The Airship Rustlers

This week, the poem “The Airship Rustlers” that I wrote with Kurt MacPhearson appeared in the the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s online magazine, Eye to the Telescope. You can read it at: http://eyetothetelescope.com/archives/040issue.html. The issue’s theme is “Weird West” and the editor is Gary Every, who I’ve been pleased to work with on a number of other occasions.

A while back, Kurt MacPhearson and I collaborated on a handful of poems and a short story. The way we worked on the poems was that one of us would write a verse or two of a poem, then email it to the other. Effectively, we played a game of literary hot potato, passing the poem back and forth until we came to a conclusion we liked. We also allowed each other to edit the poem as it stood, to make sure all the ideas worked together and to make sure it had a uniform voice.

As I recall, I started this particular poem. I would have been working on my Clockwork Legion novels at the time, very much entrenched in reading about airships and wild west lore. I was also inspired by the TV series Firefly and the episode where Captain Reynolds transports cattle from one planet to another aboard his space ship. Kurt gave the poem a somewhat darker tone than I originally imagined, but it fits how seriously people took cattle rustling in the wild west. In passing the poem back and forth, the poem’s narrative took some interesting turns and by the end, it’s not altogether clear the title refers to those people aboard the airship rustling cattle.

Not only did Kurt and I collaborate on poetry, we also tried our hand at a steampunk short story. Again, we played literary hot potato with the story. I introduced the brave Captain Penelope Todd of the airship Endeavor and immediately thrust the crew into a nasty storm from which there seemed to be no escape. Kurt took the idea and ran with it, sweeping the Endeavor and its hapless crew off to a strange new land called Halcyon along with the crew of a sea-going pirate ship. Kurt had Captain Todd taken prisoner with no apparent way of escape and left me to find a way out of the situation. That story was picked up for the anthology Gears and Levers 2, edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and you can get a copy at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AYAF6X2/

Another interesting aspect of all this is that Gary Every, the editor of the Weird West issue of Eye to the Telescope, and I also played literary hot potato on a story for a while. It was all about exploring underground waterways on Mars. Unfortunately, life got in the way for both of us and we never finished the tale, but we did have fun and it took a lot of inspiration from stories of people on the Western frontier. Even though Gary and I never finished that story, I did publish a pair of his fantasy tales under the title Inca Butterflies. In the book, Incan Emperor, Huaina Capac, comes of age as Alejo Garcia and his band of mutineers arrive in America carrying a weapon far more devastating that cannons. Huaina Capac’s successor, Manco Inca, must lead his remaining people as bearded men from Europe swarm the countryside like butterflies sweeping the plains. Set in the last days of the Inca Empire, Inca Butterflies is a tale for all times. You can get the book at: https://hadrosaur.com/IncaButterflies.php

Steampunk Hot Potatoes

At a number of steampunk conventions I attend, my friends David Drake and Katherine Morse run a programming item called the Hot Potato School of Writing. This is a method of collaborative writing where one member of the team writes to a cliff hanger, or a “hot potato,” and tosses it to the other writer to get the characters out of the jam. Unfortunately, I couldn’t participate at this past Wild Wild West Con, but I have used this technique with another writer in a story that I recently learned has been released in paperback.

Gears and Levers 2

Four years ago, Kurt MacPhearson and I tried our hand at collaborating on a steampunk tale. I introduced the brave Captain Penelope Todd of the airship Endeavor and immediately thrust the crew into a nasty storm from which there seemed to be no escape. Kurt took the idea and ran with it, sweeping the Endeavor and its hapless crew off to a strange new land called Halcyon along with the crew of a sea-going pirate ship. Kurt had Captain Todd taken prisoner with no apparent way of escape and left me to find a way out of the situation.

We had great fun writing the story and once we were finished, we passed it back and forth a few times and polished it up. We submitted the story to Phyllis Irene Radford for her Gears and Levers anthologies and she accepted it for the second volume. The anthology has been available for a while in ebook format at Amazon and Smashwords, but I just learned it’s also in paperback format. Gears and Levers 1 has been a bestseller for Hadrosaur Productions at our dealer’s tables, so we’re proud to say we now have some copies of Gears and Levers 2 to sit beside them.

Adventure and romance await in Gears and Levers 2. Travel to worlds that never were but should have been where magic and science blend together and authors explore the quest for all that makes up humanity. Battle pirates, walk with ghosts, fly in dirigibles, explore the wonders world, and walk with automatons in eighteen amazing tales set in Steampunk lands by masterful storytellers such as Alma Alexander, Irene Radford, Chaz and Karen Brenchley, Shawna Reppert, Larry Lefkowitz, Tina Connolly, Jeanette Bennett, Voss Foster, Frog and Esther Jones, and many more.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait to see us at a convention to get a copy of the paperback. You can get the paperback from Amazon, or you can get them directly from Hadrosaur. If you send an email along with your order to Hadrosaur, I’ll be happy to autograph my story. I hope this finds you in your own world of Halcyon.