IMG_1624This is an excerpt from Deeper, my novel which is NEARLY ready to publish online.  And THIS is a painting by Mel of Iamnotshe, which she painted for my book.  Mel is SO talented – and I am SO lucky to know her.

I swam, holding your head up as high as I could, my fingers wrapped in the coverings around your thin neck.  I swam with my tail alone, and it was hard work, even for me.  At first it was like swimming through sand – the sea threw itself at us from all directions, and when we fell from the top of each wave, I had to struggle to keep your face from going under. 

If I’d been on my own, I would have swum under the storm, where it was always calm and green.  With you in my arms, I couldn’t do that.  At last I saw your floater, tossing past.  I thrust towards it and held on to the wind-tree with one arm, and you with the other.  It helped, a little.  I could see why you humans stayed on your floaters – even up-ended it refused to sink.

After a while, the clouds cleared to the west, and the wind began to fade.  The storm spirits, racing each other through black clouds above and casting their spears of white lightning into the sea, put down their weapons and went to rest.  The sky glowed sunset-blue.  The water calmed.  As I swam with you, easier now, I could see the moon rise, a thin broken shell at the horizon.  I felt the great current guiding us both towards the Dry.

It became night.  It was hard now to tell if we were above or below the surface, grey-black both – but I made sure that your head was always in the air.  Even we mer need to breathe the air.  Your bleeding had stopped long since.  That was just as well, because I didn’t think I could fight off a shark for you, now.  I was dead tired.

I heard the Trapped Moon, and felt it, before I saw it.  Around us the waves of Deep Sea rolled for long hours, uninterrupted, but in the distance I heard them strike rock and roar in spray.  They don’t like to be slowed and thwarted in their travels: it makes them angry and stubborn, as it does me.  They strike out and spit and claw at anything which gets in their way.

We reached the tip of the long beam, bouncing on the dark water.  I stopped to stare at the white moonlet, high up but not so high as the other.  It crossed my mind – if humans were so weak, how could they do these things that no mer could?  Put the moon on a rock, for instance. Were we mer really the clever ones?

I swam in place, listening to the words of the waves.   I couldn’t bring you in on the rocks, you’d be cut to pieces and I’d be hurt too.  I’d have to swim round and listen for a beach.  We circled the island.  You were slack and heavy, my arms ached from dragging you.  It’d become very important to me that you not be dead.  Partly for your sake, partly because of everything I’d already invested in you.  A whole night away from home, the long weary swim across the black fearsome sea.  What a waste, if you were already dead.

I saw the tiny silver strip, and heard the hiss of surf on sand.  The sea was warmer, too, as we came closer to land, rising shallow.  The Trapped Moon glanced down at the ocean, lit a path for us, and turned away.  A wall of rock stood behind, a few stubby green things growing from it at an angle. The tide was going out, which didn’t help me at all, pushing myself and you up the beach.  But I let the waves wash us as far as they could.

It was hard work getting you up on the sand.  When it became too shallow to use my tail, I had to drag you with my arms, pushing myself, then you, further up onto the Dry. I didn’t want you to be sucked out again like flotsam.  It was like trying to move a rock, only you weren’t hard but soft and waterlogged.  I wriggled out of the water and pulled and slipped, and still you only moved inches at a time.  It took me a long time to get you to the shadow of the cliff, beyond the tide mark.

You were so still.  I turned you on your stomach and you spat out water, but still you didn’t wake.  I lay close to you, my head against your wet, sea-forest chest, and listened to your heartbeat.  It was weak and not regular.  That wasn’t a good thing – I remembered from when my mother died in pup, and I cuddled up against her, how her heart also jumped, and limped, and then stopped.

With my fingers I combed through your lovely human hair, so fine and thin, and put my warm lips against your eyelids, almost transparent and stuck together now with sand and salt.

I untied the swollen covering that had kept you up, and pulled it off you.  Underneath, you were bare like a merman, and not so different, to look at.  You were softer and leaner, though.  In curiosity, I ran my fingers over your skin, from the base of your throat where the hair began, down between your nipples, down to your navel framed with long dark strands.  I felt how frail you were.  I could count every one of your ribs as I drew my hands over your body.


    1. Thanks, I’m so glad you said that, because that’s what it’s about, really. That and a sort of harshness, which might come out in other excerpts.


  1. Rose, it’s so cool to read this excerpt with a wee painting of OUR Mer. Powerful scene! Yay publishing! I’m happy to make inserts into text, unless you’ve already done so. Do you need other background shots (see iamnotshe) The Sea’s been seeing me (I think it’s called). xxxxx

    1. No, haven’t done it yet. Technical advice always welcome, I’m such a dill. I don’t know – do I need other background shots?


      1. Not sure how the book will be laid-out. If this is online only, i think you have more freedom to perhaps have certain pages that are sort of “transluscent” with type over them (for water/sea effect). I suppose we won’t know how e-book printing goes until you’re approached, or you appoach them. I could do a little research on e-book, graphic production. Part of the “deal” 😉

      2. Well, ok! I thought maybe of interspersing some chapters with paintings. In an e book this is often greyed out. But for those with colour readers!

      3. Ha ha. I must say, i’m guilty of liking to LOOK AT THE PICTURES. Most readers (you’re right) like words, words, words. If I didn’t get such a raving headache and wasn’t so adverse to fiction, i’d agree. My reality is much more interesting than fiction. LOL. Mostly true!

        Give me a text book, and i’m on my way! I’m a sucker for getting lots of info. into my overactive head! Not much use for color in texts!

        We’ll figure it out. BTW, i love the mermaid you love. I have to revert back to that.

    1. Yes finally! I did look for a publisher but no luck. I’m kind of relieved in a way because that means I have ‘editorial control’ esp in relation to pictures.

      1. That is what pushes me more and more towards self-publishing. A fellow blogger/writer went a small e-publisher and has no control over price, distribution, etc.

      2. Yes. But I get what you were saying about letting someone else do the work. And BEING published has a certain cachet.


  2. Wow! I absolutely loved it! Just bravo! You are really good – Beautiful. I would buy this book in a minute and your friend did a great job with the painting. You are both so talented!! When I was really little I loved mermaids…I used to fantasize about being one…I would pretend I had a tail and practice swimming in the bathtub – I’m really serious…and “Deeper” is an awesome title. When is it getting published?

      1. Congratulations on your work almost being completed. Tell Ms. Mel I said Hi.

  3. Firstly I love the painting. You are right. She is very talented, and secondly I was left wondering what happened by the fragment of your book, and that is a very good thing. Lastly, I am full of admiration that you have got so far with it and are on the verge of publication. What a fantastic achievement that is on its own. From the fragment I’ve read, and the determination you’ve shown, I would be optimistic about your future

    1. That’s kind of you to say that. I can honestly say that the book is the best that I’m capable of writing, right now (which may not be saying much, but it means that it says what I wanted it to say, and so I’m happy). And yes, Mel is talented and she put a lot of work into the painting, which I’m very grateful for.


  4. Jesus, mary and josephine 😉 the tests were NEGATIVE!!! I’m cancer free!!! And I have a cool mermaid and an awesome friend. MWAH!!!!!

      1. EVEN THOUGH WE ARE STRAIGHT pant pant pant.

        I LOVE YOU!!! I’m SO EXCITED! …

    1. You forgot the PERIOD!!!!! Right that’s IT! No I mean thanks Hook – yes there is. Especially someone else’s. What i mean is…no I think I’m just going to put my foot in things tonight 🙂


  5. Rose, your writing is beautiful, so vividly descriptive. I love the way you describe the storm. And I am so impressed that you are nearly ready to publish! Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Sally. Honestly, sometimes I read my stuff and think, god that’s puerile. And other times i feel really pleased with it. I sometimes worry that my family think, ‘why does she bother, poor thing!’


      1. And if we worried about what our families thought, imagine where that would get us! You’ve got a gift, my friend!

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