This is the second week of eMergent Publishing’s 90 Day Promo [insert additional hypey weasel word marketing talk] Bonanza full of wonderful freebies. This week it’s Nothing But Flowers: Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Love up for grabs, nada, for your reading enjoyment.
In a devastated world, a voice calls out through the darkness of space, a young woman embraces Darwin, a man lays flowers in a shattered doorway, a two-dimensional wedding feast awaits guests, a Dodge Challenger roars down the deserted highway…and that’s just the beginning.
Inspired by the Talking Heads’ song of the same name, Nothing but Flowers explores the complexities and challenges of love in a post-apocalyptic landscape; from a take-away coffee mug to a gun to the head, a fortune cookie to a guitar, the open road and beyond. Poignant, funny, horrifying and sensual, this collection of short fiction leaves an indelible mark on ideas of what it means to love and be loved.
It’s one of those concepts I look at and go, “wow, I came up with that.” I even know exactly where and when all the bits fell into place, because I’d spent an entire week, including several long open highway drives, trying to work out how to create a Valentines Day anthology for my fledgling Literary Mix Tapes imprint (back then LMT did not fall under the eP umbrella), which:
- incorporated music (without relying on a list of the 20 most terrible love songs ever)
- was weird and twisted enough to fit the LMT bill, and
- would appeal to the writers I wanted to work with… who (with several limited exception), aren’t really into writing “love stories”.
And somewhere around Goodna, which a week later would be devastated by flooding, Nothing But Flowers came on the stereo and I knew instantly what I’d pitch as an idea… post-apocalyptic love stories. I wanted to see how authors made sense of what love looked like in a devastated world. I also desperately wanted to write a story about daisies reclaiming Pizza Hut (which sadly ended up on the editing floor during the writing of Scarecrow Man, but artfully appeared in Sam Adamson in Daisy’s Cafe.)
I didn’t set any parameters once the 26 writers had
scrambled aboard post haste assembled. I gave them the song and told them to create a post-apocalyptic landscape and set a love story in it… to explore what it meant to love and be loved there. I didn’t curate the apocalypses. I didn’t curate the lyrical prompts. I sat back and waited to see what arrived three weeks later.
And I got stories I couldn’t even have imagined at the time… and so many different takes on “the apocalypse” and “love”. It’s no secret how enamored I was with Dan Powell‘s Driver and the Beautiful Highway (so much so I went on to try and emulate the nestled-vignettes structure in Cocaine, My Sweet Heart… as did Maria Kelly in Nowhere Land in the follow anthology, EIGHTY NINE).
It’s also no secret how totally blown away I was when Nothing But Flowers went from obscurity to number one in the UK Amazon charts in the space of minutes and stayed there in the top 100 as a paid paperback, among the 99c downloads, for a month!
Now it’s time to reach a greater audience and hopefully revive sales, on what is a solid and intriguing collection of stories. Nothing But Flowers really defined what Literary Mix Tapes was all about and set the bench mark for future anthologies when it came to reader expectations.
Now you have the opportunity, no string attached, to fall in love with some brilliant stories and perhaps, spark your own moments of amor with some exceptionally talented emerging authors.
Until June 2012 all proceeds from the sales of Nothing But Flowers will go to the Grantham community in the Lockyer Valler, devastated by a flash flooding in January, 2011.