8/13/14

Steampunk Summer: The Carnival Has Arrived!

As my Facebook fans already know, Steampunk Carnival is now available for download as an ebook.  (I've started the process of turning it into a paperback as well.  I'll update you as I go along.)  Remember, you don't need a Kindle to read my ebooks!  All you need is the Kindle app - click here if you want to get it for the device (or computer) you have.

It's hard to believe that just over 2 years ago, I sat on vacation with Josh in a Victorian bed and breakfast and read him the first chapter, rough and unedited.  I was working on the first draft at the time, and it was amazing to spend a few days in the environment in which parts of the book take place.

The fireplace in our room - converted to electric for convenience (and safety).
Katya and Magdalene, my heroines, live as many Victorians did - in a boarding house where the boarders shared a common dining room.  That's how the DeLano Mansion Inn in Michigan, where we stayed, is set up.  Josh and I ate breakfast alongside colorful characters from several different states - fellow Hoosiers, a spitfire of a woman from Texas, and a family from somewhere else down south.  (Boarding houses with common eating areas were eventually replaced with the independent, separate living offered by the apartment buildings we know today.)  In my book, shared spaces give many great opportunities for personalities to clash and mingle.

You can read the first 5 chapters of Steampunk Carnival for free on Amazon or download the sample to your device.  I'm posting the first chapter here for your enjoyment, just a little different than it was 2 years ago.  (Katya and Magdalene haven't come into the story yet.) Let me know what you think!  Thanks for reading.

Steampunk Carnival


1884

Naperville, Illinois 


Chapter One

     The journal has become my lifeline, the only thing I live for. If I could, I would carry it with me everywhere – to work at the factory, on my strolls through the memorial park, on my visits to Saints Peter and Paul Church. As it is, I leave it here, buried in the bottom of the drawer beside my bed, beneath newspaper articles and whatever scraps of paper I can find.
     I guard it as my greatest secret, and it haunts me during the day like nothing else. When sweat drips into my eyes, when my hands smear grease across the legs of my trousers, I envision its pristine pages before me. I wish they were there so I could fill them, even if oil and moisture bled the pencil’s smooth lead across their surfaces. When I close my eyes against the repetition of the machines and the men I work with, I imagine turning the pages, glancing at what I’ve written to arrive at the first white sheet.
     No matter what happens during the hours of my day, I focus solely on finishing the journal. When my boss drops my wages into my hand, I rush to buy new pencils. When the weather turns warm, I want to take it outside and make notes in the shade of the mighty oaks. When I feel abandoned and alone, I long to hold it. When the sunlight finds a clean spot on the grimy factory windows and pierces my eyes, I wish I could picture the way it streams through the boarding house windows and falls across the bed where I scribble in the lamplight every night.
     Whatever greets me when I arrive home from the factory, I draw out the journal. While a fight rages in the street or someone whistles in the hall or I’m stuffing a roll from my supper into my mouth, I fish a pencil out of the drawer and set its tip to the page. I don’t let myself hesitate, and I don’t need to. Whatever ideas grew in my head throughout the day fly across the paper. This stolen hour at night is never wasted sitting and thinking. I write without stopping, sheet after sheet until I worry I will run out of paper before my ideas are done.
     If I didn’t need sleep, I would write through the night, but I make myself stop. I jot down my final thoughts in a flurry and fold the book closed. I fling the pencil in the drawer, nestling the journal in the bottom and concealing it again. In the turmoil of sleep, I dream about it, finishing it, marking that last blank page with lines of lead. The grey strokes intertwine and thicken and twist into a mass until there is nothing recognizable as paper left.
     My heavy boots stomp up the wooden stairs of the boarding house. The journal looms closer with every clomp and creak. I follow the hall to my door and turn the knob. I can feel the pages in my fingers, thick and dry, before I have even touched the book. I ease the door closed behind me. I forget my boots on my tired feet as I drop to sit on the edge of the bed and reach for the hanging drawer pull. I dig out a pencil and shift the loose pages aside.
      No matter what I do or how long I look, there’s no mistaking it. I cannot find it. Even when I tear the drawer out of the bedstand and shake its contents all over the floor, growling through gritted teeth, no sign of it announces itself. The journal is gone.

Click the cover for more on Amazon.

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