Attention first time and established horror writers – we’ve got a competition that you can really get your teeth into.

Red Rattle Books has joined forces with Spooky Isles to put together a book of new vampire fiction and we’re looking for contributions.

Here’s what Howard Jackson, the editor of Red Rattle Books, says about the competition:

” ‘My revenge is just begun.   I spread it over centuries and time is on my side.’

Whatever his faults, no one can accuse Dracula of lacking confidence and self-belief.  He was right, of course. Their bashfulness has led many to assume that vampires do not exist but what the doubters forget is the worldwide phenomenon that is the vampire legend.   They dominate our rumours everywhere.   The novel by Bram Stoker has been translated into 44 languages, and Dracula is the most filmed character after Sherlock Holmes.

In ‘The Gothic’ by David Punter and Glennis Byron, there are listed towards the end of the book the themes that the authors think define gothic horror.  In that list, there is only one character that justifies a theme.  It is the vampire.    His rivals are collected under the heading monster.  The vampire stands alone.

Those persuaded to dismiss the authors as partial should think about what constitutes gothic fiction. Punter and Byron provide a list.  This is it, amended a little by me – creepy castle, the monster, persecution and paranoia, physical desire, magic, the strange and exotic, violence and abuse, hallucinations and dreams, death and the graveyard, narcotics and addiction, courage or heroism, religious faith and superstition, transgression and physical and mental decay.  All are featured in the novel by Bram Stoker, and, since the Stoker novel appeared, the vampire has taken alternative forms.  So, with that scope, the time is right for writers to think about the opportunities within gothic fiction and the vampire tradition.

But why is the Gothic important?  Well, the Enlightenment weighs heavily on us all, the belief that the world is within human understanding.  Van Helsing may have been practical but he also insisted on Gothic reality, that what limited understanding we have is always outweighed by our incomprehension.   Inadequacy needs to be shared and a good vampire story helps.”

Entry details:

  • Stories can vary in length but should contain no more than 6000 words and no less than 2000 words.
  • They should be typed in Word and submitted electronically to Howard Jackson, the editor at Red Rattle Books,  editor@redrattlebooks.co.uk
  • The best stories will be published in a new collection of Gothic tales called “Dracula’s Midnight Snacks”.
  • This will be published by Red Rattle Books in 2013.
  • The authors of the stories selected for publication will each receive 4 free copies of ‘Dracula’s Midnight Snacks.’ Entries should be submitted before Sunday, 31st March, 2013, 5pm (UK time).
  • Dracula’s Midnight Snacks’ will be launched in London in June by Spooky Isles and Red Rattle Books.
  • Successful authors will be notified that their story will be included in ‘Dracula’s Midnight Snacks’ and they will be invited to the launch in London in May.
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