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, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!! It's my favorite day of the year and I'm all in black, complete with skeleton earrings in celebration. I'm also celebrating because I have been nominated for a Movie411 Award. WHOO HOO!!! Check this, yours truly has been nominated for Sexiest Female Author.

OMG!!! I cannot believe it, I am stunned, just stunned, but very happy. Sing it with me now... "I believe in miracles. Where you from? You sexy thing..." Ah, nothing like a little Hot Chocolate music to celebrate. The nominating goes through November 28 and those Top 5 with the most nominations moves on to the voting round. Fingers crossed that I move on. And since I'm from Chicago, I promise, no dead people will be involved, unless they have their own blog. LOL To nominate me or others just email The Movie411 here themovie411@live.co.uk.

You all know how I love scary movies, books, hell I'm even planning a real-life ghost hunt next year with some friends. We are going to Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Kentucky where I plan to personally inspect the infamous death tunnel.

There are, however, some things out there that truly terrify me and I'm not talking fear of the dark or hating reptiles, I'm talking bone deep fear and stomach churning horror. The following are two of the very few movies on this earth that genuinely terrify me and I have a very hard time watching them. These movies really do a number on my psyche and I just cannot watch them alone.

The Strangers Words cannot even begin to describe the creepy feeling that this film engenders in me. I think it's the way that this movie is a real life possibility. Brutal, savage home break-ins happen every day and the majority go unsolved. I knew someone whose sister was brutally murdered in her home. Fifteen years later and not one clue. One of my mother's friends was a student nurse slaughtered by Richard Speck. I can sit through the mindless horror of Friday the 13th, Halloween and other slasher flicks like that because they're mostly silent hulking killers that regenerate. I get a lot of shit for this movie, but it just freaks me out, a random act of savagery that hits too close to home.
The Exorcist William Friedkin's film stands out as the single most terrifying movie I have ever seen. I was raised Catholic, still am, and this movie hits at the heart of my spirituality and the beliefs I hold dear about Heaven and Hell. Some of its images are so shocking and revolting, especially the crucifix scene. I was frozen in horror as I watched, sick to my stomach. Yes, some of the acting is cheesy and the dialogue over-the-top and it's been much-parodied in the nearly forty years since its release, but you will never catch me watching this film alone.

So what films terrify you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Blogfest

My friend Sloane Taylor has spotlighted Nathan's Angel on her blog. Yay!! I appreciate this so very much. If you get a chance, stop by. She's an amazing writer and a great cook with some pretty awesome recipes on her site.

I'm participating suspense author Jeremy Bates' Halloween Hop and I'm having a blast meeting all these new people. The rules are simple, just post your favorite monster movie or book and your costume this year. Let's see...

Favorite Monster Movie: Oh God, I have to pick one?! I'd go with The Howling because you know werewolves are the penultimate monster in my book with zombies a close second.

My Costume this year: I have none. I'm a HORRIBLE person, what kind of Halloween lover am I? But, then again, I may go as a zombie. I'm good with makeup and don't mind ruining a shirt with fake blood. I may add rubber worms and larvae, too. We'll have to see how I feel tonight. But here's me in one of my favorite costumes, a cat. My friend Portia here is supposed to be a dragon. Her ear is hanging over my wrist.

Tonight is my annual Fright Fest and here is ye olde play list:

1. Halloween

2. The Howling

3. Dawn of the Dead

4. Puppetmaster

5. House on Haunted HIll

6. The Wicker Man (the original, NOT the Cage remake)

We have a bit of everything, slashers, monsters, undead, killer dolls, haunted houses and witchcraft. Sounds like a recipe for some great fun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Do Believe In Ghosts, I Do Believe In Ghosts...MOMMY!!!!!

LOL, love that title? It's Halloween and not only is it time for scary movies, monsters, serial killers and of course Trick R Treating, it's also time for ghosts. Chicago is one hell of a haunted town. We have so many ghosts running around, we're also known as Undead Central. Our ghosts even vote. Just ask former Mayor Daley. ;)

Before I get started with my post, let me share my You Should Know person for this week. Because it's Halloween and his blog centers around zombies, I think you should get to know Jeremy at iZombieLover.

Jeremy is a talented graphic artist with a hellagood, slightly skewed sense of humor. His artwork is incredible. It's creepy, it's intense and it's definitely unique. He'll turn you into a zombie, too, if you dare...Imagine that Christmas card going out to family. As if being an incredible artist isn't creative enough, the guy is also an amazing writer with a graphic novel out called Chatterbox.

Now on to my ghostly post. We have some very cool haunted places here in Chicago and places that are just plain notorious and infamous for grisly happenings. These sites have been known to have some residual spiritual activity or outright ghosts and phantoms. I've had some eerie encounters at these places and no, not full-bodied ghosts and stuff, but things. Here's a couple that creeped the hell out of me and made me want my mommy.

Mt. Carmel Cemetery is located in suburban Hillside, not far from Queen of Heaven where my grandparents are buried. This is where Julia Buccola Petta, the Italian Bride, has her permanent resting place. Julia died in childbirth in 1921 and within a few months her mother began having dreams that her daughter was still amongst the living and needed her help. For six years the dreams continued and in all that time, her mother tried to get Julia's grave opened. Finally, she succeeded and when the coffin was exhumed and opened, Julia's body was found to be entirely in tact, no decay whatsoever. Take a gander.

The picture was taken when they opened her casket and you can see the perfect condition of her body while the coffin is muddy and looks the worse for wear. Now, they say you see a woman in white near her grave, but I didn't see anything when I was there with my friends. HOWEVER, I did feel something when I got a few feet from her grave. Something took my right hand. Seriously. It was like someone slipped their hand in mine, but it was as if that hand were made of ice. I sucked in all the oxygen around me in a slow, hard breath. Every hair was on end. Now granted it was winter, but I had my gloves on and it was only my right hand. I choose to believe that I had a haunted encounter and you won't convince me otherwise anytime soon.
Another time, I attempted to go into Bachelor Grove, one of the most haunted cemeteries in America. The activity here ranges from mysterious balls of light to disappearing car and a strange woman. The picture at the left is purported Madonna of Bachelor Grove. She's been photographed dozens of times over the decades. A few years ago I went by myself, during the day, of course, to see what I could see. I never made it past the No Trespassing sign as dread froze me in my tracks. I tried walking, but my legs would not move. I was overwhelmed with fear. I don't know how long I stood there until I was able to run back to the car. I am planning to go with some friends this time and we'll see what we see. Call me a nut job, but I want to face this dread and see if I encounter anything inside the place.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Internet Book Fair Blogfest

Hooray for books!!! Today, M.A. Leslie an awesomely cool member of our blogging community is sponsoring the Internet Book Fair Blogfest as a way for we writers to get our books out there and to promote books and authors we love. The idea, as I understand it, is to tell a little bit about our own book, provide a buy link and tell about some other books and writers we love.

Along with my steamy sizzler, Nathan's Angel, I'm featuring two awesomely fantastic books by two of the best writers I know, MPax and Gail M. Baugniet. So here we go... And be sure to check out the other stories and linkage here.

NATHAN'S ANGEL by Melissa Bradley
ISBN 978-1-61124-191-4 (Electronic)

Sometimes the laws of Heaven were meant to be broken…

When his soul mate is stolen from Paradise and reincarnated, Ramiel, angel of death and transformation, defies Celestial Law to find out why. As punishment for his crime, he is banished to Earth in human form without his powers. His only hope lies in recovering the grace he lost in his fall from the Divine Realm…

Nathan, a beta werewolf, knows all too well what it’s like to be vulnerable and at the mercy of unfair people and situations. He is considered weak in the eyes of the alphas of his pack. Ramiel literally falling into his life changes him. Determined to help the sexy angel, he takes charge of the situation and to his surprise, begins to exhibit some rather alpha behavior…

As they search, a white hot, forbidden fire ignites between them, an inferno that sets them ablaze, fusing them body and mind. A passion that makes them question everything they’ve ever known. But when Ramiel’s grace is found, will they have the strength to let each other go?

Smashwords link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92160

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005QB25H4

Alone. Leda is the last living member of the brigade, the sole defender of her world. War took everyone she knew, leaving her in the company of memories and ghosts. Or is it madness?

The siren blares. The enemy is coming. Or is it? The approaching vessel isn't a friendly design, but it answers with the correct code. Leda must figure out whether the arrival is reinforcements or the final assault. In an aging flyer, she ventures out to meet her world's fate, the last stand.




26-year old Pepper Bibeau deals with unresolved personal problems while she plugs away at her job as an insurance investigator for a Wisconsin-based company. She recently resigned her commission with the Army Nurse Corps after a 12-month tour of Vietnam and experiences occasional flashbacks. Also, her son is being raised by her mother's relatives in Hawaii, a decision Pepper doesn't regret but never fully accepts.

Pepper's current investigation takes her to Chicago where she discovers that murder, suicide, and a child's heroin overdose all point to a small drug operation. Many of the people she is counting on for help may be indirectly involved in the case and the more Pepper learns, the more difficult it becomes to sort out who's hiding what.

After someone slams her head against a brick wall, sending her to the hospital, a homicide detective suggests she drop her insurance investigation and leave town. But her friend is dead and a child remains in a coma. Until she exposes those responsible, Pepper is staying.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Melissa's Horror Film Survival Rules

Seven days until my high holy holiday, Halloween, and as I gear up for my annual Fright Fest I want to share with you a few things that I have learned about surviving a horror film. Follow these simple rules and you have a reasonable chance of getting out alive.

Rule #1

There is no such thing as mass psychosis, it's zombies. Did we not learn anything through dozens of zombie films already? Just start gathering supplies and practicing head shots.

Rule #2

Always wear appropriate clothing. No one ever seems to be properly attired in these things. They start off on a road trip with suitcases and when they reach the creepy camp or abandoned house, suddenly all they have are flip flops and shorts. Ladies, you might also want to keep track of your bras. They disappear with inexplicable frequency in horror films.

Rule #3

Keep it in your pants. I know it's tempting, but avoid having sex on graves, in old barns, derelict houses and, or abandoned psychiatric hospitals. Think tetanus shots if nothing else, but you know the killer/zombie/monster will always get you with your pants down.

Rule #4

That shape at the end of the hall is NOT your friend. Keep your mouth shut and keep moving. Don't you just love it when the vics see a giant shuffling shape and call out "Tiffany, is that you?"

Rule #5

Go to the bathroom in groups. Safety in numbers, kids. Nothing like going for a quick pee all by your lonesome and the monster/killer comes up behind you because you didn't bring a friend for lookout.

Rule #6

If the walls or floors start to bleed, LEAVE. Don't bother to call a priest or a psychic, that house is seriously freakin' haunted. GET OUT!

Rule #7

If there's a strange lunatic guy telling you you're going to die in there, DON'T GO IN THERE. How hard is that?

Rule #8

Stay out of the basement. Nothing good ever came from heading into the creepy basement. Unless you're fleeing a tornado, but seriously in horror, how many of those have you encountered?

Rule #9

Don't skinny dip. Come on, now. You know the monster is always in the water and the killer on the shore by your clothes.

Rule #10

No matter how bad the weather, STAY OUTSIDE. That scary looking house is not going to yield any sort of help. Think about it. The place is dilapidated and dark, do you really think you're going to find help in there?

Rule #11

Don't call the cops. They're useless cannon fodder unless it's near the end of the movie when they drive in en masse AFTER it's all over.

Rule #12

Don't ask what the noise is, HAUL ASS. How easy is this one? The noise is always bad news, so just run the fuck away.

So there you have them, my twelve simple rules for surviving horror. Now, I can't guarantee you'll live, but these rules will up your odds.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What's In A Name?

Names are so important, they help us forge our identities. Our parents hold absolute power by choosing our names when we are born. We as writers labor over what to name our characters. So what's in a name? Absolutely everything.

On Saturday, 285 girls in the Satara district of Maharashtra state in central India took part in a renaming ceremony for themselves. You see every single one of them had been given names that meant "unwanted." Can you imagine? Your whole identity beginning with the title of unwanted. I was astounded.

Government officials were prompted to hold such a ceremony because the latest census results show that ratio of girls to boys has dropped sharply. There are now 914 girls for every 1000 boys under the age of six. In Maharashtra that ratio is even lower with only 883 girls for every 1000 boys under the age of six and in Satara district, the ratio drops even further. Many believe this is due to the extreme gender bias that exists.

In India, girl fetuses are often aborted once the sex of the child is learned. Hospitals are forbidden to reveal the gender of an unborn babe as a preventative measure, but the truth gets out anyway. Girl children in many cases are neglected so they die young.

The name often given to girls is Nakusa or Nakusi which means "unwanted." Dr. Bhagwan Pawar, who came up with the idea for the renaming ceremony, says in a quote to AP "Nakusa is a very negative name as far as female discrimination is concerned." On Saturday these beautiful, extraordinary young women came forward and took their power back. They shed their horrible birth names and renamed themselves. They chose to be called "Aishwarya" after the gorgeous Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai. They chose "Savitri" after the goddess and "Vaishali" which means "prosperous, beautiful and good." One girl chose "Ashmita" meaning "very tough" or "rock hard."

The article, by Chaya Babu from the Associated Press, is here. The article is enlightening and shocking. I always understood that a name is powerful, but I guess I never really thought about it outside of my own stories. I am so happy that these girls were given the opportunity to rename themselves. They have forged a new path on life. I am in awe of the courage it took for them to make such a decision and go to this ceremony. Just look in those gorgeous eyes and see the hope and strength. Those girls, like the Nobel winners I posted, are what true Girl Power is all about.

To those girls and my fellow females everywhere, here's Pink with "Fuckin' Perfect" cuz we are ALL fuckin' perfect.

** The image above is from the Associated Press.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Feature and Sharing Some Love

Inspired by Alex Cavanaugh's and Matthew MacNish's Pay It Forward blogfest last week, I have now decided to do my own weekly You Should Know feature. I'm going to be posting links to fave blogs and why I love them. Many of them are friends old and new, but all of them are sites I adore and know you will too. So for my inaugural You Should Know post I give you one of my very favorite peeps and one of the coolest movie review guys ever...

CineMarvellous! Known around the blogosphere as Nebular, George is a true cinemaniac. His knowledge of films, directors, styles and genres is astounding. He goes into detail about pacing, cinematography, costumes... Many things that a lot reviewers don't discuss. He also specializes in horror, my fave genre. George gives it to you straight with the good, the bad, and the abysmal. So go, visit him now. He's got an incredible review of the new Three Musketeers film.

I have some announcements, too. In the coming weeks I will have incredibly cool author spotlights, starting with the always amazing Jessica Bell on November 3rd. I have some books reviews coming soon including Kelley Smith's Glittering Ashes, Alexander Hammond's Brief (Case) Encounters, Julia Smith's Saint Sanguinus, as well as a couple of others. It's going to be exciting! I will also be celebrating Halloween all week next week as well as participating in the Internet Book Fair Blogfest on Tuesday, October 25. The awesome M.A. Leslie is sponsoring this and I found out through my favorite Alliterative Allomorph, Jessica Bell. So if you have a book to sell or just want to get out there and find some great books go participate.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Basement Treasure Trove

Okay, so in between my regular gigs, I helped my sister clean YE OLDE BASEMENT and we came across a treasure trove of old books. We found some goodies like a copy of Catcher In The Rye and for all you Stars Wars geeks out there the original 1978 Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster, a sequel to Star Wars in which Luke Skywalker crash lands on the swamp world of Mimban with Princess Leia and gets caught up in the search for the Kaiburr crystal.

But I digress...

What really struck me in the Magic Box of Books were these two gems. Harlequin Superromances with the cheesiest WTF covers I have ever seen. I nearly peed myself laughing at them. Take a gander
Check out the Mom jeans on Wyatt Earp here. Is it just me or does the poofy shirt and vest make him look like he should be pillaging and plundering some Spanish galleon and not holding a baby with Laura Ingalls Wilder? Maybe that's the truth about cowboys, that they secretly wish to be pirates. And check the dress. This just screams Little House on the Prairie meets Bridezilla. And don't you just love the His and Her cowboy hats? It's so sweet, I need to take an extra does my diabetes medication and brush my teeth. And as if this cover wasn't enough of a chuckle, this cowboy's name is Abe Cockburn. Hmmm...all I can think is Ouch!

Doesn't this picture just scream Diabetic Coma? I mean you have cute kids, cute couple, a cute dog and cat who look like they are deliriously in love and they are surrounded by CHristmas. even the name, The Man Who Saved Christmas, is cute. I think I need some cute pink Pepto Bismol. However, check the cover carefully. Is it me or are they trying to imply that Mom gave birth on that couch? Eeewww!! Plus, her legs are missing. It looks like one of those half-mannequins they pose in the department store because the ones with legs are all in the windows. And this plot is a doozy. Pregnant mom and two kids lose everything in a fire, but a conveniently off duty patrol officer rushes in to save their dog. Romance ensues because yeah, nine months pregnant and homeless, you want some lurve and romance. But as the cover says "Christmas and babies come whether we're ready or not. And so does love." Ponder that thought for the day, Imaginarians.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And The Winner Is...

It's time to announce the lucky winners of a free e copy of my newest story, Nathan's Angel. My apologies for the delay as my life once again took a turn for the crazy and I ended up sick. Blech! Blame the rain, the cold temps and soaked feet. I set my Atomic Randomizer aka my nephew to choose the name out of my trusty Bears cap. And so without further ado, the lucky winner is...

Vic Caswell (Aspiring X)

Congratulations Vic!!! Just shoot me an email at melbwrites@gmail.com and let me know what format I can send you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Release Party And Story Time

Well Imaginarians I am just in a celebratin' mood and a hoppin' with the promo. Today I am having a party here and I'm also putting in an appearance over at my publisher, Amber Quill Press' blog today. There's an excerpt and a bit about how Nathan's Angel came to be. If you get a chance stop in and say hi.

At my party here, we're talking angels and werewolves, two of my favorite supernatural creatures. My love of werewolves comes from my Grandpa Bradley and my Dad. I was six when they allowed me to stay up late on a Friday Night and watch an old episode of Creature Feature on the local station. The movie? Why The Wolfman, of course, that old 1944 Lon Chaney Jr. classic. I was hooked and have loved no other beast since. My love of angels came from Uncle Moose. I used to be terrified of thunder. When he asked why I was so "derned scart" because "it's just them angels up there bowling like your mom does on Friday nights." I remember asking if he fibbing me. And he loomed over me with those steely eyes and said "Missy Mae, would I ever fib you?" I, of course said "But, Uncle Moose, angels can't bowl they have to do guard stuff. They don't have time for fun, do they?" He sighed and shook his head. "You see that rain?" I nodded. "That's them a cryin because kids like you don't believe they should be having fun." I have believed thunderstorms are angelic bowling tournaments ever since. ;)

In honor of my new release, I want to hear what your favorite supernatural creatures are and why. You'll be entered in a contest to win a copy of Nathan's Angel.

I also want to steer you to Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out Of Here. He put together a really cool Maniacal Movie Poster Monday and gave a shout out to me. I have never been so uniquely honored before. He rocks!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Now Available...Nathan's Angel

It's here, it's here, my newest story Nathan's Angel is here at last. I'm dancing and celebrating which is quite the feat considering it's way early this Sunday morning and I had a late night. LOL

Nathan's Angel is also part of the Howling at the Moon 2011 collection featuring my fellow wicked cool authors D.J. Manly with the steamy mystery tale Conway, T.A. Chase with the sizzling latest installment of The Preternaturals series Love's Baggage, Vivien Dean with the beautiful, passionate Moon Touched and A.J. Llewellyn with scorching Tame.

So without further ado, here's a little about Nathan's Angel...


Sometimes, the laws of Heaven were meant to be broken…

When his soul mate is stolen from Paradise and reincarnated, Ramiel, angel of death and transformation, defies Celestial Law to find out why. As punishment for his crime, he is banished to Earth in human form without his powers. His only hope lies in recovering the grace he lost in his fall from the Divine Realm…

Nathan, a beta werewolf, knows all too well what it’s like to be vulnerable and at the mercy of unfair people and situations. He is considered weak in the eyes of the alphas of his pack. Ramiel literally falling into his life changes him. Determined to help the sexy angel, he takes charge of the situation and to his surprise, begins to exhibit some rather alpha behavior…

As they search, a white hot, forbidden fire ignites between them, an inferno that sets them ablaze, fusing them body and mind. A passion that makes them question everything they’ve ever known. But when Ramiel’s grace is found, will they have the strength to let each other go?


The angel stiffened and bowed his head. “I do not know what overcame me. I am weakened and in a form I have not taken in millennia. I have no control, I…” He trailed off, exhaling sharply.

Nathan tugged at Ramiel until the angel turned to face him. “No matter what you are, you’re human now and close quarters plus attraction equals lust, desire, whatever you want to call it. Trust me. I’m half human and half animal, if anyone can understand, it’s me. ‘Your reaction was quite understandable.’” A half smile quirked the side of Ramiel’s mouth as Nathan repeated the angel’s own words back to him. Apparently not all humor was lost on the angel, then.

He stared at Nathan through the gold silk of his bangs and Nathan’s chest went tight. Without thought, he reached up to palm Ramiel’s cheeks. The lost look in his eyes hit Nathan deep and he was overwhelmed with the desire to kiss him, to ease the loneliness Ramiel must surely be feeling, exiled from his own kind. He raised up, tilting his head…

Ramiel’s mouth crashed onto his, a hungry, elemental force that caught him by surprise. Pent-up need emanated from Ramiel and Nathan speared his fingers through
Ramiel’s hair, dragging the angel deeper into the kiss, letting him know it was all right, that he could take whatever Ramiel had to give.

With a low growl, Ramiel hauled Nathan tight against his big body, his hands grabbing Nathan’s ass. Ramiel’s tongue licked along Nathan’s lips, then plunged deep inside, stroking and twining with Nathan’s.

Ramiel’s taste was a wild kaleidoscope of flavor. Spicy and sweet with a hint of the meaty burger he had just eaten. It teased at the back of Nathan’s mind, a long forgotten treasure rediscovered. Pleasure overrode any more coherent thought like a tsunami and Nathan was swept up in its wake, drowning in sensation. His erection pulsed behind his zipper, a primitive, throbbing heat that tightened his balls.

Nathan wanted nothing more than to be skin to skin with Ramiel, exploring every plane and hollow of him. He needed to be closer, with no barrier between them.
Ramiel groaned, stumbled and the two of them nearly toppled over. Nathan clutched him, balanced on his feet and averted disaster. He locked eyes with Ramiel, their breath coming in rough gasps, and noted the pallor of the angel’s skin beneath the sex flush.

“Come on. I think we need to get you into bed for some serious rest.”
Ramiel stroked a finger along Nathan’s jaw, with a banked fire in the silvery depths of his eyes. Nathan regretted saying a thing.

“I have no desire to sleep. I prefer very much to continue what has begun.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay It Forward Blog Fest...Sharing The Love

It's Pay It Forward Blog Fest Day and I am very excited to be sharing some of my favorite blogs with you all. The Linky List is below and I encourage you all to visit as many of these awesome people as you can. Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish for sponsoring this and being such stupendously cool pillars of the blogging community. Your efforts are most appreciated by this blogger because without you, this virtual realm would not be the same, my blog would not be the same.

Now here are three blogs that I absolutely adore.

Supernatural Sisters Oh my God, if you are a fan of the Winchester Brothers then this is the site for you. I go here for episode recaps, discussions and basically all things Supernatural. These ladies know their stuff when it comes to this show.

Alexander Hammond: The Man of Whom It's Often Been Said "Who?" This mans is a writer, an inveterate traveler and a true wit. His posts are hilarious, self depracating and marvelously written. I love the way he uses language and his descriptions are so original.

Let's Get Out Of Here Craig Edwards is a font of all things pop culture and horror. He does things like movie reviews, spotlights obscure PSA's and he has Maniacal Movie Poster Mondays that is just awesome. Check him out, you'll love him.

Now get out there and visit some cool blogs. Have fun!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Hollywood Field Trip And Blog Party

It seems like this is the week for news and announcements. So today is the Big Day. I am interviewed over Dezmond's Hollywood Spy blog. So come on over and join me as I get down and dirty with Dez talking about my latest creation, Nathan's Angel, which drops this weekend on the 16th. Yay!!!

I hope to see you all there. The love and support you always show me means the absolute world to me. Virtual hugs and pomegranate martinis for all of you.

I will also be participating in the Pay It Forward Blogfest sponsored by Matthew MacNish at the hellacool blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment and the Captain Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. It starts tomorrow, Oct. 14. Go sign up here, it's a party that's all about sharing the blog love.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good News!!

It's good news all around. My mom is home and doing good, so is my sister (she's been cleared to drive--progress,yay!). Thank God. And thank you all so very, very much for the kind thoughts and the prayers. You rock! I've said it before, I am humbled by the awesome support I receive from you time and again. Creating this blog has really been one of the best things I've ever done because it brought all of you into my life. So thank you and big virtual hugs to all of you. :)

Second, I did get the job. It is a temp to possible permanent assignment with a client that is notoriously picky and I managed to wow them in spite of my lack of sleep.

Finally, I am interviewed by the one and only Hollywood Spy himself, Dezz, at his blog. Cool, right? So stop on by at The Hollywood Spy tomorrow, October 13. You will read some cool things about me, and help celebrate the release of my newest tale, Nathan's Angel. It's a party, I tell you! I am so excited, I'm getting my groove on here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Emergency

I wanted to do a full out post today because I have some exciting news to share, but I spent the greater portion of last night, er tonight, man I don't even know which end is up right now, at the hospital with my mom so that is not happening. Mom's okay, but she scared the crap out of us when she collapsed and my sister, who's recovering from surgery herself, had to call an ambulance. So everything must be delayed for a day as I have a job interview to get through. Hopefully I won't fall asleep and make a bad impression. I promise to be back later today or tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Inspirational Women

I am an ardent feminist, Girl Power to the core. If there's a rally for women somewhere, I'll be there or be writing about it. Here, I often write of strong women and badass bitches I love in television and on film. Women who kick ass and take no prisoners. Today I am taking some time to honor three of the strongest women in this world. Their courage and fortitude humbles me and simply cannot be measured. Tawakul Karman, Leymah Gwobee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were selected to be the recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. They have worked tirelessly in their countries for the rights of women, risking their very lives to blaze a trail into the darkness of oppression that shines with the power of a thousand spotlights.

Words cannot express the profound joy I feel at seeing these three women from two nations known for their ruthless suppressive governments, receive one of the greatest awards in the world.

Tawakul Karman is a Muslim woman who has risen to become the face of Yemen's pro-democracy movement. She has been honored as the "Mother of Yemen's Revolution" and holds a position on the central committee of her country's Islah (Reform) Party. Something that was unheard of just a few years ago. Although she helped kick things off with the Day of Rage on February 3 of this year, the truth is she had been working tirelessly the year before holding protests at the Girl's College of Sana'a University for the rights and freedoms of women. Since 2007 she has led demonstrations against censorship and the right to create a free radio station. These demonstrations were often met with violence, yet she never waivered and now the Yemeni people stand on the precipice of taking back their country from its oppressive rulers. Sahar Tarman has a wonderful article about Tawakul here.

Leymah Gwobee began her activism in a fish market outside Liberia's capital of Monrovia nine years ago. It was there that she, along with thousands of Liberian women began to make their voices heard. They dressed in white and sat, singing and praying within earshot of the dictator, Charles Taylor. Rain or shine, they stayed, protesting the 14 years of war their country had endured. In 2003 she led hundreds of women to Monrovia's city hall demanding an end to the violence. When at last they confronted Taylor and the other warring factions, the Accra Peace accord was signed. She now serves on Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is executive director of Women in Peace and Security Network, an organization that works with women in Liberia Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Tamasin Ford has a great article here in the Guardian profiling Gwobee.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the first democratically elected woman to lead the nation of Liberia and the first female Head of State on the continent of Africa. At 17 she had been married to James Sirleaf, who brought her to the United States in 1961. Here she studied economics, receiving an eventual Masters from Harvard in Public Administration. She returned to Liberia where she served as Assistant Minister of Finance and Minister of Finance under William Tolbert. She survived a brutal coup which took the life of Tolbert and fled her country in November 1980. After working for the World Bank, Citibank and HSBC throughout the 80's and early 90's, she was appointed to the United Nations Development Programme where she served as assistant, then as director of the Regional Bureau for Africa. In 1999 she was appointed by the Organization for African Unity as part of a prominent team to investigate the Rwandan genocide. She became President of Liberia in 2005 and in 2006 created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the brutal crimes carried out during Liberia's Civil War. The New York Times has a great profile of her here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

TV's Badass Bitches: Gemma Teller-Morrow

It's time to get back to my ladies, the television badass bitches. And to me there are no bigger bitches than Gemma Teller-Morrow on Sons of Anarchy. If you do not watch this show, start right now, this minute. It is Hamlet meets Hell's Angels and all the twists, turns, back stabs and shootouts in between. You'll find it on F/X on Tuesday nights @9PM CST.

Gemma is played to perfection by the amazing Katy Sagal. Peg Bundy no longer lives here, let me tell you. I should hate this show because it is so misogynistic at times, but with a female lead like Gemma, it's impossible. This characters is one of the strongest and smartest written for a woman on television. Gemma is the matriarch and queen bitch of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original). Her husband, Clay Morrow, is the president and a founding member while her son, Jax Teller, is the heir to the club. She is beloved by all the club members and she rules them with equal parts love and iron-fisted ass kicking. To Gemma there is nothing more important than her family and the club. She will do anything, I mean we're talking anything, to protect them, even from themselves.

The Lowdown on Gemma

She's got a killer 'tude and a mouth that would make a hardened prisoner blush. Gemma pulls no punches, she delivers them blow after blow. She takes scheming to new lows, a brilliant strategist who sizes people up accurately in a millisecond. Her tongue cuts fast and deep, making hulking bikers and racist drug dealers go slinking away, testicles in hand. She's not afraid to pull a gun when necessary and do things like shoot up a porn star's car or threaten an ATF agent. She'll even knock a bitch out with a skateboard. There's nothing she can't handle and acts as cleaning crew when her men have fucked up. Gemma even finds time to run community service projects for the town of Charming. Bet your Homeowners Association President was never like her.

Favorite Gemma-isms

"Stop talking. My Martha Stewart's wearing thin."

"You should have thought of that before your dick went on a cheerleader hunt."

"Nobody gets in the way of me taking care of my family. Especially my conscience."

Here's Gemma in action thanks to the You Tube stylings of HPfane777

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure Writers Support Group: Revisionist Blues

Here it is the first Wednesday in October and it's time for the second edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group. Welcome! My fellow group members and I are here for you and each other. Below you'll find a list of the other cool participants. Last time I talked about my fear of having everything I write suck. Today I'm going to talk about revisions, which I know can suck out loud and sideways.

We do everything possible to ensure that our story is in the best shape possible and hey, it's been accepted. However, we have to be prepared to make changes and revisions no matter what. It's inevitable, like Republicans complaining about Democrats.

Editors will still find basic structure problems like pacing, weak prose, dialogue that is stilted and places where your main character waffles and steps out of herself. We are not perfect writers and our manuscripts, no matter how much we love them and have had other eyes look them over, are not perfect either. But that's okay, it's part of the routine, NOT that your writing sucks.

However, instead of those structural edits, I'm focusing on those revisions and changes in content. The ones that require you to alter your actual story, the most painful, horrific edits of all, in my opinion.

The editor knows their publishing house, know their readers and they will ask for changes accordingly. WHAT!! New to the business writers always seem to have a problem with this one. They always tell me there is no effing way they will allow anyone to destroy the vibe of their book. It's their story, damn it, their heart, their soul, their baby. "I know," I sympathize. "And you've already argued with your crit partners and beta readers about things, too. You can't possibly make one more single change. Period." "Damn straight." They nod fiercely, convinced of the superiority of this mindset. I hate to crush them, but that is oh so wrong and let me count the ways.

That love story in your political thriller that you insist is mere background, well your editor feels it should be played up more to add some additional flavor to the main characters. Oh and think two suspects is enough in your cozy mystery? Think again. You now have to add two more. The battle sequence in the desert was surely long enough at a thousand words. No, no, the editor thinks it should last longer, more to the tune of another two thousand words. Prefer a bare bones description of that European seaside village? Wait, your editor wants you to put the readers right there like they are looking at a guidebook.

Some changes will even come for marketing purposes. Like that title you so love and painstakingly labored over. It may not fit with their overall promotion scheme and will have to go. Gasp! Yes, your superfantastic Fires of Darkness is now Hot Nights. This kind of stuff happens all the time and you have to remember that it is no reflection on your skill as a writer or your ability to name your own kids.

Now, are there times where you can completely disagree with an editor and be heard? Heck yeah. You absolutely do not have to accept all those changes if you feel it threatens your voice. Ah, but here's where you have to be your most calm, though. In spite of the seething mass of roiling rage within your veins, you must be ice and civility. No one will listen to a crazed writer who is alternately screaming and crying unless you have a gun to their heads, but that's another story.

The bottom line is we as writers have to suck it up for this stage on our road to publication. Pretty shitty advice, I know. But, we want our babies published more than anything and the editors hold the magic key. It behooves us to listen. At the end of the day, they are only looking to ensure that our best possible work goes out there. I survive this part by commiserating with my fellow writers. So feel free to call me up or just pop on over here and tell me about those big bad editors and how they are ruining your masterpiece.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book Launch And RandomThings

It's Tuesday and I'm very excited because Ciara Knight's debut novel, Love's Long Shadow is now available. Yay!! Check it out.

Because I am busily preparing my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, here a just a few bits of randomness that make me smile, laugh or just go hmmm...

Mapquest really should start their directions at step 5 or 6 because I'm pretty sure I can get off my own street and out of my own neighborhood.

Nothing sucks quite like that moment in a heated argument when I realize I'm wrong. Doh!

Tylenol costs me $7.99 a bottle outside the hospital, but $17 a pill on the inside. Why? Do hospitals get the pure, uncut shit?

How many times is it acceptable for me to say "What?" before I just have to smile and nod like I understand even though I don't?

Bad decisions really do make the most interesting stories.

There is a fine line between boredom and hunger. I stomp over that line quite frequently.

I really wish Facebook would stop yelling at me about missing statuses. I panic and immediately log on, thinking I'll be kicked out.

I hate when I just miss a call, immediately call back only to have it ring ten times and go to voice mail. WTF? Did they drop the phone and runaway?

I have never understood the expression "cute as a button." To my knowledge, buttons aren't cute.

Shouldn't the pain scale have more numbers? Somehow that root canal pain seems more like a 1000 than a 10.

Why does cleave mean both to rip asunder and cling together?

Why did baseball and hockey helmets not come into play until the 1970's when testicular protection had been in use since the 1870's? Did men not think that their big heads were just as important as their little heads?

Have a great day and I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2 Weeks And Counting: Nathan's Angel Is Coming

October 16 will see the release of my sixth published work, Nathan's Angel from Amber Quill Press' Allure line. It is a story that is very near and dear to me, that features a character that I created because I had been inspired by some very dear friends. Here's the official blurb...

Sometimes, the laws of Heaven were meant to be broken…

When his soul mate is stolen from Paradise and reincarnated, Ramiel, angel of death and transformation, defies Celestial Law to find out why. As punishment for his crime, he is banished to Earth in human form without his powers. His only hope lies in recovering the grace he lost in his fall from the Divine Realm…

Nathan, a beta werewolf, knows all too well what it’s like to be vulnerable and at the mercy of unfair people and situations. He is considered weak in the eyes of the alphas of his pack. Ramiel literally falling into his life changes him. Determined to help the sexy angel, he takes charge of the situation and to his surprise, begins to exhibit some rather alpha behavior…

As they search, a white hot, forbidden fire ignites between them, an inferno that sets them ablaze, fusing them body and mind. A passion that makes them question everything they’ve ever known. But when Ramiel’s grace is found, will they have the strength to let each other go?

I will be having a party here and holding a contest to win a free download of Nathan's Angel and will post up the details very soon. I will also be making some guest appearances and will have that information up in the very near future.

Have a wonderful day everyone.