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 Storgy ask for unpublished stories, and Who is Rudolph Fentz?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?

Commercial fiction vs literary fiction + story updates

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Good evening Earth. This week I’m talking about a popular conspiracy theory that President-elect Trump was assassinated by a coalition of Western governments before he could destroy Mexico’s economy, give guns to toddlers, and nuke the Middle East.

Wait—what? There’s no such conspiracy theory, you say? President-elect Trump hasn’t been assassinated?

Ah, okay. Sorry, must’ve been a premonition/dream/desperate hope I had.

Instead, I’ll give you a round-up of story updates and some tips for writers on understanding the differences between literary and commercial fiction.

Rachel Can Still See wins the Hyde Cup 2016

hyde-cupYesterday I received a nice little boost for my recently completed short story, Rachel Can Still See. It won the Hyde Cup 2016, an internal Rushmoor Writers competition, organised and judged each year by the members. The story got great feedback, so my plan is to start submitting it immediately to publishers and short story competitions.

This story is one of the Million Eyes Short Stories and a sequel to Rachel Can See (though it can sensibly stand alone). Rachel Can See has just been published in Metamorphose V2 (more details below).

I won £25 and a little cup for my mantelpiece. Whoop! 😀

Million Eyes

I’m down to the last couple of chapters of my novel, Million Eyes. My copywriting busyness has skyrocketed, so I’m getting through it slowly. Planning a good old sesh over Christmas, so my hope is that I’ll have reached the end by the time we draw the curtains on 2016. Then I’ll be ready to start the final edit next year.

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Sneak peek of my story “Rachel Can See” now available to read!

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Happy Halloween!

You can now read a sneak peek of my new short story and honourable mention winner, Rachel Can See, the latest of the Million Eyes Short Stories, published in Metamorphose Volume 2. A Facebook user has already given the story a positive review: “Good story about a woman who is convinced she is not crazy.”

Here’s the link to read the excerpt!

By the way, today’s the last day you can pre-order Metamorphose V2 and get 50% off. It features 10 stories from upcoming science fiction and fantasy authors (including yours truly). Current price is only $7.50.

You can purchase a print copy of the journal here, and an e-book version here. The e-book is currently only $2.99.

Remember, once Metamorphose have sold 1,000 copies, they’re donating 50% of all profits to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) to help people suffering from anxiety and depression.

Enjoy!

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Time traveller spotted in Charlie Chaplin DVD extra

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Whoops. A time traveller has made an epic boo-boo and got themselves caught on film in 1928. And now filmmaker George Clarke has exposed their clumsy arse to the world.

I’ve mentioned this particular urban legend a few times recently. That’s because it inspired my short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, which was published last month in Tigershark Issue 11. In the story, facts and fiction are mixed, so let me now present the uncooked facts.

In 2010, Belfast filmmaker George Clarke posted a video on YouTube explaining that he had discovered evidence of time travel in a Charlie Chaplin DVD extra. The extra was a short behind-the-scenes clip of the premiere of The Circus at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in 1928. The Circus is one of Charlie Chaplin’s most popular movies, the seventh-highest-grossing silent film in cinema history, and still attracts high praise today. So it’s a wonder it took seven years for someone to notice this (the DVD came out in 2003).

Anyway, 20 seconds into the clip, you see a bunch of circus animal statues outside the Chinese Theatre. Walking behind a fake zebra is a large woman in a hideous dress, hooded coat, pointed shoes and a black top hat. But her terrible fashion sense and looking a bit like a man in drag is not what caught George’s eye. It was the item she was holding to her ear and talking into.

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Metamorphose Volume 2 now available for pre-order with 50% off — includes my story “Rachel Can See”

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Evening folks! I’m pleased to announce that Metamorphose V2 is now available for pre-order! Its release date is November 1st, but if you order it before then, you get 50% off. It’s only $14.99 anyway, so right now it’s $7.50. (Around £6 for UK readers.) Happy days!

As you know, the magazine features Rachel Can See, the third of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published. It’s an honourable mention winner, which is why you can see my name on the cover. *does a little dance of joy*

So please pop along to Metamorphose’s website and grab a copy — I’d love to know what you all think!

You can visit Metamorphose’s online shop here and purchase a print or e-book version. (The e-book’s only $9.99.)

The magazine also features nine other stories, all new voices in science fiction and fantasy.

And this year Metamorphose has joined forces with the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Once they sell 1,000 copies, they’re donating 50% of all profits to the charity to help people suffering from anxiety and depression. Support from my lovely readers will go a long way!

Rachel Can See is a conspiracy/mystery story that ‘teases’ the Millon Eyes TrilogyIt’s about a girl called Rachel Evans, who begins experiencing troubling memories about world events and her own life. On 30th October, Metamorphose will be posting a sneak peek of Rachel Can See, so keep an eye on my Facebook and Twitter feeds!

Happy reading! 😀

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This week: who is the ‘Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller’?