Here in the magical Mermaid lagoon, we’ve been sharing the things that we turn to when we need a little pick-me-up. While there are many things that lift my spirits – bubble baths, coloring, Zumba, cooking – there is one thing that NEVER, EVER, EVER fails to put a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. My own personal happiness savior… HARRY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Continue reading
My Latest Favorite Pick Me Up! (Surprise, It’s cartoon me:)!
When I thought about pick-me-ups, the first thing that came to my mind was — well, me:). No not that “me”, but the me I made in the land of Bitmoji.
It’s like I created this living, breathing gal who wears the coolest shades, sports stylish dreadlocks, loves red lipstick and each time I let her loose in the world, I smile. She’s the other me, the one who says so much with so few words and the expression on her face, well, she cracks me the heck up.
So, my pick me up after, during, while the day is spent hunched over a computer keyboard, my brain ready to explode, digging into the deepest corners of my mind, searching for one more sentence, better than the last, and viola — I pull out the best mini-me evah! So, yeah, I just had to share why this girl (though I wish I could make her dreadlocks red) is my favorite pick me up!
Sunshine and Daisies Make Me Happy
In our own special way, each of us strives for that happiness and joy that brings with it an inner peace, but sometimes life gets in the way. It could be a hectic schedule bogged down by playing taxi to your children or that cursed day job. The fact is, even when your life is going famously, sometimes you crack open one bleary eye to a rainy morning and feel like your blankets have claimed you as one of their own. Ahem, I’ve heard. 🙂
Regardless of what is drudging up the doldrums and making your creativity wane, all you need to turn that frown upside down is some inspiration.
I find peace in order. Yes, I am one of THOSE people. My books and DVDs are organized by genre and the movies are even alphabetized. And I love lists. I make a list of things to do every day. When I’m feeling particularly sluggish I have been known to make lists with simple things on them like “Brush my teeth” or “Start the dishwasher” just so I can check stuff off and feel like I’ve accomplished something. I know it’s my own special brand of crazy, but I love the sense of order it brings to my life when I feel productive.
Some other things that made my favorites list:
1. Laughter (it truly is the best medicine)
2. Lazy afternoons
3. Time with family
4. Dragging a blanket outside and stargazing on a clear night
7. Hiking (I love nature)
8. Watching a funny movie
9. Spending time with friends
10. Road trips (you don’t have to go far to have an adventure)
12. The beach
13. The mountains
Everyone is different and the things that inspire us vary from person to person. I’d love to hear about some of the things that make your favorites list in the comments!
And credit where credit is due…
Stargazing Image: LoveThisPic.com https://www.google.com/search?q=stargazing+pictures&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=MfbsfZ9pLWNugM%253A%252CgH6D8skNw1II0M%252C_&usg=__Qb4XhkuZUm78OL98fgFyvnPBvy8%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjsxqzViMXZAhVhTt8KHZTaDh0Q9QEIKTAA#imgrc=MfbsfZ9pLWNugM:
Beach Image: Dana Rodgers
Cuddly Animal Image: Dana Rodgers
Mermaids & Friends: Sonya Cooke + Book Giveaway!
“Avoid boxing yourself into choices without allowing yourself a period for discovery.” ~ Sonya Cooke
Sonya and I haven’t known each other for very long, which says a lot for the amount I’ve already learned from her. We connected this past September when she was in need of a last minute proof read of her book which she was very close to having published. My friend Kathleen, who I had edited for in the past, was a student at Sonya’s Acting Studio of Orange County and when she heard of Sonya’s need, she graciously thought of me. I happened to be free and it was within a few days’ span of working with Sonya that I realized, someone very special had crossed my path.
I will do my best to list the plethora of hats Sonya regularly dons. She is the Founder/CEO/Owner and Head Teacher of Seven Pillars Acting: LA Studio and the Actor’s Studio of Orange County. She is also a Film/TV, Commercial and Voice-Over Actor, a producer, and the creator and author of Seven Pillars Acting. What a busy lady! Pursuing, creating and involving herself in so many wonderful endeavors. When the opportunity arrived to get to meet Sonya in person this January, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. Not to belittle myself, but sometimes it can be intimidating to be in the presence of someone who is so accomplished with so much charisma and ambition and drive. Well, it turns out I had nothing to be nervous about. Within seconds of meeting her, I learned Sonya is all those wonderful things, but she is also more… She is warm, and grounded, and kind hearted, and gentle and incredibly nurturing, and supportive of those around her.
Her book, Seven Pillars Acting, the one she wrote to encapsulate the comprehensive technique she designed for the modern actor, is BRILLIANT. I remember thinking to myself as I was proofing it that not only was it absolutely going to help actors become better at their craft, but there was a significant amount of material that would be spot on and superbly helpful to writers.
To quote Sonya: “Acting is not an escape; actors put themselves in the line of fire, exposing themselves to tremendously high stakes to tell a story.” Which is exactly what we do as writers, too! When Sonya equates creating a role with building a house, light bulbs instantaneously go off in my head. “You have to build a house before you can live in it, right? It’s much the same for the actor creating a role. In order to bring the character to life, the actor must craft his circumstances, history, and life conditions.” ~Sonya Cooke
The beautiful thing about this book is that it goes even a step beyond. Not only will an actor or writer benefit from Sonya’s experience, tips and philosophies which she shares in a very organic and natural way–not formulaic or mechanical, but so will non-actors and non-writers as she touches on the heart of communication and the human experience. I’m not sure how she managed it, but she has truly written a book that while intended to help actors, ends up being for every one of us! There are so many more passages of this book I have earmarked to quote (like my favorite section which explores the lifespan of a human emotion…pages 183-187). My hope is that if you are looking for answers or assistance or a fresh perspective on how we as humans operate and affect each other, you will check out Sonya’s book. I honestly feel you will not only benefit from reading it, but you will be touched, inspired and entertained as well, just as I was.
GIVEAWAY: Thank you so much for stopping by the mermaid lagoon today and learning a little more about a wonderful book and its author! In celebration and appreciation, I am giving away a signed copy of Sonya’s Seven Pillars Acting. All you need to do to be entered is leave a comment below. The winner will be randomly selected one week from today on the evening of Friday, March 2nd. Good luck, everyone! (Continental US mailing addresses only please due to shipping fees. Thank you so much for your understanding.)
Have a productive and inspired day!
Finding Your Flower in the Cracks (Productivity Tips)
Greetings from San Diego where it is a crisp 35 degrees Fahrenheit right now. (I’m eyeballing the fireplace and seriously debating….)
As I think warm thoughts and wiggle the ice caps from my morning toes, I’d like to share with you my favorite tips for writing/productivity/pick me ups when you are down. There are hundreds of things I could include in this post that serve this purpose, and I’d be willing to bet you have just as many, because each of us are so unique and therefore what we find inspiration and hope and magic from is equally so. This is perhaps the best, most important arsenal to have and one you want to be diverse and plentiful. I was going to say that I hope these things that lift you up happen to cross into your path when you need them. While I do hope the universe serves you in that way, I’d like to acknowledge and respect the importance that we have of honoring ourselves, and doing for ourselves. So what I’d really like to say is: Don’t wait for your pick me ups to cross your paths. Go put yourself in the path of your pick me ups. Seek them out, find them and spend purposeful time with them. Whatever they may be. Wherever they may be. These are a few of mine…
Animals, bright flowers, sweet flowers, smiles, trees, Orion, curly hair, lipstick.
Gandhi. Drew Barrymore. The Dalai Lama. Logic. Jim Henson. Dolly Parton. Jesus.
It was a simple flower growing up through a crack like the one above that inspired my first published book, Sidewalk Flower. I had gone for a walk, something one of my favorite authors suggested doing when faced with stilled creativity (she didn’t want to use the word writer’s block). And there it was. A little yellow burst at my feet. “What a fighter.” “How many times have you been stepped on?” These were the immediate things that popped into my head in that moment. “You are beautiful.” My “Sidewalk Flower” ended up being a woman who although fictional, in many ways became one of my real life heroes. Her name is Trista Jean Hart. I am honored to be her author. You can find her story HERE.
I’d like to leave you with this quote…
I’d love to be inspired by some of your pick me ups, so please share in the comments. Have a wonderful day, everyone.
Always give credit where credit is due…
Flower photo: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_ipopba’>ipopba / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Elephant photo: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_melpomen’>melpomen / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Our Little Overachieving Mermaid
Hello, lagoon! Princess Alethea Mermaid here.
You know…we work and slave and toil and force out all our blood sweat and tears, laboring over a laptop in our PJs until our necks freeze stiff and our bodies fall apart. And then, some magic happens, and suddenly it all comes together. A beautiful book springs forth like a fully-formed piece of art.
Sometimes, release dates are pushed back. Sometimes, things get delayed. Sometimes, the planets align and you have the opportunity to get something out into the world far earlier that you expected! Which means that sometimes, THIS HAPPENS ALL AT ONCE.
That’s right. I have THREE February releases: A novel (that was pushed back a month), an original story in an anthology (that was delayed a few weeks), and a special short-story chapbook that wasn’t even going to be a thing but SURPRISE! I’ll have it available for sale at Coastal Magic at the end of this month.
They may all be coming out at once, but that doesn’t mean I love any of them any less. They were all SO incredibly fun to work on. And JUST LOOK AT THOSE COVERS! I am one proud mama of these book triplets!
e-book and paperback: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes
Heather Hayden has everything a young witch could desire: beauty, money, popularity, and exceptionally strong magical powers. Too bad she’s also got a dysfunctional family that couldn’t care less about her and a Head Witch who’s watching her every move. Heather has no idea what she wants. But she’s pretty sure it’s not some low-rent cat shifter boy from goddess-knows-where, despite the fact that their paths keep crossing again and again…and again.
Owen Liddell is in big trouble. A hundred years ago, a descendant of Arachne tricked him into staring into the eyes of the Great Sphinx, leaving him bespelled into the form a cat. Now Arachne’s sisters have found him again and placed one of their own as a substitute teacher at Harmswood. And if that weren’t bad enough, destiny got involved, tangling his heart up with the most popular witch in school: his best friend Kai’s sworn enemy.
Can Owen escape the evil spider sisters, thwart the spell, rescue the girl, save his friendship and pass his finals all before Zombie Prom? It seems unlikely. But unlikely things are known to happen in Nocturne Falls…
Now available for only 99 cents on all platforms! Contains Alethea’s short story “The Goblin and the Treasure,” a fairy tale retelling of Hans Christian Andersen.
Out-of-work soldier Kira Kobold is handpicked by the High Wizard Zelwynn to go on a quest. Her companions? A growly ogress, a surly dwarf, a dimwitted troll, and an overly optimistic goblin. The goal? To find the Lost Treasure of Zelwynn, misplaced long ago somewhere in the Great Mountains. This wasn’t exactly the quest she was looking for…
…and a bonus surprise cover reveal of my exclusive fairy tale chapbook featuring art by my beloved bestie Bianca Roman-Stumpff: COMING FEB 20!
Preorder e-book and paperback: Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iTunes
On the way to her wedding, brave and clever Princess Sabine falls into a Glass Mountain, where she is trapped with a crotchety, smelly man she calls “Old Rinkrank.” The two form a unique, unlikely friendship while working to escape.
Alethea Kontis’s take on this classic Grimms’ fairy tale is a dark, yet optimistic story of magic, mystery, and love.
Support Alethea Kontis on Patreon–even a $1 pledge gets you access to exclusive content! https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea
A Very Mermaid Valentine Message + Giveaway!
Love, love, love, love, love. It’s Everywhere! We hope you enjoy this sweet Valentine’s Day message from the fantastic fiction writers that are….Us! The Waterworld Mermaids! Please get comfy and watch as Alethea, Kerri, Pintip, Kim, Carlene, Masha, Denny, Susan and Dana share some of our love worthy favorites…
Thank you so much for tuning in and letting us share. So now we’d like to know, what are some of YOUR romantic favorites? We’re talking books, movies, television shows, poems, plays, couples, quotes, guys, gals, desserts, songs, flowers, etcetera. We’d love to hear from you!
GIVEAWAY: We will randomly select one lucky commenter to receive a wonderful bundle of books, including Besphinxed (ebook) by Alethea Kontis, The Darkest Lie (ebook) by Pintip Dunn, Falling for the Right Brother (ebook) by Kerri Carpenter, Sidewalk Flower (ebook) by Carlene Love Flores, and Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher (paperback) by Seana Kelly. Winner will be notified here in the comment section of this post on Sunday, February 18th, at 8:00 pm Pacific time. Good luck!
Happy Valentine’s Day!!
With lots of love,
The Waterworld Mermaids
(Thank you to each of my fishy sisters for sending me their words and letting me read them for you! xox)
Live Jam Sessions and Thirty-Second Dance Parties
Hello, everyone! Princess Alethea Mermaid here. This quarter, the question in the lagoon is “What is your favorite pick me up when you’re feeling down?”
My favorite pick-me-up when I am down is…music.
WAIT, DON’T GO YET!
Yes, I know, this is like the most obvious answer ever. But when I say music, I don’t mean just turning on the radio and jamming to some tunes while hammering on keys like a monkey until Hamlet comes out. I mean Thirty Second Dance Parties and Live Jam Sessions.
Thirty-Second Dance Parties: Grey’s Anatomy coined the term, but you hereby have this Princess Mermaid’s permission to dance for as long as you like. Push back from the desk, stand up, turn on some serious jam with a heavy beat, and rock out. Wiggle like a four year old on pixie stix. Move every single part of your body. Shake your thang all around the house. Shut off your brain and concentrate only on the rhythm. Get your blood flowing. Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, never let it go, you only get one shot…
Live Jam Sessions: I’m also a fan of online live concerts that my friends like Mikey Mason, Jonah Knight, S. J. Tucker, and the Adam Ezra Group perform every so often. This sometimes requires a little bit of preparation—or just some really good timing—but whenever the moment presents itself, I take it.
We live in the twenty-first century. We have the ability to watch live concerts from the comfort of our own home, while we’re in our PJs and/or doing something else. We can (sometimes) interact with the performer as if we were the only one in the room. We can befriend others in the chat, other fans who would be friends if we knew them in Real Life (and some we do!).
I’ve tried writing while Mikey Mason plays for me in the background on my computer screen…no, I didn’t get a ton of words done, but I got SOME which is always more than NONE. When Jonah Knight played for me, I pulled out some paper and colored pencils and let my mind wander as I doodled along with my favorite lyrics.
Last night, Tempest and I watched S. J. Tucker’s fun-super-blood-blue-eclipse-whatever-Imbolc-moon concert. Tempest took the help in chat while I worked on a guest blog for Deborah Blake about my new release (Besphinxed…out Feb 14th!)
These days we have to be doing seven things all at once. Multitasking is everything. But if you plan it right, with a little bit of effort, you can force the odds to be ever in your favor.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite dance jams — feel free to add links in the comments.
Same with indie rock folks–I’d love to add more to my collection!
Want to hear more about Princess Alethea’s exploits? Click here!
Definitely make sure to follow Alethea on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea
Cinnamon Toast, Cocoa and Hot Tea, Oh My!
Hey, Susan Mermaid here, inviting you to take a dip in our lagoon! The water’s warm, the drinks are fresh and fruity, fizzy if you like, and always have umbrellas or a floral garnish. Welcome!
The topic this month is COMFORT FOODS. Wow, that’s a huge topic for this mermaid – I have so many. But hey, let’s get started!
There are some comfort foods I never tire of. Foods that bring me back to the child state. For me, cinnamon toast is my first comfort food, but it has to be made the right way. You see, the house I grew up in sported a double oven with a gas broiler, and Mom never made toast in the toaster.
Bread slices were buttered and laid under the gas flame, and we watched through the glass as the butter foamed and sizzled and the bread browned on the edges. For “special,” we sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on the buttered bread. The result was a sweet, crunchy, caramelized, taste of heaven.
And, though some of my comfort foods are true “memory” foods (chocolate pudding, lemon pie), others are foods I decided were my “new” comfort foods as I adulted through time, by ten, twenty, or even forty years. Such as…
In my twenties: graham crackers with peanut butter. Making my own popovers on a Sunday morning
Thirties: Toasted English muffins with sharp cheddar cheese melted during a second toasting. Learning to make rice pudding from the Southern Living Cookbook (hubby swears he’s never had better). Also, their banana bread recipe is killer. Also, scones from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book (more butter than is healthy, but who cares? It’s scones!). Also, my recipe for Half-a-Pound Cake. Yummmm….
Forties: Hot chocolate before bed. Or, on sleepless nights, plain warm milk. For Christmas, the joy of making and eating pizzelles. So tedious. So delicious!
Fifties: Hot tea. It’s amazing how a cup of hot tea fixes you up. The “younger me” always doctored my tea with sugar and milk. This afternoon, two months before my sixtieth birthday, I drank a cup of hot tea. Just the tea, no fussy sugar packets or dollops of milk. Just tea. Its heat and deep flavor warmed me up, calmed me down, and set me straight for the rest of the work day. If that’s comfort, I’ll take it!
And that’s a short list (I promise! It’s shorter than it could have been) of Comfort Foods in my corner of the lagoon. Did your idea of comfort foods change as you grew up? Kindly post your thoughts on your favorites in a reply below!
Rice! It’s What’s for Dinner — and Breakfast and Lunch!
I love food. Any and all types. I never met a cuisine I didn’t like. My family plans vacations around restaurants. I even play in a Fantasy Top Chef league with my siblings.
And yet, there is one particular food item that I cannot live without. In fact, if I don’t consume it for more than a week, I start having major cravings. That item is . . . drumroll, please . . . rice.
Yep. Plain, white rice, preferably jasmine. Steamed is ideal. Fried is okay. Boiled is great. Accompanying side dishes even better.
This is why you will always find me at the fast-food Chinese place at the airport, especially after a conference or a vacation. At that point, I have usually gone for days without my rice fix, and I need it, bad. I suppose this is what happens when you grow up eating rice (or rice noodles) three times a day — breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The best part is? Last summer, I discovered my children are the exact same way!