Updated Cover Reveal and Some Updates

Hello All!  It has been a LONG time. Life has gotten in the way of my writing in a big way. Work has been busy, but I think I’m winding down a bit and can get back into writing more regularly. Bright side, I’ve been going through my two WIPs that I shelved when things got insane – They are not terrible, and I think I can continue on with minimal backtracking.  🙂

To get back into the swing of things, I went back to my first (and so far, only) published work, Mademoiselle Durand and the Pirates. I read through and fixed a couple issues and set up a new cover. The reason for that is I am trying out the print services that Amazon offers. As a result, I am also updating the Kindle version. So, If you already own a copy, once it’s reviewed, feel free to redownload. If you haven’t read it and want to give it a shot, it isn’t bad.  🙂

Anyway, this was just a quick update, and I thought I’d do a little cover reveal for the Paperback version, and now the new cover for the Kindle version by extension.




NaNoWriMo Ho!!!!

Fall is here. Cool, crisp days, dark, frosty nights, and possibly the best part of the entire fall season – National Novel Writing Month.  Maybe you’ve heard someone talk about NaNoWriMo. Maybe a writer friend has been talking about their prep on Facebook or Twitter. For a writer, it is like Christmas. A sprint to the end of the month; thousands of small steps, all in the name of writing 50,000 or more words by November 30, 2017.

I was on the fence this summer about participating. Last year I did, but I didn’t come close to completing my project.  I did, eventually, but it was nowhere near complete by the end of November. Life got in the way, then I started making excuses, and then before I knew what had happened, it was the middle of December. That experience was discouraging enough for me to have my doubts about my commitment. Let’s face it, I haven’t completed a project I have found worthy of publishing since 2013.

My goal is to write a minimum of 1700 words a day to reach my goal. The first two days I surprised myself by writing a whopping 9600 words. I hope that by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable numbers in my head, I can trick myself into completing a novel and work on getting it published.

This year, I desperately want to remain motivated and focused.Getting back into writing has been no small task. I haven’t written creatively in about 6 months; Sure, I kept a journal, but it has more often than not been a receptacle for the events of the day, as well as a nice, safe place to vent about my daily frustrations.

To prep for the writing challenge ahead, I’ve been trying to do more creative writing. Short paragraphs that have nothing to do with reality. Between using writing prompts, observing and embellishing on the world around me, and looking at my old writing projects, I have some ideas for my NaNoWriMo novel for 2017. Will it win any prizes? Probably not. I write because it is fun. Period.

And, hey – if you are a writer, or if you have always wanted to pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), It isn’t too late to give it a shot. This is the time of year for all aspiring novelists to put their best effort into creating a new piece of writing. All it takes is 30 days. Well, 30 days plus the weeks and months of editing and rewrites. But Everything has to start somewhere.


Click HERE. Do it…You know you want to!




A New Year, Another Chance


2016 has finally come to a close, and I cannot say that I am upset about that. There were some great highs to the year, but there were some unbelievable lows. I look forward to a fresh start for the coming year, and all of the opportunities that may present themselves.

I have decided that this year, I will not be making any resolutions. For me, they do not work. Every year I promise to lose weight, work a little less, spend more time with family and friends, and write more. The unfortunate truth is that I work two jobs, so doing any of the above is difficult. However, in the past, I simply lamented that they were nearly impossible and moved on after a few days. This year I am accepting that they are difficult; but each of them is achievable, if on a smaller scale than I would l like. So, tonight, I write.

Bernadette Durand peered out the window of her mother’s estate. Well, her mother called it her estate. In reality, it was a tiny villa outside of Verona. It was small, housing three small rooms. Those rooms were filled to capacity by Madame Durand and her four children. As the eldest, Bernadette occupied the central room that served as bedroom to both her and her mother, as well as serving as kitchen, dining, and bathing area. Papa had left, long ago, taking any job that he could find. Any money he made was sent directly to Mama.

A hand rested on her shoulder. Bernadette turned her head and smiled at her mother. “Are the boys sleeping?”

“Yes, my sweet. You should be, too.” Mama gave her a stern look, which worked well with her younger brothers. It had once worked on Bernadette as well.  But that was long ago. At ten years old, she had outgrown the childish fears of her mother’s wrath. That was simply because Louise Nicolette Durand was incapable of exhibiting wrath. The best she could muster was mild annoyance. She was a lady, after all. A true lady is never wrathful.

Bernadette sniffed, and returned her attention to the window. “I’m not tired, Mama.”

Madame Durand sighed. “Dette, you are the most difficult of my children. I don’t know why I allow you to misbehave so!”  She gave up any remaining pretense of disciplining her daughter and walked away. Left to herself, Bernadette glanced at the clock ticking away on the mantle.

Mama returned with a chair from the dining table, and sat beside her daughter. “It is a beautiful night.” She looked up, the night sky spread above the tiny villa, a giant purple-black canvas, painted with swirls of cloud, and points of light. The cold of winter had chased much of the traffic in the skies away. She had heard, long ago, that airship crews would freeze to death, if they did not take a southerly route during the winter months. She was certain that couldn’t possibly be true, but the sky was unblemished by  any man-made device.”

“My sweet,” she said, turning her attention to her daughter, “Why are you awake so late this evening?”

Little Dette faced her mother. Her eyes shone brightly, with both tears and wonder. “Mama, can you not know?”

Madame Durand thought. There was something. It was tapping away at the back of her mind. There was something about the evening…but she could not remember what it was. “No, Dette, my sweet. I do not know.”

Bernadette shook her head, her blonde curls bobbing about her face. “Mama, you are so silly. At midnight, it will be the new year!”

Madame Durand threw her head back and laughed. It was a beautiful, and all too rare sound these last several months. There was once a time when Mama laughed freely. Everything changed when they moved to this place, so far from their large home in France.

Mama calmed herself, and said, with a smile, “My goodness. I cannot believe that I forgot the day! Dette, we must do something special for you and your brothers in the morning. It is a special occasion.”

“Oui, Mama,” Dette said, her little face beaming. “We must. The new year is a chance to start fresh.” She crawled into her mother’s lap, much to the surprise of the both of them. Madame Durand overcame her surprise and embraced her daughter.

“And what do you wish for the new year to bring, My sweet?” She kissed the top of her little girl’s head, gazing dreamily out the window.

“I want Papa to come home.”

Madame Durand frowned. Although that was her fondest wish, she knew that what her daughter wished was not possible. Her dear husband was so far away, sailing to locations unknown. She could not promise this to her daughter, no matter how much she wished it.

“Unfortunately, Dette, that is one wish I cannot guarantee. He must travel to find work. It takes him far away from here. It may take him some time to return.”

Her daughter pondered this. She possessed her father’s shrewd mind. Finally, she smiled and said, “I will give him one year to return home. If he does not come home by then, I will go find him!”

Madame Durand laughed for the second time that night. “Oh, my dear girl. I almost believe that you would go and search the entire world, just to find Papa.” Dette looked up at her and scowled. “Dette,” she said, her voice soothing, “Papa will be home as soon as he can. And when he does return, we will have a wonderful party. We will invite all of our friends, and we shall have a grand feast. This past year will be a distant memory; It will be like a bad dream, soon forgotten.”

Dette laid her head against her mother’s bosom. As she drifted off to sleep, she whispered, “One year. If he is not back by then, I am going to search for him.” Madame Durand remembered that moment, her daughter sleeping quietly in her lap, when a year later, her daughter left the villa in the middle of the night, making good on her promise to find her beloved Papa.

When the Worst Happens



It seems to finally be happening. I got a popup on startup of my computer saying that My hard drive is failing. I had a moment of panic, realizing just how much work and research is stored on my baby. I never think about what would happen should my hard drive fail. I had to take a few deep breaths and remind myself of a couple of key things:

  1.  I have my “spare” laptop from when I was taking online classes a year or so ago. It is in good condition, just not quite as speedy as my main laptop.
  2. I have some spare external hard drives with space to store my most important files.

So, I took a DEEP breath, and pulled out my hard drives, notebooks, etc. I wrote down any pertinent info I might need (Unlock codes for Writeitnow, my Scrivener info, etc.) Now, with all my most important documents accounted for, I am attempting to store a backup image for use should I decide to replace the HDD on my laptop, instead of purchasing a whole new unit.

While I wait to see how things pan out,  I’ve been thinking about how lax I’ve been about how lax I’ve been about keeping my information safe, in the event of a broken computer. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I still feel stupid for allowing this to happen. I always start out with the best of intentions when I buy a new computer. I create a back up, do it every couple of months, or when I make a major change to the computer. But then I start getting lax. After all, it is a time consuming process. And then I end up in a situation like this.

I have done a couple of things that are kind of smart. I use both Google Drive and Drop Box, so at least some of my documents are a bit safer. Not perfect, I know, but it is still better than nothing. I also back up all of my photos, videos, and music frequently on my external hard drives (that was a hard learned lesson!)

Is there anyone else out there like me, perpetually on the brink of disaster should your computer bite the dust? For those of you that are more cautious and actually do take preventative measures, what are your tried and true methods to secure your files?


Villains or Antiheroes

The Hydra bucked as a hail of cannonballs rained down upon her. The crew were thrown off their feet, landing in untidy heaps about the deck. Cries of both surprise and pain filled the air in the scant moments before the next volley of projectiles fired from the adversary.

“Quick! They’re coming back around with more ammunition!” The shout came from the vicinity of the bow. While he couldn’t be sure which of his men shouted, Captain Drayton knew that there was truth in the words. He saw the large airship double back. It fired upon the helpless pirate ship again. The envelope of the reserve balloon punctured. The Hydra would not fall from the sky; but now escape was of the utmost importance. 

Drayton turned to his first mate, a thick-jowled Scotsman named James. “Looks like a bad situation, doesn’t it, man?”

James sniffed the air, acrid with the smell of burnt gunpowder. “Aye. Looks like that ship is Royal Navy. If I was a betting man – which I am – I would bet that ship is captained by Commandant Vernon.”

Drayton’s eyes narrowed. “Aye, James. That would be a winning bet, methinks.” He drew his twin pistols and growled. “That man has given me more trouble in the last year than the entire Royal Navy has in the last ten years.” He fired a shot into the air, an animalistic scream clawing its way out of his lungs. 

James drew his sword and let loose a less fearsome, more wounded roar of his own. He looked about, hoping no one had heard him. Only the Captain was close enough to hear, and he was paying him the courtesy of pretending not to hear the pathetic sound.

Captain Drayton reloaded his pistol. “We are going to blow his ship apart. And then-” He paused, panting.

James looked on, expectantly. “And then, Capatin?”

“I’m going to tear Vernon apart, limb by limb.”

Drayton stormed to his cabin and threw the door open. he fumbled and cursed as he rummaged in his cupboard, pulling out his most sharpest sword and extra ammunition.

“Oooo! Are we getting ready to storm the castle?”

Drayton jumped, the whisper startling him out of his enraged preparations. His head jerked about the room, searching for the owner of the raspy voice. If one of his crew had managed to sneak into his cabin without his knowledge, it would be the last thing that fool would ever do-

Except, there was no one. His eyes darted about, searching each corner, each shadow. Still no one. As it occurred to him that there was only one place from which the whisper could possibly have come, a foot shot out of his cupboard, connecting with his chest. 

Drayton flew back, hitting his head as he landed on the floor. As he cursed his attacker to the blackest pits of hell, his attacker came into view. The pirate captain Groaned. “Oh, it’s you.”

The man in black chuckled his raspy chuckle and knelt beside the pirate. “Would you like some help up Theo?” The man held out his hand, which Drayton reluctantly grabbed.

As The Man in Black pulled him to his feet, Drayton sighed. “Thank you. But please, don’t call me Theo. I loathe the name.” The man in black snorted, but bowed his head. “Why are you on board my ship? In the middle of an attack, no less?”

The Man in Black shrugged, disinterested in explaining himself. “I needed to see you, and Commandant Vernon was in pursuit. I figured it was the most expedient way to find you.” 

Drayton frowned at the mysterious figure before him. “Why? Why are you looking for me?” 

The Man in Black chuckled. “You still have a debt to repay, as I recall.” He produced a tattered playing card. It was the Queen of Diamonds. He still had that damnable thing, after all this time? Drayton trembled, in spite of himself.

“I owe you nothing,” he hissed. “I payed my debt to you over a year ago, in full. You said that yourself!” He raised a fist, thought better of it, and lowered it to his side.

“I said no such thing.” The Man in Black raised a gloved hand to his face and tapped his chin. “I believe my exact words were, ‘I have no further need for your services, AT THIS TIME. There is a difference, you see?”

Drayton’s lips drew into a taut line. “That last repayment cost me. It cost me DEARLY.” He brought his hand to his face, lightly touching the eye patch over his left eye socket.

“Oh, come now,” whispered The Man in Black. “I made sure you received the best care, and you came away with a technical marvel in the old eye-hole to boot!” He burst into cruel laughter.

The wound, two months healed, was still quite raw. He sniffed. “What would you have me do, oh master?” He attempted an exaggerated bow, but the ship was tossed again, and he fell to the ground for the third time that day.

“Simple,” said The Man in Black. “There are certain items that a certain man of means requires to perform a set of ‘rites’, if you will.” Drayton scowled. These types of requests were not unheard of , but usually those rites were dangerous, and the items required were often not legal or safe to have in one’s possession. “I will give you the locations of these items. You will then…retrieve them, and store them until such time as you are summoned by me.”

Drayton nodded. “It appears that I have no choice in the matter. Shall I store them at my Villa? Perhaps the farmhouse would be better?”

The Man in Black shook his head. “Neither. They must be stored in a secure location; somewhere protected.”

Drayton stepped around The Man in Black and walked to the fireplace. Strictly for show, it held his most important secrets. He crawled inside and reached around. Producing a rather elegant handbag. He returned to The Man in Black and held the bag out to him. “Will the island do?”

When I have trouble with any of my works in progress, I sometimes find it helpful to take a scene from the story, or even just create a scenario and tell it from the perspective of a character that doesn’t have their own POV within the story. I find that this often helps me overcome whatever block I may have preventing me from writing. 

I find it also helps me to get inside of the heads of some of the other, less well developed characters. Sometimes, it even inspires a whole new story in itself.

One thing I’ve been trying lately is to look at a story or scenario from the point of view of the antagonist. Can I make an antagonist the hero of their own story? Can I make a villain an antihero?

I have come to discover that it is fun to play with the antihero archetype. To have a character that ultimately does the right thing, saves the day, but does it against his or her best interest allows for a lot of interesting possibilities in a story. This character can go through the typical hero’s journey, yet at the end of the story goes back to their previous lives and mannerisms, seemingly not having undergone any permanent change over the course of their adventure. 

I have done this several times in the last year. The results have been interesting (to me, at least). A couple of them could serve as short stories themselves, should I decide to take the time to polish them up and get them published. But, as I am already juggling several projects, I am limiting myself to first completing at least one of my WIP before I elaborate on any of the writing exercises I’ve been putting out for the last several months.

For the writers out there: Do you like your main characters to be heroes? Or do you ever experiment with dark heroes, or antiheroes?

My Writing Prompt – Meeting the Man in Black


It has been some time since I was able to sit down and get some quality (or not so quality) writing time in. I thought of different ideas for writing prompts, then stumbled upon the above picture, which gave me a couple of ideas. So, my writing project for the day is below. Here goes:

Sean heard the footsteps, slapping against the pavement behind him. He dared not glance back. He could hear two men – no, three men – pushing their way through the crowd on Mayfair. If he hadn’t been paying attention, if he had been absorbed in the open-air market, or the festivities of the harvest festival, he would not have noticed his pursuers until they had pulled him away. That would have been the end of it, of him; if the Reapers had taken him, no one would ever see him again. Not Natalie, the children, or Granny James. He would be only a distant memory.

He passed the livestock stall, the odors of pig, cow, and chicken mingling into a putrid stench that made him heave. No, it mustn’t happen. He was still far enough ahead of the men. If he could make it to the end of the street, There were hansoms passing through all day, eagerly picking up new fares.

Sean moved faster, his jog breaking into a full run. His earlier attempt at blending in abandoned. A gruff voice shouted from behind.  “Oi, He’s running!” Another voice, high-pitched and angry responded. “Quick, boys! Nab him now. Spread out!”

Sean sprinted, weaving his way in and out of the narrow gaps between happy revellers. The occasional gentleman or young woman would shout in surprise, but he paid them no mind. The end of the street was only mere yards away. Freedom was only a few short steps in front of him. Except-

A huge mountain of a man stepped between him and freedom. He recognized the barrel chested creature as Nelson. He worked at the pub. His glowering face, and truncheon in hand-made it clear that he was not standing there to help Sean to safety. The small man whimpered, glanced around the vicinity, and hoped.

Off to the right was an alley. It was narrow, dark, and unpleasant. Much too narrow for Nelson. In an instant, Sean veered to the right, and sprinted with all of his energy into the alley. “With any luck, they will lose me in the crowd.” he thought, his spirits rising.

He passed through the alley, reaching a darkened side street. More of an alley, it ran between the rear of the buildings on either side. But, to his delight, he saw a network of alleys that ran between each building along the stretch. He would be quite safe. As a precaution, he ran past several tenements, removed one of his leather gloves, and dropped it at the entrance.

He continued to run, seeing light at the far end of the street. It should take him back in the direction he came. His pursuers would not expect that. He was safe.

An arm shot out from the alley he as he passed, grabbing him by his collar. The force of the grab yanked Sean back, and he fell to the ground, breathless. He looked around, eyes wild. Finally they landed on…him.

The man stood to his left, dressed in a long, black coat, black gloves and boots, and a black mask. The black mask. The Phantom of the Lower Quarter. Sean wheezed as the man stepped forward.

“Greetings, Mister Mahoney.” The voice was a cheerless rasp. “I was afraid that we would miss each other in the – mob on the street.” The man held a hand out to Sean. Sean trembled, tears forming in his eyes. He had only peeked  at the cards. Not even a real cheat. Why would those goons send this man after him.

The man held his hand out for several seconds before sighing. “Honestly, if you don’t want my help, you can stand on your own. But be quick about it. I haven’t got all day.” The terrified young man sat up, pulling himself onto hands and knees, before reaching a standing position. He stared at the man in black. He had heard stories. The Phantom of the Lower Quarter. He had a habit of finding those down on their luck and  – disposing of them.

This man however, seemed less a monster, and more a frustrated businessman. He seemed annoyed with Sean, rather than filled with murderous rage. Seeing that his prey was standing, The Phantom spoke.

“You know why I am here this afternoon.” It was not a question.

“You have been accused of malfeasance by the establishment known as The Cracked Jug.” Sean nodded, whimpering.

“As you are well aware, the proprietor, a Mister…Levinson, I believe, is a just, moral man.” Sean’s eyebrows raised. “Well, moral for a pub owner with a gambling license.” The man conceded.

“Nonetheless, it falls to me to bestow justice, and punishment for the crime that has been committed.” As he spoke, the man in black unbuttoned his coat, and reached inside. Sean began to cry. a trail of hot, dirty tears streamed down his face as the man in black removed a curved, shining blade.

Sean Mahoney sobbed, realizing the end was near. The man in black took him by the shoulder and guided him to the brick wall of the tenement to the left. He consoled his bounty, as best he could.

“This gives me no pleasure, Mister Mahoney,” he rasped, a sudden sympathetic tone descending. “I promise you, it will be over before you know it.” He turned the young man, so that he faced the wall. “Now, Mister Mahoney…may I call you Sean?”

Through his sobs, Sean managed a tiny “Yes,” and a nod.

“Good,” said the man in black. “Now, Sean, please place both of your hands on the wall in front of you.” The young man did as he was told, his shoulders heaving as he tried to catch his breath.

“I know that this is difficult. But it must be done. All debts must be paid.”

Sean nodded, not hearing a word that was said.

The man raised his blade above his head. He paused, and asked, “We cannot make any exceptions, you know. It wouldn’t do to look weak in front of my employers. Unless…”

Sean turned his head. “Unless?”

The man tilted his head, deep in thought. “Unless, you could be rehabilitated. If you were willing to sign on as my apprentice, I might be able to spare you. I cannot guarantee that you would be allowed to live, but I could try to convince my superiors of your…value.”

Sean wailed. “Yes, anything you want! I’ll be your apprentice. I promise I will never commit a malfeasance again!”

The man chuckled, amused at his bounty’s eagerness. “Very well my young apprentice. Your training will begin in one month.”

Sean couldn’t believe his luck. “A month? of course, but…why so long?”

The man bowed his head. “You will need time to heal.”

“To heal? What do you-”

The man brought the curved blade down with all of his might, severing Sean’s left hand, which caused the young man to collapse to the ground, screaming in agony.

The man calmly produced a cloth from a pocket, and wiped the blood from his blade. He returned the blade to the interior of his coat, and tossed the cloth to Sean. “Bind yourself with that. I will ensure your safe transport to a hospital. There is always a price for malfeasance. Be glad that I was in the need for an apprentice.”

He turned, and walked back into the alley from whence he had appeared.

“Oh,” he said, turning back one final time. “As I am now your employer, I suppose I should introduce myself.  I am Mister Grim.” He disappeared into the alley, leaving his new apprentice. For now.


Steampunk Gadgets: Enhancements


Having spent the better part of the last three years reading, researching, and writing steampunk, I have seen a LOT of interesting steampunk themed gadgets. Everything from steampunk styled computers and USB drives, to ornately designed costumes and props. Many of them have given me some ideas, not just for stories, but for some creative projects, should I ever get some free time to begin pursuing hobbies.

I am focusing on devices that enhance, or replace, body parts. My first attempt at capturing this type of device on paper was with a pirate that had only one eye. The other was replaced by a device that was able to sense movement, and body temperature. The idea at the time was that the technology was still new, and was not without its problems. If someone moved too quickly or too slowly, the eye had trouble registering it. The idea came to me while doing some research online, and coming across several photographs like this:


While not strictly Steampunk, photos like this inspired me to give Captain Drayton a dodgy artificial eye.


In a traditional historical adventure, my pirate would either wear an eyepatch, or simply allow the world to see his empty eye socket. But in a steampunk, or science fiction adventure, there are so many more options.  I am writing about a character in my WIP that ran afoul of some dangerous men, and lost a hand to them. Rather than accept a life without a hand, she now has an elaborate device that allows her close to full functionality of her old hand. The idea for that was inspired by the numerous costumes incorporating steampunk, or clockwork, prostheses. Depending on how the history of the world you create has developed, there is potential for some exciting replacement body parts for your characters.


Just about everyone has seen this photo floating around online. It was one of my inspirations for a character in my newest project.

In another project, elaborate prostheses inspired one of my characters to develop advanced automatons, which then leads to questions about the morality of creating machines that closely resemble humans. Is it right? Do automatons think and feel? If one is destroyed, is it a murder, or destruction of property?

Tying into my last post, photographs can be a great jumping off point when coming up with ideas for writing projects. just putting yourself into the mind of the person in the photo, imagining what they are thinking. Perhaps figuring out the logistics of how the prosthesis functions. Does it operate through the muscular contractions of the remaining portions of the limb? Is it powered via other means, such as clockwork? Or does it require the owner to operate buttons and switches for it to work properly?

With a goal to do more than just create steampunk prosthetics, I wanted to learn more about how they work and what the actual abilities and limitations of the devices are. Below are a couple of the websites I found while researching. Hopefully those interested in the topic will find them as informative as I did.



Writing Prompts


Create a world from a picture.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or so I have heard. Occasionally I find myself at a loss for how to proceed in a given story, and I have found that sometimes a little writing prompt can help to get the creativity flowing again. Sometimes it involves looking at websites that offer writing prompts for those truly in need of inspiration (this includes me far more often than I’d like); sometimes I set up “what if?” scenarios in my head, and try to write my way into or out of the situation I create (Once I successfully got myself off of an imaginary deserted island); But the type of writing prompt I enjoy the most is the simplest: find a picture and write about it.

I find a picture to be the easiest way to get into the heads of my characters. I can more easily develop them if I can relate to them. I am more easily able to relate to them if I can visualize them. Or, at the very least, their world. This photo gave me a bit of inspiration earlier today, because it shows a world that is easy to create, to imagine; a world of two levels.

The first level is the easiest to see. It is a world of rooftops. Bridges and walkways connect the tops of the buildings, allowing a society to exist that may never need to visit the world below. Airships fly so close above the people, that they can almost reach out and touch the hulls of the ships as they pass overhead. It is not such a stretch of the imagination to envision lush rooftop gardens, forming lovely parks for those that live up above to spend their days, enjoying the fresh air. It is an existence available to those that can afford it. Tycoons and politicians overlooking the city, quite literally. It is an enviable life. However, this type of lifestyle belongs only to a privileged few. For the rest of the city, a darker existence awaits.

On the ground is the undercity. The laborers, the impoverished – they live here. It is a perpetual dusk, due in part to the shadows of the buildings that tower above them. Thick black smoke from factories contribute to the darkness of the world below. Men go from home, to work, to the local pub, and finally back home each day, their only respite from their bleak existence in the bottom of a mug. Women that can afford to, stay home, venturing out into the noxious dark to purchase the goods needed on a daily basis. Those that cannot afford to stay home go to the work houses each day, toiling away at machines from dawn to dusk.

The sooty fog that persists in the undercity obscures the poorly maintained buildings, the illicit activities of those not fortunate enough to find a legitimate means of earning a living. Law abiding citizens keep their heads down, try not to draw attention to themselves. What law enforcement there is spends most of their time following the more suspicious characters that stick to the alleys and quiet streets.

Those that live above are blissfully unaware of the suffering of those that live below. They don’t see the thick smog that flows through the streets below, nearly a liquid, it is so thick. No, the people above see themselves as living so high in the sky that they are looking down at the clouds below them. It is an existence that is to be envied, and they cannot imagine any other type of life.

The visual of the picture gave me some great ideas for stories, I may actually use a couple of them as I continue writing. Does anyone have any other writing prompt ideas they use when they need to help get the creative juices flowing?  I’d love to hear them.

Autumn and Catching Up

I left the apartment this morning, and the chill in the air told me that without a doubt, fall has finally arrived. After a sweltering summer, it is nice to finally have that crisp fall air hit me as I go out each morning. Between work and apartment hunting, my late summer and early fall look to be keeping me on my toes. As I put my laptop in the back and hustled into the front seat, I sat back and planned my day. I knew that more than anything today, I wanted to get in some solid writing time. First on my agenda is a blog post; then I will get back to Victorian times and deal with a certain captain and her loyal, if not completely law-abiding crew.

I intended to get some blogging done last week, as I spent three days in Rochester and Buffalo New York for the yearly manager’s meeting that my manager sets up. Although we were in meetings all day, my evenings were free, without my other job. My original goal was to post a bit each evening after the day’s work was done. Well, that did not pan out. I was so exhausted when I got back to my hotel room that I promptly passed out. So three days, and no new blog posts.

That said, I was able to sit down and do a little work on my various projects when there was some downtime. I didn’t make a ton of progress during that time, but I had a few ideas, and was able to get them down on paper, and into my computer before they flew completely out of my head. Thankfully.

The ongoing theme in my life is trying to complete that which I have started. To that end, I have branched out a little bit. I gave myself a little birthday present in the form of the iOS version of Scrivener, which is now downloaded onto my iPad. Between that and my sorely underused Dropbox account, I am now completely mobile with my writing!  I played around with it a little bit over the course of those three days, and after a little bit of a learning curve, I think I have the syncing down pat.

This last weekend I was able to close out three chapters that have been bugging me on a couple of my projects. I am now just past the half-way point in Mademoiselle Durand and the Dead Man’s Map. While I enjoy the project, it has been causing me grief since I first typed the sentence “The falcon circled the mast of the Morning Star, keeping a watchful eye on the deck below.” I also spent some time working on my untitled science fiction project. That one is fun to write, but I am having a few issues getting my characters to where they need to be for the climax of the story.

So now I leave you, readers, so that I may continue with my creative writing pursuits. Until next time!


A Short Update

I can’t fall asleep. In the morning I am traveling from central Massachusetts to upstate New York. Rochester, to be precise. It is a 295 mile, 5.5 hour trip, according to my GPS. The reason is the yearly meeting held at main job’s headquarters. It is a three day affair.

I get to learn how the other side of operations…operate. It sounds like it will be interesting, and for the most part I’m looking forward to it. The only thing I’m not crazy about, aside from the driving, is that it is business dress. So I have to dress up.  So I get to dress like a grownup and have grownup meetings over the next several days. On the bright side, I will be off from Jon number two until Friday. So that will give me some solid writing time in the evenings.

As I attempt to rest my weary head this evening, I am also considering some topics for the next several days.  Steampunk tropes, both good and bad; steampunk aesthetic vs. steampunk as a genre; and possibly an exploration of one of my many favorite writers. Until tomorrow, I wish everyone a wonderful evening.