Write Like a Mermaid — Guest Shari Randall

By Shari Randall, who is celebrating publication of her new book, Against the Claw.

Jana Leah is the winner of Against the Claw! Watch for an email from Shari!

Shari is giving away a copy of Against the Claw to someone who leaves a comment! Here’s a little about the book:

Welcome back to the seaside village of Mystic Bay, where someone’s been found sleeping with the fishes. . .Ballerina Allie Larkin is still back home, healing up from a broken ankle and lending a hand at her aunt’s Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack. But now that the famed restaurant is branching out into the world of catering, Allie’s help is needed more than ever―even on the lobster boat. The last thing she expects to find once she’s out on the bay, however, is the dead body of a beautiful young woman.

When days pass and not even the police can ID the corpse, Allie takes it upon herself to learn the truth about what happened. Her investigation leads her all the way from the local piers to the secluded estates of Mystic Bay’s posh elite. But how can she crack this case when everyone seems dead-set on keeping their secrets beneath the surface?

“If you can be anything, be a mermaid.” This is one of my favorite sayings.

I named the shack in my Lobster Shack mystery series The Lazy Mermaid because I love mermaids. One of my characters collects “mermaidabilia.” I have an Instagram account where I post mermaid photos on #Mermaid Mondays. It’s fun to see who else has a mermaid obsession.

It’s also fun to see how mermaids can help plot a book.

I was shopping for swag for a Facebook party when I came across this great pen. It’s the Mermazing ™ What Would a Mermaid Do? Predict-a-Pen. It’s a much sparklier version of a Magic Eight Ball, but instead of answering questions it offers advice.

The pen has been helpful as I write. Not only are the predictions good life advice (well, maybe “crash a ship” isn’t a good idea in real life) they’re great suggestions for a writer.

Here’s some writing advice from the Predict-A-Pen:

Pose on a Rock – I translated this into “showcase your character” – let the characters show the reader who they truly are – good and bad, fins and scales.

Make Friends with a Crab – Good advice. Every protagonist needs a friend, a sidekick to share the adventure and watch her back while swimming with sharks.

Brush Hair with a Fork – Okay, I had to give this one some thought. It’s a pretty funny image. Perhaps the magic pen is telling me to add some humor?

Grow Legs – As we all remember from The Little Mermaid, this was a turning point that changed the trajectory of Ariel’s life. For my writing purposes, it means take a chance, do something bold – even if it turns out to have life altering repercussions for my characters. We all like to see characters grow and change, especially if that growth comes from lessons learned by making mistakes and owning up to them.

Fall in Love with a Pirate – A little romance, especially with a dashing partner will add spice to a story.

Crash a Ship – Okay, very bad nautical advice, but great writing advice. Big conflict, disaster, and drama keep readers turning the pages.

Readers: Anyone else love mermaids? Or have a slightly embarrassing obsession?

Shari Randall lives in a mid-century money pit on the Connecticut shore. When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course) she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering at her local library. You can see what’s new with her at https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/.

75 Thoughts

  1. I think my husband is mermaid obsessed one in our family :-). From the minute he sat down with my granddaughter to watch The Little Mermaid he has been in love with Airel!

  2. I live an hour from the ocean, so I’m not a shore walker but I’d love to be! We have a lot of mermaid lovers here and the decor to match. If you are ever down in Delaware, Shari, there’s a great indy bookstore in Rehoboth Beach that hosts many authors signings. Your mermaid theme would fit right in!

  3. I ‘m not obsessed with mermaids, but I do like them. They are fascinating.

    1. For the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve seen them everywhere. I guess decorative themes come and go – I’m glad mermaids are in!

  4. Clever how you interpreted the pen’s advice… or then again, maybe it was meant to be (a means to stimulate your thoughts about your writing and for you to use to sign contracts with — a great series that I’m sure that pen will be called into play again for).

  5. Mermaids and the inhabitants of the ocean make me smile! I have ‘live by the beach/ocean’ on my bucket list! I am mad for anything related to the ocean, as you would notice if you visited my home 🌴
    Thank you for giving away a copy of your new book.

  6. Welcome back, Shari. Predictably, my granddaughter is the mermaid obsessed one in our family. As for me, I loved seeing the statue of the little mermaid the one time I was in Copenhagen.

    1. Hi Barb! My daughter was so hooked on The Little Mermaid when she was little – she inspired the name of the lobster shack in my book.

  7. This sounds so good! I think my mother and I would both enjoy it. We’ve always liked the sea and seafood!

  8. This sounds like great read and I love the title. I guess I’ve never thought much about mermaids. My girls were too old to be into mermaids when Disney brought out his Little Mermaid movie.

    1. Thank you, Dianne! Funny how hooked my daughter got on that movie. Disney movies are so good!

  9. Just finished the book and really enjoyed it. My granddaughter (4) isn’t into mermaids – just unicorns!


    I share your fascination with mermaids – but as an avid scuba diver, I may be one step removed. My favorite bit of mermaidabelia is an incense burner in the shape of, what else, a mermaid. The insense cone goes into her back and the smoke comes from her ears, which are pointed – not a normal mermaid trait, but it gives her a delightful elfen look.

    1. Kait, you are a real life mermaid! Your mermaid burner sounds so cool 😀

  11. Our family has a personal mermaid friend named Gem. She has a beautiful tail and a lovely smile that makes all feel happy. Gem enjoys talking to children and sharing a shell with them. Unfortunately Gem was captured by Pirates from the local Medieval Faire and is in a pond there. We are hoping they will release her soon but we’ve heard rumor they are going to load her on their ship and take her Michigan. Weare hoping she will somehow be able to escape and return to her beautiful sea.

  12. I do like mermaids. I live in a beach town , maybe thats why. I find myself drawn to them More and more. Loved The Little Mermaid.

    1. I moved to a beach town a few years ago and I feel the same way. I see mermaids every day!

  13. What a cute post, Shari!! And helpful to us writers, too. I need to up my writing implement game, bc none of them are giving me any advice. Congrats on Against the Claw!

  14. Sounds like that pen gives some truly great advice! Who would have thought?

    (Just got this book a couple of days ago, so no need to enter me in the drawing.)

    1. Hi Mark! Thank you! If I ever do another series I’ll have to find another pen….

  15. Love your post about the pen. Mermaids have fascinated us for centuries. Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. My granddaughters love “playing mermaids” in the pool! I guess that I haven’t come into contact with that much media about mermaids. I did watch a wonderful movie, once, called “The Secret of Roan Inish,” about selkies, which are somewhat similar to mermaids. Your book looks great, by the way!

    1. Hi Becky! My girls loved playing mermaid too – that was the inspiration for the name of the of the shack in my book.

  17. Look I g forward to reading this book. I love seaside stories and sea food.

  18. I,too, seem to take off the wall advice that others think as funny or something to read and them go on and see ways to use it or apply it to myself. Personally, I just call it looking at the world in color instead of black and white. 🙂

    While I may not be a mermaid collector, I do wholeheartedly understand. Mine started back in the late 1980’s and it has to do with clowns – well really only one clown. When our daughter died instantly at the age of 17, I found myself grasping for something to hang on to. Hubby and I started traveling and exploring antique stores. it was during one of those trips that I saw an Emmett Kelly Jr doll like I use to own when I was a kid. To make a very long story only long, I can sum it to say that in a required junior high art class and being one with no talent whatsoever that my art teacher ended up with my Emmett Kelly Jr clown doll and I made an A in class. As an adult knowing how wrong that was and triggered by seeing the doll, it became our goal to find me a doll like the one I had given away.

    During that search, I again to love clowns even more and ended up not only meeting but becoming very good friends with Emmett Kelly Jr. himself. After traveling to see him through the years and with the introduction of new products, my clown collection grew and grew. Then when he told hubby and I we were on the wrong side of the grease paint and we both did clown schooling and actually wore the red nose, the collection got bigger and bigger.

    Between the combination of Emmett dying, us getting older and it becoming too much work to clown and then moving a little over a year ago and greatly downsizing, that we got control of the clown situation. We still have clowns and love our memories, but we parted with a great part of our collection giving them new homes to others who will love and treasure them just as we did.

    Like we did, just keep collecting as long as it makes you happy and puts a smile on your face. You will know when it’s time to stop. Well, I don’t think we ever stop but we start to thing of it as things and stuff to dust more than the object we were attracted to in the first place. There’s always a new piece – be it new or old – that will speak to us and we just NEED to have it in our “collection”. 🙂
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Kay, thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Your experience and journey are so moving – it’s heartwarming that you and your husband d embraced your new road together.

  19. Loving Curses, Boiled Again! I think the mermaid theme is so cute. My hubs and I are both water signs and need to be near the sea. We’re in the process of making that happen soon. Can’t wait to live closer to the ocean!

  20. Now I can’t get that song “Under the Sea” out of my head and I’m totally craving lobster. Loved the 1st book. Can’t wait to read the 2nd.

  21. Shari, I adore your interpretations of the advice! Don’t enter me in the contest, just wanted to say I loved the post and congratulations!

    1. Hi Jana, I’m planning a giveaway on my author page soon! I’d love it to go to another mermaid lover.🧜🏻‍♀️

  22. What a fun post! I don’t know much about mermaids, but I think there was a popular TV series (for teens) about them. I think it was called H2O. Have you seen it? I’m so excited about your series. Congratulations on your success!

  23. I think Mermaids are fascinating, They are so mysterious and beautiful. “Against the Claw” sounds like a great read. Love reading about the coast and the ocean.

  24. I love the way you interpret the mermaid advice! So appropriate! We should all comb our hair with a fork to keep looking good! I’m not a big mermaid fan, but Tucson has an event…The Return of the Mermaids. I think it might be sometime this month. I’m not sure what the celebration includes…but I’m sure the mer-folks will have a fabulous weekend! Congratulations on the new book!

  25. I love stories of mermaids whether in books or on the screen. Except bad stories; I don’t do horror! I would love to read Against the Claw!

  26. First of all, I want to congratulate you on your release. I will be ordering soon and reading immediately but winning a copy signed by you would be fabulous. As to mermaids, my two granddaughters both love mermaid things. The 7 year old has the blankets and sheets and they both have a blanket that is closed at the bottom and looks like the mermaid tail. I wouldn’t be a good person to use that kind of blanket as those are for people who don’t have to jump out of bed and rush to the bathroom like I do!! 😁
    Best of everything with your series. I was born and brought up in CT until I was in college in MA then until almost 20 when we got married. And my favorite top three foods are Lobster, Prime rib and Lobster again.!!! 😄
    Thank you for the chance to receive your special book.!!!


    1. Hi Cynthia! I hope you and your granddaughter are doing well! Nice to see you here🧜🏻‍♀️

  27. Wishing I’d gotten to this sooner so I’d be in the running for the book. Back to the 11,125 emails…

  28. I truly enjoyed the first book in this series and look forward to reading this next one.

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