The holidays are here, and despite the rocky ride of 2020, I am so very thankful for my abundance of blessings and love that fill my life. One of my greatest blessings in 2020, besides my loved ones and their continued health and happiness, has been embarking on my writing adventure. Many thanks to Delilah Devlin for accepting my story into her anthology and letting me drop in here! It has given me a confidence boost to chase this crazy author dream!
My favorite part of writing is the process. It’s fun to read back over what I wrote and think, “Damn, girl. That’s not bad!” Of course, just as often, I reread something and shake my head as I hold down the delete button. But more than the final words on the page, I love dreaming and scheming about stories and the twists and turns of the characters. It’s a testament to just how big a nerd I am that I enjoy immersing myself in the world of my characters. I seriously prefer hanging out with my imaginary friends more than real people…. Hmmm…. I probably should talk to someone about that! Anyway, moving on. 😊
I also enjoy learning about new subjects and researching facts. So many times, I remind myself that I was just supposed to check what year the typewriter was invented to make sure it fits in the story, not research the entire history of typewriters! I’m like Alice in Wonderland on the internet. So many rabbit holes! A writer friend of mine posted this the other day, and it’s so true! My internet browsing history would raise an eyebrow or two, and my Facebook feed looks like it belongs to someone with multiple personalities.
I find inspiration in many different places. For my latest story, it came to me from an old folk tune. I was writing a story about pirates for an upcoming anthology, but it just wasn’t flowing well. So, I turned on some music (Yes, I listen to folk music—nerd, remember??) and heard a song called “Maid on the Shore.” It’s about a woman who lived alone on an island, walking the beaches. A captain of a sailing ship saw her and ordered her brought to him. Once onboard, she sang the sailors to sleep, stole their treasure, and rowed back to her island. It caught my attention, and down the rabbit hole I went, wondering about this siren’s story. She was clearly different than Odysseus’ sirens. It didn’t take long for her tale to unfold in my mind, and I knew I had to tell her story.
That’s the part of writing that is just so freaking awesome! A song I had heard many times before caught me at the right moment, planted a seed in my imagination, and BAM—storytime, here we come!
Under the Sea
Here’s a snippet from my story, “Before Words, There was Song,” part of the Under the Sea anthology releasing Jan 31, 2021!
“Well, now, Daughter of the Sea,” Manannan said, pulling Ciara’s attention to him. “It is time for you to join your sisters.”
He reached his hand down in invitation, and Ciara simply stared at him. Confusion and questions overwhelmed her. Just hours ago, she had been chasing Dougan and dreaming of a life in a quiet fishing village. Now, here she sat with Manannan mac Lir talking to her in the middle of the ocean. It was beyond belief.
The God of the Sea waited patiently and gently prompted, “I’ll answer all your questions on the way. Take my hand, Daughter, and let our journey begin.”
Ciara put her hand in his, and he pulled her up in front of him on Enbarr’s massive back. The horse surged forward, and faster than the wind, they began to run across the water.
Ciara looked over her shoulder toward the shore she could no longer see but was all she had ever known. The wind whipped her hair around her face. She buried her hands in Enbarr’s silky mane and asked the question her whirling thoughts kept coming back to.
“Who am I?”
Manannan slowed Enbarr to a gentler pace.
“Let me tell you a story. Eons ago, the Great Goddess, Gaia, released from her womb a storm into the sea. It contained all the songs of the earth. It swirled and danced through the waters of the word, leaving behind magic and life. The gods still walked the land of Erin at that time, and we danced in joy as the music poured forth. The songs were too beautiful to let fade into oblivion. We gathered in council to find a way to capture the melodies.
Since they were born of the sea, the gods asked me to create something to hold the music. I crafted a creature from the spray of the sea, the cry of the bird, the call of the whale, and the beauty of the reef. She rose from the sea, and with the ocean’s infinity and the fluidity of water, she captured all the melodies of the world. I named her Eulah, Gem of the Sea, and she was the first Siren. Over the centuries, the sea has brought forth more melodies and more sirens, but one had not been born for a long, long time.
Fifteen years ago, a great storm full of fury and darkness swelled from the depths. Terrible and vicious, the sea raged, and the men and women of Erin begged me to calm it. I felt their terror as the towering waves bore down on the shore. The wind screamed, and Gaia shook beneath their feet, expressing her displeasure at the folly and short memory of man. The Children of Erin had turned their faces from her, distracted by the new god and his prophets and priests. Her anger called forth the storm to punish them, but I could not let her destroy my faithful people, even though there were far fewer who called my name than in times past.
I rode out in the blackest night I have ever seen. The storm pulled at me, seething with hurt and vengeance. Enbarr and I plunged into the tempest, so strong it threatened to pull the powerful Enbarr beneath its roiling fury. I called to wind and water, who knew my command, but they couldn’t hear me over their roaring. Through the tumult, the faintest of melodies played, new and unheard. At that moment, I knew how to calm the sea and save the Children of Erin.
I gathered sea spray and added the sea bird’s cry, the call of the giants of deep, and all the reef’s beauty. The voices of the Children of Erin intermingled with the melody of nature. The first wail of a babe, the tears of a maiden, the wisdom of an old man, and the last breath of a crone joined in accompaniment. With ancient magic, I created the last siren, capturing the storm’s song and the melodies of man.
The magic of the world had changed over the centuries. The gods no longer walked among men. This siren did not come forth as a goddess fully formed and radiant of song and beauty. She came to me as a babe in arms. As I looked at the tiny creature whose cry held a heartbreaking melody, I knew she would be different than her sisters. I brought Muirin, my most cherished selkie, to land to raise the child with the instructions to return her to the sea when her song was ready to be sung.”
Manannan fell silent. Ciara’s mind fit the pieces together. She was a siren, made by the hands of a god. The Great Goddess created the melodies that coursed through her blood. She held within her the song of death, fury, and destruction.
Ciara’s adventure is just beginning!
Be sure to preorder your copy of Under the Sea to find out how her song ends and enjoy several other stories of the deep!