Click on A Song of the Siren below to lock in your copy.
About this photo:
Mikladalur, Faroe Islands, Kalsoy - July, 2021: Kópakonann - selkies, mythological beings capable of therianthropy, changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin. Kingdom of denmark. Europe
I’ve been doing a few more happy dances this week because the anthology Song of the Siren just went up for Pre Order. Submitting a story to a publisher for the first time was quite an experience, and to be accepted… well, for me hitting the send button was going down The Road Not Taken inspired by the poem from Robert Frost. That was the prompt this week for a writing group I belong to who blog together three months out of each year from winter solstice to the spring equinox. It’s a marvelous idea. And I’ve learned so much from these experienced bloggers, creators, podcasters, and authors.
Now that you’ve enjoyed some poetry, I’ll get back to my twisty, amazing road in February and the fascination with selkies. Having finally taken formal submission step makes me feel like endless possibilities are ahead of me. That’s a great feeling when you’re nearing 60. But the best part of this heretofore scary unknown road? There are a lot of people traversing it. It’s packed! All kinds of surprises have popped up on this journey. Writings to Share has been one, the Fantasy Sci Fi Writers Alliance another, and then from groups like these, a handful of new amazing friends.
My anthology short story Beneath the Prismed Light is about a selkie and a lighthouse keeper and finding a future together in a world that seems to have lost one; and they most definitely face taking “the road less traveled”. I hope to write more stories influenced by the amazing myths and lore of the Celts. Here is a little about the mythology of the selkie, though the photo at the top says a lot. Isn’t she beautiful? Maybe shedding one’s skin is like taking that road. I thoroughly enjoy it when community themes converge with life events.
From Wilderness Ireland – What is a selkie? Also called the seal people, the sea people or the mermaid – a selkie is a marine legend that tells of people who are half fish, and half-human. In the water, they are seals, but on land, they shed their skin and take on human form. And for some reason, they are irresistible to ordinary humans, who are apt to fall in love with the seal people.
Popular on islands and rural coastal communities, the legend of selkie has endured over the age, and though less, there are still supposed sightings even in relatively modern times.
Some say that the origins of the selkie myth actually stem from Scottish and Irish ancient peoples coming into contact with Finnish and/or Sami travellers who were thought to be selkies for their use of sealskin coats and kayaks.
As they became waterlogged, the boats would start to submerge, and so the Sami traveller would be required to stop and dry their sealskin clothing and boats out before continuing onwards.
Take their “fishtails” away from them, and it’s true enough that the “selkie” cannot return to the sea. Spot a person removing their sealskin clothing and setting it down to dry on the rocks and you just might think that you’ve witnessed transformation from seal to man (or woman). This idea was proposed by a Victorian-era folklorist, but it’s still quite a tantalising concept to consider! ~
My writing friend in Scotland sent these snapshots from a vintage book he found at a charity shop in Edinburgh. Dylan and I have a lot of fun reading each other’s stories and sharing all manner of writing tips and resources, and he’s currently working on a story with a Kelpie, which is a mythological water dwelling horse.
I really need to travel to Scotland and the isles north because it is rich in the kind of lore that fascinates me the most.
Dylan says he is starting to take the idea of submitting his stories seriously now that he’s been on the journey with me, and that made this whole experience all the better.
I think I’ll summarize this piece by saying that going down the road not taken in no way has to be a lonely trip, and you never know what might happen if you’re willing to shed that old skin.
If your appetite has been whetted for more about selkies, here is a WordPress blog I found with this charming illustration and story of a Selkie Bride.