CARNIES now available as an ebook on Smashwords!

April 15th, 2014

Well, it’scarnies_mq been a long while since I’ve posted here, but when there’s news, there’s BIG news.  Yes, eight years after its first publication, Carnies is now available as an ebook on SmashwordsCohesion Press have put together a brand new edition of the book, complete with some new scenes and a tweaked ending, and it’s now available for purchase!  Only US$4.99, what a bargain!

And it gets better!  There’ll be a brand new print edition available within the next month or so as well, also from Cohesion Press!

For full details, please visit the Cohesion Press page for Carnies here:

http://cohesionpress.com/books/carnies-by-martin-livings/

 

National Short Story Week… so here are some free stories!

November 12th, 2013

It’s National Short Story week this week, at least in the UK, so to celebrate this I’m going to link to some of my free short fiction available on the net:

Of course, if you really want to support short fiction, you could purchase a copy of my collection from Dark Prints Press, Living With the Dead, available from all good bookshops and online.

Cohesion Press to reprint Carnies

November 8th, 2013

Yes, it’sCarniesCover official, documents signed and everything!  Cohesion Press have snapped up my 2006 novel Carnies to reprint, both as an eBook and in print.  I’m hoping Carnies can have a bit of a life after, uh, first life; there must be a bunch of people who missed it the first time around, so being available as an eBook will certainly help with that, and a spanking new print edition really is the icing on the cake!  The book is also still under option to be made into a movie, of course, so who knows what might happen?  Straight to the top of the New York Times bestseller list?  An Academy Award for Best Motion Picture?  A Nobel prize for me?  Dare to dream big!

Anyway, further news is available here, and I’ll update more when it’s coming out.

A free story for Halloween – “The War On…”

October 31st, 2013

Happy Halloween, all!  Yes, it’s not really celebrated here in Australia, but nonetheless, I thought I should commemorate the occasion by posting a never-published short story.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

“The War On…”

(c) Martin Livings 2013

 

bloodygateWe lay in our narrow bunk beds, thin green blankets bundled up at our feet, sweating in the humid Cuban heat; thirty men to a dormitory, sorted and categorised, assigned to one another’s company according to our status in the grand scheme of things.  The room is pitch black, the windows covered by steel shutters, turning the dorm into a sauna from hell, stinking of hot sweat and hot breath.  And fear, of course, cold fear.  That’s our raison d’etre, our stock in trade.  It’s what we do.  It’s what we are.

How could it happen?  It’s a question that we’ve asked many times during our incarceration here in Gitmo, both of ourselves and each other.  How could it happen?  One tiny step following another, lines crossed, no looking back, a malicious whisper in the ear of the most powerful man in the world, and the next thing we know we’re rounded up, labelled troublemakers, scaremongers.  To which our response was, of course, damn straight we are.  You don’t use a spoon to cut a steak.  You use a knife, a big old scary knife.  The tool has to suit the job.  Form follows function.  You don’t like it, go fuck yourselves.

That didn’t go down at all well, of course, and we ended up here.  A chain gang of horror writers.

The first few weeks were okay, almost like a holiday, a fantasy themed vacation where deprivation and abuse are included in the rack rate.  But they’ve taken away the things that make us what we are, our typewriters and notepads, our pens and pencils.  And, as much as we whined and complained about it in the real world, we live for the act of creating, of setting our imaginations free on paper.  It’s not just an addiction, which is how the government is comfortable in labelling it, putting us through cold turkey withdrawal to get us clean and clear.  No, it’s an utter necessity, more like defecation, shitting out the toxins and wastes inside us, smearing it onto the pages of our books, finger-painting with our own filth.  It’s what we do.  It’s what we are.

After a month or so, my fellow inmates began to fall apart.

Steve was the first, which is only fair, as he’s the king.  One night he didn’t go to sleep, and he hasn’t slept since, screaming about devil cars and dark towers.  They sedate him, which quietens him down, but he still doesn’t sleep anymore.  His eyes are red and shining, filled with the blood of his visions; sometimes, even through the drugs, he’ll have long garbled conversations with people who aren’t there, priests and vampires, gunslingers and dead men.  I love to listen to that; I find it soothing, like the murmur of the ocean.

We generally find Shaun in the tiny garden behind the dormitory, digging at the dirt with his hands, since we’re banned from using any tools.  He’s looking for snails, you see.  I’ve seen what he does to them, cracking them like they’re dark brown hard-boiled eggs, peeling away the shell until they’re naked to the world, grey balls of muscle and slime, then stretching them out, trying to flatten them, making them into the creatures he sees slithering in his head.  If anyone tries to interfere, he eats them.  The snails, that is.  So far, at least.

The one I’m most worried about, to be honest, is Clive, god bless his Liverpudlian heart.  A few weeks back, he chewed through his own wrists and began to work on a whole new book of blood on the dorm walls, tracing spirals within spirals, words and letters jumbled up and back to front like a dyslexic Da Vinci.  They keep him in a straitjacket pretty much all the time now.  He still tries, though, biting his tongue and spitting on the floor, divining terrible meaning in the random Rorschach splatters he creates.

That’s all we want, you know.  To create, to express ourselves.  It’s what we do.

Me, on the other hand, I’ve been a model prisoner.  No screaming, no fits, no bloody outbursts of imagination.  I eat my meals, I do my chores, I exercise regularly, and I sleep like a baby.  The guards use me as an example, proof of their theory of addiction.  They believe I’m on the path to good mental health.  I smile, I nod, I agree.  I let the weeks and months slip past.  And, whenever I can, I work on my own creation, silent, unseen.

As I lay here on All Hallows Eve, my sweaty head on my inch-thick foam pillow, I can feel the bulge of the machete secreted beneath that I’ve so lovingly built, in the seconds and minutes of every day when I’m alone, unobserved.  A moment to add the handle here, an instant of sharpening there… my patience is matched only by my determination.  This work has been long in the making, but soon it will be complete.

A key rattles in the lock of the door; time for the midnight head count before shift change, same as every night.  Almost the same, anyway.

I have this great idea for a story.  It’s about a prisoner who lulls his guards into a false sense of security, only to slaughter them all one hot Cuban Halloween night.  I’m not sure exactly how it will end, but isn’t that part of the joy of creativity?  The surprises?

I reach under my pillow as the door creaks open.  I hope the guards like surprises too.

I have to express myself.  I have to create.  It’s what I do.  It’s what I am.


 

Coins of Chaos unleashed!

October 2nd, 2013

Yay, another collection with a story by me in it has been released! Can’t wait to read this one, edited by Jennifer Brozek and published by EDGE Science Fiction, the collection is all about hobo nickels (click if you don’t know what they are!). My story, “In His Name”, is set in New York during the Great Depression, where desperation causes people to turn to ever more desperate measures.

Go get yourself a copy from any of these websites!

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Coins-Chaos-Jennifer-Brozek/dp/1770530487

EDGE SFF Publishing:
http://www.edgewebsite.com/books/coinsofchaos/coc-catalog.html

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coins-of-chaos-jennifer-brozek/1115916098

THIS IS HOW YOU DIE is now available for pre-order, and has the best book trailer ever!

July 9th, 2013

In only a week or so, the truly excellent collection This is How You Die will be released.

What is This is How You Die?  This is the blurb:

THIS IS HOW YOU DIE is a new short fiction anthology, filled with stories and comics about a world in which a machine can predict how you die.

It just takes a drop of blood from a finger. Then it spits out a sliver of paper upon which are printed, in careful block letters, the words “DROWNED” or “CANCER” or “OLD AGE” or “CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN.”

Nothing else. No dates, no details. And it’s always — always — correct.

I have a story in the collection, “La Mort D’un Roturier”, which I’m quite ridiculously proud of.  The collection had over two thousand submissions, of which only thirty-one were selected, and mine was one, so I must have done something right!  But anyway, it’s already getting some glowing reviews; Kirkus says “Funny, frightening, clever; no one in these stories emerges unscathed”, Publishers Weekly say “This fun, thoughtful, and sometimes dark anthology will stir readers to wonder about their own ‘results’”, and PW also listed the book as one of their Best Summer Books of 2013, describing it as “a… hilarious, tragic, splendid anthology of stories and comics”.  I can’t wait to see it in its entirety!

Anyway, onto the important stuff.  The book is now available for pre-order from a variety of sources, and I implore you all to head out and do so.  We’re aiming to get onto the New York Times bestseller list with this one, so every purchase counts!  The website for the book has all the pre-order information on it, and is here:

http://www.thisishowyoudie.com

Now, as a sweetener, on this page there is a brilliant book trailer for the book.  Please watch it, it’s a five minute short movie that demonstrates exactly what the concept of the collection is, and it’s damn funny to boot.  I think everyone will get a real kick out of it! The video is also embedded below.

And please buy the book!

Two new reviews

June 14th, 2013

There have been two new reviews of my work published online in the last few days.  Firstly, Andrew J. McKiernan reviewed Living With the Dead over at Thirteen O’Clock, in very complimentary terms.  To quote:

It shows Martin Livings to be an author who enjoys tugging on his readers’ heartstrings just as much as he enjoys severing them. Twenty years is a long time to have been publishing short stories but, on the strength of Living With the Dead, I’m hoping that in twenty years I’ll be waxing lyrical about Martin Livings’ second retrospective collection.

The full review is here:

http://www.thirteenoclock.com.au/living-with-the-dead-by-martin-livings-review/

Secondly, Adam Millard at This is Horror comprehensively reviewed the most recent issue of Midnight Echo Magazine, Issue 9, and said very nice things about my story in the issue, “Black Peter”:

First up it’s ‘Black Peter’ by Martin Livings; an extremely powerful story with issues of race, and hatred thereof, very much at its heart. Beautifully written, with a strong and clear message, this is a great start to the issue.

Again, full review (covering every story in the issue!) is here:

http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/read-horror/book-reviews/midnight-echo-issue-9-edited-geoff-brown/

Thanks to both This is Horror and Thirteen O’Clock for such lovely reviews!

Lots of ebook news!

June 12th, 2013

I thought I’d do a quick post with all of this information, since not one, not two, but THREE books that I’m in have recently been released as ebooks. It’s drought or flood in the writing world, I tells ya.

Firstly, and most importantly, my collection Living With the Dead has now been released in ebook format.  Both epub and mobi versions are available directly from the publisher, Dark Prints Press, for the very low price of AU$5.  That’s five bucks for twenty years of work and twenty three stories.  I think that’s quite reasonable, don’t you?  It can be purchased in ebook and hard copy here:

http://darkprintspress.com.au/books_living.html

Secondly, Ticonderoga PublicationsDead Red Heart, a massive collection of Australian vampire stories, is now also available in ebook format from Smashwords.  US$5.99 isn’t much to ask for a collection of 33 amazing stories, including both my solo story “The Rider” and the much-acclaimed collaborative tale I oversaw, “The Tide”. Buy it now if you haven’t already!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/324818

Lastly, but by no means leastly (??), the Canberra Science Fiction Guild‘s collection Next is also now available as an ebook! Including my story “Cause and Effect”, as well as many many others! Only US$4.99!

http://csfg.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/next-is-now-an-e-book/

I think that’s about it, unless I’ve missed any!  Oh yes, I have!  The Australian Horror Writers Association magazine Midnight Echo has released its ninth issue, and my story “Black Peter” is there.  It’s free for AHWA members, and AU$2.99 for a digital copy (all formats included – PDF, epub and mobi) or AU$12.50 plus postage for a hard copy.

http://midnightechomagazine.com/products-page/midnight_echo/midnight-echo-issue-9-duplicate/

And Antipodean SF have just released their 180th issue (yes, you read that correctly!), which contains a silly collaborative story by myself and Jason Fischer, “Art, Ink”.  It’s available as an epub here:

http://antisf.com/e-reader/file/15-antipoeansf-issue-180

Right, I think that’s it.  Carry on!

“Birthday Suit” wins Australian Shadow Award for Short Fiction!

April 12th, 2013

Breaking amazing news, this evening the Australian Horror Writers Association announced the winners of its annual Australian Shadows Awards, and to my absolute surprise and delight, my story “Birthday Suit” from Living With the Dead has won the award for Short Fiction!  Considering I was up against Felicity Dowker, Jason Fischer, Andrew J. McKiernan, Marty Young, and TWO stories by powerhouse (and foreword writer for my collection) Kaaron Warren, I didn’t think I stood a chance, so I’m utterly flabbergasted and humbled by the results.  I’ve been writing professionally for over twenty years now, and this is the first national award I’ve won in that time.  So at this rate, I’ll most likely win my next in around 2033!

All the results are available here:

http://www.australianhorror.com/index.php?view=334

Birthday Suit” is a very special story for me, and is dedicated to my writing inspiration and friend, Paul Haines.  We all miss you heaps.

I should also point out that this now-award-winning story is still available to download for free here:

http://www.darkprintspress.com.au/books_living.html

The book is also for sale here, so if you haven’t bought it yet, now is the perfect time!  I should also mention that Craig Bezant, commander-in-chief of the Dark Prints Brigade, also won a Shadow tonight for editing the truly excellent anthology Surviving the End, which features a story by me as well, so in a way, I can bask in the reflected glory of that win as well.  Craig and I will be clinking skull trophies when we get out hands on them, I’m sure!

And now two Australian Shadows Award nominations as well!

March 23rd, 2013

The good news keeps on coming… after “Birthday Suit” was nominated for a Tin Duck, then Living With the Dead was nominated for an Aurealis Award, now comes the news that both “Birthday Suit” and Living With the Dead have been nominated for Australian Shadows awards, “Birthday Suit” for Short Fiction and Living With the Dead for Collection.  That’s amazing news; I’ve been nominated for the Shadows in the past a couple of times over the last twenty years, but never twice in one year, so I’m really happy that the hard work Dark Prints Press and I have put into Living With the Dead has been recognised.  I’m so proud and humbled yet again to have been nominated with such an esteemed list of amazing writers, and can’t wait to hear the results; win or not-win, it’s all good with this crowd in the running!

The complete list of nominees is available HERE:

http://australianhorror.com/index.php?view=325

And remember, you can read “Birthday Suit” for free and purchase Living With the Dead HERE:

http://www.darkprintspress.com.au/books_living.html

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