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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Preorders begin for my novel

I’m happy to announce…

e-book coverWell if you read the title, you already know. The kindle version of my first novel, How to Sex Your Snake, is now available to preorder on Amazon for just $2.99. Yay! It will be automatically delivered to your mailbox on February 14, 2017. (I’ll add buy buttons for ibook, Nook, Kobo, paperback and audio as they become available) If you haven’t already, you can read the first chapter here.

Valentine’s Day has special meaning to me. It’s not just that candy and flowers holiday. It’s also my dad’s birthday. This year, he would have been 88. After he retired, he had a nice little second career as a writer, so going live on his birthday is my way of feeling just a bit closer to him this year.

I’m hard at work on the sequel to How to Sex Your Snake.  If you’d like to know when it’s ready, you can join the Book Announcement List:


Thanks for sticking with me as this first book took shape. I’ve had many goals since I started. Most I didn’t keep. But – I’ve learned so much and now I feel like I know what I need to do to get this next one finished in a reasonable amount of time. Right now, I’m shooting for sometime around my birthday in late April. For now, grab a copy of How to Sex Your Snake. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks. Stay warm and Write On,

Melissa

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So my neighbor is an alligator

Hot and cold running water

Hot and cold running water

We’re finally settled in our new house and I recently discovered that one of my neighbors is an alligator. My husband named him Bill. Not just because that’s a cool name for an alligator, but because of Godzilla and my son.

Two Hippo Bellies

Hippos that have nothing to do with the story. Hubby photographed them at Disneyworld.

It’s Christmas time, our youngest is 5 or 6. He and my husband are wandering the isles at the toy store when they get to action figures. And there’s Godzilla. My husband points to him and says, “you know, his first name is Bill” my son, who knows what a joker his father is merely rolls his eyes and gives up an, “oh, dad.” And that’s where it would have ended. If not for the lady browsing nearby. She sets down the doll she was looking at, wanders over and says, “hey, it’s Bill Godzilla.” She picks up one of the action figures and starts talking about what a down to earth guy Bill is, being a movie star and all.

It makes it all the better when strangers play along.

And what does that have to do with my alligator? Nothing really. But, my hubby likes to remember that afternoon and then text our son and tease him about Bill Godzilla. A lot of things we encounter get named Bill.

Mr. Grasshopper ain't scared of Bill

Mr. Grasshopper ain’t scared of Bill

Which brings us back to Bill the Alligator. Yeah, Bill’s a little guy, maybe 4, 4 and a half feet long. And yeah, he lives in a drainage canal that looks sorta deep and steep. But still. He’s  3 houses away and alligators can climb freakin’ fences. So fuuuuuuuuuck. A little hill won’t be a hindrance if he’s ever truly motivated to wander.

Pete's Dragon ain't scared neither

Pete’s Dragon ain’t scared neither

Which got me thinking. What exactly would motivate an alligator to wander down to my house and knock on my door?

There’s a pretty decent food supply in the canal. Lots of turtles share the space and there’s always a shorebird wandering the edges of the murky water. The only thing I can figure he’s lacking is a wife.

Thankfully, Bill won’t be looking for love for a while.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife page, males reach sexual maturity at seven feet, female gators at six. Since it takes 8-12 years to reach that size, (shorter for males, longer for females) and since he’s only about half way there, Bill probably won’t be on tinder for quite a while.

How’s your neighborhood? Any similar hazards?

Stay safe and Write On,

Melissa

 

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Prepping for Print

 

Good news for everyone who keeps asking!

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5.25 x 8 sample

The manuscript for How to Sex Your Snake (my new book) passed inspection from the herpetologist (reptile expert) and heads next to the actor doing the audio version. She’s got the perfect, I’m really not happy to be here voice for this project so if you prefer audio books, you won’t be disappointed. (e-book, paperback, and large print will be available too)

I’ve told you that the book is done, right? It’s been a crazy couple of months with our move from the snowy northern woods of Wisconsin to the glorious treasure coast of Florida. Sadly, many of those weeks were internet free. A nice idea when you’re overwhelmed but an impossible way to survive reality.

Today, my editor is visiting and we’ll be looking at book size and fonts for the print version. (Amazon on demand) I spent enough time as a literary agent to know that unless you’re already famous, it’s better to cut out the middle man and go indie.

e-book coverWhen can I buy it? 

Well…we’re still waiting on formatting and the cover for the paperback. Once those things get a bit more settled, I’ll be able to announce a release date. If you’re not already on the mailing list, you can sign up here.

For now, enjoy the approaching holidays and Write On,

Melissa

 

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Avengers to the Rescue

With so much sadness and despair in the news recently, I thought it was the perfect time to call in a few heroes. Please welcome David Vick, my first guest blogger. David, a marital artist, choreographer and teacher, is part of the group, Arizona Avengers. Members use cosplay (dressing up as favorite film, novel or video game characters) to bring smiles to kids in need at events like the SuperHero Age of Empowerment: Superhero Shopping Spree

Today, David talks a little bit about what brought him into the world of superheroes.

Avengers Assemble!

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Icons and Representation: An Arizona Avenger’s Journey

img_1727 Comic books were never a big thing for me when I was younger. They loomed in the background occasionally rearing up here and there in various ways, from animation to companion books with toys. I never sought them outright. Then, in the summer of 2005, my brother got me a ticket to San Diego Comic Con and I got a nerd reset!

Ten years later, I took the plunge into costuming as a hobby when working at a daycare center in a resort and having to craft things for and with the kids. And when my friend Jessy, who I knew through my martial art of Capoeira, needed a costume buddy to pair with her comic version of black widow, I had to say yes. It was a great excuse to bleach my hair!

Representation Matters

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That lightbulb was lookin’ at me funny

When I read issue 19 of Fraction’s Hawkeye, I saw a perfect representation of the isolation I have felt most of my adult life thanks to my hearing issues. (Hawkeye becomes deaf in a 4 issue miniseries in 1983 and in the modern comic version uses hearing aides) It struck me in a way I didn’t expect and not only made me appreciate Clint Barton as a character, but the creators of that issue who touched on a sensitive subject with such a high level of respect and skill.

To finally see someone dealing with an issue similar to mine was a profound experience about how comic books can affect perceptions of others and of the self in a positive way. One of my favorite moments in cosplaying was signing with a deaf person as the character Hawkeye.

Right now, I cosplay many different Marvel characters, but Hawkeye will always be my favorite. It was the first costume I put together. I have Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth to thank for that. This is what led me to the second motivation in life.

Altruism and Iconography

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Yeah, that kid was shocked

For a hobby to stick with me, there has to be some element of altruism involved. Otherwise, I feel somewhat selfish; I’ve learned to give in order to get.

Have you ever seen the face of a person, young or young at heart, see a character they held to a high regard in their own lives in person?

It’s a mesmerizingly splendid experience, to bring that sense of wonder and happiness to a person, especially if they’re in a condition when they need it the most. Volunteering with the Arizona Avengers and becoming an officer for the organization has been rewarding on a very deep level.

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Those nurses and doctors put up a good fight

Doing our best to make these people happy for charity is all the payment I need. They’ve kept me motivated to do my best, and now I have 18 or so characters thanks to help from others in the costuming community. I didn’t do everything by myself.

It can be a challenging hobby, but it has been a rewarding one so far. Who knew all these good things could happen when I was able to embrace my inner nerd?

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Thanks David!

If you are in the Southern Arizona area, and need the Arizona Avengers at your next charity event, you can get in touch with David here.

In the meantime, don’t let your cape get caught in any airplane engines and Write On,

Melissa

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Recovering from all the fun

So how do I do that exactly? 

All it needs are some whales

My back is killing me. The last three nights I’ve slept until noon, I have no energy, and all I wanna do is rewatch every ep of Elementary on hulu. While the hulu thing is kinda typical for me, the rest isn’t.

I’m suffering from too much vacation.

Last week was the annual take mom someplace fun for her birthday tripNow the woman isn’t this wild go getter. She’s 87. She strolls on casual mode. She likes naps in the afternoon. She goes to bed at a reasonable 9 o’clock. Why the heck am I so exhausted?

It wasn’t like we hit a city with lots of hills to climb. (San Francisco is next year) We were in sleepy little Monterey. Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, the little strip of shops and restaurants outside our hotel. We probably strolled less than two miles the whole trip. Maybe it was all the ocean-infused air. Or the food. There was lots of clam chowder. That’s tiring to eat, right?

Clams baby

 

Butterfly prawns on a bed of styrofoam

And prawns. Almost a reasonable price if you order off appetizer menus. The shot above was a dinner splurge at Chart House. And my first experience with rice noodle. They were fun to play with but tasteless. The rice on the side though had some delicious mango spicy pepper thing going on but the serving was way too small.

Crap, this place looks pricey

Nice place. Gorgeous architecture, fabulous food, pleasant wait staff, okay-ish prices after all. Slow as hell service. Maybe they want a relaxed vibe but when you have to ask for your wine 3 times, and you get your food first, something’s wrong.

As great as Monterey was, getting there was a pain. For the last three years, we’ve been living in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin and it’s typical to drive for an hour and have the road practically to myself. California traffic was crazy. It didn’t matter what time of day it was. Everyone who lived in Sacramento was going somewhere all the freakin’ time. Does no one work in that state? It’s a painful reminder of what we’ll have in store when we migrate back to Florida next month.

Boats, boats, boats

 

Of course, it will all be worth it to be by the ocean again. I’d even put up with a 900 sq foot apartment to be back on the beach.

And that’s my recovery plan. Hitting zillow to jump start my software and get my body moving again. Though some yoga and a trip or two to the gym would go a long ways too.

What do you do to recover from too much fun? Send me suggestions and Write On,

Melissa

 

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Wake up first!

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Drink me. Wake up. Become smart. Ish.

When I woke up early this morning I thought I’d get caught up on things. This summer has been crazy and I feel like we’ve been in constant motion. I grabbed another pillow to prop up my head and opened my wordpress app to write a new post. And promptly found a spelling error in a previous entry. Of course, I updated the corrected word and somehow, I published a paragraph I’d been using as a placeholder for one of my Seattle posts!

So, if you’re wondering what’s up with the last announcement you got, that’s it.

See the tea box above? This past weekend we were down in Chicago and our host gifted me this beautiful box of tea that she got in Shanghai. I’m anxious to try some but I can’t find a loose leaf holder in my junk drawer. I’ll run into town later to get one. For now lipton will have to do.

Just tell me what’s on sale.

Since we’re currently living in Middle of nowhere Wisconsin we were pretty excited about a trip to the mall. Ever seen tourists in the city gawking at all the tall buildings? That was us. OMG a pretzel stand. OMG $$$ clothes kids will outgrow before they can wear them. OMG everything I never knew that I needed on sale now. We came, we saw, we purchased. We even played with some Polynesian dancers at a beach shop’s grand opening.

After two days of drinking, a lot, golf lessons, oh my back is now killing me, and chatting till wee hours in the morning, I’m ready to dive back into the real world. Packing for our move back to Florida, racking off the miles prepping for our next half marathon, and finishing the edits on How to Sex Your Snake.

As your summer winds down, how are you prepping for fall?

Wake up and Write on,

Melissa

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More Seattle

Last time I shared photos of the Star Trek exhibit at the EMP museum in Seattle. This time, I thought I’d wrap up that trip with some of the more bizarre outfits from the wearable art collection.

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The real Judy Jetson

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One way to look at couplehood

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My favorite outfit thanks to the matching lunchbox

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Your shoes really bring out your stained glass windows

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For when your friend doesn’t want to pay for the movie

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The best way to handle Monday after a long weekend

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And Friday’s outfit

Like I said last time, EMP is worth a visit.

It’s raining here. My frizzy hair and I hope you’re safe and dry wherever you are.

Write on,

Melissa

 

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