My latest story, ‘Flare’, is now out at Urban Fantasy Magazine. Needless to say, it’s an urban fantasy piece…

Like most of my stories, there’s some personal stuff in this one. It’s also the first time I’ve managed to combine my fishkeeping experiences with my fiction writing. While ‘Pawprints in the Aeolian Dust’ is a story about a man’s relationship with his dog, ‘Flare’ is a story about a young girl’s relationship with her fish. It’s odd that these stories have been published consecutively. I wrote one soon after the other, and they’re the only stories in my current arsenal that deal directly with human/animal companionship. They’re also both stories about deceased animals that return, albeit in very different manifestations, to their former humans to lend them aid. It’s weird that I hadn’t really noticed the parallels between these stories before, although they’re obvious in hindsight.

The fish featured in ‘Flare’ are bettas, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish. I’ve kept many bettas over the years, and without exception they’re wonderfully engaging and full of personality. I’ve never had two the same, and I enjoyed exploring their unique characterisitics in the context of this story. There are five fish in ‘Flare’, and every one is based on a betta I’ve had at some point.

File:HM Orange M Sarawut.jpg
By Daniella Vereeken (Flickr: HM Orange M – Sarawut)

I have little doubt I’ll return to the theme of human/animal connections. But for now, it’s rather lovely to know that both ‘Pawprints’ and ‘Flare’ are out there simultaneously, shining little lights on the importance of our animal companions.