Posts Tagged ‘Sword and Sorcery’

Enter 2019:  Wednesday the first mammoth royalty, then today, Friday, the first new year’s author copy received.  This one is the third in Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Imagined” reprint anthology series, RE-QUEST:  DARK FANTASY STORIES OF QUESTS & SEARCHES (see December 29, June 1, et al.).  Old gods outwitted by heroes.  Magical weapons that bring good and evil.  Dragons winging over the city or walking upon the earth.  A wizard witnessing endless battles. . . .

My story is next to last in the contents, “The Blade of Gudrin,” a tale of a young woman who resembles the local goddess and who knows how to use a knife if she has to, harking back to 1993 in the Spring SPACE AND TIME.  This is followed by the oldest reprint in the book, “Gods of the North” by Robert E. Howard from FANTASY FAN magazine in 1934.  For these and fourteen more preceding stories one may start one’s own new year’s reading by pressing here.


It’s a little ritual when a book is published, to make sure folks like Amazon know that I’m one of the authors.  This one is RE-QUEST (cf. June 1, February 18 1nd 2), the third in Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Imagined” reprint series, which is now available on Amazon and elsewhere.  More can be found on the publisher’s page by pressing here.  My story in this one is “The Blade of Gudrin,” a saga of knife play and double crosses all in a sword and sorcery setting, originally published in SPACE AND TIME for Spring 1993.

Other Re-Imagined books out thus far are RE-LAUNCH and RE-ENCHANT with my stories “The Game” and “Dust,” for which see October 16, 11, et al. and November 26 et al., respectively, and with one yet to come — RE-TERRIFY — of which more later.

Remember RE-QUEST?  The reprint anthology to come out from Pole to Pole Publishing that had accepted my S&S tale “The Blade of Gudrin” (see February 2)?  While its companion science fiction volume RE-LAUNCH has been filled (including by me, see February 4), the all-fantasy RE-QUEST still seeks a few good stories.  There are a few rules, or as Editor Kelly A. Harmon points out:  RE-QUEST requires dark fantasy reprints on the theme of “quests.”  For both anthologies, stories should be 3,000-5,000 words and meet the central theme of the anthology.  Reprints currently available on line are not eligible.  Preference is for stories that haven’t been published in at least a year.  Older reprints will carry more weight than new ones.  Also, as I recall, preference was for “classic” fantasy as well, of course, that the [a]uthor must possess the rights to offer the story for submission.

So if you’ve got a sword and sorcery story, or grimdark, or otherwise darkish fantasy published a while back that you rather like and would like to share with a new group of readers (as well as receiving a small payment for it), just check out the guidelines by pressing here.  But you’d do well to hurry.

There was a note of urgency to the listing.  Update on the RE-LAUNCH and RE-QUEST anthos from Pole to Pole Publishing — we’ve accepted 21 of the 26 pieces needed to fill the 2 anthos.  We have 1 new submission yet to read, and 4 (2 per antho) we’re still considering.  If you’re thinking of sending us something — don’t wait!  (Reprints only, 3,000 – 5,000 words).  Well, I had been thinking of sending them something and so, at the very, very end of January, I sent a story to each.

So now, only two days into February, the first word has come back from Editors Kelly A. Harmon and Vonnie Winslow Crist:  Thank you for sending “The Blade of Gudrin” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Quest,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Blade of Gudrin” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  This is for the fantasy entry of the pair (with RE-LAUNCH for science fiction), with “The Blade of Gudrin” going all the way back to the Spring 1993 issue of SPACE AND TIME (there was a premium for reprints first printed a long time ago).  While as for the other . . . well, time will tell, but if it’s accepted too you’ll find out about it here.

“Long before Game of Thrones, there was a time in history when HBO stood for ‘Hey, Beastmaster’s on!’  A time when, if you asked for a dragon, you got a puppet instead of CGI.  A time when the words ‘fantasy hero’ didn’t call to mind a pensive Viggo Mortenson or a bespectacled Daniel Radcliffe — nay, but a shirtless, bemuscled Arnold Schwarzenegger (or cheaper facsimile) dripping with oil.”

So begins compiler Leah Schnelbach via TOR.COM, continuing on:  “I have travelled back to that time to bring forth the Ultimate 1980s Fantasy Epic Ranking List Post!  And By Crom, I swear I’ve gotten . . . most of them.  Join me below to celebrate the 1980s fantasy epic, in all of its loincloth-wearing, phallic-sword-waving, secret-wing-unfurling, spandex-bulging, camel-punching glory.”  And thus introducing “A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!,” although with the caveat that the order of the eighteen entries within the list is the author’s personal opinion — as well as that, with apologies aforethought, it is possible one or more important and/or favorite films could have been missed.

Still, as a paean to times gone past, to simpler days when broad shoulders and semi-nudity might still be enough to guarantee a happy ending, it is a list worth visiting here.  And then, should there be quarrels (in my case it could be I’ve seen far too few of these myself — though of those I have, I will always retain a special spot for THE LAST UNICORN), that’s what the following “Comments” section is for.

I suppose this comes in the “Late News” Department:  yesterday evening, approximately 20 minutes shy of midnight, there came an email from Carol Hightshoe of WolfSinger Publications apologizing for spacing out on sending submitters information on MYSTIC SIGNALS, Issue 11.  This is a combined print issue containing the entireties of  THE LORELEI SIGNAL from last July and the September-November SORCEROUS SIGNALS, with a couple of extra stories thrown in.  Since, according to CreateSpace, MYSTIC SIGNALS was itself published on September 9 2011 it is, yes, a tad late – but better late than never, say I.  It  is available from both CreateSpace and, with various overseas Amazon sites to come hopefully in the near future so, if you might have missed one of the issues that make it up, or would just like to have the combined one in hard copy, now is your chance.

My manifestation in this mélange is “When Cats Are Away” (cf. Sept. 8, et al.), about an itty bitty pretty kitty and its also good-looking temporary owner, Tana the thief, and her on again, off again love-hate relation with the magician Balthyon in the ancient-world city of Trebizond.  It seems the city’s cats have gone missing, and what with winter coming on and the city’s granaries overrun by mice, there could be a problem. . . .

“When Cats Are Away” is also the lead  story in STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, obtainable by clicking its picture in the center column, and, one of an early series of sword and sorcery stories, first appeared in the Fall-Winter 1991 issue of HAUNTS.

Last Saturday’s Art Fair had me out in, according to one newspaper, temperatures reaching 102 degrees in the shade; yesterday I played music for an informal Society for Creative Anachronism demo and had to wear long sleeves as well as a jacket.  How things can change in only a few days. 

September changes will also include the release of several anthologies we’ve been following, one of which, CANDLE IN THE ATTIC WINDOW (see Aug. 5, et al.), has announced a pre-publication sale with a 20 percent discount until Sept. 19.  Copies are then expected to ship on Sept. 20, but to order early and save some money — as well as for other information —  just press here.  Other “CANDLE” news according to Innsmouth Free Press includes a new Facebook page for the book, a giveaway on Goodreads, another giveaway next week at the Innsmouth website, and a series of authors’ “micro-interviews” for the near future. 

Also, the September-November SORCEROUS SIGNALS has been posted with my sword and sorcery (sort of) story “When Cats are Away” (cf. Jun 7).  “When Cats,” originally published in HAUNTS a long time ago, concerns a young thief and a mixup she gets in with the goddess Bast, the results of which are that all cats have disappeared.  However, there are mice, including in the city’s graineries, and winter is coming on. . . .  Well, as it will be here as well soon enough, as a sort of lagniappe to start off the indoor reading season, herewith a direct link to “When Cats are Away.”

“When Cats are Away,” incidentally, is also the lead-off story in my collection STRANGE MISTRESSES:  TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, so, if you like “Cats” and would like to read more, albeit, in most cases, not so light hearted, stories by me in a variety of settings and styles press the book cover in the column to the right for descriptive and ordering information.  (Also, if interested, check Nov. 30, below, for a link to reviews for both STRANGE MISTRESSES and its “sequel” volume DARKER LOVES:  TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET.)

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