Tag Archives: An airship for elise

An update, a new Nano project, and a change of mind

The writing continues to be slow but steady. Last week I got 4600 new words written, despite lots of other stuff going on. We finally pulled the tomato plants in the garden — all but two, that is. Let’s see if we can still get fresh tomatoes in December. *g*

I also decided to participate in Nano again, even though none of my projects is long enough. I’m going to cheat and conflate them, my goal being to get the 50,000 words and at least two new novellas done. 🙂 First, I want to finish Facets of Glass. To that end, I deleted several thousand words of notes to myself, so that I would know how much I actually still have to write. I’m thinking now that it’s going to need about another 20,000 words.

My “official” Nano project will be An Airship for Elise. It was originally a short story, but the critiques pretty universally said it had to be longer. I’m thinking that, if I can finish it, Airship will give me the other 30,000 words I need to reach the wordage goal. If not, I will then also get started on Shards of Glass, the third book in the Glassmakers trilogy.

One of the reasons I’m doing Airship is because I found this amazing premade cover, and I had to have it:

An Airship for Elise


Elise Daimler wants nothing more than to be an engineer like her famous uncle, Gottlieb Daimler, the inventor of the motor car. But in 1888, German universities do not accept women as students.

At least Elise can work as an apprentice in her uncle’s workshop. And Uncle Gottlieb has a few strings he can pull.

Unfortunately, no one reckoned with the consequences …

BTW, over at Nano I’m specficrider, if you want to add me to your buddies. 🙂

On to WIPpet Wednesday! Dowager Princess Zilia is still alone with the magic mirror, which still refuses to speak to her. Nonetheless, she is beginning to have a change of mind about it, as you will see in this snippet (which has been edited for spoilers). I give you five paragraphs for the fifth day of the month:

The mirror listened, not interrupting, allowing her to air her thoughts.
“My son may be a fool, but I will not have him look the fool.”
In the mirror’s reflection, the glass apple on the sideboard caught a ray of sunlight, almost seeming to glow.
Zilia stared at the reflected image, glad she hadn’t hurled the apple away. Perhaps it still had a role to play.
She tapped her lips with one finger thoughtfully. “Perhaps if something unfortunate befell someone near to her — quite without any threats being made?” Zilia continued, still addressing the silent mirror — and her own reflection. There was something surprisingly helpful to conversing with herself through the magic mirror. She was speaking with the person she most trusted in the world, after all.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

“An Airship for Elise” for #WIPpet Wednesday

Since publishing Chameleon in a Mirror on the weekend, I have temporarily turned to a completely different project, a steampunk short story entitled “An Airship for Elise.” The reason for that is simple: I want to submit something to the Lightspeed Special Issue, “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” I actually wrote the story a couple of years ago and put it through the Villa Diodati workshop, where I got some great feedback and suggestions. But I’ve been concentrating so much on novels these days, that I never implemented the critiques, and never submitted the story anywhere. I’m not sure if I’ll manage to get it done in time, since the deadline for the special issue is Friday, but I’m sure going to give it a shot!

That’s the only “writing” I’ve been doing the last couple of days, going through those critiques and trying to edit the story accordingly. Thus, today you get a steampunk excerpt for WIPpet Wednesday, 19 sentences for 2/12/14 (2+12+1+4). But before I do that, a little background on the story. This one takes place in my own backyard (if I had a backyard): our house stands on what used to be the Daimler-Motorenwerke, which in the 20th Century changed its name to Mercedes-Benz. My main character, Elise, is a fictional niece of the real Gottlieb Daimler, who built his first experimental automobiles, airships and boats right here where I spend much of my time making up stories. Elise wants to be an engineer too, but she can’t because women are not allowed to study. So instead, she learns by doing, helping her uncle in his shop. When this story opens, they are participating in a ceremony at which a new airship is being launched:

Suddenly, a gasp went up from the crowd. People began pointing and chattering, even though Graf Zeppelin had not yet finished his speech.
Elise resisted the temptation to twist her head and see what was happening; it would be rude to look away from the speaker. But with an irritated expression, the Graf stopped speaking, and they all turned to see what had caught the crowd’s attention.
The dirigible was rising into the air, although it was not scheduled to launch until after the ceremony. Spectators ran forward to get a closer look at the airship drifting high into the sky, now free of the tethers that had been holding it to the mooring mast.
Elise peered at the gondola, trying to get a glimpse of Hugo Ernst, the young engineer who had taken her place as navigator. If a malfunction had caused the early launch, wouldn’t he be signaling them? But she saw no sign of him – or the ground crew either. Something was very, very wrong.
Another gasp went up from the crowd, louder this time – tongues of flame began to flick along the side of the airship. Elise fought her way through the others standing on the platform, scrambled down the stairs to the fairgrounds, and started running after the spectators. “Back! Back!” she yelled, trying to wave them away. But the onlookers continued to move forward, mesmerized, not hearing her words, not realizing the danger. Then she heard an explosion, and fire suddenly engulfed the ship.
At that, the crowd that had been moving towards the spectacle turned and ran, their gasps of astonishment replaced by shouts of panic. Elise clapped her hands to her mouth. Faster, they had to run faster!
The burning airship crashed into the mooring tower and tumbled to the ground, sending fiery debris in every direction.
That was when the screaming began.

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂