20,001 A Steampunk Odyssey Now Available!

This post is a few days late, but who cares because the 20,001 A Steampunk Odyssey by Kindling Press is now available! It features ten steampunk stories including my sci-fi/steampunk story “Strike Breakers.”

Here’s a little blurb for “Strike Breakers” to get you interested:

There’s no work in Brentry Tor. The Wilder and Grimes Railway Company knows it and uses that fact to bring in droves of desperate men to work on the first ever transcontinental steam railway. But when the pay stops coming and the excuses pile up, the workers have no choice but to go on strike. Now it’s only a matter of time before Wilder and Grimes sends in strike breakers.

20,001 A Steampunk Odyssey is available on Amazon and Smashwords. Go check it out, and if any of you are interested in review copies, let me know!

Is it Cheating?

On Thursday a huge black out hit all of San Diego, parts of Orange County, northern Baja California, parts of Arizona, and even New Mexico. Left without power and fading sunlight, my girlfriend decided to take a nap. Before she fell asleep she suggested I write…the old fashioned way. I was reluctant because I was in the middle of working on a novel outline and it was saved on my computer. I wouldn’t be able to make concrete progress without the files open in front of me. She then suggested I write a short story, but I told her I was going to read instead.

So I plopped down on the couch and dove into Broken Time Blues, which is pretty awesome by the way. I made it through two stories and the title of a third when inspiration hit me. A collection of images I’d had in my mind for a long time all came together. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to write a story about a robot neighborhood in 1920s Manhattan and anti-robot riots. I put down the book and quickly began outlining my story.

As I was doing that and all the next day a nagging feeling kept eating at me. My idea for a story only came after reading some from Broken Time Blues. Did that mean my idea wasn’t my own? I hadn’t read any stories so far in that collection that dealt with robots and riots, so I definitely wasn’t stealing. But it felt like I was borrowing inspiration or something. Is this cheating somehow? Is it cheating if reading a story or book inspires you to want to write something of your own?

I don’t have an answer. I want to hear from other writers if they’ve ever had something like this happen before.