A letter to the Journal

steampunk_style_COMPETITION_GRAPHIC_WINNERI’ve never been a person motivated by wealth or greed. My career has been littered with low pay jobs because I would rather enjoy my job and scrape by than hate my job and get paid well. What I do get a kick out of is helping others. I try to help others as often as I can and most of the time it goes unnoticed. That’s not something I’m too bothered about, though. I don’t help people for the glory, but it’s nice to hear some positive feedback.

You may remember a year ago I ran a competition to win a gorgeous book called Steampunk Style, which I reviewed here: Steampunk Style book review. I asked for submissions in the form of short, steampunk themed stories as I was working in partnership with Titan; the publishers of Steampunk Style. The winner of the Over 18 category was Nemma Wollenfang. She’s a budding author and she recently sent me this letter, informing me of how she’s doing since winning the contest:

“I was fortunate enough to win the over 18 category of your Steampunk Short Story Competition last year. I was beyond happy with this and still am! It was one of my first and biggest writing achievement. I still often go to the associated pages to look. I just wanted to drop you line and tell you briefly how my writing is going. Since your competition I’ve been applying out more often, and now have a number of pieces published or pending publication, or long/shortlisted in competitions. My first short story book (which I contributed one story to) is due out on the 12th July – it’s called ‘Come Into the House’ and includes the top ten writers from the Historic House Short Story Competition 2014. You may also remember me mentioning that my novel was shortlisted last year (the judge of it told me that chapter 1 let it down), well I heard on Friday that my new revised beginning is now on the shortlist for the Retreat West First Chapter competition – the final 10 have now been forwarded to the judging agent who will announce the winner in August. I doubt I’ll win when competing against so many talented others but I’m thrilled that the new beginning works.

The big piece of news that I want to share with you though, is that Clockwork Evangeline, my prize-winning steampunk story 😉 has been accepted into a gothic short story collection. It’s going into an illustrated hardback which will be due out in August (all going well). When I applied I explained about your competition. There’s going to be a footnote but I also included it in my author bio. I used the words: Clockwork Evangeline is Nemma’s prize-winning story. It won first place in the Over 18 category of the Steampunk Style Short Story Competition 2014 run by Steampunk Journal and was published by Titan Books on their website.I hope this is ok and that I didn’t miss anything out.
Your competition has really opened some doors for me. I never would have written Clockwork Evangeline without it and it has proved to be my favourite work of fiction, and while, before, I was looking into expanded it into a longer short story, now I’m aiming for something bigger, but we’ll see how that goes. I still have the beautiful book and the lovely note that came with it – both are a great source of inspiration and encouragement, especially when I receive a particularly hard rejection. Thank you again for choosing my story, and I love the new website.
All the best,
It’s reading letters like this that make all the work I put into the Journal worthwhile. It’s a niche industry, so it’s harder to find stories that fit the criteria for this magazine. I love that a competition that I arranged on my website has managed to open doors for a new author. I wish Nemma the very best in all her endeavours and I’m sure the whole steampunk community will be behind me in supporting her throughout her career.

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