Buy Below
Buy Below
Edited by Shawn Speakman

You define life or it defines you.

In Shawn Speakman’s case, it was both.

Lacking health insurance and diagnosed with Hogdkin’s lymphoma in 2011, Shawn quickly accrued a massive medical debt that he did not have the ability to pay. That’s when New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks offered to donate a short story Shawn could sell toward alleviating those bills—and suggested Shawn ask the same of his other friends.

Unfettered is the result, an anthology built to relieve that debt, featuring short stories by some of the best fantasy writers in the genre.

Like the title suggests, the writers were free to write whatever they wished. Here is the list of contributing authors for Unfettered:

  • Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks (a precursor to the Word/Void trilogy)
  • How Old Holly Came To Be by Patrick Rothfuss (a Four Corners tale)
  • River of Souls by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (a Wheel of Time tale)
  • The Old Scale Game by Tad Williams
  • Game of Chance by Carrie Vaughn
  • Martyr of the Roses by Jacqueline Carey (a precursor to the Kushiel series)
  • Dogs by Daniel Abraham
  • Mudboy by Peter V. Brett (a Demon Cycle tale)
  • The Sound of Broken Absolutes by Peter Orullian (a Vault of Heaven tale)
  • The Coach With Big Teeth by R.A. Salvatore
  • Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood (a Summer Dragon tale)
  • Heaven in a Wild Flower by Blake Charlton
  • The Chapel Perilous by Kevin Hearne (an Iron Druid tale)
  • Select Mode by Mark Lawrence (a Broken Empire tale)
  • All the Girls Love Michael Stein by David Anthony Durham
  • Strange Rain by Jennifer Bosworth (a Struck epilogue tale)
  • Nocturne by Robert V. S. Redick
  • Unbowed by Eldon Thompson (a Legend of Asahiel tale)
  • In Favour With Their Stars by Naomi Novik (a Temeraire tale)
  • The Jester by Michael J. Sullivan (a Riyria Chronicles tale)
  • The Duel by Lev Grossman (a Magicians tale)
  • Walker and the Shade of Allanon by Terry Brooks (a Shannara tale)
  • The Unfettered Knight by Shawn Speakman (an Annwn Cycle tale)

With the help of stalwart friends and these wonderful short stories, Shawn has taken the gravest of life hardships and created something magical. Unfettered is not only a fantastic anthology in its own right but it’s a testament to the generosity found in the science fiction and fantasy community—proof that humanity can give beyond itself when the need arises.

After all, isn’t that the driving narrative in fantasy literature?

Edition Notes:

There are five editions of Unfettered. A $75 hardcover Advanced Reader Copy limited to 250 copies. A $35 trade hardcover with a print run of 5000 copies. A $150 leather-bound and slipcased hardcover signed and numbered to 500 copies. A $200 cloth hardcover signed and limited to 100 copies (not numbered). And an ebook edition.

Purchase Below:

84 thoughts on “Unfettered

  1. Too cool! Really looking forward to both books!

  2. I love this idea and hope it all works out! Just placed my order.

  3. They are being signed by all those Legend worthy authors?! It will be priceless! – LEVI

  4. I wonder is Terry’s Allanon short story will be in it.

    1. That’s the story I’m hoping Terry will let me put in. We’ll see. Gonna be hard to convince him!

  5. Was glad to put in an order for your book and will also be happy to order the the short story collection. As someone dealing with a painful medical condition, I am happy that you are doing well. I wish you all the luck in the world with your future work and finances.

  6. I’m really looking forward to this!

    Do you have an idea what you will be pricing both editions at?

    1. The trade should be similar to The Dark Thorn — either $30 or $35. The limited of Unfettered will be around $125 I think, given the talent involved and the rarity of the book.

      1. With as many who would like to contribute, maybe a Volume II could become a consideration for the future? Hmmm??? Maybe???

        1. Terry actually proposed that idea already. We’ll see. I’m not really wanting to make money beyond what covers my bills. Perhaps it is time to consider starting my own charity organization similar to what Pat Rothfuss does with Worldbuilders? But directed at cancer?

          1. I think that would be a wonderful idea. Cancer touches so many in our lives that ongoing research towards a cure is needed. I know the Hunstman Cancer Center in Utah does a lot of research and it is through donations. Then we have the American Cancer Socity and the year round efforts of Realy for Life across the United States. This would be a great direction to head with an organiztion to assist with research and cure.

  7. […] Grim Oak Press Announces fantasy anthology Unfettered edited by Shawn Speakman. [via A Dribble of Ink] […]

  8. Just ordered my copy of The Dark Thorn. Can’t wait for Unfettered as that’s an awesome list of Authors. At the tentative price mentioned I’ll definitely be getting my copy 🙂

    1. I’m excited for people to read the anthology. I’m curious to see how the theme-less idea goes over. Giving this bunch of authors free rein could be my downfall. Ha!

  9. Just ordered a signed copy of The Dark Thorn! Can’t wait for that and for the signed copy of Unfettered! Thanks!

  10. Shawn,
    Ordered the book. Cannot wait to have it in my hands.
    I am also looking foward to having Unfettered. Will be worth every penny of what you think the tentative price will be. I too hope that Terry will let you include his Allanon short in there. Might have to ‘blackmail’ him a little, maybe make his website go down for a while? Just kidding what ever he gives you will be great and considering he does not really like to write short stories….
    The waiting will be the hard part. It will be interesting to see where RA places his short story. Also Brandon, will it be in his Alcatraz, Mistborn or Stormlight series?
    There are only a couple of authors that are contributing that I have not read yet, so will be nice to read something by them and perhaps find another author to read.

    1. Terry may contribute Imaginary Friends. He is really trying to get the Allanon short story in the book though. I happen to think that would be the best thing to do for marketing and publicity — not only for me but him as well.

      As for RA, he’s doing something special and I can’t announce it yet. It has nothing to do with his other work. And Brandon is trying to do something special too. More on that when it can be said.

      Thanks for the support, Sean!

      1. Little tidbits to increase the excitement is always a good thing!!! LOL

  11. Just ordered a signed copy of your book, I appreciate the service you provide with your Signed Page so this was a no brainier. I’m from Olympia, WA so glad I could help a fellow native!

    1. Thanks! Always love the love from the hometowners!

  12. Just ordered my leather bound copy and can not wait to order the anthology …

  13. I just finished placing my order for The Dark Thorn the signed and numbered edition and I look forward to Unfettered when it becomes available! Let the waiting begin, but it will be so worth it!!!!

    I am glad to read you are doing well!!!!

  14. I so cannot wait until The Dark Thorn is in my hands to read. What you have done for us over the years, especially with what you yourself have had to go through, is nothing short of amazing. Thank you so much for offering us readers the very best that todays authors have to offer. And thank you to the authors for contributing. Unfettered should be awesome!! Signed by all authors……priceless!

    1. Thanks, Dorothy! I’m only as good as the people around me. One of them has been you. So thanks!

  15. OMG I rescently discovered Kevin Hearne…. from there I discovered a rich tapestry of authors who I have fallen completely in love with. I have just ordered The Dark Thorn and wait with baited breath for Unfetted. I have a sense of awe for the fact you have given authors free range and hope that works out for you lol… but I know that what comes between the gorgeous leather covers of both books will be more than worth it.

    1. Thanks, Simone! I hope so! I can tell you from what I’ve read so far, I’m excited for fantasy fans!

  16. Things to do today: Pre-order The Dark Thorn. Check!
    (You will be glad to know I had that ranked higher than mow the lawn)
    Good luck Shawn!

  17. […] Thankfully, a lot of my writing friends donated their time and creativity. Without them, I’d be financially hurting for decades to come. Grim Oak Press is publishing the anthology in a small print run, with a number of other publishers interested in mass trade publication. You can read more about it and the authors who are involved HERE! […]

  18. I’m willing to pay any price for a signed copy of ‘Unfettered’.
    Would go nicely next to my copy of Indomitable.
    You, Shawn, are amazing 🙂

    Stay happy and healthy

  19. I’m really interested in this anthology coming out….
    Quick question:

    Is there a kind of estimated price for Unfettered (even though I know it’s still in its pre-production phase)?

    1. The Signed & Numbered edition will be $125. Other presses are encouraging me to increase that to $150, but I think I can pay off my medical debt and have it be $125. No reason to milk the fans for their generosity. Ya know?

      The regular hardcover edition of Unfettered will be $35.

  20. That’s some seriously awesome stuff.

    Cheers to you Shawn. And kudos to all involved.


    Laethyn/Sean (yeah, the one who spells his name right! :p )

  21. What a great idea, just pre-ordered The Dark Thorn and looking forward to ordering Unfettered when it becomes available.

  22. […] that, more or less, is that.  The final result will be in UNFETTERED which has a huge list of first-rate writers in it and the proceeds of which will go to paying off […]

  23. […] cancer; sales from UNFETTERED will help him beat the medical bills. The full lineup is available at Grim Oak Press, but here’s a partial list of contributors besides me: Patrick Rothfuss; Terry Brooks; Naomi […]

  24. […] launched Grim Oak Press. He is publishing his own fantasy novel, The Dark Thorn, along with the Unfettered anthology. It is a sign of how beloved Shawn is that he has gathered donated stories from the likes […]

  25. […] can learn more about Unfettered on the Grim Oak Press website. var dd_offset_from_content = -780; var dd_top_offset_from_content = […]

  26. Been reading some reviews of Dark Thorn, looks real good! I love adding new writers to my stable of authors I read every time a new book hits.

    So I went ahead and pulled the trigger and ordered the limited edition of it. First limited edition I’ve ever bought, but it’s to a good cause, so why not. Grandfather passed away because of cancer, so I’m thrilled you’ve beaten it into remission.

    Ordering Dark Thorn and the getting the limited edition of Unfettered will be my own birthday/xmas gift to myself. 😀

    So when do we get the chance to preorder our limited edition of Unfettered?

    Stay strong Shawn.

    1. First, thanks for the order, Slattery! Means a great deal to me! I hope The Dark Thorn lives up to your expectations! I know Unfettered will!

      Unfettered will likely go on sale later this week if I can get all my ducks in a row. Pretty busy right now but that’s the plan. You’ll receive an email about pre-ordering. More soon!

      1. Thanks for the email. 🙂 I’ve now got my order in for the limited edition of Unfettered in now. Can’t wait till I get that book. So many awesome authors that I read, too bad George RR Martin or Modesitt wasn’t in on it, then I’d really would go crazy waiting. Plus I get the bonus of trying out some cool new authors.

        Just a question though, how do you plan to get all the authors to sign each limited edition book? Individually over time or do you plan on inviting them all over for one big thank you party/mass signing one night?

        If so, I’d like to put a request in to have mine signed before the booze gets flowing too freely. 🙂 Though on the other hand, that could lead to some really interesting signatures/quotes. 😀

        Thanks again.

        1. Hey Slattery,

          As is the case with specialty presses like Grim Oak, Sub Press, etc., the books aren’t brought to the authors. They sign 600 pages that then get bound into the book by the printer. Otherwise we’d have thousands of dollars in shipping costs to figure out! haha


          1. Dang, was hoping you’d have a big signing party with all the authors that I could sneak into.

          2. I definitely want to do a signing party. That’s why there is a very far, outside chance that I’ll wait until 2013 Comic Con (July) to release the anthology. Most of the authors in the anthology go to that convention and it’d be fun to moderate a panel with most of them, talk about short stories and fantasy in general, and have a good time. We’ll see what happens!

            On the other hand, I’d kind of like to release it in First Quarter 2013 so you guys have something wonderful to read during the usual slow months of publishing!

  27. I just ordered The Dark Thorn! 🙂 I’m very excited and I’ll be ordering the anthology too. Good luck with clearing the debt and stay healthy,Shawn!
    By the way,how long will we have to pre-order Unfettered cause I’ll be away for 2 weeks and I don’t want to miss out on it?

    1. You’ll have some time to order. No worries. 🙂

  28. Hi Shawn,
    It looks like you are ready for orders on Unfettered. Is that correct or am I mis-reading the site?
    Michelle Heath

    1. Mis-reading. I’m getting closer but the website has to be right first. Right now, it’s broken.

  29. I’m pretty convinced i’ll have to buy regular copies as well as the S&N copies, Those babies are too precious to read :p

    1. I have the e-book for perusing and now the special ed for admiring 😛

  30. Finally!! Only took me months of fighting the peroxide poisoning and finally having to call in the big guns in our most esteemed Web Druid. But yessssssss ! B-E-A-YOOTIFUL!! Consider me thoroughly stoked!

  31. Unfettered has been ordered … can’t wait. I agree with Mark M to, methinks I’ll need a copy to read as well as own 🙂

    1. Didn’t think about it for to long, trade edition ordered 🙂

  32. Hi.

    I just orders a copy of the limited edition The Dark Thorn. How do I order unfettered?

    I can’t wait to read The Dark Thorn. It sound great.

    1. You’ll be sent an email soon about it. Glad you can’t wait! 🙂

  33. Both have been ordered, through a friend :p My bank doesn’t like Pay Pal lol. Can’t wait for both books and I hope this adventure is a great success for you Shawn 🙂

  34. Shawn,

    I hate to be a bother my friend, but I’m not sure if I got e-mail on how to order Unfettered. Oh btw wife got a kick out of ur email and what u said “haha”.

    1. You haven’t received the email yet because I haven’t sent it. 🙂 You will receive it today or tomorrow, no worries. Cheers and thanks for the support! Glad your wife got a kick out of my email.

  35. Excited to receive The Dark Thorn (I’m living near Seattle and am really looking forward to it!), and to pre-order Unfettered! I’m happy to hear you’re doing well, and love that you’re getting such great support to help out with the medical bills.

  36. Ordered the signed and numbered version of dark thorn!!!! #431!!!! Not many left and I imagine everyone will want the version of unfettered. I am so excited it is crazy. Thank you so much for creating this idea and getting so many amazing authors together. I am excited for you and am happy that you have been given a second opportunity.

  37. Ordered my signed and numbered copy of Unfettered to go with my copy of Dark Thorn. Can’t wait to have those two books in hand. I am totally looking forward to reading Unfettered having read The Dark Thorn e-book.

  38. ARG — I am looking to order it and I fear I may have missed out. Oh welI, I did order the leather bound of yours Shawn and I am equally excited about that. though if there is something I am missing about the ordering process I would sure appreciate any guidance.

    1. Yes. You will receive an email soon about how to order UNFETTERED.

  39. Just ordered Unfettered. I love the idea of no theme. Can’t wait to read it and Dark Thorn. How goes the debt reduction? Have you stopped getting the nasty calls yet? Best wishes.

    1. Nope, still getting calls. But I have a feeling when Unfettered is truly open to the public that they won’t be calling me as often. 🙂

  40. […] Dark Thorn, and he has also gathered the authors listed above for a short story anthology called Unfettered. The proceeds from these books will go towards Shawn’s medical […]

  41. I am just checking back in after not really having to time to keep up and I had few thoughts after briefly browsing your now more fully built site. One is Congrats! Your project is coming together and really growing. Two is that I hope to hear you are well and still as Patrick Hearne Put it, “telling cancer to SUCK IT.” and lastly, I think your idea to later on go forward to create something similar of the Haven project that you mentioned Steven King had set up is an admirable idea. I Hope that you might continue to grow good things from the same seeds of Chutzpah and Generosity that brought this press into being in the first place. Good luck and have a great holiday season. I am very excited about the anthology here, you never know you just might make a bit of a bigger than you intended over time. Either way, I admire they way you are trying to handle your medical debt. at some point, if it is not against your ideals, you could put a place for others to possibly donate as well if they want. Speaking for myself, as long as I felt that there was a way to fact check and account, I would be glad to do what I could beyond buying the book. regardless. I am glad this project is working out for you and I think it is such a great idea to create previously unimagined Value from a state of need. Very cool idea.

  42. […] character Kylac Kronus, can be found exclusively in the Grim Oak Press fantasy anthology, Unfettered. Eldon is also a graduate of the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting and a member of the […]

  43. […] of Chance” in the anthology Unfettered, edited by Shawn […]

  44. […] here and there when the time comes, such as helping Shawn Speakman do the ebook formatting for his Unfettered Anthology, but he is still waiting on copy edits. The there are some short stories I have to write for the […]

  45. […] were a LOT of questions.  He also talked about a couple of stories he’s got coming out; one in Unfettered (along with Terry Brooks, Brandon Sanderson, Carrie Vaughn et. al.), and one in the upcoming […]

  46. […] Finally, last night was a big fangirl moment for me – I got to attend a fabulous signing event here in Seattle featuring some of my favorite authors and publishing people – Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Brooks, and Peter Orullian in support of Shawn Speakman’s short story anthology UNETTERED. Not only is this anthology a collection of incredible work by some of the true masters of Fantasy writing, it is also a labor of author love and show of solidarity for one of our own. You can learn more about UNFETTERED here. […]

  47. […] novella based on the Mudboy short story (published in Shawn Speakman’s incredible Unfettered anthology) is already getting illustrated for Subterranean press. It is about 21,000 words (opposed to the […]

  48. […] Mallory and Shawn Speakman, editor of the Unfettered […]

  49. […] online. I took that idea, asked my other writer friends if they could do the same, and that is how Unfettered came to […]

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