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Shadow in the Sea

Readers will return to Windwaithe Island once again. When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade's quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals' dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood's ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn't fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Case for Mermaid Fashion Sense

Recently my eleven-year-old niece presented me with this picture she had drawn for me:

It made me laugh when I saw it because I used to draw mermaids when I was her age too--and just like hers, my mermaids always wore the latest in mermaid fashions. Tradition be hanged. Why should fairies get all the best outfits? Spiderweb dewdrop necklaces, rose petal skirts, golden leaf slippers, there is no end to the imaginative possibilities when it comes to fairy attire. Traditional mermaids on the other hand have--what--clam shells or strategic hair?


The merfolk in my novel, you will discover, all wear fabulous clothing. I had far too much fun revisiting my childhood and designing those outfits while writing the book. I must have drawn at least a dozen different fashion designs while exploring clothing for both mermaids and mermen during the time I was researching this book and trying to figure out what the current trend in merfashions should be. I had to take into consideration what materials would hold up underwater, how fitted the clothes should be to make sure there wasn't a lot of annoying free floating extra material to drag the wearer down, or what accessories might be needed to keep looser clothing from floating up at inopportune moments? (A very awkward situation, especially when meeting your significant merman's relatives for the first time.)

Mermaid jewelery was also extremely tricky. How do you keep a necklace in its proper place instead of floating off while the wearer is swimming? And then there is the problem of rust. According to Google, the only metals that don't rust in salt water over time are:






Lead - as in poisoning.

Stainless Steel


Mercury- as in poisoning

I'm thinking gold and platinum are the winners. (Sorry silver fans, but unless you like murky black jewelry of the oxidized variety--better steer clear of pure silver jewelry while attending any mermaid balls.)

Here are a couple random early study sketches I did while trying to fathom the deeper mysteries of merfolk and their underwater fashions.

And now my young niece has taken up the cause of mermaid fashion as well. I may actually prefer her original design over my own. But then what is imagination for if not to challenge the norm and think outside the box for a change? Now if I can just figure out what centaurs will be wearing next season, I'll be all set for that new story I've been dying to write . . .

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(c) 2010 Sheila A. Nielson

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