Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You Say It's My Birthday? It's Your Birthday Too, Yeah

You remember how excited you were when it was your birthday and you got to pass out candy or cupcakes to the class?  Well, some things never change. I come bearing gifts on this blessedly tragic day. (If you are allergic to books of Dark Fiction which just may steal your face right off of your head, then you better pass. If not, read on.)

Below are eight gift voucher codes for a FREE download of the kindle version of MILK-BLOOD. Just click here to redeem the codes,pop in one of the codes below, and Bamn!!! MILK-BLOOD to your kindle.  


First come first serve. No catch, no strings attached. If one code doesn't work, try the next, and so on. If none of them work, shoot me a message at xmarkm@gmail.com and perhaps I’ll provide more. 

(Link to redeem the codes) www.amazon.com/acceptgift 

**As of 2/26/2015, 9 am, the 4 codes below are unused**

The codes:
Gift Claim Code 
GSV5URJBD95MWA6
 Gift Claim Code  GSQMMNVBQ6R2V5U
Gift Claim Code  GSSSZTZ8R55XLB5
Gift Claim Code  GSDM6HNG7G47YDB


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Detroit Based Horror Fiction: Bird Box and Broken Monsters

With my novel MILK-BLOOD being distinctly and specifically based in Detroit, I've been keeping an especially watchful eye on other Detroit based pieces of Dark Fiction or Horror. Recently, two popular such books have been released, Bird Box, by Josh Malerman, who lives and sings and flings boomerangs in Detroit, and Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes, best-selling novelist from South Africa who realized Detroit is the perfect home for such creative despair. She certainly did her research. More on Broken Monsters later, first up is Bird Box.

Bird Box: Take a picture of this:

Creatures, or some type of monstrous presence, are making those who see them go mad. At least thats the consenus for those who survive, since they live on by not looking. Instead they stay blindfolded, putting blankets over the windows, and doing so as if their lives depend on it. Most are not so diligent, and madness kills in remarkable ways.

Bird-Box is a remarkable book. Apocalyptic,  but with the focus on one mother and how she survives. The story begins with her venturing for safety with her two children, all of them blindfolded, and the children trained on the art of audio detection. Chapters go back and forth to the backstory of the sanctuary she is leaving, and they link together wonderfully. At times when chapters begin, they brilliantly carry over sensory from the preceding chapters, but of a different time period, which makes the stories intersect with near magical realism.

The story read fast, smart, and the author's skills were on display. The author made me feel like a character in the story... and I don't mean just feel 'for' a character in a story, and empathize for them, but like I was trapped in the house with them, wearing a blind-fold. The handicap of not being able to see was terrifying and all my other senses were on fire. Like the characters of the story, my brain was awhirl with possibilities of what was out there. That was tremendous. I wanted to peek and see what was driving us all mad. So many passages were done with no visual imagery, which isn't easy, and could be boring, but not at all here. I had to pull out the Willy Wonka line as I was reading.... "the suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts."

There was more than one nice twist, some odd characters, some noble characters, and the expected infighting where it is your fellow human survivor, not the 'monsters', who become the one to fear.


Detroit landmarks are not especially visible, but they don't need to be. The isolation is there. The neighborhood feeling of both relying on your community yet fearing your community. There is outside evil on the street, living, walking, never fully seen but always present. Just to go outside is to risk your life, and you need to barricade the doors, and be suspicious of those who knock. But ultimately, it is the power of community and heroic acts to save our neighbors that may be the savior of these Detroit streets, as well as human kind in general. Some adventurous young urban spelunker needs to listen to the audiobook of Bird-Box while walking the streets of Detroit.

(Detroit is the city that recently banded together to give a man a car and nearly half a million dollars after it was found he had been walking 25 miles to work each day. This same man had to then leave his home and move due to fear of repercussions from neighbors who certainly would have broken down his windows and robbed him one night.)

Literary license is used to carry the riveting tone of Bird Box as the story gets frenetic towards the end. As great books do, this one does not reveal all its secrets, and doesn't let you see everything at the end that you might want. Then again, if you had seen everything, you would not be a survivor. You'd have bashed your own skull in with the closest blunt object you could find until brain matter dripped from your ears. So be glad for it.



Josh Malerman, from Detroit.  (Do you see what I see?)
The author is doing readings to blind-folded participants in the Detroit area. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chasing the Dragon Down the Yellow Brick Road





Chasing the Dragon. 
A term I over use and over think and over indulge in. Always chasing that next high.

I have been sober from the Running High since October, 2014. This is nothing to celebrate. That was the last time running made me sweat. Since then, I do a mile at a time at most,the slowest miles of my life, and am doing what I can to get back to it.

I used to say that if I ever lost a leg, it would be the biggest threat to my sobriety since I could no longer run. Now that my fear of not running has come true, I have found out that I am no more likely to get high or drunk if I can't run than if I can. The statement was more for hyperbole about how wonderful running has been in my sobriety. But now I need to look elsewhere.  There is plenty to be had and I have more than most and perhaps more than I deserve, but God Damn I am still in a unique kind of sick and a terrible sort of suffering. In fact, I did take myself out of the RunWell cause that seemed such a perfect fit.

I am one resilient SOB. I will follow any trail or make my own and if I get knocked down nine times I'll get up nine times.  Then again, perhaps I should not be searching and chasing so hard. Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man, that he didn't already have. I am hoping that chasing the dragon is quite similar, that as I seek out the mythical beast, I realize it was inside me all along. I shall find a way to breathe fire.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

MILK-BLOOD on Dead End Follies

My book was featured on one of the coolest Dark Fiction review sites in the universe, Dead End Follies. They called it "one of these disturbing tales that could only belong in the golden era of indie publishing."

Here's a snippet:

" In order to appreciate MILK-BLOOD, you need to know right off the bat that you're in for some heavy social stuff. It's a metafictional novel written from the perspective of a Detroit social worker (which is Mark Matthews' real life occupation) and part of its genius is to sneak horror in what otherwise would be a bleak social drama. Don't get me wrong, MILK-BLOOD is 100% horror, but it's narrative slowly unfolds, like an urban legend. You know these campfire tales that always happened to someone the storyteller knows? Mark Matthews uses metafiction in order to give the legitimacy and intimacy to his novel, and by the time the horror elements kick in, you're invested in the narrative like it was happening to your neighbor across the street, so that it terrifies the shit out of you."

Read  the whole thing here:  
MILK-BLOOD reviewed by Dead End Follies


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Benefits of Not Running. (Maybe We All Need some Mysoitis Ossificans in Our Lives)

I have run 2 miles in 2015. This was over a span of 2 days, not in succession, and they were slow and easy ones. 

Not running has its benefits. 

*I have more time on my hand (but accomplish less) 

*When I get sick, I don't get sick for as long (but I feel sicker in the head) 

*I don't get the major munchies  (but I eat more because I am depressed) 

*I do much more upper body weights (I pick things up and put them down) 

* I save so much money on race fees (which I waste on Chip Ahoys) 

*I can get a cardio workout just by taking the stairs (going to the top of a tall building with plans to jump off)

Recently I received some PT, which did some good but also revealed to me the evils of the medical world (charges pending) and I think I once again have another diagnosis. Mysoitis Ossificans, which isn't just scar tissue, it is bone growing into your muscle due to an injury 

Myositis ossificans is a rare condition which can occur after the patient has suffered a muscle injury. Returning too soon to training after injury is often a cause. Abnormal bone development occurs where the deep tissue injury has created a hematoma. The patient will experience pain and bruising, and this may cause the development of abnormal bone within the muscle.  The muscles get inflamed and the bone formation occurs. When the bones start to form inside the muscle tissue, the patient will require suitable treatment.

Treatment is hit or miss, may require surgery, but does not have a very high success rate. Jumping off a building does. But first, pass the Chip Ahoys. I want to be nice and fat for the splat. 





 

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