A Look Back and a Step Forward

New Year

As the year comes to an end, I’ve found myself reflective about 2013. Overall, it has been challenging, but with every year I learn that growth comes through challenges.

There were a few firsts….

This was the first full year since I was 14 years old that I did not have a “traditional” job working for someone else. It felt strange.

First time I’ve received letters/emails stating a company went another direction in their hiring process (because I was overqualified).

Went to my first readers conference, Authors After Dark 2013 in Savannah, and had a blast getting to know other readers…and picking the brains of some of my favorite writers.

Took my first temp job representing an electronics company in retail stores, teaching their employees about the company’s products, how to sell them, position them, and overcome customer objections.

Milestone Firsts… The GOOD STUFF!

But…even with those negatives…it was also the first time, despite all my stops and starts, that I published my first book…an erotic short! Those of you who’ve known and followed me for a while are not even a little surprised.

I got to meet one of my favorite blogging buddies, Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson, in person. The day we spent together was priceless to me….and quite hilarious. (She’s now going through some tough times, though, and could use lots of good thoughts and prayers.)

I survived my first ever 5K…and I hate to run! But, with the help of a few friends, we killed ColorVibe‘s run. Our team name? “Taste The Rainbow.” Hehehe!

ColorVibe

ColorVibe

I wrote my first ever sponsored blog post, and it was a blast!

I turned 40. Fortunately this one won’t be repeated… overall, preparing for the party turned out to be very stressful, but the love and friendship I was shown was worth the effort.

I got to meet some of my favorite authors…like Cherise Sinclair (who tolerated me when I accosted her at the end of the autograph signing event).

She STILL autographed my book...

She STILL autographed my book…

And the lovely and talented Joey W. Hill who was gracious enough to take a pic with me at the elemental ball….

Me with Joey W. Hill

Me with Joey W. Hill

Not to mention the awesome author who transplanted to my hometown (Chicago), Julie Ann Walker…who bought me a drink and spent time chatting it up and laughing with me.

 

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Me and Julie Ann Walker listening to my sister.

Or partying with C. J. Ellisson….at the pre-vampire ball party in her hotel room, then at her table.

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

Vampire Ball with C.J. Ellisson

 

There were a few heartbreaks

A dear friend of mine lost her battle to cancer. I tried to find a way to honor her memory…and share her love of life with you guys here.

My husband lost his job. That stung considering I had not found a day to day job outside of my writing. Fortunately he found a new one a couple weeks later.

Several more friends were diagnosed with various illnesses, mostly cancer.

I had to miss my half-sister’s wedding because of short notice and inability to afford plane tickets (they were nearly $1000).

~~~~~~~~~~

While I was listing a general recap of last year’s highlights, I was surprised at just how many positive things had happened last year. Why? Because the bad ones felt so big!

Overall, life is filled with good and bad…which makes it a bit bittersweet. It’s so easy to lose perspective and let the negative overtake you if you allow it to have a foot hold in your mind.

So, as I enter into 2014, I’m determined to go forward with my best foot forward and my attitude in check…and to make sure that I remember to celebrate all the positive milestones I’ll be experiencing along the way.

What about you? When you look back on this last year, what are some of your most standout moments, both good and bad?

I think The Verve had it right with their gorgeous song from Cruel Intentions….

Girls Night Out

Maybe it was my trip to Savannah recently, but I’ve been thinking about how important Girls Only events are.

Now guys hear words like girls night out or girls weekends and their thoughts tend to go all over the place. Some picture women in their underwear having pillow fights. Sorry to burst your bubble guys, but…no. We have a heck of a lot more fun than that. Other guys imagine a girls outing and think it’s just a “bitch about men” fest. Not gonna lie. Sometimes it can be (especially if one of the ladies was recently dumped). But really, most of us are more than that.

When gal pals get together it’s time to cut loose. Get a little wild. Sometimes we’ll even objectify men in the same way some construction workers have been known to objectify women….especially if we’re at a club. Maybe that’s why I’ve always kind of gotten a kick out of Dolly Parton’s video she did with Billy Ray Cyrus back in the day… she and “the girls” said things in reference to him like “I didn’t get as far as his eyes, did you?” “I’m old enough to be that boy’s lover.” “Wish I had a swing like that in my back yard” or “I may not be in love, but let me tell you, I’m in heat”. It totally cracked me up. This has been me and a few gal pals. Oddly enough, Dolly once talked about writing the song and said it was actually written about her 9 yr old little nephew who came strutting out…imagining himself to be quite the “Romeo” at such a young age. It made her laugh.

The thing about girls only events… It’s great for ogling guys, but it’s also a great opportunity to laugh, to learn and to ask the questions you’re not always comfortable asking in other settings. There’s no real pressure at girls only events. Sex almost always comes up…and so does advice on how to improve your sex life…if you’re willing to ask. Sometimes all it does is improve your vocabulary… Let me explain a bit about what I mean.

As you guys know, my Savannah trip was also a girls vacation…. so I thought I’d share with you some of the finer points of what that entailed… One of the nights, Authors After Dark hosted an event they called a Magic Carnival Inflatables Party. This included putting a blow up slide….inside the hotel…for us to use.

The Blow Up Slide In the Hotel Lobby

The Blow Up Slide In the Hotel Lobby

And yes, it also included a Balloon pop game with fun prizes…

Balloon Pop Game

Balloon Pop Game

But the one that really struck my sense of fun? Well, duh! It was the Cock Ring Toss, hosted by authors CJ Ellisson & Boone Brux.

Cock Ring Toss

Cock Ring Toss!

They were hilariously awesome with a great sense of fun…and they invited us to their party, Margaritas & Mudslides to be held the following night. There was no question in my mind (or that of my friend and my sister) that a party held by ladies playful enough to come up with this game was going to be a riot. We were not wrong.

After CJ made sure everyone had their drinks (which, by the way, were chilled in the bathtub filled with ice), the games began…. It was almost like I’ve Never… Sex Edition. There was really only one rule. A statement would be made…and if you’d done it, you took a drink. The statements were things like “I’ve participated in a three way” or “I’ve been spanked during sex” or “I’d hire a personal assistant that was hot over one that was qualified”. Everyone laughed…and a lot of drinking happened…until we got to one question.

Reader:I’ve had sex in a car while driving.
Me: (Took a drink)
Everyone else in the room: (Staring at me…and no one else is drinking)
CJ: Seriously? How did you manage that one?
Me: Well, he was driving…I was riding stick.
CJ: How was he able to see?
Me: I’m short. He could look over my shoulder.

Boone:
I feel like I know you so much better now!
My Sister: Oh, my gosh. It’s a miracle you didn’t get into an accident. Who the heck was this with???
Me: Hubby. We were younger and wilder back then.

Really. Maybe it was naïve of me, but considering how common road head is, I really didn’t think it was that unusual. A while later they adjusted the rules to…you drink if you hadn’t done something…because way too many of us were drinking, probably…LOL! So what happened? This…

Jade Lee: (Reading the card) I’ve done the reverse cowgirl.
Almost everyone in the room:
(Took a drink)
My Sister: What’s a reverse cowgirl?
CJ: Kitt, why don’t you get up here and demonstrate what a reverse cowgirl is to your sister? Pretty sure you know exactly what it is.
Me: Dude! She’s My sister…. (turned to my sister) Seriously? You don’t know what a reverse cowgirl is?
New friend, Mindy (who I met in Savannah): (straddled Jade with her back to chest and demonstrated) This!
My Sister: OH!!! That’s a reverse cowgirl? I’ve done that before. I just didn’t know it was called that!

Yes, the whole room got a chuckle… And new terms were learned. Like I said…educational and fun! And the prizes were cool, too. I mean…. tell me this isn’t kinda cute…

A Vanilla Bondage Kit!

A Vanilla Bondage Kit!

There have been other times where girls weekend have been about empowerment and growth, as well as a bit of sex ed. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I used to love to host pleasure parties. My gal pals used to call and beg me to host them because we’d have a blast. At the last one, though, something a bit more important than simply buying sex toys came up.

ORGASMS!

One of my gal pals, during the course of the evening confided that she’d never had one despite the fact that she’d dated her boyfriend (who I also knew) for a long time.

Me: So…never? Not even by your own hand?
Her: No. I can’t seem to relax enough. I get close when I take a bath…that’s why I’m curious about the waterproof vibes.
Me: So is it because you can’t relax enough that your boyfriend hasn’t been able to get you off? There are things you guys can do…
Her: (hurriedly interrupts) No. That’s not it. He doesn’t care if I have one or not as long as he gets his.
Every female in the room: WHAT?!? Eff that!
Me: You’re a beautiful girl…and a sweetheart. What do you mean “as long as he gets
his”?
Her: (shrugs, not making eye contact) You know how he’s in sales, right? He basically said it’s kind of like a sale. As long as he gets what he wants, who cares about the customer.
Me: (appalled and feeling so badly for this girl…everyone else was nodding in agreement) He seriously compared your orgasms to a sales transaction?
Her: Yup.
Me: Sweetie, he needs to go. You deserve better. First, your pleasure should be the most important thing to him when you’re intimate. Second…he’s not going to be in sales long with that kind of attitude. Most of his guy friends think you’re hot and he overachieved in managing to get you to date him in the first place. Trust me, there are plenty of guys out there willing to put your pleasure first.
Every female in the room: Hell yeah! What she said. You shouldn’t put up with that shit. I’d dump his ass.
Her: You really think so?
Me: I know so. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still buy a vibrator…because seriously…you should have an orgasm. They’re some of the best things ever…but isn’t that toy you’re looking at a little on the small side?
Her: Well, I’m pretty tight down there. I don’t know if I could handle much bigger.
Me: (eyes wide and staring at a toy that wasn’t much bigger than a thick finger) Ummm… you have had sex with him before, though, right?
Her: Yeah, but he’s not really that big.
Me: (looks at the toy, then back at her) Ha!!! That’s awesome. Justice served.

Sure, there are other examples I can give of why girls night is so important….but I think you get my gist. Ladies, when’s the last time you had a girls night? What did you do? What was the funnest girls night you’ve had?

Guys, what are your thoughts on the second scenario? Was I overreacting in thinking this guy is a douchebag? If you’ve got a lady who participates in these girls nights/weekends/vacations…do you get to reap the benefits when your lady gets home? Truthfully, usually, by the time the events are over we’re raring to go for a little bit of man meat…;-)

It’s My Party (and I kind of missed it!)

Yesterday was my 1 year anniversary for starting this blog. Normally I would’ve been on here getting rowdy and celebrating…you know, like I usually do….except that by the time we hit home from our trip to Savannah I was ready to land face first in my bed.

Showing off our brand new lace up corsets for the Vampire Ball

Showing off our brand new lace up corsets for the Vampire Ball

Yes, that’s my sister, me and one of my besties. While in Savannah we met some of my favorite authors, ate great food, made new friends and attended two balls. One of us even had a ghostly experience. Unfortunately it wasn’t me. 😦

Thomas Owen House

Thomas Owen House

This is the Thomas Owen house….it was on this general property that my gal pal had an “unexplained” incident that left her with the heebie jeebies.

Yellow Fever's impact on Savannah

Yellow Fever’s impact on Savannah

The history buff in me was fascinated by the info in the only in tact cemetery in the heart of Savannah…. Yellow fever actually took out 10% of the population in the city. Also found, which fed the tragic side of romance in me…

Duelist's Grave

Duelist’s Grave

Yes, there were duelists graves! You can imagine how my imagination wandered…creating images in my mind about how these folks died. We got a chance to tour around the historic district by carriage ride…

Our Beautiful Transport

Our Beautiful Transport

I had plenty of spanking good fun…. In fact, I brought home Swag to share…so be on the look out on how to win some of the fun stuff I brought back with me…. Literally a box full just for you guys!

Me, at the Elemental Masquerade Ball

Me, at the Elemental Masquerade Ball

Hope you guys had a great weekend! So tell me… Have you ever had a ghostly experience? Ever been to Savannah? Ever been to a readers conference? Tell me about it! Ya’ll know how much I enjoy hearing from you. Have you ever missed your own anniversary because you got caught up doing something else? Let me know I’m not alone.

Sexy Savannah Nights

I know, I know…. I’ve been abnormally quiet lately. It’s not like me, but there has been a lot going on in my personal life.

Having said that…I’m so excited! I’ll be putting my fan girl hat on and going incognito…. Where? To my very first conference, Authors After Dark!

AADSidebar

Not only will it be a girls weekend with my sister and one of my besties, but I’m going to have the opportunity to meet some of my all time favorite erotic romance authors! I’m not going as a blogger or a writer….just as little ole me!

Since we’ll have free Wi-Fi at the hotel, I’ll try to post some stuff while we’re there…but you know that if I don’t get the chance, that just means I’ll have a ton of stuff to share with you guys when I get back!

Have any of you ever gone to this event? Any other Author/Reader Conferences? What did you think? I’m practically bouncing off the walls with excitement because I finally get to meet my awesome internet buddy and author, Lissa Matthews in person!!! (And Cherise Sinclair, Joey W Hill, Julie Ann Walker and so so so many more!)