In 2014, I self-published Swords of the Four Winds, an anthology of stories on Amazon and the One Bookshelf chain of sites. Ignoramus that I was, though, I put out only a PDF instead of creating epub and Kindle mobi versions. Whoops. The sales were predictably low. The reviews though were very encouraging. I got comments like:
“He’s the new Harold Lamb.” – John Till, FateSF
“Great stories, written in the style of REH. This is how it should be.” – Anthony S. Della Donna on Goodreads
“Back in the 60’s and 70’s there were well known S&S authors whose writing was sub-par in general, although fun to read. Dariel Quiogue’s style is better than most and is easily as entertaining and readable as some of the best in the genre. I hope his plans include writing more of these. Excellent work. “ – Karris on Amazon reviews
“Quiogue’s adventurers are tough, competent and ruthless, with that shard of nobility that is both their redeeming feature and the reason why they get involved in so many adventures. The stories have it all – dark sorcery, huge battles, duels, escapes, beautiful women in need of help, ancient cities and strange legends coming alive. The Oriental setting is a welcome change from the somewhat standardized pseudo-European venues offered by many authors. Quiogue has learned the lessons of Harold Lamb, and learned them well. I can only hope for more tales in the future, continuing the adventures of these characters into these fascinating realms.” – Davide Mana, author of the Aculeo and Amunet series
Looks like I’m on the right track … but I really have to fix my publishing strategy and marketing. Since most of my sales were from Drivethrurpg/ Drivethrufiction, I’ve not paid enough attention to my Amazon site. I really should get a Kindle edition up, maybe release some of the stories as free or micro-purchase singles. And yeah, follow it up with some new stuff.
I already have the concept in mind for a second volume, which I’m tentatively titling Shadow of the Horned King.
In SOFW I introduced the character Callistos Starborn, also known as Zhulkarnein the Horned King, as a historical figure that touched the lives of several of the book’s heroes. The new collection, which I’ve just begun writing, revolves wholly around Zhulkarnein’s legacy of blood, conquest and dark sorcery as it affects these characters since I realized it makes a nice common thread. So far I’ve got a couple of Snow Leopard stories lined up, one in production, and likely I’ll put in another Arios story as well.
The Snow Leopard – aka Orhan Timur, former Khagan of the Murjen tribes – is a bandit chieftain haunting the Drokpa mountains, my world’s version of the Himalayas, and in my story The Sons of Zhulkarnein I revealed his surprising connection to the conqueror. Orhan is partially based on Genghis Khan and his nemesis, his brother Jungar, on Genghis’ anda or sworn brother Jamuga. What would’ve happened if Jamuga had won and exiled Genghis? I don’t think the latter would’ve stopped until he got everything back – so that’s the theme running throughout the Snow Leopard stories.
Arios is much closer to Zhulkarnein in time, as he was a soldier in Zhulkarnein’s host when the conqueror invaded the Summerlands – my world’s version of the Levant. Tired of war and slaughter, Arios retired to be a farmer, only to be dragged back into another disastrous war rather than allow his family to be sold as slaves to pay his scutage. Now, lost among the Drokpa mountains, he’s trying to make his way back to his wife and son. Arios is an experiment for me, and a homage to David Gemmell’s Druss and Hank Reinhardt’s Asgalt from his tale The Age of the Warrior. Those stories made me realize the ageing veteran can be an intriguing character, and now that I’m chained – er, married – I can understand how powerful a motivation finding one’s wife again can be.
Who’s the Horned King based on? Alexander III of Macedon, who else?
I ordered a hard copy from Amazon a couple days ago, as I had it on my iPad previously and that went kaput. I am looking forward to rereading the short stories, as well as to reading what comes in volume 2!
Thanks John! I’ll be posting a preview of volume 2 soon!