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Taking Submissions: And the walls Came Crashing Down
September 1, 2021
Deadline: September 1st, 2021
Theme: Stories taking place at the Rangeley Park which all of the details are below.
There’s hardly a mansion in New England that’s been spared the aesthetic travesty wrought by the march of time. Ivy carpets stone; paint peels and shingles crack. And weeds force asunder the masonry. No longer home to families who command pocketbooks big enough for their upkeep or who can afford to house and employ a cadre of servants, the stately old homes of centuries past, the pride of the towns in which they sat, a beacon of wealth and power, today stand abandoned and in ruins. Or, worse still, have been crudely apportioned into apartments, populated by drunken students with no regard for the lifetime of attention and energy countless maids, who must surely now lie spinning in their graves, dedicated to keeping their rooms spic-and-span. In other cases, it is not educated men who hold the world in their fingertips who tread the squeaky floorboards of stately parlors, once symposiums that rivaled Socrates’ himself, but dentists, who encourage their patients to spit in the open, utterly in contrast with the rules of social decorum.
Perhaps more lucky are the homes that don’t have to live with the indignity of such decay, but which burned down long ago. Now nothing more than stone-walled skeletons of their former selves, they ensnare the imagination and seem to command a much more romantic aura than their subdivided architectural brethren. Their charred remains engender, not pity, but compassion for tragedy. One cannot help but try to complete the picture of the house that once stood, or imagine the people who must have inhabited it. Were they, those lucky few who lived with such luxury, content? Or did they crack under the pressure and despair of maintaining their station. What of the agony of those whose passions lay with someone or something thought unbecoming their stations?
Such a setting befits a variety of stories. And the Walls Came Crashing Down will tell them.
This is to be a conceptual short story anthology. We’re giving you the setting and the main characters. And we’re asking you to write us a story about the lives they, their staff and visitors may have lived.
Rangeley Park is a sprawling country estate. The house, an impressive brick mansion built in the federal style, sits atop a hill and looks over gently sloping lawns, which gradually fade into the woods that surround the house. Stables and horse-racing paddocks–a great hobby of the patriarch’s–dominate the lawns in front of the house. Behind, there is a formal garden, along with a large conservatory and several vegetable gardens. And scattered in the woods behind the house lie several outbuildings, including a guesthouse, a carriage house, and a hunting lodge, which is rented out seasonally. Some half-mile behind the house lies Echo Lake, which is kept well stocked with fish and is suitable for pleasure-boating.
Rangeley Park is home to the Fullers, whose fortune comes from a highly profitable textile business, headquartered in Boston’s Old Port.
Christopher Fuller, aged 53, is the master of the household. His elderly parents, Rosamund (73)and Frederick (78), also reside in the house and have ever since Christopher took full control of the business following his father’s retirement some 15 years ago. He is a quiet and observant man, who observes everyone around him closely and bides is time. He is successful in business and always gets what he wants.
Emmeline Fuller, aged 23, is married to Christopher. A celebrated beauty, her marriage was nonetheless controversial, not just because she comes from neither money nor breeding, but because she and her husband were married only eight months after the funeral of his first-wife, Callista. She passed away at the age of 48 from what the doctor claimed were complications of heart disease. Emmeline is a quiet and genuinely kind person.
She is the mother of Thomas Fuller, aged 11 months.
Christopher has three children from his first marriage:
Christopher, Jr., aged 28, who helps run the business. He has a quick temper and a suspicious mind.
Lily, aged 17, who has her mother’s complexion and tendency towards fits. She has been passed between boarding schools, ultimately being asked to leave each, and now resides at her father’s house.
Brandon, aged 11, an intelligent child who has an overactive imagination and is easily scared.
We’re looking for submissions about stories about the Fuller family and feature one or more of the following rooms in Rangeley Park:
The Guest House, The Library, The Wine Cellar, The Drawing Room, The Carriage House, The Dining Room, The Servants’ Quarters, The Guest Room, The Attic, The Master Bedroom, The Basement, The Grounds, The Kitchen, The Gate House, The Parlor, The Boat House, The Nursery, The Stables, The Machine Shop, The Hunting Lodge, The Conservatory, The Arboretum.
The Fullers should roughly fit the descriptions above, but you’re free to invent any ancillary characters you wish.. Maybe a doctor who lingers a little too long in the room of the lady of the house. Maybe a servant who gets caught once too often with her ear to a keyhole. Maybe a wandering drifter who camps out in the woods and is witness to some social impropriety.
Please include a cover letter with your submission and include which room your story features. The final anthology will be be organized around different rooms in the house.
Word Limit: 6,000 words
Compensation: flat $15 fee upon publication, plus a digital copy of the anthology.
Format: We will accept short-form fiction any way you want to write it. This can include poetry, flash fiction or short stories.
We’re particularly interested in the subversion of form. We don’t care about hard and fast rules, so don’t worry too much about formatting. If you feel its good, chances are that shines through in the writing. And we want to read it.
Genre: Anything that’s dark, creepy, weird and just a little off-kilter. We’re open to genre fiction, particularly anything related to horror, science-fiction, speculative fiction or weird fiction. But we’re also interested in anything that twists or subverts these genres in some unexpected way.
Publishing Rights: We claim First North American Serial Rights for all accepted submissions. After publication, rights revert back to the author.
Submissions Close: September 1, 2021
Please note: All acceptance decisions will be made following the close of the submissions period.
Ready to submit?
Via: Input Output Enterprises.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!