From small acorns…

The English language in its never ending colonial expansionism co-opted many years ago. A word that was originally Turkish, though it had deeper roots in Persian and Arabic. Like so many words of other languages who’s vowels my mother tongue acquired in a back alley with a pen tied to a stout billy club before dragging the constants off to the Victoria and Albert Museums reading rooms, it is seldom used entirely in reference to its original mean.

This word is kismet. Which in the original Arabic was the word used to describe something as being divinely ordained, the will of Allah. In English this is watered down to mean something that is fated, a matter of destiny. Or in it’s most common usage, something that was was just meant to be, no matter how unlikely that may of seemed when it was first suggested.

I’ve always been rather fond of Kismet as a word. It rolls around the tongue and has a street Yiddish quality to it despite not being Yiddish at all. But the most interesting thing about kismet is you never really know if the word applies to anything until long after the event. You can say that the meeting of two people who later marry was kismet, but its best if you don’t day that until the wedding feast…

This, as you may have gathered, is something of a digression from the original intent of this post. But hey, I’m a writer, I like words, and as for digressions they just tend to happen once I start writing. But anyway, not to digress further, in two days time something of a landmark moment will occur. This landmark is the reason I titled this posts ‘From small acorns’ when it perhaps should have been called kismet…

The small acorn in question, was a few writers meeting up in the pub a few years back because one of them had young children who were going to Brownies and an hour to spare before she had to pick them up again. Hence, ‘lets have a little writers get together’ on a chilly Thursday night. The writer in question was C G Hatton, who aside her own novels is also the publish and main editor of best little an independent publish house in the north east of England, possibly the world, depending on your point of view ( mine being that it is ). That little writers get together over a pint included in its number yours truly, which was clearly a mistake, but such things happen. Everybody enjoyed the get together, and I managed to hide my habitual insecurity and shyness with my usual carefully constructed disguise as a loud mouthed opinionated intellectual yob. That first night turned into another and then another, and friendships were forged, opinions shared and cannibalism mentioned more times than was strictly necessary…

Then in a moment that might have been kismet, or just blind chance, someone made the suggestion that as we all wrote differing forms of genre fiction, perhaps we could throw a few short stories together and produce an anthology. (I genuinely aren’t sure who had the original idea, there was drinking involved.)

If only we knew a publisher and editor who could take the project on…

Stories were written and sent to Gillie to collate, collect and, well, forgotten about for a while. Because these things take a while and it was still just an idea, spoken about over a pint… But then about six months later, Gillie excited tells us all the anthology is done… Thanks in the main to Gillie, her husband Andy and publishing partner Graham, because all the other thirteen writers in that first volume ever did was string a few words together in pretty patterns, the first Harvey Duckman Presents anthology was born.

Now, a little lesson honesty here. I was astounded by the quality of the writing in that first anthology. I was astounded it all came together. But more importantly I was astounded that I was actually in it. Because while I on occasion have been known to present myself to the world as loud mouthed opinionated intellectual yob, I am actually an insecure, shy, introvert who never actually believes anything he writes is worth a crap ( ie. like every other writer I’ve ever met). I had three novels and a novella to my name at the time, but this was the first time someone else had published my work. And while my novels were all well received there is undeniably something special about being publish alongside those who you aspire to have as peers. In short, I was over the moon to be included and proud to be a part of that very first Harvey.

What i didn’t suspect was much to come of it. Anthologies have never been a large market, and they seldom run to more than a couple of volumes, Indeed volume one is often volume only. But small acorns and kismet… And that landmark I mentioned…

This coming weekend see the publication of Harvey Duckman volume 8. Which it is worth mentioning is actually the tenth Harvey Duckman anthology, when you include (as we surely do) the Pirates and Christmas specials. Ten books, which I am both delighted and still not a little astounded, to not only be associated with but to have a story in each one of them.

Among these pages there are stories of Hannibal Smyth’s misadventures with cheesecake, of a space pirate with a radioactive thingy, a fishy Lovecraft inspired tale, Sigmund Fraud on a rowing boat, Love in the Passing Place, a tower that doesn’t like being watched, a murderous rampage with a little plastic Santa, of narrative particles and big publishing goons, ands more besides. And those are just my stories…

I remain delighted and not a little astounded to find myself in the company of so may gift, new, fascinating writers (65 in the series now) . I have discovered so many of my favourite new writers between the pages of Harvey’s and gone on to read there novels and novella’s. It is and remains a joy to be part of this series of books, and I will ever be thankful to the wonderful C G Hatton (no mean writer herself) for her continued faith in my misbegotten tales.

In the latest Harvey I have a tale with a new character that may just have their own series of novels in the future. But even if Lucifer Mandrake never steps out beyond Harvey Duckman Volume 7 they have a home and have seen the light of day, thanks to a little kismet, and that which comes from small acorns… And I can not wait to find out what people think of them.

Harvey 7, which does indeed contain no actual dragons, but 15 stories I can’t wait to read from fourteen gifted writers (and me) is out this weekend. I’m sure a link or three will appear before long to lead you to our worlds. But in the mean time, if you have never picked up a copy now is a good time to start and that first small acorn Harvey Volume One is now free in eBook on all platforms. So what’s stopping you…

And if your a writer yourself, or would like to be one (which is much the same thing) you could do worse than consider submitting to Harvey yourself… And if your a reader, you could do worse than check out the Harvey website. HERE

This entry was posted in amreading, amwriting, big questions, book reviews, books, booksale, cthulhu, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Hannibal Smyth, Harvey Duckman, horror, humour, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, Lovecraft, novels, opinion, Passing Place, pirateday, pirates, publication, reads, rites, sci-fi, steampunk, supernatural, writes, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to From small acorns…

  1. liztw says:

    I always wondered how the Harveys started!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Books of the year | The Passing Place

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