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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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Fiction

The Saint from Abdijan

Published Jan 8, 2020 · 8,709 words (32 minutes) · 128 views

Fantasy Horror religion africa diamond trade

The pursuit of freedom can take many forms. For some, it is finding truth in the metaphysical. Is there God? Does God care for us? For others, the search can be both more mundane and immediate. It could just be a search for a cursed diamond.

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blacksandbeach

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Fiction

Small Town News

Published Dec 18, 2019 · 4,958 words (19 minutes) · 180 views

Fantasy Romance Journalism contemporary christmas dragon magical places Newspaper

There are many stories about mythical, impossible places, like Brigadoon or Narnia. When you find a magical locale like that, you want to stay. Such is Downey, Colorado. Hard to find. Easy to lose. But if you do discover that you've made it there, you know that you should never leave, which is exactly what Brant, a small-town journalist discovers in this Christmas tale.

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Fiction

The Sound of One Foot Dancing

Published Dec 11, 2019 · 2,741 words (10 minutes) · 1 like · 174 views

Fantasy Historical Fred Astaire Holiday Inn dancing White Christmas christmas movies WWII ghost story

Christmas, Fred Astaire, the filming of HOLIDAY INN, and a dancer who will not die.

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Fiction

The Miracle at Ramah

Published Dec 4, 2019 · 1,576 words (6 minutes) · 229 views

Fantasy Historical christmas Christian bethlehem

This story came to me on the Sunday before Christmas several years ago. While in church, I realized that a part of the traditional Christmas celebration contains a profound horror story. The kind of story I wrote while I thought about that is called a “secret history.” The writer takes an event from history and, while staying true to the history, makes up a story. It might have happened this way!

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I had just stopped by my parent’s house for a cup of coffee. While I sat at the dining room table enjoying the hot cup of Joe and letting warm my cold bones. started thinking about Christmas and that was when I spotted the nativity in the corner.

My heart was overwhelmed as I thought of Jesus Christ coming down to be the savior of our world. The God of all creation humbled himself and became a child. What love, what deep, deep love!

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Fiction

Father's Dragon

Published Nov 20, 2019 · 3,271 words (12 minutes) · 1 like · 140 views

Fantasy marriage Dragons family drama father and son

It's tough to be a father while still dealing with being a son. How can you condemn him for abandoning you when you want to run away yourself?

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Fiction

Do Good

Published Nov 13, 2019 · 6,531 words (24 minutes) · 1 like · 216 views

Fantasy Horror Mystery ghost story high school

Few people in the world are as universally distrusted and mocked as high school vice principals. When a teacher walks down the hall, groups of students will stop talking, but when a vice principal walks down the hall groups of teachers shut up. It's a terrible stereotype. Vice principals discipline students who are in trouble and evaluate teachers. How can they be liked? How can a person in that job do good?

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Lockers, Google Sydney

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Fiction

Plant Life

Published Nov 7, 2019 · 4,628 words (17 minutes) · 374 views

Horror Science Fiction Adult Content Incel

This is a story that my publisher wanted to include in my early collections, but I demurred. I was teaching high school English at the time, and I didn't want to risk the parents of any of my students reading it, then deciding they didn't want a person who was capable of writing such a piece to be teaching their child. ADULT CONTENT WARNING.

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Fiction

Witch in the Woods

Published Oct 30, 2019 · 1,819 words (7 minutes) · 162 views

Fantasy Literary Fiction Romance witch

A young pot smith yearns for more than the world of his village can give him after a witch tells him, "You are a song."

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Fiction

The Hurt Club

Published Oct 23, 2019 · 886 words (4 minutes) · 3 likes · 225 views

Horror halloween teen vengence

A cemetery on Halloween, peer pressure, and a not-so-innocent victim.

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Featured October 18, 2019

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Fiction

In Memoriam

Published Oct 16, 2019 · 3,089 words (12 minutes) · 5 likes · 398 views

Fantasy Romance halloween ghost cemetery

Death is just a small detour when you’ve been together as long as Esther and Thomas have. In the meantime, cemeteries speak their own language, if you take the time to listen. Get ready for Halloween with this (kinder, gentler) ghost story by James Van Pelt, finalist for the Nebula, Sturgeon, and Campbell awards, and veteran English teacher. 

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