The buzz word going around right now in the romance communty is Steampunk. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hadn’t the foggiest idea what this meant. And even worse, I was too afraid to ask and look stupid. So what did I do? I googled it, of course! But for anyone else out there, who doesn’t know and hasn’t googled, my special guest today is going to shed some light on this new, innovative genre. So put your cyber hands together and join in a “blog” round of applause for Karen Michelle Nutt. Take it away, Karen!
Steampunk and the Wild West
By Karen Michelle Nutt
Steampunk is a relatively new sub-genre where science fiction, fantasy, alternate history or speculative fiction come into play.
Works of steampunk have been set in the Victorian era with futuristic innovations as the Victorians had envisioned. Prime example is H.G. Well’s, Jules Verne’s, and Mary Shelley tales. One of my favorite authors, Tim Powers combined time travel and fantasy for his steampunk tale, The Anubis Gate.
However, steampunk isn’t just for the Victorian era. The Wild Wild West T.V. series was a prime example of steampunk set in the wild west. The series told the story of two Secret Service agents. One was a gunslinger that was played by Robert Conrad and Ross Martin played the brilliant gadgeteer. Their mission was to protect President Ulysses S. Grant and the United States from danger. The agents traveled in their own train, which of course had a stable car set up as a laboratory. The show had everything, cowboys, spies and villains. The stories combined science fiction and an alternate history. It was a James Bond tale set in the wild west. There were always clever gadgets, beautiful women and of course a delusional villain. In the 90s they retold the story in a movie with starring Will Smith.
My steampunk western, Storm Rider (available in the Western Saga anthology) takes place in the mining town in Bodie, California. The Storm Riders ride the storms for time travel. Their mission is to keep the time line flowing. There are three destines, three paths for each decision a person makes, but if one of the roads becomes tangled, a Storm Rider must step in and repair the rift before the dimensions collide. I’ve combined the western, fantasy (time travel), and historical elements for my tale. It’s how I’d imagine the wild west would look if the future stopped by for a visit.
I want to thank Amie for having me here today and letting me share. J
Blurb for Storm Rider (available in the Western Saga Anthology):
Samantha Skelley and Denny Randeli are sent to 1879 Bodie, California, one of the wildest towns of the west. It should have been an easy snatch and rescue, but Ace McTavish is determined to put himself in harms way. Samantha and Denny are forced to help him with his plans before they take the next storm ride home.
Samantha and Ace’s attraction for each other sparks into forbidden territory, both knowing their relationship can never be. However, fate may surprise the star-crossed lovers and rewrite the passage of time.
Excerpt from Storm Riders
The hangman, a tall broad-shouldered man stood on the other side of Ace with his feet apart and his hands behind his back. The Deputy took his place near the steps.
Samantha studied Ace, her gaze sliding over him in admiration. Long, lean, and rather handsome even with a few days growth on his chin. He wore a brown cowboy hat, but his long hair peeked out. The color gleamed a rich dark brown as the sun beat down on the thick strands.
His eyes shifted in a subtle manner as if he were looking for someone.
“You have little faith,” she whispered. She raised her hand, tapping her cowboy hat with a subtle gesture, but it caught his attention. For a split second, a look of surprised recognition flitted across his features. He didn’t believe she’d show. She gave him a slight nod. He faced forward then with his shoulders back, standing tall before the crowd that chanted his death song.
The hangman lifted McTavish’s hat to place the black cloth over his face, but Ace moved his head away. The hangman shrugged with indifference. Ace had the right to face his accusers. The hangman draped the rope around McTavish’s neck, placing his hat firmly back down on his head. Then he tightened the rope around his neck. The reverend continued his sermon to save Ace’s soul rather than words to comfort him.
Samantha tapped her earpiece. “Are you ready, Denny?”
“Aren’t I always, luv?”
Her lips curved. “Let’s show these eegits the meaning of a real show, shall we?”
“Your words are pure poetry to my ears, Sammy.”
Denny could shoot a flea off a dog and she wasn’t exaggerating. Denny was the best sharpshooter at the SR institute. She won her share of metals too, but horses were her specialty. She grew up on a ranch, spending more time on a horse than anywhere else. She would be able to outrun whoever tried to come after them.
She kept her eyes on the hangman’s hand. The reverend closed his book and gave a nod. The hangman’s hand pressed the lever and the prisoner dropped. At the same time a shot rang out, severing the rope before it could constrict around McTavish’s neck and break it.
Her horse tensed, but she stroked his neck and leaned forward. “You’re fine, boy. Stay with me.”
People screamed and ducked. Deputy Goodman who stood at the foot of the stairs drew his gun, looking for the man responsible for the interruption.
He kept the patrons hopping with shots flying over their heads. Deputy Chester couldn’t leave the scaffold, the way the bullets flew at his feet, making him dance a jig.
Bless you, Denny Randeli.
Samantha didn’t waste time and rammed her feet into the horse’s flank, sending them flying forward through the crowd of scrambling people. McTavish looked stunned, but he was already working to free his hands.
“Need some help, cowboy.” She tipped back her hat and smiled. She pulled her knife out and he stumbled back. “Don’t be stupid. Let me cut the ropes.”
“Who are ye, lass?” His thick Scottish brogue laced his words.
“I’m the woman who’s going to save your arse. Now turn around and let me cut you free.”
He didn’t hesitate now, whirling around and giving her his backside. A nice backside, too, but now wasn’t the time to admire it. Keeping the horse steady, she leaned down and slashed the binds free from his hands. She shoved the knife back in its holder and offered her hand.
He turned to stare at her. In the bright of day, his eyes stood out like clear green gems with no other pigment clouding the color.
“Come on.” She thrust out her gloved hand.
His grip was firm as he swung up behind her.
“Hold on,” she told him. “Hiyah!” The horse bolted at the command and her sudden slam of her boot heel against its flank. She maneuvered around the scrambling crowd with ease and jumped over obstacles in her way.
“St. Brigid in Heaven, you’re an angel.” McTavish clung to her, his hands around her waist—warm and large, the heat from him sent a strange feeling to the pit of her stomach.
She shook her head. It was the thrill of the escape, not how McTavish felt against her. She tried to convince herself with no avail.
“Do you have the package?” Denny’s voice echoed in her ear, making her focus.
“Got him and we’re on the right trail to lose anyone who follows. We’ll stop at the first hideout and see if there’s trouble. If it looks clear, we’ll meet you back at the safe house tonight.
“Be safe,” Denny told her.
“Back at you.”
“Who are ye talkin’ to, darlin’?” McTavish leaned his head next to hers, his breath whispering against her cheek.
“None of your concern, cowboy. Just keep holding on. We have a rough ride ahead of us if we want to cover our tracks.”
She thought she heard him chuckle. “Oh, doonae fash yerself. I willnae let go.”
Short Bio: Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and a houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
Visit the author at: http://www.kmnbooks.com
Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:
I don’t know about the rest of you, but if the other stories are half as interesting as this one, they are well worth the read!!! So stretch your imagination and see what alternate past might be in store for you in Storm Rider…what are you waiting for? Do it now! :)
Happy reading! <3 Amie