CARBON DATING by Mark Gorton

Not so long ago I had a life expectancy to die for and lived in the High Lands where it’s always summer. I was 56 but looked 26 and could buy anything and everything. I could go where the hell I liked, even off-world to resorts where inverted sail boats navigate the waters way above your head. All thanks to the man who’d orphaned me when I was 5 years old and left me a couple of billion and some hot patents by way of recompense.

Murder and money had made me an instant A-list Sleb, famous at first for being so young, so alone and so wealthy, a mysterious Golden Child, silent and wide eyed. Later I became one of the planet’s most eligible bachelors. And then, as years passed by, I gained notoriety for being reclusive and unattached. You see, I wouldn’t, couldn’t play the game. I was solitary and introverted and reluctant to share my life and likeness with modern madness.

In the end I gave people the creeps, Slebs and Plebs alike, and started to get plenty of bad press. I was the focus of hate campaigns and death threats. In truth I was a single man worth a fortune, but universally acknowledged to be in want of a life.

Continue reading “CARBON DATING by Mark Gorton”


How to make my Press Release for the novel more human, more personal – that’s the challenge laid down by Deb my PR pal but I’m stumped. This is the best I can do:



“It’s hard to believe,” says Mark Gorton, “when looking at my 98 kilo body napping on the sofa with its mouth open that I was once a chubby child who dreamed of being able to fly.”

More decades later than he cares to mention Mark has taken that childish imagining and channeled it into The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy v. The Green Bogey, a new all action comedy novel for children aged 8 to 12.

“Bizarrely,” recalls Mark, “I used to dream about flying on a giant paper aeroplane launched by an equally giant elastic band. The story’s hero, Kenny Lane, is much more cool, although at first he doesn’t think so.”

Now the release continues by describing the plot of the book and includes a couple of quotes which reveal me to be articulate and charming and only took three hours to write.

Job done. What next? Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART FOUR: PROFILE”


As I begin to devise my marketing campaign for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey it’s time for some social media stocktaking.

  • I have only 223 twitter followers and I suspect some of them are not human beings but bots with absolutely no purchasing power and even less interest in the story of a chubby boy stung by an atomic bumblebee.
  • My Facebook friends number 276.
  • Linkedin is slightly more encouraging: 500+ connections, though a fair few are people who want to sell me something and with whom I foolishly linked out of some misguided sense of politeness.

At first I found these numbers disheartening – until I read that social media is not a great way of selling a self published book anyway, apart from in the marketplace populated by friends and colleagues.

Friends and colleagues. Yes. Those poor saps.



Part of my publicity strategy for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey has collapsed already. My offer to hire my local bookshop for an evening to entertain 50 or 60 friends (and flog them a book each) has been turned down on the grounds that my novel will be available only from amazon – wherefrom I might be buying books in the future.

So it goes. At least saving a few quid on venue hire means I can divert the money into another area of my promotional masterplan.

I have a photo a quite like on the grounds it makes me look reasonably fun-loving and avuncular. Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART TWO: WHAT?”


Many aspiring fiction writers know what it’s like. You’ve written a book, had plenty of rejections from agents, but a couple of them have read your work and responded warmly at first – only for hopes to be dashed when both say that, in the end, they don’t feel they can represent you and your novel.


I have no idea how much effort went into writing The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey because it was fashioned in the evenings and at weekends over a period so long I have lost track of it. Given that it takes me five minutes to write the title alone I can only surmise that I put plenty of hours in.

I do know, however, that writing the story gave me a great deal of pleasure. I also know – well, hope – that it is a decent, 50,000 word read that will make young readers laugh and think. Continue reading “MY JOURNEY INTO SELF PUBLISHING: PART ONE – WHY?”


When I was four years old my family moved from a council house on Blackburn’s Higher Croft estate to number 1 Adelaide Terrace. My mum and dad had bought the first home of their own and it was all very exciting. It had a cellar and an attic both of which were tailor made for imagination and the sort of games that ended up scaring the pants off you.

It was also very well positioned. Walk down the Terrace to Dukes Brow, turn left and make the ascent to Corporation Park and East Lancashire Cricket Club; or turn right and go downhill to Preston New Road which went into town.

On the New Road lived two important grown-ups. One was Mr Liebmann, or Fritz to my parents. They had become friends in the late 1940’s.

Mr Liebmann was a German Jew who had been allowed to leave Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s because his wife was not Jewish. He ended up in Blackburn because a contact at the Newman slipper factory gave him work. Mrs Liebmann was a talented dressmaker and set up in business and did quite well out of it. Together they made a nice home. Continue reading “THE PAST IS A DISTANT PLANET”


There was a time when I read the local TV news with Anthony H. Wilson.

As a television presenter he had the rare ability to be the same human being in two dimensions as he was in three.

He also had the gift of writing out loud. What went down on paper and then came out of the telly was always Wilson.


Tony also enjoyed making things as difficult as possible for no apparent reason.

In 1985 he decided to mark the launch of the Liverpool based movie Letter to Brezhnev with a live report from the city.

The technology at his disposal was as follows: new but unreliable outside broadcast facilities in the shape of shiny blue Range Rovers with big antennae on top; ENG tapes for his packaged pieces; massive ACR cassettes for movie clips and other bits and bobs of archive footage; and quarter inch audio tape with which to play in music.

Wilson being Wilson decided to use everything and his script was a wonder to behold. When it landed on our desks it looked like a printout of the human genome. Continue reading “A LASTING MEMORY OF ANTHONY H. WILSON”