Inkitt, writing opportunities, and more

Hello,

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.

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A Chapter Preview and more…

Hello again.  It’s just a few days before Christmas and the winds have picked back up here in Southern California.  My thoughts and prayers go out to all the people that have been affected by the many fires that have been burning the past few weeks.  I also want to send my best wishes to the brave men and women who are battling these fires and pray that they all return safely home.

I read an article recently that Rob Lowe opened up his house to the many brave firefighters to provide them with meals as a way to say thank you. In a time when the only news is bad news, it’s nice to hear a story that restores your faith in humanity.

So, to change topics to something dark, creepy, and a little chilling, I want to share a chapter of my recently released book, Beyond the Darkness.  Yes, this is an attempt to plug my book. At least I admit it up front.  Its difficult being an independent author and you write a book.  Not only do you write a book, first you have to plot it out, write several drafts. Then complete edits. Send it to another pair of eyes to also provide edits. Design the book cover and when everything is said and done, put it out there for the world to see.

But is it good?  That is the key question. If I can write something that can evoke a feeling or an emotion from the reader, that would be a wow moment.  Think about it. Words that were in my head, put down in paragraphs to tell a narrative, and someone reads those same words and feels something from them.  That would be cool.  Words are powerful and they have weight.

So, this weekend the Kindle version for my book, Beyond the Darkness will be absolutely free.  Killer discount.  Huge savings.  Not really.  My book is only $2.99 to start with but hey, free is free.  The discount will begin Saturday December 23rd and run through Christmas.  If anyone reading this likes books that delve into the paranormal, a spooky house with a character driven plot filled with creepy, don’t look behind you moments, then please check out my book.

Here is a chapter from Beyond the Darkness to give you a better idea of what it’s all about.

 

Warren Walton stood on the porch of the house. His brother was still at the hospital with Amelia. Colleen was being cared for by his wife, Teresa. Ted had told him that a group of investigators were coming to check out the house later that afternoon.

      He looked around. The desert heat seemed warmer than what he was accustomed to this part of the year. Using his house key, he entered the home. The house felt empty. As it should be, he thought. He hoped Amelia was okay, but he had his doubts. He told his brother that he thought she might need professional help. But Ted wouldn’t listen.

      He walked to the base of the stairs. Smears of blood remained on the hardwood floor. He looked up and winced at the thought of Amelia taking that fall.

      Amelia was a good woman. She had always been a good wife to Ted and a great mother to Colleen. But something happened in the last few months, he noticed. She wasn’t the same. She was paranoid and fearful.

      She had been hospitalized twice in the last three months with high fever. Now Colleen was having nightmares and claiming to hear voices too. It’s not a coincidence, he thought. Amelia’s behavior was affecting his niece, and he didn’t like it.

      He pulled out his cell phone from a pocket in his Cargo Shorts. The battery was dead. He was sure it had been fully charged before he left. Feeling a little bewildered, he slipped the phone back into his pocket.

      He stood outside the kitchen when he heard a loud thud behind him. He spun around quickly, the sound still echoing in his ears, but nothing was there. The front door was still open. The slanted light from the sun cast shadows around the room.

      Where did that come from? His eyes shot up to the second floor as he heard a slight creaking sound; small, hollow, and faint, but definitely a creak in a floorboard. He was certain. Shaking his head, he was a little surprised that his heart was racing.

      He had been out of the military for almost fifteen years, but he vividly remembered witnessing things most people couldn’t even comprehend. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

      As he waited by the kitchen, something caught his attention on the second floor landing. The light from the sun didn’t reach all the way up, but still he saw movement out of the corner of his eye.

      Trust your instinct, Marine. He moved toward the stairs, his heart now beating at a controlled pace. He climbed the steps two at a time until he reached the top. Forty-eight years old and he could still run ten miles a day and climb stairs almost in a single bound. He smiled.

      As he stood on the second floor, he looked to the left and then the right. All the doors were closed. He moved right, towards his brother’s room, when he heard a slight click behind him. The shadows on the wall to his left quickly faded away as if he had chased them away with a flashlight. But he didn’t have one.

      He noticed the open door at the end of the hall. His nerves of steel began to feel more like aluminum. He was sure the door had been closed, but now light was spilling out of Colleen’s room like a flowing river.

      Just the sun shining through the window, he assured himself. He took a step and stopped. Looking down to the first floor and then back at Colleen’s room, he laughed out loud. He had left the front door open, and the wind must have blown Colleen’s door open.

      Feeling a little foolish, he walked towards his niece’s bedroom with a Clint Eastwood-like swagger. He had just paused outside the doorway when something nipped at the back of his neck that made him shiver. He turned around quickly, but no one was there. He swiped at the back of his neck. That’s when he noticed the cold.

      He took a step back from the room. He felt chills down his spine but he knew it wasn’t fear. Looking towards Colleen’s room, he could feel the freezing air flowing out.

      His brother never told him there was anything wrong with the thermostat. Shaking it off and rubbing his neck, he took a step towards the room. That is when he heard the door at the other end of the hall open slowly. The creaking sound was unmistakable.

I hope you liked it.  If you have read Beyond the Darkness or plan on downloading it this weekend, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a review on Amazon.  Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this.  I hope you all have a safe and joyous Holiday Season.

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.

Sincerely,

Harry

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beyond the Darkness Book Trailer

It’s official. Beyond the Darkness, the Paranormal Thriller about a group of Paranormal Investigators facing their most terrifying case yet, releases in just under two weeks on Amazon.  Friday the 13th, 2017.

The novel is filled with surprises and some scary twists and turns that may make you want to keep the light on while you read. To get you in the mood for all things Halloween and to prepare this new thriller, the book trailer has been released.  Also, Beyond the Darkness is available now for pre-order.

Click the Image  2  to watch the book trailer.

 

I would love to know what you think. Until next time, have a wonderful week.

The Darkness is coming

Just in time for the Halloween season, my new novel, Beyond the Darkness is coming Friday October 13th, 2017 but is available for pre-order here.

But what is Beyond the Darkness?

Lead Paranormal Investigator Lucas Mitchell is set out to prove that the events that haunted his childhood were real. He wants more than anything to find out if what happened to his mother was the result of Paranormal Activity. When he and his team accept a new case to investigate a haunting in Arizona, it starts out as a normal investigation. As the team dives deeper into the history of the house, they quickly discover its sinister past. And for Lucas, a connection that hits close to home. To uncover the secrets behind the haunting, the team must face a chilling truth that may have unforeseen consequences.  Now, here is a sneak peek into: Beyond the Darkness

 

Amelia Walton placed the last of the dishes in the cabinet and closed the dishwasher door. The house felt empty and cold. Ted had left to pick up their daughter Colleen from a friend’s home. He had asked her to come with him knowing how she felt about being alone in the home, but she resisted the temptation and decided to stay.

She was a strong woman, not one to give in to irrational fear. She was sure that if there was something in her home, something that didn’t belong, she wasn’t going to let it win. Ted had never experienced anything, and in spite of their daughter’s ongoing nightmares, he believed there must be a reasonable explanation for it all.

She didn’t want to let her husband down and admit she was afraid. That was why she chose to stay behind. He was a kind man whom she loved with all her heart. She needed to show him that she could be strong. Besides, she thought, it was only a half an hour round trip. She surely could qualm her fears for 30 minutes.

Moving out of the kitchen and passing through the living room, she stopped suddenly, feeling as if someone was behind her. She quickly turned around. No one was there.

For all her 41 years, God had protected her, and she was sure he would now. She touched the gold cross that hung around her neck, bringing it up to her lips. She kissed it gently before letting it go. She patted her damp hands against the fibers of her dress. The dampness must be perspiration, she surmised, which troubled her because she didn’t feel hot.

She made her way to the stairs and ascended them, stopping just before the second floor landing. The upstairs hall was dark. She began to get that same sensation as before that someone was there waiting for her.

“Amelia, don’t let nerves win,” she said aloud to herself.

She blamed a lot of what she experienced to a recent bout with an illness that kept her in bed for the better part of three weeks. She would feel cold and then hot. Her vision would blur, and an unusual nervousness would overcome her. She named it the “irrational illness” because it made her quite irrational.

The upstairs hall led to four doors. The door on the far right side was to her bedroom. The door directly in front of the landing, which remained open, was to a bathroom. To the left of the landing a little further down the hall was another smaller bathroom for Colleen. The last door at the end of the left side of the hall was Colleen’s room.

She shook her head and took the last three steps. She had just stopped on the landing when an overwhelming feeling grabbed hold of her. Darkness consumed the upstairs hall. The sun had set a half hour before, but the glow from the downstairs lamp did little to penetrate the complete blackness that lay before her.

Sensing there was something in the darkness, she remained still. She could see a radiant glow emanating from her open bedroom door. The moonlight was trying to aide her from outside the bedroom window.

She resisted the urge to run and had just turned towards her bedroom when she heard something behind her. Frozen, she held her breath and listened.

“You don’t.”

The voice out of the darkness was almost too faint to hear, but she was sure she heard it. Her heart began to race as icicles poked her arms. She waited, straining to hear anything but met only silence.

She turned around, but she couldn’t see thru the darkness down the hall toward her daughter’s room. Feeling a bit foolish, she turned away towards her room once more.

“You don’t belong…”

The voice was unmistakable this time. It was as if it was spoken from directly behind her. The air was getting heavier. She willed her legs to move, but she remained still. It sounded like a whisper, a faint droning from behind her ears.

“You don’t belong…..”

The voices, oh, God, it sounded like two or three, she thought. She felt something on her left and flinched back. Regaining the use of her legs, she took a step backwards.

“You don’t belong…”

The voices seemed to whisper in both of her ears. She put her hands up to her ears to try and block them out. She couldn’t tell where they were coming from. There was no one else in the house yet she knew she wasn’t imagining them.

She fought hard to catch her breath. She wanted to run out of the house. She prayed for her husband to return home. She took two more steps backwards nervously looking left and right. It was as if the voices were all around her. The pressure in her chest grew, and she was only able to take shallow breaths. She knew this wasn’t her imagination. The upstairs hall felt suffocating. The eyes of darkness were upon her, staring at her.

“You don’t belong…”

The voices swirling around her grew louder, and she heard the anger with which they spoke. “This can’t be happening,’ she thought. She moved another step backwards. Sensing the stairs near, she used her hand to grope behind but found nothing but air.

“You don’t belong here.”

There was a child-like quality to the voices, she thought. Where were they coming from? Another step back. Feeling around, she found the banister.

“You don’t belong here.”

Afraid to turn her back on the unseen presence but knowing she couldn’t stand there, she turned around towards the stairs. Just then she heard a male voice boom from the darkness.

You don’t belong here!

She screamed as the voice hissed out. She lost her footing as she stepped off the landing and felt her body fall forward. She cried out as her body toppled downward. Her body tumbled down the stairs, head banging against the wall. She felt something strike her rib-cage. Her body continued rolling, each thud more painful than the last, until she finally landed on the floor.

Her head throbbed, and her body felt as if it were on fire. She was unable to move. Pain coursed through her entire body. Searing currents of heat radiated up her spine. She tried to call out, but she felt like all the air had been sucked out of her lungs.

She tilted her head to the left and then to the right. Currents of pain shot through her body, behind her eyes and across her temples. She looked back to the stairs, climbing the stairs with her eyes until she saw the form of a man on the top stair. The form was smiling at her. She felt her heart begin to gallop as the form took a step down the stairs. The lights blinked off.