The official publication date for my new collection of short fiction, Ghost Stories, was yesterday, 31st July 2019.
It's been a great pleasure to work on it with the team at Lasavia Publishing on Waiheke Island: editor Rowan Sylva, designer Daniela Gast, publisher Mike Johnson, as well as the other members of the collective. I also owe a big thank you to Graham Fletcher for the use of his cover image, and (as always) to my lovely wife Bronwyn for invaluable advice at every stage of the process. Thanks, too, to Tracey Slaughter for the use of that blurb quote.
So how do you obtain a copy of the book? That is, after all, the $64,000 question. If you wish to order one online, it's available from any of the following websites:
Amazon.comAs usual, the Book Depository seems to offer the best deal, but remember that copies can also be purchased at a discounted rate, $20, at the Waiheke Market, or (for that matter) directly from Lasavia Publishing:
RRP: $US 15.00 (+ postage)
RRP: £UK 12.28 (+ postage)
RRP: $NZ 29.44 (free postage)
RRP: $NZ 49.50
Lasavia PublishingWe're planning a big launch party later in the year, which I'll describe in detail here on the blog once all the arrangements are finalised, so - if you prefer - you could wait until then. But I know what eager beavers some of you readers can be!
37 Crescent Rd West
Lasavia Publishing: Editorial
RRP: $NZ 20.00 (+ postage)
So what exactly is the book about? The easiest thing might just be to quote from the blurb:
David Foster Wallace once wrote that 'every love story is a ghost story.' Not all of the stories in Jack Ross’s new collection are about love, but certainly all of them concern ghosts – imaginary, real, or entirely absent. As it turns out, there are even stranger things in the world: from haunted hotel rooms in Beijing to drunken poetry readings on Auckland’s North Shore. Or perhaps, as the Mayan prophets foresaw, the world really did end on the 21st December, 2012, and 'all bets are off, all the rules have changed, and – new Adams, new Eves – we have to find the courage somehow to start naming the strange new things we see.'
'There’s no one in New Zealand literature exploring the dark ways of narrative with the alchemical touch of Jack Ross, and his gift of spinning tales which jump "from track to track on the time-space continuum" never fails to leave me exhilarated, in outright awe'.
- Tracey Slaughter
Jack Ross works as a senior lecturer in creative writing at Massey University. He is the author of five poetry collections, four novels and three books of short fiction. His novel The Annotated Tree Worship was highly commended in the 2018 NZ Heritage Book Awards. He has also edited numerous books, anthologies, and literary journals, including brief, Landfall, and Poetry New Zealand. He blogs at http://mairangibay.blogspot.com/.
And here's a - slightly more informative - abstract I composed to send to my masters at Massey University, who insist on full details of every publication by their staff:
This is a set of ten short stories, with two essays: 'The Classic New Zealand Ghost Story,' an introduction to the collection as a whole; and 'Kipling and the Cross-Correspondences,' an account of the alleged attempts at communication from the other side by various dead members of the Society for Psychical Research in the early years of last century. The stories, too, are grouped around the common theme of ghosts and ghost stories, but in some rather unexpected ways. Two ('The Scam' and 'The Cross-Correspondences') are set in China, but most are explorations of the haunted landscapes of the New Zealand's North Island, from Featherston and Eketahuna to Raglan and Auckland. All of them (with the exception of 'Paragraphs') have been previously published in periodicals or online.
Now those of you obsessed (as I am) by numerology, might well have noticed an ominous feature of that list of publications in the blurb above. My breakdown of books now stands at:
5 poetry booksYes, this is indeed my number thirteen!
3 short story collections
+ 1 stand-alone novella
= 13 in total
All I can say is that nearly as many traditions see thirteen as a lucky number as fear it for being unlucky.
Mind you, I could fudge the count a bit if I wished. I could count my novel The Annotated Tree Worship as two books rather than one, given it appeared in two separate volumes. But they are intended as interlinked novellas, and were never really meant to be read independently.
There's also the fact that I've published 16 chapbooks at one time or another. That would bring up the total to an innocuous 29!
And then there are the various books and anthologies I've edited (15 in all, it would appear). That would bring us up to 44.
But these expedients would really just be cheating. So far as I'm concerned, I've now written 13 books, so I've taken some care to make the thirteenth as appropriate as possible. It is, after all, an exploration of the paranormal, the supernatural, as it manifests (for the most part) in some of the gloomier parts of New Zealand ...
I hope it's enjoyable. I know not everyone shares my fascination with such matters, but a great many people do. And I would argue that most of these stories can be read in a variety of ways: as actual 'ghost stories' being just one of them.
Here's a list of the contents:
IntroductionThe Classic New Zealand Ghost Story
Leaves from a Diary of the End of the World
Is it Infrareal or is it Memorex?
General Grant in Paeroa
Kipling and the Cross-Correspondences
And here's a list of my 13 books to date:
- City of Strange Brunettes. ISBN 0-473-05446-9 (Auckland: Pohutukawa Press, 1998) [poetry book 1]
- Nights with Giordano Bruno. ISBN 0-9582225-0-9 (Wellington: Bumper Books, 2000) [novel 1]
- Chantal’s Book. ISBN 0-473-08744-8 (Wellington: HeadworX, 2002) [poetry book 2]
- Monkey Miss Her Now & Everything a Teenage Girl Should Know. ISBN 0-476-00182-X (Auckland: Danger Publishing, 2004) [short story collection 1]
- Trouble in Mind. Titus Novella Series. ISBN 0-9582586-1-9 (Auckland: Titus Books, 2005) [novella]
- The Imaginary Museum of Atlantis. ISBN 0-9582586-8-6 (Auckland: Titus Books, 2006) [novel 2]
- To Terezín: A Travelogue. Afterword by Martin Edmond. Social and Cultural Studies, 8. ISSN 1175-7132 (Auckland: Massey University, 2007) [poetry book 3]
- EMO. ISBN 978-1-877441-07-3 (Auckland: Titus Books, 2008) [novel 3]
- Kingdom of Alt. ISBN 978-1-877441-15-8 (Auckland: Titus Books, 2010) [short story collection 2]
- Celanie: Poems & Drawings after Paul Celan. by Jack Ross & Emma Smith, with an Afterword by Bronwyn Lloyd. ISBN 978-0-473-22484-4 (Auckland: Pania Press, 2012) [poetry book 4]
- A Clearer View of the Hinterland: Poems & Sequences 1981-2014. ISBN 978-0-473-29640-7 (Wellington: HeadworX, 2014) [poetry book 5]
- The Annotated Tree Worship (Auckland: Paper Table, 2017) [novel 4]
- Draft Research Portfolio. ISBN 978-0-473-41328-6. Paper Table Novellas, 2 (i).
- List of Topoi. ISBN 978-0-473-41329-3. Paper Table Novellas, 2 (ii).
- Ghost Stories. ISBN 978-0-9951165-5-9. 99% Press (Auckland: Lasavia Publishing, 2019) [short story collection 3]