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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Key West Quickie

The Rum is for Research

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The rooftop patio is clothing optional. And no, you really don’t want to partake. 

Last week, I was reading a blog post from one of my favorite tv writers, Ken Levine, and he talked about a director friend who wanted to make his next movie in Hawaii. Didn’t care what the movie was. He just wanted a few months in paradise. I totally get that. Why immerse yourself in something that doesn’t tickle your fancy?

 

That’s why I decided to set my next book, a sequel to How to Sex Your Snake, in one of my favorite places on Earth. The spot where I hung my hat from ’12 – ’14.

You can’t go home again…

Screw that. Sure you can.

For two years, the tiny island of Key West was home and I spent my days pedaling from sandy shore to quaint cafe to rowdy bar. Mornings strolling the stretch of surf on Smathers Beach, afternoons parked at a corner table in Sippin Cafe hammering out How to Sex Your Snake, evenings meeting up with my husband and/or friends for half priced happy hour munchies and booze.

What better place for June’s next MisAdventure?

While I know the island fairly well, there are always things I will need to double check for accuracy. Rather than spend all my time surfing the internet, I thought it would be a lot more fun to get my research the old fashioned way.  In person.

Two weeks ago, I was down, taking some preliminary notes and photographing spots where all sorts of delightfully horrible things would happen to poor June. As I continue to work my outline, more questions will spring up and I will probably head back down in about six weeks seeking answers. And a bit of rum. And maybe a morning of drag queen bingo.

As I continue to research and write the new book, I’ll post updates each Sunday, just like I did for How to Sex Your Snake. This time, though, since my setting is Key West, I’ll include favorite memories from my time on the island. Think rum, rebellion, ribs, sexy men pushing beds down the street, and eager tourists getting their drink on and letting their hair down. Fill out that little form in the upper right corner to follow along.

 

 

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They make an excellent Club Sandwhich

 

Onto this weeks 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.

Genre – Adventure
New this week – 0
Total Count – 12, 304
Release date: Summer 2017

 

 

Goals for the week: Continue my research and outline. Right now it’s all about the planning. The tighter my outline, the faster I’ll write the actual book.

This weeks trip down memory lane: See that photo at the top? That’s the Bull and Whistle Bar. It’s a three story establishment and a hopping spot for drunken sing alongs on the first floor, aka The Bull. Get there early. Most nights you’ll find a singer/s covering hits from the good old days along with original offerings. The bartenders are friendly, the featured performers get the crowds roaring along and you’re bound to make a friend or two. When your voice gives up, climb the stairs to the second floor , aka The Whistle, for a game of pool and a quiet drink while you watch the madness of Duval Street from a safe spot on the balcony. And when you’ve gotten your second wind, head to the stairs one more time and climb all the way up to the Garden of Eden, a clothing optional rooftop oasis. And while that may sound titillating, beware. For every beautifully firm co-ed grooving topless on the dance floor there are two pasty old naked guys sitting on towels at the bar. Unless that’s your thing. Then by all means, indulge.

And what about me? Did I ever find myself grooving in the garden? Sort of. We got a lot of company while we lived in Key West and visitors always wanted the full experience. And while my dancing never involved nakiditity I was known to sneak a peak or two at those  who did.

That’s it for this week’s update.

Keep your clothes handy and Write On,

Melissa

 

 

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It’s a small world after all…

img_2035…It’s a small world after all…it’s a small world after all…it’s a small…small…world. Did you sing it with me? You’re now guaranteed a magical day. You’re welcome.

When we decided to move back to Florida in October, it wasn’t just for the sun. Though, living in snowy northern Wisconsin for three winters did have us longing for a year-round hot orange ball in the sky. And the move wasn’t just to be near great fishing again. There was some good pole time to be had in the Northwoods. No, the deciding factor for us, was our possible proximity to Orlando and Disney World.

Yeah. We’re those people. We’ve got the season passes. We stay at the resorts. We wake up on a Tuesday and think, it’s just a short drive, why not.

A couple of weeks ago, we had an empty day and dropped the dog at Best Friends Kennel  (packages with TVs and a bedtime story and tuck in are available and I’m not kidding at all) and headed over to Magic Kingdom. As the evening wore on, the crowds thinned and about 90 mins before closing the place was pretty dead. We walked onto my favorite ride, It’s a Small World and had the place to ourselves. Since we weren’t interested in getting kicked out for anything indecent, (does that make us boring?) we snapped a few photos.
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For a while, the ride shut down and we were stuck in Norway. Since we’re boring old folks, Mark surfed the internet and I sang along with the puppets.

What would you have done to pass the time? Do your worst in the comments and Write On,

Melissa

 

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 My fake sugar addiction

Addicted to that white powder

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danger…danger…danger…

Back in November, I was scrolling through one of my social media newsfeed and I clicked on an article, which I can’t find anymore, that detailed how artificial sweeteners break down in your system and – get this – encourage your body to store fat. Can I just say, damn. I’m a tea drinker. I start my day with tea. I drink tea while I write. I have a cup in the evening while I watch tv. I drink a lot of tea. And I liked my tea sweet and creamy, so I was using 4 packets of fake sugar plus a big splash of creamer in each cup. I’d often drink 5 or 6 during the first couple of hours of a writing session. I was consuming 20 – 24 packets per day at least 5 days a week. In November I was trying to make a deadline so I was writing 7 days a week and pummeling my body with up to 168 packets per week. And I’d been doing this for years. That’s an obscene amount of artificial sweetener.

As soon as I read that article I contacted my daughter the chemist, to ask her about the article’s science. “Yeah, I saw something about that.” …and….? “We’ll chemistry related stuff that I don’t quite understand that went on for a while.…” followed by, “you understand?” No, not really, but I’ll trust you.

Getting rid of the evidence

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bags and bags and bags

After that horrifying conversation, I dug around in my pantry and chucked my stockpile of fake sugar packets in the trash. And the boxes in the recycle bin, of course. And now I was faced with a harsh reality. What the heck was I going to do? I hadn’t drunk unadulterated tea in thirty years. Except for that time the Denny’s waitress brought the fake sugar with my bill. I was tempted to leave her tip in one of the empty packets. As a former waitress, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

The first morning after the purge, I made a cup of tea sans natural. Yuck. Determined to make it work, I headed to the grocery store and bought a variety of herbal teas with strange names that guaranteed to temper my twitchy demeanor and keep my butt in my swivel chair for a typical eight hour writing day. All the experiment did was piss me off as I thought about how much money and time I’d wasted.

 

A new devil…

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shake me baby and I’ll love you

Then I thought, okay, I’ll just switch to real sugar. I happened to be up in Orlando hitting some roller coasters and stopped by the Coca Cola store for one of their sugar shakers. For about a week, I used real sugar in my tea. I was happy. And in my own way, medicated. Then I read another article on one of my social media timelines. Why, do I do this?

According to the article, I really need to learn to bookmark, a woman is only supposed to consume six teaspoons of sugar a day. Bad things happen when you go over that mark. At the moment, I can’t remember any of the bad things, but according to the article, there were many.

So. I was back to square one.

And then, I stopped into the book store to browse the isles and caught sight of a tin of

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damnit Jim, it’s spicy

cinnamon tea. OMfreakingG, this stuff was amazing. Especially if you steeped it with two bags. Very spice, lots of flavor. No sugar. No cream. No nothing extra. Quite a bit of caffeine though. Especially made my way, with two to three bags. But yes, they do have decaf and yes, they have loose leaf. (And no shipping costs for ground at the moment) I bought a tin. And then another.

 

And then another.

And guess what happened? Besides my new hobby of collecting empty tea tins. Thanks to my boycott of fake sugar, I lost four pounds. Almost immediately. I also lost my sweet tooth. This week, about two and a half months into the switch, I’m almost down another pound. My clothes fit better. I feel better. My checkbook is speaking to me again. (I was about to up to the next size in shorts)

Now my life is sunshine and puppy dogs. Well, not completely. My next makeover involves sleep. Or the lack there of. Perhaps my insomnia is linked to my caffeine intake. Hmmmmmm.

Are you a tea drinker? Have you got a favorite flavor to recommend?

Drink lots of tea and Write On,

Melissa

 

 

 

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