I’m sorry, dear blog readers, but I’ve been cheating on you. I have a post over at Alt Hist. “At the Boundary of the Normal” is about how horror and historical fiction work well together. So if those are things that interest you, go check it out…
One by one, Rhodri plucked the stones from the field and dropped them into his basket. More than just rocks, they carried the spirits of past generations, reaching out to Rhodri through fragments of their land.
Every spring the same, since men came to this valley in a time older than tales. Rhodri heard the spirits of those long dead men whisper in his ear, an echo of when they worked these same fields.
The tale of one man’s struggle for survival and his connection to the land, my story ‘The Sound of Stones’ is out now in Alt Hist Issue 9. And there’s more…
Alt Hist Issue 9 brings you the best new writing in historical fiction and alternate history. This issue features six new short stories and takes the reader from German occupied Yorkshire to Samurai-era Japan, via the Bermuda triangle, medieval Wales, the Vikings and post-war Ireland. You’ll find action-packed stories of fights against sea monsters, the intrigue of resistance against Nazi and Norman oppressors and the upholding of honour within traditional Samurai and Viking societies inside the pages of Alt Hist Issue 9.
A young peasant girl dreams of fighting fantastic beasts with her trusty sword. But with the Hundred Years War in full and brutal swing, violence is far from glamorous, and ordinary people live in fear for their lives. What will she do when real enemies appear?
Find out in ‘A Sword’, my new story available in issue 8 of Alt Hist, the magazine of historical fiction and alternate history.
I’m always proud to have a story in Alt Hist. As someone who loves both real history and fantastical fiction, it fills a niche that’s close to my heart. It’s also clearly a labour of love for the editor, Mark Lord, and one I’m pleased to feature in. This issue is available now via Amazon and Smashwords.
I love the Middle Ages, that period in European history when feudal lords spent centuries bullying each other in a battle for domination, and from which the first fragile seeds of our modern society emerged. I love it in the same way that I love villains and traitors – it’s a great subject for stories, but I’m bloody glad I wasn’t there. War, plague, famine and of course death – Europe got a huge dose of the four horsemen during that period, not to mention some pretty unsavoury religious and political practices.
Those of you who’ve read From a Foreign Shore or paid attention to my responses to the Writing Excuses exercises will have noticed that I channel this passion into a lot of my writing. It helps that I have an MA in medieval history and two years research experience, which between them save me a lot of research time. But that experience comes from the same source as my medieval writing, rather than inspiring it. My fascination for that era keeps drawing me back.
Issue 7, available now via Amazon (the ebook edition isn’t up there yet, but I’m sure it will be soon), features my story ‘Cold Flesh’, a horror story set during the fallout from one of England’s many medieval rebellions. The rebels have been hanged, but will their memory let the victors move on?
Following on from that, I’ve just had a story accepted by Mark for issue 8. This one’s a straight up piece of historical fiction, giving a child’s perspective on the horrors the Hundred Years War inflicted on northern France. When writing historical and fantasy fiction, it’s all too easy to glorify war and focus on its more active participants. But stepping back and remembering the victims isn’t just important, it’s a way of finding different sorts of stories, different perspectives on life.