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“Oak Apple Night”

The morning had been fine and bright, but as the afternoon wore on a stiff wind sprung up, bringing with it clouds and a dampness that heralded rain. Joan, looking out the window of Boscobel House, did not want to go outside. “Please, Granfer . . . does it have to be tonight?”

I’ve long had a list of Onyx Court stories I potentially want to write — but this one wasn’t on that list. It went from zero to finished draft in twenty-four hours flat thanks to a call for a themed anthology.

As I’ve mentioned in the context of the Onyx Court novels, they have their roots in a role-playing game I ran. Some elements of that campaign made it into the series, but others didn’t, in some cases because they involved matters outside of London (where the books have their focus). One of the latter, however, dovetailed well enough with the anthology’s theme that it inspired me to pop out a short story in record time.

Mind you, it turned out not to dovetail well enough with the theme for the anthology’s editor to buy it. But that’s all right, because that means I was able to sell it to Beneath Ceaseless Skies — home of every other piece of Onyx Court short fiction to date! They published it in May 2021, and you can read it online or listen to it podcast.


A careful and sharp take on the allure, and limitations, of having a king. A great read!

Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

(Recommended story)

Karen Burnham, Locus Magazine