Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cohesion Press to reprint Carnies

Friday, 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.

The Next Big Thing!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Like so many others, I’ve ended up tagged in this  Next Big Thing shameless self-promotion chain email kind of thing, where you answer some questions about your next book, then tag five other hapless authors to do the same.  I was snared by Kirsty McDermott to do it, so here we go:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

My “next” book has just been published by Dark Prints Press, and its title is Living With the Dead.  It was always going to be called Living With the Dead, which is the title of one of the stories in it.  Even before anyone asked for it, it was going to be called that.  I’ve been planning this for a loooooooooong time!

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Living With the Dead came about because Craig Bezant from Dark Prints Press approached me about doing a collection of my previously published stories over the last twenty years.  It had been something I’d been thinking about for a long time before that, though, as single author collections are one of my favourite kinds of books, and I’d always dreamt of having one published.  When the time came to put it together, we collected twenty of my stories from previous publications, and I added three more stories original to the collection, and that was that!

3) What genre does your book fall under?

The stories in Living With the Dead are all horror.  Horrory horror.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Man, it’d have to be an episodic anthology series like Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes, wouldn’t it?  I really don’t picture actors in my stories, but I COULD perhaps imagine Colin Farrell in “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!”, being an Irish sh#tkicker…

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I’ll use a quote instead:

“I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he writes his first drafts in blood.”Kaaron Warren

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It has been published by Dark Prints Press (  Buy it now!

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Twenty years.  That might be a new record?

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’d say other single-author horror collections like Terry Dowling‘s Basic Black or Felicity Dowker‘s Bread and Circuses, or if I was feeling VERY generous and egotistical, the short fiction collections of Stephen King!

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Gosh, where to start?  Horror stories always come from within, and I battled mental illness in my teens and twenties (and continue to do so now, though it’s less a battle and more a cold war these days!).  That’s the bad kind of inspiration.  For good inspiration, all the writers I love to read, all the editors who bought my stories, and all the readers who told me they liked them.  My family and friends who’ve supported me throughout twenty years of this madness.  And my wonderful wife, Isabelle, who inspires me to do better every day.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, if homicidal alien clown dolls, giant monsters, Scottish ghouls, stranded astronauts and nightmarish Christmas mornings don’t lure you in, the amazing cover artwork by Vincent Chongshould hook you!

And now to tag some other poor fools to take part… I’m going with four fellow sandgropers and a single token Eastern Stateser.  So you’re up, Ashlee Scheuerman, Stephanie Gunn, Guy Salvidge, Craig Bezant and Robert Stephenson!

My interview in the 2012 Snapshot is now online

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in all of the Australian Speculative Fiction snapshots, from the very first one that Ben Peek put together. It’s probably more a testament to how long I’ve been hanging around than anything else mind you! Anyway, there’s another Snapshot happening this year, even bigger than in previous years, and again, I’m happy to be a part of it. My interview is available here:

And, if you want to see all of the Snapshots… jeez, good luck to you, they’re scattered across the interwebs for the moment, though eventually they’ll be compiled at Australian Specfic In Focus.  For now, though, they’re at the blogs of Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright.  Happy reading!

“Lollo” nominated for an Aurealis Award!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Well, that was a genuine surprise… I honestly didn’t expect to get a mention for any awards this year, least of all the Aurealis Awards!  But there I am, somehow amongst the very worthy finalists, as just announced here:

HORROR Short Story

Take the Free Tour, Bob Franklin, Under Stones, Affirm Press
Her Gallant Needs, Paul Haines, Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press
The Fear, Richard Harland, Macabre: A Journey Through Australia’s Darkest Fears, Brimstone Press
Wasting Matilda, Robert Hood, Zombie Apocalypse!, Constable & Robinson Ltd
Lollo, Martin Livings, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind, Apex Publishing

I’m utterly thrilled to be an AA finalist, it really hasn’t happened often, though I’m also genuinely stunned and confused to see who isn’t on that list. I can think of at least a couple of stories that definitely deserved to be there, no names mentioned, you know exactly who you are.  If you’re not on the Ditmar lists, I’ll be demanding to know why, trust me!

Anyway, if you’d like to read the story that’s been nominated, assuming you’re not coulrophobic, “Lollo” is available to read for free at the Apex website here:

I hope you enjoy it!  And thanks to Jennifer Brozek for inviting me to submit to this collection in the first place, it was an awesome collection and such fun to write for, and of course big congrats to all those who made it into this and all the other categories of the Aurealis Awards this year!

Ticonderoga Books on sale at Indiebooksonline

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Just a heads-up to those with some spare cash floating about (and that’s all of us, right? Right?), Ticonderoga Publications are selling their books at Indiebooksonline at a discount, so get over there and buy some!  You can also get discounted pre-orders for some of their upcoming releases, including Dead Red Heart and More Scary Kisses, both of which I have a story (or two!) in.  So get over there and buy, buy, buy!  Consume!

Two Ticonderoga Covers!

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Ticonderoga Publications have recently released images of the cover art of two of their upcoming collections, both of which I happen to be in, and both of which are rather pretty.  Firstly, Liz Grzyb’s second paranormal romance collection More Scary Kisses, which features “The Last Gig of Jimmy Rucker”, written by myself and Talie Helene, and then Russell B. Farr’s Australian vampire collection Dead Red Heart, which has my solo story “The Rider” plus a collaborative story which I oversaw the creation of with a pile of talented folks, “The Tide”.

Both look like excellent collections, and I can’t wait to see them!  I believe they’re both being launched at Swancon, which is also the National SF convention, in Perth at Easter.  I’ll be there with bells on!

Tuesday’s Ten Minute Tale – Erin-Day special – the setup!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Here we go yet again, and this time it’s devoted to Erin Battersby, who’s been through the mill lately.  So, no swearing, no gore, no naughty stuff… can I manage that?  We’ll see!

The first three people to post with a word, phrase, topic, theme, name, or whatever, dictate the direction of the story. I’ll endeavour to incorporate all three suggestions, and write it within ten minutes of receiving the third post, work allowing. Then I’ll post the result.

Tuesday’s… no, wait, Wednesday’s Ten Minute Tale – the setup!

September 22, 2010 by martinlivings · Leave a Comment (Edit)

Here we go yet again, and getting closer to the legendary Tuesday!  The first three people to post with a word, phrase, topic, theme, name, or whatever, dictate the direction of the story. I’ll endeavour to incorporate all three suggestions, and write it within ten minutes of receiving the third post, work allowing. Then I’ll post the result.

I Am Legend (Shrimp) – or, up yours, China Mieville…

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

At his Hugo Award acceptance speech at Worldcon in Melbourne recently, China Mieville stated, and I paraphrase only slightly, that Sea Monkeys are shit.

I choose to stand against such vile and hateful assertions.  To whit, I give you:

This is Brian.  Brian Shrimp.  And he is the sole survivor of my most recent – and, tragically, least successful – colony of Sea Monkeys.  All the others perished, but Brian has survived.  And not just for a day or two, but for weeks and weeks after the others have met their maker (possibly Harold von Braunhut).

My God, if there was but a surviving female as well, imagine the new breed of super Sea Monkey that would arise from the ashes of this lost civilisation.  But sadly, Brian is the last of his kind, surrounded by the corpses of his fellow brine shrimp.

If he survives long enough, I might start a new colony, raise it for a while, then introduce Brian into them.  Brian Shrimp, a God mixing with mere mortals, an Apollo amongst Artemia.  What a sight to behold.

Sea Monkeys are not shit, China.  Brian Shrimp is living proof.

Here endeth the lesson.

Great review of Grants Pass on Albedo One

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Thanks to Mark Deniz for pointing this one out… Albedo One reviews Grants Pass here:

Lots of stories get really nice mentions in this very very positive review, including mine:

“Martin Living’s “Ascension” however takes us beyond the Earth and is a great tale about astronauts stranded in the International Space Station, removed from the plagues and safe from it, but unable to return home.”

If you haven’t bought this book yet… why not???  Go get it!

Thursday’s Ten Minute Tale – the result!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Okey-dokey, here we go.  Thanks to Andrew for “malaise”, rabbit1080 for “marketing plan”, and David for “free climbing”

“Working Hell”

(c) Martin Livings 16-9-2010

Another day, another day less to live.  That’s about the only comfort I have at the moment.  I sit in my office alone, dealing with thirty thousand tiny problems every day, a never-ending stream of malaise-inducing minutiae which passes through me like a double-chili burrito, leaving me feeling empty and sore and sickened.  I don’t know why I’m here, apart from the obvious; work equals money, money equals security, security equals… what, exactly?  Nobody ever seems to follow the equation through, expand it to its logical conclusion.

We all know what the conclusion is.  Death.  So what’s the point exactly?

My phone rings.  There’s a student computer out of order in one of the upstairs labs in building ten, seems a bright spark spilled Coca Cola all over it, creating another bright spark then a whole lot of smoke.  I sigh, grab the trolley from the storeroom, and head out of my office, all open space and exposed, nothing to offer solace of shelter to the soul.  This place I spend over a third of my life, and it has all the vitality and comfort and humanity of a block of black perspex, one by four by nine.  All the creativity and artistry of a corporate marketing plan, designed by committee and implemented by faceless drones to create more faceless drones.  I hate it.

My office is on the second floor of a building with no elevator.  It was clearly built back when the university didn’t give a damn about accessibility.  You can’t handle stairs? it seems to ask.  Up yours.  Try free climbing the goddamn walls instead, retard. But there’s a walkway to the next building, which does have a lift.  I cross it, the wan spring sunshine doing nothing to remove the chill from my heart.  It’s Thursday.  Not the worst day of the week, not Monday, and not the second worst either, Wednesday, that awful half-way mark where you can no longer remember the previous weekend nor imagine the next.  But Thursday is pretty awful, the cock-tease day, dangling Friday in front of your nose, still out of reach though.  The walkway is mercifully short, and I’m plunged back into the gloomy half-light of the building opposite mine.  There’s the lift, which looks old enough to be steam powered.  Thankfully it’s already on this floor, as it’s possibly the slowest lift in the universe.  I climb in and press the button for the ground floor.

I wait.  The “1″ light disappears, but it moves so slowly that I can barely tell that it’s moving at all.  Then the “G” lights up, and I prepare to leave the lift.

It doesn’t stop.

I frown as the “G” light turns off again.  I can still feel it moving, almost imperceptible, but definitely still descending.  It rumbles and trembles, and more time passes.  I press the “G” button a few more times, uselessly but irresistibly.  The lift keeps on falling.

Then finally it stops.  The doors don’t open.  I can hear noises from beyond them, though.  Voices crying out.  At first I think maybe I’ve gone to one of the performance studios by accident, that maybe there’s a secret basement area used by the drama academy for practicing their choir pieces.  But if this is a choir piece, it’s like none I’ve ever heard before.  Discordant and arrhythmic, it’s less like music, and more like…

Like torture.  Like souls crying out in torment.  My blood freezes in my veins.  There’s a smell in the lift, seeping through the tiny cracks in its walls and door, a smell of sulfur and pain.  I get closer to the metal doors and sniff.  It’s much stronger, and the wailing voices louder.  I put my ear to the doors…

Pain!  I stagger backwards, and clap one hand to my burnt ear.  The doors are red hot.  I look at them warily.  They start to open, and I flinch from the inevitable inferno that must lie beyond them.

There’s a puff of smoke that enters the lift, stinking of brimstone and pus, but apart from that, all I see is a beige corridor stretching out before me.  There are no doors on either side.  I hesitate, press the “G” button a couple more times, but nothing happens.  So I step out of the elevator, leaving the trolley behind.

The doors immediately close behind me, sharply, viciously, like metal teeth clacking shut.  I spin, and notice that there’s no call button here.  No way back.

Only forward.

I walk down the corridor for what seems like hours.  I check my iPhone to see what time it is, but it doesn’t seem to want to turn on.  Its screen isn’t black, though, it’s beige, like the walls around me.  I sigh and continue.  My legs are aching, but more than that, my soul itself hurts.  I look back, to see the exact same thing as I see before me, an endless putty-coloured corridor.  I continue.  My eyes are watering and sore, from the lack of detail.  It’s as if I’m blind.

Then, ahead, something new.  As I approach, I see it’s the end of the corridor, and a door, a slightly darker brown than the walls around it.  It gets larger and larger, until I’m standing before it.  It has a tiny sign on it.

welcome to hell

I don’t hesitate.  I open the door and step through.

It’s my fucking office.  The open plan layout, my desk facing the door, the others arranged around the large room.  I blink, and look back over my shoulder.  The beige corridor is gone.  Instead it’s the ordinary hallway outside my office.  I’m back where I started.

My phone is ringing on my desk.  I walk over unsteadily and answer it.  It demands to know why I haven’t been to get the broken computer in the student lab yet, the person’s been waiting there for almost half an hour.

Half an hour?  I look at my iPhone.  It’s working again, and yes, it’s been just over thirty minutes since I stepped into the elevator.  I shake my head, apologise to the irate voice on the phone, and hang up.  I’ve clearly been working too hard.  I pull myself together, try to shake the visions from my head, and get ready to collect the computer.  One more tiny job in an unending series of tiny jobs.  Like an infinite beige corridor.

But for the life of me, I can’t find the trolley.




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