Tag Archives: inspiration

Your Cave is My Castle

For those non-writers reading this, allow me to introduce a common expression among writers: “Off to the writing cave.” This is how we tell people that we are going to work.

Are writers really going into a cave? I sure hope not. But hey, no judging from this corner. If dark, dank caves are your thing, or they help get the writing juju flowing, good for you.

But for me? I am not going into a cave – real or fictional. Yuck – caves are gross! Why would I even want to pretend to go in one?  The Diva Kerr-ina Continue reading


Writing is a tough business. There’s a lot of rejection, self-doubt, insecurity, jealousy and weight gain. (Yup, you read that last one right.)

I have fallen victim to all of the above listed boo-boo feelings of ickiness. And I bet a lot of other writers have too.

The Diva Kerr-inaThen, one day in the middle of feeling sorry for myself, a coworker told me a story that was eerily similar to whatever recent travesty I was mulling over. Except, he wasn’t talking about writing. No, he was talking about something completely and vastly different. Continue reading

Why Am I Doing This?

I can’t say much about what’s going on in my writing life lately, but I can tell you that I’ve been working harder than ever. Getting up almost two hours earlier so I can have writing time before my day job, squeezing in a little writing at lunch and even jotting notes down while I watch TV at night. Writing on public transportation, writing during vacations, writing on weekends. Writing. Writing. Writing….

I’m exhausted. Although, I’m accomplishing A LOT.

But something happened recently that I can’t share (damn, I’m full of secrets today) that made me pause and ask myself: Why am I really doing this?  The Diva Kerr-ina Continue reading

Kicking off the Most Wonderful Time of the Year-Mermaid Style!

Life has been a little hectic for me lately. Back-to-back book deadlines and edits and promo and . . . well, I was little burnt out. So, the Main Man and I decided to shake things up this Thanksgiving and forego the larger family gatherings and opt for a smaller, vacation with the kiddos. The destination?  No brainer!

New York City!!!

You see, we had promised Little Man and Lulu a trip this summer but . . .you know the summer gets away from you. We never went and the kids were disappointed. So, three weeks before Turkey Day we started making plans and it all came together just perfectly.

We treated the kids to their first train ride and took it straight into Penn Station. They were beyond excited and we only had one minor hiccup while waiting for a taxi to the hotel – the Hustler Club van went by with a HUGE ad with some chicks fake double-D’s on it and  . . . well, you can imagine the questions.  The Main Man got to handle that one. ; )

While there we were total tourists. We went to the Central Park Zoo and climbed the big boulders all around the lawns and splurged on a carriage ride.  We watched the parade and had Thanksgiving dinner at Rockefeller Center.




No trip to NYC is complete without taking in a show or two.  We went to see Mary Poppins and the Rockettes. Both were spectacular -shocker- and the kids eyes were bugging out the whole time.  When Mary Poppins “flew” across the theater and ended up right in front of Lulu, I thought she was going to come out of her seat with excitement.









And, none of you who know me will be surprised that I was in the city less than hour and I ran right into the Naked Cowboy. Yep, a city of all those people and I find the hot guy dancing in his tighty-whities. He’s done pretty well for a guy who prances around in his undies. He’s a franchise now and has a “cast” of Naked Cowboys and if you want him to marry you in Times Square – he can do it!  $400 and you can be joined forever with your sweetie by the Reverend Naked Cowboy . . . seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

We had a blast and the whole time my Plotmonkeys were running around my head with ideas.  I jotted down tons of notes and took lots of pics for future reference.

Good times.

The city was dressed for Christmas and it put me in the mood for my fave season. Are you in the spirit yet? How are you ringing in the Holiday season?


Bonding with My Baby Girl

I am not a gamer . . . never was. My eye-hand coordination sucks! God forbid I would have to rescue Princess Peach or save humans from invading aliens.

But this year, one of my goals was to be able to bond with my 16 year old ‘Gamer’. She’s as apt to be playing her new Skyrim (roll playing game–the fifth one in the Elder Scrolls series after Oblivion for those who are in the know) as she is splatter painting a Jackson Pollack-ish impressionistic piece of work.

So a few weeks ago I started playing “Oblivion–Elder Scrolls IV” in hopes of understanding why the game is so fascinating. I’ve watched both her and my older daughter playing for the past year or so. The scenery is breathtaking and some of the villages in the fictional world are some place I would love to vacation. The homes are quaint with old world wonder and chests/dressers filled with odds and ends–magical, mystical and gold!!

The music is soothing–spa quality, tranquility that will lull you under it’s spell if watching as a spectator and carry you through on your journeys as a player. I can learn and be anything–a mage, a fighter–even a thief–all while still saving the villagers and Empire from the evil daedric lords and the Oblivion Gates in which imps emerge and set havoc to the villages.

Nothing like getting caught up for a few hours to de-stress and then go to pick up daughter and be able to talk about finding Ancient artifacts needed and how she conquered the quest to get ideas and share in something common for a change . . . and now back to motherhood . . . go put your laundry away!

The Subtraction

I am a busy person.

Yeah, yeah . . .  so are you, right?  We are all busy.  On my living-my-life list (it is so much more than just a “to do” list)  I fill many roles:   wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, band member, attorney, author, girl scout volunteer, basketball mom, mentor . . .  whew!  I really don’t know how I get it all done but, in the words of the very funny Ron White: “I’ve seen me do it!”

But, I’ve realized that while I’m trying to get it all done, there are some things I’m not doing very well.  And, really – what’s the point of that?  So, since I refuse to make resolutions, I decided to  make a change. I just didn’t know what to call it – and it seemed like something so momentous needed a name. All the biggies have a name, right?

The Apocalypse.

The Change.


So, I was reading the weekly newsletter from one of my favorite artists – Ali Edwards – and she was talking about subtracting things instead of adding things and it resonated with me. That is how I’ve been feeling since the New Year – what can I remove from my life to make room to experience other things more fully? I call it  . . .

The Subtraction.

Ali said it best: “Subtraction is not always about taking things away to make room for more. Sometimes it’s simply to create space. Space to breathe. Space to listen. Space to see.”

I. Love. That.

So, I’m making room to feel, see, and taste the things I really want to devote my energy towards:  family & friends, writing, art, physical fitness.  I’m getting control of things that detract from the space I am creating.  I’m scaling back on my internet time.  I’m declining requests to run things on various committees – I can serve on them and not be in charge.  I am cutting back on the amount of work I bring home.

So far, I’m seeing a great shift in my productivity and my attitude.  I’m less-stressed, I have written more words. I’m enjoying time with my family more.  I’m completing the P90X workout.  I’m scrapbooking (see some of my projects on this post).

It feels good.

Are you ready for “The Subtraction?”


Happy Solstice!

I love this day of the year. THIS, more than January 1st, is my New Year’s Day.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, followed by the longest night. (Thus the Yule Log, to light the darkness and keep evil spirits away.)

But what this means ultimately is that after tonight, THE DAYS START GETTING LONGER.

Winter is so difficult. Many of us love the darkness (especially those of us who suffer from migraines), but it’s tough to fight those Circadian Rhythms that tell us to be tired when it starts getting dark outside. It feels like 10pm, but it’s only 6:30. You know what I’m talking about.

Then there’s SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and the general depression that the holidays bring to a lot of people…its a tough time of year, folks.

Today I would like you all to take a minute to yourself and light a candle. If you don’t have a candle handy (silly person), then sip a cup of tea/cocoa/coffee and close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And think about your inner light. What is it that makes you happy in this world? What makes you smile every time you see/hear/smell it? What memories keep you going? What inspires you? How do you inspire others?

We all have lights inside us that shine brighter than any Yule Log. What we have to remember — as I learned from growing up in the South — is to not “hide that light under a bushel.”

Take this day to remember how amazing you are. And, f you are so inclined, take a moment to remind someone in your life how amazing they are, as well.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Princess Alethea Mermaid

Give Me Some Cheesy Christmas Songs, Please!

I love Christmas music.  There.  I admit it. 

As soon as the leftover Thanksgiving turkey is tucked away in the fridge, it’s nonstop Christmas music for me.  Some might say it’s tacky or overly sentimental or just plain cheesy, but I can’t help myself. 

Then I wondered why.  I realized that it’s the writer in me that loves the Christmas music, and the songs I love best contain a story—whether it’s funny or sad or sweet, it’s the story that gets me every time.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas, written in 1943, tells the story of a World War II soldier writing to his family.  Although it was written during a time when many of us hadn’t even been born, we can all relate.  Many have different reasons for not being able to spend the holidays with the ones they love.  Maybe they were deployed.  Or they can’t afford a plane ticket or haven’t accrued vacation leave.  Maybe divorces and custody issues play a part.  No matter the reason, we can all relate.  And if you listen to the lyrics and can keep a dry eye when Bing Crosby croons at the end, “I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams,” then you’re heartless. 

On the flip side of the sentimental song, I also love Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.  It, too, tells a story.  And it throws a few good lessons in there for good measure.  Don’t overindulge in eggnog.  Don’t forget your medication.  And, for God’s sake, don’t wander out into the snow, especially when Santa is recklessly driving a sleigh.  It also presents the listener with a question.  What would you do with Grandma’s gifts?  Open them or send them back?

The song that grates on my nerves is The Christmas Shoes.  That one gets me—but not in a good way.  It’s so overly sentimental and designed to pull at my heartstrings.  When I know that’s what’s being done, I resist at all costs.  I. Will. Not. Be. Moved! The boy in line buying shoes for his dying mommy doesn’t do a thing for me, story or no story.  I’m not so sure Jesus will be all that impressed with her new shoes.  There.  I’m going straight to hell in a handbasket.  During the Christmas Season no less.

I remember sitting at a church puppet show when I was in second grade and watched the performance of Mommy kissing Santa Claus.  I was absolutely appalled.  Appalled!  I looked around at the adults chuckling, and I remember distinctly feeling like they were all messed up.  Why would it have been funny if Daddy had seen Mommy kissing Santa?  Isn’t it still cheating even if it’s with Father Christmas?  I asked my mom about it in the car on the way home, and she looked troubled, too.  She never did answer my question.  But, again, the story is what got me.  

I love the sentimental songs.  One of my favorites (and my mom’s) is Merry Christmas, Darling by the Carpenters.  When Karen Carpenter sings in that sweetly melancholy voice about “being apart, that’s true” but “on this Christmas Eve, I wish I were with you…” Oh.  That’s so heartbreaking.  They could be apart for any reason, and it always gets me.  He could have died.  He could be deployed right now.  He could have moved on to a different relationship, and she could be a psychotic stalker, but the words are so beautifully sung that none of that matters.  The story remains for you to fill in between the lines.  It can be your story.  Or your sister’s.  Or the crazy lady next door. But, it’s someone’s.  

My two favorite songs of the season are relatively new.  Believe by Josh Groban goes hand-in-hand with one of my favorite movies—Polar Express.  It’s a movie about growing up, of letting magic slip away and giving up dreams.  But, there’s a positive side.  You can find the magic again.  I love the lines:  “Believe in what you feel inside, and give your dreams the wings to fly.  You have everything you need…if you just believe.” 

And my favorite Christmas song of all time?  Drum roll, please…  My Grown-Up Christmas List.  Holy Cow.  I can’t keep a dry eye.  Seriously.  I get chills and my heart feels like the Grinch’s—growing three times the normal size during that one song.  My favorite version is Kelly Clarkson’s, when she sings about writing to Santa with childhood fantasies but now, as a grown up, her wish list is different.  She wants “not for myself but for a world in need.”  To me, it’s the epitome of the season.  Moving from selfish requests—wrapped presents—to righting the wrongs of the world. 

So, what are your favorite songs, and why?  That’s the important part.  I don’t want to hear that the 1984 version of Do They Know it’s Christmas? is the best.  I want to know why.  Because it’s chock-full of super star musicians or because it tells of the famine to hit Ethiopa in that year and our power to help those suffering? 

When you decide your favorite, maybe you’ll realize that often it’s the story behind the tune that touches your heart.  And what better time to have music touch your heart than Christmas? So, give it up!  What’s your favorite Christmas song and why?

I wish you a Merry Christmas… I wish you a Merry Christmas…I wish you a Merry Christmas… and a Happy New Year!


Bad Boyfriends, Old Lovers and Ex-Husbands

Robin Mermaid’s post last week (Love It or List It? Nov. 17) got me thinking.  She had started with a book review, but then she mentioned an unfinished story that was haunting her.  She put aside a project that was giving her trouble when another idea caught her attention.  Now she’s had a chance to take another look at the unfinished manuscript and wonders if she dares to take it on again.  Can she fix it?  Will it change?  Do they have a future?

I know that story all too well, as I’ve had more than one abandoned (relationship) manuscript in a checkered, challenged and generally lackluster (dating) writing career.  There was the hero intent on restoring a vintage Tucker automobile.  The other hero who rode a motorcycle.  The heroine left at the altar (she kept the ring).  The flirtation with inspirational fiction.  The heroine escaping an abusive husband (no, not from personal experience!).

Not one of these stories saw daylight. The floppy disks and hard-drive files are long gone or reused for other projects.  But they all had their moment.  They all served their purpose.  Only one of those ideas has hopes of being resurrected (not the abusive husband!)

In being unfinished, abandoned, left behind or dropped, they are a lot like the bad boyfriends, old lovers or ex-husbands we may have experienced.  Those relationships taught me a lot (well, not the ex-husbands, since I’ve had just the One True Love).  But the others let me learn – about what love is, how to maintain it, how to know when it is over, how to survive its loss.  I certainly had plenty of boyfriends before meeting the OTL who can put up with just about anything.  I’ve dried my share of tears.  I’ve done plenty of mourning, for good relationships that faded and bad ones that cheated or lied and moved on.  Even when I didn’t want them to go.  And I learned.

The same ideas go with stories that start out well and then seem to just lose their zip.  Or have flaws that only show up after years of struggle.  Try as I might, they won’t behave and I can’t get them to change.  I’ve cried over those, too, and mourned them and wished they would come back.  We would make it work!

I believe now that those unfinished stories are lot like those bad boyfriends and old lovers.  They taught me to let go and not believe that I’m the best match for that work.  They also taught me how to write a better story.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in finally getting a scene right, a plot point made and achieving crisp dialogue.  I learned how to write better stories because of those pages.  Would I go back to them?  Not on your life.  And we won’t discuss the men.  For all you know, they’ll end up as characters in a future book…

Have you ever had a story that fought you, or seemed to misbehave when you thought you had it under control?  Did you ever just give up and move on?  What did you learn about yourself and your writing?  Or, did you find a way to compromise, so the two of you could have your own authorial HEA?








A Place To Write

You may remember that back on June 6  I posted about my task to get back on track with my writing and to start putting together a do-able schedule to ensure that I could have time to write and to balance my other duties as a wife, mother, attorney and friend.  So, I read this book:

It was enlightening and helped me focus on my writing style and a realistic set of goals for myself.  I’m an “after-hours/any time opportunity” writer – meaning that I write when everyone else is down for the night and also when I can snatch time during the day. So, I’ve a whole new set of goals and a schedule posted on the fridge and it appears to be working. I’ve met and exceeded my daily word count of 1000 words for the past two weeks and it feels great!

So, the next thing I need to tackle is where I write. Right now it is anywhere I can grab a quiet place and take the laptop.  Usually that’s the sofa in the sitting area in my master suite or down in the “grown-up” living room. But, my husband pointed out that I need a dedicated space where I can go and know that it’s “writing time” – what a guy, right? (Actually, he said, “I’m tired of watching you wander around the house like a homeless Stephen King.”)

So, we have new project – Operation Bestseller (catchy, huh?).  We’ve identified the location and what we need to do get there.  Here’s the location:

That’s my closet. It is 19 feet long –  yep, you read that right. It is the result of adding a third bay to the garage when we built the house and the last 8 feet is going to my new writing space. It will have a small lounge chair, bookshelves and PRIVACY. Aaahhh . . .

And – here is the change:

A closer view. I opted not to have a desk – it felt too much like being on the day job.

I track contests, deadlines and plots on this board:

My wall of inspiration:

Inspiration up close:

I made this – isn’t it cute?

I already need another bookshelf. These are black cubicles from Target.

Part of my Harlequin Blaze collection:

I can feel the creative juices flowing just thinking about it! It so quiet and secluded and I can go in there and focus – What. A. Concept.

Where do you write? Do you have a special place?