The Lost Wallet – 2

By Melanie Page (Author of Tale Spinning – the art of the short story)

Hi writing fans, back again.

Today I’m going to continue the story of Terry and his lost wallet. Now, in part 1, we looked at the complication, that is Terry discovering that his wallet had gone astray. And of course, it happened at the worst possible time, when he is trying to buy flowers for the important lady in his life.

So, what are we going to need to tell the story properly? Well, we will need rising tension, where we describe what Terry believes will happen if he doesn’t get the flowers, along with a suitable conclusion. And a twist would be great, but it needs to relate to Terry and what he wants/ or what he expects will happen.

It is perfectly permissible to write the conclusion first, but because I don’t want to lose your interest, I will do this chronologically.

Now, as Terry will be leaving the shop, we cannot be in the viewpoint of the florist. We have to be in Terry’s viewpoint, either in first person (I) or in third person (Terry/ he). I’m going to go for third person, although in this context, first person might work equally well or better as he could speak directly to the reader.

What are some things that could add tension? One might be a time limit. Are the shops about to shut? Or is he on his way to meet the girl? The second is more likely. If he had plenty of time, he would be able to make plans. The second source of tension is Terry’s expectation of the girl’s reaction to him not having the flowers. Why is it so important that he have something to give her? And is there more to it than just the flowers? After all, if they are going on a date, he needs access to money? Otherwise we have a plot hole, and that would never do.

Where will Terry get the money for the flowers? From a friend? From Mum? Will he steal it? Will he steal the flowers? Will he succeed? Will he fail?

Now at this point, I need to know what the end is going to be. Does it suit my purpose for Terry to have the flowers, or an excuse, when he keeps his appointment with the girl?

So, what elements of the story can I use so as not to overly complicate things. Not a date, otherwise the loss of wallet is too inconvenient. I want him to realise that he has left it at home, but, because of the time constraint, he won’t be able to go home and get it. Therefore we need to be in third person omniscient narration (or obviously first person, but with first person it’s hard to do description) so I can spell out his thoughts and feelings.

Here is the third person narrated intro that I used last time.

Terry walked up to the florist’s counter and lay the bouquet tenderly down, so as not to bruise the delicate, half opened roses. The woman behind the counter smiled, which was hardly surprising, considering the price. ‘That is an excellent choice, sir.’ She deftly slipped the dripping stems into a kind of sleeve then wrapped the flowers in white tissue and cellophane. ‘The lady is very fortunate, I’m sure she will love these.’

‘I hope so.’

As she moved to the register, Terry reached around to the back pocket of his jeans. Then his grin slipped momentarily. He reached around with the other hand. Again, nothing. Panicked, he slipped his hand into the front pocket of his pants, and then into the inner pocket of his bomber style jacket. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

OK- Here is my plan. Terry has been enamoured of the young lady, let’s call her Kate, and she has been away, but now he is going to declare his affections and present her with flowers on her return from a trip away. Hence the urgency, he wants to meet her at the bus. Perhaps the florist is near the bus stop, or on the way? Those details need to go into the story at the outset… but without further ado, here is the next bit of Terry’s story.

‘Can you just keep them for me please. Just for a few minutes?’

She hesitated then caved. ‘Go on. I’ll put them in the cold room for you. Only half an hour mind!’

Thank goodness! ‘Thank you!’ He turned and bolted for the door. Outside he turned his head. There were a few people beginning to gather at the bus stop. He checked his watch. Twenty minutes, which meant he needed to be back here in fifteen.

He grabbed his bike and mounted, wobbling out onto the laneway. Where could he get money? Home was too far. He’d never make it back in time. What about work? One of his mates would lend him, he was sure.

It was only five minutes to the Maccas where he had a regular spot on the roster. He shoved his pushy into the bike rack. The automatic doors opened for him, engulfing him in cool air and cooking smells.

Fortunately, it wasn’t busy. He lounged against the counter and grinned at the kid who was serving. She was new, he was pretty sure.

‘Is Jonno here?’ He kept his tone pretty casual, but his heart was racing.

‘I don’t know Jonno. But Derek is here, out the back, if you want to see him.’

Damn! The last person he wanted to see was his boss. ‘Nah, it’s all good.’ It wasn’t all good at all.

She filled a cup with Coke and headed for the drive through window. Like a flash he leaned across the counter and opened the register. The money slid into his hand. He felt a flush of shame but quashed it. He would put the money back and no one would be the wiser.

Now of course we know that it is wishful thinking that no one will know… So, what will happen?

Well, that is a question for another time!

Perhaps you could consider which alternative ending you would choose, or how you would do the middle differently.

Until next time.

Have fun.

Melanie.

Tale – Spinning: The Art of the Short Story – Kindle edition by Page, Melanie . Reference Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

The Lost Wallet – 1

By Melanie Page (Author of Tale Spinning – the art of the short story)

Simply Story Telling – Part 1

Chaucer once said, ‘All human activity lies within the artist’s scope’. Ok, so it was Chaucer in ‘A Knight’s Tale’. It’s still a great line. The fact is, you don’t need a high falutin’ concept or a love story for the ages to write about. In fact, it is the little things that are significant.

I’ve always maintained that it is perfectly possible to write an excellent and engaging short story about a man who lost his wallet. Let’s give it a go.

Enter a character. He has lost his wallet. He needs to be in a setting, he needs to have a reason to be there (Vonnegut, rule three: Every character must want something). His first action, or dialogue, will relate to this. Then, there will come a pivotal moment when he discovers the wallet missing. That is the complication to the story.

Terry walked up to the florist’s counter and lay the bouquet tenderly down, so as not to bruise the delicate, half opened roses. The woman behind the counter smiled, which was hardly surprising, considering the price. ‘That is an excellent choice, sir.’ She deftly slipped the dripping stems into a kind of sleeve then wrapped the flowers in white tissue and cellophane. ‘The lady is very fortunate, I’m sure she will love these.’

‘I hope so.’

As she moved to the register, Terry reached around to the back pocket of his jeans. Then his grin slipped momentarily. He reached around with the other hand. Again, nothing. Panicked, he slipped his hand into the front pocket of his pants, and then into the inner pocket of his bomber style jacket. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

Now, of course, this is a draft. There are imperfections, which is why we are going to tidy it up. One is a point-of-view slip, where I have said that ‘his grin slipped momentarily’, but how would he have known that? Instead of going chronological, why don’t we look at this from the florist’s viewpoint. That was we can describe Terry better. Let’s also look at using some literary techniques.

Finally, he had made up his mind. The lad had been mooning over the bouquets in the front display for a good fifteen minutes, his hand reaching for one, caressing another. And he’d chosen the baby pink roses. A girlfriend then, a first date perhaps. Or perhaps not. But not a longtime girlfriend either.

He held them gingerly, as though the drips on his shoes would do him an injury, three paces bringing him to the counter. She had to look up; he was long and thin as a ruler with a few sparse hairs on his upper lip, jeans that were soft with age rather than fashionable and a faux bomber jacket than hung down over gangly hands.

It wasn’t hard to smile, a boy like that, so eager and earnest. ‘An excellent choice sir.’ She slipped a plastic sleeve over the stems and wrapped them in white tissue and cellophane. ‘I am sure she will love these.’

He grinned; his whole face lit up. ‘I hope so.’

As she moved to the register, he reached back into his jeans pocket. There was a flicker in his eyes and then a glint of panic. He reached back with the other hand and the panic grew. Now he checked his other pockets, hands moving jerkily. When he looked up his eyes were wide. ‘I’m sorry.’ His voice was thick and slow, as though reality didn’t make sense. ‘I’ve lost my wallet.’ 

Now, the first was one hundred and thirty-two words, the second two hundred and forty-one. The second is better; more detailed and with purposeful use of language. The woman is an impartial observer and we get a better picture of Terry than we would if we were in his point of view. Still, you could probably trim it a little if you were writing for a competition.

So where do we go from here? Well, we need to escalate the conflict (amp up the tension, show why this really matters) and then we need to help Terry resolve the problem. And maybe, we can find a twist.

But that is for another day.

In the meantime, why don’t you give it a go? Can you envisage another ‘lost wallet’ scenario?

See ya,

Have fun.

Melanie

You can connect with Melanie

Here – Melanie Page – BookBaybz (bookbaybzblog.com.au)

and

Here – (1) Melanie Page | Facebook

Her new release Tale Spinning – the art of the short story, is available now on Amazon worldwide and Here – (1) 3 Umfana Publishers | Facebook

A worthy read and a great Magazine!

As writers, Mel and I are keenly aware of how much the support of our community is needed. No matter the genre or your personal taste, magic happens when we come together to support our fellow writers.

The founder and creator of this super awesome magazine approached us and kindly offered to feature our new release Iron Heart. Now we’d like to return the kindness.

So without further ado the BookBaybZ would love to introduce you to …

The Steampunk Explorer!

It’s Here – Iron Heart, the first of The Iron Universe!

An interview with Melanie Page & MC D’Alton

Iron Heart Iron Universe MC D'Alton Melanie Page Vulpine Press Read Book Romance Steampunk

As you may know, Melanie Page and MC D’Alton are the Bookbaybz, and have been writing together for a little over 2 years.


By day, Melanie is a High School English Teacher and by night she is a published author of Regency Romances. Her first novel, “An Affair of Honour” was released in 2014 while “Sweet Revenge” and “A Twist of Fate” both came out in 2016.
In conjunction with her own publications, Melanie has also been selected to be published in A Serenity Press Anthology, “Destination Romance”.


Michelle is a Registered Nurse and Mum to triplet boys, writing under the pen name MC D’Alton & Michelle Dalton. While her first novel, “Epona” was published in 2019, Michelle has been writing seriously for the last 6 years. Michelle’s other works include “Simple Truths,” and “Forget me Not,” due for publishing later this year through Serenade Publishing, she has also had the honor of having her short story “The Curry Tree,” published in an anthology – A Discovery of Writers. Ladies, we are so excited to be here to celebrate the launch of your first collaborative novel, Iron Heart!

New photo of us here!

Q. Where did the idea for Iron Heart come from?

Mel: Michelle was whinging about how she wanted to write a story about a monster. She had been watching Penny Dreadful (note to self… just no!) and had fallen in love with the dark monsters. So she had a brainwave… ‘We should write a story about a monster falling in love!’

MC: Mel, pedantic, difficult Mel said… ‘But you can’t fall in love with a monster.’ So then of course we started batting ideas back and forth, by email… lots of emails. She set up a planning document based on Michael Hauge’s stages of story that she learned about at the Adelaide Conference and proceeded to outline a possible story.

Q. This was your first collaboration, how has this writing process been different to your normal process?

Mel: I created an outline and MC, of course, went off on a tangent. But, long story short…, it was a great exercise and we did end up using a lot of the plan. It also raise a lot of questions that formed the backstory. Then we worked out where the story would start and MC wrote the first draft chapter.

MC: Mmmm, that was fun! I dashed down a sketch of the opening events at light speed and pressed send. A couple of hours later, I got the detailed, polished version back. And I was blown away. Let me show you what I mean. Here is what I wrote: ‘Galena raised her arms in defence as she lost her balance and fell over onto the cobble stoned road, knocking the wind from her lungs.’ And here is what Mel edited it to look like. ‘Galena picked up her striped skirts and fled, pushing through the heavy oak doors that separated the enclave she had left forever from the rest of Edinburgh society. The cobbles were slick and putrid, but the tears swimming in her eyes made it hard for Galena to discern where she was going.’

Mel: It wasn’t just about rewriting. It was about giving depth and dimension to the characters.

Q. Where their challenges in working together to create Iron Heart?

MC: Of course it wasn’t all tea and cakes. There were differenced of creative opinion. I would see the story and put it down on paper; and then Mel would send it back looking very different. Which threw me. But this is where we; as rational, enlightened, peace-loving friends, were able to sit back and reflect, and work out the best path forward. At one point, I plateaued. I sent the next chapter and Mel sent it back, with a dozen questions. That was not a good moment (understatement). But, as we found answers to the questions, the story moved forward again.

Mel: One of the challenges of not having sole creative control over a story is the different perspectives that come into play. There were a couple of characters who we saw quite differently. Example; MC wrote a detective to come in and investigate the assault. So I wrote him as I saw him, a sort of steampunky Murdoch, from the Murdoch Mysteries. And then when I sent it back, MC was all… ‘But I saw him as Benedict Cumberbatch.’ Oops.

Q. Why a Medical Steam Punk Romance?

MC – Because I wanted a monster and steampunk just kinda sorta happened.

Q. Your Hero, Beauden, is not your stereotypical romance Hero. How did you come up with the idea for this character?

Mmmm…. I wanted a monster, a believable and loveable monster and with Melanie who asked all the right Q’s Beauden came to life

Q. Tell us about your heroine, Galena. What was your inspiration for this character?

Mel: Suffragettes and Bluestockigs for me. A woman who was both stubborn and gentle at the same time.

MC: To be honest with you, I think subconsciously, I saw a lot of my mom in Galena! A lot! So perhaps in a weird kind of way my mom was my inspiration?

Q. What kind of research did you do when writing Iron Heart? Michelle, did your medical background play a big role in developing the story?

MC: Loads of heart transplant research. Yes my background was an absolute bonus. But I will also say that building both the iron heart, the gold heart and the steampunk life support machine was where I had the most fun with this collaboration.

Q. And finally, what was your favourite part in writing this book ?

Mc & Mel: All of it!

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!

Iron Heart Inron Universe Vulpine Press MC D'Alton Melanie Page Steampunk Romance Read Book

Celebrating our release with Booklover Book Reviews!

Stand a chance at winning one of two Ebook copies of Iron Heart!

Click HERE to read the awesome interview and enter the competition.

Iron Heart Inron Universe Vulpine Press MC D'Alton Melanie Page Steampunk Romance Read Book

Iron Heart Book 1 of The Iron Universe is due for release January 25th 2020!

What readers have said about Iron Heart:

Kees2Reviews – “5.0 out of 5 stars Smash Hit for Steampunk

Jan Perry – “5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this story

M Becker – “5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Story. Impossible To Put Down

Frankenstein, Love & Broken Hearts – Part 2

Building an Iron Heart – Steampunk Fun and Artistic License

By MC D’Alton

So, one of the most important questions I had to ask myself (and one which Mel reminded me of a lot) was how far are we allowed to speculate within our universe, (the one we have created for the characters in our book) when it comes to the impossible in the real world?

As it turns out, if you’ve managed to build a kick-ass believable world, it will become your oyster!

This is where a writer is allowed a wee bit of creative leeway. It’s not that hard to imagine once you’ve been sucked into our Victorian-Age Edinburgh with its dirigibles and mirror messengers, steam powered unicarriages, and dynamo driven electricity, not to mention the delicate invention of a heart lung machine, which Galena Tindale our heroine has built.

This bring me to the core of our plot; a man with a soul of gold, but a heart of iron. Ah, the heart, or hearts, for there are two. The rotting, corroded iron beast devouring our hero from within, and the beautiful golden heart which was needed to replace it.

I had so much fun returning to my anatomy and physiology books. Add the freedom of imagination to the perfect creation of God, and voila! Magic! I spent hours imagining, sketching, planning, building (in my head) the heart which had saved Beauden the first time and the one needed to save him the second time.

To accomplish this feat, I read up on a great hero, Dr. Chris Barnard, a South African surgeon who achieved the unbelievable. His ground-breaking scientific and medical explorations and transplantations combined with research which led to actual medical procedures using swine and bovine tissue. He replaced the sickly diseased parts of the human heart and inspired me to build the golden heart.

So with a teaspoon full of imagination and a sprinkle of faux engineering we created…

The iron heart, like a biological human heart, has four chambers and valves which separate each chamber through which the blood passes.

By using speculative science based on modern medicine, where prosthetic hearts have been implanted, we are able to convince the reader that Dr. Augustus Somerton, our hero’s father, has discovered how to fuse metal and human tissue. Therefore, Beauden’s Aorta and Inferior Vena Cava are able to connect to the iron monster in his chest.

But there was the problem of his immune system rejecting the large foreign body, but this is not an anatomy and physiology tome, it is a Steampunk Romance. So I decided to imagine, or really stretch my artistic license and allow this to not to be a problem.

So how did this iron colossus work?

“Her eyes and her finger followed the intricate lines which connected the four chambers of the heart…”

Now what we did not have, which a biological heart does, is tissue which expands and contracts, nor do we have awesome little biological batteries which excite these muscles, and in so doing pump the blood.

So we created the possibility that the electrical conduction, which takes place within a real heart, can also occur in our man made heart. We accomplished this by showing the reader that Beauden was confined to sleeping on a large magnetic bed, which eased the strain the iron heart put on his body, and also recharged his heart, so to speak.

So how did we fit this piece of metal genius in Beauden’s chest?  We made it clear that the heavy iron heart remained within our heroes’ chest cavity, by means of a boned support system built by the ribs removed from Beauden’s chest. Dr Somerton, his father, then designed a whale boned corset for him to wear continually.

Then we had to make sure to answer all the questions connected with a human carrying a lump of metal inside their body. Metal corrodes. How would this corrosion affect Beauden? Iron poisoning was our solution. We wanted a monster, by allowing the iron heart to reach the end of its life, we gave our hero his monstrous appearance. His skin is cyanosed, his eyes have an accumulation of iron in the sclera, he is constantly weary and incapable of exertion. His heart has betrayed him and he is dying.

How to restore him…. The golden heart is shaped similarly to the real flesh and blood pulmonary pump found in humans. It is essentially an exo-skeleton for the bits of sinuae (swine) tissue which have implanted on the inside walls of the heart. Now you may ask how is this possible?

We have previously mentioned, Dr. August Somerton’s experiments and the fact he had implanted an iron heart into his son already proving this science to be plausible, within our universe. We further substantiate this theory by showing you Beauden’s workshop and his own inventions, creating limb for amputees, and a hand which would eventually use his father’s medical advancements to connect metal to tissue.

Differing mixtures of gold were researched and a certain creative flair added to show that this heart would not corrode, was not too heavy and of course who could ignore the old cliché, ‘A heart of gold’,  which hinted subtly at our hero’s true demeanor. And then to keep it where it belonged … a sling to hold the heart in place, inside his chest cavity was designed and so too a filigree rib cage to replace the removed bones.

So, there you have it, the speculative medicine and science of how we built the Iron Heart. We hope you will enjoy the journey with us.

Pre Order your Ebook or paper back HERE

Iron Heart Iron Universe Steampunk Romance reads BookBaybZ

All For Charity!

As I type these words, brave Australian volunteers and Firefighters are battling blazes across Queensland and New South Wales, with warnings of more to come in South Australia. Many have already lost their lives and their homes in this traumatic start to spring and summer. The BookBaybz have decided to put up 20 copies of their first edition of Iron Heart for sale, and all proceeds are donated to the rural fire fighters. Please email us at bookbaybz@gmail.com for your copy and support today!

Every little bit counts for something!

Frankenstein, Love & Broken Hearts – Part 1.

WHAT kind of story is it?!?

by Melanie Page

Iron Heart Iron Universe Melanie Page Vulpine Press BookBaybZ ARRA Regency Writer Author Melanie Page

When my elder son started swanning around in tight fitting pseudo-Victorian, Steampunk attire, wearing retro leather goggles, I hoped he was just going through a phase. Little did I imagine that, a few years later, I would be publishing a novel in the Steampunk genre.

For the uninitiated, Steampunk is a relatively recent offshoot of the Sci-Fi branch of the literary family tree. It gets its name from the use of anachronistic, often steam powered technology that features prominently in it. It is a melange of speculative – or alternative – historical fiction, fantasy and others such as horror, romance or crime. The name was coined in the mid-eighties by a science fiction author who needed a way to distinguish works like his from those of traditional Victorian Era authors like Jules Verne.

Iron Heart Steampunk Iron Universe MC D'Alton Melanie Page

When MC D’Alton and I set about writing Iron Heart, we didn’t just need characters and a plot, we needed to build a whole world, a steampunk world, for them to live in. That was, for me, the most fun. We looked on the internet, that cornucopia of knowledge for the fertile mind, and came up with some images which gave us a springboard.

One such element was the unicarriage. In the first scene, Galena Tindale, fleeing from the angry mob (sans pitchforks), is accidently hit by the hero in his unicarriage.

Iron Heart Steampunk Iron Universe MC D'Alton Melanie Page Vulpine Press

We envisioned it as the body of a hansom cab, as one might find in Sherlock Holmes, with the head and neck of a brass horse as the cab, for the driver. The engine would be beneath it, steam powered of course, so he would need to top it up with water and slow burning fuel. Steam would pour artistically from the nostrils of the horse… We imagineered a single wheel in the middle of the front part with a dozen whirling hooves on it. That was awesome fun. There is such freedom in letting your imagination run away with you.

Of course, the main piece of retro-futuristic invention was the Iron (and later the other) Heart, but I would spoil MC’s fun by describing that. My other favourite invention was the Pocket Messenger. Just as today everyone would be lost without their smart phone, so in the Victorian Edinburgh of my fantasy, everyone has a small, elegant case, not much bigger than a cigarette case, into which one inserts a role of silvered paper. When the glass screen is inscribed using a black wax stylus, and the lid is closed, a chemical reaction, similar to old fashioned photography, instantly sends the writer’s message to the receiver. Simple, logical and oh, so cool.

And finally, there was the dirigible. They of course were and are quite real. But I did make a few changes. I used steam powered fans to propel them, making them more manoeuvrable and faster. They are also larger. Real dirigibles of the period would not carry my passengers in any kind of luxury.

Writing Iron Heart was the most fun I’ve had writing for a long time… And the nifty gadgets (worthy of James Bond’s Q, if I do say so myself) were largely responsible for that. If you happen to read Iron Heart, let me know what you think.

Pre Order your copy HERE

Iron Heart Vulpine Press MC D'Alton Melanie Page Iron Universe
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