Erotica Plot Producer

I have always wanted to get in on writing erotica, and when an invite showed up in my email to attend a free webinar on the topic, I jumped at the chance. Of course, you know if it’s a “free” webinar, then you’re going to get a little useful information, along with a sales pitch for some product or other.

The webinar was called Everything You Wanted To Know About Erotica But Were Scared To Ask. I’ll be honest, the webinar was fantastic. There was a TON of useful information in it about writing erotica. I’m so glad I was able to attend, watch the replay, and then receive the transcript.

The product for sale with the webinar is a web-based application called Erotica Plot Producer. The basic version of this program costs $197, and the tricked out version costs $297. I think these are supposed to be sale prices, so your mileage may vary with pricing.

The program itself is ok. You log in and you can click around and the system will supply you with a loose plot based around two main characters. You can choose from several categories including Western, BDSM, Paranormal, even Romantic.

Choose your category and then read the plot the system provides. It includes two random main character names, and both the character name and the sex of the character can be changed. Changing the character names and sexes doesn’t change the plot, but each name and character has their own back story that may help provide direction for the plot.

There are, in the basic version, allegedly, 200 plots to choose from (the expanded version adds several more each month for a year). Once you’ve selected the names and the plot you want, you save the plot and write your story, publish it and move on to the next one.

The plots themselves are fairly basic, and I didn’t read every single one, so I can’t confirm that there are a minimum of 200 individual plots. I think there is some overlap between genres.

There is definitely overlap in character development. I chose “Romantic” as a genre and the plot producer gave me a romantic plot, but when I changed character sexes or names I sometimes got vampires or other non-traditional characters as part of my romantic genre.

Each product option comes with “bonus” features that include places to market your completed work, how to work with the Kindle Publishing program, places to have cover artwork designed. Much of this information is readily available on the web if you know where to look, and most certainly isn’t worth the inflated “bonus value” listed on the sale sheet.

Erotica LA 6-12-09 Nikon 002

Erotica LA 6-12-09 Nikon 002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By far the most valuable part of the program is the Facebook group. Group members are both eager and willing to help and market their own work, providing tidbits of information about sales, blog posts, etc that they find in their own research. THAT is worth paying for.

My take? I think that the program is overpriced even for the basic level. The plots are written in a clunky style (they make use of “they” and “their” as pronouns for ease of use when switching character sexes) with misspellings and grammatical errors. While I’m not a perfect writer, I’m not asking anyone to spend a minimum of $200 for what I’m selling.

When I tried to find reviews of this program I was unable to find any, but stumbled on a user forum where others were asking about it because they didn’t want to spend such a large sum on an untested program. I would hope that the creator takes this into consideration and adjusts pricing levels accordingly. At best, this program is good for someone who can write but is unable or unwilling to produce their own characters and plots. It’s a good starter program and should be priced as such.

Rental Scammer Alert

Searching for rentals on Craigslist I found a great one in our price range in the place we want to be. I messaged, then looked up the address on Google and it was listed on Zillow for twice as much per month through a property manager. I then found the property listed on Craigslist twice the next day for even less per month.

Here is what I know about the scammer:

He goes by Bruce Young.

Email address is bruce.[email protected]

He may also go by other names and email addresses depending on the property. This particular property was owned by a land trust, so he apparently made up a name. If he can find out the name of the property owner he will use that name.

He told me he is currently in North Carolina (NC). I am in Florida, as is the property.

His phone number (used for texting only) is (919) 588-4405. This is most likely a Google Voice number.

He sent me an “application” to complete via email then told me he would give me account details when I was ready so I could wire the deposit. He was adamant that I be “ready” so I told him I was.

This is the information he then gave me:

+19195884405: Account Number :1459657605 Routing Number:055003201 Account Name: John ishaq odetayo 4:22 PM
+19195884405: That is the info to get the Money deposited into,and you need to make sure you do a cash deposit into the account 4:23 PM
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WIRE ANY MONEY TO THIS NAME OR ROUTING AND ACCOUNT NUMBER. I DO NOT KNOW WHO IT GOES TO AND I WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR MONEY SENT TO THIS ACCOUNT AND/OR ROUTING NUMBER.

I AM PROVIDING THIS INFORMATION AS A SERVICE SO THAT NO ONE GETS SCAMMED BY THIS IDIOT.

How I’m Thrive-Ing

Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally succumbed to the millions of ads on social media and decided to try Thrive Market. Thrive is a healthy marketplace for all sort of organic, gluten-free, paleo, reuseable, blah blah stuff.

I’ve recently introduced coconut oil into my diet and Thrive was giving away a jar of coconut oil with every order (I think every order over $49). I found several things on the site that I already used (stevia sweetened chocolate chips), and a couple I thought might be fun (Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and deodorant) and made an order.

NOTE: You will receive 15% off your first order. About 30 days after your order you will be charged an annual membership fee of $59.95. Some people complain about that charge like they didn’t know it was coming. The site is very clear on this, but in case it isn’t I’m telling you: the charge is coming unless you cancel it.

I’m not a membership fee person, I hate paying those things. However, this has been worth it, in my opinion.

Thrive has an incredible inventory of products, with more added all the time.  Things I’ve purchased:

  • Dr. Bronner’s soaps and lip balms
  • Piggy Paint nail polish
  • Raw organic almonds
  • Xylitol
  • Compostable coffee filters
  • Coconut aminos
  • Figs
  • Organic and/or heirloom seeds: onions. tomatoes, carrots, etc

I’ve ordered lots of other things, too. Many products that are sold in major health  food store chains are cheaper on Thrive. I know, because I’ve checked.

I’ve got an order coming today that is mostly Thrive Market branded products, including sunflower seeds, organic spices, maca powder and chia seeds. I’m excited!

What you can expect from Thrive market:

  • Occasional coupons off your next order.
  • Free products throughout the year with minimum purchase.
  • Free shipping on all orders over $25.
  • A terrific selection of products from food to snacks to housewares to health & beauty.

Click this link to get 15% off your first order.

Savings Unsaved

I recently wrote about how much I love Digit, the savings device you don’t have to think about. I wanted to follow up and tell you about my experience withdrawing from the account.

I recently broke a tooth and needed to pay a bit of money to see the dentist. There was money in the checking account, but I wanted to move some from the Digit account to see how easy it was to do that.

Here are the steps I took:

1. On my phone I went to the Digit message thread and typed in HELP and sent.

2. Digit responded by asking what kind of help I needed and suggested that I respond with COMMANDS, so I did.

3. Digit responded with a handful of commands, one of which was WITHDRAW. I sent back WITHDRAW.

4.Digit gave me my available balance and asked how much I would like to withdraw. I responded with an amount.

5. Digit asked to confirm the amount and I said yes.

6. Digit confirmed it was moving the amount to my checking account and I could expect it on May 25th (the next day).

7. Digit asked why I wanted to transfer the money. This step is optional, but I chose to give a brief explanation (dental bill) and Digit promised to notate the account.

I think it’s handy to notate why a withdrawal was made. Again, it’s optional to provide that information.

It is the morning of May 25th as I type this. I just logged in to my checking account and what do you know, the deposit was made!  Go Digit!

 

Update – Hollar!

I wrote recently about my experience ordering from Hollar. I received a couple of nonworking and/or broken items, so I contacted customer service. Here is how that worked out:

Nonworking Item:

[The Pillow Pets mini light up puppy dog came new in the package and did not light up. I changed out the batteries (it requires 3 SR41 or LR41 watch batteries) and it still doesn’t work.]  I emailed about this second, and got a message on 5/18/16 that they had shipped me a new one. Received it on 5/24/16 and it works! My daughter loves it!

Broken Item:

[The jar with the red lid was broken when it arrived. A strip of the jar was not covered in bubble wrap and that looks like where the break originated.] I emailed about this one first but didn’t receive any sort of response. After I received the pillow pet above, I forwarded the original email back to them asking if they had addressed that problem. I received a response from them that the item was out of stock and they were crediting my Paypal account. I received the refund email about 10 minutes later. I’m not sure if they would have done anything about it unless I sent another message.

I just went back over to Hollar and I see some new items that look like they might be handy. I will purchase from them again, keeping in mind that if there is a problem.

I think I will keep an eye on Hollar for party favors and decorations for my daughter’s birthday party this summer.

$2 site? Hollar!

The update to this post is here.

I started seeing ads for Hollar on Facebook several months ago, and it sounded too good to be true. It was like an online dollar store!

I finally decided to place an order last week after checking to see if they had any Peppa Pig items (my daughter’s obsession)  and finding some cute stuff.  My order was placed on 05/05/2016, and I received my items on 05/14/2016.

Here is what I ordered:

hollar order 1

 

hollar order 2

 

After 9 days (hey, shipping is free, so I’m not complaining) I received a large orange box containing all of my items. Quite a few items were glass, but everything was wrapped in adhesive bubble wrap.

The two large beehive looking glass jars have metal lids, and both have small dings in them. Not worth complaining about, but something I would avoid purchasing if I saw them in the dollar store.

The jar with the red lid was broken when it arrived. A strip of the jar was not covered in bubble wrap and that looks like where the break originated.

The Pillow Pets mini light up puppy dog came new in the package and did not light up. I changed out the batteries (it requires 3 SR41 or LR41 watch batteries) and it still doesn’t work.

The divided plates are not as impressive in person as they look on the site but I’m ok with them. I like the two smaller jars with green lids, and the Peppa Pig hat is perfect.

I’ve emailed customer service about the broken jar and the nonfunctional Pillow Pet mini, I’ll let you know when I get a response. The customer service hours are Monday – Friday and it’s Saturday so hopefully they will get back to me on Monday.

As of now I’ll probably order from them again, but I’m not sure what I’d but. Probably more stuff for the kiddo. Check them out: Hollar.

 

Musical Girl

One of my daughter’s first exposures to music was her daddy playing bass guitar for her. She was fascinated by the instrument and couldn’t stop watching.  She was about 6 months old then.

She’s 3 now and has her own keyboard, her own bongos and her own xylophone. Her daddy just started giving her guitar lessons on his childhood guitar. She loves it.

I know he would love to give her a floyd rose guitar when she is old enough to appreciate it. I think they would make a cute little father-daughter band.

My First Ipsy Glam Bag

This was the longest wait EVAR.  I signed up for Ipsy in early July and found out I wouldn’t receive my first bag until August. They charged me on August 1 and then didn’t even ship my bag out until the 13th and I received it on the 18th. By then I was DYING to get it.

So here’s what I got:

20150818_112637

Briogeo Blossom & Bloom ginseng + biotin volumizing blow dry spray (1 oz trial size).  I love the smell. I’m not much of a hair blow dryer but I’m about to get my hair cut shorter and it can always use some volume.  You can get a 5.1 oz bottle of this on Amazon for $18 so for the size the value is $3.50.

Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash (1 oz trial size). I have very sensitive skin, especially on my acne and eczema prone face, so this is perfect. I’ll try it tonight!  A 6 oz bottle on Amazon is $19 so for the size the value is $3.17.

Aila Nail Lacquer in Mister Pookies [looks to be a grey/purple] (full size). I love nail polish even though I rarely wear it. This looks like a great color for fall so I’ll be looking at it again in October. According to the website this color is “steel grey with purple undertones” and that the polish is “5 Free*, Gluten Free, Cruelty Free” – all good to know!  $17.

* I had to look up 5 Free, which is an Aila term meaning that their products don’t contain Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Dibutyl phthalate (DBT), or Camphor

Starlooks Pro Luxe Longwear Eyeliner Pen (full size).   I’m going to guess the color is black, though there is no color indicator on the package other than it is black. I am not an eyeliner person but this might be fun to play with. $19.

Hikari Lip Gloss in Merlot (full size).  Love love love lip gloss.  This is avery nice color that I expected to not be as dark when I put it on. This is, however, high pigment so the color stays true from the tube to your lips. I had to blot a bit, but I like the color and will definitely wear it. $13.

That bag! The Ipsy black and white houndstooth bag with hot pink accents. Great quality bag, much better than I was expecting. I will definitely use this. I don’t know how much they cost but on ebay they are going for around $4.99 and up.

The Ipsy Glam Bag is $10 a month. All the samples and full size products come in a reuseable makeup bag, a different one every month.  If you sign up right now your wait won’t be as long as mine.

 

Things I Love: Bluetooth Keyboard

When I got my first Android phone I had to purchase a Swype style keyboard. I loved that thing, and even moved it to my second phone. Most phones and tablets come with a Swype style keyboard now so it’s not a big thing anymore.

As much as I love it, it gets tiresome in the middle of long conversations or when I’m just feeling lazy.  All of my devices have Bluetooth and I have a Bluetooth keyboard for the Kindle but it’s tiny and doesn’t lend itself to typing a lot.

I finally decided to get a full size Bluetooth keyboard and they can get expensive.  I found this one and I LOVE it!  This is the myKeyO Full Size Bluetooth 6-In-1 Keyboard, Stand and Organizer. I found it on eBay but it was $10 cheaper on Amazon with free shipping. The seller even sent me pairing instructions in English prior to the arrival of the item. A+

20150804_233144I got the white version, but it also comes in black and pink (for a higher price).

20150804_233154It has storage underneath (headphones not included, those are mine) and places for pens and business cards on top.  The holder on top holds both my phone and table with their cases on!

It paired easily to my Kindle, my cell phone and even my laptop (the one I recently spilled soda in, OMG). I think black or pink might have been prettier but the white works fine for my purposes.

PS. My laptop doesn’t have Bluetooth but I got this adapter several months ago. It works fantastically and is super cheap.

The other night I had a sudden inspiration for a blog post for a freelance client. My Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was paired with the keyboard (I had just gotten the keyboard and was fooling around with it) so I opened Google Keep and quickly typed nearly an entire blog post on my phone!

I plan to keep it in the kitchen area, which is where I spend most of the day. It’s a great stand to look at recipes and I can send messages and type things up when inspiration strikes.  I was worried I wouldn’t use it much but it has proved to be invaluable I highly recommend it.

Some notes:

  • Apparently the number keys on the side don’t work with iPads, so take that into consideration.
  • This is not rechargeable and requires to AAA batteries.