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.

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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”

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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

Review of Gregg Cunningham’s Short Story “War Pig”

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Image found at NASA Spaceflight.com forums

“War Pig” was written by Gregg Cunningham, a fellow contributor to the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan and Sam Phillips’ Cold Fusion, I thought I’d round things out with Cunningham’s story.

It does have to do with the fourth world war and an interplanetary battleship called a “war hog,” only this “hog” is also capable of time travel, which makes things kind of confusing.

We start out with our protagonist and a (more or less) sapient robot named a “Floyd” on the surface of a terraformed Moon thirty years into the war. The war hog has been destroyed and it looks like Commander Redux (although the highest rank he can ever remember is Sergeant) is just trying to survive. Then, through (apparently) a series of flashbacks, we see how Redux got into this mess in the first place, especially when a younger version of himself is put on trial by an older counterpart, and then the older Redux sacrifices his life so that the younger self can steal the war hog at an earlier point in history and try to fix whatever he got wrong.

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Review of Sam M. Phillips’ Short Story “Cold Fusion”

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Sam M. Phillips – Photo taken from his website

“Cold Fusion” was written by Sam M. Phillips, co-owner of Zombie Pirate Publishing, for their anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan, featured in the same book, I received encouragement from a few of the other authors, including Phillips, to keep going.

So here I am.

The story is remarkably short. I went through it in just a few minutes, but that doesn’t mean comprehension is easy. The nameless protagonist is dying of radiation poisoning, but beyond that, the imagery is so hallucinatory, that it seems the poor fellow is already mad, stumbling across the multi-colored snow-covered countryside, body parts falling away like leaves, knowing his moments are numbered.

It’s also quite possible he’s become insane because he’s responsible for the cold fusion weapon that has destroyed, what? Everything?

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1929: A Zimbell House Anthology is Now Available

1929: A Zimbell House Anthology

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Promotional image for Zimbell House Publishing’s anthology “1929”

My short story “The Devil’s Dilemma” is featured in the Zimbell House Publishing anthology 1929, which includes six tales in multiple genres, all set in the year 1929.

Sixteen-year-old Timothy Quinn grew up in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, working as a “printer’s devil,” an apprentice in a newspaper print shop since age twelve. One day, the teen and would-be boxer starts hearing strange news announcements on the radio that seem to come from the future. Then he learns that in the next seven weeks, a ten-year-old girl will be kidnapped and murdered by a notorious serial killer. No one believes his wild tale, so he sets out to confront the killer himself, but will he succeed in saving the life of an innocent child only to sacrifice his own?

“1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Back cover of the Zimbell House Anthology 1929