Monday, March 21, 2011

A Lance Star: Sky Ranger Excerpt: “WHERE THE SEA MEETS THE SKY” by Bobby Nash

Here's an excerpt from Bobby's story “Where The Sea Meets The Sky” from Volume One of the Lance Star: Sky Ranger pulp anthology series still on sale at http://gopulp.info, your local bookstore or your favorite on-line retailer.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger
“WHERE THE SEA MEETS THE SKY”
Bobby Nash

I - BLINDSIDED

Lance Star did not see the attack coming until it was too late.

The first punch startled him. Catching him by surprise, the hit caused him to lose his precious balance. Before he could regain his footing, a second blow caught him just under the chin. That shot sent him flying over the wooden chairs and onto the old wobbly table.

The table was old, worn out from years of abuse and usage. It was not strong enough to support the added weight of the pilot and its legs gave way under impact, dropping Lance to the floor along with the contents of the table.

Stunned, Lance hit the floor one second before the rain of assorted mixed nuts and lukewarm beer splattered across him.

Lance was on his feet in an instant. “Who the hell hit me?” he demanded, although a quick glance around the room provided the answer.

Not far away stood a lumbering mountain of a man named Niles Isburgh. No longer concerned with the stunned air ace, he was now laughing heartily with his friends, presumably at Lance’s expense. Swilling beer and telling tall tales rounded out his activities. He had already turned his back on Lance. He was the only one in the place that was not watching the scene with some perverse satisfaction. That certainly moved him to the top of Lance’s list of suspects.

That and the fact that there was no love lost between the two pilots. This was not their first tussle and somehow, Lance suspected, it would not be their last.

Normally when their paths crossed, Lance gave the ill-tempered bruiser a wide berth. Not that the man’s size or strength intimidated Lance, but sometimes putting up with another pilot’s ego was not worth the effort.

That was a given in Ice’s case.

Usually.

But not today.

Enough is enough!

“Ice!” Lance shouted. “You’d better have a damned good reason for this!”

Isburgh turned and wiped drink and crumbs from his thick, matted beard with the back of his hand. People had been calling him Ice since he was a teenager because of his last name. However, the moniker became widely used once his hair turned pure white.

When Ice saw the anger burning in Lance’s eyes, he could not help but let loose another belly laugh. These two men had never really liked one another. Isburgh thought Lance was a pretentious, glory-seeking showoff.

Lance simply thought Ice was an ass.

“Well, well, well,” Ice sneered. “If it ain’t the Air Ace himself, Lance Star!” He drew out the “L” like an air show announcer might. Another round of laughter filled the room as Ice’s cohorts joined in with their leader. “What brings ye to my slice of the world, Lancey Boy?”

“I am in no mood for this, Ice. I’m just in town to see some old friends, take in a little sun, and shake down my new plane. I’ve got no beef with you.”

“Yeah, right,” Ice said as he downed another gulp. “Don’t presume t’ lie to me, Lancey Boy. I know exactly why you’re here.”

“Care to enlighten me,” Lance said as he rubbed his aching jaw. Ice hit like a prizefighter. “Because you seem to know a hell of a lot more about it than I do.”

“Don’t kid a kidder, Lancey Boy. You’re here for the treasure just like the rest of us, ain’t ye?”

“Treasure?” Lance was confused. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Okay, so we’re going t’ play it that way, are we?”

Lance stood his ground. “I really have no idea what you’re talking about, Ice. I promise.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“That’s your problem,” Lance said. “You’re drunk so I’m willing to let bygones be bygones here if…”

“I’m not!” Ice interrupted as he took another swing at the ace pilot from the mainland.

This time, however, Lance was ready for him. He easily sidestepped the big man’s clumsy punch. Impeded by drink, Isburgh was no match for his more agile, and sober, opponent. He would not get the chance to sucker punch him as he had before.

Lance used the man’s own momentum against him and helped him to the floor.

“Stay down, Ice,” Lance said as he rested a boot on his attacker’s back.

Before Ice could mutter a reply, his friends took a step toward Lance, who steeled himself for a fight. Suddenly, he wished he’d brought either Buck or Red with him. A wingman would have come in handy at the moment, considering the odds. He had a gun tucked into a shoulder holster under his flight jacket, but knew that pulling it would elevate this from a simple bar squabble into something a lot worse so he decided against that option quickly.

Fortunately for Lance, one step was all they were going to get.

From nearby someone cleared his throat loudly, a subtle way of asking what was going on without actually saying the words. “Am I interrupting something?” Andrew Stewart asked from the bar.

Lance’s eye lit up at the sight of the newcomer. “Drew!” he called happily. It was a rare thing for a man in a bar fight would be thrilled to see the local constabulary walk in. Then again, Lance Star was not your average man.

And he had just flown across the Pacific to see the man after all.

“In town less than an hour and already causing trouble, eh Lance?”

“What can I say? These things happen.”

“To you, maybe.” Commander Andrew Stewart of the United States Navy said as he pointed at the man lying on the floor. “Would you mind letting him up?” he asked twitching the finger he had pointed at the clearly irritated Isburgh.

“Hmm? Oh, right,” Lance said playfully, as if he had forgotten the inebriated treasure hunter was down there. He removed his foot and allowed the big man the chance to get to his feet. He offered a hand to help, but Ice would not accept it.

Drew nodded toward the man who had entered with him. “You guys want me to have the Lieutenant Keyona here take you guys downtown or would you rather just shake on it and call it a day?” he asked.

Lance, offering an olive branch, stuck out a hand.

Reluctantly, Ice shook it tightly.

“Much better,” Stewart said as he pointed toward Lance. “What say you and I take a walk.”

“Sounds like a mighty fine idea,” Lance chuckled.

Drew looked to the pilot he had just rescued. “Ice,” he said.

Isburgh nodded and simply said, “Drew.”

Moments later, Lance and Andrew were walking along the beach, staring out at the most beautiful sunset either man had ever seen.

“Now there’s a sight,” Lance said as he marveled at the brilliant washes of red, orange, and purple that filled the crystal clear dusk sky. “There’s just something about sunsets in paradise,” he said with a smile.

“Welcome to Hawaii, Lance. I’m glad you could make it.”

Want to know what happens next?

Pick up Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 1 from Airship 27 Productions and Cornerstone Books at your favorite bookstore or on-line bookseller or directly from the Airship 27 Hangar to find out.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 1 (print)
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/lance-star---sky-ranger-volume-1/3029880

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 1 (eBook)
http://homepage.mac.com/robmdavis/Airship27Hangar/index.html#lancestar

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE:

Airship 27 Productions and Cornerstone Book Publishers take to the skies with the release of their reprint edition of LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER. This collection of new stories starring the long forgotten pulp hero was the first anthology title produced by Airship 27 Prod. dated 2006. Its overwhelming success helped launch the company’s ambitious plans to bring back classic pulp characters in brand new adventures. “Without LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER, there probably would have been no Airship 27 Prod.” claimed Editor Ron Fortier. “It was the book that got us going.”

This anthology features four action packed tales of Lance and his loyal Sky Rangers. They include, Attack of the Birdman by Frank Dirscherl, Where the Sea Meets the Sky by Bobby Nash, Shadows Over Kunlun by Win Scott Eckert and Talons of the Red Condor by Bill Spangler with cover and interior art by comic pro, Rich Woodall of Johnny Raygun fame.

The book also contains an article on the history of the character by Norman Hamilton and a second on airplane modeling in the 1930s and 40s by Larry Marshall. Included as an added bonus feature for this new edition is an excerpt from Bobby Nash’s full length novel, Lance Star – Sky Ranger: 1941 – The Road to War, coming soon! [update: THE NOVEL’S TITLE HAS SINCE CHANGED.]

At the height of the pulps’ popularity, flying heroes like Dusty Ayers, G8 & His Battle Aces and Bill Barnes were among the biggest sellers on the market. Airship 27 Prod. is once again turning the spotlight on another such aviation daredevil, LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER!

LANCE STAR – SKY RANGER
Edited by Ron Fortier
Introduction by Norman Hamilton
“Attack of the Bird Man” by Frank Dirscherl
“Where the Sea Meets The Sky” by Bobby Nash
“Shadows over Kunlun” by Win Scott Eckert
“Talons of the Red Condors” by Bill Spangler
“Pulp Aviation Heroes & the Rise of the Model Aviation Press” by Larry Marshall
Afterword 2008 by Ron Fortier
Runner by Bobby Nash
Cover and interior illustrations copyright © 2008 by Rich Woodall
Lance Star logo design by Matt Talbot
Production and design by Rob Davis
ISBN: 1-934935-01-8
Produced by Airship 27
Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers
Release date: 6/17/2008
Soaring into your favorite bookseller!

Also, we're gearing up for the launch of Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 3 in 2011 so this is a great time to catch up on all things Lance Star.

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 1 (print)
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/lance-star---sky-ranger-volume-1/3029880

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 1 (eBook)
http://homepage.mac.com/robmdavis/Airship27Hangar/index.html#lancestar

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 2 (print)
http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/lance-star-sky-ranger-volume-2/6019875

Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 2 (eBook)
http://homepage.mac.com/robmdavis/Airship27Hangar/index.html#lancestar2

Lance Star: Sky Ranger "One Shot!" (Comic Book )
http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4019

Keep watching this space and http://www.lance-star.com/ for news on Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 3.
Bobby

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