I admit, when I started submitting my short stories again last year, I had forgotten about the Writers of the Future Contest. (Which is a real shame, as it’s one of the most important contests out there for speculative fiction!) I stumbled across a reminder towards the end of the year, so I submitted “Everapple.” And this week I received an email with the results:
Silver Honorable Mention!
I’ve managed the Honorable Mention mark in the past, and I congratulated myself on that achievement. (And, don’t get me wrong – it IS an achievement!) But to get one step higher this time? I’m ecstatic. That lets me know my writing IS improving. And it gives me a drive to keep refining my craft.
But the big lesson? Never, ever stop. And never give up hope on yourself.
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As always, Ms. Clare’s ability to transport you back to the world of Victorian England is unparalleled. The details of the clothing, food, and architecture set the perfect backdrop, and you don’t even question the overlay of the Shadowhunter world. The nod to Jack the Ripper was clever, as well, with enough differentiation to keep the book apart and unique. And the ins and outs and intrigue of the social situations? Perfect for the setting – if somewhat tedious at times. (It’s understandable for this setting, but there are times where it bogs down the action and becomes cyclic – and that includes the final chapter) And while the plot lacked a dramatic twist – sorry, Ms. Clare, but I saw the direction you were heading from almost the beginning – it felt satisfactory in its own way. My interest lay in seeing the first threads laid down for “later” volumes in the greater Shadowhunter tapestry. And while a true fan of the series knows what comes next, it’s fascinating to see everything from a fresh perspective.
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