The Shadow Booth – A new journal of weird & eerie fiction

The Shadow Booth is a new journal of weird and eerie fiction, edited by Dan Coxon (Winner: Best Anthology – Saboteur Awards 2016) and published as a 200-page mass market paperback. Drawing its inspiration from the likes of Thomas Ligotti and Robert Aickman, as well as H. P. Lovecraft and Arthur Machen, The Shadow Booth explores that dark, murky territory between mainstream horror and literary fiction. From folk horror to alien gods, the journal aims to give voice to the strange and the unsettling in all its forms.

The Shadow Booth is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with Volume 1 to be published later this year. Please show your support by ordering a copy! Other rewards include T-shirts, signed books, and critiques of your short stories – there’s even a professional copy-edit of a novel manuscript up for grabs.

Featuring stories by:

  • Paul Tremblay
  • Malcolm Devlin
  • Richard Thomas
  • Stephen Hargadon
  • Annie Neugebauer
  • Richard V. Hirst
  • Sarah Read
  • Timothy J. Jarvis
  • Gary Budden
  • David Hartley
  • Dan Carpenter
  • Joseph Sale

To find out more, read editor Dan Coxon’s essay on the weird in fiction: ‘Face the Strange: A Case for the Weird and the Eerie‘.

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Normal Deviation: Seeking Short Stories Based on One Weird Pic

It all started with a weird pic and a throwaway tweet:

I want to do a fiction anthology where everyone writes a story just based on a weird ass picture. And then use that pic as the cover.

And then enough people cheered the idea that we decided to make it our first major project at Wonderbox Publishing.

Normal Deviation is seeking “Third Option” short stories based on the following image, up to 6000 words (deadline: 31 Aug 2017). “Third Option” is our shorthand for digging a little deeper into that writerly creativity bucket: we’d like everyone to cast aside (at least) the first two ideas that come to you, and instead focus on the third (or fourth or fifth…) idea to develop. The goal here is to avoid the obvious, to generate fresh ideas, to get at deviation.

We want stories in any genre, from any perspective, any time period and setting. As long as the story is good, and based somehow on this image, we want to read it!

image for inspiration

We’ve launched a Kickstarter to fund the anthology, as we think all authors deserve professional rates (starting at least at a penny per word). Support us, support authors, and please submit and become one of our authors!

Full details and author guidelines are on our website. Subscribe to updates from our weekly blog, get a feel for what we’re like and what we like, and join us in this bizarre story adventure!

Lyle Skains & DeAnn Bell, Editors
Normal Deviation anthology
Wonderbox Publishing

Writing better, and Dorset Fiction Award.

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Entering writing contests is possibly one of the best things you can do to improve yourself as a writer. You are given a challenge – it’s a motivation, a framework. You write for longer to meet a deadline, and edit better to meet a word limit. After that, once you submit your piece, you learn about the hope and anticipation of having your work judged. Then after a wait, when the winners are announced, you might be disappointed, or you might be ecstatic. Either way, you’ll always come out of it a better writer.

This is an ethos we believe at our competition, The Dorset Fiction Award. We’re running a short story contest, rolling twice a year. It’s open to anyone from anywhere, closing on the 10th of June. We’re looking for fewer than one thousands words of fiction in any genre/topic. The first prize is our unconditional love and admiration… as well as £500. You’ll also get published in our yearly anthology.

Also, on a lighter note, do you like otters? They’re the cute furry things that can swim. Because on this turn, we are supporting the International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF). A brilliant charity dedicated to the protection and conservation of otters. The winner of this competition will also get to choose the charity of the next turn.

For all the details, check out our website http://www.dorsetfictionaward.co.uk/

Also connect with us @DorsetFiction

And to all the writers out there – keep on at it, and we hope to read you soon!

Being Dad – Short Story Anthology

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What is Being Dad?

Being Dad is an anthology of brand new fiction about fatherhood, featuring stories by: Toby Litt, Nikesh Shukla, Dan Rhodes, Courttia Newland, Nicholas Royle, Dan Powell, Rodge Glass, R.J. Price, Tim Sykes, Lander Hawes, Andrew McDonnell, Iain Robinson, Richard W. Strachan, Richard V. Hirst and Samuel Wright.

The stories themselves deal with fatherhood from many different angles. We didn’t want to set any specific limitations, so each writer was free to explore the theme in any way they saw fit. We have tender stories about a father’s love and compassion, darker stories exploring feelings of protectiveness and sleep deprivation, and stories that look at the bond from the child’s perspective. What brings them all together is the urge to question what it means to be a dad.

“Editor Dan Coxon has put together a mixture of the best short story writers in the UK and rising stars of the genre, all under the theme of fatherhood. I for one will be picking up a copy of Being Dad especially to be the first to read new work from the excellent Toby Litt, Nick Royle and Nikesh Shukla.”

Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son and co-founder of the London Short Story Festival

What Do We Need?

We’re currently crowdfunding for the book – which means that we need people to pre-order copies. Short story anthologies aren’t seen as a great prospect by publishers at the moment, and we need to show them that people are interested and want this book.

Obviously the book appeals to fans of the short story, but we believe it also has a wider appeal. That’s why we’re looking to launch it in March 2016, advance of Father’s Day. If you want to show your dad – or your husband – that you appreciate him, and all the effort he’s put into being a dad, then this is a great way to do it. That’s why we’re giving away two copies of the book with the higher reward levels – one for you to read, and one for you to give to your dad.

I can honestly say that I don’t know of another book like Being Dad. Whether you’re thrilled by the chance to read new stories by the likes of Toby Litt, Dan Rhodes, Nikesh Shukla and Nicholas Royle, or you just want to give your father (or husband) something special for Father’s Day, this anthology is uniquely special. Please show us your love.

“I was thrilled with the quality of the stories… If this is a mere sample of the standard then I look forward to seeing the finished product.”

Stuart Buck, reviewing Being Dad for Under The Fable

How Can I Get My Hands On A Copy?

We’d really, really love it if you’d consider pre-ordering a copy. Not only will you get a copy as soon as it comes out, but depending on how much you pledge you can get your hands on all kinds of extras too. Crowdfunding is happening until October 12th, so don’t delay too long. You can find full details here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dan-coxon/being-dad-short-stories-about-fatherhood/

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.

 

– Dan Coxon, Anthology Editor

Liberties: Flash Fiction from Ireland now released on iTunes!

Last month, Liberties Festival Dublin held its very first flash fiction competition. Writers were called on to submit their best 50-300 words on the theme ‘Liberties’ – either the general theme of liberties or The Liberties area of Dublin, Ireland.

We were bowled over by the entries and decided the only decent thing to do would be to let the world read some of the best pieces we received. And so our collection “Liberties: Flash Fiction from Ireland” was born.

You can download it from iTunes here. Or download in many different formats from Smashwords here.

Congratulations to all our authors, we hope to see much much more of your writing!

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VOTE FOR US! WORDS AND WOMEN SHORTLISTED FOR A SABOTEUR AWARD!

Words and Women are delighted to announce that they have been shortlisted for a National Saboteur award in the ‘best one off event’ category.  The nomination is for this year’s International Women’s Day celebration held on March 8th at the Forum in Norwich. The literary event with a difference saw not only the launch of Words and Women: Two, a second anthology of contemporary women’s writing from the East of England but also the performance of four newly commissioned texts for ‘About,’ an Arts Council supported project which explores the relationship between women and place.

Words and Women’s trademark warmth, eclecticism and vibrancy was on show in Norwich as organisers Belona Greenwood and Lynne Bryan hosted a range of outstanding women writers from the region, reading their winning entries featured in the anthology. Words were intermingled with live music from Anna Mudeka and Sithabele Dube. There were stunning performances from actresses who took on the roles of 16th century Jane Sellars, found ‘idle at Trowse,’ a woman on a pilgrimage of grief, a railway woman’s quest in wartime Britain and a young prostitute, Anguish, incarcerated in a 19th century lunatic asylum, directed by Adina Levay of Chalk Circle Theatre Company and supported by the Arts Council.

‘The event drew a great audience of men, women and children, a range of ages and people travel from as far away as Peterborough and Cambridge to be with us.’ Said Belona Greenwood.

‘It is a really exciting to be shortlisted for this category. We want to encourage people to vote for us. It’s easy, just click on the link.’   VOTE NOW!  http://www.saboteurawards.org

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Rozzy Burt as ‘Anguish’ in Counting the Pennies by Tess Little, one of the ‘About’ commissions supported by Arts Council England.

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Lora Stimson reading her winning story, ‘Cornflake Girl’ at Words and Women on IWD, March 8th..

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‘Words and Women: Two is an excellent anthology of imaginative and superbly written pieces.’ RM Bond-Webster, Eastern Daily Press.

2015 Bristol Short Story Prize

With five weeks to go until our entry deadline we’d like to take the opportunity (thank you, mighty ShortStops) to say that the 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize is open for entries, and we really, really do mean open.

We’ve published a huge range of stories in our first 7 anthologies – stories set throughout history from ancient Greece to the present day, and beyond to imagined futures. There have been stories narrated by octogenarians, by children not yet a decade old, and others with narrators and protagonists at all stages of life in between. Stories written in the first, second and third persons, with the broadest sweep of styles and genres from the familiar to the obscure : historical, romance, literary, science fiction, harsh realism, surreal flights of fancy, tense thrillers, comic capers, ‘experimental’ tales, sparsely written hammer blows of what some might call flash fiction, and lots more. There have been high, mid and low brow stories; stories written as blog posts, album reviews, in verse, as diaries, as a series of emails, as well as a sumptuous crop of the more traditional; stories of 4,000 words and those with just a few hundred, one of which won first prize in 2010.

We invite you to show us what’s possible in a short story, what a short story can be, what a story can do and what ‘short story’ means to you. Drop our jaws, make us weep, make us rethink, tickle us, entertain us, confound us, provoke us, comfort us, stimulate us, storify us to another time or place but above all we want to encourage and inspire you to feel free to write what you want in whatever form you want.

We won’t be compiling lists of ‘shoulds’ & ‘shouldn’ts’ on how or what to write – another contribution to the vast muddle won’t help anyone, there’s more than enough out there. You’re the writer, it’s up to you what you do, it’s your story. We’ll read every submission with the same objectivity, respect and relish.

In short, then, there are no dos & don’ts, shoulds & shouldn’ts, rights & wrongs – no borders, no barriers, nothing is out of bounds.

Full details and rules are available at www.bristolprize.co.uk

Closing date for entries is 30th April 2015

Prizes:
1st £1000 plus £150 Waterstone’s gift card (usable online)
2nd £700 plus £100 Waterstone’s gift card
3rd £400 plus £100 Waterstone’s gift card
17 further prizes of £100 will be presented to the writers whose stories appear on the shortlist. All 20 shortlisted writers will have their stories published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 8.

Our amazing judging panel:
Sara Davies (writer, former BBC Radio 4 producer) Rowan Lawton (literary agent at Furniss Lawton), Sanjida O’Connell (writer and TV presenter) and Nikesh Shukla (author, performer and journalist)

If you do take the plunge then the very best of luck!

2015 BS8 flyer