Category Archives: Carlene Love Flores

One Day in Vegas: Celebration of Life

Happy Wednesday, fishy friends!

Two weeks ago I accompanied my mom to Las Vegas with the purpose of honoring the passing of the love of her life. His one wish was that his life be celebrated and not mourned. I think we rocked that request. Today I’d like to share that day with you in pictures. Here was our day in honor of Cliff…

 

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Helicoptering it over Hoover Dam.

Mom's always in high heels of course. ;-)

Mom’s always in high heels of course. 😉

A little Alien poker game

A little Alien poker game

3 o'clock margaritas left me feeling a little tipsy...kind of how you might feel looking at this sideways, darn Word Press!

3 o’clock margaritas left me feeling a little tipsy…kind of how you might feel looking at this sideways, darn Word Press!

Cliff took Mom to her first male revue back in the 70's so of course we had to do this in his honor.

Cliff took Mom to her first male revue back in the 70’s so of course we had to do this in his honor.

He gave Mom her dream wedding at the racetrack.

He gave Mom her dream wedding at the racetrack.

Mom, Cliff and me

Mom, Cliff and me

In the happiest memory of Clifford Joseph Salvador Merced! It was my honor to have known you! Thank you for being everything to my mom.

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

 

 

Guy Day: Model pooch Harry Carpenter swims with the mermaids!

Fishy friends, did you hear that? Talk about cat-calls, that whistle I just heard has left my ears ringing. Simmer down, ladies. Simmer down! But who can blame the many fans of our Guy Day guest today, the fabulous and furry, Harry Carpenter? Not me. Harry put the catch in ketchup and the hot in hot dog. Spend two minutes with him and you’ll understand the trail of hearts left in his waggling tail’s wake. Did you know he holds the title of World’s Cutest Dog? Yep. Totally holds that title. Which is why I was elated to nab his first ever interview! Wanna know what makes him even more adorable? The love he has for his mommy, our very own Kerri Mermaid, who is about to be a published author. He should be here any second now to gush about her. Word is he likes to work out every morning to keep those long arms and legs in tip-top shape so I’m sure that’s what’s keeping him … Oh, there he is! “Harry, over here, over here!” OMG. He swims! Cutest doggy paddle ever. Please enjoy our little chat…

Upsidedown Harry

Carlene Mermaid: Hi Harry, it is an honor to have you here in the pond! And I have to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to come talk about your favorite thing in the whole world, your mommy! So tell us, what is your favorite thing to do while Mommy is writing?

Harry: I love Mommy! Sometimes Mommy likes to write by long-hand, whatever that means. I love to try and eat her pen. I like to jump all over her and wag my tail in her face and try to get that magical pen-toy she moves all around.

Laundry

CM: Does she listen to music while she writes and if so, do you enjoy it? If not, who do you wish she would listen to while she writes?

Harry: I love music! Mommy always has music on when she writes. She listens to lots of different people but she said she likes to be able to zone out when she writes. So she puts on Lady Antebellum, John Mayer, Paul Simon, and sometimes the soundtrack to Field of Dreams. Then I go to sleep in my bed that is right under her desk.

CM: Be honest Harry, do you ever have to fetch your own dinner when Mommy is super busy with writing her fabulous books?

Harry: I love dinner! No – I never get my own dinner. Mommy always gives me my yummy food. Sometimes she adds pumpkin to it. I love pumpkin! Mommy likes to cook her own dinner too. She loves being in that magical food room. When she’s in there, I like to lay on the soft rug right where she stands. So fun!

Fav Harry2

CM: I know your mommy does not like the writing cave. Why do you think this is? Do you like caves?

Harry: I love caves! Mommy likes to go to her writing CASTLE. She says caves are grosssauce. I have a cave under Mommy’s bed. Mommy calls it my lair. She’s funny. I like to take things from around our house and horde them in my lair, like insoles, pens, tissues, my toys, bones, Mommy’s socks, magical pens. I can put a lot in there!

 

Waiting

CM: I also know that your mommy is prone to getting great story ideas while out on your walks. How do you feel about this? Are you ever asked to help her remember any of it?

Harry: I love walks! Mommy gets lots of ideas while we’re walking. I don’t know if she needs help remembering them because I am very busy chasing squirrels and birds and saying hi to EVERY person and doggie I meet. I love everyone! Sometimes we take walks with my BFF, Koda. While Koda and I stalk squirrels I hear Mommy brainstorming with Koda’s mommy. I love her too!

 

CM: Your mommy cracks me up on a daily basis. What is the last hilarious thing she said to you?

Harry: I love Mommy! She IS funny. Let’s see… She told me that if I didn’t stop taking the magazines off the coffee table and eating them that I would be in trouble. That’s so hilarious because I have Mommy wrapped around my little paw and we both know it. That’s why I give her lots of kisses. See how cute I am?

love my mommy

I’m so proud of Mommy for getting published that I made this sign!

published

Be still my beating heart. Fishy friends, Harry has pens to chase but word in the pond is that he’s got a couple extra minutes to spare for some head scratches and tummy rubs. Big thanks to his mommy for letting him swim with us today. And CONGRATS, Kerri Mermaid. Your dream of becoming a published author in romance fiction comes true in three short days. I love you, Hero, and your little doggie too. 🙂

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

 

 

Guy Day: Welcome Very Special Guest Julian Christian!

 


Mermaid CarleneHello fishy friends! I hope everyone is well and having a great week. Recently, Julian and Carlene 3I attended my first San Diego RWA chapter meeting and it was wonderful. As luck would have it, I got to meet our honorary merman there too. I was very humbled and excited when he said yes to coming to the pond for a chat about the male perspective as it pertains to writing romance heroes. You may recognize Julian from some of your favorite romance covers as that’s his “for fun” job. Whether you’ve seen him as a Rogue, Cowboy, Fallen Angel, Navy Seal, Highlander or Pirate, the word I’d use to describe him best is Gentleman. Please enjoy our chat and be sure to leave a comment. I’ll be drawing one lucky person’s name for a special giveaway at the end. Without further ado, I give you a really great guy, Julian…

Carlene: Hi Julian! Thank you so much for agreeing to dip your toes into the Waterworld Mermaid lagoon. Lots of happy writers and readers out there, for sure. So one thing that jumped out right away from listening to you talk was your love for the ocean. I pulled over to watch the sunset at Cardiff recently and it made me wonder, where is your favorite sunset? What’s the last completely spontaneous thing you did?

Julian cover 20 Julian: Sunset is my favorite part of the day actually. Nothing beats the sunsets here in California with the sun setting over the ocean. Last spontaneous thing? Hmmm I try to live my whole life spontaneously. 

C: Very nice. Now I’m thinking about spontaneity and that one perfect moment in romance novels when the hero feels a physical spark as he comes in contact with Mrs. Right for the first time. Can you tell us if you have ever felt this and if so, how would you describe the feeling? Or do you think this electric sizzle is merely a romance novel myth?

 J: It’s definitely not a myth. There is a definite physical spark that ignites. However getting to know someone for their inner beauty turns that spark into a flame.

C: Hold on, do you hear that? I think it’s either hearts melting or one giant collective sigh spilling out and making waves in our little pond. While our readers catch their breath, can you please tell us what is your favorite song and why?

 J: Not sure if I have a favorite. I love all music that inspires, up lifts and makes me feel. 

C: Cool. My favorite for those reasons is “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. The lyrics are very honest. That makes me wonder, does your language change when you’re around your guy friends as compared to when you’re with ladies? I believe one of the ways we distinguish “voice” between heroes and heroines in romance novels is by showing the hero talking a lot more loosely amongst his buddies and I wondered if this is really the case.

J: Well I’m not much of a swearer or vulgar language user so I couldn’t tell you about others. Just not who I am. 

C: I think we can definitely all respect that. Let’s think of other ways we can show a hero’s grit. What is your pain tolerance? When is the last time you did something that really hurt? Continue reading

I will remember you…

Mermaid CarleneLast month, I forgot to post here in the pond. I didn’t think about it a couple days beforehand and then forgot. I didn’t have something I was working on but then became overwhelmed with real-life things and ran out of time. I completely blanked. My monthly slot was nowhere on my radar and that’s saying something because Kerri Mermaid sends us weekly reminders when it’s our turn. That’s a weird feeling to not have a conscious thought about something you normally do as routine and put a lot of thought into. Since then, I can’t stop thinking about my fishy sisters and this pond and you, our friends. Maybe I’ve got a serious case of absence making the heart grow fonder now that I’m over here on the opposite coast, but I thought I’d share this today.

“It’s funny how we feel so much but cannot say a word.”~Sarah McLachlan

But I can, so here are my fishy sisters, in a word…

Alethea…stars

Dana…hugs

Denny…voice

Kerri…laughter

Kimberly…home

Loni…hands

Masha…sage

Pintip…more

Susan…life

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

Guy Day! Welcome The Kentucky Gent to the Pond

Happy Friday Fishy Friends! I’m incredibly excited for today’s guest because simply put, Josh Johnson is a really great guy with a unique perspective. (You’ll see why below.) I also love the random way I found him. As writers do, I was Google image searching clothes for a character. My rock star drummer needed a tank top. Here’s how it went down: I typed in “Man Tank Tops”, scrolled through loads of images and then Bam! I saw this cool, adorable guy … right away I knew I was looking at Will.

Will Shorts

 

A little further digging and I found he had a blog of his own. A very awesome blog mixing men’s fashion with honest, positive and creative narrative bits that you’ll want to check out. Just my luck, he had a contact link should someone want to work together on a post. I practically shouted yes and not long after, I had myself a Guy Day guest! As you’ll see from our interview, he’s got a fresh, entertaining male perspective that I know will be appreciated by our writer and reader friends alike. And he’s so darn charming. And cool. Please welcome Josh, The Kentucky Gent…

kentucky

Me: For our fishy friends not familiar with The Kentucky Gent, please tell us a little about yourself and what you do, Josh.  

J: I’m a blogger, foodie, free lance writer, and runner from Louisville, Kentucky.

Me: Cool, and what do you love about your job?

J: I love that it never feels like work. I get paid to do what I already love to do. Talk, eat good food, drink good drinks, and wear killer clothes.

Will Black Hotness

I like to call this one “Will Hotness” 😉

Me: The above outfit is pretty killer. So, what type of outing are you typically most excited to get ready for and why? Ie: work, a concert, a walk in the park, a non-stop flight to Aruba?

J: Dinner and drinks with friends. I don’t tend to get dressed up much, but I always love putting together an outfit.

Me: Speaking of Aruba, I know you love the beach which is awesome sauce with us Mermaids. What is the current consensus on hero-worthy swimwear? This is always the one thing I think you’ve got to be practical about, especially with sand and water involved but obviously we all want something flattering too. I hand it over to you, oh mighty subject matter expert.

J: The shorter the better, honestly and seriously. Not so short that we’ve got special bits exposed, but take a hint from the Euro males and show your thighs some love. It’s more flattering on most all body types. Longer, boxy shorts make a guy look short and squatty, which should be the last thing we want to impart on someone when we’re poolside. Prints and bright colors are my go-to’s.

swim

Me: In your opinion, are men actively aware of their style or are they winging it? Do you think the average guy puts more thought into his clothing choices than the average person realizes?

J: I think it’s a toss up. It honestly takes MORE time to look like you didn’t take any time getting ready than to actually look put together. Men are masters of emulation.  We do what we see our guy friends doing, and that’s where I hope I can help out. I keep it simple, most of the time, and don’t wear designer duds. I want to appeal to the average Joe and show him that you can look like a million bucks while still looking like a guy next door.

Me: I like that. Do you listen to music when you get dressed? What’s a great song to get your clothes on to?

J: I almost always listen to music when I’m getting ready. Typically something upbeat, but it does depend on my mood. Currently I’m obsessed with Sia’s new album.

Me: Adore Sia, big time. As romance writers, we are taught to give our characters quirks to help them leap off the page. What are some quirky fashion choices you can give to help us achieve this for our romance heroes?

J: Take iconic pieces and give them a personal twist. Two of those for me would be jeans and chucks. They help me seem more relatable to the average Joe, but I’ll spice up the shoes with some funky socks, or by cuffing my jeans up at the bottom.

white out

Me: If you could style anyone, who would it be and why?

J: That’s a tough one, but I’d definitely style Nicole Richie. Only because she doesn’t really need to be styled, and I’d love to get a glimpse into her life and closet.

Me: Nice. In romance novels, we love a tattooed hero. When I searched out your tank top pics, your tattoos immediately caught my eye. What do yours say about you and are they just as much a part of a man’s style as any other piece of his wardrobe?

J: They all tell a story. Each one of them a different part of me, and a way that I’ve chose to deal with and cope with things that have happened in my life. Tattoos are wearable art, and because of that they’re the ultimate accessory.

tatts

Me: Cool, now let’s have a little fill in the blank fun:

J: A stylish man can also be… insecure.

J: A stylish man shouldn’t be afraid to… stand out.

J: Every stylish man should own a… leather jacket.

Me: Can we talk pj’s? First off, what do you men call them? I probably spent way too much time deciding how my hero would refer to his jammies in my latest book only to realize he probably wouldn’t refer to them in the first place. Am I right or wrong? But we do tend to talk about men’s sleepwear in romance novels so help us out, Josh! Are they pajamas, pj’s, bottoms, pants, lounge pants? Or something else entirely?

J: To be honest I’ve never been a PJ’s kind of guy. I’m incredibly hot natured and HATE sweating while I sleep. When I’m lounging around the house I’m in gym shorts and an old t-shirt, and most guys that I know are exactly the same way. When it comes to sleep I’ve always heard it’s best to sleep in the buff, but when I’m not doing that I’m usually calling it a night in just my skivvies.

Me: There you have it, romance writers, don’t overheat your men! Buff or skivvies, take your pick. 😉  And for the sake of those writing details, let me pick your brain a little further on this topic. For a woman, wearing a nightgown to bed can be a hassle because she ends up getting tangled and twisted. Is there anything similar for a man as far as sleepwear goes that the average woman wouldn’t know about? Anything uncomfortable?

J: I hate wearing a shirt to bed, if it’s too tight you can feel like you’re being smothered, but if it’s too big you end up getting it stuck underneath you as you try to roll over. It’s a pain.

Me: Is there ever a time when fashion just isn’t important to you? I’m looking for a day/situation when you’ve got something going on or nothing at all and you simply say “Screw it. Not worrying about what I look like today.”

J: I have a lot of those days. Luckily for me my style is incredibly laid back, so even on those days I still keep it looking purposeful. If I’m having one of those days I grab for my favorite pair of jeans/shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt. If I’m wearing shorts I’ll cuff up the sleeves on the shirt, and if I’m wearing jeans I’ll cuff them instead. It takes about 2 minutes to get dressed, and I’m still looking fly.

Me: When trying on clothes, are there any body parts guys are checking out on themselves to see if they look good? You know, kind of how we ladies are checking to see if our tushes look good in those jeans.

J: I always lift up my shirt to check out my butt in the mirror. Other than that I check my stomach and love handles.

Will Sexy Butt

Me: You. Are. Awesome. Onto … Grooming! This could be an entire blog post of its own and Josh, if you’ve ever read a romance novel, you know we ladies are OBSESSED with man-grooming. Our heroes’ whiskers in particular. I’m not even gonna go there as to why that is. I guess I want to know how your grooming affects or is related to your sense of style. Is facial hair something that is trendy kind of like hairstyles? Also I’m curious to know how practical is facial hair for a guy? Are these things a chore for you gents to maintain? Are you like, “Damn, I hate having to shave but this is the look I want.”  

J: I actually hate shaving, and haven’t done so in years. I keep a trimmer in the shower, and when I start looking unkempt I trim down the scruff and even up my neck. Growing out a full beard is definitely a task and commitment. It’s important to keep your neck trimmed up at all times or you end up like a wooly mammoth, not a sexy lumberjack. But in the end it’s worth it. Facial hair styles come and go, but I think we can all agree most men look better with at least a 5 o’clock shadow.

Me: Agreed. 😉 It is beyond exciting to have a stylish man in the pond and so I’m taking full advantage! For this last bit, I’m going to give you a couple hero backgrounds and ask you to give us romance writers a practical outfit or piece of clothing for the guy and his particular task. 

Our first hero has been set up on a blind dinner date which he’s not too thrilled about, but it’s not the date’s fault so he’s doing his best. In this frame of mind, what would this guy show up in? So he’s trying to be nice but not trying for a second date. And he’s probably a bit of a loner and doing that adorable brooding thing.

J: That would depend a lot of what he knew about who his date was with, what they liked/didn’t like. If he wasn’t shooting for a second date he’d obviously do his best to be as far from what they were expecting as possible. Based on what I know about romance stories I’m sure the date would expect him to show up in a leather jacket, tight jeans, and an even tighter t-shirt, am I right? (You’re so right, Josh!) I’d tell him to show up in relaxed fit jeans, a t-shirt, and a blazer. He’d still look dapper, but would not be the apple of his date’s eye anymore. He may however garner the eye of a few admirers in the bar.

Me: I like how you think, my friend. So our second hero is the one who’s gonna end up in a sticky and dangerous situation with his love interest and have to save the day. Um, let’s say they ended up running from a nasty ole stalker after an evening walking the local street scene. Our dashing hero should probably be wearing…

J: …Chucks not sneakers. There’s a BIG difference between fashion footwear like Chucks, Vans, etc. and thinking it’s ok to wear Nike or Adidas gym shoes on a date, or in public in general. It’s a no, no. If a date shows up wearing the same shoes he wore to the gym it’s probably best to let the stalker nab him, so kick off your heels and run Forest, run.

chucks

Me: I can’t run because I’m too busy cracking up and rolling on the floor. Whew, okay so this last guy, boy my heart really goes out to him. The poor young man just woke up with a swollen neck, two tiny puncture wounds and looking way too pale. Josh, please have some fun and style our newly made vampire for all those paranormal romance writers out there.

J: In true Edward Cullen (I heart you, Josh) fashion, stick to neutral tones, like beige, gray, tan, and black. It’ll keep from washing out the already pale skin. Keep it simple with a basic t-shirt or woven, jeans, a leather jacket, and boots for that bad-ass broody vibe that we all know we lust after.

leather

Pretty sure I see sparkles in this one. Love.

Me: All right, that’s it. If I could throw you in a net and keep you here in the pond I would! Bare minimum, I hope you’re okay with honorary Merman status. Thank you, Josh. You really rocked it out for us today. Now please share where our readers can follow you for more excellent tips and insight into the stylish man’s world.

J: You can subscribe to my blog by visiting TheKentuckyGent.com, or follow along on the below social media handles.

Facebook: Facebook.com/TheKentuckyGent

Instagram: TheKentuckyGent

Twitter: TheKenGent

Pinterest: The Kentucky Gent

All right friends, so what do we think? Ready to write some well-dressed heroes? For our readers out there, share your faves when it comes to what your romance hero is wearing. And let’s all give Josh some love!

Mermaid CarleneFishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

Psst… All the awesome pics used in this post are credited to the very gracious and stylish, Josh Johnson.

 

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.

photo credit a href=httpwww.flickr.comphotosscandic-hotels4327863806Scandic Hotelsa via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc2.0cca

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 make absolutely no sense unless you do as I did and stalk the man on the TV but even then, it’s pretty entertaining. I give you The Jamie Oliver Experience:

I got half-pissed off a jam jar (drunk)

Anti (an-tee) restaurant

Conception of children

Anti-restaurants have got you hitched

I was a bit cynical but I totally totally get it

See ya guys, take care

Seriously good food

More vibrant, a bit cruder

I’m a chili freak so this Szechuan is right up my trouser

This is a serious serious foody’s noodle dish, beautiful

Do you think your mom would let me have a go at doing the noodles?

Let me have a go, darling (dah-ling)

I’m too strong, I just busted it

I’m getting too cocky

Brilliant beautiful people

New York’s helped me sort of feel differently about immigration

There’s not many people like George about

35 Double Dee, she’s definitely coming

Get some liquor in and have a little bit of a laugh

Good, got a party, just need some food

Sea Bass, slightly awkward fish to filet (fill-it)

The whole thing about ceviche (she-vishey) is…

Not it’s time for the hard part, sprucing meself up

It’s the stories of the people that were really really interesting

If you can get booze into someone’s hands within 30 seconds of them entering the door then you’re a good host

Linda, hello darling.  Come in, how are you?

Excuse me, darling

Here you go, sweetheart

I’m really glad that I came to New York because many many people know New York

Really really good trip, it’s a crazy crazy city

 

Mermaid CarleneI hope you totally, totally enjoyed my rather random post today.

Ceviche kisses,

(Jamie’s Englishman pronunciation = she-vishey/ Carlene’s San Diego Native = say-vee-chay)

Carlene Mermaid

Jamie Oliver photo credit a href=httpwww.flickr.comphotosscandic-hotels4327863806Scandic Hotelsa via a href=httpphotopin.comphotopina a href=httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-nc2.0cca

 

 

 

 

 

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…

http://transmitartwork.deviantart.com/art/Sad-Little-Mermaid-412071076

http://transmitartwork.deviantart.com

 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 help wanting to. Or at least I want people to feel and know in their hearts and bones that loving someone that instantaneous and that incredibly strong is as possible as the simple decision we make each day to wear our favorite color or pack the kids’ favorite sandwich.

Sometimes I hear people say “It’s not realistic to fall in love that fast.” It made me so sad recently when I was talking to someone I’ve known for a very long time and throughout our conversation, it became clear that she honestly and truly did not have the capacity to believe in love at first sight. To her, that feeling I was trying to explain as a pure love that just comes over you was merely lust. I began to feel very hurt that something I believed so strongly in, she believed just as fervently against. I hope that someday, either through life or maybe just a good ole love story, she has a change of heart.

That’s why we need romance books!

That’s also why I love romance readers. I think we just have the capacity to believe a little bit more, to go out a little further on that limb for the characters we love. It’s why we’re able to accept that sometimes two strangers are just going to know. You know?

How many times have you sat down with a new romance novel and by the end of the first page or two, you’ve already fallen in love with the hero? I’m right there with you.

I believe. You believe. We believe.

But what I don’t want to be and I admit I have thought about this, is lazy in my writing and my plotting. I don’t want to ever be telling you a story and skip over something you need to know about my couple’s journey just to show you their incredible, immediate connection. So my promise to you is that I’ll always be very careful and very attuned to where each story starts. Whether it takes the characters months or years or seconds to feel that connection.

I need these stories and these feelings right along with you. I love being a part of this crazy little thing called romance.

I thought it would be cool to hear some of your favorite “Love at first sight” lines. I’m also curious to know if you have a preference as far as what pace you are comfortable with characters falling in love or feeling that first spark.

Can I be a wee bit indulgent and repeat my fave? I knew you romantics would understand!Mermaid Carlene

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

Now that I’m sighing and sniffling and warm and fuzzy inside, it’s your turn…

Okay Fishy Friends … let me hear it.

The Book Prop

Mermaid CarleneGood morning fishy friends!

Have you ever had that moment when an item in a book is woven so well into the story that it adds another dimension to the reading? I have. It’s what my post is about today. The book prop.

Here’s where I divulge a creepy secret about myself in the hopes that others (that’s you guys) will share and therefore make me feel slightly less creepy. 🙂 I can be a little obsessive when it comes to these book props. For example, I might own a pink nightgown just like the one Grace wears in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover. It might have been really hard for me to find just the right one, like Grace’s, and I may have scoured several stores to find it. But I love the way her hero Julian makes her feel when she’s wearing it. And yes, I want to feel that too! I also might have searched far and wide for the perfect bottle of fragrance as described in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. You know that whole Edward scent of milk and honey and cinnamon and cloves? Turns out Bath & Body works has bottled that perfection up into a handy pillow mist which for a while was all you could smell if you entered my house. (Until hubby caught on, that is, and asked that I cut back.) Last one … I cannot walk past a cherry flavored lollipop without thinking of one of Olivia Cunning’s rockers from her Sinners series. I believe it was in Backstage Pass when one of the guys is trying to overcome an unhealthy addiction and his manner of doing this is that he’s now addicted to all things cherry flavored, especially the suckers. I’ll let your imagination take over there … rockstar, cherry, lollipop. 😉

prop

Grace’s Pink Nightgown from Fantasy Lover and Edward Cullen bottled up as pillow mist!

So my secret is out. And guess what? It turns out those of us who love a good book prop aren’t alone! I asked a few of my author friends to share and I’m so GRATEFUL they did! Let’s see what theirs are:

Mermaid Alethea Kontis~

My favorite book prop is a tiny velvet bag of marbles the publisher gave me as a promo for Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.  I opened my hand, dumped out the three blue marbles, and shrieked a little. “Have you read the book?” I asked the sales rep. “Did you realize you were handing out the souls of dead children as promotion?”

Still my favorite.

Connect with Alethea for all things books HERE!

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Romance Author S.J. Maylee~

The Bottom Burner drink served in the butt glass from Cara Bristol’s Body Politics.

I love it because it’s cheeky and leads the hero and heroine into one of the hottest scenes I’ve ever read.

Wanna see it? Click HERE!

Wanna chat books with S.J.? Do that HERE!

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Romance Author Lynne Silver~

My favorite book prop are the charms that Kaleb Krychek buys for Sahara in Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh. He buys her one charm on each of her birthdays and they each represent something of her. It’s so romantic which of course he denies, being encased in Silence as he is.

I know Lynne’s always up for book talk so go find her HERE!

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Thank you so much ladies for sharing those! And now I put the proverbial ball in YOUR court! What are your favorite props, items, doo-dads from books you’ve read? Something in the story or something out in the real world related to the book. For the record, I could have written a week’s worth of posts about Dark Hunter items! Okay, go!

 

 

 

 

Opening Acts that Rock Your World & a Rock Star Romance Free Read!

Eight years ago, I went to a Depeche Mode concert. I know, surprising. And then we all lived happily ever after. The End.

But wait, there’s more. I loved their opening act, a band called She Wants Revenge. Loved them so much that I caught one of their headlining shows, where I had the unforgettable experience of taking in She Wants Revenge’s opening act. A band so unique, I’ll never forget them. They were called Ima Robot. I can still see the words “Ima Robot” written in blood on their t-shirts while they did all kinds of jumpy things I’d never seen done on stage before. Eight years ago! Branded forever in my brain. Check out that energy…

I sit here and I wonder what it would feel like to be a member of an Opening Act? I imagine it’s exciting and takes a special kind of dedication. I imagine you’d be very close with your bandmates. Are you living in the moment or constantly wondering if and when you’ll make it to Headliner? Does that even matter? If you’re sharing your passion with people, whether you’re warming the crowd up or are the main attraction, you are making your dreams happen. I think you are awesome. And thinking about it more, I bet you’re leaving it all out on that stage every night.

I go to a lot of live shows and for the record, I never miss the Opening Act! Are you kidding me, if I did, I’d never had the pleasure of seeing Ima Robot eight years ago! Or Jessica Simpson when she opened up for Ricky Martin. One of my favorite shows ever was when I went to see No Doubt and discovered Paramore who opened for ND and The Sounds who opened for Paramore. All crazy good bands led by dynamite rocker chicks. Check out “Beatbox” by The Sounds, my favorite song from that tour. PS–I secretly wish I could rock it out like Maja Ivarsson…


When I saw Bat for Lashes open up this past fall for Depeche Mode and then Gary Clark, Jr. open for Kings of Leon this February, I fell in love. Two beautiful, heart-touching performances like no others I’ve ever heard. Here’s Bat for Lashes singing Laura…


You know another reason I love the openers? They’re usually super sweethearts and extremely happy to talk to you. Take for example Rayland Baxter who opened up for Bobby Long. He not only packaged his own cd’s in the coolest brown paper bag tied with turquoise string and stamped with a wax R, he took a selfie with me because I was there alone and had no one to hold the camera. Is that the coolest mustache or what?…

Carlene & Rayland Baxter

Carlene & Rayland Baxter

Rayland's Goodies

Rayland’s Goodies

There was also the time Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (opening for Bobby Long at a different show…I love seeing Bobby Long) gave me a bar of soap from his hotel room when I purchased his cd, he said as an additional show of gratitude. Oh, and they’re really cool about posing with your kiddo who you may have kept out way past his bedtime so you could see the show…Kind of like Mason Vixon did the night they opened for Casey James. :)…

Mason Vixon & Kiddo

Mason Vixon & Kiddo

Whether the Opening Acts I remember most were because of the quirky artist and hotel toiletries or because they were a BLEEDING SINGING ROBOT, I can’t imagine missing out on what they bring to the show. And it’s probably why I wrote my latest book about an Opening Act. Their name is Lonerby which stands for the band members’ names–Luke, Oscar, Noah and Erby. They open for Sin Pointe, the other band I made up so I could write books about rock stars! And I have excellent news to share with you…you don’t have to miss this Opening Act because Lonerby’s story, Touch of Sin, just released on Monday and it’s a Free Read! To download your copy, just click HERE. I hope you enjoy it!

Touch of Sin (A Sin Pointe Novel Free Read)

Touch of Sin (A Sin Pointe Novel Free Read)

Touch of Sin Blurb: Lonerby guitarist Luke Willoughby and his band are under tight scrutiny since a press conference was ruined by a band member’s sudden vomiting attack. They’ve been suspended from the Sin Pointe tour and Luke fears they’ve blown it for good. The last thing he expects is the cute management spy sent to observe him.

No-nonsense Sarrie Walker knows exactly what she’s there to do, and makes no secret of it. Luke is impressed—and powerfully attracted to Sarrie’s strong and sexy innocence. When they end up stuck together in close quarters, Sarrie becomes dangerously irresistible—and very much off-limits. Does she hold Luke’s second chance? And if he gives in to her powerful allure, what happens to his heart?

So I’d LOVE to hear about your favorite Opening Acts. Has there been an Ima Robot in your musical viewing past? Maybe a Rayland Baxter? Fishy kisses everyone!

Self Efficacy: Sexy

Mermaid CarleneHi fishy friends! It doesn’t happen often, but I’m slipping out of my silly mermaid fins and using some of my bigger words today. I hope you enjoy them.

“Your belief in your own ability to do the things you want to do.”

That’s self-efficacy.

Not too long ago, hubby left a ten page article on my desk with a small note: “PLEASE READ”.

The article was by Ian Walker (www.iantwalker.com) and it was about an experience Ian had that made no sense until he discovered the concept of self-efficacy. It was a great read. I encourage you to check it out where it appeared HERE at The Art of Manliness blog. (PS–As a romance writer, I love this manly blog!!!)

Back to hubby’s note. This was rare. I knew he meant, “AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, please.”

Later that day, before I’d had a chance to read the article, hubby let me know he was unhappy at his day job and he was quitting in the next month to finish his master’s degree as a full-time student.

I’ll admit, there were parts of me, especially the stay-at-home-mom parts of me who depend on hubby to support the family, that had to bite down on the immediate worry his declaration brought on. But the partner who supports hubby’s happiness said, “Okay babe. Let’s do this.”

Even though it’s a scary feeling, there’s something I’ve always been attracted to about hubby and that’s his fearlessness. It got him through twenty-one years in the Army, going off to war a couple times, and now it’s gotten him out of a situation that wasn’t fulfilling him personally and professionally. I have confidence he’ll make something happen for himself and therefore our family as well. Determination, fearlessness, confidence = Sexy!

I dipped down into the tub the day hubby gave me that ten page article and read. What I realized is that I want to be “self-efficacy sexy” for hubby, the same way he is and has been for me. That means I better really believe in my ability to do the things I want to do in life, even if they’re as crazy as being a successful romance writer. I better never quit. I know he won’t.

**Update: I started this blog post last year, knowing I wanted to share it eventually. Well, hubby has been pursuing his master’s degree in counseling for about six months now. We’re living on a student budget which is all kinds of fun. But you know what? He’s never been sexier to me. He’s gonna do this. He’s gonna see it through and he’s gonna help a lot of kids when all is said and done.

Here’s to you believing in yourself and acting on that belief.  There’s plenty of room for more in the Self-efficacy = Sexy club.  Feel free to share a time when you had to rely on a belief in yourself when perhaps it wasn’t the popular thing to do. Maybe a time when doing something you knew in your heart was right even though it made no sense. Have a great day everyone!

Fishy kisses!

Carlene Mermaid