After HISSMELINA hits the Internet via trade paperback and ebook versions, my next project is the fantasy collection, FOUR FROM MANGROVE.
For years I have been publishing short stories all based in, or around, an iron-age city-state called Mangrove. So I took what I consider to be the finest four short stories and collected them for publication in a single volume.
The four stories that I selected were: "A Child of the War God", which is set the earliest in the one thousand-year history of Mangrove; "Deadly", another one in an earlier version of the nation; "One Curse, One Blessing", which was the first Mangrove story that I ever sold and which was always my intent to expand into a novel at some future date; and "The Krang", the most recently written of the quartet and which takes place in what I consider to be the height of that state's position as an empire.
Early on in my days as a writer I wanted to compose mainly fantasy fiction. This was, of course, part of an urge to try to achieve something like the emotions I felt upon reading the works of Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, and Karl Edward Wagner. But in the days when I wanted to work in that format I always had a literary agent. And each time I would mention the subject to my agent (whomever that might be at the time) I was dissuaded from pursuing the matter because "fantasy is a hard sell". And they'd steer me back toward horror. (Yeah, I know...LOL!)
And so, of course, this has led me to the conclusion that the ebook format could very well be the liberating influence that so many writers have concluded. The verdict is still out on that matter, in my opinion. I won't have my first ebook reader until Santy Claus arrives at my house on Saturnalia. However, it has released me to finally place my fantasy fiction (at least some of it) out there in a format other than a single short story sold here or there over the course of many years.
Along with Howard and the likes of Karl Wagner, Frazetta inspired my love of fantasy fiction.