Getting Down and Dirty in the Sand with Escaping Exile Author Sara Dobie Bauer

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What happens when you maroon a brutal, brooding vampire and a smart-cracking human naturalist on a tropical island? Primal urges. Hidden desires. Battles with cannibals. Sweaty jungle nights. And a tantalizing story by Sara Dobie Bauer that elevates vampire mythos to new, exciting, erotic heights. If you like reading about sexy men who love sexy men, this first installation in the Escape Series, Escaping Exile, is for you.

Today, I have Sara on the blog to talk vampires, deserted islands, and writing scorching sex scenes.

As evidenced by both this series and the Bite Somebody series, you like setting vampiric stories in beachy locales. Why do you think you keep winding up in the water and on the sand?

I want to live at the beach. Sure, it’s a vision of utopia because all my “beach time” is based on vacation experience. Therefore, my “beach time” is just me on a beach drinking all day and making strange friends. I’m not sure what it would be like to live on a beach full time … but I’m willing to give it a try. I love the laid back lifestyle, and I would wear nothing but bathing suits. I’m also a water baby, so I’d rather be swimming than walking (although I would miss the high heels).

If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you rather have with you – Edmund or Andrew? Why?

Edmund because of his sick sense of humor. And he’d keep me warm at night, whereas Andrew—as a vampire—would not. Plus, Edmund’s look is based on a buffed up Timothee Chalamet, and I wouldn’t mind waking up to that face every morning.

And who would you rather accompany to Mardi Gras in New Orleans?  

Oh, tough one! Probably Andrew because he could defend me from murderers and thieves due to his vampiric prowess. His superhuman strength and height would assist me in efficiently getting drinks, and he knows all the best brothels.

What are your favorite lines from Escaping Exile? (no context needed)

“Not everyone is as morally reprehensible as the two of us.”

“Thank God.” I suck his lower lip and let it go with a pop. “The entire world would be nothing but blood and orgies.”

What is the theme song for our lovers while they’re living on their island?

“Better Love” by Hozier. Such a sexy, sexy song.

What was the best part about writing Escaping Exile? What was the worst?

Best part: Writing the sex. There is so much tension at the beginning of this series, so when the boys finally DO IT … oh, what a relief. They are very good at sex together.

Worst part: Typing “The End.” I love these boys!!! (Although, thankfully, this book is part one of a trilogy, so there’s more to come …)

There are some very, very sexy scenes in this novella! Is there anything in particular you do to get yourself in the mood to write these scenes? Do your characters beg for it?

Ha, I’m always in the mood. TMI? In all honesty, I’m a big fan fiction reader, so I’ve been known to visit Archive of Our Own for some sexy inspiration. Fan fiction writers are sorely underrated. I’ve learned so much about writing sex from reading Johnlock and Charmie stories.

In the case of Escaping Exile, I’m not sure who was more desperate to get laid: Andrew or Edmund. By the time they finally kiss, I’m pretty sure they were both begging for it.

Some say that vampires are written to death (pun intended). Why do you think readers still crave stories about vampires? And why do you still crave stories about vampires?

Vampires will always be sexy—and we all love sexy things. Often, humans like the idea of immortality, too. So maybe we’re fixated on that: the idea of eternal youth. Personally, I’m a fan of biting and vampires are generally darkly charismatic with loads of sensuality and a touch of the nasty. I like all these things. No … I love all these things.

What can we expect in the next installment of the Escape series? Give us a little hint, pretty please?

The love story of Andrew and Edmund continues in New Orleans. Orgies. Eternal love. More vampires. A trans-Atlantic sea voyage. Did I mention orgies?

And, in case you were wondering, here’s the fantasy movie cast of Escaping Exile. 

EE movie cast

 

ABOUT ESCAPING EXILE:

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream-but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?

 

BUY LINKS:

https://amzn.to/2LAMPWi

https://ninestarpress.com/product/escaping-exile/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40958274-escaping-exile

 

SDB

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among other sexy things. Learn more at http://SaraDobieBauer.com.

 

SARA DOBIE BAUER SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraDobieBauer/
https://twitter.com/saradobie
https://www.instagram.com/saradobiebauer/
https://saradobiebauer.tumblr.com/

 

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The Ravens Have Landed

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“Parachute” was the magic word. As soon as Kristy Velesko of Kristy Velesko Photography mentioned that she’d be bringing her parachute to San Diego for our photo shoot, I knew things were going to get weird. And I was all about it!

I bought a new corset and some gold body paint. I came up with a super dramatic look for my hair and makeup. And when I met Kristy and Ryan Haringa, my devastatingly handsome and super sweet shoot partner, on the rocks at Mission Beach, I was ready.

We hiked out to an abandoned bait shack, channeled our inner villainy, made some jokes about fluffers and skirt wenches…

…and ladies and gentlemen, the ravens landed.

(All photos provided courtesy of Kristy Velesko Photography and are subject to copyright. The behind-the-scenes shots toward the end are not to be missed!)

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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If you’re like me, and political tensions, social divides, inexhaustible news cycles, and worldwide crises have got you down, I have some practical advice for you. Go watch the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? immediately.

My husband and I caught a showing of it the other night at a local theater, and it was the soothing balm I didn’t know my soul so desperately needed.

I remember watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid, though my recollections are fuzzy and unreliable. Despite these grainy Technicolor memories, while watching the documentary, I immediately recognized Fred Rogers’ sweet smile, his tempered voice, his infamous cardigans, the simple yet resonant songs he composed for the show, and the iconic characters, including Daniel (Striped) Tiger and King Friday the 13th, that he brought to life each week.

The nostalgia produced through revisiting the sights and sounds of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was lovely, but where this documentary truly excels is in moving beyond the nostalgia to reveal everything you likely missed as a kid. And man, I missed a lot.

Sitting in that theater, watching clips from the show and from Fred Rogers’ life, I felt like I was seeing this television icon, as he truly was, for the first time. And I saw so much.

I saw a man who valued the experiences, feelings, and potential of children at a time when the general public knew little about childhood development. I saw a man who, unlike many adults, believed in and understood the validity and intensity of childhood emotions.

I saw a social justice pioneer, who invited a black man to dunk his feet in his kiddie pool on syndicated television during a time when racial divides ran so very deep. The same man treated children with disabilities the same way in which he would treat any child, demonstrating inclusiveness and eliminating social stigma through example.

I saw someone who didn’t talk down to kids, but instead did so with dignity. Someone who didn’t sanitize the good, the bad, or the ugly to make it “child appropriate.” Instead, I saw a man bravely explain the Challenger tragedy, the assassination of JFK, and the terrors of war in ways in which children could easily understand and process.

I saw a man who single-handedly saved PBS from budget cuts, not by railing or shouting or evangelizing, but by speaking from the heart and appealing to the humanity of the members of the U.S. Senate. (By the way, his address is less than seven minutes, utterly incredible, and you can watch it HERE.)

I saw an ordained minister who spread a message of love and acceptance through his work in the television industry, a message that was deeply influenced by his Christian beliefs, but never came across as manipulative, coercive, or self-serving.

The result of all these revelations? Flat-out weeping.

I thought that I went to the theater prepared. I had my tissues at the ready. But you guys, I wasn’t ready.

I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I won’t tell you the exact scenes during which I cried, but I will tell you there were three of them, along with other countless moments where my heart swelled in my chest and goosebumps broke out on my skin.

Seriously, go see this documentary. It’s an absolute treasure. Just like Fred Rogers was.

People always say that we study history in order to learn from it. Often, we we look back and examine tragedies or catastrophes, so we can learn from the chaos and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

But the opposite is true in regard to Won’t You Be My Neighbor? This documentary is an opportunity to look back at something (or rather someone) implicitly good. It’s a chance to learn from the example of a man who had a profound and positive impact not only on educational television programming and American pop culture, but (more importantly) on individuals’ lives.

Most of all, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is a reminder of how incredible our communities could be if we simply learned to look beyond ourselves and made a concerted effort to value the lives and experiences of others.

Personally, that’s a neighborhood I’d like to live in.

Tap into Your Dark Side with Drabbledark

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It’s fitting that I wrote my very first sci-fi-themed drabble laid up in bed, expecting an alien to burst out of my stomach at any moment.

I’d been up all night, in pain, so I’d called in sick to work. I was wickedly uncomfortable, but I was also at home, so I wanted to make the most of my “free time.” (You can only watch so many hours of Netflix before the novelty wears off.) I didn’t feel well enough to work on a long-form writing project, but I remembered seeing a call for submissions for 100-word stories. 100 words? Yeah, I could manage that.

It turns out I loved the challenge of writing a drabble. It’s an exercise in brevity and succinct storytelling. And if the author can set expectations, then subvert them quickly (who doesn’t love a good twist?), drabbles are rather delightful to read.

In the end, the rumbles in my tummy were a stomach virus (so, basically an alien), and the 100 words I’d written while bedridden were deemed cool enough to publish.

Today, Drabbledark: An Anthology of Dark Drabbles, edited by Eric S. Fomley, is out in the world! You can read my mini sci-fi story, “Survival,” within its pages, alongside 100 other short-and-sour tales of dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Despite their slight word count, these stories pack a punch.

If you dig micro fiction and dark plot lines, check out the anthology HERE. It’s a fun one!

Author Meg Archer on Humanity, Identity, and Hawk-shifters

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Last month, I had the pleasure of reading an advanced review copy of Triskaidekaphilia 3: Transformedthe latest anthology from Pen and Kink Publishing. Today, I have the pleasure of hosting one of the authors, Meg Archer, here on the blog!

I absolutely loved Meg’s story in Transformed. In “Red-tail,” hawk-shifter Ruby Vogel toes the line between a mundane human life and her other, hidden self. As a fly-by-night spy for a mysterious contact, she’s often tasked with trailing people, gathering information, and above all, being discreet. In exchange, she gets paid; no questions asked, no names, no trail to follow in the cool night air. But when she unwittingly gets caught up in a dangerous game, the huntress becomes the hunted, and Ruby has to decide whether she can really keep those two halves of herself separate anymore. Is it worth the risk, to deny her shifter side? Is she a woman who becomes a hawk, or is she a hawk who becomes a woman? Is she both, or neither–or is she something else entirely?

Meg’s writing style is sassy and fun, and this particular story kept me laughing and calm during a particularly rough bout of turbulence while I was on a flight to Phoenix (so thank you, Meg!). And spoiler alert, she’s just as sassy and fun off the page.

Without further ado, here’s Meg!

***

In my short story, “Red-tail,” a young woman walks the boundary between her human self and the hawk who lives inside of her. Or maybe I should say she soars across the boundary. As one of the stories featured in Pen and Kink Publishing’s anthology Transformed (the third in their amazing Triskaidekaphilia series), Ruby Vogel’s story is about how much of the animal we allow to live in our human selves, and how much humanity can survive when we are at our most animalistic.

(And it’s about sex. Can’t forget the fun parts!)

Like most of the things I write, Ruby’s story came to me in a series of images. One lazy, hot afternoon, I watched a hawk spiral high over my house, seeing its head move as it scanned the ground. I pictured a red-tailed hawk, flying out across a city, heading towards the trees, and wondered how it might hunt in those two very different locales. And I imagined a scene near the end of the story, when a character at their most vulnerable would also find their strength.

From those images—both familiar and strange—the rest of the story began to bloom.

In a world like our own, where rare animal-shifters lived relatively isolated lives, trying to fit in with humans, always searching for a balance with their true selves. Ruby, a hawk-shifter, takes on a variety of semi-legal jobs for an employer who pays well and asks no questions. She spies, steals, and waits for the full moon to pull her out of her skin and into her feathers. It’s been a good-enough life, but she wonders if she’s destined to be alone.

Is she the only one of her kind? Are there others who might understand? And if there were, how would she find them?

Is her morality, her ethics, the same as ours? Does she have a duty to humanity, or to her other-self?

What is it like, being a solitary hunter and a social creature, all at the same time?

Who is she, really?

My favorite thing about speculative fiction—whether it’s about hawk-shifters or brave explorers of alien worlds or space wizards with laser swords—is how it is able to make a statement about the here and now while being set in some other world. In my story, I became fascinated by the theme of identity and humanity.

We all have a little of the feral animal within ourselves, I think. From the adrenaline-powered mama bears who lift cars to save trapped children to the sudden steady calm of a pilot bringing a plane down safely under extreme conditions like a crane gliding elegantly down to the water, there are moments when that strange other-sense grips us. Moments when we’re more than what we are.

We can do the things we think might be impossible, and when we are pushed to our extremes, we sometimes are changed by the experience. If that were always accessible to us, who would we become?

In the tilt of a dog’s curious head or the frantic pace of a mouse in a maze, we see ourselves in animals. We’re busy as bees, snakes in the grass, curious kittens…

We see animals in ourselves, too—although that wilder, less constrained nature is sometimes frightening when it stares back at us in the mirror.

In Ruby’s world, one shifter’s advantage is another one’s nightmare. And when she’s confronted by the lengths to which another shifter will go to avoid the change, her perspective shifts and expands. With a romantic encounter that twists and turns as allegiances are revealed, Ruby’s wish to meet others like herself opens up her world in ways she never could’ve predicted.

I hope you’ll check out Transformed and read all of the great, wildly different stories that are alongside “Red-tail.” It was such an honor to be chosen for an amazing collection. A few of the stories in particular moved me and took me on an incredible journey, and I was so impressed by the range of styles, topics, and approaches to this idea of shifting and transformation.

Thank you to Tiffany for allowing me to share a little corner of her blog’s space!

***

About Transformed: Nothing is quite so deliciously freeing as caving to your instincts. For centuries, shapeshifters have personified our impulse to bow to our animalistic nature. From lycans to skin-walkers and everything in between, shapeshifters give us a chance to connect with our inner-selves and celebrate our intriguing differences, our passions, and ultimately our humanity through their necessity of striking a balance between their human selves and supernatural selves.

About the Editor: Charlie Watson is a freelance editor ready to make her mark on the Edmonton writing community. Through her work with various writing and editing groups around YEG who deal exclusively with first time authors, Charlie is devoted to ensuring that fledgling authors have a wonderful experience publishing for the first time.

About the Series: Triskaidekaphilia is the love of the number thirteen. It’s also the name of our anthology series which explores the more shadowy corners of romance and erotica. There will be 13 volumes in total, each of which will be released on a Friday the 13th.

Buy your copy of Transformed HERE!

 

 

Read “No Vacancy” in Issue #24 of Fabula Argentea

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Today, my short story, “No Vacancy,” appears in Fabulea Argentea’s 24th issue! And to be honest, it’s a story I never thought I’d publish.

I wrote “No Vacancy” years ago. When I wrote it, I was damn proud of it. It was one of the very first pieces I felt was “good enough” to send out to publishers for consideration. Head-in-the-clouds dreamer that I was at the time, I thought this story would be the tipping point for my professional writing career.

But it wasn’t. The rejections started rolling in. And they kept rolling in. And dear God, they didn’t stop. Despite what I thought was a never-ending wellspring of positivity, I found myself doubting my talent, the story, my future as a writer—all of it.

So, when the last publisher on my short list of literary journals and magazines said no thanks, I just…stopped sending the story out. I moved on. I wrote something else. I pushed the whole experience into the back of my mind, the place labeled, “Well That Didn’t Work Out, Did It?”

I was so green then and had so much to learn. I was just dipping my toe into the world of publishing, and I had absolutely no idea how many rejections were in my future (I’ve lost count, you guys). Or how my work would transcend all of those “no’s” from time to time to find some truly beautiful “yes’s.”

A few months ago, I reopened my Word document of “No Vacancy,” read it with fresh eyes, and nearly smacked myself upside the head. How could I have ever given up on this piece? Years later, it was still beautiful. Years later, I still loved it. And years later, my skin had become so much thicker. It was time to revive this piece.

I dedicated time to editing the story, sent it off to a number of publications for consideration, and today, it’s published.

This whole process has been such a nice reminder to never give up on the stories I write that I truly believe in. The stories that contain a tiny piece of my heart between the words. There’s a whole lot of me in this story, to be honest.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that “No Vacancy” has found a home with Fabula Argentea. Alongside each story, the Fabula Argentea editors explain why they chose to publish the piece. Here’s what they said about “No Vacancy”:

“Author Tiffany Brown caught our attention with her opening sentence. From there it only gets better as she masterfully pulls us into her character’s story. It’s a story we can read again and pick out even more of its subtleties. And isn’t that what makes for good fiction?”

If that isn’t recognition and closure for this little-story-that-could, I don’t know what is.

Here’s the opening sentence they reference—and a little extra:

“Bevan arched her back and stared over her shoulder, trying to determine if the patch of skin on her hip was vacant property or a hibiscus leaf that had never been filled in. When her vision blurred, she sighed and walked down the hall to the bathroom, the skin in question vibrating like hummingbird wings.

The cheap fluorescents buzzed and groaned. The old bulbs illuminated Bevan’s skin the wrong way, dulling the vibrant fuchsia, indigo, and lime she wore proudly like war paint. However, the hazy yellow light did the trick. Bevan’s suspicions were confirmed. She’d run out of real estate.

‘Dammit,’ she breathed. Bevan’s hands had begun to twitch earlier in the week, the way they always did when her thoughts turned to color and needles. At the time, she’d resorted to walking to the small grocery two blocks away and submerging her hands in bulk tubs of rice to dull the buzz in her fingertips.

Bevan considered putting on her sneakers, but instead, she picked up her cell phone. ‘Come over,’ she whispered when he answered.”

What follows is a story about identity, love, addiction, and tattoos. I hope you’ll read it HERE (for free!).

And if you’re a writer, I hope you’ll go back and re-read something you haven’t looked at in years. See if you can look past the drafty-ness of it, see the potential, and perhaps, breathe new life into something you previously gave up on.

My Life in Hi-Def

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The optometrist’s voice was bright and airy. “Do you think you need glasses?”

And there it was, the question I’d been expecting. I tried to sound upbeat. “Yeah, I do.”

“Good, because I think so, too.”

***

I’ve been making jokes for years about the inevitability of my eyesight degrading. My parents have been put through their ocular paces: glasses, contacts, lasik, general eye surgery. It was only a matter of time, I joshed.

November is when I started to notice that my sight was, well, a wee bit compromised. One morning, while walking to my car to drive to work, I squeezed one eye shut and then the other, willing my brain and body to wake up. When closing my right eye, my sight remained steadfast and clear as crystal; but when I switched and closed my left, the landscape transformed into my own personal Monet. The words on the parking signs around our neighborhood doubled, and everything else around me adopted these soft, unformed edges. I stopped in my tracks and blinked wildly. I took a sip of coffee and willed the caffeine gods to get to work. Clearly, my body was not awake.

But that afternoon, the Monet remained. Though it was unsettling, I didn’t completely freak out. Honestly, it wasn’t bad unless I kept one eye open and one eye closed (and why would I do that – I’m no pirate!). Not to mention, a little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with ocular migraines. I thought perhaps this was a new manifestation of that condition.

I donned my computer glasses at work, hoping I could assuage whatever was happening with a little less blue light and a little more magnification. I hoped it would clear up by the next day.

It didn’t. So, I set up my annual eye exam appointment, fairly certain that, finally, the joke was on me. At 32, I’d likely need my first pair of glasses.

***

“You have astigmatism in both eyes, but it’s more pronounced in your right.”

“Do I have anything to worry about since it seemed to come on pretty fast?”

“No. Your eye health looks excellent. Honestly, the condition has probably been there for a while, but you’re just much more aware of it now…Do you work in front of a computer?”

“Yes.”

“That would do it.”

“So, this is all new to me. Should I wear my new glasses all the time?”

“Let me show you.” My optometrist stood up and pointed at the pyramid of black letters I’d been asked to recite during my vision test. “Pretend you’re outside. It’s bright out, you’re driving, and these are the road signs.” I had to squint to make out the text.

She swooped the hulking machine she’d used to determine my unique prescription in front of my peepers. “This is how it’s going to look with your glasses on.” The letters were so crisp they reminded me of a knife edge.

“Got it. I need to wear them all the time.”

***

“So, how do you feel about this?” my husband asked.

“You know, I’m not sure,” I said. “I mean, I’m really excited to be able to see. My vision test was sobering, to say the least…But it’s a big change. I think I’m going to look good in glasses, but…yeah, I’m not entirely sure how I feel.”

And I didn’t. At one point, I considered bursting into tears, but that didn’t seem right. This glasses thing seemed so trivial in comparison to the health issues some of my other friends were contending with at the time. Besides, I was genuinely excited to get rid of my Monet. And I’m a confident girl. I like fashion that makes a statement. I knew I’d look pretty rad in glasses.

So what was this feeling gnawing at me? Nervousness? Excitement? Anticipation? Self-consciousness? Bitterness at getting older?

Whatever the feeling was, it was there. Like a burr that had affixed itself to my sock. Very subtle, but every now and again, it would poke through and shock me.

I snuggled up to my husband and gave him a flirtatious grin. “Are you a guy who makes passes at girls who wear glasses?”

He looked at me, befuddled. “Huh?”

“You’ve never heard that?”

“No.”

“Oh man. ‘Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses?’ I heard that all the time growing up.”

And that’s when I knew how I’d picked up that burr on my sock.

***

That night, my husband took me to LensCrafters. Prescription in hand, I tried on various frame styles, and the whole experience felt very similar to picking out a new pair of shades. Well, very expensive shades. Talented designer and all around fashionable guy that my love is, he brought me various pairs to try on that he felt would complement my features. “It’s your very first pair, so you should get something you like,” he advised.

Within an hour, I’d picked out some Prada dailies (because, of course, I did) and some Tory Burch sunnies. The optician took my measurements and let me know my glasses would be ready the next day.

***

I know that what follows is going to sound dramatic, but putting on glasses for the first time is a pretty dramatic experience.

The moment I slipped my new glasses on, I upgraded to hi-def. It was like putting on a VR helmet. It was my world, but not. Because holy hell, the sharpness! I could read signs more than ten feet away without squinting. Colors seemed bright, like they were about to pop. It was seriously like seeing everything around me for the first time.

I walked slowly back to my car, taking it all in. I felt like the characters in Pleasantville at the moment their black-and-white world explodes in Technicolor – full of wonder. I looked up in the boughs of these enormous trees close to where I had parked, and I swear, I could see the individual petals of every single flower amid the matrix of branches. I could see the variety of color in the blooms, from fire engine red to a deep, deep scarlet.

I took my glasses off for comparison, and the flowers turned into obfuscated, indistinct red blotches.

I snuck my new glasses up the bridge of my nose. “Whoa.”

***

I’ve been wearing my glasses for close to four months now. I joke that they catapult my personal style into “full hipster” most days, “sexy librarian” on others. I laugh when my husband and I lean in for kisses and our frames clink. I’ve had to decrease the brightness on all my computer screens, and I spend so much less time squinting.

When I forget to put on my glasses, I develop migraines, so I’m guessing I’m pretty used to them now. My depth perception, which was seriously funky when I added lenses into the mix, is back to normal. I haven’t had a single ocular migraine since I got my glasses.

And most importantly, the world around me has come into focus. I’m no longer self-conscious about wearing glasses for the rest of my life. They make me better. They sharpen everything around me. And why would I settle for anything less than hi-def?