I decided to pursue a different path with the 2017 edition of the A to Z Challenge, by taking my newest writing project, called Steel Horse Saviors, and introducing characters, setting, and pieces of the plot. Steel Horse Saviors tells the story of three Civil War veterans who head west as the war ends with a newly acquired steam locomotive to seek not only their fortune but survival. On the journey west they find Clementine O’Grady, who is determined to keep her father’s timber and lumber empire going strong as the country tries to re-stitch itself. My overall plan is to scheme it out over the next six months and take it with me as I try to complete the 30 day tempest known as National Novel Writing Month in November.
For those of you new to either challenge, let me take a moment to lay it out. The A to Z challenge tasks you with posting 26 times in April along an alphabet guideline. NaNoWriMo challenges you to write 50K words in 30 days. Yes 50K is in the range of a novella, so maybe Steel Horse Saviors will be only that.
Anyway, the first character I want to introduce is Angus O’Grady, an Irish immigrant who came to America in 1821, forty-five years before the novel begins in the months surrounding the end of America’s Civil War. O’Grady will appear only in flashbacks of his family and other characters influenced by his life.
His backstory concerns how he came to America penniless, but within a couple of decades had a thriving timber and lumber business in the American West, which kept expanding further into the wild every year. His strong work ethic is ingrained in his youngest daughter, Clementine, the heroine of the story and will be a major element of this work.
Here is an excerpt:
Angus stood with his arm around Delilah, surveying the seemingly unending acreage of prime timber. Working for old man MacGruder for all these years had finally paid off. The Scot had promised it would, but Angus had about given up hope. But there was something between them MacGruder could not deny. Angus had saved his life at least a half dozen times and that counted for more than anything.
Now Angus could make sure his growing family was taken care of for their life. He could see great things coming for his brood. He even had a name for the enterprise. O’Grady Timber. If he succeeded in this initial try maybe he would move into lumber as well.
Come back Monday to read about Doctor Elise Begley, the one woman in Penley River that treats Clementine, the heroine of Steel Horse Saviors as an equal.