It’s that time of year again!
2020 was a big year for me, writing-wise, but mostly over in Novel Land rather than in Shortfictionburgh. For the last couple of years, most of my writing energy has been consumed by working on “The Hand of the Sun King,” which will be publishing in August of 2021. For this year, though, I only had one story out, something I wrote while waiting for my agent to send my feedback on HotSK (which will be the official acronym, henceforth).
“The Gwyddien and the Raven Fiend” was published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies #316. It’s gotten some excellent reviews and write-ups in Tangent, from Charles Payseur, and from Maria Haskins. It’s the first thing I’ve had published that actually feels “awards-worthy,” to me at least, and I would be absolutely thrilled if you would consider it. It’s right on the edge of 10,000 words long, which makes it a Novelette for Hugo and Nebula purposes, and a short for World Fantasy purposes.
For a bit of fun backstory on this one, I actually wrote it in a fit of Witcher fannishness inspired by the release of the Netflix show, which prompted me to replay The Witcher 3, which got me thinking about a story that was sort of Witcher-adjacent, but with some elements alien to the universe Sapkowski created (a different magic system, for example, and a different sort of version of the fae). A bit more Celtic, and specifically a bit more Welsh.
So I re-read the Mabinogion, looking for some anchors for my inspiration, and found them there, and started writing. The story was exceptionally fun to work on. I joked about it being “basically Witcher fan-fic” on Twitter, which became less true the more I worked on and revised it and the characters became more and more themselves and less a product of their inspirations. I enjoyed developing them and their world so much that I’m now planning a series of novelettes (or maybe just a novel? I’ll have to start working on it before I know for sure) featuring the same cast across a long stretch of time.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. I sure did. So much so that I even drew myself some fan-art for my own story!
Is this possibly the cringiest thing I have ever done? Maybe. Was it super fun? Yes.