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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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why You Can’t Judge a Book--by Its Cover or Otherwise.

If there is one thing being an author has taught me it’s that each reader brings something different to a story. It’s not something I as an author can control.  No amount of editing, rewriting, and polishing on my part will ever change this. That is why one reviewer will praise a book as “the best thing since sliced bread” and another person will review the exact same book as “a morbid mess of a plot that even a zombie uprising couldn’t breathe life into”. So which reviewer is right? 

They both are.

Each of these people read the same words and the same story—but they did not have the same experience.  Isn’t that what we love so much about books? Every story shares with us a new world that we get to interact with on a deeply personal level. 

For example: A friend of mine who read Forbidden Sea later told me that she had a really hard time making it through the story.  After questioning her a little further, I discovered that she had a member of her family who was uncomfortably like the character of Auntie Minnah. Every time Auntie Minnah appeared in the story, my friend felt like throwing the book across the room. This had nothing to do with whether or not my book was well written or not—and everything to do with how my friend’s personal life experiences made her perceive a story.  On the other hand, I also visited with a book club of middle grade girls who told me Adrianne’s complicated relationship with Auntie Minnah was their favorite part of the book. That is why reviewing books can be such a ticklish thing.
As a librarian I am often called upon to match up the right book with the right reader. Fifteen years of on-the-job experience has taught me that often the perfect book for a certain reader is one I didn’t like. Take sports books for example—not my favorite genre—but then, I’m not a preteen boy (or girl for that matter) whose whole world revolves around basketball.  For some kids these books speak to them and get their heart pumping. These are the books that make them want to be readers. Just because sports books don’t do anything for me, doesn’t mean that sports books don’t have any value. It just means I was not the right audience. 

One of my coworkers once noticed a boy just sitting at a table sobbing his little heart out as he read his book. The librarian asked him if he was all right. He explained through his tears that one of his favorite characters from the series he was reading had just died. Touched by this boy’s devotion to his fictional friend, my coworker gently asked what book he was reading. She was amazed to discover that the book that had managed to move this boy to tears was one of the books in the Bionicles TV show series. One of his robot friends had died and he was beside himself with grief.

Laugh all you want.

 The Bionicles story and its characters had become real to that boy. They gave him a new experience, one that had emotionally bound him to the characters he came to love so much! Who is to say that his experience reading Bionicles was any less profound for him than mine was while reading To Kill a Mocking Bird for the first time? Who am I to deny him the beauty of that experience just because Bionicles seems a little silly and predictable to me?

Understanding this has helped me not to take the bad reviews of my book to heart quite so much. All books get bad reviews from time to time. That’s because the world is full of different kinds of people with lots of different tastes.  This is a good thing. That’s something I now try to remember when writing my own reviews of other authors’ books. For example, I recently read a book that wasn’t really my cup of tea. The whole time I was reading it, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the kids I knew at the library who would just LOVE to get their hands on that particular book. Even though it wasn't my favorite, I always give that book a rave review when trying to hand sell it to a young reader—because I know they will like it, even if I didn’t. Isn’t that what is most important?

I think so too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lovely Fan Made Mermaid Doll

Here is an amazing mermaid doll made by a fellow mermaid lover, Karen Hawkins. Isn't she beautiful? I love to see the creations of talented fans. If you have some fan made mermaid artwork you would like me to share here on my blog, feel free to email me a copy at:

Thanks for sharing her with me, Karen! I can't wait to see more of your work in the future!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forbidden Sea Trailer *Update*

The publisher asked for some changes to be made to the Forbidden Sea trailer. The changes are minor, but I love the new version even better than the old one. Especially the new music. Watch the new trailer and see if you can spot what the other changes are. There are actually quite a few.

So what do you think?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Forbidden Sea Brooch

Check out this gorgeous beaded brooch that someone created using the cover of my book! Jendayi never looked so good! Click on the link to see even more pictures of this fabulous creation on the artist's website. Check out some of their other breathtaking jewelry as well!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pick Five Books

It's All About Books 
If you could pick five books that had most influenced your life and who you are today--what five books would they be? Suey from over at All About Books asked me this question recently. Head on over and check out my answers.

Here is Suey's review of Forbidden Sea for those who are interested.

So what would your five books be and why? I'd love to hear all about them in the comments.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Forbidden Sea Book Trailer is Here!!!

Okay guys, this is what you've been waiting for. Me most of all. I present to you, the finished Forbidden Sea Book Trailer. Here is a link to a high definition copy you can view and show all your friends. Enjoy!

*SPOILERS* Do not scroll down beyond this point unless you have read the novel, Forbidden Sea.

Just remember, when doing a trailer, sometimes things have to be changed and condensed to get the idea across in such a short period of time. Yes, I am well aware that Denn was not the one who went with Adrianne to the fortuneteller--but it was the only way we could get him in there--and that was the most important thing. Also, in the trailer, the mermaid you see is how Adrianne imagines her before meeting her, not what she really looks like--as those who have read the story will well know.

Other than that, tell me what you think of the trailer in comments! : )

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Forbidden Sea Book Trailer Update!

You would not believe all the trouble we've had, getting the Forbidden Sea book trailer finished. It took six months alone for the latex mermaid tail to come--and then we didn't really end up using it much. But the trailer is (finally) almost complete now--and it turned out LOVELY!  There are still a few tweaks that need to be made to it before it is ready to make its debut to the public, so you'll have to be patient just a little bit longer. As a teaser, I'm including a photograph of the actress who played Adrianne for us. She did a fabulous job too. I can't wait to let you all see it.

Soon . . .

Monday, May 28, 2012

And the Winner Is . . .

The thing I love most about hosting a giveaway is all the fantastic comments readers leave for me! Thank you one and all for your kind comments and compliments. I wish there was a way for me to hand out prizes to all of you! You all deserve it. But unfortunately there can only be one winner this time--and so without further ado I am proud to announce that the winner of this drawing (according to is . . .


CONGRATS!!!! Check your email, Kelli, because there should be a message from me.
And a huge thank you to all those who took the time to participate. Keep checking this blog from time to time, because next time I hold a giveaway, it could be you who is the next lucky winner!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Last Chance!

This is it guys! Your last chance to sign up for the mermaid necklace giveaway, as well as the mermaid prize pack that comes with it. You have until midnight tomorrow (May 27th) to make sure you have signed up for the giveaway drawing by leaving a comment with your name and email address in the post listed here. And don't forget, you can Tweet, Facebook or blog about the contest and get your name in the drawing twice. The winner will be announced on the evening of May 28th so check back then to see if you have won!

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Forbidden Sea Mermaid Contest Giveaway!!!--CLOSED

The winner will be announced sometime later tonight. Keep checking back to see if you have won!

I've been invited to participate as one of the authors at the extremely popular Provo City Library Children's Book Festival this year. So I've decided it is time to celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than to host a Forbidden Sea giveaway with extra fantastic mermaid prizes? Some of you are probably already aware that one of my favorite hobbies is making miniature sculpture jewelry. Click here to see some of my past work. Well this is your one and ONLY chance to get your hands on your very own, one-of-a-kind mermaid necklace (pictured above) hand sculpted by me! Not only does the contest winner get the necklace, but they will also get a signed copy of Forbidden Sea (hardback) AND a copy of Christian Birmingham's gorgeously illustrated  The Little Mermaid, AND a beautiful pink beaded bookmark so that they can mark their place with style. (See pictures below)

Forbidden Sea Contest Rules

As much as I would love to open this contest to everyone--I'm afraid I'll have to limit entries only to those with a USA or Canada address that I can mail to. Unfortunately, international shipping is WAY too expensive for my slim budget. If you do live in the USA or Canada, (or have a friend willing to let you use their USA or Canada address) all you have to do to be entered in the drawing for these prizes is leave a comment below with your name and email address so that if you are chosen I can contact you and let you know you are the winner. And just to make the drawing more interesting--anyone willing to blog, tweet, Facebook, or otherwise post about this contest to friends, family, and complete strangers, will get their name in the drawing a second time. Just include a link to the post/tweet/whatever in your comment so that I can see it.

You have until midnight on May 27th to enter yourself in this contest. On the evening of May 28th  a winner will be chosen and posted so make sure to check back then. If the winner does not respond to my email within a week--a new winner will be chosen at that time. A winner who can not provide a USA or Canada address will be disqualified.

Good luck to all!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Real Mermaid Sighting Caught on Video?

I found this short video clip online. Just for fun I thought I'd share it here. It's supposed to be something a diver caught on camera. What do you think? Is it real or totally fake? You decide.

Click here to see the video clip. (Disclaimer: Pressing the link will take you to a outside website over whose changing content I have no control over. Click at your own risk.)

That tail looks golden--do you think it might be Jendayi? ; )

Here is another link to a second supposedly real mermaid sighting. This one taken by a group boating on a river. What do you think?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mermaid Dollhouse

I've collected dolls and dollhouses for years now. What I've always wanted is a mermaid dollhouse. Since they don't sell mermaid themed dollhouses, I decided to make one of my very own. It took a lot of time--and I'm not done with it completely yet--but it has come out pretty well so far. I even sculpted a tiny purple-skinned mermaid that goes in it. (If I were a mermaid, I think I'd want to be a lovely shade of purple.) I've posted pictures of the final project on my doll collecting blog for all those who would like a closer peek. Click here to see more.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games Movie

I went and saw Hunger Games really late last night. LOVED it! Not quite as good as the book but then what movie ever is? However, now I'm paying for for my late night fun. Oh, so tired this morning. Anyone else get to see the movie yet? What did you think? I'd love to hear your opinions.

(c) 2010 Sheila A. Nielson

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