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 femininepowercircle.com. 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 femininepowercircle.com:


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: