Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thunder on the Battlefield - Mercenaries & Ravens - Alex Hughes


I get a little strange when I’m short on sleep. Particularly, on week four of six of the Odyssey intensive writing workshop, working on six hours or less of sleep per night consistently, I get very strange. I start picturing myself as a mercenary in the middle of a long, brutal campaign against overwhelming odds, sword in hand and company around me, mud and battle up to my ears.

The genesis of The Fourth Rule started with just such a fantasy at Odyssey. I had less than a week to produce a complete story, a story which the guest author was slated to read. Lots of pressure, very little sleep, and suddenly my mercenary fantasy reared up and said, write me. So I did, mud and battle and all.

Hara started as a version of me in that moment, but as the best characters do, she slowly took on a life of her own. Hers was a hard world, and she was a hard character, but she cared. She cared too much.

Writing Hara’s story—one that originally had a much darker ending—was a heart- wrenching exercise in a world that was at the end of the line. It’s the story that broke out for me, the first short story I’d written that stood on its own at a longer length and still packed an emotional punch. When I had a chance to pull it out and polish it for Thunder on the Battlefield, I jumped. The new ending has a bit more hope, and Hara’s character has evolved again. But the core of the story, the ravens over the battlefield and the general drunk on power, stayed very much the same.

I love this story, for all its bleakness. I love it because of its bleakness. And I hope you feel the same.

Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! You can visit her at Twitter at @ahugheswriter or on the web at www.ahugheswriter.com.

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword - HARK! to the sounds of battle. Mighty men and women who take their destinies with the strength of their arm and the sharpness of their blades. These are tales of warriors, reavers, barbarians, and kings. Lands of wonder populated with monsters, black- hearted sorcerors of Stygian power, and heroes who have blood on their hands and on their steel.

This is SWORD AND SORCERY.

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery - BEHOLD! the clash of war. Steel upon steel and heroes fighting shield to shield. The only true victory is a brave death and the destruction of your enemies. These stories harken back to a barbaric past that never was. A time when heroic men and women cut glory from the cloth of a sorcery-filled world and stole gold from the hands of the gods themselves. This is fiction that takes no prisoners. No quarter asked. No quarter given.

This is SWORD AND SORCERY.


About the Editor: James R. Tuck lives outside Atlanta with his lovely wife and awesome kids. He has been a professional tattoo artist for 18 years and is a talented photographer. He is the author of the DEACON CHALK series (Kensington Books), the author of the CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH series (Pro Se Press forthcoming 2014), the editor of the double anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD Volumes 1 and 2 (Seventh Star Press), and his short fiction has appeared and will appear in several anthologies such as: ONE BUCK ZOMBIES (One Buck Horror), THE BIG BAD (Dark Oak Press), HOOKERPUNK (Dark Oak Press forthcoming), ROBOTS UNLEASHED! (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), KAIJU RISING 2 (Ragnarok Press forthcoming), MONSTER EARTH 2 (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), and BADLANDS:TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Zelmer Pulp forthcoming).

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.