Coral Were His Bones

Coral Were His Bones Reminiscing

Amazon is having a sale on Coral and of all the stuff I’ve done in the recent storm of writing, Coral has to be my favourite. For me characters are the entire point to the story. I know other people read for plot and setting, and I love Coral’s world and its magic, but it’s the characters I keep wishing more people loved.

I don’t write characters that are whole in the beginning of the story. I feel there are enough alpha dogs out there who can swoop in and blow up the asteroid before it blows up the world, or just France, depending on the physics. Finn’s point of view was the most interesting POV I’ve written in. He’s not entirely human, but he’s not an animal either. He gets more information from the smell of the people around him than he does visually. People can lie or train themselves to deceive but they just can’t hide the way their emotions feel.

Devon, on the other hand, deals with trying to be the perfect boyfriend for a broken individual and gets cut on the jagge edges. He didn’t ask for a lovesick pup, which was Finn to the turn, picking him as his soulmate and the antagonist was working even when Finn was just a boy to make sure that his ending wasn’t going to be a happy ever after. What Finn goes through trying to process what he’d been through for the past decade would be too much for anyone to bear, but Devon tries. He doesn’t always succeed; not being selkie he’s playing with a card deck he doesn’t always recognize all the values of the hand he’ dealt, but he does his best.

Devon’s adopted dad, though, is my favourite character. I should say he’s a trans man, but in his head he wouldn’t use the modifier. He’s a man, always has been, and has done his best since Devon was a very young man to raise Devon up to be the best man he could. I love their dynamics.

The world belongs to the Changeling universe; the characters have a crossover in the third, unpublished book, but this world stands alone. I was able to write the whole trilogy without the first book coming out so the end of the story is buried in the beginning of the tale. This world just deserves more love. I’m terrible at promotion. I’d much rather talk about the process of writing than the after effects of novel, but I’m going to have to change that.

Something Shiny in the Distance is in the top twenty!

Ren’s lover in Red Lettering thought he had Ren completely understood. Ren wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but for Colin, the shy main character in Red Lettering who can’t even urinate when there is someone else in the room and couldn’t talk dirty if a gun was pointed at him during sex, thought for sure he was going to be a boring old accountant like his father because he didn’t see any way out of his drab, ordinary life. He was a writer, and he narrated his life as best he could, but when a friend of a friend brought Ren over to fix his computer in the dorms, his entire life changed. Ren was that explosion of color that said what Colin wanted to say, did what Colin wanted to do, and saw the world the way Colin wanted to see it.

But Ren had to change as well. He took his job of being the life of the party very seriously. His flamboyant, bright shine he put on everything couldn’t fool himself. When he met Colin, though, his life changed as much as Colin’s had. Not giving more than a single fuck about anything couldn’t work when he had a person in his life he wanted to love and be loved by.

That he met Finn in his past was a given. He studied sea lions, Finn was a sea lion. But Finn also had the touch of immortality that all fae folk have. It’s one evening that entwined Finn and Ren’s lives, stories and bodies.

I love all my main characters, but Ren is extra special to me. I’m so happy to see that Something Shiny in the distance is currently #18 in the free paranormal erotica and #20 in the free gay erotica. Finn’s story continues in Coral were his Bones and next week in No Mortal Business and Ren’s story, such as it went, continues in Red Lettering.

Alien POV (AKA writing about seals as fierce predators and nature’s power bar)

Writing from an alien point of view is about as much fun as you can have on your computer without needing a credit card. But it also can torpedo your book straight down to the depths of no-one will read this, even if it wins awards. Finn’s a half-human half-selkie who can turn into a selkie in a world where half-bloods are stuck with all the potential in the world and no ability to change.

I started to write about selkies because of shark week. You can’t learn much about predators without talking about their prey. I use seal rooks which are harem based with bachelor seals often pairing up being a thing. Seals are fascinating creatures. Did you know they are related to bears? That there are three kinds of seals? True seals (also called “crawling”, furred seals and sea lions, and walruses all within the seal superfamily? Each one of my selkies have their pelts. In No Mortal Business, the Pacific sea witch says she has enough selkie-pelts to carpet the ocean floor. Finn’s pelt is a leather jacket. It has claws and a tiny little personality that emerged all on its own and it has a total crush on Devon.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to writing alien points of view is that your main character has to be familiar enough that your reader can relate to it but different enough that the reader is reminded every time that the point of view sticks out that this POV isn’t entirely human. I cheated a bit; Finn’s dad is (mostly) human and he has a lot of human emotions that other selkies don’t have quite so much as. It’s kind of the anti-Spock. Selkies, much like Padme, can literally die of a broken heart. It’s the #1 killer of selkies, even taking sharks into consideration. There’s a couple times in the book that Finn is so heartbroken, it’s a good thing that his master still holds his heart or he would have died from how much it hurt.

When it comes to his point of view, though, he has an edge on most humans. Humans can train themselves to fake emotions well enough to pass lie-detector tests, but they have no ability to change the way they smell. So rather than say a character looked a certain way, Finn notices the way they smell, first. There’s only one person in the world he can’t smell well enough to see how they feels, and surprise, it’s not his lover. It’s his sort-of stepmother.

I love Finn’s POV for three reasons. For one, his human part allows him to use magic, but in order to fuel the magic, he needs lots and lots of calories, so he’s hungry all the time. It’s fun to feed Finn because after a decade of eating his master’s scraps, he’s just so grateful for every morsel of food he gets. I watched the trained seals in West Edmonton Mall. The dolphins were doing what they were doing because they enjoyed playing for the most part, but the seals were staring at their trainers to see if what they were doing was enough to get fed yet. That carries over in Finn’s point of view. He worries that Devon feeding him fresh raw fish is going to put him in the poor house.

Secondly, in No Mortal Business, he’s very concerned with his smell. Juveniles, especially young males don’t start to smell musky until after they reach sexual maturity so the alpha seal doesn’t kill them. Finn has never been allowed to develop an adult musk, and he works very hard at creating and maintaining one. He’s absolutely thrilled when Devon likes the new way he smells.

To keep selkie pups safe in general and not just from the alpha male, pups can’t transform into their seal self without their mother’s help until they’re going through puberty. Finn loses his mother when he’s six years old. Part of being a selkie means that their memories don’t fade or disappear, even as very young pups so he can remember his mom as vividly as though she had died last week instead of when he was a child. For the first six years of his life, his mother was the centre of his universe. When she disappears, not only does he not know how to function in the human world, he doesn’t meet another selkie until he’s twenty eight. His sort-of step mother helped in the how to make his pelt and figuring out how his plumbing works.

And that’s because, for my final reason for loving Finn’s POV, selkie sex is…complicated. Selkies aren’t like humans. They mate in a very specific pattern. In a mated pair, there is an internal partner and an external partner. This isn’t to say that all females are internal and all males are external, though. Trans characters exist and though Finn doesn’t know it, there are selkies who just don’t want to connect to anyone.

Most (but not all) females are internal while most (but not all) males are external. Your sexuality (gay or straight) has nothing to do with how you connect, but the percentage of external females and internal males are about at the same percentage as there are gay people in this world. But there are straight and gay internal males and straight and gay external females. The rarest in both genders are external straight females and internal gay males, which means if you’re an internal straight or an external gay male, you’re pretty much screwed, only not literally.

The good news is humans are plug and play. They can connect to any kind of seal. While any children the pair might have is not going to be able to turn into a selkie (except for Finn…Finn’s entirely his own category) if a selkie gives his heart to a human, the human ages at the same rate as the selkie, who can live up to 500 years if they aren’t eaten by a shark or get their hearts broken. Finn was tricked out of his heart when he was just eighteen, but for reasons that don’t need to explored at this juncture, he gave away his heart but got to keep his love for Devon. Most selkies are physiologically forced to love the one who possesses their heart, even if it was given up by hook or by crook.

Finn gave it up by crook, but the series is about his struggle to get it back. It took multiple, multiple drafts to rewrite their story, going back to the drawing board at least three times. But that’s also another story.

Seventh Miscellaneous Selkie Link: Song of the Sea

To celebrate the release of my new book, Coral Were His Bones, I’m going to be posting a month’s worth of things about selkies. Coral is a m/m paranormal erotica novel about Finn, a selkie who’s in love with his childhood sweetheart Devon, but bound in a magical contract to a cruel master. It’s a story of modern magic, snark, sex, and how to heal when everything hurts.

Another movie! This one, Song of the Sea, is from the same people who did The Secret of Kells. Here’s the blurb:

An animated feature film from Oscar nominated Tomm Moore, SONG OF THE SEA tells the story of Ben and his little sister Saoirse — the last Seal-child — who embark on a fantastic journey across a fading world of ancient legend and magic in an attempt to return to their home by the sea. The film takes inspiration from the mythological Selkies of Irish folklore, who live as seals in the sea but become humans on land. SONG OF THE SEA features the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Lisa Hannigan, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Lucy O’Connell, Liam Hourican and Kevin Swierszsz. Music is by composer Bruno Coulais and Irish band Kíla, both of whom previously collaborated on The Secret of Kells.

I really enjoyed The Secret of Kells, which took plain old 2D animation in this age of visually stunning big budget movies from Pixar and Disney, and turned it something that let the art tell a complex story in and of itself. It’s full of allusions to history and mythology, like the obvious, the Book of Kells itself (there’s some more comparison with the movie in this video), but there are all sorts of other little bits like Pangur Ban, the cat named after a 9th century Irish monk’s poem about his cat, or Crom Cruach, the monster with roots in Celtic mythology. There are some plot holes–Finn would be horrified at part of the ending. Devon wouldn’t understand why he couldn’t understand why Finn couldn’t appreciate the beauty and the craftsmanship and Finn would be upset at even a moment’s loss between loved ones. And he flat out refuses to watch Song of the Sea. Not until he finds his mom.

But selkie sensibilities aside, The Song of the Sea looks just as stylized and gorgeous, in its own way. Here’s the trailer:

And that’s the last selkie link! Thanks for joining me for the month–we now return you to my usual posts about writing, my latest projects, and whatever else catches my attention. (Spoiler alert–I’ve been watching a lot of science videos on Youtube lately…) I may do a similar sort of themed links for my next book in July, Changeling, although maybe not seven links a week. What do you think?

Sixth Miscellaneous Selkie links: knitting patterns

To celebrate the release of my new book, Coral Were His Bones, I’m going to be posting a month’s worth of things about selkies. Coral is a m/m paranormal erotica novel about Finn, a selkie who’s in love with his childhood sweetheart Devon, but bound in a magical contract to a cruel master. It’s a story of modern magic, snark, sex, and how to heal when everything hurts.

I don’t knit, but my partner does. I can’t imagine how she makes a whole sock out of a single row of loops, but then again, I start a novel with a single sentence. Besides, I get cotton socks and fingerless mitts out of the deal. I just can’t do wool. I’ve tried, but I’m pretty texture-sensitive.

She’s found me a couple knitting patterns named after selkies,  socks with a seaweed pattern, and a chunky cabled sweater that could almost be a seal skin. I still like Havari’s sweater in Coral

Fifth Miscellaneous Selkie Link: The Selkie Bride on youtube

To celebrate the release of my new book, Coral Were His Bones, I’m going to be posting a month’s worth of things about selkies. Coral is a m/m paranormal erotica novel about Finn, a selkie who’s in love with his childhood sweetheart Devon, but bound in a magical contract to a cruel master. It’s a story of modern magic, snark, sex, and how to heal when everything hurts.

We’re detouring back to more traditional folklore today, via Youtube again, with The Selkie Bride, a traditional Scottish folk story animated by Walter McCrorie. Enjoy!


Fourth Miscellaneous Selkie Link: Lost Girl

To celebrate the release of my new book, Coral Were His Bones, I’m going to be posting a month’s worth of things about selkies. Coral is a m/m paranormal erotica novel about Finn, a selkie who’s in love with his childhood sweetheart Devon, but bound in a magical contract to a cruel master. It’s a story of modern magic, snark, sex, and how to heal when everything hurts.

Today’s a bit of a stretch, but bear with me… Airing on Showcase in Canada and SyFy in the States, Lost Girl is a series about a succubus, not a selkie, but there is a selkie episode in the second season. There’s a lot to like about the series. Bo, the main character, is a succubus raised by humans who is just now discovering the world her mother came from, and her own powers, running around with her human bestie and solving supernatural crimes.

Bisexual character where her bisexuality isn’t a thing she agonizes over! Girls kissing,! Sex-positive! Female friendships–this show definitely passes the Bechdel test, and best friend Kenzi is kick-ass and adorable. An awesome balance of cheesy and serious, with that balance of magic and mundane that I enjoy so very much! Need more convincing? Here are Ten Good Reasons To Watch Lost Girl from IO9

“Fae Gone Wild,” episode 2×07, mixes a fae strip club with selkie mythology. Even though it’s not one of my favourite episodes, it’s still fun.