Pies, Rolls, Radio, Impending Farewells and Sparkles

All good intentions to hang out in Borders went out the window! I purposely chose to ditch “work” today so I could write in there and then ended up in the library. I wanted to break the day between the two – because a day of sitting in Borders at the table a bit too long for my personal ergonomics. I got so sucked into my story that before I realised, it was 1:30am and I was in the groove. Didn’t want to disrupt the pace.

I wanted to write in Borders today because they close on the weekend. It’s been beyond sad watching the demise of the shop over the last two months and worse, watching people who would never normally shop there, picking over the store like vultures. I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy anything from their. Mr D bought a DVD and I felt guilty enough about that.

It’s not just sad because we’re losing an awesome bookstores (I remember it opening just a few years ago) but the Gloria Jean’s coffee shop, and by default my ‘other office’. I’ve been sitting in that little corner for more than two years putting words on paper. It was where I wrote the majority of my (still unnamed and unfinished) Fourth Fiction novella (yes Chris Chartrand, if you are reading, I will have it finished before the end of this year… I miss it). I’ve written so many things there, including the foreword of The Red Book.

I’m not sure where I will set up home next. I need somewhere outside my house, with little or no distraction AND access to tea, to write effectively. As I fall in love with writing again, and maintain the momentum I have created, perhaps writing at home will be less of an issue. More on the ‘do-able spectrum’.

My optimistic nature kicks in and tells me one door closing is really just the sound of another one opening.

– – –

I started off in the library today for the sake of my back. Between stress and the cold, it’s a mess. I plugged $4 into one of the massage chairs today just to get a little relief – which I did, and a huge dose of drowsiness. It was enough to get me through the day.

I can’t wait for Rachael to be able to come over and give me a massage. They might just have to be regular this winter if I’m going to be able to function without on going pain.

– – –

Walking into school today my friend Amanda and I were chatting about what we’d been up to. Before I even got a chance to say I’d be writing, she turned to me and said, “You’ve been writing, haven’t you.” I nodded. “I can tell,” she said. “I sparkle,” was my reply and she nodded. “Yes you sparkle when you write.”

I’d only been thinking, driving across from the library to school how I feel totally different when I’ve been writing. When I move beyond the trippy disorientation of coming straight out of a story, I honestly feel like I’m walking on the sunshine. I still can’t believe I actually said to another adult, I sparkle!

– – –

Yesterday Amy, from 4ZZZ’s Book Shop emailed to confirm at spot for me on their show Thursday, 9th June at 7:40om. The good news for those who don’t live in the Brisbane area – they have web streaming. You will be able to tune in wherever in the world you are and hear me, hopefully not make a goose of myself, live on air.

We tuned in and listened to Josh Donellan several weeks ago and when Mr D heard I was going to be on radio, I think he was far more excited about it that I was.

June 9th is also the anniversary of me going into labour with Mr D (he was born 12:40am the following morning) and it’s therefore a fitting date somehow. I feel like I am birthing a new version of me, not a newer and better version, perhaps just a more mature, wiser one.

– – –

All I’m going to say about the frontal assault began on the list of ISBNs yesterday is HOLY HELL! I had no idea there was so much work involved. I’m going to have to chip away at them one listing at a time. Another example of expectations being to small to fit the reality of the job.

The terrible mash up between The Red Book and Nothing But Flowers has been fixed… as has attribution to “Poul Anderson”. I can’t believe Paul would misspell is own name – not once but in several places. The data base has been having a bit of fun, I think.

– – –

I’m so on a roll with writing at the moment. It has been so long since I have felt this good and been so productive. My Eighty-Nine anthology (#LMT89) story is coming together beautifully. It’s a little harder work than I thought it would be as it’s told backwards, and as a consequence I’m moving between section tweaking as things come to light further on. I don’t have a name for it yet… though cocaine is central to the story so maybe I can get away with a JJ Cale tribute in there as well!

And much to my relief, while it is riffing from some events in my life, they’re detoured far enough away now for me to consider the characters as their own persons. I realise now Rebecca Booker, the main character (and narrator) doesn’t have any kids… so what has happened to Toby makes it all the more damaging for her. She’s really had nothing to lose, except a new boyfriend.

I pitched the story to Scott (one of the Dad’s at school today) and had him clapping his hands, and bopping up and down… so I’m guessing I’ve got the narrative (to date) nailed if I can entertain and partially stun him. Plan is to get it finished up tonight and off to beta readers for the weekend.

The story currently stands at a little over 1100 words and I think is on track to nail the 1575 upper word limit.

– – –

Dave printed off my contracts for Karen and the Hope Anthology yesterday at work. Will fill those out later and get them in the post. Then I will be done!

I had an embarrassing moment of clicking the wrong David in my address and David Robinson got an email which began, “Hi Darling” – with my blank contracts attached. Ooops! I can’t even blame it on being drunk.

– – –

Last night it was a gastronaut’s delight in our house. I cooked from scratch a chicken pie – the pastry was perfect, and then my first ever fruit cobbler. The apple and raspberry were perfect and I woofed it down watching Spicks and Specks. It’s like totally losing two and a half hour to the kitchen , but with the cooler weather I’m enjoying being in there. And the lack of nasty deadlines makes it possible to relish food creation rather than despise it. Better get in while the goings good, as it will all change next week.

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Ponies, Admin Aversion, Dark Erotica & Kicking Bad Habits

My friend Tom Dullemond, one half of the fabulous Literarium directed my attention to the story Ponies by Kij Johsnson on the Tor.com site last night and asked me what I thought of it. In short – it is one of the most powerful stories I have read in a long time, as well as the most settling and thought-provoking. I’ll be talking about this story for weeks, if not months to come. Only after we’d had a back and forth for a few minutes about it over twitter, did he tell me it was the joint winner of the 2011 Nebula Prize for the short story.

The upshot of it was Tom didn’t think much of it was a story. Which got me thinking – was there an inherent gender bias in the reactions to the story. Yes, it’s about girls and their ponies… but it is about so much more than that. Just scratch a little under the surface. I feel it is an important read for anyone who is a daughter or has a daughter.

It is interesting to note also, in livestock handling there is a term called ‘Cutting Out’ which refers to a stockman and his horse targeting an animal and ‘cutting it out’ of the herd. You’ll see aspiring rodeo heroes doing it across the world. Knowing this, it gives a whole new level of meaning to the story.

But don’t take my word for it… go across and read. I’d love to know what you think.

– – –

Today is admin day. See if I don’t dedicate some time to it, I just won’t do it. While I’m saving the fun of doing the front cover of The Red Book for later, I have a list of ISBN’s to register with BowkerLink. This was a job Paul used to have, but it made better sense for me, given I’m in the same time zone. Plus, it was a pain in the arse, the easy submission system never worked for him and it must have taken him all of half a second to agree to hand the job over to me.

When we bought our first block of ten ISBNs back at the end of December 2009, we both looked at the list of numbers and wondered how the hell we would ever fill them. Well we filled them within a year and having bought the next block of numbers, we’ve already allocated ALL of them. Amazing.

Later on, once I’ve done battle with BowkerLink its time to pen some new bios. I’m not sure yet how I feel about admitting in such a public way that I am the recipient of ‘The Hembury’, or even how you actually wind that into a bio. I write fiction right – it should be a sinch. Ha!

– – –

When Dan Powell asked me to be part of his My Life in Short Fiction I was more than willing to be part of it. I found it a useful process, to think about the short stories which might have influenced me. I realised there is a close link between what I write and what I read, and how that pattern was strongly shaped by the writing and reading I did at high school.

We were only ever encouraged to write short stories. I have a folder full of them. But we were never exposed to short stories to read. I read a totally of ONE, yes read, ONE, fictional short story through my English years. This hangover remains… I write short fiction and my bed side table is full of novels.

This is something I am working to address. As May is Short Story Month – I committed to only read is short fiction for a month and I’ve been surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. I’ve read Cate Kennedy’s Dark Roots, #50 Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and I’ve almost finished Dead Red Heart. From now on there will be more anthologies on my bed side table. Which just goes to show, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

– – –

My re-writes on “Saw Him Standing There” the story I penned for Susan May James Sunday Snaps: The Shorts are complete and the story is submitted (yes almost two weeks ahead of the deadline!)

The story is inspired by another short story I wrote, based in a churchyard. The thing I’m most happy with (and my beta readers too) was the mastery of the imagery. Anyone who knows me, knows descriptive narrative is my Achilles. I write as little of it as possible. I find descriptive narrative totally boring in novels and short stories alike (yes, I will actually skip ahead if there are paragraphs of it). It has to be unique or beautifully written to hold my attention. It’s been beta reading for Jason Coggins which has really given me the shove to take my descriptive narrative more seriously and try to excel at it, rather than simply avoid it.

I’m thinking this time around the descriptions works so well because worked from a photograph– something I could actually see (given I don’t see things, only hear voices when I write my work). It was the clear leadlighted windows in the church which appealed to me most and I actually blew the photo up to look intimately at the detail in the window and then paced around the bedroom trying to work out the best way to describe them.

Jen Brubacher who worked on the piece as a line editor said in her email:

“It’s dark as you say, but it isn’t unbalanced. Your description is terrific, from the church yard to the sex and even the women by the mirror (familiar sight for most of us I guess). The pace and length are right on and I love the way you circle around “what goes around come around,” and the idea that it’s deathly serious.”

The best bit about it all… this story was a joy to write and after months of writing being a hard slog, it’s given my confidence a well timed injection. I didn’t think the redemption of my writing confidence would be in a dark, erotic tale! You’ll have to wait a few months, to read it though. The slated release date is 19th September – which will pair the photos and stories. A text only paperback and eBook will be available in October.

Thanks to Jason Coggins, Chris Chartrand and Jen Brubacher for being the best darn pit crew any writer could ever wish for.

My Life in Short Fiction

A month ago Dan Powell, one of my good friends and an uber talented writer to boot, invited me to be part of his “My Life in Short Fiction” series of interviews. Dan opens the interview with this:

It would probably be easier to make a list of what Jodi Cleghorn doesn’t do than try to cover all the varied and exciting publishing related stuff she gets up to across the web. She is a founding publisher and editor with eMergent Publishing, the publishers of such short fiction goodies as the Chinese Whisperings anthologies and recent MLiSF guest Emma Newman’s debut collection From Dark Places. Most recently, Jodi has been the driving force behind two charity anthologies, 100 Stories for Queensland, a collection of flash fiction and Nothing But Flowers, a collection of apocalyptic visions inspired by the classic Talking Heads track

Jodi was awarded the Kris Hembury Encouragement Award over the weekend, which recognizes an emerging artist in the area of speculative fiction. On a personal note, she has been a constant source of encouragement and a provider of keen perspective when beta reading my work. I am in awe of Jodi’s energy and commitment to providing support for up and coming authors. And she tells damn good stories. Ladies and gents, it really is a great pleasure to present Jodi Cleghorn’s Life in Short Fiction.

While I’m still blushing crimson – head on over to hear me talk about Daniel Keyes, Ray Bradbury, Jack Marx and of course, Dan himself!

Tuesday 24th May

I’ve been lurking out over at Peter Ball’s blog and I love his conversational posts. It got me thinking about what my intention was for this blog when I shifted over from blogspot several years ago. I wanted it to have that conversational tone, along with information, writing etc. But its something I’ve never quite got around to doing.

So I’m going to have a crack at it. I’m not going to say every day, because that will just put the mockers on, corner me and I know what I’m like when that happens – I jack up and refuse to cooperate (how the hell I made it through 13 years of formal school still astounds me!)

– – –

I’m still getting my head around winning ‘The Hembury’. I’m astounded by the people who’ve congratulated me. Sadly my first name was misspelt on the list which first hit the web so my evil alter ego “Jodi with an e” is getting the accolades on the interwebz! This is pay back for all the times I had to wear her name badge at work and blamed bloopers on her nefarious self!

I have no idea what is it going to mean for me at the moment. The $500 which is attached to the award could be spent in a myriad of ways – catching up on joining professional organisations and there’s also the next Literary Mix Tapes anthology which I’m paying the authors for their contribution, so there is the possibility of using it to underpin that project.

All I can really think of at the moment is there are a group of people here in Brisbane who believe in me and the work I do, and I really need to work to honour that belief not just in the coming year, but for every year after that. It’s certainly injected a new energy into my writing life.

– – –

Last night I had the pleasure of chatting with Jason Nahrung about eMergent Publishing (oh god, it has to be a priority to get that website sorted out and properly built), the projects eMergent Publishing produces, including Chinese Whisperings, 100 Stories for Queensland, From Dark Places and my own solo project Literary Mix Tapes. We also talked about the missing link in self publishing: editing and how small press in Australia really exists to support each rather, than be in competition with each other – especially among the spec-fic presses.

The article will appear in the August edition of “WQ” (Writing Queensland).

Jason was just lovely and I look forward to heading to Melbourne and sharing a quiet ale with him at some point in the not too distant future. He really made me feel welcome within the Australian Spec-Fic community, which I’ve kind of been standing on the outskirts of for a while, looking in on and admiring.

At the end of the conversation Jason told me I should come out and play, share around my shyness. So I’m going to make an effort to live some of my time on top the rock I normally live under.

– – –

My desire to spend two days a week, just writing, has been paying off. Every Monday in May I’ve turned up at the keyboard to write. Granted its been easy the last couple of weeks as I’ve had rewrites to do, but momentum begets momentum and I have some. Actually the momentum is such that I’m finding it difficult to get the writing cap off and the editing one on. I’m certain that will change and it will possibly be the reverse.

The edits are done on‘Blinding’ my story for the Hope Anthology , and I have rewrites to attack today for Susan May James’ Sunday Snaps: The Shorts. Luckily that story just poured out and for once I’ll make a deadline. There is still my Eighty-Nine story to finish for Literary Mix Tapes, which I will attempt later this afternoon.

From there – I have a number of stories which need rewrites. I have an story I want to submit to the Best Australian Short Stories, The Age Short story competition and several others I need to find homes from… and yes, the Inaugral SubChallenge that I signed up for – I’m yet to actually decide on markets I want to target, but I am getting there. As I said, I have momentum now and when you have momentum anything is possible.

– – –

Was thinking earlier about how a month can change everything. Had I tried to tell myself, this time last month, that everything would be ok, I wouldn’t have been able to stomach the idea, as I lurched in and out of the depths of depression. While I’m not saying I won’t be down in the dark hole again (I hope not, but I’m realistic, stuff happens and you don’t always bounce back), I’m glad to be standing in the sunshine.

The last few weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster ride – with the highs of the chart rush last week, the lows of finding a book with a major formatting error and then the highs of the Hembury. I don’t really like highs and low. I prefer the middle path were there’s lots of moments of brilliance and moments of disappointment – equally weighed against each another, and neither too intense.

That’s why I’m trying to keep on an even keel and not allow myself to reach to staggering a high. Trying to walk the path of the passionate, but unassuming.

– – –

This morning I received an email from Amy at the 4ZZZ Book Show inviting me on to have a chat. Many thanks to Josh Donellan and Daniel Wynne who offered to put my name forth (because lord forbid I put my own name forward). There’ll be a chance to talk about all the projects I’m involved in which is exciting and might drive a few more sales.

The date is tentatively set as Thursday 9th June (next week).

– – –

More highlights yesterday with the arrival of a package from England and from my lovely friend and colleague Em Newman. Inside was a signed copy of From Dark Places and a thank you card. I have been completely blessed as an editor and publisher to work with Em and it was a moment of great excitement to hold for the first time, the very first paperback I produced (all the proofing was done in England).

The moment was only topped by Mr D climbing onto a chair to read aloud from the opening story (and title story) From Dark Places to prove he was able to sit and read it. He’s almost seven and he’s desperate to read something I write or publish. I guess he’ll be a connoisseur of ‘dark, weird shit’ well before his time.

Renegade A to Z: H is for

Heaven, Hell and what happened when I headed for the hills.

This is a special blog post and rather long, but please, bear with me, it has been one hell of a week and I want to get it all down.

Heaven

Is a chart rush! Watching not one, but two books, shoot up the Amazon charts across the world. I wasn’t even prepared… I had to duck out at 8:30pm to buy a bottle of pink bubbles to celebrate. Someone said to me on Wednesday – what did I expect to happen… well I didn’t expect this!

By 8:30pm 100 Stories for Queensland was in the Top 10 of general anthologies in the UK and Nothing But Flowers was sitting #1 in the Fantasy Anthology, #2 Fantasy Short Story and #3 in Sci-fi Anthology in the UK. By the time I went to bed at 2:30am (literally scrapping myself off the keyboard) in the general anthology section 100 Stories was sitting at #3 and Nothing But Flowers at #15 (and #1 in all three of the abovementioned categories). 100 Stories spent several hours #1 in the biggest mover and shaker category. Probably the only time I will read a stat that says 76,000% increase!

In the US 100 Stories peaked at #14 in the general anthology charts and Nothing But Flowers at #8 in Science Fiction anthologies. The anthologies also took out #1 and #2 places in Canada.

And the books stayed well placed for several days afterwards.

Books started arriving in the US as early as Thursday morning Australian time. And this is where we go plummeting from the heady heights of heaven into hell.

Hell

When we published From Dark Places – Em put the cash up to print 200 books, because Paul and I were both in a difficult financial position. It was my worst nightmare that the books would arrive and something would be wrong with them.

It didn’t transpire… until Nothing But Flowers. I readjusted the inner margins of the book and DIDN’T order a proof copy afterward… everything look awesome on screen. What I failed to pick up (and I could kick myself because it messed up the pagination of the rest of the anthology) was two stories had run into each other – Sam’s “Daisy’s Café” was missing the final few lines of its ending… they were found at the top of Rebecca’s “On the Corner of Clerk Street”.

As soon as Rebecca emailed me to let me know, I pulled up the file, fixed the offending mistake, rejigged all the pages back to the way they originally were, and then posted up a new version. This has put the printing on hold and I suspect is part of the reason for the drop of NBF in the Amazon charts.

What do you do? I did only what I could think to do:

  1. immediately inform everyone what had happened – this went via email to the authors of NBF, on twitter, Facebook and the Literary Mix Tapes website.
  2. I offered to replace all books with the formatting defect free of charge.

this is despite the fact I’m not making any money off NBF (it all goes to charity) and I freaked out contemplating how many copies it may be. Later on I suggested people pull their order ( just to be on the safe side )until the new file goes to print.

At this point I know it affects 14 copies but I fear it will be much higher. I went to bed exhausted at 2am Friday and hoped it would be all right.

One of the first messages I got when I woke was from one of my best buds (and one of the men who turns my crap writing into amazing work!) Chris Chartrand who told me straight up, the book would become a collectors item and he was banking on it – it would put one of his daughters through college. The same thing was said by Graham Storrs later on in the day.

As the day wore I lots of people came to help salve the wound of stupidity and oversight. Those in the publishing industry who know screw ups happen. Without their optimism I may not have been able to keep an even keel while my optimism ebbed and flowed.

Heading for the Hills

We’d been planning a camping trip with Dave’s work for some time now. I’d been oscillated between feeling ambivalent and being excited. With the stuff up with NBF I knew it was a sign to get the hell out of Dodge and take some time to kick back and relax. I’ve been trying my hardest to get some quiet time over the past two months, yet it always seems to elude me.

We headed up to Mount Barney, about 2 hours south-west of Brisbane yesterday morning. It was a lovely afternoon and evening, of doing not a whole lot, drinking beer and tokay, enjoying being out of the city and suburbia and relishing the fact out tent didn’t leak when the rain came down (some things are better not known in the middle of the night!) Most of all I enjoyed (and everyone will find this amusing) being away from the computer and off social networking. In a nutshell – we were in the boonies and there was no mobile service.

The rain came down and continued to come down this morning, leaving our group of happy campers, looking wet and miserable. I hung out in the tent wondering how the day could get any worse because I didn’t have a coat or even an umbrella (it got worse when I lifted up the mattress to find a lake beneath and then we lost the car keys!)

So I wasn’t in the best of moods when we got home.

There was a tiny amount of charge left on my iPhone and I pulled up Facebook to see what had been going on. My notifications told me Kim Falconer had left a post on my wall… curious to see what Kim was posting, I found this message:

Woooo Hoooo!!! Big congratulations to you!!!! Yeah Aurealis Award winner!

Pardon…

I came hurtling out into the kitchen to tell Dave there was something going on with me and the Aurealis Awards. I had no idea what, because I wasn’t nominated for anything. And then there were more congratulations from authors such as Marianne De Pierres. I flicked onto Twitter to try and work out what was going on, and more congratulations. By this time I was totally confused as to what was going on… I’d found the nominations lists, and the finalists and yep, my name was not on there.

Then I flicked the column on twitter and got to the DMs and there is was, a message from Kate Eltham telling me what it was all about… I’d been awarded the Kris Hembury Encouragement Award (which by the way isn’t an official Aurealis Award but comes compliments of Fantastic Queensland!)

First reaction  – who me? What have I done to deserve such an honour?

Scrolling through twitter and Facebook, trying to piece together the evening I miss, I discovered via Robert Hoge’s tweets that Alan Baxter had accepted the award on my behalf.

What did Alan say… on the phone earlier he told me he’d had a few beers by then, and it basically boiled down to the fact that I’m passionate about everything I do and I deserved the award. He was so convincing in whatever he said that Zena Shapter told me she thought it was a prepared speech.

If I had the chance to stand up before an assembly of my peers (and honestly, I find that hard to say – that I actually belong among these fabulously talented individuals… and that they believe I belong):

  • my first thanks would be to Dave and Mr D who love and support me although I’m unreliable when it comes to things like dinner and laundry, and who get as excited about writing and my publishing adventures as I do. Especially to Dave who has never made a song and dance about the fact I haven’t returned to the ‘paid’ workforce since Mr D started school.
  • Secondly I’d thank those people who support me in what I do – my brilliant stalwart beta readers Jason Coggins, Dan Powell, Chris Chartrand and Lily Mulholland who make bad words good; Paul Anderson my business partner who takes my crazy ideas and makes them doable; the authors who I’ve worked with on Chinese Whisperings, Literary Mix Tapes, 100 Stories for Queensland and the writers of the Logan Writers Collective.
  • Lastly my family (especially my Dad) who’ve never rained on my dream of wanting to be a writer. I grew up in a house where books and storytelling was honoured.

Several years ago I had my tarot cards read and I was told I would get recognition from my colleagues, about the work I do, that it might be in the form of an award. That was the year Paul and I founded eMergent Publishing and walked the rocky road of The Red Book. It was the year I got serious about my writing, when I began handing it over for others to read and critique. The year I cut my editorial teeth. It was 2009… and I’d all but forgotten about the readers words until today.

I don’t write stories because I want fame or fortune, I write stories because that’s what I love to go (and the voices in my head would send me insane if I didn’t). I don’t work as an editor because I like to have power over other people’s writing, or because I’m a repressed writer… I edit because I love helping writers find the fullest potential for their stories. And I love offering a helping hand to new writers who are finding their feet. I don’t publish books so I can give up my day job… it is my day job. And I believe me, I don’t publish books because it’s a get rich quick line to retirement or its easy. I publish books because I’m passionate about stories, about books, about pushing the boundaries of form and style. Most of all though, I’m passionate about publishing because I have the opportunity to give talented emerging writers a leg up into the world of publishing.

And this, the Kris Hembury Award is my leg up… and I thank all of those involved for believing I’m worthy of it.

Tuesday is… Release Day

Not content to release just one book… I’ll be releasing TWO books this coming Tuesday(17th May) in an Amazon Chart Rush tag-team of epic proportions.

What’s a Chart Rush?

Readers are invited to purchase a book on Amazon, in a nominated 24-hour period, with the intent to capitalise on the volume of sales to move the book up the Amazon best seller list. The higher up the chart it is (we’re aiming for a spot in the top 100) the more visible it becomes to other readers who may go on to purchase it.

It’s all about exposure and helping new readers find the books.

This Tuesday

This coming Tuesday eMergent Publishing will be releasing 100 Stories for Queensland and Nothing But Flowers via an Amazon Chart Rush. We’re inviting readers to purchase one or both books  on that day with the aim of getting them into the top 100 selling books for the day (and beyond!)

By releasing both charity anthologies concurrently we’re hoping people will add one extra book to their cart on the day,  whether that be someone stumbling onto 100 Stories… or Nothing But Flowers for the first time.

If  you can’t buy on the day, you can add it to your wishlist. Every little bit counts to rocket the books up the chart.

You can find both books on Amazon and Amazon UK.

Nothing But Flowers retails at US$17.99 or ₤5.99

100 Stories for Queensland retails at US$19.99 or ₤9.99

What is Nothing But Flowers?

Nothing But Flowers is the second Literary Mix Tapes anthology and the first to make it into paperback. It started on the 6th January (a week before 100 Stories was launch) as a Valentines Day anthology with the brief to create stories exploring the challenges and complexities of love in a post-apocalyptic world.

With the flood disaster already weeks old, I suggested to the authors involved we donate the money generated by the sale of the anthology to a flood related charity. But I had no idea the disaster which was only days away and waiting to travel in the worst apocalyptic sense, down the Lockyer Valley and into Brisbane.

I worked on Nothing But Flowers side by side with 100 Stories for Queensland, in a crazy juggling act which was made possible by the wonderful support of Maureen, David, Trevor, Nick and all the other wonderful literary folk who read, voted and edited the stories of 100 Stories for Queensland in the first six weeks. When Nothing But Flowers was web-released on Valentines Day the hits to the site were the equivalent of selling 60 paperbacks in 48 hours!

The book has been getting rave reviews, so please, if you are dropping into Amazon on Tuesday to buy 100 Stories, consider adding Nothing But Flowers to your shopping cart! All funds collected from the sale of Nothing But Flowers will be donated to the Grantham Flood Support Flood.

Renegade A to Z: G is for

….Goodreads and Growing Up

Well I am being a true renegade – writing one blog post a day seems impossible, even in a week when I am technically between projects. I’ve been making the most of it, catching up with long overdue admin, writing and shock horror – taking time out to do a few nice things for myself. So I’ll just keep plugging away through the alphabet as best I can, until I get to “Z”. Might be the end of May – might be the end of June. Hopefully sooner rather than later though.

Goodreads

I had a laugh out loud moment when I read Em Newman’s catch up post yesterday, which includes “G”, because she also lists Goodreads in her section on  G. How did it take me more than six months to fall in love with Goodreads. I was first introduced to it back in October last year when Lily Mulholland, unfailing in knowing just how to promote something, told Paul and I she’d put The Yin and Yang books up on Goodreads and helped to step me through it.

I accepted the author account and my own personal account. I admit I was clueless. My brain was so full of ‘other stuff’ at the end of last year and then all of this year, that I never really gave myself a proper chance to acquaint myself with Goodreads.

In the past week it’s all changed, and I’ve see how powerful a tool it is to connect with readers.

For a publisher – I can look at the number of people who have listed our books on their shelves. It’s mind blowing for me… to see pages and pages of people who have listed one of our books as ‘to read’. I know exactly who to let know when the paperback of any edition comes out. Goodreads also allows you to promote your book with competitions – which I imagine will become far more popular with Facebook’s most recent change to its Terms and Conditions which no longer allows Facebook as a platform to promote or run competitions. Seems you have to pay for that privilege now!

But the power of Goodreads doesn’t stop there for a publisher/author. It also provides readers the opportunity:

  • to rate a book – out of five stars
  • write and post reviews (something I intend to be more vigilant with as a reader!)
  • read free extracts of the book
  • buy your book with one simple click!
  • see an author’s latest blog posts and comment without having to click through to the site.

As a reader you can:

  • join common interest groups and participate in discussions
  • keep track of the books you want to read and have read (bingo for me who is forever forgetting to write down the books I’ve read, or want to read)
  • see what your friends are reading and be exposed to new books

What I like most is being able to have shelves entitled “books I am in” and “books I have edited”. It is one of those few platforms which functions for all interested parties, ie. everyone who loves or has an investment I books.

The best thing about Goodreads – they have an awesome App, which is simple and effective to use. Perfect for updating what page of your current book you are on before you turn out the light and snuggle in under the doona.

The one thing I’d like to see… the ability to upload a photo of you and your current read to the site. I know the buzz generated when you pair reader with a book.

Goodreads really is the one stop shop for readers, writers, editors and authors to connect, interact and share.

You can find me at Goodreads here. You can also find the following books by eMergent and Literary Mix Tapes:

The Red Book

The Yin Book

The Yang Book

The Yin and Yang Books

Nothing But Flowers

From Dark Places

100 Stories for Queensland

Growing Up

Where did the time go? My son will be seven in just a few weeks. He’s about to move out of the most primal of the seven-year cycles and into a far more independent one (energetically he’ll move out of my Etheric field and into his own!) I’ve known it’s coming and I’ve seen the shift away from me being the centre of his world. His Dad now is (almost) the most important person in his world. I’ve also noted he’s started to gather and take account of the important men in his life – his Poppy, his Uncles, close male family friends… and in that accounting, recognising the men who are absent in the most part.

But there’s nothing like an every day moment to really hammer it home… how fast he’s growing up. Yesterday I took him to buy some long sleeved t-shirts and discovered where we went, size seven shifts him into a whole different section and style of clothing.

In the new section there weren’t half as many awesome (and cute) shirts, but there was one with zombies on. So what’s a Mum to do? Relent – and let him have his first zombie t-shirt. I had a flash back to the first time I bought him a skull and cross bones shirt – Size Three! he still squeezes into it.

What blew me away though, was what he said. “You’ll get used to the zombie shirt and then you’ll let me play games with zombies in it. And when you get used to that, you’ll let me watch movies with zombies in it.”

Where did my little boy go?