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Cthulhu Haiku 2

Because clearly, one book of Mythos-inspired poetry is not enough.

Poet and editor Lester Smith is a man with a mission. He believes that poetry should be a part of everyone’s life, an everyday occurrence rather than a rare event.  Popcorn, not caviar.  This is the reasoning behind Popcorn Press, a micro-press devoted to poetry and to stories that don’t necessarily fit conventional publishing lengths and genres. For several years, he has been publishing an annualHalloween poetry anthology. This year’s book is a little late in coming, due to Life, but it’s now available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.com or throughout the Popcorn Press website.

In addition to haiku, Cthulhu Haiku 2 has other forms of poetry and several pieces of short fiction, including a story by Robert J. King, who is one of my all-time favorite authors of short fiction.

If you’d like to sample the contents, the Amazon.com ebook has the Look Inside! option.  Here’s a link. If you’re already convinced that you MUST HAVE this collection in particular or MUST SUPPORT Lester’s mission in general, some handy links follow.

Buy the Kindle ebook version

Buy the Paperback from Amazon.com

Buy the Paperback directly from Popcorn Press

Dark and twisty fairy tales

The anthology By Faerie Light has an Amazon.com listing!  Actually, it has two, one for the trade paperback and one for a very nifty hardcover edition.

Contributors include Dave Gross,  Cat RamboEd Greenwood, Jennifer Brozek, James L. Sutter, Erin Hoffman, Shanna Germain, Jeffrey Scott Petersen, Christie Yant, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Torah Cottrill, Erik Scott de Bie, Andrew Romine, Amber E. Scott, Jaym Gates, and Nathan Crowder.

Publication date for BY FAERIE LIGHT

Editor Scott Galen is wrapping up the final details on this anthology, which is scheduled for November 1 release. Please keep in mind that the veils between the worlds are thin around Samhain and take sensible precautions, such as sprinkling a circle of salt around your reading chair or having a bit of cold iron handy.

As a contributor to this anthology, I hereby disclaim any and all responsibility for mischief done and curses laid by any fey who may regard the reading of these tales as an invitation.

But if they do show up, take pictures.

Knight in the Silk Purse: "The Fairest Flower"

 

Here’s a sketch of Timar Dharn, the protagonist of my story in the upcoming anthology A Knight in the Silk Purse. For some non-spoiler background info on the Timar, here’s a link to the daily Kickstarter blog by editor Scott Taylor.

The story is rooted in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths. Anyone who has read the story of Blodeuwedd and pays attention to mythic themes knows that Nothing Good Happens when someone attempts to create the perfect woman.

Knight in the Silk Purse: “The Fairest Flower”

 

Here’s a sketch of Timar Dharn, the protagonist of my story in the upcoming anthology A Knight in the Silk Purse. For some non-spoiler background info on the Timar, here’s a link to the daily Kickstarter blog by editor Scott Taylor.

The story is rooted in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths. Anyone who has read the story of Blodeuwedd and pays attention to mythic themes knows that Nothing Good Happens when someone attempts to create the perfect woman.

A Knight in the Silk Purse

A while back, I saw this gorgeous cover by Todd Lockwood and was immediately filled with Anthology Envy.  You know what I’m talking about–that moment when you see or hear of a nifty short fiction project and think, “Crap! Wish I could’ve been part of that.”

Well, it turns out that I can.  Editor Scott Taylor is following up with a second anthology in the same setting, and I was invited to play.

Tales of the Emerald Serpent is notable for several things.  First, it’s Todd Lockwood’s fiction debut, and I was not surprised to learn that this wonderful visual storyteller can also paint a darn good tale with words. Second, it’s old-school fantasy inspired by Thieves World. Third, while each story stands alone, they’re all connected.  And finally, lots of good people are playing in the particular sandbox.  Many of the original authors are returning for the second volume, A Knight in the Silk Purse, which focuses on a murder investigation in the infamous Black Gate district. If you’ve read and enjoyed Tales of the Emerald Serpent, you’ll be pleased to see the return of several characters.

 

 

When the Hero Comes Home

The stories in the 2011 anthology When the Hero Comes Home examine what happens when the battle is won (or lost) and life returns to normal.  Except that it doesn’t.

The anthology was so well received that editors Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood decided to do a second collection.  Hero 2 will be released in August, 2013.  To see a table of contents, follow this link.

My story, “Vasilissa’s Doll,” returns to one of my favorite sources of inspiration:  Slavic folklore and myth.  The story is narrated by the title character.  Hope you enjoy!

New short fiction: "A Single Thread"

My favorite things include ancient forests, medieval history, shared worlds, and people who have the ambition and imagination to start a small business.  So when Allen Drees of small-press game company IPG asked if I’d be interested in writing a story about the forest elves of Kingdoms of Legend, a Pathfinder-compatible setting based on Europe in 1415, of course I said yes.

I soon found another reason to love this project: the elven Forest Kingdom shares a border with the Kingdom of Poland. My father was born in Poland, and I’ve always felt a strong connection with the culture, history, and folklore. This story takes a new approach to a famous Polish legend: Smok Wawelski, the dragon of Wawel Hill.  It also features other spirits and creatures from Polish folklore, which cross over into the Forest Kingdom to complicate the lives of two less-than-perfect elves.

The ancient city Krakov is situated on the Vistula River. It was the royal seat in 1415, with the palace atop Wawel Hill. Caves beneath this hill are the purported lair of Smok Wawelski.  In the fantasy version, the caves extend far beyond the real-world caves (shown on the map, below), venturing south into the Tatra Mountains and westward into a primordial forest.  Humans no longer remember these caverns, for in past centuries, elves summoned magic to block off human incursions into their lands. We can still get a glimpse of these priomoridial woodlands in Białowieża Forest, a preserve that protects ancient oaks as well as the last herd of wisent, European bison.  In 1415, the oak, elm, ash and linden trees formed a canopy nearly 150 feet high. In the deep shade grew ferns, swamp alders and huge fungi. The elves shared the Forest Kingdom with herds of wisent, wolves, wild boar, tarpan (a species of wild horse), badgers, bears, moose, lynx, and eagles, as well as creatures and spirits we know only from legend and folklore. Psotniki, small fey creatures who love mischief, lurk in the underbrush. Woodland ponds might provide a lair for wodnik, a froglike humanoid. Powerful wards keep away most of the spirits and supernatural creatures that haunt the Kingdom of Poland, but the elves remain vigilent against invasion of any kind.

“A Single Thread” provides an introduction to the Forest Kingdom.  I hope you’ll enjoy this tale and consider venturing futher into the Kingdom of Legends setting.

This story is available for $.99 at the following online bookstores:

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Paizo Publishing
DriveThruFiction
Google Play