In the latest G&S newsletter, Ro Pardoe announces a third opportunity for you to craft a story based around one of the classic tales of M.R. James. I'm pleased to be able to reproduce Ro's announcement in full, as she's much better at the detailed stuff than I am. So take it away Ro...
I'm very pleased to say that The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows Volume Two has proved to be just as successful as Volume One, and it was already out of print by the beginning of December. So Sarob's Robert Morgan and I have agreed to go ahead with a third volume to complete the sequence and include prequels and sequels to some (hopefully all) of those M.R. James stories which were not covered in the first two collections. Admittedly it could be a problem in that there are only a limited number of MRJ stories remaining - twelve to be precise - but I think there are still plenty of possibilities (still no one has attempted to explain what was going on in "An Evening's Entertainment"!), and even now I know some of you have started working on or thinking about submissions (I've already accepted one!). So here's the full list for you to take your pick from:
"The Rose Garden"
"The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral"
"An Episode of Cathedral History"
"A View from a Hill"
"A Warning to the Curious"
"An Evening's Entertainment"
"There was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard"
"The Fenstanton Witch"
You may be wondering about the inclusion of "The Fenstanton Witch". This isn't among the stories published in, or just after, MRJ's lifetime, and is sometimes listed with the unfinished drafts. But unlike the rest of those (with the exception of the comic "A Night in King's College Chapel") it is a completed story, just one which MRJ never really polished to his own satisfaction.
The deadline for submissions to the third Book of Shadows is December 31st. Send them to me preferably in the form of a Word or RichText e-mail attachment (or in the body of an e-mail or on a CD-ROM), but typed hard-copy is acceptable too. As ever (to repeat the rules for the other two volumes): "any submission which is just a revamp or parody of the plot of the chosen story is unlikely to be selected. I'm looking for something more original than that, and, indeed, there is no rule that a story has to be in the James tradition itself. I will not look kindly on entries that have been simultaneously submitted elsewhere. The word count is entirely up to you (within reason!). You can submit more than one story if you like."
The current plan is for the book to be published around the middle of 2016. Last issue I mentioned the idea of also including prequels and sequels inspired by some of MRJ's other works such as The Five Jars, Abbeys, The Apocryphal New Testament and Suffolk and Norfolk. I haven't made a final decision on this, but I'm open to the possibility, especially in relation to The Five Jars (you'll remember that MRJ himself was considering a sequel at one point). So if you have something you'd like to do along these lines, contact me and we'll discuss it.