Sharing the Sandbox

Cobalt City has been, from the very start, a shared sandbox kind of experience. The bulk of the Protectorate were created by friends and family. The stories we created together were never written down, the magic of temporary art and shared creativity. But the sandbox of Cobalt City remained when those stories stopped. And there were so many stories left to tell — more than I could ever hope to tell on my own.

That is why I started the Cobalt City anthologies. It was my way of inviting writer friends and fans of Cobalt City to play in the sandbox. They were welcome to use existing characters or bring their own creations in to play with. The whole point is to have fun, and to tell a story that the readers enjoy as well.

I’ve seen what’s on tap for this next anthology, and let me tell you — it’s going to be a blast. We have old friends returning, like Jeremy Zimmerman, and new friends like Dawn Vogel and the superlative Erik Scott de Bie. We even have a few brand-new talents between the covers.

But my biggest joy is a story featuring a character I sort of dropped in to Cobalt City Blues more as a plot point than anything else. While I always liked the look and the style of the Wrecker of Engines, I didn’t ever know what to DO with him. I needn’t have worried. Rosemary Jones took the character and gave him a story that took my breath away.

Honestly. I felt like Bob Dylan hearing Hendrix play “All Along the Watchtower” for the first time. I might have created the blank-faced pulp mystery man, but she made him come alive. And far as I’m concerned, he’s there in the sandbox anytime she wants to use him.

After all, isn’t that the point?

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