DeadSteam II

I am excited this Halloween Eve to announce the publication of DeadSteam II edited by Bryce Raffle. My short story “The Sun Worshiper’s Ghost” is one of the thirteen stories included in this volume.

Just when you thought the nightmare was over, what was dead comes crawling back from the beyond. We warned you not to open that fateful tome. But you just couldn’t resist, could you?

Back with more chilling tales of the dark and supernatural, the anthology of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk returns to haunt you with mummies, witches, vampires, gorgons, ghosts. The second installment in the DeadSteam series from Grimmer & Grimmer Books, DeadSteam II promises an even darker, grimmer gothic than the first offering.

In addition to my story, DeadSteam II includes stories by DeadSteam alumni Karen J Carlisle, author of The Adventures of Viola Stewart, James Dorr, Bryce Raffle, Ross Smeltzer, C.C. Adams, E. Seneca, and Rob Francis, while also introducing newcomers to the DeadSteam series.

If you should sense someone lurking down by the river, some thing creeping through the forest, a sound from the attic, a strange pattern in the wallpaper that shouldn’t be there, a cold gust of wind on your neck…don’t look back. Just run. Run as far as you can.

But know this…we’re still here.

In my tale, a scientist named Augustus Harriman has reanimated a mummy with clockworks and engaged the services of a spiritualist named Dinella Stanton to invite the spirit of Prince Neferamum to inhabit his body once again. The original experiment went wrong, but the prince’s spirit lurks nearby and he longs to return to the world of the living. He also wants nothing to do with a clockwork monstrosity. Can Augustus and Dinella stop the prince from starting a new reign on Earth?

This story is a sequel to my story “The Sun Worshiper” which appeared in After Punk edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer. “The Sun Worshiper’s Ghost” is written so it stands alone, but you’ll pick up additional details if you read the earlier story and After Punk is a great read.

The original DeadSteam anthology is also a great read. My story there is “A Specter in the Light” and imagines mining engineers experimenting with a Tesla Coil in a cave near Socorro, New Mexico. The engineers uncover something very ancient and very frightening in the caves. The story is set in the universe of my Scarlet Order vampire novels and is inspired by real events around the early days of the New Mexico School of Mines.

All of these books would make great, spooky Halloween reads. Learn more at the links below:

October 1 Reflections

October 1 can be a challenging day for me. On this date in 1980, my dad passed away. I was only 13 years old. This year, October 1 comes with an added twist. In just six weeks, I’ll be the same age my dad was when he passed away. That noted, and given the caveat we never really know how long we have, I don’t have a lot of fear that my time is nigh. My doctor says I’m in good health and I don’t smoke like he did. Also, my brothers are more than ten years older than me and they’re still around.

This is the last photo I have with my dad. My mom is sitting between us. Soon after this photo was taken, my dad had his first heart attack. Part of his recovery was to walk a mile each day and I would take those walks with him. In many ways, I think I got to know my dad better in that time than I had in the years before that.

As I approach the age my dad was when he died, I find myself thinking about his hopes, dreams, and fears at that age. I look at his successes and the occasional regret he shared. I find myself starting to evaluate my life, asking how satisfied I am with what I’ve done, asking what I still want to do.

My life has been quite a bit different than his. After graduating high school, he joined the Marine Corps at the tail end of World War II. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go overseas. After he left the Corps, he went to work for Santa Fe Railroad. He moved up through the ranks until he became a General Locomotive Foreman at the shops in San Bernardino, California, where the photo above is taken. Beyond that, he was also a leader in the Boy Scouts. He gave me an appreciation of this great nation and showed much of it to me in the short time we had together. He was a leader in our church and he gave me a strong appreciation of the spiritual side of life. He was an artist who loved to paint.

The day before my dad died, he’d gone in to see the doctor and asked if he would write a letter recommending early retirement. Instead, the doctor cleared him to go back to work. My dad was proud of what he’d done, but I think he wanted a change. Unfortunately, he didn’t feel he could make that change without the financial security that would have come with taking early retirement.

I sometimes wonder if my dad would have been proud of the work I do in astronomy, or my writing. I suspect he would have been. He’d certainly find the astronomical machinery, electronics, and optics I work with fascinating and I think he would have enjoyed my Clockwork Legion books. He might have looked askance at some of my horror, but then again I have memories of watching The Omen with him when it appeared on Showtime. It scared me, but he pointed out the silly parts, commenting on them Mystery Science Theater-style and I was less afraid. In a way, it’s a skill that let me analyze horror and actually write it.

Bittersweet as these memories are, they also come on the official release day of the anthology DeadSteam edited by Bryce Raffle. I’m proud to share a table of contents with such talented writers as D.J. Tyrer, Karen J. Carlisle, Alice E. Keyes, and James Dorr. In the tradition of the Penny Dreadfuls, this anthology takes us back to horrors of the Victorian age. Whether it be the fog-shrouded streets of London or a dark cave in the desert southwest, who knows what will appear from the shadows. I hope you’ll join us. You can pick up a copy of DeadSteam at:  https://www.amazon.com/DeadSteam-Bryce-Raffle/dp/0995276749/