Five Years of the Clockwork Legion on Audio

It feels like the world shifted back in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading through the United States and many businesses closed down. I would spend most of the next seven months working from home. Starting in October 2020, I resumed my commutes back to Kitt Peak National Observatory. As I’ve mentioned before, these are long commutes. Music, podcasts, and audio books often keep me company during my long drive.

Over the year and a half since I returned to work, I’ve noticed more and more cars on the road. I’m sure some are long distance travelers and some are making more regular work-related drives. That said, I know many people still work from home, whether by choice or not. In both cases, audio books can be a great way to spend some time, especially if you aren’t able to read a print book.

As I noted toward the end of 2021, rights to my Clockwork Legion novels were returned to me. One of the things I considered important in the discussions was that any rights return wouldn’t impact the audio editions of the first two novels. I know narrator Edward Mittelstedt put a lot of care into the books and I wanted to assure that those editions were still available. As this year begins, I notice that we’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the audio book editions. So, this seemed a great time to remind people about the books. If you’re looking for a great audio book to enjoy during a commute or — presuming it’s not a distraction — while working at home or the office. Now that I do have the audio rights, one of the items on my very long “to-do” list is to consider creating audio editions of the next two books in the series. I’d love to hear if that’s something you’d like, or even if there are other books I’ve written you’d love to hear adapted to audio.

Owl Dance is set in1876, Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi of Persia, escaping oppression in her homeland. When an ancient lifeform called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon’s fast draw and Fatemeh’s uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when a fleet of dirigibles from Czarist Russia invades the United States? You can click the links to find the audio book at Amazon or Audible. Or just search for Owl Dance in the Audiobook section of iTunes.

Lightning Wolves is set the following year, in 1877. Russians have invaded the Pacific Northwest and are advancing into California. New weapons have proven ineffective or dangerously unstable and the one man who can help has disappeared into Apache Country, hunting ghosts. A healer and a former sheriff lead a band into the heart of the invasion to determine what makes the Russian forces so unstoppable while a young inventor attempts to unleash the power of the lightning wolves. You can click the links to find the audio book at Amazon or Audible. Or just search for Lightning Wolves in the Audiobook section of iTunes.

In case you need another reason to go back and explore the Clockwork Legion novels, I have it on good authority that the Tucson Steampunk Society Book Club will be revisiting Owl Dance in September. The book club is now on line and hosted through video chat, so you can join in from wherever you are. I’ll have more details about the meeting and discussion closer to the event itself, but if you want to join in, this is a great time to grab the audio, ebook, or print copy and explore the world of the Clockwork Legion.

The Wild West I Wished For

Today, I’m excited to be at the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. It’s a free event, so if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll drop by. I’m participating in two panels this weekend and will be available after both to sign books.

Last weekend, I was at Wild Wild West Con, at Old Tucson Studios where many classic westerns were filmed. When I grew up, my parents were big fans of westerns. My mom, in particular, was always delighted to find a good “shoot-em-up” on television during a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, I wasn’t much of a fan of westerns, at least not at first. It wasn’t until I discovered TV series like The Wild Wild West and Kung Fu that westerns began to click for me. As a kid, I loved science fiction and the former mixed tropes I found familiar into the western backdrop, which helped me take notice. The latter took the clash of cultures that often happened in the west seriously and I could see similarities between that world and the multicultural world of Southern California I lived in at the time.

A lot of these elements come to life at Wild Wild West Con. The event started for me on Thursday night at opening ceremonies, where I got to catch up with some old friends from other steampunk conventions. The next morning, I drove out to Old Tucson Studios to unload books. This year, the authors were housed in the building where they filmed the exteriors for the show High Chaparral. Here you see my Smart Car parked out front!

One of the things I love about steampunk conventions is getting to see the wonderful things people have built for costume or display. This year, outside of High Chaparral, was a display of steampunk vehicles. I thought this one could almost be a reinterpretation of Larissa Crimson’s invention from Lightning Wolves, or an evolved version of the vehicle.

The person who built this amazing vehicle is David Lee, principal artist of Hatton Cross Steampunk. He’s also the man behind the mask of Steampunk Darth Vader in the short films Trial of the Mask and Mask of Vengeance. Perhaps it’s not surprising that every now and then people confuse the two of us in correspondence. So it was a pleasure to finally meet David Lee and I was delighted to find him a pleasant person, as many people in the steampunk community prove to be.

In addition to meeting Steampunk Darth Vader, I also had the opportunity to meet Sam Jones, who played Flash Gordon in the campy 1980 movie. I also enjoyed meeting the creators of the comic book Proteus about steampunk fish people who live in the sunken Atlantis. The creators are all cosplayers and came dressed as their characters.

One of the things I’ve always appreciated about steampunk is how it sometimes imagines a more civilized version of Victorian and Wild West times. One of the ways that manifests is through the sport of tea dueling. In a tea duel, participants dunk a cookie in a cup of hot tea for a set amount of time. The last one to eat the cookie without it falling apart and soiling their clothes is the winner. At many steampunk events the masters of ceremonies are Madame Askew and the Grand Arbiter. Here we see them with my daughter who is a tea dueling contestant. Not only was my daughter a contestant, she proved to be Wild Wild West Con’s tea dueling champion!

One of my goals as a writer is to inspire the imagination of people who play in steampunk worlds. What’s more, going to steampunk events helps to inspire my creativity. Wild Wild West Con came at the perfect time as I’m moving into the middle portion of my new novel Owl Riders. For me, that’s right about the point I need a little boost to keep the energy flowing. Right after Wild Wild West Con, I learned that my first steampunk novel was released as an audio book, narrated by Edward Mittelstedt. The book is available for download at If you’re a fan of audio books, I do hope you’ll join me for a journey into the wild west I wished for.