Shadowland is the latest release in the Box Under the Bed horror anthology series, compiled and edited by bestselling author Dan Allatorre. Pick up any of the anthologies in this series and the reader will not be disappointed, but the collection of tales featured in Shadowland may have outdone those which came before. From the creative minds of Dan Alatorre, Betty Valentine, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Christine Valentor, Jessica Bakkers, MD Walker, and Alison Marushka, each story is creatively crafted to fit into the premise of the anthology as a whole, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fit precisely to do their part in the creation of the picture as a whole. This anthology has the potential to be made into a television series, with each individual story becoming a single, or even multiple episodes.
The mysterious and eccentric Dr. Aumental teaches a very special class, where students are excused from their other classes and sent on all expense paid travels to research dark folklore and legends as subjects for their term papers. The research takes students to the far reaches of the globe, searching for the truth about voodoo magic, demons, spirits of the dead, the cave dwelling Hojimaa, Hookman mythology, the monster under the bed, phantom cannibals, the Jersey Devil, and more. Any legend lurking in the shadows is fair game for the investigative skills of Dr. Aumental’s selected students. Certainly, this class must produce some very unique term papers, but why does the professor go to such lengths and what does he do with the information they contain?
Each of the dark tales in Shadowland easily stands alone on its own merit. Together, they form an anthology collection that goes beyond a common theme to help fulfill an overall premise that leaves itself open to endless possibilities. I give this horror anthology five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.
We’re just like the fish; we don’t know what water is. But the element in which we swim, the element that is impossible for us to recognize, is stress.
You may think you know you’re stressed. This isn’t the kind of stress I’m talking about. We have become denizens of a culture that is actually a Torture Machine. It drives us insane by presenting demands so complex as to be impossible to achieve. Every day, it issues orders to our nervous systems. Turn on your left blinker. Pay your insurance premium. Pick up your kids’ school uniforms. Don’t forget the doctor’s appointment. Where’d you put the McFarland file? Where are the paper clips? Why is this milk sour? Screw it; not worth my time, flush it down the sink. Are the dogs’ vaccinations up to date?
Do I have the receipts for my tax audit?
Why am I always left with the feeling that I’ve forgotten to do a homework assignment? Who is this screaming at me, right next to my ear so that it hurts?
The Antifa people are scurvy hippies. Our government is letting people steal on a massive scale. My bank account only exists long enough for the auto-payments to hit, and it’s gone and I’ve got nothing left to spend.
I think I’m going crazy. I don’t have any sexual desire at all. The last time I felt truly alive was… when? Have I ever felt truly alive? I truly don’t think so.
There’s nothing to look forward to. My old age will merely be a time when insurance machines squeeze the remaining dollars from my estate, leaving my kids with nothing. Zero. The globe is warming up. It’s true. The waters are creeping on shore, slowly. The future is a tsunami.
OUR SOCIETY IS A TORTURE MACHINE, so complex that it takes a genius to maneuver its daily routine. It tortures by its relentless pressure. We don’t need Stalin or Hitler. We have modern life in Amerika. See that guy with the cardboard sign sitting at the parking lot exit? “Will work for food.” He isn’t a pathetic loser. He’s you or me or someone we know who just cracked under the pressure and opted to sit in the TIME OUT box in front of everyone. He couldn’t take the complexity any more. Now he’s doing better. He has a shoe box where his money piles up. He’s doing better than I am! Could I take sitting in the TIME OUT box in front of everyone? I don’t think so. I’m not tough enough.
Life has always been complex, but not like this… Hunting, gathering, fighting off raiders, that was easy stuff compared to this. The modern Torture Machine can’t be dodged. Your assignment is late! Punishment will be swift and merciless! Your interest will rise, your credit will be cut.
The injustice of it! I’m choking on injustice. I can’t breathe! Give me a cigarette. Where are all these voices coming from? Let me turn off the radio.
The off switch doesn’t work. The voices are coming from my pocket. It’s my Z-Phone. It doesn’t have an OFF switch. The argument continues, shouting everywhere, lies compound in blatant and shameless huckstering. Everything is a trick. Even the tricks we know to be tricks conceal more subtle tricks. Those Antif types are going to burn down Manhattan in a giant riot. Quick, we’d better launch a pre-emptive pogrom, mow them down before they find out where we’ve stashed the money.
The fish don’t recognize the sea. The people don’t recognize the element that dominates our lives. I will coin a term for it: Phobagonovia. Phobe-ago-NOVE-ee-yah. It causes us to curl up inside our homes with the giant TV playing football games and scripted “reality” shows where people are abused by their in-laws. Phobagonovia. We are afraid of new experiences. The Torture Machine has implanted this condition in our nervous systems. We are afraid of relating to one another openly, of crying in front of strangers, of expressing feelings easily, of hugging or kissing spontaneously, lest we be inappropriate, our strait jacket is “Appropriate”, we haven’t a clue how to dance in a circle while deeply in love with members of a clan, to sing ancient songs, to sit around a fire feeling wonderful under the stars. That doesn’t mean we want to go backwards. We want to invent new communities. We are dying of Phobagonovia. Our neck ties are cutting off our breath. Our high heels are warping our skeletons. The future is over. Donald Trump will be reborn as a talking pig that can only sputter nonsense. The people of his remote village will laugh at him holding their sides with mirth. They will postpone the time to eat him. He’s so strange that people come from villages far away to throw him pieces of rubbish. His time will come, at last.
When the chief takes the first bite, he will spit it out.
“We laughed too long,” he will say. “This fat talking pig tastes like shit.”
Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.
Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.
More of his work can be found at www.artrosh.com
Want to be sure not to miss any of Art’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.
Thank you to everyone who supported the WordCrafter A Ghost and His Gold Blog tour which ran from Monday, 20 April to Friday, 24 April 2021.
If you missed any of the posts, you can find all of them listed in this post: https://writingtoberead.com/2021/04/24/day-4-wraps-up-the-2021-wordcrafter-a-ghost-and-his-gold-book-blog-tour/
The winners of the $10 Amazon gift vouchers are as follows:
Day 1 – Elizabeth Gauffreau
Day 2 – Annette Rochelle Aben
Day 3 – Staci Troili
Day 4 – Marsha Ingrao
Day 5 – Craig Boyack
The winners of the two paperback copies of A Ghost and His Gold are as follows:
The winners will have received a message from Roberta Eaton Cheadle to arrange for delivery of their prize.
Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!
Today we are hanging out on the Facebook event page for the promotional and social pre-event cocktail party from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. MDT. Come on by for a preview of the 2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference line-up, meet conference presenters and fellow authors, and check out all of the latest releases. There will be lots of games and giveaways, and maybe even some creative presentations, and today’s festivities are all free! Join us there.
Also, tomorrow and Wednesday we will be holding interactive workshops and panel discussions for the actual conference on the Zoom platform, so I hope you will join us there, as well. Although this portion is not free, it is still affordable, at only $5 per session or $50 for an all events pass, which covers all sessions on both days. See the full line-up and get your tickets for conference access here.
PS5 vs. Xbox Series X
2020 will likely go down as one of the most challenging years in modern history, not in the least for commerce, business, and technology. Small mom and pop stores and large corporations alike felt the crunch, and one industry in particular suffered unexpected misfires even the incoming Biden administration felt compelled to investigate.
I’m speaking, of course, of the video game business, specifically digital entertainment powerhouses Microsoft and Sony and their brand-new home consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Both companies came to the market in November 2020, and both probably regret they did. Don’t get me wrong, having used each system extensively, I can attest to the quality of both. Neither has been without launch jitters and bugs, but Microsoft and Sony have, in their own time, gone a long way toward patching and improving problems as they’ve come up.
The real trouble with the Xbox Series X (and its kid brother, the Series S) and the PS5 is that they were both released without a steady supply of fresh product in the pipeline. A lot of excitement built up in the gaming community over the course of 2020, and by the time the launch window finally arrived in November, you would’ve needed to be exceptionally lucky or downright Google-gifted to snag a preorder. Add to that a huge issue with reseller bots buying consoles at unprecedented rates and creating a kind of gaming black market on eBay, and you’ve got a recipe for mass frustration.
But let’s back up a bit. Assuming you can in fact get your hands on a system, which should you choose? The truth is subtler than you might expect. Though graced with different architecture, the PS5 and Series X run third-party titles in a virtually identical manner. Games look great, sharp, clear, detailed. You’ll need a decent 4K television to see this stuff in full next-gen glory, but assuming you don’t mind upgrading, I can guarantee an excellent experience either way. That being said, services, content, and a few hardware points do enough to properly differentiate Series X from PS5. In the end, it all comes down to individual preference, so let’s look at each in turn.
Xbox Series X
Microsoft released two consoles last autumn, but the Series S is meant to be a less powerful and cheaper option designed for gamers who don’t care too much about 4K or enhanced performance or owning the biggest and baddest on the block. It’s a full $200 USD cheaper than Series X, and therefore makes for an appealing option. The Series X is the real star here, however, so let’s zoom in on it.
Consider this article for a full rundown of the Series X’s technical specifications. Needless to say, there’s a lot of power under the hood. The Xbox brand has one major trump card called Gamepass. For a monthly fee, players can gain access to a huge library of old classics and modern stunners. In fact, if you were so inclined, you might not even need to buy games at full retail value again. The Series X is also bolstered by its impressive zeal for backward compatibility. Almost every single title available on the previous generation’s Xbox One, including older Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, is playable here. Most if not all older titles benefit from lighting-fast load times and post-processed HDR (High Dynamic Range color and lighting). In addition, the system has quick resume functionality, which allows players to jump back into their games precisely where they left off, even if the system has been in sleep mode for weeks or even months.
It all goes for $500 USD, the same price as PS5. Happens to be the smaller of the two systems, too, which is admittedly a non sequitur. PS5 is massive, just massive, but Series X is fairly large as well. It is currently a bit easier to find at online retailers,. PlayStation sales are through the roof, but if you want a system right now, you could do worse than Series X.
Ask any diehard Sony fan why they keep coming back to PS and you’re likely to hear one answer above all others: the exclusives. See this article for a full list of tech specs for PS5.
Truthfully, Sony has the better history producing first-party games. The list from the last few years alone is impressive, the PS4 having been the exclusive home of some truly great titles like Spider-Man, Final Fantasy VII Remake, God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, Grant Turismo Sport, and many others. Fewer old PlayStation games are backwards compatible, but the ones that are sure pack a punch.
Another great feature is the PS5’s controller, dubbed the Duel Sense. It has impressive haptic feedback sensitivity, including articulate rumbles at multiple contact points and adaptive triggers that adjust tension on the fly. It feels great in your hands, but time will tell how many new games take full advantage. Sony is keenly aware of Microsoft’s desperation to pull into pole position with its myriad services and freebies, so expect the PS landscape to include sudden unannounced benefits as the months and years mount up.
The PlayStation 5 is arguably the buggiest of the two consoles even half a year after release, so take that into account when making your purchase. I fully expect Sony to hunt these known issues down and patch them appropriately, but Microsoft has had a bit more pep in their step on this point.
Not everyone is interested in new gaming consoles right now, and that stands to reason. Those who are have driven the gaming marketplace to dizzying new heights. The PS5 is the fastest selling game system in US history, which is pretty amazing considering the fact it’s almost impossible to find. Big box retailers don’t carry them at physical locations, which means the internet remains your only method of procurement. I can guarantee you’ll have an excellent time playing on either of these two behemoths, but look, if you don’t mind waiting, then go ahead and wait. You won’t have to tear your hair out running the online circuit from Amazon to Best Buy to Target to Walmart … see what I mean? Both companies have produced great pieces of hardware, and that’s the honest truth. Excellent exclusives or tempting membership benefits and services, you decide.
I’ll be back with another Jeff’s Game Reviews here on Writing to be Read. Until then, keep your trigger fingers at the ready, folks. Never know when you’ll have to do a little console hunting. Take care.
Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!
Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!
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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a gothic story by American author, Washington Irving, and is included in a collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York. Sleepy Hollow is a secluded glen which is famous for its ghosts and haunting atmosphere.
Ichabod Crane moves to Sleepy Hollow to be the schoolmaster of the village. As was customary at the time, Ichabod earns practically no money, but is provided with lodgings and food on a rotational basis by the local farmers who are also the fathers of the boys he teachers. This arrangement, and the singing lessons he gives on the side, keeps him employed and also gives him numerous opportunities to listen to the many tales about ghosts, haunted spots and twilight superstitions shared by the farmers wives.
Ichabod is most fascinated by the story of the ghost of the Headless Horseman who is believed to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head when he was hit by a cannon ball during the Revolutionary War. The ghost has been seen riding near the church where he is believed to have been buried.
Katrina Van Tassel is one of Ichabod’s students and the beautiful daughter of one of the most successful of the farmers in the area. Ichabod comes to believe himself in love with her. He sets out to woo her but crosses swords with one of the other men in the village, Brom Van Brunt or Brom Bones. In order to scare off Ichabod, Brom resorts to trying to prank him.
One evening, Ichabod is travelling home late after a party at Katrina’s home. He is confronted by a rider with no head on his shoulders. The head is sitting on the saddle in front of the shadowy man. Ichabod tries to run away and ends up near the church. Ichabod makes a dash for the bridge where the ghost is said to disappear and not follow, but when he looks back, the Horseman throws his detached head at him. It knocks Ichabod off his horse.
Ichabod disappeared leaving nothing behind but hoof prints and a smashed pumpkin. He is never heard from again in Sleepy Hollow.
Origins of the story
Although one of America’s most famous tales and one the resurfaces every Halloween, Irving did not invent the idea of a headless rider. Tales of headless riders existed in Europe during the Middle Ages, including stories by the Grimm Brothers and the Dutch and Irish legend of the “Dullahan” or “Gan Ceann”, a Grim Reaper-like rider who carries his head.
One theory is that Irving’s headless horseman is derived from Sir Walter Scott’s ballad, The Chase, which is a translation of the German author Burger’s The Wild Huntsman.
Another popular theory is that Irving was inspired by the story of the actual Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannon ball during the Battle of White Plains around Halloween 1776.
As a teenager, Irving moved with his family to the Tarry Town area due to an outbreak of yellow fever in New York City. The character of Ichabod Crane may have been inspired by Jesse Merwin, a teacher from upstate New York and who was a mutual friend of Irving and Martin van Burden, America’s eighth president. An alternative theory is that Ichabod was based on Samuel Youngs, a lieutenant from Tarry Town and a friend of the Van Tassel family.
The name Ichabod Crane belonged to a real army officer, Colonel Ichabod B. Crane who served at Fort Pike during the British-American war of 1812. Irving was also stationed at Fort Pike but there is no evidence that he knew Colonel Crane.
Katrina Van Tassel is also believed to be loosely inspired by Eleanor Van Tassel Brush and, possibly, another woman Irving knew.
About Roberta Eaton Cheadle
I am a South African writer specialising in historical, paranormal and horror novels and short stories. I am an avid reader in these genres and my writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, the Bronte sisters, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.
I was educated at the University of South Africa where I achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. I was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.
I have worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and have written seven publications relating to investing in Africa. I have won several awards over my twenty year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.
I have been published a number of anthologies and have two published YA books, While the Bombs Fell and Through the Nethergate. I have recently published my first adult novel called A Ghost and His Gold which is partly set in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War.
Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.
Last chance to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest!
The deadline to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest is April 30th, for a chance to have your short paranormal story included in the 2021 paranormal anthology, Where Spirits Linger. The entry fee is $5, and the author of the winning story receives a $25 Amazon gift card and inclusion in the anthology. See full submission guidelines and send me your ghost stories. There’s still time. Hurry!
There’s still time to get tickets for the 2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference
Join us for a free Facebook pre-conference promotional and social book event on May 3rd, where you can meet conference presenters and other authors, learn about their latest releases, play games and enter giveaways! You can reserve your spot on the Facebook Event Page to join in on the fun from the comfort of your own livingroom or wherever you happen to be.
Then on May 4th & 5th, the interactive portion of the conference will be held, with interactive workshops & panel discussions will be offered by talented and experienced presenters, including Keynote speaker Paul Kane. Tickets can be purchased for $5 for individual sessions or a full event pass at the discounted rate of $50 for all 13 sessions. Visit the WtbR Event Page, right here on Writing to be Read, to see the full line-up and author bios, and purchase tickets. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we plan to learn a lot, too, so reserve your spot today.
I can’t offer a preview, because the conference will be live, but I can offer a sample from the 2020 WordCrafter Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference to whet your appetites. Below is a video of the Visceral Story Beginnings interactive workshop with Ellie Raine. Ellie jumped in to present this workshop after the originally scheduled presenter was unable to attend. I think you did a fantastic job of picking up the ball.
Announcing the release of Poetry Treasures, the WordCrafter poetry anthology featuring poetry by 2020’s author/poet guests on “Treasuring Poetry” blog series with Robbie Cheadle, right here on Writing to be Read.
Nine creative and talented poets have come together to produce this unique poetry collection, each one is truly a poetry treasure.
2020 “Treasuring Poetry” Featured Poet/Author Links:
Sue Vincent (December)
Sue Vincent (April)
Geoff Le Pard (October)
Frank Prem (August)
Victoria Zigler (March)
Colleen M. Chesebro (February)
K. Morris (July)
Annette Rochelle Aben (May)
Jude Kirya Itakali
Roberta Eaton Cheadle (Host)
Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribing to e-mail or following on WordPress. If you found this content helpful or entertaining, please share.
Poetry Treasures is a new WordCrafter poetry anthology with contributions from guests to the 2020 Treasuring Poetry series on Writing to be Read, hosted by Kaye Lynne Booth and myself.
You can read the latest Treasuring Poetry post here: https://writingtoberead.com/2021/04/17/treasuring-poetry-meet-poet-and-author-elizabeth-merry-and-a-review/
A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series onWriting to be Readin 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler,Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
This wonderful cover was designed by Teagan Riordain Geneviene. You can find Teagan’s lovely books here: https://teagansbooks.com/ and you can find her ready designed covers here: https://teagansbooks.com/riordain-cover-designs-portfolio/
A reading of What is Happiness?
What is Happiness? is one of my five poems in Poetry Treasures.
Links to samples of other poems…
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This week we’ve had a wonderful tour for the paranormal historical novel, A Ghost and His Gold, by Roberta Eaton Cheadle. The author of this wonderful book prepared a guest post, including an extract, for each stop, and we also had two beaming reviews and a fun and entertaining author profile.
If you missed any of the stops, you can find the links below. You can still stop by and learn more about this exceptional work of literature. We’d love to see you there.
Day 1 brought us a glimpse of the inspiration and history behind this fascinating story and my review of the book, here on Writing to be Read.
Day 2 introduced us to one of the author’s favorite characters, Peiter Van Zyl, a Boer commando, who represents one aspect of the history portrayed in this cleverly crafted tale. It is on Writing to be Read, as well, (due to technical difficulties on Patty’s World, but I’m told she’ll be posting something special on her new blog site on Wednesday, so be watching for that).
Day 3 brought us a delicious recipe for a traditional South African dish, which is eaten by the characters in the story, showing historical accuracy and impecable research by Cheadle, on Jessica Bakker’s.
Day 4 offers insight into one of the historical figures referenced in the story, and a wonderful author profile, created from an interview with Barbara Spencer on Pictures from the Kitchen Window.
Day 5 finished off the tour with some historical background for the story’s setting and a review by Victoria Zigler on Zigler’s News.
Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!
For Day #4 of the WordCrafter “A Ghost and His Gold” Book Blog Tour, we are over at “Pictures from the Kitchen Window”, where Barbara Spencer shares her insights and shares a guest post by the author, Roberta Eaton Cheadle. I hope you will join us. 🙂
If you type the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle into the computer, up comes details of her ghost story ‘Through the Nethergate.’ Now that is impressive. And then we are treated to details of her early life growing up in South Africa – fascinating!
But the wonders don’t stop there. Take Robbie’s early reading list: L.M. Montgomeery (Anne of Green Gables), The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (although strangely he is now always referred to as Tolkien, no using the JRR). Nothing odd about any of those, a typical diet for a young girl starting out on her reading journey. Even after exhausting all the children’s books, which Robbie had by age 11, her diet was still very acceptable: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and the Bronte Sister’s … that…
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