Category: Uncategorized

No More Short Stories

Art by Les Edwards

To quote Gordon Ramsay: “I’ve had enough!”

It’s official: I have decided to stop writing short stories altogether to focus exclusively on novels. Short stories can be fun, but there are a number of reasons why they simply don’t work for me anymore:

Art by Frazetta

1)  Publishers by and large are not interested in my short stories. For various reasons, it’s damn near impossible for me to break into new markets with my short fiction. Always has been. I don’t really know why–except that I write to please myself and maybe what pleases me simply does not please the general public or the editors who serve them. I’m not about to start catering to tastes or writing for trends, so…who needs it? The most obvious answer is that I’m simply not very good at writing short stories. Or at least the kind that sell.

2) Short stories don’t pay well. Sometimes they don’t pay at all. There are some high-paying markets, but my experience there has been a series of closed doors, blank walls, and a denial of my basic existence as a writer. In other words: Why am I trying so hard to sell stories that nobody wants to publish? Forget about it.

3) Even when you get a short story accepted, you have to wait months or years to see it in print. Again, it’s not worth it. I’d rather slave over a novel for a few years, then get it out to thousands of people, than to keep writing short stories for an ever-shrinking audience of magazines that don’t want my writing anyway. [Case in point: WEIRDBOOK has six of my stories lined up for six consecutive issues. However, the magazine has gone on hiatus again, and there is no publication date for ANY of those issues. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they get published eventually–but it’s entirely out of my hands.]

Art by Josh Kirby

4) Life is too short. I’m much better at writing novels (got five of those published–three of them internationally via Orbit/Hachette). I’ve written six novels altogether, and only one of those proved unpublishable. So my success rate at novels is 5/6, or 83%. Not bad! (I always was a “B” student.) However, my success rate at short stories is too low to even slap a number on (see above). At this point in life I’d rather focus my creative drive on something I know I’m good at.

Life is a never-ending process of learning about yourself and your world. What I’ve learned since “going professional” is that my novels are much better received than any of my short fiction. So I’m going to stop wasting my time trying to write “a perfect short story” over and over again–and focus instead on something I’ve had decent success at doing, i.e. writing and selling novels.

If my next novel doesn’t sell, then the world will be sending me a different message at that point, and in that case I may decide to stop writing altogether. But that’s another bridge, and I’ll cross it when I get to it. Hopefully, I’ll finish this current novel by the end of next summer, my agent will dig it, and one of the Big Publishers will publish it. That’s the goal. However, I don’t plan to spend the rest of my life tilting at windmills (Don Quixote reference–literature!).

Art by John Bierley

All of this comes as I’m about to turn 50. Naturally, it’s a time when you start to re-examine your life and re-set some priorities. My priority is to write novels. I’m giving myself one more “shot” to keep that goal alive. But if it doesn’t work out, it won’t be the end of my life. I’ll move on to something else.

So consider me a novelist who used to write short stories. Some of them even got published.

As for the novel I’m writing now, it’s a “fantasy noir” epic that I’ve tentatively titled IMMACULATE SCOUNDRELS. I’m approaching it differently than all of my other novels, writing it in a different way, taking more time to really think through things before I commit them to paper. So hopefully this will pay off by resulting in a book that mainstream publishers can’t wait to get their hands on. Or…it could be my swan song. I simply don’t know for sure, and there’s only one way to find out: WRITE THE BOOK.

So, unlike Elvis Costello, I may not be writing the book “every day” (obscure 80s reference!), but I am writing it–slowly but surely. I’m in no hurry. And the world is in no hurry to get a new novel from me. Everything is going to turn out exactly as it is supposed to turn out, no matter what happens.

Short stories? Been there, done that.

Time to move on.




The fine folks at PS Publishing have released their latest hardcover anthology of all-new Lovecraftian Mythos fiction: MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS REVEALED, edited by Darrell Schweitzer. This volume features tales that follow up on HPL’s classic novella AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. For more information see my previous post about this book—it’s a must-read for any serious Lovecraft fan.

This is the third Lovecraftian anthology I’ve been involved with–first there was CTHULHU’S REIGN (2010) , then THAT IS NOT DEAD (2015), both edited by the indomitable Mr. Schweitzer. It’s always fun to play in Lovecraft’s creepy old sandbox full of monsters, madness, and mayhem. PS does gorgeous hardcover editions in limited print runs, so get your claws on this one before they’re all gone.




Summer 2019

Art by D’Achille

Well, summertime rolls again…

Since I teach school during the rest of the year, each summer I have to decide what my writing focus will be : A new novel or a new batch of short stories. Last year I cranked out a whole new cycle of short stories called The Magtone Saga–six standalone stories that build to a single climax. Altogether the Magtone Saga is about 50,000 words (about 10K short of being as long as a short novel). Two of those stories appeared in WEIRDBOOK (issues #37 and #39), and the remaining stories were scheduled for the next four consecutive issues. However, the magazine went on hiatus for awhile and the last four Magtone Tales have yet to see publication.

Art by John Bierley

Latest news from WB indicates that the delayed Magtone stories will appear in WEIRDBOOK #43-46. However, there is no publication date set for any of those issues, so it’s anyone’s guess as to when they will be released. WB #40 finally came out about a month ago, but there is no release date for #41 yet. So, assuming that WEIRDBOOK doesn’t go out of business and quit publishing altogether, the rest of the Magtone Saga should eventually see publication. WB was releasing four issues a year, but that seems to have reduced to one or two at this point. Fingers are crossed that the mag will return to quarterly status–but I wouldn’t hold my breath.


This summer I’m back to writing novels. Working on an epic fantasy with a crime-noir flavor. There’s far more to it than that, but I’m only four chapters into it so far. As I approach the tender age of 50, I’m starting to realize that I don’t/can’t write novels as fast as I used to. In the past I’d start slow and build an incredible momentum. That’s how it worked with the Shaper Trilogy and the Tall Eagle series.

This new book is coming to me in a slower and hopefully deeper fashion.  It’s impossible for an author to objectively rate his own creations, but once again I feel like I’m doing the best work of my career. Yet that’s how I usually feel when I’m working on a new novel project. That feeling drives me as a creator to finish my creation–yet it has no effect at all on the success of the novel commercially. Sometimes what you think is your best work others find lacking. Sometimes the reverse is true. Publishing is a strange game, and you have to take “time” out of the equation.

Art by Stephen Fabian

My approach with this new novel is “This will take as long as it takes–and I will not rush it.” It’s the same guideline I used with my first novel (SEVEN PRINCES), but I haven’t approached novels like that since. There’s no deadline looming over my head, there’s no schedule I have to keep, there’s only my vision and my ongoing attempt to bring it to life on the page. Publishing has always moved at a glacial pace anyway, and that’s not about to change anytime soon.

Deadlines are good for keeping your nose to the grindstone. But writing without deadlines means you can sit back and develop ideas at their own pace–at and away from the keyboard. Thinking is the first step to writing, and without deadlines you can put in more thought to every aspect of your story. Taking time out of the equation is a blessing. The trick is to just keep moving, chapter by chapter. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but you have to keep taking steps or you go nowhere. I’m walking at my own pace, but I’m moving forward.

So that’s where I’m at this summer. Trying to enjoy my vacation, write my new novel, and retain my sanity. Life in the American Dark Age continues….






Later this year PS Publishing releases a new anthology of Lovecraft-inspired fiction edited by the indomitable Darrell Schweitzer. THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS REVEALED features stories (and poetry) that expand on concepts created by H.P. Lovecraft in his classic novella “At the Mountains of Madness.” One of his most popular stories, it first appeared in the pages of Astounding Stories in 1936, where it was serialized over three issues.

Above is a peek at the cover design by J.K. Potter, and thanks to PS Publishing’s Newsletter we also have their official description and a complete list of contributors:

“In his celebrated novella ‘At the Mountains of Madness,’ H.P. Lovecraft told of the discovery of a vast, alien city buried under the ice in Antarctica: millions of years old, filled with shocking secrets about the history of life on Earth, and not entirely uninhabited. But after the Miskatonic University expedition of 1930 came to a disastrous end and further exploration was either discouraged or suppressed, the city of the Elder Things slept once more, and the world seemed safe from whatever the Mountains of Madness still harbored. Danforth, the last survivor to look back, saw something he never could describe, that made him lose his mind…

Now, decades later, ice caps are melting and glaciers are retreating. Global warming is an observable fact. That which was once hidden is hidden no longer. So what happens when that horror-filled city of Elder Things and shoggoths is in plain sight, its existence impossible to deny? How will mankind deal with the realization that we are not the only intelligent species on the planet, and that we are masters of the Earth only by sheer chance? Now that something is stirring, that mastery may be coming to an end.

What happens next? Denial? Exploitation? The rise of strange cults? Maybe even an ill-advised attempt at tourism? Or will the cosmic forces now awakened engulf the entire planet? Here are some of the answers…”

Stories by:


Adrian Cole
Gordon Linzner
James Chambers
Melinda LaFevers
John R. Fultz
Harry Turtledove
James Van Pelt
Robert M. Price
Don Webb
John Shirley
Paul Di Filippo
Frederic S. Durbin
John Linwood Grant
Geoffrey Hart
Amdi Silvestri
Géza A.G. Reilly
Darrell Schweitzer

Verse by:
Ann K. Schwader
Adam Bolivar

My contribution is a chilling tale of the not-too-distant future entitled “The Embrace of Elder Things.” A remnant of mankind has survived climate collapse and global floods by migrating to a high-tech moon colony, while horrors from the ancient past have risen to reclaim the waterlogged earth. Psychic powers and eldritch terrors abound…

There is no specific release date for the book yet, but it will almost certainly be released by the time of this year’s NecronomiCon (i.e. August). I’ll post a fresh update as soon as THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS REVEALED is available.

Art by by Eclectixx

Creation vs. Depression

Art by Jim Steranko

Working on a new novel and the beginning of a new phase for my writing career. I have to be insane to write another novel. After all, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result. I guess you could argue that I’m not really doing the SAME thing over and over because I’m writing very different books. But it kinda FEELS the same–like you keep rowing but never really get anywhere. But that is an illusion–and a classic symptom of depression.

So I’m battling depression fueled by a sense of existential futility. I’m supposed to be on vacation–but luckily I’m too poor to take an actual vacation (as usual), so that kinda forces me to stay at home and work on a book. What else am I gonna do?

The problem is that my depression keeps saying “Why bother? You’re wasting your time! Writing is a fool’s game.” Then the other voice in the back of my head says “That’s self-defeating bullshit. Get off your ass and write!” But the bottom line is that I can’t write unless I feel like writing. I have to keep reminding myself that every novel is like this: I start out slow–a chapter per week if that–and I gradually build up speed as the novel progresses. Sometimes I even get up to one-chapter-per-day by the time it’s over.

Art by Bruce Pennington

I think the real secret is just to KEEP GOING. Put your head down, follow your muse, and crank out that novel line by line, scene by scene, chapter by chapter.


Why does a man climb a mountain?

Because it’s there.

Why does a man write a novel?

Because he’s a fool.

Depression is a bitch. Most writers I know have been affected by it at some point. Some of us have battled depression our entire lives–starting many years before we even heard the word “depression.” I remember as a kid the first time I discovered that people weren’t supposed to be sad and anxious all the time. I was surprised. Doesn’t everybody feel like I feel? And the truth is that everybody gets depressed sometimes–it’s perfectly normal–but it’s those extended bouts of depression that can really make existence difficult.

Depression is antithetical to creativity. Or, to put it another way, creativity kills depression. It’s a great feeling to plant the seed of a creative endeavor (such as a novel) and watch it bloom to fruition under your constant care and hard work. Maybe that’s why my depression doesn’t want me to write–because writing will destroy it. At least for a while…

The problem is that it’s so much easier NOT to write. It’s so much easier to do the wrong than the right thing. The easiest thing in the world to do is fail. Failure requires absolutely no effort, no sacrifice, and no work whatsoever. I guess you could say failure is the “default setting” for humans. We spend our lives battling against failure–or we give into it and watch our lives fade to nothing–first metaphorically, then literally.

Art by Enrich Torres

So the whole point of living seems to be STRUGGLE. Not that we all have an equal struggle–and some struggles go completely unseen by others–but everyone’s got their own cross to bear.

For me, the best defense against depression is creation.

It doesn’t want me to create.

It wants me to give up and die.

I say fuck that.

I choose to live, and I choose to write.


For more info on dealing with depression visit 

It’s here! WEIRDBOOK Annual #2 is available at last. A massive tome of all-new weird fiction—and poetry—all inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. 

A diverse assortment of eldritch horrors and terrors from beyond awaits the intrepid reader.

Includes my story “The Thing In The Pond.”

WEIRDBOOK Annual #2 – Table of Contents

•”The Shining Trapezohedron” by Robert M. Price
•”A Noble Endeavor” by Lucy A. Snyder
•”Ancient Astronauts” by Cynthia Ward
•”The Thing in the Pond” by John R. Fultz
•”Enter The Cobweb Queen” by Adrian Cole
•”Tricks No Treats” by Paul Dale Anderson
•”Ronnie and the River” by Christian Riley
•”Cellar Dweller” by Franklyn Searight
•”Yellow Labeled VHS Tape” by R.C. Mulhare
•”Tuama” by L.F. Falconer
•”Mercy Holds No Measure” by Kenneth Bykerk
•”Treacherous Memory” by Glynn Owen Barrass
•”The Hutchison Boy” by Darrell Schweitzer
•”Dolmen of The Moon” by Deuce Richardson
•”Lovecraftian Limerick” by Andrew J. Wilson
•”A Wizard’s Daughter” by Ann K. Schwader
•”The Shadow of Azathoth is your Galaxy” by DB Spitzer
•”Ascend” by Mark A. Mihalko
•”The Solace of the Farther Moon” by Allan Rozinski
•”The Stars Are Always Right” by Charles Lovecraft
•”Daemonic Nathicana” by K.A. Opperman
•”Asenat” by Ashley Dioses
•”The Book of Eibon/Le Livre D’eibon” trans. by Frederick J. Mayer

Get Your Weird On.

Forbidden Futures #3

Art by Mike Dubisch [Click to Enlarge]

FORBIDDEN FUTURES is a unique celebration of dark fantasy art and storytelling. The third issue features a “high fantasy” theme, but don’t expect the traditional fantasy fare as weirdness and horror are more likely to show up than “sweetness and light” in these adventures.

All the stories are based on artwork by the sensational Mike Dubisch, and the esteemed Cody Goodfellow serves as contributing editor. My story “Tears of the Elohim” appears in this issue, alongside one of Mike’s many superb illustrations.

You won’t find another magazine like this out there, blending voices of fantasy and horror prose with fantastic artwork from a single illustrator’s visionary palette.

Get your copy right HERE.




Darren Coelho Spring’s spectacular film explores the life and legend of Clark Ashton Smith–one of fantasy’s greatest talents, and one of the 20th Century’s most enduring “outsider artists.” [Art by Skinner]

I missed the World Fantasy Convention this year because I was too sick to travel. Feeling much better now, but still disappointed that I missed this terrific convention–it’s been my favorite yearly con since I attended my first one in 2009. (Wow! That was almost ten years ago! Time does fly…)

Front cover of the DVD.

So how did I get over the heartbreak of missing WFC? I watched CLARK ASHTON SMITH: THE EMPEROR OF DREAMS, the brand new documentary spotlighting the life, the work, and the legend of my favorite fantasy writer.

I can’t say enough good things about this film, so let me just hit you with a few of the highlights:

  • The interviews with CAS experts are insightful and get more fascinating as the film continues.
  • The visuals are extremely well-done, as is the haunting and ethereal soundtrack, two elements that work together to create an almost supernatural presence as the story of Smith’s life unfolds.
  • Seeing the actual landscape that inspired “City of the Singing Flame”–one of Smith’s most admired tales, and one of his few fantasies that touch upon the “real world” in addition to his usual fantastical realms.
  • Some parts of the movie achieve an acid-trip style quality; filmmaker Darren Coelho Spring was obviously trying to evoke the weird wonder of reading a CAS tale–and he succeeds at this goal. This bio-doc gets totally “trippy” in a way that is delightfully unexpected.
  • After loving CAS’s work for decades, I now have a true understanding of the MAN behind the literature–the human being behind the cosmic poetry–the wizard behind all those wonderful narrative spells.
  • It traces Smith’s life from the beginning to the end, and provides a living context for his wildly fantastic work and his transcendent mastery of the written word.
  • One of Harlan Ellison’s last interviews is included, and he has some terrific observations about Smith’s work and legacy. Fittingly, Harlan even gets the “last word” in the documentary, exhorting the timeless quality of CAS’s work.
  • The film expertly captures Smith’s status as an “outsider” or “maverick” artist who never sold out, never chased after fame or success, and never once compromised his immense artistic vision.
  • CLARK ASHTON SMITH: THE EMPEROR OF DREAMS is the next best thing to sitting down with Smith himself and discussing the arc of his life in superb detail.

Back cover of the DVD.

One caveat: This documentary is really for those who are already fans of Smith’s fiction, poetry, and other works of art. It’s not a CAS “primer” built to woo new fans. As Harlan Ellison elucidates so very well, Smith doesn’t need to chase fans; they find him.

If you are already a fan of Smith’s work, this documentary will amaze, enlighten, and entrance you.

You can watch the movie online HERE.

You can order a copy of the DVD HERE.

I rented it, watched it, and immediately ordered a copy of the DVD. It will make a terrific edition to anyone’s collection of CAS books.

I’m already itching to watch it again.


Finally, here’s a link to a comprehensive look at Smith’s greatest epic poem, THE HASHISH EATER (or THE APOCALYPSE OF EVIL) that I wrote for Black Gate a few years back. This poem is given a special place in the documentary, as well it should be. There are few if any poems that can match its phantasmagorical imagery.

Ever since the great Tanith Lee passed away, I’ve been meaning to make time for going back and 1) reading some of her important works that I may have missed, and 2) re-reading some of my TL favorites. Now that summer is in full swing, my reading season is here at last.

In the past few years DAW has done a terrific job of releasing much of Tanith’s early back catalog, including the 1976 fantasy classic THE STORM LORD, and it’s two sequels. I’m reading that now and really loving it.

Looking at the great covers this book has been blessed with for over forty years, you can see from these images alone what a powerful story this is. A few years back I found and bought a huge paperback called WARS OF VIS that collected the first two books, but these days I’ve grown used to reading on my Kindle (for various reasons), so this gave me the chance to get all three VIS novels as e-books.

I’m glad to see that DAW has plans for even more Tanith Lee reprints, and they have already released new editions of the TALES FROM THE FLAT EARTH series–which many consider to be Tanith’s greatest masterpiece. However, THE STORM LORD was written directly before she started writing the first of the Flat Earth books, so it’s a look at her creative genius still in its formative stages. She was writing at a breakneck pace in the 70s, and that period is my favorite of her long and distinguished career.


Click to enlarge

The second Magtone story, “Clouds Like Memories, Words Like Stones” is appearing in the pages of WEIRDBOOK #39, on sale now.

Magtone of Karakutas is a poet-thief and a reluctant wizard, the lone survivor of a doomed metropolis. On his trusty flying carpet he soars across a world of lost kingdoms and fading civilizations, ever in search of Odaza, City of Walking Gods. Along the way he meets quite a few interesting folks–in “Clouds” these include a noble tribe of lion-folk and a raging dragon older than mountains.

Each Magtone story is self-contained, but reading them in order will give you the sense of a bigger picture. The first one, “The Veneration of Evil in the Kingdom of Ancient Lies” appeared two issues back in WEIRDBOOK #37.

Table of Contents for WB #39:

•HORROR AROUND THE BEND, by Franklyn Searight
•A TINY CUT, by Samson Stormcrow Hayes
•POSTHUMOUS, by Marlane Quade Cook
•PAGES FROM AN INVISIBLE BOOK, by Darrell Schweitzer
•THAT NAME WAS EVOC, by Lorenzo Crescentini
•MISDIAGNOSED, by Jackie Bee
•DOG DROOL, by Frederick J. Mayer
•SPAWNING GROUND, by Hannah Lackoff
•MONIKA UNRAVELING, by Rebecca House
•CRAWLING WITH THEM, by Jason Zwiker
•SEVEN SISTERS, by James Machin
•THE HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS, by Michael Washburn
•EYES WITHOUT A FACE, by Thomas Vaughn
•CLARTLEY CHOWDER, by Richie Brown
•DIVINE WIND OF THE DARK, by Frank Schildiner
•SKRIK, by Bekki Pate
•DEMIURGE, by Mark A. Fitch
•UP THE LAZY RIVER, by Adrian Cole

Poetry and Short Stories
•EA CARPE NOCTIS, by Frank Coffman
•THE CURSED, by Julio Toro San Martin and Hank Simmons
•BAD NIGHT, by Lucy Snyder
•SONGS OF THE QUAIL, by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
•SYLVAN SIMALCRUM, by Chad Hensley
•MISTER DORTON’S CATS, by Russ Parkhurst
•MISKATONIC ETUDES, by James P. Roberts
•THE AUTUMN PEOPLE, by Kurt Newton

Get Your Weird On.

Summertime Rolls…

Art by Frazetta

It’s summertime again, me hearties! Time for ol’ Fultzy to get “back to the drawing board”– or in this case, the “writing board.”

I’ve been researching and soul-searching lately to figure out what I’ll be writing this summer. Consequently, I’ve changed my original plans:

I will not be writing a third TALL EAGLE novel this summer. Instead, I’m going to focus on writing a new batch of short stories for various markets.

To explain the staggering irony of this decision, a little background: This year I’ve written more short stories than any single year since 2012, when my first novel was published. So I’m kind of on a roll short-story wise.

Writing novels is very different from writing short stories–it requires an entirely different mindset. It’s not as easy as you might think to “shift” back and forth between those two mindsets. Novels require weeks and months of intense concentration on one idea, and expanding that idea to its ultimate potential. With a short story you can do the same thing–explore an idea to its ultimate potential–in a day or two. Of course some stories take way longer to write than others, but no short story takes as long to write as a novel. (At least not for me, anyway.)

Art by Frazetta

Sales of the TALL EAGLE books has not been what I’d call impressive. Reviews are all great, but reviews don’t sell books–regardless of what Amazon tells you. I’ll say it again: Reviews don’t sell books. Especially when those books aren’t being distributed to bookstores all over the world (my first trilogy WAS distributed to bookstores all over the world, so it actually sold a decent number of copies for a relatively unknown writer).

This means there is no real demand for more TALL EAGLE books — at least not right now. I do hope that changes someday, because I’d love to write more about Ispiris and its strange wonders. Maybe the TE series will find its audience eventually, and at that point I’ll come back to it. But right now there is practically nobody waiting/expecting/demanding a third TALL EAGLE book. However, there is always a demand for good short stories.

About ten years ago, I decided to quit writing short stories and focus on novels. After two or three years I had produced my first novel, SEVEN PRINCES, which got me my first Big Writing Contract, and I turned that novel into a trilogy that I’m very proud of. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it did establish a firm fan base of people who really dig The Shaper Trilogy–a fan base that is still slowly expanding from year to year. I got into writing novels because I realized that nobody can build a writing career on short stories alone.

Now, I’ve come full circle–hence the gigantic irony–I’m back to writing short stories because I can’t rely on novels to sustain my writing career. There’s not much demand for my novels–oh, a few people every month still discover the Shaper Trilogy or the TALL EAGLE books–but it’s nothing like a vast audience.

I’m just glad that all my novels are still in print and will be in print (and ebook format) for the forseeable future. That means that all five of my novels are just sitting there–online and offline–waiting for me to drive readers toward them.

THE AUDIENT VOID #5 features two of my latest stories: “Love in the Time of Dracula” and “Oorg.”

Every time I get a short story published, it gets exposure for my name and for my other work. Not every reader will enjoy a story and seek out a novel by that same author–but a lot of them do. I know I’ve always done that as a reader myself.

So every time I get a story published, I get three benefits from it:

1) I get paid. Short stories don’t pay a whole lot–especially in the smaller and indie markets that dig my writing. But I get something in my pocket for all my hard work. That’s nice.

2) As long as I keep writing short stories, as long as I keep getting BETTER at it, there’s always a chance of cracking into a top market (i.e. a high-paying story market).

3) Every published story promotes my novels. The novels are the pillars that support my writing career. But the short stories are foundation stones–they helped me build up to writing novels–and now they help me promote and expose those novels to new readers.

So I’m going to focus on writing short stories for awhile. Short stories that allow me to flex my creative muscles, to grow and experiment, to take various ideas for a ride and see where they lead me. Stories that promote my catalog of books simply by having my name on them.

Weirdbook #37

I’ve started the Magtone Saga already in WEIRDBOOK. This is a cycle of tales chronicling the exploits of a wandering poet-thief transfigured by sorcery. Magtone first appeared in the pages of WB #37. The second Magtone tale, “Clouds Like Memories, Words Like Stones” will be in WB #39–set for release sometime in the next few weeks. A third Magtone story called “Impervious to Reason, Oblivious to Fate” has been accepted for WB #42 (which will be the first issue of 2019). Although Magtone himself plays a key role in all of these stories, each tale introduces new characters, realms, and concepts, fleshing out a phantasmagorical world of magic and mystery.

I’ve also written two new Cthulhu Mythos stories: One for Darrell Schweitzer’s forthcoming MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS REVEALED anthology, where global warming and climate change meet the eldritch horrors of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic — with a sci-fi twist. My contribution is called “The Embrace of Elder Things,” and it takes place mainly in a future moon colony that is the last bastion of human civilization.

Artwork by Bob Eggleton

The other Lovecraftian story is “The Thing In The Pond“– a tale inspired by Clark Ashton Smith’s favorite Great Old One, Tsathoggua, also known as the Sleeper of N’kai. This one takes place in the early 20th Century Midwest, and it’s more of a psychological approach to cosmic horror. Scheduled to appear in the Mythos-themed WEIRDBOOK Annual #2 (Fall, 2018).

I do plan to write more Magtone tales, until that story-cycle comes to its natural end. But I also enjoy the freedom to write stories about whatever I want. The most challenging thing about doing short stories is finding a (paying) publication for them. The trick is to keep writing them, and keep sending them out. Always have something in play. One editor’s “trash” is another editor’s “treasure.” It really is that subjective. I’m glad to have a few markets that are actually requesting stories from me. I hope to expand that list and get my stories into fresh new markets as well.

Meanwhile, my novels aren’t going anywhere. It’s my job to bring the reading public’s attention to them. The best way to do that is to impress readers with short stories that make them want to seek out more of my work. In other words, it’s time to focus on short stories for a while.

Artwork by Rowena, inspired by Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation.”

Instinct tells me that I will return to novels at some point. I love writing novels. But I don’t know when that will be, and I’m okay with it. Above all, a writer has to follow his or her inspiration, regardless of market trends or sales figures.

I want to take this short-story momentum that I’ve built up this past year and kick it into overdrive this summer. My passion for short fiction has come back in a big way, so I plan to keep that fire burning.

And at some point this summer, I hope to mix in some actual vacation-ing.

Thanks for reading…


Cover art by Brad Hicks for “Love in the Time of Dracula”

The Audient Void #5 is now available. It features two stories by Yours Truly (“Oorg” and “Love in the Time of Dracula”) as well as a bunch of other great stuff—including a story and column by David Barker plus scads of weird poetry. Complete TOC below. Order your copy right here.

Interior art by Brad Hicks for “Oorg”

It’s been out as an eBook since last December, but finally SON OF TALL EAGLE has arrived in a gorgeous paperback edition from Crossroad Press. Get your copy now–the Tall Eagle books can be read in any order.

Other news:

I plan to finish a third Tall Eagle book this summer in hopes of having it released before the end of the year. Meanwhile I’m working on a few short stories for various publications.

“Love in the Time of Dracula” appears in AUDIENT VOID #5. Coming soon…

THE AUDIENT VOID #5 will be out soon featuring TWO of my most eerie horror tales.

A second Magtone Tale is coming in WEIRDBOOK #39.

I’m also finishing up a new high fantasy tale for Cody Goodfellow’s lavishly illustrated FORBIDDEN FUTURES, which will debut at Crypticon Seattle (and will be available for online ordering).

Looking forward to cranking out more stories and at least one novel this year, and I’ve made plans to attend the World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore this November. Poe City!


The first review of SON OF TALL EAGLE is in!

Over at the esteemed Black Gate website, ace reviewer Fletcher Vredenburgh has posted his review of the book. Here are a few of the highlights:

“…a model of swords and sorcery precision…”


“New peoples, deeper history, and more danger is uncovered with each new chapter.”

Read the full review HERE. 



WEIRDBOOK #37 is now available.


Don’t miss this issue, which includes the first tale of the Magtone Saga (i.e. “The Veneration of Evil in the Kingdom of Ancient Lies”) and loads of other good stories and poetry.


• “Sea Glass Harvest” by Bear Kiosk
• “The Changeling” by R. Rozakis
• “The Maiden Voyage of the Ariona” by Dale W. Glaser
• “One Million & One” by Andre E. Harewood
• “War is Grimm” by Clifford Be
• “Blood Pact” by Sharon Cullars
• “Something I Have to Tell You” by John B. Rosenman
• “The Curious Simulacrum of Dr. F” by Michael Canfield
• “A Cure for Restless Bones” by Angela Enos
• “Homecoming Corpse” by Andrew Bourelle
• “A Chorus of Shadows” by Sarena Ulibarri
• “Graveyard Wine” by Joshua L. Hood
• “My Last Sixteen Hours” by Angela L. Lindseth
• “Wide Wide Sea” by Jackson Kuhl
• “The Safari” by Michael S. Walker
• “The Water Horse” by Bill W. James
• “The Long Way Home” by S.E. Casey
• “Unseelie Things” by Taylor Foreman-Niko
• “The Veneration of Evil in the Kingdom of Ancient Lies” by John R. Fultz
• “Livingstone” by Cody Goodfellow
•  Plus a selection of poetry by Darrell Schweitzer


Get Your Weird On.

The wait is over!

The SON OF TALL EAGLE eBook is now on sale!

If you’re into eBooks, grab it today for only $4.99.

The paperback edition will be available in Spring 2018.

Also: The first Tall Eagle book, TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE, has moved over to Crossroad Press and is also available in eBook format.

Both books will be available in paperback this Spring, and both are stand-alone stories that can be read in any order.

Click for larger, hi-rez view

I’m happy to announce that the TALL EAGLE series is moving to Crossroad Press. I’m glad to have found a stable home for these books. Some of Ragnarok’s other former authors have already moved to Crossroad, and I’m very pleased to be joining them.

And here’s the best part: SON OF TALL EAGLE will be released far earlier than originally planned!

Ragnarok had it scheduled for June 2018, but Crossroad is anticipating a December 2018 release for the eBook–with the print version to follow shortly after. There are also indications that there will be an audio-book version of each novel.

All of this means that the odds of me writing a third Tall Eagle book (and more) just became a whole lot greater. Ragnarok will continue to offer THE TESTAMENT OF TALL EAGLE until December 1st. After that we’ll be moving it over to Crossroad as soon as humanly possible. Then SON OF TALL EAGLE makes its world premiere before the year grinds to an end.

I will announce specific release dates here (and on FB) as soon as I have them. Special thanks to John Betancourt, Darrell Schweitzer, Charles Phipps, Seth Skorkowsky, and David Niall Wilson for helping TALL EAGLE find its new home.


SKELOS #3 arrived with a bang at the World Fantasy Convention. I hadn’t been to WFC in the last six years, and I’d almost forgotten how fascinating and enjoyable this con really is. Having the lead story in this third issue of SKELOS (“Ten Thousand Drops of Holy Blood”) was a surprising synchronicity–almost like a “welcome back” to World Fantasy. The folks in Texas really put on a great convention, and the SKELOS crew made it extra-special.

Always great to spend time with Darrell Schweitzer, whose latest collection AWAITING STRANGE GODS I picked up in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Fedogan and Bremer. I try to catch all of Darrell’s fiction wherever it appears, but he is so prolific that I always miss a few tales. This latest volume is no exception, with rare dark-fantasy jewels like “The Last of the Black Wine” and “Stragglers from Carrhae” appearing alongside a strongly Lovecraftian set of stories.

The “Reading Dunsany Aloud” panel was a fantastic experience for all involved, as was the “Ancient Cultures, Modern Sensibilities” panel. I was honored to be on both of them, and the latter was the second time I’ve done a panel with the great David Drake. Also the first time I met Alex Irvine in person–his MARE ULTIMA stories made me an instant fan when I read them awhile back. Alex tells me he’s written a new tale in this setting, and hopefully he will write more of them in the future.

Overall, I met so many great people, it’s hard to express in words how vital WFC is for a fantasy writer like myself. It’s a great blend of writers (both professional and aspiring), artists, dedicated fans, editors, publishers, and fantasy enthusiasts of all kinds.

My first WFC was in San Jose in 2009, and I loved it so much I went the next year (Columbus), and the next (San Diego). Then I got so busy working, writing novels, and generally being distracted by the Art of Living, that I stopped attending. Sometimes this globe-hopping con was simply too far away, other times I was simply unable to make the trek.

That won’t happen again.

You see, if I had gone to Britain for the 2013 WFC, I would have met one of my greatest heroes and favorite authors, Tanith Lee. I didn’t make the trip to England that year, and now Tanith is gone. (Rest In Peace) Her legendary body of work remains, so part of her remains with us, but I’ll never be able to shake her hand or see her smile or tell her how much her work means to me. Who knows what I’ll miss if I miss another WFC? If my pal Darrell can make it 40 years in a row, I can too. Of course, he’s got a 39-year head start. But I’m glad to say that I’ve been to WFC four times now, and the con is better than ever.

Next year WFC comes to Baltimore, home of Edgar Allan Poe. This is a good sign for me: My first first WFC was celebrating Poe’s 200th birthday–I remember we had red velvet cake and a spot of absinthe in San Jose. My association with Poe goes back even farther: After a performace of the late John Astin’s one-man-play THE LIFE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE in Chicago circa 1997, I participated in a seance with the actor and a guest medium to call upon the spirit of Poe himself (the results were entirely subjective).

So once again the spirit of Edgar Allan is calling me, this time to Baltimore, where World Fantasy convenes in 2018.

I am so looking forward to it.

The Magtone Saga

I’ve started a new story-cycle starring Magtone the Poet-Thief, a lyrical lowlife who inherits a gift of ancient sorcery along with a sentient flying carpet. These stories are high fantasy meets sword-and-sorcery, with an ancient-world flavor and a heavy dose of magical weirdness. The saga of Magtone’s wanderings will run mainly in the pages of WEIRDBOOK, but he may show up in a few other publications as well.

The first Magtone story is “The Veneration of Evil in the Kingdom of Ancient Lies.” It appears in WEIRDBOOK #37 (slated for a November 2017 release). This innaugural tale introduces Magtone and the fantastic city-state of Karakutas, a metropolitan Babylon built by the power of ruthless wizard-kings. As the Doom of Karakutas approaches, Magtone strikes a deal with the only person that can save him from the coming apocalypse–the same wizard who is about to bring civilization crashing down.

Art by Rowena Morrill

The second Magtone story is “Clouds Like Memories, Words Like Stones.” It will also appear in an issue of WEIRDBOOK (sometime after #37). This tale follows the transfigured Magtone’s adventures in a primal world where he must keep the Legend of Karakutas alive while trying to find a place to call his own. I don’t want to say too much more about it for fear of giving away too many secrets.

More Magtone stories will follow as inspiration strikes.

Meanwhile, don’t miss WEIRDBOOK #37 featuring Magtone’s infamous origin.

Get Your Weird On.

Art by Sanjulian

Greetings, Boils n’ Ghouls…

Another of my gruesome fantasy tales has slipped the bonds of its sarcophagus and fled back into the world to astonish and terrify readers of WEIRDBOOK. And if you’re going to read fantasy, why not make it Weird Fantasy? It’s the best kind, really.

“Strange Days In Old Yandrissa” is a tale of cursed fools and foolish curses, a demon-haunted beard, and a Romanesque world plagued by inconstant eruptions of magic. This wandering space-mummy of a tale is appearing in the first-ever WEIRDBOOK ANNUAL #1. On sale now.

The annual’s theme is “WITCHES.” It’s a big ol’ candybag full of dark fantasy, weird fiction, and sinister poetry. Coming just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, 2017.

What would Halloween be without a few witches?


—-Table of Contents—-


Art by Sanjulian

“Thou Shalt Not Suffer” by Matt Neil Hill
“No Holds Bard” by Adrian Cole
“Laying The Hairy Book” by Josh Reynolds
“Here Is Where Your Proud Waves Halt” by Erica Ruppert
“Vicious Circles” by Paul Dale Anderson
“Assorted Shades of Red” by Franklyn Searight
“Strange Days in Old Yandrissa” by John R Fultz
“Fertility Rites” by Glynn Own Barrass
“The Witch’s Heart” by Rachel Bolton
“Hag Race” by Andre E Harewood
“Best Friend Becky” by Wayne Faust
“The Rat in the Rabbit Cage” by Ashley Dioses
“Two Spells” by Neva Bryan
“Pulled Over” by Paul Spears
“The Witch of Skur” by LF Falconer
“Cat and Mouse” by Duane Pesice
“Last of the Ashiptu” by Paul Lubaczewski
“Nora Witch” by Brandon Jimison
“Firestorm” by Richard H Durisen
“The Witch of Pender” by John Linwood Grant
“The Broken Witch” by Scott Hutchison

Art by Sanjulian

“The Desert Rose Inn” by Maurits Zwankhuizen
“The Ballad of Blighted Marsh” by David F Daumit
“The Witch-Queen” by S L Edwards
“A Witch’s Work is Never Done” by Lori R Lopez
“Halloween Witch” by KA opperman
“Remembering the Peculiar Effects from the Sugar Witch’s Goblin-Brew” by Clay F Johnson
“Sea Witch” by Vonnie Winslow Crist
“Oracle Bone Script” by Frederick J. Mayer
“Little Youkai at the Witch House” by Chad Hensley
“Mother Persephone” by Oliver Smith
“A Warlock Slips Into My Dreams” by Darla Klein

Get Your Weird On.