About Jim Bates Author

Jim has always wanted to be a writer. He wrote his first story when he was in the 4th grade but thought it was boring so he threw it away. Flash forward fifty plus years to 2011. By then he’d been married and had children and grand children. He’d had a long career in sales and technical training for a large manufacturing company. He’d even owned a small business. But, while helping to care for the last days of a loved one, he realized that life was passing him by and he’d better get going if he wanted to fulfill his dream. The next day he started writing and hasn’t stopped since.

He began by writing a poem a day for a year. Then a haiku a day for a year. Then a four line stanza a day for a year. Then a six-line rhymed verse a day for a year.

In 2015 he started writing short stories. He took an online writing class and met a successful author who became his mentor. She suggested he write the best possible stories he could and post them on a blog. He followed her advice and continued working and honing his craft.

He began submitting stories in early 2018 and in March his first short story was featured on CafeLit. He was off and running. Since then nearly 250 stories have appeared in on-line publications such as CafeLit and Spillwords, where he was voted Author of the Month for December, 2019, and in print anthologies, such as the Best of CafeLit 8 and Nativity through Bridgehouse Publishing, and the Gleam, Portal and Glamour anthology’s through Clarendon House Publishing.

He also reads his stories for broadcast on Talking Stories Radio.

Resilience, a collection of twenty-seven short stories was published through Bridge House Publishing in February of 2021.

Periodic Stories, a collection of thirty-one stories was published in March of 2021 by Impspired.

Both collections are available on Amazon.

Short Stuff, a collection of flash fiction and drabbles, is scheduled to be published in summer 2021, through Chapeltown Books as is “Something Bettter” a dystopian novella scheduled to be published in summer 2021, by Dark Myth Publications.

He continues to write every day from his home in the small town of Long Lake, Minnesota and prefers to be published as Jim Bates. He is happy. He has achieved his dream.

Complete list of publications:

His stories and poems have appeared online in CafeLit, The Writers’ Cafe Magazine, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard, Spillwords (Dec, 2019, Author of the Month),The Drabble, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, World of Myth Magazine, The Horror Tree, The Terror House, Fox Hollow Stories and Bindweed Press. In print publications: A Million Ways, Mused Literary Journal, Gleam Flash Fiction Anthology #2, the Portal Anthology and the Glamour Anthology by Clarendon House Publishing, The Best of CafeLit 8 by Chapeltown Publishing, the Nativity Anthology by Bridge House Publishing, Forgotten One’s Drabble Anthology by Eerie River Publishing, Gold Dust Magazine, Down In the Dirt Magazine and the Oceans Anthology and the 20/20  Anthology by Black Hare Press. He was nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prize by The Zodiac Review for his flash fiction story, “Aliens.”

You can check out his Author Page on Amazon at:



Logo by Priti J – Jim Bates Author


I’m thrilled to share this logo with you, designed by my friend Priti J. She’s an incredibly talented designer and writer and I plan to have her design the cover of my collection of Flash Fiction stories, release date scheduled for the first half of 2021.

My first ever logo!! Kind of reminds me of the sixties 🙂

Hitchhiking to California


Many thanks to editor Matt from Pure Slush for including my Flash Fiction story “Hitchhiking to California” in the Twenty-Five Miles From Home anthology. I’m including the story here for you to read if you’d like. Enjoy!!

Hitchhiking to California

It was a frigid five degrees and ice crystals were drifting past the street lights early that morning when we left our south Minneapolis duplex. It might have been pretty if it hadn’t been so bone-chilling cold.

The night before my friend Kyle had said to me, “Screw it. I’m sick of this winter. Let’s get out of here.” He’d been shuffling through our records looking for the new Creedence Clearwater album. We were twenty years old. It was January of 1970 and one of the coldest winters we could remember.

I was curled up on the couch wrapped in a blanket. Our duplex never seemed to have any heat. “I’m with you,” I said, taking a sip of tepid hot chocolate. Nothing stayed warm for long in that place.

Kyle turned to me and grinned for the first time in days, “Really? Far out, man.” He walked across the threadbare carpeting and sat next to me, blowing on his hands to try and breathe some feeling back into them. “Where should we go?”

I didn’t have to think twice. “San Francisco,” I said. “We can wear some flowers in our hair.”

Kyle laughed, “I dig it. You bring your wooden flute and I’ll bring my spoons.”

“We’ll be street musicians,” I said, finishing his thought.

“Right on.”

So, at 5:00 am the next morning we shouldered out backpacks, stepped outside into winter darkness and started for the interstate. Our breath curled from our lips as we tried to keep from slipping on the icy sidewalks. By the time we got to Interstate 35W, we were so cold we could barely feel our fingers. Our toes were like blocks of ice inside our boots. But if you thought we might have been discouraged, you’d have been wrong.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Kyle said, almost scampering down the entrance ramp to the interstate. He wore a red knit stocking cap and had a dark blue scarf wrapped around his face.

“Let the good times roll,” I added, following close behind. I was wearing a black watch cap and a dark green scarf my mom had knit me. Plus, of course, a heavy winter coat and boots with wool socks. Just like Kyle.

I joined my friend and we put out our thumbs. Kyle looked and me and smiled a frozen smile and said, “California, here we come.”

I laughed and added, “Let’s kiss this cold good-bye.”

In spite of the frigid conditions, we were having fun. Kyle and I had been best friends since grade school. We did everything together. We even worked at the same restaurant in Minneapolis as dishwashers. We’d lived on the bottom floor of our duplex for nearly a year with two other guys and life was pretty good. Now if we could just get out of town.

The sun had been up for about an hour when we got what we called ‘a good ride’. It was a young guy about our age who looked the worse for wear. “I can take you a little ways,” he told us, rolling down his window and let out a cloud of pot smoke. “Out of town, anyway.”

Sounded good to us. We got in and he took us about twenty-five miles south, down to Faribault.

Well, outside of Faribault would be more accurate. The interstate by-passed it by a mile, so we were let off where the ramps leading into and out of town were located. We waved good-bye to the pot smoker and assessed out situation. Technically, it was against the law to hitchhike on an interstate in Minnesota. Standing on the entrance ramp was usually okay. We had hitchhiked lots during the past year and never had any trouble.

I turned to Kyle, “What do think?”

“I think I’m freezing,” he said, stomping his boots to warm up.

I pointed up the entrance ramp to the interstate, “Should we chance it?”

He started walking, “You bet.”

So, we walked up to I-35W and put out our thumbs.

The first hour wasn’t so bad. Our spirits were high. “Next car will be the one,” Kyle said, every so often. “I can just feel it.”

“It won’t be long now,” I’d add, jumping up and down to stay warm.

After a while, I didn’t say it so much.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of traffic. Semi-trucks and cars were driving by almost non-stop. Some would slow down and look at us, but then speed off. I guess picking up two long hair guys with backpacks didn’t seem like a good idea to them.

Toward late afternoon, our enthusiasm, once so high, had faded to just about zero, and the reality of our situation had started to creep in.

I looked at Kyle. “I don’t get it,” I said, turning my back to the north wind which had picked up, probably bringing colder weather. “We should easily get a ride.”

“What’s wrong with these people? They should take pity on us,” Kyle said, pointing to the traffic speeding by, trying to make a joke. He looked at me, his eyes were watering in the wind, tears streaming down his face. Finally, he admitted, “Man, I’m freezing out here.”

He looked cold, like a human icicle. There was a real possibility we’d be stuck here over night. Not a pleasant thought.

“You know what?” I said.

He turned stiffly toward me. “What?”
            “Let’s go home.”



He smiled through frozen lips. “Excellent idea.”

We walked across to the other side of the interstate and got picked up right away. It was a guy and his young family. He and his wife took pity on us and brought us right to our duplex.

We thanked them and went inside, happy to be home. And you know what? It was good to be there. It even felt warm. That night we made a vow never to hitchhike again. And we never did.

Time Will Tell


Many thanks go out to editor Matt from ‘Pure Slush’ for accepting my flash fiction story “Time Will Tell” for their upcoming ‘Appointment at 10:30’ Anthology. This will be the 4th anthology of theirs I’ve had a story included in this year! I’m super excited to have come upon them this year 🙂

Here’s the story if you’re interested in reading it:

Time Will Tell

Have you ever thought about life changing events? Maybe it was your first kiss. Or first job. Or first marriage. Or…well, you get my drift – something significant happened that stuck with you your entire life.

            For me it was when my friend Ernie plopped down next to me on the school bus and said, “Hey Joel, guess what machine controls your life?”

            I was staring out the window hoping the bus would break down and give me a reprieve from my ninth-grade geometry test. I dragged my brain back to the grim reality of the present and mumbled, “I have no clue.”

            Ernie was a skinny, geeky kid in black framed glasses, who wore plaid shirts, khaki pants and red high-top tennis shoes. He was also my best friend and the smartest person I knew.

            He grinned, giving me an eyeful of teeth along with a drum roll with his hands on the back of the seat in front of us. “And the answer ladies and gentleman, is….a watch.”

            “A watch?”

            He grinned some more. “Yeah. Or a clock,” he added to make sure I got it. Believe me, I had never been accused of being the brightest bulb in the pack. “Yep.” He clasped me on the shoulder. “We are all controlled by time.”

            I looked at him, saw those big teeth grinning at me, and something clicked in that challenged brain of mine, like a light bulb turning on. He was right! Because not only was I aware of time, I was super aware of it! Keeping track of time was like an addiction. Every day I watched the clock in biology class tick ever so slowly to 3:05 pm when school let out. The bus picked me up for school at 7:16 am and picked me up to go home at 3:13 pm. Church was Sunday at 10:45 am. Next week I had to go to the doctor at 4:45 pm. If I wasn’t watching a clock or my watch, I was thinking about doing it. It was obvious – I was hooked on time.

            I looked at Ernie. “My, god,” I said. “You’re right.”

            “I know,” he said. “I read it last night in one of my science books.”

            I will tell you right now, that day changed my life. I used to think something was wrong with me and my obsession with time, but the knowledge that timepieces ruled the world put everything into focus. I gave into my obsession and didn’t fight it. And, I always made sure I wore my watch.

A few years later, I came upon a saying by Henry David Thoreau that resonated with me. Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it and eternity remains. At the time, I wasn’t completely sure what it meant (and, to be honest, I’m still not) it gave me comfort that a famous man was just as aware of time as I was.

            Ten years later, by the time I met my future wife, Beth, I had started my own little business, making metal steampunk clocks I sold online. I didn’t make a lot of money, but Beth had a good job teaching fourth grade. We married, and life was good. After we started having children, we agreed I would stay home and care for them. I became a house-husband. I was good at it, too, because I was so conscientious of time. And if some people thought I was too  rigid with days so well planned for me and the kids, well, that was too bad. I preferred to think that we were organized.

            But, here’s the deal. Last year I had a dream. I remember it clearly, even to this day. I was in a city park with no one around. It was a dark night and the wind was blowing. I had the feeling a thunderstorm was imminent, so I was hurrying. As I passed a bench hidden in shadows, a light suddenly revealed a hooded figure in a black robe. Somehow, I knew right away it was a Specter of Death waiting for me. Before I could run away, he grabbed me with an icy hand and pulled me close. I tried to escape but couldn’t and stood frozen, watching in horror as he pulled back the sleeve of his cloak and pointed. He was wearing a simple watch. Something told me to lean closer, and I gasped when I looked at the illuminated dial. It read 10:30. I looked into his hooded face and he spoke, a menacing voice cutting deep into the depths my soul. “I will be coming for you.”

            O. My. God. I had a 10:30 appointment with death!

I fainted and dropped to the ground like a stone.

When I came to, I was in bed. Beth was holding me, rocking me in her arms “There, there, Joel. It’s okay. You just had a bad dream.”

“No way,” I said. “It seemed so real!”

She kissed my forehead. “Why don’t you tell me about it?”

So, I did. When I was finished, I asked, “Do you think it’s like a vision or something? I’ve heard of things like that.”

Beth smiled and hugged me. “No, sweetheart. Those kinds of things have been pretty much debunked. There’s always a rational explanation.”

Her gentle words calmed me, and we soon fell asleep.

            But I haven’t forgotten my dream. In fact, I’ve had it several times since. Is it a portend of the future? Maybe. Am I going to die at 10:30? Morning or evening? Who knows? All I know is this: Time will tell. It’s marching to its own drummer and answers to no one. Not even Death.

Black Hare Press “666” Anthology


Many thanks to the team at Black Hare Press for including my drabble “Two Points” in this wonderful anthology!

Here’s the drabble:

Two Points

Damn, Ellie muttered, as Earl’s head detached and rolled down the steps like a basketball, coming to rest in a mud puddle. I shouldn’t have cut so deep. She continued dragging the headless body of her cheating, drunk of a husband across the front yard into the holding pen where her prize sow, Daisey, was squealing in anticipation. Ellie grinned and watched as the pig hungerly tore into him and began devouring his dripping intestines. Then, she grabbed Earl’s bloody head and lobed it in, too, watching as it went splat in a pile of manure. Two points, she laughed.

OCC Challenge – The Alien of Orchard Lake


I’m thrilled be have been chosen along with Peggy Gerber as a finalist in the Open Contract Challenge through The JayZoMon/Dark Myth Company. My entry is a 40k story entitled “The Alien of Orchard Lake”. Here’s the podcast where the finalists were announced. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂


The World of Myth – Episode 5 of 7 of my Drabble series The Time Traveling Healer


Many thanks to Steph and David for all your continuing support. This is episode 5 of 7 of my little experiment of putting out a drabble series. I hope you enjoy it!


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