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Pinocchio really did a number on me when I was young. You know, the part where the whale swallows him, his father, and their cat. I didn’t know it at the time, but my irrational fear of water points back to this scene.

I’m completely terrified of drowning. Never mind that I had a pool in my backyard from a young age and swam for the high school swim team in eight grade.

Swimming alone scared me the most. I thought that if I dipped into the water by myself that a whale would magically materialize in the deep end and swallow me whole. Or that I might drown for the mere reason that no one was present to save me.

Natural bodies of water are worse because of fish and seaweed. Now, maybe the fish thing seems a little odd to you, but I assure you, the thought of fish nibbling the toes off my feet can be completely paralyzing. (And now people pay for fishies to eat the dead skin off of their feet. I can’t fathom it).

The worse instance of my fear’s manifestation was on the nine-plus-hour trip to the UK for my honeymoon. For weeks and possibly months, I annoyed the hell out of my loved ones, colleagues, and students with how afraid I was to crash into the ocean, drown, and have a whale eat my body. Are you noticing that whales seem to frighten me more than sharks.

I mean, am I the only one?

Yet, my husband has reassured me that drowning is not as bad as I’ve grown believing. He should know. He’s drowned twice—once by accident and once on purpose.

You heard me right. I said, “on purpose.”

Military training is sadistic.

Speaking of sadistic…nice segue, right? UNDERWATER excites the shit out of me, and the poor authors within had to deal with my form of editing, which is…you guessed it…brutal, cruel, and vicious. I do it out of love, guys. I promise.

These sixteen stories are full of humor, horror, and hedonism, and they build a revealing illustration of our fascination with what lies beneath the surface.

Beyond the fear, I’ve always loved the mysteries the Aquarian depths hold, especially mermaids, which we have a nice variety of in this anthology. And I need to tell you a secret about them…are you in close? Ready for it?

Eating mermaids will make you immortal.


I know. Mind blown.

And don’t be perverted about this. We have enough of that in the stories. In fact, us editors have an inside joke.


Yup. You read that correctly.

We keep seeing it in hidden between the lines—in Sister Ursula’s habit, tattooed on the inside of a vampire’s thigh, among the others in the Pleasure Sphere, swimming along side the radioactive crocodiles—and of course, there is plenty of explicit mermaid cock in these stories, too.

And I challenge you not to let it slip into each of the others as you read through this collection.

Check out UNDERWATER! You won’t be disappointed.

And DISTORTED is on sale for $1.99 this week in celebration!