Welcome to author Ginn Hale and the virtual tour for her latest release, The Long Past & Other Stories! We’re so pleased to have Ginn joining us today to chat about the creation of the fantasy world in this collection of stories, and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for entry details.
The Old West, a Flood, and Dinosaurs, Oh My!
At the outset I wanted the world of The Long Past to resemble the American West in the later 1800’s. In particular, I wanted very much to capture the mixture of cultures, races, genders, and religions to be found during that period. When I created my diverse cast of trappers, veterans, stage magicians, and gunslingers I took inspiration from historical figures like Bass Reeves, Kanaye Nagasawa, Laura Bullion, Mary Fields and Jim Levy. I even wrote a few historical figures into the book, (though I readily admit that my characterizations of them are pure fiction.)
But in the year 1858 the world of the Long Past and the America history we know part ways significantly. That year, during the Arrow War (also called the Second Opium War by modern historians) mages tear open several rifts in time and the world is inundated with floodwaters from the cretaceous era as well as dinosaurs!
Mosasaurs sink ships, devouring sailors and their goods. Alamosaurs bigger than train engines devastate farmlands and topple telegraph lines. Giant pterosaurs like the breathtaking Quetzalcoatlus northropi tear airships from the skies, while tyranasaurs stalk the forests.
And the floodwaters continue to rise.
With great colonial nations like England and France largely submerged and the United States now divided by a vast Inland Sea, it becomes a new world of fantastical—and dangerous—beasts. It’s also a world where magic, religion and machinery fuse into a unified form of steampunk science, one powered by alchemical stone and the rare individuals who are born mages.
What seems like the End Times forges a new era of heroes and heroines who challenge tradition, law and even death as they transform the Old West into a New World.
About the Book
Title: The Long Past & Other Stories
Publisher: Blind Eye Books
Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 3, 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): 273 pages
Subgenre: Alt-history, steampunk, weird west
Blurb: 1858 –Warring mages open up a vast inland sea that splits the United States in two. With the floodwaters come creatures from a long distant past. What seems like the End Times forges a new era of heroes and heroines who challenge tradition, law, and even death as they transform the old west into a new world.
In the heart of dinosaur country a laconic trapper and a veteran mage risk treason to undertake a secret mission.
A brilliant magician and her beautiful assistant light up stages with the latest automaton, but the secrets both of them are hiding test their trust in each other and pit them against one of the most powerful men in the world.
At the wild edge of the Inland Sea, amidst crocodiles and triceratops, an impoverished young man and a Pinkerton Detective must join forces to outmaneuver a corrupt judge and his gunmen.
Though Grover reckoned his refusal would require exiting Fort Arvada right away before they realized they couldn’t buy him. Because as soon as they did, he didn’t doubt the Tuckers would find a reason that Grover should lose his liberty—with Sheriff Lee on their side it wouldn’t take long to fit him up as an outlaw—and decide that Grover would work for them whether he wanted to or not.
No, he’d go up the mountain. And if they followed him…
Well, there were a lot of ways men—even trained soldiers and mages—could disappear. Especially near the rift.
Feeling better for having a plan, Grover fetched his saddle, bags and lead.
When he turned back he discovered Betty standing up and extending her long neck over the stall door for Lawrence to stroke her beak. Very slowly Lawrence lifted his ivory and gold right hand and held it out for Betty to inspect. Betty gave the hinged plates of the palm her owl-eyed look but then went ahead and ran her beak across the ivory fingers.
The relief in Lawrence’s expression was so easy to read that Grover felt a pang of deep sympathy. It took a heap of rejection to make a man look that thankful for the acceptance of a critter like Betty. The thought tempered a little of Grover’s rage but not enough to let him forget all that the Tuckers had said. Or Lawrence’s silence in the wake of their suggestions.
“You might as well go back to the dance.” Grover walked past him and into the stall. He threaded the leather lead under Betty’s arms and buckled it across her back. “I’m not helping you to find the rift. I don’t care if you offer to make me king of California.”
“That’s not why I followed you out here.”
“Why, then?” Grover turned on him. “Cause if it’s for my rollicking company, I’ve got to warn you I’m in something of a foul temper.”
Lawrence simply nodded and Grover scowled at him.
“God’s sake, Lawrence, can’t you damn well say anything? Did you lose your tongue as well as your arm?” Grover regretted his words the moment they escaped his mouth. And seeing the brief flicker of pain in Lawrence’s expression, he realized how low a blow he’d dealt the other man.
“I didn’t mean—” Grover began, but Lawrence cut him off.
“That doesn’t matter,” he said. “What’s important is that you understand how necessary it is for me to get to the rift before the Tuckers.”
Grove paused with Betty’s saddle in his arms.
“What do you mean?” Grover asked. “You work with them. You ain’t thinking you can undercut the feds and stake a private claim like your granddaddy did, are you?”
“No.” Lawrence stole a glance back over his shoulder to the stable door then lowered his voice. “I told you. I’m working to close the rifts. That’s why I must reach the last one before they do. But I need your help to get there.”
Grover stared at him. Lawrence’s allegiance and obedience to the Office of Theurgy and Magicum glittered across his chest in an array of bright medals, but what he suggested sounded like insubordination—or worse if the Tuckers were reporting to the House of Representatives.
“Are we talking about an act of treason here?” Grover asked in a whisper.
Lawrence’s expression turned particularly grim. “Please help me, Grove. I don’t know that I can do this without you.”
Grover silently absorbed the enormity that simple request belied.
A mage flouting the orders of his theurgist superiors might as well be defying God. Wasn’t that the law? Grover couldn’t imagine that either of the Tuckers would take such insubordination lightly. And it wasn’t as if an accomplice would get off easy either. If he and Lawrence got caught at this then likely they’d share a gallows.
Only minutes before Grover had been thinking that assaulting the Tucker brothers wasn’t worth hanging for. But stopping them? That might be. Grover felt sick at the thought of being strung up—he’d seen too many men kick and jerk at the end of a rope not to—but he forced his fear down.
“How soon can you get packed up and ready to ride?” Grover asked.
About the Author
Award-winning author Ginn Hale lives in the Pacific Northwest with her lovely wife and their ancient, evil cat. She spends the rainy days admiring local fungi. The stormy nights, she spends writing science-fiction and fantasy stories featuring LGBT protagonists. (Attempts to convince the cat to be less evil have been largely abandoned.)