The Old Shelter

Dieselpunk Roaring Twenties. Sarah Zama's Author Blog

Archive for the tag “WIP snippet”

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.
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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.

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.

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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.

8 Sentence Sunday on Dieselpunks #17

dieselpunkssquarelogoDepicting Michael’s warrior’s nature has proven to be quite tricky. Falling into the stereotype of the lonely hero or even the anti-hero is easier than I thought. But he is a veteran of the Indian Wars, and he did see things no human being would ever want to see. In short, he’s a very experienced man who had a hard life, and this is what I’m trying to depict, staying as far as possible from the lonely hero stereotype.

Any success at it?

Sinéad lifted the glass to her lips and the alcohol burned her throat, but warmed her stomach up nicely, and her fingers stopped trembling.

She felt Michael’s eyes on her and when she looked, he was frowning at her hands around the glass. He didn’t say anything, though, and that silence ate at the comfort of the alcohol, so she asked, “Weren’t you scared?”

Michael’s dark eyes roamed to her face. “I’m always scared when a fool holds a weapon in his hands.” A pale smile cracked his face. “Though a bunch of schoolboys with a broken bottle is hardly the worst I’ve seen.” He chuckled in a strangely bitter way.

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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.

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.”

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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.

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

 

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.

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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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