When Reality Isn’t Real – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers – 05/16/17

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Elyse Begley watched her subjects as they reacted to her latest test cycle. There was a good variety of needs represented in her two dozen patients. None of her colleagues ever admitted trying an alternative treatment such as this, but that did not deter Elyse. She embraced technology such as virtual reality glasses as a regular component of her psychology work. Her assistant, a new graduate student, watched in amazement as the experiment played out.

“What are they seeing?” Kelsey asked.

“It depends. Every mind is different. Plus there are different medicines at work in every brain.”

Elyse was especially interested in the experience of Les. He was her most troubled patient. She really wanted this to help him. He needed to be able to function again. The world knew him by his pen name, H.A. Marcum. His claim to fame was a series of best selling mysteries that kept the world breathless every three months when another rolled off the press. But it had been almost eight months since his last success.

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Insecure Writer’s Support Group – 05/03/17

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
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I am another of the bloggers who took the A to Z plunge in April. I understand why some people don’t want to try this. It can be too daunting, trying to match up 26 topics with the alphabet letter in a span of 30 days. But I managed to do it as I brainstormed my newest project, a historical fiction novel. In truth I found it very helpful in mapping out the course of my novel. When the flag flies on National Novel Writing Month I will be as ready as I ever have.
But as big a reason for joining the A to Z Challenge for me is to meet others. Blogging is such a solitary experience unless you have plenty of visitors who are willing to read and comment in a way beyond “nice post” or “good story”. Sorry if I come off picky or even needy, but I try to give valuable feedback or some kind of meaningful comment when I visit a blog. I found at least 26 new bloggers to follow and read last month, including several who have practical experience publishing, editing and writing good stories.
Each month group poses a question to the participants. This is the question for this month:
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?
This question is geared toward a past project I suppose, but I think the coolest research will be what I have to do for the project I mentioned above. My new novel will be set in the mid-1860s. It involves a steam locomotive and a lumber & sawmill business. There will be a long list of items I will have to learn about to make sure my novel fits the time period.
Not only that, but I love dialogue in my writing and I will have to be very sure I keep modern slang and references out of the story. I might wish I had a device like Alexa before I am done so that I could ask when this or that became popular. I think overall it will be a fun experience however.
I look forward to meeting more #IWSG peeps. I am always glad to rub elbows with others whose minds are preoccupied with plots, settings, characters and story telling like mine.
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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!

O’Grady Timber & Lumber – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 15

O.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, and the Saviors find themselves willing to postpone their attempt to escape their Civil War pasts.

Even before Lulubelle rolls into town with Finn, Nolan and “Brou” O’Grady Timber & Lumber is in crisis. Angus has been bead just short of two years and piece by piece the company has begun to unravel. The timber business has fewer working parts, so Clementine has been able to keep all those plates spinning. But her mother, Delilah and oldest sister Venus work in concert to question ever move she makes.

When the Saviors arrive Clementine begins to dream of the good old days when her father had all facets of the business in play. The stakes in her assessment are becoming life or death and no length is too far to save O’Grady T & L.

Here is an excerpt:

“Miss O’Grady everywhere I look I see O’Grady Timber & Lumber, but so far all I see is the timber side. Am I missing the lumber operation?”

“Tell him Clem. It is time,” Zeke Barton said.

Clementine shot him a look, but nodded and led the group out the back. “Brou” whistled when they entered the old saw mill portion of the complex. It was clear nothing had moved here in at least a year.

We haven’t had the skill to keep up the maintenance since Mr. O’Grady passed,” Zeke said.

“Not to mention the cost of new blades,” Clementine added.

Finn watched “Brou” buzzing around the biggest saw. He was like the kid in the candy store with money burning in his pocket.

“What do you think “Brou”?” Finn asked.

“Two maybe three days. But then we will need hands.”

“What is he saying?” Clementine asked.

“He is saying if you can get the timber and the labor he can have the Lumber part of O’Grady timber & Lumber operational again.,” Finn smiled.

Come back for the next post, which will explain another major factor in saving Clementine’s family business, the Penley River Trestle, which is the only path to the timber rich north forest.

Nolan Russell – Steel Horse Saviors – 2017 A to Z Challenge – Day 14

NCopyright – 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 who causes them to rethink their plans to go west to outrun their collective pasts.\

Nolan wanted to believe they were safe here. It had been nothing but a constant run and dodge since they left Virginia in March of 1865. He still wasn’t sure he wanted to know what Gus did to spring them free. Probably had to trade his fortune or maybe even his life for that final trick.

He could learn to like this place. The women seemed to have less of an attitude than the ones in Maryland and northern Virginia. Pretentious beauty queens that were swayed by the promise of all those pretty boys with plantations to offer. Pretty boys just like Finn. But Finn was real. Real enough to save Nolan’s skin four times on the battlefield and another couple while they worked their way through Tennessee.

Here is an excerpt:

Nolan knew there was easy money laying on the table in front of him. No one ever guessed his real strength before he gave them their lesson. His pockets were always richer after every encounter like this. Finn taught him to play the role flawlessly, drawing in as many suckers as possible. Nolan learned the game quickly, using his newfound stealth as he paid a lot of the way for the trio.

But the redhead, the one tied to the timber company, she looked at him as if her bright blue eyes could penetrate his soul. Were they? He knew he had to pull himself together for this moment, but he made a mental note to find that beautiful creature after this to see what she was all about.

Come back for the next post, which will give you the particulars about O’Grady Timber & Lumber Company.