2023 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest is open for submissions

I want your scariest paranormal, dark fiction and horror stories for the 2023 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest. Make my skin crawl, my spine tingle, and my heart race. Keep me up at night. Make me leave the light on, just in case. Show mw your deepest, darkest fears. See submissions guidelines below.

2023-short-fiction-contest

Submission Entry Fee

Please submit entry fee here for your 2023 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest submission here.

$5.00

Submission Guidelines

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

Length: up to 5000 words

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023

Pay: Royalty share

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

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

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

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

Multiple and simultaneous submissions accepted.

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

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


Bowlesian! – Detective Robot and the Murderous Spacetime Schism

Detective Robot and the Murderous Spacetime Schism

by Jeff Bowles

We found victim one face down in a giant vat of beer. Red beer, frothy, churning and roiling in blood. Not precisely the best brew of the batch, I knew, but I couldn’t help wonder what it might taste like on a mechanical tongue.

“Detective Robot,” said Officer Allen, a short, stocky, often uncharitable young fellow who always seemed to smell of cooked sausage. “I can’t believe they called you out for this.”

I formed my golden jointed lips into a pleasant smile. “Why wouldn’t they have called? Rain or shine, we always get our man.”

My partner and fellow investigation consultant, Gorilla Todd, beat his big furry chest and pulled his lips back over his teeth.

“Step back, beat cop,” he said in his deep, gruff voice. “Let the man work.”

Gorilla Todd was five hundred pounds of hyper-intelligent simian. He was a post-nuclear, neuro-enhanced military lab experiment, lots of those wandering Grim Land. Bit of a bruiser, to be sure, but an honest and a loyal one.

“Thank you, Gorilla,” I said. “Officer Allen, must we really?”

Allen snorted. “Boy oh boy, you fellas need to learn your place. Are we still short-staffed on actual detectives? What’d you do to get the call on this? Grease a few palms? Robots run on grease, don’t they?”

Point of fact, we run on million-core supra-processors the size of toenail trimmings. But I wouldn’t expect a technologic druid like Allen to know the difference. We got the call because the Chief appreciated our work and professionalism. She requested us by name; the place was ours for the next few hours.

“Why a fusion brewery?” I said, taking in our surroundings.

“People don’t die in fusion breweries?” asked Allen.

“Usually not fashion models, no,” said Gorilla. “Not in the middle of the night.”

“And certainly not old women dressed up like them,” I said.

Allen blanched at this.

“Old women,” he said, scratching his head as he turned to face the vat. “Holy cow! She’s gone all pruney in the lager.”

“Ale,” I said. “Shall you fetch the net or shall I?”

* * * * *

Fusion brewing, popularized at the dawn of the last nuclear holocaust, involves the high-speed collision of plutonium-rich barley nuclei with the nuclei of hops machine grown in the atomic soils found in the ancient ruins of Hackensack, New Jersey. The resulting photonic explosion produces a bubbly, effervescent ale, light on the tongue, but with just enough zing to potentially threaten male fertility (as all nuclear beverages should).

Zippy Beer, or rather, Zippy Beer’s northeast production plant, did seem a rather strange place for homicide. Zippy was known throughout Grim Land as the safest, most environmentally conscious nuclear beer on the market. Fifty years without a tainted batch, their ocu-tisements often declared. Fusion belchers spat florid ale, sluicing through sloshers, roaring down pipeways, collecting and aging in anti-grav refrigeration closets.

I studied Allen carefully. He looked tired and overworked.

“I swear to God, she was young when I found her,” he said.

“Sure she was,” Gorilla Todd chuckled. “Makes all the sense in the world. Hey, mac, you been smokin’ them funny cigarettes?”

I tapped my chin with platinum fingers and examined the poor old dead dear. We’d pulled her from the vat and sprawled her out on the tiled factory floor. I searched and picked at her with the robo-pincers I used for toes.

“You’re having us on, aren’t you Officer Allen?” I said. “You see that high, high ceiling all those many meters up above? See how there’s no skywalk, no roof access?”

“Yeah?” said Allen.

“Now do you see this is the last vat in the line? Eleven vats down that way, but here, just the one. No ladder, either. Do you see?”

Gorilla Todd jumped to his feet and waved an arm over his head. “I know this one, robot! I know it!”

I nodded at him agreeably and opened up my chest slot with a bleep, bleep, bleep, CLACK. A high-protean banana cube flopped out and jiggled on the factory floor like jelly. All five-hundred pounds of Todd landed on it and gobbled.

“She materialized in the beer,” he said, smacking his lips. “And she aged on the spot. Some kind of schismatic time disruption, I think.”

“Very good, Gorilla,” I said. “You see, Officer Allen, once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the—”

A hole tore open in the air above us. It went Riiiip, and then it stretched itself wide in a kaleidoscopic clash of colors and voices. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, fell through and landed on Officer Allen with a heavy thud.

Gorilla Todd shouted, “Holy cannoli! Who is that?”

“It’s Abraham Lincoln,” I said. “And he’s been shot!”

I checked my tertiary memory banks to be sure. The beard, the hat, it was Lincoln, all right. Bullet wound in the back of the head. He wasn’t dead yet. Eyes fluttering, gasping, but not dead yet. He’d arrived only moments after his famous assassination. Remarkable. His body aged on the spot, grew older by the second. Wrinkles, thinning skin, hair gone long, gray, brittle.

Allen wheezed like strangled bagpipes. He gave a final stifled groan, then he lay his head back, twitched, and went limp. I rushed over and checked him for a pulse.

“He’s dead, Gorilla,” I said. “The Great Emancipator snapped his neck.”

“Hmph. Don’t look too great to me.”

“Granted, though I’m certain he’s not at his best. Struck down by a cowardly actor. That’s democracy for you. What precisely are we dealing with, Gorilla?”

“Black magic?” said Todd.

“Doubtful.”

“Sinister Martian technology?”

“Highly unlikely, though you earn top marks for making me chuckle. No, Todd, our suspect resembles nothing so much as thin air.”

“What do you mean?”

I walked over to another vat and kicked at the release valve until golden nuclear beer gushed out and sprayed my feet. Bending low under the faucet, I proceeding to fill my robot super stomach with hoppy ale.

My jointed fingers tapped a supple syncopated rhythm on my forehead. Performed a million mental processes. A million plus fifty. The span of a single human heartbeat.

“Eureka!” I exclaimed. “The cause of the murderous spacetime schism is—”

Rather out of the blue, a naked caveman came screaming at us from the shadows. He shouted, “Gooba! Blabba!” and then proceeded to club me over the head with a tree branch.

“Ouch!” I shouted. “Help me, Todd, you great galoot!”

Gorilla Todd ripped the branch away and roared a mighty challenge. The caveman roared back. His skin rippled with flash wrinkles, hair going brittle and gray, just like Lincoln’s. Hearty fellow, he attacked Todd, ripped out a chunk of gorilla hair and fish-hooked my simian companion.

“You rotten mook!” Gorilla shouted, caveman fingers sliding in and out of his mouth. He wrapped his meaty hands round the caveman’s throat and began to throttle the poor fellow.

“Gorilla, no!” I said.

Five new holes ripped open in the air above us. One long, continuous Riiiip, and that same kaleidoscopic clash. Out of the holes fell a cute orange kitten, a young renaissance painter, a popular ancient professional football quarterback, a potted cactus, and lastly, Richard Milhous Nixon.

Nixon crumpled to the ground, got one look at Lincoln and shrieked, “Jesus Christ! What happened to that poor bastard?”

All of them aged. The kitten grew, got fat, got skinny, and died. The renaissance painter, fingers covered in vibrant red and green oils, said something in Italian about unfinished masterworks, choked on his tongue, and summarily expired.

“We gotta do something, Robot!” said Todd, still choking the dwindling, gasping caveman.

“Do what?” I said. “And stop choking that caveman!”

Nixon died screaming, gurgling, clawing at the air.

“Todd,” I said, “we have to dump the beer!”

“The beer?” said Todd.

“It’s a bad batch! It must be. There’s no murderer here. Tainted Zippy Beer has caused a schism in space and time!”

Seven more air holes ripped open. From them dropped a sea bass, the Marquis de Sade, two members of a light contemporary jazz quartet, an earth worm, Eddie Murphy, and a two hundred twenty-five foot tall California redwood tree.

The redwood thudded to the factory floor, split the concrete, rose and sprawled, broke through the high white ceiling. The factory lights flickered. Ceiling chunks rained down on us.

“The beer, Todd! Dump it!”

Todd let go the shriveled caveman. He leapt for the redwood, scaled its trunk hand-over-hand. He braced himself against the vat, pushed at it with all his might.

“It won’t budge!” he said.

Three more air holes ripped open. A snail, a circus elephant, a street vendor holding tacos.

Think. Think.

I tapped a rhythm on my forehead.

“Eureka!” I exclaimed.

I leapt for the tree, climbed for a branch, squared my shoulders, and then I dove into the beer.

In haste, I began to drink it, slurp it all up. My robot super stomach swelled. Five hundred gallons. Seven hundred, a thousand. The roiling, bloody fashion model beer, it washed down my throat at a hundred-thousand PSI. Rushing, roaring through my alloy sternum. My body rocked and strained. I groaned like industrial machinery.

“It’s working, Robot!” said Todd. “The holes are slowing down!”

A riip here, small rip there. And then it stopped.

Bodies grew old and died; the redwood rotted, split. Half fell and crushed the factory wall. In rushed the night air, our arid post-nuclear wind. Our city out there—Grim City One—twinkled like starlight. Bricks and heavy steel beams and girders fell all around us. Clouds of dust lifted and lingered until well after relative stillness had filled the factory.

Gorilla Todd gasped from exertion. He stumbled down from the remnants of the redwood and sat against its trunk, eyeing the bodies, all the destruction.

“You did it, Robot,” he said. “You’re a friggin’ genius, you know that?”

Of course I knew. I also knew I was big as a house. Big like a beer vat and just as full. Body engorged, I looked like a head swimming in sea of scrap metal, jammed into the vat like some kind of sardine.

“Tainted spacetime-schismatic beer,” I wheezed. “I might have known! Perhaps a super-accelerated atomic contaminant—a mutation in the solitary photosynthetic apparatus, for instance—exceeded localized time dilation barriers and generated contiguous Einstein-Rosen pathways. And to think, Albert Einstein believed time was non-real!”

“Erm, Ein-who?” said Todd.

“Call in a containment unit, Gorilla. Call in the best they’ve got. And get the Chief down here, too. I fear, Todd, our troubles are just beginning.”

Gorilla Todd huffed. He pondered a moment, and then his thick brow lifted as realization dawned.

“Oh no,” he said. “You don’t mean….”

“Precisely,” I replied. “In approximately thirty-nine minutes, I will have to void my robo-bladder like a racehorse. The game, as they say, my dear Gorilla Todd, is afoot.”

END


Jeff Bowles is a science fiction and horror writer from the mountains of Colorado. The best of his outrageous and imaginative work can be found in God’s Body: Book One – The Fall, Love/Madness/Demon, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. His latest novel, Resurrection Mixtape, is available on Amazon now.


WordCrafter News

Delilah‘s Kickstarter campaign

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

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

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

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

Blurb

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

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

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

2023 Contest Theme Revealed

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

Submission Guidelines

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

Length: up to 5000 words

Submission Deadline: April 30, 2023

Pay: Royalty share

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

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

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

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

Multiple and simultaneous submissions accepted.

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

__________________________________________________________________

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.


Writer’s Corner: Great Beginnings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Julie Jones – “Tourist Trap”

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

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

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

Roberta Eaton Cheadle – “The Bite”

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

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

Leah Cutter – “The Survivor”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Holiday Sales from WordCrafter Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something for my author friends

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

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


WordCrafter News

A look back at 2022

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 released Poetry 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 July, I graduated from the Master’s program at Western State Colorado University with an M.A. in publishing, and I saw the publication of both my student projects, Gilded Glass: Twisted Myths & Shattered Fairy Tales, which I was on the editorial team for, and Weird Tales: Best of the Early Years 1926-27, which I compiled & edited with Weird Tales editor and award winning author, Jonathan Maberry.

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.

In September, the second of the three WordCrafter Press anthologies, Refracted Reflections: Twisted Tales of Duality & Deception, with a five day blog tour. Also, by invitation only, these reflective tales may not be what they seem.

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.

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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.


WordCrafter Short Fiction Audio Stories and Excerpts

We had some cool games and giveaways, great spooky movies and lots of rocking Halloween music. But, I think the coolest giveaway we had was the search for the best audio story or excerpt, read by the authors. It was a lot of fun, but now that Halloween is over, I’ve made the recordings public on the WordCrafter YouTube channel.

Drop by and check out the awesome stories and story excerpts which are available there. Each story is from one of the three anthologies put out by WordCrafter in 2022: Once Upon an Ever After, Refracted Reflections, and Visions. And don’t forget to ‘Subscribe’ while you’re there, so you can get the best WordCrafter’s audio and video recordings, expanding our methods of story telling back to traditional, and not so traditional, means.

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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.


Day 8 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Giveaway

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

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

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

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Visions

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

About the Book

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

What happens when:

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

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

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

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

A village girl is chosen to be the spider queen?

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

Visions

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

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

Guest Post

The Genesis of Marianne 


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

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

About Joseph Carrabis

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

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

Janet Garber & “The Treatment”

Michaele Jordan & “Farewell, My Miko”


Stephanie Kraner & “Here, Now, Wherever”


Jeff Bowles & “Wilding of the Painted World”


Billie Holladay Skelley & “Secret Thoughts”


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


Leah Cutter & “Survivor”


Roberta Eaton Cheadle & “The Bite”

Julie Jones & “Tourist Trap”


DL Mullan & “Reality Hackers”


Christa Planko & “The Vanishing Tattoo”


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


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

Zack Ellafy & “At the Mountains, Majesty”

C.R. Johanssen & “Her Beholder”


Joseph Carrabis & “Marianne”

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

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

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

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

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

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


Joseph Carrabis and “Marianne” in Visions

Visions

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

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

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