United By Books is pleased to let Nico Rosso take over the blog to day .......
Recently, while doing research with my wife Zoë Archer on our steampunk romance Ether Chronicles stories, I came across an old newspaper clipping folded within the pages of a book on the history of central California. The newspaper was in pretty bad shape, the headline, byline and date had been torn away, but it was definitely from the late 19th Century. I’ve transcribed it for you below:
Dateline South Dakota.
As the Mechanized War lumbers on, pitting foreign Man O’ War airships against our Sky Trains and Iron Coaches, the question arises: with all of this technology, where is the humanity?
I stand at the edge of the vast contested soya fields during a lull in the battles. The heroic deeds of our British allies have hit the Hapsburgs deep in their heart, and now the enemy regroups, deciding its next move.
The sky is clear of Man O’ War airships, but dotted above the horizon are Sky Trains, constantly patrolling. In the Army camps, the mood is light. Men sit, playing cards orpuffing on pipes, relaxing for the first time in a long time. One soldier, Sergeant Tom Knox, has just returned from a scouting mission on his ether borne Sky Charger.
“Any news to report?” I ask.
He takes a long drink from his canteen before answering. “Ain’t that your job?”
There’s a sharp wit in this Upland Ranger, but from the look in his eye and the well-used grip of his Rattler pistol, he’s a hardened soldier as well. I explain that my job is to collect the news and distribute it to the American public, so they can stay informed and ready regarding the war with the Hapsburgs.
Cracking a small smile, he circles his landed Sky Charger, completely shutting down its ether tanks. “No sign of the enemy. They’re hiding like prairie rats. Lucky for them I’m heading back home on leave and don’t have time to hunt them out.”
The fighting over the planes had been fierce. The US Army and their Indian allies had struggled to keep the Hapsburg airships from gaining too much territory. Some towns were lost, completely leveled by the enemy’s “Caterpillars”, terrible multi-car vehicles, bristling with guns. At least one soldier was getting a well deserved rest. “Where do you call home?”
“Thornville, California.” He gazed west. “Been three years.”
“I see you wear a ring. Got a wife waiting for her soldier to return?”
Sergeant Knox fiddled with the plain wedding band around his finger. His answer was a simple, “No.”
The article is cut off at this point. But Tom’s story continues in NIGHT OF FIRE. He may not have left a wife behind in Thornville, but he definitely has a past witha woman there, Rosa Campos. She’s not too pleased to see him return after all this time, despite the old attraction that stampedes back into her. But the two of them are thrown together to fight against an evil mining company’s rolling fifty foot rock eating machine that threatens the town.
Thanks for having me on the blog. Hope y’all enjoy the steampunk adventure.
One lucky guest will win a free copy of NIGHT OF FIRE.
Thanks, and good luck.
Night of Fire (The Ether Chronicles #2)
US Army Upland Ranger Tom Knox trades the front lines for a different conflict as he returns home to California on his ether-borne mechanical horse. Three years ago, he skipped town, leaving the one girl who ever mattered. Rosa Campos. He thinks she’ll be settled down but discovers Rosa’s the town sheriff, caught in a battle with a mining company’s five-story, rock-eating machine.
Tom’s the last person Rosa expects to see riding out of the sky to her aid, and seeing him again reignites a flame more dangerous than the enemy threatening to destroy them both.
NIGHT OF FIRE can be found at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Indie Bound
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