All posts by Carlene

Quintessentially Me: Carlene

Mermaid-Carlene-300x225Happy 2016, fishy friends! Welcome to the New Year, the lagoon and to this month’s blog theme: Find something of meaning with history that describes/embodies/personifies you to a tee.

(Thank you, Alethea Mermaid, for the thought-provoking prompt!)

So… Here I’ve been searching my house the past two days for something that fits the bill. It’s not been easy! Simply put, I’m a girl of few possessions.

The things I treasure, I often pack up and stick in my car. Her name is Fancy, my car, because she was the most stripped down model of Honda I could afford but she may as well be a billion dollar spaceship to me and I’d never want her to feel anything less than that. The places we have gone, the things we have seen…

At any given moment, Fancy’s trunk might be carrying around such precious cargo as my telescope whose name is Vera. Vera because in Spanish, it means “he or she will see”. I earned Vera by helping a writing friend of mine with their book and I’m very proud of that. Bonus points for how cool it was that my friend happened to have read my bio and noted my affinity for stargazing. Surprise!

Let’s see, there’s also a box of my published books. With it being the New Year and all, I’d like to speak it into existence that someday soon, those books will go from Fancy’s fabulous trunk and into the hands of readers.

Like flesh and bone girls, Fancy isn’t just about the fun in her trunk…

There are the scratch marks covering the front interior from where I stuffed chain-link building materials inside her, convinced I was going to erect my own fence. Hey, in my defense, I’d just repaired a big hole in one of the house walls and was feeling pretty ambitious.

There’s this man-boy I transport around. The orange, melted-crayon stains on the backseat are his work of art but lately, he graces Fancy withFancyandCarlene Nay-Nay whipping, a smelly singlet and a very heavy backpack. For the record, he’s responsible for my most favorite stains.

Sand. There will always be sand. Everywhere.

Um, and air fresheners because I might have a very sensitive tummy. Yes, I just said that. Oh my goodness … and I totally could have blamed it all on man-boy’s smelly singlet! Zoinks. (Mermaid blushing…)

Essentially, that’s us. Fancy and me. Partners for as long as she’ll have me. Ready to hit the road, see new places and experience new adventures.

Maybe one of these days, she’ll lead me on a road to you, fishy friends.

I wish you all a wonderful 2016 and encourage you to take some time to enjoy being outside. Who knows what you might find out there. And I’d love to hear something you hold dear that simply says, “You”.

Xoxo,

Carlene Mermaid

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannot Write Without: Lea Bronsen

The question in the lagoon this month has been: What’s the one thing you cannot write without?

We’ve had a plethora of fabulous answers from writers all over the world. Today’s answer comes from Carlene’s music nut rock sister, LeaLea Bronsen Bronsen!

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Thank you so much for inviting me today! What a lovely blog this is, and I’m really pleased to visit.

What is the one thing I cannot write without, you ask? Let me think… I don’t necessarily need my laptop—I’ll type or scribble on anything I happen to have at hand: my smartphone, a doodled-on page in my Filofax, the tiniest post-it note, a folded magazine someone left on my commute, a napkin some gorgeous café waiter handed me with a white-toothed smile…

Hmm, I don’t need to be at any particular place either—I’ll write on the bus with strangers staring from the corner of their eye, in bed propped up against my favorite pillows, elbowing for space at the dinner table, lying on the grass while kiddos play soccer around me, and even in the bathtub savoring a hot— (ahem… TMI perhaps, lol).

This is how my latest book Mine to Love, which I’ll talk about in a bit, came to life. Little by little, with a variety of means and at the weirdest of places.

See, as long as my imagination is at the rendez-vous, I have everything I need to write, except… time.

Yep. The biggest hindrance getting any words onto paper is everything else I do in life: having a full-time job and devoting my days and nights to three beautiful daughters and a husband. Would you believe I considered doing NaNoWriMo this year? Ha ha, what a face-slap moment it was when it hit me that I simply don’t have the time 😀

XX Lea

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A Bit About Lea: I like my reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strive to give my own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with my debut novel Wild Hearted, I divide my writing time between psychological thriller, suspense romance, and erotic contemporary romance.

I love to hear from my readers! Write to [email protected] or meet me on:

Website | Lea’s Crazy Nights Blog | Facebook profile | Facebook page | Twitter | Amazon

minetoloveA Bit About Lea’s Latest Release, Mine to Love

The writing conference in sunny Cannes was fantastical, a dream. Back at home, reality catches up with author Andrea Johnson and the sexy cover model of her book, Yushka. With tough working schedules, challenging family relations, and seductive temptation from all sides, the couple’s explosive romance is put to the test.

Will their love be strong enough to have a future?

 

Cannot Write Without: Carlene Love

The question in the lagoon this month: What’s the one thing you cannot write without?

Today’s answer comes from Waterworld Mermaids’ very own, Carlene Love.

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WordsOne thing, says Alethea. One thing. The. One. Thing. You need to write.

I love her. But this was hard. Until I realized I could make a tiny tweak to our theme. Maybe it’s not the “end all, be all” of writing necessities, but I’ll tell you what, I do much better in its comfy embrace. Without the nighttime, my words would be like sad little kids sitting on a bone-dry slip ‘n’ slide with a water hose stuck in the yard across the street guarded by a frothy-mouthed attack monster of your choice.

Man, that’s not a pretty scene. But hopefully this poem is. Thank you for letting me share why I love to write at night…

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Safe Words

I’d like to wake up when it’s safe and dark

Pull back the covers and get in my car

Drive until the road meets the edge of the sea

Call to you

Then hear you call back to me.

We can whisper and let everyone else sleep

It’s okay, you can speak

Your darkest and most beautiful truth

Dear Words, I surrender to you

And only the stars will know what we’ve said

And I’ll drive back home and crawl into bed

With you.

~by Carlene Love

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Do you love the night too? What’s your favorite thing to do in the dark? I’d love to hear it.

Fishy kisses to you all,

Carlene Mermaid

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Connect with Carlene on Facebook

Check out Carlene’s free read, Touch of Sin

 

Thank you, Andrew.

Beach 2Written for Andrew, a man I didn’t need to meet.

“Still”

I sit and think because I still can

What I am, I still am

He was a good man.

 

Thank you for your service, Andrew McKenna.

Andrew was killed on Friday by a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan while serving our country. I never met him, but he was deployed with a family member who is still out there, giving her best, and what he did, he did for you and me. My most heartfelt and sincere thoughts are with his family, his fellow troops, and all those he did this for.

Be Here Now, friends. Be Here Now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talking Kisses

Image courtesy of dan  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jason Aldean…”I can taste the midnight on your lips. Makes me just wanna lean in for another kiss.” Tonight Looks Good On You

Little Big Town…”I wanna taste her lips yeah cuz they taste like you.” Girl Crush

Toby Keith…”You shouldn’t kiss me like this unless you mean it like that, cuz I’ll just close my eyes and I won’t know where I’m at.” You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This

Jason Mraz…”Curl your upper lip up and let me look around, ride your tongue along your bottom lip then bite down…Kiss me with your eyelashes tonight.” Butterfly

Casey James…”I miss the way you weren’t ashamed, the way you never closed your eyes.” Miss Your Fire

Mikky Ekko…”One taste, I’m a full blown addict.” Love You Crazy

Rihanna…”Chest to chest, nose to nose…wrist to wrist, toe to toe, lips that felt just like the inside of a rose.” California King Bed

Maroon 5…”Leaving your taste on my shoulder…” Woman

David Cook…“I’m as drunk as the morning sun, a ball of fire and I’ve just begun, to drink you in.” Wait For Me

Hozier…”Honey, just put your sweet lips on my lips, we could just kiss like real people do.” Like Real People Do

Ed Sheeran…”Your heart’s against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck, I’m falling for your eyes but they don’t know me yet.” Kiss Me

Kings of Leon…”The tip of your tongue, the top of your lungs is doing my head in.” Beautiful War

Tove Lo…’Lips, lips I kiss, bite me while I taste your fingertips.” Talking Body

That right there is my kissing playlist. Like fingerprints, each and every kiss given and received is unique. Did those kisses come alive for you just now the way they did for me? Did they take on a life of their own and tell a story? When I read those lines, I hear longing, passion, addiction, heartbreak, immense desire and pleasure and also sweetness and depth. I hear promises and deals being made between the giver and recipient whether they are seasoned lovers or friends tiptoeing with the decision to take things further.

As a romance writer and reader and fervent music nut, written kisses are one of my favorite things to get lost in. My post is simple today, to inspire you by way of the beauty of lips coming together and leaving their mark.

I’d love to hear from you now. What are your favorite “kiss” songs? Favorite movie kisses? Favorite book kisses? Favorite set of kissable lips? If you’re feeling creative and in the mood to share, I’d love to read how you would personally describe a kiss.

Here is a kissable line that I wrote this week in my current untitled work in progress:

“My kiss felt so small against his shoulder but when I looked up into his eyes, I saw its true size.” Carlene Love Flores

Wishing you many well-placed kisses my fishy friends!

KMW CoverAnd psst, don’t forget to pre-order Kerri Mermaid’s totally kissable upcoming book, Kissing Mr. Wrong! It releases May 26th and I cannot wait to get lost in that one.

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

Carlene Mermaid’s Visit to the Set of The Voice!

Happy Hump Day, fishy friends! Carlene Mermaid here. This Monday night I attended a live taping of NBC’s hit show, The Voice, and it was amazing! Unfortunately, no phones or photography were allowed inside Stage 12 on the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot where they film. But did this mermaid let that stop her? No! I just so happened to have a small notepad and pen to capture the moments old school. I give you my pictorial review of Monday night’s The Voice… PS–Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Carson Daly and Jason Derulo really are that sparkly! But Pharrell is the sparkliest of them all. Le sigh…

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And here is Blake singing “Sangria” which was absolutely beautiful live and in person!

Why Men Write Romance and Why You Should Be Reading It! #Giveaway

Mermaid-Carlene-300x225Hello, fishy friends! Carlene Mermaid here. How are we all doing? Read any good books lately? How about any sexy smart romances written by men? No??? Let’s remedy that! Some of you might be familiar with my regular “Guy Day” posts. These usually come about when I can find a gentleman who is willing to answer in-depth questions about how he would respond, think, and feel in different situations, thereby giving us a genuine male perspective. The purpose of these posts is to help women writers craft realistic and believable male characters in our stories. Some of our brave guests in the past have included a musician, firefighter, waiter, gamer and one of my favorites, a fashion blogger. But today I figured what could be more beneficial than going straight to the source–men who are actually writing romance. Rather than doing the traditional Guy Day interview, I thought it would be best to let our guests’ work speak for itself because ultimately, their writing is their truest male perspective.

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This past February, I was inspired to pick up my first romance written by a man, Primal Desire. The hero and heroine fought so hard to earn their happily ever after. It was completely sigh-worthy and now I’m hooked on this author. I then treated myself to Heart of a Hero (blushing over here) and I have to say what I appreciate most about these books written by our guests is how direct they are. These writers know how to jump in, give a quick yet thorough set up and then whisk us off to sexy, adventurous romance land. It’s quite a ride! What was so interesting and why I highly encourage you to give them a try, is that not only are they great stories, but you become intrigued by how the authors are going to handle each situation by virtue of being a man. What will be their take on things? Will they lead with emotion or action? Are the love scenes going to be harder and possibly sexier but will they lack in the sweeter moments?  During both of these reads, I became very invested in not just the story they were telling but the subtle nuances of how they went about telling it. It made for a very refreshing reading experience, sometimes hard and sometimes emotional but always good.

So it’s without further ado that I’d like to introduce you to two talented authors who just happen to be men AND bonafide romance writers. I met Mr. Axl Goode at a recent romance conference where we talked about his writing process and he was even kind enough to school me on Scrivener. And, I’m fortunate to be an Evernight-mate of the prolific Mr. James Cox who I just counted and has published 24 books, including his newest, Underneath His Armor!  I’ll be giving away a copy of both Primal Desire and Heart of a Hero or Underneath His Armor to one lucky commenter as part of today’s post but I encourage everyone to check them out, regardless.

As an added bonus, I asked these gentlemen what it is they love about writing romance and their answers were even romantic!

Carlene Mermaid: Axl, why do you love writing romance?

10492439_332299803640630_3606742841388341978_nMr. Goode: It’s pretty simple, I enjoy writing stories where people overcome their fears, take a leap of faith, and ultimately are inspired to be a better person than who they were. I think this is important because so many people struggle to live an idealistic life or the life they truly want. It’s scary to put yourself on the line knowing that failure is possible, but what I think so many people miss is that they automatically win by simply trying. If I inspire my readers to put themselves on the line, and to go after life with tenacity and a bright spirit then I’ve succeeded in my mission. Ultimately, I’d like them to see not just the romance in my stories, but in life in general. Life is romantic, so why not romanticize it and live an amazing one?

Well said, Mr. Goode. I couldn’t agree more! Your writing is very inspiring.

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Carlene Mermaid: James, what is it you love most about writing romance?672903

Mr. Cox: Let’s see. Romance to me is all about hope. Hope that one day I’ll fall in love like my characters. I love writing these men that are incomplete and looking for that last piece to make their life perfect. And if they happen to be in space or another planet or a futuristic world, all the better. Lol.

Let’s see … I love this! Mr. Cox, here is to hope and adventure! Your stories definitely reflect that. 

 

Friends, let’s check out these books!!

pdPrimal Desire by Axl Goode…

Money manager Brenley has always dated intelligent and stimulating guys who could keep up with her both mentally and in the bedroom. She’s the best in her field and she owes that to her keen insight and understanding of people. That’s why when she meets playboy actor Zane Anthony she knows instantly he’s not worth her time.

There’s more to Zane than meets the eye. He’s wealthy, intelligent and completely enthralled with the aloof blonde who seems to cut him down with her every glance. Fueled by a need he doesn’t quite understand, he’s determined to get over her walls and under the sexy suits she wears that drive him crazy.

Brenley doesn’t know if she can trust Zane or the electric chemistry that sizzles between them. But when she finds herself in hot water with powerful enemies, she realizes he could be her only ally.

A bit about Axl:

Axl Goode found his calling for writing after spending time with other inspiring authors of Ellora’s Cave. He currently lives in Dallas. He is spending more and more time writing but also has an accounting degree, is a model and an exotic dancer. He finds his inspiration through being surrounded by women and listening to their fantasies. He also has quite a few fantasies of his own that he enjoys through writing.

Connect with Axl: Facebook / Website / Goodreads

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6769264Heart of a Hero by James Cox…

He made it to paradise on a lie…

Kallen is a hero. He single-handed ended the war. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. The truth is that he was at the right place at the right time. As the hero, he gets a room in the heavenly triple towers and enough mouths on his body to please him every hour of every day. However, guilt and danger rise when a man starts searching for the truth. When the investigator is this sexy, he may just blow his secret, among other things.

Lorn is furious when the spy among them is named as his dead younger brother. He is determined to find the truth of what happened even if it means destroying the nation’s hero or the man he’s slowly falling for.

In Kallen’s world, bravery will get a person killed, so how exactly is he supposed to prove to Lorn that he has the heart of a hero?

Be Warned: m/m sex, rimming, sex toys, spanking, bondage

A bit about James:

James is rather hard to define. He’s obviously into men, but also finds women alluring. To him reading gay fiction is so stimulating he’s taken up a pen (keyboard) and started writing. The stories in his head are edgy, hot enough to embarrass him at work and meant to entertain.

James’ day job is pathetic but a means to get the green. He lusts after his straight boss and always longed to paint nude men.

Connect with James: Facebook / Website / Blog / Goodreads

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Big fishy hugs to our honorary mermen, Axl and James, for sharing their love of romance today! CarleneLoveOkay readers, feel free to leave a little love for our authors and also share your thoughts on reading romance written by men. Does it intrigue you? Are you still a little leery? Do you already have a favorite male romance author? I will be picking one lucky commenter to go home with e-copies of both Primal Desire and your choice of Heart of a Hero or Under His Armor. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

Happy reading!

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

photo credit: http://www.americanenglish.state.gov/national-poetry-month-celebration

Letting Your Moments Breathe

Mermaid-Carlene-300x225Do you ever wonder if you’re the only one replaying that spark-filled first date a zillion times in your mind or reliving that soul-clenching performance by your favorite band the whole two hours long ride it takes to get home from their concert? Do you ever wonder if the experiences in your life mean way more to you than they do to the other people who experienced them with you?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how deeply I’m affected at times in my life by certain people and experiences. Sometimes I worry that I’ve put a more-than-is-normal amount of time and thought and energy into not letting go of the moments. Am I starved for interaction? Is that a bad thing? I just don’t want to lose the inspirational feelings, the inside-smiles, and most importantly, the connections. I also, however, don’t want to be that person who can’t move on. The person whose today is not quite up to par with their wonderful yesterday. That’s all. I think, at least I hope, this is something most of us do and can relate to. As a writer, I feel so incredibly blessed because when I feel powerless against time and the gradual fading of these memories, I can always write them down and capture them and keep them in that very special way that writers do. 

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Perfect moments don’t need expectations put on them afterwards, so don’t do that to yourself or the moment. Just let it be perfect. Just let it breathe. If you leave it alone in this way, it will live on in your memory and serve your heart, soul and mind as it was intended to do. It may even revisit you sometime in the future when you’re least expecting it. It will never leave you. It will always be a part of you, there when you need it, affecting your present and future right there from the everlasting past. 

Your true souvenir? Yourself. You’ve come out of this affected and therefore different, stronger, quirkier, better. 

The time I met my musical heroes, Depeche Mode, I printed out a picture from our meeting and wrote along the top of the frame, “This moment in time was mostly mine, but it was a little bit yours too, and that makes me smile.” That was nine years ago. I can still feel and smell and see everything that happened that day. I also wrote a five-books-to-date series about that experience. That moment is forever mine and forever theirs and now, forever my readers’. It’s okay that I’ve thought about it a million more times than anyone else has. 

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I’m thankful everyday for the gift of being a writer. Without it, I think I’d be so locked in my head, trying to never let go of the past, that I’d forget to open my eyes and see and be a part of today. I can make a very heartfelt promise to any and all who cross my path that I will remember you. I will take what you’ve given me, whether it was a passing smile or a life-lasting long conversation and hold it close to my soul. But I also promise to let you breathe. Because ultimately, I want the best for you. Breathing is good, breathing is life. If you’ve touched my life, imagine the wonderful lives you have yet to touch. 

Friends, how do you cherish and hold onto your most precious memories? 

 

Mermaids & Friends: Jennifer Fusco Swims with the Mermaids!

Mermaid-Carlene-300x225Dearest Fishy Friends!

Today is a very special day in the pond because we have the lovely and talented author, Miss Jennifer Fusco, as our guest! She’s sharing a very poignant story about the importance of embracing all of your life’s experiences, whether you think they are relevant or not. Take it away, Jennifer…

A second career…

After college I joined one of Corporate America’s largest companies. I had a degree in English. I wasn’t an Engineer or a math nerd, so the places I could fit in the ginormous conglomerate were few. Luckily, I found myself stuck in the Marketing department.

I’d never taken a marketing class. Had no knowledge of what it was, exactly. You tell people why they should buy stuff, okay. I get it. And, a career was born. My day job educated me in all things marketing. They sent me to workshops, classes, industry meetings. It turned out that telling people why they should buy stuff was harder than it sounded. It wasn’t sales exactly, nor was it psychology either. It was both.

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I spent fifteen years in marketing. Learning, practicing, putting those learned techniques out into the market place and evaluating their results. I did well. I won the ANA’s Advertising award three years running. I knew stuff. Yay, for me. But, it was a far cry from the teacher I thought I’d be as a child or the writer I dreamed I’d be as an adult.

Was I happy? No.

Marketing is a discipline. Anyone can learn it. Anyone can convince people to buy stuff. There is a market for everything.  The challenge was over.

Then I discovered a writing group, CTRWA to be exact. In essence, we made a deal. You teach us how to market, we’ll teach you how to write romance. DONE!  A second career was born!!

I began teaching my fellow chaptermates about brand, and marketability. They joined with me and I took my workshop to RWA National. And, I was set. From there, I jenphoto2conducted more workshops, more classes, gave more speeches. Turned out, my chaptermates were right. Authors did need to learn marketing, and they needed to learn it the right way.

I opened at publicity services company Market or Die Author Services, LLC in 2012. Now, my partner and I maintain over 40 active clients. Shortly after I signed with an agent, I drafted a proposal for a marketing book for writers. We sold it to Belle. It releases today.

The point of this post is that in life there are things we’re going to learn, to embrace, whether we want to or not. I never intended on being a marketer. It happened, but it prepared me with the skills I need to teach you how to do your very best marketing work, and sell more books.

I encourage you to take a read through Market or Die. In the book you’ll find marketing lessons not only from me, but from some of the most successful names in romance, like Eloisa James, Loretta Chase and Kristan Higgins.

Please don’t think marketing is this force with which you must endure. I did for fifteen years, and it only makes it harder to understand. Learn, embrace and ask questions. Feel free to email me at [email protected] with your questions.

And who knows? You may like it so much you might want to start marketing as a second career for yourself.  🙂