Friday, April 2, 2010

First Page Blogfest: Steam Palace

Thanks to Kelly Lyman for hosting the First Page Blogfest!


Now this isn’t actually my first first page. I wrote a prologue, but I’m still on the fence about keeping it in there. But there’s a nice little murder in it and I think it draws the reader in. For now, I’m posting the first page of Chapter One.

Steam Palace Chapter One

Airship11_Smoke From high above the ground, Thomas viewed the smoking wreckage of a royal airship and the bloody bodies that littered the clearing. He pulled back on the throttle and tugged the gas release. His one-man dirigible scout descended and landed among the bodies, which all bore the red and blue uniform of the New Britannia Royal Guard. He jumped out, secured his ship to a nearby tree, and searched for survivors. Throats were slashed, execution-style. Thomas checked his revolver. A gaping hole punctured the wreckage of the downed airship. Its deflated balloon rested across nearby trees, shimmering in the breeze. This crash was no accident.

A trail of bent grasses led to the South and into the forest. Survivors? Thomas followed the trail, keeping his head low. The sun glinted off something hidden under a pile of branches. He discerned a shiny black mechohorse with rear-mounted cannon, the likely author of the destruction. A white painted cross revealed its ownership. Reichlanders? On this side of the river? They had become bold of late, but this incursion would have lasting implications.

Thomas froze. Voices murmured through the forest. He dove to the ground, breathing fast. His gold-trimmed airman’s uniform would reveal him in an instant. Past the mechohorse, a dark hole opened in the ground, a cave. Thomas crept towards it. The voices emanated from that cave. Then a scream…a woman’s scream. The Reichlanders were interrogating a prisoner—most likely the same person Thomas had been tasked to locate. He stole up to the cave, his hand trembling on the grip of his revolver. He considered his options. Possibly an autonomous unit, but they set no guards. They were questioning the prisoner onsite, so they must not be holding her for ransom. They must intend to kill her, judging from the merciless screams that rattled his ears and chilled his blood.

Thomas maneuvered next to the cave, peering into the darkness. He wiped the sweat from his brow, and then turned into the entrance. The voices grew louder, the screams more dire. He stepped inside. A torch blazed down the cave shaft. He proceeded. Past that, the cave opened into a chamber lit by additional torches. He spotted chairs and paper-strew tables, and even a filing cabinet. He clenched his revolver. A Reichland advance scouting camp, and they just bagged a huge prize. He formulated a plan.


  1. Well done! I can picture this in my head. It had the epic feel, almost, of a movie to me. Very nicely written. I'd definitely read more.

  2. Aw, c'mon, Andrew! I want more of this! You meanie... (Where can I get more?)

    I love the tension you built along with the world. So very intriguing!!

  3. I would love to read more of this! Very clear details! Great tension, I was leaning closer to the screen as I read "What is going to happen next!?"

  4. Intense, vivid. Excellent first paragraph. I really get a sense of your world - the setting - and the MC. Nice plot teaser (most likely the same person Thomas had been tasked to locate) and insight to the reason he's there.

    And the terms (the machinery); they are self explanatory. I can understand their basic functions. Well woven into the narrative.

    Well written without feeling hookish. I'm excited to read more of this.


  5. Great job setting the scene. The description is vivid and evocative. :)

  6. That's not fair, I want to know if he rescues the girl.

  7. The opening paragraph is the least strong -
    A trail of bent grasses led to the South and into the forest. Survivors? Thomas kept his head low as he followed the trail.Behind him he left ..... back fill as many airship details as you see fit .... hurrying to rescue etc

  8. You start out by bringing us into the setting, then sweep us right into some tension. Great job. I really wanted to turn the page!

  9. I wanted to turn to the 2nd page, and I am sure an agent would have wanted to do the same thing. Tension is hard to establish in the beginning since the reader has little time to connect empathically with your protagonist. Elaine has a clue with adding more airship details -- but those that have an emotional echo to them for your hero.

    Come check out my first page, will you? Tell me what you think. Have a great weekend, Roland

  10. Excellent! I was right there with him.

  11. Thanks everyone!
    Figuring out exactly where to start the scene has been's still a WIP!

  12. Awesomesauce! Totally sucked in. Downed airship. Bold Reichlanders. Chilling interrogation. Love it!


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