This past weekend saw the release of the steampunk anthology Gears and Levers 2 edited by Phyllis Irene Radford. The release of the anthology marks something of a milestone for me in that it contains the first collaborative story I’ve published. The story is “Endeavor in Halcyon” and I wrote it with Kurt MacPhearson.
“Endeavor in Halcyon” tells the story of Captain Penelope Todd of the East India Company’s Airship Endeavor. She is on a mission to find new trading routes when her ship gets caught in a mysterious storm and they are hurled into a strange new world.
This was an interesting collaboration because although Kurt and I have corresponded off and on over the years, we have never met face-to-face. He lives in Michigan and I live in New Mexico. The way this collaboration happened is that he suggested writing a story together. I had written the beginning of the story, but wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to go with it, so I sent it to him. He wrote a couple of pages and sent it back. It went on that way for about three or four times until we came to a place we both thought was a satisfying conclusion. We then took turns polishing the story before sending it in to Ms. Radford. I was pleased she liked the story enough to buy it.
What else will you find in the anthology? Adventure and romance await in worlds that never were but should have been. Magic and science blend together as Gears and Levers explores the quest for all that makes up humanity. Battle pirates, walk with ghosts, fly in dirigibles, explore the wonderous world, and walk with automatons in twenty amazing tales set in Steampunk lands by masterful storytellers such as Alma Alexander, Chaz and Karen Brenchley, Shawna Reppert, Larry Lefkowitz, Tina Connolly, Jeanette Bennett, Voss Foster, Frog and Esther Jones, and many more. The anthology is available at Smashwords and Amazon.
At the same time as this book was being released, I was engaged in a collaboration of a different sort. Last weekend marked the third time Dino Staats and I have presented a Victorian Magic and Science panel. So far, no two of these have been alike.
The first time we presented this panel was on the Queen Mary a year ago and we were joined by Professor D.R. Schreiber who had a Windhurt generator and a great perspective on how the history of magic and science intertwine. In that panel, we focused a lot on the magic and science of electricity.
The second time we presented the panel was at San Diego’s Gaslight Gathering. There, much of the discussion focused on chemistry and biology and how they were utilized in magic.
Last weekend, Dino and I were again on the Queen Mary. This time we focused a lot of our discussion on the clockwork automata of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.
What’s exciting about these is that Dino and I never rehearse our presentation and really aren’t certain what the other will present. In fact, the first time, neither of the magicians even knew I had been assigned to the Magic and Science panel! For the latter panels, Dino and I have maybe exchanged an email or two about what would be fun to discuss and what would make the panel a little different for people who have seen it before.
Both of these collaborations have left me enriched. I’ve learned new things, improved as a writer and public speaker—and what’s more, I’ve forged friendships that I hope will last for years to come.