Nov 26, 2013

All Things Occult & A Book Giveaway

All photos by Marnie Shelton
When I was 12 years old my Mum gave me my first tarot deck, which I read frighteningly well, and I've been obsessed with all things occult ever since.

Many years later I fulfilled a dream of mine with my co-writer Scarlett Amaris in writing and publishing Saurimonde, a dark fantasy filled with all things occult, which you can win below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saurimonde by Melissa St. Hilaire


by Melissa St. Hilaire

Giveaway ends December 06, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

This past week we threw together an impromptu video and photoshoot to promote Saurimonde and its upcoming sequel.

Jeremy Graham films while I explain that I'm holding a giant bag of cocaine - kidding! It's flour we used to create our circle in the dirt.

We're still logging video and pouring over photos, but here are a few images of our Hunter's Moon shoot from sigils to séances.

“In the names of the Goddess and the Horned God, we cast this circle.”
Me in makeup & hair by Yvette Lera
Scarlett Amaris in wardrobe by Yvette Lera
The Authors, me & Scarlett
There are unseen things in the darkness.
"In the name of the Lady of the Moon..."
"...and the Horned Lord of Death and Resurrection..."
"Communicate with us, oh Spirit, and move among us."
Stay tuned for our upcoming author interviews, videos, more photos, & new tales of Saurimonde. And don't forget to enter to win a signed copy of Saurimonde via Goodreads.

In the mean time, check out our Saurimonde promo trailer:

Extra special thanks to everyone who helped out on the shoot: Jeremy Graham, Scarlett Amaris, Yvette Lera, Marnie Shelton, Manzin, & Joel Westendorf.

Nov 5, 2013

Cosplay at Comikaze

I love dressing in costume, which is why Halloween is my favorite holiday, but this year, while I attended several fun Halloween events, none called for a costume. Yet, here I was with two costumes from two of my favorite Sci-Fi franchises. What was a gal to do? Then I remembered Comikaze.

I've never been much of a con goer - Ack! Crowds! - but I could not resist the call of all those vendors, nevermind the panels, and so I braved the crowds for Comikaze last year with a Groupon discount for one day and loved every minute of it. I had to go again.

Spoils of Comikaze vendors part 1: Boston Metaphysical Society 1 & 2, Star Trek Tricorder, Star Wars Chewbacca tank, Rocket Raccoon T-shirt, & more.
part 2: Batman bikini & shorts, Tromeo & Juliet, & A Clockwork Orange soundtrack.
We planned to go only one day this year so I had to choose between my costumes: A T-shirt dress styled after a Starfleet uniform (from ThinkGeek) paired with my phaser and communicator or, if I was feeling brave, my newly acquired Slave Leia costume (from Halloweentown).

I wasn't feeling too brave, so I pulled on my black leggings, retro boots, and Star Trek dress, then strapped on my official accessories with an old GM belt and various tool-belt pouches. It was sort of semi-cosplay. Not totally gung-ho, perhaps even slightly half-assed looking, but I was comfortable so that's all that mattered.

Beam me up, Scotty.

I had a lot of fun that day, but only one person complimented me on my costume and no one asked for a photo - not that I was dressing up for that reason, I just wanted to have some fun playing pretend, but I couldn't help but notice all the other cosplayers constantly getting stopped for photos.

While we were aimlessly wondering around we bumped into our friend Ming (of Comic Book Men fame) and I confessed I might be returning the next day in a Slave Leia costume...only if I was feeling brave, to which he replied, "You can totally rock Slave Leia!" and my confidence zoomed. That was it. I was gonna do it. I haven't been doing weights, yoga, and Dance Central like crazy for nothing, after all. The end goal was always to feel comfortable enough in my own skin to wear that wacky metal bikini.*

The costume took hours to put together. I searched the internet for tips on what shoes to wear (most suggested wearing gray Uggs or sandals if you can't get tailored boots to match the movie's), how to do my hair (many suggested using wigs but I have a lot of hair so I went for it, still really could have used extensions - oh well, next time!), and what my makeup should look like. Then once I had it all put together, I checked myself out in the mirror and thought, "What if no one asks for a photo?" and shook it off as no big deal, but then I thought, "Shit, what if someone does?" Panic. So I practiced poses in the mirror until I found one I liked. Just in case.

Suck in the gut. Now don't breathe.
In the end a ton of people came up to me to the point where I kind of lost track of them all and it was so much fun. At first I was a little nervous and shy, but that quickly dissipated because everyone was so cool and friendly and polite. It was just an awesome experience. I'm already trying to think of what to wear next year to Comikaze. This time I want to go all 3 days and dress up in 3 different costumes. I might do Slave Leia again, but get a bigger chain this time maybe, different shoes, a big braid extension, and her weapon if I can find one, but then what else? Maybe Tank Girl? Maybe a nicer Star Trek uniform? The Lollipop Chainsaw girl? That one might be fun, but I'd need to find that specific chainsaw to make it work. Padmé? Death? Kaylee? Who else? American McGee's Alice???

Here are some of the Slave Leia photos:

(*Mine's actually more like plastic but metal sounded way cooler so, y'know, poetic license and whatnot.)

Oct 20, 2013

What Others Think

That weird delicate balance between caring what others think and not.

I don't want to care but I do.

There are many things wherein I don't care: I don't care what you think about Bono or U2, I adore them regardless. I don't care what you think about the way I'm dressed because I'm super comfortable in my jeans, flannels, and flats.

But I care what you think about my words, maybe that's okay since I'd like to make a living using them someday. And I care what you think about me, though maybe I shouldn't.

Maybe it doesn't matter if you think I'm too old or too young, too thin or too fat, too silly or too serious, too shy or too overwhelming, too reserved or too crazy, too ugly or too pretty -- none of it really matters because for each one, someone thinks it of me. You can never please everyone else but you can please yourself (twice daily, sometimes even thrice) -- too crude or too prude -- Or maybe you don't think of me ever and maybe that's the worst...or the best thing of all.

Sep 3, 2013

Saurimonde Giveaway 2

There are approximately 11 9 0 more hours (at the time of this posting) to win a paperback copy of Saurimonde via Goodreads:*

Check out our promo trailer below:

Also, here's what others have to say:

"The way this story twists I was on edge with what was coming next. I really didn’t see the ending coming. It caught me and I was actually super excited with some of the turns it took. With this type of a story you need to be kept interested and it definitely did its job there. It was also a very original story. It wasn’t one of those stories that you unknowingly compare to a similar in the genre. It was the type that you went in blind with what was coming next. Loved it."

"But beyond the entertainment and stimulation provided by the strong dose of sex and mayhem, there was a subtle sense of something a lot deeper. However, unlike some books in which the intended message is made annoyingly explicit—You, dear reader, are likely too dumb to get it right, so I’m going to spell it out for you—Saurimonde just left me wondering. My imagination was awakened to fantastic possibilities on several levels, not unlike the effect of the timeless classical fairy tale, the prototype for all visionary fiction. Now that’s pretty high magic for any book to achieve. Highly recommended—if you dare."
-Victor Smith, Author

[*UPDATE: The winner has been chosen.]

Aug 29, 2013


Whole stretches
Of Time
Pass by

And I’ll forget
For a moment

I’ll smile
I’ll laugh
I’ll play

Then I’ll remember
And the sadness

Washes over
My heart
Aches again

And all I
Can think is

I miss my friend

For Amy

Jul 30, 2013

Contest - 1 More Day Left

There is 1 more day left to enter to win a paperback copy of Saurimonde via Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saurimonde by Melissa St. Hilaire


by Melissa St. Hilaire

Giveaway ends August 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win
Don't worry if you don't win, though. We have even more contests in the works, so stay tuned!

Moonlight and dark waters, a lover's low laughter, the taste of sunshine on her skin... You will die. I will die, the river whispers. We are all food for each other. We are all food for the universe. It has always been the way... And love... love is the shining beacon which hides beyond the lonely shore.

Welcome to the beautiful and dark world of Saurimonde... A supernatural erotic series written by Scarlett Amaris and Melissa St. Hilaire. Do you dare to go there?

Jul 9, 2013

Drama (Poem)

the dreams inside my brain
pound on my temples
trying to get out
to be born
from my head
like Athena from Zeus

every morning a struggle
to bring my conscious self
into this world
my inner me
belonging to an alternate reality
that feels more real
than this

though it is the dream landscape
where there is
no time
no death
no tangible barriers
between souls

there in that place
I have another life
one of constant adventure
conflict and
wondrous sights
I am a spy
being hunted or
escaping a zombie horde
with all my friends or
on an alien planet 
light years from Earth

these adventures
want to be told
the characters
want to be real
in this world
so when my eyes open
they cling to my mind
pushing their way
into daytime thoughts
wanting to breathe
to be alive

and so I write

Jun 29, 2013

Diet or Exercise?

Man, I just had an amazing work-out. I feel euphoric!

I never thought I'd hear myself say that (or read myself write that?).

In high school, I took sporadic sports but I was never really a jock. In college I completely abandoned all sports for baggy pants and all-night raves. Regardless, I never really thought of sports as exercise. In fact, I never really thought of exercise at all. I just stayed thin no matter what I ate. But then something happened in my thirties. My body changed. My butt and boobs got bigger. What?! I thought those were done growing! Then everything else got bigger. But, but, but I still eat the same way I always ate, I thought. However, that was the problem.

In my teens and twenties I could eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's for dinner then binge drink all night at a dance club, wake up the next day feeling fine and not gain one pound. In my thirties, I'd eat half a pint while spending the night on the internet and the next day I'd weigh like three more pounds. What? Come on. No fair. Before I knew what was happening I outgrew all my clothes. Something had to be done.

Also, around this time I started having more and more stomach pain. I wasn't certain what the issue was...ulcer? Something worse? I consulted my doctor and it turned out that my diet was way off. The proposed diet was fairly complex, but one main issue was that I was still eating like a college freshman when it was time to go out and buy real produce and actually use my pots and pans for real cooking not just toss some random frozen meal in the microwave.

I lost 10 pounds in a month on that diet alone. Now, granted, this diet wasn't designed to make me lose weight. Nay, it was simply designed to correct my diet and alleviate stomach pain. It worked wonders. Plus I got the bonus of losing some weight. However, losing that weight so fast made me wicked lazy. I used to swim and go for walks periodically just to get a little outdoorsy time and hopefully shed some pounds, but with winter (albeit mild in SoCal) coming plus my ridiculous new-found confidence in weight loss, I thought I could play video games all day, eat like a rabbit, and continue to lose weight. Nope. Did not work at all. I gained all the weight back. Yay. Go me.

So, the next thing I decided was that it was time for the dreaded exercise. Summer was coming, so I started walking and swimming again. Nothing. I mean, ok, I started feeling better getting fresh air and moving my body, but I, maybe, I shed three pounds. Not enough to really make a difference. Thus I began researching the internet for ideas. Still being pretty lazy, I opted for Wii Fitness. It made bold promises. Most of them fell flat. I'd lose five pounds one week, then gain seven the next, loss three, gain five. It was all over the place! Despite the fact that I worked really hard at being consistent about doing it.

I also tried various types of Yoga, but most of them, while, yes, they made me more flexible and feel inner peace, they did not help me lose any inches from my waist. In fact, they seemed to add inches. No, not good at all. I nearly gave up on it all and ate myself into oblivion, but then I got the Xbox 360 with Kinect and discovered Dance Central.

I exercised my way through nearly every song on Dance Central until I was sick of them all, so then I bought Dance Central 2, which had a handy new fitness section. I immediately launched the easiest, shortest one. I fumbled a bunch, but it was fun. Way more fun than the Wii (no offence Wii!).

Now, because I had so many ups and downs, I had completely stopped weighing myself. I was done. Don't tell me, I do not want to know. *with hands covering ears* La la la la!

But then I had to pack for a vacation and I noticed that all my clothes were too big. Wait a minute... I flipped through my calendar to find the last time I weighed myself. February. It was now June. I ran to my scale. I had lost 10 pounds in 4 months. Big whoop. But then I measured my waist... 5 less inches. WHAT?! Then I remembered, muscle weighs more than fat. In addition to Dance Central, I'd also been lifting weights (to get rid of those matronly upper arms - where the hell did those come from?!?). So, while I didn't lose much actual weight, I did go down several pant sizes. Woohoo!

Now, I must note, that this all started on a restricted diet, but as time passed I realized I simply could not keep up that lifestyle. I may not eat a lot, but I do like having my sweets every now and then, not to mention pizza and pasta. Yum! So, I told myself I was allowed to eat anything, but in moderation. Also, I reminded myself, every time I reached for a cookie or whatever that I had come so far and worked so hard, would I really want to undo what I'd done by eating garbage? Most of the time, the answer is no and I'll eat fruit instead, but sometimes (once a month) the answer is yes and so I indulge. I'm only human, after all, and happiness is key (and chocolate makes me so very happy).

Could that be the key to weight loss? Find something that you enjoy doing that gets your heart racing and makes you sweat 3 times a week coupled with weight lifting for tone and a diet of moderation only? Could I really get my body back to its college size, if not high school, all while enjoying a cream soda or chocolate chip cookie every once in awhile? Is that all it takes - exercise? I must tell everyone!! (Because even my Mum asked, "How did you do it?")

So, to sum up, all I did for 5 months is eat whatever the hell I wanted - in moderation - and exercise with Dance Central (cardio) 10-50 minutes 3 times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) plus the occasional Yoga routine then lift weights 2 times per week (Tuesday, Thursday) with Saturday and Sunday as make up days if I missed a workout and doing all that I was able to go from my "big girl" pants down to my favorite pair of college jeans. If I can keep at it and not gain back 10 pounds during the holidays, then I'm hoping to be able to fit into a Slave Leia costume by next summer. *fingers crossed*

[Update on the Slave Leia costume at Comikaze 2013:]

Jun 24, 2013

First Interview & Photos from a California Adventure

While I was off touring the California Coastline* this past week, my co-writer Scarlett Amaris went and lined up our first ever interview for SAURIMONDE, our recently released paranormal romance novel, with Kristi of Kristi's Book Readery (You can check out her Facebook page here:

I was excited and nervous filling out the answers. I must have changed a couple answers a zillion times (okay, maybe like three, but still). You can read our interviews here (scroll down a little bit for mine):

Here's a snippet of mine:

How are your book/books doing right now in comparison to what you hoped?

Well, on one hand I'm happy if even just one person reads our book and it moves them, on the other hand I'd love for even more readers to get to experience Saurimonde. Regardless, the reviews we've received thus far have been very favorable, which makes my heart sing.

Most important thing about being a writer?

For me, writing is like breathing - I couldn't live without doing it. So, I guess the most important thing about being a writer is actually being a writer, and having the confidence and opportunity to live the dream, which actually took me a long time to get to despite having known most of my life that I wanted to be a writer. For years I was crippled by fear and insecurity, but then I experienced a traumatic, life-changing event that made me realize life is short and only you can make your dreams come true so I then grabbed up the reins and pushed ahead publishing my first book, In The Now, a deeply personal and candid memoir about my childhood and college years. Scarlett Amaris, my co-writer on Saurimonde, read In The Now and immediately realized I'd be the perfect person to help her tell Saurimonde's story. At the time I was stuck on a project and welcomed the fun distraction of writing paranormal romance and soon fell in love with the story. It's a dream come true to finally have it published.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think I get most of my inspiration from nature, be it the quiet majesty of redwoods or the roaring of the ocean pounding the shore. However, I live in Los Angeles - a concrete jungle - so I don't often get the chance to be in nature, but I grew up between a cornfield and a forest so I crave it. Driving along the coast this past week, we took a detour through redwoods in Northern California. They're so tall and old; it felt amazing to stand amongst them. If you listen long enough, they'll tell you their tales... I find inspiration in music and art, too, so if I can't get to nature I lose myself in a playlist while surfing the internet for paintings and photography that move me. Also, I love to people watch. All growing up, my Mum and I would ride the T from Riverside to Boston and, to entertain ourselves on the journey, we would point out fellow passengers making up whole complicated back stories. We still do this. Just last week we were in a diner somewhere near the coast concocting wild tales. Sometimes, though, inspiration will hit me out of nowhere. A couple weekends ago I was cleaning the kitchen when an idea I had been mulling over for months suddenly collided into a fully formed short story in my brain, so I grabbed up the nearest notebook and wrote 9,000+ words about a possessed ovary while sitting on my kitchen floor.

How do you cope if you get a bad review?

To be honest, I haven't gotten a bad review (yet) but I suppose I would initially feel hurt but then tell myself to let it go.

Occupational hazards of being a writer?

Probably a combination of being super moody when the words aren't flowing and the loss of social graces after being isolated awhile working on a project.

What book or film character would you say you were most like?

Probably Lewis Carroll's Alice because I grew up in a pretty sheltered rural town in Massachusetts then followed my dreams to Los Angeles like naive Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to the strange and fantastical Wonderland.

What makes you laugh?

Everything. I laugh a lot, especially at really inappropriate times like when people hurt themselves or during horror flicks when someone gets slashed. I just can't help myself. When I'm feeling down and need a pick-me-up, I search "Schadenfreude" on YouTube - hours of entertainment!

Which has been the hardest to write?

I've been juggling a few different writing projects lately, one of which is called Medicated and it's about a truly frightening experience I had after having an allergic reaction to a prescription medicine wherein I completely lost my mind and hallucinated off and on for a couple of months. That book has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever tried to write. Revisiting that time in my life is emotionally draining and embarrassing. I frequently have to stop, bury it in my desk, and work on fun stuff like fantasy or sci-fi to shed the bad memories and feelings.

Any hints as to what lies ahead for your characters?

More magic, more mayhem, more bad decisions, and more accidental happiness.

Do you have any weird quirks you'd like to share with the public? :)

I think my weirdest quirk right now might be my obsession with the TV show Ancient Aliens. My dad read Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods when I was a kid, so I always saw it lying around the house, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I finally picked it up and read it myself after marathoning several episodes of Ancient Aliens on the History Channel. The whole concept of ancient astronauts fascinates me. Recently I met Giorgio Tsoukalos at Monsterpalooza and I'm such a big fan that I was nervously shaking like a leaf in the wind the whole time!

Is there a person, alive or dead, you dream about meeting if you could?

William Shakespeare. My freshman year at Boston College I tested out of the basic English class requirement so I was allowed to take any English class I wanted. I chose a class entirely devoted to the writings of Shakespeare and loved every minute of it. There's a lot of strange humor in Shakespeare's works with which I connect. I'd love to be able to have a chance to sit with him and get to know him, what made him tick, who was he really, what inspired him... Also, Shatner. I'd love to meet William Shatner.

(Read more here:

Also, you can purchase SAURIMONDE here:

*Now that business is out of the way, I thought I might share some of my favorite shots from my California Coastline tour from LA to Mendocino.

Our first stop was Morro Bay wherein lies the famous giant rock, albeit obscured by ominous mist.
Our next big stop was the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. I fell in love with the pools. Above is the Neptune Pool and below the Roman Pool.

Elephant Seal snoozing on beach near San Simeon

Sea Lion mama and baby in Santa Cruz
Then we explored some redwoods where I had to hug a tree.

We had a pretty extensive adventure. I'll add a couple more shots below, but if you'd like to see all of them, I'll be uploading more photos to a Flickr set over the next several days (as I have time):

View from Mendocino

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg

Wine Country, Goldeneye Winery

Grape Leaves


Catalina Island

Famous Catalina tiles

Interior wall design, Casino Theater, Catalina Island

Tiffany lamp in ceiling of Casino Ballroom

Me & Jeremy at The Casino, Catalina Island

Cool fish  in the Japanese Garden at Huntington Gardens
[Edited to add interview snippet. 7.10.2013]