Saturday, 22 March 2014

Q&A with Fiona Skye


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

STEAM, a science-fiction thriller, coming in May 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

As The Flies Crow ~ New Cover



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  


Friday, 16 August 2013

Thank You Everyone!

I want to thank every one who has so far downloaded Luvya Getcha on Amazon.com.  You have made my life, believe me. Yes, it's a free e-book, I know, but any success is good when some writers don't even have their free books downloaded.  Also, I've been plugging away at it for 30 years, so when self-publication came along, I decided to give it a go and I've been thrilled with the experience.  And Indies get a lot of criticism.  Much of it is warranted, too, I suppose, when you take bad formatting, cheap-looking covers, enough typos to make your eyes blurry, and unrealistic pricing.  But hand on heart, I really do try hard in every area, and although none of my e-books are perfect, I understand a reader's frustration and will continue to do all I can to make the experience as good as possible.
     However, I think most readers are genuinely sympathetic, and will forgive many things, as long as they know the author has made every effort.  I know that's how I am as a reader.  And many traditionally published novels are not perfect, are they? Many a time I've paid a heap of hard-earned cash for a book that has left me disappointed...enough to make me toss it in the bin, truth to tell!

But I won't dwell on that.  I just want to say thank you, it is much appreciated.  And I have a cold ( man-flu, apparently ).  Be nice.

Kind regards, Martin.

PS.  I am on Twitter now @MartinwPrice.  I will follow back.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Horror? Thriller?

Today I thought I'd have a quick, off-the cuff ramble, although mostly I'll pin the subject down to categorising a novel because, in regards to my own 4 novels, I'm finding it difficult.  I think many people's perception of a horror novel is that it is either heavy on the supernatural elements, or it is splattered with gore and buckets of blood.  Not that I want to assume anything - we all know that "assume" makes an ass out of u & me.
     My problem is that my novels are neither horror nor thriller; they have elements of both. It seems to me that in order for a novel to be classified as a thriller, it must not stray into the supernatural, because, in general, thriller readers like their books to be contained within a certain, realistic framework.  I have tried this out with friends, family, and work colleagues.  Many of them will say they don't read horror, but they do like a good thriller, and yet a "good thriller" can be just as gory, and in many cases, even more so.
      So it seems we are down to the supernatural element again.  Now, in my novel, Flowers From A Different Summer, the only vaguely supernatural element centres around a character named My Man, who helps criminals out of sticky situations, as long as they have the money to pay for that help.  He does not wear a black cape and flap in through an open window.  He cannot walk through walls.  He does not turn into a slobbering, snarling wolf.  No, none of that.
      Here is an example of My Man:



'No,' Phil said, and genuinely unruffled.  'It's not My Man's job to intervene in that way.  He simply gathers information so that he can use it for his own ends.  My Man rights the wrongs, but he also wrongs the rights.  He's no do-gooder.  But he's a doer, and he's a doer who never fails.  And like I said, it's all about the money.  That's it.  You don't need to look any deeper.  He's not a charity.'

I shook my head, deflated.  'Christ, Phil, what am I getting into with this?'

'What you're getting into,' Phil said, 'is a guaranteed way to kill Jeffery Doyle, and get away with it, too, scot-free.  If you try any other way, then you're almost certainly doomed to failure.  But let's just say that you forget all about killing Jeffery Doyle.  Based on the fact that you're a better man than he is, which you are, you decide that you're not going to stoop to those lengths, anyway.  That you're just going to live with the pain of what he did to your sister, to Maxine and Ryan, too, and just give up on the whole revenge idea.  Good, that's fine.  You've made that decision, all's well with bells on.

'But…what if you do get up in the night, leave that note on the kitchen table, and take off for Drake's Common? It could happen, you know it could.  What then, eh? After you've botched the whole thing up, and then I visit you in prison, what are you going to say to me, Michael? "Sorry, Phil, I should have listened to you in the first place? I should have gotten My Man to plan it all out for me? Then I wouldn't be here, locked up in this place?"

'I won't want to hear that, Michael, I'm telling you.  And I probably won't visit you, anyhow, because I know I'll have to listen to you telling me that.  Fuck it, no, I won't do it.  You could have used My Man's services but you didn't.  I won't sit there and listen to all that.  I just won't!'

'Fair enough, I understand,' I said.  'It's just that My Man seems to be a totally selfish character.  Like he doesn't care.'

'That's because he doesn't,' Phil said.  'But you're missing the point.  My Man is like one of those old-fashioned telephone operators who sits at a switchboard, sticking jacks into sockets in order to route the call to the right person.  Those old switchboards, they used to look like an indiscriminate mess of wires, some going this way, some going that, all crossing over one and another.  But they weren't an indiscriminate mess of wires.  Everyone was talking to the right person.  That's what My Man does.  He hooks people up, this person to that, that person to this, and in the end it all works.'
 
END OF EXCERPT, START OF ANOTHER:
 
Phil Hayward, still holding that photo of Michael as a boy, composed his face so that no other expression could be read into it but total, unswerving solemnity.  He said, ‘Make no mistake about it, Michael, this is serious stuff.  Plotting to murder someone is serious stuff, anyhow.  What we’re doing, though, is plotting murder with the help of My Man.  And My Man is not a fellow equal.  He is faceless.  He is a mystery.  Furthermore, he has the kind of power that evil people can only dream of and good people are too scared to dream of.  He is smoke when there is no fire.  He is fire when there is no spark to light it.  He is the rain that falls out of a cloudless sky.  He is the sudden, cold breeze on a windless day.  Earlier I told you that My Man was not supernatural, despite the fact I’ve made him seem like it.  He isn't, either.  Of course he isn't! But then again, we’ve already talked about influence, haven’t we? The power it has? And My Man’s influence is higher, deeper, broader…and far more deadly.  Still, My Man will make a plan, and it will be a plan that will work from top to bottom, and perfectly.’
 
END OF EXCERPT
 
So you see, that's about as supernatural as it gets...apart from right at the end, when it becomes quite clear that My Man is not entirely shackled to the earth.  But fuck it, anyway.  What am I on about? I love horror, and I'm proud to be published in that category.  It's just that I don't get the smoky category divisions.  But maybe that's just me.  Horror? Thriller? Who gives a shit!
 
Oh, and by the way, Luvya Getcha is now free on Amazon.  Find out if Richard Beckett can save his wife and unborn child from the clutches of the evil CC. 
 
Thanks for reading. Have a lovely day. Newbie on Twitter @MartinwPrice.  I will follow back.  Kind regards, Martin.
 
Luvya Getcha.  
 
 
 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Luvya Getcha # 1 on UK i-books free ghost chart! July 12th / 13th

I have myself a #1.  Yay!
    All right, it's a free book, but I'm extremely happy.  After all, any success means the world to any writer.  If you need something to read, and you like your spooky tales, then why not give it a go? My paid books are doing well on I-books as well.  Marsha's Bag has been in the top 30 of the UK Horror chart for almost a year and a half, and Flowers From A Different Summer is in the top 200 on the same chart.

    Also I'd like to mention Dreamstime. It's the site I get my photos from to compose the covers of my books.  They have some fantastic stuff by some very talented photographers.  The prices are reasonable, too.  So, if you design your own book covers, pop over to Dreamstime and have a browse.    

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Luvya Getcha Free!

My novel of ghosts and possession, Luvya Getcha, is now free on Smashwords, and will be distributed to Apple i-books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, etc.  I've designed a new cover for it, too, which more closely reflects the story's content.  I think it looks pretty good.  Why not give it a go.