Category Archives: Announcements

The Winners of the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

Happy 2016! by TornTethers

The results have been tallied, and we are proud to announce the winners of the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

 

1st Place:”The God Beast of Duolunduo” by Michael Reid (Burlington, ON)

Runner-Up: “The Hole in the Wall” by Andrew Leon Hudson (Madrid, Spain)

Runner-Up: “Changed” by Stacy Sinclair (Waterloo, ON)

 

Congratulations to the winners as well as the other finalists! We had a wonderful crop of stories this year and final competition was fierce. We hope to see more from all of you in the future!

Thanks to our judges, Hiromi Goto, Tanya Huff, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia as well as our SWAMPED first readers, Claire Humphrey, Kelsi Morris, and Adam Shaftoe! Thanks also to our sponsors, Innsmouth Free Press and Laksa Media, the board of the Friends of the Merril Collection, and of course Lorna Toolis and the staff of the Collection.

You are all welcome to join us in celebrating the Merril & the winners of this year’s contest at the Friends of the Merril Annual General Meeting this Thursday, January 28th at 7pm. Have a look at the Facebook event for more details! Members and guests are all welcome.

-Charlotte

The 5th Annual Contest Longlist!

“Trophy” by snaku6763

Thanks everybody for your patience! The semifinal results are now in and the reading team has settled on the finalists in the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

The 12 longlisted stories are*:

The Hole in the Wall
Changed
Remembrance of Worlds Past
The Jungle Between
In Her Footsteps
The God Beast of Duolunduo
Listen and You Will See
The Promise of Iron
Pests and Perfection
Old Crow
Two from the Field, Two from the Mill
Memories of Clover

Responses have gone out to all entrants. If you have not heard from us about your submission, please query! The judging panel will now go over the finalists and decide between them who will take home the top three prizes. Good luck to everyone!

* Author names have been omitted to maintain anonymity. Titles provided for entrants to confirm their submission’s status.

Interview! Editor & Publisher Lucas K. Law

Tomorrow‘s your last day to submit to the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest! Get cozy, rat-a-tat your keyboards, and get those stories in! Don’t forget that every participant will receive an e-copy of She Walks in Shadows ed. Silvia Moreno-Garcia, not to mention the chance to win $500!

Today we present to you an interview with Lucas K. Law, publisher of our sponsor, Laksa Media Groups, and editor (along with Susan Forest) of the forthcoming anthology, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts.

 

Strangers Among Us is Laksa Media’s first anthology. Did you solicit stories or draw from an open submission period? Can you tell us a little about how those processes differ?

Susan Forest (my co-editor) and I discussed the different type of submissions for Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts: close (solicitation/invitation), open, or a combination of both. We chose the best process for us, which was submission by invitation.

Closed submission means we solicit stories from a list of writers. It doesn’t give a guaranty for publication. The submission still has to meet the anthology’s theme and fit the editor’s vision. An anthology is not just a collection of short stories thrown together; it is like a novel—a series of connections between stories, giving the anthology its overall pacing, cadence and structure.

Using the solicitation process controls the number of submissions (to a point), and the rate of acceptance is higher than that of an open submission. We invite more writers than we can have spaces for in the anthology.

We didn’t want an open submission for Strangers Among Us because we didn’t want to flood the speculative fiction market with rejected submissions based on a similar theme—mental health/mental illness.

How do you decide who to solicit for stories? What do you look for in a writer before approaching them?

Strangers Among Us is an all-Canadian original anthology. We look for diverse stories–to reflect our wide reading taste—and not the same type of great story over and over again.

Some writers are recommended by other editors, publishers, and writers. Some are based on the writers’ works we have read and we connect with their stories emotionally and/or intellectually. Some are passionate about the subject. Some work in the field or related field. Some write both literary/mainstream and genre fiction. Some write across the categories and genres.

Strangers Among Us looks like a gorgeous book with some stellar contributors. Is the final product what you imagined when you set out to put the anthology together? Did it surprise you in any way?

Thank you for the compliment. Samantha Beiko (Managing Editor of ChiZine Publications and ChiGraphics) did a wonderful job with the cover and interior layout.

The final product is better than what we have imagined because of the writers and people working in the project. The depth of generosity towards this anthology is exceptional. We were surprised by the number of stories we received from writers who had originally gave us a ‘maybe’. So there were more stories than open slots, and it was very tough having to reject some of the stories we loved.

Another surprise was the diversity in how each writer approached the theme and structure. The anthology has a good mixture of established professionals and up-and-coming writers. We even have a first professional fiction sale.

Are there any plans for more anthologies in Laksa Media’s future?

Laksa Media has two speculative fiction anthologies for 2017. Susan and I are back working together on The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, which is a follow-up to Strangers Among Us. This time, we explore the world of caregiving and caregivers.

Derwin Mak and I are co-editing an Asian SF&F anthology, Where The Stars Rise. In addition to solicitations, this anthology is opened for submission until May 31, 2016. Writers, here is your opportunity to send us your stories. (Hint: My taste is eclectic.)

I love short fiction, and I have too many anthology ideas than I have time to do them all. So, I am always on the look-out for anthologists/editors to co-edit with me. I am fleshing out a few ideas for 2018 (I do look that far ahead)—having enough time to do a project well is important to me.

I want to expand into narrative non-fiction, mainstream fiction and other genre (such as noir, mystery and interstitial) anthologies, all related to our mission of bridging subjects (social causes) that aren’t getting enough attention to the written word—paying forward and giving back.

Tell us about your dream project!

Oh, boy… I have too many.

If I have the time and budget, I love to combine art and written word into a unified voice—getting a group of editors, writers, illustrators, songwriters, scriptwriters, filmmakers, playwrights, actors, singers, readers, publishers and teachers into a room and develop a series of fiction and non-fiction books (reluctant readers/children/YA/adult/graphic), comics, plays, films, documentaries, songs and in-between, all related to a single social cause—to showcase experimental/traditional takes, mainstream/genre, and literary/commercial and blur the lines between those ‘so-called’ groups. We have festivals or showcases throughout the year in different cities and towns, rural and remote communities.

I enjoy collaboration and its challenges. Collaboration isn’t easy, but I do believe a miracle can happen when we all work together for a single cause. This aligns with Laksa Media’s tag line: Read for a Cause, Help a Cause, Help a Cause.

Thank you, Lucas!

Lucas K. Law is a Malaysian-born freelance editor, published author, engineering consultant, and business coach who divides his time and heart between Calgary and Qualicum Beach. He had been a jury member for a number of fiction competitions including Nebula, RITA and Golden Heart awards.

When Lucas is not editing, writing or reading, he is a consultant, specializing in mergers and acquisition (M&A) activities, asset evaluations, business planning, and corporate development.

On Your Mark, Get Set…

“Zodiac Run” by Nendil

Aaaaaand, we’re off!

The reading period for the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is now OPEN!

From now until December 20th, 2015 our readers will consider speculative short fiction up to 6000 words for the top prize of $500, with two honourable mentions of $50. ALL ENTRANTS will receive a free ebook of Innsmouth Free Press’s Lovecraftian short story anthology, She Walks in Shadows.

The long-listed stories will be passed to our panel of judges, who choose between them the three winners. We encourage multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, strange submissions – well, for more information on exactly what we want from these submissions, have a look at our guidelines.

All entries must be accompanied by $5 CDN (payable by PayPal). If you would like to enter multiple stories, each entry must be accompanied by its own entry fee. All entry fees will go toward supporting the many activities of the Friends of the Merril Collection at the Toronto Public Library, so don’t be shy! Donations to the Friends can also be made directly here.

To enter, send your submission to fomsscontest@gmail.com, then click the button below to pay your fee. Please make sure the name of the story on your payment matches the story you have submitted to us!

Good luck, everybody!

New Prize Announcement!

Submission for the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest open on Friday – are you ready? Maybe you need a little extra incentive?

nullWe are pleased to announce that Innsmouth Free Press has donated ebook copies of their latest Lovecraftian short story collection, She Walks in Shadows ed. Silvia Moreno Garcia, to all entrants.

That’s right – you don’t even have to place in the contest. Everybody who enters will receive a complimentary e-copy of the anthology when their submission is confirmed. Epub and mobi formats available.

HUGE thanks to Innsmouth Press for their support!

Potential sponsors can contact Charlotte Ashley at fomsscontest@gmail.com for our sponsorship package.

Announcing the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

It’s here, and sooner than you expected! We are very pleased to announce the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is an annual fundraiser and outreach event in support of the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculation at the Toronto Public Library. Writers are encouraged to submit their unpublished speculative short stories (up to 6000 words long) for their chance to win the top prize of $500, or one of two runner-up prizes of $50. Each submission must be accompanied by a donation of $5 CDN – simultaneous and multiple submissions welcome! This year’s reading period will open Friday, September 18th 2015 at noon, and close Sunday, December 20th 2015 at midnight. Winners will be announced at the Friends of the Merril Collection AGM on Thursday, January 28th, 2016. For full submission guidelines, visit our contest rules.

Last year, we saw a wonderful spike in the number of entries submitted by writers all over the globe, and this year we hope to do even better! Watch this space for interviews, success stories, writing tips, and more prizes! We hope you will join us in spreading the word, participating, and helping to support this wonderful institution.

This year’s final judging panel:

Photo courtesy of Dana Putnam.

Hiromi Goto is the award-winning author of many books for youth and adults. Her adult novel, Chorus of Mushrooms was the recipient of the regional Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Award for best first book as well as co-winner of the Japan-Canada Book Award. Her second adult novel, The Kappa Child, was awarded the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Her YA novel, Half World, was winner of the 2010 Sunburst Award and the Carl Brandon Parallax Award and was long-listed for the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award. Her latest YA publication is Darkest Light. Hiromi is also a mentor at Simon Fraser University’s The Writer’s Studio, an editor, and mother of two grown children. She is at work on graphic novels and short stories.

Tanya Huff lives in rural Ontario, Canada with her wife Fiona Patton, two dogs, and, as of last count, nine cats. Her 30 novels and 75 short stories include horror, heroic fantasy, urban fantasy, comedy, and space opera. She’s written four essays for Ben Bella’s pop culture collections and the occasional book review for the Globe and Mail. Her Blood series was turned into the 22 episode BLOOD TIES and writing episode nine allowed her to finally use her degree in Radio & Television Arts. Her next novel will be a new Torin Kerr book, Peacekeepers #1: An Ancient Peace (Oct 2015). Titan UK has recently reprinted the entire Valour series – returning her u’s – as well as The Silvered and the Emporium series. When not writing, she’s learning to play the djembe.

Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel, Signal to Noise, about music, magic and Mexico City, was released in 2015 by Solaris. The Guardian said it is “a magical first novel,” Locus called it “one of the most important fantasy debuts of the year” and Kirkus described it as a “rich, elaborate symphony of awesome that defies simple definitions.” Silvia’s first collection, This Strange Way of Dying, was a finalist for The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Her stories have also been collected in Love & Other Poisons.

Questions? Contact Charlotte Ashley, Contest Administrator, at fomsscontest@gmail.com. Potential sponsors are invited to inquire at this address about our sponsorship package.

The 2014/2015 Winners!

Balloons by kalinatoneva

 

The results have been tallied, and we are proud to announce the winners of this year’s 2014/2015 Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

 

1st Place: “When I’m Old, When I’m Grey” by Andrew Wilmot (Toronto, ON)

Runner-Up: “The Book of Far Mountains” by Ariella Elema (Toronto, ON)

Runner-Up: “Notes on the Magician’s Collection” by Shivaun Hoad (Toronto, ON)

 

Congratulations to the winners as well as the other finalists! We had a wonderful crop of stories this year and final competition was fierce. We hope to see more from all of you in the future!

Thanks to our hard-working judges, Leah Bobet, Julie Czerneda, and Caitlin Sweet as well as our SWAMPED first readers, Claire Humphrey, Tonya Liburd, Kelsi Morris, and Adam Shaftoe! Thanks also to our poster artist Jenn Desmarais, the board of the Friends of the Merril Collection, and of course Lorna Toolis and the staff of the Collection.

Watch this blog for features and interviews with the winners, past FotMSSC “success stories”, reader profiles and more! And of course, check back next fall for details on the 2015/2016 contest!

-Charlotte

Slight Delay!

Delay-trains by artfactotum

Sorry, folks! The judges are still making their decisions, but we’re getting close! We thank you for your patience while we sort through these great stories!

The 2014/2015 Longlist!

Thank you, everybody, for your patience! The semifinal results are now in and the reading team has settled on the finalists in the 2014/2015 Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

The 12 longlisted stories are*:

The Korus Coda
Molly Finder
Up, Up, Up
Blanche’s Last Spike
When I’m Old, When I’m Grey
The Book of Far Mountains
The Cellist
Still Life
Root Mother
Luminous Kingdom
Notes on the Magician’s Collection
One, Two, Three

Responses have gone out to all entrants. If you have not heard from us about your submission, please query! The judging panel will now go over the finalists and decide between them who will take home the top three prizes. Good luck to everyone!

* Author names have been omitted to maintain anonymity. Titles provided for entrants to confirm their submission’s status.

Last Week! Submit!

The Writer by WilloeIsATree

This is it – the final recruitment drive! Submissions for the Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest will close THIS SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14th 2015 @ MIDNIGHT! Full guidelines are here!

Unsurprisingly, the biggest pocket of Merril-love so far is from the local team, with 35% of our submissions coming from Toronto. 48% come from Southern Ontario more generally, and a whopping 75% are from Canadians.

This is wonderful to see, but it is always incredible to get those submissions from abroad: our neighbours to the south, of course (15%), but also from Ireland, England, Spain, India, and Dubai. In January, we had more visitors from India and Malaysia than from all of Europe combined.

And why not? We welcome entries from all over the world. The Friends of the Merril run local events, but the library is a resource open to researchers, students, and queries from anyone, anywhere. Our newsletter, Sol Rising, is available in pdf form here, and contains great articles on the history of science fiction and fantasy literature, interviews and spotlights on internationally-renown authors, staff recommendations, and the opportunity to pick the brain of the Merril’s Collection Head, Lorna Toolis. You can follow the Friends of the Merril on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest library acquisitions, story-identification mysteries, recordings of readings and panels, and more. The library is, after all, a public good, and we want to share its wealth as widely as possible!

So, no matter where you are or where you are from, we hope you’ll consider participating in the contest or just connecting with us. Submissions, queries, and even just comments can be directed to Charlotte Ashley at fomsscontest@gmail.com.

Hope to hear from you soon!