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!


  1. I thought about attending WFC 2011 this year, but by the time I thought I might do that I had waited too long and I would have had to wait on a waiting list to get in, so I didn't go. But, I'll have to seriously consider the WFC 2013, especially if I can trick work into sending me to Sweden so I can avoid the overheads of the overseas airfare.

    I've only attended the small con in our area and I'm pretty shy at these things. I'm impressed at how well you managed to talk to people while you were there.

  2. Between this, Erin's contest, and the MicroHorror comp, October's going to be tremendous fun!

    And the fact that you're giving up such a prize, when nobody would begrudge you keeping it just makes it that much more awesome!

  3. U are the bestest =)

    Sounds like you had tremendous fun and "worked the room" quite effectively =)

    Awesomeness on the competition!!!

  4. Glad you had a great time, Lil. You never know where networking can lead...

    Good on yer for putting the book up as a prize.


  5. Really pleased you had such a positive and productive time Lily. I agree about the prize being a fantastic gesture. I've taken up the challenge and written a story just for this mini-comp of yours. I've sent it off but I'm sure the quality of entries will be very high so I've hired a pair of octopuses to keep everything crossed for me.

    Good luck to all who enter.

  6. I had seen somewhere, must have been glimpses of twitter, that you were going to a fantasy conference,and kept meaning to ask how it went. Wow, what a blast. And those names you mention. Just wonderful. I have to admit I'm thrilled to hear that the printed page is still well and alive. Thanks for all the tips about the Mammoth Book of Horror, I'll see what the ol' gray matter can come up with before the 16th. Thanks for sharing with us, Lily! x

  7. Wow. What a great experience. I'm incredibly jealous. And Stephen Jones! I have a whole shelf of the Mammoth Book of Horror volumes. You're so right about it being a valuable resource (and an awesome read).

    Damnation...wonder if I can pull that off.

  8. sounds like you had a wonderful time, Lily, and I have been busy turning my entry over and over in my head until it came out right. Been editing all evening and then went back to re-edit my entry and get it down to the 500 words needed. And got my fingers xxd. Sorry everyone, I wish you all good luck but oh I want that prize!

  9. Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments. You just know I wouldn't have had the courage to go if it hadn't been for your support.

    All the best of luck to those entering the competition. I'm storing them and won't be reading until after the closing date. Can't wait to see what 'Damnation' brings out of your closets!



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.