Those three hisses

June 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

My weekend did not go as planned. I was getting ready for a vintage swing dancing ball at the Melbourne Town Hall, listening to big band music and checking the seams were straight in my stockings. But I kept creeping back to my computer, wanting to do just one more piece of research…and so I found myself with high heels in hand, feet tapping to the horns, as I bent over the screen and learned how to perform my own taxidermy on small rodents.

It’s a skill every woman should have, don’t you think?

My novel is waking me up at night, and after a long period of focusing on short stories, I couldn’t be happier about that. The protagonist, Clementine, works in the taxidermy department of a wunderkammer, and I’ve found myself increasingly fascinated by this intriguing industry. She has quite the obsession with cockroaches in particular – and you thought swing dancing was the strange part of this entry – and I’ve been jumping into my research with both feet.

photo source:

photo source:

So when I saw the bingo prompts in Bayou Magazine’s flash fiction competition, I couldn’t resist. Their beautifully creative prompt was a bingo card of twenty-five squares, from which writers could choose several to incorporate into a story of up to 300 words. And yes, one picture was a cockroach.

Did you know the Madagascan hissing cockroach has three types of hiss? Neither did I until I began to write my story, but if we were to meet for a whiskey, I’d now be able to show you all three. Yes, yes, I’ve been practising the hisses.


My story, ‘The Disturbance Hiss’, is one of the three finalist stories in the competition. I’m especially pleased because Bayou is the wonderful literary journal of the University of New Orleans, a city I hold close to my heart.

My friends are pleased because maybe now I can stop practising the hisses.

Just wait until I tell them about the taxidermy lessons.


  1. Martin C said,

    Cool….I’ll bet the neighbours get concerned when the local feline population starts dropping. :)…”…You want your cat back?, hmmm. Lets talk…”

    • inkymouth said,

      I’m afraid I’m only skilled in small rodents – I’ll have to work my way up to the fabulous felines 🙂

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