Visit Homepage
Skip to content

Category: Short Story

There’s a Sword for That

Posted in Adaptability, Artwork, Buntel Mayit, Monsters, Science Fiction, Short Story, The Visitor, and There's a Sword for That

Monsters - Full Cover-600tempIn addition to the novels I'm currently working on, I'm making a practice of producing more short stories and submitting them to various magazine and anthology markets. Rather than just search for random topics, I've decided to write as many of them as possible for ultimate inclusion in a single collection, called There's a Sword for That.

As you can see from the progress meters on the right, there are four stories so far. This is a science fiction collection, not fantasy, somewhat unexpectedly for stories with swords in them. So far, they've included children, sessile tentacular creatures, intelligent multi-purpose devices, and a famous historical kris (not all at once, of course).

There's a frame to this collection — the Curious Arms weapon shop, tucked away on a space station. All the covers will show the weapon shop and one of the weapons (the cover for the collection will include a rosette of all the weapons).

As each story completes the submission process and becomes available again, it will be published by Perkunas Press, and eventually the entire collection will be available as a book, too. That's more than a year away for some of the stories, but at least a few should be available this year. Since I like to get the covers done sooner rather than later, you can at least get a preview of what they'll look like.

Keeping multiple works going at the same time

Posted in Buntel Mayit, Monsters, Science Fiction, Second Sight, Short Story, and There's a Sword for That

Short stories are more like molehills than mountains
Short stories are more like molehills than mountains

I find that long-form works like novels seem to match well with the sorts of stories I like to tell — multiple characters, various sub-plots, threads to be woven together. I wouldn’t dare try to keep two novels going in draft simultaneously. It would be like listening to two engrossing conversations at once, and impossible to keep track of.

But sometimes you just want a break. For me, that means writing short stories. Any shorts I write for my ongoing series will probably go straight to publication, but I’m also beginning to produce stand-alone short stories. Since the current series are in the fantasy genre, I’m doing the shorts mostly as science fiction, just for a little variety. Some are truly stand-alone (Second Sight), but others (Buntel Mayit, Monsters) are intended for a story collection called There’s a Sword for That, all of the stories for which will involve some sort of edged weapon. (Since swords are usually associated with fantasy, I thought it would be a challenge to produce science-fiction sword stories instead. That involves a wee bit more than just declaring, say, dragons to be aliens and getting on with it.)

You won’t see these stories for a while, since each one is going through the magazine submission process, and that takes quite a bit of elapsed time (more than a year, maybe two). But I expect to put a dozen or more stories out this year, and I entertain myself prior to publication with getting their covers done as I write them, so that there won’t be anything left to do after they come back unbought or their rights expire, if bought. At least I get to put the covers and blurbs up that way. And if I keep this up every year, there will soon be a regular stream of submissions coming back for publication — I’m just filling the pipeline this year to reap in the future.

Paring it down

Aiming for a certain size in a short story is not something I can control. They’re as long as they need to be, seems to me, and each one is different. Monsters, the latest story destined for the sword collection, surprised me by being only three pages long (1000 words), just two scenes, what they call “flash fiction”. My beta reader wanted to know what happens next, and perhaps you could spin a long story or novella out of it, or it could be the start of a longer character-based novel — sure, I could see that.

But sometimes a molehill is just a molehill, not a mountain. If the characters come back and start explaining their life story to me, well, maybe there will be a followup. Meanwhile, I like the unanswered questions that spin off from the brief encounter. Gives it a concentrated flavor, like a wound-up spring.

New short stories for a science fiction collection

Posted in Artwork, Buntel Mayit, Science Fiction, Short Story, and There's a Sword for That

Over the next year or so I will be writing a dozen stories or more for a science fiction collection called There's a Sword for That. It will feature bladed weapons, one per story, in unusual contexts, tied together by the shop that houses (and sells them) aboard a space station

The first story is Buntel Mayit, a tale of an ancient and famous keris (kris) cursed by the shaman/smith who was its first victim. Far in the future, it is still seeking revenge on dynastic opportunists. Captain Frans Krajenbrink, Keris Mpu Gandring, and the freighter Ken Arok out of New Java have a fateful encounter with an ambitious alien.

Each story will go through the submission process for magazines before being published by Perkunas Press, so it will be a while before you can read them. I'll keep everyone posted as soon as any story becomes available in either magazine or Perkunas Press versions.

Meanwhile, here's a look at the very first draft sketch for the cover of the collection, featuring the sword shop, from artist Jake Bullock who provided the cover for The Affinities of Magic.
Initial draft sketch - no sword

Just released – Tales of Annwn

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, Tales of Annwn, and The Hounds of Annwn

TalesOfAnnwn- Full Front Cover - 297x459I'm happy to announce that the first five stories set in the world of The Hounds of Annwn have been collected into an ebook edition as Tales of Annwn.

I plan to produce several more short stories, which I'll post here on the website first, so there will be a second ebook collection, and then eventually they will all be gathered into an ebook and paperback collection, once there are enough of them to make a paperback practical.

The stories are priced at $0.99 each, so a collection of five for $2.99 is a nice savings (40% off) for my readers, and the grand collection coming eventually will be an even better discount.

The next story to be told is how the Travelers' Way between the old world and the new came to be discovered by Trevor Mawr, long ago.

Short story – The Empty Hills

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Empty Hills, and The Hounds of Annwn

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

George Talbot Traherne shows a bit of the human world to family and friends, hoping to share some of the sense of wonder he discovered when he encountered the fae otherworld.

This short story takes place during the events in King of the May.


THE EMPTY HILLS

The Empty Hills - Full Front Cover - 297x459

George Talbot Traherne turned in his saddle and checked to make sure everyone had followed him through the way without difficulty. The last time he’d brought them to the grounds of Bellemore a week ago, he’d had to cut the visit short, but this time he was determined to show them a bit more of his human world. His discovery of the fae otherworld a few months ago had changed his life and brought him a family, and he wanted to give them the opportunity to discover adventure in his world in return.

Angharad rode by his side, the new life within her not yet showing. He was nervous about her being on horseback but she’d assured him there was nothing to fear, this early. She’d had other children in her long life and he knew she was a better judge of it, but he would be a father for the first time and he couldn’t help worrying.

She looked at him now, rightly judging his concern. “I’m fine,” she said. “Is the weather the same in both places? It seems to me it was cloudier on the other side.”

She peered up at the sky, her auburn braid touching the saddle behind her as her head leaned back. It shone against the rich blue of her riding habit.

Read More Short story – The Empty Hills

Short story – The Call

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Call, and The Hounds of Annwn

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

A very young Rhian discovers her beast-sense and rushes to the rescue of an errant hound.

This short story takes place before the events in To Carry the Horn.


THE CALL

The Call

In all of her eight years, Rhian had never had a better time out hunting. Her pony Dreinog had kept up with the bigger horses on this gorgeous fall day, and she’d jumped every obstacle that came her way. It was always fun, she thought, but somehow today seemed different, more exciting. It’s like I could feel what a good time Dreinog was having, following the hounds.

She hastened to untack him and groom him in the stables behind her foster-father’s court. Gwyn insisted that she see to the care of each of her animals, and she enjoyed doing it. Normally she liked these quiet moments after the hunt with her pony, lingering to talk to him all about the adventures they had just had. But this time there was something wrong, something nagging at her. She wanted to find Isolda and talk to her instead. Isolda would know what to do. After all, she was three years older.

She hurried out of the stables and ran to the kennels to look for her friend. Isolda was usually there, helping her father Ives and the other lutins who were responsible for the well-being of the hounds. She found the usual stir of the pack recently returned, the lucky hounds who had been out telling their left-behind packmates all about it, in their own way.

Rhian ignored the noisy hounds, but she was surprised not to see any of the hunt staff. They hadn’t come to the stable, either. She ducked her head into the kennel-master’s office, and found Isolda there instead of her father.

“What’s happened?” she asked.

“Gwennol’s missing,” Isolda told her. “Iolo brought the rest of the pack home, but he’s gone back out with the hunt staff to find her.”

Rhian was shocked. She liked Gwennol about best of all the bitch hounds. The young hound had a habit in the field of swooping after the quarry, like the swallow she was named for. Was that what was wrong, what had been bothering her in the stables?
Read More Short story – The Call

Short story – Under the Bough

Posted in Fantasy, Short Story, The Hounds of Annwn, and Under the Bough

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

Angharad hasn’t lived with anyone for hundreds of years, but now she is ready to tie the knot with George Talbot Traherne, the human who has entered the fae otherworld to serve as huntsman for the wild hunt. As soon as she can make up her mind, anyway.

This short story takes place between the events in To Carry the Horn and The Ways of Winter.


UNDER THE BOUGH

UnderTheBough - Full Front Cover - 297x459“I haven’t lived with anyone for hundreds of years,” Angharad said. “I’m much too set in my ways, too used to living alone.”

Her old friend Tegwen looked at her pointedly in recognition of the feebleness of these excuses.

“You’ll adapt,” she said.

But do I really want to, Angharad wondered.

“What do you think of George? Truly?” Tegwen prodded.

She couldn’t help it. Her face warmed and she smiled affectionately. She glanced around the morning room to see if Tegwen’s husband Eurig was in sight, but he must be outside seeing to the running of his estate. They were her oldest friends. They had come to the new world in exile together, when Gwyn ap Nudd, Prince of Annwn, had transferred his domain.

She owed her honesty. “He’s kind, bold, even… ardent.” She looked at the floor. “He makes my knees melt.”

And makes me laugh, too. But was that enough?

She voiced her deepest fear. “He must think me a dried out old lady,” she whispered. “He’s so young.”

“And his age bothers you?”

“Not by itself, no, but we hardly know each other.”

Tegwen asked directly, “Do you have any doubts of him?”

Read More Short story – Under the Bough