Saturday 14 January 2023

Welgar, Nadrain and Ossani - three intertwined swords and sorcery characters

In my own swords and sorcery stories I have chanced to create three characters so far who have appeared in more than one tale, and only one of them is what could possibly be described as a Northern barbarian, though Welgar's fate is a far cry from Conan or any of his clones, having been disfigured into the semblance of a walking corpse by the Agryptian "god" that possessed his body in one of these stories.
The others are:
Ossani - a sorcerer who hides behind the cover of being nothing more than a healer. He appears briefly at the end of The Storyteller of Koss, which was published last year in Summer of Sci-fi & Fantasy edited by Dustin Bilyk (Author's Hand Publishing).
Ossani returns as the titular character in Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus, which also introduces us to Welgar the Northerner. I am currently working on a third Ossani story.
Nadrain the Storyteller - he is the main character and narrator of The Storyteller of Koss. Nadrain next appears in The Dark Priestdom, alongside my Northern mercenary Welgar - this story has been accepted for publication and should appear sometime this year.
Welgar - His first appearance is in Ossani the Healer and the Beautiful Homunculus, followed by The Dark Priestdom. His third story, which briefly features Nadrain once more in the opening pages, is in Welgar the Cursed, due to be published in March this year in Swords & Heroes, edited by Lyndon Perry.
All three characters have intertwining fates, despite being completely different from each other. I would add that nothing was planned about this beforehand; it grew organically with each tale I wrote. Now I am looking forward to continuing their sagas and seeing how they intertwine even more.



Wednesday 11 January 2023

The last Grudge End story

Several years ago now without planning to do such a thing I began a series of loosely connected stories based around a fictitious area of a fictitious town in Lancashire. The town was Edgebottom - the area of this town was known as Grudge End, an area of ill repute, with a long history of violence, murder, cults and worse!

The first story in which Grudge End is mentioned, though it doesn't take place there, is Lock In, first published in The Black Book of Horror, 2007.

Following this came these:

The Fragile Mask on his Face (Dark Discoveries magazine No 15, 2009)

The Worst of all Possible Places (Houses on the Borderland, 2008)

The True Spirit (Back from the Dead, 2010)

Old Grudge Ender (The Screaming Book of Horror, 2012)

Scrap (Dark Visions 1, 2013)

Grudge End Cloggers (Scare Me, 2020)

The Psychic Investigator (Lovecraftiana Magazine, 2022)

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Advert for A Handful of Zombies: Tales of the Restless Dead

All four stories in this collection cover a wide range of tropes within the zombie genre. 

Dead Ronnie and I is a tale of high adventure by plane and sea, with an abortive escape by our protagonist to the as yet untainted Isles of Scotland. This was originally published in Sanitarium Magazine No 44 in 2016.

His Pale Blue Eyes is probably the most traditional take of zombie stories today, featuring a young girl’s determined search for her parents during a zombie apocalypse. It’s a story, though, about conditioning and how what someone is taught can radically affect their behaviour. Is the horror in this the shambling undead or the girl herself? See what you think. This first appeared in Bite-Sized Horror edited by Johnny Mains for Obverse Books in 2011.

By contrast Right For You Now, originally published in Weirdbook Zombie Annual No 3 in 2021, harks back to the original concept of the zombie in Voodoo-haunted Haiti, though this tale is set in present-day Britain. It’s a combination of a crime story, revenge, and a man’s obsessive fascination with age-old practices.

Our final tale, Romero’s Children, is more in the way of a science fiction story. The zombies here are certainly the most different. For a start off they are not dead but have been granted near immortality by a drug that swept the world with its promise to stop aging. Alas for those caught up in the frenzied demand to use it, though, its side effects were such that they would have been better off dead. This story appeared in 2010 in The Seventh Black Book of Horror edited by the late Charles Black and was subsequently picked up by American editor Paula Guran for her 2012 anthology Extreme Zombies.


Sunday 1 January 2023

First story to be published in 2023

At the moment it looks as if the first story I'll have published this year will be Welgar the Cursed in Lyndon Perry's swords and sorcery anthology Swords & Heroes

I have as yet to receive confirmation of the actual date when this book will be published, but I'll post it here when I do.