Who Needs Best Friends?

Whether it’s in real life or found on the big screen or between the pages of a favorite book, we need best friends.

Anyone who’s been through either good or difficult times can appreciate the steadfast friend who remains at your side.

As a writer, I can’t imagine having a main character without the benefit of a best friend.  Sometimes they provide comic relief or that voice of reason.  Whether that best friend is quirky, serious or just sweetly loyal, I love best friends!  Love, love, love ‘em!

Where would Lucy be without her Ethel?  Probably not in as much trouble, but, come on, where’s the fun in that?  Can you even picture Fred Flinstone without Barney Rubble?  Or Spongebob without Patrick. 

There are, of course, the stories with best friends that have you reaching for your tissue box.  Beaches.  Bridge to Terabithia.  My Girl.  Fried Green Tomatoes.  Charlotte’s Web.  Those are the stories that make you want a best friend just like the one you read or saw—even though…
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Look, Ma! No hands!

My junior year of college, I was sitting in the library, typing away on my laptop, trying to finish up a term paper, when it happened: my hands froze. Not good-God-the-library-is-cold-I-wish-I’d-brought-a-sweater froze. Not even kill-me-now-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper froze. No, I mean my hands physically froze, as in the muscles from my neck through my shoulders through my elbows through my forearms through my hands froze up, so that I couldn’t move them. And they stayed that way for a week. I couldn’t brush my hair. I couldn’t bring a fork to my mouth. All I could do was lie in bed, terrified that my life was never going to be the same again.

And it wasn’t. In the last 14 years, I’ve seen countless doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors. I’ve tried Western medicine, meditation, and acupuncture. I’ve had a variety of diagnoses. Fibromyalgia. Repetitive strain injury. Myofascial pain syndrome. And my personal favorite, “It’s all in your head.” Yeah, right, Buster. You try…
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One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato…

I Am Number Four…

And I’m not talking about the bad movie (based on the NYT Times Bestseller by Pittacus Lore – aka James Frey and Jobie Hughes) that hit the theaters less than a month ago, and is already available on Blue Ray. No, I’m referring to this blog. This is the fourth time in the last hour I’ve started my first Waterworld Mermaids blog, and I have drawn my line in the sand: this one will be the one…

So, prepare yourself. The number four has been my lucky number for more than three decades. Who knows what awe-inspiring blogging will happen in the paragraphs below. What key learnings (God, I hate that phrase…so corporate and annoyingly smug) will you walk away with in the five minutes it will take you to read my first Mermaid blog? (And being the optimist that I am, I assume you’re still reading).

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

Writers talk a lot about finding time to write.  I’m one of the writers who works a full-time job outside the home.  I’m a librarian and not because I love to read (that’s for another blog).  It’s enough to say I have to find time to write.  Or make time.

There were years when I couldn’t make any commitment at all to a writing schedule.  Family, illness (I’m an MS patient), career, and a loooong commute all conspired against a writing career.  Now, though, the kids are grown, the MS is under control and I’ve changed my schedule so I can take the train to my job in the Bronx.  No car, no every 6-week oil changes, no zillion $$ in gas each month.  And almost ten hours a week to sit back, think and (gasp) write.

Riding the train is all about the schedule – the minutes it takes to get from here to there.  My schedule puts me…
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Join Me on the Nothing’s Impossible Carousel!

In three days, I will celebrate an anniversary.  There won’t be any champagne toasts, no moonlit stroll, not even a single long stem, red rose….Well, actually there is one of those.  It’s rather permanent and its garden is very secret.  Only a handful have ever seen it.

This anniversary is of the day, five years ago this Saturday, when I learned for myself, that nothing is impossible.

I remember getting the phone call from the late Darrell Ives, (may his generous spirit rest in peace) as he boarded the band’s charter plane and let me know that he and the guys were on their way to me.  He mentioned where they were staying and asked me to meet him at the venue.  My heart had landed somewhere between my toes.  I was about to meet my musical heroes of the last twenty years and their head security man had just spoken to little ole me like I was a…
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Waterlogged

I like to read in the bathtub.

In fact, reading a good book in a nice, warm bubble bath is on my list of favorite things to do. Sure, I’m a writer, but I was a reader first. And trust me, there is no better place to read than in the bathtub. (Except for maybe the beach. Hmmm….)

But reading in the bathtub is not a simple process. Many years of plotting and field research have contributed to my idea of a perfect evening. So here are my thoughts on this sacred ritual.

What to Read Now, I don’t have to read a Nora Roberts (swoon) novel, although it is preferred. However, since I have pretty much read all of Nora’s books at this point, I’ve had to branch out.

Hard covers? I don’t think so. Hard covers are for bubble bath virgins. Unless you have impressive arm strength, or are some kind of martyr, this is just…
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Thank You Al Gore

Okay  . . . I know that Al Gore didn’t invent the internet but I don’t know who did and I’ve got to thank someone!  The worldwide web has been key to my life as a writer and I don’t know what I would do without it.

Now, if you read the first ever post on this blog, then you the know that the Waterworld Mermaids was the result of a raucous game of “Romance Jeopardy” and the meeting of 13 virgins at the Washington Romance Writers retreat.  we came together – all new – but also recognizing names from the WRW Yahoo loop.  The first step in a new friendship – aided by the internet.

Writing is a solitary pursuit. “Butt in chair hands on keyboard” does not lend well to group activity. And if you want to be a writer, then you have to write. But, we all live apart from each other, some at a great…
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The Write Time

You can’t see her but she’s there about halfway down the to-do list and she’s pissed off. How do I know? Maybe it’s the way her perky button nose is snarled. Or it could be the smoke pouring out of her ears. Perhaps the laser beams shooting out of her dark brown eyes was the give away. All I know is that right now I’m glad she’s not a real person . If she was, she’d be swinging and I’m a big wimp who can’t take a punch.

The she in question is my heroine. She’s stuck in a story after finding out the identity of the villain. She’s primed and ready for action, but is floundering around ignored by me as I work my way through the to-do list. More insistent that a hungry two-year-old who hasn’t had a nap, my heroine is ready to get moving but I’m still searching for the time to get the…
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Miss Instigator 2011

I blame Saturday morning cartoons.

Even my teenage fairy goddaughters agree: cartoons today stink. The mid-eighties were the best time to be a kid on Saturday morning. Jem, Kid Video, Dungeons & Dragons, The Gummi Bears, The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo, Strawberry Shortcake (the original, non-crappy version)…the list goes on. You have a favorite. You know which one. (Feel free to post it in the comments!)

Even our commercials were cooler. McDonald’s pulled a Weird Al Yankovic on “Für Elise,” the Schoolhouse rocked,  and Fruit Wheats was the “in” cereal. Nowadays, all the fairy goddaughters know is which horrible prescription medication can get them a piece of a civil lawsuit and how much they can save on car insurance.

My little sister and I ate up those cartoons. We’d watch for hours on the weekends. After the VCR was invented (yes, shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs), we taped them and watched them over and over…
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Enter the Mermaids

In the Spring of 2011, thirteen women met at the historic Carradoc Hall in Leesburg, Virginia. All wide-eyed first-timers at the Washington Romance Writers retreat, their diverse interests complemented each other in such a way that they decided to combine their forces and use their powers for good. And so from these inspirational waters sprang…

…The Waterworld Mermaids.

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