Thursday, 6 September 2012

By Invitation Only. No trainers.

A long time ago before I had started to write shorts just for my own amusement and stop subbing them (apply scorn here) to concentrate on novels, I used to see these words: 'by invitation only'. Gosh, imagine that I would think. Imagine if an editor was getting ready to send out his invites and he sent one to me. It seemed an impossible, far away, thing and with every 'we liked this but it was a bit odd*' it got a little bit further away.

So there was quite a large amount of joy when I got an email from Editor, Luca Veste, who'd put together the excellent 'Off The Record' (a charity anthology of crime stories based around song titles -You can buy it here. You know you want to.) asking me to send something. 

I read that! I might be in the follow up. Blimey.


Bloody hell. Me.

He'd seen 'The Shepherd' on the Gollancz blog (If you're curious, it's here) and read 'And Then a Sudden Deterioration of the Situation' (And this one is here. Contains some very bad language.) on my blog. Although he agreed with my own thoughts on the latter (rough around the edges, some promise) he still thought I'd be a worthwhile contributer to his next anthology; 'Off The Record II'.

It's difficult to explain to someone who doesn't write how your own worst enemy is most often yourself, your own doubt in what you do can often come close to being overwhelming. Stuff like this, when you are at the bottom of the pile looking up, is a massive boost.

I started writing straight away, basing a story on the song 'Honky's Ladder' by the superb Afghan Whigs. It was a great, flash of an idea that fitted perfectly with the idea of the song. Sadly, I was a little early out the gate. Off the Record II wasn't about songs. It was about films.


Oh, I love films.

And the first film that leapt into my mind was called 'Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus'. I'd bet most people have never heard of it (cos I'm such a hipster). It's a beautiful film, moving through the deep south and taking a look at the Gothic/religious country music scene that so fascinates me. Music with a wonderful sense of place and story. (IMDB Entry.) I partly wanted to do this cos I misheard a lyric in a song by Denver artist Jay Munly as, 'this peculiar land smells of Tim Mcviegh' which I desperately wanted to use (Scary music by a skeletal man here.) . However, the furthest south I've ever been is my in-laws in Devon so I'm not entirely sure I could carry off a trip to the antediluvian places I'd need to inhabit to do that film/those songs justice. To that end I had a complete rethink** about how to use that title. Luca^^ accepted it, so it seemed to have worked*^.

And look!(Look! Bookmark! Buy! Read good and do good. EVERYONE WINS) Look at the people I'm in amongst! People whose books I own and everything. The first Off The Record was a great anthology (you should buy it if you didn't earlier, go on, now.) The Second looks like it'll be just as cool. I mean, look at the first title, can you really afford not to read that?

(I've had another invite since then. Another! Blimey.)

I am so looking forward to reading everyone else's story's.

James Everington Blogs about Off The Record II HERE. 

*This is also the usual description people apply to me.
**Along the lines of, 'Do not fuck this up with ideas above your paygrade, RJ.'
^^He also gets my name right which is good. People generally want those dots in there R.J. Instead of RJ. Not knowing that I eschew the usual grammar rules as I am just wacky and crazy like that. Or as my wife would put it, shockingly ignorant of what is right and correct.
*^See, I can't be self-depreciating there cos it would be questioning Luca's taste. That's my principle method of humour screwed.


  1. I've never heard of 'Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus' at all, but it is a *great* title... Thanks for the mention, and I look forward to your story (and everyone else's) in OTR2...

  2. Yep, I haven't heard of it either, but great title! Nice to be on board with you both. ;)