Posts Tagged ‘David Lee Summers’

Please welcome Sheriff Chuck Davis of Gallup, New Mexico. This character is from David Lee Summers’ historical paranormal novella, Breaking the Code.

Sheriff Chuck Davis blinked as he entered a room full of dancers in bright gowns. Did some of them have wings? He realized he held his revolver and holstered it. The last thing he knew, he’d been standing in the desert when a skinwalker appeared from behind a mesquite bush. He fired at the creature which looked like a human-sized snarling coyote that stood on two legs. There had been a bright flash of light and then he was here … wherever this was. A majestic figure at the front of the room stood. “I am Queen Titania. Welcome to our realm, Sheriff Davis.”

Character Questions

Who are the most dangerous people in your world? By far, the most dangerous people in my world are the Nazis who are trying to take over Europe. We have some good people in town who want to enlist and stop them, but there’s a shape-changing monster called a skinwalker scaring people and it may have even killed a young man. I’m not sure yet, but I wonder if there’s some connection between this monster and the Nazis.

What is the weather like where you live? It’s winter where I live in Northern New Mexico. We’ve just had some bad snow storms which are making it hard for me to track down the skinwalker, but you can be sure I’ll find it.

Author Questions

What’s your process for deciding where to submit your work? In the case of Breaking the Code, the editor came to me and asked for a story pitch. I sent her two ideas that she rejected, but the third time was the charm and she asked me to develop the story that became Breaking the Code. Of course, most of the time we aren’t lucky enough to have an editor soliciting stories from us. Once I’m satisfied enough with a story to send it out, I look at the genre, characters, and tone and think about markets where the story might be a good fit. I also think about editors who would enjoy the story I created. All of this has been helped over the years by networking with authors and editors at conventions.

How do you handle multiple points of view in a story? I like telling stories from multiple points of view. The challenge is not to have too many point-of-view characters. I try to identify the main characters who drive the narrative and let them tell the story. Most of the time, I write my stories from a limited, third-person point of view. Effectively, I follow one of my primary characters for a scene or a chapter and tell the story as though I’m watching the action over their shoulder.

Breaking the Code

1942. Gallup, New Mexico. Marine recruiters have come to town looking to fill their ranks with a secret weapon against the Axis powers — what would become Navajo Code Talkers — but not everyone supports the prospect of young native men going off to war.

When one new recruit is found dead, and a rancher’s cattle are mutilated, whispers of witchcraft and skinwalker filter through the town, and interest in enlisting wanes. Is there evil afoot, or is that just what opponents to the cause want everyone to think? Whether guided by magic, mischief, or malevolence, without a doubt, nothing is as it seems…

Get it from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08RW4CMR8/

Get it from Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-the-code-david-lee-summers/1138551544?ean=9781949691627

About David Lee Summers

David Lee Summers lives in Southern New Mexico at the cusp of the western and final frontiers. He’s written novels about space pirates, vampire mercenaries, mad scientists in the old west, and astronomer ghosts. He’s edited thrilling anthologies of space adventure that imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission might be like. When he’s not writing or editing, David explores the universe for real at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

David’s website:

David’s blog:

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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David Lee Summers presents his novel, Owl Dance. This Weird Western Steampunk novel is first in his Clockwork Legion series.

As the dance ended, a small owl swooped into the room and landed on the back of Queen Titania’s throne. A moment later, a woman wearing a black skirt and vest with a white shirt entered the ballroom and looked around. “Where have you led me now,” she said. “We were just taking a walk by the Rio Grande.” Her eyes widened as she took in all those in attendance. The woman looked one of the fae up and down, then another. The queen stood and cleared her throat. Behind her, the little owl danced from one foot to the other and chirped. Seeing the Queen in her royal regalia, the woman straightened, then curtsied. “You’re highness, I’m sorry to intrude. My name is Fatemeh Karimi.” She indicated the owl. “It seems my friend led me here… wherever here is.”

Character Questions

Are you an insider or an outsider in your homeland? I’m originally from a country called Persia and I left because a dear friend who practiced my same religion had been executed by an angry mob. I now live in the southwest of a country called America, but even here, I feel like an outsider. I’m a healer, but there are those who call me a witch because I’m from a far off land and because I like owls.

Who is your closest friend? My closest friend now is a man named Ramon Morales. Until recently, he was sheriff of a small town called Socorro in New Mexico Territory, but he left his job after an angry mob tried to kill me, believing I was a witch. He believes in justice, a value I share. He also has a sense of wonder and enjoys meeting new people and seeing new places, which I adore. However, when he saved me, he made some powerful enemies. I fear they may be looking for him even now.

Author Questions

Fantasy has many genres. How did you choose yours? I grew up watching The Wild Wild West on television and loving it’s blend of the mythic wild west and strange inventions and magic. As an adult, my friend David B. Riley introduced me to weird westerns through his magazine, Trails: Intriguing Stories of the Wild West. He asked me to submit a story and I thought this was a wonderful opportunity to create something as magical for me as The Wild Wild West had been.

Is there somewhere you go to search for inspiration? Much of he Clockwork Legion series takes its inspiration from where I work and live in Southern New Mexico and Arizona and those people I see on a daily basis. My first inspiration for the series came from walking around my neighborhood. Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy the Kid, is buried in a cemetery in my neighborhood as are other notable people from the wild west. When I started the series, burrowing owls lived near the cemetery and I realized they were very social creatures, but I also knew local lore associated them with witchcraft. It was easy to start putting pieces together. I live in Billy the Kid country. I regularly drive through land where Geronimo and Wyatt Earp rode. Inspiration for wild west fantasy is all around me.

Owl Dance

The year is 1876. Sheriff Ramon Morales of Socorro, New Mexico, meets a beguiling woman named Fatemeh Karimi, who is looking to make a new start after escaping the oppression of her homeland. When an ancient life form called Legion comes to Earth, they are pulled into a series of events that will change the history of the world as we know it. In their journeys, Ramon and Fatemeh encounter mad inventors, dangerous outlaws and pirates. Their resources are Ramon’s fast draw and Fatemeh’s uncanny ability to communicate with owls. The question is, will that be enough to save them when airships from Czarist Russia invade the United States?

To Purchase

About the Author

David Lee Summers lives in Southern New Mexico at the cusp of the western and final frontiers. He’s written novels about space pirates, vampire mercenaries, mad scientists in the old west, and astronomer ghosts. He’s edited thrilling anthologies of space adventure that imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission might be like. When he’s not writing or editing, David explores the universe for real at Kitt Peak National Observatory. To learn more about David or his books visit his website at http://www.davidleesummers.com

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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The doors opened and Desmond, Lord Draco, strode into the hall, tall and proud. He was dressed all in black save for his white shirt and the red lining of his cape. He took a moment to eye all the attendees, then strode to Queen Titania. He pushed the cape back, then bowed low.

“Your servant, Your Majesty,” he said.

Character Questions

Is there something you are willing to die for?

As a vampire, I honestly hope I will never die. Unlike some of my brooding kindred who become bored with life, I always find new challenges and it helps that the world is ever changing. That said, I am all too aware that vampires may be killed. I have and will risk death for knowledge. I’m especially interested in the origins of humans and vampires, and whether or not there is truth behind the religions humans profess. I have seen marvels that make me think there must be some truth, but I wonder if it is a complete truth.

Would you rather sneak into a dragon’s den or attend a demonic parliament?

What a marvelous question, for you see when I was mortal, I was a “dragon” in the court of Ambrosius Aurelianus. It was a title much like “lord” or “baron” to more recent generations and the chief among us was the pendragon. What’s more, as a vampire, many say we are possessed by demons.

Alas, I have never seen a real dragon, despite carrying a banner emblazoned with one. Still, I do wonder if they exist somewhere, more hidden even than us vampires. Despite what people say, I don’t believe a demon possesses me. I have always been “Desmond” and although I have gained immortality, great strength, and a thirst for blood, I find no evidence that a demon possesses me.

So, which would I rather see? Demons to determine their nature and decide if it’s possible I am possessed by one or dragons to revel in their power and strength? It would be a hard choice if presented to me, but I think I would visit the demonic parliament because I might learn more about my origins and the marvelous, mysterious clockwork universe.

Tell us about the main religion or spirituality of your society?

I believe the religions of my world are known to you, but it has been fascinating to see how different religions have ebbed and flowed through the world during my long life. As a child we worshipped many gods, such as Brigid, the goddess of healing, and Lugh, the god of war. My birth name was, in fact Angus Desmond. Angus was the god of choice and love. Learned people called druids made it their job to understand the world around us. They told us about the gods and told us when it was time to plant and when to harvest and helped us make sense of the cycles of the world.

Even in my youth, I knew of a second religion in Britain called Christianity, which told of a god’s son and his doctrine of love and forgiveness. It’s said the religion came to Britain soon after the death of Jesus and in fact, Wolf, the vampire who brought me into the world of darkness, said he met Joseph of Arimathea who carried the cup of Christ himself. The cup captivated him and he thought it could bring forgiveness to vampire-kind but it was guarded by a powerful creature. I believe Christians call it an angel. Wolf and I engaged the help of an old acquaintance of mine called Arthur to find that cup. And you know what? We found it, but it was just an object, though it was still guarded by one of these angels. So you see, I have reason to wonder about what these religions teach.

I also know of a religion professed by the Ottoman Turks. I’m hard pressed to see many differences between their Islamic faith and Christianity. Mostly the differences are in the details and doctrines, but the two are in conflict over parts of Europe and the Holy Lands. While the conflict challenges my goal of seeking knowledge, it does keep me well employed as a mercenary.

Author Questions

If you lived in the world of your book, who would you be?

No question I would be Daniel McKee from Vampires of the Scarlet Order, the sequel to Dragon’s Fall. Daniel is an astronomer who became a vampire while working at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona during the 1800s. He was a creature of the night before he became a vampire and the improved night vision he gained as a vampire makes his work as an astronomer even better. His fashion sense still leans toward the fashions he wore as a human in the 1880s, so in today’s world he’d fit in very well in the steampunk community!

Are your books self-published or traditionally published, and why did you choose that route into print?

The first editions of the Scarlet Order vampire novels were traditionally published by Lachesis Publishing. I submitted Vampires of the Scarlet Order to LBF Books back in 2007 at the urging of the company’s art director who had read a chapter and loved it. LBF bought the book. During my time with LBF, the company’s owner encouraged me to try my hand at NaNoWriMo. One of the NaNoWriMo novels I wrote was the first draft of Dragon’s Fall. After that, LBF was acquired by Lachesis and my new publisher asked for a new vampire novel. I returned to Dragon’s Fall, polished it according to their guidelines, and submitted it. I received a contract soon afterward.

The contracts on the two novels have recently expired and the rights reverted to me. Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order Vampires is just out in its new self-published edition and Vampires of the Scarlet Order will follow soon. Self-publishing new editions gave me the opportunity to update the covers and make some revisions I felt were needed.

Have you ever been on a writer’s pilgrimage?

When my daughter went to college in New Orleans, each trip became something of a writer’s pilgrimage for me. Anne Rice, who lived there for many years, was one of the authors who inspired me to try my hand at writing vampire fiction. In fact, there are some scenes in Vampires of the Scarlet Order, the sequel to Dragon’s Fall, which are set in Louisiana bayou country, which exist as something of a tribute to Anne Rice.

During my first trip to New Orleans, I brought Anne Rice’s novel Merrick and made a point of becoming familiar with the neighborhoods in the novel. In a later trip, I made a point of visiting a bookstore that specialized in signed editions and bought a signed copy of one of Rice’s novels. What’s more, I’ve been honored that Boutique du Vampyre in New Orleans has hosted signings for my vampire novels. It’s a real honor to have my work celebrated in the hometown of one of my favorite authors.

Dragon’s Fall (Rise of the Scarlet Order #1)

Three vampyrs. Three lives. Three intertwining stories.

Bearing the guilt of destroying the holiest of books after becoming a vampyr, the Dragon, Lord Desmond searches the world for lost knowledge, but instead, discovers truth in love.

Born a slave in Ancient Greece, Alexandra craves freedom above all else, until a vampyr sets her free, and then, she must pay the highest price of all—her human soul.

An assassin who lives in the shadows, Roquelaure is cloaked even from himself, until he discovers the power of friendship and loyalty.

Three vampyrs, traveling the world by moonlight—one woman and two men who forge a bond made in love and blood. Together they form a band of mercenaries called the Scarlet Order, and recruit others who are like them. Their mission is to protect kings and emperors against marauders, invaders, and rogue vampyrs—and their ultimate nemesis—Vlad the Impaler.

The Author

David Lee Summers lives in Southern New Mexico at the cusp of the western and final frontiers. He’s written novels about space pirates, vampire mercenaries, mad scientists in the old west, and astronomer ghosts. He’s edited thrilling anthologies of space adventure that imagine what worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission might be like. When he’s not writing or editing, David explores the universe for real at Kitt Peak National Observatory. To learn more about David or his books visit his website at http://www.davidleesummers.com

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Once again I’m helping out a friend. This time it’s David Lee Summers, who acted as publisher for the Exchange Students anthology. Please welcome the editor, Sheila Hartney!

Editorial Itinerary

I’ve been reading science fiction ever since I learned to read. My older brother belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club back in the 1950s, and I got to read all of the wonderful books that were published then. We lived in Utica, NY, and at the time they put all their science fiction books in a separate room which was off limits to little kids. I’d sneak in, and sometimes a kindly librarian would let me check out what I wanted. Otherwise I had to persuade my older brother or my mother to do so for me. That policy just made me want to read science fiction all the more. 

And write science fiction. When I was about ten I wrote my first s-f story that I called “A Voyage to Antwerp” and I’m horrified by what little I can recall of it. Thankfully it has not survived. 

Some years later, living in Boulder, Colorado, I took two writing workshops and a science fiction class from Bruce Holland Rogers. One evening he ended class a bit early, then read us a story of his and said, “I just found out today that this was the first place winner in the current quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest.” He was almost incoherent with joy. Right then I decided if he could do it, I could do it. 

A couple of years later I attended Jim Gunn’s short story workshop in Lawrence, Kansas. From it came my own Writers of the Future story, “Kidswap”. Over the years I’ve attended other workshops, notably the one that came with being a Writer of the Future, and more recently the Taos Toolbox, team taught by the wonderful and amazing Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress.   

Alas, I haven’t written as much as I should have in the years since. I do hang out at some s-f cons, and have become friends with any number of wonderful people who write in this genre. 

Several years ago I was chatting with David Lee Summers at a con, and knew that he both wrote and edited s-f. I rather casually mentioned that I had some ideas for anthologies, and he encouraged me to submit them to him. I offered six different possibilities, and the one he chose, the one that was my favorite in the first place, was “The Exchange Students”.   

Working on the anthology has been rewarding. At first I was a bit concerned that I’d know what I was doing, but all those workshops helped me a lot. Plus, David made it clear that while I could reject stories on my own, any and all acceptances must go through him. I’m so glad he insisted on that. Especially in the early months, when I felt very uncertain about certain stories, and his critiques and insights helped clarify if a particular story should be accepted or rejected. 

In the end we accepted 22 stories, including the one that I had written several years ago which was my inspiration for this anthology. At the outset I’d been a bit concerned that reading and editing and rereading the same stories multiple times would make me start to hate them, but exactly the opposite happened.  I got to like them more and more. Even a couple that I’d original thought of as marginal, grew on me. 

I’m just a couple of days from actually holding a copy of the anthology in my hands, and I can hardly wait! Sheila. 

Exchange Students

Study abroad! See new places! Meet new people! 
In our exchange student program, you can literally study anywhere or anywhen you can imagine. We’ll send you to new planets. We’ll send you to new dimensions and realms of existence. We’ll send you through time itself! 
Don’t believe me? This exciting anthology contains many tales of our thrilling and educational exchange student program. You’ll read tales of aliens coming to earth and humans traveling to alien worlds. You’ll meet a denizen of Hell who travels to Heaven. Some students will discover their super powers on their journey. Other students will have encounters with the undead. You’ll meet a law enforcement officer who travels to the realm of the fae to help solve a crime of truly interdimensional proportions. 
Featuring twenty-two amazing stories by Roze Albina Ches, Jaleta Clegg, Ken Goldman, Paula Hammond, Sheila Hartney, Chisto Healy, Joachim Heijndermans, Sean Jones, Tim Kane, Alden Loveshade, Tim McDaniel, J Louis Messina, Jennifer Moore, Brian Gene Olson, David B. Riley, Katherine Quevedo, Holly Schofield, Jonathan Shipley, Lesley L. Smith, Emily Martha Sorensen, Margret A. Treiber and Sherry Yuan. 

Now available for Kindle or in print from Amazon.com. Other formats can be had at Smashwords.

Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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I invite you all the take a break from your writing struggle and think about the other end of the process: the reader! David Lee Summers posted a great reflection on the PBS show, “Reading Rainbow,” and how it helps build our society when so many other forces seem bent on tearing it down. I’m happy to share David’s thoughts here.

Did you know I have an author newsletter? You can join! I’ll even give you a free e-book for signing up. Just click here.

David Lee Summers' Web Journal

El Paso Comic Con happens this weekend, and one of the people I’m most excited to meet is LeVar Burton. I’m excited to meet him because of his role as Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I’m perhaps even more excited to meet him because of his role as the host of the PBS TV series, Reading Rainbow.

Reading Rainbow ran from 1983 until 2006 and not only depicted books as fun in their own right, but showed the real world adventures books can lead you to. The series suggested many books for my wife and I to share with our daughters. What’s more, I enjoyed watching the show with my daughters. I find it frustrating when I come across a review of a book or movie that claims something to the effect that adults won’t enjoy it, but kids will love it. To me…

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Enjoy this guest blog by my friend and fellow editor, David Lee Summers.

Dragons have a long association with the sea.  Examples from mythology include Scylla, the many-headed sea monster from The Odyssey or Jörmungandr, the sea serpent who circles the globe in Norse mythology.  There are many examples of ancient maps depicting sea serpents cavorting in the most mysterious ocean realms.  Although we often think of the line “Here be dragons” being printed in the ocean on ancient maps, it only actually appears on two globes — and on land!

For me, perhaps the most iconic image of a sea monster is the octopus-like kraken reaching up from the depths of the sea to pull a hapless sailing ship to its doom.  The kraken might not seem very dragon-like until you consider its serpent-like tentacles, which lend it more than a passing resemblance to a many-headed sea dragon like Scylla.

When Steve Howell, head of the Space Sciences and Astrobiology Division at the NASA Ames Research Center, suggested we compile a follow-up to A Kepler’s Dozen, our 2013 anthology of short stories set on real exoplanets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope, I knew I wanted to do a story featuring my space pirate Captain Firebrandt and his crew.  One of the exciting discoveries of the Kepler mission has been a whole new type of world we don’t see in our solar system — a water world.

We tend to think of Earth a water world, but in fact, it’s a rocky planet with a thin veneer of water on much of the surface.  A true water world is mostly water all the way through.  Putting Captain Firebrandt on a water world opened up the possibility of a science fictional meeting of pirates and a kraken!  Perhaps this kraken could be an alien being, or perhaps even a giant squid from Earth raised on a water world colony.  After all, it’s thought possible that stories of krakens originated from sightings of giant squid or colossal octopi.

The next challenge came from the anthology’s theme.  Steve and I are both fans of western-inspired space operas such as Firefly and Cowboy Bebop.  As a tribute to the genre, we called the new anthology Kepler’s Cowboys.  So, how did I cowboy up this meeting of pirates and a futuristic kraken?  I decided that on this futuristic water world, the inhabitants held water rodeos with the giant squid they raised and the good captain saw a way to make some easy money.  Of course, being a pirate, he plans to cheat.  keplers-cowboys-displayTo find out how that works for him, you’ll have to read the story!

You’ll find “Calamari Rodeo” alongside thirteen other short stories and five poems about real planets discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission in Kepler’s Cowboys, which will be released on March 1 and may be preordered at:


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