I may have been lazy recently but in November I submitted to four writing competitions. Still waiting for the results of three but I was very pleased to be a runner up in the November Darker Times short story competition.
You can see my story here http://www.darkertimes.co.uk/winners/ss-runner-up-2-nov-2012/ss-runner-up-3-nov-2012.aspx
No prize, but it's published on their site and will be published in a print and e-book Anthology early next year.
What I'm most pleased about is finally finding a home for a rather odd little story. It's historical, but not of interest to most outlets for historical fiction. It's got its horrific parts, but not enough to be of interest to most horror readers.
My poor little waif and stray of a tale found a home eventually with Darker Times. Take a look at their website for some very interesting fiction and poetry that goes beyond the classic horror genre. All they ask is that it is 'darker' in some way, not necessarily horror, and it's encouraging to find somewhere that isn't trying to place writing in a little restricted box.
My story? This was inspired by an exercise on research for the Open University A363 creative writing course. Ratcatchers was one of a list of topics we were sent off on a hunt about, and I ended up in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Labour_and_the_London_Poor, increasingly horrified at the anecdotes of these Victorian ratcatchers, and determined to make a story out of it all. Spot Mr Jack Black and his belt on that Wiki page? (image below) That sure grabbed me straight away.
I've taken it a stage further and ended up with a radio play, using this short story as the subplot in a story, about a grandfather talking to a grandson who is about to leave for France in WW1.
If you are lost for inspiration then Mayhew's book - text available online - is a fantastic resource, full of the lives, work, worries, concerns, problems, crimes, families, joys, and triumphs of ordinary people often in what seems to us now, very bizarre situations. Whether you want to write historical fiction, or want to work these ideas into sci-fi, young adult, crime, thriller, romance...there's a huge amount to help trigger off your own muse.
Portrait of Jack Black