Inkitt, writing opportunities, and more


I have recently submitted my latest book to Inkitt’s writing contest.  I don’t know much about Inkitt but I thought it was worth a shot.  My latest book, Beyond the Darkness, is available for free through this contest. If you are interested in reading my Paranormal thriller for free, click on this link.

If you are still curious about what my book,  read the following review.

Jen C.

November 6, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love a good supernatural thriller, and Beyond the Darkness by Matt A. Byron fit the bill. In this supernatural novel, you get everything those of us who like ghosts and hauntings enjoy – a team of paranormal investigators, ghosts, a haunted old house, and a mystery.

In the story, Lucas Mitchell (the head of this team of paranormal investigators) is trying to wrap his mind around the events of his past and the things he is experiencing in the present. The author does not give the reader any easy answers, so I found myself reading the lengthy book rather quickly so I could find out what was really happening. And, I was surprised!

Fans of hauntings and books that make the hairs on your arms stand up will enjoy this novel. It has excellent pacing and solid characters and enough spooky elements to satisfy your thrill-seeking nature. Without a doubt, I will suggest this book to like-minded friends and read Matt Byron’s next novel.

If you read my story on Inkitt and like it, I would love if you would vote for it. This would help it gain traction.  I am interested to hear what people think.  Thank you for reading this and hopefully you find Beyond the Darkness worthy of your vote.
Everyone is looking for writing opportunities and I have a couple to share with you.  I get offers all the time.  Some of them look promising while others seem more like hype.  I have a couple to share with you that looked pretty good.
Writer’s Digest is conducing their 87th annual writing competition.  They have an early bird special submission by May 4th.  Here is information about the contest.
 For more than 80 years, talented writers of all genres have been celebrated in this renowned competition. And this year, the spotlight could be on YOU.

Submit your best work in up to 9 categories, including Memoir/Personal Essay, Rhyming Poetry, Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.) and more!  To get more information click here.

I am not affiliated with Writer’s Digest in any way, but it looks like a good opportunity.  Another one I have found is here.

$200 for Short Stories and Essays

The Masters Reviews bills itself as a “Platform for Emerging Writers.” They publish short stories and narrative non-fiction.

One key point: They want writing from writers who are not yet established. That means, “any new and emerging author who has not published a work of fiction or narrative nonfiction of novel length. You must not have a novel forthcoming at the time of submission”

They pay 10 cents per word, up to $200.

Submissions are free for their “New Voices” category.

According to their submission guidelines:

We accept fiction and narrative non-fiction. We do accept a variety of genres and styles, our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft. We want to be wowed. Bend genres, experiment with structure, and write your heart out. But please, send us polished work. Our aim is to showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce great work. Send us only your best.

If you would like more information about this opportunity, click here.


Okay, that’s all I have for today.  I hope you find some of this information helpful.  If you want to check out Beyond the Darkness on Inkitt, you can check it out here.  Until next time, happy writing.


A short story to share

I wanted to share a short story I wrote some time ago.  No, it’s not a Christmas story.  My stories tend to be a little on the dark side and I fear if I were to write a Christmas story good ol’ Santa Claus may befall some tragic event that would threaten Christmas forever. So, for the sake of all the boys and girls of the world, and the safety of St. Nick, I will refrain from writing a Christmas story.  See, I think I just saved Christmas.

Now, the story I would like to share is not holiday related. In fact, I wrote it years ago for a writing class. It’s flash fiction, so it will be very short.  The premise was I had to write a story in under 30 minutes with no rewrites. I wrote it and it stuck. I didn’t know where I was going with it when I started the first sentence but it developed over the course of a few paragraghs and it stuck.  Here is my flash fiction story.  Happy reading.

Harry’s Journal

To whom it may concern,

Those of you that read this might think I made this up.  Others might just think I was crazy.  But this is not an act of lies or deception, but my honest account of an otherwise amazing yet unbelievable event that I see as my duty to tell you about.

I am not looking for publicity or fame nor am I looking to scare anyone who may come across this. I guess I should begin another way.  My name is Harry. It is the name I was given and the only name I know. Much of the world as I know it is the same now as it ever was. My friends always told me I lived a life of fairytales. If they only knew what had happened to me, they would have changed their minds.

My knowledge is not made up out of thin air and at no time did I get inspired by anything I had read. It’s hard to explain this without giving you a little history about me.

I am seventeen years old.  I guess that would be the right way to explain it. I had friends who were like my family, family that were my life and a girlfriend, Rachel, who was the better part of one whole of me.  I didn’t have a bad upbringing and for the most part, have lived a good, even if I can say, great life.  If only it would have stayed that way, I would not be leaving this for you now and you wouldn’t have any reason to read it.  For that I am sorry.

The event I speak of came without warning and to my credit, unwarranted. I have never been special or gifted so there really isn’t any explanation for any of this except, it just is.  After that event, things started happening to me which I couldn’t explain. I first started noticing things were different a few weeks ago, but I dismissed them altogether. I tried to live my life as normal as possible, but things kept happening. I would see things and hear things all the time with growing frequency. No one believed me when I tried to tell them what I was going through. Not even my girlfriend. In fact, they stopped talking to me altogether.    

I know what you must be thinking. I am some young kid looking for attention but I assure you that is not the case. I have no cause for attention nor do I want it. I just want to live my life without distraction. I want a normal life. Not one interrupted by events that are beyond my ability to control. I know you may not want to believe me and I don’t blame you. If I were you, I wouldn’t have any reason to believe it either but I must insist you read further and the true nature of what I am writing will become clear.

I lost the ability to communicate with my friends because of everything that had happened. I am not looking for your sympathy.  I have enough of my own but I have learned to accept what has happened to me as I hope you will too. I am a conduit.  I can commune with the dead.  This is the part where you might be inclined to stop reading and walk away but please don’t because you need to finish reading this.  This is not something I want or desire, it just is and it is my duty to explain it to you.

Due to events that I have endured, I have lost the ability to communicate with the living. I didn’t understand it at first until I realized that the event that changed my life was actually my death. I had died but had no idea that it had happened.  As to how I died is not of importance, just the fact that I did.  Please know that I can no longer communicate with the living.  Is this starting to become clear to you?

I finally accepted my death in return to help others who haven’t been able to accept their own. I am a conduit for the dead and if you are able to read this then you must realize that you are like me. I can only communicate with the dead and I am communicating with you now. I know it’s not easy to believe, but in time, you will come to accept it as I did. I am sorry to be the one to have to tell you.



Newly Departed Relations


Writing and the Holidays

The time for holiday celebration is upon us.  The stores are humming with holiday music.  Kids are excited to for Santa’s visit. Visits with long lost family, well perhaps not lost but those people who you haven’t seen since last year that you come around that you may or may not hold a resemblance to. Yes, its that time of year again.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season.

I came across some writing opportunities that I would like to share.  I have not looked into these very closely so I don’t know how good they are but I thought I would share them with you.

Here are a couple links to check out.

$800 for Short Stories to be Published in “Awakenings”

The Book Smugglers is currently seeking submissions of short stories for their upcoming anthology, Awakenings.

According to their call for submissions:

“When it comes to Awakenings, anything goes. You, the author, should feel free to take this general theme and interpret it in any way you see fit–from a story about an AI’s first hours of sentience, to magical alternate histories featuring characters discovering how to wield power for the first time, anything goes.

We encourage authors to subvert these sample themes, to expand upon what “awakenings” means, and adapt the prompt to other possible connotations and genres under the Speculative Fiction umbrella.”

They will pay 8 cents per word, up to $800.

Stories should be between 1,500 and 17,500 words.

The stories will be published free on their website, as well as in an ebook. The ebook will offer 50% net royalties.

The deadline to submit is December 31st, 2017, at 11:59PM. (The very last minute of 2017!)

They plan to respond to all submissions by February 20th.  To learn more, visit this page.


Eight Markets Seeking Speculative Fiction

The markets on this list include anthologies and magazines, most are interested in short fiction but some are also interested in graphic novels, plays, poetry, and other cross genre work. Almost all of the markets on this list pay. Some pay professional rates, others less. Most focus on speculative fiction, some with an additional theme…


If any of these links are useful, I wish you the best.  Writers need to look out for one another.  And just to put my own plug out there, my new book Beyond the Darkness is available on Amazon.  I am always looking for honest reviews so if anyone is interested, please send me a message.

Again Happy Holidays, hope you have a great and safe holiday and a Happy New Year.


















Beyond the Darkness now available.

The search into the Paranormal begins now. Get your copy here.

Just in time for Halloween the new Paranormal Suspense novel. Do you believe in ghosts?


It’s just Beyond the Horizon


It’s July already, where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday we were ushering in a new year, now, it’s already half over. I wouldn’t be too off to say that Halloween is just around the corner. Yes, perhaps 3 months away, but with the way this year has gone, it seems like it is only a blink of an eye away.

The reason I am forecasting Halloween in July is to announce my new book, Beyond the Darkness, will be here just in time for Halloween. It is a Paranormal Thriller with intriguing characters and more than a few frightful moments to get you in the Halloween spirit.

I recently went on a night time ghost hunting tour on board of the Queen Mary. Since my book was on the cusp of completion, I wanted to experience a real live ghost investigation. Let me tell you, it was well worth it.  I experienced some things that couldn’t be explained. Toward the end of the night, in the woman’s locker room near the pool, I heard a little girl giggle. I also got it on a recording. This was also heard by other members of the group. I appreciated the way the investigator, his name was Matt also, conducted it. He was quick to point out things that could be explained away. He took a scientific approach to the entire investigation which I appreciated.

Going back to my book, I felt encouraged as my characters also approached Paranormal Research in the same scientific manner.  I am happy for the experience I had and am more excited to get this book out.

Beyond the Darkness is not about scares or things that go bump in the night, it tells a story of a man trying to understand the events that happened in his past. What happened to him and his mother so long ago?  Similarities between the new investigation and the experiences of his past become apparent and the frightening truth is something he never could have imagined.

Stay tuned for more news on Beyond the Darkness as we get closer to Fall.  An excerpt of the book, a haunting book trailer and some more surprises are in the works.

I would also like to say a very special thank you to Matt at the ParaXplorer Project for sharing his insight and experience in the field of Paranormal Research.  And if any of you are in Long Beach, check out the Queen Mary.  Not only for the night time ghost investigation, but also just to see a remarkable part of history.

Until next time, happy reading.

Want to read more, check out some of my other books.

Pine Brook Falls











What Eye See






Pine Brook Falls – Excerpt

When his sister disappears, Charlie Noble returns to his home town to search of her. He soon discovers that the town holds many secrets and the residents of Pine Brook Falls are just as mysterious as the town itself. The mystery deepens when he learns that his sister was on the verge of exposing those mysteries before she disappeared. Finding out what happened to his sister is just the beginning. The mystery at the heart of Pine Brook Falls causes Charlie to question a reality that soon begins to unravel. He is forced to re-evaluate things that he once believed were pure fantasy. Nightmares come to life at the realization that some of the darker thoughts of humanity live in Pine Brook Falls. Fables from his childhood such as the boogeyman and alike, may not be entirely made up from works of fiction, but rather grounded in a darker reality he never knew existed.

Here is an excerpt from Pine Brook Falls.


It seemed this town was trying to win the title for the creepiest town in America. If I were a judge, it would win hands down. Regarding creepy and strange, my conversation with Stubs and the weird white-haired man was just that. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn much from them. With no point talking in riddles any further, I left.

Back to the deserted street, I stood outside Stubs Pub and plotted my next move. I didn’t have one. I had learned almost nothing except that everyone in this town needed some serious therapy. I decided to walk a little farther north where I remembered seeing Tompkins Hardware store.

I am not a super sleuth nor do I have any supernatural powers, but I do have eyes. When there are no other people on the street or no traffic going by, it is easy to tell when someone is following you. I noticed him when I left the pub, peeking over a parked car across the street. I wondered if this was the intruder I had run into earlier.

I pretended not to notice and continued on my way. I sauntered along, looking through storefront windows, trying to see if I could catch a glimpse of his reflection. He was a tricky one. I caught him slinking between parked cars, hiding behind mailboxes and then using a planter for cover as I stopped outside the hardware store. Whoever was following me was no expert, which gave me hope.

I lingered outside the hardware store, peering in through the dark window. I was half looking through the window and half looking at my follower’s reflection. Next to the hardware store was an alley. Since nothing was moving inside the shop, I figured I would get off the street and see if I could turn the tables on my follower.

The prospect of being in an alley alone with whoever was following me filled me with uneasiness. Well, I was petrified, actually. If this was the same person that was at Becky’s house, he might know what happened to her. Whatever fear I was feeling paled in comparison to my need for finding my sister. I disappeared into the alley and quickened my pace. The alley went straight for about fifty feet before turning right and running alongside the back of the businesses.

I didn’t look back but hoped he would follow me. There was a trash dumpster to the right as I turned the corner. I went to the far end of the dumpster and crouched beside it. The space between the ground and the dumpster gave me a good view of the corner I had just passed. He would be visible to me if he made the turn. I had no weapon and hoped he didn’t either. I am not a fighter, but I do watch a lot of action movies. So in a sense, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham have been my teachers.

I waited. Either my follower was extremely slow footed, or he wasn’t coming. Then another thought occurred to me. What if he doubled back and was trying to head me off from the opposite direction?  If he did, I didn’t have a plan. A surprise attack was my best option. Fortunately for me, I saw feet.

It was a pair of Nike tennis shoes moving slowly around the corner. I couldn’t see anything else from my vantage point. I squatted at the edge of the dumpster tensely. The first sign of movement, I was going to strike. Attack low and get him off balance. Thank you, Jason.

With what seemed like an eternity, I finally heard the scuffling of shoes against the pavement. I saw a flash of blue cross my field of vision, and I lunged. I kept low and tackled hard. He screamed as I knocked him to the ground. I was on top of him in an instant. His head hit the asphalt once. He tried to get up. I moved my knee to his throat.

My follower was no older than I, if not younger by a few years. His eyes were wide open. He made some gagging sounds. I moved my knee away from his throat and pinned both of his arms beneath my legs. Again, Jason Statham, you are the best teacher. I felt my heart pound in my chest. I was breathing hard. My face felt hot. I clenched the top of his shirt with both of hands.

“Who are you?” I screamed.

He grumbled. Gasped. Winced. His eyes darted left to right. He didn’t speak. I remember when Batman was interrogating the Joker in one of the Batman movies. He was looking for his love interest which the Joker had kidnapped, and Batman went crazy. I made my best impression, which I think would have made Christopher Nolan, the director of the movies, proud.

“Where is she?  What did you do to her?”

He shook his head and drew a deep breath. His eyes narrowed on me.

“I don’t know. I’m looking for her. You, I thought you, knew something. That’s why I was following you.”

“Why were you in my sister’s house?”

He blinked his eyes a couple of times. He let out a deep breath and then began to laugh.

“You’re Charlie. Ah, thank God.  Becky told me about you. I’m glad you’re here.”

I released my grip on his shirt, but didn’t move my legs. So far, everyone I had met proved to be worthy of a free room at the nearest sanitarium. I was sure that the person beneath me was no exception.

“What’s your name?”

“Trevor.  Trevor Moore.”

The name didn’t ring a bell. My sister had never mentioned him before, but my sister didn’t tell me everything. I remained suspicious.

“What kind of trouble is Becky mixed up in?  She was telling me some strange things and from what I have seen of this place, strange doesn’t even begin to describe it.”

He motioned for me to let him up. I reluctantly moved off of him. He got to his feet.

“This is going to leave a lump,” he said rubbing the back of his head.

“What happened to my sister?”

Travis looked around nervously for a moment. He bent at the waist and spit. He straightened himself and then looked at me.

“Becky found something one day which sparked her curiosity. The rest, well, just fell into place.”

“What did she find?”

“Me. Listen. We can’t talk here. They’re after me. Just like Becky. We can meet up later.”

There was no way I was letting him out of my sights. He was my first solid connection into where my sister might be, and I wasn’t going to let him go. He tried to move past me but I stepped in front of him.

“Listen. It’s getting late. I’ll meet you back at Becky’s in a little bit. We can talk there. But we need to leave.”

I looked at him for a few moments. I am not a human lie detector. I don’t know if I can safely spot when someone is lying, but the look in his eyes told me that he was afraid of something. Truth or not, I wasn’t letting him go.

“We’re going there together. Now!”

I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and led him back down the alley.

“If they find me, they are going to take me. I don’t know if they took Becky, but we had pissed off some people, I think.”

I stopped and turned toward him. My grip on his collar tightened.

“What did you do to piss people off? What trouble did you get my sister in?”

“Asking questions. That’s all. I swear.”

“Asking questions isn’t a crime. What were you asking?”

He looked away. His eyes looked over my shoulder, up to the sky, then down to the ground. I shook him with both hands, drawing his eyes back to me.

“The animals. They’re disappearing. In the woods surrounding the town, there is something out there. People in this town know what’s out there and they are protecting whatever it is.”

I loved watching the X-Files. If there were ever a mysterious beast or ancient alien, Mulder and Scully would get to the bottom of it. I was neither Mulder nor Scully, and this was not an episode of the X-Files. This was real life.

“A wolf? A bear? What are you saying?”

He shook his head.

“You know something. Tell me.”

“Becky thought that there was something in the woods. Not human and not any animal we had ever seen. We found dead animals. Dogs. Cats. All piled up, out in the woods, a stockpile of food waiting for something to find it. We told the Sheriff, but he didn’t believe us. The next day, we went back to the place we saw the dogs and cats, and we found the Sheriff cleaning up the mess. Never said a word about it. That was about two weeks ago. Now, Becky is missing.”

Did the Sheriff have anything to do with what happened to Becky? I looked at Trevor for a moment. The look in his eyes told me that he was telling the truth. Again, I am not the world’s top expert in detecting if someone is lying but I do have a gut, and it was telling me that he was just as concerned about Becky’s welfare as I was. Despite my gut siding with him about what he claims to have seen, I still didn’t want to take a chance of letting him out of my sight.

“We’re going back to my sister’s house to sort this out,” I said as I grabbed a hold of his arm. I led him out of the alley.

He tried to pull away, but my grip was too tight. I held on to him as if he was the lap bar of a roller coaster and I was about to plummet down a hundred foot drop. He argued with me all the way until we reached the street. I was looking back at him as we reached the mouth of the alley. I saw the look of fear creep across his face, and he instantly fell silent. He was looking over my shoulder, which told me, things were about to get worse.

I turned around to find that things had gotten worse. My heart thumped rapidly against my chest. Sheriff Becket, leaning against his cruiser, with his arms folded across his chest, stared back at us with is dark sunglasses, smiling. I had a strong grip on Trevor’s arm when the Sheriff pushed off the cruiser and took a couple of steps in our direction.

“I see you are doing my job for me.”

Trevor tried to pull away. He began pleading with me to let him loose. If he went with the Sheriff, would he disappear like Becky did? I tried not to think about what Trevor had told me. Then again, there could be some truth to it.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You nabbed my suspect. I have been looking for him. He is wanted in connection with a series of home break-ins over the past few weeks. I need to bring him in for questioning.”

I looked back at Trevor. He was shaking his head feverishly. His eyes never left Sheriff Becket. True terror took hold of his face. His mouth hung open, but he didn’t say a word.

“What are you going to do with him after you question him?”

The Sheriff peeled off his glasses and slipped them in his front breast pocket. He licked his bottom lip and rested his hands on his gun belt. I believe he did that to bring attention to the gun he had holstered on his hip. I also noticed that the strap on the holster was unfastened.

“That isn’t any of your concern. Unless you want to be charged with aiding and abetting a suspect and interfering with a police investigation, I suggest that you hand Mr. Moore over to me, so I can take him in.”

I don’t know what took over me. I have always had the highest respect for law enforcement, but at the moment, all I could do was release my grip on Trevor’s arm. He nearly fell to the ground as he pulled away. He dropped to a knee but quickly straightened up and headed down the alley. He looked back at me for a moment as he made it to the corner and then disappeared around the bend.

I felt something cold and hard slap on my wrist. Then I heard the clicking sound that accompanied it. I tried to turn around, but the sheriff had a hold of my arm and swung it behind my back. Sheriff Becket demanded my other arm, but I stood motionless. He reached over and pulled my other arm behind my back. He forced me to the hood of his cruiser. My face met hard metal. He snapped a cuff around my other wrist.

I had never been arrested before, and my mind was racing with all kinds of crazy thoughts. I was going to be sent up north. I was going to have a cell mate named Crazy Eyes and end up with ten tattoos. Like I said before, my imagination can be my worst enemy at times.

“Guess you’re going to be spending some time locked up. Maybe you can use that time to think about what you just did.”

I didn’t know Trevor, and he was the one who broke into my sister’s house. The Sheriff could be right about him. Perhaps, I am the fool for putting my trust into someone I just met. On the other hand, if Trevor was right, and I did turn him over to the Sheriff, he could disappear like my sister.

Another thought occurred to me that I hadn’t realized. I was the one in handcuffs.  If the Sheriff had anything to do with Becky’s disappearance, did that mean I would share the same fate? On the other hand, I didn’t know anything about what Becky was involved in, so I was probably safe. Then he found Becky’s notebook tucked in my waistband.


The Write Touch

Today is writer’s day. Well, not officially. There is no special designation to honor a writer’s passion, diligence, creativity, or contribution to the literary world. No day to mark on the calendar to celebrate all those who have cried, cursed, laughed, shouted, or smiled through the process of creating words which invoked emotional responses in people who found those words.

For a writer, both aspiring and established, each day should be viewed as Writer’s Day. Anytime you sit down at your desk or other writing sanctuary and begin  the process of creativity, you should feel enlightened by the fact that you have an idea you want to explore, words in your head that will inform, entertain, or hit an emotional nerve with an unsuspected reader. Writing is not easy. It takes a lot of patience, practice, doubt, more doubt, and persistence to accomplish what you want to set out to do.

When your fingers are gliding across the keyboard, imagine you are playing a grand piano and listening to the beautiful music created at your fingertips. Now imagine your story singing by your touch. The community of writers is vast and diversified but we all share a common and unique kinship.  We have all started with a clean slate. We have all sat and watched an empty screen fill up with words as our mind and fingers worked together to help bring to life our thoughts.

antique-writing-deskPeople say that writing is a solitary life. You and your thoughts. While I do find that to be true when I am in the midst of the writing process, I also feel connected to others who share my interest for writing. I love to learn from others who have reached success whether small or large and from people like myself, who are still trying to figure it out. I like to hear their ideas, their struggles, their successes, because it makes me feel that I am not alone. In those moments of self-doubt or bitter frustration when the words are not coming out the way I want, I know there are others who have endured those same struggles and found ways to overcome those same obstacles. This gives me hope and I feel a connection with them. Writing can be the most frustrating thing you could ever do, but it could also be the most rewarding.

Let today be Writer’s Day.  The next bestseller is only words away.