“The West Wind” – A Steampunk Adventure set in the Old West

Un-sticking this post…

Status as of 10/23/11  11/26/11 1/29/12 11/23/12: Putting the rewrite “on hold”

It is the summer of 1912 and the western frontier of the British American Colonies is a pressure cooker of intrigues fueled by greed, resentment, and the need for revenge in this steampunk adventure dominated by plots and power struggles between rich and powerful industrialists. It is a world of massive floating mansions, horses, stagecoaches, airships, private railroad cars, dusty western towns, flying machines, and a traveling mechanical freak show.

Dramatis personæ:

Roland Pritchard – 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.

Eli Hardy – the only child of Jakob Hardy, recently returned from studying abroad (something more controversial) and is confronted by the real truth behind his father’s success.

Rachel West – an apprentice clock maker (something less banal) has emigrated fled to the American Colonies in search of a place where she and with her half brother Clarence will be accepted for who they are and not what society dictates. to escape a deadly conspiracy only to find herself embroiled in even more dangerous intrigues.

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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

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.

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.

What was I thinking…

I swore I would never get a blog.  Also said I wouldn’t get a Facebook account.  Now I have both.  What was I thinking?

I was thinking that this is one of my first steps to becoming something I have always wanted to be: an author.  Someone that writes stories that will give others the type of enjoyment I receive from the written word.  And this blog, dear reader, is where I plan to share my growing pains.

Just a couple of quick notes on what you will and will not find here…  Starting with the not finding:

  • Long winded rambling self indulgent posts – I don’t like reading others’, why would I inflict mine on you?
  • Instructive content – I am not going to teach you anything, I will likely learn more from you.
  • Links to music videos, xbox, or flash web games – I am not going to take content advice from my teenage son despite how cool he thinks it will be.

What you will probably find:

  • Impressions and expressions as I explore the craft of writing.
  • Updates on my current projects.
  • Occasional off topic posts to other things I find myself doing, which may include postings on music videos, xbox, or flash web games just to maintain some harmony in the Beyer household.

Thank you for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.  Feel free to browse around leave me a comment.

Apologies in advance as I figure out this whole writing thing, I hope it will be as much fun for you as it will be for me.

Don