Selva Oscura – Absolution is Not an Option…




Hey there friends! Shall we take the sweet with the bitter? I’m rather a fan of the savoury myself…

First up, new, sweet business — we have a brand spanking new giveaway going on over at Goodreads! We’re giving away four print copies of our latest dark fantasy offering, Saurimonde III. All you have to do is follow the link below for your chance to win!

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

And now onto old, sort of bitter business — I found this journal entry quite by accident earlier after clicking on the wrong icon. I think it was from the end of summer 2012? When I’d started on the first Saurimonde novel — a different time and a different place, but it is evocative, and took me quite by surprise.

2012, Montsegur, France – Summer:

Selva Oscura,

There is a character, a succubus, crafting herself out of darkness and chaos, and I have a feeling she’s going to reek havoc on my new story. I don’t whether I’m birthing her into existence, or whether she is being rebirthed. Sometimes it feels like she’s using me as a conduit and has been waiting for the opportune moment to do so. 
Partial character study — the words are from a fragment of a dream.
“I’ll never forgive you and there’s a part of me that will always hate you. The feeling is irrational and rears its ugly head at a moment’s notice. I have to keep remembering — this is not my fault — I did not cause this situation — you did. Absolution is not an option. It may hurt me more, but I’ll never be there in my soul, not even if I mouth the words of your proverbial redemption. Time should heal these things and I no longer dwell on them like I once did — you no longer haunt my waking thoughts. When reminded of the past it’s more like the sudden pain of being touched with the lit end of a cigarette. I lash out at the world — of course, that’s putting it mildly, when what I really want is to rip down the fabric of creation itself. The irrational rises inside like a darkened whirlwind, an abyss without stars, like utter blackness — and it builds like the pregnant sky before a southern storm. I cannot control this — there are no reins, no brakes, no known forms of control, as it spills forth. Do you hear my voice howling in the winds? Don’t you not recognize what shimmers in the shadows? There is power there. You hang your head, cowering in shame, but if you only stood still, and raised a hand to the west, you would realize this is a gift. Go, dive deeper into the water. Hold your breath longer than you ever thought possible. Far past the murkiness and into the deep, deep, depths. Why do you deny yourself these things? She is always there waiting for you, shining in her cloak of immaculate darkness. No more celebrated now than the distant memory of a dull glint on a rusted blade.”

And that’s where it stops…

It’s scary. It’s violent. I’m well aware of where my head was at the time. I know the circumstances — but it is raw and honest. I love these fragments of dreams, and I love having forgotten them only to stumble across them at a later date. Besides the first Saurimonde novel there’s the germ on Sisters of the Wasteland in there as well. I miss the ancient spirits of the olde country and maybe they miss me too. But the time to return is not yet, although it will be soon. I bide my time as I rebuild an empire.

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

SAURIMONDE III — C’est Fini!

What a month it’s been so far! I’m sitting here in Los Angeles, basking in the hot February sunshine. It’s such a blessing after so many winters in the freezing cold of the Pyrenees, and as much as I may miss my home, I will never miss the cold.

So first —  the very good news — Saurimonde III is finished! It’s currently available on Amazon Kindle (the physical copy will be out next week) and it’s the first book launched on our newly formed Lux in Tenebris Publishing label. There will be lots more about that development in the near future — so keep an eye on this space!

Saurimonde III:

 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 cult leader, Na Dag’ma, who, after initating her into their strange faith, sends her on a quest to find a dangerous ancient relic.

Amid a quagmire of lies, dulplicity, 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?
It’s available here: Saurimonde III Amazon Kindle

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Even though it’s been an age (not really, it only feels that way) since I’ve been sequestered in the back beyond, Melissa and I managed to record a new podcast at the BTS studios as soon as I hit the ground yesterday.

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!).

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Tomorrow, we’ll be filming for our brand new super secret project that I am so excited about! Maybe I’m finally starting to travel out of the crossroads. I say this with cautious optimism because I’ve thought the same thing a couple of times over this last rather surreal and harsh year only to be knocked back to square one and told to wait. Still, all I can do is follow the signs wherever they may lead…

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

Just a quickie… that ended up not a quickie…

January 10th.

Drowning not waving through  the holidays…

Hey! Am finally checking in. Have had my fair share of unfortunate luck which means I was offline on top of having some version of the dreaded lurgy which lingered and lingered like a most unwelcome guest while I waited for my laptop to be fixed. Things have stabilized and we’re in the midst of the very last contraction on SAURIMONDE III. Some days it’s felt like I’ve been pushing a very large boulder up an extremely steep hill, but I’m happy with the material, and it’s really fucking bonkers while still retaining a large amount of esoteric wyrdness within all the sex, death and scenes of madness. Plus, we’ve finally gotten a chance to expand the mythology within the Saurimonde universe. If all goes to plan then it should be released at the beginning of February. Fingers crossed though, because the one thing I’ve come to learn is the closer you come to finishing a major project the more the real world will conspire to make it very fucking hard for you to do so. I’ve also decided after we finish SAURIMONDE III that I will go in and give DESIRED PYROTECHNICS one more rewrite. One final brush of the hair. One more coat of gloss. Everything can always be made prettier and tighter. After working on it so intensely I knew I needed to give the last draft some distance. Like with painting, or even cooking, sometimes you have to step back and let things stew on their own for a while before adding the next element or ingredient. But it will be worth the wait — it always is.

Quite by chance a couple of weeks ago I found out that THE OTHERWORLD (L’AUTRE MONDE) (2013) a documentary that I had the pleasure to co-wrote and appear in is streaming on Netflix. It features cinematography by Karim Hussain, and a score by Simon Boswell, and touches upon some of the more supernatural mysteries in the South of  France. I’m absolutely chuffed and slightly flabbergasted that such a strange and psychedelic film would be on there. So for those of you who have been asking you can watch it there anytime you wish.

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And at the tail end of having the dreaded lurgy, Melissa and I managed to get in another podcast. Admittedly, I’m a little scratchy and not really on my game at all, but it’s still kind of fun even if it is the most PG version we’ve ever done. At that it’s NSFW. You have been warned.

In our fifteenth episode we suffer through the holidays with: glitter beards and armpit hair, a naked artist in a glass box who masturbates, dinosaur erotica by Christie Sims, Ted Cruz holiday erotica, and remembering Lemmy.

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Fucking Angus Scrimm died today. First Holly, then Lemmy, and now Angus. I hope someone at Morningside Cemetary lights a candle for him. So strange and awful to have so many of one’s formative influences and teenage heroes die at the same time. It’s enough to make one feel old. The world will never see people like these again. They broke the mold with each and every one and in today’s cookie cutter, prefab world it’s a testament to what once was.

January 11th

Then the world stopped this morning. Bowie is gone. I’m sitting here blasting The Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting in the back seat of my father’s dark blue ’67 Chevy Mustang and Lady Stardust is blaring from the car speakers. It’s near twilight. Neon signs light up the distance. There’s a cool wind blowing on my face and all the secret scents of the desert are blooming near nightfall. Bowie’s voice breaks my heart and I’m crying for a Lady Stardust I never knew (only finding out later the song was written about Marc Bolan). It’s a potent memory for me because it was the moment I realized music could make you feel things you couldn’t put words to — it could come and wrap itself around your soul — it could find those secret spaces which ached inside of you so fiercely you thought no one else could ever understand. But in reading through my feed this morning that is what struck me the most — how many of us had the same encounters and how much his music helped us and gave us hope that we were not alone, no matter how damaged we were. That is art, and that is transcendence. When I was transplanted from LA to the ultra-conservative Midwest while beginning high school it was Bowie who played on my walkman 24-7 in an attempt to blot out the ugliness surrounding me. Dropped into a world that loathed anyone who was different from themselves, sometimes it was only his music that saw me through being beaten up by jocks and cruelly harassed by preppies and cheerleaders alike. I had no friends. Music and that goddamned walkman were my only friends. How do you thank someone for such a thing? Do they even know on some level that whatever they are creating is helping some alienated and disenfranchised kid make it through another horrible day? For us overly creative weirdo types he was our role model; part of our yet-to-be-realized tribe, and his music was the touchstone that better days were to come. Art, hope, imagination and reimagination; Bowie was the magician when it came to these things. That is what us freaks, rubbing the starlight into our eyes, loved about him. He was our fucking hero and there will never be another like him. Thank you for being the blackstar, Sir David, in our fragile souls.
So much for this being a quickie… but before it gets any longer I have to get onto conjuring for the day.
Much love from where the worlds touch,
S – xx

P.S. 
January 12th.
A bright spot in the darkest of weeks. I saw this note on FB from Andy Paciorek of WYRD HARVEST PRESS the other day which cheered me up immensely.
“I received a nice note today from Chesire Wildlife Trusts thanking us for the donation raised by the sales of the FOLK HORROR REVIVAL: FIELD STUDIES book. Thought you might like to see one of the actual owls that the donation would benefit. Checking a nest at one of there reserves, they discovered four barn owl chicks, one of whom is pictured here. 
photo by Jenna Sproston


So thank you again to those who worked on / and or bought copies of the book. Folk Horror Revival will continue to donate 100% of sales profits to countryside, community and enviornmental projects run by The Wildlife Trusts.”
This book is available at: FOLK HORROR REVIVAL: FIELD STUDIES
Melissa St. Hilaire and I were thrilled to have contributed to this fascinating book with a section about the mythology behind our popular dark fantasy series books, SAURIMONDE. I have an enormous love and fascination of owls (and bats, wolves, and foxes) and this picture makes me smile every time I look at it. 

And… Folk Horror Revival has a new website which is more than worth your time to check out. You can find it HERE 

Beyond the Fields We Know…

I’m playing virtual hooky this morning. I should be writing on the next Saurimonde book like I’ve been doing every day for the last few weeks but I’m tired. Bone-weary, ass-draggin’, tired. And as much fun as it is to write the Saurimonde tales, it also means huge amounts of isolation for myself, and boldly marching into some fairly combustible internal landscapes; dredging through those memories and emotions which I will always bear the scars from. Not exactly a piece of cake by any stretch of the imagination.

But enough grousing…

I’m immensely honored to have co-written a piece in this new book, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies (Wyrd Harvest Press & Andrew Paciorek), with Melissa St. Hilaire, on the little known Medieval and Basque mythology of the Saurimonde stories.

Here’s a little more about the book:

“Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore.  

Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Phillip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more.


100% of the profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to enviormental, wildlife, and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.”


Wyrd Harvest Pressexplores the landscapes of Folk Horror and related realms in film, tv, books, art, music, events, and other media and also psychogeography, hauntology, folklore, cultural rituals and costume, earth mysteries, archaic history, hauntings, southern gothic, landscapism / visionary naturalism & geography, murder ballads, backwoods horror, carnavalia, dark psychedelia, wyrd forteana and other strange edges.

At  498 pages there’s a lot of Folk Horror bang for your buck! You can find out more here .

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And in other news…

The other day while recording at the latest podcast at the BTS studios we noticed we’d broken the 1000 listener mark. So while I’m here, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who listens, comments, and sends us weird shit. We adore you all! xx

Here’s the latest episode – once again, it’s NSFW!

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Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

DESIRED PYROTECHNICS – first peek

All right… I’ve tried to make this post a few times now, but like the contrary creature I am, I keep changing my mind. Quite possibly it’s because this new book is such a radical departure from anything I’ve written before. There’s parts I adore and there’s parts that make me nervous. I’ll shut up now and just fucking post a piece of the beast

DESIRED PYROTECHNICS

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“I wandered through an unknown countryside with rolling hills and jagged peaks in the distance which looked like broken teeth. Pockets of low lying, heavy fog encircled me, impeding my way forward. There was an abandoned farmhouse which looked like it had been rotting for years and the earth had reclaimed the land. I went to take a closer look when it occurred to me I may not want to. Nothing lived in this landscape. This is where time had stopped and I was somehow trapped there. Which might have meant that I wasn’t alive any more. Was I dead? I couldn’t remember. There’d been some kind of tragedy which had made time stop but I couldn’t recall what it was even if it was on the tip of my tongue. If I could remember what had happened then I might have a chance of making my way out of there. The fog wove its way around me again until it physically pressed down on me and I thought I was suffocating…
I awoke with a start. My heart pounded and I was gasping for air. Night had fallen and the room was pitch black. For a moment I was so disoriented I couldn’t remember where I was and thought I was still trapped within the dreamscape. I laid there peering into the darkness until I saw the outline of the marble fireplace from across the room. My heart rate slowed. The dream didn’t return and I crawled out of bed and limped downstairs to see if Tabby was there. I needed confirmation someone else was alive.

All the lights were off as I bumped around the kitchen in search of a clock that I never found. With my good hand, I poured myself a glass of wine and went outside into the garden to look at the stars. Even as a small child staring at the stars had been a source of comfort to me. Sitting in a black corded lounge chair, I traced the Milky Way with my finger as it spanned the sky like a celestial spine. Sipping the wine, I listened for the frogs singing down by the river, but they were silent which meant it must have been the wee hours of the morning. It was all so peaceful, but the anxiety I felt with every beat of my heart wouldn’t lessen. Emotionally, what I was facing was blacker than the night and no stars were going to save me. Nothing was going to save me… I prayed to the skies for a respite. Give me vast fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see. Give me anything which resembled a distraction. Give me drugs or alcohol. Give me a lover’s arms. Give me anything to take the pain away and make me forget for a while, I pleaded. Please don’t let me crack up…”

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These last couple of weeks have been insanely creative. I’m extremely thankful to have the time and headspace but I’m stretched thin and only pushing harder. Did take a night off to go out dancing under the full moon and spent the next day at the beach crashing around in the waves and climbing over slippery rocks exploring formerly unknown sandy stretches of shore. 
And we managed to get another podcast done which I will post below. It’s been so much fun getting the feedback from these crazy things. And no, they’re never scripted.

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our sixth episode is all touchy feely: From arranging your junk and surprising boob facts to foot orgasms and bizarro dinosaur porn!

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Hope you all are enjoying these last dog days of summer. So much change is in the wind…

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

Nefarious, Beautiful & Vicious — SAURIMONDE III is gonna be a blast!

What a fabulously strange year it has been so far…
In the beginning of August, both Melissa and I instantly knew it was time to start on the next SAURIMONDE book. Almost the day after we made this decision, a friend of ours offered us her gorgeous, serene house for a couple of weeks and we jumped on the opportunity. 
For the first time since we began the SAURIMONDE journey we actually sat down together and embarked upon a treatment while in the same room.

During the other two books, I was living halfway across the world in France while Melissa was in California, and we’d tossed ideas back and forth on Skype. 

To be honest we only had the vaguest idea for an outline of the first book. The same for the second, although the writing went much faster on that one. This time we were prepared and now we are gearing up for the most raucous story yet!  

It was amazing how easy it all came together. I’m used to treatments being a hair-pulling nightmare, but this one was a joy. We spent most of the afternoon lounging in the walled front garden tossing back and forth ideas until we got stuck. Then, we’d take a break or resume the next day.

There might have been some wine drinking involved and a lot of, “Are we really going to do something that horrible to the characters? Oh yes, we are…” (Insert girlish cackling here.)

We are astounded the way the SAURIMONDE world has grown and the ways in which the story is opening up. What started as a vague idea a few years ago in a casual conversation has taken on a life of its own and become its own mythology. 

Like throwing a stone in a pond, we had no idea the way it was going to ripple and take so many weird twists and turns, but it’s been an amazing adventure and continues to be so. We cannot wait to get started writing and, if all goes according to plan, we’ll have the next book out in the fall.

And in further news…

BETWEEN THE SHEETS Episode 5 is live! “All about Orgasms, A Windows 10 warning, and A Squirrel Stalker”.

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our fifth episode explodes with an orgasm: We start off by celebrating National Orgasm Day then move onto a PSA for Windows 10 and end with the squirrels are not what they seem…

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

Through a Kaleidoscope Darkly and more…


Finally! Issue 6 of the highly regarded THE HERETIC MAGAZINE is out. For those of you interested in alternative history, lost civilizations and technologies, mysteries and conundrums, religion, the occult etc… this magazine is not to be missed! Plus — there’s an article co-written by yours truly on the fascinating life and mysterious death of the Belle Epoch alchemist, Irene Hillel Erlanger, author of VOYAGES EN KALEIDOSCOPE, who, rumor has it, gave away thermal secrets of the Great Work. 


To find out more and get your hands on a copy visit their website at: The Heretic Magazine

And now for something completely different ’cause that’s how we roll around here… Episode 4 of BETWEEN THE SHEETS WITH MELISSA AND SCARLETT is now live!

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our fourth episode is all over the place: After debunking a story from the previous episode we dive right into the gutter with insane sex toys, porn secrets, and pot!

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Obviously, it’s been a wild week around here. Summer is in full swing and there’s been many late nights as the creativity and synchronicites continues to flow ever onwards.

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S- xx

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler…

Between the Sheets Episode Three is Live! 

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our third episode starts out weird and gets weirder: We tried to change it up with aliens and bigfoot but ended up with “Darth Vibrator” and anal beads! We may need to start marketing ‘mind bleach‘ at this rate…

& Sex.

More good news…! The first draft of my new book DESIRED PYROTECHNICS is finished! 80,000 words plus! There’s a still a million miles to go, but at least there’s a million more behind me now.

Here’s the dedication: “To the beaten down, the misfits, the outcasts, the dreamers, the fabulous beasts, and the saintly sinners, to those who have been knocked to the ground, gotten back up, and raised a middle finger.”

On the surface it’s a brutal tale about sex, drugs and love gone totally mad, but underneath there’s another thread about being forced to endure the long, dark night of the soul — and the people who are there to help along the way. That wasn’t the story I set out to write, but it’s the story that wanted to be told.

And in more good news…! Melissa St. Hilaire and myself are starting on the third SAURIMONDE book asap. We started batting around new ideas by the pool yesterday and there’s definitely going to be some evil cult action. We’re going to resurrect Pan, and Bazak is already making his presence known, lurking around in the shadows. I don’t know if I’m ready as a writer to take him on again as a character — he steals every scene he’s such a fictional bastard. Saurimonde is going to be a litte more bad ass this tale, having finally come into her personal power in the last one, and we’re doing our best to conjure all kinds of new daemonic trickery for our beloved heroine.

What?! You haven’t read the first two SAURIMONDE books yet? What are you waiting for?! You can find them here – Amazon

Hope your summer is going well… Mine has been more productive and more fun than I had ever imagined. The sunshine of LA, and the company of good friends, like minds and creative comrades has given me the time, space and inspiration I so sorely needed.

Will be painting on the multi-media art project SISTERS OF THE WASTELAND for the next few days. Cannot wait to share some of the images we’ve been collaborating on!

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

Between the Sheets Episode Two is Live! NSFW — and probably NSFL…!

Between the Sheets with Melissa and Scarlett is a podcast about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more.

Our second episode quickly delves into the nether regions: It’s the unofficial vagina con in the BTS studio. Weird vagina facts, yoni yogurt, to rabbit or not to rabbit and more!

And here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of us hard at work:

Just so people know — that’s a fake Star Trek phaser I’m pointing at Melissa and myself. Sucks I even have to mention such a thing in this overly PC day and age, but there you go! And here I go to…

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S – xx

Between the Sheets – Episode One is Live!

So…

The new super secret project with Melissa St. Hilaire, my SAURIMONDE co-writer, can finally be revealed. We’re doing a weekly podcast, ‘BETWEEN THE SHEETS – WITH  MELISSA & SCARLETT – LIKE YOU, ONLY MORE PERVERSE’.

We’ll be talking about weird news, entertainment, pop culture, writing, sex, and more sex!

Our first episode starts with a bang: It’s the unofficial penis festival in the BTS studio. Glitter, pet names, voyeurism, etc etc! And before I forget to mention it, this podcast is NSFW — not by any stretch of the imagination, so don’t even go there.

Links:

Between the Sheets on itunes

Between the Sheets on Feedburner

Between the Sheets on Soundcloud

Between the Sheets official website

Little word of warning — if women talking explicitly about sex frightens you, and you don’t possess a sense of humour, then don’t listen, okay?

Personally, my favorite part was the whole ‘soak your dick for Jesus’ fandago. The phrase is now on constant rotation around here. I also love the fact that Melissa sounds like a professional NPR person, only everything which comes out of her mouth is wrong. It so works.

So… at the end of each segment we’re going to do an ‘ask us anything’ piece. We want to hear from you! Send us your questions to:
melissa@betweenthesheets69.com
scarlett@betweenthesheets69.com

Much love from where the worlds touch,

S -xx

p.s. I’m also featured this week on the fantastic site, Feminine Power Circle, talking about the bravest thing I’ve ever done which can be found here

p.p.s. Thanks to every one who has sent us their questions and ideas over the Facebook page — keep them coming — we’re all ears!