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?

No comments:

Post a Comment