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.

Continue reading

Cover Image for “Fantastic Schools 2”

cover

Cover art for Superversive anthology “Fantastic Schools 2”

You may remember I announced that my short story “Sorcery’s Preschool” was selected for publication in one of the Superversive Fantastic Schools anthologies.

Continue reading

Submission “Growing Up” Accepted into Reedsy Contest

growing up

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:

Continue reading

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

mars

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.

Continue reading

“Spring Into SciFi 2020” Available Now!

cover

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.

Continue reading

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

w vs w

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.

Continue reading

Book Review of “Plastic Nightmare”

plastic

Cover image for Aditya Deshmukh’s short story “Plastic Nightmare”

Aditya Deshmukh’s short story Plastic Nightmare reads more like a prelude to a novel than anything else. It certainly ended on a cliffhanger, and Deshmukh even states that there will be a sequel.

I really felt like the author didn’t give himself enough room to develop the situation or the characters.

Five years ago, police officer Razia lost her brother. To the rest of the world, it was a tragic accident, but accidents don’t happen in their future utopia. The result is that she has increasingly become obsessed with his disappearance, letting her career begin a long, downward spiral.

Her main foil seems to be her lover and her boss on the police force (not a good combination), and when what appears to be a serial murder impossibly occurs in a world with practically no crime, Razia starts making connections between the so-called “Scarlet Killer” and her brother’s vanishing.

Continue reading

Infestation Anthology Now Available!

update

© James Pyles

I received an email this morning with a digital copy of this book “Infestation,” published by Terror Tract. I had previously mentioned that this anthology, featuring my SciFi/Horror short story “From Deep Within the Skin,” was available for pre-order on Amazon and would be delivered to your kindle device by March 30, 2020.

I checked again, and it’s available now!

I’m including a photo of my computer screen showing a page from the book, as well as the anthology’s Amazon page.

From the book’s Foreword:

Continue reading

“Sorcery’s Preschool” Accepted into the “Fantastic Schools” Anthology!

school

Found at superversivesf.com. No image credit given

I wasn’t sure about submitting to this one since “magic schools” and “Harry Potter” aren’t my usual fare. On the other hand, I like a challenge, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I still couldn’t get a handle on it until my son Michael suggested something along the lines of “Jack Jack” from “The Incredibles” movies. How about a magic pre-school for gifted toddlers?

Authors Christopher G. Nuttall and L. Jagi Lamplighter are the ones co-editing the Fantastic Schools anthology. They asked for:

Continue reading

Featured in “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers”

 

whos who

Promotional image for “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers” by Steve Carr

Steve Carr recently created Sweetycat Press (sorry, it’s a private Facebook group, so you won’t see most of the content) to showcase and promote emerging writers. To that end, their first book is “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers”, which will become available May 1, 2020. Here’s the official press release (I don’t think I’ve been in a press release before):

Continue reading