Thralls of the Fairie – Baldairn Motte

A new anthology from Craig Comer – ebook available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.

I’m excited to say that Thralls is now also available in print – Get yours here!

Broken into three sections, I’m sharing more about each in turn:

TALES OF BALDAIRN MOTTE – Far away in Baldairn, the king is dead. As armies march and lords grasp for an empty throne, the villagers of Burn Gate find themselves caught between protecting their families and defending their lands. For the crofter, Trask, the decision is simple, but the cost will shape the fortunes of those he loves.

Baldairn Motte started as a question posed by author Ahimsa Kerp, who wondered how the men who fought for Sauron in Lord of the Rings were tricked into believing they were in the right. That idea melded with one of my own, where I pondered over the impact a large medieval battle would have on the local populace—the farmers and villagers who had to deal with trampled fields, slain livestock, and a sea of rotting corpses. Not to mention the loss of life and the struggle they faced between honoring their duties to their lords and protecting their families.

Along with author Garrett Calcaterra, we set out to explore these topics in a slightly different manner—we would each create our own story based around a common set of “factual” events. In this way, each of us would tell a different point of view of the same conflict. The original result was the three novellas of The Roads to Baldairn Motte, with my tale called Thralls of the Fairie. To that mosaic novel, we added a few interstitial documents—made-up chronicles and letters—to help flavor the wider world and help setup the core conflict of our tales.

When our first publisher, L&L Dreamspell, closed its doors we had the opportunity to republish Baldairn with Reputation Books. Our editor there asked for more short pieces to color our world and characters. “An Ambush at Plum Grove” was one of these tales, and serves as a prologue to the expanded edition. “A Morning Storm” was a cut bit from an initial draft of Thralls, when there were several additional point-of-view characters. It serves now as a resolution to the ill-fated Orren of Burn Gate.

Now with Knight Owl Publishing, Baldairn has grown and morphed throughout the years. But at its heart it remains a collection of tales, not of destined heroes or mighty lords, but of simple folk trying to survive and find happiness.

Pre-order the ebook now on Amazon!

Thralls of the Fairie – Kuthahaar

A new anthology from Craig Comer ebook available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.

I’m excited to say that Thralls is now also available in print – Get yours here!

Broken into three sections, I’m sharing more about each in turn:

TALES OF KUTHAHAAR – In Kuthahaar, the Sultan lords over imprisoned oracles, wraith-like assassins, and underground rivers filled with the dead. For Saja and Akil, uncovering these mysteries will seal their fates, whether they wish it or not. For Rajheb, it is enough to wander the city, and remember what was.

“The Kultar’s Lost Hand” was the city of Kuthahaar’s first appearance. The story came of wondering what happens to young heroes when their bodies age and exploits are forgotten. But the city, with its Sultan and boatmen, shaded palaces and cults of mystics, spawned so many other thoughts that soon I had a whole series of tales that further flushed out the mightiest city in the world. The fabled capital of a largely desert empire, Kuthahaar is not quite Arabian, but certainly not stock European. The city lives somewhere in-between, in a time not yet faded into myth.

In “The Dream Thief of Kuthahaar” and “The Augurwraith” questions of fate and agency carry forward Kultar’s themes. If magic exists, will it help or hinder the lowborn? Will it be an equalizer or another tool for oppression? “The Blood of Khalid Al’Tahir” is a more straight-forward tale, but still with its own twist of fate. This play between heroes and rogues, fate and agency, is one I find fascinating, and I hope you, the reader, will as well.

Pre-order the ebook now on Amazon!

Thralls of the Fairie – Lost Lands

A new anthology from Craig Comer available for pre-order. Eleven tales of Sword & Sorcery, low fantasy, and high adventure.

I had fun time working on these tales, dusting off the old and polishing up the new, never before released. Herein lies a span of almost twenty years of writing, and whereas I hadn’t remembered every twist and turn of each of them, I had a clearly etched memory of when I’d written them. Each is dear to me, and I hope will be an enjoyable read for you!

Broken into three sections, I thought I’d share more about each in turn:

TALES OF LOST LANDS – To reclaim the heart of her god, Mior bargains with mages and delves deep into the temple of a cult. Caita Halftallow finds strength amongst the herd, the better to crush her enemies, while Jaelyn’s song lends her the strength to slay fiends.

The winner of the Artist’s Challenge Anthology contest, “The Song of Jaelyn” first saw print in 2008. The contest rules were simple: submit a story inspired by the anthology’s cover. With a ship besieged by a storm, and a begowned woman staring longingly at the sea, the story formed quickly and almost wrote itself. Its theme of a wronged, and seemingly desperate, victim turning the tables on their assailants continued in other tales. In “Tazirum’s Dagger,” my second published story, it’s a group of young would-be adventurers who get in over their heads. “The Tomb of Jorem’bel” and “The Lure of Caita Halftallow” feature heroes fighting against the odds to save their family’s legacies.

These are tales inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s BLACK ARROW and Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE, not to mention the adventures of more brawny rogues like Conan and David Eddings’ Sparhawk. They are gritty and set in lands both familiar and strange, where magic exists but is clouded in mystery and not readily visible. And if the gods play a hand in the fate of our heroes, it is only for their own ends.

Pre-order the eBook now on Amazon!

New Cover for THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN

With the upcoming release of Book 3 of A Fey Matter, City Owl Press is revising the cover for THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN! The new cover ties in the series, so that all the books will have the same look and feel. I’m very excited about this, and I’m looking forward to revealing the Book 3 cover soon!

OAK SEER, A Fey Matter Book II – Release Day!

Greetings! I’m thrilled to announce OAK SEER, book II of the Fey Matter Gaslamp fantasy series that started with THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN, is now for sale!

Find OAK SEER on Amazon

In this second installment, Effie must overcome her fears as she’s thrust once more into the spotlight–seen as a hero by some and a traitor to fey-kind by others. And if greedy lords and scheming politicians weren’t enough, a madman is on the loose killing fey without regard, while blood-thirsty cults and armed mobs prowl the city streets.

AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE

Effie peered through the window of the steam carriage as the village of Langmire came into view. The buildings—crofters’ homes mostly—sagged like slump-backed crones. Grey smoke wafted from blackened chimneys sprouting from thatched roofs. Someone baked fresh bread. She caught it on the wind beneath a perfume of moldy timbers, damp leaves, and rusting iron, all remnants of the heavy spring rains that had flooded the River Teith and left the roads full of boggy ruts and bared stone.

Eager for a warm hearth and a cup of honeyed tea, she licked her parched lips. She’d travelled a full day to reach the village. She’d come because Conall Murray had begged her, because without her an innocent woman would hang.

The thought drew her attention to the heart of the village where a stout oak grew. Muckle Ben, the locals called it, Effie had once heard. They’d carved a Green Man into its bark long ago, during a time when such things held power. Now banners pronouncing some celebration hung from its limbs more often than not, but none remained there currently. Its trunk stood as somber as an undertaker. Chickens picked at worms in the upturned soil near its roots, and a lone hound howled at the rustling leaves as the branches creaked above.

Fergus Alpin hacked into his handkerchief, a wet, miserable noise she’d had to contend with the entire journey from Stirling. The Fey Finder sat across from her in the steam carriage’s tight compartment. His wrinkled face was spotted and thin, and he kept tugging his coat tighter about his frail bones. She tried to avoid his gaze, but nothing adorned the compartment for her to study, and she could only stare out the window for so long before feeling rude.

“I’ll do the speaking,” the man said. “You will remain silent.” The quiver at his lip turned into another fit of hacking, yet she still heard his mumbling. “Send a fey to catch a fey, and one with paps at that!”

The steam carriage rocked and bounced, splashing through the muddy road as if fording a stony riverbed. Effie braced herself against the hard, worn benches, the padding flattened from years of service. A lightly stained wood paneling formed the carriage’s walls, floor, and roof. The boiler at its rear warmed the compartment, but at the expense of the coal smoke that clouded the air.

She shifted to relieve her sore hips. Her eyes narrowed. “The Fey Finder General bade me accompany you, Mr. Alpin, and not so I would stand and do nothing.” She tried to keep the bite from her tongue.

Of Fey Finders, Alpin was a journeyman and not a zealot. At least there was that. He sought not to be bothered rather than possessing the fiery hatred common to his profession.

She pressed her palms into the cushion on either side of her, to steady herself. It still marveled her she could sit so close to a Sniffer, a man the crown tasked with hunting down malevolent fey. Malevolent, as if they knew what the word meant. They hunted all with fey blood, and as a Sithling—one with the ancient blood of the Daoine Sith coursing through her—that included her. But things had changed after Caldwell House, and she had a need to trust where once she dared not. The fierce battle there had forced the lords of the empire to open their eyes. They could not rest on centuries of intolerance any longer. They had to welcome the fey into society’s ranks and accept a permanent treaty. They had witnessed the fate awaiting them if they did not.

Effie’s heart warmed. If the lords of the empire could learn to trust, so could she, and perhaps the Scottish fey would live freely for the first time in millennia.

Alpin’s jaw worked. He’d likely never had someone with paps stand up to him. Most Scots of either gender avoided Sniffers as if they carried the plague. “Look here, Miss Effie,” he snapped. “I’ll not have it. You may dine with the likes of lords, but you’re not in some grand procession here. I know the hearts of these gentle folk better than you ever will, and I will not banter with the mind of a devious hag.”

“When you see one, I’m sure,” said Effie, not knowing whether the man had meant her or the poor Spae Wife they’d come to question.

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OAK SEER: A Fey Matter Novel – Cover Reveal

I’m excited to reveal the cover for OAK SEER, the second novel of the Fey Matter series! The book releases June 26, so stayed tuned for more details.
#fantasybook #bookcover #teamcityowl #feymatter

OAK SEER picks up a few months after the events of THE LAIRD OF DUNCAIRN:

Thrust into the public eye as the “Green Lady,” Effie of Glen Coe has become a living legend, the fey woman who saved Scotland from devastation. But to some, she’s a threat to human existence and a traitor to fey-kind.

Determined more than ever to forge a peace between fey and humans, Effie finds herself navigating a realm increasingly divided. The lords of London have other plans, and once again Effie is pulled into a quagmire of politics and greed. She must stand against plots to remove her kind from the shores of the empire and madmen who murder fey without regard.

Even worse, heinous cults have arisen, enthralled by an unseen enemy. With violent thugs and unruly mobs all around, wits and courage are not enough. Effie must become something more than herself, an Oak Seer, a fey mantle long lost. But can she survive long enough to claim it?