Two New Readings

Back in September, I shared two readings from the eSpec Books Author Reading series. I recently had the opportunity to record two new readings for eSpec Books. One comes from my story “The Steampowered Dragon” which appears in the anthology Gaslight and Grimm. The other is from Breaking the Code, my forthcoming novella.

My German Grimm collection.

The anthology Gaslight and Grimm presents thirteen steampunked fairy tales by authors like Jody Lynn Nye, Jeff Young, Christine Norris, Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin. As you might expect from the title, most tales in the volume are reimaginings of stories originally collected by the Brothers Grimm over two centuries ago. The project fascinated me a great deal in part because I studied the Grimm Brothers as part of a German literature class at New Mexico Tech. One of our projects was even to translate “Schneewittchen,” or “Little Snow White” into English.

Since that time, I picked up a copy of the Grimm tales published in Germany. One of the fascinating things about this collection is that it includes some notes by the Grimm brothers about the tales and variants they had heard. I have translated a few of the stories over the years for my own amusement with a particular interest in some of the lesser known tales, such as “The Griffin” and “The Dragon and his Grandmother.”

The story I wrote for Gaslight and Grimm, is a reimagining of “The Dragon and his Grandmother.” The original is set during a nameless war and three soldiers desert the battlefield. A dragon (or is it the devil, depends on how you translate it!) appears and offers the soldiers unlimited wealth. The catch is, the dragon will return after a few years and, unless the soldiers can answer some riddles, they will be the dragon’s servants for the rest of their lives. To give this story its steampunk twist, I made the villain a mechanical, steam-powered dragon. I also set the story in Afghanistan during the period of the “Great Game” when Britain and Russia vied for control of central Asia. Here’s my reading from the beginning of “The Steampowered Dragon.”

David Lee Summers reads from “The Steampowered Dragon”

You can learn what happens in “The Steampowered Dragon” by buying a copy from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, or wherever fine books are sold.

My other new reading is something of a sneak peek at a forthcoming work. I recently shared the cover and the description from my novella, Breaking the Code. This excerpt comes from chapter one of the novella. Set in 1942, two Marine sergeants are in Gallup, New Mexico recruiting soldiers for the war effort. One of the young men they recruit is a Jerry Begay. In this scene, he returns home from the recruitment rally at his high school and tells his parents what happened.

David Lee Summers reads from Breaking the Code.

The very best way to get a copy of the novella is by subscribing to Cryptid Crate at: https://www.cryptidcrate.com. Not only will you get my novella and the goodies that come with it, you’ll get the other novellas in the series as they’re released.

If you would rather just get the book by itself, it is available for pre-order at fine bookstores including:

If you enjoyed these readings and want to listen to more, go over and subscribe to eSpec’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/DanielleAckleyMcPhail/videos. Not only will you find a whole bunch of great readings, Danielle Ackley-McPhail has an unboxing video for the Cryptid Crate, which will give you an idea of what you’ll get when you subscribe!

Weredragons

One of the most awesome scenes in Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty is when the sorceress Maleficent turns into a dragon to do battle with Prince Phillip. It’s beautifully executed, frightening, and you realize that strange headpiece Maleficent wears is reminiscent of dragon horns and you wonder whether the dragon or the human is her “true” form. Ever since I saw that, I felt like the idea of a human who could transform into a dragon had a lot of story potential.

What’s more the idea of a humans who can become dragons and vice versa have some mythic basis. After all, Fafnir in Nordic legend is a dwarf who is turned into a dragon through the power of a cursed ring. In the Grimms’ story “The Dragon and His Grandmother”, we’re introduced to a dragon who has a human grandmother. Although it’s not part of the story, one gets the impression that either the grandmother is a dragon in human form or the dragon is her transformed grandson.

It’s because of this relatively untapped potential, that I was excited to see the novel Lost Sons by fellow Lachesis Publishing author Greg Ballan. Not only is there a beautiful dragon on the cover from artist Laura Givens, but the description tells us the story’s protagonist, Duncan Kord is a Viking Warrior who was saved at the moment of death by a race of advanced beings who “infused his body and mind with the essence of a powerful dragon.” I knew I had to read this book.

As the novel begins, Duncan uses his superhuman strength to save an Amish village from a biker gang. He’s banished for his efforts because the elders don’t want the children to learn violent ways. Kord respects the elders enough to abide by their decision even there’s no requirement for him to do so. He goes across country and settles in Alaska, where he stumbles upon a corporate war between two oil companies which threatens to turn into a real shooting war. What’s more, the CEO of one of two oil companies is none other than the man who brought him to his moment of death back in the Viking days. The people who saved Kord also saved the man who nearly killed him almost 1500 years before. That man is now known as William Jefferson Sagahr.

Lost Sons is the first part of a bigger story. In this novel, Kord fights to bring peace to his newly adopted home of Caribou Point, Alaska and hopes to lure Sagahr into a confrontation. However, Sagahr refuses to be baited and remains focused on his feud with a rival oil company. In the process, we learn that Sagahr has also been infused with powers and that he and Kord have tangled at least one other time after the initial battle where they nearly took each other’s lives. While in Caribou Point, Kord begins to fall for a waitress. As a powerful immortal he knows the pain of watching comrades die over the centuries, but that doesn’t prevent him from being swept up by his emotions.

One of the challenges of writing a character who can transform into a dragon is to hint at the abilities without overusing them. Also, we need a good reason why he doesn’t turn into a dragon at every opportunity it could possibly be an advantage. Greg does a great job of this and roots it to Kord’s underlying humanity giving us a reason to care about him. Lost Sons kept me turning pages and I look forward to seeing what happens in the second installment of this series. As it stands, this book is a great new addition to the lore of people who can transform into dragons.

You can find the book at Amazon and Lachesis Publishing.

Different Dragons II

Wolfsinger Publishing has just released the anthology Different Dragons II, which includes my short story “The Dragon’s Keepers.” Here’s the description of the book.


What happens when dragons are dropped unexpectedly on your front door step from a company you’ve never heard of? In China, a dragon comes up with a unique solution on what to do with all those maidens! Different-Dragons-II An amusement park is hounded by a sea monster the Indians had been feeding for centuries. Haunted by a ghostly dragon, a young woman flees across the snow wilderness, terrified her slaughter of the beasts means her own death. A family is murdered in the Middle East, and a dragon promises a young girl vengeance for their deaths. Are there dragons on a spaceship? You bet! Not to mention an usual dragon ride one pilot will never forget! And let’s not forget, how dragons can appear to be something they’re not, when protecting themselves or their family, from hidden magical dangers. These and other tales await within these pages of Different Dragons II.


In my short story “The Slayers,” I imagined a world where airship crews hunted dragons for the fuel that allows them to breathe fire. In “The Dragon’s Keepers,” I imagine that an airship captain of this world has come to realize dragons are intelligent and must be preserved. He has joined the fight to prevent the wanton destruction of dragons. With the help of a wizard’s daughter, he must find a way to stop a ritual dragon slaying.

Here’s the complete table of contents for the anthology:

  • “Introduction: These are the Tales” by Dana Bell
  • “The Dragon’s Keepers” by David Lee Summers
  • “The Stalker” by Lynn Donovan
  • “Such is the Jungle” by Quincy Allen
  • “Changling” by Rebecca McFarland Kyle
  • “Suntosun Shipping” by G.L. Francis
  • “Of the Generation” by Therese Arkenberg
  • “Dot’s Lunch – The Watchers along the Line” by Dave With
  • “His Lucky Color is Gold” by Rebecca Leo
  • “Hargmir, Ghost of Dragons” by David Turnbull
  • “Space Wings” by H.A. Titus
  • “Asim’s Gift” by Kathryn S. Renta
  • “Mr. Long’s School for Girls” by Rob S. Rice
  • “Bessie Returns” by Christine Hardy
  • “Amélie’s Guardian” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

SummersTheSlayers

Different Dragons II is available at Amazon.com and Smashwords. What’s more, if you buy the book from Smashwords enter the code ED26N on checkout for a 25% discount as long as you visit before October 15. If you’d like to go back and read my other story set in this fantasy world, “The Slayers” is available as a stand-alone short story at Amazon.com and Smashwords.

Finally, as a reminder to those friends in Las Cruces, I am signing books today from 10am until noon at COAS Books Downtown. I hope you’ll drop in and say “hi!”