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Friday, May 16, 2014

Company at Vastine's...Welcome, Joylene Nowell Butler!

 Hey, sugars!

 Today I’m honored to welcome a guest who’s been one of the most influential persons in my writing adventure. Author Joylene Nowell Butler.

Lordy, I could talk your ear off all day about this woman, I truly could, I admire her that much and I cherish her friendship and support that much.
I met Ms. Butler at the very, very early stages of my writing. The days when I had not goal in mind, I was just writing for fun…but…but…beginning to dream of that big what if? What if I really wanted to do this seriously? What if…?
And I met Joylene. She read lots of my work. She critiqued lots of my work. Looking back at my pitiful lack of knowledge, I now can be humbled by her patience.

Joylene encouraged me, always. And she still does. On top of all that—she’s am extremely gifted, multi-published author. 

But let me shut up and turn the floor over to her. She’s sharing a new experience in her writing career—her first venture into writing…Steampunk!
So, take the floor, Ms. Butler! I’m dying to hear about this!

* * * * * * *

Never Say Never, has always been my motto. That doesn’t mean there aren't times when I wonder what the heck was I thinking!  

March 8, 2012, author Pat Bertram asked if I’d like to join her and 8 others in doing a collaboration on a steampunk mystery.  

I said,”Sure," then quickly googled the term steampunk. I’d never heard to it. 

Wikipedia’s definition (condensed) says, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century….
I have one better. When people ask me, I say “Think Sherlocks Holmes.”

To which they generally reply, “Gotta.”

What they don’t know is, try writing a book about a subject you have to look up on Google. Hence the reason we began the project March 8, 2012 but it wasn’t published until May 1, 2014. None of us knew what we were doing. Well, three did, but they dropped out within the first year. The rest of us debated every six months or so whether we should give up. 

It was tough going. I know there were moments when I wanted to shout “I quit!” Why I didn’t is mostly stubbornness. I find it difficult to give up. 

Welcome to Break Time, a collaborative steampunk anthology written by seven authors from four countries—USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia—who have never met. The year is 1966. Steam still reigns. Oil never became king. Coal is used to heat water to create steam to run engines, and because of it, pollution is a serious problem. The last war was the Great War. World War II never happened. There was no Korean Conflict, and no build up of troops in Vietnam. Despite what might be idealistic times, not everyone is happy. Alexander Giston, 64 years old in 1966, invented a machine that broke time and allowed him to return to the past and save his wife and son from the train wreck that took their lives. Heeding his advice, they agreed to travel by aeroship instead, and were lost when the aeroship went down. A third attempt failed to keep them from dying. Al promised himself he wouldn’t again attempt to save his wife and son. Instead he decided to go to the past to kill steam, the means of their death. But some who live and prosper because of steam will do anything to save their way of life, even to kill Al as often as they need to.

Still, I suffered. I pulled a lot of hair out of my head trying to determine what motivated the novel’s antagonist. I eventually figured out what my character, Dakota David's motivation was. Like me he was confused most days. I knew I could work with that. But when it came to incorporating his story with the novel’s lead character, I was completely in the dark. Had it not been for the patience of our lead author, Pat Bertram, we’d all still be at it. 
Now, after struggling, wondering what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to do this anthology, and trying to finish the hardest piece of writing I’ve ever done, I’m thrilled with the results. When someone asks me what’s an anthology is and what it feels like to work with six other authors, I say, “Think Sherlock Holmes,” then add, “then write a short story using the same antagonist six other authors are using.” 

That’s about the time I receive the “Huh?” reply. 

Here’s a sneak peek from Dakota David’s section:

Grandfather also saw the wolverine. He looked back at David. “The bear hunts the wolverine. Yet he comes to you to prove that rage can be controlled. He is warning you that your gift has purpose. One day, many years from now, a man will approach you, coveting the suppressed rage of the wolverine’s enemy. This man will be prisoner to the past yet present to the future. It will be your gift that sets him free . . . if you choose to help him.”
Present to the future; what the hell did that mean! “What if I don’t want to help him, Mushom? What if I can’t?”
Grandfather closed his eyes, lifted his chin to the heavens. The smooth lines in his face softened, and David knew he was speaking to God.
He’s praying for me, Great Spirit. Please listen.
After a time, Grandfather looked back at him. “I don’t know that you will help him. It’s a choice to make then, not now. All future can be changeable, Nosisim.”
It hadn’t been the answer David hoped for and he raised his arms to the sky and called out to the Great Spirit. “Manito! Thank you, but the gift isn’t wanted. Please don’t make me take it. Honour someone else . . . !”
“. . . And that’s my story,” Al Giston said, startling David from his reverie. “Will you help me?”
When David looked at Al, he saw a desperate man, a man who felt justified by his insane request.
Or am I the one who’s insane. I’m talking to a matchitehew from the future.
“You have my deepest sympathies, Al, but I can’t help you.”

 * * * * * *

That’s chilling, Joylene. And now I’m awfully curious to see how this is all put together, who the other characters are. And quite an interesting undertaking…a collaboration with so many other authors. Not an anthology, mind you, but a story. Fascinating. But, knowing you, my friend, it’s worked out splendidly! Congratulations!

Thank you so much for visiting with us today. It’s been a pleasure and an honor!

1 comment:

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you for your kindness, Carol. You are such a dear.