Paul Glanville, Remembered: More Than an Author

FeaturedPaul Glanville, Remembered:  More Than an Author

I had a friend named Paul Glanville. We were both authors and had connections to each other through Amazon’s writer’s forum, WriteOn, and later through Wattpad. I don’t know if I’d read any of his work before we began conversing on Facebook Messenger.  He was working on his horror story, Mirage, and I had self-published two suspense/thrillers and was working on a third.

He asked if I would read his work-in-progress and I agreed. Over a year or more, we would discuss writing, books, publishing, marketing, cover designs and a multitude of other topics related to our work. I knew he lived in California, and he spoke lovingly about his wife, Claudia. He considered himself a lucky man to have her in his life.

I know he had a generous spirit. When he learned that I had recently traveled to Cali to see my son and his wife, he told me that the next time I planned to go to LA I needed to let him know. He wanted to invite my husband and me to dinner.

Paul wrote his stories with courage, bringing the reader into a horrific world where sadistic people hurt the powerless for the thrill of doing it. It takes courage to write something some people would condemn as too graphic, too violent. He wanted his front cover to have a human skull on it. I thought it would be best to not have it be so obvious. He compromised and put it on the back cover. I believe I’m not as brave as Paul.

His writing does what it should do — it brings out an emotional response in his readers. I experienced revulsion, anger, and sadness as I read his scenes. This is every writer’s goal. I wanted to see his characters get revenge and cheered his protagonist on. He didn’t sugarcoat the horror in his story. He didn’t skirt around the darkness that belonged to the serial killer who preyed on women in his book.

He gave me a signed copy of his book, and I’m humbled at being included in the acknowledgments. I was shocked to learn of his death. I still have him included in my list of Facebook friends and miss his evening posts on Messenger looking to chat about writing.

I miss him, but I’m not the only writer I know who feels his absence. Below are some others…

Douglas Debelak

I never met Paul in the real world, nor did we discuss much about our personal lives, but it is the same for many of us who consider one another friends far more than just FB friends. I think that I can say that I was a friend of Paul’s and felt a deep sense of loss, hearing of his passing. In addition to our interaction through Amazon WriteOn, we had a number of personal conversations through email. Paul read and critiqued many of the short stories I wrote for the Weekend Write In. In addition to Mirage, I read many drafts of Paul’s books and short stories, about which we had some deep and honest exchanges.

Paul sent me a printed and signed copy of Mirage, for which I’d just started writing a review when I heard that he’d passed. I’ll happily pass that on. I’ve had no interaction with Claudia, other than her acknowledgment of comments I left on Paul’s FB page following his death.

I think his novel Daphne was excellent. It was as provocative as Mirage in its own way, as explicit, while not as dark as some of his other material. Paul wrote some dark stories about the monsters that are real, but most us shy away from, the human monsters. He did not shy from looking into the souls of those monsters. Mirage was only one of those. I don’t know whether any of Paul’s other short fiction are still online anywhere, but he wrote one that ended with a woman, still alive, in a lobster trap as bait. One of those most chilling and vivid images I recall reading.

I never felt I had to soften anything in my discussions with Paul. I could be as dark as I wanted, without ever being judged. Although Paul wrote about evil, I sensed he was a good man. I liked him and miss him.

The text for the draft of my review of Mirage is below:

The first thing I’ll say about Mirage is that it is a finely crafted story. It is riveting. It is dark. It is edgy. It is graphic. It is disturbing. It is not for everyone. But the author makes that crystal clear in his disclaimer in the front of the book. Could he have backed off on the graphic content just a smidge? That’s a hard call and it was his to make. I think that may have made the book more accessible to a wider audience and possibly more commercial. But, if you are into stories about serial killers, who, if you haven’t figured that out, are sick, sadistic animals who care nothing about their victims and do sick, horrendous things to them, then perhaps a less diluted and sanitized offering is in order. I think this author provides you exactly that.

I found this a short compelling and interesting read. I highly recommend it.


Christine Larsen

I, too received a signed copy of Paul’s book ‘Mirage’ as thanks for a small part I played in advising about some Aussie-isms.

In between help and advice we shared about our writing, I discovered a side to Paul that not so many may know – his love and knowledge of music… particularly Latin American.

In his book ‘Mirage‘ he had his beautiful MC, Celeste, softly singing a popular song to her rescuer. We are all familiar with the traditional version of Cielito Lindo, played by mariachi bands everywhere and Paul sent me a link to a fine rendition, but he wanted a sweeter version and went searching.

I still have his words from a private message –

That’s the only way I ever heard this tune, although for Mirage, I imagined it sung as a ballad. And then I found this:


Such a beautiful version has an added dimension to its poignancy now that Paul’s gone.


I leave you with a short story Paul wrote for the One Million Project’s Thriller Anthology —

The Detour

by Paul Glanville

A routine day takes a detour when an airliner is hijacked. Paul is an Embedded Systems Engineer by day and has been writing for himself since WordStar was popular. He has only recently begun to share.

I am a glorified bus driver.

I start every day in Jakarta. My passengers get on, and I take them to Banda Aceh, with a stop halfway at Pekanbaru. There’s about an hour traveling between stops. We pull up to the terminal; a few passengers get off and some cargo from under the floor is unloaded. Then new cargo is loaded, some passengers get on, and after about a half-hour, we’re on to our next stop. When we get to Banda Aceh, we turn around and do it in the opposite order on the way home.

Banda Aceh is a resort town. You may recall hearing the name; it was hit by a tsunami in 2004. That was a terrible disaster, but it’s all cleaned up now, and we’re the cheapest way to get there from Jakarta. We take longer than the others, who go there directly without stopping three times, but if you’re one of my passengers, we’ll get you to within a short taxi ride of the resorts before noon.

I’ve been flying for decades: first for the Indonesian Air Force, ferrying men and supplies all over the country. Now I’m the captain in a small regional carrier, doing almost the same thing as before.

The job is not nearly as glamorous as people think. It’s mostly preparation for an awesome responsibility, every day.

My favorite part is taking off. You push those throttles forward, and the engines gradually spin up to full power. The A319 strains, but you have the brakes on. Finally, you release the brakes, and you’re pushed into your seat as she leaps forward. About halfway down the runway, you pull on the yoke slightly, the nose gently rises, and the world disappears from view in the main windscreen. The feeling… the rumbling sound of the wheels on the tarmac goes away; it’s suddenly quiet as you lift up. “Wheels up!” you command, and your copilot flips the lever. Three green lights turn red then extinguish altogether. “Wheels up!” your copilot responds. Above the clouds, the sun shines brilliantly. She wants to fly. There’s no feeling like it, and I get to do it several times a day. You look over to the man in the right seat. “She’s yours.” You feel him take the controls and you let go. Now you can relax a bit and enjoy the ride from the best seat on the plane.

Landing is the tricky part. If you just aim the plane down, it’ll accelerate like a roller coaster, and you can’t land if you’re going too fast. Getting up is easy, but it’s a delicate balance, getting back down.

I’ve got thousands of hours more experience than my copilot, and he’s not going to get any more if I fly the plane all day every day, so I hand it off. I usually let copilots land, too. Again, they need the experience more than me. After a while, the company changes my crew: new copilot, new cabin attendants. I’ve had the same flight crew for months, and we talk about each other. We know each others’ personal lives: who’s married, who’s dating, what’s happening in their families. It’s less of a boring grind than it otherwise would be.


We just took off from Sultan Syarif Kasim II International at Pekanbaru—next stop: Banda Aceh—and we’re climbing through broken cloud past 5,000 meters, up to our cruise altitude of 8,000. Ninety-seven passengers, mostly tourists. I’d just handed off the controls to my copilot, Martin Ramirez, when I got a call from the forward flight attendant’s station.

“Captain, there’s a disturbance…”

Then, I heard a lot of noise. “What’s happening?” I asked.

The cockpit door suddenly burst open. It’s not supposed to do that after I lock it.

A lot of screaming and yelling. A stewardess fell backward, landing hard on the cockpit floor, and three men followed, stepping over her as they barged in.

“We’re taking control!” one of them said. He held up a hand grenade. That got our attention like nothing had ever before. I looked over to Martin. He was looking at the grenade as if he was watching his life count down.


My copilot ignored me, still focused on the intruders and the weapon.

“Martin!” I yelled.

He jumped and looked back at me, his eyes wide-open like saucers.

“Martin, I’ll handle this. You fly the plane!”

He blinked then nodded. “Yes, sir!” He gulped and turned to face the controls. He was scared but doing his job.

“I give the orders here!” the leader said.

I turned to him. “Sir, I’m the captain, and I can order everyone to cooperate with you.”

“Fuck you! I give the orders! Do you hear me, asshole?” He was still excited.

I had to calm him down. “Loud and clear. You give the orders. I have the authority to do whatever you want, okay? Just tell me what you want, and I’ll make it happen.”

The leader’s demeanor seemed to relax a bit, although the other two still looked pumped to their eyeballs with adrenaline.

In the calmest voice I could, I asked, “Tell me. What do you want?”

“Take us to Mecca!”

A hijacking. I was almost relieved.

“Martin, we’re going to Mecca.”

We’ve had more than our share of radical Islamic-inspired violence and terrorism, but we’ve been in relative peace for most of the last decade. I looked at the three again. They were certainly “True Believers,” but were they part of some radical group? They got a grenade aboard somehow and the door might have been weakened—was someone in the ground crew involved?

“Uhhh.” The stewardess began to stir. “Sorry, sir.” She got up to her hands and knees. “I couldn’t stop them.”

“That’s okay.”

“Get her out of here,” ordered the leader.

The two other men grabbed her, roughly lifted her up, and shoved her out of the cockpit. She fell on her belly and slid down the aisle. I wanted to get up and stop this—a hijacking is one thing, but nobody abuses my crew! What could I do without getting everyone killed?

The leader spotted the jump seat and sat where he could keep an eye on us. “I’ve got everything under control here. You two, guard the door.”

“Okay.” They left.

By now, even the passengers in the tail knew something was wrong.

“Good morning. This is your captain speaking. We’ve had a disturbance in the cockpit, and we’re working on it, so there’s no cause for alarm. In the meantime, please remain seated. Thank you.”

We settled in for an uneasy ride.


Fifteen minutes later, we started our descent into Banda Aceh. The way it’s done is by reducing the engine power, usually all the way to idle; when you reduce power, the plane slows and you maintain the proper airspeed by gently descending. You can hear the sound of the engines drop, and this alarmed the leader.

“What’s happening? What are you doing?”

I turned. “Don’t worry, we’re just starting our descent into Banda Aceh.”

“No! We’re going to Mecca!” He waved his hand grenade around.

“We can’t make it all the way to Mecca. We have to land and refuel.”

“Don’t fuck with me. I saw the fuel trucks at the airport. You already refueled!”

I looked at the papers from Pekanbaru.

Four hours ago, when we did our preflight preparations at Jakarta, Martin noticed that the price of jet fuel was lower at Pekanbaru, so we made sure to have enough to get there, plus the mandated reserves, of course. You have to understand that planes fly more economically when they’re carrying less weight, and fuel is heavy, so you try to take off with only as much as you’ll need, plus a little extra for emergencies. So, when we stopped there, we partially fueled while we unloaded and loaded passengers and cargo. We knew we’d be back in a few hours on our return trip. The plan was to completely fill our tanks on the return leg and ferry the cheaper fuel back to Jakarta for the airline. The economics of running an airline is a boring part of the job. But today, it became a real problem.

I did the math. The gauges were showing about a quarter full. Forty-eight hundred kilograms. I guessed about 1500 km, give or take. I saw Martin glancing at the gauges. He glanced over to me and shook his head. We didn’t need to say a word. We’d done the same arithmetic and came to the same conclusion.

“We can only go about 1500 kilometers before we have to refuel.”

“I saw the plane getting refueled.” He waved his weapon. “We go to Mecca or else everyone dies!”

I turned and sat back. “Martin, set cruise at 10,000 meters. Point seventy-eight Mach.”


“I know,” I sighed. “Just do it.”

“Yes, sir.”

I told the flight controller about our situation. Minutes later, we were passing Banda Aceh. I started praying for a friendly runway beyond the horizon.

Every airport in the world has a four-letter code name that our flight management autopilot understands. I asked traffic control for the airport code for Mecca. A few minutes later, I was told that Mecca has no airport, none at all, which surprised the hell out of me. Actually, I was so far beyond surprised that I can’t think of a word for it. Imagine, more than a million pilgrims come to Mecca for the Hadj every year, and there’s no airport in town.

The controller added that the closest airports are Jeddah and Medina; Jeddah is closer; only about eighty kilometers from Mecca.

“You heard the guy,” I said. “We can’t take you to Mecca, but we can get you close, so where do you want to go?”

“Medina!” he answered.

I relayed that to the ground and was given a code to enter: OEMA. I punched it into the Flight Management Console. It’s more than 6300 km away.

No way we would have made it, even if we had been fully fueled, especially not with the plane loaded with ninety-seven passengers and four cargo containers.

“What makes you think we can go all the way to Mecca with this plane?”

“We looked it up on the Airbus website—an A319 can go 6750 kilometers. Banda Aceh to Mecca is less—we looked that up too—so we go to Mecca!”

Martin and I exchanged bewildered glances. This plane can do about 6000 kilometers, if she was topped off. Maybe 6300 if we exhaust the reserves—in light air, or with a slight tail wind, maybe—but a headwind would force us down early. 6700 kilometers? No way!

Martin spoke up, “Hey, boss, that plane you saw in the Airbus site, was that the A319 Neo?”

“I dunno. Who cares?”

Almost whispering, Martin addressed me, “I think Airbus is promoting their newest model on their site. The Neo’s got sharklets.”

Of course! You might have noticed how, on many new planes, the last couple of meters of the wings are bent to go straight up. They’re called “winglets” or “sharklets” because of their shape. They dramatically improve a plane’s performance by roughly ten percent.

Ours is not a brand-new plane. We don’t have that feature, and even if we were full of fuel, we wouldn’t make it to Mecca. As it was, we couldn’t even make it a quarter of the way there. The next land, beyond the horizon, was India, and I was worried that it was too far away. I silently prayed for a stiff tailwind…

We don’t carry international charts that include the Indian Ocean. Why would we? We’re regional. So we really didn’t know where we’re going. We didn’t know which waypoints to program into our Flight Management System (a super-fancy controller for the whole plane, including an autopilot), the frequencies of the navigational beacons along the way… nothing. We were lost in a big sky.


“Regional two-niner two-seven.” It was the flight controller.

“Regional two-niner two-seven. Roger.”

“Hi. We understand you’re en route to Mecca.”

“Roger, Mecca.”

“Vector directly to AKINO.”

A waypoint! Thank goodness! We had someplace to fly to! I entered AKINO into the Flight Management Console. Course 274. Almost due west. Sounded about right. I hit the program command button. I felt the plane respond to the autopilot, banking slightly to the right from 270. “AKINO, copy.”

“At AKINO, contact Colombo Control for further instruction.”

“Thanks, Jakarta!” Sri Lanka! I’d forgotten, and it’s closer than India! Maybe, just maybe…

“You’re welcome. Good luck!”

Years ago, we only had radio beacons for navigation. After a while, they started naming the intersections of the beacons; if one beacon was at a particular angle with respect to another, you could tell the controller that you were at a particular waypoint. They’re on the charts. Today, with GPS, we can program our autopilot to go anywhere, and we have a new set of waypoints that are simply latitude and longitude coordinates. Nearly all of them are five-letters long, just as most of the beacons are three and airports are four. AKINO is a GPS waypoint.

It took thirty minutes to get to AKINO. We said goodbye to Jakarta Air Traffic Control, they wished us luck, and we contacted Colombo Control. They were expecting our call and gave us more navigational waypoints in order: TEBIT, HC, MTL, VCRI. That last one grabbed my attention—four letter codes are airports! I glanced over to Martin. He looked as surprised as I felt. Dare we hope? I steadied myself and looked over my shoulder at my “guest” in the cockpit, Mr. Hand Grenade. I entered the codes into the Flight Management Console. The airport was about 80 km further than our fuel estimate.

The controller continued to give us letters and numbers. Mr. Hand Grenade didn’t seem interested.

Have you ever driven your car on “E,” certain that you’ve got another two or three liters before your engine starts sucking air and dies, certain that the gas station a dozen kilometers away is close enough? There is a big difference between certainty and knowledge, isn’t there? No matter how certain you are, you still sweat up until the moment you roll into the station and stop in front of the gas pump, don’t you?

Cruising at ten thousand meters and point seventy-eight Mach, it took about an hour to get to TEBIT. An hour of watching the needles slowly drop, little by little, lower and lower. Ahead, open sea, open sea, and more open sea. The closer we get to TEBIT, the more nervous I got. I watched the gauges and waited, listening for a sputter, a hiccup, anything to hint that an engine is about to cut out, and then the other. I waited for a hint that our quiet glide down to the water was about to start.

TEBIT disappeared from the console screen. I felt the plane gently change course towards HC, another waypoint…


“Take the controls, Cap,” Martin said. “I’ve got to use the restroom.”

“Bird’s mine,” I replied as I took the controls. Before our guard realized what was happening, Martin had released his seat belt and was out of his seat.

“Get back! Get back in your seat!”

“C’mon, man. I’ve really gotta go.”

She yawed slightly then straightened out. An alarm went off. An alarm I’d been dreading.

“What’s that?”

“Shit! One of the engines stopped,” I said, clearing the alarm.

“What did you do? Start it back up!”

“I didn’t do anything. We’re running—”

Another alarm sounded as the screens went black.



Clearing the annunciator, the cockpit was eerily quiet. No whine of the twin turbines; only the whoosh of air.

I was piloting a 55-ton glider.

I heard something slam against something else. The cockpit door slammed. There were sounds of a struggle. I glanced quickly over my shoulder—they were on the floor—and I got back to work. More struggling and then pounding on the door. This time, it didn’t open.

Martin got back in his seat. His clothes were in disarray, his tie and belt missing altogether. He smiled. “Look at this,” he said. I glanced over. He had the grenade! “Notice anything?” He handed it to me. She was flying smoothly, and I didn’t need my right hand for the throttles, so I reached over.

There was something, well, odd. Something caught my eye, and I turned it over—there was a hole in the bottom. “Martin, are you telling me we’re going to ditch in the ocean and my passengers are in mortal danger because of a fucking practice grenade?”

Martin nodded, laughing. “Hard to tell them apart, especially when the bad guy doesn’t give you a chance to examine it.”

There was thumping on the other side of the cockpit door. It stopped, and I got a call on the intercom. It was Sally, one of the cabin crew.

“Some passengers took out the bad guys. We’re good in here,” she said.

“All clear in here too,” I said, looking at our hijacker, lying on the floor, hog-tied with a tie and a belt.

“Cap,” Martin said, “with all the excitement, I forgot why I got up in the first place.”

I laughed. “I’ve got her. Go do what you have to do.”


“Oh, and get our ‘friend’ out of my cockpit!”

“Aye, Cap’n.”

He opened the door and cheers erupted from the passenger compartment.

I heard something being dragged on the floor, and the door closed.


When the engines died, hydraulic pumps and the generators died with them, taking out the flight controls and the computers. Fortunately, planes like ours are fitted with some very basic emergency backups. When the engines’ hydraulic pumps fail, there’s a little windmill that pops out of the fuselage called a Ram Air Turbine, and it works a small hydraulic pump. It’s just powerful enough to control the plane. There’s also a set of six old-fashioned instruments so we can know how high we are, what direction we’re going, and so on. So, we were flying old school.

One of those instruments, the VOR receiver, came to life. It had picked up the MTL beacon. The receiver showed the direction and the distance to the transmitter; we were 200 km away. At our altitude, that was too far to glide, but if we headed straight for it, we’d be closer to land and maybe some shipping…

It was a long fifteen minutes. Altimeters look like clocks, and I spent the whole time watching ours spin backward.

We’d been in radio contact with the Sri Lankan Air Traffic Controller, and they had us on RADAR the whole time. And, of course, the flight attendants had prepared everyone in the cabin—we didn’t want a repeat of what happened to Ethiopian Airlines 961, another hijacking where half of the initial survivors didn’t even make it out of the plane before it sank.

We were down to our last one thousand meters when Martin spotted a plane coming towards us. I just got a glimpse of it in the right-hand side before it disappeared up and to our rear.

Before I knew it, a big C130 was flying on my side. “Sri Lanka Air Force.”

“Good afternoon,” came over my headset. “We’re here to help. We’ve got divers, medics, and a few power boats from the Special Boat Squadron ready to drop and help your people until more substantial help arrives. A navy cutter should arrive in about half an hour.”

“Roger, and thanks!”


Our angel, in the form of a military transport, flew alongside us, talking us down. I can’t begin to say what a help that was. They told us how close we were getting to the water.

I pitched the nose up and slowed the plane. The other plane gently floated away, apparently unwilling to follow us into a stall and a ditching. Then I felt the tail skimming on the water. This is what we’re paid for. You’ve got to keep the wings absolutely level. You can’t let one engine hit the water too soon before the other. If it does, it’ll stop while the other is still going 200 kph, and the plane will break up.

Water washed over the windscreen. When both engines hit the water at the same time, the plane stopped, quite suddenly, from 200 to zero instantly. The nose bobbed up. I could see the sky! I looked around. We were okay. Martin and I went through the shutdown sequence and were out of the cockpit in a minute. The cabin crew didn’t need any prompting. All the doors, including the two, one over each wing, were open, and the passengers were filing out onto the inflatable ramps that double as rafts. Nobody seemed to be seriously hurt. A few scrapes here and there, but everyone was moving on their own. All in all, pretty good. I think my cabin crew is the best.

So, no casualties—except for the hijackers, that is. Nobody had thought to untie them, put them in their seats, and clip their seat belts. When the plane stopped, they didn’t and they met bulkheads.

The Sri Lankans even managed to save the plane—this plane! The divers attached floats to her, preventing her from sinking before a crane and a barge could be brought to the scene. They didn’t have to do that. I think they’re geeks and just wanted to show off that they could.

It took a few months, but she was declared air-worthy again. Well, I hope you liked my story. We’re approaching Jakarta, and it’s about time to start the descent checklist, so you’ll have to leave the cockpit. Nice meeting you. Goodbye.

The End


Another wonderful story, Paul! Rest In Peace, my friend…




Paul Glanville’s book — Mirage  — can be found at these online retailers.

Mom’s Favorite Reads Magazine #1 on Amazon Since Its Inception

Mom’s Favorite Reads Magazine #1 on Amazon Since Its Inception

Mom’s Favorite Reads, a magazine for the modern Mom, #1 on the Amazon charts six months running!

Our April magazine, now available to download FREE.

In this issue…

* An exclusive interview with Sunday Times bestselling author Lesley-Ann Jones

* Easter stories and activities

* Recognising Autism Awareness Month

* The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll

* Challenging your fears

* And so much more…


“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

Writing is meant to be a lonely thing, isn’t it? After all, the popular image of the writer is that of a solitary figure, closeted away in some garret or study, committing their thoughts to paper. And the actual act of writing is something that is done somewhere quiet, away from people, all the better for the thoughts to flow uninterrupted.

Well, it’s not. Not for me, anyway.

I belong to a number of writing groups. Most of them are virtual affairs, based around message boards, with the members posting online to exchange views and offer each other encouragement. There is always a bit of chatter going on, with the conversations taking place over days or weeks. The nature of the internet means that the members of these online groups are scattered across the world, and they come on at various times of the day. I have made some good friends in these groups.

However, the group that I love best is my local writing group. It is a group of about a dozen members, although we rarely get everybody turning up at the same time. We meet twice a month in the function room of a local pub. The agenda for most meetings is the same: everybody gathers in the bar downstairs for a quick drink, then we go upstairs to start our meeting. We talk about the events of the last fortnight, share our news – good and bad – and then settle down to the evening’s business. Usually, this is a talk from one of the members on a subject of interest, sometimes it is a talk from a local author or a workshop. But this isn’t what is important to us. What is important to us is the companionship.

Writers are not antisocial. We like to talk to other people with the same interests. We like to share our experiences. Most of all, we want to be with people who are like us, who understand what it means to set pen to paper and create stories. And, while online groups are good and have their place, there is nothing quite like getting to know our fellow writers in person – and there is nothing like sitting around a table, talking with friends.

So, if there is a writing group local to you, are you an active member? Do you go along and share your thoughts with other writers? Or, if there isn’t a writing group nearby, have you thought about starting one? You never know who you might meet.

OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.


“Grammar, What Big Teeth You Have” ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

“Grammar, What Big Teeth You Have” ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

Grammar rules, OK.

Breakages will be reported, criticised and condemned.

I never learned much in the way of English grammar.  Plenty of French, Latin and Greek, but very little English.  I’ve largely forgotten the former three, and now I just struggle with my native tongue and frankly the natives can get pretty damned restless if not outright hostile.  For some reason, there are two things which bring out the tyrants, the complainers, the rabid proselytisers – grammar and spelling.

When I was a kid I was frequently told that there was no such word as ‘can’t’.  Not even finding a suitably recent and liberal dictionary containing the fabulous ‘can’t’ could put an end to the assertion.  There simply was no such word, no matter how many people used it, in speech and print.  Now roll on a few years, to my teens, and those immortal words: to boldly go where no man has gone before.  I don’t care that everywhere they went there were clearly people who had arrived earlier, it was the split-infinitive that troubled me.

Or, strictly speaking, failed to trouble me.  I like to boldly go.  I try to imagine that opening as the grammarians might have it – to go boldly – and I can see myself switching channels.  And back when I first encountered all that bold adventure, there was no remote on the TV so I would have had to have got out of the chair…

The trouble with grammar is the collision, with resultant debris, between a pattern of rules and the fluid reality of people communicating.  People like rules, like patterns and, as someone who once earned a living as a scientist, I like rules and patterns, but language does not follow grammar, grammar is the attempt to slap rules on later.  The one size fits all garment that inevitably sags or pinches.

In the dim and distant past, I learned about verbs – regular verbs and irregular verbs, the ones that follow the rule, and then all the special cases for the ones that don’t.  The very terminology is misleading because the regular verbs are the ones that barely get used.  The irregular verbs have been ground down, knocked about and generally dented by frequent exercise, constant use and regular abuse.

And so the language changes.  Language is like that – words, phrases and grammar of my parents’ generation often seem a bit stilted, and my grandparents’ generation… well that’s some foreign language that sounds close to English.

The trouble is that language changes as if change is the only thing that matters, a crazy race to be somewhere else, whilst those grammatical rules are slow to adapt.  The rules, by my crude and unsubstantiated estimate, describe the language at a time somewhere between my grandparents and my parents and, like me, are a bit too padded around the waist and likely to get out of breath if they have to run too hard to catch up.

I don’t dislike grammar – it’s just a set of rules best treated as guidelines (to borrow from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean). Grammar doesn’t define language, it’s a report done later to explain what happened, to hide the uncomfortable bits, to bring the erratic into line. Forget Disney, let’s borrow from the legal world – the rules of grammar are simply sentencing guidelines. And remember that if you deviate too far from those guidelines there will be complaints, protests and appeals to a higher authority that the sentence is wrong and ought to be corrected. There is no deeper sin, except to fail to get the spelling rite.

Those who treat grammar carelessly, who choose to explore beyond and to boldly go where no writer has writ before, they must expect to be hounded mercilessly. If you do it right, and well, then applause and acclaim await, but pick poorly and you are off to literary obscurity.

There’s a quote I like, attributed to Pablo Picasso (but possibly falsely), that I’ve seen doing the rounds on social media lately –  Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Syntax, anyone?

OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

Huntley-James has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” ( ) and “The Road To Hell” (  ) – and is working on a third.

“He can be found online at his blog, and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.”

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.





The Importance of Dialogue in Plot Development ~~ by Kate McGinn

The Importance of Dialogue in Plot Development ~~ by Kate McGinn

Dialogue — can you picture a story without it? Most stories have chapters or scenes without dialogue, and an example of a book without any dialogue from the main characters is the animal story, An Incredible Journey.

So, yes, it can be done and successfully, but dialogue plays an important role in a story. Humans communicate with more than dialogue. Their actions, tone of voice, what they say and how they say it as well as what they don’t say all communicate something about the message they want to convey or perhaps what they are reluctant to say.

One important role of dialogue in a story is that wherever it occurs it should move the story forward. The following excerpt is from my book, Winter’s Icy Caress, and I’ve used it to show an example of how dialogue moves a story forward.

“What are you reading?” Wyatt asked while surveying the contents of the refrigerator. He lifted the half gallon of milk in a mock toast before tipping it back for a drink. She knew he drank from the milk jug because it irritated her. One corner of her mouth turned up.

“There was another abduction. A Chippewa woman. Have you heard anything about this?” She scanned the article for more information.

“No. I don’t think Dave’s involved yet. The local authorities would still oversee the investigation until they decided to bring in the FBI. Do you know either of the women?”

Clare’s forehead furrowed, and she shook her head as she continued to read about the Wind disappearance. “The latest woman’s name is Sara Wind. I wonder if she’s related to Alana.” Wyatt looked over her shoulder at the newspaper photo.

“Not the best photo. I know Alana when I see her, but I’ve never talked to her. Maybe Loretta knows.” Wyatt grabbed a glass from the cupboard and poured the remaining milk into it before stealing a slice of peanut butter toast from Clare’s plate. She slapped his hand. He gave her a saucy grin before taking a big bite of toast.

“I think I’ll ask her when we have dinner tonight.”

In this example you meet two characters — Clare and Wyatt. The dialogue between them moves the reader further into the story as we learn about the disappearances of women in the Bayfield area. We are also introduced to other characters during their conversation: Dave – who is connected to the FBI, Sara Wind – the missing woman, and Loretta – the woman they will have dinner with that evening.

In a few sentences we find out Clare is concerned about the news, wants to know more information about the disappearances and plans on asking her friend that evening. The dialogue moves us into the next scene, but what isn’t said while they are conversing tells us another story about the couple and their relationship.

This next example from Empty Chairs, Empty Promises offers an example of how dialogue can define character. What the character says, the words they use, their tone reveals who they are as well as their relationship to the other character. Dialogue changes dynamics in the story by creating emotional responses to what is being said.

“Mom, I don’t understand you! You sell our family home and now you want to go alone to who knows where…” Carrie argues over the phone with me.

“Puerto Rico. That’s where I’m going,” I correct.

“What are you talking about? Traipsing off in some type of mid-life crisis, it’s ridiculous. I’m embarrassed one of my friends will find out how demented you are!” Carrie isn’t going to let up and frankly, I’m getting tired of the tirade.

“Young lady, I’m your mother, and I won’t have you talking to me like this. I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I’m taking a much-deserved vacation, and I plan on enjoying myself. I’ve got another thirty or forty years ahead of me. I need to decide what I would like to do with it.”

“Whatever. Have fun. Don’t worry about your children, we’ll be fine.” My daughter is filled with resentment and each word drips with venom.

“Carrie, you’re an adult. I’m not abandoning you. You and Nate are always in my thoughts. I’ll get in touch with you when I get there.”

“Well, don’t let it interfere with your fun. I need to go.” And then, she was gone. I sigh at the petulant tone in her voice and shake my head, wondering if I’d been as insufferable when I was her age. No, I had two children to care for when I was her age. I didn’t have time for drama.

In this conversation, you are introduced to Libby Crenshaw, the protagonist of the story and her daughter, Carrie. The conversation moves the story forward by revealing Libby’s plans, gives the reader a glimpse into Carrie’s personality and how she and her mother interact. Through Libby’s inner dialogue, we see that she has made up her mind and will not give in to her daughter’s demands.

Through this passage, the reader may begin to form a connection towards one or the other of the characters, choosing sides and bringing them into the story as they feel the tension build between the two women.

Dialogue serves many purposes within the story structure by providing realism, dramatic tension, and giving voice to the characters as it defines who they are.

It makes the story advance by helping to direct the course of the plot. Characters should experience some type of change after a scene containing dialogue. If it doesn’t cause change it isn’t required to tell the story. It is nothing more than filler and should be deleted.

Dialogue provides information as secrets are revealed and the histories of the characters are divulged. It serves to balance the elements of storytelling by breaking up action sequences and/or descriptive passages.

Keep it natural by giving characters different voices. Let them interrupt each other and give them and non-participants in the scene actions in the background to convey reactions to the conversations. Put them in a specific identifiable location and time during their conversation. Use misdirection, what is unsaid, what is ignored or implied to increase the tension in the scene. Use internal dialogue to communicate those things only the character knows.

Dialogue is a powerful tool for the writer, but it is only effective if it moves the action forward.

OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers, and in the One Million Project Fiction Anthology. Her Clare Thibodeaux Series which include the suspense books — EXODUS, WINTER’S ICY CARESS, and NEVER SHOW YOUR HAND are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.


A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

I’m not writing a novel, and you don’t have to either.

This may sound strange coming from a writer, but it makes sense. You see, these days there is a perception that successful authors only ever write novels; and whatever genre it is you are writing in, your novel should be as long as you can make it. It’s even better if your novel is part of a series. After all, if you look at the shelves of your local bookshop – and if it’s anything like mine! – you see row upon row of thick volumes facing you. And a lot of these books are not stand-alone stories.

However, there is a hidden world of short stories out there. Many famous authors – both past and present – have written short stories or essays, and published them in magazines or collected them in anthologies. A quick browse of the shelves in my local bookshop turns up George Orwell, Charles Stross, Walter M Miller and many others. There are also collections of short stories based around different themes and genres. Stepping out of the world of published books, there is a thriving culture of magazines – electronic and print – where short stories are welcomed and celebrated.

Short stories are everywhere!

I’m not ragging on novels or the people who write them – far from it! I love to settle down with a good book and lose myself within its pages. But I also love to dip into collections of short stories, with their glimpses of imaginary worlds and fantastic situations. You see, not everyone is suited to writing stories of 50,000 words or more. Not every plot can or should be spun out to meet some arbitrary target. Nobody – especially not a writer starting out on their chosen path – should feel pressured to write a novel.

Writing should be a pleasure. Enjoy being creative, no matter what you write.

OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.


A Good Idea ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

A Good Idea ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

I have a head full of good ideas, or at least they look superb provided they stay in my head.  It’s like when we have to take our huge fluffy cat to the vet for his recurring eye problem – in the controlled environment there, he stays still, perhaps purrs, and eye-drops go in.  Away from the vet, in the wilds of our kitchen, he wriggles, wails and scratches, defying the firm embrace of a towel and ensures that most of the eye-drops land on the floor, in his ear, in my eye… anywhere except where they are supposed to go.

Good ideas are just like that from the moment I let them out of my head.  In fact, even the rubbish ideas do the same.  The moment I want to wrap words around them, the ideas wriggle, bite and scratch so that what comes out is nothing like that perfect, purring super-good idea that was in my head.

So, what’s the problem? Was the idea faulty, or just the words I dressed it in?  And why did I ask the question the wrong way round? The fault, dear Reader, is not in my ideas, but in my writing.

You know, I’m sure I’ve heard something like that before. Never mind. Back to The Idea…

The good (or even great) idea is an illusion. Hold up a great idea to a mirror and see its reflection, the equally mythical original idea.

How about this one? Girl meets boy, their families disapprove, everyone dies.  I can see it in my head.  The killer line – Romeo, Romeo, where’s your damned hashtag?  Are people going to be still quoting me in four hundred years, or is my work destined to be composted at the bottom of the slush-pile from hell? Perhaps if I come up with a killer name for the girl, it will work, and maybe throw in a really posh location to draw in the audience – that might make it a winner. I’m thinking Helen sounds good, and I’ll set it in a great ancient city, something like Troy… then the family disapproval, a big war, and everyone dies…

Once you start poking at it, people have been telling stories for thousands of years with a basic plan of boy meets girl… and everyone dies. Or hero goes out, slays the monster and marries the girl. Or… well, there’s a good catalogue of great ideas that storytellers have been taking and recycling over the centuries. Ooh, no wait, what about pauper child turns out to be the rightful king…

It’s not the idea that matters, but the words. That’s the real point of being a writer – finding the right words to wrap an idea and make it ready to face the world, fresh and bright, new and interesting enough that people will be amazed at what you can do with boy meets girl and they work together to create mass slaughter.

The great idea that looked so good in my head is really an expertly photo-shopped super-model, and the trick is to get it out and ready for the world, new clothes, new style, strutting its stuff down the literary catwalk.

Forget the great idea – go stitch your words into a great presentation.

OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

He has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” ( ) and “The Road To Hell” (  ) – and is working on a third.

He can be found online at his blog, his website (, and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.

Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.