I have a story in this upcoming anthology. Mystical warrior monk needs to cross a bridge. The most stubborn mercenary ever won’t let him. The story came out really cool if I do say so myself.
It has a ton of great writers in there, including Ed Greenwood, Jean Rabe, Dave Farland, Steven Long, and more. Trust me, you don’t need to be familiar with the game world at all to enjoy this. It is just a bunch of solid, fun, fantasy adventure stories.
Let me share some fun writerly backstory with you about this project came about for me.
Marc Tassin runs the writing tract at GenCon, and does a fantastic job. Managing writers and gamers is like herding cats, but I think GenCon has put together one of the best writing programs of any con in the country. I corresponded with him a bit about programming there, and met him a few times at the con. So that’s how I got to know him. Aetaltis is his game world setting.
I’m at the point of my career where I get asked to be in a lot of anthologies. One of the hardest things for me as a writer is turning down work. I think its because I grew up on a farm, and there is this psychological thing where when people want to give you money for your stuff, you take the job. Only I can’t do that anymore just because I’m too busy, and there are way too many offers, so I have to turn down a lot of short fiction invites. If I’m in an anthology now, it is because the idea behind it is too cool to say no.
When Marc asked me if I’d be willing to do a short story for this setting, because I like the guy, I said send me over the setting book and I’ll take a look. I did. It was pretty awesome. Basic concept, well fleshed out fantasy world, various races and cultures, with all of the ancient history and myth, but then these world gates open, and a new dimension hopping group arrives. Which is awesome. Until the gates explode and everybody is stranded.
And lots of other cool stuff. Okay, I’m in.
In projects where there is an existing universe, and authors are asked to contribute, the creators either have a story idea in mind that is a good fit for what that writer’s style is, or they just show you everything and ask you to pick whatever sounds the coolest to you. This was one of those look at the list of topics and pick kind of deals.
When I saw the master list there were two things that jumped out at me. An order of mystical warriors, who were world hopping and collecting mystical martial arts from various dimensions, until they got stranded, and now they are fragmented into competing schools–which basically lets me play with every 70s Kung Fu movie plot ever–only at their basic fundamental level they are similar to Romans!
There is a race of surly, tundra dwelling, giant cat men, who worship the god of suffering. So the more life sucks, the more blessed they they think they are. And I’ve got a gift for writing morose, stubborn protagonists.
Boom. Done. When you come up with your whole story in like ten minutes, and you’ve got enough stuff about the characters that didn’t make it in to fill another novel by the time your’e done writing the short, you know you’re onto something.