Short Stories and Samples
Thank you for your interest in my writing. This form provides free access to a number of my short stories and the opening of my new novel, The Death of Dulgath.
Some of these works have appeared in other books, which I'll mention in their descriptions.
- The Thieves: A band of thieves sets upon two lonely riders in the middle of the night. They had a larger party. They had the element of surprise. There was no reason to be concerned, but they didn’t realize who they were dealing with. Origin: This was a scene written, and cut, for Nyphron Rising (the first novel in the Rise of Empire omnibus). Eventually, it became the opening of Theft of Swords when Orbit purchased and republished the series as three, two-book volumes.
- The Viscount: Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, before even assuming the title of Riyria, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief decides to teach his idealist swordsman partner that no good deed goes unpunished. Will Royce wind up proving his point or be schooled himself? Origin: This was published in the fall of 2011 under the title The Viscount and the Witch. It was written to provide a gift to my fans after my books were removed from the market to make room for Orbit’s versions. It’s also the seed that later became The Riyria Chronicles, and this short now appears as the second chapter of The Rose and the Thorn.
- The Jester: Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive. Origin: First released in the Unfettered anthology (edited by Shawn Speakman and published by Grim Oak Press), I did something a bit unusual with this short story. Faced with a word count restriction, I wrote what is essentially the climax for what could have been a full-length novel. I throw the reader into the middle of the action and make only brief allusions to what had come before. It’s an interesting experiment and seems to have worked out well based on the high praise it has received.
- The Death of Dulgath: When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria is hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since the war-weary mercenary Hadrian and the cynical ex-assassin Royce joined forces to start their thieves-for-hire enterprise. Things have gone well enough until this odd assignment to prevent a murder. Now they must venture into a forgotten corner of southern Avryn—a place whose history predates the First Empire. As usual, challenges abound as they try to anticipate the moves of an unknown assassin before it’s too late. But that’s not their only problem. The Countess of Dulgath has a dark secret she’s determined to keep hidden. Then there’s the little matter of Riyria’s new employer…the Nyphron Church. This sample is an excerpt, not a short story. It’s the opening scene to my new novel, which will be coming out before the end of 2015. It hasn’t yet been copy edited (I’m still writing the novel), so please forgive any minor mistakes you may find. I do think it’s in pretty good shape, but I often find my opinion and my editor’s opinion are two different things. ;-)
- Burning Alexandria: Irwin Gilbert is a hoarder, a bookworm, and after a cosmic event leaves the earth void of all electricity, the owner of what might be the world's largest remaining cache of novels. Irwin has a dilemma, however, the world has turned cold and he has no idea how long it will last. When faced with freezing to death, can he dare to burn "his friends" and how will he choose which will be used to keep him alive. Origin: this short story originally appeared in "The End: Visions of Apocalypse" edited by N.E. White. I wrote it the weekend I learned of Ray Bradbury's death and is a homage to this master of science fiction.
- The Riyria Sampler: A compilation of all my free Riyria shorts: The Viscount, The Jester, The Thieves, and The Death of Dulgath sample.
I hope you enjoy this little "sneak peek" into my writing, and if you do, I hope you'll consider reading one of my novels: