The Scarlet Order Vampires at Lachesis

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Lachesis Publishing has unveiled a brand new website. In addition to publishing my Old Star/New Earth science fiction series, they also publish my Scarlet Order vampire novels. For better or worse, vampire and paranormal romance novels seem to be everywhere these days. While it’s true the Scarlet Order vampire novels have their share of romance along with beautiful and dangerous vampires, I believe they offer something a little more. The Scarlet Order is a band of vampire mercenaries. They use their speed, agility, and strength to aid the world’s countries. What’s more, I find it interesting to look at the modern world through the eyes of creatures who have seen the world grow and change. Without further ado, here are the novels in the Scarlet Order series.

The Scarlet Order Vampire Series

Dragons Fall

Three vampyrs. Three lives. Three intertwining stories.

Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampyr, the Dragon, Lord Desmond searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.

Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampyr sets her free, and then, she must pay the highest price of all … her human soul.

An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.

Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, and rogue vampyrs until their closest friend, Vlad the Impaler, proves to be their ultimate nemesis.

Click here to learn more about Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order at Lachesis Publishing.


Vampires of the Scarlet Order

Vampires of the Scarlet Order is an action-adventure novel about an elite cadre of vampire mercenaries who have worked throughout history as pinpoint assassins. Under the command of Desmond, Lord Draco, the Scarlet Order was involved in wars with the Ottoman Empire, The French Revolution and even the conquest of the Americas. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, vampires are too expensive, too untrustworthy, and frankly, too passé for governments to employ any longer. Nanotechnology can be employed to engineer more reliable super soldiers. What’s a vampire to do?

Click here to learn more about Vampires of the Scarlet Order at Lachesis Publishing.


If these novels intrigue you, I invite you to drop by my other on-line journal, The Scarlet Order, where I regularly discuss horror writing, vampires, and other matters of interest to night creatures.

Read an Ebook Week

This week, Smashwords is hosting its annual Read an Ebook Week promotion. Two of my books are available for fifty percent off as part of the event.

Revolution of Air and Rust

Revolution of Air and Rust is set during an alternate 1915, where Teddy Roosevelt is building an empire and only Pancho Villa stands in his way. The American Expeditionary Force under the command of General “Black Jack” Pershing has invaded Northern Mexico. Pancho Villa leads his revolutionary army in a desperate raid against the American force only to be outflanked. Just as Pershing’s airships prepare to deliver the death blow, Pancho Villa is transported to a parallel Earth where he finds an unexpected ally and the technology that might just turn defeat into victory.

Revolution of Air and Rust is a stand-alone novella set in the Empires of Steam and Rust world created by Robert E. Vardeman and Stephen D. Sullivan. A story filled with military action, espionage and gadgetry that’s sure to satisfy fans of steampunk and alternate history. The book is available for half off until March 8 at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/254622. Remember to use the code REW50 on checkout.

A Kepler's Dozen

A Kepler’s Dozen is an anthology of action-packed, mysterious, and humorous stories all based on real planets discovered by the NASA Kepler mission. Steve B. Howell, project scientist for the Kepler mission, and I both co-edited the anthology and contributed stories. Whether on a prison colony, in a fast escape from the authorities, or encircling a binary star, thirteen exoplanet stories written by authors such as Mike Brotherton, Laura Givens, and J Alan Erwine will amuse, frighten, and intrigue you while you share fantasy adventures among Kepler’s real-life planets. The book is available for half off until March 8 at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/325583. Again, remember to use the discount code REW50 to take advantage of the sale!

Resurrection Bay

This weekend I’m at Phoenix Comicon. If you’re anywhere near Phoenix, you need to get down here and check this out. This is a huge event featuring many fabulous writers, artists, and TV stars.

In the meantime, I have learned that my friend Jim Chandler has just published his first novel. Jim has been a regular contributor to Tales of the Talisman Magazine and I have been pleased to watch his career grow over the years. If you can’t make it to Phoenix Comicon, go buy his book right now. If you can make it to Phoenix Comicon, see you soon. Buy Jim’s book as soon as you’re back home!

Without further ado, here’s Jim to introduce you to his debut novel, Resurrection Bay.


Resurrection Bay

I’ve always loved stories that explore time. If there is an additional aspect of the strange or unexplained, I’m all in. I believe that there is much more to our universe than we commonly perceive, and that some people are more tuned in to phenomena that most of us ignore. I’ve traveled to many places that seemed to me to have a different, magical energy to them. And perceptive people have told me that my house is occupied by friendly, happy spirits.

One of my favorite stories has always been Somewhere in Time. The hero commits to the belief that he is in fact no longer in 1969, but 1912. The power of that belief makes it so, and a wonderful love story follows.

When I was first married, my wife believed that I would stay around for a few years, then leave. That’s what she believed from experience that most men do. But we just celebrated our 30th anniversary. I meant it when I made the commitment. It has been important to me to prove to her that I’m one of the good ones. The idea for my book grew from those roots.

Does all love eventually fade? If someone were to say, “I will love you forever,” what would it be like if he really meant it? What is the power of our devotion? Could it be strong enough to overcome the constraints of time and space?

My hero commits to his love and his devotion is unshakeable.

I finished the story in 2007, and sent it off to a NYC publisher. Never heard back. Not even a form letter of refusal. So I sent it out to another publishing house and waited the year they require to consider. At least I got the letter from that one. I even joined Romance Writers of America to learn more about the genre.

I worked on my writing skills, and submitted a bunch of short stories. You can find my work in Tales of the Talisman. Each time the book was away, the story kept pulling at me. Maybe the reason it didn’t sell was that it still wasn’t done. It wasn’t quite right.

I lost my job and went into long-haul trucking to keep from losing the house. Kept working on the book. On a run through California, I picked up a hitch-hiker who inspired a re-work of one of the main characters. Sarah wasn’t right until I put a whole lot of Jess into her. Wherever Jess is today, I hope she reads this and feels my gratitude for our short encounter.

That seemed to be the catalyst the universe wanted. After that revision, I decided I loved the book. This was finally exactly the story I wanted to tell, and I was ready to send it out again.

But I was discouraged by my earlier attempts. I wanted it out there at last. I didn’t want to sit around and wait while my manuscript sat on someone’s desk, under a pile of other manuscripts. So I kept it for another year, without doing anything. Counter-productive? I sought advice, and David Lee Summers pointed me to www.smashwords.com.

It wasn’t difficult to reformat the book for the E-publishing upload, and it didn’t cost me a dime. It’s exciting to be able to watch as people check out and download Resurrection Bay. I have a lot of control. As of today, the book is available at Smashwords. If you want to find it on their website, turn off the adult content filter. It’s a paranormal romance, so of course there is material that is not suitable for under-18’s. The direct link for the book is: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/315193

By the end of May, you will be able to find it lots of places. Smashwords distributes to Sony, Apple, Epub, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and several others.

I would be happy to trade ideas and hear criticisms of the book. Another cool thing about e-publishing is that if I’ve made a big error (hard to believe after ten years of working on it), I can make a change to correct it. I guess I’m going to have to finally get a blog site, Facebook, Twitter and all that. For now, if you pick up the book and want to talk about it, you can send me an e-mail at jim.r.chandler [at] att [dot] net.

My Week of Publishing Adventures

My latest novel has just been released in paperback plus I’ve been making forward progress on other projects this week. This seemed a good opportunity to step back and give you some updates.


Ten Years in the Making

Dragons Fall

My vampire novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order has just been released as a trade paperback this week. Dragon’s Fall is a prequel to my novel Vampires of the Scarlet Order and tells the story of how the vampires Alexandra, Draco, and Roquelaure came together to form the Scarlet Order of vampire mercenaries. The novel opens in Hellenistic Greece, moves to Arthurian Britain, descends into the dark ages and finally comes out in fifteenth century Transylvania. I started writing the novel even before Vampires of the Scarlet Order was published. To learn more about the ten-year journey to publication, read my vampire blog http://dlsummers.wordpress.com tomorrow. Of course, you don’t have to wait to read the novel, it’s available right now in print and as an ebook at Amazon.com.


Steam Powered Talisman

Tales8-4 Cover

The spring issue of Tales of the Talisman is regrettably behind schedule, but it’s not stalled and I think it will be worth the wait. We’re stoking the boilers and moving full steam ahead for our second annual steampunk special edition. I have just finished editing the issue and have sent it to the artists for illustration. We have stories by O.M. Grey, Christine Morgan, and Tom Lynch plus poetry by Denise Dumars, N.E. Taylor, and David S. Pointer and a whole lot more. You’ll see steampunk in the future, in distant fantasy worlds, as well as the more traditional views of an alternate Victorian England. I’m hoping the boilers won’t explode and we can get copies of this shipping no later than the middle of May. If you want to make sure it arrives in your mailbox on day one, you can subscribe to the magazine at http://www.talesofthetalisman.com.


A Kepler’s Dozen

Keplers Dozen

Now that the spring Tales of the Talisman is edited and off with the artists, I’m busy laying out an exciting new anthology that will be released this June from Hadrosaur Productions. One of the things I’ve done during my “day” job at Kitt Peak National Observatory is follow up observations of planets outside our solar system made by the Kepler space probe. As of this writing, the Kepler space probe has discovered a remarkable 115 confirmed planets outside our solar system. What would it be like to visit these worlds? Thirteen scientists and science fiction writers imagine just that in A Kepler’s Dozen. You can learn more about the book, see the table of contents, and even pre-order a copy at http://www.hadrosaur.com/kepler.html


Wolf Songs 2 Honored

wolfsong2-cover

To top it all off, I learned that the anthology Wolf Songs 2 won the 2013 Epic Award for best ebook anthology! This is an anthology that follows the latest myths and legends of the wolf as written by science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors. The book contains an alternate version of my story “The Clockwork Lobo” from the novel Owl Dance. What’s more, the anthology also features stories by M.H. Bonham and Carol Hightshoe who have stories in A Kepler’s Dozen. You can learn more about Wolf Songs 2 and pick up a copy of your own at Amazon.com or Smashwords.com.

2013 eBook Winner

Owl Dance for your Kindle

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is to settle into a cozy chair with a good book. Increasingly, that good book is on my Kindle. From what I’ve seen that’s also true of many of my readers. Because of that, it’s with great pleasure that I announce that my wild west steampunk adventure novel Owl Dance is now available for Kindle at: Amazon.com

Owl Dance Cover

Owl Dance is set in 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form 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 airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?

In honor of the holidays and the novel’s Kindle release, I thought it would be fun to share a Christmas excerpt from Owl Dance. This scene finds Ramon and Fatemeh in San Francisco.


Ramon returned to the room he shared with Fatemeh late on Christmas Eve. Fatemeh noticed that he was wearing a new pair of glasses. Like his old pair, they were round and gave his face an owlish appearance. He held his hands behind his back. Fatemeh stood and wrapped her arms around Ramon, but was surprised when he didn’t return the embrace. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.” Ramon’s voice held a sly edge.

“It looks like you were successful in finding new glasses.”

Ramon smiled. “Yes, these are even better than the old ones.” He shrugged. “The optometrist thinks my eyes have been getting a little worse.”

“That’s too bad.” Fatemeh returned to her chair.

“However, I did have enough money left over to get you something.” He brought his arms out from behind his back. In his hand was a narrow box, about eight inches long. “Merry Christmas!” Just then he pulled the box back. “Do Bahá’ís celebrate Christmas?”

“Not normally,” said Fatemeh, “but as I’ve said, we respect the teachings of Jesus. I’m happy to celebrate his birth with you, Ramon.” She held out her hand and Ramon handed her the box. She opened it and saw a necklace. Adorning it was a hand-carved wooden bead in the shape of an owl.

“I bought the necklace. I carved the owl myself, though.”

“It’s very sweet.” Fatemeh smiled and put the necklace on. She stood and kissed Ramon, but held his hands as they parted. “How is our money doing?”

“I think I can find a job, but it’s not going to pay much,” admitted Ramon. “We could stay here about six more days and I could keep looking, or we could move on.”

“I like the idea of moving on.” Fatemeh returned to her chair. “I really didn’t like the reception we had on our first day and it’s loud here, even late at night.” She looked out the window at a saloon across the street.

“Where would you like to go?”

She pulled out a map and set it on the small table between the room’s two chairs. “What do you know about Los Angeles?”

“It’s a small town. There’s some farms and some industrial work.” Ramon shrugged.

“What does Los Angeles mean?”

“It means ‘belonging to the angels,’ The name’s short for something like town of the queen of angels.”

“Sounds lovely. Can we leave tomorrow?”

Ramon laughed. “Tomorrow’s Christmas. I doubt the trains are even running. What about the next day?”

“That sounds perfect.” Fatemeh put her hand to the new necklace. “I’m afraid I didn’t get you a present. What else do people do on Christmas?”

“We sing songs.” Ramon sat in the empty chair next to Fatemeh.

“Teach me a Christmas song worthy of the angels, Ramon.”


I have a special present for all of my readers this week. Follow me on Twitter (@davidleesummers) and keep an eye out for the Five Days of Owl Dance starting on Christmas Day.

In the meantime, I wish you Happy Holidays and a Terrific New Year!

New and Forthcoming Books from Hadrosaur Productions

Hadrosaur Productions is the publishing company I founded with Kumie Wise and William Grother back in 1994. If you’re familiar with my work, you probably know Hadrosaur Productions best as the publishing company behind Tales of the Talisman Magazine. However, that’s not all that Hadrosaur does. Over the years, we have published story collections such as Wayne James’s When Only the Moon Rages and audio books such as Joy Smith’s Sugar Time.

Over the years, Hadrosaur has also worked in cooperation with other organizations and publishers to produce books. For many years, we worked with El Paso Community College to lay out their literary magazine Chrysalis. We also collaborated with LBF Books to publish such works as Shawn Oetzel’s Dying Moon and B.T. Robertson’s Alliances.

In this post, I want to introduce you to three books Hadrosaur has published or will soon be publishing.


The 2012 Rhysling Anthology

This year, we worked with the Science Fiction Poetry Association to bring out the 2012 Rhysling Anthology. Each year, the Science Fiction Poetry Association presents the Rhysling Award for the best speculative poems published in the previous year. Poems are nominated by the organization’s members and collected into the Rhysling Anthology which is sent to members so they may vote. The result is a collection of the year’s best science fiction, fantasy, and horror poems. The 2012 anthology features works by Megan Arkenberg, Albert Goldbarth, Shira Lipkin, Tim Pratt, Ann K. Schwader, Mary Turzillo and many more. The wonderful cover image was taken at the Kitt Peak 4-meter Telescope by Heidi Schweiker and Travis Rector. You can read more about it at the NOAO Image Gallery.

All profits from the sale of the 2012 Rhysling Anthology go to the Science Fiction Poetry Association to aid their mission of spreading the word about speculative poetry. Copies of the anthology may be ordered here: http://www.hadrosaur.com/collections.html#2012rhysling


Revolution of Air and Rust

When I was at Bubonicon in August, Robert E. Vardeman asked me if I’d be interested in writing a novella for a shared world steampunk series called Empires of Steam and Rust. In this world, it’s 1915. Queen Victoria is still on the throne…and getting younger. Teddy Roosevelt is still president of the United States. The Russian Revolution failed. Around the world holes have opened up that look into another world. In some cases, material oozes forth. In other cases, people travel through the portals. What really appealed to me about this series was it’s globe-spanning nature.

I decided I wanted to take a look at the Mexican Revolution of this world and find out what Pancho Villa was up to. The result is my entry in the series, a novella called Revolution of Air and Rust.

Authors of Empires of Steam and Rust Books are responsible for distributing the books themselves. So, mine will be coming out through Hadrosaur Productions. The plan is that Revolution of Air and Rust will be released as an ebook this coming week! I will also be creating a print chapbook that should be available soon afterward. Of course, I’ll let you know when the ebook and print book are available, but you can also check the catalog page for updates at: http://www.hadrosaur.com/bookstore.html#revolution.


A Kepler’s Dozen

Since its launch in March 2009, the Kepler Spacecraft has discovered over 100 confirmed planets around other stars. Hadrosaur Productions will be publishing an anthology of science fiction stories set around planets discovered by the Kepler Spacecraft entitled A Kepler’s Dozen. I have teamed up with Kepler’s Project Scientist, Dr. Steve Howell, to assemble this exciting anthology. We have a team of writers including some well known science fiction authors, Tales of the Talisman veterans, and astronomy professionals working on stories for the book. The first stories have already come in and this is shaping up to be an exciting collection. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as this project nears completion.

In the meantime, please drop in and visit the Hadrosaur Productions website at http://www.hadrosaur.com and see all the fine books we have to offer. If you like science fiction, fantasy or horror, I’ll bet you’ll find your next must-have book.

Vampires, Ghosts, and a Contest

Today, I’m excited to announce the release of my newest novel, Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order published by Lachesis Publishing.

Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order tells the story of how three different vampires came together to form an elite team of vampire mercenaries. Visit http://www.davidleesummers.com/books.html#dragons_fall to learn more about the book and find places to order.

What’s more, we’re holding a contest to celebrate the novel’s release. To get the details and read an exclusive excerpt from the novel, visit: http://authorjessicafrost.blogspot.ca/2012/10/david-lee-summers-dragons-fall-rise-of.html. Note, you must be at least 18 years old to visit the site and enter the contest.

I have to work on release day, but you can still celebrate with me on Twitter. Because I work nights, you’ll find me on after around 6pm Mountain Time. I’ll be available all night. Just drop a tweet to @davidleesummers or #ScarletOrder and help me celebrate the release of the new novel.


Ghosts at the Hotel Gadsden

Last weekend, I attended a book signing at the historic Hotel Gadsden in Douglas, Arizona. The hotel has long been rumored to be haunted. People have reported seeing floating apparitions, having personal items moved in the night, and more. In fact, during the weekend, my friend Gini Koch reported having a frightening encounter where she felt a spirit had pinned her to the bed.

Even I had an interesting encounter. My wife was on the hotel’s mezzanine and snapped the following two photos back to back. Notice the large, hovering orb in front of me in the first photo.

Now, admittedly, orbs are controversial even among firm believers in the paranormal. They often turn out to be dust grains or other bits of fluff illuminated by the camera flash. Moreover, I’m a skeptic and I don’t claim this is proof of a paranormal event. Even so, what’s odd about this is that no orbs showed up in any other photos we took at the hotel. Also, I’m struck by the sheer size of the orb in the first photo. If it’s just an optical phenomenon, it’s an interesting one.


More Vampire Fun

Make sure to stop by Emily Guido’s blog starting this Friday to learn more about Dragon’s Fall and several other great vampire titles. Her blog is at: http://emilyguido.com.

Guest Post: Chris Wong Sick Hong

Chris Wong Sick Hong is the author of the story “The Festival of Flame” that appears in the anthology Gears and Levers 1 from Sky Warrior Publishing.

I think he raises an interesting issue—one that steampunk is both susceptible to and capable of looking at critically. Chris is also the author of the novel Dick Richards: Private Eye and has a story in the anthology Zombiefied: An Anthology of All Things Zombie.


I’ve read that some steampunk stories treat the idea of “the white man’s burden” a bit naively. If you haven’t come across the term before, the white man’s burden is the Victorian idea that Western Europeans and those of Western European descent–in this case, the proud masters of steam and steel–because they have superior technology, scientific understanding and personal virtue, should go out of their way to help less fortunate people and cultures. On the face of it, it’s an altruistic enough motivation, but that’s not how it was used in history.

Time and time again, it was used as an excuse for conquering peoples — “we have to subjugate them in order to teach them proper civilization”–stealing and looting natural resources — “these people can’t possibly spend this money wisely, so it’s our duty to take it for ourselves” — and generally being dicks — “we have this burden because we’re superior, so it’s okay to treat them as less than human than us, because they are.”

This is important because, with its roots in Victorian culture, steampunk is just as susceptible to the racism, violence and hate as the era it hails from. In the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, the values of hard work, perseverance and scientific progress guided British (and U.S.) life, and the mastery of steam and steel transformed people’s lives, not always for the better. In their zeal to improve life, they were more than willing to destroy anything that didn’t fit into their vision of a “better” future.

When the European nations, including the U.S., started trading with China, they ran into a problem. The government of China frowned on trade, made the foreign merchants jump through hoops, and considered everything not Chinese to be barbaric and not worth having in the first place. On the other hand, Westerners loved the fine china, teas and spices from the Orient. The countries of the West were losing so much money they were afraid of going bankrupt.

Their solution? To make a long story short, they got China hooked on drugs (opium, the plant both morphine and heroin come from) in the interest of profit and progress. When the Chinese government tried to put a stop to it, they declared war. Due to their superior technology, the Europeans won. 40 years later, sick of the foreign conquerors extorting their people through unfair treaties, the Boxers rebelled.

Understanding different cultures is difficult enough without a history of war between them. And during war, it’s all but impossible. The Festival of Flame takes a look at an alternate history where the Europeans still conquered China, but did so with all the technological wonders steampunk is known for. On the eve of the rebellion, a Boxer assassin, bolstered by cultural mysteries stretching back millenia, tries to save his homeland, to make things right. But with all the misunderstandings, violence and hate, is a better future possible?

The Solar Sea

My publisher is currently marketing The Solar Sea as book 4 of the Old Star/New Earth series. In a way that’s a misnomer and in a way it’s reasonably accurate.

When The Solar Sea opens, humans have all but given up on space travel. They do have industrial complexes on the moon, but they haven’t gone any further. Young Thomas Quinn dreams of building a solar sail that can traverse the solar system, but Jerome Quinn, his father, tells him to set his dreams aside. There’s nothing to be gained by exploring the solar system.

Fast forward about a decade and two things happen at once. Whales all around the Earth have changed their songs overnight and particles that can travel through time are discovered orbiting Saturn. Suddenly Jerome Quinn sees a reason to build a solar sail. He assembles a team of the best and brightest to travel on the craft and learn about the time particles.

The reason I say it’s a misnomer to call The Solar Sea book 4 of the Old Star/New Earth series is that it’s not a sequel to Heirs of the New Earth. The action in The Solar Sea is set several hundred years before the action of the Old Star/New Earth trilogy. That said, the book is set in the same universe. It tells how humans finally got into space and met the Titans and Rd’dyggians of the Old Star/New Earth books.

The Solar Sea is the first novel I ever tried to write on my own. I started it during the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I had been inspired by a story in the Planetary Society’s newsletter about solar sails. I envisioned a story about people setting out aboard a solar sail bound for Saturn. I made it about halfway through the first draft before the summer ended. As time progressed and my writing matured, I wasn’t very impressed with what I had written and I simply threw it in the trash.

I made another attempt at writing The Solar Sea in the mid-1990s while working on Children of the Old Stars. That version became mired down in details and again, I didn’t make it very far. I finally sat down and wrote the novel in 2004, when my publisher challenged me to write something for National Novel Writing Month. By that point, it had been in my head for about two decades and it just flowed out.

The novel expresses some of my frustration that enthusiasm for human space flight has waned since I was a kid. It also expresses much of my love of science. It was always meant to be a grand adventure that gave the young and young-at-heart a glimpse of the other worlds of our solar system and addressed the fact that no matter how much we think we know about the universe, there may yet be surprises.

There is a website devoted to The Solar Sea at http://thesolarsea.com.

You could choose to read The Solar Sea as your introduction to the Old Star/New Earth series, or you could read it after you’ve finished, in order to see how the world of today became the future I envisioned. Either way, if you would like to set out on a journey through the solar system, The Solar Sea is available:

Genesis of Sufiro

This week, my publisher made the ebook editions of The Pirates of Sufiro available for free at Amazon.com and BN.com. As a result, I find myself looking back at the history of the book.

The Pirates of Sufiro got its start at a writer’s workshop at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1988. (Has it really been almost 25 years?!) At the workshop, I wrote a short story called “A Quiet Burning in the Darkness” that told the story of a space pirate captain named Ellison Firebrandt who met his comeuppance at the hands of an admiral who had laid a trap for him.

A couple of years later, I wrote a story called “Showdown at Sufiro” that told the story of a lawman who got caught up in a planetary conflict. Part of the back story was that the planet was founded by the pirates of “A Quiet Burning in the Darkness.”

I spent some time trying to sell these two stories without success. I soon came to realize that part of the problem was that the first story really didn’t have a satisfactory ending and the later story had too much back story and also needed a better ending. I realized, in essence, these were two chapters of a novel, but I wasn’t prepared to actually write the novel in 1991.

That changed in 1993. I read The Magic Journey by John Nichols and Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein back to back. Both novels are fictional histories and I found myself saying, “I could do that!” So, I pulled out my two stories and I began to fill in the blanks, linking the pirate story to the story about the lawman. The result was The Pirates of Sufiro.

Like most new authors, I had no idea what to do with my novel once it was finished. Several friends read it and believed in it. I thought about sending it to publishers, but wasn’t really sure where to begin.

Around that time, my wife was going to graduate school at the University of Arizona and was looking for a final project so she could complete her Masters of Business Administration. She came up with the idea of creating an audio small press and using The Pirates of Sufiro as the first book. My friend William Grother jumped in and gave the book a solid edit. In the meantime, I assembled several friends from Kitt Peak National Observatory and assigned them characters in the book. Once everything was in place, we all gathered around and recorded ourselves reading the book.

I then edited the tapes and we put out the first edition of The Pirates of Sufiro on audio in 1994 with my own artwork on the cover.

As it turns out, our ambitions were ahead of their time. The tapes were expensive for the quality and in 1994 few people seemed interested in buying an audio book that did not exist in print. So, we started looking into making a self-published print edition. About that time, William and I attended a writer’s conference in Tucson and an agent expressed an interest in the book. I tell that part of the story in the post Fifteen Years of Pirates in Print.

So, here we are 24 years after the short story that became chapter one, 18 years after the first audio publication, and 15 years after the first print publication in a whole new world of ebooks. Talk about a science fiction story! Of course, the exciting part is that you can now download the ebook absolutely free!