“The Toilet Zone” is Available Now

I know that sounds terrible, but my short story “Retired” is featured in the Hellbound Books horror anthology The Toilet Bowl, a fanciful send up on “The Twilight Zone.” It’s already got one 5-star review on the American Amazon site. Things are looking up. Please buy, read, and review. Thanks.

EDIT: That’s “Zone” not “Bowl.” My bad.

tz

Artwork for the Hellbound Books anthology “The Toilet Zone”

Advertisements

Official Cover Art for “The Toilet Zone”

tz

Cover art for the anthology “The Toilet Zone”

I just received cover art samples for the HellBound Books Publishing anthology “The Toilet Zone,” which features my short story Retired. It looks pretty fabulous in my opinion.

Continue reading

Book Review of “Reviver”

reviver

Promotional cover image of Seth Patrick’s 2013 novel “Reviver.” Note: Not the original cover or title.

I probably wouldn’t even have read Seth Patrick’s novel Reviver (2013), but I noticed on the back cover a small review by SF author Neal Asher. I’m familiar with Asher’s work and even share the Table of Contents with him in a recent SciFi anthology, so naturally I was intrigued.

A few weeks back, I was at the local branch of my little public library, and although I was already reading two books, found myself stuck there with my books and my beloved laptop still at home. So I started wandering the stacks. This library is small enough not to differentiate between general fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, so they are all intermixed. I was randomly strolling through, occasionally picking up and reading the summaries of various novels, when I happened upon “Reviver” and noticed Asher’s name on the back cover. I figured, what the heck.

This is Seth Patrick’s very first novel, and I can only imagine he went through quite a few iterations before he arrived at the final product I consumed. It was a terrific mix of horror, mystery, and a hint of speculative fiction. I know there are purists who detest that sort of thing, but I never was one for the extreme blood, guts, and gore of modern horror. Yes, there is graphic imagery in the novel, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and the psychological horror totally hooked me.

Continue reading

My Short Story “Retired” is to be Published by HellBound Books

toilet zone

Promotional image for the HellBound Books upcoming horror anthology “Toilet Zone”

I just got word from the folks at HellBound Books that my short story “Retired” will be appearing in their forthcoming horror anthology Toilet Zone. No, wait! It’s not what you think. Here’s the blurb from the submissions page:

…no, don’t panic, we are not looking for lavatory-themed tales of terror – although should your short story involve the smallest room in the house, we’d be more than delighted to read it! The theme for this anthology is short horror stories that will make an ideal sit-down read, just long enough for those extended stays at the convenience, and terrifying enough that they really are best read whilst over water….

This anthology will be compiled by the incomparable author and filmmaker Bret McCormick, so be sure to write to impress!

We have based story length upon the average time spent upon the convenience (10-15 mins) and the average reading speed (200-250 words per minute), so that the stories within this exceptionally unique anthology will be the perfect ‘per visit’ length!

Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

Continue reading

Excerpt From My Latest WIP

vampire verona

Found at “Book More Brides”.

I’ve been editing this one for days and it’s close to being finished. Here’s a sample of my latest short story:

It wasn’t a man and there was nothing average about her. The companion lamp to Leah’s on a table at the other end of the short corridor to her room, shone behind the intruder. It illuminated her diaphanous gown, which draped over her lithe curves like a cloud. Her long hair was almost as white and seemed to float around her head. The woman’s pale skin was offset by ravenous green eyes and luscious ruby lips. Her teeth, when she slightly parted them, were pearls.

“Hold it right there, sister. Who the hell are you and what do you want?” The gun in her right hand shook as she trembled, which caught Leah by surprise. Her breathing became shallow, and a horrible feeling or recognition overwhelmed her, though she knew she’d never seen this person before.

“Surely you remember my kiss, delicious one.” She smiled broadly, exposing twin fangs and confirming the worst possible notion of Reese’s fears. The apparition hissed menacingly like a feral animal.

“Vampire.” It came out as a gasp.

Continue reading

Cloister

cloister

© Roger Bultot

A terrified Sandoval Carson treaded across rough, ancient stones paralleled by pitted archways and shrouded by overgrown vegetation. The cloister was just ahead, and so, he hoped, his salvation.

Once he had stepped through the dark mirror that had once been a patio window, he was young again, though, he suspected, only here. He had to find the one who could help him correct all his life mistakes.

“Hello, Sandoval.” The voice was behind him.

“Can you help me?” Carson pivoted and then faced himself.

Dark Carson lunged at him screaming, “I’ve always hated you.”

“Me too,” he gurgled, dying.

It’s been a while, but this morning, I decided to contribute to Rochelle Wisoff-Field‘s weekly photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The color adjustment of the photo made me feel apprehensive, as if I were looking at a horror film, one where the hero was about to be pounced upon by the monster at any moment. In this case, the monster is himself.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

EDIT: Forgot to add a title and to mention that this is just one of many “Dark Mirror” tales I’ve written over the past few years. Usually, they take a person to their greatest desire or need. It obviously meant something grim in Sandoval’s case.

Facebook Author’s Page

ff author page

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. 😉

Film Review: “The Mummy” (2017)

mummy

Promotional image for the 2017 film “The Mummy.”

I hadn’t meant to watch the 2017 film, The Mummy starring Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis, but I recently read a brief blurb that the “flagship” of Universal Studio’s Dark Universe line of films, which were meant to reprise and update the original Universal Classic Monsters series of movies, wasn’t all that bad.

Okay, I’ve also recently written a short story I plan to submit for possible publication about an ancient, evil woman in Egypt, so the topic was on my mind.

In short, it really wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that great, either. I’ve seen the original 1932 film The Mummy starring the incomparable Boris Karloff on numerous occasions, and the 1999 remake with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz (and I do like Weisz as an actress) and was somewhat “underwealmed.”

Continue reading

Raquel By Night

silhouette

© Sue Vincent

“Well, damn. It’s too late now.” Dale Hunter watched the last rays of the sun disappear behind the western peaks and he was still nowhere near the Safe Zone. He might survive the night, but he had to bank on none of them picking up his scent, and it absolutely meant he couldn’t build a fire against the cold.

The sixty-three year old range walker had been tracking the Adversaries down in the wilderness outside the Safe Zone for over forty years, a full century after the first of them appeared. He’d only been caught out in the open twice before in all that time, once because he was young and had misjudging distance and timing, and the other because bad footing on a slope with loose rocks resulted in a twisted ankle. That first time, he’d gotten lucky, and when he was struggling to make it home that second time, something else happened entirely.

Tonight, he had been careless, and in his zeal to find one of the Adversary nests rumored to be hidden in one of the canyons below Pine Bluff, he’d gotten lost just long enough to delay his return. He never did find that nest.

“Good evening, Dale. It’s been a long time.” Just as before, her voice was like touching velvet and silk, or the warmth he felt after his first swallow of fine bourbon on a winter’s night. He figured it must have been close to midnight when she found him huddled under a pile of pine needles at the base of a tree trunk trying to stay awake.

Continue reading

Oh Captain!

spacecraft

Image credit: iStock – Found at numerous sources including thepromiserevealed.com

Vanessa struggled to climb out of the Salubrious Pod, sickly yellow and greenish jelly oozing off of her smooth, dark skin. She rolled over the low rim of the tub onto the cold metallic floor of the eight-by-twelve foot featureless chamber, her nude body dimly illuminated by the few flickering light tubes in the ceiling ten feet above. She shivered as the gel evaporated, and she watched a thin mist rising overhead from her body, though some of the goo clung to her short-cropped black hair, and she blinked as one drop fell from her lashes into her left eye.

“Good morning, Captain Chapman. How are you feeling?”

They’d made Sophia’s voice feminine, but the echoes coming from multiple speakers  in the ceiling still made her sound inhuman.

“Like shit, Soph.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” The AI’s reply was meant to communicate concern, but of course, as a machine, she felt nothing at all. “It is important you recover from hibernation quickly. There is a situation.”

Continue reading