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Voting Deadline Approaching

As you may know, Inner Circle Writers' Group anthologies each have a competition, in which the readers vote for the best story or poem in each volume. The author of that piece is then offered an opportunity to publish a collection of his or her work with Clarendon House Publications — upon which royalties will be paid. Accepted writers and poets therefore have a path to becoming paid writers and poets. As of this writing, eight authors have taken this route and had their own books published by Clarendon House: Peter Astle, Gabriella Balcom, David Bowmore, Emily Fluke, Sharon Frame Gay, R. A. Goli, Elizabeth Montague and P. A. O’Neil. All have received royalties from sales of their books. You can find their collections available as paperbacks or Kindle versions on the Clarendon House website.

But due to various events in 2020, the competition became backlogged and there are still five anthologies which haven’t yet had winners decided! These are listed below.

The deadline for votes is February 15th.

If you’d like to vote, simply select your TOP THREE stories from each of the books and email me at I will then calculate the winners and inform those lucky authors that they are entitled to a book contract!

Here are the outstanding books — outstanding in terms of quality and because they haven’t been voted on yet!

The word ‘literary’ is defined as ‘concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form’. That’s important. When dealing with literary fiction, we are looking for something beyond the tropes, templates, recurring images and themes of genre fiction — we’re looking for connections we wouldn’t normally expect, dimensions we hadn’t thought of ourselves, and resonances which strike us as unique and beautiful. This is what this book is full of: from the poetic to the sardonic, from the beautiful to the tragic, we have here a collection that holds up the mirror to human nature and the world in which it finds itself. It’s unlikely that you will put this book down unchanged.

Featuring the work of Mehreen Ahmed, Warren Alexander, Diane Arrelle, Gary Bonn, Helen Bosworth, David Bowmore, Steve Carr, RLM Cooper, Dawn DeBraal, Ximena Escobar, María J. Estrada, David Estringel, Kelli J. Gavin, Sharon Frame Gay, Jill Kiesow, Shawn M. Klimek, Mark Kodama, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Giuseppina Marino Leyland, Silvana McGuire, Elizabeth Montague, Eamon O’Leary, J. H. O’Rourke, A. L. Paradiso, Seth Pilevsky, Richard Rebel, Copper Rose, Andrew Scobie, Jay Shepherd, Z.D.W. Smith, C. L. Steele, H. P. Thornton, Peter Toeg, Matias Travieso-Diaz, and Pam Van Allen.

It’s possible to get quite philosophical about the growth of the detective or mystery thriller in modern culture, paralleling as it does the rise of the perception of rational deduction as the key to salvation. The detective becomes the archetype of the Wise Old Figure, the one who sees through the chaotic fog of events and whose wisdom pierces the mystery to its core. In this volume, you’ll see many variations of that, and much more: you’ll be amused by the viewpoint of a criminal henchman, weaving his way through the world of secret agents and worldwide conspiracies, enthralled by the careful piecing together of clues in deserts and cities around the globe, and thrilled by atmospheric tales of dark doings and their detection, by authors new and established.

Featuring the work of Diane Arrelle, Carmen Baca, Scott Bell, Wes Blalock, David Bowmore, Steve Carr, RLM Cooper, Ben Fine, Kelli J. Gavin, Sharon Frame Gay, Marlon S. Hayes, Frank Kozusko, A.J. Lawdring, Umair Mirxa, Sam M. Phillips, Richard Rebel, Andrew Scobie, Susanne Thomas and L. T. Waterson.

C. S. Lewis once wrote: ‘Where the children’s story is simply the right form for what the author has to say, then of course readers who want to hear that, will read the story or re-read it, at any age… I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.’ (Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories) This holds very true for the stories (and poems) in this marvellous collection — they have found their right form, and can be read with enjoyment from anyone aged 8 upwards.

Featuring the work of Jim Bates, Brandy Bonifas, Steve Carr, A. S. Charly, Dawn DeBraal, Kelli J. Gavin, J. W. Garrett, Joan Herr, Kerri Jesmer, Denise Johnson, Nerisha Kemraj, Shawn M. Klimek, A. J. Lawdring, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Sandra Nguyen, Sam M. Phillips, Richard Prime, Michal Reiben, C. L. Steele, Susanne Thomas, L. T. Waterson and C. L. Williams.

A Christian story is in one sense similar to the vast majority of stories in general, in that it plunges the reader into a vacuum, an abyss of suspense, mystery, moral questions and meaning, only to lead them through the labyrinth to emerge fresh into the light. What makes it peculiarly Christian, then, must be something else — probably the hint that that familiar arc from light to darkness and back to light isn’t just a fictive construction but a reflection of an absolute pattern that lies at the heart of all worlds. Not all these tales reflect that pattern in obvious ways; some hardly do so at all. But as a collection, they act like a collective mirror, showing you, the reader, the human face that —possibly—looks back at you from the core of everything.

Featuring the work of Carmen Baca, Gabriella Balcom, Gary Bonn, Steve Carr, Liz Cavanaugh, Denise D’Souza, Samantha Hamilton, Heather Hood, Hugh Honea, Eamon O’Leary, A.J. Lawdring, James Lipson, L. T. Waterson and J. W. Wilkinson.

If you picked up this book expecting it to be full of the standard ‘romance’ tale revolving around two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship, then you might be surprised. While these stories are often directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, and many have the emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending common to the genre, there are also many examples within of new and fresh approaches to the whole topic of romance — some comic, some tragic, some to do with love at first sight, others to do with romance towards the end of life. It’s a special collection of delightfully written and well-crafted fiction, featuring the work of Gabriella Balcom, Jim Bates, Gary Bonn, Elizabeth Brown, Steve Carr, A.S. Charly, RLM Cooper, Francis Currier, Dawn DeBraal, Kelli J. Gavin, Marlon Hayes, Heather Hood, Mark Kodama, A.J. Lawdring, Catherine Lee, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Giuseppina Marino Leyland, Madeleine McDonald, Silvana McGuire, Andrew Paradiso, Kari Pohar, Richard Prime, Trisha Ridinger McKee, C.L. Steele, and L.T. Waterson.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to receiving your votes before February 15th!


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