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.

At Xchyler, our process is for all the editors to read at least three stories, and each story to have at evaluations from at least three editors, so that we get a nice rounded perspective on the stories. Huge kudos go to McKenna Gardner, Danielle Shipley, and content editor J. Aurel Guay who read Every. Single. Story. The good, the bad, and the ugly, until their eyeballs bled, surely. Without them, the contest still would be waiting to be judged.

Another note about judging: this is an anonymous contest. Our system allows editors and established Xchyler authors to enter the contest and be judged on the same playing field as new authors. Editors doing the judging (such as Danielle) simply refrain from judging their own work. Since the judges are allowed to pick and choose which story they will read, the empty columns don't tell us anything either. We do have fun testing our own familiarity with an author's voice, however. Sort of like the game Concentration: match the voice to the author.

My involvement in this project came when all was said and done, at the final approval stage. After Justin had pounded the the stories into the proper shape and size, after Shauntel picked and prodded the grammar, and after Danielle pulled out her fine-toothed comb to find the typos, I got to read the finished product and tell them to go back and start over. :-/ Actually, they did a fantastic job, and precious little required fixing. It's editors and writers like this who make my job a pleasure.

And, about that aversion to the paranormal: I actually enjoyed reading this book. I had fun getting to know the authors new to Xchyler with this anthology, and reading the stories of our repeat offenders have become like visiting old friends. Perhaps because they have become such good friends.

My other involvement is in the cover and the trailer, both of which are me from start to finish for good or for ill. Not happy with the trailer as the music totally sucks, but, the cover works for the spectrum of stories in this project. Quite well, actually. We also pounded out some options for the title, then allowed the authors to vote. Over all, this project wasn't nearly as painful as I expected it to be.

Bottom Line:

In the past, Xchyler has set the word limit at 10-15k. However, with the ever increasing number of entries in our contests, we decreased the word count to allow more winners, and set this one at 5-10k. This is more in keeping with a typical short story anthology and what readers expect. These are nice little bites of spookiness or weirdness, most of which will give the reader a good shiver but otherwise allow them to sleep at night. All are well-written with each authors' unique voice. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Being the parent that I am, I hate to play favorites. However, I will say that Tirzah Duncan makes me wish that I could write. Today's featured author, A. F. Stewart, has likewise taken on the gut-wrenching realities of life and haunted them with one or two supernatural occurrences. Both these authors have done an excellent job in making the frailties of humanity far more threatening than anything beyond the grave.

Book Release Blog Tour

Featured Author: Danielle E. Shipley

Danielle E. Shipley

"Due Date": A magic library’s guardian determines to protect her treasured books, whether their authors elect to do things the easy way . . . or the fatal one.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Are you Afraid of the Dark?
John's Writing

Featured Author: Alex McGilvery

Alex McGilvery

"St. Peter's Fish": Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ash Krafton: Emotion Between the Lines
Scott E. Tarbet, Author
Writer's Law of Motion

Featured Author: T.N. PAYNE

Nicole Payne

"Dead Man Hocking": A world-weary zombie learns to beware what you wish for, and not all sure bets are worth the gamble.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Author Sarah Hunter Hyatt
Notes from Author Ginger C. Mann

Featured Author: Ginger C. Mann

Ginger C. Mann

"The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty": Aunt Betty is eccentric, but how much is ghost, how much is medication, and how much is just plain crazy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

L.K. McIntosh
J S Brown
Fairies & Pirates

Featured Author: L.K. McIntosh

L.K. McIntosh

"The 'Grim' Reaper": When a soul reaper loses the source of their power, they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rampant Games
Scotty Watty Doodle All The Day
Terra Luft — View From the Crystal Ball

Featured Author: Jay Barnson

Jay Barnson

"Cold Spot": When a laptop is stolen from their computer security company, two high school buddies go to extremes to investigate. But, will they manage to return?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Storyteller's Journey
Creativity from Chaos
Christine Haggerty

Featured Author: A. F. Stewart

A. F. Stewart

"The Weeping Lady": Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Tales by Julie
Perpetual Chaos of a Wandering Mind
Alas, Earwax

Featured Author: Amanda Banker

Amanda Banker

"Dead Water": A stalled truck, an abandoned graveyard, and a town not found on any map take two brothers on a detour they’ll never forget.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sebastian Bendix
Alex Campbell
Semi Short chic

Featured Author: Julie Barnson

Julie Barnson

"Go Gentle": After the death of her boyfriend, a young musician uses her talents and a fabled violin to stop the fatal accidents at a dead man’s curve.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Ink Caster
The Road to Nowhere

Featured Author: Sebastian Bendix

Sebastian Bendix

"The Diorama": A play set turns life around for Martin Taper, but things take a turn for the worse when he neglects it and the lonely child obsessed with it.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The J. Aurel Guay Archive

Featured Author: Tirzah Duncan

Tirzah Duncan

"Of Mice and Monsters": Troubled by ghosts within and without, Benjamin struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Alex McGilvery's World
In The Spotlight

Featured Author: F.M. Longo

F.M. Longo

"Shrine of Mirrors": A spy on a mission becomes a believer in the supernatural when the theft of three ancient relics.threaten to bring down the empire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ever On Word
The Cult of Me
Cobblestone Scribe

1 comment:

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks for the lovely post. I agree about Tirzah. Her story and Dead Water are probably my favourites in the book.