Nov 15, 2016

Keep Writing

Writing a book can sometimes become maddening after prolonged isolation. Even if you pepper in a couple other projects, you still need to spend countless hours alone with your thoughts. You may look like you're gardening or washing the dishes or playing video games (Doom has been consuming me of late), but all the while you're writing. Like globs of clay morphing into recognizable forms, characters grow and advance while you're busy doing other things. Then you need even more alone time to pull those threads from your mind so you can weave them into the great tapestry of your tale.

I told myself I was going to force myself into this isolation in order to finish my book after having a giant, months-long dent in my timeline. (Buying a house and moving took a heck of a lot more work than I ever imagined.)

During the time in which we were moving, I was talking to tons of people daily while running around either packing or unpacking. Constantly on the go. Constantly socializing.

But then once we settled in, I realized I had more time to myself and could finally get back to writing.

And so far it's been working. I've finished another 25% of the story and have 25% to go.

Yet now, it's been a few weeks of long stretches of alone time, and I'm starting to feel that old, familiar feeling.

The one that creeps up on you...

Makes you wonder...

Am I completely bonkers?

Here I have cut myself off from a bunch of social events, and doing pretty much anything else, all to write this book.

I could be writing more articles for magazines and, maybe, making a little money too.

I could be submitting more poetry or, perhaps even, short stories to anthologies.

I could be trying to get a staff writing job on a TV show and work my way up.

I could be out there networking and meeting other writers and creators with whom to collaborate.

But instead I'm alone in my office staring at the blank page as I beckon words to bubble forth from my mind onto the page below.

Is it worth it? (Yes.)

Do I have to do this? (Yes.)

Will anyone read this? (Doesn't matter.)

There's a story in my brain that needs out.

There's a gang of characters that keep whispering their dialogue to me.

My inner eye lights up like a movie screen.

I must keep writing.

Even if the world crumbles into chaos beyond these walls.

Keep writing.

Oct 14, 2016

Why I'm Voting for Hillary

I know my Bernie or bust friends will disagree with me, but here's why I'm voting for Hillary...

I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if Trump became President and I didn't do everything in my power to stop it.

I don't have much power but I have a blog.

I'm not going to get into all the political platform details, but — in a nutshell — I cannot vote for a racist misogynist who wants to punish all women who get abortions, build a wall, and deport all Muslims.

What's next? Crucify all atheists? Burn witches? Where does the hate end? How many personal freedoms and rights are we willing to sacrifice because some of us don't like Her?

I'm not going to go into defending Hillary (you can go to her website for that). All I'll say is I'd rather have Her in the White House than any other valid option at present and here's the reason why:

Several years ago I went to a well known horror bookshop in LA. Upon meeting the owner he asked me what I did. I said aspiring screenwriter. Completely deadpan and without hesitation, he replied that I should get a job as a stripper then.


Oh, I'm sorry, does the fact that I have boobs and a vagina negate that film degree I received from Boston College?

Am I so invaluable as a woman that it's OK to publicly humiliate me in front of my peers?

He didn't make wisecracks to any of the men around me. He discussed seriously the merits of horror writing and filmmaking with them. I was the only joke. I was the only non-respected human in the bunch.

I felt slapped in the face.

I have never gone into that store again despite the fact that I love the merchandise.

If you can't look me in the eye and take me seriously as a woman, as a human being, as an equal... If you can only see my value as a naked body writhing on stage, then I have no time for you. No patience.

You cannot grab me by the pussy.

I'm with Her.

Sep 9, 2016

September Sadness

Can we just take a moment to talk about seasonal depression?

But before I get into that, allow me to reiterate something...

For those of you who have followed my writing/blogging/nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind for years, you know that I was misdiagnosed and medicated for clinical depression for many years and had a meltdown while on Cymbalta. 

As it turned out, my initial diagnosis of depression was based on the fact that I was experiencing multiple anxiety attacks per day, not because I was...sad, which I wasn't.

The doctor merely said, "Anxiety is a symptom of depression, thus you're depressed. Here take these pills and go on your way."

Well, the pills made everything worse even though she kept pushing new ones on me.

Regardless, after years of struggle, I was re-diagnosed as having, essentially, a really poor diet and unhealthy habits, which contributed to the anxiety, not to mention having moved 3,000 miles away from home. I was not "clinically depressed."

However, all that doesn't mean that I'm impervious to feeling depressed from time to time.

And, speaking of time, that brings me back around to seasonal depression.

Here it is — September, shortly after labor day and I'm sitting in my back yard wearing a tank top and shorts with the hot sun shining down on me. Fall in Southern California isn't like fall in Massachusetts, where I grew up. Back East, fall hits you over the head with its arrival. Leaves turn vivid color and the air grows crisp, but here in LA the change is subtle. While the days still bring beach weather, the nights run mildly cooler. In fact, you might need a light jacket or long sleeved shirt when you go out, though you can probably still get away with shorts and sandals.

So why am I depressed if the change is so damn subtle?

I honestly don't know.

It's been many years since I went to school, so that can't be it.

I do have a handful of sad anniversaries that fall into the latter part of August that might pave the way for seasonal depression, but that doesn't account for the years of it prior to those sad events occurring.

Nothing in my schedule changes with the coming of Fall.

Granted, I had a big change this year in moving out of my Koreatown apartment of a zillion years to finally owning my own home over the hills just slightly beyond the NoHo border, but that fills me with joy, not sadness.

Yes, I miss certain aspects of living so close to downtown LA, Hollywood, The Grove, and Larchmont, but the valley has plenty to offer for shopping, dining, day tripping, and entertainment.

So what is it?

I have no complaints.

I love my life.

I love my husband.

I love my cats.

I love my house.

I love my yard.

I love my friends and family both near and far.

I'm actually the most content in life I've ever been.

So why this September Sadness?

I'm seriously asking. It's not rhetorical.

And it's even weirder because Autumn is really my favorite time of year. Comfy sweaters, hot apple cider, carving pumpkins, and Halloween.

I mean, I got married on Halloween if that give you an idea of how much I love it.

Is it merely the sense of another waning year in the ever present march toward death that all of life is?

I know that's morbid, but it's also true.

Nothing that lives, lives forever. (But, man, if they invented something that changed that, I'd be first in line to try it.)

I thought I was feeling depressed because, since the move, I've spent a ridiculous amount of time unpacking, organizing, rearranging, and generally settling into the house without much time for fun or writing. So I told myself, enough with that — get back to video games and writing (my typical routine).

But so far the change has only made a small difference.

I told myself it must be the anniversary of my favorite cat dying, or my dearly departed friend, or my step-mother — and while those contributed, there's more to it.

And this happens every year at this time no matter what's going on in my life.

I'm usually over it by mid-October.

It's my September Sadness.

Am I the only one? (I mustn't be since there is such a thing as 'Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).')

Do you get it too?

What do you do to get out of your Fall funk?

Mar 7, 2016

New Book, New Podcast Episode, and other Nonsense

Well, we did it! We wrote another book in the Saurimonde series officially making it a trilogy! *pops champagne* *accidently breaks chandelier* *laughs it off guzzling the bubbly*

And now you can win 1 of 4 free signed paperback copies from the Goodreads giveaway contest (enter to win below in the widget):

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Saurimonde III by Melissa St. Hilaire

Saurimonde III

by Melissa St. Hilaire

Giveaway ends May 06, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Saurimonde III synopsis:
Safety is but an illusion...  
In the search for a young woman who may already be dead, the tragically lovely Saurimonde, along with her handsome consort, Sordel, travel deep within the mysterious zone where she comes under the spell of the powerful high priestess, Na Dag'ma, who, after initiating her into their strange faith, sends her on a quest to find a dangerous ancient relic.  
Amid a quagmire of lies, duplicity, and collusion, the veil between worlds becomes threadbare – one existence bleeding into another – as Saurimonde and Sordel wander further into a supernatural web. Upon finding what they seek, will they be able to break free? Or be forced to become the ultimate sacrifice?
If you haven't read the first two you can find them here:

Saurimonde I

Saurimonde II

However, while the book does refer back to previous events, I think the story stands on its own so you can dive into our strange world without having read the previous books.
We also recorded a new episode of Between the Sheets:

In our sixteenth episode we try to get back into the swing of things after our month long break with: a show dedicated to wine lovers, like how red wine is great for sex, as well as another book by Mandy De Sandra, Fox News Fuckfest, for all your bizzaro political erotica needs! (And, yes, we forgot to turn off the A/C at the BTS studios again, damn it!)
Lastly, now that Saurimonde III is complete and the tragic distractions of last year are now in the past, I will once again jump into my epic scifi novel, Xodus, that I've been dying to finish. I can't wait to get back to Lexi and her strange band of misfit cadets and aliens as they do battle to save the Earth.

On a personal front, we've been house shopping and, man, that is crazy hard out here in La La Land. You find the perfect house that you, omg, actually can afford, blink, and *poof* it's gone. It's ridiculous! So, we've expanded our search beyond our original parameters into areas previously unknown, which is both exhilarating and downright frightening.

We found this one house in NoHo that's kind of cute and, if we were to buy it, I could see being even cuter with a little landscaping TLC, yet, even though I'm dying to move, I find myself becoming crippled with the thought of actually moving.

For instance, last night I could not get to sleep tossing and turning with thoughts of, "But if we move, from where will we order pizza? Is there a Trader Joe's nearby? How far will I be from my dentist? (I mean seriously, it's crazy hard finding a really good dentist, you know?)"

In spite of that, my mind is equally spinning out in the other direction going, "If we got that NoHo house, I'd plant some nice succulents along the pathway to the entrance and throw down some stepping stones. Then maybe I'd plant a fruit tree in the back. Oh! And I could create a gaming/exercise room. How cool would that be?" I will never sleep again.

So, if I seem a little spacey and don't reply to emails, texts, phone calls, FB messages, or smoke signals right away, don't take it personally! I'm just hermitting myself away creatively while also finding a new cave within which to hermit. (Though I do hope to crawl out into the light of day every now and then, down a bottle of wine, and record a new podcast!)

Until next time...

March 2016

Jan 20, 2016

Another Year, Another Blog (Or David Bowie & the Golden Globes)

Posing on the Red Carpet
I haven't blogged in awhile. Do people even still read blogs? Seems like Facebook posts about what we're eating for lunch or what new shoes we bought or how much we either love or hate a political candidate permeates the web more so than a well thought out blog post these days. Meh. So what? Some days I miss the Internet of yore where only a few nerds gathered to discuss fandoms or JavaScripts, but those days are gone and we must embrace the present – an egalitarian Internet where any and all can share their views no matter how mundane or idiotic (or profound and intelligent).

Do I seem like I'm in a bad mood? If so, I do apologize. I'm getting over a horrible cold I picked up while attending the Golden Globes after party.

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you probably know that sometimes I get to do ridiculous things like go to the big Golden Globes after parties at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. I know, it all seems so glamorous, and it is, but if you’re not a mega movie star, you might as well be invisible when you’re at these kinds of events. Doesn’t stop me from having a good time, though!

At first, we almost didn’t even go because my friend who can get me into these things was feeling sick. I encouraged him to consume mass quantities of medicine and go anyway. Perhaps a mistake in hindsight? Regardless, we had a blast until a black cloud descended on the evening, but more on that later…

First off, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve gone to these in the past. Typically, they run smoothly. Not so this year.

Instead of lining up outside the hotel and picking up credentials right at the entrance, as they’ve done in the past, we had to queue in a parking garage this year, which might not seem like that big of a deal, but as you’ll soon see, it was kind of a disaster…

OK, so in that pic you see the massive line to get through the security devices (squares at top right) which then herds everyone in another line to wait for a (tiny) shuttle which delivers us to the Hilton. We were instructed that we could not walk to the Hilton or arrive in any other fashion. We had no choice but to wait in line on a concrete floor for hours as we slowly filtered through security and then awaited our shuttle.

I know, I know “first world problems,” but still… Last year we just waited in line outside the hotel, which moved fairly quickly, then we retrieved our passes at the front door, walked through security, and blamo – we were in the main hub of all the parties. Took about 45 minutes max. However, this year with the added parking garage/shuttle business, it took us about 2 hours to make it from parking the car to entering the main lobby.

As a result, I missed seeing my better half, who just so happened to be working at the Globes that night, so perhaps I took it more personally this year, but still – it was poorly organized. Also, as a result, we missed our first chance to enter the InStyle party, which I had not been able to attend in the past and which was considered an important party to get to early in the evening. We made it there eventually, but I’ll get to that, as it coincides with the previously mentioned black cloud.

So, here we are, my friend, who is battling a terrible cold and sore throat, and myself dutifully waiting in a forever line just to get to the shuttle which will take us to the party.

Oh! I forgot one thing. See, we actually arrived early and could have been practically the first two people on that shuttle, but – and here’s the big but (I like big butts and I cannot lie/You other brothers can't deny/That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist/And a round thing in your face/You get sprung, sorry tangent, blame the wine I’m currently guzzling) – for the first time since we started attending the Globes after parties we finally received the much coveted invite to the Weinstein party BUT they were late with tickets. All the other big parties like NBC Universal, Amazon, HBO, etc. were there already set up with stacks of tickets for us to pick up but not Weinstein. Thus, we were forced to wait by the Weinstein table as we watched the line for security grow and grow… By the time the tickets arrived, there was an angry, well dressed mob pushing and shoving their way to the front because, y’know, it’s Hollywood and EVERYONE is sooooo important.

Anyway, we finally got our tickets and ran (well, my friend ran, I was in heels, I trotted) to the end of the line where we proceeded to panic about how long it would take to get in. I actually had fun kind of zoning out and people watching. Tons of VERY IMPORTANT people tried cutting the line, but were turned away. For some awful reason, that filled me with glee.

As I stood on the concrete floor doing the “pee dance” in my cheap, uncomfortable heels, I wondered how long until I found a bathroom. Finally, we reached the front of the parking garage line, went through security, and were herded into a claustrophobic, nightmare hallway leading to the shuttle pick up. The lighting was horrendously ugly fluorescents which flickered like a David Lynch set. I watched in delight as all us girls checked our makeup in compacts only to be horrified at our green skin and snap the compacts shut with a grimace. The ladies in front of me chatted about how terrible everything was as they vaped medical marijuana. (I’m pretty sure I got a contact high. I mean, the hallway was crazy tiny! And everything suddenly seemed funny.)

After a few more incredibly long minutes, we followed the cattle out to the shuttle. Once on board, I thought, cool, we’ll get there wicked fast now. Not so much! We entered traffic from hell. No one wanted to let a shuttle into the lane as they all hurried to the parking garage or wherever they were going… It was insane, yet funny to listen to all these junior agents in training bitch the whole way over to the red carpet how they were going to miss Jennifer Lawrence or whoever. I didn’t really care anymore at this point. All that kept going through my head was, “Don’t pee. Don’t pee. Don’t pee.”

Finally, we pulled up to the red carpet. Relief splashed over me. Bathroom!! But the doors didn’t open. We had to sit and wait. Why? Who knows. But while waiting, I saw Amy Schumer cross in front of us toward the Weinstein party. In my contact high state, I announced said fact to the entire bus, which propelled the junior agents into more turmoil as they peered out the front window begging to be let off.

The doors opened. We scrambled out. Found the red carpet and followed it to the main lobby. Stars filed past us on the left and the right. I’d tell you who they were if I remembered, but my focus was on my bladder. We made it to the InStyle entrance and there was the blessed bathroom.

Once refreshed, we attempted to get in touch with our contact for InStyle. See, we had tickets for some of the parties, but for others we needed our escort. Unfortunately, she was busy so we had to decide to either wait around or try one of the other parties for which we had tickets. I pressed for attending the Weinstein party, because hello?!? Weinstein party!!! I figured, if we stood around and waited we could lose half the night, or just go and throw caution to the wind, y’know?

Weinstein party! (Or stroke the furry wall.)
We trekked our way back down the long red carpet, passed the shuttle, and entered the ramp to the Weinstein party – the hottest ticket of the night. On our way in, I caught a glimpse of Ridley Scott hanging out – highlight of the night! Others ahead of us were turned away, but we got in without a hitch. As we passed the coat check on our left, I noticed the paparazzi to the right near the backdrop where a girl in a red dress with long blonde hair, who I recognized as one of the ones demanding to be able to cut the line earlier, was getting photographed. She had screamed, “Don’t you know who I am?” Honestly, no.

Once inside we were immediately greeted with pounding bass and free drinks. Yay!

We wandered through the throngs of partygoers checking out the scene and scouring for notable celebrities. I saw Jaime Foxx taking pics, Aziz Ansari chatting near a doorway, and one of the Weinsteins making the rounds (I thought it was Bob, but was later told it was Harvey. *shrug*). We finally made our way to the bar where I ordered a gin and tonic, but the tonic was crazy flat so I abandoned the drink, then dragged my friend over to a side area where gift bag booths were set up. Free stuff!! My favorite.

After having a “Moet moment” (they asked me to hashtag that), I passed by some expensive looking jewelry to a makeup bar. Yes. Free makeup! It was Laura Mercier, which I had never heard of before, since I’m not a big makeup person, but I do love free stuff. After having tried it, though, I must confess it’s pretty top notch. I especially like the lipstick colors and the gloss, though the 'smudge stick' is excellent, too.

At some point during my champagne fueled “grab all the free stuff” moment, my friend heard from his friend about the InStyle party. They made plans to meet up later so we could check that party out, and grab tickets to the HBO party. Meanwhile, we decided to go investigate the Amazon party. To be honest, I was the one mainly pushing for this as I had recently discovered and marathoned 2 seasons of Mozart in the Jungle and was pretty excited they won. I had hoped to meet some of the cast, but, alas, by the time we made it to the Amazon party it was pretty dead. We did a quick perimeter, then made a detour to the dancefloor because Deee-Lite was playing and I was pretty drunk and, well, let’s face it, I can’t really deny Deee-Lite even when stone-cold sober.

I love this show.
As we exited, I noticed that the couches were adorned with pillows embroidered with Amazon. I totally wanted to steal one, but didn’t out of fear. Later that night I met a guy who took two of them. Two!!! Without a single consequence. Next time Amazon, next time…

Oh my god, I completely forgot to mention something… Before leaving the Weinstein party, one of my stupid shoes broke. Like the bottom half just split apart from the rest of the shoe. I could flap my foot and make it look like a puppet opening its mouth. I went through a range of emotions: denial, plea bargaining, embarrassment, and finally acceptance. I took off my decade (2 decades?) old Chilis heels and walked around barefoot, trying to not step in spilled hors d'oeuvres. After discussing what the best course of action would be, my friend suggested we ask Concierge for help. There, a young man named Devin glued my damn shoe back together and saved the rest of the night. Thank you forever, Devin! The Beverly Hilton totally owes that guy a raise.

So, anyway, we leave Amazon, sans pillows, and head over to the InStyle party finally. Once inside, we were kind of disappointed. Heralded as the party not to miss during previous Globes, this year it was a dud compared to the raucous affair the Weinsteins’ held.

However, right off the bat we saw a table with VR headsets we could demo from River Studios. It was pretty cool and, I admit, it made me want one of the Samsung headsets, but no VR I’ve ever tried is as cool as it seems like it could be. I dunno, maybe I’ve read too much scifi and watched too many movies, but I want to be wholly transported to another realm where I can battle zombies or whatever. None ever really seem up to snuff.

Regardless, I decided to order another drink, margarita this time, because I can’t help myself around free stuff. I also grabbed some snacks from the caterer because I decided all that free booze on an empty stomach was a bad idea. Drinks and snacks in hand, we headed to the dance floor. That’s when my friend checked his phone and the black cloud descended.

“Noooo,” he exclaimed.

“What?” I asked washing down a spinach croissant with tequila.

His hand seemed to involuntarily cover his mouth. His eyes were wide.

“What?!” I pleaded.

He showed me headlines from his phone. “David Bowie dead at 69.”

“What?” I said again, clearly unable to speak any other word.

I quickly finished my croissant and put down my drink as I pulled my phone out of my tiny bag. I immediately went to Feedly. Bowie dead. I checked Twitter and Facebook. The same. All thoughts of ‘this must be a hoax’ vanished from my mind.

I thought of the Goblin King, and 80s Bowie dancing in the streets, of Bowie on tour with Trent Reznor, of Iman, of his kids. Bowie. An icon. A legend. Dead? How could it be real?

My friend and I stared at each other. I fought back tears. Music blared around us as twenty-somethings pumped and gyrated. How could they dance? How could they do anything? I felt floored. A huge part of my childhood gone. I grew up listening to my Mum’s cassettes of Bowie. I wore out my copy of Changesbowie. I adored the Goblin King. Like you don’t even understand how much I loved him, how much my childhood imagination wanted him to be real, how I was simultaneously fascinated and terrified of him. And those tights. Ahem…

Unsure what to think, feel, or say, I turned to my friend and said, “Hey, this party is lame. Wanna check out HBO really quick and then head back to Weinstein?”

He nodded in agreement.

We walked solemnly out into the lobby then crossed over to the stairs leading to the pool where the HBO party was. Music filled the room. Bowie. I pushed my way to the dancefloor with my friend in tow. I kicked off my glued shoes and let loose to a medley of Bowie tunes. I cried some more and exchanged awkward glances with fellow partygoers seemingly feeling the same sadness.

Once the music switched over from Bowie to hip-hop, my friend and I decided to bolt and head back to Weinstein.

Once back it was obvious the party was simultaneously winding down and only filled with drunk people. I passed by barefooted girls in cocktail dresses dancing on couches and coffee tables looking for more free stuff. I filled my pockets with Lindt chocolate and a Moet glass filled to the brim.

We danced with strangers until the night was over and we had to find a shuttle back to the garage.

On our way home, I demanded we stop at Astro because I was stupid hungry.

Mmmm garden burger deluxe ftw!
All in all, it was a fun-filled evening, despite the dark cloud of Bowie’s passing overhead.

The following day I watched Bowie videos culminating in Lazarus, which left me sobbing uncontrollably.

"Oh I’ll be free/Just like that bluebird/Oh I’ll be free/Ain’t that just like me"

Last year I lost my stepmother to cancer. I saw what it does to a human body, a mind; I saw how it tears a family apart in anger, grief, and frustration. Whether you’re a retired mom in Florida or a pop icon, cancer is a horrible way to go. We need to find a cure, we need a prevention, we need a reprieve.

Since then, and before, we’ve lost so many. 2016 has started out a dark, somber year. Let’s try to not let it get the best of us. Let’s try to make the most of each moment we have alive. Let’s dance, magic, dance.

In other news, part of the reason I haven’t blogged much is Scarlett and I are wrapping up our third installment of the Saurimonde series. I think this is my favorite of the bunch so far. It’s fun and crazy and dark and sexy. Stay tuned! (We just decided on a cover image last night!)

Sneak Preview of Work in Progress
Also, we’ve been podcasting. Here’s our most recent episode with another coming soon:

Mel xox

Goodbye, Jareth, the Goblin King