Writer of Weird Fiction and Masher of Notes for the Broken-Hearted

Tag: sound engineer

Grey Noise Now Available in Paperback

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UK readers buy GREY NOISE HERE

US readers buy GREY NOISE HERE

What is the Grey Noise?

Grey noise is random noise whose frequency spectrum follows a psychoacoustic equal loudness curve. In other examples, we can find pink noise, brown noise and the most familiar one, white noise. For our protagonist, Patrick McDonagh, it’s the bane of his life. He finds himself driven to unspeakable acts in trying to quieten its constant ringing in his head. These acts eventually lead him to become entwined with the criminal underworld where he is offered a chance to turn around his miserable existence.

What Inspired Grey Noise?

Having served time as both performer and sound engineer, I came to understand the dynamic between these two roles as vital, but often fraught with all kinds of tension and misunderstandings. Once, when I was working with a sound engineer on a full album project, we became quite good friends and he admitted to me that he kept a list of musicians he’d like to murder, which I found hilarious. Doubly so upon checking his list and recognising many of the names. He was such a gentle guy with a great sense of humour, but there was a glint in his eye that made me wonder just how well I knew him.

Another engineer from very early in my career also provided inspiration as I worked in the same studio as him for several years. He was so unassuming and quiet that few people ever gave him the credit he deserved for his talent. At soundchecks, it pained me to listen to how other people, musicians and managers mainly, would treat him so rudely and disrespectfully. I often wished that he would slap the granny out of some of them, but he never did. He just always made sure that he did his job as well as he could and I admired him for that strength of character.

Conversely, I’ve encountered the genuinely sociopathic, too. At a gig in Wales a number of years ago, I was robbed of 60% of my hearing in my left ear and blighted with permanent tinnitus by a “sound engineer” who was furious that I’d been asked to perform instead of him. Using a hugely powerful sound system, he “accidentally” produced feedback at maximum volume from a speaker that was maliciously directed at my ear. I couldn’t prove that it wasn’t an accident and he apologised profusely, but that didn’t help to repair the permanent damage already done.

Of course, there are scenes and events inspired by my own musical adventures in Nashville, LA and NYC, too. Having worked with legendary Motown session musicians, Def Jam Records producers, 80s synth-pop platinum-sellers, chart-topping girl bands and Spinal Tap-esque rock bands, I’ve seen and heard quite a bit across the board that made for worthy inspiration.

Gangland

Regarding inspiration for the gangland elements, the less said about that the better, probably. I’ve always been in touch with Merseyside’s “underbelly” ever since my parents received a threat on my life when I was 5 years old. It was over a protection racket being forced on my dad’s nightclub that had already turned violent on the door. Throughout my whole life, these shady characters always seemed to be around. At 18, I experienced something at the hands of organised crime that I’d rather not go into here, but suffice to say it changed my life, leaving me with severe PTSD.

The following year, I was working as a PT instructor at Liverpool University Sports Centre and before long, found myself contracted to a notorious Liverpool security firm for boxing circuits. I became friends with a few of the lads, but it was to be short-lived as the whole episode concluded rather violently. With no desire to be staring down the wrong end of any more firearms in the future, I quietly excused myself from the whole situation. Sadly, it also meant forfeiting my job at the university, too.

Despite trying to put some distance between me and this world, performing in bars and clubs would still later get me sprayed with the blood of a gangland assassination victim, stitches from confrontations with self-proclaimed “gangsters”, teeth knocked out and death threats for refusing to be pushed around. There seemed to be no escape from these people.

The truth is that most “gangsters” are juiced-up, coked-up, cowardly, narcissistic bullies, but often, new “recruits” are just ordinary guys swept up in things over which they have no control. Some genuinely repent and change their lives for the better. Some get shot in gym car parks. Or worse. Some of them are genuinely terrifying psychopaths. In case you’re wondering, the character of Inky Joe is based on a debt collector I knew who used exactly the methods described in the book to extract money from overdue debitors …

Sounds Dark, Violent and Depressing. Remind Me Why I Should Read This Book?

Because we all have our own “underworlds” to navigate at some point: serious illness, bereavement, toxic workplaces, abusive relationships, mental issues, etc. My hope is that Patrick’s story serves as a reminder that beautiful things can flourish in the darkest times and places of our lives and although we might not always get what we want, we can still get what we need.

Admittedly, you’ll need a dark sense of humour and a strong constitution to get the most out of this psychological crime novel, but I think we’re all developing those qualities increasingly to cope with the absurdity and darkness of our ever-changing world, so don’t be afraid: pick up a copy today and immerse yourself in Grey Noise.

Other Works

If you enjoyed Grey Noise, why not check out A Smaller Hell – a gritty novella shot through with the same dark humour, set in a department store at Christmas.

https://www.ajreid.org/buy/a-smaller-hell-novella/
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24 Hour Halloween Kindle Flash Sale

So, lockdown continues. What a year we’ve had. I hope this post finds you all well, despite the ongoing madness. Rather than get too political or opinionated about it, I thought it might be better to make a little offering in the hope of cheering you up a bit. It’s with great pleasure, therefore, that I present to you the Halloween 24 hour Kindle flash sale. That’s right: I’ll be making all three of my Kindle books on Amazon free to all for one day only. The offer starts midnight Pacific Standard Time (LA), 4am Eastern Standard Time (New York) and 9am Greenwich Meridian Time (London) and runs for 24 hours only, so don’t miss out!

Perhaps you’d like a little escapism in this alternately cosy and gritty crime novel GREY NOISE, in which a disturbed Liverpool sound engineer falls in with the wrong crowd and is forced to hide out with them in a Welsh farmhouse when things go awry?

Or maybe you’re after something a little more esoteric? How about an existential, dystopian adventure that embraces both sci-fi and the occult? Find out just how bad things could get if we allow the MSM unchecked power and access to both cutting edge and ancient technologies to gain power in THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM.

Or why not go with my first book, A SMALLER HELL: a darkly comic satire on the corruption and perversion that goes hand in hand with authority, wealth and power, even within the confines of a traditional British department store at Christmas.

Or why not go the whole hog and download all three? You’re bound to find something in there to suit the mood, especially in times like these …

GREY NOISE
THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM
A SMALLER HELL

Whichever you choose, I hope you have a grand old time with the worlds and characters I’ve created. Not quite all out horror, but there’s something in each to provide a chill or two, whether that be the unsettling Jekyll and Hyde personality of Patrick in GREY NOISE, the ruthless cruelty of Alice Grosvenor in THE HORSEMAN’S DREAM or the well-concealed perversions of Dianne Doyle in A Smaller Hell. Have fun!

US readers: https://www.amazon.com/A-J-Reid/e/B001KMLL8C/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

UK readers: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A-J-Reid/e/B001KMLL8C?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1604068153&sr=1-1

CA readers: https://www.amazon.ca/A-J-Reid/e/B001KMLL8C?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1604068153&sr=1-1

AUS readers: https://www.amazon.com.au/A-J-Reid/e/B001KMLL8C?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1604068153&sr=1-1

If you don’t fancy a whole novel or you are unable/unwilling to access the Halloween Kindle Flash Sale, why not check out some short stories or interactive fiction for FREE?

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My New Novelette “Grey Noise” is FREE Today on Amazon

What happens when a disturbed sound engineer snaps?

Patrick McDonagh is a Liverpool sound tech who truly understands the old saying that “silence is golden”. Highly-skilled behind a mixing desk, but undervalued due to his lack of charisma and social graces, he remains forever on the fringes of the music industry, picking up whatever crumbs he can to look after his mother in their terraced house by the docks. What most people don’t know about Patrick is that alongside the guitars, drums, bass and vocals, there has always been the mysterious grey noise and fortunately for everyone in his little black book, he’s always been able to ignore it … Until now.

As he decides whether to exact his vengeance upon the lead singer of Summer Seems So Far, the grey noise builds to a crescendo, inciting deadly violence and macabre scenes at their wildest gig yet. Find out whether Patrick survives his jaunt through the Glaswegian underworld to fulfil his dark agenda in this rock and roll crime novelette, written by the author of A Smaller Hell.

Reviews:

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional. 21 May 2015

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent short story, delves in to the sometimes murky dangerous world of Rock music, drugs and unpredictable self important so called rock stars clutching at their miserable ego boosted existence, AJ writes with believability, a very enjoyable story, hope there’s much more to come.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars A quick read 1 Jun. 2015
By jane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Short and sweet but kept my attention till the end wish it had been a little longer. Great character and event description and darkly funny at times.

 

Get your copy FREE today:

US readers: CLICK HERE

UK readers: CLICK HERE

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Grey Noise: Rock and Roll can be Murder

Now available on Amazon:

What happens when a disturbed sound engineer snaps?

Patrick McDonagh is a Liverpool sound tech who truly understands the old saying that “silence is golden”. Highly-skilled behind a mixing desk, but undervalued due to his lack of charisma and social graces, he remains forever on the fringes of the music industry, picking up whatever crumbs he can to look after his mother in their terraced house by the docks. What most people don’t know about Patrick is that alongside the guitars, drums, bass and vocals, there has always been the mysterious grey noise and fortunately for everyone in his little black book, he’s always been able to ignore it … Until now.

As he decides whether to exact his well-deserved vengeance upon the lead singer of Summer Seems So Far, the grey noise builds to a crescendo, inciting deadly violence and macabre scenes at their wildest gig yet. Find out whether Patrick survives his jaunt through the Glasgow underworld to fulfil his dark agenda in this rock and roll horror story, written by the author of A Smaller Hell.

Only $0.99.

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