Music and Stories

For me, music has been a constant soundtrack to my life. Key events, loved ones, hard times and great times all have a song or album as a soundtrack. Books and movies are no exception.

Little wonder that my own debut novel was so driven and influenced by the music pof the times it’s set in and passes through.

Here are the three songs I chose for each “Act” of the book and why:

In part one I quoted Huey Lewsi and the News “The power of love” :

“Make a bad one good.

Make a wrong one right.

The power of love will keep you home at night.”

Partly because I love the track but mostly because the era that part one of Bobby’s Boy is set in is encapsulated so well in the memories that this song envokes. All the good stuff and all the bad are brought to the fore of my mind’s eye in the openeing 5 seconds of this song. The quote also evokes the love I wanted Tommy to encounter and be changed by

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NMph943tsw

The second act of the book was introduced with the quote

 

“Oh I would never give up and go home,

 beaten and broken.

 No, I don’t know who I am anymore,

But I’ll keep on chasing those rainbows.”

 

from “The Only Enemy that Ever Mattered” by the wonderful Hopeless Heroic. At this stage of the book, tommy was departing on the trip of his life, but he was every bit as much running from his past as he ws barrrelling towards his future.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eau7ojfX7_E

The last song I used was intended to show the wish to start all over again. Tommy’s been fantasising for so long, and he now lives in a world once more he wishes wasn’t real , but is. The video is a perfect fit also.

Coldplay – “The Scientist”

“Nobody said it was easy.

No-one ever said it would be this hard.

Oh, take me back to the start.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqWLpTKBFcU

Bobby’s Boy is on FREE PROMO until tomorrow

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347132445&sr=8-2

 

 

I

New Party Frock for Bobby’s Boy

To celebrate its entry as a candidate for the Scottsih Book Trust’s new writer’s award I’ve given my debut novel a new cover and a new rock bottom price (for a few days only) What d’you think?

20120829-162202.jpg

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346253756&sr=8-1

Meet Kym Baker

My upcoming novel “Naebody’s Hero” is well under way so I thought I’d introduce you to one of my three main characters whose stories the book will tell. Here’s a short excerpt from My female agents’ introduction in Chapter 3. As always my character is named after or named by someone I know.

Kym Baker:

Kym is a badass and of my three main charaters is the one who is vital to moving the story forwards and the characters together. She’s a doer and a motivator. Thats why I named her after two of my favourite and newest friends who motivate me more than they know ith their support and encouragement.

Chapter Three

 Kym 

Kym took a deep, slow breath, the smoke from the last shot still stinging her nostrils. She looked down the sight, pictured his face, summoned the will and took the shot. Dead centre; head shot. Reloading the glock, she slid a fresh magazine calmly back into the handle and resumed firing stance. She’d been on the shooting range for three hours. Every shot was painful; each and every one a punishment for her as much as it was for the paper targets. She breathed. Her wrists and shoulders ached from the kick. Her eyes stung from the smoke despite the yellow safety glasses. Her soul ached for Scott.

She breathed in the noxious, burning fumes once more, using the sting to stoke her anger and bring the memories of him to the surface, allowing her once more to lift the dead weight of the glock, take careful aim and squeeze. Another head shot. She was sick of the gun. She was sick of the emptiness inside her. Year after year since all sense had left her world she had gritted her teeth and pushed on.  One thing in mind; one goal; one target. Terrorists. Any and all, she detected them, investigated them and hunted them at the pleasure of the United States government as lead officer on the CTA.

Kym Baker had pursued, detected, arrested and killed more agents of terror (both foreign and domestic as the saying goes) in the last ten years than any other agent in the States. Ruthlessly and restlessly she’d dedicated her whole life and purpose to hunting and stopping those who threatened peoples’ peace.  Barely sleeping four hours a day, Kym dedicated herself to becoming one of the country’s foremost experts in many types and sources of terrorist cells. Her knowledge and skills were unparalleled in the field. She was the only female agent to attain her current rank. She’d earned the right to lead her team, the relatively newly-formed Counter-Terror-Agency, but then she was more motivated than most. Losing your only child and husband to a terrorist’s bomb tends to focus a person.

“Still here Baker?”

Kym didn’t bother to lower her gun but looked over her shoulder long enough to nod an acknowledgement and throw a tight smile at Agent Foley who was, aside from her, the last person on the range. “Yeah.” she turned back, blew some stray hair from her eyes with an upward puff and re-aimed. Foley was a good guy and a very good agent, but she was too busy for his attempts at small-talk.

She thought of Scott and squeezed the trigger again, pushing her grief, her love and her hate through the barrel along with the bullet. Two more hours passed in this manner before, arms trembling, she reached for the handle to the exit and headed for a shower.

Nae’body’s Hero: Coming soon

Cover Image for Nae’body’s Hero

Sneak Preview – Nae’body’s Hero

The following is a preview from the upcoming novel “Nae’body’s Hero”. Copyright Mark Wilson 2012:

Cover Image for Nae’body’s Hero

Book Description:

Rob Hamilton hails from Lanarkshire and from a messed up family. As a result, he has an unshakable sense of right and wrong and is low on self esteem. Rob also has some very special gifts. If he can stop hiding from them and get his life together he may just be the greatest hero the world will never know. 

Arif Ali is a British medical student. Disillusioned with life in Britain he is now living and studying in Faisalabad, Pakistan.  He and Rob will form an unlikely friendship that will change the course of history.

Annie is an American agent with an undisclosed agency. She could be the worst enemy the friends have or their greatest ally.

…………………

Prologue

The first time it happened I was seven years old. Obviously I knew it had to have been a dream but it really didn’t seem that way at the time. I’d woken in the middle of the night face pressed to a hard, cold surface instead of comfortably against my pillow. At first I assumed that I had fallen out of bed again and landed on my bedroom floor but the contact on my cheek was hard; too hard to be the blue carpet which covered my bedroom floor in those days.

As I slowly came to it dawned on me that the surface was pointed too. There were loads of wee dry, plaster-like prickles pressing into my face, into my whole body actually. It was artex, which made no sense at all. Only the ceiling was artexed. I opened my eyes to see white artex as the realisation hit me that I was pressed to the ceiling.

Realising where I was seemed to break the magic and I clattered heavily onto the blue of my bedroom carpet, grateful for its thickness.

“Robert. You’ve fallen out of bed again. Get back to sleep.” Dad roared from the next room.

I did so and quickly. I didn’t want to anger dad again. I’d been in enough trouble this week. I wasn’t really sure what we’d done but mum and dad had been really annoyed with my twin sister Claire and I repeatedly this last week or two and both seemed tense over something. It was very unlike either of them to be so easily annoyed and tetchy with us.

“Sorry dad.”

“Right Robert. Shush. Sleep.”

Dad was the only one who ever called me Robert and he had many different ways of saying, shouting, laughing or barking my name depending upon how much trouble I was in. When I was a wee boy my dad taught me a rhyme about my name that I’ve never forgot, mostly because it reminds me of him and makes me smile. He’d told me that it was about a boy called William but he thought that it fitted my name better. I could recite it back to him by the age of three, the two of us laughing together as I did so.

Father calls me Robert

Sister calls me Rob

Mother calls me Robbie

 and the fellas call me Bob.

Dad has always called me Robert and I love that mum actually does call me Robbie (she pronounces it Rabbie) but nobody has ever called me Bob. Everyone else, including Claire, calls me Rob (or Rab).

Finally I did sleep once more, drifting off to the thought that it would’ve been really cool if that dream had been real and I really could fly up to the ceiling. That’d be crazy though. No-one can fly.

Chapter One

 1983

Rob

 

Waking from a long deep sleep, with all the usual dreams sleep brought with it, Rob sat up in bed. Leaning back against the old headboard he rubbed his eyes and took in the room. Something seemed……off. Dressed in matching Y-fronts and vest (Spiderman) Rob stepped out of bed and pulled on some jogging bottoms. He took in his rooms’ contents, mentally noting various objects’ positions. Everything seemed fine, nothing out of place. Claire hadn’t been in overnight to cuddle up with him (a twins’ habit they had yet to break which had increased in regularity recently), all his things seemed to be where they belonged, but something just wasn’t how it should be. The house was just too quiet.

Checking his bedside clock Rob noted that it was eight am. Friday morning, mum and dad are normally getting ready for work and pulling us out of bed by now. Surely they haven’t slept in?

The previous night Rob’s parents had both seemed in good spirits. The whole family had watched a film together, chatting their way through most of it with nobody really all that interested in what was happening on the screen. Both mum and dad had tucked them into bed with lots of kisses, cuddles and “I love you-s” exchanged. It’d been great having them back to their old selves after so long of being so tense at home. I’d better go see where they are.

Rob creaked out onto the landing, walking slowly and deliberately just in case he’d been daft and gotten mixed up; maybe it was Saturday. There wasn’t a sound coming from anywhere in the little semi-detached family home. Continuing across the landing he slowly cracked open Claire’s bedroom door. Seeing his sister still asleep he resisted the urge to go wake her up by jumping on her just in case her screams woke their parents and quietly closed her door over. Rob made his way downstairs to the kitchen with some quiet time in mind before the usual burst of activity started.

On autopilot Rob loaded eight slices of bread into the massive family toaster, prepared four cups for hot drinks for everyone. Coffee with milk and two for both mum and dad, tea with one and milk for Claire and black coffee for himself. Wandering through to the downstairs hall, Rob picked up the Daily record which had been lying on the mat. Confirming from the front of the paper that it was indeed Friday and from his wee calculator- watch that it was now 8:15 he decided that he’d better rouse everyone before they lay in so long that they’d be late for work and school. The only sounds in the house were of his own footsteps bending the old stairs as he ascended causing them to creak and groan.

“Mum. Dad. It’s time to get up.” Tom knocked softly on his parents’ bedroom door. He waited a beat and knocked a bit harder.

“Time to get up”, he sing-songed cheerily.

Again nothing came back in reply. He pushed the door open to his parents’ room and to what would be a new beginning. They were both gone.

Rob Hamilton was just like any ten year old boy in Bellshill in the  80s. Football, Kim Wylde and Star Wars occupied his mind. A relentless ball of energy was how most of his friends would describe him. Playing football, rugby, hockey and attending scouts took up most of his time. That and hanging around down Strathclyde park with his friends. On the surface he seemed a happy and contented kid with not a care in the world, in many ways he was, but Rob Hamilton rarely felt that he fit in with the company he kept. Not with his friends (not since Tom left the town) and not in his own home.

He’d lived in the small town most of his life but was slowly becoming a more detached soul. Rob rarely felt part of what was happening around him and struggled to understand the people in his life. He just felt so different to them. He went through the motions. Joining teams, socialising, school and seemed to be thriving but in truth the only people he’d felt that he really had a place with, who he felt accepted and understood him were his best friend Tom and his sister Claire.

Tom Kinsella had been Rob’s best friend since they attended nursery together. The boys had been as close as brothers, at times even closer than Rob had been to his own twin. Spending long hours days and weeks roaming woodland, building dens and fires, and playing football had developed their friendship. All these things had brought them so close and of course the talking. They were always talking.

They spoke of their families, of where Tom’s dad would be taking him on some adventure always asking Rob along. Rob could confide in Tom, telling of his own parents’ increasingly detached behaviour these past few years. They told each other about their dreams for the future, about how Tom would be a musician, or a writer, or a fireman; maybe all three. Rob just wanted to see the world he didn’t care what job he did to pay for it. A part of Rob just wanted to find somewhere where he felt at home and Tom was the only person who not only understood his desire to roam, but seemed to share it. Both agreed that they would leave their hometown as soon as they were able and made a pact to do so together; to always be best friends. When Tom Kinsella’s father Bobby died and his best friend moved away, Rob was completely lost without him and turned to his sister more often.

Despite being his twin Claire was quite different to Rob. More outgoing, less introspective and much less inclined to be quite as moody as Rob had found himself becoming in the last two years. Claire was one of those people for whom life’s surprises were just another chance to try something new. Claire never flapped, stressed or worried she just went with life, happily taking what came her way and making new friends easily. She and Tom were very alike. The three of them were close and had always been.

They spent most of their time as a threesome chatting, swimming at Bellshill baths, walking down and around Strathclyde Park, sometimes going on the fairground rides or climbing the trees in the woods, but mostly they just talked and laughed. They had a secret place that they’d visit daily either alone or together. They did most of their talking there in a den made of old tree branches they’d made months before and filled with three old tyres for seating. It was in a small bit of woodland behind the butcher’s shop and they’d named it “BHQ” (B for butcher).

Tom, Rob and Claire had found the location for BHQ after following a horrific smell around the back of the shop and discovering a sheep’s head. The two boys had poked at it with sticks for a few minutes examining its face, lolling tongue, milky eyes and rancid, maggot-filled mouth. The thing had started to become putrid. Smelling strangely sweet it had attracted the boys in their morbid curiosity. Claire kept her distance, hugging herself in revulsion, but giving Rob and Tom time to satisfy their interest.

“Let’s go you two, that things’ boggin’.” The boys laughed but quickly moved to join her and walk home together. The next time they visited the sheep was gone but they discovered the location for BHQ and began its construction.

These days, with Tom gone, Claire never came near it she was too busy with her friends, only Rob sought a little solace in their den. The days the three of them spent wasting hours happily together felt like years ago to Rob now and as though they’d happened to another Rob Hamilton.

Rob was happy his sister was so engaged with the world and full of life. He assumed that this meant that she had escaped what he knew he’d inherited from his grandfather and he could feel becoming worse each night, with every surreal dream of events and incidents that couldn’t have happened but his apparently damaged wee brain was trying to convince him had.

The vast reserves of energy he possessed were a result of his not wanting to waste a minute of the time he had in life. He wanted to see as many places, meet as many people and engage in as broad a range of activities as he could before his mental capacity degraded as quickly and completely as he’d been told that his Granda’s had. As these episodes had started to happen in the daytime as well now, when he was wide awake, he knew that his mental health had taken a turn for the worse.

By the time Rob knew his granda the old man was in a residential hospital having long since lost all capacity for reason. As a younger man he’d apparently been huge “built like a brick shit house” his own dad had told Rob. Working as a steelworker, like so many local men, his Granda, at six foot nine inches, not an ounce of fat on him and a tea-total-ler, stuck out like a sore thumb in Lanarkshire the land of the ubiquitous five foot five male. Rob, even at only ten, had taken a stretch in height this past year and was already towering over most of his year group in school. He’d have been happy to have inherited only his build from the old man.

Granda Hamilton had suffered a series of mental breakdowns from his fifties onwards, hallucinating and fantasising events that Rob’s father had told him couldn’t possibly have occurred. Granda had deteriorated to the point where he couldn’t tell what was real from what wasn’t in five short years and been confined to a hospital for his own safety by Rob’s dad. The phrase bi-polar had been used in Rob’s house when discussing his granda.

With his granda always in his mind Rob had vowed to ignore the growing detachment he was feeling and follow his best friends and sisters’ example, throwing himself into as many friendships and experiences as he could regardless of how out of place he may feel.

After finding his parents’ room empty Rob searched the house. He searched every room, every cupboard, drawer, pantry, bathroom and the garden and its shed outside. Rob even clambered up into the small attic. Initially he was looking for his parents but when he decided that they weren’t there to be found he began looking for a note. He didn’t find his parents or a note explaining their absence.

All of their drawers and cupboards still contained all of their belongings. Jewellery and toiletries, shoes and coats, dad’s asthma inhaler, all of it was where it should be. The house was exactly as it had been the night before when they’d all went to bed enjoying the afterglow of a much needed family evening full of affection. Even the car was still outside. The only thing that was missing from the house was them.

They must have had an emergency or something. With no close relatives in the area (apart from their granda) Rob could think of no one to call. Figuring that all would be fine later in the day he woke Claire, explained that their parents had got up and gone out early to work and that they had to get ready and go to school.  When the school day was over and the twins returned home the house still lay empty. It stayed that way for the next day and the day after that.

On Sunday evening Rob called the police. He and Claire left their little house on Liberty Road for the last time that evening. Claire holding a female police officer’s hand, crying for her mum and dad; Rob trailing behind, face of stone, completely certain (as only a child can be) that they had left because of him; because they knew like everyone else did that he wasn’t “right”.  That he didn’t belong.

Chapter Two

Arif

Azam Ali hurried through the busy, familiar streets of Battersea, SW London, gently pushing past and apologising to other commuters in his thick London accent as he did so. Normally, on any other day Azam would happily wander along, content to be carried along with the flow of traffic, usually on the journey between his little newsagents and home, a little ground floor, two bedroom rental. Today however was a not a normal day for Azam.

Sure for millions of others it was just Sunday; just another Sunday in the last days of March. Sundays were for relaxing, for reading the papers (in his case selling them) and having Sunday roast. Most places were closed on a Sunday. Maybe it was special for some people, an anniversary, visiting family or church  or whatever but really, what ever happened on a Sunday?

For Azam this Sunday was a very important day indeed and today he wasn’t walking the two blocks to his shop. Today he was taking public transport. Today, on a Sunday, the second generation of Ali to be born in England was on his way to meet his parents.

…………………………………….

Nae’body’s Hero will be published in December 2012.

In the meantime try Bobby’s Boy, Mark Wilson’s Debut novel where Rob makes a brief cameo. Available now as en Ebook or Paperback.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343918174&sr=8-1

Book Competition – Free Paperback of Bobby’s Boy

To celebrate the release of Bobby’s Boy as a Paperback and thank everyone for their support, I’m giving away 5 signed copies. To enter visit the Facebook page and click like. Everyone who likes the FB page is entered in the draw. I’ll pick the 5 winners on Saturday 16th June and post their free copies to them. A handful of people who have helped me along the way will also recive a free copy each. I’ll contact everyone soon for addresses.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-Mr-Mark-Wilson/dp/1477532781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338829846&sr=1-1

http://www.facebook.com/BobbysBoy

The Raised by Allen Renfro – Review

The Raised by Allen Renfro is one hell of a book. I really struggled with it at first. I struggled to figure out: Who was narrating? Where and when was it set? What was all the tension? Why did I feel so damn itchy and uncomfortable when I read it?

I picked the book up, read for a bit, put it down in…..frustration I suppose. There were so many questions presented in the first few pages. So many threads. Then Renfro started weaving a truly fantastic tale from the seemingly random elements. Essentially, Allen makes a clean and flawless tapestry of a novel from those scraggy threads.

I suppose that with the last few busy years of being a new father spent squeezing in and reading unchallenging escapist type novels I’d grown used to formulaic, easy to read, spoon fed, unimaginative and derivative stories. Allen Renfro’s novel is none of these things. Allen unfolds a wonderfully textured story with all the skill and confidence of a seasoned novelist in the mould of Anne Rice. It seems effortless to the man.

In The Raised we are introduced to one of the most truly fucked-up families in fiction who lie, manipulate, murder and abuse each other throughout the book. The story is told over years and through the viewpoint of several central characters, each impressing their own reactions to and interpretation of shared events. Depsite viewing this converging story from different characters’ POV and from different points in time, the story is never repetitive. Quite a feat when using this sort of mechanism.

Allen is a word-artist. He paints vivid and beautiful scenes with letters splashed on the page with seeming ease, but also with intent and precision. Whilst he describes scenes, settings, rooms and people with great accuracy and feeling, he never labours the point. Some writers have you skipping long monologues when trying to be descriptive. Renfro has such skill (the bastard) that he simply transports you right there to stand shoulder to shoulder with his protagonists.

The real strength that Allen Renfro possesses is in his understanding of and empathy with people and in his ability to convey these complex emotions to the reader. He deals with many complex relationships between his characters with ease, gradually making us hate/love/fear/pity these very real-feeling people. Allen has immense insight into the inner workings of what makes humans tick and an understanding of peoples’ emotions that only someone who had suffered, loved, or lost in some way would be able to identify and convey in the manner he does. In an age of two-dimensional characters littered throughout the literary, and movie media, Allen gives us properly human characters. Ones with many conflicting sides to them, who aren’t perfect, pouting demigods but truly flawed.

This type of book is really not in my usual genre, but on this occaission I was deeply relieved to take the detour and discover that an obviously lovely man is also such a gifted writer.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Raised-ebook/dp/B005SJSXYI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1338569714&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/The-Raised-ebook/dp/B005SJSXYI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338569769&sr=1-1

Parallel-The Awakening by Paul A Rice Book Review

This is not a book that I’d normally pick up, being in the genre that it is, but the author seemed a good bloke on twitter so I gave it a bash.

Within 2 chapters, I hated the book. I was confused as to what was happening and felt no real interest in the subject matter, but as I said, I’m in unfamiliar country with this genre and  something kept me reading, (namely the fact that this guy can write)  and boy I’m glad that I did.

Paul Rice brings humour, action, heart, pace and honest to God excitement to the reader with this novel. Paul describes scenes with no nonsense, succinct sentences, giving exactly what you need to paint an image of the scene, setting or character in your mind, and not a lick more.

Paul makes the two main characters in this book, Mike and Ken (never thought I’d read a story with an awesome hero called Kenneth in it, don’t they usually collect stamps or something those Kenneth-types?), real and vulnerable and the confusion they share about their predicament helped push me onwards.
The most visible villain of the piece, Red, is one nasty good ol’ boy, who’d be just at home in the gator-filled swamps of wherever, picking his teeth with the rib of an unidentified animal while gloating about what deep shit you were in. Loved this character. the fight scene with Red and Ken was fantastic and reminded me of the great sort of description you’d find in a Try Denning light sabre duel scene.
My only real beef with this book is that I wanted to know more about the characters, as not much of a backstory was supplied. Having said that, doing so may have affected the perfect pace of the book adversely. I’ll look forward, hopefully to meeting these guys again in later books and finding out a bit more about them.
The ending of the book (which I won’t spoil) was perfect, and as anyone who has read my own book will know is right up my street. Paul executes what could be a let down of an ending masterfully, and the tone is just perfect.
In lesser hands a book of this type in this genre would have lost me very quickly, not so with Paul Rice’s wonderfully book.  Sneaks up and grabs you by the gentleman regions.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005FL2I9K/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

 

Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry – Review

Engaging, human, exciting, character-driven, beautifully written. Fine work sir.

The author exposes the fragility of human decency and the simplicity and ease with which people may sink to the depths of evil wonderfully.

Throughout these books Mr Maberry develops his characters in a wonderfully human and believable way, despite the unreal setting and extraordinary trials they face. The obvious villains he presents us with in Charlie pinke-eye’s brood are just the rotten face of the “ordinary” men and women of Benny and Tom’s fenced community, the truest perpetuators of misery in the tale. The analogies in this book between modern developed nations and third world countries are obvious to me, and very enjoyable.

Benny Imura is a potentially unforgettable hero in the making, to rival even his supernaturally cool brother Tom. Benny’s development has been funny, touching, hard to read, and wonderful to see.

I simply cannot wait to meet these characters again, who already feel like old friends, in the third book. When I grow up, Iwantto write like Jonathan Maberry .
Just read it. You won’t regret it, but first pick up Rot & Ruin, the 1st book where you’ll meet Benny and Tom Imura, the lost girl and all the rest.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005H2HOCS/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

Excerpt From my Bio – Paddy’s Daddy

Most readers of this blog will be unaware that I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life (from 10 years old). It’s kind of the family business. I wrote a short Autobiography detailing my recovery from depression as a series of short stories, collected as the book “Paddy’s Daddy”. I’ve included an the introduction and Chapter 1 of the title short story. As always, all feedback, questions and comments welcome:

Introduction

 

With the exception of the first story, Paddy’s Daddy, the following stories and articles were written as part of my recovery after twenty five years of moderate and severe depression. They detail exactly how I felt at the time they were written, although in some cases, my views have certainly changed since.

 

I’ve found great comfort and a healthy outlet in writing regularly these past two years since reaching rock-bottom, in terms of my mental health, and seeking treatment. I’ve recently completed my first fictional novel “Bobby’s Boy”, which was released on April 7th 2012, and I’m currently working on three more novels including a Christmas 2012 release for “Nae’body’s Hero”. I promise that those novels have all been edited to a much stricter standard than the series of short stories you hold now.

This book contains all of my favourite stories and the ones which helped empty my cluttered head exactly as they were at the time of writing. They are deliberately unedited and unpolished in any way as reflects the author at the time of writing.

 

Men, in particular, have a hard time admitting that they have a problem with mental illness and that need they need help. They have a harder time still accepting that help. Suicide is a real risk for people who feel that alone. I hope some of you find comfort in my stories and take solace in the knowledge that you’re not the only one to feel the way that you do and in that it is just a moment in time. The clouds will part again at some point with the right help. Life can be good again. You can be yourself once more.

 

Mark Wilson

March 25th 2012

 

 

Paddy’s Daddy

 

1

 

Early Days

 

My earliest memory is of lying in my bed cuddled with my older sister Julie, listening to my mum and dad arguing downstairs. This wasn’t an uncommon thing at all and we had been creeping in and out of each other’s beds to comfort one another for as long as I could recall. No kid likes to listen to their parents argue and our parents could argue and fight like champions. Bangs, crashes, curses and flat, wet thumps of what we presumed were fists reached our ears on nights like these. I never got used to hearing it.

Invariably, in the morning, mum would be found cleaning something up. Coffee stains from walls, food from the carpet. We helped. She hid bruises (I think) behind her hair and made jokes about the mess. She relaxed us somehow every single time. It was normal to us this life. Mum made it normal for us and made it seem like it was nothing. She shielded us from the wrongness of it all. We, the kids, just didn’t know any better. I was three (I think).

 

Years passed and despite these occasions we were a happy family much of the time, so far as I could make out. I certainly didn’t feel like I had a care in the world and expressed my independence and opinion without encouragement and frequently. I had so much fun all of the time and was truly carefree.  Julie was always a little more introspective and took a role as my carer and protector. I did not appreciate her love one little bit. What kid does appreciate love? They just expect it, if they’re lucky. I remember many happy times in those years. I recall trips to the cinema, family seaside visits, racing with dad, visits to my gran’s and cuddles with my mum. We were a happy family once, depending on what mood daddy was in.

Dad had been an alcoholic for as long as I could remember. He was drunk, a lot, and a nasty drunk at that. He was mainly a functioning alcoholic, holding down a job at the steelworks (he was a hard worker actually, never a lazy man) but going on benders for several days at as time then weeks would go past alcohol-free. Always he would turn back to it again at some point in those days. He was also a fighter. My dad didn’t give a damn for anyone’s opinion, needs or wants when drinking. In later years, as I became a man and had rare encounters with dad, invariably he’d be drunk and invariably he’d want to fight me. When sober, he was the most affectionate man I’ve ever known, constantly throwing arm around or a kiss at his children. I began to resent the unpredictability of his moods and eventually stayed away, treating what was genuine affection as guilt-inspired bullshit.

 

When I reached seven and Julie nine, our lives changed forever with our removal from the family home. Mum came to school in the middle of the school day to collect us. With a taxi full of our belongings,  a swinging budgie cage and one confused kid (I knew what was happening and saw it as a big adventure), she drove us to a homeless unit in Wishaw five miles away. It might as well have been another planet to us.

Mum took to her bed for a whole month when we reached the unit. She was going cold turkey, coming off her anti-depressants in one swoop, rather than weaning herself slowly off.  She wanted to draw a line under the life she’d just escaped from and to have every trace and dependency gone I suppose. As a result she was useless to us. I’ve no idea what Julie did in those weeks, I saw her rarely. I was too busy splitting my time between being mum’s therapist and learning how to fight, courtesy of gangs of bullies who didn’t like homeless kids. These lessons came in useful in subsequent years with the many changes of school that came along.

Mum had been abused over and over again as a child, physically and mentally by a violent and controlling father and sexually by a relative. She’d been broken again and again and was easily controlled by the vindictive, violent bully that my father became when he was drinking. In recent months, she had sought solace (and love I suppose) in the arms of a work colleague, but made a point of stressing to me and Julie that this man was not the reason that she had left our dad. As if we needed to be told that. I knew all of this because mum told me all of it. She needed to talk to, someone to confide in . I’d rather not have known.

Despite all I knew about him, and mum made sure that Julie and I heard everything bad she could remember about our father, I still loved and missed my dad enormously. I called him every day from a little phone box,  a mile  or so from the homeless unit, using five and ten pence pieces that I’d scavenged from the ground outside the local pubs. I talked to dad for hours some days, avoiding his many questions about where we were and who mum was with. I also ignored his assertions of what a hoor my mother was, mumbling “uh huh” to placate him then asking questions of my own to change the subject. If he was drunk when I called, I’d hang up and call back the next day. I sat on the little shelf, highup from the floor, in that phone box so often and for so long that it became the most comfortable 6×9 sheet of metal in the world.

Thankfully, we moved out of that unit and into somewhere back in our hometown within a five month period.

 

Mum continued to lean on her children for years and mum and dad both ramped up their efforts to turn both Julie and I against the other parent and ultimately each other. Despite this, I was happy in our new place had made a new best friend in Mark O’Donnell (a shared interest in comics is important when you’re seven, and still important when you’re thirty-seven) and was popular in school. It didn’t last. Several months after a visit to London, to see mum’s sister Irene and her new husband John, we got ourselves a new step-dad. I went into my mum’s bedroom in our little flat in the “Jewel Scheme” to find some toy or other. As I entered the room a familiar looking guy with a moustache dived under the covers, hiding from me. I ran through to the living room to tell my mum that a man who looked like my uncle john was in the flat. She laughed.  Uncle John became our step-dad and the largest factor in destroying my self-esteem and splitting up our little family of three for good.

Mum and John had a baby not long after, Joanne. Our new family moved to a small village in South Lanarkshire. I settled well there eventually. Julie hated it. Lots of events happened in our house in those days; destruction of personal items, arguments, beatings, and humiliations. Eventually Julie went back to Bellshill to live with my dad and his new wife Liz.  Far away from everything I knew and after losing my sister, my protector,  I changed completely in those years.

The cocky little shite of a boy I’d been was gradually replaced by a quiet, introspective, circumspect bag of nerves whose self-esteem was crushed into nothing under the heel of a step-father who seemed determined to ignore me and mock me in equal doses. Mum turned a blind eye.  All of her fight had long since left her. A man like my step-father who was “nice” to her was a god-send, I think, for her.  I kept my head down, my mouth shut and stayed in my room. I gained weight and lost confidence daily. I avoided contact with people as often as I could. I spent days in my room. Looking back, it’s clear that this was the beginning of my depression.

Strangely enough I wasn’t all that bothered or surprised by the blackness that now followed me everywhere. After hearing of the suicides, incestuous rapes, abusive patriarchs and severe manic depressives in my mother’s family for half my life, I just sort of accepted that I’d carry some sort of mental illness in my genes. I decided that the best I could do was self-diagnose and self-treat for as long as I could.  I managed to live a life using this strategy for the next twenty-five years.

You can read more by by purchasing Paddy’s Daddy on Amazon for only 77p at present.

The power of the Indie-Author

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago titled “why I self published”. I’ve never regretted the decision to do so, my primary reason being to maintain full creative control over my books. Today gave me a timely reminder of why I chose this route.

My debut novel, Bobby’s Boy, has received many positive reviews and comments (phew).However, almost all my readers who have loved the content and my writing (phew) have hated the books’ ending.

This didn’t surprise me. I went back and forth between two alternate endings to the book many times, settling finally on the ending I thought readers would want rather than what my gut told me was right.

The power I have as an Indie-Author is that I can respond to my gut instinct and my readers instantly. I can made instant changes that suit me, my book and most importantly, the readers.

This complete and immediate control over our work is our main advantage as independents.

Mon’ the Indie-Authors.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bobbys-Boy-ebook/dp/B007SGTHVC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1336674081&sr=1-1