This week, The Write Stuff breaks away from its customary author interviews to showcase new releases from two former Interviewees, Quincy Allen, featured on December 7, 2015, and Dave Butler, whom we met on January 4 of this year.
Quincy describes Blood Curse, published by WordFire Press on June 2, 2016, as a Western Steampunk Epic Fantasy with a clockwork gunslinger destined to stop a demon apocalypse that could wipe out two worlds. It starts in the old west and pretty quickly morphs into fantasy (magic and dragons in the world) and finally becomes epic fantasy where a number of factions all must work together to stop the apocalypse.
A ruddy sun has set on the gauntlet that nearly killed Jake, Cole, and Skeeter in San Francisco. Storm clouds loom on the horizon, promising the inevitability of an airship battle with the nefarious Colonel Szilágyi. Blood Curse, the second book in the Blood War Chronicles, drops Jake and is friends into the middle of a war between the Free Territories and the Empire of Texas. In the shadow of warships, mechanized infantry, and spies, he discovers a world he couldn’t possibly have imagined and begins to understand what fate has in store for him. Jake doesn’t want that destiny, but his growing feelings for the Lady Corina Danesti lead him down a path of death and destruction on a scale that could encompass worlds.
The Blood War Chronicles series is set for six books, and WordFire Press, Quincy’s publisher, has already signed a gaming contract that will reach out to dozens of countries. There’s artwork already available and a website that should go live in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes open! Here is where you can find Blood Curse on Amazon:
Take a quick peek inside:
Jake eyed Brewer. “Cromwell’s committed himself. Either he takes the city or he writes these bastards off. And the gates are the key. You said it yourself. He has a large ground force south of the city and heading this way.”
Brewer nodded, giving Jake an appraising eye. “That’s what I’ve been told. And their air support has beaten the hell out of the Dragun. She’s still holding her own, but so long as she has to defend herself, she can’t tear into the ground forces. She’d make quick work of them otherwise. A bunch of our other ships went down in the first pass, taken from above. We have a contingency plan, but they’re holding off on that for some reason.” Brewer chewed on the end of his cigar as he thought about what Jake was saying. He took a long pull on the cigar and blew the smoke up into the air. Finally, he relaxed. “What did you have in mind?”
“Ghiss and me, with a little help from Cole and that there Thumper,” Jake nodded to the rifle Cole leaned against, “will be your right flank. I want you and your people to hit that south side with everything you got. Crash vehicles into the barricade … melt your barrels if you have to. I want you to make as much noise as possible, but keep your heads down. Just keep their attention on you without risking any lives.” Jake looked at Ghiss and Cole. “We’ll take care of the rest.”
Brewer looked at Jake like he was loco. “Just the three of you?” He gave out a great guffaw. “You’re out of your damn mind!”
Ghiss spoke up. “Oh, I agree, Mister Brewer. By all accounts I believe we all are. However, our sanity, or lack thereof, does not change the simple fact that, provided a proper distraction, we are fully capable of tearing those men to pieces.”
Brewer looked the mercenary up and down, noting the pistols and their cables. He’d seen enough energy weapons to know the things probably wouldn’t run dry … at least not for a while.
“It’s still just the three of you,” Brewer finally replied, his voice filled with doubt. “And there has to be at least forty or fifty of them … plus that assault unit.”
“You let me worry about the armor,” Jake said with more bravado than he felt. “And there’s four of us, actually,” he added. His smile was overflowing with all the confidence he could muster. He hooked a thumb behind him, pointing through the gap at the Brahma. “We’ve got Lumpy.”
Brewer leaned over slowly and looked at the bull who was busily licking his nose.
“You’ve got Lumpy,” Brewer said in a flat tone, blinking his eyes. He kept puffing on the cigar. He looked back at Jake who kept smiling.
Jake gave Brewer a sly wink. “And you’ve got nothing to lose,” he added, “except a bit of ammunition.”
Brewer thought about it and nodded slowly, realizing that he had almost no risk aside from the ammo, and they had plenty stored around the city. It was enough to put the man’s decision over the top.
“Alright.” Brewer looked over his shoulder. “Billy, pass the word and get on the talkie. We leave eight defenders here to guard the hospital. Every other fighter who can still carry a weapon meets at the southern position in ten minutes.”
“Sir!” the boy shouted and dashed back into the warehouse.
“You better be right,” Brewer said, turning back to Jake. “For your own sake.” He stepped over to a stack of crates near the gap in the barricade. He pulled out two chaingun drums and handed them to Cole. “Here, you’ll need these. They’re full.”
“Thanks,” Cole said, hefting them, and then started swapping out the drums.
“Y’all better get ready,” Brewer said. “In about twelve minutes all hell’s gonna break loose.”
Jake nodded. “We’ll wait about thirty seconds after you start shooting before we hit ’em. I’ll give you a high sign from inside their barricade if we make it, then you and your people can come in and take back what’s yours.”
Brewer held out his hand. “Good luck.” He shook hands with Jake, Ghiss, and Cole. “You’re gonna need it.” Without another word, he walked back into the warehouse.
… … … … …
Dave Butler, whose scientific romance, City of the Saints, was also published by WordFire Press, just landed a contract with Knopf Doubleday. His most recent release, The Kidnap Plot (The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie), a steampunk fantasy, hit the shelves on June 14, 2016. It’s available in your favorite bookstore right now. Or, if you’re thinking about purchasing The Kidnap Plot online, here is the Amazon link:
He describes the story this way:
Charlie is a reader. He’s not allowed outside the house, but then one day his father is kidnapped, and Charlie has to launch a rescue mission. This is a story about matriarchal warrior pixies, heartbroken lawyer trolls, fantastic steam-powered devices, and a hero with a secret even he doesn’t know.
Dave has composed a filk song for the book. you can listen to it here:
The Kidnap Plot’s first 500 words follow:
Charlie cringed. There would be a rock. There was always a rock.
“What are you talking about, Skip? Charlie Pondicherry ain’t even got a dad! Charlie Pondicherry’s a toenail fungus; that’s why he’s always got that goop smeared on him!”
Skip, Mickey, and Bruiser followed Charlie down the Gullet. Charlie was sure the three boys had just waited in the alley for him to come out. Charlie’s shoulders slumped.
He hunched down lower over the basket of dirty laundry he was carrying. Sooner or later, there would be a rock.
“A fungus . . . ha-ha! A fungus!”
That was the rock. It hit Charlie between the shoulders. He stumbled, but kept his feet.
He wanted to turn and stand like a ship’s captain, letting the pirates have it with both pistols . . . but he’d soil the laundry. Plus, they outnumbered him three to one, and any captain knew those weren’t great odds. Charlie gritted his teeth and hoped they’d give up.
The steam clouds that surrounded Lucky Wu’s Earth Dragon Laundry were just ahead. Behind him he heard the sucking sound of the other boys’ feet in the mud.
“Where you going, fungus? Get him, Bruiser!”
Bruiser grabbed Charlie by his jacket and shoved him against the brick wall. Charlie gripped tight with both hands and managed not to drop any of the laundry.
“You got any brass, fungus?” Mickey sneered. Mickey had ears like jug handles and teeth too big for his head. He spat when he talked.
Charlie glared at the bigger boy. “Do I ever have any money?” Charlie’s bap—his dad, the other boys would have said, but Charlie’s father was from the Punjab in India and insisted Charlie call him Bap—never gave him money.
“What you think we are, stupid or sumfing?” Skip shouted. Skip had a loose lower lip that flapped down and almost covered his chin. Also, Skip smelled terrible.
“Stupid or sumfing!” Bruiser echoed, and he laughed. Bruiser was a big boy, with man-sized knuckles.
“Going to Fathead Wu’s again, yeah?” Mickey spat. “What, you ain’t got a bit of brass to pay old Fathead?”
“Are you an idiot?” Charlie snapped. He was shaking, but he might as well speak his mind; whatever he said, he was going to get punched. “I always go to Wu’s. And I never have any money.” Charlie wished he were bigger. He’d pound Mickey and his friends flat. Maybe then Bap would let him out of the shop more. “Clock off!”
“How many times we gotta teach you this lesson?” Skip jeered.
Bruiser pressed Charlie against the wall with one hand and balled up his other fist. His big hand hung in the air like a wrecker’s ball.
Charlie laughed. “You’re slow learners, I guess.” He smirked to distract them from his hands while he shifted his grip on the basket and made a fist inside one of his bap’s shirts. He was Captain Charlie Pondicherry, priming his pistols.
Bruiser didn’t know when the joke was on him. “Slow learners, ha!”
Mickey looked at Bruiser, irritated.
Charlie threw the basket of dirty laundry at Bruiser’s face.
“Huh?” Bruiser shouted, and swung his fist—
and pow! Bruiser’s fist plowed right into the top of Mickey’s head.
“Ow!” Mickey staggered back.
Charlie hurled his fistful of shirt at Skip’s face and turned to run, but the shirt missed and Skip knocked Charlie down.
Charlie hit the mud in a rain of dirty laundry.