Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Semi-Naked Truth



Well, I haven’t been on the blog in one hell of a long time, so I thought I better get online and punch something up before folks figured I joined the French Foreign Legion. Hmmm? Do they even exist anymore? Note to self: Google it! But not until after you written a few things down.

So, what the hell is up in the world of MJ Preston; dark or otherwise. Well, I am in a transitional process in my day job. As many people that know me are aware, my day job has been that of a truck driver and by extension an Ice Trucker. Last year, I returned to the north and ran the ice roads after my gig as a retail driver evaporated when a competing company underbid my company for 30%. I won’t name said “cut-throat scum bag company,” but they are well known for such antics along with paying their drivers a bottom dollar.  

With my retail gig gone, I sat home for six weeks in the last two months of 2015, thank god for a guaranteed wage the previous owner put in place to cover drivers in slow times. With no other option, I volunteered to go north and run the ice roads once again in 2016. Running the ice is an experience I would recommend for any truck driver that wants to experience the adventure and beauty of Canada’s North.

I love the north, I like to think that it will always be in my blood and in my heart. As a writer, I have used it as a template for much of my writing, but the North has also been a blessing and a curse. It has been a blessing for inspiration and has afforded me a special insight into not only writing but served as a subject of my amateur photography. The curse has been the time lost running north, in particular, THE ICE ROADS can never be recouped and when you're over fifty and want to write stories and books, time becomes as precious as water and food. 

This year the company that has employed me has undergone significant changes after a corporate takeover, and I decided that it was time to make a decision. I either stay the course and hang up any aspirations of getting a new novel out before the end of 2017, or I start thinking about scaling back my duties as a driver and get into a more localized type of work. The reality is that the money would be less, but in the last six months or so I have been extremely unhappy in my job. That didn’t stop me from executing my duties professionally, I still managed to get up and down the road. But I was disillusioned with what has seemed to be a recurring theme of one step forward three steps back. I sought local work, and in the end, the argument always ended up the same. We need you out there on the road because of your experience. I spent the summer and part of the winter running fuel into a coal mine in British Columbia. I must tell you, that aside from the fact that I found of driving a super b tanker up onto a mountain in pitch black and dodging monster mining trucks to be in the extreme of challenging; I literally hated every minute of it. The fact that coal mines (even open pit) are dirty filthy places, or the fact that even after minor exposure I was cleaning black crud out of my nose and ears and wondered, “Shit what am I doing to my lungs?”  Aside from the black crap that got in every nook and cranny of my rig including my bedding or the reality some of the safety supervisors at the mine could be dickheads, I began to feel beaten down.   

On one trip up the mountain, I was followed into a site by a safety supervisor and told that I took a corner on a switchback too wide and that I was running more than 70 km/h. After I mentally questioned his knowledge about the pulling a loaded tanker up grades more than 45% for kilometers make going in excess 70 Km/h pretty unlikely. I knew this guy either had no idea what he was talking about or was just trying to impress the female trainee at his side as he berated me.  I wondered, but I remained diplomatic; it was their sandbox after all. But to tell you that I didn't wish he would ban me off site would be a lie. He didn’t, and that was the end of it. He jumped in his safety pick-up with his trainee in tow and leaving me to unload the fuel and contemplate my situation. I honestly almost called in that day and gave my notice. I didn’t care if they said I was the greatest driver of all time and that was why they kept dispatching me out to the hard places. That wears thin after a while, especially when some of the people you’re dealing with are blowing smoke up your ass and brothers and sisters there was a bit of that going on too. And just so we're clear, I’m not disparaging the dispatchers at my company, they are good folk and have a job to do, but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. Couple that with the new corporate setting where I went from being able to call the operations manager 24/7 with any problem and having the owners ear if I needed it (if any driver needed it) to a working environment where there is no communication and drivers are treated as a commodity instead of what they are; the backbone of any successful trucking business.

The writing was on the wall, it was time to move on and maybe take back control of the quality of life I had been pursuing. There is a lot more to this story, but I won’t go into it any deeper because to do so would mean naming names, and although I know a few of my longtime friends who have remained would cheer it on, no good would come of it. 

I have started a new chapter (pardon the pun) in trucking that will afford that precious commodity of time to do the things I want to do. As to those I left behind, truckers, mechanics and dispatchers alike. My best wishes to them and to those heading north for another season on the ice; safe journey.

Writing, projects and such...

Okay, that’s enough blood letting or soul-baring on that subject. I want to talk about what’s been going on and what I plan. As some know, I recently published a collection called Dark Passages II: Tales from the Black Highway. This was a joint project in which I enlisted the writing of some of my friends from the writing community, talented folk like Tony Tremblay, Greg Norris, Bobbi Scully, Kristi Schoonover, Phil Perron, Jonny Kelley, Kyle Rader, Patrick Lacey and even introduced a new up and comer named Cody Spagrud. Dark Passages II was a project I have been tinkering with for a while, and I must throw out special thanks to Firbolg Publishing’s Star editor Alex Scully for assistance in making it happen. If you want an 8X10 magazine style anthology chock with dark tales, you can check it out here.

New Story. 

I have a new story which has not yet been published but will be soon. The story is called THE LEYAK, and it picks up years after my second novel ACADIA EVENT in a world where anything, extraterrestrial or paranormal is entertained as plausible. A supporting character from Acadia Event and the son of The Equinox’s Police Chief David Logan is revisited. Homicide Detective Howard Logan is investigating a string of horrific killings that are occurring along Highway 3 in the Northwest Territories. Following a lead, he and his partner go to meet a Metis Trapper named, Tony Rourke who is to know who or what is committing the murders. Stay tuned.


Highwayman. 

Highwayman is now into its third draft, and after I finishing polishing the living crap out of it, I will see how it goes to publication. Highwayman is the first of two books and was originally intended to be a Novella as an introduction to the novel I was working on called: 4. Originally intended, ha, the road to hell is paved with originally intended intentions and now I find myself retooling the bloated novella so that it works more effectively as a novel. Remind me to never agree to write a novella again, at least not intentionally. From now on I revert back to my pal and mentor R. James Steel’s advice. Just write the F’ing thing and figure out the details later,
What I can tell you about Highwayman is this. It is about the rise of a prolific serial killer who aspires to be the best. It is a book that explores the dark side of human nature and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to detailing the deeds of a sociopath. I hope to have the Highwayman done in the mid to latter part of 2017 so that I can resume work on its follow-up novel: 4.

So, that’s it for now. I hope I didn’t bore you too much with the personal stuff. I’ll try and be a bit more active on the blog in the future. The closing remark, I am an Independent writer and count on readers to leave feedback and reviews. If you’ve read my work and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon. If on the other hand, you think my work is shit, please contact me with your name, address, work schedule and times you will be alone so I can work out an alibi and buy a gun, a shovel, and a bag of lime.

Just kidding. I am more of a knife person.
See you next time.
MJ Preston

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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