Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I have author Morgan Brice in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release, Peacemaker, book one in the Sharps and Springfield series, a m/m steampunk romance.


1. Hello, Morgan.  It’s always great to have you in the interview chair.  For this interview, I came up with new questions for your latest release Peacemaker. First off, you are known for writing about the paranormal, and this time you chose to combine the paranormal with steampunk.  Can you share why?

Morgan: I loved the TV show Wild Wild West, and Peacemaker was my attempt to capture the vibes that made me a fan of that show, paired with supernatural elements. Peacemaker exists in the slightly alternate history universe we had already created for the books Iron & Blood and Storm & Fury (written as Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin) which are steampunk but not romance. So Peacemaker is part of an already established crossover world and brings MM romance to the party!

2.  For readers who aren’t familiar with steampunk, can you explain what this genre is.

Morgan: To me, ‘steampunk’ is the Victorians as they never were but should have been. It captures the unbridled optimism of the Victorian era undimmed by the horrors to come (1918 pandemic, Great Depression, and two World Wars). There’s a belief that science can figure out and solve all problems, that people are smart enough to make the world a better pace, and that we could live up to our better natures.

3.  The tropes you chose this time are secret agents, co-workers to lovers, forced proximity, hurt/comfort, and mistaken identity.  How do you decide which tropes to use when starting a novel?

Morgan: I’m a sucker for hurt/comfort, so that’s a given. As for the other tropes, it depends on the story, the characters, and where they are in their relationship. Some tropes work better in a first-time, meet-cute while others are easier to adapt to an established, evolving relationship. But even so, I think a trope can usually be tweaked to work even if it’s a little unexpected. For example, in an established relationship, a forced proximity trope could lead the characters to realize things about themselves, each other, and their relationship that they wouldn’t have dealt with under normal circumstances. That’s the fun of writing the story!

4.  Your theme for Peacemaker is learning to love again and taking a chance on love.  I see this theme throughout many of your novels.  Why do you enjoy this theme?

Morgan:  I think that anyone out of their teens has had some bad romantic experiences that have made them wary or left them wounded. It’s always a challenge not to ‘fight the last war’—aka bring the baggage from the past into a new situation and react defensively. The older and more scarred the characters are, the harder it gets to trust and make a fresh start. Since I generally write characters who are old enough to have had their hearts broken or experience other painful life experiences, I enjoy seeing them find their way toward healing and open themselves up to love.

5.  Let’s talk about Owen Sharps.  Why did he join the secret service?

A: Owen’s family had been wealthy Southerners, but his grandfather lost everything when he broke with his family over slavery and left the South. Owen went into the army to put some distance between himself and his family once he realized he liked men. He was recruited for the Secret Service, and preferred that to the regular army. He likes adventure but he’s not really comfortable following all the rules.

6.  The same for Calvin Springfield.  What drew him to the world of the secret service?

A: Calvin’s family were well-off merchants in the North with abolitionist views. He really wasn’t cut out for the family business, and he knew he’d never satisfy the expectations to settle down with a wife and kids. The army broadened his experiences, and when the Secret Service recruited him, he saw it was a better fit than regular military life.

7.  How much research went into Peacemaker since you are writing about the year 1897 and the secret service?

Morgan: I’d done a lot of research on that era for Iron & Blood and for the Storm & Fury stories which take place in 1898. I wanted Peacemaker to happen before those stories, and it worked out because Owen is reading the brand-new bestseller Dracula (published in 1897) when he meets Calvin on the train!

8.  What do you think readers will love most about Peacemaker?

Morgan: I hope they enjoy the sassy relationship between Calvin and Owen, as well as the strong secondary characters and some pretty varied paranormal elements. And who wouldn’t want to ride around in that awesome Pullman train car?

9.  What do you think will surprise readers about Peacemaker?

Morgan: While Calvin and Owen have to be careful because same-sex relationships were illegal in their time, neither man feels shame or guilt about his orientation. They’re aware of being judged by others, but they accept themselves for who they are. Given their role as secret agents, which puts them on the outside of conventional behavior, it didn’t seem like a stretch for them to be accepting of that aspect of themselves.

10.  What are you currently working on now?

Morgan: I’m editing Point Blank, which is the next Badlands book.

11.  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Morgan: There will be more books in the Sharps and Springfield series, so stay tuned!


Title: Peacemaker
Series: Sharps & Springfield #1
Author: Morgan Brice
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Design
Release Date: March 25, 2023
Genre: Steampunk MM romance
Tropes: Secret agents, co-workers to lovers, forced proximity, hurt/comfort, mistaken identity
Themes: Learning to love again, taking a chance on love
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 249 pages

Secret agents, forbidden love, danger, and magic!

Blurb: Supernatural Secret Service agents Owen Sharps and Calvin Springfield meet on the train to their new assignment in St. Louis, and sparks fly between them. But it’s 1897, and they need to be very careful—falling in love can be dangerous for men like them.

It’s their first case together, investigating mysterious disappearances—including the two agents who preceded them. Grim evidence leads them to look for a darker purpose. Old ghosts haunt the railroad line, zombie rise, signs point to ritual sacrifice, and they suspect someone is trying to open the gates of hell.

Can Calvin and Owen stop the mayhem, thwart the vampires, and find true love, or will everything go up in smoke?

Peacemaker is a high-stakes steampunk MM romance thrill ride filled with found family, paranormal Pinkertons, intrepid reporters, mysterious disappearances, nefarious land brokers, hellhounds, zombies, vengeful spirits, dark spells, absinthe magic, a ruthless vampire railroad baron and a love that won’t be denied.

Before Colt and Winchester, there was Sharps & Springfield!

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Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Nook  |  Kobo

Owen Sharps chuckled as he read his book on the train to St. Louis. He had been waiting to get a copy of Dracula, the sensational new book from England, and had found one in a New Pittsburgh bookstore before heading to the station.

It’s got flair, and I like how splashy Van Helsing is, but it’s obvious Stoker never fought a real vampire.

Owen had heard about the book and its growing reputation for being frightening and violent. So far nothing he’s written compares to being covered in blood in an ice-cold cemetery at midnight, hammering a stake through a vampire’s heart, and trying not to get bitten. Then again, maybe I have a skewed perspective.

“Pardon me, is this seat taken?” A drop-dead gorgeous man waited for an answer. He had raven black hair, bright blue eyes, and plush lips that filled Owen with impure thoughts. The stranger carried a suitcase and an overcoat, with a newspaper folded under his arm. Owen took one look and would have booted his granny to the cargo car to free up the seat for the man.

“It’s all yours.” Owen gave a dismissive wave, tearing his gaze away so he’d quit staring. It wouldn’t do to drool.

“I think this might be the last open seat on the train.” The man stowed his suitcase and coat, settling in across from Owen with his newspaper.

Owen couldn’t help giving him the once-over. He figured the man to be slightly shorter than his own six-foot-two inches, and from the cut of his suit jacket, he had a trim, muscular build. Owen made a mental note to be sure to get a glimpse of what was likely a prime ass when they left the train.

“Where are you headed?” Owen thought that a little conversation couldn’t hurt. He wanted to remember the man’s voice to go with his image on nights when he sought relief alone with his hand. This fellow would never know he’d been promoted to the lead in Owen’s secret fantasies. Owen particularly liked the contrast between the man’s dark hair and athletic body to his own rangy build, blond hair, fair skin, and green eyes.

“St. Louis.” The man returned Owen’s scrutiny with an assessing gaze.

Owen sat up a bit straighter, oddly wanting to make a good impression on this person he was unlikely to see again. He felt the weight of the man’s inspection, which made him wonder. Is he a cop? Private investigator? Or maybe…like me?

They were both dressed equally well in suits that were department store quality but not bespoke. The stranger’s hair was fairly short but more fashionable than military, and he was clean-shaven. Owen wondered what a hint of dark stubble might do to heighten those high cheekbones and accentuate the impossibly blue eyes, and he felt himself chub in his pants.

None of that, he admonished silently. It wouldn’t do to raise suspicion. He probably just wants to make sure I’m not the sort to steal his suitcase when he’s not looking.

“I’m headed there myself,” Owen said. “Business or pleasure?”

The man looked amused at the question but not annoyed, which boded well. “Business. You?”

Owen nodded, surprised that he wanted to continue the conversation instead of returning to his book. “The same. I’ve heard the food there is good, but I doubt I’ll have time to do any exploring.” He found himself at ease with the stranger. “Will you be staying in the city, or going on from there?”

“I’ll meet with my boss, but I spend most of my time traveling,” the fellow replied. “I don’t get to stay long in any one place.”

So we have that in common too. Makes it unlikely that we might meet up again the next time I come back to St. Louis. “Me, too. I’m a bit of a rolling stone.”


Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Find Morgan:  Website | Audible Profile | Amazon profile | Facebook Group | Facebook Page | Pinterest (for Morgan and Gail) | TwitterBookBub | Instagram | TikTok

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Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free

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