One man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now.
The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she’d rather forget–but she needs assistance on this job and he’s offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half.
Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn’t all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though–she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.
Guest Post: The Importance of Taking an Adventure
by Katherine McIntyre
If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.
– David Brin
There’s a great temptation when it comes to writing to slave away in front of a laptop, or chain yourself to your pen and paper forever. It’s so easy to lose your sense of time and your surroundings while you write, and revel in the thrill of creative exploration that you sometimes actually end up lost. Every writer needs anchors in reality, and I think the above quote really pinpoints what’s important.
Inspiration can be found in so many places, and one thing which makes writers and artists unique is the spark from within propelling many of us to our creative endeavours. However, to achieve that, we must experience life first. How can you write about heartbreak if you’ve never felt it, or saw how a death can impact a person unless you’ve been there with them through it?
Friends and family not only provide the support and grounding you need to write, but they also become a source of inspiration. For me, when I get too involved in a plot and I’m stuck, the best thing I can do is go visit my family, or meet up with friends. Most times, after catching up with them and discussing everything from the latest Game of Thrones episode to how they’re feeling with where they’re at in life, any plot problem I’ve had can usually be resolved. There’s a magic at work in the distraction, but also a method. Once you’ve opened your mind, it can draw on experiences and conversations around you, and all it takes is one phrase or a concept to stick and voila, I’ve found a way to proceed ahead with my story.
Same as with my other job apart from writing—I am a massage therapist, where I connect with people regularly. Watching people’s physical struggles and how they overcome them, or how their bodies have molded and adjusted to trauma—that’s inspirational. People’s bodies tell a story, and I feel as a writer, the more stories I learn, the more adept at the art I become. How can you run out of story ideas when you’re constantly interacting with the people around you? After all, every single human being has one, and I find it absolutely stirring to discover how much people can surprise you. The little old man on the corner? Maybe he fought in the war and has demons he struggles with daily, or maybe he left the love of his life in pursuit of a stable relationship, so he could have the loving family he does today. You never know what stories you could learn just by reaching out, and the adage, real life is stranger than fiction, often holds true.
Not only interact with new people, but new surroundings too. Even if it’s simply taking a train to the town you’ve never explored, locations can turn around and become a setting for your story. Even though I’ve never been to a futuristic, steampunk London like in my novelette Stolen Petals, I drew inspiration for the rough and tumble bar from the dives I’ve been to, as well as the posh bar from the fancier places. While I’ll draw upon imagination to fill in the details, I need the bones from somewhere. Oftentimes, the places I’ve travelled have made their way into my stories in some shape or form, and I make sure to plan a trip each year somewhere new, so I’m constantly expanding my own horizons.
That David Brin quote holds a lot of wisdom, because without experiencing life, you’re depriving your writing as well. If you don’t take the time to nourish your own understanding of the world, how can you adequately convey it to others? So take the adventure that you’ve been holding off on, either due to fear of something new, or lack of time. Allot yourself time for interludes with friends and family that will keep you from going crazy, and continue to give yourself hope in humanity. Because at the end of the day, all we are as writers are people trying to make a connection, whether it’s trying to impact the world, or simply trying to entertain the people around us. Either way, we can better achieve a connection by contributing our own life experiences to our work.
He’d slipped her a piece of parchment. Curious.
Before she could retreat back to the other end of the bar, he stood, chugged his lager, and plunked the empty glass back down.
“Thank you kindly, madam.” He tipped his tattered top hat her way, a cheeky grin on his face. Whistling, the man walked out the door. Grimaces weighted the faces of gentlemen and ladies alike in the wake of his departure.
Viola swiped his glass and made a retreat back to the washroom. Carefully, she unfolded the parchment.
Meet me at the Rusty Scupper tomorrow evening. You want word on Brownetree’s brother? I’ve got it.
Damn and double damn.
While the run-down tavern, the Rusty Scupper, was the last place a lady should dally, the opportunity was too good to pass. She’d been on this bounty for months and couldn’t let this chance slip. Viola focused on the name. Should’ve recognized the scoundrel.
A smile curved her lips. No, she couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Under her alias, the Brass Violet, she’d maintained a healthy competition with most, but none as much as the Fox. Like his namesake, he snuck in and snatched her targets before she had the chance to nab them. He stole the pickings of others, especially hers, for his own entertainment. So why the peace offering? If he had information, he wouldn’t share it unless he needed something from her. Which meant this bounty was about to get interesting.
About the Author & Links:
A modern day Renaissance-woman, Katherine McIntyre has learned soapmaking, beer brewing, tea blending, and most recently roasting coffee. Most of which make sure she’s hydrated and bathed while she spends the rest of her time writing. With a desire to travel and more imagination than she knows what to do with, all the stories jumping around in her head led to the logical route of jotting them down on paper. Not only can her poetry and prose be found in different magazines, but she’s had an array of novels and novellas published through Decadent Publishing, Boroughs Publishing, Hazardous Press, and Jupiter Gardens Press. For more casual content, she’s a regular contributor on CaffeineCrew.com, a geek news website.
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