The Strange Gods of Publishing: Part 2

Readers of this blog may remember my first ever entry which was entitled: The Strange Gods of Publishing. It was a whimsical piece which related some of the odd things that have happened on my journey to become a successful writer and positing the theory that the Strange Gods of Publishing entertain themselves by killing off or injuring any publishing professional who takes an interest in my work.

It is absolutely true that, in the past, the more enthusiastic a publishing professional was about my work, the more likely the Strange Gods were to intervene in some lethal or life-threatening manner to prevent me being published. One agent died after raving about my work and telling me he was going to make me the next big thing.

Another agent was hospitalised, had her car broken into and then refused to take my calls after initially telling me mine was one of the best new voices she’d read in years. Clearly the Strange Gods had sent goons round to warn her off.

Well now they’ve taken it a step further.

Not satisfied with bumping off or threatening humans, they’ve now resorted to something far more dastardly.

They’re trying to kill my cat.

* * *

I thought I had finally thwarted the Strange Gods when Mr Cleansheets was published in April 2010. Maybe they had finally relented and turned their evil attention to some other poor bastard?

Well, the first time I was invited onto a radio show to discuss my new book (back in 2010), the following incident occurred:

I got home about 6.30 pm with the interview (over the phone) scheduled for about 8.15. As I always do, I pressed the button to close the garage door, and when it ground to a halt I could hear an odd banging. I almost ignored it, thinking it just one of those weird metal noises that soon go away, but something inspired me to check it out. I opened the internal door to the garage, and there was my cat, Grishnakh, pinned by the garage door and writing in agony.

I bolted upstairs, hit the button again and ran back down. As the door released him, Grishie started to stand up but then collapsed as though the life had gone out of him. He was just a dead weight – eyes staring – not breathing – so in a panic, I did the only thing I could think of. I gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation.

I forced open his jaws, clamped my mouth over his and started blowing, while manipulating his chest. It was like blowing up a spiky, fish-flavoured balloon, and I must have looked very strange – dressed in a business suit, kneeling on the wet ground, apparently french kissing a cat.

I’ve got no idea whether my actions had any effect, but after about a minute he coughed, and a spasm went through his little body, and suddenly there was life in his eyes. But he wasn’t moving. I ran and got a couple of towels, picked him up and brought him inside, and laid him on the dining table – continually stroking him and talking to him, but he just lay there. Catatonic.

Eventually, I remembered the interview, and started to worry about whether my wife (Kazzie) was going to be home in time to take over my ministrations while I sparkled wittily on the radio. Fortunately, with about ten minutes to spare and Grishie still lying in a stupor, I heard the garage door going up again. I explained the problem and she, being a medical professional, took a completely different approach to the crisis. She fetched a bowl of cat food and placed it next to him, and the suddenness of his recovery was awesome. Not a full recovery mind – he staggered to his feet and started gingerly licking at the food before wolfing it with almost his customary gusto.

So, I was able to fulfil my media duties (and several more times also) and Mr Cleansheets was moderately successful.

But I did not heed the warning.

It never occurred to me to link Grishie’s brush with death with the Strange Gods of Publishing, but this week their influence is all too apparent.

My new book Straight Jacket was available in the shops on Monday morning, and on Monday night, Grishie was hit by a car.

Kazzie discovered him on Tuesday morning whimpering under a bush with a broken leg and a huge gash in his side. The local vet was able to sew up his gaping wound but the broken leg was beyond him. (Do you know they actually have orthopaedic surgeons for cats? There are eleven in Australia and they all live in solid gold houses with ruby-studded roofs.)

There can be no more obvious explanation for this ‘accident’ than the evil influence of the Strange Gods of Publishing kicking up a notch – once again taking out their vengeance on a poor, innocent creature to try and convince me to cease my authorial activities.

What will it be next? Poison-baits tossed over our fence? A greyhound trainer moving in next door?

Well it won’t work Strange Gods.

I am more determined than ever to thwart your evil designs. I will be a successful novelist and Grishie will stay safe no matter how celebrated and widely read I become.

So help me stop the Strange Gods of Publishing! Spread the word about Straight Jacket and encourage others to buy copies for themselves and all their friends!

How else am I going to afford the bloody vet’s bills?

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