Shotguns & Sorcery started out as an idea I had for a new setting for a fantasy roleplaying game. Back in 2001, I licensed the concept to Mongoose Publishing in a sweet deal that would have seen me writing an entire line of d20 (Dungeons & Dragons-compatible) books.
And then my wife became pregnant with quadruplets. (Yeah, I know. Writers. We always have one excuse or another.)
I shelved the project at that point, and I didn’t come back to it for an entire decade. That’s when Robin Laws asked me for a story for his new set of anthologies exploring his theory about the iconic hero: The New Hero 1 & 2. Having had Shotguns & Sorcery knocking around in the back of my head for too long, it finally burst out onto the page, and “Friends Like These” is what I scraped together from the spatter it left behind. It first appeared in The New Hero 2 back in 2012.
I had such a good time with this story that I returned to the setting for “Goblintown Justice,” which appeared in Marc Tassin’s Carnage & Consequences anthology. That story actually came out before “Friends Like These,” so for most people “Goblintown Justice” introduced them to the world of Dragon City.
While I was still waiting for the story to come out, I had this insane idea that I wanted to write a dozen short novels, one for each month. I called the project 12 for ’12, and I broke the books up into four trilogies and ran a Kickstarter drive for each. The second of those trilogies became the novels Hard Times in Dragon City, Bad Times in Dragon City, and End Times in Dragon City, each of which tell the continuing stories of ex-adventurer Max Gibson and the dragon-run city he calls home.
If you wanted to see how the adventures of Max Gibson and his friends started out, though, you had to track down a copy of The New Hero 2. Now, for the first time, you can buy it all on its own, for the low price of just 99¢.[I’m trying an experiment with this story by making it available exclusively for the Kindle for now. Amazon gives all sorts of perks to stories that set up camp solely under their tent. While I’m a big believer in the long-term health of a diverse marketplace for my work, which is why I sell all the rest of my stories through a number of different shops, I still want to play around with those tools a bit, and this gives me the chance to do that on a small basis. I’ll try to let you know what I figure out.]
So, tell your friends and neighbors! Come on in and get the sharp little story that started it all!