I have a number of stories that I offer to readers for free. Use this form to request them. All free stories will be sent to the email address you specify. For details about each story, see below:
Fantasy: The Riyria Revelations 0.5
THEY ATTACKED TWO RIDERS. THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASY. THEY WERE WRONG. A band of thieves set upon two lonely riders in the middle of the night. They had a larger party. They had the element of surprise. There was no reason to be concerned, but they didn’t realize who they were dealing with. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. NOTE: This was originally published as the first chapter of Theft of Swords (Book #1 and Book #2 of The Riyria Revelations), so for those who have that book…you already have this story.
Fantasy: The Riyria Chronicles 1.5
CAN GOOD DEEDS GO UNPUNISHED? Eleven years before they were framed for the murder of a king, before even assuming the title of Riyria, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater were practically strangers. Unlikely associates, this cynical thief decides to teach his idealist swordsman partner that no good deed goes unpunished. Will Royce wind up the teacher or be schooled himself? Note: This is a 5,400 short story originally written in 2011 just as my self-published books were removed from the market to make way for the omnibus editions being released by Orbit. (Originally published as The Viscount and the Witch) It is also the seed that grew into The Riyria Chronicles, a prequel series that starts at the forming of Riyria and includes stories involving various adventures that Royce and Hadrian had during the twelve-year period prior to the events in The Riyria Revelations. Eventually this short story made its way into the second chapter of the second book, The Rose and the Thorn, so if you’ve read that book there is no reason to read this short as you already know what will happen. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends.
Fantasy: The Riyria Chronicles 2.1
WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH? Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive. This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find. NOTE: This short story was originally published in the Unfettered Anthology edited by Shawn Speakman.
HE WANTED TO ESCAPE HIS PROBLEMS. HE WANTED TO SEE THE FUTURE. HE NEVER CONSIDERED WHAT THE FUTURE WANTED. Confronted with suffering a painful death from cancer, Dan Sturges foregoes treatments to try an idea of his own. With nothing to lose but a few months of pain, Dan builds a time machine in his garage and pins his hopes on a future where his cancer might be cured. How could he have known that what happens after he presses the button is more shocking than the eighteen car batteries he connected himself to?
Traditions is based in the world of Elan (the setting for my Riyria Revelations series) but it features a new never-before-seen character. The idea came from Shirley Jackson’s famous short story, The Lottery where the livelihood of a town is dependent on the sacrifice of one of their own. When Annie is selected, she takes matters into her own hands and dares to challenge the town’s traditions in order to move to a new future, that while it may be fraught with potential danger, it also possess the possibility of new opportunities.
Dystopian Science Fiction
Burning Alexandria it was written the day I learned of Ray Bradbury’s death and is me paying homage to him in the context of this anthology whose mission was to focus on stories involving the end of the world. When solar flares makes electricity a memory of the past a horder’s stash of paperbacks might just might be the greatest library left in existence after the conversion to digital. But when threatened with death from exposure will he sacrifice literature to survive?
Autumn Mists tells the story of an embittered man who at the end of his days has a chance to recapture the magic of his youth, if only he can remember, and believe.
Hollow World (Extended Preview: First Four Chapters)
THE FUTURE IS COMING…FOR SOME SOONER THAN OTHERS. Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but after contracting a terminal disease, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World
The Crown Tower (Extended Preview: First Four Chapters)
TWO MEN WHO HATE EACH OTHER. ONE IMPOSSIBLE MISSION. A LEGEND IN THE MAKING. A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.
A Burden to the Earth (Not currently available)
He learned values from Gunsmoke, ethics from Father Knows Best, and his place in the world from Ozzie & Harriet, but his life turned out much different than any of them. A child of the fifties, Elliot Myers believed his parents, his teachers, his priest, and television when they promised him the American dream. Now at forty, and still living with his mother, he knows they all lied. Embittered by being left behind as the world moved ahead, Elliot finds one last chance to free himself of forty years of waiting and makes his first, and final, grasp at life. Set in the early 1990’s A Burden to the Earth explores regret over lost innocence, nostalgia for the past, and the cost of dwelling on both.
Antithesis (Not currently available)
Have you ever wondered how the world will end? No? Well don’t sweat it. Most people don’t, and the few that do expect the cause will be a dramatic change in climate, a pandemic, or mostly likely war. That’s what we’ve all been taught to believe, and we’re comfortable with rational explanations. But people weren’t always so quick to accept the facts provided by the so-called experts. There used to be a time when we believed in myth and magic. Our minds were open to the idea of believing in what can’t be seen…the fantastical. I had been like you until I met Winston Stewart; the day I learned to believe that there are other forces at work—not the least of which is fate. Fate is an amazing thing. It put Gandhi in South Africa, Nelson at Gibraltar, and Winston Stewart on that train in Alexandria Virginia. You say you don’t know who Winston Stewart is? Don’t worry…You will.
The Riyria Revelations Afterword (Behind the Scenes)
If you’ve finished Heir of Novron (last book in The Riyria Revelations) and would like a little behind the scenes peek inside the brain of Michael J. Sullivan, it’s author than this is for you. Filled with spoilers, it shouldn’t be requested by people who haven’t finished the story. But for those that have, it might shed some light on why things turned out as they did.