Chatting with the Pros: Interview with author RA Winter

It’s been several years since I posted a “Chatting with the Pros” interview, but today I have a very special post with an author I’ve known for several years, In fact, she was a contributing author to the original Ask the Authors writing reference anthology back in 2018. She’s got a new book coming out tomorrow, Themis’ Revenge. It is book 4 of her Queens of the Underworld series. She’s a multi-genre author and she’s joining me here to share with us about her writing and her new release, which is always very exciting.

About the Author

I started writing under my married name, writing genealogy books as history was my first love. Now I write stories that give me joy-be it fantasy, magical realism, ghosts, urban fiction, or romance. All my novels contain strong females with sass, sarcasm, and humor. You know, women exactly like me. I love animals and it doesn’t matter what kind either. I’ve even petted a crocodile in Egypt-tried to take him home too. Apparently, that’s not allowed.

Our Chat

Please tell us a little about yourself to start out.  

RA Winter: Currently, I’m in Pittsburgh, PA but I’ve lived all over the world; Turkey, Germany, Egypt, Jordan and tons of states in the US. I love to travel but hate to fly!  I’ve been working as Federal Agent since 2013, I won’t tell you which agency, but lets just say that it’s interesting.

You write what your heart tells you too, making you a multi-genre author. What are the genres that you have written in? 

RA Winter: I’ve dipped my toe in a few genres and I always include romantic elements. Contemporary,  magical realism, low-fantasy, high fantasy,  western fantasy (which is becoming a thing. I finally got to write a Sleeping Beauty retelling at a rodeo with spirits!), historical, paranormal, Greek myth, sci-fi and I’ve also published nonfiction.

What is your favorite genre to write in so far? Why?

RA Winter: I adore writing fantasy. I love the descriptions, the world building-my world-my rules!  My novels end up being in the 300-400 page range so they aren’t your typical 1000 page high fantasy.

What genre do you classify Themis’ Revenge? Why?  

RA Winter: Got Zeus? I do!  I’ll take you on a journey from Olympus to Hades, Tartarus and into the real world. I have dragons, werewolves, arrogant gods (yes, Zeus), sexy scenes, a romance with Ares and Death (oh my!) and that one little pesky secret and mystery that is threaded through each book. Can you guess the ending?  (Bane’s Wish will be out in April). Multiple genres collide in this series with myth-based fantasy action being the main focus.

What inspired the Queens of the Underworld series?

RA Winter: You remember Supernatural, the TV series?  Well, in the show, Death is a person and I was like-she needs a romance. Then the whole-how do I bring Death alive idea started. Then I had to have a bad guy, and a world to build on, so I tinkered with bits of mythology to find the right pieces.  I had taken courses in Greek mythology in college years ago and loved all the backstabbing, romance, and intrigue and wanted to capitalize on my knowledge. I actually took a couple more classes to freshen my memory and spark new ideas.

What do you enjoy about writing the books in this series?

RA Winter: I do not like stories to end! I love to read. If I find a world that I enjoy and characters that I’m invested in-I don’t want to put the novel to rest. It’s like stranding them in no-man’s land and walking away. Writing a series is a way to keep characters alive and build on the setting/plot/features from prior books until those unruly characters are ready to die.  It’s also much more complicated to write.  You have to remember picky details like eye color, sex, boots or shoes? WTF is his sons name? so a story bible is imperative. As is a wonderful, patient, honest editor.

Themis’ Revenge is Book 4 in the series. Are these stand-alone novels or do readers want to pick up the previous books in the series before reading Themis’ Revenge?

RA Winter: Themis is the prequel. It can be read as a standalone or at any point in the series.  I would prefer that you read it first-but that’s up to the reader. It takes place over four-thousand years ago but the consequences of Themis’s actions are being dealt with today. It digs deep into the stakes of the series. If you read Themis first, you’ll be invested and hopefully solve the mystery that’s driving the series before others do. The other books can be read separately, but you might miss some clues! If the stakes/worldbuilding aesthetics are not paramount to you and you’re just looking for the romance between say–Death and Ares–then jump into Death’s Lover and hopefully you’ll fall in love and come back for the others.

Could you tell us a little about the story?

RA Winter: She is Themis goddess of Justice, only she can write the rules that govern men. Zeus, king of the gods, has other ideas. Not only did he cheat on her, but he changed her laws. Horrified that Zeus has doomed an innocent man to be fed to a Titan god, Themis must descend into the depths of Hades to save the damned soul- without Zeus’s knowledge.

But an omnipotent being guards the prison of Typhoeus. One with blood pulsing through his veins. He’s neither god nor demon, (but sexy as hell with his dark hair, tight abs, gruff manner), and he refuses Themis entry into Tartarus. With no way around him, she must go through him- and step directly into his arms.

In a race against time, Zeus and the Titan god’s hunger, Themis is willing to sacrifice everything to save an innocent soul. But is she willing to risk her heart again?

What was the biggest challenge for you in writing this story?  

RA Winter: Keeping the characters true to their personalities. That’s why Themis’s Revenge starts over four thousand years ago. I had to use the earliest myths of her and show her evolution from a ‘right-wrong-no gray area’ goddess to one who sees that the law shouldn’t be so cut and dried-and neither can relationships!

What was the most fun in writing this story?

RA Winter: Planting the seeds for my big ‘Ah Ha-Gotcha’ moments. I want the reader to be able to see those bits and pieces and put it together-but have Themis totally blindsided and missing those clues. Reactions are golden.

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?

RA Winter: For the love of God woman, life can’t be planned-process, improvise, and continue -KC Freeman, author extraordinaire and my overworked editor.  I’m a Virgo. I organize and plan everything. I have schedules for daily, weekly, monthly and over the course of a year.(Sometimes I even do hourly schedules. Ugh.) I have this horrible internal flaw. I follow through then something happens where I can’t complete a task in the time allotted and bam! I quit because I can’t fulfill my plan. It takes me a while to reorganize and return. After a bout of Covid, it took me two years to start writing again. I just couldn’t stick to a schedule I even have an exercise and diet chart. If I get ill-I can go from running 4 miles a day to a year later wondering why I can’t walk 4 miles when I finally restart my plan.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RA Winter: You have to write it. Take it in chew-able pieces. Have a vision and stick to it-if you have the ending-you can write the rest. I finished my first book because someone told me that I never would publish. My first novel was a graceful uptick of my middle finger in his face. Wonderful image to this day. Hey, there are now 13 books, 2nd book of the year in the NR,  and a USA Today Bestselling author title at the end of my name-so maybe I should thank him?

Um. No. I’m waiting on my next screw-you moment. It’s the challenge that keeps me going.

About the Book

Zeus rewrote her laws. Now, Themis, Goddess of Justice will extract her revenge.

She is Themis goddess of Justice, only she can write the rules that govern men. Zeus, king of the gods, has other ideas. Not only did he cheat on her, but he changed her laws. Horrified that Zeus has doomed an innocent man to be fed to a Titan god, Themis must descend into the depths of hades to save the damned soul- without Zeus’s knowledge.

But an omnipotent being guards the prison of Typhoeus. One with blood pulsing through his veins. He’s neither god nor demon and he refuses her entry into Tartarus. With no way around him, she must go through him- and step directly into his arms.

In a race against time, Zeus and the Titan god’s hunger, Themis is willing to sacrifice everything to save an innocent soul. But is she willing to destroy her own soul by opening her heart again?

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Want exclusive content? Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. She won’t flood your inbox, she NEVER will sells her list, and you might get a freebie occasionally. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, just for joining.


WordCrafter News

Delilah‘s Kickstarter campaign

I’m gearing up for the Kickstarter for Delilah and the Women in the West adventure series which starts on January 2, and runs through the whole month. This is a special project for me, because Delilah was my first completed novel, and she helped me to discover my love of writing in historic western settings. Originally published with Dusty Saddles Publishing, this WordCrafter Press edition has been revised and reverted back to the original story as a part of this wonderful western historical women’s fiction, with each book featuring appearances of historical female characters and strong female protagonists.

You can learn what all the excitement is about by visiting my pre-launch page, which will be the campaign headquarters once we launch. It runs through the whole month, from the 2nd to the 31st, and we have some great rewards and add ons available for you for your support, including copies of the ebook, signed copies of the print book, some of my short fiction in PDF and audio forms, an interview with Delilah’s character facilitated by Sara W. McBride, and a chance to name a character in Sarah, book 2 in the series, which will be scheduled to release in 2024. Please take a look at the pre-launch page and sign up for notificaation upon launch.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

And of course, I hope you will also support the campaign once it goes live. This is my first Kickstarter campaign, and I really want it to go well. My goal is $500 and I think I have a good chance of funding it. Any support you are willing to give will be greatly appreciated.

Blurb

Her homecoming from prison quickly turns into a quest for vengeance when she is brutally raped and left for dead, and her fourteen-year-old ward is abducted. Sheer will and determination take this tough and gritty heroine up against wild beasts of the forest, Indians and outlaws to Leadville, Colorado.

Can the colorful inhabitants of the Colorado mining town work their way into Delilah’s heart, offering a chance for a future she thought she’d lost along with her innocence?

If you like strong and capable female protagonists, you’ll love Delilah.

2023 Contest Theme Revealed

On January 1st, the 2023 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest will be open for submissions. I grew up on Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Jonathan Kellerman, and John Saul, so for the 2023 contest, I want you to send me your scariest tales in the horror, dark fantasy and paranormal genres, with a 500 word limit. The winning story recceives a $25 Amazon gift card and and inclusion in the 2023 anthology.

Submission Guidelines

Genres: Paranormal, Dark Fantasy, Horror or any combination there of.

Length: up to 5000 words

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023

Pay: Royalty share

Rights: First Anthology Rights and audio rights as part of the anthology; rights revert to author one month after publication; publisher retains non-exclusive right to include in the anthology as a whole. 

Open to submissions from January 1 through April 30, 2023.  

Submit: A Microsoft Word or RTF file in standard manuscript format to KLBWordCrafter@gmail.com

If you don’t know what standard manuscript format is, review, for example, https://www.shunn.net/format/classic/

Multiple and simultaneous submissions accepted.

Find some helpful tips for submitting short fiction here, but mainly just follow the guidelines.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Kickstarter for Delilah coming in January

Delilah

Exciting News!

The re-release of Delilah is scheduled for March 21, 2023, from WordCrafter Press. After almost a year of revisions, this isn’t just a ‘slap a new cover on and call it good’ type of release. This is the story of Delilah as it was originally intended, and it’s being launched as the first book in my new Women in the West adventure series!

It all starts with Delilah

Books 2 & 3 in the series will feature the stories of Sarah and Marta, who are introduced in Delilah, but both have stories of their own worthy of telling. They will be released in 2024 & 2025 respectively. I am truly excited about this new series, which features strong female protagonists and strong historical women in supporting roles.

Delilah is available for pre-order now: https://books2read.com/DelilahWIW

The Book

Delilah is a woman haunted by her past.

Her homecoming from prison quickly turns into a quest for vengeance when she is brutally raped and left for dead, and her fourteen-year-old ward is abducted. Sheer will and determination take this tough and gritty heroine up against wild beasts of the forest, Indians and outlaws to Leadville, Colorado, where she .

Can the colorful inhabitants of the Colorado mining town work their way into Delilah’s heart, offering a chance for a future she thought she’d lost along with her innocence?

If you like strong and capable female protagonists, you’ll love Delilah.

Upcoming Kickstarter Campaign

To bring in 2023 right, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign for Delilah January 2 – 31. It’s my very first Kickstarter, so I’m starting out small, with a goal of $500. The money raised will be used to improve covers and to fulfill the wonderful rewards which will be offered.There will be lots of great stuff offered, and I need all the support I can get, so I hope you all will drop by and show your support.

When you support my Kickstarter at any level you get an early digital copy of Delilah, which will be delivered before the March 21st release date, and there will also be opportunity to recieve a signed print copy, or even to name a character in book 2, Sarah. You might also get access to an interview by Sara W. McBride with Delilah herself, or to an audio story narrated by me, of my flash fiction western, “I Had to Do It”, or a PDF of my western paranormal short, “Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”.

You can check it out now, on my Kickstarter pre-launch page, which will take you directly to the Kickstarter once it goes live. While you’re there, sign up to be notified upon launch, so you can be there on Day 1. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kayelynnebooth-wcp/delilah-women-in-the-west-adventure-series

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.

She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.

In addition, she keeps up her authors’ blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. Kaye Lynne has also created her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, and WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, where she offers quality author services, such as publishing, editing, and book blog tours. She has served as a judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.

In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Day 3 of the WordCrafter “Resurrection Mixtape” Book Blog Tour

Welcome to Day 3 of the WordCrafter Resurrection Mixtape Book Blog Tour. Today we have an audio excerpt from Resurrection Mixtape, read by the author, Jeff Bowles, and my review of this wonderfully original novel. It’s a fun read when you feel like getting outrageous.

On Day 1, I had a fun interview with author Jeff Bowles, and Day 2 featured an interesting guest post from him. For the next two days we have more guest posts and another review, so visit each stop to learn more about Jeff and his awesome novel. If you missed the first two days of the tour, be sure to stop by through the following links:

Day 1 – Interview with author Jeff Bowles – Writing to be Read

Day 2 – December 6 – Guest Post – Robbie’s Inspiration

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Giveaway!

For this tour we’re giving away 3 signed print copies of Resurrection mixtape and a $25 Amazon gift card.

To enter, just tell us the top three songs on your mixtape in the comments.

Come on now. We really want to know.

Winners will be chosen in a random drawing.

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Now let’s move forward with an audio excerpt from Chapter 1 of Resurrection Mixtape, read by author Jeff Bowles

Resurrection Mixtape Excerpt

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Emily has been dead a year, but that doesn’t stop her from crashing in on her former best friend’s life in a whirlwind of mayhem, dark magic, and music. She’s been resurrected by a supernatural mixtape full of excellent but probably evil pop tunes. Amazing powers of transformation flow through her, piece-by-piece endowing her with abilities beyond anyone’s understanding. Within and without, a dark presence dwells, ready to express itself in all sorts of colorful and destructive ways. It’s all in the music, man. Press “PLAY” at your own risk.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Mixtape-Jeff-Bowles-ebook/dp/B0BKYG2JJQ/

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What they’re saying on Amazon

Take the time to get a feel for the voice of this book. It’s worth it. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets its dark cousin with an irreverent twist. I look forward to more from this writer and if anyone makes a playlist for the mixtape I want a link. – Amanda Harris

My Review

How to describe Ressurection Mixtape, by Jeff Bowles? This book is unlike any I’ve read before. A mixture of horror and humor, supervillian fiction and pop culture guide this story into never before explored realms of storytelling. Bowles is a talented creative fiction author, and creative emphasises this, his latest novel. His unique style of storytelling makes this book an entertaining ride that readers won’t soon forget.

There is no doubt the existence and sanity of the entire world is at stake, but good guys are swept away under evil control and it’s hard to know who to root for. But one thing is certain. It’s not Emily, although even she could be seen as a victim, who didn’t ask for any of this, even if she does want to conquer the world now. It’s a wild ride fueled by a demonic mixtape, but it’s all a part of a much grander scheme which will be revealed, if not fully understood. What do these alien powers really want? What’s the true story?

Fun and entertaining, with twists and turns you won’t see coming. I give Resurrection Mixtape five quills.

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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!

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That wraps up Day 3 of WordCrafter Resurrection Mixtape Book Blog Tour. Thanks helping us in sending off Resurrection Mixtape in grand style. We’ve got more guest posts from the author and another review in the week to come, so follow the tour to learn more about Jeff Bowles and his unique and entertaining story. And don’t forget to let us know what the top three songs on your mixtape would be to enter the giveaway for a chance at one of three signed print copies and a $25 Amazon gift card.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Resurrection Mixtape” Book Blog Tour

Join us for the opening day of the WordCrafter Resurrection Mixtape Book Blog Tour. This week we’re celebrating the release of the amazing new novel by author Jeff Bowles. We have an interview with the author, and you’ll get to hear from him about this unique and wonderful book, along with a couple of interviews and a fatastic giveaway. So follow the tour to learn more about Resurrection Mixtape, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway. You’ll find the tour schedule with links below, but of course, the links won’t work until each post goes live.

Tour Schedule

Resurrection Mixtape – December 5 – 9

Day 1 – Interview with author Jeff Bowles – Writing to be Read

Day 2 – Guest Post from author Jeff Bowles – Robbie’s Inspiration

Day 3 – Audio Excerpt & Review – Writing to be Read

Day 4 – Guest Post from author Jeff Bowles – Roberta Writes

Day 5 – Guest Post from author Jeff Bowles & Review – Carla Loves to Read

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Giveaway!

For this tour we’re giving away 3 signed print copies of Resurrection mixtape and a $25 Amazon gift card. To enter, just tell 

us the top three songs on your mixtape in the comments. Come on now. We really want to know.

Winners will be chosen in a random drawing.

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The Book

Emily has been dead a year, but that doesn’t stop her from crashing in on her former best friend’s life in a whirlwind of mayhem, dark magic, and music. She’s been resurrected by a supernatural mixtape full of excellent but probably evil pop tunes. Amazing powers of transformation flow through her, piece-by-piece endowing her with abilities beyond anyone’s understanding. Within and without, a dark presence dwells, ready to express itself in all sorts of colorful and destructive ways. It’s all in the music, man. Press “PLAY” at your own risk.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Mixtape-Jeff-Bowles-ebook/dp/B0BKYG2JJQ/

The Author

I met Jeff Bowles while earning my M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Western Colorado Sate University back in 2014. It was immediatey apparent that this guy had some immense talent when it came to writing, paired with an amzing imagination. He has been a member of my blog team since 2017, and has done several popular blog series on writing, as well as reviews of books, movies and games. His current blog series, “Bowlesian!”, which is featured the first Wednesday of every month and usually features his short fiction, is currently featuring a serialized version of his latest release, and featured book of this tour, one chapter at a time.

Resurrection Mixtape is his third novel, but he also writes short fiction, and has published three short fiction collections, in addition to stories featured online and in anthologies. In fact, he has short fiction featured in three different WordCrafter Press anthologies, and was a contributing author in Ask the Authors 2022. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife, Carrie, and despite life throwing him some pretty big curves, he is a talented writer and author, among his many other talents, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be able to feature his interview here today.

Interview with author Jeff Bowles

Let’s start with the very basics – Can you tell your readers, or potential readers, who is Jeff Bowles?

Hello there! I’m a Fantasy and Horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. I’ve had lots of short story publications, but as a novelist I’m an indie guy. I’ve published three novels so far, plus three short story collections, all of which you can find on Amazon. Resurrection Mixtape is my third book. I’m very proud of it, so please do check it out. I got my MFA in Creative Writing at Western Colorado University a few years back, and I live very happily with my wife and our animals in the foothill region of Southern Colorado. Nice to meet all of you!

Please tell us a bit about your latest novel, Resurrection Mixtape.

Well, this is my pandemic book, if I can call it that. I’ve been battling serious mental illness for a while now, and Resurrection Mixtape was my keep-sane project while COVID was at its worst. The book is about music and the afterlife, death and love; there’s plenty of humor, and quite a few surprises. Basically, a singular conglomeration of supernatural beings decides to resurrect this woman, Emily, using a special mixtape designed to endow her with incredible abilities. Her former best friend, a guy who’s been in love with her for years, finds her on his doorstep almost a year to the day since she burned to death in a house fire, and he’s pulled into a wild string of events that culminate in a pretty fun and exciting way.

What was your inspiration for the story of Resurrection Mixtape? Where did the idea for the book come from?

That would by my wife, Carrie. She had this idea that a mixtape could bring someone back to life, though I’m pretty sure she envisioned the concept as more of a romance than a superpowered rock and roll horror romp! I have a deep and abiding passion for music of all kinds. I’m a musician myself, and I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs since about the age of ten or eleven. So this book is really a love letter to the music that made me who I am. As a matter of record, I began writing Resurrection Mixtape without any notes or an outline. I had no idea where it was going, but fortuitously enough, it found its conclusion after months of hammering a fairly rough story into place.

Can you give an introduction for the main players in the story? Who are these characters?

Emily is the subject of this particular resurrection. She died almost a year ago, and in the bowels of the netherworld, she became convinced her husband, Guy, was the one who killed her. Jason, her former best friend, is there to try to convince her otherwise. That doesn’t go very well. The two of them have gone through plenty of ups and downs together. Emily used to be fair-minded, generous of spirit, a music lover (hence the hexed cassette). But now she’s something else entirely. An evil presence dwells within and without, and Jason is helpless to do anything but go along for the ride.

What part of the novel was the most fun to write? Why?

One of the characters (or should I say group of characters) has a really fun voice that was always enjoyable to write. This mass of spiritual entities calls themselves the ICM (Interspecies Conglomeration of Mack), and they’ve got a kind of stately, if kooky way of putting things. The ICM owns the narration through some of the book, and I look back on writing that stuff fondly. It’s still fun to read, even after picking through it dozens of times!

What part of the novel was the most difficult to write? Why?

I’d say the writing was the easy part. Editing and compiling and revising the blasted thing once the rough draft was done, this was some of the hardest writing work I’ve had to do to date. Like I said, I went in without any notes or an outline, and this inevitably made more work for me on the back end of the project. Which was fine, because this is a passion of mine. But gosh, next time we’re going back to the outlining. Another tricky thing was trying to get in my word count every day. For mental health reasons, I limit myself to four or five hundred words per day, which is much less than what I used to aim for. So the long-haul nature of the project began to wear on me towards the end. More technical issues than anything specific to any section or scene from the story itself.

If  Resurrection Mixtape was made into a film, who would you like to play Emily?

Oh man, awesome question! Emily would be fun to cast, because she’s got her background identity, the person she was before she died, but then she also becomes something much stranger and more egoic. This actor would have to wear prosthetics for later sequences in the film … hmm, I’m going to have to go with Amy Adams. She’s got a serious amount of range, from humor to drama to horror, all of which would be required for Resurrection Mixtape. That would be incredible. Could we make that happen someday?

I know that music is a big part of your life, listening as well as creating, and it is a key element in the story. Do you listen to music while you write?

Actually no, I can’t write to music to save my life. I’ve always gotten that advice from other writers and have tried it on various occasions, but the truth is whenever I hear good music I can’t help but stop everything and listen. It’s like I’ve got special musical ESP or something. When I’m writing, I find it incredibly distracting. I’m just too sensitive to good tunes, but that also means I usually need to write in silence, which can be pretty boring for me and everyone else in the house.

What is the strangest inspiration for a story you’ve ever had?

Well I’ve had some pretty weird ones. Between concepts my wife and I have come up with, my stories have ranged pretty far and wide as far as weirdness goes. One of my favorite short stories was about a little guy or girl camped out on everyone’s heads, acting thereon as a physical voice for our id, our inner desires and fears. It’s called “Itsies,” pretty funny little story. The inspiration for that one came from imagining a little dude in a teddy bear costume living under my hat or something. Kind of a weird thought, but it turned into a published story, so there you have it. Actually, the dark zaniness of so much of my work comes from my own short attention span and inability to stay bored for longer than a minute or two. If I’m feeling bored, I figure my readers are too. In that case, I may just take a left instead of the right. Doesn’t matter where I end up. All just grist of the mill.

(“Itsies” was recently featured on Jeff’s blog series “Bowlesian!”. You can find it here.)

What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?

I’ve worn a few hats. I was a private editor for a while, I wrote for the local newspaper, went to school for creative writing (specifically for genre fiction), and I’ve even been a technical writer for Lockheed Martin, of all places. That was just a normal desk job, but it might’ve been the least likely place to find a writer like me plying his talents. Here I am now, writing about cursed mixtapes, but then I was at work detailing technical systems and reviewing incredibly dry schematics, editing user manuals for government computer systems twenty or thirty years old. Plus, I was still in my early twenties, way too young to understand most of what my superiors were trying to communicate. I did my best, and earned a few merits. Maybe I had no idea what I was doing, or maybe they didn’t. Either way, Lockheed Martin turned out not to be my thing. Much happier writing about spirit conglomerations and the awesome but probably evil pop songs that drive them.

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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!

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


WordCrafter News: Halloween Book Event and Looking Ahead to November

Halloween Book Event Party!

It’s Halloween! My favorite time of year. This year, you’re invited to come join WordCrafter and Sonoran Dawn Studios in the All Hallow’s Eve – The Web We Weave Autumn Cider Book Event on Facebook. It is today from 12 pm MST, so come join in the fun by clicking on the link below. There will be lots of treats and maybe even a few cool tricks.

All Hallow’s Eve – What Web We Weave Book Event

WordCrafter Press is offering several giveaways and you can vote on the best audio story or excerpt from stories featured in all three 2022 WordCrafter anthologies: Once Upon an Ever After, Refracted Reflections and Visions, each narrated by the story’s author. Pick up a copy of your favorite WordCrafter paranormal anthology for the special Halloween sale price of .99 cents. Find out how to get a copy of any of the 2022 WordCrafter releases and get a sneak peek at what’s in store for 2023.

With author takeovers by Robbie Cheadle, Joseph Carrabis and myself. And don’t forget to check out the offerings from our gracious host, Sonoran Dawn Studios. Plus lots of good music and other entertainment. It will be a hauntingly good time, so I hope you will join us. See you there!

New Release!

Visions

I don’t know how you coud have missed it, with the extensive blog tour we just ran, but in case you did…

Visions is available now!

18 talented authors share their Visions with you. Get your copy from your favorite distributor today: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

Valuable Writer’s Toolkit!

Ask the Authors 2022 will be available in the Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle, currated by Kevin J. Anderson, throughout the month of November. The intitial 5 book bundle is $5, but for $20, you can get all 15 writing references, including Ask the Authors 2022. It’s a great deal for authors! just in time for NaNoWriMo this year. Pick up your bundle of valuable writing tools today.

Purchase Link: https://storybundle.com/writing

NaNoWriMo Challenge

Having Ask the Authors 2022 as a part of the writing tool bundle this year, just in time for National Novel Writing Month and being able to peruse all the other wonderful writing references which are included has given me the urge to try to do the NaNoWriMo thing once more. I tried this challenge once before, back when I still really had no idea how to write a novel, and I failed miserably.

Since then, I ‘ve learned a lot about writing and a lot about this writing challenge that I hadn’t yet realized back then. For one thing, this challenge isn’t inteneded to produce publishable novels, but rather very rough first drafts. For another, although the goal is 50,000 words, which is probably not a full novel anyway, you don’t have to start from square one. I know of writers who are right now plotting out their story, with no intention of writing by the seat of their pants. (Of course, back then, that was the only way I knew how to write.) When Tuesday, the 1st of November roles around, they will be locked and loaded and ready to write.

That one realization is what made me change my thinking, because I have a novel already started, which I hope to realease in 2023, and this writing challenge could be a good way to help that happen. So, with partial novel in hand, I prepare to take the NaNoWriMo writing challenge once again.

Can I do it this time? That’s left to be seen, but I think changing my goals a bit to adding 50,000 to what I already have, and by following some of the great time management strategies found in Aisley Oliphant’s Booked to the Gills, which is also included in the Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle, (see my review here), I might be able to meet this challenge head on now. For this challenge, I plan to work on my Time Travel Romance, The Rockstar and the Outlaw, which is based on the music of The Pretty Reckless and has been sitting on a back burner while I worked out a few obstacles that I ran into with it. Any of you out there who are feeling the urge are, of course, welcome to join me, as I set goals, block out writing time, and probably drive myself crazy writing an awesome story, (or at least a bad first draft). If you do plan to participate in NaNoWriMo, let me know in the comments, so I won’t feel so all alone.

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Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.


Day 8 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

Today is Day 8 and we’re wrapping up the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour here on Writing to be Read. We’ve had a fantastic tour for this unique fantasy, science fiction, and horror anthology. For anyone who might have missed a stop along the way, you’ll find links to each stop below. Note that they will not work until each post goes live. We’re running a great digital giveaway and all it takes to enter is a comment, so visit any stops you missed and leave a comment so I know you were there.

Monday – October 17 – Guest Post – Billie Holladay Skelley & Winning Story Interview with Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Writing to be Read

Tuesday – October 18 – Guest Post – Michaele Jordan & Review – Patty’s World

Wednesday – October 19 – Guest Post – D.L. Mullan – The Showers of Blessings

Thursday – October 20 – Guest Post – C.R. Johanssen & Review – Robbie’s Inspiration

Friday – October 21 – Guest Post – Patty L. Fletcher & Review – Zigler’s News

Saturday – October 22 – Guest Post – Jeff Bowles – Writing to be Read & Interview w/ Kaye Lynne Booth on SaraWesleyMcBride

Sunday – October 23 – Guest Post – Stephanie Kraner & Review – Roberta Writes

Monday – October 24 – Guest Post – Joseph Carabis – Writing to be Read & Review – Undawnted

Digital Giveaway

Three digital copies of Visions will go to three lucky winners.

Enter at each stop just by leaving a comment so I know you were there.

Follow the tour, comment at each stop, and learn more about this exceptional anthology.

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Visions

Grab your copy today from your favorite book distributor through the Books2Read UBL: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

About the Book

An author’s visions are revealed through their stories. Many authors have strange and unusual stories, indeed. Within these pages, you will find the stories of eighteen different authors, each unique and thought provoking. These are the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and horror stories that will keep you awake long into the night.

What happens when:

An inexplicable monster plagues a town for generations, taking people… and souvenirs?

A post-apocalyptic band of travelers finds their salvation in an archaic machine?

The prey turns out to be the predator for a band of human traffickers?

Someone chooses to be happy in a world where emotions are regulated and controlled?

A village girl is chosen to be the spider queen?

Grab your copy today and find out. Let authors such as W.T. Paterson, Joseph Carabis, Kaye Lynne Booth, Michaele Jordan, Stephanie Kraner, and others, including the author of the winning story in the WordCrafter 2022 Short Fiction Contest, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, tantalize your thoughts and share their

Visions

From Kaye Lynne Booth, editor of Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore, Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception and Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales.

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For today’s tour stop, we have a guest post by contributing author, Joseph Carrabis, here on Writing to be Read, and then over on Undawnted, DL Mullan has a review of his story, “Marianne”.

Guest Post

The Genesis of Marianne 


Marianne originally was Mitre and dealt with how grown children deal with a senile parent. It was set at an ocean front home and many of the plot points in Mitre made it through to Marianne, except Mitre presented a dim view of people professing Christianity in order to avoid unpleasant responsibilities, and Mitre – a devout Catholic and an immigrant – is senile throughout the story.
The original Mitre draft – written sometime in the early 1970s. I was a live-in groundsman/driver/bodyguard for a wealthy family who lived in a mansion on the ocean – never worked for me although I appreciated the idea behind it and most of the plot points, so into a drawer it went (we didn’t have computers back then). I rewrote it twice in 1988 (at which point it made it into a computer), twice again in 1998, then again in 2013, 2015, 2017, twice in 2018 and ’19, and remained unsatisfied although I knew each rewrite got closer to the core story. I rewrote it four times in 2020 which is when Mitre became Marianne and I realized what wasn’t working for me. It took me four more rewrites to get the characters’ voices, the fantasy concept, the myth induction, and associated elements to work to my satisfaction.
Here are some specifics:

  • What worked
    • the low character count. Good short stories are rarely Cecile B. DeMille productions.
    • The family dynamic.
    • The relationship between Mitre/Marianne and her deceased husband.
    • The oceanfront home setting.
    • Licorice.
  • What didn’t work
    • Ragging on Christianity/Christians – too easy a target.
    • The introduction of a Catholic, immigrant background – not relevant, red herrings, and weakened the story line.
    • Poor storycrafting.
  • What I liked originally – The resolution.
  • Why I couldn’t let the story go – I don’t think I’ve ever let anything go. I have close to 16G of stories, novels, plot lines, characters, settings, et cetera, on my hard disk waiting for me to finish them. Specific to Mitre/Marianne, I couldn’t let go of the victimization and abuse of the elderly idea (even though it came to me long before it was a recognized cultural concern).

About Joseph Carrabis

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That wraps up up today’s tour stop on Writing to be Read, but be sure to drop over to Undawnted for a review of “Marianne” by DL Mullan.

Also, Joseph ran his own set of blog posts on the anthology, with sixteen contribiuting authors featured. His posts can be found as follows.

Janet Garber & “The Treatment”

Michaele Jordan & “Farewell, My Miko”


Stephanie Kraner & “Here, Now, Wherever”


Jeff Bowles & “Wilding of the Painted World”


Billie Holladay Skelley & “Secret Thoughts”


Sara Wesley McBride & “The Devil’s Bridge” & “The Haunted Palazzo”


Leah Cutter & “Survivor”


Roberta Eaton Cheadle & “The Bite”

Julie Jones & “Tourist Trap”


DL Mullan & “Reality Hackers”


Christa Planko & “The Vanishing Tattoo”


Patty L. Fletcher & “The Portal Brings Christmas Love”


Kaye Lynne Booth & If You’re Happy and You Know It”

Zack Ellafy & “At the Mountains, Majesty”

C.R. Johanssen & “Her Beholder”


Joseph Carrabis & “Marianne”

Thank you all so much for joining us and I hope you all enjoyed this tour as much as I have. There’s still time to get more entries in the giveaway by visiting each stop through the links at the top of the page. I will post the winners for the giveaway tomorrow in a special announcement post.

And don’t forget to grab your copy of Visions.

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 6 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

Digital Giveaway

Three digital copies of Visions will go to three lucky winners.

Enter at each stop just by leaving a comment so I know you were there.

Follow the tour, comment at each stop, and learn more about this exceptional anthology.

_________________________________________________________________

For Day 6 of the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour, we have an exciting double stop, with a guest post by contributing author Jeff Bowles, about his story, “Wilding of the Painted World”, and then, we’re heading over to SaraWesleyMcBride.com, where Sara is doing an interview with me about the anthology and WordCrafter Press. So, let’s get right into it and turn things over to Jeff.

Guest Post

Reclaiming My Mind and My Dignity

My entire life, I’ve suffered from serious mental illness. This is a matter of fact thing, mentioned here so that I can relate to you the inspiration for my short story, Wilding of the Painted World. About a year before I wrote the first draft, I suffered a psychotic break. It was my first, and to this day, my only one of those horrible things.

Trust me when I tell you my whole world flipped upside down. The hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, the sense of my true self submerged in some kind of crazy facsimile. Not too much detail is required. Suffice it to say, it wrecked my life ever so slightly for several years. Though I’ve found ways to overcome the more dormant form of my now diagnosed Schizoaffective Disorder, the haunting nature of those wild days follows me still.

When I was beginning to recover from the aftershocks of having been, temporarily at least, stark raving mad, I thought I’d come back to my writing as a means of catharsis. I hadn’t written a word in months and months, and the writing didn’t come easy. I had this notion that a perfect life, a perfect world, was waiting out there for me somewhere. I was lost to this mental state for so long, I neglected to count my blessings whenever, however I could.

One of those blessings was my wife. No, that’s not a strong enough statement. The single largest blessing in my life is my wonderful, beautiful wife. Who, despite my behavior, despite having acted in some truly disturbing ways, stuck with me and even chose to become a major part of the recovery process. She championed my desire to heal through writing. She’s been by my side for seventeen years, thirteen of which have been in matrimony. I’m incredibly lucky to have her, though she hates the idea that she’s done anything special. She has. She helped save my mind, maybe even my life.

I’ve tried to be as nurturing toward her as she’s been toward me. Who knows if I’ve come anywhere close. She gave me this wonderful idea one night as we were eating dinner and watching one of our favorite shows. It was a vision, really. She saw in her mind’s eye, I believe, the image of a young girl painting a picture of herself. If you could live in that painted world, you’d find a version of you that would be radically different from you as you exist in real life. What if that place was used as a home? Or, conversely, what if it were a prison?

That last part was my contribution to the original concept. I wanted to set it in a classical Fantasy world, one in which magical things can and do happen. I have dark writing sensibilities anyway, but the things I’d just gone through tended to color the penning of Wilding in a fairly sober fashion. I guess I fell in love with the idea of escaping to a place beautiful but bizarre, enchanting and rare, but tinged with just a hint of longing and despair. I understood these modes of feeling and thinking. They were my second nature at that time.

Plus, I wanted to write a sequence at a masquerade. I loved the idea, but more than this, one of the people I feel I hurt during my psychosis had once written a beautiful piece of fiction staring a masquerade, so that bit of Wilding is an homage. Coming all together in a somewhat unexpected manner (in that I didn’t expect to be able to finish the story at all), and then going through a battery of revisions, Wilding of the Painted World is more serious in tone than most of my other fiction. I hope you enjoy it, but please realize that for me, the production of this piece was an act of desperation. It did help me heal, but not as much or as quickly as I would have liked. Now, five years after the first draft, it has been published in full, and I find myself curious how it will be received.

I’m a different person now, but no, the misery of my Schizoaffective has not left me. My wife once told me that I may be a crazy person, but that at least I was a reasonable one. Thank God for that. Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m a monster, a scary person. But I wasn’t before, and I suppose I’m not now. Good riddance to bad days—getting back to basics is a great way to begin the reclamation of one’s own identity.

The writing is easier now, much easier than it was when I first struggled to define the character of Master Kestor and his incredible painting of a wild, wild world. Where dark things linger. Where a creature who once was normal, just like you and me, dwells in chosen confinement, waiting for a day of glory, of redemption. A lasting day of piece. May we all be as steadfast as her.

About Jeff Bowles

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 FallGodling and Other Paint StoriesFear 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!

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Visions

Order your copy today. Available at your favorite book distributor through the Books2Read UBL: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

About the Book

An author’s visions are revealed through their stories. Many authors have strange and unusual stories, indeed. Within these pages, you will find the stories of eighteen different authors, each unique and thought provoking. These are the fantasy, science fiction, paranormal, and horror stories that will keep you awake long into the night.

What happens when:

An inexplicable monster plagues a town for generations, taking people… and souvenirs?

A post-apocalyptic band of travelers finds their salvation in an archaic machine?

The prey turns out to be the predator for a band of human traffickers?

Someone chooses to be happy in a world where emotions are regulated and controlled?

A village girl is chosen to be the spider queen?

Grab your copy today and find out. Let authors such as W.T. Paterson, Joseph Carabis, Kaye Lynne Booth, Michaele Jordan, Stephanie Kraner, and others, including the author of the winning story in the WordCrafter 2022 Short Fiction Contest, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, tantalize your thoughts and share their

Visions

From Kaye Lynne Booth, editor of Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore, Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception and Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales.

_______________________________________________________________________

That’s it for today’s stop on Writing to be Read, but don’t forget about Sara Wesley McBride’s interview with me: https://www.sarawesleymcbride.com/visions/. I’m anxious to share with you about the Visions anthology and what I do through WordCrafter Press. I do hope you’ll drop in for a bit.

Here are the links to the previous stops in case you missed them.

Day 1 – Guest Post – Billie Holladay Skelley & Winning Story Interview with Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Writing to be Read

Tuesday – October 18 – Guest Post – Michaele Jordan & Review – Patty’s World

Wednesday – October 19 – Guest Post – D.L. Mullan – The Many Showers of Blessings

Thursday – October 20 – Guest Post – C.R. Johanssen & Review – Robbie’s Inspiration

Friday – October 21 – Guest Post – Patty L. Fletcher & Review – Zigler’s News

Tomorrow on Roberta Writes, we have a guest post by contributing author Stephanie Kraner, and then Monday, we’ll wrap up with a guest post from contributing author Joseph Carabis right here on Writing to be Read and a review by DL Mullan on Undawnted. Remember to leave a comment at each stop, so I can tell you were there. You get an entry into the giveaway just for showing up, but I have to know you were there.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

For Day 5 of the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour we’re hanging out over at Zigler’s News, with a guest post from contributing author Patty L. Fletcher about her story, “The Portal Brings Christmas Love”, and a review by Tori Zigler. Come join us, and don’t forget to comment for a chance to win one of five digital copies of Visions!

https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2022/10/wordcrafters-book-blogtour-for-visions.html


Joseph Carrabis and “Marianne” in Visions

Visions

https://josephcarrabis.com/category/my-work/fiction/

Thanks to contributing author Joseph Carrabis giving us a taste of the stories in the new Visions anthology from WordCrafter Press. Follow the link to learn more.

Preorder Now:https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28