Saturday, 15 April 2017

A (Reluctant) Outtake from Shiny Coin - plus FREE stuff.

Don't forget - I have ten free paperbacks left. 

Drop me a line on the usual channels and I'll despatch a signed paperback, free of charge, after Easter. It's a lovely looking book and so far, it's been well reviewed.


For e-book readers, I'm on Kindle Countdown on May 4th. 

You can avoid the Twitter Countdownquake by getting one of these, for free :-D



Here's an extract from Shiny Coin. 
Well, its an outtake, but, really, it should have gone in. 
I'm kicking myself.

I have this idea, oft expressed, that readers don't want long books nowadays. 
Shiny, well reviewed so far, is under 70k words, but it is actually closer to 90k in uncut form. Contemporary dramatist, Terry Tyler, who has become a good cyber friend of mine in the past two years, commented in her review that the beginning was a slow one, like many of my books. 

I wasn't surprised, nor was I offended: Many people say the same thing. 
I guess this is how I roll. 

One of my favourite books is Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. 

That opening is so funereal it is like reading backwards, yet the ending is utterly memorable, I realised that a slow, in-depth introduction was, in that case, a fundamental investment in the climax. 
I have forgotten much of the beginning of that book, written in the nineteen seventies, but I have never, ever forgotten the ending. 

Because of this, and some of King's best stuff, the early stuff, Rosemary's Baby (or any Ira Levin), and Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco, and films such as The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs (a major influence on Shiny Coin) and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, I write climaxes. 
That's my be all and end all. 
I want to make readers remember a climax for a long, long time. 

The 101 bloggers and MA lecturers tell you to put your best stuff at the beginning. 
I never understood that edict. A reader should trust a writer and they have more than enough evidence nowadays, with the free preview, swift reviews, and blogs and social media, to know what they are getting when they spend their two pounds or so on an ebook. 

Those of you who are into horror will, of course, remember Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man and it's astonishing, unpredictable climax. Yet, the vast majority of the book (and the film) is an introduction to that ending.  Nothing much happens. But I remember I didn't mind. I trusted the writer.
I knew something big was going to happen.

Times change and so do readers, it seems. 
I support work on a Creative Writing course. One session, I put up three free Amazon introductions as part of an exercise in Literary Openings. 
One, a popular Indie thriller - so poorly written I would have given up long ago if that were the extent of my ability - begins in the middle of the action, mid-torture, as it were, a young boy in a modern Nazi torture scenario, a bit of an Apt Pupil rip-off by the looks of it. 
I was expecting my students to laugh along with me, (which is, in itself, a cheap and nasty populist gesture), but to my astonishment, they liked it - some decent writers among them too. 
I took that away with me, still astonished. 

So, when I wrote Shiny I resolved to be brutal, without compromising my principles. So I have taken notice of the market, what's out there, and come the drafting stage, I was savage. 
I chopped 15k words from the initial draft. 
Nothing superfluous survived. 
Mark Twain's famous dictum was observed as if it were a Parliamentary white paper.

This extract, placed before the appearance of Toby Gifford, the nasty villain of the piece, would have slowed the beginning down even more so it had to go. 
Yet, it explained, with minimum exposition, Carol's love of the night, and the darkness, and, again, without the need for explanation, it attempts to explain her love of the Gothlife too. It's a huge metaphor, which, I reasoned, would probably have been missed. 
So I binned it on draft three. 

I looked at it the other night and I found myself longing for the seventies and a world where people had time and patience. It probably should have stayed in.

Marky xx

PS: Oh, and beware; this extract contains a mother of a run-on sentence. I love a good run-on sentence. If it was good enough for Trollope, it's bloody good enough for YOU. 

PPS: Aren't you sick of staccato sentencing yet? :-D

PPPS: I mean, like, generally?

Night time. 
That night. A time for sleep and for peace, but I never sleep. Cannot sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. When I was a child, I slept normally and safely, my father in the next room, but that ended in my teenage years and the insomnia continues to this day.
Yes, I nap in the afternoon after the bookshop, and I can fall asleep listening to my music or reading a particularly relaxing book, but I come to life at night and have done for the past four years. 
I suppose it is only to be expected, of course. 
I have taken the tablets and the pills and the ointments and the alternative treatments but none worked for me and thus, I embrace the night and work with it, confront its messengers, accept their offerings.

I once stayed with a girlfriend on the Kent coast, on the estuary, within sight of the nuclear plant on the escarpment opposite those calm seas. 
My friend was from a prosperous family and their house stood sentinel, detached and severed, in the middle of acres of hop fields, rows and rows of orchards growing apples and pears and grapes and figs, and at night, as I tried to sleep, failing miserably, I cast my consciousness as far as it could go, but I could hear nothing and the night outside my window was a glorious, unequalled black.
I could see nothing and hear nothing.
Not rain, nor wind, not the hooting of owls, nor the crossing of geese, nor the passing of gulls. 

I experienced nothingness, the intense silence of the void. I learned that the night was something to embrace and experience and it was a thing of sheer wonder. That somnolent, endless quiet, that eerie hush of the grave. 
We sleep and we miss this. 

That insight was a wonderful feeling; sleep was an option, not a necessity. In Kent, I stayed up all night, by the window staring into the void, listening to its nothingness and it felt like sleep. It felt like peace in my soul. It calmed me and by the time the first cock crowed and the sun began its crimson ascent into its natural domain, I felt wonderful. I may have slept for an hour. I may not. 
My consciousness was calmed and somewhere in the distance, enveloped in the black of the night outside. 
I simply could not get that where I lived, in Manchester, where there is no silence. 
There is nothing but life and movement and noise.
I couldn't remember if I could get it in The Fields, my home town, but imagine my delight when I did finally come home and discovered I could.
I had forgotten how peaceful it could be here, in a town of old people, a country town, a town of conformity and order over chaos, a town of early nights and parish ordnances, of expensive beds and respectful neighbours.
It felt like peace in the middle of a conflict. 
These nights can be as special as those in Kent. They can be silent and dark and peaceful. Nights here are like death might be, a darkness of contemplation. 
At three in the morning, on a weeknight, no cars pass by on the way to Oxmouth or Follow Field, the drivers tucked up safely in bed. It almost seems rude here to drive past midnight. Streetlights are dim and there are no midnight walkers on my street, save the odd student full of themselves as they pass, and they are soon gone. 

Night rain is the best, for an insomniac like me. 
I can sit, in my armchair, my recliner by the window, my dad’s old chair, and watch the rain fall and better, I can listen to it, unsullied by the sounds we humans make and which they now call pollution. 
In the darkness, the rain is even more glorious as it pitter-patters on my window and some nights, it is accompanied by a magnificent wind from all points of the compass. 
I have, in the conflict of a summer night, walked into the garden and stood, naked in the rain, my pale, guarded, protected body exposed to the elements, rainwater pouring from head to my varnished toes, the moonlit sky, blue and black and scarlet, the cloudburst a foreboding omen, a warning from Thor, maybe even Odin.
I have stood there and felt each raindrop touch me, the accompanying wind in my hair, tendrils stroking my face like one of the hundred lovers I have foregone this past four years since...since...
Toby, who came from a different kind of night, a rampaging night, a horror night, a night of vampires and beasts and monsters; a night so cold, I could never embrace its beauty, because what beauty there may have been was coated in fear and loathing and nothing but.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Shiny Coin - a favour to ask my regular friends and readers

This particular post is intended for people who usually buy my stuff. 

If you're new - welcome aboard :-D :-D xx


a shiny coin for carol prentice is live on Amazon on Kindle.



It's also LIVE again after a few days down for maintenance. 

If you are fast, you can pick up a paperback for a fiver as I am buying a few myself for distribution to some regular readers and people I think would like the book. 

It's a lovely looking paperback btw.





I have a favour to ask you. Just like The Guardian does.

This is primarily addressed to my friends, colleagues, supporters, readers and people who read UV and Carla in such numbers. 

I have apparently about twenty days from yesterday before a shiny coin for carol prentice disappears into the wild blue yonder. 

It's know as the thirty-day cliff. I'd like to hang on by my fingertips. Or undercarriage, as it were.


Shiny has had six reviews at the time of writing, after a week, and readers are enjoying the book. All the readers so far read it fast, in two cases, in one sitting.

The most common theme so far is I've written a page-turner, one of those books that keep you awake despite yourself. I'm really proud of that one.

Thank you xx 


Book Bloggers

Two bloggers have featured the book so far.

Terry Tyler Book Reviews


Georgia Rose Books

Thank you both xx

I do think - and I suspected so when I was writing it, and I don't write this stuff lightly - that I have written my Girl On The Train novel.

I.e. One with the potential to get some attention nationally and which seems to have wider appeal than my usual stuff.

My landlord, bank manager and many, many creditors would be grateful if that were the case!!

Cut to the chase: I need to get the book out there and I need you to help me do it. 

Apparently, according to people who know, the way Amazon works, I now have 20 days to do it in. 

Many of you have said many kind things about my writing, so if you wish to support me - and you intend to buy shiny at some point -  can you buy the Kindle edition in the next 20 days or so? 

It's a couple of quid here and three dollars outside the Isles.



It would help a lot. Ta! Wiz xx

Book Launch

I will (hopefully) be launching the book live early doors at Cafe Sobar in Nottingham, on Friar Lane, with Jason Loftus and Carolyn Hall, two great friends of mine. 

I will be reading live again and will (possibly) be interviewed about my work. I want our CW students involved too with their poetry, so it will be a solid old night.

Cafe Sobar is a dry bar. It is a self-sustaining social enterprise brilliantly supporting recovering substance abusers. 

This means that my non-drinking friends can enjoy themselves too. 

And my social drinking friends would only have an hour or so to wait :-D

I am busy getting the press involved: The launch will happen after the end of April which is five years after we launched Green Wizard Publishing. I am meeting Jason today to sort this out.




Notts lads: I know this book has nothing to do with football, except for my usual Notts mention, but you can easily buy this for your partner who I am sure will enjoy it. 

Let me know you've bought it and I'll buy you a pint in return at one of the upcoming aways. Luton seems popular this year!! 

Ta, as usual xx


And finally...

Taken in Southwell Library, the scene of many of my writing sessions on this novel
and one of the nicest libraries anywhere
I have 30 Paperbacks to give away completely free of charge.  

In return, I would ask you to do one or more of four things:

a) Leave a note on my Facebook Line to say whether you enjoyed it or not. Many of my quieter readers are on my Facebook and will see this. 

Please also feel free to give the paperback to a friend when you have finished and/or ask them to send me a friend request

On my line, I don't do politics (I wish I did, especially today), religion or swearing, so I'm harmless enough :-D

b) Buy a Kindle copy. It's £2.00/$2.99 and it massively effects my rankings. The more people who buy, the more notice people take. 

c) Leave an Amazon review (and/or Goodreads, but I am not on there). 

This all helps an author tremendously. Only last week, I met a reader who read one of my books (Criminals, without knowing me) because it had such decent reviews. It really does help.

Oh, and for the cynics, with the exception of two or three on UV and one on Criminals, none of my reviews are from my wonderful and devoted Aunty Betty.  Thank you :-D xx

d) Come to my book launch!! Date to follow and we'll have a proper Steve and Carol booze up after.

e) If you'd rather have a free mobi or a PDF (especially my US and ROW readers - postage post-Brexit is a bloody fortune :-D ) just drop me a line.

So that's it, Extract to follow.  Thanks for listening.

Mark/Wiz xx

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Shiny Coin is LIVE, news on The Waiter, and I interview Carla Eatherington live on video...

First review from a customer in the US :-D

a shiny coin for carol prentice by Mark Barry is a dark, charming, moody story. One that I found hard to put down once I opened the book. The main character, Carol has a familiar quality that made me feel for her. I wanted to know her thoughts and why? I understood her sadness but there are layers to it, as with most of us.

The writing is sharp and clever. I had no idea what would come next but I read swiftly from the edge of my seat taking it all in. Things were not looking tidy and I had a feeling the outcome would not be good. No rocket science needed on that observation.

I read quickly, devouring the dialog as if I were on a timer. Curiosity got the better of me. This was not going to be a slow paced, casual read. I don't have that kind of patience, especially when I am that curious.

The author weaves a stunning tale that is full of mischief, cunning and danger. I liked the not knowing as much as it drove me crazy.

This is a great story for a reader who enjoys suspense, comedy and drama mixed with a fair amount of stressful energy.

A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice is live on Amazon on Kindle.



The paperback is also ready, but in Proof mode, so if you buy it and there is a horrible formatting error in there, it's your fault :-D

It shall be ready on Sunday and I will buy X Copies for distribution.

As I said last week, it is a dark and moody sort of book with the streak of humanity and humour I cannot help but include.

Like  Carla, also contains VERY adult material and occasional swearing. Please be aware of this.

There are NO happy tears in this book, though it is a romance, at heart. As I write in the front matter...

This is a love story.

I guarantee everyone who has ever read Carla, in particular, or any of my books, will like at least some of it.

It is the first piece of creative writing I have done for two years, with the exception of the three Billy Idol stories in Brenda's Punk Rocker series, which are GREAT fun, if you've not read them.

Oh, and The Jacket appears in Shiny Coin :-D *wink*

Shiny Coin is £1.99 $2.99

Please read here for more info.

Last Week's Blog Post with Blurb and Commentary


Other news:

The Waiter will be out in paperback in three days, but not in ebook for two weeks. The MS is corrupt for some bizarre reason and I need to rewrite. That's me buggering about with dialogue notation again.

Embedded bloody fontage!!

However, I am busy on a terrific project for ten days so I need to put this to one side. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.


On Thursday night, as part of my regular Creative Writing gig, I interviewed a good friend of mine, Carla Eatherington, about her debut YA novel, Utopia.

Someone was crazy enough to video it. Carla looks and sounds terrific, but I am clearly showing the impact of a day's five-a-day nourishment on the third day of Cheltenham :-D

Anyway, it's not about me. This is a sound book and thought provoking. I am trying to get Carla to come on the Wizard's Cauldron, which I plan to relaunch shortly. She's worth listening to.




Marky xx

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Mark Barry is Back...

...with two new novels, coming in the next fortnight.

The first is The Waiter.

Written as a 75th birthday present to my father, who is interested in politics and history, themes that permeate the book, I first started writing it in 2012 during the launch of my publishing business, Green Wizard. 

For one reason or another, I never finished it, though certain themes were used in my award winning 2014 novel The Night Porter. 

I finally finished it six weeks ago.  It's a black comedy set in an expensive restaurant in Nottingham.

Here's the cover.

and the Paperback cover

It's the blackest of comedies (my favourite type) which has the capacity to offend just about everyone. 

Here's the blurb.


Portia’s House of Strawberries, the City’s favourite gourmet restaurant, is hanging on for dear life…

Portia’s is broke. Brassic Lint. Gone at the game. Skint. On its uppers. The balance sheet is a laughing stock and the management simply won’t face the truth.

The way it stands, Portia’s won’t make Christmas – and the old girl has been around since the thirties.

The world has changed: Instead of glamorous stars of stage and screen, Saturday night sees crazed footballers, reality stars, tattooed models, MMA fighters, hen parties, vicious gangsters, toupee’d car dealers, tribes of nose-ringed emos, councillors on secret expenses, mad scientists and militant vegan lecturers from two of the world’s richest universities.

Life simply isn’t the same.

It doesn’t help that stalking the restaurant is Jim Reynolds – the most successful restauranteur in New York State - with a lot of money to spend. Vast amounts of money. And he’s eager to expand into gourmet dining.

Worse, for everyone involved, he has ideas: New ideas on how to run things in a restaurant that hasn’t changed its ethos since the Queen’s Coronation.

Only Hugo Love, emerging TV celebrity and epicurean genius, a unique pianist, and a Parisian-standard Waiting group eager to protect tradition – and their jobs - stand in his way.

And they have just one week to stop him…


I like the book. It's real, funny, nasty, offensive, heart-warming, witty and full of twists and surprises - just like books ought to be. I'll put an extract up early next week.

It will be launched in early April, though I hope to get the ebook online by Friday 24th March.


The second novel I'm releasing has been described by my proofreader, Karenne Griffin, has possibly my best.

I think it IS my best book and I am a hopeless self-critic. It's called

A Shiny Coin For Carol Prentice 

and it is a loose sequel to my most popular novel, Carla. 

Here's the e-book cover:

Narrated in first person by a young goth/emo girl, the story concludes themes I began discussing five years ago about relationships - and small, insular, prosperous English towns, like the one in which I live a largely bitter and frustrating existence.

It's sombre, romantic, violent and extraordinarily sad, in the tradition of the great novels of the sixties and seventies, which influenced me back in the day.

Fans of Mark Barry will enjoy unlocking the puzzles drawn from all sorts of other books. 

And Carla readers will be well catered for.

Here's the blurb:


“I swore that I would never go home,
but in the end, I had no choice.
I had to confront what happened.
And them too.
It was going be icky. And totally scary.”

Carol Prentice left Wheatley Fields to attend university in Manchester and not once did she return in four years.
Her beloved father visited her whenever he could, but then he passed away and it was up to her to sort his affairs.

She could have done this from a distance, but a woman can run to the far corners of the earth, but, in the end, she can never escape herself

She had to come home: There was no other choice.

Taking a job at a bookshop for the duration, she befriends Steve – an older man who looks like a wizard and who knows everything in the world.

Carol quickly encounters the demons that forced her to leave in the first place - including Toby, the raffish local villain, with whom she shares the most horrifying of secrets and whose very existence means evil and mayhem for everyone around.
Especially the lovable Steve.

Carol finds herself in the middle of a war between the two men:
 A war which can only have one victor.

Soon, she wishes she had never come home.
But by then it was too late.
Much too late.


With the direction my life is going, it could very well be my last fiction book and if it were, it would be a fine legacy to leave behind. I'm really proud of it, but be warned: It's as dark as a winter's night.

It's released in two weeks.


Friends know I planned to relaunch the entire business with four novels, but that simply isn't going to happen as too much is happening in my life outside independent literature. 

I will definitely release the other two (both are part written, one substantially), in a year or so. 

Free Stuff!

I will have a budget for forty free paperbacks in two weeks. Drop a comment in the box below if you want a copy - one of each per  person, please. 

Please review me in exchange. Ta! xxx

I am also sending out Mobis to anyone who wishes to review the books (bloggers etc).

Thanks, Mark

For those of you who wish to read Carla before Shiny Coin, it's currently on offer at 99p/$1.19

Thursday, 28 July 2016

#AugustReviews Are Go!

This blog post comes to you accompanied by Jamiroquai "Cosmic Girl"

NEW! August Reviews (or #AugustReviews)

I know how hard it is to get reviews. 

I reckon my review ratio is about 1:50 and that's mad. Or is it? I don't review much - kettles, holidays, pubs, cars, cabin shorts - so why should I expect readers to review my books?

Short answer is, dear reader...

Us small press/indie/selfie authors struggle. It's almost unequal (but not quite), which is why you, as a reader and consumer, are confronted with the same kind of crap book in the supermarket. Crap? That's a bit harsh, Marky.

Is it? Tell me. When was the last time you actually read a Trad novel you bought at Tesco and thought it was special? 

Here's the story of a Tesco bestseller.

One of my best friends is reading Girl On A Train. She shared some early chapters with me. What a lot of bollocks that novel is! I work with fourteen year olds with more literary chops. It's a GCSE piece and with that, I'm being charitable. The writing is as stodgy as yesterday's porridge and as for the exposition...*

Yet, she has over eleven thousand reviews partly because people have heard of the book. 

And my friend really likes this novel so it's all about opinions. And yours counts.


A lot of the success of that book is all down to advertising and us small fry can't access those channels.

Radio is closed for business, newspapers won't touch us, the TV people just laugh, Facebook charge a fortune, (sigh, remember those early days on there?); those ads on the train station are ludicrously expensive and thus we struggle to get out there, despite increasing numbers of Indies pumping out quality product, with professional covers, proofreading, editors etc.

So please, this August (#AugustReviews) make the summer special by reviewing ONE book on Amazon. 

You don't even have to have read it recently and it doesn't have to be mine - we all suffer from lack of exposure and, yet, some of us are bubbling under ready for a big breakthrough. 

YOURS can be the review that inspires this.

Write ONE review for August and then tweet it here: 


Loads more information from leading novelist, Terry Tyler - whose idea this is - is available on the blog below. 

Please visit: Have a look at what she has to say. 

One ickle wickle review this August can make all the difference.

Thank you in advance. Wiz.

*See? I wrote a review in about twenty seconds straight from the heart. It's THAT simple :-D xx

Monday, 4 July 2016

Who Is Luke Rock?

No mystery - this isn't my intention - Luke is a pseudonym. 

I could (I seriously considered it) have played a big game and created an elaborate facade, but that isn't me. 

I have seen it done and I always feel a bit cheated by it. Remember the JK/Galbraith stuff? 

So I am being honest as that's the type of writer I am.

"The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before".

Regular readers of my stuff may like it or hate it and new readers, including those who may have read stuff of mine before and failed to get into it, have another chance to get on board. 

I want to put clear blue water between books like Carla, Criminals and Hollywood Shakedown and the newest Green Wizard novel, KATAB, as it is known in these parts. 

While I hope the standards of storytelling are similar, it is hugely different to my eyes. 

This is easily my most commercial and modern book and it is inspired by recent events. It is very much a book influenced by the decision to leave Europe taken by around half the population of this country. Brexiters, as they are referred to in the novel on many occasions.

KATAB is very European. I shall tell you that now. I am pro-Europe and so is Green Wizard. I am not a happy bunny at the recent turn of events and that's putting it mildly.

Risky? Yes it is. But necessary.

It takes place in real time from June 24th to 4th July. The story is detailed on a previous blog post.  There are sample chapters on your right to read online.

Luke's name: I support a (recently concluded) Creative Writing group on a Wednesday night at Central College in Nottingham and, on session six, we discussed psudonyms (amongst other things). 

In a discussion of thrillers, I came up with an example of a cool sounding author name and that name was Luke Rock. Naturally, it stuck - despite general hilarity from at least one of the (terrific) group. So when the opportunity to publish the book arose, I knew the exact author name I was going to use.

The book itself contains three of my most loveable characters - Ricky and Kevin, two hapless, reluctant revolutionaries and Rachel, who I adore, who gets herself in all sorts of messes and some of my favourite ever supporting characters, including the nastiest villain I have ever written - and its not Nigel or Boris.

I have often been complimented on the way I write women and I am hoping the commentators feel the same way about the characters in here, particularly Rachel, who I am very fond of - in the mould of Monique, Carla, Amy and Chloe from my previous work.

As a terrific author friend of mine always says about my novels: "One minute I'm laughing and the next I'm crying," and there is the more of the same here. 

It's £1.99 or $2.99 and the paperback will be out in about three weeks. 

Hope you enjoy it.


Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - Amazon UK  £1.99

Kevin And The Atomic Bomb - $2.99

PS Mark Barry readers will be pleased to know that the pre-release titles of his upcoming work are available in this ebook, plus news of a pseudonymous thriller.

Green Wizard Publishing
Southwell. Nottingham.

Publishing the work of Mark Barry, Lynne Morley, Luke Rock, Nick Petrocelli
and students of the Creative Writing and E-Publishing course at Central College Nottingham,

GW is the official publishing partner of Brilliant Books: encouraging reluctant readers to
pick up a book again.