Feathers, Friendship, and Skulls: The Story Behind “Baby Bird”

February is rapidly slipping away, and what a month it’s been! A great Women in Horror Month to be sure, in which I met lots of new creators in the genre. If you haven’t been keeping up with all the great goings-on, I definitely recommend catching some of the final horror-laden events.

Before the month evaporates entirely, let’s talk a little about fiction. I am a fiction writer after all! Earlier this month, I was thrilled to see my story, “Baby Bird,” debut at Triptych Tales, a fantastic website that focuses on a broad range of speculative literature.

Like my tale, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” that appeared in the fall at Three-Lobed Burning Eye, “Baby Bird” delves into avian body horror. It’s strange how cyclic creativity can be. 2015 was definitely a birds sort of year for me. There was even a third bird story that never reached the light of day (c’est la vie, unfinished projects!). However, the similarities between this story and “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” pretty much end there. “Baby Bird” is much more of a coming-of-age tale with some darkly fantastic twists. This story follows two outcasts named Calla and Rhee as they forge an unlikely friendship in an unwelcoming small town.

The inspiration for “Baby Bird” was simple enough: my husband surprised me with a bird skull necklace (all pewter bones, so no actual birds were harmed in the making of this story). It was such a fun gift and an unusual one too that I immediately knew I had to write a story about it.

While this tale definitely has some grisly elements, the process behind “Baby Bird” was a joyous and straightforward one. I started the first draft back in early December, and the story was finished and ready for submission less than two weeks later, about four days before Christmas.

Accompanying the story on the Triptych Tales site is an incredible original illustration by Wendy Quirt. Wendy is a nature illustrator, and she uses the bird skull mentioned in the opening line as the focal point of her wonderfully simple artwork. It’s exciting enough to be published, but to also get an original piece of artwork just really puts the experience over the top.

So if you dig offbeat tales of friendship—that spotlight a healthy dose of the macabre—then head on over to Triptych Tales and catch my tale, “Baby Bird.” Calla and Rhee will thank you.

Happy reading!