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TATTOO MASTER, sequel to THE DROWNING WORLD is just out! See how these young shape-shifters discover their own destiny in a world underwater. Buy here:

Mermaids Save Humans from a Drowning World

Like THE HUNGER GAMES—but set in a secret underwater realm—TATTOO MASTER is the stunning sequel to THE DROWNING WORLD, which was acclaimed for its "glorious imagination" and a "page turner." In a future of rising seas, floating cities, and Flood Lands—Aquantis shape shifters (half-human and half-dolphin) struggle to save humans in SkyeWorld. TATTOO MASTER follows Lukas, Pandora, Marina, and Jake to Cuba—a sinking paradise. Here they encounter the mysterious Aquantan, Master Tara, who has survived SkyeWorld's sickness through her magical skills. Master Tara reveals Lukas's shocking heritage and Marina's destiny. But will Pandora and Jake prove to be loyal? Or will they again betray those they've sworn to protect?

Can a mermaid and human find love? Can they survive in his world and hers?  Our future is amphibious. Can you shape-shift?

Watch the author present the first chapter of THE DROWNING WORLD at Barnes & Noble in June, 2014 and hear how a mermaid comes ashore for the first time with her land legs only to discover that being a "new girl" is dangerous in any world.
Check out the new ebook on Amazon
on Nook, KOBO, Google Play, and on iBooks. Just out in paperback and independent bookstores through EspressNet!
Here's a YOU TUBE video with back story on the new novel
And a fun, insightful interview on the novel from a British Book Blog, INDIE AUTHOR LAND, during my blog tour:
Lit Reactor: Los Angeles, California literary magazine
Mermaids are the next big thing


Sick of vampires? Been Twilighted beyond sense? Well, it looks like blood suckers are passé for a lot of female readers — they’ve been replaced by, of all things, mermaids!

According a couple of recent articles (and a mockumentary on Animal Planet, no less) we're seeing a new fascination with the legendary maids of the sea, particularly amongst women and YA fiction. Hell, according to an interview with USA Today last year, even Twilight supremo Stephenie Meyer is writing a book about ‘em.

According to Brenda Peterson, author of The Drowning World series, she doesn’t really understand the fascination with all that blood and “why a woman would want her life's blood drained away to spend her eternal life with a dead man”.

Mermaids practice more feminine power than most vampires. Like many female wild animals, mermaids choose their own mates. So mermaids are action heroes in their own rights; they are not just acted upon by dashing male vampires who recreate women in their undead image… Unlike the tragic, self-destructive Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson's classic tale, our 21st century mermaids can live between sea and earth with style and pleasure. And unlike the vampire stories in which death or war are the main themes, mermaid myths focus most on romance and struggling to fit in – or not. For girls and women, adapting to our ever-changing roles and societal expectations, our focus on relationships is like shape-shifting. We are always in moral and romantic dilemmas, such as: How much do we change ourselves to be loved? In a global village, can we love The Other/The Outsider/The Forbidden?

And a quick search for ‘mermaids’ on Amazon brought up thousands of books about the mystical creatures — admittedly, for all ages, although there were hundreds listed in Romance and Teens, so it’s hard to dispute the fact.

So, are mermaids the NEXT BIG THING? I’d bet a lot of traditional publishers think so. We’re more than likely to see a number of new releases in the coming months based on the legends. Wanna bet what the next Twilight series is?


This new YA crossover fantasy series is like The Hunger Games, set underwater in a future of rising seas, floating cities, and Flood Lands. The DROWNING WORLD is a haunting and mesmerizing story of two different people from two very different worlds.

A regal and highly trained young mermaid, Marina, is on her first spy mission to Skyeworld in 2020. She comes ashore on Siesta Key, Florida where she meets feisty Lukas, a proud Cuban refugee. Marina will have to choose between the advanced civilization of Aquantis, where she has been chosen as a High Priestess, and her love for Lukas and his dangerously polluted SkyeWorld.

 Marina's magic and skill save Lukas' life. But can she save her own against a lifelong nemesis from her world?

                                            Praise for The Drowning World

"This underwater world is so believable and vivid and fascinating. It's a page-turner. Irresistible!"

Sy Montgomery, bestselling author The Good, Good Pig

"The merpeople and their resplendent undersea setting are so full and rich. Amazing and haunting, The Drowning World exceeds the grasp of The Golden Compass in its themes and imaginative reach. A wonderful novel."

—Marion Copeland, book critic Nature in Legend and Story

"The Drowning World is a rollicking good tale of shape-shifting, time travel, mermaids, sound tattoos, the secret world of Aquantis, and other dreams of Peterson's glorious imagination—all set against the backdrop of powerful forces—the fate of the seas, human turmoil, young love, and what everyone feels at some point in their life: The sense of being an alien in an alien land. Its pull is oceanic—it quickly lures you deep beneath its waves while time evaporates."

Diane Ackerman, The Zookeeper's Wife

The author reads from the opening chapter of The Drowning World this summer at Barnes & Noble Books:

Delighted at this recommendation from Hannah Fraser, a real-life professional mermaid, film star, and ocean activist on her FaceBook page June, 20014. Hannah's photo graces my non-ficiton book Mermaids Rising.


Listen to a podcast of the author reading the opening chapter:

Interview with Brenda Peterson on The Drowning World

Here's the first feature interview on The Drowning World by Carolyn Turgeon, whose own book,Mermaid, is a bestselling novel and soon a film from Sony Pictures. 

So Brenda Peterson is a very accomplished and fancy National Geographic (and otherwise) writer who’s written 17 books, most of them having to do with the natural and usually aquatic world and even with cool oceanic characters like the gray whale and the dolphin and, more recently, the glamorous, shimmering mermaid. In fact Brenda has a spanking-new mermaid novel called The Drowning World, which comes out this month and also has one day left of a Kickstarter campaign, the supporting of which will get you perks like a signed book, a character named after you (in the sequel), or even a manuscript critique for all you aspiring mermaid authors. Here’s a preview of the first two chapters. Brenda also attended MerPalooza and wrote about it for The Huffington Post, generously advising regular humans everywhere on how to attain mermaidly allure.

Below, I talk to Brenda about The Drowning World, sea creatures in need, and fancy author things generally.

What made you decide to write about mermaids?
My fourth novel, the environmental thriller Animal Heart, was reviewed by a book critic from Library Journal who wrote, “one can hardly imagine a more heartfelt work or a more unusual love story than this one.” Hmmmm, I thought, “unusual love story.”

What would be more unusual than two people from an underwater cosmos and our world trying to find love together? Mermaid and human. Every taboo or prejudice that we experience in inter-racial or interfaith love would be magnified. My own decades studying dolphins had left me feeling half-human, so why not explore this hybrid or mixed relationships in a love story? The Drowning Worldis set both in Aquantis, an underwater advanced civilization of merpeople, and in a future Florida, called SkyeWorld, circa 2020 and 2030. Marina, a highly trained mermaid, is on her first spy mission to SkyeWorld. On the beach she meets Lukas, a proud Cuban refugee who is helping his father rescue sea turtle eggs from an oil spill. Marina saves Lukas’s life with her magical skills, but can she save herself from a life-long nemesis from her own world?

So can you tell us a little about yourself and your books? What draws you to the oceans?


I’ve published 17 books—novels, memoirs, essays—and almost all of them have something to do with our blue planet’s underwater realms. In fact, I’ve drowned twice. Those near-death experiences left me with a profound devotion to our seas. “Maybe fathoms deep in the sea is where all the old and the new souls are dreaming and changing and being born again,” I conclude my 1990 essay “On Drowning” from Living by Water.

As a National Geographic author, I’ve also spent two decades underwater studying whales and dolphins. Cetaceans are my inspiration for The Drowning World because my merpeople are really half-dolphin and half-human. So there is a real animal nature and intelligence to my amphibious hybrids, called Aquantans. They are Shape Shifters and Go Betweens in many worlds. I’ve been working on building my underwater cosmos in The Drowning World since 2003. In fact, my address since email was first invented was always “Mermaid Ink.” Imagine my surprise and delight when suddenly all these mermaid books surface, just as I finally finish my own novel!

Can you talk about Seal Sitters and any other marine-related activism you’re involved in?
It’s never been enough for me to just be an artist. My five years in the editorial department of The New Yorker magazine when I was in my twenties taught me that “art for art’s” sake was not my path. I am grateful for the literary apprenticeship to writing from those New York years; but I knew I wanted to connect my work to the natural world. So I returned to my native West Coast and have lived in Seattle since 1981. My first memoir, Build Me an Ark: A Life with Animals, was my way of engaging with other animals as an activist-writer. So all of my journalism and non-fiction is always in service to something greater than art. I’ve lived on water for so long that the tides, birds, marine mammals, all seem a part of my own body.

My co-founding of the grassroots volunteer Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network began as just a few neighbors sitting on our backyard beach keeping watch over the seal pups while their mothers fished far out in the Salish Sea. Call it day care for Seal Pups. My first children’s book, Leopard and Silkie: One Boy’s Quest to Save the Seal Pups, is just out from Henry Holt for Young Readers. [Here’s a link to an ABC News interview on Seal Sitters.]

You recently attended MerPalooza and wrote about it for the Huffington Post. What did you think? What kind of reaction have you gotten?
My brother lives in Tampa where this summer’s MerPalooza was held. So I had a perfect excuse to attend. When I told my literary agent, Sarah Jane Freymann, about the mermaid convention Sarah Jane said, “I’m there!” I call her my WaveMate because we travel on book tours together and always take time out to swim in the nearest ocean together. When my brother, and Sarah Jane and I attended Merpalooza we were amazed at the professional mermaids. Those elegant tail flukes and the commitment to marine conservation won me over. MyHuffington Post article focused on Mermaid Enakai, a young mermaid who is devoted to shark conservation and also beautiful mermaid design. I also was very moved by Stephanie’s story of her grandmother, who ran away from home in the 1940s to become a real mermaid in the Weeki Wachee roadside shows.

Brenda encountering a mermaid at MerPalooza

Why do you think mermaids are so appealing to us, anyway?
Mermaids swim through all of our myths and folklore. Like you, Carolyn, I much prefer the powerful, sexy, soulful, and darkly complex mermaids that authors are creating for the 21st century. The psychologist C. G. Jung always asked, “Why this dream now?” So I wonder: Why this mermaid trend now?

Is it because we intuit that we are all bound for a MerWorld as seas rise and coastlines sink? Is mermaiding a way of adapting, first in our imaginations, before we finally face the facts of climate change? Maybe it’s simply time for women to make and reclaim their own mythology. We no longer believe the prince will save us or give us a soul. We realize that, like Venus rising from the sea, women must find our own destiny—even if it means running away from home.

Can you talk about The Drowning World, your campaign, and how people can join in/order the book?
I turned down a publisher’s offer for The Drowning World because I wanted complete artistic control—from cover design to choosing my own professional editors, some of whom worked with me on other traditionally published books. It’s a ton of editorial work but also an exhilarating experience to produce an indie book. I’m so grateful to my many Kickstarter bakers who are part of my Publishing Pod.~


By Judith Rosen |



Publisher's WeeklyMar 10, 2013


Brenda Peterson is one of the growing number of authors who are working on

self-published projects in addition to writing books released by traditional houses.



Peterson has written 17 books that were published the traditional way. Her latest,

The Drowning World—a science fiction/fantasy tale about a mermaid who is half

dolphin and half human—was accepted by a publisher, but Peterson turned

down the offer to release the book through her own Delphinius Publishing



“I was thrilled,” she said of learning that her manuscript was accepted, “but it was

going to come out in spring 2014. It was July 2012, and I wanted to be part of the

conversation on mermaids.” Interest was shifting from vampires to mermaids at

the time, and Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer announced in an interview

in USA Today that she is working on a book featuring the latter. “When I started

this book [10 years ago], mermaids were not on the horizon,” Peterson noted.

She also wanted to keep her book—about a young mermaid who comes ashore

in Florida and is forced to choose between the advanced culture of Aquantis and

a Cuban refugee and his polluted Skyworld—from being categorized as YA. She

sees it more as new adult, written for adults but with teen appeal.


By self-publishing, Peterson—who has been edited by Judith Jones at Knopf and

Jill Bialosky at Norton, among others—was able to make e-book and paperback

editions of The Drowning World available on Amazon and at other online retailers by

mid-November 2012. She recently posted the file to EspressNet so that

independent booksellers with Espresso Book Machines can carry the novel in

their stores. The e-book edition is also available for iBook, Nook, and Kobo.


For Peterson, going the self-publishing route hasn’t meant going it alone. “I

carried traditional people with me,” she said, referring to her “publishing pod” of

proofreaders, editors, and designers. Peterson called the move “the most

exhilarating and daunting process. I had complete control with experts. I love this

book. It really came from my artistic vision.” Betty Watson, who designed

Peterson’s Animal Heart cover, also did the cover for The Drowning World, for

example. Others from the traditional publishing world contributed in different

ways. Da Capo editor Merloyd Lawrence, who edited Peterson’s I Want to Be

Left Behind, was one of more than 60 people who donated to her Kickstarter

campaign, which was launched last August to raise $5,000 to cover printing.


“It was her idea to self-publish, and given her energy and passion for the subject,

and growing fans, [Brenda] may well be right,” said Lawrence. “I’ll be following

Brenda’s exploits with The Drowning World and expect to learn from them.”


Another “podmate” whom Peterson singles out is film agent Mary Alice Kier of

CineLit. Five years ago she persuaded Peterson to protect the cosmos she

created in The Drowning World by trademarking the technology described in the

book. Kier has already gotten what Peterson describes as “real” interest in a film.

The sequel, part of an Aquantis trilogy, will likely be included in a film package,

and Peterson has written 80 “polished” pages for it with current plans to self-publish

that title as well. Readers have been wanting to spend more time in the

world beneath the waves that Peterson has imagined. “This underwater world is

so believable and vivid and fascinating. It’s a page-turner,” said author Sy

Montgomery (The Good, Good Pig).


As for sales, Peterson said that she’s received three royalty checks from Amazon

and would welcome the opportunity to read in independent bookstores now that

the book can be printed on demand. She also promotes it through her writing in

places like Huffington Post, which includes a story on military sonar that led to a

radio interview aired in 28 cities. Peterson has no regrets about her decision to

publish independently. “Indie publications really go hand in hand with traditional

publishing,” she said. “They’re not either/or. I can do both.”

 Reviews and Interviews:

And to read Peterson's article on the second national Mermaid Convention, Merpalooza, held in August, 2012, "How to Become a Real Mermaid," here's the link:

The author will give away 10 free copies of the e-book to readers who write me at:
The Drowning World
Watch this dolphin video and be amazed—and transported to the undersea cosmos from which we all evolved.

 More wonderful whale and dolphin video, some of the best I've ever seen! Enjoy.