Articles tagged with: dolphins

Are albino dolphins real?

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 7.00.23 PM
I get asked a lot of questions about the science in CLICKS, and where they blend from truth to fiction. Most often,  I start with a factual concept, and then, once it’s a part of the story, I embellish it to create drama and tension.

This is the first in a series of blog posts called SCIENCEorFICTION to answer these questions, and to help readers learn where the science in CLICKS starts, ends, and turns into fiction.

In the book, Cami befriends a white dolphin that looks different from all the others. At first, she thinks it’s a trick of her eyes. Then she realizes that in fact the dolphin is an albino that is part of Pinhold legends and her own history. It was half of the first set of twins that were born onto the island in forty years, and it was a blessing for Cami and her twin Mica, who were born soon after.

I wanted Cami to connect with a dolphin that stood out. In the first draft of the book, I made her look purple, but that wasn’t enough to really identify in the dark. Then I researched “White Dolphins” and learned a lot. There is a Chinese White Dolphin which is almost extinct.  There is the Amazon River Dolphin which looks whitish pink. But both of those locations are far from the California Coast where CLICKS takes place. So I wanted to find a dolphin that would be a more realistic fit.

Then I learned that albinism in nature was a real thing. Just like some people are born without pigment in their skin, dolphins can too.

Most recently, an albino made the news because it was captured in Tajii, Japan as part of the horrible annual dolphin hunts featured in the movie The Cove. They’ve named the dolphin Angel and I’ve named Cami’s dolphin Angel in the books to help raise awareness for the real angel and the terrible situation for dolphins that was famously exposed in the Academy Award winning documentary film The Cove.  Want to know more? Check out Sea Shepherd for information and ways to help.


migalooThere is also a well known albino whale named Migaloo that many call “The real Moby Dick.” He spends his time swimming off the  coast of Australia. He’s free and attracts whale watchers from all over. Let’s hope Angel can join him, at least in spirit, soon.

So, are albino dolphins Science or Fiction? SCIENCE! They’re incredibly rare but they do exist in nature.  If you want to learn more about Cami and her Angel, CLICKS is available for free for iBooks, Kindle, and Nook.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00050]

You know CLICKS? It used to be called The Dolphin Book!

CLICKS are many things – they’re instincts, they’re connections, and they’re one of the sounds dolphins make when they communicate.

All of these definitions factored into the name of my first bookdolphin cloud.

For so long, I called it The Dolphin Book. Eventually, it had to have more of a name, so I called it The Dolphin Prophecy, because a major theme in the book is that what happens to the dolphins will happen to humans too. But then, I began to pitch. Editors didn’t know what to say because those I talked to insisted  dolphins only worked in middle grade,but I felt this story needed to stay Young Adult. Agents told me to send it because they were intrigued, but it sounded too different, which wasn’t selling at the moment. And they all told me, no matter what other advice I would heed, to bury the storyline about dolphins in the background, and definitely keep it out of marketing.

Clicks Book Cover Then I went to Nashville and UtopYAcon 2012 where I found a whole bunch of people who were publishing independently. They all thought CLICKS sounded interesting, and that I didn’t need to change it to please the publishing industry when they’d discovered another way to get books to an audience. t was Amy Bartol who put it most succinctly. She said “Do you want to spend the next year getting rejections, or readers?” She advised me to hire an editor, a cover designer, and a publicist, and get the darn thing into the world myself. So I did. I was blessed when Jennifer Rees, Regina Wamba, and KP Simmon came on to help. All had worked on NYTimes best sellers and each of them connected with CLICKS. Together, we moved towards publishing. I could ignore the naysayers because I knew the book was interesting, I couldn’t shake the idea that the “dolphin thing” could be damaging, so I changed the blurbs to focus more on surfing and twinning, and made the series name The Pinhold Prophecy. Pinhold is the name of the island, and an anagram for dolphin that very few people caught.

Almost a year later, I can honestly say that “hiding the dolphins” didn’t work at Sphere CLICKs word cloudall. They drive the plot, the mythology and the action and that hadn’t changed with the marketing copy. Just look at this update word cloud I made. I may have skipped the dolphin shape, but the size of the word tells you how often it was mentioned.  Most readers thought the dolphin parts were the most interesting, exciting and unique. A few didn’t like them at all and, in truth, they would have been much better off if the marketing materials had warned them off. By not mentioning the dolphins, I consistently struggled to explain the book, and I missed out on attracting the audience most inclined to read The Dolphin Book from the start.



Echoes ART square ICONI’ve learned my lesson, though, as the ECHOES cover indicates. It’s the sequel to CLICKS and comes out in June, and before that I’m rereleasing CLICKS as well with the word “dolphin” on the cover. There’s going to be a lot more images and teasers with dolphins as well, because they are the very heart of the book.

There is so much that we can learn from them In CLICKS, Cami had to learn to trust her instincts. I should have  trusted my own as well.  And you know, if you don’t like dolphins? You may not want to check out too much on here for these next few months.