Guest Post: Steven L. Shrewsbury



Where did a larger than life character like Gorias La Gaul come from? He’s not Conan, as he has a tad more style if some barbaric roots. He’s not Kane, though he isn’t afraid to play the anti-hero card and make the reader wonder. He isn’t Druss the legend, either. But he is long lived (700 years…not too bad in a realm before the Great Flood).


Although he’s developed over the years, Gorias La Gaul did step pretty much formed into my mind, speaking like a biker (as some critics say) and mean as catcrap, though not entirely heartless. His dark humor and bawdy ways just told themselves in the yarns. Was I exorcising some dark part of me in these tales? Meh, some people think too much. Gorias just IS and when he pops out, it can be exciting, nasty, funny, but never boring.


I’m sure he came into my mind from a lifetime of reading Howard, Wagner, Gemmel, and others like Jakes, Lieber and Wellman. He sort of showed up in my work, really as I never sat down of sat back drinking with my brother and said, “Ya know what would be cool as hell on Sunday? A 700 year old warrior clad in dragon skin armor using threads of angel’s wings as swords!” No, those drinking days with my brother were more on Johnny Cash and history, but I digress.


Frankly, though, some of those wicked old bluegrass songs heard on those days gave Gorias life. I was indeed pondering a new book and heard songs by Ralph Stanley, ancient folk numbers and something clicked in my head. A hero exaggerated in ballads, known for his legend, which may be worse than reality…that sounded cool. I had just written GODFORSAKEN, my take on the myths of Odin and his origins, and studied about Lugh of the shining Spear, the Celt god with one eye and basically, the doppelganger of Odin. Well, he had a spear named Gorias my character Lucan Mac Aliester used in GODFORSAKEN. So, that name stuck.  La Gaul? Just sounded good. It doesn’t mean THE GAUL at all.


In body, he would be a big old guy, rough as nails, scarred, alotta Rooster Cogburn, Johnny Cash and Sam Elliot. He’d be a lover, a fighter, and whatever else I decided to throw at him.


Do I know all of his tales just yet? Nope. I know quite a few that helped make him into the jaded old warrior we see in the tales. In the new book BORN OF SWORDS the final half of the novel is a flashback, and we see Gorias about 24 years old, young, raw and still learning. While he’s not a real terrible guy, there’s a lotta bad inside him…followed up with a briefcase full of bad as Dr. Who would say. As seen in the novels OVERKILL and THRALL, Gorias doesn’t mince words or suffer fools…or anyone.


So, the lesson, kids, is, drinking beer and listening to bluegrass & Johnny Cash for hours with my brother Mark just may help to create a new S&S character, if you have lots of knowledge of myth, and a lifetime of reading good fantasy writers under your dome.




Book Synopsis for Born of Swords:  Deliverance will come… But that is another story. What makes a legend but the stories told about him? Interviewing Gorias La Gaul, the biggest legend of them all, is a dream come true for young scribe Jessica. Where other girls her age would swoon beneath the steely gaze of the warrior, Jessica only has eyes for his mouth, and the tales that come from it…when he takes a break from cursing or drinking. Unfortunately for Jessica, Gorias doesn’t really have time to babysit. She’s found him in the midst of an annual pilgrimage of sorts, and though he agrees to let her come along, it’s not without a warning: You may not like what you see and hear. Just don’t come crying afterward. Whether viewing past visions with magical gemstones or jumping into the fray alongside the barbarian, Jessica’s about to get firsthand accounts she won’t soon forget…and discover legends are far from reality, and just as far from being pretty. You wouldn’t expect a youth of love and friendship from the greatest killer to walk the Earth, would you? These are tales of some of Gorias’ earliest days, back before he’d found his swords, to a time when a dragon needed killing. Tales back before his heart had hardened. Maybe. For most men, the future is not certain and the past is prologue. For a legend like Gorias La Gaul, even the past is up for debate. One thing is for certain about these tales. They will be bloody. Such is always the way for a man… Born of Swords…

Amazon Links for Born of Swords

Print Version

Kindle Version

Barnes and Noble Link for Born of Swords




About the author: Steven L. Shrewsbury lives, works and writes in rural Central Illinois. Over 365 of his short stories have been published in print or digital media since the late 80s. His novels include WITHIN, PHILISTINE, OVERKILL, HELL BILLY, BLOOD & STEEL, THRALL, STRONGER THAN DEATH, HAWG, TORMENTOR and GODFORSAKEN.

He has collaborated with other writers, like Brian Keene with KING OF THE BASTARDS, Peter Welmerink in BEDLAM UNLEASHED, Nate Southard in BAD MAGICK, Maurice Broaddus in the forthcoming BLACK SON RISING and Eric S. Brown in an untitled project.

He continues to search for brightness in this world, no matter where it chooses to hide.

Author Links:





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