Mark Swain

Biography

Mark Swain was born in Singapore in 1958, where his father was stationed in the RAF. He has lived in many countries, and as a young man found it hard to break the habit of a nomadic life.
With a low boredom threshold, Mark has had dozens of jobs and several careers. This provides him with endless source material for short stories and is probably the prime reason for the sense of authenticity people see in his work.
Studying Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art at 16, he ran off and joined the Army in search of adventure. Later he found himself travelling the world on the QE2 as a silver-service waiter and going to the Falklands war. Training as a TEFL teacher took him to Tokyo in 1984, where he met his wife Lorna. In 2008 Mark took a year out from a career in Risk Management to cycle 10,000miles from Ireland to Japan with his son. This life-changing decision resulted in them writing Long Road Hard Lessons, which became an Amazon bestseller.
Mark and his wife Lorna have three grown-up children and live in Canterbury, Kent. There is not much in his life that he does without passion, although he will do anything to avoid having to dance or empty a kitchen bin. Asked about his ambitions, desires, or his sense of right and wrong, he says, “I trust in instinct. I simply grow towards the light.”

Mark particularly enjoys the Short Story form, admiring American short story writers such as Raymond Carver, Richard Brautigan and Richard Ford as well as classic short story writers Franz Kafka and Anton Chekov. He is also a great admirer of George Orwell, John Steinbeck, Norman Maclean, Albert Camus and the contemporary travel writer Jonathan Raban.
Two collections of Mark's own short stories - including the award winning story 'Special Treatment' - have been released by his UK publisher, Tinderbox Publishing Ltd along with the bestselling "Long Road, Hard Lessons" a non-fiction book with photographs and maps about a 10,000-mile life-changing cycle journey he made with his teenage son from Ireland to Japan.

Mark is at home in England, but is constantly drawn back to Asia, Morocco, and to Dingle in Ireland.

Where to find Mark Swain online


Where to buy in print


Books

Stories To Tell Your Dog
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,730. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2014 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
An illustrated book for dogs, and humans of all ages. The 18 stories are aimed at people engaging with their dogs and are peppered with what could be described as canine trigger-words. Words that most dogs respond to instinctively. Dogs love to be told stories, and fortunately adults and children love the stories as much as the dogs do. Children who are reluctant readers read happily to a dog.
Red Card
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,340. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2014 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Media tie-in
Pat Carmichael was a talented Premiership footballer until a crippling injury ended his career at 27. His glamorous lifestyle suddenly ended, Pat hit rock bottom. Soon after, his wife left him. "I was in love with Pat Carmichael the football star, not Pat Carmichael the drunk with sick in his beard," she said as she handed him the keys. Booze and gambling did the rest. But could he bounce back?
English Down The Pub
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,450. Language: English. Published: May 11, 2014 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » English as a second language
English Down The Pub is a book written for use by both students of English and teachers of English. It will also be of interest to those wanting to know about modern English culture. What readers will not be anticipating in a book of this type, is comedy. The book could be described as 'tongue in cheek', except that its mission is very serious. Provides interesting information on Beer and Pubs.
The Truth In The Lie
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 44,460. Language: English. Published: March 20, 2014 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
A sparkling collection of short stories that entrance us with telling glimpses and powerful insights into people’s lives. In so little precious time we feel we know these characters and what drives them – their secrets, their desires, their fears and their regrets. Real people, caught in the author’s spotlight or under his probing microscope. 'Mesmerising'.
Special Treatment - Single Story
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,890. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
A small Welsh town. Brenda runs a hair salon and employs her son. Perhaps he's gay, they say? However, after winning a competition and working in London, he returns changed. A wow with the ladies he is seduced by a young mother and begins offering personal services to salon clients. After taking on an apprentice to help with demand Rhys finds himself answering questions for the Police. Humorous.
His Perilous Throne
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,710. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
A young man is wrongly imprisoned for the manslaughter of his kindly employer. Michael has mild learning difficulties and was raised in a children's home. Unable to explain to the court that the death was an accident, he is incarcerated with a sadistic killer, who forces him to become his butler and becomes progressively deluded that he is a member of the aristocracy. Revenge lurks in the shaddows
Leila's Dowry
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,440. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Literature » Religious
A traditional Moroccan tale of a widowed baker who cherishes the donkey who was his dead wife's dowry. The donkey, like his master, is despised by his old friends in the village due to hardship and envy. Their one consolation is found in their days at the market in a nearby town, where one day they both find their way to a happier future. A modern parable set in a world that has changed little.
Open This Box!
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,030. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Jim and Carmen, a couple, taking the Trans-Siberian Express train from China to Germany, meet a tragic German businessman in a Shanghai bar and are warned of the pernicious border guards en-route who confiscate food and valuables. On the train Jim devises a cunning plan to avoid the problem but is humiliated in the process.
Sweet Revenge
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,860. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Two competitive Englishmen go cycling together in France. Each attempts to out-do the other as they pass through rolling countryside and villages. Stopping for water in one village they are helped by an odd woman. One man witnesses a grotesque scene in her cellar but keeps the information from his colleague, hoping to punish him for having 'beasted' him on the last hill. Revenge, then regret.
The Deadly EPOS
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,450. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Bob, an elderly supplier of restaurant tableware is regularly taunted by a spiteful young restaurant manager. Other staff delight in the amusing fracas created, including Thierry, the restaurant owner. One day Bob snaps and causes a scene in front of customers. It is an amusing event for Thierry until he receives a call from Bob's solicitor.
The Poledancers
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,570. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
Awakenings - A teenage boy secures a summer job helping a gang of telecoms workers erecting telegraph poles in the wilds of Scotland. Directing traffic by day, he enjoys the banter and antics of the men. By night he sleeps in the site tent. One night he meets a mute woman who lives in an old railway signal hut. The encounter is frightening to him yet he is drawn back to her.
The Six-Fifty
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,510. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Two friends meet regularly in a pub they used to frequent as pupils of a local boarding school. Here the conversation usually centres around old anecdotes which they endlessly repeat and amuse themselves over. Some of these involve the misfortune of others. Sometimes this could even be described as cruelty. On one such visit, their conversation is overheard and an unknown man confronts them.
Topolino
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,540. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
A victim of a workplace accident, Dave lives alone. His Postlady's daily visit is one of the highlights of an otherwise dull life. One day a woman from an accident claims company call-centre telephones him to offer help making a personal injury claim. Happy for the company, Dave tells her all about his accident. Soon the whole call-centre is listening-in. But all does not end well.
Special Treatment & Other Stories
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 40,830. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2013 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Fiction » Adventure » Travel
Mark Swain describes these 12 short stories as: short excursions into the lives of others. It is the characters we are drawn to: A divorcee hairdresser doting on her son. A resentful victim of a construction-site accident. An elderly man victimised by political activists. A boy’s summer job – lovers; adventurers; workers; travellers; prisoners – they all open their lives to us, their secrets.
Long Road, Hard Lessons
By
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 136,030. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2012 by Tinderbox Publishing Ltd. Category: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Bicycling
(4.00)
A father & teenage son cycle from Ireland to Japan. Physical challenges, border bureaucracy, health scares and traffic hazards were all anticipated. The conflict they faced, spending 24hrs a day together under such arduous conditions was not. On one level, a life-changing travel adventure, this book also takes time to look at the psychological journey made by parents and children. Maps include

Mark Swain’s tag cloud

accident investigation    adolescent psychology    adolescent sexuality    africa romance    africa travel    african romance    african romance storyteller    ageism    alcoholism    animal abuse    animal adventure story    animal cruelty    animal heroes    aroma    arrest    awakening desire    baking bread    baking history    banter    barber    beer drinking    boarding school    border crossing    bread theme    bullying    bullying and harassment in the workplace    bullying at school    bullying at work    cafes    call center stories    cardiff    character studies    cheeky    class conflict    cold calls    compensation    competitiveness    contraband    cycle holiday    cycle touring    cycling humour    cycling in france    cycling in india    depression and men    divorce    dog    dogs and adventure    dogs and men    dogs and their people    dogs fiction adult    dogs for kids    dogs journey    dogs loving humans    dogs pets    donkey care    donkey sanctuary    donkeys    donkeys fiction    english conversation    english for communication    english foreign language    english humour    english idioms and expressions    english language teaching    english pub    english slang    envy    exit strategy    father and son    feuds    fight a foul mouth    fight for your country    fight in a small town    first experience    first time    football    frustration    gambling addict    gap year    german language    growing up    hairdresser    hairdressers    hairdressing    hanging    health and safety    hope after lost love    hope and faith    hope and guidance    hope and hopelessness    hope for the future    humiliaiton    humiliating men    humiliation    humiliation and degredation    hypnotic tales    illuminated    imprisonment    innocent in prison    insult comedy    insults    insurance claim    intregue    italy    learning difficulties    learning disability    life affirming    life and death    long distance cycling    marriage and love    marriage and religion    mental cruelty    mesmerising    morocco    morocco life    morocco travel    morocco west africa    motorcycle    murder    murder and mystery    nudity    obsession    old age humor    old men    overland travel    overland travelers    pathos    penis size    personal services contractor    phone conversation    police    police and detectives    police car sex    police erotica    police investigation    porsche    premier league    prison brutality    private education    prostitution    prostitution sex    protection animale    pub culture    public school    railway    real life    relationships    restaurants    revenge    revenge and retribution    revenge comedy    revenge killing    ridicule    rivalry    roofing contractor    rural france    russian adventure    russian travel    salon business    salon management    salon styles    schoolboys    secrets    siberia    sleeper    smell induced memories    smell memories    smuggling    soccer    stories about everyday life    storyteller    storytellers collection    strange dreams    strange encounter    swearing    tall tales    teasing    tragic comedy    train    train adventures    train journey    train travel    trans siberian railroad    trans siberian railway    trans siberian train    travel    travel biography    vice    vice cops    victimization    waiters    wales    welfare    welsh culture    welsh culture and environment    widower romance    widowers grieving    work life balance    world cup football