August has been interesting. I completed a big project last month – which I still can’t talk about, sadly – and this month has mostly been about recuperation and reorientation.
I’ve read a number of good books the past few weeks. I finally finished Tom Holland’s Millennium, an entertaining look at what’s popularly (and erroneously) known as the Dark Ages, as well as a re-read of a number of John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport novels.
I also read the first two ‘Spooky Lemon’ mysteries by Mark Bousquet, as well as Derrick Ferguson’s new collection, Will Write for Food, all of which I highly recommend. Check them out, if you get the chance.
After taking a few days off, I dove back into the thick of it with some work for Hi-Rez Studios, as well as a few short stories. I completed “Hearts of Ice”, a new Baron Vordenburg story that finds him hunting cannibal spirits in the wilds of Thunder Bay. The good Baron also features in a new Royal Occultist story I’ve started work on, tentatively titled “Thirty Hounds Questing”.
“Thirty Hounds…” sees Vordenburg and Charles St. Cyprian joining a hunt for the monstrous Questing Beast of Arthurian legend – but are things as simple as they seem? Probably not! At the moment, this one might wind up being more along the lines of a novella. Its got a lot of call backs to previous Royal Occultist stories, and features a handful of reoccurring characters and organisations, like Philip Wendy-Smythe, the Order of the Cosmic Ram and the Voyagers Club.
Speaking of Arthurian legends, I’m also working on a more traditional fantasy story featuring Sir Marrok, a little known knight of the Round Table – and one with a sinister secret. “The Lay of the Black Sow” finds the cursed knight joining forces with a wily hunter named Ruith, and his murderous companion, Attilus, as they hunt for the eponymous monster.
Those names might sound familiar to those of you who’ve picked up a copy of Tales of Cthulhu Invictus: Britannia from Golden Goblin Press (and if you haven’t, why not?). Ruith and Attilus first appeared in my gory gladiatorial tale, “Matched Pairs”. As to how they came to be running around Arthurian Britain…well, you’ll have to read the story to find out.
I’ve also been working on a new Amina Algol story, “The Wedding of Ooth Ullan”. This one is much more of a straight up sword and sorcery story, as all the Algol stories have been. Amina and her ghoulish siblings must bring a reluctant (and very dead) groom to the altar, but to do so, they have to go through an army of mercenaries, sorcerers and magical constructs.
I completed a new Bruno J. Lampini story this month as well. “Bruno J. Lampini and the Song of the Sea” finds the eldritch acquisitionist in Blackpool – but he’s not there to enjoy the seaside. Instead he’s looking to acquire a most rare item indeed – a live mermaid. But, as ever, misfortune ensues and Lampini is forced to make the best of a bad situation. The previous Lampini stories, “Bruno J. Lampini and the Boots of Frankenstein” and “Bruno J. Lampini and the Claw of Satan”, are both available in back issues of The Audient Void, if you’re interested.
And on the subject of acquisitionists, my new Arkham Horror novel, Wrath of N’Kai, is coming out tomorrow. I did a quick interview about the book over at Track of Words – why not check it out? And if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, or if you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Aconyte Books site for more information.
This month’s Curious Fictions story is “How the Professor Taught a Lesson to the Gnoles”, which previously appeared in 2015’s Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty. It’s free to read for subscribers and non-subscribers alike. I’ve also posted several new chapters of The Whitechapel Demon, the first Royal Occultist novel. There are now thirteen chapters available for subscribers to read for free. Non-subscribers can read the book – including forthcoming chapters – for the low price of $6.00. You can check out the whole thing at Curious Fictions.
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