Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mermaid Movie Mania Splashes Hollywood!

It seems mermaids aren't just swimming onto bookshelves everywhere, but they're the next big thing in movies, too! The novel Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon has been optioned by actor Tobey Maguire (of Spiderman fame) and is being written and directed by "Country Strong" filmmaker Shana Feste. The novel is based upon "The Little Mermaid," the story of a human princess who befriends a young woman who is actually a mermaid princess in love with the prince of a warring kingdom.

But that's not the only mermaid-themed movie coming out! There's another remake of The Little Mermaid in the works, directed by "Atonement" director Joe Wright. Wow! Two mermaid movies at one time!

So, while both are about Hans Christian Anderson's famed sea-princess, which one are you going to go see? Will you see both? (I know I will! And the novel Mermaid is high on my to-read list!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

MerBook Review: Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Tempest Rising is the story of a teenage girl who discovers she is destined to become a great and powerful mermaid. Being obsessed with all things Mer-related for all my life, I'm picky when it comes to books about the merfolk. But I can now strongly attest that Tempest Rising is my favorite mermaid book of all time!
I really loved the main character of Tempest. She felt very human, despite being half mermaid. She knows from the book's opening that she is a mermaid and destined to become one. However, Tempest doesn't want to be a mermaid. She's got her younger brothers to look after, aspirations to become an artist, and, well, she's also got surfing, a boyfriend, and good friends she doesn't want to leave behind. All this made Tempest complex and meaningful, not just another cardboard cut-out of a character. Her dreams and aspirations were known, and the reader can't help but feel sorry for her.

Something else I loved about the novel was Tempest's refusal to become like her mother. She doesn't want to make the same choices her parent did, and for most of the book Tempest resents her mother for those choices. Watching Tempest grow and develop made the reader develop along with her.

Another thing about this book that was a refreshing change: in a world where paranormal romances
usually feature half-naked heroines slaying evil creatures without blinking an eye, Tempest actually feels guilt when she has to kill someone in self-defense. And she doesn't just get over that guilt; it still plagues her even after the book comes to a close.

As for the writing, Deebs has a lyrical, almost poetic, style. Some passages were lyrical, like they were part of a song, which is only fitting, being that the novel is about mermaids, the "sirens" of song.

I also loved the villain - or should I say villains - in the novel. Tempest has one bad Big Bad to fight off, and from the evil sea witch to her sea monster minions, there was just so much Tempest has yet to conquer, and I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of those beasties.

Mermaids, selkies, sea witches, and various other fantastical sea life swim through the pages of the book, creating a rich mythology that I couldn't get enough of. In fact, most of the mythology is rooted in actual folklore, such as Tiamat and the Lusca, and so I actually looked up myths and legends surrounding these creatures and was surprised at some of the stuff I found. Thumbs up to Ms. Deebs for her myth-weaving!

All in all, I loved this book, as you can probably tell, and as much as I knew I needed to at times, I couldn't stop reading it no matter what. Deebs's writing was flawless, Tempest was refreshingly human, and the mermaid mythology was intriguing and mesmerizing. I've heard this is supposed to be a trilogy, presuming sales are good, and I really hope so! There is so much left to be explored, and I hope to immerse myself in the depths of Tempest's mermaid world again someday soon!

A Mermaid "Tail": Glaucus & Scylla

This is a myth from ancient Greece, and it's literally a love triangle between a merman, a sea monster, and an enchantress. Yeah, really. So, read on and enjoy!

In Greek mythology Scylla was a beautiful sea nymph who became a sea monster because of her lover Glaucus. This is one of the classic Greek love myths.
The story starts with Glaucus who was a fisherman. One day while he was drying his nets he placed the fish he had caught on some unusual grass. No birds or bees or other animals would go near it. The fish, when they touched it, came to life and flopped about until they fell back into the sea. Glaucus felt that the grass had some special power and tasted it. Immediately, he had a mad desire to jump into the water. He could not stop himself, and had in fact no wish to. Once in the sea the sea gods welcomed him and made him an immortal like themselves. He turned blue, with long, green hair and a long, green beard. He had become a merman with a scaly tail. There after, he would swim about the Aegean Sea, visiting the various islands and making prophecies.

One day Scylla was walking on the beach. According to Greek mythology Scylla was a beautiful sea nymph who never seemed to have time for men. She had been playing with the other nymphs but when they had left for deeper water she decided to remain at the shore. She looked very pretty strolling on the beach with just her feet in the water. When Glaucus saw her he instantly lost his heart. He tried to talk to her but she was frightened by the strange green man. He said the foolish things that lovers always say, he said whatever he could think of to make her stay, but she ran away.

Sad, but not despairing, Glaucus swam to the island of sorceress Circe. There he begged Circe to use her magic to make Scylla love him. Unfortunately, Circe had instantly fallen in love with Glaucus. According to Greek mythology, Circe had offended the goddess Venus, who took revenge by giving her usually strong sexual desires. She asked him to remain with her, forget about Scylla, and be her lover. Glaucus did not listen to her words. He told her that he could only love Scylla. When Circe realized how love-struck he was she grew extremely angry. Her first thought was to hurt Glaucus, but being in love with him she decided to go after Scylla instead. Circe made a special brew of magical herbs and flew with it to Scylla's island. There she put them into a pool where Scylla liked to bathe and said many incantations over them. When Scylla entered the water she became a horrible monster with six heads and twelve feet. Glaucus, when he saw this, wept and swam away from Circe forever. Scylla came to live in a cave over a strait across from another monster called Charybdis. When ships tried to avoid Charybdis, Scylla used her long necks to take the sailors from the deck, six at a time, and eat them. According to Greek mythology Scylla later attacked the ship of Odysseus even though Circe had warned him about her. In all of Greek mythology Scylla has one of the saddest stories. After all of this, she was turned to stone.

Here's the link where I copied the story from: The site also has other awesome mermaid stories, too!

So what did you think?

Empires of the Deep: Another Mermaid Movie (?)

For a while now, rumors of a Chinese-American production entitled Empires of the Deep have swum around the web. Supposedly, the movie is an epic fantasy, kind of like "Star Wars under the sea.". Here's what IMDb says about it:

Set in a mythical world, the story of an unlikely love story between a young human and a mermaid.

Production photos abound on the web, but there doesn't seem to be an official release date. Here's a couple images of the film's conceptual art for the mermaids.

There's also apparently a leaked trailer on the Web, but for some reason I'm just not convinced. I've seen it, but it looks like it was just a test trailer and not the final product.

The actresses they've set to play the mermaids are beautiful (but of course they'd be - aren't all mermaids beautiful?) and though high fantasy really isn't my thing, for mermaids I'll definitely make an exception.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

POTC'S Mermaid Queen Tamara: Fins, Fangs, & All

Here's a recent screencap from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides that features the mermaid Queen Tamara about to munch on some unsuspecting sailor. While newcomers to the mermaid legend might think she's a vampire of the seas, mermaids in nautical folklore weren't very sweet and docile, either. I'm really liking how they're portraying mermaids in this movie: animals while under the water, but human on the surface. And look at those fangs! I wouldn't want to be the pirate she set her sights on!

Also, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 comes out next Friday on the 20th, and I can't wait! Will any of you be going to its opening night to see its fish-tailed cast members?

A Mermaid "Tail": The Beautiful Girl & The Fish

This tale is from Yoruba, and rather than being about a mermaid falling in love with a human, this one is about a human girl falling in love with a merman. Enjoy!

In the far-off days when there was great magic everywhere, there lived a beautiful girl. Many young man of her town wished to marry her, but she had refused all offers, saying that her husband must be the most handsome man in all the land. One day, as she was busy in the marketplace, she saw a very handsome man and immediately fell in love with him. Going up to him, she told him how attracted she was by his looks, and that she wished to become his wife.

"I should very much like to have you as my wife, but unfortunately I am not a man, and am not of your people, for I come from the river at Idunmaibo. You see, I am a fish, and when I am not living in the water, the gods have given me the power to turn myself into a young man, but my home is the river and to the river I must return," replied the stranger.

"It matters not," replied the girl. "You may be fish or man, but I still love you. If you promise to come forth from the water from time to time, and see me as you are now, I will gladly marry you."

"So be it then," replied the fish-man, and he led the girl to Idunmaibo and they went to a certain place on the riverbank. "Here is my home," said the fish-man. "Whenever you want me, come to this place and sing the magic song I will teach you." Then the young fish-man sang:

O beautiful fish of the river,

May I look through the flowing waters?

Through the surface of the river I will see you.

O Lovely River that looks like silver and gems

With palace beneath, more lovely

Than the palace of kings of men.

Then the fish-man plunged into the water and was lost from sight. Every day the girl prepared some sweetmeats for her lover and taking them to Idunmaibo, she sang the magic song and the fish came to the surface. He changed into a man, climbed the bank and spent some time with his wife. He used to bring with him coral and many gems from the river and supply her with all she needed. They were very happy together and loved each other very much.

One day, the girl’s parents asked her if there was anybody she wished to marry. She replied that she had a husband, but that she could not disclose his identity at present. They were very puzzled with this answer and watched her as she prepared her husband’s food and carried it away. Her small brother had asked her several times if he could accompany her and carry the food, but she told him she must go alone and nobody must follow her. This answer only aroused the boy’s curiosity, and he made up his mind to follow her and see where she went and what she did with the food. By means of magic, he turned himself into a fly and followed his sister to Idunmaibo and the banks of the river.

Here he heard her sing the magic song and sow the fish come out of the river and turn into a man. And so he learned the words of the magic song. When they had eaten their food, the fish-man said good-bye to his wife and jumped back into the water. The little boy then flew home, and changing into a boy, he went straight to his parents and told them what he had witnessed, and that his sister had married a fish.

The girl’s father and mother were very angry when they heard the boy’s story. But they decided not to say anything about the matter to their daughter on her return. Instead it was arranged that she should be sent to her father’s people for a couple of days while they decided what to do. So the girl was sent away, much to her grief, for her father’s people dwelled far away and she would not be able to visit her husband during her absence.

When the girl had departed, her father told the boy to lead him to Idunmaibo and sing the magic song on the riverbank. When they reached the spot, the boy, imitating his sister’s voice, sang the song and the fish came out of the water. The father was waiting close by and as the fish man climbed the bank the father killed him with his hatchet and threw him into the water. As the fish- man died he turned back slowly into a fish.

"I will punish my daughter for this wicked deed," shouted the father and he ordered his son to pull out the dead fish and carry it home. The fish was then dried and kept for the girl’s return. Two days later she returned, happy to be back close to the river and her husband again. She was anxious to leave her father’s compound and visit the river, only her father ordered her to sit down and eat some food before she left.

"Your mother has prepared some fish for you," ha said.

"I am not hungry, Father, and I do not wish to eat fish," the girl replied.

"You will do as I order you, girl. Sit down and eat," said her father.

So the girl sat down with a sigh and ate the fish. As she ate, she was started to hear her small brother singing softly to himself. Before he had finished the words of his song, the bowl of food had dropped from the girl’s hands and she sat quietly staring in front of her. The boy repeated his song:

How wretched it is for women to eat their husband’s flesh,

When they have taken their husbands as their most beloved,

For during their absence their husbands have been taken out

As a fine fish from the river for the family’s food.

The girl, on hearing this terrible song, ran out of her father’s compound and going quickly to the riverbank, she sang the magic song, but her husband did not come.

Then the girl sang:

Oluweri, Oluweri, Goddess of the River,

I have now returned with eyes of silver and hair like stairs.

Oh, if it be that my husband is dead,

Let the face of the river run blood red,

Or if my husband yet lives, let him come to the surface,

There he will behold his loved one they sent cruelly away.

At this instant, the surface of the water turned blood red and the girl knew then that her parents had killed her husband. She jumped into the river, and instead of being drowned, she sank down into the river waters and became an onijegi, a mermaid. And people say that even today an onijegi can sometimes be heard singing softly at Idunmaibo.
So, what did you think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Mermaid Movie Review: Mermaids (2003)

No, this isn't the movie with Cher, just the titles are the same. This wasn't actually a film, but the two-hour pilot to a television series that never got picked up. (I don't know why, but it would have been awesome!)

Mermaids follows the lives of three very different sisters who gave grown apart over the years. Diana is the eldest, a kick-butt fighter armed with a mean-looking trident; Venus is the middle sister, promiscuous and a siren; and then there's June, the youngest sister who is just like Andersen's little mermaid in that she is in love with a human, a man named Randy, that loves another, and she desires to have a human soul.

The mermaid sisters must come back together when their merman father is killed by fishermen. The nastier of the fishermen is a cruel man named Mallick, who has the body of their father and plans on exploiting it for cash. Diana wants vengeance by killing him, but June protests, and soon the sisters join together to bring their father's killer to justice.

While the acting is hokey, the mermaids are so beautiful, and their tails are just gorgeous! The mermaids' tails look so realistic; they even blend with their skin at the waist, so it's hard to tell they're wearing a costume.

Diana's definitely my favorite sister (gotta love kick-butt heroines!), but I also like Venus and her hilarious attempts at reeling in the human. June, she was okay, but her story's been told so many times, it was just bland. Mermaid saves human, mermaid falls in love with human, human doesn't love mermaid back. But there were some sweet moments with her, and I couldn't help but sympathize with her as she watched her human love from afar, always on the outside looking in. And yes, there's definitely a sweet moment between June and Randy, but I'm not going to say what happens next! You'll just have to watch the film!

The mythology was also interesting. Some of it wasn't original, like the whole thing about a human loving a mermaid means the mermaid gets a soul, but the part where a mermaid is given a magical artifact at birth that gives a human control over them if stolen was also a nice touch, as it hearkens back to what happens if a human steals a selkie's sealskin or a merrow's red cap. Nice add-in of mythology there! The mermaids also have individual powers, which were nice to see, especially how each power affected their personalities (i.e. Diana & superstrength = hot-tempered; Venus & siren powers = sultriness).

The movie is very difficult to find. Occasionally, one pops up on eBay, so you'll have to act fast to get it, but you might be able to find it on some online DVD vendor. I have a copy, because I couldn't resist! Besides The Little Mermaid, it's easily my favorite mermaid movie! The mermaids are'll just have to watch it!

I also know YouTube has the entire movie posted. So, go check it out and see what I mean!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Mermaid "Tail": The Lady of Gollerus

This is a tale from Ireland. Hope you enjoy!

On the shore of Smerwick harbour, one fine summer’s morning, just at daybreak, stood Dick Fitzgerald "shoghing the duedeen", which may be translated, smoking his pipe. The sun was gradually rising behind the lofty Brandon, the dark sea was getting green in the light, and the mists clearing away out of the valleys went rolling and curling like the smoke from the corner of Dick’s mouth.

"'Tis just the pattern of a pretty morning," said Dick, taking the pipe from between his lips, and looking towards the distant ocean, which lay as still and tranquil as a tomb of polished marble. "Well, to be sure," continued he, after a pause, "'tis mighty lonesome to be talking to one’s self by way of company, and not to have another soul to answer one -nothing but the chill of one’s voice, the echo! I know this, that if I had the luck, or may be the misfortune," said Dick, with a melancholy smile, "to have the woman it would not be this way with me! And what in the wide world is a man without a wife?

He’s no more surely than a bottle without a drop of drink in it, or dancing without music, or the left leg of a scissors, or a fishing-line without a hook, or any other matter that is no ways complete. Is it not so?" said Dick Fitzgerald, casting his eyes towards a rock upon the strand, which, though it could not speak, stood up as firm and looked as a bold as ever Kerry witness did.

But what was his astonishment at beholding, just at the foot of that rock, a beautiful young creature combing her hair, which was of a sea-green colour; and now the salt water shining on it appeared, in the morning light, like the melted butter upon cabbage.

Dick guessed at once that she was a Merrow, although he had never seen one before, for he spied the cohuleen driuth, or little enchanted cap, which the sea people use for diving down into the ocean, lying upon the strand near her; and he had heard that, if once he could possess himself of the cap she would lose the power of going away into the water. So he seized it with all speed, and she, hearing the noise, turned her head about as natural as any Christian.

When the Merrow saw that her little diving-cap was gone, the salt tears -double salt, no doubt from her- came trickling down her cheeks, and she began a low mournful cry with just the tender voice of a new-born infant. Dick, although he knew well enough what she was crying for, determined to keep the cohuleen driuth, let her cry never so much, to see what luck would come out of it.

Yet he could not help pitying her; and when the dumb thing looked up in his face, with her cheeks all moist with fear, "'twas enough to make anyone feel, let alone Dick, who had ever and always, like most of his countrymen, a mighty tender heart of his own.

"Don’t cry my darling," said Dick Fitzgerald; but the Merrow, like any bold child, only cried the more for that.

Dick sat himself down by her side, and took hold of her hand by way of comforting her. 'Twas in no particular an ugly hand only there was a small web between the fingers, as there is in a duck’s foot; but 'twas as thin and as white as the skin between egg and shell.

"What’s your name, my darling? Says Dick, thinking to make her conversant with him; but he got no answer; and he was certain sure now, either that she could not speak, or did not understand him: he had of talking to her. It’s the universal language; and where's not a woman in the world, be she fish or lady, that does not understand it.

The merrow did not seem much displeased at this mode of conversation; and making an end of her whining all at once, "Man," says she, looking up in Dick Fitzgerald's face; "man, will you eat me?"

"By all the red petticoats and check aprons between Dingle and Tralee," cried Dick, jumping up in amazement, "I'd as soon eat myself, my jewel! Is it I eat you, my pet? Now, 'twas some ugly ill-looking thief of a fish put that notion into tour own pretty head, with the nice green hair down upon it, that is so cleanly combed out this morning!"

"Man," said the Merrow, "what will you do with me if you won’t eat me?"

Dick’s thoughts were running on a wife: he saw, at the first glimpse, that she was handsome; but since she spoke, and spoke too like any real woman, he was fairly in love with her. 'Twas the neat way she called him man that settled the matter entirely.

"Fish," says he, "here’s my word, fresh and fasting, for you this blessed morning, that I'll make you Mistress Fitzgerald before all the world, and that’s what I'll do."

"Never say the world twice," says she; "I’m ready and willing to be yours, Mister Fitzgerald; but stop, if you please, till I twist up my hair."

It was some time before she had settled it entirely to her liking; for she guessed, I suppose, that she was going among strangers, where she would be looked at. When that was done, the merrow put the comb in her pocket, and then bent down her head and whispered some words to the water that was close to the foot of the rock.

Dick saw the murmur of the words upon the top of the sea, going out towards the wide ocean, just like a breath of wind rippling along, and, says he in the greatest wonder, "Is it speaking you are, my darling, to the salt water?"

"It’s nothing else," says she, quite carelessly; "I’m just sending word home to my father not to be waiting breakfast for me; just to keep him from being uneasy in his mind."

"And who’s your father, my duck?" said Dick.

"What!" said the Merrow. "Did you never hear of my father? He’s the king of the waves to be sure!"

"And yourself, then, is a real king daughter? Said Dick opening his two eyes to take a true and full survey of his wife that was to be. "Oh, I’m nothing else but a made man with you and a king your father; to be sure he has all the money that’s down at the bottom of the sea!"

"Money," repeated the merrow, "What’s money?"

"'Tis no bad thing to have when one wants it," replied Dick "and may be now the fishes have the understanding to bring up whatever you bid them?"

"Oh yes," said the merrow "they bring me what I want."

"To speak the truth then." Said Dick, "'tis a straw bed I have at home before you, and that, I’m thinking, is no way fitting for a king` daughter; so if 'twould not be displeasing you, just to mention a nice feather bed, with a pair of new blankets -but what am I talking about? May be you have not such things as beds down under the water?"

"By all means," said she, "Mr. Fitzgerald -plenty of beds at your service. I’ve fourteen oyster-beds of my own, not to mention one just planting for the rearing of young ones."

"You have?" says Dick, scratching his head and looking a little puzzled. "'Tis a feather bed I was speaking of; but, clearly yours is the very cut of a decent plan to have bed and supper so handy to each other, that a person when they’d have the one need never ask for the other."

However, bed or no bed, money or no money, Dick Fitzgerald determined to marry the merrow, and the merrow had given her consent. Away they went therefore, across the strand, from Gollerus to Ballinrunning, where father Fitzgibbon happened to be that morning.

"There are two words to this bargain, Dick Fitzgerald," said his Reverence, looking mighty gloom. "And is it a fishy woman you’d marry? The Lord preserve us! Send the scaly creature home to her own people; that’s my advice to you, wherever she came from."

Dick had the cohuleen driuth in his hand, and was about to give it back to the merrow, who looked covetously at it, but he thought for a moment, and then says he,

"Please your Reverence, she’s a King daughter."

"If she was the daughter of fifty kings," said father Fitzgibbon, "I'll tell you, you can’t marry her, she being a fish."

"Please your Reverence," said Dick again, in an undertone, "she is as mild and as beautiful as the moon."

"If she was as mild and beautiful as the sun, moon and stars, all put together, I'll tell you Dick Fitzgerald," said the Priest, stamping his right foot, "you can’t marry her, she being a fish."

"But she has all the gold that’s down in the sea only for the asking, and I’m a made man if I marry her: and," said Dick, looking up slyly, "I can make it worth any one’s while to do the job."

"Oh! That alters the case entirely, "replied the Priest: "why there’s some reason now in what you say: why didn’t you tell me this before? Marry her by all means, if she was ten time a fish. Money you know, is not to be refused in these bad times, and I may as well have the handle of it as another, that may be would not take half the pains in counseling you that I have done."

So father Fitzgibbon married Dick Fitzgerald to the merrow, and like any loving couple they returned to Gollerus well pleased with each other. Everything prospered with Dick -he was at the sunny side of the world: the merrow made the best of wives, and they lived together in the greatest contentment.

It was wonderful to see, considering where she had been brought up, how she would busy herself about the house, and how well she nursed the children; for, at the end of three years there were as many young Fitzgerald -two boys and a girl.

In short, Dick was a happy man, and so he might have been to the end of his days if he only had the sense of take care of what he had got; many another man, however, beside Dick has not had wit enough to do that.

One day when Dick was obliged to go to Tralee, he left the wife minding the children at home after him, and thinking she had plenty to do without disturbing his fishing tackle.

Dick was no sooner gone than Mrs. Fitzgerald sat about cleaning up the house, and chancing to pull down a fishing-net, what should she find behind it in a hole in the wall but her own cohuleen driuth. She took it out and looked at it, and then she thought of her father the king, and her mother the queen and her brothers and sisters, and she felt a longing to go back to them.

She sat down on a little stool and thought over the happy days she had spent under the sea; then she looked at her children, and thought on the love and affection of poor Dick, and how it would break his heart to lose her. "But," says she, "he won’t lose me entirely, for I’ll come back to him again, and who can blame me for going to see my father and my mother after being so long away from them?"

She got up and went towards the door, but came back again to look once more at the child that was sleeping in the cradle. She kissed it gently, and as she kissed it a tear trembled for an instant in her eye and then fell on its rosy cheek. She wiped away the tear, and turning to the eldest little girl, told her to take care of her brothers, and to be a good child herself until she came back.

The Merrow then went down the strand. The sea was lying calm and smooth, just heaving and glittering in the sun, and she thought she hears a faint sweet singing, inviting her to come down. All her old ideas and feelings came flooding over her mind. Dick and her children were at the instant forgotten, and placing the cohuleen driuth on her head she plunged in.

Dick came home in the evening, and missing his wife he asked Kathleen, his little girl, what had become of her mother, but she could not tell him. He then inquired of the neighbours, and he learned that she was seen going towards the strand with a strange-looking thing like a cocked hat in her head. He returned to his cabin to search for the cohuleen driuth. It was gone, and the truth now flashed upon him.

Year after year did Dick Fitzgerald wait expecting the return of his wife, but he never saw her more. Dick never married again, always thinking that the Merrow would sooner or later return to him, and nothing could ever persuade him that her father the king kept her below by main force; "for," said Dick "she surely would not of herself give up her husband and her children."

While she was with him she was so good a wife in every respect that to this day she is spoken of in the tradition of the country as the pattern of one, under the name of THE LADY OF GOLLERUS.

This was excerpted from the book Fairy and Folk tales of Ireland by W.B. Yeats. What did you think?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Mermaid "Tail": Menana of the Waterfall

This story is a North American Indian legend, more specifically from the Ottowa tribe. Enjoy!

Long, long ago a warrior of the nation of the Ottawas found a strange little figure at his door. Her face and breast were those of a woman, but her hands and arms were covered with scales and in place of legs she had twin fishtails.

Her story was as extraordinary as her appearance. Once, she told the wondering Indian, she was a mortal, but she longed so passionately to roam the starry heavens that the Great Spirit granted her prayers and permitted her to leave the earth. But in the time she grew tired of her celestial wanderings and was allowed to return to earth, though in a form ‘neither mortal nor immortal, neither man nor beast’ — the mermaid shape in which the warrior beheld her.

In this guise she became the adopted daughter of the Spirits of the Flood, but would be enabled to resume her original human form if she found one who should love her.

Moved by her story, the Indian brought her up as his daughter, and gradually the mermaid began to resemble more and more a mortal maiden. The scales fell from her arms and hands, and her twin tails turned into shapely legs, but, though she was now indistinguishable from a normal Indian maiden, she still loved to sport in the cataract and in the lakes and rivers as she had done when a mermaid.

About this time the Ottawas and the Adirondacks quarreled, and a deputation of the latter tribe came to the village of the Ottawas where lived Menanna, the former mermaid. A Young Adirondack, Piskaret, son of the chief, fell in love with Menanna. As she smiled upon him, tears came into her eyes, and she realized with joy that they meant she had acquired a human soul.

The love story of Piskaret and Menanna was not to have a happy ending. The proud Adirondacks refused the marriage of the son of their chief with one who was of the blood of the Spirits of the Flood. Deaf to the impassioned pleas of Piskaret, they drove Menanna from his arms and carried him away from the Ottawa village. Menanna, bereft of her lover, pined with grief until the Great Spirit, in compassion, bade her join the Spirits of the Flood in the cataract.

The broken-hearted girl bade farewell to the Ottawas and made her way to the cataract. When she reached the torrent, the Spirits welcomed her, and vowed vengeance on the Adirondacks who had brought such unhappiness upon their cherished daughter.

Soon afterwards the Spirits of the Flood attacked the canoes of the Adirondacks, leaving few of the tribe alive. Piskaret was caught and shielded in the arms of Menanna, who drew him from his canoe and sank with him beneath the waters.

There no "happy hunting grounds" for the spirits of the Adirondacks: the Great Spirit turned them into eagles and they were forced to dwell on a little rocky island below the Falls of St. Anthony. Since the hearing of an eagle is acutely sensitive, they suffered torture from the insistent roar of the cataract: the revenge of the water-spirits was complete.

This story was copied from the book Sea Enchantress by Gwen Bernwell and Arthur Waugh. What did you think?

Annie Leibovitz's "Dreamy" Mermaid Photos

Twice now the talented photographer Annie Leibovitz has captured celebrities as characters from Disney's The Little Mermaid. First, it was actress Julianne Moore as Ariel and the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as a merman. Now, it's Queen Latifah as Ursula, the evil sea witch. Here's behind-the-scenes photos and the final picture of Moore and Phelps.

Here's the more recent photo (and behind-the-scenes stuff) as Queen Latifah as Ursula.

I'm surprised she was actually inside a full-blown octopus suit! What do you guys think of the photos?

A Mermaid "Tail": The Mermaid's Twin Sister

The following is an excerpt from the book The Mermaid's Twin Sister by Lynn Joseph. Each chapter is a different story from Trinidad, and they're all so wonderfully creepy! This one is about a mermaid and her human twin sister, and it will definitely leave goosebumps!

Every Sunday, after Mama, Daddy, and me come back from church and eat lunch, we pack up the car and go to Maracas Beach. At the beach we find a good spot between two coconut trees and lay out the towels. Then Mama sits and reads a book and daddy and me carry the rubber raft down to the water and pretend we are sailing for a new island.

But one Sunday of the year we never ever go to the beach, and that is Easter Sunday. In fact, nobody I know goes to the beach on that Sunday. We go to church and then come back home and eat a big lunch, but we don’t go anything else for the rest of the day. All we do is sit on the porch and watch the sun set. Every Easter I asked Mama why we can’t go to the beach like other Sundays. But she would only shake her head and say, "Because I say so."

Then this Easter she told me why. She said, "Amber, if you swim in de sea on Easter, you go turn into a mermaid and you go never come back." I could see from her face that she wasn’t joking.

When I asked Tantie about it later, she nodded her head. "Your mama didn’t tell you before, cause she ’fraid you go want to try it and see yourself. But is true, and those mermaids never come back from de sea."

"But Tantie, who all yuh know went swimming and turn into a mermaid?"

Tantie gave me a look that say, "You go doubt me?" I glanced away. But I was feeling doubtful. I mean it wasn’t like I ever hear Tantie or Mama say they saw a mermaid. And I sure never did see one. But I didn’t say another word. And Tantie went on inside the house to talk to Mama, leaving me outside watching the sun go down and wondering what would really happen if I went swimming on Easter Sunday.

A few days later, Tantie came over and brought a friend with her: Her eyes were gray and quiet like the early morning mists that rise off the sea in the rainy season. And her skin was smooth and bright like polished stones. She had long, black hair that wrapped around her shoulders like a pair of arms.

"Amber," said Tantie, "this is my good friend, Miss Pascal. We known each other since we both younger than you." I smiled at Miss Pascal and kissed her cheek. But I was wondering if I had heard right. This woman couldn’t have grown up with Tantie. She was much younger than my mama. But when she said hallo, her voice was crackly like dried coconut tree branches.

Tantie and Miss Pascal stayed for the whole afternoon. Mama brought out a tray with tall glasses of mauby and a plate of currant rolls and sipping the spicy coldness. Then the sun starter going down and the crickets began singing. Tantie and Miss Pascal were talking about old times. Mama picked up some sewing from her basket. And I sat there watching as people passed by on the street.

Then I heard Miss Pascal say softly to Tantie, "I don’t know how long Tilly go stay with them mermaids. Been over fifty years now." Well, I didn’t understand that at all. I kept real quite and wished those crickets would hush up so I could hear.

"You know," Miss Pascal went on, "I always wonder what she doing with those mermaids all day long. Delphine, you think they having a good time down there?"

Well, I could feel, more than see, Tantie shrug her shoulders. "I don’t know, Jill. But Tilly always loved de sea more than all of us, so she bound to be happy there."

Well, I couldn’t take it no more. I turned around so that Tantie could see I was listening to Them. I was doping she would tell me who Tilly and the mermaids were before I burst from not knowing. Tantie looked at me real seriously and said, "You want to know what happen?"

I nodded my head and sat down fast between their chairs before she could change her mind. I waited for Tantie to tell the story, but it was Miss Pascal who starter to speck. "I was there," she said, "when my twin sister Tilly turn into a mermaid."

"What?" I shouted. "Your sister is a mermaid?"

Tantie put a hand on my shoulder. I sat back and tried to control the trembling that was taking over my body.

Miss Pascal started her story again. "Fifty years ago, me and my twin sister Tilly were twenty years old." But I gasped out loud. Something terrible was happening here. Miss Pascal was a young woman! "Miss Pascal, you not seventy years old," I wailed. Tantie patted my arm and kept her hand there. I got quite. "Me and Tilly were exactly alike," said Miss Pascal. "We looked de same. We walked de same, and we dressed de same. We even liked de same things. More than anything else, we loved de sea. Every day when we were little girls, we would go down to de sea and count shells or make rafts from fallen tree branches and seaweed ropes. When we got older, we would go to the sea after work and swim. We swam like fish far, far out in the sea."

Miss Pascal stopped and took a deep breath. Tantie handed her the glass of mauby. I was going to ask a question, but Tantie pressed on my arm, so I kept quiet. Then Miss Pascal went on. "I think Tilly began liking de sea even more than me. She never wanted to do anything else but float over the waves or dive deep down and touch de bottom. I started liking other things besides the sea. And sometimes I just wanted to read a book instead of going to de sea. But Tilly went every day.

Then one Easter Sunday, when no one goes swimming ever, Tilly decided she would go. "Tilly" I begged, "don’t go today. You know no one supposed to go swimming on Easter." But she didn’t listen to me. She went down to San Souci, which right next to where we lived in Toco, and she waded far, far out. I followed Tilly to san Souci and stood on a rock to watch her because I did not know what else to do. De tide was out and for a long way de water only came to Tilly’s knees. Then she was so far out that I could barely see her. I watched her tiny body dancing with de waves. I was hoping she would see she was swimming on Easter.

But Tilly just kept on dancing with de waves, waving her arms in de air like a water fairy. I shaded my eyes from de sun and watched as hard as I could. But then I couldn’t see her anymore. I took off my Sunday dress and waded in."

"Miss Pascal" I interrupted, "you went swimming on Easter Sunday too? And you not a mermaid!" I gave Tantie a look as if to say, "See?"

"Miss Pascal not finish, Amber," said Tantie.

Miss Pascal took another sip of mauby. I could see she was having a hard time telling this story, so I reached up and put my hand on her knee. "Is okay. You don’t have to finish de story," I said. Although I was dying to find out what happen next.

Miss Pascal shook her head. "NO, de rest of de story is de most important.

I swam out to where Tilly had been. But she was gone. I dove beneath de waves and looked for her. I shouted her name. I swam up and down and all around for a long time until I was so tired, I didn’t think I could ever swim back in. I turned on my back to float and rest and think what to do. And that’s when I saw her.

"Tilly?" I called softly. "Is that you, Tilly? I was whispering because my voice was hoarse from shouting. But she didn’t answer. She swam in front of me, pulling my long hair gently so I drifted behind her. She was heading toward the shore. And she swam quick like a fish, slicing through de water even smoother than she ever had before.

And when we got to the shallows, she let go my hair and whispered in a voice that sounded like a cloud floating on the sea. "They don’t know it’s two of us. So go now and be my earth self, and I’ll be your water self." Before I could answer, she turned fast and swam away. And all I could see was a long, beautiful fish slicing de waves."

Miss Pascal stopped talking and picked up her mauby glass again. I sat on the floor and not a word could come out my mouth. Tantie and Mama didn’t say anything either.

Then far off in the clear evening air, I heard the happy notes of a steel band playing. We sat and listened until it stopped. The stars had come out bright in the dark sky, and Miss Pascal sat glowing in starlight.

"Till never came back," she said softly, looking right at me. "And I never grow old."

Daddy came home soon after that and drove Miss Pascal home. I stayed outside on the Porch with Tantie, feeling the night’s sweet coolness all around me.

"Amber," Tantie said in a soft voice, "Miss Pascal is de same way for the past fifty years. She look de same now as when she and Tilly went swimming on that Easter Sunday. And she say de only reason she didn’t turn into a mermaid was because de sea was confused. It didn’t know was two of them. So Miss Pascal got away. But she knows the truth of swimming on Easter Sunday, and she wanted to tell you herself."

"But how she could look the same after all these years, Tantie?" I asked.

Tantie shrugged. "I en know, chile, but it have something to do with her twin sister, Tilly."

"Maybe she want to stay the same so Tilly would recognize her if she came back from the sea" I suggested

"Maybe," said Tantie. And both of us got quiet with our own thoughts. I know I go never ask to go swimming on Easter Sunday again.

So, what did you guys think?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview With FORBIDDEN SEA Author Sheila A. Nielson!

I recently caught up with author Sheila A. Nielson to talk about her debut novel The Forbidden Sea which is about...wait for it...mermaids! Check out the interview below and don't forget to add Forbidden Sea to your to-read pile!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a children's librarian, a published author and an illustrator. I never could make up my mind which one I wanted to be so I'm all three! Besides those things I also love to horseback ride, create jewelry, and collected anything miniature, such as dolls and dollhouses.

What inspired you to write The Forbidden Sea?
As a librarian I noticed that we had a lot of kids coming in and asking for mermaid chapter books but there were so few available for them to check out at that time. These kids had read everything we had and would ask me if we had anything new. I felt awful every time I had to tell them no. I thought to myself one day, someone needs to write more mermaid stories. Why couldn't that someone be me? I loved mermaids when I was young. I made up so many stories in my mind as a child about what merfolk would be like and how they looked. When it came time to create the merfolk in my book, I found myself going back to those early imaginings--which was a lot of fun.

Which character do you relate to most?
That's a tough question, because usually when you think of relating to someone, it's supposed to be a character most like yourself. The truth is, the character I came to understand the most as I wrote Forbidden Sea, is the one I liked the least. Auntie Minnah was a difficult character write. Getting into her skin was not a pleasant experience. Because of that, she is the one I really came to know and understand the best. I had to explore why someone would become such a bitter, cranky, and unhappy creature who is determined to bring down everyone around them. What personal choices lead someone down that kind of path? What kind of pain does a person like that carry around inside them where no one can see? Auntie Minnah taught me to see beyond the surface when I look at people. Because of that, I feel she was the character I came to relate to the most.

How do you feel about all this sudden attention mermaids are getting in the media?
I say, it's about time! As a child I always felt there were never enough mermaid books and movies to satisfy me. I'm glad we are finally getting a chance to explore and enjoy the fantastical merworld thanks to the media! I hope there is plenty more to come in the future.

Will we see more adventures set in the Forbidden Sea world?

I actually have a sequel to Forbidden Sea completed. But my publisher wants to see how Forbidden Sea does in sales before making a decision about whether or not to publish the second book. So if you liked Forbidden Sea go out and tell all your friends about it and spread the word so we can get that sequel published someday. For those of you who desperately wanted to know more about the elusive Sea Prince in Forbidden Sea--the sequel is full of him! In the second book we also get to meet, the frighteningly powerful Sea Queen herself.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story after reading it?
When I read books as a child, I looked for stories that pulled me into a new world, utterly and completely, and made me feel like I knew the characters so well they had become my friends by the end of the novel. I want readers to come away from Forbidden Sea with a whole bunch of new best friends that they can carry in their heart wherever they go.

Finally, what other projects are you working on?

Now that the sequel to Forbidden Sea is complete I've been working hard on my next book, which is a YA ghost story--very moody and creepy. *shiver*

Monday, May 2, 2011

The First Annual Mermaid Awards

Imagine...mermaids from all over the world gathering in one city for a night of unforgettable memories. Picture an enormous swimming pool teeming with hundreds of mermaids, all with differently colored tails splashing and playing and laughing.

MerCon, as the event is dubbed, is being held this summer at the Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Some notable faces that will be there are Hannah Fraser, Carolyn Turgeon, and Tera Lynn Childs. There's also going to be performances from Marina the Fire-Eating Mermaid!

At the end of the convention, there will be an awards ceremony to award the best the mermaid world has to offer!

There's also going to be an enormous pool where guests strap into their mermaid tails, swim with others of their kind, and watch the entire ceremonies unfold from the poolside!

I so wish I could go, but sadly I won't be able to. What about you guys? Will you guys go? Would you like to go?

A Mermaid "Tail": Melusine

Mermaids and humans just can't seem to stop falling in love with each other, can they? Here's a tale about what happens when a mermaid/human relationship doesn't end so happily-ever-after. Melusine is a popular European legend still widely-known today. Read further for her story.

Long ago, there was a count who was out hunting one day when he encountered a beautiful woman in the forest near a babbling stream. The woman's name was Melusine, and he became quite taken with her. He asked her to return with him to his kingdom and become his bride, and Melusine only offered one condition in their marriage: she was to be left alone one day of every week. The count agreed, and they were married.

Time passed, and Melusine bore the count many children, but each child had genetic anomalies. One son had differently-colored eyes: one eye green, the other red. Another son had the tusks like a wild boar. The count questioned why this was so, and became deeply suspicious of his wife. Nevertheless, he still allowed her to have one day of the week free to do whatever it was she did in that time.

The count's suspicions grew. Did she have a secret lover? What was it that Melusine did during this time? Eventually, the count's curiosity grew too much to handle, and he waited for Melusine to sneak away one day into the castle's bathing chambers and stood behind the locked door. He peered into the keyhole to see his wife bathing and became astonished when he noticed the long, scaly tail of a fish peeking out of the water. She was no woman! She was a mermaid!

The count gasped in surprise, and Melusine overheard him and noticed he was spying on her. She let out a terrifying scream and then, sprouting wings, she flew away from the castle, never to be seen again.

However, there would still be the occasional maid who swore she saw the figure of a winged woman with a fish's tail cradling the youngest child of the countess Melusina.

So, what did you think of it? Kind of creepy, huh? This is only one such version of Melusina's tale. There are countless others!

Interview With THE SECRET OF THE EMERALD SEA Author Heather Matthews!

I recently caught up with Heather Matthews, an author whose latest novel, The Secret of the Emerald Sea is about a favorite subject of ours: mermaids! Here's an interview I did with Heather where you'll learn more about herself, her work, as well as plenty of mermaid-y goodness!

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Heather Matthews. I live in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I work full-time as a freelance writer. Many of my most popular articles, such as Top Ten Tortured Artists and Top Ten Cults, appear at I also do plenty of corporate writing to pay the bills! I write novels in my free time. I have a son named Jeremy – he’s amazing. I love motherhood, poetry, alternative rock music, and art.

What can you tell us about The Secret of the Emerald Sea?
This mermaid novel tells the story of Jane…she’s a young girl with a secret lineage – one that even she isn’t aware of. Her urge to visit the sea (which she has been forbidden to go to) and to sink into its depths begins to take over her life. One night, she can no longer resist. When she enters the glimmering waters of the Emerald Sea, she begins a magical adventure that moves to the land - and sky. Certain characters from Roman mythology make an appearance to spice things up!

Where did you get the idea for The Secret of the Emerald Sea?

I was working full-time in an office while I wrote this book. I would work on it during my lunch hour – I typed up at least half of the novel on my office PC! I suppose the book was inspired by all of the novels I loved to read as a girl – Alice in Wonderland and The Mists Of Avalon are a couple of beloved favorites.

I’m a Pisces, so I’m drawn to the water – I think it’s beautiful. It made sense for me to set the story there and to describe all the wonders of the underwater world. I had always read mythology, as well as novels, and I used to marvel at the rash and capricious acts of the gods and goddesses. I thought it would be fun to put a new spin on the classic tales of Roman mythology.

My characters became very real to me while I was writing the book – I even dreamed about one character - a mysterious little cherub named Cupid. He is probably my favorite character.

Have you always loved mermaids?

I grew up in the 80’s, when movies like Splash were very popular. That wonderful film was probably a catalyst for my interest in mermaids – in a subconscious way. To be honest, the story sort of wrote itself – apparently mermaids were a part of my imagination – an element I hadn’t really explored in depth until I wrote the novel.

Which character do you identify most with?
As is the case with most of my novels, I identify with the heroines and villains. I know that I am good and bad. There can be valuable self-examination when you’re creating characters, because they are a part of you. So I would say I identify the most with Jane, the heroine, and her nemesis – an old crone named Liesel.

How do you feel about all this sudden attention mermaids are getting in the media lately?
I think it’s wonderful. Mythology and symbolism are important parts of our culture. The beauty of fantasy - and pretending – should not be underestimated. I think there is a part of all of us that longs for some element of otherworldliness…some deeper meaning or magic. People are very complex, and seeking out fantasy characters from mythology can be an excellent way to fuel a person’s imagination. For centuries, mermaids have inspired art, poetry, music…they are classic symbols that will always have power in the modern world.

If you were a mermaid, what color tail/magical powers would you like to have?
I would go for an aquamarine and emerald green design – just like my heroine Jane’s mermaid tail. Swimming as one with the creatures of the sea would be magical enough for me – I wouldn’t need the tail to have any extra powers.

What do you hope readers will take away from The Secret of the Emerald Sea after reading it?
This book has romantic elements – there is a love story, or love triangle, that drives three of the characters. My heroine is becoming a woman, and she is overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions and the turmoil that they bring. In the end, she does make a choice – a romantic one – one that is right for her. I would like readers to enjoy this sense of innocent romance. I want them to feel the emotions of my characters.

Finally, what other projects --if you're at liberty to say--are you currently working on?
I’ve been researching Celtic mythology for some time – I’m working on a project set in the early middle ages, in Ireland. I don’t want to say too much more about it right now ;)

Thank you SO much for agreeing to do this interview, Heather! I deeply appreciate it! :)

I really enjoyed it, and I hope readers enjoy the novel, too. Thanks :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Mermaid "Tail": Sirena of the South Seas

This mermaid tale comes from the Tropics, and it's a sweet, but also sad, story, unlike the darker one posted earlier. Here's the story of Sirena.

Sirena was a lovely young girl who lived with her mother and godmother in a small hut near the water's edge on a tropical island paradise. Sirena's life wasn't easy. Her father died when she was small, and her mother was to weak to keep up with the housework. Therefore, Sirena had to do all the chores by herself. The only solace she found was the moonlit swim she took every night with her godmother Nina.

Sirena's mother was angered by her daughter's nightly swims, accusing Sirena of choosing to swim rather than help her mother do chores. When Sirena quarreled with her mother, she would retreat into the waves with Nina, and Nina would comb Sirena's long, silken hair while they sat on a rock in the moonlight.

Finally, one afternoon came that was hotter than ever before. To escape the unrelenting heat, Sirena retreated from doing chores to take a swim. Nina was there, too, and the two let the currents carry them out to sea. Back at the hut, Sirena's mother was impatient for her lunch, but when her daughter never showed up, she went to sea looking for her.

When she found her daughter, Sirena's mother declared, "Your love for the ocean is greater than your love for me!" Then she pointed a finger at her daughter and shouted, "You shall be doomed to swim in it forever!"

Nina, Sirena's godmother, knew that words that carried such ferocity and anger could carry a curse. She wrapped Sirena in her arms to protect her with love from the curse.

Unfortunately, Nina's grasp only covered Sirena's arms and torso. While Sirena's upper body remained the same, her legs turned into a mermaid's tail.

Sirena's mother was horrified at what she'd done to her daughter. She tried to take the words back, but she could no undo what she had already done. Sirena was a mermaid forever.

Nina sobbed as she lowered her goddaughter into the sea. She told Sirena to visit her when the moon was full, and they would swim together again.

Sirena promised and with a flick of her tail but also a saddened smile, she dove under the sea to explore her new world.

Each month, when the moon was full, Sirena returned to play with Nina in the surf. When they were done swimming, the beautiful mermaid would climb upon a rock and let Nina comb her long silken hair in the moonlight.

Apparently, this is a widely popular story in the Tropics. Some say that, to this day, Sirena's hut still sits there by the water's edge. Maybe a mermaid still lives around there, too? You never know....

Atargatis, Goddess of the Mermaids

All of you who follow this blog love mermaids, right? Well, did you know our favorite fishy-tailed females actually have a goddess? Yep, that's right! Atargatis, or Derceto/Derketo as the Greeks called her, is an ancient Syrian goddess who has also been called the "Lady Goddess of the Sea."

Atargatis supposedly has a fish-bodied appearance, and her followers abstained from eating fish and often mutilated themselves. Atargatis was depicted as having long, flowing hair like the water, and some of her symbols are a lion, a crescent moon, and two fish confronting one another. Her consort was the storm and rain god Hadad. She has also been seen with a veil atop her head. Temples devoted to Atargatis often had ponds on the outside, which were filled with sacred fish that only the priests could touch. Even to this day there are still sacred ponds of fish in Lebanon that are not to be touched. Can you imagine? Despite the legend of Atargatis being thousands of years old, people still worship and honor the mermaid even into modern times!

The legend of Atargatis states that she was once a powerful priestess who fell in love with a beautiful shepherd-boy. and she became impregnanted. Intent on ending this unwanted pregnancy, Atargatis fled into the sea to drown herself, but instead she became a mermaid. Not only did she become a mermaid, but a goddess of the seas.

If you'd be interested in learning more about Atargatis, the mermaids of Devyn Quinn's Dark Tides series worship the Syrian goddess. There are also essays written about the cult of Atargatis and books about myths and legends that tell her story. Who would have known, our mermaid we see in movies, books, and TV used to be a goddess? Maybe that gives the mermaid legend a whole new perspective.

Interview With Siren's Call Author Devyn Quinn!

Devyn Quinn lives in the scenic Southwest, though she has called several other states home. She is a huge fan of dark gothic music & shoot-’em-up action movies. But reading is her first love and Devyn spends too much time with history books, as well as feeding her addiction for celebrity biographies. She especially enjoys reading books on Hollywood before the 1960′s and is crazy about Marilyn Monroe, her legend and her myth.

I recently caught up with Devyn Quinn to talk about her new Dark Tides series, which is about three mermaid sisters who discover they are the lost heiresses to a mermaid kingdom. I asked her a few questions about herself, her work, and her upcoming projects. Here's what she had to say.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

DQ: Not much to tell, really! I was born in an unremarkable location, grew up living an unremarkable life and it's been that way for the last 40 years or so.

How did you get the idea for the Dark Tides series?
DQ: Editor Lindsay Nouis, formerly of NAL, was looking for paranormal romance with a darker side. She specifically asked for mermaid themed ideas. My agent contacted me and asked if I was interested since I am known for edgier characters.
I said sure, and wrote a proposal. It was rejected, along with the admonition that I couldn't use the tried and true aspects of mermaid lore, including Poseidon, Atlantis, or spin off Anderson's Little Mermaid because other authors has already touched on those themes in ongoing series. With that in mind, I did a little more research and came upon the lore of the Assyrian mermaid, which I then began to use to create an alternate world for the mermaid, including their origins as a war-like species.

Which Lonike sister do you relate to most?
DQ: I would have to say I like Addison. If I had such terrific powers I would certainly want to take advantage of it, just like she wants to.

The mermaids in the Dark Tides series are covered in tribal tattoos that denote them as something other than human. Do you have a love for tattoos that maybe inspired this aspect of the mermaids’ mythology?

DQ: I actually have tattoos myself, and do like my characters to have them when applicable. Creating a scale pattern for my mermaids was inspired when I actually saw a drawing of a mermiad with such markings on her tail. I decided to expand the pattern to cover the entire upper torso as well.

Which of the male love interests is your favorite?

DQ: I'd have to say I like all the men equally well. Kenneth may not be best looking, but he's loyal and loves Tessa, tail and all. Blake's not exactly sure what he's getting into with Gwen, but he's willing to give it a try. As for Mason McKenzie, he's going to learn what it's like to let a woman take the lead.

How do you feel about all this sudden attention mermaids are getting in the media?
DQ: I honestly have not seen a lot of media attention on mermaids. I know that the 4th Pirates of the Caribbean movie has some mermaid characters, but aside from that I'm not aware of any surge in their popularity.

Dark Tides is meant to be a trilogy. Could you see yourself writing more books about your fish-tailed characters?
DQ: Although I had the chance to continue with the series, I declined the chance to go with more books. I felt three sisters, three books were quite enough. Anything more would have been jumping the shark, LOL

What do you hope readers will take away from your books after reading them?
DQ: That they had an enjoyable time visiting my alternate reality.

Finally, what other projects are you currently working on?

DQ: I am presently writing on the second book in the Vampire Armageddon series, Darkness Awakening, as well as working with my agent to sell a new series to NAL. Nothing firm yet, but we're talking.

You can visit Devyn at her website or on Goodreads. Siren's Call and Siren's Surrender are available now, and Siren's Desire, the third book in the series, will be released in February 2012.

Mermaid Movie: Splash (1984)

For many, Splash is the quintessential mermaid movie. Daryl Hannah’s long golden locks, intense gaze, and long, fiery-orange tail sparked something in girls all over the world. They dived into the pool, bound their feet together, and pretended to be mermaids swimming in the ocean. Not only that, but the movie is considered to be a classic in its own right, and no self-proclaimed mermaid fan can go without seeing this awesome movie.

The film centres around a thirty-something bachelor named Allen Bauer who is convinced he can’t find love. However, after a boating accident in Cape Cod, Allen is rescued by the woman of his dreams: a mermaid! It turns out that years ago, when Allen was just a young boy, he was saved by this same mermaid after falling off a ferryboat. When the mermaid comes ashore as the beautiful young woman Madison, Allen begins to fall in love with her, but he will eventually have to choose between land and sea and the love he has been waiting for his entire life.

Splash was the second mermaid movie I came across, the first being Disney’s The Little Mermaid. At times it’s cheesy and fluffy - for example, how they fall madly in love in only about six days - but at its heart it is the story of two very different people who have to fight against odds to be with each other. Whether those odds are a set of fins and scales or a deranged scientist intent on capturing Madison and dissecting her, Allen and Madison don’t have it easy.

The movie also has its few moments of strong language, mainly on the part of Allen’s brother Freddie, and there a couple brief moments of nudity on Madison’s part, but as a small child watching this, I didn’t pay much attention.

So if you haven’t watched Splash, definitely check it out! The underwater scenes are breathtaking, and the ease and grace with which Daryl Hannah swims in her mermaid tail will make you wonder if maybe Daryl Hannah really is a mermaid!

What are you waiting for? Drive on out to your local video rental place and check out Splash, because if you’re a diehard mermaid buff, you definitely won’t want this movie to be the one that got away!