Contest Info for Sci-Fi/Future Tech Writers

Baen is hosting this contest with a deadline of February 1st. It’s free to enter, but give them your very best! Good luck!

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The Exile Returns

Casimund is the exiled elf high-prince of the Golden City, sent away for treason and love. To return he must do away with the one who exiled him.

 

“The only way out is the way you came in.”

Casimund, elf high-prince of the Golden City and exile these three years from family and throne, sharpened his knifeblade. The edge sparked in the flame of the marsin-bowl lamp, light glinting on the glassy cave-walls. The faint crash of distant waves were an echo of his trial.

“Lord Casimund, you are guilty of treason for your union with humankind. Your doom is exile in the Far Islands.” The judge snapped the black stick of doom into Casimund’s hand. The sentence was final, his own anger fixed. Casimund had snapped that doomstick himself, sending foes to death or exile. No doomstick would mete the judge; Casimund was cold with fury.

The two pieces were behind him now, in the store-spot. Mercy on Gladre was slow starvation; judgment was death by unquenched hope.

He drew a heliogram with the broken doomstick, lit the tallow candle, and chanted.burning-candle-clip-art

Abromax appeared as green lines in the darkness. “My lord Casimund. What has summoned me?”

“As ever, the maiden Allesand, who beckons me in dreams to home and child. Tell me, in your night wanderings, have you seen the Council’s eyes? Will they allow my return?”

“My vision is not to the future. That is hidden from all save the Great One. We content ourselves with power over sky and water only.”

“Was I right to woo and wed?”

“Acts completed judge and cannot be broken. But the heart rules with power will itself cannot break.” The mage faded.

Casimund erased the heliogram, snuffed the candle, and took up his rough bow. He would hunt today again for the cold season ahead.

Fish and fowl were in abundance, and island freshwater streams eased thirst. But none would see or praise his deeds or gain his wrath. Another notch the morrow in exile, thinking of Allesand and their half-breed manchild and elven-son, and of the judge who sundered them.

Unbidden Abromax appeared. “My lord Casimund, news. A sea-boat from the Golden City drifts in the swampy marge. There is naught but sand and shells within; mayhap it means your returning. We must leave at once. Carry knife and candle and doomstick. Follow, my lord, to the marges.”

The day’s journey through thicket, waste, and forest brought him to gray marge-land. The light of Twen, moon of Gladre, opened the path before him.

“We are close now. Let patience guide you.”

In the distance lay a white boat on the sand.

Abromax spoke. “Ahead is danger far beyond the trap of mud and slash of thorns. Hold your knife close and your nerves closer. One final gift and way from exile: a termagant stone. Near your heart it will guide your unerring way home. Lose it and in the Far Islands dwell until doom is done.”

The stone was warm. A bird on wing in a dark sky; flecks of gold were stars and a white stone was the moon Twen.

The boat held shells and sand, but unsaid by Abromax was a bundle of linen and rope.

He took loosened the bonds, then opened the linen to reveal a body curled in slumber.

He looked in. His father’s sleeping face caught the blue light of Twen.

The last sight of his father came upon him: the last words, exile; the last act, the doomstick’s thunder.

His own knife warmed his hand, the moonlight glimmering the edge.

“Where am I?”

Casimund drew back. “In loneliness. What brought you here, stranger?”

“I know not. I fell asleep by wife and hearth. Now I find myself in the night. What are you, fellow?”

“I am no one.”

“Your voice–it is familiar. Do I–did I–know you?”

“No. I am an exile.”

“Your voice is of someone lost to me. He was no one, a betrayer. None mourn his passing.”

The waves washed the silence of the rocky beach.

“His end?”

The familiar roar of his father’s voice rose. “The doomstick for his betrayal!”

“You are with me, stranger, now in exile until you die of despair. Your doom without doomstick.”

There was silence, then a sob. “Kill me now. I cannot bear to be apart from all who love me. I have lost everything, even one I cannot name.”

The termagant stone burned against his heart. His father lay helpless before him.

The knife came down in a quick slash.

“You are free of all bonds. Free of despair and danger. Return in peace to your family.”

He took his father’s hand, opened it, and placed the termagant stone in the palm. “Go now, stranger. The stone will guide you.”

His father’s head rose up. The light of Twen lit his doomed son.

“Casimund!”

Casimund pushed the boat into the sea and stood in the waves to watch him go into the night and darkness.

He awoke from his slumber on the beach. The broken doomstick was in his hand.

“My lord Casimund, fair morning to you.”

“Fair travels to you, Abromax. He who pronounced my doom has called my name. What madness is this? Is my exile over?”

“No. Your exile lies within you, high elf and wanderer. Your doom and end are your own choosing.”

“How?”

“Doomsticks broken can be restored. A judge may pardon. A son can forgive. You must return as son and high prince and father. Thrust the doomstick into the candle.”

Abromax began to chant:

Say the words of doom’s unraveling,

Fortune’s lost and home’s returning,

King and elf and child restoring

Father, son, and kingdom gathering.

 

Fog and sand swirled around. Choked by dust, he cried out and fell as darkness overcame him.

The fair Allesand greeted him. “Welcome, husband and high prince!”

He shook his head to clear the fog. “Allesand!”

Laughter of a young boy stopped him. In the doorway Nurse held the hand of their half-breed heir.

Over the doorway were the words in elvish script: “The only way out is the way you came in.”

by Stephen J. Matlock, Featured Author  Published with permission

This is a flash fiction short story written for the NYCMidnight contest. We get a prompt and must write 1000 words in 48 hours, and we must fit the story to the genre, location, and necessary prop. For this story, the genre was fantasy, the location was a deserted island, and the prop was a candle. -SJM

Great Contest Opportunity for Self-Published Authors

A Fellow-writer shared this newsletter with us:

Half Price Books Is New Sponsor for Shelf Unbound Writing CompetitionI’m pleased to announce that Half Price Books has come on as the sponsor of the 2013 Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book. As such, Half Price Books has generously offered to stock and promote this year’s winning entry in their 115 retail stores in 16 states.

Half Price Books started as an indie bookstore in 1972 and is now the nation’s largest new and used family owned bookstore chain; their commitment to literacy, readers and writers makes them the perfect partner for our competition.

“Half Price Books is proud to be a part of this competition and to help support and bring recognition to the independent and self-published writer community,” said Sharon Anderson Wright, president and CEO of Half Price Books (www.hpb.com).

We invite all independent and self-published authors to enter the competition, and we’ve extended the deadline to October 1. Details are below and on our website,www.shelfmediagroup.com. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Margaret Brown
Publisher
Shelf Unbound
www.shelfmediagroup.com
214.704.4182
Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com

Participating in the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition was one of the best decisions of my writing career. Not only did I receive valuable, personalized coaching from Publisher Margaret Brown, winning the contest led to a popular feature article by Amazon and CreateSpace, interest from one of New York’s top literary agents, and a wide audience of indie book lovers. The entry fee to last year’s contest was the best money I’ve ever spent!

— Jennifer Bresnick, author of The Last Death of Tev Chrisini

CALL FOR ENTRIES

SHELF UNBOUND WRITING COMPETITION
FOR BEST INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK

Shelf Unbound book review magazine announces the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Book. Any independently published book in any genre is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $30 per book. The winning entry will be selected by the editors of Shelf Unbound magazine.

“Independently Published” books include self-published books (such as those published through CreateSpace, Lulu.com, iUniverse, etc.) and/or books published through small presses releasing less than five titles per year. Books entered in last year’s competition are eligible for re-submission in this year’s competition. There is no limit to the number of books an individual can enter; each book is a separate entry.

The official rules for the competition can be found at here.

To submit an entry, email a PDF or Word Doc of your entire book, including the cover, toMargaret@shelfmediagroup.com, subject line Contest Entry (or mail a physical copy of your book to: Shelf Media Group, PO Box 852321, Richardson, Texas 75085-2321), and send a check for $30 made out to Shelf Media Group to Margaret Brown, Shelf Media Group, PO Box 852321, Richardson, Texas 75085-2321, or pay via PayPal (click on this link and select “Competition Entry Fee”:http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/contact-us.html). All entries received (and entry fee paid) will be considered.

The top five books, as determined by the editors of Shelf Unbound, will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2014 issue of Shelf Unbound. The author of the book named as the Best Independently Published book will receive editorial coverage as well as a year’s worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound (rate card value $6,000). The book will also be stocked and promoted in all 115 Half Price Books retail stores in 16 states.

The deadline for entry is midnight on October 1, 2013. The winners will be notified by November 2, 2013. Additional information and rules can be found on our contest rules page at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

For further information, please feel free to contact Margaret Brown, Publisher, via email:Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com.

Shelf Unbound book review magazine, a 2013 Maggie Award finalist for Best Digital-Only Publication, reaches more than 125,000 avid readers in the U.S. and in 59 other countries around the globe. Subscriptions to Shelf Unbound are free atwww.shelfmediagroup.com.

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