The final draft of Airship Legacy is ready. I need a few BETA readers. The first six people that send me an email request will get an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in .epub format. I would hope to get some feedback from them on typos or any other issue they encounter.
If all goes well, I expect to release this blockbuster towards the end of August.
Airship Legacy is an eighty five thousand word steampunk/dieselpunk crossover novel. It’s a multi-generational adventure on three continents, on land, sea, and air. There are several strong female characters including an airship captain nicknamed Crazy Taylor.
In the following excerpt, two military airships have engaged in battle near a tropical Pacific island.
Katrina realized it was much quieter. Weapons on both craft had stopped and she heard only the tortured whine of their overstressed engines and the wind, whistling through the many bullet holes. They passed astern of the other airship and were engulfed in the choking oil smoke from her flaming fuselage. By now, both craft were only a short distance above the dark blue of deep water. White spray from waves rolling over the half-submerged reefs was dampening the bottom of their hulls.
Hanz ordered Katrina to twist the wheel and kick the rudder pedals hard to one side. Then he shouted. “Forward mount! Target their bomb bay. See if you they have any left!” In a slow response to their efforts at the helm, the mortally wounded craft rolled to one side, enabling her belly guns to release a final stream of Willy Pæter. Every shot was centered on the double-hatch. The two craft were so close, none of the shots had a chance to spread until after they had punched through the thin metal.
One, last bomb was still in the rack and it was hit with more than a dozen rounds of Willy Pæter before it exploded. That was the final indignity for both ships.
The Blitzlied was hit hard on it’s port side, rolling with the impact until the cabin deck was almost vertical. That only held for a few seconds as the airframe crumpled and their momentum carried them forward. The reinforced keel contained forward and aft gun mounts, the power generator and the bridge. The cabin remained on its side, sliding closer to the water when, without warning, they hit the reef with a loud crash and she twisted sideways to lay full-length against the partially-submerged rocks. As two more waves hit what remained of the wreckage, the cabin rolled back into an almost level position before it slammed down. Water poured in through shattered windows and split seams. All except a few of the instrument lights died and the engines splashed to a stop.
Victoria was the first to free herself from the safety harness and struggle through the knee-deep water, to her brother. “He’s still alive!” She shouted as she released his buckles.
“Over there! That red handle above the door.” Hanz shouted at Katrina. “Pull it down hard!”
As she left the seat, she grabbed the canvas shoulder bag with her spare batteries and splashed over to the buckled hatch. When she hauled down on the red handle, it released an outside panel over the hatch and a rubberized package dropped. As soon as it fell, it started to make a loud hissing noise and inflate. Katrina pushed on the hatch and nothing happened. The second attempt, she just kicked the center support and the whole hatch popped open, then disappeared beneath the foam. She jumped to grab the raft and with one hand on a rope handle, she stood, chest-deep in water. Another wave hit and the remaining fuselage threatened to roll over them.
Hanz and Victoria carried the limp form of their captain to the hatch. Katrina hauled hard on the rope and swung the raft around so they might tumble in. “Here!” She slung the canvas bag from her shoulder, into the tiny craft. It was obviously only designed for two. There must have been others, but the airship was being torn apart around them. “Use your hands and paddle for shore!” She commanded, then started pushing against the reef and kicking as hard as she could force them away from the collapsing wreckage.
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