Steampunk Award and Poem

This week finds me hard at work on book four of my Clockwork Legion steampunk series, Owl Riders. The novel is set about eight years after the events of The Brazen Shark and takes a look at how the world has changed after the events of the first three books of the series. In Chapter One of Owl Riders, we learn that Ramon and Fatemeh now live in New Orleans with their young daughter. Meanwhile, back in Arizona, Geronimo has captured a large swath of territory using battle wagons suspiciously similar to Professor Maravilla’s javelina mining machine captured by Curly Billy Bresnahan in Lightning Wolves.

I’ve had some great motivation getting started on the new novel this week. novelsteam-2016 On Monday, I learned The Brazen Shark was voted Best Steampunk Novel in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll run annually at Critters.org, a critique and workshop site founded by Dr. Andrew Burt, a former vice president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. I’m deeply touched by the award and would like to thank everyone who voted for The Brazen Shark. For those who have not read the novel yet, you can get copies at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. An omnibus edition of the Clockwork Legion books written to date is available at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

As it turns out, “The Steam-Powered Dragon” from the Gaslight and Grimm was in the running for best steampunk short story. Although it didn’t win, it was a top-ten finisher. Of interest, the story that did win the category was “The Complications of Avery Vane” by my friend Bryce Raffle, which appears in Den of Antiquity, another anthology I’m in! You can learn about both anthologies by visiting my short story page.

For a little steampunkery you can read right now for free, go visit the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s online zine Eye to the Telescope. The January 2017 issue, which is available as of this writing includes my poem “The Medicine Show.” I wrote the first draft of this poem when I gave a poetry work at Tucson’s Wild Wild West Con in 2015. The theme of the issue is robots and explores that idea from many angles. In addition to my poem, you’ll find works by Tales of the Talisman contributors F.J. Bergmann, Beth Cato, Mary Soon Lee, and G.O. Clark. I was also excited to see that my poem is followed by a poem by one of my heroes, the extremely talented Jane Yolen.

Dwarf Stars Award and Deal of the Week

Some days, I wake up to an inbox full of junk, sometimes it brings a lot of work. Today, it brought some exciting news, too good to wait for my regular Saturday post. Tales-9-3-cover-big First of all, I’m proud to announce that Greg Schwartz has won the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Dwarf Stars Award for best Short Form poem for his poem “abandoned nursing home” which appeared in Tales of the Talisman volume 9, issue 3. The runners up were Jane Yolen for the poem “Princess: A Life” published in the 2014 edition of Mythic Delirium and Robert Borski for the poem “The Square Root of Doppelgängers” which appeared in Star*Line 37.2. Congratulations Greg and the runners up! You can pick up your own copy of the issue with the award-winning poem at TalesOfTheTalisman.com or at Amazon.com. In addition to Greg’s poem you’ll find great stories and poems by Megan Arkenberg, Edward J. McFadden III, F.J. Bergmann, and Lee Clark Zumpe.

Another piece of great news is that my novel Heirs of the New Earth is on sale this week for only 99 cents. Heirs of the New Earth If you’ve started the Old Star/New Earth trilogy, but have been waiting to complete your collection, this is a great opportunity to get the final book in the series. The Earth has gone silent as the novel begins. John Mark Ellis and the crew of the mapping vessel Nicholas Sanson are sent to investigate. When they arrive, they find vast alien machines known as Clusters in orbit. Fearing the worst, they land and discover that the once overcrowded, polluted Earth has become a paradise of sorts. The problem is over half the population is dead or missing and the planet’s leaders don’t seem to care. As Ellis works to unravel the mystery, sudden gravitational shifts from the galaxy’s center indicate something even worse is in the offing. Can Ellis save the galaxy from the heirs of the new Earth? For those who are fans of my Captain Firebrandt short stories, this novel has some great moments for the old pirate captain. The ebook is on sale directly from my publisher at: http://lachesispublishing.com/?product=heirs-of-the-new-earth

Finally, I’d like to turn your attention to my Scarlet Order Vampire Journal. I recently had a wonderful book signing at Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans. Not only did I recap the events of the signing, but I shared how you can obtain special signed copies of Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order and Vampires of the Scarlet Order. If you haven’t already, be sure to drop by the post at https://dlsummers.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/signing-at-boutique-du-vampyre/ to get the full scoop!

New Orleans Vampires and Bubonicon 47

I’m sorry to miss Sasquan, the 73rd annual WorldCon being held in Spokane, Washington this weekend. Sky Warrior Publishing, publisher of my Clockwork Legion Steampunk books is there. If you’re at Sasquan, be sure to visit them and support them by buying their books. They have a terrific selection. Also, I have friends in the running for the Hugo Award, which will be presented at Sasquan tonight. I wish them luck and I wish I was there to support them! I know it’s been a turbulent year for the Hugos, but I hope tonight’s festivities hold nothing but fun for those involved.

Although I’m genuinely sorry to miss WorldCon this year, I find myself thinking of one of my favorite moments from the San Antonio World Con two years ago. I was staying at a motel some distance from the convention, both for budget reasons and so I could have a quiet retreat from the convention. One night, I stopped at a Subway sandwich shop on the way to the motel. I was the only one there, along with the clerk. It turns out he was a science fiction fan, but couldn’t afford to go to WorldCon. We spent several minutes chatting. I told him about highlights of the day. He asked me what I wrote and he ended up buying one of my books. The episode reminds me that not all fans are at WorldCon and even those who don’t have to travel far can’t go for various reasons.

Boutique

Today, I’m grateful to have been invited to sign my vampire novels at Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans, where I am this weekend on family business. I’ll be at the Boutique from 3 to 6pm. Be sure to drop by and check out my books and the great selection of vampire goodies. I’m delighted for the chance to make friends and meet fans in New Orleans this weekend.

Next weekend, I’ll be at Bubonicon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year’s theme is “Women of Wonder” and the guests of honor are Catherynne M. Valente and Tamora Pierce. The toastmistress is Mary Robinette Kowall. Here’s my schedule for the weekend:

Friday, August 28

  • 4pm – Main Room – Whither Ghost? Dancing with the Definitely Dead. Zombies are hot (which must startle them), but let’s not abandon ectoplasm. What roles do true ghosts play in the metaphoric dance of SF/F? What archetypes do they carry? Or are they just devices, good for frisson? How do ghosts in a story affect time and space? The forms ghosts take vary from culture; what are some wonderful ones we may be unfamiliar with? On the panel with me are Mary Robinette Kowall, Betsy James, Darynda Jones, and Sarena Ulibarri.
  • 8:45pm – Santa Fe Room – 40 Minutes With David Lee Summers. I tentatively plan to read my Lovecraftian Steampunk story “Reckoning at the Alamo” which is scheduled to appear in the second volume of the Lost Trails anthology series. If time permits, I may also read “Born Again Miners” from Zombiefied: Hazardous Materials
  • 9:30pm – Main Room – Who Can it Be Now? Characters With Flaws. Is a flawed character, hero or villain, necessary in today’s fiction? Are the days of the white and black hats over, or can today’s readers tolerate a purely good or evil character without inner or outer flaws of morality, ethics, and motivations? Were there ever such characters at all? Conversely, how much anti-hero and sympathetic villain nature can be tolerated by readers before they are turned off? Which flawed characters work best? On the panel with me are Ben Bova, S.M. Stirling, Caroline Spector, and Walter Jon Williams.

Saturday, August 29

  • 10am – Main Room – Red or Green. N.M. as a Mars Analog. Does New Mexico share common features with Mars? Does the Red Planet have special appeal to NM scientists, readers, and writers? How are the two similar? Is NM a great training ground for a manned Mars mission? NM is lucky enough to have Larry Crumpler on the Mars Rover team, and Zachary Gallegos as one of the 100 finalists for the proposed Mars One Mission. What other NM scientists are doing Mars research? What does the appeal of the New York Times bestseller The Martian by Andy Weir mean for present and future Mars interest and projects? On the panel with me are Larry Crumpler, Zachary Gallegos, Loretta Hall, Christine MacKenzie, and Catherine S. Plesko.

Sunday, August 30

  • 10am – Main Room – It’s Alive: Scientists in Science Fiction. In Hollywood, everyone “knows” that scientists are typically treated as supervillains or antisocial nerds. But more and more, it appears that scientist characters are playing the hero. Have scientists truly escaped the old stereotypes? If so, what’s with the change of heart? What caused the stereotypes in the first place? The Atomic Age or maybe “messing around in God’s Domain?” I’ll be moderating this panel that also includes Daniel Abraham, Josh Gentry, Jeffe Kenedy, Catherine S. Plesko, and M.T. Reiten.

In addition to these events, I’ll be helping out at the Bubonicon Author’s Tea, which is a special event where the authors of Bubonicon say “thank you” to the fans by presenting them with a fun, event. As of this writing, I don’t know which sessions I’ll be helping with, but seating is limited and it’s worth coming to any of them.

When I’m not otherwise scheduled, you’ll find me at the Hadrosaur Productions room in the dealer’s room. Please drop by and say “hi!”

17th Annual Preditors and Editors Poll

Welcome to a new year and I hope it’s off to a terrific start. The start of a new year means it’s time for the annual Preditors and Editors Readers Poll run by Dr. Andrew Burt and the Critters On-Line Writing Workshop. Now the Preditors and Editors poll is admittedly something of a popularity contest and the fact that it’s open to all means it’s dominated by a lot of small press and self-published titles vying for attention. Several years ago, I was one of those authors out there working hard to get every vote I could. Then the pendulum swung the other way for me and I went through a few years where I practically ignored the contest altogether. I’ve decided to devote a little time to it this year because, frankly, I feel proud of the work I’ve done.

To vote in the Preditors and Editors Poll, all you have to do is follow the links I give below. Vote for your favorite title, remember to fill in the information at the bottom, including the book cover CAPTCHA to prove you’re human. Once you’ve voted, you’ll receive an email with a validation link. Click that link to confirm your votes. The poll is open until January 14.

Without further ado, here are the works I have in the running at the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll.


Lightning Wolves

SummersLightningWolves

Lightning Wolves is my latest steampunk novel in which an inventor exiled from Mexico hunts ghosts while the U.S. Army seeks any means necessary to break the back of the Russian force that occupies North America’s west coast. In the meantime, former sheriff Ramon Morales must put the pieces of his life back together and figure out the next step in his life before he marries the healer Fatemeh Karimi. The novel is in the running for the following two categories:

Steampunk Novel
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsteam.shtml

Cover Artwork
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml


Hiding in Plain Sight

Taurin-Tales

“Hiding in Plain Sight” is a science fiction story that appears in the Taurin Tales shared world anthology edited by J Alan Erwine. The stories in the anthology cover a wide range of life on the Taurin planet. It was fun to explore a new world literally through alien eyes. In the story, an object invisble to telescopes on the ground and only visible with two of the Taurins’ five eyes collides with a space station. Tensions run high as the Taurin nations assume an act of war. A space shuttle crew races against time to determine the true cause of the incident. “Hiding in Plain Sight” is in the running in the following category:

Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/shortstorysf.shtml


Three Faces of Dracula

nosferatu3

“Three Faces of Dracula: A Personal Story” recounts how I came to write vampire fiction. It’s a fun, lighthearted piece that discusses several of the vampire books and films that inspired me in my journey and how they directly influenced my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order. “Three Faces of Dracula” is in the running in the following category:

Nonfiction Article
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/nonfiction.shtml


Tales of the Talisman

Tales10-1-cover-big

Tales of the Talisman is the science fiction and fantasy magazine I’ve edited for the last ten years. We present the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories and poetry with beautiful illustrations selected by art director Laura Givens. Of all the categories I list, this is the one I’d love to see make a strong showing in the poll, just because I do feel strongly about all the great work we’ve published over the years. Poems in the magazine are frequently nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. The magazine has received Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror anthology. I think both of these facts speak to the magazine’s quality.

Magazine Editor – David Lee Summers
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/zineeditor.shtml

Fiction Magazine
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/fictionzine.shtml

Poetry Magazine
Vote at: http://critters.org/predpoll/poetryzine.shtml


Thank you for your consideration. I appreciate your votes. Even if you choose not to vote, I appreciate the support you’ve given me for these books and stories. Here’s looking forward to more great stuff to come in 2015!

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

Deby Fredericks, author of the wonderful fantasy novel, Seven Exalted Orders, nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.” Deby’s blog looks at dragon lore and history from around the world. If you enjoy dragon stories, fantasy, or folklore, this is a site you don’t want to miss!

This blog award comes with the following rules: Thank the person who made the nomination. Post the award graphic. List seven things about myself. Recommend seven more blogs. So, without further ado, let me present seven random factoids about myself:

  1. I have two brothers and no sisters.
  2. Of my brothers, I’m the only one who wasn’t named for someone in the family.
  3. Despite that, I do share a name with a distant uncle—David Crockett.
  4. Neither my parents nor I knew that Davy Crockett was a distant uncle until I was well into my 40s.
  5. I am the only one of my brothers who is not a native Texan.
  6. One of my brothers is also a writer and publisher.
  7. Although I’ve never lived in Texas, I was on the staff of the award-winning literary magazine of El Paso Community College for several years.

Here are seven blogs that are worth taking a look at:

  1. Sean McLachlan’s Civil War Horror discusses the Trans-Mississippi Civil War and historical fiction plus sometimes veers off into historical fiction.
  2. Sky Warrior Books is one of my publishers and offers some great writing, publishing and marketing tips.
  3. J Alan Erwine is an author and editor with many interesting projects.
  4. Melinda Moore is an author, musician, dancer, and teacher who blogs about writing, shares guest blogs, and even the occasional recipe.
  5. Rick Novy presents writing tips and interviews with some very well known authors.
  6. Mike Brotherton maintains a wonderful blog that discusses astronomy, science fiction and where the two come together.
  7. STEAMED! Writing Steampunk Fiction is a blog with several contributors including Suzanne Lazear, Theresa Meyers, Maeve Alpin, and O.M. Grey, plus regular guest posts. If you want to see just how varied and wonderful the world of Steampunk can be, this is a great stop.

My WordPress Family

This has been a hectic week. Normally I would just be finishing a long break from the observatory, but I spent two days back in the middle of my time off, so one of my co-workers could have time to run in the Boston Marathon. In exchange, I’ll get some extra time off for Phoenix Comicon next month. In addition to time at the observatory, I’ve been typesetting the Kepler’s Dozen anthology. It’s taking shape and looks like it’ll be ready to send to the printer soon. You can learn more and even pre-order a copy at www.hadrosaur.com/kepler.html

Wordpress Family Award

In the run-up to this busy week, Emily Guido presented me with the WordPress Family Award. Emily is a cherished member of my WordPress family. She has “liked” almost all of my posts and commented on many of them. Her support means the world to me. She’s the author of the Light-Bearer series which tells the story of how an angelic light-bearer named Charmeine fell in love with her polar opposite, a vampiric Blood Hunter named Tabruis. Go visit her blog and learn more.

Really, all of these blog awards are about paying it forward, and the rules for this one are super simple. All the recipient is asked to do are recommend ten other members of their WordPress family. All of the folks I name certainly qualify. Some have hosted (or will be hosting) guest blogs. Some have interviewed me. Some have just posted a few likes or a comment here or there—but those are the kinds of things are greatly appreciated and keep me going. Some of these folks have been recommended before and some are new. Whether you have seen them on one of these lists before or not, each of these people has something inspirational, interesting, or engaging to offer. I hope you go check out their blogs and I hope they take a little time to recommend some they like.

  • Deby Fredericks is the author of Wyrmflight, a “blog for kids (and everyone else) who loves dragons.” She’s also the author of Seven Exalted Orders a wonderful fantasy novel it was my pleasure to edit.
  • Melinda Moore is the author of Enchanted Spark, a blog that looks at the craft of writing. She is also the author of stories in Tales of the Talisman and has a story in A Kepler’s Dozen.
  • F.T. McKinstry discusses world creation and shares poetry at her blog. She’s another Tales of the Talisman contributor.
  • Elizabeth Campbell and a bunch of other cool people blog at DarkCargo.com. They talk about all manner of speculative fiction books, events, writing, television. You name a speculative fiction topic, it’s probably there!
  • Another collective blog is STEAMED which discusses all manner of steampunk writing. I’m scheduled for a guest post there next month.
  • Nrlymrtl reviews books, interviews authors, and hosts read-alongs at Dab of Darkness.
  • What Writers Say is a blog of inspirational quotations from famous writers.
  • Bell Night presents profiles of famous writers, including little known facts about them.
  • Paige Addams shares her paranormal romance works in progress, along with thoughts on the process of writing.
  • Shannon A. Thompson is a writer who gives excellent, practical writing tips on her blog.

My Week of Publishing Adventures

My latest novel has just been released in paperback plus I’ve been making forward progress on other projects this week. This seemed a good opportunity to step back and give you some updates.


Ten Years in the Making

Dragons Fall

My vampire novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order has just been released as a trade paperback this week. Dragon’s Fall is a prequel to my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order and tells the story of how the vampires Alexandra, Draco, and Roquelaure came together to form the Scarlet Order of vampire mercenaries. The novel opens in Hellenistic Greece, moves to Arthurian Britain, descends into the dark ages and finally comes out in fifteenth century Transylvania. I started writing the novel even before Vampires of the Scarlet Order was published. To learn more about the ten-year journey to publication, read my vampire blog http://dlsummers.wordpress.com tomorrow. Of course, you don’t have to wait to read the novel, it’s available right now in print and as an ebook at Amazon.com.


Steam Powered Talisman

Tales8-4 Cover

The spring issue of Tales of the Talisman is regrettably behind schedule, but it’s not stalled and I think it will be worth the wait. We’re stoking the boilers and moving full steam ahead for our second annual steampunk special edition. I have just finished editing the issue and have sent it to the artists for illustration. We have stories by O.M. Grey, Christine Morgan, and Tom Lynch plus poetry by Denise Dumars, N.E. Taylor, and David S. Pointer and a whole lot more. You’ll see steampunk in the future, in distant fantasy worlds, as well as the more traditional views of an alternate Victorian England. I’m hoping the boilers won’t explode and we can get copies of this shipping no later than the middle of May. If you want to make sure it arrives in your mailbox on day one, you can subscribe to the magazine at http://www.talesofthetalisman.com.


A Kepler’s Dozen

Keplers Dozen

Now that the spring Tales of the Talisman is edited and off with the artists, I’m busy laying out an exciting new anthology that will be released this June from Hadrosaur Productions. One of the things I’ve done during my “day” job at Kitt Peak National Observatory is follow up observations of planets outside our solar system made by the Kepler space probe. As of this writing, the Kepler space probe has discovered a remarkable 115 confirmed planets outside our solar system. What would it be like to visit these worlds? Thirteen scientists and science fiction writers imagine just that in A Kepler’s Dozen. You can learn more about the book, see the table of contents, and even pre-order a copy at http://www.hadrosaur.com/kepler.html


Wolf Songs 2 Honored

wolfsong2-cover

To top it all off, I learned that the anthology Wolf Songs 2 won the 2013 Epic Award for best ebook anthology! This is an anthology that follows the latest myths and legends of the wolf as written by science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors. The book contains an alternate version of my story “The Clockwork Lobo” from the novel Owl Dance. What’s more, the anthology also features stories by M.H. Bonham and Carol Hightshoe who have stories in A Kepler’s Dozen. You can learn more about Wolf Songs 2 and pick up a copy of your own at Amazon.com or Smashwords.com.

2013 eBook Winner