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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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 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!

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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“The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller” now available to read in Tigershark Magazine

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My short story, The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller, has now been published in Tigershark Magazine, Issue 11! You can download the PDF of the issue for free right here! Just click the link below. (The story starts on page 18.)

Tigershark Magazine Issue 11

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller is the second of the Million Eyes Short Stories to be published, after Who is Rudolph Fentz? in Scribble, Issue 68 last year.

The story is based on an urban legend about a extra on a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an extra containing something rather out of place. Irish filmmaker George Clarke made the discovery and released a YouTube video about it, which became a runaway hit and was discussed and debated by the world’s media. At the time of writing, the video’s attracted more than 6,870,000 views.

The story stars a fictionalised version of Clarke as he investigates the mystery and embarks on a potentially dangerous journey to find the truth…

Here’s Clarke’s original video. See what you make of it!

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Writers who try to write masterpieces + story updates

man-1454744_960_720Evening all! So I’m totally going to steal Alan Carr’s catchphrase: What a week it’s been!

I climbed the O2 in London on Tuesday night and got to see the sun setting behind Canary Wharf. Yesterday I did mountain biking, high rope obstacles in the trees, climbing, canoeing, assault courses and a bit of free-falling on a giant swing. Oh, and I got to pretend to be Jon Snow for a bit and do some archery.

Today I’m back at my computer, exercising nothing but my typing fingers so I can tell you about some story updates and a fiction writing bad habit: trying to write a masterpiece.

The Million Eyes Trilogy

I’ve been extremely busy with copywriting commitments since January, but now things have quietened down a bit, giving me more time for my novel and short stories. I’m editing the last third of the first novel in The Million Eyes Trilogy as we speak. I’m now thinking I’ll probably finish reading it to my writers’ group and getting their feedback by early next year, if not before.

I said in my last story updates blog that I’d be ready to start the final edit by June of next year, but I reckon I’ll be starting much earlier than that. In the past, I’ve found that January and February are good months to go on long writers’ retreats, so that’s when I’m planning to book a two-week retreat and hopefully get the bulk of the final edit done.

Million Eyes has gone down particularly well with my writers’ group of late, and the fact that increasingly the feedback tends to be minor nitpicks is quite telling about how much my writing has improved over the last year. It’s really exciting to see it all starting to come together.

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How to avoid head-hopping in 3rd person POV + story updates

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Hello! This month I’ve got some story updates that are a little bit more exciting than last month’s, plus advice for fiction writers on tackling point of view when writing in the third-person narrative…

Without further ado…

Who is Rudolph Fentz? wins 3rd prize in the winter issue of Scribble

This is my second most exciting piece of news of late (will share the first in a mo). Long and short: I was voted 3rd prize winner out of 19 stories in the winter issue of Scribble and got a lovely little £15 cheque. I also got some interesting feedback from Scribble’s readers, which you can read in the blog I posted last week.

You also can read a sneak peak of the story here.

The Charlie Chaplin Time Traveller gets closer to publication

This is my most exciting piece of news—though I’ve probably jinxed myself now. (Is it still hip to say ‘jinxed’? What are the cool kids using nowadays?)

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