Onna-bugeisha

samurai

Found at fivedotoh.com. No image credit given.

Tomoe Gozen led her legion of female samurai across the wastelands south toward Edo Bay. It was there she heard of the slaughter that took place of the populations of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture by the hated American Commodore Matthew Perry.

The great houses had been destroyed by so called “gunboat diplomacy.” She and her companions of long acquaintance were well aware of the “Unequal Treaties” that had been imposed upon China in the previous ten years since the Opium War. This would not happen in Nippon, or if it did, then she and her company, a thousand strong, would be dead and never witness the atrocity.

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My Short Story “The Mechanical Dragon” to be Published in “Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology”

dragon

Announcement graphic from Zombie Pirate Press

I’ve been waiting a few days to be able to brag about this one.

About a month ago, I had hit a dry spell, and decided to “loosen up” by participating in a writing challenge, not something I do a lot of these days. I was considering writing a story for an open submission, but I didn’t know how to approach it.

So I crafted the 150 word tale The Clockwork Dragon.

That got things moving and I was able to forge ahead with the actual story. A few days ago, it was accepted for publication by Adam and Sam at Zombie Pirate Publishing for their upcoming anthology Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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Brief Update on the Still Unnamed Erotic Horror Story to be Published

unknown

Image found at compellingreads.co.uk – no attribution given

I still don’t have word from the publisher about when I can start talking about this short story and the anthology in which it will appear. I did get an email update yesterday to which I have already responded:

Good evening!

First of all, a million thanks on behalf of XXXX Books for working with us to produce a terrifyingly fun anthology! We are working hard on producing cover art befitting this masterpiece – we will circulate it as soon as it’s ready!

If you could please give your story a read-through and get back to us by November 6th 2019 with any tweaks our editors may have missed (page#, line#, edit) that would be awesome! If we don’t hear from you, we will assume all is perfect.

Once again, thank you for being part of the XXXX family!

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Stories to Chill Your Halloween Night!

Just in time for Halloween!

Fall into Fantasy 2019 Anthology

I’m thrilled to announce that this fantasy love and horror story is available on Amazon now!

fantasy

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

Here’s what you can expect from my short story “The Demon in the Mask:”

Andre Paul LeClair was an orphan, an infant found on the steps of a monastery. Raised in the midst of Priests and Nuns, he grew to be an intelligent, charming boy, and then a handsome, bewitching man. Coming to the attention of a sinister Cardinal, LeClair was whisked away to remote mountain Chateau. Trained for a decade by soldiers, spies, and courtesans, he was honed to be the perfect instrument of assassination. His target, the secret ruler of the Kingdom, the Princess and witch Katia Asa Vajda. But when the moment came to liberate a nation, would he kill the princess, or fall in love with her?

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“The Toilet Zone” Has 5-Star Reviews

tz

Artwork for the Hellbound Books anthology “The Toilet Zone”

There are two five-star reviews for the Hellbound Books horror anthology The Toilet Zone on both the American incarnation of Amazon and the UK Amazon. Terrific news and just in time for Halloween. Pick up this collection of spine chilling tales, which includes my short story “Retired”. Yes, it’s Curt Siodmak’s Hauser’s Memory meats…uh, meets cannibalism and serial killers.

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

fantasy

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.

sw1

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

books

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.