Auralgasms #2.

I think it’s pretty clear to everyone who reads this blog, that I’m well on my way to a slow descent into the insane abyss. One day, in the not too distant future, my journey into fully-blown recluse will be complete, and I’ll no longer need to worry about under-eye concealer or bras. I hate both. Equally.

I’m really good at social avoidance. You want to spend endless hours chatting it up online? Great. I’m your girl. If you invite me to go hang out after rehearsal at a cafe?

I’m sorry, I think I can hear my puppy crying for me from here. It’s getting desperate. I think she actually used words. Peace!

If I don’t know you really well. And I mean, I know your birthday, I’ve babysat your children/cat/houseplant, and you’ve seen me without a bra and/or under eye concealer, I am all kinds of awkward. If I’m teaching? Fine. That’s almost like a character. If I’m on stage? Great. It’s a character. But little old me? No character. In real life, in social situations, I tend to be all nervous energy and verbal diarrhea. I’m a LOT of personality–if you couldn’t have guessed.

Seriously, I’m working on it. I swear. *not just new boobs so bras are obsolete in my life.

Therefore? Hermit. I am one. I often wonder if that is what first drew me into the land of books. It’s this place where imagination and solitude are handsomely rewarded, and no one expects you to do or be anything.

It’s the same with running. Although I do frequently run with those friends who know me extremely well, I can also be completely solitary in the activity. I can run with myself, and be quiet with myself, competing against only myself. It’s beautiful. But again, I’m rarely truly alone, because of books.

 I don’t just have one book with me at all times. Because of, Scribd, and kindle? I have hundreds upon hundreds.


That’s just on Audible. Not kindle, not iTunes, Scribd, iBooks…pdf…And people wonder why I never go out. WHO NEEDS SHOES WHEN THERE ARE BOOKS?!

And there’s something in the wonderful intimacy of a book, especially an audiobook, that shuts your brain to every notion outside of the worlds held within the pages/words. No one in the books can see my personality, or my inevitable future if I decide to foment a war against my own reclusive lifestyle…

Some of the books offer very valuable pointers. I’l be the best retired floozy in the retirement community. But not old lady bondage. Because it’s all fun and knots until someone needs a new knee.

Sharing my love of this medium was really the impetus behind this series. That, and reader request. Maybe, another blogger can pen a post on transitioning from a bookworm who never puts herself in social situations to being a bookworm who is not so ridden with anxiety over the prospect.

I’d hang at a lot more cafes, that’s for sure.

What was the point of this diatribe? I have no idea. BUT! I do have a new…!!

This week?

Narrator Tavia Gilbert.

Tavia Gilbert is one of those narrators that absolutely sucks you in. (not just because she’s the voice of more than a few vampires.) Her range is something that would give even the most seasoned performer a total actorboner. it’s a real thing. I feel it in my actor id. All actors have a HUGE id. Like, a takeover ID. 

The series that introduced me to her was Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. The series itself is hilarious, sexy, and campy as hell. They’re exactly what anyone picking up a book who is looking for a good time, should get. They’re total, super-fun, lit candy.

What made the series sing for me was the manner in which the dialogue was delivered. Tavia Gilbert’s narration adds an additional level of humor and depth to the already charming story. I find that I have read and re-read this series over and over just to experience certain pieces of the books repeatedly.

For instance, in One Foot in the Grave, (pictured above in the library picture, as I’m currently re-reading in anticipation of this post..) there is this ONE scene. It happens about a quarter of the way through the book, wherein the MC, Cat, is reuniting with her lost love, Bones, and he says two words:

“Hello, Kitten.”

(GAH! I wish I could isolate that soundbite for you, but I am NOT that tech savvy.)

Those words, those two little words send chills down the back of every person who has ever read the series, and OMG THAT MOMENT. Seriously, I cannot explain. Those two words, combined with Tavia Gilbert’s killer narration, makes me seriously question just where it is I fall on the Kinsey Scale.

I’ve also heard her read some pretty heavy stuff, such as Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, as well, and her performance brought me to tears. Not just tears–ridiculous, gaping sobs that felt wrenched from every light inside my heart. The text, combined with her beautifully lyrical performance, is something to be heard.

I am not the only reader persistently bowled over by her talent. Trade mags like Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly regularly laud her talent to their readers.

Tavia Gilbert sounds exactly like your best friend, and exactly like that guy you once…well, you get the point.

So what recipe would I write to honor such a killer narrator? Well, I asked her her favorites via social media, and she responded with “fish tacos, brussels sprouts, coffee, port, and really dark chocolate.”

Chocolate covered fish tacos seemed like a really bad idea, and you know, I like wine and chocolate, annnnnnd it’s nearly Passover, so I chose…

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream. *Kosher for Passover.

now we do.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream

New @Auralgasms post and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream recipe! #amreading #audiobooks #dessert Click To Tweet

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with port wine berry sauce and homemade whipped cream

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1.5 hour plus 2-4 hours chill

Keywords: bake dessert


    for the crust

    • 4 sheets matzo or 1 cup almond meal if you observe non-gebrotz)
    • 1/2 cup melted butter
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar

    for the cake

    • 3, 8 oz bricks of cream cheese, softened
    • 4 oz mascarpone cheese
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup chopped extra dark chocolate
    • 1/4 cup extra dark cocoa powder
    • 1 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder

    for the berries

    • 1 cup GOOD port (I used a tawny)
    • 2 cups blackberries
    • 3 tbsp honey

    for the cream

    • 10 oz container whipping cream
    • 1 cup confectioners sugar


    for the crust

    Preheat oven to 350F

    crush matzo cracker into meal

    combine with brown sugar and butter

    press into the bottom of a greased and floured (use cocoa powder) 9″ springform pan

    bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown

    remove and let cool a bit while you make the cheesecake, do not turn off the oven

    for the cheesecake

    it’s easy, whip together cheeses

    add eggs

    add sugar and vanilla

    melt the chocolate in a microwave in 15 second intervals, add espresso powder, add to batter.

    add cocoa

    scrape down sides occasionally

    pour into cooled crust

    bake on top rack for about one hour above a pan full of water (a 9″-13″ dish will work, fill it entirely)

    remove when the edges are puffed and center still has a very slight jiggle.

    for the whipped cream

    whip 10oz container of whipping cream until soft peaks form

    add powdered sugar

    whip until smooth

    for berry sauce

    combine berries, wine, and honey in a saucepan and cook on medium until liquids begin to reduce. Mash berries.


    Avengers! Assemble!!

    remove cake from sides of pan and swirl with cream on top. top with berry sauce.

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    2 thoughts on “Auralgasms #2.

    1. I wish I could write the post on transitioning from bookworm to semi-functioning member of society. Alas! Also, dammit! I've never listened to Tavia read anything (but the most recent Vlad, and you know my feelings on this) and now I kind of want to start audiobuying the Night Huntress books. WHY DO YOU HATE THE BOOK LINE ITEM OF MY BUDGET? PS - I am having an existential crisis and feel like we should pick a city and a date and go be awkward (but maybe not braless) together. I'll bring the gin.

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