Flash Fiction Friday #1: “The Merchant and the Mermaid”

In case you didn’t see my Facebook post on flash fiction, here’s the scoop (straight from Facebook):

I’ve been experimenting with flash fiction lately; I even pounded out two micro stories the other day! I can’t wait to share them with you. They are, surprisingly, a lot of fun. What is flash fiction? Technically speaking, it’s a teeny tiny story of about 1,000 words (roughly 3 printed pages) or less. Some publications consider 1500 words and below to fall in the flash fiction category. This art form has seen a revival in recent years, thanks to the popularity of cell phones and social media, and, supposedly, people’s waning attention spans. Up until last year I shied away from short fiction, believing I write better in long form. Now, I think I was simply avoiding it because I was afraid: afraid of being bad at it, afraid of not enjoying it, and afraid of it because I didn’t know how to do it. My theme for this year is “no fear.” In line with that theme, I began researching how to write short fiction, the shortest being flash. I stumbled across the below article, which was a tremendous help. Thought I’d share it, for anyone else who is curious about this unique art form. David also has a fun collection of micro fiction out called Sawn-Off Tales. Being on sale for $2.99 in ebook, I snapped it up so I could read, enjoy, and learn. 

Read the article: How to write flash fiction by David Gaffney

The other morning, I decided why not try it? This cute little story flew out of my mind within the span of about thirty minutes, shortly before I went to bed. I find those hazy moments between fighting to stay awake and drifting off to sleep are my brain’s most fruitful times for producing fiction. It appears micro fiction is no exception.

Without further delay, here’s “The Merchant and the Mermaid,” clocking in just over 400 words. (Please pardon any grammatical whoopsies. Consider this the raw format. This piece will be fully edited before being published in a collection of short fiction later this year.)

“The Merchant and the Mermaid”

A Fantasy Flash Fiction

By

K. D. Jones

The merchant had never been a rich man by any means, but that didn’t stop him from trying to acquire nice things. Things far above his earnings from hauling his weekly catches into the bustling, stinking market of the little seaside town of Aspire.

Saying Aspire didn’t have much to offer or that it didn’t look like much was like saying the sky is blue and fish lived in the sea. Those things were simply facts begrudgingly recognized—or ignored—by the Aspirians. Shiny, unique things of great value were hard to come by.

Which is why when the merchant caught a beautiful mermaid in his net one day, his face lit up in surprise and wonder.

“Hello,” said the mermaid, trying to untangle herself. “Do you mind? I’m running a bit late.”

“But you’re a mermaid.”

She stared at him. “Mermaids keep schedules, too,” she said matter-of-factly, as if he should already know this.

Beneath the waves, her long, graceful tail shimmered. Sunlight glinted along hundreds of tiny scales.

“I can free you,” he said, “but it’s going to cost you.” Her brows raised, so he went on, “One scale.”

The mermaid’s jewel-blue tail swished in the deep green of the sea. Those pink lips grinned. “If freedom is the price for one scale, what will you give me in return for two?”

He blinked and scanned his tiny boat. “What about this knife?”

“I have plenty. Fishermen drop them all the time.”

“My hat?”

“Oh, starfish and sea turtles! Where would I wear that to?”

He pulled at his graying beard when she said, “I know! That! Give me that!” He looked around, and she thrust a finger at his wrist. “That!”

He lifted his arm to examine the worn band of braided leather. “This old thing?”

“Yes, I’ve never seen another one like it!”

“That’s because I made it when I was a boy.” Shrugging, he slipped it over his hand and tossed it to her.

The mermaid squealed with glee and threw him two glimmering scales. They landed in his palm, and his eyes widened. “These are sapphires!” The mermaid was too busy admiring her new bracelet, so he said louder, “You sure you won’t miss these?”

“I’ll grow more.”

“But I gave you junk in exchange for treasure.”

“Depends on the perspective.” She produced a knife—from where, he did not know—slashed herself free and dove beneath the waves.

***

Did you like it? Tune in next Friday for a fresh flash fiction. New micro fiction posted every Friday as part of my new Flash Fiction Friday meme. To receive notifications of new posts, subscribe to my blog using the sidebar to the right.

New Year, New Goals

I love this time of year, when I get to dive into all the new goals I’ve set.

The past few months brought a whirlwind of change. I moved across the country, closer to my roots. This feels oddly symbolic with my writing journey. A few months ago I returned to my writing roots, to the genre that first made me want to be a writer–epic fantasy. I made new lifestyle goals–save money and eat healthier, which I’m taking baby steps toward. I’m wrapping up a certificate in copy editing. I’m diving into new forms of storytelling. I’m learning more about technology (my day job is in the tech sector). All in all, a lot of exciting things are coming up. I feel like all these changes have come together to bring me to a pivoting point in my life. It’s both intimidating and inspiring.

Any time I make new goals, I try to leave enough wiggle room for them to grow and for me to adapt. While it’s important to stick to your goals, I feel it is equally important to realize when you need to change them. This year I intend to push myself creatively on both the writing and business fronts. I want to try things I’ve never tried before in terms of productivity and creative exploration. I want to learn more about growing a creative business. I want to read more widely (regency and steampunk are two genres I could stand to read more in).

Some of my goals:

  • Learn more about/write more short works (includes short stories and flash fiction).
  • Write three full-length novels this year in my Sleeping Beauty series.
  • Get in shape.
  • Eat better.
  • Keep a money/spending journal.
  • Get back into painting and drawing.
  • Read more.
  • Learn more about technology (for my day job).
  • Take some writing classes.
  • Launch my freelance copy editing and proofreading business. 

The theme for this year will be “growth”–professionally and spiritually. Growing means exploring new, uncharted territories. This can be scary, but I’ve found that if I’m scared, it means it’s a direction I need to go in or an opportunity I need to take. My fear is telling me I have room to grow.

Thus, using my fear as a compass, my mantra for this year will be “No Fear.”

What are some of your goals for the new year?

12 Days of Fantasy

I’m honored to be a part of this amazing lineup of talented fantasy authors, some of which are new to me, while others I have been following for six or so years. Thank you to the talented and lovely Jennifer Silverwood for inviting me to participate. I’m also excited to show off the new cover for my dark Snow White retelling A White So Red.

Have fun on the blog hop!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

12 Days of Fantasy for Christmas

We’re excited to share books from 12 fantasy autPrism Book Tourshors with you this holiday season! Come back here or check out one of the participating blogs each day for a different author. There is also a fabulous Fire Tablet and ebook giveaway! If you love fantasy, you don’t want to miss this!

Tour Schedule

December 1st: Sarra CannonTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsBookworm LisaMello & June, It’s a Book Thang!Wishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 2nd: W.R. GingellTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandRockin’ Book Reviews100 Pages A DayLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsMy Devotional ThoughtsWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 3rd: Nikki JeffordTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksThe Bookworm ChroniclesWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 4th: K. D. JonesSinging Librarian BooksTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsBookworm LisaWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdetteSilverWoodSketches

December 5th: M. L. LeGetteTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsReading for the Stars and MoonWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdetteSilverWoodSketches

December 6th: Belle MaloryTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdetteSilverWoodSketches

December 7th: Melissa McShaneSinging Librarian BooksTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 8th: Sara C. RoethleTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandDaily WaffleLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksBookworm LisaWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 9th: R.K. RyalsTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksBookworm LisaWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 10th: Jennifer SilverwoodBrooke BlogsBecky on BooksSinging Librarian BooksTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandDaily WaffleLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 11th: Melissa WrightBecky on BooksTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksBookworm LisaWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdetteSilverWoodSketches

December 12th: Morgan WylieTeatime and BooksAdventures Thru WonderlandLa libreria di BeppeThe Books You ReadMin Reads and ReviewsNicole’s Book MusingsLocks, Hooks and BooksBookworm LisaWishful EndingspoetryhubTheHufflepuffNerdette

December 13th: Grand Finale

Books on Tour

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will win a FIRE HD 8 TABLET from Amazon along with the following ebooks:– TRITON’S CURSE by Sarra Cannon- MASQUE by W.R. Gingell- AURORA SKY: VAMPIRE HUNTER by Nikki Jefford- A WHITE SO RED by K.D. Jones- THE TALE OF MALLY BIDDLE by M.L. LeGette- THE TWELFTH KEEPER by Belle Malory- SERVANT OF THE CROWN by Melissa McShane- THE XOE MEYERS TRILOGY by Sara C. Roethle- CRAVING BEAUTY be Jennifer Silverwood- THE DESCENDANTS SERIES by Melissa Wright- REAWAKENED by Morgan Wylie

Open to US residents or those who are eligible for the Fire Tablet in their area (those who are not, can receive cash value through PayPal)

Ends December 17tha Rafflecopter giveaway

Coming Home

 

I think this is the third time I’ve tried to write this post. The first time I got tongue-tied (or would it be finger-tied? Imagination-tied? I dunno.), the second time it sounded… not like me. Not as genuine as I would have liked. In hindsight I think it was just “pre-blogging jitters.”

So here we go with round three. Hey, third time’s a charm, right? Maybe I’ll get it right this time.

Anyway, about this whole epic fantasy thing… It’s been, wow, four years I think since I’ve actively penned an epic fantasy novel? Even typing those words makes me a little giddy inside and fills me up with excitement.

If you’re just now finding this page, you might be wondering “Why did you quit writing fantasy, Krystle, if you loved it this much?”

Well, it’s kind of a long story, but it really boils down to one thing–money. I grew restless (and impatient… those of you who know me in real life won’t be surprised with that last part 😉 and decided I’d rather write for money than for love. Which was a BIG mistake. Sort of. Kind of. I DID learn a lot in those four years I was cranking out romance novels.

I learned more about promotion. Romance writers are very shrewd business people. And so incredibly sweet and open with their knowledge. Seriously, they are a great group of people.

I learned a ton more about how to run a business, about cash flow, marketing, etc. I took a business course geared toward writers, which was super helpful. I took marketing classes. I became actively involved in marketing and business mastermind groups, which was a great experience. It’s fascinating hearing all the success stories, most of which started out with very humble beginnings.

I learned a lot more about depth and how to write short stories. Even wrote a few–not the easiest thing to do in a genre like romance! Where people have to fall in love, like, right this second but it can’t feel like insta-love.

I learned how to setup my own publishing house label, basically graduating from solo author to small press. Which some of you seasoned authors reading this have already done years ago, but hey. I was proud little old me could do it. When I first started publishing, erm, eight (I think) years ago, the whole process seemed very mysterious. I was in awe of these pros who had it all together and knew all the secrets. I still don’t know everything–not even close–but I know a heck of a lot more than I did eight years ago, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. We all start somewhere, and we all go at our own pace. No two writers’ journeys to success look the same.

Anyway, back to the romance/fantasy debacle. Basically, I wrote romance for a while, made some decent money, and then grew creatively dissatisfied with it. While I still love to read romance, I wasn’t having fun writing it anymore. My heart kept aching to write fantasy. I’d be writing these romance novels and suddenly have an idea for a fantasy piece. I’d get all excited, jot down some notes for it, and then feel guilty for not working on my romance novel. Eventually, my love for fantasy won out. Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy for long. (I say for long because it’s kind of inevitable. At some point in life, you’ll have to do something you don’t like just to get to the next stage. The key is not to do it for so long that it sucks the life out of you.)

So now I’m returning to fantasy. Which, ironically, is the genre that got me started writing in the first place. It’s the genre I grew up reading (Patricia C. Wrede, Robin McKinley). So in a way, it feels a lot like coming full circle. Like coming home.

For those of you who’ve been following my writing career, you might be wondering “Is she going to write more YA books?” To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I used to read a ton of YA. Like A LOOOOOTTTT. Then… I don’t know, I got older and found the teen characters harder to relate to. I craved adult fiction. People with my problems. So I went and read more “adult fiction” and started writing in it (thus, the romance pen name). I still read YA, but at the time I made a break for it and began writing romance, I felt like I was limited in what I could say in my YA books.  I felt creatively restricted in a way, and it was driving me bonkers. There are a lot of topics I feel you either have to skirt around or really watch what you say in YA. (For good reason.) I wanted more “freedom.” I found that in writing for adults.

That’s not to say I won’t ever return to YA. If I get an idea for a character and he/she happens to be a teen, yeah, I’ll happily write from their perspective. It all depends on what my imagination cooks up and what fits the story. I just want to be careful about limiting myself creatively because I feel that’s a recipe for disaster.

Right now I’m working on another retold fairy tale about “Sleeping Beauty,” my personal favorite. Not sure when I would release it, but it probably wouldn’t be until next year. Retold fairy tales, especially involving the fae or vampires (my two personal favorite paranormal creatures), are my weakness. I love them and devour them like candy, when given the opportunity. This Sleeping Beauty story has been in my head for a while. Years, actually. I’m excited to finally get the opportunity to write it.

Hopefully, people will be excited to read it. =)

***

Readers, do you follow writers across genres? Meaning, you’ll read whatever they write, whether it’s horror, sci-fi, etc? Writers, do you stick with one genre? Or do you throw everything under one pen name? Everyone–what’s your opinion on the “for love or for money” debate? I’d love to hear from you!