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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Dastaan World Magazine Has Accepted “The Unreal Man” for Publication

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Would it be too much to say that I’ve been waiting all my life for this story to see the light of day?

Well, maybe not all my life, but Jonathan Cypher has been part of me in one incarnation or another for over forty years.

Mark at Dastaan Magazine just accepted “The Unreal Man” for the “Quantum” themed issue of that periodical. He accepted the 5,000 word tale as opposed to the 10,000 expanded tome I originally submitted, but at least Jonathan’s name will be out there.

Here’s a couple of excerpts:

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“A Mighty Fortress” Is Now Available!

mighty fortress

Promotional image for the Immortal Works anthology “A Mighty Fortress”

It’s here! A Mighty Fortress (A Mormon Steampunk Anthology Book 4) from Immortal Works and is now available for immediate download to your Kindle device. Read for free using KindleUnlimited, or purchase at the modest price of $1.99 USD. At Amazon UK, that’s £1.51.

Here’s the official announcement on Facebook.

Features my short story “The Deseret War.” Here’s a summary:

Once Stephen Isaac Eddington converted to Mormonism in his native London and realized the severe persecution the Church was enduring in the United States, he knew he had to use his unique skills to help defend the faith. But to do that, he would have to steal an incredible invention devised by his scientist mentor who had recently perished, and the greedy and corrupt tycoon who had financed the venture. Eddington and his ill-gotten technology arrived in Utah well ahead of the U.S. Army troops who the President commissioned to remove Brigham Young from power and establish a new Governor over the Utah territory.

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Book Review: “Deep Sound Channel” (2000)

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Cover image for Joe Buff’s novel “Deep Sound Channel”

I just finished reading Joe Buff’s Deep Sound Channel: A Novel of Submarine Warfare (Jeffrey Fuller Book 1). I accidentally found out about Buff’s six-part series on the fictional USS Challenger when I was doing research on a short story I was writing. Intrigued, I found out that the first in the series was available through my public library system so checked it out.

Although the novel was written in 2000, it’s set slightly in the “future” of 2011. According to the blurb on Amazon:

The year is 2011, and in South Africa a reactionary coup has established a military government that has begun sinking U.S. and British merchant ships. NATO quickly responds, with only Germany holding back-until Germany starts nuking Poland and eviscerating the French. Now the South Atlantic is a battleground where nuclear-tipped missiles rule-and the only gun worth using is one that seeks and fires from deep beneath the sea.

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Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments” and Other Stories

the testaments

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Disclaimer: This is NOT a book review. This is a commentary on books, current events, and how all that gets filtered through my brain.

Over a year and a half ago, I reviewed Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. It has since been adapted to a wildly popular television series on Hulu. I signed up for the one-month free Hulu trial and have watched some old movies and TV shows, but I tend to avoid “Handmaid.” I’ve quit watching all television series because I just don’t have the time to be chained to a streaming service. Plus, I suspect in the era of Trump, the message has been adapted to “white, religious men are all bad.”

No thanks. I have a hard enough time keeping my head above water as a white, religious male, and my anxiety attacks under control.

But I just found out that Atwood has gotten around to writing a sequel called The Testaments, set fifteen years after the original novel. I’m surprised she didn’t do this earlier.

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Review of Octavia E. Butler’s Novel “Parable of the Sower” (2000)

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Cover art for the novel “Parable of the Sower”

“THERE ISN’T A PAGE IN THIS VIVID AND FRIGHTENING STORY THAT FAILS TO GRIP THE READER”.

— SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

GRIPPING…POIGNANT…SUCCEEDS ON MULTIPLE LEVELS

— NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

This highly acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from award-winning author Octavia E. Butler “pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale” (John Green, New York Times)–now with a new foreword by N. K. Jemisin.

I’ve heard the name Octavia E. Butler for some time now, and have been meaning to read one or more of her books. She has an interesting background and is generally considered one of the most important science fiction authors of her generation, particularly as a woman of color. Sadly, she passed away in 2006, although the cause is attributed either to a stroke or a head injury acquired during a fall.

Here’s more about her:

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1929: A Zimbell House Anthology is Now Available

1929: A Zimbell House Anthology

1929

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

“1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” is Now Available for Pre-Order!

1929

From cover image for “1929: A Zimbell House Anthology”

I’ve been checking periodically, and the Zimbell House Publishing anthology 1929, which features my short story “The Devil’s Dilemma,” is now available for pre-order at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble for delivery March 26, 2019 (that’s for digital books, the paperbacks will take a little longer).

I’m really excited about this story since it’s one of my more ambitious projects.

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?

My story is one of only six appearing in “1929.” Be the first to buy, read, and review this unique anthology.

Lepers: A Short Story Review

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Author Keyan Bowes – image found at bigpulp.com – No photo credit given

I became aware of author Keyan Bowes‘s short story Lepers when I received it as part of the latest newsletter from Mysterion Magazine.

Since I’m interested in having at least one of my short stories published by that periodical, I thought it might be a good idea to see what they think is acceptable fare.

Oh, Mysterion is:

…an ezine of Christian-themed speculative fiction edited and published by the husband and wife team of Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz. We seek quality speculative fiction with Christian characters, themes, or cosmology. Join us as we rediscover the mysteries of the faith!

Lepers is a little over a thousand words long, qualifying it for something just a tad longer than flash fiction. It chronicles the brief encounter between Vijay and his former friend Raj, who he was told had died while studying abroad, but in fact, has become something like a zombie.

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Summer Reflection

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© Sue Vincent

Twenty-nine year old Melanie Snyder stood sobbing at the shore of the lake where her Grandpa’s ashes had been scattered two years ago. She purposely had one hand inside her coat touching something precious she was wearing around her neck. The first rays of the April sun were just now creeping over the eastern horizon illuminating reflections of thin clouds, a pale azure sky, and the gnarled, barren tree under which he had taught her how to fish when she was five.

“I’m sorry I…” sobs shook her slender frame which was enveloped in the dark blue pea coat that sheltered her from the cold. “I’m sorry I didn’t visit…didn’t call that last year. I was so afraid of what I’d see…of what the cancer had done to…”

Long blond hair being slightly fluttered by the breeze, Melanie lowered both arms to her sides and clenched her fists in resolve, determined to finish her confession.

“You were always my hero, always strong, brave, kind. After Mom and Dad divorced, I could talk to you about anything, how I felt, how mad I was. You always understood. I thought you’d live forever, that you would never leave me.”

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