Testing/Marching – Fate/Time

… take your pick.

Shadow Box

Shadow Box pre-orders have been encouraging. I’d heard rumours about one reasonable well known US small press publisher (now defunct and discredited) who bragged their top sellings books sold in the order of dozens – maybe fifty at the most. As I’d nearly submitted a collection to them, I was mortified to discover this.

My goal is fairly modest – 100 copies of Shadow Box sold. I’d be very happy to move 500 copies. Hopefully this is more significant than the small press publisher I just referenced. My first goal, with commitments accepted by specialist bookstores and from today’s trade, has almost been reached.

Thank you to anyone who has already pre-purchased a copy. You won’t be disappointed! Neither will the charity you are helping to support.

Oddness

My copy of ‘House Happenings’ – the Peter Cowan Writers Centre newsletter proclaims ‘Award Winning Playwright at PCWC’. Apparently, for much of this month, they are hosting acclaimed Australian playwright (now based in London) Van Badham as their writer in residence.

This has been a bit of a smack in the face for me, not so much because the Centre is all of 2 minutes drive away and I would like to be a W-I-R there, but more because Van (who was plain old Vanessa back then) and I were in the same English class in high school.

I never really talked to her, or anyone for that matter – I was amongst the lowest of the school outcasts, bottom of the pecking order, and she was one of those ‘lit chicks’. You know the type – a person who could quote Nietsche (or even spell it right!) as though it were as natural as breathing. I remember her as being odd, in a high school full of meatheads and worse, the lit chicks were few and far between – but then again, she was only at Port Hacking (yeah, that’s not a horror pun, that’s the name of the school I actually went to) for the final two (senior) years.

But, being the school outcast had some incidental bonuses. Ostensibly a quiet, shy kid – I listened, observed, took note. I think ‘Van’ was destined to be one of those ascerbic playwright kinda people.

I don’t know if I’ll pop in on her and say hi, like the way I did with another girl from my high school, who I discovered had moved to Perth with her boyfriend – a guy I came to know through a Centrelink leadership conference in Adelaide of all places. I had dinner with them once, but the evening was too strange to repeat. She’d changed so much, as had I. We didn’t have common ground in high school and our perceptions were completely different (she thought I was arrogant, bah!, when I was just quiet and struggling to survive each day). I’m sure Van (isn’t it funny how success can ensure the nickname you give yourself is used by everyone who otherwise wouldn’t use it – it’s the sign of the nerd/freak-made-good) will be the same, but who knows?

Either way, Vanessa Badham as a successful writer and local W-I-R is freaking me out.

Writing Stuff

Perhaps as a reaction to this, I’ve taken a ‘screw this!’ attitude and have now launched all my absolute best stories into the ether. People seem to regard me as an editor only, which isn’t solely the case. Shit, looking at the Aurealis Awards entered works list, how many other writers have appeared in Aurealis, Shadowed Realms, Borderlands, and Ticonderoga Online over the last twelve months? I’m actually feeling pretty damn pleased with myself, the more I think about it.

So, my absolute best (primarily reworked Clarion South stories, which I’ve been sitting on for months, rewriting, tightening, expanding) are now headed for (or with):

Sci-Fiction
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Black Gate
Brutarian
Cemetery Dance

I’ve also decided to stop being ultra selective on these absolute bests, and to give a couple to semi-pro but wide exposure publications so people will get the feel of my name beneath a story title. Cat will be pleased to hear this, but one of these ‘best’ stories is earmarked for Agog! next year. Another is to be submitted to the Macabre: The New Era in Australian Horror anthology.

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