Stories People Tell – Cover and sample chapters

Stories People Tell

A sneak peek at the cover of Stories People Tell a new novel by Alan McCluskey is now available as well as four sample chapters. The book will be published early 2018.

Stories People Tell

Annie, a seventeen-year-old schoolgirl, gets swept up in a grassroots movement offering support and healthcare to gay women. They bear the brunt of homophobic attacks from Nolan Kard, Lord Mayor of London. Rich entrepreneur turned politician, he is campaigning to ‘Keep London Straight’. His off-hand attitude, tasteless humour and widespread influence are undermining the country’s institutions. In the struggle to end violence against women, Annie discovers she has talents she couldn’t have imagined. In so doing, she becomes the number one target of Kard and his rogue police, not to mention his sinister gang of ghostwriters that are a nightmare for his enemies.

Stories to make sense of the world

Stories to make sense of the world

Author’s Notes: We make sense of the world by continually spinning stories about it. Stories? They are not the kind you would necessarily tell someone. Unvoiced, they are very often little more than fragments but are generally in tune with a larger personal narrative. That overarching narrative may be composed of distinct parts which don’t need to be coherent with each other. It is as if we need to fit events into a coherent narrative, at least ‘locally’, if we don’t want to blow a mental fuse. We are comforted and strengthened by them. These everyday fragments can be so tiny and the making of them so natural, we are often unaware we are drafting them. This narrative sense-making may become abruptly apparent when our stories are at odds with those of others and conflict ensues… (Click below to read the full article and to listen to the author reading his text.)

Stories to make sense of the world

Blinking Hell!

Story Fragments: When an old woman claims to be only eighteen, the local doctor is perplexed. Blinking Hell! is a flash fiction written in 2011 and updated today for a new audio version read by the author.

  Blinking Hell! [486 words, January 30, 2011]
“Next!” the doctor called out. An old woman entered, closed the door and shuffled forward, unsteady on her feet. Her old-fashioned dress hung loosely over her emaciated body, swaying at each step….

A War on Dots and Dashes

Story Fragments: Just wrote a short story, A War on Dots and Dashes, one of those annoying tales that comes in the middle of the night and refuses to let you sleep till you’ve finished writing it. The story relates the demise of a teacher whose delight in correcting spelling and punctuation is rewarded in an unexpected and unwelcome way. You can both read the short story and listen to the author reading it.

  A War on Dots and Dashes [801 words, November 17, 2017]
Furious, she scored a diagonal through the page in blood-red ink. When would they learn? Spelling and punctuation mattered. Two out of ten. The mark fell like a death sentence but she had no regrets ….

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New flash soundscape. The Blinkin’ Box

The Blinkin' Box

Story Fragments: I have created a new flash soundscape using the flash fiction, The Blinkin’ Box. It tells the sad but poetic tale of an old man holed up in a pillar box the day progress comes knocking at his refuge.

 The Blinkin’ Box [460 words, June 4, 2014/Nov. 14 2017]
I peer out, my eyes pressed to the cold metal slit. The brick wall opposite often forms a landscape scarred with shadows, but today it is nothing but a red blur. It stings my eyes as I watch a…

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New header art

Secret Paths: The header artwork of a number of Secret Paths’ sites has been changed and simplified navigation has been added. The photo for Story Fragments was taken at Bow Cemetry during research for my new book, Stories People Tell. A major scene takes places in and near the cemetery, a venue full of magic. The image used for Author’s Notes was taken during the same trip. It depicts a former canal next to the Tabacco Dock in London, where a part of the action in Stories People Tell takes place.

Three new flash soundscapes

Story Fragments: I have published the first three flash soundscapes based on my short stories. I was inspired in doing so by the work of Dirk Maggs who, amongst many other productions, directed and was the sound master of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and Douglas Adam’s Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Not that I have Maggs talent or possibilities, but it was fun.

 Dr Freud and the Rabbit [681 words, July 26, 2013]
“Frankly,” the rabbit said after a long silence, making a show of staring off into the distance, “are you sure it’s only my problem?”…

  God be Blown [489 words, February 2, 2015]
The blast flung Scott the length of the corridor, through the back door of the pub and all the way into the yard. When its force finally waned, he crumpled to the ground to a round of applause….

  Oratorio for a wreck [371 words, September 5, 2009]
It was Sunday. An invited Orthodox choir sang in the cliff top church: an Oratorio in memory of those lost at sea. A breeze blew off the bay bringing with it a strong smell of salt and seaweed….

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The Secret Paths Constellation

Secret Paths: This site is a news source and the gateway to a constellation of other sites presenting the writings and artwork of Alan McCluskey (see photo). There are currently five sites:

Author’s Notes  … about Alan McCluskey’s novels and writing in general

Story Fragments … flash fiction and flash soundscapes by the author

Books … reviews of books

Artworks  … photos and other artworks by Alan McCluskey

Worlds Apart  … writings about the world and politics in particular

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