Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Reads: Coyote Steampunk Fantasy Series from Chantal Noordeloos

Today's featured Christmas Read, Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly, is the latest book in the Coyote fantasy-steampunk-western series from Dutch writer Chantal Noordeloos. (The first book, Coyote, The Outlander, also has a new cover!  See info at end.) 

About the Book:

A mysterious circus comes to town, dazzling the crowd with astonishing feats of magic and mechanics. However, when Coyote, Caesar and their new companion take a closer look, they find things are not as innocent as the posters suggest. A dark secret hides behind the brightly colored tents, one that may force good friends to grow apart. 

Caesar stands at a crossroad, where he has to make a difficult choice, and, for the first time, Coyote finds herself wondering who her allies really are, as she takes on the most dangerous foes she has ever faced.

I decided that this was a good excerpt to add, since it really gives the reader a sneak peek at who Coyote is. The scene portrays her personality nicely, and it does so without giving spoilers. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite excerpt of the book, but I don’t want to give away too much.

Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly is the second book in the series. Though all the books will be linked, I try to create individual stories within the books themselves, so that the reader does get a sense of an ‘end’ to the stories, without it actually being the end. The series is  based on a role play character of mine, Coyote, who I played for a game called Deadlands. She’s the one that started it all, and I love writing about her. 

The Clockwork Dragonfly has been inspired by several things. Whilst doing research about Steampunk, I came across a lot of clockwork insects. They tickled my creativity and the idea of a clockwork dragonfly was born. I knew I wanted to incorporate a circus or a carnival in this book, since I’ve been walking around with the image of Madam Libelle, the ring mistress of the Clockwork Dragonfly, since I heard the song “Golden Age of Grotesque” by Marilyn Manson. The two combined rather well in my head, and thus the idea for this book was born.


Nothing beats a good showdown.
   “You won’t be the first bounty hunter I’ve killed, little girl.” The Outlander guffawed, spittle flying from his lips. “And you won’t be the last.” He puffed up his impressive chest, and Coyote could not hide her smile. She liked to see overconfidence in an opponent.
   “Are you sure about that, fat man?” She ran the palm of her hand across the butt of her gun, the way an owner would stroke a cat. There is something alluring and powerful about having a shooting iron on my hip. “Because you won’t be the first Outlander I kill.”
   “You need to be a good shot to kill me with that.” The Outlander’s froggy eyes gleamed with pleasure, and his large lips rubbed against each other. With two hands, he lifted his stomach a few inches and let it drop again. “And trust me, no matter how good you are, you won’t be good enough. I never stay down long.” The creature leered at her as if he had a secret, and Coyote nodded – her smile never faded.
   “They told me that about you.” She pulled her derby away from her eyes. “That’s a neat trick, being able to come back from the dead. Oh, I’m aware of that particular talent of yours.”
   The Outlander blinked at her, his face betraying his surprise.
   “I can see how you killed a lot of bounty hunters with that particular skill. They probably never saw it coming.” She winked at him. “It’s a little inconvenient, to say the least, to shoot an Outlander and have him get back up.” Coyote squinted her eyes and then shrugged. “It’s nothing I can’t work around.”
   The Outlander let out a boisterous laugh – more spittle flew from his liver lips – and he revealed a set of grey broken teeth.
   “You can work around my immortality?” He laughed again, and his whole body shook.
   “You’re not immortal, fat man,” Coyote retorted with a warm smile. “People who can’t die are immortal. You can die; you’re just hard to kill.”
   The Outlander slapped the thick flesh of his belly and rubbed it slowly, the smile still prominent on his pudgy face. “You think you can shoot me with that pea shooter of yours?” His voice took on a metallic quality, like nails dragged across iron.
   “I know I can shoot you with my pea shooter. I am one heck of a shot.”
   “And you think you can kill me with your iron bullets?”
   “Iron bullets alone won’t do the trick, but I hear that Huzela juice in your blood will help those bullets kill you just fine.”
    The rubbing motion stopped and the Outlander gawked at Coyote.
   “Caesar?” Coyote’s tone was soft and smug, and the Outlander jumped a little when Caesar touched him. The big creature turned just in time to see the little man with coal black skin run from harm’s way. Caesar held a large, intricate copper syringe with a curved needle in his hand, and Coyote chuckled at the sight. The fat creature roared in outrage.
   “What have you done to me, you bitch?” He charged toward Coyote, and she could see the color in his eyes turn from yellow to red.
   This Huzela juice must be powerful stuff, she thought. Before the creature could take more than four steps, Coyote pulled the trigger and put a bullet in his eye. The Outlander stood still in his tracks. He looked stunned, a small hole gaping where his right eye used to be.          Then he dropped to his knees and fell forward with a heavy, meaty thud. Normally a bullet does a lot more damage to a living thing, Coyote marveled. Not that she minded. She never liked cleaning up the mess some Outlanders left behind, but it was an unfortunate part of the job.
   “Told you I was a good shot.” She stood over the fallen form of her bounty, her lips formed the shape of an “O,” and as she blew the smoke from her gun, the heat of the barrel glowed near her skin. The bounty hunter holstered her gun with a swift movement and placed her hand on her hip. Caesar watched from a distance, and Coyote shot him a triumphant smile.
   “I like nice and clean jobs like this one.” She tugged on the rim of her derby, and was about to ask Caesar to help her with the body when the Outlander exploded.

  About Coyote, The Outlander: (Book 1)

Amazon.com - Coyote: The Outlander (with FREE second screen experience)

  (New cover!) No one knows where or when the mysterious rips will appear, but from them, Outlanders walk the earth, leaving chaos in their wake.

Coyote, a charismatic bounty hunter, travels the land with her enigmatic partner, Caesar. Together –with the help of magic and technology—the unlikely duo tracks down these dangerous criminals from different worlds. Along the way, Coyote discovers a secret that threatens to shatter everything she believes about herself, her father, and her sworn enemy, James Westwood.

Whether Outlander or inner demons, some things can't be solved with a six shooter.

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