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The Cheshire Prize for Literature and More

The University of Chester each year holds a literary competition that attracts entries from writers from across the world, The High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.    The competition is open to everyone, wherever they now live, who has ever lived or worked in that area. The first prize is £2,000 and secondary prizes to a total of £750 can be awarded at the judges’ discretion.

I have entered the competition many times and never heard back other than to receive an invite to enter the next year’s competition.  2015’s competition differed, for me, in that two months after the winners were announced I received an invitation to submit my story to an anthology of the entries considered worthy by the judges. I was only too pleased to be included.

The anthology, called Patches of Light, contains the winning story and runners up along with 17 others from the total of 226 stories entered. So I can claim I reached the top 10% in the Judges’ estimation.  So at least I did get somewhere this time. Beyond that I was invited to the 6th July launch of Patches of Light at Chester University and went there with Irene, my wife. We were joined author Priya Sharma who came along as support. Priya has reported on the launch here.

Before the 2016 winner, Pauline Brown, read out her story, Tick Tock, four of the other contributors, chosen by lot, were given the opportunity to read from their own entries. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity but forgot to read out my story’s title, Hall Queen. I’m not sure what the audience made of that as the title was important to the section I read out. Too late to worry now.

Patches of Light is edited by Dr Ian Seed of the University of Chester and published in print and ebook form by the university press. It contains 21 short stories and each one has a maximum length of 1500 words.

patches 12a

Yes it has been slightly photoshopped.

 

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The presentation by the actual High Sheriff herself, Mrs K H Cowell OBE DL, on 6 July 2016.

That same month my poem ‘Farming the Wind‘ was published in print in Shooter Literary Magazine‘s technology issue. Note that word ‘literary’. Who would have thought…

That word ‘poem’ associated with my name always makes me uncomfortable.  Poem and poet have so many literary connotations that I don’t feel apply to me or my efforts. Incidentally there is another Roy Gray publishing poetry on the internet and it is X rated so be careful what you search for. So far my attempts at poems are very chaste.

 

So once again 20 years after my first poetic triumph I am a paid and published poet.

Finally in this post I can announce that my short story ‘Applied Cosmology‘ was published in Kraxon Magazine at the very end of July. It is free to read online here. It is all of 1000 words and probably was posted 1st of August but I got the news and the proof in July.

 

 

The Joy of Technology

Cover by Ben Baldwin
Cover by Ben Baldwin

by Roy Gray

I’m Roy Gray, and I wrote The Joy of Technology, you can see the cover above. In a technical sense, it’s rude and explicit—but, being science fiction (SF) there’s insufficient flesh-to-flesh contact to worry anyone.

There’s nothing new or different about a short story turned e-book or E book collections of short stories be they rather rude, somewhat explicit or otherwise.  The Joy of Technology Ebook is all of those plus more.

Originally a short story The Joy of Technology was published as a ‘chapbook’ by Pendragon Press in 2011. Now I’ve converted it into an e book and added the ‘DVD extras’ though, of course, there is no DVD with any downloadable e book – including this one.
Is it fiction or non-fiction? Is it a short story collection or a novel containing short stories? Is it all of those or none of those? Yes I think it is.

An important aspect of ‘creative writing’ is most of it never gets published and, while the proportions of published to unpublished may have changed with the advent of e books, blogs and social networks, I suspect that remains true. For every author who can make a success of their ‘shopping list’ there are hundreds who languish unknown, unread and unpublished.

I sit somewhere in that range, too close to the unknown pole for comfort, but at least someone found some of my work of value.

The Joy of Technology  was one of my few successes and now it’s a self published ebook. This blog is one of my ways of telling you about that e book version.

One further warning to ensure that readers are not misled about the nature of the story.
It was not written with any intention to offend anyone but the sexually explicit portions and language may have that effect. If you are likely to be offended by this type of material it would be wise to avoid going further.

I will try to keep this site completely inoffensive but remember offense is in the eye of the beholder. I have tried to ensure the free samples of the ebook do not contain any particularly ‘adult’ material.

I will be sorry if anyone buys Joy and then feels that the currency, time and/or effort they spent obtaining it was wasted. I would, of course, be even sorrier should any of those who then go on to read it feel the same. Either way one consolation may be that the single story The Joy of Technology that headlines the ebook is reasonably short and represents a larger proportion of author’s time than it does the reader’s.
The ‘DVD Extras’ also contain scenes, scenarios and language that may be objectionable to some readers. Again, if this is likely to offend you, do not download.

E book links itunes books, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk so far.