“A Red Mist” – how it (barely) came to be…

September 21st, 2015

I foolishly open up about the process of writing “A Red Mist” for Ticonderoga Publications’s BLOODLINES here, and reveal the horrible mess that is my writing process in the, er, process…


FAT ZOMBIE now available!

January 29th, 2015

fatzombieThe anthology Fat Zombie by Permuted Press has now been released in ebook format, and is available from Amazon.  Le blurb:

With the theme of unlikely survivors of the apocalypse, the stories in Fat Zombie will enthrall you and have you rooting for the little guy.

Featuring tales of the elderly, the disabled, the developmentally challenged as well as losers, geeks, and social outcasts, all trying to survive in a world where the rules have changed.

With an introduction by Bram Stoker Award winner and bestselling zombie author, Joe McKinney, Fat Zombie includes stories by award winning authors of the weird and the horrific such as Martin Livings and Dan Rabarts. This is a unique collection that steps away from the usual conventions and tropes of apocalypse fiction.

I’m very fond of my story in this book, “El Caballo Muerte”, so I hope you enjoy it too!  The link to purchase is here:


New review of Carnies!

November 12th, 2014

There’s been another nice review of Carnies, this time at Horror Addicts.  It’s always great to see people enjoying the book!


Free flash story for Halloween – “Party Games”

October 31st, 2014

To celebrate Halloween and Free Fiction Friday, here’s a flash story!  Enjoy!


“Party Games”

Martin Livings 2014


“These are the dead man’s eyes,” Alvan tells the blindfolded children. They’re passed from tiny hand to tiny hand, each child flinching at the round, sticky objects.

One boy doesn’t flinch, though. “Aw, they’re just peeled grapes,” he whines loudly.

Alvan ignores him, gets the next object. “And these are his brains.”

The children shudder as they take it in their hands, making disgusted noises.

“It’s just a wet sponge,” says the boy. “Lame!”

“And these are his intestines.”

They stretch all the way across the children, slick and slimy.

“Sausages,” the boy yawns, hands sliding across them. “Big deal!”

Alvan leans forward, whispers in the boy’s ear.

“Take off your blindfold.”

The boy does, and looks at what’s in his hands. The ropy tube is laid out across all the little laps, pink and lumpy and covered with blood. It leads to a gaping wound in the stomach of a little girl, slumped back in her chair, party dress soaked red. Next to her, a little boy sits limp, eye sockets hollowed out, leaving a complicated mess behind, and another boy has the top of his head sliced clean off and placed on the table in front of him like an ashtray.

“Your turn, lad,” Alvan whispers, and a pungent-smelling cloth is pressed across his face. He’s unconscious before Alvan opens the boy’s mouth and reaches inside with one hand, shears in the other.

“And this,” he says to the remaining children, “is the dead man’s tongue…”

Carnies cheap for Halloween!

October 28th, 2014

I’m sure everyone already owns a copy of Carnies by now, but if not, the ebook is going to be discounted from $4.99 to $2.99 for Halloween.  What better way of spending this dark day than by reading about werewolves?  Don’t bother trying to think of an answer, for there is none.  None, I tell you!

The link is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JPFB0QO.

Story in Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013!

October 13th, 2014

I’m thrilled to announce that my story from last year’s epic collection This Is How You Die, “La Mort D’un Roturier”, has been selected to appear in Ticonderoga PublicationsYear’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013.  This is the first time I’ve appeared in one of these collections for a fantasy story instead of a horror one, so I’m even more chuffed than usual to be in such good company.  I can’t wait for it to come out… so much horrory fantasy-y goodness!


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:



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.





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