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


Time is on my Side

It would be easily to fall into the mind-think of the ‘world is against me’, ‘it’s all uphill’,  ‘it’s all too hard’, ‘there’s just no time’. This year has been marked by more hard work than I think I have ever done and the feeling that I’m never free from the toil and slog. Luckily I’m a glass half full kind of girl and I try to avoid falling down rabbit holes (though sometimes you just can’t avoid them).

This week I was faced with another round of deadline reshuffles and a few more set backs. It makes me wonder why I ever bother to try and have a deadline at all, given that I’ve made one this year – Valentines Day – and well, I guess it made it because it was one of those intractable dates.

The thing is though, I don’t consider it a mark against me. I’m a believer in everything happening in its own good time.

Last year, January if I’m pegging a month, I got the clearest sign from the Universe to trust in the right motion of things. The daily scopes from Mystic Medusa said to keep an eye out for an omen. I’m usually pretty crap at pulling the wisdom of the universe when its set up to be found. And as the day went on, I just about gave up on my little morsel of Universal wisdom.

My partner had been away doing field work five hours west of Brisbane (he’d been gone two weeks) and omen day, was his day to return home. Mr D was five and desperate for his Dad to get home. Dave rang from the outskirts of the city to say he wasn’t far away. To help Mr D cope with what seemed like the longest wait, I set the timer on my phone. Dave should only have been half an hour away, but I set it to forty-five minutes just to be sure. The half hour clicked over, and then forty minutes. Next thing the alarm was going off and I trudged to the bedroom to turn it off, wondering how I was going to smooth it over with Mr D.

When I turned the alarm off I heard Mr D’s squeals of delight as Dave’s rental ute pulled up in the drive way.

My lesson was things always happen perfectly – even when they don’t look like they are. Running behind schedule isn’t running behind, its running on time, in the way the Universal has delegated.

This doesn’t mean you let go and never worry about putting up boundaries, setting deadlines and such. It just means sometimes you need to push the boundaries out a little further to accomodate life as it happens.

The first deadline for 100 Stories for Queensland coincided with the Christchurch Earthquake. The second deadline coincided with the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. When it was finally released in May… it was far enough away from both these disasters to be allowed its own space to shine.

Now I’m trusting all over again. LMT’s Eighty Nine is two months ‘late’, but I realise now, to run to schedule I would have missed out on several stories, which have come in late and are perfect in their own way. LMT’s Tiny Dancer will be put back a month due to staffing changes and an incessant need in me to get all my other projects cleaned up and sent to the printers before I start editing another anthology.

And in all of this… I’m surrounded by a group of like minded individuals who aren’t expected to send emails of support – but do, who aren’t expected to step up to offer help with editing, proof reading, admin – but do. Rather than feel like a total feeb who can get nothing right, I’m given the chance to feel like I’m someone doing the best I can – from one day to the next. Knowing the timing is always right.

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.


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?

Time Is On My Side

…oh yes it is!

I refuse to think of myself as time poor. This is despite hammering down the door of a major deadline for the first of eMergent Publishing’s non-fiction clients, keeping the fires of Chinese Whisperings stoked, preparing for my first virtual book launch and trying to keep afloat in life. If I bring a poverty mentality  to my working and creative life I can’t expect keep my head above the water.

Yes – I’d like more sleep, yes – I’d like more time to read, yes – I want to spend time with my family and yes – I am yearning to write (especially since my kind characters chose this very week to reveal the previously hidden hooks of a story to me in the shower on Thursday) but this too will pass.

The non-fiction project is a planning text called ‘Gnarly Planning’ by the wonderful Dr Jane Stanley. The book is amazing and definitely not your run-of-the-mill university text. Instead it is  full of inspiring personal stories from Jane’s adventures overseas, humbling accounts of people making do with very little and lots of good old common sense, that doesn’t just apply to the area planning, so I’m discovering as I read and layout. While it continues to be a very consuming experience for me – the plethora of astounding photographs and the text in general keeps me going. It is the only experience of working/reading a non-fiction book where I have been inundated with waves of goosebumps.

Speaking of time –  tomorrow is my first time as part of a virtual book launch (Saturday for those folks in the Nth Hemisphere)  Absolute Xpress’ “Thieves and Scoundrels” anthology, which my short story “The Chameleon” is published in, is officially launched tomorrow.

There are two parts to the launch  – a rolling stock of  ‘virtual’ interviews with some of the anthology’s authors (12 authors, in 9 time zones, across seven hours) as well as an Amazon chart rush.

While I’m part of the virtual interview section – to promote myself, my story, my writing and of course the anthology, I’m also participating to see how it all works and what sort of fit it might be for The Yin and Yang books in October.

My “spot” is on at the following times:

  • New York: Saturday 6:45pm
  • Chicago: Saturday 5:45pm
  • Calgary: Saturday 4:45pm
  • LA: Saturday 3:45pm
  • GMT: Saturday 10:45pm
  • London:  Saturday 11:45pm
  • German: Sunday 12:45am
  • Afghanistan: Sunday 3:15am
  • Brisbane: Sunday 8:45am

I’ll be talking/typing about about my story, what I’m currently working on, my influences and what I find challenging about flash fiction. You can be a part of the author chats by following this link.

The other aspect of the launch is an Amazon chart rush.

To participate I’m asking my friends, family writing colleauges and blog readers, between 10am – 5pm Mountain Time (Pacific: 9am – 4pm, Central: 11am – 6pm, Eastern: Noon – 7pm, GMT: 4pm – 11pm, EST Queensland: 2am – 9am on April 11) to go to the Thieves and Scoundrel’s page and considerdoing one or all of the following:

  • buying ‘Thieves and Scoundrels’
  • view the ‘Thieves and Scoundrels’ page
  • add the book to their wish list
  • suggest to a friend

All these things will increase the book’s ranking on Amazon.com.

Now, speaking of time… I have some interview questions to get sorted and some sleep to be had.

Image: Temporal Paradox by PatsPiks via Picture Post

The Chameleon Accepted for Publication

Late last year a fellow Chinese Whisperings writer Tina Hunter contacted me about Absolute Xpress’s Flash Fiction Challenge. She told me to keep an eye out for the 1st December when the prompt for the challenge would be announced, adding my writing would definitely suit the anthologies they were producing.

Thieves and Scoundrels is the third anthology, coming in the wake of Creatures of the Night and The Seven Deadly Sins (Tina had stories published in both!) cementing Absolute Xpress’s committment to the Flash Fiction form, which is growing in popularity with writers and readers alike.

There is nothing like someone making, even the smallest investment in your writing life, to spur you on to bigger and better things. In many ways it was the indebtedness to Tina which made this a priority once I had submitted to the 12 Days Project (work begets work… I’m convinced of that!)

The prompt was:

Would your characters try to swindle a dragon out of his treasure? Perhaps they’d try to steal the fastest spaceship in the galaxy? Or are they after something a little more sinister that’s in need of taking? Where ever and when ever they take place, the stories of these Thieves and Scoundrels will take hold of your imagination and ransom it back to you.

I had a couple of ideas floating around in my head, especially after Vasia Markides and Anna Barros posted to their Facebook pages an article about a group of elderly Cypriots being charged with illegal gambling. The youngest was in their mid-70s. While it didn’t end up firing for this competition but it is latent waiting for the right trigger.

It was a moan about shopping hours which lead me to ask: What could possibly happen to someone in the dead of night in a supermarket.  ‘The Chameleon’ answers that and is my debut story in the sci-fi/spec-fic genre. This from someone who said two years ago, “Oh but I don’t write sci-fi.”

While I’m indebted to Tina for encouraging me to enter, I’m also indebted to some wonderful people who read the first draft, commented and compelled me to distill and capture the essence of the story. These wonderful beta readers were Chris Chartrand, Annie Evett, Dan Powell, Diane Ballard and Jen Brubacher… oh and my Mum, who is captured here mid-story. Why mention them… because these amazing folk are the real powerhouses behind any writer, the unseen who help to sculpt and solidify creative flights of fancy. Who ensure a piece goes from “er, yeah,” to “OMG!”

The anthology is scheduled for release later this month, so watch this space.