Tag Archives: Mermaids

Why hello, Summer.

One more day of work, but yesterday felt like summer’s return. Sure the temperature dropped a startling (and welcomed) thirty-plus degrees, more reminiscent of early fall than early summer, but we still gathered around the big outdoor table to celebrate my stepsister’s 25th birthday with our beloved oak tree and retreating sun to awe us with their nightly slow dance.

Specialty cocktails a la Pinterest, a communal canvas, and happy dogs helped to set the mood for summer, my nephew inviting each of us to take a turn alongside him in the hammock.

Sweet, sweet summer, you always leave us too fast. I know you’ve just arrived, but we’re going to hold on extra tight this year…

Black Berry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic w/ a splash of mermaid

Black Berry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic w/ a splash of mermaid = Perfection.

Blackberry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic recipe, in case you need some inspiration for a summer beverage...

Blackberry & Meyer Lemon Gin & Tonic recipe, in case you need some inspiration for a summer beverage…

Fun party idea-- everyone has to add to the painting... Everyone.

Everyone had to add to the painting… Everyone.

Joey & Odin

Joey & Odin

I <3 summer sunsets.


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Thankfulness Thursday: Passion

Tonight I wrote 898 words. 25,000 is my NaNoWriMo goal.

Half as much as everyone else, but that’s okay. Between late afternoon IEP meetings, apple donations, birthdays, weddings, life, that’s about as much as I can handle.

Last year I reached 22,222. Still an accomplishment. The beginning of my first book.

This year something completely different. For now, forget mainstream, commercial fiction, (unless of course you want to pay me for it). This time a novel that at the moment has no genre. We’ll see where it ends up. Tonight, just two lost souls on a rugged Oregon beach. Tomorrow, one might be a vagabond exploring the Pacific Northwest, the other a dark mermaid. Maybe not. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo, it’s unpredictable.

Reminds me of ninjas. All good NaNoWriMo novels have a random ninja somewhere, or at least that is what I have been told. The official welcome letter I read to my students even mentioned ninjas. When I explained that the common NaNoWriMo wisdom is to just add a ninja when you get stuck, they grinned. My last book had a ninja. Or at least a misunderstood joke about a ninja…

So here’s to all the unexpected ninjas this month might bring and to the reminder that starting something new can be fun. Tonight I’m thankful for my passion to write because it takes me on new adventures from the comfort of my couch, with my dog asleep on my left foot and my cat sprawled across my lap, her paw on the keyboard. Doesn’t get much better than this, or at least not for me.

This year’s inspiration from Bandon, OR… If only I could write from here…


Link up for Thankfulness Thursday @ Domestic Fashionista.

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Thankfulness Thursday: Who do you choose to be?

Part of whatever it is that is happening right now is that I’m learning to be me. We live in an age of extended adolescence. In my case, adulthood is starting at age 29. And, I don’t mean this in a time to buy a minivan kind of way, (no offense to the lovely twenty-something minivan drivers in my life). Instead, I mean this as I’m finally starting to figure out who the heck I am.

I’m a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a writer, an occasional traveler. I’m each of these things because I choose to be, not because I think I should or always will be, (although I hope to be most of these things all my life). I am incredibly grateful to be in the exact place I am right now, even though it is hard and even though I want some things to change. I think that’s the big difference. I used to fight life, to fight all the parts that were hard or not perfect.

Now I see it as part of a general movement in the right direction. I look back five years, things are better despite the bumps along the way. I am optimistic the same trend will continue with faith and a lot of hard work. I’ve got the hard work part down, so really it’s just a matter of maintaining a positive outlook and enjoying the journey, bumps and all.

So, what does it mean to be me today?

It means I write what vibrates in my bones, popular or not. It means mermaids for NaNoWriMo, even if practically every agent on the planet currently claims to hate mermaids. It means yoga in my living room and a make-shift altar on my coffee table. It means Sunday night dinners with my family, coffee dates in sundresses with my best friends, Wednesday nights in my pajamas watching TV with my husband. It means teaching in a way that leaves my heart aching.

I am part hippie, part hipster, part bohemian, part yuppie, part vegetarian-in-training.

As silly as it sounds, today I’m grateful to be me because it took me a very long time to get what that means, even if who I am is still an evolving mess of ideals and dreams. Maybe I’ll always be this way, but that’s alright, I’m starting to get that the labels and the knowing and the destinations aren’t the point.


Link up for Thankfulness Thursday @ Domestic Fashionista.

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Staring into the turquoise waters off Kauai, our catamaran bouncing over the waves, I imagined a mermaid swimming alongside us.  She was beautiful but also frightening.  Seducing men, and maybe some women, to follow her beneath the surface.  It was then I decided to attempt my first fantasy story, a dark siren tale of two worlds, one on land, one beneath icy, deep waters.  Not Little Mermaid, or Splash, or anything of the sort.  Something more hypnotic, dangerous.

Nearly a week later, looking out at the Oregon coast, my imagination has already crafted these worlds and its two central characters, notes scribbled throughout pages and pages of my little purple notebook.  The mermaid, above, and a young man, soon to be missing to the human world, just another kid swallowed by the Pacific Northwest, little flyers posted in the towns, asking if anyone has seen him, assuming he ran away or got lost camping, like the others.

What I have learned during recent months, while finishing up Expecting Happiness, is that I have to strike while the iron is hot.  Stories come and go from my mind and in order for them to come to fruition I have to get to work immediately.  I was already researching a mainstream, realistic fiction project with a different twist on the tormented world of human trafficking.  I had it roughly outlined, but then time passed while I finished my first book and now mermaids sound more appealing.

So, even as I finish that last read through my recent rewrites and prepare to send out queries, I’m also writing about mermaids.  I fear that if I wait, this idea will be swallowed up by another.  Besides, staring out at the crashing waves beyond my window, inspiration abounds.  I just wish Expecting Happiness would finish itself, because writing is the fun part, editing/revising, not so much.  I’ll leave you with a small peak at my dark mermaid.


He had watched her every night for nearly a week, unable to take his eyes off her as she swam, naked in the icy ocean.  From the cover of his driftwood structure, he peered out at her, squinting to focus on her smooth skin beneath the moonlight.  The first night, he thought she was a figment of his imagination, the result of shifting light beneath the fast moving clouds.  However, each evening after he put out his campfire and retreated to the make-shift shelter, she returned.

Some nights, he could see her better than others, depending on the moon.  Tonight, the moon was full, its light cascading over the sand, bouncing back toward the sky, a dull glow.  The stars shone bright above the beach, unobscured in a rare, cloudless moment.  Carefully, he pulled himself through the opening of his crude shelter, cautious not to knock over the paddles to his kayak, worried that any noise might scare her back into the water.

He was still uncertain where she came from.  She always appeared from nowhere, as though she climbed out of the sea.  He figured she must be camping up the way, his own small bay the calmest spot to swim.  Even so, he would not get in that water without his kayak, the roiling waves and icy cold too much for most strong swimmers.  He had watched more than one surfer paddle out in a full wet suit just to be pummeled by the waves and head back in.

Still, there she was, naked, riding in on the waves, diving beneath the breaks, emerging with her long, dark hair clinging to her breasts.  She was child-like in her play, alternating between the water and the shore, chasing the waves in and out.  He thought he heard her laughing as she ran, at first quiet like a whisper, then howling, alive and wild.

In truth, he had not emerged from the structure the previous nights because she scared him.  The freedom of her body, the rawness of her loud laughter, almost animal-like.  Eventually, she would disappear, leaving him aching to touch her cold skin…

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