A Cold and Lonely Place Released

A Cold and Lonely Place, the latest Kormak short story, is now available.




Here’s the blurb.

To the world at large, he is a mercenary and assassin, a brutal killer with a deadly blade. In reality Kormak is a Guardian, one of an ancient order sworn to protect humanity from the servants of the gathering darkness.

Grimhaven holds a fatal secret as any visitor discovers too late. On a dark autumn evening, as the full moon glares down on the village, a stranger arrives, a man called Kormak, on a mission to uncover what happened to a friend who vanished months ago.

It’s a 6000 word tale of Lovecraftian horror and stealthy assassination set in the wilds of Taurea during the Civil War. It retails at $0.99 or the local equivalent at all the major e-book retailers.








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9 Replies to “A Cold and Lonely Place Released”

  1. Went on the Kindle last night. Kormak lends himself & his world wonderfully to the short story format, as first seen in Guardian of the Dawn. I’m looking forward to savoring this new tale one night this week when I have an uninterrupted hour or two and a glass of scotch.
    Thanks for the quick release!

    1. It was the comments about weirdness and world-building. I wrote this story ages ago but was never really satisfied with it (nor was the one friend I showed it to). It was quite a generic sort of fantasy adventure in the D&D mode. In the original versions it even had some D&D style monsters. I stuck the story in a drawer and left it there.

      After your comments on Ocean of Fear, I started thinking and then I rewrote it from the ground up with a much more Lovecraftian/ Weird Tales kind of atmosphere and it worked a whole lot better. It also felt like it was part of Kormak’s world.

      Mmm– I may write a blog post about this at some point. Or about my battles to write short stories which I find a lot harder than writing novels. There are a surprising number of uncompleted Kormak short stories lying around.

      1. I quite writing short stories, and would do more of them, but I have found that they’re really not commercially viable. So instead every time I release a new book, I give away a free companion short story to my newsletter subscribers, partly as a bonus for subscribers, but also partly so I have an excuse to write one.

        I think the difference between writing novels and writing short stories is like the difference between packing for a cross country van drive across the US and packing a carry-on bag for a cross-country flight over the US. For the drive, you can pack more things, be a bit more lax, fill up the van with almost everything you want. For the overhead bag, there is absolutely no room to waste, and everything in it must both fit and have a useful purpose.

          1. Excellent description of the difference between writing short stories and novels there, Jonathan! I always think short stories are like poems– there’s no room for wasted words.

            With novels I plan everything– a result of my years writing tie-in books. To sell there always needs to be a detailed outline and there’s always a detailed background sitting there. I pretty much never write a novel without knowing exactly what I am supposed to be doing before I start. Having a plan helps deal with the sheer scale of the task as well.

            Because of the commercial factors you mention I almost never write short stories except when I have an idea that won’t leave me alone and I am absolutely filled with blazing enthusiasm. These ideas come out of the blue and are sometimes just an image or a scene. I sit down and write it. There is no plan. I don’t ever feel like I need one because hey, it’s a short story. This means that often I have no idea how to finish and once the original impulse is used up, no fiscal motivation to do so either. I have a lot of unfinished short stories sitting around. You’d think I’d have learned by now. My only excuse is that the impulse comes on me so irregularly and with such strength that I forget.

            I also made this short story free to the folks on my mailing list. I really ought to have mentioned that in the post above.

  2. Enjoyed the story last night. It was the denouement with the villagers that really hits home the overall feel of Kormak’s saga for me. Guardian of the Dawn, agent of justice, enforcer of the mysterious pact, bringer of change – whatever you want to label him, all his aspects make people in his world uneasy.

    Short stories seem harder to construct these days – writers are out of practice due to the lack of financial rewards in the last thirty + years. With the emerging markets created by self-publishing, I’m hoping genre short stories make a roaring comeback.

    You should dig out more of those dusty (byte-dust?) Kormak short story drafts when the mood strikes you. After a few, I suspect you would easily discover a solid unifying theme to create a sweet Kormak anthology.

    One side-effect of reading the story last night is the strong urge to find the misplaced dice, grab an RPG tome and discover the lair of some tabletop gamers. 🙂

    Looking forward to the next!

    1. Thanks, Tony. Sorry for taking so long to reply. We’re on holiday in Cesky Raj and I have only just discovered the hotel has wifi. It didn’t when we were here last year.

      The market for short stories is a very weird thing. I remember articles by Samuel Delaney and Robert Silverberg about the 60s when it was possible to live in New York City on the money you could make selling short stories. You could not do that now. The weird thing was that the money was about the same as it was in the 60s when I was breaking into magazines in the 80s and it is about the same now. Inflation has moved on a long way though even if payment has not.

      I do hope to finish those Kormak stories at some point. The nice thing about having them on file is that I can always go back to them when the mood takes me.

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