TCM Presents: Thunder on the Battlefield


Very, very excited to be a stop for the Thunder on the Battlefield Tour. After all, not only is it two amazing volumes chock full of sword and sorcery goodness, but I have a story in one of those volumes! Today James R. Tuck is here to answer some questions, but let’s reacquaint ourselves with the books, first.


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HARK! to the sounds of battle. Mighty men and women who take their destinies with the strength of their arm and the sharpness of their blades. These are tales of warriors, reavers, barbarians, and kings. Lands of wonder populated with monsters, black-hearted sorcerors of Stygian power, and heroes who have blood on their hands and on their steel.


Edited by James R. Tuck, acclaimed author of the Deacon Chalk Novels, the Sword volume features tales from the following authors:

G. Gerome Henson

Jay Requard

D.T. Neal

John F. Allen

Marcella Burnard

David J. West

Alexis A. Hunter

James R. Tuck

Loriane Parker

W.E. Wertenberger

Stephen Zimmer

J.S. Veter


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Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery Book Synopsis:  BEHOLD! the clash of war. Steel upon steel and heroes fighting shield to shield. The only true victory is a brave death and the destruction of your enemies. These stories harken back to a barbaric past that never was. A time when heroic men and women cut glory from the cloth of a sorcery-filled world and stole gold from the hands of the gods themselves. This is fiction that takes no prisoners. No quarter asked. No quarter given.


Edited by James R. Tuck, acclaimed author of the Deacon Chalk Novels, the Sword volume features tales from the following authors:

Jeffe Kennedy

Alex Hughes

Selah Janel

Steven Grassie

James R. Tuck

M. B. Weston

Brady Allen

S. H. Roddey

Steven S. Long

D. A. Adams

Mark Taverna

Steven L. Shrewsbury


SJ: You’re known for your dark urban fantasy titles. What made you want to tackle something within the sword and sorcery genre?

JRT: I LOVE sword and sorcery. It is one of the earliest things I read as a kid and it has always stuck with me. It’s really one of my favorite forms of storytelling.

 SJ: For you, what actually makes a story a sword and sorcery story and not some other branch of fantasy?

JRT: Sword and sorcery is a more visceral form of fantasy. It’s gut-level mayhem, one hero with the strength of their swordarm against the higher machinations of a hard fantasy world. It’s not that sword and sorcery can’t delve into social commentary or exploring deeper themes and concepts, it often does. Robert E. Howard did quite a bit of this in the original Conan stories.

SJ: What is it about sword and sorcery that turns you on? Has this been a long-time interest and if so, where did it start?

JRT: Asked and answered! LOL

Since I was 12ish I have loved sword and sorcery. I tell the story in the intro to the anthologies of how I came about finding it. It really speaks to me as an alpha male. I dig the straightforward storytelling and the wide-brush painted concepts of rough nobility, heroism, and valor.

 SJ: If you could recommend three classic sword and sorcery stories to readers (not from the anthologies because we all know every story in those kick butt), stories that really show what the genre is all about, what would they be?

JRT: The Frost Giant’s Daughter by Robert E. Howard

Worms Of The Earth also by Robert E. Howard

Reflections For The Winter Of My Soul by Karl Edward Wagner

All three of them are wonderfully dark tales, but then again, you can’t really go wrong with either author no matter what story you choose.

 SJ: At what point did you decide to make the anthology two volumes? What was the basic reasoning behind that?

JRT: I just had too many really awesome stories to do one. We discussed doing a giant anthology, a real chihuahua killer of a collection, but it would have to be priced near $50! It would have been awesome, but in the end, we decided to split it and do the killer two images form one artwork for the covers. It’s a decision I think is awesome and I do not regret it at all!

SJ: Why team up with Seventh Star Press? What made you look their way and think “oh yeah, that’s who I want to handle anthologies to print and back.”

JRT: There was no one else. Seventh Star is an ace company with kickass people at the helm. They deliver a kickass product.  Plus, they’ve been steadily carving out a niche in the sword and sorcery/hard fantasy realm for a couple of years now, really establishing themselves as a damn fine publisher of damn fine books.

Also, and this is the deciding factor for me, I know a lot of their authors and they are all happy. THAT really says something. Publishers never have a full house of happy authors, but Seventh Star seems to. It means they’re doing something really, really right.

 SJ: Both sword and sorcery and dark urban fantasy have their brutal moments and epic characters. Do you think your love of one feeds your love/work in the other?

JRT: Definitely. In fact, I call Theok (the character I wrote stories about for the anthologies) a long lost ancestor of Deacon Chalk. They are similar men, both of them doing the right thing by their own moral code, walking through a world of monsters ready to deal violence to those that would harm the innocent.

Hell yeah they feed each other. 🙂 Before I did this anthology I often cited Robert E. Howard as one of my literary influences. One day I’ll be able to write HALF as good as him.

SJ: What’s been your favorite part about the anthology-editing experience? Least favorite? Has doing this made you want to retreat back to author-world forever and ever or do you see more projects like this in your future?

JRT: I want to edit more anthologies. I’d like to do at least one a year. My first love is writing and editing takes a LOT of work and time. But I like the fact that I can set up a world or a concept and turn it loose to the hands of talented authors. In fact, I have a weird 70’s retro gonzo urban fantasy anthology I will probably start looking for a home for soon. 🙂

SJ: Is sword and sorcery still relevant in this day and age? What do you think still attracts people to the genre?

JRT: Absolutely. It still holds the power it did in its beginning. It still strips big concepts down to simple situations making them easy for us to digest.

SJ:  Story Conan the Barbarian vs. Movie Conan…who would win in an epic battle to the death and why?

JRT: Story Conan would slaughter movie Conan. Hands down. Any version would get their asses handed to them by the Conan that Howard wrote. He was just brutal in his pragmatism. No messing about, just a hack and a slash and a severed head to celebrate. 

JamesRTuck author photo 2013

James R. Tuck lives outside Atlanta with his lovely wife and awesome kids. He has been a professional tattoo artist for 18 years and is a talented photographer. He is the author of the DEACON CHALK series (Kensington Books), the author of the CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH series (Pro Se Press forthcoming 2014), the editor of the double anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD Volumes 1 and 2 (Seventh Star Press), and his short fiction has appeared and will appear in several anthologies such as: ONE BUCK ZOMBIES (One Buck Horror), THE BIG BAD (Dark Oak Press), HOOKERPUNK (Dark Oak Press forthcoming), ROBOTS UNLEASHED! (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), KAIJU RISING 2 (Ragnarok Press forthcoming), MONSTER EARTH 2 (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), and BADLANDS:TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Zelmer Pulp forthcoming).

Editor James R. Tuck’s Links:






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