“The Deseret War” To Be Published In The Anthology “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV”

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Promotional Image of this year’s Mormon Steampunk anthology published by “Immortal Works”

Remember (or maybe you don’t) when I said that so far this year, nine of my short stories have been accepted for publication, but I can only talk about eight? Well, I just got permission to talk about the ninth. It’s a very differently themed anthology put out by Immortal Works, a small publishing outfit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The anthology is called “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV” and stories submitted had two main thematic requirements. First, that it had to be Steampunk. Second, that it had to involve the Mormon Church. Yup, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Normally, I don’t think of those two topics going together, but I managed to make it work.

Here are the specifics at the “Immortal Works” Facebook page. You should be able to read them even if you don’t have Facebook, but I’ll post the info here just in case:

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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.

“Growing Flowers” by James Pyles in Flash Fiction Addiction

Promotional image for the short story “Growing Flowers” by James Pyles featured in “Flash Fiction Addiction”

The folks at Zombie Pirate Publishing produced 101 promotional images, one for each story/author in the Flash Fiction Addiction. This one’s mine.

 

Pre-Order “Flash Fiction Addiction” Now

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Announcement for “Flash Fiction Addiction” from Zombie Pirate Publishing

My piece of flash fiction “Growing Flowers” is one of one-hundred-and-one wee tales included in Zombie Pirate Publishing’s upcoming anthology Flash Fiction Addiction, currently available for pre-order on Amazon and delivered to your Kindle device on April 15th.

In case you don’t know, “flash fiction” tales are very, very short stories (in this case anywhere between 100 and 750 words long), and any one of them can be read in a few seconds to a few minutes. You can Go Here to find out more. Oh, in the image below, my name and story title is in the left-hand column toward the bottom.

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Flash Fiction Addiction table of contents

Book Review: Knight Training (The Steam Knight Book 1)

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Cover art for Jon Del Arroz’s novella “Knight Training”

Yesterday, I finished reading Jon Del Arroz’s short story Knight Training, a small steampunk piece that’s part of his For Steam and Country universe. I won’t post these first few paragraphs at Amazon, but I feel it necessary, given the criticism I receive every time I mention Mr. Del Arroz on this blog, to say something about him, or at least how some folks perceive him.

About a year ago, another author, Jim C. Hines, wrote a scathing criticism of Del Arroz that he titled Jon Del Arroz’s History of Trolling and Harassing. I was doing some research on Del Arroz via Google and came across the missive (and it’s the only reason I became aware of Mr. Hines and his writing since he otherwise was not on my radar). If all this is true, it makes Del Arroz a pretty terrible person.

On the other hand, Del Arroz’s fellow writer Richard Paolinelli says he’s a pretty good guy. I like Richard and have no reason to doubt his word, but I must admit, I see two sides to a man who calls himself “The Leading Hispanic Voice in Science Fiction.”

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Book Review of “The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack: A Burton and Swinburne Adventure”

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Cover image for Mark Hodder’s 2010 novel The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

Some months ago at work, a friend of mine and I got to talking about steampunk as a sub-genre of science fiction, and, long story short, he recently lent me his copy of Mark Hodder’s 2010 novel The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack: A Burton and Swinburne Adventure.

Basically, Hodder takes real places (London specifically) and actual historical figures, such as Sir Richard Burton, poet Algernon Swinburne, Charles Darwin (yes, that Charles Darwin), and Florence Nightingale, and transforms them into bizarre, distorted, “steampunkish” versions of themselves in a much larger than life adventure set against a highly improbable background.

The result is an amazing romp that could never have happened (time travel notwithstanding) but is nevertheless, is a lot of fun.

Recently, I said that I’d be making a concerted effort to read more recently produced science fiction novels and stories as defined by those having been published within the last ten years or so. Mr. Hodder’s novel certainly qualifies, so here we go.

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Today, I Visited My Grave

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© Sue Vincent

Seventeen-year-old Keisha Davis had been in this world twice before. The first time was, from her frame of reference, two years ago, and the alternate reality resembled her world of about 1910, except arcane technology combined with steam power, enabled fantastic machines to be created, including improbable cyborgs, submarines, and even zeppelins which could fly to the edge of space.

The second time was last year, two days after her sixteenth birthday, but in this world, twenty years had passed, and now Tony Stark-like inventions were running on oil and diesel. Three-year-old Leah and nine-year-old Josiah, the children of her other reality mentors Isaiah and Eralia Covington, had grown to be twenty-three and twenty-nine respectively.

Three months ago, she had turned seventeen, and yesterday, he once again mysteriously materialized in the alternate realm, only now, another twenty years had passed, and the environment was reminiscent of the 1950s. They had the internet, Facebook, YouTube, as well as rocketships to Mars and Moon bases, all driven by transistors and

nuclear power. Leah, her mother’s name had been Leah, was now forty-three. She only had one son, a teenager called Josiah, named after her brother. Keisha’s older brother was also named Josiah.

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Kentville

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Found at Pinterest

“Grandpa has ears that truly listen, arms that always hold, love that’s never-ending, and a heart that’s made of gold.” –Anonymous

Keisha marveled at her first sight of Kentville as Isaiah navigated the steam-driven Fliver-B out of the tunnel and into the morning sun. Like the entrance to the Batcave, the camouflaged doors swung shut, and to the casual eye, they blended in with the rest of the mountain.

She was sitting beside Isaiah in the passenger seat, her large hat brim shading her eyes from the sunlight. Unlike San Francisco, this was a quaint little town nestled in the wooded mountains of a state park, quaint that is, except for the outrageous contraptions moving to and fro in the streets, adorning every building and even every person.

There were windmills driving cogs, turning sprockets, pushing rods, pumping water through fountains, turning fans that cleaned the sidewalks, and working escalators that led into the sides of shops, hotels, and apartment buildings.

Then there was the enormous brass clock face mounted on a tower at the south side of the town square. It was just striking nine o’clock, and a brass man took jerking steps out of an aperture set just below the clock, raised a large hammer with both hands, and then struck an equally brass anvil. “Clang.” He raised the hammer again and it fell, hitting the anvil with a “Clang,” and repeated that action seven more times. The brass man turned to face the square, and in a voice made of springs and metal filings announced, “Nine O’Clock in the morning.” In one final declaration of time telling, a steam whistle blew shrill notes. After that, the brass man retreated to the sanctuary of his robotic den to await the coming of another hour.

“That would get really annoying if you were trying to sleep.”

Isaiah chuckled, “I imagine it would, Miss Davis.”

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Subterranean Hideaway

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Mt.Tamalpais State Park, CA – Found at Trip Advisor

“Grandpas bring a little wisdom, happiness, warmth, and love to every life they touch” –Anonymous

Keisha could hear the two Spads veer off to either side just after the machine gun clatter stopped. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she’d bent forward in her chair as far as she could, covering her head with her arms.

She felt her body being pulled forward even more, which meant the Kestrel was going into a dive.

“Miss Davis, are you alright?” It was Isaiah! He was alive.

“I’m okay. How’s Josiah?” She opened her eyes and looked to her right but her view of the man and boy was obscured by clouds of mist.

“I’m fine except for being scared out of my wits.”

“We made it,” Granger shouted. “Get us down, Oscar. We’ve got to ditch the zeppelin’s superstructure.

“Duck soup, Boss.”

“Don’t give me that mush. It’s curtains for us if we don’t land this tub, and we’ll have to hit on all sixes to get the job done.”

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Death by Airship

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Steampunk zeppelin wallpaper image found at wallhere.com.

“Grandfathers are just antique little boys.” –Unknown

They got a lot farther than Keisha thought they would. Adrenaline and panic drove her and young Josiah up the first quarter of the trail, but after that, fatigue started to set in. Then fear rose again as they encountered the first unconscious mech man about halfway up. Some of the cogs and gears on his mechanical body parts were still spinning and whirring, as if trying to get the organic mass they were attached to back up and running.

What made the climb worse was the massive, clunky breathing masks which fit over their heads like helmets, and had goggles and a nose pieces that jutted out like an insect’s. Her breathing, already labored because she was trying to run uphill, sounded more like Darth Vader. Why was this taking so long? Isaiah needed them and Keisha couldn’t let the nine-year-old boy lose both his Mom and Dad.

Finally they reached the top of the trail. The gas was much thicker here and the drone of the airship louder. The teenager looked up, but amazingly couldn’t see the enormous dirigible for all the gas and smoke. What had happened to Isaiah?

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