Saturday, October 23, 2021

Day of Might - Oct 23rd marks a S&S Holiday

Grab a candle, gong, and S&S magazine/book now, and prepare to celebrate!

As notified via the Tales from the Magician's Skull blog, the Skull commands you to celebrate Sword & Sorcery today. Listen to his video transmission.



Check out Liam Lyceum's Video, as he explains how to celebrate:

But Liam is one of the few. What are you doing to celebrate S&S?

The Skull suggests you click here to be notified of a future publication!


But wait, there is more. Listen to Joseph Goodman and Howard Andrew Jones celebrate the Day of Might:


Nov-Dec S&S Groupreads

 

Sword & Sorcery Group on Goodreads

Join us for our Nov-Dec Group-read Topics (Folder/Discussion links below)


Cover Art Credits [Stephen E. Fabian (Far AWay & Never), Ken Kelly (Conan and the Emerald Lotus) and Lauren St. Onge (When the Goddess Wakes)].


Campbell's Ryre in Far Away & Never
Far Away & Never by Ramsey Campbell Far Away and Never by Ramsey Campbell

Conan Pastiche
Conan and the Emerald Lotus by John C. Hocking Conan the Rebel by Poul Anderson The Mists of Doom (Cormac Mac Art, #1) by Andrew J. Offutt Solomon Kane by Ramsey Campbell

Howard Andrew Jones' Ring Sworn Trilogy
When the Goddess Wakes (The Ring-Sworn Trilogy, #3) by Howard Andrew Jones For the Killing of Kings (The Ring-Sworn Trilogy #1) by Howard Andrew Jones Upon the Flight of the Queen (The Ring-Sworn Trilogy, #2) by Howard Andrew Jones

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Special Tales from the Magician's Skull issue AND Sat. Oct 23rd is The Day of Might

 

Special Issue, Available only through the October 2021 Kickstarter

With intern#331, I scried the future by reading the bones in the Skull’s scat (recall, we clean out his chamber pot). Noting the arrangement of osseous matter, extended ligaments, and larvae-ridden marrow, it seems likely that 

(1) the remains are from intern#127 and ....

(2) The KS will offer a special issue not available in print through any other channel. (It will be available in PDF elsewhere, but the print version will only be available through this KS.)

People who have already subscribed can extend their subscriptions via the KS. Click here to be notified of the ~Oct 24th Kickstarter:

Click here to be notified!

Also, the day prior to the launch, Sat. Oct 23rd, expect some video extravaganza.  See here an excerpt clipping from Tales from the Magician's Skull #6:





Saturday, October 9, 2021

Tales From the Magician's Skull Welcomes Grave Lindberg, Jr. as Publicity Thrall

Tales From the Magician's Skull Welcomes Grave Lindberg, Jr. as Publicity Thrall

Goodman Games announces Publicity Intern



Content reposted from the Goodman Games site:


It pleases the Skull to announce the hiring of Intern #331 to the position of Publicity Thrall, tasked with the propagation of news and announcements concerning Tales From the Magician’s Skull in the realmspace of the interwebs. Furthermore, the Skull anticipates a job opening along very similar lines to materialize in around 4-6 months, and will be accepting applications for Intern #322 at that time.

A surviving participant of the Skull’s recent Open Call, Intern #331’s initial task at Skull HQ was the preparation and serving of coffee, a task he performed poorly. Therefore he was enrolled in the Skull’s continuing education program and imbarred in a kennel, forcibly separated from his Teddy Bear “Rufus,” the suspected source of a degree of retrograde emotionalism on his part, and commanded to ‘seriously contemplate’ his career aspirations. In a move that greatly impressed management, he was utterly forgotten about for several weeks, and #331’s ability to both not overburden his superiors with ephemera and not lose his mind in the oubliette of horrors wherein he was confined recommended him for promotion. When it was realized he was one of the few survivors of the Open Call by dint of his misplacement, this ‘interred intern’s’ upward trajectory was all but assured.

As one of the select survivors, #331 earned the much-coveted Intern-of-the-Year Award, which he is permitted to gawp at in the vault on the first Tuesday of every odd-numbered month. But far grander than this, Intern #331 has been allowed to remain at the Skull’s side for even more TFTMS publishing-world experience, and he will even hereafter be known by his mortal name outside official documentation (though he is forbidden the removal of his numerical tattoo). And, while the Skull cannot currently recall his actual name . . . he is certain it rhymes with Hindenburg.

(Upon further review of both the thaumaturgical archives and the kennel sign in sheet, it has been determined that Intern #331’s name is in fact Grave Lindberg, Jr.)

This Fall, #331’s role primarily involves the ritual cleansing of the Skull’s chamber pot, but he will also be expected to broadcast public announcements while manning the pillory. We have little hope he will last, but please join us in welcoming another pair of hands in service of the Skull!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Weirdbook Zombies - Released with "Queen of Hearts" by SE Lindberg

 

Weirdbook's Annual Anthology edited by Doug Draa is available now!  

US Amazon Link

Proud to have contributed the caboose story in this one with my story "Queen of Hearts" that pits Man vs. Nature.

"Queen of Hearts" is Horror-Noir, a humorous, bloody take on a New Orleans steeped in coffee, rather than alcohol; when criminals weaponize coffee beans, Nature wins. "Queen of Hearts"  illustrates that Man can only try to manage other naive Men; Nature is not ours to control.

The story was inspired years ago when I visited New Orleans and met fellow Perseid Press/Heroika authors Charles Gramlich​ and Beth Paxton​.  

Official Anthology Blurb: 

Every year, WEIRDBOOK Magazine publishes a collection of short stories to thrill and delight readers worldwide. This year, we challenged authors to come up with memorable takes on the zombies, and the result is this fantastic collection of 34 new stories. Included are:

  • The Meddler, by Matthew John
  • Tiger Girls vs. the Zombies, by Lucy A. Snyder
  • Dead Between the Eyes, by Adrian Cole
  • Alive Again, by Franklyn Searight
  • The Night Hans Kroeger Came Back, by Kenneth Bykerk
  • The Marching Dead, by Andrew Darlington
  • I Wished for Zombies, by D.C. Lozar
  • O Mary Don’t You Mourn, by Mike Chinn
  • To Die, To Sleep, No More, by Erica Ruppert
  • Run, Monster, Run, by Teasha Seitz
  • Another Night in Bayou Sauvage, by Chad Hensley
  • Kifaro, by Dilman Dila
  • But I Love Him, by Scott Wheelock
  • Who Wants to Live Forever? by Angela Yuriko Smith
  • The Dead Are Always Hungry, by Christopher Alex Ray
  • Zen Zombies, by R. A. Smith
  • Cassius Max, by KT Morley
  • A Nanotech Samsara, by J.N. Cameron
  • Pine in the Soul, by John Linwood Grant
  • “Welcome Home”, by Craig E. Sawyer
  • Papa Hanco, by Ed Reyes
  • They Shall Eat Dust, by Josh Reynolds
  • In Shadow Valley, by Nick Swain
  • Devil’s Bargain, by J.F. Le Roux
  • Right for You Now, by Andrew Jennings
  • E’Zunguth, the Zombie God, by Maxwell I. Gold
  • Lazy River, by Kelly Piner
  • The New Human, by Shayne K. Keen
  • This Little Piggy, by EV Knight
  • Life Unworthy of Life, by Stephanie Ellis
  • More Blood, by Carson Ray
  • This Creeping Cold, by Kevin Rees
  • The Body I Used to Be, by Scott Edelman
  • Queen of Hearts, by S.E. Lindberg

Plus poetry by Ashley Dioses, Avra Margariti, Josh Maybrook, Darrell Schweitzer, Lori R. Lopez, Allan Rozinski, K.A. Opperman, Gregg Chamberlain, Robert Borski, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Colleen Anderson, and David C. Kopaska-Merkel.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

GenCon_2021_ In Lieu of the Writer's Symposium

This is part of a set of posts summarizing my GenCon 2021 experience:

  1. Overview of Gen Con 2021
  2. Gaming Hall & Painting
  3. in lieu of the Writer's Symposium <-- You are Here
  4. Dead Man's Cribbage Unboxing
_______________________________________________________________

In lieu of the Writer's Symposium:

Just a few years into volunteering with the Writer's Convention, I was sad when it got canceled in 2020 (with the entirety of GenCon, and again this round). Covid didn't help at all. Additionally, some key planners, volunteers were also struck with life changes (even two tragic deaths largely unrelated to the virus). In short, the future of the Symposium is in peril/disarray.  As per Melanie Meador's suggestion, I've reached out to GenCon's event coordinator about assisting in reviving it, but have not heard back. I'll be trying to stay in touch with others to get something going in 2022. For now, I found other ways to connect with the author/publishing crowd.  

Chicago? My own personal panel with two S&S role models

Okay, without any Writer's Symposium volunteering to do Wed. night I arranged a visit with Joe Bonadonna and David C. Smith. They live in Chicago, and I figured I could handle a ~7hr round trip (3.5hrs each way) drive to see them during the time slot I planned to network in Indianapolis. We had a four-hour discussion over lunch at Moretti's Ristorante.  

Joe has had my back ever since 2015 when he reviewed Lords of Dyscrasia for Black Gate. Since then, he and I have shared several TOCs for Perseid Press's Heroes in Hell and Heroika anthologies. Great guy, His Dorgo the Dowser books are fun to read, in part since Dorgo feels like a natural extension of him.  

Meeting David C. Smith in person was awesome too. Of course, he and Joe have partnered to write several short stories and the Waters of Darkness novel. I got to know David via reviewing his Oron books (including this tour guide on Black Gate). Managed to update his wikipedia page too as I worked with him to iron out the reading order (check out his photo!).

These two both have muses rooted in cinema. I soaked up their conversation as best I could. Was honored to share signing books with them.


Back in Indy: Author's Avenue

I met Chris A. Jackson during my first time to GenCon. He's writing a bunch of Pathfinder material now, and ~3 other series. I liked his Weapon of Flesh previously, so I picked up Zellohar and Nekdukarr, which are Sword & Sorcery novels co-written with his wife Anne L. McMillen-Jackson.

He shares an interest in reviving the Writer's Symposim. He clued me in on the never-ending "continual convention" too: https://www.continualconvention.com/.


Film Scripting Panel Video Film Festival

I infiltrated the Film Festival to learn how they approach writing. Apart from using Final Draft software, their process for creating a story differs in many ways from a novel. Namely, the story creation is often a team effort, so the interplay between writers, actors, and the directors is interesting.

Game ID:  FLM21197368 Gen Con Film Festival
Description:   Making a movie? First you'll need a script! Learn from our experienced scriptwriters!
Start Date & Time: / Friday, 12:00 PM EDT; Location: / Westin : Council



Indie Design & Publishing Roundtable

Game ID:  SEM21195822. Satine Phoenix, former community manager of Dungeons & Dragons & Jamison Stone, Creative Director and CEO of Apotheosis Studios, have gathered some of the great minds of indie gaming for a live roundtable discussion on game design & publishing.

Start Date & Time: Friday, 1:00 PM EDT /  End Date & Time:  Friday, 2:00 PM EDT /  Location: Westin : Grand IV

L-->R : Sam at Indiegate, EmiIy Setigue, Jamison Stone (Creative Director and CEO of Apotheosis Studios,), Satine Phoenix (former community manager of Dungeons & Dragons)


Artists

Lots of great artists were present. I got a print and spent some time speaking to Echo Chernik https://www.echo-x.com/index.aspx. Her art nouveau style may be a good fit for depicting Dr. Grave's daughters (whom I am writing about now).


Unsheathed

I recognized Unsheathed in Jay Erikson's booth (I'm a big Charles Gramlich fan who has a contribution in this Sword & Sorcery book).  Had a great conversation about gamifying novels into 5e or Pathfinder modules, and learned about the July 8-10 2020 Imaginarium symposium (entertheimaginarium.com).




GenCon_2021 Gaming Hall

This is part of a set of posts summarizing my GenCon 2021 experience:

  1. Overview of Gen Con 2021
  2. Gaming Hall & Painting: <-- You are Here
  3. in lieu of the Writer's Symposium
  4. Dead Man's Cribbage Unboxing 

_______________________________________________________________

Game Hall

This was the first year I had time to play in the Hall!

The Night Cage

Played this in the vendor area. This one I passed on Kickstarter, but the design kept drawing me back to the booth.  It's a cooperative game for 1-5 players. I played a match with one of the designers (Chris McMahon). I played with a family, the two younger ladies were not engaged at first, but within minutes were got the rules down and managed to partner to exit the labrynth of darkness. Got a signed copy and all the extra KS goodies (neoprene matt, metal figurines for player).

Perdition's Mouth

I missed the original Kickstarter, but did purchase the full set via Dragon Dawn Productions. This is a dungeon crawler, cooperative, without dice. Awesome dark themes.  My son and I had finished the main campaign, however, I wanted to play in the Game Hall.  In a 3hr session, I played with four friendly strangers...and we had fun marching to our doom/

Playing Bristol 1350

A game which we both backed via Kickstarter, but never got around to getting the 6+ players needed to test it out; here, we have Facade games teach us the rules.

Wyrd Games

Was on the hunt for a good ghost story game, and while roaming the Game Hall I stumbled across Vagrant Song by the makes of Malifaux. Apparently, it was in high demand, but I managed to snag a limited copy.


Cincinnati Arsenal Gaming 513CAG.com

I hail from the greater Cincinnati area, but was unaware of this crew. They had a bunch of tables in the gaming hall and their mission seems to be help people play games. Super cool. They let my brother and I perform our unboxing of the prototype Dead Man's Cribbage game here. 



Kevin Fannin - Painting Miniature Class 

Lots of crafting classes were sold out fast. I enjoyed this 2hr crash course for introductory mini painting.











GenCon_2021 Overview

Overview of Gen Con 2021  


This is part of a set of posts summarizing my GenCon 2021 experience:

  1. Overview of Gen Con 2021  <-- You are Here
  2. Gaming Hall & Painting
  3. in lieu of the Writer's Symposium
  4. Dead Man's Cribbage Unboxing
_______________________________________________________________

Overview of Gen Con 2021:

  • Gencon 2020 was canceled due to covid; 2021's event was moved from the traditional first week in August to Sept 16-19 (i.e. out of Summer break, and into school season).
  • Attendance dropped from ~70K attendees to ~35K. 
  • Many events were canceled, including the Writer's Conference which I usually attend (prior links: GenCon50_2017, GenCon51_2018, GenCon52_2019GenCon53_2021); in lieu of the desired networking, I found other ways to connect (see agenda item above in the blog list)
  • My brother and I share a passion for making games, including Dead Man's Cribbage and his economic literacy games Free Market Kids.
  • There were fewer vendors (~1/3 less I think), and these were gifted more space between them on the floor


Gamers playing games...everywhere 

Pictures here are from our hotel, the downtown Embassy Suites by Hilton, which is a great place to stay with the world's most obscure entrance.

Mask and Crowds

Everyone seemed to wear their masks and keep their distance most of the time.  Short time periods of crowding occurred when the "running of the nerds" commenced entering the vendor show. The weather was beautiful, and there was plenty of opportunities to walk around outside.





Obligatory stupid poses:



Lots of loot:

In addition to ~10games, I snagged this cool "Dungeon Maze Blanket" to match the shower curtain already in my house (already owned, thanks to John O'Neill for the lead). You can purchase them thru Gamers ConceptsApparently the artist is Dyson Logos. Check out his cool stuff: https://dysonlogos.blog/maps/


Furniture of the future:

At least three vendors were present with RPG games that play atop horizontal monitors.
Several fancy game table manufacturers were present too. I was most enticed by Wyrmwood's offerings. 












GenCon_2021 Dean Man's Cribbage Unboxing

This is part of a set of posts summarizing my GenCon 2021 experience:

  1. Overview of Gen Con 2021
  2. Gaming Hall & Painting
  3. in lieu of the Writer's Symposium
  4. Dead Man's Cribbage Unboxing  <-- You are Here
_______________________________________________________________

Dead Man's Cribbage Unboxing  

This showcases the Dead Man's Cribbage game by unboxing it. Learn more about the game at: http://www.deadmanscribbage.com/

"Traditional Cribbage with role-playing elements, narrative design, board, and miniatures! Just pick a role (ID card) representing a face-card from the suits: Hero, Villain, Skunk, or Deadman...then play Cribbage. Choose a peg that matches your character/colored-suit. After counting your hand as normal, just obey the card for bonus pegging. Your bonuses depend on your character state (healthy or infected). These vary by character." 

Unboxing presented at the Cincinnati Arsenal Gaming table in the GenCon 2021 Game Hall. Learn more about CAG: https://513cag.com/ 

Virtual version available via the Tabletop Simulator (hosted by Steam, Link

Monday, September 13, 2021

Books For Beverage Program

Buy a book that I published or have a short story in...then ping me to meet up... and then receive a complimentary beverage (coffee, tea, beer, etc.).  That's the Books-For-Beverage program.

Dick Ward has been the best at this. Always fun to meet up with friends and fans.  Appreciate his support over the years. 


Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sublime, Cruel Beauty, Interview with Jason Ray Carney

This interview appears in Black Gate (9/9/2021):

SUBLIME, CRUEL BEAUTY: AN INTERVIEW WITH JASON RAY CARNEY



 Jason Ray Carney (aka Ayolo)

Art & Beauty in Weird/Fantasy Fiction

It is not intuitive to seek beauty in art deemed grotesque/weird, but most authors who produce horror/fantasy actually are usually (a) serious about their craft, and (b) driven by strange muses. To help reveal divine mysteries passed through artists, this interview series engages contemporary authors on the theme of “Art & Beauty in Weird/Fantasy Fiction.” Recent guests on Black Gate have included Darrell SchweitzerSebastian JonesCharles GramlichAnna Smith Spark, & Carol Berg. See the full list of interviews at the end of this post. 

This one features Jason Ray Carney who is rapidly becoming everpresent across Weird Fiction and Sword & Sorcery communities (in fact you can probably corner him in the Whetstone S&S Tavern (hosted on Discord)). By day, he is a Lecturer in Popular Literature at Christopher Newport University. He is the author of the academic book, Weird Tales of Modernity (McFarland), and the fantasy anthology, Rakefire and Other Stories (Pulp Hero Press, reviewed on Black Gate). He recently edited Savage Scrolls: Thrilling Tales of Sword and Sorcery for Pulp Hero Press and is an editor at The Dark Man: Journal of Robert E. Howard and Pulp Studies, for Whetstone: Amateur Magazine of Sword and Sorcery and for Witch House Magazine: Amateur Magazine of Cosmic HorrorIncidentally, Jason Ray Carney has also contributed here at Black Gate with a post on Robert E. Howard's Bran Mak Morn character and musings on How Sword & Sorcery Brings Us Life.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Queen of the Martian Catacombs - Review by SE

Queen of the Martian Catacombs by Leigh Brackett

S.E. rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many Sword & Sorcery readers also adore Leigh Brackett. To date, I had only read The Sword of Rhiannon which I enjoyed. As part of a group read in the GR S&S group I'm reading more.

Brackett was a prolific writer, notable known for writing part of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V). In the Queen of the Martian Catacombs, written in 1949 (~30 yrs prior Star War) you can see some overtones. "Eric John Stark" is the hunky rogue, a mercenary for hire with a heart---clearly a Han Solo figure. Women adore him, in this case, a princess causing rebellion Berild (Leia?).

The romance is heavy-handed, but the action and scenery are expertly paced. There is a ton of information provided with just the right amount of words. Even though Stark is the awesome hero you'll still feel that he is in peril, and will even feel for the characters he forms relationships with.

At ~25K words, this is more of a novella than a novel. It is available online via the Gutenberg project, but I enjoyed the paperback; the edition I read was illustrated well.

To boot, there are splendid descriptions that are stunning (bold font is mine).

Excerpt 1:
But Berild had gone a few steps farther. With a hoarse cry, she bent over what had seemed merely a slab of stone fallen from the cliff, and Stark saw that it was a carven pillar, half buried. Now he was able to make out the mounded shape of a ruin, of which only the foundations and a few broken columns were left.

For a long while Berild stood by the pillar, her eyes closed. Stark got the uncanny feeling that she was visualizing the place as it had been, though the wall must have been dust a thousand years ago. Presently she moved. He followed her, and it was strange to see her, on the naked sand, treading the arbitrary patterns of vanished corridors.

Excerpt 2)
Stark saw it rising against the morning sky--a city of gold and marble, high on an island of rose-red coral laid bare by the vanished sea. Sinharat, the Ever-Living.

Yet it had died. As he came closer to it, plodding slowly through the sand, he saw that the place was no more than a beautiful corpse, the lovely towers broken, the roofless palaces open to the sky. Whatever life Kynon and his armies might have foisted upon Sinharat was no more than the fleeting passage of ants across the perfect bones of the dead.

This is great stuff! I'm on to Black Amazon of Mars next.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 3, 2021

 A Sorcerer of Atlantis by John Shirley

S.E. rating: 4 of 5 stars

Entertaining Pulp Adventure by Veteran Author

A Sorcerer of Atlantis: with A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts has two key parts: (1) A three-chapter novel called "A Sorcerer in Atlantis" that has been released in doses over the years, and (b) the lost-world trip : "A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts", which despite its second billing, I enjoyed more.

First let's cover the author. To do that, I'll borrow from Douglas Draa who edited the 2020 release of Weirdbook #42: Special John Shirley Issue (~11 stories, including bits of those in this collection). Here's how Draa introduced John Shirley (who has written with several pen names):
“Seriously, Mr. Shirley is the recipient of multiple Bram Stoker and Locus Awards. He has won the International Horror Guild Award twice (along with 6 nominations). He has written two albums for Blue Oyster Cult, the original draft for The Crow, and been nominated for an Emmy for his work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Oh! And he’s also scripted for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!” – Douglass Draa Intro to WeirdBook #42

A Sorcerer of Atlantis

 Publication History. This three-chapter novel has been published piecemeal. If you are looking for more Snoori and Brimm stories, they will probably be coming, but understand that the previous incarnations are essentially duplicated.

1) Jul 4, 2017, Swords Against Darkness, edited by Paula Guran
    I. The Swords of Her Heart (by John Balestra)

1+2) Feb 26, 2020, Weirdbook #42: Special John Shirley Issue contains an entry called "Swords of Atlantis" which is really:
    I. The Swords of Her Heart
    II. Swords for the King

1+2+3) Jun 15, 2021, A Sorcerer of Atlantis: with A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts. With few changes, like the renaming of the Poseidon priest 'Mestor' to 'Nestor', we get a new chapter plus the previous two:
    I. The Swords of Her Heart
    II. Swords for the King
    III. The Destiny of Atlantis


Without spoiling, the ending hints at another adventure set in Latina, Roma. That makes sense, since that would build on the strengths of this light-hearted read (focused on Atlantis to this point). The core milieu builds on tensions between Greek and Roman myths/history, namely between the sea-god Poseidon and the fire-appreciating Vulcanus. The call-outs to Roman and Greek gods are usually interesting (minotaurs, necropolises, volcano tubes under Atlantis) but are sometimes heavy-handed (Romulus and Remus make an unnecessary cameo).

The key strength is the fun environments, battle, and varied creatures. My favorites were the "Uncertain" demon trapped inside the Cold Heart of Jupiter and the demon "Zirrish." Expect lots of crypt walking and speaking with ghosts. That said, A Sorcerer of Atlantis is more comedic than immersive. The protagonist is Brimm the Savant, who is not only a suave barbarian but a competent magician. He’s both warrior (with his piercer sword) and mage so he can summon demons to do his bidding (like kill his enemies) if he can remember the spells. There is plenty of grand fights, but you’ll never feel like Brimm is actually in danger. Snoori is his foil, a compatriot who has a knack for escalating trouble. Romance is over-the-top melodromatic, with two royal women Selinn and Maitha fawning over Brimm. The first chapter reads like Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series, with a fun duo fighting Lovecraftian horrors with swords & magic. The later chapters introduce a bunch of characters and enlarged the party such that it assumes more of an epic fantasy feel (classic S&S focuses on one hero).

Conflict? Brimm and Snoori are ostensibly after gold or honor (or something to pass the time). Thanks to Snoori's brilliant ideas, and Brimm going along with them, they are really causing troubles and then trying to fix them. Yep, most of their actions are damage control. Ultimately, Brimm's journey is really a coming-of-age story of a wanderlust dude who learns that he desires to protect others (Atlantis). It all starts with Cleito, and her presence and power extend through all three chapters.
And there, in an old palace [in Atlantis], awaits the beauteous Cleito, a princess who has offered ten bushels of gold to any ten men who will become the Swords of her Heart: the champions who will destroy a minor demon.” - Chapter 1

A Prince in the Kingdom of Ghosts:

This entry is not Sword & Sorcery, but it is pulpy adventure that likely will satisfy the same readers. The light-hearted tone of Shirley pervades this story too. The protagonist Kerrin lives in contemporary times as a gem cutter, but is suddenly drug to a different world, one that promises to reveal the mystery of his father's sudden death (which happened when Kerrin was a teen). Kerrin's plight is more interesting than Brimm, and the weird descriptions a tad weirder (and more impactful) than the Atlantis adventure (which had decent settings actually). Anyway, here's two excerpts of the experience:

1) Kerrin looked over his shoulder at the palace... The gardens encircling the palace were varicolored, with enormous purple blossoms and vines with butter yellow blooms; then came a stand of trees with jade-like foliage. Along the edges of the avenue were nodding, diaphanous growths, some fifty feet high; translucent and drooping, their branches subtly moved of their own volition like the arms of sleepy Hawaiian dancers, slowly shifting gigantic translucent leaves. Light from the sparkling moon refracted by the broad lens-like leaves shattered into primary colors that fluxed with secretive dynamism. It made Kerrin think of an effect from light striking an inclusion deep within a polished diamond. As the phaeton trundled along, the light from the growths served as streetlamps, illuminating the road and an exquisitely serene pond of orange night-blooming waterlilies and golden lotuses, coming up on their left. The bordering lilies were artfully counterbalanced by swans, now easing toward their nests in the reeds. A small herd of deer cropped grass along the farther shore of the pond. Kerrin felt called, summoned by the light softly pulsing in the limpid water; by the living serenity of the place. He wanted to leave the phaeton and go to the pond, to sit in contemplation of it.

2) Illuminated by shafts of red light coming through the translucent stone at the peak of Bald Mountain was a squirming aggregation of ghosts. Specters in various stages of incarnation struggled like hundreds of white moths caught in transparent glue. They were fixed in a kind aspic of decaying caro spiritus—the source of the rancid odor underlying the smell of dead bats. Nearly three hundred spirits seemed entombed at Kerrin’s feet, in a putrefied melding of souls. Their faces were contorted with anguish, lined with misery, pinched by fear; their mouths were open in endless outcry. There were spirit countenances that had been Caucasian, African, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, all united by a cruel compression, a crushing constraint within their bonds. Kerrin could make out rag-ends of arms and legs, but not a complete body in the lot. Most of the fragmented ghosts were groaning, wailing, calling out in various languages for assistance.


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