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.

California Chrome’s Personal Stylist Comes Clean on the Nasal Strips

photo by Bill Brine

photo by Bill Brine

I shouldn’t tell you this, but as California Chrome’s personal stylist, my name is being dragged through the mud over this nasal strip fiasco, and I need to tell my story before People Magazine hears it elsewhere.

Full disclosure: C.C. is my first horse client. However, I’m no stranger to four-leggers with a discerning pedigree. I’m sure you’re aware of my work with the cat who did Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway, and the donkey from Shrek (movies 1-4 plus the spin-offs), but a horse is a different animal altogether.

Let’s set the record straight. Do you really think I’d sanction that hideous nasal strip for a live, global, high-profile media event…maybe if I’m aspiring to be the new dishwasher at Ho Hum’s on Canal! C.C.’s handlers didn’t want to listen—but I had the only sensible solution.

Anyone with a thread of fashion sense knows that Ralph Lauren is all about horse hair footwear (Fall ‘15). I have a friend in the bootie department; she promised to hook me up with a swatch, ivory and chestnut. The swatch would easily adhere to the strip, creating a nasal patch toupee, if you will. A guy I know in the east village is a master at weaves. On the trickiest hair. He assured me he could weave the strip onto C.C.’s nose. Done. No visible lines. No questions. No NYRA approvals. But I never got the chance.

I’m sure you know by now that C.C. doesn’t have a breathing problem. His real problem is that he’s a scaredy cat, and it’s his reaction to being frightened that they want to keep under wraps. Unfortunately, there’s no telling what will make him jittery. A few of his triggers to date: Frank Sinatra songs (including covers), seaweed under hoof, women wearing coral lipstick or back tattoos, the smell of Fabuloso, anything on HBO. Horses usually let out a panicked neigh when they’re anxious or agitated, through their nose. C.C. can’t do this because of his deviated septum. Instead, he spurts a stuttering-lisp, like someone with a swollen tongue and rapid-fire hiccups might do. Replete with spittle. It’s utterly embarrassing. The only thing that reverses this are the nasal strips. Trust me; he simply cannot do national T.V. without the strips. But the white plastic patches?

I don’t get it. We spent a small fortune covering his unsightly varicose veins with Prada tube socks. The Zorro mask with embedded audio (thank you, Hammacher Schlemmer!) to play Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream—the only thing that keeps him calm—was an arm and a leg. And, let’s not forget about the saddle pad custom fabricated by Spanx! All this and then a snout accessory from Walgreens aisle 4.

Obviously, I had to cut ties with C.C.’s people. I wish them all the luck in the world, but I can’t be associated with an oversight of such proportions. My reputation is all I have. Let it be clear, I would not now, or ever in the future, do white vinyl on horse hair.

Well, unless it’s a lovely little Hermès number.

My Secret Hair Fantasy

photo by The Webhamster

photo by The Webhamster

I will let you in on a little secret. I sometimes fantasize that someday all human beings will be born bald. Okay, I know, a sizable percentage of humans are currently born bald. But I mean, stay bald. Like, never grow hair. An entire hairless human race. You might think a comment like that would come from someone living in eternal hair hell. Thankfully, I pretty much have okay hair. I have my fair share of bad hair days, but I also have a decent amount of good hair days to hang my hat on. And when those happen, I feel great.

That’s part of my problem with hair. Why do I need a good hair day to feel good about myself? That’s nuts. Hair? It’s an appendage for god sakes. My feet never make me feel any better or worse about myself. (Unless, of course, Lord and Taylor is having a huge shoe sale and my amply-sized feet won’t fit into any of them.) So why is hair so important? Of course there are all sorts of twists and turns of daily life which diminish or pad our happiness levels. Things we can control and things we can’t. So why let something as frivolous as hair impact our mood, our self-esteem, our confidence?

Apart from spending a fortune on hair – to curl or straighten it, dye it, perm it, style it, shine it, wax it, iron, extend, remove, highlight, process, tweeze, thread or weave it, etcetera, think of the hours spent on our hair. And sadly, most of the time after it’s “done,” we will likely say—we hate it.

Certain assumptions are made about people based on their hair. Don’t shake your head, you know it’s true. Sometimes these assumptions turn out to be not so wrong. But most of the time, it’s just another way we judge people.

Although at first glance this may seem like something of a girl problem, men are just as vulnerable in the hair department. Some guys have too much. Some guys have too little. When I was a teen, I knew a couple of guys whose egos took a beating from thick curly hair. In the 70’s there were few flattering options. Cut it short? Grow it long?

What about people who lose their hair after medical interventions? Do they really need to feel any additional hardships? Now they have to worry about how to deal with something as inconsequential as hair! Navigating the challenges of life is hard enough. I believe it would be much better for everyone to never have hair. Do we really need it? You live in Minnesota? Throw on a hat! You’re a Brooklyn Nets cheerleader? Work on choreography! You’re a hair stylist? Sorry.

Let’s admire people for reasons that matter. If we were all bald, it would be easier to look past the outside and regard people because they’re interesting, humorous, ambitious, inventive, kind, resourceful, dynamic, determined, talented, tenacious, inspiring, nurturing. Not because they have the perfect shiny bob.