The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

Archive for the tag “noir character”

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.
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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

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: The secret paths

Where Ombretta was born, deep in the mountain, ‘benandanti’ walked the path between realities in the old days, but still today, people walking the woods say when you under the trees’ shadows, away from any road, and you hear them whispering among themselves, you can never be shure what you actually see.

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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

Murder Mystery Game – The suspect: Ombretta Vivaldi

I’ve just joined a team on Etsy that organises a mystery. That’s right and that’s the reason why I joined them. They have a very unique way to create treasuries, giving them such a form that will actually tell some kind of story. They call themselves The Museum of Made and Found and generally act as if every treasury were a find to showcase in the museum. Kind of a RPG if you will.

When I discovered them a couple of weeks ago they had just started a mystery. There will be five parts to the game and the goal is to create treasuries that will speak about the different elements of the mystery. The first part was the introduction of your suspect.

Well, you see I couldn’t resist. And of course you’ll see my suspect has a distinctive dieselpunk falvour to her.

So, here she is, Miss Ombretta Vivaldi.

Ombretta Vivaldi was born deep on the Dolomites.
She’s an archeologist, specialized in human remains and ritual artefacts. She’s always thought there is a lot more inside what we hold in our hands after digging it out of the earth than we actually see.

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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 Troubleshooter

Whoever said that misery loves company was right on the money – and probably the loneliest soul on the planet. Because the problem is that company doesn’t love you back. Being miserable is actually  a rather dismal and insular experience, something I can relate to from prolonged exposure.

Naturally the depression was complimented by the sound of rain pounding the pavement outside my grime-streaked windows. I didn’t complain, though. Most folks hate the rain ‘cause they’re thinking about their hair  or their darb rags that are about to get socked. Then you got those daisies that get all depressed and sit around crying and writing poetry and all.

But me?

Suited my mood just fine. The office air conditioner blew its circuits a while back, so I kinda like it when the rain cools things down. You know; washed some of the grime off the streets and into the gutters where it belongs. It never lasted. The cleanness, I mean. That’s about the only thing you could bank on in New Heaven.

quotation-marks4This is the opening from The Troubleshooter – New Heaven Blues by Bard Constantine. This is a fun story, where fun means a lot a of things happen all of the time and you rushed thought the story breathless, wanting to know what will happen next. I’m enjoying it, and what I’m enjoying the most is the language. I like this narration, so close to spoken language. It makes it sound as if the author were telling us the story rather than let us read it.

This is a very grim dieselpunk story, with a lot of shady and downright dark characters, in a place where life is cheap and smartness is your best bet at survival. A fun place to read.

Thursday Quotables – A Fistful of Nothing

“There’s gonna be heat and it’s gonna be hot and I’m gonna catch it. It’ll blaze right through my blistered paws, most like. Prolly burn me hollow – but I’ll catch it all the same, if that’s what it takes. And it will. And won’t none of it be pretty.” He pressed his forehead to the cool brick. “Like you. You’re so goddamned pretty.”
Silence crept back onto the line then, dead air crackling between them the length on the alley, the length of the metro line, the length of The Holes. He saw the silhouette touch a hand to its soft lips.
“Jim…”
“I’m sorry.”
“No, Jim. No. It’s just…”
“Save it. I’m sorry, I said. I get it. You did swell work, patching me up, but I guess I oughtn’t be walking around yet. My… my head’s gone soft or something.” Jim finished his cigarette, balancing the smoking butt on the lip of that bastardized tub. “Maybe it always was.”
He straightened himself, then straightened his coat, watching that shadow and its trembling fingers. He brought the handset to his mouth. “You’re one in a million, Betty baby.”

quotation-marks4In a story that visibly aims at mimicking film noir tropes and language, this dialogue on the phone between the two main characters is maybe the more noir of all. Jim is in a ally just outside Betty’s restaurant and can see her through the window. The situation itself is very noir, in my opinion, with that expressive use of shadows.

The episode is also one of the more revealing of the character’s personality.

You can read my review of A Fistful of Nothing 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.

A Fistful of Nothing

One morsel review: Very dark noir mystery set in dieselpunk 1950s Hollywood. Stunning visuals but a somewhat unclear plot.

511WiV471ALA Fistful of Nothing
Dan Glaser

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Genre: dieselpunk
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Jim is just trying to get his money back from his bookie, but things get out of his hands and a kid gets killed. Now Jim needs to find the culprit, or he won’t live with himself and his shame. But this investigation will turn his world upside down.

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Imagine WWII didn’t end in the 1940s. Imagine it actually expanded, spreading all over the world and in Los Angeles turned into a continuous bombarding that made life impossible. In this desolation, the bombing itself cause cave-ins that created a whole new environment beneath the city, a maze of tunnels and undergrounds plazas and streets, buried buildings and cave-like adobes where – in the 1950s – people can actually live… or pretend they do.
These are the Hollywoodholes, a place where there is no sky and no light but just an eternal night lit by neon lights.
I’ll say it, the setting of the novel is the part I liked the best. It makes for a very noir place, with a definite dieselpunk twist, with all the mechanics involved in it, and the atmosphere is claustrophobic and ominous. I really enjoyed it.

It’s with the story that I actually had a couple issues.
The structure of the story is recognisably a mystery, but I found it too convoluted and difficult to follow. I could feel all the elements for understanding the action were there, but they were buried so effectively into the plot that they didn’t actually make it to my attention. So I ended up missing pieces of the mystery and this left me confused, even when the mystery was dissected by one of the characters in the end.

I think this is also the reason why I had some difficulties relating to the characters. Because the plot wasn’t clear to me, the characters’ reasons also evaded me in many places. But regarding characters, I really liked the relationship between Jim, the main character and Betty, the female main character. Despite a lot of sexual tension between them, it never becomes a romance, but on an emotional level, they become very close, in that complicated, somewhat twisted way noir man/woman relationships are. Their last dialogue on the phone, more honest that any they had ever had, was probably my favourite part in the novel.

But if as a mystery ‘Fistful of Nothing’ might have a couple issues, as an adventure it worked perfectly: action-packed, very fast-paced, full of unusual characters.

This is the first instalment in a planned trilogy, the Hollywoodholes Sonata. Watch out for the new releases.

Thursday Quotables – The Hot Dry Spell

The opening moan of a cello signaled the rest of the orchestra to chime in. Ariane let the atmosphere surround her. A smoky haze draped over the crowd that was enthralled by her song of unreturned love and the dancers that slinked around her in synchronized dance.

Don’t tell me not to love you

Then she felt and saw him through the mist of her mind as the song continued. The smoky atmosphere of the club slipped away to reveal the cool Chicago evening. Ariane continued to sing as the scene played out like a movie.

My heart won’t lie
To my head that
Can’t say goodbye

In the vision, Gerry straightened out his suit and led his men toward the river that connected the Fae realm to the mortal one.

quotation-marks4This is a story of Fae and werewolves in Prohibition Era Chicago, which is a very intriguing idea, in my opinion. As Rea Lori says in her guest post, she’s going to write more about this world and I can’t wait to read it.

You can read my review of this short 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.

Thursday Quotable – Gods of Chicago

Brand stepped up to the car and noticed a shifting movement in the corner of his eye. He turned to see the gypsy woman and her husband descending the stairs towards him.

Halfway down, they drew up short and the air around them fluttered and shook. A second later, the fabric of the night whipped aside and a shivering tramp stood astride a rickety rusty bicycle, an old boneshaker with metal wheels. The tramp flickered in and out of Brand’s vision, like a candle flame in a draft. He seemed hollow beneath his skin, but  gradually filled in as he stood on the steps, like he was the bottom bell of an hourglass. Brand’s feet carried him up to the scene before he knew what was happening. He stood a few steps below the trio. The tramp pulled a satchel up from inside his loose overcoat and reached into it. He drew out a scroll tube and held it out for the gypsy woman.

“For you, um, I guess. Ma’am. Is that—“

“Yes, is correct. For me. Ma’am,” the gypsy said, letting a bright tinkling laugh follow her words into the night air.

“Is okay. Ma’am or mother. I am called both.” Madame Tibor took the tube from the tramp’s outstretched hand and replaced it with two coins.

“What’re… I get paid for this job?”

“Is for passage. You are messenger now; immortal. Still may need passage in future,” she said. Brand caught a gleam in her eyes as she spoke. “Coins are for that.”

AJ Sikes – Gods of Chicago

quotation-marks4Gods of Chicago is a dieselpunk novel with strong fantasy elements alongside sf elements. I’m a fantasy lover, so of course I liked the fantasy elements better that the sf, although both help create a very dark environment in this novel.

The idea of the ghosts is by far the one I liked the most, because it’s unusual. I mean, it’s visually and intimately unusual and it really added to the personality of this novel, in my opinion.

You can read my review of Gods of Chicago here and the author’s guest post about the future of the series here. Enjoy.

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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.

AJ Sikes – Guest Post

After my review of his dieselpunk novel Gods of Chicago, Aaron Sikes was so kind as to write a follow up article about how this sotry was born and what his plans for hte future of the series are.

Enjoy.

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71xH8bKBFdL._SL1500_Thank you, Sarah, for offering me a spot in The Old Shelter today. Gotta admit, I love the name of your blog.

You’d asked for my thoughts on the story world in Gods of Chicago, and I’m more than happy you did. The setting was the first and most compelling piece of the novel for me, until I got inside a few of my characters’ heads anyway.

A while back, I blogged on The Undercover Soundtrack about how the story world occurred to me. Like a lot of my crazy ideas, it started with an instrumental number by Joe Satriani. The story world that evolved from listening to his song, Time Machine, felt necessarily mechanical, and gritty, oily, smokey, full of grime and rust but also sleek machines and airborne vehicles. There’s a loftiness to Satriani’s melodies, something that suggests flight and speed and freedom.

With all those details, it might be tempting to say I should have written Gods of Chicago into a Steampunk ‘verse, but my sensibilities and tastes run more to the tune of 20s-40s era jazz, swing, and especially crime noir. I love a good horn section blowing loud and clear with a piano behind it. I prefer the clean, spare, and flashy style of Zoot suits and wingtips over the ornamented leather and lace that shows up in a lot of Steampunk. And what’s better than a murder in a dark alley and coppers and mobsters who have their own agendas?

The moods and manners of the interbellum years also hold more fascination for me than do those of the Victorian age. I get to write and explore characters with an eye for hard life and easy money, and everyone gets a chance to play their hand at subtlety. More than anything, it’s what goes unsaid in a noir story that I find truly fascinating, and I tried my best to have my characters employ subtlety at every opportunity.

Gods of Chicago is the first in a planned trilogy, though I’m writing shorts in the story world as well. These shorts go out to my newsletter subscribers, and a few of them are slated for publication in the coming months, the first of which is the backstory for a youth in Gods of Chicago, a guy named Peter “Digs” Gordon.

For the trilogy, I have a rough aim for the series. Whereas Gods of Chicago was all about conspiracies and what goes on behind the scenes, the next book, Gods of New Orleans, is about what it means to belong: to a group, a community, a family, or a society. I’m working on the book now with a planned release date of Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

 

Author Bio: Aaron Sikes has been writing and editing full-time since 2011. Gods of Chicago is his first full-length novel and he has previously had three stories published in anthologies by independent presses. Find him on Twitter @SikesAaron or visit his website http://www.ajsikes.com.

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Thanks so much for this insight into your world, Aaron. It sounds very interesting. I can’t wait to read the new instalment in the trilogy.

Hey, dear reader, if you liked this article as well there’s a few things you might want to do

  1. leave a message to Aaron in the comment box below, just to say hello and how much you liked the story
  2. pay a visit to Aaron’s site, you’ll find the link above
  3. tweet an appreciation to Aaron, again link is above
  4. have a look at his book

 

 

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