“Fall Into Fantasy” Anthology featuring “The Demon in the Mask” Available Now!

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Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Fall Into Fantasy 2019”

It’s here! the Cloaked Press anthology Fall Into Fantasy 2019 featuring my short story “The Demon in the Mask” is now available for purchase. Here’s a small excerpt from my tale to drive some interest:

But he had found a key of his own, and it was suspended above the Obsidian Throne of the Princess, or witch if you’d prefer.

“Forgive me my God and my Master, but great is my need and only yon sword Ariel gives me scant hope of slaying the evil one and freeing both your servant and your nation.” With that Andre stood and approached the throne. He had to mount the dais and stand upon the hewn black stone to reach the sword. He could hear it moan and wail like a thing alive, as if the angel encased within longed for the freedom that the man now gripping it enjoyed.
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Well, That Was Fast – “Tales From the Southwest” Featuring My Short Story “The Strangers” is Published.

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Promotional image for the anthology “Tales of the Southwest.”

Right now, as the editor/publisher John Green says, all roads lead to Lulu.com. He says if a book gains enough interest, he’ll publish a digital version on Amazon, but the authors don’t make much from that. If you like western stories, classic and otherwise, please buy and read. Let me know what you think.

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The First 500 Words

From the comic strip “Peanuts” by the late Charles Schulz

Something new happened when I tried to submit a short story to a publisher via the platform Submittable. There was no option to upload my Word file. There was only a field to paste in up to the first 500 words of the story.

I looked at the publisher’s specifications again and they said they’d respond to submissions of the first 500 words in a few days, and then the entire story in a few months.

Of course I submitted the first 500 words (491 actually so I wouldn’t have things cut off in the middle of a sentence) and a day later, got this back:

Thank you for sending us the first 500 words of “XXX.” Your writing caught our attention and we would like to read your entire story. Please upload your full story and complete the requested fields in ‘Step 2’ under the Forms tab that now appears in your Submittable dashboard for this submission. We look forward to reading it in consideration for XXX.

I have since uploaded the file, but I think this illustrates an important point.

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What Not To Do When Submitting a Short Story

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Found at insidenova.com

About five days ago, I submitted a short story to an anthology. The publisher (who shall remain nameless for now) has some pretty strict submission requirements and I thought I had them all covered when I pushed the “Send” button in Gmail, but a few hours later, I got this:

Dear Mr. Pyles,

Thank you for your interest in XXXX anthologies! We are unable to accept your story at this time due to the following:

– missing story summary

– author biography does not meet minimum requirements of 100-200 words

Please consider resubmitting after previewing these links.

I won’t include the links here bu there were five of them. Yikes!

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Quick Victory Cry

Last night, I got an email saying that another one of my short stories has been accepted for publication in an anthology. I can’t give out details yet, but I just went through their insertions, deletions, and comments and sent them back my updated short story (basically “English 101” corrections).  This makes the seventh tale of mine this year that will see the light of day. Twelve more are still in the queue.

On other fronts, my son, grandson, and I will finally be seeing “Avengers: Endgame” this afternoon. Look for my review later.

Author Update May 30, 2019

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Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi”

As of today, I still have six stories accepted with four in print. Haven’t heard back again from Cloaked Press about the status of their 2019 edition of the SciFi anthology “Spring into SciFi” which features my short story “The Recall.” However, the Impossible Hope anthology which accepted my tale “The Switchman’s Lantern” is going through final edits.

Now for the more distressing news. As of a few days ago, my rejection list grew to 11. Actually, it’s more like 14 since a publication that accepts multiple submissions rejected all 4 of the stories I sent them.

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Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

As of last night, the number of stories I’ve submitted that are still pending is up to 13, although I think a few of the magazines are struggling with deadlines and are (temporarily) in limbo.

I’m toggling between working on my novel and writing short stories to keep my focus from getting bogged down. The continued lack of a day job also preys on my mind, since unemployment insurance is meager and won’t last forever.

All I can do on all fronts is to keep plugging away and to trust in providence, which up until now, has never let me down.

Interviewed by L. Jagi Lamplight Wright from Superversive Press

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Promotional image of author and editor L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright

A few months ago, I wrote about being interviewed by Jensen Reed, co-owner of Pixie Forest Publishing.

A few days back, I was interviewed again, this time by L. Jagi Lamplight Wright at Superversive Press. One of the differences here is that I participated in Jagi’s “Guinea Pig” fiction writing class, a curriculum she was experimenting on last November, so she knows my writing in a different way.

Click on this LINK to read the full interview, which includes a brief excerpt from the first chapter of my WIP novel.

Review of Adam Bennett’s Short Story “Jackson’s Revenge”

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© James Pyles

Adam Bennett is the co-founder of Zombie Pirate Publishing and his short story “Jackson’s Revenge” is featured in their SciFi anthology World War Four (which also features my short story “Joey,” but right now, that’s beside the point).

Yes, the tale mentions war and other planets, so the action is set sometime in the future and could definitely involve the aftermath of a fourth world war, but it also takes place in a bar and the weapons involved were merely pistols and swords, so I could easily imagine that the scene was sometime after the American Civil War. That’s a good thing, since it means the story is pretty much universal and you don’t have to be a hardcore science fiction fan to enjoy it.

Bennett’s short story is a study in misdirection, and the reader doesn’t get to find out the meaning of “Jackson’s Revenge” until the last several pages.

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Review of Brian MacGowan’s Short Story “The Package”

edge

Scene from the 2014 military SciFi movie “Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise

Once again, I decided to read and review a short story from the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four (2019). My story “Joey” is included in the anthology, and on this blog, I’ve previously reviewed three of the other short stories (for obvious reasons, I can’t review them on Amazon).

Today we visit “The Package” by Brian MacGowan. It’s a military SciFi thriller describing the conflict between the fictional Northern Free States (NFS) and the United Alliance (UA), sort of a civil war scenario as far as I can tell.

An elite team of commandos, led by Sgt. Rick Harrington invades a UA stronghold because they have intel stating that previously stolen UA encryption codes are hidden in the facility. The op is to get in, get the codes, and then evac.

The military action and heroism depicted is first-rate, but I may have missed something in the story line. The codes were initially taken by an NFS ambassador over a year ago as the story starts. Harrington’s Hellhounds quickly find two things. The first is that there’s no human resistance at all as they enter, and the second is one nearly impenetrable security door that doesn’t have any right to be there.

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Paperback Copy of “World War Four” Plus Another Story is Accepted for Publication.

world war 4

© James Pyles

First of all, I just got my copies of the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi Anthology World War Four in the mail today, which features my short story “Joey.” It’s terrific to be able to hold it in my hand, even though I’ve also been reading my digital copy.

The other exciting news for this morning, is that my short story “The Recall” has just been accepted for publication by Cloaked Press for their upcoming anthology “Spring Into SciFi 2019.” No details are available yet, but I’ll post them as they come in.

Good times.

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Screenshot of twitter