PitMad, a Butt-Kicking Cold, and a Plan

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m recovering from a nasty cold that kept me home on the couch yesterday, but don’t worry: hubs made a fantastic spicy dill pickle soup last night that has me feeling much better today (the Nyqil also helped).

Since I was couch-ridden, I spent most of the day watching HGTV and hanging out at #PitMad, pitching and RTing the pitches I enjoyed. A lot of fellow pitchers were excited by StO, but I didn’t get many favorites, and those that I got were small presses. While I think this will end up being a small-press book in the end, I would like to at least try to get an agent first, so I’m keeping them on my radar while I query.

Which isn’t going to happen right away. If there’s one thing I learned from PitMad and PitchWars, it’s that I have to age up Erie’s voice. I mean, I’ve known that from the beginning, but I also knew I could get away with it if anyone was accepting NA Spec-fic. They aren’t. So it’s time to make my little mermaid grow up, while still keeping her naïve enough that Finn doesn’t abuse her. It’s going to be hard. I’m going to ask a few people who critiqued my first Finn chapter (which was last week’s FEF if you missed it) to check out Erie’s first chapter, too.

I also decided I HATE StO in past tense. HATE IT. I couldn’t even get through the whole manuscript, so I went back through the present tense version with my brain that was primed to look for those weak spots I was finding, and edited that instead. I don’t know, maybe an agent or editor will tell me to change it someday, but for now I’m leaving it in first present. If I do end up changing it to past tense, it’ll be changed to third person as well. Which Erie’s half of the book was already in, so… yay?

The baby chickens have grown enough that they’re once again fearless. They may have forgotten the hawk, too, but I think they’re probably big enough that they’d cause some headaches for that hawk if it tried to catch them now. They run all around the yard instead of sticking to the bushes, and have started following Hubs and I around whenever we’re outside. They’re not quite sure about the dogs yet, but since this is our second set of chickens the dogs aren’t as interested in them. Hopefully we’ll get some eggs from them in a couple months (although it’ll be cold by then, so it may be next spring).

My dad’s transplant went well and he’s been resting all week while his body deals with the new bone marrow stem cells. After tomorrow he should start feeling better in exponential bursts, and plans to be out of the hospital by next weekend, so that’s awesome. Thank you for all the healing thoughts, Aledans!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you all next week. Perhaps for Science Tuesday? We’ll see how long it takes me to kick this cold ;)

September is Already Busy

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! The Busy World of Becka hasn’t calmed down at all, but things have definitely changed. I’m in the middle of revising StO from present to past tense, and debating switching it from first person to third (please no). I’m fixing my is/was issue, and finding plenty of weak spots where the present tense was adding urgency, rather than the writing. Once I have the tenses changed, I’ll go back through and fix those weak spots. If I can get that done asap, I’ll be trying #PitMad on the tenth.

You probably know that I didn’t make it into #PitchWars, although all the mentors I submitted to have emailed to tell me how much they liked StO and how hard they worked to find it a mentor. I got some good feedback, like the tense change above, and some that I already knew was a problem (Erie’s young voice, UGH). One mentor mentioned that it’s too close to The Little Mermaid, which I did on purpose, but may have to rethink now. Changing that will change the rest of the series, though, and I love the storyline for Book Three. I’m not quite ready to kill that darling.

And now that I think about it, you guys don’t even really know what SPEAK THE OCEAN is about, do you? Maybe we’ll have us a Fie Eoin Friday tomorrow :) You’ve met Erie before, but you still need to meet Finn.

In chicken news: Fury went to the farm with Max. Stupid freaking roosters. But they’re happily together again and can crow to their heart’s content without waking me or the neighbors. The babies, Ripley and Mononoke (pictured above), are settling in to the daily routine really well, and staying in the bushes so they won’t be caught by the same hawk that got Six. They still aren’t too sure about Hubs, but they like my voice and will come fairly close, especially if I have food. They’re constantly moving, so they’re really hard to get a good photo of.

I swear to god if they turn out to be roosters I’m done with chickens. And eating two very nice chicken dinners.

Finally, today is Day Zero for my dad’s bone marrow stem cell transplant, and he’ll be getting the transplant sometime tonight or tomorrow morning. If you have any extra good thoughts to send his way, we’d appreciate it.

I’ll see you tomorrow for Fie Eoin Friday, Aledans! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and we’ll get back to the normal schedule around here soon.

The Busy World of Becka

Happy Monday, Aledan Merfolk! I’m back from my week-long trip home to see my parents and sister, and wow – so much has happened!

My dad, sister and I at Polish Village Cafe.
My dad, sister and I at Polish Village Cafe.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I submitted StO to #PitchWars and am impatiently awaiting the mentee announcement. Luckily, my time in Michigan kept me from wringing my hands too much last week, but this week I have plenty of time to stalk the mentors hang out on the hashtag. Before the submission window opened, I traded my first chapter with several other hopefuls, and after several years of CPs trying to beat my “is/was” issue into my brain, someone finally made it click. I’m not sure why this one comment made me suddenly understand, but now that I finally do it’s time to go back through StO to fix it. I was also told that publishers don’t like debut novels in present tense, so I’ll be changing the tense to past, which I feel more comfortable writing in anyways (Erie’s half of the book was in past tense in the first draft, but I changed it to present tense to match Finn’s).

That should keep me busy for the next few weeks.

The new shiny idea, which I’m going to call Enfields for now, is sort of shaping up into an actual book. I have a beginning, and an ending, and a general idea of some parts in the middle. I have some really cool creatures, like the enfields, and a little bit of nifty magic. I have an MC with a backstory, a love interest, a few side characters, and a bad guy. Most of all: I have a LOT of research to do. Which is awesome, because I love research. What can I say, I’m a scientist.

So long Max! I hope you enjoy being a ladies man at the farm.
So long Max! I hope you enjoy being a ladies man at the farm.

On the chicken front, a lot has happened. Max the rooster went to a local free-range farm to become a daddy. They lost a bunch of chickens this year, so they need Max to help fertilize eggs and build their numbers back up. Which should have left us with quiet mornings, but Fury decided to start crowing in his place. And, of course, as soon as we didn’t have a rooster to protect the flock, a hawk caught one of the babies :( Fury got Ripley and Mononoke behind the coop and protected them, but Six is no longer with us.

Fury protecting Ripley and Mononoke from the hawk that got Six.
Fury protecting Ripley and Mononoke from the hawk that got Six.

So yeah, lots going on in the world of Becka right now.

I’m still posting sporadically for a while, so I’m not sure when you’ll next hear from me, but I’ll be around Twitter and G+ like usual. Have a good week, Aledans!

The #PitchWars Mentee Bloghop!

Hello #PitchWars peeps! Welcome to Mermaids and Margaritas. I’m Becka, head mermaid and margarita-maker.

I live in Charleston, SC, although I’m originally from Lansing and Grand Rapids, MI (and married a boy from Detroit). Said boy and I have been married for 9.5 years (been together for 15) and have lived in Charleston for eleven. We have two American Staffordshire Terrier mixes (one is part Dachshund. I know: ouch!), three cats (one came with us all the way from Michigan!), and five chickens. Three of those baby chickens arrived in a box barely bigger than a shoebox three days ago, and I’m already in love with them <3

The babies! 6 is checking out Max, Ripley is poofing in the middle, and Mononoke just wants to escape the coop!
The babies! 6 is checking out Mad Max the rooster, Ripley is poofing in the middle, and Mononoke just wants to escape the coop!

This year, I submitted a manuscript called SPEAK THE OCEAN, and you’ve probably guessed that it’s about mermaids. Creepy mermaids. My mermaids can’t grow legs and become human. In fact, they’re one of the apex predators of the sea (sharks can and do kill them, but not often). Just like in the original Hans Christian Andersen story, my mermaids turn into seafoam when they die, which is why it took so long for humans to find them (no bodies). Because of my background in fisheries biology, my fantasy story is very much grounded in science, right down to the feeling of the electroshocker.


In college I was a dumbass and electrocuted myself while trying to collect fish in a river. That shit HURTS. Which is why—if you’re the MC and you feel that—you’re reluctant to use it on anything else, even a fish. Especially a fish that looks pretty damn humanoid. And a fish that’s pretty damn humanoid doesn’t learn to be quiet if it’s not shocked every time it makes a noise.


I think you see where this is going. Actually, you may not, because StO isn’t a romance. It’s more like this:


Once more with feeling. And blood. Lots of blood.

The whole marine biology thing didn’t work out because I enjoy working in a lab with chemicals that change color and things that go BOOM on occasion. I’m now a nuclear chemist—NO I DON’T MAKE BOMBS. I actually protect you from the bombs that are being made. I test water, soil, vegetation, and tissue samples for radioactivity, PCBs, pesticides, and herbicides, to make sure the bad things aren’t getting into the water and food supply. I’m one of the good guys :)

Hops and Bou – two of the best

I’m a Whovian, a Cylon, a level 74 Night Elf Hunter (although it’s been a while), and a My Little Pony fanatic (I no longer collect, but I pre-date the Bronies by about 30 years). I have somehow turned into a backyard farmer.

Fearless Fury staring at the camera, while Max hangs back.
Fearless Fury staring at the camera, while Max hangs back.

But I’ve always been a mermaid.

Told you my mermaids were creepy. This is Erie.
Told you my mermaids were creepy. This is Erie.

Finally, my amazing CP Michael Mammay (who is also participating in PitchWars, but doesn’t have a blog to do a fun post of his own), wrote a testimonial for me:

Hi. My name is Mike, and I’m also entering Pitch Wars. I’ve worked with Becka on writing for the last year, and I’d like to provide this testimonial on her behalf.

She once killed a man with her bare hands. Don’t worry, he was totally a bad guy. He was mean to a puppy or something. And she may or may not have a Pegasus for a pet. I’ve never seen it myself, but South Carolina is a small state, and people talk. Oh, you want to know about writing? She knows like ALL the words. Rumor has it that she wrote the dictionary.

Seriously, she’s great to work with and takes feedback better than anyone I’ve ever met. And you can trust me on that. Because I’m Batman.

It's true!
Actual video of Mike in his pajamas ;)

Mike is an amazing CP, and anyone would be lucky to have him as a mentee. Mostly because he’s willing to keep that secret about what happened to the mean-puppy guy…


You can find the other mentee bios by following this link.

Worldbuilding with K.T. Hanna: The Meteors of Chameleon

Chameleon Releases Today!

CHAMELEON Domino Project Front with Text 2

“Wow! A fast-paced, science fiction delight with fabulous action, a seamless world, and the most unique characters I’ve read in a long time.” Elana Johnson, Author of the Possession Series.

The World of Chameleon

The Meteors

In 2172 meteors struck the earth starting with initial impact in the city of Damascus. By the time the meteors hit earth, they were approximately the size of a small buss – enough to cause significant damage, and topographical changes worldwide. Coastal cities were flooded, and the meteors sent showers of dust into the atmosphere, causing massive ozone failure and billions of deaths.

Those who pulled through had to compensate by not going out in the main heat of the day, because of the slightly caustic nature of the air while the sun was in the sky. They began to develop cities sheltered by domes with intricate filtration systems.

One of the other side effects was the psionic gene. Several years after the meteor showers, psionic abilities started manifesting themselves in recently born children. And after almost a hundred years, when the meteors were safe enough to approach and research – the alien parastitic metal adrium was discovered. Due to a freak accident, they learned that it electricity activated it. Harvesting and experimentation began.

The story is set in 2350s

The Blurb:

When Sai’s newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.

Surviving means proving her continued existence isn’t a mistake–a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.

After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers nothing is what it seems. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.

Available at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound

If you’d like a signed physical copy, Watermark Books has them in stock.


We’re having a blog hop, and an e-card & mega swag Rafflecopter giveaway!

The blog hop stops are noted below. Each day has a different theme and you can find out about the process, the idea, and the evolution of Chameleon, and even a bit about K.T. by visiting each blog, when their posts go live.

4-Aug 5-Aug 6-Aug 7-Aug 10-Aug
Fun facts about the book What I learned writing Chameleon Author Interviews The world of Chameleon The Evolution of Chameleon
Manuel Soto Marlo Berliner Leatrice McKinney Rebecca Enzor Patricia Lynne
J Elizabeth Hill Stacey Trombley Dawn Allen Sharon Johnston Bex Montgomery
E.L. Wicker JC Davis Suzanne van Rooyen Mandy Baxter Madelyn Dyer
Jessie Mullins Andrew Patterson Heather Rebel Jessica Therrien Carissa Taylor
Emma Adams Lady Jai Elyana Noreme Kendra Young

I’m giving away e-cards of your choice from B&N, iTunes, & Amazon – one to the value of $25, and three to the value of $10! Each prize includes a swag pack of a magnet, sticker, bookmark, postcard, and mousepad!

Just follow the options listed on the giveaway and you’ll be entered!full swag pack

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Me Squared

KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.

Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.

When she’s not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgis, and cat. No, she doesn’t sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.

Note: Still searching for her Tardis


July’s Final #WriteMotivation Post…a few days late

Happy Monday, Aledan Merfolk! I haven’t been online as much as usual lately, and I’m afraid that’s going to continue for a while. In fact, I have some bad news: there will be no PonyFest this year. My dad will be in the hospital for his bone marrow transplant during the normal PonyFest time, and I just know I won’t be able to get everything ready during that time. Maybe I’ll do it a little later in the year, but definitely not around my birthday like normal.

I do plan to be querying during that time, and I’m debating PitchWars this week. I think I’ll join, but if I don’t get picked by a mentor I won’t be disappointed like I was with NAMELESS. I think StO is ready. I’m not 100% sure StO is ready, so it’d be nice to have another set of eyes on it, but I know it’s at least close. If I’m not chosen by a mentor, I’ll start querying.

Last time I posted, I was still working on the synopsis and query, and trying to decide what to work on next. I finished the synopsis and query (I still need a couple CPs to finish looking at them, but they were both on vacation last week), and I decided to focus my efforts on researching the new shiny project. It’s going to take a LOT of research. I have some good starting points, though, and a rough idea of the plot, and some excellent backstory for my still-nameless MC.

And if you remember the last update, I posted a photo of the “ladies” Mad Maxina and Imperator Furiosa. One of my writing buddies, Rebekah Loper (who also raises backyard chickens), mentioned that Maxina looked like a rooster, not a hen, and what do you know: she’s right. Mad Maxina is actually Mad Max! He began crowing that weekend, which isn’t great because our neighbors won’t appreciate that. If we wake up before he starts crowing and open the coop he stays quiet, so that’s how we’re dealing with the crowing for now. If he keeps it up, it might be time to make some coq-au-vin (joking! I wouldn’t be able to eat Max).

Fearless Fury staring at the camera, while Max hangs back.
Fearless Fury staring at the camera, while Max hangs back.

I’m going to go ahead and say that until further notice there won’t be a Science Tuesday post, but I DO have a guest poster on Friday! KT Hanna will be here to talk about the world-building for her new book, CHAMELEON. Definitely stop by on Friday for that – there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway!

Have a wonderful week, Aledans!

What To Do Next? (a #WriteMotivation Update)

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I’ve had a bit of time to recover from the end of Draft Four, and I’ve already heard back from a couple of friends that they loved it (the CPs have been curiously quiet…). I’ve been spending the week working on the synopsis and query, and although the synopsis is still very rough and makes the entire book sound stupid, the query is getting itself into shape.

I’ve also been reading a couple CP projects, and reading SABRIEL by Garth Nix. It took me a while to really get into it, but once I got to Touchstone, I’ve been devouring it. I’ll finish it today – probably at lunch. Then I have to decide what to read next.

And what to work on next. I really miss Fie Eoin, and I know fixing NAMELESS wouldn’t be too difficult, but I’ve already gone through a year of rejections on Nameless. Assuming StO goes anywhere, I don’t want the answer to the question “what are you working on next?” to be “something you already rejected.” And I don’t want to work on StO2 in case StO never sells. So I’m left with the option of fixing another already-written book (Phooka Tales, probably, since that would be in line with the paranormal fantasy thing going on in StO), or working on something completely new. I do have a “something completely new” rolling around in my brain, but so far there’s not much story, and the MC doesn’t even have a name yet. So we’ll see. I’m still quite fond of the monsters in PT, but this new story has enfields (a fox/hawk hybrid), and a mute MC, which would be a fun challenge to write since I rely so heavily on dialogue.

In super exciting awesome news: they found a bone marrow donor for my dad, so I’ll be flying home next month to see him when he goes into the hospital for the procedure. Expect my online presence (and especially the blog), to be sporadic for the next couple of months.

This weekend I have two awesome custom ponies for you, so be sure to come back on Sunday to see that. And until next time, I’ll leave you with a photo of my ladies, who are growing fast and almost ready to start laying eggs!

Mad Maxina and Imperator Furiosa, the chickens.
Mad Maxina and Imperator Furiosa, the chickens.