A Blog about Norse Fantasy, Viking Adventures, and More!


Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Issue 13

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 13 went live July 1. This is our 3rd anniversary issue — hard to believe! And equally hard work, at times, but the joy of discovering cool stories, poems, and art makes it all worthwhile.  Big thanks to William Ledbetter for joining the team a year or so ago, and to Jim Lecky for throwing in for a stint before William. And of course big thanks to all our contributors over the years. (Is HFQ too young for me to use that verbiage — over the years?)

Here’s a snippet from Issue 13’s editorial, including content:

Even as the rumble of the Oklahoma City Thunder fades, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly keeps the adrenaline going with Issue 13. This is our three-year anniversary issue — an eternity on the internet! Coincidentally, tales by two of this quarter’s fictioneers mark their third publications at HFQ. Weird. But in a good way. In this issue we’re also proud to present poetry by a Texan and an Oklahoman — a veritable Red River Rivalry of speculative poetry!

We get year four off to a strong start with a full complement of material:

Fiction Contents:
A GAME OF CHESS, by David Pilling
Two-time HFQ alum David Pilling is back with his third remarkable tale, in which the most disabused knight of the Round Table has to do some heavy heroic lifting to save his hotheaded companion. We got your en passant right here!

RENEGADE, by Alex Marshall
Also returning for a third round is Alex Marshall with a tale of adventure, action, and a last shot (pun intended, you mixed-techies) at redemption in his far-future world of Pangaia.

DANCE UPON SAND, by Seamus Bayne
We enjoyed last issue’s CROWN OF SORROWS so much that we had to have more adventures of the now less-than-human Ordwin. If you missed this tale’s forbear, check it out here.

Poetry Contents:
No ordinary creatures, no ordinary rules.

Bethany Powell is back at HFQ with another great piece. You think your work is never done? Try escorting fallen warriors to the afterlife . . .

Jonas Jakobsson’s Watched by Owls graces our banner in Issue 13. Many thanks, Jonas — love your work! If you want to check out more of his art, you can find him at Deviant Art, here.

To read the rest of the editorial and for live links, click here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Issue 12

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 12 went live April 1st — and on time, as usual. This issue’s art is by two-time contributor Mariusz Gandzel. Thanks, Mariusz . . . you’re providing all the eye candy we need!

As for mind candy, check out what we’ve got for you in HFQ Issue 12:

Fiction Contents:

CROWN OF SORROWS, by Seamus Bayne
As sword and sorcerous as we’ve seen in quite awhile at HFQ! A mercenary must become more (and far less) than human to claim a prize.

RHINDOR’S REMISSION, by Russell Miller
The mantle of centuries weighs heavy: a sorcerer’s vast mystical power on the one hand, imminent senility on the other!

BLADE AND BRANCH AND STONE, by Spencer Ellsworth
New dangers, new magics, and new moral dilemmas meet settlers at the edge of an empire.

Poetry Contents:

Ah, the joys of carving out a peaceful existence in postwar times. Wait — joy might not be the best choice of words.

SIDHE-SONG, by Phil Emery
A Celt survives the battlefield to live life freely and on his own terms. Or maybe not . . .

LEGEND, by Colleen Anderson
The ultimate endangered species, ultimately hunted to extinction. Almost brings a tear to the eye. Almost.

Last but not least, here are a couple of reviews for HFQ Issue 12:

Swords & Sorcery Blog

Keith West’s Adventures Fantastic

Thanks, reviewers — we appreciate the love!

And thanks to you for stopping by Storm of the North blog. In coming months, I hope to have exciting news regarding publication of Storm of the North, the novel.

Until then, go forth and read!

Tuesday Althing: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Issue 9

We just published the 9th issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. The art for this edition was created by Bill Bricker. Here’s a rundown of the prose and poetry in HFQ 9:

Fiction Contents

The Inquisition-era adventures of Mahir and Filippo versus the sinister Prelate Dominus conclude in the second installment of HFQ’s first-ever novella.  If you missed the first part of The Dome of Florence, you can check it out here.

DEMON-FANG, by R. Michael Burns
The samurai Hokagé returns in this follow-up to HFQ Issue 3’s incredible Shadows from Firelight.  And if you haven’t yet read Shadows, go ahead and read this tale first; it’s very nearly a double-edged origin story — for both Hokagé and his sword, Demon-Fang.

Swords and sorcery, cloak and dagger, AND giant insects . . . what’s not to love?  One more mission and Turusha can leave behind a life of espionage — that is, if everything goes as she planned.

Poetry Contents

FRAGMENT THIRTY-SEVEN, by Robert Shmigelsky
Oh, if you only knew then what you know now . . .

Three adventurers, three weapons, one outcome. And plenty left for you to ponder after the poem has ended! With this offering David enters rare air here at HFQ, becoming only the second poet we’ve published more than once. We encourage you to check out HFQ Issue 8 to read his previous work.

If you haven’t already, check out HFQ Issue 9 — and check back here soon for goings-on in the wacky world of Scandinavian interest. Uff da!

Tuesday Althing: Still Alive — Again!

Hey Everybody! (Well, both of you — used to be I’d get 200 hits per day.)

I’m still alive. Ja, I’ve said this before, I know. But I seriously am still walking the world in a mostly sound body, and I’m intent on returning to blogging and writing about Norse/Viking/Scandinavian stuff more regularly.


Because I miss doing so. And because — after 2.5 straight years of reading submissions, editing, and publishing on schedule — my buddies and I at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly are taking a break from such rigors.

It has been a fun ride at HFQ, and we’ll get back on the horse in due time. For now, though, real life and our own creative needs as writers demands a step back. As a writer, I can see now why some editors and agents are so susceptible to . . . terseness, irritability, and just plain flightiness. The flood of communications and seemingly never-ending to-do lists (all of which must be addressed in our free time after we’ve clocked out from our day jobs) weighs like, uh, Mjolnir against one’s skull.

So it is with an equal measure of sadness and relief that I hereby announce HFQ’s closure to submissions of FICTION until the end of January, 2012. We’re still open to poetry and art submissions, though, so keep those coming — speaking solely for myself, I’ll say that poetry has been and remains the most enjoyable and surprising component of what we’ve published at HFQ.

So stop by Heroic Fantasy Quarterly and read a poem or two and, meanwhile, also stand by for more frequent updates to Storm of the North blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thor’s Day Alert #33: Jim Cantore Thundersnow

Happy Thor’s Day, everybody!

If you haven’t seen the footage of The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore reporting from Chicago during the 2011 blizzard, do not miss the following links . . . [alleged] audio conspiracies abound!

You’re surely asking why the heck I’m talking about Jim Cantore and Chicago on this blog about things Norse — especially on Thor’s Day, the subject posts of which typically relate only to Thor himself.

Well, it’s because of the flash of blue and ear-splitting thunder amidst a blizzard in the following videos; think Thor’s hammer striking in a snowstorm — you’ll never see it coming! This scene perfectly captures the pants-crapping aspects of the Mjollnir-borne thundersnow scene in my novel . . . minus, of course, Cantore and Chicago.

Yes, yes, there’s lots of fun to be poked at me here — feel free to comment and point out the other obvious differences between myth and reality, Thor and Cantore, etc. This could be fun — just keep your comments clean and I’ll post them!

On, then, with the snow — I mean show:

First up we have the [allegedly] original and unedited version of Cantore’s reaction to the 2011 Chicago thundersnow:

And here’s the [allegedly] sanitized/dubbed version:


What do you think? I like the [allegedly] unsanitized version — it shows true emotional reaction. I’m giving it up to Cantore for not reacting by dropping MF-bombs and GD’s.

He also apparently did not crap his pants . . .

Tuesday Althing: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Issue 7

Happy New Year, everybody!

On January 1st we published our seventh issue of HeroicFantasyQuarterly. We pulled off a complete lineup this time, with three short stories and two poems:

Fiction Contents

LORD OF THE BRASS HOST, by Dariel Quiogue
Dare we call this beauty a tale of S&S steampunk upon the steppes? We dare!

Hope drives them across the tundra, and revenge into a world of legend!

When the forces of the Witch Priest threaten the Southlands, only the
mighty Zhusa and their allies stand in the way. But are unbreakable spears enough to stop this ancient evil . . .


A poem seemingly straight from the middle ages! With this his second poem to grace our electronic pages, Mr. Hampton currently reigns as HFQ’s Poet Laureate. (You can check out the prior here, from the halcyon days of ’09.)

METTLE, by Scott Matthews
We couldn’t have asked for a better winter poem. Short but powerful, certain lines of this piece are sure to warm the hearts of heroic fans everywhere — you’ll know ‘em when you see ‘em!

This issue’s art is “Wizard’s Fire” by Simon Cowell.

In this issue we also unveiled the HFQ T-shirt, which you can check out and/or order by following the link posted in HFQ’s editorial.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Tuesday Althing: HFQ Issue 6

We successfully published Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 6. This time, we found two cool stories and two poems. From our editorial:

HEART OF MAN, by David Pilling
Heathen rites and anti-establishment battles in ye olde Britain. Last issue we mentioned HFQ would consider publishing historical fantasy —  stories like this are why we opened the doors to real world settings.

THE SEA WASP, by Robert Rhodes
Thuggery on the high seas as superstitious corsairs abscond with a young scribe. What’s the saying? You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy . . .


The future is a hard thing to know. But you knew that. Nevermind — we think you’ll like this one.

THE DANCE, by Shennandoah Diaz
How long did you think it would last?

Hope you’ll check out this issue of HFQ. Thanks for stopping by!