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.

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!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Scariest Movies

Seems like my movies here are usually rants so today I am celebrating Halloween by giving you my most disturbing movie experiences ever. I don't scare all that easy, but these two films well, they have scarred my brain for life. I get the creeps when I watch them even now.

The Exorcist

This one had me hiding under the covers with my best friend at the time, Jennifer. This is bar none the scariest film ever for me. It gets me right smack in my Catholic upbringing and the performances in here are nothing short of brilliant.The profound evil that creeps into Regan and Chris MacNeil's lives makes me want to grab my grandmother's rosary and pray til my voice is only a whisper. I literally hold my breath each time Fathers Karras and Merrin enter that room. You can feel their fear, their dread, their determination, but, I can't look away, I'm as caught up in the evil as the priests. Here's that unnerving spider walk, which they did with a real acrobat on a wire.

The Entity

As a woman I find this one particularly disturbing. Barbara Hershey gives an incredible performance as a woman who is raped and beaten by an unseen force in her house. No one believes her, they think she imagined the entire thing. The entity continues to attack her violently while the person she seeks help from, her psychologist, tries to get her to commit herself to a psychiatric institution. It's not the f/x in this so much as the situation. Raped and having no one believe is horrific enough, but not having an attacker you can call the cops to arrest is a complete nightmare. Added to that, the very people you seek help from think you're batshit crazy. Considering what I went through at a point in my own life, I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about this film. Unfortunately, I could not find a clip of the bath scene  that wasn't in a montage so you get the trailer which is kind of cheesy.

There you go, two movies that leave me wanting to runaway screaming for my daddy. What films truly scare you or disturb you?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Worst Movies Halloween Edition: Paranormal Activity

With the opening of Paranormal Activity 4 this past weekend and my friends all begging me to see it with them, I thought this was the perfect time present a Halloween edition of my Worst Movies I have ever seen. I believe I may have spotlighted the original PA film a while back, but since it's now a bonafide franchise, I'll skewer it again.

I do not get the popularity of Paranormal Activity or as I refer to it: Time Elapsed Boring Shit. I saw the first one for DVD review and for shits and giggles finally checked out the next two. Time I could have spent working on the sequel to Maxie Briscoe: Werewolf. Bad move, Mel.

Paranormal Activity is to horror films what Twilight is to vampires. The first one features two people, Katie and Micah, making up dialogue as they go along to an ancient cliched story idea: Haunted House. I guess what is supposed to make it original is this ad libbing and the idea of demons. Okay, I'll give Peli that.

What follows is about 90 minutes of endless time elapsed footage interspersed with "found footage" of our intrepid couple sitting around talking about their day. Oh yay, boring rundown. At one point during this set up Katie says there was a thump last night and she couldn't sleep. Micah gets the brilliant idea to record it. Don't worry Little Lady, your big strong Man will save your sleep by placing video cameras all through the house.

Here's how it shakes out:

Day 1
Time Elapsed Boring Shit.

Day 10 
More Time Elapsed Boring Shit

Day 15 
The covers move. Oh no whatever could it be, a Peeping Tom demon? Hubs kicking the blankets?

Day 20
She gets out of bed, shuffles over and stares at hubs for three hours, then goes back to bed. Was that supposed to be creepy?

Day 444 
And still more Time Elapsed Boring Shit. But this time we have a psychic come calling. Props on originality. Not!

Day 7012 
They run around the house hearing thumps and bumps. Those interns are working overtime off camera.

Day WTF I've lost count 
She cries. "Why is this happening?" And really, why is she crying, there's nothing going on! Except now I want to stab my arm with a steak knife just to relieve the monotony.

Day 1,759,999 
In which Katie finally kills the annoying Micah then disappears until the sequel, er prequel, er whatever the eff Peli's calling it. But, she also makes sure to leave us with the "I'm constipated" face in the camera. Oohh, scary. Take a fiber supplement.

And now we go on to three more sequels...

Paranormal Activity 2 
Time Elapsed Boring Shit plus dog and baby.

Paranormal Activity 3
Retro 80's Time Elapsed Boring Shit plus urban legend Bloody Mary. Is this guy an original thinker or what?

Paranormal Activity 4 
I have not seen this yet, but I can guess: Time Elapsed Boring Shit plus video chat and new neighbors.

What are some of the worst horror films you've ever seen? Or if not horror, then what non-scary movies made you shake your head and want your money back? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Spotlight, Great News And Football Rituals

Yours Truly has the honor of being spotlighted by my great blog buddy and friend Maynard over at the wicked cool site Maynard Morrisey's Horror Movie Diary. He chose me as one of his Halloween Buddies (look at the cool graphic) and we did a short interview. Yay!! Thank you! You all can check me out here.

In other awesome news, my good friend Craig over at the hellabrilliant  site Let's Get Out Of Here has reached the 500 posts milestone. High fives and fist bumps! He is a movie and pop culture god in my book and you all should stop by and visit him. He is celebrating his favorite holiday (and mine) Halloween over there with some terrific posts on horror films, horror icons and other fun stuff. He's also a vast storehouse of knowledge about our fave super spy 007.

Dig metal and sci fi? Then check out super cool Captain Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh guest post over at my incredible blog buddy, Jamie Gibbs' fantastic site Mithril Wisdom. Check it out here.

My Bears D dominated last night and we won our fourth straight to cruise into first place in NFC North. Hell yeah! And my Fighting Irish are 7-0. Holla! My little rituals appear to be working this year. You know the two different colored socks, the no beer after half time, cans crushed by right foot only, lucky jersey, lucky tee shirt, blue candles burning at the altar of the football gods... Hey now. it's only weird if it doesn't work and I'm working off a lot of calories doing my touchdown dance this season. I have  elements in there from Ricky Horror's Time Warp and since I am not quite ready for you all to see me shaking my tailfeathers, I will leave you with the Rocky Horror crew... Have a great day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Monday! A New Week & New Releases

Happy Monday! It's rainy and grey here, but that's fine by me, I'm not a big fan of the sun or temps above 65. I love the Fall and can't wait til we get some frost and I can see my breath. I come alive at this time of the year with its longer nights and cold weather. Plus, it's almost Halloween, one of my high holy days. Normally the start of the week is not great, but my Bears are battling the Lions tonight on Monday Night Football and you all know where I'll be so no phone calls. LOL

Today also rocks because we are celebrating the release of two awesome new stories.

First up is Laura Eno's Wish, The Awakening, a fantastic dark fantasy YA tale about a teenaged girl with Djinn powers. You can read all about it here. Isn't that a gorgeous cover? Congratulations, Laura!

Kyra Lennon is having a blogfest to celebrate the release of her terrific novella, If I Let You Go. Also in celebration it is free on Amazon. Check out the details here. I'm in love with this cover, too. Congratulations, Kyra!

How was your weekend? I dog sat for some good friends and watched some cheesy horror films, The Stuff and Night of the Lepus as well as some episodes of my favorite Star Trek series ever, Deep Space Nine. It was great to spend some time with Captain Sisko and the rest of the DS9 crew. Sadly, I do not own this series on DVD or Blu-ray. Dear Santa...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Enter The Asylum...American Horror Story

It was a Wednesday night bloodbath around these parts. A mini Friday the 13th marathon topped off with the season two premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum. Yes!!! Okay, American Horror Story is just one of the most twisted, fiendish and diabolical shows on television. The premise of the show is outstanding, take one season and play out an unholy, horrific tale to the bone. It is so well-written, so disturbing that it gives me the creeps. Yes you read that right. Me, Mel B, badass bitch and horror fan, gets the creeps over this show. I mean after what happened in the first season, how can they possibly get any more vile? Let me count the ways...

Ahoy, Spoilers Ahead! It's The Big Breakdown

We open with a young couple Leo and Teresa, (played by Adam Levine and Jenna Dewan Tatum) heading into an abandoned Waverly Hills type of sanitarium called Briarcliff, for the express purpose of having sex. She's the horror fan who loves to get her freak on in haunted places. He's the supportive and loving husband wanting to accommodate his wife and film their encounters. That's right, they're married. Does the Sex Equals Death rule not apply? Things aren't looking good for the pair so far.

Flashback to 1964 and a young gas station attendant, Kit (Evan Peters), about to close up for the night. Perfect for a  serial killer, right? Wrong, Kit's friends show, wanting to take him out to rough some guy up. He declines and heads home to his wife. We find out he has secrets of his own and when he sees headlights, he grabs his rifle. You don't go for the gun if you're feeling safe and normal. He and his wife get attacked and as the lights come we flash to the sanitarium where a young reporter, Lily (Sarah Paulson) sneaking in on a cover story to get the scoop on a serial killer being brought in, a hell of a guy known as Bloody Face (think Ed Gein) He apparently enjoys torturing and decapitating women, then wearing their faces. Mmm...Tasty! Shock to the system, it's poor Kit who's accused of these horrific crimes. WTF?

Here at the asylum we meet the sadistic Sister Jude, played by the incredible Jessica Lange. She's the nun in charge who believes that mental illness is just a cover up for sin. Yeah, she's a nasty cocktail of religious Nazi.We have her underling, Sister Mary Eunice played by Lily Rabe, a woman who is frightened of her own shadow and willing to do anything to keep out of the way of Sister Jude's wrath. Jude apparently believes in corporal punishment and has a collection of fine spanking implements in a closet decorated with crosses. How perverted is that?

The main challenger for dominance at Briarcliff is Doctor Arthur Arden, a shaved bald James Cromwell. He believes in the torture and murder method of unlocking the secrets to the madness in his patients. Quick, sign me up for a session on his couch. Jude's pissed that she can't gainsay him because he's been appointed by Monsignor Tim (Joseph Fiennes), Jude's boss and secret crush.  So she sets her bitch, Mary, up to be ol' Doc's toady and report to her. He's got poor Mary hopping and sending her to dispose of bloody body parts out in the woods, where something eats human flesh. I tell you this show twists in on itself like strings of Christmas lights.

Spoilers Over! 

To say I am addicted is an understatement. I watched  last night like I watched all last season, cringing with a pillow in fascinated dread. This show is wicked and the only way it could possibly get better is by having Louise Fletcher make an appearance as Jude's Mother Superior. Nurse Ratched vs Sister Jude, the ultimate smackdown.  I would sell a kidney to see that. Hmmm...Dear Ryan Murphy... 

If you love horror at all, you must watch American Horror Story.Wednesday nights at 10, 9 Central on the F/X network for those of us stateside.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Product Placement

When advertising something it's all about placement. And yes, I have a very juvenile sense of humor at times. Here is the unfortunate Olympic diver, Tom Daly, sporting his new suit with the logo for his new sponsor, British Gas. I just have to wonder what they were thinking when they designed this get up. Poor Tom, I'm sure he'd rather be talked about for winning the UK's first diving medal in a zillion years. Enjoy your day!

Photo is courtesy of Buzzfeed

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chicago Puts On Her Finest

Yesterday was a gorgeous, gorgeous Fall day here in Chicago so after my appointments I went walking. I rambled all over Grant Park and Millennium Park, then down to Monroe Harbor, snapping pictures and just relaxing. My city put on a show and I simply had to share the beauty. The colors were so unbelievably vibrant and the sky was so breathtaking it almost brought tears to my eyes. Enjoy!

I wish I could have posted them all, but here is the link to my Photobucket album so you can see the rest.

The Walking Dead Season 3 Premiere

Hallelujah zombie fans, The Walking Dead finally made its third season debut and we rejoin the survivors under the new Ricktatorship. I have been dying for this all summer and was planted in front of my TV almost the whole weekend as AMC ran a marathon of all the previous eps. I love my walkers. ;)

All Ahead Spoilers!

Things have gotten pretty lean for the gang since we were last with them. They are on the run, scrounging for every last bit of food and ammo. The once timid Carol has learned to shoot and Carl, that little brat, has become a pint-sized zombie killer. All of the group has stepped up their game, except Laurie. That bitch is useless as ever only now she's a huge liability because she's in her third trimester. No offense to Sarah Wayne Callies, but honestly, Laurie is just a shit and I've been waiting for her to get served up buffet-style to the walkers.

We also got to meet the badass, katana wielding Michonne played by newcomer Danai Gurira. We see her slice and dice some walkers as she takes care of an ailing Andrea. I wish we could have seen more of her, but no, they had to spend extra time with Laurie. Grr... We see Herschel finally coming around, stepping up and being a real help to the group, no longer just the crazy landlord with the walkers in the barn.

Rick has led the group to a prison, where he hopes that they will be safe. They've cleared out the walkers in their way  for the most part and in one of the scariest tunnel scenes ever, almost lose another one of their own. They also find out that the prison has more than just a walker infestation. Cue the scary music.

The premiere more than lived up to all the hype and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It even had a dose of that macabre, gory humor I love as Rick literally rips the face from a prison guard walker. And for the Daryl fans out there like moi, there's a nice light-hearted moment between him and Carol.

Spoilers Over

Did you watch last night? If you haven't, will you watch? Talk to me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Melissa's Horror Film Survival Rules Part Deux

Last year for Halloween I did a post, Melissa's Horror Film Survival Rules that has been one of my most popular to date. It's a hilarious look at some of the conventions in horror films that drive me batshit crazy. In the spirit of my high holy holiday, Halloween, here is an addendum to the list...

Rule #13

Do Not Read From the Book Come on, you can't be bothered to read in school or any place else, why start with the decrepit tome you found in that creepy house/basement/attic? Nothing good comes from spouting off paragraphs written in a dead language.

Rule #14

Put Down the Smartphone/Camera Equipment and Run For the love of all things holy... Someone or something is trying to kill you, don't effing tape it, HAUL ASS! It's that freakin' simple. If you get hacked to pieces or possessed because you just had to film the monster/killer/ghost/demon, you deserve it!

Rule #15

Do Not Shop at Yard Sales There are only two things you'll get at yard sales: clutter and shit that will get you dead or turn you into a demon's meat suit. Go to Wal-mart if you need cheap. Nothing will kill you there except an out of control Hover Round chair

Rule #16

Stay Away From the Dolls All dolls are creepy, dead-eyed little bastards that will kill you as soon as they get the chance. Leave them alone, don't play with them, get them for your kid or stay in a room filled with them.

Rule #17

Graveyards are Not Party Rooms Let me repeat that for the stoopid peeps out there. Graveyards are Not Party Rooms. You'd think this would be self-explanatory, but no. If you grab a beer and a toke in Dead City, it's over, baby. O-V-E-R.

Rule #18

Stay on the Main Highway Backroads always mean trouble, that's a given. That's where the creepy people, you know the lunatic rednecks, psychotic  motel proprietors and chainsaw wielding maniacs, reside. When was the last time someone chained you to a radiator at a Hardee's or McDonald's?

Rule #19

Camping is Bad Unless you are Girl Scout or a Boy Scout, camping is very bad. There is always some weirdo waiting to turn you into their bitch or their dinner or just kill your ass. Not to mention the monsters. So if your main squeeze says "Let's go camping." slap them until they see reason.

Rule #20

That Killer Ain't Dead A classic rule to be sure. Don't matter if he's riddled with bullets, has a machete buried in his melon, or has a spear in his gullet, that killer ain't dead til you cut off his head like a vampire. Then burn him for good measure. Many a horror film vic has survived only to be killed at the end because of failure to heed this rule. 

Rule #21 

Be Quiet! Screaming and crying will get you dead for the most part. Screaming as you run from the ax wielding psycho is not helpful. It drains your lung capacity, hurts your throat and is just annoying as hell. Plus, if you're trying to hide, it gives you away. So please, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Rule #22

Don't Be A Dick The assholes always get it the worst, so mind your douchebaggery. Not to mention someone like me will shove your ass in front of the zombie horde right quick you keep that shit up.

Rule #23

Found Footage Equals Trouble From that strange, label-less VHS tape to those old reels in the closet of your new house, found film means a whole heap of trouble from murder to demons. Don't watch! Throw them away, have a yard sale, but get RID of them.

Rule #24

Listen to the small fries. Kids know when shit is about to go south. Listen to them. They're the canaries in mineshaft, those demons, ghosts try to get them first. And we get our asses killed because we dismiss them. Pays to listen when your kid babbles, she's not always talking Sponge Bob. Now keep in mind that this rule applies only when you're not dealing with Creepy Little Kid with dead eyes.

Just another helpful list to get your through the scariest month on the calendar. Any ones I forgot about? Let me know, we can add them. ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Greetings From No-Man's Land

Hi there my Imaginarians! I have missed you all so very much, you don't even know. I have been stuck in No-Man's Land for what seems like forever. I am still there, in the midst of a huge grind, but for the time being I am posting again and will be trying to get around to visit all of you. I've been hard at work on a steampunk tale that's due December 1 as well as several other writing pieces all while trying to find a full time job and keep ahead of my bills. At last have my head a bit above this drowning tide. Yay!!

It hasn't been all bad. I found out that my wonderful friend Dez over at The Hollywood Spy has given me his Heart Award. He is celebrating 2 million visitors!! How awesome and incredible is that? Read this amazing post here. Thank you so much, my dear. It made my month. Check out this beautiful award...

My oldest nephew treated his aunt to Resident Evil: Retribution and I took him to dinner. We had a blast. We also went shopping for Halloween costumes. He's going to be a zombie and I am putting together a Rocky Horror Magenta outfit. I think I could rock that wild hair. I've also been doing my touchdown dance quite frequently thanks to my Bears and my fave college team, Notre Dame. And can I say that for once, my Fantasy Football team, the Army of Darkness, has been killing it, too. Usually I am sucking at this point in the season. Whoo Hoo!

So what have you all been up to? Tell me, tell me!! I'm dying to hear all of your news. I HAVE MISSED YOU!!!