SFPA Seeking Volunteers

The Science Fiction Poetry Association is looking for volunteers to fill some key positions within the organization. President David Kopaska-Merkel has posted a list of the volunteer positions that I drafted at: dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.blogspot.com/2011/10/science-fiction-poetry-association.html. If you’re a member of the SFPA, please drop by and take a look. If a job says “vacant” or doesn’t have a person listed and it sounds like something you’d like to do, drop a note to David and let him know you’re interested in the job. Even if there is a person listed and it sounds interesting, please go ahead and let us know. People can always use help and life commitments occasionally come up causing people to leave positions behind. It’s always good to know when someone is “waiting in the wings” to take on a job.

You can find David’s email address — along with the contact info for all the officers — at sfpoetry.com/officers.

If you’re not a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, why not take a little time to learn more? The website is: sfpoetry.com. The organization promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror poetry and we encourage involvement by fans as well as writers.

Owl Dance Excerpt 7: Dreaming of Airships

In this final excerpt from Owl Dance, General Gorloff goes to one of the great Russian scientists, Dmitri Mendeleev. If you’ve taken a chemistry class, you likely remember Mendeleev as the creator of the Periodic Table. However, he was also interested in airships. What if he had the resources to actually build one?

General Alexander Gorloff strode down a corridor at St. Petersburg University and knocked on a door.

“Come in,” called a distracted voice on the other side.

The general opened the door and was astonished to see a desk surrounded by books, some open, others closed—all in some kind of disarray. The desk itself was covered by papers. On the wall was a black chalkboard covered in incomprehensible scribbles that—as far as the general could tell—were some combination of hieroglyphs and a foreign language. None of this astonished the general as much as the man who sat behind the desk. His head was covered with a wild mop of gray-streaked, black hair. A bushy beard hid most of the man’s face.

The general introduced himself. “You are Mendeleev?”

“Yes, yes,” said the scientist, impatiently without rising from his chair. “What can I do for you, General?”

The general turned and closed the door. “I wish to discuss a matter of some secrecy that is important to our Czar.”

At this, Mendeleev turned his attention fully to Gorloff. “Go on.”

“In my duties as military attaché to the United States of America, it has come to my attention that the young country poses a threat to the Russian Empire.”

Mendeleev scowled. “This does not surprise me. It is a country of cowboys and loose cannons who have no respect for intellectual pursuits. The country has been around for a century and I cannot name one decent university or important literary work that has come from there.”

“I have heard some critics speak highly of a novel called Moby-Dick,” ventured the general.

The scientist waved his hand as though subjected to a bad smell. “A long-winded book about a madman hunting a whale? It has no value. Poe showed some promise, but he was obviously influenced by the French.”

“Obviously,” muttered the general in agreement. He sat down and decided to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand. “While in America, I also learned that there are vast reserves of gold and oil in Alaska,” continued Gorloff.

Mendeleev’s disdainful frown turned into a smug grin–although the general had some difficulty telling that through the thick beard. “I knew it was a mistake for the Czar to sell Alaska.”

“America poses a threat to Russia and the stability of the whole world,” declared the general. “I ask you, as a patriot, will you come to the aid of our country?”

“I am loyal to the Czar, General Gorloff. He has a good heart. He showed that when he freed the serfs. Ask what you will.” Mendeleev folded his arms across his chest, his eyes intent.

“We need a way to move quickly to the United States without being stopped by their navy,” explained the general. “We also need a way to deploy troops and heavy artillery across large sections of western North America.”

Mendeleev nodded and thought for several minutes. His head fell forward and for a moment, the general thought the scientist had fallen asleep. Just as he was leaning forward to tap Mendeleev on the shoulder, the scientist leapt to his feet and erased a section of the chalkboard. He drew a large ovoid shape. Next, he added boxes with something like ship propellers attached. Underneath, he drew a bigger box. “Imagine if you will, a ship of the air,” said Mendeleev, pointing at his drawing. “We build a steel frame. Inside will be great bags that we fill with a gas that’s lighter than air—say hydrogen.” He pointed to the boxes and propellers. “It will be light enough that small steam engines can be deployed to move it through the air. Underneath, like a balloon’s gondola, is a pilothouse. Within the steel frame structure, we can place troops, artillery, whatever you like.”

The general stared at the drawing wide-eyed. “Will such a thing really work?”

“I have been working on the problem of such a craft for the past few years.” As Mendeleev spoke, he continued sketching on the board, showing the airship from underneath. “The only thing that has kept me from building it is funding. If the Czar is serious about having such a war machine, I believe I can design it and we can build a small fleet.”

“This year?” Gorloff shook his head in wonder.

“If enough resources are dedicated to the problem.” Mendeleev stepped aside. The silhouette of an owl adorned his new sketch.

“Why do you adorn your airship with an owl?”

“My ancestors are Kalmyk, General Gorloff. A story has been passed down through the generations that an owl saved Ghengis Khan’s life. To us, owls have long been talismans of great power. These ships will be like great owls, expanding the Russian empire. We will guide the Americans to a more civilized age.”

Gorloff nodded satisfied. “Begin work designing these ships. Send word to the palace and let us know what materials and personnel you need. We will make sure they are sent.” The general reached out and shook Mendeleev’s hand. “It was a delight meeting you, Professor Mendeleev.”

“The pleasure was mine.”

Back out in the hall, the general heard Legion in the back of his mind. What a fascinating individual.

“You did well.” Gorloff’s voice was barely above a whisper. He didn’t want to attract attention as he walked down the hall. “It seems Professor Mendeleev responded quite well to the visions you showed him.”

We showed Professor Mendeleev no visions.

“What?!” The general shouted, then looked around quickly to make sure that no one had heard him. “What do you mean you showed him no visions?”

We didn’t need to. Those were Mendeleev’s own ideas.

First off, a big thank you for reading the excerpts today and helping to make this launch of Owl Dance a real success. I hope you have enjoyed the excerpts. You can find out more information about the novel, or buy a copy, at the following:

Owl Dance Excerpt 4: A Clockwork Wolf

This excerpt begins after Ramon has seen a poster in the town of Mesilla, stating there is a bounty on wolf carcasses. He’s decided to collect the bounty, even though Fatemeh objects. An alternate version of this chapter will also appear in the anthology Wolf Songs: Volume 2 edited by M.H. Bonham.

Ramon found a hidden spot in a ring of rocks just at the edge of the little grove. There, he laid out his bedroll. Opening his rifle he aimed the barrel toward the moon and checked that there wasn’t too much powder buildup, then loaded a shell into the barrel so he’d be ready to fire without delay. He was determined to shoot a wolf, but tired as he was, he fell asleep instead.

He dreamed of a time when he was a child, running through a field on his way home from school. He saw two wolf pups wrestling with each other in the tall grass. Nearby, a mother wolf watched him. The young Ramon thought they were cute and wondered if he could pet the pups. Remembering his dad’s warnings to stay away from wild animals, he decided he should give them a wide berth. Just then, he felt a sharp pain and heard a loud snap.

He woke suddenly and realized the snap was a nearby twig. There was another sound as well—a strange whirring and buzzing, not unlike the soft sounds that came from Mr. Castillo’s clock.

Slowly, he reached for his rifle and turned toward the grove. The moon was high and there were deep shadows amongst the trees. His throat was parched and he wished he had time to take a drink from his canteen. However, he soon spotted movement. A lobo stepped from the shadows and strode confidently toward the cattle down the hill.

Ramon tried to swallow, but no saliva would come to his mouth. He thought he detected a flash of movement behind him, and quickly looked around. Not seeing anything amongst the rocks and deep shadows, he turned his attention back to the strange lobo that walked so brazenly in plain sight. Ramon thought a wolf would have been more cautious when stalking prey, but he was glad for its erect stance, and slow, steady stride. It was an easy target. He carefully aimed his gun at the wolf.

Just as Ramon started to squeeze the trigger, someone pushed the gun. His shot went wide, missing the lobo. Ramon cursed and turned, finding himself facing Fatemeh’s angry glare. “What are you doing out here? That animal doesn’t deserve to be shot just so you can have a few dollars.”

“It’s not about…” Ramon shook his head. Fatemeh would not understand. “We really could use the money.” He looked down, avoiding her gaze.

She sighed. “I know, but there are other ways.”

Ramon looked at the lobo. The gunshot had not spooked it. It strutted through the grove, ignoring its surroundings. It didn’t even seem to notice the strange clicking and whirring sounds—Ramon looked around, trying to figure out where they were coming from. When he looked back at the wolf, he saw that it was headed straight for a rock. Surely it would turn before it got there, but no. It walked right into the rock and the most amazing thing happened. There was a bright flash of light accompanied by a loud popping. The top of the wolf’s head flew off and its body toppled over sideways.

“What the hell?” Ramon scrambled out from his hiding place. Fatemeh followed close behind.

He reached the wolf and peered inside its head, expecting to find a bloody mess. Instead, the head was mostly empty and separated into two compartments. At the back of one of the compartments was a small, glass photographic plate. The other compartment held the charred remains of some kind of powder. The wolf’s eyes were lenses with black metal just behind them. Ramon reached in and felt around, then dragged the wolf’s body out into the moonlight where he could see better. It was much heavier than a wolf would be, as though most of the body was made from metal rather than skin or bones.

Fatemeh looked inside. “It’s like a camera.”

Ramon nodded. “There’s some kind of spring-loaded mechanism that lowers these metal contraptions just behind the eyes.” He pushed on a rod inside the wolf’s head and sure enough the metal plates lowered, which would, in turn, expose the glass plate at the back of the head to light—except that the plate had already been exposed when the top of the head was blown off.

“But what caused that bright flash of light we saw?”

“Flash powder,” said a voice from the trees.

Whose voice came from the trees? You’ll find out more in Owl Dance available at Flying Pen Press: http://flyingpenpress.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=49

Bubonicon and CopperCon

It’s been a busy year of writing and editing so far, but I finally have the opportunity to get out and about to some conventions. The first two that are coming up are Bubonicon in Albuquerque and Coppercon in Phoenix.


Bubonicon 43 will be held August 26-28 in Albuquerque, NM at the Sheraton Albuquerque near the airport. You can learn more about the convention at Bubonicon.com.

My schedule at the event is as follows:

  • Fri 5p-6p, Name That Baby: Fantasy, SF, Mainstream? Or None of the Above, Location: Main Room (Chaco)
  • Sat 3p-4p, Steampunk Definitions: More Than Victorian Clothing, Location: Main Room (Chaco)
  • Sun 10a-10:30a, 25 Minutes with David Lee Summers, Location: Rio Grande

Also, Hadrosaur Productions will have a dealer’s table at Bubonicon. If you don’t see me on a panel, make sure to drop by the table and say “hi”. There’s a good chance I’ll be there.


CopperCon 31 will be held Labor Day weekend in Avondale, AZ (near Phoenix) at the Hilton Garden Inn. You can learn more about the convention at: coppercon.org.

My schedule at the event is as follows:

  • Fri 9p-10p, Steampunk, Location: Boardroom
  • Sat noon-1p, Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Authors, Location: Avondale IV
  • Sat 3p-4p, Victorian Astronomy, Location: Avondale IV
  • Sat 5p-6p, Raise a Thinking Child, Location: Avondale III
  • Sun noon-1p, Writing Erotic Scenes, Location: Boardroom
  • Sun 1p-2p, Speculative Poetry Introduction, Location: Boardroom
  • Sun 630p-730p, Future of Publishing, Location: Avondale I
  • Mon 1030a-11a, Reading, Location: Hotel Lobby Alcove
  • Mon 11a-noon, Autographing, Location: Dealer’s Room
  • Mon 1p-2p, Steampunk Literature, Location: Avondale III

As always, convention schedules are subject to change at the last minute. Make sure to check your program when you arrive to check the times of any programs you want to attend.

Hope to see you at Bubonicon, CopperCon or both!

Wild Wild March

March has been a wild, but generally good month. Part of what made it wild were some events on the day job front at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Back in February, the 4-meter telescope’s enclosure suffered damage as a result of cold weather. Over the years, water had worked its way into the building’s exoskeleton. During one particularly cold night, the water froze and caused a fifteen-meter long crack to appear in one of the structural support beams. The building was evacuated until the problem could be evaluated. Engineers were called in, the problem was investigated, and repairs are now underway. The 4-meter has been back in operation for about three weeks. That said, the problem did cause some fairly major shuffling of my schedule.

In spite of the shuffling, I was still able to attend…

Wild Wild West Con

Wild Wild West Con was held during the first weekend of March at Old Tucson Studios and the Hotel Tucson in Arizona. On Friday of the convention, I was scheduled for a Q&A session and autographing. I met some nice people during that session and did an impromptu reading. Later in the day, I was scheduled to give a presentation on Victorian-era astronomy. Unfortunately, the multimedia projector died sometime earlier in the day and I fear the audience wasn’t able to see my photos as well as they could have, since the only thing I had to display them on was my laptop. Still, it seemed the presentation was well received in spite of the problems. I’ve decided the time has come to invest in my own multimedia projector for just such emergencies!

On Saturday afternoon, all of the author guests read at the Baroness’ Tea Party at the Grand Palace Saloon. The event was very well attended and I had an opportunity to read alongside such talented authors as Cherie Priest, O.M. Grey, Nick Valentino, Elizabeth Darvill, and Gayle Martin.

When not out at events, many of the authors hung out at the Hotel del Toro. It was one of the buildings at Old Tucson and was set aside as a vendor area for the authors. Sharing the space with us were some of the folks behind the forthcoming web series Mantecoza. Click here to see the trailer for the series.

Here’s a photo of the authors along with the Baroness who hosted the tea party:

Gayle Martin, David Lee Summers, Nick Valentino, Elizabeth Darvill, Cherie M. Priest, O.M. Grey and the Baroness in front of the Hotel del Toro

On Saturday night, we were treated to a concert by Veronique Chevalier, Unextraordinary Gentlemen, and Abney Park. I’ve been a fan of Unextraordinary Gentlemen and Abney Park for a little over a year now and delighted to hear both bands together in person.

Sunday was a fairly quiet day as the convention wound down. I took some time to explore the main vendor’s area and take in some of the fine shows that Old Tucson Studios put on. One of the treasures I found at the vendor area was a brass telescope like those they used on ships — and have mentioned in stories like “The Pirates of Baja” in the current issue of Science Fiction Trails Magazine.

All in all, I had a great time at the convention. It was delightful getting to meet my fellow Steampunk authors who were in attendance. I look forward to reading the new books I picked up there and hope to see all of them at another convention down the road. One of the things that really made Wild Wild West Con shine was the venue. Unlike so many conventions tucked away in a hotel somewhere, this one was held at the movie studio where many great Western films were shot. It was wonderful to see all the Steampunk costumes among those familiar buildings. I want to thank Ryan McMann and Robert Levin, the president and vice-president of the convention, for inviting me and putting on a fine event. Even with some first-year glitches, it was a well run show and I hope to be back next year.

Almost immediately after the convention, I had to return to work at Kitt Peak. Sadly, on the way home from my shift at the observatory, I hit a “road gator” — the tread shed by a semi-truck. It tore a hole in my radiator and it looks like I suffered some engine damage. I’m still waiting to see whether the insurance will pay for everything or if I’ll be looking for a new car.

Despite the car troubles, I wind up this turbulent March with some good news…

Owl Dance Under Contract

It’s now official, my story collection Owl Dance is under contract with Flying Pen Press in Denver. It is tentatively scheduled for release this October. Of course, I’ll continue to provide updates as the book approaches release. In the meantime, I’ll be working with the editor to polish it to a shine.

Now, some astute readers of this journal will notice that I just referred to Owl Dance as a story collection, but in other entries, I’ve referred to it as a novel. Well, what is it? In fact, it’s a series of fifteen tightly interweaved short stories that tell a complete story. One could say it’s a little like a TV-season with a story arc, like Brisco County Jr., Babylon 5 or recent seasons of Doctor Who. Whether you call it a novel or a collection really is a matter of marketing and making sure the book matches reader expectations.

Either way, I hope you enjoy Owl Dance when it comes out!

Finally, taking a look ahead…

Blog Tour 2011

I’ve been interviewed for a few blogs. I don’t have all the dates when interviews will be posted, but I can tell you two of them. Susan Whitfield interviews me on her blog on Thursday, April 7. Look for that interview at susanwhitfield.blogspot.com. Elaine P. Cantrell interviews me on her blog on Tuesday, April 19. You can find her blog at elainepcantrell.blogspot.com.

Heidi Ruby Miller has also interviewed me, but I don’t have a date yet for that blog post. Watch for it in my Twitter updates over on the right.

Bad-Ass Faeries Wins EPIC Award and a Call for Submissions

I am proud to announce that Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory, which includes my story “Amazons and Predators”, has won the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Anthology.

The volume includes twenty-one stories of military/conflict-themed faerie fiction by D.C. Wilson, Hildy Silverman, Chris Pisano & Brian Koscienski, Trisha Wooldridge & Christy Tohara, Lee C. Hillman, Robert E. Waters, Bernie Mojzes, C.J. Henderson, James Daniel Ross, Darren W. Pearce & Neal Levin, Jeffrey Lyman, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Kelly A. Harmon, Jason Franks, Patrick Thomas, David Lee Summers, David Sherman, Elaine Corvidae, James Chambers, John L. French, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

The Bad-Ass Faeries series came out of a desire to take faerie mythology back to its darker roots, when all was not goodness and light, but more mischief and mayhem. These faeries more closely resemble those of the ancient legends still passed down today in many parts of the world that haven’t lost touch with magic. A big part of faerie legends were the fae as warriors, an aspect which is represented in this latest volume.

If you’re a writer who would like to get in on the action, the editors have just recently begun work on the fourth book in the series: It’s Elemental. For submission details visit www.badassfaeries.com/submissions.htm.

Whether you’re a writer or a reader, you can learn more about the series at www.badassfaeries.com or badassfaeries.livejournal.com.

Call for Faerie Lore Submissions

I received this from Danielle Ackley-McPhail, one of the editors of the Bad-Ass Faeries series. Although it’s a “for the love” project, it sounds like it could be more if it generates sufficient interest. Either way, it could be fun to see what people present about different types of fae from around the world.


Call for Submissions
Venue: The Bad-Ass Faeries Blog and Website
Pay: by-line only* (this is a joint promotional effort and not for profit in any regard)
Deadline: None
Word Count: 1000 to 3000 words (word limit strictly enforced)

The BAFB&W is looking for short articles about various Bad-Ass Faeries in world mythology. We are not looking for quiet, unprepossessing faeries, but those with attitude. Mischievous, Malevolent, Warlike. They don’t have to be bad, but they have to be Bad-Ass. Articles should focus on specific types of faeries from existing myth and legend. It can be a profile of a specific type of faerie from one ethnic tradition, or a comparison of similar types of faeries across cultures, such as contrasting Loki with Coyote and other tricksters. Please provide confirmable sources of a reputable nature. Usage in games and fiction can be mentioned–are, in fact, desired–but should not be the primary source unless that is the specific focus of the article. Articles should be entertaining, enjoyable and well-written, but not dry and scholarly. Think of this as faeries for the everyman.

Articles will appear first on the blog, with the author being notified when it has posted, and then will be compiled into a faerie glossary resident on the Bad-Ass Faeries website.

Submissions can be sent to greenfirephoenix[at]aol[dot]com (replace the at and dot with the appropriate characters). Queries encouraged to minimize overlap of specific faeries.

*If sufficient interest and material is received we will consider pursuing publication, in which case, terms will be negotiated with all of those participating.

Call for Artists
Venue: The Bad-Ass Faeries Blog and Website
Pay: art credit only* (this is a joint promotional effort and not for profit in any regard)
Deadline: None

Artists needed to provide simple illustrations of bad-ass faeries to accompany faerie profiles on the BAFB&W. Artwork will be protected to avoid viewer download, it can be color or black and white and should be of a specific type of bad-ass faerie from world mythology. Art needs to be provided in both web- and print-resolution. Query for specific faerie articles needing artwork.

Submissions can be sent to greenfirephoenix[at]aol[dot]com (You know the drill – replace the at and the dot with the appropriate characters). Queries encouraged to minimize overlap of specific faeries.

*If sufficient interest and material is received we will consider pursuing publication, in which case, terms will be negotiated with all of those participating.

Free Fae for the Holidays!

Just in time for the holidays, two free stories and a poem have been posted on the freebies page of the Bad-Ass Faeries website. (Just click the link and you’ll be taken there!) You’ll find bad-ass faerie stories by Bernie Mojzes and C.S. Haviland and a poem about the Amazon Fae by yours truly. They’re in PDF format and may be downloaded for your reading leisure. A little further down the page, you can also download some cool desktop backgrounds for your computer.

I hope this holiday season finds you well and the new year brings you good health and much happiness.

Space Horrors – Dayton Ward

I found my contributor copies of Space Horrors waiting for me when I came home last night from my “day” job at Kitt Peak National Observatory.  The book turned out very well.  Laura Givens did an outstanding job on the cover art.  I’m looking forward to giving the book another read in its printed and bound form soon!

Publisher David Rozansky is hosting a Twitter Party for Space Horrors on Friday October 8 from 9am until 9pm Eastern Time.  I’m hoping to have a few more details including hashtags to follow the conversation soon, but at the very least, you can look me up — @davidleesummers — and get details from me that day, if need be.

Now, turning to the featured event of the day — today’s guest blog comes from Dayton Ward.  He was one of the authors the publisher asked me to invite to the anthology, which usually induces a knee-jerk reaction on my part of “Do I HAVE to?”  However, in addition to being the editor of Full-Throttle Space Tales #3: Space Grunts, he’s also the author of a number of Star Trek novels.  I extended Dayton an invitation and was pleased that I did.  He was a pleasure to work with and turned in an outstanding story.  My only regret in the whole affair is that other commitments prevented me from writing a story for Space Grunts, which would have allowed me to meet Dayton sooner.

With that, let’s hear from Dayton.


After serving as editor for Space Grunts, the previous Full-Throttle Space Tales anthology, I was thrilled to be invited to submit a story for Space Horrors. Of course, I was also a little nervous. Aside from the odd foray into zombie territory, horror generally isn’t my wheelhouse. Still, part of being a writer is stepping out of your comfort zone and experimenting with new genres and forms of storytelling.

Come to think of it, that’s the same attitude which eventually compelled me to submit those “true stories” I sent to Penthouse Forum.

Wait…was that out loud?

Moving on….

My story, “Into the Abyss,” took a long, circuitous journey on its way to ending up in Space Horrors. The basic notion of a space ship stumbling across an apparently derelict vessel and the subsequent hijinks that ensue is something my frequent writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, and I pitched as one of two story concepts for Constellations, an anthology published by Pocket Books back in 2006 and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Star Trek series. Our editor on that project preferred the other pitch we’d submitted, so this one went back into the “Idea File” for possible later use.

A year or so after that, we dusted it off, tweaked it a bit, and sent it along with a couple of other pitches to an editor at Tokyopop, which at the time held a license to publish manga based on the original Star Trek as well as The Next Generation. Due to a massive upheaval and series of layoffs there, our stuff got lost in the resulting shuffle, and Tokyopop finished its run of Star Trek manga. As before, our unused story ideas went back into The File, and we moved on to other things.

(Overemphasized writing tip #1: Never throw anything away.)

Skip to fall 2009, and the invitation letter from David Lee Summers. Write a horror story? Me? Nah. Then I remembered this idea and after getting Kevin’s blessing, I set about retooling it for Space Horrors. Gone was Captain Kirk and his crew solving the mystery of a seemingly abandoned ship adrift in space–complete with all the requisite technology and technobabble, bothersome Klingons, Scotty conjuring an engineering miracle to save the day, and even a sacrificial red-shirted security guard or two. Instead, we now have a grittier, more blue-collar band of space haulers confronting a “space oddity.”

Once I finished restructuring the premise and jotting some notes on my new cast of characters, I started slinging words. I was about two-thirds of the way done with the writing when I started having second thoughts and telling myself that there were things I didn’t really like. Thinking about it for a day or so, I realized that the story opened in the wrong spot. Why? I’d left myself one last, lingering trap from the time when this was still going to be a Star Trek tale, and fallen right into it. Whoops! Once I had that figured out, regrouping was easy. I reworked some things here and there before pushing forward.

As I was writing my story, I realized that the backstory I hint at for one of my main characters is something I wouldn’t mind revisiting one of these days. I’m hoping I get to do that once I acquire some free time, which by my calendar should be some time around July 6th, 2026, give or take a week. While I’m waiting, I hope you enjoy “Into the Abyss.”

– Dayton Ward

Space Horrors – Danielle Ackley-McPhail

In today’s installment of our Space Horrors guest blog series, we meet Danielle Ackley-McPhail. You can find her work in my first anthology, Space Pirates and in Tales of the Talisman magazine. She is also one of the editors of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series. She bought my story “Amazons and Predators” for volume 3 of the series. You can learn more about the Bad-Ass Faeries at http://www.badassfaeries.com

I see that Space Horrors is now available at Amazon.com (click the link to order a copy for yourself). It’s also available at BN.com.

Enough of me, let’s hear from Danielle…


Ashes to Ashes…Dust to Dust…

What is more horrific than what cannot be explained? What is worse than something that cannot be avoided? My story, “Last Man Standing,” is about combating a foe that has invaded without notice. Brutal, lethal, and totally unseen. The courage and depravity that is spawned from adversity coupled with the tenacity of humanity. Kate Donovan and her rockhounds join forces with medical and flight crew to save their collective asses, but when it comes down to it in the end their survival hinges on Jean-Paul Marot, a human brain encased in a titanium chassis.

When I was invited to this collection it was initially proposed under the title Space Vampires. That didn’t last long as the topic would have been a bit restrictive with likely a lot of parallel between the stories. With this in mind the editor and publisher wisely changed the title to the more encompassing title of Space Horrors.

My dilemma—such as it was—I had already come up with and presented my idea.
Fortunately for me…I have always and ever sought to be unconventional. So, while my tale involves human blood, there is no entity the reader would readily identify as ‘vampire’—though if the title hadn’t changed, my take on the subject would have been valid.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy “Last Man Standing” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

– Danielle Ackley-McPhail, writer ever in search of the twist

PS: Ironically enough, poor Jean-Paul was showcased in another vampire tale recently released in Padwolf Publishing’s New Blood. I played fast and loose with the theme there as well…kind of fun doing that, you know?