drysdaleruinsWe reckon the Australian Outback is a hell of a lot more than the legendary tough bushman with his hairy-armpit tough-titties missus and their snotty-nosed brats, or his rough-head yobbo mates, or stray kids running around getting into strife. Don’t you believe any of Croc Dundee or Mad Max, they’re tossers. Way out there, real strange things happen.

There are nasties out there, in swamps and dark places, and out on the flat. There are UFOs and min-min lights – other things – we know, we’ve seen them. Lonely people get kidnapped and murdered. People battle over land rights, mining rights, and drinking rights, all the way back to the London, New York, and Singapore stock exchanges.

Cops are out there all the time, after somebody, or some body, or some thing.

There are people out there old as time, and new people arrived from some other magic place, who brought their leprechauns and trolls and vampires out with them, don’t you know, and gnomes and hellion sheilas, who steal children and do things to them and doom them to eternal wandering just like they did back in the old place.

drought_crAnd there’s that big wide-open sky, mostly blue. Sometimes dust blows turning everything to mud on a following rain, and massive flocks of birds (or are they?) that darken the day like huge grey clouds passing over, spelled by lovely quiet moments that take your breath away. You don’t want to go home, or can’t, eh?

If you think you can raise the prickles on someone’s neck, or their hackles, or their serious juices, we’d love to hear from you. We are interesting in publishing your stories on all these themes, and your albums too if you have original artwork or photos with a good yarn attached that we can bring together in one.

What we love most is the intense, compact, 25-35,000 word novella format – the really good stuff that mainstream corporate publishers admit is good but refuse to handle because, as they say, it “doesn’t sell”. It’s industry, not art. What those people are is tree fallers and typesetters, and critical academics, not publishers of fine literature interested in looking after their authors and their reading public.

Generally we like to see anthologies of 10-12 short stories, say 3-5,000 words each, and ‘graphic novels’ or e-comics, and poetry at a pinch, but happy to go all the way up to the full-length, 80-120,000 word novel. We gaze fondly upon contentious and divisive social issues that could do with a good public airing; coming-of-age, erotic, fringe, auteur, maverick, indie, innovative.

We are seriously literary. We have Honours degrees in Anthropology and Literature. We have real lives to live and real stories to tell. It’s what we do best. We also know people with an iPad in their lap on their fly-in fly-out, or on their way home on the bus, who devour a good read in one sitting and come slavering back for more.

Growing up out there is how we started in all this. That’s why we’re doing it.