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Writing Lesson: Retelling Fairy Tales

As an esteemed author of fairy tale retellings, I have the monumental and sometimes soul-wrenching task of deciding which details to pick from the myriad versions of any given story, and which details to leave out altogether. I have taken on Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, swan maidens, Rapunzel and Snow White, usually focusing on cruelly-maligned-by-history minor characters—and agonized over many impossible choices. But no decision has been harder than what the evil queen from Snow White should eat. Or, more accurately, what part of Snow White she should eat. For dinner. READ MORE

Save the Mermaids!

You probably know and love the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, whether you’ve woven your way shamelessly and toplessly down its Brooklyn streets, leaving a trail of glitter and fish scales in your wake, or just admired it the way Gatsby watches that green light across the water. But it’s been there, glowing, since 1983, filling the streets of Coney Island with mermaids for one gorgeous and solstice-y Saturday every summer. And whether or not you’ve built a mansion to woo it, the Mermaid Parade is now in danger, due to the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, and needs your help. Otherwise it might be cancelled, leaving tens of thousands of mermaids (spiritually) homeless, hopeless, covered with bodypaint, and with nowhere to go. Luckily, Coney Island USA launched a Kickstarter campaign a couple of weeks ago to Save The Coney Island Mermaid, and they’ve raised a lot of clams so far, and outed many many mermaid-lovers who might have otherwise remained silent, but they need a lot more. READ MORE

Ten Glamorous Mermaid Destinations

With the summer months approaching, you're no doubt trying to plan a fabulous vacation while simultaneously facing a familiar conundrum: How on earth can you incorporate mermaids? Luckily there are plenty of mermaidly destinations to choose from, so I’ve helpfully compiled the following list (although, honestly, most of you only need to look as far as your own hearts). READ MORE

How to Make Krupnik, an Old-Timey Polish Honey-Spice Cordial

A few weeks back, I visited my friend Heather in the cool old Pennsylvania farmhouse where she lives with her beau and can spend whole days in the kitchen baking elaborate German cookies, or making soups out of vegetables from her garden, or doing possibly semi-illegal things with booze — all with a glass of wine in her hand and some old-time 78 RPMs playing in the background. At one point during the evening I visited, she busted out a decanter full of magical liquid known as krupnik, and served me a shot in a cordial glass. It’s an old Polish and Lithuanian drink that housewives have been concocting in their farm kitchens for centuries, she explained, and which you’d serve to guests alongside some sweet treat, especially in the winter months. READ MORE

Mermaids in Vegas: The Mermaid Convention

Two weekends ago I went to Las Vegas for the first annual Mermaid Convention and World Mermaid Awards at the Silverton Hotel and Casino, because not only are there enough mermaids in the world to gather for a convention, there are enough to get awards. READ MORE

Last Weekend I Went to Mermaid Camp

And by mermaid camp I mean the two-day “Sirens of the Deep” mermaid camp that’s run by the former mermaids of the inimitable Weeki Wachee Springs, the open-since-1947, visited-by-Elvis live mermaid city in Weeki Wachee, Florida, that features an awesome underwater theater built into a natural spring. READ MORE

Five Ways to Become a Mermaid

Admit it: at some point in your life, deep down, you’ve wanted to be a mermaid. Sitting on a rock, lustrous hair flowing down, pearls and shells scattered about, sailors and pirates crashing their ships around you. You’ve watched Splash and The Little Mermaid, you’ve totally wanted to lie in that saltwater bath and stretch out a bright orange tail, or swim around shipwrecks with weird little fish as your friends. Maybe somewhere deep down you think you are a mermaid, or at least would make a kickass one if given the chance. READ MORE