Last week I was talking about how excited I am to share Clockwork, Curses and Coal with the world, so today I would like to take a few minutes today to tell you about the stories which are included in the anthology. If you were on Twitter or Facebook a few weeks ago when we were announcing the Table of Contents and sharing the cover for the anthology you may have already seen some of these graphics and read the excerpts and trivia that they contain… but if they don’t look familiar I invite you to get comfy and take a look. There are fourteen stories

in this anthology and I invite you to learn a little bit about each 🙂


The Iron Revolution by Christina Ruth Johnson

Victoria and Albert’s Age of Artifice pushes one family to create a contest and one fairy to curse it, leaving it up to one young Indian woman to discover an interloper among the glass-limbed and steel-corseted princesses of the industrial world. 


The newcomer pushes back her hood to reveal a stunning beautiful face, old of eye but young of skin. Long auburn curls cascade past her waist. Her voice is loud, carrying to all corners of the large room.

“I am Vivianne of the Fair Folk. I come on behalf of my people. Our land received neither an invitation to your contest nor to your Great Exhibition. I declare these are slights that will not go unaddressed.”


Clockwork Tea by Joseph Halden

A corporate spy closes in on the secrets of tea-making in China, but his struggles to cope with loneliness lead to a dark clockwork habit.


I could trust no one here.

For who could poison–murder–all for the sake of making a few more sales? Such acts removed one’s claim to humanity, in my view.


A Future of Towers Made by Beth Cato

A twisted steampunk take on Rapunzel, who strives to obtain ownership of her airship mooring tower design & her own life.


For some months, I had deliberated upon the central problem of the burgeoning airship industry—persistent crashes during ground landings which were all too often followed by dreadful conflagrations.


A Bird Girl in the Dark of Night by Sarah Van Goethem

Years after her conjoined sisters were stolen for the circus sideshow, Jane finally has a chance to save them—but only by pretending to be peculiar herself, disguised as a bird-girl, and tricking the ringmaster.


While Mrs. Lydia Sophronia Dawkins kneaded dough with her feet, Jane soared off the roof of the bakery on Mulberry street. A bird girl in the dark of night.  While the world dreamt, Jane flew.


Checkmate by Brian Trent

In a steam-driven Victorian England, war is not fought with massed armies, but with duels between specialized combatants for the fate of the nation.

A bit of trivia from the author:

““Checkmate” is an original tale that was partly inspired by the living chess pieces of Through the Looking Glass, and partly by a hand-carved wooden chess set my father bought me when I was a kid: the pieces themselves seem to suggest they each had their own story to tell beyond the game itself. “


Necromancy by Melissa Bobe

When Natalie Jameson returns home from the wider world, she brings with her a reckoning that will shake the foundations of her small town and all who live there.

Trivia from the author:

““Necromancy” is one of two stories I’ve written that respond to (and I hope subvert) a comparison I’ve noticed often in speculative fiction: the likening of women to rats, a parallel which emerges most clearly in the ways both are (mal)treated.”


Blood and Clockwork by Wendy Nikel

The royal tinkerer sets out to create the ultimate bodyguard for the king, combining the intellect of a human with the strength of a machine.

Trivia from the author:

“This story was originally written with alternating past/present timelines, but multiple revisions morphed it into its current, linear chronology.”


Sappho and Erinna by Lex T. Lindsay

The roguish Evy Wiles gets hired (in a manner of speaking anyway) to uncover the nighttime wanderings of the governor’s three daughters, a task that becomes exceedingly more difficult when she lays eyes on the governor’s eldest, Aditi Winston.

Trivia from the author:

“I found the ending of The Twelve Dancing Princesses pretty tragic. Twelve women have found happiness to have it ripped away by the end of the tale. In some versions, they are even cursed. Here, our “princesses” are given back their agency, and maybe they find a HFN along the way.”


Divine Spark by Diana Hurlburt

Among the religious revivalists of “Divine Spark,” mechanical life is prized above all else–but no one expects God to arise from the machinery young Mariah creates in secret.

Trivia from the author:

“New religious movements in the Burned-Over District of 19th-century upstate New York and the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea were the “Divine Spark” for this story.”


The Balance of Memory by Reese Hogan

To rebuild their broken memories, Henrik and Gerta, one being split into two bodies, must face the reason why they split apart in the first place…and confront the literal ghosts from their past.


He gathered it in, the dark strands stretching like cobwebs of filth. He tried not to think about who these ghosts had been, and instead concentrated on what they would become. Life. Energy. Another day.


The Giant and the Unicorn by Alethea Kontis

A steampunk retelling of Aesop’s fable “Androcles and the Lion” – a tale of true friendship. 

Question from the author:

“There’s a Great Debate that surrounds this little story, over whether a prequel or a sequel would be more popular. What do you think?”


Ningyō by Laura VAB

When doubting monk Takeshi is stranded at an automata workshop, his spiritual dilemma becomes a deadly crisis.


“I know the truth of it. I have seen your automata dance.”

She turned toward him, eyebrows raised in a question.

“I saw them dance at court. Three metal men, perfectly attuned to music played from their own bellies, with movement like the most graceful of women.”


Father Worm by Adam Breckenridge

For generations Amber’s family has overseen carrying out their village’s sacred bird ceremony.  But when her father goes insane and the ceremonies start to go wrong, Amber realizes she must do something no one has ever done before to save her village.

Trivia from the Author:

“Father Worm is an amalgamation of several smaller ideas: a vision I had of a town with a mysterious ritual, a man who begins to worship worms, a girl who must build a spaceship to chase after the sun, and when I saw I could bring them together, Father Worm was born.”


The Coach Girl by MLD Curelas

Tara’s predictable life is turned topsy-turvy when her coach driver steals her identity, inheritance, and prospective groom.

Trivia from the author:

“The Goose Girl is a Grimm tale that has stuck w/ me–in part because of a PBS adaptation which traumatized smol M.L.D. Anyway, here’s to a happier ending for faithful Falada! 🐴 (& a better ending for the Goose/Coach Girl too!)”

…that’s a lot, eh? LOL

I was about halfway through when I realised just how much that was to put all in one place. So yes, that is a LOT but that’s all contained within the pages of Clockwork, Curses and Coal too, where it’s a lot in a very good way 🙂

If you’re intrigued I encourage you to pre-order the book using the links below. It will make me happy, it will make my publisher happy and it will make my contributors happy.

Next week I have a bonus short story by Lisa Timpf which sort of related to this anthology which I will be offering for free to subscribers of my newsletter and Patreon supporters. If that’s not you and you’d like it to me, you can follow those links above. Patronage begins at $1 but the newsletter is totally free 🙂


Pre-order it now!




Or ask your local library to order it in

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