Storm & Fury by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin Book Tour and Giveaway :)
Storm & Fury
A Storm and Fury Adventures Collection
by Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin
Genre: Paranormal Historical Adventure, Steampunk
New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress. The Department of Supernatural Investigation was set up to take care of those things that live below, that go bump in the night… those odd cases that go beyond ‘standard’ investigation. Nicknamed ‘Storm and Fury’, Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich are two of the more creative agents, working in New Pittsburgh and obeying the rules – when they have to.
A collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of the Iron & Blood novels and the related Storm and Fury Adventures.
Includes: Airship Down, Ruin Creek, Resurrection Day, The Hunt, Grave Voices, and Rogue. Plus two bonus stories: Ghost Wolf and a Steampunk fairy tale: The Patented Troll
“I’ve got to catch that train!” Agent Jacob Drangosavich of the Department of Supernatural Investigation opened the throttle on his steam-powered experimental velocipede, pushing the steambike to its limits as he raced to catch up with the locomotive. All of his attention was focused on the train, and he willed himself to go faster, closing the distance between himself and the speeding locomotive. Mitch Storm, his partner, was aboard that train, and he was counting on Jacob to back him up. The sound of a gunshot in the train’s sole passenger car doubled Jacob’s resolve. That’s got to be Mitch, Jacob thought. Question is, was Mitch doing the shooting or getting shot? Jacob coaxed a bit more speed from the velocipede, despite its straining engine. He was gaining on the locomotive, close enough now to see the automaton in the cab, a metal man taking the place of a human railroad engineer at the controls of the train. The click-clack of the train on the rails drowned out the roar of Jacob’s steambike, and the clouds of smoke belched from the locomotive’s stack drifted between him and his quarry, partially hiding him from view. “Come on, come on,” he muttered to himself, pushing the velocipede for every bit of power its engine could muster. Jacob had a Peacemaker in a shoulder holster and another, less conventional weapon holstered at his hip. The Department paid the best scientists in the country a premium to supply them with top-secret, often one-of-a-kind weapons, tools, and gadgets that made the stories of Jules Verne pale by comparison. “Just a little more,” Jacob muttered, crouching low over the velocipede’s handlebars to reduce the wind resistance. The steambike edged nearer to the train, and Jacob grabbed his second gun, an odd contraption with a bulbous grip and a metal tube in the center of a coil of wires. Jacob veered his bike a few crucial inches closer, leveled his weapon at the copper-faced werkman at the train’s controls, and fired.
“I wish Falken would quit sending us out to look for agents that vanished,” Mitch Storm grumbled. “Maybe he’s hoping we’ll be the next ones to disappear,” Jacob Drangosavich replied. He shifted his tall frame to get more comfortable in his seat as the rail car swayed. “If you hadn’t let Kesterson get away, Falken wouldn’t have had a reason to send us to the godforsaken far north.” “I had a sighting inside the building, and the dynamite brought the roof down. That should have stopped him cold. How was I supposed to know he’d gotten into the storm drain?” Mitch Storm was average height, with a trim, muscular build. He had dark hair, dark eyes, and a five o’clock shadow that started at three. Mitch was exactly what a penny-dreadful novelist would imagine a government secret agent and former army sharpshooter would look like. Jacob, on the other hand, was tall and lanky, with a thin face, blond hair, and blue eyes that spoke of his Eastern European heritage. He and Mitch had been agents for the Department of Supernatural Investigation since they had returned east after the rancher wars. The click-clack of iron wheels on the rails confirmed that they were making good time. Outside, the Adirondack Mountains were covered with snow. “How long do you think Falken will keep us on probation?” Jacob asked. Mitch shrugged. “It was four months the last time, two the time before that. So I wager we’re up to six months.” “Why did you use dynamite?” Jacob asked, in an off-handed tone. Mitch rolled his eyes. “I was improvising.” “Might it be possible to improvise a little less … enthusiastically next time? Sooner or later, Falken will give up on suspending us and just convene a firing squad.” “The Department doesn’t use those anymore,” Mitch replied. “I checked.” Jacob thought of a dozen arguments, but he knew Mitch was unlikely to heed them. He dropped back against his seat. “At least we got a sleeper train and a private cabin. Where do you think Kesterson will go next?” “Not really our concern, is it? Falken made that pretty clear.” Mitch was quiet for a moment. “But Kesterson had some family in New England. Since we’re all the way up here in the New York hinterland, I figured we might poke around a little after we finish our assignment—strictly off the record.”
“Watch out!” Mitch Storm yelled as he swung around, coming in to a firing position and leveling his rifle. The shot flashed past Jacob, catching a large gray wolf in its shoulder just as the wolf lunged for the kill. The animal yelped in pain and drew back, bleeding but not defeated. “Behind you!” Jacob Drangosavich blasted his shotgun, aiming at the wolf running toward Mitch. He missed, cursed, and reloaded, but the wolf changed course, escaping the shot. The wolves were huge and fast—and more aggressive than Mitch or Jacob had ever seen before. They worked as a pack, keeping their would-be prey corralled, striking in teams with uncanny precision. And despite what Jacob had heard about wolves preferring not to engage with humans, these animals seemed to be looking for a fight. Four government agents. Four man-sized wolves. Jacob liked better odds.
It was supposed to be a routine mission—as much as any assignment was “routine” for the Department of Supernatural Investigation. Reports of strange sightings and unusual kills of deer and farm animals had the locals worried. Theories abounded, ranging from packs of rabid wild dogs to crazed bears. A few old-timers muttered about dark magic and a witch in the forest. DSI sent two agents to investigate. Those agents disappeared.
A man’s scream made Jacob wheel around, in time to see a wolf lunge for Keller, one of their fellow agents. Keller wasn’t fast enough to get out of the way, and the creature knocked him to the ground, raking him with its claws. A second wolf closed quickly, biting deep into Keller’s arm and knocking his rifle out of reach. Keller shouted and struggled to get loose, pinned by wolves that were each as big as he was. Mitch gave a war cry and ran toward Keller, rifle at the ready. He shot the wolf that had the agent pinned, catching the animal in the chest and knocking it off Keller and onto its side. The second wolf snarled and sprang at Mitch, who barely dodged out of the way of its sharp claws. A rifle shot cracked. “Got it!” Agent Anna Corbett muttered as the wolf fell over. “There’s another one coming!” Jacob yelled, blasting the third wolf with his shotgun.
Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wrote at age five was about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites.
Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Secret Council series.
The Martins have three children, a Maltese, and a Golden Retriever.
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Author Q&A with Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: We lived in Pittsburgh for ten years. There is so much history and so many buildings still in great condition from the Victorian era. We fell in love with the ‘steampunk’ and ‘paranormal alternate history’ genres and decided that we wanted to set a series in Pittsburgh in 1898, but with some changes to the real history.
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: Right now, there’s a full novel (Iron & Blood) in this world, plus the short stories and novellas collected in Storm and Fury. We expect to have another novel (Spark of Destiny) out later in 2019.
Q: Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
A: Oddly enough, the novel Iron & Blood was the first in the series, and the characters in Storm and Fury are side characters in that book. Then we had the opportunity to write a number of short stories and novellas for anthologies, and that led to the bulk of the stories collected in Storm and Fury.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Storm and Fury?
A: Mitch Storm is a former Army sharpshooter who fought in the Rancher Wars out West, alongside his friend Jacob Drangosavich. After the conflict, Mitch and Jacob became agents with the secret Department of Supernatural Investigation, and it’s their job to look into paranormal incidents and handle problems. Mitch is handsome and smooth talking, and he’s got a flair for explosions and being somewhat reckless. Jacob blends in more, and he’s quiet, so he’s perfect for observing a crowd or gathering information. They make a great team, and they’ve always got each other’s backs!
Q: How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
A: We wanted to do a steampunk/paranormal alternative history story set in Pittsburgh at the heyday of American steam-powered manufacturing, a story that would use the history and locations of the city, and that would weave in a tension between new technology and old magic. The Victorians believed there was no problem science couldn’t solve, which makes for great inventions, but that can be at odds with supernatural creatures, paranormal threats and dark magic—and that’s where Mitch and Jacob come in!
Q: Where did you come up with the names in the story?
A: We got the idea of ‘Storm and Fury’ from the German phrase ‘Sturm und Drang’ which basically has the meaning ‘a whole lot of commotion’. So the characters are Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich for a play on words.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
A: It was really fun revisiting the locations and buildings in Pittsburgh that we knew well and reimagining them through the lens of what was there in 1898 and how things were different. We also used a lot of old maps that are now online to get the roads and bridges the way they were back then, which was extremely interesting. So much has changed, but an awful lot has stayed the same!
Q: Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
A: Mitch likes to jump in and get things done. He’s got a great head for strategy, but he gets twitchy and has trouble with patience. Jacob has plenty of patience, and he’s good at getting people to talk to him and underestimate him, or talk in front of him and not notice he’s there, so he’s terrific at gathering intel. They are best friends and work well together!
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