Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Truth About Sea Monsters…

It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading or writing a story about sea monsters, the trick is to remember one thing: Once you go beneath the curling ocean waves, almost anything can be considered a monster. Even you.

So, I’m going to dissect some of the sea life found in my YA Urban Fantasy books, Fathom and Fury.

1. SELKIES: Sometimes disguised as seals, sometimes disguised as humans, sometimes wearing their natural glittering green flesh. Although these creatures are generally known to be gentle, you need to remember that many of them have Siren blood—those Selkies have the ability to conjure life-threatening storms and, therefore, they are far from sweet and innocent.

2. MERMAIDS/MERMEN: The Scottish Na Fir Ghorm found in Fury have blue skin and long tails. They speak in riddles, often lie, and have been known to sink human ships with their tails. These creatures are more foe than friend. Run far and run fast if you encounter them, unless you want to lose both your heart and your freedom.

3. HINQUEMEMEM: One of the most feared creatures in all the Seven Seas, this super creepy monster has a favorite food—Selkies. That’s fine and dandy, if you’re a human. But not so much if you’re half human and half Selkie, like Riley in Fury. It’s not that great for the characters in Fathom, either.

4. SEA WITCHES: Yikes. Just yikes. If anyone—Selkie, Mermaid, or Human—thinks a Sea Witch is their friend, they're woefully mistaken. They’ll find out soon enough, but trust me, by then it might be too late. Two monsters in this series were created by Sea Witches, and their fate was too horrible to describe here.

5. HUMANS: Easily tricked, these weak creatures can barely swim and can only hold their breath for a few minutes. When faced with peril, they perish easily. When faced with the supernatural beauty found in Selkies or Mermaids? No question, they're doomed.

6. SEA CREATURES: From sharks to tiny fish, if it swims, it's probably deadly. Best to stay away from anything you haven’t seen before.


I didn’t know where he had gone. I only knew that I thought I might never see him again.

That blasted, beautiful, blue merman who had stolen my heart and now held it in his hands.

He was bleeding, he was wounded, but he never said a word about it. Every breath came with pain and, even though his words sounded happy, the expression in his eyes said the opposite.

And now, this boy who was responsible for rescuing me from prison was about to tell me a secret plan.
I only wanted him to take me in his arms.

I hated myself for it. I wasn’t that kind of girl. I didn’t swoon over pretty boys or hand-some boys or any boys. Sometimes I thought that my human heart had turned to stone on that night when the Hinquememem tried to kill me. Every time I started to experience emotions again, that beast would return.

I was afraid to love.

So, this had to be friendship I was feeling; I’d been worried about Triton; he visited me every day to please his father.

But now, he began to tell me a different story. One of rebellion and danger, one that proved none of this had been done to honor the King. Far from it.

This boy who pretended that he didn’t care about me was risking everything so I could escape.

“My father made you take a blood oath,” Triton began, staring at the floor. “I thought he meant to take you as a bride when you mature—and that was bad enough. His wives are little more than slaves. But Isbeil overheard him talking to our mother, telling her his plans.”

King Poseidon was going to force me to marry him, but he was also going to force me to do one other thing. Selkies have a special ability that no other creatures of the sea have—we could make ourselves look human, fully human. The Na Fir Ghorm came close, except they al-ways carried the color of their blue skin when they walked on two legs.

If I refused to share my secret, Poseidon planned to use a Sea Witch to enchant me.

“Why does your father want me to teach him how to do this?” I asked.

“After your marriage, he plans to unite this kingdom with that of the Selkie King—Neptune,” Isbeil said.

I shook my head. “King Neptune would never agree—”

“He will. When he hears the second half of the deal,” Triton said. “The two Underwater Kingdoms will unite and both armies will disguise themselves as human. They’ll sneak into key positions in the human world, taking the coastal cities first, then moving inland. My father has a whole battle plan put together and it all hinges on you.”

This couldn’t be true.

And yet, when I looked at Isbeil and then Triton, I saw that they believed it.

“What can I do?” I asked. “How can I stop this?”

“Help my sister escape,” Triton said. “Teach her how to look human. Then she can go wherever she wants. And they will...I mean, we will take you wherever you want to go. You have to flee too. Poseidon can’t force you to honor your blood oath if he can’t find you.”

His eyes glistened with tears when he spoke.

“You’re coming with us?” I asked.

“Of course.”

But he glanced quickly away when he answered and I knew there was something he wasn’t telling me.

Both books, Fury and Fathom, are available for a limited time at 99¢ each HERE.
Fury is currently a #1 New Release in Children's Multicultural Literature, a #2 New Release in Children's Multicultural Folk Tales, and a #2 New Release in Children's Greek and Roman Myths.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR AND ARTIST, Merrie Destefano studied art at Northern Illinois University, met her husband at a kazoo parade, laughs at all jokes, and ugly cries during corny movies. Her books have been published by HarperCollins, Entangled Teen, Walter Foster, and Ruby Slippers Press, and, most likely, she's writing her next book while you're reading this. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California, where she runs on caffeine, and shares her home with rescue dogs and cats.

Her writing awards include:
• 2010 Mount Hermon Writer of the Year
• 2019 Realm Award for Supernatural/Horror: Shade: A Re-Imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
• 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, Silver Medal Winner: Shade: A Re-Imagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
• 2019 YARWA Athena Award, Second Place: YA/NA Speculative Fiction for Valiant.

You can visit her website here.


A. K. Wilder said...

I love this post! All thing oceanic are very close to my heart.

Great excerpt and that .99¢ sale?


Merrie Destefano said...

Thank you so much, A.K!

Helen Lowe said...

I love this insight into your world, Merrie. An glad there's a follow up for FATHOM to gladden the reading world.