Cover to the Martian Knights & Other Tales collection.
Cover to the Martian Knights short story.

Martian Knights is now back in print in a new anthology of my short stories called Martian Knights & Other Tales, available now from Walkabout Publishing. The version of MK in this book is slightly longer than that in Sol’s Children — it’s the “Director’s Cut,” if you will. Plus, it comes packaged with a bunch of other short stories by me — including a new Blue Kingdoms™ tale. Such a deal! You can order the book from WP, from Amazon, from Smashwords, or on my Buy Stuff page. Don’t miss the other cool MK merchandise, either!

MK&OT contains 13 stories ranging from Sci Fi to fantasy to horror to weird tales. The stories stretch from the past (Renaissance Europe) to the future (Mars). I’ve also included the short stories I wrote immediately following 9/11. Some stories are scary, others are thought provoking, but most are just plain fun! There’s even a BLUE KINGDOMS™ story — The “Gift of the Dragons” — in the mix, as well as a glimpse of the upcoming FROST HARROW™ universe.

Plus, the “Story Notes” section of the book gives you a glimpse into how the stories came together.

If you’re looking for a great introduction to my writing, this is the book for you!

The story of how MK came to be follows.

* * *

My good friend Jean Rabe called me up one day and asked me if I’d like to do a story for an SF anthology. I hadn’t really done any short stories before, so I jumped at the chance.

“Can I do a Mars story?” I asked. “Sure,” she replied.

That made me smile, as I had some stories about Mars that I’d always wanted to tell.

Several years before, I was working on a comic strip series in TSR’s Dragon magazine called The Twilight Empire. The comic had run for over 4 years, and the magazine editors weren’t sure whether they wanted it to continue. So, at that time, I developed this concept that I called MARTIAN KNIGHTS(tm).

I came up with a whole world milieu and characters and storylines and even some character sketches and page samples. (Drawn by me, as I might have been doing the art for the series myself.)

After a series of long talks, we decided to continue Twilight Empire. (Which I was happy with, as that was my baby, too.) Then management changed and with it any chance of doing more comics for Dragon vanished. 🙁

But I still had Martian Knights lurking in the back of my mind. And when Jean asked….

Only trouble was that my original storylines were too long. So, I had to come up with another idea. Fortunately, one quickly came to me. I outlined it (a cardinal mistake, I later learned, when writing shorts) and wrote it up.

It was pretty long. Much longer than Jean had told me she wanted. Fortunately, a few other authors came in short on their pieces. Thus, with some judicious editing, Martian Knights got into the SOL’S CHILDREN antholgy.

The story is an action-packed SF tale set in a terraformed Mars. The main characters are particularly dear to me. And, yes, Sy is named after Sigourney Weaver. (Her last name is both a knight reference and a homage to Bruce Lee’s old pal & costar, John Saxon.)

I’ve done other short stories since — quite a few, in fact — but Martian Knights will always have a special place in my heart.

And why shouldn’t one use an outline when writing short stories? Well, my experience is that outlining tends to make them come out too long. I’m much better off if I go in with a good idea and just a few notes. That way, the story can take its own shape — and it’s much less likely to end up twice as long as it should be. (Although, some of those Jolum stories…! See the Mage Knight page.)

You can read MARTIAN KNIGHTS by purchasing Sol’s Children or Martian Knights & Other Tales at Amazon or their CreateSpace division. Or you can read MK (and a bunch of Steve’s other short stories) by ordering Martian Knights & Other Tales from my Buy Stuff page or from Walkabout Publishing.