Raiders of the lost story

This morning found me busy with the last minute, post-printing checks as I prepared Disparate Whispers for posting to Fremantle Arts Centre Press. I sent the manuscript in its entirety, along with a cobbled together synopsis of all seventeen stories, and a suave covering letter selling my wares. Having to buy a toughbag from the Post Office was strangely rewarding – knowing my uber-manuscript wouldn’t fit into a large A4 envelope, even at a stretch. It was even more rewarding when I realised Harbinger would be almost three times its size.

When I returned from the Post Office, the day fell into rapid freefall.

Six phone calls later (including one where the woman from Hayley’s in-school TAFE course called me ‘Steve’), I found myself driving into the city to pick Hayley up from her hospitality course. Hayley was sick this morning, but pushed through to get some outstanding tests completed. Instead of allowing her to leave, even with a note, they needed to hand her over to a real live parent. The irony of it was, even after driving into the city from the outer northern suburbs, I parked across the road and called Hayley, and they didn’t even bother sighting whether I was actually there.

After getting home, I struggled with a total lack of Internet access. I just knew an elusive email was headed my way, but a “national ADSL authentication issue” as advised by iinet meant I was without all Internet access until 7.15pm. And you know what? When I DID get access, NOT A SINGLE DAMN EMAIL! GRRR!

In the middle of all this, I received a mysterious letter in the mailbox. Where the electronic age had tragically failed me, the editor of Fighting Chance magazine advised The Raid would appear in their Winter issue (that’s US winter – Aussie summer for us, as in late in 2004). Needless to say, I was exceedingly pleased with this stroke of fortune. The Raid was a story I thought would find difficulty in getting published. It was too ‘guns’n’action’ for most speculative fiction markets, so I took a long shot on Fighting Chance. Sure enough, it’s paid off! It’s funny really, in the midst of Disparate Whispers, Harbinger, and some of my more recent, more glamorous stories (Alley of Dead Whores, Song of the Infernal Machine, Sobek’s Tears), I totally forgot that The Raid was floating around out there. It’s simultaneously humbling and pleasing to know even your lesser lights get a chance to shine.

Spurred on by this success, I completed my application (cover letter, CV and bibliography) for the Peter Cowan Writers Centre Young Writer-in-Residence programme. I’m secretly optimistic -they do not offer accommodation, so this should limit the field greatly. On the other hand, my publishing credits do not include any novels, so I’ll keep the old fingers crossed.

Mum also called this evening from across the country, totally out of the blue. We caught up on all the family goss, both good and bad, swapping tragedies and successes in our stride. It’s always good to catch up.