Tag Archives: Alethea Kontis

Mermaid Takeover – Kerri Bumps Alethea

Here at the Mermaid Lagoon, we each get at least one day a month to blog. Today is Alethea’s day. Or was… [Insert ominous laugh]

That’s right, I’m stealing Alethea’s day! But before you get your fins in a bunch, don’t worry. It’s all to talk about our lovely, amazing, sparkly, Princess, massively talented, beautiful Mermaid Alethea. And bonus, she has a new book out today called Dearest, the 3rd book in the Woodcutter series, and it’s amazeballs! I’m not just saying that because she was my crazy-fun roommate in San Antonio who encouraged me to put whipped cream in my coffee every morning or make waffles in the shape of Texas.

So read on to learn more about our very own Alethea, what she’d make me for dinner, how she’s taking my dog to Hawaii, and which noise she really, really hates. (It’s a good one!) Go Alethea! Dearest


When I think of fairy tales, I generally think of the Disney version of said fairy tale, which may or may not be an accurate depiction of the original story. What Disney adaptation of a fairy tale is your favorite?

Everyone always expects me to say Beauty & the Beast because I look like Belle…and act like Belle…but my answer to this question has to be The Little Mermaid. I loved this Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale so much as a child. I would read it…and cry…and then read it again. When I found out Disney was adapting “The Little Mermaid,” my eyes were like saucers. I mean…SHE DIES. Can they do that?!? But Disney gave that mermaid what we’d all been wishing for her for 150 years: a happy ending.

It’s a random Sunday night and I show up at your house. What are you making me for dinner?

If you caught me at the last minute, I’d make you Greek Chicken & Potatoes. It’s a staple of the Kontis house–a favorite, and easy to make. If I had all the ingredients and all the time, I’d make you my mother’s moussaka. Because it’s possibly my favorite dish ever. And if you don’t care for eggplant, I’ll do the Thea Ana variation that’s made with only potatoes.

You travel. A lot! What one place surprised you the most? And in what way?

There was this one place, at my horrid ex-fiance’s mother’s house in Newcastle, England. The ex was horrid but his mother was lovely, as was her husband (the ex’s stepfather) who, in his retirement, did things like climb mountains and grow things. There was a stone wall beside their house, and through the archway I found the most amazing garden. I walked among the flowers and plants, barefoot in the thick grass. Standing there on the top of that hill, with the wind in my hair, I had a moment of complete serenity. It occurred to me that this was the most beautiful place I had ever been to on the planet.

And then the ex called me inside and ordered me to wipe my feet off so I didn’t get grass stains on his mother’s white carpet.

Speaking of traveling… I’m very busy reading Dearest and my dog Harry needs to go for a walk so you’re going to have to help me out. He loves beaches. Where in the world are you taking him?

Let’s go to Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to go, and I have some friends there I’d love to visit!

Give me one Easter Egg from Dearest.

All the Kates in Dearest are named after my dear friend (and award-winning voice actress) Kate Baker, because I was writing that scene on her birthday.

As always, I have to go here. I love the ten questions that James Lipton asks at the end of every episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio. Your turn.

  1. What is your favorite word? — syzygy
  2. What is your least favorite word? — failure
  3. What turns you on? — intelligence
  4. What turns you off? — people who don’t read
  5. What sound or noise do you love? — dried leaves skittering down the street in the Fall
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? — When people say “blech” at food without tasting it
  7. What is your favorite curse word? — Joy. As in, “Oh, JOY.”
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? — Marine Chemist. It’s what I studied in college. I miss being a genius.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? — anything involving a cubicle. *shudder*
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “Alethea! Lovely to see you. Here’s the photo album you requested.”

I have always said that when I die, I wish to see a photo album of all the pictures where I appear somewhere in the background. Families on vacation, strangers at conventions, random folks on the street. I’ve always been curious to know just how many people I might have known…how many lives I might have touched but for some twist of fate.

Alethea & Kerri, Selfies at RWA 2014

Alethea teaching Keri how to take a selfie at RWA 2014.


Who is your favorite Mermaid sister? [Evil grin]

(You may deliver the truck of glitter to my new house in Florida. But only if you come too!)




Okay, I will alter that question because I’m not completely evil. [Shut up, peanut gallery!] Hollywood comes a-calling. Cast your Mermaid sisters in Enchanted, Hero, and Dearest.

Ooh…tough one!

Carlene — Sunday Woodcutter (without a doubt)

Denny — Aunt Joy (omg she is SO Aunt Joy!)

Kerri — Friday Woodcutter (big heart, big adventure)

Susan — Henry Humbug (silly but knows EVERYTHING)

Masha — Monday Woodcutter (beautiful, serene, dark, & powerful)

Dana — Thursday Woodcutter (only because Dana is too short to be Saturday Woodcutter)

Pintip — Yarlitza Mitella (exotic and fashionable, with a colorful history involving the Duke of Cauchemar)

Loni — Aunt Rose Red, The Abbess of Rose Abbey

Kimberly — Mama Woodcutter (because Kim has like 18 kids…)


BEST INTERVIEW EVER! I should totally steal Alethea’s day more often. While I ponder doing that, make sure you check out Dearest, out today in hardcover and digital versions. Seriously, check it out. Do it! Or I’m sending you one of those exploding glitter boxes!

For more about Alethea, check out her website here. And to really stalk her, click the icons below.

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The Book Prop

Mermaid CarleneGood morning fishy friends!

Have you ever had that moment when an item in a book is woven so well into the story that it adds another dimension to the reading? I have. It’s what my post is about today. The book prop.

Here’s where I divulge a creepy secret about myself in the hopes that others (that’s you guys) will share and therefore make me feel slightly less creepy. 🙂 I can be a little obsessive when it comes to these book props. For example, I might own a pink nightgown just like the one Grace wears in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover. It might have been really hard for me to find just the right one, like Grace’s, and I may have scoured several stores to find it. But I love the way her hero Julian makes her feel when she’s wearing it. And yes, I want to feel that too! I also might have searched far and wide for the perfect bottle of fragrance as described in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. You know that whole Edward scent of milk and honey and cinnamon and cloves? Turns out Bath & Body works has bottled that perfection up into a handy pillow mist which for a while was all you could smell if you entered my house. (Until hubby caught on, that is, and asked that I cut back.) Last one … I cannot walk past a cherry flavored lollipop without thinking of one of Olivia Cunning’s rockers from her Sinners series. I believe it was in Backstage Pass when one of the guys is trying to overcome an unhealthy addiction and his manner of doing this is that he’s now addicted to all things cherry flavored, especially the suckers. I’ll let your imagination take over there … rockstar, cherry, lollipop. 😉


Grace’s Pink Nightgown from Fantasy Lover and Edward Cullen bottled up as pillow mist!

So my secret is out. And guess what? It turns out those of us who love a good book prop aren’t alone! I asked a few of my author friends to share and I’m so GRATEFUL they did! Let’s see what theirs are:

Mermaid Alethea Kontis~

My favorite book prop is a tiny velvet bag of marbles the publisher gave me as a promo for Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.  I opened my hand, dumped out the three blue marbles, and shrieked a little. “Have you read the book?” I asked the sales rep. “Did you realize you were handing out the souls of dead children as promotion?”

Still my favorite.

Connect with Alethea for all things books HERE!


Romance Author S.J. Maylee~

The Bottom Burner drink served in the butt glass from Cara Bristol’s Body Politics.

I love it because it’s cheeky and leads the hero and heroine into one of the hottest scenes I’ve ever read.

Wanna see it? Click HERE!

Wanna chat books with S.J.? Do that HERE!


Romance Author Lynne Silver~

My favorite book prop are the charms that Kaleb Krychek buys for Sahara in Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh. He buys her one charm on each of her birthdays and they each represent something of her. It’s so romantic which of course he denies, being encased in Silence as he is.

I know Lynne’s always up for book talk so go find her HERE!


Thank you so much ladies for sharing those! And now I put the proverbial ball in YOUR court! What are your favorite props, items, doo-dads from books you’ve read? Something in the story or something out in the real world related to the book. For the record, I could have written a week’s worth of posts about Dark Hunter items! Okay, go!





How to Lose An Award Without Losing Your Mind

Two weeks ago, I lost a very important award.

How important, you ask? Important enough that I had an essay posted about it on USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog the day before the ceremony. Important enough that my nerves had me writing this open letter to my mother on my blog…and her response the next day left me sobbing in the hotel room. But that–and dinner that first night when I discovered my Auntie Jeannine had passed away–were the only times I shed a tear.

Because, you see, the SFWA Nebula Awards Weekend this year was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I can’t think of a more fun way to lose an award. So I thought I might share some tips on what to do the next time YOU happen to be up for some major, ceremony-inducing monolith of Lucite.

Tip !: The Other Nominees Are Not The Enemy.

This year, the Andre Norton Ballot had an unprecedented TWELVE nominees. My odds weren’t good from the get-go. The day that the list was announced, I was so giddy that I instantly friended all of the nominees on Twitter and Facebook. I shared many pictures of our books and encouraged folks to spread the word of the Award to stores and libraries. I even gave our posse a name: Andre’s Dozen.

There was no way we were all going to be present for the ceremony in San Jose–Libba Bray, for one, had just landed in Australia for her book tour. Those of us who did show up: Eugene Myers, Leah Bobet, Sarah Beth Durst and me…well, we bonded.

The Norton Nominees (aka The Kids Table)

We had a great time at the mass signing (where we smiled at everyone who walked in the door and stared at Gene Wolfe’s never-ending line), and then later, goofing off at the official Nominee Photo Shoot. We received our certificates and our pins (Sarah has THREE now) and we acted like fools. But inside we were all scared. We knew that in 24 hours, three of us would be losers. Or all of us would be. And being there, in the trenches together, was a special thing.

The "Serious" Picture

2.) Write Your Acceptance Speech

Rachel writing her 2011 acceptance speechWhenever you are nominated for an award like this, you must write an acceptance speech. Even if you don’t plan on winning. You can write it well ahead of time, or you can steal a notepad from the hotel right before the banquet and scratch something brilliant down real quick…like Rachel Swirsky did when she took home a Nebula back in 2011.

I wrote my speech the night that voting ended. By then my fate was sealed, for better or worse, and I could spend the next six weeks working on my “It’s an honor to be nominated” face and slow golf clap for a winner I’d inevitably despise.

That didn’t stop me from being superstitious, of course — I am Greek, after all. I hand wrote the speech on a card and slipped it into my talisman — a book I had purchased from Miss Andre’s personal collection the last time I ever saw her.

3.) Embrace The Forethought of Doom

My dear friend Gail Vinett once passed to me a bit of wisdom that I always misremember as “No forethought of doom.” Essentially: Don’t waste time on worry. But there does need to be a moment before that awards ceremony–a few days before, or a few minutes–where you know FOR ABSOLUTE CERTAIN that you are not going to walk away with this one. No matter what happens, you’re either going to be right or pleasantly surprised…but you need to know in your heart that it is never going to happen. And you need to accept that.

The Princess and Her Fairy Godmother, Agent Deborah Warren4.) HAVE FUN.

…which should really be a universal rule, no matter what. Nebula Awards Weekend was an amazing, magical time. I got to hobnob with the starsof SF–my heroes–and have conversations I’d never thought I’d have–like talking to Kim Stanley Robinson about how he used to sign Red Mars and Blue Mars and Green Mars with different colored pens…or how Gregory Benford believes he’s become the spitting image of Ernest Hemmingway. I finally met William C. Dietz for the first time, even though we’ve known each other for years.

And I wore a ridiculous white ballgown with a silver corset and left glitter everywhere and was the talk of the evening. Well…one of them.

I discovered, right before dinner was served, that our table was situated directly in front of the u-stream camera, and that every bite of my fish was being live cast on the internet for the world–including my parents and old high school friends up way past their bedtime on the East Coast–to see. But instead of freaking out that I had just put half a lemon into my mouth instead of a yellow squash, I decided to become U-Stream Ambassador. I dragged one SF writer after another in front of that camera to wave hello to the folks at home…because they were suddenly part of my Evening to Remember as well. And they were sharing from on every corner of the Internet.

I was so high on life that when Steven Gould walked on stage to present the Norton Award, I wasn’t *too* scared (but it was nice to have Fran Friel’s hand to hold anyway). And when Eugene’s name was called…well, I jumped up and hooted and hollered just like my brother was about to walk onto that stage. I wasn’t sad AT ALL…I was incredibly proud! There would be plenty of time to be sad later. And then later I just kind of forgot.

5.) Condolences

It would have been nice to win the Norton, sure. But it’s really been rather quite a lovely award to lose. All those people rooting for me, sitting on the edge of their seat from the other side of the table or the other side of the world, they don’t suddenly stop loving me or my work. It was like living in my very own Disney movie–nobody walks away disappointed with the Jamaican Bobsled Team. Those folks who have always cared about me, and the new friends I’d just met: They’ll all be rooting for me next time, maybe even harder.

I looked around that banquet hall and realized that there were people present–heroes of literature I looked up to–who had lost more awards than I’d ever be nominated for in my life. I suddenly felt like I belonged to an exclusive club, like I was finally on my way to becoming a Name to Remember in SF. I’ll be nominated for more awards–win some, lose some–and my friends will be nominated. We’ll present awards to each other and take turns playing master of ceremonies…and maybe half a century from now we’ll be drawing straws deciding who gets to be Grandmaster this time around.

And maybe then…well, I have a feeling I’ll remember this weekend and wish I could go back to this–the beginning–and do it all over again. So I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here, with one glass slipper in the open door.

And you know what? It was an honor to be nominated.

Norton Nominated Princess


[Enchanted was just released in paperback this week: check it out here!]

How Long Does it Take To Get Published?

“How long does it take to get published” is the title of fellow YA author Brigid Kemmerer’s blog post today. She makes some very good points and chats about her own story. (You should go read it…or at least click over to say hi.)

Like Brigid, I, too, get asked this question quite a lot.

“There is no ‘standard’ in how long it takes to get published,” says Brigid, and she’s absolutely right. Asking an author how long it takes to get published is even more subjective than “Where do you get your ideas?” An author can generally tell you where the seed for a particular novel/story/scene came from. In order to answer “How long does it take to get published”, you have to know two things: Where to mark the START and the END.

How long have you been with your significant other? Married couples get to celebrate an anniversary on the day the got married, but what about the day they met? Their first date? Their first kiss? The day they moved in together? The day they shot that guy and drove to Mexico?

There are too many places for an author to start.
For me, the START places are:

1.) When I was eight years old and announced to my parents that “If this acting thing doesn’t work out, I’ll just fall back on being a writer.” (1984)

2.) In college, when a bunch of my friends emailed around their answers to a personal profile questionnaire, and my answer to “What do you want to accomplish by the time you’re 30?” was “To be published.” (1994)

3.) When I started reviewing books for the local free press every two weeks (my paycheck was also free) (January 2003)

4.) When I attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp, my first formal writing education (June 2003)

5.) When I went to High Hallack and met Andre Norton (2003)

6.) When I got my first official book contract for AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First (2004)

Based on this timeline, I usually pick 2003 as my START, since it’s obvious to me that’s when I decided to take writing seriously and devote major time and energy into pursuing it as a career. But I’d been faffing around writing and submitting stuff to the school literary anthology, the neighborhood newsletter, and magazine contests (never the school newspaper, though, and I have no idea why) since that first bullet point at 1995.

I’ve heard so many people say, “If you’re submitting, then you’re a writer!” If that’s true, then I’ve been a writer since I was eight.

Now we have to pick an ending!
Possible END dates for me:

1.) 2003 — when that book review column started running in The Rutherford Reader. (I held that position, unpaid, for two years. As long as I met my deadline, they put me in the paper.)

2.) 2004 — when I got the book contract for AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First

3.) 2006 — when AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First was actually in print

These END places work fine for me, but some people aren’t satisfied by this. Some would prefer the time I started writing the novel (Enchanted) to the time it was published (2012) because picture books and anthologies and Dark-Hunter Companions don’t count. But then do I mark the start date from the time I wrote the original “Sunday” short story for the Codex Writers contest in 2005, or after that, when I decided to turn it into a novel? What about the novel I wrote in 2005 that’s still making the rounds and has yet to be picked up by an editor? Where does that fit in?

Obviously, the answer to “How long does it take to get published” varies by author. For me, it’s somewhere between 1 and 28 years.

MY question is: When people ask this, where are they starting from? At what point do they set their own personal timer? And who do they get to blame if the cake’s not finished when the buzzer sounds?

Given all these START and END points, what would you answer if you were me?

Author Interview: Princess Alethea Swims with the Mermaids

Alethea Kontis, author of Enchanted

This surprised me. I was nervous. I wanted to conduct the best possible interview ever because I was interviewing the one and only Alethea Kontis. Yes, the New York Times Bestselling author, the multi-published author of the AlphaOops! series, the author of the newly released Enchanted, which is getting RAVE reviews, not surprisingly–and she’s also the founder of the Waterworld Mermaids (and my roomie at the 2012 WRW-DC Retreat). So yes, I was nervous! But if you know Alethea, you know I shouldn’t have been nervous one darn bit. Mainly because she wouldn’t allow it. A charming young woman with an infectious fun-loving personality, and a huge amount of talent, energy and love for writing and for being the best writer she can be, Alethea is fabulous and likely the only Princess I’ll ever know:)…and that’s just fine with me.

It was my pleasure to spend a few minutes swimming in her pond. So, without further adieu, here’s my interview with Alethea Kontis.

Denny said: Let’s get to the facts right up front. What’s your full author name, website, your latest release, the WIP that is keeping you up at night, your agent, your publisher, how long have you been writing…your successes? Yes, I want the mini bio right here, right now!

Alethea said: My name is Alethea Kontis, www.aletheakontis.com, Latest release(s): Enchanted, The Wonderland Alphabet, and my current WIP is called Saturday (sequel to Enchanted). My agent is Deborah Warren (East West Literary Agency).

I have been writing since I was eight years old. I was published by 30 and hit the New York Times bestseller list at 31. I’ve published picture books, short stories, poetry, essays, romance encyclopedias, and now (finally!) a novel. I’ve edited a major anthology, and I have friends in all genres, all over the world. I am a very lucky girl.

Denny said: What’s the best kept secret about your writing process?

Alethea said: Brownies. (The elves, not the dessert. Or the Girl Scouts.) For a bit of milk and honey, I get a lot of work done.

Denny said: What character have you written or are writing that keeps you up at night – just one, please:)?

Alethea said: My most recent obsession was/is a young girl named Ashes on the Wind — the princess formerly known as “Snow White.” I wrote her origin tale as a short story–“The Unicorn Hunter”–that was included in John Skipp’s Demons anthology last year. (You can still read it for free by clicking here. She also appears as a character in the sequel to Enchanted. But it’s not time for me to tell the rest of her story just yet…but I promise you, what a story it will be.

Denny said: What fictional character (book, film, television, comics) has had the greatest influence on your writing style and why?

Alethea said: My writing has been most influenced by the King of Hearts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” The rhyming and the nonsense and the impossible things before breakfast are all just part and parcel.

Denny said: What book/author is the current “hot read” on your bookshelf?

Alethea said: Right now on my TBR pile are Wuftoom by Mary G. Thompson, The Taker and The Reckoning by Alma Katsu, and Thieftaker by D. B. Jackson

Denny said: What’s your favorite drink on a beautiful, not too hot, not too cold, spring evening – and who (fictional or not, friend or family, celebrity or historic figure) would be sitting at your side enjoying that drink with you?

Alethea said: Drink: A hot cup of Greek coffee.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Companion: My Greek grandfather Soterios Kontis–refugee, merchant marine, and pirate–who died before I was born.

Denny said: Who’s your favorite author and what would you ask them if you had the chance (or when you had the chance)?

Alethea said: I’ve sat here for far too long trying to think of a favorite author. I’ve come up with no less than twenty-seven names. But I don’t have questions. The sentiment I would say to all of them remains the same: “Thank you.”

Denny said: Last question…what question have you been dying to answer but no one has ever asked?

Alethea said: Hey, Alethea, where do your own siblings fall into the Woodcutter family? Which children are they most like?

Then Alethea replied: You know, I was hoping that someone would ask me this question–thank you so much for being that person! My eldest sister Cherie is definitely Monday, fair of face. She was once runner-up in the Miss Vermont pageant. Peter has a lot of my brother West at heart–quiet, romantic, and magic with a knife. (Peter isn’t a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do…but there have to be some differences.) I am all of the sisters in some ways, of course, in order to breathe life into them…but I’m most like Sunday. Ironically, my youngest sister Soteria is most like Saturday–strong and soft-hearted, confident and insecure all at the same time.

I would love to make a personality quiz…which Woodcutter sibling are you most like?

Thank you Alethea!

Now visitors, it’s your turn!  Alethea will be stopping by to answer questions and to say hi! We also are offering a book giveaway today to one lucky commenter–a signed copy of Alethea’s new book, Enchanted.  So jump in the pond, and enjoy. 

Rockin’ Romance Giveaway & Video Chat

Rockin' Romance Video Chat 2 p.m. Sunday March 11

Have you ever wanted to see a Waterworld Mermaid in her natural habitat?

Chat about books in the lagoon?

Ask questions about our latest releases and upcoming novels?

No? Then, be gone with you back to your own dark part of the ocean with its bad florescent fish lighting and weird-looking Anglerfish.

Are they gone? Good, because Waterworld Mermaids Alethea Kontis, Robin Convington and Avery Flynn have some amazing news to share. We are co-hosting an hour-long Rockin’ Romance video chat at 2 p.m. this Sunday (March 11). Stop by  to talk books, music and chocolate with us. In addition, I’m sure they’ll be some man candy, writer gossip and some inappropriate language. Hey, we’re Waterworld Mermaids, we’re known for our outrageous enthusiasm not our decorum.

We’ll be giving away a humongous gift basket to one lucky participant filled with signed copies of Up a Dry Creek by Avery Flynn and Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, a digital copy of Jennifer Probst’s The Marriage Bargain, an iTunes gift card, reading goodies and at least one box of your favorite Girl Scout cookies!

What’s that? You’re evil twin is planning to take over the world this Sunday by destroying all the bookstores on the Eastern shore so you can’t make the chat? Totally understandable. Leave a question or suggest a conversation topic in the comments below and you’ll be in the running for the Rockin’ Romance gift basket.

Participating in the video chat is easy. Join in on the Rockin’ Romance Video Chat at 2 p.m. Sunday and follow the onscreen prompts. All you need is a a web cam, a love of romance novels and a sense of humor. We can’t wait to chat with you in the lagoon!

Happy Valentine’s Week – Day Four

Happy Valentine’s Week from the Waterworld Mermaids!!!

Here in our lovely mermaid lagoon, we are all abuzz with the holiday of love. And because we’re in such a happy mood, we wanted to share some stories and memories from mermaid-pasts. Best of all, we’re celebrating all week long! We hope you enjoy!

Love can be messy.  It’s not always presented to us neatly, wrapped all pretty with a cute little bow on top. But there are those people, and those precious moments, that remind us it’s all worth it….


Sunday Afternoon
Susan Andrews

She’d been cutting his hair for years.  Well, not all the years – there was the time she’d put a ten dollar bill in his hand and, at his look of surprise, said, “It’s a gift.  You’re going out.”  Then deflated his pleasure when she added, “For a haircut.”  But that was long ago.  After so many years together, things were different.  No more surprises in this marriage.

Now she cut it again.  Every few weeks, she would notice the sparse hair on the top of his head resembled dandelion fluff.  He was an easy man to please, and shorter was better.  They’d gotten used to the occasional fumbles, the one spot that got away every time and spoiled the symmetry.  His hair was too fine for a perfect haircut, and his simple gratitude for any style that didn’t include a comb-over was sufficient.

They worked well together.  She got out the sheet and kicked aside the bathroom rugs.  He retrieved a kitchen chair and shed his flannel shirt.  They understood the need for cooperation.  Things worked better that way.

The clipper (bought for their son’s first haircut long ago) ran up the back of his head, the hairs making a pleasant brrrrrr asthey succumbed to the blade’s vibration.  The fluff fell against her hand, tickling at her fingers.  It cascaded down across his shoulders, a mix of dark and gray hairs.  Gone.  The curls she’d played with, the widow’s peak.  What was left?

“Your hair still grows fast. It’s long enough in the back to curl a little.”  Brrrrrrr.

“There’s not enough to let it be long.  Shorter is better.”

“Hmmm.  Tip your head?”  She pressed a hand against his temple and felt its warmth under her fingertips.  His head angled to one side as he waited for her to carve the outline around his ear.  Don’t knick the ear.  She coached herself through the steps.  Back. Change. Front.

Especially since she loved that ear.  The pretty shell, so neatly formed, delicate in contrast to the musculature of the man.  Not as pretty now, with the lobe gone fleshy.  Still…

She bent, her hands braced against his shoulder, and kissed the ear.  He flinched under the sheeting, surprised.  She’d broken the pattern.  Awkward, having to crouch, but her lips found the tip and pressed against it again.

She stood again, met his eyes in the mirror.  “I love you.”

“Love you, too.”  He couldn’t move, his body shrouded in a twin-size sheet.  She could, though, and bent to kiss his lips.  A good match.  All these years, and she was surprised that she still believed in the us they’d become.  “She chose wisely,” she joked against his lips.

She felt his mouth curve under hers.  “He got lucky.”

She laughed and set the clipper down, picked up the brush to flick the stray bits from his neck and face.  “We could both get lucky if you help me clean this up.”

He pushed against the twin sheet as she unwound it, scrubbed his hands against his face and down his neck.  Then he stood to wrap her in his arms.  Warm, firm, strong.  His hands found the muscles in her back that were too-often tight and soothed them.

“Thanks.”  His lips still had the power to send a spiral down into her tummy.  He lifted his head.  “Pizza for dinner?”


“Me.”  His hand trailed down her side and tickled under the hem of her shirt.  A promise.  “I’ll get the broom.”

She knew she would find the one spot on his head that had escaped her.  At some point in the evening, she would run her hand across the crown of his head and find the baby-fine patch that had hidden.  Unruly.  Disobedient.  Sooner or later, she would have to deal with it.

Later on, she found it.  “There it is.”  Their feet were tangled in the blankets, their hands still exploring.

“Oh.”  His eyes were lazy now, but amused.  “You found the spot?”

“It got away from me.”  She nudged the puff of hair.  “I’ll have to get the scissors out.”

He slipped his hands under her and kissed her again.  “Do it later.”


We hoped you enjoyed our stories this week. We loved sharing them with you! Come back tomorrow for a fantastic giveaway!



Semantics by Alethea Kontis

“What are you doing out here?”

It had taken him long enough to find her. Holly felt Jacob’s touch on her shoulder but did not turn around. Time was too fleeting. She wanted to revel a little longer in the chill of the dark Spring night, the giggle of the creek below her, the crunch of the grass under her feet. Charlie’s mind hadn’t gotten the grass quite right yet.

“I was scolded for talking to the children,” she said. “So I came out to catch fireflies by the water.” She scooped up a lightning bug that had rested on the branch beside her, serenely blinking like an empty street on the day after Christmas. Holly remembered Christmas, and the little girl who had dreamed about it once. Holly had taken her name.

“Technically it’s not catching when you don’t chase them,” said Jacob.

“Technically it’s not chasing when they wait to be found.” Even after so long, it was ever the argument with them.

“It’s not really a creek,” he said.

“It’s not really night either, but you don’t hear me complaining.” Holly opened her palm and let the firefly escape, leaving nothing on her fingertips but wishes and dew.

“I’m not complaining,” he said. “Just stating the facts.”

“Facts have no business here,” said Holly.

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Come Inside Our Garden

The true beauty of a story is that through the written word we can travel anywhere, be anyone and experience anything.

As Waterworld Mermaids, we don’t normally find ourselves in a garden, unless it’s of the seaweed and coral variety; so, for our first anthology of short stories, we decided to tie each tale together by location and an exotic one to us – a garden.

What will you find in our garden during the next few weeks?

Alethea Kontis brings you a fantasy story of two ethereal beings who live only in dreams, without any of their own, emboldened by love to take the biggest risk of all.

Avery Flynn takes you on a steampunk journey to Victoria City. When the fate of the word is at stake, a freedom fighter and the man hunting her must work together to foil a would-be tyrant.

Carlene Love Flores will envelope you inside a moody thriller. A grief-stricken and sleep-deprived mother struggles against the family who thinks she’s gone mad until a mysterious man comes to her aid.

Dana Rodgers spins a paranormal tale of a lonely girl who discovers her family harbors dark secrets and finds salvation in a knight’s garden.

Denny S. Bryce ratchets up the tension, in the romantic suspense tale of an FBI agent in a post-apocalyptical world hunting an orchid thief who has stolen her heart.

Kerri Carpenter brings you the contemporary world of two long-lost lovers who find themselves together again surrounded by nature’s beauty, wondering if they can find nature’s greatest gift – love.

Robin Covington heats up the garden when lust and the promise of love collide in this steamy tale of when opposites attract.

The Come Inside Our Garden anthology of free reads will last from Oct. 3 to Oct. 26 with something new each day. Please enjoy your time in the Waterworld Mermaid garden and tell your friends about the new worlds you discover.