Random Inspirations

Welcome to my blog, full of fun inspirations and insights on writing, self-publishing, and more!

It’s Here! The Mermaid’s Curse Has Launched!

I’m pumped to announce that my newest eBook, The Mermaid’s Curseis out and priced at only 99 cents! It was one of my favorite books to write–I found it immensely stimulating to delve into a brand-new genre after focusing completely on Amish fiction for the past year.

The Mermaid's Curse Slider

Mermaids have intrigued me ever since childhood, when I watched The Little Mermaid and visited Weeki Wachee Springs, home of the performing mermaids. I feel as though I never outgrew my fascination with these fanciful creatures. I also loved the element of historical fiction that I decided to weave into the book; writing about the vacation town of Monterey in the year 1912 was so much fun!

Here’s a free excerpt from the new book. Chapter One can be found at the end of Amish Awakening: Rebekah and Braeden’s Book, and Chapter Two can be found at the end of a previous blog post. Happy reading!

Chapter Three: Oceania

Over the years, Ula has regaled me with stories of humans, and told me that many human men are good-looking. However, her descriptions could never do this man justice. When I surface, he is the first thing my eyes land upon, and his handsomeness strikes me like a twenty-foot wave. His hair is dark and wavy, his skin swarthy. His body is muscular and powerful, his features so strong that they appear to be chiseled, like the rocks on which he sits.

As I pull myself out of the water and greet him, I’m surprised that I feel none of the shyness that I would normally experience when meeting a new merman, especially such an attractive one. Perhaps it’s because everything here is so new and different that I’ve forgotten all about my nerves.

Or perhaps it’s because there’s something about this man that puts me instantly at ease. He’s so nice, telling me that I have a wonderful singing voice. No one has ever told me that before. I decide that I like this Xavier Rose—such a strange, exotic name, just as he himself is strange and exotic.

When I ask him to show me around, however, he wrinkles his forehead. “I would love to,” he says. “But how? I could swim with you, I suppose, but—” He trails off as his eyes land on my fins. “—you’re not really equipped for land.”

I laugh. “I know it might seem that way. But we mermaids change into humans when we’re dry, and back into mermaid form when we’re wet.” Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never actually tried it myself.

Xavier’s long-lashed brown eyes widen, and I realize that I can see myself in their dark mirrors. However, there’s so much more in his eyes than my own reflection—there’s kindness, and a sparkle that tells me he has a passion for life. I wonder what this man does. I can feel a certain sensitivity behind all his strength. Perhaps he’s a poet, or a painter.

“So all I have to do is dry off,” I continue, shivering a bit as the cool night air whooshes over my skin.

Xavier grins. “In that case, let’s get you onto the beach.”

He stands on the rock, heaving me up into his arms effortlessly. My breath hitches as he carries me over the jagged boulders, finally setting me down on a dry spot in the sand.

“Here, Oceania.” He removes his jacket and helps me into it; it’s slightly damp, but guards me against the chill of the windy surface world. Plopping down on the sand next to me, he gently massages his hands up and down my arms from outside the jacket, and I feel my entire body heating up, starting with my arms and extending all the way to my heart.

I never want him to stop, but when he drapes his arm over my shoulder, I realize that this feels even better. I relax into his embrace, leaning my head against his broad chest. For a long moment, time stops. We gaze out at the ocean; it’s just as Ula had described it, with white-tipped waves rolling over each other and the rocks in tumultuous rhythm. Here, the moon is so brilliant and luminous, not at all like the filtered view I’d always had through the water. I hum lightly under my breath, a tune my mother taught me, called Song of the Sea.

“I could listen to you all night,” Xavier says in a husky voice, burying his lips in my hair.

I shiver at his touch, wondering what his lips would feel like on mine. He’s so masculine, but he has a softness about him, too. “I could sing to you all night.”

“Well, let’s do that,” Xavier says. “I know the perfect place to take you once you’ve transformed.”

He glances at my lower half, and I follow his gaze. My tail has begun to tingle as the breezy air wafts over it, and I wince when I feel a slight burning sensation. A moment later, my scales gradually begin to dull and fall away, revealing a layer of skin, as pale and white as the moon.

“Are you okay?” Xavier asks, tearing his eyes away from the transformation and staring at my face. “Does it hurt?”

“A little.” It’s not the worst pain I’ve ever experienced—once I was accidentally bitten by a playful baby shark, and that had hurt far worse. But just the same, I grimace as my tail and the remaining scales crack away and fall into the sand, revealing two smooth legs and two little feet with shiny, aqua-colored toenails. My only covering, besides my seashell top, is a light layer of green seaweed that reaches to my upper thighs.

Xavier’s mouth drops open as he stares at my legs, but a moment later he shakes his head and averts his gaze.

“Let’s walk,” he says quickly. He stands first, and then reaches down, helping me up with both hands. I notice that even when he’s looking at me from above, he keeps his eyes away from my bare legs, as though he’s embarrassed to see so much

flesh. Perhaps he is—Ula told me that humans, particularly the females, are very peculiar about exposing their bodies, and even their bathing costumes hardly show their legs.

I scramble to my feet a bit awkwardly, and scrunch my toes into the sand for stability. “This feels wonderful!” I exclaim, wriggling my toes through the sand. The tingling and burning feelings have subsided, but my legs do quiver a bit under the unaccustomed weight.

Xavier laughs and kicks off his own shoes, doing the same. “You’re right, Oceania. Feeling the sand between our toes is such a simple pleasure, and one that we can so easily forget. But it really does feel splendid, doesn’t it?”

A moment later, however, he stops laughing and asks, “So, do you think you can walk? I mean, you never tried it before, right?”

I nod. “Right. But I think, with your help, I can.”

Xavier laces his arm through mine, and together we walk down the beach by the light of the moon, wobbly at first, but soon falling into a nice strolling rhythm. Finally, I feel comfortable enough with my new legs to look up at the sky and walk at the same time. The stars glisten like mermaids’ tears, each different and perfect.

We walk to a spot where the sand meets the water’s edge, and I squeal in delight as the waves lap over my toes.

“I love it here,” I proclaim, but I jerk my feet out of the water as my toes begin to tingle.

“What’s wrong?” Xavier asks, tightening his grip on my arm.

“I just forgot that once I’m in human form, I can’t get wet or I’ll change back into a mermaid.”

“That’s important to know,” Xavier says, reaching down and drying my feet with his jacket. He glances toward some huge houses near the beach. Many of them are darkened for the midnight hour, but some still have lights in the windows that shine as brightly as the stars. “Come with me, Oceania. It’s time that I show you around.”

I hope that you enjoyed the excerpt, and welcome your comments and feedback about it. I love to hear from my readers!

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8 Fun Facts About Mermaids

After a temporary hiatus from the blogosphere, I’m back–and feeling blessed. This past weekend, Antonio and I welcomed our sweet beautiful baby girl, Xaviana Rose, into the world, so I’ve been a bit preoccupied, to say the least. 😉

However, I’m super excited to share this blog post with you. On Friday, October 24th, I will be launching a brand-new eBook in a brand-new genre! The Mermaid’s Curse is part historical fiction, part fantasy, and chock-full of romance and intrigue. The writing process was so much fun; after all, I am a product of “The Little Mermaid” generation, and writing about mermaids is the perfect way to let my imagination run wild. And although the total fact immersion of research can be tedious, researching mermaids felt more like entertainment, especially here in Southern California where all I had to do for inspiration was hit the beach!

Here are 8 facts you probably never knew about mermaids!

Here are 8 fun facts I learned about mermaids, through countless hours of reading mermaid lure, watching shows about mermaids, and, of course, overdosing on YA mermaid fiction eBooks. I hope you learn something new and fanciful. 🙂 Many of my facts came from the book Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea by Varla Ventura. I would definitely recommend that you check it out.

  1. The first mermaid stories appeared in ancient Assyrian mythology. After conceiving a child with a mortal, the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame, plunging into a lake and morphing into a creature with the head of a human and the body of a fish.
  2. Although I write about mermaids in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, mermaid stories have been passed down through the generations in nearly all cultures close to bodies of water. For example, nineteenth-century Europeans depicted mermaids as healers who offered medicinal potions to sailors, while African myths tell of a mermaid called Yemaya, who was the goddess of water and the symbol of fertility, since water is the lifeblood of everything on land. The ancient Chinese told stories of mermaids putting fishermen into comas when they sang their enchanted songs.
  3. According to some folklore, a mermaid’s kiss is said to infuse a human with the ability to travel underwater.
  4. Historians believe that the mermaid “sightings” of early sailors and explorers were not just folktales or products of overactive imaginations. It is theorized that the sailors mistook manatees for mermaids!
  5. If you’re looking for amazing places to shop for mermaid merchandise and books, head to San Diego! I’ve discovered several mermaid stores nearby, including Mermaid’s Cove in Old Town and Mermaids in Carlsbad.
  6. There is a real-life “mermaid” from Australia named Hannah Mermaid. Not only does she custom-design mermaid tails, she performs underwater shows with sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and more. She is also an advocate of ocean life, supporting charities and commercial ventures alike.
  7. Several schools have opened for people who want to learn how to swim like a mermaid, including one in the Phillipines and another in Colorado Springs.
  8. Florida is home to Weeki Wachee Springs, a park where guests can watch fun underwater shows featuring “mermaids.” My parents took my brother and me there when we were little, but the attraction was in its peak of popularity in the 1950s and ’60s, when stars such as Elvis Presley headed over to check out the underwater beauties.

There you have it–8 things you probably never knew about mermaids. I hope these facts amp up your anticipation for The Mermaid’s Curse, and I’ll keep you posted on the release!

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New Unpublished Excerpt from The Mermaid’s Curse

I’m currently in the midst of revisions of my latest eBook, The Mermaid’s Curse, coming to Amazon Kindle in mid-October. I don’t know whether it’s Baby C’s impending due date or the mixture of So-Cal sun and my frequent trips to the ocean, but I’ve been so inspired to write this beachy paranormal/historical romance. So far, the writing process has been flowing like water. 😉

I included an excerpt of Chapter One at the end of my latest eBook, Amish Awakening: Rebekah and Braeden’s Bookand I’m psyched to share Chapter Two with you today. This is told from the point of view of Xavier, the hero of the story. Happy reading!

Here's a picture of the ocean and rocks from a trip to Monterey, where The Mermaid's Curse is set.

Here’s a picture of the ocean and rocks in Monterey, where The Mermaid’s Curse is set.

Chapter Two: Xavier

I close my eyes and sit back on the smooth-topped boulder by the ocean’s edge. The rocks here at Point Joe are my favorite spot of Monterey’s 17-mile drive; they’re the perfect place to come when I’m feeling moody. Every so often, a particularly vicious wave crashes against the rocks like a train wreck, splashing me from head to toe with salt spray. I don’t worry about it, though. I have always felt a deep and passionate affinity toward the sea, and I don’t mind the clammy feeling of my damp trousers or the way the tangy breeze whips pieces of my hair across my forehead.

My favorite moments are ones like these, when I’m alone and listening to the symphony of nature. The ocean has all the elements of a great musical masterpiece: gentle, rolling melodies when the water is calm, and the jarring, cacophonous roar of the high tide on nights like tonight, embellished by the raucous caws of the sea gulls. I can see why Debussy, one of my favorite composers, wrote La Mer, an entire piece of music, about it.

But now, there’s another sound, something different. Somewhere from the depths of the ocean comes a soft, sweet tune, like a siren’s song.

I force my eyes open and shake my head back and forth. Of course, this is only my imagination. It has been a long day, and I’ve only just escaped the dinner party with my father, mother, and all their friends. The mysterious strains of the siren’s song are most likely the fanciful product of the wine, whisky, and brandy that were flowing plentifully during our seven-course meal.

Yet, still, there is something odd tonight, something more than the pull of the full moon, more than the general vacation feeling that I’ve had ever since my family and I came to our summer house here in Monterey. I watch the water, the waves glittering like living things under the white light of the moon, the sea foam hissing over the rocks.

A particularly turbulent wave rumbles in; in its wake, I hear the song again and just barely discern a faint glimmer of aquamarine beneath the water’s surface.

The stunning light grows and the melody amplifies, rising to a fantastic crescendo that sends shivers up my spine. Then, the surface of the water breaks and the head of a beautiful woman emerges in a halo of silver and blue light.

I blink hard, rubbing my bleary eyes with the back of my hand. I’ve been able to make it twenty-one years without spectacles, but perhaps my vision is going. Or, more likely, it’s the alcohol I consumed earlier, playing tricks on me.

But all my blinking, squinting, and eye rubbing do me no good. This really is a woman, with fine, high cheekbones and cornsilk hair that shines as brightly as the moon itself. Her white skin glistens with water droplets, and seems almost incandescent.

My mouth drops open in disbelief as she glances over at me. She continues her song completely uninhibited, gliding toward me so fluidly that I wonder how she could possibly be kicking her legs under the water. Perhaps she’s not. She could be a mermaid.

Of course, I’ve heard tales of mermaids, luring sailors to their deaths with their lovely forms and dulcet songs. I’ve even heard that many sailors, practically delirious after months at sea, have mistaken manatees for mermaids—an error that I can’t fathom. This magnificent female is certainly no sea cow.

She continues her song until she has reached my side. Then, with a soft grunt of exertion, she hoists herself up onto the rock beside me. She smells of salt and sand, and her waist-length hair feels like seaweed as it brushes my arm.

I open my mouth to speak, but no words emerge. She is a mermaid, wearing some kind of crude brassiere fashioned of a mosaic of colorful seashells. Her long tail glimmers gold, silver, and blue in the moonlight.

“Hello,” she says, as calmly as if she were a friend of the family, coming over for a mid-afternoon luncheon and perhaps a round of golf. She smiles, her teeth as white and shiny as a strand of pearls.

“Hello,” I croak, clearing my throat. Suddenly, my whole mouth has gone dry. The mermaid and I stare at each other for what seems like eternity, and her dazzling aquamarine eyes search my face.

“That song—your voice—it’s so beautiful,” I stammer.

The mermaid giggles. “Really? Thanks. Maybe that’s my special talent. We all have one, you know, but I have no idea what mine is.”

“I would say it’s a special talent,” I say, nodding. “Not often do I get chills from hearing someone sing. A voice like yours belongs in the finest opera houses. I can’t believe that you’ve gone through life without knowing how incredible your voice is. You’re—how old?”

“I just turned eighteen. But all of us mermaids sing, so I didn’t think my voice was anything special. I’m Oceania, by the way.”

“Oceania,” I repeat, smiling. “It suits you.” I stare at her, suddenly feeling an almost elemental pull to both the ocean and her, but a moment later I mentally scold myself for forgetting my manners. Quickly, I hold out my hand, hoping desperately to redeem myself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Oceania. I’m Xavier Rose, visiting for the summer from San Francisco.”

A small wrinkle forms on the delicate skin between her eyebrows as she stares at my outstretched hand, but a moment later, she takes her cue and shakes it. “It is a pleasure to meet you too, Mr. Xavier Rose. You are the first human I’ve ever met.” Then, grinning at me, she says, “I have come from the sea to celebrate my birthday under the full moon. Perhaps you can show me around?”

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