Forget the Hallmark Holiday… the 14th February, 2011 will be remembered not for the feeling of ecstacy or disappointment whenwe are noticed or forgotten by those we love or desire, the chocolates we did or did not get, the flowers we did or did not get, the cards we did or did not get… but the stories we got. This Valenties Day that is the one thing you can rely on.
Nothing But Flowers (Literary Mix Tapes’ Valentines Collection) launches in just over seven hours. The concept was conceived on the road between Ipswich and Brisbane, coming home from our brief holiday break in New South Wales. I”d been racking my brain for almost two weeks to come up with a suitable song (or selection of songs), weighed down the entire time by the prospect of an entire anthology of sappy love stories… which was not what I wanted to create and I’m pretty darn sure, the writers who were keen to be involved, were not interested in writing. As always, I wanted to create something different, left of field!
Several things happened on that 15km stretch of road.
1. Talking Heads Best of CD was and Nothing But Flowers came on (all the sweating on the right love song and I just needed the right ‘concept’)
2. The idea of creating a charity anthology inspired me to create a paperback, not just the online and eBook
3. The charity which first came to mind was a local women’s shelter and the idea of love after a post apocalyptic event was seeded.
4. By the time I pulled into my driveway I knew whatever money came in had to go to the flood victims in Queensland, whose apocalypse was very real.
This was before the flash flooding in Toowoomba. This was before the wall of water went through the Lockyer Valley. This was before Brisbane was flooded. This was before 100 Stories for Queensland.
A week later I looked at the highway at Goodna, around the same place where the idea for Nothing But Flowers came to me. It looked like a war zone… the road cratered from the aerial shot, huge sections ripped away by the sheer force of the water. I went from imagining an apocalpse to seeing it played out just up the road from me. It has been a freaky few weeks – reading and editing these stories, and watching floods and a cyclone ravage my home state. Not to mention having gone from sensible doable deadlines to a collision of three major projects.
The 26 stories which make up the entire collection (24 will be published on the web and 25 will we published in the eBook and paperback, including stories by Paul Servini and myself)not seen on the web) run the full gamut of post apocalyptic life, both on terra firma and in space. The stories range from dealing with cancer to fleeing a fundamentalist government; there are floods, earthquakes, viruses, war, disappearing animals and the open road. Love takes the reader from a take-away coffee mug to a gun to the head, from a fortune cookie to a guitar. You’ll never think of love in the same way again.
The 26 writers involved have pushed the barriers of apocalyptic thought and peeled back the layers to the most intimate level, to explore the way people love and allow themselves to be loved. The stories are horrifying and heart warming; they will rip at your soul, tug at your heart strings and make you laugh out loud.
I’m am awed at the stories in this collection and believe the stories are ones readers , reviewers and critics will be talking about for a very long time. There is not one soppy line, nor a single contrived piece of dialogue. And while the stories are littered with references to flowers, the only ones carrying bouquets are the walking dead.
The collection goes live at 9am (AEST) and will be available free on the website until Wednesday 9am. After that the book will be available for download as an eBook ($4.95). Wednesday you will also be able to place your pre-release orders for the paperback.
How to get the good stuff!
You can like the official facebook page to get hourly updates with links to the stories.
Attend the virtual launch on facebook and go into the running to win one of four eBooks or a signed paperback, mingle with some well known names in fiction and see a bunch of authors behave badly without fear of a virtual hangover.
And of couse you can read and comment on the stories at Literary Mix Tapes.