“A Tale of Two Shards” is the seventh standalone short story I’ve published on Amazon Kindle — my second one in the fantasy genre. I dedicated it to my dad, an awesome father who died in 2015.
As I explain in the introduction, I wrote “A Tale of Two Shards” for a writing contest sponsored by WriterWriter, a now defunct website. My story finished third runner-up.
Like my other standalone fantasy short story “The Price of the Princess,” “A Tale of Two Shards” is a throwback to the more old-fashioned stories from my youth. I’m heavily influenced by classic fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Stephen R. Donaldson. My fantasy is also influenced by the King Arthur legend, Conan the Barbarian, and the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game.
While I write far more horror stories than fantasy tales, I still divide my reading time equally between the two genres. There are so many outstanding fantasy authors today like George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and Patrick Rothfuss to name a few.
While my horror stories are rather grim, I notice my fantasy stories are quite hopeful. I think that’s because Tolkien is my chief influence. I think it also has to do with the fact that Babe (yes, the pig movie) is hands down my favorite film of all time. When I’m writing fantasy, I can’t help but think about Frodo’s loyal companion Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings and that kindhearted little pig from the movie.
In fact, my favorite story that I’ve ever written is not a horror tale. It’s a throwback fantasy titled “Knight of the Daffadowndilly,” which was featured in the 2019 anthology America’s Emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers: The Deep South. You can definitely see the Tolkien influence in that story all the way to the talking dragon and sidekick named Sam.
Like my other fantasy stories, “A Tale of Two Shards” is certainly influenced by the decency of Samwise and Babe the Pig. Sadly, it seems decency has become a bit of a fantasy in our modern world.
“A Tale of Two Shards” is about a sixteen-year-old boy named Wrendorill who’s forced to become a king after his father dies. It’s very much a story about a boy trying to face the world without the comfort of his father’s presence, so there’s some of me in Wrendorill.
Wrendorill carries a green acorn with him wherever he goes. The acorn was a gift from his father. I keep my dad’s last can of Grizzly Long Cut Straight smokeless tobacco on my writing desk. It’s guarded by my two favorite Bigfoot figurines.
When Wrendorill needs comfort or inspiration or strength, he holds the green acorn in his hand. I do the same with Dad’s can of Grizzly. It works for me, and I hope it works for Wrendorill, too. But you’ll have to read “A Tale of Two Shards” to find out. And if you do, I hope you enjoy it.