A to Z Reflections – April 2017

This is my first reflections post. I did not do one following my first A to Z in April of 2013 even though I finished 26 daily posts. In 2015 & 2106 I did not finish the challenge, so a reflection post did not seem genuine. But in 2017 I am embracing a totally different attitude about not starting something without making a solid effort to finish.

When I thought about how I wanted to approach the 2017 A to Z Challenge I was fresh off an exhilarating month doing the 2016 National Novel Writing Month effort. You know all about that, you write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I chose the second book in a series about an F.B.I. agent duo. I exceeded the suggested goal by over 21,000 words and found a new confidence and drive I have been able to capitalize on moving forward.

My approach for the A to Z followed with the idea to brain storm my next NaNoWriMo project over the 26 posts challenge. The Steel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business that causes each of them to reconsider their efforts to escape their various pasts.

If you missed any of the posts you can go to the page on The Fiction Playground where they as well as the Recaps are collected: 2017 A to Z Challenge

Since I have not written anything on this yet the posts I shared are actually my feeling out of the possible characters, plot lines and settings. I will not and cannot say everything posted will absolutely find its way into the novel. After all editing can sometimes wipe out plot, setting and even beloved characters, but at this point this is how I see things going.

My Opinion of the 2017 A To Z

I may draw some response from this, but I know there was a lot of concern about the new method of adding posts to the Letter of the Day post each day. I am interested to see if the A to Z folks will give their opinion, but I feel a little disappointed in the experience. Perhaps my topic was just not that appealing, but I hoped for more engagement with others taking part. I tried to connect with new folks because I need new content to read.

I know in the past there has been around 2,000 bloggers that sing up for the challenge. I don’t know how many of that number actually take part, but on the Facebook page for each letter the comments of people adding links were roughly 10-15% of that number. Is there another place to look for the posts? I really don’t know.

I like the camaraderie of this challenge and I feel like I have connected with some new bloggers that will turn in to long term friends. Maybe the growth will come as the days go on, I guess I should wait and see, but I just hoped for more.

New Blogging Friends and New Content

Another desire during this 26 piece challenge was to find at least 26 new bloggers to add to my collection of like-minded folks who I could go to for new content. We cannot allow ourselves to remain within the narrow confines of what we know or think. How can we learn? How will we grow? We must look for new thoughts and ideas and entertainment through other’s work. Here is the lineup of new folks I now follow:

Raven Avery             https://everywhere-and-nowhere.com/              Flash Fiction

Janelle Miller            https://everydaymomentsofworship.wordpress.com/         Christianity

Iain Kelly                   https://iainkellywriting.wordpress.com/           Flash Fiction

Jacqui Murray          https://worddreams.wordpress.com/                Literary Genres

Carryl R                      https://carrylrobinson.wordpress.com/           Books & Authors

Stomperdad              https://allinadadswork.wordpress.com/           Fatherhood

Katrina                       http://calliopewriting.com/                                 Famous Quotes

Dee                       https://ladieswholunchreviews.wordpress.com/          Flash Fiction

Natalie                 https://lunanoctis.wordpress.com/                                  Musical Artists

Sue Ranscht        https://stranscht.com/                                                         Flash Fiction

Halee Pagel         http://2blueeyes.com/                                                         Flash Fiction

Megan Morgan   https://meganmorganauthor.com/       26 Things She Hates About Writing

Geraint Isitt         https://geraintisitt.com/                                                    Flash Fiction

jetgirlcos              https://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/          Adventures in Paris

Dawn                   https://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com/                      Black & White photos

Kerry                   https://kerrylizblack.wordpress.com                Herbs & Plants in Literature

The Artistic Christian          https://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com/       Christianity

Jazz Feathers                        http://theoldshelter.com/                                        Film Noir

shyutgal                                https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/        All about Utah

Kim                                        https://ramblingsofk.wordpress.com/                   Travel

Barbara                          http://lifefaithincaneyhead.blogspot.com/       Personal Perspectives

Eva                                        http://mailadventures.blogspot.com/       Postcards Recvd in Mail

Claudia                                http://thebookwright.blogspot.com                    Writing

Zeke Barton – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 26

Z.jpgSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business that causes each of them to reconsider their efforts to escape their various pasts.

Zeke Barton is one of the few remaining employees that joined O’Grady Timber & Lumber at its inception. Beginning as a lumber jack Zeke quickly rose to be the foreman as he proved his worth to Angus. Having a dependable second allowed Angus to concentrate on spinning up the lumber side quicker than he expected.

Zeke wants to continue with O’Grady timber & Lumber for as long as his body will allow, but the financials are just as clear to him as they are to Clementine. But the possibilities tossed around by this new trio give Zeke a hope foreign to him for almost a decade. He sees a future where O’Grady Timber & Lumber is the only show in Penley River.

Here is an excerpt:

Zeke knew Clementine would immediately resist the possibilities these three strangers presented. She was fiercely loyal to her father’s legacy. But they weren’t really proposing to take the business to a new plane, just offering ways to restore all operations so that it could be what it once was, a commercial powerhouse.

Brou was his favorite of the trio. The little mechanical whiz seemed to have a golden touch. Zeke could feel the hair on his neck bristle as Brou merely mentioned firing up both saws at once. There was a brief time, maybe three solid years where both machines ran simultaneously. He was almost giddy thinking about how big a moment that would be.

With this post I have done what was never done before, at least for me, and survived the 26 post A to Z Challenge. On Monday or perhaps Tuesday I will roll out a reflections post with links to all the Steel Horse Saviors posts, a list of new bloggers I found during this adventure and my review of the experience.

If you have been along for the ride I thank you. We are solitary beings most of the time and taking this time to connect is good for all of us. Good luck as you continue on through your blogging journey. If any of you are eyeing the 2017 NaNoWriMo in November let me know. We can build out a NaNo Group.

 

Yvette Dumond – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 25

YSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business that causes each of them to reconsider their efforts to escape their various pasts.

Yvette Dumond is a worldly young woman who has landed in Penley River after coming to America from France and spending a brief amount of time in New Orleans. She is about as opposite from Clementine as possible, causing Clementine to reassess her devotion tot eh family business. They are similar in age, but Yvette’s life experiences even to this point far outweigh any potential Clementine sees in the future.

Yvette is intrigued by the Steel Horse Saviors due to their mysterious pasts. In particular she focuses on “Brou” seeming to know more about him than he is comfortable with. Yvette is the kind of girl Finn has fended off his whole life and will likely cause him some grief with Clementine.

Here is an excerpt:

Yvette loved her life. Okay, she never expected to be stuck in a little place like this when she stepped onto the ship leaving France, but she was hands down the star of the show here. Being French  and female in America was like a golden ticket. All the men wanted to know you and all the women wanted to hate you. She always got the most attention and what she wanted from everyone.

She had an ace in the hole, which was an offer to relocate to a locale further west when she either tired of this small burg or her luck ran out. But right now with the three new strangers generating a new level of excitement she liked her chances to keep her crown in Penley River.

Tomorrow is the 26th and final post of the 2017 A to Z Challenge. You will meet Zeke Barton, Clementine’s foreman at O’Grady timber & Lumber.

 

Xavier Touchet Broussard -Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 24

XSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business that causes each of them to reconsider their efforts to escape their various pasts.

Xavier Touchet Broussard is the mechanical genius that keeps Lulubelle in fine operating condition while he, Nolan and Finn try to aid Clementine in her fight to keep the O’Grady family business afloat. Xavier is a former member of the 44th Louisiana Rifle Regiment that deserted in the fall of 1864 as the confederate army began to sustain continued heavy losses.

As we discovered in the post about Gus Owens there is some unknown maneuvering that resulted in “Brou” joining his compadres under Gus’ tutelage. Without “Brou’s” skill Lulubelle would quickly become inoperable due to the sheer wear and tear of operation.

Here is an excerpt:

“Brou” long ago accepted that he was not Finn or Nolan or anything like what they represented. His looks and physical stature never had caused another to hesitate for a moment. But he liked it that way. He could go ahead with his life doing the things he chose. Well, he could after he slipped the bonds of the C.S.A. Army. Some thirteen months later he felt like that spectre was vanquished. There was no C.S.A. Army any more so there should be no repercussions.

Now he could concentrate on tending to his baby, Lulubelle. This fine machine could make the trio very rich if they used it correctly. The opportunities out west in California were so plentiful they would have to turn down the work.

Tomorrow in the penultimate post of the 2017 A to Z you will see the woman who is Clementine’s antithesis, Yvette Dumond, the saloon showgirl.

 

Wedding of an O’Grady Sister and a Steel Horse Savior – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 23

W.jpgCopyright – ALPINE ACRES PUBLISHING – 2017 Steel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business which cause them all to reassess their selfish desires to escape their collective pasts.

Okay, I know in every other post I have gone into great detail giving you the particulars about the character, setting or plot and how everything will play out. But you have to understand this whole process is basically a public brain storming session. There are plenty of details to weave together to get to the point of this subject which, obviously, will be near the end of the novel.

What I am willing to commit to is that it will include one of the O’Grady girls and one of the Saviors. Which ones? Ah, that is yet to be determined.

Here is an excerpt:

You wish! I cannot give an excerpt for something that does not exist! 🙂

In Post 24 of 26 I will introduce you to the remaining Steel Horse Savior, Xavier Touchet “Brou” Broussard, the former Confederate States of America solider who joined the Saviors in late 1864 under mysterious circumstances.

Venus O’Grady -Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 22

V.jpgCopyright – ALPINE ACRES PUBLISHING – 2017 Steel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady a auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business which cause them all to reassess their selfish desires to escape their collective pasts.

Venus O’Grady is a typical older sister, who although cannot manage her own affairs and three rambunctious children, seems determined to try to ruin everyone else’s life. She can see the promise of a future in the marriage proposal and merger connected with Quentin Rollins. She has wanted the man since she was a teen, but he never turned her way.

Venus’ deep seated feeling of entitlement in whatever Clementine can eke out for the clan is a constant source of conflict for the two. Venus is a master at pulling every one to her side in every instance where a choice has to be made “for the good of the family.” Venus can see her apple cart being upset when the Steel Horse Saviors offer clementine an alternative that will snuff out her hopes of sharing in a cash reward of a merger.

Here is an excerpt:

Perhaps Venus never would live in a place like the ones Yvette the show girl expounded upon, but with the Rollins bank roll nearby she could at least have a sip of the good life. If that is her hard-headed sister would ever get with the program. She was just like Father, always making everything such a big deal. Could she not see the value in such a man as Quentin?

Venus’ heart never fluttered for her dear departed husband Lester like it did even now when she saw Quentin Rollins. That man was something she had dreamed of so many times she felt like she knew him inside and out.

Come back for the next post, for the surprise of the series which starts with the letter W!

Ueley Carlisle – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 21

U.jpgSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady an auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business who causes the three to question their grand scheme to escape their collective pasts.

Ueley Carlisle has not stake in the future of O’Grady timber & Lumber or Rollins Lumber except for the fact without one of them his dream of doubling Harrington’s population is nothing more than an apparition. The sixty year old has been on the western wave of migration, throwing up ever larger towns as he progresses.

Seeing what is in Penley River he feels confident he can proceed with his mater plan. The three year initial contract he offers is something that will set one of the operations up for a long time of stability with the promise of follow on contracts in the years to come.

Here is an excerpt:

Ueley Carlisle stood on a small rise looking to the west of Harrington’s planned business district. He could see in his mind the lateral extensions to the west, northwest and north. The rail line was already in place and would be just right for his new designs.

He was willing to invest in Penley River to build up all the industry to keep this town mainly a residential center. The commerce would come with the population, of that he was sure. He could see Harrington be the model of great towns and eventually cities as the Unites States of American continued to grow.

Tomorrow is your introduction to the final O’Grady sister, Venus, who tends to side with Delilah, her mother, to complicate Clementine’s efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Trumble – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 20

TSteel Horse Saviors is about three Civil War veterans, two Yankees and one Rebel, who take their steam locomotive west to seek their post-war fortune. In the process they encounter Clementine O’Grady an auburn-haired beauty fighting to save the family business who causes the three to question their grand scheme to escape their collective pasts.

Colonel Thomas Trumble was just a Captain in the Fall of 1859 when all the sings of a coming military conflict began to consume the minds of everyone around him in the United States Army. Mr. Lincoln’s War as he came to call it, was something unnecessary in his mind, just a waste of money, men and opportunity.

Through his time in the inspector general’s department he was a vocal critic of all things related to the war. He wasn’t a Southern sympathizer by any means, he just hated the whole process. Two trips to view the carnage of a battlefield was enough to convince him that the war had to stop by any means. But that did not mean he was willing to condone any practice by the men in blue, such as Finn, Brou and Nolan.

By Mid-1864 the now Colonel had earned his nickname “Trouble” meaning if he was on your trail there was nothing good to come.

Here is an excerpt:

A low rumble went through the crowd when the trio of deep blue uniformed riders approached. The taller rider bore the hardware of a senior officer, something rarely seem in this far west. He searched the crowd like he knew his quarry would be here. Minutes later he beckoned to one of the men waiting for his next mining shift to begin.

“You there. I’m looking for three men.”

“If you have work there is more than three looking,” the tired voice replied.

“No work. I am seeking old soldiers. I need them for another task.”

“What are the names?”

“Russell, Broussard and Honeycut,” Trumble said.

“Sir you are several hundred miles south for those three. They headed up to Ohio through Kentucky.”

“Kentucky!” one of Trumble’s men exclaimed.

“Then Kentucky is where we will go next,” Trumble said.

As they watched the riders depart the man who gave the answer leaned near to his friend. “I hope Finn kept the trail hot to California like he planned. Trumble won’t stop until he finds them!”

Tomorrow you can check back at The Fiction Playground for the for the next post about Ueley Carlisle, the developer in Harrington that is ready to demand more timber and lumber than either O’Grady or Rollins can fathom.

 

 

Recap of A to Z Posts & Check Out These A to Z Bloggers – Part 3

15965050_1068241179964848_7193179799334160551_nRecap number three of the four I will post during the 30 day A to Z Challenge. They will all publish on Sunday, our day off except for the last, which will roll off on May 1st. In the posts I will highlight new bloggers (And I hope new writing friends) that I discover along the way of sharing 26 posts in 30 days.

My theme is based on a novel I plan to write during the annual National Novel Writing Month in November. Now that we are seven post in I want to collect the links here for anyone late to the party.

If you missed either prior recap, you can catch up here: Recap & New Bloggers & Recap of A to Z Posts & Check Out These A to Z Bloggers – Part 2

Here is a recap of this week’s posts:

Nolan Russell – The second of the Steel Horse Saviors trio and the muscle of the operation.

O’Grady Timber & Lumber Company – Clementine’s pride and joy, the business her father built from nothing.

Penley River Trestle – another significant impediment to O’Grady T& L reaching their full potential.

Quentin Rollins – the villain, who constantly lays barriers in Clementine’s way.

Rollins Lumber Company – O’Grady T & L’s chief competitor, but one unable to match O’Grady’s maximum potential.

Saving O’Grady Timber & Lumber – The main plot of Steel Horse Saviors revolves around keeping O’Grady Timber & Lumber from failing, leaving not only the O’Grady family, but all their employees in the lurch.

Here is a preview of the last seven posts in the 2017 A to Z Challenge:

Thomas Trumble, Colonel who is the Inspector General in the post-war U.S. Army and trying to find evidence to come after the Saviors.

Ueley Carlisle – The developer who wants to turn Harrington into the population center of the western frontier.

Venus O’Grady – Clementine’s oldest sister who allies regularly with her mother to complicate Clementine’s path.

Wedding – One of the Saviors will marry an O’Grady, but that plot development still needs some development.

Xavier Touchet Broussard – the mechanical genius and last Savior, who keeps Lulubelle running in top condition.

Yardley Station – The supply town that figures to be Thomas Trumble’s trump card in prosecuting the Saviors.

Zeke Barton – The foreman at O’Grady Timber & Lumber, who started shortly after Angus began the operation.

Finally, but not the least important item is this short list of new bloggers I came across this week in my A to Z commenting. I am trying to find at least one new blogger each day of the challenge to add to my Reader list and to share with you. Please take a moment to clink on their blog links:

The Artistic Christian          https://theartisticchristian.wordpress.com/       Christianity

Jazz Feathers                        http://theoldshelter.com/                                        Film Noir

shyutgal                                https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/        All about Utah

Kim                                        https://ramblingsofk.wordpress.com/                   Travel

Barbara                          http://lifefaithincaneyhead.blogspot.com/       Personal Perspectives

Eva                                        http://mailadventures.blogspot.com/       Postcards Recvd in Mail

Claudia                                http://thebookwright.blogspot.com                    Writing

These folks I highlight have very different styles, so I want to introduce you to them and ask you to support their craft, by stopping by to say hello and give them some encouragement in the comments section. Tune in next week as I put this together again with another recap, preview and more new bloggers to enjoy!