Archive | December, 2011

Mermaid Artist Tammy Derwick, Part 1

12 Dec

Please admire the mermaid portrait that artist Tammy Derwick just did of yours truly:

Isn’t it lovely? She said she was sending it to me and imagine my surprise when a huge gorgeous box appeared on my doorstep like a glittering asteroid from outer space.

Here are a couple more of Tammy’s mermaids:

Tammy was also the official artist for this year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade,

and has just contributed some of her beauteous colored-pencil mermaid art to Magick4Terri, the auction fundraiser for Terri Windling, which you should obviously go bid on. (I too have contributed books and other wonders to the auction, and you can bid on a beautiful Tori Amos mermaid poster by Lee Moyer.)

I will be posting an interview with Tammy here soon, but in the meantime you should bid on her art and/or consider getting yourself mer-maid over in colored pencil. It’s like The Picture of Dorian Gray… but with your true mermaid self in the portrait and not some hideous monster!

Swan Maidens! New Book Preview!

7 Dec

So this is not a mermaidly post, but it is a post about very glamorous, otherworldly, excessively glamorous creature not unlike the mermaid, the swan maiden. Because my next book is about to come out next month, my first middle-grade novel, and it’s called The Next Full Moon and is about a 12-year-old girl who begins to grow feathers and eventually discovers that her mother was (and is) a swan maiden… So the girl feels like a freak and an outcast until she discovers that she is, instead, magical. As you do.
The swans were strangely still, the mass of their white feathers gleaming like ice, like freshly fallen snow, over the clearing.

“They have all come,” Helen said finally. “To meet you.”

“What do you mean?” Ava asked.


And just as she said the word, something happened. The birds… transformed. In a movement so quick and surprising Ava could barely register it, the birds had arms and hands and their feathers became feathered robes and suddenly the clearing was filled with beautiful women, each of them holding a feathered robe in her hand.
There are a number of swan maiden legends in which a man steals a maiden’s feathered robe while she’s bathing, and forces her to stay with him. They have a child/children. Eventually, the swan maiden retrieves her robe, returns to her swan form, and flies away. My story’s about what happens to the child she leaves behind, as she nears her thirteenth birthday.

And it has a pretty cover:

And if you click on the link below you can read the first few chapters, which will likely change your life.


If you want to learn more about swan maidens, in all their strangeness and beauty, their living between the earth and the air, check out the page on the SurLaLune Fairy Tales site.

Actress Jennifer Summerfield, aka Trillian Stars, on Posing in Mermaid Tanks

1 Dec

So Jennifer Summerfield, aka Trillian Stars, is a romantical actress who lives in a sweeping fireplace- and victrola- and staircase- and art-filled Philadelphia house with her equally romantical husband, photographer Kyle Cassidy, and some very famous cats. When not emoting on stages or swooning in front of fires or being laced up into shimmering corsets or wandering around Paris in mystical trances, she can sometimes be found gliding about in mermaid tanks, like that of mermaid photographer extraordinaire Annaliese Moyer. You might think that Jennifer comes from the sea itself, with her seafoam skin and radiant tresses, but she’s actually from Wyoming and comes from a long line of gun-toting pioneer women.

Here are some of Annaliese’s photo proofs of this theatrical, western variety mermaid:

Plus an official photo from Annaliese:

I know, it is almost too much to bear.

Recently I spoke with Jennifer about her mermaidly experiences:

What was it like becoming a mermaid and entering Annaliese’s mermaid tank?
It was a dream come true for me, but I also came to realize what a lonely existence it can be for mermaids—when you’re under the water, there’s only the distorted sounds of your own heart beating, and though you’re straining to see the people and objects around you, in the dark, all you have are the shadowy forms looming in the distance. So I have a greater empathy now for mermaids and their need to play mischief as a way to make contact with the outside world. I realized that in order to survive in that environment, you need to have a strong sense of self and you need to trust in your own charm, beauty and power. I also came to realize that mermaids need thicker skin to withstand the cold temperatures; even though I was in a heated luxury tank, I was shivering by the time I emerged.

Have you always liked mermaids?
Yes, when I took swimming lessons as a child, I would grab a piece of styrofoam between my knees and swoosh my legs back and forth, pretending I had a long glittering tail with fins. When I was about 7, there was a series of bath toys called “Sea Wees”—beautiful mermaids with matching merbabies; each pair came with their very own foam lily pad so they could float on the surface of the bath water and pose alluringly. Naturally, they also had combs; mermaids love to brush their hair! And of course, my favorite movie in the third grade was Splash. It just doesn’t get more romantic than that!

As an actress, how would you approach playing a mermaid?
Mermaids have a natural curiosity that people so often lose as they get older and more jaded, perhaps because there are always so many discoveries to make in the sea—it’s hard to grow complacent. So I would start by taking my nephews and niece to the Camden Aquarium to pet the sharks and key into that innocent notion of wonder and discovery. I think I’d also spend a day or two in Coney Island, looking at shiny things and watching the sun glint off the water. I would also take dance classes—perhaps belly dancing—because mermaids have such natural, seductive grace.

Do you have any advice for aspiring mermaids?
Never lose your sense of wonder and always ask yourself the question “what if…?” If you ever find yourself hesitating at the crossroad between Safety and Living out your dream, choose the dream. Mermaids don’t believe in regret.

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