Today, I’m participating in a tour for not one, not two, but THREE books! A little further down I’ll bring you a guest post by the notorious Stephen Zimmer, but for now, let me share each of these awesome titles with you, since I don’t want to leave any of them out!
Journey into the dangerous and exciting world of Gorias La Gaul in this collection of short stories from highly-acclaimed author Steven Shrewsbury! Volume One includes the tales “Day of Iniquity”, “Ashes of the All-Father”, “Author and Finisher of Our Flesh”, “Insurmountable”, and “Beginning of the Trail” (a prequel story leading into the events found in the novel Overkill).
Fans of authors such as Robert E. Howard are sure to love the adventures of Gorias La Gaul, as he battles all manner of adversaries wielding two blades fashioned from the wings of angels!
Blood and Steel: Legends of La Gaul is Sword and Sorcery as the genre was intended to be!
: Steven L. Shrewsbury, from Central Illinois, enjoys football, history, politics and good fiction. Over 300 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media. His small press novels include OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, THRALL, BAD MAGICK, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR, GODFORSAKEN, the forthcoming PHILISTINE and BLACK SON RISING. These titles run from horror to historical high fantasy. He tries to drown out the rumors that he is Robert E. Howard reincarnated with beer. When not wrangling his sons, he can be found outside in his happy place.
Escape into the wonders of Ave in this first collection of short stories featuring the fantastical world from the Fires in Eden Series by Stephen Zimmer.
“Into Glory Ride” tells the story of a young Trogen Warrior who is called to go up against insurmountable odds when an Elven raid strikes his homeland. The Trogens have only begun training winged steeds for combat, but time is of the essence and a momentous choice has to be made by the young warrior.
In “A Touch of Serenity” a conscript laborer working on a massive wall constructed under the orders of the Divine Emperor begins to hear ghostly voices asking for help. His response leads him on a journey that will test his courage, wisdom, and compassion.
In “Moonlight’s Grace” a young man goes to help his people when a Midragardan raid strikes Gael. He seeks to prove his worth to the chieftain whose daughter he loves with all his heart.
The novella-length “Winter’s Embrace” follows a warrior-monk into the depths of dangerous woodlands in the heart of winter. There he will find his faith tested in ways he never anticipated, when he must help a forest witch against an enigmatic, immortal being known as the Undying.
“Lion Heart” introduces the heroic Sigananda of the Amazu people, who must confront things that transcend the laws of the physical world when powerful Wizards threaten his homeland.
In “Land of Shadow” a knight who is part of a band of Avanoran mercenaries discovers how perilous the mysterious Shadowlands are when they undertake a journey to locate a site to build a fortress.
A world of wonder beckons to be explored and fantasy enthusiasts are invited along for the journey in these half-dozen stories from the world of Ave!
Also be sure to take further adventures in Ave in the Fires in Eden Series, beginning with Crown of Vengeance, Book One!
Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.
In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.
“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.
In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.
“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.
The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.
Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer, the author of the Rising Dawn Saga and Fires in Eden Series.
Leaping off of the Hellscapes theme, I invited Stephen to talk a little bit about horror today:
From Selah: well horror is something of a departure for you (at least in terms of what you’re known for), so how about a post about why you decided to write Hellscapes, what it was like delving into that type of topic and genre matter, what were your influences, and what made you want to tackle that sort of thing?
First, thanks so much for letting me Selahway with you for awhile! The music of a certain Styx song is sounding in my head right now, in fact. And no, it’s not “Mr. Roboto”, just to be clear!
Though I am primarily known at the moment for writing epic fantasy and urban fantasy, I have always been a big fan of the horror genre. Clive Barker is one of my all-time favorite authors and one of my influences, and I was deep into reading horror fiction all throughout my formative years as a writer.
While Hellscapes represents my first book release squarely in the horror genre, I do feel that there are many horror elements woven all throughout both of my established series. Whether it is my depictions of the Abyss and the diabolical realms therein in The Rising Dawn Saga, or some of the intense scenes involving monstrous creatures in the Fires in Eden Series, horror elements have often been present in my writing.
Hellscapes simply immerses fully into the genre. What could be more horrific than the place of ultimate nightmares? The inspirations for the stories come from my own fascination with works like Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise lost, and the macabre, fantastical imagery present in Clive Barker’s work (and not just his literary work, but also his incredible art). I’ve long been interested in the depictions of hell all across history, within many religions and cultures. Hellscapes gives me the opportunity to bring everything together in the context of a themed collection of stories.
The tone of these stories are undeniably dark and visceral, but there is a method to the madness. The various visions of hell are revealed through a character-driven focus. I felt it to be important for the readers to get a sense of why the figures in the stories are deserving of their dismal fates, so the plot and character development has to convey why they find themselves in such horrific situations.
The horror genre allows me to work with more graphic, violent, and lurid elements than I could make use of easily in other genres, but I try to avoid shock for just shock’s sake. The vivid depictions of hell are meant to drive home the sheer nightmare of being in this kind of realm, and also to show at times how ugly and truly horrible the things that got the characters into this predicament are. Having a “moral to the story” element gives the evils their proper depiction and place, in my view.
In Hellscapes there are some “guide-like” characters that are introduced as well, who I intend to bring back in the future; specially the Stranger, from “TheSmallest Fish”, and The Soldier, in “Lords of War”. These kinds of characters allow for some interesting narrative approaches, which I think will be even more impacting as readers get familiar with them. It is also possible that some of the ill-fated souls will return here and there, as readers may find in this first volume!
All in all, it has been a nice change of pace from the other types of writing projects I am engaged in. It allows me to really go after some of the things I find awful in the world with a vengeance too, so perhaps a little catharsis results from creating these tales!
I do understand that some of my fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk readers will not connect with these, but at the same time diehard horror fans who might not enjoy epic fantasy or steampunk will find these to their liking. In that sense, it is nice to be able to reach a few readers who I might not have been able to before.
Above all, though, I really enjoy writing these and am already looking forward to Volume 2. I have a folder filled with plot and environment ideas. The folder grows all the time too, as every day when looking out upon the world, and what’s happening in it, new ideas take form. Weird, visceral, hard-hitting, the Hellscapes are here and I invite readers who love the horror genre to explore the realms where angels fear to tread!
Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, whose works include the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Rising Dawn Saga (epic-scale Urban Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon tales (Steampunk), the Hellscapes tales (Horror), and the Rayden Valkyrie tales (Sword and Sorcery).
He is also a writer-director in moviemaking, with feature and short film credits such as Shadows Light, The Sirens, and Swordbearer.
Connect with Stephen at the following links: