Big Bad Bards

It's been a few weeks since I shared any publication news...

First up is the Big Bad Anthology, a collection of stories about (you guessed it) villains. That's right, no heroes to be found, unless they're the anti-hero variety—which is why Mercer the phantasmal body-hopping soul smuggler fits right in. My story "The Coyote's Word" is included in the lineup, and it's my sixth Mercer tale published to date. Here's how it opens:

The Ethereality was congested tonight, a myriad of spirits blurring at the periphery of Mercer’s vision as he followed the girl’s light trailing before him. She was just a kid, barely legal. Yet her essence was more brilliant than anyone's he'd ever seen—and he'd seen plenty over the centuries.

“What are you?” she’d asked, sitting beside him in the car beneath drum rolls of rain, her voice near a whisper. “Do you even know?”

“I’m no friend of the devil.”

“And God?”

Mercer had shrugged with a long drag on his cigarette. “We have our good days.”

But he could already tell this wouldn’t be one of them. The glowing queue of souls up ahead trembled with agitation, the way things got when the Big Man at the gates took his sweet time. The hired muscle were out in full force tonight, swaggering up and down the line with their broadswords swinging at the ready, ensuring that everybody remained on their best behavior.

“Just act natural,” Mercer breathed.

Next up: "Sins of the Father," which appears in the latest issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly. Since my story is first at bat, you can read the whole thing with Amazon's "look inside" feature. Let me know what you think. This is my third July issue with Bards & Sages; one of my Mercer tales was included in their July 2011 issue, and "Autonomic Zen and the Art of Destruction" was in last year's. But what makes this one special is that I get to share the table of contents with two of my W1S1 and SFAC buddies, Jeff Chapman and Simon Kewin. If you click on Jeff's name, you can enter to win a copy of this issue in PRINT. Pretty nifty, eh?

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