I’m marching toward the November release of Turn Over the Moon, moving into the final revisions on the manuscript and putting the promotional materials in place. But you don’t have to wait to read a new story set in Ahn-Tarqa: order a copy of issue #4 of Tales From the Magician’s Skull now (either in print or PDF) and read my novelette “Dead Queen’s Triumph.”
“You—don’t yet believe—that I am your queen.” The tongue moved freer as the abomination became used to speaking. “For long, I forgot that I was as well. But I am royal blood still. See?” One of the manipulated arms placed its hand over a flap on the chest cylinder. Fingers gripped the sides and pulled it open.“Dead Queen’s Triumph”
Tales From the Magician’s Skull is a sword-and-sorcery magazine published by Goodman Games, and each issue is packed with the best names currently writing in the genre, such as James Enge and John C. Hocking.
My long-time friend, author Howard Andrew Jones, edits the magazine. He was generous enough to ask me to submit a story for consideration. Although I enjoy reading sword-and-sorcery immensely, I don’t write many pure examples of this type of fantasy. But I felt “Dead Queen’s Triumph,” a story that made the rounds with other magazines that found it too bizarre for their table of contents, was a good match for Magician’s Skull in the “Weird Tales” sense. Like all my Ahn-Tarqa stories, it is science-fantasy rather than fantasy (dinosaurs and weird science instead of demons and dark magic), but it must have still fit with Howard’s plans for the magazine since he purchased it.
The story has an unusual history: it emerged as a sequel to another story that has still never seen publication. “Dead Queen’s Triumph” can stand on its own, but I hope one day you’ll have a chance to read its predecessor and inspiration, “The Forever Usurper,” where you may learn more about the villain, the queen of the title. She’s my favorite part of “Dead Queen’s Triumph”; I put immense effort into creating a genuinely grotesque and intriguing adversary. I hope you enjoy meeting her and you survive with all your original.
Thanks to illustrator Randy Broecker for the great—and icky—illustration for “Dead Queen’s Triumph.” It shocked even me when I first saw it, but … yes, that’s what I described. I’m a sicker writer than I thought.