While planning Between Land and Sea (Book 1 of the Mediterranean Trilogy), I considered different fantasy elements.
What advantage could I bestow upon a beautiful mermaid who had given up her tail and lost her mermaid powers?
A magic wand came to mind, but I quickly dismissed a possibility often associated with fairy godmothers and benevolent elders. In this case, there was no such elder. Isabella’s grandmother (and chief elder of the Mediterranean Kingdom) had reacted quickly and savagely to her granddaughter’s defection, aging her thirty years and adding twenty pounds to her slender frame.
I let several ideas percolate and then settled on a magic tablet with online mermaid support. For twelve months, Isabella/Barbara would have access to Lisa738, a Numbers Mermaid programmed to provide basic and Specialist Skills.
Here are five features of a magic tablet with online mermaid support:
1. A Numbers mermaid is assigned to each tablet. These mermaids are the worker bees who make everything possible in the Mediterranean kingdom. In addition to their daily tasks, they spend hours keeping up with technological advances and staying at least one decade ahead of humans.
2. All the buttons on the tablet are raised and shiny. Their glaze has been treated with magnetic ions. The ions from the button will penetrate human skin and gravitate to the brain. In less than five seconds, all the information from the button will be absorbed.
3. If an ex-mermaid is feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks, she can request a speed burst button. This button allows her to work two, three, five, or ten times faster than normal.
4. A desensitization button is also available. This button can convert fearful, negative thoughts into positive ones. Ex-mermaids need this button to help them overcome their fear of flying and any other phobias they may have. It is equivalent to two full years of therapy.
5. Ex-mermaids can also request three Specialist Skills buttons during their first year on Earth. These powerful buttons enable them to master a chosen skill or ability in a short period of time. Imagine Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours minimized to mere seconds.
In Between Land and Sea, Isabella/Barbara asks Lisa738 for her first Specialist Skill in the following excerpt:
Barbara picked up the tablet and pressed the green button.
Lisa738 appeared. “Greetings, Barbara. What can I do for you today?”
“I’m giving my first dinner party and I’m not certain—”
Lisa738 interrupted, “You need a Specialist Skills button. No problem, but I think you should know that you are only entitled to two more of these buttons during the coming year.”
Barbara made a mental note to ask Gillian for more information regarding the tablet. “Of course. What will I be able to do with this button?”
“You will be able to whip up any dish in any cuisine. You will also have an extensive knowledge of the ingredients and nutritional value of any meal you create.”
“Like Martha Stewart?”
Lisa738 laughed. “Martha Stewart. Rachael Ray. Nigella Lawson. You will be able to hold your own with any of them.” She pointed to the new button that appeared below the screen.
Barbara picked up the button, peeled off the coating, applied it to her left temple, and waited for the unsettling sensation. This time, the experience was more intense. Barbara lost her balance and had to hold on to a nearby chair for support.
Lisa738 winced. “I forgot to warn you about the power of the Specialist Skills buttons. You may need to lie down for an hour or so. Are you planning a large dinner party?”
It must be very lonely for Number mermaids in the underwater kingdom. Barbara recalled her few interactions with them. She knew that they spent long hours in front of terminals and did not socialize with the other mermaids. She decided to be kind. “No, it will just be Graham and me.”
Lisa738 nodded in approval. “You have a male companion. How is that progressing?”
“We’ve been going out for almost two months now. Our relationship is a comfortable one.”
“Is that enough for you? In spite of all that has happened, you are still a Bella. You need and deserve passion.”
Blurb – Between Land and Sea
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged, weathered, and abandoned on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. She faces her human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, she reinvents herself as a career counselor, motivational speaker, and writer of self-help books. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers. As Isabella evolves into Barbara Davies, she embraces her middle-aged body, heals her bruised heart, and learns to love again.
This contemporary version of The Little Mermaid offers hope and inspiration to anyone who has been dumped, deceived, or demoted. It will also appeal to mermaid enthusiasts.
Blurb- the Coming of Arabella
On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So, when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.
Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.