Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why I Write Reality Books

I wrote this post for someone who was interested in possibly posting it on their blog. It was rejected because I have a blog on the female sexual response. As you will see, this post is not sexual or salacious. It constantly boggles my mind that people have such an uptight opinion where sex is concerned. It's in our face everyday, all you have to do is turn on the computer or TV. The person who rejected my entry said she had no personal problem with what I've written but was afraid her readers might take offense.
My thoughts are; If the content in this post describing what my blog is about is too offensive, then, you don't have to click the link to it. Sex is why we are all here and I see no shame in it.

In January of 2004, I had the idea to interview people about what it feels like emotionally to have first time sex. I remembered what it was like to be a virgin and no one ever told me what to expect. I got a lot of misinformation from my friends and other than the "sex talk" from my mother, I was left to figure it out on my own. After a long conversation, my mother who writes fiction, Ann Werner, suggested a book would be the best way to go about it. People would probably wish to share only if their anonymity was guaranteed.
Initially, I had no real intention of making an actual book, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I never aspired to be an author. So I set out to interview women. As the stories came in, I decided to open it up to men because they also have an interesting story to tell. I received one story from a gay female and I then put out the call for gay stories. I would drop the project for a time and then pick it back up. In August of 2005, my mother (who writes fiction thrillers) joined me in collecting the stories. We put out a call on the Internet and it took a few months to have enough to make a book. We pitched it to agents and publisher with no success.

While compiling these stories, I had a vision of making Reality Books. I didn't know what direction I would go in but I have always enjoyed asking questions. A lot of questions. Everyone has a story and I like to get it out of them. In order to fulfill that dream, I needed to get this first book published. In 2009, I became aware of the new wave of independent publishing that was happening and I loved the idea of having total control. I knew it would be a tough road but I also knew that if I had gotten interest from a small to mid-size publisher, I would still have to do much of the marketing myself.

The Virgin Diaries was released in April of 2010 as well as the launch of ARK Stories,, the publishing company I run with my mother. TVD has been well received by my target audience; Virgins as well as parents hoping to educate their teens in a sex positive way. Most parents are afraid of the book but when they give it a chance, they see the value it has.

The idea for my next book came from a friend. In our discussions about men and how much they confuse women, she suggested I interview them on what they go through when they suffer from a broken heart. In December 2010, the call went out to men and by May of 2011, I had thirty-eight stories from anonymous men that surprised me. The candor and eloquence of the stories they shared is so moving and quite eye opening. A decent portion of the men report they were not intimate with a women after a hard break-up for many years. WOW!!!! News to me! Women are often under the impression that men have it so easy and Ain't No Sunshine: Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak shows that males have a harder time because society calls for them to appear strong and macho. They claim to do much of their suffering in silence but they do have a lot to say about it. Once again, the veil of anonymity gave them the freedom to be very honest. I like to say that it's a rare glimpse into the elusive male psyche.

I currently run three blogs where I am collecting stories as well. The Body and Self Image Blog is really a labor of love for me. I was an actress and worked on the daytime drama Days Of Our Lives for seven years. My experience as an actress was fun but hard on my self image. I always battled with my body and the way I look. I saw actresses who were bone thin and tiny. I am 6 ft tall and though I am slender, I have never been skinny.  When I started the blog that will later be a book, I wanted the focus to be both men and women and ask people to write about whatever they wish. The result is fascinating. Some of the topics include: Male Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Thinning Hair in Both Genders, Cancer, Weight, Acne and so much more. Most choose to be credited but some choose to post anonymously. The one thing I have found is that we all feel inadequate in some way. Some people have overcome their obstacles but most deal with it daily. \When I read the stories as they come in, I am always moved and it makes me feel less alone when I am feeling insecure. It goes to show that there IS comfort and healing in sharing.

I dove back into the sexual arena with  Here She Comes! A Tasteful And Titillating Exploration Of The Female Sexual Response. I am collecting stories from anonymous women and they tell men exactly what to do and what not to do in the bedroom. I got this idea because of my conversations with so many women over the years about sex. They would admit that they were not getting the same pleasure their male partner does when it comes to sex. They also express inhibition when bringing the subject up for fear of being rejected. The more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became and saw a need for this to be in the open. Why should women feel scared to tell their mate what works for them? If the men are never told, they really have no idea they are not satisfying their partner. Resentments can build up and their sex life suffers. It's my hope to provide these stories so that couples can start a dialogue in a positive way and incorporate fun back into their sex lives.

My latest project is Mom. I want to get stories from and about the moms of the world. There are many mom blogs out there dealing with parenting and I wanted to put my spin on "Mom." My mother and I have a very close relationship. I can only imagine what great stories will come in. I am excited to read them and looking forward the the eventual book.

I love asking questions. I love the answers people give. There are many books out there written by experts and they have merit. It is usually from one point of view. I like to provide many different opinions and views. I provide very little commentary. By sharing our stories, we can all learn and empathize as well as maybe even seeing something in a new way. This is what motivates me.

I don't expect to change the world but I do hope to inspire, entertain and inform. I try to pick subjects that are interesting to me and have a universal appeal. I think people are interesting. Everyone has a story. What's yours?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Peacock Mating Ritual And How It Relates To Women!

Today I met a woman. I will call her Brenda. We were discussing Here She Comes: A Tasteful and Titlating Exploration of the Female Response, and how it's such a shame that women don't feel empowered enough to speak up in the bedroom. Brenda brought up an excellent point. She talked about how it is in nature, more specifically the Peacock Mating Ritual. The male is the "beautiful" one. He has all the feathers and when it comes time to mate, he shows the female his beauty and beckons her. Watch him here:

With humans, it's the opposite. The women are the ones to primp and woo the men. When it comes time for intimacy, women tend to stay quiet about their needs. Brenda mentioned that she is not one of those women and feels, in part, that is why she is single. Her belief is that most men don't really care or want to know how to properly please their mate. I thought about this and it made me angry. WHY IS THIS???

In the stories that have come in so far, women have reported that in some instances when a woman expresses her sexual desires to her partner, the man gets defensive or simply refuses to satisfy her in the way that will guarantee her an orgasm. He gets one every time. EVERY TIME!

I pose this question to the women: What if, all of a sudden, every woman from now on, insists on having an orgasm every time she has sex? Sure, it's fun to be intimate and feel the closeness of another human being but if he isn't doing the job, why really bother? A good toy can take his place when it comes to the climax. If every woman refused to have sex unless she got hers, how do you think men would react? Would they give up? Turn gay? Masturbate? No, they would step up to the plate because there is no substitute for real breasts and a real vagina. But it is really up to the women!

In the seventies, we burned our bras, we started taking birth control and it was empowering! We made great strides as a gender. Unfortunately we are still letting many men get away with being lazy in the sack.
For those who feel like I am male bashing, I am not. I know not all men are only out for themselves but more importantly, for the most part, men haven't had to make the effort because NO ONE is telling them to.

There is a revolution going on now in the world with the banks. People have had enough and the movement is global. Am I so egocentric to think that my blog is going to change they way men and women have sex all over the world overnight? Of course not but it has to start somewhere. Why not with you?
Take a clue from the Peacock. The female has to be convinced. So do we!

Find out how you can contribute your anonymous or credted story and empower the women!
Click the link for the guidelines: Here She Comes!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Growing Up In Los Angeles

In 1977 my single mother moved us from Baltimore Maryland to Los Angeles California. I was nine.

At first, I was upset. I missed my family and friends. It didn't take long for me to acclimate to the gorgeous weather and glitzy lifestyle though. We lived in Brentwood, an upscale neighborhood. Most of my friends had wealthy parents. I remember the first time I had a sleep-over at a friend's house. Her parents worked for Sasoon Jeans and I couldn't get over that they had five bathrooms. It was a mansion.

My mother had several different jobs and one of them got us the opportunity to go to celebrity softball games. All the stars of the hit shows played in the games: Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and several others. I loved every minute of it.

When I was a teen we lived in the South Bay. The ocean was the backdrop. My girlfriends and I would leave school at lunch and drive to the beach where all the construction guys were and we would flirt and laugh. My life was good. I had a lot of friends and fun.

In my early twenties I lived in Hollywood. My neighbor Mic is a professional dancer and I hung with him and the dancer crowd. Mic had more luck and energy than anyone I've ever met. For fun, he would shoot and edit videos of pop songs that were popular at the time. Total bubblegum music and not my first choice but I was often the lip-sync star. Mic would get a bunch of his professional dancer friends together, we would all find a location, they would come up with some choreography and I would pretend to be the lead singer.
Mic would then edit it to look like a real video. It was an arduous process and he would play the same part of a song (loudly) over and over and over to get the music matched up to the footage. His neighbors had to endure the monotony but no one ever complained. The end result was always entertaining and I loved being part of it. I only have some of those videos on tape. They are old and the quality sucks. I hope that one day he puts the footage on disc. I know I won't.

I soon got bitten by the acting bug. I studied at the Dvorak & Co. acting studio and another chapter began. I met a lot of interesting people and was fortunate enough to appear on a soap for seven years. I started watching Days Of Our Lives the summer before I moved to L.A. The first day on the set, I had the good fortune of doing my first national television appearance with two of my friends from the acting studio. I already felt like I knew the cast. It was an amazing experience. I always enjoyed being on the show, even when the hours were grueling. Deidra Hall (Marlena) had always been one of my favorite characters and she took a bit of a shine to me. One day when filming, she took me aside to make sure I knew they best way to stand so that I would be in the most flattering light. I will never forget her doing that. She had no reason to.

I attended many A & B-list Hollywood parties. My biggest regret is the time I went to an A-list party alone. Bill Maher walked by me. I knew who he was but I wasn't too familiar with his work on Politically Incorrect. I made no attempt to say anything to him. If that opportunity presented itself to me now, I would definitly say hello. I can only imagine what that crazy converstaion would be like.

After the better part of a decade, I decided I no longer wished to pursue an acting career and got into sales. I worked in various industries for another decade until the economy took a dump on everyone. I moved to Northern California on September 26, 2009. My two year anniversary has just passed and I feel torn. I miss things about Los Angeles. It's a unique place to grow up. There are a lot of things about L.A . that are horrible: The traffic, the air, the plastic, but it also has a of diversity, beauty, creative people and fun things to do.

Just before I left L.A. I wrote this note on Facebook. I recently re- read it and all the crazy memories flooded in. L.A., will we ever live together again? Time will tell...

Ciao City Of Angels

Since 1977 I have lived all over Los Angeles.

Brentwood, Laurel Canyon, Beverly Hills, Silverlake, Hollywood, Torrance, Hollywood again and Glendale.

I know these streets in and out.
I have had so many crazy, fun, scary and amazing times here.
I have been friends with the extremely wealthy, the poorest of poor and everything in between.

Some highlights include:

Dvorak Acting Studio

Rich, Denise, Kara and Gage. I LOVE(D) THEM!

Recording a song for a movie for the Smithsonian Institute with Ricky Nelson's sons.

Hanging in Malibu with Nicole, her crazy Mom Phyllis and the band Chicago.

Working on Days of Our Lives for seven years.

Woody Harrelson's birthday party. It seemed as if every celebrity in Hollywood was there. He had a stage where Melissa Ethridge performed. There was a tee-pee and inside was the man with the pipe. Joan Collins was there too, along with Glenn Close and Danny DeVito.

The Derby (the nightclub featured in Swingers) and Jack's Sugar Shack - two of the most fun bar/clubs ever.  One night close to Christmas, my friend Maria and I went to Jack's. A parade of dirty Hollywood Santas entered the bar. One leaned over a candle and caught fire! Earl, a Jack's barfly, was enjoying himself one evening. A singer who called herself Pearl Harbor came over and shook her giant tits for him and he fell off the bar stool and broke his hip. As soon as it healed, he was back and telling everyone of his crazy night with Ms. Harbor. True story!!!

As a teen I remember walking on Vine just up the block from where Jack's was located. Spray painted on a parking lot wall was "Agnes Moorehead is God." It would get painted over but eventually someone would write it again.

David Lee Roth kissing me at the Rainbow.

All the Hollywood parties Kathryn and I went to.

Working as a street vendor on Venice Beach with my mom. We sold leg warmers and beaded tee-shirts and that's how my mother earned her living for about a year.

Mic Thompson and all the fun times we shared, making videos and having "coffee."

Going to Griffith Park Observatory the first weekend of my senior HS year to watch the laser Zepplin show, taking shrooms and winding up at Hollywood Presbyterian on a Saturday night with all the stab victims.(My mother had to drive 50 miles to pick me up. That was fun!))

Getting drunk with Mom and Sweevie after acting class. Steve wore one of my dresses and I put on my Prom dress and we played ding dong ditch at 2 am.

My date with hunky ABC newscaster Phillip Palmer after I sent him a snail mail letter and got that date!

Working with Stacey and eating at El Torito.

Stalking Magnus and John with Melanie singing "Blaze of Glory" and "If I Could Turn Back Time" at the top of our lungs!

There are so many memories I hold dear. This Saturday, I will leave this crazy, horrible, hilarious, fun, vapid wasteland. I am grateful for the unique experiences this city has given me. I am also grateful to be leaving while I am still young enough to start over somewhere new and beautiful. I don't know what lies ahead. I hope it's good. I am finished with Los Angeles and though I see it through jaded eyes and am mostly disgusted, I realize it helped make me who I am. The good, the bad, the ugly - and the beautiful.
Good-bye Los Angeles. It was a wild ride.