A Liverpool Tour Company have launched a Short Story competition. Haunted Liverpool Ghost Walks are inviting submissions to writers who enjoy writing chilling tales. ‘Haunted Liverpool Ghost Walks in association with Freshfields Animal Rescue in Liverpool run weekly Ghost Tours as well as a variety of Paranormal events. The stories in the Ghost Tours are taken directly from Tom Slemen’s Haunted Liverpool books. Tom has very kindly agreed to sponsor the competition and is one of the most popular authors in Liverpool,’ explained Jan Robinson. ‘Every time we run a Ghost Tour, or event, people inevitably tell me about their ghostly experiences and in the last two years I’ve heard stories that have chilled me to the bone and we thought it would be a good idea to give people an opportunity to tell their Ghost story.’
Although expecting to be terrified, there is a charitable side to the competition. ‘We are very keen to further the work of Freshfields Animal Rescue by publicising the competition and the Ghost Walks as all profits from the Ghost Walks go directly to Freshfields Animal Rescue. I also want to promote a competition which will give people the opportunity to use their English skills and write a story they can be proud of.’
So what are the rules of the competition and, importantly, the prizes? ‘The competition is open to anyone aged sixteen or over , submitted by E-mail in Word or Adobe Acrobat, and we’re looking for a well rounded story with a beginning, middle and end. A strong opening paragraph will get the readers attention and a well paced plot leaves no “loose ends”. The story could be set in a ‘Haunted City’. I can imagine a ghostly gondolier in Venice, or a ghostly gladiator in the Coliseum who has come back to seek revenge, so an atmospheric scene is important that should also include all the senses. Ghosts often appear accompanied by a sickly sweet smell of violets; a scary sound; a sense of chilling cold or burning heat. Finally, I’m looking for an original and imaginative story which will keep my attention and give me something to think about when I’ve finished reading it. The competition costs £5 to enter with all fees going to Freshfields. First prize is a £50.00 Amazon Gift Voucher, second two places on Haunted Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter Tour and third will be two Ghost Story books written by Tom Slemen. The closing date is May 28th, 2010, and stories should be no longer than 2,500 words. Full submission details are available on the Ghost Walks Website, where the winning entries will also be published.’
Jan became involved with Freshfields, which opened over 30 years ago at East Lodge Farm, Ince Blundell, Liverpool, through personal experience. ‘I’d adopted a dog from Freshfields some years ago and when she died I took her food, lead and basket to the Rescue. I started helping in a small way with some fund raising and my husband became a dog walking volunteer. I also got to know a Lurcher, Fred, who had been abused to the point where he was almost feral by nature and ‘shut down’ when it came to interacting with human beings. The only way he connected was by being aggressive and attacking anyone who came near him. I’m happy to say that my husband and I have worked with Fred for the last four years and have now adopted him. His true nature is that of a chilled out lazy character and he’s completely happy and settled with us. His background means he’ll never be 100% trustworthy and it’s our responsibility to acknowledge that and never put him in a situation which could set him back.’
What is it about Ghost Stories Jan finds so exhilarating? ‘I think the most exciting thing about Ghost Stories is the fact that many of them are based on fact and they could be true. The more I witness the more I think that there is a force for good and a force for evil and the battle is played out by humans on the earth. Since we started the Ghost Tours in 2008 I’ve become very aware that there is definitely more to this world than we know,’ Jan said.
For full rules and details of how to submit, go to www.ghostwalks.org OR www.freshfieldsrescue.org.uk and click on competitions.