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Thank you, Kiss Chronicles

December 9, 2016

Approximately five years ago, I began writing the Kiss Chronicles book. The book started as an idea for a short story to generate interest in a project I was struggling to keep afloat. Then I gradually came to the realization that the original project had no fuel left to get it across the finish line With that realization, I reached my lowest point. I found myself smothered by a blanket of regret that I had failed, disappointment that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was, and embarrassment that I had made such a publicly visible miscalculation. And even with all of those negative feelings, I couldn’t let go of my determination that I had to complete the project one way or another.

I couldn’t be satisfied if I didn’t bring the project to some sort of conclusion. So I asked myself, what can I do? The instant, obvious answer was, “Write.”

I pivoted and decided that I could make the writing into the project. I refocused the negative energy into positive action. The exhaustion I felt no longer mattered because I had a vision for how I could complete Kiss Chronicles. I worked through.

Several months went into the first draft. Even more months went into editing and refining to get to the completed book, as well as work collecting and critiquing short stories written by friends. I continued to try to maintain the Kiss Chronicles social media efforts. Then, at last I finished the book, formatted it, and packaged it for public consumption. In March of 2013, more than a year after I began writing, I published the Kiss Chronicles book. For about half a year following publication, I put time and energy into trying to spread the word and share the book.

And then the exhaustion caught up to me. Everything slowed down . . .

And. I. Stopped.

I stopped trying to find an audience for the book. I stopped paying attention to the social media work.

But I took it further than that: I stopped writing at all.

I decided to let myself rest, to let myself recoup my energy. I had a vague idea that if I let myself recharge, I could re-address Kiss Chronicles and bring it some sort of satisfying peak of achievement.

The more I rested, though, the more reluctant I felt to ever return to Kiss Chronicles. Though I had pushed it across the finish line with nothing but determination, it still felt unfinished in some ways. So I lived on in a state of uncomfortable balance between the desire to move on and the desire to give the project a more fitting climactic ending.

Recently, I committed time to some soul searching, and I’ve decided that I’m ready to declare it done and move forward. Kiss Chronicles is a dream that I am putting to bed so that other dreams can flourish and receive my full focus.

Although the project had its struggles, I want to wrap up by focusing on the gifts I received that I will treasure:

  • I self-published a book for the first time — definitely a personal milestone.
  • I had the pleasure to meet so many new people through Kiss Chronicles, many of whom have become friends for life.
  • I think by the end of it all, I gained a little perspective and maybe a smidgen of wisdom.
  • I chased my dream. I learned more about just what it takes to chase a dream. Next time I will chase it and lay out booby traps to capture it.

Thank you, Kiss Chronicles, for all that you gave me.

The book, blog, donation site, and other social media for Kiss Chronicles will remain online. There may be future updates . . . to point to whatever my next project may be!


A birthday blog

April 11, 2014

Today I turn 33. There will be no fanfare, no fuss, no dramatic wailing at the injustice of a higher number attached to my life, no celebratory party with alcohol-saturated friends. There will be a slew of posts on Facebook from people. There will be cake, most likely some decadent, single-serving treat picked up from The Flying Cupcake. (I love you, The Flying Cupcake. I love you so much.) The best part of the day will be opening gifts from my mom.

Indecisiveness leads to multiple cupcakes.

Real!Cupcakes: I couldn’t decide between S’more and Tagalong, so I did the only logical thing. I got both.

Today I turn 33. And, nope, still no first kiss. The thing is that, although getting that first kiss became my #1 goal for a while there, in the past year it’s been knocked down lower and lower on the priority list. When this month ends, my employment as a copy editor ends, nearly 11 years after it started. The thing that matters most in my life right now is finding my next job, followed immediately by managing all the details of survival in the meantime.

I’d still like to get that kiss. But what felt painfully urgent before no longer does. I had an idea, the Kiss Chronicles project, and I put every last bit of my energy into it. Eventually, it spawned a book, and that book has raised over $500 for cancer charity to date. Yay! *Kermit flail* (If you haven’t read my book yet, you can find it on Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, and other sites. And you can donate to the project’s charity page to fight cancer on Razoo.)

Today I embrace the fact that I’m growing and going in a different direction from where I was headed when I began Kiss Chronicles. I’m not abandoning the work that I’ve done, but I also don’t want to feel tied down by it in any way at this point. To that end…

…today I reclaim and repurpose my blog. I’ve been thinking about making this change for the past several months — y’know, those months where I haven’t been posting at all, pfft.

When this blog began, I had specific purposes for it: It was meant to tell the progress of the Kiss Chronicles project and also to share real-life stories about kissing and how people relate to kissing, as submitted by readers. Well, I have little to share about the ongoing project anymore because it’s pretty much wrapped up. And the idea of sharing stories from readers foundered a long time ago because I only ever received a few stories. Sharing cool images and photos of kissing kept me going for a while, but I couldn’t sustain it because I felt frustrated, like I was holding myself back.

Now I just want to use the blog to have fun.

So, all of this is to say that my birthday gift to me this year is…proper ownership of my own blog. Heh. Just what I always wanted.

What all this means:

  • Kiss Chronicles is now a personal blog, essentially.
  • Posts could be about anything. Maybe I’ll start drawing again and share some pictures. I’ll definitely share some jewelry-making projects. I’ll talk about life, stories, writing, anime, gaming. My cats will show up. Lots of normal bloggy stuff.
  • I’d still be delighted to post kiss stories from other people if/when I can get my hands on them. Also, I enjoyed harassing artists to get permission to show their kiss-related artwork, so I may pick up that practice again.
  • Who knows where this will go? I’m making everything up as I go along. Like usual.

Today I turn 33. Happy birthday to me. 🙂 For last-minute gift ideas, please consider reviewing my book (various links earlier in post) or donating to the project’s charity page.

Volunteering for the St. Vincent Cancer Walk of Hope (3 years running, er, walking!)

October 4, 2013

The St. Vincent Cancer Walk of Hope rolled around again on a beautiful day, September 21st, 2013. (Yes, I realize that was weeks ago now. I’m slow.) I arrived, as usual, well before the rays of the rising sun. The tables and grass were wet, but the rain from the day before had ended.

We're amazingly chipper for having woken up so early.I worked, also as usual, to help with last-minute setup for the event. I helped put colorful skirts around tables, raise the large metal archway, and other small miscellaneous tasks. Things were very well in hand this year, so much so that I didn’t have a whole lot to do.

This year I got to spend more time talking with people. First of all, I met Beth, a fellow volunteer, shown on the right. Beth and I got along instantly, and I appointed myself as her minion for the morning. She also seemed to have a fairly good sense of what she was doing and where everything was, so I figured if I tailed her I could be particularly helpful.

When we ran out of work, I noticed Beth talking to a woman who had come to the event as a vendor. They were talking animatedly, so I sidled up and joined the conversation.

I made a friend!The vendor, I discovered, was Mary, and Mary is definitely my kind of people — she likes to tell stories as well as listen to them. We chattered together at length, shared our personal reasons for wanting to be a part of the Cancer Walk of Hope. She also told me about her comfort kit project, affectionately called LUCY (Let Us Comfort You). She also told me about her family, and I told her about Kiss Chronicles. And geez, what’s wrong with me that I still get embarrassed when I explain my Kiss Chronicles story to people directly? Shouldn’t I be over that by now? I nearly crawled under her vendor table to hide.

Time went by, and the walkers for the 10-mile walk showed up for their opening ceremony, which included an opening prayer and some Zumba to warm up.

Opening Ceremony for the Walk of Hope 2013

Everybody ready to walk?

About an hour after the 10-mile walkers went on their way, the next batch of walkers showed up for the 3-mile walk. They had an opening ceremony as well, and then we cheered them on their way.

You have ten miles, people, GET GOING!


I ended up staying much longer than I intended. That seems to happen every year.

BONUS! I ran into someone I knew. However, I didn’t recognize him. He looked much fuzzier, and more blue, than he used to.


At first, he didn’t tell me who he was. I had a good laugh later when he confessed.

It was another successful year, with over $300,000 raised to aid those patients dealing with the struggles of cancer. I plan to volunteer again in 2014. Keep up the good work, St. Vincent!

WAKE UP, BLOG! Wake up to the sound of kisses!

September 5, 2013

NOISE! LOUD RAUCOUS NOISE! BANG, ZAP, POW, KERPLOP! My blog grew unexpectedly quiet. I feel like I need to bang some pots and pans together to wake it up again. WAKE UP, BLOG!

I’ve been, well, obviously absent from the blog and even a bit shy of my social networks in general. The rush of an exciting summer season came to a head, and I was left in a quiet, contemplative space. I felt a need for calm. I needed to find some peace, even do some meditating. Maybe I should still throw in some prayers for good measure if I’m feeling frisky.

Have I gotten what I needed while I’ve been away and (gasp) not blogging? A bit. It’s a work in progress.

My melodramatic spirit may be getting the better of me, but I feel as though I’m at a crossroads. Things are going to change, and I’ve been gathering my energy to make that change as positive as I can.

Blah blah, cryptic statement, blah blah, vague sentiments, blah blah. See, this is why I haven’t been blogging. My head is a light and airy mess because I still haven’t finished getting my thoughts in order.

However, one thing I’ve discovered is that I’ve missed talking about kissing. I’ve missed my blog! So, even as I continue on my quest for calm, I need to start introducing some noise back into my life. Noise such as, oh, the sound of kisses.

Please make sure your volume is turned up so you can enjoy the extreme cute in this “Kissy Sounds” video:

How have you been? Are you recovering from a busy summer? Got any got any summer kiss stories for me?

The things I carried home from BlogHer ’13

August 8, 2013

I over-packed for BlogHer ’13. It was my first time attending the mega blogging conference, and I had the luxury of driving rather than flying, so I felt free to bring excessive amounts of stuff.

I left my car in the suburbs, and my aunt kindly drove me to the Sheraton. When I walked into the lobby, dragging my heavy luggage, I felt a rush of nerves. New setting. No familiar faces. Free cupcakes. I didn’t touch the cupcakes, which is a testament to how displaced I felt. I have a sweet tooth that frequently overrides my common sense. However, I didn’t feel as though I’d done anything to earn a cupcake yet, so I passed them by and sat to await my roommates, the fashionable SEO queen Elaine Griffin and the ever-lovely duchess of doodles Melissa Aiello.

Ten minutes later, I realized I had left my hanging dress clothes in the back of my aunt’s car as I cheerfully waved farewell to her. Well, at least I got my first mistake done with early. My aunt came back with my nice clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear pajamas to the expo.

Then I promptly went up the wrong set of elevators to try to get to my room. I just wanted to be thorough and get my second mistake out of the way.

The next two and a half days passed quickly, and it seemed as though between one heartbeat and the next I found myself at the end of the trip. As I walked out of my hotel room and heard the door thunk behind me, I carried home much more than I had brought.

My spatula and me. Best friends forever.

Photo and captioning by Stacy Calvert. I’m still trying to decide whether Stacy was being sincere or sarcastic.

I took home the expected Bag o’ Swag, full and only semi-sorted. My favorite acquisitions were an Eggland’s Best spatula won from an eggy slot machine and a pink Nerd from the Chuck E. Cheese booth. I earned my Nerd toy in classic Awkward!Blogger fashion: I went into a wind tunnel machine to try to win it. However, only after having tickets blown through my hair and into my cleavage did I find out that the sponsor was giving the nerd toys away, no win required. Oh well. At least I amused Melissa and my darling friend Linda Anselmi.

I also carried home, tucked safely away in my luggage, a steampunk coloring book and a pad of paper with kisses all over it, given to me as gifts by the sweet and cuddly Karen Sandoval.

My steampunk and kissy presents from Karen!

Karen knows what I like! Steampunk and kisses are all I could ever ask for. 🙂

Tucked between sandals and shirts, I brought home Joey, my kangaroo. Joey came to me all the way from Australia via Michelle Burke.

Kangaroo who?

This is Joey. Joey came from Australia. I love Joey and Michelle! Also, my fedora.

I was able to spend time with Michelle because she tweeted me and asked me whether I’d be at the Gale Ann Hurd keynote. I had planned to crash on my bed for an hour, but Michelle and Gale were both well worth sacrificing a nap. (In fact, I even wrote up Gale’s keynote on the BlogHer site.)

I carried home the knowledge of how impressive Jasmine Banks is. I first spotted her on a Serta bed, melting into it as she lay next to a friend, with Neil Kramer smiling down at her as he stood by her side. I’ll always remember how much strength it took for her to come to BlogHer after a deep personal loss occurred only the day before.

I took home some personal sadness that I didn’t get to spend more time with Abbie Gale and Michelle Lewsen and Georgia Johnson and so very, very many others. I wanted more time to find people and more time to spend with them.

I brought home forty-eight business cards — fifty if I include two accidental duplicates. Actually, the number is closer to fifty-five if I count some hand-written contact notes. I did not acquire business cards from everyone I encountered. For instance, I spent some time with Delfin, but we were so busy chatting that I never got his card. (S’all good, though, ‘cause I know where he blogs.) In many cases, I had only a few brief seconds to exchange a hug or handshake. I estimate that I met or encountered about eighty people.

I was unable to take any of my new people home with me. They all refused to climb into my luggage. And I really don’t understand what JC Little’s objection was because I’m sure she would have fit. Still, even though I couldn’t keep the artist, I did take home a flattering piece of toonswag, but only after spending a hilarious evening with her and Aliza Worthington and Linda Anselmi.

I'm a cartoon! And I'm faaaabulous!

My toonswag drawn by the indomitable (abominable? indubitable?) JC Little!

I’m still carrying with me the hug I received from Tyrone Farley after delivering my BuskHer ’13 performance, where I stood in the hallway outside of the Fashion Show Reception and delivered some poetry and a section of my book that I’d memorized. The busking was the thing I’d been working on, what I’d been gearing myself up to accomplish at the conference for over a month. And I almost chickened out. I actually almost didn’t do it despite the fact that I’d poured hours and hours into the preparation. I never had a proper rehearsal, and the conditions were never quite right. I meant to do it Friday, but that plan fell through. On Saturday, I had to accept that I wouldn’t get perfect conditions, and I dove into the performance regardless. I performed in front of my friends. My sense of self faded away, leaving only the words to be shared. As I spoke and dredged up all my theatre energy from the past, a few people stopped briefly to watch and then moved on. Tyrone, though, Tyrone stopped to watch and stayed. And at the end, he came forward and embraced me, and I cried just a little with relief and gratitude, and he told me about his love of theatre in his soothing voice, which I think would be GREAT for Shakespeare.

Thank you, Tyrone. Thank you. You helped remind me that my book and story are worth all the effort to reach out to even just one more person.

I brought home a desire and an idea to start a new project, a vlog. Between the Video 101 session by Stacy Calvert and Julie Yamamoto and my own theatrical antics, I know I have more to learn and share, new opportunities for growth.

These are just a few of the things I carried home with me. They are the weight of dreams and purpose. I’ll take that cupcake now.

Actually, no, hold the cupcake a little longer. I have more work to do.

(Note: I couldn’t call out absolutely everybody that I love and adore and met in this post, but that don’t mean I don’t love you! MUAH!)

Going off topic: Old school blogging meme

July 22, 2013

I’ve been tagged! Okay, I don’t go off topic on this blog very much — I typically stick to the kissing and charity themes — but my bloggy buddy Stevie tagged me, so I’m making a special exception.

Meme time! This is for an Old School Blogging linkup hosted by Alison and Elaine. (Remember, blame Stevie.)

Five Things I Have a Passion For:

  • Dream chasing
  • Fairy tales
  • Anime (from popular to obscure, I have to keep a spreadsheet of all the shows I’ve watched)
  • Words/literature
  • Steampunk

Five Things I Would Like to Do before I Die:
Hold on, lemme just check my bucket list….which has 100 items on it because, darn it, it’s okay to want stuff.

  • Raise $10k to fight cancer. There, I said it. I dream of getting the Kiss Chronicles Razoo page to $10k raised toward the cure.
  • Create a web comic (probably partnering with an artist)
  • Visit Australia
  • Learn to play chess
  • Paint a wall full of doodles (or an entire room, perhaps?)

Five Things I Say a Lot:

  • “Oh my gosh!”
  • “Frickity.”
  • “Stop it, cat.”
  • “Where did I put that? I had it a second ago.”
  • “Pumpernickel, away!” Oh, wait, no, I never say that.

Five Books and/or Magazines I Have Read Lately:

Wow, talk about a hodgepodge.

Five Favorite Movies:

  • The Princess Bride
  • Princess Mononoke
  • The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen
  • The Avengers
  • The Labyrinth

My above choices are based strongly on rewatchability.

Five People I Invite to Do This Meme:

I’m a bad sport. Here’s what I say: If you’re a blogger and this interests you, do eeet! If you’re a blogger and it doesn’t interest you, don’t do eeet, and link me to some other post about yourself so I can get to know you. (But, you know, it’d be really cool if Melissa my Favorite Alien and Karen the Fairy Queen and Elaine the Derby Girl did it.)

Kiss Chronicles ebook is now FREE on Amazon!

July 17, 2013

Two weeks ago, I posted the Kiss Chronicles ebook on Amazon for $0.99. I kept it quiet and didn’t announce it widely because I was hoping desperately that if I gave it a little time, Amazon would adjust the price to free, like it should be. I struggled with the decision to post on Amazon because of the risks involved. I realized that the adjustment might never come, but after I posted the book, I asked friends and strangers to notify Amazon that the ebook is free on other sites, and I notified Amazon myself, and I waited.

You know what happened? SUCCESS! The book is now FREE on Amazon! Click the cover below to go to the Amazon page and get it for yourself, because my bloggy buddy Denise says you should:

The Kiss Chronicles book cover

Now available on Amazon!

This morning, when I looked at the Amazon and saw the $0.00 price tag, I had to stare at it for a minute before the reality set in. I’m so used to dealing with setbacks on the Kiss Chronicles project that it’s shocking to run into such a success — and this took only two weeks.

As always, the reason that I’m so intent on making the book free is because I want to invite readers to make a donation to a cancer charity (at my Razoo page or to another cancer charity of their choosing).

I’m so, so glad things worked out. This increases convenience for readers and for me. Days and weeks and months go by where nothing seems to work out well for the Kiss Chronicles project, but then something like this happens, and my heart soars. This is precisely the happy thing I’ve been wishing for, and I can ride this wave straight into the BlogHer ’13 conference, which I’ll be attending next week to promote blog and book.

Haha, oh crud, there’s a big honking paragraph that I added as a special note to Amazon readers in Chapter 12, apologizing about the $0.99 Inconvenience Fee. I guess that doesn’t make sense any more, does it? I’ll see about editing that out.