Fantasy, mystery, thrillers, horror, historical. . .I write it all, and review it too!

Jan 16, 2012

Down in the Dungeon fantasy anthology out now!

The orcs of Grimwood summon an ancient evil. . .
A mountaineering expedition to retrieve a griffin's egg goes horribly wrong, at least for most of the climbers. . .
A soldier believes his commander is not what he seems. . .
A dungeon door poses a problem for an experienced party of adventurers. . .
A unique trap appears to be inescapable, but for one desperate plan. . .

Here are five tales set in the good old days of fantasy gaming, when friends sat around the kitchen table late into the night rolling dice and sharing adventures. Relive the spirit of the past (or even the present!) with stories of epic combat and base trickery, stories that any adventurer would be proud to tell over a mug of ale at the local tavern. Includes the short story The Trap, co-written with special guest author Tony Rudzki.

PRICE: $3.99

WORD COUNT: 28, 427

FORMATS: PDF, PDB (Palm/Ereader), HTML, LIT (Microsoft Reader), PRC (Unencrypted Mobipocket/Kindle), RB (Rocket 1100), IMP (Gemstar 1150/Ebookwise), IMP (Gemstar 2150/Rocket 1200), DNL (desktop author page-flipping format), EXE (Windows Executable page flipping format) and epub

Available from Writers Exchange Ebooks!

Jan 10, 2012

Medieval Mondays: The Black Gate

Many fantasy fans know and love Black Gate Magazine. They publish heroic fantasy as opposed to the grittier fantasy I did for Roots Run Deep, but I love a good bit of heroism too.

There's also a real Black Gate, which you can see at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was added as a barbican to the older Newcastle Castle between 1247 and 1250. A barbican is an outer defense to the gate, providing crossfire for the archers and extra gates for the besieging army to crash through. Often when they did so they came under murder holes from which all sorts of nasties came down on them. I've blogged about this a bit before in my post on the myth of boiling oil.

Newcastle Castle was, like so many others in England, built upon an earlier Norman motte-and-bailey castle, which itself was built upon a Roman fort. Strategic positions don't change much over the years, only the ways of holding them.

The Black Gate has gone through some changes--like the later windows and roof--but it's still one of the best preserved parts of the castle. Actually only the keep, shown below, and some bits of wall are left. Now the Black Gate houses the offices and meeting rooms of the local Society of Antiquaries. I'd love to go to a meeting there!

Top picture courtesy Wikipedia. Bottom photo courtesy Hans Peter Schaefer.

Jan 3, 2012

Will the world end this year? We've been asking this question a long time

It's a new year, and we're once again getting the traditional media hoopla about the end of the world. This time it's the Mayan calendar saying that 2012 will be THE END. Didn't the Mayans predict this for a previous year? I can't remember and life's too short to look it up.

The human race loves the idea of the Apocalypse. Every few years some cult predicts the End Times or some ancient inscription is wheeled out before the public to prove that we really don't need to pay our credit card bills.

One of the biggest years for the end of the world was the year 1000 AD. Coming as it did in the Middle Ages, when the Church had a tight grip on society's imagination, and having a nice round number, it seemed like a good time for the world to end. Crowds of people gathered in churches and villages to pray for salvation. Priests raked in donations. Everyone wanted to repent, or get drunk. I bet a lot of babies were born nine months after New Year's Eve.

The world didn't end then, and it won't end now. So don't worry. Read some zombie novels if it makes you feel better. Or try some more optimistic fiction like what I write. Either way, don't worry. And pay off your credit card bills.

This photo shows a medieval Orthodox Apocalypse painting from the Osogovo Monastery, in the Republic of Macedonia. it was taken by Edal Anton Lefterov.