With the local pools now closed for the season and the consistent nip in the air,
it's easy to forget the warmer days when I was hot and heavy into writing a short story for the mutli-genre anthology of the Crossroads writer group I'm in.
Yes, it seems like ages ago that I wrote a mermaid-themed short story for "The Lake House" anthology--a publication that raises funds for the group as well as for a local literacy-focused charity--but those stories are about thebe published! This coming Monday, October 9th! (pre-orders are available already... links below)
For someone who normally writes 90+K books, writing a short story of 5,000-7,000 words was a real challenge. Ok, a challenge I failed because my story is closer to 10,000 words, but a challenge nonetheless ;-) It was also fun. I still kept my setting on an alien planet, but hopefully one that seemed a little more familiar to most of us. And my "aliens" are creatures of the ocean waters because... well... mermaids. 'Nuff said.
As is my habit, I have a modified Star Wars quote (see if you can find it!), plus I had a lot of fun pulling in tidbits from other mermaid and water-related inspirations. Sorry, there are no Dinglehoppers or Banded Bulbus Snarfblats (I had to stay below 10K words!), but hopefully a fun look at what it means to be a mermaid living under the sea.
Below is a snippet from my short story "Better Where it's Wetter."
Whatever magic had turned me into a mermaid, I wouldn’t find the answers waiting in this dark room. I’d have to venture forth. While my brain screamed to learn the fate of my legs, my body wondered if I might entice a kiss from the Prince’s full lips. Would it be as wonderful as in my dreams?I slanted him my most flirtatious smile. “So do I call you Prince Eric or Your Majesty?”He laughed, ducking his head as if embarrassed. “Actually, we’re pretty casual around here. Just call me Eric.”I held my hand out. “I’m Alana LaRue. Pleased to meet you.”He gripped my hand and pulled me toward him until my breasts pressed against his chest. My lungs heaved in anticipation. My lips quivered and I drug in a deep breath of…Wait. Was I really breathing water?“Eric, this whole mermaid thing defies reason. How is it that I’m breathing water?”“Gills.” He lifted his arm over his head and nodded to his side. “They come with the tail.”I looked closer. Sure enough, along the angle of his obliques were several slashes in his skin. With each exhale, they opened, and I spied pink frills within each slash. Trying to be gentle, I ran my fingers along the seam. Eric hissed and clasped my hand against his side.
I jerked back. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you.”“You didn’t.” His laugh was strangled. “They’re just…ticklish. You have your own, if you want to, uh, tentatively self-touch them.”Tickle my own gills? Wait, I had gills? I hadn’t seen my obliques since I was twelve and developed a chest with its own gravitational pull. I laughed and waved the hem of my shirt. “Not sure that’s possible, Eric.”
Hope you enjoyed it. The nice part about being in a multi-genre anthology is the fact that it has something for everyone. Please check it out!