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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 web siteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

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This anthology caught my eye with its juxtaposition of modern (Steampunk) with ancient (folk tales). Traditional stories have a way of drawing new authors and artists to re-create and re-examine, so it’s no surprise an editor would give them a Steampunk twist. The combination could have been almost too cute, but these stories worked for me.

Of particular interest is David Lee Summers’ “The Steam-Powered Dragon,” which adapts one of the less known Grim Brothers stories, “The Devil and His Grandmother.” Summers brings the deserting soldiers to life with gently pointed humor, and succeeds in convincing us that even a steam-powered monstrosity can still love its Grandma.

I also enjoyed “From the Horse’s Mouth,” by Bernie Mojzes, which is based on “The Goose Girl,” and “The Clockwork Nightingale” by Jean-Marie Ward, inspired by Andersen’s “The Nightingale.”

If you like a good fairy tale and a swashbuckling Steampunk good time, you’ll enjoy Gaslight & Grimm.

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