books · Halloween Town · Ohio

I’m feeling very haunted

Boo!! Scared ya! HAHAHAHA!!

It’s creeping ever closer to my favorite time of year. Halloween time. It’s almost time for ghouls and goblins, so as a pre-October treat, HAUNTED is out today! Read all about this fantastic anthology, featuring my short story, “I Spy.”

About the book:

Not all ghost stories are simple sightings and things going bump in the night. Not all ghosts are left behind because of simple unfinished business. No, sometimes that unfinished business is messy, complicated, and even deadly.

These are not your typical ghost stories—they are desire, love, and most importantly, revenge—all rolled into one. Revenge for a love stolen away, a love that never was, a retribution for a horrific act, or even an act of war.

Containing original stories and poetry by A.K. Alexander, Sara Dobie Bauer, Clint Collins, Harley Easton, Rhonda Parrish, Wendy Sparrow, Elesha Teskey, and ReLynn Vaughn.


I’ll give you a little teaser of my short story.

“I Spy” is about a happy young couple who wanna fix up an old seminary and make it a home for troubled kids. Well, there’s plenty of trouble when the vengeful ghost of a dead nun gets involved.

(Interestingly, “I Spy” is based on an actual place near my house called Madison Seminary that I’ve toured several times. Learn more about this haunted attraction HERE.)

Now, the tease …

“I Spy” (excerpt)
By Sara Dobie Bauer

“Look, I know we’re not supposed to talk about this, but …” I chew my fingernail. “The ghost stories.”

Tyler freezes, and I wish I could see his face. He can’t hide anything from me if I can see his face. “Tell me you haven’t been on Google. You promised.”

“I know, I … I haven’t been on Google, Tyler.”

He shimmies backwards out of the hole in the wall, and I snort.

“You have a million cobwebs in your hair, love. You look like a piece of that old furniture in the basement.”

He uses the back of his hand to push too-long locks from his forehead. “Bean, there’s no such thing as ghosts.”

“Right. Logically.” I bury my hands in my pockets. I don’t remember what it’s like to feel warm. “Look, logically, I know, ghosts aren’t real. It’s just, I’ve had some strange things happen, like my things goin’ missing, and sometimes I feel like I’m being watched.”

“Shit, can you actually feel when I’m checking out your ass?”

I clear my throat and glare.

He hops up to his feet, and I reach to dust off his hair, which takes me back to the first time we met when I helped clean vomit from his head.

Unlike Tyler, I come from a well-to-do family. For his job, Dad moved us from Ireland to Cleveland, Ohio, when I was sixteen, so maybe I did a bit of acting out, which ended with me having to do community service. Thanks to my underage drinking, the judge sent me to volunteer at a homeless shelter, which I thought would be just bloody awful.

Instead, I walked in to see this six-foot guy in hand-me-down clothes with the most beautiful face I’d ever seen, holding a bucket while some kid puked through withdrawal symptoms. The kid missed and ended up puking all over Tyler. I considered it my judge-appointed civic duty to assist the hot guy. That was seven years ago.

Now, I’m a business major at Cleveland State University, Tyler is an entrepreneur, and we often talk about adult things like marriage and kids—eventually.

He rubs his nose against mine. “Ghosts aren’t real.”

“But bad things happened here, right?”

He tilts his chin down. “Bad things happen everywhere.”

The scars on his body are proof of that—but that’s not what we’re discussing.

“People died here, though. Right? Like, in bad ways.”

He scratches his head, and I sneeze on released dust.

“Bless you,” he mutters.

“Tell me.”

He glances back at the hole in the wall, eyes puffy because he hasn’t been sleeping enough. “Let me just finish this. Why don’t you go downstairs, make some of your gross tea.” He only drinks coffee. “And we’ll talk. Just give me twenty.”

I hug my sweater-clad arms and nod. He kisses my forehead and crawls back into the hole in the wall, leaving me near him but alone in the long hallway on the fourth floor with tiles that look like eyes of a storm. Some of the tiles are rotted away, but the ones that remain are red and white and I swear they stare at me.


Wanna know what happens next? Duh, of course you do!

I hope you enjoy this haunting collection and that it gets you ready for the SPOOKIEST time of year!

Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

Meet the sexy small town boys of Craving: Country

I rarely write anything “sweet.” Sure, there’s always a hint of romance in my work (even in the twisted stuff), but it’s rare that I write traditional romance. I finally did for the new romance anthology from Crave Publishing.

About Craving: Country: “There’s something about a country boy that makes us hot for denim jeans and leather hats. They’re mysterious, intriguing, confident, and demand our attention in everything they do. Then there’s the fierce loyalty you see in their eyes that makes you think of tangled sheets and sinful deeds. So pull on those jeans, roll up your sleeves, and grab your boots. Things are about to get dirty.”

In “Must Love Grapes,” California wine saleswoman Emily travels to the small town of Geneva, Ohio (right near where I live), to test out the famed Tuppence Estate wine cellars. She never expects to be so seriously attracted to grumpy grape farmer Shelby Tuppence, especially since she just broke up with her boss. But, well, sparks fly … or corks pop … or … you get it.

Here, Emily has a drunken encounter with Shelby. If you want to read the rest of “Must Love Grapes,” order your copy of Craving: Country today, available in eBook and paperback from Crave Publishing!

“Must Love Grapes”
An Excerpt
By Sara Dobie Bauer

By the time it occurred to Emily that she should maybe slow down, it was too late. At wine tastings, she always made it a practice to spit, which probably explained her level of inebriation upon her return to the estate. Over the course of the late morning and early afternoon, she’d spit nothing but venom toward Todd.

Janis declared she would be taking a nap before starting dinner preparations, but Emily made her way to the kitchen. The way was slow, considering there appeared to be two of everything—Shelby Tuppence included.

“Oh.” She stood in the kitchen doorframe, hands on either side for balance, and frowned at the man in front of her. “You. Fantastic. Do you have any cheese and crackers?”

He stared at her from his seat at the butcher-block kitchen island. “What happened to you?”

“The Jamboree.” She moved her hand in a circle and made a clicking sound with her tongue. “I don’t think Ohio wines are that bad, but maybe the high residu … resid … that’s a hard word. Res-i-du-al sugar was high, so maybe it’s in my brain.”

He laughed once, quickly, before covering his mouth with his hand.

“You have a nice mouth.” She stepped over the threshold. “Too bad you’re mean.”

She wasn’t so drunk that she missed the sad look on his face. He pushed the bar stool out from behind him and stood, moving quickly for the fridge. “What kind of cheese do you like?”

Emily slumped onto his abandoned seat. “Any kind. And crackers! I need to soak up the alcohol.”

“Did Janis drive you into Geneva?”

“Yes.”

“Where is she?”

“Sleeping. She needed a nap. But I …” She pointed to herself. “Needed cheese and crackers. Did you know wine and cheese go well together?”

“I did.” He stood there, frozen, a block of what looked like white cheddar in his hand. “I’m sorry about yesterday, but I’m not mean. I’m just not very good with people.”

“No, you are good with grapes.” She nodded as if she’d just come to some until-then-unknown conclusion and watched him hurry to the pantry as he unwrapped the cheese.

Shelby looked much as he had the day before in dirt-covered jeans and another slim fitting, worn button-down—plaid, that day, in shades of light blue that should have matched his eyes but didn’t since his eyes were dark brown. It was equal parts unnerving and attractive, the way his dark eyes were in direct contrast to his light, bright hair. And her earlier drunken confession was accurate: he did have a nice mouth with a full bottom lip that would have been perfect for sucking.

In front of her, he placed a small cutting board, complete with a big block of cheese and water crackers. She grabbed the little knife from his hand and went to work while he lingered, standing, across from her.

“I usually spit, you see, which you’re supposed to do at wine tastings. This immaturity here.” She waved her hand in front of her face. “This is newbie shit, and I’m not a newbie. I’m thirty-four. Thirty-four.” She groaned and shoved some cheese and cracker into her mouth. “It’s your sister’s fault. Janis wanted to get me drunk so I would tell her all the dirty secrets about Wallace Distribution, but—”

“I don’t know that you want to be talking to me right now. Should I leave?” He took a backwards step toward the door.

“No, stay. No, you’re so cute, you have to stay.”

He grinned and turned the shade of, well, red wine.

“Oh, you smiled again. You’ve smiled twice today. That’s good.” The cheese was definitely aged and salty and perfect.

Shelby rushed toward the sink. “Water. You need water.”

“So there’s nothing really bad about Wallace Distribution, except maybe Todd.” She put her head in her hands and moaned. “Oh, my God, Todd. Todd is my ex-boyfriend. He wasn’t really my boyfriend. He’s my boss, but we were sleeping together, and I messed it up. Just like you messed up your marriage, I guess. All work and no play …”

He handed her a glass of water and blinked—a lot.

“Look at those eyelashes.” Emily sat up on her knees on the bar stool, and he hurried around the counter to steady her with his hands on her upper arms. Up close, he carried that smell again, of clean earth and yummy sweat. She grabbed his face. “You have amazing eyelashes. Look at them!”

“Ms. Seymour, I should really give you some time to sober up.”

“But I have a secret,” she said.


“Must Love Grapes” and a steamy assortment of love stories from other authors is available today in Craving: Country! Buy your paperback copy from Amazon HERE, or your eBook copy HERE.

Bite Somebody Else · Music · Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

The Bite Somebody Else Soundtrack

As you know, Imogene loves to dance. She loves music. She should basically have wireless earbuds surgically attached to her head. Of course she needs a soundtrack. Well, Bite Somebody Else needs a soundtrack … and here it is. (For you Spotify people, find the fun HERE.)


PRESENTING THE RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING
BITE SOMEBODY ELSE
SOUNDTRACK OF AWESOMESAUCE

1. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

I love Freddie. Imogene loves Freddie. Plus, she doesn’t want to be told what to do. And she is a “sex machine ready to reload.” Personally, I used to rock out to this tune in my friend’s car on the way to high school, smoking our illicit cigarettes before choir practice. Imogene would approve.

2. “Elastic Heart” by Sia

Not only do I picture Imogene and Nicholas having an epic dance-off to this kick ass song, but it fits Imogene’s persona perfectly. She’s got thick skin, and she bounces back from bad stuff. She’s a tough cookie. I wish I was a bit more elastic myself.

3. “Africa” by Toto

I tend to dance around my house with this song at full volume to annoy my husband. Nicholas similarly uses this song to annoy Imogene in Bite Somebody Else. I’m not saying my husband and I are a lot like Nicholas and Imogene, but … hmm, maybe we are.

4. “Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart

Imogene wears her red, plastic 80s sunglasses all the time to shield her glamour powers and to look cool. She unleashes said glamour powers in Bite Somebody Else big time, so watch out!

5. “Alone” by Heart

Ah, the height of 80s hair band angst! This, my darlings, is the love song of Imogene and Nicholas. For both of them: “Till now, I always got by on my own / I never really cared until I met you!” Oh, the gnashing of teeth and face-melting guitar! Swoon!

6. “The Mating Game” by Bitter:Sweet

First off, I want to see Nicholas enter a room adjusting his cufflinks in slow motion to this song. I don’t know why. Secondly, for the entirety of Bite Somebody Else, Imogene and Nicholas are playing a game. They’re playing each other. Who will win, hmm?

7. “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

A classic wedding dance song, played at the nuptials of one Celia and Ian. Makes me hop around the room. I dare you to stand still when this one’s on full blast.

8. “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

Just like my love for Freddie, I also love Bowie, as does Imogene. This tune is part of Nicholas’s slow seduction of our purple-haired heroine. I don’t know why I find this song so soothing, by the way. It’s about a man in a spaceship, and I’m claustrophobic.

9. “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last

Oh, the irony!!!! This is from one of the Twilight movies, and I love it. Really, though, it’s sort of melancholy and lovely. Plus, it’s about a guy who’s waited a hundred years to find the woman he loves, and Nicholas has been waiting for, like, a million. It’s perfect! Just try not to picture Edward and Bella.

10. “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie

Two worlds collide! Freddie and Bowie in one song! Genius. I’ve had a soft spot for this song since two of my best gal pals in Charleston made this their karaoke tune. In Bite Somebody Else, everyone is under a lot of pressure, especially Imogene who will do just about anything to avoid falling in love with a guy who’s perfect for her.


Bite Somebody Else will be released Tuesday, June 20th. Pre-order your copy from World Weaver Press. If you’re in the Ohio area, I’d love to see you at one of my upcoming launch parties: Toledo and Cleveland. Until then, dance, you mad things, DANCE!

(Again, for you Spotify people, find the fun HERE.)

Photo by Bill Thornhill.
Bite Somebody · Bite Somebody Else · Book Review · Entertainment in CLE · Film · Modeling · Ohio · Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · Wolf Among Sheep · Writing

Vampires, movie magic, and best books: 2016 in review

Every December, I do inventory of what the hell happened over the course of the previous twelve months. As you may have noticed, 2016 was (by far) the most chaotic and successful of my life … which might be why I refuse to get dressed today. In fact, you’re lucky I’m even sitting upright. In homage to a year of utter, beautiful insanity, I offer you a look back.

1. BITE SOMEBODY

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Dreams do come true. After years of angst, in June, my first published novel was released into the innocent, unsuspecting world. Bite Somebody–a ridiculous paranormal romantic comedy about an awkward vampire, her sexy human surfer boy, and a psychotic blood-sucking best friend–found fans the world over. I hosted two massively successful (and anxiety-inducing) launch parties and attended my first conventions as an author. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, click HERE, because as you may have heard, the sequel, Bite Somebody Else, comes out in 2017. The rodeo is far from over, folks. With all the upcoming promo and additional events, let’s just hope I don’t start looking rode hard and put away wet.

2. DECENT PEOPLE

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Once upon a time, I was an actress, so when my high school buddy asked me to be in a movie, I agreed. I had an absolute blast making Decent People, but I had no idea how hard it is to make a full-length film. (You can read all about it HERE.) Despite the laughs and new friends made, I walked away from the experience with bronchitis, laryngitis, and a phobia of having to smoke on screen ever again. (The reality just isn’t as sexy as it looks.) The film should be released in spring or summer of 2017. Since I refused to watch the dailies, I’ll surely watch the film from between my fingers, but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to slip back into my acting shoes–and have a damn good time playing a bitch in the process.

3. MODELING

modeling2016

Moving to Ohio from Phoenix (where I had a full, colorful cast of photographer friends), I wasn’t sure how much modeling I would do in my new state. Surprise! About a ton. Thanks to networking, I’ve gotten to shoot in a famous cemetery, in a creepy church basement, and yes, in my underwear. I even got to do a runway show in Cleveland. As always, I encourage everyone to do a photo shoot at least once. You won’t believe what you look like on camera, and when you’re old and crinkly, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you are and always have been. (Above photos thanks to Bill Thornhill, Devon Adams, Steph Gentry, and Dennis Mong.)

4. SHORT STORIES

Other than Bite Somebody, what else got thrown into the world this year?

Wolf Among Sheep (Hot Ink Press)
“I was not at all prepared for what I deduce you proposed yesterday,” he says. I just adore that strange accent, so much like my husband’s: a mismatch of places and times, trapped somewhere between New York and the low south—musical yet clipped and precise.
“What exactly do you deduce we proposed?” I ask.
“That I enter into a sexual relationship with a married couple.”
I laugh; people around us turn to stare. I take Timothy’s hand. “Well. Perhaps these Americans aren’t quite as close-minded as I thought.”

I Hate Myself for Loving You (Lunch Ticket Magazine)
Timmy shoves him over and joins him in the dirt. He thumps Jason in the side of the face. I think I should tell them to stop—scream it even. Instead, coward that I am, my boys keep going until they see blood. Then, they fall back. They yell about catching Jason’s “gay disease,” named by some mad scientists a couple years back in ‘82. My best friends drag me away.
Jason rolls onto his side in the dirt and wipes at the split skin below his right eye. He doesn’t look up at me, but I keep watching as we hurry from the scene of the crime. I keep watching Jason and think I’d like to wipe his blood all over me.

The Saguaro Apocalypse (Stoneslide Corrective “Striking Use of Wit” Winner)
I opened the door. At first I thought it was some really tall, skinny dude with short arms.
Then, I realized it was a saguaro cactus. Must have been a young one, since its limbs were only about two feet long and pin wheeling in my face. I had the momentary thought: What the hell was in that weed? The cactus kept brandishing its T-Rex arms at me.
“Thomas?”
“What now?” I heard the shuffling of his sock-clad feet.
By the time Thomas reached me, the cactus was banging its rounded top against the doorframe; guess it couldn’t figure how to duck.

You’re Glowing (Omnia Veritas Review)
I haven’t had sex in two years. This unfortunate situation could be ignored except men have started glowing. The doorman outside my apartment glows dark blue, like his nicely tailored suits. I shudder beneath his smile and barely acknowledge his mannerly door holding.
The cop on the corner near the elementary school, he glows green. I don’t know if he’s supposed to, but he always holds up his orange “Don’t Walk” sign when I pass his crosswalk. He winks at me every day, which makes my forehead sweat.
The guy who makes my morning coffee glows pink. I hate the color pink, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s always nice to me. He tells me I smell good. I’m probably old enough to be his mother.

Forget Me Do (Red Rose Review)
Her friends called her a witch. It was only a joke. Whenever one of the girls posted on Facebook that she felt a cold coming on, Debra was on the road with her herbal tea mixtures and tinctures. Then, miraculously, within days, her girlfriends would be completely healed and winning track meets. That was why they called her a witch. That and, well …
“You just made out with Stan in the back of his dad’s car.”
“I hate when you do that,” Rebecca said.
Debra couldn’t help knowing things.

If It Ain’t Broke (Marked by Scorn Anthology)
“This thing for Henry Oliver … You’ve got it under control, right?”
“Of course. I’d never do anything about it.”
“You are kind of touchy-feely with the kid.”
Nate slowly turned his mug on the sticky, wooden table. “God, am I?”
Ella shrugged one shoulder. “A little. I think it’s cute, but other people might not.”

Ghosts of Ice Cream (Bop Dead City)
My fingers rest like a sleeping spider against his collarbone. I breathe the scent of him: salty sweat with an undercurrent of men’s cologne, leftover from his day at the office. He take small inhales, exhales, and hums a little when my fingers touch his throat.
And then I hear it: the ice cream truck. I finally recognize the song: an off-key, off-tempo version of “Beyond the Sea” that comes to me like screams through water. It was our wedding song. I shiver and pull closer to Michael, who falls apart, a pile of ash in my hands.

Sick Like Me (Honeydew Erotic Review)
“What kind of help do you need exactly?”
Evan shrugged. He played with the strap on his motorcycle helmet. He had long, skeletal fingers with squeaky-clean nails. He chewed on his bottom lip. “You think I’m attractive.”
“I’m sure a lot of people think you’re attractive.”
Evan shook his head. “I’m not talking about them.”
Cam sighed. “You’re making this too easy.”

5. BOOKS READ: 58!!

bestbooks2016

Best of the best:
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Wreck You by Randi Perrin
The Train Derails in Boston by Jessica McHugh
Captive Prince Trilogy by CS Pacat

6. COMING IN 2017

Bite Somebody Else (Bite Somebody, #2). Read all about it HERE.
“Not Again” – LEGENDARY Anthology (January 13)
“They Lived in the House On Cherry Street” – Black Denim Lit
“The Emmett File” – Stoneslide Corrective
“Painted Red” – kINKED Anthology
Enchanted Series: Magic SparkPen and Kink Publishing

Frankly, I’m exhausted just reading all this. I guess I should go take a nap, duck and cover until 2017 officially rolls around. I do want to thank everyone who supported me this year, whether that involved a Tweet or a glass of whiskey. I have wonderful friends, family, and fans, and I could not have achieved all of this without YOU. So here comes my British boyfriend to blow you a kiss … Cheers!

ben

 

Halloween Town · Modeling · Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

The Halloween Photo Shoot (Don’t be scared …)

I have some friends who are just as freaky as me, so when I suggested I wanted to do a gothic baby doll shoot in my church basement, they were like, “Well, obviously.” So we did. In honor of Halloween, I give you this little gift (which has successfully made my pastor afraid to go downstairs alone). Hair and makeup by Cheryl Mong; photography by Dennis Mong.

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And the blooper reel … Possibly thanks to that huge bottle of rum and coke.

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Shout out to my gorgeous husband …

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

Entertainment in CLE · Film · Mental Health · Ohio

How to Make a Movie

Dunlap, Kevin, and Mike ... with his, urm, mic.
Dunlap, Kevin, and Mike … with his, urm, mic. (That joke never gets old.)

How do you make a movie?
Find a writer who’s not me.
Find a director who knows what he’s doing.
Find an amazing cast and crew.
Film for five days straight.
Get bronchitis, laryngitis, and a life-sucking bout of depression.

Now, your movie is done. Just kidding, your movie isn’t done. It feels like your movie is never done.

When I moved back to Ohio, I knew I would be close to old friends. I didn’t realize one of my old friends would be doing cool things like, oh, rocking out in an amazing band or making movies.

Dunlap and I were in a few theater shows together in high school, but I think we mostly just liked each other’s company. (We also shared the superlative of “Most Likely to be Famous.”) When he heard I was moving to his ‘hood, he got in touch. It all started with several beers and escalated until, all of a sudden, I’d been cast opposite him in an indie flick called Decent People, written and directed by long-haired artistic genius Kevin Naughton.

movieposter
Movie poster? Image thanks to Dave Sebille.

Decent People isn’t a nice movie. There aren’t nice characters. Dunlap and I play two despicable people who get what’s coming to them. Filming began two weeks ago after several rehearsals and detailed planning of my hair and makeup. See, the film only takes place over a two-day period, with A and B costumes that have to look exactly alike for every take. (These are things you don’t think about when making a movie. For instance, my hair is currently purple, and it must remain this current shade of purple until filming wraps.)

As I type, filming is not complete, but I’ve learned quite a bit already. Having been an actress in a previous life, embracing my character’s tics, vocal delivery, and facial expressions has been like sinking into a warm bath–even when I have to scream in Dunlap’s face and call him horrible names (after which, we usually hug and say, “I’m sorry, I love you,” because that’s what friends do).

Doing the same scene over and over from different camera angles can be a challenge. Working in 90 degree heat can be hellish. Smoking a cigarette on film? Looks cool in the movies; sucks in real life. At one point, I’d rushed so much nicotine into my system, I thought I was going to vomit and/or pass out.

That was about the time I got bronchitis and started crying in public in front of our movie crew. After five days of shooting, I crashed. I burned. We had to take some time off, only recommencing film creation Sunday night. My depression was at critical levels, so much so that I made my parents come visit because Jake was out of town and I was afraid of being alone.

In hindsight, I should have expected the crash, the burn. I’m a moderately-functioning introvert who usually has a two-hour “in public” time limit. I’d spent five days with PEOPLE, being on all the time. Literally, in front of a camera all the time. For someone who’s accustomed to only communicating with my computer and only showering when I know my husband is coming home, being surrounded by human beings for five days straight could have landed me in the psyche ward. Luckily, it didn’t.

We still have probably four more days of shooting, and that’s if everything looks right, sounds right, feels right to our Master of Ceremonies, Kevin. Decent People won’t come out until next spring, and I’m nervous because I hate seeing myself on screen. When everyone else was watching the dailies, I hid in the other room and tried not to wince at the sound of my recorded voice–but everyone says I’m doing a great job. My facial expressions are icy, downright terrifying. That makes me smile, because I’m twisted and compliments like that make me smile.

So how do you make a movie?
Find wonderful, understanding people.
Work hard.
Laugh at your mistakes.
Don’t get bronchitis.

decent
Just another day at the office with MEEEE!!!!
Bite Somebody · Entertainment in CLE · Modeling · Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

On Aging

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I recently had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot with old Phoenix friend, Devon, and new Ohio friends Dennis and Cheryl, who did my hair and makeup. It was an impromptu sort of thing. I showed up with no costuming, only shoes, and Cheryl let me play with her clothes.

At the end of the day, we agreed we’d gotten some good shots, and I was exhausted. Following a hurried meal of beer and pizza, I rushed home to my dogs. Then, this week, I got a look at the captures. I called one of my girlfriends immediately, practically screaming into the phone: “I’m an ADULT!”

At thirty-four, this should have been obvious, but it wasn’t to me, especially since Jake and I have been spending many a weekend with his co-workers, most of whom are under the age of twenty-five.

denThe me I saw in those photos was a full grown, mature woman with some wrinkles. I looked back at a photo shoot from 2005, eleven years ago, and yelped at the difference. For the first time in my life, I realized I was aging.

My face looks different now than it did years ago. I’m way more angular, practically noble in my pointed edges. My skin shows evidence of damage. But, I suppose, what shocked me most about my recent photo shoot was the way I posed with power, staring straight into the camera or aloof but confident in others.

Who was this woman in the pictures anyway? She looked like a grown-up. However, most days, I don’t feel like a grown-up, even if I don’t get ID’d for beer anymore. While doing a shot of God knows what at the Flats in downtown Cleveland last weekend, I didn’t feel like an adult. The next morning, when I thought I might die of a hangover, though, I suppose I did.

I have changed, and it’s not just apparent in photos. I’m more organized and driven now than I ever have been, as evidenced by the release of my first novel, Bite Somebody. I’m more fearless, agreeing to star in a short film this summer despite my terror of walking in front of a video camera. I understand what it means to be a friend; I understand what it means to be polite. My temper has calmed some. I’m way less likely to spout off and make a scene now than I was even a couple years ago.

IMG_7310Then again, I also love watching cartoons on Saturday morning. I laugh at really dumb jokes. I’d rather talk about sex than politics, and I absolutely refuse to watch the world news … which might actually be a sign of maturity, since I now know my limits. I am fully aware of things that will crush my spirit, and I avoid them.

I do dishes. I do laundry. I water plants.

Holy shit, I’m an adult. And I’m not getting any younger.

Women in their sixties are laughing at me right now, but this photo shoot brought about an epiphany I was not wholly prepared for. I even started using the anti-wrinkle eye cream my mom gave me because she didn’t want it.

Is aging simply the passage of time? I don’t think so, no matter what my sun damage says. Aging is growing, developing, and (if we’re doing it right) becoming better versions of our previous selves. As we age, we learn and grow. We hopefully become less selfish, although I’m still working on that. We choose to embrace the world around us or shrink from it, depending on personal preference–but, with age, at least we know our own preferences.

I prefer laughter over tears.
I prefer Benedict Cumberbatch.
I prefer a night at home with my husband over a night out in Crazy Town.
I prefer Jeopardy! over the world news.
I prefer the person I am now to the girl I was years ago, and maybe I will one day prefer another, older version of myself.

I’m aging, and it’s kind of scary but all right. I’m still gonna use the wrinkle cream, though.

Bite Somebody · Entertainment in CLE · Ohio · Sara Dobie Bauer

How to successfully bite somebody

BiteSomebody_finalMy novel, Bite Somebody, came out two weeks ago today, and let’s face it: I am physically and emotionally exhausted and maybe a little melancholy. The same thing happened after my wedding. No, I wasn’t sad I got married, duh. It’s more like a euphoria crash. You’re high, you’re high, and then, you sleep for ten years.

The Bite Somebody feedback has been incredible. Here’s a snippet of some five-star reviews:

“Unabashedly witty and charming, Bite Somebody is what you’d get if John Hughes and Amy Heckerling teamed up to write a vampire rom-com. Bauer’s book is whip-smart, funny as hell, and utterly adorable.”

“Think the classic TV show Three’s Company with a twist! Celia, her human beau Ian, and her vampire bestie Imogene can’t help but get themselves in over their heads when trouble comes knocking at their door. There’s even a crazy landlady!”

“Kudos to Sara Dobie Bauer for knowing how to keep even a cranky old bastard of a reader smiling, and five stars just for the balls on her for asking me to read a chick-lit vampire book.”

Then, there have been the events. I had two official launch parties, one in my hometown of Perrysburg, Ohio, which was a three-hour blur of laughter and utter madness, not to mention the eventual sell-out of every copy of Bite Somebody I had, which led to copious pre-orders (thanks to my husband’s quick thinking).

perrysburg-collage

I had my second launch party in my current hometown of Chardon, Ohio, where I was warmly welcomed by my new community and, again, sold out of every copy I’d hurriedly ordered from my publisher the week before. I still owe people copies as I await the next shipment.

chardon-collage

Blog posts have been overwhelming in their praise. (One of my faves is this hilarious list of why Bite Somebody is a perfect beach read HERE.) Fellow author Kim Alexander even got me to do a video interview, which was terrifying but turned out fabulous …

I then had the chance to admit to all the shenanigans I pulled on release day HERE. (A Benedict Cumberbatch altar may have been involved.)

What I’ve enjoyed so much is hearing from friends and strangers alike about how much Bite Somebody just makes them laugh. People have said it’s the funniest book they’ve read in years and, on occasion, the funniest book they’ve read EVER. What a fine bit of escapism from the world’s current turmoil, yes?

Friends who know me text because they get the “inside jokes.” They also love to point out that, yes, I am Imogene, the bloodthirsty sidekick, which was totally unintentional.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported not only Bite Somebody but me via social media blasts, blog posts, event appearances, and even a simple text message. I’ve dreamed of having a book published, and now that it’s happened, I could never have expected such positive feedback.

The journey does continue, as I begin rewrites for the Bite Somebody sequel, among many other projects happening this year and beyond. There are more interviews and upcoming book conferences, but I still do make time for the occasional rum punch. A moment of silence. A walk with my dogs, cuddle with my hubby.

Bite Somebody is out there, floating around. It’s doing its thing and sharing ridiculous joy, and for that, I am ridiculously joyful.

Do you have your copy yet? Buy it HERE.

Entertainment in CLE · Ohio

Escape rooms: Getting TRAPPED in Cleveland

I was at my parents’ house when my friend, Heather, texted and suggested we do something called “Trapped Cleveland.” She sent me a link, and I thought she was kidding. According to the link, she wanted me to be locked in a room for an hour with other people. I laughed. Oh, Heather: what a jokester!

She sent me another link and asked which weekend I was available.

At this point, I called my gal pal and started screaming something to the tune of “I have an anxiety disorder I am claustrophobic I don’t even like other people are you bleepity-bleep-BLEEEEEEEEP insane?”

I said no. Resolutely no. Then, I made the mistake of mentioning Trapped to my husband, and he was all like, “Oh, that sounds like so much fun! When are we going?”

scream

I had a panic attack when Heather actually booked us an escape room for April 30. I got sick to my stomach every time Jake talked about it. Heather kept telling me it would be great fodder for writing, to which I replied, “It’ll be hard to write in a straight jacket.” Jake, because he is very supportive, made fun of me.

Saturday the 30th arrived, and I spent all morning pretending I was not going to be locked in a small room with six other people. I did a bit of research about escape rooms. If you don’t know, they’re a lot like the movie Saw (which is exactly what I kept telling everyone as we drove to Trapped: “This is how horror movies start!”). You’re locked in a room, and there are clues hidden in the room that allow you to open puzzles … that lead to more puzzles … and more puzzles … until, in theory, you find your way out in the hour-long time frame. Unless you’ve chewed off your own foot.

When we arrived at the location in Coventry, I was sweating profusely. Some kids had just exited their escape room and were screaming, and everyone knows I do not do well with screaming. The cheerful Trapped employee explained we were helping to stop the apocalypse, but to do so, we had to find a way out of the science lab, our assigned escape room. Then, the Trapped employee locked us in, smiling, as if to say, “Enjoy paying $25 for your admission to the nuthouse!”

saw

But. Once inside, things changed. Sure, I was still sweating, but I was on a mission. All of us were. We went digging for clues, doing our best to observe the abandoned lab and make sense of the weird paintings on the walls, the lab coats, the key, and even a wacky poem in the cooler. Once inside, I was talking mile a minute and focused, damn it, as that clock ticked down from 60 minutes.

Did we escape in time? We did. Did anyone lose a limb? No. Did I need a huge beer afterwards and a towel to squeegee my armpits? Yup.

It took me some time to calm down and stop looking at the beer mugs at La Cave du Vin as if they meant something, but Heather was right: being Trapped was actually pretty fun. Will I be doing it again soon? Pfft, hell no. What’s the matter with you?

If you’re in my neck of the woods, check out Trapped Cleveland, but I guess these escape rooms are all the rage right now, so there’s probably one in your area, too. Put on your thinking cap, and prepare to move quickly.

Endnote: After several pints, while leaving La Cave du Vin, I noticed they were playing movies on a big projection screen. What movie? Saw. Of course. Eight friends, out for a good time, locked in a small room? Like I said: how horror movies start.

trapped

Bite Somebody · Mental Health · Ohio

Creative ways to fight SAD in winter

Trust me, this is not a clinical analysis of Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is my list of things I do to pick me up on a day-to-day basis. See, everyone I know has been a little wary, what with me moving from sunny Phoenix to the frigid Midwest. My family and friends know I’ve suffered from depression ever since I was old enough to buy black lipstick. It’s been over a year since I went off anti-depressants, and I’ve been doing great actually! However, with the creeping cold comes some creeping sadness, so here’s my list of STOP SAD NOW!

1. Happy Light / Light Box

There’s the theory that we get Seasonal Affective Disorder because we don’t get enough light. I’m not sure I buy this since I prefer rainy days to sunny ones, but I also watch horror movies to cheer me up, so … Anyway, this was my mom’s idea. Every morning, I sit in front of this big, glowing light. It’s supposed to fight SAD and give you more energy, so why not? I’ve been using it for over a week now, and I like it. I’m not sure I’ve noticed an emotional difference, but nothing like blinding white light to get your eyes open at 7 AM. Here’s an example.

2. 80s Music

Granted, the only reason I figured this out was because of my novel, BITE SOMEBODY, the characters in which adore everything 80s. I dare you to sit still and not smile while listening to bad 80s music. Here’ s an example. Dance, you maniac!

3. Happy Tea

Developed for me by my witchy friend Debi Brady (she’s not actually a witch; I just like to pretend she is), I drink a cup of “Happy Tea” every day. Here’s the rundown:

2 parts St. John’s Wort
2 parts Scullcap
1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
.5 part Peppermint Leaf
(Toss in some Catnip and Nettle for a little boost, too.)

I buy organic herbs in bulk and then mix up a batch of leaves in a tupperware container to bust out and scoop into my tea ball every morning. Sometimes, I use it twice a day. It’s nice with some freshly juiced ginger and orange blossom honey.

*Ben giggle*
*Ben giggle*

4. Find a (Healthy) Obsession

It’s no secret: I’m obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch. Between work assignments, I troll Trumblr to find new pictures of him smiling. He’s aesthetically pleasing, all right? You need to find your equivalent, whether it’s pictures of puppies, Star Wars trailers, or making canned beets. Find something that can immediately, quickly, drag you from the depths and obsess. I give you permission.

5. The Gym

I joke that I’d be a homicidal maniac if I didn’t work out (I have anger issues), but really, it’s great for my joy levels, too. I go to a fantastic gym, by the way: Everybodies Gym in Chardon. The owner is possibly as obsessed with Halloween as I am, because there are creepy clowns that hang from the ceiling and spooky lighting. I adore it. There’s nothing like a good treadmill pounding to shake the blues away. Add some heavy lifting to get that extra kick!

6. Funny Friends

My closest friends are the ones that make me laugh, and there’s a reason. Laughing is fun, so the more we laugh, the better we feel … So if a friend makes you laugh, you’re going to want to hang out with him/her more. Find funny friends. Find friends who say hilarious, inappropriate things. Find friends who send you stupid videos of their dogs. Find friends who don’t judge you over Cards Against Humanity. And you know that Negative Nancy who just bitches about her kids/husband/bowel movements/etc? Get rid of her. She’s just dragging you down.

7. Talk to Strangers (the stranger the better)

Keri and me.
Keri and me.

We tell kids “Don’t talk to strangers,” but you’re an adult, so talk to strangers. At Big Lots, I was looking at knock-off perfume, and this lady asked me which one she should buy. We spent ten minutes spraying every sample bottle on different parts of my forearm. I reeked for days but left the store laughing. I met my friend, Keri, at a beer fest because I thought she was hot and told her so. Now, she’s one of those “funny friends.” Same goes for Deidre, who told me at a bonfire that she was a porn star. (She isn’t, but I love that this was her go-to response.) Talk to people you don’t know. Smile at them. It’s like a shock of happy to your system.

A final thought: Seasonal Affective Disorder (and depression in general) sucks, and my tactics might not be your tactics. Some people need medication. Some people need therapy. You have to figure out what works for you, but once you figure it out, keep doing it. Lift the funk and live your life. With love xoxo