Before the next novel, a novella pops up. (Yes, I know many have up till now been ignored, but bear with me.) Aftermath was started in 2003, and 6 and a half years later, at the end of 2009 I went back to it and it finished at a little over 31200 words. It is a non-linear narrative. Every odd-numbered chapter is told from the point of view of the one narrator, but the even-numbered chapters each involve a completely different character or set of characters. It involves a Godzilla-type monster emerging from the sea off the coast of Glenelg and stomping through Adelaide until it dies at the top of Black Hill.
The reason I mention it, though, is that it was rejected seven times for various novella competitions, and then, at the start of 2012, it was accepted by a publisher who wanted to put it out as an e-book. However, the terms of the contract were ridiculous, and then a secondary contract arrived where I was to pay for this. So, basically, under the guise of an opportunity for authors, this firm tried to get money. Needless to say, I told them to sod off. They apologised for the misunderstanding and ever since I have received a regular email from them – every Saturday night – trying to sell me their latest vanity publishing package.
Okay, back to the novels. Number 22 is called Dragonfire, clocking in at almost 55000 words. It involves dragons that come to our plane of existence disguised as human beings, and the young man who is thrown into the middle of fighting them, along with a few friends, including a girl who is something else entirely. It was supposed to be the first in a proposed young adult fantasy trilogy (to be followed by Firehunt and then finishing with Phoenixfire), but the people who read it so crapped over it that I never finished Firehunt and so this also has never been submitted. I think it’s not too bad, but apparently I am wrong.
I was in my car and following it before I could even tell myself just how much of a stupid idea this really was.
It was awkward, but I managed to keep an eye on the creature as it flashed its body in the decreasing light. We passed the entrance to the Anstey’s Hill Conservation Park and entered the winding roads leading towards Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. Then the thing darted to my left and I had to swing down a dirt track which may well have been a driveway to some farming property.
The next I saw it was left again and I swung through the first gate I found, my poor Holden bouncing along the muddy earth and struggling to get any purchase.
And then it was a dart of orange light, a meteor falling from the sky in a sheath of flame. I pulled the car to a halt and leapt from it and watched as it struck the earth with a ground-trembling thud. And then I ran as fast as I could through the thick quagmire this paddock had become towards the bright orange glow.
And I heard a yodeling cry echoing out loud and long and I doubled my efforts.
A small house came into view behind some trees as I leapt a low fence and ran across some mud that looked like it had once been a lawn.
Two more darting objects rocketed down out of the sky, landing beside the golden being standing between trees and house. Both were a mottled green colour and considerably smaller than the other, but the fact that they were even there was enough for concern. Three of these things?
Without warning there was a flash of movement as Sally crashed past the trio, headed right for me.
I was debating whether to include the 7 rejections for Aftermath here, as I was selling it as a novella, so I haven’t. But this week, on Monday, I received the latest rejection for Some Other People, so – 98 + 1 = 99