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?!

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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! 😀

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…

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“Million Eyes” short stories to be published in Dark Tales and Storgy

I’m super-pleased to announce that TWO of the Million Eyes Short Stories are slated for publication!

The first is Who is Rudolph Fentz? This is based on a time travel urban legend that I’ve written about before. It was previously published in print in Issue 68 of Scribble Magazine, winning 3rd prize in its quarterly competition. Now Storgy Magazine has accepted the story for publication and will publish it online on Wednesday 23rd August.

Since the Scribble issue is out of print, that means everyone who owns a computer or a phone will now be able to read it. (And if you want a taster in advance of August 23rd, here’s a sneak peek.)

The second is a story called Eryl Mai’s Dream. Inspired by real events, this follows a little girl called Eryl Mai who has a disturbing dream about her school, and a mysterious supply teacher who’s investigating whether there’s more to the dream than Eryl Mai realises.

Eryl Mai’s Dream was submitted to Dark Tales‘ monthly competition and got shortlisted, which means it will be published in a future issue. I’m not sure when yet, but I will announce it here as soon as I know.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

How I deal with writer’s block + “Million Eyes” updates

Wikipedia calls writer’s block a “condition” and an “affliction” and the Wiki gods are absolutely right. Writer’s block is an illness that only writers suffer from. To recover from an illness, you either need to ride it out or combat it with various treatments and remedies. It’s a perfectly curable illness, but some writers are more successful at beating it (Stephen King) than others (George R. R. Martin).

This month I wanted to write an article about how I cope with writer’s block, something that affects me a lot more now that I’m a full-time professional copywriter as well as an author. Next month I’ll be writing a sequel article about some of the best/weirdest/funniest writer’s block cures that are available to poorly wordsmiths.

But before all that, let me share with you a handful of Million Eyes updates…

Million Eyes is complete! Currently being proofread…

The final edit of Million Eyes is complete and being proofread in its entirety by two of the writers at Rushmoor Writers, and by my bookworm girlfriend. One has already come back to me with a ton of positive comments and a handful of minor changes to have a think about. Another has very helpfully pointed out a few minor historical inaccuracies (with all the research I’ve had to do for this novel, it’s very difficult to catch them all, so I’m very grateful to her for spotting them).

One of my proofers has also pointed out that because further changes will be required, I shouldn’t be calling this the final edit. However, the reason I’m calling it that — and still calling it that — is because I am at a point where I am happy with the plot, the characters, and the style. I have asked my proofreaders for error-spotting, sense-checking, and overall impressions, but I’m not planning to make any fundamental changes to the characters or plot at this point. That’s what the final edit was for. Taking all the feedback I’ve received over the last 2-3 years and producing a new draft.

At the end of the day, an author can edit the same novel forever. When I started the final edit at South House Retreat in February, owner Tracy Willoughby made a very good point: at some point you have to stop. Otherwise you’ll just never finish, and no one will ever publish it. She’s right.

So this is me stopping. Once my proofers have finished, I’m expecting to have a slew of corrections to make and minor changes to think about. And yes, if there’s a whopping time travel-related continuity error or logistical problem that I’ve missed and has a major overarching effect on the plot or character arcs, it’s something I will need to work on. I’m just hoping I’ve caught most of those!

In short, Million Eyes is nearly there. Nearly ready to be pumped out to literary agents, with fingers, toes and tongues tightly crossed that one of them recognises Million Eyes as a book people want to read.

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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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