Where Mythology & Imagination Meet: The Creation of a “Real-World” Mermaid Fantasy by Talena Winters – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Talena Winters will be awarding a hardback copy of The Undine’s Tear (Rise of the Grigori Book 1) and also The Sphinx’s Heart (Rise of the Grigori Book 2) to a randomly drawn winner (International Giveaway) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Mythology & Imagination Meet: The Creation of a “Real-World” Mermaid Fantasy

Every book has to start with a seed idea. For the Rise of the Grigori series, that idea was a question, sparked while watching a mermaid show where the entire race was female: Where are all the mermen?

Despite the fact that some popular mermaid stories include mermen, historically, the idea of mermaids have been far more prevalent and romanticized. While mermaids were the stuff of sailor’s wet dreams—often conflated with the alluring sirens of Greek mythology to draw human men to their doom beneath the waves—mythological mermen were twisted, stunted things akin to tricksters and demons, if a male counterpart existed at all.

And my brain wanted to know why.

While answering that question, I researched mermaid myths and discovered that nearly every ancient culture had mermaids in some form. Soon, my brain had started to create the world and history of the undines (UN-deens, an elemental water creature from Greek mythology) to answer my question about the absent mermen.

Undines haven’t been able to birth their own males for three thousand years, since a powerful Mad healer in their history sank Atlantis. No one knows why the powerful healers go Mad, nor why the undines can’t produce boys, nor why the Heartstone that powers the barrier hiding their island is failing. Not even Calandra, the most powerful healer to be born since the Sinking—which means she’s probably going to go insane eventually, too.

Well, none of the undines know. Outside the barrier, someone knows—and they have assigned a young sphinx cherubim to guard Zale, the first undine male to be born in three millennia. It’s the sphinx’s job to reunite him with his sister (Calandra) and mother to save not only the undines, but the entire cosmos, before a powerful fallen dragon seraph plunges it into chaos. Again.

In creating the Rise of the Grigori series, I pulled on my interests in ancient and modern cultures and myths, history, my passion for social issues such as gender and racial equality, and my own Judeo-Christian spiritual beliefs about angels, demons, and the cosmos, and built a fantasy world set on an Earth almost like our own in 1799. While most of my research will never appear on the page, it creates a vibrant backdrop to the action and adventure tale of the brother and sister destined to save the universe.

If they can only figure out what went wrong in the first place.

She’s destined to save the world . . . if she doesn’t destroy it first.

Calandra’s destiny is also her doom. As the most powerful healer since the woman who sank Atlantis, she’s been raised to restore the Heartstone that protects her island from humans . . . before she goes Mad like her mother and all the powerful undine healers before her. When she learns she needs both male and female magic to succeed, she becomes desperate—there hasn’t been an undine male born for over three thousand years. Instead, she’s being pressured to use the siren mind-bond to enslave her childhood friend, the one man she’s sworn to risk a death sentence to free.

When Calandra discovers a cryptic message that shows her exiled mother was not only sane but pregnant with a boy, she questions everything she’s been taught to believe. But revealing the horrifying truth of the bonds could tear her island apart—and concealing it could unleash the Earth’s oldest, most destructive enemy. With insanity looming, can Calandra find her brother and save the Heartstone, the man she loves, her people, and the world . . . before she loses control and destroys them all?

The Undine’s Tear is the first book in the mind-blowing young adult epic historical fantasy series Rise of the Grigori. Packed with complex characters, lush world-building, gritty action, and impossible odds, this intricately woven tale presents mermaids like you’ve never seen them before. Join Calandra in a search for redemption that will threaten the very fabric of the universe. Dive into the adventure today!

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You are wondering how to gain control of your powers,” Damon said without preamble.

Calandra thought about ignoring him or denying it, but what was the point? This was nothing more than a dream, and the slippery logic of dreams fuzzed her will to keep her more rebellious thoughts to herself.

“You know, I shouldn’t even be talking to you. An Unredeemed male. I could get in big trouble.”

The corners of his mouth curved under his trim goatee.

“And who will report you?” He indicated the blackness around them. “Certainly not I. I exist only in your mind.”

She crossed her arms and cocked her head, studying him. “Have you ever been Redeemed?”

His expression became stony. “Redemption is for humans.”

“Redemption is for men. To make them safe. It just happens that the only men are human.”

Thinking of Osaze’s dread, she wondered again at the morality of it. Uncrossing her arms, she shifted her gaze from Damon’s face to his bronze chest.

“And one of them is my friend.”

“All humans should be controlled,” he replied nonchalantly, drawing nearer. “They have not the patience nor discipline to control themselves. And I am not human, yet I am male.”

She looked up at him, eyes narrowed. “I can see that. What are you? I’ve never seen an undine with golden eyes.”

He smiled knowingly. “Not human. But I could be your friend.”

That same feeling of security and warmth from their first encounter enveloped her, as though he were projecting it from himself intentionally. She frowned, wanting to accept it and shake off her heavy heart, but not daring to trust him yet.

“What do you want from me?”

“I want to help you.”

Damon came near enough to touch her but didn’t, pausing before her with his arms to the sides in a placating gesture.

She wrapped her arms around herself and glared into the blackness beyond him. “Yeah, well, you can’t. Not unless you can tell me how to control powers that could sink an island and heal the Heartstone without going Mad.”

“Little lark,” he said, amusement dripping from his voice like honey from a spoon, “that is exactly what I intend to do.”

About the Author: Talena Winters is addicted to stories, tea, chocolate, yarn, and silver linings. She writes page-turning fiction for teens and adults in multiple genres, coaches other writers, has written several award-winning songs, and designs knitting patterns under her label My Secret Wish. Master of the ironic GIF response. She currently resides on an acreage in the Peace Country of northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, three surviving boys, two dogs, and an assortment of farm cats. She would love to be a mermaid when she grows up.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me and my book!

  3. sherry1969 says

    This sounds like a wonderful book.

  4. Thanks for having me today. I hope your readers enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at my process. Best wishes!

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