There was a knock at the front door and the dogs went nuts.
They really hate that ‘delivery bloke’.
We had been spending time with a friend the night before. Dinner at an Indian restaurant in Olinda [a beautiful part of the Dandenong Ranges, not far from our home]. A couple of glasses of wine, and unseasonably warm evening, and a couple of ‘slightly spooky stories’ supplied by the owner of the restaurant. When you hang out with Mediums interesting things happen. He told us a few stories about being aware of Spirits and my friends tried to connect him with his grandmother, but the staff were getting restless — it was late and they wanted to go home — fair enough, a conversation for another day.
We went back to our friends house and the conversation flowed well into the morning. Fortunately, I’d stopped imbibing somewhat earlier so my head was in reasonable shape when we heard the knock at the door.
You would think that I would be very pleased to see my latest book in print, and I was, but this moment [six books so far] is always a bit of a letdown.
So much goes into the publishing of a book you probably wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t been through it. Then the final part of a very long process arrives at your door, and the project is finally complete [well almost, there is always the constant marketing….. like this article].
The idea for this book [anthology] came about while I was writing TRUST: What it feels like to be a medium. I wanted to add a couple of stories that came into being because of the influence of a reading I had given or seen given by others. I then realised that I have written a lot of stories that are vaguely ‘spooky’ [I don’t do horror, it’s not my thing]. I bundled them all together and sure enough, there was more than enough for an anthology. [book two in this series is well under way]
As many of you will know, I often use an illustration or photograph to kickstart a story. Many of these stories happened the other way around and I had to find a suitable illustration to go with each story. This is where my talented son Matthew comes into the story. Matt lets me use lots of his photographs to headline my stories. Naturally, a lot of my inspiration comes from other people’s illustrations and it would not be right to use them in a book without asking permission. This would be a huge task and not viable for a writer who aims to break even and possibly make a bit more to convince his wife that people really do want to read what he writes.
I’ve been a photographer since the early 1970s, but all my early work went missing when we moved house in ’86, and a lot of my early digital work disappeared when I experienced my first hard drive crash, so I’m very happy that I can choose some of Matt’s excellent photos to enhance my stories. Slightly Spooky Stories has several of his photos, but the really important one is the cover shot. I told him about the project I was working on and he sent me this shot and I was blown away. It was taken in the main street of Belgrave which is the next town further up the mountain from mine. Walking distance in fact. It’s a time capsule shot of sorts as the street artwork has deteriorated quite a bit since this shot was taken.
The first story in the collection is a particular favourite of mine and was honoured, a little while ago, by being chosen for inclusion in one of Australia’s premier literary magazines, Southerly [The Long Paddock, their on-line edition]. Naturally, I was very proud and more than a little bit surprised considering the stack of rejection letters I had been collecting up to that point. I don’t submit my stories to Lit’ Mag’s anymore so this might be my last and biggest success [several of my stories have found homes in magazines all over the world and a full list is in the back of SSS]
The stories in the book vary in length with ‘Emily’ being the longest, but ‘An AK47 and a banana’ comes in a close second.
In this modern busy world, this is the perfect book to read on the tram or the train on the way to work.
The longest story takes about 20 minutes to read, but most are much shorter.
If you chose to read the book in bed you will not have nightmares but each story will make you wonder what came before and what happened after.
Naturally, you can purchase this book as an eBook as well as a paperback. It is available from Amazon, Apple, Smashwords [all formats] as well as Kobo and Barnes and Noble.
The paperback is available from me, and if you are in North America you can purchase it from my printers, Blurb [postage makes it a bit more expensive if you are outside of North America].
This book has traveled a long way and so have I.
If there is such a thing as a ‘book selfie’ then this is it.