In today's exciting news, apparently I've been plagiarised. A man called Angel has alerted me to the theft by a man called Ridyard who apparently is a co-founder of a business called Valentine Publications. Proving that reality can confer upon you the need to write sentences that are more bizarre than any fiction. Angel Zapata emailed me about the plagiarism of my story, The First and Final Game (excerpt available online, which is obviously what made the theft possible) & the plagiarism of several other writers' works, & directed me to his well-researched piece on his blog, A Rage of Angel. Word for word, these lines were stolen from this, my first published story (& I'm repeating them here in a way of stealing them back, I think): "Electricity is irregular here, and so are phones, but the privacy is absolute. You could kill every single person in every single house and hardly anyone would disturb you. It's that kind of place." MicroHorror, the site where my own theft occurred, reacted instantly & removed the offending story & sent me an apology. Full kudos to MicroHorror for their committment & care, & to Mr Zapata for putting in the time to expose all this in the first place! (I feel like I've fallen into some kinda odd film noir reality.) So if you're approached by someone claiming to be Richard Ridyard, look out! He seems to be a well-established plagiarist and editor of Valentine Publications: 'Home of British Flash Fiction', currently closed for 'administrative reasons'. (If you google it, you'll find a cached version.) You can also join Valentine Publications' Facebook group, where you'll find, oddly, no mention of Mr Ridyard, who is described over at Valentine Publications like this: Undoubtedly a man of many talents, he has lived his short twenty-one years with a vivacity and boldness, which few could achieve in a lifetime. A-ha. I'm only mildly taken aback by the event itself, but I'm rather appalled by Ridyard/Shackleton/Whoever-it-is' unethical abuse of other writers. Mostly I find this behaviour ... odd. What exactly has the owner of the sock puppet gained? How much effort has been put into the plagiarism that COULD have been used to do real writing, real work that might have resulted in real gains? So I won't be deleting my online excerpts. But I won't stop short of exposing plagiarists, either!