Why 100 Stories for Queensland Will Be Late

I should qualify the title of this blog by saying – 100 Stories for Queensland won’t be ‘late’; while the printing and release have been delayed and the anthology won’t be available for launch next week (as originally hoped) it will all happen in the proper time.

How can I say that?

Last year I learnt a profound lesson about timing. Even when things look they’ve been thrown into disarray and the timing is all out, it’s actually a project (or an event) finding its proper timing. It’s a hard thing to surrender to – the perfect Universal timing (as opposed to the perfect ‘human’ timing) but I can assure you, I’ve experienced it time and time again – and it’s always right.

As the Director of Creative Assets at eMergent – I am at this point a one-woman team. I do all the editing, all the design and layout. It is me who basically gets everything to the printer and if something happens, there is no one to pick up the slack. Since mid-January I’ve been lending a hand to my business partner Paul who is running our non-fiction said of things, with the relaunch of Write Anything (our community outreach and education blog for writers). It is hard to believe the time is working for and not against me!

The delay to 100 Stories for Queensland is a short and long story. The short is, when I agreed to help out with 100 Stories several things were already happening (against the back drops of the floods):

  • it was the school holidays and I was trying my best to give my six year old a holiday rather than just a pause from school.
  • I had two live projects (both of which were battling again said school holidays) – one of which, NOTHING BUT FLOWERS had only kicked off six days earlier.
  • and as I mentioned – eMergent was moving into a new, and previously unchartered territory with Write Anything.

Then I lost nine days and my entire work schedule went down the tube. This is perhaps the downside of trying to be über organised. Once you’ve lost time, it is almost impossible to regain it – no matter how hard you work to catch it up.

At the end of January we had a public holiday followed by 12 hours of vomiting and two days home for my son. This was while I was completing the proof reading for Emma Newman’s FROM DARK PLACES and beginning line edits for NOTHING BUT FLOWERS.

The following week Cyclone Yasi graced us with her presence, bearing down on my family and friends in Cairns. In many ways it was worse than the floods – the days of waiting for its arrival and the late night spent with my sister, virtually holding her hand as it struck the coast – gratefully for my friends and family, south of them. Three days were lost to the place your mind goes when danger is present and the fall out of days of being on edge.

FROM DARK PLACES was finalised just a few days over the scheduled date and I threw myself into the final editing and preparations for NOTHING BUT FLOWERS, pleading with the Universe to just give me on week, five days, where nothing happened and I could just work. Going to print as a paperback meant I went through every single story with a fine tooth comb – and I realised the time line for NBF was way off – before all the other delays were factored in. The week leading up to Valentines Day I pulled 14 hour days, slept around 4 hours a night and ploughed through my work while juggling my family and new responsibilities at school (let’s just say I think I ended up being crap at everything that week!)

As it was NBF was two weeks behind the original schedule and as I write this, the book is still waiting a final cover and to be sent through to the printers. Two weeks ago I finalised the eBooks, sorted out the back end with payments with a tickle in the back of my throat and the beginnings of a sniffle.

There was no time for getting sick – I had scheduled the next three days (Saturday-Monday) for 100 Stories to get all stories finalised, to spend Tuesday and Wednesday getting the book into a proof layout (after Tehani and I discovered our programmes were incompatiable and I was loathe to ask her to do an entire book layout when I couldn’t even ensure I could open it at my end to finalise any corrections)

I was leaving for Victoria, my high school reunion and a week of research in Ballarat on the Thursday. It had all been neatly factored in a month earlier. I knew it could be done – I’d just miss out on one weekend.

The virus laid me out flat for three days. I only got out of bed on the third day to take my son to school. Tuesday I worked 12 hours and got the first 50 stories finalised and ended up back in bed on the Wednesday. Thursday our flight was cancelled and we rescheduled for 5am Friday.

We landed in Victoria Friday morning wrung out from the late night, a 5am flight, mid-flight drama and this entire week I’ve just wanted to chill out, but the guilt of 100 Stories hanging over my head seems to have drained any enjoyment I should be having.

While those who have been working with me, know the time and effort I put in (and that 100 Stories was squashed between existing projects and other scheduled eMergent and Chinese Whisperings projects have been put on hold) there are 100 authors out there, about to be published in 100 Stories who don’t know me that well. There are 200 other people who submitted, missed out on a place and still want to buy the book. There are all the friends and family who all want to get their hands on the books also. There is also the 30+ team of 100 Stories who have worked hard to keep the project clipping over at an amazing pace and I feel like I’m letting everyone down. I’m sorry!

I’m not one to whinge and I’m certainly not looking for sympathy (Goddess forbid) – I just want everyone associated with the project to understand sometimes despite you best efforts you can’t make things the way you wish they were.

So that’s the long and the short of it… and hopefully this goes a little ways to quell the guilt I’m feeling and gives everyone on the outside a small view into why this has happened. A week lost – can never be regained.

I am home next week and the management team will have discussions regarding the best launch date. And as soon as we know, we’ll let all of you know.

Thanks so much for your understanding and a special thank you to the management team who gave their blessings (reinforced in the last day via Facebook and twitter) for me to take a few days off.

100 Stories for Queensland: Author Roll Call

It’s been a long wait for those on the long list (days feel like weeks and years when holding out to know if you’ve been published). And believe me, for all of us working on the project it has been excruciating not being able to say anything about made the final cut.

The management team for 100 Stories for Queensland have announced today who will hold the coveted 100 spots.

Well known authors include  Alan Baxter, Janet Glover, Anita Heiss, Krissy Kneen, Sue Moorcroft, Geoff Nelder and Sean Williams. I also see an excellent representation of well known and much loved #fridayflash authors in there as well.

Congratulations to everyone who entered a story, and especially to the following:

Sam Adamson Kittens!

Tomara Armstrong Drake M. Causeway: Intergalactic Explorer

John Baird The Safe Option

Kim Bannerman The Turtle Inventory

Michael Barton Tea with Mr Christopher

Cath Barton Listening to the Muses

Alan Baxter The Speaking Tree

Jessica Bell Surviving the Kitchen Tiles

Sharon Birch A New Woman

Ev Bishop Riddles

Megan Blandford The Moving Sun

Julia Bohanna The Beach Where He is King

Stephen Book After All These Years

Nicholas Brodie Bubble O’Bill

Gillian Brown The Anniversary

Catherine Burrows Face to Face

Christopher Chartrand The Carver’s Daughter

John Chilton Easter Bunny

G.P. Ching Why I’m Overweight

Dave Clark Thumbnail Sketches

Patricia Clarke  Bushmen’s Barbecue

Laurie Clayton Going Solo

Nicola Cleasby Weird and Creepy

Penelope Cottier Beating Creativity

Vicky Daddo The Long and Short of Life in the Future

Mary Davies Angie

E. N. De Choudens The Miracle Tree

Jennifer Domingo One tenth of a second

Josh Donellan Stunt Kite

Miriam Drori          Who Sees the Light?

Alison Earls Travelling Time

Kelly Erickson Queensland

Kari Fay B Is For Benedict

Corinne Fenton Lucy and the Lonely Hen

Karen Field Amunet’s Gift

Joanne Fox On Pegasus’ Wings

Alexander Gates Antisocial Sciences

Janet Glover On the Road East

June Gundlack The Real Me

Ross Hamilton Triumph of the Scientific Mind

Heather Harris Sick Weather

Jo Hart A Penny for a Wish

Keith Havers Why Can’t I Take Life Easier?

Rosemary Hayes The Perfect Wedding Day

Anita Heiss Paris Dreaming

Lunar Hine Cake

Robert Hoge Real Rhythm

Sue Houghton Tough Love

Mandy James Ignorance is Bliss

Amelia Jewell Strange Little Boy From The Future

Benjamin Judge Coffee

David Kennedy Generous Bastard

Emma Kerry Confessions of a Toddler

Krissy Kneen The Lounge Room War

Jean Knill The Prize Conger

Janet Lee The act of waking

Linda Lewis Making  a Good Impression

Peter Lingard Comfortable

Ruchira Mandal Little Hooligans

Kathleen Manson Flat Life

Monica Marier The Night Faeries

Robert McCarter Soggy Shoes

Kristina Meredith Second Hand Rose

Catherine Miller In A Jiffy

Theresa Milstein Daisy

Virginia Miranda The Artist of Montemartre

Sue Moorcroft A Career in Crypto Zoology

Gracie Motley The Car Trip

Ika Koeck  Destiny Driven

Jennifer Muirhead Red Planet Blues

Helen Nedahl If Wishes Were Horses

Christine Nedahl First Love

Geoff Nelder The Examination

Emma Newman Her Smile

Ciara O’Brien D-Day

Sylvia Petter The Burka

Jonathan Pinnock The Wrong Bots

Aaron Polson The Ballad of Arkady and Nadia

Joe Ponepinto A Handout for the Ages

Natalie Potts Lounging

Sally Quilford Jets Vests and Broken Crockery

Jenni Redman The Night of the Prom

Barry Rosenberg Dr Jello & Mr Set

Alison Runham Pop

Melanie Saward Watch and Learn

Glynis Scrivens Short-sighted

Brenda Seabrooke Sweet Corn

Stephen Shieber Sweet Juliet  1935

Pamela Storey Two and a Half Minutes

Vicki Thornton One Winter’s Day

Luise Toma The Beast

Julio Ricardo Varela Power’s Sunday Slam

David Vernon Another World

Devin Watson Transmutator

Simon Whaley Painting by Numbers

Aliya Whiteley The Thready Treatment

Sean Williams This Magical Life

Brenda Wood A Whale of a Tale

Daniel Wynne Gut Feelings

Helen Yendall Fisticuffs

Long List Released for 100 Stories for Queensland

After a speedy weekend, we were able to release the list of names and stories which comprise the Long List for 100 Stories for Queensland. I’m so happy to see names in it I recognise, including names of well-known writers both here and abroad… including Alan Baxter, Krissy Kneen, Robert Hoge, Geoff Nelder and Sean Williams. I’m also thrilled to see plenty of emerging Australians and Brisbane writers on the list. The quality of the contributions was high and we’re going to have a hard job ahead of us this week, whittling the long list of 146 down to a short list of 120 and then finalising the 100 Stories which will appear in the anthology.

As always, the management team, joined by Nick Daws, is on the job!  The plan is to release the Table of Contents this time next week.

For now… here’s the list as it appears on the 100 Stories for Queensland website.

Diana Abela The Story of the Silent Japanese

Sam Adamson Kittens!

Marian Allen Dog Show

Tomara Armstrong Drake M. Causeway: Intergalactic Explorer

John Baird The Safe Option

Kim Bannerman The Turtle Inventory

Cath Barton Listening to the Muses

Michael Barton Tea with Mr Christopher

Alan Baxter The Speaking Tree

Patty Beecham Under the Rockhampton Sun

Kay Beer The Price of Lipstick

Jessica Bell Surviving the Kitchen Tiles

Sharon Birch A New Woman

Ev Bishop Riddles

Megan Blandford The Moving Sun

Julia Bohanna The Beach Where He is King

Stephen Book After All These Years

Deborah Brannon Binding Tides

Ellen Brickley The Magic Ticket

Nicholas Brodie Bubble O’Bill

Gillian Brown The Anniversary

Catherine Burrows Face to Face

Jeremy Bush Sleepover

Adam Byatt An Origami Crane

Joanna Campbell Please Turn Left

Rachel Carter Perfect Toothpaste

Chloe Charlton The Street Light Incident

Christopher Chartrand The Carver’s Daughter

John Chilton Easter Bunny

G.P. Ching Why I’m Overweight

Dave Clark Thumbnail Sketches

Patricia Clarke Bushmen’s Barbecue

Laurie Clayton Going Solo

Nicola Cleasby Weird and Creepy

Margaret Cobbett First Christmas

Ithaka Cordia The Speech

Penelope Cottier Beating Creativity

Vanessa Couchman The prince and the mistletoe: a fable

Vicky Daddo The Long and Short of Life in the Future

Susanna David The Rhubarb Fight

Mary Davies ANGIE

Justin Davies Bed and Breakfast

Jennifer Domingo One tenth of a second

Josh Donellan Stunt Kite

Miriam Drori Who Sees the Light?

Alison Earls Travelling Time

Laura Eno The Proof of Life

Kelly Erickson Queensland

Elaine Everest Words of Advice

Kari Fay B Is For Benedict

Corinne Fenton Lucy and the Lonely Hen

Karen Field Amunet’s Gift

Laura Fox Kittery Maine

Joanne Fox On Pegasus’ Wings

Fay Franklin Snow on a Summer’s Night

Pamela Freeman The Little People

Patrick Gallagher The Cape

Alexander Gates Antisocial Sciences

Sylvia Gundlack The Real Me

Ross Hamilton Triumph of the Scientific Mind

Heather Harris Sick Weather

Ryan Harron The Cinnamon Buns

Jo Hart A Penny for a Wish

Keith Havers Why Can’t I Take Life Easier?

Rosemary Hayes The Perfect Wedding Day

Lunar Hine Cake

Robert Hoge Real Rhythm

Sue Houghton Tough Love

Mandy James Ignorance is Bliss

Amelia Jewell Strange Little Boy From The Future

Rosa Johnson Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Benjamin Judge Coffee

David Kennedy Generous Bastard

Emma Kerry Confessions of a Toddler

Reni Kieffer Arrival

Krissy Kneen The Lounge Room War

Jean Knill The Prize Conger

Joanna Lamb A Slip of the Tongue

Patti Larsen Falling

Janet Lee The Act of Waking

Yvonne Lewis Gander Sauce

Linda Lewis Making a  Good Imipression

Peter Lingard Comfortable

Ruchira Mandal Little Hooligans

Kathleen Manson Flat Life

Gayle Marien Unnamed

Monica Marier The Night Faeries

Tracie McBride Breathing

Robert McCarter Soggy Shoes

Kristina Meredith Second Hand Rose

Philip Michaelson Cards of Fate

Catherine Miller In A Jiffy

Theresa Milstein Daisy

Virginia Miranda The Artist of Montemartre

Gracie Motley The Car Trip

Zulaikha Mudzar Destiny Driven

Jennifer Muirhead Red Planet Blues

Efrain Nadal The Miracle Tree

Christine Nedahl First Love

Helen Nedahl If Wishes Were Horses

Geoff Nelder The Examination

Emma Newman Her Smile

Ciara O’Brien D-Day

Brigid O’Connor Pink makes the boys wink ?

Lucy Oliver Secrets Between Friends

Cathy Olliffe-Webster Why Mr. Duka Laughed

Brigita Orel Martians Coming to Dinner

Sylvia Petter The Burka

Jonathan Pinnock The Wrong Bots

Aaron Polson The Ballad of Arkady and Nadia

Joe Ponepinto A Handout for the Ages

Natalie Potts Lounging

Sally Quilford Jets Vests and Broken Crockery

Angela Readman Tell Me a Story About Happiness

Jenni Redman The Night of the Prom

Joanne Robinson Is This The Face In The Photograph?

Barry Rosenberg Dr Jello & Mr Set

Alison Runham Pop

Melanie Saward Watch and Learn

Glynis Scrivens Short-sighted

Brenda Seabrooke Sweet Corn

Icy Sedgwick The Stripper

Stephen Shieber Sweet Juliet 1935

Pamela Storey Two and a Half Minutes

Judi Stroud Pecking Order

Simon Sylvester Number one-one-three Chinese Monk Style

Vicki Thornton One Winter’s Day

Luise Toma The Beast

Linda Tovey Jude’s Snake

Karen Tyrrell The Mandolin Player

Julio Varela Power’s Sunday Slam

David Vernon Another World

Devin Watson Transmutator

Christine Webb Long ago one summer

Winifred West A Tale of a Twist

Simon Whaley Painting by Numbers

Dee White Promises

Aliya Whiteley The Thready Treatment

Martha Williams Granny’s Mouth

Sean Williams This Magical Life

John Wiswell Two-Hour Delay

Brenda Wood A Whale of a Tale

Olivia Wood Emperor

Daniel Wynne Gut Feelings

Helen Yendall Fisticuffs

Les Zigomanis Spectrum

Last Day for 100 Stories for Qld: reflecting both ways

Has it really been two and a bit weeks since we launched 100 Stories for Queensland?Is today really the last day for submissions? The answer to both is, incredibly, yes!

It feels like so much longer considering all that has transpired between the opening of submissions on the 12th and today. I feel older, wiser, tireder and definitely more clued on to the entire submissions process having seen it from the reverse side. I have also been blessed to have made some new friends along the way, people I definitely want to work with in the future if the opportunities find their way to me. The social networks at work, have astounded and floored me, along with people’s generosity. The team working behind the scenes is in excess of 30 peeople. The largest gathering of folk for one of these anthologies.

There have been some wonderful reads along the way, which I could share insights and snipets from, but then I’d have to kill you… all two of you who read this blog! No letting it drop who might have made it through – yet.

The stories which grabbed my attention were the ones that found a unique way to tell a tale, a quirk of POV or an ample dose of quality humour. There were others which teared at the heart strings also, or dragged me so far into the narrative I lost time and space while I read it. All ways to improve your chances of making it through to the next round for consideration.

There were also good stories and interesting premises let down by lazy writing or poor execution on the page; over writing, poor punctuation, grammar and spelling, plot holes and flat endings. All things which could have been turned around by sharing with a beta reader or line editor.

Of course the close of submissions at midnight today only draws to an end the first step of the process.

Over the next week the management team will be going through the stories which made the long list to whittle it down to 100. It is something I’m looking forward to with equal doses of tredipation and excitement, and very glad to be part of a team who have been through the process before.

To those who have sent in a submission, thank you. To those who miss out on a place on the long list, take heart. A rejection often means the story was not a good fit for the anthology (there were several excellent stories, but were set in flood ravaged locales, for example). A rejection is also an opportunity to review your work, to see how it may be improved for future submissions. If you haven’t had your work beta read, line edited or proof read, perhaps now is the time to make this investment in your story. It is obvious to us on the other side, the stories which have been put through their paces, with someone other than the writer, before submission.

And to those who make the long list, we promise not to keep you hanging for too long, waiting to know who will be included in the anthology. The long list will be release early next week.

Now… off to do some reading, and keep track of the numbers of submissions coming, to see who wins our ‘end of day submissions sweepstake’.

100 Stories for Queensland: A Week On

A week on, we have a project!

We have 150 submissions with hope of at least the same number, if not more, on their way in the next eight days. We have stories pledged from Anita Heiss and Sue Moorcroft, along with interest from at least three other well known Aussie authors and several lesser known ones, from off the beaten mainstream track.

We have an amazing group of 20 volunteer readers who have braved a brand new submissions platform and all the glitches involved in getting to know how to use it effectively, who ploughed through a deluge of submissions in the first couple of days, as we were getting our heads around the new system. We have a brilliant core management team of Trevor, Maureen and David who cut through the bull shit, deal with problems which spring up, brain storm creative paths, and also know how to make you laugh and are just generally wonderful folk to work and chat with. We have a group of 10 editors on stand-by to work through the list of 100 stories in the first week of February, along with several dedicated proof readers.

We have Tehani Wessely ready to do the layout mid February and Russell B Farr working on the front cover. Both jobs I am so glad someone else is responsible for. We have a logo and website, designed and donated by Dale Challener Roe. We have Greg McQueen (yes, the man himself) committed to produce an eBook and Emma Newman, to assist in creating a podcast.

All in all, more than 30 volunteers are attached to this project.

The project has reached across the world, and genres, appearing in blog posts from The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne to Apex Books in the US, and countless personal blogs. Not to mention the steady stream of messages on the #100storiesforqld Twitter hashtag and Facebook links and comments. And tonight Annie Evett and I did what will be the first, hopefully of many, radio interviews.

To date, this is everything and more than I hoped it would be when Trevor called us all together last Tuesday evening.

While the project has found its legs and the global writing community has pulled together, the water has risen and begun to fall leaving behind a trail of destruction, thick layers of mud, homes destroyed,businesses oblitereated, thousands of displaced persons and a rising death toll. As I write this, townships are still cut off, without food and some with compromised water supplies, relying on supply trucks and chopper drops. Families wait to hear about loved ones, as the SES and army go about the grisly task of locating and indentifying bodies in flood ravaged locales.  And now, two years after the worst drought in a hundred years, the gathering of storms clouds and the distant rumble of thunder strikes a wave of anxiety rather than one of relief or hope for the coming of rain
.

Flooded by Gratitude

What do you do when you feel like you can’t do anything? You use what you have, to the best of your ability, and go for it.

That’s what 100 Stories for Queensland is all about. Alan Vaarwerk, one of the group of volunteer editors on the project commented this evening, “it’s a great way to do something good with what we’re good at.”

That’s why it has been so quite around here. I’ve been working busily to create the submission framework, put together a team of readers and editors and get the project ‘out there’. The overwhelming generosity continues to bring me to tears.

Tuesday I spent the morning stressed and worried about my parnter getting home from the City where he works (his building is currently under water) After the wall of water which torrented through Toowoomba and then smashed its way through the Lockyer Valley, all I could imagine was a flash flood on the Brisbane river taking out the Goodwill Bridge while he was on it. The relief only subsided slightly when he got home. I exchanged worry about his safety for horror and disbelief as the stories of true extent of the devastation at Grantham and the Lockyer Valley started to filter through. I felt stunned and numb.

Tuesday night a simple tweet, followed by a facebook status, cut through the daze. Trevor Belshaw wrote very simply ‘100 Stories for Queensland?’ I knew I had to say yes. I’d already been thinking about it. It just took someone else thinking the same thing to move it from an idea to an actual project. Greg gave his blessing for us to take up the mantle of 100 Stories for Haiti and 50 Stories for Pakistan and run with it. And that’s what we’ve been doing. Hopefully 100 Stories for Queensland will be something Greg will be proud to have inspired and laid the ground work for. Ironically this project went live on the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.

Trevor and I have fallen into an easy working relationship which ensures the project runs 24 hours a day. It’s good. He keeps me honest, and makes me laugh. Not to mention the fact he also reminds me sleep is good.

Submissions opened yesterday lunchtime and within 20 minutes the first story landed, followed by another six in the first hour, including one from a NY Times Best Selling author! In the first 24 hours we had 50 submissions. The closing date is not until 28th January and the word continues to filter outward. I can only guess the number of stories which will reach us by then.

We have the exisiting core editorial team from Haiti and Pakistan, Maureen Vincent-Northam, David W Robinson and Nick Daws, returning. Assisting them 13 volunteer readers. In addition to the readers and the core editorial team, we have six editors ready to start in two weeks time.

My greatest thanks go to two wonderful Western Australians – Russell B Farr of Ticonderoga Publications and Tehani Wessely of FableCroft Publications. Russell is working on the front cover and Tehani will do the interior design and layout. For anyone who has worked with me in the past – they know what a stress the front cover always is. To know as the first submissions were landing someone was working on the cover was the greatest relief. Russell did say he’d step aside should Shaun Tan offer to do the front cover and bring with it, the attention which comes with is work, but in my opinion, Russell is high profile! And an utterly generous bloke.

People who know me, or have worked with me, will know how difficult it is for me to accept help. This morning I mentioned to Chris Chartrand that this project is the big ‘letting go’ for me. I simply cannot do it all myself and besides, it’s not ‘my project’.  The project belongs to everyone involved and to the people of Queensland. Trevor keeps  telling me I have to say yes to every reasonable offer of help which is extended. He claims to have a whip and to know how to use it. So I’m not willing to defy him 🙂

I had assumed typesetting/layout would fall to me, so I cried, big fat teardrops on the keyboard, when Tehani said she would take on this job. Don’t get me wrong – I love typesetting, there is a quiet meditation to it, and an almost addictive edge. But it loomed on the horizon as a huge task at the end of what was going to be three massive weeks. Thank you Tehani… thank you so much.

This is just the beginning of a road paved in selflessness and gratitude. Thank you to all of you who are stepping out with me.

FOR MORE INFORMATION see the submission guidelines here or submit here.

Image by Arman Berkett-Saleh via Facebook. This is the river at 5:10am 13th February, just before reaching the flood peak.