Curses Dark and Foul – A Personal Story

Hi everyone! It was a blur last week, especially over the weekend since I’ve been attending the SFWA Conference online. It’s been both fun and busy. The SFWA conference was busy and the Nebula award winners were announced with great fanfare on Saturday night.

This week, I share a continuation about Curses Dark & Foul as progress continues toward publication of the anthology. With the cover ready, compiling the final manuscript and creating the book blurb are on my radar. The final manuscript is underway and I’ve been studying a blurb for an anthology to write. With some solid progress, I hope to schedule the release over the next week or so for later in the month.

The last of the stories in the anthology is For No Reason. It’s another story involving a curse, but much more personal to the main character who has a vested stake in the outcome. The curse not only endangers him but the entire settlement and there’s nothing that can be done.

Haunted with the curse, the main character is hardly able to live with a sense of normalcy as his well-being, both physically and mentally, erode under the effects of the curse. There is but one way to break it and the way is seemingly closed. It’s a broken life and a broken community, with everyone waiting for the curse to take them all. What can be done with no answers at hand?

Such is the scene for the final story of Curses Dark and Foul. For No Reason was written back in 2012 and is a story I spent a little time shopping around to short fiction markets. Again, it was a story that editors liked but simply could not use at the time. Such is the case with much short fiction but it does not mean that these stories should not be read. I now share them as an anthology and open the door that these can be picked up in other venues some time in the future. Perhaps these will gain a bit more life of their own over time, just like The Black Bag has over the years.

Curses Dark and Foul will be found initially on Amazon in several categories. I again share the artwork and hope anyone reading will also share it on social media and elsewhere, especially when the sales link is announced. I’ll post a few more ways you can support the release with a minimum of effort. I have a few places where I can communicate more about the book and other upcoming releases – two private groups – one on Goodreads, named Marston’s Station, and the other on Facebook, named The Broken Bow Inn. Simply click the links and request membership and I’ll get you in where you can view more about this release as I post plans.

Thanks for reading today and I’ll be along throughout the day to reply to your thoughts in the comments section. Please share on social media and reblog as you are able.

Curses Dark and Foul – More Background

Good morning everyone, I hope you are well this week and that you had a good week last week. Today marks the second post about my upcoming fantasy anthology, Curses Dark and Foul, due to be released in just a few weeks. You will note that the cover is ready and has been ready for several weeks. This cover is important, because it represents a bit of all three short stories in the anthology. Here’s a bit of a taste of how it does so with each of the stories and bit of background for one of them.

The cover features a young woman in the foreground and behind her is a looming beast. All three of the stories deal with curses so the title is Curses Dark and Foul. Two the stories deal with a beast. And two the stories have a young woman who is a character in a story. The story highlighted today has both a beast and a young woman. So that’s how the relevance of the cover works for all three of the stories. It ends up being a solid bit of artwork for the anthology with some relationship to all three stories.

However, the cover best represents the story, Shadow of the Beast. I’m not going to share much about the story lest I give it all away, but you can easily see the importance of the cover to this particular story.

Shadow of the Beast is a story that I wrote several years ago and considered what to do with it for a while. It required I develop the main character with some subtle influences in his life. He is tasked with a seemingly impossible job and essentially blackmailed into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

The story came from the kernel of an idea about being alone on a snowy night at a campfire. The question came to mind: what was beyond the light? What could be out there in the wild stalking the darkness? Those are straightforward questions, but they easily come to mind whenever you find yourself alone in the dark with very little light. You can at least imagine what it would be like in a deep wilderness or anywhere else that you might be in such a situation. It’s also easy to imagine what it was like a little more than 100 years ago before electricity was so prevalent, and what it’s like in many isolated places in the world yet today. That is, in part the essence of the story, but there is far more to it than that simple kernel.

So there you have it, the character tasked with a job he doesn’t want to do and a fire in the dark. Of course there’s more and the story leads to that setting. The setting speaks for itself and I hope you will enjoy the story. Here’s a blog post from over on Story Empire where I discussed more about how your imagination and impressions of your surroundings change when you are alone in the dark for an extended period of time. The link for the pre-order is coming soon, I’m just not quite finished with the compiled manuscript.

Thanks for stopping by today at Archer’s Aim. Please share and re-blog the post as you see fit. Also, leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments section and I’ll answer as is I can.

The Next Step: Curses Dark & Foul

Good morning everybody, it was an interesting and eventful week with the release of An Arrow Against the Wind in print edition, which finally completed a long journey for that book. Now, I turn my sights on the rest of my projects. If you missed the release news, here’s the post and print links.

Today, however, the priority shifts a little bit toward another upcoming project rather than sharing about my writing and publication schedule. The next immediate release on my calendar is an anthology entitled Curses Dark and Foul. It’s my first anthology, so I’m interested to see how the book will do as I dip my toes in this particular type of writing/publication.

The anthology features three short stories which all involve a curse some kind. I really like each of the stories, including The Black Bag which is the oldest. The Black Bag was written some years ago and the few people who read it at the time really enjoyed the story. It was originally published in an online fantasy magazine that’s long gone. Then it landed another publication in a small fantasy magazine. Its not unusual for a short story to be sold like that several times as the rights lapse, but it was good that it received that much play even in some minor short story markets.

That last periodical in which The Black Bag appeared was in 2010. The next summer, I attended a writer’s conference for the first time. Since there was a competition for best published short story in print, I entered The Black Bag just to see how it would do. Much to my surprise, the story won the contest and even earned more prize money than it ever did in periodicals.

While I was looking to publish The Bow of Destiny, I decided to release The Black Bag as a single short story edition. Over time it’s done fairly well and received decent reviews so I decided to included in this first anthology edition. It’s not unusual for short stories to appear in multiple anthologies and various publication formats, so I’m not too worried re-using it. Plus, it’s not as if my short story e-book edition has sold widely. I also think it’s good to include a short story that has some history in this first anthology and add bit backbone.

But enough of the history of The Black Bag. Here’s a bit of the thumbnail sketch about the story itself. This is a fantasy tale about a young woman whose family runs afoul of witches from from the nearby village. Things don’t go well and the main character, named Coryss, finds herself alone against the witches. These particular adversaries have some rather nasty plans in store for Coryss with their magic, but she’s got some spine and wants to stand up to them. The story takes an unexpected twist or two down to the end and includes some rather unusual magic in the form of curses and, well, I will ruin the story by telling you anything else.

For now, I leave you with some extra mock-up artwork I received. The release date is pending so I don’t have a link just yet but that’s coming soon. I’m also in progress of updating the site with a page for the book among other tasks so look for that soon and an announcement on the welcome page. There is always much to prepare for an entirely new book but it’s quite a lot of fund working on it all. Having the artwork makes the process easier too.

That’s all for this week. Now it’s your turn. You can leave your comments in the section below and I’ll be back next week with a little bit more about another story the anthology. Please share this post on your social media ad reblog it if you liked it. I’ll respond to comments as quickly as I can.