Free Summer Reads plus Crappy Video

(As usual, I suck at cell phone videos)

Yesterday, I wrote about our recent trip down to Key West. New book research, mojitos and the Hemingway 5K. You can read about that last part here. (and see more videos shot the wrong way)

We weren’t on the island for long, but I did have time to get in some last minute research on the new book in my June Nash MisAdventure series, followed by a meet up with my editor Lisa. And yeah, I hope to remember to turn my blasted cell phone sideways the next time I try to take video…. 

 

Free books and Previews

Work is progressing nicely on the next June Nash MisAdventure. More fun with Morgan, Cyrano, Dewzers and of course June and her bad decisions. I think it should be ready late fall/early winter. I’ll update that as things come together. In the meantime, how about a few free books for your summer reading lists?

Lose Yourself in Free Books

I’m excited to be a part of this very cool promo.  230 books and previews in 13 genres! You’ll find my first book in the June Nash MisAdventure series in the humor section. You’ve got 6 more days to get it for free, so don’t wait.

Until next time, Good Adventures (as June’s brother Dewey would say) and Write On,

Melissa

P.S.

If you download any of the books, stop back by and leave a note in the comments. What did you get?

 

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Key West 5k

Just got back from Key West and the Hemingway 5k. It’s an evening run, start time 7:30pm. That’s me with my race shirt.

And this is the temperature. Kinda of. It was actually 89 degrees, feels like 89 thousand. I just noticed the song on the radio. We’d been hoping for temps in the 70s.

And this was us at race time.

Mojitos from the Rum Bar on Duval. Life is too short to be that sweaty.

Next time, I’ll share video from the Everglades National Park. (Give me a day to recover)

Until then,

Write on,

Melissa

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Disneyworld’s Pandora

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What is up with my cheeks? I look like I’ve just come from dental surgery

We finally had a chance to run up to Disneyworld to check out the new Pandora land in Animal Kingdom. The word amazing doesn’t do it justice. It’s a huge area, with winding paths, bizarre vegetation, tiny banshees to buy and perch on your shoulder and platforms with performers playing odd looking instruments. Though that could have just been the shadows.

I saw Avatar so long ago, that I can’t tell you if Disney has recreated that world accurately. I just know this place was fun.

Especially at night. If you have to leave before dark, you’ll miss what Pandora is really about.

 

Intense black light in your face color!

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When you arrive at Animal Kingdom, head for Tiffins (Stop and make a reservation. Fantastic food, a patio overlooking the water and very cool art covered walls inside) and then continue over the bridge and follow the path to reach Pandora. There are two new rides, a lazy river ride featuring very nifty animation that makes you think you’re watching the movie unfold just off in the distance…(which I didn’t quite get on video, sorry)

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If I remember correctly, that blue patch in the middle was a video screen

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…and my new favorite Disney ride, Flight of Passage.

As you wait in line, you wind through the interior of a mountain decorated by the natives of Pandora. Eventually, you make it to a research center. (Was there a research center in the movie? I can’t remember why they were wandering around Pandora) The details are worth the time in line. (We were so busy looking at things in the research facility that I forgot to take photos) I’m not sure how much fast pass skips over but do yourself a favor and go through the line at least once.

Once you get to the actual ride, you’re ushered into a long narrow room where you straddle what looks like a motorcycle, pop on goggles and stare at a wall, inches from your face. Once the ride starts, the wall melts into the world of Pandora and all your senses are involved as you ride your banshee over, through and around the lush landscape. I swear I could even smell the other banshees. Wait. It had been like 2089 degrees that day and I was in a little, narrow room with 8 or so people, so there’s probably no smell-o-vision. Still. It’s worth the wait.

I’ll get better photos on my next visit. (maybe next week) Till then, Write One,

Melissa

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Win a signed copy of How to Sex Your Snake

Goodreads Book Giveaway

How to Sex Your Snake by Melissa Banczak

How to Sex Your Snake

by Melissa Banczak

Giveaway ends June 13, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Are you a member of Goodreads? If not, you should be. I’m giving away some signed copies of my latest book, How to Sex Your Snake this summer and that’s where you’ll find them. The first contest goes live at 12:01 am on June 6 and runs till June 13. (I believe it ends at midnight) 

So follow the link above and get signed up. 

Write On,

Melissa

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Tormented by the Futility of Life

If you saw yesterday’s post you know I had some issues trying to rent a car when I left home without my driver’s license. Thankfully, a friend brought it to me. I was so happy, I gave an impromptu concert to my fellow freeway drivers. So many happy people listening to me sing along to a favorite album as we inched through rush hour traffic. Below is my favorite song from that album. 

Some choice lyrics:

The corpse was dredged from the sea that night.

Hair matted around its body tight.

It was no comfort to identify,

The pallid flesh, the life, deprived.

Turn up the volume and Write On,

Melissa

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Too stupid for words

So I’m sitting at the airport waiting for someone to bring me my driver’s license so I can rent a car. I glanced at my little black Alice in Wonderland purse that I’ve been using all week and then headed out the door, got all the way down here, walked up to the car rental counter and oops- no license. I don’t know how I managed to put my credit cards back in my big purse but not my license. 

On the plus side, I got a latte for half price because I waited so long. So I guess it all works out. 

I’m still dumber than dirt. But I’ll be home soon and will be done traveling. 

Stay mentally alert and Write On,

Melissa

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What’s the weirdest gift you’ve gotten?

We’re finally unpacking some of our zillion and one boxes, many from two or three moves ago, and I found this photo. On the back it reads, Christmas, 1971. Melissa with her new shoe bag. Is it me or it that a odd gift for a child? I look happy but I’ve always been easily amused. What’s the weirdest gift you’ve ever gotten and how old were you?  

Leave a comment below and Write On, 

Melissa

PS – Wanna win a paperback copy of my new book, How to Sex Your Snake? I’ll be giving a few away on Goodreads in June and July. If you’re not already a member, join and friend me. I’ll post a link here when the contests are live. In the meantime, if you’ve already bought a book, follow the links (QR codes in the paperback, clickable in the ebooks) and leave a review. No links to Goodreads but if you’re a member, I’d love reviews there as well. Authors live and die by word of mouth. 

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Snake shoes! 

Today’s my birthday so I’m slacking off. These are a present from my oldest. She based the design on the cover of my book, How to Sex Your Snake! 

Have a great day!

Write on, 

Melissa

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The Ruins of Ephesus

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How did it get to be April? I’ve been away the last few weeks, helping a senior relative move. Biggest tip I can offer, take photos of bookshelves (that house nicknacks) before you pack and then label each box for each bookshelf and include a map of where that piece of furniture sat in its particular room. You’ll get a lot of, where the stuff from that bookshelf that was behind my desk. There was a bookshelf behind your desk? is never the correct answer.

Since it’s mid-week -ish I’ll leave the Key West memories (and new book word count) to Sundays and instead share photos from one of my favorite trips.

Kadefikale on Hillside above Izmir

A view of Izmir, Turkey

Back in 2007, my husband was stationed with NATO in Izmir, Turkey. I was psyched when he got the assignment. Back in college, I’d planned on majoring in history. I’m one of those annoying people read all the notes on museum displays and block most of the exhibit. If I’d taken the time, in college, to see what classes I needed to get that particular degree I would have. (I’m not a big planner. So, after a fun 5.5 years and tons of lovely intersession classes (best way to get an A) I settled for a b.a. in social science with concentrations in History, Geography and something else. Maybe archeology) So let me stress again. I was psyched. Whoo-hoo. Turkey. The divider between Europe and Asia. So much history. So many ruins. So much to keep me busy during his one year tour. And then came the sad news. The US military did not let families accompany the service member to Turkey. Spoil sports. (The US was the only country with this rule as of 2007)

DSCN0374Now I was left with what amounted to a short vacation. And I had to chose wisely. We didn’t have a lot of money, the air fare alone ate up most of my budget, and we’d be leaving two high school aged kids home alone. I’ve seen enough movies to know nothing good ever comes from that.

After many anguishing hours pouring over city guide at the Waldenbooks down the street, I had a plan. A few days in Rome, a few days wandering the Kemerati bazaar in Turkey and because multiple days in Greece were impossible, an afternoon at an appropriate substitute. The ancient Greek city of Ephesus.

 

at Library of Celsus 2

The Celsus Library. All the good scrolls were checked out. 

on Cerastes street near Hercules Gate

That’s the library in the distance. We beat the crowds. For the first hour anyway.

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And then they showed up.  

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Statues. 

 

 

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And Cats

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And directions to the brothel.

at public latrine

Still nothing to read. Plus a super cold breeze from below. (hence my posture)

entrance to the Great Amphitheater

The entrance to the theater.

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Which felt much larger in person.

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The cheap seats.

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Excavations were in progress. 

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I flipped the photo so you could see the mosaic lion. He’s on the floor. 

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As are these two.

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A better shot of the size. 

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We saw at least a dozen cats as we wandered this field.

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The Domitian temple. First temple built in the name of an Emperor. 

entrance to Odeon

I still miss that antelope jacket. Which I bought in the Kemeralti bazaar. So comfortable. So soft. So well made. So tempting. Someone stole it from the back of my chair in Las Vegas a couple of years later.  

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An angel suggesting we hit the road. The crowds had arrived. 

Melissa and Kellie in the KemeraltiAnd speaking of the Kemeralti bazaar, I’ll save that for another mid week post. Such an amazing place. Think Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. You step in – you’re in another world. A labyrinth of stalls stuffed into every last bit of space, with enough twists and turns to lose all but the veteran shopper. In the meantime, I’ll be back on Sunday with more Key West memories.

Oh, and when I got home from my trip to Turkey, there were no cracks in the egg. Nice to know my kids are so well behaved. A tad disappointed to learn that my kids are so well behaved. Here’s hoping they had a crazy adventure too.

Write on,

Melissa

P.S. this is making me itchy to travel again. Have you got a favorite spot? Leave me a suggestion in the comments.

 

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The Big Swim

Waiting for Godot…err Diana

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Waiting….patiently…

It’s Sunday. Time for this week’s book update. Since my latest novel, a sequel to How to Sex Your Snake , takes place in Key West, and I’ve been immersed in research, I thought it would be fun to include some memories from my time on the island. Last week, we looked back at one of my favorite watering holes, the Bull and Whistle bar, which features 3 distinctive bars and with some iffy nudity. This  week, we’re outside, looking at some actual water. But first, the update. 

How to Square Your Grouper – A June Nash Misventure, Book 2

Premise: Following an embarrassing blunder, June heads down to Key West to hide out and accidentally becomes a drug runner.

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Captain Eddy rallies the troops

Genre – Adventure
New words this week –1239 (plus a few pages of handwritten notes)
Total word Count – 13,543 
Release date: Summer 2017

Goals last week: continuing my research, tightening up my outline

What I did: Mainly research. I spend the week reading up on the Coast Guard and some other things that will spoil the book if I mention them. The more I read, the less I feel like I know. I’m currently looking for someone who was actually in the Coast Guard. So, if that was you, drop me a note in the comments. Outlining – I realized I had two different outlines for the book. So, I’ve been combining both into a notebook. That’s my preferred method. I can take paper and pencil more places that I can take my computer. 

Goals for next week: finish up my outline sometime during the week. I’d like to start the actual writing around the 20th. (I’ve got a few pages here and there but it’s mostly in outline form) I’m still living in a delusional state thinking I will be able to hand the book to my editor around tax day. We’ll see. 

This weeks trip down memory lane:

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I spy with my little eye…

See the boats on the right? Diana Nyad is somewhere in the middle, about to finish her world record Cuba to Key West Swim. Mark and I happened to be biking down the southern side of the island, probably headed to Caroline’s for a cuban sandwich, when we noticed the news crews and the swarm of people on the beach. Mark checked the internet and Diana was still a few hours away, so we did our lunch thing, wandered Duval a bit and then headed back to Smathers. By this point, it was close enough that we decided to lock up the bikes and find a good spot. We lucked into a roped off section and ended up against the barrier. When Diana came ashore, we’d have a ringside seat as she emerged from the Atlantic Ocean. 

And then, of course, life happened. Later, Ms. Nyad said that as she was approaching Key West, she wasn’t sure where she was supposed to land so she just picked a spot. Which wasn’t anywhere close to where everyone was standing. Chaos ensued and people raced to be first to her new landing spot. Mark and I were separated and I quickly gave up. There was no way I was going to get close up to the action. I texted my husband, took my sandals off and headed for the sidewalk and our bikes. And got stuck in another crowd. I pulled out my phone to text Mark again and realized, almost too late, that Diana was on a stretcher being wheeled to an ambulance by EMTs. I hit video on my cell phone and held it up just as they went past. If you’re interested, you can read more about her historic record here. 

 

That’s it for this week. Next Sunday, we’ll reminisce about men dressed in tiny shorts pushing a bed up the street. Believe it or not, it has absolutely nothing yet absolutely everything to do with the time the tiny island of Key West succeeded from the United States.

Until then, keep your head above water, don’t drink too much rum, and Write on,

Melissa

 

 

 

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