My short story “The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” has been re-published in Suspense Magazine

Bonsoir les lecteurs!

I’m back from my long bank holiday weekend in Disneyland Paris, but due to a big rush of copywriting busyness on my return, I’m afraid a new mystery/conspiracy article will have to wait till next week.

In the meantime, I come bearing news about my short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller. The second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, it initially appeared last summer in Issue 11 of Tigershark Magazine.  Now it’s been re-published in Suspense Magazine, a popular and long-standing mystery/horror/thriller magazine that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It’s been named one of the 100 best book and magazine markets for writers by Writer’s Digest.

Click on the extract below to read a PDF of the magazine. The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the first story in the issue.

For those of you who don’t remember, the story is inspired by an urban legend about a bonus feature on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. The story stars real-life Irish filmmaker George Clarke, the man who made the discovery, as he embarks on a dangerous pursuit of the truth.

I actually showed the story to Clarke himself prior to publication and he gave me the thumbs-up, even mentioning he might turn it into a film one day! 😀

Even more exciting is the fact that the editor of Suspense Magazine has said they want to publish a further story of mine. I don’t know which one yet but I’ll keep you posted!

Happy Thursday!

Next week: the mystery of the ‘Broad Haven Triangle’

No rules please. We’re fiction writers.

So I came across an article in the Guardian recently called Elmore Leonard’s rules for writers and saw red. (Okay, a bit of an exaggeration given all the things currently happening in the world I could get angry about. Let’s say I saw carnation pink.) Anyway, I felt compelled to write an anarchic response for writers and readers everywhere.

As always, before I move onto that, I have a handful of updates to share regarding Million Eyes.

Million Eyes — just 4 chapters to go

At the time of writing, I’m on page 248 of 291 of the final edit of Million Eyes. My copywriting work has quietened down a little over the last month, so I’ve used the time to make good headway with the edit. Now that I’m numbering each chapter (which I didn’t do before), I’m about to start editing Chapter 28, which means I have four chapters to go and the final book will have a total of 31 chapters.

My August 31st deadline for finishing is still ages away, so I’m more than on track to hit it, even as my copywriting busyness is now on the up. In fact, I’m hoping that I might have the book finished and proofread by then. I have two lovely volunteer proofreaders — my bookworm girlfriend and a fellow member of Rushmoor Writers. They tell me they’re fast readers (unlike myself), so let’s see if Million Eyes grips them enough to rattle through!

The Million Eyes Short Stories

No major news to report this month. I’m still submitting the Million Eyes Short Stories that remain unpublished, and the ones that have been published are being submitted to publications that accept reprints.

I had a particularly frustrating rejection from one publication that shall remain nameless a couple of weeks ago. It was a story called “The Bisley Boy” (regular readers of my blog might be able to guess what it’s about). The editor told me she “really liked the story” and got me to confirm that it was unpublished and not under consideration elsewhere. Then, hours later, she sent a further email saying she just wasn’t “comfortable” publishing it, but that the story was good, the writing was good, and she was sure other editors would love it. This magazine has done this to me before, telling me how much they liked The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller and saying they wanted to publish it before ultimately rejecting it.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate constructive feedback, and what writer doesn’t love praise and kind words about their writing. This magazine has given me both over the last year or so. But when a writer is told these things while an editor is still considering a story, it makes the eventual rejection so much harder. My friend at Rushmoor Writers said the editor was a “lit-tease”. She’s right. It was some serious carrot dangling.

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“Million Eyes” updates and a review of South House Retreat in Dorset

Evening all! I have come up for air following two weeks of total immersion in the final edit of my forthcoming conspiracy novel, Million Eyes. In this week’s blog, I’ll share where I’m at with everything and talk about my time at South House Retreat near Dorchester, Dorset.

Million Eyes — a deadline

By the end of the two weeks I spent at South House Retreat, I’d got through 43,000+ words of the final edit of Million Eyes, which is just over halfway. This involved editing, rewriting and one new chapter written from scratch. Parts of the earliest chapters had not had an edit for almost two years, and given how much my writing has improved in that time, they needed quite a heavy do-over.

The main issue was with one of my main characters, Gregory Ferro. For a while I’ve been struggling to picture him, struggling to feel like I know him. The breakthrough occurred a few weeks before my retreat, when I decided to change the character’s religion. Weirdly enough, a new personality — one that, despite not sharing the character’s beliefs, I could identify with more — seemed to flow quite organically from that decision.

I also added a new chapter from Gregory Ferro’s point of view to the early part of the book, just to fill in some plot gaps.

Once these early chapters were done and dusted, the pace of the edit started to increase, and the later chapters I was flying through by comparison. I’m expecting this to continue as I edit the rest of the book (apart from one chapter that, following feedback from Rushmoor Writers, requires more historical research).

So I have set myself a deadline of August 31st to finish the whole book, which means setting aside a few Million Eyes-focused days each month. In general, copywriting has to take priority, since that’s what pays the bills (until, you know, Million Eyes makes me famous and rich and all that). Having said that, that’s the good thing about being a freelance writer — my hours are my own! The next thing will be whether I actually make my self-imposed deadline. That’s the plan, and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m pretty determined.

Watch this space. 🙂

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My short story “Rachel Can Still See” has been highly commended by Writers’ Forum

Good day fiction fiends, mystery-philes and conspiracy lovers everywhere.

I have returned from full immersion in my forthcoming conspiracy novel, Million EyesMore on that tomorrow; I’ll be posting an article with updates on my progress with Million Eyes, along with a review of South House Retreat and my time there.

In the meantime, just a quick blog to say that my story, Rachel Can Still See — the sequel to Rachel Can See, which was published in Metamorphose V2 last November — has been mentioned as “highly commended” in the latest issue of Writers’ Forum. Slightly annoyingly, the magazine printed my full name instead of my pen name, C.R. Berry, but never mind. The story itself isn’t published (you have to get into the top 3 for that), so I’m now in the process of seeking publication elsewhere.

In any case, a minor win! 😀 This story previously won the Hyde Cup 2016, an internal competition for the members of Rushmoor Writers.

How I plan a story + story updates

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Greetings readers! Today I come bearing a handful of Million Eyes updates, and a bit of insight into how I plan and develop stories.

Million Eyes 

Work on the first novel in The Million Eyes Trilogy continues, and the end is nigh. I’m currently rewriting the very last chapter of the novel, and I’m in the process of reading the chapters immediately preceding it to my writers’ group, Rushmoor Writers, for their input.

Then there is an extra chapter I need to add much earlier on in the novel. After that, it’s a case of going right back to the beginning for the final edit. As mentioned in a previous blog, I’m waiting to hear whether I’ve been accepted for this writing residency in Switzerland (staying and writing in a treehouse in the Swiss Mountains!). In the likely event that I haven’t, I’m planning a writers’ retreat in Dorset.

Publication news for the Million Eyes Short Stories

Last year was a good year for the Million Eyes Short Stories. Three stories were published—The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, Rachel Can See and Paul—in Tigershark Magazine, Metamorphose Volume 2 and Storgy Magazine respectively.

The Babushka Lady has been accepted for publication by Indie Authors Press for their time-travel-themed anthology, The Chronos Chronicles. You can read my blog from Sunday for more details.

I’ve also submitted Who is Rudolph Fentz? to Storgy Magazine. Storgy ask for unpublished stories, and Who is Rudolph Fentz? was published in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine in 2015. However, I’ve said to Storgy that Issue 68 is now out of print, so the story isn’t actually available to read. I’m hoping that because of that, they’ll make an exception. We shall see…

Meanwhile, two other stories have recently received accolades. The Quiet Invasion has been shortlisted for publication by New Myths, an online speculative fiction publisher. I will hear by the end of April on whether they actually want to publish the story. And Rachel Can Still See, winner of the Rushmoor Writers Hyde Cup 2016, was shortlisted in the Writers’ Forum monthly short story competition. I’m just waiting for the final results. If I make it into the top three, I get published in the Writers’ Forum magazine and win some money! Whoop whoop! 😀

Finally, I recently developed a plan for a new Million Eyes Short Story about a timey wimey incident aboard a train.

Talking of planning stories…

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My story “The Babushka Lady” will be published in time travel anthology “The Chronos Chronicles” later in 2017!

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I’m super-pleased to announce that my short story, The Babushka Lady, will be published later this year! It’s been selected to appear in a time travel-themed anthology called The Chronos Chronicles, due for print and electronic publication by Indie Authors Press in spring/summer 2017.

The Babushka Lady is the latest of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be accepted for publication, after Rachel Can See, Paul and The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller were published in 2016, and Who is Rudolph Fentz? in 2015.

As conspiracy fans might’ve guessed, the story is inspired by the mystery of the unidentified woman who was present when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.  She was seen in photos and film footage and appeared to be snapping her own photos during the fatal moments. Her nickname ‘Babushka Lady’ arose because of the Russian headscarf she was wearing. Neither she nor the photos she took have been found or positively identified. (You can read my blog about the Babushka Lady and several other unidentified JFK witnesses here.)

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Indie Authors Press was founded in 2011 by a family of authors and specialises in science fiction, fantasy and dark fantasy. It’s won awards for ‘Best Anthology’, ‘Best Publisher’ and ‘Best Book Editors’, among others. It also maintains an 11.6K following on Twitter, which is the highest number of followers I’ve seen for a small press publisher. So I’m very happy to have been welcomed into the fold! 🙂

More news when I have it. You can find Indie Authors Press on Twitter here.

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Happy Sunday!

My short story “Paul” has now been published by Storgy Magazine

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My short story Paul is now available to read! It was published today by online magazine Storgy.

The story is based on a famous pop culture conspiracy theory. The image above (used by Storgy for the publication) is a rather obvious clue as to what that might be, but if you’ve not heard of it, read the story first and then have a read of this blog article about the conspiracy. (I also wrote a follow-up article that you might find interesting.)

Click to read the story! And if you enjoy it, please do like and share it on social media! 🙂

Paul was originally shortlisted in the Aeon Award 2015 and reportedly very close to making the top six. It’s the fourth Million Eyes Short Story to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? (Scribble Issue 68), The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller (Tigershark Issue 11) and Rachel Can See (Metamorphose V2).

Just like those other stories, Paul is set in the Million Eyes universe.

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Tomorrow: is Osama bin Laden really dead?

 

My short story “Paul” will be published by Storgy Magazine on 23rd November

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Hello readers!

Just thought I’d drop by and let you know that Storgy Magazine will be publishing my short story Paul on November 23rd !

Paul was originally shortlisted in the Aeon Award 2015 and very close to making the top six (so said the editor). It will be the fourth Million Eyes Short Story to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz?The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller and Rachel Can See. Just like those others, it is set in the Million Eyes universe.

Paul is based on a famous pop culture conspiracy theory and urban legend. It concerns a car accident, a much-loved musician, and some rather unexpected implications for the space-time continuum…

Storgy is an online publisher of literary short fiction that tinkers with genre and stylistic conventions. They previously accepted Rachel Can See but I was unable to offer them that one due to its recent publication in Metamorphose.

I actually talked about literary fiction in last week’s blog, because I wouldn’t generally consider the Million Eyes Short Stories to be ‘literary’. However, the definitions of commercial and literary fiction are not carved in stone, and it may be that Storgy were drawn to Paul and Rachel Can See because they have thriller, conspiracy, mystery and sci-fi elements, as does Million Eyes.

Anyway, keep an eye out for Paul on Wednesday 23rd November!

In the meantime, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is available to read for free in Tigershark Issue 11 and Rachel Can See can be purchased as one of 10 stories in Metamorphose V2 (a sneak peek is available here).

Happy Monday!

This week: Is Osama bin Laden really dead?