Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Some Fragrant Winifred

Here's why I wear a poppy. 






I am a working class bloke. 
Like me or loathe me, that's who I am. 

I have working class appetites and a zest for the working class life. I love my family. I like horse racing, football and good music. I like to read, a rarity nowadays. 

In my life, I've enjoyed a joke, a smoke, a pint, a punch-up and a great night out more often than I should have done, but I regret nothing and would do the lot again.  

I've got a suit for Sundays and a suit for court. I've never been to a dinner party. I've attended two plays, one musical, no operas and the only modern dance I've ever seen is my dad bopping to the Birdie Song at a community centre wedding with my aunty Hilda. That's something I can't unsee and believe me, I've tried.


*
I'm no different really. I'm not a unique little snowflake. There are millions like me. Past and present. 

See, I'm just like those blokes who went over to France in 1914 and all over the world in 1939 with names like Tommy and Albert and Alfred and Norman and Harold and Wilfred and Bill and nicknames like Patch and Nipper (for the fast ones), Lofty (for the shrimps) and Titch (for the beanpoles). 

Working class lads who, like me, enjoyed a joke, a smoke, a pint, a punch-up and a great night out far more than they should have done. 

Most of them young, not even twenty, with girlfriends they loved, who they would have loved forever, like swans (always the swans), with names like Winnie and Marge and Edna and Edith. 

Ordinary blokes. 

Working class blokes who spent their Saturday mornings rolling oaken bitter barrels and shovelling shit at Shipstone's Brewery before racing down to Meadow Lane to see Notts County with their pies and their pints and their rattles and their scarves and their never-ending jokes and wind up and banter, the Alfreds and Alberts and Harolds at large in the freezing, smoke-infested horror of a British industrial city.

Real people, just like me (and just like you); only with stranger names and moustaches. 

Real people, who, without the Kaiser and Adolf and Tojo and the rest of them, would have carried on doing it. 

Living their lives, having a laugh and a giggle, a pint and a pie, sitting in the snug. Heads over the football paper, lamenting their team's criminal inability to score a goal, winking at beautiful women named Agnes and Myra, gently sipping their halves of mild by the window, with their hair done up a treat and their shiny crimson shoes.

Real people, these Alfreds and Alberts and Harolds and Wilfs, just like me, just like you, who found themselves on the 1st July 1916, at 6am in the morning, in a snaking trench on one side of a field, with the Kaiser's men on the other, under a vast, endless continental cobalt summer sky, unsullied by cloud, lit by a hovering, hazy sun and cooled by the faintest of winds, 

Not quite knowing why they were there. 
Wondering why the birds had ceased their endless song. 

The silence just before the gentle humming of the shells, which they knew would come. Just waiting for the whistle.

Alfred and Albert and Harold and Wilfred: Those Nottingham rascals.

I wear a poppy for these men who were just like me. 
And you. 

Men who were dead within ten seconds of the sound of that Officer's whistle. Blokes who never even made it ten yards from a standing start.


*

300,000 working class blokes like them died that day for reasons that no-one fully understands. Pointless, pathetic, dirty, unfair, unjust deaths. 

I wear a poppy for these men because what they did was a lot more difficult than sticking a pin in a jacket.


*

A poppy isn't a flower. 

Its a bullethole sculpted in paper. That's what it is, stating the obvious. A bullethole for a fiver. A symbol commemorating the seven bullets that tore into Alfred's chest, or the three that severed Wilfred's leg at the knee, leaving him to die screaming in a  shellhole that was once lush French grassland, or the stray bullet that severed Tommy's head off at the ear. 

That's why I wear a poppy. Because they should have been living their lives back in Blighty instead of dying like that.


*

Nearly thirty years later, in June 1944, shortly after the Normandy landings, a relative of mine charged a Tiger tank in the French village of Caen. With just a Molotov cocktail and a Webley pistol. 

The mad bastard. 

Hard to know what the tank thought about it, but my relative was crushed flat as a pancake under the left track: They never found enough of his body to bury him. 

Caen was a bitter battle where flamethrowers were used extensively on people and the fighting went from house to house, hand to hand, bayonet to bayonet, with the smell of burning British bodies in the ether, and when the war wasn't between men of flesh and blood, it was between flesh and three tons of German heavy metal. 

Because the British held up that division of Tigers at Caen, the Americans were able to liberate Paris. Thousands of men died. More than at Omaha beach - which Spielberg neglected to mention anywhere in Private Ryan.

(That bit was for historians - which didn't include my courageous, but largely dense, relative, or Jack and Henry, and Harry and Bob or all the other slicked-back Nottingham rascals who died in that village, who really should have been in the pub, or at the races, or at the Notts match, or having a cuddle with some fragrant Winifred listening to George Formby on the wireless).

That's why I wear a poppy. Because it's a lot easier than standing up to a big tank.


*

Finally, I wear a poppy for my stepmum's stepdad. His name was Walter. He served in Burma. I don't remember him that well, and we never really spoke, in that strange way steps often behave with each other.  

In my mind's eye, he reminds me of Mr Benn, only with a trilby, rather than a bowler hat. 

He was a painter and decorator by trade, in Lenton, and a good bloke, who was up his ladder within a week of returning from the far east. 

He liked a drink of an evening, a frame of snooker or two and watching the cricket at Trent Bridge and I always remember him being a pleasant bloke, if a little distant. 

He never once mentioned the war. Not once.

I found out later that he was on the Imphal Plain in Burma in 1944. What he saw, he kept under his trilby and not even ten pints of Guinness, a bottle of Grouse (and the occasional traumatic night spent on Lenton Park under the beech trees), could get him to talk about what he saw there, when the Japanese ran out of ammunition and charged the British trenches with sticks, lances, knives, axes and samurai swords. 

With him in it. 
In the trenches. 

A real person, just like you and me. 
What must he have seen? 


*

He's why I wear a poppy. 

Not for patriotism - I'm the least patriotic person on earth. I'm a Remainer who detests Tories, the EDL, the self-satisfied middle classes, the net takers of British society, and Brexit and all that madness, and who worries every single night of his life for the future of his country.

Nor for the glory of war - there's no glory in death, that much is obvious and war death is the messiest there is. 

And I definitely don't wear my poppy because someone tells me to. Like many working class blokes, I don't listen to anyone - I'm more likely to do the opposite of anything you tell me. I'm an arrogant so and so and I genuinely don't care what you think of me.

So I wear a poppy because I can. 

Because I'm still alive. 

Because of them, those soldiers, those rascals that could have been - nay that should have been - living the rascal life back in Blighty, I don't have to face flamethrowers and screaming Japanese swordsmen, even in my nightmares.


*


These blokes - the Alberts and Alfreds and Jacks and Harrys, from every village town and city in Great Britain - must have been scared stiff every single minute of every day. 

They watched their friends die horribly. 
They must have known their days were numbered in single figures. They watched the night skies turn to heavenly fire and they heard the gates of hell open and they saw the demons pour forth in hordes and hordes and hordes.  

They saw things I can't even begin to imagine. 
They saw horror. 

And they didn't run. 
They saw horror up close and they didn't run.

That's why I wear a poppy. 
They stood. 
They took it. 
All of it.
The fire and the flames and the screaming and the cacophony and the soaring of the shells and the explosions of blood. 

They took it. 
And they died.

In the end, for me, they were the bravest human beings who ever lived and they died so we could decide, at our leisure, whether to wear a poppy or not. 

So I wear one. And always will do.

RIP one and all. We will never forget. 



Mark Barry

PS I'll be attending the Southwell Remembrance Day Service on Sunday if anyone fancies it. You know the time. I'll buy you a brandy in the Saracen's Head and we'll raise a toast to the unknown soldier.



Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Schoolhouse: a tale of the supernatural

My father is a prodigious marathon runner who once ran from John O Groats to Land's End. He's run over a hundred marathons around the world.

 Unfortunately, he's been unwell lately and he can no longer run, but he's  been talking to the press about his life and this story emerged.  My sister Marie is currently raising funds for MND research and I shall be joining her next year, as will my son.

Full story here:


Do you believe in ghosts? Well...read this...

The Schoolhouse
by Tony Barry 
(as told to Mark Barry)



I ran the coast-to-coast walking/fell route on three occasions, running from west to east, through Lancashire, across Yorkshire, and into Humberside.

There was one incident that’s worth recalling, an incident I still cannot believe happened – but it did.

______

Throughout the trek, I would run around twenty miles a day and my plan was to book a guest house “on spec” as I finished.  

One day, half way across the country, because of bad weather, mammoth fells and rocky terrain, I realised that I had completely miscalculated the distance between villages and found myself stranded in the middle of nowhere.


It was starting to get dark and cold and I was surrounded by forbidding moorland and overhanging crags. Luckily, I kept running as best I could in the remaining dusklight, and found myself in a tiny hamlet at the base of a giant fell.

The place had no more than ten cottages and I knew instinctively that I would be lucky to find a guest house here. As it was now almost completely dark, I found a cottage with lights in the living room window and knocked on the door. 

A ruddy-faced old gentleman in a cap and a green pullover came to the door, arms folded. I explained my position: He told me there was no guest house for twenty miles, but – kind of him - he pointed out an old schoolhouse at the end of the Hamlet, which was always unlocked and where hikers and stranded runners like me could stay overnight: I was clearly not the first to make this miscalculation!

I thanked him and ran swiftly to the schoolhouse, an old stone building with two big windows, surrounded by trees and framed by a colossal fell in the background, now illuminated by a full moon. 


Opening the gate, I walked up the path to the front door and with a shove, opened the door. It was warmer than I expected. The building was functional, with two floors, connected by a rusting spiral staircase right next to the door. 

The room below was empty of furniture and deathly silent – it was basically a long-empty space surrounded by four walls.
I removed my torch from my pack, climbed the rickety staircase and investigated the upstairs space for something I could sleep on, but that floor upstairs was empty too – it had been clearly a long, long time since this place had ever been witness to a child’s education!



All I could see was a chalkboard at the far end, which the faint guidance of my emergency beam revealed to be in serious disrepair. 

I went back downstairs, removed my sleeping bag and, exhausted after a twenty five mile day, wrapped myself up, rolled up my sweatshirt as a pillow, and lay staring at the moonlight coming through the windows.  I am the type of person who can sleep on a washing line, so it wasn’t long before I was asleep

________________________________________

That’s when it all happened. 

At five, still dark outside, I was awoken by a sound from upstairs.

I sat up, wondering what it could be. Strangely, it sounded like the moving of a wooden chair being pulled across a concrete floor.



Then I heard another.

I wondered who was in there with me, wondered if I were dreaming and realised that I wasn’t. I could see little, the moon obscured by night clouds and the morning darkness.  I unzipped my sleeping bag and rationally realised that someone had come in after me and had obviously gone to sleep upstairs.

At least that’s what I thought before I heard a wooden desk top being closed with a subtle click.

Not slammed, but closed carefully, with consideration. Then footsteps walking across the floor above me, shuffling, beams creaking.

The hushed, mischievous giggling of children.  

Curious, and, in general, no believer in the supernatural, I got up, reached for my torch, and climbed the staircase not quite sure what I was expecting to find.

Of course, when I got there, I was surrounded by darkness and emptiness. There was nothing there and the sounds had stopped.

But just as I began to think I was imagining things, I could feel a presence in the gloom.  

Someone was there. 

I cannot explain it even now, but there was definitely someone there with me in that upstairs classroom.

And I also cannot explain how I know this, but that someone was looking at me.

Curious no longer, I skipped down the rickety stair case. Put on my running shoes, rolled up my sleeping bag and organised my pack in double quick time. 

Left the schoolhouse and put as much distance between that place and me as I could.

That next three miles was the fastest I ran that week!!





Sunday, 20 August 2017

Free From Fear: The Highlights

Some of the highlights of the Free From Fear gig, which everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed.



I have absolutely no idea how much money was raised, nor how many people turned out on an August Friday night, but there was a great atmosphere, a fun vibe and the message of hope and support came across loud and clear from the lamp-lit stage.

The gig was in aid of Nottingham Central Womens Aid and if you would like to contribute, all the details are in here - they receive very little, if any, government support.

http://centralwomensaid.btck.co.uk/

Highlights

The Lord Mayor of Nottingham opened proceedings and then I interviewed Aimi McCaffrey and he about the origins of the gig. Apologies for the sneaky finger intrusion on the bottom right hand corner.



Two sets from Mansfield/Nottingham avant garde Indie act, New Apostles, followed. Comprising of Phil Pidluznyj (vocals and keyboards), Andy Whitehurst (lead guitar and support vocals) and Andy Pidluzny (bass), they've been tirelessly gigging their way around the City and beyond in the last two years. 

Big supporters of charity and causes like this, I've seen them many times and tonight, they were at their best.

Here's their Soundcloud

https://soundcloud.com/andrew-whitehurst-384266683



A set from Alice Short followed, a local rapper, who writes about Nottingham, growing up in the small towns around it, with shades of Bukowski and Alan Sillitoe in her lyrics. She's been featured on Radio 1 and had played many venues. She played the Maze first, though. 

Firstly, I interviewed her...then she rapped!




I'm a big fan of Alice and I am sure we shall more of her in the future.

Alice Short Soundcloud which contains the brilliant, "Patti Smith"

Before a final set from the New Apostles, we heard some spoken word from two local authors. 

Here, Nick McCaffrey reads a short story especially written for the event.



Writing in a variety of genres, and a prolific blogger, he's about to release an anthology of short stories so be sure to support that - I shall feature it here on the blog.

Here's his blog - a weekly short story and well worth a read.

http://www.themannwrites.co.uk/blog/holiday-celebration/


The gig was in aid of Nottingham Central Womens Aid and if you would like to contribute, it's all in here - they receive very little, if any, government support.

http://centralwomensaid.btck.co.uk/


I'd like to thank everyone for inviting me and I would be happy to help again. The best of luck everyone.

Mark "Wiz" Barry
_________________________________________

An old school bus



The New Apostles Fan Club: Leicestershire Branch



Mark Barry Retires

Oh, and I read from my best selling novel, "Ultra-Violence" - a dissection of a night out in Nottingham from 1988 entitled "The Fountain"  And believe me, I've tried and tried, and tried and tried, and I've even had lessons, but I simply hate reading aloud, so it's a good job that it never recorded ha ha.





http://greenwizardpublishing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/archives-fountain-chapter-8-from-ultra.html

Monday, 14 August 2017

Free From Fear Night: Maze - August 18th



On Friday night, at the Maze on Mansfield Road, Nottingham, there's a gig in aid of Nottingham's Women's Aid. I've been invited and I'm going. Tickets are a fiver and all the money goes to charity.



And what a charity. Let me tell you a story.

Just recently, I've been working with a young Muslim woman I met on a college course. 

She's one of the nicest women I have ever met, but more importantly, for the work I do, also one of the most determined. 

She wants to be a trainer, or work in the (currently becalmed) employability market. She wants to help others, as others have helped her.

I'm happy to help, even though all she really has is her determination to succeed, her enthusiasm and natural effervescence. 

Ten years ago, she left her native Yorkshire, at midnight, under the cover of darkness, with Police protection, after her husband attacked her and her two young kids with a claw hammer.

This was just one day of it, one tiny incident in a campaign of catastrophic terror which began on the fourth day of her honeymoon and lasted a decade. 

She had been hospitalised on many occasions and abused daily. She couldn't even go to the shops to buy a packet of fags and a pint of gold top without being followed by a friend of his, who reported back her less-than-nefarious movements.

In the days following his beatings, his belts and punches, his cigarette burns and barking dogs, he didn't even offer bitter tears, dog-eared flowers, heartfelt apologies and steadfast promises, in the time-honoured fashion of the repentant domestic abuser - it was just the way he was. 

She had to escape.

That winter night, her choices were limited. She couldn't stay. She couldn't escape to her family because, in Muslim culture, there are matters of honour to consider and a stigma that the word divorce rides all over, so she would have been asked to go back and conciliate. That wasn't going to happen.

Nor could she go to the local women's refuge, as all the rooms were full. 

As were the rooms in every women's refuge in Yorkshire at the time. 

So through a worker at her local Housing Aid, and a friendly Police liaison officer, she found a place with a Nottingham refuge. 

Part funded by Nottingham Central Women's Aid. 

She had never driven on a motorway before, nor did she know where Nottingham was. So the Police escorted her on the left hand lane of the M1, one car in front, one car behind. 

From their seats in the back, her kids watched every move their mum made, her gear changes and manipulations of the steering wheel every inch as interesting as children's TV. 

They knew what it meant - none of them were ever going back.

Suffice to say, ten years later, she's on her way. Working hard and trying her best. Step by step she's fought her way forward. I'm proud to help her out.

But without having that inner-city refuge open to her, and also willing to help, funded by Women's Aid (and organisations like Children In Need and the National Lottery), she would probably have had to stay where she was.

And she would be dead by now, she knows it. I know it. You know it.

That's just one example. 

I once worked with a man whose speciality was protecting sex workers from their psychopathic pimps. He has saved at least two young women from having their throats cut. 

Once, in scenes reminiscent of "Assault on Precinct 13", he single-handedly defended a sex worker in a Radford refuge from a pair of angry pimps and their henchmen who were desperately trying to break in. He succeeded and probably saved her life.

He was one of the few men allowed inside one particular Nottingham refuge, for sex workers and other seriously abused young women, which shall remain anonymous here. 

I worked with a woman recently whose jaw was broken in three places by her boyfreind for the crime of being late home from sixth form. She spent six weeks in hospital. 

Again, that assault was the tip of the iceberg, so she escaped her mining village at twenty one with the help of a family friend and thanks to that refuge in Hyson Green, she's never looked back. Nor has she returned.

You all know stories like this. 

What you don't know, is that many of these refuges are not publicly funded, or if they are, they cannot survive on that alone. 

They are absolutely essential asyla for women escaping shameful violence and serious, repetitive abuse that even a writer like myself couldn't conceive on a dark night. 

These refuges need funds and donations and ongoing cost to survive.



On Friday night, there's the afore-mentioned charity gig at the Maze. 



My great friend and colleague, Phil Pidluznyj and the New Apostles are playing, along with BBC1 playlisted Nottingham rapper, Alice Short, who I also know and like. 


I'll be reading something from the stage, as will my friends Nick Mann and possibly up and coming YA author, Carla Eatherington, if we can persuade her. 


There's an open mic so come along and join us. Poets welcome. Most of all though, pop in, give us a fiver, or give me a fiver and I'll pass it along. 

If you cannot be arsed to come out on a Friday night, let me have a fiver and I'll go out for you. 

It's needed: The whole country's women's refuge network is on its knees because of Tory cuts. 

The network needs your fiver.

Incidentally, on average, 85% of donations benefit the abused clientele. I know one famous, lavishly patronised and nationally advertised charity where the figure is more like 20%, so your money on Friday night will make a huge difference.

Come and see me on Friday and I'll give you more info or buy you a half. But, please - try and make it. These refuges make a huge difference to people's lives. 

The life of my Muslim friend is owed to that Nottingham refuge, and those who tirelessly keep them going.

Thanks, Wiz

xx

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Shiny's One Star Review - and How I Dealt With It. Plus more FREE stuff.

Thank You

Just wanted to thank everyone who participated in Kindle Countdown last week for A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice.  

I sold a bundle (well, relatively - I was happy) and, for a brief moment, hit some decent rankings, particularly in the US, thanks to E-Reader News Today and a terrific little site on Fiverr.

She's also hit 20 reviews on UK, where the Storyteller Contest is taking place. I'm delighted with that.

And that's down to you. Thank you xx. 

Carol, Steve, Marin, Rob, Pippa and the lovely people of Southwell/Wheatley Fields thank you too. 

Except Toby, of course. He's nasty.

Designed by Brenda Perlin
A Bad Notice

Shiny got her first 1* review last night. Quite a bitter and scathing one too. I'm actually glad in one way: I have been wandering about on little fluffy clouds about this book. That's dangerous for an artist so this was a much needed dose of reality. 



Thank you, E. Nicol, for firstly buying the book and secondly completing it. Sorry it wasn't your thing.

Contacts, colleagues and friends of mine all talk about how to deal with shocking notices. I shall find some links and include them. If you are reading this, and you have a link, please add it to the comments. I'll embed tomorrow.

My favourite, though, is from "Birdman" starring Michael Keaton. 

A once famous Hollywood actor, down on his luck, invests his life savings in a Broadway play. In a bar, he spots a critic enjoying a G and T on a bar stool at the other end. He wanders over to ascertain her feelings: They aren't particularly supportive.

I felt like Keaton last night, if I'm being honest with you.


 Here's another nice link:

Generally Beloved Books with Bad Reviews

It won't be the first bad review I've had and it won't be the last. It just looks worse when written down. 

I am used to verbal criticism about books from friends. I once had two really good football friends of mine come up to me in the stands at Meadow Lane to destroy my second-least popular book, Violent Disorder. 



This was in front of my dad and son. They didn't mince their words. VD, which I really like, and consider underrated, is now known between my son and me as the "less popular sequel".

I have other friends who have given kickings to The Ritual (a load of crap) and the second-person written Ultra Violence (why didn't you write it properly?) but mostly, you can tell whether someone likes a book you've written, not if they buy it, or even read it, but whether they complete it. 

Think of your own reading behaviour. You have to know how it turns out, right? If you can't be arsed with that, then the writer has failed and it probably isn't a book they would give even a 3* review to.

I generally know - of my acquaintances, contacts, networks, friends and family - who likes my stuff and who doesn't. I'm not offended.



Of course, the pagan high priest in any artist's fevered unconscious with that pathological need to be universally venerated will never be satisfied with that level of indifference, but life goes on - there's no need for the one star shocker - which is just exposition, really, when you think about it.

The Best Writers

I would say that the best writers get terrible notices. 

One of my favourites is contemporary fiction/avant garde author Tom McCarthy. 

My favourite trad-book of last year was Satin Island. It's a masterpiece. A beautifully written shaggy-dog story with some memorable set pieces and a sad recollection of institutional torture during the aftermath of a Turin G8 protest.


Satin Island Amazon UK

To my shock, it has some of the worst reviews I have ever seen. It also has an average rating which has me baffled. I stare at that rating and wonder what planet people are on - and why, exactly, they picked up a book like this in the first place. I

I guess it takes all sorts, a perception, which, fundamentally, in the cold light of day, is how I dealt with my own savage notice.

Paperback

I've still got some paperbacks left if you want a free one. They're pretty nice for the shelf. Drop me a message on Twitter DM or FB DM with your address and I'll send the very next day.

Here's my friend, futurist YA author and psychologist, Carla Eatherington, reading Shiny. 


Carla, incidentally, has made her debut e-novel, Utopia, free this week. For YA fans and fans of apocalyptic fiction, it's a superb book that I read in three sittings. You'll be wanting the paperback yourself afterwards. Details here.

FREE Download of Carla Eatherington's Utopia - HERE




And that's it for this week. Thanks for listening.

Marky xx

You can buy Shiny and other Mark Barry books by clicking the icons on the top right.

Mark Barry Author Page











Thursday, 4 May 2017

Amazon's Contest for Best Self-Published Novel 2017 - Help Needed!

Like a blind squirrel will eventually bump into a succulent acorn in the forest, I have apparently written a pretty decent book. 

It's called A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice and I've entered it in a big literary festival.




It has twelve reviews in six weeks since release - eleven 5*reviews amongst them.

*Shiny Reviews UK

Most say it is a page turner and most say they read it quickly and speedily. 

In today's day and age, busy people, living in the brooding shadow of FOMO**, are grateful for books which don't get in the way of a busy life. 

This fits the bill, yet its still complex and psychological. It will keep you guessing all the way through.

Best Self-Published Novel 2017

So, quite proud of what I have achieved, I have entered it into the aforementioned literary prize. Here are the details.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/jan/23/amazon-uk-literary-prize-kindle-storyteller-direct-publishing-authors



The prize is £20,000

Twenty large: Love those words when connected together like that.

I know I'm 100/1 to even get selected, but a few friends and I have had a look at the field of likely winners - and the books I'm up against aren't that intimidating.

There are some beauties, and there are some beasts - but there's nothing scary in there.

And I'll have well known supporters like Georgia Rose, Terry Tyler, Brenda Perlin behind me - all of whom rate Shiny and have blogged about it.

And Barb Taub too. 

I'm lucky that one of the best reviewers in the caper likes my work. That's a real stroke of fortune.

Have a read of this review when you've got time. 

She explains in one superb essay what contemporary fiction is all about and what I have tried to say in this book. Do you remember that? When novels tried to say something?

(Thank you, Barb).

Barb Taub's Review


I can win this competition. But I need your help. 

I will at some point be judged on the content of the book, and that's when things will get interesting, but first, I have to demonstrate to Amazon that I can sell a book and can get people to review it. 

In many ways, this element is more important nowadays than a writer's ability with a pen. 

Sad but true. It's the way it is.



I can win this or go close. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am generally shy about talking about my stuff, but not this time. 

Shiny is a decent book. I worked hard on it, drafted endlessly, then redrafted, delayed publication, sliced off 15,000 decent words, and thought about every line.  I even, like Carol, had posters up on my wall to work out my Plan.

I'm going all out.

Here's how you can help me?



How YOU Can Help

1) Over the weekend beginning May 4th - that's today - Shiny is on Kindle Countdown. 

Which means that the price of the ebook for 160 hours is either 99c or 99p depending on where you are.

If you don't have a Kindle, download the book to your Phone/Laptop. 

The software is simple to download.

Seriously, you don't even have to read it: I need the sales/downloads to have credibility in the competition. 

Eventually, someone on a judging panel will read the book and that will hopefully be enough.

(Shiny is one pound/one dollar too. A quid. Please don't make me use the coffee comparison :-D  )




Over the weekend, I am being promoted on E-Reader News Today and several other websites. This is thanks to the managerial skills of my great friend, Georgia Rose. 

The book should therefore go out to around fifty thousand people, possibly more. 

If this works, I'll submit to Bookbub for a few quid and take a proper gamble.

Bookbub


2) If you are feeling daring, read as far as you can and then review it. 

I don't care what star rating you give me, it's 
immaterial. 

It's the number of reviews that count in a competition like this.

(I have a hilarious 1* review on one of the football books. I had a tee shirt made, which I sleep in. One of them said that there was "too much shit about clothes," which makes me and my son, Matt, roll.)

Here's a few easy tips. In this case, if you don't want to go through all this. 

The words I Liked It will do, plus the star.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/neal-wooten/tips-for-writing-amazon-r_b_6959118.html

I need plenty of reviews to stand any chance. No idea how many sales. Even then it is a longshot. 

But longshots win plenty of races.



3) If you don't like the book, send it back to Amazon. They will refund 100 per cent with no comebacks. I hardly ever inspire the refunding of books, which is a good sign.

4) If you don't have a spare pound or cannot be arsed with the downloading, then write to me and I'll send a PDF/Mobi file. For those who definitely like to review, I have twelve signed paperbacks left. I'll pay the postage. Contact me on the usual channels and I will send them to you.  Pass them to a friend.

Your help will be much appreciated. 

Marky xx


BUY Shiny Coin here - UK

BUY Shiny Coin here - US and ROW



*Loads more information exist about Shiny on this blog including it's origin, extensive reviews from Georgia Rose, Terry Tyler, Brenda Perlin and others, and an Outtake/Extract.

**FOMO = Fear of Missing Out: One of the prime reasons Psychologists believe people spend an inordinate amount of time staring at phones.

Wiz Green = Mark Barry