March was not a wonderfully productive month. Beyond the awful events of the last week, for which anyone would be excused for “non-prolific-ness”, I still didn’t manage to write many new words. I’m supposed to be a writer, first and foremost, but last month I was mainly an editor. I edited two long novels and one novella for other authors. I also began editing the short stories for the upcoming A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology: Stranded.
The big news for the month was the release of the anthology, Men in Uniform, which includes my novella, “Along Came a Spider” —a fun, sexy, action-y tale about a SEAL and the lovely ex-Army woman he rescues that I think my readers will enjoy!
But writers are supposed to write. So, I’ve loaded up my schedule for April with some ambitious goals.
Priority #1 has to be getting Stranded ready for release. Yes, I have to edit others’ stories, but I also have to write one of my own to include, something bounty hunter related, entitled “Quincy Down Under”. (Stranded is available for pre-order and only $0.99!)
My new release, Water Desires, Love’s Siren Song book two features a chambered nautilus on the cover. It’s an important symbol to the story and one that has fascinated me for many years.
The chambered nautilus is a sea creature mostly found in the Pacific and Indian oceans at depths of between about 300 and 1500 feet. They have a spiral shell similar in appearance on the outside to a snail. The inside is made up of rooms that the animal uses until it grows too large for the space, walls it off, and creates a new room. They can grow up to two pounds in weight and their shells can have as many as 30 chambers. Their natural life span can be 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, they are endangered due to people harvesting them for their beautiful shells and loss of habitat as the coral reefs die.
The chambered nautilus is often called a living fossil because it has not changed its shape in millions of years, yet it constantly grows throughout its lifetime. It is a symbol of strength because it can withstand the pressure of deep water. It is also a symbol of balance. Its shape is an almost perfect logarithmic spiral and an example of a golden spiral. This leads to way too much geometry for me. However, if you are interested, a lot can be found on the internet about the spiral shape.
To me, the chambered nautilus represents the complexity of the labyrinth within the eternity of the circle. Since it is a sea creature, it is a perfect icon for the Nerei, or mermaids and mermen who are the main characters of my books.
Did you know that the poem, “The Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes references mermaids? Here’s the first stanza:
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, Sails the unshadowed main,— The venturous bark that flings On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings, And coral reefs lie bare, Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
In the poem, the nautilus shell is broken and lying open with the chambers exposed. The creature that lived within is gone. This should be an image of sadness and death but though poignant is actually hopeful. Maybe the animal has found another home, one that is even more wonderful than the shell he left behind.
That’s what the chambered nautilus means to the characters in Water Desires. It gives them hope for the future and something to hold on to when storms of all kinds rock their world.
The sea and its denizens are of vital concern to me. Too many are endangered (manatees, sea turtles, and whales, for example) and pollution is a major threat, especially plastic melded into virtual islands in the oceans. I’m supporting removing plastic in order to help save our water and our planet.
Do you think mermaids would hate plastic except as a recycled bracelet? Tell me your thoughts about how we should work to save the oceans. Or tell me which sea creature is your favorite. You don’t have to say why, although I would love to know. I’ll pick one comment at random and send that person a 4Ocean bracelet. You can choose the color.
Thank you for hosting me here, Delilah. I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to talk about the chambered nautilus, my new release, and my passion for cleaning up the ocean!
When a strange Nerei (merman) carries an unconscious and badly injured Bas in from the Aegean Sea, Nik (a human woman) knows she must get him to an island in the Atlantic where a hidden spring of healing water will restore her secret Nerei lover.
At the same time, her adoptive father is dying from a boating accident in her home town of Tarpon Springs, and he’s asking for her. While battling a strange illness which antibiotics won’t cure, Nik must figure out a way to save Bas and get home to help her father. When Bas follows Nik to Florida, he is forced to keep his distance from her.
He has already escaped one death sentence for having a relationship with a human and he can’t risk another one. Still, he’s furious when Nik turns to her old friend, a mage Bas dislikes, to help her unravel the hidden truth behind her father’s accident.
Water Desires is Book II in the Love’s Siren Song Series. The thrilling sequel to the award-winning Water Dreams will drag you under and not let you up for air until the end. If you like mermaids, mages, and magical romance, you’ll love this book. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/mermaidromance
About the Author
Katherine Eddinger Smits started writing stories in grade school. While she raised her family and worked as a Clinical Social Worker at four different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers around the country, she honed her ideas for novels. Since she retired to pursue her passion for writing, she has published three paranormal romances. She has also written numerous blogs and book reviews. Katherine lives with her husband in Homosassa, Florida and Falling Waters, West Virginia. They have a daughter who resides in Alexandria, Virginia and a son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters in Chesapeake, Virginia. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sunshine State Romance Authors, Florida Writers Association and Outreach International Romance Writers. Information about her books, blogs, reviews, and other activities is available at her website: www.katherineeddingersmits.weebly.com
The other day I was watching Apollo 13. I love that movie. The signature line of the movie “Houston, we have a problem” is now a regular part of our slang vocabulary. My favorite scene in the movie is where the engineers enter a work room and place a lot of objects on the table. The lead engineer tells everyone that they need to make a square filter fit into a round filter holder using only the items on the table. The engineering and work that made our space program possible was amazing. I was a child when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. I remember sitting in the living room with my family and all of us glued to the television set. My love for space and science fiction stories dates back to that time.
As I got older I watched the STAR WARS movies and television shows like STAR TREK, BABYLON 5, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and FARSCAPE. I love space stories and all the imagination it takes to create new worlds and non-human sentient beings. I often fantasized about traveling to different worlds and meeting their inhabitants.
In 2006, Stephen Hawking stated that humanity faces two options: either we colonize space within the next two hundred years and build residential units on other planets, or we will face the prospect of long term extinction. NASA has as its ultimate goal, space colonization. With this in mind, I have created my New Frontier series involving a group of people who are leaving earth to colonize a new world. The prequel to the series is THE LAST CHRISTMAS ON EARTH. The first book is THE SCATTERING OF SEEDS. The second book in the series is coming out in June.
Do you like to read and watch stories about space?
The Scattering of Seeds
Two worlds, one other-worldly adventure…
The handsome, Duncan McGregor believes the answers to the questions in his soul can be found by looking to those who have come before him. And just like his ancestors, he’s venturing into a new world to begin a life they could only have dreamed of—a life in outer space. And yet as he reaches this wild new frontier, he finds that his old-fashioned values are being tested by this hard-edged life.
And his first hurdle is no less than Ariel Lindstrom, the daughter of the governor, who may look like an aloof fairy princess but who acts with strength and courage. Thanks to her experiences inside the corrupt world of politics, she’s been forced to grow up fast and hard. She fears her life is about to grow more difficult if rumors of an alliance between the corporation she works for and an alien regime are true.
For them to survive, they must blend the lessons learned by experience with the freedom and bravery that lies in the hearts of an explorer. Can their two worlds come together, or will their adventures in outer space only end in disaster?
Maybe you can see it. The white fingertips on the black coffin. Those were made by one of the members of the military honor guard at my father’s funeral. The pallbearers left their boutonniere’s on top on top of the casket. The hearse is in the background. What you can’t see is the rain. This photo and the ones below are from Friday’s funeral. I’m backdating the post, because I shut down my computer for the week, which meant I didn’t blog for all those days. But now, I want to catch up and share with you what happened in my life, and what the authors who were scheduled to appear wanted to share with you over those missing days.
All my father’s children came to the funeral. As well, all the “grands” and most of the “greats” were there to see him laid to rest. Mom couldn’t have been happier about that. Or more proud of this moment…
It was a hard week. And we let many things slide because every bed was filled in our house, and every night was spent in great company, eating wonderful food provided by our extended family. On Friday night, we had a wake at the house. There was beer and wine, a guitar came out and the living room was filled with our voices. There was a lot of laughter after a week filled with many, many tears.
Had to share this photo of the 5-year-old. No gray or black for her. She wanted to wear her “graduation” dress — the dress she’ll wear when her dad graduates from the police academy in a few weeks. She was a ray of sunshine in a sea of dreary color and a lovely symbol of our hope for the future of my father’s most cherished legacy — his family.
The funeral’s set for Friday. The family is gathering. Because my parents had a burial policy and a funeral home already selected, there’s not a lot of stress involved with the “arrangements.” It’s nice to know family is ready to converge, but at the same time, I crave quiet.
My dd and my sister have been gems. Both working so hard to get ready for company and organize dad’s “effects”. Mom’s been making lists of relatives to call and agencies to inform. My sister has already written what she wants to say at his funeral, and I haven’t been able to organize a thought about what I would say. I won’t. I’ll be there, but I don’t want to be. They’re eager to honor him, but I want to climb into a deep dark hole and sleep. And I feel guilty about that and the fact I haven’t cried as much as they have.
While everyone efficiently went through his clothing to see what family members might use and what might be donated, I wanted to shoo them all from the room, because they were moving too fast for me. I did have the thought that I wanted some of his shirts, ones I remember he wore a lot because I needed to keep something, and I thought…pillows. Just to cling a while longer, because everyone else is so eager to purge. Or that’s the way it feels to me. And now, I don’t want them to read this, but I’ll leave it anyway and hope they don’t.
All I can think is that, like with Grandma, I’m thankful he needed me at the end. I was here when shit hit the fan. I called the ambulance. I tended the sores on his feet for months, cleaning them, bandaging them. I made him breakfasts and brought him coffee. I don’t have to say words over him. I won’t. When they are all gone, I’ll be here for Mom.
Okay, so there’s a tear. Two. Three. I’m done. I just have to get through Friday.