Click on each author's image to link to their homepage.

Howie K. Bentley

Howie K. Bentley first encountered sword-and-sorcery in The Savage Sword of Conan magazines when he was a teenager during the early 1980s. This led him to John Milius’s Conan the Barbarian film, and subsequently the Lancer/Ace Conan paperbacks edited by Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp.

Around the same time that he was getting heavily into Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, Howie discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars paperbacks. Howard and Burroughs helped shape his interests in reading early on. Later on when he moved to Georgia, Howie began to comb Atlanta for any sword-and-sorcery books that he could find.

Howie comments, "What the 1950s did with westerns for my father’s generation, I feel as if the 1980s did for sword-and-sorcery to a somewhat comparable but lesser degree for my generation.”

Howie K. Bentley is also the founder, guitarist, lyricist, and sole composer of two heavy metal bands: Cauldron Born and Briton Rites. He has written a number of novelettes featuring the demon-god Thorn, who is the Cauldron Born mascot and graces the band’s album covers. Thorn, the physical manifestation of the Thorn rune, is a god slayer and a witch maker.

Byron A. Roberts

Byron A. Roberts, is the vocalist/lyricist and founder of the British symphonic extreme metal band Bal-Sagoth. He is also an author, having had several short stories published in fantasy and horror fiction anthologies.  

Originally hailing from Yorkshire, England, Roberts graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with an Honours Degree in English, writing his final year thesis on the genres of pulp fantasy, science fiction and horror, and more specifically the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Roberts originated Bal-Sagoth's concept and writes all the lyrics for the band, having performed the vocals on all six Bal-Sagoth albums to date as well as the band's 1993 demo.

E.C. Hellwell

During the recording of Manilla Road's 'Playground of the Damned', EC Hellwell came to Mark Shelton with a short story he had written, called "Acheronomicon". Mark Shelton read it, and thought the story was so brilliant that he had to put it to music. Shelton had done this before in the early days of Manilla Road. The songs "The Riddle Master," "Cage of Mirrors" and "Time Trap" were all based on Hellwell's stories.

Although Hellwell wrote "The Riddle Master" in the '70s, it was published for the first time in 2015 in the anthology "Swords of Steel" along with stories by other heavy metal musicians.


David C. Smith

David C. Smith was born on August 10, 1952, in Youngstown, Ohio. In addition to many essays and short stories, he is the author or coauthor of 22 published novels, primarily in the sword-and-sorcery, horror, and suspense genres.

In addition, Smith is the author of the screenplay Seasons of the Moon, based on his novel; has coauthored the play Coven House; and coauthored the screenplay Magicians, based on the David Trevisan novels.  Smith is also author of the postsecondary English grammar textbook Understanding English: How Sentences Work.

Aside from writing fiction, Smith has worked as an advertising copyeditor and English teacher and for more than twenty years as a scholarly medical editor. He has served on the staff of Neurology, was the editorial production manager of the American Journal of Ophthalmology, and for more than ten years has been the managing editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Jeffrey Black

Jeffrey Black formed Gatekeeper in the dismal haze of 2010 as a spitting retort to everything happening on a musical level in the frost-kissed prairies of Alberta. In a land dominated by blast beats, scooped mids and vocalists who couldn't find a melody in a shopping bag, Gatekeeper stands upright and unchained, continuing the legacy laid down by such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, Bathory, Frank Frazetta, Manowar, Candlemass, and Manilla Road. If your interests lie in the direction of things ancient, lost and far away, Gatekeeper might be for you. If not? Good riddance.