The Back Door Out of the Wizard’s Saloon

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© Sue Vincent

Long centuries ago, when “The Wizard’s Saloon” had first been established, the population of its visitors, many but not all from Britain and the European nations on Earth, were illiterate, or read and spoke languages not native to the proprietor. The sign, a conical wizard’s hat mounted in a frame atop the roof, communicated very well across cultures and species just what sort of proprietorship was within its gray stone walls, and behind the large, oaken door, and stained glass windows.

Kyle Logan, a refugee from the realm of Nightmare, and a minor vassal of Dormammu before that, cautiously gripped the tarnished brass handle and pushed in. He looked human enough, just shy of six-foot tall, tangled brown hair draped over his forehead and ears, sharp green eyes scanning left and right looking for any hint of trouble, dressed in mismatched jacket and trousers (gray and brown didn’t go well together) over a wrinkled black t-shirt. His Air Jordan 13 Retro shoes were the only thing that was new, but only because he had stolen those last, having gotten lucky enough to materialize momentarily in a 1984 Los Angeles shoe store.

“Greetings, stranger.” The figure behind the bar at the other end of the room was almost a head taller than Kyle, but also three times as wide as the skinny youth. Amazingly, the body-length apron over the long-sleeved gingham shirt (because of the bar, Logan couldn’t see below his waist) managed to obscure the man’s abundant girth. “Welcome to the Wizard’s Saloon. Come for lodging or just a drink?”

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First Review of “Magical Reality” Anthology

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Screenshot of goodreads review

My short story “The Dragon’s family” is featured in the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology Magical Reality and guess what? It got its first review, both on Amazon and on goodreads. Yes, five-star review praising ALL of the stories within its pages, which includes mine. Yes, I’m thrilled.

Keep ’em coming, readers.

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Screenshot of the “Magical Reality” page at Amazon

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Screenshot of Amazon’s “Magical Reality” page including author’s list and review details

Author Pages Update

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Screenshot of my Amazon author’s page

As you can see, I’ve had my Amazon and goodreads author’s pages updated to reflect my current publications in the World War Four and Magical Reality anthologies. The one for goodreads is a little deceptive since goodreads doesn’t let me sort my books by most recently published, so in reality, they are way at the bottom of the list. Not only that, but getting my name listed as a contributor on goodreads is a tad more difficult than doing the same thing on Amazon, since I’m not the editor or lead author. Still, it’s a nice little piece of marketing. Now I can’t wait for people to start reviewing these books in both venues (hint, hint).

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Screenshot (edited) of my goodreads author’s page

I’ve Just Been Interviewed by Author Jensen Reed

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Image from the Author Jensen Reed blog

Jensen Reed is co-owner with Donise Sheppard at Pixie Forest Publishing, and in three days, their latest anthology, Magical Reality will be published in paperback and ebook format at Amazon (available for pre-order today). It includes my fantasy short story “The Dragon’s Family.”

To read the full interview, visit Magical Reality Blog Tour- James Pyles.

Edit: Here’s the promotional poster for my story.

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Promotional poster for the my short story “The Dragon’s Family” published in the Pixie Forest Publishing fantasy anthology “Magical Reality.”

Amélie Wen Zhao, “Blood Heir,” and Social Justice (or is it vengeance)

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Cover art for the novel “Blood Heir” by Amélie Wen Zhao

I’ve held off about commenting on Amélie Wen Zhao controversial book Blood Heir, since it seemed that more than enough online pundits were weighing in, both for and against the book. Also, I didn’t really understand what the problem was all about. Yes, it had something to do with slavery, but what did Zhao actually write that at least some people found so offensive?

However, as a matter of good conscience, I felt I should look into the matter and see what it was supposed to be all about. To that end, I decided to seek the answer from one of the most liberal information outlets I could find, Slate.com. It doesn’t get much more leftist than Slate. Writer Aja Hoggatt wrote an article called An Author Canceled Her Own YA Novel Over Accusations of Racism. But Is It Really Anti-Black? published January 31, 2019. I found the write-up really even-handed, especially given Slate’s obvious leftist perspective.

First off, here’s the summary of the book I found at Amazon:

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Facebook Author’s Page

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James Pyles’ Facebook Author page

Yes, I’m engaging in more shameless self-promotion. However, a number of people have been encouraging me to create an author page on Facebook now that several of my stories are on the cusp of publication. I’ve already got an Amazon Authors page, but that promotes mainly my non-fiction work, at least until several days after the Zombie Pirate Publishing’s anthology World War Four publishes and I can add a link to that page from the eBook.

I only created the Facebook page less than an hour ago as I write this, so there’s not much content at the moment. Still, I hope you stop by and click “Follow” or “Like.” You could even add a comment or two. I could use the company. 😉

Publications Update

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Promotional image for Zimbell House Publishing’s anthology “1929”

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I had a fourth story accepted for publication, but since the publisher hadn’t made a formal announcement yet, I couldn’t give out particulars. However, this morning Zimbell House Publishing on their Coming Soon page (scroll down) posted notice that “1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” will be published in both Paperback and eBook formats on March 26, 2019. My short story “The Devil’s Regret” will be included in the anthology.

Some of you may have read a few variations on that tale I had been playing with here on my blog in months past. My study group from the writing class I took last November, had plenty of opportunities to read refined versions of the strange adventures of sixteen-year-old Timothy Quinn, the boy who could hear news stories from the future on the radio, and discovered he was the only person standing between an innocent ten-year-old girl and murder.

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Shhhh…My Fourth Short Story Has Been Accepted for Publication

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Image found on multiple sites – no attribution given

I got an email yesterday evening that said one of my submitted short stories has been accepted for publication in an anthology (Hint: Not by a publisher who has previously accepted my work). They don’t have the pre-order info on their site yet, so I can’t give out details, what I just wanted to mention that for 2019, I’m four for four.

On the one hand, I’m incredibly delighted to add to my publications list and have another story put on my writer’s resume, but now I’m really worried when the bubble pops and one (or more, or a lot more) of my stories is/are rejected.

Naturally, I’d like everything I submit for publication to be accepted, but that’s not how the math works.

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January 2019 Wrap Up

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Winter in Boise, Idaho

Just a wee update. As you all know if you’ve been reading my blog over the past month, three of my short stories have been accepted for publication. You can find out all about them on my Publications page.

You also know that I haven’t been writing as much fiction here as in months past and have been, more or less, ignoring most of the writing challenge communities I enjoy so much. That isn’t an intentional snub. I’ve just been busy.

For instance, in the month of January, not only were three of my stories accepted, but I submitted 5 stories to various publishers. I can’t tell you anything about them because, after all, submitting is not being accepted, and I’ve fallen flat on my face plenty of times before, so there are no guarantees.

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Concealment: Should I Have Used a Pen Name?

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Guy Fawkes Mask

It’s too late for me to use this option (probably), but an incident (two, actually) occurred last week that got me to thinking.

I’ve already considered the idea that breaking into science fiction and fantasy as a conservative, religious, white, married, cisgender old man (and if you exist at a particular social and political extreme, all of that means I’m “evil”) might be a waste of time considering how the publishing industry in particular, and entertainment in general seems fairly prejudiced against creators who aren’t leftists and atheists (although I know some leftists who are religious). In science fiction in particular, this was played out in previous years by the Sad Puppies phenomenon, and not too long ago by the Comicsgate movement, which also seems to have gone by the wayside.

But as I mentioned, last week, a person responded to two of my missives on Facebook rather negatively. Normally, I take these things in stride, since “outrage” is something you get used to if you’re not following a popular social media narrative, but this time the person in question was in a position to significantly inhibit my future as an author, at least within a certain realm.

I won’t provide the specifics of this, but I will confess to having my anxiety level rise quite a bit and losing some sleep over it.

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