My Short Story “The Haunted Detective” To Be Published!

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Screen capture from Facebook

In the last ten days or so, in pretty rapid succession, I got three rejection notices, two from the same publisher. Needless to say, I was bummed. That’s why when Ruth and Ann from Gemini Wordsmiths told me this morning that my short story The Haunted Detective was accepted into their Trench Coat Chronicles anthology, I was thrilled.

I can’t find a formal announcement on their website, but I did find one on a Facebook group, which is where the screen capture comes from.

Here’s part of the submissions call, just to give you an idea of what I had to shoot for:

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Kathleen Morales and the Bandit Carolinas

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Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara – Credit to Sfivat and licensed under Public Domain.

The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis. Kathleen Morales led her band of rebel outlaws, two dozen strong, toward the wide, limpid pool surrounded by long grass waving in the torrid breeze under the shade of the broad palm branches. But when they finally arrived at this rare shelter amid a vast wasteland of the east, they discovered they weren’t alone.

The desert bandit swung a leg over her saddle and dismounted, heavy boots making their mark on the damp soil. Her hair, a tangle of magenta, azure, and her natural brown, flew up as she landed, and the gold and silver of her nose and ear piercings sparkled in the filtered sunlight. She marched up to the tiny collection of refugees and declared, “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my oasis?”

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My Copy of “A Mighty Fortress” Has Arrived

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© James Pyles

Some time ago, I announced that my short story “The Deseret War” had been published in the Immortal Works anthology A Mighty Fortress: A Mormon Steampunk Anthology Book 4 edited by Holli Anderson.

There was some sort of snafu with the mailing, and I never got my copy of the book…

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E.E. Durbin and the Haunt of Idaho City

Boise train depot circa 1920. Found at napcommissions.org

The wind was a howling wolf. Emma Elizabeth Durbin knifed her hatpin like a sabre through both her short-brimmed, kid skin hat, and mounds of luxuriant auburn hair as she exited the train’s passenger car. Scuffed shoe leather met fresh boardwalk. Her long dress and matching short jacket were oppressively warm. It was only 10:15 in the morning, and hot for June in Boise.

Checking the weight of her satchel by jiggling it in her right hand, she longed for a comfortable bath and a filling meal. Neither of them were in her near future as she clip clopped forward, desperately avoiding semi-intimate collisions with fellow passengers and locals on the platform, as she navigated through the terminal hordes.

The rest of her belongings would be delivered to her hotel, but she had someplace else to be. Assuming the information on the telegram nestled in her dark jacket pocket was accurate, and he was on time like he said he’d be, she’d be sitting across a table from the Sheriff of Idaho City in half an hour.

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Submission “Growing Up” Accepted into Reedsy Contest

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Image taken from the short story’s reedsy page.

No, it doesn’t mean I won the contest, but at least I’m a contender. The prompt is:

Two people who thought they were the last people left on Earth end up meeting by chance.

As of this writing, there are 64 entries, so my chances of winning aren’t all that great. Still, I guess I’ve got a shot.

Here’s how it begins:

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Guest Blog for Tuscany Bay Books: “The Journey To Barsoom”

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Cover art for the Mars Planetary Anthology by Tuscany Bay Books

Okay, the title is inaccurate, but that’s only because I forget to include one of my own when I crafted my missive and submitted it to Richard Paolinelli.

Tuscany Bay Books as part of the effort to raise awareness of their Planetary anthology series.

Today, I discuss my short story “The Billion Year Love,” which will appear in the anthology Mars.

I’m thrilled that my short story “The Three Billion Year Love” was accepted into the Tuscany Bay Books Planetary Anthology Mars. I wrote an earlier version of the story on my blog shortly after the death of Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher (the protagonist’s wife is named after her). This was at a point in my life that, for a variety of reasons, I was wanting to be able to retreat from humanity.

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“Spring Into SciFi 2020” Available Now!

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Cover at for “Spring Into SciFi 2020”

As promised the Cloaked Press science fiction anthology Spring Into SciFi: 2020 Edition is now available for purchase on Amazon. As I’ve been mentioning (a lot) lately, it contains my short story The Colonists which was recently reviewed.

I know these are difficult times, when fact and real life seems stranger than fiction. Believe me, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing any number of stories that address life under COVID-19. I actually did write and submit two (so far) that directly address the “lockdown” and a population held hostage by a virus.

We all want this to go away quickly, but must be prepared to hang in there for the long haul. Anxiety is high as is uncertainty, and we all need do to things that make us feel even a little bit normal.

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Review of the Zombie Pirate Publishing Fantasy Anthology “Witches vs. Wizards”

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Cover art for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “Witches vs. Wizards”

I just finished Zombie Pirate Publishing‘s 2018 anthology WITCHES VS WIZARDS: A Fantasy Anthology, and I must say I was exceptionally impressed. Typically, indie anthologies are a mix of terrific, good, and okay stories, with one or two stinkers, but this one surprised me.

I can’t say I found a story I didn’t like. A few of them were on themes I don’t naturally resonate with, but in each and every case, the writing was solid, and they all had an interesting, if not always unique take on the world of magic.

Derek Paterson’s “The House of Magus” was a compelling tale that could have come out of the pages of a Robert E. Howard “Conan” short story, although with more thought and a bit less bashing.

Adam Bennett’s “The Apprentice” was somewhat predictable, at least at the end, but getting there was half the fun. I had hoped for a happier ending for the hapless protagonist, but sometimes that’s not how magic and quest to slay witches works out.

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