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Jay Barnson

Software engineer, video game developer, and father, Jay Barnson

is a transplant to the state of Utah from the east coast. He grew up on

a diet of science fiction and fantasy ranging from Howard, Heinlein,

and Tolkien to Lucas and Spielberg. His wife and daughters had to

drag him to his first steampunk convention. And now they can’t drag

him away from the genre. Jay’s first short story with The X, “Dots,

Dashes and Deceit,” appeared in Terra Mechanica: A Steampunk

Anthology (2014).

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1. Character Casting: Who would you cast for your main

characters and why?

Samuel Chase – Zachary Levi. For reasons of Samuel’s heritage, and

the fact that Levi has proven he can play a buff nerd… which

describes Samuel.

Miriam Janssen – Jennifer Lawrence. Hey, I can dream, can’t I? She’s

smart and doesn’t suffer fools lightly.

Brom “Bones” van Brunt – Rutger Hauer. Brom was an athlete,

horseman, jokester, and maybe a little bit of a thug when he was

younger – a lot like some of the characters Hauer played.

Katrina van Brunt – Kate Mulgrew. Katrina was once a beautiful young

heiress with few requirements but to attend her studies and choose a

suitor, but decades and hardship have forced her to become practical

and self-reliant. Mulgrew could definitely do that.

2. Author Favorite Things:

My favorites change daily. I’m a leaf in the wind!

- Quote

Not “I’m a leaf in the wind,” sadly. How about this one by Antoine de

Saint-Exupery: “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing

more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

- TV show

Ever? Probably Firefly. *sniff*

- Comic book character

Spider-Man. Love his style. Unless I’m trying to prove my geek cred

by noting someone less popular, in which case I’d choose Illyana

Rasputin (Magik). Poor Illyana.

- Movie

If I pretend the other movies didn’t happen, I might answer “The


- Book

Fiction? Probably The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

- Candy bar

Symphony Bar.

- Junk food

Cajun french fries.

- Place you visited

Hawaii. It might be different living there, but it sure is an excellent

place to visit.

- Restaurant

Rodizio Grill!

- Island

Miyazaki’s Laputa – the Castle in the Sky.

1. Please share how you came up with the concept for your


Almost every modern story based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -

movies, TV shows, whatever – makes the assumption that the

headless horseman was a supernatural entity. I thought, “how about

a follow-up story based on the idea that there was nothing

supernatural going on?” The horseman was Brom the whole time.

Ichabod Crane did go to New York City and became a successful

lawyer, and eventually a judge, as was suggested in the original

story. Maybe he raised a family – that was definitely a dream of his.

Assume a steampunk twist to the story – with some fun pseudo-

science – and move forward a few decades into the middle 1800s,

and what kind of story could be told?

Originally, Brom wasn’t even going to be a character in the story. But

when I imagined the strapping, athletic, sometimes bullying prankster

Brom in his waning years – literally, the waning days of his life in this

story – I fell in love with the concept. Here’s a guy whose body has

betrayed him, his regrets weighing down his soul. What would he do

for one more day of youthful vigor? And what would he do with it if he

got it?

2. Please name some of your other published works?

As far as fiction is concerned, I had a steampunk short story

published by Xchyler last year in Terra Mechanica called “Dots,

Dashes, and Deceit.” I’m also an indie game developer, and my most

recent release is a tongue-in-cheek fantasy role-playing game for

Windows called “Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon.” Yeah, it

is pronounced “Smack Down.” We’re talking subtle, high-brow humor


3. What is your preferred writing genre?

At this point, with two steampunk stories published, I’d have to say

steampunk. I love it and want to keep writing more of it, if only

because it’s something fun and relatively different. But I’m a fan of all

kinds of speculative fiction, so I’m really happy working with several


4. And preferred reading genre?

That’s kind of like asking me to name my favorite child, isn’t it? I could

say, “Speculative Fiction” and leave it at that, I guess, because I love

everything from horror to space opera to steampunk to sword-and-

sandals fantasy. While I definitely have a preference for the fantastic,

it still comes down more to author and story for me than genre.

5. What are your top 3 favorite books?

If I were to limit myself to fiction, I’d say… Neuromancer by William

Gibson, The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold, and

Small Favor by Jim Butcher. Although all three of those are part of a

series of books and short stories, and I couldn’t possibly just

recommend anyone read one book without reading the rest…

6. Do you have any particular writing habits?

Bad ones, mainly. My wife is amused by my habit of pacing while I’m

thinking. If I get stuck trying to figure out how to say something or

how to get to point B from point A, I apparently need to move my feet

to resolve it.

7. Do you have a playlist that you created while writing your


The theme song for The Van Tassel Legacy was “Last Ride of the

Day” by Nightwish, from their Imaginaerium album.

8. Panster or plotter?

I’m a poser panster and a poor plotter. How’s that? I like to think that I

can write by the seat of my pants and my muse just cuts loose, but

that never happens. I need a solid foundation to work from. It’s like I

don’t know what to write until I’ve already written it… in the form of an

outline. But then the story never follows the outline. It starts there, but

inevitably runs off in its own direction about halfway through.

9. Advice for writers?


10. What’s up next for you?

More short stories, for the time being.


February 22:

A Princess of Jasoom by J. Aurel Guay

February 23:

Winged Hope by Megan Oliphant

February 23:

The Van Tassel Legacy by Jay Barnson

February 24:

Invested Charm M. Irish Gardner

February 25:

Payoff for Air Pirate Pete by D. Lee Jortner

February 26:

Rise of the House of Usher by J.R. Potter

February 26:

The Silver Scams by M. K. Wiseman

February 27:

Nautilus Redux by Scott E. Tarbet

February 27:

Mr. Thornton by Scott William Taylor

February 28:

West End Neve Talbot


The latest review of my Anthology can be found ‘write’ here!

Book Review: Blondes, Books & Bourbon (ARC).


Is this irony?

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Homesteading

So yesterday was the second day of real issues with the furnace over night.
I dug out 80% of the ashes and found most of that was the consistency of a milkshake. Now even with wet green wood that seemed like a lot. This isn’ the first year dealing with green wood – or wet wood. When I went back a few hours later and found water on the bottom of the inside compartment I got a bad bad bad feeling.
So I marked the level of the water table inside the boiler —-

Today, roughly 24hrs later, I checked that level – it’s down noticeably… and it sure as hell didn’t boil off.

So now I am busting my ass, breaking my back, and freezing my extremities to get wood for a enclosed fire that has water leaking into it constantly.

I think I’ll let Mr. Kershaw finish off this post

There has been silence from me on this blog of mine.

I have been busy trying to keep up on the wood needed to heat the house and too exhausted afterwards to do anything but slump onto the couch. That has been my life, really, for almost two weeks. This is getting harder as the snow plies high, and the temperature drops into dangerously cold levels

The only deviation in this is that I have rejoined the SCA (society for creative anachronism)  and thus there is, in my breast, the desire to begin creating work of art in jewellery form. But – time ….



I haven’t – much to my chagrin and pain – written in over two weeks. This seems like some sort of cheat as my anthology comes out in less than a month. On March, Friday the 13th, a new book with my name on it is birthed into the world. As it is a collection of all my short stories, this is a brand new sort of anxiety I face.
To top off my current life struggle (ignoring that it is my usual bipolar cycle time) I managed to break the tip of my right ring finger. It’s amazing how often that part of the body comes in contact with — with, well, everything!

So in pain, distress, and anoyance I move forward dreaming of a day were the tempurature stays above the freezing mark

I have managed the last two days to get in decent morning writing sessions. Redemption’s Child progresses and I’ve reach the first real ‘excitement’ scene. I hope that from this point on the tension, and action just keep escalating. This novel promises to be both very entertaining to me to write, and yet challenging as well.

As I see it, the breathing spaces in the story should come further, and further, apart and be shorter, and shorter, each time. A rising pace through out the novel, that – hopefully – had the reader flicking the pages towards the climax with greater enthusiasm and need.

A story can’t be all action, without some pauses, it simply becomes too much – almost boring – I plan to keep this  in mind as I go. There is also an emotional aspect, regarding what my protagonist is going through, as the story progresses, that needs to be shown. This will help both give small breaks in the action while giving more impact and tension during the action scenes.

I’m worried about my portrayal of the child that Jonathan is watching over. I don’t have much exposure to children in my life, and thus don’t have real world experience to draw on. I do expect  that anything which rings too false or contrary, will be brought to my attention by my beta-reader as she does have such experiences to compare to.

For now, as always, I write. I write without judging or worrying. I write the tale as it is shared with me by my Muse – all other aspects will be dealt with when the novel is edited.