Book Launching – Arboretum

Last night I had the privilege of launching a friend’s debut science fiction novel, Arboretum. I’ve known Ian for almost twenty years, first as a lecturer, then as a minister and pastor. 

Back in 2012 he had taken some long service leave and in that time punched out a novel; one that would be the first of a trilogy. He sent me a message asking if I could have a look over it. I duly did. And sent back twelve pages of notes. Despite the honesty of the critique, he diligently went to work and sent me back another version for edits. Again, I took the Red Pen of Correction, Revision, Alteration and Punctuation (C.R.A.P. for short) and sent it back again for revisions and rewrites.

Long story very short, Arboretum was picked up by Stone Table Books (an imprint of Morning Star) and is now out into the world.

It is the second book I have my name in the Acknowledgements section (think I have a new aim here: get into as many Acknowledgements as I can) before my first novel comes out in 2019.

Ready to launch “Arboretum”.

Ian about to do a reading from “Arboretum.”

Ian (left) with Kevin (right) Kevin has been a supporter and coach for Ian for the past couple of years, getting this novel to publication amongst other non-fiction titles.

Check out the blurb:

Timothy Martin is a respected lecturer in Astronomy who has spent most of his life trying to put behind him the trauma of a childhood dominated by ‘visions’. But the visions have returned, more real than ever. Not only does he see other places, but he is now able to step into them. When he becomes fixated on the star Delta Crucis in the Southern Cross constellation, he sees a vision of a world orbiting it and impulsively takes a step – two hundred and forty-five light years into space. He did not expect to survive. Nor did he expect to land in the midst of an alien city. And he certainly did not expect to threaten the well-being of another world, one that he finds disturbingly – at peace. At stake is not only his own destiny, but that of an entire world.

Links below:

Ian Miller

Stone Table Books – Arboretum


Random Calligraphy

Below is a collection of sample sentences and ideas I’ve had, playing around with new markers and pens.

Publication News for Post Marked: Piper’s Reach

I am very very pleased to announce that my collaborative novel with Jodi Cleghorn, Post Marked: Piper’s Reach, has been accepted for publication by Vine Leaves Press.

This is how Jessica Bell, publisher of Vine Leaves, spoke about it, “They have co-written one of the most touching contemporary love stories I’ve ever read.” And it’s more than that; a darkness lies beneath the story of Jude and Ella-Louise.

It has been a long long journey from the first letter handwritten in January 2012 to now, and there’s still some time to wait. The scheduled publication is slated for July, 2019.

I am  totally wrapped and chuffed and excited about seeing our novel in print and can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned as the year progresses and I’ll keep you up to date. 

This is how we pitched it:

“Post Marked: Piper’s Reach” is set on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, and follows the correspondences of Ella-Louise Wilson, a former narcotics undercover officer who left Piper’s Reach twenty years earlier to make a life for herself beyond the legacy of her mother’s heroin addiction and her high school best friend Jude Smith, a late-thirties marine biologist still living in his home town of Piper’s Reach with his wife and young family.

Consisting of 57 letters (originally hand-written and physically posted over 15 months), Post Marked: Piper’s Reach initially ran as a web serial from April 2012 to June 2013, gathering a diverse and engaged readership united by the yearning ache of the central theme of ‘the one left behind’. It explores the rekindling of old friendships, adolescent nostalgia, reconciliation of the past with the future, the guilt of wanting what you can’t have, the disparity of who you think someone is and who they actually are, and the consequences of a second chance.

Both Adam and Jodi were avid letter writers in their youth and the project evolved as a way of rekindling an intimate and forgotten mode of communication.

The novel is supported by several short stories, a chapbook of vignettes, and an extensive mix tape soundtrack.

If you’re keen you can read the chapbook HERE, and the first letter HERE.

Right now I’m working on a novella that is connected to the world of Piper’s Reach so keep an eye out for that too.

I’m doing my happy dance and getting stuck back into writing.

Handwritten Pages #30 Carapace

“Every time you slam the door a fairy loses its wings,” her mother yelled down the hallway.
She leant against the door, watching and waiting for the wings to float down; one onto her pillow and the other beside the laptop on her desk. Their thin, steel-like frames and metallic membranes were added like plates to the almost-finished coat on the dressmaker’s mannequin.
Slipping it off the mannequin and dressing herself in it, she confronted her image in the mirror, the light reflecting a kaleidoscope of colours on the carapace she wore.
I will not need to fly, she whispered, when I can wear armour.

Handwritten Pages #29 Conflagration

To scorch the earth
requires, firstly, a match
to spark the conflagration.
In it’s wake a monochrome
palette of ashes; the static
of a black and white television.
The white noise of silence
mistaken for a perpetual
round of applause.
Except you burned the memory
of why you did it in the first place.

Handwritten Pages #28 Mix Tape

We were two halves, each a side of a mix tape. Made up of songs that created us in our understanding of the other.
Yet your memory of me is a bootleg, a copy passed around by word of mouth. Continually copied until the reproduction was a new original you made of me in an act of collective forgetting; when the memory of the song was more powerful than the original.
How often did we have to respool the cassette when it caught in the tape deck; wind it back on with a pen jammed in the cogs? I doubt you’d recognise the original tune now that it’s stretched and warped.

I want you to press “Play” for old time’s sake. Would you?

Three Words for the New Year

In the light of celebrating the changing of the Gregorian calendar into 2018, let’s acknowledge Greg’s dating nomenclature: Happy Greg’s Day!

But, another three words to define this changing of the calendar on the wall, the diary on the desk, the scraps of paper used as notes and the back of my hand useful for the writing of lists, is to refocus the directions, habits and purposes of what you wish to achieve.

These are my three words for 2018: Patience, Fortitude, Tenacity

They are defined by my theological outlook and perspective, and have connections to events and situations that have impacted, are impacting, and will impact me. The changing of a calendar date doesn’t mean that all the craptacular events that happened last year haven’t continued on this year; I still have to deal with them. They impact myself, my family, my creativity. 

To be honest, 2017 was a year of continuation of years of crapness that feels like someone having handed me a never-ending roll of toilet paper. It helps clean up the mess but the mess keeps on coming. I didn’t, and haven’t, dealt with some of it well and the effect compounds into multiple areas but especially my creativity. 

No new stories written. Nothing published. Ideas planted, germinated, rising about the soil and scorched by the sun. It’s been a barren few years in terms of creative output. 

So how do these words help me refocus for the coming year? It’s about forming positive habits and achievable steps, looking at the long term destination rather than short term gains or (potential) rewards. 

Patience – like that of a saint. The ability to weather the storms and circumstances, and to travel when the conditions are good. To me, it’s having a longer perspective, a focus on the horizon and not simply the step immediately in front of me.
It’s a cultivated habit, a fruit of character and personality. To keep doing the work, not seeing the reward, while others around you are blessed and keep on going with nary a care in the world. I will have my reward in this life, or the next. Not to be distracted by the success of others (applaud them, support them, champion them) because they have done the work that is required. 

Fortitude – defined as courage in pain or adversity. Basically, above all, to stand.
So much has sucked away the creative impetus and momentum over the last few years and it has taken up a significant amount of emotional and mental energy. Often it’s painful and demoralising. Especially when it’s not happening to me specifically but to close family members who you take care of. It’s hard to see someone you love in pain and there is not much you can do except hold a space for them, and yourself.
Sometimes I feel like an anchor point for those around me but I’m afraid I’ll lose my grounding. But, digging in and digging deeper. 

Tenacity – keeping on when all you want to do is give up. And I’ve been feeling like giving up a lot lately. Had a rough gig on the weekend; it wasn’t a train wreck in terms of my drumming but for whatever reason it felt awkward and crap and at the end of the gig I wanted to break my drumsticks, sell my gear and quit playing drums. 
But that is one gig. I will have other bad gigs, I am sure. I’ve also had great gigs. Each day is a chance to refocus, start afresh and be thankful for mercy and grace. I’ll be looking at the next gig this weekend not through the lens of the past gig but at the possibility of what awesomeness it could be. Back to the practice pad.

Im summary, three words are meaningless without a plan to make them a habit so I’ll keep making notes, keep reading, keep writing. 

What would your three words for the year be?