in the shade of the trees
i watched him fall to his knees
all for me
so I could live free
i weep in the shade of these trees
by carlene love flores
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!
And 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.
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…
And here is Blake singing “Sangria” which was absolutely beautiful live and in person!
Hello, 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.
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?
Mr. 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.
Carlene Mermaid: James, what is it you love most about writing romance?
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!!
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
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
Big fishy hugs to our honorary mermen, Axl and James, for sharing their love of romance today! Okay 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!
photo credit: http://www.americanenglish.state.gov/national-poetry-month-celebration
Do 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.
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.
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?
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.
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 conducted 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. 🙂
Greetings, fishy friends! With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, a few of the mermaids and I have dug deep into our treasure chests to put together one sweet menu for you and your special someones out there. Lots of stuff went into these culinary masterpieces, but the key ingredient was of course, Love. So enjoy and hey, if the food doesn’t wiggle its way into your lover’s heart, then give these delicious words a try…
“You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.” ~Julia Childs
MY FUNNY VALENTINE, a drink to liven your spirits by Susan Mermaid:
Rim a glass in sugar, fill with ice, add:
1 oz. Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey
1/2 oz. Drambuie
1/4 oz. Triple Sec
Slice lemon, squeezed and dropped into glass
Top with seltzer to taste!
VALENTINE’S DAY SPREAD, a delish appetizer to leave them wanting more by Kimberly Mermaid:
1 3 oz package of sun dried tomatoes
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp lime juice
1 package of cream cheese, softened
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
7 oz prepared pesto
1. Pour boiling water over the sun dried tomatoes and let soak for ten minutes to soften. Then drain.
2. Put sun dried tomatoes in food processor with vinegar, olive oil, garlic and lime juice.
3. Mix softened cream cheese with feta.
4. Line a round cake tin or pie plate with plastic wrap. Cut out a piece of wax paper to fit on the bottom.
5. Spread a third of the cheese mixture on the bottom of the tin/plate. Freeze for ten minutes.
6. Spread tomato mixture on top of the next layer. Freeze for ten minutes.
7. Spread a third of the cheese mixture on top of the tomato layer. Freeze for ten minutes.
8. Spread pesto layer over the cheese mixture. Freeze ten minutes.
9. Spread last cheese layer over the pesto. Freeze for ten minutes.
10. Put in refrigerator until ready to serve. When ready, flip the tin onto a plate. Surround with crackers.
11. Enjoy. 🙂
SMART & SEXY CEVICHE by Carlene Mermaid for the seafood lover in us all:
Warning: I’m not a cook, therefore certain parts of my recipe might be missing but guess why that rocks? Because it’s oodles more fun that way!
First get yourself some large, fresh shrimp. I don’t know exactly how many, maybe a couple hands full. You’ll want to remove the tail and clean and de-vein them. Cut the shrimp into bite size pieces and then put them in a medium bowl. Next you’ll want the juice of several fresh limes or lemons, your choice, to squeeze over the shrimp. This is how you will “cook” them so be sure you have enough juice to give your shrimp a good soaking. Next you’ll need to dice up a red onion, a cucumber, a couple roma tomatoes and some cilantro. Toss all that into your soaking shrimp, season with sea salt and pepper, and let sit until the shrimp are a pretty pink color. Enjoy over a crunchy tostada shell or with tortilla chips or crackers. Oh, and if your honey likes it spicy, feel free to add a few squirts of your fave hot sauce or even some diced fresh jalapeno. Easy peasy! xoxo
SIMPLE, INSANELY GOOD RASPBERRY PIE to delight the senses from Pintip Mermaid:
Very simple, but insanely good recipe for Raspberry Pie. The key is to use fresh raspberries. We make this every summer after picking our own raspberries.
– 1 recipe pie pastry for 9 inch double crust pie
– 4 cups raspberries
– 1 cup white sugar
– 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 4 teaspoons butter
– 1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
1. Mix together the raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt until raspberries are well covered.
2. Pour into 9 or 10-inch pastry shell. Dot with butter, top with crust.
2. Make slits in the top crust and brush with cream. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
*recipe taken from http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/12349/raspberry-pie-iii/ *
BACON IS FOR LOVERS because hello, it’s chocolate and bacon together! by Susan Mermaid:
– Heat the oven to 350.
– Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
– Lay the desired number of bacon strips on the foil. Make sure they don’t touch!
– Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
– Check to see if the strips are crispy enough – don’t let them burn!
– Remove baking sheet from oven. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on the hot bacon and allow them to melt.
– Remove to paper towel to drain.
– Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
– Serve with a side of ice cream – yum!
ALL WRAPPED UP IN YOU APPLE TART to end your meal on a fruity sweet high, but one that comes straight from the heart, by Susan Mermaid:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
– Remove a ready-made pie crust from its box and set it aside to come to room temperature (20 minutes or so).
– Peel and slice in a bowl: 3 large Macintosh or Granny Smith apples (4, if they’re small).
– Toss apple slices with 1 T. lemon juice.
– Mix ½ c. brown sugar, 1 T. flour, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.
– Combine apples and sugar mixture.
– Measure out about 15 inches of parchment paper. Lay it on a flat clean surface beside a baking sheet.
– Unroll the pie crust on the parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the pie crust out a bit – It will be a little more tricky to handle, but having it thinner will make it SO much more tender.
– Soften 1 T. butter in the microwave (15 sec. or so). Spread across the pie crust.
– Pile the apple/sugar mixture in the center of the pie crust.
– Now for the fun part. Lift the edges of the pie crust up and over the apple/sugar pile, and see it you can make it into a pastry pouch.
– Ease the parchment paper, with the pastry bundle on it, onto the baking sheet.
– Bake 45 minutes in 350 degree oven.
– Remove. Let cool.
– Serve with whipped cream.
And as the wise and culinarily talented Susan Mermaid once said, “You can’t get it wrong – it’s like love: be patient!”
From our kitchens to yours, dear friends,
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love, sweets and lots and lots of laughter.
The Waterworld Mermaids
Alethea: I honestly believe that Carlene and I were destined to meet. Even on the day we officially met–around that table at the WRW luncheon that we relabeled “Misfits”–we realized we’d already met once before. “You might not remember this,” Carlene said, “but I saw you at a Sherrilyn Kenyon signing. You helped me take a photo.” “I am SO glad you said that,” I told her. “Because you look so familiar, it’s been bugging me.”
Carlene: Yes! Destiny it is. That was the weekend I joined WRW just so that I could meet Sherrilyn at that retreat. What I came away with was the blessing that is Uh-lee-thee-uh!
Alethea: Carlene and I were instant friends. Our shared love of music led us to a few concerts together, and mutual fangirl squeeing over bands.
Carlene: I still owe you a Kings of Leon concert!
Alethea: Carlene and her son even came over to my apartment and helped me pack during my escape from Washington DC to Titusville, Florida. Carlene moved this past summer as well…only she went all the way to San Diego, California.
Carlene: That was a fun packing day and you were a wonderful hostess. That sauce you gave me …Tiki Marsala or something … yum! I also believe there was a delicious smoothie involved. And lots of books. Lots. Of. Books.
Alethea: I’m glad I had those years with Carlene, (Me too) however brief. Thanks to the magic of the interwebs, we get to stay in touch almost as much as we used to! Even better, Carlene and I get to bring some coast-to-coast culture here to the Mermaid lagoon.
Today–as a special Mermaid treat for December–Carlene and I are taking you on a sunny, seaside tour of our favorite new writing spots, from sunrise to sunset.
“Writing at the beach” often conjures the mental image of a woman in a bikini relaxing on the sand with a laptop. A romantic notion, but NO NO NO. Sand is HORRIBLE for electronics. And have you ever tried to see the screen on your phone in bright sunlight? Exactly. The same goes for your laptop. As for the bikini…well…we’ll just leave that part to your imagination.
Carlene: Yeah, ditto everything Alethea just said. I originally set out to disprove her “you can’t write on a laptop at the beach” theory but alas, she’s one smart cookie.
Without further ado, Alethea and Carlene now bring you the Bi-Coastal Mermaid Writing Tour!
Alethea: As the Mermaid of the East, I’ll start with sunrise. And not just any sunrise…this particular sunrise was the morning of the infamous Orion test launch. This is the part about living on the Space Coast that fills my geeky little princess heart with glee. (That square block you see on the far left is the NASA Space Shuttle Assembly Building.) Carlene: This was so cool! Orion landed about 630 miles from San Diego and word is that it’s being trucked back to Cape Canaveral just in time for Christmas! Talk about a cross country road trip! #SpaceshipRoadtrip. Also, it’s like we all just woke up together, on the same side of the country!
That photo was taken from the middle of the Max A. Brewer bridge, an award-winning walking bridge, and one of the best places to watch launches from either Canaveral or Patrick AFB. My first writing spot is near there, at the pavilion in Sand Point Park.
The pavilion is huge and NO ONE IS EVER THERE…except maybe a bunch of hungry squirrels and a great blue heron we’ve dubbed Hobo Heron. There’s a great view of the water here–the Indian River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s full of dolphins and manatees and some great birdlife. The pavilion also has a tin roof! Such a calming sound when it rains…like it does here in Florida, every day in the summer. Every. Single. Day.
If it’s raining and also HOT (as it also tends to be in the summer…every single day…), I like to park my tail at the Sunrise Bread Company. (The only Starbucks in this town is in the Target, and plastic cafeteria chairs are not for me.) Sunrise Bread Company has fresh bread, great ambiance, and one of the best frozen coffee drinks I’ve ever tasted: the dark chocolate Granita. Just writing about makes me crave one. It’s also the only one of my spots with free wi-fi.
My third writing spot is possibly also my favorite. There’s a marina down US-1 that boasts a “Manatee Viewing Deck and Visitor’s Center”…which is essentially a fancy front door you walk through, then immediately exit through another door to get to the marina. There is a bridge overlooking a little protected channel by a runoff drain, which is where all the manatees LOVE to hang out. Beside this mini-lagoon is a small covered area with a table and chairs. Sunshine, water, boats, fresh air, and MANATEES. What’s not to love?
I also plan to make friends with someone who owns a boat here so they can teach me how to sail. Because I am a SCHEMING SIREN.
Carlene (Mermaid of the West): I don’t know about scheming, but you are definitely one of the most creative and resourceful people I’ve ever met! Um folks, I owe Alethea Mermaid a gigantic cyber hug because she really had the tougher job of the two of us with this post. Me: “Hey Alethea, wanna write a really awesome post together?” Her: “Sure!” (Alethea is up for most things which is why she rarely sleeps in her own bed!–Which came out sounding all wrong just now! She travels a lot! Saying yes to things that keep her away from home, in case your mind went somewhere else. Ayayayay!) Me: “You live in Florida now. I live in California. Let’s post sunrise and sunset pictures!” Her: “That means I have to get up super early. Yes! Hooray!” See, she’s a really great sport and I am truly the lucky one in this lagoon.
As we drift from charming Titusville, pass over many great states, then TEXAS …
and then a few more states, we finally land in beautiful San Diego, California. This is where I live now. This is where I write. (This is also where I consume too much delicious Mexican food but whatevs. A mermaid’s got to eat!)
My first “story-making spot” is the San Diego Zoo. It’s a “no worries” type of place I can go, free to think up whatever the heart desires. There are lots of view-friendly and surprisingly comfortable benches, hot beverage kiosks, cute military couples to watch and my favorite–year-round Siberian reindeer. I don’t know what it is, but their presence makes the place magical, especially this time of year when I start missing the wintery weather of DC. Spiral notebook and pen approved, although you could probably get away with a laptop here since there is plenty of shade and daily perfect weather.
The Fabulous Mr. Flores is a high school football coach which means if I want to see him from July to December, I spend an abnormal amount of time hanging out at the bleachers. I secretly love this. The Friday night lights are complimentary and great to write under. Just toss your laptop in your back pack, bring some spare change for concession stand hot cocoa, and make like a kid again! This is a pic I took in October from San Diego High School’s football stadium with a gorgeous view of downtown.
The very first story I ever wrote is set in Julian, CA which is San Diego County’s sleepy little mountain town. I’ve gone to Julian every year since I was about five and know it inside and out. There are any number of hideaways to cop a squat and write, like Buffalo Bill’s cafe. For those of us who need music and aroma for writing inspiration, how about a potpourri shop where you can browse, sniff AND be serenaded by local cowboy singer, Graham Nancarrow?
Well, by that setting sun below, it looks like I better wrap up. When I’m working on a story, I’m not always physically writing. Sometimes, we need a place to just “think” about things. It’s at those times when the ocean calls. Up to the writer what to bring whether it’s a blanket, towel, folding chair or just your two feet and buns. Err, fins. 😉 I took this picture at La Jolla Cove last month on a “book thinking” mission.
Thanks for taking this intergalactic writing adventure with Alethea and me! What? There was a spaceship involved! ORION!
Fishy friends, where do you love to write and read and think and drink warm beverages?
Alethea Mermaid and Carlene Mermaid
Happy Thursday, fishy friends!
Today there are two things I want to share with you and I just can’t decide which topic to blog about. After much deliberation, I’m taking the easy route and going with BOTH!
Firstly, it’s the Giving Season, and there’s this very special lady out there who is one of those people. You know, the kind who give and give and give but never want any attention brought to their generosity. And you try your very hardest to respect their wishes but eventually you just can’t take it any longer! This lady this past year for me has been the incomparable Dianna Love. I don’t even know where to start, to be honest. Do I tell you about her fabulous books? They’re out of this world, crazy good and I am salivating to crack open my copy of Demon Storm, Book 5 of the Belador series. So. Good.
Or how she is hands down one of the most reader friendly authors I’ve ever met? Her thoughtfulness made my cross-country move this summer the bomb-diggity and she’s also one of the most fun people to pose for pictures with.
There’s all the great stuff she’s constantly doing to help fellow writers too. Her notes on how to write a short story continue to be lifesavers to me. For instance, start with a couple who have history together. Easy but poignant. Seriously, it would take several blog posts to properly gush about Dianna. And here’s the real kicker. I’m but one of thousands of fans she manages to touch like this on a daily basis. I’m going to ask you to trust me on all this because deep down, I really do want to respect her wishes to keep the behind-the-scenes things she does for her fans on the down low. Just know that she’s out there doing it and for that giving spirit of hers, I want to simply say, in a very public way, THANK YOU, DIANNA. You are an amazing human being and I wish all of life’s best blessings on you and yours.
And this brings me to the second and equally awesome part of today’s blog post. I’ve just come across a few brand new, free Christmas romance titles from my publisher! These are short, quick and sexy reads and I’ve already downloaded my copies. Hoping you’ll find something you fall in love with too. If you’d like to download, you can click on the book covers.
From my dear friend who is equally generous and talented, Sandra Bunino, Christmas Fantasy: Dahlia and Tristan…
Take a sexy trip to your next Christmas fantasy…
A late night train ride kick starts Alexis Winters’ holiday spirit when she finds a seat next to a sexy stranger. Will she get off at the next stop or stay aboard and fulfill the fantasy of a lifetime?
From sexy contemporary author, J.R. Gray, Illicit Activity…
The Christmas season is fast approaching. Jesse and George try to keep their connection alive with stolen late night dinners and secret meetings, which never seem to be enough.
Zac doesn’t take no for an answer, and has set his sights on George’s slave Elliot as his newest conquest. Determined to see Elliot and bring him some holiday spirit, Zac starts a battle of wits with George. But Will George be able to outsmart Zac, and keep him away from Elliot, for long?
And from the lovely and talented Angelique Voisen, A New Haven Christmas…
While the rest of his pack mates are celebrating the holiday season with their newfound mates, Peter Sanders is miserably counting off the minutes until he can head home. Pete knows he’s no one’s ideal mate. He’s mediocre, sells video games for a living, and still lives with his mother. Pete begins to think it’s going to be another miserable Christmas when his dream hunk strikes up a conversation with him.
Fabio Luigi may be new to the New Haven pack, but he isn’t blind to the glances a certain submissive wolf has been giving him all season long. Pete may believe they come from two different worlds for sparks to fly, but Fabio intends to prove Pete wrong.
And they’re all FREE! Happy Giving Season, fishy friends! So now I’d like to know, is there anyone special out there who goes the extra mile but perhaps doesn’t take the credit they deserve? Tell us about them!