Tag Archives: Dana Rodgers


Image How can it possibly be August already? Vacations are winding down, and before we know it the kidlets will be back in school. Orientations, school supply shopping, and Back to School nights are right around the corner. As well as soccer/ football/ cheerleading/ field hockey practice/ symphony rehearsals/ robotics and homework. But this year my children aren’t the only ones preparing for a change in schedule and workload… Due to furloughs and the skyrocketing costs of college (I have two teenage daughters) I will be returning to work full time in the very near future. In addition to writing, this summer I have been taking online classes to increase my marketablility in preparation for this eventuality. I don’t mind returning to the workforce. In fact, most writers have a “day job.” But this summer, between the kids, the online classes and certifications, preparing and shopping my resume and trying to fit in writing time… I’ll be honest—my brain is full.

Image 3Every year we take a few days to get away, relax and chill out. This year I’ve been looking forward to this family time for weeks. As a last hurrah, we are living it up at Massanutten Resort this week. I’ve enjoyed spending time with family, long walks, movies. I’m even reading “Shanna” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Again. What can I say? It’s a beloved classic, and one of the many books that cemented my love of romance.  But the thing that I loved the most about this week was canoeing down the Shenandoah River with my family. That may not be everyone’s idea of relaxing, but for me, a peaceful day on the river soaking up some rays sounds about perfect.

photoIt doesn’t matter whether I’m overwhelmed with kid stuff, job stuff, or the WIP that I loved three weeks ago that has now come to a screeching halt. Taking a time out from real life helps me clear my mind and regain my sanity. And often, my inspiration.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a weeklong vacation in the islands (okay, it really does matter if I’m not invited!), or hanging out with friends for a few hours and enjoying a bottle of wine. It’s amazing how taking a step back helps me see the bigger picture and hear what my characters are telling me. I find when I step away for a short time and contemplate my story—because let’s face it, a creative person’s brain never sleeps. In fact, most days mine is Image 2set to turbo juggling two thousand ideas at once—that I figure out the best way to refine my character’s motivation, how to up the conflict, or decide who’s POV is going to give the most punch to a particular scene. And that is when the magic happens… when I go back to the computer and my fingers fly over the keyboard.


What about you? What do you do to unwind, de-stress, and get yourself back on track?

Writing the Synopsis with Diana Cosby

Dana MermaidNot so long ago, I was certain that no one on the planet despised writing a synopsis as much as me. I would rather have put my beautiful, complete manuscript in a drawer, and moved on to write another entire book than to condense a 100k story into the 3-5 pages necessary to submit my work to an editor or agent. I always found it difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out, or how to convey the ever-important backstory that makes the hero and heroine who they are, without overshadowing the story actually being told. And then, I was fortunate enough to win a synopsis and three chapter review from the fabulous Diana Cosby, an international bestselling author who also happens to teach a class on writing the synopsis. Besides being one of the nicest people on the planet, she did such a wonderful job of helping me to understand and conquer my fear of the synopsis that I begged her to swim over to the mermaid pond and share some of her secrets with us..

Diana Cosby

Diana Cosby

A retired Navy Chief, AGC(AW), Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense.  Her award-winning MacGruder Brother books are available in five languages. Diana has appeared at Lady Jane’s Salon, in NYC, in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happily Ever After,” MSN.com, and in Texoma Living Magazine.

After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. In August 2012, Diana released her story in the anthology, “Born To Bite,” with Hannah Howell and Erica Ridley.  Continue reading

Avery Flynn Climbs the Vine to Tell Us About Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies

AFlynnHeadshot2Mermaids, friends, and romance readers galore… I have convinced the fabulous Avery Flynn to tell us a little about herself and dish on her latest release, Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies, a zombie-apocalyptic romance published by Lyrical Press.

Don’t forget, Avery is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway to celebrate the release of Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies, so read on for the details on how to enter to win those great prizes are below.

Hello, lagoon! 🙂

Welcome Avery! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

Let’s see … I drink a lot of coffee. I have an unfortunate addiction to Oreo cookies. I’m a bit of a loud mouth. Stop laughing, there are people in the world who talk more than me. … There just aren’t many of them.

When you were five years old what did you want to be when you grew up?

I have never wanted to be anything other than a writer. OK, I may have wanted to be Wonder Woman, but I got over that. Mostly.

How long have you been writing and do you recall what originally sparked your interest?

I got my first typewriter before I could even spell and I used to write gibberish stories about my stuffed animals. I have no idea what sparked my first story, but I’ve always loved reading or being read to

What is your favorite part of the writing process and what is your least favorite?

That depends on the day. If everything is flowing, I LOVE everything about writing. It is all unicorns and rainbows. On the days when nothing but crap is coming out of my fingers (ewwww, now isn’t that a pretty visual?), I despise everything about writing

What was the inspiration behind your most recent story, Jax and the Beanstalk?

I was on the way home after a July 4 BBQ at Kimberly Kincaid’s house. That means I was well fed and a little tipsy – don’t worry, the Fab Mr. Flynn was driving. I knew I wanted to write a twisted fairytale involving zombies and Jack and the Beanstalk seemed like the perfect candidate.

What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?

The scene where Jax and Veronica have sex on the magic carpet was pretty fun. I mean come on, how do you top that?

What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Criticism? No one criticizes authors. 🙂 I think I’ve blocked out the worst, but my own aunt did give me a three on Goodreads once. But we’re not really a hold-your-punches kind of family, so I’m OK with it. The best compliment? Really, anytime someone enjoys something I’ve written, it’s the best compliment.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Reading. Shopping. Eating. Spending the day in yoga pants with a bottle of wine. Wait, did I type that last bit out loud? 🙂

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to research for a book?

I wish I had done something crazy to research a book. Maybe I can work skydiving into a book. I’d need to research that. Of course, I’d have to hogtie the Fab Mr. Flynn to a chair or he’d tackle me before I got out the door.

Please share five random things about yourself.  

  1.   I love shoes, but spend most of my time barefoot.
  2.   I love to eat, but hate to cook.
  3.   I love men who are smart, funny and hot … hello, the Fab Mr. Flynn.
  4.   No one makes me laugh harder than my kids.
  5.   I would rather chew off my own arm than shop with my mother.


Thanks so much for letting me hang out with you today, Dana!

No, thank you Avery for taking a break from your crazy, busy schedule to keep us up to date on your latest release. But let’s not let the fun end now.


Jax and the Beanstalk Zombies by Avery Flynn

“I loved this story.” – -Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling Author

“4 stars. Snappy, smart, thoroughly romantic.” – RT Book Reviews

“This is Jack and the Beanstalk smexified, zombified and all grown up.” – Elisabeth Staab, Bestselling Author


The treasure hunter… Veronica Kwon is determined to be the only person in control of her destiny. After surviving a broken engagement and turning her back on her wealthy manipulative father, she’s started a treasure hunting company and is ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

The ex-fiance… Jax Taylor is a Southern charmer with enough sex appeal to melt the polar ice caps. He disappeared three months before their wedding and swore he’d never cross paths with Veronica again.

The magic beanstalk… Brought together again by their dying mentor, who has found three enchanted beans, Veronica and Jax agree to an uneasy partnership. Together they’ll climb a magic beanstalk to the cloud kingdom, but will their destiny be the riches they so desire, the passion they thought dead…or will the undead get them first? 

Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. Find out more about Avery on her website, follow her on Twitter, like her on her Facebook page or friend her on her Facebook profile. Also, if you figure out how to send Oreos through the Internet, she’ll be your best friend for life.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win a JAX AND THE BEANSTALK ZOMBIES prize pack (including a Shaun of the Dead DVD, zombie hunting license and more) from Avery Flynn and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Writing Healthy

Dana MermaidI’m a writer and let me be the first to say I have a ton of horrible habits. I sit for hours, hunched over my laptop, drinking way too much diet coke and not getting nearly enough exercise. As a result of all my bad habits and years of abusing my body I currently have a love-hate relationship with my massage therapist.

Rachel’s great. She’s wonderful. She’s one of the nicest people on the planet… until she gets me on her massage table. And then she turns into a demon hell bent on making me cry. (Generally, because I ask her to).

The first time I ever stepped into her studio she keyed in on all of the things I do wrong, saying things like, “You sit with your leg tucked under you, don’t you?”  Or, “Is there any way you can raise the height of you computer monitor? All of that looking down has abnormally lengthened the muscles at the back of your neck and shortened the ones at the front.” Or, “Feel that tightness in your neck and shoulders? You get lots of headaches, don’t you? That’s because of restricted blood flow.” Oooookay… Who knew someone could glean so much just from giving you a massage???

Continue reading

The Waiting Game

The line outside National Stadium

The line outside National Stadium

I’m frustrated. There it is, I’ve said it.

At the beginning of March my thirteen-year-old daughter, Brenna, was one of the lucky few selected to audition to sing the National Anthem before one of the Washington National’s baseball games this season. Let me tell you, auditioning is not a walk in the park. First, we got the e-mail on a Wednesday afternoon that she was one of fifty people who would be auditioning that Saturday morning. After chanting, “Oh crap, oh crap. Yay, this is so exciting! Oh crap, oh crap,” a few hundred times I rearranged everyone’s Saturday schedule so my husband and I could take Brenna to her audition. Brenna was incredibly excited and spent the next couple of days practicing with the Nationals audition guidelines in mind… You must perform a cappella and you only have ninety seconds, which is not a lot of time for that song.

We arrived bright and early at National Stadium on Saturday morning where we stood in line, freezing our butts off, for an hour and a half because auditions are first come, first served. But not to worry, the sky was a brilliant blue and we met a ton of nice people. The performers came from all walks of life. Some performed regularly, others only experience was singing in their church choir, but they were all incredibly talented and beyond brave to be there in the first place. The excitement was palpable by the time the gates opened at nine o’clock. After signing in, everyone was seated in the stadium—talk about an intimidating venue—where the performers are given instructions and told to expect an answer one way or another by close of business Monday.

Brenna waiting to sing

Brenna waiting to sing

I was practically having heart palpitations by the time Brenna walked out onto the field. She approached the microphone with purpose and—outwardly undaunted by the camera four feet from her face, the three radio stations recording her, the size of the stadium or the audience watching—she opened her mouth and began to sing. An interview with Brenna was featured on WTOP most of that day so I’ll let you be the judge on how she did. When you listen to the one-minute clip that is my baby girl singing in the background! 😉

Brenna WTOP Interview

If I had a nickel for every text I got from Brenna that Monday I would be a very rich woman. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear on Monday. Or Tuesday or Wednesday. In fact, it has now been more than six weeks since Brenna auditioned and we still haven’t heard anything from the Nationals. I have emailed twice but still no answer. I can only assume that no news means she wasn’t selected but I hate not knowing.

Not hearing is frustrating because there is no closure, but it is also a part of life. I can’t help but compare the experience to submitting a manuscript. You plot, you plan, you write, write, write. And then—when you think your baby is ready—you pitch it at a conference or send out query letters to editors or agents you think may be interested in the story you have to offer. Then you wait…

National Stadium

National Stadium

Most agents and editors will tell you to expect a six to eight week turn around, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I have heard horror stories of manuscripts being submitted, and then not receiving a response for six or eight months. At the Washington Romance Writers Retreat this past weekend I asked agents and editors their thoughts on following up on your submissions, because who hasn’t agonized over the do-I-follow-up-or-leave-things-alone-and-continue-to-wait dilemma.

Every editor or agent I talked to gave the same advice: If the guidelines say a six to eight week turnaround, wait at least three months and then if you haven’t heard anything… follow up. Just send a polite e-mail reminding them of your submission titled “A Great Story You Know You Want To Buy” (or whatever your title may be) sent in on such and such date, and ask what the status of your submission is.

Generally speaking agents and editors are not monsters hell bent on driving you to the crazy house. They are real people with real lives and a job to do, but life happens and sometimes they fall behind schedule or your manuscript gets lost in the shuffle. So if you find yourself in this predicament don’t agonize, wait at least three months and then follow up. 🙂


Anita Clenney Visits The Lagoon

Today we welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Anita Clenney to the Waterworld Mermaid lagoon. Anita writes mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil, and Destined Love. Before giving herself over to the writing bug, she worked in a pickle factory, a preschool, booked shows for Aztec Fire Dancers, and has been a secretary, executive assistant, and a real estate agent. She lives with her husband and two children in suburban Virginia.

Please tell us a little about yourself, Anita. I’m a romance junkie. And a shopaholic. And obsessed with something at any given moment.

How long have you been writing and do you recall what originally sparked your interest? I love to read, and one day about six years ago I decided I wanted to write the perfect book for me, one that had everything I liked to read. Of course I had no idea what I was getting into, but I’m glad I took the leap.

Do you have a favorite author or book? If so, what is it that attracts you to the work and how has it influenced you? Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorites. So is Elizabeth Peters, Janet Evanovich, Kristin Higgins, and Harlan Coben, to name a few. I’m not sure what it is about their stories that appeal to me since they’re very different writers. If anyone influenced me, it would probably be Elizabeth Peters. She’s been one of my favorites for more years than I can count. Her characters feel so real and I love the mystery and humor.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Reading, hanging out with hubby and kids, and treasure hunting! (Which means shopping for whatever is my latest craze).

Tell us 10 random things about yourself.

I like green.

I once lived in a tree house.

I have way too many candle holders and mirrors.

I live in Virginia.

I didn’t start writing until I was over 40.

I dream about vampires a lot.

I have two white boxers who rule the house.

I love trees.

I’m part Cherokee.

I wish I had more time to read.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I write big, layered plots, and I’ve had a few comments that the story was cluttered. I try to simplify, but it’s hard because I love twists and turns. As far as compliments, it would really be hard to narrow it down to one thing. My readers are the best and make me feel humbled and a bit giddy all the time. One of the most interesting compliments was from a 73 year old reader who said, “Keep writing, girl. I’ll still read even when I’m packed away in my grave.”

What advice would you give an aspiring writer? Figure out the perfect book you would want to read. Then go write it.

How do new stories evolve for you? And what was the inspiration behind your most recent story? My first series started with a terrifying dream and an intriguing idea. I blended the two and the Connor Clan series was born. A conversation with my agent sparked the idea for the relic seekers series, and I’m forever grateful to her because we’ve gotten some big-name movie interest. Even if it doesn’t pan out, I consider myself lucky indeed. And that’s something important to understand in this business. It doesn’t just take talent to succeed. We all know talented writers who should have already sold. It also takes luck.

What can you tell us about the two new books you have coming out? Faelan: A Highland Warrior Brief was just released. It’s a novella and the prequel to Awaken the Highland Warrior. Here’s a blurb: Faelan Connor was the most powerful warrior the clan had known until a demon locked him in a time vault where he slept for 150 years while he waited to save the world and meet his destined mate. You know how his story ends. Now we’ll travel back to the 19th century and experience Faelan’s journey through his eyes. We’ll find out how he became the Mighty Faelan and if it’s possible that he met Bree before she was born. And for the first time, we’ll find out what really happened inside the time vault.






GUARDIANS OF STONE is a brand new series about relic seekers. It will be released in four days! December 4th. This story has castles, curses, catacombs, and ghosts, with a love triangle for flavor. It’s described as Indiana Jones meets Stephanie Plum. A feisty heroine with a sixth sense, and two sexy heroes, a mercenary, and a dark, eccentric billionaire are on a hunt for four powerful relics that could change their lives…and the course of history.





What’s that? Your evil twin stole the car and you can’t get to the bookstore? No problem! To celebrate Anita’s new release we’ll be giving away a signed ARC of Guardians of Stone! All you have to do is leave a comment between now and midnight EST on Sunday, December 2, 2012 to have your name entered in the drawing!

If you are new to Anita Clenney or want a sneak peak here is a quick excerpt from Faelan: A Highland Warrior Brief. Enjoy!

     “Are you sure you want another?” the owner of the tavern asked. He looked nervous. The villagers didn’t know they were warriors, but the Connors carried a reputation nonetheless.“Aye.” Faelan slammed his whisky glass on the bar. He blinked his eyes and looked at the two tavern girls hovering nearby. “Forget the drink,” he said, his voice slurred. “I’ll take them instead.”     The tavern owner looked at the girls, surprised. Faelan and his brothers sometimes came in for a whisky, but they never used the girls. “Maybe I’d best call for your brothers instead.”     “No.” Faelan struggled to his feet and walked toward the girls. Both were young. Bonny. Even though neither one had dark hair and green eyes.

     One of them licked her red lips. He’d seen her in here before. The other—he didn’t recognize her—looked ready to faint. He took them both upstairs. Something he’d never done before. Two women at once. Bollocks. He’d only had a couple of women in all. The Council didn’t want the warriors consorting, as they called it. It was against the rules. The warriors needed to focus on destroying demons instead. He was tired of demons, and he was tired of rules.

     The boldest lass showed him to a room. “I don’t think I can do this, Maggie,” the timid girl said, staring at Faelan with wide eyes.

     “Are ye daft? Do ye know who this is?” she asked, as if he couldn’t hear. “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll do just what he wants.” She put a hand underneath his kilt, running her fingers along his thigh. She smiled. “And we might even have a bit of fun.” Maggie pulled him toward the bed. He tripped and fell back, his head as unsteady as his feet. Maggie lifted his kilt. “You see that, Jocelyn? We’re gonna have a fine time.”

     Jocelyn paled and ran from the room.


Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans before we wrap things up today? THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You have made my dreams come true.

To find out more about Anita, you can visit her website at http://www.anitaclenney.com/. You can also find Anita on Twitter @anitaclenney and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/anitaclenneyAUTHOR.

Thank you so much for joining us here in the lagoon today. Don’t forget to leave a comment by midnight EST on Sunday, December 2, 2012 to have your name entered in the drawing for the signed ARC of Guardians of Stone!

The Art of Dialogue

Courtesy of Netflix, and my teenage daughters, I have been sucked into the television series “Supernatural.” After a “Supernatural” marathon on Sunday afternoon—when I should have been writing—I had a moment of clarity.

It all comes down to dialogue.

I know, what the heck is she talking about? Well, as we watched episode after episode I was enjoying the action and adventure, great music and witty dialogue, and then in a particularly sentimental scene where the brothers, Dean and Sam, are having somewhat of a heart to heart, talking about their feelings and how much they care about each other my husband turns to me and says, “Jesus, are all the writers for this show a bunch of women?”

You have to understand that my husband is the original alpha male. He is six foot six and a retired Marine so he knows a little something about how men interact. But his comment made me realize that he was right. The dialogue in that particular segment was way too sappy for the characters and it took the viewers out of the scene. So much so, it had us all giggling instead of feeling the heartfelt emotion the scene writers had so obviously been going for.

Anyway, that led me to the realization that, for me, what makes a book or show work versus what doesn’t is the dialogue. Is it real? Is it genuine and fresh? Does it seem consistent for the characters personalities or does it seem like something that would come out of a fifteen-year-old girl’s mouth, not a thirty-year-old badass mercenary’s? You get my drift, is it believable? So, am I the only one, or have you had that same experience of being pulled out of the story?

Kieran Kramer Interview

Today we are joined by the fabulous, Kieran Kramer. Kieran is a double RITA finalist and a USA Today Best-selling author of light-hearted Regency Historical Romance for St. Martin’s Press. In addition to writing wonderful, fun, engaging stories with memorable characters, Kieran is a former CIA employee, a journalist and an English teacher who enjoys karaoke and has appeared on multiple game shows.

Kieran is well known for her Impossible Bachelor Series and will be releasing Loving Lady Marcia, the first book in the House of Brady Series on August 28th.

I hope everyone enjoys the video interview. Kieran and I had a blast making it despite a few technical glitches – all my fault, of course. To make it easier to view, I’ve divided it up into 6 to 14 minute segments you can see by following the links. Enjoy!


Thank you again for joining us here today, Kieran. You are a joy to be around and I wish you the best of luck with your latest release, Loving Lady Marcia!

Guy Day — International Style

As a writer it is always important to tell a good story, but a large part of that is world building. If you do not portray a
believable backdrop, accurately reflecting the place and culture your characters live in, then it doesn’t matter how great your plot is or how dynamic your characters are… your story will fall flat.

Today is guy day and in honor of all the sexy, diverse men of the world I thought we’d give it a more international twist. I have called on friends throughout the world and they’ve agreed to help by answering a few probing questions about the culture they live in, their daily routines and their views on marriage and family. So let’s give these brave men a round of applause for being so forthright with their answers and see what they have to say.

1.  What would you typically have for breakfast in your country? Lunch? Dinner? Snacks?

Argentina: Breakfast: coffee, tea or mate with milk, toasts or croissants with butter and jelly

Lunch: pasta, beef or fish; salad, potatoes or rice; as dessert fruit or ice cream  Dinner: idem lunch/ Snacks: fries, peanuts, cheese, olives, salami….

Japan: Breakfast: steamed rice, miso-soup, grilled fish, milk

Lunch: pasta, salad

Dinner: steamed rice, soup, fish or meat

Snacks: rice crocker, cakes, etc

The Netherlands: Breakfast: Slices of bread with butter and chocolate sprinkles or with cheese or jam with tea or coffee or milk.

Lunch: Sandwich with butter or cream cheese and thin slices of meat and cheese.

Dinner: Meat and vegetables

Snacks: Fruit, peanuts

Scotland: Breakfast: Toast, cereals, porridge

Lunch: Sandwiches

Dinner: Meat potatoes and vegetables

Snacks: Chips, chocolate, etc.


2.  In your country how is your time usually divided over a typical day? (Work hours, breaks, lunch, dinner, etc.)

Argentina: Work hours: 8 am to 5 pm / Lunch 12 pm to 1 pm / Dinner 9 pm

Japan: 6am – wake up + breakfast

7am -go to work

9am – start work

noon – lunch

1pm – back to work

6pm – go home or have dinner with friend

11pm – go to bed

The Netherlands: Working hours are in general between 8am and 5pm with a coffee break around 10am. Lunch at noon for 30 minutes. Dinner at 6pm and coffee at 8pm. People go to bed between 10pm and midnight.

Scotland: Usual work day approx 8-5 with an hoor fer lunch. Dinner usually aroond 6-7pm and bedtime aroond 11pm-midnight.


3.  What would you typically wear on a workday?

Argentina: Coat and tie or military uniform

Japan: Uniform

The Netherlands: Business suit

Scotland: Depends on yer job.


4.  What would you typically wear on a weekend or holiday?

Argentina: Shirt, jeans and sneakers

Japan: Pants style or Uniqlo wear, casual

The Netherlands: Casual, jeans t-shirt and sneakers

Scotland: Jeans, t-shirts, sweats, etc.


5.  What do you do for fun?

Argentina: I do travel, work out, go to a shopping mall, watch movies or have dinner out.

Japan: Gardening, travel, singing

The Netherlands: Sports activities

Scotland: TV, movies, play and watch sports, pub


6.  What is your favorite sport to watch or play?

Argentina: Professional soccer

Japan: Figure skate, football

The Netherlands: Soccer, field hockey, track

Scotland: Soccer


7.  If you find a woman attractive and you want to take her out, what would you consider a perfect date?

Argentina: A fine dinner at a cozy restaurant.

Japan: Take her out to his familiar bar or restaurant to show she could be special for him. The first date would be a weekday, if it was fun he would make the next date for the weekend.

The Netherlands: Dinner with good conversation and good wine.

Scotland: Dinner, pub or movies, or all 3.


8.  Is it acceptable for a man to date more than one woman at a time? If so, would it also be acceptable for a woman to date more than one man at a time?

Argentina: If they are not married it would be acceptable to date more then one in any case.

Japan: It depends how serious the relationship is for them. If it’s serious, both man and woman would be upset if we found out that the other was dating someone else.

The Netherlands: Yes, if both agree and vice versa.

Scotland: Nae really acceptable although obviously it does happen, both ways.


9.  Is it socially acceptable for a man to date a much younger woman? And would it be acceptable for a woman to date a much younger man?

Argentina: It is more acceptable for a man dating a younger woman than vice versa.

Japan: Yes for man, recently it is getting popular here. Sometimes for woman. Its interesting when woman gets young man, its still negative feeling or jealous among neighbor.

The Netherlands: Yes it is.

Scotland: Definitely more popular for men tae have younger partners and, aye, I’d say it’s acceptable fer both…just rare.


10.  After marriage, what is the general feeling about infidelity in your country? Is it accepted or not? And if it would be considered acceptable for a man to have a mistress, would it be equally acceptable for a woman to have a lover?

Argentina: The general feeling about infidelity after marriage is rejection. It is generally not accepted. It would be almost equally not acceptable to have a woman or a lover.

Japan: Generally ‘not acceptable’ for both, after marriage they believe they need to be faithful but it happens everywhere.

The Netherlands: No, that is not acceptable.

Scotland: Nae


11.  Beyond conception what role does a man typically play in child rearing in your country? Would he actively participate in raising children? (Changing diapers, feeding, taking children to sports or activities, helping with homework, etc.)

Argentina: A man does play an active role in child rearing.

Japan: Changing diapers, taking bath together with children, play with children. Most of the case woman needs to take care of children in all field so man tend to help mothers rather than taking care of child.

The Netherlands: Yes, he will help out with everything in the household.

Scotland: I cannae answer this fae personal experience as I dinnae have any wee uns, but fae what I’ve heard, men play some part in everything nowadays. Apart fae breastfeeding – that just does nae work!


12.  Is it socially acceptable for a man to be a stay-at-home dad in your country?

Argentina: No, not much.

Japan: Some men stay at home with their children or work from home but this is not popular, especially belonging to company. There are many stories of men losing their positions in companies because of working from home or taking leave for a child.

The Netherlands: Yes, if the wife has a fulltime, good paying job he will stay home.

Scotland: Nae sure if I would call it socially acceptable but it does seem tae be happening more.


13.  In your country is it acceptable for a married couple to have independent activities, interests and friends? Or is it more typical to do everything together?

Argentina: It is more typical to do everything together. Although this behavior is lately changing and couples tend to be more independent between each other.

Japan: Of course, yes! If we have child, we tend to do together as family but we also could have own leisure time.

The Netherlands: Everybody does their own thing. Some couple have the same interests and do their sport activities together, others have separate interests.

Scotland: Aye, that’s pretty normal tae have independent interests.

A huge Waterworld Mermaid thank you goes out to all the men who made this interview happen! 🙂


Show vs. Tell

Have you ever been told that you are telling rather than showing in your writing?

I think most of us have at one time or another.When someone first pointed this out in my own writing I had no idea what the person was talking about. Today I’m going to try to enlighten anyone not already familiar with this concept.

Basically, think of showing vs. telling as living the experience vs. someone telling you about it. It’s always going to be more powerful if you  give your reader sights, sounds, smells, etc. and really let them know what the experience is like. While I have never been shot at, I can easily imagine it is a lot different to have someone actually shoot at you than to have someone tell you about it. Or, imagine being home alone in the middle of the night and hearing someone break in. If someone tells you about the experience it doesn’t have the same visceral reaction as living it first hand.

Here are two examples to help you see what I’m talking about:

Jasmine was climbing into bed when she heard the sound of glass breaking. She went to the closet and pulled out her pistol then walked down the hall. She rounded the corner, looked into the living room and saw that the cat had knocked over, and broken, a vase.


Jasmine was climbing into bed when she heard a crash followed by glass shattering. She froze, heart racing, and listened, but the only sound was her own harsh breathing. Swallowing the lump of fear lodged in her throat she rushed to the closet. Standing on tippy-toe she pulled down the black box. With practiced motions she opened the latch and carefully removed the flat black Sig P-225 pistol from its case. She’d never wanted to need this, but now she was thankful that her father had insisted she learn how to use it. She checked the clip, yanked back the slide to chamber the first round and flipped off the safety with her thumb.

Taking a calming breath she stepped into the hallway. The short passage seemed to stretch before her eyes, transforming into something sinister where death loomed around each corner. Like a wraith she crept from one shadow to the next, pausing at each doorway for any sign of danger. Each step ratcheted her anxiety. It felt like a swarm of bees had taken up residence in her stomach and every footfall sounded too loud, echoing through the still house. With shaking hands, she held the pistol out in front of her and whipped around the corner into the living room flipping on the light.

The cat blinked back at her. Deciding she was unimportant, he returned to his bath sitting in the middle of the coffee table surrounded by the shattered remains of the crystal vase her mother had sent for her last birthday.

Exhaling the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, Jasmine lowered the Sig and sagged against the wall. “Damn it Henry, you scared the crap outta me.”

The second example is a lot longer than the first but it also allows the reader to experience more of what the character is experiencing. Another tool I used in the second example is word choice. Using stronger, more descriptive, verbs like crept instead of walk, or shattered instead of broken enhances your writing. Using vivid imagery and adding specific details like pistol vs. Sig P-225 pistol can help a reader better visualize what is happening in the story and allow them to relate to what the characters are experiencing.

I hope this helps any new writers out there to understand the difference between telling your readers what is happening and showing them first hand. Also, maybe it will remind the rest of us to show, not tell! 🙂

Happy writing!