My short story, Bird Talk, is currently free on Amazon.com. It’s not free on Amazon.co.uk – you have to pay the princely sum of 99p for it there, but might be worth picking up if you have some spare cash or even zero cash in the US! It’s one of my earliest short stories, but I’m still proud of it. It gave rise to the two protagonists from my novel Hell has its Demons.
What do you do when you have accused the woman you love of necromancy?
Roger Draper suspects that a necromancer is at work in a small medieval English town. But rather than uncovering foul magical deeds he manages to implicate the women he desires in accusations of witchcraft. With only the town drunk to help him, Roger must untangle the mess he has created.
Be prepared for a heady concoction of gritty medieval life, humour and magic.
I took the decision last week to get Alt Hist back on the road. I paused publication back in 2017 because it was just stopping me doing anything else.
Alt Hist is a short story magazine I set-up to publish historical fiction, historical fantasy and alternate history fiction. I really enjoyed publishing it and had the pleasure of putting out some great stories over the 10 issues of its initial life.
But at the time I found that I just didn’t have the time to focus on my own writing. Reading and making decisions on submissions took a lot of time, as did actually editing the stories for publication, I ended up doing little else in my spare time!
Now however, I have had another think. I am pretty sure I can be more efficient about the submission process and also editing.
So if you’re interested in historical fiction and alternate history I encourage you to take a look!
I am putting the finishing touches to a new short story – Time’s Arrow.
Here’s some more information about it. I’ll post an excerpt and the cover of the story during the next week.
In the far future Time Travel is a reality. A researcher uses it to go back in time to the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. William Chan finds much that he would expect—English archers raining arrows on the heads of heavily armed French knights, mood and blood. But there is an unexpected turn of events that have far-reaching consequences.
Time’s Arrow is a time-travelling short story with a historical fantasy theme. It’s about five and a half thousand words long, so should take about twenty minutes to read.
You can now grab a copy of the short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure for free from most major eBook stores.
Chivalry is the first story I wrote featuring the character Jake Savage. Jake goes onto feature as one of the main characters in my novel Hell has its Demons and also in two other short stories: Bring on the Night and The King of Britain’s Head. I have another short story featuring him in the works and more to come.
What I enjoy most about Mark Lord’s writing is that he manages to convey a sense of period without knocking the reader over the head with detail. His settings feel authentic without being manufactured. The dialogue of his characters is perfectly readable and feels natural, as do their actions.
Click here to read the whole review. And to check out Hell has its Demons go here!
I think that I may have a problem as a writer. Hopefully not in the quality of what I do, but in the choice of one of the genres that I like to write in. I do write mostly historical or fantasy fiction, and quite often what I enjoy most is to write historical fantasy. However, I think there’s a problem with that.
The problem is that Historical Fantasy (note switch to capital letters – to provide some more gravitas) is a slippery genre to define. If you check out the listings at online retailers or on places like Goodreads – or reader discussions online – then you realise that Historical Fantasy means different things to different people – and don’t get me started on Wikipedia.
The issue is that my definition, I believe, doesn’t match with that of some others. For me Historical Fantasy should be a piece of fiction actually taking place in an historical setting. So for instance, for my Hell has its Demons story, the setting is Fourteenth Century England. I then add in fantastical elements – basically demons and magic in my story are real.
Yet it seems for other people – and for those genre listings on online retailers particularly – the genre is in fact anything that has a vague historical tinge to it. So you get books by Tad Williams, G R R Martin, Brent Weeks, Michael J Sullivan and Joe Abercrombrie all appearing. If you then look at the sub-genre of Medieval Fantasy – which I think I’m writing in, then you get pretty much the whole Epic Fantasy genre. I just can’t understand how those books muscle into my ghetto and claim historical/medieval definitions!
But another issue with the genre, even if you take a stricter view of it, is that it is a bit of a mash-up. There’s no Historical Fantasy section in traditional bookshops or libraries. There’s actually not that many well known authors/books in the genre. I would say a handful really still writing – Gabaldon, Novik. Susanna Clarke – who wrote what I would say is the defining book of recent Historical Fiction – doesn’t seem to be producing anything new at all, which is a great shame.
So in a sense I am writing in a genre without much of a real fan base. But hey, maybe that’s a good thing! I think there is a desire for this kind of fiction, and it would be great to see it better defined and promoted by the big retailers – kick out the second-world fantasy that includes armour and swords please!
Plunge Into A Nail Biting Historical Fantasy Novel That Will Leave You Breathless
Set in the Middle Ages, Mark Lord’s novel tells a gripping story where demons and necromancers engage in a power game with the adventurous protagonists Jake, Roger and the beautiful Isabel, who is accused of witchcraft.
Investigating an infestation of demons in the town of St Brett’s is the last thing that Jake Savage wants to do this summer. But for his master, the controversial Oxford scholar Roger Sotil, it is a chance to prove his theories about demons and avoid charges of heresy.
The Abbot of St Brett’s has called for Roger’s help to rid his town of demons. Jake owes Roger a massive debt, but St Brett’s is a town that holds dark memories for him. Who is behind this plot and what is the ultimate prize?
An Electrifying Plot That Merges Skillfully Actual Historical Events With Fantastical Elements
In Hell has its Demons a plot unfolds to use demons to take the ultimate prize of all – the crown of Edward III, King of England.
“With ‘Hell Has Its Demons’, Jake Savage finally gets a novel and it’s a good one.” – SFcrowsnest
“What I enjoy most about Mark Lord’s writing is that he manages to convey a sense of period without knocking the reader over the head with detail. His settings feel authentic without being manufactured.” – SFcrowsnest
Hell has its Demons is the first novel in a trilogy.
The last few weeks have been spent editing my historical fantasy novel set in the Middle Ages: Hell has its Demons. At present I am half way through reading the first draft. I am not making too many edits at the moment, unless I spot a glaring typo. This is my first time editing a full novel length story, and I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it. But I have found that the most valuable thing to do is to just remind myself of what happens in the novel, what I wrote, and to get an overview of the major things that need fixing. For instance I have realised that there are a number of inconsistencies in the middle of the book – chapters out of order etc. Also there are some characters I introduce early on that die away, so I need to make a decision about whether to keep them in and develop them further in the book, or to get rid of them completely, or at least minimize their importance.
I’m enjoying this phase of the process. It’s nice to read through what I have written again as a holistic exercise rather than just reading bits and pieces here and there to check what I should be writing next. The good thing (or perhaps the dangerous thing) is that I like what I have written so far!
My experiment with writing a novel from different first person perspectives – see the Vulture posts, lead me to realize that it would be a lot of work to do this for Hell has its Demons, and I think not necessary either. My reread so far leads me to believe that the three different third person POVs will work quite well. First person POV writing gives fiction a completely different flavour, especially over an extended piece such as a novel, but I hadn’t appreciated that fully until I started writing the Vulture as an experiment. Who knows maybe I’ll take the experiment further at some point in the future, but I know it definitely has helped inform my writing of Hell has its Demons.
I had been having my doubts about the original cover for Chivalry – the Lady of Shallot Pre-Raphaelite picture – I thought it perhaps conveyed the mystery of the female antagonist in the story, but it didn’t convey the tone of the story, which is all about the gritty awfulness of medieval combat and its consequences.
Mark Lord gives a very intense and painstakingly depiction of the horrors of war. The setting is an unexpected one and the supernatural sparkle intensifies the atmosphere a lot.
The pacing is excellent and Mark Lord does not waste a word too much. The end is a tricky one. It is not an expected one and it delivers not the 100% solution. But it is as satisfying as the story itself.
I hope there will be more Jake Savage stories (a full novel would be great) soon. Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure satisfied my craving for historical fiction with a mystery touch which is taking a greater part within my reading comfort zone of epic fantasy, steampunk and space opera.