Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Phoenix Entertainment and Development

Friday, July 3, 2015

Book Tour: Steel & Bone: Nine Steampunk Adventures

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

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

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

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.

Other hobbies that she enjoys are playing volleyball, genealogical research, and indexing obituaries. She is a member of the American Night Writers Association (ANWA).

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

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

Kin Law

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

James Ng
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.



There were too many people, but once the music started Medina could ignore them well enough. Her private viewing box made it easier, giving her a little separation from the crowd. Well-dressed men and women pushed through the aisles of the concert hall, finding their seats. Medina tasted cinnamon, a product of her own excitement and the energy of those surrounding her. Today’s performer hailed from the mainland: the brilliant Lucio Adessi, the best musician to visit the island this year. It was Sunday, the one day of the week that offered midday concerts.

The muscles in Medina’s arms convulsed. She clenched her hands onto the sides of her chair. The vision came as it always did: a shaking of her muscles, and a flash of colors and emotions. This time a spattering of small black and brown shapes cavorted across her sight, the taste of sour grapes sat on her tongue, and the scent of burning coal invaded her nose with a touch of fear. The vision was mild though, not overwhelming, thanks to the clockwork in Medina’s body which translated her visions into words and actions. Medina was mostly human—only a small part clockwork—and she often wished the sight would stop afflicting her so she could live a normal life. But she couldn’t do anything to prevent her clairvoyance. She waited expectantly for the typewriter in her right hip to print out instructions.

Thud, thud, thud, went the type hammers as they swung, pressing the metal slugs of type onto a small piece of paper. Then the typing stopped.

Medina paused with her hand to her hip, hesitating to take the paper. She tasted pickles, as she often did when she felt uncertain. Even when not receiving precognition, Medina experienced tastes and smells related to her emotions. Fortunately, this medical condition only ever heightened those two senses, while the visions flooded her five senses and all the nerves in her body.

The island caused her extrasensory gifts—or curses. The visions in particular tended to trouble her at inconvenient times, such as now, with the concert about to start. She did not want to miss it.

But she could not ignore a vision. She dared not risk it. Especially since the experience tasted of sour grapes, which she generally associated with monsters.

Medina glanced around to make sure no one was watching her, then opened the metal compartment in her side, which jutted out about an inch from her hip. She removed the piece of paper.

Tell the hall master to put out the nets.

The nets had only one purpose: to catch mechanical spiders. The newspaper hadn’t mentioned mechanical spiders in today’s forecast, but that didn’t matter. Medina’s visions were much more limited (and incredibly less useful) than those of the seer who worked for the newspaper: Medina could only foretell things directly related to herself, and only in the immediate future. Unlike most of those gifted with clairvoyance, she didn’t actually view the future; rather, what specifically she should do about it. But Medina’s visions were always accurate, so even if life would be easier without them, when they came she had to act, because of the small chance it might be about something important.

Medina dashed out of her loge—her private viewing box—not caring that people noticed her exit. She ran to the lobby of the building and hailed Mr. Frederic Cunningham, who owned the concert hall.

“Mr. Cunningham!” she gasped. “You need to put out the nets.”

“Spiders only come in the evening,” Mr. Cunningham replied. “It’s midday.”

But Medina had not planned to be here this evening, which meant the spiders could come at any moment. “You must put the nets out now. It’s important. I swear it on my life.” Medina’s hands shook. She folded them in front of her body, trying to stabilize herself. Even when ameliorated by clockwork, visions made her body weak and fragile.

Mr. Cunningham looked at the metal compartment in her hip. He knew she was part clockwork, and a seer. He’d grown to like her, as she had come to every single performance in the hall for the last four years. He had noticed that she preferred to sit alone, so he had given her one of the private loges without extra charge. Yet he obviously did not want to look like a fool by putting out his nets in the middle of the day. And she had never had a vision while in the concert hall before—in fact, she had never told him specifics about any of her extrasensory experiences.

“Please,” Medina pleaded. “Do it right now.” She had her own nets at home, but she could not bring them back in time.

“Very well,” said Mr. Cunningham. “But it better not deter anyone who is late to the concert.”

He instructed his assistants to put out nets. They looked confused but did not argue with him as they turned the cranks to lower the nets outside of the entryways and windows.

And then they waited, staring expectantly outside. No one knew exactly where the mechanical monsters came from or why there were so many more of them on the island than on the mainland. Rumors spread constantly about their mysterious creators and their plans, but Medina did not know what to believe.

A few seconds later, Medina gagged on the taste of sour grapes. Mechanical spiders rained down from the sky. They were the size of large dogs. Normally they rained all over the island, injecting venom into anything that could move and then crushing them with their mechanical jaws. But today they rained only on the street of the concert hall.

Men, women, and children on the street screamed and dashed away from the spiders. But the spiders did not attack them: they scampered on their eight legs across the road’s concrete surface towards the music hall, as if drawn by a magnet. She’d never seen them act like this before.

Medina tasted blood: fear.

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