Tag Archives: Dianna Love

WHY thank you, Mary Buckham ;-)

CarleneLoveHello fishy friends,

Welcome to today! Let me get straight to business, as a good student of Mary Buckham would do. Last month, my local writing chapter, Romance Writers of America-San Diego, hosted Mary as our guest speaker and her craft and branding workshop was outstanding. I highly recommend you check them out. I’m not one to take pages and pages of notes because I like to listen to all those little one-liners and short stories the speaker usually throws in between the meat of the presentation. Well, I ended up with a couple pages of “Mary-isms”. I loved them! She’s great. My favorite, however, was this:

It’s not about what you do, it’s about why you do what you do. That’s what the readers are connecting with.

She then challenged us to figure out for ourselves why we have to write and proceeded to briefly mention Sherrilyn Kenyon. My heart instantly warmed. Mary asked the room if anyone was familiar with Sherrilyn’s why story. Several hands shot up, mine included. I also got goosebumps. Anyone who knows me understands the deep love I have for SK and I knew exactly what Mary was talking about in that instant. If you’ve read any of SK’s books, but especially if you’ve heard Sherrilyn speak, you know why she writes. She doesn’t have to spell it out. Attend one of her signings, and you will pick up on it. I won’t try to put it into words or speak for my favorite author, but I can tell you Sherrilyn is coming from a place that was once painful and her why, in my mind, is that she wants her readers to know that it will be okay and they are not alone.

Redemption. Family. Forgiveness.

As her devoted reader, I believe that combination is Sherrilyn’s why. 

Sometimes when you are posed a question, does your mind become a blur? Do you become either a completely blank slate or are you inundated with thousands of pieces of what could eventually be a clear answer to the question if you could only sort and connect them? That is often me. But when Mary challenged us to figure out our why that day, as easy as a passing breeze, it came to me. It was that I never want anyone to feel ashamed or alone because of things they’ve done or have had done to them in their life. Too many people, with generous and kind and thoughtful souls, suffer the judgment of others before they are given a chance to show their worth.

Worthy. Second Chance. Unashamed.

That combination is my why. 

What is yours? I’d genuinely love to know.

BIF-CoverA HUGE thank you to Mary Buckham for posing this question to a room of people who most certainly all have a why. And to Dianna Love, co-author of Breaking Into Fiction, which I highly recommend for every writer out there. It’s the craft book I finally understand and I use it with every story I write. And to Sherrilyn Kenyon. For her bravery.

Find more about Mary HERE at her website.

Find more about Dianna Love HERE at her website.

Find more about Sherrilyn HERE at her website.

Find more about me, Carlene, HERE at my website.

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid

The Giving Season & Free Christmas Titles!

Happy Thursday, fishy friends!

Today there are two things I want to share with you and I just can’t decide which topic to blog about. After much deliberation, I’m taking the easy route and going with BOTH!

Firstly, it’s the Giving Season, and there’s this very special lady out there who is one of those people. You know, the kind who give and give and give but never want any attention brought to their generosity. And you try your very hardest to respect their wishes but eventually you just can’t take it any longer! This lady this past year for me has been the incomparable Dianna Love. I don’t even know where to start, to be honest. Do I tell you about her fabulous books? They’re out of this world, crazy good and I am salivating to crack open my copy of Demon Storm, Book 5 of the Belador series. So. Good.

Demon Storm


Or how she is hands down one of the most reader friendly authors I’ve ever met? Her thoughtfulness made my cross-country move this summer the bomb-diggity and she’s also one of the most fun people to pose for pictures with.

Dianna and Carlene 2010 Comic Con

Carlene Love’s “Dianna Love squee moment” at San Diego Comic Con 🙂

There’s all the great stuff she’s constantly doing to help fellow writers too. Her notes on how to write a short story continue to be lifesavers to me. For instance, start with a couple who have history together. Easy but poignant. Seriously, it would take several blog posts to properly gush about Dianna. And here’s the real kicker. I’m but one of thousands of fans she manages to touch like this on a daily basis. I’m going to ask you to trust me on all this because deep down, I really do want to respect her wishes to keep the behind-the-scenes things she does for her fans on the down low. Just know that she’s out there doing it and for that giving spirit of hers, I want to simply say, in a very public way, THANK YOU, DIANNA. You are an amazing human being and I wish all of life’s best blessings on you and yours.

And this brings me to the second and equally awesome part of today’s blog post. I’ve just come across a few brand new, free Christmas romance titles from my publisher! These are short, quick and sexy reads and I’ve already downloaded my copies. Hoping you’ll find something you fall in love with too. If you’d like to download, you can click on the book covers.

christmasfantasy__00248.1417643695.432.648From my dear friend who is equally generous and talented, Sandra Bunino, Christmas Fantasy: Dahlia and Tristan…

Take a sexy trip to your next Christmas fantasy…

A late night train ride kick starts Alexis Winters’ holiday spirit when she finds a seat next to a sexy stranger. Will she get off at the next stop or stay aboard and fulfill the fantasy of a lifetime?







illicitactivityFrom sexy contemporary author, J.R. Gray, Illicit Activity…

The Christmas season is fast approaching. Jesse and George try to keep their connection alive with stolen late night dinners and secret meetings, which never seem to be enough.
Zac doesn’t take no for an answer, and has set his sights on George’s slave Elliot as his newest conquest. Determined to see Elliot and bring him some holiday spirit, Zac starts a battle of wits with George. But Will George be able to outsmart Zac, and keep him away from Elliot, for long?







anhcAnd from the lovely and talented Angelique Voisen, A New Haven Christmas…

While the rest of his pack mates are celebrating the holiday season with their newfound mates, Peter Sanders is miserably counting off the minutes until he can head home. Pete knows he’s no one’s ideal mate. He’s mediocre, sells video games for a living, and still lives with his mother. Pete begins to think it’s going to be another miserable Christmas when his dream hunk strikes up a conversation with him.

Fabio Luigi may be new to the New Haven pack, but he isn’t blind to the glances a certain submissive wolf has been giving him all season long. Pete may believe they come from two different worlds for sparks to fly, but Fabio intends to prove Pete wrong.





And they’re all FREE! Happy Giving Season, fishy friends! So now I’d like to know, is there anyone special out there who goes the extra mile but perhaps doesn’t take the credit they deserve? Tell us about them!

Fishy Kisses,

Carlene Mermaid




Casting the Slye Temp Heroes + Dianna Love Giveaway!

Hi fishy friends! (UPDATE-Dianna Love has graciously offered to give away a copy of Last Chance to Run!  Just comment before 10pm ET to be entered!)

Mermaid CarleneHow is everyone doing today?  I hope you are all well and enjoying warm, bounteous waters.   This is my fifth summer living on the east coast and the first time I’ve decided to knuckle up and brave the heat, humidity and thunderstorms by staying put rather than travelling home to San Diego, California.  While I’m proud of the many things being a west coaster has made me–laid back, able to dip into Valley Girl talk in the blink of an eye (Just ask Kerri-Mermaid), and SME (Subject Matter Expert) on rolled tacos, I know the one thing that is a major downfall.  I’m a WEATHER WIMP!  Because of this, many of the activities I’ve planned for myself and the kiddo are going to see all the super hero movies and staying inside writing with the AC while my son watches professional wrestling.  I know it’s not the best summer plan and as soon as we learn to catch our breaths, we’ll venture out more and more.  Until that time, I’ve actually discovered a pretty cool side effect of frequenting AMC theaters and WWE.  I’ve got a ton of heroes to place as the visual stars of all the testosterone flavored romance novels I’m reading this summer.

Have you heard of Dianna Love’s Slye Temp series?  It’s extremely romantic and extremely suspenseful and stock-full of hunky heroes.  I just finished the first in the series, Last Chance to RunLast Chance to Run.  I’ve already cast the Man of Steel, Henry Cavill, as the book’s hero, Zane.  Sorry Dianna if that is not at all who you intended when you wrote this fantastic book but in my mind, Henry fills those boots right up!  I haven’t quite decided who to cast as the second book’s hero, Josh from Nowhere Safe, but I’m thinking someone fearless yet tender.  Perhaps the current WWE champ, John Cena.  Oh, but for the third, I’m set.  The absolute perfect incarnation of Ryder from Honeymoon to Die For is hands down, the man twelve-year-old boys and their moms alike who happen to watch a little too much WWE Raw is the Apex Predator aka The Viper aka Randy Orton.  Love. him.  And thanks to my boy, I’ve even learned Randy’s theme song by heart from when he takes the ring.  I may even adopt it as my own theme song as a writer…”I Hear Voices in my Head.”

So have the summer blockbuster cinema heroes inspired you as you read and visualize your steamy romances?  What are you reading this summer and who would you cast as your favorite book heroes?  Channing, Brad, Jamie, Henry?  Oh, and if you need any info on the WWE guys, I’m your girl 🙂

Happy 4th of July tomorrow friends!

Fishy kisses,

Carlene Mermaid



Standing Out in the Crowd

Back in March of this year, I read Author Kelly L. Stone’s post featuring Dianna Love , who is wonderful about helping her fellow writers, and she posed the question:

What makes your writing stand out?

It’s something you need to think about and as I sat there trying to come up with an answer, I realized that while in my heart I know my story is special (and so is yours, trust me), it was far more difficult to put that into words.  Imagine that, a writer at a loss for words!  The interesting thing was that Dianna had posted a question to her fans on her Facebook page in preparation for the blog post asking what they thought made a story different.  Being a huge fan of her work, I threw out my two cents and she used it in the post.  Why was it so easy for me to say, “One of the things that makes a story stand out for me is what characters say to each other” to Dianna in reference to what I think makes hers and other authors’ books I love stand out, but then sit in my chair and feel so blank when it came to my own writing?

I think it’s because when I hear that question, I immediately assume the answer should revolve around the plot.  Well, for me, it’s not likely going to be my external plot, but rather my characters and what they say to and do with each other.  It’s why the story about a rock group I read last year was probably pretty basic but I still remember verbatim a line from a trip the band took to the grocery store with the heroine.  Here’s to hoping my future readers appreciate that part of a story as much as I do because it’s what I’m going to be sharing with them.  The things we say to each other.

Readers-what do you remember about a story, even a year after you’ve read it?

Writers-what do you love about your stories? psst-this is what makes them stand out 😉

Book Review: Break Into Fiction

Two years ago, at the WRW Annual Retreat which was held in Leesburg, VA, I had the great fortune to win a raffle basket donated by Dianna Love.  Inside were all sorts of cool treasures but the greatest of all, as I discovered last month, was a copy of her book with Mary Buckham, “Break Into Fiction”. 


I highly recommend this book if:

You are a beginning writer.

You are an experienced writer.

You are beginning a new story.

You are like me and editing/revising a completed draft.


The book is so very friendly.  It shows you how to easily recognize the key elements of successful commercial fiction in several popular movies (by walking you through templates for each of the movies) so that you can then use those same templates to develop your own story idea.

There are two aspects I like best about Break Into Fiction.  The first is that this book is multi-genre.  The movies associated with the templates range from Suspense to Romantic Comedy and from Classic Romance to a modern Disney favorite.  I appreciated this because I write out of the box and I appreciate an approach that is about successful commercial fiction.  Period.

The other thing I loved about Dianna and Mary’s approach is that its focus is on your characters.  Don’t get me wrong, right smack dab on the cover of Break Into Fiction, it says “Power Plot Your Book”.  I won’t lie, when I saw that, my doubts crept in as to whether this was the book for me.  My strength is the internal emotional journey of the character, and so naturally, plotting books generally intimidate me.  However, that’s where Break Into Fiction is truly a blessing.  What you will learn as you go through the power plotting templates, is that everything blossoms from your characters.  There is no separation between your protagonists and the elements that will drive your plot.  Until I read and used Break Into Fiction, I always saw those as separate entities and therefore my stories felt disjointed between my strong characters and not so hot plot.  This book has helped me fix that!

And, Break Into Fiction isn’t just a book.  It’s an interactive system that includes a wonderful website with information on the authors, seminars, plotting retreats and professional editing services, among other things.

Did I mention that #1 New York Times best-selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon put her stamp of approval on Break Into Fiction by contributing the foreword?  Seriously, this is a book all writers need.  For more information, check out www.breakintofiction.com