Thursday, 4 October 2012

Looper - film review

Okay. Pay attention.

Ready?

A Looper is someone who lives in 'present day'.

Got it so far? Awesome.

In the future...Crime syndicates send people can for the Looper's to kill.

They just sort of 'ping-appear' in front of the Looper and the Looper shoots 'em dead. Simple.

However, things turn to crap when someone known as The Rainmaker wants to close all the loop-holes and starts to send back the future versions of The Loopers and that's the basics of this film:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is getting ready to terminate his new assignment when suddenly Bruce Willis (the future version of Joseph thanks to some clever and subtle make-up) appears in front of him. Naturally it's Bruce so he gets away and decides to hunt down The Rainmaker. He figures, kill The Rainmaker and Looper's will never get terminated meaning everyone can go on and live their lives in full and happiness. Or some bollocks like that.

Chased by the people who don't really fancy Future people running around the present, and chased by the present-day version of himself this is an intelligent film with good action, solid acting and a good story.

A little bit Sixth Sense (boy stuff) and a little bit Terminator (future dude tracking down people in present to save future blah blah) this is well worth catching at the cinema.

Nice to see Willis heading back to 'decent' film territory too. Recent films have been getting progressively worse!

Warning: Don't take 'thick' people to see this. They'll be forever asking 'how' and 'why'.

9/10

Taken 2 - film review

I caught an early screening of 'Taken 2' last night. Should have known what to expect considering this sequel to one of the most bone-crunchingly violent films was a 12 certificate but I still went in with moderately high hopes. After all, it still had the original cast.

I won't go on and on about this film because, quite frankly, I don't want to waste any more time on it than the 95 minutes I lost watching it.

The acting is second-rate. Even Liam Neeson, normally awesome, is just on cruise mode. His daughter is annoying with her constant whining and even his wife grates with her wailing and screaming when she is taken.

The action sequences are so fast and quick you can't make out who is hitting who. It's edited in such a way, no doubt to retain the 12 certificate, you don't really see the punches connect and...Well...It's just not as brutal as the first film. Dumbing down this film for a kiddy market was a massive mistake. More insulting when it gets to two of the main characters battling it out and it is literally a hand to face 'game over' move. No sound of broken neck. No sight of matey getting impaled on anything. No sight of bone going through nose...It literally just looks as though one of the characters high-fived them in the face.

Gun battles are boring too. Tiresome in fact. No bloody squibs going off. Just 'bang' noises and people falling over in a melodramatic style. It's like watching a poor version of The A-Team.

The plot itself is annoying too. Liam killed people in the first movie. The families of the people murdered go after him to kill him. Simples. There is nothing else to it. The whole set up is rushed and ridiculous.

Trust me when I say this is a movie you need to avoid.

2/10 (being generous)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Matt Vs The Doctors: Part 1.5

Got my appointment with the Doctors tomorrow. Looking forward to it, to be honest. Be interesting to see how they came to the conclusion I suffer from Psychopathic Personality Disorder. It'll also be fun to hear them apologise again and again.

Anyway, prepared myself for the double-appointment by looking up the disorder. Won't lie - I was a bit shocked by the traits of this disorder I have...

Arrogant, deceitful, interpersonal style, dishonest, manipulative, grandiosity, glibness, defective emotional experience (that a Red Letter Day?), poor empathy, lack of responsibility, sensation seeking, impulsiveness (I'll give them that one), capable of violent acts with no feelings of guilt....

Reading all of that, I think I'd be happier if they just replaced 'psychopathic personality disorder', on my notes, with the word 'cunt'.

Anyway, hopefully they can either prove what they wrote or strike it from my records completely.

We'll see....

If I don't post again, I've been sectioned.

Or I'm standing behind you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Personal Blog: Matt Vs. The Doctors (Part 1)

Hate is a strong word so I won't start this blog stating how much I 'hate' Doctors. After all, they're people too and, I'm sure, some of them have feelings which I certainly wouldn't wish to hurt.... because, I am a nice person.

Instead - I shall start this blog by stating I dislike Doctors intently. Should I stumble across one in the streets, looking for directions, I'd take much glee in sending them in the wrong direction. Perhaps, even, towards an open man-hole.

I didn't always feel this way about Doctors (dentists, on the other hand, are cunts). Truth be told, I never gave Doctors much thought - even when I was sat opposite them with some kind of sickness bug; them, as a human being, didn't cross my mind. They, to me, were simply the ATM's for prescriptions.

"Save your wise words, just give me the drugs," I'd be thinking as I tried not to pass on my 'lergy.

My opinion changed towards Doctors around ten, or so, years ago when I was having some issues with anger and depression. Some times I'd be super high with happiness, buzzing around the place, and the next minute I'd come crashing down with The Black Dog nipping at my tired ankles.

I struggled to keep calm, as I struggled more so to find my place in society, and would often lose my temper. I've thrown things at my mum, ashamedly, dished out more than her fair share of insults and foul language and have frequently made a fool of myself. Indeed, looking back, sometimes my own past reactions to things cause me - once again - to slip into a depression as the shame hits home hard.

I won't go into more of what I've done and all that gubbings. If you're interested in that - you can simply download my book 'im fine' which explains what I used to do, medications I've tried, details appointments with Doctors and CBT specialists and my families reactions etc.

One person, who I once held closely to me, once said - "There's nothing wrong with you, you're just weak."

Since giving up my job to get away from catalysts for anger and moods, I have retired to the comfort of my house to pursue a career in writing. I have over twenty books released, more due, and am slowly gathering in people following my work (and a big thanks to them). I feel good. Occasionally I do still get down and angry but (again, detailed in 'im fine') I don't take medication for them. I don't do drugs (other than the very, very occasional puff of pot and we are talking.... RARE) and I don't drink.



When I feel the moods changing, my new partner knows to back off and give me space. To date, we have NEVER had an argument when I've been down (in contrast to constant arguing in my previous relationship as she struggled to understand the moods despite our many conversations) and my moods are easier to combat because I don't have to leave the peacefulness of my house. 

Lonely from time to time, yes, but I honestly do enjoy being a hermit.

Anyway, where's all this going? It's going here:

I went to the Doctors about a fortnight ago to have a chat about this annoying little cough, called Fred, that I couldn't shift. I had tried every over the counter crap you can imagine and nothing shifted it. Sleep was lost and I was getting, obviously, irritable. My brother told me of a medicine you can get by prescription which nuked these coughs so I thought I'd have a crack at getting some.

So, I'm sat there, in the Doctors listening to her yak on and on about this and that (not really listening, just wanted the prescription) and I happened to glance at the monitor for their notes about me... and there it was, flashing there, for all to see - PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.



Now, I know I have issues (bipolar and OCD being batted in my direction) but I never knew I was a psycho. I knew I had an issue with anger and a fondness for violence (as blatantly obvious from my books) but I have never been in trouble with the law and I haven't been in many fights - the majority of my fights being when I was in my late teens and, again, nothing that I'd call 'major'. The odd scuffle somewhere, normally drunk, before it was broken up.

Some what disturbed by what I read, I came home to look up the disorder and read that characters such as Norman Bates (Psycho), Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) and Alex (A Clockwork Orange) were all labelled with this 'illness'. To my knowledge, I have never dressed up as my mum or killed anyone so how I can be labeled the same as these characters is beyond me.

More distressing was the fact I'd been applying for jobs and schemes which required permission to be granted for my Doctors' Notes to be available. I'm pretty sure this disorder would put a stop to anything I was trying to achieve.

That wasn't the worst, for me, though. What was worse was that NO ONE had ever mentioned it to me - knowing in mind I was having CBT and trips to various psychiatrists over six years ago. I even called my old psychiatrist's office to ask them and they said the file, on me, was long since closed and the diagnosis was nothing to do with them.

Now, I'm pretty sure - had I had this disorder - I'd have acted upon a recent dirty little secret I discovered close to home. I wanted to act upon it. I still do. I'd like nothing more than to punish those responsible but I realise that's not the way to act so I took a step back and have cut the cancers from my life. This, by the way, improved my mood. Even when I discovered what I found out - I managed to calm myself pretty fast. An initial reaction where I went around kicking things, throwing, screaming, ranting but - within ten minutes - back to normal (albeit shaking with rage). 

It's not the first time Doctors have said something I have disagreed with. One Nut-Doctor said I lacked empathy when, clearly, that's bollocks. When my Chinchilla, Joey, died in my arms - I cried for a weekend. And I mean, proper solid crying. Not sniffling. Wailing. 



The same with my cat Wispa when my dad ran her over with his car (not really what happened but he likes to joke that's what he did and, well, ho ho ho.... let's allow the joke to live on). 

Quick time-out from this (I guess) rant...

I'm sitting in the lounge. Mum's birthday. Passed her pressies to her. As always, when I used to visit, I'd call for the cat. Mum turned to me, "Yeah, she's not coming... we had her put down...."

Dad simply buried his face in the palm of his hands.

And then the jokes started.

Oh, how I fucking laughed.

I miss that cat.

Nicer than my new one. She's a psycho. MAYBE THAT IS IT!!!! Maybe I read her doctor notes and not mine!!!!! Or not...

Back to it and I'll wrap things up. Can hear some of you yawning...

I wrote the Doctors a calm letter explaining how I could have something like that on my notes without ANYONE ever telling me what was what. If I really were a psycho - how could they just leave me to fend for myself? How could they allow me to work in places they knew fuelled my fire. How could they trust me not to kick off and damage someone - or myself? Proof, if ever it were needed, that despite their qualifications - they don't give a fuck.

Eventually I received a letter from the practice manager inviting me to make a double appointment with a Doctor to discuss the notes. I've done that. August 3rd. 8:40am.

Just need to stop myself from flying into a rant.

Hopefully this is an isolated case (typical that it's with me) but goes to show - you never can really trust what people write about you behind your back.

With regards to answers - at the moment I can't give you any. Like I said, this is part one.

I can answer an older question I was asked once, though.

"How do you think of your book ideas?"

Because I'm a psycho.

video






Saturday, 14 July 2012

"YOU choose the story" - the idea behind my latest book

Well, I won't lie - it was a bitch to write but I've finally cracked it. A book where, at the end of each chapter, you choose the direction you want the story to go in for the characters living the story.

As always, with my books, it's told through the eyes of the main character - a damaged soul who wants revenge on his wife for leaving him. And he plans to take the revenge on her too - on Christmas Day no less.

The basic plot outline is the wife is taking the kids over to the husband's house on Christmas Day. They want to try and keep things as normal as possible for the children who are staying with their father for the night (so the wife can enjoy the company of her new man on the Boxing Day!)

What the wife doesn't realise is - the new man is dead. Wrapped in several parcels under the Christmas Tree, ready for her to open - another piece of him cooking in the oven for Christmas Dinner. She doesn't realise her husband wants her head for the top of the Christmas Tree either. If he really does go through with it - it'll be one Hell of a Christmas to remember....

But - can the husband really go through with it?

Well that depends on you, the reader.

There's numerous ways this story can evolve as you read it - your goal being to get to one of the two main endings.

There's the main HAPPY EVER AFTER ending where it works out for all concerned and there's the main REVENGE ending where it works out for the husband AND the children (after all, can't be hurting kiddies!!!) - the latter of the endings, not being so good for the wife.

But don't think it's an easy route. There are seventeen different endings (at last count) which could end the story prematurely. There's suicide, death, trauma for the children, an arrest, fires, murder.... Lots of ways to trip and stumble causing you to have to start again!

Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I made it extremely hard for you to cheat on this book. See, at the end of the chapters, you simply click on the hyperlink relevant to your decision. There are no page numbers, there are no chapters. The stories are mixed and matched through out the book so, simply scrolling through the pages to get where you want.... yeah - good luck with that.

Anyway, I honestly hope you do enjoy it. I can't pretend it wasn't one of the biggest writing challenges I've ever had and it would be a shame for you to walk away thinking it no good! I mean, don't feel bad if that is how you feel though.... just, you know.... ignore me whilst I weep quietly in the corner of the room.

If you want to register your interest in this book "TWISTED TALE: BOOK ONE - A CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER" simply pop by on my author page and leave a little note for me. I'll give you a reminder when it hits the shelf.... but, for now, it's back to testing the story threads and editing.

A lonely business

Between the hours of 7am and 7pm, I sit in my quiet house (unless the bastard neighbours are home) listening to nothing but my own thoughts, my meowing cat and the scratching from the Bearded Dragon's tank as he desperately tries to scratch his way through glass (and onto freedom.... or more likely... death by the claws of a psychotic cat). Facebook is open constantly as is whatever word document I'm working on; new stories, a sheet of random ideas mixed into one another, various letters to companies just to annoy the crap out of them or even a word document filled with the words 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. It's the same for six out of seven days a week and, I won't lie, it can be lonely.

Years ago, stuck in an office, I was chomping at the bit to make writing my career. Now I actually have achieved what I want to achieve and taken the step to do it full-time, I've realised I'm not as much of a Hermit as I make out. Well, in some ways anyway. Outside in the Real World, I'm quick to flare up if something angers me, I'm normally hot and bothered and I'm uncomfortable in large crowds - a feeling that I continually have to look over my shoulder on the off-chance I'm to bump into someone I don't want to see (not that this usually happens.... I'm just paranoid about it for some reason). Yet, when I'm at home - I find myself WISHING I was able to function 'normally' within social situations!

Don't misunderstand me, I'm happy with what I do (happier if it paid all the bills though!) but it's made me come to realise - I'm the sort of miserable bastard who will always struggle to find true inner peace in their life. Hell, at this rate I'll probably end up turning to religion (might even start my own cult if you wish to join me).

I prefer writing 'horror' because it's more my style. I'm comfortable with it. But, and it's a big one, it can get hard listening to the voices of the crazed, day in and day out, whilst you're writing their story. You have to let them into your head and listen to all they say in order to try and get them across properly, to the reader, in your stories. Sometimes, writing these little horror books can put you in one hell of a bad mood!

Once a book is completed, I feel as though the Evil from the character is flushed from my system and I can relax a little. Sometimes even going a step further and becoming truly manic - delirious with joy that I've cracked another book out. These are the fun times - the times where I find myself writing to various companies just to try and get under their skin; weird, wacky, wonderful letters (which I always go onto publish!) And then another dark character comes into my head and off I go again until I'm back to the happy state...

Weird, I used to think the ups and downs would be over - when I gave up 'normal' work but... now I realise, no matter what I do, they're here to stay. The only difference is - there's not as many people to witness them.




Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Guess who's back.

It's been a while since I've written anything. I'm sorry about that but I have excuse.... well, to be precise, I actually have two excuses.

1) I've been ultra busy with writing projects.

2) I forgot my password AND the name of the site I used to make my blogs up.

Anyway, back now - remembered the site I used and got my password resent to me - and I plan on adding to this blog once a week (at least). Obviously if I ever have anything REALLY interesting to say, I'll be posting more but.... it has to be really, really great to get a post here... after all, I already spend my days changing my Facebook status and updating my author page in the vague attempt of keeping you fine people interested and following my progress as I go from starving author to homeless.

So what have I been doing, I hear you ask? Well, I don't hear you ask. You probably don't even care either. My mum just thinks I'm keeping out of trouble when I'm quiet and, for that, she's normally grateful. Still, for the purpose of writing a blog... I'll tell you what's been happening in the shoddy land of Matt, The.

I've only gone and quit my day-job!

Book sales went stupid in February and I thought I'd finally cracked it. I also discovered.... stuff.... in the day job and thought, you know what - I'm better off without it and without having my nose rubbed in what I knew.... although, I won't lie, it's only matter of time before I take matters into my own hands and deal with what I've discovered in only the way a simpleton, like me, can...

Anyway, since quitting the day-job I have welcomed a new kind of stress into my life. That of 'financial worries'. Admittedly, in the real job, I was never earning loads and loads of money but the bills were, just about, being paid and I could normally afford to blow about £50 on myself in the month (which really isn't a lot!) now, though, things are tighter. I can only JUST cover my rent and house bills, I'm ignoring my debt (offering them reduced amounts each month which, sometimes, I can't even pay) and my food cupboards aren't quite as full as I'd like them to be. On the plus side, to the latter point, my kitchen always looks nice and clean.

Still, I'm enjoying life more. I'm not under pressure in a job I detest, having to tread on egg-shells around people and desperately trying not to make another silly mistake (which might as well have been the end of the world). I'm still managing to get my arse out of bed at a sensible time (around nine-ish) and I'm getting quite good at balancing writing all day with sitting on the sofa, scratching my nuts and watching porn. Hell, if I ever do have to get a real job again I'll be most concerned about my 'wanking routine'.

"Yes, I know I've just had my lunch but now is about the time I enjoy a wank.... please, it will only take a couple of minutes.... what do you mean, no? Oh, I see.... so it's okay for Joe Bloggs to go outside for a cigarette but not okay for me to go and tug one off....."

I actually finished working in April. In May, I had one of the best months - selling-wise - I've ever had and managed to finish five more books, taking my number of published works to over twenty. June slowed down financially but I was still getting a steady following on my author page (mattshawpublications) on Facebook and more and more people were passing the time there chatting with me. I even felt a little bit like a Rockstar with the private messages I was getting - thanking me for writing, how much they enjoyed my work etc etc.... I mean, who wouldn't want to see stuff like that?

The only other drawback (next to the financial stress) is the amount of people who think they're owed something for nothing, though. People get in touch - glad to have found a new author - asking for free books continually. Every post you make on various sites ends the same way - these people saying they haven't read any of your work yet and then asking for free stuff. I DO run free promotions via Amazon, I even offer free books on my author page with various little schemes I run, I offer free books when people leave reviews too.... so it can get a little tiresome when these few individuals feel it necessary to continue hassling you for freebies. Yes, I want people reading my work but - if I don't know you - I probably won't just pass my books over to you for free. If you're active with helping spread the word about my work, a fellow author looking to swap books, or even just a 'nice friend' chances are - you'll be offered free books off my own back anyway!

I've met a few nice ladies through social networking; ladies who have gone out and bought my books, or read them when they were on a freebie promotion, and have continued to support me - sometimes even chatting with me about things other than writing. You know, just being 'friendly'. They are often given free books because I tend to ask their opinion as to new pieces of work. They've enjoyed my other books, I value what they say - will they enjoy this new piece? Again, it's meeting people like this which is what makes this whole process so enjoyable. After all, sitting at a computer day in, day out.... it can get quite lonely from time to time.

But - this is my life now. This is the one I choose. This is what I want from it. Whereas before I've never really found any true peace and happiness - here, I think I have it. I can be as much of a Hermit as I choose to be, I have the love and support of a good woman and I'm finally doing something I've always dreamed of doing...

... just.... you know...

.... a little more money wouldn't go amiss....

Friday, 10 February 2012

The Little Girl


THE LITTLE GIRL
They took a while to get there but, finally, my eyes are open. 
They’re taking even longer to focus.
Nothing new. 
Everything about me takes longer to work after a heavy night and, last night, was most definitely a heavy night. Probably one of the heaviest nights I’ve had for a long time. In fact...
This isn’t my bed.
“What the fu-” I muttered, as I cast my gaze around the room.
Not a hospital room.
Pink walls, a flowery duvet covering the double bed that I occupy with my sweaty body, another symptom of the heavy drinking that must have occurred, a pile of assorted teddy bears strewn across the otherwise tidy floor.
Definitely not a hospital room.
“Hello?” I feebly call out. Although I’m curious to see what I went home with, I’m not in a hurry to engage in a conversation with someone who I just don’t remember; waking up with strangers and having a conversation with them whilst trying desperately hard to piece together the previous night is never anything less than awkward.
Thankfully, my feeble call isn’t heard and no one comes. I’ll try again in a minute - just give my brain a little bit more time to adjust to the harshness of the morning.
Is it even morning? No clock on the wall. It could be any time. I doubt it’s later than the morning.
Maybe late morning?
Bacon and eggs would help me think clearer. Every sufferer of a hang-over should be prescribed bacon and eggs.
And French Toast.
Maybe a sausage?
As my mind focuses more on the food, than where I am, my stomach growls loudly as though it were telling me that I’m not going to get any food until I meet my host.
God, I hope she’s pretty.
“Hello?” I say. I wouldn’t have said it was a shout but it was definitely louder than my earlier feeble attempt.
Footsteps.
I can hear footsteps from beyond the closed bedroom door.
“Hello?” I repeat. “That was some night!”
Slowly the bedroom door opens. I can’t see who is stood in the doorway, the door blocks me. I’d get up to greet them but my brain still feels fuzzy and I think I’d rather see them from the safety of the duvet - something to hide behind if they’re anything less than what I’m worth.
“Is your head hurting as much as mine?” I ask.
“Why’s your head hurting?” came a little voice.
A.
Very.
Little.
Voice.
“I can’t see you,” I said.
Slowly, as though unsure of whether they should come and see me, a young girl stepped into the room, from behind the door that blocked her from my sight.
Awkward.
Definitely awkward.
“Why’s your head hurting?” she repeated.
A teddy bear hung from her hand, by it’s foot where she held it - a teddy bear similar to the ones already on the bedroom floor.
“Hi,” I said, taken aback that, whoever I came home with, would allow their daughter into the room. 
Another quick look around the room.
The pink room.
Was this the little girl’s room?
“Hi,” I repeated, as I pulled the duvet up to hide any hint of nudity from the innocent girl’s sight.
“Hello,” she said; a voice so pure and innocent. She shouldn’t be seeing me.
“Is your mummy around?” I asked.
The little girl shook her head, “She had to go out.”
I felt naked under the duvet but, another glance around the room, I couldn’t see my clothes anywhere, “Do you know where?”
The little girl shrugged.
What did I come home with? Did this person really put me in her child’s bedroom? More to the point - did she really leave me, a relative stranger, in the house with her daughter?
Well done, me, you’ve really excelled yourself this time.
“Mummy said you should drink,” the little girl dropped the teddy bear on the floor, with the other bears, and walked from the room before coming back clutching a glass of water in her dainty hands. She crossed the room towards me, a look of sheer determination as she tried desperately hard not to spill any of the water. When she was close enough, I took hold of the glass as she carefully handed it over.
“Thank you. So where’s your mummy?”
“She had to go out. She’ll be back soon.”
I still couldn’t believe it, “Where’d she have to go? Did she leave me a message?”
“She said you can’t leave.”
I could leave if I wanted to. Part of me, though, was curious to see what I had gone home with? Certainly not a very good mother, that’s for sure.
“You should get some rest,” said the little girl - a look of genuine concern on her face. She didn’t wait for my reaction (which, by the by, was one of confusion to such a statement), she simply about turned and walked from the room, closing the door behind her.
I couldn’t be sure but I thought I heard a key turn in the bedroom door’s lock. 
Couldn’t be sure, though.
Alone at last, I took the opportunity to climb from the bed - whoa - unstable on my feet. Definitely too much alcohol last night.
Where are my clothes?
Normally, after a heavy night, especially one where I get lucky, I just get into where ever I end up and throw them on the floor - not last night, though.
Nothing on the floor.
I couldn’t very well leave the bedroom, not naked. Not with a little girl outside.
I looked toward the window, will the world outside give me any clues as to where I am? Slowly I stumble towards the closed curtains and throw them back to let in the brilliant sunshin- there’s no window? What the hell? The curtains simply hanging in front of the painted wall.
Well, this is just fucking brilliant.
I trip my way back to the bed and pull the duvet off before wrapping myself in it - hiding my awkward nudity. Turning my attention to the door, I try the handle.
Locked.
Damn it.
“Little girl?” I call out, in the hope that she comes back and opens the door.
I listen out for her. I can’t hear anything. More importantly, I can’t hear her coming back. Perhaps she didn’t hear me. I call again, “Hey!” A rattle the door by the handle - maybe she’ll hear the door if she can’t hear my voice. Maybe.
Again, I stop and listen.
Nothing.
“HEY!” I shout as I rattle the door again. “HEEEEEEEEEY!”
I don’t care how little she is, enough is enough. As soon as the door opens, I’ll throw her out of the way and get the fuck out of here. I’m not sure what sort of weird set up they have going on here but - I’ve had enough.
In fact, when I get out of here - I’m never drinking again.
Well maybe not ‘never’.
“You should be in bed resting,” came a little voice from the other side.
She’s back!
“Can you open the door?” I ask in the most reasonable sounding voice I can muster up.
“I can’t. You need to be in bed resting.”
“I spilt my drink, though. I’m thirsty.”
Silence.
“How about I climb back into bed and you fetch me another glass of water?”
Silence.
“Hello?” I ask. Is she still there?
“Okay but get back into bed. You’re not supposed to be out of it.”
“Okay, thank you.”
I hear her footsteps walk down the hallway. Little shit. At first I was shocked that someone would leave me alone with their child - even though they didn’t know me. And now I’m just irritated by the audacity of this little girl to lock me in her room!
Ssh. Footsteps. She’s coming back.
“Are you in bed?”
I don’t answer her.
“Mister?”
Wait for it.... wait for it....
I hear the key enter the door’s lock. That’s my cue! As soon as I hear the lock ‘click’ back, I pull the door open - causing the startled little girl to jump back and drop the glass of water she had fetched.
“Thank you,” I said as I picked her up and dropped her back into the bedroom - closing the door behind her. “See how you like it!” I locked the door and turned around to survey the hallway - a very long hallway.
What?
The floor is concrete - painted a faint blue colour with pieces of paint having been chipped away. The walls - white - also with the paint chipped away in places. A decaying building. Who did I go home with?
Keeping the duvet close I start to make my way down the hallway; doors lining the walls the whole way down. My brain is still struggling from the previous night’s activities and this whole set-up isn’t helping me remember things.
Where the hell am I?
I reach the first door and curiousity is screaming at me - telling me to have a peak inside - after all, it might give some idea as to where I am.
I take a quick look around to make sure I’m still alone and then turn the handle. Locked. The second door I come across, in the hallway, is also locked.
A few more handles twisted; more locked doors.
Only one door left now.
Is there any point in even trying it? I do anyway.
CLICK
Open.
Slowly, I take a peep inside.
* * * * *
My head is pounding; like I’ve been hit my a train. 
Where am I?
In a bed.
How’d I get here?
“Evening, sleepy-head!” she said.
I opened my eyes. A woman was stood above me, looking down at me - a smile on her face.
“And what were you doing out of bed?”
“W-Where...” my speech feels stuttered. It’s hard to talk. I feel groggy.
“Ssh! Probably best you don’t try and speak. The important thing is - you’re back in bed where you belong! We don’t need you talking now and making your belly wibble wobble all over the place... not whilst we’re operating!”
I try and lift my head to see what she’s talking about but it’s hard to move. It feels heavier than usual.
“Is this the kidney, mummy?”
The Little Girl’s voice. Came from further down the bed. I struggle again to lift my head and manage to raise it enough to see where the little girl is. She’s sat on my legs - why can’t I feel her? - a bloody scalpel in her hand. She’s pointing to something....
“Is it?” she asks again.
The woman, by my side peers down to what the little girl’s spare hand is pointing to, “I seriously doubt it, sweetie-pie, you haven’t cut in the right place for starters... No, see, that’s the appendix.”
I try and moan - what are they doing? Where am I? What’s happening....?
The woman continues, “You need to cut into the side, just below the ribs.....” the woman stops and turns back to me, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to greet you when you woke up earlier but I had to finish off with another patient - heart donor. Very nice chap, met him in the same club we met.... anyway, that’s by the by, you may want to go back to sleep for this...”
She pulls something out of her pocket - what is it?
A syringe.
She looks down at me and smiles, “Don’t worry, I’m sure you remember, this doesn’t hurt one bit.” She stops and looks back to the little girl, “Bless, she’s only seven years old but she insisted on doing this herself. It’s just a shame her knowledge of the human body isn’t up to par. Still, can’t fault her keen-ness to learn!” She jabs downwards but I don’t feel a thing. 
Everything just feels..... numb......
The woman gives me a wink, “We thank you for this and, if you survive, I’m sure little Chloe here will thank you too.”
She kisses me on the cheek but, again, I feel nothing - just a single tear roll from my tired eye.
Very tired eyes.
Eyelids heavy...

~ END

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A New Short Story I was playing with:


UNTIL THE END OF TIME
“I WILL LOVE YOU UNTIL THE END OF TIME!” he had once shouted from the rooftops. A grand gesture, she had always thought, but he didn’t need to shout it for, at the time, she was stood right next to him. She could understand the requirement of shouting had she been on street level and he had been on the roof but.... well, shouting when he was next to her just seemed a little pointless. Some could say, and some did say, that it could have been a little aggressive. But she didn’t see any aggressiveness in his behaviour - she knew he wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Unless it was one of those really annoying flies that repeatedly buzz your head or keep coming back to your food, after you’ve swished them away for the umpteenth time - but they deserve to be swatted, she thought.
The whole grand gesture on the rooftops, however, just made his sudden disappearance all the more confusing. How could someone be shouting from the rooftops, about his undying love, one minute and - vanished the next.
Lauren wouldn’t let herself get upset, though. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. If he didn’t want to be with her, she thought, fine. She certainly wasn’t going to be the sort of girl that needed to beg a man to go out with her. 
At twenty-three years old, she knew time was on her side and she’d find someone else. She’d find someone better. Someone that respected her. Someone, at the very least, who would do the honourable thing and break up with her properly if they did suddenly decide they no longer wanted to see her.
She believed, and as a narrator I’m inclined to agree, she deserved that much as least.
Her mind spiraled between wondering where he disappeared to and what was wrong with her - after all, there must be something wrong with her to cause someone to suddenly disappear from her life without so much of a text!
Mind you, she thought, a text probably would have made the situation worse - texting someone, she continued to think, that you no longer wish to go out with them is probably one of the most cowardly relationship acts you can do in this modern age we live in.
But at least she would have known!
It was the not knowing that was making the whole ugly mess harder to get her head around. Last week he was all for buying her a ring and making it official but, two weeks into a relationship, she said to him it was probably a bit to soon for that and maybe they should just take things slower - continue enjoying themselves and see where they ended up. She worried that, with an engagement so soon, it could change things and she didn’t want that. She liked things just the way they were.
Maybe that was it.
Maybe he took what she had said completely wrong - maybe he thought she was turning him down and that’s why he left. Should she have just said ‘yes’ to the ring. After all, she could have worn the ring and told her family and friends it was a friendship ring - let him tell his family and friends whatever he wanted. Would it really have changed anything between them? Had she made the biggest mistake of her relatively short life?
She sat back on her bed, in her cosy little bedroom which had been her safe haven since he had disappeared, and looked down to her hand - trying to picture what sort of ring he would have chosen.
Of course, she had tried calling him. She’d left numerous voice mail messages - ranging from the curious ‘where are you’ to the more aggressive-in-tone messages once she had realised she had been abandoned. Ten calls in total. That’s not over the top. Ten calls over a couple of days doesn’t scream ‘desperation’. And neither did the forty-three text messages she had sent - again, ranging in their general mood - or the five texts she had saved to drafts, they didn’t scream ‘desperation’ either.
Perhaps one more call?
One more call for old time’s sake? After all, she had enjoyed where the relationship was heading. Even if he didn’t love her as much as he shouted, from the rooftop if you remember, maybe he could explain why the sudden change of heart.
Yes, one more call.
Eleven calls, over the space of a couple of days, doesn’t make her desperate either.
She reached to the bedside cabinet where he mobile phone sat and picked it up, before selecting ‘John’ from her contacts.
‘It’s ringing,’ she thought, ‘no turning back now.’
* * * * *
John’s phone flashed up another missed call.
Eleven in a couple of days.
“Someone’s popular,” said the mortician as he leaned over John’s body with a sharp blade. “Now, lets get you open and see what went wrong.”
It was the ‘not knowing’ that drove him wild.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Finally getting somewhere? Or is this fleeting?

In 2008, I think, I released my first book and, over the years (and years) I flogged a fair few. Seven titles later and some are selling relatively well (not brilliantly but at least they are selling) and others... well... not really selling. 

My vampire book, for example, sold.... well.... let's not even go there. In fact, hell, let us pretend I didn't even write it!

Occasionally reviews pop up online too (on Amazon.co.uk more than .com) and it's great fun to see what people have to say but I think it's fair to say - I've always been a bigger author in my own head than I have in real life.

I just figured - believe it enough and others will soon follow suit and buy into the whole 'Matt Shaw is an author' gobbledegook. Build an online persona interesting (crazy) enough to draw people in so they're curious to see what I write about.

And it works.

Sort of.

Anyway, I've been releasing books since 2008 (as previously said, pay attention) and only now have they started to take off - in 2012 (isn't this when the World is meant to end too? Goddamit!) 

On 30/01/12, I released the final part of my trilogy to 'Happy Ever After' and thought I'd try something new - make the first part of the story free. I didn't think anything else of it - once changing the details on the Amazon Kindle site - until I checked the sales at the end of the 30th to see if my new book had sold any. It had sold 1.

'Happy Ever After', however, a couple of hundred in America. It had also sold a couple of hundred in the UK. I was ecstatic and phoned my mum (don't laugh) to share my news. As the evening went on it broke the 1,000 level (combined sales across the sites). By morning, I checked again due to being like an excited kid, another thousand... until, by the end of the fourth day - I had slightly over 10,000 downloads across the Amazon sites (but only one of those was from France.... the bastards.... they have no taste).

10,000 downloads!!!!!

And that included 200 copies of the second and third book of the trilogy - which people had paid full price for (not that full price is a lot.... less than a couple of quid!) I never dreamed of shifting that many let alone in only 4 days (it had helped that I also made 5 of my other titles free too).

Watching the downloads change, on the report, every few minutes and seeing new reviews pop up really gave me a confidence boost with regards to what I write. Here I am, little old me.... sitting in my empty house, writing my stories and now.... over 10,000 people in the world have read my work. The reviews that crept online; some of the readers even loved my work.

This new experience, with kindle and experimenting with giving stuff away to introduce myself to the writing world, has taught me one thing.....

No matter how bleak things are, no matter how you think you're doing.... NEVER GIVE UP.

I'm an author until the day I die.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Writing! Writing! Always with the writing!

When I was fifteen years old (young?) I wanted to be a screenplay writer. In fact, it was at the tender age of twelve (approximately) that I wrote my first novel - "Red Elf"; a parody of the BBC comedy series "Red Dwarf".

Bashed out, one Summer, on my mother's typewriter. Written in a red ink - crude drawings, scrawled in Biro, throughout the book - the book's illustrations. I can barely remember the book. I remember the first line though, "What in Greek Buggery Bollocks was that?"

That... That was my subconscious saying, "Give up. Give up, now."

I didn't though. I carried on. I wrote the whole book. Well over one hundred pages. I even sent the book off to publishers who simply wrote back urging me to pay attention at school, ignoring any specifics about what I actually sent them, other than my young age.

A wasted Summer, perhaps? No. I enjoyed myself and, that's all that matters.

I often wonder, what did I do with that book? Part of me worries that I'll find it so day, clearing out the attic at mum and dad's house long after they're gone and my brother and I are fighting over who gets the house (me, he doesn't deserve it. They love me more anyway).

If I did ever find it again - I wouldn't read it. I remember one thing at least; it was crap.

A few years past and I got more interested in films. I loved everything about them. I wanted to act in them, film them and even write them and that's when the writing hobby really kicked into overdrive.

"Dodging Death" was the first screenplay I wrote (Columbia said 'yes' to reading it but I never heard from them again - until they went bust) - all about a hitman called 'Death' (yep, really THAT lame). I even asked Rik Mayall's agent if he'd have a read.

He refused.

I didn't care, though.

I ended up writing, keeping in mind that I'd make the films myself one day. Even make them with friends, if need be. During college my friends (Matt Yates, James Burrows, Drake) would often talk about making the films. Alas, we only ever made unscripted films for a laugh, during weekends.... another hobby I got during secondary school when I used to make films with school chums - only to show other classmates the masterpieces the following week.

The secondary school films - 'The Tramp Saga'. An evil tramp living in the woods killing kids. Unscripted. Brilliant. I still have them on VHS.

I really must destroy that.

Any spare time I had, I spent writing. Even if I thought it was rubbish, I bashed it out just to get the thing written.... done and dusted so I could move onto the next project. Now I have the rule - if I don't like that I am writing within the first 20 pages.... I'll bin it and move on immediately.

People say it's best to keep writing. I disagree. If something isn't working out for the author of their own book in 20 odd pages.... readers would have given up with it after ten pages.

The point of all this rambling?

Well, I'm now 31 years old. Just released the final part of 'Happy Ever After'.

'Happy Ever After' started as a screenplay when I was around the age of eighteen. There's notes to the story (which made it into the final book) in one of my notebooks - clearly dated 1998.

'Love Life' - the book I released second of all? Again, I have notes for this title dated back to 1997.

Next up I'm writing 'The Chosen Routes' - a project I scripted when I was at Drama (I must have been around the age of fifteen or sixteen so.... 1995). 

Not forgetting I have a sci-fi book called 'The Last Stop' lined up - notes from the same time period as 'The Chosen Routes'.

I guess the point I am making is - if you spend any time writing notes for ideas you have.... never give up on them. Never turn your back on them. You never know when you'll find a use for them.

My story ideas from approximately fifteen years ago..... only now are they seeing the light of day. 

And it feels great.

I knew I wasn't wasting my childhood.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Happy Ever After

Happy Ever After is, by far, my most successful Trilogy. Mainly because it's my only trilogy. But, we'll consider that a mute point. It's a great story. The reviews speak for themselves. Well, they don't.... you have to read them yourself but... well.... they're pretty good.

Anyway, finally have the final part back in my inbox - the mistakes are fixed and it's looking all sparkly and good, ready to release. And I have to say, I feel a little bit sad - I've been writing these characters since 2008 and now, 4 years later, it's finally time to say goodbye to them.

I suppose I should just be grateful I've had them this long; it wasn't actually supposed to be a trilogy. People, though, were hassling me for more of the story. Reviews also said they wanted more.

Again, it wasn't the reviews that said that. It was actually the people who wrote them.... but, even so.... people wanted more.

The thing is, I liked the ending for Happy Ever After (I won't ruin it incase you haven't read it yet). I didn't really want to add to it and, even so, I kind of wrote the characters into a corner from which they couldn't really squirm their way back out. With that in mind, I guess all I could do was to write a prequel...

There was plenty of scope for a prequel - to tell more of the story from Peter's point of view. And the perfect storyline seemed to fit nicely around Young Susie, the girl commented upon in Happy Ever After.

Job's a good 'un.

Thankfully the book wrote itself (not literally, that would be stupid) and it wasn't long before it was released. I won't lie, I was nervous. So many good comments around Happy Ever After and so many people wanting the story - I didn't want to ruin the story for anyone.

And it was through chatting to one person (Stephanie Lock, I thank you) I even had the door opened for a sequel to Happy Ever After.

Won't lie - I felt a little bit like Tarantino the way I mixed the timelines up, you know, writing part 2 and then part 1 and finally ending on part 3 but I think it works.

Within a couple of months of the initial chat (and finishing G.S.O.H Essential - the prequel) I had already finished A Fresh Start. It was shorter than the other two but I felt that making the story longer would just dilute what I was trying to create and that, I felt, was a bad thing to do.

Authors are always wittering on about the word count but.... I don't believe in a word count. Don't make the story overly long. Don't let too many characters and descriptive narratives destroy the ambience of the story. Yes, in some circumstances it can add to the stories but not in the case of this series. See, these books are all written through the eyes of the people living the stories; it's all dialogue or thought processes.

How many times have you thought long descriptive bits and bobs to sum up what you're thinking or what you're looking at? You don't. Our brains work in quick thought processes and that's how I wrote the book. I couldn't change the way in which I wrote them - not without taking away from the previous books so.... yeah.... book 3 is shorter.

As for the ending.... Without giving anything away. I like it.

One response said words along the lines of, 'Fucking Hell..... You bastard.'

I'm quite proud of that response.

And, as I sit back, gearing up for the release of book 3.... I can't help but feel the nerves beginning to set in again, wondering what people will think of the final part.

Fingers crossed.

Who am I?

Walking around the supermarket (Sainsburys, actually) I can't help but snigger, a little, at the couples mooching around the aisles, filling their trollies with their monthly shopping. Listening in on their conversations; petit arguments about this and that, the men clearly sulking for being dragged around the shop instead of being allowed to stay at home playing on their games console or taking the 'alone time' to google various porn sites.

Yes, I'm speaking from experience.

Funnier still is a walk down the DVD aisle (or blu-ray if you're hip, like me) listening to the stern chats about not having the money for 'that particular film'. Normally it's the lady saying 'no' and the man begging to be allowed to sneak the film into the trolly.

The magazine aisle clearly shows the couples in their comfort zone. The women on their side of the aisle flicking through various intellectual magazines (like 'Woman's Own' or 'Heat') and the men on their side of the aisle pretending to read the 'interesting article' which so happens to be on the page crammed with tits.

It doesn't take THAT long to read 'Hannah, 27, from Poole'.

The magazine aisle is always the quietest. You can test this next time you're shopping.

I think to myself, how lucky I am. I'm just me. No arguing. No 'should I buy this or will she go mad'. None of that. I just walk around the shop and please myself...

And yet - I'm not actually as lucky as my brain feels when hearing these arguments.

See, I'm the quiet stranger walking around the shop. The one who doesn't need the trolley. The one who can fit his shopping into a basket (albeit a fucking heavy one). Single serve roast beef meals. The one muttering to himself that all the frozen foods are sold in packs of two and I clearly only need one of them... I'm the one missing out on the human interaction; going home to an empty house - my only source of conversation is when I shout at the cat or make silly lizard-type noises at The Bearded Dragon who just looks at me.... with his lizard eyes.... judging me....

I'm the one who'll, one day, be found in his house - dead. The neighbours only alerted that something isn't right, with the house next door, because of the funny smell. I'm the one who'll be discovered, lying on the sofa....lifeless, his cat chewing his fingers due to starvation.

This is my life. Welcome.

Making friends never came easy to me. Believe it or not, but I am painfully shy - a mental sense of humour my only (thin) defence at hiding this from people I meet. A mental sense of humour which then helps to turn people away from me because they can't keep up with the craziness I offer. I stifle some of the things I am itching to say and end up just 'being quiet' again.

I work all day in a job that isn't what I want to do with my life - but I do it (with good heart most of the time) to pay the bills whilst I work on my books and cartoons. I come home, at night, and hide behind a computer screen - hitting Facebook with craziness after craziness; people tuning in just to see what random stuff I'm going to get up to next. Silly video blogs, these blogs (albeit a darker tone), random status updates just to get people laugh ("Neighbours cooking smells lovely. How long do I leave them in the oven for?") - anything to get people to come back to see what I'm going to do. Anything to get people to come back to interact with me - pretend, at least, to be my friend.

I am Jack's Performing Monkey.

Yet, when the chips are down - these people are gone (not all of them - some of them are great and message me to see what's up etc etc....)

I feel like I am here to make people laugh (and I enjoy it mostly) but when the Black Dog comes nipping at my ankle - who is here to make me laugh? Who is here to make a smile creep onto my face?

Maybe this is what I am destined to do. Be the 'Butlins Entertainment' until the day I get the courage to do what's needed. Run on 'stage', do something stupid - then retire back to the quietness of an empty home with only a cat and a lizard for company whilst I let the manic levels, within, build back to a sufficient level to start it all again.... keeping it up until the mask slips, once more and I sink deeper into another depression - ready to start the cycle again.

I tire of people looking at me to make them laugh or smile. I get annoyed when I get messages via social networking sites asking why I'm not funny anymore.

"You're normally funny but at the moment you aren't. You're normally my daily laugh."

It annoys me and yet I can't live without it.

With regards to 'Who am I?'

I'm the shadow in the supermarket, watching normal couples and families interact with each other - a burning pit of jealousy swirling around inside of my tormented gut.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

What's wrong with me???

NO MESSAGES
No messages? How is this possible, I think, as I look (teary-eyed) at my online dating profile on Plenty of fish.... I mean - come on - the site reckons there are currently over 15,000 people currently logged on. Am I really that f-ugly that not ONE (note the importance with the capitals again) of these women is interested enough to message me?? Am I really that much of a lost cause?

Well, thinking about my past...

Yes.

I guess I am...

As I sat there, looking at the blank content on the 'no message' screen, my mind flittered back to my past... in particularly - primary school. Allow me to share....

Ma and Pa (mum and dad to you) - they wanted the best for my brother and I. Admittedly they wanted the best for me, more, because I am their favourite. Can't blame them. I'm amazing (at least, compared to my brother anyway). Truly... a God among men.

Remember from blog number one: I use artistic licence.

So. There they are. Mum and Dad. Looking at School pamphlets, trying to decide upon a suitable place of education for Big Bro and I. They ended up settling on one that wasn't too far from our house - a private school set in a spooky mansion-type building. All very posh. Now, at the time of choosing, I'm sure they didn't mean to send us to a school where the Head Teacher was a kiddy-fiddler...

No.

I just couldn't see them sitting around a stack of books, in front of a roaring fire.... my mother preggers (pregnant) with Son One (brother).

"Ooh, look," I can't see her saying, "this school.... they'd get a well rounded education AND learn about bumming and giving handjobs."

"Well then, my dear," I can't see my old man replying, "let us send them there then!"

Nope. 

Just can't see it.

At the time of schooling - Mr T. (Not THE Mr T from the A-Team) was a stern teacher who took a special fondness to me. He often invited me back to his house (along with his Grandson who was in my class) to watch films (not porn) and get some extra-lessons, whilst going through homework assignments.

He even let me stay the night in the room next to his, whilst his Grandson slept in the same bed as him.

Won't lie. Bath time. Bit Weird. We were both aged ten or eleven and yet he would still come into the bathroom to make sure we were washing (made us share a bath) and behaving ourselves. I can only presume he used the images for his own personal Mental Spank Wank Bank but.... no proof and, I never saw it so.... don't care.

At that age, everything seemed fine.

He was a kind fellow, Mr T. He took me on holidays too - away from ma and pa.... beach holidays where we'd get to sit around in trunks all day or frolic in the sea (after which he would always help to dry us which was great because I could never be bothered to do it properly).

Out of all the teachers I have ever had - he was the best. A proper gentleman. He taught me most of what I know today (how to pick up soap, how to.... no, I'm joking!!) and he made sure my manners were up to scratch. Indeed, it was thanks to him I won 'Gentleman of the Year' award at school.

Fuck knows how that happened! Stupid cunts! All I can think of must have been a fix.

Erm... I mean.... Quite right too for I.... I am a proper gentleman (and don't you forget that, ladies.... I only ever hit you if you are out of line).

With that in mind - I was WELL SHOCKED (hello, Capitals!) when he was outed by The Daily Echo as being a dirty bastard who preyed on little boys. No sooner had one stepped forward, more and more stepped forward too - all with tales of being abused by this 'monster'....

My brother was also shocked too (he had special attention, like me, as well) and even got in touch with the Pig (Police Officer) in charge of the case to say none of it could be true.... Turns out it could be true because Mr T stepped up to the Judge (Judy) and pleaded 'Guilty'. 

Shame.

He's dead now.

Died in prison. Heart attack. I wonder, was it a heart attack brought on from all the naked men butts in the showers? Did he suddenly shout 'Phrooooooaarrrrrrr' and drop to the floor dead....?

Anyway.... back to present day; looking at the 'no messages' message I have (technically a message, right?) I can't help but think there is no hope for me. I'll never find someone to love me.....

There must be something seriously wrong with me if I can't even get laid by a Monster.

Talk about Mr Unpopular.