Soar through the sky “Steampunk” style

I have always been a fan of steampunk. It is an eclectic style of modern technology with Victorian sensibilities. To me, the novels of Jules Verne are the bible of steampunk. To think that he imagined submarines, nuclear power, rocket ships and more in the 1800s is just remarkable.

So I took inspiration from the imagination of Jules Verne and the genius of Nikola Tesla to create a steampunk world. Let me introduce you to a new concept for a new work in progress… Corsair and the Sky Pirates!

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A brilliant inventor… A prolific writer… A chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne led to a world as you could never imagine. A world powered by steam generated not from coal or fuel, but a meteor fragment. Tesla discovered a comet named Uriel was raining pieces of these powerful meteorites across the globe. It led to an industrial revolution years ahead of its time, but even progress had a price. While the rich and powerful lived in luxury in this new world, the everyday people groveled beneath the boot of their corporate masters.

One man brought hope to the people. His exploits were legendary, his crew infamous, and his airship a vision of the future. Corsair and his Sky Pirates flew around the world, carrying out deeds that spurred the imagination. Known as modern-day “Robin Hood” bandits, they stole from the robber barons and returned to the oppressed.

The swashbuckling Corsair was as handsome as he was cool and calculating. His crew was an assortment of renegades many authorities considered lowlifes and criminals, but they were all dedicated to Corsair’s mission… Working with Tesla to bring an end to the corporate rule that was strangling the planet. They came from every corner of the globe… From the outback in Australia to the American Southwest into the skyline of New York City, across Europe and the Far East. The crew of the airship Galeru, named for a mythical rainbow serpent, never faltered and never wavered.

While Tesla made his inventions to ease everyday people’s day-to-day burden, the Edison/Röntgen/Parsons Corporation or ERP used their power and influence to ensure people paid for their modern miracles. World governments bent over backward to appease ERP to ensure they got their hands on the most potent weapons known to man.

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I entered my first draft of Corsair and the Sky Pirates in Crystal Peake Publishers Steampunk Writing Contest, so wish me luck in getting this concept published!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

My next project … “Corsair and the Sky Pirates” Steampunk adventure

As I work with my editor to get The Outlander War ready for publication, I am looking ahead to my next project. To be honest, I am planning to continue the story of the Gil-Gamesh and the MoonDrake family on Avalon with another trilogy, but I wanted to step away for a second. I wanted to try a science fiction adventure, specifically a STEAMPUNK adventure.

I have always been fascinated by the steampunk genre, from the Victorian sensibilities to the wild, gear-driven, steam-powered inventions. It reminds me so much of Jules Verne and his fantastic novels, which is why I decided to write this story. So, without any further adieu, I present to you the prologue for my next story, “The Adventures of Corsair and the Sky Pirates: Uriel’s Flame” on Inkitt.

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DesertShadows_Myke_Amend_desktop-Imagine that Jules Verne, the prophet of science fiction, and Nikola Tesla, the genius inventor, had met. What would the world be like? Steam-powered machines like you’ve never seen before, bringing about a new age of science and industry, and bringing the world one step closer to war. In this age of modern mechanical marvels, the wealthy have gotten richer off the backs of workers, toiling in the factories all around the globe to produce these wondrous inventions. The only person standing up for the people is the infamous Corsair and his Sky Pirates. In his dirigible, the Arkaroo, Corsair searches the globe for the source of power for these incredible machines… Uriel’s Flame. Meteor fragments from a passing comet provides unlimited power for these steam-powered, modern marvels. Whomever controls Uriel’s Flame controls the main source of power in the world, leading countries to the brink of war. The Edison/Roentgen/Fulton, or ERF, Corporation is searching far and wide for the meteors, giving them complete control of this valuable mineral. It’s up to Corsair and his Sky Pirates to stop them and prevent a world war from impacting the world.

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1887 in the city of Amiens, France. The port city in northern France was not the bustling seaport it appeared to be, but rather a quiet, little community divided by the Somme River. It’s home to one of the largest cathedrals in France and one of the world’s greatest authors.

At a small café in Quartier St.-Leu, Jules Verne sipped quietly on his coffee as he sifted through the newspaper. Verne enjoyed the quiet moments like this. It helped to clear his mind and arrange his thoughts for the next adventure.

You wouldn’t know by looking at this quiet, little man that he was such a renowned author. His white hair and beard match the wrinkles on his face. He rubbed his left leg, hoping to relieve the pain. It still ached where his nephew, Gaston, shot him. The poor boy, locked away in an asylum, with little to no explanation as to why he did it.

The pain was a constant reminder to Verne… a reminder of his own mortality, and it scared him. He left behind a legacy in his stories of science and adventure, but was it enough, he wondered? Do these ‘flights of fancy’ mean anything beyond the pages on which it was written?

Pardon moi, monsieur,” came a voice, startling Verne. “Are you Jules Verne?”

He looked up from his newspaper to see a tall, lanky young man standing next to him. He bowed slightly, a bowler hat rested in his hand over his heart. Through his burly mustache and thick accent, Verne knew the young man had to be from Eastern Europe. His dark clothes reminded Verne of an undertaker. He hoped that was not the case.

Oui, may I help you?” Verne asked.

“I am Nikola Tesla,” he said. “I am a great admirer of your work, Monsieur Verne. I apologize for interrupting you, but your housekeeper said I might find you here. I was hoping I could have a moment of your time.”

Verne thought for a moment before nodding and motioning for him to sit down. Tesla was overjoyed as he sat in the chair across from Verne. Before he could say anything, the waiter came over to the two men.

Voulez-vous un café, monsieur?” he asked Tesla.

Oui, merci?” he replied. “Et un verre d’eau s’il vous plait.” Tesla waited for the waiter to depart before he said anything, but Verne spoke first.

“From your accent, I can assume you are from Eastern Europe, Monsieur Tesla. Austria or Hungary, am I correct?” Verne inquired.

“Serbia, Monsieur Verne, but it is part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so you are quite correct.”

“And what brings you to Amiens? Surely you did not come here just to get my autograph?” Verne quipped.

Non, Monsieur…” Tesla stated, but stopped while the waiter brought over his coffee and set it down in front of him before leaving. “I work for the Continental Edison Company. I was sent here to work on your cities electrical system. I thought I might get the chance to speak with you before I return to Paris.”

“Edison, well, I must thank you for the electric lights,” Verne commended. “It is better than writing by candlelight at three in the morning.”

Tesla smiled and nodded in appreciation of the compliment. “Thank you, Monsieur Verne. Perhaps I can inspire you in another way,” Tesla remarked as he pulled out a folded piece of paper from his coat and handed it to Verne.

“What is this?” he asked. “I thought you weren’t looking my autograph.”

“No, no … this is something that your words inspired me to create.”

Verne’s curiosity was peaked as he unfolded the paper. When he saw what was inside, his eyes grew as large as hen’s eggs. It was an engine, one so complicated in design that Verne could not understand the intricacies of what he was looking at. Around the engine was a crude drawing of a ship, a submersible ship that resembled his description of the Nautilus from his novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Incroyable,” Verne whispered, amazed at what he saw. “What is it?”

“A steam-powered oscillating electric generator,” Tesla explained. “It can generate 20 times the electrical power of anything today, maybe more. This could power a ship, like your Nautilus, don’t you think?”

“Indeed … indeed it could, but it would take a ton of coal just to generate the amount of steam you would need for such an engine, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes, but not with this,” Tesla said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small test tube. Inside were a few small blue stones that glowed slightly. He handed it to Verne, who stared at them in awe.

“What on Earth are they?” Verne asked.

“They’re from a meteor that fell near my home in Serbia,” Tesla began to explain, until the waiter stepped up and brought him his coffee and a glass of water, as he requested. He waited until the waiter departed to continue his explanation. “It generates a constant heat that never seems to die out. Here, observe…”

Tesla took the cork off the test tube vial and poured out one small meteorite into the glass of water. The blue rock began to bubble and burn, raising the temperature of the water quite rapidly. Soon, the water was boiling as steam arose from the glass. Tesla took a spoon and pulled out the tiny rock before dropping it on the table.

“You can pick it up, Monsieur, it won’t burn you.”

Verne reached down and tentatively touched it with his fingertips, until he realized how cool the rock was and he picked it up and held it in his hand. “Monsieur Tesla, this is quite, well… Remarquable!

“It burns on and on, without any reduction in size or mass,” Tesla boasted proudly. “It could change the world of science and industry as we know it.”

“Is there any more of this meteor?” Verne asked. “Where does it come from?”

“I have a colleague at the Royal Astrological Society who discovered a comet he named Uriel, after the archangel,” Tesla explained. “Fragments from Uriel are impacting the Earth from the Urals to the Alps and across North America as the comet passes by. We are working on a method to detect the fragments of meteorite. So far, I’ve collected nearly 500 kilograms.”

“You are an incredibly talented young man, Monsieur Tesla,” Verne said as he handed him the meteor, dropping it in the tube. Verne then folded the paper and handed it back. “But, what does this have to do with an old man like me? I am a writer, not a scientist.”

“Your stories have inspired me to pursue new avenues of science,” Tesla said. “I would like to collaborate with you on some ideas that I have. I have the scientific knowledge, you have an incredible imagination. Perhaps, together, we can bring about a new age of science and technology.”

“Won’t that interfere with your work at the Edison Company?” Verne asked.

“I have already put in my notice to leave my position with Edison,” Tesla explained. “I am planning to go to the United States to pursue my own dreams, but I wanted to work with you before I go.

“Besides, I don’t want my ideas to come under an Edison patent instead of my own. Something like this,” he said, shaking his design at Verne, “could change the course of human history. It just needs a little imagination to make it come true. You, Monsieur Verne, are a master of imagination. Imagine what we could accomplish together?”

Verne sat there, intrigued by the young man’s offer. For the first time, he saw how his novels can influence the future of mankind. “Very well, Monsieur Tesla. Where do we begin?”

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Chapter 3 of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

The Face of Evil – An excerpt from “The Dark Tides”

Morgan le Fay by Lisa Iris

Morgan le Fay by Lisa Iris

Every story needs a villian, but in “The Dark Tides” we have a whole slew of them–from both history and legend and some from my first book, “Forever Avalon.” Under the direction of Morgana le Fay, these unsavory types have one goal in mind … The domination of Avalon and the death of the Gil-Gamesh. Here is a taste of what they have in mind in this excerpt from “The Dark Tides” novel:

Deep within the bowels of Idlehorn Mountain, Mnenock the Goblin King looked in awe of his growing fleet of airships. More than 20 ships now filled the vast cave in Idlehorn. Its entrance, hidden by simple illusions, disguised the immense hanger for him to spread his evil across Avalon.

Though they couldn’t duplicate the Gil-Gamesh’s technology, they scavenged what they could from other ships they captured or destroyed.

Even then, the goblins needed help to make them work. They used gnome and human slaves to bring the ships back to working order as goblins didn’t have the skill nor coordination for intricate woodwork or the technical know-how for the steering and wings.

Their skills lay in ironwork. Goblins were known for forging the toughest iron weapons ever made. With pools of liquid metal pouring out from the lava pits under Idlehorn and their immense strength, goblin weapons and armor are prized by every thief, brigand and cutthroat on Avalon. They didn’t have the craftsmanship of the Dwarves or Elves, but their iron had no equal.

Sometimes, the Goblin King used human pawns to get him the materials and supplies he needed to keep his fleet up and running.

Today, though, he waited for his ultimate payoff that would aid the plans of Lady Heather and the great Morgana le Fay.

A horn bellowed from outside as his guards notified all of an arrival, one the Goblin King had been waiting for. He watched as his goblins guided the massive airship in. It was larger than any ship in the Goblin Fleet, albeit a familiar one … The Reaper, former flagship of Lord Kraven Darkholm. It was confiscated by the Gil-Gamesh for an insult his cousin made toward Lady Stephanie MoonDrake, but now it had returned home.

The canvas wings folded back once the mooring process began. The human sailors scurried about the deck, securing sails and tightening down the lines. Once the ship was tethered, it set down on mooring blocks and the gangplank was lowered. Sailors filed off the ship in a quick, disciplined manner, led by their captain as they rushed to a second airship waiting to be brought in.

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The flag of the legendary Pirate King, Captain Henry Avery.

The captain walked up to King Mnenock, exuding confidence in the swagger of his every step, but Captain John Henry Avery was no ordinary man. He was the descendant of the most ruthless pirate to sail the Caribbean—Henry Avery, the legendary “King of the Pirates” as some say. When Avery disappeared around 1696, people thought he retired to a quiet life, living off his riches. Instead, Avery and his crew found their way through the barrier to Avalon. He continued his pirating ways, plundering the coastal cities around Avalon’s shores. He even made his own town in the hidden North Seas off Avalon. A haven for his pirates, their kin and any others who wished to join called Barbarossa.

John Henry was carrying on the traditions his family laid down by taking them into the air. The Gil-Gamesh’s airships opened a new chapter in pirating for the Avery family. He carved out a reputation for himself, hoping one day to surpass that of his ancestor.

Unlike some of his crew, Avery preferred a well-groomed appearance. His long black hair was flowing and carefree, his beard neatly trimmed and his clothes emulated his rank and status. He wore an eye patch over his left eye, a gift courtesy of the Gil-Gamesh during one of their many encounters. Around his waist hung his sword Crossbones, a broad cutlass with a jagged edge on top. Th is was the sword of his ancestor and signified his status as the Pirate King.

John Henry stepped up with his first mate Rajesh Singh, an Indian sailor and devout follower of the Cult of Thuggee—worshipers of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Death. They bowed to the Goblin King, a sign of respect but nothing more. Avery was here to do business.

“As promised your majesty, I give you The Reaper, returned home to Idlehorn,” John Henry cajoled showing off his prize.

Mnenock smiled, something he rarely did. “Indeed Captain Avery … Your reputation precedes you. And tell me,” he cackled, “how did you obtain this magnificent ship from the shipyard in Emmyr?”

“Well now, if I told you that, you wouldn’t need me now, would you your majesty? I have to keep some of my secrets,” he remarked, holding back his sarcasm so as not to offend the Goblin King. “Let’s just say I called in a lot of favors to get this for you; and I hope you will hold up your end of the bargain?”

Mnenock’s smile turned to a snarl. He felt insulted by Avery and though every fi ber in his being told him to kill these humans on the spot, Mnenock knew he needed them. “I never disappoint an ally Captain Avery.

Gr-tah-ah!” Mnenock shouted to his goblins. They carried out two large trunks and set them down next to the Goblin King. He waved and the goblins opened the trunks; one was filled with weapons and armor—the finest to come out of the forges of Idlehorn—while the other contained gold and silver coins and an assortment of jewels. It was a fine “pay day” for Captain Avery and his band of pirates.

Mnenock watched as Rajesh picked up one of the swords and inspected it closely, checking its weight and edge, swinging it around him an experienced swordsman. When he was satisfied with the workmanship, he nodded to Captain Avery before placing the sword back in the trunk.

“It’s always a pleasure doing business with you, your majesty,” he announced, tipping his hat and spreading his arms as he bowed. “If you ever need anything else, don’t hesitate to contact me. I am your humble servant.”

“Well, that’s refreshing to hear,” came a voice from behind. Lady Heather stepped forward, examining The Reaper as if she were seeing an old lover for the first time.

“Lady Heather,” Avery remarked, bowing courteously to Heather. “It is surprising to find such a beautiful flower in this patch of thorns.”

“Why Captain, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were flirting with me,” she professed as she continued to inspect The Reaper.

“Not at all dear lady, I was just admiring what I see before me; but even the most beautiful of creatures can be deadly.

“I heard about what one of your followers did to the Gil-Gamesh,” Avery continued. “It was a nice diversion for me and my men when we went to grab The Reaper.”

“That was my intention,” Heather interjected, still ignoring Captain Avery as she continued to admire the airship.

“And how did you know what we were doing dear lady?”

Heather smiled as she finally looked at John Avery. “You have your secrets Captain and I have mine.”

“As I said … You are cunning and deadly but with an incredible lack of precision.”

“Really? And why do you say that?” she inquired.

Avery walked over to Heather, staring her down, face-to-face. “You left the Gil-Gamesh alive. I don’t know how you got your man on his island without being detected, but Lord MoonDrake will discover how and he will be more resolved than ever to hunt you down and kill you.

“And I for one do not want to be around when happens,” he reprimanded as he turned to leave. He signaled his men to pick up the trunks and bring them to the Flying Fancy.

“I left him alive for a reason Captain Avery,” Heather shouted. Avery stopped and turned around. “Don’t you want to know why?”

Avery’s curiosity had gotten the best of him as he motioned for her to continue.

“You are correct, I let him live; killing him was never part of my plan. But getting my follower on Emmyr undetected was. I now have the ability to bring an army to the floating isle without the Gil-Gamesh ever knowing about it,” she exclaimed, looking over to King Mnenock who cackled softly in agreement.

“I want the Gil-Gamesh alive so that when I destroy his precious Avalon right before his very eyes, I can watch him suffer the pain of failure. When I cut off the heads of his wife and children, I can watch him suff er the pain of grief. And when he has suff ered all the pain and all the heartache as I have these past eight years, I want him to look into my eyes and know that I have beaten him … Right before I cut out his still beating heart and hold it in my hand,” she extolled, twirling the Orb of Veles in her hand.

“How would you like to see that Captain Avery?” she concluded, flirting slightly as she touched him on the chest. “How would you like to see that and get your revenge on the Gil-Gamesh?”

Avery thought hard about what she said. He saw the confidence in her every word, something he rarely saw in people who tried to plot against the Gil-Gamesh.

“Alright milady, you have my attention.”