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, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve. I'm off to do my shopping, well most of the remaining. Yes, I really don't do any Christmas shopping til the 23rd  and Christmas Eve. It's fun and I think it keeps in the true spirit of Santa. Plus, what else would you do on Christmas Eve, relax?LOL

Anyway, after I shop, I like to order a pizza (there's a place here on the South Side that is open til 10pm on the 24th... Oh yeah!) then wrap until Midnight Mass. I come home after the big festivus in church, indulge in some drinks and wrap some more, watching my LOTR DVDs or some of my werewolf and zombie movies, basically staying up all night. Then when the sun peeks over the horizon, I crash out for a few hours, get up and make myself Christmas breakfast. Nothing exciting, just toast with peanut butter and banana. I'll watch Christmas Vacation, sleep some more, make a few phone calls, finally joining my family for Christmas dinner about 6pm. Finally, we open presents. All in all a very fun, laid back kind of Christmas. No stress, no dog and pony show for relatives and in-laws, no trip to someone's abode in the land of Far Far Away, either. A wonderful, peaceful holiday. I also leave my little tree on all night. There's something about sleeping with the tree lights on that I love.

Merry Christmas, my Imaginarians. I hope you all have a joy-filled,peaceful holiday. Thank you for all for your friendship.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the End of The World...NOT

Well it's December 21 and I want to know where the zombies are. I mean really, I was looking forward to starting my own crew ala Walking Dead and kicking some flesheater ass. There's nothing. Damn you, Mayans, what the heck? This means I have to pay my bills...Son of a bitch.  I'm sure the electric company won't accept "thought the world would end and I spent my money hoarding crossbows, katana swords, beef jerky and Diet Pepsi." Ah well...

Thanks for bearing with me while I've been gone. I'm in the midst of so many things right now I could scream. But thank God I am busy. I'll be back with a Christmas post after I finish some of the projects I've got going. And I am also working my way through all the fantastic comments you guys left on previous posts. In the mean time, a huge thanks for sticking and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Birthday To ME!!!!! And Gift For Someone.

Happy Birthday to Mel....Happy Birthday to Mel...LMAO! Okay I'll stop. Yes, it's my birthday and Peter Jackson and Wing Nut Studios have thoughtfully released The Hobbit for me. Aren't they sweet? I'm going to be celebrating in Middle Earth with hobbits and dwarves, yeah, baby!

While I am off, venturing through the Shire, sipping tea (well more like margaritas, hey tea don't cut it) at Bag End, I thought I would leave you with a giveaway. Yes, that's right, it's my B-Day, but you could win a prize,  a free download of one of my stories. The winner gets to pick from among those on my side bar. As they are downloads, they're convenient and make excellent Christmas gifts, if I do say so, myself. I mean, who doesn't want to spice up their holiday season. ;)

The rules are simple:

Leave a comment and riddle me this: How do you think I should rock out on my B-Day? Give me your most outrageous, over-the-top answer. I have bail money so sky's the limit. I'll announce the winner on Monday, December 17th.

Also, leave your email in the comments, along with your story choice, so I can notify the winner. My gay steampunk tale, The Physician's Lieutenant is also on the table if you'd care to wait a bit for the release.

To give you an idea, one of my most outrageous birthday celebrations involved a pub crawl, strippers,  falling in a duck pond, table dancing and a trip to White Castle ala Harold and Kumar so while I may be old, I do have a wild side. And yes, there is photographic evidence, but this was right before digital cameras so they shall remain buried until all participants have been relocated or have expired. If I remember right, the table dance was me shaking my caboose to...Party Train by that quintessential soul group The Gap Band. Dig that 80's look in this vid. Choo... Choo.. Get on board...

So, what are you all up to this weekend? Going to Middle Earth? Here's hoping you have lots of fun whatever you are doing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rock N Roll Heaven And A Wind Up

12 12 12 concert logo via http://www.121212concert.org/
Last night was incredible the music fan in me. I am hard rock, rock n roll girl to the marrow of my bones so the12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief was pure paradise, though there were definitely some sour notes. First the very high notes. I am really happy that so many people donated their time for the cause and that there were a lot of first responders in the audience. I loved the video segments featuring individual stories like the kids talking about the Jersey Shore and Team Rubicon about vets helping disaster survivors, camping out in an abandoned house to be on hand at all times. You can donate to the Robin Hood relief fund here.

Very high notes were also Sir Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, the Nirvana mini reunion (Kisses Dave and Chris, you still rock my soul) Roger Waters with Eddie Vedder, Alicia Keys (whose New York song sounded way better minus the rap stylings of Jay-Z) The Who, Bon Jovi and of course, the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

Billy Joel was meh, I'm kind of over his songs, still he was enjoyable. Kanye West was a bit of a yikes for his 20 minute set. What was that skirt? Okay, Chris Martin, I'm sure you're a very nice guy, but I just do not get the appeal of you. Your voice is like someone trying to sing with a mouthful of marbles and water. And what was with the Losing My Religion piece with Michael Stipe? Could you two have been any more depressing?

On to other things. I'm orbiting Mars happy you all enjoyed my Alex fest post the other day. It was great fun trying to imagine our Captain Ninja and creating my very first piece of flash fiction. Hat tip, Alex my friend, you are incredible.

My birthday is Saturday so I'll be doing a fun post with some of my favorite things. I am getting to be one old ass bitch. LOL


Monday, December 10, 2012

Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest

According to the dictionary a ninja is a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare. His aresenal included assassination, espionage, infiltration and sabotage. My definition of a ninja is a man who fought for his dream and now selflessly encourages others to do the same. Who always has time for the legions he has gathered to him, a writing warrior with boundless energy and spirit, a man whose heart knows no limits. Today we are celebrating that ninja, the Captain Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Organized by the super cool Morgan Shamy, the awesome David Powers King, the incredible Stephen Tremp and the magnificent Mark Koopmans, this is a way for our blogging community to celebrate the friend who has been there for us all. To check out all the festivities and the amazing participants, click here. Alex himself is going to read these posts and there will be two exceedlingly stupendous prizes.

So, what does Alex look like? To me Alex is unassuming, a jeans and tee shirt man who blends well with his surroundings and you'll only know he's there when he's ready to reveal himself. Like a true ninja.

Who would play Alex in a documentary? Johnny Depp. As handsome as he is, Johnny is a master at blending into a part. Again like a true ninja.

Who does Alex remind you of? I know I said he's unassuming, but with his personality and wit, Alex reminds me of Captain Mal Reynolds. He always figures out a way, even if it means trouble first. Always keeps his humor about him and never fails to help those in need.

Flash Fiction 100 words or less, using Cavanaugh, Cosbolt, Guitar, IWSG and Ninja

"Get to the Cosbolt NOW," Cavanaugh roared as laser fire erupted inside the old IWSG club. Damn those Ninja Terrans and their blood feud. He waited a heartbeat, then ran, dodging crossfire as he rushed to the stage. There was no way he was leaving without his prized guitar. He'd die first and take a few of those bastards with him.

And now a word for my superhero, Wonder Woman aka Alex's wife.

Thank you, thank you. You are a wondrous, generous woman and I can't begin to express my gratitude to you as you share the Captain Ninja with his Army each week. Peace, joy and many blessings to you both.

Thanks for dropping by to celebrate Alex today. This was a great way to start my week as my Bears got humiliated and there is no Walking Dead until February. Ugh!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Writers 4 Writers, Good Things And Something To Remember

Today kicks off the big Writers 4 Writers campaign. Started by M Pax, Christine Rains, Stephen Tremp, and C.M. Brown, four of the most incredible authors out there, this project aims to help we writers get the word out about our stories via Facebook and Twitter, increase traffic to our blogs/sites, help an author make the Amazon Top 100 in at least one category and create a buzz that will hopefully increase sales beyond the initial promo period.

The first author for this tremendously brilliant undertaking is Nancy S. Thompson and her debut novel, The Mistaken. Please visit her site and see what you can do to help Nancy and Writers 4 Writers get the word out. You can also visit the Writers 4 Writers Facebook page and Like it to support the cause.

Here's a bit about The Mistaken...

Tyler Karras is an honest man, a transplanted Brit living the American dream, but his charmed life takes an unexpected turn when his brother, Nick, is coerced into joining ranks with San Francisco’s Russian mafia. Ty intervenes to secure Nick’s freedom, yet only succeeds in incurring their wrath. With no choice but to accept Nick’s new life, Ty returns to his own, but his dreams are dashed when his wife—pregnant with their first child—is killed, the victim of a reckless crime.

Despondent and bitter, Ty macerates his grief in alcohol. From the depths of the bottle screams a voice, howling for vengeance. His target is a stranger, the woman who drew his wife toward her death. He doesn’t know her, but he’ll find her, and when he does, he will make her pay, for a deal has been struck with Nick’s Russian associates, enslaving her into a life of bondage. But as Ty moves forward in a cloud of alcohol, he mistakes the wrong woman for his intended victim and now all his plans have gone straight to hell.

More Good Things...

If you're looking for books and ebooks for those awesome people in your life, my publisher, Amber Quill Press and its affiliate sites, the ones I write for, Amber Heat and Amber Allure, are having some great deals. You can even pick up some of my stories to spice up your holidays. ;)

Thanks to everyone for stopping by my IWSG post yesterday and supporting me with wonderful comments about my title tribulations. I got some great advice that I will be trying next time around. 

Sarah Allen at From Sarah, With Joy is celebrating 600 posts. Stop by and give her some props. It's hard creating posts and to reach 600 is awesome.

And now for that Something to Remember. I want to encourage all of you out there to donate to your local food banks. I found myself in the position of needing to get my groceries from mine this last week and it brought back memories of childhood when the steel mill closed. There are so many of us struggling to keep our heads above the rising tide and those food banks are a life line. Whether it's just a few cans of soup to last the week til that meager pay day or whole box of food because you got sick or hurt and had to go the Emergency Room which wiped out your food money, those food banks are an amazing resource. So please when you read this, donate some food or even your time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart in advance, you guys are the best.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Insecurities Oh My! IWSG December Edition

It's time once again for the Insecure Writer's Support Group and holy cow it's the last edition for 2012. Where has this year gone? Hopefully there will be no zombies coming on the 21st and if there are, well, I'm ready. I took the Walking Dead's What Character Are You Quiz and I was Daryl. So if you all want to be on Team Mel come apocalypse time, head on up to Chitown, I'll hold a place for you. Just bring some supplies. ;)

Anyway, the IWSG is the creation of Captain Ninja Alex so we writers can have a safe place to air our insecurities, triumphs etc. More info and the other awesome participants are here.

Today I am talking about giving that story a title. I have the hardest time trying to name my stories. I suck out loud and sideways at it, going through pages and pages of notebook paper or staring for hours at a blinking cursor to try and figure out my titles. Even after all that, I STILL dither and tinker, only settling on a name at the midnight hour/last second before hitting SEND.

I just don't know what my problem is. Why is it so hard for me to give my stories names? Man, even my working titles don't help. Dream On was Contemporary Story, Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf  was Werewolf Story and my steampunk story was, you guessed it, Steampunk Story. And I do officially have a title for it now. The Physician's Lieutenant should be out in February. I guess this is something that I will struggle with until I die. Do you all have problems with generating titles for your stories?

Cool News

My sister friend Robyn at Life By Chocolate has her first book out, yay! Go check out Just The Right Time and give her a big congrats. :)

The brilliant Jamie at Mithril Wisdom is celebrating 3 years in the blogosphere. Yay! High fives Jamie!

Fellow writer, friend and kick ass babe extraordinaire, Morgan H has a great new writing blog called Write Drunk, Edit Soberer. Head on over and give her some props.

Writers 4 Writers starts tomorrow so head on over to Christine Rains' blog or Stephen Tremp's get all the pertinent details. Nancy S. Thompson is the first writer spotlighted.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Checking In And I Finally Saw Brave

Thank you all for sticking with me while I am on deadline. I'm nearly finished so...Yay! Thanks, too, for all the wonderful comments you left last week on the awesome Girls Kick Ass Says So On the T-Shirt post from my super cool friend Mind of Mine. I appreciate your thoughts very much.

Funny enough, in keeping with that theme, I was taking a chill from my frantic writing/editing pace and had the opportunity to at long last see Brave. Now that all 5 billion of the rest you have, LOL.

Wow, was I ever disappointed. I was so disappointed that I could not concentrate on anything til I got this out. Not disappointed in the animation, that was spectacular. In fact, it blew me away, but just like with Avatar, it was glitter to try and distract me from the utter dreckitude that was the story.

On a side rant, what was with the butt cheeks and the extra bouncy breasts on the housekeeper? Not to mention Bear Cub Brother's swan dive into Cleavage Town... Yikes!

Back to my point. We finally, finally get a girl hero from Pixar and they make it into a stereotypical chick "adventure" and I use that term very loosely. There really was no adventure here. It all comes down to a witch's spell and Merida's bitchy 'tude with her mommy. All because of what essentially amounts to a boy problem. So she didn't want to get married, boo hoo... BFD. She still wore a dress, the central villain is still a witch and her problem is hardly the ultimate destruction of her way of life. Pixar really suckered me in with that "Change your fate" line. Thank God I only paid $1.30 at the Red Box but even so I want my money back.

Mulan had it all over Merida in the bravery department as far as I'm concerned. I wanted, nay expected a girl kicking ass just like the boys, saving her kingdom,  facing dragons, monsters and warlords hellbent on destruction. Not witches and curses. Or God help me, bears. Why is it we women always get to face evil forest creatures? Are you effing kidding me? Next thing you know there'll be a Brave Part Deux with Merida running up against an evil Bambi. Honestly, fellas, we women are your absolute equals in every way so quit giving us such weak stories when it's our turn to grab some glory. They're BORING. As to the women who had a part in this, shame on you for not representing.

I know some of you out there are like "Geez Mel, it's a cartoon, what's with the attitude? Can't you ever just turn off your feminist and enjoy something?" No, I can't. Pixar had an opportunity with Brave to break new ground and they didn't. They trod right over the same tired territory and spent more time making Merida's hair look great than they did on actual plot. I'm not encouraging my friends to buy their daughters a Brave anything from Disney. Merida is really a glass ceiling hero. We'll let you do some badass things like be an expert archer, but you still have to wear the dress and save yourself from a witch. No warlords for you, you're a girl. And of course we must always make sure that the theme of mother daughter relationships is front and center because we all know girls never have relationships with their fathers.

Okay rant over, I'm going to finish my story and enjoy some Bears football. LOL

Monday, November 26, 2012

Girls Kick Ass, Says So On The T-Shirt

Hey Imaginarians, while I am off in Deadlineville, my wild and crazy cool pal from Mind of Mine is here with an awesome guest post on my fave subject, Girls Who Kick Ass. Take it away, my friend...

Girls Who Kick Ass!
When I am picking a movie, either at a store, in line at the movies or downloading on that old World Wide Web. I ask myself, what kind of movie do I want to watch, Action? Thriller? Comedy or Drama?
I go through the list of movies and I often find that the genre is not really important. No, the quickest thing to draw me into a title is a strong and powerful female lead. The type of lead that demands your attention and whom eases screen presence. Give her a weapon to kick ass, be it intellect, wisdom or a pistol.

This guest post is an ode to those ladies, the ladies who kick ass and take no guff from anyone. Those Positive female role models. I should probably tell you at this point, that these are in no particular order, as in not to infuriate anyone. I know the effects, someone else's personal opinion can have on internet geeks. I am the same way....'What do you mean you have listed the Pink Power Ranger, number 5 of your all time favourite rangers, Roooarrr'. *Smashes up key board*

So here we go...

Sandra Bullock - Angela Bennett - The Net.

I can't really remember when my obession with with Heroine's began. But I can remember the first to have such an impact on me. The star making vehicle for Sandra Bullock was released to cinema's in 1995 and I believe we rented it sometime after that. The Net tells the story of Angela Bennett, a computer analyst and recluse, whose live is taken over by a computer terrorist group who believes she has access to a disk which could bring them down. They change her name, kill her only ally and force to her to get her life back, the only way she knows how.

The Internet was still a rare comodity at the time of it's release and it is as much a character driven as it is laced with not so clever plot devices. Fan of the CSI tool kit, full of things, which have not been invented yet, might want to take a retrospective look at this one. This movie is no Citizen Kane (I have never even seen Citizen Kane), nor is it a Gigli (Not seen that either) but it has it's moments. Bullock makes the list because she didn't need to use her fists to kick ass and that is alright in my book.

Bridget Fonda - Maggie Hayward - Assassin (Le Femme Nikita, Point Of No Return)

My parents, really were laxed when it came to monitoring my viewing. I was pretty much allowed watch anything, regardless of age. Like the movie above, I watched this for the first time, when I was quite young and like everyone else, watched it again when I got older and realised that I had no idea what was going on. For instance, I didn't realise that the opening shoot up in the pharmacy happened because Maggie needed them druggggsss! Yep, she was a big oul heroin junkie. I had a big old metaphorical hard on for this movie, as soon as a reformed Mags, kicked of those stylish black stiletto's, cocked her gun and went on a shooting rampage in a fancy hotel. That is a women after my own heart. She will die trying of course, cuz I like the mens.

I could go into more detail about the plots of the movies I am listing but I really don't feel like it...eh, I mean, they really don't matter. In fact, if I am honest and this is just between me and you, many of the entires, don't actually have any. *Sssshhh*. To sum it up in a nutshell, Gabirel Byrne, saves Fonda from a death sentence but in turn, makes her an assassain, which is where all the fun begins. She is set free eventually, or so she thinks but as she falls in love, she is called on to do the odd job. Kill some politicans, help a buddy move a sofa. Before that 'final job' where all the shit hits the fan. As I said that doesn't matter, what matters is, you see Fonda, kick the living shit out of a would be mugger. That my friends, make this move awesome.

Bridgette Wilson- Sonya Blade - Mortal Kombat

Now, when I played computer games as kid, a couple of titles really stood out for me. Street Fighter - Big props to my girl Chun Li, Streets of Rage, Whadup Blaze! and also Mortal Kombat. In 1995, Mortal Kombat hit our screens. Die hard games fan were appalled but I was in love. In love with Sonya Blade, played by Bridgette Wilson. She had one thing on her mind, movie stardom and to kill Kano, the red eyed killing machine. Now, this movies, views on feminism are slightly askew, first, she is able to kick ass no problem but by the time the movie ends, she has fallen in love and needs to be rescued. But for the 45 minutes or so, where she kicks ass, has earned her a place on this list.

You know how the movie goes, but here is a brief recap to get you up to date. Various fighters are recruited to fight on a mysterious island, for a mysterious tournament to save mysterious earth. Oh wait, I guess mysterious isn't appropriate description for Earth, anyway...They must win this tournament must be won, or bad things will happen to earth. I guess they lost then.....

Halle Berry - Patience Philips - Catwoman.

I am going to get so much slack for this but I have to admit it, I have a drug problem and I didn't hate Catwoman. There I said it, I like them drugs mmmmkay. Berry, plays Patience, a shy mousy artist, who is more inclined to lick someones boots than tell them where to shove it. I for one, have never met a black women like her but I didn't write this movie...She uncovers a secret by, get this, a cosmetic company and is killed. This is obviously where the cat fun starts.

As I said, many people hated this movie for the simple fact, it is fucking awful. But I am not one of those people. I think its mighty fun! Frances Conway, even plays a crazy cat lady. Sharon Stone, plays a business women, who has turned to steel or concrete or some other kind of implausible shit. Who really cares, all that matters is Catwoman kicks some ass, and she does my friends. She does.

Sandra Bullock - Gracie Le Free Bush - Miss Congeniality.

As a young gay man, this was 90 minutes of glitterati orgasm. It was a boat load of fun, to watch the transformation of Bullock, from a slob to beauty queen and with some inspired casting of Candy Bergen, you can't help but love this. It is genuinely funny, entertaining and I have run out of adjectives to describe how fucking awesome Miss C really is.

Bullock plays Gracie, an FBI agent who is chose to go undercover at the Miss America beauty contest, to weed out a terrorist who may target the competition  Cue hilariousness, as she is made over to fit in with the other air contestants, only to find that things or people are not as simple as she looks. This is Bullock's second entry on this list, lets just say, the women knows how to pick a good movie. I was even tempted to put The Blindside on here because lets face it. Lee Anne Toughy also, kicks ass.

Jennifer Lawrence - Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games.

Ok, time to get serious. I have nothing bad, dry or sarcastic to say about this movie. But lord I will still try. Nope, got nothing. For a reason, I can't quite fathom right now, I had very little interest in this Hunger Games saga, I hadn't read the books, or checked this out at the cinema. Come to think of it, I don't recall even seeing a trailer for it.

Jennifer plays Katniss, who lives in a world very different to how we live now. She is the epitome of ass kickiness. She competes in a barbaric tournament, known as the Hunger Games. I finally gave in and watched it after catching her Jenny in the disappointing House At The End Of The Street and absolutely freaking loving her in it. I am exciting for the coming sequels.

Milla Jovovich - Alice - Resident Evil

Big Mansion, underground labratory, hot girl kicking it in a red dress. Yes, I can only be talking about one movie, Resident Evil. This movie actually contains two girls who Kick Ass, Milla and Michelle Rodriguez. One becomes a disgusting zombie, the other becomes a telekinetic head fuck, who can kill people by looking at them. But either way and lets all say it together, they both Kick Ass!

The plot is probably well known enough. Crazy lab, zombies, implausible plot devices. It has it all. It's actually grown into a massive franchise, which eventually invited Ali Larter to the mix and although nothing beats the first and most interesting movie, they still have a lot to offer to the genre.

This was just an ode to some of those girls who kick as on the movie screen, to be honest there are a lot more. But no one as time to go through them now, me or you. So let's her it for those ladies, who did not make this list.

Charlie's Angels, known as Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Danny De Vito (Drew Barrymore). The electrifying Elektra played Jennifer Garner, The fantastically stormy Sue Storm brought to life by Jessica Alba. Krispy Kreme and fucking ugly shoe destroying Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm On Team Prison And Dancing

This weekend rocked for Yours Truly, oh yes it did. My Fighting Irish are playing for the National Championship for the first time since 1988. As a long suffering Irish fan who has had to endure jeers and smears this season, it is vindication. Who's undefeated now, bitches? I did the happy dance all night Saturday and all day yesterday. And continued into last night because my Bears laid the smackdown on the Vikings. Booyah!

Now, on to Team Prison...


The Walking Dead was incredible last night. Glenn rose to the occasion and is truly one badass mo fo. Zombie kill of the week for damn sure. I knew he would not be giving up the group. And poor Mags, she tried to hold out, but the Governor really is one giant bag of psycho dick. I want Michonne to emasculate him with her katana after he threatened Maggie with rape, making her strip like that. And Merle...Daryl needs to cut off his brother's other hand and feed him to the walkers after what he did to Glenn. But I have a feeling after seeing Glenn stare after Merle and the Governor, they really are dead men. Oh he was comforting Maggie, but he was plotting.

I thought Milton was a crazy bastard, but I've given him more thought. He's a shifty eyed dork totally out of his element.  I told a fellow fan that he's Burke from Aliens. He would shoot his mother in the knee and leave her for the walkers ala Shane if he thought that would save his life. Hope he gets to be walker nuggets soon, too.

Next week's midseason finale is going to be epic. Team Prison is off to confront Team Woodbury and I sure as hell hope we get a Daryl-Merle battle royal. I am not looking forward to the drought, though.


Tomorrow I will be having a guest post here by a great guy, Mind of Mine. He'll be talking about my favorite subject, kick ass girls. I am on a serious deadline so I won't be around this week. Forgive my absence, my friends, but I have got to get this story done. Be well and thanks for always being there. :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What I Am Thankful For

I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already. On the one hand I am relieved since that means the year is almost over, on the other, it seems like time has just flown. 2012 has been filled with extreme lows and a few highs, which unfortunately did not balance out those lows. However, I did discover this year that I have the most amazing people in my life and that includes all of you out there who stop by, read my posts and leave wonderful comments. It makes me smile and feel loved and supported. You are my online family, my friends, my Imaginarians and I am so thankful for all of you. I would not be here without you. You are the very best and I love you.

I wish every one of you a very peaceful, blessed day filled with all good things. If I could hug each one of you I would, but alas I don't have access to the TARDIS or the Starship Enterprise. Peace and laughter, my friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

River Song

I know all my fellow Browncoats out there were probably looking for a post about my girl River Tam, but this piece is about my other River, River Phoenix. Halloween 2012 came and went, 19 years now since his tragic death. I could not believe how long it had been since I had last seen that amazing face, those haunting eyes. 19 years and he still inspires me today.

River had that indefinable something that made his star burn brighter, hotter, faster. He was an actor, musician, activist and artist. I remember seeing him for the first time on Michael J. Fox's show Family Ties as a nerd named Eugene who crushed on Jennifer, the youngest sister. From Stand By Me to Jimmy Reardon to Mosquito Coast to Little Nikita to Running On Empty, I followed his career, lemming to his Pied Piper. My favorite performances coming in My Own Private Idaho and Dogfight.And of course who can forget him as young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade?

He is easily dismissed as an unfortunate Hollywood misadventure, a young man who allowed himself to get taken down by drugs, but he was oh so much more. He was a vegan, an activist for PETA and tried to be a force for good. He aided many environmental organizations and purchased 800 acres of the Costa Rican rainforest so that it could be saved. It is now a wildlife refuge.

River was also an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitar player, forming the band Aleka's Attic in 1987. He wrote and recorded songs for charity albums including Across the Way for  PETA's Tame Yourself. In 1996 his song Note To A Friend was released on the In Defense of Animals Vol II album with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Phoenix was a great friend to the band and in 1997 guitarist John Fresciante recorded his collaborations with River Height Down and Well I've Been on his solo project Smile from the Streets You Hold.

River knew that writing/ acting were about committing to a story, not worrying about whether or not someone thought it was good. It had to be good to only you. I think we writers/artists sometimes get caught up in what our potential audience will think, that we try to write for them. Ultimately, we are the only ones who matter, we are the only one who have to believe. I think that's a valuable lesson we can all learn from River and take with us whatever our projects.

Recently, his final film, Dark Blood, was screened at the Netherlands Film Festival  and there are plans to distribute it world wide. His family is not so enthusiastic, stating that they have moved on and do not want River's name run through the media again. Understandable. River was a huge talent, whose light went out far too quickly, but in such a short period of time, 11 years, he managed to create a volume of work (14 films, 9 television appearances) that have left an indelible impression. 

Were you or are you a River Phoenix fan? Can you believe how time has passed? Do you think his final film should be released?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oh Happy Day And A Bitch Slap

It's Monday and what is usually a pit of a day is looking pretty great. Kansas State got killed by Baylor and Stanford prevailed over Oregon so that means that my Fighting Irish are Number One, Numero Uno, the Kings of the Hill...At least for now. I'm not counting any poultry just yet. There's lots of eggs that could hatch and wipe out my national title fantasies. So I'm sticking with my voo doo and my other rituals. They've been working for the blue and gold crew. My Bears...Oy Vey! I cringe just thinking about our QB situation. Damn those Texans! Ahem...

On to the Bitch Slap


I want to start by saying The Walking Dead was pure awesomeness this week. Daryl and Merle...That is going to be one rocking confrontation and I can't wait. Rick is losing it... Big Time. Carl, you're gonna be a big brother/daddy LOL BUT... ANDREA!!! Oh where the hell do I begin? This woman, who showed some spark last season, has been reduced to a silly ho. She needs a freakin' bitch slap along with the writers and I will deliver it gladly. I don't care how it is in the comics.

WTF?! I should have known better, I really should have known this was coming considering the pheromones floating around her these last weeks, but I remained hopeful. To my huge disappointment, apparently. Andrea was finally showing some hint of being a badass, but along comes Governor Hot Khakis and she's giggling and shaking her tail feathers like a salivating Twilight fan. I was so furious. She reinforces the stereotype women like me have been railing against for years. That we're strong until a man comes along, then poof, there go our clothes, our brains and our self respect. And what is it with Andrea and the loons? She got all sweaty with batshit crazy Shane, too. I mean, at least that tango came after a dance with zombies, so I can excuse it. But with the Governor? And not only did she ride the Crazy Train once again, she did it after turning her back on the person who saved her. She should be shot and left for walker hors d'oeuvres. Damn Hollywood producers for once again taking a woman with any hint of backbone and reducing her to sex toy status.

SPOILERS OVER (Bitch Slap, too LOL)

I'll leave you with a laugh. As a blonde, I really love this song because it wickedly skewers all the stereotypes about us yellow-hairs. And it seems appropriate. It's Julie Brown's Cause I'm A Blond from Earth Girls Are Easy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest

Today is a cornucopia of awesome sauce as all around the blogosphere we celebrate with Captain Ninja Alex, Andrew Leon and Matthew MacNish with their incredibly brilliant and thoughtful Oh, How I Miss You blogfest. We celebrate those bloggers we love who haven't been around a whole lot of late and those we would miss terribly if they were no longer around to inspire us, to make us laugh, to make us think and to cheer us when the chips are down. For all the magnificent participants please click here.

Life happens and for whatever reason, these wonderful people have had to step back from posting as often. I miss their posts terribly. This blogosphere is indeed a dimmer place without their voices each week.

Matt Vanacore at FilmMattic Matt is truly one of the most gifted cinephiles out there. His knowledge of the film world is breathtaking. Each post is an in-depth look at directors, actors, film styles, movements and cinema history. He encourages discussion and debate in a professional, friendly manner. Flamers and ignorant folk need not apply.  He's not posting so much of late and I do miss his insights.

The second person I miss is someone I see every day, my sister Karyn. Doing It MY Way is her blog. She is one person I admire most in the world. A single mom who's been dealt some blows, but she handles it all with grace and humor. She doesn't post very often, months go by sometimes, but what she says is always thoughtful and inspiring. Karyn's not a blogger by nature, she started this as a way to help her deal with the stress, but I encourage her to keep writing. even though her uber busy schedule doesn't allow for much time to devote to writing. Karyn will probably kill me for shoving her into the spotlight, but I am so proud of her. I really hope that she continues to write because I know that there are people out there whom she does help, even if she doesn't realize it.

I love, love all my blog friends out there and honestly wouldn't know what to do without you all. It was very hard for me to narrow this incredible list so I chose three people I've grown closest to recently. These three bloggers are people I count on each week for laughs, for inspiration, for fun and just plain good company. They are pillars of this blogging community and this place would be a much colder place without their bright posts each week.

Ella at Ella's Edge. This woman brings so much sunshine and so many smiles into this world, it would indeed be a sad, gray time if she were to ever stop blogging. Her art, poetry and thoughtful words make her blog a must for me. I hope you all are following her because she is wonderful.

Robyn at Life By Chocolate Robyn's humor strikes me deep in the funny bone. I laugh at her trials and tribulations of being single and dating. It is a brutal world out there and Robyn skewers it with  sharp wit and a fantastic outlook.She also does fantastic posts about her city with great pictures and not to mention her love of al things chocolate. Follow her for sure if you're not already.

Michael De Gesu at In Time has become one of my dearest friends and go to support people. his warmth just radiates out to the rest of the community. he always offers smiles and encouragement. He also posts regularly about health and fitness, cheering us all on as we face the battle of staying an d getting shape.

There you have it, some of the exceptional bloggers I miss and would miss. How about you? Know these awesome peeps? Want to know them?

Have a great weekend. Go Bears and Go Notre Dame!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skyfall: Best Bond In A Very long Time

So I took some time and went to the cheap matinee yesterday to strap in for Skyfall, the latest Bond flick. I was excited from all the reviews and hype, but my emotion was tempered by the sheer awfulness of Quantum of Solace and my high regard for Casino Royale. Skyfall had a lot to live up to. And boy did it ever. In fact, it far exceeded my wildest imaginings for Bond.

Mendes has raised the bar so high, it's well, like me standing before a pole vault and looking up. We open with a killer action sequence in Turkey with Bond and a fellow agent in hot pursuit of a goon in possession of a hard drive that contains the identities of all NATO agents embedded with terrorist organizations around the world. Love the chase through Istanbul and the driving Turkish music that amped up the tension. Naomie Harris rocked as Eve, a fellow agent whose driving skills would make the Secret Service drool. They pursue this little bastard onto a train, but eventually lose him and the hardrive.

Bond, injured in the hunt, disappears for a bit and returns just as MI6 agents start dying and M is fighting for her career and reputation.  He re-teams with Eve and the story shifts to Shanghai as Bond tracks down the man who shot him in Turkey. They fight, Bond wins and encounters Severine, who tells him  pssst, he's about to be killed, then claims she will "help" him if he kills her employer. Yawn...Don't they always? This was the one part of the story I didn't buy, a minor thing, really. She was needed only to point Bond at Raoul, something that could have easily been handled another way, but we're talking Bond, so it's always the candy that brings on the villain.Just like Hansel and the gingerbread house.

Bond gets hauled before Raoul Silva, a maniacal psycho bent on Wrath of God vengeance. Oh Javier, how do I love thee? Let me count each psychotic way...The seductive interrogation of 007, the Hannibal Lechter prison scene, the shooting at the inquiry, the chase in the tunnel, the helicopter raid in Scotland...I could go on and on. All of it was a demented joy ride and I was addicted the moment Javier stepped on screen. He really brought the old school Bond villain. Plus, he owned an island. High five, Sam Mendes!

After a really...ahem... interesting interrogation, Bond is released and follows Silva out, where the tables get turned and we are off to London. Here's where things really get amped. We know M is ruthless, but damn, old girl really is hardcore steel. And hell to the yeah, it's about time we get respect for being able to make those ballsy decisions same as men. Judi is the ultimate Bond girl for me. She keeps 007 in line as well as ruling MI6. I have loved her M since we were introduced to this incarnation back in Goldeneye.

Speaking of Bond's ladies, let me just say that Naomie is one hell of a Bond girl, she's smart, driven and can handle 007. Other than Naomie, there wasn't much in the way of a Bond babe coterie. We have a nameless woman he hides out in bed with. Apparently, she really is only good for one thing. Then we have the completely vacuous Berenice Marlohe as Severine. Poor Berenice is no more animated than frozen pasta. She's just there like a store mannequin, delivering her lines in a monotone as though she had to concentrate really hard on each syllable. I wished she would have at least attempted a personality, but perhaps this was beyond her meager skill set.

London is where the action shoots into hyperdrive and we get THE CAR. Pause for the choirs of angels and the golden light. Yes, Bond kicks it all traditional with an Aston Martin DB5. I was so happy I was crying. The AM DB5 is the first car that I ever wanted with all my heart. The audience where I was let out a collective squeal upon the reveal. Another high five for Mendes bringing back Bond's most famous ride and with such awesomeness, too.

I would be completely remiss if I did not comment on Daniel Craig's outstanding performance as Bond. He has really taken Bond to whole new level. We see the vulnerabilities and cracks, which only make him seem more larger than life. He outshines his Casino Royale performance in every way. And I really liked that one. And Q, oh my God I loved this new Q, Ben Whishaw was arrogant, nerdy and kept his cool under fire. I also give major props to Albert Finney as Kincaide and Ralph Fiennes as Mallory. They struck the notes perfectly with Craig's Bond.

This was a fantastic film and is definitely one of my all time favorite Bond movies, if not THE favorite. I could go on for days about all the incredible things in this movie, but I will spare you. One note, the theme song by Adele was haunting and coupled with the outstanding kaleidoscope of the opening credits, was just a pure sumptuous visual  and aural feast. See this movie NOW.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Friday Fun

Thank to all of you out there who stopped by during my double book post on Wednesday with the IWSG and the Resurrection Blogfest. Your comments and thoughts meant the world to me and I was so happy that my fave horror author post finally got some love. Thank you from the very bottom, sub-atomic level of my heart, I love you all so much. I am definitely feeling a lot more optimistic today.

In book news, the awesomely cool Michael Offutt has released the second book of his series A Crisis of Two Worlds, Oculus. It is available now, so please check it out here.

There's also some hugely exciting news for writers out there. Pillars of our community Stephen Tremp, MPax, C.M. Brown and Christine Rains are launching Writers4Writers aka W4WS. It is an uber cool way to help our community get the word out about our books and stories. Click here for more details and how to participate. Thank you guys, you four rock so much!

Now while battling this depression I have been in dire need of a good laugh. This show never fails to to make me laugh, so here's two of my favorite clips from The Big Bang Theory. The first is Amy's tiara, the second, Penny gets Sheldon a Christmas gift. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Xavier Axelson And Velvet

It's all about the sexy today as one of the coolest authors out there, Xavier Axelson , takes over the Imaginarium to tell us all about his first full length novel, Velvet, from Seventh Window. Take it away Xavier...

Velvet was meant to be a novella.  It’s odd that when I first started getting published, I struggled with the short story and novella, but as I continued, the reverse began to happen.   Novellas became easier and more familiar than a long form novel.  Once the story hit about 25,000 words I knew I was past novella territory and I either had to embrace the novel again or switch gears and rethink the idea.  Unfortunately for me, this is not how my muse works.  Once I am involved with a story I am committed to see it through to the end.  These characters also had a hand in forcing my creative boundaries to expand the story I once believed was meant to be a short. 

The “idea seed” for Velvet came from the last page of Vogue.  At that time I was devouring every page and word in that magazine.  Design and style has always been an interest and for some reason, at that moment, I found Vogue to offer a wealth of inspiration.  It was on the last page or as they call it, “last look” that the idea for Velvet was derived.  They were featuring a velvet shoe and upon seeing it, an entire story came flooding into my head.

The characters came fast and furious.  Virago, an obvious play on words, spoke clearly and directly to me.  He had a story to tell and somehow it involved the velvet shoe.  I also knew it would take place in a fictional world somewhere between Elizabethan and Medieval times.  I knew this because Virago’s voice was lyrical and poetic, Shakespearean even.  Through my research I discovered the laws of sumptuary of the 15th century and also the laws enacted by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.  The further I read, the clearer it became what Velvet would be about.  I won’t get into the laws of sumptuary here, except to say that your position dictated what you could and couldn’t wear. 

This discovery began a yearlong furlough into 15th century, Elizabethan, Edwardian and Medieval culture, costume and language.  I spent quite a bit of time studying the coronation of Elizabeth I and also maps of castles to ensure I used proper words to describe the rooms within the Duir’s fictional palace.  So much of the story takes place within its walls that it really is its own character.   Sylvain, Virago’s brother, and also my personal favorite character in the story is born blind.  He is a strong and independent character and in being such, I wanted to make sure his abilities were accurate and described respectfully.  He also assists his brother in tailoring the fated coronation vest.  Through research I discovered an article where a blind woman described how as a young girl, learned not only to sew but cut her own patterns.  Velvet was and remains a turning point for me as a writer.  I feel it is my creativity at its most generous.  The muse shared with me, and it is my hopes I have shared with those who read this story.  

If you have read it, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

Here's a little bit about Velvet

The first novel from Xavier Axelson is set against a backdrop of decadence, privilege, and intrigue. Virago, the royal tailor, makes a discovery that will test the bonds of brotherhood, unravel the forbidden secrets of his heart and threaten the very fabric of his existence.

In a land where cruelty is disguised as allegiance, loyalty is masked by obligation and the laws of sumptuary govern the people, nothing is more dangerous than Velvet.


I’d been staring at the vast body of water surrounding the ship when I was startled to find a woman, heavy with child standing by my side. She wore a red gown that gathered beneath her ample breasts. The gown fell freely, billowing against her in the brisk sea air. Her red hair hung in two braids threaded with crimson leather. Upon turning her head, small red jewels, woven throughout her hair, caught the light.

“The sea is dark as the grave, and as good at keeping secrets.”

“Who are you?” I asked. Since I’d boarded the ship the day before, I’d conversed only with Seton and my brother, Sylvain. I’d yet to earn my sea legs and everything seemed strange.
“I am Adis, wife of Doremme, the man whose ship you stand upon.” She came closer. “Secrets are only as powerful as those who carry them and the sea is a perfect place to bury what haunts you.”
“You talk as though you know me, and as I am a stranger on this ship, I know this cannot be.” I was about to bow and take my leave when she laughed.
“Fear is not your way, tailor. You were the royal tailor of the king whose land we left, were you not?”
Were the royal tailor… Her words struck at my heart. I felt this truth so keenly that I gripped the ship railings to steady myself.

Buy Link

Velvet  at Seventh Window

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Insecure Writers And A Resurrection

Today is a double book posting with Mina Lobo's Resurrection Blogfest and Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Insecure Writers Support Group

First up is the ISWG, in which we writers get to air our insecurities, fears and even our triumphs. You can check out my fellow brilliant writers here. Today I am talking about depression. That soul-sucking, creativity stealing, lethargic state of mind that affects millions of people and a condition that writers are often prone to. I am in the midst of one right now.

With all that has been going on these last weeks, this depression creeped up on me and with a deadline in less than three weeks, this is NOT good. I sit in front of my computer and stare. I feel like my brain is wrapped in cotton and my fingers are frozen. I'm trying all I can think of to fight...Music, movies, my favorite books, but they all seem to bounce off this giant wall. I've got 22,000 words to go and when I am on, I can punch that out in a week, but I am stuck. My WIP is looking like the Black Gate of Mordor sitting there on my computer and I am a little Hobbit with no will to go inside because The Ring has covered me in this depression.

I managed to write three whole pages this past weekend, a little crack in the wall, but I don't know what else to do.

So I am asking you all. How do you fight depression?


Mina, from Some Dark Romantic, is hosting this fabulous fest in honor of resurrecting a post from your first year of blogging that you feel didn't get the love it deserved. You can find my fellow participants here. This is a post from my inaugural year, 2010, and it's one of my faves, but got very little love. So without further ado...My favorite Horror Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day USA

I can't believe four years has gone by and it's time for elections once again. I hope every one here in the US remembers to get out and vote, no matter which candidate you prefer. I already cast my ballot, did the early voting offered here in Illinois.

It is so important that we get out and make our choice for leadership. If you can, take someone with you who physically can't make it to the polls. I had a voter car pool going, taking a few elderly members of my community out to the polling place with me.

We have the opportunity to choose who we want to lead us and many people have died to give us this right. I feel very strongly about this as a woman. This country had been in existence as a nation for 144 years before we women were given the right to vote, then only by the slimmest of margins. And the US still suffers from inequality where women are concerned.

I digress.

Voting is our only way of making our voice heard as to what we want for our nation. If you don't vote, then really, what can you complain about? You didn't speak up. I only hope that when the results are in, we do an about face from last time. That we have respect for the winners as well as those defeated. That we come together in a bi-partisan manner instead of shouting vile names and refusing to cooperate. What I have taken away from the last four years is seeing bigotry, narrow-mindedness and ignorance rule the day. Change has to come and change always costs. It is difficult, sloppy work. A lot of things happen that we may not always like, but it takes a whole lot of mess-making to remodel a house, landscape a garden, etc. Change ultimately requires one to look beyond their own nose and see other possibilities.

Let's hope these next four are much better. We need to get beyond the middle school bullshit and get back to work.

Monday News And New Aerosmith At Last

Happy Monday, Imaginarians! I'm still recovering from my kick ass football weekend. My Bears are 8-1 after thrashing the Titans where they live. 51 points, yo! And my Fighting Irish squeaked out a win in triple OT. Holy Guacamole, I am having a blast this football season.

I am also recovering from the emotional wringer on The Walking Dead. No spoilers, I promise, to my friends out there who have not watched the latest ep yet. I can't wait to talk about it with you, though. :)

Now on to some other great news. On Wednesday we have Mina Lobo's Resurrection Blogfest in which we get to bring back a post from the dead. I know the perfect one. We also have Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. I missed last month because of some unfortunate problems so I am making up for it this month.

On Thursday, author Xavier Axelson visits the Imaginarium, bringing with him an excerpt from his first full length novel, Velvet. I cannot wait!

The bestest news for yours truly is that the new Aerosmith album, Music From Another Dimension drops tomorrow. It has been 11 long years since their last original album, Just Push Play hit the airwaves. I have been listening to my boys from Boston all weekend, amping up my excitement. I even got to listen to some of the new cuts already. Some of my particular faves right out of the gate are Street Jesus, What Could Have Been Love, Out Go The Lights and Luv XXX. Of course, a new album means a new tour, so sometime this summer I will be rockin' out to my guys live, singing every syllable at the top of my lungs and doing my Steven Tyler struts. 27 years, 15 studio albums, 5 live albums, 11 compilations (I have them all) 7 concerts and I am still in love. In love enough to get the famous Aerosmith wings tattooed somewhere on this old bod. I'm thinking about where I want it right now.

Have a listen and a looksee at What Could Have Been Love, the first video from their new album.

What do you think? Ever love a band enough to get a tat? Think I'm batshit crazy to do it? Looking forward to Mina's blogfest and the ISWG? Looking forward to Xavier's appearance? 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Round Up

Halloween is not quite over. I know today begins November, but I want to share my adventures from last night. During the day as I worked on some things, I kicked it old school with Turner Classic Movies and watched Dementia 13 and The Last Man on Earth. It was soon time to hit the streets for some candy, candy, candy.

I had the best time being escorted about the neighborhood by a zombie, the Headless Horseman, Batman and the Ghost Face Killer. We saw a tiny Michael Myers, Marie Antoinette sans head, pumpkins, witches, a Tootsie Roll, Freddy Krueger, pirates, a cowgirl and a One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater. We passed graveyards, bonfires, a Frankenstein, a funeral coach, a skeleton on a motorcycle and lots of bushes that housed giant spiders based on those webs.

After our freaky journey 'round the hood, we returned to my sister's for some well-deserved pizza and decorated some cookies shaped like ghosts, bats and jack o'lanterns. I love piping frosting, but am not very good. My ghosts looked hairy and my bats all seemed to have porn 'staches.

Now, the one rule after Trick or Treat is to not eat the candy until it has been checked over. On the ride home, the smell of citrus fills the air. "Who's eating Skittles?" I say. Silence, then a little voice answers. "Nah me." the Horseman said around a mouthful. I rode the rest of the way home with his plastic pumpkin of candy on my lap.

So how was your Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

It is my favorite day of the year, Halloween. Time for a marathon of scary movies, trick or treating and costumes galore. The South Side does it up right and I'll have some pictures posted tomorrow. I'm taking the nephews out to get their haul tonight and we'll be seeing some spooktacularly decorated houses round these parts.

Halloween in Chicago is the best. With all of our local ghost stories and lurid tales of murder and mayhem, Chitown is one hell of a town for scary. Let me share one of our local nightmarish tales

H.H. Holmes and the Murder Castle

Herman Mudgett aka H.H. Holmes came to Chicago in 1885 where he began working at a drugstore in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, which was then a suburb. A charmer, H.H. was a popular fixture at the store, building a social reputation, drawing in customers with his wit and his skill as a pharmacist. After he considerd himself "established", he struck like a raptor. His first victim here is believed to be the store owner, Mrs. Dr. Holden, who mysteriously disappeared one day while Holmes took charge of the store. He told customers she had decided to "move West." His true plans began in earnest.

Acquiring the large lot across from the store, Holmes started to construct the enormous building he told everyone would be a hotel for the upcoming Columbian Exposition. The locals referred to it as the Castle. He was very secretive about the construction, changing crews constantly, showing  no one the entire plan. While the first floor had the typical shops, inside, however, was a different story. There were legitimate guest rooms, but there were also rooms with peepholes, rooms lined with metal that had primitive blow torch equipment and a few were asphyxiation chambers that had exposed gas nozzles. Holmes would poison his guests, then remove them for experimentation. There was  also a maze of 100 windowless rooms, oddly angled hallways, doors that could only be opened from the outside and stairs that went nowhere. In the basement was a dissecting table and a crematorium as well as an acid vat and pits filled with quick lye.

Holmes chose his victims from amongst the unsuspecting visitors to the White City of the Columbian Exposition. They were excited, many having never left home before and were naively trusting. Holmes spread the word about his "hotel" and the people came, many never to be heard from again. He also lured many of his female victims with ads promising jobs and safe lodging to young ladies alone in the world. When these eager young women arrived, he kept them prisoner until he was ready for them. Some he locked in a soundproof bank vault near his office, others in the windowless rooms. He tortured his victims to death, stripped them of their flesh and sold their skeletons and organs to medical schools. Some he just disposed of in the crematorium and pits.

He probably could have continued his spree unabated for a few more years, but the economy here had taken a hard hit after the fair closed. Holmes fled Chicago in 1894 as creditors closed in on him. By this time he had taken on a business partner, Benjamin Pietzel, and they began insurance swindles. Holmes would later kill Pietzel and three of his children, two of whom were found buried in a cellar in Toronto. By the time the Pinkertons caught up with Holmes in Boston in November of 1894, the Chicago police were well into the gruesome investigation of the killings here and what became known as the Murder Castle. The picture above is a rare photo of the place from the Chicago Historical Society.

Holmes confessed to 27 murders, including the Pietzels, but the body count is estimated to be as high as 200. There were too many body parts found to get an actual identifiable count. Holmes was sentenced to death by hanging and died on May 8, 1896 at Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia

H.H. is America's first known serial killer and probably the most prolific. I tell you, Jack the Ripper had nothing on this guy. A very good book to read if you want to know more is Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America.

Now after reading this gruesome tale, go enjoy your Halloween. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blood Bound Cover Contest

Hey Imaginarians, author Keshia Swaim is revealing the cover of her newest release, Blood Bound, artwork from the always incredible Skecher Girl Studios. Here's the deal...

This one's a bit tricksy, because it's a two-fer!
Spencer Hill Press is having trouble deciding which cover they want, so they are giving YOU the power!!!
(MWHAHAHAAAA!!!! Can you feel it going to your head yet?) 

So! Let's hear about the book first!

Blood Bound
   Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.
   Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.
   But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

Title: Blood Bound
Author: Keshia Swaim
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.comPlease feel free to use any images, text, links, etc. from our website.
ISBN: 978-1-937053-45-1
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book

Keshia is previously published, but this is her first full-length novel to be unleashed on the world.

Now, the covers:

So which do you prefer? 
Does the hand make you feel like the power could be in yours? 
Or are you intrigued by what secrets the pretty lady is keeping? 
Don't forget to vote!
(you don't even have to register or listen to politicians or anything!)