BEYOND THE WAIL Book Review and Blog Tour

BEYOND THE WAIL: 12 Grave Stories of Love and Loss


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About today's author: A. F. Stewart:

A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she has always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, sword collecting, and oil painting. Ms. Stewart is an indie author with several published novellas and story collections in the dark fantasy and horror genres, with a few side trips into poetry and nonfiction. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.

Author Interview:

1. How did you come up with the concept of your story?
I’ve always loved ghost stories, so that’s what I decided on when I went to write my paranormal tale. And since the submission theme of the Beyond the Wail anthology was “Losers Weepers”, the the La Llorona, or “The Weeping Woman” ghost story seemed an ideal place to start. I also threw in some inspiration from the eerie tales of the “White Lady”, an oft repeated ghost phenomenon. I tweaked a few details of the original tale, added some family drama, and I had a story.
2. How did you come up with the title?
The title was simple, I combined the names of the two ghost legends. I put “Weeping Woman” and “White Lady” together, and viola, I had The Weeping Lady.
3. What is your preferred writing genre?
I love writing fantasy, preferably darker tales bordering on horror. The Weeping Lady is actually tamer and slightly more upbeat than much of what I write. Although, it is still rather dark.
4. Who is your favorite author? Who has most influenced your work?
I have two favourite authors, Neil Gaiman and Guy Gavriel Kay. They are both exquisite writers and masters of storytelling. I adore their work and refuse to choose just one. My biggest influence, though, is Ray Bradbury. His short stories warped my little child brain and imprinted the love of the written word on my grey cells forever.
5. What's up next for you?
I have several stories in the submission process for anthologies, including one for the charity anthology, Christmas Lites V. Plus, I have two novels in various stages of creation, a steampunk adventure book, called Racing the Hellfire Club, and a fantasy novel, The Prophecy of Seven. And there’s always a chance of another poetry book showing up in the near future.

Just for fun nerd list:

  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Both. And yes, you can love both.
  • Hunger Games or Divergent? Neither. Not a big YA fan.
  • James Bond or Jack Ryan? Jack Ryan, definitely. I’m a big Tom Clancy fan.
  • Sherlock: Robert Downey, Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch? As much as I adore Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch has the edge in the Sherlock department.
  • Spock: Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto? Leonard Nimoy. Part of me still sees Zachary Quinto as Sylar from Heroes
  • X-Men or Avengers? Probably the Avengers, but it’s a tight race.
  • Aliens or Predators? Not big on either. 
  • Minions or Penguins? I love them both, although Pinky and the Brain have top spot in my heart. 
  • Batman or Superman? Batman, always and forever.
  • Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean? Pirates, of course. Pass the rum, boys.
  • Beatles or Rolling Stones? Neither. I’d rather listen to The Doors.
  • Peter Jackson or James Cameron? Peter Jackson. I was a fan before LOTR.
  • Steven Spielberg or George Lucas? Lucas, but that’s just because of the original Star Wars trilogy.
  • Vampires or Werewolves? Probably Vampires, but I like them both.
  • LARP or MORPG? Neither really, but I’ve always wanted to LARP.

Author:  Amanda Banker, Jay Barnson, Julie Barnson, Sebastian Bendix, Tirzah Duncan, F.M. Longo, Ginger C. Mann, Alex McGilvery, L.K. McIntosh, T.N. Payne, Danielle E. Shipley, A.F. Stewart
Editor: J. Aurel Guay
Pages: 396
Format:  Paperback, Kindle, Kindle Select
Publisher:  Xchyler Publishing
Book Source:  publisher
Category:  Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Style:   Twelve distinct voices, including a range from humorous to eerie to thought-provoking and mind-bending, to tense and perilous ghost stories that tie your gut up in knots. Some stories may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 14.
Giveaway: Scroll down to enter! or visit Rafflecopter or the XP Facebook page.


What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.

About this project:

True confession: I'm not a fan of paranormal or ghost stories. They're just not my cup of tea. I'm so much not a fan, that when Xchyler held this particular short story contest, our third in the paranormal genre, I left judging the forty-four entries up to my compatriots. I just didn't want to go there. And, I trusted them, implicitly. And not without good cause.

SIGIL OF THE WYRM Book Review and Blog Tour

Author: A.J. Campbell
Pages: 312
Format:  Paperback, Kindle, Kindle Select
Publisher:  Xchyler Publishing
Book Source:  publisher
Category:  Urban Fantasy
Style: Magical realism written in an easy, approachable style, incorporating local folklore but set in contemporary Northumbria, UK.
Giveaway: Scroll down to enter! or visit Rafflecopter or the XP Facebook page.

Sigil of the Wyrm by AJ Campbell, book 1 of Into the Weirding

Richard Lampton never believed in fairy tales, so when a stunning stranger at his uncle’s funeral warns him of an ancient family curse, he pays no heed—until a very real wyrm attempts to destroy him. Now, with the help of a homeless runaway, a fledgling jackdaw, and a key none but he can use, Richard must find the courage to meet his death or his destiny as he plunges headlong Into the Weirding.

About this project: 

Sigil of the Wyrm is another Xchyler offering, one I'm quite proud of. AJ Campbell is a "Geordie", what natives of northeast England affectionately call themselves. Although she now lives in the south , her story is a homage to the land of her birth and the local lore that she grew up with. However, when the editor who initially chose to take on this project had to back out, it got stalled. Preserving the British but especially Geordie flavor of the tale meant finding just the right team to pull it off. We didn't want to Americanize it so much it lost its identity.

What color is a polar bear? Redefining ‘adult’ in ‘adult fiction’

[editor's note: the following blog post is published in full on]

Today’s guest post is by Penny Freeman, editor-in-chief at Xchyler Publishing.

Although Andrew asked me to write a blog post for his site some time ago, the date of publication came and went with me still staring at the monitor, unable to formulate my thoughts—or, at the very least, unable to figure out how to adequately express my thoughts in a way that would communicate my intent. Then, I read an op-ed in the New York Times about university students who are so intent on protecting [insert special interest group of choice here] from any sort of offense or emotional turmoil, they are campaigning to restrict freedom of speech and the actual texts used in courses.

Huckleberry Finn had to go because of the N-word. Guest lecturers must be un-invited from speaking because they used the N-word in discussing the evolution of the N-word and its social acceptability. Euclid could not be taught in humanities classes because it might trigger emotional responses in victims of violent crime. Such persons may not feel safe or sheltered in such discussions, so those discussions must not occur. Anywhere. Ever.

I believe this is where we, as Mormon writers, too often find ourselves, and why the term “Mormon literature” causes some readers to roll their eyes in frustration. We are so intent on sheltering the reader from offensive material, we wrap them up in cotton and set them in a cozy egg carton, safely deposited on a high shelf. The problem: when readers happen upon stories that refuse to admit life rarely comes equipped with bubble wrap and packing peanuts, they find the writing shallow and dissatisfying, with little dimension and no color. . . .(cont)

Read the complete blog post here.

Book Review: Wild Secret, Wild Longing (Front Range series)

Book:  WILD SECRET, WILD LONGING (A Front Range Series novella)
Author: Charlene Whitman
Pages: 155
Format:  Kindle
Publisher:  Ubiquitous Press
Book Source:  author
Category:  Historical Romance
Style: Sweet romance in historical Western setting reflecting the social mores of the mid to late 19th century; rich prose with well-defined action sequences and plot tension.


LeRoy Banks has no time for love or romance—he's busy breaking in horses at Whitcomb's ranch. But on the afternoon of his brother's wedding, a grizzly attacks the herd of horses, and though Whitcomb's ranch hands shoot him, the bear lumbers off, injured and enraged. LeRoy, the only competent tracker around, heads out into the Rockies after the bear before it kills again. But not before his ma, a Cheyenne medicine woman, gives him a warning. The mountain holds secrets, she tells him, and LeRoy must not be afraid of what he'll find. Unsettled by her puzzling words, he sets out, unaware of the dangers he is about to face—not just to his life but to his heart.
Geneviève Champlain has spent long, lonely years in isolation in the mountains, her life a trail of broken dreams, loss, and heartache. Her supplies running out, she is teetering on the edge of despair and madness as a snowstorm blows in, signaling an early winter. Her hope is failing—she knows she cannot face another winter alone. Yet she sees no way out. She can never leave her cabin and live a normal life like other women. There is no place for a tainted woman like her in frontier society. Before the storm blows in, she learns the killer grizzly is close by. She has no choice but to head out and try to kill it before it reaches her cabin. Yet when she tracks the bear, she finds something she never expected—something even more threatening than a grizzly.
In this novella, the fourth in a series of Western historical romances, Charlene Whitman proves once again her exceptional skill at combining a believable plot, realistic characters, and delightful prose to draw her readers into her worlds rich with color and texture, light and sound, for a deeply satisfying experience.

My Take: 

LeRoy Banks is a young horse wrangler who also happens to be of mixed race. Dealing with the prejudices of the day proves more difficult for him than his brother who more resembles their white father, rather than their Cheyenne mother, as does LeRoy. However, as Whitman introduces the character, the reader first gets to know the man. His physical features are almost an after-thought. The strengths of his mother and her particular skills figure prominently as the plot unfolds but are skillfully nuanced. While she is an adept healer and somewhat prescient, Whitman chooses to emphasize her love, support, and faith in her son, and his respect for her and dependence upon her wise counsel. There are no caricatures in this story, of any race.

Book Review: Hohenstein by Didi

Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!

Author: Didi Lawson
Pages: 342
Format:  Paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited
Publisher:  Xchyler Publishing
Book Source:  publisher team member
Category:  Historical Romance
Style: Sweet romance in historical setting reflecting the social mores of the early 20th century.


Anything but a typical aristocrat, young Baroness Marie-Louise is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work, especially when it comes to saving her ancestral estate. Determined to shake loose the shackles of propriety and gain the warm family life her upbringing denied her, she has vowed to marry a man of lower rank. Blue-bloods need not apply.

But when she is forced to turn to a childhood friend for assistance, the handsome, debonair count may prove a temptation impossible to resist. Marie-Louise soon finds herself caught between the comfort of a middle-class doctor and the passion of a nobleman, with the future of her childhood home at stake.

Vanguard Legacy Taking Over the Internet

Beyond Books Takeover Treasure Trail

Greetings and salutations, fair readers. Today, Joanne Kershaw, author of the Vanguard Legacy series, including Foretold, Reflected, and Fated, is participating in Beyond Books Internet Event. You can find all those details here.

If you've made it all the way here, you've persevered through ten clues and links. Yay you! Here's your last clue:

What blog post recently became the most popular to knock out the longstanding champ of more than 2.5 years?

Hint: the answer is on the column on the right under Rave Ravings.

Tough, right? Now that you've got that answer, you’re done! EMAILyour list of answers to Winners will be chosen at random. (You won’t receive ANY marketing from Joanne, at all, but if you win a prize you will be notified by email!) You can also TWEET her at @Kershaw_Joanne (Yes, Google + wants to hijack the tweet. Here's that link: +Joanne Kershaw)

Finally, it's time to read Vanguard Legacy! If you're a fan of paranormal fiction, particularly YA paranormal romance, you're going to love this series.

Happy reading!

Book Tour: the Vanguard Legacy series by Joanne Kershaw

More than four years in the making, the Vanguard Legacy series by Joanne Kershaw is finally complete! Today only, get all three ebooks for the price of one on Kindle. Here's all the YA paranormal goodness:

Vanguard Legacy: Foretold by Joanne Kershaw
Vanguard Recruit Elora Walker doesn’t know who demands more of her: her mother, or herself. But more than she wants to make Nina proud of her, she wants to know the truths buried deep in their mutual past.

 Haunted by the memory of her long-dead father, tormented by a psychic link to a faceless stranger, Elora learns to rely upon her friends and her newfound warrior skills to protect not only the Ignari from Dark Seekers, but the world from an ancient family secret that can destroy it.


What readers are saying about Foretold:

“A stellar read for fantasy fans!”

“Move over Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and The Mortal Instruments; I've found my next YA paranormal series to obsess over.”

“A 5-star must read for YA enthusiasts but also for readers who enjoy a well-written story full of creativity and imagination!”

An ugly family secret laid bare, a mortal wound inflicted by her twin sister, betrayed by the love of her life—her supposed “soul mate”. In the wake of the battle with her evil father and his Dark Seekers, Elora Walker fights to recover from them all.

Together with her Vanguard, Magicae, and Vampire friends, Elora races to gather ingredients for the spell of spells, bury the curse, and defeat the prophecy which has tainted her life since birth. To save the world, can she deny the yearnings of her heart? Or, will she succumb to the temptation of love, and plunge them all into Eternal Darkness.