An epic series starter with nearly 1,100 five-star Goodreads ratings: Young mapmaker-in-training Jak dreams of exploring new worlds. But when he and his mother unearth the legendary dragon gate, Jak finds himself caught between his own growing power and magical enemies who will stop at nothing to eliminate him… From a USA Today bestselling author!
I listened to the audio book of Kingdoms at War, written by Lindsay Buroker, and narrated by Vivienne Lehany. Buroker takes readers on a science fantasy adventure that won’t be soon forgotten, complete with her signature snark, and Lehany brings it alive with her mastery of varied character voices.
Just as Jack and his mother find the artifact his father lost his life searching for, their find is discovered by the zidar, and they are swept away with the dragon’s gate to the distant kingdom of King Yidar. But if Yidar figures out how to use the gate, it could mean distruction for Jack and all of his kind, so his mother gives the key to the Captain of the female mercenary regiment for safe keeping, this making the whole regiment a target. Can they figure out how to wake the gate up? And if they do, can they convince the dragons to help them gain their freedom from the wizard kings and their Zidar? But will they be able to get the dragon’s gate away from Yidar and prevent him from discovering it’s secrets?
Kingdoms at War is book one in Buroker’s Dragon’s Gate series, and it brings the promise of much more to come. A delightful tale which kept my full engagement throughout. I give it five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? You can request a review here.
Before we begin to look forward to the coming year, we must first look back to assess the successes and failures of the past year. It’s been a busy year, and we’ve accomplished much
For WordCrafter Press, we published 5 books in 2022.
In April, we releasedPoetry Treasures 2: Relationships, with an eight day blog tour, which did well enough that I’m looking forward to the release of Poetry Treasures 3 next year. Robbie Cheadle hasn’t shared with me what the theme will be for 2023, but I’m sure it will be a good one.
In May, we released Ask the Authors 2022: Writing Reference Anthology, with a ten week long blog promotion series. Seven of the contributing authors for this book, including me, editor Kaye Lynne Booth got together for a round table discussion on the Stark Reflections Podcast to share writing wisdom and promote the book, here. And it is still available in Kevin J. Anderson’s Writing Career Toolkit Bundle, which you can purchase here. The bundle is only available until December 1, so be sure to grab one while you can.
In August, WordCrafter Press published the first of three short fiction anthologies,Once Upon an Ever After: Modern Myths & Fairy Tales, with a six day blog tour and giveaway. Featuring contemporary stories in the classic fairy tale tradition which I handpicked.myself, to create an exceptional by-invitation-only fantasy anthology. This anthology has been our biggest seller in 2022.
October was a big month, with the release of Visions, the 2023 annual WordCrafter Press anthology. In addition to contest entrries from the annual WordCrafter Press Short Fiction Contest, this year’s anthology had more contributions by invitation, making it the largest anthology WordCrafter Press has ever published. We ran an eight day blog tour with three days of double stops. It was quite a production. Then, we joined up with Sonoran Dawn Studios for the big Halloween book event, All Hallow’s Eve – The Web We Weave on Facebook, where we promoted all 2022 WordCrafter Press releases, with games and giveways, music and movies.
In November, I’ve been trying to do the NaNoWriMo thing with The Rock Star and the Outlaw, a time travel romance adventure novel, inspired by the music of The Pretty Reckless and other artists. It’s not finished until the last day of the month, so I’m still hard at it. I’ve written 28,940 words since the beginning of the month, so I’m not even close But I started with 21, 175 words already written, and I passed the 50,000 word mark this morning.
Also in the month of November, Ask the Authors 2022, is available in the Writer’s Career Toolkit Bundle currated by Kevin J. Anderson. Also included in this bundle are writing references by David Farland and Kevin J. Anderson, Joanna Penn, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, L. Jagi Lamplighter and Aisley Oliphant to name a few. You decide what price to pay for five core books and/or ten more bonus books, all valuable author references, and you can still get it for a few more days.
Preparations and plans for the year ahead
December is pretty much dedicated to the prepartions for the coming year, and I have some really cool things planned. This past year, WordCrafter Press published a total of five anthologies involving around 30 different authors, which was amazing. In 2023, I plan to focus more on my own writing, and I only plan to do the two annual anthologies WordCrafter Press publishes each year; one poetry and one short fiction. The poetry anthology features the guests of Robbie Cheadle’s “Treasuring Poetry” blog series, and she also acts as my co-editor of the Poetry Treasures anthology.
The short fiction anthology is connected with the annual WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest. However this last year, for Visions, I combined the contest entries with stories acquired by invitation, and the other two anthologies were by invitation only. I liked the results of including the invitations, and plan to do the same thing in 2023. The themes for these anthologies will be announced after the first of the year.
As for my own books, I have quite a few planned. I plan to re-release Delilah as a part of the Women in the West adventure series, to be launched with a Kickstarter with lots of cool stuff available for your support around the beginning of the year, so be sure and watch for that. If things go well, I may also be able to release Sarah before the end of 2023.
Also, of course, I will be launching my NaNoWriMo project, The Rock Star & the Outlaw, in the coming year. This western time-travel romance adventure will keep readers on their toes. Based on the music of The Pretty Reckless and other artists, it’s a wild ride that will keep readers guessing.
I’m also planning to put together a collection of my own poetry, which I think will appeal to all the poetry lovers out there, and I am working on several short stories which I hope to find homes for. As always, at least one will go into the annual WordCrafter short fiction anthology. And I’m planning to start a Patreon, and I’m thinking of serializing my science fantasy Playground for the Gods series for that.
2022 was a really good year, and 2023 promises to be just as good, if not better. I would love to hear your thoughts on any of my plans for the year to come. Which potential covers do you like or dislike and why? Which books will you look forward to? What would you like to see offered as rewards for my Kickstarter, or my Patreon? Let me know in the comments. Your feedback is appreciated.
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.
Announcing the winner of the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest.
Every year, WordCrafter Press runs an annual short fiction contest and publishes the resulting anthology. The first contest was in 2019, with the Whispers of the Past paranormal anthology, followed by Spirits of the West paranormal western anthology in 2020, and Where Spirits Linger paranormal anthology in 2021.
Today it pleases me to announce that Roberta Eaton Cheadle is the winner of the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest. Robbie has entered the WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest every year since 2019 and this year her story “The Bite” stood out and shined, although with so many good stories submitted, it was still quite difficult to choose. I am proud to include her story in Visions.
The Visions anthology will be different from years past in that I have included stories by invitation only, which were not a part of the contest, so it will be a bit larger than previous anthologies, with a total of nineteen terrific stories for your reading enjoyment. In addition to Robbie, contributing authors include previous contest winners, Jeff Bowles and Christa Planko; invited authors Sara McBride, W.T. Patterson, Julie Jones, Zack Ellafy, Leah Cutter, Joseph Carribis, D.L.Mullen and Stephanie Kraner; and contest entrants, Patty L. Fletcher, Billie Holladay Skelley, C.J. Serajeddini, C.R. Johansson, Keith J. Hoskins, and Janet Garber.
I look forward to putting this anthology together and sharing it with all of you.
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.
Winner of Playboy Magazine’s Best Story of The Year
Sitting indolently in his gravity couch, Nerl Forfeech was lasciviously eyeing this month’s Plaything centerfold. Two of his tongues hung out from his upper crease as the shiny cellulose pages fell all the way to the floor. Such a lavish display was essential on the planet Znar-foot, a world where six genders struggle to reach alliances and make trysts. The photo that Nerl studied included all the erotic subtypes, built up into naked pyramids of hair, tumescences and orifices.
In this issue, as always, a gorgeous nude six sprawled in the typically suggestive pile, gravity being so low on Znar-foot that any other arrangement would have resulted in the lovers floating away. Their faces were lit with the ecstasy of romantic communion, their organs photographed to be all but fully visible. Nerl, idly fondling one of his protuberances, sighed as he viewed the tinted nipples, the arousing half-glimpses of fur-covered apertures.
Then, suddenly, the door-iris swooshed open and Cloong walked in. Nerl, hastily stuffing the segments back into the magazine, almost fell from the couch as he attempted to hide the issue under some cushions.
Cloong giggled at her embarassed partial lover. “Oh, go ahead,“ she piped, “You can unfold the layout again. I don’t care. They ARE rather lovely… but so impossible, don’t you think?”
Nerl threw down the magazine in disgust. “I wish you weren’t so right. I’ve had only two sixes in my entire life, and both of them got weird right away… right after….”
His voice trailed off at the memory of it. The ecstasy! And then, inevitably, confusion.
Cloong took Nerl by the trunk nooks, and they clung together in mutual frustration. Cloong was Nerl’s Two. And together they had a tentative Three with Albolon Farfing, who, unfortunately, was doing a loose sort of thing with a Two, Three and Four down in the Freesex District, the swinger’s playground in the city of Fichi Forfoot. Albolon had a tendency to be unreliable and he slipped in and out of identities like six-sided dice. He was a Her Two, but no… she is a her3Him… or sometimes a 4femmhe. Albolon was sketchy but still they loved him, if a bit reservedly, in return.
“What do you want to do tonight?” Cloong asked, licking Nerl’s eyeknobs playfully. To Nerl it only made the craving for someone to be inserting into his side slits more powerful. Cloong was only a quasi-femguy, good for sucking and the like… but he shouldn’t be too unfair to her. After all, he was only a quasi-himgalhim, and had limited abilities, as well. Like it or not, it was the way nature made them. With dozens of erogenous zones, the Znar-feet needed flesh on all sides, working in combination to produce the orgasmic culmination of multiple personalities. You could get off with Three; Four and Five were even better. But being a Six was the ultimate, and pitifully elusive, Total Turn-on.
“What can we do?” Nerl echoed distractedly. “Is there anything we can actually do to remedy this feeling?”
“Sure,” Cloong cheerfully volunteered. “We can go pick up Albolon and cruise a Triples Bar. You never know what might happen.”
“Not again,” Nerl groaned. “I can’t take it, the futile games, the flash and glitter. I’m a simple person. All I need is a good, simple five-to-one relationship. That’s not so much to ask.”
“Come on, “ urged Cloong, lifting her appendages in his trunk nooks. The effect was sufficiently erotic. “You’ll never meet anybody if you don’t show your faces. What can you lose? Would you rather stay home all night and masturbate in the washing machine?”
“Okay okay,” Nerl gave in. “Let me get my threads on. I’ll wear my jewel-studded trunk shapers and my simulated-tumescence trouser pads.”
“That’s the way!” Cried Cloong, getting up off Nerl’s abdominal folds. “Dress up sexy!”
Later the three of them strode snout in snout down the flamboyant promenades of Flesh-Bargain City, the accepted cruising ground for Znar-Foot’s frustrated sexuals.
Cloong was bouyed up between her partial lovers, dressed in a revealing mini-suit that left quite a few of her tubes exposed. The night was torpid, just right for the ongoing voyeurism of Gendervender Plaza. (Sometimes known as Six Sex Street.) Of course Albolon and Nerl were elegant beyond compare in their striped priapic enhancers. As they progressed down the brightly lit avenue, they caught the envious stares of lonely Ones or Twos, and occasionally the pitying glances of bustling Fours and Fives. But there were no Sixes. The Sixes would undoubtedly be at someone’s apartment, in bed. Or else arguing.
Cloong, Nerl and Albolon stopped to peer into various clubs and bars, to see which ones were running Threes that night. The formats always changed, rotating a nightclub’s patronage through the various combinations, Two-Fours, Five-Ones, Singles Night, and so forth. Of course, no one EVER went to a Single Night. Too humiliating.
As they walked, peering through the transparent view bubbles of the different clubs, they were accosted by street hustlers making suggestive offers: “Say honeys,”a gaudily dressed Non-specific eyed them speculatively. “I got just the Three for you, never been Sixed before, any of them. Got a taste for some fresh action?” Or another: “Need a massage, sports? Got a lovely pair, just juicin’ to get their trunks on you.”
Ignoring the lascivious stares and remarks, Cloong, Nerl and Albolon arrived at their favorite place, The Sexagram Club, and saw that it was running Triples that night. The house band, The Numbers Racket, could be heard raucously blaring, and their pulses raced with anticipation at the wild action within. The Numbers Racket, a successful Four offstage, never failed to turn on the audiences with their erotogymnastics and jerk’n’jell music. Cloong, Nerl and Albolon showed their IDs and entered the crowded room that smelled of trunk-pit persp and stimu-mist.
“Hey babies,” a Triple, rocking past in an orbiting dance, called out. “Hey hey, let’s get it on.”
Cloong pulled back. “How unsubtle. Come on, boys, this is no place to meet nice people. Let’s get out of here.”
But Nerl and Albolon had already spotted some promising looking action. “No, let’s stay, Cloong. It was your idea in the first place. If we don’t like it after a while, we can go someplace else.” They pulled her farther into the seething mass, where dancing bodies yanked and plopped spasmodically, simulating sex.
Onstage, The Numbers Racket had sprawled atop one another in an explicit orogenital configuration, while, up front, dancing Threes screamed their shock and delight.
Against the walls of the room, stimu-mist vendors lined up next to sensory-enhancement dealers, exchanging money balls for popular brands of dope. The rest of the room was all dance floor, with sufficient space in which to flirt, writhe and show off simul-sex aptitude.
Cloong and her hims moved onto the dance floor, their eyes constantly shifting across the room, taking in the more attractive groups, canceling out the ones who held no appeal. Since their tastes were relatively alike, they intuitively crossed through the various combinations until they were close to another sexy Three who seemed alone.
Perfect! A Three with two fems. Cloong lowered her tubes a trifle suggestively at the him of the group. Meanwhile, Nerl had shown a definite tumescence at the she-she-it in the flaming orange trunk gripper. They danced up closer, coyly initiatiing eyes contact. Albolon, however, didn’t move correspondingly. He was too busy eyeing a fem in a different Three altogether.
Cloong jerked at him and he staggered forward. “Idiot,” she hissed, but the cute Three had caught the little interchange and had indifferently moved away through the crowd.
Nerl reprimanded Albolon. “You blew it for us, man. Didn’t you see those gorgeous fems? Himwit! We would have been perfect. I just know it.”
Albolon cursed. “Ah, the one in the dotted tube-throttler was a pig. I almost scored another Three for us all by myself until you pulled at me so obviously.”
Cloong waved her eyeknobs impatiently. “Look over there. Do you think we can all agree on one Three to come on to? How about that short-tall-tall number in the corner?”
Al and Nerl furtively checked it out. “Okay. Let’s go.”
Again, they spasmed across the dance floor, dodging single and double Triples to get near the attractive Three that Cloong had pointed out. This one was a good dancer, doing all the most fashionable orifice-openers among several maneuvering Threes. They were dressed in one of the latest cozy-suits, a gauzy garment that joined the three bodies in a spacious but intimate arrangement. There was an obvious zipper where another Three suit could easily be hooked in.
“We don’t have one of those suits,” Nerl commented negatively. “This Three’s too uptown for us. And look at the competition. I hate standing in line.”
“Don’t be a onesyhead,” said Albolon, who lusted after high class liaisons. “We’re artists. Rich Threes need us.”
“Now that I think about it,” said Cloong abjectly, “rich people have no sensitivity. Maybe we should go check out that long-haired Three over there in the middle.”
By the time they were in close, Albolon was dragging the others. The music lulled for a moment. Agressively, he leered at the Three and said, “Hey, babies, didn’t we meet at a sensory-awareness clinic in Big Stir?”
The chic threesome laughed disdainfully and, without even answering, lost itself in the crowd.
Nerl and Cloong clung to each other in utter embarassment.
“Albolon,” she said sadly, “if we don’t get our relationship together, pretty soon we’ll be a Two.”
Albolon farted from his side vents in frustration.
“Would that be so bad? I’ve heard you two talking together, I know what you think. You think I care about that Trip up in Snort Beach, the one you guys can’t stand.”
He was beating his trunks up and down laboredly. Cloong stroked the pits with tender solicitation.
“No, no,” they said, “we’re not jealous of them, Albolon. It’s just that sometimes your crude come-on ruins our chances.”
Albolon backed away petulantly. “You’re just possessive, that’s what. Just because I have my style and like to check out things on my own.”
He turned, broke away from them, while they stood there, stunned. All around, Threes were watching them and giggling.
“And you know,” Albolon said stingingly, “I do get off on my other Trip. At least my Snort Beach floozy gives me plenty of space. Not only that, but they give better trunk, too.”
“Albolon, you’re crazy,” protested Cloong.
“You see,” he said, his eye nooks wide, “that’s what you really think of me when I’m being honest. Well, goodbye.” He pivoted and was lost in the whirling bodies. Cloong and Nerl tried to catch him, but the door of the club hissed shut and Albolon was gone.
Shocked, under the mortifying gaze of twittering Threes, they left the club. Outside, the street was empty of Albolon. With tears rolling down their face-folds, they made their way across the livid avenue, but the lights and gaiety had lost their charm.
“Let’s go home, Nerl,” Cloong said mournfully. “This is no way to find your nice, simple five to one relationship.”
Nerl stood stubbornly in one spot. “Go home? You must be kidding! We just lost our Three. I don’t want to go home alone tonight. I’m just not ready for it.”
“You’re NOT alone,” said Cloong, a trifle peeved.
“You know what I mean,” said Nerl, regretting his spite.
“I guess I do,” she said, fatalistically.
Nerl gazed up into the dimly visible heavens, reddish in the glow of the street lights. All his anguish at the way they had been constructed poured out of his heart and flailed weakly against the indifference of the cosmos.
“There are are some worlds out there,” he said distantly, “where I’ll bet they have only three genders, or maybe even just two. Different arrangements entirely.” Cloong laughed and took his center trunk with her snout. “Come on, Nerl. That’s absurd. Think how dull life would be. It would all be too simple.”
He shook his shaggy mane, as if to dispel the far-flung fantasy. Taking his girlfriend by one of her more exposed tubes, he led her down the hysterical walkways in search of a Four-Two club.
Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.
Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.
Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.
You are reading this, so chances are good that you are familiar with me and my writing, as well as WordCrafter Press and its books, because I talk about all of these things a lot. Since you are hanging out here, reading my posts and those of my wonderful blog team members, there’s also a good chance that you are interested in my work, so you will be interested in this opportunity, as well.
Being a multi-genre author creates the need to reach multiple target audiences. I write western, paranormal, science fiction, dark fantasy & vampires, and maybe even a little bit of romance. Although unpublished, I’ve even written a children’s series. That makes it more difficult to hit my target market and find readers who enjoy the kind of book I write, but I’m learning that I’m just not a write to market kind of girl. I have to write what my heart says, and it refuses to remain in a single genre.
I’ve decided to build a street team to help spread the word about new releases and release events. So, I’ve created a private Facebook group “Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Street Team” group, where you can help by becoming a beta reader and providing feedback prior to release, or reviewer, or just an enthusiastic fan, sharing new release and release event information on social media to help get the word out.. This is a group for those who want to help create, promote or just support me and my books, and find opportunities to free books, for an extra perk. As a member of the group, you will be privy to news regarding works-in-progress, new releases and upcoming book events, as well as early cover releases and sneak previews.
I hope that you will click on the link above and join us, as 2022 looks to be a exciting year, with between 7 and 12 new releases coming!
WordCrafter Press will be putting out, not just one, but three anthologies this year, including the resulting anthology from the annual short fiction contest. The call for submissions for the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest will be posted in January, this year’s anthology will also feature the stories by invitation, which will not be included in the contest, but will be included in the Visions anthology. The other two anthologies will be by invitation only, Once Upon an Ever After, and Slivered Reflections. WordCrafter Press will also be doing a new edition of the writer’s reference, Ask the Authors and a new edition of Poetry Treasures. For my own books, I will be dropping my contract with Dusty Saddle Publishing and publishing a special edition of Delilah myself, and publishing at least the first three books of my science fantasy Playground for the Gods series, and possibly the fourth.
If you join my street team group, you’ll be privy to all the latest news about all these great releases and more! Bring your enthusiasm and help me make my writing dreams come true. And don’t forget the free books and other perks. See you there!
I recently embarked on the journey toward yet another degree – an M.A. in Publishing at Western State Colorado University – and I am studying under the prolific bestselling author and founder of WordFire Press, (and inductee into the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame), Kevin J. Anderson. For one of the publishing projects that must be completed for graduation is a cohort produced anthology. This will be the third year that the publishing cohort at Western has been headed by Kevin, and the third anthology that they have published.
Each of the previous year’s cohorts have produced an outstanding anthologies featuring stories by reputable author names, as well as new discoveries. You can see my review of Unmasked, last year’s anthology, here. The first year, Monsters, Movies & Mayhem received the Colorado Book Award. Both of these exceptional anthologies are available from amazon, your favorite bookstore, or buy direct at wordfirepress.com/gpcw.
This year’s cohort worked hard to develop the theme and guidelines over the past two weeks, and I’m really excited about this anthology. One of the cool things about this opportunity for writers is that it pays per word, if your story is chosen. Since I am a part of the publishing team, I’m not eligible to submit, but all of my readers are. I strongly encourage you to check out the guidelines below, get the gears turning and crank out an original story to submit for this year’s anthology. Feel free to share with anyone who might be interested.
Tips for getting your story accepted: Read the submission guidelines and follow them.
When you’re alone with your reflection, are you prepared for what you see?
A prince in disguise? A monster revealed? An alien race?
Mirrors can be truth-tellers, wish-granters, face-concealers, illusion-makers, even monster-summoners. Maybe the mirror shows an evil twin, or an echo of the life that should have been. Or a portal to another world.
What happens when it shatters?
Once upon a time, no one knew the phrase “Once upon a time.” You’ve read the classic stories. Now write the lore you’ve always wanted to read. Explore this creative challenge from your own unique perspective informed by your roots, culture, and background. We want original fables, folklore, and fairy tales for an eclectic anthology showcasing a new dawn of an old artform.
Imagine a canon of diverse characters for today’s readers to love and loathe. Gaze into the mirror, whether literally or figuratively—classic or genre-bending, grim or whimsical, as long as it is new and fresh.
We are looking for original short stories (prose poems will also be considered) to include a mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical, and romance elements. Must be appropriate for a “PG-13” audience. Please, no copyrighted characters. Previously unpublished stories only. Women, BIPOCs, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse individuals, and other minorities are strongly encouraged to submit.
Length: up to 5000 words (firm limit)
Rate: 6¢/word on acceptance.
Rights: First Anthology Rights and audio rights as part of the anthology; rights revert to author one month after publication; publisher retains non-exclusive right to include in the anthology as a whole.
Due: We are open to submissions from August 30 through October 15, 2021.
Submit: A Microsoft Word or RTF file in standard manuscript format to
One submission per person, please. NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS.
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson with an editorial team provided by Western Colorado University Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Publishing MA students. Anthology made possible by a generous contribution from Draft2Digital.
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Romance is one of the most popular genres around, not because everyone is reading them, but because romance readers read a lot. Romance comes in a wide variety of sub-genres: contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, western romance, Christian romance, adventure romance, dark romance, and of course, erotic romance, just to name a few. Each type of romance can be very different, because they are after all different types of stories, and there are romantic elements in many types of storiest a romantic subplot has strong emphasis, such as romantic thrillers, romantic mysteries, romantic fantasies, or romantic time travel novels.
So, why is romance so popular? I think it is due in part to the fact that romance is such a vital part of life. Most people have experienced romantic relationships, and if they haven’t, they are searching for such a relationship, because we all need to give love and feel loved. But, romance readers aren’t just love starved singles whose dreams lay just beyond their reach, they also include plenty of happily married people, (mostly women, both married or single), who just like to relive those positive feeling they get from a good love story. Romance is something we all can relate to in one way or another. Romance novels offer a way for us to satisfy our inner longings viscareally or relate and relive our own experiences.
Every romance story or subplot has three things in common: two flawed main characters and a happily ever after, or at least a happily for now. In between, the characters must overcome many obstacles and conflicts. Sometimes these are external, such as others trying to keep them apart, but often they are internal, trying to convince themselves that they should be together, because they won’t admit that this is what they want, even to themselves. In the past the two characters were a boy and a girl, or a man and a woman, but in these changing times it is acceptable, perhaps even desirable, to write or read LBGT romances, where the characters may be of the same sex, or even questionable gender. Today romances may also be rated by the how much and how graphic the sex scenes are, from sweet to steamy to downright hot, and everything in between.
Romance is the genre theme for April, with interviews with “Chatting with the Pros” guest author historical romance author, Maya Rodale, and paranormal romance author Chris Barili (A.K.A. B.T. Clearwater). This month also featured reviews of an historical erotic romance, Ripper, by Amy Cecil, and a science fiction time travel romance, The Christmas Cruise, by Tammy Tate. As a special bonus, Jordan Elizabeth talked about writing her paranormal western romance, Treasure Darkly on her segment of “Writing for a Y.A. Audience“. Two reviews is hardly enough to be examples of all of the wide variety of forms and sub-genres which romance takes, so below you will find links to other past reviews of the romance genre, both good and not so good, to allow you to explore a wider variety of romance. As you can see from the varied selection, even though each contains the basic romance elements, all romances are not alike.
For my reviews of YA romances:Rotham Race, by Jordan Elizabeth (dystopian, apocalyptic); Runners & Riders, by Jordan Elizabeth (steampunk); Bottled, by Carol Riggs (romance fantasy); Treasure Darkly, by Jordan Elizabeth (dark western steampunk fantasy romance)
I hope you enjoyed our exploration of romance this month, and I hope you will join me in May for a closer look at Westerns. My “Chatting with the Pros” guest will be western author Juliette Douglas, with a supporting interview with Patricia PacJac Carroll, who writes Christian western romances. My book reviews will be on Chance Damnation, by DeAnna Knippling and Not Just Any Man, by Loretta Miles Tollefson. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you are, too.
In April, we also had a special Saturday bonus interview with Shiju Pallithazheth to celebrate the release of his new book of magical realism stories, Katashi Tales. We also talk about the work he is doing to aknowledge contributors to world literature. We need more stories which spread love and acceptance of one another. I hope you’ll drop by to catch that one, too.
Remember, tomorrow is the deadline for the WordCrafter paranormal story entries. So, submit your paranormal short now, before it’s too late. I’ve already received some good ones, but there’s room for more. Winner gets a spot in the WordCrafter paranormal anthology and a $25 Amazon gift card. Other qualifying entries may get invitations to the anthology, as well. It’s only $5 to enter, so you really can’t go wrong. Full submission details here.) Send me your story while there’s still time. Hurry!
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If you know me, or have been following me for a while, you might know that my Playground for the Gods series originated as my thesis project. When I presented my proposal, the feedback I got repeatedly was that I was trying to cram too much into the book and it wasn’t going to work. I had instructors tell me that what I proposed would be a tomb, if I ever finished it, which was doubtful, and my advisor said he there wasn’t even a genre for my tale, which combines the technology and space travel of science fiction with the mythology and folklore, and seemingly magical events therein. There were echos of my instructors’ doubts from the members of the cohort I found myself in that semester, some even saying there was no way I could pull it off.
In Playground for the Gods, the palnet of Atlan is destoyed and the Atlan people make pre-historic Earth their new home, posing as gods and goddesses, and using their advanced technology to perform miraculous feats that awe humans. In Book 1: The Great Primordial Battle, the Atlans fight amongst themselves in a struggle to prevent their new home from being destroyed as Atlan was. A strong female protagonist, Inanna, heads up the battle against serpents, dragons, and other forms of mythological creatures, mined from the annals of all parts of the globe, in an effort to save Earth. In this story, readers learn all the background information needed to build a basis for the subsequent texts, and there is enough of it to form a stand alone book. (Book 2: In the Begnning is outlined and partially drafted, and Book 3: Inanna’s Song is outlined and has portions already written, although not pieced together in any organized fashion yet.)
In one of the first classes, we had been cautioned to remember that any criticism of our work was not personal, it was about the work, not about me as a person, but when faced with so many telling me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, what I believed I could do, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds, and I was hurt by their doubt. But, once I licked my wounds and dried my tears, and distanced myself from the work, I realized that much of what they had said was true. They were right, at least on some points and the story will be better for it.
My solution was to turn my thesis novel into a science fantasy series, and write the only the first book as my actual thesis project. The size of the first book, The Great Primordial Battle, let me know that this was a smart decision. (My professors and cohorts were correct in that trying to put it all into one book would have created a massive tomb.) The draft should be back from the beta reader today to begin the final revisions, and after hitting a snag that must be worked out before work can proceed on my memoir, I excited to get started in the final stretch with this one. Upon publication, this book will truly be the beginning of a science fantasy series that almost never existed.
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In March, Writing to be Read celebrates science fiction and fantasy, and everything in between. Science fiction springs from imaginings of what ifs, regarding technological advancements and futuristc worlds and universes, while fantasy fiction involves impossible or improbable events usually involving magic, or magical creatures or objects grounded in myths, legends and folklore of old. Both of these genres takes us to fantasical places and awe readers with amazing feats of courage, and good usually overpowers evil. Both entertain us, and are often addicting. In the current book market, there are many books which fall into a genre that is somewhere in between.
There are more subgenres for both of these genres than a person is able to count, including stories which feature elements of both. When I wrote my thesis proposal for what will one day be my science fantasy series, Playground for the Gods, I was told there was no genre for a story with both science fiction and fantasy elements. But in fact, there is such a genre as science fantasy, and there are many books out there today that fall into it. I recently reviewed one featuring alien life forms and a powerful magic object, Rogue Crystal, by Jordan Elizabeth in last Friday’s post.
As mentioned above, Playground for the Gods was originally proposed as my thesis story. It is a tale of aliens, Atlans, who come to pre-historic Earth when their planet is destroyed, and act as gods and godesses, forming human beliefs about devine matters, and creating the fondation for myths and legends of ancient history. The character names were all chosen from ancient summerian names, and many of the subplots parrellel those same myths and legends, adding new twists. In order to maintain the appearance of gods, they use their advanced technologies to appear magical and all powerful, each one wielding the ability to fall into different personas throughout time, providing basis for all world myths and religions around the globe.
It’s a lot of story, and many said it was too big and couldn’t be done, so I broke it down into four novels, which follow the Atlan through earth’s history to present day, and perhaps even beyond Book 1: The Great Primordial Battle tells the tale of the Atlans arrival on Earth. and tells how the heroine, Innana tries to stop the same Atlans who caused the destruction of their home planet from detroying their new home, as well. All whhile working to find a cure for her sister, Ereshkigal’s wasting desiese which is eating her up from the inside out. This story is curently with my beta reader, although I was hoping she’d have it back to me by now, so I could share my excitement, because it is very close to being publication ready.
Among the great science fiction authors we find familiar names: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. More recently, we have Robin Wayne Bailey, Richard Bachman, who we all now know is Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Scalzi and Kevin J. Anderson. (Don’t forget to catch my interview with Kevin J. Anderson next Monday on “Chatting with the Pros”. You won’t want to miss it.) Fantasy authrs who may come to mind are J.R.R. Tolkien, George R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, R.A. Salvator, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, and Kevin J. Anderson. As you can see, there is some crossover of authors from one genre to the other; there are authors who write in both.
P.S. Be sure to check out my science fiction time travel short, Last Call, and my dystopian short, “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in the Collapsar Directive science fiction anthology (Zombie Prirates Publishing).
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Rogue Crystal, by Jordan Elizabeth is a futuristic science fantasy adventure novel featuring magic weilding aliens and an unsuspecting heroine, who may be the key to saving the world, with several surprise twists along the way. Both science fiction and fantasy fans will enjoy this story, as it has elements from both genres.
Avery thought a trip to Scarya, a secret rendevous with her boyfriend diguised as a journey to the country of her ancestral origins for her parents benefit, would be a great time. But when her cousin’s archeology team uncovers a sword which draws her to it and then disappears, things begin to get a little freaky. Suddenly, it seems that everyone is after her and she doesn’t know who to trust. Except for DeClan, her boyfriend and long time sweetheart, whom she trusts explicitely. But something isn’t right. His uncnny ability to show up just when needed and his unconditional acceptance of what Avery tells him, no matter how strange or unusual makes the reader wonder if he might not be what he appears to be, as they uncover a centuries old family history of alien origins and a struggle to save the world. While all this is a little unsettling, it’s nothing compared to Avery’s surprise when she learns that she holds the crystal which holds the power to destroy the world.
This story combines elements of science fiction and fantasy into a well crafted adventure which fans of both genres can enjoy. I give Rogue Crystal four quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.