a clutch of mermaid eggs

I’d heard the legends, though I didn’t believe them. Not until now. The eclipse passed us over somewhere in the afternoon, too far south for more than a bit of pretty light. This wasn’t why we went to the beach. We only sought an afternoon of fun, a cool breeze, and the reassuring smell of brine.

It wasn’t until I saw them I remembered the tales Grandma used to tell of the mermaids. “They only lay their eggs when the moon eclipses the sun. When the sea is strongest and the sun is busy fighting past the moon. They don’t like anyone watching, you see.”

I dismissed the idea. Even as a child I was convinced mermaids, if they were anything, must be mammals. Like us. Like dolphins.

Grandma shook her head. “Aye but a mermaid has the tail of a fish, not a dolphin. The bottom half is not a mammal, and that’s the end which lays the egg, after all.”

There was no winning with her, though I argued anyway. Most of my life this argument of ours carried, both of us convinced we knew more about the reproductive cycle of mythical creatures than the other. Neither of us acknowledging the futility of debating the science of fairy tales.

She died some years ago, before my child was born. So on this beach, after this eclipse, I tell my daughter Grandma’s mermaid egg story. She screws up her little face and giggles. “Mermaids don’t lay eggs!”

A moment later she looks doubtful, peering into nooks between the rocks, searching. “Just in case,” she tells me.

I smile, basking in her innocence, her sense of wonder. I remain in this smug, parental state until she finds them. A clutch of scaled eggs hidden in a swath of seaweed revealed by the ebbing tide.


We have just missed the mermaids, I realize, looking out over the endless sea. For once the water doesn’t strike me as empty; it is another world. All I know of it is but a false reflection of my own. I am not privy to the mermaid’s world. But Grandma, she was. Somehow.

My daughter leaps into the air with a whoop and rushes into a wave. No little girl will ever forget the day she found mermaid eggs. She’ll be the keeper of that story now, and I … I will be the person who never believed. Until today.

science potions

My eldest daughter came up to me the other day, with her plaintive, I’m-about-to-ask-for-something expression firmly affixed on her face. I braced myself.

“Mum, do you think I could get one of those science potions kits?”

Science potions!

I’m 98% sure she means a chemistry set, but I’m not going to correct her just yet. She starts kindergarten in a few weeks, so we’ve still got time. We can have fun with science potions for a solid three years before she needs to know the proper name, and by then the wonder should have settled in for good.

the potion master, hunting for science

P.S. I won the Writer Unboxed Flog-A-Wu first pages contest! If you’d like to read my winning entry and check out my prize (which I am so excited about I can’t stop giggling), click here



I have a few short story publications coming up (yay!!) and I have found myself in need of a bio blurb. A third person, all about Jennifer paragraph where I am meant to cleverly market myself.

*cue screeching tires*

Here’s the thing: I’m not all that exciting. That’s what the stories are for. I have a baby; I change diapers and color with my preschooler all day. When I’m not doing that, I’m glued to my notebook/keyboard working on my latest story. Is that exciting? Can I make that exciting? What if the notebook is ON FIRE and the keyboard has a preschooler about to dump a sugary drink into its mysterious innards – wait. That’s not my genre. I’m a fantasy writer dag nab it. The sky is the limit! I can do this!

Eep. What is it about an unlimited sky that makes it so hard to start?

Okay, here goes:

In addition to her tireless efforts as Keeper of Imaginary Beasts, Jennifer Shelby has been known to hunt for stories in the beetled undergrowth of fairy infested forests. If you or your imaginary beast need help, feel free to contact her via story hunting headquarters at  jennifershelby.ca   wait, no, this seems like a good way to get crazy people trolling for dragon ointments contacting me at all hours

Jennifer Shelby is known for hunting stories in the beetled undergrowth of fairy infested forests. She has collected the titles of mother, Keeper of Imaginary Beasts, terrible cook, and   what? I can’t out myself publicly as a terrible cook. I’ll never be invited to another potluck again!         Okay. Maybe leave it in.  

Story hunter. Author. Keeper of imaginary beasts. I like it! But it’s too short. *sigh* Wait! I can use for my fancy schmancy new business cards.

Edit: here that is (the contact info is hiding on the reverse side, it’s not actually the worst business card ever).

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I needed 2 of these, so now I have 500.


A visit to her house will yield several illegal, imaginary beasts, so she requests that you keep its location a secret Ugh. *cue CSIS (which is kind of the Canadian FBI but not really) showing up and looking through the diaper pail for illegal unicorns*

Jennifer Shelby is known for hunting stories in the beetled undergrowth of fairy infested forests. This story, discovered in a mossy hollow below an old maple, is a part of her ongoing catch-and-release program. If you would like to know more about story hunting, Jennifer, or imaginary beasts, feel free to contact her story hunting headquarters via jennifershelby.ca

OoOoh. I LIKE this. I might even love it. In fact, I think we’re done here. *crosses fingers that I don’t hate it tomorrow*

Have any feedback? Leave it here, I’d love to have your input!

Side note: this blog syncs into the jennifershelby.ca website via magical widgetiness, sorry if you’re reading on wordpress and feeling as confused as a CSIS agent finding a unicorn in a diaper pail right now.