I'm excited to announce the appearance of my story "Heart of Tashyas" in the blood-spattered, slightly burnt e-pages of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly!
All my published fiction up to now has taken place in and around Enoch, the omega-city at the cosmic antipodes. "Heart of Tashyas," on the contrary, takes place in and around the site of the town where I reside, in the southwest Texas badlands, during the early years of an alternate-historical Spanish conquest.
The editors were kind enough to let me illustrate it myself...
...with a pen-and-ink drawing that I colored digitally. The colorization was an afterthought; I guess all those comic books got me inspired.
For some time I'd been wanting to write "ethnic" heroic fantasy (ethnofantasy?) that would be cool to read in its own right, rather than thinly veiled social commentary, set during the conquest of Mexico. But I also wanted it to have a strong local flavor, more than I could give it with my limited experiences south of the border. Fortunately for me, Cabeza de Vaca, who was shipwrecked on the Texas coast in 1528, wrote a detailed ethnographic account of his many adventures. I was also thinking about things like Heart of Darkness, Prescott's histories of Cortés and Pizarro, and Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God, as well as bits and pieces of local lore gleaned from newspaper articles and historical records.
"Heart of Tashyas" will (I hope) be the first of many tales about Francisco Carvajal y Lopez, half-breed of Borinquen, vagabond of the Tashyan hinterlands, conquistador in his own mind.