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danielleackleymcphail

Danielle Ackley-McPhail - Chronicler of the Bad-Ass Faeries

Award-winning author and editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries Anthologies and other genre fiction.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Wow,

 

So hard to believe that we are only weeks away from a new year.

 

I've accomplished a lot in this one, but I never do seem to get caught up.

 

What I've done in 2013 (so far):

 

1) Wrote and launched my fifth novel: The Redcaps' Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, companion volume to The Halfling's Court and Three Chords of Chaos

 

             

 

These are novels based on stories from the award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries series.

 

2) Helped put together and launch three anthologies: Best Laid Plans and Dogs of War, both in the Defending the Future series, and Clockwork Chaos, a steampunk collection.

 

             

 

3) And I've typeset over 30 books this year for Dark Quest Books, my primary pubisher.

4) I've sold stories to:

        ~R. Allen Leider for the anthology Hellfire Lounge 4: Mirror, Mirror (my story Skippy)

        ~Janine K. Spendlove for the antology Athena's Daughters (my story Looking Back)

        ~Edward McFadden III for the anthology Lucky 13 (my story The Devil's Own Luck)

 

And everything I haven't yet finished :

1) my steampunk novel, Ali Baba and the Shah's Treasure, written with Day Al-Mohamad

2) my pirate collection, Consigned to the Sea, a collection of new and reprinted fiction

3) my fantasy collection, On Darkness and Light, also a collection of new and reprinted fiction

4) final selections for the next Bad-Ass Faeries anthology, It's Elemental (95% complete)

5) story reviews for the upcoming anthology Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales

6) my audio book Flash in the Can, readings of my flash fiction, one of the stretch-goal rewards for the Athena's Daughters kickstarter at the $14,500 level...a goal we are rapidly approaching after only three days!.

 

Okay...not everything, but more than enough! And three of those six have to be completed no later than the beginning of January! EEEEK!

 

It has been quite the creative journey this year and I thank everyone who has made it possible, either by enabling me or by making the projects viable by wanting more.

 

Here is another excerpt from Looking Back as a thank you.

 

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            Stepping from the entryway, Lady Clara grabbed her full-length, stained leather duster—cousin to the one Langstrom wore—from its customary hook by the door. As she slipped it on over her dress and secured it, making sure the coat fully covered the finer fabric, she moved across the room to the massive worktable that now dominated the space. Not once did she glance away from Fritz Langstrom or the contraption before which he stood, and yet she managed to navigate her way past massive coils of copper wire and bundles of brass, copper, and glass tubes, sacks full of coal and iron gears, and barrels of dark, rank oil which lubricated the inner workings of the device.

            The inventor gave a start at her voice, all but for his hands, which remain absolutely steady as they made adjustments to the plethora of connectors. “You’re here!”

            She presumed he beamed at her, as was his usual habit, but it was difficult to tell as the goggles that had been perched atop his head were now drawn down, a small, magnifying lens swung into place over his right eye. Clara pursed her lips disapprovingly. Langstrom was like an ill-disciplined hound, yapping and clambering and familiar, without restraint. She was not at all comfortable with that aspect of their interaction. Carefully he set the delicate watchmaker’s tools with which he currently worked upon the table and hurried to her side, pushing the goggles up until they again perched atop his head.

            A subtle change in his demeanor unsettled her further. Her back went rigid and her chin lifted. “Well?” she said as she arched a delicate brow toward the device he had been working on.

            “Yes…of course,” he said, his eyes widening ever so slightly. “I have not yet tested it, per your instructions, but it is ready, and now that you are present…. Please, if you will join me over here, by the Futuraositor.” A muscle in her cheek twitched faintly as he uttered that infernal name with which he had christened her machine. She spoke not a word, her eyes alone revealed her displeasure. Instead she watched as he ran a lightly oiled rag over the invention, wiping away any dirt or dust that might interfere with the process. It took more than a few minutes as his so-called Futuraositor took up three quarters of the rather large worktable. Clara waited impatiently, tapping the toe of her pearl-buttoned boot against the worn boards of the floor. She watched as he adjusted dials, opening some valves, while closing others, and precisely positioned various levers. When all was set, he used an ironmonger’s gauntlet to slide a brazier filled with lit coals into the belly of the beast, beneath where she knew a rather costly copper boiler had recently been installed. Within moments she heard the hiss of steam and tasted hot iron with each breath. Water began to boil in an array of hollow, glass tubes mapping the surface of the…Futuraositor…like veins. Those delicate tubes continued across a few inches of empty air to connect with a narrow brass box framing two sheets of the most perfect glass she had ever seen. Her breath caught in a gasp as the space between those sheets slowly filled with a swirling fog that behaved rather different than the steam she’d expected.

            This was new. “What…?” she managed.

            Langstrom anticipated her query: “Aether,” he said, his response distracted as he reached over and adjusted the settings on an object that looked like an ornate astrolabe centrally placed atop the mechanism.

            “This,” he said in hushed, reverent tones, “is what has brought us to this moment. This is the guarantor of our success….”

            Clara found it maddening the way he went on. “And this is…?”