Irish Fantasy + A Little Mermaid Retelling // My WIP Complete with Aesthetics

Ok, this should have been posted Saturday. But my computer decided to ditch me? My poor computer gave up the ghost and just died. No warning. Just sudden death.

And I was not expecting that. But happy news – my parents helped me get a new computer! And it’s working  well. (of course, it’s a Mac, so it should work well)

Anyway, I lost all my homework!?! So I had to catch up on a bunch of lost assignments over the weekend. I didn’t lose my book, because I’m obsessive about not loosing my precious. *yes, read that in Gollum voice*

But I’ve been planning on writing this post for forever, so I should finally just do it, right? I like talking about my WIP but publishing an entire post dedicated to it is very scary.

Current Title – Hearts of Clay and Tempest

Coming up with titles is HARD and very important. It took me a very long time to settle on the right name. First, I wanted something that mixed the traditional fairy tale with my newer, fantasy twist.

Since my story involves both sea creatures and humans, I wanted to pull something from both the water and land. So, clay & tempest.

Now, it’s a crazy long name, so I often just call it HOCAT.

The story doesn’t follow the exact template of Hans Christian Anderson’s A Little Mermaid, but it has some of the same themes. Ideas of giving up yourself for someone who doesn’t love you. Honoring your promises. Loosing what matters to you to save someone else.

Oh, here’s the synopsis. Though I feel like I’ve posted it a million times on the blog already?

In the court of the Irish Fae, Brendan serves his queen and his family. As a soldier, he’s seen suffering and war in the name of justice.

While harsh, the Fae Queens justice has protected his friends and his kingdom his

whole life. In between serving on the front lines of battle and standing guard in the throne room, Brendan has always managed to follow orders and ask few questions.

But when the court is threatened, Brendan’s world collides with a mortal.

Darcy never intended to arrive before the Fae Queen. She simply wanted to escape a life chained to the sea – the ocean that stole her uncle and her cousin’s heart. Like all Irish girls, Darcy knows leprechauns promise gold. A simple snare, and Darcy hoped for a pot of gold to buy a safe life away from the waves.
But like all legends, Darcy didn’t know the story of gold was only partly true. To obtain her treasure, Darcy must strike bargains with leprechauns and travel deep into Fae territory.

Bartering with mortals isn’t supposed to be difficult. Bartering with Fae is always a risk. But the bargains Darcy and Brendan strike may drive apart a fractured kingdom and risk both their family’s lives.

 AKA, my precious babies who no one is allowed to touch

Darcy’s Aesthetic


Darcy is my main character. I’ve actually had a lot of trouble getting into Darcy’s head. She’s unlike me, and very intense. She’s fiercely protective of those she loves and is a black and white kind of person.

What’s fun about writing her is how Darcy is just trying to STAY ALIVE. She can’t afford to think about her love life or even how her hair looks. She’s poor, defenseless and NOT A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.

I wanted to write characters who have to make choices. I kind of don’t like the chosen one trope.

I want characters who fight for the right to become something – and don’t have battles and war and saving the world automatically placed on their shoulders just because they’re the chosen one™

That’s Darcy. She has to make choices and decide to become something other than a very average Irish peasant.


Brendan’s Aesthetic

Brendan is super sweet and incredibly fun to write. He’s loyal to his Queen and his family and friends. I love creating Brendan and writing him.

He’s also one of the two narrators to the story and his perspective is the best. For a ton of reasons. His dry humor. Absolute loyalty. Kindness, mixed with his military training. That’s just who he is.

Also, Brendan is a Fae warrior. So he’s a fighter & he has wings & magic ability.

I really, really dislike when a super young guy is in charge? It just doesn’t make sense to me when a super young dude is in charge of the entire army. But it’s important that Brendan be in authority for this story to work. So I had to think that through.

Brendan’s dad is a super important general. He’s uber-cruel and power hungry and I LOVE writing the relationship between Brendan and his dad.

Because of his family, Brendan is in charge of a wing-squadron at the court. Kind of like the personal body guards? Not super powerful politically, but it’s a nice job.


Anya AestheticAnya is Darcy’s cousin and the two are very much sisters. They’ve grown up together and love each other more than anything else in the world.

I can’t talk too much about Anya without giving away spoilers for the whole book?

Anya is also hard for me to write. She’s an introvert, sensitive and altruistic. Basically, the opposite of me. She balances well with Darcy, I think. (Most of the characters in this book are very different from me)

Anya is also older than Darcy & alternates between mothering Darcy and just being there for her.

Anya also suffers A LOT of pain and loss in the story. This is where I actually start to feel Anya personally? Anya deals with PTSD and repressed emotions and a completely, utterly broken heart.

Her story is HARD to write. But it will be redemptive and beautiful.

(I also promise that I don’t enjoy making my characters suffer, it just happens sometimes)

Another promise – this story is set in Ireland so there are a few redheads. Did I plan that? I’m not telling.


Flavian's AestheticSometimes I love Flavian so much it hurts and other times I’m mad at him and want to ship him off to the moon. Writing him is my biggest challenge.

One of my friends read Brendan’s perspective and was like, Oh, Flavian is nice.

Then she read Darcy’s perspective and was like, Wow, he’s a jerk?!?!

Flavian isn’t nice and he isn’t a jerk. He’s just Flavian. I CAN’T TALK TOO MUCH WITHOUT SPOILERS. This is hard. Harder than it looks.

I think people are going to really like Flavian. That is all. Ergh, I have to say more. 

Flavian’s family are exiles from the Fae Court and Flavian is fighting for his place at the court. (The court his family has hated his entire life? Yeah, that makes sense  But Flavian wants a place in the world)

Anyway, Flavian goes to the Court, works with Brendan and falls in love. Not just in love. He falls for the Fae Prince, Edric. (Because, yes, he is gay)

Now, my poor friend Flavian has intense feelings and he’s a soldier, and he’s trying to earn his place and no one trusts him because of his exiled family. So, yes, he can be moody. But he’s also adorable.


Edric's AestheticWhen I sat down to start sketching Edric’s character, I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want a Fae Prince who was cruel, or super physical, or dripping with sarcasm.

I wanted Edric. Edric is kind-hearted. He is Fae. Complete with magical powers and the inability to lie. Not to mention, he’s the heir to the Fae Court.

He’s also idealistic. Sometimes, Edric is terrified of becoming king. His mother has ruled for so long, she’s an absolute legend.
And Edric is just a young teenager and he already feels like he doesn’t live up to the Court’s idea of power. In fact, the Court scares him.

Edric’s fear leads him to making bargains with some folks he should have just left alone. But if he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have a story, now would we?

Now, don’t get me wrong, Edric can fight. He just detests it. Also, he really, really, really dislikes politics because of all the deceit and backstabbing. He’d rather just go on a hike than spend a day in the throne room.


Brigit's AestheticBrigit came into my life like a whirlwind. One day, I realized Flavian had a sister. And she demanded to be a part of the story.

She’s the most fantastic character to write. Brigit is Flavian’s older sister and she doesn’t care one bit that her family is exiled from the court.
In fact, Brigit hates the court. She hates the Queen, and Edric, and most especially Brendan. (If you read the book, you’ll know why!!!) 

Brigit has very good reasons for not trusting any of the Court Fae. But I’m not going to talk about her reasons. All in the book!
Cool thing about BrigitShe carries a sword named Aisling, which means dreamer.

The sword is passed down only to women in Brigit’s family, and is supposedly descended from the goddess Brigid. (Of course, Brigit is named after her and her family say’s the goddess is her great-great-great grandmother)

Anyway, Brigit hates the court and wants to stay away. But she’s super protective of her little brother, so she flies in (literally) to see what Brendan and Flavian are up to. She doesn’t listen to anyone, except her mom. And she almost always disagrees with Brendan.

I LOVE writing scenes involving Brigit. She is so feisty and exciting and is an absolute breath of fresh air.

It is extremely difficult to know what snippets to include??? I love lots of different quotes but out of context? I’m not sure they will work too well?? I can’t ever do jut a sentence quote…but here’s a small snippet.

So here’s the first snippet. Right before Darcy is taken to her second meeting with Fae Queen. Also, she doesn’t know the Fae guy’s name at this point.

“It doesn’t break the curse,” The Fae replies steadily, “In fact, it ensures the curse is kept. But it dulls the pain.”

“The curse,” I step forward, “What curse?”

The Fae’s black eyebrows furrow, “The curse that prevents humans from talking to my Queen. You mortals often call it by something else. The magic of Oona’s beauty.”

Queen Oona. The stories I’ve heard, Queen Oona is so beautiful, mortals are rendered speechless by the sight. “We’re forced into silence,” The words sputter, my frustration with the pain, the Fae, everything rushing forward, “Her beauty is a curse on us?”

“Mortals use simple words to explain the extraordinary,” The Fae shrugs, a dark curl nearly falling into his eyes, “You can’t be troubled with truth.”

“Truth?” I take a step, wrenching the ring from his fingers, “Or do you just not bother to explain things? It suits your purposes to keep us all in the dark?”

The Fae’s lips curl again as he grins, “Remember, mortal. We’re the ones who live below ground in perpetual darkness. We know a thing or two about being kept in the dark.”

Um, so yes, in Irish folklore the Fae live underground. And Queen Oona is a big deal in Irish folklore. 

I switched a few of the reasons around. Like the curse and why Oona’s beauty leaves people speechless. In my story it’s not really underground but another dimension that appears underground?

Another snippet, part of a conversation between Darcy and Brigit. 

“The Finn have stolen a human,” Brigit replies in the same quiet tone, “We should bring this to the council, unprovoked attacks on mortals. Causes for war.”

I look at her, “But the Fae steal from us all the time?” I think of the bowls of cream we leave out at the change of seasons, the mills left unguarded at night. Gifts for the Fae.

“Taking what we need is not the same as stealing souls,” Brigit answers fiercely, “Those acts were forbidden when we crushed the Unseelie Court.”

I mull over her words, but then check my thoughts, “I’ve already made a bargain,” I look up at Brigit’s pale face, “I have to go to the Finn.”

“Gods,” Brigit breathes, “You are stupider than I even thought. You actually made a bargain with the Queen?”

At my nod, Brigit curses again, “First bit of advice,” she shakes her braids, “Don’t make another bargain. Whatever you hear, bargains are never worth their price.”

“I just want to save my cousin,” The words come in a rush, “And leave all of this. Believe me, I never wanted to start making bargains with nightmares from my childhood.”

Okdokie! That’s two lovely little snippets. It is hard to know what exactly to share without giving away spoilers, you know?

Also, I can’t wait to edit this book. Editing is hard work! But it can be super fun and exciting, especially to get to know your characters better and better.

Finally, here’s my HOCAT writing playlist.

This playlist has such amazing music. It’s very fine-tuned. From Poldark to How to Tame Your Dragon. It is such a perfect mood setter. 

I have lots of writing playlists. But this one is only for HOCAT. As in I only listen to it when writing this story or writing a blog post about this book. It helps keep the music special.

lets chat

I think I’ve written so much information in this post! So much about characters & my story! I can’t wait to hear what you think!!!

Which character are you most excited about? If you could write a character, which would you pick? Which character do you want to be a narrator? 
What Irish mythological creature are you most excited to see in the story? (There are lot! Mermaids, FInn, Leprechauns, Fauns, Sirens)

Thoughts on the snippets? Should I post more writing snippets? Any questions about the story?


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