Monday, 24 December 2012

Marsha's Bag # 2

I've headed this post Marsha's Bag # 2, due to the fact my new novel is almost ready.  It's roughly the same size as Marsha's Bag ( 65.000 words approx ), but in reality it is not a follow-on to Marsha's Bag.  However, it is similar, and also Marsha Dunbar puts in an appearance.  All of it ties in nicely, I think...and it got me thinking that maybe I should do a couple more along the same lines, with Marsha appearing in each one, until finally they culminate in a real Marsha's Bag # 2.  But I'll probably wait and see how the new novel goes first.

I'm tempted to put the cover on the blog, which I'm really pleased with, but I think it's best I wait until I upload the book itself.  That should be in a month or two's time.  No one's read it, either.  Not even a wee bit.  I started it at the beginning of October, and the first draft was done in two months.  Prior to that, I worked on a novel named "Dawn's Chains", which I believed would be the follow-on to Marsha's Bag.  I got a fair amount of it done, too.  Even created the cover for it, which I really like.  However, it plummeted into areas I wasn't comfortable with.  That is to say, as a horror novel, it's fine.  Pretty good, really.  A naked woman chained to a wall, yep, it's horror, all right...and it gets...well, I'll say no more on the subject.  And I don't really want it associated with Marsha's Bag, that's the truth of it.  But the new novel? Yes, it fits just right with Marsha's Bag...although there is one scene that's a little...squirmy? Still, I'm happy enough for it to be left in.  It certainly doesn't reach down as far Dawn's Chains, that's for sure.

Anyhow, I have plenty to be getting on with.  The other novel I hope to publish, but later in 2013, is coming along well, too.  It's written.  It's roughly 100.000 words.  I'll almost certainly make a start on another novel, as well.  Not at the moment, though.  That's it.  It's Christmas! My poor wife Katie is working until 6.30.  But I'm sure she'll be fine once we get down the pub this evening! She loves her vodka and Red Bull, that girl!

I hope you all have a good Christmas and that 2013 brings you much joy.  Where would we be without dreams, eh?  And love.  And the beauty of words.  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Smashwords Downloads

Many thanks to those of you who have downloaded Flowers From A Different Summer on Smashwords.  I do hope the downloads continue.  I wanted to make "Flowers" free for a while in the hope I might capture a wider readership, and thankfully, it seems to be working.  A special thanks to Georgi Abbott from Canada, who left very positive feedback on Smashwords.  Lovely.

I hope to publish 2 novels in 2013, and so far, they are coming along nicely.  One is about a boy who has to kill in order to protect his younger, disabled brother.  The other is similar to Marsha's Bag in that it is another "woman in peril" novel.  I was hoping to keep it a straightforward crime-thriller, but no, it has slipped into darker places.  The main character is just as resourceful as Marsha, and also as quirky.  She also has a specific ability that becomes an even greater, more unsettling, ability that she finds she can no longer control ( no handbags involved! ).  I have plans to bring Marsha Dunbar into the story, as well, so we'll see how it goes.  So far so good.

Once again, thank you for downloading "Flowers".  I'm sure Gaz & Deez will be watching you from their place in scrap-metal heaven. Long live the Local Monsters!            

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Free e-books & Reviews

Free download now available at & at Apple i-books.

I'm on the verge of publishing my third e-novel in 12 months, and it'll be least for a while. It's not short, either, and I've made every effort to make it as good as I can.   So what? Free or not, it should be as good as I can make it.   That's true, as well.   Just because a novel is free doesn't mean it's a chance for an author to produce inferior work.   But why would an author produce inferior work, anyway?  Surely he or she would want it to be the very best, no matter what?
     Well, yes, of course.   On the other hand, I suppose there are authors who don't care, and just want exposure any way they can get it.   Certainly you'd believe that if you've read some of the reviews out there on free books.   It's disheartening to say the least.   I sat down the other night and read a load of these reviews.  The most common remark I picked up on went something along the lines of: "No wonder this book was free! If I'd paid for this rubbish, I would have demanded my money back!"
     Not great.   Still, I'm a hopeless optimist.  Even allowing for those who just want to publish for the sake of it, I believe that the majority of indie authors try their very best to produce work they can be proud of.   Okay, for a lot of authors, that just doesn't work out. And I can understand why.   As an indie, you've got your story in place, and, you hope, the ability to write it.   Then you've got your job, so you have to fit the writing in at night and over the weekends, while everyone else is out enjoying themselves.   And does anyone care? No, not really.   You're on your own, it's tough, but then again, do you really want to be boring the arse off your partner with all your: "I'm a creative artist, darling, I need to talk to you about this chapter I've written? Is the pace right, do the characters seem real to you, is the dialogue believable?"
     Well, that's no way to carry on.   It'll just drive your partner up the wall...and maybe into the arms of another, namely some bloke she met at a club while you were busy writing.   No, not for me.   I just sit there, write, and mostly keep my mouth shut.   And actually, if I feel like writing on a Saturday night, I give myself a good slap, and then go out to get a life, anyhow!
     But yes, joking aside, it can be difficult being an indie author.   You don't get the help that "real" authors get: the proof-reading, the continuity checking, the advice, the editing, the fine-tuning.   You're just there on your own, up to your armpits in typos, grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and the more you read your book, so the more it drives you mad, until at times you hate it.   Then, when you finally come to terms with it, you've got your formatting to do so that it can be published. Not a simple task by any means.   How easy it is to mess up the building of your navigation into the book! And how about your cover? How can you compete with the big publishing houses when it comes to producing an original, eye-catching cover? You can't. So all in all, maybe it's best to just throw in the towel and forget all this writing business.
     I say no to that.  Why? Well, personally, publishing Marsha's Bag & Luvya Getcha has been tremendously fulfilling.   Both books are in the Apple charts, and in the Kobo charts...and I had almost no help.   My friends don't read, so they're no use.   In fact, they don't even ask how my writing is going! Some of them don't even know about Marsha's Bag & Luvya Getcha! The only person who reads my stuff is my wife.   That's it.   So when I publish my new e-novel, Flowers From A Different Summer, the second person to read it will almost certainly be a stranger.
     But that's the enjoyment of it.   When it arrives, it'll be a real new-born, not something that's already been turned inside-out, many times over.  Notwithstanding the mistakes, the errors, the typos, it's my belief that as long as an author does his or her best under the circumstances, then surely there's more than enough room for an honestly-written indie e-book. Even more so if it's free! At least, I hope there's room, anyway.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

New Novel

Hi all.
     I realise if you have a blog, then you should blog, and regularly.  I haven't been doing that, and so, in the future, I must try harder. 
     Recently, I've written 4 novels, 2 of which have seen the light of day: Marsha's Bag & Luvya Getcha.  On Apple, Marsha's Bag has done rather well, and as I write this, it is still in the top 30 in the Apple Horror chart, which means it's been in either the Crime/Thriller or the Horror chart for almost 12 months now ( it was published early September 2011 ). I didn't expect any kind of success, not even remotely.  After all, I've been writing for over 30 years, and after that amount of time, I accepted that probably nothing much was going to happen. But Marsha's Bag sells.  Modestly, yes.  However, when I published it to Smashwords, I thought it would just sit there, ignored.
      In truth, I wasn't going to publish Marsha's Bag first.  The novel I wanted to publish was Flowers From A Different Summer.  Originally it was written in first-person.  I can write much quicker in first-person ( I suspect most authors can ) and although it is almost 150.000 words, it was soon finished.  Great! But I didn't like it.  That is to say, I liked the story, but alas, I didn't much like one of the main characters, Vincent Sheffield.  He was rude, unnecessarily angry much of the time, and if ever there was a murderer in the story, then it was him.  Predictably him! So last year I put "Flowers" to one side, then went back to it around February this year.  The first thing I did was replace Vincent Sheffield with a kindly old man named Phil Hayward.  I also re-wrote the story in second-person, which meant many long days and nights.  However, I managed to salvage a few bits & pieces from the first-person original, and there's one particular part in which the main character, Michael Jepson, is a boy in the Green Lodge ( the Green Lodge is a mental health facility that appears in Marsha's Bag ). I really like this part, and I'm glad I've been able to keep it in the story.

The other novel I've written recently is Hels Place, with a deliberate single L.  It has nothing to do with hell, though.  Not that it matters - I have a new title for the story, but I'll leave the details of that a little nearer to the time of publication. Next year, hopefully.  But for now, it is still in first-draft. Also next year I have plans to publish a novel which is similar to Marsha's Bag, in that it has a single female lead character who, like Marsha, finds herself stuck in a difficult, and horrific, situation. I've already made a start on it, and so far I like the way it is unfolding.

Now onto other things...such as old novels.  I'd like to publish some of my older novels, but every time I look them over, all I want is to write them again, afresh.  Knowing myself the way I do, I'll probably leave them to carry on gathering dust...except for one, which is about a railway station back in the late-fifties.  I tore it up in a fit of madness - that was roughly 15 years ago - but I can still remember almost all of it, including the names of the characters.  In truth, I've already written the first few thousand words, and I hope, in the next couple of years, to have it done.
     Still, all of that is to come.  In the meantime, Flowers From A Different Summer is now finished, bar a final bit of tinkering.  I hope to have it out by the end of August, beginning of September.  Soon, I'll put the cover on the blog along with some more details.

By the way, I mustn't forget Luvya Getcha. It is in the Ghost chart on Apple, around #25
Kind regards, Martin.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Marsha and Flowers

It's cold, dark, and damp.  Furthermore, my employer's have moved location to a bigger, better building, but alas, it is a bigger, better building that is in the middle of nowhere.  I now have a fifteen-minute walk up a path that, on dark, frosty mornings, looks like a place from which anything could leap out on you and tear you apart.  Further along the path and there's a lake edged with tall reeds.  I'm sure it's beautiful in the summer, but here in the winter, the wind whips off that lake like it's trying to peel your face off!

At the moment, however, I'm home and in the warm.  So I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you on Marsha's Bag, moreover, on the main character, Marsha Dunbar.  I realise now how annoying she is.  But that doesn't mean, if I could go back, that I would change her.  I wouldn't.  You have to settle on a plot, if you don't, there's no story.  And a certain plot needs a certain character.  I couldn't have a woman who just wanders off, hoping somewhere along the way to finally get a signal into her phone, or maybe come across an angler somewhere upriver to help her out.  I needed someone out of the ordinary…and Marsha Dunbar was that someone.  She speaks to herself, and a lot.  At one point she even looks at herself in the car's rear-view mirror, to check her face is still intact, when her wrecked car could burst into flames at any moment.  And, ultimately, she makes a decision to cross the river and have a good snoop around, even though the sight of Raymond Gilroy would scare anyone else to death.  But Marsha defies all logic and does what she does, including impersonating a police-officer.  But does that mean that a character like her doesn't exist? I don't think so.  In fact, I think it would be an impossibility in this weird and wonderful world ours for a character like her to not exist.

Still, Marsha remains a  contentious character, which can only be good, I think.  Samuel Johnson said: "It is advantageous to an author that his book should be attacked as well as praised.  Fame is a shuttlecock.  If it be struck at only one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground.  To keep it up, it must be struck at both ends."

Well, there are writers out there who truly deserve their fame.  Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" is wonderful, as is SJ Watson's "Before I Go To Sleep".  Then there is Scott G. Mariani and Ben Aaronovitch, two excellent writers, no argument there.  But I wonder if writing is about fame, anyhow.  After all, it's a pretty difficult way to go about getting fame, that's for sure, and the facts are, the majority of writers will almost certainly fail no matter what.  Therefore, surely it's about the compulsion, the obsessive need to write, in spite of it all.  I have always written.  I would write even if no one read my stuff.  The only reason I got published was because I could.  The facility was there, and it cost me nothing but my time.  It didn't even cost me in hard work because I enjoy writing.  Love it, in truth!

My new novel "Flowers From A Different Summer"  is coming along nicely, although, at the moment, the word count is 150.000, which is a little bigger than I wanted it to be.  So I'm not sure when it'll  see the light of day.  Hopefully sometime during the summer.  I really like the two main characters, Michael Jepson and Phil Hayward.  I'm enjoying how their relationship, so light and breezy before the death of Michael's wife and son, soon darkens as secrets are revealed, and then, moving forward, how they hatch a plan to kill Jeffery Doyle.  Doyle killed Michael's sister, Shelly Rae, 30 years back, when Michael was just 12 years old.  Not that the story is dark.  There are many moments of humour and poignancy within.  And of course, there is horror.  Has to be. 

Sometime soon I'll put the first few pages of "Flowers From A different Summer" on the blog.  Until then, thanks for reading this.  And keep warm, eh? You'll catch your death otherwise! Kind regards, Martin.