Contemporary Fiction Author, Infrequent Blogger & Retired Clown

The Pink Mermaid Motel

The Pink Mermaid Motel

Believe it or not, Killer Shine is almost DONE.

I’ve got FIVE chapters to go and I’m planning to barrel through those this weekend so I can wrap things up at about 80,000 words total.


I cannot WAIT to share this story, these characters, and this colorful setting of Crab Island, Florida, with you guys!!

(Sidenote: If you’re interested in being an early reader, I’m looking for beta readers right now — shoot me an email if you’re interested.)

It is a really bizarre thing to take an entire world you created in your mind and attempt (often in vain) to use only words to recreate the same images in someone else’s mind.

Especially when you’re trying NOT to go all My Antonia on your readers and spend forty-seven-freaking-pages describing a single grain of sand (yes, I hated that book and no, I won’t apologize for saying so — also, with all due respect to Neil Patrick Harris, the movie was just as bad).

Anyway, at a certain point in my writing process for Killer Shine, I found that I couldn’t quite articulate the perfect description for a central backdrop of the story.

One of the first inspirations I swept into a mental box for this book was that of an old, funky, colorful Florida motel. The idea came to me in part from one of my favorite childhood books (The Pink Motel) and in part from some real life inspiration right here in my home town (The Magic Beach Motel).

From these pieces, I constructed the Dawson family’s unusual residence, The Pink Mermaid Motel.

(Fun fact: It was originally called The Pink Pelican Motel…)

But when I tried to recreate the image in my head with words, I struggled.

It was so vivid and detailed in my head — so colorful it felt like Dorothy stepping out into the Land of Oz for the first time — but my words weren’t coming out as bright.

Desperate as I was, I stepped away from the computer in search of something to get my creative juices flowing again.

That’s when I saw my $4 watercolor set from Michael’s sitting on my desk…

(At this point I absolutely *must* insert a very impassioned caveat that I am NOT by ANY means an artist and prefer word portraits to watercolor portraits for a reason…so don’t hold me to some crazy Bob Ross-ian standards!)

Here it is in all its glory:

I should point out that, in addition to being rudimentary at best, this painting is also wildly inaccurate.

In Killer Shine, The Pink Mermaid Motel has ten rooms — five occupied by the family and five they still rent out to the occasional guest (who dares to stay at such a place).

As you can see in my watercolor, however, there are only five rooms total in this version.

My bad — we’ll just say it was scaled down.

Still, the exercise in painting the image in my head proved quite useful. It gave me a clear layout of the property, made me think about the surrounding landscape, and brought to light a few minor details I didn’t even think about — like, oh I don’t know, what color is the roof?

So now that you’ve seen a (poorly) painted version of The Pink Mermaid Motel, see how closely my word art can match it:

“It took twenty minutes for Tucker to weave back through campus and follow Beach Road clear from one end of Crab Island to the other. The second he swung into The Pink Mermaid Motel parking lot, he felt the inviting pull of the glistening motel pool which was framed on one side by the ten-room, L-shaped building (painted an appropriate shade of magenta) and a long curve of sand dunes on the other. He stepped out of the car and ventured closer, wishing he could take a swim, but happy to settle for a visit with Bear instead.”

If you enjoyed the excerpt, hold onto your seat because the full prologue is coming your way on May 23rd!

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