Writing

Things Jamie Oliver Says

I firmly believe that by sharing what a giant goofball I am, people out there who are also giant goofballs will feel a little better about, you guessed it, their giant goofballismness.

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When I wrote an English character named Oliver and needed to know what he sounded like, I went to the very best source I could think of and that my friends was Jamie Oliver. Who is cuter than he? Basically I sat and watched tons of Jamie’s shows (and he’s got some goodies–like the ones where he’s running around random New York neighborhoods at night finding restaurants people run out of their homes without permits but really good food) with my notebook and my remote. I’d pause and jot, pause and jot. And this is the list I came up with for my Englishman’s voice and speech. Some of this will…
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You Complete Me? I Don’t Think So!

When Jerry Maguire popped onto the big screen in 1996, we all loved to shout out favorite movie quotes. “Show me the money!” Who wouldn’t like that? “Help me help you!” Or even “You had me at hello.” It’s what Jerry said to Dorothy right before that last one which made me want to slam my head against a brick wall. Do you remember the words?

“You complete me.” No. No, no, no. A million times NO!

If a man tells me he completed a triathlon, that’s quite an accomplishment. I’m impressed. If he completed his master’s program or an application for a job or an essay for a scholarship, wonderful! But, if a man ever said to me, “You complete me,” I would run—not walk—to the nearest exit.

First of all, I can barely complete an exercise routine. I can never complete housework chores. Sometimes I can’t seem to complete my manuscript. So why, in the name of all that’s holy, would I want to complete another human being?…
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I Know I Love You…at first sight

Hello Fishy Friends!

Not too long ago, I wrote this post for ARe Cafe (I love them and they’re awesome!) except for I didn’t get any comments, which made me feel like this…

 I really wanted to chat with anyone willing to talk about the speed of love at first sight and what we like in our romance novels. So I’m reposting this here in the pond today and crossing my fins that I’ll get a nibble…

xoxo

Carlene Mermaid

“I wait all day just hoping for one more minute with you and I don’t even know you.”

Do you remember when Maggie said that to Seth in the 1998 movie “City of Angels”?

Did you believe in those words with all your heart?

What if I told you that’s where I want to start every story I write. I don’t do it, of course, but I can’t…
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Renovating Your Book

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

My husband and I spent ours working on our basement. Thank heavens my husband is a very handy guy because we have spent the last several months finishing our basement. It has been a long arduous task involving framing, insulating, dry walling, tiling and painting. After a long weekend of sanding and painting, my back is locked up tighter than Fort Knox and, sadly, I’m only halfway done painting the doors, windows and trim moldings.

As I labored away yesterday, it dawned on me how many parallels there are between building something and the writing process. Whether you’re finishing a basement, building a skyscraper or writing a novel it’s always important to start with a strong framework. Without a solid foundation your building or your story will fall apart.

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Golden Heart and Rita nominees, oh my!

SusanMermaidFriends, this is the LAST DAY in 2014 when RWA members will be in the dark. Yes, tomorrow is The Day for the announcement of Golden Heart and Rita finalists!

Hi, Rita! <3

Since you all know I’m incredibly helpful in dealing with anxiety (first lie), I offer these ideas (gleaned from the incredible brains of the young men I teach).

– play video games – watch movies – go to the gym – play sports – listen to music – lock yourself in a dark room and avoid talking (really!) – get your guitar and rock out – there is no such thing as anxiety in my world (yes, he really said that)

This, as opposed to the usual stress ideas I see on other blog posts, which usually I include references to cookies, ice cream and alcohol consumption.

Also, I have two family members…
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Where Do You Write?

pintipThe place I write most often is my recliner.

My favorite place to write is probably in my bed, first thing in the morning, when I’m snuggled into my pillows, sleepy and uninhibited.

The strangest place I’ve ever written is flat on my back, under a glass coffee table, dictating to a laptop which is face-down on the glass.

I’ve written almost everywhere, in coffee shops and on airplanes, in friends’ houses and libraries, on the sidelines at gymnasiums and swimming pools, at the beach, a ski lodge, a bench at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Basically, anytime I have a free moment, I pull out my iPhone and write.

But where am I most productive? This answer might surprise you. I certainly never would’ve expected it.

In my car. Yep, that’s right. Behind the wheel, my seat slid all the way back, parked on some side street or lot. Sometimes, I’m between…
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Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day!

No green beer for me this year due to another bout of snow and a yucky cold.

But, I have to admit that I love St. Paddy’s Day! When I was in junior high, I was sent to the office for a violation of the dress code. We weren’t allowed to wear buttons with sayings, and I had about seventy Irish buttons all over my clothes. It took me a good half hour to remove them all. They didn’t say anything about the pointed leprechaun shoes or the bright green wig though.

The fascination with all things green and Irish continued throughout the years. When I was in my early twenties, I went to Ireland and decided I wanted to move there. Clearly, that didn’t happen, so I settled on getting a leprechaun tattoo instead.

What is it about St. Patrick’s Day that makes everyone happy? I’ve never been to a pub when fights break out. People share their excitement and wear green sparkles and goofy hats and pointed shoes….
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Writers & Writing & Weekend Retreats: A Match Made in Happy Town

Denny (PortRoyale)This past weekend, I had a fabulous time in Boonsboro, MD, hanging with a bunch of writers I know from the Washington Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) serving the Washington, DC area.

First, you may not know about Boonsboro (Nora Roberts hangs out there a lot, but not this weekend:). Three years ago, I didn’t know it from any other small town in Maryland. But each year since first attending this gathering I’ve had a tremendous time, but this year, I don’t know, this year was a really, really, good time. Why? What made it different? Well, this year, here’s what happened:

I learned about writing romance and how characters can fall in love – thank you Kathleen Gilles Seidel. I also learned I will do almost anything to receive the ARC for Lavinia Kent’s next book. Actually, I’ll do anything. I learned that with a gentle nudge Read the Rest…

All I need to know about writing I learned from a cartoon cow!

Mermaid CarleneWell, maybe not everything, but what I did learn was HUGE!

It was Sunday morning and ahem, I was watching Nick Toons. 🙂 Back at the Barnyard was on with an episode called “Cowdyshack”. For the record, I did not plan to come away with this writing nugget but I’m pretty much convinced that I was meant to receive it. And share with you.

So, Otis (the main character, a boy cow) is out with his posse of barnyard buddies and wrangles them a day on a golf course from his friend, a human named Crazy Louie, who sneaks them in. Once they’re all on the golf course, Crazy Louie bids them adieu. Otis and his buddies are practicing their swings when Pig takes a whack. He lets it rip and the golf club goes flying. It travels through the air and lands smack in Crazy Louie’s back, knocking him to the ground! Otis and friends run to his side. Crazy Louie is in…
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Writing through the Fog

Caution Heavy Fog pic

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI conference in NYC, and while we were waiting for the next great speaker, random quotes would appear on the mega screens to keep us patient.

One quote by E.L. Doctorow kept with me during the weekend, and I wrote it down in my handy-dandy composition notebook. It was this: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Wow. That’s it exactly! Each scene, each chapter leads you to the end of the book. That made me think about WIPs and the obstacles that get in our way while we’re writing. I started to see all these similarities between driving in the fog and writing a book.

Then I did what some writers do best. I distracted myself and started Googling. I found a bunch of warnings for…
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