The Fallen

beit shan

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Mastema watched Tancred’s ascension as Prince of Galilee over Beit She’an with hidden glee. This ancient city of the Hebrews had passed through many hands before falling into those of the Crusaders in the year of their Lord 1099 C.E.

It was well that Tancred did not know the true name or origins of his faithful adviser, because Mastema had his own reasons for coveting the city in the Jezreel Valley. He divined that men in ages to come would find sacred and mystic Egyptian artifacts. There was one he must take that would render him master of the dead.

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Strings

amanda

PHOTO PROMPT © Amanda Forestwood

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14-year-old Stace McPherson was drawn to the musician’s unusual stringed instrument. The backyard wedding reception was over. He was supposed to be helping clean but he wanted to touch it. The musician, no one called him anything else, had played the most amazing tunes, like from another world. He looked around. Just the last few guests. The musician was saying good-bye to the bride and groom. He had to do it. Stace let his fingers glide across the strings. As he did, something creative entered him. Ten years later with his own guitar, he accepted the best new artist Grammy.

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Book Review of “The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass”

aeronaut

© James Pyles for photo

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I was at the public library weeks ago looking for another book when I came across Jim Butcher’s novel The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass. It was published in 2016 as the first of a series, but according to Butcher’s website, the second in this collection will probably be published this year.

I’d never heard of Butcher before, but he’s been Hugo nominated more than once and has written the well-known (to everyone but me) Dresden Files novel series. I’ve been criticized by “real science fiction fans” that I’m not a “true fan” because I don’t have an encyclopedia-like  knowledge of all things SciFi. Oh well.

At 630 pages, it took me a while to read, especially since I can’t always find large blocks of time for reading. So after renewing it once, I finally finished it off this morning. I’m really glad I came across it. I was attracted to the cover mainly and checked it out on a whim.

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Frank and the Plot of the Hypnotizing Slime, Chapter 3

magic

© James Pyles

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I suppose you are wondering where the baby chick came from and what it won. To answer that question, we have to visit an alternate dimension, an alternate Frank, and the secret character of Danaerys.

You see, the evil Frank who is planning to take over the world with his hypnotizing slime, is modeled after the real Frank in the real world where you, the reader, lives.

Frank has been friends with the little girl and her Grandpa who are writing this story for many years.

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Fantastic Schools, Volume Six Available on Amazon

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After a successful run as part of a story bundle and as I previously mentioned, L. Jagi Lamplighter’s “Fantastic Schools. Volume Six” is now available on Amazon in kindle format.

The anthology features my “magic middle school” story “The Price”. For this one, I developed a very specific system of magic, that performing any occult act requires blood or the life force of a person or people. The bigger the feat, the more life force. Evil sorcerers, being evil, will simply sacrifice the lives of the innocent because, after all, they’re evil.

But what of the good? What of the wizards and mages running magic schools, training the next generation of magicians. How does it work for them? My story explores the startling answer and how one thirteen-year-old boy holds the keys to saving his entire school. But as I said, all great acts require a great sacrifice.

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Fantastic Schools: Volume Two Reviewed by Upstream Reviews

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Cover image for the anthology “Fantastic Schools, vol 2”

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Back in 2020, my fantasy short story Sorcery’s Preschool was published (kindle version) in Fantastic Schools Volume Two edited by L. Jagi Lamplighter. A few months later, the paperback edition came out.

In brief, my short story involved probably the only magical pre-school in fiction (I can’t confirm that, but it does seem unlikely anyone else came up with the idea).

Two years is a lot of metaphorical water under the bridge and I’ve moved on to newer tales.

This evening (as I write this), Jagi emailed the Vol 2 authors letting us know that the book had been reviewed by Upstream Reviews. On their main substack page, they advertise themselves as “Reviewing only the best in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, & Thrillers.”

It’s quite a complement that we were reviewed. The page also says they were launched 8 months ago, meaning they’re quite new.

You can click this link to read the full review (I recommend it) but here’s what they said about my contribution:

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The Others

aj

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

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Downtown passersby were aghast as they watched a man wave goodbye to the woman with one leg dangling out of the second-floor window.

“Do something! She’ll fall.”

Instead of responding to an emergency, the man in the baseball cap smiled. “No, she can’t fall. You see she’s…”

Sirens approaching from the east told the gathering crowd that someone had called 911.

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Fantastic Schools Vol 6 Available Now!

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Fantastic Schools Volume Six, featuring my short story “The Price” is now available through this story bundle. See it as a “Bonus” book in the second row of the image by clicking on the link.

As soon as the bundle expires (in about three weeks as of this writing), it will go on to Pubshare and Amazon. At that time, we will get a paper version up, too.

Here’s a summary of the anthology:

Have you ever wanted to go to magic school? To cast spells and brew potions and fly on broomsticks and—perhaps—battle threats both common and supernatural? Come with us into worlds of magic, where students become magicians and teachers do everything in their power to ensure the kids survive long enough to graduate. Welcome to … Fantastic Schools.

Meet a student who discovers the hard way what happens when he is transformed into a monster, another who mixes magic and music to remarkable effect, a student who wants to trigger a magical industrial revolution, an assassin posing as a tutor with a mission he cannot deny, two students who have to learn to work together – or else – and a student who starts her school newspaper and discovers a conspiracy that strikes at the heart of a proud institution …

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What Are People Saying About “Ice?”

ice

Cover art for my fantasy novelette “Ice”

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Now that my week long promotion of “Ice” is over, what’s the final tally of reviews and ratings?

On Amazon, there are a total of four “ratings” which in this case is three reviews and one rating. The latest review was a four star, which is totally terrific. On Amazon, “Ice” has 100% 4 and 5 star reviews. Pretty cool.

On goodreads, it’s a tad confusing. The page says three ratings and two reviews, but I only find one review and two ratings. They’re all four star, so again, no complaints.

I have gotten a few messages from others saying they’ve downloaded “Ice” and will get to reading it soon. I know the feeling. I do the same thing since my reading list is long. Hopefully, in the future, this will spawn more attention for my wee indie novelette.

Now I know free stuff is cool. However “Ice” is currently available for a mere $2.99, so the price is still very reasonable. Here are a few of the descriptions:

Anita said:

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Starting Today and through August 9th, download and read “Ice” for FREE!

ice

Cover art for my fantasy novelette “Ice”

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This is it!!!

Read my fantasy novelette Ice for absolutely FREE starting today, August 5th. From today through the 9th, it’s a free ebook download from Amazon to your kindle device.

Here’s a “blurb”

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