Urban Mermaid

Colony Island will never be great again The meme, “America will never be great again until . . .”, has been floating around Facebook for a few years. Accordingly, we decided to post our own take on it as a bit of Monday morning humour.

The image itself is of the Neptune statute on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, VA. Neptune was the Roman god of the sea, but was eventually conflated with the Greek god, Poseidon.

The residents of Colony Island use the names Poseidon and Neptune interchangeably. There is a decided preference for Poseidon, however.

For additional information on the subject of Roman vs Greek gods, please visit DecodedPast.com.

Colony Island will never be great again

The god Neptune was one of many Roman sea gods until he was cast in the equivalent role as the Greek god Poseidon. Image by Habib M’henni.

I am currently rocketing through a 5 & ½ book series – the ½ book is a novella – which was categorized on Amazon as “Teen and Young Adult”. This caused a double-take as I had previously believed the ‘Young Adult” designation to be a polite term for “Teen Fiction”. It would appear that readership categories are built upon shifting sands.

Up to now, my understanding was that “Young Adult” (YA) covered the 13 to 17 years’ age range while the awkwardly named “New Adult” (NA) covered 18 to 25. Those readers younger than 13 were classed as Pre-teen, Juvenile, etc. The boundaries of YA are a bit wobbly as some mavens set the lower limit as 14 years whilst others set the upper limit as 18 years.

One possible reason for this inexactitude is that the 13 to 18 age range spans several levels of maturity. Given that boys are a year or two behind girls, with regard to maturation, it’s easy to see why the boundaries are a bit fuzzy.

The same holds true for the 18 to 25-year age range. Your understanding of life at 18, when you’re leaving high school and headed for college, is much different from that at 25 when you’re married and trying to hold down a job.

What’s more, the categories themselves are not universally adhered to. At the 2016 BookExpo/BookCon in Chicago, the manager of the IBPA booth was barely aware of the NA category and thus placed Urban Mermaid on the shelves for Juvenile books.  Based on this, any child receiving a copy for their birthday is in for a big surprise.

Just so everyone is straight on this, Urban Mermaid is for readers 18 and older. This does not mean the book is specifically aimed at the New Adult market. It is the author’s opinion that readers in the NA & Adult readership categories will relate to it more than YA readers. It was written in a style to attract the NA segment as well as older readers. Given that ISIS is regularly lopping off heads in the Syrian desert and the 2016 Presidential race makes you want to select “None of the above”, we could all use a simple, sweet, escapist kind of story.

Urban Mermaid has been on the market for less than a week and I’m starting to see a few sales. Since book publicists cost an arm and a leg – I’m sure they earn every penny of their fees – I’ll be doing a lot of the publicity myself.

There’s a perfect opportunity to do this in Greensboro, NC on Jan. 2 & 3, 2016 and I’m going to have to miss it because of my regular job. I will go into work around 10:30 PM on Jan. 1st and will not be done until 3 or 4 AM. Driving directly to Greensboro from Richmond, VA might have been an option in my college days but it’s definitely off the table now.

The event in Greensboro is a sort of mermaid convention and is an ideal place to stir up interest and maybe even some sales. There’s bound to be other opportunities in other towns . . . just none as good as this one.

Besides putting up the tree and baking gingerbread cookies over the holidays, I’ll also be devoting a good bit of my time to working on publicity and getting the word out. After the first of the year, I’ll be running a series of give-aways on the official website – ColonyIsland.com  – and plan to have some serious swag up for grabs towards the end of January. Just one more reason to stop by ColonyIsland.com and see what’s happening.

Cover Art

Cover Art

Happy St. Andrews Day!

I am pleased to announce Urban Mermaid, the first installment in the Tails From Colony Island series, is now available for purchase in both paperback and e-book editions. The book is published by Moonlight Gardens Publications, an imprint of Gazebo Gardens Publishing, LLC.

I would like to thank Shelly & Caitlyn Moore at Gazebo Gardens  for all their hard work in getting this book ready for publication, Ilsie Om at The Woodsy Fawn for her wonderful cover design, Emm Cole, S.K. Munt, Pete Tarsi, and everyone else who contributed in one way or another to the pre-publication process.

Finally, I would like to thank Judi, my bride of 40 years for all of her encouragement and ongoing support as well as reading the first draft, even when fantasy books just aren’t her thing.

Given that the holidaze are upon us, I am forgoing the traditional launch parties, blog tours, etc. until after the first of the year. Everyone has so much to do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Stop by colonyisland.com to keep up with The Latest.

ISBN
978-1-938281-72-3 Paperback
978-1-938281-73-0 E-Book

Oh rapture! Oh bliss!

Seriously, I’ve discovered that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not merely an oncoming train. Urban Mermaid now has a firm release date – November, 30th, 2015. Be still, my heart!

The thirtieth of November is St. Andrew’s Day. For those of you who may not ken, Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and since one of the main characters is named Macpherson, I think that the 30th is quite appropriate.

I had originally planned to hold a launch party on the release day but the Holiday season will be in full swing a week from today. Trying to shoehorn a launch party in everything involved with the run-up to Hanukkah, Christmas, and the feast of Mithras is a non-starter. Instead, I’m going to try and see if I can get something going on January 30th – maybe a launch party/book signing at Barnes and Noble in Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, there’s fruitcakes to bake and gifts to buy. Yes, Virginia, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

By The Way, I’ll make a formal announcement on the 30th of November. Stay tuned.

It goes without saying that I’m a big fan of mermaid tales. No, I’m not obsessive compulsive about them; you only need to see my pipe collection to understand the true meaning of the term OCD. I’ve found many of the YA (Young Adult) mermaid stories to be a LOT of fun.

It’s refreshing to be able to forget about being an (older) adult for a while and lose yourself in the much simpler problems of those much younger. (Just wait ‘till you have to start worrying about retirement & Medicare, kiddos!)

YA Author, Brenda Pandos has a new installment in her Mer Tales series titled, Evermore. I’m one of the lucky few who get to read this story in exchange for a fair and honest review to appear online no later than Nov. 23rd. That gives me 12 or 13 day window to finish the story and cobble a pithy review. Besides being posted on The Parsons’Rant, it’ll also appear on Goodreads.com, Amazon, B&N, and any other place I can post it.

Believe you me, I’ve been looking forward to this. In the meantime, I have another 3 chapters to review in what is rumoured to be the final, final, absolutely final edits of Urban Mermaid.  I’ve got a fun, fun, fun week-end ahead of me.

While I’m on the subject of Urban Mermaid, Brenda Pandos, Derrolyn Anderson and several other authors will get a shout-out in the story. These mentions will be in the form of subtle references to their novels. Don’t blink or you’ll miss them! To find out for yourself, you’ll just have to buy a copy.

The Colony Island website just went live. Still a lot to do but at least we’re on the air!
http://colonyisland.com

As of 10:30 this morning, 11 ARC copies of Urban Mermaid were on their way to the lucky few who get to read Penelope’s story before anyone else does. I had originally planned to mail them out during lunch on Friday but decided to wait 24 hours so they’d receive the coveted Hopewell, VA postmark. (Remember, not EVERYTHING is postmarked “Hopewell, VA 23860”.)

Now, it’s all up to the Urban Mermaid Review Crew. I’ll know in about a month or so. Then, it’s off to the printer’s and on to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and any other place that sells books. For those of you with e-readers, there’s a digital version as well.

So in October, I’ll take my tweed jacket with the elbow patches to the dry-cleaners and fish out my horn-rimmed glasses. I’ve already got the pipe!

The word is out! One of my followers on Facebook has already pointed out that the heroine of Urban Mermaid has the same last name as my mother’s family.

Rest assured that there are no mermaids – or mermen – on either side of my family. (Damn!) My mother’s maiden name is Tench, which is a species of freshwater fish ( Tinca Tinca ) found in the UK and elsewhere on the east side of the pond. Since I had to give reasonable names to my characters, Tench was too much of a ‘gimme’ to ignore.

Most of the residents of Colony Island have fishy/aquatic/nautical last names, most of which can be found in any phone book. Given names are pretty standard fare – Bill, George, Ilene, Ethyl – with only one or two exceptions.

As for the merfolk – known as Ferals – who live full time in the sea, they have a single Hellenic name courtesy of Chirs Howard’s Seaborn name generator at saltwaterwitch.com. (Thanks, Chris!) If you have yet to read his Saltwater Witch series, please take the time to do so. It is well worth it!

Getting back to Colony Island, there are a few ‘punny’ names as well, but that’s all I’m going to say. Gotta save something for later!

With cover art for Urban Mermaid in the works and a batch of edits on their way to me – I hope – in time for the Memorial Day week-end, there’s not much else I can do at the moment except work on the sequel which is what I did this last week. One of the major themes of this story is a – very – silly crush which one of the peripheral characters has on one of the central characters in UM. If asked, she would tell you herself that the aforementioned crush is silly – the word ‘obsessive’ also comes to mind – and totally impossible yet it is her primary form of entertainment. The trouble is that this crush is causing problems and winds up driving a wedge between the character and her VBFF. The chapter I’m playing with at the moment contains one of the turning points in the story which leads the character to move beyond this crush – OK, it’s almost a monomania – and begin developing an actual life of her own.

I spent a considerable amount of time during our Bermuda cruise last week – It was terrific, thanks for asking! – explaining all this to my wife as well as why I have to walk a fine line in writing the Colony Island series. It is worth noting here that my wife of 40 years – August 3rd is the precise date – has little or no interest in reading fantasy novels or going to movies with fantasy themes. While she did insist on seeing the Lord of the Rings saga, it was easy to tell that she would have rather been doing something – almost anything – else during that time. (To be honest, I did feel that way during The Two Towers.)

I suppose I should take a moment to explain that the series, Tails from Colony Island, deals with merfolk who have moved from the sea on to land and try to live a normal – read human – existence. Indeed, they are pretty much like the rest of us – except for the fish tail bit. The world of Colony Island changes all because a mermaid living and working in the big city falls in love – much to her chagrin – with a human. The sequel is a love story as well which kinda-sorta makes me a romance writer. (How successful a romance writer I’ll be remains to be seen.)

The fine line has to do with how I create, develop and employ my characters. As I mentioned earlier, they are pretty much like the rest of us. If I make them too much like us, then the story becomes rather dull and our lives are hum-drum enough as it is. On the other hand, if I make the characters too different and exotic, I lose the premise for the series and the stories become something else entirely. So far, the main differences have to do with sex and marriage. That alone should be enough to draw people into the tent. Whether you’re a NASCAR driver or an author, the hardest thing in the world is to be consistent and consistently good, at that. I’ll start to have an idea as to how I shape up come the end of Sept.

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