Tag Archives: fantasy

What If Mermaids Take Over Our Jobs?

If you google “will mermaids take over our jobs” you will, in fact, find a slew of mermaid job opportunities.

I thought it was important you know this. Because Professional Mermaid is a thing.

Mehgan Heaney-Grier trying out a new style of swim fin in the waters of the Florida Keys. (Creative Commons)

Mehgan Heaney-Grier trying out a new style of swim fin in the waters of the Florida Keys. (Creative Commons)

I was recently out to coffee with a friend who had heard about a documentary (later outed as a docufiction) called Mermaids: The Body Found. It aired on both Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel. You can see film clips about mermaid sightings, their evolution, and history here.

Or you can look on YouTube and find the whole thing – but I’m not responsible, related to, or acquainted with whoever put it there.

I think the show’s worth a watch, if you can get past the narrator referring to them as “underwater apes”. That’s as bad as calling a tyrannosaurus rex a “big lizard.”

But this story gets better.

During its US premiere, Mermaids: The Body Found received 1.9 million views, the largest the network had seen in six years.

A vast majority of those viewers missed the teeny tiny, somewhat hidden disclaimer behind this mockumentary, and believed that shit WAS REAL.

As a result, thousands of people started writing letters to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demanding action.

What if the mermaids started eating all our shrimp and caused a food shortage?

What if they were after OUR JOBS? 

mermaids doing various jobs, working at a computer, using a power drill, checking a patient's heartbeat with a stethoscope

Artwork by Heather Hertzel

Okay, timeout.

In what bored, cubicle-trapped mind, would you fear that of all the possible things that could possibly happen, MERMAIDS swarming the workforce, overtaking your career, would be something worth writing an angry letter about?

Like a pack of mermaids are gonna scuba their way inside the nearest factories and corporations and start mass applying for jobs with 401k plans?

Or like, you’ll be in a video store with your family, looking for a movie to watch, when suddenly the clerk shouts out from her tank behind the register that ‘Free Willy’ is her pick of the week and she highly recommends it?

Do you know that only 36% of the population even voted in the last federal election?

We can’t remember to vote for the bi-pedal humans that LEAD us, but we’ve got time to get pissed off about mermaids?!

Wait for it, it continues to get better.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got so many letters that they issued a statement. And in that statement, they said that mermaid migration leading to infiltrated job opportunities was not a concern of theirs as 1) mermaids aren’t real and 2) if it ever DID happen, it’d be a problem for immigration, so please stop writing them letters about mermaids.

This is too rich. I mean, this story is like eating a decadent cheesecake. Or a crab cake. Either way, I want another bite.

While researching mermaids (and finding the definitive proof they exist, but I don’t have time to talk about that today), I also found these gems.

  • Plan your next vacation at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – Home of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids
  • Check out Tears of a Mermaid, the short film starring Hannah Fraser, who works to promote education and conservation of ocean life. She took a unique approach to not just deep dive, but dance, with one of the deadliest ocean predators, the Tiger Shark.
  • Another ocean conservationist and entertainer is Mermaid Melissa. You can even hire her for parties!
  • Watch the trailer for Funny or Die’s latest Sophia Coppola film, The Little Mermaid

What do you think? Are mermaids real?
And will they take over our jobs?


Last but not least, this week is the final #Keanuthon countdown.

We had a great time watching The Matrix last wednesday. Hop on the hashtag #Keanuthon to see all the fun!

This week we’re watching Constantine, one of my favorite Keanu Reeves movies. He plays John Constantine, a man who has “been to hell and back.” He’s on a mission to prove himself. Co-starring another favorite actor of mine, Rachel Weisz, together they team up to solve the mystery of her twin sister’s untimely death.

I hope you join us for one more round! I’m looking forward to it!

Hubby and I are thinking of hosting a scary movie marathon in October.
Interested in joining us for a #ScreamingScreening?

The Redhots and Fabio Bueno: A Wicked(ly) Sens(ible) Review

Admit it!  You were all holding your breath in anticipation of who our mystery writer was going to be for this edition of…

The Redhots!

Marcia Richards and I are back together for more Halloween fun, and we invited debut author Fabio Bueno to join us this month as our first ever Indie Author Interview!

You know the saying “Double, double, toil and trouble…”?  Well, I thought there’s two of us redheads, so let the cauldron bubble by serving you up TWO interviews with our YA paranormal fantasy writer.

Meet Fabio!

Author of Young Adult novels, family man, gamer, “runner,” geek, kindle hugger, coffeeholic, SCBWIer, x-men hopeful, district 3 tribute, hufflepuff, daydreamer.

He’s recently written a book.  A book called Wicked Sense, which just so happened to win 1st place in the YA category of the Sandy Literary Contest!  Here’s the Goodread’s blurb:

Wicked Sense –

Witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil.

Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. Things get complicated when Skye meets a charming new classmate, Drake. Skye’s job becomes even trickier when she clashes with Jane, an intimidating rival witch.

Drake falls for the mysterious Skye, but odd accidents, potion mix-ups, and the occasional brush with death kind of get in the way of romance. Once he discovers Skye is a witch, he goes to war for her, even though his only weapons are a nice set of abs and a sharp sense of humor.

Fighting off wicked Jane and the other dark forces hell-bent on seizing the Singularity’s immense power, Skye and Drake will risk everything to save the covens.

Going on a date has never been harder.


I promised double the fun, and Fabio…he really didn’t stand a chance against Marcia and I!  He agreed to be interviewed by BOTH of us!  So the first half is here, and it continues over at Marcia’s place!


1. The main character in Wicked Sense is a witch with the gift of True Sight. Do you believe in the paranormal – ghosts, spirits, auras, mediums?

I believe in some of it. Spirits, auras, and mediums seem plausible. I want to believe that people (and animals) have a certain connection with one another and with nature. A line in Wicked Sense paraphrases one of Arthur C. Clarke laws: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Similarly, maybe some aspects of what we call “paranormal” are actually biochemical and physical properties we don’t understand yet. I expect that someday scientists will find evidence of the paranormal.

2. I loved the inner monologues of teens, Drake and Skye. How was it writing both a male’s and female’s perceptions of High School? And dating?

I loved it! It was like writing two books at once. I could play with how they perceive events and interpret things differently. I wanted to show a little bit of male thinking too, which is not explored in Paranormal Romances very often. This setup allowed me to inject some humor, uncertainty, and angst—all integral parts of high-school life and the dating scene 🙂

3. Were you always a reader/writer? What was your favorite book as a teen?

YA wasn’t as prevalent when I was a teen (I’m not that young), so I usually read adult fiction. I had an eclectic taste, reading Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, Mark Twain, and Jules Verne. Books that made a mark on me as a teen include “Rebecca,” “Catch-22,” “The Little Prince,” “Stranger in a Strange Land,” and “Robinson Crusoe.” And I used to read a lot of mythology and “history of inventions” books.

4. You’re a regular face on social media, getting to know and support other writers. What has the writing community meant to you?

Writing a book is exhilarating, and publishing it is very rewarding. But connecting with so many wonderful people, online and in person, is the best part. I am usually a shy person, but I feel completely at ease with my writer friends. And the support, wow. Writers are genuinely invested the happiness of one another. We hurt when a writer friend faces a setback, and we rejoice when a colleague breaks through. We share and try to help with each other. I’ve learned so much, and I hope I’ve been giving back too. I’ve worked in the academia and in the corporate world, and the difference between them and the writing community is striking.

5. In your bio, you describe yourself as a District 3 Tribute, a Hufflepuff, an X-Men hopeful! I love it! What’s your favorite pop culture craze right now?

I get news and trends online. Among my favorites are the hilarious George Takei Facebook page and the tweet #hashtag chains where everybody contributes a funny tweet to a very specific topic, like #pickuplinesforwriters, #IYKWIM, #replacesongtitlewithcake and so on. I waste a lot of time on Tumblr (meme central) and Pinterest. I’ve been visiting YouTube more than I should too. The clips from the record-breaking skydiver who jumped off a balloon fascinate me (one is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkIiPtj7Awo ). And I must confess that I’ve been watching parodies of Psy’s “Gangnam Style”(oh, the shame). Check out this dancing robot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmeJvkN4ntI

6. And in the spirit of Halloween, what’s your favorite memory of this holiday? And share your best costume!

Now that I have kids, my best memories are from when I took them to their first trick-or-treating, of course!

I don’t always wear a costume, but a couple of years ago, I decided to go as (geek alert!) … Rorscharch from Watchmen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rorschach_(comics)) . How did I fare? See for yourself: here’s the original action figure, and the costumed me. I didn’t have a leather trench coat, though…

Rorschach, the action figure…

Rorschach, the Fabio!

Thanks, Fabio!  I love the costume!  And Readers, you can get more Wicked Sense and more Fabio at Marcia’s blog:  Wicked Sense is Wickedly Bueno!

You can also find more Fabio here:


Now, want to learn how you could win one of 6 awesome chances for a copy of Fabio’s book, Wicked Sense?  I thought so! 

We’re kicking off Halloween with a fun photo contest!  You could be a winner of one of 6 prizes!

What you need to know to enter:

1. There are three categories you can enter one time each:

  • Costume – your best ever, be it scary, cute or funny
  • Outdoor decorations – your scariest or most creative
  • Party room decor – you can include your Halloween tablescape, your unique pumpkin carving, and your room decorations

2. Post your pictures, up to 3 only, at our Twitter hashtag: #TheRedHots or on our Facebook pages between October 19th and October 30th. The winners will be announced on Halloween!

3. For extra chances to win, you can choose to do the following:

  • “Like” Marcia’s and my Facebook pages
  • Tweet about the contest three times between the 19th and the 30th linking to our posts
  • Subscribe to our blogs

The prizes:

  • Grand prize will be an autographed print book by our indie author plus a Halloween Goody Bag.
  • 5 bonus prizes of a Kindlegraphed ebook from the author

Good luck!

The Redhots.  Two Redheads.  Two Opinions.  Keeping it sizzling HOT!

My Dream Team of Female Superheros

When I was a little girl, I used to watch a lot of cartoons.  There were favorites that I NEVER missed.  And from that selection, I created and drew pictures of my Dream Team of Female Superheros.  Sort of a Fantasy Football thing, but with cartoon action figures.  I picked out all my favorites and put them in my own crime fighting, sass-mouthing team.  Believe me, this was the sole occupation of my thoughts on many a car trip.   And since it’s Guilty Pleasure Friday, I felt comfortable sharing my team with you.  Here are my favorite female superheros!

     Rogue:  If I could pick one superhero to become, I’d always pick Rogue.  Rogue in the cartoon X-Men was so much more awesome than the one in the X-Men movie.  Rogue’s story is a bit of a tearjerker, but she always comes out fighting, and that’s why I love her.  Her real name is most often unreferenced and unknown, but I hear it’s Anna Marie.  Rogue was born a mutant in Mississippi, with powers that caused her to unintentionally drain strength, memories, and supernatural powers from anyone she touches.  Yikes!  She ran away as a teenager and cursed her mutant talents.  She originally joined the Marvel comic book collection as part of the villain’s team.  After running away, she was taken in by one of the coolest female super-villains around, Mystique (who can shape shift into anyone she wants to).  Eventually, Rogue seeks counsel at Professor Xavier’s and joins up with the X-Men, fighting for equal rights between mutants and humans.  Her southern belle charm, colossal strength, and ability to fly make her my all-time fave.  Ok, it could have a little something to do with her red hair.

StormI loved X-Men so much my dream team has two of its superwomen.  Storm got her mutant name due to her ability to control the weather, and she is lethal with that power when pressed.  Her original name, Ororo Munroe, blends her heritage of a Kenyan priestess and sorceress mother and American photojournalist father.  She is one of the most featured X-Men of time, appearing in all versions of the series.  It must be the writer in me that needed Storm in my group because she was known for her dramatic and rich speeches while she fought evil.  😉

Ah yes, this was the theme song that played in my house everyday after school in 2nd grade.

     Invisible WomanSusan “Sue” Storm Richards became known as the Invisible Woman after being exposed to cosmic radiation during a test flight in space.  She, with her shipmates, love interest Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Ben Grimm (the Thing), and her brother, Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) all gain superpowers.  They inevitably become a crime-fighting team called Fantastic Four.  I want Sue on my team because of her at-will stealth abilities.  Becoming invisible will be handy when I plot to take over the world.  Muahahaha!

Dot MatrixI bet you haven’t heard of Dot.  She was on an early morning cartoon show called Reboot, which originated in Vancouver, Canada.  Wikipedia tells me it was the first half hour completely computer-animated TV show.  All the characters’ names played off of technology.  Right down to the villains, Megabyte and his wicked sister Hexadecimal!

Hexadecimal. See, look how creepy she is!

Hexadecimal scared the bejeezus out of me!  The show ReBoot was kind of like my generation’s version of Tron, but entirely CG-animated.  The main character was Bob, a guardian who had to protect gamers from viruses, like Hexadecimal.  Dot didn’t actually have superpowers; she ran a local diner, but she was a smart businesswoman, made sound decisions, and wasn’t afraid to help.  I wanted her on my team.

Here’s a pretty funny clip I found from ReBoot (which is hard to find now!)  It’s Bob, Dot, and Dot’s brother Enzo trying to figure out how to turn off the TV chip, Mike.  I think he’s on to something with his gift idea here.  Christmas is coming, you decide.

     Sailor MoonThis is one anime show that did suck me in.  I was babysitting all summer and the kids watched Pokemon.  I preferred Sailor Moon.  I was forced to create games around both shows.  Sailor Moon is the story of Serena Tsukino, a girl who hates waking up in the mornings and has many a catastrophe during her day, but she can transform into Sailor Moon, the “Soldier of Love and Justice.”  Aren’t you charmed yet?  Though she’s rather a crybaby at the start, through Sailor Moon, Serena gains confidence and finds the other soldiers known as the Sailor Senshi.  Together they will rescue the princess of their solar system and maintain world peace!  The cool thing about Sailor Moon *stop rolling your eyes at me, I see you!* is that this is the story of a girl who finds her own.  At the start, she is naive, whiny, and always getting into trouble and having to be rescued by her love-interest, Tuxedo Mask-which for the record is the dumbest superhero name I’ve ever heard!  By the end, she learns that she herself is the princess, Princess Serenity, and she is more powerful than she ever imagined.  All it took was a cat named Luna as her mentor, her destined true love *sigh, stupid name* Tuxedo Mask, and a camaraderie of true friends.

And check out her catchy theme song!

What say you?  Did I choose my Female Superhero team wisely?  Who would you have picked?  Who would you want to be?  Do tell!

The Growing Trend of Sci-Fi

Is it just me or are you noticing science fiction stuff is popping up all over now?  I know it’s been around forever, but lately it seems the genre is creeping into extraordinary spaces.

When I was growing up I’d probably say my favorite books were mystery novels, a genetic preference given to me my mother, I think I came out at birth reading Nancy Drew.  But I went through a sci-fi phase where all I read were books by Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, and Christopher Pike.  Do you remember those authors?  My favorite titles respectively were The Sirens of Titan, 1984, and The Midnight Club.  Most of you are probably familiar with Vonnegut and Orwell, but if you’ve never heard of Pike, you might be fascinated with his story.  Pike was a college dropout turned house painter who failed at his attempts to write adult mystery novels.  An editor suggested he try teen thrillers, low and behold, the man has over 5 series and at least 30 titles to his pen name (real name is Kevin McFadden, Christopher Pike is rumored to be a nod to a Star Trek reference).  Pike adds a lot of science fiction to his tales.  I remember one story I read resulted in the people actually being lizards in their true form!

A Tamagotchi Pet

Remember when The Sims came out?  The Sims was a computer game that let you create people, place them in houses and manage their moods and well beings.  The trend went viral!  Expansion packs came out every year with Sim City, and The Sims Date Night, Sims Roller Coaster World, you name it.  I had a few of the games.  On a completely random obsessive note, I ALWAYS had a character named Kilgore Trout in the house, just my friendly nod to Vonnegut’s reuse of characters always making cameo appearances in his books.  Well, if you think about how popular The Sims was, you can see the same ideas with the Tamagachi pets and now with Wii games.  Tamagachis were handheld digital pets you had to feed and clean up after.  If they got unhappy, you lost points and your pet could die.  Wii players get to create their people and play in a virtual world doing almost anything with all the games out now, dance marathons, sports, battles, etc.

On top of video games, sci-fi is making more of an appearance in mainstream television.  Shows like Being Human put vampires, werewolves, and ghosts in people’s houses regularly.  And have any of you watched Face Off on the syfy channel?  The show features competitions for make up artists, but the contests are full of bizarre and creepy nods to the macabre elements.  Shows like Paranormal State have also made the career of paranormal research more realistic.  They document investigations around the country and several of their team members are still getting their college degrees in fields like technical support and camera work.  I find it really fascinating that ghost hunting as a career is becoming more mainstream through shows like this and TAPS.  I admit I watch both of them.  I once attended an Unexplained Conference in Rochester, Minnesota that hosted an array of ghost hunters, ghost tracking equipment and literature.  I don’t think that’s normal activity, but apparently it’s common enough we can hold conferences!

TV aside, we can’t ignore the literature wave of vampire books and paranormal literature that has spread across readership.  All ages are buying copies of the Twilight series, Vampire Diaries, heck Jane Austen has gone sci-fi!  I even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

There are movies galore making sci-fi popular too.  We could argue Harry Potter is more fantasy, but when people dress up and attend things like Harry Potter Summer Camp, we’ve entered the world of sci-fi, my friends.  How is dressing up as a magical wizard or witch any different than dressing up as a Star Wars character?  What about the wave of 3D movies: Avatar, Harry Potter, Twilight, Transformers?  We are heightening these varying worlds around us.

Is it the age of the geek, or have we found a niche for science fiction in today’s day and age?  Longtime beloved stories like Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Transformers and Star Trek have made new appearances on screen and encouraged a renewed excitement in the viewing of their original masterpieces.  I know this is happening because my best friend has politely and calmly sat through 10 seasons of Stargate with her boyfriend, and even I was invited over and subjected to a few episodes!  (Don’t get me wrong, I do love the movie!)

What do you think?  Do you see Sci-Fi entering fields it hasn’t before, or were you always a sci-fi nut who was just waiting for the rest of us to catch up?  Has the genre expanded to allow for a larger audience now that it’s not limited to outer space?  What role does that play in its ability to grab a larger audience?  What are some of your favorite sci-fi books, shows, and movies? 

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