Ian H. McKinley

Ian H. McKinley is a retired Canadian diplomat and writer of “fantastic realism,” fantasy that escapes the tropes of pure good versus ultimate evil. Rather, Ian’s narratives are driven by alignments and/or collisions of human interests and values. He is also an avid Blood Bowl player having won the prestigious 2021 Border Princes tournament as well as the Championship of the Longueuil Conference of the mighty Kasse Gueule. He is currently notorious for his offensive contributions to the Ottawa-Gatineau Blood Bowl League Facebook page. WHERE TO FIND IAN’S BOOKS Harbinger: Book One of Northern Fire (Amazon.ca) The Broken Dream: Book Two of Northern Fire (Amazon.ca) The Gallows Gem of Prallyn (Amazon.com) Hard copies (ask Ian directly) (Full biography)

07: I could put an arrow in his eye

Cassandra Thordwall shook her head to let Jacyntha know exactly what she thought of that idea. Then she added, “Here in Guayamartí, that’s called murder.” She looked out between the columns lining the Militantes’ training ground towards the aqueduct. Then her gaze shifted to the citadel atop its cliff before straying to the City Port beneath the Bridge of a Hundred Arches. In fact, her gaze strayed anywhere and everywhere except up slum built climbing the hill overlooking the packed-dirt pitch. Supposedly there was a spy up there in the favela observing the Militantes’ training session. Or, at least, trying to observe the training session … it wouldn’t be easy with the columns lining the sunken dirt pitch and the roof overhead.

06: This Heat Could Kill!

Sweating, Jacyntha crept low through the underbrush, spear in one hand, machete in the other. It was hot, hotter than the N’Itgat Jungle usually got. The light was strange … muted, diffuse, as opposed to refracted and verdant under the influence of the canopy high above. This part of the jungle was unfamiliar to her; it didn’t look anything like where her soldiers patrolled around Mytilan. Fronds, big as her torso, dangling off saplings hung at eye-level all around her, blocking her line-of-sight.

05: Temple of the Viper!

He’s got a dagger! Jacyntha ducked and felt the blade trim her hair. She dodged to the left and scrambled around the side of Rodentien line. The sewer-slipper spat green phlegm after her. Protecting Gods, these things are disgusting! Pre-season training, all two sessions of it, hadn’t prepared her for this. Hidden weapons, plague-bearing claws, matted and mangy fur, unnatural mutations weeping pus, gangrenous, scabby skin between the islands of fur, and worst of all, long, wiggling, stomach-churning tails. It all sent shivers down her spine.

Art of a Blood Bowl player fouling by Meunier

04: You’re not going to score

Naught says “you’re not going to score” like a spike through the arm. It was Karsgaard Neuvil’s approach to footy. You could swap out the specific body part, but the principle held; it’s impossible to score a touchdown when impaled on a spike. In this particular case, it was the arm.

Art black men fighting white tattooed men with knife by Meunier

03: Daggers Scythed the Air

One hit Umberto, another embedded itself into the snug’s door-frame. Neuvil jumped up and grabbed a stool. Thordwall dove under the table and another dagger thumped into the wood panelling right behind where her head had been a second earlier. Two men and two women surged from the throng that had crowded into the Luffing Lateen, though one clattered to the floor in front of Gosling, who had stuck out a leg and tripped the assailant.

Art of Thordwall looking like she was used to striking people by Meunier

02: It Was a Hell of a Play

Whatever one’s thoughts on hell, Karsgaard Neuvil’s detractors certainly called it “devilish,” implying that some foul power had aided him. His Hammarskjöld Nordhammers had been drawing 1-1 heading into the final moments of their last game of the season against the Karthini Royalists.

01: Get the Bastard!

Jacyntha knew him, Pierce Rosethorn, knew he’d make for the sideline. Get him now! She had seen the Quarrel’s thrower fade right and had known Rosethorn would be the target. She had backed off her sisters in the ruck and had done so just in the nick of time.


Up and Under is an innovative collaboration between an award-winning artist and a recognized writer of fiction. Ian H. McKinley published his first fantasy novel, The Gallows Gem of Prallyn, in 2014. On the strength of this debut effort, he was invited to participate in the 2016 Frye Festival, Atlantic Canada’s largest literary event, as …

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