Is it really over yet?
view from my Canberra room
Last Friday saw me driving to Sydney to place the second of my new book series into the hands of my Australian publisher.
... Rockpool Publishing then Floriade or bust!
It felt good. I can't tell you exactly what that feels like but I will tell you it is a heady mix of relief, excitement, elation, numbness and outright fear...
"Have I 'done it' right?"
"Is it really over?"
"It can't be, I missed something"
and so on.
Oh and that feeling of wanting to rip it back out of your publishers hands as a heat descends on your body from the writing gods above when she/he comments on something you know you probably haven't included...
"I'm so looking forward to seeing the part on Zombie eating leaves *or insert whatever it was you might of alluded to in your pitch*"
So now your book gets edited... da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaa and I am kinda over the whole "the editor will think I'm an uneducated halfwit" because, well, basically other than a focused uneducated passion for botany I probably am, having left school at about 15. If it wasn't for spellcheck, I probably wouldn't be published. I can not spell, grammar? mmmmm well I know how to speak proper but any of the finer points? I thank the stars for wonderful editors!
Oh yes and thanks to an accident many many moons ago, I can only bash way at the keyboards with a few fingers of my right hand. Yes I've tried all the voice activated dictation programs but I think my accent annoys them. I seem to think better with the few fingers that do work on my right hand anyway. Maybe thats my superpower? mmmmm
In my studio...forget about those fancy pants glossy 'in my studio photo spreads'
this right here is what 8 hours before a book deadline looks like.
But.. I love what I do and the opportunity to share it is something I'm forever grateful for. My passion to learn as much as possible about Ethnobotany (the relationship between plants and people) has filled my life with so much meaning and purpose for decades and along the way I have also learned how to craft that into something to share.
So once you hand in your First Draft, what you do not want to do is then jump back in your car and go on a road trip right after handing over a few months of sweat, tears and sizeable chunk of your sanity to your publisher. Do not do it. Oh yes, you will tell yourself that this is your holiday, treat, relaxing time. It will not be. You should go home, put on your grungiest PJs, find a very long TV series that you haven't watched because your last year has been spent writing in your universe, not escaping in theirs and you should snuggle up with a warm blanket (or friend who will not judge or more importantly talk!) and flake right out. You need to disappear and do SFA. When you finish doing it, you need to do it again. and again...
But, truth be told I did in fact enjoy Floriade in Canberra!
What's not to love. My best friend lives there (damn it I should of just stayed longer and flaked on her couch under her cats, I could still be there).
There is also Flowers right now, over a million of them and it was good to see them, real good.
They had all just about burst into bloom the day before and so it was unlike any Floriade I'd ever experienced. Firstly, because rumour had gotten round that there were no flowers yet, the crowds were right down and secondly all the flowers were fresh and bright, new and well... there!
If I had of gone a week before I would not of seen them and in this very hot spell we are having on the East Coast, if I had of gone a week later, I would of seen cooked flowers and so I went at the right time. The Flowers made me feel chirpy and hanging with Jan always makes me feel great. It would of been better with a cat blanket but I'll remember that for next time.
Hang on! ~ mental note: DO NOT AGREE TO DEADLINES AT FLORIDA TIME.
Floriade is all about... flowers!
I did a few things at Floriade I can't tell you about just yet. Such is the way of writing and publishing and people not wanting other people to know what some people are doing in case they do what those people are doing too but I did flowers things which are good.
... and flowers!
... and things painted with flowers!
... and made to look like flowers.
🌷🌷🌷🌷🌻I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!🌻🌷🌷🌷
Don't worry BigW, problem solved.....there are still Christmas trees for the Flower Crazy People!
Back home to garden this week
(I have a strict limit on time away policy so I can actually do what I write about) and I found that my new herb garden has gone bananas, or rather dill and comfrey and the beetroot, fennel and cos are ready and delicious. Some bird chopped two of my zucchinis seedlings to pieces. I'm assuming it was a bird or a pack of rather feral insects who decided to rip them apart and not eat them. I get needing to munch on my veggie garden so that you can survive but I'm not a fan of plant vandalism or hunting for sport.
I'm pondering what to replace them with today or a plan of defence.
I do grow flowers too! Clivis which mean ~ inner strength and letting go of fear.
And so to Zines.
Last year I produced and released an Artist Edition of my Flowers of the Night Oracle.
I am really proud of that work. It was exciting and just outright fun putting it together. I learned a lot about what I wanted to do in future and what i did not want to do. I learned that people still don't realise I create the art for my own work (stop sending me horrible messages saying I'm dreadful for not crediting the artist! its me and putting my name twice on the cover would just look too egotistical) I learned that really putting your work out there in your pure voice bought a lot of praise but equally loads of criticism but it made me stronger in what I believe. All of the criticism focused on how my deck wasn't like other oracle decks and didn't work the same. Well, good! It is always Nature first in my work. Always. Plants are not humans, they are not there just for us. We have a relationship with them which works both ways. I've made lots of mistakes, a few misinterpretations and followed paths to nowhere on my personal quest but that's what exploration is all about.
new box for Flowers of the Night Oracle
I think it is an important lesson to learn that you are not compulsory and that probably the majority will not like, understand or want your work if you are working within a defined and focused field. If you are out there creating whatever may come because you are looking to be successful in a broad genre then maybe you do need to change and bend to the popular vote but I am not and so I will not. Usually I hear confirmation that what I am doing is right in the words of those who are negative. Sometimes I hear really valuable suggestions and so I will take those on board. I am just selective because the Work I do is more important than trying to please.
Oh yeah and so to Zines.
Flowers of the Night Oracle is being released now by a traditional publisher, (Rockpool Publishing) a couple actually, both in Australia and the USA and UK this November. There are slight updates to it including a revised Guidebook and card format. Oh and the box is different. Because my decks take years to create (I have one now that is not going to be released until 2019 at the earliest and I've worked on since 2012), I collect a huge amount of information in my journals. I also create lots of artwork along the way too and so with this release I am gifting a Zine of Flowers of the Night with the first 99 orders for it from me (I have to keep one for myself!).
Oh yes! IT COSTS TOO MUCH IN POSTAGE TO BUY FROM YOU
I do get a lot of people asking me if I can please offer free postage like *insert online book seller* Um no.
When you buy from me, you get my signature on my book. Ok now this may mean nothing now but what if I was to turn out to be the next Steven King?
Just saying' ;)
Seriously what you also get is extra treats that are worth more than the postage cost. Artworks, prints, flower and plant stuff, seeds if you are in my country and love, lots and lots of love!
To be honest, running an online shop is not my job. Writing books and illustrating stuff and creating art is.
I also only make a few dollars profit on each title I sell through my online shop. I charge what the post office charges me to post your things and unfortunately I don't post 100,000 items a day so I can't get that mega postal discount but I try hard to make it worthwhile for you because I like making friends with people who like what I like.
I'm also a fan of collecting special things from authors I like so I try and do the same for those who may feel the same.
So that is what I'm doing right now! Making a mysterious, cool (I hope!), plant filled, flower bursting, night lovely ZINE for you all and I am LOVING IT!
There are loads of original little artworks and inclusions and today I'm actually working out how to create a moon on something transparent to use as the cover (can I hear you all say OHHHHHHHHH).
I think I'm down to 40 odd copies left that will include this Zine and no I will not be releasing it separately. Publishing contracts will not allow it. This is a completely handmade (by me!) Zine.
I am going to be around a bit more, it has been a huge few months of completing books and decks and I am very grateful for those friends who like my work and have stuck around even if I'm not so 'huge on social media'. I really appreciate you and hope you will enjoy next year what this year has let me do.
OK off to sort out my Moon creative art challenge for your Zine!
Bunches of blessings to you,
Floriade haul... Poppy shoes.