Archive for the ‘Marcus Bird writer’ Tag

Manhattan Club NYC   Leave a comment

Got the opportunity to chill in this awesome spot for a few days. New York tunup!

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Good Business Film Shoot   Leave a comment

Got to work today on the set of “Good Business” a film produced by a few up and comers here in NYC, including Ramfis Myrthil and his company Beast of the East Productions along with Hayden 5 productions. The film was also pushed by the Co-Founder of a film non profit, Mythic Bridge whose organization helped this film come into reality. On set were talents like Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl and Christian Campbell!

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[VIDEO] Why I wrote my new novel “Berlin Vanilla”   Leave a comment

These are some thoughts behind the inspiration for my new novel “Berlin Vanilla” set in Kingston Jamaica. The book comes out May 25th, 2014. Cheers!

Book description:

In a Kingston where every night you compete for the attention of young women with world famous athletes, reggae superstars and millionaire businessmen, a young promoter named Indie battles with traumatic issues from the past while trying to stay afloat in the choking social atmosphere of endless parties and casual hookups. As he falls deeper into a growing malaise, he meets a girl who seems to be his only salvation out of the Kingston fishbowl. Or is she? Berlin Vanilla takes us into a dark, edgy modern day Kingston far removed from quaint beaches all-inclusive hotels and countryside hideaways.

 

Going Back To Berlin Visually: #ThrowBackThursday   Leave a comment

I’m putting the final touches on my latest novel. The last part of the book is set in Berlin and like my previous post on Going Back To Tokyo Visually, i’ve had to travel back there both in my mind and through a visual recollection of experiences from when I visited the city in 2008. I can’t say it is the easiest process trying to re-imagine a place and then write about it, but after looking through a few dozen photos things start to trickle back into memory. Stuff like a sense of space, certain smells and people you met, the energy at certain places and so forth. Thankfully the Berlin section of the book isn’t very long but these are a few images i’m  looking at to take me back.

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5 More Days Until We Get ‘Naked’   Leave a comment

Just a few more days until the book drops!

 

AVAILABLE DECEMBER 10TH, 2013 ON AMAZON.
Grab a free chapter of this book at
http://NakedAsTheDay.com

A young man finds himself in ragingly cosmopolitan Tokyo, haunted by memories of the past, facing an uncertain future.

When a typical twenty-something year old English teacher in Japan develops severe physical and psychological aversions to his daily routine in a small town, he decides to move to Tokyo with a few months worth of savings in search of more stimulating horizons. As his physical symptoms remain, and now hit with the demands that come with living in one of the world’s most expensive cities, he must take a fast track course in both survival and self-actualization from a host of characters including libidinous transients, self-proclaimed celebrities and kleptomaniac models. Armed with a few skills in the face of an uncertain future, Naked As The Day takes us on an occasionally humorous and poignant journey of human choices and ultimately their consequences.

Come To Tokyo With Me For 3 Minutes   Leave a comment

Greetings,

With just seven days to go before the launch of my new book “Naked As The Day”, I thought it would be interesting to take you guys to Tokyo for a spell before you go there in the novel. In this e-mail is a link to “Lost in Transportation”, one of my most popular Tokyo videos that really captured elements of the Tokyo nightlife; strangers in cabs, friendly foreigners and getting lost in the bowels of the city. The book has many situations like this and more, so be sure to grab your copy on December 10th, 2013! Click the picture to see the video and happy watching! Of course, if you have anyone that you’d like to share this with, just send them on over to www.NakedAsTheDay.com to let them watch the book trailer and get their FREE chapter! Have a great day!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A young man finds himself in ragingly cosmopolitan Tokyo, haunted by memories of the past, facing an uncertain future. 

After a young man teaching English in Japan begins developing bizarre psychological and physical aversions to his daily routine, he decides to take all his savings, leave his small town and head to Tokyo, leaving behind Eri, a woman whom he didn’t realized had affections for him until the day he left. He moves to the ragingly cosmopolitan Tokyo, where he meets a carousel of characters that force him to peel away the darker layers of himself in his new world of transient friends and endless nights.  Naked As The Day is a book about human choices, and ultimately their consequences.

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You Can’t Hurt Us in the Kingston Circus   2 comments

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Days after returning to Jamaica from a whirlwind two weeks in the states, I had almost forgotten elements of my Jamaican life. I’d spent time having dozens of random conversations with new people, happy to buy me drinks as I roamed the streets either alone or with friends. I’d slept on couches, hopped on planes, and done a book reading in Washington DC, and had a series of fun but crazy meetings in New York. A little airsick and drained the day after I returned back to the sunny island nestled in the bosom of the Caribbean,  I gave a speech at an event, and sometime after that I plodded about through the crowd, snapping photos. At some point I saw a girl I knew, and I instinctively smiled at her, giving her a strong hello. She looked at me, and for a second almost returned the smile with the same energy, but then her body language changed, and we exchanged a bizarre sort of shoulder touch. As if I wasn’t there, she quickly turned away and started speaking to someone else. For three seconds, I almost felt offended, but then I remembered, this is Kingston. We live in a state of being visible and invisible, hiding in glass display cases that protect both our emotions and public personas. There we lay, protected and exposed at the same time, in the roaring, socially stilted continuum that is nighttime Kingston. So she can’t excitedly hug me, this is impossible I remember. Such emotional displays are frowned upon, and my programming starts to kick in, the faux coolness that must ooze from my pores, where everything is passé and Friday nights always feel like a revolving door. The circus is back in town, and the main attraction is an empty cage that held the promise of what used to be. You take a stroll through its expanse, amidst peeling old tents and smelly remnants of aging exhibitions. Dusty signs point towards a main attraction, but all you see there is an empty cage. This cage, you realize, held promise; the promise of what used to be. The thick black bars that were used to trap some magnificent beast (or someone pretending to be one) are still slick with oil. The tattered remains of a 40’s style poster hangs loosely from one corner of the attraction, nothing left but a leering eye and unintelligible yellow text with only the letters “GRE” showing. But standing there, you can feel that promise, rising from the forgotten stink of what was, rushing into the nostrils of the now.

A friend is with you perhaps, and you both find the spectacle amusing. But this isn’t a scenario where you are the scared little girl grabbing Daddy’s knee moments before the “Lizard Man” is set to make his debut. No, you are laughing at the scenes of some party, a party in the Kingston circus. There are the Instagram girls, dressed to the nines with no purpose other than to be digitally immortalized. Their eyes drip with anticipation of the comments they’ll receive on various social networks. Standing in groups, they are mostly steely eyed, laughing only at things they say to themselves, diving headfirst into the ground like Ostriches when people they don’t know say hello. Then, when a camera comes out, fiery personality and fierce ambition fills their eyes, they morph into women with the perfect poses and even more perfect skin, arching their backs to accentuate what they already have or don’t have until they all become little paragons of beauty. The camera man or the friend with the smart phone positions himself at the ready, then with a press of the shutter release or the click of a poorly recorded digital snap, light flashes and the beautiful ghosts of the women are suddenly exorcised. The area becomes dark, and they are the Instagram girls again, clamoring around the photographer to see how they look in the pictures. Nothing else matters, not the guy that was trying to talk to one of the girls moments before, or the friend who waved somewhere in the distance. They are digital gods, and mere mortals don’t know anything about their heaven.

Other people mill about, mumbling to each other amidst the din of the circus like old men in a church house pew. They whisper and talk about the glory days (mostly college) and intermittently say hello to the same faces in the same places. The people are a blur, and there isn’t even a need for names or formalities, just short hellos and a comment about the party is fine. Liquor pours and a few people escape their glass cages and roam freely around the circus. Handlers at the circus are too tired to keep track of these few rogue animals. These roaming beasts knock on the cages and cases of the others in the area they want to speak with. They speak about themselves and their lives and make jokes and tell pickup lines, but the people they talk to can’t hear them or don’t want to. The world behind the glass is nice; they can look out and observe at everything without really being there. He’ll go away, the girl in the glass cage says to herself, looking into the distance at nothing at all. She is right, the man who previously left his cage soon loses interest, picking up the scent of a target nearby.

The newly freed are emboldened by the alcohol coursing through their veins, their eyes bright with the promise of escaping the circus. There, only one hundred feet away, the lights of the circus tents dim and the horizon lies spread-eagled, waiting to be entered. There, they can escape into the unknown, but then, they hear a voice. It is the Ringmaster, and he has a new attraction. He stands resolute on a massive podium, teasing patrons with humorous anecdotes, carefully drawing them in, ever closer, back to the center, near their cages. The roaming beasts laugh and get lost in the display around them. More drinks! The Ringmaster says, as clowns with brightly coloured polo shirts run around with shots, and people drink them freely. The outside world is now a dull memory, out there isn’t important. The dark horizon pales in comparison to the bright lights in the main arena. The Ringmaster brings in a rolling menagerie of distractions : acrobats, dancers and animals, all the while his eyes cold and serious behind his practiced smile. The alcohol is affecting those that were roaming now, and the handlers come back out, with their animal control poles at the ready. The freed put up no fight as the nooses drop back around their necks, and they are happily ushered back into their glass cages, laughing giddily at nothing and everything.

Then the Ringmaster’s voice fades, and the canopy of circus images disappear. I’m in a club somewhere, standing with a drink in my hand. A girl walks past, a girl who probably really likes me, and I probably really like her, but she gives me the perfunctory nod, I nod back and she disappears in a wake of shadows and strobe lights. In a moment, I step back into my glass cage, not really looking at anything, waiting for the night to be over.

Massive exhaustion and Book review Caution   2 comments

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It’s about 3 a.m, and I hear a door open. Squinting in the dim light of a lamp beside my suitcase, is Ron, whose couch I’ve been sleeping on for the past week. He shuffles past me, his eyes thick with sleep. I hear him mumble something unintelligble under his breath, before he vanishes into the bathroom. I’m doing my “travel check protocol” before heading to the airport. While staying at his place, I devised a nice little system of staying as organized as possible in the small pace. A few minutes before, my little space was chaos, but now everything is almost packed away, and outside New York is quiet and dark. Ron comes back out from the bathroom and gives me a bro-hug. “Travel safe man, and good luck,” he says. I tell him likewise and he shuffles back into his room.

The kind of tired I’m experiencing is palpable. I can feel it in every part of my body. I’m overextended in terms of energy, finances and everything else I can think of. The last few days I’ve been walking long blocks to get to meetings, figuring out directions (badly) to meetup with people at night while trying to make stuff happen with my book. In the Lincoln Town Car i’m taking to the airport, my mind runs briefly on Jamaica, where in a day I’ll be delivering a speech at this year’s edition of Anime Nation, a growing Cosplay event put on the by a group called the JA Cos Playaz. The time spent in the states running around on buses, planes and trains has gotten to me; I feel weak and winded. Some sort of Bachata music is playing on the radio, and I watch Brooklyn disappear in a blur of black as we head to JFK. I have a large duffle bag and a backpack.  I feel like I’m being dragged into the earth itself as I walk the fifty feet or two to the American Airlines check in counter. I happily hand over the duffle to the check-in lady, but my backpack is worse. Two minutes after having it on my shoulder, I start to feel light-headed and I kneel on the ground, taking in a few breaths. This is when I know I’ve gone close to my limit. I regain my balance and go through the major security checkpoint and head to my gate. The waiting area is so cold it would scare an arctic wolf. I try to pass the time rubbing my arms and walking around. I’m listening to the last few CDS of an audio called The Power of Intention on my ipod,  nodding in agreement with different parts as I ruminate about serious “coincidences” that happened in the previous week. The fat backpack is on the ground some distance away and I am wide awake. For some reason I buy a large cup of coffee, which adds to my growing state of disease. I sigh again after buying some morning McDonald’s (an egg muffin without bacon) and I can’t eat it. I’m too tired to chew it, and something about it tastes off.

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The first flight is three and a half hours long, but before we took off I felt a little woozy. The plane felt as if it was moving before it was moving, and outside, the bright sunlight was garish and made my head hurt. I fell asleep for about two hours then woke up, feeling as if I was in a refrigerator. As man who has endured twenty-two hour flights to Japan, a nightmarishly uncomfortable thirteen hour train ride in Egypt and climbed a mountain the evening after a day of teaching six English classes (ask people who live in Japan what that means) I was annoyed at my weakness. I was annoyed I was so cold, and so tired.

With sleep seemingly not going to be my friend, I resumed rubbing my arms and floating in that grey area of being asleep and awake with the occasional feeling that my head is spinning. When we land in Miami I feel relieved. I have a six hour delay and at least that would give me time to get back to normal. I was wrong. The Miami airport felt even colder than JFK and my backpack felt like ten drowning men pulling me into a whirlpool. Only a minute after putting it on as I exited the plane, I started feeling light headed again. The bag was way too heavy. I groaned as I paced about, looking for somewhere, anywhere that would have sunlight. I found a spot adjacent to a Friday’s in plain view of everyone walking by. There I sat, unapologetically leaning on the huge transparent window for warmth. I felt like a traveling reptile author, on his rock, lazing the day away. When people walked past I could feel the cold air in their wake hit me like punching gloves, and in that mental mix of fatigue I drifted off to sleep.

For twenty minutes.

The sun had disappeared and I felt a little better, a baseball team of energetic young men chatting Spanish was near my location, I got a few more minutes sleeping crookedly on a chair.

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The next few hours were just like this, and the one hour flight back to Jamaica was brutal. Everywhere was stuffy,  and I felt like I was in a hot little box, unable to breathe. I’d never experienced throwing up in the air, and I felt close. Even after I came off the plane things felt wobbly and uncertain.

In this state I ended up going to a friend’s goodbye party briefly, mentally trying to figure out if I would be ready to deliver a speech in a day’s time. This was a very brief, but surreal re-entry back home. My friends (from Germany) excitedly gave me passionate hugs, congratulating me on the book and what i’ve been doing so far. I smiled and laughed with them, enjoying the moment but heavy with the need for sleep.

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It takes a while when you are this exhausted to regain your equilibrium, but time wasn’t on my side.

I did the Anime Nation speech (people told me it went well) and instead of heading home, I snapped photos of the event. The previous year I covered the event in a video, and I remembered I was frustrated at the time I wasn’t able to document people in their costumes. I ended up staying the rest of the night, taking pictures of almost everyone in costume and went home wiped out and tired, falling asleep fully clothed.

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I wake up, still feeling somewhat exhausted and remember that I need to get these photos online quickly so I can start focusing on some book stuff. I shoot out a few reminder e-mails and plan some follow up calls. The day starts off with a bang as usual, and I’m already thinking of fifty things I need to make happen. Then I notice on my Amazon page that I have a new review up, and it is terrible.

Whoever wrote it didn’t like the book, my writing, they didn’t like my use of similes (this is mentioned in the review) and if I knew them personally they probably wouldn’t like my cat either. Sitting there on an early Sunday morning, I wondered, “what should I feel?”

The progress I’ve made in the last two weeks has been incredible relative to the previous five. In New York I had meetings with people telling me parts of the book they could relate to, and I briefly had a flashback to my book reading, when someone in the audience spoke at length about the suicide of a friend and how a part of my book  made them relate to that. So I looked at the review one more time, feeling a flash of discomfort travel through my body, and nodded to myself.

I don’t think you can be an author and not have someone hate your book. In fact, you can have people dislike your book, but most writers talk about the people that “spew vitriol” about their books and how these people must exist. I mull this over in my mind as I start selecting my top picks from the photos I took the night before. As it relates to the negative review, I briefly wonder who this person is, if they actually read the entire book, are they an academic or a writer, but then I realize it will be impossible for me to know this, and also impractical to ask. Maybe this person likes paranormal romance novels or historical fiction. Maybe they don’t, and as I start editing the photos, I realize it doesn’t matter. I realize that this one review could unravel me, it could make me question all my progress and wonder if I really have something. It could become the dark angel on my shoulder, whispering negativity into my ear canals. But I also know it can’t. I get more focused on the task at hand, and thoughts of the review slowly go away from the forefront of my mind. The image below is one of the favourites I shot at anime nation. (To see all the pics, click here )

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With regards to the book there is work to do, there are people to call, there are print revisions to make, there are proposals to write and there is not enough time in the day. I don’t have a loft in Manhattan. I’m not figuring out which book deal I want as publishing houses battle for me to be their new darling. I’m not there yet. I’m a guy who had an idea for a book and wrote it.  I’ve been on the nigh edge of burnt out for almost two months and I see that something is starting to happen, and I can’t stop now. Sleeping on my friend’s couch and getting all dressy to go to meetings, schmoozing with people at magazine parties and taking trains around town is for the moment part of an illusion, I am in the present, and dead certain what it means. The future can hold promise and many things, but each night coming back to that couch reminded me that I wasn’t there yet. So exhaustion, bad review or not, I know I’m not there yet, and that I need to work harder, and i’m just getting started.

First book reading!   Leave a comment

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Just did my first book reading and i must say it was quite interesting. I wasn’t nervous heading into it, and I mapped out the reading as a look into the minds of young men, and explained that in the book there are some darker more adult topics such as suicide and depression. It went really well and I can see how these things have a purpose. A few people there had read some of the book, some had not, but they all wanted to hear more, which is good for me! I will be chopping up a video at some point and uploading it here.

Categories Shmategories: Figuring out Goodreads and Amazon   Leave a comment

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If I had a fan room, this is how it would look.

There is something inherent to being a real author. You have fans, you answer tons of e-mails every day, you sign copies of books for people in obscure “cool locations” and you probably have a cutie in a low cut dress lingering in the audience wanting a little more than just a glimpse into the “Mind of Marcus”.

But i’m not there yet, i’m far from it.

I spend a lot of time now going through goodreads forums, looking at different categories and sub categories, seeing who reads what and why, learning the ins and outs of how not to flame someone, how not to post something incorrectly on a wall. It is a haze of “read this!” promotions, “seeking authors for interviews” on various websites, shouts for guest bloggers, rave reviews for books i’ve never heard of, learning about categories like “New Adult”, which is NOT “Coming of age”, but more like “Young Adult” (but sexier and with more grizzled, heavily tattooed men on the front covers). There are the giveaways, the tips on promoting and writing, people asking questions from authors, “self-published authors” versus “indie” authors. People have websites that will promote your book if you promote theirs, people are seeking candidates to interview for radio. Each interview post i’ve seen has literally hundreds of replies. The writers are out there en masse, they are hungry and they are stepping around wielding keyboards like ancient maces.

So for the last two weeks i’ve been lost in this world, trying to figure out how to give advice and scream from my personal soapbox at the same time without much result. The point of this website is to find readers, and readers really mean ” putting your book  in the correct category”.  So i had to take a step back and figure out how to really categorize my book. When I think of how my book is written, I think of like… Rules of Attraction, or Bright Lights Big City. Not necessarily in the exact writing style, but in the narrative. But big boys like Bret and McInerney are heavyweights in the literary world. Their projects went the twelve rounds, came out bloody and bruised and lived to stand the test of time. Now their stuff falls into “literary fiction” category which is really high brow stuff. (Think of people who say words like “curmudgeon” and you’ll know the crowd i’m talking about).

But am in that category? It is possible, but it seems to me that only after significant fame is your book really categorized as such. I know my book is definitely NOT “New Adult”, but probably a mix betwen “Coming of Age” and “Literary Fiction”. In the haze of goodreads posts, I came upon someone who gave me some pretty good points on how to categorize my book and followed suit. Because I am an (egad) “person of colour” it might be easy for many people to take liberties on the supposed tone and layout of my book. My book however, is more about “Americana” than any particular racial demographic. The characters are all Jamaican (two black guys and one blasian dude) but the focus of their lives is… well, life. I rarely even focus on the “issue” of race, versus the “issues” of life. I learned this mistake after putting my book in the “Urban” category on Amazon and having it listed next to such gems as “Tranny 911”, “Thug Luv”, “Ballad of a Bitch” and “Child of a Crackhead”. (NOTE: I am not making these up, type these names into the Amazon search engine for yourself)

I realized I put a bit too much trust into Amazon’s algorithms, and it wasn’t a sweet cup of tea seeing the books i’m now associated with. So i’m going to tweak the categories and revamp. I even discovered there is something called “Hipster Lit” (y’know books about artsy ‘it kids’ with loads of disposable income and no responsibilities) and I felt that fit my book also. Earlier today I punched”hipster lit” into the  Goodreads search engine and immediately saw lots of books that felt like me pop up.  Books with funky covers, interesting titles and “seemingly different” stories. So i’m not the kind of guy who writes a book and spends the next year huffing and puffing his chest and introducing myself as “NAME+AUTHOR”.

I’m the kind of guy who only gets excited when I know that i’m close to the pie, and its not even in the oven yet.

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