Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thunder Canyon

This is the announcement that Thunder Canyon will be appearing in Rage of the Behemoth this summer along with a whole host of other excellent authors of heroic fantasy. I'm thrilled to be a part of it, mostly because I've seen it build from the ground up. Some of the more astute of you may raise an eyebrow at how an RotB slush reader just happens to get past the slush pile and accepted into the anthology itself. Well, in the words of Michael Westen, "Let me tell you a story."

Through my involvement in Return of the Sword, I was asked by the newly formed Rogue Blades Entertainment to read the submissions for the next anthology and pass up my comments and thoughts. Clicking on the Rage of the Behemoth tag to the right will give you all the details of that situation. I was asked to read slush because I shared the vision of the final product with editor Jason Waltz. In the course of reading I kept getting frustrated that the stories were not capturing two important things: 1) Rage, and 2) Behemoths. My thoughts quickly coalesced into the exact style of story I thought should be accepted. At first I resisted but as the characters began to form I could hold back no longer and I wrote Thunder Canyon in secret. So I suppose I had a bit of an advantage in that I knew what wasn't working but personally, I was ready to write the type of story that was needed. Luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation. So I submitted the story (read by other slush readers) and it fell favorably upon Jason's eyes.

Now for the story itself. It is the tale of Rath, a simple blacksmith who never asked to be a hero but is plunged into a situation that requires steely determination, brutal and unrelenting anger, and a sharp blade. Here is an excerpt from the opening scene:

"Rath slid a knife between the guard’s ribs while holding the man’s mouth shut from behind... His revenge had begun."

The other prominent character in the story is the behemoth, a thirty foot tall stone giant from a hidden race called the Wen Quaar. (The origin of the name is a blog post all its own. Suffice is to say I stole it from myself.) The giant is also in a position he doesn't want to be in and looks forward to correcting it and enacting a little revenge of his own. So the basic plot is: Anger + Large Things + Target Rich Environment = Blood + Wreckage.

All that and a love story as well.


Rogue Blades Entertainment said...

I'm glad you broached the topic of slush-reader/accepted-author, Jeff. I thought about doing so, then figured I'd simply respond when - if - necessary.

You left out one thing, though. Folks - Jeff told me before the open submissions period for RotB began that he would not be writing and submitting to this one. He had other projects he was working on and didn't have a story idea. Though disappointed (his "Battle of Raven Kill" in RotS generates lots of comments), I was also excited. Excited because (a) I had come to realize that I sure could use some help reading and evaluating and (b) Jeff's blogging and writing and emails with me indicated that we think a lot alike about our heroic action fiction.

So I asked him to read for RotB and he graciously agreed. I told him he could generically discuss the process on his blog and we had a good routine going. And he's right: far too many stories missing rage or real behemoths were coming through.

One day he emailed me and said he got an idea for a story, he'd love to write it and give the antho a shot, could he try? He asked. I said yes.

His story went through the same vetting process as all the others, anonymously and read by 3 others. And it passed its way up to me. And I loved it. End of story.

I think you'll love it, too.

NewGuyDave said...

I can't wait to get my paws on it!

Jeff Draper said...

With everything else that's going into this anthology, I'm looking forward to the final copy myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

Jeff Draper said...

The artwork that Jason's revealing is pretty amazing. This thing's gonna look great.