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The Dark Man

I recently posted this to a writing site on facebook. It was deleted. So I made some changes, deleted the one bad word and substituted it with ****. It was deleted again.

Being a sometime ‘literary’ writer I like to work on the edges of darkness, and comment on society. There are many books much darker and much worse than this, and they are sold commonly in bookstores and online. They are what I would call the ‘serious’ novels. The ones you may not fully understand at the time, that might be a bit uncomfortable to read, but that does not mean that a site dedicated to writers and writing should delete a post arbitrarily.

I’m posting the piece I posted on my writers site page here in the hope that I can get some comment on it. It is allegory, and will of course reveal a political/social meaning.

I don’t care if my serious books don’t sell. There is very little room in the market these days for serious work. Huxley, Orwell, etc don’t sell. They are books that people SAY they have read, (1984, The Doors To Perception, etc) but really they read only the synopsis, or worse, watch the movie. BUT new serious books simply do not sell anymore. Because adult colouring books, recipe books, and children’s books along with romance and erotica for women take up much of the market.

Anyway, here’s the WIP (work in progress for those who don’t know the acronym.) Please comment. Good or bad, you won’t be deleted. Unless of course you are just selling something!

 

The Dark Man. (A dark novel)

This man, he’s wearing a black homburg hat. His coat, a black greatcoat, heavy, resists the bitter wind and responds only to the movement of his feet. His feet. He is wearing patent leather shoes in spite of the gnarly weather. The howling wind, and sluicing rain affect him not at all.
The hat hides his face, though he walks without head bent into the slicing, ice rain.
He is the Dark Man. The man of my nightmares. Even in plain sight, he gathers shadows around him.
He crosses the street against the lights. The world moves in slow motion. There is no blaring of horns. The traffic appears to be unaware of his presence and he crosses without incident. There is a girl, waiting at the crossing for the green man. As he passes he gives the appearance of waving slightly. She looks up from the driving rain and he shoots her in the face. There is no loud retort. The gun is silenced. The man in the homburg and heavy greatcoat continues on his way in no hurry. The girl has fallen to the ground and a torrent of blood runs into the gutter. The street is awash with people, all walking heads bent. No one hears the slight crinkly pop. No one sees the man in the homburg and the greatcoat except me.
I am standing in the doorway of a closed cafe waiting to bump into a stranger and skim their credit cards. The man in the homburg and the heavy greatcoat and patent leather shoes is not my business. I am afraid of him. She is dead. Completely. There is no point in my sprinting across the road to render assistance. The Dark Man has gone before the girl screams. She is with her young man. He holds an umbrella over her, bowing to an old age of chivalry. I imagine his face turning white. He is dressed well, in a Burberry coat, she, in a long, but lightweight black Ann Demeulemeester hooded raincoat. She screams and screams and screams. I wish I were on their side of the street. I smell money on them even at this distance and fumble with my pocket skimmer wondering whether I should take the chance. The chance is not worth it and I merge further into the doorway. The man is now raising a cell to his cheek. I would have expected ear buds. He talks frantically. He wants to wave and gesticulate, but he gallantly holds the umbrella over his love, perhaps afraid that she might wash away in the deluge never to be penetrated again by his ardour.
Then the street is awash with lights, blue and red, flashing and strobing so that I must look away lest I engage in an epileptic fit.
A businessman in a felt Dress Hat hurries on my side of the street. I step out and bump into his chest, holding my small skimmer like a cellphone against his inside breast pocket. I assume he is right handed. “Did you see that?” His voice is excited and afraid. “Yes.” I say, smoothing him down, calming him. Checking his pockets. “There is nothing to be done. Be calm. You might yet have a heart attack. Be calm.”
The businessman smiles briefly, a smile as watery as the weather. “Yes. Yes. Of course. Thank you.” We speak only briefly, but he quiets sufficiently to thank me again and then shuffles off, perhaps to his office to ponder the incident. Perhaps to his wife to engage her in the detail and huddle together naked in fear of a world gone insane.

2.
Beauchamp is waiting at home. She corrects people when they say Bow Champ. “Beecham” She says. She is readying for work. She has just spent money on a curved duty belt, designed for the female anatomy. It does not dig into the hips. She checks her sidearm and her ASP. They need to be quickly accessible. Then she checks her cuffs. We share an apartment but not a bed. Sometimes I think of raping her, but the way she looks at me it would not be rape. It would not excite. We remain chaste. I do not bring women home. Beauchamp suspects that I am gay and I do not disavow. She absently checks her glock for the second time. I have learned that it can load both 9mm and .40 calibre. She wears a light cotton blouse with a pocket over each breast. She asks me to fasten the flap over each pocket. The little black buttons are small and I spend a little value time fumbling each one. Her nipples are like teats, long and rubbery. My fingernails scratch each one lightly while I tend to her dress. Each small intake of breath generates a lightning rod directly to her cunt. Her eyes take on an almost imperceptible squint. She thinks I don’t see, or perhaps care. But I see everything. After all, was it not I alone who observed that casual murder by the man with the homburg and greatcoat? Who shot the girl in the face. A sliver of fear suggests this may be true.
“Fix me?” Beauchamp sits backwards on a simple kitchen chair. Her legs splayed. Her arms along the topmost spindle. Her chin on her arms. She lives two lives. That of the soft, tactile, scented maiden. That of the tight, wound up, disciplined, strict administrator of the law no matter her personal opinions. I am the vice. Ah! You think I mean vice! “Come on! Fix me! I’m going to be late again!” The fixing begins. Taking heavy full-bodied red hair, separating out hanks. Slowly. The feel of hair is silk on silk. A synapse ignites a wish to feel it on exposed, but yet hidden skin.
The hanks are plaited over-tight. Extreme. Beauchamp squints, but she wants it to be like this. When finished she will coil it against her skull. Hands now upon her shoulders. She is tight. Coiled up. Then gone. Behatted and wearing dark glasses.

3
The computer is shared. Beauchamp locks up a few folders but her porn history is effortless to access. TOR takes precedence. USB connects the skimmer and for a while at least, there is cash in the wallet. Beauchamp’s porn is of the romantic preference. Simple and naïve. Women may instigate. She is however, a cheat. A thief. She has downloaded copyright material. Copyright exists in the work. Porn too. When/if I decide to rape her, the camera will record and upload.
Beauchamp is good at what she does. She takes her training seriously. Each weekend we go together to the range to use handguns. She has a broad knowledge of such things. She can make her own ammunition. There are two assault rifles in a combination safe under her bedroom carpet. Lumicyano and a camera opens the safe. Her fingerprints are easily read. There are sex toys too, but of the simple, non-extreme kind. One of them entices me. A latex vibrating butterfly with a wireless remote control. Intriguing.
There should be something about the murder on the television. Channel surfing finally finds an item on Fox. The place, the time is right. Only one man comes forward for the camera. It is the man I skimmed. “The SUV came around that corner.” Pointing. “Had these big wing mirrors. Like the ones you use if you’re hauling a caravan. “Slammed her right in the face! Man! It was horrible.” He pauses as if deciding if he should continue. He does. “I was so busy watching that I bumped into someone . I said did you see that, and they said yes.” His description was naturally way off. My hair is red, not blonde. My long hair was under my woollen hat. It was blue, not black. My hat that is. I am confused because not only can he not give an account as to my looks there is no hatted man. I am not surprised with his description of my person. I however, saw no SUV at all. I saw what I saw. I saw a man in a homburg and greatcoat. His gun was a 9mm Beretta 92FS. There is little recoil. Even at distance handguns are familiar. Beauchamp is a remarkable teacher and a remarkable shot.
When Beauchamp works nights, I watch a little TV, often falling asleep in my chair. The channels are repeating the same old garbage. Rambo 111, Lethal Weapon, Back to the Future 2. Stallone, Willis, Mel Gibson, and Michael J Fox. They have become bores.
I settle on Lethal Weapon. It is better than the others and the shopping channels. The news channels make no mention of the man in the hat. Perhaps I was mistaken in the drowning rain. Even though it was daylight, the sky was crowded with low black clouds. A dark day, a dark man, and I in a dark mood. Of course. The evil thoughts about Beauchamp disperse. Overproof rum aids the disconnect. She is a sweet girl who still believes in the innate goodness of humanity. When the sun shines we walk together in the parks and the city. She is without parents, but has a sister in Boston. Her sister is married to an accounts manager in advertising. They have two children and a dog called spot. They are without imagination. The dog is a Dalmatian. The children, named Britney and John. I presume Spears and Lennon as their inspiration.
Soon sleep intervenes and the rattling, pounding gunshots through the big sound system fade into nothing at all. Dreams offer surcease from dark thoughts.
4

It is convenient that Beauchamp works the night shift. She cleans the gutters. Establishes rapport with the club crowd. Removes the detritus. “Laws are made,” she says, “for decent folk.” A balance in credit, or a large loan from a credited bank supports a request for identification. Resisted at first by a certain crowd. Batons and shields prevail and there IS acceptance in the main. The few who continue to protest are shot. Then there are no protesters. The rest? They hide in dark places and steal or starve. There are no soup kitchens to feed the homeless. Bringing them out into the open to thieve does the trick. The night is dangerous. The television channels favour action movies at night. They cover the sound of shots, body vans. Wailing sirens and human vocal chords. Vagrant babies have their necks quickly snapped. They rarely cry.
It is early days still. They say that as time passes the night will be reclaimed for consumption.
Cards now are issued only by The Bank. A delightful bonus for we who extract our livelihoods from unprotected chips. Entire lives embedded into a piece of plastic. Medical records, tax file numbers. The beauty of having all one’s eggs in one basket. An undisclosed STD can be of great financial value. It is a perilous craft. The most heinous of crimes partnered only by rape, murder, and homelessness.
At 6am Beauchamp will return, her skin a little more white than is healthy, perhaps with a few spatters of blood, though her training teaches how to avoid blood spatter. There are always accidents and mishaps.
There is an opportunity for complete silence. The apartment is according to federal regulations and is soundproof. The bed is memory foam. Have you ever
been in relaxed repose and listened into total silence? There are voices far, far away. They chitter and shout. Muddled and indistinct they are warning you. Of something.
5.
The President has executed his Senior Advisor. The post is not coveted. She was ‘not pretty enough’, he said to a cowed reporter. He smiled at her. She was from Fox. I have woken to a Breaking News banner and it is 5.30am. Perhaps the sun will shine. The reporter is wondering if not being pretty enough is reason to earn death. The President is Emperor. Only her face asks the question. Probably hopes the President fails to notice. But he is unaware, as he is unaware of all but his power. His lack of awareness extends to his evil.

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EATS AND TREATS: CATERING FOR COUCH POTATOES

January 15, 2017 Leave a comment

cover-imageNow available on amazon at this link: https://www.amazon.com/eats-treats-catering-couch-potatoes-ebook/dp/B01MZ2X8KN/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1484451446&sr=1-1&keywords=eats+and+treats

This was a bit of a cathartic book to write. I found myself broke and heartbroken at the age of 42 with no future and nothing more than a bare piece of land. My world had fallen apart. My beautiful wife was dying. My family fallen to pieces, and a great hole had opened in my heart.

I don’t believe in God. I believe strangely enough in angels. And I have had one on my shoulder forever. With nothing more than a 20 year old Suzuki 4wd I went up to the mountain where I had a large, barren piece of land. Soon the angel on my shoulder showed herself once more. A young man arrived out of the blue, and together we embarked on an adventure I will never forget! Come with me Dear Companion, and share the ups and downs of a very VERY strange story. I hope you enjoy it. Besides, I’m getting old now and the money will come in handy!

If you want a paperback version it will be on sale in March. But in the meantime, it’s in the kindle store. I’m not good at promoting my own work. When I write it is because I need to… have to. Have a look inside. My friend Don Castillo did some illustrations for me. Thanks to everyone who has bought my other books. The Girl From Kosovo is still available on Amazon and from Booklocker, but Eats and Treats is a far cry from that long novel. Take care everyone. I’m currently finishing a new novel.

PAY WHAT YOU WANT

August 10, 2013 1 comment

The girl from Kosovo imageI’ve recently been inundated with email from websites asking me to join their pay what you want networks. I am somewhat skeptical about this method of selling. Of course there are some things that fit this concept perfectly, but real products, books, perfumes etc may not. So I am prepared to conduct an experiment.

I have 25 copies of my latest novel in my stock which were initially for promotional purposes.  For research purposes I would like to know the value of a book to you, the reader. THE GIRL FROM KOSOVO has sold a few over 700 units at the retail price of $24.95. Over 400 pages, and 130k words, it is a substantial book and my publisher claims that the price is as low as they want to go.

So what do you think? I’m prepared to sell you the soft cover book (not including postage of course) at a price YOU would prefer to pay. What is the value of a book? If you scroll down and read my posts you will find  details of this novel. Let me know what you would pay. I will honor ALL offers on 25 copies. Just post your comment and I will be in touch with you and send your copy internationally at the standard cost of Australia post with no tweaking of postage rates. This experiment will allow me to price my new books at a reasonable price, and hopefully the price YOU want to pay.

READING WRITING AND PUBLISHING

July 17, 2013 2 comments

By the time you finish reading this article over 1000 new book titles will have been published. Six months into 2013 the number of new titles published is 1,305193. By the time you have finished this sentence another seven titles will have been added to that number.

Simplistically, by this time in six months, almost three million new titles will have been published. Globally, more than 796 million people in the world cannot read. Forgive the statistics, but there is more. At the time of writing, there are over 140 million books available to read ,

An astonishing 42% of college graduates, after graduating, never read another book for pleasure, and over 80% of American families did not buy or read a book last year. The United Kingdom fares little better. More than 4 million people in UK have never read a book. In the past six months more than 12 million people in UK had picked up a book to read for enjoyment less than twice.

I was never good with numbers, can just about do long division and work out how much cash I have left for food and entertainment after paying necessary bills.

 write

But something about these figures is scary. Of the world’s 7 billion+ population probably half of them either cannot read, or never read a book for pleasure. That leaves about 3 billion who do read, and probably half of them don’t read books regularly or often. If estimated figures are to be believed, there are more Google, Twitter, and Facebook users by far, than book readers.

Is it that books are just too hard? Or take up too much precious social networking time? Someone better than I will have to address those questions.

On the one hand more books are being published every year than in the whole of history. My google stream is full of people writing books, joining writing communities, talking about books. It seems too that in spite of the previously quoted figures, the book business is very healthy. The book business is healthy because those few of us,; an actual MINORITY who do read, buy the majority of books sold. writimg

Since I began this article the number of new titles published this year has just reached 1,305,453 and the chances of most of those titles ever being read is tiny. That number is only the number of books actually published. If my social networking is to be believed, there are many many more people writing books that will never see the light of day. Of all those writers, (and given the figures quoted) I wonder how many of those people writing books, and talking about their books actually buy a book, or pick up a book and read it. I would hazard a guess that easily half of those wannabe novelists don’t actually READ or buy books themselves.

It seems to me that if you don’t read books, or don’t read books regularly and often, then writing a book and hoping to have others buy it and read it, is a pointless and pretentious exercise. books and reading   

How many books have YOU bought this year?

PUBLISHERS AND PERCEPTIONS

July 12, 2013 1 comment
AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

Do you bet? How much money would you put down on a 5000-1 chance of hitting paydirt? $1000? $5000? $50,000?

You’ve written a book and it took you perhaps a year to get the story down. You’ve done your best to edit it, (but you are a writer not an editor). Now you feel ready to submit it to publishers or publisher’s agents.

We’ll put aside the knock-backs. Rejection is going to be a part of your life from now on.

Then, one day you get THAT letter, that yahoo moment. You are going to get published, and what’s more, there is money mentioned. Three, four, even five 0’s. A publisher loved your book, and soon it will be on the bookshelves, featured in the New York Times, and the trade journals. You’ve got editors, maybe even a whole team of them just for you.

The advance is huge. Let’s imagine say, $50,000 and you are floating on air. They want you to do a promotional tour, staying at nice hotels, and having dinner with people you need to be seen hanging out with. You made it. You are an author, and every time you pass a bookstore you duck inside to touch and feel your book sitting alongside Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

You buy a nice car, put a deposit on a house, splash out on a few bottles of bubbly to share with your new friends. You are going to be rich. And famous!

With all the hustle and bustle and hype, you’ve sold 100,000 copies, but now your publisher is pushing you for the follow up book. He needs it fast to capitalise on your first monster success. Behind the scenes there is a veritable army of souls working their tails off just for you.

You spent a year on the first book, but the pressure is on. They want your next book in three months and you haven’t even sat down at the word processor yet. Too busy shaking hands and signing books, and waking up in strange hotels.

And then come the first tiny ‘suggestions’. The suggestions become pleas, the pleas become exhortations, and finally the exhortations become threats.

“But” you say, “ I’ve sold 100k copies. Sure, sales are falling off a bit, but I don’t have time to write!”

Fact is, a publisher took a gamble. Their ‘investment’ in you probably adds up to over $100k+ and sales haven’t paid all those wages. It’s on you now.

Your agent introduces you to a marketing guy, who introduces you to one or more ‘writers on demand’.

“Let’s be honest.” They say, through their shiny marketing smiles. You don’t really believe James Patterson has written 140 novels single-handed do you? It’s teamwork. Lots of the biggest name authors in the world don’t actually sit down and write every word! Don’t be so naïve! Think VC Andrews (she died long ago and still manages to put books out on the shelves). That’s not to mention Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler (whoops I just did!)

And that is the business of writing bulk best-sellers. Publishers call it co-operation or ‘contribution’. It’s a money business and the riches come to those who ‘co-operate’. You might just as well fit an earpiece to your head and phone it in like Patterson does, (or is that Clancy? I get mixed up these days. If I said I had just read the latest Grant Blackwood book, you might say ‘who?’ Oh I’m so sorry, I meant Tom Clancy, (or was that Clive Cussler?)

It’s no different with bloggers either. It’s a ‘write on demand’ world.

Just for information though, I write all my own blogs. I write all my own novels. But then, I’m not a corporate writer churning out books to fill up the airport bookshelves. I’m just a little novelist with a few books out. I really did write my latest novel myself. The Girl From Kosovo was never a shared (co-operative) job, and neither is the Butterfly Effect, due out as soon as I can get up to date with all the blogs I write for other people.

No one would ever buy the stuff I ghostwrite if I put MY name on it. For one, I’m a bloke who writes erotic fiction and romance for the chick lit crowd. (Doesn’t mean to say you haven’t read any.)

Celebrity books, and blogs promoting a person or a brand are perfectly acceptable in the busy lives of people in the public eye; that’s how we writers on demand make our daily bread. But if you are a writer struggling with your first (or second, or even third) novel, don’t worry, or feel inferior, or wonder why publishers keep rejecting you. Just look at the bestseller stacks in your local bookshop with new eyes. And NEVER feel bad that you may never have a bestseller.

Better to pay for the services of good editors, spend a few thousand if you have faith, or you are a bit of a gambler and go for a fair deal for services. (Beware the charlatans. It should NEVER cost you as much as you think it will. ) Subscribe to worthy digital publications like writersweekly, and learn the ropes of how to publish and make money doing it.

I could make a list of all the ‘service providers’ to avoid, because I know pretty much all of them by reputation. Best if I just say that there is one I know, from experience and reputation, that won’t rob you blind. If you self-publish, you’re not going to get that big advance, but neither are you going to have to pay it back. I’d rather spend a couple of thousand betting on myself. An individual, hard -working writer won’t make millions, not unless he or she gets VERY lucky and lands a movie deal or gets picked out of the pack by a publisher who can turn them into a corporation. Don’t get sucked in by publishers or perceptions.

AND if you do decide to go the self-publishing way, try Booklocker.

Authors note: Other than authors specifically mentioned no other authors mentioned here are, to the best of my knowledge, using ‘contributing’ authors. Mr King, and Mr Koontz are personal heroes. The author has NO AFFILIATION with, or agreements with Booklocker. This article was not commissioned by them, nor suggested by them.

OP SHOPS AND THRIFT SHOPS. MONOPOLIES OWNED BY CHARITIES

April 13, 2013 3 comments

I’ve had it… Up to there and then some! And I’m going to name names. Since when were charity op shops, (now renamed Thrift shops) suddenly extravagant outlets for ‘Collectors Items” and “Retro Clothing’” Collectors Items no one wants and retro clothing no one wants to wear to boot!.

Poor people have even stopped going to them, they can’t buy a decent pair of old boots, or a warm coat without them being price at double the price you’d pay at Target or Big W.

 LIFELINE

Yesterday, Lifeline, that huge warehouse style building in my home town, busy with middle class shoppers browsing the (mostly) overpriced goodies. Having just come from a quick squizz around Target and bought a couple of plain white T-shirts for $3 each I thought I might look for a couple more just for lounging around in. And there they were, the exact same t-shirts, all nicely wrapped at “Three for $10”. When I asked about buying just one, the forty something lady with the $100 hairdo and fancy stick on fingernails said ‘ They’re three for $10. If you only want one they’re $5 each.”

And what was this in the furniture department? Lots and lots of not very nice 50’s furniture, made of ply and veneer that needed a complete makeover. Much of it labeled ‘retro 50’s’ and priced at $160 for a bedside table and $250 for a Vietnamese replica bookcase made to look like a Victorian job that I could buy brand new at the Vast Interior for $199.

Oh, Ok, the books, I thought. I read a lot. Masses, What a surprise to find grotty old hardbacks sans dustjackets, with silverfish munching their way through them for the “collectors’ price of $95! When I mentioned at the desk that their books were astronomically priced, the lady said, ‘there are lots of collectors books up there you know. The lady who prices them checks them on the internet before she prices them.” Yeah!

“So how about the soft covers then?” I asked, $8 for a book priced at $12 brand new is a bit rich isn’t it? Especially when it was obviously donated by a book exchange who no longer had any use for it, as it said inside that it had come from the BelleVue Book Exchange, and was priced at $4 crossed out and replaced with a penciled in $8. Underneath the book exchange stamp that said “No Return No Exchange”

 VINNIES

Of to St Vinnies. That most famous of all Op Shops run by the St Vincent de Paul Society. Four ladies were ‘sorting’ a large donation that had obviously come in during the last two days or so.

“Oh my Peter would love that! “ Said one, putting aside a rather nice looking Xbox. The others agreed, pulling out their own ‘perks’ and putting price labels on hand knitted bobble hats and baby’s bibs. A lovely old bakelite lamp with a tall flute caught my eye. Asking the price, I was told. “Oh that’s already sold dear..”

Why bother to argue.

Down the road to the huge Endeavor Foundation shop. Hugely busy and at last, a shop where the variety was massive, the prices fair and there were actually poor people shopping for their little bits and pieces. My heart warmed.

 ENDEAVOUR

A pretty Dutch, or German girl was smiling at the counter, chatting with all and sundry as she served them.

Garda, my partner filled up bags of cast off wool and sewing bits she uses to cross stitch, and wandered up to the counter laden with some nice paperbacks I could never afford to keep up with, all at the very reasonable price of $2 each.

I asked the young lady if she came across any old newspapers, from the 20’s 30’s 40’s or 50’s, any old magazines or illustrated books. I don’t care about the condition, I scan and preserve them digitally. Unlike the Lifeline, and St Vincent’s stores where I was treated like some kind of idiot, this lovely girl not only offered to keep the for me and give me a call, but said she had a friend who had lots and she would photograph them for me. Ah the spirit of charity at last. Well done Endeavor Foundation, and Yah Boo Suck to the OP/THRIFT shops that no longer provide for the poor to buy their cheap bits and pieces and clothing.

There was one other organization that came out in a good light too. The good old SALVOS. Beautifully laid out shop with the same old style volunteer staff, and prices that even we poor people can afford. But sad to say that even the Salvos are jumping on the ’boutique’ ‘retro’ ‘vintage’ bandwagon.

 salvos

Not in my town, but in the cities, and it is in the cities where the real poor live. What little money the poor have to spend, let them spend it on cheap, donated goods, given with open hearts and open hands by the community. Otherwise, the community will soon stop giving to these organizations. It’s cheaper to buy at garage sales.

Sure, they may do a great job (they say) distributing food and cash to the poor, but how about those poor who just want to fend for themselves without feeling they have to beg on their knees for a handout.?

Named.. and I hope SHAMED!