My short story, The Daughter’s Dowry, has recently gone live on the Black Gate Magazine website. Though originally purchased years ago, for the print magazine, along with a number of follow-up pieces, the slow demise of the paper-incarnated Black Gate meant that the stories were waiting for an issue that was fated to never arrive. The issue just before was to prove the magazine’s last.
But the stories have now gotten a new chance at an audience with the start of the online fiction section at the Black Gate website. Yay!
The Daughter’s Dowry is the first story in a series that details the adventures of Gloren Avericci and his trusted companion, Yr Neh. Gloren and Yr Neh are gallery hunters: freelance art speculators, archaeologists, and acquirers of rare antiquities. Yr Neh also happens to be a large, somewhat moody cat.
Dowry was the first short story I produced for a small writing group I helped form in Chicago, and, while I was writing it, I remember knowing that I’d be doing more with these main characters. At the time, though, I’d never written anything with a recurring cast, so the idea was still somewhat speculative. But the popularity of the story allowed me to write The Sealord’s Successor a few months later.
Taken together, these stories lay out the major division in the tales. Some are narrated by Gloren, and reveal less than flattering aspects of his own actions and thoughts during the historical events. Gloren also relates the tale at hand to other events with which the reader is supposed familiar. The other half of the stories are told from the perspective of Aven Penworthy, the chronicler who travels with the pair, documenting their daring-do and various triumphs. Aven, though, has an entirely different social perspective, and also seeks (in his final drafts, at least) to show Gloren and Yr Neh in a uniformly positive light. It is this instinctive glamorizing that perhaps spurs Gloren to tell his stories directly.
Besides being fun to write, this series has the sort of flexibility to allow a long run, as they traverse not only the length and breadth of the known world, but the vagaries of rising and falling fortunes and the arc from youth to maturity. This means I can allow Gloren and Yr Neh to change, somewhat, and also serve as the anchors that bind the stories together, as the setting and cast can be radically different from tale to tale.
These stories have taken a long time to see the light of publication, and I’m happy to see them in print at last. I hope people enjoy them!