Tag Archives: Sidewalk Flower

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.

Fishy kisses,

Mermaid Carlene


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>


Random, Sparkly, Silly

Happy Release Day to our own lovely, funny, sparkly, kind, sweet, West Coast Mermaid, Carlene Love Flores!!!! Hoorah! *glitter toss*

I’m not even going to waste any time. Carlene has a new sexy book out called Stay for Me and she’s going to tell us about it. Plus, find out how Carlene remembers my accessories years later, who she’d bring to visit Alethea-Mermaid in Florida, and what her favorite Mermaid memory is. Ready, set, go…

1.     You just released a new book yesterday, Stay for Me – hoorah! Tell us a little about it.

Yes! Hoorah! But first I’d like to thank you, Miss Kerri Mermaid, for being such an excellent cheerleader of your fellow mermaids and romance books! Fishy kisses, xoxo.

Stay for Me is the first book in a new series called These Three Words. The series follows the unique love lives of  a troupe of best buddies who also happen to be male revue dancers. It was inspired by a night I spent in Las Vegas taking in the Chippendales and Australia’s Thunder from Down Under shows. In Stay for Me, former soldier turned dancer, Sam, has a limited amount of time to prove to his best friend Emma that she is safe with him, no matter what happened in their past and not just inside the club where they work together, but outside in the real world too. The clock is ticking because oops, as an assistant show manager, Emma has been given the task of suspending Sam on this very night when she needs him there with her most.

Carlene's new book - Stay for Me

Carlene’s new book – Stay for Me

2. Stay for Me is your 7th book. Can you believe it! I remember when we were just two scared little bunnies trying to get through a pitching session at the WRW Retreat. To celebrate your massive success, let’s play a game. Answer the following questions. You can use one, and only one, sentence to explain. Or, you can let us all imagine.

Wait! First I have to agree with you, it’s unbelievable that this is #7! For the record, I think we’re still scared little bunnies, hahahahaha! Okay, now onto the fun…

Which of your characters would you take to…

A dinner party? Awww, Lucky Mason because he’s just the right mix of good manners and Southern rugged charm, plus he cleans up real nice.

A Depeche Mode concert? Sisters Trista and Lily because Depeche shows are all about having fun with your girlfriends and letting your unruly hair down.

To visit Alethea-Mermaid in Florida? Oooh, definitely Gabe because a) he loves Greek food and b) he’s not afraid to don a tiara for the right person!

To baby-sit my dog, Harry in Virginia? Kids and dogs just seem to get him when the ladies don’t… big, gentle, quirky webmaster Benny, hands down.

To the beach? He’s Aussie so he can battle sharks, he’s the leader of the band and he’s a single daddy…I’m looking at you, Jaxon James.

With you to wait in line at the DMV? Most definitely Stefan because before we went, I’d dare him to flirt our way to the front of the line and he’d probably pull it off!

Carlene's favorite book cover - My favorite hero!

Carlene’s favorite book cover – My favorite hero!


3. The cover for Stay for Me is pretty hotsauce. What has been your favorite cover so far?

Why thank you! I do love the Stay for Me cover, especially the little S on the door and the way Sam is tugging Emma’s jeans, but my favorite is still my very first cover, Sidewalk Flower. Without a doubt, the couple on that one is Lucky and Trista, all the way to the core.




4. What is one place in the continental U.S. that you haven’t been and would like to visit?

Easy peasy, I want to go to Forks, Washington!!!!!! I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain why. 😉

5. What has been your favorite Waterworld Mermaid moment?

There was a night when we all met up at Coastal Flats in Tyson’s Corner to celebrate the release of Robin’s first sale. You were wearing bright yellow to include the flower in your hair. Our waiter was completely adorable and somewhat Klaus-like from The Originals; I think his name was Thad. Pintip and Kim couldn’t get enough of their sugar cane sticks and we had a great time. Sadly though, this was also the night that Whitney Houston passed away and I think it might have been freakishly snowing outside. It’s definitely the most memorable for me. Unless you count the time we all went up with you to Maryland to stalk Nora Roberts or the time we starred in our own crazy panel at the WRW Retreat. Oh wait, and the time we were all supposed to meet in Ocean City for a writing getaway but then Sandy Hurricane Pants hit before I could get there and you all were stuck without me! I guess there are lots of ‘em.

6. As always, I have to go here. I love the ten questions that James Lipton asks at the end of every episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Your turn.

  1. What is your favorite word? — Depeche
  2. What is your least favorite word? – Anything mean spirited
  3. What turns you on? – A dimpled grin.
  4. What turns you off? — Hypocrisy
  5. What sound or noise do you love? – Casey James’ guitar playing
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? – Car crash sounds
  7. What is your favorite curse word? – Silly Hero, you know I don’t have one!
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? – Solid Gold Dancer
  9. What profession would you not like to do? – Astronaut!
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Well done, kiddo.

7. Besides sending your critique partner a gift for this FABULOUS interview, what’s next for you?

Yes, aside from that, in two days, I will be attending my very first book signing! It’s at The Menger Hotel in San Antonio at the Wild Wicked Weekend conference. Um, from what I understand there is a lair full of hot men that ladies are taken to in groups of 30. If I survive, I will regale all our fishy friends here at the pond with the juicy details and hopefully some pics. If I don’t survive, I’m honored for this to have been my last Mermaid post, done by my sparkly, effervescent Hero, Kerri! Xoxoxo Giant Fishy Kisses!

Hoorah for Carlene and her latest book!!! Now, let’s all cyber-stalk her. Links and book blurb below.

Click here to order Stay for Me! 

Website: www.carlenelove.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorCarleneLoveFlores

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cloveflores

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6887320.Carlene_Love_Flores

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Carlene-Love-Flores/e/B00B04MD96/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Stay for Me

One night to finally make it right before it all gets torn apart…

Two years ago, best friends Emma Chester and Sam Jason tried being intimate. Due to Sam’s massive size, it didn’t work. Emma was hurt. Embarrassed, they did their best to move on. Now the day has come when Emma must suspend Sam as a dancer at the club they work at, awakening the buried pain of that one night.

Sam has seen this day coming but is shocked when Emma asks him to strip for her just once before he leaves the club. Allowing himself to feel for her again is too dangerous but she’s clearly not in her right mind and needs him.

Can he maintain his restraint and help her?

When she hands him his uniform to strip out of, is she handing him her heart? Or is it too tattered to ever belong to him again?



She’s With the Band: Carlene Love Flores Chats About Her Latest Rock Star Book

Carlene MermaidMy mer-sister Carlene Love Flores and I have two HUGE things in common: 1. A deep and abiding love of real Mexican food and 2. A special place in our hearts for Depeche Mode. So of course when the latest in her rocker series, Sin’s Flower, came out I had, had, had to corner her in the lagoon to chat Jaxon, great music and the top five falling in love tunes and break-up songs.

Y’all are going to love this interview. How could you not, it’s Carlene?

But before I turn it over you have to check out the Sin’s Flower blurb.

sins-flower3When Jaxon James, a sexy rock star and struggling single-father, is invited to ditch California and spend Christmas in Tennessee with his estranged family, he hesitantly accepts for his young daughter’s sake.  But his attraction to his best friend’s baby sister, Lily Elstone, threatens to unravel the bonds he’s made for his daughter.  The honorable thing to do would be to give up Lily.  But his instincts are telling him she’s exactly the one who could bring light to his life and the missing fire to his bed.  Unfortunately, Lily’s too sweet for his world.  He fears his rock and roll life style will taint her.   How far are Jaxon and Lily willing to go to find what’s missing at home?

Take it away Carlene!

I love these questions and I want to thank you, Avery Flynn, for coming up with them! I’m beyond smitten.

(Right back at you mer-sister! *fist bump*)

What is it about rock stars that sucks you in?

Their ability to captivate masses of people in just one moment. I could never be that interesting and so I like discovering what their special spark is, where it comes from, how it makes them both super intoxicating yet incredibly vulnerable. And then how the bulk of their lives are spent as relatively normal human beings when they’re not on stage. In Sin’s Flower, Jaxon has to deal with everyday things like being a single father and paying his daughter’s ballet lessons on time or going home for Christmas and not pissing off his relatives at the family dinner.

What are the three best things that come with writing about rock stars?

Attending live shows is my research, meeting and talking with totally awesome and talented musicians is my research, and being obsessed with music is my research!

What five songs should be on every person’s playlist when they are in the midst of a new romance?

1. Private Emotion by Ricky Martin

2. Take Care by Drake & Rihanna

3. Summer Wine by The Corrs & Bono

4. The Sweetest Condition by Depeche Mode

5. That’s Where It’s At by Sam Cooke

What five songs should be on their playlist for right after a breakup?

1. Who Have You Been Loving by Bobby Long

2. Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse

3. She’s Just a Girl That I Knew by Adam Ezra Group

4. Mama’s Broken Heart by Miranda Lambert

5. Four Kicks by Kings of Leon.

Jaxon is so hot. What is your favorite thing about him?

Thank you Avery, I’ll tell him you said so. (wink) I love that he’s a single parent and thinking about trying to be a good dad every single day but doesn’t deny his true nature when he’s with Lily. Also he has cool hair (think punk-goth blond Elvis) and a rockin’ hot neck tattoo that is a work in progress throughout Sin’s Flower. Jaxon’s hotness in a song? Check out Man Made Machine by Motor.

Why is Lily the perfect one for him?

Hopefully Jaxon won’t mind me saying this, but I’m obsessed with Joel Schumacher’s Phantom of the Opera movie and Jaxon has always reminded me a lot of the Phantom. I’m broken hearted that Phantom (played by Gerard Butler) bares his true self and isn’t rewarded with love in the end. In Sin’s Flower, Lily seems too sweet to handle Jaxon but I think she proves grit can be made of sugar too. Lily’s secret to Jaxon’s heart? Check out A Woman’s Touch by Casey James.

When you hear Jaxon singing in your head, what real life rock star does he sound like?

So Jaxon is the leader of the band and the chief songwriter, but aside from harmonies, he leaves the singing up to Stefan. I can hear Jaxon loud and clear in his speaking voice or when he’s humming the beginnings of a song, but he just doesn’t put himself out there when it comes to full on singing. Not sure why because he’s got an incredibly sexy voice. But if you want to “hear” Jaxon singing, check out this video of Jeremy Renner from SNL on You Tube. He sounds very close to that first Avenger song.

Can I just end by saying what a lucky girl Lily is? Thank you for having me and my musical friends today! Love stories rock! Big fishy kisses to all our fishy friends. xoxoxo


Be sure to check out Sin’s Flower and the first book in the series, Sidewalk Flower. Both are awesome.

Swimming with the Mermaids: Carlene Love Flores

If you have never experienced in person the gorgeous and amazingly pure sweetness that is Carlene Love Flores, then I suggest you check your calendar and make an appointment to do so at your earliest convenience. If I could convey the effervescent loveliness with which Carlene so subtly reminded me to get my coughing, virus-ridden duff out of its funk and post the interview I did with her last month about her fabulous debut release, Sidewalk Flower, you, too, would wish you had such majestic and judicious grace.

I am as blessed and honored to have her as a Mermaid Sister as I am proud of her release…which just so happened to launch on my birthday. How’s that for awesome karma?


Alethea Mermaid: Tennessee, California, Australia — what special meaning (if any) do each of these places have for you?

Carlene Mermaid: Let’s start at the end and work our way back (which fits since this is how I wrote Sidewalk Flower-Trista and Lucky’s story.) When I think of Australia, I see brave people with gorgeous voices and a tenacious, fighting spirit. I can’t imagine Jaxon James (Trista’s best friend) being from any other place.

The first time I drove through Tennessee was years ago in the fall. I fell in love with the state that day and when fictional native son, Lucky Mason, stepped up to the plate to be Trista’s hero in Sidewalk Flower, I fell in love with him too.

Southern California is everything I know about being young at heart and free but also a place you have to leave sometimes to find yourself. I was honored to have made this trip with the heroine of the story, Trista Hart.

Alethea: Music is very important to you and your work. Do you listen while writing? Was there a “Sidewalk Flower” playlist?

Carlene: I do love music with all my heart! I listen to it most hours of the day & night and leading up to every scene I write. But during the actual writing, I prefer to be alone with those thoughts. Here is Sidewalk Flower’s playlist:
“Why I’m Feeling Blue” by Casey James (Lucky’s song)
“Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood (Trista’s song)
“Better Than Me” by Hinder (Jaxon’s song)
“The Dead of Night” by Depeche Mode (Sin Pointe’s song)
“Talk About Suffering” by Debra James (Gramma Grace’s song)

Alethea: What is it about a man in a cowboy hat?

Carlene: Intriguing, isn’t it? I’m a big fan of men in hats. Also men without hats. Hey, everybody look at your hands! Now let’s safety dance. Sorry, I just had to go there in the name of 80’s music. Hmm…I also like Men in Trees. I miss that show…

Alethea: Have you ever driven cross-country?

Carlene: Oh yes! Road trips are my favorite and so when I had the chance to hop in the truck and drive from Virginia to California and back, I was in heaven. Where else can you listen to music, ride with the windows down and watch the sun setting in the rear view mirror? Here are a few pics from that trip: http://carlenelove.com/2012/08/08/my-favorite-cross-country-road-trip-pictures/

Alethea: Who are some of your favorite fictional heroes?

Carlene: Gosh, I am hands down the biggest broken record when it comes to talking about my favorite fictional hero, but since you asked…Valerius Magnus. ☺ Swoon. I am very jealous that you are Facebook friends with him. But can I just geek out a little here and say how excited I am to be officially sharing Lucky Mason with the world?

Alethea: Who inspires you — in both fiction and real life?

Carlene: There is so much I appreciate about life and the people living it. I’m inspired by the weak and the brave. The hurt and the whole. People with unshakable faith and those on the brink of losing it. I’m inspired when people don’t give up.

Alethea: What’s the coolest thing about being a Mermaid?

Carlene: I can think of many cool things about being a Mermaid, but the coolest by far, is calling the ocean home.

Alethea: What would you say are your Mermaid super powers?

Carlene: Well, whatever you do, don’t Google Mermaid Super Powers! The results are full of unimaginative fluff. Of course we exist, and of course we are super and powerful 😉 My super power is that I believe in make believe.
[Edited to add: I believe Carlene’s Mermaid Super Power is her beautiful purity of spirit. Am I right? Mermaids, feel free to chime in with your opinions below!]

Alethea: What’s next for you?

Carlene: Now that Trista and Lucky’s book is out, I’m spending time convincing Jaxon James it’s a good idea to tell the world his story next. This is where that Aussie tenacity I mentioned earlier comes in to play. But underneath it all, he’s a good guy. It’s really not his fault he can’t stop thinking about Trista’s long lost baby sister…


Thank you, Carlene!

If you have any other questions for Carlene, feel free to add them to the Comments below. And if you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Sidewalk Flower, now’s your chance!

Starting at The End

Sometimes to know where to start, it helps to look at the end.  Mermaid Carlene

My first book is coming out this Friday and although the story is told in chronological order, it didn’t start out that way.

When I began writing Sidewalk Flower, the first scene that came to me was gut wrenching and dark.  It was so powerful and for a long time, I thought because of that, it had to be the book’s opening.  My thinking was that with such a powerful opening scene, it would be hard to put down.  In the business, it was the hook I was sure I needed.

Then I learned from a Savvy Authors Editpalooza workshop that sometimes it’s best to let the scenes happen organically.  That way the reader has a chance to build up to that powerful event and experience it as it was meant to happen.

Once I let go of the place I’d originally envisioned for that knock-out scene in Sidewalk Flower and put it where it belonged in the time line, I realized it was absolutely the way things were meant to be.

But, I also learned that by writing that last scene first, it allowed me to get to know my characters more deeply and the rest of the story as well.  I believe it was one of the biggest strengths of writing my first book that would become published.  Knowing where I was going because I’d already been to the end.  So I don’t believe I would change the order in which I wrote the story.

 I just finished re-watching one of my favorite movies, Neo Ned, starring Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union.  (I love the tag line: Love is not a Race) My Neo Ned DVD Continue reading