Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lesson Learned

Today’s guest blogger and I spend a great deal of time together. Melissa Ecker writes paranormal and erotic romance but she has some fun non-fiction stories as well. I invited her over to share one with us. *Hands the reins to Melissa*
Thank you, January. I appreciate you hosting me. The story below is one that Mr. Melissa and I laugh at now…
I remember when I was a little girl and, more than anything in the world, I wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels. In my mind, I silently reprimanded my mother for not having the foresight to name me “Kelly” after my favorite Angel. I imagined myself as a bad-ass, smoking-hot chick with a Dirty Harry gun who took orders from a mysterious man who lived in a speaker box. Yeah, well, I was a kid, cut me some slack. I was also the kid who walked around talking to herself in a British accent, but we'll save that for another blog.
Anyway, I grew up having these fantasies of someone trying to snatch my purse in a parking lot or attempting to carjack me at a red light. Now, I know that sounds crazy and, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t longing to be a victim by any means. The main point of the fantasy was that I would totally go “Charlie’s Angels” on some bad guy and kick the crap out of him before throwing him in my trunk and personally delivering him to the police department without so much as breaking a nail. 
Fast forward a few years to the sort-of-newlywed me. I think the hubby and I had been married about a year when he got the bright idea to test my reflexes. We lived in an upstairs apartment and I had just returned home from grocery shopping and was trudging my purchases up the stairs and depositing them on the kitchen floor. I was considerate enough to not ask him to help since he worked a graveyard job and I knew that he was sleeping in anticipation of that evening’s shift. 
While I was putting away the groceries, I heard a strange noise coming from the rear of the apartment. I ventured toward our bedroom to investigate. I peeked through the half-open door and saw the hubby’s sleeping form under the blanket on the bed. Just then, I heard the noise again, louder this time; a mechanical, clicking type sound. I stepped into the room, just past the door and realized the noise was coming from behind me. 
It was dusk and the room was kind of shadowy, but not dark yet. In my peripheral vision I saw movement from behind the door. My heart skipped then jack hammered against my rib cage as I slowly turned around and came face-to-face with a tall man whose face was distorted by a pantyhose pulled over his head and he was pointing a pistol at my forehead. Okay, here is where my Charlie’s Angels skills were supposed to kick in. According to my fantasies, I should have roundhouse-kicked the gun out of his hand and planted my knee in his crotch before ripping the phone cord out of the wall and tying him up like Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 when she took down her booty-grabbing boss.
Well, it didn’t actually go down like that. I didn't knuckle up and open a can of whoop-ass on him. I simply didn’t react at all as my life literally flashed before my eyes, I deduced that my hubby was probably dead under that blanket on the bed and I was next. My legs gave out and I dropped to my knees and squeezed my eyes shut, hoping for a quick and mostly painless execution-style death.
Then he says, “It’s me, it’s me.” I opened my eyes to see the would-be assassin pull the pantyhose off his head and, low and behold, it’s my at-that-time-not-so-better half. It took about thirty seconds for me to realize that I wasn’t really going to die. The hubby had arranged pillows in the bed to make it look like he was sleeping and then hid behind the door to see how I would react if confronted with an intruder.
He didn’t immediately apologize for nearly giving me a heart attack. What he said was, “If I had been a real criminal, you would be dead. You failed.” Once the blood returned to my brain and my limbs were usable again, I tore into him like a tornado into a mobile home. He had no idea what hit him.
So, I asked myself...why didn’t I tear into the intruder like that when I feared for my life? It’s simple really. Only a few seconds had passed between the time I saw him and turned into a Jello shooter on the floor to when he revealed himself and alleviated the imminent danger. My body didn't have enough time to react to the fear invoked adrenaline that produces the fight or flight response (I stole that opinion from a security expert I consulted after buying pepper spray and a pocket knife). Another thirty seconds and I may have tackled him at the knees from my advantageous position on the floor and put him in a rear wrist lock before strangling him to death with the second leg of the pantyhose dangling alongside his head. Okay, I’m probably injecting some fantasy there. It's more likely that I would have opted for the flight response and dove through the window and fell two floors down into the dumpster in the alley.
Anyway, after some reflection, he apologized and admitted it had been a bad idea even though he insisted his heart was in the right place. He wanted to make sure I would defend myself in a real life scenario. Fourteen years later, I forgive him and now keep my loaded forty caliber Glock (complete with Trijicon night sights and two extra high cap clips) in an undisclosed, yet easily accessible, location in my bedroom. And, yes, I know how to use it. So, I don’t think he’d try something like that again. 

Thanks for having me, Jan. We'll do this again soon.  

For more information about Melissa, visit her website and her blog Melissa's Maniacal Musings.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some Men Are...Well...Dogs. Seriously...

After leaving Pale Rider, I wandered into a neighboring area in Colorado that seemingly had a jumping nightlife. I ducked into Celsius, a bar frequented by a motorcycle club called Dark Breed. I ran headlong into the club’s Sergeant At Arms, Knox Barrett. Equally unimpressed with my “press pass,” Knox conceded to my sweet southern charm and had a drink with me anyway. Now, y’all may have a certain perception of these werewolf type guys. Well, let me tell you something, I wasn’t prepared for this wolf.

Every bit the gentleman, Knox pulled my chair out for me, offered me a cigarette and bought me a drink. Here’s what transpired…

JJ:    Hi, Knox. Thanks for sitting down with me.  

KB:  No problem, babe.  Not sure why you have any desire to BS with me, but I’m all ears…

JJ:    Tell me a little bit about Dark Breed. 

KB:  Is this on the record? Or off? Hmmm…. Okay, well we’re an MC out of Colorado.  Sorry, that stands for Motorcycle Club.  Good group of men all around.  We do charity events, big bike runs and typically create hatred and discontent amongst the locals *grins*

JJ:    How long have you been involved with Dark Breed?

KB:  I’ve been with the club for a little over 16 years now.  They really are my only family. Parents are long since dead, no other siblings… so now, I have a shit ton of brothers.

JJ:    Are all the members werewolves?

KB:  Who told you that?! Werewolves? Are those even real? Okay, okay… yeah, we’re a bunch of filthy dogs.  No accounting for taste, right?

JJ:    You’re obviously that “alpha male” type that drives the girls crazy. Are you spoken for?  

KB:  Now, now, babe… You’re just gonna have to read the story, like everyone else.

JJ:    What’s “A Day in the Life of Knox” like?

KB:  You want another drink? Well, I’m the Sergeant at Arms for the club, so I have to take care of a lot of political crap for the MC world, but I also check in on our investments, make sure the brothers are all doing what they’re supposed to do, and generally make sure we continue to run like a well oiled machine.

JJ:    What do you do for fun?

KB:  I guess the stock answer would be riding around on my Harley, chasin women and creating a general nuisance to the local citizens.  But, honestly, I love workin on my bike, camping, drinkin, playin pool.  I love to ride out through the forest at night, it makes the hair on my arms stand up.  Great fuckin feelin.

JJ:    When can we expect to read your story?

KB:  I’m really hoping it will be out there sometime the end of next year, but who fuckin knows… I keep kickin my writer in the ass, but he can be just as temperamental as me sometimes, so I’ll just have to keep you posted.

JJ:    Anything else you’d like to share?

KB:  I’ll leave you with this, babe… “If you can’t be good, be good at it.” Words to live by.

Lightning Round Favorites:

Drink:  Top shelf Irish whisky
Color:  Red… straight up, obnoxious, in your face, fire engine red…
Season:  Spring
Flavor: Female
Movie:  Unforgiven… The good Clint Eastwood one         
Band:  GnR …. Love me some damn good rock.

Follow Knox on Twitter @Knox_Barrett

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crooked Fang...Live and In Color

On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado, I had the opportunity to see Crooked Fang play live at Pale Rider. After the show, I tried to impress the bassist, Xan Marcelles, with my “press pass.” The tall, brooding vampire laughed at me but was gracious enough to grant me an interview anyway. It went something like this…

We sat at a table in the back of the bar. I sipped a Diet Coke while Xan hit the whiskey and lit a cigarette.

JJ:    Hey, Xan. I enjoyed the show tonight. Y’all really draw in the crowds. Is it always this electric?

XM:  Well, there was the time that the power went out and the generator couldn’t fully support the show so we kind of switched to some cool daddio-style acoustic shit. But yes, we are an electric band. The power company loves our business. We kill trees with pride.

JJ:    Tell me a little bit about Crooked Fang.

XM:  What’s there to tell? We’re a shitty cover band. Just like all the other jerks that can’t write their own music.

JJ:    Are you the only vampire in the band?

XM:  Hmm, you sure you’re with the press? I should have patted you down. Last guy that asked that had a stake with his ale. ‘Course that doesn’t work. He found that out. There’s at least one more. Thinking you might be able to point him out. He’s the loudest one in the band.

JJ:    Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

XM:  Hendrix. I know, I’m a bass player. But really, if you look at it that way, I’m influenced by Peter Steele, Kurt Cobain, Jimi, even Danzig. Strong people inspire me. Even if they never believed it themselves.

JJ:    What’s “A Day in the Life of Xan” like?

XM:  Day? It’s like this: Zzzzz.

JJ:    Any hobbies?

XM:  Besides pretending to know more than two notes? Well, I like to fix things. And Charlie, the owner of Pale Rider, knows that very well. Other hobbies include: women, whiskey…wait, those are habits…well I don’t collect stamps, if that’s what you’re asking.

JJ:    Now, you know all the girls want to know. Are you taken?  

XM:  Haha. I was asked this by another gal recently. I guess I should start expecting this question. I have what I call, “hallway commitments.” You’re not releasing this interview here, are you? They’d fucking kill me. Bottom line: I’m single.

JJ:    When can your fans expect to read your story?

XM:  There’s a freebie out right now, available for easy download off that shithole of a site, Smashwords, but I found out Goodreads does that too, so here’s the link:
Click the green button that mysteriously says “download ebook” and there you go. Crooked Fang, the novel? It’s dropping late May, 2012. Just before the end of the world. Fucking fitting.

JJ:    Anything else you’d like to share?

XM:  I have a Facebook page and a website, links are and which also has a sign-up on the sidebar for my newsletter which I’ve been quiet on, but those people get the good stuff first.

Lightning Round Favorites:

Drink:  Whiskey
Color:  Blue
Season:  Autumn
Flavor:  Heheh.
Movie:  Shaft
Band:  Type O Negative and Hendrix I can listen to all day. Nirvana. Roy Orbison. See, I can’t just decide.

Thanks for indulging my curiosity, Xan. I had a great time talking to you. If you’re ever in my neck of woods, drop by and say, “Hello.”  Oh, I’ll be expecting an autographed CD.

For a good time, follow Xan on Twitter @CrookedFang