Bathing Suit Torture. Part I

photo by genibee

photo by genibee

If there’s a downside to taking a trip to Barbados in April, for a week of repose on an idyllic beach, that thing would be the premature torture of bathing suit shopping.

Of course one could argue, why go bathing suit shopping? You’re going to a tiny island in the Caribbean, not the town pool. No one has seen last year’s bathing suit in Barbados. That was my rationale exactly until things took an ugly turn.

First of all, let me be clear, I have no problem wearing a vestige of the American cruise wear timeline, a garment three to five (possibly seven) years old. I’m a veritable human time capsule of swimwear’s good, bad and ugly. Which practically makes me a performance artist. Anyway, what’s the difference how old they are—as long as they fit—especially since they’re all black. In various leg cuts and strap configurations.

They each have very specific uses: the tasteful, slightly snazzy one for the pool, the one-piece goes to the water park (where it’s not uncommon on some rides, if one is wearing a two-piece, for the top to end up over your head and the bottom down around your knees−scaring young children−ok, everyone−within eyesight,) the swanky one I wear to our friends’ annual 4th of July party, the one that covers the most skin is worn with the in-laws, and the one that reveals the most skin is waiting for St. Barts (new with tags)(and by “new” I mean old).

In examining this summer-of-yore wardrobe, I noticed the tankini’s bottom had completely lost waistline elasticity. I pulled at it gently, but it didn’t pull back. Instead it kept expanding, while softly weeping. That terrible sound that an ancient, abused elastic makes when it’s had enough. A hushed whimper coming from your clothes is sad indeed. One that says, “I can’t take it anymore,” is the saddest of them all.

With a heavy heart I ceremoniously threw it into the trash knowing it must have taken months to find, a myriad of stores, umpteen try-ons.

It would have to be the one-piece to accompany me to the palm tree-bordered beaches of Barbados. It wasn’t my favorite but it would have to do. Until, that is, I noticed that by holding it up to the light of my bedroom window, I could see my neighbor walking her dog, through its threadbare seat. Good Lord. I closed my eyes and shook my head thinking how that must have appeared last summer at the pool.

All right. It was down to the 2-piece halter. Ugh. That one showed a little too much mid-section for my liking and was adorned with a gold thingy on each hip. I must have been desperate and delirious with exhaustion when I bought it. I hate metal trinkets on bathing suits. A third gold goo-goo was sewn at the cleavage. I’d need to try it on. Because of the flashy embellishments it was two summers ago that I wore it last. Better not leave anything to chance. Good news−bottom was fine. Bad news−the plastic hook that holds the straps together was snapped in half. Half a hook is not good. There was enough metal on that thing to send airport security into a frenzy, but the necessary element to hold the bathing suit together was made of plastic.

There were others in the drawer but I was too humiliated to look at them. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I glimpsed a bikini. In turquoise? That was a long time ago, I reminisced, while unconsciously sucking in my stomach. Why had I kept it all these years? Like I’m really going to lose the ten (seventeen) pounds it would take to wear it? That thing is older than my daughter. The teenager. Do I really need to be taunted by the ghosts of summers past? I closed the drawer.

It would be unavoidable this year. I knew it was time.

What happens next is not for the faint of heart. If you have a weak heart, irregular heart rhythms, take heart meds, we should probably say goodbye here. Thank you for visiting. If not, and you think you can handle it, do come back for the rest of Bathing Suit Torture. Part II. Coming soon.

It’s official! THE MEMORY BOX is a book!

The Memory Box_3DI’m thrilled to announce THE MEMORY BOX, the newest release in the hottest genre in fiction: the marriage thriller, is finally a book! It’s just been released and is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon worldwide. With expanded distribution in the upcoming weeks.

This book has been long in the making and the road to publication was a pothole-filled journey. If you’re a writer, you know there are one million potential chances to hit a bump in the road, fall out of your car, get bruised pretty badly and decide driving is not for you. And you end up walking everywhere you go for the rest of your life. There are so many possible detours. Red lights that never turn green. Other drivers who swerve into your lane and crush your car to smithereens. Sometimes you’ll think you know where you’re going when you set out, only to get lost along the way. Other times you’ll simply run out of gas. There are as many opportunities to sabotage your success as there are days in your creative life, or even hours. To not listen to those cynical voices, whether they are external or internal, in order to get to this day—the day your flicker of an idea becomes a book—is close to a miracle.

There were many people whose encouragement, both big and small, kept me going.  If those of you can hear me, thank you for cheering me on, holding my hand or paving the way for me to go the distance. To you, I bow my head in appreciation.

This spring, THE MEMORY BOX had the distinguished honor of being a recipient of the Houston Writers Guild 2014 Manuscript award and it has already garnered some wonderful early praise. I hope it will find it’s way into your beach bag, train tote or carry-on luggage this summer. If it does, thank you so much for taking a chance on THE MEMORY BOX. Perhaps you’d also consider writing an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari or any social media platform you’re on. Reviews and word of mouth through social media will be invaluable to the success of THE MEMORY BOX. And every little bit helps tremendously!

Please feel free to share this exciting news with your fiction-loving family and friends. If you or someone you know would like to read THE MEMORY BOX in a book club, I’ll be available for personal appearances at book club meetings! I’d love to share in the book club conversation and pass on some never-heard-before stories about the inspiration for the characters and story. I’ll be available on Skype for book clubs outside the New Jersey area, so tell your friends in Mobile, Manchester and Mat Aafhis. (What, like you don’t know anyone there?)

Thank you so much for your interest and support! And as always, I so appreciate hearing from you. If you had a connection with something you read, I’d love to hear about it.

Here is THE MEMORY BOX book description:

What would you do if you searched your own past and uncovered something shocking?

In this gripping marriage thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose astory of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions:

Be careful what you search for

THE MEMORY BOX Cover Reveal!

The Memory Box - Ebook high-res final

I am so excited to officially reveal the cover for THE MEMORY BOX! It was designed by the incredibly talented Damonza and his equally fabulous team. More news to follow on the release date for my debut novel. I’m thrilled to tell you that THE MEMORY BOX is a HOUSTON WRITERS GUILD 2014 Manuscript award recipient.

To further whet your appetite, here is the book description:

What would you do if you searched your own past and uncovered something shocking?

In this gripping marriage thriller, a group of privileged suburban moms amuse themselves by Googling everyone in town, digging up dirt to fuel thorny gossip. Caroline Thompson, devoted mother of two, sticks to the moral high ground and attempts to avoid these women. She’s relieved to hear her name appears only three times, citing her philanthropy. Despite being grateful that she has nothing to hide, a delayed pang of insecurity prods Caroline to Google her maiden name—which none of the others know.

The hits cascade like a tsunami. Caroline’s terrified by what she reads. An obituary for her sister, JD? That’s absurd. With every click, the revelations grow more alarming. They can’t be right. She’d know. Caroline is hurled into a state of paranoia—upending her blissful family life—desperate to prove these allegations false before someone discovers they’re true.

The disturbing underpinnings of The Memory Box expose a story of deceit, misconceptions, and an obsession for control. With its twists, taut pacing, and psychological tenor, Natiello’s page-turning suspense cautions:

Be careful what you search for.

How to make cleaning toilets more enjoyable.

toilet
In an effort to make cleaning toilets more enjoyable, I’ve made a game out of it. I recommend you try this; it’s endless fun.

After playing this game with some regularity and frequency, I’ve been forced to do a bit of soul searching and I’ve come to realize I’ll never be a hall-of-famer at this game. Sadly, I will not even be an all-star or team captain. Heck, I’ll never even make Varsity. Thusly, I’ve come to a difficult decision. I’m bowing out. And retiring the toilet brush. I’m not gonna play this game anymore.

Instead—I’ve decided to coach.

Luckily, I already have two extremely promising recruits. I believe with a little training and a lot of practice they’re gonna take this toilet cleaning game by storm. The bathroom will not just be their playing field, but their oyster. They don’t know any of this yet, of course, because they’re still second-guessing their abilities and displaying a lack of confidence. But these kids are young. They’ve got a bright future. The funny thing is, as green as they are, they’re not shy about expecting the big bucks! Slow down! This ain’t the NBA, kids! Am I right?
You gotta clean a load of toilets before you make it to the big leagues.