Read S.E.’s post below for more about this exciting new venture!
About Mash Stories
Are you one those people who have to align a tilted frame on the wall? Have you ever found yourself folding a piece of paper to stick it under a wobbly table?
If so, you’d know the instinct – and the pleasure – of correcting things that are desperate to be corrected. And Mash Stories is born exactly from this instinct.
I remember the day I looked into the short story competitions market for the first time. I found a website which listed competitions: The Grinder. At the time, there were over 2,300 competitions listed on The Grinder, and 28,638 submissions had already been made. I felt like a kid who had been taken to an astonishing playground with the queue of an airport security check.
In the time that has elapsed since then – roughly five months – the number of submissions on The Grinder website has nearly doubled – 42,668 as of 9th April 2014.
The number of competitions left me not knowing where to start from, and the number of submissions made me anxious about the vast amount of competitors out there. I wasn’t ready to race against writers who had already won awards, while I simply had no publishing experience.
I had assumed short story competitions would allow me to get my voice heard, gather a circle of readers, and earn small amounts now and then to support my writing. But to start with, I was asked to pay to submit my work. And when a magazine accepted to publish a story of mine, they offered me less than their submission fee for the ‘exclusive’ rights to my work. I thought there was a typo there, but apparently there wasn’t.
That was when I decided to fold a piece of paper to stick it under the wobbly market of story competitions. I knew I couldn’t write to more than 7,000 competitions listed in the endless waters of the Internet and tell them my point, but I could set up a competition which would stand straight no matter how tilted the others were.
That’s how Mash Stories was born. I dreamt of a competition that evaluated my story, instead of its formatting; that paid me reasonably, rather than charging me fees; that gave me free feedback and helped me to promote my work, rather than demanding exclusive rights to limit it.
At Mash Stories, we keep the rules to a minimum and award the winning story a professional rate. We turn all shortlisted stories into a podcast, and provide free feedback for the rejected ones so that they can improve.
I hope our efforts will help the talented writers out there to get their voices heard. And I hope you will help us to set up a model competition, which will create a change in many writers’ lives.
Please support us by donating to us or by giving us a hand with editorial matters.
Thank you for your interest and support.
About S.E. Sever:
S.E. Sever is currently working on several projects in fantasy fiction and science fiction.
She has had several short stories published in fiction magazines across the US and the UK.
S.E.’s poetry book, Before Me, is published by Thought Catalog Books, New York.
Mash Stories website: http://mashstories.com/
Official S.E. Sever website: http://sesever.com/
The Skintakers is the prequel to my Bram Stoker Award® nominated debut novel The Lamplighters.
My Editor, Don D’Auria, said some lovely things about the book. I hope you’ll like it too.
Cover art, release date and more details to follow!
Doctor Who and the Daemons director Christopher Barry has sadly passed away. He famously helped introduce the world to the Daleks, but Daemons is my all-time favourite of the Time Lord’s adventures. Yes, I cleaved to a fuzzy, fifth generation VHS copy for many years (much of it in b/w) until the show finally became available on DVD. And yes, like many of ‘a certain age’, I devoured the Target novelisation. The BBC website posted a lovely obituary of this amazing, talented man – aside from his outstanding contributions to Dr Who, Mr Barry also helmed The Tripods (another childhood fave of mine) and many more.
Christopher Barry, I salute you – with five rounds, rapid.
The world is also a lesser place for the loss of filmmaker extraordinaire Alain Resnais. His Last Year in Marienbad has haunted me for years, and continues to do so. It was lovely to see his life and work so celebrated in memoriam this week. ‘Innovative and unusual’ just about nails it:
And while I was composing this blog entry, I was saddened to hear about the death of Selim Lemouchi. Frontman of one of my favourite bands The Devil’s Blood (and later of Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies), he was a fiercely talented musician who passed far too soon, aged 33.
I’ll leave it to Selim (with his sister Farida on vocals) to roll credits on these three blazing stars, who will all be missed by any who knew, or knew of, them.
Check out Fresh Fiction’s review to discover why:
(review by Amber Keller, 22 January 2014)
I really fell in love with the ghost stories of M. R. James while lurking in a sentry box, dressed as a Victorian serial killer (they wore top hats apparently), ready to jump out on unsuspecting tourists with an exclamation of “tickets please!”
Let me explain.
I worked weekends at The London Dungeon to help pay my way through college in the early 90s. To pass the time during each shift i sometimes listened to audiobooks, sneakily hiding my headphones beneath my costume. These were the days of books-on-tape, or cassettes (which, to explain to younger readers, were like mp3 files stretched across two reels of dental tape and listened to via an iPod device the size of a house brick). One of the audiobooks was a collection of M. R. James tales read by Michael Hordern. I had read a couple of James’ classics and knew i was in for a flesh-creeping time – and then i heard “The Ash Tree”. By the gods my heart nearly stopped in my chest at that one and for once it was me who got a fright when the tourists came asking for directions.
I then discovered the telly adaptations of some of James’ tales, presented by the BBC each Christmas. The tradition continued into the new millenium with a series of Christopher Lee-narrated adaptations, which i enjoyed during Christmas hols in the wilds of Ireland. And of course just last month, Mark Gatiss made his directorial debut with his fun, Hammer-esque M. R. James adaptation “The Tractate Middoth”.
But the one that got to me the most was “Whistle…” And to my delight, Father Christmas (or perhaps his pal Krampus) left a copy of the BFI’s double bill dvd “Whistle and I’ll Come to You” under the tree for me this year. The disc includes both the 1968 and 2010 versions, plus extras featuring contemporary master of the macabre, Ramsey Campbell. I’ve seen both versions before of course – and both are beloved to me in different ways. I think one exploits shaky denial in the face of fear and the other channels total, harrowing despair. If you haven’t seen them, do seek them out. But (ahem) a warning to the curious… both are utterly disturbing in the true spirit of James’ original short story “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” (also included in audio form as a nice bonus on the dvd – now all i need is a draughty sentry box. The garden shed will have to do).
Here’s to the traditional festive ghost story – long may they continue to scratch at our windowpanes, rattle our doors.
And tangle with our bedsheets.