Nicolas Cage is a vampire

A few years ago, online entrepreneur Jack Mord made a curious discovery in an album of American Civil War-era portraits — a 140-year-old photograph of Nicolas Cage!

According to Mord, the photo is an original carte de visite (a type of small photograph) from circa 1870, taken by Professor G.B. Smith, a Confederate Civil War prisoner of war photographer. It shows a man, apparently from Tennessee, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Face-Off and National Treasure star. Jack Mord believes it really is Nicolas Cage and that Cage is a member of the “walking undead” or an immortal vampire who “reinvents himself once every 75 years or so”.

It’s true that the man in the photo does look remarkably like the Hollywood actor. Jack Mord also noticed an inconsistency between this photo and the rest of the photos in the album — everybody else was named, this man was not.

So could this mysterious nameless man actually be Nicolas Cage?

On discovering the photo, Mr Mord stuck it straight on eBay, selling it for the princely sum of $1million because he believed it constituted proof of a major Hollywood star’s immortality. He also said he’d allow the buyer to authenticate the photo’s age before the sale went through.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Does Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” contain clues to a Tudor conspiracy?

Everybody’s seen a Hans Holbein. His portraits of Henry VIII and the Tudor court are some of the most famous works of the Renaissance. But his 1533 masterpiece The Ambassadors is not just a painting. It’s a nest of puzzles and codes that hints at a conspiracy to change the course of history…

At first glance, The Ambassadors reflects the glory of the Tudor age, showing two noblemen with an array of musical and scientific instruments, all painted with beautiful photographic precision.

But look closer and you’ll realise that there’s a lot more going on here than just a show of wealth and knowledge.

The clues

  • The most obvious oddity is the distorted shape in the foreground. You have to look at the painting from low down on the left side or high up on the right to see the shape as an accurate rendering of a human skull (turn your computer/phone to the side and you’ll see what I mean). It’s called anamorphic perspective, an invention of the Early Renaissance, which has since been used by artists to disguise all kinds of furtive images in their work. The skull has been interpreted as a memento mori, a reminder of death.
  • In the top left corner you can see Jesus on the cross, half concealed by the green curtain.
  • The lute on the bottom shelf has a broken string, a symbol of discord and disharmony.
  • One of the flutes is missing from the case, reinforcing the discord symbolism.
  • The mathematical textbook begins with the word “divide”.
  • The hymnal next to it is in Martin Luther’s translation.

The Anne Boleyn conspiracy

At the beginning of the 1530s, Catherine of Aragon had been unable to give Henry VIII a son and heir, and Henry had become determined to marry his latest mistress Anne Boleyn. At the same time, the Protestant Reformation was in full throttle across Europe, sparked by Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church and his calls for reform.

And while Henry VIII was a devout Catholic who despised Luther and considered him a heretic, the King was surrounded by a close-knit cabal of secret Protestant supporters who wanted to end the Pope’s dominion over England.

Continue reading

Princess Diana’s secret daughter Sarah is the true heir

A real-life game of thrones is upon us. We’ve always believed that Prince Charles is next in line for the throne, followed by his son, Prince William. But it’s come to light that Prince William has an older sister, Sarah, who is the true heir to the Iron — uh — British throne…

Diana, Princess of Wales, is no stranger to conspiracy theories. Normally they’re to do with her untimely and tragic death 20 years ago, the official story of which has more holes than a colander. This one’s a lot weirder.

This one alleges that during a recent trip to the United States, Kate Middleton had a secret meeting with a woman claiming to be her husband Prince William’s long-lost sister. This was at the behest of William, who thought it inappropriate to meet her himself and wanted Kate to scope her out first. Reportedly Kate and William have since requested DNA tests.

This woman, ‘Sarah’, told a fascinating story: in December 1980, 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer, then a virgin, was ordered by the Queen to undergo gynaecological tests to establish whether she was capable of bearing Charles’s children. Diana’s eggs were harvested and fertilised with Charles’s sperm. After the tests proved successful, their engagement was announced and the embryos were destroyed.

Or so everyone thought. As it happened, a ‘rogue doctor’ secretly held back one of the embryos and implanted it into his wife, who unknowingly became the surrogate mother of Charles and Diana’s biological child.

This child, a girl, was born 10 weeks after Charles and Diana’s wedding, in October 1981 — 8 months before the birth of Prince William. Not only does this make her William’s older sister, but it also makes her legitimate, since Diana and Charles were married when she was born. She is, therefore, the rightful heir to the throne after Charles.

Jaw off the floor yet?

Continue reading

Did Rudolph Fentz time travel? My short story about the famous urban legend is now published in Storgy Magazine

Who is Rudolph Fentz? was the first of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, way back in 2015 in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine (and it won 3rd prize in their quarterly comp too).

Since that issue of Scribble is long out of print, I’ve been looking for a magazine to re-publish it. Now Storgy Magazine, who published Paul last November, have published Who is Rudolph Fentz? online — which means you can all read it for free!

The story is based on the famous time travel urban legend of Rudolph Fentz (who you can read about here) and centres on a man, Forrest Thomson, determined to get to the truth of who he is and how he ended up in the middle of Times Square in June 1950. But could Forrest be entering dangerous territory as he investigates those responsible?

You can read Who is Rudolph Fentz? by clicking this link to Storgy.

Enjoy, folks, and thank you Storgy Magazine for publishing another of my stories!

Coming soon: Princess Diana had a secret daughter?!

My short story “The Home Secretary is safe” is now published in Phantaxis Issue 6

A new Million Eyes Short Story is now published and available to read in science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis!

The Home Secretary is safe is included in Issue 6, which has just been released. (I’m even named first on the cover – think it’s just alphabetical but still – WHOOP!)

In the story, Cody Evans is taking the train to visit his cousin Rachel (the eponymous star of Rachel Can See, published in Metamorphose Volume 2, and Rachel Can Still See, which will be published by Phantaxis in November).  When bizarre things start happening on the journey, Cody finds himself at the centre of a heinous plot and the unwitting target of assassins…

Click on the cover image to buy the magazine from Amazon, or click here.

Enjoy!

Coming soon: Princess Diana’s secret daughter

TWO “Million Eyes” short stories to be published by Phantaxis Magazine

What a month! After a very slow first half of the year in terms of publication news for the Million Eyes Short Stories, my story Eryl Mai’s Dream just got shortlisted by Dark Tales, and Who is Rudolph Fentz? got accepted for re-publication by Storgy Magazine. Now, within 3 days of one another, I’ve had two further stories accepted for publication by Canada-based science fiction and fantasy magazine Phantaxis!

Phantaxis rejected both The Quiet Invasion and Operation Loch Ness previously, so I certainly wasn’t expecting them to suddenly accept two of my stories. Obviously these ones struck a chord.

The story to be published first is called The Home Secretary is safe and is about a teenage boy who experiences probably the strangest train journey of his life before becoming the unwitting target of assassins. I’m told this story will appear in the August issue of Phantaxis — so not long!

The second story to be published is called Rachel Can Still See, which won the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup 2016 and was highly commended by Writers’ Forum a few months later. This, as you might guess, is a sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published last year in Metamorphose, Volume 2. You don’t have to have read Rachel Can See to understand the sequel, but I’d definitely advise doing so. (There’s a sneak peak of Rachel Can See on Metamorphose’s website, and Volume 2 is currently available to buy half-price.)

I’m told that Rachel Can Still See will be published in the November issue of Phantaxis. So a bit longer to wait for that one but hopefully it’ll be worth it!

Hope you all have a fabulous week! I’m off to Disneyland Paris! 😀

Podcast with Oliver Mell – “Million Eyes”, Black Death conspiracies and Princess Diana’s death

I’ve just taken part in my first podcast! I chatted with Oliver Mell, author of horror novel Godless, about Behind The Curtain, my reasons for creating it, and my forthcoming novel Million Eyes.

We talked specifically about some of the conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries that feature in Million Eyes, as well as whether the Black Death might’ve been a deliberate plot to wipe out the West. We also touched on several other conspiracies that I’ve written about, including the Royal Family being reptilian aliens, Watergate, Karen Silkwood and Princess Diana.

And Oliver’s invited me back at the end of next month to talk more about Princess Diana, since it’ll be the 20th anniversary of her death on 31st August (can’t believe it’s been that long).

Go to this page of Oliver’s website if you’re interested in having a listen!

Top 5 cures for writer’s block + story updates

Last month I talked about the different ways I usually deal with writers’ block. Now comes the sequel article I promised, looking at some of the weirdest/funniest/most unique cures that other writers use.

First things first. Some updates on Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories. Also, I’m working on something new…

Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories — latest news

Just over 90 pages of Million Eyes have been fully proofed by all three of my proofers and corrected/tweaked by me. I’m waiting on one of my proofers to come back to me with the remainder so I can continue with corrections on the rest of it. I’ve also submitted it to a number of novel opening chapter competitions.

I posted on Sunday about the fact that Who is Rudolph Fentz? and Eryl Mai’s Dream, two of the Million Eyes Short Stories, are due for publication in Storgy and Dark Tales respectively. I don’t have a date for Dark Tales yet, but Storgy will be publishing Who is Rudolph Fentz? on August 23rd.

Apart from that, I’m waiting to hear about a bunch of other competitions and magazines that I’ve submitted stories to, and keeping everything crossed.

Something is brewing…

Funnily enough, I was complaining last month that I’d had writer’s block for years about what comes after the Million Eyes trilogy. I mentioned having a bunch of half-baked ideas for new novels, but none that were developed enough for me to be excited about them.

But Million Eyes is basically done. The first one, anyway. I’m not going to resume work on the second book (of which I have a full initial draft) until/if the first book is published and successful enough to justify me working on the second book.

That means I need something else. Getting past this block has become a necessity because I need to be writing, fiction I mean. Otherwise I’ll go mad. Fiction writing isn’t just a hobby I’m trying to make into a career. It’s something I have to do, just like eating and sleeping.

The next stage of the journey for Million Eyes is going to be as boring and mind-numbing as doing job applications. It’s where I send off Million Eyes to as many literary agents as I can find. I’ve done it before. It isn’t fun. The fun part’s over.

I. Need. Fun.

Enter my new novel. At last I’ve really, actually cracked it. I worked out that the reason I made Million Eyes work for me as a writer is that it had tons of ideas from tons of sources all amalgamated together into a complex plot that never lets up. Which means there was plenty of stuff to sink my teeth into, and I never got bored writing it.

I realised I needed to do the same thing with my new novel, and I’m pleased to say that it’s just as packed with stuff as Million Eyes was.

What’s it about? That’s what you really want to know. Well, so far I’ve written 7,000 words of concepts and plot/character outlines and only 1 page of the actual book, so I’m not willing to say too much just yet.

What I will say is that it’s a high fantasy novel (i.e. set in a world that isn’t Earth, a conscious decision on my part after the colossal amounts of historical research I had to do for Million Eyes). It’s not going to be your typical medieval, swords-and-sorcery, Game of Thrones-style universe, but will have elements of it. It’s also not going to be steampunk or contemporary, but again will have elements of both. And it will, like Million Eyes, be a conspiracy thriller (but of course!).

I’ll reveal more as it starts coming together…

Top 5 cures for writer’s block

Now these aren’t my top 5 cures. In my last article, I talked about the things I do to cure writer’s block. However, these are some of the most interesting cures I’ve found, so I might try a few of them next time I come down with a block…

Continue reading