Cloverdale

cloverdale

Cloverdale Picnic (www.midbarrach.com) date unknown

“Been coming here to Cloverdale for a while now, Taklishim.” Alan Tupper stood in front of the abandoned general store, almost all that was left of the ghost town in southern New Mexico.

“You have been my good friend since you were a boy.”

“I’m twenty-six now and getting ready to get out of the service.”

“I thought you liked the Army.”

“Talking to you every year since that last reunion changed me.”

“You have never taken life unjustly.”

“But ol’ Captain Tupper did.”

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Why Is Kylo Ren a Hero?

ren

Promotional image of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from the 2019 film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

A day or two ago, I saw a YouTube video on Mara Jade’s twitter account commenting on a Bounding Into Comics article titled Fans Threaten J.J. Abrams and Report Mental Breakdowns Over Kylo Ren’s Ending in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Frankly, I was amazed. I guess I shouldn’t be. As a fan of the television show Smallville (2001-2011), I watched fans on social media tear each other apart over which female lead should be in a relationship with Clark (Tom Welling). I watched the show for the superhero stuff, even though it really was a teenage/millennial soap opera.

So why shouldn’t Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) be any different?

However, the more I read the outrageous comments being supposedly made on twitter (to read them, click the appropriate link above), the more I became curious. Are these people real?

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Patron exclusive “CLOCKWORK DRAGONS” advanced sneak peak story

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Promotional image for “Clockwork Dragons”

Zombie Pirate Publishing is running a promotion on Patreon. Sign up for as little as one US dollar, and gain exclusive access to their soon-to-be published CLOCKWORK DRAGONS: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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Stop Me From Falling Published in “The Devil’s Doorbell”

doorbell

Promotional image for the Hellbound Press anthology “The Devil’s Doorbell”

It’s been out for over a month, and I never heard a peep from the publisher. My “signature” vampire romance is one of 16 tales told in Hellbound Books Publishing’s The Devil’s Doorbell: An Anthology of Darkest Romance. For those of you in the UK, here’s where you can buy it.

Plus, here’s an excerpt:

“I’d hoped it was over.”
“I didn’t come here for you, I…” It was another in an endless stream of lies. “I had to see you. Something won’t let me end it. Why won’t you let me go?”
“It makes no sense to be falling. You’ve got her, I’ve got him, you shouldn’t even be calling.”

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“Bloody Valentine” Acceptances

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Promotional image for the forthcoming anthology “Dark Valentine”.

Dear James

Thank you for your submission to the Dark Valentines Flash Fiction Horror Collection. These are the perfect amount of dark and depraved and we loved your entries. We are pleased to let you know that your story(s) Reaper, Playtime and New Heart have been accepted. Congratulations on your acceptance!

Remember Dark X-Mas? The same publisher is producing something called Dark Valentine. They accept up to five stories between 100 and 500 words long. I submitted stories called, “Reaper” and “Playtime,” which previously appeared on this blog in different forms, and a completely original story called “New Heart.” All three were just accepted.

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Movie Review of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

skywalker

© James Pyles

DISCLAIMER: This film review is loaded with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to be surprised, don’t read any further!

Yes, I went to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker today with my son, my grandson, and my son’s girlfriend.

What I’m about to say will probably annoy or even anger some of my friends and acquaintances, but the movie wasn’t half bad. In fact I liked it for the most part.

This isn’t to say that it didn’t rehash the original three films from the late 1970s and early 80s, but it was better than Director Rian Johnson’s horribly failed The Last Jedi (2017).

First of all, it was visually very impressive. Just in terms of cinematic “eye candy” (no, not that kind), it’s a pleasure to watch.

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“Dark X-Mas” Anthology Has Nine 10-Star Reviews!

dark xmas

Promotional image for the published anthology of drabbles “Dark X-Mas.”

The 48 hour promotional offer of Dark X-Mas Holiday Drabbles: 100 Word Holiday Horror Stories is about to end, and I thought I’d do some checking.

Seems the anthology, which features two of my Christmas horror drabbles, has garnered a whole 10 reviews, 9 of them five stars. The 10th is a one star by someone I suspect doesn’t understand the nature of microfiction, but that’s neither here nor there.

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The Colony Trees

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Photo credit: Sarolta Bán

Sonia watched the last of the trees lift up and fly away. It had been her fantasy ever since she was five and first heard that Mars hadn’t always been able to support life.

She had joined the junior Arbor Society when she was eight, became a regional counselor at twenty, and now at thirty-five, she was the assistant manager for the entire Martian Forestation project.

In her right hand was her husband Andrew’s left, while on her other side, five-year-old Billy, and his nine-year-old sister Charlotte were huddled against her.

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Short Story Review: “Suppose They Gave a Peace” (1992)

Cover art for the anthology, “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

The latest tale I read in The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century edited by Harry Turtledove and Martin H. Greenberg is Susan Swartz‘s 1992 short story Suppose They Gave a Peace.

It’s an anti-war Vietnam era tale as seen through the eyes of a family in Ohio in the early 1970s. Frankly, it reminded me of the old sitcom All in the Family, set in the same era and, at least in the beginning, with the same stereotypes.

Dad’s a World War Two and Korean War vet who is a total conservative. Mom’s a peace loving Quaker. Daughter is a radical college protestor, and son joined the Marines and is serving at the U.S. embassy in Saigon.

The alternate part of this history is that McCarthy won the election rather than Nixon. It didn’t seem to make much difference since the Fall of Saigon was just as ghastly.

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“Dark X-Mas” Bargain!

dark xmas

Promotional image for the published anthology of drabbles “Dark X-Mas.”

I just found out that the ebook for Eleanor Merry Presents: Dark X-Mas Holiday Drabbles will be offered absolutely free on December 25th and 26th. I’ve contributed two “dark” Christmas tales among the vast multitude of 100-word tales of Yuletide horror.

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