Friday, 7 October 2016

Monsters and mermaids

I'm proud to belong to the Random Writers. And immensely proud of the stories I've had published in the first two Random Writers anthologies - A Seeming Glass and Something Rich and Strange - The Past is Prologue.

When the third anthology was announced earlier this year, my heart leapt. Then it sank a bit. What the heck was a cryptid? And I'd never heard of some of the mythical beasts that were suggested as potential story material... Never one to resist a challenge, I did some research to find a creature I could write about.

I quite fancied mermaids...and discovered the Inuit legend of Sedna, which is told throughout the Arctic. She is the goddess of the sea and lives on the bottom of the ocean, appearing with the top half of a woman and the tail of a fish.

I started to write a story based around Sedna. However, in spite of best laid plans, life interfered - big time. I knew I wouldn't be able to do the story justice before the deadline and reluctantly decided not to offer anything.

Whilst I was disappointed - very disappointed - not to be included this time, I did have the honour of proofreading the dozen short stories in the finished book.

In it, there were cryptids and monsters and mythical beasts galore, all wrapped in the kind of wonderful wordiness that the Randoms seem to be able to generate with ease. The kind of wonderful wordiness that makes me wish I could write that way. There were times, during my reading, that I forgot to check the n-dashes and spellings, so carried away was I by the standard and beauty and poeticness (I don't think that's a real word, but you know what I mean!) of the writing. There were stories that unsettled, that made me begin to wonder exactly who - or what - the monster really is. And, most worryingly, could it actually be me?

Today, the Randoms are having a Book Blast because Stalking Leviathan - A Bestiary of Tales was published last week, and I'm doing my bit to encourage as many people as possible to buy and read it.

It's worth the investment, I promise. And fingers crossed, there'll be a fourth anthology sometime...and life might give me the chance to be in it.

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