Category Archives: short fiction

The Beauty of Death II Anthology – T.O.C. Revealed

Cover Art by World Fantasy Award Nominee Artist Zelda Devon


The Table of Contents for horror anthology The Beauty of Death 2 – Death by Water has been revealed, including my story ‘To Take The Water Down And Go To Sleep’.

Follow the link to see the full Table of Contents, which features Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, and many, many admirable authors. I’m honoured to be part of such a wonderful line up of writers and their tales.

The book is edited by Alessandro Manzetti and Jodi Renée Lester and published (in print and digital) in October 2017 by Independent Legions Publishing.

 

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Guest Author S.E. Sever introduces ‘Mash Stories’

beforemecoverHanding over the Frazerblog today to my good friend, author S.E. Sever, who has started an inspired (and inspiring) short story contest at her new website Mash Stories.

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.

S.E. SEVER

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/

 

 

 


In praise of: Whistle and I’ll Come to You

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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.


So Much to See When Darkness Calls

Thrilled to announce my short story ‘So Much to See’ will be included in ‘When Darkness Calls’ from Screaming Spires Publishing. My thanks to Emma Audsley for including the tale.

‘When Darkness Calls’ is a charity anthology in support of a special needs school in Cheshire and Autism Awareness, two very good causes.

It’s an honour to be included with such amazing authors (including genre legends Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton)  – you can check out the full line up here.

A sneaky peek at the cover art (by the insanely talented Daniele Serra) is below.

I for one cannot wait to devour all of these dark tales when the book is released!

darkness

copyright Screaming Spires