Book Review: The Necromancer’s Daughter

The cover for The Necromancer’s Daughter, by D. Wallace Peach is what first caught my eye. It promised an intriguing world, perhaps a winter wonderland, and at least one interesting character and of course, I just had to read the book. And I was glad that I did. This story is a skillfully chrafter hero’s journey, the protagonist thrown into an unfamiliar role which she hadn’t asked for with an objective that seems impossible to achieve.

Denied a living heir, the widowed king spies from a distance. But he heeds the claims of the fiery Vicar of the Red Order—in the eyes of the Blessed One, Aster is an abomination, and to embrace the evil of resurrection will doom his rule.

As the king’s life nears its end, he defies the vicar’s warning and summons the necromancer’s daughter. For his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade. Armed with righteousness and iron-clad conviction, the Order’s brothers ride into the leas to cleanse the land of evil.

To save her father’s life, Aster leads them beyond Verdane’s wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a wilderness of dragons and barbarian tribes. Unprepared for a world rife with danger and unchecked power, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Necromancers-Daughter-D-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B0B92G7QZX/

My Review

The Necromancer’s Daughter, by D. Wallace Peach, is an exceptionally well crafted dark fantasy story, with well developed characters and a wonderfully crafted world of haves and have nots, with most fearing what they don’t understand. Peach has constructed a segregated world, where those of like kind are seperated and sadly, misunderstood. Into this world, she injects Aster, a reborn princess, raised as the necromancer’s daughter, since those who have been healed of death are not widely accepted in the mountains of Blackrock.

But when the King Aldring is murdered, leaving no other heir, the Vicar of the Red Order will do anything he can to prevent Aster from claiming the throne, including blaming the necromancer for the King’s murder, and sending she and her father into hiding. Her father is all she has in the world, and she flees to her mother’s people in the neighboring kingdom, in order to save him. In the strange land of Catticut’s forrest, with foes on all sides, Aster makes new friends in unlikely places, as she makes her way to her uncle, the King of Blackrock to make her plea, and hopes beyoond hope that he will aide her in rescuing her father.

I was totally engaged with Peach’s characters and completely emmersed in her world. I give The Necromancer’s Daughter five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.


Writer’s Corner: Great Beginnings

Some opening lines are so well known as that the story can be identified just by them and nothing more.

  • Call me Ishmeal.” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984, 1949

Memorable opening lines like these are strokes of brilliance on the part of the authors, perhaps with a little luck and a bit of literary magic mixed in. But for the common author, the trick is to find the best opening possible, especially with the growing numbers of books and authors that are out there competing for readers. We need to find words that will make our work shine above the rest, words that will catch readers attention and draw them into the story, words that will be unique and memorable.

The beginning of a story can serve many purposes, only one of which is giving us a place to start. The opening sentences of paragraphs also need to draw readers’ interest, stirring questions that will make them want to read further, but they can also introduce the characters or offer a senseof place and time with vivid descriptions of setting. All my life I’ve heard about how important the opening lines of a story are, but it never really took root until I compiled five short fiction anthologies over the past two years.

My regular readers will remember that I sat on the editorial team for the Gilded Glass anthology and compiled a volume of Weird Tales to earn my M.A. in publishing. For new readers, who don’t know the story, we had over 600 submissions to comb through for Gilded Glass, and toward the end of the initial readings, if the beginning didn’t grab me right away, it was gone. There were just too many submissions to waste time on ones that I couldn’t engage with from the very beginning. This was rather painful for me, believe it or not, because I knew there were probably some good stories in there that just needed to be reworked a bit to become gems, and I didn’t have the time, or energy to find them.

On the other side of things, there were so many really good stories submitted that there was no way we could include them all, so many of the stories I truly loved didn’t make it into the anthology, and I felt it was a shame to have to turn them all away, so I kept a list of stories that I had fallen in love with, and after the final selection for Gilded Glass were made, I invited each author to have their stories included in a WordCrafter Press anthology. Not all of the authors accepted my offer, but enough did that I had material for three anthologies, and Once Upon an Ever After, Refracted Reflections, and the Visions anthologies were born.

Although I’ve strayed a bit in telling you all this, my point was that many of the stories included in those three anthologies got there because they had beginnings that were good enough to make me continue reading. Let me share with you three of my favorite story beginnings from the Visions anthology.

“I followed the two men down the beach for over an hour before I realized they were kidnapping me. I noticed howm far we’d strayed when the sun touched its reflection on the Carribean horizon, forming a perfect figure eight that shot rays of gold in all directions. The failing light and my primitive camera meant an end to the day’s photo shoot, so I decided to let them take me.

Julie Jones – “Tourist Trap”

“Tourist Trap” is one of my favorites because it not only does a great job of giving me a sense of place with its setting description, but also leaves me with several questions, which now must be answered because my curiosity has been picqued. The nonchallant delivery of the words gives the impression that our character is not concerned by what most people would consider to be unusual, and maybe even alarming, circumstances. Why? Come on. Be honest. Now that you’ve read the above paragraph, don’t you just need to read more?

“He came toward her. His body moved lithely and confidentely, muscles rippling under tight-fitting jeans and white T-shirt. Thick, black hair covered his well-shaped head with its tawny skin and lightly stubbled jaw.

She peeped at his eyes. Those mysterious eyes she’d heard about. Her stomach dropped, lips numbed, and a strange ringing started in her ears.His eyes shone amber in the late afternon sun, like a predator before the kill. Even if she hadn’t known who and what he was, those awful eyes with their many sides like a diamond, would have filled her with terror.”

Roberta Eaton Cheadle – “The Bite”

This visceral opening comes from the winning story from the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest, “The Bite”, which is feaatured in the anthology. It sets the tone for the story, while offering hints about the characters, and stirring up just enough questions to make readers want to know more. Cheadle describes some very unusual eyes, and hints that this character is more than what he appears to be here. Who is this guy?

“I was staring out across the darkness of space, ignoring my hunger and isolation, when an alarm blared, startling me out of my meditations. I pulled my thoughts from where they’d wandered, sinking once again into my real-time brain, just as I pulled in my two-dozen tentacles in toward my body. Instead of presenting a sprawling mass, I was now a streamlined bullet.”

Leah Cutter – “The Survivor”

The opening for “The Survivor” offers up a lot of information about the setting and situation, and enough about the character to make readers curious, and make them want to read more. Who is this lone character in space? Obviously not a human. Why is the alarm blaring? Has Cutter picqued your curiosity as much as she did mine?

It wouldn’t be fair to use the openings of others without taking a look at one of my own, so let’s take a look at my contribution to the Visions anthology, as well. My story was “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, which was originally published in The Collapsar Directive anthology, by Zombie Pirates Publishing in 2017. Give it a look and see if you think I did my job well with this opening.

“The way everyone was acting, you’d think it was a crime to be happy. And looking back, maybe it was, or at least, it might as well have been.

I think it started on a Saturday, or maybe a Sunday, so no one really noticed at first, including me. Everyone had recieved their regular allotment of S-Dopa for the weekend, so if they noticed anything, they would have assumed I’d just recieved a double dose, which didn’t happen often, but it did happen. On Monday however, when I sang along with the radio which ws always playing in the background at the computer factory as we slaved away everyday, the others gave me sidelong glances, as if, perhaps, I’d lost my mind.”

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

You can hear an audio excerpt from this story here: https://youtu.be/2X-7XiL3uHg or you can purchase a copy of Visions here: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28

Which beginnings make YOU want to keep reading? I invite you to share your favorite beginning in the comments below. It will make it more of a conversation, (as Joanna Penn says).

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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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.


Treasuring Poetry – A tribute to poet and author, Sue Vincent, plus some reviews #SueVincent #Poetrycommunity

I am using this last Treasuring Poetry post for 2022 to celebrate the writing talent of Sue Vincent who passed in March 2021. Sue was an incredible blogger who did a huge amount to support her fellow bloggers, authors, and poets. Her poetry, books, and blog are still close to many of our hearts which is an incredible tribute to her talent and personal charisma.

I am sharing Sue’s responses to a Poetry Readathon I ran on Robbie’s Inspiration in December 2018, two years after I first met Sue.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a Yorkshire lass with two grown sons and two granddaughters. I live with the notorious Small Dog, in a village in rural Buckinghamshire, England. I write daily for my own blog, the Daily Echo, which is an eclectic mix of personal reflections, poetry, history and folklore. I help run the Silent Eye, an international organisation that helps people realise their potential through awareness, and write for our website too. As a writer, I have several books published, including one written with G. Michael Vasey, but most of the time I write in partnership with Stuart France, exploring ancient sites, myths and symbolism in a semi-fictional way.

When ever I think of Yorkshire it reminds me of the book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sue and Stuart’s separate and combined blog posts also remind me of this book with their amazing and wonder inducing sights and ideas. 

Sue’s blog is still available to readers who share her love of poetry and fascinating places in the United Kingdom.

Who is your favourite poet?

That has to be an unfair question! It all depends on the moment and the mood. If I had to choose, I would say Omar Khayyam, whose poetry I have carried in my handbag and re-read for many years.

On the other hand, and completely at the other end of the literary scale, there is Marriot Edgar, whose rhyming monologues, written and recited in the vernacular, were so much a part of my childhood that even now, when I write humorous verse, it is to his rhythm.

As I lived in France for many years and learned the language as well as my own, I learned to love French poetry too, and while I could say my favourite is Alfred de Musset or Victor Hugo, I will be honest and say that the poet that moves me the most is the Belgian singer/songwriter, Jacques Brel. The lyrics of his songs are poems in their own right and have a good deal to say and to teach.

The idea of the book of poetry you carry in your handbag, Sue, is completely wonderful to me. It has quite captured my imagination and I think I may start a tradition like this with my son, Gregory.

What is your favourite poem?

Omar Khayyam is easy… Fitzgerald translated his work from the original Farsi, and the quatrains are all in one book, the Rubaiyat…

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

But then, there is Marriot Edgar to consider… and although The Lion and Albert is probably his best-known work, which I can still recite by heart, I do have a fondness for his take on various events in British history. Particular favourites are The Battle of Hastings, where King Harold confronted William of Normandy:

King ‘Arold came up as they landed –

His face full of venom and ‘ate –

He said ‘lf you’ve come for t’Regatta

You’ve got here just six weeks too late.’

At this William rose, cool but ‘aughty,

And said ‘Give us none of your cheek;

You’d best have your throne re-upholstered,

I’ll be wanting to use it next week.’

Though if I had to pick one, it would be Magna Charter, which recounts how King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, even if he did dip his pen in the jam…

“And it’s through that there Magna Charter,

As were made by the Barons of old,

That in England today we can do what we like,

So long as we do what we’re told.”

Thank you for introducing me and my readers to these poems, Sue. They are lovely and memorable.

What do you appreciate most in a poem?

The first word that sprang to mind in answer to this question was ‘integrity’, and that, I think, can be applied to all forms of poetry. With humorous verses, I want to laugh. With narrative poems, I want a story that has a beginning, middle and end. With short forms, like the haiku and tanka that are now so popular, I want the capture of a moment and layers of possible interpretation that make me think. With classic poetry, I want to feel what the writer felt, understand the elusive thought or emotion that made them write.

Whether it is free verse, rhyme or one of the many recognised forms, it is not enough to simply string words and phrases together across the lines and beats, arranging it to look like a poem. A poem has to flow; it should sing its own music as it is read, even free verse should have its own rhythm and inner shape. And, whether it is humorous, romantic, spiritual or dramatic, it should have something to say that will leave the reader the richer for having read.

You have summed up beautifully what I also think, Sue. A poem should be meaningful and leave a lasting impression upon the reader.

Why do you write poetry?

I grew up around poetry. My mother’s notebooks introduced me early to how odd incidents and fleeting emotions could be captured in verse. There were the monologues shared with my great-grandparents, and always books… even my first Sunday School Prize was written in verse, and I have loved Dr Seuss ever since.

Things that amuse me tend to be written in my head, as they happen, in Edgar-esque verses, but there are other, deeper things that seem as if they can only be conveyed by poetry. You cannot capture them in everyday words… transient realisations, fleeting emotions, inspiration half-understood. Thoughts and feelings too wide to condense into speech find a home in poetry, where the unspeakable can be spoken and the uncontainable contained in such a way that others might share and glimpse an elusive idea. That is why I read and write poetry.

Would you see Eden in a withered bough?

Sunlight in shadows, or flowers bloom in frost?

Beauty in sorrow, or gifts in the dark?

Ask the Earth and the song of wild water

To whisper their secrets.

Follow the moon-path to the horizon

And look within.

I feel you have written your reasons like a true poet, Sue. Writing poetry is something we are compelled to do as part of the communication of our deepest feelings and thoughts. It is really the only way some things can be said for some people.

Sue Vincent’s poetry books

My review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two

Where to start with a review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two by Sue Vincent? I loved this books so much and so did Michael. It became a bit of a contentious book between Mike and I as I sneakily read ahead and Michael realised that I wasn’t starting where I had finished reading to him and made me go back. He was very determined not to miss a single word. I love this type of story, told mainly through the eyes of a small and very cute dog called Ani. Sue depicts day to day life in such a humorous and fun filled way and I found it a wonderful way to end each stress filled day to sit down and read a few chapters of Ani’s antics to Michael [and to myself of course thereby sparking Mike’s intense displeasure as mentioned above]. Sue writes beautiful descriptions of the natural environment where she lives and her depictions of some of Ani’s learning experiences are very funny. I can just picture the surprise of a small dog taking a flying leap into a pond that has frozen overnight. Sue describes Ani’s anxiety and attention when she is ill and her concern and caring when Ani is ill. This book is altogether completely delightful and tells a beautiful story of the special relationship that can develop between man and his best friend. There are also a few of Sue’s humorous and clever Ani poems thrown in for good measure. This genre of book is just up my street and I rated this book five out of five on Goodreads and Amazon.

Purchase Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Notes-Small-Dog-Four-Legs-ebook/dp/B00GNHTIAW

Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End

Michael and I are firm Ani addicts so another whole book about Ani’s antics is a real treat. The goings on of Ani’s two legs, sets Michael off into gales of laughter so we are really happy to read about the trials and tribulations of “Her” too.

The book is written in rhyming verse and tells all sorts of tales. To coin a phrase, Ani says:

“The time has come,” the doglet said,

“to talk of many things;

Of tennis balls and squeaky ducks,

and sneaky bees with stings; …”

In this book, Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End, you will meet some of Ani’s friends, OR NOT:

The cat likes to sit on the roof of the shed

While the dog views this as an intrusion,

It’s all fur and teeth

As the dog growls beneath

And the birds flutter round in confusion.

We get some insights into Ani’s diet:

Its cream cheese and crackers for me and the dog,

While I’m more the epicure… she’s just a hog…

AND

Me and the dog had a sandwich for brunch

(Well, for me it was breakfast, for her it was lunch.)

NOT TO MENTION

The ham disappeared without leaving a trace

Except for the grin upon one small dog’s face.

So if you like to enjoy life and have a good giggle, pick up this delightful book of light-hearted poems and jump right in. There are also some lovely photographs in the book for the reader to enjoy.

You can purchase Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End here: https://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Lines-Life-Tail-End-ebook/dp/B00USCYJ20

Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog

Ani, or the Small Dog, as she is referred to in this delightful collection of poetry, is a rescue dog whose mother and father were found living together in an Irish field, awaiting the birth of their litter of puppies. Ani’s two legs is named Sue Vincent and she is a Yorkshire born writer, a teacher and a director of The Silent Eye. Both Ani and Sue write highly entertaining blogs.

So what is life like for a Small Dog who blogs and writes poetry, living with another writer who is obsessed with bathing her? Ani tells us all about her life with Sue in a collection of hilarious and poignant poems, largely written in rhyming verse

Well, to start of with, Ani makes it quite clear she does not enjoy being tricked into bathing:
“I got them back on exit
When I shook my dripping fur…
(I didn’t get my boy too much,
But aimed it all at her.)”

“To add insult to injury…
All guilt upon her head…
When I went off to sulk a bit
I found she’d washed my bed!”
Both from Touche.

Ani also does not like having to diet:
“Now this works a treat, if you’ll pardon the pun,
‘Cause she either forgets, gives me treats or a bun
Or more likely she will not go in there at all
‘Cause, “You’ve put on a pound or two, girlie, since fall…”
from In hiding…

Of course, Ani is the first to worry if her Two-Legs gets sick:
“My two-legs has broken down again,
Or maybe she’s still broke,
I think she’s cute with hamster cheeks…
She says it’s not a joke.”
from Karma

Ani is also the first to admit that when she is sick, her Two-Legs nurses her with devoted care:
“Being poorly does have compensations;
‘Cause she’s worried to death, I can tell.
But now she is just so attentive…
I’m not in a rush to get well.”
from Sleeping Dogs Lie…?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book of poetry about the antics and life experiences of the Small Dog. I would recommend it to anyone who loves dogs and who enjoys having a good giggle about life in general.

You can purchase Doggerel: Life with the Small Dog here: https://www.amazon.com/Doggerel-Life-Small-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B081B8BSFC

Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas

Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas is a delightful book full of Christmas cheer. Ani, the small dog, is reflecting on Christmas’ past, present and future through a combination of letters to Santa and poems. The perplexities of ‘fake’ Santas, the ‘theft’ of a favourite sofa, and gifts of tennis balls and a chicken flavoured biscuit, all require Ani’s consideration. Her naughty secrets are also revealed such as the time she ate all the left over turkey and salmon and fell through the ice in the pond [it was shallow]. The indignities of baths and having to wear reindeer antlers are also shared.

Join Ani and her two legs, Sue Vincent, for a glorious romp through advent and Christmas Day.

A few of my favourite verses:
“I’ve tried to help with household chores,
I’ve laundered all my balls,
I’ve chased the pigeons form the shed
And spiders from the walls.” from Request

“She’s like a puppy when it snows
We just go out to play…
And if she wraps up warm enough
We might stay out all day.” from Wishing for the White Stuff

“The windows are all closed at night
The keyhole seems to small
To wriggle through with turkey
And a brand new tennis ball.” from Chimneys.

Purchase Pass the Turkey: The Small Dog’s Christmas here: https://www.amazon.com/Pass-Turkey-Small-Dogs-Christmas-ebook/dp/B081ZBR2GZ

Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection

I love poetry and I read a lot of poems and poetry books and I found the poems in this amazing little book to be quite profound. Sue Vincent touches on all aspects of life, including the sadder and more emotionally difficult aspects such as loss of a loved one, in a beautifully poignant and yet positive and uplifting way which make them satisfying and wonderfully uplifting.

Most of these poems are written in freestyle form with a couple in rhyming verse. The poet has matched the style well to the content of the poem and the rhyming verse poems present the more light hearted and upbeat toned poems.

A few short extracts that I found particularly impactful are as follows:

“The pen paints the souls longing
In jewel tones.” from Purpose

“There were flowers,
Three red roses,
Red as life,
Placed in a cold hand,
One for each heart
Saying a final farewell.
When the tears fall,
There are always flowers.” from Flowers

“Two ravens whisper in my ear,
As Thought and Memory begin.

Within the darkness of their wings
Stir images, both dark and bright,
That dance within the secret heart
And quiet hours of the night.” from Odin’s Ravens [my favourite poem in this collection]

“My pillow held the hollow where you lay,
With love glazed eyes that held me,
Watching as the wildness took me,
Smiling up at me.” from Memory [intensely poignant poem]

Purchase Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection here: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Lines-Reflection-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B00PJSPLI4

Midnight Haiku: A Year in Contemplation

Sue Vincent is well know for her poetry. Some is poignant and sad, some is humorous, some is incredibly beautiful, and all is emotional, insightful, and meaningful. Sue has mastered many forms of poetry, including freestyle, rhyming verse, tankas, and haikus.

Her haikus, only 17 syllables long, are among the most powerful of her many poems. This book is a collection of 365 days of haikus and loosely follows the seasons.

The best way of demonstrating the beauty and power of these haikus is by sharing a few of my favourites:

“earth captures heaven

holding stars in tender hands

that the blind may see”

***

“a flaming chalice

raising itself to the sun

accepting the light”

***

“beyond the roses

colouring a summer sky

a smiling god paints”

***

“defiant colour

sparking through the fading days

celebrating joys”

***

“memory’s pictures

neatly framed in timeless rolls

colouring the day”

These five haiku are the ones that moved me the most and I hope they have illustrated the magnificence of this beautiful book.

Purchase Midnight Haiku: A Year in Contemplation here: https://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Haiku-Contemplation-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B08YM9KBNJ

Poetry Treasures

Sue Vincent was also a contributor to Poetry Treasures, a WordCrafter anthology of poetry.

A review of Poetry Treasures

A sweet short read and a collaboration of a variety of poems written in various forms of poetry by some talented poets. I feel like this book was an introduction to the poets as well as a sampling of their creativity in poetry. I especially enjoyed the poetry of Colleen Chesebro and a delicious sampling of intrinsic poetry by the talented and missed, the late, Sue Vincent.

You can purchase Poetry Treasures here: https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Treasures-Sue-Vincent-ebook/product-reviews/B0933KSJR9

More about Sue Vincent

You can read my Treasuring Poetry interview with Sue Vincent here: https://writingtoberead.com/2020/04/25/sue-vincent-shares-her-thoughts-on-poetry-and-a-review/

Diana Peach shared a most beautiful poem by the late Sue Vincent as a tribute to her mother who sadly passed from our Earthly world in late November 2022. You can read it here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2022/11/13/go-gently-into-that-good-night-2/

Colleen Chesebro shared a lovely poem in celebration of the late Sue Vincent in her latest poetry book, which I reviewed here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2022/12/11/robbies-inspiration-book-blog-tour-fairies-myths-magic-ii-by-colleen-m-chesebro-and-a-review-poetry-shortstories-readingcommunity/

You can find out more about Colleen Chesebro’s book here: https://colleenmchesebro.com/category/colleens-books/

Find Sue Vincent’s books and poetry

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6551588.Sue_Vincent

Blog: https://scvincent.com/about/

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Announcing the winners of the “Resurrection Mixtape” giveaway

Last week we ran the WordCrafter “Resurrection Mixtape” Book Blog Tour with reviews, guest posts about how this unique book came to be, and even an awesome interview with author Jeff Bowles. Since this book was inspired by music and a simple mixtape plays such a vital role in the story, Jeff ran a generous giveaway, offering chances for signed copies of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card, and all you had to do to enter was tell us what the top three songs on your mixtape would be. Only three people entered, so, I am pleased to announce that the winners of the three signed copies of Resurrection Mixtape are TansGental (Geoff LePard), Teagan Riordan Geneviene, and Annette Rochelle Aben.

And for the $25 Amazon gift card, the winner is… (drumroll please) Annette Rochelle Aben!

Congratulations to each of you. I will be contacting you to arrange for shipment of your books, so watch for my email. And thanks to all who participated in this rockin’ tour.

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


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.


Holiday Sales from WordCrafter Press

This is a purely promotional post. All the great holiday specials that WordCrafter Press is offering this season warrent a post of their own. These are all books that you’ve heard about before, so I’m not going to offer long-winded explanations of the books, but if you are looking for a gift for an avid reader, or maybe you’vebeen eyeing a few WordCrafter Press titles for yourself, peruse the offerings below for substantial holiday savings, and enjoy.

Whispers of the Past: https://books2read.com/u/38EGEL

Spirits of the West: https://books2read.com/u/ml2Kxq

Where Spirits Linger: https://books2read.com/u/mYGyNG

Hidden Secrets: https://books2read.com/u/38RZ2O

Last Call and Other Short Fiction: https://books2read.com/u/4jL2no

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationshipshttps://books2read.com/u/3kP8aK

Something for my author friends

Write it Right: https://writingtoberead.com/wordcrafter-quality-writing-author-services/write-it-right-quality-editing-services/

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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!


Growing Bookworms – Some wonderful Christmas books for Children #readingcommunity #childrensfiction #growingbookworms

Christmas is fast approaching and this year’s will be the first normal Christmas many of us will be experiencing since 2019.

Last year, South Africa had an outbreak of Covid-19 round about now and we all went back into hibernation. My cousin and his family were here from the UK and they got trapped for an extra 2 1/2 weeks because of the quarantine requirements in the UK.

We are looking forward to a lovely family Christmas this Saturday before my family and my mom leave for the UK for just over two weeks. We are looking forward to seeing our extended family for the first time in three years.

The run up to Christmas is a wonderful time to read books with your children. There are numerous books that celebrate the Christmas story and also a significant number of books that share the message of kindness and sharing without any specific religious affiliation.

These are a few of my favourite Christmas stories and I’ve slipped in my own two newly released Christmas books for children at the end. These books are my first attempts at publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing and I am pleased with how they’ve turned out.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

What Amazon says

The timeless Christmas classic from the iconic Dr. Seuss is now available in ebook. Read this favourite story of joy, love and acceptance anytime, anywhere!

(This ebook is optimised for Kindle tablets and the Kindle App. It is not suitable for e-Ink kindle devices, such as the PaperWhite. We recommend you download a sample to your device before purchase if in doubt.)

“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason…”

With a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season. But when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!

This classic seasonal story has become a favourite for good reason. Through hilarious rhymes and beautiful illustrations, Dr. Seuss teaches readers the true meaning of Christmas.

With his unique combination of hilarious stories, zany pictures and riotous rhymes, Dr. Seuss has been delighting young children and helping them learn to read for over fifty years. Creator of the wonderfully anarchic Cat in the Hat, and ranked among the UK’s top ten favourite children’s authors, Dr. Seuss is a global best-seller, with over half a billion books sold worldwide.

A few quotes

“Packed it up with their presents, their ribbons, their wrappings, Their snoof and their fuzzles, their tringlers and trappings! Ten thousand feet up, up the side of Mount Crumpet, He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!”

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Purchase How the Grinch Stole Christmas here: https://www.amazon.com/How-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-Seuss-ebook/dp/B077BM5NVM

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

What Amazon says

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

Late one Christmas Eve after the town has gone to sleep, the boy boards the mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives, Santa offers the boy any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the harness of the reindeer. The gift is granted. On the way home the bell is lost. On Christmas morning, the boy finds the bell under the tree. The mother of the boy admires the bell, but laments that it is broken—for you see, only believers can hear the sound of the bell.

Awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1986, ‘The Polar Express ‘has sold more than 7 million copies, become a classic holiday movie, and been translated into stage productions that take place across the United States during the holiday season.

Purchase The Polar Express here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0395389496

Mr. Men and Little Miss Christmas Books by Roger Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves has an array of different books in the Mr. Men and Little Miss series of illustrated books for children. Among his many amazing books, he has a few dedicated to Christmas.

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Christmas-Men-Little-Miss-ebook/dp/B00AEBCTG8

One day Mr. Christmas receives a call from his uncle, Santa Claus, asking for help. Can Mr. Christmas help Santa deliver presents to all of the Mr. Men?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQLB7AI

Mr. Stingy is a stingy old miser who hates Christmas. But one night he is visited by three ghosts who show him that heÕs been living his life badly and needs to mend his ways! In this lighthearted adaptation of DickensÕs A Christmas Carol, Mr. Happy plays Bob Cratchit and Mr. Nosey, Little Miss Wise, and Little Miss Bossy play the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O2BS3LQ

Little Miss Christmas spends all year wrapping presents for Santa Claus. But when the wrapping isn?t done in time, Little Miss Christmas has to call on her Mr. Men and Little Miss friends to help out!

The Christmas Bird by Robbie Cheadle

The Deanne family is having a difficult time financially. Mr. Deanne’s business has failed and there is no money for Christmas presents and other luxuries. The family’s undernourished dogs discover a bird’s nest on Christmas Day and attack and kill the chicks. All except one tiny ball of fluff with luminous bright eyes like drops of oil. The baby bird is in shock, but the four Deanne girls try to save it. Will the Christmas Bird survive?

Purchase The Christmas Bird here: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Bird-Robbie-Cheadle-ebook/dp/B0BMMB2H75

Sir Chocolate and the Missing Christmas Harp

The Christmas Fairy’s harp has gone missing. Without it, the parents and children won’t sleep on Christmas Eve and Santa can’t deliver Christmas presents. Can Sir Chocolate help Santa find the missing harp and save Christmas?
Includes five fun related limericks and five Christmas themed creative activities and recipes that caregivers can make with small children.

Purchase Sir Chocolate and the Missing Christmas Harp here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BNHX8XGC

I made a video for this book and I would be delighted if you would view it and let me know what you think of it here:

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com. where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVyFo_OJLPqFa9ZhHnCfHUA

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Growing Bookworms” 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.


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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Lessons learned from NaNoWriMo

Let me start by saying, I did not write 50,000 words in November. I can’t say that I accomplished the goal, but I did come out with a manuscript of over 50,000 words, so I didn’t walk away empty handed.

For NaNoWriMo this year, I decided to work on my Western time-travel romance adventure, The Rock Star & the Outlaw. I already had a start on this story of 21,175 words, so I figured if I did manage to do 50,000 words, I would damn near have a full novel. And I did that, so I’m pleased with the results of this experience.

I’ve known that I am not a prolific writer like some authors I know. I will never crank out four or five novels in a year’s time, and I’m okay with that. But NaNoWriMo did teach me a few things about my own writing process which help to explain why I’m not prolific, which is like to share with you.

Time Management

I began this endeavor with the idea of trying out some of the writing strategies offered in Booked to the Gills, by Aisley Oliphant. It’s one of the books included in the valuable Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle, curated by Kevin J. Anderson. (By the way, this is the lady day that you can get that bundle here.)

Her time blocking strategy was of particular interest to me, and I did find it to be useful. I found that when I put in the time without distractions, I was able to get a lot of words on the page, which was cool. But for me, the time blocks didn’t always work because life kept getting in the way, and things kept coming up that had to be tended to, so my blocks got cut short, or canceled. I found that it worked better for me, if I used smaller time blocks, with short breaks to do non-writing activities in between.

Although I did make the daily wordcount once on a workday by waking in the early morning hours before going to work, for the most part I found that I shouldn’t expect too much productive writing for these days. I found that these days, I’m generally too tired in the evenings to manage much in the way of productive writing, often only managing somewhere undr 500 words per day. Trying to time block my evenings on workdays didn’t work well and I was forced to accept that lower word counts were the norm on these days.

I was surprised to realize this, because I used to be able to write after work into the late night or early morning hours, and I did so frequently when I was earning my degrees in genre fiction and screenwriting. I must be getting old. Other things I used to be able to do, that no longer work for me include writing in the car while someone else is driving. I now get car sick when I try this tactic. Also, writing in bed. I can no longer stay awake into the late night hours, so I end up dozing off with my computer in my lap. But I also found that I am often awakening in the early morning hours and not being able to go back to sleep, and I am able to use those times to effectively write.

I also found Ms. Oliphant’s suggestion to take frequent breaks helpful. I used to be able to sit at my computer for hours on end, but it wears on me more as I get older. Frequent breaks to do other things allowed me to keep my head clutter free and improved my focus when I was writing. And I was surprised that most of these lessons are more about time management than they are about writing.

The Rock Star & The Outlaw

Writing Process

After compiling two Ask the Authors anthologies and organizing two virtual writing conferences, and working with over fifty authors, there’s one thing I’m sure of. Not every writer’s process is the same, and it is important for you to understand your own process. Some writer’s are pantsers, writing blind and allowing the story to develop organically, while others are plotters who outline down to the last detail, but most are somewhere in between. Some writers need quiet while writing, and others like to write while their favorite playlist plays in the background. Some writers are binge writers, who lock themselvews in a room and don’t come out until the book is finished, or they set crazy word counts for themselves each day and write like mad, while others take their time pecking out every word and editing as they go.

Now I know that for NaNoWriMo the idea is to get out a first draft, which is supposed to be rough. I get that. It doesn’t have to be perfect. There will be time to refine it later. However, my writing process doesn’t work like that. Try as I might, I repeatedly ran into scenes where I had to go back and add in foreshadowing for the story to work. Binge writing without editing as I go simply is not part of my writing process. I’m not wired that way. This could be a part of the reason that I am not prolific, but for me, editing as I go is essential.

I started with a rough outline for this story that I hadn’t looked at in almost two years, and 21,175 words already written, so I really only wrote about 24,000 words when I reached the 50,000 word mark. What I ran into early on was that my outline had a logic error which I had to go back and fix, so this quickly became a working outline, which changed as the story progressed. But that meant that any time I changed something in the story, I had to go back and change the outline, too. Again, this takes extra time away from the actual writing, but it was necessary to keep my story moving smoothly.

It also made the second half of the month a blind writing process, requiring time to think through things and figure out what came next. You can’t write fast when you don’t know what you are writing. And many of the events added later required me to go back and foreshadow the new event, or change things which had come before and no longer worked.

Although the goal was to write 1,677 or more words per day, very seldom was I able to meet that goal. Binge writing works for some, but it doesn’t work for me. However, it did help to make the story a priority. Not one day went by that I didn’t add at least a little, even on workdays. My lowest day was 123 words.

When I set out to get my M.F.A. in 2012, I thought I was a pantser, mainly because I hated outlines and prefered to just write. Unfortunately, that process left me with several stories which went no where. Then, I learned that outlined could offer my story direction which I didn’t have otherwise, and it helped to have some idea of where my story is going. So, it turns out that maybe I’m a plotter, and I’ve gone along believing that ever since, which is why I already had an outline for The Rock Star & The Outlaw.

Fortunately, outlines can be changed, since the trajectories for my stories frequently change. My characters often do things that were unexpected, which change the direction of the story, and I must go back and change things in both the story and in the outline. I now view my outlines as working outlines and change them as the story changes, and I changed this one frequently. I guess that makes me a plantser, which is somewhere in between a plotter and a pantser, because I plan, but remain flexible enough to adjust things as I go. It probably takes more time, but that’s how I roll.

Although this story was inspired by the music of The Pretty Reckless and others, I did not try listening to music while I wrote. I did however, listen while I was commuting or cleaning, or ironing, because this is when I do my pre-writing, thinking out the story as I did these mostly automatic tasks. Music is what inspired this story, and it plays a huge role, but if I try to listen while I write, I often catch myself singing along instead of writing.

The Main Take Away

I think what is important to take away from all of this, is that you have to do what works best for you. Every writer’s process is different, and what works for one writer may not necessarily work for the next. The advice offered in Booked to the Gills is valuable, but some of it just didn’t fit my lifestyle. However, I was able to find ways to adapt it by creating smaller blocks that worked better with my busy life and many obligations. Binge writing didn’t work for me either, but I was able to apply some of the same dedication that binge writing requires. And I adjusted my process when my outline wasn’t getting me to where I needed to be, and I went back and revised the story when I felt it necessary, because that is the way my writing process works.

Every author needs to explore different avenues until they find the methods which work with their life and writing styles. Then they can develop a writing process that works for them. There is no right or wrong way to write. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, or somewhere in between, whether you’re a binge writer or edit as you go, whether you listen to music or talk your books on a mountain trail. Whatever works for you is the right way for you, and don’t be afraid to try new methods and strategies.

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For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.

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