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, January 31, 2011

New Favorite Song...

I'm probably behind the times, but I just heard this song not too long ago and it is now on my player. And when I'm driving, it's on loud. I should have included it on my top ten choices, but I forgot. Where was this tune when I got dumped? Talk about that perfect moment when a song describes your feelings.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Original Rhyme by Me

I don't write poetry very often, but I love to churn out a verse every now and again when I am particularly inspired. Here's a short piece, untitled.

You look at me,
What do you see?
A number, a size
Something to criticize.

You look at me
And all you see.
A weight, a shape
Something to hate.

More than a number,
More than a size
I'm a spirit, a soul
Beautiful and whole.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where I Was...The Challenger Disaster

It's hard to believe that 25 years has gone by since the Challenger disaster. I remember exactly where I was as I watched the awfulness unfold. The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger is one of the most vivid and haunting experiences of my life. I was so young and I had never conceived of such tragedy before. To this day, I tear up remembering that awful day in Spanish class. I'd watched people die right before my eyes and it wasn't a movie or a television show, it was real.

I walked into class that January 28 talking about the latest music vids with my friend and prepared for vocabulary words and translation. We'd just finished a huge test the day before and had a light load of classwork, so my teacher, Mrs. L, decided we should catch a break by watching the shuttle launch.

Cheers went up. Mostly because we didn't have to conjugate verbs, but also because most of us had never been able to watch a shuttle launch on television before. The launches always happened while we were in class. This time we were actually going to watch the whole thing live. The mood of the room was one of anticipation,joy. Mrs. L was especially excited because Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, was going into space. Her pride and excitement rubbed off on us. "How cool is this, kids?," she'd said. "A teacher, like me, riding in the space shuttle. I can't believe it." She was right. It was the coolest thing ever. A real person from our own scope of experience was going to the stars.

I remember sitting at my desk, drumming my pen against my book as the big television was wheeled in by the av kid. He couldn't set that thing up fast enough. After several adjustments, the big screen finally lit up and we were tuned into the special news report. We waited breathlessly for about ten seconds and it became apparent that the news guys were filling in time, so naturally we descended into madness, talking, laughing. Mrs. L hushed us with a sharp word and told us to pay attention.

"Ten, nine, eight..." The countdown rolled on, the engines firing billows of smoke on the screen. I was in awe, the class dead silent. I watched that enormous rocket booster lift off, carrying the shuttle upward. It was so beautiful and amazing, going high and higher into that bright blue sky.

A huge orange fireball burst like someone had thrown paint on the screen. Everyone gasped, wondering what had just happened. I was frozen, staring as debris started falling away like a macabre fireworks show. Mrs. L started crying and so did some of the girls next to me. The newscaster kept asking for confirmation, trying frantically to find out what had happened.

"Did the astronauts just die?" someone asked, I think it was this kid Todd, but I can't be sure. Mrs. L snapped out of her stupor and turned to us. "Oh my God," she said. The math teacher, Ms. Madonich, walked in tears on her face. The TV continued to blare and I tried to hear what the reporters were saying, but by this time every one was talking.

Class dismissed shortly after and I left sad and in shock. I don't remember much of the rest of the day, except walking home and not really feeling the cold. I had my coat on, but hadn't zipped it. Never felt the wind, nor the blowing snow.

The Challenger disaster remains one of the most shocking moments of my life. I have forgotten a lot of things over the years, but my memories of that moment are as vivid as hi def television in my mind's eye. I have unfortunately, witnessed many more disasters unfold courtesy of the television and the internet, but this one, like Sept 11, remains so clear because it scarred my spirit.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wicked Writers Tess MacKall and Natalie Dae

I am very happy because two of erotica's most sizzling authors, Tess MacKall and Natalie Dae are here at The Imaginarium. Whoo Hoo! Take it away, Ladies...

Writing For Ourselves Or The Masses?

Photobucket As an editor—one who is trying not to be an editor these days—I’ve had a lot of authors disagree with me when I tried steering them in the right direction. I keep saying over and over again that there are rules for writing in general and that the romance genre is very specific and not as forgiving as most. The response I always get is something along the lines of “that’s my author voice” or “I think outside of the box”.

Nothing wrong with author voice or thinking outside of the box. But those two things must work within your storyline in order to get away with it. Unfortunately, most of the time, that thinking outside of the box the author is doing just isn’t working. I often hear authors say if they never sold a single story they’d still write. Okay. That’s just dandy. If you can live with not selling a single story and can handle that, why not? Whatever makes you happy.

But if you want to sell? You need to get with the program. Only through serious study of the craft can you succeed. There are plenty of small presses—both print, digital, and vanity—out there that will contract a novice writer’s work. And in all honesty I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with that (well, my advice is to stay away from vanity pubs). Starting out with a small publisher and learning the ropes of publishing in general is a good way to get your feet wet. However, if you see yourself at the top of your game at that point, you are sadly mistaken.

Learning how to write isn’t something that stops with the first published story. It’s an ongoing process. Personally, I learn something every single time I work on a new book. I learn something new every time I go through an edit. Yes, I do. There is always a better way of doing things than the way you’re doing it. Trust me. I know. And it is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. How dare someone else think of a better way? How dare someone else know more than me? Well…it happens.

In this business you need to wear a suit of armor. I hear thick skin all the time—but in reality you’d best break out the chain mail. Lol You’re going to shed tears during your first REAL edit. And I said REAL for a reason. Some small pubs don’t do a lot of editing as they don’t attract the most experienced editors. And some small pubs simply don’t care and do a “clean up” job of your work and release it. So there is a good chance you WON’T cry over your first edit. But wait till your first REAL edit comes along. The tears will flow like booze at spring break. And if you think that sounds bad? Wait until you get one of those gremlin-styled reviews. You’ll be shouting pistols at dawn faster than a Nascar drive with the pedal to the metal.

But if you take these issues in stride, focus on the end goal, accept that you’re still learning, you’ll be fine. Just remember: When someone gives you advice, they aren’t always out to bring you down. Sometimes they are out to lift you higher. Talent is a blessing. If you’ve got it, nurture it. Don’t throw it away by keeping your blinders on. Study, open your eyes and mind. When all is said and done—if you’re one of those writers who wants to sell books…

It isn’t about thinking outside the box or your beautiful author voice. It’s about catering to the needs and desires of the masses. Your target audience. They are in charge. They are the boss—not your muse.

Hopefully, my philosophy on writing has worked—somewhat—and anyone who picks up a copy of one of my books will be pleased with the results of all my careful study of the writing craft. Black Cougar Curse, a very steamy novel co-authored with the fabulous Natalie Dae released from Ellora’s Cave on January 26. It’s about a sexy Cherokee Indian guide by the name of Sam Starr and the city gal he meets in the Great Smoky Mountains. Take a look at the blurb.

Deep in the mountain wilderness, Lucia Chavez searches for closure to her father’s death, and the mythical black cougar he sought. Drop-dead sexy Cherokee Indian guide Sam Starr knows more than he’s telling. After he saves Lucia from being swept away in a mudslide, the bath they both need turns steamy indeed. Sam and Lucia are living proof that near-death experiences can bring two people closer together—they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Amidst danger and mystery, Sam and Lucia explore the lust that burns between them. If their desire gets any stronger it could bring down the mountains. Ancient secrets hold the key to their unbridled sexual need. Was their passion written in the stars?

One man. One woman. A curse that binds them—and could tear them apart.

To read an excerpt visit: http://www.jasminejade.com/productspecs/9781419931062.htm
and to purchase your copy click HERE

Natalie and I hope you enjoy the blurb and excerpt enough that you’ll pick up a copy. Let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you. Contact information is on our sites. http://tessmackall.com and

February 1, the new, once-a-month newsletter--Risqué--from Natalie
Dae, Regina Carlysle http://reginacarlysle.com and little ol' me will make its debut. So if you'd like to receive our newsletter, you can subscribe here by joining our newsletter group--this is a no chatting group--newsletter only. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/risquenewsletter

Many thanks to Melissa for hosting us on the amazing Imaginarium today. Happy reading to all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Author John Desjarlais

I am so pleased to have John Desjarlais at The Imaginarium today. He has crafted some of the most provocative and intriguing fiction out there. His latest is Viper, a mystery due out in March from Sophia Institute Press.

Hi John, welcome to the Imaginarium. I must say I’m looking forward to reading Viper. Can you tell us little about your protagonist Selena De La Cruz and what inspired her creation?

Selena is a late-thirties second-generation Mexican-American woman, curvy but concerned about her butt and the Aztec hatchet of a nose planted in her café-con-leche face. Loyola educated with a degree in Finance, she has an eye for stylish heels (think Giuseppe Zanottis and Stuart Weitzmans) and fast cars (she drives a 69 Dodge Charger she inherited from her deceased twin brother Antonio, an Army mechanic who was killed in a car accident in Germany – drugs were involved). A bit of a tomboy as a kid with the three brothers and a stern-but-also-doting Papa, she is both tough and tender, an independent Latina (a contradiction in terms for many Mexicans) who can have a temper especially as she comes to terms with her bicultural identity and the challenges of living in a man’s world. Her family is rather well-off; her father was a PEMEX oil executive before he took a position in the Mexican Consulate in Chicago where Selena grew up, near the Pilsen neighborhood and “Little Mexico.” She speaks Mexican Spanish well and can identify different Spanish accents quickly. She’s a risk-taker, which suited her well for undercover work with the DEA, a career she took after her brother’s death from drug use. She first worked with the Financial Tracing Division (given her college degree) but wanted very much to do dangerous street work and trained hard for it (she’s handy with a P226 SIG Sauer pistol). She left the agency under a cloud and has tried to start afresh as an insurance agent in rural Illinois with a new name – but her DEA background catches up to her in VIPER.

Selena was a minor character in my first mystery, BLEEDER. The story took place in rural Illinois, where Latino immigrant issues were part of the story’s color. I wanted to portray a very positive image of an educated and socially-conscious Latina as a balance to the hardly-educated farm laborers and poor day-workers that the Anglo townspeople were nervous about. Since my protagonist, Reed Stubblefield, was in town to recover from a school shooting and had insurance and disability problems, I cast Selena as the local insurance agent who might assist him. As soon as she walked on stage in those red heels, with that attitude, and driving that chile-pepper-red muscle car, I knew she had a story of her own, and that her role in BLEEDER would be larger than I’d anticipated.

How difficult was it to get inside the head of a character from a different culture? Was there anything about writing from the female perspective that proved especially challenging? And how did you deal with Selena straddling the line of two worlds?

I’d written from the point-of-view of women before in my earlier historical novels, “The Throne of Tara” and “Relics,” but only in a few scenes. Remaining for a whole novel in a woman’s sensibility – and a Mexican-American woman at that – was much more challenging and frankly, a bit frightening. The first hurdle to leap was the sheer audacity of it. I anticipated some objections from the Latin American community: How can you, an Anglo man, dare to write our stories? In addition, how can you, an Anglo man, presume to assume the role of a proud Latina? I worried about this terribly the whole time. I did assiduous research on Mexican-American customs, proverbs, family life, holidays and all that in libraries, on the Internet, and through interviews. I subscribed to Latina magazine to get a sense of fashion, relationships and other lifestyle issues. I read Mexican literature, history and so on, all with the aim of trying to think like my character. I passed along bits of the work-in-progress to a Latina writer and translator who made sure I got the cultural stuff right, as well as the language correct. At one point she wrote, “I am SO into Selena!” and that’s when I knew for sure I was getting the character right.

As far as Selena straddling two worlds, I knew from all my reading and interviewing that this was an ongoing issue among Latinas. There’s a great line in the movie “Selena” where the father complains, "We've gotta be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans both at the same time. It's exhausting!" So I included material along the way where this conflict is seen. Here’s a brief example where Selena is at a Holiday party with the DEA and FBI. A guy at the table, Andy, has already said something racist/sexist to her: “Hey Selena, this dip is spicy, like you” and she is recalling an earlier conversation before this action starts:

You do know the real reason you’re here at all, don’t you? Agnes Bloomberg, the office gossip, had confided to her behind her knuckles. Di-ver-si-ty, honey. They needed to report more female and Hispanic recruitment. They got to check off two boxes with you.

A waitress dropped a plate of chopped iceburg lettuce and tomatoes in front of her.

“Salads?” Andy spat. “That’s girly food. Where’s the meat?”

“Excuse me,” Selena said, bunching her napkin and throwing it on the table.

“Hey, aren’tcha hungry?”

She didn’t answer. She grasped her clutch purse and weaved around tables toward the cash bar. On the way, a seated silver-haired woman in ruffles grabbed her arm.

“Pardon me, miss,” she said, wiggling a mug, “but when you get the time, could you bring me more coffee?”

Selena pulled away without a word.

“Maybe she doesn’t speak English…” a voice behind her trailed.

She stood in a short line at the bar, arms crossed, tapping her black patent leather Sergio Rossis. She made a face. Could you bring me more coffee? she mouthed. The nerve.

“What was that, miss?” asked the Latino barkeep.

“A screwdriver, por favor, y va fácil en el hielo porque duele los dientes.”

“Ho-kay, not much ice,” he said. The pinched lips and the glint in his eye said you’re not really one of us. He reached down for a glass and muttered pocha.

“What was that?” she fired back.

“Six dollar, please.”

“Míreme, look at me in the eye. That’s not what you said.” It was an insult, as bad as agringada, so Americanized no longer truly Mexicana, a sell-out.

“Six dollar,” he repeated.

I’m fascinated with the religious undertones and themes in your stories. How did you come to weave spirituality and mysticism into your tales?

This all came quite naturally. “The Throne of Tara” is more-or-less a fictionalized biography of Saint Columba of Iona, the hot-headed Irish monk from the Sixth Century who went to war over a book, and in remorse over the thousands slain, exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic, in a contest of power. It’s all historically documented material, and where the facts were lacking (or appeared embellished) then my imagination took over. But I did careful research on the Celtic Church, Irish monasticism and the practices of the druids to get everything authentic. It’s simply not possible to write about that period and place without interweaving the Christian and indigenous understandings of “the unseen” and the Otherworld.

During that research I learned about the rich trade in relics in Europe and the Middle East, and this became the focus of my second historical thriller, “Relics.” I tried to treat medieval Catholicism and the various branches of Islam with the same complexity, respect and authenticity. Again, nothing needed to be forced. All this was part of being a complete medieval person.

BLEEDER, a contemporary mystery, was a bit different. During my research for “Relics” I encountered material about mystical phenomena such as the stigmata – the wounds of the crucified Christ appearing on the bodies of especially devout and holy people (Saint Francis of Assisi being the first). At the time I was considering a story featuring Aristotle, the Father of Logic, solving a crime. But I quickly learned that this was already done (and well) by someone else. So instead, I imagined a classics professor who would apply Aristotelian logic to solve a seemingly irrational mystery, and that’s where my interest in the stigmata came in. I suppose I was writing in the tradition of John Dickson Carr, who often wrote along similar themes. Beyond the ‘mystery’ of the stigmata and the crime story itself, I also wanted to examine the higher mystery of undeserved suffering. This is something all of us ponder, and this story had the opportunity to contemplate it thoughtfully – while also providing an entertaining detective tale.

Something like this occurs in VIPER, too, where Aztec mythology and Mexican Catholicism play a strong role. On All Souls’ Day, Selena’s name is entered in her parish church’s “Book of the Dead,” a ledger where people record the names of relatives who have died that year. The problem is, Selena’s not dead. But someone wants her to be – since there are eight other Latino names in front of hers, all drug dealers who are being killed in the order in which they are listed. Her name is last (she’s on the list because of her DEA work in the past). Along the way we get into the mind of the killer who reveres Aztec deities (and tends a collection of snakes, important in Aztec religion) and would like to see them honored by the Mexican people once again in order to recover their true heritage. Meanwhile, a mysterious “Blue Lady” appears to a local girl visionary announcing the next death in the list, and the Mexican community wonders if it is Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Aztec goddess of death. So again, all of this enriches and motivates the characters and is never ‘forced’ or unnatural. I rather like how these ‘higher mysteries’ provide some layering to the stories and the people in them.

Are there any misconceptions you’ve encountered about religious writing, Catholicism in particular?

The chief misconception is that writing by committed Christians is superficial, saccharine, and shallow in characterization and plot, full of smarmy religiosity and always ending in a conversion of some sort. This stereotyping may be deserved since there is a body of work by well-meaning Christian writers that is aimed for their own market, where there are expectations of sexual purity and spiritual safety and re-inforcement. I understand that. There are also many smart and stylish writers whose work is more complex and ambiguous. Frederick Buechner, Susan Howatch, Kathleen Norris and Walter Wangerin Jr. come to mind among Protestants. On the other side of the Tiber, as it were, Catholics have a long and complicated literary heritage, informed by a “sacramental” view of the world and a high respect for narrative. By “sacramental” I mean that Catholics take the physical world very seriously and are on the lookout for the good, the true and the beautiful in what is seen that points to what is unseen. By ‘high respect for narrative’ I mean that if you ask a Protestant what he believes you’re likely to get a list, and if you ask a Catholic you’re likely to get a story. Catholics are historically committed to excellence in art, in imitation of God the Creator (just think of the immensely rich tradition of painting, sculpture, architecture, and music). But Catholics, to their credit, are not so absolutely certain about some things, and carry humility and ambivalence into their literary work. They are deeply aware of the conflict of good and evil in the human heart. That’s why we get such great Catholic writers as Flannery O’Conner, Morris West, Evelyn Waugh, JRR Tolkien, William Barrett, Michael O’Brian, Ron Hansen – well, it’s a long list most people are unaware of. There is an emerging movement of modern writers who are bringing their authentically Catholic worldview to their work – not to force it on anyone, but because to them it most honestly represents what it means to be fully human in both our dignity and fallenness. To put it simply, we write who we are. To do otherwise is to be dishonest, and art, above all else, must be honest.

Who or what inspired you to embark on a career in writing? Who are your major writing influences?

My first published story was in third grade when a story I wrote about my dog giving away her Christmas bone to a stray, “A Present for Polly,” was mimeographed and handed out. I wrote spy novels in junior high (probably due to James Bond and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and other TV fare) and published stories in my high school literary magazine. I turned to broadcasting in college and worked in radio and TV for a long time. It wasn’t until I worked on a documentary on Western Christianity that I picked up fiction again, having discovered the thrilling story of Columba of Iona and seeing the dramatic possibilities in it. The success of that first novel moved me to continue writing book-length fiction.

My major writing influence is my wife who allows me to pursue this crazy habit! But I know what you mean – I admire stylish American noir detective writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy. Then there are the writers who showed me you can bring your faith to bear on your fiction without being overbearing: CS Lewis, Susan Howatch, Morris West, William Barrett.

What do you hope readers take away from your work?

First, because I write ‘genre’ literature, my aim is to entertain. So the first ‘take-away’ value is that my reader has been refreshed and delighted for a few hours. That’s healing.

Secondly, I hope readers will ponder some of the ‘higher’ and unresolved mysteries that my stories explore: the mystery of undeserved suffering and whether there is any redemptive meaning in our common struggle with sorrow, or, on the other hand, the mystery of undeserved graces in life, and how it is we can hope for love and justice in a bent world.

What has surprised you the most about being an author and the actual business of writing?

The amount of promotion and marketing that is required. In the old days, one could rely on a publisher’s publicist to manage reviews, book-signing tours, interviews, bookmarks and all that. This is all up to the writer today and it is very time-consuming and can become expensive.

I was surprised and very pleased by the warmth and cordiality among mystery writers. It is a very welcoming and supportive community, where the ‘stars’ mingle amiably with newcomers and share their insights gladly. At mystery writer conferences, you get to sit at dinner with these ‘celebrities’ and they chat away as though you were family. You’d never guess that people who kill for a living could be so nice.

Aside from writing, what are some of your other passions and pursuits? I noticed Selena tools around in a vintage Dodge Charger; are you by chance a car guy?

I drive a ‘vintage’ 1995 Toyota Corolla, so I’m not really a car guy. When I was a teenager, the family car was a Dodge Charger and it was the car in which I learned to drive. I have great memories of that, and it’s why Selena got a Charger.

My wife and I are involved in retired racing Greyhound rescue and adoption. These are sweet and gentle dogs who make affectionate and loyal companions. They are quiet couch potatoes, and some are real jokers.

I play the mountain dulcimer and am a tenor in the church choir. What smart sweethearts those people are. I look forward to practice every week.

Thank you so very much, John. This has been a fascinating interview and I’m so happy to have had you here today.

Thanks, Melissa! I appreciated the opportunity to share with you and your readers.

VIPER Excerpt

Selena De La Cruz finish-welded the high flow exhaust tubes at the manifold flanges, twisted off the white flame and lifted the mask to inspect her work. Perfecto. She blew at the torch as though it were a smoking gun and thought about the next tasks: install a low-temperature thermostat to keep the Charger’s engine cool, check the brake bleeder valves, and - line one on the garage phone trilled.

¿Ay, ahora qué? she sighed with a roll of her eyes. Hadn’t she made it clear to her new receptionist Felicia that her lunch hour in the insurance claims garage was sagrada and she was not to be disturbed while working on her car? She ducked from under the Matco lift, tugged off her work gloves and crossed to the Formica counter, her Filas sneakers squeaking on the glossy concrete floor. She raked her fingers through her sable hair. It must be an emergencia, she thought, her heart rate accelerating with each quickened step. Un accidente malo with injuries. Lord knows how the early November drizzle had slicked the roads.

She seized the chirping phone and punched a button. “¿Sí, Felicia?”

“Selena? Is that really you?” asked a man’s voice.

She wrinkled her brow. It wasn’t her brother Francisco asking for another loan. It wasn’t her brother Lorenzo looking for a place to crash, now that his wife had kicked him out again. It wasn’t Reed Stubblefield, calling about their weekend date; he knew better. And it felt a bit presumptuous for an insurance agency customer to call her by her first name. The nerve. And how did he get this direct line number? She drew a cleansing breath and used her softest business voice. “How may I help you, sir?”

“Selena Perez, ex-DEA?”

“Who is this?”

“Geez, you don’t know how hard it is to find you.”

Her heart hammered against her ribs. “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure you do. But being hard to find was the whole idea, wasn’t it?”

Please visit John at his website, http://www.johndesjarlais.com.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top Ten Songs of All Time Music Blog Hop-Melissa's List

My friend, Alex J. Cavanaugh, got me hooked into participating in this wicked cool blog hop featuring our top ten songs of all time. Now, I could never just pick ten songs as the best. That's just way too difficult because I am such a music lover. So I decided to go with ten songs that have very special meaning to me. I flipped through my memory banks and here they are in no particular order of importance, just 10 songs from the soundtrack of my life. I've included the links for You Tube for these tunes since I couldn't figure out how to get them to play here.

10. Cry to Me by Solomon Burke This is my fantasy dance song with Patrick Swayze and it's no coincidence that it's the love scene song in Dirty Dancing. Oh, how I miss that man.

9. Chip Away The Stone by Aerosmith This was the song that kicked off my 26 year love affair with the boys from Boston. I was 15, it was summer and I was helping out at a car wash fundraiser when this song came on. I have never looked back. Aerosmith will be playing at my funeral.

8. Ripple by The Grateful Dead There are no words on how important this song is to me. It helped me through the suicide of a friend.

7. Living After Midnight by Judas Priest My first introduction to metal right here and I start going crazy whenever I hear the opening beats.

6. I Love Rock N Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts I heard this and was blown away. I was 11 and this was the first time I'd ever heard a woman rockin' it out on the guitar. Joan is still my girl and the volume goes up when this song comes on.

5. Hurt So Good by John Mellencamp Whenever this song comes on, I think of a certain black-haired cowboy and a night to remember. Sexy and naughty...

4. Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack Never has a song defined the way that moment feels when someone else perfectly tunes in to your pain. I love both the original and The Fugees version.

3. Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett Ah the memories here...An ode to my favorite drink on planet Earth and to some, er, high times. ;)

2. Lili S'en Fout by Toufic Farroukh feat. Yasmine Hamdam Total seduction set to music and I love it. Yeah there are more than a few naughty memories attached to this one. ;)

1. Qingauiit by Tudjaat This is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I was listening to it the first time I ever saw the sunrise over the Cascade mountains. It was one of the most incredible sights, day and night held the sky at the same time.

Scroll down for a complete list of participants and check out all the great music. Feel free to share your fave tunes in the comments. I'd love a listen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good News!!

Imaginarians, I am bubbling over with some incredible news. My book, Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf, has been nominated in the Loves Romances Best of 2010 Awards for Best Erotic Book and Best Shapeshifter Book. Whoo Hoo!! I have never had my fiction nominated before and I am turning cartwheels somersaults and everything else I can think of to celebrate.

Voting begins today, so if you'd like to head over and let your voice be heard, here are the direct links to the categories.

Best Erotic Book

Best Shapeshifter

There are lots of other categories with really excellent authors and stories nominated so if you want to peruse the entire list to vote or get some reading ideas, visit Dawn's Reading Nook

I want to thank you all for your amazing support and love for me, this blog and my work. I am humbled and appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Stylish Blog Award!!

Imaginarians, I have the loveliest news to share, I have been tapped for a Stylish Blog Award. Thank you so much to the awesome Kerri Nelson of The Book Boost Blog for her nomination. This news made my rough week brighter. I must share this award with my dear friend, Dempsey Sanders. He took this little place I started building for my musings, etc. and turned it into a dream home.

For those who have been nominated, there are few criteria to meet:

1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you, only do not re-nominate them.

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Pass along this nomination to 10 recently discovered stylish and cool bloggers

4. Contact them and tell them about their nomination.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Stylish Blog nominees:

Hollywood Spy by Dezmond

CineMarvellous! by Nebular

The Movie 411 by Dempsey Sanders

Between the Keys by KC Kendricks

A #2 Pencil Stat! by RaShelle Workman

Chris Phillips: Slushpile Savant by Chris Phillips

Three Wicked Writers Plus Two by Madison Scott, Natalie Dae, Regina Carlysle, Tess MacKall and Anne Rainey

Alex J. Cavanaugh by Alex J. Cavanaugh

Musings of a Palindrome by Hannah Kincade

Now those pesky 7 things you thought you'd never ever find out about me. Brace yourself...

7. I am a night owl. I come alive after dark.

6. The colder it gets, the more I crave ice cream.

5. My longest relationship has been my love for Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. 26 years and counting...

4. I want to be a zombie in a horror film.

3. I read all the placards in the museum, so if you're behind me...

2. The most amazing sight I've seen was the International Space Station and shuttle passing over my house.

1. I once ran from a bear in the woods. I learned fat people can run and jump like Olympic athletes when sufficiently terrified.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

It's A Party...Hollywood Spy Style

I am jetting off to the most fabulous event on planet Earth: The Hollywood Spy Awards Gala. I'll be rubbing elbows with all the hottest celebs...Lady Gaga, Beyonce...These are but a couple of names who will hitting the ultra lux Hollywood Spy headquarters.

Come on out and join in the fun. Visit HOLLYWOOD SPY

Here's a look at my fabulous, sexy siren gown

And who's that on my arm? Isn't he delish?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guest Appearance The Movie 411

I am so excited because I am appearing at my good friend Demspey Sanders' blog The Movie 411. I am reviewing Tron: Legacy so come on over and see The Good, the Bad and the WTF. Looking forward to see you there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Author Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan

Imaginarians,please help if you can, even it's just to repost this on your blogs, websites, etc. Tina/Cassie is a great, great person and I love her books.

Click here for donations or email donationsfortinagerow@gmail.com

Please help:

Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan has been taken suddenly and seriously ill. She has an affliction called Arteriovenous malformation or AVM in her brain which has led to multiple surgeries and an extended stay in ICU. No family is ever prepared for such a thing and Tina's is no exception. In times like this, every dollar helps and her friends in the writing community are banding together to ask you to open your hearts (and wallets) to help get Tina's family through this.

Tina is well known to readers and authors across the country who have embraced her books, most recently, (writing as Cassie Ryan) Seducing the Succubus (Berkley/October 2010) and coming in April 2011, The Demon and the Succubus.

Please send your prayers, positive energy and love out into the universe with Tina's name on it. Cards can be mailed to: Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.
Any donations you would like to make to Tina Gerow/Cassie Ryan to help with the burden of mounting medical bills, can be given by visiting this site or by sending a check to Tina Gerow, c/o SBP PO BOX 42255, Phoenix, AZ 85080.

Help spread the word—please post on your blogs and websites.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Have Entered the 21st Century...I'm On Twitter!!

Whoo Hoo!! Imaginarians, yours truly has officially entered the 21st Century and gotten on Twitter. I have met one of my 2011 goals. Yay!! Cue the orchestra and Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

Why was I not on there when everyone else signed on, you ask? The truth is, I was intimidated. I'm still navigating the ins and outs of Facebook and My Space, for crying out loud. Just call me Wilma Flintstone. :)

I was wondering what on Earth I would talk about and who would care? I was afraid I would get on there and have no followers. Silly, but there you have it. I'm still nervous, but as they say keep moving forward so here I am on Twitter. My handle is @melbwrites in case you want to follow me. I also have a handy dandy link in the sidebar by my Facebook badge. I promise I'll follow you back. :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Stellar New Look

Look at my pretty new blog design!!!! How stunning is this? Thanks to my amazingly talented friend, Dempsey Sanders, Melissa's Imaginarium has a brilliant new look for 2011.

Take a bow, Dempsey...This is gorgeous. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: Goals, New Beginnings and Other Plans

Happy New Year!!! Time for me to set my goals and promise myself to become more organized, healthier, more organized, better with money, more organized...Can you tell I need to get more organized?

Aside from curbing my penchant for chaos, it's that time of year where I look over my story ideas, my writing commitments and my schedule then decide what I will be putting out over the next twelve months. This last year I released my first novel, Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf, started a blog, wrote several features and reviews and started participating in a horror blog called Dead End. And, and I finished a story I had started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Whoo Hoo!!

This year I have a historical erotic tale I'm currently working on, a zombie tale, a sequel to Michael's Keeper and am in the planning stages of a sequel to Maxie. I also have planned an erotic sci fi trilogy. I would also like to bring you all more here at the Imaginarium with author spotlights, book reviews, discussions and a free read or three.

I am also planning to step into the realm of Twitter. Keep your fingers crossed as I am very intimidated by this social media, but the time has come. I'll let you all know what my Twitter handle is shortly.

I am very pleased to announce that I will be doing some contributing to a wicked cool film blog called The Movie 411. Dempsey Sanders is the editor and creator of this amazing site and I urge you all to visit often. He has really interesting features, reviews and just everything you've ever wanted to know about the movies.

I also want to get healthier. I am a Type 2 diabetic and would love to reach a very ripe old age so that means I will be working hard to keep my condition under much more ruthless control. Plus I've slacked off in my weight-loss. I haven't gained weight, but neither have I continued to lose so that behavior is stopping. My ultimate long-term goals are to climb up the pyramids at Tikal, hike to the summit of Mount Fuji and run a marathon. Not this year of course, but within the next five or six years so I've got to get my rear in gear and really start hitting the exercise routine.

I also want to be much better off financially speaking. Which means I have to be better at marketing myself, have a better understanding of money and have a steady source of income. This is going to be tough, but it needs to be done.

What are your goals for this year? Feel free to post them here because I am all about encouragement. I'll be your cheerleader if you'll be mine. I found a great quote and it says "If I bring forth what is inside of me, what I bring forth will save me." I know we can reach our goals Imaginarians. Here's to a successful 2011 for us all!!