Building an Ornithopter

I had a great time at MileHiCon last week. During the convention, I had numerous productive business meetings. Some of these has to do with moving forward on projects in process, some had to do with improving the workflow on the ezine edition of Tales of the Talisman, some had to do with short story submissions and possible anthologies. I’m sure at least some of this will bear fruit in the coming weeks and I’ll keep you posted as things develop.


Once I returned home and caught up with other work this week, I took time to build a model of an ornithopter. In essence, it’s a craft that flies by flapping its wings. Although this was recreational for me, it was also a form of research. Ornithopters feature prominently in my Clockwork Legion Steampunk series, which begins with Owl Dance. I’m currently waiting for edits on the second novel, Lightning Wolves, and I’ve been making notes on The Brazen Shark, which is the third novel in the series.

I find that building a model of something that appears in one of my novels is a great way to visualize it. This model isn’t identical to the ornithopters of the Clockwork Legion series. The model is inspired by Leonardo DaVinci’s drawings, and it’s meant to be powered by the rider. The ornithopters in the clockwork legion series rely on a small chemical reaction steam engine to power the craft. However, this still serves as a reality check. I see that the small engine with cables and pulleys should be able to flap the wings as I imagine. I also get ideas for additional details that may be described.

Owl Dance Cover

If you haven’t already discovered the Clockwork Legion series, you can read all about my ornithopters in Owl Dance. You can learn more about the novel, read a sample chapter, see what some reviewers think, and find places to buy at: