Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Guest Post About Nothing: Nancy Schumann

On 29th November, we’re having a belated birthday party for Nothing, an anthology of short stories I edited for Hic Dragones (writing as Hannah Kate). In the run-up to our not-quite-a-launch party, I’ve invited some of the authors whose work is included in the book to tell me a bit about their story.

Today’s guest is Nancy Schumann, author of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Square’, one of the stories in Nothing.

How do get your ideas?


Every writer gets asked that question. It’s common that people want to know where the ideas for stories come from. The truth is that ideas are everywhere. Ideas are the easy part. Turning the idea into a story is what makes writers writers.

Publishers make things interesting by putting out calls for stories on occasion. So what you get is a short brief for a themed collection that doesn’t exist yet. It’s a tantalising challenge asking you to come with a story that fits under that theme (while also fitting a more or less specified format).

I love those, not the format specs, the themes. Hic Dragones have come up with a few great ones. None more so than this recent collection: Nothing.

What a marvellous title for a book. What a great title for a story. A word literally describing the absence of anything opens endless possibilities for what that story could contain. I read that title for the collection and immediately started thinking ‘nothing’ for days.

In my head ‘Nothing’ was the title of my story, but there wasn’t a story yet. There was just this beautiful word dancing around in my head waiting, trying to make contact. Because ideas are easy. Writing is not. So ‘Nothing’ existed as an idea long before it was a story.

Now, my story that is now in the anthology Nothing has a different title. It’s called ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Square’. One, and possible the only real reason, for that is that, well, Hic Dragones had chosen Nothing to be name of the book. Can’t very well steal that title for a story within that book then. And I really did want to have a story in this anthology both because of its beautiful title and because of the lovely people that are Hic Dragones.

So how did that nebulous idea turn into a story? Well, I went on a little holiday. I stayed in a very nice hotel. The bathroom of our room had an interesting design. It was a bit like stepping into a very stylish disco. The walls and floor had black tiles that sparkled is if there was a disco ball spinning from the ceiling. There was no disco ball, just to be clear on that point. The effect looked quite stunning to be fair. It was also kind of irritating. Wherever I looked in that bathroom things were sparkly. Also, the wall and floor tiles looked the same. I had to really concentrate on stepping out of the bath carefully to not fall over, to not feel dizzy.

You may have guessed from that pretty long paragraph about a hotel bathroom that those tiles did take their toll on me. All that pretty sparkliness kept me entertained for days. And on one of those days there was one particular sparkle on one particular tile. I expect it was nothing but the position of the light in relation to the position of myself, really, but that little sparkle kept sparkling right at me. As if it was trying to communicate. Of course it wasn’t. Not really. It couldn’t. It’s just a bit of silver in a black tile. It’s nothing.

Nothing. There it was. Right there, ‘Nothing’ turned into a story. Well, I didn’t know where the story would take me yet but I did know where it started. So I got out my trusty laptop and started to write about that little, sparkly spot in the bathroom. Much to the amusement and irritation of the friends I was with, who couldn’t help but observe that I’d started writing. Well, yes, I am a writer. It’s kind of what I do. I was furiously typing on, not letting the conversation interrupt me. I didn’t react when the furious typing was commented on. The conversation continued, as the next observation followed, that clearly an idea must have struck me just prior to my starting to write. At this point, I started to threaten dire consequences to my mood for the rest of the day should I not be left alone to finish my writing.

Well, my threat was never realised. We are still friends and the story was finished, albeit not all in one sitting in that hotel room. Once the idea found words, the story flowed onto the page without so much as making conscious contact with my mind. I just told it until it was finished. And then, then, I spent a really long time trying to come up with a name for it that was not ‘Nothing’. That, in the end, was probably the hardest part, all things considered. It was the last thing I finished before the submission deadline. It was the thing I definitely expected I’d be asked to change about the story if it was accepted. But there you are, the story did get accepted and the title wasn’t changed. It’s one of my favourite stories that I’ve written, because of its odd creation story and because I really like what became of it. I’m happy and proud to be a part of the finished anthology that now is Nothing. Happy belated book birthday!


In addition to academic texts on female vampires, Nancy Schumann enjoys writing fiction in both German and English. A number of poems have been published in a variety of books and magazines, such as the Frankfurter Bibliothek des zeitgenössischen Gedichts, annual German poetry collection from 2000 to present, and Gothic II and III. Short stories include ‘The Hostel’, published by Hic Dragones in the Impossible Spaces anthology, and Fanged Flowers (available for Kindle). Nancy also does translations between German and English.

The Belated Birthday Party for Nothing is on Friday 29th November, 7pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. It’s a free event, with readers from the authors and launch party discount on the books. For more information, or to book a ticket, please click here.

A Guest Post About Nothing: David Turnbull

On 29th November, we’re having a belated birthday party for Nothing, an anthology of short stories I edited for Hic Dragones (writing as Hannah Kate). In the run-up to our not-quite-a-launch party, I’ve invited some of the authors whose work is included in the book to tell me a bit about their story.

Today’s guest is David Turnbull, author of ‘Traps’, one of the stories in Nothing.

Happy belated birthday to the editors and all the authors featured in Nothing.

My story in the anthology is called ‘Traps’. It’s about the traps the main characters set and the traps they get caught in. It takes place in the bleak, ash covered landscape of a post-apocalyptic world.

I have a penchant for post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, both reading it and writing it. I could cite dozens of influences, ranging from iconic works by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley and more recent classics by Margaret Atwood and Cormac McCarthy.

But I wanted to take this opportunity to sing praises of a reasonably well-known author who is not widely recognised as being one of the pioneers this type of fiction. Namely, Jack London.

As a fiction writer, London is best known for nature-driven adventure novels such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang. He is equally known as a political essayist and campaigning social commentator, particularly with The People of the Abyss, a 1902 exposé of poverty in London’s East End.

He is lesser known, however, for his forays into what would now be considered the science fiction genre. The two Jack London novels I want to mention here are very much precursors of how later writers would develop the post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes he explored.

The Scarlet Plague is a short novel first published in the London Magazine in 1912. It’s set in San Francisco in the year 2073 and takes place in the aftermath of a global pandemic which has depopulated the world. The main character is a former English Professor who survived the scarlet plague and is travelling through an overgrown and transformed landscape with his 2 grandsons. He attempts to recount what life was like in America before the coming of the plague, but this all seems extremely far-fetched to the boys who have grown up in a primitive society with limited language skills and no access to technology.

Released 4 years earlier, The Iron Heel, is also set in San Francisco.

A much longer novel than The Scarlet Plague, its structure is quite unique in that the main story takes the form of a manuscript introduced by a scholar living in a socialist Utopia in the year 2600. The manuscript itself has a female protagonist, Avis Everard. It depicts the struggles of herself and her husband in the underground resistance during the terrifying rise to power of a totalitarian right-wing dictatorship in the two decades from 1912 to 1932. Like his contemporary H.G. Wells had managed in novels such as The Shape of Things to Come, London in The Iron Heel eerily predicts events that would actually come to pass. The rise of Fascism, Japan’s conquest of South East Asia, and Indian independence to name but three.

Given both these novels were written over a century ago it’s both surprising and frightening that their central themes are so close to our gloomy present-day reality. Both novels have stood the test of time and remain enjoyable and thought-provoking reads.

So, if you are looking to go back to the beginning and trace the lineage of both post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, I would recommend giving Jack London’s classic science fiction outings a read. Who knows? They may inspire you to either predict your own bleak version of the future or even destroy civilisation in some unique and original manner.


David Turnbull hails originally from Scotland, but now resides in London. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of anthologies, magazines and online sites, as well as being performed at live events such as Liars League, Solstice Shorts and Alt Fiction.

The Belated Birthday Party for Nothing is on Friday 29th November, 7pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. It’s a free event, with readers from the authors and launch party discount on the books. For more information, or to book a ticket, please click here.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

A Guest Post About Nothing: Tony Rabig

On 29th November, we’re having a belated birthday party for Nothing, an anthology of short stories I edited for Hic Dragones (writing as Hannah Kate). In the run-up to our not-quite-a-launch party, I’ve invited some of the authors whose work is included in the book to tell me a bit about their story.

Today’s guest is Tony Rabig, author of ‘The Hole is Waiting’, one of the stories in Nothing.

It’s been a while since ‘The Hole is Waiting’ inched its way out of the keyboard. Did I write it with the Nothing anthology in mind? I don’t think so; as I recall, it was already in progress, either partially written or in the notion-bouncing-around-the-brain stage, when I ran across a mention, I think in James Everington’s blog (and if you haven’t read his stuff, you’re missing one of the good ones), that Nothing was in the works and open for submissions. Dark, they wanted. Bleak, they wanted. Sounded like my kind of book. So I submitted the story and another, also dark and bleak and simmering on the back burner around the same time as ‘Hole’, called ‘The Death Machine’, waited a while, got the emails back, was not at all surprised to see that ‘The Death Machine’ was rejected, and was gobsmacked to see that ‘The Hole is Waiting’ was accepted. I read the email twice before it really registered that, hey, wait a minute, this is an acceptance, not a rejection.

And for me, this was where things got a little interesting.

Why was I a) not surprised by the rejection and b) gobsmacked by the acceptance? Because I’d expected two rejections – that’s just the way things worked. On the infrequent occasions when I’d written something that I thought good enough to submit to a magazine or book publisher, it would invariably be rejected. Invariably. Failure wasn’t an option, it was a given.

Now, that wasn’t something that worried me much. I didn’t punch my wife or kick the cats or put away a fifth of bourbon every other hour. It was simply a fact of life and one that really wasn’t all that hard to live with; after all, I had a ‘real’ job that paid the bills. Writing was something done on the side, and when self-publishing for Kindle took off, I put some of the stories out there and some of them sold a few copies to, and were favorably reviewed by, people who were not friends or relatives (only strangers’ money counts in this game) and that was nice.

So there were some stories out there, as singles and in a collection, and a novel, and there were more stories and another novel in the works when I submitted those two stories to Nothing.

The acceptance came in, and I dried up. The other short stories I was working on suddenly seemed idiotic beyond belief, or too similar to stories already done, or both. The novel hit the one-third-mark wall and fell apart. Everything begun since that point (a few stories, a different novel) fizzled almost before I’d started.

So what was going on? Beats me. But only in the last month or two has anything I wrote begun to seem worth trying to complete. What I said in the author’s note for ‘Hole’, ‘… does not get enough writing done, but he’s working on it’ is still the case. I’m hoping that the year-long dry spell that followed acceptance is finally over and that a couple of the aborted projects filed away on the computer will see completion in the not-too-distant future, or that newer projects will work out. Of course that’s assuming they don’t start looking too stupid to me about halfway through.

As to any ideas, influences, or inspirations behind ‘The Hole is Waiting’ – well, I’m not sure I have a lot to say about that. I’ve just hit 70, and there’s a constant awareness of time passing, chances missed, and roads not taken; some of that is there in that story and in a number of others I’ve written. Considerations like that are never very far away at my age; they go with the territory. But then, I’ve always loved a good downer, so ‘The Hole is Waiting’ is the kind of story I’d have expected myself to write.

And I’ll probably write more downers if and when I get back up to speed. That year-long dry spell might actually provide some material. Why dry up like that? Some comic-book psychological quirk telling me that I can take myself out of the picture now? Is that just an individual thing, or does it work on a species level too? (We landed on the moon 50 years ago, so why aren’t there already manned colonies on Mars? And why are we seeing articles these days suggesting it would be better if the human race went extinct?) Maybe there’s a story there. Something dark. Something bleak. A good downer. Something I might actually finish in time to submit to Nothing 2. It could happen…

I’ll have to start playing around with that, or with some of the other stalled projects tucked away on the computer, and get myself back on track. After all, time is short and getting shorter, and the hole is always waiting.


Tony Rabig is a transplanted Chicagoan now living in southeast Kansas; he is a former bookstore clerk, former librarian, and an almost-but-not-quite retired computer programmer. When not programming, he annoys his family and tries to catch up on his reading; as noted above, he doesn’t get enough writing done, but he’s working on it. Other titles available: The Other Iron River, and Other Stories, Doorways: A Novel, ‘The Death Machine’ (a short story).

The Belated Birthday Party for Nothing is on Friday 29th November, 7pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. It’s a free event, with readers from the authors and launch party discount on the books. For more information, or to book a ticket, please click here.

A Guest Post About Nothing: Amanda Steel

On 29th November, we’re having a belated birthday party for Nothing, an anthology of short stories I edited for Hic Dragones (writing as Hannah Kate). In the run-up to our not-quite-a-launch party, I’ve invited some of the authors whose work is included in the book to tell me a bit about their stories.

Today’s guest is Amanda Steel, author of ‘The Empty People’, one of the stories in Nothing.

It might have been the first time I wrote a story for a specific theme. Before writing ‘The Empty People’, I used to adapt stories I had already written to fit whatever the theme was for a submission call. That might be why I never had much success.

I remember thinking of ideas to suit the ‘nothing’ theme.

At the time, I was working in social media and liked a guy I worked with, despite getting mixed signals from him. I thought it would be great if I could just forget about the guy I worked with, because like most things (or people) you try to forget about, you end up thinking about them even more.

That’s how the idea for my story began. It was around the time I’d just self-published a novella called After the Zombies. I combined the two ideas of a zombie apocalypse and people having their individual memories removed. Of course, it all goes wrong and although they don’t become zombies, they are very much like zombies in the way they can no longer think for themselves.

Since writing this story, I’ve written several novels and short stories. I’ve self-published some, had a publisher take on one of them (my YA book First Charge), and I’ve had various poems and stories in anthologies and online publications. I even had a short horror story recorded on a podcast. That was a surreal experience, to hear my story read by professional voice artists. I also met someone who I didn’t want to forget about, and we’ve been together for almost three years now.

When I wrote ‘The Empty People’, it helped to meet Hannah Kate (on her radio show, Hannah’s Bookshelf) and get a sense for what she might want in the anthology. Writing for a specific publication is something I’ve continued to do and seems to be how I get most of my acceptances. ‘The Empty People’ was also my first taste of the editing process, which prepared me for having a full-length novel accepted by a publisher and working on that with an editor.

It’s strange to look back at my short story now. Not only has my writing changed and expanded since then, but when I was writing the story I couldn’t imagine ever standing up and reading it (or anything else) in public. I wouldn’t even have considered reading an extract in public. Now I’ve gone on to perform at several regular open mic events, try out new nights, and I’ve even done a reading in my hometown of Bradford. So it doesn’t seem too daunting.

If you’re wondering how ‘The Empty People’ ends… you’ll have to read the book. I can tell you that my characters don’t end up winning the lottery and riding to Disneyland on a unicorn.


Amanda Steel is a multi-genre author based in Manchester, UK. Her books include: First Charge, After the Zombies, Not Human, and Love, Dates and Other Nightmares. Amanda is the author of Lost and Found (under the pen name Aleesha Black). She co-hosts Reading in Bed, a monthly book review podcast. This is available on Bandcamp and Mixcloud. Her books are available on Amazon and various e-book platforms, including Apple, Kobo and Nook.

The Belated Birthday Party for Nothing is on Friday 29th November, 7pm, at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Cambridge Street, Manchester. It’s a free event, with readers from the authors and launch party discount on the books. For more information, or to book a ticket, please click here.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

3 Minute Santas - Festive Flash Fiction Wanted!


A call for seasonal submissions to be broadcast on the radio!


Can you tells a festive story in just 3 minutes? Hannah's Bookshelf presents 3 Minute Santas - back for its third twinkling year on North Manchester FM!

I’m looking for recordings of festive (not necessarily Christmas) stories for inclusion on my radio show on Saturday 14th December – but they can only be 3 minutes long! Stories are welcome from anywhere in the world, and in any genre. A selection of 3 Minute Santas will be broadcast on the show on 106.6FM (in the North Manchester area) and on digital (for the rest of the world) – and don’t worry, there’s always ‘listen again’ feature if you’re in a different time zone!

3 Minute Santas isn’t a competition, but a call for submissions. It’s open to anyone, and the more the merrier! For details of how to submit a story, just click here. The deadline is midnight on Thursday 5th December.

And please do share this info with anyone you think might be interested!

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ten Tales: Ghost Stories for North Manchester


A new show for North Manchester FM!

I am very pleased to announce my brand new show on North Manchester FM - Ten Tales: Ghost Stories for North Manchester. Every Wednesday at 10pm, I will be sharing a new and original piece of fiction, written by yours truly exclusively for North Manchester FM.

The nights are drawing in now, and there's a bit of a chill in the air. Perfect weather for old-school ghost stories on the wireless. Ten Tales very much belongs to the classic tradition of spooky stories for the season... but with a uniquely North Manchester flavour. From Crosslee to Crumpsall, Hollinwood to Harpurhey, these stories draw on settings and history from around the local area.

Essentially... imagine if M.R. James had visited Dam Head instead of the British Library...

Ten Tales: Ghost Stories for North Manchester begins on Wednesday 23rd October at 10pm. The first story is entitled The Threat of Blossom. It's set on the Crosslee estate in Blackley, where the cherry trees have blossomed early...


Episode List

The Threat of Blossom (Wed 23rd Oct)
Turkey Red (Wed 30th Oct)
Help the Poor Struggler (Wed 6th Nov)
The Singular Disappearance of the Old Man from Jumbo (Wed 13th Nov)
Corporation Pop (Wed 20th Nov)
The Occultation of Saturn (Wed 27th Nov)
The Lost Map of Doctor John Dee (Wed 4th Dec)
Tinker's Gardens (Wed 11th Dec)
At Booth Cottage (Wed 18th Dec)
Christmas in Gotherswick (Wed 25th Dec)

You can listen to Ten Tales: Ghost Stories for North Manchester every Wednesday at 10pm on 106.6FM (if you're in the North Manchester area) or online (if you're further afield). Episodes will also be available on the station's 'Listen Again' service for a limited time after broadcast.

Draw the curtains, make some cocoa, try to ignore that rapping, tapping at your chamber door, and tune in the wireless for a brand new story every Wednesday night... only on North Manchester FM 106.6.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

3 Minute Scares is back for its fourth frightful year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants your scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being broadcast on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 26th October.

This year’s 3 Minute Scares competition will be judged by novelist Andy Remic and Emily Oldfield of HAUNT Manchester, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the real-life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of around 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is. The deadline for entries is Thursday 17th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Keri Moriarty, who impressed the judges with a stylish but unsettling tale. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘Keri’s winning story was really well-written – she got so much atmosphere into such a short space of time. Each year, I’m impressed with the different ways writers handle the constraints of telling a story in just three minutes. There’s a lot of talent out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people across our region submit for this year’s competition.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition, including information for people unable to submit a recording, can also be found on the website.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

OUT NOW: The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four, ed. by J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey (The Sinister Horror Company, 2018)

A new collection of tales of terror, including 'Planning Permission', a story of municipal horror from yours truly...

Some words are born in shadows.

Some tales told only in whispers.

Under the paper thin veneer of our sanity is a world that exists. Hidden just beyond in plain sight, waiting to consume you should you dare stray from the street-lit paths that sedate our fears.

For centuries the Black Room has stored stories of these encounters, suppressing the knowledge of the rarely seen. Protecting the civilised world from its own dark realities.

The door to the Black Room has once again swung open to unleash twenty four masterful tales of the macabre from the twisted minds of a new breed of horror author.

The Black Room holds many secrets.

Dare you enter… one final time?

Contents:

Foreword by Michael David Wilson
Prologue by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
That Thing I Did by Tracy Fahey
Eating the Dream by K.A. Laity
A Clear Day in a Season of Storms by Simon Avery
The Hanging Boy by Gary McMahon
Mam's Girl by J.L. George
Tears of Honey by John McNee
Deciper by Daniel Marc Chant
Tap, Tap... by Marie O'Regan
Black Silk by Benedict J. Jones
Dragged Down by Ramsey Campbell
Palace of the Damned by C.L. Raven
Brooks Pond by Mark West
Planning Permission by Hannah Kate
Shrivelled Tongues of Dead Horses by Erik Hofstatter
Death Wish by Margrét Helgadóttir
Size Isn't Everything by James Everington
Pain Has a Voice by Stephen Bacon
Swimming Out to Sea by Penny Jones
Reanimation Channel by Mark Cassell
Craft Ail by Duncan P. Bradshaw
Dr Zwigli's Last Paper by Elizabeth Davis
Laurel by Terry Grimwood
Tide Will Tell by V.H. Leslie
The Last Horror Story by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
Epilogue by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
Afterword by Jim Mcleod

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Refuge. For more information, or to buy a copy, please visit the Sinister Horror Company website.

Friday, 7 September 2018

3 Minute Scares is back for its third terrifying year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 27th October.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the real-life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is. The deadline for entries is Monday 15th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Fiona Cullen, with a rather squeamish little tale about a college biology lesson. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘I loved Fiona’s story – it was so dark! Over the past couple of years, I’ve been really impressed with the way people can tell so much in just three minutes. There’s a lot of talent out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people across our region submit for this year’s competition.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.

OUT NOW: The Spooky Isles Book of Horror, edited by Andrew Garvey and David Saunderson (Dark Sheep Books, 2018)

A new collection of stories and articles about the UK and Ireland's horror and folklore, including a short story and essay about Hannah Beswick, the Manchester Mummy, by yours truly...


From The Spooky Isles, the UK and Ireland's favourite horror and paranormal website, this first volume of the Spooky Isles Book of Horror features 20 stories and essays from 18 different authors. Well-established dark literary voices and new writers explore the UK and Ireland's darkest horror and folklore, from long-dead serial killers to malignant fairies, evil cults, spontaneous human combustion, vengeful ghosts and black dogs...

... welcome to the Spooky Isles!

Contents:

Sparks by Michael Connon
The Black Dog by Tracy Fahey
Letters from a Toxic Heart by Ed Burkley
Lambs to the Slaughter by Chris Rush Havergill's Fetch by Catherine Shingler
Hunger by Ann O'Regan
Jackfest by Phil Davies
Dust to Dust by Hannah Kate
Am Fear Liath, the Grey Man of Ben Macdui by Kevin Williams
The Handfast Wife by Áine King
Ring Around the Rosie by Barry McCann
Churchgoing by Kevin Patrick McCann
The Ear by Jaki McCarrick
Creatures of Rath and Bone by Rachel Steiner
The Final Answer by Will Graham
Camp 46 by Petula Mitchell
Stranger than Before by Barry McCann
The Pied Piper of Essex by Ra Goli
Spoor by DC Merryweather
Come Away by Tracy Fahey

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book, please visit the Spooky Isles website.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

OUT NOW: The Darkest Midnight in December, edited by Storm Constantine (Immanion Press, 2017)

A new collection of seasonal ghost stories, including 'Log', a tale of festive foliage by yours truly...


The ghost story is a Christmas tradition; shadows looming over the brightly-lit tree in a room where logs crackle in the hearth, and the smell of spice and brandy fill the air. Outside the weather is chill; perhaps snow is falling. The house is far from town – lights twinkle in the distance. And over the festive season, as people gather to celebrate and welcome in the New Year, eerie breath might be heard in a dark corridor, hurrying footsteps overhead, a sigh in the depths of a stairwell. When all are supposed to be happy and secure, the intrusion of fear, grief or sadness are alien, and yet bizarrely integral to a time of celebration whose roots lie in ancient, pagan festivals. What stirs in the darkness?

Contents:

An Eye for an Eye by Rosie Garland
On the Loop Line by Misha Herwin
Holly and Ivy by Fiona Lane
The House with the Gable by Nerine Dorman
When He Comes Home Through the Snow by Storm Constantine
Bethany's Visit by Jessica Gilling
The Supernatural Stocking by Rhys Hughes
Log by Hannah Kate
Driving Home for Christmas by Fiona McGavin
Gift from the Sea by Adele Marie Park
Kindred Spirit by J.E. Bryant
A Midwinter Nightmare by Suzanne Gyseman
Spirit of the Season by Rick Hudson
The Shadow by Wendy Darling
Jay's Ghost by Louise Coquio

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book, please visit the Immanion Press website.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

3 Minute Santas - Festive Flash Fiction Wanted


A call for seasonal submissions to be broadcast on the radio!

In response to some comments on my 3 Minute Scares competition for Hannah's Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I've decided to do something a bit different at Christmas this year. Say hello to... 3 Minute Santas!

I'm looking for recordings of festive (not necessarily Christmas) stories for inclusion on my radio show on Saturday 16th December - but they can only be 3 minutes long! Stories are welcome from anywhere in the world, and in any genre. A selection of 3 Minute Santas will be broadcast on the show on 106.6FM (in the North Manchester area) and on digital (for the rest of the world) - and don't worry, there's a 'listen again' feature just in case you're in a different time zone!

3 Minute Santas isn't a competition, but a call for submissions. It's open to anyone, and the more the merrier! For details of how to submit a story, just click here. The deadline is Sunday 3rd December.

And please do share this info with anyone you think might be interested!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

3 Minute Scares is back for its second year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants you to scare her this Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s spookiest wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 28 October. Winners will also have the chance to read their story at the Boggart Hole Clough Halloween Lantern Parade later that evening.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by horror author Simon Bestwick and Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout, Manchester’s real life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is.

Last year’s competition was won by Ian Peek, with a terrifying little tale about Jack o’Lanterns. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘Ian set the bar pretty high with his winning entry last year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings. The standard of entries from all over the region last year shows that there’s a lot of talent for terrifying out there.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.

Monday, 20 March 2017

OUT NOW: Into the Woods (Hic Dragones, 2017)

http://www.hic-dragones.co.uk/product/into-the-woods/

A new collection of eighteen sinister sylvan tales, edited by Hannah Kate. Available now in paperback and eBook.

“They were only trees, after all. Only trees.”

A magical place steeped in mysticism. A foreboding place of unspeakable terror. The forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. What resides within its shadows? Demons, fair folk, that man the adults warned you about… and the trees. The trees are everywhere. Is it safer to stay at home? Or are you ready to take a journey… into the woods.

Contents:

'In the Dirt, Under the Trees' by Megan Taylor
'The Collectors' by Jaki McCarrick
'Forgotten Falls' by Cameron Trost
'The Crying Tree' by Patrick Lacey
'The Trees on Bundam Hill' by Rachel Halsall
'What's Mine is Yours' by Magda Knight
'The Green Road' by Tracy Fahey
'Dear Hearts' by Jessica George
'In the Trees' by Ramsey Campbell
'Long Stay' by S.A. Rennie
'In the Hidden Hollow' by Ross Smeltzer
'Where You End and I Begin' by Martin Cornwell
'A Winter's Tale' by Nancy Schumann
'Cord' by Jan M. Flynn
'Guests' by James Tawton
'Knotweed' by Hannah Kate
'St Erth' by Tim Major
'I Bury my Bones' by Jane Bradley

For more information, or to buy a copy, please visit the Hic Dragones website.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Into the Woods Launch Party

Come and join us at the launch party for Into the Woods, a new collection of short stories from Hic Dragones.

Friday 17th March 2017, 7-9pm
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
Manchester M1
United Kingdom

FREE EVENT

Into the Woods - eighteen sinister sylvan tales

A magical place steeped in mysticism. A foreboding place of unspeakable terror. The forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. What resides within its shadows? Demons, fair folk, that man the adults warned you about… and the trees. The trees are everywhere. Is it safer to stay at home? Or are you ready to take a journey… into the woods.

“They were only trees, after all. Only trees.”


Join us at the launch party on Friday 17th March. Readings by: Ramsey Campbell, Tracy Fahey, Jane Bradley, Magda Knight, Martin Cornwell, Hannah Kate, Megan Taylor and Nancy Schumann

Free wine reception, giveaways and launch discount on the book.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

3 Minute Scares – A Halloween Writing Competition for North Manchester FM

North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants you to scare her this Halloween!


She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3 minute stories for a new creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s spookiest wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 29 October.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout, Manchester’s real life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is.

North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘I want this competition to bring out some of the region’s scariest talent. It’s difficult to tell a good tale in just 3 minutes, but I know that there’s people out there who are up for the challenge.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.


For further information please contact:

Email: David Kay or Hannah Kate
Website: North Manchester FM or Hannah Kate

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Call For Submissions: Into the Woods (anthology)


From magical places steeped in mysticism to evil foreboding places of unspeakable terror, the forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. But it is also a vulnerable place easily lost to the chainsaw and the drill. Our fascination with what may lie within the woods is an enduring one. Bewilder us, scare us, entertain us. Take us on a journey… into the woods.

What we want: Edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘into the woods’ might mean. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, (sub)urban fantasy, Gothic, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, slipstream. We’re looking for original and fresh voices that challenge and unsettle. (And, please remember, we do not publish misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia or racism.)

Editor: Hannah Kate

Publisher: Hic Dragones

Word Count: 3000-7000

Submission Guidelines: Electronic submissions as .doc, .docx or .rtf attachments only. 12pt font, 1.5 or double spaced. Please ensure name, story title and email address are included on the attachment. Email submissions to Hic Dragones. Submissions are welcome from anywhere, but must be in English.

Submission Deadline: Monday 13th June 2016

Payment: Contributor copy: 1 copy of paperback, eBook in ePub and/or mobi format; permanent 25% discount on paperback (resale permitted); 1 free eBook from our catalogue.

More information: email or visit the Hic Dragones website.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Call for Submissions: Nothing (anthology)



Bleak landscapes, empty hearts, insignificant lives, dystopian futures, extinction, limbo, uncertainty, death. A beautiful void or a horrific state of being. The simple complexity of nothingness.

Submissions wanted for a new anthology of short stories based on the theme of nothing.

What we want: Edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘nothing’ might mean. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, Gothic, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, slipstream. We’re looking for original and fresh voices that challenge and unsettle. (And, please remember, we do not publish misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia or racism.)

Editor: Hannah Kate

Publisher: Hic Dragones

Word Count: 3000-7000

Submission Guidelines: Electronic submissions as .doc, .docx or .rtf attachments only. 12pt font, 1.5 or double spaced. Please ensure name, story title and email address are included on the attachment. Email submissions to Hic Dragones. Submissions are welcome from anywhere, but must be in English.

Submission Deadline: Monday 5th September 2016

Payment: Contributor copy (1 copy of paperback plus eBook in ePub and/or mobi format); permanent 25% discount on paperback (resale permitted); 1 free eBook from our catalogue.

For more information: email or visit the Hic Dragones website

Thursday, 17 September 2015

OUT NOW: Werewolves Versus the 1990s

https://gumroad.com/l/wv01#


A full-colour, mind-warping, 80+ page collection of werewolf art, stories, poetry and comics. Inspired by the decade of skateboards, clam digger shorts, AOL disks and the colour aqua.

Edited, designed and produced by A. Quinton
Cover art by Tandye

Contents:

Art: Kathy Lea Moyou, Joe Williamson, Ludovic, Tandye, HamsterToybox

Comics: Mike Roukas, Todd A. McCullough

Poetry and stories:
Dial-Up by Tah the Trickster
Wasco by Laura Cuthbert
My Hazy Recollections Of Project: Metalbeast by Craig J. Clark
The Werewolves Of Brainerd by Dan Wallbank
Beasts Pay Their Dues by Slay
Heat Wave by Joey Liverwurst
Ill Will by Hannah Kate
FBI Warning by A. Quinton
'N Amerikaanse Weerwolf in Kaapstad by Lew “Viergacht” Delport

To get a copy of the zine (pay whatever amount you think is fair), please click here.

To find out more about this and future issues of Werewolves Versus, please click here.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

OUT NOW: European Monsters (Fox Spirit, 2014)

Edited by Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas



Blurb:

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don't sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to re-establish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

Contents:

Here Be Monsters! by Jo Thomas and Margrét Helgadóttir
Herne by J.C. Grimwood
Vijka by Anne Michaud
Broken Bridges by James Bennett
Upon the Wash of the Fjord by Byron Black
Nimby by Hannah Kate
Black Shuck by Joan De La Haye
A Very Modern Monster by Aliya Whiteley
Mother Knows Worst by Jasper Bank and Fabian Tuñon Benzo (artist)
Fly, My Dear, Fly by Nerine Dorman
Melanie by Aliette de Bodard
Moments by Krista Walsh
Hafgufa Rising by Chris Galvin
Old Bones by Peter Damien
The Cursed One by Icy Sedgwick
Serpent Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Eugene Smith (artist)

For more information about the book, please visit the publisher's website.