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James Van Pelt

An interviewer asked the author if he wanted to be the next Stephen King: he said, "No, I want to be the first James Van Pelt."

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James Van Pelt fell in love with Zenna Henderson, Ray Bradbury, Ursula le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey and a host of others when he started reading. In elementary school, he told his mom he wanted to grow up to be a Ray Bradbury, like Bradbury was a job instead of a person. His work has appeared in Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld and many other venues. Stories have been reprinted in Year's Best anthologies and gathered in five of his collections. He has been a finalist for the Nebula, the Sturgeon Award, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He recently retired from teaching high school English (37 years), to write full time.

Fiction · Posts · Books

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The Road's End

Published Nov 10, 2020 · 3,116 words (12 minutes) · 95 views

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Carrie Vaughn wrote a beautiful story called "Strife Lingers in Memory." It appeared in Realms of Fantasy, as this story did. Carrie looked at epic fantasy, like Lord of the Rings, and asked what happens to the heroes after the battles are done? I loved the question, so I wrote my answer to the question. "The Road's End" is also in a conversation with Tennyson's poem, "Ulysses." How can an old man put aside his adventures when his entire life is based on the idea of "not to yield"?

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We went to Germany for one day to explore some famous instagram photo spots. The first stop was Burg Eltz during sunrise. With no tourists there yet and this amazing fog covering the castle it was like a fairytale.

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Fiction

The Children's Collection

Published Oct 29, 2020 · 3,878 words (15 minutes) · 28 views

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A young librarian makes his way to a backwoods, New England town to take his first job. His clientele, though, is . . . odd. What kind of books do they want? How is he to serve?

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Vintage lamp and books

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Fiction

Ghost Ship

Published Oct 21, 2020 · 4,223 words (16 minutes) · 1 like · 98 views

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Perfect for Halloween! A haunted ghost ship, pirates, and a little girl who just wants to go home.

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Sparrow

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Rock House

Published Oct 16, 2020 · 7,429 words (28 minutes) · 135 views

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An old college buddy contacts Allan to visit the “strange edifice of my rock house home,” as he put it, and to “salve my maladies and afflictions.” Intrigued and troubled, Allan takes up the invitation. What happens after is a deep dive into literature, obsession, and a desire for permanence.

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Writing Advice

Published Oct 7, 2020 · 1,202 words (5 minutes) · 1 like · 148 views

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Writers hear much advice at conventions. Everyone has an opinion on how to walk the writing tightrope, but sometimes the advice just sounds wrong. I was listening to a panel of editors when one weighed in with what she pronounced as an inviolable rule, "Never start with the weather," which gave me, of course, the first sentence of this story.

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Mountain paradise

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Fiction

Mambo No. M51

Published Sep 23, 2020 · 3,535 words (13 minutes) · 1 like · 112 views

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Someone once described "obsession" as a form of mental disease, like OCD. Everyone needs to have interests, but when those interests overwhelm balance in a person's life, they become a problem. But doesn't that mean that if you have any interests at all that you are on the road to being overwhelmed by them? Doesn't that mean we all are, just a little, mentally diseased? What we desire and how we behave towards those desires are a part of "Mambo No. M51."

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Stars Galaxy Rocky Mountain

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Rollercoaster

Published Sep 18, 2020 · 2,510 words (10 minutes) · 142 views

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You never know when those tiny traveling carnivals are going to drift into town and who works them, but sometimes a chance at cotton candy and a sketchy rollercoaster ride are exactly what you're looking for.

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Golden hour on the sand, followed by the most amazing burgers on the pier.

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Three Paintings

Published Sep 8, 2020 · 4,508 words (17 minutes) · 144 views

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A painter obsessed with the genesis of creativity embarks on the ultimate performance art.

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Hands
Featured September 11, 2020

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Fiction

The Family Rocket

Published Aug 30, 2020 · 2,319 words (9 minutes) · 336 views

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As a child, Lorenzo’s father took him and his siblings on a fantastic trip to Mars—or so the story goes. But what if none of it happened at all? In this creative sequel to Ray Bradbury’s “The Rocket,” James Van Pelt imagines what happens when credulous children grow into skeptical adults.

Van Pelt has been nominated for the Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, Pushcart Prize, and more. His limited-edition hardcover short story collection, THE BEST OF JAMES VAN PELT, is now available for preorder from Fairwood Press.

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Floaters

Published Aug 20, 2020 · 7,979 words (30 minutes) · 165 views

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What if you traveled into the future, and the world was completely destroyed? Wouldn't you do anything to change our fate? Would there be anything you'd be unwilling to sacrifice?

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