An Accidental Destination

I’m over at Nik Perring’s blog today, talking about For The Asking.

I’ve never considered publishing and author development as mutually exclusive to each other. However, I never considered myself a mentor even though I was a publisher! As a destination, it has come about as an organic, hit-and-miss, lead where my heart follows kind of journey. Like a road trip where sometimes you decide where you want to go and other times roll a dice. This is latest detour and pit stop on the ‘path less trod’ as a publisher, editor and writer.

I’ll be back later to expand on the details.

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Beautiful Trees Pre-Order

I was very excited this morning to see in my inbox, news of the up-coming release of Nik Perring’s new book Beautiful Trees

BeautifulTreesCoverRoast Books has this to say about the up-coming release:

Combining brevity with an overarching narrative, Nik Perring’s unusual storytelling is touching and captivating. His Beautiful series follow the lives of Lucy, Lily, and Alexander through words, trees and shapes.

In the second edition of the series, Beautiful Trees, the narrative continues to unravel amidst the branches of some of our greatest trees, brought to life by the rich and playful illustrations of Miranda Sofroniou.

You can read my review of Beautiful Words here for an appreciation of what is to come in Beautiful Trees.

Pre-order are available now via the Roast Books website. Release date is 5th November. I’m happy, because that’s Christmas taken care of for at least two dear friends who were recipients of the first book for birthday presents last year!

At Arm’s Length

Huzzah!! ‘At Arm’s Length’ (affectionately known to those close as ‘The Arm Story’) is out today in the latest Tincture Literary Journal.

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The feelings engendered by Publication Day never get old. And it’s been a while (for a variety of reasons) since I had a story published in a journal or anthology, thus today is extra sparkly and a beverage or two may be consumed in celebration.

A LONG ROAD

The first words were put down New Years Eve 2013/14 but it took a really long time to find the final form. The premise (a woman wakes up one morning to discover her arm is missing) is a pretty unbelievable scenario. Because the story asks the reader to suspend their disbelief, I had to absolutely nail all the other real-life details and motivations, and that took a while. The story is pretty indicative of how I was feeling at the time: slowly disappearing into invisibility, losing parts of myself along the way, lost in suburban obscurity.

It was also my first experimentation with the metaphysical side of magical realism which perhaps accounts for the length of time it took to hone and home it.

THANK YOU

Many thanks go to my beta readers: Dan Powell, Ben Payne and S.G. Larner. Special thanks to the editors of Urban Fantasy Magazine who provided amazing feedback with their rejection. And last of all, thank you to Daniel for again believing in my work and giving it a home at Tincture.

TO TINCTURE, AND BEYOND

You can read Daniel’s editorial, peruse the table of contents, add it to Goodreads or more importantly, buy a copy of Tincture Issue 11.

Coming Soon… Tincture 11

A sneak preview of what lingers in the wings as the release of the next Tincture draws closer.
Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 7.33.57 pm At Arm’s Length is a magical realism slice of domestic obscurity and invisible love with nods of the head to the work of Dan Powell and Nik Perring.

Tincture Literary Journal’s 11th issue is released September 1st.

MENTORSHIP AND THE FUTURE ME

IMG_3157For NatCon2013, I was invited to sit on a panel about mentorship alongside Kaaron Warren, Jo Anderton and Kimberly Gael. My first response to the invitation was: are you sure? I don’t think I know anything about mentoring other than that bit of youth mentor training I did back when I worked in behaviour management? (and I was pretty sure that I was the only one who knew about that a decade on!)

If it were possible to attach a good-hearted chuckle to an email, the reply would have come with it, plus: you’ve been mentoring writers for years, you’ve just never seen it as mentoring. It made me look at (and appreciate) my business and creative practices in a whole new way.

GRASS ROOTS

I came from a grassroots publication where it was the people who mattered most. I spent three years as a magazine editor seeking out, collating and publishing the most personal stories: those of birth and early parenting. Part of that job was belonging to and participating in a small but incredibly strong community. That same community sustained, educated and supported me throughout my pregnancy, birth and early years of parenting.

When I left Down to Birth and started eMergent Publishing with Paul Anderson in 2008, I took what I knew of community building and peer support and wove it into the foundations of our new business. It was less a conscious decision of this is what we will do and more an intuitive approach of what I knew, where my comfort zone was and how it melded beautifully with Paul’s worldview.

It also had a lot to do with what both Paul and I really wanted to do – we wanted to create publishing experiences for authors who were keen to collaborate because, at that time, collaboration between authors was rare, even rarer as a large group, and most of the collaborative efforts were published online. And while we were able to begin because of the digital revolution and the low overheads that came with it, we were able to show a few years later, in dead-tree print, complex collaboration and high-concept ideas were absolutely possible in publishing.

A VERY HUMAN TWIST OF FATE

When I began editing fiction, I came to it with a false notion it was just about the best arrangement of words on the page to convey the most powerful story. I had no idea at the time that the role of editor (especially in long projects) was also that of best friend and most sworn enemy, harshest critic and most exuberant cheer squad, confidante, life coach and magician. The relationship between author and editor is synergistic. It’s the most human element of publishing, one I find equally challenging and fulfilling in its frustrations and intimacies.

A COOPERATIVE ROLE CALL

As an editor, I’ve had the honour of giving dozens of writers their first publication credit and for many of those it was also their first paid publication. For other writers it was the first chance to work closely with a professional editor or to work with other authors. My preference has always been to work with new and emerging writers.

As a publisher, I’ve been lucky enough to create projects that facilitate collaboration and creative exchange, opportunities for writers to connect and work with each other, in a way traditional models of anthology collation do not make possible. I’ve always been more interested in working with a group of writing to develop and publish the best stories each individual could write rather than opening to public submission and publishing the best individual stories from there. Because of this very different model, new writers have left projects with a support network they didn’t have when they started.

As a workshop facilitator, I’ve had the fortune of interacting with (and learning from) an ever-broadening group of people. For the past three years I’ve delivered the highly sought after self-editing and critique seminar through the Queensland Writers Centre. Alongside hints and tips on how to edit your work, I’ve also been sneaky enough to transform the impersonal seminar space into a personal one that pushes writers our of their silence to talk and connect with each other.

As a community builder, I’ve had the joy of building and facilitating spaces (in and beyond eMergent Publishing’s boundaries) where individuals or clusters of writers have come together to help and support each other, to foster new and enduring relationships and friendships. Last year I wrote about the experience of accidentally building an online community of writers. The article was published in IF:Books and Editia press’s n00bz.

A RECIPROCAL CONNECTION

As a writer, I’ve seen the importance of peer support and encouragement, and been lucky enough to find other writers and industry professionals who’ve been able to help me. From the people who took me under their wing and introduced me around at Cons and literary events when I knew no one, to others who have offered advice or guidance over the years.

And there are others, those with whom I have written shoulder-to-shoulder with over the years, in collaborative arrangements, as beta readers, as fellow travellers, as members of online writing groups and community, who have challenged me to be the best writer I can be. They have been there with me through good times and bad.

I have always tried to pay it forward because I am everything I am today, not just because of the hard work I’ve put in, but because of the hard work my writing colleagues have put into me.

THE BIRTH OF A MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

I’m not the only one who hungers for connection, for support and for the confidence that comes when others invest their belief in you.

I’m also not the only one who is constantly looking to upgrade their skills, deepen their creative connection and seek innovation in story telling.

And surprisingly enough, I’m not the only one looking for creative and sustainable ways of building an art-commerce model of income to support myself – in this case it’s the double whammy of not just funding myself as a writer but also a small press that wants to pay  authors well.

This has culminated in the conception of a mentorship program that draws on my own experiences, skills and accumulated insights. My vision is to be the curator of a supported creative space with the benefits of one-to-one personalised attention and small group interaction.

FOR THE ASKING

For The Asking is a hybrid program combining direct mentorship, a writing course and elements of creative exploration. It has the flexibility to accommodate different goals while at the same time providing a shared space to connect with (or hone) the craft of writing through experimentation in style, form, voice, genre and different creative modalities, combined with thoughtful critique, self-reflection and peer interaction. Each mentee will also have the opportunity to pursue one or two writing related goals.

The first 12-week mentorship block begins Sunday 13th September.

The program is open to all writers 18 years and over. Places are limited to FOUR and are via an application process. Successful applicants will be notified by Sunday 6th September.

Investment* is A$250.00

Additional information and the application form can be downloaded here.


*The proceeds from this mentorship block will fund the publication of ‘The Heart is an Echo Chamber’ (the follow up to ‘No Need to Reply’), the second Pandora’s Paradox novel and eMergent Publishing’s website redevelopment. 10% will be invested via Patreon into my favourite podcast, Tea and Jeopardy, created by Emma and Peter Newman.

While You Were Away; A Letter

IMG_0080Tasmanian indie publisher Transportation Press’s new project  is a joint undertaking with Iranian-American writer-editor Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Twitch Tasmania. “The Letter Project” seeks to create a dialogue between one part of the world and another. I was chuffed to arrive home from holidays this afternoon to find my letter had been published earlier in the week while I was far from Brisbane, internet or mobile phone service.

To Wish A Letter Into Being

Have you ever been asked to write a letter to you in the past?

It’s one of the sappy kinds of self help exercises I’ve always detested. But somehow, in the last few years I’ve found myself wishing I could actually write a letter to teenage me, a way of saying “hey, there’s all this juicy, awesome stuff in the future. Hang in there” rather than needing or wanting to impart my hard won knowledge *cough* and wisdom *cough* (which I assume is the reason behind the letter as an exercise).

I’ve really just wanted to say, “Hey, here in the future, you get the things you want. They’re just not in the shape you want or expect them or in the time frame you wish it would happen. But it’s all here.”

Post Marked: The Past

Other than the actual practical ability to do so, the idea of sending a letter such as this into the past is based on a couple of assumptions :

  1. The way you remember the past is they way it actually was.
  2. The way you feel in the present about the past, is the way you actually felt in the past, and
  3. Past You wants to hear from Future/Present Day you.

Ah, but what if they are all erroneous assumptions and the tech was two-way?

Dear You

“Dear You” is a semi-fictious, semi tongue-in-cheek, semi-autobiographical piece that opens:

29th October 1989

Dear You,

(I’m not addressing this to “Future Me” because I’m not any version of you.)

You go to all the trouble of writing to me from the future about “that boy” but you don’t tell me who he is. Is he someone I already know? Someone I already like? Someone I have already lost? Someone I’m yet to meet?

And what the hell do you mean by “be patient…

Read on

I have Kris’s gentle nudges to thank for making me sit and write while on holiday and with only a very basic smidgen of an idea to fly a letter by the pants of.

You can read Kris’s letter here, and there’s also a letter by S.G. Larner, plus half a dozen other great pieces of epistolary writing.

Awaken the Social Media Army

And… because I am only a small way through my social media sabbatical I need your help. It transpires, getting the word out about your work without social media is the proverbial silent scream.

So… If you have a minute, please share “Dear You” on Facebook or Twitter. Transportation Press makes it simple with a bunch of social media icons on the bottom of the letter page.

And before you leave… would you or wouldn’t you write a letter to past you if the technology was available?

Image: Letter Box (c) Jodi Cleghorn 2012

Short Film “Golden Opportunity” for April Release

One Friday evening in late 2011, Adam Byatt and Laura Meyer fell into a Twitter discussion about how they both dreamed of seeing one of their stories made into a film. This immediately piqued the interest of Devin Watson.

On the 16th of this month, the first of the films conceived after that conversation will be released.

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John Rackham reports the Fedalitas Mandatory News

“Golden Opportunity” is the story of the Madisons — Will (Richard Alan Reames) and Maria (Ana Maria Castenades) — a couple whose relationship is on the verge of disintegrating under the brutal religious junta governing North America (Ken Dodge plays a seriously terrifying Fedalitas commander). P.J. Kaiser penned the original story for “Nothing But Flowers: tales of post-apocalyptic love” and Emma Kerry adapted the story for screen.

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Your explanation is not satisfactory.

The film owes its existence to the passion, skill, patience and perseverance of Devin Watson (director) and Dustin Masters (director of photography). Dustin became enamoured with “Golden Opportunity” early on and his persistent interest kept the script front and centre of a larger project.

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The squads are getting closer every night.

Kudos are due Devin, who put his money, time and efforts into bringing the story to the screen. Mike Bruno’s score, John Rackham’s voice over and some amazing composite shots round out what is an amazing visual transformation for PJ’s story.

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Things had gone so very wrong. First the world went wrong and then somehow they had gone wrong.

Being part of a film has opened my eyes to a brand new way of conceptualising storytelling and working cooperatively. It’s shown me a different way of taking ideas, dreams and passions to create a new accessibility to the worlds we authors create.

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Now do you believe I will do anything for you?

Please like the Golden Opportunity’s Facebook page. The film will be released next Thursday — April 16th.

For now I leave you with a sneak look inside the world of “Golden Opportunity”.