Welcome to Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 20! With this issue we return to our regularly scheduled random mix of adventure fantasy fiction, poetry and art. And by all that’s good and right, for once we will not be talking about the weather in our editorial. Well, except to give a shout-out to our hometown OKC Thunder who last night advanced to the next round in the NBA playoffs. Well done, fellas!

Without further ado – and we’ll forgive you if you choose a little NBA action over devoted reading of HFQ Issue 20 – here then is what we’re serving up this quarter:

Fiction Contents

Mouth of the Jaguar, by Evan Dicken
Evan introduces us to Hummingbird, an ass-kicking female warrior who signs on to help find a legendary jade dagger in an awesome Mezoamerican setting. There will be blood!

By Way of the Eastern Road, by Jesse Knifely
A single mistake puts a serf on the run along the hard road to freedom, but even the best thought-out plans fall apart when they meet reality.

The Challenger’s Garland, by Schuyler Hernstrom
Any fan of old-school S&S is familiar with Frazetta’s Death Dealer painting, and in this tale Schuyler delivers his take on inspiration derived there from. We think you’ll like this story and, if so, then check out some similarly inspired novels that came before:

Poetry Contents

The Taming of the Beast, by Brinsley Gale
Talk about old-school! We can’t decide what we like most about this poem: its form, subject, or ending. Then again, there’s not much sense pondering such things when Ms. Gale obviously employed some sort of sorcery when assembling this piece.

The Sword, by Cullen Groves
A talking sword, you say? How about a back-talking sword whose tongue is sharper than its edge? Nice!


This issue’s excellent art — Eel Witch — comes courtesy of Jon Hodgson. Jon is a full time freelance illustrator and art director based in Scotland UK. His work has been published in Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, The One Ring, Warhammer Historical, Doctor Who Card game, Warcraft TCG, Legend of the Five Rings and many other games large and small. He has also produced work for The BBC, Wychwood Brewery (it is Adrian Simmons’ tradition to have a Wychwood Hobgoblin after every issue of HFQ is posted), Euromoney Magazine, Hachette Publishing and David & Charles.

Working primarily with digital media Jon trained as a fine art gallery painter and had several shows before leaving it all behind to work on his first love, fantasy art.

You can check out more of Jon’s work here:



Goings On

June is quite a month for the fantasy fan.  First off, if you are a fan of the greatness that is Conan creator Robert E. Howard—and if you read Heroic Fantasy Quarterly you most assuredly are– June 13-14 is Robert E Howard Days in his hometown of Cross Plains Texas.  Two days of Howard and nothing but Howard.

Hot on the heels of that, SoonerCon 23 rocks the Oklahoma City metro from June 27-29.  Revel in fandom!  See Adrian Simmons maneuver panels, hold court at the bar, and be warned that there may be karaoke.

Writers!   The markets for fantasy S&S stories had grown by one—and a considerable one at that!  Starting this year Baen Books is sponsoring a Fantasy Adventure Award.  8K maximum words, submission window open from May 1 through June 30 2014, winner to be announced at Gen Con 2014.  Delicious irony that HFQ editor William Ledbetter is already a judge for one of their SF contests so he’s not involved in this one.  Get the straight dope here.

David Farney:  Has kept the fires of HFQ burning over the last quarter through various upheavals on the homefront.  These upheavals are not to be confused with the ones he had to deal with due to weather events at his house. Wait — we promised not to talk about the weather! Screw it. The dark clouds are lifting.

Adrian Simmons:  Has engaged in some real life adventure with a two week backpacking trip along the lonesome Ouachita Trail from Eastern Oklahoma to central Arkansas.  You want to know why Elrond’s Last Homely House is such a big deal?  Adrian Simmons now knows.

He’ll be at SoonerCon 23, as mentioned, and may make the pilgrimage to Cross Plains for REH days.  Two of his stories will be coming out soon, one science-fiction at James Gunn’s Ad Astra magazine, and a very short horror piece at Pseudo Pod.

William Ledbetter: Has been rocking it hard over the last six months.

His non-fiction article “The Exoplanet Hunters” out now at the Baen.com site.  His short story called “Meat 2.0″ will be in the next issue of Stupefying Stories.  His hard SF story “Stealing Arturo” has been published on the Baen website.

Aaaand he’s got an awesome story out in audio form at Escape Pod, “That Other Sea”.

James Rowe:  His poetry career continues to be strangely successful. Most notably, “The Bone Cutter’s Lament”, originally featured in November, 2013 issue of Songs of Eretz, has been nominated for the Rhysling award for best Short Poem, 2013 and will be featured in the forthcoming anthology. Other poems recently published or soon to be published include, “God: the Divine Apostrophe” (Feb. Songs of Eretz), “Berserkergang” (with narration in Liquid Imagination 21), “Star Song of the Granger” (vol. 9 issue 4. Tales of the Talisman), “Annihilation” (issue 59 Andromeda Spaceways), and “Bristlecone” (July 2014 in Bete Noire).

Moreover, the July, 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz will be consist exclusively of his work as “featured poet”. This issue will feature reprints of the HFQ-published poem “Everywhere the Serpent Slain“, the Big Pulp featured “Dirge of Riders to Certain Death”, and three unpublished poems “Mercury Rx”, “Weightclass”, and “Artificiality”.

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