The Zephyr

Airship

The joy of fully realizing and knowing the bond of our friendship had deepened over the last three years made my heart sing that fateful morning. Seen from a distance, the early rays of dawn glistened against the silhouette of The Zephyr exiting the barn. The Zephyr existed was a triumph of the bond shared between Philip and me. Through trials, tribulations, and victories of our endeavors as our shared vision took shape, so too did our relationship grow from friendship to brotherhood.
Our combined skills in engineering and electrical sciences produced this magnificent airship. While not as large as its successors would be, this ship would be the proof of concept which would change the world, ushering in a new age of commerce and transportation. This maiden flight would test and confirm our theories shining as a beacon of hope for the future.
Preflight checks all seemed to be in order. The rudder and planes responded well to the controls from gleaming brass and polished wooden controls in the wheelhouse. The small Donkey engine aft generated a good head of steam as it spun the two dynamos up to speed. Dials spun as they engaged both in the engine compartment and their duplicates in the wheelhouse. They reflected the steady pressure of the Donkey engines chug-chug and the current flow from the dynamos. A third dial held a constant vigil as the batteries held their charge. In contrast, four smaller dials below read the amperage fed to each of the powerful electric motors ready to spin the propellers.
A steam engine required to power even a ship this size weighed more than the ship could lift. Cargo capacity being negated by the requirement to carry enough fuel to feed the monster. Our concept used a one-cylinder donkey engine to charge batteries. It was lightweight, could be turned off for extended periods while the ship was powered by its batteries, therefore, requiring much less fuel. At least that was the idea.
The coin toss went to Phillip. It would be he who piloted our craft as I operated the engine and tended the batteries. Our six backers and their wives would occupy the small, but well-appointed, passenger cabin and we would carry 250 pounds of mixed cargo. Our future plans would aim for up to 100 passengers or as much cargo as a large freighter. Other designs might allow for a mix of passengers and cargo. Yes, our optimism was high.
The ground crew loosed our bonds to the earthly realm. With hardly a bump, our beautiful craft with its crimson and gold gas bag adorned by the saw-toothed stabilizer fins bore us heavenward.
We circled the town, checking our systems and operations, allowing our backers to, “ooh and ahh,” as we dipped low enough to view landmarks. A tight circle of the town’s clocktower confirmed the trim crafts maneuverability. All conducted in silence.
The intent was we would fly northward to our capital, showing our invention to the government. Surely after such a prolonged period of devastation, a design such as ours might inspire them to back us as well. The possibilities were endless. Our dreams were of the pie in the sky variety. Our heads and our invention were in the clouds.
Our Backers were ecstatic. Fortunately, the weather was good, and they gushed over how comfortable the travel. Even the best trains were loud and smelly. This was almost as comfortable as sitting in their own parlors. Their schemes at attracting passengers soon outstripped Phillips and mine most grandiose of plans. The only sound the occasional chug-chug of the Donkey engine to keep up the charge.
As the batteries charged, two things happened. First, they generated heat, and this in itself could cause them to boil out, exposing the plates seated in the sulfuric acid, potentially causing a spark. This results in the second problem of an explosion. For as the batteries charged, they generate not only heat but hydrogen gas. This gas is the very thing suspending our craft between heaven and earth. A spark could ignite it.
Phillip solved these problems in two ways. Each battery resided inside a glass housing. Ingeniously a stopcock attached to each of these housings allowed the hydrogen to be siphoned off and stored for future use. This would solve one of the questions posed in obtaining a supply for our ships. A creative system of ductwork flowed over the batteries removing the oxygen produced as part of the process, which had the effect of cooling both batteries and the engines. The controls to open these ducts resided in the wheelhouse. The siphoning process could be controlled manually at the batteries or from the wheelhouse.
We made the trip from Texas to Washington, D.C., in less than 14 hours. A three day trip by train reduced to less than a day. The trip was a complete success for our vision of the future.
Well, mine at least, for I noticed the temperature of the batteries rising. This had occurred a couple of times during the flight, but each time Phillip had opened the ducts rapidly cooling things down. There was no cool down.
The speaking tube engendered no response. Worried, I went to the wheelhouse only to find the door locked. My knocks produced no more response than the speaking tube. Concern for Phillip led me to break open the door. In the interest of lightweight, the doors and nonstructural components were made of the lightest materials, the door collapsed under a determined assault.
“Phillip, what is wrong?” stunned as he seemed to be piloting the craft normally. I could just see the capitol through the front windows of the wheelhouse.
“There is nothing wrong, Emmet. I aim to repair history. We should never have lost that war, and now carpetbaggers steal our ways of life. Take our property and our lands, do you really think those men back there are not plotting to take every cent from our toil? When this ship crashes into the capitol, our brethren will rise again, throw off the shackle of these northern oppressors.” Madly throwing controls, The Zephyr abruptly canted downward. If action were not taken swiftly, our dreams would turn from an optimistic vision to a thunderbolt of Zeusian vengeance.
“Phillip, after all, we have come to understand each other how can you dash our dreams? The war was lost, slavery was on the way out as machinery changed the economics. Ours is a time to look to the future, rebuild from the ashes, and create new things, things like the Zephyr. Please, Phillip, step away from the controls.”
“I knew you had gone soft Emmet when you mourned Lincoln, I knew it then. You are a good man, but you just do not understand. The idea came to me as we flew. I knew you would never understand what this chance represented. ”
“I understand, Phillip. I understand too well. Some cannot accept times change. There will always be those who want to hold dearly to old ideas, will fight to prevent change. Even change for the better where all mankind might learn to live as one brotherhood. How can I convince you this is not the course to take? Only evil can come of it.”
With a glance at the controls, Phillip spun to face me.
“I can’t let you do this, Phillip.”
“I can’t let you stop me, Emmet.”
Without further word, we launched at each other.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

2020 Pulp Factory Best New Anthology -YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR!

Congratulations to all the writers in this one- Tommy Hancock, Gary Phillips, Bobby Nash, Barry Reese, Ron Fortier, Eric Fein, Joe Gentile, and Joshua M. Reynolds. 

The book won the best cover as well. My congratulations to Douglas Klauba for his beautiful artwork.

For the first time ever, brand new stories of the “man with the action-packed expense account”! One of classic Radio’s most beloved detectives makes his way to prose in Moonstone’s YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR!

JDHC

“Johnny Dollar -the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account – America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator.”

This was the tagline for a radio drama whose run on CBS radio lasted almost 13 years. The show usually started with a phone call from an insurance adjuster. Calling on Johnny to investigate an unusual claim: a suspicious death, an attempted fraud, a missing person, or other mysterious circumstances.

I was introduced to this show several years ago by my friend Tommy Hancock. Before then, I had never heard of it. There are over 800 radio episodes available, either on Internet Archives or Old Time Radio. Johnny was played by several actors, and Tommy really likes Bob Bailey. I found I prefer the Edmond O’Brien episodes. All are good. 

This anthology and very talented group of authors have done an outstanding job of capturing the feel and spirit of the original radio broadcasts. 

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Privateer Tales – Jamie McFarlane- Series Review

Privateer Tales

I have read the entire series, reviewing just one book just doesn’t do the series justice. Jamie McFarlane has created one of the best space operas I have ever read. Each book can be read as a stand-alone. I strongly recommend starting with the first book, Rookie Privateer, to really get the feel of the characters as they grow. The development throughout the series is worth it. His extrapolation of current technology adds a level of plausibility many space operas lack. Each book is plot-driven, flows well, advances the overall series arc. If you are a fan of space opera’s this series is written for you.

Liam Hoffen wants off the asteroid he and his family call home. Despite passing the Mars Competency Test, he’s stuck mining a plot of land that may never pay off. To make matters worse, the girl of his dreams is about to ship off to the Naval Academy…

But when a brutal pirate horde sets its sights on Liam’s colony, he and his friends may be their ramshackle town’s only chance of survival. As they gather up all the courage and cunning they can muster, they learn that their little colony holds secrets far bigger than they ever could have imagined. The truth about their dusty asteroid could change everything, if they live long enough to do something about it…

Rookie Privateer is the first book in the Privateer Tales saga, a series of swashbuckling space operas. If you like memorable and witty characters, pulse-pounding adventures, and galactic tales reminiscent of golden age sci-fi, then you’ll love Jamie McFarlane’s explosive tale.

Find these books on Amazon for kindle and in print.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

The Blood Red Ruby: Voodoo Rumors 1951- A short book review

Alan Lewis knows the tropes and plays them well in this story of redemption. Follow this hero’s journey from bank robber to PI. Thomas Dietrich prowls the streets of Nashville. Discover how his crooked path was straightened in this Pulp Noir romp through Fantasy and Southern Gothic glamour.  Fast-paced and well-conceived, this is a good read.  Alan Lewis’s flair for description will keep you turning the page.

Ruby

It was a typical February night in 1951 when she stepped into one of Nashville’s many dives and into my life. The blonde asked for my story, wanting to know what had me drinking. She had no idea it was the same thing that had me working at nights, hunting down the monsters that stalk the back alleys of my city.
Back in ’31, the job was just supposed to be another bank heist – in, then out, then we’d be rich. But along with the money, we found that cursed ruby, and nothing was the same again. I’d thought about that gem every night for years, but now, in this bar with this dame looking at me all innocent and beautiful, I told her my tale.
And that’s when our story began.

Find it on Amazon for Kindle $.99, Print $7.99 or Audiobook for $5.99.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

BROKEN EMPIRE

THE LEGACY OF LAZARUS GRAY CONTINUES-
BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE Debuts

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A Fallen Agent…A Faceless Legion…A Fearless Female Fury…It’s 1964. Do You know who your heroes are? Award winning author Barry Reese does and brings them to readers just in the nick of time in BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE, now available in print and digital formats from Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Benjamin Falk thought his life and career were over. Still grappling with his greatest failure, Falk is thrust into the secretive world of Assistance Unlimited. Together they must face a bizarre foe with a deadly agenda that threatens the world! Barry Reese presents the next generation to carry on the legacy of Lazarus Gray in BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE. From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring an atmospheric cover and logo design by Steven Novak, interior illustrations by Chris Batista, and print formatting by Sean Ali, BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE is available in print on Amazon for $9.99.

This new chapter for Assistance Unlimited is also available as an eBook formatted by Antonino lo Iacono and Marzia Marina for the Kindle for only $2.99. The book is available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to our website. You’ll find our catalogue, open submission calls, and submission guidelines. Like Pro Se on Facebook to follow all the latest news and releases. 

ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ

One of my short stories – Starshine in Storyville just dropped!

‘All That Weird Jazz’ was an entertaining concept for an anthology. Jazz is such a rich musical tradition with volumes of intriguing lore and incredible sound. As one of the editors, it was a pleasure reading the various takes on the theme.
The story I contributed is set in a shared universe by other characters set in more anthologies coming from Pro Se Press.
I hope you enjoy reading this anthology as much as I enjoyed writing for it and editing ‘All That Weird Jazz.’

Weird Jazz

Jazz. A music of improvisation, of passion, of its very own kind of magic. Considered by many to be the only truly original American form of music, it has since its birth in a smoky room somewhere also been tied to the strange, wrapped up in the supernatural, associated with the occult, at least in hints and shadows. Pro Se Productions now brings together several of the most innovative writers in genre fiction today in ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ, telling the tales of the unusual between the notes, the magic behind the music.

From straight up pulp action to ghostly noir to a dragon who digs Jazz more than anyone else, ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ takes love for this unique musical styling to an all new level, complete with adventure, thrills, and even a chill or two.

With stories by Kimberly Richardson, MA Monnin, Ernest Russell, EW Farnsworth, James Hopwood, McCallum J. Morgan, Mark Barnard, Davide Mana, and Sharae Allen, ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ combines the fantastic and unusual with America’s own music for one of the most unique collections of stories ever. From Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a fascinating cover as well as logo design and print formatting by Antonino lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, ALL THAT WEIRD JAZZ is available in print on Amazon for $9.99.

This singularly distinctive anthology is also available as an eBook formatted by lo Iacono and Marina for the Kindle for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to our website for open calls, submission guides and our catalogue. Like Pro Se on Facebook for the latest new and releases.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Coming Soon!! – Sneak peek –

Coming VERY SOON from Pro Se Productions..

New cover

I have a short story in this upcoming anthology from Pro Se Productions. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, visit our webpage for submission guides, open calls and catalogue.. Like Pro Se on Facebook for the latest updates and new releases.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Wayside Tales

A CAVALIER AND A CON ARTIST WALK INTO FANTASY!
NANCY A. HANSEN’S ‘BY THE WAYSIDE TALES’ DEBUTS’

Wayside

Alexandre Louis Edouard Lebeau and Danika the Phantom Rose first appeared in TALES OF THE VAGABOND BARDS from author Nancy A. Hansen’s HANSEN’S WAY author imprint and Pro Se Productions. Now they are back, in three brand new and exciting adventures of their own in BY THE WAYSIDE TALES, now available in print and digital formats.

Wanted fugitives on the run, the bantam sized count turned cavalier and the charming and street-wise half-Elven con artist find themselves embroiled in one tenuous situation after another as they attempt to stay ahead of relentless pursuit. Along the way they make friends and enemies, right some wrongs, and learn more about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Find out what happens when a stern woman takes over running her uncle’s estate in desperation to avoid marrying a man she cannot love—a man who wants nothing more than to ruin them both. Will Alex and Danika find out the truth of her situation? Or will some final treachery cost them everything they’ve gained?

Back on the road and slogging through days of foul weather, Danika manages to get Alex to tell her of his past, and why he now travels so far from his homeland. It is a heart-wrenching story of love versus duty, where Alex learned the hard way that you can’t let your devotion to the one you hold most dear blind you to her more sordid and malevolent side. In the end, will Alex be able to set aside his own feelings and deal decisively with the horror and outrage the one he cherishes most has perpetrated on others?

Even delightful little villages have their dark secrets. A stop in a small country inn buzzing with local gossip about a recent murder leads to Alex and Danika looking up the rather ostentatious Lord of the area. Unfortunately, involving themselves in the situation with the idea of bringing the truth to light sets Alex and Danika up for revenge when the unhappy family of the deceased sets the bounty hunters back on their trail.

These are the tales garnered by the wayside, where just about anything can and will happen. By Nancy A. Hansen from HANSEN’S WAY and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a terrific cover, logo design, and print formatting by Emily Mottesheard, BY THE WAYSIDE TALES is available in print on Amazon for $11.99.

This fantastic trilogy of short stories is also available as an eBook formatted by Mottesheard for the Kindle for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email Editor in Chief.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, visit our webpage. Like Pro Se on Facebook for all the latest news and release updates.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Research

Researching stories is part of the joy of writing for me. Need to be able neutralize TNT safely and at ambient temperature. Now, it works a bit different in the story that in this article, but this cool article lends enough plausibility to use it.

Spinach Yes, the secret is Spinach. Popeye may have had one up on us after all. Want to know more? Click on the word Spinach for the article.

Thanks for Reading,

Ernest