independent publishing, mirage stories

Winning the Rainbow: A Chance to Survive in the World of Indie Publishing

With each swing of the pendulum of time, the clock of eternity ticks ever closer to the inevitable Showdown at Sundown.

I wrote this quote on my whiteboard back at the tail-end of 2010, and at the time I thought it was the most profound thing that anyone, anywhere, in all of space and time, had ever written. I thought I had struck gold and it was going to have an honoured place introducing the first story in my grand mosaic, not unlike the ominous plaque above the entrance to Dante’s Inferno: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here. Like the epithet above hell, it would equally tease the greatest story ever written and offer a shape of things to come. Then I started to read Plato, Dickens, Coleridge, Wordsworth, as well as Tolkien’s extended mythology, and woke up to reality. I suddenly realised the greatest metaphor ever written was prosaic, immature, and—honestly—rather pretentious. “I can do better”, I told myself. And after many years, and countless hours writing, researching, and avoiding responsibilities, I feel like I’m finally reaching that magical point of being “better”.

Ergo, it’s time to enter the next phase of my writing life, and this weekend my wife and I took the first steps on the road towards the grand and alluring City of Oz twinkling just over the horizon. Those of you close to us will know that 2018 is going to be a year of great change and transformation for Mirage. A kind of metamorphosis is going to take place, one from which there is no going back. I’ve tried—rather foolishly—to drag myself out of my shell a couple of times in the past, and each time I realised I wasn’t ready to be outside yet, and I was able scuttle back inside before everything that I had fell apart. This time there will be no opportunity for retreat; the shell is far too small for me now, and once I leave it’s going to buckle and break and fall to pieces. It’s either flight or fall at this point, there is no other option.

All of this, of course, is my way of saying that Mirage is shortly going to be in the hands of a significant audience, and the critical response will begin in earnest. Starting next year, I will be attending every major convention—and even a few of the smaller ones, at least those that make financial sense—in Australia. I can’t say, at least right now, when our debut will take place, but I can assure you it will be no later than the Second Quarter.

 

banner mirage 5 final
This banner will be like Polaris. You just have to follow it to find me!

 

To ensure a sense of continuity at these convention, we purchased a new vehicle this weekend. We wanted something that was reliable, versatile, and made sense economically. We decided on a Mitsubishi Triton, with a Turbo Diesel engine to keep the fuel cost to a minimum, and a hard tonneau cover for the ease of safely transporting all of our materials and books.

 

Triton
Everyone keeps telling me that red makes it go faster: So far, they all appear to be right.

 

I have to say, I’m very excited with the purchase, but my euphoria is overshadowed by a nervous flutter in my gut and a terrified voice in my head, because now everything is starting to feel real. There’s no backing out of this anymore, not with a commitment like this hanging over our heads.

We both also bought new glasses on Saturday. This is Crystal’s second pair and my first. I was diagnosed with being slightly far-sighted back in 2008, and the optometrist recommended glasses for reading, though I never followed up on it until this month. Yeah, I know, I’m a bad boy, but the amount of reading, writing, and preparations I’ve been doing since we got married have made it necessary to lower the stress my eyes have been under. I was having some rather severe headaches for a while there, so hopefully now everything will be cool beans.

 

Us w: glasses
The optomotrist said we both had similar tastes. I replied: “Yeah, expensive.” We all laughed, then my wallet cried.

 

As 2017 rapidly comes to a close, Crystal and I will be hard at work, doing what we need to do to guarantee our survival in the uncertain world of indie publishing. We have recently finished our Project Portfolio draft, which comes in at almost 50 pages, all of which will come into play as we roll forward toward these conventions. Additionally, we have also drafted fliers and brochures and are currently working hard on the appendices for the physical editions. There’s some really exciting stuff we’re cooking up, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you!

mirage stories

Mirage Weekly Newsletter — 8 September, 2017

In today’s edition of the Mirage Weekly Newsletter, I discuss our progress preparing for next year’s convention appearances, yet another funeral, and a lay of love that has stood the test of time.

Read the full PDF here!

mirage stories

Mirage Weekly Newsletter — 18 August, 2017

In today’s edition of the Mirage Weekly Newsletter, I talk about my hiatus, an extended planet of apes, and plans for physical editions of all Mirage stories.

Read the full PDF here!

mirage stories

Mirage Weekly Newsletter — 28 July, 2017

In today’s edition of the Mirage Weekly Newsletter, I talk about what to expect from next week’s story, The Voice of the Wild, reveal an excerpt from the short story, and have a quick word about the grim reaper, who keeps hovering near me.

Read the full PDF here!

mirage stories

Mirage Weekly Newsletter — 21 July, 2017

In today’s edition of the Mirage Weekly Newsletter, I talk about a successful week writing, my disabled sister’s 29th Birthday, and a book about one of the greatest movies of all time, JAWS.

Read the full PDF here!

 

 

off topic

The ANZAC Legacy

Slightly off-topic blog today, but don’t worry, the second edition of Scrawling a Short Story should be available soon!

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, and as some of you may know, I’m not a huge advocate of the otherwise revered day. Some may view this as unpatriotic, or perhaps insist that I need to avail myself of more facts before commenting on a sacred occasion. I must digress, for beyond my initial views of war, politics and blatant brutality, there is a plaintive purpose behind my stalwart point of view.

I must preface this by saying that I do understand the legend of ANZAC. I appreciate the patriotism, and the Dawn Service is an admirable tradition that encourages a sense of responsibility and esteem in a relatively stale culture; tradition is the hallmark of any great society. I also have two direct relatives—both great-grandfathers—whom served in WWII, Corporal Norman Gerald Hope, and Sergeant Leslie Charles “Cookie” Carpenter. I know my ancestry, and I know what it means to be Australian, but I also possess the ability to question and query history. Remember that history is written by the winners, so is it so wrong to wonder whether the bona fide story is known or not?

First, we must understand the true nature of the Dardanelles Campaign. To cut a long story short, King George V wanted to pry open a rear way into Germany, and the only feasible way was to come up through the Dardanelles and force an army across Eastern Europe. Alas, the Dardanelles were under the control of the crippled Ottoman Empire, which had been failing for a couple of centuries. Now, while the Ottoman Empire had entered a secretive agreement with Germany against Russia, they were not required to enter the war. They had neither the resources nor the zeal to directly enter the engagement, yet King George V consistently acted aggressive toward the Ottoman Empire, eventually seizing a couple of their vessels for his own purposes.

This caused a lot of tension between the two empires, and when Germany (without permission from the Ottoman Empire) closed off the Dardanelles, it was unanimously agreed among the Allied Forces that the Ottoman Empire was in league with Germany, and war was declared. Ergo, the Ottoman Empire had no choice. They were thrust into a war they initially sought no part in, and eventually declared jihad, seeking to reclaim any land lost to them in wars of yore. Could you blame them? Of course, the Armenian Genocide followed, but that’s a story for another day, the details of which are muddied.

The ANZACs were eventually sent to the Dardanelles by King George V to reclaim the strait. Ultimately, no matter how you colour the canvas, the Dardanelles Campaign was an invasion of a sovereign nation. Was it the right move? I’m not one to judge, but we must understand that we did not venture forth into the Great War as noble men with a cause; we were the pawns of a bloody campaign. It was violent. It was cruel. It was unprecedented. Those men—those boys—did not march forward like the Sons of Atreus to reclaim a woman from across the sea; they died without humility and without fanfare far away from their warm beds. Thinking about the atrocities of that campaign is sickening, yet putting a lampshade over the truth is beyond disingenuous—it is an insult to the memory of those thousands of lost souls.

Moving forward, I feel I must also recall the immediate impact of the distorted ANZAC legacy on Australian tradition. Active women and Aboriginals were essentially erased from the legends, the latter of which were legally forbidden from serving in the Australian military, and it is ironic that these pioneering Aboriginals who went to war did not go at the request of King George V, a demonic baron in their humble eyes. Instead, they went to fight for the country they loved, not as pawns, but as knights, yet they were conveniently forgotten.

Men who hailed from a city life of white collar careers were also abruptly ignored, as the legendary ANZAC figure primarily embodied an archetypal presence indicative only of outback Australia. It was deemed that men with smooth fingers possessed no noble skills, and were therefore fodder among the much prouder soldiers. There were also the men who did not serve, who were considered cowards for not offering their life. They were vilified by their communities, considered less than dogs.

Many of these distasteful traits have since been washed out of the ANZAC legends, and a far more mutually inclusive and patriotic tradition awaits millions of weary-eyed Australians on the morning of 25th April. Yet how many of these know the truth? How many who relentlessly spout the phrase “Lest we Forget”—deriving from a poem by Rudyard Kipling nonetheless—for the sake of tradition, truly understands the genesis of ANZAC or the revolting hypocrisies that followed the end of the Great War. ANZAC has, of course, evolved into a day of remembering every soldier who has ever served in the name of Australia, yet while it would be far easier for most Australians to simply brush the unsavoury parts of the legend under the rug and pretend they didn’t happen, we must endeavour to preserve the past or be doomed to repeat it.

Most importantly, however, we cannot be selfish. We cannot claim that we were the victims of the Dardanelles Campaign. We cannot thrust a murderous finger at the Ottoman Empire for defending their land against an invading force who came with the intent to kill, for they never called us their adversary, but rather brothers of the soul, both sides fighting and dying for something neither could possibly understand.

So while tomorrow when, with a touch of melancholy, you remember the many young Australians who died a senseless death, remember that many young Ottomans shared the same fate. They were not our enemy; they were our friends, we just didn’t know it yet. And while The Ode might suffice for the fallen sons of every nation, I think there is a far more poignant oration that should also be observed. It was delivered by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the man who secured the Ottoman Victory of the Dardanelles Campaign and eventually founded the Republic of Turkey, and it is beautiful:

“Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.”