Out Now – Racing the Headsman in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly


Bullets hissed past Sir Henry Torrent’s head like a swarm of angry flies. Some hit the floating prison’s quay, knocking splintered holes through the planks. Others vanished into the darkness, lost between a starless sky and the endless sea. At this range, he feared only a little for his life, the danger adding spice to an already glorious adventure.

‘Captain, they’re almost on us!’ Israel Pound turned, snapped off a pistol shot, and scurried on towards the ship, leaving a cloud of greasy, sulphurous smoke.

‘Pray don’t vex yourself, Pound.’ Sir Henry ushered their manacled guest towards the gangplank.

‘But Captain…’ Fresh yelling caused Pound to put his breath into speed, not speech.

‘Have faith,’ Sir Henry said. ‘I told you, I have a plan.’…


I have a new story out! Published online in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, “Racing the Headsman” is a fantasy alternate history story. In the 17th century, a vast flood has drowned half of Europe. Their Civil War interrupted, the English now fight each other on the high seas. Royalist Sir Henry Torrent is trying to restore King Charles to the throne, with a parliamentary fleet dogging his every move. When he meets the king himself, everything changes.

You can read “Racing the Headsman” for free at this link.

Feathers – new story out now

Hal stood on the track out of Olbry, feeling the wind whip off the moor, watching a dark shape soar on rotten wings. He heard the cawing of the raum crow and the whimpering of his son from their hut. The cawing filled him with anger, but the other sound ripped his heart…

I have a new story out today in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, an ezine that’s free to read and does what it says on the tin – plenty of heroic fantasy. My story, ‘Feathers’, is about a longbowman who, after years of war, finds himself facing a different sort of danger – a curse that is plaguing his home and that threatens to kill his son.

IMG_0670[1]Like so many of my stories, ‘Feathers’ was inspired by people and events from history. Longbowmen played a huge role in English military successes in the later middle ages, and archers in general have played an important part in warfare and hunting down the centuries, yet they don’t seem to feature all that much in fantasy fiction. I wanted to find a way to make their particular skills central to a fantasy story.

I’ve actually learnt more about longbows since writing this story, thanks to the folks I met at a historical reenactment fair. It turns out that, while the best longbows are crafted to the right height and draw length for a specific archer, they were often mass produced for armies and the archers then had to adapt to what they were given. It wasn’t uncommon for bows to snap in battle, given the strain of repeated use and the less careful crafting that went into producing hundreds in a short space of time. Imagine being that guy – an armoured knight’s barrelling down towards you, you draw the bow ready to take him out, there’s a snap and suddenly you’re trying to fight him with two ends of broken stick. Definitely a scene I’ll squeeze into a story at some point.

So go check out ‘Feathers‘ at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, and if you enjoy it there’s also a coupon code at the end of the story to buy my collection By Sword, Stave or Stylus for only 99c.

And of course let me know what you think of the story in the comments below, and if you enjoy it then please tell other people about it.


NaNoWriMo update:

I’m slightly ahead of where I need to be, with 3601 words written in the first two days. My main characters now have names, and the first chapter has turned out to be longer than expected, meaning I won’t have to plan chapter two until tomorrow. So far so good.

How are you guys getting on?