Tuesday 24th May

I’ve been lurking out over at Peter Ball’s blog and I love his conversational posts. It got me thinking about what my intention was for this blog when I shifted over from blogspot several years ago. I wanted it to have that conversational tone, along with information, writing etc. But its something I’ve never quite got around to doing.

So I’m going to have a crack at it. I’m not going to say every day, because that will just put the mockers on, corner me and I know what I’m like when that happens – I jack up and refuse to cooperate (how the hell I made it through 13 years of formal school still astounds me!)

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I’m still getting my head around winning ‘The Hembury’. I’m astounded by the people who’ve congratulated me. Sadly my first name was misspelt on the list which first hit the web so my evil alter ego “Jodi with an e” is getting the accolades on the interwebz! This is pay back for all the times I had to wear her name badge at work and blamed bloopers on her nefarious self!

I have no idea what is it going to mean for me at the moment. The $500 which is attached to the award could be spent in a myriad of ways – catching up on joining professional organisations and there’s also the next Literary Mix Tapes anthology which I’m paying the authors for their contribution, so there is the possibility of using it to underpin that project.

All I can really think of at the moment is there are a group of people here in Brisbane who believe in me and the work I do, and I really need to work to honour that belief not just in the coming year, but for every year after that. It’s certainly injected a new energy into my writing life.

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Last night I had the pleasure of chatting with Jason Nahrung about eMergent Publishing (oh god, it has to be a priority to get that website sorted out and properly built), the projects eMergent Publishing produces, including Chinese Whisperings, 100 Stories for Queensland, From Dark Places and my own solo project Literary Mix Tapes. We also talked about the missing link in self publishing: editing and how small press in Australia really exists to support each rather, than be in competition with each other – especially among the spec-fic presses.

The article will appear in the August edition of “WQ” (Writing Queensland).

Jason was just lovely and I look forward to heading to Melbourne and sharing a quiet ale with him at some point in the not too distant future. He really made me feel welcome within the Australian Spec-Fic community, which I’ve kind of been standing on the outskirts of for a while, looking in on and admiring.

At the end of the conversation Jason told me I should come out and play, share around my shyness. So I’m going to make an effort to live some of my time on top the rock I normally live under.

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My desire to spend two days a week, just writing, has been paying off. Every Monday in May I’ve turned up at the keyboard to write. Granted its been easy the last couple of weeks as I’ve had rewrites to do, but momentum begets momentum and I have some. Actually the momentum is such that I’m finding it difficult to get the writing cap off and the editing one on. I’m certain that will change and it will possibly be the reverse.

The edits are done on‘Blinding’ my story for the Hope Anthology , and I have rewrites to attack today for Susan May James’ Sunday Snaps: The Shorts. Luckily that story just poured out and for once I’ll make a deadline. There is still my Eighty-Nine story to finish for Literary Mix Tapes, which I will attempt later this afternoon.

From there – I have a number of stories which need rewrites. I have an story I want to submit to the Best Australian Short Stories, The Age Short story competition and several others I need to find homes from… and yes, the Inaugral SubChallenge that I signed up for – I’m yet to actually decide on markets I want to target, but I am getting there. As I said, I have momentum now and when you have momentum anything is possible.

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Was thinking earlier about how a month can change everything. Had I tried to tell myself, this time last month, that everything would be ok, I wouldn’t have been able to stomach the idea, as I lurched in and out of the depths of depression. While I’m not saying I won’t be down in the dark hole again (I hope not, but I’m realistic, stuff happens and you don’t always bounce back), I’m glad to be standing in the sunshine.

The last few weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster ride – with the highs of the chart rush last week, the lows of finding a book with a major formatting error and then the highs of the Hembury. I don’t really like highs and low. I prefer the middle path were there’s lots of moments of brilliance and moments of disappointment – equally weighed against each another, and neither too intense.

That’s why I’m trying to keep on an even keel and not allow myself to reach to staggering a high. Trying to walk the path of the passionate, but unassuming.

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This morning I received an email from Amy at the 4ZZZ Book Show inviting me on to have a chat. Many thanks to Josh Donellan and Daniel Wynne who offered to put my name forth (because lord forbid I put my own name forward). There’ll be a chance to talk about all the projects I’m involved in which is exciting and might drive a few more sales.

The date is tentatively set as Thursday 9th June (next week).

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More highlights yesterday with the arrival of a package from England and from my lovely friend and colleague Em Newman. Inside was a signed copy of From Dark Places and a thank you card. I have been completely blessed as an editor and publisher to work with Em and it was a moment of great excitement to hold for the first time, the very first paperback I produced (all the proofing was done in England).

The moment was only topped by Mr D climbing onto a chair to read aloud from the opening story (and title story) From Dark Places to prove he was able to sit and read it. He’s almost seven and he’s desperate to read something I write or publish. I guess he’ll be a connoisseur of ‘dark, weird shit’ well before his time.