Welcome

Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...

WARNING

If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Appearance


Yours truly is at the Book Boost Blog today. Come and get the inside scoop about how I write sex. Do I research with a hot hunk? Maybe... You'll have to come on over and find out. ;)

The Book Boost

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of my friends, followers and supporters out there a huge Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. These last six months have been quite extraordinary. On Saturday, the Imaginarium will be six months old and the response to my little blog so far has been overwhelming. I am humbled and overjoyed by all of you out there. :)

I love this time of year with all the decorations and lights. I have little traditions that I keep just for me that help make this time year even more special. I miss my dad and some good friends who have all gone on. I still like to keep them in my thoughts and in the dark of night on Christmas Eve I light a candle in the window and let it burn til dawn. I also love to sleep by the tree with all the lights blinking. After our family get together, I love to come home and watch a marathon of horror films. Nothing like a good scare with some slice and dice to work out the aftereffects of all that sugar, fat and carbs.

I also love hearing how others celebrate. What are some things you like to do on the holidays?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Destiny Blaine and her Cowboys for Christmas



For more on Cowboys for Christmas click here

Imaginarians, today we have author Destiny Blaine in the house. Whoo Hoo!! She is one of the hottest erotica writers out there and I am so happy she has included a stop here on her whirlwind blog tour. Take it away, Destiny...


Hi Melissa,


Thank you for hosting a blog stop on Destiny Blaine’s 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour. Today, our Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Tour comes to an end. After twelve days of blogging, we’ll have some winners to announce. To enter to win the grand prize, bloggers need to leave a comment at some or all of the blogs hosting the tour. They can enter up to three comments per blog spot. Late tonight, I’ll stop back by and award one lucky winner with a very special prize package valued at over $200. The package will be delivered to the winner’s home and contains various items—many of my favorite things. More details will follow later tonight. Contest ends at 11:01 PM EST so enter to win right here and at the other participating blogs.

In the meantime, I thought I’d end the blog tour with a final day of promoting Cowboys for Christmas. If you purchase Cowboys for Christmas and send your receipt to me before 11:01 PM EST tonight, I’ll have a special e-surprise for you. Send your receipt to destinyblaine@yahoo.com with BOUGHT ONE—GIVE ME THREE FREE in the subject line.

Some of you have read the short essay below, but for those of you who haven’t, I brought along a taste of why I’m often inspired to write about cowboys.

I grew up on a cattle ranch in East Tennessee. My father was considered a cattle trader rather than a farmer. The biggest difference in our working farm was that the animals there only wandered the fields for a very short time. They were simply passing through without the luxury of an extended visit. The cowboys who stopped by our farm, typically never stayed around very long either which is why I was never permitted to “date” a cowboy.

By the time I was a teenager, one such cowboy caught my attention and he held it longer than a country minute. He used to visit our place once a month, twice if I was lucky. After drooling from a distance—and daydreaming about this ‘nice’ young man for more days than I recall, I finally realized that I was in ‘love’ with a cowboy. I made a vow to myself--eventually, I’d make a play for him and with any luck, he’d notice me.

The day I gained his undivided attention just so happened to be a hot summer afternoon when boredom consumed me. I was bound and determined to ride a horse that had stubbornly refused all riders for a good number of months. My father was the only one who ever stayed on her back but I decided I was going to ride the unruly beast too.

This particular June day, I felt confident I’d go unnoticed because the farm was buzzing with activity. After my father returned to the barn and began sorting cattle, I decided it was time to make a lasting impression on the mare no one in their right mind wanted to ride.

I took Misty into a large open field and with the help of a dilapidated fence; I stepped into the stirrup, threw a leg over her croup and planted my then-tiny backside into the saddle. I was, in fact, barely there when Misty decided to bolt through the pastures… and she headed straight for the river-bottoms.

The route Misty chose placed me at a great disadvantage. We didn’t go unnoticed as we galloped by the first barn and that’s when I saw—him. The cowboy of my dreams was just stepping out of his truck when we raced right by him. Since I was more than a little occupied, I don’t think I waved hello but through the cloud of dust we managed to stir, the amusement danced across his face. There was no doubt about it. He thought the ridiculous show was all for him and I was in for quite an embarrassing ride.

If you’ve ever been a passenger on a runaway train, then you can probably relate to my predicament. My arms flapped out to the side and I lost my balance almost immediately but I still managed to hang on for dear life.

After riding for what seemed like forever, Misty reached an abrupt decision and without a moment to spare, she halted right before she reached a slight embankment. Since I didn’t have the reins of control I desperately wanted to have, I landed at the edge of Holston River. While Misty didn’t want to splash mud on her pretty dapple-grey legs, she didn’t hold the same consideration for her rider.

By the time the ‘search party’ arrived to retrieve me, there were only two men I didn’t want to see and they were there to fetch me. After my dad threw a slight fit for show (he was more bark than bite), he rode the horse back to the barn. I was swiftly helped into the front seat of an old truck and to my dismay, the one behind the wheel was one handsome cowboy.

While it’s been a long time ago, I still remember his polite mannerism. He seemed to ignore the fact that I was covered in mud. However, after a few minutes of small talk, he decided to put to rest any notions of something so ridiculous in the future.

His parting words stayed with me for several years. He said, “If you’re going to get a man’s attention, choose a horse you can ride and sweetheart, if you want a cowboy who will teach you all about it—let me know when you turn eighteen.” I later discovered he was twenty and after I made the mistake of telling my brother of the experience, he never came back to our farm again.

After writing about enough cowboys in romance, today I understand why the young man never returned. I also realize why so many women love to open up a spicy western when these sexy denim-clad men occupy the pages inside. Cowboys are the ultra-bad Alpha male and most I've met are sweet-talking gentlemen.

Cowboys say the right thing even when it’s the inappropriate one. They look at their women in a most suggestive way and they typically fill out a pair of Levis better than any man alive. With a devilish smile and a lingering gaze that tells a woman everything she needs to know, it’s no wonder so many authors find their inspiration in the spiciest of men.

I later ran into the hell-hot cowboy when I was seventeen. I was at a horse sale with some of my friends. When I spotted the handsome rogue with a body truly meant for sinning, his lips curled up with an instant smile. After he looked around the crowd, he must’ve decided it was safe to approach. Once he did, he asked the question that inevitably would either seal (or kill) any kind of future deal.

“Are you eighteen yet?” His raspy voice was laced with thick implications.

“No. Four more months.” I proudly announced.

His eyes drifted over me long enough to assure that the man in front of me was more cowboy than I could handle. “Have you learned how to ride a horse yet?”

“I always knew how to ride a horse, just not one with behavioral problems.”

“How do you feel about cowboys with the same issues?” He asked with a cocksure smile.

I swallowed hard a few times and realized I’d met my match. A player of players was staring back at me waiting for the most inviting of replies and…I didn’t have one.

With an easy grin and an unforgettable wink, he leaned over and whispered. “All right then. Look me up when you turn twenty-one.”

~~~

As an erotic romance author today, I think about that handsome rogue every now and then. He’s a voice inside my head when I’m looking for just the right lines and he’s also a gentle reminder of why so many women love a cowboy.

Most of the young men I met as a girl were exactly like the one I’ve just described. They were perfect gentlemen in public but when provoked, they knew how to quickly remind a woman interested in them that they knew all the right moves to keep her coming back for more. I hope my cowboys do the same for you. Introducing my latest Aspen Mountain Press title--Cowboys for Christmas:

Synopsis:

Julie Kensworth opens her door to more than a blizzard and greets two wayward cowboys. She realizes right away she’s headed straight for the eye of the storm.
Brandon Blake and Quinn Stewart are a long way from home. They’re looking for a warm place to hang their hats while they try to wait out the snow and ice, which continues to gain momentum.

Julie is an author and she’s not just the average writer, she’s one of the most notorious writers in the world. When Quinn and Blake figure out Julie is an erotic romance author, well, needless to say, their minds churn with all sorts of ideas, most of them geared toward how they can heat up the cold winter nights ahead.



Excerpt:





“I don’t know why you’re pouting,” Brandon spat a few minutes later, noticing Quinn’s frown. “She didn’t tell us to hit the road. She just told us to wait out here until she dressed.”

“I guess I was hoping for an explicit expression of gratitude.”

Brandon pointed toward the mantle. “Don’t forget. She probably has a boyfriend.”

“The boyfriend isn’t what I’ve been thinking about. What I’m wondering is why she has so many of those Carla Carrington books.”

Julie strolled into the kitchen like a breath of fresh air. She lit up the place with an easy smile and a refreshing stroke of confidence. “Carla Carrington is my pseudonym.”

“Do huh?” Brandon asked, chin dropping.

“Your pseudonym?” Quinn asked for clarification.

“Yeah,” Julie said. “I’m a writer.”

Brandon felt like something was stuck in his chest. She wasn’t just a writer. She was the best selling, award-winning author of scorching hot books often made into explicit after-dark television movies. He’d never admit the truth, but he’d watched a few of those movies. Carla Carrington’s name had been on the lips of quite a few talk show hosts who openly criticized the demise of morals in today’s world. Carla wrote the kind of books that Brandon wouldn’t have let his daughter read—assuming he had a daughter, which he didn’t. On the other hand, if he had a wife, Carla’s books would’ve been mandatory reading.

“You said you’re a writer.” Brandon cleared his throat. “But Carla Carrington is—”

“I’m Carla,” she interrupted. “I write under a couple of pseudonyms.”

Quinn looked around the small cottage. He was probably thinking the same thing Brandon was. Why did she live in such a small house? Wouldn’t Carla Carrington reside in an oceanfront mansion with a full crew doting on her, bringing her chocolate-covered mints and arranging social events?

The woman behind the world’s most scandalous writing should not have been dressed in hide-tight blue jeans with a low-cut fitted sweater and her hair tossed up in a clumsy ponytail. A woman writing explicit scenes like the one Brandon had read earlier should not have looked like an adorable barely legal girl!

Brandon shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-six, why?”

“Just curious. That’s all.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Quinn blurted out.

Way to fucking go! Brandon set his jaw. As he watched the color drain from Julie’s cheeks, he shot Quinn a cold stare. “You can quit foaming at the mouth any time now.”

Quinn didn’t say anything. Brandon braced for fighting words, maybe even a good swift kick in the ass.

What the hell! Quinn started this. “Do you have a boyfriend?” Brandon would die right there if she said she had a husband.

“No, I do not.” She marched across the kitchen, opened the pantry and retrieved two jars of her homemade soup, setting the large containers on the small island in the kitchen’s center. “Anyone hungry?”

Brandon grinned, staring at her ass. “Honey, I’m practically starving.”


Thanks again, Melissa! I enjoy visiting your blog!

Destiny Blaine

Friday, December 17, 2010

Dynamic Duo Interview: Robert Appleton and Sloane Taylor



Genre: Science Fiction/Erotica

Publisher: Amber Quill Amber Heat

Buy Link: Claire De Lune

I am so excited, Imaginarians. Here with me are two amazing writers, Robert Appleton and Sloane Taylor, co-authors of Claire De Lune, the newest hit from the Amber Heat imprint at Amber Quill Press.

Rob, you’re in the UK and Sloane, here in the States, how did you connect? What was that initial first contact like?

Rob: We both signed with the same publisher a few years back, and while Sloane was promoting one of her Naughty Ladies of Nice books, I stopped by and suggested we co-write a science fiction entry in the series, just for a laugh. I came up with the title Claire de Lune immediately—French, SF-ish, oh-so exotic. And it stuck. After I read one of her books and saw how explosive that genre could be, I knew I had to pen something a little spicier than my usual output. Heck, it was only erotic, right? I mean we all know any bored housewife can write that stuff (um, not that I wear an apron or anything). Little did I realise how difficult it is to write high quality erotic.

Sloane: It was love at first keystroke.:) We once wrote for the same publisher and connected on a group chat. Rob and his wry sense of humor, which is just as sick as mine, stole my heart. He off-handedly joked we should write a book together. The chat ended and that was that, until three years later when he emailed with an enticing offer to co-author Claire De Lune. Best decision I’ve made in a long time.

Both of you are established in such diverse genres. What was it about the other’s writing that made you decide to co-author a book together? Who approached who?

Sloane: I’d read several of Rob’s books before we ever discussed collaborating. His imagination, world building and quick wit swept me into a genre I’d not read before. When he suggested we work together, I had to agree.

Rob: After I’d finished a fairly mild first draft, I realised I’d fallen short of my initial vision for the project. The mystery more or less worked and I was really pleased with the sci-fi elements, but the Sloane Taylor sparkle, that hot magic permeating the characters, was missing. I’d gotten so wrapped up in the mystery and the male camaraderie that I’d given the female characters short shrift. And no one writes spunky, sexy women like Sloane. So I asked her to jump on board. Luckily, she said yes, and a full freaking year later we got started. :winks:


I’ve been told with writing duos, one person usually takes the lead creatively, the other editorially. Did your partnership break down this way or was it more fifty-fifty?

Rob: Hmm, how can I answer this without sounding whiny and getting a slap, or being an arch chauvinist (and getting a slap)? Sloane got the ball rolling on the editing well before we started adding scenes. We both came up with new sub-plots for her main character, Evelyn Lyons. And from then on, it was pretty much fifty-fifty.

Sloane: Rob’s the creative genius. I just follow behind like all good women should. Excuse me while I vomit.:) Actually, he is a brilliant writer. Plot line, creating new worlds and weaving in suspense is Rob’s forte. Me – I’m the comma queen and browbeat him to follow the rules of writing.

How difficult was it to mesh your distinctive styles into a single cohesive voice? Was there ever a point where either of you wanted to smash the other into tiny unrecognizable bits?

Rob: You see those partial people on our book cover? Well, they’re all that’s physically left of the two writers of this book. As you can see, I came off worst.

Sloane: Haven’t a clue how it meshed, but somehow it just worked. I never felt that way, but I sure bet Rob did! Good thing we live an ocean apart. I’m a real pain in the ass since I’ve turned procrastination into an art form. Groan.

Rob, some of your other stories contain elements of romance, what made you decide that Claire de Lune in particular needed a more erotic take?

It’s weird because I never intended to write any romance at all. It just kind of happened because I love writing women and felt those characters were incomplete without some kind of romantic pursuit. With Claire de Lune, the whole project was inspired by contemporary erotic romance. I really enjoyed that mix of sassy repartee and steamy, character-driven sex in Sloane’s books. But the sensuality more than the sex is what intrigued me. Claire de Lune was always meant to be sensual sci-fi with an exotic/erotic atmosphere.

Sloane, your stories are firmly grounded in the here and now, what was it about this tale that compelled you to venture into unexplored territory? Was it difficult stepping into a such totally unfamiliar genre?

Rob had created strong, diverse characters that came alive on the page. It was easy to fall in love with them. I’m a romantic through and through and had no problem with sci-fi sex. I believe in love and enjoy writing it no matter where in the galaxy the couple may be.:)

Rob, you are a sci fi writer. What is your take on the place of romance and erotica within the genre amongst the more hard core and straight sci fi?

That’s a fabulous question, Melissa, and unfortunately one I don’t have enough space to answer. On the face of it, those genres—sci-fi and romance/erotica—are opposites and incompatible. One is predominantly male, the other female; one tends toward heartless intellectualism, the other toward neurotic female thinking. The readerships are almost proverbially divided. So when you’re meshing the two genres, you have to tone down the extremes. Don’t eliminate the hard science, use it sparingly; don’t have the characters boinking every other page, make those clinches count. It’s an extremely hard balance to find but it can be done.

My personal preference is for science fiction stories with romantic/erotic elements as opposed to romances where the sci-fi is just a backdrop. In my opinion, particularly when the stakes are life or death, characters should think about survival first, boinking second. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in book of this type.

Sloane, as an erotica writer, what would you say is the biggest misconception that people have regarding this genre?

Too many people misconstrue erotica for porn and it pisses me off. Love and sex are beautiful natural emotions/reactions and as far from porn as the moon to the Earth. Erotica is the expression of love through a sexual act. Porn has nothing to do with love. It depicts acts in a sensational manner to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.

What surprised you the most about working with each other? How has it impacted your own individual writing?

Rob: I think it’s made my writing more concise, a little crisper off the bat. My natural inclination is toward over-description, and I love laid-back Victorian prose. So having a ruthlessly contemporary style to brush up against really shook my purple prose loose. Of course, I’m writing a Victorian-age steampunk now, so round and round we go…

Sloane: I like sci-fi! Working with Rob is easy and I’m grateful he’s patient. Our experience has taught me to be more careful of details and dig deeper into my characters lives.

Based on your experience with each other, would you collaborate with other authors if approached?

Rob: Any time, Melissa. Send me what you got. :winks: But I’d think twice about working with stinky Sloane, if I were you. She swears like a Tarantino gangster and has a drinking problem.

Sloane: Not a snowball’s chance on the sun. I enjoy working with Rob because he doesn’t push even though I gave him carte blanche to spank me when I screw around. But he has to use the new whips. LOL

What other genres would either of you consider attempting that you have not tried before?

Sloane: I’d love to write a mainstream mystery in first person. I’ve been toying with one for a year and haven’t built up enough courage to plunge in.:)

Rob: I’d love to write a full-on haunted house horror. Immediately, in fact. And I’ve always wanted to write a medieval novel. After sci-fi, history is my big reading passion. I’d also like try my hand at a real-life disaster/survival novel—ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances absolutely fascinate me, especially when the forces of nature are involved.

What’s next for both of you? Are there plans to continue your collaboration any time soon? Will there be a sequel to Claire De Lune?

Sloane: Take it away, Rob.

Rob: Not a sequel, no, but a kinda/sorta prequel featuring our favourite secondary character from CDL—the pageant doctor, Grace Peters. It will be risky and quip-laden and there will be much sci-fi sauciness. After that, we’ll have to consult our horoscopes. I believe we share the same star sign—Sagittarius. Unfortunately, Sloane may have priced me out of the market by then (her 900 number is killing mine).



Who are your major writing influences? Who or what inspired you to start writing?

Sloane: Too many influences to mention, Melissa. It can be the small thing that sets my mind to wandering.:) I’d never considered writing until seven years after the death of my second husband. Days went by and all these images like a silent movie flooded my brain. They drove me crazy until I finally wrote them down just to find some peace. After Beth Anderson, a dear friend and published author, used her infamous two by four those words became my first book Teddi Turns On. Since then life’s been good.:)

Rob: I would have to say the great Victorian speculative/adventure fiction writers inspired and influenced me the most. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and H. Rider Haggard wrote many of my favourite works of imagination ever. Haggard’s ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and ‘She’ in particular are biggies. Also, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ‘John Carter of Mars’ was a huge influence on me. Somewhere inside, my twelve-year-old self is turning zero-g cartwheels celebrating what I get paid to write.


Aside from writing, what are some of you other passions and pursuits? I know Sloane is an avid cook and Rob, you are quite the sportsman.

Rob: I play 5-a-side soccer every week, which is insanely paced, so I mustn’t be as unfit as I sometimes think. Kayaking is a great pastime but our family trips have dried up a bit these last few years. I’m also a big-time movie geek who loves old swashbucklers and 1950’s sci-fi. And anything directed by Oliver Stone.

Sloane: I love to garden in the spring and hate it when the bugs invade. I grow all my own green beans, tomatoes and herbs. Throughout the season I freeze them to use all winter long. It’s a treat to have spaghetti gravy made from our garden goodies in January.

Do you have any favorite indulgences that might surprise your readers?

Sloane: Murder and mayhem. Love them. There’s nothing better than curling up with a good mystery book or TV program late at night.

Rob: holds up his Schwarzengger collection for protection: Okay, okay, so I was first in line to watch ‘You’ve Got Mail’ when it came out. What can I say? I like feel-good rom-coms. I also can’t get enough of sappy supernatural TV show ‘Ghost Whisperer’, but the reason might not be so surprising. Three words: Jennifer Love Hewitt.

What do you hope readers take away from your works?

Rob: Food for thought, a feast for the imagination, and a taste for more.

Sloane: Good question and one that made me think. I want readers to know there is still romance in our universe and it's there for each and every one of us when we least expect it.

Thank you both so much for spending some time here at The Imaginarium. I wish you much success with Claire De Lune. I myself can't wait to have it in my hot little hands.

If you want to know more about these fantastic authors and their work, you can visit their respective sites: Sloane Taylor and Robert Appleton

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Birthday Celebration Winners


Christmas is coming just a bit early...For those who participated in my birthday blog giveaway here and at my other posting, the Amber Heat blog, here are the lucky recipients...




Nebular

Brit Blaise

Send me an email at melbwrites@gmail.com with the subject line Birthday Giveaway and tell me what story of mine you would like.If you're not sure, in the sidebar of this blog are links to each story or you can go here to my bio page at Amber Quill Press.

Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes. I had a great day yesterday.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's My Birthday... Party Time!



Whoo Hoo! It’s my birthday and I am in a par-tay mood. It’s only Wednesday, but I’m not letting that stop me. I’m getting the weekend rolling early and I want all you out there to celebrate with me. I’ve got a couple of recipes for cocktail faves that always put me in a festive mood so you can drink a toast with me. These babies are great for birthday parties, holiday parties and really anytime you want a delicious drink.

I love presents, both giving and receiving, so guess what? I’m going to give away a free download of one of my short stories two lucky celebrants, one from here and one from my publisher’s blog, Amber Heat. Best of all, it’s winners’ choice. If you’re selected, you get to pick which one of my short stories you’d like. You can choose from Michael’s Keeper, Dream On or Love Haight.

The rules are simple, all you have to do is leave a comment (birthday wishes are nicest, of course. *wink,wink*) and I will draw the names of two people. The names of the lucky recipients will be posted at midnight, Central Time tonight both here and at Amber Heat.

My birthday is not the only reason I’m in such a festive mood. Check this out… Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf received an amazing 4 Heart review at The Romance Studio. The reviewer, Michele, says “The sex scenes are intense, violent, unpredictable and creative. The chemistry between Maxie, Noah and Damien is explosive.” Wow! That made my day even more special. You can read the rest of Michele’s awesome review here.

Now, let’s roll out those drinks, shall we?. One of my favorites is a pomegranate martini. Here’s a wicked good recipe from Martini Recipe.net

Pomegranate Martini

Ingredients

1 oz vodka (or citrus vodka, if you have it)
1/2 oz Cointreau orange liqueur
3 oz pomegranate juice*
chopped ice
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, for garnish
lemon slice, for garnish
sugar, for garnish

Directions

Wet the rim of the cocktail glass with the lemon juice.
Place sugar in a saucer and dip the rim of the cocktail glass into the saucer, to produce a ring of sugar stuck to the lemon juice as a decorative rim around the glass.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
Add ice so that the shaker is about a third full (ice plus ingredients).
Shake for 20 seconds.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Squeeze a couple of drops from the lemon slice into the glass, then garnish the side of the cocktail glass with the slice of lemon.

Another fave is Emeril’s Poinsettia Cocktail from Foodnetwork.com

Poinsettia Cocktails

Ingredients

1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup Champagne
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Crushed ice
2 strips orange zest, each about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long

Directions

Combine the vodka, Champagne and juice in a large-stemmed red wine glass. Add crushed ice and stir until the mixture is well chilled. Twist the orange strips over the glass, drop them in, and serve.

Oh man, I want to mix these babies right now and start my celebration early. Trust me when I say these are awesome drinks. I also love a good mimosa and anything with tequila. I also love a good beer, something dark and strong. Hey Imaginarians, do you have a fave cocktail or other alcohol concoction you'd love to share with yours truly? I'd love to try 'em.

Thanks for coming out and helping me celebrate today. You all rock!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My New Cover...Check It Out!

Look at this beautiful cover for my new release, Byzantine Provocateur. Isn't it pretty? Trace Edward Zaber, the artist, really captures the essence of my story.



Byzantine will be out on March 6. Stay tuned for more information.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Decorum, please...

As a writer, I love to people watch. To me there is just something fascinating about looking at people as they walk by, adrift in their own world. I wonder where they are going, who they might be meeting...a lover, a child, a friend...perhaps they're a criminal informant, hurrying to meet their handler. Or maybe...I digress. What I mean to say is, that while I love to watch people and speculate about what's going on in their lives, as soon as they start to tell the world about it, it's over. Spell broken.

I'm sitting at the bus stop the other morning, minding my own business, when a young couple with their two small children join me. I start to wonder from the backpacks if they are off on field trip of some sort or maybe to the pediatrician for check ups...my usual habit. Then she opens her mouth. And what comes out had me feeling terribly sorry for those kids and the guy.

Imaginarians, she starts going on about his performance in the bedroom the previous night and how he could not get it up. The thud I heard was the poor fellow's jaw hitting the ground along with my own. Now see, if I had just seen her gesticulating from a distance, I would have imagined some kind of argument, but the fact that I had to hear the actual words in her nasaly voice? Holy hell, I have never prayed so hard for a bus to come. Yes, I thought about walking to the next stop, but with my luck, I would be at the halfway point when the thing would have driven right past me.

I people watch, not people listen. I do not want to know their actual business. Do these people not care that they are polluting the air with their dirty laundry? I guess not. Another incident, I was at the mall, casually watching a guy in a loud suit, wondering who in God's name made that when I hear..."Tanya's motherfucking pregnant, dumb ass." Silence fell faster than Lindsey Lohan's career, all eyes zeroed in on the speaker. My head whipped over my shoulder to see two guys standing across the way, one all dressed like a gangsta rapper, the other in a KFC uniform. As if that verbal grenade weren't enough, they started to argue over who was the father, right there in the River Oaks Mall food court. Oh Tanya, whoever you are, your child is facing an uphill battle considering half it's DNA comes from Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.

No sense of decorum at all. There must be a short in some people's brains when they get out in public. I've been on the train and been privy to cell phone conversations discussing disease progression, who slept with who, how ugly someone's new girl is, how great someone is at oral sex, etc. The list is just endless.

Dear Santa, please bring me an iPod so I don't have to listen anymore.

Friday, December 3, 2010

New Release: Claire DeLune by Robert Appleton and Sloane Taylor


ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-011-5 (Electronic)
ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-995-8 (Paperback)
Amber Quill Press – Amber Heat

BUY LINK

Yours truly has been brimming over with excitement because two of the most awesome writers out there, Robert Appleton and Sloane Taylor, have combined their writing genius to create one wicked cool story. Claire De Lune is now available and I cannot wait to have this in my hot little hands. I was torn between downloading the e-book right freaking now or exercising some restraint and waiting for the paperback which drops later this month. Well Imaginarians, I have decided to go with restraint. There is nothing better than having the actual paperback book in one 's hands. But for now, I have an awesome little excerpt here to tantalize you. In the meantime, check out both of these incredibly talented writers at their respective sites. Click here to visit sci fi writer Robert Appleton. Visit erotica writer Sloane Taylor's site here.

In the meantime here is that rockin' excerpt I told you about. Enjoy!

BLURB:
You’re invited to the galaxy’s most prestigious beauty pageant. Clothing optional. Romance and danger…fully provided…

Cocky young detectives Gerry Rappeneau and Sebastian Thorpe-Campbell arrive at the premier lunar resort expecting a week of eye candy and long massages. With a half-billion-credit purse up for grabs, this year’s pageant is the focus of a hundred worlds. And beauty isn’t the only thing in the eye of the beholder.

One contestant, Evelyn Lyons, is attacked and her assailant killed. Surely a simple case of a stalker gone mad, as nothing bad ever happens at the Selene contest. So the brochure says.

The closer Gerry gets to Evelyn, the more he is convinced she’s hiding something. His meticulous character sparks with her wild, sassy nature, and they embark on a torrid affair. Their forbidden romance isn’t the only thing set to ignite in Pont de Reves.

Sebastian’s infatuation with demure Claire Villiers, another contestant, threatens to put all four of them in harm’s way.

A deadly trail of corporate conspiracy, monstrous assassins and hot bikini wax is more than anyone bargained for in this incendiary erotic mystery. Get ready for some serious heat on the dark side of the moon.

EXCERPT:
…Evelyn glared across at Van der Sands, her grey eyes metallic and sharp. Busy placing the new drinks order, the banker didn’t notice her.

“He’s a son of a bitch.” Evelyn retrieved a white business card and a ballpoint pen from her purse. She wrote on the back and slid it to Gerry.

He swallowed hard as he read, Clean the bastard out & I’ll sleep with you tonight.

She let her hands fall loose at her side, unmasking her face. Gerry’s first thought was one of easy acquiescence. Whatever she wanted! If this was the start of some kind of saucy foreplay, why the hell not? Then he watched the curious game within the game unfold.

A few slow-burning fireworks started the show. Sly glances between her and Van der Sands; the brunette girl with fleeting yet repeated eye contact; Evelyn whistling a tune. Subtle—but the shared air was definitely combustible. What was going on among the three of them? And what did she have against her old boss?

He slipped the card into his pocket. The drinks arrived and Van der Sands made sure everyone was ready to resume. “Le jeux est fait. Un banco de quatre cent mille.”

The CEO wasn’t messing around. High stakes, just like the previous round. Gerry might have backed off—four hundred thousand was two fifths of his total allowance for the night—but Evelyn’s note and the bizarre charades had already piqued his interest. “Banco,” he announced.

Van der Sands dealt him two quick cards and a lengthy, probing stare. Gerry matched the latter. At first the man had seemed indifferent, almost petty about the game of baccarat. Now there was fiery curiosity in his eyes, as though he needed to know who this blond opponent was and why Gerry was in league with her. He thought of it as dick-measuring by proxy. Neither man knew the other, but they had become tacit rivals by association with the same beautiful woman.

A seven and a two—a natural nine. A great first hand. Gerry tapped his cards, signifying he didn’t want another. Van der Sands would now have to err on the side of risk.

He drew a nine and a five. A score of four. To get close to nine, he had to risk another card.

The croupier flipped an ace. “Cinq a la banque.”

Gerry nudged Evelyn’s arm before arrogantly tossing his cards face up into the center.

“Monsieur Rappeneau wins.” The croupier retrieved the cards and awarded Gerry his chips.

The brunette congratulated him with an approving nod and a silent clap. Her black elbow-length gloves added to her mystique. Evelyn, boasting a mischievous grin, stroked his thigh under the table, edging dangerously close to his dick. His next sip of Mackison competed with a gasp. He covered his mouth. It was all he could do to stop a mouthful of beverage showering the green baize. Evelyn’s hand had strayed into sensitive territory. He didn’t know whether to yank it away or shove it deeper into his crotch.

“Keep it up,” she whispered in his ear. “And that goes for your winnings, too. Tonight, I’m gonna screw your brains out.”

Jesus Christ! His hold on propriety slipped like an eel through soapy rubber gloves. The casino grew close. Stifling. Evelyn grabbed his crotch and massaged the tip of his erection. He gave another gasp. The brunette watched him through the prism of her glass while she sipped her Malibu. The way those sensuous black gloves contrasted with her white arms and shoulders… Oh, God! He glanced down at Evelyn’s breathtaking tits. His hand shaking, he took a large swig of Mackison. It helped. Only for a moment. Evelyn moved in close and placed her hand on his shoulder. She gave him a look so serious and seductive he felt his erotic self tumbling into her cleavage. Somebody…help.

“Un banco de trois cent mille.”

The Australian answered, “Banco.”

Gerry wrenched himself to his feet. He regained the wherewithal to kiss Evelyn’s cheek before stuttering, “Excuse me. Shan’t be a minute,” to the other startled players. Breathing a long, shivery sigh on his way to the restroom, he tripped on a step and almost bulldozed a waitress into her trolley of snacks.

“Good God.” He locked the men’s room door behind him. “She’s an animal. I’m dating a goddamn wild animal…”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Maxie Briscoe Contest Winner


Over Halloween, I held a contest for a giveaway of my latest, Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf. Things got horrendously crazy hereabouts with a deadline, a science fair project, the Thanksgiving Holiday and about a hundred other issues. So I am posting the winner here now.

Congratulations Dempsey Sanders!!!!!!

Dempsey, I profoundly apologize for not posting this much sooner. Please email me at melbwrites@gmail.com to let me know where I can send you your prize.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

It's Turkey Day here in the States and I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

1. My family, without whose love and support I would be lost. I know I drive them nuts, so I'm especially grateful. My mom, who never gives up on me and is always there to listen, to hug and whatever else I need. My sisters who are always ready to help, to encourage and to give me a reality check. My brothers, Alan and Gary, I irritate them and they probably wonder when I'm going to get it together, but I can always,always count on them. My brother-in-law, whose humor gets me laughing no matter what and who is a great listener. My sister-in-law, a rock and a drill sergeant who always gives me unquestioning support, but doesn't hesitate to give me a swift kick when I need one. My nephews, who love their Auntie Moe without question and who always make me laugh and help me keep things in perspective.

2. My friends, whose encouragement, loyalty and humor never waiver. Without them, I... Well, I shudder to think what my life would be like without them.

3. My crit partners, who have made me a better writer by sharing their knowledge and who always keep me on track when I'm going off the deep end. I would not be the writer I am without them.

4. All of you out there. You are my extended support network and without you, I would not be the same writer. Your support of me and my stories is incredible and I cannot thank you enough.

I wish all of you peace, joy and many, many blessings. Thank you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

BOO!! It's All Hallow's Eve


At last, at last it's All Hallow's Eve, Halloween, Samhain for all my Celtic and Wiccan friends out there. Time for trick or treating, scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories and fun with family and friends. So get your monster on and have a great time.

Samhain, pronounced 'sa uin, is the Celtic festival marking the end of the lighter half of the year and the beginning of the darker one. It also is a time to celebrate the dead, as certain Celtic traditions hold that the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, allowing the dead to cross back into the living world they once inhabited. It is the custom in some areas of Ireland and Scotlnd to set a place for the dead at the Samhain feast.

Bonfires played an important part, with people and their livestock walking between two fires as a purification ritual. With the bonfires lit, in some villages all other fires were extinguished, to be re-lit from these communal fires.

Samhain is also the Celtic New Year and divination was considered a primary part of the celebration. Seasonal foods, apples and nuts, were used to determine one's future spouse, state of marriage, how many children and location of future home. An apple was peeled and the peel tossed over the shoulder to see if the first letter of one's future spouse could be determined. Unsure about your marriage? Nuts were roasted in the the heart and their movements watched.If they stayed together,then so would the couple. Egg whites were dropped in a glass of water and the shapes interpreted to see the number of children a couple would have.

Masks were worn to ward off evil spirits. Masks would hide the identity of the living and keep them safe from the evil spirits that had crossed over. In Scotland, young men wore veiled or blackened faces and dressed in white to impersonate the dead.

In celebration of my favorite night of the year, I'm giving away a free download of my latest story, an erotic menage tale called Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf. This is erotic, so if you're NOT 18, DO NOT ENTER. To enter, simply leave a comment. I'll post the winner here tomorrow. Here's a little excerpt...

Synopsis

The name's Maxie Briscoe and I am a werewolf…

That’s right, a real live, full moon-loving, Halloween icon. It’s hard out here for girl like me. To survive, I hide my true self and act the part of a normal human, all while discreetly indulging the Beast within. Talk about walking a narrow ledge. And that’s not even the worst part. Sex is. You see I can bench press a pick-up truck and that spells disaster in the bedroom. You can’t have any real fun knowing you might accidentally crush a lover while in the throes. Kind of kills the mood.

When a friend’s murder shatters the careful existence I’ve carved out, I come face to face with Damien and Noah, two of the hottest men I’ve ever laid eyes on. They are also the first werewolves I’ve run across since my conversion. The attraction is instant, but complicated, the sex… explosive.

Too bad there’s a killer out there with his sights on me …

Excerpt

Here's Maxie looking for a little fun at the club with her friend


I scan the crowd, checking for some possible action. Men are
like parts of a cow, really. First you have your obvious top
sirloin—men who are cut and fit, with lots of stamina, confidence
and great personality. Then you got your round steak—guys who
can keep up, but are a little too much on the beta side of things.
Rump roasts are your basic teddy bears…cute geeks and others
who’ll let you do whatever you want to them because they can’t
believe they’re going home with you. Finally, you got your ground
chuck. You know the type: total dorks, octopuses, Hoovers who
suck your face off when they kiss. These are guys you don’t even
want to think about until you’ve had four or five shots of tequila
and a Jagermeister chaser.

My eyes alight on two definite cuts of sirloin.

“Oh. My. Gawd. Would you look at the guns on that one?”

Tori’s high-pitched tones shock my ears like turning on the
radio after forgetting the volume is set on high. She is looking right
at one of my targets, damn her. A low, territorial growl rumbles in
my throat.

“Easy, Max.” Drea touches my arm, the gesture helping me
rein in my baser urge to shove Tori into the nearest wall as I
assert the fact that I have first dibs. Did I mention my dominance
issues? I turn to glare at my friend, only to see her little sister move
forward out of the corner of my eye. The little bitch.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Favorite Horror Authors




I talked about my favorite scary movies,now I'm going to talk about my favorite horror writers. These guys paint chilling, vivid, blood-curdling images with their words. no f/x masters here, only a keyboard or pen and paper. I double dog dare any of you out there to read one of their stories and not be afraid of every noise you hear in the night.

Stephen King - What can I say about a man who is responsible for a lot of my nightmares? My werewolf fixation started with his "Cycle of the Werewolf". I kept looking twice at the grumpy priest in my church. Salem's Lot had me terrified of my dad's home town, but the worst for me was The Girl Who loved Tom Gordon. I do not like the woods and I had such a hard time getting through this book. I own it, but refuse to read it ever again. He is terrifying to me because he works on your mind, he takes normal people and breaks them down like a maniacal crew attacking stage sets.

Rick R. Reed - Oh my God, can we say hide under the covers and never come out? King breaks people, but Reed stomps them into quivering little bits under his crazed boot heels. Do not read Penance after dark, I'm warning you. It is horrifying because it has it's basis in the harsh realities of street life. Every page I wanted to stop, but couldn't. I was put through the wringer, at times scared, other times uncomfortable, sometimes angry. In the Blood is a twisted, heart-pounding vampire tale that makes you remember in these days of sparkly blood suckers that vamps are indeed monsters. His most recent, Blue Moon Cafe, ramps up the terror with werewolves. I read this in the daylight and you should, too. Rick Reed knows how to get into the minds of monsters both human and non.

Caitlin Kiernan - Holy hell can this chick bring on some serious monsters. After I read Silk, I was jumping at shadows. She subverts reality and twists it into unrecognizable images. The Red Tree left me with a creepy dread feeling for days after that I just couldn't shake. Man, did I have the nightmares.

Edgar Allen Poe - No one spins a nightmarish tale better than this man. His prose defines madness and suffering. "The Cask of Amontillado", "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Fall of the House of Usher", all give me the shivers. I cannot read them at night.

Shirley Jackson - This woman reaches deep inside and knows what terrifies you the most. Best haunted house story of all time, The Haunting of Hill House. I had a hard time sleeping in my room after this one. Every sound echoed a thousand times louder. "The Lottery" made me want to avoid small towns forever.

Clive Barker - His novellas and short stories are insanely gruesome and demented. I had a tough time getting through the Books of Blood, both volumes. He creates such terrifying and twisted realms that you feel like you're going crazy right along with the protagonists.

These authors make my blood run cold and send me running to turn on every light. Who are some of your faves?

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Favorite Scary Movies


As the night of my annual Fright Fest approaches I thought I'd take some time to share my favorite scary movies with you. Some are genuinely scary to me, others are good for some jumps and looks under the bed, while still others are pure fun. Drum roll...

Halloween - There's nothing like the John Carpenter original. This was one of the first grown-up scary movies I saw and it still works on my inner ten year old who's scared of the boogie man.

30 Days of Night - I love this vampire flick because it makes me jump every time I watch it and I always get a bit creeped out by Danny Huston and those enormous teeth and nails.

The Exorcist -Demonic possession is one thing that squicks me and this one really got to me when I first saw it as a teen.

28 Days Later - Danny Boyle created a zombie masterpiece with this one.

The Strangers - There's something about killers with no rhyme or reason, just because they could.

Night of the Living Dead - This one is one my very favorites..."They're coming to get you, Barbara" Can't enough of those shuffling, ravenous zombies. I love you George Romero.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - Freddy Krueger rules. Sorry Jackie Earle, but I love my Robert Englund. Not to mention we have Johnny Depp disappearing in a bed of blood.

The Howling - This has to be one of the best werewolf movies, ever. It has my ultimate all time transformation scene, too. Robert Picardo is a bubbling, stretching mess.

John Carpenter's The Thing - Kurt Russell fights an alien that can be anybody or anything at a remote science station in the Antarctic. One by one they are consumed.

Scream - Man this one had me going. That opening kill sequence was scary good.

Army of Darkness - Bruce Campbell has no equal. This movie rocks.

Let the Right One In - The scariest kiddie vamp ever. The two kids blew me away.


The Descent - An all female cast rocks this Neil Marshall classic about flesh-eaters and dark, tiny places.


Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Kenneth Branagh created a gloomy, horrifying vision that really captured the essence of the novel.

Dog Soldiers - A werewolf classic that provides some great humor and heart-pounding action.

Friday the 13th - The original one with the ultimate killer bitch, Mrs. Voorhees, plus Kevin Bacon getting sliced and diced.

The Haunting - An old school haunted house story that gives me the chills. Based on the incredible Shirley Jackson story.

Alien - I jumped about ten feet the first time I ever saw this movie. "In space, no one can hear you scream..."

Child's Play - For sheer laughs, nothing beats a murderous doll with a foul mouth.

Wicked Little Things - Kiddie zombies terrorize a creepy Pennsylvania town. Awesome!

These are only some of my faves, ones I've watched several times. They will make an awesome addition to any scary movie night. What are some of your faves? I'm always up for a movie.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Favorite Chicago Ghost Stories


Chicago is one hell of a haunted town, let me tell you. We've got ghosts, spirits, spooks and other lost souls wandering all over the place around here. I'm going to share with you some of my favorites.

Haunted Road

Archer Avenue is an old Indian trail and can be very otherworldly in some places. One of those is the stretch near Resurrection Cemetery. Here we have the ghost of a young woman who has come to be known the world over as Resurrection Mary. No one knows who she really was or if her name was even Mary, but the story is this...

In the 1930's motorists driving near the cemetery began reporting sightings of a young woman in a white dress who would appear along the roadside then vanish. Some even reported she attempted to jump on the running boards of their cars. Then accounts began to move further away from the graveyard toward the O'Henry Ballroom which is now the Willowbrook. People claimed to see her on the road there and even inside the ballroom where young men reportedly asked her dance, then would offer her a ride home. She would give directions for north along Archer Avenue, then vanish as the car reached the gates of the cemetery. More harrowing accounts are those of motorists who have claimed to "run over" a young woman in white as jumped out in front of their car. When they get out, she's gone. It's always the same description, a young woman, light blonde hair, blue eyes and in a white party dress.

No one knows for sure who Mary really was. Some say she was Mary Bregovy, a young woman killed in a car accident in 1934 and buried in Resurrection cemetery. But she does not resemble the specter and her accident took place on Wacker Drive, not Archer Avenue. Still others say she's Mary Miskowski, who was struck and killed in October 1930 on her way to a costume party. More recently, Ursula Bielski, has attributed Mary to Anna Marija Norkus, who died in a car accident in 1927 on her way home from the O Henry Ballroom.

We may never know who Mary really was, but sightings of her persist. I love her and hope to see her every time I drive along Archer Avenue. So far, nothing, but I'll keep you posted.

The Red Lion Pub

As a student at DePaul University, I had an occasion or two to visit the Red Lion pub on Lincoln Avenue. This is purportedly the most haunted tavern in Chicago. Some of odd happenings here include a sensation of dizziness when passing by the stained glass window over the stairway. This is followed by the sense of someone standing there with them. The strong scent of lavender is attributed to the spirit of a young retarded girl who died in the building. Other spirits include a strong presence in the ladies' restroom, a man in cowboy clothing, a man who walks upstairs from the downstairs bar, a bearded man in a black hat and a blond-haired man. I've been to this place a lot and one night I thought I smelled lavender, but it may have been the ale and the discussion working on my brain. I prefer to think that I did have my own haunting.

Bachelor Grove Cemetery

This is undeniably the most haunted place in the Chicago area and probably the Midwest. This little abandoned graveyard off the Midlothian Turnpike, is the sight of glowing balls, a young boy's spirit, a woman who walks in the moonlight carrying her baby, a farmer with a horse and plow, a vanishing farmhouse and phantom cars along the road leading to the cemetery.

This poor little graveyard has been the sight of wanton destruction that includes toppling over grave markers and digging up bodies. Bones were sometimes seen strewn around the cemetery. Signs of occult activity in this place includes carvings on the trees, painted symbols on the graves themselves and on the ground. Deep gouges and other evidence of digging can be seen on the graves as well.

People have attempted to film here as recently as 2007 when Troy Taylor and the crew from the show "Cringe" visited. Their digital footage was inexplicably distorted. No one can get a good reception in here. I've been to this area once and could not make myself go past the "No Trespassing" sign that blocks the way a half mile from the cemetery. One day I am determined to go inside, though.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Treats

Looking for scare-ific treats to serve for your Halloween party? Here's some things I love to serve at my annual Fright Fest. They're fun, look interesting and are pretty healthy as I am a diabetic.



Apple Bites from Family Fun Magazine

Ingredients: Apples (I like to use Granny Smith, Rome and Pink Lady), slivered almonds

1. Quarter and core apples

2. Cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter

3. Stick in slivered almonds for teeth




Melon Brain from Family Fun Magazine

Ingredients: 1 small seedless watermelon

You'll Need: Vegetable peeler, paring knife, wooden skewer

1. Peel the green outer rind exposing the inner white rind

2. Slice off a piece from the bottom so you have flat surface to balance the melon

3. Using the skewer, score the melon in half, for 2 sides of the brain

4. Then trace squiggly lines and furrows to look like folds of the brain

5. Using the paring knife, carve channels along the traced furrows to expose the pink

Hope you enjoy these tasty, healthy and horrifically-good treats.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get Your Monster On: Zombies


Today I want to talk about zombies. Zombies have been woven into our popular culture, inhabiting books, films, video games, etc. We know them best as re-animated, brain-eating corpses, but did you also know that they are human beings controlled by another through the use of magic? It's time to get your monster on and discover what you may or may not know about these creatures as well as where they come from.

Stories of zombies originated in western culture through the West African spiritual tradition of voodoo. A dead person may be revived by a bokor or sorcerer and they remain under the bokor's control because they have no will of their own. These re-animated beings are used as laborers, carrying out the sorcerer's commands.

The bokor captures the zombi astral, a part of the human soul. He or she uses this to enhance their power.The zombi astral is kept inside a bottle and the bokor may sell this to a client for luck, business success and healing. Eventually, God does take the soul back so the zombi is only temporary.

Feeding salt to a zombie will make it return to the grave.

Zombi is also another name for the Vodou snake Iwa Damballah Wedo.

In 1937 Zora Neale Hurston was researching Haitian folklore when she encountered the case of Felicia Felix-Mentor, a woman who had died in 1907. She mysteriously re-appeared in her village.

In 1985 Wade Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist, wrote The Serpent and the Rainbow, one of two books presenting his case for a pharmacological reason behind zombies. In 1982 he traveled to Haiti and as a result of his research, claimed that a living person could be turned into a zombie using two powders delivered directly into the blood stream. The first is a neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin (TTX), found in the flesh of the pufferfish. The second powder consists of a dissociative drug like datura. These powders together supposedly produce a death-like state leaving the person under the total control of the bokor. Davis encountered a man named Clairvius Narcisse, who claims to have survived such a state. Though this theory was dismissed in the scientific community, it spawned a 1988 Wes Craven film titled The Serpent and the Rainbow.

These magic, drug-induced zombies populated books like 1929's The Magic Island by W.B. Seabrook. Time magazine credits this novel with introducing zombie into the American lexicon.

Bela Lugosi starred in 1932's White Zombie, a film directed by Victor Halperin which features Lugosi as an evil magician with an army of zombie henchmen.This is considered the first legitimate zombie flick.

Another interesting tidbit about zombies comes from South Africa. In some communities there, people believe that a dead person can be turned into a zombie by a small child. The spell is so powerful that it can only be broken by a very strong sangoma or shaman.

So how about our beloved brain-eaters?

Well, they make their first appearance in the 1950's in EC Comics' Tales from the Crypt in stories such as H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West-Reanimator". One of the most seminal works is Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend about a futuristic Los Angeles overrun with undead. Although this is technically a vampire story, it heavily influenced the zombie genre by way of George A. Romero. The vampires in the story are the result of a worldwide contagion, a theme that dominates zombie films and literature.

Other zombie theories put forth around this time include alien technology (Plan 9 from Outer Space-1958) and mad science (Creature with the Atom Brain-1955). Invisible Invaders (1959) shows zombies being the result of alien possession.

It was not until a little film called Night of the Living Dead (1968) that we get our first look at the flesh-eating, brain-chomping zombies we know and love. This film broke all taboos and really frightened people. Though it offers little in the way of actual explanation for the rise of the zombies, it is one of the most influential works on the concept of zombies. This Romerian blend of zombie and vampire results in a monster that breaks down society and signals the end of life as we know it. And yet, they are not referred to as zombies, the news reports in the film call them ghouls. Romero doesn't call them zombies until his script for 1978's Dawn of the Dead.

Romero's zombies are slow-moving, shuffling creatures that overwhelm with numbers like a swarm. To destroy them, you have to shoot them in the head, then burn the corpses. Pretty simple when you're armed to the teeth and deal with them one on one.

In 1981, Hell of the Living Dead is the first film to portray a zombie apocalypse as the result of a mutagenic gas.

The concept of zombies craving brains comes from 1985's Return of the Living Dead, a horror comedy, where the zombies utter the word "brains" and proceed to chomp on people's skulls.

Zombies undergo a radical shift in the new millennium with films like Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead (2004)remake and Zombieland, we see the zombie break out of the shuffling, listless undead mode and into highly mobile killing machines. These newer, faster zombies are still killed in the traditional way, bullet to the brain. Only now you need to be more heavily armed and in much better physical shape if you're going to survive.

In 1989, with the publication of the anthology, Book of the Dead, zombies officially became their own subgenre of literature. These stories are all united by the premise first seen Romero's films about zombies being the result of a worldwide infestation. These stories are the various reactions to that outbreak. The stories are authored by the likes of Stephen King, Richard Laymon and Chan Varney. Three years later, Still Dead: Book of the Dead II came out. 2003's The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks details ways for the average, ordinary citizen to survive zombie uprisings including chapter entitled Weapons and Combat Techniques, On the Run and Living in an Undead World.

Video games have also given rise to some truly terrifying zombies. House of the Dead by Sega and the Resident Evil series from Capcom all feature a fight to survive against hordes of undead that are fast and strong with huge appetites.Both spawned film versions with Evil becoming a successful franchise while House is generally panned.

Zombies are the hottest monster going right now and don't appear to be stopping. I suggest we all stock up on rifles, ammo, gasoline and non-perishables. It's going to be a hell of a ride.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Countdown Begins...


"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

12 more days til Halloween, kids so let's get this party started. I plan on having an awesome time over the next couple of weeks. Stop by and see what I have cooking every day in celebration of this most awesome of days.There will be monsters, haunted houses, ghosts, serial killers, a regular fright fest leading up to the Big Day.

Here's a little bit of history about my favorite holiday...

Halloween or All Hallows Eve is an ancient holiday. It is linked to the Celtic Festival of Samhain, meaning summer's end. It is a harvest festival marking the end of the lighter half of the year and the start of the darker half. The Celts believed the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest, allowing spirits, both benign and evil to pass through. The good spirits, usually one's ancestors, were honored, while the evil ones were to be warded off. Hence, the use of masks and costumes.

Black and orange are the colors associated with Halloween. Orange for the color of the bonfires and black for darkness and death.

Trick or treating is related to the medieval practice of souling, when poor folks would go door-to-door begging food on Hallowmas (Nov. 1) receiving food in exchange for prayers for the dead on All Soul's Day (Nov. 2. It's believed to have originated in Britain and Ireland, though there were similar practices found as far south as Italy. Trick-or-treating did not become widespread in the US until the 1930's.

That bright grinning Jack O'Lantern originated in Ireland when people would carve out turnips and put candles inside to ward off the spirits and ghosts.Pumpkins are easier to carve, though, wouldn't you say? A turnip seems a bit small. Jack O'Lantern comes from a tale about a man name Jack who tricked the Devil.Unable to enter Heaven or Hell after his death, he was doomed to wander the earth and to keep evil spirits from finding him he placed a piece of coal in carved out turnip and used it as a lantern.

Did you know that Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday after Christmas? We're coming for you, Claus.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the US. 2 billion?! That's a lot of candy corn.

Snickers bars are the number 1 candy bar for trick-or-treating. Darn, I thought it was those scrumptious little Kit Kats.

Well, that's all for now, but I'll be back tomorrow with more scary good fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf Gets Awesome Review



Hello and Happy Monday!!

I received some stupendously fantastic news. My book, Maxie Briscoe:Werewolf garnered high praise from Miranda at Joyfully Reviewed. To read her excellent review please go here.

I also wanted to tell you that it is 13 days until my national holiday, Halloween, and I am preparing a fantastic fun time for you all here at The Imaginarium. Monsters, ghosts, demons, serial killers, etc will all be making an appearance here. I'm going to share my traditions, Halloween fun facts and have a contest or two. I'm looking forward to celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm At Romance Junkies Today


Happy Friday!!! I'm really excited because I am guest blogging over at Romance Junkies today. Come on over and find out some details you may or may not have known about me. I'm also sharing an excerpt from Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf. Here's the link

http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

100 Whores by Mykola Dementiuk...A Review


I approached this with a bit of trepidation, knowing that Dementiuk’s writing can be unflinching, his subject matter tending toward the underside of human life that no one likes to talk about. No one would ever accuse him of soft-coating anything. The prose here is brutally honest and lean. Descriptions are visual and economic. Demetiuk does not waste his words and his style evokes Hemingway in some passages. Some of these vignettes made me cringe, some made my jaw drop, yet others had me laughing rather uncomfortably. Still, I had to keep reading. There is almost a compulsive spell that is cast on the first page and I found myself along for the entire strange, uneasy, yet thoroughly engaging ride.

100 Whores is part memoir, part anthology and wholly in-your-face. It features one hundred vignettes covering one man’s sexual adventures in New York’s East Village during the 1960’s and 70’s. These little tales document his search for pleasure and the multitude of characters he meets on this quest.

Whores also contains five original short stories about strange, opportunistic sexual encounters. In The Dildo, we delve into the mind of a young hooker plying her trade as she baits an older man, then leads him into a sex shop. The Trouble with Girls features a man in an encounter with two transvestites. Cry Baby is kind of a Serlingesque tale about a guy who gets involved in a weird sex game when he’s approached by a woman claiming to need “help” from a boyfriend who’s stalking her. In Girlfriends, two teens sneak into a porn theater and have an unexpected sexual encounter with a man who has peculiar fetishes. The Girl on the Cardboard is dark short that tells of a man who encounters two lesbians in the park, in which one partner pimps out the other.

In the novella, The Christmas Whore, a man fights with his girlfriend and finds himself back on the streets very early on Christmas morning. At a twenty-four cafĂ© he encounters a woman named Sunny. After a quick fling in a cheap hotel, he takes her back to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend. When she comes home and walks in on the two of them, it’s an O’Henry-like ending that is unbelievably twisted.

This is definitely not for readers who prefer their love and sex with happily ever afters or even warm cozy houses and apartments. Many would be turned off by the title alone. However, if you are interested in catching a glimpse of the seedy side of people, to walk in a world that hardly ever sees the light of day, then I urge you read 100 Whores. It is a powerful and unforgettable reading experience.

Mykola Dementiuk is a Lambda award-winning author. If you would like to know more about him and his thought-provoking works, please visit his website.

For more information and to purchase 100 Whores, please go here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lost In His Arms by M S Spencer...A Review


Red Rose Publishing
Mainstream Contemporary Action Adventure M/F

61,150 words e-book
ISBN 978-1-60435-357-0

In the chaotic world of the early 1990's, political writer Chloe Gray is going through a creative crisis as she struggles with her column and her book. Enter Michael Keller, a CIA operative. He walks into her life under the most mundane of circumstance and the sparks fly between them, awakening Chloe to new possibilities. Every encounter is hotter than the last, leaving her weak and longing for more, yet Michael's work keeps him away from her for longer and longer periods. When he disappears while working in Vietnam, she meets Emile, a French diplomat.

Emile is debonair and sophisticated, attentive to her needs. He can give Chloe everything she's ever wanted, especially the security she's always craved. When he proposes, she finds herself at a crossroads. Postponing things with Emile, Chloe embarks on a search to find Michael, to confront him about their relationship. Her search plunges her smack into his world, in the middle of a cat and mouse game between two Mid-East powers where both their lives hang in the balance.

Spencer deftly weaves together the genres of romance and political thriller, setting it all against the backdrop of pre-Clinton DC. She takes the reader behind the scenes of political journalism, giving them a glimpse into the press corp and the back door dealings. Bush the First's Washington is realized in vivid detail as Chloe navigates the stories of the day; the Middle East, Vietnam's re-emergence and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Chloe is by turns interesting and irritating, but she is always genuine, a hallmark of Spencer's heroines. She comes to life on the pages under this author's skillful hands. Her flaws make her very relatable and I found myself rooting for her as she tried to put her life back together after each encounter with Michael. She is in love with a phantom, someone who disappears and reappears at random moments in her life. I felt for her, trying to hold on to essentially a dream. Chloe is spirited and intelligent, unafraid to go after what she wants.

With nothing in Michael's point of view, we are left to relate to him only through the brief times he drops in on Chloe's life. He talks about duty, but there is no insight into what drove him to espionage. Which frustrated me more than a few times and I wanted him to go away. On the other hand, I do love the way he treats Chloe when he's with her. In these scenes he is clearly head -over-heels and it's at these moments where I cave, and want things to all work out. By contrast, Emile is almost an open book. His relationship with his parents, his career, his affections for Chloe all provide clear motivation for all his actions. I understand Chloe's torture when she has to ultimately choose between them.

The relationship between Michael and Chloe is electric. The moments they are together are magical little vignettes out of time. I wanted them to go on. However,they spend the majority of the book apart, which lends little credence to them developing a working relationship beyond the physical.

Ms. Spencer's descriptions are lush and paint a picture in the mind's eye. We are right there with her characters, roasting in the DC heat, we can smell the bar in Spain, hear the traffic in Paris. Her love of food and wine shines through as well. There are several dishes here that I would love to try.

This book has a solid, original storyline that is a bit more mainstream than romance in my opinion, but its romance elements are hot. I got caught up with Chloe and Michael. Fans of political thrillers should thoroughly enjoy this. There's exceptional dialogue and a cast of wonderful secondary characters that will leave readers wanting more.

To buy Lost In His Arms, click here.

For more information about M S Spencer and her works, please visit her website www.meredithellsworth.com.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Author Raine Delight


Whoo hoo!! It's Thursday and erotica author Raine Delight, is in the house. I am already a huge fan so without further ado...

Hi there and thanks to Melissa for having me. I am Raine Delight and I currently write for Aspen Mountain Press and The Wild Horse Press. Here is my official bio:

Raine Delight is a pseudonym of a self professed book lover and after one too many TSTL characters, decided to see if she could write something a little better. Well many drafts later, Devon Falls series came to together. It was originally was to be one book but somehow ended up to 4 with a 5th and 6th one being planned for sometime in 2010. I write a paranormal contemporary series for Aspen Mountain and I am also branching out to other genres as I continue to listen to the voices in my head. Check out my book pages to see what is going on with me. My muse is a male nut who likes to leave me to go sip mai tais on the beach and leave me foundering for words; though eventually he takes pity on me and gets my words flowing and characters start settling down.

Personal notes: I live with my own boytoy and two kids. I love Johnny Depp movies and enjoy hiking, reading and watching movies with my family.
Raine’s upcoming release is the next book in her popular Devon Falls series called Moonlight & Magic. A were-tiger has to convince the one woman meant to be his to believe in love and in him. Available October 15th, 2010 at Aspen Mountain Press.

What was the inspiration behind your latest release?

Moonlight & Magic was a story that I had to tell once I met Dixie, the heroine in a past book in the Devon Falls Series. She was curvaceous, outspoken and cynical on romance. She didn’t believe in those Disney HEA’s anymore. One day I heard a song from Michael Buble called Hold On and a scene literally clicked in my head. From then on I wrote and wrote and now I just hope readers enjoy it.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I am not sure…..maybe in the last few years. I always loved to read but after reading too many TSTL (too stupid to live) characters and complaining on it, a friend said I should write one of my own. Needless to say since then, I have been hearing voices in my head and writing down ideas, plots, and characters.

What do you love most about being a writer?

Creating a story. I love finding out how my characters work, live and enjoy life even as they find themselves falling for the one person they never expected.
What genre haven’t you tried, yet, that you would love to explore?
Raine says: I am currently creating a BDSM Paranormal trilogy that I am researching the world of BDSM and having a blast. Next is a short sci-fi story I am finishing as well. That had me researching Gamma Ray explosions in space.

If we looked on your bookshelf right now, what are some of the titles we would find?

Which bookcase? I have five and piles of books everywhere. *Giggles* I keep telling DH I need another bookcase since my collection is growing or a bigger house. *grins*

Some authors on my bookcases:

Yasmine Galenorn, Kelley Armstrong, JD Robb, Gail Z. Martin, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Tilly Greene, Cherise Sinclair, and many, many more.

Music or silence when you write?

I need music. It plays a part in my creative process and half the time what I am listening to ends up in the story for one of my characters.

If you could take one of your characters out on the town, who would it be and what would you do?

Um maybe Damien and Sim from Club Fantasy series I am creating. They are sexy, lovers and Damien is half-demon of lust. Got to love the double trouble these two would be when they go out on the town. I think we would have fun *grins wickedly*, nope not saying what but it involves silk scarves, blindfolds and whipped cream. LOL

Favorite naughty dessert and decadent drink.
Um no idea. But chocolate pudding can be very naughty. *WEG*

Moonlight and Magic is Dawn's latest (Book 5) in the magical, wonderful Devon Falls series. It will be out October 15 at Aspen Mountain and I can't wait. Here's a little taste...

Blurb:

Dixie Sinclair has watched her cousins all fall in love and now she wants the same. Dared to go to the annual Masquerade ball, Dixie finds the one thing she desires: love…one problem…can she trust that it will last after that one night?

Michael Barnes is a rare white were-tiger who was thrown out of his pride long ago for a trumped up crime, Michael roams the world searching for the one place to call home. Finding that peace in Devon Falls, he finds the one woman who stirs him like no other. Can he convince Dixie that she can trust in him forever?

Unedited Excerpt (Please forgive the mistakes):

Scene set up- Michael is walking Dixie home from the local bar and Dixie is miffed her friends sent him with her.

Once outdoors, Dixie did up her jacket and watched as the moon glowed brightly. She was annoyed at how Damien thought she needed a babysitter walking two blocks home. Men were idiots who thought women needed to be protected she thought as she enjoyed the quiet night and waited for Michael. The man who stirred her senses into over boiling. Down girl, you are not going to be jumping the man’s bones so get a grip. You have BOB at home to help with that, she thought as he finally got next to her. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. He was a walking, talking sex bomb and she was itching to touch every inch of him. With a shake of her head as another person came outside and the music from the jukebox wafted out, she tried to shake the sense of something changing inside her even as he finally turned towards her. The way his eyes on her had her panties damp and her blood beginning to simmer. It was like he was looking past the outer coverings into her soul or he was just stripping her naked, which wouldn’t be bad if she kept this thinking up. Smirking to herself at that thought, she started walking, trying to keep her hands inside her coat or she was going to do something very dangerous…like kiss the man to death.

“You know you don’t have to walk me home. Damien is just being overprotecting.” She said as she walked towards the sidewalk. Shrugging a little, Dixie didn’t know what to do except try to make the best of it. It was only two blocks, surely she had enough will power to last that long, she thought, as Michael walked alongside her. Yeah right……She was doomed as the scent of him, all male and spicy, teased her senses and had her swallowing hard. Oh god, I am in deep trouble she thought as they reached Main Street.

She felt rather than saw the man next to her look down upon her and grin. “Nah, it’s ok. I was going to leave soon as well because my Sadie is home alone and I don’t like leaving her long.” The deep voice said as it sent shivers down her spine. It had a slight accent that she couldn’t place and she wondered about the man next to her. Where did he come from, why was he here and what was like when the clothes came off. Well until she heard the name Sadie come out. A terrible suspicion rose in her at the thought of this hot man having a lady waiting for him.

“Sadie?”

“She’s my dog. I found her when I was in Europe tied up to a park bench with no collar and no water. It was like someone just dumped her off but instead of letting her roam free or taking her to the pound, they tied her up and left her. It was terrible and once I found her, she saved me from a solitude and loneliness that I never knew I had.”

Relief filled her up even as she tried to tell herself that she shouldn’t be jealous or anything. She hardly knew this man. “Wow that sounds like a match made in heaven then for you two. What kind is she?”

“She is a mutt-seems she is a little bit of everything or so the vet said when I got her.” Watching the way his face lit up in the moonlight had her heart turning over. The way he loved his pet called to her even as she tried to keep her distance from him. He was dangerous to her equilibrium, Dixie was certain of it. He kept her off centered and it scared the hell out of her.

As her street loomed ahead of them, she stopped at the beginning of it and stuck her hand out, “Thanks for the escort but since I am almost home and nothing jumped out in front of me, I think I can handle getting to my house, which by the way is only 2 houses in, just fine.”

“Nope, I am to escort you to the house, not the street, Dixie.” The maddening man said as he looked at her. Gritting her teeth, she tried to keep her frustration out of her face but damn it all, she was old enough to walk home. It wasn’t like there was a crime wave in Devon Falls. Far from it. Miffed, she stomped forward and tried to not hit the lug behind her. Of all the men in the world, I had to have one with a streak of chivalry in them she thought as her house finally came in view.


Raine Delight can be found on the web at the following places:
Website: http://authorrainedelight.com
Raine’s Book Nook Blog: http://Rainedelightbooknook.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Raine_Delight
Author/Reader Loop: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Author_Raine_Delight
Email me: rainedelight@yahoo.com

Where to buy my books:

Aspen Mountain Press: www.aspenmountainpress.com
Fictionwise: www.fictionwise.com
All Romance E-books (Are): www.allromanceebooks.com
1Romance E-books: www.1romance.com
Amazon Kindle: www.amazon.com