Sunday, March 30, 2014

Matters of Darkness: What's new?

It's been awhile since I've blogged, so I thought I talk a bit about what's up. Ongoing projects, upcoming projects, general musings and all that...

BUGS: Tales that Slither, Creep and Crawl 

I am just putting the finishing touches on a new book cover for Great Old Ones Publishing. This is a new anthology for this small press of which I have  the honor of being included. 
     My tale, will end up somewhere in the book, and as an added surprise my wife Karen has found her way onto the cover. 
     Imagine that? My wife agreed to pose on the cover of a book dedicated to creepy crawly things that slither and bite. And she hates bugs folks! I mean she really hates bugs! Beautiful and adventurous. What can I say. She's a keeper folks. 
     This upcoming anthology will again be chock full of talented folks who will lead us down the spider hole, injecting us with venomous tales sure to make your skin crawl and raise the hairs on the back of our necks. 
     I don't know all the names, but I've seen public announcements that Melissa Gates, Sydney Lee, Charles Day and Kristi Petersen Schoonover are just a few of the names that will be spinning a year.
      It is my understanding that the anthology is going through the editing process as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long before the big reveal.
      Check out the Great Old Ones Publishing for more details.



I can happily report that I am almost finished the first draft of my latest novel: ACADIA EVENT. I know, I know, I said it would be done in 2013, but I've been hard at it and finally, I'm looking at killing this monster and flinging it out into the public somewhere into 2014. 
     As an added bonus, the cover art is done and I expect within the next few weeks so will the first draft of the manuscript. Then I start down the road of polishing and editing. It hasn't been officially picked up by a publishing house, but I expect to bring it to the public in 2014 no matter what. Stay tuned.
     Oh yeah, as a shout out to Eric Webster of Dark Discussions and Askancity notoriety. I commented that I need subjects (other than myself) to do horrible things to when I dabble in the dark arts for inspiration. I tried to track down the exact post, but Facebook doesn't make it easy. Anyway, Eric volunteered to allow me to do all sorts of horrible things to his face and then, quite smartly,  retracted the original offer and clarified exactly what he would allow. Thanks Eric, you're a sport man and you made me laugh. 



I have also been asked to write a foreword to a book by another author. There are some in the writing community who subscribe to the philosophy that we writers are in constant competition and giving someone else a kudos is unwise. I personally don't subscribe to this mindset and believe in lending my support to other authors. That is why you will find me endorsing writers like Gord Rollo or Robert R McCammon, because these are talented folks who need be read.  
     So with that in mind. Hey! Fellow writers, support your craft and get behind the up and comers. To quote the Sam Roberts Band. "We're all in this together." 
     For now I'll keep it under wraps who the author is until I've finished the manuscript and had a chance to pen a foreword. Keep watching.



Once I put Acadia Event to bed, my next  priority will be my next novel: 4
     This new book is a straight up psychological thriller. The book has already been started, as you know if you're a regular reader of this blog, and I plan to get right down to after I wrap up with Acadia. I have always been a huge fan of the Police Procedural: Thomas Harris, Michael Connelly, and John Sandford. Anyhow, that is what I envision in 4. 
     It will be a straight thriller...  Okay who am I kidding? Of course it will be horrific, but the monsters in this book are very real. And they walk among us every day.



I had the pleasure of sitting in on two recordings of Dark
Discussions. The first was kind of interesting, because I was completely ignorant to the content. I speak of course of Hannibal, the new series that is making waves on television. The boys, Phil, Eric, Mike and Abe, discussed the show while I asked questions. That was sort of cool and unformatted. If anyone actually enjoyed this episode, give a shout out to Phil and see if he wants to try that again. 
     Luck would have it that I was able to sit down with Phil and the boys for their review of the 'listener requested episode' on the 1978 film: IT'S ALIVE. The episode hasn't aired so I won't delve into any specifics, but I will tell you that from a tech point of view it was a real pain in the ass to record.  I don't know if it was the Skype or New Hampshire weather, but we were dogged by blackouts, loss of sound and poor Phil had to jack us up for acting like a bunch of clowns, something guys are apt to do when things go horribly awry.  Anyway, after two separate sessions we got the episode recorded and now leave it with Phil to do his magic. I can't wait and neither should you. Check out Dark Discussions,

And that about sums things up for me, other than to say that I am doing what I want to do and for that I am very happy.


MJ Preston is the Author of the Horror Novel: THE EQUINOX
His new novel ACADIA EVENT is forecasted for release in late 2013

'The Equinox' is a tour de force of brilliant writing, fast-paced action, and gritty characterisation. 
Get your copy of The Equinox  
Sold in Hardcover and Trade Paperback
Click on the books below for more details

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Subway Incident

Yesterday I was on my way back down to Edmonton and I decided to stop in at a Subway and grab a bite. I don't eat out of restaurants a whole lot, I usually prepare my own food on the road because it's healthier and less costly. When I happened into this Subway a woman in her late 60's to early 70's was standing in line in front of me. 
     In trucking, time is money so it’s very easy to become impatient when someone takes their time or is indecisive, but I wasn't in any particular hurry, I was heading back to reset at the home terminal so I waited patiently as this lady gave very specific orders as to what she wanted on the two subs the server was preparing. "Just a dash of salt. A smidgeon of pepper. A tiny bit of sub sauce please..." She was thinking about each ingredient, concentrating and I wondered if she was struggling with her memory. Then she suddenly said. "Oh no. I got them backwards." There was anguish in those words. 
     The server, not much more than 20, sighed, and said, "It isn't that much sub sauce." 
    "If they don't like it, tell them to get their own sub," I added softly and smiled.
    She turned to me and I could see the concern in her eyes. "You don't understand, he's 13 years-old; he'll taste it."
    I suddenly fell silent, that little interaction unraveling something inside me. I guess it was because I saw my own mother then, her grandmotherly attentiveness for getting something as simple as a food order right when it came to her own grandchildren. My Mother passed away back in 2002 in the aftermath of a heart attack and succumbing to an infection that took her two days later. Sadness enveloped me and I was distracted as the lady left the building with her order and I absently filled my own.
    My Mother had a tough life. When I was just a young boy my two older brothers, Tony and Kenny, were playing on the St Lawrence River when the ice below Kenny's feet gave way and he fell into the cold unforgiving current. An older boy who was present grabbed for him, even caught his winter hat, but the ties were undone and when the current pulled him under the ice the older boy was left holding that empty hat. He was seven years-old, his life extinguished in one careless moment that happens in almost every boy’s life. My other brother Tony, who was a mere eight, was suddenly tasked with delivering the news of this tragedy to my mother. For him it would be a defining moment also and I wouldn't dare to minimize the impact it had on him, because I saw firsthand how my brother watched out for me the rest of my life. I know that I became his focus. As big brother and protector, his instinct was always to make sure I was safe. But on this day he was a messenger who brought home the worst news and coming from an Irish Catholic family he would find himself standing before a priest who would tell him that he had to: "Be strong. You're the man now."
     That was because our own father didn't know how to take care of business. A habitual criminal, that included bank robbery, arson and god knew what else, my father was absent in his duties as a husband and parent. When they buried my brother in the Montreal cemetery my father had to watch from a distance, because he was wanted by the police. And yes, they had the funeral staked out. It's funny, of all the terrible things he did in his life, including kidnapping my mother with the intent of killing her, that one act is what I find most offensive. If one my own children were to die, I would go to jail for the rest of my life before I stayed away from their funeral.
     After that event, my mother would go on to struggle with alcohol for the better part of her life . Before she broke away from my father, there were numerous violent outbursts of abuse. I remember being pulled from my bed as my desperate mother was crying frantically. "I killed him I killed him." Still in my pajamas we got into our car and hid out in a motel in Niagara Falls Ontario. I was four. She hadn't killed him, only knocked him unconscious by clobbering him with a lamp after he started beating on her.
    I could write a book about all the things I saw during my upbringing, things like going to school under an assumed name because the Hamilton Police were looking for my father in connection with a bank robbery. For the record, my alias was Mark Gardner. Eventually my father would kidnap my Mother and the man who would become my step-father. Taken from a bar at gun point they were no doubt intended to be disposed of when a massive police take-down ended my father's plans. He was sentenced to 10 years for armed robbery and served six, but that severed the relationship for good.
    The struggles with alcohol for my mother would carry on throughout her life. It would end her second marriage, cause turmoil with other family members. When she drank she was resentful, brooding, verbally abusive, but I attribute this to the lousy cards she was dealt. I don't excuse this behavior, but I understand it. At one point in my life I did not speak to my mother for almost a year because of her behavior when intoxicated. But I also remember the sadness in her eyes when Christmas came around, Kenny's Birthday and the anniversary of that tragic day on the St Lawrence.
     She would eventually break free of her addiction. Perhaps it was when she realized that her life was going to waste. In the last three years of her life she refocused on her grandchildren and perhaps that is why I was suddenly reminded of her yesterday. She worried needlessly that all grandchildren got their fair share when it came to Christmas. She thought of things like: Mikey doesn't like onions in his food. Scott hates tomatoes. Corey loves tomatoes. 
     She would have said, "You don't understand, he's 13 years-old; he'll taste it." 
     After I got my sub I left the restaurant and climbed into my rig. Shifting gears, my mind turned over the memories and there was a sadness in my heart. I thought about the Grandmother in the Subway, agonizing over that unfortunate squirt of misplaced sub sauce. I considered my own actions and thought I should have leaned over to that attentive lady and said. "Your grandson is a very lucky to have someone like you."
    I miss her.

MJ Preston is the Author of the Horror Novel: THE EQUINOX
His new novel ACADIA EVENT is forecast for release in 2014