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EricaBeale.com

I Fell In Love with a Lady

Don’t Worry, Nate, She’s not a Threat!

You know, I had a couple of things–serious things!–I wanted to blog about and I had even planned on doing one for today. However, something relatively unexpected happened on Saturday. As the title of this post suggests, I met a girl and I fell head-over-heads in love with her.

A Tragic Backstory

(This time, there is no disgusting Brach’s candy involved)

About a decade ago, Nate and I brought a new cat into our home. We had no intention of getting one as one of our cats had died about 6 months prior. But, a friend of a friend who does a lot of great work rescuing neighborhood cats posted a plea. She wanted to find a home for a mama cat she’d rescued. All the kittens were taken, but mom needed to find a family of her own.

My heart went to this cat. So, we reached out, met up with the kitty whisperer, then brought home our new cat.

ChiChi, gone but not forgotten

Originally, I’d named her Boca Chidori, which (probably incorrectly, mind you) translated into something like “mouth full of birds.” She was loud as hell and very vocal. Anyway, that was too long. We decided to shorten it to ChiChi.

ChiChi was a great cat…most of the time. The day we got her, she did steal a sandwich right out of my hand. And she frequented the trash can to search for leftovers no matter what we did to prevent it. That being said, she would always comfort me with purrs and snuggles. Every time I decided to take a nap on the couch, which was frequent, she’d lie on top of me, stretched out and happily purred.

A couple of weeks before Christmas last year, she died. I didn’t take it well. I couldn’t even bring myself to talk about it with my closest friends. It hurt so much. One day she was fine, then she seemed a little sick, then one day…

Anyway, I don’t want to talk about it still. Hell, I miss that cat.

Letting New Love In

I think it was about a week ago when a different friend posted about finding an abandoned cat she turned into a local animal shelter. That cat looked a heck of a lot like my ChiChi. It broke my heart that someone would just leave their sweet cat behind.

Until that point, I had decided I didn’t want to invest in another cat. I still had our older cat, Little Bit, so I figured that’s enough. But I started thinking about it, and how much I miss all the love I’d shared with Chichi over the last 10 years. So, Nate and I talked, and he felt that if I was ready to get a new cat, we should. He is a real sucker for cats, let me tell you. I knew it wouldn’t be a hard sell.

He really took point on things. Nate went ahead and gathered all the supplies we would need for a new little friend. Maybe, in his heart, he was excited as I was about the plan. On Saturday, we headed out to find us a cat.

First we hit up a PetSmart. I’d seen a cat online that I really wanted to meet. For longer than I’d like to admit, I’d wanted to get a black and white cat to name Spock. Yes, I’m a complete dork, and I’m not ashamed of it.

But, as it turns out, they didn’t do adoptions on Saturday. There was no one to show off the pets. Of all days of the week not to do it.

Nate offered to come back on Sunday to get the cat, but I really wanted to be there. Sunday was a writing day for me and I’m trying hard to stay on task. Instead, we decided to hit up an animal shelter not far away.

When You Know, You KNOW

Presenting Jadzia Dax

I remember feeling incredibly nervous once we pulled into the parking lot. There was no reason to be, but I really was. Everything is kind of a blur now. Maybe too much excitement. I’m not sure.

When we went back to meet all the available kitties. There were a few others in as well, going through with the same journey. There were some adorable cats there looking for homes, but none of them evoked any real feelings in me.

That’s Until I Saw Her

They’d named her Rose-Bud. The first thing I noticed was her beautiful fur. I’d always loved orange cats, but hers was a lot lighter than I’d seen before. Almost a strawberry blonde color. It fascinated me. I made small talk with her with “Hi, kitty kitty” and a few beconing clicking sounds of the tongue. She stared at me for a moment, then rolled over onto her back, which in my mind, I thought meant approval or interest. I felt a fluttering in my chest as a feeling of joy washed over me. It was so intense like someone was giving my soul a warm, loving hug.

One of the staff came over and asked if I was interested, which I was. The young woman told me how sweet she was and asked if I wanted to pet her. So I did. The moment we touched, I knew. This was my cat. My new love. The feeling was so powerful, I felt tears welling in my eyes.

Nate signed all the paperwork since they took his ID instead of mine. Ten minutes later, we were in the car with our new roommate.

A Strong Name for a Strong Lady

Rose-Bud wasn’t her name, though. First of all, I was pretty set on naming whatever cat we chose after a Star Trek character. This cat is so cool and collected. The whole ride, she didn’t meow, didn’t squirm. She just sat in the carrier, in my lap, and went along with the ride. Plus she is incredibly beautiful. Only one name came to mind: Jadzia Dax. We’ll be calling her Dax for short, but that’s my new girl’s name.

My girl Jadzia Dax. She was always my favorite on DS9. Now I have my own Dax at home with me. The best thing is, she’s settling in incredibly well! It’s like she’s always lived here. I love it. And I love her!

And that, dear reader, is How I Met my Kitty.

Until next time, Keep Your Mind In the Gutter!

(Btw, I’m nearly done with the next part of my Tales Dripping in Crimson story Hell-Bent. Don’t forget to get caught up with the other three in the series!)

Life After (Facebook) Death

Or How Losing my Account Brought Me Back to Life

(This post is dedicated to my big boss, Denise, who told me to write something this weekend. She’s not a lady you want to let down!)

Yeah, I know it’s been a while. It probably would have been a lot longer if I hadn’t been Facebook-jacked. I didn’t realize how much I used the app until I lost access. It SUCKED. This happened right before my birthday, so I was a little bummed out to miss out on birthday wishes. I felt absolutely disconnected from my social circle. Sure, I just texted the people I’m closest to, but FB is more for connections to those you may not talk to as regularly.

The worst part is the loss of my writer page. That’s what drove me to write a blog post. I worked hard on it! Now totally gone.

I’ve done everything to recover the account, but the asshole who stole it turned off two-factor authentication and removed my cellphone number from the account. I tried getting in touch with Facebook, but, as it turns out, it’s nearly impossible to do. Eventually, I gave up and started a new one. It hasn’t been the same, though.

That being said, since then, I’ve been feeling the urge to write again. Maybe annoyance was the fuel I needed. Who knows.

What have I been up to?

The answer is not much. My creativity has been completely zapped away. I want to write, but by the end of the workday, it’s the last thing on my mind. I just want to sit around, watch TV, play video games, and sleep. You know, the typical adult experience these days.

Over the last few weeks, though, Crimson has been calling. Kay and Dena have been tapping some glass in my brain, reminding me they’re waiting for their story to be fully realized. The only thing with that is I think I’m going to have to rewrite huge chunks of it. Just when I finished writing the whole thing, too. Well, a while ago, anyway.

Coming Soon!

Then, that drive to redo The Last Fae, makes me want to write the short stories I’ve been working on as companion pieces. Hell-Bent has been sitting on my laptop, half-written since September/October. And of course, I need to continue Lady Olubayo’s Bordello, the serial novel set in the same world that I started on Vella. Don’t forget, the first three chapters are free, and if you read them, I get a couple of cents. Hey, any little bit will make me feel accomplished, so if you could….

I really miss it. Writing makes me happy. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I can do for myself, and I just abandoned it. Again. I’m pretty mad at myself about it.

So What am I Going to Do About It?

Starting right now, I’m going to dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to writing. I’ll finish work, have dinner, and mentally relax for maybe an hour or two. Then, I will write. It’s happening this time. I’m going to keep it up.

I will not stick to a particular schedule right now. My goal is to finish Hell-Bent within the next 30 days. I’m going to post a blog when my inspiration is inspired. Eventually, I’ll even get back into vlogging, since editing is another hobby I find a lot of joy in. I’m 42 now, and it’s time I do what the hell I want to do! I deserve it. Dammit.

Other social media rebuilding is coming soon. The next project will be to do a new author page. Wish me luck.

Until next time, my friend. Keep your Mind in the Gutter.

A Prince and his Dragon: In Progress

My Current Project

I’ve been working on a story off and on for the last few years. For the longest time, I called it “Dragon’s Bond,” but at the advice of someone smarter than I am, I have been trying to think up a better name. I can’t say I’m 100% set on this particular title. It is starting to grow on me.

So, what’s it about?

The kingdoms of Ostea and cKustreiland have been at war for 100 years. Now that both kingdoms are on a decline and each has something the other needs for their society, they’ve called a truce. To solidify the peace, the heir of Ostea is set to marry the princess from Kustreiland. As a show of good faith, the countries bring their courts to a central location for the largest festival ever seen.

Armen is the younger of the two Ostean princes.  He, like the rest of the court, is excited about this massive meeting. With him is his own betrothed, Demma. Until his brother is wed, he is not able to join in his own union, much to both of their disappointment.

The royal houses go on a hunt during the festival, where they are ambushed by malicious fairies. During tight, Armen finds a woman unconscious in the woods.

She is a dragini, a dragon cursed into human form. He attempts to save her as well as himself from the rogue pixies, however, he is wounded. The dragini woman comes to quickly enough to protect him, but in the process their blood mingles, bonding them in ways they could never imagine.

It’s an intensely intimate connection neither of them can shake off, causing a great deal of friction in relationships around them.

There’s more. A lot more. But this is the gist of how it gets started.

Tidbits of artwork

I was lucky enough to get to play with Dalle 2. I’m not saying how good AI is getting is scary, but…

Here are some images Dalle and I came up with for important characters.

Prince Armen of Ostea

This isn’t totally accurate as to the way I imagine him, but it’s not bad

Differences:

  • He has steel gray eyes
  • He only has a goatee, not a beard
  • His hair is a lighter shade and is in braids

Armen is very close to his brother, Heygan. Since he’s the spare, he never had as many responsibilities as his older brother. This led to Armen spending a fair bit of time with Demma growing up. Eentually the pair fell in love.

He is a sensitive soul with a kind heart. And he is very inexperienced with lifie beyond the castle walls.

Lady Demma

Lady Demma is Armen’s childhood best friends. Since she is the daughter of the high general, Gloin, she spent a great deal of time with the royal family.

She and Armen are deeply in love with each other and can’t wait to get married.

Since she is the daughter of the best general, she’s pretty good in a fight herself.

The picture is pretty accurate, actually. I was really impressed.

Iserri the Dragini

Half transformed between a human and a dragon, Iserri winds up being magically bonded with Prince Armen. It’s against both of their wills and they both hate being bonded together.

I’ll tell you more about the Dragini at a later date. It’s…involved.

Her look isn’t quite right.

Differences:

  • Her hair is more like strips of scaled skin
  • Green skin coated in soft, shimmery scales
  • Golden serpent eyes.
  • Probably doesn’t have horns, but after looking at this picture, she very well might going forward.

Pividi, the Dragon Queen

She’s not actually a main character for the story, but I loved how this image turned out, so I wanted to include it.

Pividi is an ancient dragon queen who crowned the warrior Ostea as the king to lead her people. As you may guess, he is one of Armen’s ancestors.

This comes into play during the story.

Writing it all down

I started this for NaNo 2017. Yeah…I should have finished it y now, but I haven’t. It’s being worked on. Luckily, I have a couple of chapters ready to go. I’ll be posting Armen and Iserri’s meeting next time. After that, we’ll see!

In the meantime, you can catch up on my other works. Or, you could explore my absolutely tragic back story.

Until next time. Keep your mind in the gutter.

The Best Laid Plans

Sidetracked. AGAIN.

Well, I had this whole thing written up about the next “big” project I would be working on for a few months. But then, I got sidetracked by the world of Crimson. That world is like a weed. Just when I think I have it under control, it just finds a spot in my brain and starts to grow.


I’m going to have to blame the good dark fantasy stuff that has come out recently. Between The Sandman and House of the Dragon, I’ve been in a very happy place. I mean, both have given me a mega creativity boost and I’m loving it. I’m not sure how much my husband has been enjoying it, though! I don’t mean to neglect you, Nate!


(On the note of HotD: I was super worried I wouldn’t be into Matt Smith playing Daemon Targaryen, but dude is just Slay-All-Day! He’s no longer just my beloved 11th Doctor and I ain’t mad about it.)


Both Bait and Delighted Bite are available on Amazon and Smashwords. Cursed will be dropping next Tuesday, so I’m excited about that. This is the first time I’ve given Xan a real backstory. Hell, I didn’t even know why he was cursed to begin with. I know now, though. It’s not pretty.


On top of that, I’ve decided to give Amazon Vella a shot. Something about writing in a series kind of feels good. It’s about the brothel that Dena’s aunt owned. So far three episodes are up and the next one is due to drop on the 8th. Episodes 1-3 are free. Amazon gives you 200 free tokens upfront. You could use them to read the 4th episode when it releases hint hint.


I have to say, Vella writers are really friggin’ nice. I joined up on a couple of Facebook pages and everyone is really quick to share and like links. I went from no reads to almost 20 reads in less than an hour. It warmed my heart.
I’ll be getting back to my dragon story eventually. Hey, maybe that could be my next Vella project. We’ll have to see.

In the meantime, I’ll be neck-deep into my Crimson stories. Up next will be Hell-Bent which will feature everyone’s favorite blonde devil, Mammon. I have to say, it’s hard getting in the mind of an asshole. WISH ME LUCK!e

Until next time. Keep Your Mind in the Gutter!

Intimate with Intimacy: The HS Victim’s Nightmare

https://pixabay.com/photos/passion-lust-pair-hands-5120121/

Anyone with Hidradenitis Suppurativa will tell you how hard it is to get behind getting busy with someone new. It’s a damned nightmare. There’s always this fear in the back of your mind that your partner will take one look at your bump-n-lumps and run screaming for the hills. It’s not a good feeling.

Hubby and I started off with an online relationship. We lived on entirely different coasts. Luckily, with that distance between us, I could manipulate the narrative about my body. If I showed him anything, it was by picture or video. Super easy to hide the places I hated. My armpits, under my breasts, and my groin were all a war-zone back then, so I kept them well hidden at all times.

I was excited to see him in person for the first time. But I was also scared out of my mind. I told him I had a skin problem but glossed over how bad it really was. Thankfully, he is a very understanding person and we had no problems in the bedroom.

Even with him being understanding, I still freak out occasionally, but I think it’s an understandable feeling. I feel gross way more often than I feel sexy. Sometimes it puts me off sex, especially when the HS is really flaring up. It’s the absolute worst.

I’ve been with the same person for over 16 years, so I haven’t had to worry about the “someone new” aspect of HS for many moons. However, if I had to (like if Sweet Hot Thor comes a-knocking) this is the advice I’d give myself.

Only date someone who makes you feel comfortable.

One of the most important things in any relationship is to find someone you can be your truest self with. If you can’t, then it might just be time to move on.

Make sure you tell them about your condition before you hit the bedroom.

Having someone reaching down your pants is not when you want to drop the HS bomb. Way before you get to that stage, be open and honest about your condition. Hey, as uncool as HS is, there is no shame in it. It’s not something you can control and it’s a part of who you are. You may hate it, but you’re going to have to own it. Control the narrative before it controls you!

Don’t be afraid to give them research material

There are plenty of resources out there explaining hidradenitis suppurativa. Get together with your lover and show them what it’s all about. Understanding is key. Plus, this way your special person can get an idea of what they could possibly do to help you. My husband has been instrumental to me dealing with HS.

Take your time. There’s no rush!

Hey, only do things you’re ready for. If you’re in a relationship where someone is trying to push it too quickly,  stand up for yourself. If that person can’t wait, well, they can go find someone else. You’re worth the time and if they don’t get that, then they can move the hell on.

Remember you’re a hot piece of ass no matter what condition you have

Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking to you. You are amazing and there is something about you that is more brilliant than the sun. HS is a small part of your life. The rest of you is what’s important. Don’t let HS hold you back!

You Won’t Go Through This Alone!

Don’t be afraid to tell your loved one about this aspect of your life. Yes, it sucks. There are miserable days sometimes that make you feel like the least sexy thing in the world. Just remember, while it may affect your life, HS is just a very obnoxious hurdle. Find someone who will go on the journey with you. And if your person doesn’t want to go with you, it’s time to pack up and leave them behind. You deserve only the best.

Until next time, my friend. Keep your Mind in the Gutter!

An Erica in the Writing Wilds

Creativity Flowing like the Spice Melange

For real, though, I don’t know where this creative burst has come from. It’s been friggin’ insane in my brain for the last couple of weeks. I’m talking about writing, editing, making ebooks…My entire days have been filled with words. I hope they’re decent ones!

By the time you read this, I’ll be back at my day job. I’m expecting my energy to get zapped out of existence. I’m hoping not, but historically, that’s what has happened. But, with any amount of luck, my muse will stay with me.

But these last couple of weeks has been amazing. Even with the pain of my hidradenitis, I’ve been feeling spiritually fulfilled. I’ve loved every second of it, even the times when what I worked on frustrated the hell out of me.

(Ugh, don’t even get me started on the story I’ve been working on for the last three days. It’s done, just not edited.)

So, what have I been up to

I’ve been building my ebook catalog. Some of them were already available, but I wanted to go back in and get some editing done. Plus, they needed updated covers desperately.

If you’d like to purchase any of these books, most of them are available on both Amazon and Smashwords. Tools of his Trade is only available on Kindle Unlimited.

Also, I’ve joined Literotica and Medium for posting a few freebies now and again. So far what I have on Literotica is doing very well. Medium, it’s too soon to tell.

Imparting Knowledge (hopefully)

In addition to writing, I’ve been making videos about things I’ve learned since delving into these projects. So far there are two: Canva vs Snappa for free covers and a quick rundown of getting Premium status on Smashwords (that’s coming tomorrow at 10 AM. Check it out!)

Here is the Canva/Snappa video for your viewing pleasure.

Check out both my YouTube Channels:

I also have a Twitch channel where I stream Fridays at 9PM EST.

Making a more educational video was a struggle at first, but after I got used to recording myself speaking, it wasn’t too bad. The editing of the video took nearly a lifetime. Still, in the end, if it helps someone, it’s well worth the work.

Keeping up with my Mind

I doubt I’ll keep going at my current pace once real life starts kicking in again. Also, I never know when my body is going to be a total jerk and take me down for the count (AGAIN). With any amount of luck, I’ll still feel the creative buzz through me because it truly makes me happy. Writing brings me a lot of joy.

Come back and see me soon! Next week I’ll have another Hidradenitis post for you unless something changes the topic.

Until next time. Keep your Mind in the Gutter!

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

A Pain in my Ass…LITERALLY

My Constant Companion

I have the vaguest of memories about the first time I realized something was wrong. I was nine years old. I had always been tall and fat, enough so that my fellow classmates made fun of me for it. But, unfortunately, I also started puberty. Imagine being fat and developing. Not the best time I’d ever had.

Not long after puberty started, I developed a large bump on the side of my groin. It hurt like hell. I remember my mom wanting me to walk to a store with her and I cried because the area hurt so badly I couldn’t walk. She heard nothing of it, of course, and dragged me out anyway.

Eventually, that one drained out and I felt better. Mom didn’t take me to a doctor or anything (not that doctors back then knew anything about hidradenitis back then). I was lucky it cleared up on it’s own.

But that wasn’t the only one. More came. Over and over again. On my groin. Under my arms. Under my breasts. And they hurt. And they smelled sometimes. I cried so many times over these areas. Why did I have to have this? What even was it?

It wasn’t until I was twenty-one that I got an answer.

Putting a Name to it

When I was twenty-one, I enrolled at a trade school to become a medical assistant. Part of that process included getting clearance from a doctor. My mom wasn’t big on doctors, so I never had a family doctor I went to regularly. Luckily the school had a partnership with local docs for cheap physicals with local doctors around the city. I made an appointment with one not far from my home.

Sick with nervousness, I went. I didn’t want to show off my underarms, which had become riddled with oozing holes and lumps. I thought for sure the doc would take a look and deny I was fit for duty. The doctor did look and finally gave me something I desperately needed: a name for what I had.

Hidradenitis suppratia. He didn’t really explain what it was, but having that much was practically a miracle. After he cleared me for school, I rushed home to jump on the internet to find out what in the ever actual loving f**k it was.

What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa, anyway?

Back then there wasn’t a whole lot of information. Still, what little I found gave me some peace of mind.

The explanation from Mayo Cliic:

Hidradenitis suppurativa (hi-drad-uh-NIE-tis sup-yoo-ruh-TIE-vuh) is a condition that causes small, painful lumps to form under the skin. The lumps usually develop in areas where your skin rubs together, such as the armpits, groin, buttocks and breasts. The lumps heal slowly, recur, and can lead to tunnels under the skin and scarring.

Mayo’s HS Page

Yeah, it’s about as sexy as it sounds. I can say with 100% confidence, that it’s the absolute f***ing worst. Keep in mind, HS usually strikes areas where your skin rubs together. Arm pits, under boob, between the legs/thighs, ass crack. God, in the ass crack has been the absolute worst experience.

It has three different stages, aka Hurley stages. I’ve made a handy infographic about it below, but let me give you the Erica listing:

  • Hurley’s stage 1: Bad
  • Hurley’s stage 2: Terrible
  • Hurley’s stage 3: F***********K

I’ll bet you can guess which stage I’m in. I always thought it was bad, but it just got worse over time.

Finding a cure

Right now there isn’t a cure for HS. There are things you can do on your own and therapeutic methods you can receive through a doctor. I’m pretty sure I’ve been on all of them at this point.

Stuff You Can Try at Home

(Of course, seek out a physician’s advice first!)

Elimination Diet

For some, HS could be triggered by certain foods. Many have removed dairy, sugar, bread and nightshade veggies from their diets. In some cases, it does help. Take one of these out and see if that makes your flares slow down

Tea Tree Oil

A clean scented oil that soothes. I suggest mixing it with something like coconut oil before applying to your skin. It can be harsh.

Vick’s Vapo Rub

I know this sounds crazy, but it does help. Not only does it soothe, but many find it helps bring the affected lump to a head so it will burst and drain.

Dietary Supplements

Tumeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. You can either make a paste with it and put it on the affected area, use it in food or tea, or take it in capsule form. Zinc has also been known to help out as well.

Hibiclens

Oh, Hibiclens! Where would I be without you? It’s an Antibacterial and Antimicrobial skin cleanser. It keeps the bacteria on the skin from forming. I use it daily on my areas. It’s a bit watery, so you probably want to invest in getting the foaming pump version. I bought it once, then refilled it with regular bottles of the cleaner.

Again, please (PLEASE) speak to a doctor before starting any treatment! I want you to feel better AND be safe.

Treatments Doctors Could Suggest

Antibiotics

Your doctor will probably start you off with a regimen of low-dose antibiotics. Usually clindamycin or maybe something stronger like doxycycline. Just remember to take them on a full stomach (ask me how I know).

Biologics

From WebMD: Biologic drugs are human-made proteins that are designed to zero in on parts of the immune system that trigger inflammation. Medications such as Humira and Remicade fall under this.

Surgery

Every doctor I’ve had surgery with says they treat HS like cancer and remove it all (aka excision). Sometimes these can be large areas of the body. Healing can take a long time and can be grueling, but It will definitely bring relief once it’s all said and done. Unfortunately, the HS could return where you’ve had surgery.

Places to find help

HS is a wild ride and sometimes it can feel like the loneliest journey. You’re not alone, though. You can always hit me up and I’ll be happy to chat. Also, here are some places you can go to either find information or support. These sites are pretty active and can provide a lot of guidance.

Moving forward

Whew, that was a lot. I hope it helps! I will be doing an ongoing series in regard to my life with HS. Talking about it is therapeutic for me. Plus, maybe someone out there will see they’re not alone in dealing with this outrageous disease. As I said, it’s a pain in the ass, literally.

Keep your mind in the gutter. Until next time.

Twitch Stream Archive|College Craze 1

I will be doing Twitch Streams, mostly of dating sim kind of games on Friday nights at 9PM EST. Most of the games are pretty adult. I’ll still post them here so you can get to the link easily.

This is one hour of College Craze by PrettyInk. It is an adult life simulator and dating sim where you play a college freshman getting her freak on. The tagline is “F**k around and find out” so you know what you’re in for.

My Twitch Stream

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