The Mermaid and the Unicorns
by L.T. Getty
GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure
Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.
Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.
NOTE: The book is only $0.99.
"You'll see lots as you travel from place to place," Daphne told the small dolphin. "Come, your mother won't forgive me if I let you roam from the pod."
Why hurry? Echor asked as he swam, spinning around different plants and sponges that grew along the rocks, before focusing in on a vibrant snail. It was not a very old reef, though it was well inhabited by many vividly-colored, small fish. The young dolphin seemed to take pleasure in disturbing them and watching them scurry into their small hiding crevices and among the anemones. You're so lucky that you get to stay in your town all the time. This part of the sea is so beautiful!
"I think it would be neat to see so much of the ocean," Daphne said, thinking of her small town of Thranda. Unlike the dolphins, who often travelled long distances in a single day, most merfolk lived in towns unless they left their communities to hunt or travel to another community. She had known members of his family since she was a little mermaid, and only got to see them a few times a year when they passed through her home to feed in a nearby bay. She heard a series of warnings behind her—the other dolphins had detected something with their echolocation. Unless it was something exceptionally large, they should have been safe within the pod, but Echor was very young. "Echor, let's return to your family." The young dolphin had wandered off while Daphne had turned her head, chasing a seal that had left her bob, trying to swim away from Echor.
"Echor!" Daphne called, swimming after him. She caught up to him, then looked over her shoulder as she heard a familiar sound. An orca! Daphne suppressed a shudder. It was large, but far enough away for her to find a hiding space. Still, killer whales almost always travelled in groups. The killer whale dove when he spotted her. She knew the others would want to help, but they were no match for an orca. He swam quickly towards her and Echor. Daphne knew she would be hard pressed to out-swim the large creature.
Hide! the orca told her.
Daphne then saw the immense shadow and wooden keel of a ship following the orca. The killer whale dove deep, though the water was too clear and shallow to truly hide his massive form. A harpoon followed him, missed, and was quickly pulled back to the surface by a rope. Another harpoon plunged into the water, and then another. The rough waters churned green and grey in the ship's wake, and Echor's warning chatter only told her that there was another human vessel. It came from Daphne's left, and it dragged a net behind it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.
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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
L.T. Getty will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
It is really two stories, Story one is the tale (tail?) of a mermaid named Daphne. There are glimpses of her life talking with dolphins or cutting hair or sneaking out after dinner to an inactive volcano. As adventurers often do, she gets into trouble and must go ashore (without a tail) to interact with humans. It has echoes of The Little Mermaid from Disney. In my experience this is a great thing. Younger readers love reading well known tropes. It is why there are so many successful series that retell the same story over and over. The first section gives a tween reader an easy entry point.
The second portion sets a quest for a unicorn horn. And, as we learn, unicorns only appear when they want to be seen. Daphne must quest to find one and then confront a wizard very bent on obtaining one himself. In the end, as Siona says, "be careful, Daphne. You are no longer as other mermaids."
Overall, this is a good book for the tween reader. Elements of fantasy, some well-traveled roads, and some unique twists to keep it interesting. The writing style is simple and clean and accessible to most middle grade readers. I was given a copy as part of a blog tour. The review and opinions are my own.
Today, we have an opportunity to talk to LT. Getty. LT Getty has written the book, The Mermaid and the Unicorns.
First, let me thank you for joining me. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.
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Web site (and any other links you’d like included:
Facebook, Twitter, buy pages, etc.):
Title of book we’re promoting:
Mermaid and the Unicorns
That is great. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?
I was a creative kid from an early age and I wanted to control the way the story went. I shamelessly ripped off bits of stories I liked, but we were the Happy Meal Generation so it was normal to get a toy with the latest movie and a lot of cartoons were commercials for the toys they were selling. I was drawn towards adventure stories and tales of the unknown or exploring places very different than what I knew. I mostly wrote for myself at the beginning, because the sorts of books I enjoyed weren’t always marketed to me.
What led me to writing this particular novel was that my
niece was a fledgling reader, and I wanted her to know she has the option to
read whatever she wants, or write something if she chooses to, as opposed to
what’s an approved market trend.
Bio (tell in first person) and answer question, “What led you to start writing?”
Select which questions below you would like to answer. It is really up to you, though I would encourage a minimum of 4-5. Feel free to do all or some.
Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?
Inspiration comes from everywhere, including where you don’t expect it. When I wrote Tower of Obsidian, I was inspired by playing Shadow of the Colossus on the playstation. That novel, however, did require an absolute ton of research on Ireland and vikings, but I didn’t have to for this one, but I don’t deny I er… stole ideas from other sources.
I live in the Manitoba Praries, but I am not a Horse Girl by any stretch. I do enjoy riding when I have the opportunity, and I’ll be honest I was seriously contemplating an acreage before I bought my current house, but work keeps me busy and I knew that would be a serious commitment. I grew up with a lot of horses, magical and mundane in media, from My Little Pony to She-Ra, and I really wanted to one day tell a story about unicorns. I’ve got a few other projects on the go, but I would like to do a novel featuring a Pegasus sometime soon. I don’t know exactly if there’s a single idea that triggered the story, I think it was the idea of someone forcing a girl to hunt a unicorn, because of the lore associated that Unicorns are drawn towards maidens/innocence.
What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?
I enjoy working out and being active. I enjoy mountain biking and kayaking (usually – haven’t been out on the water so far this year, grrrr) as well as painting and listening to documentaries. I did kendo some time ago and it helped me learn swordplay– I’d love to get back into martial arts when I have more time – but I think I’m mostly a proficient archer. I don’t practice as often as I should, but I think that’s one of the reasons that archers appear so often in my books.
What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?
Try to write a story and finish it. Send it into the wild and then write another one. Repeat. Don’t get bummed out, just do your best.
Odds are it’ll be rejected and by the time you get to the fifth project, odds are your craft will have improved and if you’re like me, you’ll want to rewrite something you did earlier because you know that the idea was good, but the skill level wasn’t there.
Odds are, you have good taste but unless you have been writing in some other capacity for some time, your skill level won’t be where you wanted it to be to tell that particular story. It’s easy to get hung up and compare yourself to everyone else, but the best way to improve that skill level is to write and edit that writing.
What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?
In grade 9, my teacher told me that I need to be able to understand my opponent in a debate, because I need to attack what they believe not what I am projecting that they believe. I love stories that feature unreliable narrators, and villains you can understand. Not sympathize with, but understand; that way their motivations are realistic. If I can understand what the person who disagree with me believes in, I can undermind their argument.
This way, I’m really able to get into a character’s head, and not just the main or viewpoint character, either.
Now, a real trick in a debate is to understand a debate and
still project what your opponent wants in an unflattering light, but that’s a
whole other topic.
Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?
I’m a full time paramedic. More than full time, actually. I
used to just write after school, or write when I found time, but between school
and work it was when I could find it. Now I usually bring a notebook with me to
work, and I work when we have down time. At home, I generally make a plan and
hollow out time for writing.
What does literary success look like to you?
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but basically that I
created a project and didn’t compromise the integrity of the idea. For me, I
wanted to write a story that I would have loved as a child. What stories did I
like? Let’s ignore the Edgar Rice Burroughs and be a little more child
friendly: The Chronicles of Narnia by
CS Lewis. The Wizard of Oz by L.
Frank Baum (read the entire series!). The
Song of the Lioness Quartette by Tamora Pierce.
tell us about your current release.
The Mermaid and the Unicorns is an older middle grade fantasy adventure aimed at readers around the ages of 10-12.Clearly, some younger readers would be able to read it a little earlier, it has some scary parts but I didn’t want to go very dark.
The story is about a young teenage mermaid who finds herself beached and turned human, and told that in order to go home, she needs to get a unicorn horn. Ultimately the story is about doing the right thing even if it seems that it’s not in your best interest to do so.
you read / provide us with a small excerpt? (Optional – under 200 words)
"What song are you going to sing?" One of the other girls working the bakery asked another once the customer's area of the bakery was clean.
"Siren's Lament," Esperanza said. "Are you competing?"
"Nope. I don't like performing. Gonna enter my gooseberry pie in the real contest. My big sister Paula is planning on playing her spoons. She's going to perform Go Ahead and Slap Him, Sally, but I think she should do Pass the Lumberjack's Hat Around. Espy, you're good at singing. Which do you think would be better?"
"Uh, neither," Esperanza said. "We're supposed to be singing beautiful tales of generations gone past, not silly songs and goofy shanties. If Paula wants to throw her chances away at winning the contest..."
Daphne hadn't thought of what song to perform, and so while doing that, she missed the other girl saying she just likes music she can dance to.
"What's Pass the Lumberjack's Hat Around?" she asked Esperanza once the other girl got called to go work the front.
"Possibly the worst song in existence," Esperanza said. "You know how sometimes songs don't make sense? At all?"
"Yeah," Daphne said. "But sometimes, people don't understand the hidden meaning..."
Esperanza arched an eyebrow, cleared her throat, then began to tap her foot before singing,
"Throw the mouses in the skittle
Round and Round a hey diddle-diddle!
Rubes be dark and ducks do quack,
Shall My Lady Love turn back?"
Daphne tried not to laugh. "You just made that up."
"It gets better," Esperanza said, still tapping.
"Round the goose to my captain's ball,
The goat's favourite clover is a free-for-all!
Dirty socks all about the town,
Pass the lumberjack's hat around!"
Esperanza stopped tapping and made a face. "Fortunately, you need a half-gallon jug filled a third to blow, three people playing the spoons, and two violins to get an idea what it's supposed to sound like. It's also supposed to have a cowbell and a really loud drum, but most people just clang on whatever they find."
What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently writing a not-quite sequel about the
Puppeteers that appeared in this story. I thought it was a little scary and
should be cut, but my niece loved it and now wants a duology about the story of
the people who were turned into puppets. I follow mostly new characters, but
Daphne, Esperanza, and Sean all make a cameo.
I have also signed a the next book in my sword and sorcery series, Rogue Healer, entitled Magus’ Gambit with Champagne Books, and we’re looking at an April release on that title.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think CS Lewis is brilliant – not just his fiction but his non-fiction as well. My favorite of his novels is, “Til we Have Face: A myth retold” which is a retelling of Psyche and Cupid from Psyche’s sister POV.
If you were to ask me, “What’s a good science fiction novel I may not have heard of?” I’d tell you to read “Wildseed” by Octavia E. Butler.
your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I do like to read a lot of small/indie authors, so how about I plug “Shards of Law” by LE Derekson?
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Hiring a good editor. I wanted to do it earlier but I got talked out of it because people were all over the place with the cost, and to be honest I wasn’t ready until I took the plunge anyway. I found that I had a bit of a rocky road working with editors with Champagne Books, so I figured what I needed was more practice.
What is your writer’s kryptonite?
For me it was worrying if my work was good enough or if everyone would like it.
I learned that not every book is for everyone – and it’s okay if someone doesn’t like my book. It’s not okay for me to not edit and make it as good as I’d like it, but quality doesn’t indicate whether or not someone will like something. There’s brilliantly written books that aren’t for me, and I know when I’m reading the literary equivalent of junk food.
I think the problem stemmed from that I started writing at a young age and people were often very dismissive or thought that I wanted to go for something I wasn’t aiming for. It’s honestly pretty frustrating finding the right mix of supportive and constructive criticism, so it was a bit of a process for me to rebuild my confidence. The other thing I was worried about was employers being concerned I was a writer, so I had to keep my first book on the down low until I was secure in my profession. Feel free to disagree, but I have had to take education off my resume in order to get jobs I was over-qualified for in the past.
What part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?
I took courses and for the most part got decent feedback, so I think learning to write well is difficult for most people. We all speak and think we are communicating clearly, but sometimes we’re kind of ignorant as to how we come across, and especially with the written word you don’t have the benefit of having a brilliant narrator emphasizing words. As said above, learning to work with an editor was also tricky because I’m almost always communicating by email, so there’s a fine line in arguing when it seems like you’re whining when you just really want to make a point.
Honestly, marketing remains one of my biggest challenges. I am a creative person and can easily think outside the box, but marketing seems like you have to be the same as everyone else and throwing out your product to an oversaturated market and most people, if they read, tend to read the same books as everyone else. I think that’s normal though: Most of us watch movies and see the blockbusters; but I’ve seen some fantastic films no one’s heard about and I wonder how and why but, I think that’s the case with almost everything.
Are you involved in any writer groups?
Not a group, no. I find that trying to make a novel that pleases people who don’t like your genre is counter-productive. I have a beta reader, and he and another local writer sell our books together at farmers markets and comic cons in Winnipeg.
For The Mermaid and the Unicorns I gave a rougher draft to my niece and sister and took their feedback. My aunt offered to edit it for me; for the most part her feedback was that I should change the title and make it more appealing to a male audience; I understood her feedback (this is a quest book not a princess one) but I told her I’d do that with other projects.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I try not to sweat the small stuff, so if you read any of my books and don’t like it: still feel free to leave an online review if you want to. As a general rule I do not respond in any way to reviews, unless everyone agrees about something (let’s say, Lorelei was a little too much as a villain and literally everything else was more threatening than her) then maybe on my own blog I’ll talk about my choices, but your opinion is your opinion.
One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?
Add your links here again
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