You don’t want to miss this promotion. Zombie Pirate Publishing is offering the kindle edition of their anthology CLOCKWORK DRAGONS: A Fantasypunk Anthology as an absolutely free download from Amazon for the next five days.
You can’t beat the price.
Features my steam/fantasypunk short story The Mechanical Dragon:
I just finished Zombie Pirate Publishing‘s 2018 anthology WITCHES VS WIZARDS: A Fantasy Anthology, and I must say I was exceptionally impressed. Typically, indie anthologies are a mix of terrific, good, and okay stories, with one or two stinkers, but this one surprised me.
I can’t say I found a story I didn’t like. A few of them were on themes I don’t naturally resonate with, but in each and every case, the writing was solid, and they all had an interesting, if not always unique take on the world of magic.
Derek Paterson’s “The House of Magus” was a compelling tale that could have come out of the pages of a Robert E. Howard “Conan” short story, although with more thought and a bit less bashing.
Adam Bennett’s “The Apprentice” was somewhat predictable, at least at the end, but getting there was half the fun. I had hoped for a happier ending for the hapless protagonist, but sometimes that’s not how magic and quest to slay witches works out.
I wasn’t sure about submitting to this one since “magic schools” and “Harry Potter” aren’t my usual fare. On the other hand, I like a challenge, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I still couldn’t get a handle on it until my son Michael suggested something along the lines of “Jack Jack” from “The Incredibles” movies. How about a magic pre-school for gifted toddlers?
Authors Christopher G. Nuttall and L. Jagi Lamplighter are the ones co-editing the Fantastic Schools anthology. They asked for:
Today’s the day. My short story “The Mechanical Dragon” is featured in this Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology.
I have a hard time not offending anyone. When I write horror, some of my friends are unhappy with me, and while I consider my “Dragon” story to be pretty benign, I know that anything to do with magic and dragons rubs some folks the wrong way.
I’ve been waiting a few days to be able to brag about this one.
About a month ago, I had hit a dry spell, and decided to “loosen up” by participating in a writing challenge, not something I do a lot of these days. I was considering writing a story for an open submission, but I didn’t know how to approach it.
So I crafted the 150 word tale The Clockwork Dragon.
That got things moving and I was able to forge ahead with the actual story. A few days ago, it was accepted for publication by Adam and Sam at Zombie Pirate Publishing for their upcoming anthology Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology.
Sixty-seven-year-old Rolf Liechtenstein was surprised to wake up alive, but that wasn’t his biggest revelation. Looking past the strange figure robed in crimson, tangerine, and green who was hovering over him, he saw a large, golden dragon collapsed on a wide, stone floor.
“I thought I only dreamed…” His voice sounded more like a croaking frog, and his throat was dry as desert sand. He had meant to speak in English, but had lapsed into his native German, a tongue he hadn’t spoken regularly outside of his home since he was a boy.
The hooded old woman muttered something incomprehensible, and wizened hands protruding from long, loose sleeves pushed his shoulders back onto a mat as he tried to get a better look.
“Bored, bored, bored.” Atlan manipulated the energy projecting into the boiler, cooling the steam. His partner Narangerel stood behind him in the locomotive’s cabin dilating time and slowing matter as they approached Sükhbaatar’s Trans-Mongolian station.
The eighteen-year-old girl looked at the back of her lover’s head. “You always say that, Atlan, but we are still apprentice elemental guides learning our craft.”
“I know.” The water cooled, he turned to her. “I’d just like a little excitement.”
As Narangerel released time and fixed the wheels of the stopped train, she looked out and up. “Atlan!”
From over the Russian border it appeared in the air, lit by the first rays of the sun. It was a man on a dragon, but the wings were made from massive brass rods and gears.
Atlan stared over Narangerel’s shoulder as the gleaming clockwork dragon and the dead engineer began the greatest adventure of their lives.
It wrote this wee missive for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to use the photograph/location presented by the Pegman as the prompt for crafting a tale no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.
Today, the Pegman takes us to Sükhbaatar, Mongolia.
I admit that it’s been a long time since I participated in one of these challenges. Truth to tell, the steam has run out of me. I’ve encountered a number of personal and professional reverses and it’s left me tired and bored.
It’s true that so far in 2019, eleven of my short stories have been chosen for publication, but as the deadline looms for several more, I feel empty.
The story above is set in the universe I’d like to write my next story in (though it never occurred to me to set it in Mongolia) where people can naturally manipulate the elements as that world’s form of technology. The “clockwork dragon” and his dead (resurrected) rider, the engineer, are actually the beginning of the story, but I don’t have the heart to dive in.
So I created my 150 word introduction, if you will, as an attempt to jump start my creativity. So far it’s not working.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.
A modern fantasy anthology from Pixie Forest Publishing featuring thirteen fantasy-related tales set in the modern world includes my short story “The Dragon’s Family.”
Aging retiree James Monroe finds a small, injured dragon in a vacant field behind his house, and taking the creature home, discovers that the grief and loss he, his son, and grandchildren are suffering from is mirrored in the existence of the mythical being. Together they learn how to demonstrate great sacrifice, healing, and love.
Here’s what it looks like on my Kindle Fire:
“Come on, Grandpa. Over here.” Three-and-a-half year old Jillie ran ahead of sixty-three year old Robert, who was starting to feel the icy talons of fear clutch his heart as his migraine interfered with his control.
“Coming, Angel.” Wiping moisture off of his forehead and locks of long, graying hair, he knew the migraine would not let him tolerate trying to run, but he walked as fast as he could, blue jeans and boots catching in the cheat grass, sweat clinging to his checkered flannel shirt and denim jacket. If she should stray too far ahead while he couldn’t concentrate, there’s no telling what would happen.
The blond child, dressed for the winter weather in dark blue jeans, a snug, long-sleeved shirt, and her favorite turquoise jacket with Elsa and Anna on it, dashed forward toward a copse of trees. Sunlight was streaming through a partially cloudy sky, rendering the barren branches of the tall maples ahead in silhouette.
She and her older brother Tyler had stayed overnight at Robert and Maggie’s house, and while his wife and grandson were making pancakes for their breakfast, he had taken the always active, rambunctious toddler into the field out back to run off some energy. Unfortunately, the migraine struck suddenly, and as the light around him haloed and nausea swept through his gut, he knew it was too late to get her back home.