I’m pleased to announce that Tough As Nails, the swords and sorcery fantasy anthology that my novella, “The Sunken Lands” has been released over on Amazon. Fantasy was my first genre and I love it today as much as I ever have. The opportunity to write what was supposed to be a short story but still have it accepted as a much more sizable novella was a great treat for me. This anthology is all about the classic slash and hack throwback to Conan the Barbarian type tales. Epic fantasy with the tagline: Murder! Madness! Mayhem!
And a further description: Murder! Madness! Mayhem! These are just a few of the delicious things you can hope to enjoy in this tome full of savage barbarians, long-forgotten magic, and vicious monsters. Strap on your battleaxe and broadsword and enjoy!
You’ve got to love it! Pick up your copy today-hit the link by clicking on the cover art below.
Well, I’ve been doing my best to expand my writing horizons with the stories I choose to write, though many of them have been zombie tales, just like my novels. Still, I have managed to produce other types of horror, comedy, bizarro, science fiction, western, spy/action-adventure…so it was only a matter of time before I got back to my roots and decided to dive into the realm of fantasy once again. When I would write as a youngster, that was the type of stories I wrote: fantasy tales that transformed into fantasy adventures during my days of role playing. It was rough stuff that I didn’t want to share with anyone else, which was okay, because publishing was not on my mind back then-it was for the pure joy of writing. I still have some of the dust covered stories buried in a paper file, because back in those days I was using a typewriter. Yep, in the days of yore we didn’t have the arcane sorcery of computers to save our work, we got a paper copy of it and that was pretty much the best you could do. Fortunately, that means that none of my more atrocious early attempts at writing are circulating around on the internet. Now as for my more recent atrocious attempts at writing…that is a different story.
Anyway, I digress. I saw a posting perhaps six months ago calling for traditional tales of swords and sorcery in the style of the classic Conan the Barbarian stories and that potential authors should draw inspiration from paintings of Frank Frazetta, among others. In other words, plenty of pounding base lines, thunderous orchestras, spurting blood, voluptuous maidens, heroes NOT with six packs, but with eight or ten packs at a minimum. We were to have fun with it and flavor our tales with plenty of fearless, steely-eyed warriors who fight nasty monsters and perhaps a dark god or two, thrown in for good measure. It was to be entitled, appropriately, Tough As Nails.
I didn’t start out with a plan to write for this anthology. I loved the idea, and thought it would be great to dive back into the fantasy pool, as it were, but I was focused on some other projects at the time, and this one had a due date that was out past the horizon, in the new year. So I put it at the back of my mind and as time has a tendency to do, it sped up and flew past me to where this submission call had perhaps a month left before the deadline. I still was hesitant until the editor, someone who I have worked with before, started asking me if I planned on submitting something for the anthology. He wanted me to do so, because he knew I loved the concept and for some odd reason he’d liked my work in the past. So there I was, scrambling to come up with an idea. I initially crafted the first scene, which takes place in a tavern (the classic locale for the start of many an adventure tale), and gave my story a name, just because I liked how it sounded: “The Sunken Lands.” It sounded cool, and I knew I could wrap a quest around the idea of my hero/anti-hero needing to get to such an ominous place.
So I kept on writing, adding one scene after another, and introducing my different characters, putting them in harms way, etc. It occurred to me about five or six thousand words into this thing that there was no way this story was going to qualify as a short that would fit within the word count guidelines set up by the editor. At that point, I was in too deep, and told him that I planned on writing this tale whether it was acceptable for the anthology or not, since I was back in the mode of writing fantasy, with all the intricacies that go along with that, including all the behind the scenes “stuff” (that is the technical term) you have to put together to make the world you have crafted in any way believable. This stuff usually starts with a map, then you add history, cultures, alliances and enemies, the habitats of strange creatures, what those strange creatures are, etc. etc. And believe me, there is a lot more than that to it, but you get the idea. Fortune smiled upon me, and the editor, Matt Nord, encouraged me to write the story to its completion and he would look at it regardless of whether it fit the size limitations he had put forth (8,000 words) or it went significantly beyond that, because he wanted to see what I had come up with.
Well, as fantasy tales have a tendency to get expansive (as anyone who has read any of the more involved fantasy series out there can testify to) and it was fast becoming clear to me that this story was in no way, shape, or form going to end up being considered a short story. The only thing short about it would be the fact that it would be shorter than a novel by a good stretch. But at approximately 23,000 words, this was definitely in novella territory. Having that high a word count was the only way to effectively tell the tale in my humble opinion (for better or for worse) and also presented me with a cast of characters who could carry on in more tales of this world I had created, if I so chose. Matt did take a look at it and I think the fact that I broke the story into two parts gave him the flexibility he needed to fit it into the book. So despite the fact that I crafted something almost three times as long as what the editor wanted, he somehow liked what he saw and took it anyway. Actually, he really liked it, which was great, because I wasn’t so sure, which is pretty normal for me as a writer. I tend to never be all that sure whether what I have written is worth a damn. I had other folks read my story before Matt ever got a look at it, naturally, and got some good constructive criticism from them, which helped shape and transform it into a sharper story than the original. They liked it to, so I am hopeful others will as well.
Below is the cover of the book, and while I have absolutely LOVED the covers of my novels and most of the anthologies I’ve been in, the idea of something I’ve written being in a book with fantasy cover art makes me as giddy as a child.
More details to come as the book is released. I hope some of you fantasy lovers out there will check this one out when it hits the shelves.
Well, it didn’t take long for this one to make its way over from Createspace over to Amazon. Since Amazon is easier to deal with as far as ordering is concerned, please check this book out there. As I have mentioned before, it contains one of my favorite short stories I have ever written, Cicada. It is a story about generations that live before, during, and after the zombie apocalypse, told in relation to the appearance of Cicadas-a particular species that comes about every 17 years. It is a tale that speaks of generations-fathers to sons, and how life begins anew, even when there is death all around you.
So please check out Zombie: The Other Fright Meat, which also contains stories from a great list of other authors who love to write traditional tales of zombies, when so many other monsters are “selling out” and going out and doing teen romances and such. Just click on the cover image to head on over to Amazon. Thanks!
Norgus Press has released an anthology that I have been anticipating for quite some time now, because it contains one of my favorite tales of the undead that I’ve ever written. Zombie: The Other Fright Meat contains a wide assortment of tradition zombie tales…mainly in response to other well known monster types going all Hollywood.
Here is the description:
You can’t live with ’em…
At least not without getting a chunk bitten out of ya.
But we here at NorGus can’t live without ’em!
And who’d want to?
In a world where vampires sparkle in the sun instead of roasting like pigs at a barbeque
and werewolves run around with capri pants and washboard abs,
It’s nice that we can fall back on zombies to actually be monsters!
I am happy that my story, Cicada, has found a home in this anthology. I wrote this tale with no plans for it to get published originally. It was one I wrote as one of my first short stories about zombies that stood separate from my novels, and it was one I felt compelled to write. The basic gist of my tale is that the world-and life-runs in cycles, and cicadas, as insects that come up out of the ground on a specific schedule with numerous years between each visit, would serve as a way to ‘check in’ on the world alongside them. The particular Cicada’s that I write about are the ones that appear where I live, in Southwest Ohio, and they appear once very seventeen years. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to show how the human race goes from living in normal times to living at the very dawn of the zombie apocalypse, to years later, when much of the human race has been wiped out, and then again, when the human race is fighting its way back to dominance over the dead. The story shows brief moments in time, and tracks different generations of the same family, fathers to sons, and how they cope with death, life, and rebirth, just as the cicadas do, time after time.
Again, this story has always been one I have been very fond of, and am proud that it resides in this anthology. So please check it out…either over on Createspace or when it hits Amazon here in the next couple of weeks. Just click on the cover art to head on over to Createspace to order your copy. Thanks!
This is sort of a repeat of a previous post, with a minor tweak. Look What I Found, from Norgus Press, is now available on Amazon! My short story, “VRZ”, can be found within its pages, along with a bevy of other wild tales of found devices and unique and magical items. My tale deals with virtual reality and the extremes one man will go through to experience the ultimate deadly rush.
Here is the description from the back cover of the book:
We spend our lives going through our paces surrounded by things of magic and mystery, but sometimes choose not to open our eyes to see them. The world around us still has places that are yet to be discovered. There are people that we pass on the street that are not what they seem to be. There are objects with untold powers that are only waiting to be found. We train ourselves to look at the norm.
The stories within this anthology examine those mysteries and the excitement of discovery that awaits those who dare to tread. The members of society that look a little deeper. Those who long to say, “Look What I Found!”
Just click on the image from the front cover below to be sent on over to the website link.
While I would typically try to promote two different books I am going to be in with separate posts, I believe that will come later, when the two of these books are released at different times. For now, I was made aware of the covers of each book within the last couple of days, and as such, it is time for me to promote them both, side by side. So, without further ado and in no specific order, here are two anthologies that short stories of mine will be appearing in. As to the projected release dates, that remains to be seen, but as always, once they are released, you will receive notice here on them from me, and I will share links on where to buy them as well.
The first book is being released by Norgus press, and is entitled: Look What I Found!
We spend our lives going through places surrounded by things of magic and mystery, but sometimes choose not to open our eyes to see them. The world around us still has places that are yet to be discovered. There are people that we pass on the street that are not what they seem to be. There are objects with untold powers that are only waiting to be found. We train ourselves to look at the norm. The stories within this anthology examine those mysteries and the excitement of discovery that awaits those who dare to tread. The members of society that look a little deeper. Those who long to say, “Look What I Found!”
The other anthology is from Wicked East Press and I am actually in the process of writing up my short story for this one, so I don’t even have an official title as of yet, but fear not, there shall be one soon enough. This one is entitled Read The End First. 24 Apocalyptic Tales. 24 Time Zones.
Ever wonder how the world would end if you could decide?
This anthology takes the concept of the Apocalypse a step further.
24 authors pick their own time zone to destroy, and leave you wondering if the prophecies they speak of are true.
The premise here is simple: each of the authors were given a time zone and they are expected to have a story that starts at midnight that speaks of a unique ending to the world. Combined, there will be twenty four time zones of annihilation and doom when all is said and done. I am pretty excited to be a part of this project. My own little bit of destruction will hopefully be quite interesting. But no hints as to what time zone I have or what demise I have chosen for you all. I will just say that no zombies will be harmed in the making this short story, heh. More details to come later.
I am pretty proud of the twisted tale, “VRZ” in Look What I Found!, which involves a trip into virtual reality…but it almost seems too real for the character taking the trip. And I am working hard to make the story for Read the End First one I am just as proud of. I will definitely be letting everyone know more about them around their release times, for certain!
I just wanted to pass along that the latest anthology that I am a part of has made its way over to Amazon. As I have mentioned before, this one has a great table of contents and I am pleased that my story, VRZ, appears among its pages. This one contains short stories, flash fiction, and even some poetry. And of course, it also has one of the most wicked book covers of anything I have been associated with. I think this one is going to do very well. Click on the picture to head on over to Amazon and place your order for this one. I myself can’t wait to get my hands on it!