Moving Westward

Hello lonely blog follower, Facebook friends, and even Twitter account holders who made the ill advised action of following my never so frequent updates.  You can be thankful at least that I am not filling your mailboxes and feeds with endless posts.  Focused posting.  That’s good enough for me… when I get around to it that is.

Despite numerous heartfelt attempts, I have decided that I am completely incapable of generating any enthusiasm for rewriting “The West Wind ” (at least presently)  I am therefore pursuing what I believe to be the only sensible course of action… Start writing a new book!  If there is a rule that I need to finish rewriting the previous before starting anew, like some sort of literary lima beans before desert, I am afraid I am guilty of its violation.

“Due West” picks up roughly a year following the conclusion of “The West Wind.”  Rachel West returns as a principle POV character, as does my favorite troubled and unstable heir Eli Hardy.  For my third POV I am introducing a new character, the inimitable inspector Edward Percival Alford sent by the American Colonial government to investigate the extraordinary events of the previous story.  The setting remains the same – the Steampunk Western alternate world of the early 1900s.

Scrivener files created, timeline drawing template opened, let the plotting begin!

I am Officially a Writer

Even if only in a small way.  I am excited to announce that one of my short stories has been selected to be included in a forthcoming horror short story anthology.  My first of, hopefully, many more.

I have written and submitted several short stories recently, each taking place in and around the events of The West Wind.  Yes, I know, I should be working on the book but I can rationalize these side efforts in a couple of ways:

  • Short stories have word counts.  Writing with a word count forces me to write as tightly as I can.  A good discipline and habit that will benefit a longer work where there is no word count.
  • World building with a purpose.  I have heard of writers spending years on world building without eventually even writing the novel.   I am doing it the other way around.  I wrote my first draft and now I am world building through the short stories.  My rewrite will benefit.  I also can’t help but thinking that the short stories benefit by being set in a world where it is clear that there are other things going on outside of the perspective.
  • Editing.  I hate it but learning how to do it takes the edge off a bit.
At the very least, I must admit that a little short term gratification on the longer road of writing a full length work ain’t bad either!

“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.

Gen Con Indy 2011 Goes Steampunk

I know when I am interested in something, I start to see it everywhere. I also know that I pick up on trends, some quicker than others.

In short, maybe it is just me. Then again, maybe not.

My point (I was getting to it…), I am amazed by the amount of steampunk I am seeing at Gen Con this year. Some truly amazing outfits and much more variety

Past years it seemed like you couldn’t swing a vorpal sword without hitting someone in D&D, Star Trek, or Star Wars costume. This year, I don’t think you could unholster a raygun without having several lords and ladies pointing theirs back at you. Next to the cosplay folks over at the Westin, it seems as if steampunk fashion is truly enjoying it’s turn in the spotlight.

Many more clothing booths featuring steampunk clothing. Many more booths adding accessories. Lots of people sporting goggles. Abney Park has a RPG (sold out of course. Gah. Limited shipment for con. I get it.)

Of course I couldn’t be more excited.

But I do somehow sort of miss the stormtrooper checking badges at the exhibit hall entrance…

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