short stories

The Coin of Heart’s Desire


In an empire at the wide sea’s boundaries, where the clouds were the color of alabaster and mother-of-pearl, and the winds bore the smells of salt and faraway fruits, the young and old of every caste gathered for their empress’s funeral. In life she had gone by the name Beryl-Beneath-the-Storm. Now that she was dead, the court historians were already calling her Weave-the-Storm, for she had been a fearsome naval commander.

Published in the anthology Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales, edited by Paula Guran. Reprinted in Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold, edited by Paula Guran.

I wrote this story in exchange for a donation to benefit those hit by Hurricane Katrina.  At the time I was flat broke, but I could still barter my writing, although it took me some time to produce the story and even longer to find a home for it.  Right now (2014) I live in Baton Rouge.  The story draws from my childhood images of the Dragon King Under the Sea and his realm (Korean folklore) because at the time of writing I had never been to Louisiana, let alone New Orleans, so I thought I’d write of the sea the way I knew how.