This week, I signed a new contract with Whiskey Creek Press for Surfacing, my contemporary fantasy novel!
Last year, I entered Surfacing in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. One of 10,000 entries received last year, it made the first-round cut. You can read the reviews, and the first 10,000 words, here.
This story weaves many elements dear to my heart. Music, first and foremost. A bit of the fantastic and magical, too. And at the heart of it all, a love story - though not technically a romance. All told from the point of view of AJ Dillon, a down and out wannabe rocker.
Here's the pitch I made to Amazon:
AJ Dillon is trouble. The former lead singer of an indie band has no home, no money and no future. His grandfather is the only relative willing to take another chance on him. AJ arrives in Weeki Wachee, Florida, with his guitar, a few clothes and a bad attitude. The only good thing about Weeki Wachee is the ocean -- the one place AJ feels at home.
Grandpa lines up a job for AJ piloting the Wilderness Cruise at Weeki Wachee Springs, home of the Weeki Wachee mermaid show. A mindless job, but at least AJ gets to watch beautiful women perform underwater. Grandpa says real mermaids exist, and a handsome singer can mesmerize one. AJ dreams of meeting one, but his greedy co-worker Chaz plans to make a fortune by creating a real mermaid show. AJ and Chaz get their chance after Cassiopeia saves AJ from an alligator. AJ falls in love and his passion for music resurfaces when he sings to her. He tries to keep Cassie a secret, but Chaz follows him and learns the truth. Chaz threatens to kill them if AJ doesn't go along with his plan. Reluctantly, AJ agrees. In saving Cassiopeia, AJ unearths long-hidden family secrets that, once brought to light, open possibilities for healing old wounds. In saving Cassiopeia, AJ learns the greatest gift – unconditional love. In saving Cassiopeia, AJ saves himself, too.
This novel, my fourth, layers family conflict onto suspense, danger and romance, and combines my love of music and research. Finding Weeki Wachee Springs provided a natural step to a contemporary fantasy, a genre whose limits are mapped by a writer’s imagination. Surfacing will appeal to teen readers through adult.