And I Return/Sad Stories?

Did you miss me? Whether or not you did is immaterial. The point is that I am back from my short and unannounced hiatus. So unannounced in fact that even I wasn’t aware that it was going to happen, until it happened. *cough* No no, this is not procrastination at its finest. This is me spontaneously deciding to take a break.

Right.

Anyway. We will now return to the regularly scheduled, once a week posts that are talking about something other than my collection of short stories. I, for one, am relived.

So, the other day I was wandering around Barnes and Noble. Because I am the type of person to do such a thing. And as I was wandering around and reading the backs of various books that caught my eye, I began to realize something. Slowly, like the sun dawning over the mountain. Yet it wasn’t the bright light of an epiphany. It was like a cloud stealing over an otherwise beautiful moon rise.

The books that have been coming out recently are dark. In the YA section alone there are books about drugs, suicide, death, breakups (lots and lots of break ups), and terrible families. Not all of the books promise a happy ending. Some of them promise that the characters will die in the end. And this is only the YA section. I can only imagine what the adult section holds. More of all the above?

Even just reading the blurbs of all these books was making me feel depressed. And not just because the content was depressing. I was sad because this is what people are reading.

Even more, people are willing to spend hours, days, weeks, months of their lives writing these books. Which means that they lived and breathed that story in all its sadness.

Why would anyone choose to put that upon themselves?

There is no quick answer to this. You see, we read books for two reasons. To escape our world, and to learn something more about our world.

For most people, escapism is no longer enough. We want to understand why things are the way they are. We can’t be fooled by the Disney endings anymore. People die from cancer, from car accidents, from war. The people who are supposed to get together don’t always find each other. True love doesn’t always win.

And we want to know why.

So we turn to books that attempt to give the answers. The books that don’t pull punches, the ones that don’t pretend it is all right. Because it isn’t. Things in this world are obviously not right.

I agree. I don’t want to be lied to. Don’t tell me that it will all work out when it may not.

Yet. Where does that leave me? More knowledge perhaps, maybe some answers. But knowledge means nothing when life still hurts. When hope is gone.

I don’t want to stop there. And I am afraid that is where we have stopped. As readers, as writers. We have stopped at the answers, stopped at the realism. When that isn’t all there is.

There is something beyond all this. There has to be. Otherwise nothing would make sense. We are all living in a world that stops at what we see. The pain, the hurt, that is all there is. Nothing else exists.

How hopeless that is! Why would I settle for an existence like that?

I refuse. I know there is more to life that what I see. There has to be.

Thank goodness there is.

There is more to life than pain and a meaningless existence. I know that I was created for a purpose. There is a reason why I am here. A reason beyond making money and then dying.

That reason is not to find my happily ever after. My One and Only. If I never got married I would still have a reason to exist. If I never got rich. If I never traveled again.

My meaning is tied up in the One who has counted every hair on my head. On the One who died on the cross for my sins. My purpose is to give the One all the thanks and all the glory I can possibly give. That purpose doesn’t change no matter where I go and what I do.

So why in the world would I write books that stop at this life? That stop at the answers. There is more to life than this. I know it. So I will write it.

As a Christian writer I will not stop at the pain. I will move on to the hope. I will not pull the punches, but I will give the answers and the hope. I will not always give happy endings, but most of the time I will. Because I believe that heaven is the perfect happy ending.

Life is hard. I know that. In my books I will strive not to give escapism, but meaning. Meaning that goes beyond what I see and feel.

Because there is more to life than this.

Shaina Merrick

Introducing Fairy Tale Central

Here I am once again interrupting your Saturday. How rude of me. But I promise that this is for a good reason! I am here to chat about a beautiful new site called….

Fairy Tale Central.

Once Upon a Time two girls had a dream. A dream of a fairy tale site, an internet library, if you will, for all the fairy tale lovers of the land to gather and converse. To learn, to read, to fangirl/boy, to bask in the goodness that is fairy tales.

As this dream blossomed, the two girls recruited a third. Because, after all, all good fairy tales come in themes of three.

With the third member in place, the girls got to work. The dream began to take shape, until it was no longer just a dream. But something real.


Introducing…

FAIRY TALE CENTRAL

This newly launched site run by Arielle Bailey, Faith White, and Christine Smith, is your source for all things fairy tales.

Every month a single fairy tale will be featured, and posts will include:

  • Reviews for retellings/shows/movies/etc.
  • Essay, origin, and discussion posts on the featured fairy tale
  • Interviews with fairy tale retelling authors
  • Galleries featuring fairy tale artists and artisans
  • And a whole lot more!

The FTC’s goal is to unlock the magic that is fairy tales and build a community of fellow fairy tale enthusiasts. Arielle, Faith, and Christine are thrilled to share this new fairy tale centric space and connect with all you epic fairy tale fans!

You can CLICK HERE to find the site and join the Fairy Ring! (Don’t worry, you won’t be enchanted or cursed.) And, if you want to connect even more, you can find the FTC on:

Do tell a friend, or a dragon, or the fairy living in the hollow tree behind your house. All humans and mythological creatures alike are welcome!

Doesn’t it look so cute?!?!? I love the idea, and trust me, the site is all sorts of fairy tale wonderfulness. Go check it out! This month the featured fairy tale is Rumpelstiltskin. I’m excited to see what retellings they find.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Shaina Merrick

I Made It!

It’s here!!!

The Fantastic and the Wondrous is now live! You can buy it on Amazon at the very low price of $0.99 dollars! (sorry guys, I couldn’t make it lower)

If my endless babbling has at all piqued your interest in this book, you can find it with this link.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QGHHQT9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Fantastic+and+the+Wondrous+Shaina+Merrick&qid=1554504948&s=gateway&sr=8-1

So go, check it out, read the blurb, buy it please and thank you.

Hey, I’m allowed to bug you about this, this particular book represents a years hard work!

Enjoy the read!

Shaina Merrick

P.S. If you were wondering why this is a day late, ask Amazon. The whole process is not as quick as they made it out to be. If you weren’t wondering, don’t worry about it. 😉

Why I Write Short Stories

I do solemnly promise that someday I will stop talking about ‘The Fantastic and the Wondrous’. But today is not that day.

What happens when you have a girl who wants to be a writer, but also has a job (or two), a couple other hobbies, a small attention span, and likes to sleep? She writes flash fiction of course.

I have been writing flash fiction and short stories for years now. Some of them are great, some of them are not so great. It was just easier on my little brain to deal with one small story at a time, instead of trying to plot out entire novels.

It may seem like the easy way out, I was tired and busy so I wrote a baby story. But here’s the thing, I still grew as a writer. By leaps and bounds in fact, all by writing short stories.

When you write a short story you are still writing a story with a beginning, middle, and end. You still have characters, plot, theme, motivations, POV’s, all the things that make up a full length novel. They are just all pint size!

The upside to the teeniness is that you gain experience writing the whole thing over and over and over again. Yes yes, in some ways short stories do work differently from novels. Especially when you look at it from a plotting stand point. But in many ways they are the same, both are stories after all.

So with every short story written I gained experience with writing. I learned what works and doesn’t work in dialogue, I learned when to put in descriptions (actually I’m still working on that one, but I’m getting there!), and how to create a decent ending.

All of which will come in handy when I get back to writing my poor, abandoned full length novels.

Not only did I gain experience, but I experimented with my stories. Mwhahaha! *cough* My poor characters….

With many of the stories, I tried new things. What would happen if I wrote from an omniscient POV? What if I made the MC the sidekick instead of the hero that saves the world? Hm, what if the hero lost the battle? Sometimes, the experiments went well, and those are the ones that you will be reading in my collection. Sometimes, they didn’t go quite so well…

But whether they worked out or not, I had learned something more about writing, and about my writing style. (I shouldn’t ever do omniscient, I fail miserably.)

I could have done the experiments within a full length novel, but it would have been thousands of words later that I figured this out, instead of hundreds. Or, if it failed, I would have to switch styles mid book. Been there, tried that, didn’t work so well.

With every short story I could try something new, or expand on a style that I had used before. The possibilities were endless, and I could go to bed on time! It’s a win win!

Hence why I had enough stories to fill a collection. And since I like my short stories better than my novels, why not put them out in the world for other people to read? Thus began the long journey towards publishing ‘The Fantastic and the Wondrous’. A journey that will come to its end in two days!! Oh glory me, have I done everything?

‘Scuze me, I need to check my to do list.

Shaina Merrick