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 6 of the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

Digital Giveaway

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

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

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

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

Guest Post

Reclaiming My Mind and My Dignity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Jeff Bowles

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

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Visions

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

About the Book

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

What happens when:

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

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

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

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

A village girl is chosen to be the spider queen?

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

Visions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


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


Welcome to the WordCrafter “Visions” Book Blog Tour

Visions Book Blog Tour

Welcome the the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour, where we are celebrating the release of the Visions anthology, which will be out tomorrow, October 18. But it is also available for pre-order now. It’s a fantastic science fiction, fantasy & horror anthology filled with nineteen unique stories and we have an amazing eight day tour planned to honor the occasion. With a guest post for each day; two seperate interviews: one with the author of the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, also known to many of us as Robbie, and contributing author Sara Wesley McBride will also interview me; three reviews; and a fantastic digital giveaway, this tour promises to be full of surprises. Join us and help send Visions off right.

Schedule

(The links below won’t work until each post goes live)

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 & Review – Stephanie Kraner – Roberta Writes

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

Digital Giveaway

We’re doing a digital giveaway which offers copies of Visions to three lucky winners, and you can enter at each stop just by leaving a comment so I know you were there. So, follow the tour and comment at each stop for a chance to win or just to learn more about this exceptional anthology at the same time.

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Today’s blog tour stop is a double treat, with a guest post by Billie Holladay Skelley about her story, “Secret Thoughts”, and then an interview with Roberta Eaton Cheadle about her story, “The Bite”. So without further ado, I will turn this over to Billie. Please help me welcome Billie Holladay Skelley.

Guest Post

My inspiration for “Secret Thoughts” came from several places, but the first source was the actual history itself. The gunfight described in my story, between James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok and Davis Tutt, actually occurred on July 21, 1865. It took place in the town square of Springfield, Missouri, and the city of Springfield has preserved the details of the fight. The actual site has become a popular tourist attraction. At the time of the duel, Hickok was not widely known, and his “Wild Bill” persona had not been established, but the shootout served to accelerate his prominence and legend.

There are various accounts regarding the source of the disagreement between Hickok and Tutt, but many believe it started with gambling debts and escalated when Tutt took Hickok’s prize watch as collateral. Tutt wore the watch in public to humiliate Hickok, and that certainly elevated the dispute.

After the duel, Hickok initially was charged with murder, but the charge was reduced to manslaughter. His trial lasted three days, and the jury decided the killing was justified—and Hickok was acquitted. Apparently, in 1865, humiliating a man by wearing his watch in public justified the deadly use of firearms.

What attracted me to this story was the actual shootout, and the fact that it was one of the few one-on-one, face-to-face, quick-draw duels that ever occurred. This type of shootout was quite rare in the Wild West—even though Hollywood movies have taken every opportunity to invent and popularize them. 

The actual shot Hickok made also intrigued me because, by many accounts, it would have been a very difficult shot to make—considering the distance and the firearms used. Hickok truly must have been a remarkable marksman.

I also was inspired by Hickok’s colorful life (1837-1876) as a whole. While several events in his life have been sensationalized, Hickok did have many interesting occupations, and he did experience many violent encounters. He also died relatively young. Eleven years after the duel in my story, Hickok was shot in the back of the head while playing poker. When he died, he was holding two pair—aces and eights—which he reportedly grasped tightly in a death grip. Ever since, these cards have been known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.”

As I researched Hickok’s life, I became increasingly intrigued by what makes a man (or woman) stand out, be recorded, and be remembered in history. I kept thinking about what spark, trait, or events align that make one person be more notable than another. Obviously, James Butler Hickok had an extraordinary life, even if some of the events in his life were sensationalized—and I started thinking, in terms of the story, what if he did have a secret advantage—or a secret talent that contributed to his success and augmented his fame.

I didn’t want to make him a “superhero” with over-the-top powers. I just wanted him to have a slight advantage that was highly useful. When I consider the paranormal genre, I usually focus on things like telekinesis or clairvoyance—so it seemed logical to proceed along those lines.

I hope readers enjoy “Secret Thoughts,” but I also hope it makes them think about what characteristics, talents, and events make a legend. What do those people have that makes them stand out from others and that makes them be remembered? It’s interesting to consider what their “secret” talents might be.

About Billie Holladay Skelley

Billie Holladay Skelleyreceived her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Now retired from working as a cardiovascular and thoracic surgery clinical nurse specialist and nursing educator, she enjoys focusing on her writing. Billie has written several health-related articles for both professional and lay journals, but her writing crosses several different genres and has appeared in various journals, magazines, and anthologies in print and online—ranging from the American Journal of Nursing  to Chicken Soup for the Soul. An award-winning author, she has written eleven books for children and teens. Her book, Ruth Law: The Queen of the Air, was recently selected to receive the 2021 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Children’s Literature Award. 

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Visions

You can get your copy today from your favorite distributor at the link below.

Purchase link: 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.

Visions – Eighteen talented authors, nineteen unique stories

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s story, “The Bite” was chosen as the winner of the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest, and is included in the Visions anthology. As a special treat, Roberta has agred to answer a few questions about her story, the anthology and winning the contest, as well as her own writing pratcies. Let’s see what she has to say.

Interview with Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Where did you get the idea for “The Bite”?

“The Bite” was inspired by the Tarantella Dance which I learned about through fellow blogger, Rebecca Budd. We had a bit of a chat about this dance in the comments section on a post and I was sufficiently interested to look up the dance and what its origins were believed to be.

The Tarantella is an Italian Folk Dance that has a history and mythology that spans several centuries. One of the possible sources of origin for the dance relates to a cure for a bite from a Tarantula, Arania or Apulcian Spider. The dance was used as a cure for the poison from the bite. Town people would play non-stop music and the victim would dance to sweat out the poison and avoid succumbing to it.

I used a Wolf Spider for my story as I discovered accidently that the female Wolf Spiders eat the males, unless he is bigger.

How did you react when you learned that “The Bite” was the winning story in the 2022 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest?

I was honoured and proud. I felt very encouraged that my short story was selected among so many excellent stories as one the judge particularly enjoyed and appreciated.

What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

Most readers don’t know that I worked as a spinning instructor in our local gym for five years before I fell pregnant with Gregory. I used to teach 10 classes a week. I also used to cycle and participated in the famous Argus Cycle Race in Cape Town a few times.

Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

I like to read, especially family dramas, classics, war, paranormal and dystopia. I am a little selective with horror and its sub-genres. I don’t like unnecessary blood and guts, and the plot needs to be clever for me to appreciate it.

I enjoy fondant art which is effectively the same as sculpturing with clay. I like creating art works using my fondant figurines and cake or gingerbread structures. I use these to illustrate my children’s books and some of my adult poems. Some of my cake art is a personal response to issues like climate change and the Sixth Mass Extinction which is currently taking place.

I like to cook and am currently running a series on my art and poetry blog called “Recipes from Around the World”. I am sharing my amended and personalized recipes for popular dishes like Greek moussaka and Durban Chicken Curry. I can never follow a recipe without changing it for my personal preferences.

I enjoy writing poetry and am currently judging the haiku and poetry categories for a local writing competition.

I also participate in corporate social initiatives that provide funding and other aid to charities. I am particularly interested in initiatives involving children and the elderly.

Which author/poet, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?

Hmmm! To be honest, I would prefer not to meet up with any of my favourite authors. I have my own mental image of what they are like as people and I would rather retain it than have it replaced with the real facts. I understand from what I’ve read that two of my favourite children’s authors, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, were not very nice people in real life.

You also write children’s books with your son, Michael. Do the two genres have anything in common?

I do not have one specific genre I write, although I do favour historical and paranormal with my adult writing. The Sir Chocolate Series, which I write with Michael, is fantasy and is set in Chocolate Land where you can eat everything. The lead characters, Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet, go about Chocolate Land helping their friends put wrong things right.

My adult writing is always based on a real fact set which I either retell from a historical paranormal point of view, or weave into a fantasy setting as I did with “The Bite”.

The two genres don’t have anything in common, although my children’s books for older children, Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town and While the Bombs Fell, are both fictionalized memoirs of a part of my own life and a part of my mother’s life, respectively.

If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

I don’t think my life would change much if I suddenly became better know as an author. I already do many of the things I want to do and like doing, for example visiting game farms and historical sites locally and travelling to the UK and Europe to tour and visit family.

I have decided to continue in my day job for the next few years at least as I am easily bored, and don’t think writing full time would suit me. I write better when I must squeeze it in around other commitments, strangely enough. It is how I am wired.

What are your secrets for juggling writing with family?

My sons are older now, so they don’t need [read that as want] as much attention from me. I write and blog early in the morning on weekdays. I also get up early on weekend mornings and write from 6am to about 8.30am. Sometimes, I read blog posts during my 30 minutes of lunch, and I also do social media activities while waiting in queues or for various appointments or meetings. I listen to audio books while I drive and do household chores. I don’t spend as much time writing as a lot of other authors I know because I just don’t have that time.

How do you decide the titles for your stories? Where does the title come in the process for you?

Usually, I have worked out most of the details of a story, short or long, in my head before I start writing. In particular, I usually have the ending. As a result, I often have the title before I start writing, but sometimes I change it. I changed the title of Through the Nethergate, which has a double meaning, and which was deliberate. Nethergate is the street in Bungay where my mother’s childhood home is located. This street features in the story. The Nether Gate in Norse mythology is also the gateway to the afterlife, Nether being the place of the dead.

My title “The Bite” was also a bit of a deliberate deception as I knew readers would initially think my villain was a vampire…

What do you think is the single most important element in a story?

The ending. There is nothing worse than reading a wonderful book and then the ending is a let down (IT by Stephen King always comes to mind – a giant spider; come on!)

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

With regards to writing, starting a blog was good advice. My brother-in-law suggested it as a good way for me to meet other writers and readers, to develop relationships in the writing and publishing communities, and to learn more. He was right. My blog has been my single most worthwhile endeavor as a novice writer, and I have developed and learned through the generosity of the blogging community.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors/poets/screenwriters?

You must be thick skinned and tenacious. You will never please everyone. Take on board constructive criticism that helps you and ignore the rest. I am of the view that some people get satisfaction from judging another person’s efforts to achieve. Jealousy is the most destructive of all human emotions in my opinion. I always keep that in mind when I do anything, be it writing, working, baking, blogging, or cooking. I’ve had people make comments about my taste in literature, some admiring, some collaborative, and some condemning. Take it in your stride and keep moving forward.

“The Bite” is a horror story and you’ve had stories in other horror anthologies, as well as some paranormal ones. Do you enjoy reading horror? And what is the attraction of writing horror for you?

I am not a big reader of horror; I prefer the paranormal history, paranormal thriller, and dystopia sub-genres of horror. I do not like mindless butchering and bloodshed in books and I don’t read that sort of horror book.

I enjoy books that have clever plots and are unique and innovative. I don’t mind death in stories, I include a lot of death in my own writing, but it must add to the story and give colour to the setting and storyline.

My favourite books are The Shining and The Stand, both by Stephen King, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and anything by Edgar Allan Poe. I also love war books and am endlessly fascinated by the psychology of war.

Do you prefer writing short stories or novel length works? Why?

I prefer short stories. Novels take too long to write as I am a slow and methodic researcher and writer. I tend to lose interest if things drag on.

A Ghost and His Gold is long at 118,000 words. I wrote that during the pandemic and lockdowns which enables for me with regards to writing time. There was nothing much else to do, no travel, no dinners out, no entertaining. With life having returned to normal now, I am finding getting a novel finished difficult.

What is the biggest challenge for you when writing short fiction?

I can’t say I can think of a specific challenge to writing any kind of fiction, short or long, other than finding time to write and edit. The story ideas come, and I keep them in my head as a skeleton until I want them. Luckily, I don’t forget things. I have an unusually retentive memory. That is also why I don’t re-read books; I always remember the ending if it was good enough for me to consider re-reading it. I sometimes re-read books for the love of the language and the writing. Dracula falls into that category for me, that book has the most remarkable descriptions.  

What is the best thing about having a story featured in an anthology?

I enjoy anthologies for two reasons.

Firstly, it is a good way of keeping my name and reputation as a writer out there in the public eye. Writing a few short stories isn’t an insurmountable effort for me (it takes me about 3 weeks to finish a short story, depending on the length, and another week to polish it up), and it enables me to add a book collection to my name and to advertise it on my social media. I view the anthologies I have participated in as feathers in my writing cap and the more I participate in, the more the writing world sees my name attached to a book.

Secondly, I like meeting new authors and writing friends. In an anthology setting, many of the contributors step up to help market the book and that means your work and name is seen by new readers who might be sufficiently interested to seek out your other works.

I also just like socializing with people who have an interest in writing and reading. This world makes me feel comfortable and happy.

Do you write with music, or do you prefer quiet?

Absolutely no music when I write. I can tolerate high levels of background noise, but music distracts me.

What goals do you set for yourself in your writing?

I am working on becoming better known as a children’s writer in South Africa and elsewhere. I have joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators which is international and has a branch locally. My membership of SCBWI has helped me meet other South Africans involved in writing and illustrating children’s books and I have had opportunities to profile my work, in particular my illustrations, at various events which is pleasing and helpful.

I am planning another children’s book, Dinah in Wonderland, with my son, Michael, for publication next year.

On the adult writing side, I am working on a book of poetry called Lion Scream which is about the Sixth Mass Extinction and African animals. It will also include some of my wildlife photographs and videos.

I am also working on a collection of short stories set in South Africa and have completed three stories to date. I have ideas for several more in my head.

I have written the first four chapters of After the Bombs Fell, a sequel to While the Bombs Fell, which I plan to work on next year after my December research trip to the UK.

The Soldier and the Radium Girl and The Creeping Change are both also lurking. They are each around 50,000 words to date, but my interest has flagged so they are currently on hold until my enthusiasm returns.

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 eleven 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 an 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.

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That wraps up Day 1 of the WordCrafter Visions Book Blog Tour. Join us tomorrow over at Patty’s World, with a guest post from contributing author, Michaele Jordan about her story, “Farewell, My Miko”. And don’t forget to leave a comment for an entry in the digital giveaway.


DL Mullan and “Reality Hackers” in Visions

Visions

https://josephcarrabis.com/2022/10/11/dl-mullans-the-reality-hackers-now-in-visions-anthology/

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


Julie Jones and “Tourist Trap”in Visions

Visions

https://josephcarrabis.com/2022/10/09/julie-joness-tourist-trap-now-in-visions-anthology/

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


Bowlesian! – Zombie Crave Human Exceptionalism

Note: This is a just a fun little flash piece to get you in the mood for October. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Zombie Crave Human Exceptionalism

by Jeff Bowles

Dr. Everett J. Edmunds raised his zombies from nothing but spare parts and voodoo. He believed his living dead should crave the best, most exceptional brains. Therefore, in procuring their daily meals, he kidnapped only lawyers and doctors, novelists and scientists, Nobel lauriates, Olympians and the like. Late nights he’d strap these unfortunates to the chair in his subterranean laboratory and read them poetry whilst playing an old Bach vinyl.

“Why, Dr. Browning, you look pale,” he might say. “Perhaps some electrolytes before my darlings feast? Malaise in the system is no good at dinner time.”

And of course, upon devouring each subject, his zombies gained further appreciation for human exceptionalism, thereby endowing themselves with heightened intelligence, communication faculties, charm and wit. This was the theory, at least. Everett had found hard clinical proof difficult to come by.

One evening, as the sun set on his small, weed-infested home, his door buzzer rang, interrupting an attempt to teach his horde Calculus. Everett swore and hushed the zombies, climbing the steps into the house proper. All his life he’d been an achiever, which was why his bookcases and mantle were lined with trophies, awards, and certificates of excellence. The medical community valued his intellect, but people wouldn’t understand his true calling. Perhaps his walk-in freezer was full of arms and hearts and torsos, but he was no cold-blooded killer; rather Edmund was a brilliant scientist, the most exceptional brain of his generation.

He opened the door with a prolonged, rusty squeek. There stood the love of his life, the one who got away, a half-zombie named Camilla. If regret had a voice, it’d be soft and sweet as hers.

She cooed a loving, “Braaaaains!”

To which Everett replied, “My darling, you’ve come back to me!”

“Brains!”

“Of course, my love. Come inside. Your horde misses you, as do I.”

She followed dutifully, through the house and back down into the laboratory. The rest of the horde would eat him as soon as look at him, but not his Camilla. She’d been so beautiful in life, his favorite nurse at the hospital. The car crash that claimed her life hadn’t been entirely accidental.

From the book of voodoo spells he’d purchased on Amazon, he’d selected a special hex he used just once: the half-zombie, or Death’s First Kiss. Though her skin had rotted and her jawbone flopped like the useless handle of a can opener, Camilla was still the most beautiful woman Dr. Edmunds had ever seen. He embraced her. She smelled wonderful … ish.

“Dearest, why don’t you climb back in the cage where you belong? Your brothers and sisters would love the chance to pick your–”

“Braaaaains!”

“What do you mean they won’t like you anymore? Have you really changed so much?”

Camilla indicated she had, and then proceeded to describe her adventures in the world of the living. Apparently, she’d tried to go back to school, and had even attended her nephew’s bar mitzvah, a ghastly affair which had seen her own family chase her into the night. The doctor opened the cage door cautiously, sensing a lull in his zombies’ aggression.

“Dear heart, please step inside,” he said. “When you ran away, I lost a piece of myself.”

“Brains!” she said, which translated loosely as, I’m wearing a wire, Everett.

“What do you mean you’re wearing a wire?” he asked.

“Brrrrrains!”—What do you mean, what do I mean? The police have already arrived, and you are going to jail for what you’ve done. It took me years to realize it, but you’re the monster, not me. Now don’t struggle.

The door to the laboratory burst open. Waves of gun-toting police filed in, barking for him to hit the floor and put his hands behind his back. Dr. Edmunds refused. Though he always suspected this day might come, he somehow thought he’d be the one to betray himself, not his dear Camilla.

Everett ran into the cage, slammed the door, pressed in tightly with his zombies, and bellowed, “Take me now, my beauties!”

But his zombies ignored him. In fact, they paid him no more attention than Camilla paid basic rules of variative syntax. This, of course, was the real tragedy. For if they didn’t want to eat his delicious, fertile, exceptional brain … well maybe he wasn’t so exceptional after all. The police urged Camilla to yank him from the cage. She did so and they placed him in handcuffs.

“That’s the way the cookie crumbles, doc,” said one of the officers, brutish man with coffee stains on his uniform.

“How dare you!” Everett spat. “If they ever ate an imbecile like you, I’d burn my diplomas!”

The cops led him from his home. After reading his miranda rights on the street, they gathered around their police cruisers and watched Night of the Living Dead on a smart phone. Camilla wept softly from afar. Movie looked so fake.

Braaaains.

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, Godling and Other Paint Stories, Fear and Loathing in Las Cruces, and Brave New Multiverse. He has published work in magazines and anthologies like PodCastle, Tales from the Canyons of the Damned, the Threepenny Review, and Dark Moon Digest. Jeff earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at Western State Colorado University. He currently lives in the high-altitude Pikes Peak region, where he dreams strange dreams and spends far too much time under the stars. Jeff’s new novel, Love/Madness/Demon, is available on Amazon now!

Love Madness Demon Cover Final

Check out Jeff Bowles Central on YouTube – Movies – Video Games – Music – So Much More!

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Jeff Bowles and “Wilding of the Painted World” in Visions

Visions

https://josephcarrabis.com/2022/10/04/jeff-bowless-wilding-of-the-painted-world-now-in-visions-anthology/

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.

Pre-order now: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28


Michaele Jordan and “Farewell, My Miko” in Visions

Visions

https://josephcarrabis.com/2022/10/02/michaele-jordans-farewell-my-miko-now-in-visions-anthology/

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.

Pre-order now: https://books2read.com/u/49Lk28