Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Nothing For A While, Then 4 Come Along...

I've been very busy trying to finish my MA Project & Contextual Essay, not to mention my novel (which has now been chopped about and another chapter added...). I've also been working on a couple of apps, which I'm quite hopeful for and am currently waiting to see whether the first will be funded. All this means that my features and short fiction have suffered, then I was delighted to hear that my interview with Geoff Nelder has been published online at:
Today I heard that I have 14 pages in the February edition of Martial Arts Illustrated; namely 4 pages of an interview with Grand Master Sung Jae Park, 4 pages on my Sammo Hung interview and lastly 6 pages - plus the cover - on Matt Fiddes  & Michael Jackson.
This was a great and well needed boost at a very sad time for me, funny how these things come along just when you need them.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


I had some good news this week., formerly have accepted the four interviews I submitted to them some time ago. Due to the wordage I've had to cut these into bite sized chunks, so my four features now reads a series of ten pieces. I'm told that these will be put in a stand-alone section of the site, so I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. With luck the first of these should be up later this week, or early next.
Earlier today I nervously  attended my first meeting with the Fareham Writers Group, and was extremely pleased to be invited to become a member a few short hours later. This is the first such group that I've joined and I feel that I can gain a lot from this experienced and knowledgeable group, particularly as they are extremely friendly and approachable.
On a much sadder note, I learned recently of the demise of a prominent magazine that I used to write for. The harsh economic climate of today will no doubt see the back of many publications. A loss not only for the reader, but also for the writer who supports them.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Final Stages

Sadly living alone again I'm spending more time writing than before. Someone said to me once that writing can be a lonely occupation. At the time I thought that it was just a statement, not a prophesy. So, now there's only myself and my dog, Bella, who's a lovely beast and great company.

As mentioned the writing is really going well. 'A Pride Of Lions' has now been rewritten for the 4th time and is in the final editing stages. Likewise my short story collection, 'Distant Shores'. I'm concentrating heavily on these and have moved away temporarily from other writing, to get these works completed and, as they say, 'out there'.

The MA is also almost finished too, thank heavens. I sent a submission to the Uni earlier in the week and only have one edit of the same to complete and submit, before waiting for feedback from the tutor. When I've had that it's a case of re-edit my last two submissions and send off a total of 15,000 words and a contextual essay, then await the MA submission results. Job done.  But I still need to decide what area to concentrate on for the essay (although I have a few ideas) and the editing is easier said than done, for we never seem happy with our work; and, as Oscar Wilde once said, 'books are never finished they are merely abandoned'.

'A Handful Of Stars' reviewed

In the early hours of this morning, when I was finally signing off after a long days editing, Geoff Nelder sent me the following review on my short story 'A Handful Of Stars', which was published in the Escape Velocity Anthology and which is now available for sale on Amazon. The review was kindly conducted by Dellani Oakes, an American author with Second Wind Publishing.

 A Handful of Stars – Mark Iles

Connor is a problem child. Constantly running away and getting in trouble, he's become difficult for Miranda to cope with. Called yet again to the facility where he lives, she finally has a frank talk with him. What she finds out surprises her.

Miranda discovers that Connor isn't like most children. He's not from around here. She doesn't immediately believe what he tells her, but eventually comes to an understanding. With Miranda's encouragement, Connor strikes out on his own once more, searching for his family in earnest.

"Handful of Stars" is a tenderly depicted story of loss, fear and acceptance. It is the very definition of a leap of faith.'
I'd like to thank Dellani for her very kind words and also Geoff, for sending this to me.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Pride Of Lions

I haven't posted for a while, simply because so much has been going on. Changes in my private life have left a void and so I have thrown myself into my SF novel A Pride Of Lions, yesterday finishing the 2nd rewrite. I've found myself writing constantly, sometimes from 10:00 until 01:30 and, as I said on Twitter, it's frustrating when you make a cup of tea, look at your novel, then take a sip only to find it's gone cold. This happened five times the other day. So the plan now is heavy editing, fire up the coffee percolator to combat the peculiar happenings with the Earl grey, and then to submit my work for crits while looking for an agent/publisher. I estimate that the word count at about 60,000, which is about right.

Although I've almost finished my short story collection Distant Shores, and I'm keen to publish it, I've decided to hang fire for a while, to see how the novel goes before making any decisions about how and where to market it.

The MA finishes in February, and I have one more submission to make (comprising of two edits of the same work). Then it's re-edit the complete 7,500 MA Project and submit it along with a contextual essay for marking; then all will be done and dusted, and it will just be a question of waiting.

There's also the fact that I may be moving soon too, further north, to Boston in Peterborough. It's nice there and very quiet, no such animal as a traffic jam. So, things have been extremely hectic, as I go through my cupboards and the loft to vet what I have to take with me. It's amazing what you accumulate over the years.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cursed, So I Am

Why is it that when you think you are finally catching up on your writing projects something catches your eye and your breath quickens? Browsing through publishing sites this morning one in particular immediately grabbed me, and I thought I'd love to have a story that would really fit into that. Then realised that I did. So, now I'm rewriting my short story 'Dream Stealer'. But that's never the end, is it? On top of this project I have the novel to complete, a feature a magazine editor's agreed to in advance and a brace of book reviews.

So, is writing a gift or a curse? A bit of both I guess. I simply love the way that stories chop and change as you develop them, the thrill of getting  critiques back and the sheer delight of having one or two accepted by editors; the dismay when occasionally those accepted aren't published and you wonder why you left it with them in the first place, when there are so many other markets waiting out there.

Tis cursed, so I am.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Geoff Nelder now has his trilogy 'Left Luggage' under contract with Scottish small-press LL-Publications. This is an absolutely superb piece of news, for not only is Geoff an excellent writer but also a staunch backbone of the BSFA Orbiter groups, never failing to critique and assist the other members of the group. Well done Geoff, great news indeed. My fingers are crossed also for his 'Xaghra's Revenge', which is currently under consideration with Angry Robot.

Exactly what is happening with Combat and my feature of Matt Fiddes and Michael Jackson is simply beyond me. The editor assures me that this has already been published, although it's not out in the shops and should have been on 29th July, but the issue is showing on the digital edition page of I'm hoping that all goes well, as I've always been a strong supporter of Combat and have been producing work for them, on and off, since 1984.

As well as continuing work on my short story collection, which I hope to publish as an EBook, my novel is progressing well. The tutor for the MA Project, Andrew Wille, is simply superb, offering sound advice and criticism. At this moment in time I have 7 features accepted and  7 short stories away for consideration, having finally cracked my latest effort 'Seven Steps To Gethsemane'.

In the meantime it's back to writing the novel, and getting my spicey female Key Character, Jenny, further into battle with those seemingly unbeatable aliens.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Matt Fiddes & Michael Jackson

The Editor of Combat magazine told me yesterday that they are publishing my exclusive interview with Matt Fiddes in their July issue. Matt has a flourishing martial arts business with over 40,000 students and teaches martial arts to many celebrities. He met Michael through their joint friendship with Uri Geller and Matt was both bodyguard and martial arts instructor to Michael during his visits to the UK.
This is a rare glimpse into a side of Michael that little is known about, and I for one can't wait to see it on the shelf at the end of the month. Combat is a superb magazine and one that I have supported for a great many years. I'm absolutely delighted to be able to give them this exclusive interview.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


After Monk Punk appeared for sale on with my short story in it "Understanding Lee" I decided to peruse the virtual shelves and much to my delight discovered my book "Kwak's Competition Taekwondo" there. Sadly these are second user copies, for sale at the staggering price of £25! If the price had been set at that originally I would have been a very happy man. To top it all the Escape Velocity Anthology came out this week and that's also for sale on Amazon. Bearing in mind a writer's need for social media in this day and age I took the bull with both horns and created an authors page there.

The research portfolio for the MA is due in this week. It's the final one before the MA project itself starts. Much to my surprise I've managed to pass it all so far (see, there is a God!). Once this portfolio is sent off I will no doubt be chewing my lip until the results arrive.

I also managed to interview Logan Hood, the personal trainer of Jason Stratham last week. I was asked to interview him and centre the piece around June's DVD release of The Mechanic. One bonus here is that I get to see the film first and what a cracker it is too, I loved every minute of it. Logan, an ex-navy seal, turned out to be a really nice guy and I have to say that it was an absolute pleasure to speak to him. The feature's written now and has been mailed off to the editor, along with 3 other pieces. Since then I've had two other films arrive in the post to watch and then interview for, which I look forward to doing sometime this coming week.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Monk Punk

I was delighted to hear this morning that the Monk Punk anthology has now been published, containing my short SF story 'The Cult Of Adam'. This will be available on Amazon shortly and in the meantime copies can also be downloaded directly at:

There are some superb stories in here by many up and coming writers, an anthology to look out for and certainly one to target by aspiring writers!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Celtx: Open Source Screen Writing Beginners Guide

I've been asked by Celtx to review their new book Open Source Screen Writing Beginner's Guide by Ralph Roberts. This shows us the way to write professional scripts and screenplays in the only way acceptable to Hollywood producers and agents. For writers in this field this is a complete page turner and should be added to any scribe's list of must have books.

For a sample chapter go to:

The complete EBook can be downloaded at:

Friday, 25 March 2011


Yesterday was a sad occasion for those who served on board HMS Invincible, especially for those who were on board during the Falklands War. It was a far cry indeed from when we returned home to enthusiastic crowds and tearful families. Instead of pleasure boats with their honking horns and fire tenders gleefully showering her with water Invincible's escort on this final harbour exit was a mere few tugs and police boats. Many of those who were there to wave goodbye hadn't seen each other for nearly 30 years and it was somehow fitting that this sad event bought us together once again. Apart from the war (sorry, conflict) Invincible was very special to me as a writer. Because it was during the Falklands that I wrote The Yellow, my first short story. This went on to see publication in Back Brain Recluse some years later, when I was no longer charging about the ocean. . War plays funny tricks on our minds and yet the Falklands led me along the path that I tread now. A strange gift indeed from a wonderful vessel and the horrors of war.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Bey Logan

Many years ago while I was working in Hong Kong I was also a correspondent for Combat magazine. The editor then was Bey Logan and I used to send my submissions to him via snail mail. A turn up for the books is that Bey is now living in Hong Kong while I'm back here in the UK! How bizarre is that? Bey kindly sent me a copy of his novel "The Blood Bond", which has also been released as a film. Great going Bey and thank you for your kindness in sending me the book.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


Well, I'm delighted. My short story "A Handful Of Stars" has indeed been sold to Escape Velocity and it should be out in a few weeks. Chuffed isn't the word. In addition the editor of Combat magazine sent me the PDF's of my interviews with Darren Shahlavi and Sammo Hung and they look great.

I have to finish off the rather large interview that I'm in the midst of writing and have another two interviews booked this week. Cracking on with my novel is great fun and I really enjoy getting up at silly o'clock to write. But wouldn't it be nice to be able to do this for a living.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Up early, as usual, yesterday morning I sent my new short story "A Handful of Stars" to Escape velocity. I was deeply saddened to learn that this is their final edition, an anthology of all their best short stories that have been published so far along with a sprinkling of others. I was delighted, however, to hear that I might have a sale as they really like it. I'm just waiting for confirmation at this moment in time.

The idea came when I was at my step daughter's birthday party. My partner's youngest son had taken a handful of table decorations and wanted a photo of them. It's amazing what can inspire us.

I've just about finished the big article that I've been writing. It ended up at 14,250 words, which is far too large and so it still needs editing. The trouble is, what to edit? The whole thing is fascinating and it really grabs you. I need to see what the editor says about it and I hope to speak to him today.

My Michael Jai White Feature is up in digital form. Take a look, it can be found under February's digital edition at:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I'm now working on a really gripping interview, one that is so strewn with pitfalls that one feels like you're walking through a minefield. It's a story that needs to be told, however, and one that I know I will look back on for years to come.

There is so much feature work coming up and I love it. I wonder sometimes how I found myself so involved in this area and I feel so frustrated that I can't speak more openly about my projects. But I'm a staunch believer in the writer's age old fear of never discussing your work before it's written, as you will lose the ideas and feeling for it; rather like watching a flower wither and die.

I'm also putting together a collection of my short stories. This is something that I have thought of doing for a very long time. Much has been published in a variety of markets, from the web to small press, at home and overseas. I strongly feel that short fiction, once published, shouldn't be simply abandoned. It should be picked up later on and dusted off. Perhaps rewritten and (copyright depending) sent out to publishers again, so that people who missed them the first time can discover them and hopefully look for more of your work. Success in the field of short fiction can lead to success in longer works. Well, here's hoping.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

New Writers And The EBook

I'm absolutely delighted to see the first part of one of my interviews with Dan Witters up on the Professional Writing website. I got a lot out of this article and I believe it shows that there is indeed hope for the new writer in today's market and also the way ahead with EBooks.

If anyone would like to take a peep you can find this at:

Thursday, 10 February 2011

What a great fortnight!

I heard yesterday that the four interviews I have written over the past few weeks have all been accepted for the March issue of Combat. These were with Sammo Hung, Darren Shahlavi, Donnie Yen and Michael Jai White. I'm delighted for many reasons, not just for the acceptances sake (although it's always a delight to hear that your work has been taken) but the fact that they were taken by Combat and it was well worth staying up until well gone midnight and then getting up again at 3.30am to ensure that I hit the deadline!

Combat is the magazine that I first started writing for way back in 1984, whilst based in Hong Kong. I have written for them on and off over the years. I will be forever grateful to the editor, Paul Clifton, for having faith in me and giving me the chance to interview these amazing people and to further my writing career.

I'm still waiting to hear back regarding my series of three articles on digital publishing for another market but I have to say that working on these has really opened my eyes to how the market is changing and how it affects the new writer. The constant ebb and flow of the publishing world can easily deter even the most seasoned scribe and I believe that the information contained in these features will give many despairing writers hope and a realisation that, despite all, there is a growing market for our work.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Darren Shahlavi Interview

After a catastrophic technical issue caused problems with our interview on Friday I was absolutely delighted when Darren Shahlavi called me again on Saturday and we re-did the whole interview. No only does this show that Darren is a superbly talented actor but also a thoroughly nice guy!

Very easy to talk to Darren expanded on his entry into the martial arts film industry and the roles in which he has played. We discussed his most recent role as the menacing 'Twister' Milos in 'Ip Man 2' and his many stunt roles in such films as '300'.

I just have to write the interview up now. Cut off for the magazine is Tuesday at the latest, so I need to crack on.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Ip Man 2

I've now finished and mailed off my interview with the amazing Donnie Yen, star of 'Ip Man 2'. The film is about Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher and Donnie plays the lead part. Filled with action this really is a must see film, which is due for release here in the UK on 7th March.

I still have to complete interviews with two other stars of the film, Sammo Hung and Darren Shahlavi who plays the menacing 'Twister' Milos. If I succeed in completing all of these features it will be the first time that I've ever had four pieces of work in one magazine and I'm really hoping that all goes well and that I can pull it off.

For a taster of the film see this link. If you have trouble with it just copy the details and past them onto your browser, this then works immediately.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


I ran my interview with Michael Jai White past his publicity company and then submitted it to Combat on Thursday morning for consideration. I was absolutely delighted when I heard back the same day that it had been accepted. The editor tells me that it will be in their March Edition, which will be in the shops from 25th February, and will also be on their website from 28th January. I'm very excited and definitely up for more in this line of work.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


I was delighted when the interview with Michael Jai Write over his new film Black Dynamite finally went ahead on Monday 10Th January. It went really well too, the film studio rang at the agreed 5PM and I was put through to Michael bang on time. What a great guy! With black belts in seven different martial arts he was ideal for Combat Magazine, who'd commissioned me to write it.

There I was with a fleet of pens by my side, a stack of paper, two recording devices, Michael's voice carrying confidentally over the loudspeaker and my well prepared interview sheet in hand when disaster struck. Without warning an awful hum came over the phone and I could hardly hear a word. Grabbing the handset I was able to hear him enough to write everything down freehand, so the disaster was averted.

What did I learn from this? To be prepared for anything. Well tested recording devices and spare batteries aren't enough, you can literally be torpedoed from any direction. Who could imagine a problem with the phone line and what a tragedy it would have been if it had all gone wrong.

The feature's now written and I've also run it past the publicity company. This morning I've sent it off to the editor, along with their stills from the film. Now I'm just waiting, with baited breath and jagged fingernails. Here's hoping all goes well.

Details of Michael can be found on his home page at:

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Great Start To The New Year

I had some great news yesterday, that my short story "The Cult Of Adam" has been accepted for the Monk Punk Anthology. My friend and fellow writer Geoff Nelder also has a story in this, so I'm doubly pleased. Copies are going out to the Editor Ellen Datlow and to other Year's Best Compendiums, so it's all very exciting! On top of that I heard this morning that my ghostly poem "Roman Roads" is to be published at Kalkion.

Yup, what a great start to the year.


A few disappointments recently were two interviews that my editor put me onto. The first was with Simon Crane, Stunt Coordinator. Simon has just finished work with Angelina Jolie on her new film "Salt" and has worked on such wonderful films as "Men In Black", "Hancock", "Troy", "Mr & Mrs Smith", "Terminator 3", "The Mummy", "Titanic" and "Saving Private Ryan" to name but a few!

Managing to leave work early I was all set for the agreed time of 6pm. The film studio rang me to say that the interview would actually take place at 7pm, as this coincided with Simon's lunch hour. At 7.30pm I received an email saying that they would ring shortly and then at 8pm I had another email saying that it had been cancelled as something had come up and it couldn't be rebooked. As a great admirer of Simon's work I was disappointed to say the least but these things happen. All I can do is keep my eye open for more of his amazing work and keep my fingers crossed for future opportunities.

A week later I had a second interview, this time with Michael Jai White. Michael, whose film "Black Dynamite" is due for release here in the UK on 24th January 2011. Having been in such brilliant films as "Universal Soldier", "Spawn" and "The Dark Knight" I was really up for this one; particularly as Michael is also a black belt in seven different martial arts! On the morning of the interview I learned that this one had been cancelled too, hopefully to be rebooked sometime in January. I really look forward to that, as Michael will be a an absolutely amazing person to interview.

So what has this taught me? That life as a writer is not an easy one. It is, however, a fantastic one; to have such amazing opportunities really keeps you on the edge of your seat. Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Coming Of The New Year

On Christmas Eve I heard that the Christmas Edition of Screaming Dreams Estronomicon had been published. It was great to see my work in print and this can be downloaded at:

As usual the Editor, Steve Upham, has done a splendid job and I have to say that the artwork is extremely impressive to say the least. I really enjoyed the other stories and it's great to see my work amidst them.

Now it's back to work. I have a short story called "The Cult Of Adam" to finish off and I have started another, "Seven Steps To Gesthsemane". A hot cup of tea is besides me, it's silly o'clock and I'm loaded for bear. Life really is great, being a writer.

Monday, 3 January 2011

James Beaton recently wrote an article about Taekwondo Grand Master Kim Bok Man and had it published in Martial Arts Illustrated not too long ago. As a friend and former private student of GM Kim's I have had a fair few interviews with him published in a variety of magazines over the years. I was delighted when James asked my permission to use some of my photographs and it was the first time that another writer has ever used my material, although several of my shots are on GM Kim's website with an acknowledgement to me. It was a good article and great to see more publicity about this incredible martial artist, who was one of the building blocks of Taekwondo.