Author Ramble: Inclusivity in Fiction

Or why these books are now so different.

On my other blog I have rambled, a little, about Port Carmila and its origin.

It’s not a new series, as I started writing in early 2010 and kept going until my hand injury and resulting chronic pain made creativity hard. I still wrote about Steve and Abe, though, even during my PWE course, even when I started to move away from writing men and toward writing ladies and non-binary people. When I started to get serious about publishing my older works I intended to publish other stories first, but I read Death and … well, a redraft happened. As one does. Over the last month or so I’ve fallen back in love with these characters and this weird, zany, ridiculous world that is simultaneously too absurd to take seriously, immeasurably fucked-up and the world as it could and should be.

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Short Story: Three Live Mice

Title: Three Live Mice

Length:  6015 words

Summary: Abe gets a shock when his new boyfriend Steve asks him to pick up some mice from the local feed store.

Setting: Stands alone; happens before the ‘For Your Own Safety’ stories.

Note: I used to work at a pet store (before the advent of frozen mice) and the vast majority of our mouse sales were not as pets. (A surprising number of fish weren’t sold as pets, either.)  In Australia, chucking cane toads (an introduced pest species taking over the country) in the freezer is far more humane than the other popular methods of killing them (cane toad cricket, cane toad road kill or cane toad splat). No, we can’t not kill the cane toads. Also, like Steve I am not tall or big – yes, there is a reason I write awesome short protagonists – and I have shimmied through a caravan window. I got paid $2 NZ to do it, too. Hindsight says I was drastically underpaid given the cost of a locksmith, even at the time.

Content warnings: Steve is a too-practical, desensitised, Australian country boy (well, raised as one) indifferent to the cruelty he wrecks on innocent mice, cane toads or other similar living creatures. This is the person who torched a zombie kangaroo on the main drag. Also, Abe is a bit of a douche. This will be important later.

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Short Story: For Your Own Safety, Lock the Door

Title: For Your Own Safety, Lock the Door

Length: 5383 words

Summary: A long-lost cousin on his doorstep should have been a good distraction from Steve’s misadventures with a zombie tiger snake, except that Abe’s pretty sure he doesn’t have a cousin called Bob Clifton. Great-Aunty Lizzie would never let a relative escape her claws. Right?

Setting: Sequel (in theme) to For Your Own Safety, Call First; prequel to Whatever Great-Aunty Lizzie Says.

Note: This one has a touch of character arc. A little bit of set-up for Whatever/continuation of Death is Only a Theoretical Concept. Features references to Port Carmila locals and the many female Browning family relatives who have a curiously egocentric naming scheme. Because I’m all about writing non-binary characters, this is where we start to see more of Steve’s expansive attitude to gender.

Content warnings: Abe is anxious. Abe’s cousin Valentine calls Steve a slut in the best possible way. Steve may or may not have the best regard for his personal safety. Valentine isn’t a whole lot better.

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Vignette: For Your Own Safety, Call First

Title: For Your Own Safety, Call First

Length: 2359 words

Summary: There’s always a risk inherent in just dropping by someone’s door in Port Carmila. Especially when that door happens to be answered by the zombie-hunting Steve Nakamura.

Setting: Some non-specific time over the summer between Death is Only a Theoretical Concept and Whatever Great-Aunty Lizzie Says.

Note: These vignettes aren’t stories as much as they’re opportunities for me to play around with the wackiness of the setting and characters. Please don’t expect anything remotely resembling plot, because it’s not there. Also, this piece is inspired by the time my uncle from WA turned up on my doorstep without calling first, and because I saw him once as an eight year old, adult me sure as fuck didn’t recognise him. Ring first, people – ring!

Content warnings: Opening the font door with a weapon in hand, Steve’s discomfort with being seen as a wakizashi-wielding zombie fighter, not-quite-deserved hell wrought on door knockers bearing religion, the many ways one might go around killing a zombie in Port Carmila.

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Launch: Death is Only a Theoretical Concept

Before I go about posting the short stories and vignettes in the Port Carmila world, it’s important to start at the beginning, so here’s the story that started everything, revised and glammed-up with a shiny new cover!

(If you want rambling on humour and friendship in narrative, go look at the other blog.)

DioaTC_Cover_v14Vendors: free via Smashwords (all formats, but Smashwords PDF is not recommended; please download mine below), Kobo, Apple (epub)
Epub ISBN: 9781311283115

Purchase: Amazon: US ( $.99) and AU ($1.11) (AZW for Kindle)
ASIN:
B00NW984HW

Download: PDF

Word count: 26 000 words (plus bonus vignette)

Note: Yet another present-tense book. This is an extremely revised and extended version of the original story, which is still up on my old LiveJournal should anyone care to Google. (I don’t recommend it: this edition has more awesome ladies and far fewer comma faults.) Please don’t expect them to be all that similar beyond plot: the original was written before I knew the characters all that well, and it shows. Also, it is my intention that Death be a free read everywhere, but Amazon won’t allow me to do it.

Credits: Cover typeset in Idolwild by pizzadude.dk. Vector zombie image by OpenClips. Much gratitude to the old LiveJournal gang for their brilliant levels of encouragement, enthusiasm and commentary. Continue reading