The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

I’m moving to a new host

Hi everyone.

I’m moving my blog on a different host. I decided I wanted more control over my own blog… even if, had I known the hustle it was going to be, I don’t know whether I’d have done it. It was a mess, because I’m no expert with this things. I did a couple stupid mistakes that cost me money and a lot of time and stress. At a certain point I thought: why the hell did I do this?

But now that the new blog is up… I’m happy. I like it a lot, even if it’s not done yet. There’s a lot to tweak and make better and more effective, but I’m very happy with all the new possibilities it’s opening up for me. I’m also quite in love with the new graphic… well, you know🙂

So I hope you’ll continue following me on the new site. I should be able to move all of you followers on the new blog by myself. Let’s see how good I am with this.

If you’re curios, you can go over to the new blog right away. I’ll see you there.

The Old Shelter Header

Murder Mystery Game – The Crime: Feathers and Blood

From the fame thread:

Dear Museum Colleagues,

I have just been notified by security of a car break-in in the parking lot. Broken glass was found by a valet attendant. Please be aware of your surroundings, and do not leave your valuables unattended.

“Meet me in the room of the Storyteller exhibit after the gala. There’s something I think you should know.” That’s all the woman whispered to her. But when Ombretta got there, she only found a few black feathers in a pool of dark blood.

murder-mystery-and-mayhem-the-crime-part (1)

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘crime’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Thursday Quotables – Ledfether

Instead of pulling the door shut, too, the kid, that Doby Saxon whose mum had married that Yellowtail who didn’t even have an Indian name anymore, he just stood there like he was waiting for permission to come in, waiting for me or Junior to say to him it was ok if he had the snow crusted all over him still, that he could stomp it off in here if he wanted, that we’d mop it up later.

But then I looked to what he was looking at.

It was the back door; all the way through the dining room.

Because the front door was open, the back door was rattling, like somebody was trying to get in, or had just left. I’m not even sure the kid  knew we could see him.

quotation-marks4Stephen Graham Jones writes with a very personal style. And I liked it a lot. I also liked a lot his storyteller’s trick in this story (and I won’t reveal it), I thought it was very clever, and created a very involving, dreamy atmosphere for this very peculiar story.

But in the end, this trick was a lot less meaningful to the story than I thought it would be, and in fact turned out to be quite inconsequential, which was a let down for me. The story turned out to be confusing too, which also is a pity. There are a lot of very clever intuitions in this story, but I’m not at all sure they were exploited to their full strength.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #20

dieselpunkssquarelogoThough Igmuthanka died many decades before this story begins, he had such a strong impact on Cansasa’s life that he is actually still present in his everyday life. Cansasa (Michael) often remembers him and his memory guides him and help him navigate a difficult part of his life.

I tried to make Igmuthanksa as real to the reader as it is to my character. This is one of the first episodes he appears in.

Like Cansasa’s only sister Wicowaste, Igmuthanka was the child of their father’s first wife and had been a warrior for a long time now as his body showed. A scar cut through his right cheek from the corner of his eye to the corner of his mouth, making his face look grim even when his eyes – like now – gleamed with amusement. He had earned that scar, together with his first coup, on his very first raid for horses, when Cansasa was merely two. His slick dark hair reached to his waist and was now braided up in four braids falling two on his back and two over his wide shoulders so to reveal the scars of three Sun Dances on his chest. None were new, because Igmuthanka hadn’t danced this summer, having chosen to be his brother’s guardian instead.

Cansasa’s fresh wounds burned.

“Thought you wanted to know.” Igmuthanka winked at him and threw the bones skyward.

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Did you enjoy my snippet?

If you didn’t, I’m sorry (shed one tear), I’ll try better next time, so don’t give up on me.

If you did, here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer, you might want to join the 8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks‘challenge’.  Head over to Dieselpunks, sigh up and look for the 8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks And join the fun!
  2. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer and you have a blog, you might want to post eight sentence from your work on Sunday and share it. Make sure to leave a link in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to visit.
  3. If you are a historical writer and you have a story or more sent in the Twenties too, you might want to post eight sentence from your work on Sunday and share it. Make sure to leave a link in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to visit.
  4. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer, or if you are a historical writer writing in a Twenties setting or if you are just a reader, by all means leave a comment below. I’ll never oppose to that.

Murder Mystery Game – The Scene: The Hexagonal Room

From the fame thread:

Dear Museum Colleagues,

I was informed earlier today of a mix-up in the availability of the Etruscan Antiquities Room for our Gala Dinner. Renovations are scheduled to begin sooner than expected, and preparations to clear the room will begin immediately.

Part 2 – Please assist in these last minute changes by suggesting other possible Museum locations (i.e., the crime scene) for our Gala Dinner.

The Hexagonal Room in the south wing still display the exibition ‘Memory of the Storyteller’, but it’s perfect for a round table, so the stuff had made it available for our Gala Dinner. They are always so kind, aren’t they?

murder-mystery-and-mayhem-the-scene-part (1)

 

A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘scene’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Thursday Quotables – The Way of the White Folks

“Sit down and tell us what you’s heard, Sister Jenkins.”
“About Douglass?”
“Course ‘baut Douglass. What else is anybody talking ‘bout nowadays?”
“Well, my daughter told me Douglass sister’s say they was in love.”
“Him and that white woman?”
“Yes. Douglass’ sister say it’s been going on ‘fore de woman got married.”
“Uh-huh! Then why didn’t he stop foolin’ with her after she got married? Bad enough, colored boy foolin’ ‘round a unmarried white woman, let alone a married one.”
“Douglass’s sister say they was in love.”
“Well, why did she marry the white man, then?”
“She’s white, ain’t she? And who wouldn’t marry a rich white man? Got his own farm, money and all, even if he were a widower with grown children gone to town. He give her everything she wanted, didn’t he?”
“Everything but the right thing.”

quotation-marks4Took me about two lines to fall in love with Langston Hughes. The power of his prose is something unique. The way he reproduces spoken language in a way that expresses characters and setting is something  I’ve rarely encountered and something I definitely envy as a writer. He can express a lot with such few words.

The excerpt above is a morsel from the short story Mother and Child from the The Ways of the White Folks collection, but you can easily get the entire story and even part of the setting from it. It’s really like I’m sitting with these women, talking about someone I know. This is what I really love about Hughes’ art.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

John Paul Catton – Why I Write Dieselpunk – Guest Post

91t9Sx50cJL._SL1500_One of my earliest memories is when my parents took me to the London Transport Museum – and among the trains and buses, I was enchanted by a series of Art Deco underground posters along the walls.

Perhaps that’s where my interest in Dieselpunk started. Before the genre existed, it was present inside me, as an answer that hadn’t heard the question yet. Now the question has been asked, and people around the world are aware of the genre and are creating art associated with it; but trying to find logical reasons for a gut reaction and an aesthetic admiration has, for me, been unexpectedly difficult.

Still, here goes!

One … At the time of writing, Dieselpunk is a genre almost within living memory. For my parents, those Art Deco posters were memories of childhood. Theirs was the war generation, because I was born when my father was forty-seven, and my mother was thirty-eight. Dad’s earliest memory was watching the troops arriving at the local train station, coming home from the war. The First World War. In contrast, Steampunk, for all its charm and inventiveness, seems sometimes like fantasy adventures set on a distant planet, with a race of people inscrutable and eccentric.

Two – the optimism. Let’s not forget we’re discussing Dieselpunk, and what sets it apart from Steampunk is – the internal combustion engine, the skyscraper, the airship, the huge sealiners – with emphasis on scale and speed. Upward, and ever faster, faster. Before pollution, before global warming, before food allergies, there was the glowing sense that the progress of science would lead us into a brave tomorrow. It now seems almost childish in its innocence, despite the image of two-fisted masculinity.

Three – the visual element. Damn, Dieselpunk looks good! Not only do you have Art Deco and Art Nouveaux as stylistic inspirations, but you also have the art world exploding in the early 20th Century. Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Constructivism and Suprematism … all of them can be employed in the creation of striking, unforgettable images today, to grace a book cover, gallery wall, or film screen.

Four – the concepts. Victorian England might have ridden a wave of invention that has never been surpassed, such as the steam engine, the locomotive, man-powered flight, the telegraph and electricity, but the early 20th Century gave us abstract concepts that revolutionized not the physical landscape, but the mental one. Freud broke the ice with ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’. Einstein and the other scientists extended this fascinating instability to the entire structure of space and time, exploding the mechanical Victorian paradigm, and making the Universe a fascinating, baffling place to live in. This gave us the cultural milestones of “The Waste Land” and “Mrs. Dalloway” – and carrying this to extremes led to the realms of cosmic horror envisioned by H. P. Lovecraft, where “the most merciful thing in the world … is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

Holy Moses! Just writing this article has clarified my thoughts and made me appreciate what a remarkable genre I’m working in. Say it loud, I’m Dieselpunk and I’m proud …

Er, no. That’s not a good sentence to conclude with. In fact, I shall never write that above sentence again. Instead, I shall mosey on over to Goodreads, and go through the ‘Best Dieselpunk Books’ list again to remind myself how lucky I am.

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Well, there’s a lot to share with John’s feelings about the genre… at least on my side..
If you enjoyed John Catton’s article, there’s a few things you may want to do

  1. Check my review on one of his dieselpunk story here and/or read an excerpt from the same story here
  2. Have a look to the collection of his dieselpunk stories which is just out, Tales from Beyond Tomorrow
  3. And after all, why not leave a comment in the comment box below? It’s easy and it doesn’t hart

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #19

dieselpunkssquarelogoAlthough Adam’s point of view first appears only on chapter 11, he’s one of the main characters of the story. His arc is integral to Michael’s in the sense that what’s happening to him is relevant to what happening to Michael.

I had a lot of fun creating Adam’s past, as well as his family’s past, even if only a tiny part of it found its way into the trilogy. But I hope inklings of what I do know will filter into the story.

Here’s a snippet from the first episode in his POV

‘Why has it come back to me?’

He thought he had defeated it long ago. That dream. That dream that haunted him as a child. That dream that woke him up every night, crying, shouting someone wanted to kill him, driving Dad and Aunt Edith crazy.

He rubbed his face hard, felt like falling.

Why was it back? Why was it back, he had defeated it.

He started to shiver again. In the back of his mind, he heard people whispering behind his back, ‘Like Stacy, like his grandfather. He ended up hanging himself, the poor soul.’

Adam couldn’t stop shaking. He had defeated it long ago.

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Did you enjoy my snippet?

If you didn’t, I’m sorry (shed one tear), I’ll try better next time, so don’t give up on me.

If you did, here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer, you might want to join the 8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks‘challenge’.  Head over to Dieselpunks, sigh up and look for the 8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks And join the fun!
  2. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer and you have a blog, you might want to post eight sentence from your work on Sunday and share it. Make sure to leave a link in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to visit.
  3. If you are a historical writer and you have a story or more sent in the Twenties too, you might want to post eight sentence from your work on Sunday and share it. Make sure to leave a link in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to visit.
  4. If you are a dieselpunk or steampunk writer, or if you are a historical writer writing in a Twenties setting or if you are just a reader, by all means leave a comment below. I’ll never oppose to that.

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: The Warrior Queen

When she first went to Ireland, Ombretta was fascinated by the tales of the Morrigan. This goddess of the earth, protector of kings, but also caller of death, destroyer of warriors.

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A mystery is always fun. Here are a few things you might want to do with this one

  1. Head over to the Etsy thread of the mystery and see what the other members are up to
  2. Have a look to the other treasuries in the ‘suspect’ stream
  3. And if you’d like to leave a comment in the comment box below, don’t hold back… I won’t suspect you of anything

Thursday Quotables – The Trumpet

The lights dimmed and a sole spotlight shone over him. The applause ceased and all Terry could see from beyond the stage was darkness. Was he alone? He heard light footsteps tap the wooden stage floor, growing steadily closer.

A figure emerged from the darkness. As it grew closer, Terry observed it possessed the stature of a man, wore a fine black suit, a black bowler hat, and was dreadfully skinny coupled with an abnormal height. The man laughed and clapped, covered in shadow.

“What a wonderful performance. You truly are a talented one, Terrence Jones!” The man praised Terry with a voice both gentle and frightening.

Terry tried to speak, but the words wouldn’t come. He stood there, grasping the silver trumpet firmly, watching the enigmatic man in the darkness.

“Let me start by introducing myself, my frightened little lamb. I go by many names, but you can call me Andromaleus. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Theatre of Shadows.”

quotation-marks4The Trumpet is a mild dieselpunk story set in the Twenties, with a very cool core idea, though not as strong as an execution, in my opinion. The fantasy parts, which all condensed in the Theatre of Shadows sequences, are by far the most effective for me. They are haunting, have a great mood and they are the ones that advance the story the most. This is a brief excerpt from the first of them.

You can read my review of the story here.

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Did you like this quote? Here’s a few things you might want to do.

  1. Head over to Bookshelf Fantasies, who sponsors the Thursday Quotables, and join in the fun.
  2. Post a quote on your blog and make sure to leave a link in the comment box below. I’ll be sure to visit and comment.
  3. Maybe you’ve read this author too and would love to share your opinion. By all means do it in the comment box below. I’ll never object.

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