Welcome to the WordCrafter “Where Spirits Linger” Book Blog Tour

Exciting news! The 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Anthology, Where Spirits Linger, was released today! And we’re launching a six-day blog tour to send this delightfully eerie anthology off to a great start. Each blog tour stop will feature a guest post by one of the authors about their story, and there will also be an interview of Christa Planko, author of the winning story in the 2021 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest, “Olde-Tyme Village”. So, I hope you will stay with us and follow the tour this week to learn more about this wonderful anthology and its featured stories. Many thanks to the wonderful bloggers who have graciously agreed to host for this tour.

This is Day 1 of the WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour, so let me tell you just a little about the stories featured in this anthology and their authors. Since I published this wonderful anthology, I can’t really offer a review, but you can find a review by D.L. Mullen on her blog, Undawnted, here:  http://www.undawnted.com/2021/09/wordcrafter-blog-tour-where-spirits.html

The winning story in the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest was Christa Planko with her story of ghostly encounters, “Olde-Tyme Village”. Robbie Cheadle will be interviewing Christa about her winning story on Thursday on her blog, Roberta Writes.

Where Spirits Linger Authors

In Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s story, “Listen to Instructions”, a greedy man misses the message a ghost is trying to convey. You can find out more about this story in Roberta’s guest post tomorrow on, The Showers of Blessings, along with a review by Miriam Hurdle.

In my story, “The People Upstairs”, when a young girl inherits her housekeeper and long time friend’s house, she finds out that her friend may not have been crazy after all, when strange things start happening to her. You will find my guest post about the inspiration behind this story on Patty Fletcher’s Patty’s World on Wednesday.

Stevie Turner’s spirit gets his takes out his revenge from the ethereal regions in “David’s Revenge”. Her guest post will be featured on Friday on Zigler’s News along with a review by Victoria Zigler.

And on Saturday, we will finish off the tour right here, on Writing to be Read with a guest post by S.L. Kretschmer about her story, “The Final Portrait”, in which her character releases a spirit with a phantom image.

Unfortunately, Enid Holden was not able to participate in the tour and tell you about her story, “The Chosen Few”. But, I can tell you that it is a delightful paranormal charactered by some very colorful spirits whose co-existance with their home’s living inhabitants will surprise and delight you. This light and humorous story is sure to evoke a chuckle or two. I will include the excerpt from her story here.

The Chosen Few, by Enid Holden

I’m pleased with the selection of stories we eneded up with in Where Spirits Linger. We have some great contributing authors and some wonderful short stories. I hope you will stay with us and follow the tour to each blog stop to learn more about the stories within to picque your interest. Of course, I hope you buy the book, but each comment you make along the way earns an entry into a random drawing for a free digital copy of Where Spirits Linger, so you could be our next lucky winner!

You can purchase your copy of Where Spirits Linger here:

Print: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Spirits-Linger-Lynne-Booth/dp/B09DFDDB1Q

Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GNZJVJ5

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Updates & Reminders

Where Spirits Linger

Update – Where Spirits Linger

The 2021 WordCrafter paranormal anthology Where Spirits Linger is scheduled for release on September 20th, and is now available for pre-order. Featuring original paranormal tales by Kaye Lynne Booth, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Stevie Turner, Enid Holden S.L. Kretschmer, and Christa Planko, author of the winning story in the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest. It will be available in both print and digital formats, so be sure and order your copy today.

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Reminder – Open for Submissions

Submissions open today for the WordFire Press Mirror, Mirror anthology. This is a paid writing gig, so be sure to get your story in for consideration. For those of you who missed the submission call, you can learn more and read submission guidelines in my oroginal post.

To increase the chance of being accepted, I recommend reading the newly released, Slushpile Memories: How NOT to Get Rejected, by Kevin J. Anderson. It is written as a guide for authors submitting their work to publishers in the hopes that their work will be accepted and published, offering tips and advice to avoid the fateful rejection slip. The major points that came through were to me from this helpful guide were to be professional at all times, and to READ AND FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. I know from the preparation that I’ve been given for being a slushpile reader that these can and will be crucial factors in submitting a story that will make the final cut, so take heed as you prepare your submission.

Submissions will be open through October, so there is plenty of time to write and polish your submission. Click on the link to the submission guidelines above and read them over. It’s a theme that you can have a lot of fun with. Send us your best stuff.

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Dark Origins – Peter Pan, Lost Boys who are murdered and mermaids who are Sirens.

Most of us know the Disney version of Peter Pan featuring Captain Hook, Mr Smee, Wendy, John, Michael, and the Lost Boys. Oh, and Tinkerbell, of course.

I am not sure how many people have read the original play called Peter Pan or the boy who wouldn’t grow up, written by J.M. Barrie in 1904, but it is a far cry from the innocent tale presented by Walt Disney.

We know from the Disney film that Peter Pan doesn’t want to grow up, but no mention is made of the extreme lengths Peter Pan is prepared to go to fight it.

Consider this extract: “The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.

To put it bluntly, Peter Pan kills the lost boys to keep them from aging. While the film presents the view that Peter Pan is seeking eternal youth, he is, in fact, obsessed with death. This characteristic is believed to come from J.M. Barrie’s own childhood experience of losing his brother, David.

According to an article in The Herald, six-year old Jamie Barrie was hugely impacted by the death of his older brother, David, at the age of fourteen. David was said to have died the day before his birthday when he was accidently knocked over by a friend while skating, and fractured his skull on the ice. The article speculates that the ‘friend’ was in fact, young Jamie and that he was rejected by his mother as a result of the accident. You can read more about it here: https://www.heraldscotland.com/default_content/12469608.tragedy-behind-neverland-jm-barrie-cause-brothers-death/

And then there are the mermaids…

In the original Peter Pan story, the mermaids who inhabit Neverland all live in the lagoon. They enjoy the company of Peter Pan but are malevolent to everyone else. The are extraordinarily beautiful and have amazing singing voices, but they are vain and unfriendly.

The mermaids spend their days playing in the rock pools and ocean around Marooners’ Rock and they retire to their coral cave homes beneath the waves at night and during high tide.

The mermaids change when the moon is out and transform into darker creatures. They utter and wail strange calls in the moonlight. Captain Hook is terrified of the mermaids, calling them the ‘loreleis’ and saying that the lagoon is the most treacherous place in Neverland. A lorelei is a siren of Germanic legend whose singing lures Rhine River boatmen to destruction on a reef.

Picture credit: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q5397781

If you are interested in the true story behind Peter Pan and the life of J.M. Barrie, you can read more here: https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2014/12/78880/peter-pan-jm-barrie-true-story

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

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

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

Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

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

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

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

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

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

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Paid Writing Opportunity – Call for Short Fiction Submissions

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.

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MIRROR, MIRROR:

Modern Myths

Executive Editor: Kevin J. Anderson

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 

https://wordfirewestern.moksha.io/publication/2/3/submit

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

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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Capturing Enlightenment: A brief tale of humor

Buddy and Holly came bouncing up to Egbert, ready with any number of humorous things to say to tease him. Teasing Egbert was one of their favorite pass times. Buddy liked to say that Egbert wasn’t one of the brightest bulbs in the batch, and Holly usually commented on the squirrelly round glasses that magnified his eyes and made them appear to be popping out of his head, or the way that he stuttered when he talked. When they ran out of jibs on those subjects, they could always make fun of his name, telling him that his mother must not like him at all to give him a name like that; obviously, she didn’t love him or she would have given him a better name than Egbert, uh! Usually long before they got that far the tears were running down Egbert’s face. Sometimes he started tearing up as soon as he saw them coming.

That wasn’t the case today. Today, Egbert was actually happy to see them. He had something wonderful to show them and it was so special that once they saw it, they wouldn’t make fun of him anymore. “Hi Buddy! Hi Holly!” he said, heading over to meet them with a huge grin on his face.

“What are you so happy about, Egg Head?” Buddy asked.

“Yeah. You look ridiculous. That grin is almost bigger than your face. Close your mouth, so I can see you.” Holly said with a giggle.

“Wait until you see what I found!” Egbert said. “You guys aren’t going to believe this.”
            “Oh, right,” Holly replied. “What could you possibly have that would even interest us?”

Egbert grinned even bigger as he looked from Buddy to Holly, and back to Buddy again. He was absolutely beaming with excitement.

Holly looked over at Buddy uneasily. When he glanced back at her, the uncertainty showed in his eyes.

Finally, Buddy broke the silence. “Well, are you just going to stand there with that silly grin on your face or are you going to show us whatever it is that you found?”

Egbert came out of his reverie. “What? Oh, yes of course. Just wait until you see!” He turned, running back toward his house, leaving the two of them standing there in puzzlement.

They looked at one another. “What do you think has him so excited?” Holly asked through the side of her mouth in a hushed voice, but Egbert could still hear her.

“Probably some old seashell from the beach or something,” Buddy replied.

“I don’t think so. He wouldn’t show us something like that anyway because he knows we’d just take it from him if it was cool or smash it if it wasn’t.” Holly said. “Besides, don’t you think it’s weird that he hasn’t stuttered at all?”

Before Buddy could answer, Egbert came racing around the side of the house with a jar which glowed from within.

“A firefly?” Holly said in disbelief. “We’re supposed to be impressed by a firefly?”

Egbert shook his head. “It’s not a firefly.”

“Then what is it?” Buddy asked. “It sure looks like a firefly to me.”

“Does it look like a firefly?” Egbert said, holding the jar up higher, so that they could see better. They squinted as the light coming from the jar seemed to get brighter, much too bright to be produced by a little firefly. Finally, they turned away, unable to look directly at it.

“Actually, that doesn’t look like any firefly I ever saw.” Buddy admitted.

“I told you, it’s not a firefly,” Egbert said.

“So, what is it? What did you find?” Holly asked. Egbert now had their full attention.

Egbert beamed and grinned once more. “I found enlightenment! I was playing down at the beach, when I saw it sitting, half buried in the sand. I scooped it up and carried it home and put it in this baggie for safe keeping.”

Buddy was skeptical. “Enlightenment? How do you know that’s what it is?”

“Because I can feel it.” Egbert replied. “I know things now that I didn’t know before.”

“Like what?” asked Holly.

“Like I know that you guys aren’t really bad people. You only do all of those mean things to me because you don’t feel very good about yourselves.” Egbert replied.

Buddy and Holly looked at each other nervously. Then they looked back at Egbert.

“It’s okay. Don’t be afraid,” Egbert said. “I also know now that all the things that I dreamed about doing to get back at you came from petty feelings. I want you guys to be my friends, just like I always wanted, only now I know that I don’t have to change who I am to do that.”

Buddy shuffled from foot to foot nervously. Usually ready with a smart comeback to anything, it seemed he suddenly had nothing to say.

Holly eyed Egbert distrustfully. “What do you mean?”

“Here,” Egbert said, holding the bag up closer to them. “If you just feel it, you’ll understand everything.” 

“That’s okay,” said Buddy, backing into Holly.

“What are you afraid of?” Egbert asked.

“I-it’s nothing.” Holly said, stumbling over her own feet to get out of Buddy’s path. “I-it’s just that, well…, w-what if you’re wrong?”

Suddenly, Buddy found his voice. “Yeah, that might not even be enlightenment at all. Even if it is, how do we know that that is something that we would want to have any part of?” He spoke bravely, but he kept backing away.

“Doesn’t everyone want enlightenment?” Egbert asked, truly puzzled by their strange behavior.

“I’m not sure that I d-do.” Holly said, stammering the words. “L-look at y-you. L-look at the ch-changes that it has m-made in you already. And l-look at m-me, too. I d-don’t know w-why I’m st-st-stuttering all of a s-sudden!” Tears streamed down Holly’s face. She turned, rushing out of the yard and down the street.

“Hey wait, Holly!” Egbert called after her. “I know a good speech therapist. I’ll give you her card.”

“I uh, I think I should go and see if she’s okay.” Buddy said, running out of the yard, as well.

As he watched him go, Egbert got another grin on his face, this one however, had a sly cast to it. “Tsk. Tsk.” he said, shaking his head. “My speech therapy finally paid off. I really thought that they would be more impressed.” He opened the jar and lay it down in the grass where two small winged beetles crawled out and seperated from one another before flying away into the night. “Imagine getting so upset over two little glowbugs.” Egbert chuckled to himself all the way back into his house.

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Announcing the winner of the 2021 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest

Where Spirits Linger

The winner of this contest was supposed to be announced by the end of May, but as I explained in my last post of the month, all contest submissions were asked to make some revisions and I couldn’t determine a winner until that was done, so I’d have the revised stories to choose from. However now, that has happened. I have all the stories back with revisions and the time has come to reveal the winner.

And the winner is…

I’m happy to announce that the winner of this year’s contest is Christa Planko for her story “Olde-Tyme Village“. The winning story will be featured in this year’s paranormal anthology, Where Spirits Linger and Christa will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.


And The Winner Is….

For the 2021 WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest – You’ll have to wait and see

Where Spirits Linger

One of my biggest pet peeves is being fully immersed in a short story, only to have it end abruptly, like a slap in the face, leaving me scratching my head and saying, “Is that it?”. I am sure you know what I mean if you’re an avid reader, as most authors are. I think this is a problem found mostly in short fiction. Maybe the author cuts it short in order to meet a word count limit, or maybe they just aren’t sure how to wrap things up, so they jump right to ‘THE END’. No matter what the reason, the result is disappointment on the part of the reader, so it is worth the extra effort on the authors’ part, to take the time and effort to come up with the perfect ending for every story they write.

That’s why I’m postponing announcing the winner of the WordCrafter 2021 Short Fiction Contest, which I had planned to do before the end of May. I only had three entries for the contest this year. Each entry offered an excellent paranormal tale meeting the submission guidelines, but at the end of each one I found myself feeling disappointed, as if there should have been more to the story.

So, I’ve requested each author to revisit their endings and resubmit their stories before I make a decision on the winner. I’ve already received one story back with revisions and I’m waiting on the other two. When all three revised stories have been received, I’ll decide and announce the winner. These stories were all well written and I anticipate them being even better with the author revisions, so the decision won’t be easy.

Accepting Submissions: I want your ghost stories!

However, three submissions do not an anthology make, so I’m calling out for more submissions to fill the pages of Where Spirits Linger. Doesn’t every author have a ghost story hidden away somewhere? Contest guidelines asked for a paranormal tale with place being central element in the story. These new submissions won’t be eligible for the contest, so they will no entry fee attached. If you have a story that fits the theme, send it to me at kayebooth@yahoo.com, for a chance to have it included in the WordCrafter Press 2021 anthology, Where Spirits Linger.

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For the WordCrafter “Poetry Treasures” Book Blog Contest – That one I can tell you.

Poetry Treasures Book Blog Tour

For the Poetry Treasures Book Blog Tour, which ran May 24 – 30, we did a giveaway and three readers who followed the tour and commented will receive a free digital copy (.mobi, .epub, or .pdf) of Poetry Treasures! The three lucky winners are: Jules, Jill Weatherbolt, and Priscilla Bettis. If you are a winner, please contact me at KLBWordCrafter@gmail.com and tell me which format you prefer to receive your copy. (If you have already purchased a copy of Poetry Treasures, you may choose another WordCrafter Press book instead.)

Poetry Treasures had a great seven day tour with a guest post about the poetic inspiration behind a poem by a different contributing poet at each bIog stop. The anthology and the tour were amazing collaborative efforts among nine poet/authors and myself to create a unique and moving collection of poetry. Also many thanks to Miriam Hurdle, Ritu Bhathal and Teagan Geneviene for hosting tour stops to support the poets and the tour. Without their participation, this tour would not have been possible.

If you missed this wonderful tour or maybe only missed a few of the stops, you can visit them at the links below:

Day 1 – Writing to be Read – Guest post by Jude Kirya Italaki

https://writingtoberead.com/2021/05/24/welcome-to-the-wordcrafters-poetry-treasures-book-blog-tour/

Day 2 – Robbie’s Inspiration – Guest post by Victoria Zigler

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2021/05/25/wordcrafter-poetry-treasures-blog-tour-day-2-featuring-victoria-zigler/

Day 3 – But I smile anyway – Guest post by Goeff Le Pard

https://butismileanyway.com/2021/05/26/poetry-treasures-blogtour-featuring-geofflepard-bakeandwrite/

Day 4 – Teagan’s Books – Guest post by Frank Prem, plus a review by Teagan Genevienne

https://teagansbooks.com/2021/05/27/poetry-treasures-anthology-from-roberta-eaton-cheadle-kaye-lynne-booth/

Day 5 – Zigler’s News – Guest post by Kevin Morris, plus a review by Victoria Zigler

http://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2021/05/day-5-of-wordcrafter-poetry-treasures.html

Day 6 – Roberta Writes – Guest post by Annette Rochelle Aben

https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2021/05/29/day-6-of-the-wordcrafter-poetry-treasures-blog-tour-annette-rochelle-aben/

Day 7 – The Showers of Blessings – Guest post by Colleen M. Chesebro

https://theshowersofblessings.com/2021/05/29/poetry-treasure-blog-tour-featuring-colleen-chesebro/

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Shadowland: Not just another horror anthology

Shadowland

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Shadowland-horror-anthology-Under-Book-ebook/dp/B08P569SY1

Shadowland is the latest release in the Box Under the Bed horror anthology series, compiled and edited by bestselling author Dan Allatorre. Pick up any of the anthologies in this series and the reader will not be disappointed, but the collection of tales featured in Shadowland may have outdone those which came before. From the creative minds of Dan Alatorre, Betty Valentine, Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Christine Valentor, Jessica Bakkers, MD Walker, and Alison Marushka, each story is creatively crafted to fit into the premise of the anthology as a whole, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fit precisely to do their part in the creation of the picture as a whole. This anthology has the potential to be made into a television series, with each individual story becoming a single, or even multiple episodes.

The mysterious and eccentric Dr. Aumental teaches a very special class, where students are excused from their other classes and sent on all expense paid travels to research dark folklore and legends as subjects for their term papers. The research takes students to the far reaches of the globe, searching for the truth about voodoo magic, demons, spirits of the dead, the cave dwelling Hojimaa, Hookman mythology, the monster under the bed, phantom cannibals, the Jersey Devil, and more. Any legend lurking in the shadows is fair game for the investigative skills of Dr. Aumental’s selected students. Certainly, this class must produce some very unique term papers, but why does the professor go to such lengths and what does he do with the information they contain?

Each of the dark tales in Shadowland easily stands alone on its own merit. Together, they form an anthology collection that goes beyond a common theme to help fulfill an overall premise that leaves itself open to endless possibilities. I give this horror anthology 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? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Deadlines, Reminders and Announcements

Last chance to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest!

Where Spirits Linger

The deadline to enter the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest is April 30th, for a chance to have your short paranormal story included in the 2021 paranormal anthology, Where Spirits Linger. The entry fee is $5, and the author of the winning story receives a $25 Amazon gift card and inclusion in the anthology. See full submission guidelines and send me your ghost stories. There’s still time. Hurry!

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There’s still time to get tickets for the 2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Virtual Writing Conference

2021 WordCrafter New Beginnings Writing Conference

Join us for a free Facebook pre-conference promotional and social book event on May 3rd, where you can meet conference presenters and other authors, learn about their latest releases, play games and enter giveaways! You can reserve your spot on the Facebook Event Page to join in on the fun from the comfort of your own livingroom or wherever you happen to be.

Then on May 4th & 5th, the interactive portion of the conference will be held, with interactive workshops & panel discussions will be offered by talented and experienced presenters, including Keynote speaker Paul Kane. Tickets can be purchased for $5 for individual sessions or a full event pass at the discounted rate of $50 for all 13 sessions. Visit the WtbR Event Page, right here on Writing to be Read, to see the full line-up and author bios, and purchase tickets. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we plan to learn a lot, too, so reserve your spot today.

I can’t offer a preview, because the conference will be live, but I can offer a sample from the 2020 WordCrafter Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference to whet your appetites. Below is a video of the Visceral Story Beginnings interactive workshop with Ellie Raine. Ellie jumped in to present this workshop after the originally scheduled presenter was unable to attend. I think you did a fantastic job of picking up the ball.

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Announcing the release of Poetry Treasures, the WordCrafter poetry anthology featuring poetry by 2020’s author/poet guests on “Treasuring Poetry” blog series with Robbie Cheadle, right here on Writing to be Read.

Nine creative and talented poets have come together to produce this unique poetry collection, each one is truly a poetry treasure.

Poetry Treasures

2020 “Treasuring Poetry” Featured Poet/Author Links:

Sue Vincent (December)

Sue Vincent (April)

Geoff Le Pard (October)

Frank Prem (August)

Victoria Zigler (March)

Colleen M. Chesebro (February)

K. Morris (July)

Annette Rochelle Aben (May)

Jude Kirya Itakali

Roberta Eaton Cheadle (Host)

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“Unmasked”: An appropriate short fiction collection for a pandemic era.

Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation

This pandemic has changed a lot of things for everyone, including what we wear and how we interact with others. Who hasn’t walked away from an encounter with someone, who we know, but didn’t recognize under their mask? Who hasn’t struggled to understand a situation properly due to the fact that we are unable to read someone’s facial expressions beneath their mask? (I have often wondered over the past year how the deaf have adapted since they cannot see any lips to read.) The necessity of wearing masks has made simple social interactions more difficult in many ways, and added an element of mystery to everyday interactions, when we are fortunate enough to be able to interact under government restrictions.

Masks may hide a lot of things, but they can also be revealing in some ways, as you’ll see if you read the new WordFire Press short fiction anthology, appropriately titled Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, this collection of short stories offers many different ways to look at masks and some surprising revelations about what may be hidden beneath the mask. There are many reasons to wear masks. Sometimes they are the key to awakening super powers that we never knew we had, as in the first story by Seanan Maguire, “Pygmalion”, or perhaps the mask grants the ability to hide in plain sight, as is the case in “I Have No Name”, by Andi Christopher, or perhaps a mask holds a savior in disguise, as in “The Green Gas”, by Liam Hogan or “The Fog of War”, by Edward J. Knight. In “The Faces of Death”, by Ed Burkley, masks hold the past, or perhaps predict the future.

Masks are a form of disguise, camoflauge for what truly lies beneath, an illusion which covers what is real, as in “Framing Marta”, James Romag or “Death by Misadventure” by John M. Olsen. A mask may take the form of the shadow of a soul searcher, as in “The Quota”, by Tom Howard, or that of a self-aware sex-bot, as in “Qualia”, by Russell Davis, or a shadow creature, as in “Shot in the Dark”, Brennen Hankins. Masks can hide the true identity, as in “Pagliacci’s Joke”, by Travis Heerman, or perhaps enhance the strengths of the persona underneath, as in “La Marionnette, by Alicia Cay or “A New Purpose”, by Rebecca M. Senese. The parallel post-pandemic world of “Speakeasy”, by Keltie Zubko, hits close to home and removing the mask may not be worth the risk after all.

My favorite story from this collection has to be “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast”, by Eugie Foster. A tale which takes place in a world where masks are the norm, with individual personas that are imprinted on the wearer so that they may live a different life each day.

In Unmasked: Tales of Risk and Revelation, each story stays true to theme and they are filled with surprises. I found this anthology quite entertaining and enjoyable. I give it five quills.

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Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.