In spring 2013 I visited the entrancing city of Istanbul with my parents. I instantly fell in love with this exotic and history-drenched city. I was less enamoured by the hustling carpet salesmen, but managed to return home without a Turkish rug under my arm.

We explored as much of old Istanbul as we could in the three brief days we had there, including visits to the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and a quick sidle through the overwhelming riches of Topkapi Palace. We ate splendidly, drank surprisingly well, and enjoyed (nearly) all our encounters with the people of Istanbul (the aforementioned carpet salesmen being, of course, the exception. And how come they all had Melbourne accents? my Aussie stepmother asked indignantly.)

But the place that lingered in my imagination long after the trip was over was the mesmerising Grand Bazaar. I was haunted by this souk of a thousand stalls, and still recall in vibrant detail the highly scented adventure of getting lost for a couple of hours in its numberless arcades.

That experience inspired a very short fantasy story I called Grand Bazaar. It is well under 500 words, but I lavished more care and attention on this story than other projects much longer. There is just the teeniest suggestion of something untoward, something eldritch, in the tale. But much as I loved it, no editor I submitted it to reciprocated my passion.

Until yesterday, that is. I slightly adapted Grand Bazaar (the merest soupçon of change, I assure you) to fit a Young Adult audience as per the submission requirements, and sent it off to Horrified Press’ Sinister Saints horror imprint. And they took it in less than 24 hours, for their upcoming flash fiction anthology, In A Flash. 

Just goes to show you need to keep a broad view and open mind in this writing business. And add just a soupçon of horror to the fantasy …

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5 thoughts on “A Touch of the Sinister

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