Today we’re featuring Chapter 6 of Devon Monk’s story Hang Fire, which is an internet-only steampunk short story set in late 1800’s America. It takes place between Devon Monk’s AGE OF STEAM books Dead Iron and Tin Swift (which will be released on July 3). Hang Fire is broken into 20 “chapters” and posted, one chapter at a time, on 20 blogs. Start at chapter 1 at Candace’s Book Blog and follow the “read the next chapter” links at the end of each post.

One commenter at Fantasy Literature will be entered to win this giveaway:

  • A copy of Tin Swiftfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews
  • Tin Swift magnet
  • A signed bookmark hand-made by Devon and her husband
  • A Tinkerton Scientific Personal Aetherial Collector Unit. The “AC” unit can be worn while flying /working, in or near the glim-filled Aether and will gather and process even trace amounts. The glim is held in the temporary storage tanks and can be removed by placing a vial in the fill tube on top of the unit. Great for professional harvesters looking to increase their yield, and for opportunist pilots passing near a glim field. The bracer is hand-crafted using 7-8 oz. veg tanned leather, brass plates and tubes, copper tubes and wires, and hidden electronic components. It has been impressed with clockwork tooling and finished in a rich antiqued brown. It has 2 working LEDs powered by 2 AAA batteries (replaceable). The circuit is active when the switch is powered on, and the red LED will light on the side. When one of the four vials is inserted into the fill tube, a green LED lights up to give the glowing effect of the “glim.” [This bracer, valued at $300, was inspired by Devon Monk’s AGE OF STEAM series and hand-made by Roger Brown at Steampunked Out (WATCH a video of its construction). FanLit thanks Mr. Brown for his generosity; please visit his workshop!]


Before we get to the story, I had a few questions for Devon since I’ve been following her career for years:

Devon Monk

Kelly Lasiter: I’ve been following both of your series — ALLIE BECKSTROM and AGE OF STEAM — and I’m really impressed with how very different they feel. What’s it like juggling two series with such distinct writing styles, time periods, etc.? Do you have any tricks you use to get yourself in the “Allie” state of mind or the “Age of Steam” mood?

Devon Monk: Music seems to help. For the ALLIE BECKSTROM series, I mostly listen to alternative and indie rock. For the AGE OF STEAM series I listen to Irish drinking songs, old ballads, and the occasional country tune.

steampunk Devon Monk Age of Steam 1. Dead Iron 2. Tin SwiftKelly: Two other FanLit reviewers and I read Dead Iron — and agreed that it scared the daylights out of all of us! We found it one of the most chill-inducing books we read all last year. Do you ever scare yourself with some of the scenes you write?

Devon: I do, especially when I come back to reread the book for revisions and copy edits! Dead Iron does lean toward the darkness, but since I’m the author and know how things are going to turn out, I don’t usually have to sleep with the lights on.  :)  Tin Swift still has dark moments, but I feel it reads a little more like an action adventure story. After all, we get airships and a roguish captain in this one!

steampunk Devon Monk Age of Steam 1. Dead IronKelly: If you could have any outlandish steampunk device, what would it be?

Devon: Hmm… just one? I have to admit I’m having a hard time choosing! I guess I’d like something that sorts my laundry and puts it away for me, because I hate doing that, lol. “The Elegant Lady’s Wondersome Steam Valet.”  Yes, that sounds good.

Kelly: I agree! Thanks for visiting with us, Devon! And, readers, here’s chapter 6 of Hang Fire:

…read chapter 5 at: A Book Obsession

HANG FIRE — Chapter 6


“How far behind us is she, Mr. Seldom?” Captain Hink called out.

His second jogged to the rear port door, threw it open and, latching his harness to the metal-worked beam, leaned out on the running board to get a look at the tailing airship.

Mr. Seldom shrugged back inside just as quick and pulled his breathing gear down off of his thin face. “You want to see this, Captain.”

“Don’t think there’s a ship that can surprise me, Mr. Seldom.” Hink glanced over his shoulder and noted that Mr. Seldom was making busy with the canon.

The man didn’t have a predilection for gunpowder when unnecessary. Something in the sky had set him reaching for a gun. A rather big gun.

“Mr. Guffin, the helm.”

“Aye.” Mr. Guffin had hound-dog eyes  and a mop of yellow hair shaved up the sides and flopped over at the top, giving his whole head the appearance of a French tassel in a cheap bordello.

Hink pulled his boots out of the floor bracers and walked himself down slope, hand holding and releasing the overhead beams as he went.

“We under fire, Mr. Seldom?” He pulled his breathing gear up over his nose and mouth, goggles over his eyes. They weren’t so high up he’d run out of air to breathe, but it was damn cold over the range, and the force of wind could unlung a man.

Seldom, as was his way, didn’t say anything, just lifted his chin toward the door.

Hink latched his harness on a side beam, then spun the lock on the door and leaned out on the running board. Icy air slapped him so hard he didn’t have enough breath left in him to cuss.

He squinted against the hard whiteness reflecting off the clouds scudding just above them. And above that, soft green veils of glim caught the curve of those clouds with just a brush of the strange rose and gold that only showed here in the cold upper.

It was a damn fine day to harvest glim and catch a fortune in the sky.

Which was probably why the two ships behind him were coming on strong, and coming on fast.

Claim jumpers. Those ships were geared with more guns, harpoons, and ramming gear than any glim harvester would carry. A heavy ship was a slow ship, and you had to be light enough, or strong enough, to reach the glim fields above the clouds.

Those two beasts were both three times the size of the Swift, and each had four stacks that pumped black smoke into the sky, and a line of fans down each side of the open-air gondolas. The ships had more than enough fire and firepower to blow the Swift out of the sky.

If they got close enough.

He had a sudden determination to make sure that was not going to happen.

“Jumpers!” he yelled, ripping his breathing gear off of his face. “Cool the stacks and ready the guns, boys. I want them in our sights.”

…read chapter 7 at: I Smell Sheep

Don’t forget to comment to win the giveaway!


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.