Chapter 6 of Hang Fire by Devon Monk

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!

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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.

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  1. April V. /

    Can you put me on the list as another one interested in The Elegant Lady’s Wondersome Steam Valet??? Does it iron too? Whoever invents that is going to make MILLIONS.

    I didn’t find Dead Iron all that chilling but […are those shadows over there moving? No? Are you sure?] there were definite points while reading where if my husband had come up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder I would have hit the roof.

    Thanks Devon for another chapter of Hang Fire!

  2. Well, I definitely need to increase harvests…although I confess, that I don’t iron much. Well, at all. I own an iron. I even know where it is…

  3. “airships and a roguish captain” sounds good to me! I need to try AGE OF STEAM.

  4. esperanza /

    loving these stories.

  5. Barishi /

    Hey Devon,

    Great story so far. Thanks!

  6. Hang Fire just gets more interesting each day.

  7. SandyG265 /

    I’m enjoying the story so far.

  8. Carl /

    Love the Tinkerton Scientific Personal Aetherial Collector Unit, but who wouldn’t? That would be just the thing for my nephew’s LARPing. Personally, I just want the book. Thanks for participating in the tour.

  9. what a wonderful giveaway I love the aetherial collector unti. way cool my son will love it if i win I hope I do so awesomely wonderful

  10. The bracer is beautiful. I can’t wait to read the story, I’m holding off because I’m going to be without internet for the next 2 weeks.

  11. M. Gabriel /

    Roger makes some of the absolute best Steampunk leather accessories you could hope for. It’s good to see his work being admired by others.

  12. Sarah /

    I will have to go find the first five chapters before I read this one. Looking forward to Tin Swift. And I’d love an Elegant Lady’s Wondersome Steam Valet.

    Thanks for the short story to tide us over for the next week or so.

  13. Glittergirl /

    I am loving this blog tour :-). Thanks for the questions. It was nice to get some background. The bracer is cool. That took a lot of work and arty crafting :-) Having one of the Elegant Lady’s Wondersome Steam Valet would be an awesome addition to my home, lol.

  14. Erin Theiss /

    Great post! I’ve been loving the story so far. Thanks so much for the giveaway:)

  15. Sharon Dyer /

    I’m a big fan of Devon Monk….would love to win this giveaway! And you are awesome for having it! Thanks!

  16. rissatoo /

    I have to admit that I’m loving this Tin Swift blog tour, but I haven’t read a single chapter of Hang Fire yet… I’m saving them each day, and I’m going to read it all in one swell-foop! (Yes, I know the saying in ‘fell-swoop’, but our family has always said it the other way, LOL!)

    And the giveaway here is WOW! I already covet the book, magnet, and fabulous handmade bookmark, but the personal aetherial collector unit is over-the-top! :)

  17. Carrie Lynn Barker /

    Great short! Really enjoying the ‘chapters’ and can’t wait for the next one!

  18. That is some bad ass steampunk gear, right there.

  19. Moggey /

    Loving the short story tie-in so far. Dead Iron was awesome and I can’t wait for Tin Swift !! This Blog tour thingie is pretty neat.


  20. Awesome giveaway. Steampunk forever!

  21. Alaina /

    i have to admit, im eagerly awaiting the next chapter!!
    i hope this is open to canada.. if so, please enter me!! (ill pay shipping, i swear!!)

  22. Enjoying Hang Fire, and looking forward to reading the rest, as well as looking forward to Tim Swift when it comes out next month.

  23. bn100 /

    Nice interview and excerpt.

  24. Oh my! I’ve never been happier to stumble onto a new blog. I’ve got a lot of reading to catch up on now. (And that vambrace is -amazing-.)

  25. nathan /


  26. True the brace is FAB but the book would make a great addition to my classroom library. Especially (hopefully) if it will be appropriate to the young adult reader as it is imperative to reach them before books become a thing of the past. Long story short enjoying – thanks!!

  27. Jacki Smith /

    Excellent story so far and gorgeous bracer!

  28. Shanon /

    Awesome story, very creative!

  29. Kit Holley /

    Very interesting story! I’m delighted to find good Steampunk stories where the Steampunk element is a natural part of the setting and not just a contrivance. Looking forward to further reading. Props to Roger for pointing me your way!

  30. Epic Interview, coupled with a spectacular giveaway. Nice job Kelly!

  31. I love the story so far! Thanks!

  32. Ooh! More good books for me to check out! That’s an epic bracer, too!

  33. …and it’s no, nay, never (bang, bang, bang, bang) no, nay, never no more….

  34. Bella Bunnell /

    Hang Fire just gets more and more interesting! Thanks!

  35. Bella Bunnell /

    Oh…and the brace is great, it truly is, but I’d like the laundry valet as well. Oh cool is it to see your works inspiring other creations? Pretty cool, I’d say. ;)

  36. HowlingGayle /

    I’m a fan of Roger’s Facebook page so I get alot of previews of what he’s working on. Check out his web site for all sort of cool things. My wife and I are in the process of putting together our first steampunk costumes and A/C bracer would be an awesome addition.

    I love the story so far, so keep it coming! Steam rules!

  37. Good Story!!!!

  38. Enjoyed Dead Iron, am looking forward to reading Tim Swift, and can’t wait for the rest of Hang Fire. Enjoy Devon’s writing a lot. The personal Glim collector bracer is very cool.Watched the video and wish I had the skill set to make my own. Fingers crossed that maybe I can win it! ;->

  39. Barbara Elness /

    I’ve been waiting for the continuing story of Cedar and friends after reading Dead Iron, so I’m excited that Tin Swift is coming. I’m really enjoying Hang Fire, but it’s hard to wait for each day’s episode. :D

  40. Mishel /

    I’d love to be considered for the drawing-Devon Monk is a great writer!

  41. Amanda Haerterich /

    I have to say the “AC” looks pretty awesome and so is this blog tour.

  42. Sounds good. I’ll have to get the book

  43. Maria D. /

    Another good snippet from Hang Fire- I’m really loving this story as it continues to develop. Looking forward to Tin Swift’s release on next Tuesday!

  44. So excited for Tin Swift! I just bought Dead Iron so I can re-read it in anticipation. :)

  45. Can’t wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway


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