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Steampunk, Alchemy, Airships and…more! March 1, 2020

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, business, charity, e-books, fantasy, Free, sci-fi, science fiction, steampunk, weird westerns, writing, zeppelin.
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Ebooks can never replace hardcopy print (ie, dead tree) books entirely, but publishing electronically gives rise to all sorts of awesome ways for an author to market those entertaining wares quickly and easily.

The usual markets are there: Amazon; Smashwords; iTunes; online stores. Services like BookBub let authors reach a wider audience, but one sales method in particular intrigues me. The Story Bundle. (Disclaimer. I had a book, THE INFINITY PLAGUE in a story bundle last year and have another, GATEWAY TO RUST AND RUIN in one running right now.)

Just want to sample a few titles? You can do so for free.  A few dollars gets a couple more titles. Take the plunge at $15 (and up, your choice) and receive hours and hours of amazing entertainment. A movie ticket can cost about what 13 novels will run you in a Story Bundle. The nice thing is how you support indie authors directly (that’s kinda, sorta me–I’m a hybrid author but lots of my stuff is indie published). And if you’re feeling beneficent, you can kick in part of that purchase price to a worthy charity. Entertain yourself, help others (both writers and beyond writers into the community). Get immediate gratification with ebooks that you own. What a deal.

The steampunk story bundle runs until March 12th, so you have time to check it out and decide if you want ebooks from Kevin Anderson and Neal Peart, Marie Andreas, Tim Niederitter, Louisa Swann, and others–including me!

And be sure to keep checking later for other story bundles with different themes.

Dark Western Trilogy May 1, 2019

Posted by bobv451 in e-books, Haiti, history, New Mexico, outlaws, weird westerns, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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It’s been a long time since I dropped a few lines here. Release of a boxed set of my (as Jackson Lowry) dark westerns for a bargain price (!) prompted me to pass along the official release blurb and to urge you to spend a buck and get all creeped out!

OFFICIAL BLURB FOR PUNISHED: A DARK WESTERN BOXED SET

BOOK ONE: UNDEAD
The day the Yankees came and took everything from wealthy landowner Vincent Bayonne was a day he’d never forget—how could he live with the uncertainty of not knowing what happened to his wife and children? Forced to watch as his plantation was burned to the ground by one of the slaves, Bayonne has sunk to the bottom of the barrel. A drunkard who has only his consuming hatred to sustain him, he makes his way from Louisiana to San Francisco, barely managing to survive on the Barbary Coast.
Just when he thinks he has nothing to live for, he discovers that William Sherman, the former slave who torched his home, is alive and well—and Sherman bears a hatred for his former master to match Bayonne’s. When Sherman bests Bayonne in a fight, the once-wealthy Southerner wakes up in a coffin, prepared for a fate he could never have imagined.
Hatred fuels Bayonne’s survival, but Sherman has cursed his nemesis with powerful voodoo magic that dooms him to an eternity of only half-living in the twilight existence of a zombie. Can an old Chinaman provide the answers Bayonne needs to survive in the world of the UNDEAD?

BOOK TWO: NAVAJO WITCHES
Vincent Bayonne has gone from wealthy Louisiana plantation owner to penniless drunk in a very short time. But that’s not all. William Sherman, the ex-slave who put the torch to Bayonne’s beloved plantation, Dark Oaks, has done the unspeakable. Sherman, a voodoo priest, has placed a curse on Bayonne and made him one of the undead—living, but not truly alive.
The elusive Dr. Glencannon is the only man who can stave off the sense-dulling effects of the curse with his elixir—but Bayonne is always one step behind him. A young Navajo boy tells Bayonne his uncle, Begay, can help—but for a price—killing the skinwalker that has been terrorizing the Navajo people.
Though Bayonne resents having to hunt the supernatural shapeshifter, there is no choice for him. For Begay, true to his word, concocts a potion that holds the zombie traits at bay and allows Bayonne to do what he must do—including hunting the skinwalker.
As Bayonne stalks the skinwalker, he makes a surprising discovery. Will he be able to kill the beast? And can he make it back to New Orleans in time to meet the Queen of the Cape when William Sherman comes ashore?

BOOK THREE: BAYOU VOODOO
Hanged twice, but still . . . undead.
Vincent Bayonne’s luck may have run out at last. The former plantation owner must find William, the freed slave who placed the zombie curse on him, if he wants to avoid the unholy fate of a living death. To reach William in New Orleans, he makes his perilous way across the untamed American frontier while escaping from US Army patrols, dodging lawmen and railroad detectives after the reward on his head, and trying not to get killed by those who hate him because of his cruel rule over Dark Oaks Plantation.
Bayonne’s quest for revenge is now a fight for sheer survival. The medicine he needs to hold back the slow coarsening of his body and mind, turning him into a zombie, is long gone. His only hope is to find William, and to do that he must first get Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, to befriend him. His only allies are a beautiful woman from his past and his own incredible strength while under the curse. With the choice of becoming totally undead or begging those he hates most for aid, Bayonne plunges into the darkest recesses of black magic, hoping for a cure—and redemption.

Check it out (and the other fine fictional tidbits at Sundown Press:

Like Tears in Rain April 22, 2018

Posted by bobv451 in computers, science fiction, sense of wonder, steampunk, weird westerns, writing, zeppelin.
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I keep thinking of a favorite scene from my favorite SF movie, Bladerunner. Rutger Hauer is a replicant, dying and bemoaning the resulting loss of all his knowledge and experience. That has always struck me as poignant. Thinking on it and the recent death of longtime friend and collaborator Martin Cameron intensifies the sense of loss.

Martin (Bucky for the 40 years or so I knew him) was a wonderful artist, but he had also edited a racing magazine and was providing incredible technical support in just about any modern artistic tool for our MAJOR ARCANIUM GAZETTE project. He did layout as well as the artwork because he had the experience. For years he worked on video games at Lucas, designing the Star Wars fighters in a couple games. He gave me a tour of Skywalker Ranch. But he was also an anime fanatic, knew Japanese pop culture and windsurfing. And the gig as editor of Wheels magazine came because of his time on the racing circuit, both as a mechanic and driver. I was always fascinated by his casual tales of how, as a kid, he didn’t think there was anything odd about finding Dan Gurney asleep on the front room sofa. Gurney and Bucky’s dad were great friends.

He was such a ball of energy, and now that energy is gone. Along with it, his artistic skill, insight and experiences unique to him. We’re all filled with our own unique skills and events that have shaped us, but death eradicates them forever. It seems such a waste, losing the knowledge–and friendship.

I am missing him a lot, as a friend and unique human being with sharp, clever ideas and a skewed outlook on the world.

(c) 2018 Martin G. Cameron

All Around the (New) World May 28, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, e-books, steampunk, VIPub, weird westerns, westerns, writing, zeppelin.
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It’s all yours when you write.  The world you create.  What do you put in, what do you ignore (since you can’t touch on everything)?  Choose what makes for a good story that challenges the characters and then go pedal to the metal (or meddle or medal or mettle, depending on what type of story you’re writing).

A couple years back I worked up details of an entire steampunk world slowly filling with holes in the fabric of space that lead to a world consumed by oxidation.  Oxygen was at a premium there and rust ate away at everything once great.  My hero becomes intrigued by these holes to a different world while the heroine is off fighting wars brewing in Europe, many of those conflicts over and about the curious holes because some allow instant transport from one part of the world to another.  The story has clockwork, pneumatically powered robot dogs (more in a second about Fulton) and zeppelins and a villain caught up in a maelstrom of evil even he cannot control.

My world, but I opened it to others to play in, introduce characters I’d never consider, poke about in corners of history and geography I simply had no time to explore.  Sarah Bartsch wrote Unforeseen  set in 1915 Japan where the Shogun rules and being a (lady) samurai includes airships.  Steve Sullivan took a different tack and gave use sexy female Russian spies in Heart of Steam and Rust.  Continuing exploration of this world (and the rust world) award-winning steampunk author David Lee Summers gave us a look at Pancho Villa, the Mexican Revolution and the rust world in Revolution of Air and Rust.

This steampunk world continues to expand.  Interested in joining in?  Drop me a line and let’s see what shakes out.

Oh, yeah, I’d mentioned the steamdog Fulton.  He’s in this world, which is set later than the upcoming Air Pirates of the Golden West.  That tale will be included in a monthly magazine with free weekly installments, starting with Millard Fillmore, Master of Steam.

EmpireS&R

Empires of Steam & Rust: The First Passage

Reading Weird April 17, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in alt history, e-books, fantasy, sense of wonder, weird westerns, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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I write weird westerns, but it probably goes without saying (or should) that I enjoy reading weird westerns, too. Like every other genre, or sub-genre, some are wowsa and others leave me cold. Much has to do with timing. A mediocre book hitting me at the right time will get me thinking for weeks. I’m not so sure if a great book ever leaves me cold, buried and mummified since that wouldn’t be a great book then. To me. I’ve said for a very long time the writer brings 75% to the party. The reader furnished the other 25%, and what that is the author has not a clue.

I know what Peter Branvold brought in his 75% of Dust of the Damned, and that is a a cast of good guys that I wanted to read more about, which is my 25% contribution. The creepy crawlies they face are varied and unusual enough to keep me reading–hobgobbies, werewolves, vampires (spillers), brujas, and dragons! But added into the ghoul killing, the world itself is alt-history since Lincoln brought werewolves over from Europe to defeat the Confederates at Gettysburg, then he and Grant killed themselves out of shame at what they’d done. Sherman is president. But the real story is that after escaping Union dominion, the Hell’s Angels gang was born (if that’s the proper way of stating it). They infest most Western states and are tracked down by bounty hunter Uriah Zane and deputy US marshal Angel Coffin, sometime lovers and always ready to tangle with the ghouls.

The setting is good, the action is topnotch and the characters are worth following to the very last page. This is why I like weird westerns (and alt-history).

Weird Western