Book Review: A Mer-Tale by Jan M. Goldie

I should begin this review by saying that as Managing Director of IFWG Publishing Australia, I have published Jan M. Goldie (Brave's Journey – young teen fantasy), but I was not compelled in any way to review this book. I was simply handed it for my personal enjoyment. Which I did.

A Mer-Tale is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy novella, skirting closely science fiction. It primarily tells the tale through the POV of Thala, a young mermaid from an ancient mer-family, facing many personal and collective challenges, including the extinction of her race at the hands of an aquatic, alien race. I'll leave most of the spoilers now – it is worth a read.

I enjoyed A Mer-Tale and am impressed with strong world-building and character development in a relatively short work. At the same time, I feel that the story could have been longer, and there are a few places that are hurried – being a young adult story (as opposed to a young teen tale – middle grade), I think the audience would have appreciated delving a little deeper into the world, the cultures depicted, and most importantly, the characters and their interrelationships. Having said this, this is not a deal breaker – as I have already stated, Goldie has achieved much in a small space, which is no mean feat.

Thala's character is the most developed, which isn't surprising as it is her POV that dominates the story and given its first-person mode, allows the reader to easily slide into her thoughts. She is, above all else, and even beyond her prodigious burgeoning powers, a girl of determination and courage. This is, in my view, the theme that runs through the novella – the power of love and determination. Interestingly, there is a somewhat parallel thread running through the secondary narrative – that of Shiv, the uber-evolved alien (and which I think may have needed more expansion).

An outstanding dimension of Goldie's work is her scene-setting, bolstered by her strong imagination. Mermaid and Selkie tales abound in genre literature and Goldie has been able to knit such a tale with a fresh spin, most notably the concept of an alien/Earth conflict, with almost insurmountable differences, occurring beneath the ocean waves, and with humanity oblivious to it. On the surface this plot-line could appear ridiculous, far from the reach of suspended disbelief, but not in this particular case. It is strong and believable world-building.

I would recommend this one-night read to any lover of mermaid tales or imaginative young adult fiction. Four out of five stars.
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News: ‘Snatching the Lute’ published in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Vol VII, III (July 2015)

Pleased to see a home for my heroic fantasy piece, ‘Snatching the Lute’ published. It features the minstrel Leon of Clavellmeadow, a character I created in my Evyntyde universe, and where he discovers he isn’t the lady killer he thought he was.

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Market News: Snatching the Lute, short story, accepted by Bards and Sages Quarterly

Very pleased to see my odd fantasy piece, 'Snatching The Lute', accepted by Bards and Sages Quarterly. This story is set in my Evyntyde universe, and it is always a pleasure to add stories into the marketplace from that milieu – the 10th in fact. It will be published in June 2015.
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Market News: short story, ‘Husks’, accepted by Sword and Sorcery Magazine

While I write a lot of horror/dark fantasy, and my greatest success seems to be in the science fiction field, I still get a kick out of epic/high/heroic fantasy. I've sold a few, but not as many as I would like. Today I sold 'Husks', an Evyntyde story, featuring Myleana, newly appointed second-in-charge to the King's Astrologer, Grisbier. She is powerful, insightful, resourceful, but she has a fatal weakness. This story determines whether she overcomes it, or succumbs.

I believe the story will be published in only a matter of days.
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Market News: Enryk’s Trouble published in Frost Fire Worlds Issue 3

Pleased to have my fantasy story, Enryk's Trouble, published in the February issue of Frost Fire Worlds. This is another Evyntyde story, set during the older Waymoorian years. It makes a statement about gender roles. Also nice to have my name on the cover. If you want to purchase it, go to the publisher's web site.

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Market News: Young Adult fantasy story, Enryk’s Strife, accepted for Frost Fire Worlds.

It seems Frost Fire Worlds like me, as this is my second sale to them. My fantasy piece, and Evyntyde story called 'Enryk's Strife' (harkening back to the Cockney Rhyme, 'trouble and strife', will be published in the February 2014 edition. While a classic heroic fantasy piece on the surface, it has to say something about gender roles.
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Market News: The Wooden Tomb in Frost Fire Worlds 2

This took me by surprise. I knew my story was due to be published in November, but on a whim I double checked the site, and lo and behold! my story, The Wooden Tomb, is in Frost Fire World issue 2. Very pleased to have published this, as it is a little different – coming of age in an African village, a little bit of horror, and lot of fantasy. It's nice to have found a home for this story dear to my heart.

Frost Fire Worlds Issue 2 Cover
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Review of Guardian of the Sky Realms by Bram Stoker Award nominee, Charles Day

Charles Day, someone who I respect a great deal, has nice things to say about my debut novel (Guardian of the Sky Realms):

GUARDIANS was a pleasure to read. Truly enjoyed the imaginative world author, Gerry Huntman created in his debut novel. If you're looking for a great fantasy full of wonderful characters this is the book for you.
~Charles Day, Bram Stoker Award® -nominated author of THE LEGEND OF THE PUMPKIN THIEF, HUNT FOR THE GHOULISH BARTENDER & DEEP WITHIN

Cheers, Charles!
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Market News: The Place Where Two Eagles Meet

Pleased to say that I have sold my short story, The Place Where Two Eagles Meet, to Cover of Darkness magazine. This is a good result for two reasons – firstly, the story is very cross genre (semi steampunk, historical and contemporary, scifi, fantasy, horror) and it was difficult to find the right market – Cover of Darkness is horror, but they recognized the chilling aspects to it and snapped it up fairly quickly. Secondly, I gave myself a personal target of 15 sales this year, and this is number 15! A good result, and in the nick of time.
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