Book Release: Spectra

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spectra-frontcoversmlA monstrous child is born from the ground where a building fell. And the child is hungry…
A gladiator must make the ultimate choice, between freedom or friendship…
Deep in the heart of Brazil’s desert forest, the world’s rarest parrot is kidnapped by smugglers…

The Christchurch Writers’ Guild are pleased to announce the release of their second anthology, entitled Spectra: with all the different stories in the world begging to be told and all the genres and styles available for telling them, any community of writers is going to produce a spectra of stories. There is something for everyone in this collection of short fiction and poetry showcasing the interests and talents of members of the Christchurch Writers’ Guild.

Authors include: Shelley Chappell, Beaulah Pragg, J.L. O’Rourke, Kevin Berry, Ami Hart, Matty Angel, Jean Flannery, Jonathan Kingston-Smith, Mia Andrews, Philippa Drayton, Chris Visagee, Sille Mannion, and Angela Oliver.

Spectra is available on Amazon, in both ebook and paperback format. We will be creating a bulk order from Amazon in early February; if you are interested in purchasing a copy/copies, please drop us a line.

Special thanks to Kura Carpenter for designing the cover, and also to Philippa Drayton, Jenner Lichtwark and Shelley Chappell, for helping with the editing. Formatting was done by Angela Oliver.

Lucifer Seraphina gives Spectra her purr of approval.

Writing Fairy Tales

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(A Guest Post by Shelley Chappell)

southernstarRecently I put out a call for submissions for an anthology of radical retellings of fairy tales for young adult readers. I’ve always loved fairy tales and I released my own collection of novelette-length retellings, Beyond the Briar, back in 2014, followed by some shorter fairy tale retellings. I’m keen to see what other writers might do with fairy tale retellings and, in particular, to gather together fairy tale retellings by Southern writers – citizens or residents of New Zealand, Australia or a South Pacific island – and explore what synergy we can create in our retellings.

Wish Upon a Southern Star will be a collection of quirky and profound reinterpretations of our favourite tales. The contributors will all be citizens or residents of New Zealand, Australia or a South Pacific island. The stories will each retell a single fairy tale, which may be from the European fairy tale canon or a lesser known original (including non-European fairy tales). I’m really looking forward to reading the submissions and selecting some thought-provoking stories for fairy tale fans to read.

As many writers have never experimented with fairy tale retelling, my fellow writers at the Christchurch Writers’ Guild have asked me to share what I know about fairy tales and my suggestions of how to rewrite them. My recent blog series covers this subject in depth, tracing why I love fairy tales, what fairy tales are, the history of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, fairy tale critics, approaches to fairy tale retellings and a writing exercise on how to radically retell fairy tales. But that’s a lot of reading! For those of you who just want a quick overview as you’re chomping to get started, here are the essentials:

What is a fairy tale?
A fairy tale is a kind of folk tale which takes place in a magical, other realm, contains archetypal characters, repeated motifs, and a plot structure involving journeys or quests, tests, magical help, transformations, punishments and rewards.

What’s important about the history of fairy tales?
Fairy tales have been around for thousands of years but they took on a new lease of life with the writings of the French around the turn of the seventeenth century followed by a range of collectors and writers in the nineteenth century, including the Grimms, Hans Christian Andersen, and Andrew Lang. To retell fairy tales, you have to know the originals. You can read a huge range of fairy tales from around the world online.

How do you retell one?
Fairy tale retellings can be standard and close to the original or they can be radically different or ‘fractured’. How radical or fractured a fairy tale retelling is depends on how many of the key elements are changed – characters and their roles and motivations; settings; plot events; motifs and objects; genre; narrative perspective; themes and messages. If you want to write a radically retold fairy tale, you’ll need to work out how and why you want to change each of these elements – what you want to keep (so that the fairy tale is still recognisable) and what you want to transform.

If you’d like to contribute to Wish Upon a Southern Star, please read the details in the Call for submissions and contact me if you have any queries. I can be reached on my Facebook page, my website, or by emailing Happy writing!

once upon a time closeShelley Chappell wrote her PhD on the motif of fantastic metamorphosis in children’s and young adult fantasy literature and has taught literary analysis at a variety of institutions. In her spare time, Shelley writes fairy tales and other fantasy fiction for all ages. She is the author of BEYOND THE BRIAR: A COLLECTION OF ROMANTIC FAIRY TALES.

Spectra: Our New Anthology

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The Christchurch Writers’ Guild are seeking submissions for our next anthology. Spectra will be a collection of stories, poems and images all showing The Many Shades of Life.

“The world is not black and white; it’s filled with colour.”

What we are looking for:
We are looking for flash fiction, poems, short stories, creative non-fiction and illustrations from a wide range of genres.

  • Short Stories up to 7000 words. Polished and engaging stories. All stories should be self-contained.
  • Flash Fiction, up to 2000 words. Remember flash fiction is a slice of life, presenting an interesting and compelling story.
  • Poetry. All forms will be considered: metered and unmetered; traditional and experimental.
  • Creative Non-Fiction. Tell us that anecdote and tell it well. Word count limits are the same as short stories and flash fiction.
  • Illustrations. Many writers are also talented artists, so we welcome these submissions too. Please ensure that all illustrations render well in black-and-white; however, we will accept colour images for digital publications. High resolution images are required for printing.

What we are NOT looking for:

  • Please no explicit sexual content or violence.
  • Any swearing must be story appropriate. NOT gratuitous.

Formatting and Submissions:
All submissions should:

  • use UK English spelling,
  • be proof-read and grammar checked,
  • use single spacing after full stops (periods),
  • and double quote marks around speech.

Stories should be in TXT, RTF or DOC format. Illustrations should be in JPG or PNG format. DO NOT SEND PDF FILES.

Please email all submissions to:

Submissions close: 1st June, 2016

We reserve the right to reject your submission, or request an edit.


No remuneration can be given for works included in this anthology (i.e. we cannot pay you). All participants will be given a free digital copy and offered reduced rates for printed copies. Each works included will remain the intellectual property of the writer/illustrator.

All proceeds go to the Christchurch Writers’ Guild.

Last updated: Jan 17, 2016