Rachel and Clarence West – Unintended Consequences

Rachel West and her half-brother Clarence are by far the favorite characters of my early readers, classmates, and writing group. My first alpha reader, my thirteen year old daughter’s best friend, liked them so well that she did sketches for me. I posted them below – she is amazingly talented. Before you start rolling your eyes… yes their story starts in a clock shop, a steampunk trope or, as I would prefer to think of it: a “genre touchstone.” Regardless, I am going to hang a lantern on it… a gas lantern of course. Here is more about Rachel and Clarence:

Rachel was adopted off the streets of London by Hamilton West and made an apprentice in his clock shop because he knew his own son, Clarence, would never be capable of succeeding him the business.

Clarence is a kind and sensitive young man, but lacks the physical and mental capacity to perform complex tasks such as constructing or repairing clockwork.

Unfortunately, Hamilton dies prior to sponsoring Rachel’s application as a journeyman clockmaker putting her in the precarious position of owning a clock shop in the East End that lacks a journeyman or master horologist.

Rachel struggles with her obligation to Clarence, the memory of Hamilton, and her growing realization that she will never make the clock shop successful because of her continued status as an apprentice and her gender.

With the naïvety born from reading too many penny dreadfuls, Rachel sets out for the American Territories in search of a new life for her and Clarence where she believes she will be recognized for her gifts with clockwork and treated as an equal.

Of course… nothing could be farther from the truth.

Rachel West

Rachel West

Clarence West

Clarence West

Eli Hardy… The Angry Young Man

Eli has been an interesting character to develop….  Here’s a little bit more about him:

Eli Hardy is the only child of Jakob Hardy, the second richest most powerful tycoon in the western territories who will stop at nothing to become the singular richest and most powerful man in the western territories.

Eli has recently returned from studying abroad and is confronted by the real truth behind his father’s success– the brutal exploitation of his employees, the land, and its native population.

Eli is appalled and humiliated by his father’s various attempts to engage his participation in the family business.

The West Wind follows Eli as he struggles to reconcile the gnawing hatred of his father’s methods and the fear of what his life would become without them.

Roland Pritchard has a POV and he isn’t afraid to use it…

Roland Pritchard is one of my POV characters in The West Wind.

I had some basic ideas of who I wanted him to be when I set out to work on this project.  As I wrote, I found Roland helping me discover him.

Roland worked his way up from the bottom, a true success story of Her Majesty’s American colonies having built an extensive railroad empire that is the backbone of industrial development in the western frontier.

Despite Roland’s success, the misfortune of being born a “grounder” prevents him from being accepted by the powerful industrial elite that exploit the land’s natural resources to increase their personal wealth and power.

The West Wind follows Roland as he launches a conspiracy of fraud, manipulation and collusion to finally prove his superiority over the greedy tycoons and gain their respect.

Roland Pritchard is aided by his daughter Margaret Pritchard and his brother-in-law Nathan Webber the alleged, though vigorously denied, former outlaw.


Next Chapter Bookstore & Bistro is my favorite place to write.   Yeah, sure, lots of people go to bookstores to buy books.  Not me, I go there to write books.  Just the kind of crazy hoot ‘n nanny that I am all about.  The right amount of distraction, endless supply of coffee and snacks combined with some of the nicest folks you will ever meet.

Easter Egg Alert – I have written Next Chapter into the epilogue of the West Wind.

And I finished a scene (3 scenes to a chapter… 1 & 1/3 to go!)

Shameless Self Promotion – More Content Ahead

Welcome to those of you who are visiting for the first time through the efforts of my shameless self promotion.  I am planning on carpeting Gen Con with “The West Wind” business cards just to bring in more visitors.  With that in mind, I am planning a bit of a content blitz starting 8/1 and leading up to Gen Con itself.

What you are likely to see:

  • Character introductions
  • Plot highlights
  • Recounting my agonizingly slow writing progress
  • What I want to do next with my draft
  • Random ramblings
  • A few book reviews as I get caught up on my steampunk reading
  • References to some of my favorite writing podcasts
  • More Random Ramblings

So welcome first time visitors, welcome back others that have been here before – lets get out the brass goggles and feed the firebox… it is going to be a fun ride.

Ready for Gen Con?

Badges bought, hotel booked, almost ready to go.

I had hoped to have first draft done and a full revision before going to Gen Con.  Pretty good for a year of work it would have been.  Having never written a book before, I can see that I was suffering from unsubstantiated optimism.

I did finish a chapter this last week.  So the “two and a half” that I have been repeating for a while now is down to “two more.”  It was a long chapter and I blew something up.

Two more.

I can’t believe I am doing this…

As I said in my opening of the blog, writing a book was something I had always wanted to do.  And I am doing it.  I have been printing chapters as I complete them, a tip I had picked up early on from Micheal Stackpole’s podcast, to help ensure you have a backup and to prevent co-mingling writing and editing.   Holding the fat binder also has the benefit of making you feel like you are accomplishing something.  Hard to deny when you see the stack of paper growing.

I took Stackpole’s seminar at Gen Con Indy last year.  I had decided to finally take my writing seriously.  Since then I have taken two writing classes, won NaNoWriMo and have over 106k words on the West Wind complete.  My hope is to wrap it up and head down to Gen Con this year with a sense of accomplishment.   No great expectations of course other than doing some networking.  But it does have a sense of bringing things full circle.

Just finished an Eli chapter, two more of his POV to go and only one more Rachel chapter until I am done.  Can I do it this long weekend?

Roland is in the Can!

After last week’s major milestone (well it was at least for me…) of crossing the 100k word count, this weekend’s milestone is equally exciting (well it is at least for me…).

Roland, one of my main POV characters, storyline is complete!

That leaves me with one more chapter of Rachel and three chapters, maybe only two and a half, of Eli until I am done.

I was hoping to have a re-write done by the end of July in time for Gen-Con Indy.  I started my writing there last year by attending several writing track seminars.  This year I was planning on taking cards and synopsis to do a little networking.