The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

Archive for the tag “jazz age night life”

The Trumpet

One morsel review: A fantasy story historically set in the Twenties, this is a smart intuition, executed with more than a few uncertainties.

51eWJOzXNSLThe Trumpet
Damian Fredericks

———————————————-
Genre: dieselpunk
———————————————-
While trying to avoid the police on the street at night, a jazzman comes across a tramp who gives him his trumpet in exchange of the jazzman’s old one. The instrument turns out to be of exceptional quality… it also has the power to make all the man’s dream come true.
———————————————-

The premise of this story is a classic – the deal with the devil – but the author succeeded in making it fresh and enjoyable in spite of its familiarity. Just a shame I discovered at the end… there was no ending. This is not the entire story, but just the first instalment and honestly I’d have preferred to know it up front, rather than at the end.

When Terry, jazz cornet player, stumbles into a tramp in a alley, he sure doesn’t expect the man to offer him his high quality cornet in exchange of the old cornet Terry’s father gave to him. When he tries the cornet, Terry can’t believe his good luck, because he has never heard such poor, beautiful sound. But then, the tramp seems not to believe his good luck either.
The cornet is truly sublime. With its exquisite sound, it almost seem to turn Terry into a better jazzman. But something else also happens: Strange dreams of the Theatre of Shadows start haunting Terry and every time he wakes up, he discovers reality has changed in accord to his desires.

I particularly like this catch of the changing reality in accord to Terry’s desires, especially because, after a while, it becomes apparent these might not be Terry’s own true, more deep desires, but rather the trumpet’s suggestion of a easier, more desirable reality which is materialistically more comfortable. And there’s a price attached to it and Terry knows it.

The fantasy part of the story is the one I enjoyed the most. Not only I find the idea of the changing reality crafted by the trumpet fascinating, but also the place where it may come from, the Theatre of Shadows. In his dreams, Terry finds himself in this theatre full of people but cloaked in shadows, and even if he stands of the stage, he can only see a few of the people listening to him, which is quite haunting and even creepy at times. In this theatre, Terry meets a man (the devil?) who knows a lot about him and his supposed desires and tries to allure Terry into doing what the trumpet wants. These are very atmospheric, suggestive sequences, very effective.

Can’t say the same for the historical setting, and I’ll admit I didn’t like it because I personally think it wasn’t historically very accurate.
The author seems to tap into the surface of the era, but didn’t really researched it. This comes out in the details especially, details that clearly portray today’s life and simply transport it in the Twenties, regardless of things having been sometimes very different back then. This tells of a very superficial portrayal of the era, which spoiled the story for me, because, as good as the idea is, this sloppy handling of the historical setting detracts from the story itself.
Just a shame, because the story – at lest the part I read – was quite entertaining.

Advertisements

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #18

dieselpunkssquarelogoMy supporting cast is very numerous. All the club stuff, the jazz band members, quite a few customers as well as a lot of community members people my story. These characters have a smaller role in the story in comparison with the main characters, but I had a lot of fun creating them and giving them a personality if not a story of their own (though some of them do have an arc).

Rob is probably one of my favourite, in spite of him not having an arc and entering the story only diagonally. He’s the representative of the black underworld inside the club and this is his first interaction in the story.

How about that?

“Don’t bother about him.” A man sitting on one of the nearest stools turned to Michael. “He’s a bag full of shit, that one.”

Michael thought at first this was a white man, but then he remembered him playing pools over at the table. Very smart dressed – smarter than most other men at the bar – he sat at the counter with great ease, uninterested in who else was there. His angular face didn’t betray any uneasiness, his sharp eyes spoke of a quickness of mind.

“I like men who know how to treat such numbers.” The man gave a wolfish grin.

———————————————————————————

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.

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #16

dieselpunkssquarelogoJustin and Adam Brailsfield are two more new characters introduced during the first visit to the Old Shelter. They are very important to the story. Adam is a main character, Justin is the antagonist of the story.

The Brailsfield family built the building where the Old Shelter is housed in the very early days of Chicago. Now Adam, the younger brother, owns the place (and yes, there is a story behind it) while Justin is the manager of the club. In spite of being brothers, they are two very different men. I love both of them and I always have fun writing them.

This is Susie’s first impression. What’s yours?

 “Adam, the nice guy,” Susie said.

“Ah, I see. You like him because he clapped his hands when we danced.”

“I like him because he smiled when he clapped his hands.”

Blood smiled and his nose rippled that way she liked.

She spun again and had them looking toward Justin, who sat on the corner of the table by the door and surveyed the club with a grim gaze. She had guessed who he was the moment he saw him because he looked a lot like his brother, only he had more of everything. He was taller, his shoulders were wider and his body was more muscular. His skin was tanned, his hair was blond rather than chestnut and he dressed in a smarter way.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” she said. “But I don’t like him.”

——————————————————————————————–

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.

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #15

dieselpunkssquarelogoThis first episode at the Old Shelter introduces a lot of new characters… which, I suspect, is one of the reasons why I like it so much.

This snippet is from the introduction of Trish, the jazz singer. Trish isn’t a POV character, but still, her story has involved me so much, that I consider her one of the main supporting characters. It was fun telling her story from ‘the outside’

Sinéad was trying to decide what to answer, when a woman’s voice said at her back, “I don’t believe this!” loud enough that Sinéad jumped on her chair and turned.

It was a woman her age and her height, but with a lot more curves on her and all in the right places, it could be seen even under the straight lines of her dress. A red one, because as she always said, the red of the dress and the jet black of her curly hair highlighted the brownness of her skin.

“Trish!” Sinéad jumped up and they embraced.

“Jeez,” Trish said, “I thought I wouldn’t recognise you. It’s been ages.” She regarded her critically.

——————————————————————————–

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.

 

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #14

dieselpunkssquarelogoLast week, we came to the door of the Old Shelter. Now please enter and make yourself at ease. I’m very happy to be your host.

As you’ll know if you read my welcoming post, I have a very specific image of the Old Shelter in my mind, but I tried to make it also my own creation adding details I learned on my researching journey and of course the personality of my characters. Have a look around and tell me: did I have any success?

As Michael was watching, one of the girls said something in a dragging voice and all the gang burst into a hysterical laughter.

He looked away.

On the other side of the club across the dance floor, there was another smaller area with tables, which he and Blood had skirted coming in from the coat check. Michael could see it because it was elevated a couple steps from the main floor. That part of the club wedged under a brick arch and a low ceiling and was split into a bigger room with a pool table and a smaller one with a few round tables. A little crowd of Negroes pressed around the pool game, some playing in the yellow light of the three lamps hanging over it, a lot more supporting the players and – Michael guessed – betting on them. On the back wall, a wooden staircase went up to the second floor, and it wasn’t easy to say what was going on in the shadow under it, especially when trying to see over the heads of the dancing people, but Michael thought more people were gambling. In the smaller room, one looking very closely could spy couples smooching in the back tables, hidden by people playing craps on the front ones.

——————————————————————————–

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.

 

8 Sentence Sunaday on Dieselpunks #13

dieselpunkssquarelogoSo, I couldn’t resist taking you to the Old Shelter. But as you’ll know if you’ve read my welcoming post, I love this place and I poured a lot of effort in depicting it as best I could in terms of historical details, of course, but also in terms of mood and atmosphere.

If you had read my first draft (and I’d do anything to prevent such an occurrence) you wouldn’t recognise the place. It was a long journey of discovery and research and of finding details in the most unlikely places. It was fun.

This is the beginning of a three-chapters long episode, the first set inside the Old Shetler.

The peephole opened and two grey eyes stared out at him.

“The dog is hungry,” Michael said.

The doorman’s eyes colored with curiosity. This had to be quite a little place if the doorman knew most of the customers.

The peephole closed, the door opened, and he could see the dim room inside, with spotlights on the bandstand just opposite the door. Little red lamps on round tables on one side, a polished bar along the opposite wall, a dance floor packed with dancers between him and the band. Jazz music. Smoke.

——————————————————————————–

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.

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #12

dieselpunkssquarelogoThe episode where Sinéad chances to meet Blood and Michael again and ends up going with them to the Old Shelter is among my favourite and was a great fun to write. The entire episode is four chapters long and is an introduction to so many important story elements… Sinéad and Michael’s attraction to each other being one of these.

I also introduce a lot of new characters and of course one of the most important setting in the story. I’ll say the truth, it was hard to write and it went through multiple rewritings, but I still love it a lot.

They looked so different, Blood and Michael. Especially Blood, with his ice-grey suit and the matching long coat and fedora in place of the jumper and flat hat he wore the first time she met him. But even Michael, who wore a suit and just the same long coat and fedora he had wore that day, looked different, although she could not say where that sensation came from.

She was trying to figure that out, when she realised her eyes were sliding down Michael’s strong neck and rested then on his wide shoulders. Her face warmed up. She was glad Susie spoke again, “Where are you heading?”

Sinéad’s red mouth curled in a small smile. “The Old Shelter.”

——————————————————————————-

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.

 

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #11

dieselpunkssquarelogoAlthough most of the story happens in a speakeasy which is also a jazz club, and so I had plenty of occasions to describe the Black Belt night life throughout the novel (and the whole trilogy, actually), this chapter where Sinéad goes out cabareting was my first occasion to delve into the excitement so strongly connected to the Jazz Age night life.

Honestly, I think there is still a lot of room for improvement (and if anybody has any suggestion, you’re welcome to the comment box below), but yeah… this is my current attempt.

Thrilled, Sinéad opened her eyes and her senses wide trying to take everything in. Why hadn’t she come for such a long time?

The Black Belt throbbed with music, with life, with colours, with light in the heat of the night more so than during the day. Couples walked the streets hand in hand or hugging each other, holding tight while squishing their way in among the crowd. Large groups of young people moved everywhere, moving their feet at the rhythm of the jazz music spilling in the street from small, unremarkable basement doors or back alleys. Gangs of white schoolboys and girls, went around sporting smart dresses and showing off an air of experience they probably lacked. Gangs of black guys hang around at the corners, joking and calling at groups of smartly dressed black girls, showing off fake disinterest. Not many were alone like she was, but well, you never stayed alone for long in a place like this.

——————————————————————————–

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.

Post Navigation