Friday, 28 October 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

So the clocks go back in the UK this weekend. That extra hour makes a huge difference. I should say that gives us an additional 60 minutes of writing but to be honest I welcome a lie in. No doubt my littl'un will decide to get up at 5am so it'll all be moot anyway.

But writing I will do. How about you?

Winners of Last Week's Prediction Challenge

The 'Stonehenge' word turned out to be somewhat limiting, I thought. But as always you rose to the challenge and came up with a plethora of different entries, all brilliant if I may say so.

My winner is Asuqi with A Profound Mistake. Mysterious and chilling this tale left a very clear and disturbing image of the child-vampire in my mind. Now I want to see the movie please. Congratulations Asuqi.

Runner-up is Aidan with his second entry, Bautastenar. Cleverly lulling us with this romantic proposal only to steal Love from humankind forever. Profound. Very well done Aidan. Enjoy your trip down under; we shall miss you!

Words for 28 October 2011

Will Halloween influence your entries this week? No obligation - but I hope you have a very enjoyable celebration. Here we go:

  • Girdle
  • Spanish
  • Ruin

Ooh - I like! Good luck everyone.


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 3rd November to enter.

Winner will be announced next Friday 4th November. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Undo those literary ribbons and release your all. I'm peekin'...


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mammoth Competition - Runner-Up: Asuqi

Asuqi uses words like creeping tendrils; they penetrate your emotions then whack! she slaps you with something so unlikely, so bizarre - yet acceptable. Whenever I read her fiction I come away feeling I have learned 'the big answer', but somehow, can never recall what that is.

Asuqi is the third runner-up in the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol 22. competition. Her story Born This Way tore at my heart. Wrap your own up carefully, then read on...

Born This Way by Asuqi

During daytime, she walks pleasantly two steps behind. Simplifies her language and diminishes her thoughts. Behaves.

During nighttime, in her dreams, she’s in a twilight park in some old European town. Statues and fancy buildings; stone, stone, stone. She’s on a balcony, in a hotel maybe? And so far the dreams are okay. But her view is over those statues, and one of them seems closer, more important, like it’s been chosen for some reason. It stands tall with its back at her. As she watches, it moves closer, fills her view, becomes a monolith of religious proportions, and then it turns to face her. It’s as if though she’s holding a breath, one she won’t ever release, because when it turns, she sees its face is gone, replaced by a smooth rubbery surface. It moves to speak, but the surface won’t open and the statue makes a chewing movement, stretches its stone flesh in despair, and the scream she hears would have been her own if she’d been able to let go of that breath.

She wakes up and flings open the window. Takes deep, dry breaths. Tries to regain balance. Initially it works.

One day, on her way to work, a crow dives and hits her. It’s immediately stuck in her long hair. She and the bird are both thrown into full mode panic. It tears and claws, and she falls, they fall, her perfectness a mess. She lies face down, paralysed, and the crow stills, exhausted. She stays put as nights grow longer and ice creeps slowly over every available surface.

The Winter forest freezes everything, dreams too, and there is a calmness in that. Hungry little ones come to sniff and search; to taste the crow’s scraggy flesh. Its bones rest lightly on the back of her head, a styrofoam structure left to pale and weather. And she feels oddly cleansed.

It’s Spring when she returns to civilization, hungry. There is a difference now, for when she finds food she eats. No questions asked, no hesitation and she’s not going to back down.

She dreams again. When the monolith turns to face her, its features are the crow’s. She sees it’s not perfect. It’s not desirable - not the preferred result. But it is. It sees with unblinking crow eyes and when it opens its beak to speak, its roar; her roar, is magnificent.

The pretty is no more. She gains fearlessness. She says no and if necessary, she strikes. People avoid her. She’s called crazy, dangerous even, but it’s a small price to pay - the dreams are gone.


Bio: Please accept me as Asuqi. I find horror difficult to write, it's so easy to make shallow rip-offs and so hard to find an angle that communicates something truly scary. Trying to write horror scares me, but is that an angle? I´m eternally confused. Visit me for random confusions at

Monday, 24 October 2011

Mammoth Competition - Runner-Up: Chris Allinotte

As visitors to The Feardom's Friday Prediction Challenge will know, Chris Allinotte has a unique wit that he often blends into his tales of horror.

Chris's runner-up entry in my Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol 22. competition not only demonstrates his writing skill but had me chuckling through the sinister undertones.

Get yourself a cuppa, maybe a slice of cake - and read why.

by Chris Allinotte

Ada read the name of the bakery, and the phrase underneath again, and smiled. It read, "Venial Sins. It's not so bad to be so good!"

Inside, behind a short red counter, stood a tall, powerful looking man in a crimson apron. At the window, an elderly couple sat at a bleached oak table, sharing a slice of pumpkin pie, and sipping foamy, steaming cappuccinos.

"Good afternoon, Miss," said the man. Ada assumed he was the owner.

"It's Missus, actually," she replied, smiling.

"That's a shame." He winked; and Ada felt hot blood colour her cheeks.

The man pushed a paper menu across the counter.

"What can we tempt you with today, Missus?"

She giggled – actually giggled. Alan never made her feel like this anymore. His brother Michael had – briefly– but that was years ago.

On the menu were five desserts, including chocolate mousse cake, white truffle tart, and her absolute girlhood favourite - butterscotch pie. She tapped the page. “I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Is it good?"

"Just like Grammie used to make," said the owner, winking again. She blushed again.

He went swiftly behind a black velvet curtain, and returned with a small sliver of pie and a gleaming silver fork. Ada seated herself on a black vinyl stool. A moment later, he brought a tall glass of milk and set it beside the pie. The experience was complete - exactly as she remembered it from her childhood. The pie was creamy and sugary, its crust flaking and falling apart with ease. Each mouthful tasted better than the one before it. When she finally finished, her heart sank. Nothing, it seemed, would be as good ever again.

Without knowing she was going to, she spoke. "I'd sell my soul for another piece."

The owner laughed. "You'd have to."

"Pardon?" Ada sat up.

"One piece per customer.” He laughed. “An odd rule perhaps, but it serves." Her surprise must have been obvious, because he added, "Unless you're serious?"

Ada nodded, unable to help herself. She wanted this; she deserved it. Deserved a treat.

"Excellent." The man smiled, and produced a contract.

She blanched.

"Oh, don't worry, darling." said the owner, "It's not forever - not for a piece of pie. It's just three minutes."

She signed.

He opened the curtain, and Ada walked through.

The owner laughed again. He nodded at the old man, "For in hell, one minute shall be as a thousand years, eh?"

There was no reply as the couple faded back to nothingness.

Three minutes later, the curtain parted, and the thing that had once been Ada stumbled through. She saw the pie waiting for her, and began to shriek.


"Lookit that old lady," said the construction worker, looking out the window. "Been wanderin’ around for years now. All she ever says is 'pie.' Sad how some folks get, huh?"

"Indeed," said the man in the apron. "How was your cake?"

"Fantastic," said the workman. "I'd kill for another slice."

"You'd have to..."


Bio: Chris Allinotte lives in Toronto, Canada. In the winter it sometimes gets dark at four o'clock. That, and reading "Christine" when he was eight are probably to blame for some of what he writes. He blogs at The Leaky Pencil.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mammoth Competition - Runner-Up: Dorothy Davies

A big Feardom welcome to author, editor and medium Dorothy Davies. Dorothy is the first of three runners-up in my The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol 22. competition with her story Victims of War.

Please read her story and give Dorothy your feedback. This one will touch your very soul.

Victims of War by Dorothy Davies

Do you not think a train whistle is the loneliest sound in the world?

Or is it just that I think so, because I am here on this station – because trains are my life?

Have you not seen them, the young men in khaki, hiding their fear behind gallows humour and stiff upper lip, when you know well they are not old enough to leave home, to face the guns, the foe in all their fierceness to push us out of Europe…

I see the men; I see the light around them. I can tell before they go who will come back missing a limb or even two, for those limbs have no light around them. I could go to them and say ‘don’t go, don’t go, for you will come home legless, armless or wounded in some terrible way. But they would laugh at me and get on the train anyway.

But the real nightmare I live with day after day is the ones I see with no heads, just a skull. Oh yes, I see the ones who will not return and how sad, how heartbreaking sad is it to see them for are they not young and energetic and have much to give to this world?

How many are so shown to me? I cannot say. In a crowd there could be 3 or 4 of them, maybe more. I see the skulls; I turn away for I cannot bear the thought of the loss of the young men.

The draining of the country is how I see it. Those who would work, those who would labour, those who would teach, those who would lead, they are heading for the Front, that mystical ever moving ever dangerous and treacherous Front, where they will come face to face with the enemy, with gunfire, with barbed wire and with every fear there is known to man.

They will come home damaged in body and in mind.

So you see me, a porter here on this station, ushering the young men onto the trains, smart in their uniforms, casual in their humour, dying inside with fear and gut wrenching longing not to be there, someone they ignore completely. I wave my green flag, I blow my whistle, I send the train out of the station to the coast where they will board the ships that will take them into Hell and damnation. For they will return changed beyond belief, beyond recognition, except for those who wear the skulls, who will end up under grass in a foreign land.

Those who boarded those trains are the lucky ones. Those who stayed behind suffered the agonies of being left behind.

I wanted to go. I thought I had to go.

But I looked in the mirror the day I was due to go to the recruiting office, I looked and I saw –

A skull.

And I could not go.

I stay here, with my cowardice. In my own hell.


Bio: Dorothy Davies, writer, editor, medium, resident of the Isle of Wight, fanatical Predictioneer and horror lover.
Dorothy Davies
Author and editor.
Amor Vincit Omnia

Check out my websites:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Winning entry - The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 22

Thanks go to everyone that submitted a story on the theme of 'Damnation', for a chance to win a signed, pre-release copy of The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 22, edited by Stephen Jones. [Details...]

The Winner

The winning entry is... The Endless Game by Anthony Cowin. Huge congratulations Tony! I loved this atmospheric story - a chilling urban horror that dabbles in steam punk. My skin prickled with every step of Jago's journey.

Anthony Cowin
I hope you enjoy the book - as always in these volumes Stephen Jones covers everything that's been happening on the horror scene of late.

The Mammoth Books are the bibles of horror resources as well as revealing who's been up to what in the horror fiction and film industry. And Volume 22 of course contains a collection of outstanding fiction from some of the best authors in the horror business today - many of whom have signed the winner's copy.

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 22 is available to buy from Amazon and all good bookshops now.

My congratulations to the three runners-up too. Their stories will be posted here on 23rd, 24th and 25th October.

In the meantime, here is the winning entry. Do take the time to give your feedback, and I hope you come back to read the runner-up stories too.

THE ENDLESS GAME by Anthony Cowin

Jago worked at the reservoir as payback for crimes he couldn’t remember committing. He toiled amongst low men who appeared like living photographs in the sparks as iron struck iron in the darkness.

The old man shared a rollup with him. It was icy inside the Victorian brick structure and Jago was grateful for the warmth. The low men stood behind them panting, hands on knees, fingertips wet with water.

“They say this place is haunted.”

Jago flicked the dog end through the air into the black pools beyond. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“There’s more to this world than football and girls lad.”

“Not to me old man. Not to me.”

“Your last day isn’t it?” Jago nodded. “Come on, I’ll treat you to a pint.”

The old man staggered home with pale ale sloshing inside his belly. Jago walked through the pools of orange sodium along High Park Street back to the reservoir. “Stupid old git,” he said as sandstone gargoyles followed his footsteps from the Cathedral behind. Local kids kicked a ball along the flat grass roof while teenage couples kissed against the high brick water tower. Jago lifted his collar and slipped into the shadows.

He clicked his torch and entered. Angular shadows flitted about the corroding supports like girls dancing around a Maypole. Oxidised dust fell around him. He pointed up. Of course, the kids.

“More to life than birds and footy,” Jago laughed.

He waded across to the water pumps at the back of the derelict building. He planned to grab the hidden cash and jump the next train out of Lime Street, but it was snagged inside the pipe. He tried wrestling it out when something stirred in the water below.

“Okay soft lad, remember there’s no such things as ghosts,” The bag slipped from the steel tube and splashed into the hole. “Shit.”

His torch beam sailed across the ripples searching for his loot. It caught a pair of white eyes floating beneath the black water. He jumped back as a shrivelled hand broke through and grabbed at him. The torch fell. Blooms of light faded inside the water as it plunged past the translucent woman crawling up the bricks and out of the pit.

He screamed at the exit hammering his fists against the steel doors. A cold breath crept along his neck and he froze. He turned to see them. Translucent creatures filled the place.

“There’s more to life Jago,” the old man whispered. “A hell of a lot more to death too.” 

Hundreds of eyes opened at once casting a lattice of thin light across the dark reservoir. He recognised the old man now, recognised them all.

Every night The Lurkers circle in the shallow pools around Jago. They lure him toward the dark pit but he escapes. They don’t mind, it’s all part of the game. They’ll drag him down eventually. They have all the time in the world after all. Because time in perdition is an endless game.

Bio: Anthony writes dark fiction that ranges from classic horror to supernatural thrillers. His work has been published in print anthologies and many online sources. He also trespasses into the world of poetry and film reviews if he’s lucky enough not to be caught. He’s currently working on a horror novel that haunts his dreams as much as he hopes it will haunt yours too someday.

Find Anthony on Twitter as @TonyCowin and Facebook at

For more information and news or to simply drop a line go to Anthony’s website at

Friday, 21 October 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

It's all about Halloween at the moment - as is right and correct. There are loads of comps/anthos out there but the ones that tickle my synapses are:

I've something brewing for the first two, and collecting entries for the last. 

Now down to Prediction business (can you tell I'm procrastinating? By gumbo this is a hard week)

Winners of Last Week's Prediction

Outstanding! Excruciatingly powerful words from such talented writers. You are cruel, you hear me? Cruel.

My winner from last week is Phil Ambler with Host. It takes a lot to seriously creep me out; this did it - in waves. How you've achieved that extreme sense of disquiet in 100 words... well, that is talented writing indeed. Congratulations Phil..

I have two runners-up: they are very different to each other and unusual for The Prediction challenge too. Very well done to Absolutely*Kate for her clever and cheeky EXTRA! EXTRA! Also to Chris Allinotte for his charming and strange poem Newspaper Hat.

Words for 21 October 2011

Last night the big book fell over, all by itself. What was it trying to say...?

  • Grateful
  • Drape
  • Stonehenge (Yes! Stonehenge!!!)


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 27th October to enter.

Winner will be announced next Friday 28th October. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

Tremble my heart, touch my fears. I can't wait...


Friday, 14 October 2011

Lily's Friday Prediction

She is waning, the moon - in strength but not in beauty as she stares through the morning sky. I proffer humble thanks, watching her quickly slip into slumber as her backdrop  turns from red to duck-egg blue. 'Twill be a crisp but sunny one today, methinks.

Winners of Last Week's Prediction
Were my Prediction words cruel last week, I wonder? I felt so. The big book didn't treat us kindly, but still you managed such diverse wonders.

My winner from last week is William Davoll with No Rest For The Weekend. Even with a little typo (Your next" ;) ) there was something so wicked about this concept, and so rampant was the carnage that I couldn't help but love it to bits or stop thinking about it. Congratulations William; I seriously think you should develop this into a full length story.

The runner-up is John Xero with the extraordinary construction Cartography of Provocation. I was truly overwhelmed at the enormity contained with 100 words. Very well done indeed.

Words for 14 October 2011

Will the big book provide sweet relief this week? Let's see...

  • Ascend (all forms acceptable - ascension, ascent etc)
  • Newspaper
  • Shrivel
Interesting. Good luck everyone.


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 20th October to enter.

Winner will be announced next Friday 21st October. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

I'm so enjoying these longer, darker nights; my pen trembles all by itself in anticipation. And yours...?

Friday, 7 October 2011

COURTING DEMONS - a Collection of Dark Verse

For a while now I've been collating my poetry - the darker pieces - into a collection. Finally, the Kindle book of thirty-two poems is available to download from Amazon. It's called COURTING DEMONS - a Collection of Dark Verse by Lily Childs.

COURTING DEMONS - a Collection of Dark Verse
You may recognise some of the poems from The Feardom, others have won competitions and still others were hiding in notebooks and folders. The book includes my notes on each of the poems.

I have specified a price of $0.99 on but it is showing at $1.54 - still a bargain, I hope you agree!! Download, get a free sample or 'Look Inside' it on here.

The charming creature on the cover is a zinc etching called 'Venus', by Laurence Ranger. She's lovely.

Lily's Friday Prediction

I'm late, I'm late for a very important... something or other. And that's when Blogger decides to force its new interface on me. Tsk.

So with no more ado, it's over to the winner of last week's Prediction challenge. If it's OK with all the wonderfully talented entrants, I'll change how I do this slightly as it's easier for me to comment over the week then announce a winner at the beginning of the following Friday Prediction. Is that alright, Predictioneers?

Winners of Last Week's Prediction

Because of its lush, bizarro horror my winner is Anthony Cowin's Because You're Worthless. This made me squirm with wicked delight. Congratulations Tony!

Runner-up is Laurita with her classic Poe-like tale The Cask. I can just imagine this on Tales of the Unexpected (me and David Barber were going to campaign for that to be brought back, if I recall - David?) Very well done Laurita.

Words for 07 October 2011

...heaves the fat book onto her lap. Finger at the ready. Pages - flip! Your three words are:

  • Map
  • Engage
  • Taboo


The rules are: 100 words max flash fiction or poetry using all of the words above. Please add your entries in the Comments box below. You have the whole week until 9pm UK time on Thursday 13th October to enter.

Winner will be announced next Friday 14th October. If you can, please tweet about your entry, using the #fridayflash hashtag, and blog if you feel like it.

These words seem to be sending us off an adventure. I wonder what we'll come back with, if at all...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

News, and an Exclusive Competition!

FantasyCon 2011

Yesterday, October 1st - I attended FantasyCon 2011 in Brighton. The sun glistened in the sky and I was very nearly distracted from my destination by the quirky shops of the North Lanes and the thriving café culture of this wonderfully cosmopolitan city.

I chose not to to purchase the fat, glass-beaded handbag or the scarf of huge violet velvet roses (sob) and arrived at the seafront hotel just before 12 noon. Signing in was simple; they handed me a Jo Fletcher Books bag packed with freebies and the glossy programme, pointing out further free books and the bar.

I shuffled around, earwigging conversations and working out who was who and finally spoke to some people after about two hours.

The Three Revelations

There were book readings, launches, art expos and LOTS of networking - this, I soon realised is what the entire event is about. Naive and a con-virgin I may be but I had never realised what an opportunity these events truly provide.

My second key realisation was that the fine authors, publishers, artists and agents at such an event are no different than you or me; they are down to earth, approachable and friendly.

Finally, and nowhere was this more apparent than the Dealers' Room and the Book Launches - the printed book is not only alive and well but courted and coveted in all its majesty.

So let's drop some names

And hopefully provide some useful links and tips too...
  • I sat behind Ramsay Campbell and Peter Crowther of PS Publishing for quite a while. 
  • Author and Con Mistress of Ceremonies Sarah Pinborough (what a great personality!) apologised for butting in as I chatted to Tim Lebbon and a collective of authors.
  • I talked to Spectral Press Editor Simon Marshall-Jones at length about moving to Shetland and being a Mission fan - and his limited edition horror publications. 
  • I crossed the path of Clive Barker managers Phil and Sarah Stokes
  • Spoke briefly to renowned horror film critic and author, the dapper Kim Newman who - unbelievably -  I then saw on TV last night!
Most importantly, after plucking up the courage to approach him (after a couple of glasses of free wine) I had a conversation with horror collector, expert, editor and author - the very charming Stephen Jones.

Based on Stephen's advice, I'll be submitting my best stories for him to consider mentioning in next year's Mammoth Book of Best New Horror (and he does only want your very best, a covering letter and your publishing CV - though preferably he would rather your publisher recommended your work).

I will also do my utmost to attend World Fantasy Conference 2013 - which Stephen is hailing THE horror/fantasy publishing event.

Exclusive Competition!

Regular contributors of dark, dangerous horror to my weekly Prediction challenge will know how important Stephen Jones' annual Mammoth Book of Best New Horror is as a reference bible. This year's - volume 22 - is no exception. The book is being released at the end of October.

BUT!! The book was pre-launched at FantasyCon yesterday and I acquired an extra copy signed by:
  • Stephen Jones (Editor)
  • The great Ramsay Campbell
  • Mark Morris
  • Simon Kurt Unsworth
  • Thana Niveau
  • Robert Shearman
  • Joel Lane
  • Christopher Fowler
  • Kim Newman
  • Cover artist Vincent Chong
I am GIVING AWAY THIS PRE-RELEASE, SIGNED COPY OF THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST HORROR VOL. 22 as the prize in the following competition. You've gotta work for it - are you ready?

Rules and Conditions:
  • Write a fictional horror/dark fiction story of no more than 500 words on the theme of DAMNATION
  • Send it in the body of an email (no attachments, however good the story) to with 'Mammoth Competition',  the 'story title' by 'your name/author name' in the subject line. For example: Mammoth Competition, My Story by Lenny Lardons
  • Use a simple font Verdana, Arial etc) - 12 pt, single spaced. 
  • Include a short bio - max 100 words. Add a link to your blog/Twitter/Facebook accounts if you have them (in addition to the 100 words)
  • Competition closes at midnight UK time on Sunday 16th October. Winner will be notified of the decision on 18th October when I will request their postal address. The winning entry will be announced and their story published on The Feardom on 22nd October 2011.
  • Copyright of all entries remains with the author but in submitting an entry you agree, should your story win or be one of the three runners-up, for your story to remain published on The Feardom unless you request its removal. Should you win or be a runner-up and wish to submit the story elsewhere I would recommend you tell them it has previously been published online, and as such is a 'reprint'.
  • Conditions:
    • Only one entry per person
    • No suicide, self-harm or teenage grief stories
    • No extreme S&M, there are other comps/markets for that
    • No child abuse
    • Don't use the *C* word - I hate it.
  • The author of the winning story will receive the signed, pre-release copy of the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol. 22, as detailed above. I will send it by first-class post at my own expense.
  • The winning story will be published on The Feardom on 22nd October 2011
  • Three runner-up stories will be published on The Feardom on 23rd, 24th and 25th October.
I regret I'm not able to comment on entries or provide reviews but - good luck everyone!

Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.