Pleased as punch to announce that both of my new books are now LIVE on Amazon. Where y’all can buy them if so inclined. Paperback or e-book.
While Caesar Sang of Hercules is a mystery set in ancient Rome. Amateur sleuth, but not a cozy. Not hardboiled, not a thriller — more of a classic whodunit, and with a side order of romance. Nero is a minor character. The sleuth is a slave named Germanus, a very ordinary fellow with a secret past. He’s in love with the beautiful young widow, but he knows it’s hopeless. And if I tell you any more than that, it will be spoilers.
The House of Broken Dolls is a collection of 15 stories, mostly fantasy. A couple are science fiction, but in my view SF is a sub-genre within fantasy. Ghosts, ancient gods, strange paintings, and so on. There are some unpleasant moments, but many of the stories have endings that are happy or at least ambiguous and therefore hopeful.
The earliest stories in this collection were written in 1982, half a lifetime ago. Nine of the 15 have been published before, in Asimov’s Science Fiction, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, or in other leading zines. The most recent is the title story, which underwent serious revisions only a couple of years ago and has never before appeared in print.
The mystery was written in 2000 or thereabouts, but it didn’t seem to be marketable, so I set it aside. In 2020 a friend posted a Facebook link to a BBC video on Pompeii, and I found myself thinking, “Yeah, I wrote a novel once about that culture.” Found the manuscript, retyped it (the digital files were long gone), did quite a bit of editing, and here it is at last! It’s set about 14 years before the famous eruption that buried Pompeii, and 30 or 40 miles to the west, but that’s where you’ll find yourself.
The cultural details are as accurate as I could manage to make them. I’m sure there are a few things scholars will take issue with; ancient Rome was probably a lot stranger than I made it seem. But it’s not just a modern story in toga drag.
Okay, got all that off my desk. Now I can go back to work on the half-finished fantasy duology. You’re gonna love that one too. Magic, danger, romance, scheming villains — genre fiction at its finest.