A Familiar Taste of Seduction, the origins of the story.
The idea for FTOS came from one of my writing partner Liz Kolodziej an my’s many text messages to each other. Liz texted me one day and said, “hey I’ve got this three chapter opening to a steampunk inspired book but I don’t know where to go with it.” Since I will read just about anything, heck I read the ingredient list off stuff at the grocery checkout while waiting my turn. I told her to send me a copy and I would see what we could do with it.
When I read the story, I was hooked, I mean how could I not be with a demon named Ink meeting Lola the Siren for the first time, where Lola is in a brakish water holding tank in a carnival side show tent, and disappointed when the three chapters were done. Hmm now what. Liz asked me why don’t we finish it together. What a cool idea I thougtht. At this time RT Booklovers Convention in Kansas City Mo was coming up. Since we were both going to be there, we got together and started to do a bit of research and fleshing things out, adding plot points and figuring out the direction for the rest of the story This is when we decided to give our ship’s captain a challenge.
This was in May by October we had finished the first draft. What was fun was that during the whole process of our writing this book, we would pass it back and forth through email then with text, facebook and twitter and an occasional phone call, would work on it. The orginal opening eventually became chapters four, five and six and I wrote a new opening scene. Which by the way there really is a bar called The Wharf, that I pass on my way to work each day. I thought it fit pretty well. The sign I describe is real.
Opening scene excerpt:
I pulled the collar of my coat up around my neck, and my cap tighter onto my head, as I walked down the wooden boardwalk to my favorite portside bar. The grey painted wooden sign in the shape of a ships anchor hung above the door of The Wharf bar and bathhouse. I’d been out on my ship with my crew for the last month and needed to blow off a bit of steam. And since I ran a dry ship most times, my men and I were always wanting some ale whenever we were in port. This day the overcast pewter sky blew a wind that seemed to go right through your clothes and right down to your bones. A deep chill had been invading me since docking my ship, the Clock and Bullocks. The hustle and bustle of carriages bringing the rich to depart on the huge steamer ships, and the lowly cart horses pulling carts laden down with all manner of goods drifted by me on the street. The sounds of which I could not hear but the sight and smell greeted me in a damp earth sea salty sort of way.
I reached for the iron door handle of the bar and pulled the heavy oak door toward me and stepped back just in time as two gentlemen came flying out said door. The bartender, looked at me as he brushed his hands off and put those big beefy hands on his hips and glared at me as though to challenge whether I too was going to be trouble. Then suddenly the big man let out a hearty laugh and clapped his be meaty hand on my shoulder and welcomed me into his bar.
“Well, Captain Henri, it’s been quite some time since we’ve seen you.” The bartender said as he looked at me.
“Aye , it has,” I replied stepping into the dimly lit bar. Several patrons sat at the bar itself drinking beer while several tables , some with poker games in progress, were occupied around the room. The deep rich wood of the walls had taken on a patina of reddish brown from years of smokers. The smell of cigar smoke, beer, and other hard liquors greeted my nose as well as sawdust that had been sprinkled over the floor. I walked down the bar a ways and sat near the end farthest from the door, a good spot to observe everyone there. I took joy in watching others. Since talking with most folks didn’t always work out so well. Most of the regulars knew I couldn’t hear, the result of an accident on board a ship when I was a cabin boy. And others just didn’t care. The bartender set a tankard of dark beer in front of me. I picked it up and took a long pull of it. Damn, I thought, that tasted good as I set the tankard back down on the bar. A burp worked it away up my throat and I felt it escape. The men nearest me looked over and laughed and I patted my chest for any other burps that might be lurking.
I was onto my third beer, when a fight began in the far corner of the bar. From what I could see it was over a poker game. More and more of the bar patrons were getting in on the fight. Fists flying and bodies hitting the floor. The bartender came out from behind the bar and made way for the nearest scrum of bodies. I watched as he broke the men apart and by the scruffs of their necks escorted them to the door. In the mean time the bar maid I had been flirting with all evening ran and hid behind me as bodies went flying past her and landed on the floor with a thud. Grabbing her hand I pulled her through the swinging doors to the back hallway and rushed her to the safety of a supply closet. I was just going to put her in there and return to the barroom but she wouldn’t let go of my hand when I went to leave. She pulled me inside with her and pulled the door shut. Total darkness. I could only feel her body next to mine. The heat pouring off of her. She reached up and put both hands on either side of my face and pulled me down to her lips. How long had it been since I was with a woman. Too long I surmised, and plunged my tongue into her mouth. My arms came around her and held her tight. I could feel her eagerness in her kiss and by the way she wrapped her arms around my neck.