Thursday, 28 July 2016

#AugustReviews Are Go!

This blog post comes to you accompanied by Jamiroquai "Cosmic Girl"

NEW! August Reviews (or #AugustReviews)

I know how hard it is to get reviews. 

I reckon my review ratio is about 1:50 and that's mad. Or is it? I don't review much - kettles, holidays, pubs, cars, cabin shorts - so why should I expect readers to review my books?

Short answer is, dear reader...

Us small press/indie/selfie authors struggle. It's almost unequal (but not quite), which is why you, as a reader and consumer, are confronted with the same kind of crap book in the supermarket. Crap? That's a bit harsh, Marky.

Is it? Tell me. When was the last time you actually read a Trad novel you bought at Tesco and thought it was special? 

Here's the story of a Tesco bestseller.

One of my best friends is reading Girl On A Train. She shared some early chapters with me. What a lot of bollocks that novel is! I work with fourteen year olds with more literary chops. It's a GCSE piece and with that, I'm being charitable. The writing is as stodgy as yesterday's porridge and as for the exposition...*

Yet, she has over eleven thousand reviews partly because people have heard of the book. 

And my friend really likes this novel so it's all about opinions. And yours counts.


A lot of the success of that book is all down to advertising and us small fry can't access those channels.

Radio is closed for business, newspapers won't touch us, the TV people just laugh, Facebook charge a fortune, (sigh, remember those early days on there?); those ads on the train station are ludicrously expensive and thus we struggle to get out there, despite increasing numbers of Indies pumping out quality product, with professional covers, proofreading, editors etc.

So please, this August (#AugustReviews) make the summer special by reviewing ONE book on Amazon. 

You don't even have to have read it recently and it doesn't have to be mine - we all suffer from lack of exposure and, yet, some of us are bubbling under ready for a big breakthrough. 

YOURS can be the review that inspires this.

Write ONE review for August and then tweet it here: 


Loads more information from leading novelist, Terry Tyler - whose idea this is - is available on the blog below. 

Please visit: Have a look at what she has to say. 

One ickle wickle review this August can make all the difference.

Thank you in advance. Wiz.

*See? I wrote a review in about twenty seconds straight from the heart. It's THAT simple :-D xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

Who Is Luke Rock?

No mystery - this isn't my intention - Luke is a pseudonym. 

I could (I seriously considered it) have played a big game and created an elaborate facade, but that isn't me. 

I have seen it done and I always feel a bit cheated by it. Remember the JK/Galbraith stuff? 

So I am being honest as that's the type of writer I am.

"The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before".

Regular readers of my stuff may like it or hate it and new readers, including those who may have read stuff of mine before and failed to get into it, have another chance to get on board. 

I want to put clear blue water between books like Carla, Criminals and Hollywood Shakedown and the newest Green Wizard novel, KATAB, as it is known in these parts. 

While I hope the standards of storytelling are similar, it is hugely different to my eyes. 

This is easily my most commercial and modern book and it is inspired by recent events. It is very much a book influenced by the decision to leave Europe taken by around half the population of this country. Brexiters, as they are referred to in the novel on many occasions.

KATAB is very European. I shall tell you that now. I am pro-Europe and so is Green Wizard. I am not a happy bunny at the recent turn of events and that's putting it mildly.

Risky? Yes it is. But necessary.

It takes place in real time from June 24th to 4th July. The story is detailed on a previous blog post.  There are sample chapters on your right to read online.

Luke's name: I support a (recently concluded) Creative Writing group on a Wednesday night at Central College in Nottingham and, on session six, we discussed psudonyms (amongst other things). 

In a discussion of thrillers, I came up with an example of a cool sounding author name and that name was Luke Rock. Naturally, it stuck - despite general hilarity from at least one of the (terrific) group. So when the opportunity to publish the book arose, I knew the exact author name I was going to use.

The book itself contains three of my most loveable characters - Ricky and Kevin, two hapless, reluctant revolutionaries and Rachel, who I adore, who gets herself in all sorts of messes and some of my favourite ever supporting characters, including the nastiest villain I have ever written - and its not Nigel or Boris.

I have often been complimented on the way I write women and I am hoping the commentators feel the same way about the characters in here, particularly Rachel, who I am very fond of - in the mould of Monique, Carla, Amy and Chloe from my previous work.

As a terrific author friend of mine always says about my novels: "One minute I'm laughing and the next I'm crying," and there is the more of the same here. 

It's £1.99 or $2.99 and the paperback will be out in about three weeks. 

Hope you enjoy it.


Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - Amazon UK  £1.99

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - $2.99

PS Mark Barry readers will be pleased to know that the pre-release titles of his upcoming work are available in this ebook, plus news of a pseudonymous thriller.

Green Wizard Publishing
Southwell. Nottingham.

Publishing the work of Mark Barry, Lynne Morley, Luke Rock, Nick Petrocelli
and students of the Creative Writing and E-Publishing course at Central College Nottingham,

GW is the official publishing partner of Brilliant Books: encouraging reluctant readers to
pick up a book again.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb: A New Release

It's out today in ebook!

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - Amazon UK  £1.99

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - $2.99

Incidentally, this book is written with 19-25 year olds in mind. Some 16 year olds would be able to read it easily, others might be offended. I hope older people will read it. If you like Mark's stuff, many of you will get the jokes/tropes/links etc.

If you know anyone of this age group who likes reading, especially those who are upset about Brexit, then I would be interested to see what they think.

This book is very much an experiment on many levels.

Thanks, Wiz


To your right, as you look, you can see the book cover. Click and hey presto, there are FOUR sample chapters to view online through Sabercat. 

Otherwise, contact me and I'll send you a four chapter PDF


Punk Rocker anthologist and faction writer Brenda Perlin called me all the way from the OC to talk about the novel. Click on the link below.

When Brenda met Luke!


This weekend, Nottingham-based micro-publisher Green Wizard publishes a new novel, the first for a year and a half.

It will be initially available on Amazon as a £1.99 e-book for two weeks and then split into two collector's edition paperbacks, both around £5. 

The book will be published on Sunday 3rd July.

Here's Dark Dawn Creations new cover.

Word Count: Approximately 90k

Ease of Reading: Easy.

Estimated reading time: Five to seven hours.

Genre: NA (19-25) black comedy; political; fantasy; contemporary; suspense; crime; society

Tagline: What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?


 Kevin Taylor's got problems. 

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody "companion" is constantly in his face.  

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter - donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.  

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information:  The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public's decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

Who may enjoy the book?:  Young people, young at heart, liberals, lefties, anti-Trumpers, Remainers/Remainers in need of therapy; fans of comedy, black comedy and books with a multi-character narrative. Fans of suspense and thrills. Crime readers. Historians. People from Nottingham.

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - Amazon UK  £1.99

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - $2.99

Who may not? Read the Amazon preview. Green Wizard is an exposition-free micropublisher. *wink*

Warning: Minor incidences of strong language.

Like a Sample? Click here: Chapter Two


The author will be featured on various blogs in the coming couple of weeks including the terrific Georgia Rose Blogsite

Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, with the OC's excellent Brenda Perlin

and with top Kindleworld's thriller writer Eden Baylee

If anyone other bloggers fancy a natter about Luke's plans, contact the Wizard on the usual channels. I've a feeling this novel will go...

...with a bang.

(I'm here all week).


PS: There MAY be giveaways of the paperback, but get reviewing if you've had ANY from Green Wizard before. 'bigger wink*.

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - Amazon UK  £1.99

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - $2.99


Also, while you're waiting, don't miss Short Journeys, the latest in the Central College Anthology series featuring new Nottingham writers.  These stories, limited to 2500 words, are well worth a read and there are poetry and Haikus, as usual. Lots of genres covered including sci-fi, children's, contemporary, crime, urban, comedy and satire. Suitable for everyone.

Short Journeys On Amazon UK Buy HERE


Green Wizard Publishing
Southwell. Nottingham.

Publishing the work of Mark Barry, Lynne Morley, Luke Rock, Nick Petrocelli
and students of the Creative Writing and E-Publishing course at Central College Nottingham,

GW is the official publishing partner of Brilliant Books: encouraging reluctant readers to
pick up a book again.

Chapter Two of Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

 Chapter 2 (Part 1)

 Later. All quiet outside, not much work going on. Lots of people in hi-vis covered suits and hard-hats, some with pencils behind their ears staring at trees. Electricians, probably. The two groups watch each other from their trenches, the frackers and the anti-frackers, a symbolic truce under the trees.  It is raining and no-one feels like fighting in the rain.

Tired young people are meeting around the table in the main tent. Lance chairs. Two young men peruse an A4-typed sheet. The first; lanky, pointy-elbowed, and awkward, wearing Buddy Holly spectacles that are much too big for him, as if he had bought them from an optician over the Internet, after getting the measurement box slightly wrong. He wears a near-fluorescent red Jake Bugg tee-shirt, ripped skinny jeans and scuffed purple Vans. 
This is Kevin Taylor, to give him his full name.

The second is shorter, handsome - almost pretty. Thicker set - the beginnings of a tan, tousle haired; wearing a royal blue and black checked shirt, a purple and yellow lace choker wrapped around his neck. 
This is Ricky Rolleston. Best friend of the above.

‘So. Can you two handle this job or not?’ Lance speaks, his voice impossibly deep and lacquered.
‘Course we can handle it. Trust us.’ Ricky responds.
Lance turns to the other. ‘And you? Can I trust you, sir?’
‘Deffo,’ Kevin replies, without conviction and without effectively disguising how much he dislikes Lance. The leader knows this. It doesn’t offend him. In fact, it energises him. Spotting a weakness in an enemy - or a friend - is as valuable as gold in Lanceworld .

‘Ricky, how often have you driven to London?’ 
‘A few times,’ he lies.
‘What about South London? Mate, my dear old aunt Fanny can find Kings Cross, but a place like Peckham can be a nightmare to reach on the roads.’
‘Won’t be difficult to find with my dad’s Satnav.’
‘All the same…’ the leader nods at the young man sitting to his right…‘ if you take Lee with you.’

Ricky struggles to stop the constituent parts of his face - the muscles, the veins, and the throbbing bit just below his jawline - from sinking: Lee Parsons is his least favourite member of the group. Up there competing with his least favourite people on the planet. Ever. ‘Mate, no need. We’ll be all right on our own - won’t we, Kev?’ 
Kevin nods. “Yep,” he says. 'We'll be fine, Lance.'

Lee Parsons and Ricky do not get on. That much is obvious to everyone. Including Lance.Especially Lance.

Lee detests everything Ricky is; handsome, popular, express intention of turning up at University for a three-year shag festival and a doss. Never going to earn enough to pay back the loan, so it doesn't matter to him whether the commitment is nine grand a year or ninety grand. The least politically motivated member of the group (apart from Kevin, that is), his  mates love him for his carefree attitude to uni and his willingness to take a risk.

Lee, looking on, his eyes like pissholes in the snow, is Ricky’s antithesis. You could not find two more different people. An eternal PHD student, hook-beaked, heavy lidded, as bald as a billiard ball, as thin as the pinstripe in a suit, his complexion pockmarked and pitted, like craters on the surface of the moon. 
Left cheek permanently scarred from malfunctioning experimental anti-acne medication, the construction of his face asymmetrical and imbalanced. He has the sense of humour of a statue and even his few friends describe him as obsessive, amoral, scheming and manipulative.

Worse, girls label him creepy. 
If there is a word that spells social death in a university more than creepy, it has not yet been added to the Oxford. 

As well as creepy and strange (and some more cruel than that), some of the regulars in the History department call him The Lizard. He looks at Ricky with barely-concealed contempt and has been doing for the duration of the morning. Then he stares at Kevin: doesn’t care for him much either. 
In fact, The Lizard doesn’t care for Ricky’s best friend at all.
Lance weighs up what Ricky has to say. Then he makes his final decision.
‘If you want the London gig, Ricky, Lee rides shotgun. He’s been to Peckham before and he’ll make sure it proceeds how we want it to proceed,’ he confirms, with a knowing smile, picking up a solid silver fountain pen from the picnic table in front of him and making a note. 'This is critical for the group.'
‘If that’s what you want,’ Ricky replies, reluctantly.
“It is what I want, Ricky.” Lance replies.
‘Can I go too?’ Rachel, Kevin’s girlfriend, asks. She’s been outside, has just entered stage right, and has only just caught the last bit of the chat. ‘I’ve only been to London once and that was, like, on a school trip. We went to see the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral and stuff when I was in Sixth Form. Awesome.’
‘Sorry. Not this time. I’ve another job in mind for you,’ Lance interjects. ‘I want you to help co-ordinate Saturday. The demo. Our involvement. The meetings and the prep. How does that sound?’
Rachel Christian, a down to earth Yorkshire girl, is shocked. She’s only been in the group for six weeks. ‘Me? Co-ordinate? Oh My God!’
‘We’ve spotted some potential in you,” Lance says. “Hidden depths, as it were. It’s time we exploited those for the benefit of the group.’

Rachel melts inside and flushes ever so slightly. She isn’t used to anyone commenting on her intelligence and she didn't know she had any hidden depths. She certainly never received this kind of attention back in Wakefield. No one ever asked her to co-ordinate in Sixth Form there. If anything, she was seen as a bit of an airhead. It makes her feel glad she came to Uni in Nottingham, away from her home town.

Kevin flinches: He isn’t happy at all. He has never liked Lance, not from minute one. He is a cynic about a charismatic leader who they all seem to respect and admire. He has had a feeling: An inkling, as his mum would say. A little inkling. A notion that something is wrong with Lance Brando. 

Admittedly, it is partly due to the fact he suspects Lance has a thing for Rachel. The way he looks at her. The tone of voice. Up until now, up till this very moment, he has felt comfortable with it, because Rachel would never go for someone like Lance. 

If it weren’t for his best friend, he’d leave all this behind, but Ricky likes being part of the Piglets and Kevin doesn’t want to cause a fuss.

Fashionably brunette, slim, brown eyes, slit-jeans, boots, a combat jacket over a scarlet-red tee-shirt to keep her warm, Rachel is the prettiest girl in his tutor group and he is lucky - extremely lucky, a slightly envious Ricky reminds him on many occasions - to be seeing her. He knows this. He has no idea why she is with him except to say they get on like a house on fire. Deep inside, in those guilty recesses just below the threshold of consciousness, he cannot help feeling he is out of his league.

He also suspects Lance knows this. No. He knows it...

Rachel said to Kevin a fortnight ago that she’d never met anyone like Lance. She had that girly look on her face when she said it. Kevin nearly puked, but in the end, he just changed the subject.
 ‘You’ll have to take me to London another time, Kev,’ Rachel says.
‘Okay,’ Kevin replies, flatly.

He knows that Lance would be planning to take Rachel to the San Salvador Coffee House to discuss her new co-ordination role. He will buy the coffees and she will think him ever so sophisticated.  It hurts. It hurts him a lot.

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is published on Sunday 3rd July by Green Wizard Publishing.

Green Wizard Publishing
Southwell. Nottingham.

Publishing the work of Mark Barry, Lynne Morley, Luke Rock, Nick Petrocelli
and students of the Creative Writing and E-Publishing course at Central College Nottingham,

GW is the official publishing partner of Brilliant Books: encouraging reluctant readers to
pick up a book again.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Notes on Hollywood Shakedown (about twenty of them!)

My debut novel Hollywood Shakedown is getting some love lately, so I thought I would write some notes of interest to those who like a bit of background on the books they read. 

Here we go.

It's currently very cheap on e-book on both sites.

1) I wrote Hollywood Shakedown in 2009 amidst one of the coldest winters in living memory. One of the rainiest too, I remember. I wrote the novel wearing fingerless gloves and an Inuit hunting cap. I also wore a coat for much of the time as the flat I was living in was colder than a witch's teat. The rich, sunswept imagery of Los Angeles was simply subconscious wish fulfilment - and an imaginary central heating scheme. 

1a) Like many struggling writers unsupported by rich partners and/or sumptuous pensions, I don't live well. Can anyone donate a new hunting cap?

2) The novel emerged from two sources. One, my friend Paul Vani challenged me to write a 1000 word short story containing the following elements. a) steak b) Goats Head Soup by the Rolling Stones and c) Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. I did so. See Chapter One. Then I kept writing. And writing. And...

2 b) At the same time, my friend Clive La Court (who secretly appears in most of my novels, with his faithful Airedale, Luccas), suggested I wrote a fiction novel. I wasn't reading fiction at the time - I hadn't read a new fiction book in a decade - and was writing non-fiction, faction and memoir (unsuccessfully). I have made up for my lack of faith since. That's down to him - as is most of my output, obviously, because after HS, I went on to write ten novels, six of which are still out there.

3) The novel was written around the time where the death of Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Los Angeles had been announced. 

Hollywood Park plays a big role in the opening chapters. In Great Britain, a racecourse with a history like that would never have been allowed to close. For a shopping Mall? With pink flamingos and an artificial lake?  

Puleez... we may be dirty and have dental issues over here but fuck, we respect history and culture.

I was livid for most of that year. Later on, when Hollywood finally closed, my novel trended on Twitter - the only time this has happened to me as an author.

3a) On the subject of sport, popular US sports radio DJ, Phil Naessens, read, reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed the book. I was delighted by that, a highlight of my career so far.

4)  Horse racing is my passion so my protagonist, Buddy Chinn, is first seen in the stands at Hollywood Park. My other passion, Notts County Football Club, appear later on in the book when the quest reaches London on Valentines Day 

5) The story takes place over two weeks in 2010. Strictly. The chapters are dated.

6) It was originally proofread and edited chapter by chapter by my close friend Kelly Wainwright who, following the arrival of her first baby, was at a loose end in the evenings. In between Dexter and Californication binges, we wrote the book sequentially, like a series. It is the only book I have ever written written from beginning to end. I had no idea where it was going until I got there.

7) There are two important parts in a novel. The opening chapter and the climax.  

HS has my favourite opening chapter (I worked and worked and worked on that and it has more drafts than anything I have ever written) but I have never been convinced by the climax. Endings are absolutely critical. More authors should concentrate on the climax, though all the 101 blogs focus on the opening, like chess. The number of books I have read recently with terrible endings can be counted with matches from a box. 

Swan Vestas, at that.

8) Buddy Chinn was originally called Buddy Chinaski. The book became a homage to one of my favourite authors, beat poet, Charles Bukowski. His alter ego, as most of you will know, is Hank (or Henry) Chinaski. So, my homage would be the story of the son of his alter-ego. 

Kelly's husband Seth, to whom I was best man at their wedding, signposted legal trouble and I bottled it. Changed the name - and all the names. A good job when considering what happened to me with the original cover of Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminals. 

Mr Schneider of San Diego - I did what you asked!!!

9) Simon, Buddy's cheerful comic collecting sidekick, was originally known as English Marky. Kelly has never forgiven me for changing the name. I am not Simon - I wish I were, but that's not why I changed the name. 

Originally, I was going to publish this under a pseudonym. A cool one - like, say, Nelson Petrocelli or Max Cade or Nathan Bullet (true) - but my ex, Deborah, persuaded me to publish under my real name. The jury is still out as to whether that was a good idea or not. Anyway, you cannot have a protagonist with the same name as an author - that is simply narcissism, so I changed the name to Simon, a quintessentially English appellation.

10) Hollywood Shakedown is my longest book. In Indie, long books are taboo. No-one writes long books any more. 

11) Here's the original cover.

12) There is a draft of HS - the "author's cut" - which is even longer. It features an extra airline scene, more sex, crazed monologues and chatter dragged from Buddy's tortured brow, but I cut it to 104,000. The original is at least another 20k words. It is now lost somewhere in cyberspace. This is another thing Kelly will never forgive me for.

13) Monique, the "free-spirited" girlfriend and muse of the protagonist is partly based on the er, somewhat bawdy sexual alter-ego of an ex-girlfriend of mine (who I adored).  I sent her a paperback copy of the book during a potential reunion period. I never heard from her again. 

"Monique" in real life, is a church-going, upstanding, charity giving woman who wouldn't dream of doing anything like Monique. I need to make that a matter of record. 

The character is also based on Charles Bukowski's first major girlfriend - the love of his life (see above, from Factotum). 

Many men have a woman in their background from whom they have never recovered, like some form of addiction - I wonder how many became writers?

14) Monique's Tale, the centrepiece of the book, is amongst my favourite pieces of (my own) writing. I got that bang on.

15) I get asked this question a lot in interviews. "Who would play the characters in your book if it were made into a film?" My answer? I never look at it like that. If I were forced to divest myself of one media I enjoy, it would be film, rather than music or reading, so all this fantasy is not a priority. 

However, Bishop in Hollywood Shakedown would definitely be a part for Ed Harris.

16)  Like horrible villains? Scumbags who you cannot stop hating even in their quietest moments? You'll like The Nebraskan, Hollywood's major villain. A hunter and predator who's key skill is to get in the heads of women. 

The character is wryly based on the sociomythical truism shared by all men that women prefer bad boys who are guaranteed to fuck their heads up, to a nice bloke who will look after them and take them shopping.

17) He is also the closest I have ever come to writing a comic character/fantasy villain. I generally write about real people you can meet in the supermarket.

18) My friend Clive, who likes some of my books and not others, loves Hollywood Shakedown. He stopped what he was doing once and emailed me about Blossom Phelps, the Chicago fixer who manipulates Buddy half way through the book. He asked for her number, rather breathlessly! #

My friend EL Lindley, who also likes the book, paid me the ultimate compliment in her review when she said I can write strong, rounded, real female characters, flaws and all.

19) Notts County fans who read this can read about the match attended by Buddy and Simon here. It's Fulham. Yes, that one.

20) Here's the new cover. I'm off to watch Aintree races.

It's currently very cheap on e-book on both sites.

8th April 2016

PS: f you have read Hollywood Shakedown and liked/hated/was not convinced by the novel, I need TWO more reviews to reach ten. I know - sad huh. 

I want to put it on a US advertising forum and I need the magic number ten. Ta! xx


Terry Tyler Review

Cathy Ryan Review

Georgia Rose Review

E Lindley's Review

Early Interview about Hollywood Shakedown - Gladiators Pen

If  you have done something with Hollywood and I have forgotten, or didn't know, then drop me a line and I shall include it. Ta!