A List of Alphabetical Advice 

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 “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
Marcus Aurelius

Emily Craven gifted me the little Typo journal above for Christmas in 2013. We have been writing in it every day since January 2014, responding to the journal prompts and the other prompts we’ve added to avoid the repetition of prompts like: ________ is a total babe.

Instagram and Twitter chronicle our our daily adventures and sometimes we’re lucky to have someone play along at home. We’ve been blessed this year to have Typo’s social media person on board with us.

AUGUST A to Z

August has a cluster of prompts (brain child of Em) to create an alphabetical list of advice. Rob Cook joined  and it was one of the most interactive and fun set of prompts we’ve done. I missed out on writing them last year (it was the precursor to The Churn) so I’m looking forward to next year when I’ll be able to do a compare and contrast.

For now, advice a la 2016.

Always be your most authentic self.

Behave with kindness and integrity.

Care of yourself IS a priority.

Devote time, energy and focus to the pursuits you love.

Evolve. Evolve-evolve-evolve.

Focus on the present; nothing can be done about the past and the future takes care of itself.

Go after your dreams; passion is your ally.

Hope keeps the glass half-full.

Innovate. Innovate-innovate-innovate.

Judge no-one, especially yourself.

Keep the faith, especially when despair threatens to swallow you.

Listen to your favourite songs in the shower.

Meditate. Appreciate. Invigorate.

Never give up. It you can’t be your own cheer squad let your friends shake the pompoms for you.

Open to adventure, curiosity and absurdity.

Perfection is only found in imperfection.

Quiet time is essential – however or wherever you find it.

Rest. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Bodies get old and tired.

Sing. Loudly. Offkey. For your own pleasure. Because you can.

Time travel will enrich your life.

Utilise your inherent skills and talents. This is how dreams bloom.

Voraciousness is not a sin. Celebrate your hungers.

Wing it. Sometimes the best plans, best ideas come together in motion.

X marks the spot. Know where your inner treasure is buried.

You are both your best friend and worst enemy. Choose wisely.

Zebras; because sometimes its good to be black and white.

If you were to collect your advice for life in an A-Z, how would it read?

 

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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”.

On Anthologies and Small Press Beginnings

Following on from the spate of guest posts last month, I’m talking about creating anthologies and accidental small press beginnings at Emily Craven’s e-Book Revolution today. It is part of the week-long relaunch of the website.

“Digital publishing allows exploration of ideas without a strong, traditional  ‘commercial value’. Many of the financial risks associated with traditional forms of publishing do not apply to digital publishing. This makes it the perfect playground for experimentation.” Read the full article.

By leaving a comment you go into the draw to win one of two wonderful bundles of prizes (one which is the entire back catalogue of anthologies from the Chinese Whisperings and Literary Mix Tapes imprint). So hop on over and share your anthology experiences: good, bad, indifferent!

Other articles in the relaunch of the e-Book Revolution site include:

5 Mind Blowing Facts About Book Trailers – And How To Do Your Own

iBooks Alternatives – How To Make A Book App With Authorly

Author Branding – Being Judged by Your Cover

How To Get Your Print Books Into Your Local Book Store In 7 Steps

 

Eighty Nine

Available today in full and free at Amazon USA and Amazon UK.

When it came time to create the third Literary Mix Tapes, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do an actual “mix tape” and base it in a single year.

I chose 1989 for many reasons, but the core of the inspiration came several years ago when I ran across someone from my high school days on Facebook and I was given a small insight to what might have been that year. A novel idea immediately followed, but in the interim I created EIGHTY NINE and wrote “Cocaine, My Sweetheart” which is a small glimpse into what that novel might be one day.

A Playlist of Champions

I asked all the authors from Nothing But Flowers if they’d nominate a song from 1989. Those 26 songs created the backbone of the anthology. There is everything from Bon Jovi to Bob Dylan on the list… and just about everything in between, from hit to obscurities. I contributed Deacon Blue’s “Real Gone Kid” and I find myself wondering what Rebecca Dobbie may have written had I chosen Madonna’s “Express Yourself”.

Constructing EIGHTY NINE

The interpretation of the theme by the authors is as varied and colourful as the music and events of the time. ~ Alan Baxter

I struggled to succinctly articulate my vision for EIGHTY NINE. I started the project just before my first fall into depression last year. It was frustrating when the concept for Nothing But Flowers had been so easy to share. So I told the authors they had to create a story using:

  • the song they’d be randomly assigned
  • an event from 1989
  • spec-fic parametres

A Rolling Stone Gathers….

By using lyrics to inspire authors, editor extraordinaire Jodi Cleghorn has compiled a body of work that doesn’t have a single cementing theme… In a way it led to the creation of its own theme: a bunch of writers having a whole heap of fun. ~ Zena Shapter

It was one of those experiences (of which I seem to be accumulating) where stepping away from the concept allowed authors and their stories to blossom across genres which include, but are not limited to, alternative history, horror, science fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal fiction, cyberpunk, ghost stories and modern mythology.

Who You’ll Find

Journeying into worlds populated by book-burning terrorists and shape-shifting political activists, by ghosts, vampires, devils and a cybernetic freedom crusader with one last trick to play, “Eighty-Nine” is a testament to the imagination. ~ Zena Shapter

There are some brilliant characters in EIGHTY NINE: creepy wax workers, a lost Russian soul, a revolutionary who is more than the sum of his parts, a Japanese seer who is consort to the Emperor, a band of futuristic criminals looking for the ultimate jailbreak, a book-loving air-guitar playing priest, aliens in the skin of secret police and a vampire with tragic imprinting.

Some of my all-time favourite stories are in this anthology. It was a pleasure to publish stories from a number of authors I’ve worked with for a long time, who really producing tour de forces for this anthology.

Why Am I Blathering About EIGHTY NINE?

Today for the first time EIGHTY NINE is available in full and free at Amazon USA and Amazon UK. You don’t need a Kindle to read it. You can read it on your phone, tablet or computer with a quick click of one of the nifty Kindle apps.

So you want the official low down…

Blurb (abridged)

Eighty Nine re-imagines the social, political, cultural and personal experiences at the end of the decade which gave the world mullets, crimped hair, neon-coloured clothing, acid-wash denim, keytars, the walkman, Live Aid, the first compact disc and MTV.

Table of Contents
Ashes to Ashes – Adam Byatt
Shrödinger’s Cat – Dale Challener Roe
Diavol – Devin Watson
Nowhere Land – Maria Kelly
Chronicle Child – Lily Mulholland
Angelgate – Tanya Bell
All I Wanted – Rob Diaz
Drilling Oil – Kaolin Imago Fire
30 Years in the Bathroom – Icy Sedgwick
Amir – Benjamin Solah
Over the Wall in a Bubble – Susan May James
Disintegration – Stacey Larner
Choices – Laura Eno
Divided – Emma Newman
Blueprints in the Dark – Rebecca Dobbie
Eighteen for Life – Jo Hart
New Year, Old Love – Jim Bronyaur
Solider Out of Time – Laura Meyer
The Story Bridge – Josh Donellan
If I Could Turn Back Time – Alison Wells
An Exquisite Addition – Paul Anderson
Maggie’s Rat – Cath Barton
The Banging on the Door – Jonathan Crossfield
Now Voyager II – Monica Marier
Cocaine, My Sweetheart – Jodi Cleghorn
Paragon – Jason Coggins

Go forth and enjoy some truly amazing stories and if you are inclined, consider leaving a review or rating on Amazon USA, Amazon UK or Goodreads.

Next week’s free promo is Emma Newman’s FROM DARK PLACES. A truly nifty pick up considering the gorgeous Emma has just signed a three book deal with Angry Robot for her Split World project (which is the world her story, Divided from EIGHTY NINE, is bound in).

Nothing But Flowers Free Until Friday on Kindle

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.

You can drop into Amazon US or Amazon UK and with a single click, get a copy and enter into the world of love after the end of the world.

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.

Nothing But Flowers UK Download

Nothing But Flowers USA (and elsewhere) Download

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.