Jeb’s Guests

houses

Photo Credit: One Big Photo

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Jeb Blackbird was walking next to the workhorse pulling the buffalo carcass laden wagon when he saw the stranger by his house. Only Sioux should be allowed on this land for 400 miles in every direction, but this man was obviously one of the hated colonizers. To his credit, the white haired (white skinned) colonizer was waiting respectfully some twenty feet from the front door of the big house. Although the Dakota plains in autumn got damn cold, and the intruder was only in a shirt and rough trousers, he didn’t seem to mind.

The sun was setting behind the three houses, the big house for his wife and three children, middle for meat curing, storage, and whatever else he could think of, and the small house for the sweat lodge. Jeb reached over to the horse (he never bothered to give it a name) and pulled his Winchester rifle from the long holster mounted on the bridle.

“Speak your piece.” He made his voice as gruff as he could, though when he sang, his wife Ella said he sounded like the sweetest spirits. He pointed the barrel at the ground. This man’s kind had been a terrible trouble before they’d been stopped. His closest neighbor, Stewart Bluefeather said he had friends among them, and that not all white people were cruel, but for Jeb, trust was hard earned.

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“Ice” by James Pyles is Now Available

ice
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Admittedly, I’ve tried to sell this story in various forms for quite some time without any luck. I even asked a friend for help, thinking maybe he could suggest the proper venue. However, it didn’t take.

So I thought of self-publishing it. Here it is: Ice by James Pyles. No anthologies, no indie publishers, this one is all mine.

Good thing, too. When I went over my submitted story, I found horrible errors I never saw before. I took weeks just reading and re-reading “Ice” until I finally got it to the point where I thought it was ready (I’ll write a separate blog post about my first experience with Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) by the by).

Here’s the synopsis I wrote for Amazon:

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Two of My Short Stories Published in “Meteor Fall: An Anthology of The Collective”

meteor
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The Collective has long kept secret the strange things that happen after a meteor shower. While the world Oohs and Aahs over the pretty streaks of light, field agents quietly gather up the people and objects changed by this cosmic phenomenon.

With a global event unlike anything the world has ever seen on the horizon, the Collective knows it’s only a matter of time before the world discovers what really happens when objects fall from the sky.

Can they continue to maintain their secrecy and protect humanity from the dangers of Meteor Fall?

This one is really interesting. I have two short stories published in Meteor Fall: An Anthology of The Collective.

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Review of “Tiamat’s Wrath,” Book Eight in The Expanse Series

tia
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Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth novel in the Hugo Award winning “The Expanse” book series by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). This book ramps things up quite a bit from its predecessors. While we’ve seen Earth all but destroyed by asteroids, now an artificial neutron star found through one of the rings, throws out an intense gamma radiation burst, destroying everything in the “slow zone” including Medina Station, plus “disappearing” two of the rings.

Holden is being held prisoner on Laconia, Amos has plain disappeared, Bobbie Draper is leading the rebellion in the Sol system with Alex and other dissidents on the stolen Laconian warship Storm, and Naomi is hiding out on various space craft coordinating the over all fight as the underground’s de facto leader.

This novel is just as enjoyable as the others, and sees the return of Elvi and her husband Fayez (last seen in Cibola Burn). The Laconian dictator Duarte and his various henchmen come back, and Duarte’s fourteen-year-old daughter and heir apparent to the empire Teresa is introduced.

The sweep of the novel is no less than epic and the writing remains consistently strong (I admit to a bit of envy). I won’t try to encapsulate the entire drama, but there were a few points.

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“That Which Burns” Accepted Into “Winter of Wonder”

winter

Cover art for Winter of Wonder 2021

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My short story “That Which Burns” has been accepted into the Cloaked Press anthology “Winter of Wonder 2021.” Already several of my tales have been published in Cloaked Press anthologies Spring Into SciFi and Fall Into Fantasy. These anthologies come out annually (Spring and Fall) and this is the first time “Winter” has appeared. I’m so excited.

The publisher is still waiting for the last two author responses, but so far, the line up is:

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Review of “Persepolis Rising,” Book Seven in the Expanse Series

rising

Cover art for Persepolis Rising

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I’ve just now finished James S.A. Corey’s (really Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) book Persepolis Rising, the seventh novel in the Expanse series.

This time, the authors decided to jump over about three decades from the previous book, giving time for Earth to heal thanks in part to Martian terraforming technology (now that terraforming Mars has been abandoned).

The Transport Union, run by belters, is in full swing and Jim Holden and the Rocinante are still doing errands for them; an aging crew and an aging ship.

One of the ring colony worlds, Freehold, seems to be run by (probably) how the authors interpret far-right extremists, all conservative attitudes and guns. Drummer, the current President of the Union running things from a “void city” in Sol’s system, orders their gate to be blockaded as a result of them sending a ship through the ring and nearly causing a disaster.

That would mean cutting Freehold off from vital supplies, killing the colony and everyone on the planet. Holden comes up with a different solution (of course) and Drummer is going to rub his nose in it.

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Look What Arrived Today!

Time's Abyss

© James Pyles

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Look what came in the mail today!

My very own paperbacks of my very first novella Time’s Abyss.

For an author, there’s nothing quite like being able to hold a copy of your book in your hand.

I ordered five copies. One I’ll keep for myself, and I’ll probably donate one to my local public library.

Right now, I’m trying to figure out some sort of contest so I can do a giveaway of at least one autographed copy to a lucky winner or winners.

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My Novella “Time’s Abyss” Has Four 5-Star Ratings at Goodreads

time's abyss

Promotional image of the cover for “Time’s Abyss.”

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My premiere science fiction novella Time’s Abyss now has four 5-star ratings on Goodreads. You can also find it in digital or hardcopy form at Amazon and any of your favorite online booksellers.

So far the Goodreads and Amazon ratings are excellent. Don’t miss out on this terrific SciFi, time travel, alternate universe adventure.

Just to give you a taste, here’s another brief excerpt:

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Review of “Artificial Condition,” Part 2 in “The Murderbot Diaries”

artificial

Cover art for “Artificial Condition,” part 2 in the Murderbot Diaries

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I was just as delighted in reading Martha Wells’ Artificial Condition, the second part of her “Murderbot Diaries” series, as I was with part one, All Systems Red.

“Artificial” picks up where the previous story leaves off with the “murderbot” on the run, so to speak, after being released by her human clients. Murderbots are considered property, so any independent “unit” is considered a “rogue.”

Murderbots are essentially cyborgs, but controlled by an internal governor, so they have no choice but to obey orders. That said, they do have their own thoughts, will, and preferences (usually not preferring a lot of human contact), but they can’t say “no.”

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