Aug 29, 2015

The Infinite Void (poem)

What is life?
What is consciousness?

What comes before?
What comes after?


All that is
Or ever was
Or a darkness so black
A sleep so deep


All the pain subsides
All the fear
All the worry

What of joy
Love Laughter
Where do they go?

Every moment stored
In the mind computer

Every experience
That makes us us

All these events
That equal life

All these people
All these...everything
That makes us
Who we are

Where do they go
When the light fades
And we're called home

To the infinite void...

Aug 14, 2015

Don't Be Afraid to Chase Your Dreams

Three Things:

First up, I was asked to share the bravest thing I ever did for Rhoda's amazing new site

Melissa, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

...The palm trees swaying in the Santa Anas beckoned to me. Could I do it? Could I drop everything and move West? Could I leave my friends and family?...

Second, Scarlett & I released our 5th episode of Between the Sheets. In this one we discover there's an actual thing called National Orgasm Day, which we celebrate by going through a list of things you might not have known about climaxing. Then we share an embarrassing Windows 10 warning, as well as a squirrel stalker story (say that 5 times fast!).

Third, we finished the treatment of Saurimonde 3, which we wrote at a friend's gorgeous, serene home. Here we are clinking wine glasses in celebration:

What a fabulously strange year it has been so far...

Jul 28, 2015

Strange Things Are Afoot At The Circle K

Every so often the Universe has its own plans for you in life that supersede your own. And as much as you try to hang onto your idea of what you should be doing next, sometimes it's better to simply let go. Let the ubiquitous flow take you on a journey wherever it may want to lead.

My original plan for 2015 involved finishing Xodus by September for my editor. However, several things have strayed me from that path.

Life came along and whacked me over the head with a sledgehammer when I discovered a family member was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Although I've tried to rebound from that by going to a few U2 concerts and taking time to enjoy life, I still feel this ticking clock in the back of my head waiting for that dreaded phone call.

I had considered taking a break from writing Xodus because conjuring up a 100,000 word scifi epic takes quite a bit of focus and concentration, both of which I'm totally lacking right now. Yet I had this looming deadline...

See, originally, I had conceived of a 55,000 word novel, for which I had a thorough treatment. That part is written and done!

However, I was told that a proper scifi novel is around 100,000 words. Which, I thought, was fine since I actually had some rough ideas for a sequel. I figured I could take two books and make them one. Part 1 and Part 2. And so here I was with Part 1 finished, but Part 2 still needed a lot more plotting out before I really delved into the writing of it. I felt lost and pressured by my deadline.

And then the Universe stepped in and sent the winds of change...

My editor reached out to all of her clients. She would finish her current obligations, but then she'd be retiring.

I flew into a weird panic that paralyzed me. I couldn't possibly finish the book by September, so I had thought about asking her about an open timeline, but now that I learned she'd be stepping down I didn't think that would fly. What was I supposed to do now???

Then I met with my co-writer for our current weekly podcast and a new direction was born. (Go ahead. Say "new direction" out loud. Yes, I did that on purpose. *snicker*)

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our third episode starts out weird and gets weirder: We tried to change it up with aliens and bigfoot but ended up with "Darth Vibrator" and anal beads!

In amongst all the nonsense we decided we'd start writing the highly anticipated third installment of Saurimonde.

Thus, Xodus will go on hold until the start of next year and Saurimonde 3 is set to launch this fall.

Also, we've been toying with the idea of getting a booth at Comikaze this year. If that does indeed happen, we will let you know ASAP. We have some interesting ideas and surprises in store for you if it does. More details to come!

Lastly, because the Universe so likes to mess with me... I've been approached about giving a talk at a conference about my experience with antidepressants based on an article I wrote for I don't know yet if that's going to definitely happen and I'm nervous as all get out about it because I've never given a talk about anything before (unless you count all my Bono stories while waiting in the GA line), so wish me luck!!

Until next time...

Jul 21, 2015

Feather Boa, Skelanimal Onesie, & a Star Trek Phaser

These are a few of my favorite things... ♩ ♪ ♫ ♬

Episode 2 of Between the Sheets is now live, wherein I confess to being a closet dendrophile... Don't know what a dendrophile is? (I didn't either.) Tune in below:

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our second episode quickly delves into the nether regions: It's the unofficial vagina con in the BTS studio. Weird vagina facts, yoni yogurt, to rabbit or not to rabbit and more!

And here's a glimpse behind the scenes of us hard at work:

Jul 16, 2015

Parental Discretion Advised

I have wanted to do a podcast for years.

Like, literally, years.

Ever since I worked at the Smodcastle watching Kevin Smith and crew being funny and brave on stage.

I even went so far as to approach a couple people to ask if they'd do one with me but, although I got positive responses, nothing ever panned out.

Years flew by.

I considered doing one on my own but I wasn't ready. I wasn't feeling brave enough. Besides, I felt a two person podcast just worked better. You can bounce ideas off each other and save each other when one is floundering.

So I bid my time until recently when my co-writer, Scarlett, agreed to doing a podcast.

We had discussed it before, but she lived in France and, although we technically could have tried to use Skype to podcast together, the reception was poor and often dropped out, so we never bothered.

But now she lives in LA so all we needed was a microphone and a crash course in GarageBand.

Several hours - and a few mojitos - later and we had our first podcast.

Jul 4, 2015

Life Is Crazy

Before I go into the long explanation of why I haven't blogged in awhile, here are links to two articles I've written recently for


As some of you know, I had a terrifying experience with antidepressants a few years ago. Off and on I've been writing a book about that adventure called Medicated. It's admittedly been a lot more off than on simply because it's a painful journey to face again. However, I think it's an important one to share in our pharmaceutical cure-all age we currently live in. In this article, I revisit that time. It's my book in a nutshell.


I found myself simultaneously flustered and fascinated by the religious right's reaction to the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality which I examined in this article.


February of this year I learned that a member of my family was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was shocked but remained hopeful that she would beat it.

By May of this year that hope had drastically diminished as the doctors claimed no treatment could help—her cancer was terminal.

I can't share too many details without giving away who the person is, and I want to respect her privacy, but it's been a real blow to the whole family—especially to her, of course.

I went to visit her in May. She was almost unrecognizable having lost over 80 pounds. I felt tears threaten to fall and my heart crawl up into my throat, but I fought them all back down. I wanted to remain strong for her. I wouldn't put her in a position where she felt like she needed to comfort me. And I wouldn't treat her differently, like I'd witnessed others do, as if she had magically transformed into some new unknown person. As if she became the cancer instead of being the person I've known for years.

I stayed for three weeks. The visit was difficult at times as I assisted with organizing medicine, preparing food, and accompanying them to the hospital.

At one point hopes were raised and quickly dashed as we inquired about a last resort trial, but alas she didn't qualify.

There was an uncomfortable meeting with hospice workers where we discussed end of life care and funeral arrangements.

There were many moments where time seemed to stand still and nothing felt real, as if we were all in denial that this was really happening. As if we'd all wake up and laugh off this terrible dream we'd had, relieved that it had only been a nightmare.

There were tense uncomfortable moments when anger bubbled to the surface and everyone hated everyone else for various perceived infractions. But, in reality, we were all merely hurting and lashing out.

So many times I thought back to my previous visit. All of us walking along the sandy beach watching the waves roll gently to the shore as pelicans flew overhead. Laughing. Smiling. I envied the retired lifestyle where time mattered not.

Now every day is precious. Every second counts.

In a video game I once played, my character was the President of the United States and I was asked to choose between feeding the world or curing cancer. At the time, I chose "feed the world." I'd like to change my answer.


Almost immediately upon returning to LA, I had five U2 concerts on my schedule.

I was both physically and emotionally drained from my trip. I didn't feel in the mood for the mayhem a U2 tour brings.

See, in the past, I've followed the band on tour. Aside from seeing them in my various hometowns of Boston and LA over the years, I've also seen them in NY, NJ, CT, RI, all over Northern CA, OR, AZ, and NV (I may be forgetting a few).  Also, In 1993 I saw them in Dublin twice and in 2006 I saw them in Hawaii.

In short, I'm a huge fan.

I had wanted to see them open in Vancouver, then follow them to San Jose and Phoenix in May, but family came first.

So, instead of 20+ shows, I'd have 5 shows this tour. But that was okay with me. I made my peace with that. I wasn't even sure I had 5 shows in me!

That is until I experienced night 1 of iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE in LA GA at the e stage.

Later that night we got the bad news that their tour manager Dennis Sheehan had passed away. Everyone was heartbroken. The next night the energy in the arena was different for night 2. Somber but more charged. That night I was in GA again but this time close to the main stage.

At one point Bono approached Edge and I heard him say, "Switch it up," then they launched into Bad.

"If you twist and turn away.
If you tear yourself in two again.
If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would let it go.
Surrender, dislocate.

If I could throw this lifeless life-line to the wind.
Leave this heart of clay, see you break, break away
Into the night, through the rain
Into the half light, through the flame."

The tears spilled out of my eyes rolling fast down my cheeks.

"If I could, through myself, set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away, see you break, break away
Into the light, through the day."

I felt the weight of the world lift from my soul. I felt at home. Life is what happens in between U2 tours.

The next three shows culminated with LA 5 when they played Volcano, my favorite off the new album, for the first time this tour.

Those five shows were exactly the escape I needed from reality. I've often heard/read other U2 fans say that U2 is always there when they need them most—a new album at the right time or a new tour. For once, I felt that too. Exactly when I needed that feeling of elation, community, love and joy I got it in LA.


The secret project I'm doing with Scarlett Amaris is actually something I've wanted to do for awhile now but haven't had the balls to do it. (Well, I don't technically have the balls now either because I'm a girl. So, I have the ovaries to do it? What's the girl equivalent for having the balls to do something? Is there one? There should be. I guess I'll just have to go with gender neutral guts. I finally have the guts to do it.)

Here's a hint:

Also, I'm still pounding away on Xodus. Granted, it's taking me much longer to write than I had hoped, but life throws wrenches at the best laid plans. I'm not sure if I'll meet my September deadline, but I'd rather take longer and do it right than rush and half ass it. Next up after Xodus I hope to get back to Medicated. All the elements are there for a book, I just have to piece everything together and edit it. Deep breath!

Oh, and if you're curious about what books appear in the "sneak peek" photo (we scoured all my bookshelves for ones that meant something to each of us), below are all the books we pulled, though not all ended up in the final crop:

Jan 16, 2015

So much to do, so little time...


Sent in the first half of Xodus to my editor last night, then—in a fit of insomnia—I plotted not only the second half of the book, but also two sequels. I'm on a roll!

I'll soon—like today—be diving into finishing the first book so I don't lose steam. I'm wicked excited as this second half has been most elusive to me. In fact, I had originally been thinking of taking a few months off to work on other projects first, mainly because I had no clue where the story was going. I knew how it ended, but I didn't have the big middle. I've notes upon notes of events that should take place plus myriad random scenes sketched out but until last night I didn't have a set timeline of events in chronological order and now I do, even though I was up until 6 am writing feverishly in my bed only to crash and awake later at noon with a touch of a sore throat. It's like sending in the first half let the floodgates open. I'm so excited and proud of this story. I've always wanted to write a sci-fi novel and now here I am doing it, living the dream. The next steps will be to find an agent and publisher, but for now I write, because sometimes it's not about the destination but the journey itself.


As a result of my scrambling to complete the first half of Xodus by a deadline, I haven't blogged much lately. I had wanted to post a blog in tribute to my cat Zoe who passed away in November. I wrote it but never posted it because every time I tried to insert pics I broke down in tears. However, I posted it shortly prior to this one—if you're interested in having your heart broken: Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds (Missing Zoe).


Just before the holidays, my Saurimonde co-writer arrived from France and we decided to do a photoshoot while she was in town. I had shown her some photographs taken by Nick Holmes—gorgeous black and whites of stunningly beautiful women—and she asked me to get in touch. A date was set and I immediately felt my stomach do somersaults.

I get very nervous in front of cameras, audiences, you name it. I mostly prefer to spend my time alone writing, reading, playing games, or watching movies. However, we each needed newer author photos for our various profiles on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. and Scarlett wanted to celebrate the solstice with more intimate photos. I was rather intrigued by his boudoir photography. Could I do it? Did I have the gall?

Day of the shoot arrived. I barely slept a wink the night before I was so riddled with anxiety. Yet it was all for naught. I hadn't seen Nick in quite some time and when I did, I immediately felt at ease. He has a very calming presence about him. I told him I was nervous because I didn't really know what to do in front of the camera. He told me not to worry. That he'd do all the work. And did he!

He took us to a few of his favorite locations in South Pasadena as we warmed up in front of the camera, then we went back to his place for the more intimate photos. I had been on the fence about those, but by the time we arrived at his place, I was feeling more confident and prepared.

I went into his bathroom and tried on my lingerie, still feeling slightly unsure of myself, my face, and my body, but as soon as I stepped in front of his camera and he took over directing me to pose this way or place my hand there, I forgot all my fears and let go. As a result, Nick took one of, if not the best, photo that has ever been taken of me.

And here are a couple of the author shots...

My new Goodreads author photo:

My new Amazon Author Page photo:

My new About page photo:

I am so immensely grateful to his talent and skill as a photographer.

Golden Globes:

After the photoshoot the holidays came and went in a blur and then I was staring down my deadline with the editor for 23,000 words of Xodus. Now was the time to buckle down and focus. I had all these blogs I wanted to post, but I had to put everything on hold. I had to get those words ready. I was really starting to feel the pressure when I got a text from a friend asking if he could interrupt my work for a quick phone call. I told him, "Of course," and hoped everything was alright but, to my surprise, he was calling to invite me to the Golden Globes after parties. Exactly the kind of interruption I needed!!

My friend Jason and I at the Fox party before I got plastered on free drinks.

The Fox party in full swing. A few drinks in and we were on the stage dancing like crazy to Just Can't Get Enough.

The HBO party winding down.

The NBC/Universal party wherein I'd had so many drinks by then I could only manage this odd shot of the flower arrangements and bored blonde with a few stragglers dancing to Beyonce in the background.
We saw a slew of celebrities, of course, but the highlight of the night was seeing Bill Murray. I didn't talk to him or anything because hello shy, but it was cool just to eye his greatness in passing.

And now that the fun is over, I must get back to work. I'm off to continue conjuring up an entire universe filled with aliens, spaceships, planets, space stations, and more. Hope you all had merry holidays, a happy new year, and will have an excellent 2015!

Time Doesn't Heal All Wounds (Missing Zoe)

(Note: I wanted to post this sooner but every time I tried to go through photos of her to add I broke down and couldn't do it.)

Fourteen years ago, which seems like a lifetime ago, I was getting ready to go on an interview when I heard a high pitched meow coming from beyond my porch. I stepped outside and peered over the side only to discover a tiny gray fluff ball who looked up at me and meowed a bold hello. I scooped the kitten up into my hands and she immediately cuddled against me purring loudly. I was in love.

For the next fourteen years Zoe was a force to be reckoned with. She was loud, stubborn, and demanding. She'd tell me when I needed to fill the food dishes and the water bowls. She'd meow to tell me to change the litter or brush her long fur that tangled and knotted easily. Sometimes she'd meow just to meow. And sometimes she'd drive me crazy with her constant loud voice because I was trying to concentrate.

But now I'd do just about anything in the world to hear her voice one more time.

I miss her so much.

I try to put on a brave face, I try to live day to day, but inside I'm broken. Every other thought is of her. My smile is fake and my eyes always only a blink away from tears.

Just a few months ago I lost Satchel... and now Zoe. I've had, and have still, a lot of cats but there was a group of them that I called the originals: Comet, Lucy, Satchel, and Zoe. The first four. I lost Comet and Lucy in 2008 only months apart. Six years later the cycle repeated itself and I lost Satchel and Zoe only months apart. How cruel is that? I had only just begun to feel slightly normal again after losing Satchel to a long battle with kidney failure and now this? And yet the vet gave Zoe a good prognosis. Her illnesses were treatable (hepatic lipidosis, pancreatitis, and hyperthyroidism). Yes she was an older cat but she had a chance for survival. I had hope. But now all I have is heartache.

With each one I lose, another piece of my heart breaks off. How much is left?

Yet on the other hand, is it not worth it?

She gave me fourteen years of unconditional love and companionship. She was my special girl. My beautiful Zoe. She just appeared one day, took a shine to me, and stayed. I've had a fuller life having had her in it. Every moment was worth it. I just miss her so much.

She had a giant personality. She commanded attention. She would sit in the middle of the living room and staredown visitors while most of the other cats would hide in the bedroom. She even stared down the dreaded vacuum cleaner while the others raced away in terror. She would greet me at the door every time I was away and if I went on vacation she'd get so angry at me when I first returned, holding it against me for ever having left at all, but after a few days she'd jump up on the couch, find her way onto my lap and cuddle with me, her loud engine purring all the while. I would say to her, "Zoe, can you say mama?" And she would reply, "Marow-ma."

On her last day I had a feeling it was the end. She was acting strange. She walked differently. She fell over in the kitchen. She wasn't herself. I placed her on her favorite cushion, laid on the floor next to her, peered up into her big, yellow eyes and told her I would always love her no matter what. I told her I'd never put her to sleep because I couldn't. If she had to go, it had to be on her terms. I couldn't let go. That night I carried her into the bedroom and put her in her favorite chair next to the bed. She stayed with me for awhile but in the middle of the night I heard her jump out, well, it sounded more like she stumbled out. I looked down and she was resting on her side on the floor by the bed. I reached down to pet her and see if she was okay. She seemed fine so I fell back to sleep. In the morning she wasn't there. I walked out into the living room to look for her. She looked like she was sleeping peacefully by the couch. I went about my morning chores and, when it was time to give her her medicine and food, I went to rouse her from slumber, but she never woke up. She was gone. My baby girl left me. At least she's not in pain anymore, but mine has only just begun.

The pain of loss never goes away, you just get used to it.

Goodbye, Zoe. I love you. I miss you. You were such a good girl.