WHAT I DO
Seventeen-time Chicken Soup for the Soul contributing author
I'm the head writer of the upcoming (dare I say "revolutionary"? Yes, I think I will) revolutionary western TV series, Big Sky!
I can do such strange things with my voice, people have been known to flee the recording studio, fearing I have become possessed.
I don't know how people who say they can't sing and never try survive in this world. If I couldn't, I would shrivel up and die within a week.
Some stuff I've done
I'm a writer, screenwriter, songwriter, singer and voice actor.
I'm the co-creator and head writer of an upcoming TV western series called Big Sky.
I have contributed seventeen stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul books and fiction stories to magazines such as Black Belt, Inside Kung Fu, Nostalgia, Dirt Rag and Whole Life Times.
I co-authored The Other Belfast, my father's memoir about growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 1935 and 1957 before that town became known for all the wrong reasons. It is the story of a child's struggle to bond with a distant father, to survive the schoolyards and streets where boys emulated "hard men" role models, to understand the divisions between the Irish people, and to simply be a child in a rough and tumble world. From the sublime joys of love and friendship, to the terror of nighttime bombing raids by the German Luftwaffe during World War II, The Other Belfast is a journey of the spirit into a long-forgotten world as seen through the eyes of an adventurous and irrepressibly joyful child.
You may have found this page because of my poem about grieving, How We Survive. I've received many touching emails from people telling me this poem helped them grieve lost loved ones in a healthy way. It always means a lot to me when someone takes the time to let me know that. What else are we here for if not to help each other?
Black Belt magazine ended a 20+ year ban on fiction to print my story, The Master's Short-Lived MMA Career.
I recently completed a part memoir, part instructional, part self-help book titled Bullied - The Education of a Martial Artist about going from a bullied kid to a troubled teenager to a happy adult, told through the prism of martial arts training and philosophy (from both a Kung Fu and Krav Maga perspective.) But it's not only about self-defense and will not bore you with sequence shots about how to disassemble someone. It's about seeking harmony in an often disharmonious world, my love letter to humanity, and an attempt to leave this world more peaceful than it was when I arrived. The first person who read it said, "It changed my life." It will be published soon. Wish me luck! :)
I wrote the lyrics and melodies (and sang) 15 original songs for children and parents for my CD, Great Big World, recorded at Score LA Recording Studio with Grammy-nominated composer Rick Balentine. The CD was later signed to a record label. It can be purchased online at www.markrickerbymusic.com
My song Would I Have Done It? was recorded by singer Bob Rawleigh.
A short film called Goal! based on a short story of mine won first prize and $20,000.00 in Bravo's annual short film script contest.
I did some animation voices and audio dialogue replacement for the docudrama God the Father. It's probably the only time this California boy will be able to pretend to be a mafioso.
I recently did some voice acting and on-screen acting in a feature film called Around the Bed by Addye Veryl Productions.
I performed lead vocals for the Patriot Guard theme song, When Johnny Comes Flying Home, written by Patriot Guard Leader Chuck Johnson, and composed by Rick Balentine of Score LA Studio. I also wrote a song titled I'm a Soldier that I hope will help soldiers suffering with PTSD. Both songs can be heard at www.socalveteran.com/i-m-a-soldier
I was recently commissioned to novelize a major motion picture!
I'm also working on a series of children's books, coming to a bookstore near you soon!
You can purchase a SIGNED copy of The Other Belfast or any of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books shown below directly from me by sending $17.95 (within the U.S.) to Paypal address firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside the U.S., please include $15.00 for shipping. (I know. Shipping to other countries is ridiculously expensive nowadays.) Thanks for your support!
Chicken Soup for the Soul story descriptions -
Chicken Soup to Inspire the Body and Soul -
Poem title - Gratitude. Stuff to celebrate about life.
Older and Wiser (the top 101 stories from CS4TS's first 15 years.)
Poem title - Gratitude (Same as above.)
A Book of Miracles -
Story title - Miracle in the Highlands.
I get lost in a storm in the highlands of Scotland and pray for something to help find home, and get it!
The Power of Forgiveness -
Story title - Heavenly Forgiveness.
My late brother comes to me in a dream and forgives me for the tough love I tried to show him before his death.
The Dating Game -
Story title - A Toe-tal Disaster.
I go on a date with a woman with a sore toe and she injures it repeatedly in a variety of ways. Funny now, not so funny then!
The Power of Positive -
Story title - What is the Higher Response?
I try patience and acceptance with a drunken bully on a pier in Switzerland and find out the reason behind his behavior.
Touched by an Angel -
Story title - The Flickering Headlight.
In the hills of a Greek island, the "broken" headlight on my rented motorcycle flickers on for a few seconds, just long enough for me to see a cliff I was about to drive off.
The Joy of Less -
Story title - Slight Bent Flugelhorn - Best Offer.
A humorous poem about all the junk I've collected at garage sales.
Angels and Miracles -
Story title - Touring Paris with Jim Morrison.
I visit Jim Morrison's (of The Doors) grave in the morning. Later the same night, I accidentally and mysteriously ended up across the street from the building where he died.
My Very Good, Very Bad Dog -
Story title - The Rainbow Bridge.
My father's perfectly healthy dog died suddenly four days after he did, as if to be reunited with his master.
Dreams and Premonitions -
Story title - The Warning.
My deceased brother again comes to me in a dream, this time to warn me off a destructive path I was on because of the grief of losing him.
The Spirit of America -
Story title - The Sixty-Year Old Little Girl.
An imperious English woman very critical of America's mistakes over the past fifty years confesses her secret love for America and recalls a World War II soldier who gave her candy during a victory parade through the streets of London.
Random Acts of Kindness -
Story titles - 1) Flower Children, 2) Put-Pockets.
As a child, flower children accepted me and built up not only my confidence but my faith in adults. In Put-Pockets, I make two Israeli friends while traveling in Belgium whose hobby is to put money into the pockets of random passersby. I try it and, of course, get caught.
My Kind of America -
Story title - The American Dream.
A P.E. coach uses the Olympic Games to teach me and my 7th grade class why America is so special.
The Dog Really Did That?
Story title - He Wouldn't Hurt a Fly.
My dog Charlie is so gentle, he catches flies and plays with them, thus the title.
My Amazing Mom -
Poem title - Thank You, Mom. (Showing some gratitude to the woman who brought me into the world.)
THE OTHER BELFAST
"I find it almost impossible to praise The Other Belfast highly enough. On almost every level, I honestly don't have the vocabulary for it. Your writing is superb. Absolutely superb. The stories, engaging and profound enough on their own levels. The research. The layout. The virtual framing of the whole piece. The choice of style, prose and temperament of the entire thing works on so many levels. The monumental effort has produced a monumental piece of work. Not once did I falter, pause or have to push myself through a slower or less engaging chapter. The changing formats keep the eyes and subconscious from lapsing into the familiar, and it works on you subconsciously, the formats embellishing and adding variation to a life just as colorful. It is a wicked piece of work. Seriously, you have arrived at a level of mastery, and it's writing of the highest possible caliber. You've truly become a writer that transcends an already formidable toolbox. There are few writers out there that can do it. Instead of thinking of poetic modifiers to color or describe a world, the world you both have created literally redefines the adjective. No small trick. No trick at all. I can't even begin to fathom how many times you've combed through this thing, tweaked and re-tweaked, cut and recut, decided to edit then realize you were right in the first place. The amount of time it took for the book to breathe and find it's own voice; one that was neither yours or your father's; one independent of the hammers and nails that went into its construction. I cannot possibly give you any higher praise, or your father. It's one hell of a kilroy, mate. Humbled."
- Colin Cunningham, actor
"Reading "The Other Belfast" is a lot like having a distant relative or an older neighbor come over for coffee and a chat. This is a slice of life sort of book that I savored. Instead of picking this book up and plunging straight on to the end, I found myself wanting to sample it, bit by bit. Rickerby's tales remind me of listening to my uncles chatting with my parents over card games and cocktails in our backyard. Sleeping in a bunk bed, I would crack open the bedroom window and fall asleep listening to their tales - some were rather 'tall', others were brutish, while the most interesting of all were about long ago romances. Rickerby's stories are much the same, recounting a lifetime of experiences and adventures and characters in a way that made me want to lean in to hear more. I was particularly interested because my mother's family is from Ireland, but unlike my father's Italian relatives, I know next to nothing about the Irish side. For me, this was a vicarious romp through an Irish family's life - warts and all, and it could well have been much like my own. Pick this book up and give it a read, I think you will be pleased. What is better, after all, than a warm cuppa and a listen to good tale on a chilly night?"
- Bernice Foster
"A great read for anyone with a link to Belfast. This is the side of Belfast we rarely hear about; the friendly people, the laconic sense of humour and the great craic. An easy read and very enjoyable."
- Alison Aldersea
GREAT BIG WORLD (CD)
"Just amazing. One heck of an accomplishment. Your voice is perhaps the biggest surprise to me. Your writing has never been a shock, but your voice has been worked and honed and (it feels like) taken some exceptionally good lessons. The vehicle supports the message superbly."
- Colin Cunningham, Actor
"The venue and originality of this CD and music is as unique to the audience as I've ever seen. Very well done and creates a wholesome environment for the whole family to listen to. Congrats on a great CD!"
- Chuck Johnson, Vietnam veteran, S.E.R.E. trainer, Patriot Guard Leader
"Heart-warming and fun! This is a wonderful first album. It's a creative mix of musical styles with lyrics that are thought-provoking and inspire a range of emotions. You will laugh, smile and tear up. The album lends itself to both adults and kids. Love it!!"
- Susan Lummis, singer
"I come to Mark Rickerby's writings periodically, and each time I come away feeling a gamut of emotions, but the main one is warmth that stems from his love of humanity and verve for life. Mark always sees more than what appears on the surface, and he makes a point of revealing what he finds hidden and hypocritical. He examines with intelligence the human circumstance, his travels (both physical and mental), and shares his own experiences with insight, humor, the courage of his convictions, and wisdom. I leave his work always thinking . . . wanting to make a difference in life, and always with a smile, or a tear, expanding my own sense of heart. My words probably don't do justice in expressing my admiration for one of the most emotive, provocative, and profound writers I've ever encountered. His writings will encourage you to step outside yourself, to love and explore life passionately, compassionately, and more fully."
- Karen Harris
"You write with such clarity and feeling, you can make the readers remember THEIR feelings down to the smallest details. That is the mark of a true writer. I think the greatest compliment I ever received was by a fellow who said "You got a knapsack full of living, boy." I pass that on to you. You have that same knapsack, and the way you can reach into it and pull out the memories is worthy of applause. You certainly have mine."
- Michael Mack
"Holy God. This is one of the most powerful poems I have ever read. You have captured faith, doubt, strength and weakness so deftly that I was swept into the POV. Amazing work. If I ever write something half that good, I'll be a happy man."
- M. Talesian
"Thanks for sharing a wisdom that often takes a lifetime to learn."
- Naena R.
"I find you to be a thoughtful man who questions, looks to the right sources for answers, and shares the world through his eyes and pen in a wonderful balance of rhyme and storytelling. Your works are a peaceful rest upon which to reflect."
- Jane W.
"This was very, very thought-provoking and opens up a whole new line of thinking for me."
- Kerry C.
"I am so impressed. I always recognize a truly great piece of poetry because I am left thinking, "Damn, I wish I'd said that!" You did it to me again. Thanks so much for sharing this profound and compelling poem."
- Debbie M.
"I believe you are one of the very best narrative poets on this site."
- D.P. Robertson
"You have an incredible ability to stir emotions with your words. You have made me laugh, made me look inside myself and think, you have made me sad, made me happy . . . and now you have made me cry. I love your writings so much. They are all so personal to me in some way and there is always something or many things within your words that I relate to. I am so glad that you came here. You are a joy to know and a wonder to behold."
- Janet S.
"You simply amaze me time and time again. This poem touches on so many subjects but still stays true to its intent. I love it! Every time I read your work, I am inspired to stick with it and continue writing and aspiring to be that much better."
- Adam Marshalll
"You write with such talented ease, I just find myself shaking my head in awe when I finish reading a piece of yours. The rhymes seem to come to you right out of nowhere. You're a poet that never seems to run out of inspiration . . . inspiring others as you go along. Thanks for expressing what I could not."
- Cheryl P.
"You have a beautiful, caring spirit that is revealed in your poetry. Timeless words that have the ability to touch many more than you will ever know."
- Ellie N.
"I got a rush today. My best friend, who carries an immense personal load, thanked me for emailing this poem. He thought every line was speaking to him right where he lived. He thought I knew or was lead by God to send it. I was trying a simpler technique (I'm an neophyte on computer) and thought the lines about people being what they are might help him as he is often ashamed to be human. He is a gifted skeptic and says he is ready to become a christian and has asked me to help him. Thanks so much for making yourself transparent, vulnerable, humble, and leading the way."
- Mike R.
"Just like there is a difference between a person who can draw and a true artist, or someone who can sing and a true soprano, there is a difference between one who can write and one who is a true creative genius. You, sir, are a true poet and should be published. You paint a picture and you tell a story in verse to create imagery in the mind that will stay . . . magical.”
- Shirley M.
"What I truly admire most about what little I have read of your poetry so far is the compassion that is so prominent in your work. If more people had your level of sincerity and love for people, this world would be a whole lot better off. I think many of us could learn a lesson or two from you, as I certainly have."
- Don B.
”If I didn't know better, I'd think this piece was written by Longfellow. It has the passion and certitude of his "Psalm of Life" and its undeniable truth as well, I think. You are definitely one of the "New Masters" in my book.”
- Debbie L.
Please follow the links below each item to purchase.
You can purchase a signed copy of The Other Belfast or any of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books shown below directly from me by sending $17.95 (within the U.S.) to Paypal address email@example.com. Outside the U.S., please include $15.00 for shipping. (I know. Shipping to other countries is ridiculously expensive nowadays.) Thanks for your support!
If you'd like an ebook of The Other Belfast, please visit -
Great Big World (my music CD for kids and parents) -
My dad's CD of classic songs (Standards) -
Other Great Big World CD page -
Mark Rickerby Poetry, Book 1 - Inspiration (Kindle only)
Mark Rickerby Poetry, Book 2 - Love (Kindle only)
PLEASE CHECK BACK HERE SOON FOR NEWS ABOUT BIG SKY TV SHOW AND MY NEW, ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS!