With each anthology we release at Sirens Call Publications, we enjoy sharing the inspiration behind the stories contained within them. Our recent release, Bellows of the Bone Box is a combination of two fantastic genres – Steampunk and Horror. The authors have decided to share their inspirations of their story or talk about what Steampunk means to them. Now let’s take a moment to check in with Megan Dorei, who contributed Chasing Rabbits to Bellows of the Bone Box…
Megan Dorei, when not obsessively listening to music or dreaming of being a vigilante, is working on a plethora of stories that have yet to come to fruition. She is a recent high school graduate and does not yet attend college, choosing instead to focus on her writing. She was recently published in Elektrik Milk Bath Press’ Zombies for a Cure collection and will soon have another story published in Less Than Three Press’ Kiss Me at Midnight collection. She lives in McLouth, Kansas. Megan can be found on Facebook at and on Goodreads.
The Inspiration Behind Chasing Rabbits
Sometimes words or phrases just burst into my mind like fireworks. When “destinatrix” burst in, it was incredibly random, incredibly strange, and incredibly enticing. Still, it was just a thread, a gossamer strand that led to nowhere. I gave it a quick definition – a woman who could control all aspects of her destiny through supernatural means – and then filed it away.
A few months later, as I was taking a stroll through Target, I was struck by another, more solid idea. I had my headphones on, as per usual for me no matter where I am, and a song by the stunning and incomparable Muse was pounding at a decibel far too loud to be healthy. I was seeing, as I always do when completely absorbed in the music, a different world. The aisles changed to grim alleys and rain-washed streets, then back to aisles again. The light changed from headache-inducing fluorescent to grimy, stormy gray and back again. I was rippling between dimensions, between my reality and everyone else’s.
I was enchanted by the idea of a woman who could rip time and open dimensions, seemingly by her own hand. Destinatrix floated back to me then, as though waiting for that very moment to be summoned, and I began daydreaming about a woman who, as her profession, leapt through portals separating her reality from someone else’s. I knew I wanted the story, wherever it may lead me, to be grim but I still had yet to nail down the details.
About a year or so later, after my experimental (and thankfully successful!) headfirst dive into the publishing world, I found the call for Bellows of the Bone Box. And I’ve always been in love with Steampunk, so there were no reservations in my mind that I had to write something for it. The cogs just sort of meshed (forgive me; I couldn’t help myself!) and I knew the destinatrix idea had finally come round full circle. Combine that with anti-Big Brother sentiments (an irresistible plot thread that seems to find its way into a majority of my stories) and a love interest (one of my other literary weaknesses), and I had the story that had been revealing itself to me in bits and pieces since that first random firework in my head.
I also make several allusions in my story to an influence that didn’t actually reveal itself until I started writing, and that would be to the eternally inspiring Alice in Wonderland. I’ve always been rather seduced by the thought of falling down the rabbit hole and intruding on a world that parallels and yet skews your own. I was also spurred on by the image of Alice chasing the White Rabbit, thus being led to that slanted reality.
Nothing more than that, really – just a few of the right ingredients and a good, healthy dollop of luck. A lot of the time, that’s all the stories come down to.
The Steampunk and Horror genres are masterfully combined in the twelve stories contained within Bellows of the Bone Box. Each of the authors has transported you to an age where steam is the dominate means of power and has woven a tale that will fascinate, or possibly scandalize you.
In this volume, you will find clockworks, pneumatic tubes, airships, and leather worn out of necessity – not vanity. Can an engine be powered by human blood; should it be? What about body modification; what happens when the mechanical meets the biological and goes awry? Does the heart rule the machine, or does the machine consume the humanity that once existed within it? What of airships, regeneration, or hallucination; is it safe to trifle with such things? Should technology that can rift time and dimensions be researched; and if that research proves fruitful, should it ever see the light of day?
Packed full of intrigue, imagination, and horror, lovers of Steampunk will have a hard time deciding which of the twelve is their favorite!
Featuring the talents of:
Brad Bass, Paul Boulet, Laura Brown, Vivian Caethe, Alex Chase, Megan Dorei, O.M. Grey, Tarl Hoch, Gavin Ireland, Kirk Jones, Kate Monroe and Christofer Nigro
Here’s an excerpt from Chasing Rabbits by Megan Dorei from Bellows of the Bone Box -
Kale stares across the table at me. He meets my venomous glare without flinching. The incessant ticking of the Clocks around us flickers in and out of my ears like the beating of dragonfly wings.
We have come to an impasse. Kale will not back down and I will not give in. All previous feelings of camaraderie are gone. Gone like they never were.
“Emerson,” he begins impatiently. I curl my lip at the name but remain silent. “This is a business.”
“A well-oiled machine,” I mutter, rolling my eyes to the side insolently.
“Yes,” he snaps. “Nothing is personal. It’s just business.”
“Well, business reeks. Right down to its rotting bones.” I cross my arms over my chest and stare into the blackness around us.
The only lights in the room are the ones that illuminate the Clocks and the single bulb that hangs over the table. How many times have I come to this pit of an office? How many late-night calls? How many Clocks stopped and replaced because of me?
Kale leans across the table, his eyes urgent. I watch him out of the corner of my eye but purposely keep my face turned to the side.
“Emerson. Corpo is preparing to eradicate you. They’ve already done the paperwork and-”
I snort. “Paperwork? They need paperwork to kill me?” I exclaim. I can’t explain the sudden and irrational outrage in my chest but I make no attempt to quench it.
“Well, you do technically belong to them,” Kale points out.
I slam my fist down on the table and point my finger sharply. Kale leans back, eyes wide with wariness. I see his eyes flicker to the belt where he keeps his knife.
“I do not belong to them,” I hiss. In my head I hear…
Destery, so I shake my head, shutting my eyes tightly. His voice rattles into silence.
“There’s no reason to get pissy,” Kale says, snapping my eyes open. He is holding the knife, pointing the gleaming golden blade directly at my heart.
I laugh. “What are you going to do with that, Kale?” I ask. “I’m a drone, or have you forgotten so quickly where we both stand?”
The knife wavers ever so slightly. The Clocks document the heartbeat of hesitant silence as Kale stares at me, mouth parted by anxiety. I smile grimly at him.
“No,” he responds slowly, retracting the knife and leaning back in his black leather chair. “Of course not.”
Don’t forget to come tomorrow for another inspiration post from one of the authors of Bellows of the Bone Box!