I am delighted that this will include three of my Lovecraftian stories: Lurkers, The Shadow by the Altar and Boat Trip.
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Saturday, 25 June 2022
Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Swords & Sorceries: Tales of
Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 contains
In the Iron Woods by Dev Agarwal
My People Were Fair and Wore Stars in Their Hair by Andrew Darlington
At Sea by Geoff Hart
The Flesh of Man by Frank Sawielijew
City at the Mouth of Chaos by Adrian Cole
In the Belly of the Beast by Edward Ahern
The Tracks of the Pi Nereske by Wendy Nikel
Slaves of the Monolith by Paul D. Batteiger
The Green Wood by David Dubrow
Demonic by Phil Emery
The Whips of Malmac by H. R. Laurence
Here are a few pages from the book, including the Introduction:
Thursday, 9 June 2022
I am very pleased that my fantasy tale The Carpetmaker of Arana has just been published in Savage Realms Monthly #12, which is available as a paperback and a kindle e-book.
This is my second fantasy tale to be published this year. The Storyteller of Koss appeared in Summer of Sci-fi & Fantasy in May.
Saturday, 28 May 2022
Jim Pitts and I had a great time yesterday attending Chillercon at the Royal Hotel in Scarborough, where we met up with some old and new friends.
Trevor Kennedy held a launch and mass signing for the latest Phantasmagoria Special devoted to Brian Lumley.
|Jim Pitts, Steve Dilks and David A. Riley|
Tuesday, 24 May 2022
I am pleased to find I am on something like a roll at the moment, having just completed yet another swords and sorcery story, this one entitled Welgar the Cursed, which involves my recurring hero Welgar, who appears in Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus and The Dark Priestdom. There is also a brief appearance at the beginning of Nadrine, the Storyteller of Koss.
"It is almost impossible for a man whose face and body have the horrifying aspect of something that belongs inside a tomb to be regarded as a hero."
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
My fantasy story The Carpetmaker of Arana has just been accepted for the next issue of Savage Realms Monthly
I am delighted to announce that I just heard back from Savage Realms Monthly and my fantasy story The Carpetmaker of Arana has been accepted for the next issue.
More details soon.
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
I seem to be on a bit of a roll with new stories at the moment. I have just completed and proofread a 10,200 word swords and sorcery story called The Dark Priestdom, which as two of its main characters has protagonists I have previously used but never in the same story before.
My swords and sorcery stories so far are:
Baal the Necromancer (published in 2021 in Mythic #17)
The God in the Keep (published in 2021 in Swords and Sorcery Magazine #118)
A Grim God's Revenge (published in 2017 in Mythic #4)
Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus
Creatures of the Black Tunnel
The Storyteller of Koss (published in 2022 in Summer of Sci-Fi and Fantasy)
The Carpetmaker of Arana
The Dark Priestdom
Monday, 16 May 2022
A brand new PS Publishing book arrived in the post today direct from the publisher: S. T. Joshi's Ramsey Campbell: Master of Weird Fiction. Over 300 pages. Looking forward to delving into this.
Sunday, 15 May 2022
My swords and sorcery fantasy story The Storyteller of Koss has just been published in Summer of Sci-Fi & Fantasy edited by Dustin Bilyk in the States, though it is also available from amazon uk.
My story follows on from events told in my previously published tale Baal the Necromancer (Mythic #17, 2021). I am in the process of finishing another, quite long story called The Dark Priestdom in which the storyteller is again one of the two main characters. The other protagonist, a mercenary called Welgar, also appeared in a recent story Ossani the Healer & the Beautiful Homunculus, which has yet to be published.
Just to add to the complications (and perhaps to the confusion!) Ossani the Healer appears towards the end of The Storyteller of Koss.
Saturday, 30 April 2022
Wednesday, 27 April 2022
I am taking a short break from reading submissions for Swords & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy Volume 4 to attend Chillercon in Scarborough on Friday the 27th May, mainly to attend the launch and signing for the Brian Lumley Phantasmagoria Special which will be held at 4.00 p.m.
Sunday, 24 April 2022
This is my retro review of Dark Crusade, which was published in the Karl Edward Wagner Phantasmagoria Special.
DARK CRUSADE by Karl Edward Wagner
In Dark Crusade we see Karl Edward Wagner’s immortal antihero Kane at his finest – and most evil: honourable by his own idiosyncratic standards, yet capable of carrying out the worst deeds imaginable, heroic yet villainous, courageous yet cruel, indifferent to the suffering of others yet able to reach out and help the most vulnerable on a whim. He is without doubt the most enigmatic character in heroic fantasy.
The novel starts when Orted, the defeated leader of an outlaw band, is on the run after a bungled raid on the city of Ingoldi. Badly wounded, he is fleeing through the labyrinthine alleys of the city when he is offered refuge by a priest of the obscure and unsavoury god Sataki. Though suspicious, Orted is too desperate to quibble. When he follows the priest into his temple, though, he is clubbed senseless and awakens to find himself spread-eagled on a stone altar, about to be sacrificed. Which is when things take an unexpected twist. Perhaps because he is stronger than most of those previously offered by the cult’s priests, instead of being drained of life by Sataki, Orted is filled with some of the god’s spirit. Which is how the outlaw becomes Sataki’s Prophet, a man without a shadow.
The following day, led by Orted, the priests go out into the city to recruit followers at a local market, where most of the crowd are seduced by the demon’s spirit inside Orted and become consumed with hatred for those who refuse their new god. And so begins the Dark Crusade, in which religious fanatics slaughter their enemies, sacking city after city and massacring anyone who fails to follow Sataki.
That is, until this ragtag army meets its first defeat when it comes up against one of the finest armies in the region, whose heavy cavalry turn its advance into a panic-filled rout.
Which is where, ever the opportunist, Kane comes in.
The Immortal Swordsman uses the Prophet’s defeat to offer his skills to him as a general to train the mob into the semblance of a real army, at the same time using Orted’s plundered wealth to hire mercenary cavalrymen who will be loyal to him, not the cult. Kane cynically intends to use what the Prophet has created to carve out an empire before assassinating Orted and taking everything for himself.
Or so he hopes.
As a foil to Kane, we have the general Jarvo, who begins the story as the arrogant leader of the cavalry that defeats Orted’s mob. Already hideously scarred by Kane after he tried to have the swordsman removed as a rival to power when they were members of the same army, he is unexpectedly defeated when he again attacks the Prophet’s army, unaware of the changes Kane has made in the meantime - or the mercenary cavalry Kane has recruited. But Jarvo proves difficult to kill and miraculously, if painfully, begins to recover from the injuries he sustains at the battle. Afterwards he helps to forge a new alliance amongst neighbouring kingdoms to oppose the Crusade.
This is an involved story, with intricately woven power struggles in a barbaric world. Kane treads the chasm between hero and villain superbly well. Though he is thoroughly amoral there is, bizarrely, something almost heroically noble about him. Orted’s possession by the demon Sataki is credibly described, still a man beneath the alterations wrought upon him. And his crusade, though filled with fanatical violence, is credibly disparate, filled with the kinds of greed and opportunism that are all too easily recognisable.
Though set within a fantasy world, this is a book that has whispers of the real world in it – and lessons about the ongoing dangers of religious zealots. It is also incredibly well written and a great read.