CALL TO AUTHORS! STARDUST: A FUTURISTIC ROMANCE COLLECTION

stardust

Stardust: A Futuristic Romance Collection

Visualize a world where space travel by the common man is as normal as getting on a plane, life has been discovered on other planets, humans travel light years to find their soul mates, technology exists along the lines that we have only imagined, and a passport will take you anywhere.

Your task for this anthology is to tell a story of adventure and love in a fantastical world. Use your imagination and come up with the futuristic aspects. Make believe a world that will wow us and have us wishing we could live there. Show us that, in a vast universe, love has no boundaries, and that worlds are just waiting to be discovered…

This is an adult anthology, so some light sex and intimate situations will be likely.  But sexually disturbing scenes and those sensitive in nature will not be accepted (we have a right to refuse anything we deem inappropriate).

This time there will only be TEN stories chosen.  Each submission will be provided to the judges without title or author information and will be chosen blindly based on story alone.

** SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE SENT TO CYNTHIA DIRECTLY THIS TIME, SO PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES CAREFULLY. **

Submission Guidelines

Please look over the submission guidelines below and make sure that your story is formatted according to the specifications. Stories submitted that do not follow the guidelines will not be considered for the anthology.

  1. WORD COUNT: at least 5,000 but not to exceed 12,000 words.
  2. FILE SPECIFICATIONS:
    1. Document: Microsoft Word Document (doc/docx) is the ONLY file type accepted
    2. Font: Times New Roman
    3. Paragraph indentations: 0.5” (page layout > first line indent) *Please DO NOT use tabs or spaces*
    4. Margins: Normal margin settings (click on page layout > margins > normal)
    5. DEADLINE: Contest runs from January 1 – February 1.  All entries must be turned in on or before February 1st.  No exceptions.
    6. CONTRACT & COMPENSATION: You must sign a contract if you are chosen to be in the anthology.  Due to the adult nature, no participants under the age of 18 will be accepted.  There is no monetary compensation. The winners will receive one paperback and eBook copies, plus lots of great exposure!
    7. LIKE US: You must be following Cynthia Shepp’s Facebook because that is where all the contest details and announcements will take place.
    8. SUBMISSIONS: Please send all submissions to anthologies@indiestylepress.com with the following information:
      1. SUBJECT: Stardust
      2. FILE: Your story attached using the guidelines above (please make sure your story title is included in the file)
      3. BIO: A brief bio up to 100 words
      4. DEDICATION: A brief dedication up to 50 words
      5. SOCIAL LINKS: Two social links you wish to share (example: website/blog and Facebook links)
      6. BOOK LINK: The ASIN number of one of your published books you wish to link to on Amazon
      7. CONTACT INFORMATION: (this is for private use and will not be shared with the public) email, full legal name, pen name, mailing address

HAVE FUN & BE CREATIVE!

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Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST Compiled and Edited By Cynthia Shepp and Rene Folsom. Stories By Bart Hopkins, Michael Loring, Rene Folsom, Penelope Bartotto, Eaton Thomas Palmer, Jason Brant, Magen McMinimy, Anthony Lance, Nicki Scalise, S. L. Dearing, Jon Messenger

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A review by:  Terri Kinckner

Anthology description from Amazon:  What began as an idea soon set into motion a chain of events that would lead to heart-stopping action, amazing suspense, and stories that will stick with you way after you are done.

Unique, unexpected, beyond imagining…shocking TWISTS that will have you frantically turning back the pages to see what clues you overlooked to have missed what was coming.

Paranormal stories that span across the genre and will wow you, shock you, and leave you gasping for more.

11 different authors, one main idea, and worlds that will TWIST your imagination…

Voices of the Soul (Soul Seers One) by Rene Folsom

Orella (Ella) heard voices in her head, actually the thoughts of others, as long as she could remember.  She and her mother were in a terrible car accident shortly before her 14th birthday.  After Ella awoke in the hospital following the accident, she was brought to see her mother who was being kept alive on life support.  Her mother talked to her in her head, explaining the gift that she had and that she was a soul seer.  Her mother had this gift too.  She passed away shortly after telling Ella this.  Six years later, Ella was in college and a new student entered her class.  She and Jonah had an instant connection, and she learned that he was also a soul seer.  He helped her to understand her gift a bit more, and they explored the boundaries of what their gift could do.

The twist at the end of this story left me absolutely stunned and desperate to find out what happened next!  This story was gut-wrenching and sweet, exciting and really left an impact on me.  I can’t wait for the next one!

Number 18 by Michael Loring

Robert was a predator, carefully watching his chosen victim waiting for the perfect time to attack.  He was exact and precise as he stalked victim number 18, a petite brunette named Alexa, who was at a carnival with her boyfriend, Daniel.  He watched them as they argued about what stuffed animal to pick, and then knew he had his opportunity when Daniel headed back to the campsite, Alexa planning to meet up with him after using the ladies room.  The incredible detail mapped Robert’s sick mind and I felt like I was right there with them in the woods as he stalked her.  I literally held my breath, waiting for him to finish his horrific task.

The twist in this story was excellently written and detailed.  It was brutal, fierce, and perfectly ironic!  I couldn’t help but smile a little bit at the end of this one… sometimes you get what you deserve!  LOVED it!

Sweet Lenora, by Bart Hopkins

This story was set in the 1930’s about a girl, Lenora, who came from old money.  Always the dutiful daughter, she always listened to her ill bedridden mother. It seemed a lonely existence for Lenora.  The only people in her life were her mother who needed a lot of rest, and the servants who saw to her needs, but kept an emotional distance.  I was truly happy for Lenora when she met a boy named Charlie at school.  They wanted to spend more time together, but Lenora’s mother was not pleased with this new acquaintance, because he came from new money and wasn’t of the same social standing as her family.  Her mother arranged for Lenora to be escorted to the fair by Jakob Schmidt, a young man her mother deemed more acceptable, as he was from old money.  Lenora was miserable at the fair, and Charlie was pleased to see this as he hid in the shadows and watched.  At the end of the evening, Jakob became violent with Lenora and Charlie stepped in, striking Jakob with a rock and seeing Lenora safely home.

The twist in this particular story made her bizarre home life make absolute sense to me.  It was horrifying and awesome!

Truth or Dare, by Jon Messenger

This is a tale of four college kids having a few drinks and playing a game of truth or dare.  The loser would have to write the philosophy final for the winner.  Brent, Whitney, and Jake all took their turns;  the final truth or dare came to Jill,  Jake’s girlfriend.  She chose dare, and the dare was to spend the night in Creepy Cemetery;  a long-neglected cemetery near their campus.  Once at the cemetery, Jill heard whispers and saw ghostly apparitions but the real shock happens when…

The twist.  Not revealing it, though it surprised me and reminded me of a very important lesson at the same time.  A truly excellent story that really made me think!

Suburban Zombie, by Anthony Lance

Neighbors Ted, Dave and their respective families are zombies.  They live in a picture-perfect neighborhood in zombie suburbia.  As the mothers in the neighborhood drop their children off at school and discuss crumbed brains among themselves, they don’t realize they are being followed.  The neighborhood is being invaded by…

The twist in this story is very ironic and hilarious.  I loved the banter between the characters, and laughed out loud quite a few times while reading it.  I will never think of zombies the same way after reading this!

All I Want for Christmas, by Jason Brant

This is the story from a girl’s point of view, done exclusively in diary entries.  Thinking back to myself at thirteen, these entries are pretty accurate for a girl of that age.  She has a serious crush on Stevie and her parents won’t let her date yet.  Each entry is early-teen angst toward her parents and classmates at its finest!  Christmas was something she certainly wasn’t looking forward to, since Stevie was all she wanted…until she opened her gift.

The twist in this story came out of nowhere and I truly never saw it coming.  It was delicious!!!

In the Eyes of the Beholder, by Penelope Bartotto

In this short story, Dominic was a truck driver who had to spend weeks at a time away from the girl he loved, Rose.  He missed her terribly and planned on asking her to marry him when he got back home.  Rose, however, didn’t feel the same about Dominic.  She felt that men had only one purpose in the universe- to provide women with what they need, want, and desire.  Rose was not who Dominic thought she was.  She was planning to get ahead, using a rich man that she was seeing, Kevin, to her advantage.  Dominic was getting in the way of her plans, so she had to do something.  Luckily for Rose, she had everything she needed at her disposal.  She feigned an attack and had Dominic rush home to her, not even stopping to make his delivery first.  She drugged him and took him to a warehouse, where she planned to drain him of his life so she could be free to take advantage of Kevin.

The twist was eerie!  I loved this story, it played like a horror movie in my head.  I’m sure the secondary characters at the diner knew more than they let on, but that just added to the creepy factor to this story… well done!

Little Tchotchkes, by Nicki Scalise

This is the story of a vampire named Marcus who cased goth clubs for his next meal.  The girls were always willing to take him home, where he’d seduce them and then make them his meal.  He always took a trophy from each victim, keeping it in his apartment.  Bored with goth girls, an opportunity for a challenge presented itself when he paid for coffee for a girl who misplaced her wallet.  She showed up at his apartment with a coffee for him later that evening and made herself at home.  He befriended this woman, named Jules,  for a while waiting for his opportunity to get her to take him home with her.  He never fed at home. That chance never happened.

The twist in this one?  Wow!  Double wow!  Depravity is the word of the day with this story!  Absolutely brilliant ending!

I am Serna, by Magen McMinimy

I love witch stories, and this was no exception.  A white witch was trying to save her niece, Ariel, from the Serna the Witch Queen.  Ariel was already powerful, and the Witch Queen was worried that her powers might soon surpass her own.  Ariel’s niece hired Damon, a warlock and protector of the magical community to keep Ariel safe.  She was hiding in a town named Sebastopol, working in a small biker bar.  Damon flashed (teleported) himself to the little town and entered the bar, meeting Ariel.  Ariel knew who he was immediately, and accused him of leading Serna to her when hellhounds attacked them in the parking lot.  Luckily, Damon killed as many as he could and flashed Ariel to the hotel room he was staying in while in town.  After guarding Ariel for a little while, he became attracted to her and wanted to get to know her better.  He flashed her to his home and…

This twist caught me by surprise!  I loved the ending to this, and actually re-read it to see if I had missed a clue as to what would happen!

Bloodlines, by S.L. Dearing

This story took place in WWII era Germany.  A general was searching for two children, Sascha and Eduard Engel.  They found their mother, but she had carefully hidden them under the floorboards.  They had been forced to witness the interrogation and removal of their mother through the wood slats.  All they had left of her was an oval, bronze pendant.  A kind neighbor rescued them and sent them off to France to stay with a man named Patrice.  Patrice was a wonderful man, and the children were delighted to find out that he was their grandfather and that their mother was his daughter.  They shared a special gift, they could hear each other’s thoughts.  The general soon located the family, and went to the house.  This is when the twist happens.

This twist was scary, amazing and finally beautiful!  This story left me grinning and happy.  It would have made a fine full-length novel, too!

Metronome, by Eaton Thomas Palmer

This short story took place in a psychiatric wing of a maximum security prison.  Matthew, a serial killer, is a patient that Dr. Edgar Collins is determined to rehabilitate.  His nurse, Erin, isn’t quite as optimistic.  Matthew saw himself as a spider, preying on the evil and foul people in the world.  He made a dagger in the shape of a spider’s fang, and dipped the end in poison, so that when he killed his victim, it resembled the demise of a spider’s prey.  While in therapy, Matthew was confident and smug, in control of himself and quite able to strike fear into the heart of Erin.  In  his cell, however, he became the prey.  The clock just outside his cell tormented him endlessly, telling him to listen to him and not cry out.  If he didn’t follow the clock’s instructions the clock would stop, ending Matthew’s life.  The doctor was quite irritated by Matthew’s belief that the stopping of the clock would cause him to die, so he ordered a guard to cut power to the clock.  He told Matthew that he deserved a day out of his cell, and that he could spend it in the lounge.  This excited Matthew, and he stepped out into the hallway, instantly noticing that the clock had stopped.

The twist in this story was excellent!  The horror inflicted on Matthew may have matched the horror Matthew inflicted upon his victims.  This was a beautifully-crafted psychological nightmare!

I also want to point out that Cynthia Shepp has been absolutely amazing, not only in getting established authors to think outside the box and submit a short story, but also to readers who aspire to write.  Hers is truly a labor of love, and these anthologies have allowed many readers to live their dream of seeing their work in print.  Cynthia, you are awesome!

As a whole, I give this anthology a resounding 5 stars out of five!

Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers

A review by Terri Kinckner

Before I begin this review, I will explain how this anthology even came to be.  It started out as a Facebook contest created by Cynthia Shepp for her page.  She had a few requirements and left the rest to the readers and authors that enjoy her page every day.  I read them as they were posted, some were too long to post on Facebook, but Cynthia loved them and wanted to share them with everyone.  Apocalypse: An Anthology by Authors and Readers, was born.

Here were the rules:

I want you to imagine that the world as we know it has ended. Total Apocalypse. You only have yourself and one other person you can rely on. There is no power, no water, and you are armed with only a backpack of supplies. In your backpack there are matches, four bottles of water, enough food to make it three days, and one weapon. Spin a web of survival, danger, and conflict. Tell us why the world as you knew it ended, tell us your fears, make up a world in which nothing is the same and survival is hard, and the world is against you. Tell us what you would do, where you would go, how you would get food and water, how you would protect yourself, and how you would make your life over again. You could even throw in some romance and meet some new people to help you on your journey.

The results were STUNNING!  From seasoned author to writing novice, each tale was spun beautifully.

Fade to black,  by Jase Brantson, had witty dialogue, humor, horror and a surprise ending I never saw coming.  I loved how fast and fluid the story was, since it was mostly dialogue.

Artificial Life: The End Of Humanity, by Kate Charles, was amazing.  The main character was the cause of the apocalypse, although she didn’t really have a conscience about it.  The concept of causing the world to stop spinning for an instant, thereby causing it’s destruction, was a great idea.

I loved Shelf life, by S.L. Dearing, which also had a bit of a surprise ending.  The characters were realistic, and I thought her choice of weaponry was quite  brilliant! This was a love story at the end of the world… loved it!

Welcome to the End of the World (Population: Unknown), by R.M. Gilmore, is psychological horror at its finest!  I was trapped inside that basement, losing my mind right alongside the main character.  I rooted for her until the very end as her story unfolded.

Lotion, by Grayce Jantson (Jason Brant), was hilarious.  The dialogue had me laughing out loud, The second character, Greg, is probably the worst person to survive an apocalypse with, but added a whole level of humor and frustration to the story.  I didn’t expect it to end the way that it did, but it’s nice when things aren’t always “happily ever after”

Until the End, by Brittany Heister, was written by a young lady my son’s age.  I was very impressed with her vision of the end of the world, and she had very amusing characters in her story.  An egg roll selling zombie is quite unique and made it interesting.  I really enjoyed this story!

I know my first name is Clossiana, by K.T. Hennessy, is brilliant.  It was such a wonderfully different take on the apocalypse.  I don’t want to really reveal why it’s different, because I don’t post spoilers.  This story made me rethink how humankind would react to a failing world.

Save Me, by Heather Kirchoff, was written by a high school student.  Her story was vividly described, emotionally heart-wrenching, yet a feeling of hope was still kept throughout.  Hers is a story of family betrayal, surviving under extraordinary circumstances, and new love.  It was a wonderful story!

Canyon Bound, by Jon Messenger, was one of my favorite stories in this anthology.  He made everything so real that I felt I could see, smell, hear, the end of the world, his struggle to find others that were alive, his survival in the face of illness, and the inspiring “best friend” that helped him on his journey.

What If, by Jocelyn Sanchez, was short but action-packed.  It also had an ending that I didn’t see coming!  The paranormal cause of her apocalypse was different than the other stories and quite an interesting idea!

Cheyenne Mountain, by Nicki Scalise,  was an amazing story.  The ultimate betrayal a person can face.  I really liked the idea of Anathema.  This story had my rapt attention through to the end.

The editor, Cynthia Shepp came up with this idea and brought it to life.  I watched this collection of stories go from an idea, a Facebook contest, to a wonderful anthology.  This was a labor of love by Cynthia, and she deserves her own little blurb.  She put her heart and soul into this project and without it, some of these fine young authors wouldn’t be in print right now.  Incredible job, Cynthia! ❤

I give this anthology 5 out of 5 stars!