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’

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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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Talking time travel, Charlie Chaplin and Donald Trump with filmmaker George Clarke

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George Clarke is an award-winning film director, screenwriter, producer and founder of independent film company Yellow Fever Productions. Best known for his micro-budget zombie horror flicks, his sixth feature film, The Blood Harvest, won two awards at the 2015 Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Florida.

But back in 2010, George shot to worldwide attention for an entirely different reason. He found what he believed to be a time traveller in a Charlie Chaplin DVD extra and posted his discovery on YouTube, sparking a 21st-century urban legend.

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Today I’m interviewing George in order to get to the bottom of his thoughts on the time travel conspiracy happening all around us…

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Hi George. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. How have you been and what are you working on right now?

Thanks for the interest and support! The past 6 months have been pretty crazy on a personal level, which in turn has scuppered the latter half of 2016 for me. We’ve had some major delays in the production of my 7th feature film, Mindy Has To Die, which is based on the novella by US horror comedy writer Jeff Strand. It began shooting in June but with so much having happened in between I’ve still got 3 days to schedule for completion. This meant that at the 7th Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival in November, it was the first time in all these years I didn’t have a premiere of my new film. But we’ll get there! I’ve had worse thrown at me over the years and I’m still going…

One of the things you’re known for is the ‘Chaplin’s Time Traveller’ YouTube video, which is approaching 7 million views. In it you talk about how you’d spotted a possible time traveller in an extra on the DVD of Charlie Chaplin film The Circus. Can you talk me through what was going through your head when you first saw this clip?

It’s almost 7 million on my YouTube channel, yes, but I still can’t get over the fact that it was shown on most (if not all) major news channels, breakfast shows and media websites around the world. Crazy! I had noticed the video about a year before I made my discovery public. In fact, a few months earlier, I did a live reveal at our 2nd film festival to an audience and left most people speechless by what they saw. It led to some amazing debates of course!

When I first found it, I remember sitting on the couch just casually watching the premiere footage of The Circus. I’ve always loved old footage so I was watching intently at what was happening on screen. And as you become comfortable watching things in 1928, something as odd as someone talking on a handset really stands out. I jumped up off the couch and rewound the footage to double check, then started calling people to take a look.

Why did you conclude that this woman was a time traveller?

It was 1928 and the woman seemed to be having a fun chat on a mobile phone! What else could I think? Plus, I love the romance of it being a time traveller. Perhaps Chaplin himself went back in time to attend a personal event that made him very happy, but of course, had to be in disguise.

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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?

My interview on Spaced Out Radio looks at Princess Diana’s crash, Flat Earth, time travel and if Paul McCartney’s really dead

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My interview on Spaced Out Radio is now available for listening! It aired live at 9pm Pacific time, 12am Eastern time and 5am UK time.

We ended up going for three whole hours, but seriously, they were the fastest three hours ever! Host Dave Scott was a lovely, friendly chap and we discussed a ton of interesting stuff.

The major topics we looked at were the uncomfortable questions surrounding Princess Diana’s deathFlat Earth Theory; the NASA moon landing hoax theories; the Royal Family being lizards; a conspiracy to cover up the existence of time travel; and whether Paul McCartney died long ago and was replaced by a duplicate (plus whether Heather Mills was at one stage trying to reveal the truth). We also touched on Roswell.

Please bear in mind that this was my first time ever on the radio! I’ve listened to some of it back and there’s a few too many “erms” for my liking, but it’s an interesting discussion and hopefully I’ve got some tongues wagging about these highly controversial conspiracy theories! I’ve also got some great ideas for future blogs, thanks to Dave and the audience members who asked questions. 😀

Best of all, I’m told that the audience “loved me” and Dave is mighty keen to have me back on the show in the future! Whoop!

You can listen on YouTube and you can download the show for free from iTunes. Right now it can also be listened to on Spaced Out Radio’s website, until the next show airs.

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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“Show, don’t tell” advice for writers + story updates

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Good evening readers!

Tonight I bring a round-up of Million Eyes updates and some advice on a literary rule that’s habitually banged on about by editors, agents and publishers: “show, don’t tell”.

Million Eyes and Hodderscape

No, no, it’s nothing exciting like a book deal from a publisher (I wish). However, it’s a mini endorsement for Million Eyes.

Hodderscape are sci-fi, fantasy and horror publishers. One of the authors on their list is a man some of you may have heard of called Stephen King.

Now, I’ve not really been submitting Million Eyes to publishers or agents because the book is incomplete. However, Hodderscape were having an open submission period in August 2015 (which means they were accepting subs from unagented authors). So I tidied up the first 15,000 words of Million Eyes and submitted it, expecting to hear back by the end of September. I didn’t. I knew there were some delays, but I didn’t end up hearing back till April 2016 (yes, I’ve been meaning to mention this for months and keep forgetting!).

It was a form rejection, but said that “all the readers were very impressed with your work”, which I thought was unusual. They also mentioned that 1,500 authors submitted during the open subs period, and signed off by saying, “thank you for your patience while we worked through the second reads!”

Second reads? Well, that was news to me. Basically, Million Eyes got through some kind of first round, which is no doubt why it took so long to hear back, and why their form rejection included a compliment about my work.

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