Hello! My name is Justin Chasteen. I write fantasy and fiction.

I am going to use this site to keep everyone updated about the writing progress of my fantasy trilogy, short sorties, flash fiction, and unnamed fantasy-fiction novel. Thanks for checking me out and I hope you enjoy my work. Check below this post for updates and new posts!


Grayflame Hits 100 Reviews

Grayflame hit 100 audiobook reviews! Never did I imagine that would happen, and never did I imagine it would hold 4 stars! Thanks to everyone who listened and supported along the way. I haven’t had anything published for a while. I’m still working on my novel. Thanks for the inquiries!

Update on Writing the New Novel

It’s been a while since my last update. Actually, from the looks of it, I’m lucky to update this yearly. Honestly, I’m lucky to be able to write my daily word count with as busy as work and everything else has been. With that being said, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on my current novel.

Unlike the three previous novels I’ve been able to finish (at minimum, the manuscripts) this one already feels different. It’s one I’ve had sitting and waiting on me for about six years—since before I even got my degree in Creative Writing. It was a story I wanted to be able to tell when I was ready, with no limitations or restrictions in my own writing ability. After years of preparation and practice, I felt I was ready. The biggest change is that I am no longer working on short stories or even published novellas and audiobooks for Scribd. Scribd was an amazing experience, and they were incredible enough to even offer me an opportunity to write a novel for them, but it is time to go down the path I have wanted to wander since I started writing. I needed to eliminate all other writing distractions, which, as you can see, I am failing to do right this second, in order to focus.

I’m fourteen solid chapters in, and I’m at my least favorite step: creating a map. I’m possibly the worst artist in the world, and when it comes to map-making, I always make something that resembles a penis in some way. Alas, it must be done.

This time I will learn from my mistakes and only make the frame first. I will fill in the towns, terrain, and all the rest as I write.

The goal this year, which I always fall flat-on-my-face-short of, will be to have this novel finished, edited, edited again, test read, and ready to shop around to agents. If I could somehow pull the whole package together and complete it by the end of 2021, I’d be a very happy writer. Realistically, I’ll be lucky to get the first draft done, because I’m finding myself writing about 50 words for every 1 word intended. These characters won’t shut the hell up.

That’s my update. I appreciate everyone pestering me enough about what I’m working on to where I had to take the time to write this. Hopefully some of you read this. The novel has a name, but that could always change, so I’ll wait, for now, to even mention it.

New Series Published; Novella Next to be Published

I am writing for Go check it out if you haven’t; they are like the Netflix of books. They have a huge library of audio and digital books. They opened their doors for the next 30 days to ANYONE for FREE, so there is no excuse to go read a book while you’re in quarantine (unless you have kids, then you have my shared sorrow).

Thanks to a talented friend, I found out about their call for new writers to write exclusive content within their Bryant Street Shorts section, and I am fortunate enough to have been hired as one of their writers. I wrote a 5-story series which you can find out more about below. I also have been given the freedom to write a fantasy novella. That won’t be ready for a few months. They’re a really good company to write for. They have me writing romance, but I have the freedom to do whatever I want and they pay really really well.

Series of Short Stories: 

I have a series of short stories due out in a few weeks called ‘House Cintius‘ that takes place in Ancient Rome 64 AD. This will be available in digital format to read AND audio-book if you like to listen. If you decide to read it, remember that it’s fiction and reflects nothing on me personally. I wrote it based on what readers of romance tend to enjoy. I have no desire to bang a gladiator, not even Russell Crowe.

Here is the description of the series:

When Julia Cintius became a widow, she also became the head of a rising gladiator house in Rome. She had been treated as poorly as a wife: ignored, insulted, and undesired by her late husband, only to be used when magistrates and senators were to be hosted with lavish parties. But in his death, Julia has discovered her beloved husband has left behind one thing she can wear proudly: power.

Now, Lady Julia Cintius — head of the Ludus — runs the house as she sees fit. Under her command, there are no slaves in House Cintius; servants are compensated, and her precious gladiators, the very men who made House Cintius so revered, are given the choice to swear their allegiance to House Cintius as freedmen. They now fight for fame and glory — but not without reward. And in House Cintius, rewards come in a number of forms.

Senators gladly wait weeks for favors and entertainment from House Cintius, and noble patricians seek none but for the chance to beg for Julia’s hand. In 64 CE, at the height of the arena, when coin could be made by the very distance blood sprayed across sand, the real victor could be Lady Julia Cintius. Long may she reign.


I have been given the freedom to write a fantasy novella (I’m eyeing about 40,000 words) for them. That won’t be ready for a few months. I started the pre-writing and all that good stuff last night. I have never written a novella (I tend to always have like 200,000 words at the end of every novel and have to cut 80,000 of them) so I am going to block out each part so I don’t go nuts with extra words.

Thanks for checking in! I’ll post the links as they are published.


Draft 1.5, Manuscript, Witch Novel–whatever you want to call it–is finished!

It’s been close to a year-and-a-half since I posted here. It’s not because I’m lazy (it is), it’s not because I hate blogging (I do), it’s because I’ve been working on a novel I started, came close to finishing, stopped, took some time off, then rewrote to completion.

About three years ago I started writing a novel about a witch named Lilac. This witch is no ordinary witch, actually, she is the most ordinary witch. She doesn’t use her witchery at all. Instead of a life as a witch, Lilac was shipped off to attend university and be a normal girl. After completing her studies and becoming an apothecary, Lilac is well on her way living a normal life until her family is unjustly burned at the stake. The novel takes you on the journey and transition of a girl to a woman to a witch. Instead of spending her nights volunteering at the animal clinic, Lilac now only has vengeance on her mind.  She moves back to where she was born, moves into a damn lighthouse, and plots to kill the King and Queen. Lilac is clumsy, forgetful, loving, and the sweetest person anyone has ever met. Her journey is sad, hilarious, cruel, and punishing. But much like Lilac, we all would do anything for those we love, even if it means extracting revenge on the highest seat.

I plan to take the next few weeks off. After that, I am going to finished the second and third draft of this unnamed novel. After that, copies will go to test readers before I start pestering agents.

Thanks to everyone for the constant interest, support, and curiosity. It’s nice to know that people still care even though I haven’t had any new activity in quite sometime.

I’ve been quiet, but that’s just because Lilac’s been doing all the talking.


My novella, ‘A Woman Named Life,’ is now published.
My novella, ‘A Woman Named Life,’ is now published via Silver Blade Magazine. I wrote it as tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island,’ which explains the unorthodox dialogue tags.
‘A Woman Named Life’ won a Silver Honorable Mention last year via the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. I’ve been trying to find a home for it for about a year, so I’m excited that it’s available through Silver Blade. They publish quality fiction and poetry. Enjoy!

Update on my Writing/Advice for Other Authors on Combating Rejection

Just checking in with some writing news—nothing too exciting at the moment—but a lot is happening in terms of staying busy trying to get two short stories published and working on a novel. That was a really long sentence.

Goodreads: Thanks to the awesome ‘Dead of Winter’ Anthology, which includes my short ‘The Huntress of Bur,’ Goodreads has added me as an author! I’m trying not to freak out very much since I was only part of a published book, not my own novel, but it’s still pretty exciting to be part of the club. You can find me here if you want to follow: (you can only post novels and such, but I snuck in a published short story, shhhh). I’ll probably do a book giveaway soon for the anthology.

Short stories: Where are they, right? Well, I’m still shopping around ‘A Woman Named Life,” which had previously placed Silver Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. I also finished a new short story called ‘Saudade.’ ‘Saudade’ is about a woman who’s obsessed with a mistake she made earlier in her life, and she punishes herself mentally because she feels she doesn’t deserve to have something she wants very badly. It’s a bit longer than my usual short stories–close to 10,000 words–but there are homes out there for longer short fiction. What I’m beginning to realize is that it takes about a year to get something published. I’m going to get in that shortly.

Novels: I know, I’ve written four, but they were just first drafts. The one that ended up being a second and third draft I am now rewriting completely. So, I’m now rewriting my first novel, which I feel is much needed. The story is there, but it’s too long. My writing has grown ten times since I wrote that novel, so I want to give it a fair chance with a publisher by providing my best writing. It’s not nearly as easy as i assumed. I thought it would just be copy, paste, fix. I’m trying to fix the writing, so really I have to take as few notes as possible on each chapter and literally rewrite each word. It was also 70,000 words too big, in my opinion. One quote I’m learning is true: the first draft is just the author telling the story to themselves. I think it is important for me—especially now that I know I can write to a level I don’t hate (completely)—to know that a first draft is just a map. Changes, big changes, will need to happen with future drafts and rewrites to make it whole. We all LOVE The Lord of the Rings trilogy extended edition, but it’s also important to understand why they were trimmed in the first place. Same thing applies to first to final draft. The Hobbit films were trash, though.

From what I’ve learned through the writers I’ve met on social media, to the incredible podcast I recently started listening to titled “I Should be Writing’ (any newish writer should check this out), is that a ton of writers are crushed by rejection from publishers—from poetry to short stories to novellas to novels. I think it’s important that we, as writers, be honest with ourselves about our own work. How? Good question. We hate everything we produce. What I’ve discovered over the past 18 months is that I just know if something is ready to see a publisher. How? I don’t pick at it like a dried scab. It’s also important to know that you’re going to get rejected. Everyone knows the stories—Stephen King, JK Rowling—so I won’t go into that. I wanted to extend two bits of advice that has helped me have a solid three-out-of-four success rate with my short stories being published.

  1. With each rejection, send your story to two more publishers. It’s that simple. Make a second fist and strike again. This will keep your bait in the water and give you a good routine to practice so that rejection isn’t a pity party. If the publisher provides feedback, use what you feel is helpful. Don’t change your entire story based on the opinion of ONE person. Send out that same draft for a year. ** Make sure the publishers you submit to accept simultaneous submissions! Follow their guidelines.**
  1. One year: Submit that same draft for a year. Do not give up on it. I’ve done this three times and have had three short stories published by places that were the right fit. My fourth short story hasn’t hit a year yet—but it’s getting close. So much of getting published has to do with fitting in with the publisher. You could write a perfect love story, but a place that publishes supernatural horror isn’t going to give two-shits about your masterpiece. Pay close attention to where you submit—it has a lot to do with actually getting your work published.

Thanks to whoever took the time to read this. You can find the links to my published works here:



New Short Story Published in ‘Dead of Winter’ Anthology- Available via Amazon

“What seemed like just another raid goes wrong in the worst way possible, and the hunters become the hunted. A story with a twist you won’t want to miss.”


The paperback copy and kindle version of the Dead of Winter anthology–featuring my story, ‘The Huntress of Bur’–is released tomorrow! You can buy it on Amazon! Any fans of horror may enjoy.

Amazon <—————–




Silver Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest!

So, much like last year, I submitted a short story to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. To my surprise, I received a Silver Honorable Mention for my short story, ‘A Woman Named Life,’ which places me roughly 15th to 25th (top 1%!) out of nearly 4,000 entrants! What does this mean? Nothing, really. I think it may help me get it published a little easier. Who knows. I’m going to actively send it to publishers until someone likes it enough to publish it, but that doesn’t mean anyone who wants to read it has to wait. Just shoot me a message for a link to the story.


You can see the list of winners here.