Writer’s Corner: Lessons for submitting to short fiction markets

Writer’s Corner

Short fiction doesn’t sell well. – That’s what I keep hearing. Anthologies are hard sells. So why would you even write short fiction, if it is so difficult to sell?

What many authors need to realize, is that while an anthology may be harder to sell than a novel, when you have work featured in an anthology, it is a project involving many authors, each with their own following which they bring to the table, creating a much bigger marketing network than you would have for a novel. Being a part of an anthology expands your marketing reach exponentially by the number of authors involved, which could actually make the marketing and promotion of the anthology easier and allow marketing to a much larger audience.

For the past few months I’ve been exploring short fiction and short fiction markets from the other side of things, as I worked to compile two separate anthologies. My solo project for my masters in publishing is The Best of Weird Tales 1926-27, which meant reading twenty-four issues of Weird Tales and selecting what I felt were the best stories to represent the publication, then compiling them into a single collection. It had to be a careful selection process, because much of what was socially acceptable in 1926 & 27, is far from acceptable in 2021.

The other project required for my degree involves being on the editorial team for the Mirror, Mirror anthology. You may have seen the call for submissions posted here on writing to be Read back in July. And there’s a chance that you even submitted to it, since we had over 600 submissions. That’s a lot of short stories to read. But I learned some valuable lessons from the experience:

  • It pays to get your submission in early. The early submissions get fresh eyes and open mind. But those submitted closer to the deadline, are seen by eyes that are tired by minds that have read so-o-o many stories, many of which are similar in theme or concept, if you wrote to the submission guidelines.
  • Follow the submission guidelines. This experience drove home to me how important this one really is. Going into this, my instructor and mentor, Kevin J. Anderson drilled in the importance of following the submission guidelines and took great care to make them clear in the call for submissions. It called for proper manuscript formatting, something every author should be familiar with, but just in case, he also included a link to a site that defined and explained what proper manuscript formatting is, and still we got manuscripts that were not formatted properly. Toward the end, I know improperly formatted manuscripts got set aside without a full read, because it hurt my tired old eyes too much, so this is really an important one, but many authors just didn’t get it. Publishers don’t want to work with authors who cannot follow simple instructions and format their manuscript properly or follow the guidelines, because this hints that they might be a pain to work with.
  • Only submit a story that fits what the call is looking for. I was surprised how many stories we got that didn’t have a mirror in them at all; not even a compact for the character to check their make-up. Who sends a story without mirrors to an anthology titled Mirror, Mirror that requests a mirror be central to the story. I’m told that last year someone submitted Christmas cards for the call for submissions for Unmasked, last year’s anthology, which may evoke a chuckle when you hear it, but for editors overwhelmed with submissions, reading through a story that doesn’t even come close to meeting the guidelines or match the theme, it feels like a big waste of time. Editors have feelings, too. Be kind and only submit stories that meet the theme and guidelines, instead of trying to cram your story into a frame that doesn’t really match.
  • In today’s market, busy editors are looking for something that is close to being publishable as is, so be sure your manuscript is polished. I feel like I shouldn’t have to state this one, but with as many seemingly unedited submissions, I guess it needs to be said. I was expecting it toward the end, when authors were rushing to meet the deadline, but even early on there were manuscripts that were riddled with misspellings and typos. Many of these may have been good stories, some even written to guidelines, but they were passed by because they would have required too much editing to ready them for publication. It would have required more time than my class of student editors would be able to give. So, I strongly urge having another set of eyes give a critical look over all stories prior to submission. Turning in a clean manuscript will strengthen the chances of your submission being accepted, or at least read clear through for a fair evaluation.
  • Choosing favorites is much harder than I thought it would be. We were cautioned that last year’s anthology received over 500 submissions, with more than 100 received in the last week of submissions. Mirror, Mirror received over 600 and so many of them were truly excellent stories that choosing the few that we had the budget for was really difficult, especially since not everyone had the same favorites. In the end, we ended up with a heck of a selection of stories for this anthology. I think it will be great!

Although all of my personal favorites couldn’t be included, I did find a way to make 2022 a great year for anthologies at WordCrafter Press, with two by invitation only anthologies in addition to the annual short fiction contest and anthology. I gave you a sneak preview for the submission call for the annual anthology, which will be titled Visions, here. The official call for submissions will be posted in January, so stay tuned.

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Halloween Special: 3 Days Only

Covid 19 brought changes to the way we do many things, including how we celebrate Halloween. Many folks may not be comfortable being exposed to children in costume coming to their door. Many parents may not be comfortable letting their children go door-to-door this year. I know of neighborhood residents who have gotten together to allow trick-or-treating only within a close-knit group, where everyone knows everyone else and they are all vacinated, and I’ve seen more haunted houses this year than ever before.

One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the love of a good ghost story or two on Halloween night. That’s why this weekend only, you can get a digital copy of Where Spirits Linger, this year’s WordCrafter paranormal anthology, to draw your ghost stories from. You’ll be captivated with the lingering spirits in these short stories, including the winning story from the 2021 WordCrafter Paranormal Short Fiction Contest, “Olde-Tyme Village”, by Christa Planko. Work from other authors which is also included in this short fiction collection: Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s ghost with an agenda in “Listen to Instructions”, my own ghosts who want to care and be cared for in “The People Upstairs”, S.L. Kretsmer’s ghost who wants to be remembered in a positive light in “The Final Portrait”, Stevie Turner’s ghost who wants revenge in “David’s Revenge”, and you’re sure to get a chuckle from Enid Holden’s ghosts in “The Chosen Few”.

Don’t miss out on these great ghost stories this Halloween. Only .99 cents starting today through Halloween. Celebrate your Halloween Where Spirits Linger. Click the link below to have your digital copy delivered right to your reading device of choice.

Where Spirits Linger

https://books2read.com/u/mYGyNG

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Writer’s Corner: The Craft of Short Fiction

I’ve recently been working on two different anthologies for my classes, as well as planning two, or possibly three different anthologies, that I want to put out through WordCrafter Press next year, so it’s not surprising that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the writing of short fiction. While writing short fiction presents many of the same challenges as writing book length fiction presents, such as avoiding passive voice, using the correct tense and the right POV, and avoiding repetitive language, it also seems to present challenges for the writer, which are more prominent and more noticable in a short story.

Below is a list of what I see as the top four challenges of writing short fiction. A short story in which these challenges are met and mastered can be a delight to read, but when the writer misses the mark or doesn’t tackle these challenges skillfully, the result can be a story that doesn’t feel complete, leaving readers feeling unsatisfied.

Top 4 Challenges in Short Fiction and How to Handle Them

  1. Abrupt ending: I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read recently that start out wonderfully, promising a killer story all the way to the end and then drop the ball, leaving me wondering where the story went wrong. I think many times authors are at a loss as to how to wrap things up, and with short fiction, where word counts must be taken into consideration, they try to end too quickly, instead of taking a little more time to tie up the details of the story. – To avoid this, take the time you need to wrap things up in your story in a way that will be satisfying to the reader who has stuck with you this far. If you can’t give your story a satisfying ending within the required word count, perhaps it should become a longer work, because there is nothing more frustrating than to read an engaging story that you are really into, only to be disappointed at the end, so this is a biggie.
  2. Shallow, underdeveloped characters: In short fiction, you have a limited space in which to introduce your characters and make your reader care about what happens to them, so it is important to come out of the gate with a good strong voice that grabs the reader’s attention at the very beginning and continue with that all the way through. Making your characters interesting is something you need to do with fiction of any length, but with short fiction, you need a strong voice to bring character traits to the forefront in a succint way. Passive voice in a short story can result in a lack of interest in the reader, causing them to put the story down without taking time to get to know your characters or get into the story.
  3. Head hopping: This is always a problem when it occurs in any length work of fiction, because it tends to pull readers out of the story when they realize that the viewpoint they thought they were in, is really that of a different character. Short fiction isn’t really long enough to use multiple POVs, so it’s difficult to figure out how this even happens, but it does. The author needs to pay close attention to who the narrator is and be sure to not wander into the view point of a different character.
  4. Excessive wording: It’s important to realize that a short story is just that – short. Don’t waste space with unnecessary wording that isn’t needed. Write succintly. Say what you have to say in as few words as possible. While it’s important to paint a vivid visual image for the reader, don’t include details which are not relevant to the story in some way. World building, character development, and plot must all come together in a short amount of space, so choose your words carefully.

I love a well-written short story, and I read a lot of short fiction. When it’s done right, a short story can be every bit as engaging as a good novel. Don’t you think?

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Day 6 of the WordCrafter “Where Spirits Linger” Book Blog Tour

Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour

To wrap-up the WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour, we have a guest post by contributing author, S.L. Kretschmer about the inspiration behind her story, “The Final Portrait”. I hope you all have enjoyed following this tour with us. Don’t forget to leave a comment. Every comment at each stop earns an entry into a random drawing for a free digital copy of Where Spirits Linger.

Guest post by S.L. Kretschmer, author of The Final Portrait

The Final Portrait evolved from prompts I received in round 1 of the 2020 NYC Midnight Short Story Competition – Ghost story, a monument, deodorant. My mind immediately flew to the Western Front of World War I and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme in Northern France. I was fortunate to have visited the memorial in 2011, boarding a bus in the French town of Lille, and travelling south towards the battlefields. Little could prepare me for the emotion I felt on the trip. The scars across the landscape, now lush and green, could be easily identified, and it was not difficult to imagine the horrific scenes of trench warfare.

Thiepval Memorial

I began to research World War I paintings and came across a particularly moving one by the Irish artist William Orpen. Orpen was an official World War I Artist, and his depiction of a soldier, bloodied and lying in an alien landscape, devoid of nature and pitted with craters and pools of fetid water, was confronting. Orpen struggled with the brutality and grisly sights he documented for those back home and claimed to have been struck by a phantom force while painting in an abandoned field.

William Orpen

These nuggets of information were gelling into a thought. What would those painted in death have thought of the depiction? Of family and friends who might recognize their loved one? Of who they were, compared to how they are remembered in this final rendering? The Final Portrait.

The Final Portrait, by S.L. Kretschmer

S. L. Kretschmer is a born and bred South Australian, recently embracing both a tree change and becoming an empty nester in the beautiful wine region of the Barossa Valley. She has a BA in Creative Writing, and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. Her stories have been featured in the anthologies A Flash of Brilliance and Tales from the Upper Room, and have also been published by Haunted Waters Press, Two Sisters Publishing, 101 Words, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Bluing the Blade and inScribe Literary Journal.

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Where Spirits Linger

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Spirits-Linger-Lynne-Booth-ebook/dp/B09GNZJVJ5

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Thanks for joining us today! And if you missed any of the blog stops along the way, you can find them at the links below. Drop by and catch the ones you missed, and leave a comment to let us know you were there and get a chance for the free didgital copy of Where Spirits Linger.

Sept. 20 – Intro./Enid’s promo – Writing to be Read/Review – Undawnted

https://writingtoberead.com/2021/09/20/welcome-to-the-wordcrafter-where-spirits-linger-book-blog-tour/

Sept. 21 – Guest Post – Roberta Eaton Cheadle/Review – The Showers of Blessings

Sept. 22 – Guest Post – Kaye Lynne Booth – Patty’s World

Sept. 23 – Interview with Christa – Roberta Writes

Sept. 24 – Guest Post – Stevie Turner/ Review – Zigler’s News

https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2021/09/where-spirits-linger-wordcrafter-book.html

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


Day 5 of the WordCrafter “Where Spirits Linger” Book Blog Tour

Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour

For Day 5 of the WordCrafter Where Spirits Linger Book Blog Tour brings us a guest post by contributing author, Stevie Turner about her story, “David’s Revenge”, on Zigler’s News and a review by Victoria Zigler. Please join us to learn more about this author and her story. Leave a comment and earn a chance to win a free digital copy of Where Spirits Linger.

https://ziglernews.blogspot.com/2021/09/where-spirits-linger-wordcrafter-book.html

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Book your WordCrafter Book Blog Tour today!


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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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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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.