Meet the “Bard’s Eye View” Authors

I asked the authors of the new collection TALES OF FORTANNIS: A BARD’S EYE VIEW to introduce themselves to you and tell you a bit about their stories:

I’m Davey Beauchamp. I’m the creator of the Writers for Relief anthology series, the Agency 32 series and the Amazing Pulp Adventures Award-nominated Podcast along with Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit. And thanks to this year’s WTHCon, I will be working on the novella 769, thanks to Jennie Breeden and bunch of amazing individuals who helped raise an insane amount of money for the Children.

When I’m not writing, I am getting my Masters of Library and Information Science Degree from UNCG and working at the Lexington Public Library in Davidson County as their Teen Specialist and Technology Guru.

“A Child’s Tale” is simply that — a child’s tale. This is a world of high fantasy. What is it like to live within this world when you aren’t the hero, but a child? This is a world of heroes and villians that children can look up to that they might one day want to emulate.

Hi, there! I’m Danny Birt, one of the science fiction and fantasy authors in TALES OF FORTANNIS. I’m also a music therapist, massage therapist, composer, filker, and a few other things, but you’re probably more interested in my literary side, aren’t you? Hmm, let’s see. My epic fantasy series The Laurien Pentology currently has three of its five volumes out through Ancient Tomes Press, starting with the book ENDING AN ENDING, and the fourth is coming out later this year. In November 2010 I published my first children’s/YA book BETWEEN A ROC AND A HARD PLACE, the story of a baby dragon who’s abandoned as an egg and is raised by a family of birds. ROC has won three national awards, too, and I’m very pleased with how it came together in the end–especially with the work of my awesome illustrator, Richard Svensson. For more information on those, and on the short stories I have out, visit my website.

I’m not going to describe my story. Instead, I’m going to give you a three-word teaser for it: “Gryphons versus dirigibles.” …Curious to see which would win? RAFO! (Read-And-Find-Out!)

I’m Nick Bond. I’ve never been published before, but I’ve been writing in the Fortannis setting for over seven years. I’m an IT professional who lives in Bellevue, Washington with my fiancee Amber and my rat Pumpkin. When not working I enjoy writing, reading, lifting weights and getting involved with my local Alliance LARP chapters any way I can.

My writing heroes are Dan Abnett, H.P. Lovecraft and Frank Herbert, and their words have inspired me to pursue writing as a hobby. I am constantly driven to learn more about stories and authors that grab my attention and often find myself researching the history of a novel or other work, finding that often the stories behind the literature are just as interesting as the words themselves.

I feel that the mastery of language is a sign of a truly civilized mind and is a noble pursuit for anyone to undertake.

“The Long Sleep” is the story of an ancient hero being awoken to defend his home and return what has been stolen from his people. He sets off through the forest to take revenge on those who have wronged its children.

Roy C. Booth: I’m a Bemidji, MN born published author, comedian, poet, journalist, essayist, and screenwriter/doctor (with screenplays optioned), and an internationally award winning playwright wtih 54 plays published (Samuel French, Heuer, et al) with 700+ productions worldwide in 27 countries. I own and operate Roy’s Comics and Games of Downtown Bemidji with his wife, Cynthia, and our three sons. I can be found on Facebook, Myspace, and at Bats right, throws right.

My story “The Great Green Kettle Pie Recipe Caper” is an epic tale about a hobling conquering his greatest nemesis, himself, or, more importantly, his stomach! Inspired by my desire to see fellow writer Brian Woods published in an anthology for the first time and to contribute directly to the Fortannis story universe in a quirky, meaningful way.

Jon Cory: I grew up in small town Indiana, one of three boys. My father owned a restaurant and believed in slave labor, putting us to work at age eight. However, since he also ran a cafeteria in a highly classified manufacturing facility, I had a security clearance ID badge to get in. Great for impressing your school buddies.

After getting a masters degree and a short stint in the Air Force, the corporate grind kept me busy for a number of years. I did manage to publish a business book on the use of computers in retailing.

Since I had enjoyed playing in dirt as a kid, the idea of becoming an amateur archaeologist had a certain appeal. The end result was being a team member of expeditions in Easter Island, Italy, Cyprus, Chile and other overseas locations.

After flunking retirement three times, I returned to creative writing. A Foster City International Writers award for humor inspired me to tackle a novel. The result was that A PLAGUE OF SCOUNDRELS, my debut novel, won a 2009 IPPY Silver Medal for popular fiction and Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival.

In the final phase of editing a second novel with the working title of ROLY’S RELIC.

Wife and I live in Alamo, California.

“The Otherside Alliance” is my story. Even if he wins, he could lose. The tale of Sarlon, a carefree young knight, whose uncle, King Bellabond, has refused to recognize Sarlon’s royal linage. Powerful enemies threaten the kingdom, so Bellabond sends his nephew on an impossible task to secure an alliance with Duke Frost of Ashbury. Sarlon is given a meaningless title and is appointed ambassador.

The young knight errant teams up with Mumblepeg, a spotted dwarf, to outfox the Duke’s commissioner by disguising a worthless Otherside seaport to make it appear as a prosperous trading center. Can he convince the Duke to sign a treaty before his ruse is discovered? Sarlon plays a dangerous double game between King Bellabond and Duke Frost.

Tera Fulbright: I have been a fan of the SF genre since first reading C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia in the 4th grade. My interests range from costuming and stage combat to running conventions to writing, of course.

My first short story, “History in the Making” was published in the anthology RUM AND RUNESTONES in 2010. “Anne Bonny’s Child” will be published in the follow-up SPELLS AND SWASHBUCKLERS (Dec. 2011).

As a fan, I serve as the Quartermaster for the DMB Lightning’s Hand of the Buccaneers of the Atlantic Coast. I also enjoy costuming; some of my costumes include Mara Jade & Padme of Star Wars, Hathor of Stargate: SG-1 and various lady pirates. I’m also currently working on a steampunk courier costume. Along with my husband, James, I helped run conventions such as StellarCon and RavenCon for over 15 years before deciding to concentrate on writing.

In my non-fandom life, I work as the Employee Relations Coordinator for Unifi Manufacturing, Inc. And in what, admittedly limited, spare time I have, I enjoys miniature painting, playing D&D, reading and spending time with my husband and daughter at our home in Greensboro, NC.

“Faith” is the story of biata bent on revenge who is transformed as he finds himself cast in the role of a hero when a nearby town is threatened.

Hi, I’m Laurel Anne Hill, author and former underground storage tank operator. Eighteen years ago, I decided to follow my dream and write science fiction and fantasy–an antidote for the scientific, technical and regulatory writing my day job required. Along the way, I wrote some creative essays, as well.

Komenar Publishing released HEROES ARISE, my award-winning novel, in 2007. My shorter works of fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including Space and Time, Lynx Eye, Nth Zine, RUM AND RUNESTONES, AOL News, the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times. NPR broadcast one of my perspectives in 2004 and I have written and recorded several short stories for the Horror Addicts podcast. Watch for my short story “The Vengeance Garden,” in the anthology SPELLS AND SWASHBLUCKERS (Dragon Moon Press, edited by Val Griswold-Ford) scheduled for publication around December 2011.

What makes me different and unique? The sum of my experiences, I think. I bake sourdough bread without the use a bread machine. I still beat egg whites by hand. I’ve done Scuba diving, paddled a canoe, rode a surf mat down river rapids, camped in the Sierra Mountains and run a steam locomotive. I’ve nearly drown, faced fire and almost fallen off cliffs. Once, an earthquake slammed me against a wall. On several occasions, I’ve even cleaned up radioactive spills. I bring all of these experiences–and plenty more–to my writing to create authentic story worlds, characters and action scenes. Please visit my website and podcast at

My story is “Grip of Chaos”: Trovark, a disillusioned young man in his late teens, quarrels with Krespano, his older cousin. Krespano, an apprentice squire, plans to enter the cave of the Ice Mistress alone, to entreat her to forsake her use of chaos magic. The aftermath of her magic has blighted the countryside. But the Ice Mistress is a necromancer capable of freezing living flesh, and Krespano has little ability to sense the aura of a chaos spell brewing or combat the devastating effects. Furthermore, the Ice Mistress is not likely to abandon her magical powers. Krespano dismisses Trovark’s heated advice and heads for the dreaded cave. Nobility nonsense has made Krespano a fool.

Only Trovark can save his cousin from the power of the Ice Mistress. He travels to the cave several hours later, armed with his axe and huntsman’s sling. Yet Trovark’s success in the use of natural magic has grown erratic. Will he prevail or face doom?

My name is Ron F. Leota. I am a writer from the greater Seattle area of Washington state. After leaving my exciting career as a cyborg super spy I decided to settle down with my human wife Michelle. I am a long time gaming fan and musician. My first role-playing game, Carmine: A Role-Playing Game of Alchemical Fantasy, is out now from Attention Span Game Studios for only $19.99. See for more information. I have been playing music in the Seattle scene for over a decade, which I suppose makes me feel a little old.

“Suffer the Liar” is the tale of two young con artists who travel to the mining town of Iron Falls. They spin tall tales as the naive townsfolk wine and dine them. Everything is going great for them until monstrous ice trolls attack. It is through a heart pounding series of events that they discover the true consequences of their ways. Will they survive the attack or will they become the heroes they once claimed to be?

Mark Mench: Born in the wrong time, I have been on a a lifelong quest to find my place. I attended Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania (which had an actual castle on campus) and graduated with a BA in English and Theatrical Arts. Afterwards, I held jobs from professional magician to a bartender at a virtual reality theme park; from developing computer games and MMOs to helping build a college for audio and digital arts. My current project is building a campsite where events like the ones set within this book can be acted out by participants from all walks of life. When not writing stories or game design documents, I can be found participating in Live Action Roleplay games worldwide, building various masks, costumes, weapons and props for the games or entertaining people as a fire eater. More of my work in, and information about, the LARP industry can be found here.

“Behind the Bar”, a tale of a tavernkeep who has a ‘side job’ that doesn’t take no for an answer, is my first officially published fiction work – not counting my credits on roleplaying games and a half dozen online and PC games. I wrote “Behind the Bar” due to the fact that most stories about thieves often have them well known as thieves, all their friends know it or they even get rewarded by nobility for their thieving ways helping them out. The philosophy of my main character is that the most successful thief lives his life rich and anonymous. I wanted to write a story about a thief who does his work quietly, using secret signals and as much misdirection so that not only would no one know he did the deed but that they would consider it impossible for him to have even done it.

Hi. I’m Bernie Mojzes, which (if you’re writing this down) is spelled just like it’s pronounced. Blame my parents; they’re from a country that doesn’t exist (anymore), so they’re used to it. I come from a serious people, a pragmatic people. And this pragmatic streak kicked in after a few semesters as an English major, and I wisely transfered to the Philosophy department. Neither of those has had any relation to any day job I’ve held.

I have a passel of short stories floating about, some online and more in anthologies. There’s a list on my website, including some free stuff. My book, THE EVIL GAZEBO (illustrated by my illustrious spousal unit, Linda Saboe), is a faux children’s story (for faux children) that’s secretly about sex. We’re currently in the process of adapting it for the stage, which is, I must say, an interesting learning process in and of itself.

The other little project I’ve been working on is a little thing called The Journal of Unlikely Entomology (with co-conspirators A.C. Wise and Linda Saboe), an online magazine dedicated to fiction of the buggy variety. We’re planning on launching the debut issue sometime in mid-to-late May. Check us out – – I’ve been extremely pleased with the quality of the submissions, and I think we have a very strong lineup for Issue 1.

When Mike first announced this project, I wasn’t sure I had anything of value to contribute. The theme being high fantasy stories set in the world of Mike’s novels, which are set in the world of Mike’s LARP system.

I’ve been gaming since the old Traveller box set, since before Basic Dungeons & Dragons came out. But I’ve never LARPed, and for the last 20 years the RPGs I’ve been in haven’t looked terribly much like any other games I’ve seen around. But Mike’s a friend, and I hadn’t written high fantasy since the early 80s, when I thought I could, perhaps, be the next Tolkien. It was a chance to touch base with the roots of my fascination with the genre. So I said, “Tell me about your world, and maybe I’ll be inspired.”

Mike told me about a world of knights and heroes, filled with elves and goblins and cat people and bird people. His own stories center on a land called the Duchy of Ashbury.

Let me tell you, if you grew up in South-East Pennsylvania or New Jersey in the late 70s and early 80s … Well, let’s just say that there’s a whole host of puns in there that are just too tempting to deny.

So, I wrote a story, based on a bad pun, that takes place in Ashbury Park, and involves musicians, and fame, and love. And also evil, treachery, tentacles, sex, death and fabulous hats. I wrote … let’s see, how did I put it at the time? “It seems my concept of ‘high fantasy’ looks more like Jersey shore detective noir urban fantasy comic tragedy stuck in a blender with lovecraftian horror, but such is life, love and tentacles.” I got to the end, and thought to myself – well, that went way darker than I expected. I got some feedback, did some edits, and sent it off to Mike anyway.

Who said something like, “Do you think it’s a bit adult?”

Heh. You should’a seen the previous version.

Matthew C. Plourde: I’m an enterprise consultant by day and a writer by night. After battling cancer and my own social programming for so long, I’ve finally discovered the courage within myself to publish my novels. My first novel, EDEN, has been available on all formats since October 2010 and has spent a considerable amount of time on several Kindle top-100 lists. I recently released my second novel: a science-fiction offering called THE ANTARAN LEGACY. I continue to write and I’m happy to be a part of this project.

My first piece of published fiction was flash on a now decommissioned website. When the call came to write a fantasy-themed short story, I jumped at the chance. “The Messenger’s Trap” follows a reformed thief and his introduction to a path of redemption. If you’ve watched an episode of Legend of the Seeker or a similar show, you will be on familiar territory. Fun, light fantasy fare!

J. Thomas Ross: I retired after thirty-three years teaching high school English and history in southern New Jersey to pursue a second career in writing. I grew up in a Pennsylvania suburb of Philadelphia and now live in a semi-rural New Jersey township with my husband, youngest son, dog, and two cats (the latter three were rescued). I am a long-time science fiction and fantasy fan, but I also enjoy reading newspapers and magazines, historical fiction, mystery, romance, thrillers, and anything else that catches my interest. I don’t read as much as I’d like to because the day has too few hours!

Although primarily interested in writing novels, I also write poetry and short stories and edit others’ manuscripts. My poem “Winter” won an award at the 2010 Philadelphia Writers Conference, and I edited Michael Ventrella’s THE AXES OF EVIL and am the copy editor for A BARD’S EYE VIEW. I am currently working on a coming-of-age young adult novel set in the future, which is the story of the seventeen-year-old narrator and her foster brother, who has some unusual, genetically-engineered abilities.

The unique thing about me which pops out at you first is my male middle name. My parents promised my grandfather to name their first child after him. Obviously, the name caused me a great deal of distress as a child, but now I’m proud to have it. My grandfather was a poet and the only member of my family who believed writing is a worthwhile endeavor. He not only supported my interest but he understood my need to write.

My introduction to Fortannis came from reading ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL; I admit I avoid gaming because if I ever got started, everything else would fall by the wayside. When Michael mentioned the anthology, I knew immediately that I wanted to write a story about goblins. I did some thinking about how the goblin accord with humans might affect the goblins, who had relied, to some degree, on stealing from humans to survive. The economic hardship forms the background for “A Rock Is a Rock Is a Rock … Or Is It?” in which a goblin girl follows the village boys on an adventure, her last adventure before she gets sent off to live with her uncle because of her parents’ poverty. The boys want to follow the old human road to learn why the humans have started using it again. What they discover is not at all what they expected.

My name is Michael Strauss and I am a freelance writer and avid gamer. I mostly write articles for various online publishers, including Yahoo news. This is my first foray into fiction.

For this first piece of fiction (“Listen to a Tale, My Friends”), I framed the story as bardic tale being told in a tavern. Understanding that readers would not likely be as familiar with the world as I am, this allowed the storyteller to provide explanatory details to the readers without the story feeling disjointed. The story on face value appears to be a rather classic tale of a heroic warrior facing off against an evil necromancer. Rather than ruin the tale, I will simply state that first impressions are very deceiving.

And last but least, I’m Michael A. Ventrella. I edited this new collection, which is based in the world of Fortannis. Fortannis is the setting of a live-action roleplaying game I run called “Alliance” which has chapters all over the country. You may have noticed some of the authors here also write stories for that game, and have transferred their skills to fiction. I had done the same thing with my two novels ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL, which, like TALES OF FORTANNIS, are published by Double Dragon. You can order all of these in any format (paperback, ebook, kindle, etc.) at my web page. I’d also love it if you would join my Facebook page, where you can get notice whenever I have news or update the blog.

My story (“The Zombie King’s Plan”) features the characters from my two novels. A small town is being attacked by zombies who are demanding that a young girl return some magical rings. It seems this biata girl had used magic to place her memory in these rings but something had gone wrong and the rings were stolen. Our heroes come upon the town after three of the rings had already been recovered. They go on a quest to retrieve the last one, but something just isn’t right. As with all of my stories, there are twists and turns and surprise endings, so I hope you’ll check it out!

There will be future editions of TALES OF FORTANNIS so if you are a writer (and I know many of you reading this are, since that is the focus of this blog) please contact me. Details are on my web page here.

One Response

  1. What a fascinating collection of authors as well as the stories…I enjoyed reading about them all. Thanks for promoting them and your new collection. Good luck to all!


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