e a m harris

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Archive for the category “Blog challenges and sharing”

Call for Submissions: Curse the Darkness Anthology

A creepy competition! Ghost stories are enjoying a come-back.

ShortStops

Call for Submissions - Curse the Darkness - Unlit Press

For our inaugural horror and dark fiction anthology, Unlit Press is inviting short story submissions on the theme of darkness. That could be the absence of light, the presence of evil, or the deranged thoughts of the afflicted. However you choose to interpret the theme, just make sure you leave us afraid to turn out the lights.

At Unlit Press we don’t forsake character and story for the sake of gratuitous violence and gore. We’re looking for stories with strong original voices, compelling characters and sparkling dialogue. Send us stories that step off the well-trod paths into the unlit wilderness of the unusual, the interesting, and the provocative.

Submission Guidelines

  • Word Count: 3,000 to 10,000 words.
  • Deadline: 31 December 2018.
  • Payment: One-off payment of £75 (approximately $100) plus one contributor copy for each manuscript accepted.

Visit our website for full submission guidelines and instructions.

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Reflex Fiction Summer 2018 Winners!

I love success stories and hearing about winners. There are still a number of opportunities here.

ShortStops

Winter 2018 - Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction Competition - ShortStopsReflex Fiction is a quarterly international flash fiction competition for stories between 180 and 360 words. We publish one story every day as we count down to the winner of each competition.

Summer 2018 Winners

At the end of September we published the three winning stories from our Summer 2018 flash fiction competition as chosen by Sherrie Flick. Here are the winners and links to the stories:

First Place: Crowbar by Lyndsay Wheble
Second Place: Consanguinity by Fiona J Mackintosh
Third Place: Skin by Donna L Greenwood

You can read Sherrie’s thoughts on the winning stories here.

Autumn 2018 Long-List

We’ve also just published the long-list for our Autumn 2018 competition and have started publishing stories as we count down to the announcement of the winners at the end of December.

Winter 2018 Open for Entries

We’re also accepting entries for our Winter 2018 competition. Here are the important details:

Prizes:…

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Life: the only game there is

The Three Fates

On the Carpe Diem site we have been set an interesting challenge – to write a haiku or tanka on the theme of ‘life is a game’.

This isn’t exactly a new theme for poetry, many poets in different countries, writing in different languages, have done the same, but it seems to me a bit unusual for haiku. However, us haiku writers can rise to any challenge, and I suspect that, in the ‘old days’ when Basho and his friends were holding (drunken) haiku parties, many way-out subjects were used.

Chèvrefeuille himself has given us a beautiful haiku as a model, tying the game to the seasons:

life is but a game
nature rolls the dices
seasons change

I haven’t managed to use the seasons, but I found the theme fits the haiku form well:

life is an endgame
only the Fates are certain
when the game will end.

 

Picture of The Three Fates from wikimedia.

Autumn birds

Carpe Diem has given us an interesting prompt of music entitled The Last of His Name by BrunuhVille.

Using music made me think of birds; the time of year is about migrating birds.

Lone swallow

The last of his name
“Swallow” will follow the flock
but not just yet.

Photo from Photopin.

Modern sculpture and haiku

Carpe Diem has had a series of posts linking haiku with sculpture. This may be something of a departure for writers, like myself, who have looked to the natural world for inspiration, but it has given rise to many really interesting poems.

I found it quite a challenge but it opened up new ideas and ways of seeing.

cool lawn; bronze sculpture;
graceful struts entwine upwards;
metallic tango.

(Pic from Carpe Diem post)

Burn for Spring

smoke rising to the clouds

Above the burning
hills: false clouds of smoke. The land
made ready for growth.

 

 

A recent prompt from Carpe Diem is a rare kigo, ‘burning the hills’.

On the surface this doesn’t seem very kigoish, but in Japan farmers burn the old grass off the hillsides in preparation for planting – thus it is a kigo of Spring.

Departure

Today Chèvrefeuille has given the topic of departure as a prompt for haiku. For examples he’s roamed to haiku and to the Persian poetry of Rumi.

Departure is a huge topic – every time we go to work or shopping or wherever, we depart from where we are. Sometimes we depart further afield on holiday, to visit or to escape. We may be tourists or refugees; we have departed willingly or fearfully. Some kind of departure is inevitable.

Blackbird on roof

 

Everything departs: spring or rainy season, animals or plants, days of celebration or grief.

Since haiku are usually about nature I have chosen to look at departures in the natural world.

Each season to its
own time. Each bird to its own
song. Then both have flown.

Shrines to imagine

Chevrefeuille’s blog, Carpe Diem, has a fascinating article on the Ise Shrine, one of the most important sites for the Shinto religion.

The haiku challenge is to write about it, but I’ve never seen any Shinto shrine, so my poem is more about a shrine of the mind.

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A soft breeze whispers
in the eaves of the temple;
frost on the roof melts.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from Photopin.

Tanka for a foggy autumn

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Carpe Diem has started a series of posts on tanka techniques. Even for non-writers, it’s worth reading the post to enhance understanding and appreciation.

The first technique is to add mystery and depth. Autumn is a good time for mystery I think; not only do we have Hallowe’en and the supernatural, but we are in a sort of between-ness – assessing summer just gone and looking forward to/dreading winter to come.

But autumn is a time of its own, as the old Japanese writers knew so well and wrote about so movingly, as in this tanka written by Toshiyuri and quoted on Carpe Diem:

Cries of quail
from the shore of Mano cove
winds blow
waves of plume grass
ripple in autumn dusk.

My response is:

A dense, white fog fills
the garden; among yellowed
grasses no blade stirs.
A crow, hidden in whiteness,
croaks three times, then falls silent.

 

 

Picture from Photo Pin.

Carpe Diem and Pedro Calderon de la Barca

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Carpe Diem has several haiku challenges going at present. I like the one (number 1033) using a prompt by the Spanish poet Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

This is the prompt:

These flowers, which were splendid and sprightly, waking in the dawn of the morning, in the evening will be a pitiful frivolity, sleeping in the cold night’s arms.

There are several ideas here around day/night, the fleeting nature of flowers, the effect of time on perception of splendour/frivolity/pitifulness, whether flowers sleep or wake, and I’m sure there are others I haven’t noticed.

I decided to put the sleep first and look forward to the wakening:

As night falls, so do
the petals of the daylily.
In the summer moonlight,
buds of tomorrow’s lilies
prepare to open at dawn.

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