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Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Heaven Field – free download

St. Claire has given up the dealing and the one-night stands; he’s renounced violence, dropped out of sight and moved up the coast. He’s living like a hermit, trying to be a good man again.

Kaska lives in a hope-free, dead-end town where the only growth industries are teenage pregnancy and low-level street disorder; she’s sixteen, a gifted artist and she’s dying by inches. She’s desperate to break free.

But as both St. Claire and Kaska discover, life gets in the way of the best-laid escape plans.

Free download 3-7 January.

Click the image for link:

heaven

NQA – Free download

Mark Barrett, is owner and sole employee of NQA Courier Services. Delivering packages across Europe, he works in that grey area somewhere between almost and legal.

After a date with a beautiful woman goes badly wrong he ends up in the police cells. The following morning his bail is paid by disgraced EU Commissioner Jack Maundy, who offers him a job: hand-deliver three packages to three people in three European cities in five days. The packages are Maundy’s insurance policy, in advance of his going to trial on charges of embezzling 81 billion Euros.

An easy job, Maundy tells Mark, but one that needs doing quickly. What could go wrong?

Free kindle download 27-31 December. Click image for link.

NQA

Christmas collection: free download

Download my collection of Christmas-themed stories from Kindle. For free.

Between now and December 24th.  Click here for link – or click on image:

comfort-joy-cover

lights

I love buying Christmas gifts. I love watching cheesy Christmas movies on Channel 5. I love the dark nights and late mornings, wrapping up against the chill wind, seeing lights strung from people’s windows and doors and trees, and the almost permanent twilight.

Where I live doesn’t feel that far ‘north’ but it is – it’s on a level with Newfoundland or Moscow, and it’s right on the coast of the north sea. You really feel the change of the seasons.  Today is the winter solstice, and in two days it’s my birthday. Two days after that Father Christmas will bring Good Cheer.

This is always a good week.

After Christmas I have a six month job contract so I’ll not be doing much writing for a bit, which is sort of nice. It means I can switch off the watchful part of my brain for a while and simply live. Maybe even reply to letters and emails. Catch up with friends.

 

Border Bob

As a Christmas present I wrote a book for Lishman’s daughter, who is almost two. Just a little thing with illustrations. It’s called Border Bob and is about the life of a little dog who lives on the English/Scottish borders, in a grand old house.

While I’m waiting for the artwork to arrive, here’s a picture of my own pooch. Angus.

border-bed

Maximum Head Room

I went through a phase of self-improvement, reading books, considering my actions, assessing motives, reducing options, that sort of thing, and afterwards I think I had actually become a better person, or maybe I was a little less intense, a little less harassed by life. Among the books I bought to help me improve, one was called How To Be Good and I assumed it would be like a road map – or maybe an instruction manual.

But no.

I wanted the book to spell it out: How to be Good. But it didn’t. It just discussed the question, it didn’t provide an answer.

But now, some years later, I can’t read any of that stuff. I just can’t listen to philosophers. Even science leaves me cold, except for when I used QT to put the malarkey into QE. I can’t be bothered with all that ‘is the bear a silent catholic in the woods when the pope’s tree falls down?’ It leaves me not so much cold, but disinterested. I have my own operating system and the alternatives are a waste of time.

They take up unnecessary headroom.

I like to listen to youtube and internet podcasts now, but the educational/informational ones repel me too, like two north poles on a magnet. I can’t bear Ted talks. Sam Harris has dried on me, Bill Maher, all those talking heads, liberals, conservative, provocateurs, re-assurers. I’m done with all their chatter.

Currently I’m reduced to listening to guitar techs describing pedal boards, rednecks discussing calibre and IWHs, bikers describing V-twins. Arcane descriptors as background noise I can just about bear. But nothing improving, nothing informative.

I think I’d like to listen to people reading instruction manuals for 1950s washing machines, maybe discussing the options for spare parts, installation, plumbing, power supplies, spin cycles. Something where nothing is learned, just blokes discussing things that interest them. At the moment I’m listening to ten hour recordings of rain on canvas.

Returned to paperbacks too.

Silence is increasingly attractive.

Molly

On occasion, usually when I run out of new books, I re-read my William Gibson novels. He invented cyberpunk, he midwifed the concept of hackers, he developed the notion of tech-enhanced physiology and the concept of living/existing online. Even the cool sunglasses (and lots more) in the Matrix derive from his work.

I came across this in his novel All Tomorrow’s Parties:

‘Plus there’s your more mature sociopaths; older, more complicated, polypharmic…’ 

‘Say what?’

‘Mix their shit,’ Durius said. ‘Get lateral.’

Which, even if you don’t quite know what he’s saying, has a certain beauty, a deep groove to it that you can just settle into.

I’m a fan.

 

Comfort & Joy: free download

A collection of contemporary, Christmas-themed stories.

Free kindle download 20-24 December. Click image for link.

comfort-joy-cover

cartography

I always said my dad taught me to write, such was the oppressive and always-tense-bordering-on-violent relationship we had when I was a kid. Basically, I learned to never speak out, learned to never argue, was always too fearful to challenge him, so I went inward, to my love of books and stories, and found a way to express my thoughts and feelings on paper rather than through the spoken word.

He always insisted I redraft too, when I wrote my homework or a letter. Redraft. Redraft. Get it right. Do it right.

It stays with you, your childhood. Not a burden, not a chore, just a map of where you’ve been, recorded in scars and old photographs.

But you move on.

Become.