Forgotten Tales of the Weird West

Next weekend, I’ll be at Balticon 50 in Baltimore for the release of Gaslight and Grimm! I’m looking forward to that. As of this writing, I haven’t yet seen my full schedule, but for those in Baltimore, the release party will be Sunday, May 29 from 7pm to 9pm.

This week marks the release of another book featuring a steampunk story. The book is Lost Trails 2: Forgotten Tales of the Weird West and includes a story where members of the Clockwork Legion encounter a Lovecraftian horror from another world. Here’s the blurb for the book:

Lost Trails V2-cover

    If you’ve gained your knowledge of the Wild West from Hollywood and history textbooks, your mage of the Western frontier is simple and clear: White men winning the West and saving helpless white future wives from outlaws or hostile Indians or Mexican bandidos.

    You won’t find that here.

    Here you’ll find: U.S. Marshal Frederick Douglass fighting invaders from outer space. A Navajo girl who must thwart the god who threatens all she holds dear. A Hasidic high planes drifter who faces New World bandits and Old Testament demons. A Catholic priest who contends with a magic-wielding half-breed—or is she an indigenous spirit?—as the fate of the Canadian Métis province of Assiniboia hangs in the balance. Outcast women who enter the Southwestern desert to die…or win their lady loves and great mecha steeds. A lost gunman who may find himself in a Chinese gold miner’s maze of mist and magic. Roving spirits and Civil War survivors and runaway factory slaves losing or finding family or love in uncanny new guises. Hoboes robbing a train of myth and dream. An Eastern city slicker who may outsmart only himself in a contest with Old West magic. A black homesteader who fights fae in defense of land and family. A werewolf-hunting frontier shapeshifter shattering every expectation. Steampunk airships that may unite West and East—or leave them forever apart. The ascendant Aztec facing endless destruction if the god of war triumphs. The South rising again at the Alamo—if it can gain eerie otherworldly assistance.

    This anthology, like its predecessor, Lost Trails: Volume One, exists to recognize and celebrate the diverse realities of the historical West with excellent and entertaining Weird West stories.

    Welcome to the Weird West more realistic than many a mundane Western!

The anthology features stories by: Rie Sheridan Rose, Tobias S. Buckell, Ken Liu, Don Webb, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Gemma Files, Ernest Hogan, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Aliette de Bodard and many more.

In my story, Marshal Larissa Seaton, Professor Maravilla, and Billy McCarty travel to San Antonio to track down the inventor of the lightning gun who has teamed up with a Confederate Major who wants the South to rise again and will seek the help of frightening forces from other worlds to make it happen! I actually wrote the first version of this story several years ago. When I went to the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio in 2013, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Alamo. I was pleased to see I got the details of the location right for my story, but I did do a rewrite and of course editor Cynthia Ward did an amazing job helping me to polish the story to a true shine.

Lost Trails 2: Forgotten Trails of the Weird West is available at:

Note: Although this is volume 2, the stories stand on their own and volume 1 is not required reading, however it is recommended just because it also has good stories. Volume 1 is also available at Amazon and Smashwords.

In the Trenches

Dave and Bob

As this morning dawns, I’m finishing my first night back at Kitt Peak National Observatory after taking some time off for Bubonicon in Albuquerque and WorldCon in San Antonio. Both conventions were great. Between the two, I got to catch up with many friends and colleagues, and made many new acquaintances. In the photo, you see me with Bob Vardeman, creator of the Empires of Steam and Rust series. He’s encouraging me to write a follow-up to my Revolution of Air and Rust, which I’d very much enjoy.

Just as this convention season kicked off, I received the first round of edits for my latest wild west steampunk novel, Lightning Wolves. My editor is Phyllis Irene Radford, who edited the Gears and Levers anthologies for Sky Warrior Publishing. I’ve been working my way through a new draft based on her notes.

While thinking of Sky Warrior publishing, allow me to share a great writing opportunity. They are assembling an anthology called These Vampires Don’t Sparkle, which is edited by the talented Carol Hightshoe. I sent in a submission. For those who would like to submit, the guidelines are at:

Another thing that happened just as the convention season kicked off was that one of my publishers approached me with a proposal for a new book series. It’s too early to say much about this, but I did work up a detailed outline for the first book while I was in San Antonio and I’ve discussed it with my publisher, who seems enthusiastic. What I can tell you is that if this series goes forward, and it seems likely, is that it will include terror, ghosts, southwestern lore, and even some astronomy. Stay tuned!

In addition to writing, I’m also finishing up Tales of the Talisman volume 9, issue 1. The last illustration was turned in tonight and I’m in the throes of proofreading. The issue will be going to press by the week of September 22. Once that’s printing, I’ll be moving right into issues 2 and 3.

The Alamo

Of course, while I was in San Antonio, I had to visit the Alamo. I’m distantly related to Davy Crockett, and it was moving to see where he made his last stand. With all that’s going on in my life, it’s hard not to feel a little like a soldier in the trenches. However, I feel like I’m a long way from any last stands. This seems like a good juncture to say thanks to all those readers who have joined me on the ride so far. I hope you’re looking forward to what comes next as much as I am!