Monday, 16 November 2015
I haven't posted anything for a while, so I thought I'd better put that right. I have a new novel coming out on Tuesday the 24th, Sad's Place. It should have been out in the summer, but I was unhappy with the ending - it needed something else, but at the time, I was too close to it and couldn't think of what that 'something else' might be. So I put it away, thinking, in the meantime, that I would write a short story, perhaps the 2nd part of Africar. But I wasn't sure I wanted to do a 2nd part to Africar ( still don't ), even though I know how it goes. So I started another short story, or what was supposed to be a short story, but it ended up being 72,000 words long. Not exactly a short story then. Another novel. Furthermore, I could publish it now, if I wanted to, but I'll wait until the early part of next year. It was easy to write, too, a little too easy, and I began to wonder about that. I came to the conclusion that I hadn't given a shit while I'd been writing it. I'd written it so that I could give Sad's Place, and myself, a little breathing space, and that was all. But what came out of it was something, I realised, that I'd written purely for myself, with no concern for what others might think. To date, no one else has read it, so soon, I will ask my wifely one if maybe she would like to read it, and if she does, and if she then tells me it's the biggest piece of crap I've ever written, then I'll laugh, honestly, I will, and I will say, "Oh well, easy come, easy go."
But the things is, it isn't a piece of crap...not to me it isn't, anyhow. Also, it has sent me off in another direction with my work, to places that perhaps I had always wanted to go but stayed away from, but not anymore. Now I will go to those places. Always. I have started a new phase, and I couldn't be happier.
And Sad's Place? Well, I finally came up with the ending I wanted, and I love it. It's sad, yes, as the book's title suggests, but sad is the way it should be...
1966. For the past five years, Ewan Redstone has bullied and neglected his youngest son, Tommy. There seems to be no way out for Tommy, or for Cale, Tommy's older brother. Then one day Cale finds his father trapped under a pile of wood. He will die under there if Cale doesn't get help. But never mind help. In a moment of dark clarity, Cale ends his father's life, and at last he and Tommy are free. Then Cale makes a shocking discovery. He finds his mother’s dead body buried in an old stable at the back of their house. It seems she didn’t leave home after all, that Cale's father must have killed her. Now Cale must keep this secret from Tommy. But with their father dead, secrets become hard to keep from a boy who wants his mother back…and who will do anything to find her. And now Cale understands why the girl in the orange dress removed the I and the E from the stable door, so that instead of the letters spelling Sadie's Place, they spell Sad's Place. Yes, Cale understands, all right. Sad's Place. It all begins to make a perfect, terrible sense.
So now it looks like I'll have two novels that will be released fairly close together: Sad's Place on 24th November and The Reason I'm Still Here around March/April 2016...
A strange message appears on Wes Churchill's old TV. He is told to tape the message and then broadcast it to the rest of the world. The trouble is, Wes had a nervous breakdown five years ago and he is uncertain if the message is genuine, or if maybe he has had another breakdown. While he decides what to do, Wes looks back at his past, to a time when he smashed up his wife's car, to how his eldest daughter saved him from taking his own life, to how he came across a little dog in the woods. Seen through Wes's eyes, The Reason I'm Still Here is a story of how people, once lost, can be found again, and how love can come back into your life in the most unusual of ways. And murder. How that can come back, too.
Well, that's it from me. Take care.
Saturday, 21 February 2015
The Writer's Field
Once upon a time there was a man, and he was given a field, and it was in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by trees, which made it private at least, and it was his secret. The man scooped up a handful of soil and found it to be dry, stony, and full of weeds, but the field was his, it was all his, and he vowed to find a use for it for all of his life.
Day and night he ploughed the field, with no plan or vision, and when he looked back, tired and aching, his hands sore, he found the rows to be uneven and broken. But he sowed his seeds, anyhow, for his passion had no end; he would produce a crop, no matter what. And when the sowing was done, he left the field alone for a while, until it was time to return to see how his crop had faired.
Tears ran down his face. His crop had not faired well. It was a mess that he could not make head nor tail of. He cursed. He kicked the ground and walked away. He decided that the field was not for him. It could sit there, on its own, and rot.
He would not be coming back.
There were dreams, though. Dreams of people, and places, and events that would either damn those people or bless them. They all seemed so real to the man, and they would not leave him alone. They begged him to return to the field to plough it once again, to sow his seeds. He ignored them. But every night they came back, and each night their voices became louder, until he could stand it no longer.
He went back to the field. 'You'll not beat me,' he told it. 'I will have my own way with you.'
This time, before starting, he planned how best to plough the field, although he understood that even then it could all go wrong. But he thought it would still give him a better chance than no plan at all. Then finally he began to plough, and when he looked back, he saw that the rows were neater, straighter, than they had been before. So now he sowed his seeds, and the sowing took a while, but every night he returned, never skipping his duty, until it was done. Then he went home.
There were days of rain, many days of rain, but still there were days of sun, too, and on those days, he believed the field might actually yield a crop that would in many ways be better than the one before.
It was. When he walked through the gate, he saw a crop that in places shone with gold, and the gold was hope, and hope was what the man needed. Still, half the crop was useless and could not be saved.
'What good is half a crop?' he said. 'It only ruins the half that shines with gold.'
He walked away and closed the gate. But this time there was hope, all right, and he told himself that one day he would return and try again.
Other matters stole his time, though. He made a woman his wife. He sowed seeds of another kind, and those seeds brought forth a crop of children, and he loved them in their heaven, and he loved them in their hell, for they were his, and he understood that he could be heaven and hell also. He thanked God for his job, because his job put bread on the table and kept the wolves away from the door, although sometimes he wished those wolves would come in the night, snap him up, and drag him away. The years past. Many years. He became ill, and it was a terrible illness, a blackness in his mind, and it drove away his joy. Drove away the people, the places, the events, too.
Then one day he decided to go for a walk. He thought about the field. Wondered if it was still his. He came upon it, and yes, he found that it was. It looked strange, though, and full of folly. He went back home and went to bed. Out of nowhere, he dreamed of those people again, those places, those events. And those people, just like before, begged him to return to the field, to plough, to sow.
He got out of bed and found himself standing in the field. 'I told you that day, many years ago, that you wouldn't beat me,' he said. 'That I would have my own way with you. And I will.'
He planned, he ploughed, he sowed. Just as before, he left the field and went home, to let the rain and the sun do its work. When he returned, he saw that the crop, all the crop this time, shone with gold. He walked through it. He picked out the weeds, the stones, and shooed away the birds that cast the odd shadow here and there. Then he went to the market and invited the traders to see his crop.
But most declined. They had enough of that crop, they said. More than enough. Still, a handful of traders accepted the invite and came to see. They walked through the crop, all the time casting their gaze over it, even stopping to smell it and to take a taste. They told the man that the crop was indeed a good one, even a beautiful one, in places. They told him he could plough a neat furrow, and sow a wholesome seed, but all the same, they doubted the crop would sell. That it would just sit in their barns and wither away.
'Why would that be?' the man asked.
'We don't rightly know,' the traders said. 'A crop can be lush and flavoursome, and with it, a fine loaf could be made. But still no one will buy it. In our time, we have seen crops that hurt the eyes and leave a bitter taste, and yet they have been put between two stones, and ground, and made into loaves, and those loaves have sold so fast, that we have run out of stock. It is a strange thing, so it is. Even to us. But don't let that stop you. What would happen if you didn't plough and sow?'
'I would wither like those crops that no one wants to buy,' the man said. 'The blackness would return and I would be ill.'
'So you would,' the traders said. 'So now you know what to do. You plough, you sow, you let the rain fall and the sun shine, and the crop will be gold, and it will be your gold. You should be proud of that. You should be proud of that alone. Take your gold, hold it against your heart, and it will keep the blackness away.'
'But I will starve,' the man said.
'Better to starve in the belly than in the mind,' the traders said, and with that, they turned and went back to the market. And so the man was left standing alone. In the field. But it was his field.
And he smiled.
Yes, it was his field, and the crop was gold, and the gold kept the blackness away.
And the field was private at least, and it was his secret.
Saturday, 31 January 2015
Hello everyone. Hope you are all doing fine, and that 2015 will be good to you.
Just a thought, but it seems to me that if you are a virtually unknown writer, as I am, then probably you should just keep your thoughts to yourself, otherwise it might prompt some people to think, Who cares about what you've got to say, anyway? Conversely, there may be others who would quite like to know what virtually unknown writers like me are up to these days, so on that basis, I will say my piece, because I wouldn't want to come across as unwilling. Or without a mouth. Not that I have anything controversial to say. I don't. And being controversial for the sake of it is just a load of rubbish, anyway. We have enough trouble going on in the world, I think, without adding to it. That's partly one of the reasons why I write, and why I read. I love to turn away from the TV, the newspapers, the radio, and fall into worlds that either I have created, or other writers have created. In its basic form it's simply escapism, but also, due to what we as writers choose to write about, or what we as readers choose to read about, it is also a form of living our own reality, in spite of what goes on around us. That, of course, does not mean that I choose to ignore what is happening in the world ( as I'm sure you don't ). I am part of humanity. How can I ignore what's happening? But all the same, there are enough people turning the world over, and upside-down, and inside-out, and I don't want to be one of them. While I'm here, all I want is to be a decent-enough old git who loves his family and writes some stories along the way. And if there are but a few people who enjoy reading them, then I am happy with that. Because being able to write, be it badly or well, for better or worse, is a thing I love with all of my heart. Truly.
So, I have a new release, Bad Return, which should be out in the next couple of weeks. It's a story that has kept me productive during these long winter nights, along with working on the edits of my new novel, Sad's Place. I tend to work in a way that is rather all "over the show", in that I write the first few chapters of a story, and then leave it alone for a while, sometimes for years. Dawn's Chains is a story that's been around for a couple of years now, and there she is, still suspended on her chains, waiting for me to free her…or maybe not. Dawn's Chains was meant to be the 3rd novel about Women in Peril, to follow on from Marsha's Bag and As The Flies Crow, but the truth is, I can't imagine Dawn fitting in with the likes of Marsha Dunbar or Sonia Rowntree. Those two are somewhat similar: imaginative, but a bit scatty, self-doubting, and undervalued ( by some, anyway ), but Dawn? Nope. Dawn is another kettle of fish altogether. So, if I finish Dawn's Chains, then, for reasons which are mine alone, I would not make it another Women in Peril story. But there will be a 3rd. And there will be another Marsha Dunbar story, I'm sure.
Then there's a novel called Batten 20, which is about a road ( Batten 20, so no guesses there ) and the relationship between a father and son. I'm not sure about the title, but I love the story, and I'm sure that I will finish it, if only for the fact it has an opening line that is both horrific and rather lovely, I think. There's also a novel about World War 1, another about a guy in a wheelchair, and then there's a novel called Feathers, which I will write, one way or another, because the idea has been with me for over ten years, and I won't let it go. Can't let it go.
Also, there's Africar, which is a free short story ( currently available ) of around 15,000 words, which, I suspect, will slowly grow over time to become a bigger story. Suspect? Yes, that's sketchy, I know, but all the same, even though it's a short story with an end, the end also serves as a beginning. It depends on what I want to do with it, really. About all I can say is that there is a part two, and if I write it, it will be called Africar: Armour. But I don't want to call it part two, in case there's no part three, even though I have ideas for a part three, and so on. In fact, strange as it is, I even know the end for Africar, the "bigger story", but it's really about fitting it into my schedule. The hazy idea is that someday all of these Africar short stories will become a novel.
So...moving on to Bad Return. The outline is below:
Hawk Morgan owns a watch that his grandson, Joey, finds and falls in love with. Given the watch's disturbing history, Hawk feels compelled to tell Joey about how, many years ago, he accidentally killed a woman, and how Joey's grandmother came back from the dead. Only for a moment, but it was the strangest and most terrifying moment in Hawk's life. Around 20,000 words, Bad Return is a story of love, regret, and of one old man's battle with depression. And there's the watch, of course. A watch that can bring back the dead.
included with Bad Return is another story, an allegory, really, called The Writer's Field. It's about…yes, writers, would you believe? Well, that's it. Thank you for spending a moment with me. If you're a writer, then I hope you are writing some good stuff. If you're a reader, then I hope you are reading some good stuff. And if you are both, then, like me, you have the best of both worlds. Or the worst...
Take care of yourselves, and may your dog go with you. Your God, as well, if you have one.
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Hello everyone. Hope you are well. I'm currently feeling sorry for myself with a tooth problem, which I hope will be fixed tomorrow, when I get to the dentist. In the meantime, while I'm working on the edits for Sad's Place - a novel due in 2015 - I thought I'd let you know about a short story I'm about to publish, Africar. It's roughly15,000 words long, but the file is around 20,000, as I've included excerpts from two of my novels, Steam and Luvya Getcha. I'll be making Africar free, so hopefully a few readers will download it and maybe leave a little feedback.
Shirley Oliphant's dream is to take her grandkids on a picnic in a Rolls-Royce. Her husband, the old KO, finds just the car, a 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow once owned by a Mr Van Buren, who brought the car back from Africa. Since his death, seven years ago, the Rolls has been sitting in Mr Van Buren's garage, keeping a secret. A deadly secret. And the old KO is about to discover that secret, and unleash it.
So that's the outline, which is straightforward enough. The problem is, the story has the potential to be a novel. In fact, I've already made substantial notes with a view to writing a Part 2. I don't really want to do it, though. I have enough to be getting on with. Still, I don't think any writer can help how a story ends. The potential for it to be bigger is always there, I'm afraid.
Anyhow, it's a cold, rainy day here in Southsea, England. We had the grandchildren over last night, and took them to see the movie, The Book of Life, which was pretty good, although I think it scared the youngest, Elijah, a little. He slept well, though, and ate a hearty breakfast, which I didn't, due to my tooth problem. Still, after writing Africar, I'm kind of glad I don't have a Rolls-Royce to take the grandkids on a picnic in. Shirley Oliphant is welcome to hers. She can keep it.
Saturday, 22 March 2014
Writer Fiona Skye asks me some questions. This interview is also on her website Her website is at fiona-skye.com. It's jam-packed with all things writer-ish, including her novel, Faerie Tales, Revelation Trilogy: Book One.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Valetta, Malta, of English parents. We moved around a lot when I was young. I finally settled in Southsea, Hampshire. It's such a beautiful place, especially in the summer.
2. Give us a five word synopsis about your latest work.
1963. Train station. Dr Who. Murder. Love! ( Is that more than five words? )
3. When you're finished with a piece, do you find that it tends to differ from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
I don't write ideas down. I don't outline, either. I see points in a story, like a dot-to-dot book. The moment I can join all the dots up in my head, then I'm happy to write. So mostly, yes, it turns out the way I imagine it to. For me, there has to be some point that I can't wait to get to. In Marsha's Bag, it was Marsha using an old dictaphone to communicate with an imprisoned girl. In As The Flies Crow, it was a telephone-box scene. In Flowers From A Different Summer, it was when one of the main character's finds his whole life wiped out in the snow. In Luvya Getcha, it was when the protagonist, Richard Beckett, told the ghosts to cheer up and get a life! That turned out better than I could ever have hoped for.
4. If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Just put Cameron Diaz in it. I'll be happy.
5. What's the best thing about being an author? Worst thing?
The worst thing is that I work in a full-time job. I like my job, but I'd prefer to be writing. A best thing? Not sure there is one. Writing is a very lonely business. Apart from other writers, no one's really interested, are they? Not in my experience they're not, anyway. I don't say that with any bitterness, though. It's just the way things are. I'm sure if someone talked to me about knitting, I'd show some interest, but at some point I'd switch off, the way I've seen people do that on the subject of writing. For me, writing is simply something that I can't imagine not doing. I went to a writers circle once. Never again. ( For a full, foul-mouthed explanation on that, please email me ).
6. What writer's blogs make your Top Three list? Why do they stand out above the other flobbity-jillion out there?
I'm negligent in this area. I will try in 2014 to be more pro-active about blogs. Maybe you'd like to do a piece on my blog.
7. What is your writing-time beverage and snack of choice?
Easy this: beer. I love beer. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I even drink beer in the bath!
8. Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
None. I'm hopeless. When I joined Twitter last July, I twittered my books. I felt a bit embarrassed by it, though. It just didn't feel right, not for me, anyhow. So now I don't do it. I prefer to just have a chat with someone. It doesn't have to be about books, either. In fact, I'd rather it wasn't. After all, if you want writing-information overload, just go on Twitter.
9. What changes do you see taking place in the publishing industry over the next couple of years?
I'm sure indie authors will continue to flourish. I hope so, anyway. There are some excellent indie authors out there. I won't name names. I may miss someone out and be duly mortified. As for changes, I think most of those have taken place. Traditional publishers will continue to favour people who have a high-profile, even if they're not writers, as such, but their name will of course sell a book. But that's no different how it was twenty years ago. You have to go all the way back to the 70's to see new writers who were given a chance, in any numbers, anyhow. I strongly believe, though, that the quality of indie books will continue to improve.
10. What's your next project?
I have a few projects. That way, if I get stuck on one, I always have something else to turn to. I wouldn't want just one book on the go. If it didn't work out, I'd be up the river without a paddle. In the early part of last year, I published As The Flies Crow, then decided to just write for the rest of 2013. It's put me in a good position. I completed two full-length novels, both over a 100.000 words. Hopefully I'll publish those this year, one around May, the other around September. I don't have the titles yet. Titles are difficult, don't you think? I'm sure I'll come up with something. I'm currently updating all the covers to my books to give them a more universal feel. I hope to have this done before I publish the new ones. I'm also going to put out Marsha's Bag & As The Flies Crow in one book. After all, Marsha Dunbar appears in both, so it makes sense to do that.
11. Who would win in a fight—a ninja-pirate robot or a zombie werewolf? Why?
I want the Zombie-Werewolf to win. I suspect the Ninja-Pirate Robot would, though. He sounds like he'd be far better equipped than something that would just stagger about, howling and groaning. You've made this a lopsided contest, I think.
N.B. I played around with 3 titles for my upcoming science-fiction thriller. Green Mist ( hmmm ). Lost Property ( more hmmm ). Finally I went with Steam, which I think suits the story best.
A scene from my novel Steam, coming in May 2014
Monday, 17 March 2014
1963: the death of JFK and the birth of Dr Who. A craft passes over Billy Flowers's head, and he is doused in a strange, green mist. Billy, the Head Porter at Wentworth Train Station, becomes sick...but he also gains the ability to see people's darkest secrets. This would be a blessing for the detectives conducting a murder investigation, but for Billy it becomes a curse. He begins to realise the people he loves can no longer be trusted. Including his own wife. But Billy is suffering enough. His brother Stanley is in a coma. Then a teenage girl goes missing. As murder begins to surround him, and he uncovers those responsible, Billy gets dragged into a train ride across an old, bomb-blasted viaduct that will bring him face-to-face with the craft. In a race against time and sickness, Billy understands that he can only save what he can and let the rest go.
Set against the backdrop of the social, political, and transportation changes of the 60's, Steam is a twisting and turning science-fiction thriller. Can Billy save the missing girl? His dying brother? His marriage?
Billy Flowers is a good man in a bad place.
Let the ride begin...
I first wrote Steam in 1997. I hated it. Not the story, I loved the story, I still do. I hated the way I'd written it; I didn't think I'd done it justice. So I tore it up. It was written on an Amstrad computer and printed out on a dot-matrix printer. The discs I saved the story to got lost somewhere. From memory, in the original, Billy Flowers was Robert "Dusty" Miller, and Mr Wellbelove was Mr Threeshoes. Late in the story, I resurrected the name Mr Threeshoes and used it as the name for the boss up at HQ. All the other names are the same.
Someone asked me if I could write only one story, which one would it be? I said Steam, without even thinking, which made me a little sad. In the 16 years between 1997 and 2013, I was still writing, but frankly I'd lost the impetus. Occasionally I still do. It's not writers' block. I've never had that, and hopefully never will. It's more to do with the fact there are a lot of novels out there, so what's the point? But my wife pointed out there were a lot of novels out there in the early-eighties, when I first started writing. Stop complaining, in other words, and get on with it. She was right. Women usually are.
In April / May of 2013, I wrote the first few chapters of a novel set in World War I. The main character is Samuel Hunningale. Sergeant Samuel Hunningale. Not sure I like that name, I may change it. But I like him. As I got further into the story, I realised that Sam Hunningale was not unlike Billy Flowers. No bad thing. A good thing, in fact. But it made me wonder why I was writing a story with a similar main character to the one in Steam, when the story was still in its complicated infancy, whereas I knew Steam like the back of my own hand.
So that was that, I made my decision. The World War 1 story got shelved and I started Steam. Re-started Steam. The 1st draft was finished on December the 6th 2013. In the afternoon of that same day I wrote this that you are reading now.
Am I glad I wrote Steam again from scratch? To be honest I still don't know. Maybe it should have remained torn up. Maybe I still didn't do it justice.
But it remains the one novel I would write, if I could write no other.
Kind regards, Martin Price.
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Hello everyone. Hope you are well. I now have a new cover for "As The Flies Crow", all thanks to the very wonderful Debbie over at "thecovercollection.com" I was finding it difficult and time-consuming having to do my own covers, so I decided to take the plunge with a dedicated cover designer. I found "thecovercollection.com" on Twitter, and as you can see, the result is rather lovely ( my daughter called it "Creepy - the colours and effects are great!") . I can't help but agree with her. If you're looking for a cover for your books, I can't recommend Debbie enough. Her communication is first class, and she frequently updates you on the progress of your cover.
As The Flies Crow is around 65.000 words, pretty much the same length as Marsha's Bag. Both books are linked, in that Marsha Dunbar appears in both. The main character in As The Flies Crow is Sonia Rowntree, and, without giving too much away, she runs into Marsha Dunbar towards the end of the book. I love this chapter. It pulls Marsha and Sonia together, and lines them up to share a book together ( I'm working on the idea, anyhow ). But I'll leave it there. If you enjoy "women in peril" novels, then you might just enjoy Marsha's Bag & As The Flies Crow. Do give them a read if you can. Both are available on Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, etc.
Praise for Marsha's Bag:
"Engrossing and accomplished thriller" *****
"A gripping read" ****
"Excellent unusual story" *****
"Great read. Couldn't wait to see what happened next" *****
"A good and original idea" ***
"This book had me gripped from beginning to end" ****
All reviews can be verified on Apple.
I'm still hacking away at the Train Station novel. At one point last week I wanted to give up on it, which is just what I did with it years ago. In fact, I tore the thing up! Now that I'm writing it again, I can see why I did that. But I'm going to persevere because I love the story - in life, I think it is love that keeps us all going, no matter what we do.
A big thank you to everyone. Take care.
Kind regards, Martin