In conjunction with the release of my new mini-collection, GUNFIGHTER GOTHIC VOLUME 0: BLOOD OF THE UNIVERSE, I’ll be doing a Casting Call for the (cough) inevitable (cough) GUNFIGHTER GOTHIC movie over the next few days. You can get the Kindle edition of BLOOD OF THE UNIVERSE for 99 cents over at Amazon, and the paperback for $6.99.

CHARACTER: Hanna (Haneul)

HISTORY: Hanna was raised as a servant in the house of a wealthy Boston whaling merchant, caught between two economic realities. She became best friends with the whaling merchant’s daughter, Jill, and as the two of them grew up together, they began adventuring together around the house, around the city, and around Jill’s father’s ships, which would return from global journeys with all sorts of strange artifacts. As the adolescents became teenagers, and the teenagers became young ladies, Hanna fell in love with Jill, and even though Jill would never return that love for more than a night at a time, Hanna has never been able to leave Jill’s side. It was Hanna who ultimately convinced Jill to fell Boston on the morning of Jill’s scheduled wedding to Dotson Winters, a man she did not love.

PERSONALITY: Hanna is the eternal sidekick finally coming into her own. Being the child of servants in a merchant’s house, Hanna grew up surrounded by a wealth she could never have. She resented her parents participation in the Colony, a secret, loose collective of men and women from exploited nations who took working class positions in Europe and the Americas to keep an eye on acquired artifacts and protect their nations’ best interests by hiding in plain sight. As a result of being stuck between her friendship with Jill and her dislike of her parents’ status as Colony operatives, between the life she couldn’t have and the life she didn’t want, Hanna collapsed inside of herself, her only escape coming from her adventures with Jill.

Now that the two women have traveled west, however, Hanna is beginning to assert herself, and while she does not want a life without Jill, she is finally starting to determine her sense of self based on her own thoughts, and not on Jill’s.

CASTING: So who would I cast to play Hanna? I almost never write a character with a specific actor in mind, but this is one instance where I definitely see one actor in my head when I write Hanna: the star of Hawaii Five-0 and Battlestar Galactica: Grace Park, an actress who can play vulnerable as well as strong. As Sharon Valerii, I thought Park did a fantastic job of playing the character as having more inner strength that she thought she had, which is what the American West is bringing out of Hanna.

And it doesn’t hurt she’s sexy as hell.

HANNA EXCEPRT #1 (From “Train Comes a Burning”): Hanna aimed both of her pistols at the snarling werewolf. Her classic shooter had only two bullets left, but her fire-shooter was at 75%. Although she was carrying extra bullets, she’d never get a chance to load them. She could hit the wolfman with fire and roast him, but not before he tore her to pieces. Swallowing, she wished she had Jill’s ability to say something clever in a tough spot because she never could.

It had been that way since they were kids. Things weren’t going to change now.

The werewolf snarled and started walking towards her.

Hanna saw no other choice. She ignited her fire-shooter, drenching the werewolf’s fur. As expected, the wolfman rushed her, swiping at her with his powerful claws as his flesh and fur burned.

Grunting, Hanna took a blow on her left arm and dodged the next. She fired her last two bullets into the wolf’s chest, but it didn’t still the beast. With a supernatural strength, the wolfman grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her hard against the back door. Hanna’s head snapped back, cracking the glass and sending a wave of dizziness through her. The werewolf licked her face.

Hanna shivered, but got an idea.

Knowing her fire-shooter was her only option, she pressed the gun into the wolfman’s crotch and fired. The werewolf roared and stepped back, his hands going to the place of pain. Steeling herself, Hanna drove her boot into the wolfman’s knee, dropping him to the ground. Opening his mouth wide in a mix of pain and anger, the werewolf roared at Hanna.

“Something clever,” she whispered and jammed the fire shooter into the wolf’s mouth.

Hanna fired.

Flames erupted inside the wolfman’s throat and it jumped backwards, howling in pain and breathing fire. Hanna checked her arm to see that the wolf had scratched her deep. A week ago she’d have been terrified of infection, but now, thanks to Overalls’ gift, she knew it was a wolf’s bite, not scratch, that infected you. Wanting to go forward to Jill, Hanna turned her back on the burning creature and exited through the rear door. There was another bench car, four bedroom cars, two baggage cars, and then the caboose.

And in the caboose was the letter. If she could get it, all of Jill’s problems would vanish. She looked at her guns and tossed them aside. Hanna would have to raid the corpses she knew were waiting for her, hoping for a fully loaded weapon. She said a quick prayer for herself, and then a longer one for the woman she was leaving behind.

HANNA EXCERPT #2 (From “Blood of the Universe”): Finally moving to her feet, Hanna walked to the horse. Reaching a hand out to stroke Jill’s pale, bloodied face and black hair, Hanna’s body was in such a state of shock that she couldn’t bring herself to cry. She’d been in love with Jill all her life, and knew that her love would never fully be returned. Jill might tease and tempt and give Hanna the physical part of her body for a night, but she would never give Jill her heart and soul. Hanna loved her to the extent she took it, even though she knew the pleasure was only temporary, to be replaced by a deeper ache each time.

Jill’s death mea-


A rope was pulled tight around her neck. Hanna could feel a knee in her back pushing her body forward as strong hand pulled the rope hard.

“Choke her black,” a confident American voice ordered from off to the side. “The rest of you look for bodies. Dead, alive, it doesn’t matter. Find every body and burn them. Burn them all.”

“Except for the porter,” an Italian-throated female ordered.

Hanna grabbed for one of the Haverton guns she taken from the corpse as she gasped for breath. Her fingers tickled steel as her assailant’s knee pushed higher up her back. “Come on, come on, come on!” Hanna’s mind roared as dizziness started to descend. Grasping the handle with her right hand, Hanna pulled the gun into her hand. She had no idea what kind of weapon it was, and didn’t care. It was a gun. It had a trigger. It would hurt. The Korean stuck the gun by her right ear and fired right into her attacker’s face.

Electricity burst from the barrel. Her assailant screamed and let go of the rope around her neck, allowing Hanna to immediately gasp for breath. A commotion erupted behind her but her right ear was ringing from the gun shot and she could make out no particulars. Knowing she couldn’t simply kneel here and gasp, Hanna pitched herself forward in the low grass and began to crawl towards the other side of the crest of the hill.

She was crawling away from Jill, and she hated herself for it.

Thanks for reading, everyone.