Meet The Alt.Historians — Drew Avera & Asha Bardon

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ALT-History-102-eBook (1)We’re changing history this week with the upcoming publication of Alt.History 102. The anthology, curated and co-edited by Samuel Peralta, is ambitious and bold. (I might be a little biased…) The release is slated less than a week away on January 31, and we’re all geeking out a little over here, so excuse the glee. 🙂

The list of authors is fantastic and I can’t wait for readers to see the fruits of our efforts.

Yesterday, I introduced…myself. Today, I’m thrilled to present two interviews with my co-authors Drew Avera and Asha Bardon. Don’t worry…the rest of the line-up is in the wings. So, without further ado, let’s hear what these two have to say.


 

Drew Avera

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Give us a brief introduction to you. Who are you? What else have you written? What brings you to Alt.History 102?

My name is Drew Avera (pronounced Avery) and I’m a science fiction author who lives in Virginia. I’m known more for the books I’ve written in The Dead Planet Series, but I also write a lot of science fiction short stories. Sam invited me to Alt. History 102 because of a story I wrote called Reich, which is a blend of alternate history and a dystopian future. I also have a story featured in The Immortality Chronicles which was my first anthology with the other Chroniclers.

What’s your story about? What gave you the idea for your story?

My story is called “The Tesla Gate” and it is about Nikola Tesla building a device to help his friend relive his life with his recently deceased family members. Tesla is a bit different in my story than he was known for, but every brilliant person is hiding something. You’ll have to read my story to see what is lurking in one of the greatest scientific minds in history.

If you could pick a previous Chronicles anthology that you could alter history to go back and be included in, which one would it be and why?

I would have loved to be in “The AI Chronicles” or “The Galaxy Chronicles”. Maybe they will do another round of those…

Anything else you’d like to plug?

If you would like to jump into The Dead Planet Series then check out the first book in the series for free. It is called Exodus and you can pick it up here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C1KP6SS


Asha Bardon

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Give us a brief introduction to you. Who are you? What else have you written? What brings you to Alt.History 102?

Hi I’m Asha and I live in a quiet town with my cats and guide dog. Under the name Lesley Smith, I’ve published two novels (The Changing of the Sun and The Parting of the Waters) as well as a story in The Z Chronicles and various self published shorts that you can find on Amazon. I come to Alt.History 102 under the guide of a chance to write historical fiction, something I’ve never tried before. I pitched Samuel three ideas: one focusing on America before it was discovered as the New World, another focusing on Hannibal’s success against the Romans and the final idea was a reversal of the Space Race. Sam went with Hannibal and so “The Elissiad” was born.

What’s your story about? What gave you the idea for your story?

I spent the first year of my degree continuing my study of Classics (a subject which basically covers every aspect of ancient Greece and Rome) and we read a number of classical texts, most notably Virgil’s Aeneid which I always preferred. Homer’s Illiad was basically a war movie and bored me; The Odyssey was pure fantasy but Virgil, he mixed both and came out with a much more memorable epic.

My story revolves around the idea of Hannibal winning against the Romans but it’s not set in that period. Rather it focuses on the Golden Age of Carthage, a generation or so later, where the city has been blessed by gods and is the new Eternal City. Except the gods, Tanit and Baal, aren’t all they seem and the city isn’t as peaceful as it appears with a religious faction, the Warriors of Mithras, having incited the people to question their benevolent deities.

If you could pick a previous Chronicles anthology that you could alter history to go back and be included in, which one would it be and why?

All of them? Actually I’m happy with the ones I’ve been in and hope that I’ll be included in future line ups (my inner geek would love to be in Gamer, for example). Oh and something apocalyptic but we’ll see.

Anything else you’d like to plug?

Sure. As I mentioned I have a couple of novels out with more to follow this year. You can buy them from Amazon and peruse my backlist here: http://www.amazon.com/Lesley-Smith/e/B00BXA1MXA

I also blog at www.ashabardon.com and live on Twitter as @AshaBardon. Come and say hi!

Meet the Immortals — ALL the Interviews!

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Today is the launch day for The Immortality Chronicles! 

(That means you should be reading the book, by the way…)

Not convinced?

A few reviews:

“WOW….All these authors created an awesome collection of stories of the possibilities of living forever…All of these authors were amazing! There wasn’t any story I didn’t love.” 

“This book was really good. There were so many interesting takes on the theme of immortality, and they all had a different spin on it. Every story kept me immersed to the end, I read it in one day because I couldn’t put it down.” 

“This anthology is ambitious in its reach and rich in its delivery.”

“If you haven’t read any of the FC series yet, I highly recommend starting with this one. You won’t be disappointed.”

……

BUT maybe you’ve already had a chance to read it….maybe you are waiting until Labor Day…maybe you still aren’t convinced…maybe you want a break. If you haven’t yet caught each of the author interviews for the anthology, this is Union Station of a sort for that. Following this, I’ll post the pictures of each of the interviewees. Click on the picture to be taken to their interview. Thanks for reading and as one of my old friends used to say, “Live Long and Prosper!”


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Patricia Gilliam

John Gregory Hancock

John Gregory Hancock

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Drew Avera

D.K. Cassidy

D.K. Cassidy

Thomas Robins

Thomas Robins

Gareth Foy

Gareth Foy

E.E. Giorgi

E.E. Giorgi

Harlow C. Fallon

Harlow C. Fallon

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David Bruns

D. Robert Pease

D. Robert Pease

Paul B. Kohler

Paul B. Kohler

Will Swardstrom

Will Swardstrom

Book Review – Where Dragons Lie

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41MGayjgjJLThomas Robins made his first foray into Fantasy with his story Where Dragons Lie and the effort totally works on many levels. The tale is a simple, yet complicated character piece, using a common aspect of Fantasy stories — dragons — to push the narrative, ultimately leading to a climactic showdown between the protagonist and the dragon he hunted for nearly the entire book.

Told from a first-person perspective, Robins nails the unfamiliar tone, showcasing his imagination in a new genre. The story description is very simple, but yet the execution leaves the reader impressed with the results. At the beginning of the tale (or is it tail?), our protagonist recalls a moment very early in his life when a dragon visited his small, lonely town. One man came and promised to defeat the dragon in exchange for the fairest girl in town. He comes back bearing the dragon’s horn, a sign of the victory.

As times goes by, that victor claims his spoils, but stays in the village, choosing to use and abuse his privileges of besting the dragon on that night so very long ago. His daughter becomes the new prize to be won — but only by someone brave enough to conquer a dragon of their own. That’s what sends our hero out on his quest — a desire to win her hand, and a journey to find and slay a dragon.

In the end, Robins delivers a fantastic story, with enough fantasy and intrigue to pull the reader along. I quite enjoyed the story and think Robins could do quite well writing in this genre again.

Note: Where Dragons Lie is up for Preorder on Kindle and when purchased will be downloaded on your device on Feb. 27. I was given the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader Copy. 

Free Book Today – Baking With Swords

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The short story collection I published a few months ago with my brother Paul and my sister Betsy is now available for free for a very limited time (just one more day!).
You can pick it up at no cost and enjoy three separate and different short stories. Paul’s story, The Price of Greatness, is about man’s eternal search rivaling the ordinary of daily life. Betsy’s tale, Flutter, tells about a mother and her daughter, who is undergoing inexplicable changes. My story, A Whimper, is an end-of-the world tale through the lens of one person and society’s dependence on technology.
To get it, just click on the large cover image above!

Paperbacks…dead? (Also a giveaway inside!)

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SPOILER ALERT — 100th Blog Post!

(Giveaways to follow in comments)


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After I opened my latest package from Amazon, I decided to take a picture at a lot of the books I’ve stocked my shelves with over the past year since I started as an indie author. I’ve definitely added to it thanks to my wallet, but I’ve been lucky enough to have been the recipient of fellow author’s good graces.

Here’s the thing — none of the books pictured are traditionally published. From Hugh Howey’s last two novels, Peter Cawdron, Jason Gurley, John Gregory Hancock, Michael Bunker, an outstanding Indie collection edited by David Gatewood, Paul Kupperberg, and myself — all are what you might call independently published. (There are a few others I have that aren’t pictured for whatever reason.)

With the arguments surrounding indie vs. traditional publishing, Amazon vs. The Big 5, digital vs. paperback, we all line up a choose a side. I would argue that we can have both. Indie can coexist with traditionally published books. Amazon and the Big 5 can get along and all can make a profit (unlikely, but I’m a dreamer), and we can have paperback and digital books. The more I got into my Kindle and reading books on various digital devices, the more I wanted to own some of these books in paperback form. I don’t regret it — what happens when the zombie apocalypse happens and the Internet goes dark? I’ll still have my copy of Jason Gurley’s Eleanor to keep me company as I trek across America under dark and grim skies.

I almost feel inadequate when I put my own books in the same picture as some of the others here, but that’s the beauty of indie publishing. My books are viewed on the same playing field as Gurley, Bunker, and even Howey — even Patterson, King, and Koontz on occasion.

Are paperbacks dead? Not for me. I certainly scour and search for books on my Kindle on an almost daily basis, but when I want a physical copy of a book, I don’t hesitate to add it to my collection. I don’t think I’m alone here, either. It is a special time in publishing and most readers are recognizing this as well. Go out and read!


 

Still here?

Good — in honor of my 100th blog post, I want to give a few books away. I’ll give away a set of Dead Sleep/Dead Sight and a copy of Baking With Swords as well. That is two (2) winners — one for the DS1/DS2 books and one will get the copy of BWS.

What do you need to do to win? Tell me what is the best book you’ve read in 2014 and whether it was physical or digital. That’s it. I’ll keep this open for a week (until July 8) and then choose a winner randomly then. (Sorry — winners will be chosen from U.S. only)

Book Review – Eleanor

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There are many different reasons to read a book. Most times I tend to read to think about something in a new or different way. To spark my creativity and challenge my accepted ideas.

EleanorThis book, Eleanor by Jason Gurley, is not that kind of book. Not that it doesn’t make you think. I had a lot of thoughts while I read this book. I thought about the similarities between it and two other books I’ve read. One was fairly recent – Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane, while the other I read when I was just a child – Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Both had a profound influence on me, but all three of these books didn’t so much make me think.

They made me feel.

When I first began reading Eleanor, I was struck by the pictures Mr. Gurley paints for his readers. Spending a little time in Oregon and on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, I could readily accept the fog-shrouded town and seaside he presented as real. He worked so hard to place his story in the real world that when the supernatural world opens up later in the book, it feels natural. It feels like an extension of the world Gurley has created and it feels better than the world in which his characters reside.

I’ve followed Jason’s journey of writing this book for the past year (although he’s been writing it for the past 13 years) and I can feel the passion he had for it in every word I encountered. I saw the care he put into it and the work he put in to make it just right.

How to describe this book? I’m not really sure. I literally finished less than five minutes after starting to write this review, so my thoughts are still swirling like the water in a tide pool off the shore of a small island near the beach in Oregon. I felt for the characters that Mr. Gurley painstakingly presented to the readers. How in just the first few pages, we were introduced to Hob, Eleanor and their daughter Agnes. I was getting settled in for a book about this Eleanor, until Gurley ripped the rug out from underneath me and I realized this was not really the titular character – she was still to be discovered.

Discovered is really a great word for this book. Eleanor discovers so much in her journeys throughout this book. You see the younger Eleanor taking care of her family as best she knows how, but then through other means, we see there are better ways she can take care of her family. She discovers who she is, who her parents really are, and her true purpose.

This needs to be discovered. I could call Jason Gurley the American Neil Gaiman and I don’t think many people would argue after reading this book. It is a phenomenal book and one I could not put down. Well done, Mr. Gurley.

Baking With Swords: My Take

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Concept 3With all the blog posts I’ve shared lately, I haven’t offered my own take on Baking With Swords — why I decided to collaborate with my brother and sister, and what prompted me to write the story I included.

While I was whittling down the days until I was finished writing and editing Dead Sight, back in February and March, I started writing a short story. I never had any ambition beyond it being a short story that I would just release as a stand-alone tale, similar to the first story I’d ever written and published, Perfect Game.

I happened to say something on Facebook about it, and my brother, Paul, asked if I could wait to publish it until he was done writing a story. (Here is his story on how he started writing.) It was a strange request, so I waited a little bit. After some more inquiry, I found out he wanted to just throw it in at the end of my story as a “bonus” of a sort to any potential readers.

I read his story — or at least, what it was at that time. It was good. There was some great ideas in it and it just needed some polishing. It was better than just an unmentioned add-on to a little short story I was writing. I also knew my word count on A Whimper wasn’t going to be much — probably 6-8,000 words — and his was going to be about the same.

So, I proposed the idea of splitting the book title, or even inviting our sister, Betsy, along for the ride. I knew she had been dabbling with writing fiction since I started my publishing journey and figured maybe she had something she could work up fairly quickly. (Read more about her road to her inclusion here.)

Betsy was game, so I put my story on the backburner for a little while. School took over and I let the two of them tinker and finish their stories. In the end, each of our stories clocked in at roughly the same length — about 7,000 words a piece.

I love Paul’s story because it really is heartfelt. There is a lot of emotion from his main character, Max, and the choices he has made in his life. Obviously Paul isn’t Max, but you can see the questions he has asked are questions Max faces as well.

Betsy’s story fits her, as well. She is a mother to two little boys, both under the age of four. There are so many fears and insecurities that accompany being a parent to a toddler and an infant and she confronts them head-on in this tale. Paul and I really challenged her in the editing process and I think she came out of it with a great story that will connect with a lot of readers.

As for my story? Well, I shared a bit of it with you a few months ago. (Here’s that link.) I must’ve read some technology story, or even Michael Bunker’s Pennsylvania, and thought of the ramifications should we ever have chips in our heads (PIPs as I call them in A Whimper). What would the effects be? I think there are so many effects worldwide that I really could have written a full-length novel, but I chose personal ones to the main character. It is told first person and my brother said the tone reminded him of Ready, Player One, which is a huge compliment and may be true since I had just re-read it prior to starting the work on it.

How will the end come for humanity? Will it go out in a blaze of glory, or will it go in a whimper? Most books and stories choose the former, but I wanted a look at the latter.

I’ll confess I’m not the closest person to his family. I don’t talk to them much. I last talked on the phone to my mother probably two weeks ago (Reminder to myself to get on that), and Facebook and text messaging is the best way to get a hold of my brothers and sister. I live in Southern Illinois, one brother lives in northern Illinois, my sister in Michigan, and my older brother in Oregon. We are spread out, but when it counts, we are there for one another.

I don’t know if Paul and Betsy will continue to write and publish, but with my limited expertise, I wanted to be able to help them on their first trip into self-publishing.

As of this writing, the collaboration has received five reviews, four of which are five-star and the other is four-star. I would love to hear back from anyone else who has read it. Really, you should buy the book for my brother and sister and hopefully my story in this book is the bonus, not their’s.


Oh…don’t forget about the BWS Launch Party Monday on Facebook. <– Click there to join.

Find the link and the massive amount of giveaways I’ve got scheduled right here —> LOOK AT ALL THESE GIVEAWAYS!

 

Baking With Swords Launch Party – Monday, June 9

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Concept 3To celebrate the launch of Baking With Swords, as well as my one-year anniversary of self-publishing, I’m hosting a party on Facebook next Monday. I’ve hinted at giveaways and I worked to compile quite a list of books that you will want to win next week. Huge thanks to my DeadPixel Publications friends and my LOOW buddies for all the terrific giveaways. Following is a comprehensive list of what will be given away next week. Most are digital ebook copies of the books, a few are physical copies and I’ve even got some audiobooks to giveaway as well.

Here is a link for the Party, in case you haven’t committed to “coming” yet. (It’s all on Facebook, you don’t actually have to go anywhere.) With as many things as I have to giveaway, there is a great chance of winning, so stop on by, comment and like.

Oh, and if you haven’t gotten your copy of Baking With Swords yet, plan to buy a copy on Monday so we can get it charting. Thanks so much guys!

(Also, here is the official blog page for the book with links to all the blog posts for it so far)

Baking With Swords Launch Party Giveaways

J.W. Kent — The Bridge at Ardendale (digital), and short, Patina (digital).

d3f441f8f71a1f71ff5d9ca3d9b015fb_largeJohn Hancock – two copies of ROOF (audio), two copies of ROOF (ebook), two copies of Splintered Tales (ebook) and two copies of Plague of Dreams (ebook)

Tony Bertauski — The Annihilation of Foreverland (digital) and Halfskin (digital)

Darke Conteur – The Watchtower (Digital) and Under the Cover of Wicca (Digital)

Steve Wetherell — The Last Volunteer (digital) and Into The Black (Digital).

singular ptsTravis Mohrman – Down The Path (Digital) and Singular Points (Digital)

Carol Davis – Signed paperback of Quantum Leap book and Blood Moon (digital)

Hanna Elizabeth – Concessions (Kindle) and Visions of WOOL (Kindle)

Chris Saunders – X (digital)

Robert Bevan – Critical Failures (digital) and Cornholed (digital)

Brian Braden – Black Sea Gods (digital)

Renee Miller – In The Bones (digital)

Robert Brumm – two audiobook codes for Windigo Soul (or choice)

Paul Kohler – signed copies of Linear Shift 1 (paperback) and Borrowed Souls (paperback)

Logan Thomas Snyder – The Disappeared Omnibus (digital) and This Mortal Coil (digital)

Fredric Shernoff – Atlantic Island (print or digital)

SynchronicFinalCoverAnn Christy – Silo 49 books (mobi), Wool Gathering (Kindle), Synchronic (Kindle)

Thomas Robins – two Desperate To Escape sets (books 1-3) (digital)

Will Swardstrom – two sets of Dead Sleep/Dead Sight paperback first editions, two paperbacks of Baking With Swords, four audiobook codes for Ant Apocalypse

Baking With Swords: The Agonizing (and Maddening) Search for a Title

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Alright, so if you haven’t been paying attention, my family collaboration Baking With Swords releases soon and the question at the tip of your brain is probably, “How much bacon is too much bacon?”

Concept 3Then, after you realize you can never have too much bacon, you ask, “Where and how did they come up with a goofy title like Baking With Swords? Well, contrary to my father’s short tale about warriors returning from battle, there is a story to the process. It may not be exciting, but at times it is fascinating and maybe even a little humorous. 

Since my brother, my sister, and I all contributed stories to this collection, I thought it only fair that we came up with a name together. So, the following is most of a Facebook private conversation between the three of us over a week’s time when we each tossed names out there. To be honest, these are probably only half the names we considered as I believe I had separate conversations with Paul and Betsy where I had a couple of other names tossed in as well as a public poll on potential titles. All in all, there was a moment I was about to bash my head into a wall. 

In the end, I think Baking With Swords has an even more special meaning since we have a half-baked title and we each can have sharp personalities with each other as siblings. So without any further delay, here is that conversation (please note we didn’t care about grammar or punctuation in our Facebook chat):


Paul: Thinking title ideas . How about From Shadows Revealed ?

Paul: Or, Finalities

Will: I like second better. Or we could go off our relationship and call it “Sibling Rivalry”

Paul: Familial Finalities?

Will: hmmm…

Will: I would go with Finalities over that.

Betsy: Finalities? Is that because everything we’ve written ends badly? Wow we’re a morbid bunch.

Paul: That’s my thought.

Will: Not necessarily badly…but just final.

Betsy: well…it’s not exactly a good ending for my main character…Ms. Adams…

Paul: Ok. Seems obvious that title still needs some thought. If we want to consider the sibling theme here’s two: Sib Tales or Sibblettes.

Will: Family Ties?

Paul: Makes me think of Tootie and Mrs Garrett

Will: Thats the Facts of Life

Paul: Oops, sorry Alex!

Will: Family Tithe?

Paul: Tales from the Stream?

Will: Bards, fairies, and the end of everything

Paul: Hmmm

Will: You like it, dont you?

Paul: Is that too revealing for 2 of you?

Will: May want to tweak it. Not sure we want to give all that away about betsy’s. Mine would be fine. Wings?

Paul: Idk

Will: A Bard, a Pair of Wings, and Your Internet Connection. Lol

Paul: Why not just call the whole thing Instability?

Will: I like it. Lets wait for betsy to chime in.

Betsy: It’s not awesome, but I’m ok with it.

Will: Well smarty pants…come up with something better to tie together our totally unrelated stories.

Betsy: Transience. And yes, I looked up Instability in the thesaurus….

Will: Fine with me too. Or we could just go with “We Have No Idea What To Call This Book”

Betsy: That could work… We can’t call it “The Search For Spock” can we? No…probably not.

Will: “The Search for a Decent Title”…  Skinny Genes… Acid-washed Genes… Sarah said she liked the title “Nerd Alert”

Betsy: “The Quest for Closure”… Bad Endings

Will: Morphin’ Time!

Betsy: YES! no. The Shaky Life of Fictional People

Betsy: I bet there are people out there whose sole job is to title books.

Will: A Requiem, A Metamorphosis, and a Coda… Insert title here…

Betsy: Isolation

Will: Ok….bringing it all back to this: how about Sibling Rivalry?

Paul: Hi. Wow. How about Three Nuts in a Jar ?

Betsy: That was your working title…I suggested it when I didn’t know it was your working title…

Will: Why dont you guys keep plugging away at your stories and keep the title in the back of your mind. I put my cover guy to work with a couple working titles and we’ll see how the mock-ups look in a few days.

Betsy: works for me.

Paul: Hey! I like 3 Nuts in a Jar!

Will: K. Thanks guys. I think this will be pretty cool. Collaborating on collections are sometimes tricky so thanks for being flexible.

Paul: How about we define our personal feelings about what goes into a title. Perhaps we find a commonality somewhere. For me, I like to find some common thread in all three stories, but I don’t care nearly so much about having a clever family reference in the title.

Will: That would be fine with me as well if there are any commonalities we can draw from. I’m ok with whatever.

Paul: However, the thought has also occurred to me that if we did find a good family-related name that it could be a name we come back to if this kind of thing turned into a series – (no promises.)

Will: Sibling Rivalry 3: Revenge of the Sis

Will: Wait for it…. Baking with Swords

Paul: Makes a good cover picture

Will: It could at that

 

Baking With Swords: My Dad’s Take

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As we finish putting the final touches on my family collaborative short story collection Baking With Swords, my father, Paul D. Swardstrom, finally read the stories involved. Afterwards, he took to writing up his own rationale for the title (which has nothing to do with baking or swords – honest!). Following is his own very short story that explains the title with veiled references to me and my three siblings. My other brother, Matthew, is referenced, but isn’t included in this collection. Perhaps we can con him into a future sequel (Baking With More Swords?), but either way, you may see a guest blog post from him in the future since I lent this space to Paul and Betsy recently. 

My writing does have a lot to do with my family as my parents both got me interested in reading and my father’s taste in books certainly rubbed off on me. My mom (Eileene) has helped proof and edit some of my books and is a huge inspiration. This little collection really means a lot to me — the words of the stories are just a small part of that to me.

Without further ado…Baking With Swords by Paul D. Swardsrom


 

Concept 3Forward: As my children would tell you, I love making puns and generating short backgrounds for a pun. When I read the preface to Baking with Swords I could not help but think up a reason why one would bake something with swords. Thus this story. The names used in this story are “changed to protect me from my wife” (just joking??). Of course they are somewhat based on people related to me.

The battle is won and the war is over. Prince Pedeus has met the evil Warlord/King of the invading army during the battle and killed him. With the death of the Warlord, the invading army disintegrated, and many of them were killed as they attempted to flee. Prince Pedeus and most of his staff, support, and protection left with him soon after the battle for the capital. He left his trusted tactical advisor Wilhelm in charge of the rest of the army to clean up the battle area and release the army.

Several days were spent burning the bodies of the dead enemy soldiers, burying the dead not being returned to their home for burial, and cleaning up the battle site. This has been completed; wagons that had brought food and other supplies to the battle are returning home carrying bodies and/or weapons and other useful equipment and materials from the battle site. It is finally complete and Wilhelm meets with his three cousins so that they may begin their journey back to the capital city.

Wilhelm is a tactical genius partially because he teaches general history and tactical history at the collage in the capital city.

Pawel is a master with stringed devices, both archery and musical instruments. He teaches archery because his country needs good bowmen, but his passion is as a minstrel. He was attached to the prince’s entourage as part of Wilhelm’s protection detail, but also as a minstrel for the prince.

Lizzy is an herbiest knowing herbs for healing as well as for cooking. She is very serious about helping the wounded, but her passion is cooking.

Hew sometimes thinks his name is a pun because he often hews wood, metal, and, when necessary, hews people. His favorite weapon is a large axe, but he is also very proficient with a hammer. He is a Master Carpenter and does some blacksmithing on the side. He is normally assigned to the large weapons group as an engineer/technician to support the catapults, ballistas, and other siege weapons.

The four cousins make one last pass over the battlefield finding a few broken swords and other metal that had not been picked up previously. They had two wagons: Lizzy’s herb wagon which had additional supplies for the trip, and Hew’s equipment wagon which now included several broken swords and other discarded equipment.

They traveled some distance and when it was getting late they arrived at a village that had been deserted as the enemy army approached. They did some scrounging and found only a couple of eggs and a vegetable garden. Lizzy was about to prepare a meal when she discovered that in the rush to pack everything up, she only had a small pot that she used to heat water to make tea. The men looked again and did not find anything else to cook with.

Then Hew got a bright idea when he was looking in the blacksmith shop. He asked Pawel and Wilhem to help him and then got the fire started and the forge hot. He then took some of the metal that they had scrounged from the battlefield and made some cooking utensils. He used a couple of plain hilts as handles on a couple of the larger items.

Lizzy was quite happy to see them and cooked a good meal. At the end she brought out a chocolate zucchini cake that she had made in of the larger utensils which included a hilt from a sword and whose base could plainly see was formally several pieces from swords.

And that is where the term “Baking with Swords” comes from.

Afterwards: Eileene and I are proud of my four children and their accomplishments. I also need to acknowledge some other authors for some of the ideas in this short story. Mercedes Lackey in Exile’s Honor provided this inspiration to require the army to clean up the battlefield. Most of the “battle” related stories seem to just leave everything there, in fact Lord of the Rings has a least one section where fields of bones is discussed. Patricia C. Wrede wrote a short story about a skillet as a magic weapon. The main characters in this short story are the main characters from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The chocolate zucchini cake that was mentioned is one of our family’s favorite recipes and I plan to provide two recipes for this cake. One of them is a barbarian shield version and the other one being a normal recipe that you would see in a cook boot.