Sunday, 13 May 2018

What Price Freedom? New book, out June 14th. THE MARSH PEOPLE

JUNE 14th - Book Launch

NEW BOOK COMING RIGHT UP! THE MARSH PEOPLE. Dystopian fantasy for adults at your fingertips from Victorina Press

The idea for this book came after I'd been reading Seligman's experiments on Learned Helplessness. He found that dogs became used to restricted uncomfortable conditions and when given a mild electric shock if they tried to escape became apathetic and accepting of their lot. When it became possible for them to escape and the electric stimuli were removed, most dogs were so cowed they stayed put. However, there were one or two dogs who saw a chance of freedom and risked all in order to escape.
As with Stockholm Syndrome, most of the dogs preferred being with their captors to risking their own freedom outside.

In the battle between the authoritarian, all powerful State and its imprisoned slaves, whose lives are controlled by The Masters, there are a few winners.
People have been rounded up from the villages by dogs controlled by the Masters and forced to live and work in bleak, prison-like apartments. Provided with basic food and shelter, they have little else, but like automatons, rarely do they rebel.
Scummo meets Kelpin. Her mother is dead. Scummo is moved to pity by this child, knowing that if she‘s taken to the Orphanage, she‘ll be killed. Risking all, he leaves the City taking her with him. They escape not knowing how they‘ll survive in the alien landscape outside. The invisible Masters watch their progress with interest.
The pair travel through marshy, giant eel-infested lands, eventually meeting others living as outsiders, with Bethyl as their leader. Life is uncomfortable and unpredictable, but they learn about freedom, co-operation and compassion and must fight for their survival at times when rival groups try to take over. The Masters watch them. A dystopian novel pitting outsiders against inhuman tyrants. Who will win?

If you enjoyed THE POISON GARDEN OF DORELIA JONES, you'll enjoy this book.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


A young man I shall call Robert knocked on my door today. I could see through the window he had a large bag with him and he had the restless twitchy movements of someone who is beginning to rattle and needs a fix though he could just have been nervous, of course. He introduced himself, and shook my hand. I knew what was coming:

He was just out of prison, selling cleaning goods for a company and trying to make some money "to keep myself out of trouble." He was edgy, but smiling, and his sales pitch pulled out all the stops. There were a couple of things I did need, as it happened, an ironing-board cover and a long handled duster. I could have bought them more cheaply from Wilko or the market, but I didn't. I bought them from him, partly so he'd go away with something and partly because I feel sorry for young people with messed up lives, and he was bright, energetic and polite and didn't sell us a sob story. The drug story is something else (if he is a user) and his to deal with, but as he talked I thought that he was typical of many young men I've come across who are trying to grow up without basic literacy or numeracy skills, family support or any prospect of earning a decent living. Drug use, prison, homelessness, broken relationships, no father worth the name, physical and sexual abuse - these are all part of the mix for these young men.

Yet some survive, even do well. They know a lifeline when they see one, and if the time is right can grab it and hold on.

The point is, though, the lifeline has to be there, and offered at the right time.

My latest book, THE MARSH PEOPLE is about people who take that chance, risking everything to begin a new way of life.

In my book Child With No Name (Kindle e-book) a true story, an orphaned child is found after the Boxing Day Tsunami in Banda Aceh. No-one knows who she is and her parents are dead. She speaks no language local aid workers recognise. But one young aid worker discovers her name and attempts a daring rescue - but I won't tell you the ending. It involves risk-taking and initiative.