Two New Thurvok Stories and a New Silencer Story

This is a triple new release announcement, partly because I was ill and partly because certain retailers are really dragging their feet in getting the books up. Still, better late than never.

While I was ill, Richard Blakemore has certainly been busy, because we published two more stories in the newly launched Thurvok series as well as a new Silencer adventure.

For those who don’t know or remember, Richard Blakemore is the protagonist of my Silencer series, a pulp fiction writer in 1930s New York who moonlights (quite literally) as the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer. As for how Richard Blakemore, who’s fictional after all, can write books – well, he can’t. I’m writing them for him.

The full story of how the Thurvok stories came to be may be found here (my version) and here (Richard’s version). The short version is that during the 2018 July short story challenge, I found myself writing several sword and sorcery stories about a wandering sellsword named Thurvok and his growing number of travel companions. Those stories were a lot of fun to write and since I know that Richard Blakemore was an avid reader of Weird Tales and a fan of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories and C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, the idea to pass off the Thurvok stories as Richard Blakemore’s lost sword and sorcery series from the 1930s with myself as the editor who rediscovered them was born.

In his first two adventures, Thurvok quickly found a friend and companion in Meldom – thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin. In the two stories that follow, our dynamic duo becomes a quartet, as both Thurvok and Meldom find partners.

Even though the beginnings of the sword and sorcery genre birthed several warrior heroines (Jirel of Joiry, most notably, but also Robert E. Howard’s various heroines such as Red Sonya of Rogatino, Dark Agnes de Chastillon or Bêlit) and one of the originators of the genre was a woman, the genre’s record with regard to women isn’t all that great, particularly in the first forty years or so. Sword and sorcery heroes are loners and wanderers by nature and romantically, they tend to be the “love ’em and leave ’em” type or rather the “rescue ’em, love ’em and leave ’em” type. Sword and sorcery heroes do tend have a romantic streak and occasionally, they fall in love deeply and truly. In those cases, the woman (and it always is a woman for the first few decades – the homoerotic implications of the genre wouldn’t be acknowledged until much, much later) will either die (Fafhrd and Gray Mouser’s first loves, who die tragically on the night the two heroes first meet, and Conan’s Bêlit) or otherwise turn out to be completely unsuitable. My favourite twist on this is, “I love her deeply and truly, but unfortunately she is an evil rat hybrid princess who is the wrong size for me and has also tried to kill me repeatedly and wants to take over the world, too”, which happened to Fritz Leiber‘s Gray Mouser in the latter Lankhmar stories. There are longterm stable romantic relationships in sword and sorcery such as Simon R. Green’s Hawk and Fisher (and even the notoriously unlucky in love Fafhrd and Gray Mouser eventually wind up in stable relationships, though not with the evil rat princess), but that’s not what the genre is normally known for.

One of the main problems of the July short story challenge is coming up with inspiration for 31 different stories in 31 days, so I occasionally use shortcuts like various writing prompts, inspirational images, etc… And during last year’s challenge, one of the things I did was draw a Tarot card and use that as a writing prompt. I drew the Eight of Swords, but rather than use the meaning of the card as a prompt (though that did filter into the story eventually), I instead used the image as a prompt and asked myself: Who is the woman? Why is she tied up? What is happening here?

Once I had those answers, I realised that this looked like another adventure for Thurvok and Meldom, one where they get to rescue a damsel in distress, though this particular damsel proves to be remarkably useful. If you want to know more, read…

The Road of Skeletons
The Road of Skeletons by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertOn their way to the northern city of Khon Orzad, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, travel along a road lined with the skeletons of executed heretics.

It’s a grim path that becomes even grimmer when Thurvok and Meldom come upon a blindfolded woman who is still very much alive tied to a stake by the side of the road.

Should they continue their journey or rescue the woman and risk the wrath of the priest kings of Khon Orzad…

This is a short story of 5500 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 5500 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

Since Thurvok had taken a liking to Sharenna, the damsel in question, and she had nowhere else to go anyway, I simply sent her travelling with Thurvok and Meldom, who was still single for the time being. That changed a few days later, when – still during the July short story challenge – I looked through abandoned story starts to see if anything struck a spark. And so I came across a page or so of what was supposed to be a historical adventure romance loosely based on the legend of the burghers of Calais, only that the burghers were young women. I had abandoned the story, because I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, because either I’d have to rely on terrible people suddenly deciding not to be quite so terrible after all (which is what happened with the burghers of Calais according to the legend) or I’d somehow have to make an all-out suicidal assault on a superior force work or I could maybe rescue one young women and hang the rest. None of those options really worked, so I shelved the story. But when I dug it up again, I realised that magic could make the story work – I’d only have to turn it into a fantasy story. And then I thought, “Hey, I have just the right team to solve this problem.”

Of course, Thurvok and his friends needed to reason to intervene and so I upped the stakes by making one of the young women to be hanged Meldom’s childhood sweetheart. The story pretty much wrote itself after that. So if you want to know how I resolved the dilemma of saving the female burghers of Calais – pardon, Greyvault – read…

The Forest of the Hanged
The Forest of the Hanged by Richard Blakemore and Cora BuhlertAccording to the laws of the Rhadur, whenever one of their own is killed in one of the cities they have conquered, twelve citizens chosen at random must die in turn. Now the Rhadur governor of Greyvault has been murdered and in retaliation, his successor plans to hang twelve innocent maidens.

One of the women to be hanged is Lysha, the childhood sweetheart of Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin. When Meldom learns of Lysha’s fate, he immediately sets out to rescue her, accompanied by his friends Thurvok, the sellsword, and the sorceress Sharenna…

This is a short story of 6500 words or 24 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.

More information.
Length: 6500 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

And for the record, I am aware that three of four Thurvok stories so far feature walking undead bodies of some kind. I have no idea how this theme came to be, especially since I don’t particularly care for zombies or other variations of the undead. But then the beauty of the July short story challenge is that sometimes, certain themes just show up out of the blue. And this time around, walking undead corpses betn on revenge was one of them.

But Richard Blakemore hasn’t just been busy writing sword and sorcery stories. He still has a crimefighting career going on as well. And since Richard was very much on my mind due to writing his author bio, setting up a blog and a Twitter account for him and even filling out a Smashwords interview in his persona, it was no big surprise that I also found myself with an idea for a new Silencer story.

And since I was also setting up the round-ups of Valentine’s Day themed speculative fiction and mysteries and crime fiction at the time, I suddenly thought, “You know what would be fun? A Valentine’s  Day Silencer story.”

Of course, the problem was that this thought occurred to me literally five days before Valentine’s Day. And so the question was, Would I be able to finish the story in time?

In the end, I made it – though barely – but because of the slowness of certain retailers that shall not be named, I had to delay the official announcement. And then I got sick.

So, somewhat belatedly, see the Silencer save a young man’s marriage proprosal and enjoy a Valentine’s Day dinner with Richard and Constance:

A Valentine for the Silencer
A Valentine for the Silencer by Cora BuhlertValentine’s Day 1938: All Richard Blakemore a.k.a. the masked crimefighter known only as the Silencer wants is to have a romantic dinner with his beautiful fiancée Constance Allen.

But on his way to his date, Richard happens upon a mugging in progress. Can he save the victim and make sure that young Thomas Walden has the chance to propose to his girlfriend? And will he make it to dinner with Constance on time?

This is a short Valentine’s Day story of 5500 words or approx. 20 print pages in the Silencer series, but may be read as a standalone.

More information.
Length: 7200 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Inktera, Playster, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, e-Sentral, 24symbols and XinXii.

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