The Traveling Mermaid: Alethea Kontis

Hello, the Lagoon! Princess Alethea Mermaid here.

For our next round of essays, we discussed covering two possible topics: travel and comfort food. I think the Mermaids ultimately settled on travel…but the combination of the two subjects struck a chord. (I mean, I am a writer, after all…)

When we travel back to those places that we loved, or the places we call home, there’s usually a food item or two on the list that is NOT TO BE MISSED when one takes a trip there.

In my lifetime, I’ve had a home in various states along the length of the East Coast. Vermont (where I was born), South Carolina (where I attended school), Middle Tennessee (where I became a published author), Northern Virginia (where the Waterworld Mermaids were formed), and the Space Coast of Florida (where I live now). And when I go back to visit each of…
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The Mermaids Dive into NaNo!

Hello dear friends in the lagoon! The mermaids have decided to dive head-first into  National Novel Writing Month this November, and we want you to join us! We may smash the word count, or we may come up a little short . . . but the point is, we are doing this together. Our novels will be the better for it. And we want to support each other — and you — every step of the way!

Thus, we are going to be publishing our word count totals on the blog every Friday, and we’d love for you to share your progress with us, too!

After only two Nano days, our word counts are as follows:

Denny: 4563 words

Kim: 1700 words

Carlene: 1913 words

Alethea: 750 words

Pintip: 3707 words

Mermaid total: 12,633 words

Wow! And that’s just for two days of writing! That is the power of NaNo!

Please share. Are you participating in NaNo this year? How is your progress?

My Very First Mess . . . I Mean, Manuscript

Holy moly, my first manuscript. Wow. It was a total and complete mess. I don’t think it had even a semblance of a plot. Rather, it was just a bunch of rambling thoughts strung together. To tell you the truth, I can’t even tell you what the story was about. That’s how little of a plot it had! When people ask me how many books I’ve written, I don’t count this one. Just like I have my zero drafts (whose words don’t deserve the label of “first draft”), I also have a zero book.

Here’s what I can tell you:

The heroine’s name was Cat.

I wrote the manuscript in a coffee shop a couple blocks away from my apartment. Every day for six months, I went to the Xando and ordered an iced tea and wrote my heart out.

For the first time in my life, I was fully and irrevocably happy. I’ve dreamed of being a writer ever since I was six years old, and now, I was…
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First “Manuscript”

I will use the term manuscript loosely because… well, because this is my post and I feel like it.

The year was 1981 (yes, ’81.. I’m old).  I was sitting in a second grade classroom listening to the teacher speak in a language I didn’t understand.  I had only been in America for a month.  In a small deep Midwest town, I was probably the only foreigner in the school.  No ESOL programs for me.  Sink or swim.  Sitting in Mrs. Magruder’s second grade class I was bored.  And so I wrote a story, complete with pictures on every page.  About a lonely little girl who left behind her life to come to a new country, where she didn’t speak the language, didn’t have any friends and had a very bleak outlook on the future.  I don’t remember the plot, the exposition, characterization or metaphors.  I don’t remember the dark moment, the turning points, the scenes or the chapters.  I don’t remember the secondary characters and whether they supported the…
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The Slippery Slope of First Manuscript Madness

I could talk about the tons of small projects during childhood and adolescence that I wrote as my first manuscript, but my first novel which I started at age twenty-one was just all kinds of wrong. That should be the title of the book. “All Kinds of Wrong.”

The idea started out sweet and easy. It was supposed to be a cute romance about two people who started out as childhood friends at a vacation lodge and how they fell in love as adults. Picture the setting as Dirty Dancing, minus the dancing.

Then I began to think about all the obstacles, the family members, the friends, hell, even the staff and local residents. My cute vacation romance started the slippery slope into wanting all my secondary characters to have lives, too. I could picture these characters with posters, protesting their one-dimensional lives.

So I took the first step into All Kinds of Wrong, my first spiral into Manuscript Madness. I gave them all extensive backstories and lives outside of…
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My First Manuscript – Oh Boy!

We are sharing our first manuscripts here in the Lagoon. Oh boy! My first manuscript was for a YA story that I wrote when I was 12 years old in 7th grade and it harked of The Baby-sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins. And, of course, I still have it, cursive handwriting and all. I’ve made a little video to show you the wonder and talent that was my first attempt at a book.

For fun, leave me a comment and let me know what books you were reading back in seventh grade.

The Forget Tomorrow Series: ‘Seize Today’ by Pintip Dunn is Available Today!

Wow! This! Pintip Dunn’s latest is here! I am so excited about this book! Readers, you are in for a powerful read. So, put aside that TBR list and start reading Seize Today now!

Seize Today (Forget Tomorrow #3)

by Pintip Dunn

Publication Date:  October 3, 2017

Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Dresden is a precognitive. Since different versions of people’s futures flicker before her eyes, she doesn’t have to believe in human decency. She can see the way for everyone to be their best self-if only they would make the right decisions. No one is more conflicted than her mother, and Olivia can only watch as Chairwoman Dresden chooses the dark, destructive course every time. Yet Olivia remains fiercely loyal to the woman her mother could be.

But when the chairwoman captures Ryder Russell, the striking and strong-willed boy from the rebel Underground, Olivia sees…
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Mermaids & Friends: Fiona Roarke

Fiona Roarke and I have the unique distinction of having written stories in the worlds of both Barefoot Bay and Nocturne Falls.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have someone else around who is as quirky and adventurous a workaholic as me! She’s the SF to my Fantasy. And she also likes to name books after movie titles!

Fiona joined me in the January NFU launch with Close Encounters of the Alien Kind. This week we’re celebrating her third Alien novella, The Alien Who Fell to Earth. (Look for a boxed set coming soon!)

But what can I say…women who love books tend to be drawn to other women who love writing books. Only Fiona writes SO MUCH MORE THAT I DO. Trust me on that! I admire her so much that I invited her into the lagoon to tell us a little about her first novel…


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Happiest Book Release Day to Mermaid Princess Alethea!


“Hearts don’t have to touch to fall in love.”

What simple yet extraordinarily beautiful words my fishy sister, Mermaid Princess Alethea Kontis, has written for us in her brand new book, When Tinker Met Bell. This is her second book, I believe, in the Nocturne Falls Universe, and I am 100% smitten with it. When Alethea told me I was really going to love it, I thought to myself that of course I would enjoy it. She’s a great writer! Oh, but she was sooooo right. I absolutely adore this quirky, heart-squeezing book. That line I’ve shared above is one teeny tiny example of why. I asked Alethea if there was anything special she could share with us behind the writing of those particular words and of course, she said yes!

From Alethea…”OMG YES…
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Mermaids & Friends: Mary B. Rodgers

Mary B. Rodgers and I have been friends for a very, very long time–all the way back to the Codex Writers Group. She’s been my roommate and my date to awards ceremonies…she’s even my legit fairy godmother. Yes, on the eve of my book launch in 2012, I found myself in NYC with nothing but literal rags to wear. “Give me that,” said Mary, and she took the rags. When she reappeared, she had a beautiful renaissance top and full golden skirt for me. I AM NOT EVEN MAKING THIS UP. How could I? You already know my life is a fairy tale.

Mary and I got to spend some  long-overdue time together at DragonCon–I even dragged her to be in the parade with me. The parade is not for the faint of heart and has beaten many a friend before her….but my dearest Mary had the time of her life.

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