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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Dark Origins – Myths and legends of the Shona People #Shona #Zimbabwe #stonesculpture

Introduction

The Shona people are part of the Bantu ethnic group native to Southern Africa. The primary home of the Shona is Zimbabwe, where they are the majority ethnic group, as well as Mozambique and South Africa.

There are five major Shona language groupings/dialects as follows: Karanga, Zezuru, Korekore, Manyika, and Ndau.

Creation story

The Shona creation story goes as follows:

“God (Mwari) created the first man, Mwedzi (the moon) in a great depth of water. Mwedzi became lonely and yearned to live on land. Despite Mwari’s warnings, he insisted on being released to the earth. Once there, he found that the earth was indeed a lonely and desolate place and begged Mwari for a partner. Mwari sent him morning star (Hweva / Massassi) and the couple gave birth to all the vegetation on earth. After a period of two years, the lovers were separated, leaving Mwedzi desolate once again. He petitioned for another wife and was given evening star (Morongo / Venekatsvimborume) and together they gave birth to the herbivores and birds of the earth and then to boys and girls. Morongo also gave birth to wild animals and reptiles but then created a great sin when she mated with a snake. This snake eventually bit Mwedzi and made him ill. His illness marked the dawn of all human suffering.

The End.

Read more about the creation story and other fascinating facts about the Shona people here: https://blog.rhinoafrica.com/2018/10/15/5-fascinating-facts-about-shona-people-of-zimbabwe/

Vadzimu, Ngozi and Mashave

The spirits of the ancestors are called Vadzimu and they are very concerned about their living family and their welfare. The most important Vadzimu are those of a person’s father, mother, grandmother and grandfather. If a message is to be passed on to Mwari, the spirit of the father is called upon to pass the message back to his father and so on until it reaches the ears of the deity himself. A Vadzimu of a chief is more powerful that that of a commoner as the ancestor spirit retains the position that the person held in life.

A Ngozi is the vengeful spirit of a person who was harmed during his life by any one of his close relatives. A Ngozi returns after death seeking retribution. A Ngozi is always dangerous and if the presence of one is suspected, his victim is banished from his family clan to do penance for a period of one to two years. On his return, he must offer a goat to the Ngozi in order to bring about a reconciliation.

The Mashaves are spirits of foreigners or of wanderers who died far away from their family clans and did not receive a proper burial. As a result, Mashaves are destined to roam restlessly through the bush until they find a living host in which to reside. If the host is unwilling to accept the Mashave, then s/he will become ill and a diviner is needed to transfer the spirit into the body an an animal and then drive the animal into the wilderness.

Alternatively, if the host accepts the Mashave, the sickness leaves immediately and the individual is initiated via a special ceremony into a cult made up of groups whose members possess similar Mashaves. These cult groups possess special skills imparted to them by the Mashaves such as midwifery and herbal lore.

Spirits in Stone: Sculpture

The art of sculpture has been practiced by the Shona since the 11th century. The first sculptures were based on ancient birds, which eventually became the national emblem of Zimbabwe.

Serpentine stones us used for the sculpture of Shona cult figures. This stone is sedimentary and comes in a variety of hardness’s and colours. Shona sculpturing is a means of expressing the relationship between the physical and the spiritual worlds and is used as a way of exploring legends, ancestry, beliefs and the human condition.

Since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has become well known for its stone sculpture.

Zimbabwe Sculpture: a Tradition in Stone, Atlanta, USA, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport between concourses T and A
Reconciliation by Amos Supuni

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 11 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

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Dark Origins – The Sotho-Tswana and the malevolent Tokoloshe #southernAfrica #myths&legends

The Sotho-Tswana people of southern Africa comprise of the South Sotho (Basuto and Sotho), the West Sotho (Tswana) and the North Sotho (Pedi) people.

Most Sotho people were historically herders of cattle, goats and sheep and growers of grains and tobacco. The Sotho people were also recognised for their metal and leather work as well as their wood and ivory carving.

The Sotho people live largely in Lesotho and South Africa and as a combined group are the second largest ethnic group in South Africa.

Religious beliefs

The Sotho traditionally believe in Modimo who created the world and then withdrew to Heaven. He no longer concerns himself with life on earth. Modimo is not worshipped directly but though the ancestors.

The belief in ancestors is central to Sotho traditional religion. The ancestors are believed to have an influence over the daily lives of their direct descendants. Each family is under the direct guidance of its own descendants while the tribe, as a whole, is under the guidance of the ancestors of the chief.

Cultural differences

The Sotho-Tswana people have several linguistic and cultural characteristics that distinguish them from other Bantu speaking peoples of southern Africa.

  1. In Sotho-Tswana society each member has a totem which is usually an animal. Totems are inherited from the father and are passed down like surnames;
  2. A pre-emptive right for men to marry their maternal cousins;
  3. an architectural style characterized by a round hut with a conical thatch roof supported by wooden pillars on the outside;
  4. Cloaks made of skin;
  5. A preference for dense and close settlements; and
  6. A tradition for large-scale building in stone.

Tokoloshe myth

The Tokoloshe is an evil spirit that shaman create to to torment others as a form of punishment or revenge for a perceived slight. The Tokoloshe is dwarf-like, shriveled and hairy and, in some descriptions, has gouged-out eyes. When called, the Tokoloshe can be used for something as simple as scaring children, or can cause illness or even death to those it is tasked with tormenting.

The Tokoloshe is able to become invisible by drinking water or swallowing a stone.

The myth of the Tokoloshe is believed to have come about to explain why people mysteriously died while sleeping in their rondavels at night. Traditionally, people slept on grass mats on the floor encircling a wood fire during the winter. The fire depleted the oxygen levels in the huts and left behind noxious carbon monoxide with sank to the floor. A connection was eventually made that people who slept in elevated positions escaped the curse of the Tokoloshe. Some people still elevate their beds by placing bricks beneath the legs.

Picture credit: https://www.news24.com/citypress/trending/how-to-get-rid-of-the-tokoloshe-20180827

This is short reading from Myths and Legends of Southern Africa by Penny Miller called Catching the Tokoloshe:

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 11 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


Dark Origins – African Myths and Legends: Castle of Good Hope in the Western Cape

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa, was built in 1665 and became the scene of many bloody and tragic events. The Castle came about as the result of a ship wreck, a common occurrence at the southern most tip of Africa where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet.

On the 25th of March 1647, a Dutch ship called De Nieuwe Haerlem ran aground near present day Milnerton, as it journeyed from Holland to the East Indies. The ship sank and a junior merchant named Leendert Janszen was requested to stay near the site of the wreck, with about 60 crew members, to look after the cargo while the rest of the ship wrecked men boarded other ships and continued to Holland.

While he waited to be relieved of his responsibilities and return home, Janszen and his men grew vegetables, caught fish and bartered fresh fish from the indigenous people in the area. When he returned to Holland, he was requested to compile a report recommending the suitability of the Cape to serve as a refreshment station for the Dutch East India Company’s ships travelling to India and back. Janszen was in favour of the idea and so was Jan Van Riebeeck, a member of the crew of the ship that picked up Janszen and his men.

In 1651, Van Riebeeck, accompanied by 79 men and 8 women, set sail for the Cape to establish a refreshment station. Van Riebeeck built the original clay and timber fort, called the Fort de Goede Hoop, which was replaced by a new fort made of stone between 1666 and 1679. The new building which still survives and is the oldest Colonial building in South Africa, has five bastions named after the main titles of William III of Orange-Nassau: Leerdam to the west, the Buuren, Katzenellenbogen, Nassau, and Oranje clockwise from it.

Picture credit: https://castleofgoodhope.co.za/index.php/news/100-news/149-history-of-the-castle

Legends of The Castle

The Castle was used as a prison and numerous prisoners were incarcerated for their sins (real or manufactured) in the ‘Donker Gat’ [Dark Hole]. This windowless dungeon was used as a torture chamber and it sometimes flooded during the winter, drowning any prisoners it contained.

The Castle is, of course, haunted and workers and visitors have reported hearing voices and footsteps in the Donker Gat and in The Castles narrow corridors. The bell in the bell tower sometimes rings of its own accord, despite having been bricked up centuries ago. It is believed that the ghost of a soldier who hung himself by the bell-rope rings the bell.

A vicious black dog is reported to haunt the castles grounds. It lunges and visitors and then disappears.

The most interesting of the ghosts, in my opinion, is that of Governor Pieter Gijsbert van Noodt. He had a reputation for mistreating his servants and the soldiers during his tenure. On the 23rd of April 1728, Governor van Noodt sentenced 7 men to hang for desertion. He was cursed by one of the men while he hung from the gallows and, that very same day, he was found dead in his office. Workers and visitors have seen him prowling the gloomy corridors of The Castle and heard him carousing and cursing in the upstairs rooms.

Do you know of any haunted castles? Share your story in the comments below.

An interesting historical connection

The Zulu King Cetshwayo also spent time as a prisoner at The Castle. This was after he was captured in the Ngome Forest after the defeat of the Zulu Nation by the British at Ulundi in 1879.

Subsequent to the defeat at Ulundi which dealt a death blow of the Zulu Kingdom, King Cetshwayo achieved the greatest victory against the British forces ever achieved by an indigenous army at the Battle of Isandlwana.

Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetshwayo

I have recently written two short stories about this battle, and this is a short extract from my story, written from the perspective of the Zulus, called “Hell Hath No Fury Like an Army Scorned.”

“22 January 1879

The narrow bottom of the gorge was filled with men, women, and boys. The grim, motionless ranks of over twenty thousand squatting warriors set the tone, ensuring that the several thousand uDibi boys, of which I was one, and the women conducted themselves soundlessly. The silence hung heavily, like early morning mist.

In accordance with the orders of King Cetshwayo, the Zulu army had marched the 62 miles from Ulundi at a slow pace.  It was to “attack at dawn and eat up the red soldiers.”

Now, the men were resting and waiting for the ‘day of the dead moon’ to pass. Unless it was unavoidable, the army would not fight on this spiritual day.

“White men are coming!” The young herders appeared at the entrance to the ravine, driving the cattle before them. Their cries of warning echoed off the encircling rockfaces.

Looking up, I saw several white men on horseback starring down at our camp from the top of the overlooking ridge.

CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!

The observers fired down on us, before turning their animals and galloping away.

The dust from their horses’ hooves still hung in a thick cloud over the ridge when the great UNduna sprang into action.

“Prepare for battle, men,” Ntshingwayo kaMahole Khoza ordered. “We must attack now or lose the element of surprise.”

My belly roiled with fear.

The army’s not supposed to fight today. It’s bad khama, I thought.

“I hope the evil spirits in the air won’t bring bad luck,” my mother’s whispered words rang in my head as I set off with the other uDibi boys to prepare for battle.”

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 11 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Robbie’s “Dark Origins” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you found it interesting or entertaining, please share.


WordCrafter News

WordCrafter News

And the Winners Are….

I have an announcement to make.

We finished up the WordCrafter Once Upon an Ever After Book Blog Tour on Saturday, and I do hope you all joined in. It was a great tour and we held a giveaway for three digital copies of Once upon an Ever After, and every comment earned an entry.

Now, I am pleased to announce that the three winners of the anthology giveaway are Liz Gauffreau, Annette Rochel Aben, and Sara W. McBride!

(I need to make contact with each of you to find out which digital format you prefer. If you don’t hear from me, please contact me at Kayebooth@yahoo.com.)

You can get your copy of this wonderful anthology from your favorite book distributor here.

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Nice Reviews

Ask the Authors 2022 has received a lovely review from Alex Norton on the Likely Story blog.

” I found it to be both interesting and useful, answering questions I didn’t even know I had and giving me different perspectives to ponder as I move forward on my own writing journey.”

You can find Alex’s full review here. I hope you will check it out.

Get your copy of this unique writing reference anthology from your favorite book distributor here.

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.The first review is out on Goodreads, from Madelon’s Reviews. Madelon does a nice job of making a brief statement about each story, as well as a review of the overall anthology, which states in part:

“Overall, REFRACTED REFLECTIONS provides a glimpse into the writing styles of authors you may want to read again.” 

You can read Madelon’s review in full here.

Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deceptions

Refractions and Reflections…

A reflection can be revealing or deceptive. What stares back at you when you glance into the mirror?

A prison, designed to trap you and take away all that is dear to you?

A portal to another dimension? Another time?

An evil twin, luring you to the other side?

Your loved ones with a fond farewell?

A distorted version of yourself? A person you no longer even recognize?

A protective savior?

Do you dare to gaze into the looking glass?

Will what you see save you…, or haunt you forever?

If you liked Gilded Glass and Once Upon an Ever After, you’ll like Refracted Reflections: Tales of Duality & Deception.

Scheduled for release September 20, 2022. Now available for pre-order from your favorite book distributor here.

Don’t miss the WordCrafter Refracted Reflections Book Blog Tour September 19 – 23 for a deeper look into this unique anthology.

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Write it Right Quality Editing Services is currently open to new clients

See Write it Right‘s affordable rates and get a quote for your editing needs here.


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Once Upon an Ever After” Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the WordCrafter Once Upon an Ever After Book Blog Tour, where we’re launching Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Folklore with guest posts from contributing authors about their story inspirations, reviews and an interview the anthology and WordCrafter Press with me, Kaye Lynne Booth. So, stick with us by following the schedule below, to learn more about this mystical new anthology and its authors. Check back daily, as I’ll be adding the links as they go live.

Tour Schedule

Monday – August 22 – Opening Day Post – Writing to be Read – Intro. & Guest Post – Sarah Lyn Eaton

Tuesday – August 23 – Patty’s World – Review & Guest Post – Robbie Cheadle

Wednesday – August 24 – The Showers of Blessings – Guest Post – Olivia Merchiston

Thursday – August 25 –Roberta Writes – Interview w/ Kaye Lynne Booth

Friday – August 26 – Zigler’s News – Review & Guest Post – Lyndsay Elizabeth Gilbert

Saturday – August 27 – Closing Post – Writing to be Read – Guest Post – A.E. Lanier

Digital Giveaway

For a chance to win a free digital copy of Once Upon an Ever After, just leave a comment to show you were here. Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win. Three copies will be given away in a random drawing. (Yep. I literally draw the names out of a hat.)

This anthology was by invitation only, which means I invited the authors because of specific stories, which caught my imagination. The result is a unique collaboration with a wonderful group of authors who have been an absolute pleasure to work with.

Today’s guest post is from contributing author Sarah Lyn Eaton, who wrote the story “Old Roots, New Soil”. Her story grabbed ahold of me and stuck in my head because of the imagery of the spooky old apple orchard her words created for me and because it involves a mysterious curse which is pretty cool. What more could you ask for in a modern day fairy tale?

Finding Roots

I originally wrote the story that appears in this anthology for another submission call, looking for folk tales and modern fairy tales based on some kind of mirror imagery. My brain tends to jump outside of, but stay near to, the box and I began to consider what kind of folk magics my ancestors might have practiced, may have believed. The inspiration for this story was rather close to home.

I grew up in between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Generations of my family lived in the area and that’s where my roots are. Our family genealogy is a project my dad worked on when I was a kid, and now we do it together. Over the years I have sought out information on the history of the places our ancestors lived, how they developed and evolved. What were their industries? Their environmental impact?

This is similar to the way I layer a character and where they came from and what circumstances they find themselves in when the story opens, and where they need to get to.

On my father’s side of the family, we have mostly been on this soil since the Mayflower, if not those first 50 years of migration to the new world. And my mother’s side of the family has lines that go back that far. But she also has more recent migrations from Germany and Ireland. And one of the German names caught my eye, that of my great-great-great-great maternal grandmother Wilheminia Wernersbach.  

In 1836, George Arth, 35, and Wilheminia Wernersbach, 37, emigrated from Germany with sons Adam, 7, Jacob, 3, and George, 3 months. The emigration card did not list a destination. I believe they were in Antwerp for some time before coming to America. When Wilhemenia brought her sons to America, George Arth was not with them. In 1850, when they are first on record in Pendleton, NY her son Adam, my great-great-great grandfather had his own family plot, right next to her own. In fact, she saved up money to buy a third plot on the other side, so that each son would have his own land, but they would still be together.

I thought about their story and let my brain wander. I wondered what it was like for this woman to bring her children to a new world, and then all the way to the other side of New York that was still being developed. What of this land did she find strange? What of her land might she have brought with her? What customs would have been a comfort to her? What guardians might she have called on to protect her family? How might they have made their living in a new place?

When you do a lot of genealogy and you can get beyond the lists of names and dates and you start to retain details, you start to notice family patterns emerging. Generational patterns that the people toiling every day, trying to get to the next one can’t see. And sometimes you can see how trauma gets passed down, and sometimes even transposed, like in the telephone game of passing messages down a line of people, to see what it becomes at the end.

How can you undo something you can’t understand? How do you combat a family legacy that was kept hidden from you? And what if you found yourself crossing an apple orchard, about to open the door to a dark part of your family’s past?

And that was the seed that formed the first breath of my story.

Sarah Lyn Eaton

Sarah Lyn Eaton is a queer pagan writer and burn survivor. She is a life-long Star Wars geek who spends her free time rock hunting, or venturing into the woods with her camera. Her stories have been published in the anthologies Brave New Worlds, Upon a Twice Time, Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction, Of Fae and Fate: Lesser Known Fairy Tales Retold, On Fire, and Dystopia Utopia. In 2021, Sarah Lyn was awarded The Speculative Literature Foundation’s Working Class Writer Grant.

About Once Upon an Ever After

This unique and imaginative collection of eleven thought provoking fantasy stories will delight readers who enjoy stories of wishes gone awry.

What happens when…

A woman desires to carry on her family’s legacy, uncovering a long-buried curse?

A not so perfect witch casts a spell to defy age and preserve her relationship with her handsome shapeshifting familiar?

A time traveler longs to be the savior of knowledge lost?

An incompetent delivery boy becomes an unlikely savior of forgotten artifacts?

A magic mirror yearns for a different question?

A tiny story witch desires to share her stories with the world?

Spells are cast, unlikely alliances made, and wishes granted, sometimes with surprising outcomes. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore, and fairy tales. Once you read these twisted tales, you’ll be sure to be careful what you wish for….

If you liked Gilded Glass, you’ll enjoy Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, short stories with thought provoking themes, captivating characters and diverse cultures, from humorous to horrifying, from the legendary past to possible futures and back to the here and now.

Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore

Today is the last day of pre-order for this wonderful new anthology. Once Upon an Ever After goes live tomorrow. You can get your copy through your favorite book distributor with the Books2Read UBL here: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Dark Origins, African Myths and Legends: Stories of the Western Cape – The Flying Dutchman #Ghoststories #FlyingDutchman #TableMountain

In the late Middle Ages, the spice trade from India and the so called Silk Road from China were of economic importance to Europe. After Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 the European overland trade routes were disrupted and they needed to find a sea route to India and China.

Christopher Columbus attempted to find a sea route to India by travelling westwards. He discovered the Americas.

Portuguese explorer, Diogo Cão, explored the African coast south to present-day Namibia, and, in 1488, Portuguese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, discovered the Cape of Good Hope. In 1498, Vasco da Gama headed an expedition which led to the Portuguese discovery of a sea route to India. This route around the Cape of Good Hope (current day Cape Town) came into use by the European East India Companies.

The Cape of Good Hope was also known as the Cape of Storms because of the treacherous winter storms that resulted in a total of 26 shipwrecks at Cape Point alone.

Legend has it that when Bartholomew Dias rounded this Cape of Storms and saw Table Mountain, he thought he was seeing a gigantic titan of the deep with it’s head veiled in white clouds. He imagined that the tides that foamed around the foot of the great mountain were the titan’s roar. The moment of Dias’ first sighting of this titan was described in the poem, Lusiadas, by Portuguese poet, Camoes. Camoes called the monster Titan Adamastor and depicted him as condemned to dwell imprisoned forever in the ‘furtherest confines of the south’ – the Cape of Storms. According to the poem, this sentence was passed by Jupiter when the Titans were vanquished following a war between these deities that lasted ten years. Adamastor and his brothers were imprisoned in various huge mountains around the world. Adamastor was filled with bitterness at his imprisonment and at losing the love of the queen of the sea, Thetis, and he swore eternal vengeance on all who should approach him and disturb his solitude. He shouted his rage and warnings of doom at Dias when he rounded the Cape.

In 1500, Dias returned to the Cape of Storms on his way to Sofala. As his fleet rounded the Cape it encountered a violent storm. Four of the ships, including the one captained by Dias, disappeared and Adamastor’s warning was fulfilled. From this unfortunate maritime disaster, the legend of the Flying Dutchman came into being.

The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship which is said to have never been able to make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever.

According to Wikipedia: “According to the legend, if hailed by another ship, the crew of the Flying Dutchman was said to try to send messages to land, or to people long dead. Reported sightings in the 19th and 20th centuries claimed that the ship glowed with a ghostly light. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom.” You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Dutchman

Picture of the Flying Dutchman from Wikipedia

This is my reading on YT of the story of The Flying Dutchman from Myths and Legends of Southern Africa by Penny Mills:

A picture of Table Mountain from https://www.travelbutlers.com/south-africa/cape-town/table-mountain.asp

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has two published novels:

* Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy; and

* A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has ten children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000.

Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written seven publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

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The release party you won’t want to miss

Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths and Shattered Fairy Tales

Gilded Glass is scheduled for release on July 19th. This is a fantastic anthology of Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales which will stay with you long after the cover closes.

A mirror is far more than meets the eye. When you gaze into the gilded glass, what do you see—and what looks back at you?

A beautiful woman hiding an ugly secret?

A malevolent king who delivers a fate worse than death?

An urban legend who will becomes an unlikely ally?

An alien gladiator with reflective armor?

A monster to the rescue?

A goddess?

A distorted version of yourself?

Dare to gaze into these 24 original tales of sweet deceptions and cursed truths by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jonathan Maberry, Alan Dean Foster, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Michaelbrent Collings, and more.

Edited by international bestseller Kevin J. Anderson and Allyson Longueira and their Publishing graduate students at Western Colorado University, Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths and Shattered Fairy Tales offers stories with diverse roots, characters, and cultures, from frightening to funny, from once upon a time to far-flung futures and back to the modern day.

Deals are made and wishes granted. Friendships forged and enemies vanquished. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore, and fairy tales, because everyone enjoys a happily ever after…

…or do they?

Stare deep into the gilded glass.

What you find might haunt you.

You can pre-order a copy of your own on the WordFire Press website here: wordfirepress.com/gpcw

Virtual Release Party

Join us on July 20th, at 6 p.m. MT, for the virtual book launch and help us send this exceptional anthology of modern myths and fairy tales off right. Meet the editors of Gilded Glass, and special author guests as we celebrate the release of this collection of science fiction and fantasy stories from both new and established writing talents.

In addition, there will be opportunity to learn more about all of the Western publishing cohort’s exciting solo projects. See how we’ve revived the classic works of masters of the past to be enjoyed in the future.

You can learn more about this terrific event on the Facebook event page and find a link to the livestream event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/4958121874299623/


Celebrating Graduation with July Book Releases

Well July is finally here and the time I’ve been waiting for, when I will have completed all the requirements for my master’s degree in publishing, is fast approaching. I’ve worked long and hard to earn this M.A. in publishing and now comes the time for the payoff. There’s a few really cool things about earning this degree that I’m really excited about – one of which, is that this time, I actually get to walk commencement in cap and gown. Although this was offered at the time I earned my M.F.A. in Creative Writing, they held commencement in May and it would have required an additional trip to Gunnison, Colorado which I was unable to make at that time, so I had to decline. But, this time around, they are having commencement at the end of the summer residency, which makes a whole lot more sense, and makes it possible for me to graduate proper.

I’m also excited about the release parties which are associated with the books released by our cohort. This includes the release of our class project, Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales, and my solo project, Wired Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27. The first is a virtual release party on July 20 and you are all invited to join us. The second release party will be in person the following week, on July 27, which will be weird after two years of pandemic precautions which have kept most interactions with the public virtual. Wierd, but exciting, too. If you happen to be in the Gunnison area, it would be great to see you there, too.

So now, let me tell you about the two fabulous books which I had a hand in publishing.

Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales was our class project. We ran a call for submissions, which you may have seen right here on Writing to be Read, and then read through a slush pile of over 600 submissions to choose eighteen to twenty of the best ones to include in the anthology. And thanks to a grant from Draft2Digital, we were able to pay professional rates for the chosen stories, create and send out contracts, and handle all the edits for assigned stories. I was assigned a story which I fought for, during the selection process and it was great to get to work with the author I had championed. I was also assigned one of the big name authors KJA solicited stories from for this anthology. I admit, it was a little scary to edit the story of an award winning and best selling author, but it was also exciting. We all collaborated on the cover image and back cover copy, and the final result is the Gilded Glass anthology.

Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales

A mirror is far more than meets the eye. When you gaze into the gilded glass, what do you see – and what looks back at you?

A beautiful woman hiding an ugly secret?

A malevolent king who delivers a fate worse than death?

An urban legend who will become an unlikely ally?

An alien gladiator with reflective armor?

A monster to the rescue?

A goddess?

A distorted version of yourself?

Dare to gaze into these 24 original tales of sweet deceptions and cursed truths by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Madaug Hishinuma, Jonathan Maberry, Alan Dean Foster, Kristine Katheryn Rusch, Michaelbrent Collins, and more.

Edited by international bestseller Kevin J. Anderson and Allyson Longueira and their Publishing graduate students at Western Colorado University. Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales offers stories with diverse roots, characters, and cultures, from frightening to funny, from once upon a time to far-flung futures and back to modern day.

Deals are made and wishes granted. Friendships are forged and enemies vanquished. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore and fairy tales, because everyone enjoys a happily ever after…

…or do they?

Stare deep into the gilded glass.

What you find might haunt you.

Gilded Glass will be released on July 19, 2022 and is now available for preorder through your favorite book distributor here: https://books2read.com/u/bwKZ8Y

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Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27 was my solo project, which I compiled and edited in collaboration with Weird Tales editor and award-winning author, Jonathan Maberry. For this project, I read through all issues of the iconic Weird Tales magazine for 1926 & 27 and chose the stories I felt were the best ones, or at least representative of the magazine for those years. Then I compiled and edited them, (or at least proofread them, you don’t really edit the classics), and set the book up for publishing. I didn’t have choice of cover design, as this was one of two volumes published this year and they wanted them to be consistent in design, but I did get to choose the three covers to be featured, as well as original illustrations for the header images, and I got to write the back cover copy myself. The result was the republication of some classic short fiction by some of the early masters of science fiction, horror and fantasy, from before genre fiction was a ‘thing’.

Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27

Spectral visitations…

World-conquering spiders…

An ancient feud with an enchanted forest…

Demonic paintings…

Zombies, mummies, vampires…

…and more.

Founded in 1922, Weird Tales is an iconic publication of fantasy, science fiction, and horror stories. Weird Tales is the forerunner to today’s pulp and speculative fiction genres.

Within these pages you’ll find some of the best of the classic stories originally published in Weird Tales during the years 1926 and 1927, collected into a single volume. Featuring stories by legendary authors such as Seabury Quinn, E. Hoffman Price, Greye La Spina, Edward Hamilton, Frank Belknap Long Jr., H. Warner Munn, August W. Derleth, A. Merritt, and H.P. Lovecraft.

Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27 is scheduled for July 12, 2022 and is available at your favorite book distributor here: https://books2read.com/u/bx1e8k

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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.


Once Upon an Ever After available for Digital Pre-Order Now

Once Upon an Ever After

I am pleased to announce that the first WordCrafter fantasy anthology, Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore is scheduled for release on August 23, and is now available for digital pre-order through this Books2Read UBL: https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV

Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Fairy Tales & Folklore

This unique and imaginative collection of eleven thought provoking fantasy stories will delight readers who enjoy stories of wishes gone awry.

What happens when…

A woman desires to carry on her family’s legacy, uncovering a long-buried curse?

A not so perfect witch casts a spell to defy age and preserve her relationship with her handsome shapeshifting familiar?

A time traveler longs to be the savior of knowledge lost?

An incompetent delivery boy becomes an unlikely savior of forgotten artifacts?

A magic mirror yearns for a different question?

A tiny story witch desires to share her stories with the world?

Spells are cast, unlikely alliances made, and wishes granted, sometimes with surprising outcomes. You’ll love this anthology of modern myths, lore, and fairy tales. Once you read these twisted tales, you’ll be sure to be careful what you wish for….

If you liked Gilded Glass, you’ll enjoy Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, short stories with thought provoking themes, captivating characters and diverse cultures, from humorous to horrifying, from the legendary past to possible futures and back to the here and now.

Reserve your copy today! : https://books2read.com/u/mKdWGV