Saturday, January 16, 2016

Updates and Down Dates


Well, I haven’t been on the blog for a while, so I thought it might be a good idea to give a few updates and let people know what is happening in the Dark World these days. 

In the dying days of 2015 I finished the first draft of my new novel, Highwayman. After getting the first draft out of the way, I decided to put it away and tinker with something else. And that’s what I did. 
     First, I finished a short story submission to an upcoming Anthology, which I am still waiting to hear back on, but I also put together a short story collection. Some years back, I attempted to launch a PDF based Horror Periodical which I called Dark Passages. The indie publishing world was still in its infancy at this time and, quite frankly, so was my knowledge on the subject. 
    The PDF version saw three issues and then slipped away into the night never to be heard from again. The problem wasn’t getting an issue together. There were plenty of enthusiastic up and coming talents wanting to contribute and I thought I was actually on to something. 
    The problem was time. Putting together a publication is an arduous task. First you have to find the talent, which means reading submissions, then you have to edit and finally you have to format, publish and promote. Actually, in the context of a single sentence, I just made it sound really simple, but I assure you it is not. 
     Take my word for it.
    On my birthday, January 7th, I released: DARK PASSAGES A collection of 6 Short Stories. The collection is a mashup of tales that have been in and out of publication and was edited by Jake Anfinson. Jake is a sometime guest host on THE QUIET ROOM and staff member at writingforums.com.  It includes six stories that have all seen publication in one form or another. Anyway, if you want to check it out, you can head over to Amazon and pick it up on kindle or in print.




Also, in the world of MJ Preston there have been a number of things on the go. First of all, I just recorded another episode of THE QUIET ROOM PODCAST, with writer Patrick Lacey. Taking time out from his daily shock therapy, at the Hawthorne Mental Health Institute, Patrick talked about his latest novella: A Debt to be Paid from Samhain Publishing. I have been reading this novella and I have to say that I am enjoying it quite a bit. Pat was a fantastic guest and he only freaked once out over his muse, which he claims is trying to kill him.
Cat's are often used to calm Pat before shock therapy.
    The Quiet Room is a pleasant distraction for me and I really enjoy doing it. Some might think it’s a stuffy writing podcast based on the tagline: A Podcast about writers, books, writing and publishing. It is that and much more. We usually have quite a bit of fun and don’t limit ourselves to just books, but also movies and other forms of entertainment. In this episode, we spent considerable time beating up our friend, of Dark Discussions Fame, Philip Perron. 
     Topics breached, were Philip’s inability to control himself, his love for the film THE INNKEEPERS and the deportation of his ancestors from Canada for reasons that are still unknown.
      All tongue in cheek of course. We love you Phil.
     Finally, I have to announce that THE QUIET ROOM will be going dark in the coming months. I am heading back to the majesty of the north to run the ice roads one last time. The slowdown in the economy has definitely affected my day job, so off I go to search for Skentophyte and stolen diamonds in Canada’s winter paradise. I’ll be dragging my camera and giving the odd update, so stay tuned. You have not heard the last of MJ Preston.
     So, on that note I gotta get. 
     I wish everyone a Happy Prosperous New Year.
     MJP
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Author Mj Preston creates an epic page-turner, with Canada’s frozen north as the setting and the Earth as the ultimate prize   --Gregory L. Norris, author of Tales from the Robot Graveyard

In 2012 and 2013, Author, M.J. Preston set out to run the worlds longest Ice Road. Now he's returned with the much anticipated novel Acadia Event.
Marty Croft has it all.
A beautiful wife and a successful career as a commercial artist. However, he has a secret and it has come back to haunt him. Enter Gordon Shamus. Gordon is a psychopath with a short fuse who won't take "no" for an answer. Forced back into a world he thought he had left behind
Marty heads to the ice roads of Canada to do one last heist.
In a twist of fate, that becomes least of his worries. At the Acadia Diamond Mine they have made a major discovery. Something buried in the ice, not of this world and it is about to be unleashed.
Get it on Kindle or available in Trade Paperback
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Preston turns what could easily have been a stock horror story into a tale that horrifies while dispensing generous dollops of Native American mysticism.    --TT Horror World
A Must Read for Traditional Horror Enthusiasts.
When a tribe of native people in the Northwest Territories of Canada are snowed in from the world, they are forced to resort to inhuman ways of survival. When a presence is drawn to their suffering, an evil blankets over their continued existence until a misfortunate occurrence results in the spread of the terror to more populated lands. 
With its ensemble cast, the novel takes paths that lead to a serial killer, demonic monsters, and a police department that slowly discovers that there may be something deeper into the crimes that have transpired in their small farming town in Manitoba.

Get it on Kindle or available in Trade Paperback



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JUST RELEASED IN JANUARY 2016!
A collection of 6 short stories by M.J. Preston that take you into the dark passages of his writing. Whether it's serial killers, apocalyptic zealots, man hungry spiders or even skinwalkers, the tales intertwine with many of his other works.
  • Run-off 31
  • Revelation Lamb
  • Passion
  • The Children of Romani Phoneutria
  • Counting Paces
  • End of the Line
Get it on Kindle or available in Trade Paperback


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

THE EVIL CLOWN MUSE (Bastard that he is) presents:

It is often said that critics are failed artists, be they actors, writers, musicians or painters. I am a writer and an artist. Your estimation of my talent is one of personal taste. I am forced accept that, be it good, bad, or indifferent. 
     I write, because that is what I believe I was put on this earth to do. It's the same with being an artist. For me, these things are an outlet and it wasn't until quite recently that I started sharing that outlet with you. To share ones muse is a leap of fate, but I am far more comfortable being a writer or a reader than I am in the seat of critic.
     The Anthology Convention in New Hampshire was a place for writers of dark speculative fiction to meet with like minded folks. It was also a great venue to pick up books and get them signed by the authors. I came back with a pile of books, in fact my extra bag cost me $100.00 to ship home on an airplane. When the clerk, who was completely surprised at the cost herself, asked if I wanted to leave the bag behind, I had suppress the urge to ask her if she was nuts.
      No bloody way I was leaving that bag behind. It was full of treasures, books signed by the likes of F. Paul Wilson and Gene O'Neill. And aside from that I had a pile of other books, that included novels and serial anthologies. Not a chance in hell I was leaving that bag. I paid the 100 bucks and got on my plane.

DREAMSCAPES INTO DARKNESS  

This anthology is the fifth in the series which delves into the
world of dark desires, ethereal imagery and landscapes which that are often mad and macabre. With Gothic illustrations throughout, it is a treat for the eyes as you turn the pages from one story to the next, and it is also an amalgamation of generations in writing. Within these pages you will find stories by Mary Shelley, Jonathan Mayberry, Gregory L. Norris and many more.
     This is a book to curl up with in a warm spot and engulf oneself in a world where trees have windows and demons kings lure admirers.  I was enthralled by Roxanne Dents: Heart of Stone in which a woman becomes seduced by a statue of Asmodeus: King of all Demons. As one reads, they are left to wonder if Dent's character, Jane, is actually conversing with the statue or if her world is that of hallucinogenic overload.
     Another tale in this book was Patrick Lacey's: The Other Place, in which a young man see's a window on a tree that leads into a parallel universe. Or does it? Is this young man really seeing the window into that other world or is the medication he's on have something to do with the things he is seeing? 
     There is only one way to find out. 
     Read on...
     Expertly edited by Dr. Alex Scully, Dreamscapes into Darkness delivers a smorgasbord of talented story tellers enveloped by the  masters like H.P. Lovecraft and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is a marriage of old and new and the theme of: be careful what you wish for, is deliciously inviting. 
    This wonderful collection is an invitation that should not be turned down. That is, if you are not one with a faint heart or fear what lurks in the deepest shadows of another's  psyche.
     Going back to Lacey for a second, I was privileged to hear him read the opening pages to the story contained in the pages of this anthology. There were many readings on that day and I was unable to ask where this story was published. It was a definite surprise, halfway into this anthology to find that lost tale.
     |And to my opening statement, about being a critic and the discomfort I feel in such a position? I can honestly say that I have dodged a bullet with Dreamscapes into Darkness. It is a great book for the coffee shop, the easy chair or the back deck. 
      But be warned. 
     If the hairs on the back of your neck prickle, B.E. Scully might just be telling you what happened "On the afternoon everything changed." 
     And it might not be that pleasant... 

***

Pick up a copy of this Anthology, from Firbolg Publishing, by following this link to the amazon page. 




     

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Books for Brian


Brian lounging with a friend, many  years after leaving the military,
Hard to believe, but it was over 17 years ago that I was medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces. It was after three leg operations that spanned 12 years in the combat arms, when a orthopedic surgeon gave me some hard news. They no longer wanted to operate on the recurring muscle injury I sustained as result of my job as a soldier. He talked about scar tissue, but more so he talked about how soldiering was a young man’s game and I might be better off to pull the pin now while I could still walk away. I did so, grudgingly. I liked being a soldier. Even today I miss the camaraderie and the sound of track clicking against the sprocket of an M109 self-propelled howitzer. That was the best job I had, detachment commander, I still miss it even today
Now, when I look back on my career, I think to that special time when I was young and full of piss and vinegar. I think about my first battery, the "Mighty H" in the Third Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and it truly was the best time I had in my career. It was there I met so many good people and from all walks of life. It was there I met a fellow gunner named Brian Eley, with whom I talked about my aspirations to become a writer. Brian and I bent elbows over beers and we lived in an H Barracks where it could get
Police at the scene of the shooting.
pretty crazy on our off time. H Battery was known for the funnel which was exactly that. A funnel that could hold two and half bottles of beer with a long tube that was fitted with a tap at the bottom. I don't think I have to tell you what you did with the tap—I can tell you that it was tradition for new gunners to drink from that funnel—and drink we did.


     As I said that was 17 years ago and I’ve done and seen a lot since, but I never forgot about the gunners I knew in H Battery, they were a part of my journey into manhood. It was a long journey by the way, according to my wife, I still have a lot of growing up to do. Facebook, probably did more than any other social medium in
.357 magnum recovered by divers.
helping me reconnect with old friends from H Battery and a much larger circle from the 3rd Regiment. Among them, Brian Eley who contacted me with a friend request and an immediate want of a signed book. Brian remembered our talks about my wanting to be a writer. Anyhow, we communicated, he grabbed a kindle copy of my debut novel: THE EQUINOX and unfortunately his car was broken into and his kindle was stolen. 
     Fast forward from that and I was on getting geared up to head to New Hampshire when I heard news that Brian, after confronting a robber, was shot twice. Once in the stomach, which obliterated his internal organs and once through the neck and shoulder. In addition to this, he was shot with a .357 magnum with armored piercing rounds. How Brian survived the attack is nothing short of a miracle. Luckily, there was a witness to the shooting and doctors were able get him into emergency surgery which undoubtedly saved his life. I found out about all of this after the fact and sent him out a couple my books after communicating with him. I told him I’d be in touch after I got back from Portsmouth, NH, where I was attending a speculative fiction convention known as Anthocon.

Sydney Leigh was front and center..
The note says it all. My friends, the Scullys..
     When I returned, I got a message that Brian received my books and after posting about this on Facebook I received an outpouring support from friends in the writing community that was very humbling. The first to respond was Sydney Leigh, who stepped right up and asked for Brian’s address so that she could send him a care package. This is especially humbling because Syd is undergoing treatment for her own health issues and that she would be at the head of this was pretty damned inspiring. I also received a message from Tony Tremblay the cohost of New England’s Taco Society and then another message came rolling in from the Bobbi and Alex Scully. I can’t tell you how this made me feel. What a wonderful community I have become a part of. These people are artists, writers, editors and most of them do not have a large bankroll, but still they were stepping up and saying: What can we do? How can we help?

     In addition to these fine folks, Great Old Ones Publishing fired off a couple books that should be there somewhere around the 15th of July. I also know Kristi Peterson Schoonover is sending something as well and there are others I can’t name, because I want to wait until they let me know and I’m not putting anyone on the spot. I have spoken to some folks with celebrity status here in Canada who have also said they would like to help out.

     Brian sent me some pictures and I am sharing them with you here in this blog. He is also astounded by the support and hopefully these “Books for Brian” will bridge the long road to recovery as he undergoes numerous treatments. Thank you folks, those I’ve named and those I have communicated with. You are first rate in my book, you are a community that has a similar camaraderie to those I served with in those early military days. You have shown me a side of human nature that is wonderful and selfless and I am proud to call you friends and fellow scribes.

     I dedicate this blog to all of you.

     I don’t know what else to say. I am speechless.

     Okay, I just thought of something.


***


     Buy Sydney Leigh’s (Bram Stoker Nominated) Chapbook Baby’sBreath



    Watch Tony Tremblay, along with Phil Perron, Sydney Leigh and Gardner Goldsmith on the Taco Society Presents and for gosh sake throw them a review.


    Check out Firbolg Publishings: Enter Your Own Risk Series; or B.E. Scully’s: TheTower Together or the critically acclaimed: Verland:The Transformation

 


    Check out Kristi Peterson Schoonover’s beautifully written and Pushcart nominated: BadApple


    And finally check out Great Old Ones Publishing
This is where you’ll find my books, works by the authors above and a catalogue of other great writers.