Venona Keys Talks Inspiration, Short Stories and the Anthology ‘Once Upon a Time in the Weird West’ (Dreamspinner Press guest post and giveaway)


Once Upon a Time in the Weird West
by Langley Hyde , Astrid Amara , Ginn Hale , Nicole Kimberling ,
C.S. Poe, Lex Chase , Venona Keyes , Tali Spence

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Venona Keyes here today to talk about her short story and the inspiration behind it in the Dreamspinner anthology Once Upon a Time in the Weird West.  Welcome, Venona!


Short Story Title: POMH byVenona Keyes

When people ask, “What inspired you to write this story?” It’s usually a song or a human interest  story or a news event.  For the Weird West, my inspiration was the movie Bicentennial Man and The Jetsons. Really? In a steam-punky inspired story, I drew upon those things? Yes, in an old fashioned way.

A re-imagined West, one where a new mechanical revolution was the norm. Tracks laid down  by steam powered machines; built not just for a train, but for individual carriages or wagon carriages. I could see people zooming by (actually steaming by), to escape the confines of the crowded and polluted East, to conquer the wild open spaces of the West. To spread out and make a fortune, or a better life.
Inventors were key to this expansion. They were much like what blacksmiths were back in the day; a valuable member of the community who helped build the community with metal items.  Inventors in this west make mechanical items while the blacksmiths still made metal items; horseshoes, wagon wheels, hinges, door knockers, and weapons.

Inventors were the craftsman of machines that made life easier.  No matter where you were on the economic ladder, you had at least one item made by an inventor.   Some of these items were steam-powered baby prams,  child corrallers, tree fruit harvesters, and horseless carriages to name a few.  As you got up in the social and monied classes, the disposable income went to a more frivolous or luxurious type item, like gilded mechanical flying birds, encrusted with jewels and ivory. The ingenuity of the item was only limited by the imagination of the inventor.
In POMH, the main character, Lorem Farcome, is in dire need of an assistant. He no longer wants a human assistant, but one that is steam powered.  He dreamed and designed it, and with a find of a rare prism, he can make his dream come true.  Jealousy and envy prove to be a big stumbling blocks, as another, more monied and more powerful inventor has his sights on taking the creation, Pomh, from Lorem.

Have you ever had a dream come true, and was the path to the dream an easy or hard one?  Or, what has inspired you to achieve something you always wanted to do, and you did it?  Comment to enter into the Rafflecopter!

POHM Blurb:

Lorem Farcome makes inventions that cater to the working class. He dreams of a lost chance in love and a lost apprentice. The lost love he can do nothing about, but an apprentice, he can surely build. With a rare red prism, Lorem creates and animates his assistant, dubbing him “Pomh.” The road never runs smooth, and a wealthy and powerful competitor, Markus Reighn, accuses Lorem of stealing the red prism and claims Lorem’s mechanical man for himself. But an odd-looking

About Once Upon a Time in the Weird West Anthology

This isn’t the same old Wild West. The usual suspects are all present: cowboys, outlaws, and sheriffs. There’s plenty of dust, tumbleweeds, horses, and cattle on the range, but there are also magical gems, automatons, elementals, airships… even dinosaurs and genetically modified insects. Roaming among the buffalo and coyotes, you’ll encounter skinwalkers, mad engineers, mythical beings cloaked in darkness, and lovers who stay true to their oaths… even beyond the grave. On this frontier are those at the mercy of their own elaborate devices as well as men whose control of time and space provides a present-day vision of the West. There might even be a dragon hidden amongst the ghost towns and wagon trains.

If you like your Westerns with a splash of magic, a touch of steampunk, and plenty of passionate romance between men, these genre-bending tales will exceed expectations.

Hold on to your hats, cowboys and cowgirls. The West is about to get weird, and you’re in for a hell of a ride.

Purchase Links



About the Author

Venona Keyes is a modern woman who believes in doing it all; if doing it all is only in her head. She amazes people that she can be wholly unorganized yet pack a perfect carry on suitcase for a ten day trip to Paris. Ms. Keyes is a believer in the just in time theory, and can be seen sprinting in airports to the gate before the plane door closes.

Venona has experienced love and loss at the deepest level, and is thankful for writing and daydreaming, for it kept, and still keeps her sane. Writing also introduced her to some of the most supportive and wonderful people, to which she will always be grateful.

Venona is a voracious reader, loves her feline boys, volunteers at an animal shelter, attempts to cook everything in her CSA boxes, is an accomplished speaker, is a seasoned triathlete, and enjoys swimming, biking, hiking, skipping, dancing, and her beloved overgrown garden.

Social Media links




1) Steam-punk inspired heart shaped pendant necklace

2) Title: The Trust,  Coming of Age, and All Steamed Up Anthology

Rafflecopter Code:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

12/6 – Gay Book Reviews – Jana Denardo

12/7 – The Novel Approach – Kim Fielding

12/8 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words – Venona Keyes

12/9 – Diverse Reader – Tali Spencer

Sinfully Gay MM Book Reviews – Jamie Fessenden

12/12 – Love Bytes – Lex Chase

12/13 – Boy Meets Boy – Astrid Amara

12/14 – Prism Book Alliance – Ginn Hale

12/15 – Alpha Book Club – C.S. Poe

12/16 – Joyfully Jay – Langley Hyde

12/19 – Divine Magazine – Nicole Kimberling

12/20 – My Fiction Nook – Shira Anthony

Open Skye – Andrew Q. Gordon

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. Yes, I have had a dream come true and the path to it was long and difficult (emotionally, physically and financially). But, it was worth it!

    Thanks for the post! The new anthology sounds great.


  2. I am not sure, I did achieve several things I wanted, some more difficult than others, but I’m not sure I can called any of them a “dream”. Love the cover, by the way.


  3. My dream is pretty “small” like I dream to travel alone, I dream to run my first 5k. I think I prefer to achieve it as a goal rather than just dream 🙂


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