Preview: dEaDINBURGH: Alliances (Din Eidyn Corpus Book 2)

Throughout dEaDINBURGH: Book 2 I’ve placed interludes, following the development of Stephanie, Alys Shephard’s cousin, and how she deals with the vents of Book 1. In this scene, Steph- after months of hard combat and survival training with her aunt- has decided to leave The Gardens.

*The following excerpt is pre-edit and contains Book 1 Spoilers*

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This is how it feels to be Stephanie.

My cousin, Alys and my friend Joey MacLeod have returned from the south. They found no cure and almost killed the madman who took my eye. Almost….. Such a small, limiting word with such infinite potential. Alys, tired from her journey and debriefing, is asleep in another tent. Joey went to seek help from a friend. Lying surrounded by dozens of strong, highly trained women I’ve known my whole life, I’ve never felt so desperately separate. But I feel good too.

I feel alert, clear.

My legs are swift and strong as I slip silently from my tent. My mother lies sleeping soundlessly, confident in the security of her home, The Gardens. These delusions of contentment she taught me, that made me so weak. I’m done with them.

I crouch in the darkness of the early winter hours. Closing my eye, I increase my awareness of every little sound in The Gardens. Joey taught me to do this.

Focus on one sense at a time, close off the others and the one you need amplifies the world. I’ll never have the innate skill Joey has. He forged his senses over a decade and a half living in the infinite blackness of Mary King’s Close. I do well enough though.

I listen to the guards patrol their regular routes around the fences and gates. The rattle of the East gate tells me where Magda is. A crunch at the bottom of the North slope gives Helen away. Five other Ranger Guards broadcast their presence to me. I open my eyes and move silently on the balls of my feet, dancing between their sounds in the arms of the winter wind. Slipping through a gap between Helen and Samantha, I spider-crawl, low and quietly, my strong core muscles flexing and stretching, keeping me tight and able to stop on a hair if needed.

As I wait for two Rangers to pass by ten feet below me on the grassy slope, I smile a fraction of a smile, allowing myself to enjoy my hard-earned skills. I close my eye one more time, checking for trace movement or any guards I’ve missed.

All clear.

I’m entirely certain and infinitely confident in my assessment and use the three seconds I have to vault silently over the spiked iron fences, landing cat-like on Princes Street.

On the street I say a silent prayer of thanks that The Ringed are almost entirely absent, having been drawn North by a metallic giant collapsing. I feel, smooth, in control, powerful and strong, but I need more. More than I can have here.

End of Excerpt

dEaDINBURGH: Alliances (Din Eidyn Corpus Book 2) is due for publication by Paddy’s Daddy Publishing n March 23rd, 2015 and is available for pre-order at Amazon, US and UK.

* dEaDINBURGH: Vantage (Din Eidyn Corpus Book 1) is also available now on Kindle and as a paperback.

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Preview of dEaDINBURGH (Din Eidyn Corpus Book 2)

 

The following excerpt is taken from the upcoming second volume of the Din Eidyn Corpus.

*****MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD******

IFYOU HAVE NOT READ dEaDINBURGH: BOOK 1 DO NOT READ ON.

 

 

Din Eidyn Corpus Book 2 Will follow Alys and Joey directly after the events of book one, but will also show awider look at the outside world, beyond the dead city’s fences. As well as continuing Fraser Donnelly’s story, we’ll also see Michelle MacLeod (Joey’s mother) before she entered the dead city and discover how she came to be in amongst the dead.

Most of the information about the outside world will be relayed through a new character’s story arc. This is what follows:

 

dEaDINBURGH: Book 2 excerpt:

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 2051


 

Voiding the light breaking through the gap in his curtains, Jack squinted at his Holo-Screen, blinking the fog from his eyes. Seven a.m.

He’d been playing the dEaDINBURGH: Lair of The Ringed video game since midnight. Since the feed had been cut from the live show. He flicked his finger across the air in front of him, causing the UKBC screen to pop up. The countdown until the feed re-connected sat at 00:15. Just fifteen more minutes until they had the show back onscreen in full High-Def Holo-Image. Jack saved his progress and kicked at the desk in front of him, sending his ergonomic chair scooting backwards through the pile of empty energy drink cans and takeaway boxes littered across the carpet of his living room.

Scratching at his crotch with his right hand, he lifted his left arm and sniffed at his arm-pit, screwing his face up at the sourness. Should have time for a shower if I get a move on. Jack stood with a groan in protest at the crack of his knees. It’d been a while since he’d had quite so long a session on the game. Scooping a handful of Cheesey-Puffs off of the desk and into his mouth he headed to the apartment’s little shower cube.

 

As he sang from the shower, the dEaDINBURGH theme began blasting from the surround sound speakers, eliciting a whoop of delight from him as he barrelled from the bathroom, not bothering to dry himself, body wobbling back into his still-warm chair.

Leaning forward he made a little gesture, enlarging the screen and scanned the info-bar along the bottom of the page to catch any updates. There were too many to read so Jack flicked at finger at the Holo-Screen, bringing up a highlights reel on a smaller screen within the main one. Whilst the main screen flickered into life, he flicked his eyes from the main image to the highlights feed, gleaning everything he could about what had happened to his favourite Survivors during the feed-loss.

Suzy-Wheels, Danny McGhee and Jennifer Shephard, his main characters, all were more or less where they’d been when the feed had cut twelve hours earlier. Jack flicked at the screen a few more times, bringing up images of one of the less popular and least-covered Survivors he’d been following.

Joey MacLeod’s face filled the frame. Jack liked this kid. He’d begun to get a little more airtime recently, mostly because he’d been in a few scraps with The Ringed of late. Jack remembered him from the episodes where he’d left The Brotherhood a few years back, with the old Padre.

Padre Jock had been a favourite of Jack’s as a kid. As a Zom-Hunter and one of the most colourful characters on the show, he’d had a huge chunk of airtime over the years and had consistently been in the top-ten Survivors chart for over twenty years. When he’d been killed by Bracha, Jack had shed a few tears for the old man who seemed as intricately tied to the show as its theme tune to a generation who’d grown up watching him. Three years later, Jack still felt grief whenever he looked at one of the many images of Jock on mugs, posters, T-shirts and other merchandise around his home. Jack had a massive poster of Jock over his bed, a scene from the show, showing a young Jock, blades flashing, Silencing five Zombies. It bore the legend: Running rings around The Ringed. One of Jack’s online friends had a tattoo in the shape of the characteristic Ring o’ Roses rash of The Ringed.

Many of Jock’s fans had now latched onto the eighteen year old the old preacher had trained out of the need for a connection to the familiarity of the Padre. Aside from that, they’d grown to know and love Joey during his time with Padre Jock.

The screen showed Joey and Alys, both shot from behind, in a large open field. Joey had his bow over his back and was following along behind Jennifer’s daughter. They looked tired and were both covered in a grey dust. Jack watched as the cameras zoomed out, revealing a mass of Zoms spilling out into the field from a cycle path and a little clearing in a woodland. From the trail in the long grass, it was obvious that the teens had come from the Zom-infested area.

It was a beautiful shot, so much so that it moved Jack to click the little thumbs-up icon at the corner of the screen. He was only the hundredth to do so. It made him feel a part of something special, that he was amongst the first to see the beauty in the photography.

Wondering how the teens had survived the massive congregation of Zoms and why the infected weren’t pursuing them, he whirled the highlights footage over to the main screen and began searching through it, hoping that he hadn’t missed something special. He looked at the view counter at the edge of the highlights screen.

One View. A single viewer besides him.

Jack felt a thrill surge through him and clicked the thumbs-up icon, making himself the second person to have done so. As the images moved he watched amazed as Joey and Alys moved like crowd-surfers along a mass of the dead. They seemed completely calm, so at ease. Jack he’d never seen anything like it. Nobody had.

As the scene progressed, it was suddenly cut with footage from earlier in the day. They had battled hundreds of the dead in that same clearing, Joey in a tree firing arrows and Alys a demon with her twin Sai. It was astounding and contrasted so sharply with the serenity of the previous footage that Jack felt a prickle all over his skin.

He watched Joey and Alys’ Survivor ratings rocket from the around 10,000 straight to position two and one, respectively. Realisation suddenly made him jerk in his seat. He motioned at the screen and watched as his viewer rating appeared. Last night he’d been in the upper ten-million region. A respectable position for someone in Kent. The total viewing figures worldwide for dEaDINBURGH were at around four billion.

Due to his early support for Joey, and lifelong support of Jock, he’d voted and thumbed-up Jock hundreds of times, maybe thousands in his lifetime, Jack’s Viewer Rating would receive a boost. Factor in his support of Alys by proxy of being a Jennifer Shephard supporter and combined with this morning’s early acknowledgement of both the live-feed and the highlights package, and Jack’s viewer rating should be at an all-time high, perhaps top one million.

Jack blinked in disbelief as he looked at the numbers. His rating had been propelled to top 500, worldwide. Number 1 in Europe.

His Holo-Screen suddenly lit up with emails, messages and invitations regarding  interviews, expert analysis, insights. He was being lined up for a series of appearances across some of the biggest shows on the network and a clutch of major blogs and newsfeeds.

Messages of congratulations from his network-family scrolled across his screen. In one minute he’d gone from being another nobody, an above-average fan who spent a little too much time watching the most-watched Holo-programme on the planet, one of those guys who haunted the thousands of fan-sites and pages looking for insights and extra-footage, to the hottest viewer-consultant in Europe.

He’d always known that he was someone special. Always felt that he was destined for something better than his current station in life. Something that made him worthy of the name he carried. This was it. Finally.

Jack Thatcher glanced down quickly at his mostly-naked, wet body, edges of the towel barely meeting around and under his belly. He gave a curt, decisive nod, to himself. Time to get sorted. The first thing I’ll do is get that liposuction and a skin removal. And my teeth. Get my teeth fixed.

With the kudos and the money that’d be coming his way, it was time to get himself together.

Rising from his seat, he stopped for a second, lifted his right thigh a little and expelled a cloud of gas before heading to his wardrobe. Drying off, he sniffed at then  pulled on a pair of reasonably clean sweatpants, figuring that he’d aim the Holo-Camera from the waist up. Best to be comfortable.

Jack then pulled on an old dEaDINBURGH T-shirt his dad had given him on his thirtieth birthday, with an image of Jock in full Plague-Doctor outfit on the front. It felt a little tight, but familiar.

Striding back through to take his seat, he flicked open the Comm for his first interview with an American news network, allowing himself to enjoy a moment of satisfaction at finding his rightful place.

He smiled warmly and connected his call.

 

END OF EXCERPT

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dEaDINBURGH (Din Eidyn Corpus) Book: 1 (and Mark’s Lanarkshire Strays collection) are available now as a paperback and on kindle at Amazon, US and Amazon, UK.

Consumed by Kyle M Scott – Review and Mini-Interview

Strong language follows:

As Kyle and I are Alumni of Bellshill Academy, Lanarkshire. (We don’t use that term, Alumni. Anyone who attended said school in the 90s would perhaps be more comfortable with the label ‘fellow survivor’. Alumni suggests that something constructive took place. It did not.)

As a fellow survivor who has also found himself writing in middle-age, I wanted to introduce you to Kyle Scott, Bellshill man, demented horror writer and political activist.

The only problem is that Kyle’s a wee shite. As eager as I am to tell you how good his first offering as a writer is (and it is good, very good), I can’t get past the fact that he’s a total wank.
In all honesty, I’m gutted at how good Consumed, his debut collection is. I’d much rather he kept his writing to himself and his stupid pointy-nosed gimp face off my newsfeed, but he’s got me hanging around like a crack-whore waiting on my next fucking hit.

With that in mind, here’s a short interview followed by my review of Consumed:

1)
Who the fuck do you think you are? You’re supposed to be a Scottish writer; where’s the clichéd drunks, wife beaters, drug addicts, dole scroungers and other Begbie-derived lunatics. There’s not even any fucking football thugs. Writing a genuinely intelligent, caustic social commentary in the guise of a horror anthology, you cheeky bastard. Whadafuck?

Thanks for having me, dick-stick.

Well, I figured seeing’ as all you other Scottish authors are sucking Satan’s cock and being as clichéd and half-hearted in your literature as the world expects you to be, I’d break the trend and actually write something good. I know this may come as a shock to you talentless no-names, but there’s a whole world out there that isn’t soaked in Buckfast or smack. I’m thinking maybe if you pull your heads out your asses, you may be able to write something halfway decent. I mean, most of you can string a sentence together, sort of. Did you know, Mark, that there are oceans out there? And birds? Trees and mountains and shit? Varying cultures with their own rich heritage?
I shit you not!
They’re all pish compared to Scotland, but still…

2)
Everyone from your school days remembers you as a long-fringed, spaced out, hippy fuck with a carpet-coat and pish-stains on your baggy Benzini jeans, plodding along with rainbows spreading out from your footprints. What happened to the chilled out, pishy-pants of old. How’d he end up being a horror writer?

While the rest of you losers were roaming the halls with your Armani jeans and your Jazzie B records, your superior, (me), was busy using a variety of chemical enhancements on myself – much like a superhero or some sort of awesome fucking wizard – to reach a spiritual realm the likes of which you scabby little shitheels could only dream, were you not all too busy wanking off into jam-jars, or studying for your ‘education’.
Even then, I knew you cretins would fuel my inner rage. It was either write horror or take you all to the fucking cleaners!

2)
In Consumed, the violence is described in a wonderfully graphic manner but your sex scenes are awesome. I cracked a forty-percenter several times. As you’re celibate, did you get a friend to help research the act of love?

I had sex once! Don’t you dare say I didn’t, because I did! Also, there’s only one sex scene, so why don’t you admit that you read it repeatedly while shaking yer sausage, like you were looking in my window – circa 1990. I only became celibate because I’d rather stick my dick in an operating blender than squander my sexual prowess on you lowlifes.

3)
I know you’re terrified of hard work, you lazy little piss-flap. How’d you get your shit together long enough to put Consumed together, let alone recently complete your first full-length novel, Devil’s Day?

My shit wasn’t together, and no one can say it was! I was on a heady concoction of Blue Meth, LSD and Fairy Liquid, while writing Consumed. The process went on for twenty years, and while I can’t remember writing any of it, or even know what the fuck it’s about, I’m positive it’s the best book ever written by anyone in the history of ever!
Except for my new book, Devil’s Day, which is better than life!

Thanks for the interview, Dickbag.

Fuck you and your interview. I’m off to find my dealer…..

Cover Image for Consumed

Cover Image for Consumed

Review of Consumed by Kyle M Scott, Avalable now at Amazon, US and Amazon, UK

Some people bring out the absolute worst in a person. You know the type, right?
The hipster in his post-ironic, Wall Street braces and bow tie standing statue-still, thoughtfully playing with his post-ironic beard or his faux-NHS specs at the front of your favourite band’s gig. Dancing never occurring to the bastard.

The dickhead who puts spikes out to deprive the homeless of a good-night’s sleep, defending a 6 foot by three foot slab of rock he calls his.
NO?
How about the asshole correspondent on regional BBC news who gets you pebble-dashing your TV screen with your morning cereal as he’s telling you that a hundred people marched in your city centre protesting Israel’s war on Palestine when you witnessed 10,000 with your own eyes.

If not those, then the best friend who talks you into one more drink/bar/gamble/lap dance
and takes a step to the side to photograph your inevitable meltdown. That guy, yeah, him.

Kyle Scott is such a creature. With his debut work he effortlessly takes you to places you don’t wish to go or acknowledge that you have tucked away in the darkest, most twisted corridors of your mind. All that shit that you ignore or hide, to blend in with the other fucks all around you all doing the same damn thing. This heartless fucker spares nothing in stripping bare the very best and the very worst of humanity in both everyday and supremely horrific acts.

Kyle knows which buttons to push, the sick bastard has pushed most of those buttons in his own damaged wee psyche, so he knows how to fuck you in the head. He knows which threads to pull at and he knows how to make you invest yourself in a story or a character, how to force you to recoil in horror, sneer in derision and smile or laugh sadistically when you know you shouldn’t.

Always graphic, his narrative slowly picks away at the scabby veneer of each of his cast to reveal their true depravity or heroism or weakness. He strips the poor souls of their illusions and drops the veil of society, presenting them with a moment to rise, fall or be devoured-sometimes literally. He’s a sick fuck, this guy, but his real strength, if you can call sadism a strength, is in conveying- in revealing- the true monsters lurking behind society.

Kyle explores consumerism at its most base and engages the reader’s brain without ever descending into preachy rhetoric. This subtle tugging at the reader’s sensibilities and values, coupled with the effective characterisation and incredibly descriptive acts of brutality, propels and plummets the reader through this collection at breakneck speed and makes him/her squirm in recognition of their own flaws. In Scott’s second short, ‘Shopping’ he uses this skill to great effect, presenting us with his most tragic, simple, heroically honest character in the form of a hideously misshapen cannibal named Roland on a shopping trip.

He’s a manipulative little bastard, Kyle Scott. You’ve been warned.

dEaDINBURGH Novel – Preview

I’m currently writing the dEaDINBURGH trilogy. Here’s a wee excerpt, cast bios and Plot summary.
All text is copyright of Mark Wilson 2013

Excerpt:

Joey regained consciousness and became slowly aware that he was still on the grass, beneath her. She hadn’t left him. Whirling, jabbing her Sai, leaping and kicking, she was a lethal whirlwind of blows and strikes and death. Inches from his prone body she did what had to be done. That’s what she always did. He rolled over from his back onto his side, curled his body inward and ripped off his right shoe. On glance at the red stain blossoming out across the fabric of his sock from the big toe of his foot told him that it was all over. He watched it spread detachedly, noting to himself how like a poppy it looked with his toe at the centre of the blood flower. Why is she still here?
Glancing across at his left hand, he noticed that the injury he’d taken there, was bleeding freely also.
Trying to stand, he braced himself with the palm of his right hand pressed into the mud and blood, but found that his legs weren’t listening and crumpled back to the ground. He tried twice more to stand before she kneed him in the shoulder, knocking him back to a curled position. She’d fought hard and made a three second gap in the fight to turn her attention to him. Three seconds was three times as many as she’d need, but that’s how she was; well prepared. He’d taught her that.
Instead of the terror he’d expected when this moment came, a peaceful acceptance slid over him. He didn’t raise his hands to protect himself and he didn’t close his eyes. Placing one foot either side of him in a strike position, she drew her third Sai, the deadliest, swirled it around in her palm to a stabbing position and threw herself at him. As she struck, he did close his eyes. Not for himself, not to welcome the black darkness he still missed from Mary King’s Close, but for her. She shouldn’t have to look in his eyes as she killed him.
Thank you, Alys, Joey’s voice whispered inside his head. Outside, Joseph MacLeod was still.

End of excerpt.

Cast:

Joseph MacLeod:

Born onto the cobbles of the Royal Mile, Joey lives with a religious cult named The Brotherhood of Elisha. We meet Joey at 15 years old. The Brotherhood resides in the crypts of Mary King’s Close and worship the walking dead, who they call The Children of Elisha. They have taken a vow of silence and feed the dead by filling troughs with their blood. They inhale desiccated zombie flesh in ceremonies called Communion and believe this makes them closer to the Children of Elisha. The Brotherhood walk among the dead unharmed, believing that their religion makes the Children of Elisha ignore them.

Joey has grown up in darkness and silence but secretly leaves the crypts to visit the esplanade at Edinburgh castle, where he practices archery and parkour. His bow, a takedown, recurve bow made from carbon fibre was left in his chambers along with a quiver-full of carbon fibre arrows when he was ten years old. He doesn’t know where it came from and is his only possession. He’s taken under the wing of Padre Jock after saving the older man from an unseen Zom.

Joey dresses in slim black denims, close fitting thumb-hole long-sleeve black ribbed top, and leather jacket. He always wears hiking boots. Joey has blonde, tangled hair and green eyes.

Alys Shephard:

Alys was also born in the city but lives in Princes Street Gardens with a community of female farmers. No men live in the community as they were banished a decade before. The residents believe that the men are weak and dangerous in their weakness, but share their harvest of crops with the Brotherhood who are their nearest neighbours.

Alys is tough, lethally clever and has been trained since she was a toddler to fight zoms. She is an expert gymnast and fights with three Sai. Two are blunt and one, tucked in her belt, has been sharpened. She has black hair, green eyes and is stunning. She is slightly taller than Joey although the same age. Very lean and athletic. Alys treats Joey with disdain, like a cross between a pitiable idiot and a risk. Alys’ mother is leader of the farming community and is very demanding of her daughter. Alys’ father ‘left some years ago’ according to her mother.

Padre Jock:

In his sixties, Jock was sealed in with the other residents of Edinburgh when the mutant plague hit and the dead claimed the city in 2015. A former marine chaplain, Jock has fought in many wars and is an expert hand to hand combatant. He lives in the crypt with the Brotherhood, but does not subscribe to their dogma. Jock protects the Brotherhood by hunting and killing the strongest and most dangerous zoms that come too close to the fenced area. He watches over Joey but does not speak to him until the boy saves him one afternoon on a hunting trip. After this encounter, he begins teaching Joey to hunt zoms. Jock wears his dog-collar with a black shirt, dark blue denims and cowboy boots. He wears biker leathers, gloves and boots to go hunting. He also wears the mask of a plague doctor when hunting, discovered in the crypts of Mary King’s Close.

Fraser Donnelly (Joey’s Dad):

TV exec in the outside world. Very wealthy, very clever. Very unlike Joey in appearance

Somna:

A handsome, madman who cut off his own eyelids, perpetuating the myth that he never sleeps. He calls himself Somna and cuts the eyelids from his victims, keeping them in an ironically cheery, ‘I love Edinburgh’ bum-bag around his waist. Somna is obsessed with his looks and wears slim-cut suits and styles his hair in the fashion on his celebrity king, a zom whom he worships.

Plot:

dEaDINBURGH will be set over three books and focuses on a group of survivors quarantined in the former city of Edinburgh.

In 1615 a large group of plague victims were sealed in the crypts of Mary King’s Close, an underground town beneath the cobbles of Edinburgh. The city council took the measure to isolate the plague victims with the intention of protecting the uninfected populace. The people of Mary King’s Close were sealed in and forgotten about. The plague mutated underground for hundreds of years and some plague victims became something other than human. Undead, shuffling through the dark crypts racked by a 400 year hunger.

On New Year’s Day 2015, the city leaders opened the Close, with the intention of erecting a memorial to the ancient plague victims and using the Close for tourism. The Close’ residents poured out from their tomb and spread the new plague through the city.

Within a day, many of Edinburgh’s residents were infected. Within a week, the UK government, recruiting the armed forces had erected a huge and extensive fence, quarantining the city. Edinburgh is declared an official no-man’s land; a dead zone, its residents left for dead and to the dead. The remaining uninfected struggle to survive in a city of walking corpses.

The dEaDINBURGH trilogy will be published in May/June 2014 by Paddy’s Daddy Publishing. You can find mark’s books and other great titles there.

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