the guy saves the girl.  Romance is a fantasy world, and particularly fairy tales have that element.  Those are the stories I fell in love with and I still like those kinds of stories.  People rescue each other all of the time.  And I think if you look at the underlying elements of many romance stories – even if on the surface it seems like the guy swoops in and saves the day – you will see that people just rescue each other in different ways and sometimes the swooping is mutual.  For my part, in Red Riding Hood, I wanted to take the story of the little girl who was warned about going through the woods and turn it on its ear.  Whether I manage to do that, remains to be seen in the court of public opinion.  But whatever others bring to the story and read into it, that was my intention.  There is a possibility in the future that I will write a more classic “guy rescues girl” scenario – and there ARE elements of that in Red August – we don’t exist inside of a bubble, after all.  Relationships are built on mutual helping and understanding.  Whatever your tastes, somebody is writing it. There are many wonderful writers of romance out there to fill every type of story fantasy you could wish for, so go forth and find them.  Look for them on twitter and Instagram.  They want you to read their stories and you want to read them – what better match is there than that?

STUFF RELATED TO THIS PODCAST EPISODE!

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Fast Time on VHS!

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Genre Guideline Links

Sub-genres of Romance

What is Erotic Romance?

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Sex Positive Links

Sex Positivity

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Joy of Sex 1972 – Man, everybody’s parents had one of these.

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I was going to say the two types were the top 40 and rock – but also rap was just starting to come out and I was fascinated by that as well.  I listened to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Blondie, Queen, Billy Idol, John Cougar (no Mellencamp), Heart, Billy Joel, Sugarhill Gang, Olivia Newton John, Comodores, Hall & Oates…man the list just goes on and on.   Everybody who liked any kind of popular music would not miss Casey’s Top 40.  I’ve found that through the magic of the interwebz we can listen to a whole episode from July 24, 1982 – 33 years ago! WHUT!?  Even though it doesn’t have the full songs (I guess they can’t) but it’s got the commercials and everything!  Talk about flashbacks!  There is no doubt I was laying in my room on my bed under all of my music posters listening to this on my radio.  After I listen to this I’m going to have to make a mix tape and go make-out with my boyfriend.

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WHFS – DC (Historic)

HFS – Baltimore – you can listen online (but it ain’t exactly the same, tho!)

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George Lucas and Star Wars

This was written in 2014 —

“In 1978, Star Wars won seven Academy Awards. But if you want to watch that original version, the first of George Lucas’s soon to be seven-part saga, you’ll find it difficult. In fact, it’s actually impossible to buy an official copy of Star Wars as it was first released. Lucas doesn’t want you to see that version. Instead, he wants you to watch the continuously updated special editions—movies with added CGI, changed sound effects, and whole new scenes.”  READ MORE AT THEATLANTIC.COM

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As an example of the discussion over the digital work on the original movies, which birthed the controversy – Han Shot First.

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Jedi Academy at Disneyland

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After the show the featured song (which is really good, y’all!) – Slow Motion by The Jesters