I´m very pleased to report that my new story collection, Mercury Blobs, will be appearing soon, maybe even in the basket of the Easter Bunny as he pops by to add another year to my life. Several people went into the making of this book which I am proud to see done my way.
Some stories were triggered by an online group run by Sarah Salway. Others were written on commission. Others have appeared in charity collections. It´s funny how life goes. It was while working on the editorial team to produce New Sun Rising: Stories for Japan that I made the online acquaintance of an Australian woman much younger than I, who set up her own little publishing company, Raging Aardvark Publishing located in Brisbane Australia. The group worked hard online and offline and the anthology came together. This month marks the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster where many victims have become outcasts, and others have learned little. I´m proud to have been able to contribute in some way to perhaps letting those people affected know that we here, there and everywhere - for that is where contributors came from - were, and still are, thinking of them. Raging Aardvark published the book and all monies, and more, have and still are being sent to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
Around this time, I was thinking of self-publishing. I didn´t want a publisher to mess with my book. I wanted the artwork I wanted, the design I wanted. Mercury Blobs, all over the place in the space of a mind. What publisher would be interested in that on my terms? Raging Aardvark was. Annie Evett said yes. The ISBN is Australian!
Nik Perring in the UK gave me valuable editorial advice, Sharon Ratheiser, an artist friend in Vienna let me have the painting that also graces my Facebook timeline, and that I feel is Mercury Blobs. Sessha Batto, a writer and book cover designer I met on the New Sun Rising Project, did the cover design.
When at the 12th International Conference on the Short Story in English in North Little Rock last year Pulitzer prize-winning Robert Olen Butler asked me what I was working on, I was hesitant. He went on book tour for his new novel, The Hot Country, but around Christmas reminded me that he wanted to see Mercury Blobs. Again I was hesitant. Not his kinda stuff. Did I need a blurb? What if he hated it? Life´s too short. I have to do my thing. But the joy was that he was willing to read it. Then came his words, and I melted.
So you see, there´s always a story behind a book. It´s a little like those matroshki. Open one, there´s another and another. So here is a preview - Mercury Blobs. And thank you to all who have supported me in whatever way in my writing.
Oh, and before I forget, there´s a wonderful conference scheduled to take place in Vienna in July 2014: the 13th International Conference on the Short Story in English. I´ll be there, will you?
Causes Sylvia Petter Supports
International PEN (Sydney)
Indigenous Literacy Project (Australia)