Adult Fairy Tale Short Story Competition

Illustration from The Tinderbox by H. J. Ford, The Yellow Fairy Book.

Writing Magazine is currently hosting an adult fairy tale short story competition! It can either be a reimagining of an old classic or completely original, as the competition states that the fairy tale theme is “fairly loose, admittedly“.

Word count must be between 1,500-1,700 words and the closing date is 15 October, 2018. Full rules, eligibility and entry form can be found at Writers Online. Entry fee is £6 (or £4 if you’re a subscriber to the magazine).

I’ve recently been writing different short stories based on fairy tales and folklore, so I thought this was perfect! But then I realised that the word count was way under what any of my recent shorts come in at… so it’s time to write a new one! Luckily, I already had a fitting idea lined up for my next short. I’ll just have to make sure I come in under the word limit to ensure it’s eligible for this lovely little competition.

Some curious charity shop finds!

It feels as though I’ve browsed through just about every local charity shop this week. Yesterday, I managed to pick up a few more books, including two worthy of mention. I am a massive Alice in Wonderland fan, and so I was really pleased to find the following:

A 1974 Alice in Wonderland Walt Disney Classic picture book with gorgeous vintage artwork. This beautiful book only cost £1.49, and in actual fact all the children’s books were three for the price of two, so I had an even better bargain with my overall haul. It’s in great condition and I really do adore the artwork style inside.

Secondly, I found this 1950 copy of Through the Looking Glass. The cover is a little warped and it has water marks on the back, but the pages inside are still in good condition and so its nice to flick through and see the John Tenniel illustrations. This one cost me £2.99, but considering I misread the pencil marking and thought it was £9.99, I was pleasantly surprised at the till!

Picked up some more books from the charity shop

Popped into town today and managed to pick up three books that caught my eye! I absolutely love books based on folk tales, ghost stories and fairy tales, so I generally look for these and the older the better in my opinion.

The first book I found was The Seventh Ghost Book. Regrettably, it was missing its dust jacket, but at £1 it was still a bargain! Originally published in 1971, this book holds a collection of spectral short stories by various authors, with the introduction by Rosemary Timperley. A quick google search shows there are other anthologies in the series, so I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for any further finds!

The next book I found was A Pocketful of Stories by Lilian McCrea, all for the paltry sum of 50p! Published in 1959, this book is a collection of short stories about animals, angels, fairies and witches, as the spine states. It has some lovely illustrations inside and came complete with its colourful dust jacket.

Lastly, and a bit different from my other choices, I picked up The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. A far more recent book first published in 2012. Something about it just caught my attention and as soon as I read that the story takes inspiration from a Russian fairy tale – I was sold! Afterall, you can’t go wrong for £1.

Hard in Hightown has arrived!

Finally, my copy of Hard in Hightown has arrived! This short novel is written by the fictional Dragon Age II and Dragon Age Inquisition character, Varric Tethras (or in reality, Mary Kirby). Amazon has a funny “about the author” section on the book’s page, describing our favourite dwarven rogue. The “critic” quotes on the front and back are also by other Dragon Age characters, Merrrill and Hawke, which is an amusing touch too.

So many people get shivved!Merrill

The way the book is written definitely conjures up memories of Varric’s voiceovers in the games and so is spot on in terms of capturing his character and how he would write. The story is set in Kirkwall and features other well-known ideas and themes from the vast Dragon Age lore. Overall, it’s a tasty little portion of Dragon Age for fans starved of their favourite fictional world.

Though the book is a little shorter than I had anticipated, it has some wonderful illustrations and is still an interesting read. It’s a lovely item to have, especially for a massive Dragon Age fan, like myself. The pages have deckled edges, giving that “olde worlde” feel as if it really were made in Thedas. However the rather modern book cover doesn’t tie in with this, which is a bit of a shame.

New books from local Plymouth Authors

The McKenzie sisters have done it again! Local Plymouth authors Carmella and Alison McKenzie have released their new books recently, Blooming Grand and The Sapphire Heart respectively.

                 

I had the pleasure of reading their first books, Haberdashery and From the Future With Love, last year and so when I heard they had released new books – I just had to pick them up!

Out of all four books, The Sapphire Heart is most definitely my favourite. A completely new idea from Alison’s first book, not only is it beautifully written, it ticked all the boxes for me and reminded me of The Goonies and Romance in the Stone. The main protagonists go on a treasure hunt with the help of a charming ghost, tackling their own personal problems in the process and finding a lot more than just loot by the end of their tale! It is a perfect blend of romance, adventure and the supernatural and I implore you to read it if this sounds like something you’d like!

Whilst Blooming Grand can be read as a completely standalone novel, it shares similar themes and has many nods to Carmella’s first book, and even features a cameo from one of the much-loved characters of Haberdashery. This book is a fantastic blend of real-world meets fantasy world. The real-life elements of the story are so well-written, so natural and so easy to relate to that it makes for really easy reading as the characters are very believable. Blooming Grand features more magical mischief than its predecessor, which I loved, and the character of Merry was a personal favourite of mine.

I’m always keen to support new authors, especially local ones, so please check out their website and have a gander at their brilliant books.

Charity shop find!

I often trawl the local charity shops to see what I can find. At the moment I’ve been buying up a lot of books, mainly titles I’ve already read and loved, but also keeping an eye out for anything awesome that might be lurking. Normally I count myself lucky to find a few favourites, or even a few favourites in hard back.

Well today, I found a hidden gem! This copy of The Land of Legends and Heroes by Stella Mead! Definitely my favourite find in quite awhile and it only cost me 49p!

The book hosts a collection of short stories from all over the world and features some beautiful illustrations inside the book, both colour and grayscale.

Query Tracker

I’ve been using Query Tracker for some time to track my queries (surprise, surprise) and it’s really useful for seeing the normal responses and time frames for queries etc. However, recently I decided to take advantage of their forums and get some advice on re-working my query and synopsis. I’ve had some really good feedback and so I’m hoping that future queries I send out will have a bit more of a kick to them.

Re-submitting queries

So after two years and heavy revision of my manuscript, I’ve decided to start re-submitting queries to agents. My original goal in editing my manuscript was to self-publish using Smashwords and Create Space, but after all the work I’ve put in, it seemed like it would be worth trying a few more agents. Definitely worth trying, but I did completely forget how 31nerve-wracking it is to send out your query to agents and then have to sit still waiting for a response.