PERWORLDThe long-awaited and much-anticipated paperback version of my five-star reviewed sci-fi novel Perfect World has now been published by TWB, and it is available to purchase from the TWB Press website here, and from Amazon here.

What’s it all about?

Well, this video on the TWB Press website will give you a taster, as will the below synopsis.

Grizzled journalist Toby Howitt, a man who shuns violence and conflict, sets out on a mission to interview God. Sources say He’s living in the mansion at Elegant Gardens. But God isn’t the god He used to be, and Elegant harbors a few secrets of its own, secrets that thrust Howitt into the fight of his life to save the Perfect World God created.

SDRandCo (66)Halloween is lurching closer, like some rough beast – its hour come around at least – slouching into a street near you. Squeaking open your gate. Slavering up your garden path. Hammering at your door. Calling: Trick or Treat.

And in order to get in the mood for some thrills, chills and bellyaches, I’ve come up with a special recipe, a required reading list of my dark tales which will have you hugging your pillow just that little bit tighter.

For your starter, you could try one of my mouth-watering novelettes – perhaps you could treat your mouth to the burning sensation which comes from reading The Haunting of Annie Nicol. Or try one of the short, sharp shocks from my dedicated Halloween anthology, Trickier & Treatier?

For main course, how about getting your teeth into one of my horror novels? Dare you enter the Sharkways? Could you handle Paint this town Red? Do you tremble at the thought of Bully?

And for dessert? Well, how about Teeth?

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pw picTWB Press have put together an excellent video as a teaser prior to the paperback release of my sci-fi novel Perfect World. You can watch it by visiting the dedicated Perfect World page on the TWB Press website: http://www.twbpress.com/perfectworld.html and scrolling down and to the right.

And if you can’t wait for the paperback release, why not get your laughing gear around a copy of the ebook which is out on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-World-AJ-Kirby-ebook/dp/B004T3GP5I/ref=la_B0046CG746_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383903499&sr=1-18

IMGP2537There are just three weeks to go until Halloween. In order to get you in the mood, I thought I’d bring you an excerpt from one of my ghostly tales.

If you’re interested in reading more, check out my Halloween anthology Trickier & Treatier, or else one of my stand-alone haunting tales such as The Black Book, The Haunting of Annie Nicol, or Hangingstone, or else one of my beastly horror novels: Sharkways, Paint this town Red, or Bully.

Today, I thought I’d revisit Bully, which was published by Wild Wolf way back in 2010. Here’s the synopsis: They say you should never go back. But sometimes you don’t have a choice.

After Gary Bull’s miraculous survival from an explosion in Afghanistan, he is compelled to return to the small town where he grew up, a place that he thought he would never set his eyes upon again. Memories of a past long buried come back to him and he finds himself forced to face the horror of what he did when he was young. It started with the bullying…

Newton Mills appears normal enough on the surface, but scratch the surface and there is something far more sinister.

It has more than its fair share of graveyards and the skeletons are liable to walk right out of the closet.

Newton Mills is the scene of a despicable crime.

No one gets out alive. 

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“Newton Mills was built in the bottom of this deep gorge. That’s how it got its name in the old days, on account of the river which ran through it and powered the massive cotton mills. Grange Heights overlooked all of this, and stood in judgement of the factories and the industrial estates which had started to spring up. The town was intersected by a railway; on the one side was the new town with its garish red brick, but on the other was the town I knew. In the old town, most of the houses were built from the local stone and when it rained, seemed to take on the water and darkened from light grey to almost black.

Now, Newton Mills was shadowed by threatening clouds and the place looked depressing; lifeless even. But I knew that life teemed within it; within the small dome of the school library which glistened with wetness and the corrugated metal sides of the new leisure centre and the main street and its countless pubs.

But more than anything else, what this aerial picture of Newton Mills showed me was the graveyards. Hell, even the damn taxi driver would have spotted the fact that there was a graveyard at the end of virtually every street. There were scores of them; grey gravestones pebbledashed the town. I remember when I first came up here and I felt this slight chill creeping up the back of my neck when I tried to count them all.

I don’t know when I first noticed it. As a kid, you don’t really go around comparing and contrasting towns. Measuring the number of shops or restaurants or houses and then coming to some kind of conclusion about the nature of the town was not really anything any of us ever paid any mind to. Newton Mills was simply home to us, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a known quantity, a given. Even when changes occurred, such as when a shop came under new ownership or new houses were built, we never thought of it as change. It was on the periphery of our vision, and as long as the shop that changed hands wasn’t Burt’s sweet shop, and as long as the new residents of the new garish redbrick houses across the tracks were not going to be introduced into our classes and clubs, we simply didn’t care.

But one day the understanding had washed over me. I suppose it was as though I’d finally given voice to that silent knowledge which I’d always known, deep down. Newton Mills had an unnatural amount of graveyards. And I mean there were a lot; miles more than such a town that size should have had.

‘The Graveyards of Newton Mills’ was the first school project that I ever aced. It was the first that I’d ever tried in. I suppose I was morbidly fascinated by them. I put together this lever-arch file full of photographs and maps, pencil rubbings of some of the gravestones. I even tried to draw some conclusions about why there were so many graveyards.

My dad loved that I was getting interested in history, and helped me out at the local library. We dug out loads of old books and newspapers. Gradually, he edged me towards his own conclusion about the graveyards. He suggested that working on the mills was a terrible, life-sucking existence and that most of the folk would die young. But because the farming industry was doing so badly, people kept coming into the town from the surrounding countryside, looking for work. He suggested, in his fiery working class hero way, that the mills were doing more than manufacturing cotton. They were cleansing the local area of the undesirables. They were processing the workers; depositing them straight into the graveyards at the end of the shift.

I stared out over the town and remembered. I remembered my dad and the way that he’d been a little obsessed with the graveyards; after my project, the teacher invited him in to talk to the class about them. Later, my friends gave me no end of crap for having a loony-tune dad. Nobody but nobody ever wanted their parents to come to the school, let alone if they came in and ‘talked to the class.’ That was the lowest of the low. But despite my embarrassment, I had found myself becoming interested in what my dad had to say. He was talking about the amount of different burial sites; there were some for the Protestants, some for the Catholics, some for the rich, and some for the poor. There were some that weren’t affiliated to any church. In fact, he said, only two of the graveyards in the whole town came with your traditional church spire in the scene too. I’ll always remember what he said at the end of that talk. It was like he’d shaped that voice in my head even further. He’d let me see the light.

‘Newton Mills,’ he said, ‘is a town which has always been surrounded by an awareness of death. We’re comfortable with it, even. But we shouldn’t be. We don’t have to allow ourselves to simply sleep our way along the conveyor belt and succumb to our fate.’

Suddenly, I remembered the taxi driver that had dropped me off at the airstrip in the desert in Afghanistan. I remembered what he’d said about the ‘awareness of death.’ I also remembered that I now knew what death and pain really were, in the end. Involuntarily, I shuddered.

Dad wasn’t invited back to the school again after the talk. I think the teacher thought that it wasn’t his place to rant about stuff like that and put ideas like that in children’s heads. The teacher was from out of town though, and probably hadn’t grasped the fact that Newton Mills life was exactly how dad said it was. Most of us were surrounded by an awareness of death. We saw it in the heavy grey stone of the suffering houses. We saw it in the faces of the men and women that had grown up in the town.

As I stared out, I picked out some of the graveyards that I knew. And we did know some of the graveyards fairly well. Unconsciously, all of the lads I grew up with spent times in the graveyards. We were a little scared of them, of course, but what kids don’t like doing things that are a little dangerous; a little close to the bone?

What we really liked were the old abandoned ones, like the one off Dye Lane, which I could pick out as it scarred across the land, running parallel to the river. Back then, we knew that we could play in the graveyards to our hearts’ content and no adults would come asking questions or telling us to shove off. They were kind of like secret gardens or something. I didn’t tell anyone, but I thought of them as magical places, like the plateau in The Lost World. I thought that time stood still in those places and that lurking in the dense bushes would be prehistoric creatures and mythical demons and the like.”

AJ KIRBY’S HORROR LIBRARY:

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STONES: HUMOROUS COMING-OF-MIDDLE AGE FICTION
By Marilyn Baron
Stones_w8830_750 (2)New Adult fiction seems to be all the rage these days. Well, I’m starting a trend of my own—Old Adult Fiction. Or more accurately, Coming-of-Middle-Age-Fiction. My new novel, Stones, features women of a certain age. Before being published by The Wild Rose Press, the manuscript, which finaled in the Georgia Romance Writers Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence, was called The Colonoscopy Club. So you have an idea of what age I’m talking about.
Books & Bling
If you like books and you like bling, you’ll love Stones.

Here’s the blurb:

When Julie Paver’s husband Matt moves his business to Atlanta, she is forced to leave behind her thriving jewelry boutique, Stones. The move threatens their twenty-five year marriage, because now if Matt isn’t out of town negotiating a merger, he’s spending late hours on overseas phone calls with his sexy-sounding second-in-command.

Feeling neglected and unloved, Julie seeks closure by reconnecting with her first love, Manny, when he pursues her with his Internet innuendos. Manny is unaware he is the father of Julie’s son, and Julie contemplates revealing the secret to him on the eve of their son’s wedding. But would such a walk down memory lane be worth the cost?

Julie and Manny finally meet at her oceanfront condo—in the midst of a hurricane—and elements collide to create the perfect storm in this coming-of-middle-age crisis.

Julie has issues. Even her issues have issues. And I use humor to help her cope with those issues.

1. She’s just turned 50 and she’s depressed; And her vet says her dog has also lost its purpose in life.
2. She’s convinced her husband is cheating on her.
3. She faces an empty nest.
4. Her daughter is dating a boy named Barnyard.
5. She’s planning her son’s wedding.
6. And as she says, “My ass is leaving an imprint on the sofa the size of Savannah.”

Naturally Julie is stressed out. All she’s looking for is closure and she can’t seem to find it.

In Julie’s words: “At my age, closure is an extremely important concept. Because—let’s face it—I’m running out of time here.”

In fact, in Stones, readers are introduced to the concept of closure in the very first paragraph.

“Thank God for LINT. It’s the one area in my life where I’ve been able to achieve closure. I can wash a load of towels, toss them into the dryer, fold them, and, after opening the lint filter, peel back a glorious, thick, colorful strip of lint, admire it, and throw it into the wastebasket. Then I can cross that task off my to-do list. Now, THAT is closure! And, by the way, I have a new dryer that gives really good lint.”

An Excerpt:
To go or not to go to Palm Coast is no longer the question. The question is what will I do once I get there? Will I really have the nerve to reconnect, or as my daughter Natalie likes to say, “hook up,” again with Manny Gellar? How will I feel tomorrow when I see him alone for the first time after twenty-five years? Will I finally reveal what I feel compelled—no, what
I’m busting a gut—to tell him? That he has a beautiful son, that our son Josh is getting married in just three months? I’m probably rationalizing, but I think he finally has a right to know.

If I could, I’d fix what is wrong with my marriage and put it back the way it was before, as easily as Ricardo fixed my washing machine. Before Matt yanked me out of Miami by my roots as if I were a noxious weed he was tossing out of a flower garden and carelessly transplanted us to Atlanta.

Before we moved a state away from my family and my best friend and a business I’d worked a lifetime to create. Before Matt sold his freight-expediting business to a German conglomerate for mega-millions and agreed to run the company for them from Atlanta for the next two years, barely consulting me. Before the German occupation, or rather before he became preoccupied
with his sexy-sounding German second-in-command, Gretchen. Before he stopped sleeping with me in the biblical sense. Before I turned fifty.

All I really want is closure. I’m convinced that meeting Manny Gellar again is the only way I will ever come full circle and reconnect with my life.

There’s plenty of hot romance in Stones when the novel flashes back to the main character’s college years. Scenes I never wanted my mother to read, but she read them anyway and wondered, “How do you know about all that stuff?” There are even some chapters set in London and in Florence, Italy, where I attended college for six months.
To read more about Marilyn’s books and stories, please visit her Web site at http://www.marilynbaron.com/
To get a copy of Stones, click:
Amazon.co.uk (Kindle and Print)

Amazon (Kindle and Print):

The Wild Rose Press (Stones and other books by Marilyn Baron)

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=244_210&products_id=5817

 

marilyn

Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta, Georgia, and the author of humorous women’s fiction, historical romantic thrillers, a psychic suspense series, supernatural short stories and a musical. She has won or finaled in writing awards for Single Title, Suspense Romance, Paranormal/Fantasy Romance and Fiction with Strong Romantic Elements.

Marilyn has published six books with The Wild Rose Press (TWRP)

http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=marilyn%20baron&inc_subcat=0&sort=20a&page=1. She is under contract for a seventh book, The Widows’ Gallery, part of the new Lobster Cove series with TWRP. She has published four humorous paranormal short stories with TWB Press http://www.twbpress.com/authormarilynbaron.html.

To find out more about Marilyn’s books, stories and upcoming releases, visit her Web site at www.marilynbaron.com and her blog at www.petitfoursandhottamales.com.

Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marilyn-Baron/286807714666748 and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MarilynBaron.

northleedslifecoverI’ve had some great publicity this week in North Leeds Life magazine, which has run a feature on me and my writing. The focus of the article is on my international successes, particularly with the release of NU-GEN from the South African publishers Fox and Raven (buy it here) and the forthcoming print issue of Perfect World from the US’s TWB Press (ebook version here).

Here’s the article (if you’re eagle-eyed enough to read it):

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boorangeMy story ‘Lost Touch’ has been selected from over 500 entries to be published in the FourWtwentyfive anthology from the Booranga Writers’ Centre, Charles Sturt University. This year’s competition was particularly fierce, given that it is the Australian literary centre’s 25th anniversary.

fourW twenty-five will be launched in Sydney on Saturday 22nd November 2014 at Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe commencing at 3.30 pm, in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 29th November 2014 at Wagga Wagga City Library commencing at 2.30 pm, and in Melbourne on Sunday 30th November 2014 at the Robarta Bar, 109 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, commencing at 2 pm.

The publication of ‘Lost Touch’ will also mark an anniversary – of sorts – for me, as I also had a piece – ‘The Great Bear’ – published in fourWtwenty-four. ‘Lost Touch’ is a very short piece, which is considered to have more than a touch of the John Irving’s about it… Watch this space for publication details.