Friday, September 30, 2011

Interview + Giveaway With THE VICIOUS DEEP Author Zoraida Cordova

Zoraida Cordova's the awesome author of The Vicious Deep, her debut novel which releases in April 2012. Below's a little snippet of Zoraida's bio:
Zoraida C√≥rdova was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where she learned to speak English by watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker on repeat. Her favorite things are sparkly like merdudes, Christmas, and New York City at night. She loves getting tweets @zlikeinzorro and making funny faces on her YouTube channel ZoraidaLand.
And for those who want to know more about The Vicious Deep, here's the book's summary courtesy of Goodreads:
Set against the backdrop of a Coney Island summer comes The Vicious Deep, the story of sixteen year old Tristan Hart whose life is turned upside down when the mermaids make an unscheduled return to land in search of their new king.
When a sudden storm pulls Tristan from lifeguard duty into a deadly riptide, he discovers what he really is—a prince of the Sea Court. Turns out, his girlfriend hopping and talents as a swimmer aren’t caused by his teenage prime hormones after all.
In this modern Arthurian tale with a twist, when all a guy wants to do is get The Girl and enjoy the freak show that is a Coney Island summer, Tristan has to fight for his life, the lives of his friends, and his humanity, if he still wants it, as he’s caught in a race for a throne that is as ancient as the gods.

And now for the interview! Check it out below:

How did you get the idea for The Vicious Deep?
It starts with a boy.
I've always wanted to write a large scale story about a Sea Kingdom. In the end, I got the idea for Tristan when I saw this pensive and brooding lifeguard at the beach. I had found my merman. I already had his name picked out and the world just fell into place around him.

The Vicious Deep has a male protagonist (which I'm excited about myself). Was it challenging for you to write from the perspective of a teenage boy?
A lot of my best friends are boys so I just wrote like them. I didn't think of it as "writing" from a boy as much as "I'm writing as Tristan Hart." We all have gender stereotypes that make us wonder how a writer can pull of a gender not their own. If you look at books like WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight and GOING BOVINE by Libba Bray, you think about the voice. You think about the story. You go for the ride.

I love writing in Tristan's voice because that's someone who I'd like to know and see. I'm excited for everyone to get to know him.

Did you have a character that was most fun to write about, or that you maybe felt you could relate to most?
I love writing about the minor characters the best. Sure, everyone cheers for the hero and want to right the wrongs of the villain. But it is the little people that make the book spark. You discover the newness of Tristan's world along side him.

How do you feel about this sudden surge in popularity mermaids have gotten?IT HAS TO STOP!

Just kidding. I love it! It almost seems like there's this collective energy that happens. Like we were writing/selling our novels at the same time. It's all so very cool. I also try not to think of it as a trend as much as merfolk getting their chance in the spotlight. Vampires have become so accessible. But mermaids have always been a mystery. So I hope we can share some of that magic.

What type of research did you do on mermaids for The Vicious Deep, if any?
I feel like the world is what I want it to be. I've grown up looking at a lot of mermaid art. Online, in books, things that I paint myself. I also have some non-fiction books about mermaid sightings. My favorite is a collection of folktales from all around the world depicting mermaids. It reminds me of the stories coming out now with all of our different takes.

What do you hope readers will take away from The Vicious Deep after reading it?I hope they walk away with a desire to read book 2!
On the more serious side, I want everyone to love the world I've created. My modern New York Wonderland.

How many books will there be of Tristan's adventures?There are two sure books. The Vicious Deep and a currently untitled book 2. (There is a title, it's just not official) The outline for book 2 is wayyy long. So, we'll see.

Finally, are there any other projects you're currently working on?
I have a witchy stand alone, a YA with santeria, a vampire novel I've been working on since high school. There are going to be a lot of books!

Now onto the giveaway! Zoraida's offering up a "Mermaid Starter's Pack," which includes a hardcover copy of Siren by Tricia Rayburn, Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs, and a 5x7 art photo inspired by the novel that includes a one line excerpt. So if you want to be introduced to the mermaid world, or you're already a fan and want to win some great mermaid stuff, here's what to do.

1) Follow this blog. (If you already follow it, more power to ya!)
2) Leave a comment below, telling me who your favorite mermaid/merdude is, and also include your email address.

And that's it! The giveaway ends next Sunday, October 9th. It is only open for the US (sorry, international peeps!) Good luck guys!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

WAKING STORMS (Lost Voices Book 2) Cover Reveal!

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter is a mermaid book filled with darkness, pain, and mesmerizing beauty. It's also the first in a trilogy. I've reviewed the book - and even interviewed it's amazingly talented author, Sarah Porter - on the MerBlog before. Waking Storms is the second book in the trilogy, set for a tentative release date of July 2012. For those unaware of what the book's about, here's the summary courtesy of Goodreads:
After parting ways with her troubled mermaid tribe, Luce just wants to live peacefully on her own. But her tranquility doesn't last long: she receives news that the tribe is on the verge of collapse and desperately needs her leadership. Anais, their cruel queen, wants Luce dead. Dorian, the boy Luce broke mermaid law to save, is determined to make her pay for her part in the murder of his family. And while the mermaids cling to the idea that humans never suspect their existence, there are suddenly ominous signs to the contrary.

But when Luce and Dorian meet, they start to wonder if love can overpower the hatred they know they should feel for each other. Luce's new friendship with an ancient renegade mermaid gives her hope that her kind might someday change their murderous ways. But how can Luce fulfill her rightful role as queen of the mermaids without sacrificing her forbidden romance with Dorian?

Full of miraculous reunions and heart-pounding rescues, this haunting second installment in the Lost Voices Trilogy finds Luce eager to attempt reconciliation with humans—as long as war doesn't break out first.

Sounds good, huh? I'll definitely be checking this one out. Hopefully, Netgalley will have it, being that's how I read the first.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview With TANGLED TIDES Author Karen Amanda Hooper!

Karen Amanda Hooper is the incredibly awesome author of the upcoming book, Tangled Tides, Book 1 of the Sea Monster Memoirs and which features a dazzling array of supernatural sea creatures, including mermaids! Check out my interview with Karen below!

How did you get the idea for Tangled Tides?

This may seem crazy but the idea was sparked while I was walking my dogs and came across a neighbor’s sidewalk covered with dead worms. Yup, that’s right, worms. I kept thinking how sad it was that they looked like they were trying to cross to the grass but didn’t make it. That moment combined with my childhood love of mermaids sparked the basic idea of my story: sea creatures trying to make it back to their realm before they die in ours. (And yes, I incorporated the odd worm connection through a scene in the book. I’m weird like that.)

I’ve been frequently checking out your blog for a couple of years now, it seems. And congratulations on finally getting to see the novel be published. What was the whole process of getting published like?

Thank you! And big hugs for reading my blog!
Honestly, getting published was an unexpected surprise. I queried the manuscript a couple years ago and then shelved it after I didn’t get any offers of representation from agents. I was querying a totally different project when USA Today published an article about mermaids being the next big trend. A few writer friends emailed me suggesting that I self-publish my mermaid story. I took it as a sign from the universe, asked a couple author friends about their experiences with self-publishing, and one of those friends suggested I submit it to her publisher. I did and viola! A couple months later Rhemalda offered me a contract. A perfect example of how the universe works in mysterious and unexpected ways. And that the universe knows what it’s doing because I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Tangled Tides features a colorful diversity of mythological sea creatures: merfolk, selkies, sirens, and gorgons. Did you do any research to find all these creatures, or did you automatically know they would play a role in the story?

I knew they’d all play a part, I just wasn’t sure how. I don’t outline or plot ahead, so my characters and details of my stories develop and change as I write (and as my critique partners make suggestions). The merfolk and selkies were the easiest to develop. I had a pretty clear idea of what they’d be like from the start, but the sirens surprised me. They turned out more sultry and sinister than I originally intended. I researched birds quite a bit to develop their gestures and habits. My odd affinity for gorgons developed when I was a kid. I loved the original Clash of the Titans movie, but I was always felt sorry for Medusa when Perseus killed him. I hooked her up with a much better role in my story.

Which character did you have most fun writing about?

Oh, it’s so hard to choose just one. Let me think…
Okay, seriously, I vacuumed and made coffee and gave it A LOT of thought and I can’t choose just one. Please don’t make me! Yara, Treygan, and Rownan were so important they each got their own voice and POV, but I had so much fun creating Nixie, Pango, Koraline and Delmar…and Jack. And Kai. And Otabia. And Kimber. See, I love all of them.

I love the names in your story (Yara, Treygan, Rownan, etc.) And I actually looked up the meaning of Yara (it means “seagull.” How fitting!) Did you find all the names, or make some of them up on your own?

Can I just say how much I love that you looked up Yara’s name? *huge grin*
I did a lot of research on the name Yara. Yes, in some cultures it means seagull—which was so fitting, but depending on the language Yara also means: Mermaid of the river, the song of love and death, one who guides or teaches, and the line that separates the stars from the ocean. Really, she has the perfect name for her.
And Treygan. *sigh*
I put a lot of research into his name too. One of the things I found that fit him perfectly was this: the name Treygan creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, it causes an emotional intensity that is hard to control…driven with a strong inner urge to be of service in some way that would uplift humanity as a whole…a tendency to assume too heavy a burden of responsibility for others.
Once you read the book you’ll totally get it.
The rest of the names I just randomly picked and/or made up, or they’re already established characters in mythology like Medusa and her sisters.

Since sea monsters abound in Tangled Tides, what sea creature - mythical or not - is your favorite?

In real life I adore the honu (the Hawaiian sea turtle). I had experiences swimming with them in the wild in Hawaii and I totally fell in love.
Mythical, I’d want to be Yara. She’s a breed all her own. *wink wink*

How do you feel about the rise in popularity mermaids have recently gotten?

I wrote a whole post about this but I’ll try to summarize my feelings. I’ve loved merfolk since I was two years old, so I’m excited to be part of the trend, and to read all the other mermaid stories. (I waited until mine was done so I didn’t accidentally copy any ideas.) At the same time I worry that my story will get lost in the crowded sea of mer books (pun intended).

What do you hope readers will take away from Tangled Tides after reading it?

In my story there’s a reoccurring theme of love. Love of self, family, friends, soul mates, even love of knowledge and life in general. I’m a big believer in loving with everything you’ve got. I hope Tangled Tides reminds readers how important and powerful love is.

Can we expect more Sea Monster Memoirs to come in the future?

Yes indeedy. I’m working on book 2 right now.

And lastly, are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
I have a YA reincarnation manuscript that a few agents and a publisher have had since before I pulled Tangled Tides out of the drawer. Also, I started writing a few scenes for a whole different YA paranormal. All I can say about that one is that it’s much colder than any of my other stories. *mischievous smile*

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Garrett. I loved these questions. Discussing my sea peeps always makes me happy.

To find out more about Karen Amanda Hooper's debut novel Tangled Tides, swim on over to Goodreads, where you can also enter a giveaway for the book!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

H2O: Just Add Water Stars: Where Are They Now?

First, before I continue, let me just say that this blog post isn't strictly limited to mermaids, but about two actresses who are well-liked in the mermaid community due to their work on a mermaid-themed show. The two of them are now playing supernatural creatures on American TV shows. Phoebe Tonkin and Claire Holt, who played mermaids Cleo and Emma respectively on the hit Australian television series H2O: Just Add Water, are making a splash on the American network, the CW, playing supernatural beings on two of the channel's most popular shows, The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle.

Claire Holt played Emma Gilbert on H2O, a mermaid who was the self-appointed leader of the group. Holt left the show after its second season, moving to America to star in other shows and movies, such as The Messengers 2 and Pretty Little Liars. But now, she's going to be playing Becky, a vampire on the CW's most popular show, The Vampire Diaries. She hasn't yet made her appearance on the show, but she might be appearing in next Thursdays's episode, entitled "The End of the Affair." It'll be pretty cool to see my favorite mermaid playing a vampire on another favorite show of mine.

Now on to Phoebe Tonkin. She played shy and insecure mermaid Cleo, but now she's playing a character who is the exact opposite of Cleo - Faye, a confident and badass witch on the CW show The Secret Circle. I have seen the show, and Tonkin is the best actress on the show. She's funny but with a dark, dangerous side to her - it makes me think Faye's going to go off the deep end pretty soon. I love Phoebe Tonkin, and I hope her character Faye has a long life on The Secret Circle.
I haven't looked into any of the projects that the other former H2O stars might be doing, as I don't think any of them are doing American television. (Although Craig Horner, who played Emma's boyfriend in Season 2, was doing an American TV show called Legend of the Seeker, but it has since been cancelled.)
Well, that's it for this time around! Keep swimming by for more mermaid news!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Fred the Mermaid Trilogy by MaryJanice Davidson

MaryJanice Davidson is well-known for her Vampire Queen Betsy paranormal-romance series. But she's also written about mermaids, with the Fred the Mermaid Trilogy, consisting of three books entitled Sleeping With the Fishes, Swimming Without a Net, and Fish Out of Water, released in 2006, 2007, and 2008 respectively.
Fred is the anti-Ariel; she's cranky, ill-tempered, and she's pretty much as un-mermaidlike as you can get. Check out my reviews of all three of the books below:

Book 1: Sleeping With the Fishes
Sleeping With the Fishes is a laugh-out-loud book that turns the mermaid genre upside down. The book is filled with snide remarks toward the well-known 'Little Mermaid' and 'Splash' movies, mainly as a way to show how un-mermaidlike Fred really is. I loved all the characters in this book, and the way they interacted with each other. MaryJanice Davidson is great at coming up with snarky dialogue and one-liners that make me laugh at loud and look like a freak to anyone in the vicinity of me while I'm reading. It's a quick read, and you could probably breeze through it in a day or two. It's mostly fluff and comedic fodder, a good escapism when you're looking for something light that you don't have to analyze. Plus, if you love mermaids and want to see a different side to the mermaid myth, you'll love this book!

Book 2: Swimming Without a Net
The cover of this book caught my eye from its place on the shelf, and after weeks of contemplating, I decided to pick it up and read it. I'd heard of the first book in the Fred the Mermaid Trilogy, Sleeping With The Fishes, but I had never gotten around to reading it. I probably won't read it, even though this book was...well, tolerable. Okay, if this book hadn't been about a mermaid, I don't think I would have ever picked it up. It was okay, but it could have been waaay better. The novel was 304 pages, and most of that was made up because of the large font size, with few lines on each page, and almost twent-five pages of quotes, acknowlegments, title pages, and author notes. Basically, Swimming Without a Net is all fluff, no story. With only a few good descriptions of the mermaids, barely any action, and Fred's usual grumpiness running abundantly throughout, this book has its random charming moments, several attempts at humor, and one very brief sex scene.
My advice: read at your own risk. I only read it because it was about a mermaid.

Book 3: Fish Out of Water
Fish Out Of Water was A LOT better than the previous book, Swimming Without A Net. In this one, the mystery of Fred's biological father is finally solved, but he might not be as warm and caring about Fred as he first appears...
I read this novel in about a day, because it's very short, and the font size and word count for each page is very minimal. Like the second book, there was almost thirty pages of quotes, acknowledgments, author notes, a 3-sentence long prologue, and title pages galore!
Personally, I don't think it would be too hard to come up with ideas for a mermaid book. Since there's hardly any out there, you can practically write whatever you want! (I have written a few myself, a time or two.) Why the Fred the Mermaid series is lacking in plot is a mystery to me. That being said, I wish this wasn't the last book, because the series could have eventually started to get better. The reason I liked this book better was that Swimming Without A Net didn't get was because of the climax of this book. There was actually some intense action going on there! Plus, the book has to be given props for such a beautiful cover!
So, there's my review for the third and final book of the Fred the Mermaid Trilogy. Fish Out Of Water may be better than the previous novel, but it still has its own problems.

If you think the Fred the Mermaid books might be for you, definitely check them out! A warning, though, that these books are adult and do have adult content. So if you're okay with that, you die-hard mermaid fans don't want to miss these!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mermaid Films: Part 2 of 5 Location

So you have your incredibly talented cast, your suited-to-the-film director, now you need to know where to film your epic mermaid movie of awesome. We'll go by your type of movie and how you can play off your location to the best advantage of a film.

For your typical epic high fantasy sort of film (it can be one with a darker portrayal of merpeople or it can work with a lighter tone as well), you'll want to go to where most epic fantasies are filmed: New Zealand. You've got plenty of beautiful locales to do your scenes on land (if you have any, which odds are you will) and many more for the water bits. If you don't believe me, just watch the Extended versions of The Lord of the Rings a couple times.

For a dark take on an Urban fantasy, I'd go with Boston or Washington D.C. Washington is a little harder with the water scenes, but there are great bodies of water in the proximity. Boston might be a bit easier in that aspect however.

Or, if you're going in the vein of the beloved "Splash" New York of course :) Another interesting though would be Canada. I've always thought of setting some mermaids up in Canada. Maybe that's just me.

Either way, lemme know what you think guys!

Much love and sonic screwdrivers,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baseball Players Dig Mermaids

Picture this: a baseball player tries to win the heart of a beautiful mermaid. Sounds like a romance novel waiting to happen, right? Well, this story is more fact than fiction. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder John Mayberry apparently wants to date the Albanian model and actress, Antoinette Nikprelaj, who, as some of you might know, played one of the beautiful but vicious mermaids in the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

A series of emails were leaked from Mayberry's LA-based agent, who tried to help set him up with Nikprelaj, but guess what? This mermaid's taken. She's married and has a daughter. So it looks like there's no luck for this landlubber.

But there's plenty of fish in the sea. And I'm sure there are lots of other mermaids out there looking for love with a landlocked human. I mean, there was an entire cast of Pirates mermaids, right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Water Trilogy by Kara Dalkey

Water is a historical fantasy trilogy that was released in 2002 and is about mermaids, aliens, and Atlantis. Yeah, it may sound like these three things are an unlikely combination, but they fit so well together in a mesmerizing unique world created by author Kara Dalkey. Check out my reviews below of each of the novels in the trilogy: Ascension, Reunion, and Transformation.

Book #1: Ascension
Ascension was a great introduction to the Water Trilogy. Kara Dalkey's undersea world of mermaids, aliens, and Atlanteans was fully developed, lacking nothing. I loved the writing, and Dalkey perfectly captures Nia's uneasy feeling that her treasured underwater world is but an illusion. The final scenes of the book are filled with twists, turns, and very unexpected surprises. If you love mermaids, definitely check out this unique spin. This would also be a great introduction into high fantasy. I can't wait to check out Reunion and Transformation, the next two parts of the trilogy.

Book #2: Reunion
I'll admit, I was a bit hesitant to read this one. The beginning was very slow, as I'm not a big historical fantasy fan, and the entire first quarter of the book was the typical medieval story. But once Nia showed back up, the story got rolling and I was hooked once more. I stayed up late, knowing I had school in the morning, just to keep reading, and the next day I was still reading it every spare chance I got. While I loved the first book, Ascension, more, I loved Reunion for many different reasons.
I have to say, Nia is one of my favorite - if not already my favorite - mermaid heroines. She is brave and daring, standing up to defy even barbaric kings in a mission to save her people. I sense a budding romance between her and Corwin. I wonder where that's going to go...
All in all, it was a fantastic read, not as good as the first, but a welcome addition to the Water Trilogy. I'm definitely sinking back into the third and final book, Transformation, and I can't wait to see how all the action, twists, and turns unfold to create the book's explosive conclusion.
So definitely check out Reunion if you're a mermaid or historical fantasy fan!

Book #3: Transformation
WOW! This one was epic! I read it in just two sittings - in one day, too. Everything just builds to a huge climax, and there was action around every corner. I still love Nia. The scene in the Farworlder nursery made me cheer her on, because you can tell Nia's ready to kick some Avatar butt. I love Dalkey's writing as well; there were several lines that made me chuckle as I read. We also return to Atlantis in this one, which we didn't get to see in the second novel. I tore through this book, and now I'm sad that I've read the whole trilogy. This one was definitely bittersweet, and the very final scene of the book was a big unpredictable twist that makes you go, "Huh...never saw that one coming." (If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about.)

So definitely dive into the Water Trilogy by Kara Dalkey and immerse yourself in her breathtaking underwater world!