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


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.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bad News

I have some bad news. I have to take a forced hiatus for about a month or so. I don't want to, but deadlines and some personal issues are pressing at me right now and I have to take a break. I hope to be around the blogosphere visiting, but I don't know if I'll be able to do even that right now. I will miss you all terribly, especially the lively conversations and interactions. I hadn't planned on this, but stuff happens. Thank you all for the awesome comments on the Guilty Pleasures Blogfest post. If I did not get a chance to return the comment, I'm really sorry, I will try at the earliest opportunity to respond in kind. Take care of yourselves, be well, happy and safe until I get back into the game.

Until soon...Peace, my Imaginarians, my friends!

Genre Favorites Blogfest

I know, I'm late to the party, but I'm here at last so let's get this post a rollin' shall we? The awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh, Captain Ninja extraordinaire is having his Genre Favorites Blogfest today. We get to share our favorite type of Movie, Music, Books and a Guilty Pleasure from one category..Yay! There's nothing I love more than to talk about my fave subjects: Movies, Music and Books.

To see all the other incredibly cool peeps participating click right here.

My favorite genre for film is a toss up between sci fi and fantasy, but for rules' sake I'm going with fantasy and my all time is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Especially The Two Towers. I want to fight at Helms Deep and I would so kick Ork ass.

Favorite genre of Music...Hard Rock. I am an Aerosmith chick all the way, 27 years and counting. They are my longest relationship, LOL. I still dream about marrying Steven Tyler. I love that mind of his and so what if he looks like a dessicated chicken. I think Joe Perry is one of the best ax men ever. Here's a taste from one of my all time fave tunes from my boys. Hole in My Soul is one of the best misery love songs ever and appears here thanks to the work of Aerosmith fan layonlima at You Tube.

For Books is hands down, it's romance. Yes, ROMANCE. And all kinds too, from the erotic to the sweet. I read it and write it because well, the fictional stuff is so much more exciting than my own real one. And it gives me hope. Why I have no idea because I'm far too old for romance. One of my all time favorite is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Oh how I love me that giant Scot, Jamie Frasier.

And now for a Guilty Pleasure. I love those, don't you? My Guilty Pleasure genre is Country Music. Yes, you read that right. I have a recessive red neck gene that makes an appearance every now and again. Bet you didn't know I could Texas Two Step and line dance, did you? Well I can and I'm pretty good. Here's one of my faves to get my boots scootin', California Girls by Gretchen Wilson from her You Tube Vevo.

Hope you had fun reading my faves here. Have a great day and see you around the blogfest. :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Turkish Delights

Happy Friday, yo! It's the end of the week and time to gear up for the weekend. I am recovering from my Bears miserable performance against our hated rivals, the Packers. In spite of the disaster last night, I did have a great week, though.

I want to give a shout out to a  really good friend of mine. She is definitely someone you should know, my fellow author and chef extraordinaire, Sloane Taylor. Sloane's got a terrific site, Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell that talks books and food, two of my favorite subjects. You can check out her amazing corner of the blogosphere here.Sloane has What's Cooking on Wednesdays and she gives you not only recipes, but full on menus. You don't even have to worry about what to drink with that chicken, because she gives wine suggestions as well. How cool is that?

There is a reason this post is titled Turkish Delights. I had some job-related appointments on Wednesday and finished early so I wandered Chicago's Loop for a bit. I started hearing some really great music and followed the sound to Daley Plaza where I came upon the Turkish Festival. It is part of Chicago's fantastic ongoing program entitled "Go Abroad In Chicago." Each week a country is spotlighted with a festival featuring different cultural events.

It was breathtaking. From the phenomenal music, to the oh-so-tasty food and dancing, I had a blast. I sampled baklava, stuffed grape leaves called sarma and Turkish coffee. There were tents of pottery, jewelry, rugs and other crafts. Check out these pics I took:

Aren't these costumes brilliant?
I could not get enough of the dancing and found myself tapping my foot in time to the beats. I researched Turkey for my story, Byzantine Provocateur, and talked to people who had lived there, but it was amazing to see this vibrant culture come to life around me. I wanted to climb on a plane right then.

I also witnessed a demonstration by the Whirling Dervishes. It was hypnotic and beautiful the way the men spun themselves round and round to commune with God.

Remember those crafts I mentioned? Just look at this beautiful blue pottery.

And of, course, the carpets.
They also had a fashion show and several other fun things. You can check out the rest of my pictures here. Have a great weekend and I will be back on Monday

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Attack of the Neat Freaks

Today is a rant, so if you're looking for something positive or beautiful, the Imaginarium is fresh out today.

Neat Freaks, you know, those persnickety Felix Unger types. God help me, whenever I encounter one of these people. I feel a twitch starts in my right eye and I hear this C-3PO-esque voice say, "Melissa, a place for every thing and every thing in its place." And blah, blah, blah... I have a friend, whom I privately refer to as Nora Neatnik, who constantly tries to clean my house. Just like my grandma. "Nora" is always poking around offering organization and cleaning tips, suggestions for vacuum attachments she's found and other tidy up things she likes. I want to scream! She was here the other day and well...It was another episode of Attack of the Neatfreaks. I swear I should write a horror film about this.

Yes, maybe my closet doubles as a last minute storage bin when company comes over. And perhaps my desk is full of notebooks, post-its, and the bracelets I wore yesterday. So maybe I have a few foil-wrapped science experiments at the back of my refrigerator. And every now and again you could ride the dust bunnies under my bed and dresser.

I don't care! That's the way this bitch rolls.

I've got things to do, a life to live. Just because my housekeeping leaves a bit to be desired, doesn't mean I am a hapless slob. There are not roaches crawling over my house. There is no stench wafting across the neighborhood (That's the refinery across the border in Hammond) I don't have to clear a path in case of a fire. So, I don't make my bed other than to pull the blanket over it. I'm going right back there in a few hours. Yes, my book shelves are crammed with paperbacks that have dog-eared pages and assorted rocks and crystals. I don't have enough room for everything and I want it all out where I can see them, touch them. They are my things.

So to all the neatfreaks out there haranguing their not-so-neat-friends, let me give you some South Side Chitown advice "Suck it up buttercup. Ain't your crib."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mmmm...What's Your Chocolate?

It's a delicious start to the week as the awesome MPax, Laura Eno, Brinda Berry and Ciara Knight are bringing us the What's Your Chocolate Blogfest. Journey 'round the blogosphere and find out all the tasty treats my fellow participants have in store for you. You can uncover the goodness by clicking here.

Also, I unleashed my werewolf, Maxie Briscoe over at my friend Sloane Taylor's blog today, so head on over and see what she's up to. 

Chocolate makes the world, heck the universe, spin as far as I am concerned. I love it in just about everything. Chocolate milk, chocolate martinis, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...You get the idea. I think my favorite chocolate, though is dark chocolate. Plain, bittersweet, melts- in- my- mouth dark chocolate. I love to eat it in whole bars, chocolate chips, drizzled over fruit and you know, it makes great body paint. Close your mouth, you knew I would put something naughty in here, I am an erotica writer after all. LOL

Dark chocolate is also incredibly good in brownies, ice cream and almond bark. So very many ways to enjoy this gift from the gods. Plus, unlike it's milk cousin, dark chocolate is good for you. It's an antioxidant machine, it prevents arteries from clogging and can reduce blood pressure. Plus, for a diabetic like me, it has a low glycemic index which means it keeps my blood sugar from spiking. How's that for awesome?

So, I wanna know, how do you take your chocolate?

Friday, September 7, 2012

It's Friday, It's Football

It's Friday!! I know for those of us here in the States this was a short week because of the Labor Day Holiday, but man trying to cram 5 days worth of stuff into 4 is really a giant pain in my caboose. I did manage it, though. Yay! I also want to thank all of you who left a comment on my IWSG post on Wednesday. You left some awesome, encouraging words and some helpful advice. I was overjoyed to know that I was not alone in n this insecurity. I'll be responding to them shortly.

I want to share some really great news. Yesterday, for the first time ever, I got to meet one of my blog friends. Whoo Hoo!!  Michael De Gesu and I met for coffee at this nice place on Michigan Avenue. We shared hours of great conversation and laughs galore. I have a new friend for life. Michael is one of the nicest, most positive people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is so supportive and energetic, simply an amazing spirit. I adore him.

I'm very excited because it is Opening Day for my Bears. Sing it with me now "Bear down, Chicago Bears, make every play pave the way for victory..." Okay, shutting up now. I don't want to be responsible for bleeding ears and nausea. LOL

Seriously, I am a football junkie and this is my season. My Sundays consist of rolling out of bed, pulling on my comfiest clothes and whatever Bears tee I can grab (lest you think I'm filthy, I shower before I hit the hay), then planting myself in front of the TV not to move for hours.Yes, it's football all day and all night. I don't answer the phone, I don't answer my door unless it's for food delivery. I vegetate and between beers, I yell at the screen and throw pieces of my Rip Apart Referee doll when things are not going well for my boys. The air grows quite blue from my degrading language as well. I de-volve into a Neanderthal.

I also have rituals that I adhere to like any superstitious fan. I won't share them all because you really will think I am a lunatic, but suffice it to say that I won't wear any orange shirt even though orange is part of the Bears colors. Bad things happen when I wear it. I was wearing my orange Bears shirt when Cutler broke his thumb and ruined our season. I got rid of it immediately.

In spite of appearances to the contrary, anyone who wants to watch football with me is more than welcome to do so. There are always goodies galore and the pizza place is on speed dial. And I do make good conversation on commercials. Plus, this season we can pause live TV (Whoo Hoo!) so the talking should be a lot more interesting and a bit more in-depth.

This is exactly how every Sunday right through the Super Bowl is spent. I have sent regrets for baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties and other events because of football. And no, I refuse to record a game on DVR, I may pause, but all out recording is just dumb. I don't want to be one of those people running around going "No, don't tell me" until I can get home and watch. Screw that.  Most everyone knows not to bother me and still there are those who foolishly try. I do not budge or change when it comes to my football. I do the very same when I am in the throes of a story. Sign says Do Not Disturb. There are only two excuses I will accept for bothering me during writing/Bears games: Life or Death illness/injury and House on Fire. Otherwise, come back tomorrow. It's very simple.

So what are your plans for the weekend? Are you into football or another sport? What are your favorite teams? How do you keep people from bothering you when you write or watch your team play?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

IWSG: Branding

I can't believe it's the first week of September already. That means it's time for another installment of the stupendous Insecure Writers Support Group. Started by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh, this is the time when we writers can get our insecurities and fears off our chests, where we can share our troubles, frustrations and yes, send out some positive energy to each other. Click above to visit the other participants today. They really are  the most awesome people.

Today I am talking about the B word, Branding. This is a HUGE insecurity to me as a published author. I don't really know how to do this, yet, the pressure keeps mounting for me to brand myself. My crit partners, some of my other fellow writers, they're all after me to have a tag, an image. I know that it is good for marketing purposes, but what does it even mean? Do I have to stick to one genre?  And what about my non-fiction? As it stands I write everything under my own name. Just how do I incorporate all my different types of writing?  And if I don't do this, how am I supposed to market my stories and myself?

Was I wrong to write everything under my own name?  I mean all the advice I've seen talks about authors being genre specific. You see how confused I am? This post has been nothing but questions.  Man, I feel like banging my head on my desk til it bleeds...Anybody got any good advice to share? I appreciate anything you might offer up. I am completely clueless.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breaking The Rules With Cat Lavoie

Happy Monday, Imaginarians. I hope you all had a great weekend. Today I am welcoming author Cat Lavoie. She is currently on tour with her debut novel, Breaking the Rules and is giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. Take it away, Cat...

Breaking the Rules: Behind the Scenes

As I celebrate the publication of my debut novel, I can't help but look back and think about how—if I had ignored the nagging voice at the back of my mind—I never would have written it.

When people ask me where I got the idea for Breaking the Rules, I always think back to a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago. We were discussing the age-old question: can men and women really be just friends? I don't remember many of the details of that particular evening—the exact location, whether I was drinking coffee or tea—but I remember coming home with the idea for a story. Cue writerly existential crisis. I was extremely annoyed at myself for letting my mind wander; the last thing I needed at the time was another story idea.

I was already working on a novel and I needed to focus all of my attention on the complicated lives of characters that I had already created and stop dreaming of new people that had no business in that story. Even though I tried to forget about them, they wouldn't get out of my head. And then I went ahead and named these characters. The girl was Roxy and Ollie was her lifelong best friend. Something would happen to challenge that friendship. I started taking notes and made a quick outline so I'd be able to write their story when I finished the novel I was working on. But the more I tried to focus on my current story, the more I became uninspired and bored. It was going nowhere and it had been going nowhere for a long time and I just wasn’t ready to admit it. It was depressing to look at the pile of notes and character profiles and timelines I’d created and know that I didn’t want to play with these characters anymore. The plot was too thin and—as hard as I tried—I couldn’t muster up any sort of passion for these characters and their story. We were through.

Of course, by that time, Roxy and Ollie—and their friends and family—had completely taken over. They were a loud bunch (just as I imagine they would be in real life) and pretty soon it was clear that they would not be ignored. So I finally gave in and set aside all other projects and started working on the manuscript that would eventually—after many drafts—become Breaking the Rules. And while writing Roxy and Ollie's story had its own set of struggles, I never felt bored and uninspired like I did with the previous novel. I always knew that somehow—even when I was in the throes of complete writer’s block—I was meant to write this story.

In the end, I'm very grateful for that unexpected spark—even though I was initially annoyed by it—and I'm glad I walked away from something that wasn't working and took a chance on Roxy and Ollie's story.

That was really cool. Thank you, Cat!. Now if you all want to hook up with Cat and get to know more about her and her work, you can find her at the following places.


And you can buy Breaking The Rules here

Barnes and Noble Nook
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print

About Cat

Cat Lavoie was born in the small town of Jonquière in Québec, Canada. At the age of nineteen, she packed up her things (mostly books) and moved to the big city of Montreal where she currently lives with her tempestuous cat Abbie—who is both adorable and quite possibly evil.

An incurable Anglophile since her university days where she studied English Literature, she can often be found daydreaming about her next trip to London. Since she’s an expert at the art of procrastination, Cat is easily distracted by cooking and home improvement shows—even though she’s not particularly good at either.

Cat grew up watching soap operas and legal dramas and—had she not decided to be a claims analyst by day and write chick lit by night—she would have probably become a designer suit-wearing lawyer. Or a character on All My Children (which is what she really wanted to be when she was twelve).

Cat is not sure whether she’s a geek or a nerd—and is afraid she might be both. Breaking the Rules is her first novel.