Shovel the coal and stoke the boilers as nine steam punk authors explore islands of mystery and adventure across the seven seas.
The Clockwork Seer by Katherine Cowley: On an island of oddities, a young clairvoyant struggles for normalcy, but deadly automatons have other plans.
Sindisiwe by Scott E. Tarbet: A slave girl in Zanzibar escapes a beating when a stranger in the marketplace proves her past is more than just a fairy tale.
Stand and Deliver by TC Phillips: Neither shackles, slave labor, nor the island’s deadliest inhabitants will prevent these brothers from meting out justice to their father’s murderers.
Island Walker by C. R. Simper: Kit digs her treasures out of trash heaps, but the theft of her invention leads to discoveries money can’t buy.
A Mind Prone to Wander by Danielle E. Shipley: Beyond a locked door lies Rowan Charles’ death or his sanity, and the survival or extinction of his people.
Curio Cay by Sarah E. Seeley: The future of humanity rests in the hands of three time-traveling scientists battling biomechanical creatures in the Jurassic past.
The Mysterious Island of Chester Morrison by Kin Law: Dodging her chaperone, a debutante stumbles into adventure and romance at the World’s Fair.
Revolutionary by John M. Olsen: A dirigible captain goes down with his ship, and wakes to find himself a captive of a sky-dwelling civilization.
The Steel Inside by Gail B. Williams: Darkness lurks in Sarah’s forgotten past, kept hidden by those who claim to be her devoted husband and loyal servants.
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Katherine Cowley wrote her first story at the age of five, a retelling of the Icarus myth titled “The Turtle That Got Too Close to the Sun.” She has worked as a documentary film producer, a radio producer, and a college professor. She now devotes herself to writing steampunk, fantasy, and science fiction. Cowley’s short stories and essays have been published and won awards in the Locutorium, the BYU Studies Personal Essay Contest, the Meeting of the Myths, Four Centuries of Mormon Stories, and the Mormon Lit Blitz. You can also read her stories online at katherinecowley.com.
Katherine loves European chocolate, the history of science, and steampunk fashion. She has lived in the United States, Brazil, and Finland, and currently resides in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.
Scott E. Tarbet
Scott E. Tarbet writes what fires his imagination: the broad umbrella of speculative fiction. He is especially intrigued by how human beings react to and interact with science, technology, and other magics.
Educator, chef, professional opera singer, and Steampunk craftsman, with a long list of short stories and other works to his credit, he makes his home in the splendor of the Utah mountains with his wife and best friend, Jewels.
TC Phillips hails from tropical central Queensland in Australia, where he currently lives with his loving wife, three young children, a spoilt cat, and an overactive imagination. An avid reader from a young age, he has held a long-standing attraction for the written word and is excited to make his own contributions to the vibrant and ever shifting world of storytelling. Holding degrees in both Theatre Studies and Education, he is also currently completing his Master of Arts (writing) through Swinburne University of Technology.
C. R. Simper
C.R. Simper is an Arizona native who graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Purchasing and Logistics Management. She married another Arizona native in 1991 and is now the stay-at-home mom of three daughters and one son.
Simper has written in multiple genres over the past three decades. She has found that writing maintains a sense of order in her life. Her first published story, “The Journey of Inspector Roux” appeared in Terra Mechanica: a Steampunk Anthology (2014), another Xchyler publication.
Danielle E. Shipley
Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them.
Shipley has also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home-schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and all that authorial jazz, she’s probably blogging about it at EverOnWord.wordpress.com.
This is her third appearance in a Xchyler anthology, following the paranormal “Two Spoons” in Legends and Lore, and “Reality As We Know It” in fantasy collection The Toll of Another Bell. Other publications include Inspired (a novel), and a series of fairy-tale retelling mash-ups, The Wilderhark Tales.
Sarah E. Seeley
Through two wonderful mentored research experiences, Sarah E. Seeley had the opportunity to work with dead sauropods and ancient odonates while acquiring her undergraduate degree in geology from Brigham Young University. She hopes to study more dead things in the future and contribute to scientific discussions about what makes life on Earth so amazing. In the meantime, she explores the bright side of being human by writing dark fiction.
Seeley’s independently published works include Maladaptive Bind and Blood Oath: An Orc Love Story. Sarah’s short story “Peradventure” appears in Xchyler Publishing’s Legends and Lore: An Anthology of Mythic Proportions. Another short story, “Driveless,” appears in Leading Edge Magazine Issue #66. You can learn more about Sarah on her writing blog at www.SlithersOfThought.com
Living in the bustle of NYC, Kin is constantly reminded he is a child of two worlds. Originally from Hong Kong, he’s traveled both geographically and socially, working in many professions including movie projection and line cooking. He has degrees in Media and Culinary Arts, and a great love of Philosophy. As for fiction, his favorite authors are Douglas Adams, Hemmingway, and Chuck Pahlaniuk.
Today, Kin is a culinary copywriter, intent on furthering his novelist career. He loves his fiancée, his cat Zoe, Scotch, bacon and coffee. Addressing himself in the third person makes him chuckle.
John M. Olsen
John M. Olsen has been creating things his whole life through a mixture of technical and creative processes, whether building family, stories, art, software, woodworking or anything else. He has dreams of becoming a Renaissance man and loves to learn new things to add to his store of randomly accessible information (otherwise known as irrelevant trivia). Writing is one of his loves, inspired by having read most of his father’s extensive fantasy and science fiction collection in his teen years.
He builds high-end simulation software, and has contributed chapters to several books on computer graphics and game design, as well as publishing fiction in multiple genres.
He lives in Utah with his wife and five children, some of whom are old enough to have moved out and back in. Together they have also raised three nieces and a nephew, and are minions of their benevolent cat overlord.
Gail B. Williams
Gail Williams lives in her own private dungeon populated with all the weird and the wonderful she can imagine. Some of it’s very weird, and the odd bits and pieces are a bit wonderful. With a vivid imagination fuelled by a near death experience at the age of three, there was really no other choice for Gail than to write, something she’s been doing for as long as she can remember. She’s tried not doing it, but it never works for long, her brain gets itchy if she hasn’t written anything for a couple of days. Gail is English by birth, but lives in Swansea, Wales, married a Welshman and they have two fantastic children. They live with the world’s most imperious and demanding cat. An asset management specialist by day, a freelance editor and keen writer of an evening and weekend, she really needs to learn to sleep. To find out more see www.gailbwilliams.com
James Ng (pronounced Ing) was born in Hong Kong, where he spent most of his childhood drawing monsters and robots, making his own elaborate cardboard toys, and playing soccer. Ever since, he has been on the move between Hong Kong, Vancouver, Chicago and New York. His travels have greatly influenced him, allowing him to combine Eastern and Western cultures in his artwork.Currently James is enjoying the freedom of being a freelance concept artist and illustrator. After a sunny summer in Vancouver, and traveling to London, and then to New York for an award show and exhibition, he is back in his home of Hong Kong to continue his career.
Tabitha Morrow: A pampered London socialite. Dreams of an England where she can pursue science and invention. Not immune to the charms of gentleman scholars. Chloe Grace Moretz?
Pugs: A stern governess for whom all men are anathema. Wishes a good life for Tabitha. Suranne Jones?
Tennyson: A society toff. Nothing else need be said. Young James Marsden?
Chester Morrison: Tall, brooding scientific mind. Mysterious. Younger than his words suggest, but he seems to hide some tortured secret. The Cumberbatch, preferably.
This is when Tabitha encounters Morrison in person for the first time. Her keen feminine senses latch on to his scent in the midst of the World Fair suspended over London.
That was when I saw him.
He stood out amongst the fair-goers, a calm stone in a babbling brook. The place was full of those dressed as peacocks, in Venetian masks, one-man bands and high, sprung stilts. His hair was nearly aflame in its wildness, a chestnut profusion lent the shadows of his cheekbones a deeper resonance. A half-mask covered everything from his nose up, gold-trimmed red covered in a patchwork of seven eyes. His suit was of a severe cut, lengthened over tight trousers, as if his entire body was a paisley kitchen knife. I felt a kind of vigor off him, an energy, difficult to explain. Yet, like the lodestones of the Nipponese train, that power drew me inexplicably towards him.
“Who is that man?” I asked Pugsy, when young Tennyson had gone to fetch us sweet teas for the road. His man had disappeared, gone perhaps to give us some room for courtship.
“Miss?” Pugsy said, turning from her bacon. It was hopeless. Pugsy had been far too involved to notice. Yet, she caught the look in my eyes, and the spider of suspicion crawled over her lids.
“Never mind, Pugs,” I said, quite cross. Pugsy was a dear, but what use was she to me if she couldn’t spot the socialites I showed actual interest in meeting?
I could not enjoy the fair fully after the incident, though I certainly provided a heroic endeavor. Each platform was uniquely interesting and devoted to some aspect of improving humanity. There was the Energy Platform, a recreation of the Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto that housed the latest arc and steam innovations, everything designed to lessen our reliance on peat and coal. An engine that ran on diesel huffed and puffed in one corner, belching black smoke, but ran a rather vigorous display of a miniature carnival, complete with tiny fairgoers.
In the Hall of Information, tiny calculating engines were the cause of the day, each one bejeweled like an intricate watch. Some were small enough to fit on one’s wrist, or fit over spectacles. Some ran on a person’s own pulse, others claimed they could wring vitality out of the sun or the air.
It was all very fascinating, but at each display, I caught myself uttering sighs of futility. Each of these marvels was calculated to be as flashy as possible, to compete for the idle gentry’s attentions and tug at their purse strings. Each item here was woefully bereft, missing a vital common factor: funds. Each one would change the world, if they could scrape together enough loose change. It made them petty.
I was more interested in peeking round the rumbling devices, peering into the crowd for any trace of my Paisley Man. The stays of my corsetry creaked, complaining, but I stressed my ladylike comportment to its limits. Why did that man capture my attention so? I estimated he was approximately in his late twenties, hale, if a bit thin, and of a sportsmanlike bent, judging by his wide, powerful stride. There was nothing particularly special about him, except perhaps the youth of his pointed chin juxtaposed with the worn cane in his hands, held across his chest almost like a baton.
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