Project: Radium Town, the Steampunk Weird West adventure set in my hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma at the dawn of statehood and starring Will Rogers. Now with bonus Tom Mix!
Writing stage: Research & Plotting
What I learned/accomplished: Found a more detailed biography of Betty Blake Rogers that gave me everything I needed, and the story started clicking into place, and now I have a general back story and plot, which is this:
At the dawn of the 20th century, strange things started happening. All over the world, ancient beings, creatures believed to belong to legends and nightmares, began to wake up and attempt to reclaim their place in the world. The first event happened in the UK, when faerie creatures declared war on Britain and her subjects. Other incidents in other locales made it clear that this was a pattern, and governments around the world began taking measures to defend humanity from these new, ancient threats, gathering together the greatest minds in the world to develop new technologies for fighting these creatures.
In the US, newly elected president Theodore Roosevelt, fresh from one such encounter on the shores of Cuba during what was officially documented as the Spanish American war, establishes a federal Bureau of Domestic Defense, an agency charged with identifying, preventing and preparing to deal with any such threat on American soil.
Shortly after returning home to Arkansas from a lengthy stay with her sister in Indian Territory, where she met and befriended a young rancher named Will Rogers, Betty Blake meets a Bureau recruiter and is offered a job. The seventh of nine children, all raised by their widowed single mother, Betty and her siblings have had to work their entire lives to help support their large family, a situation that prevented her from graduating high school. The Bureau offers her a chance to complete her education and, more importantly, a salary large enough to support her mother and younger siblings. It’s an offer she can’t refuse, and this quiet girl from Arkansas undergoes training that transforms her into a skilled and ruthless government agent.
Five years later, Betty returns to the newly minted state of Oklahoma, assigned to guard a man of science who has chosen the town of Claremore as the site for testing his new steam-powered oil drill, designed to drill deeper and faster than any other drilling method on the market. Claremore has been booming since the discovery of a wellspring of special water with curative properties a few years prior. Nicknamed “radium water,” this mineral water put the town on the map and made it a bustling tourist destination. At the time of Betty’s arrival, the town is even more packed than usual thanks to a celebration of the transition into statehood as well as the renaming of their county to Rogers County in honor of Will’s father.
Will himself, now a vaudeville sensation, has returned home for the festivities, accompanied by his best friend, Tom Mix. When he meets Betty again, sparks fly. For Betty, Will’s arrival is a welcome diversion from a boring assignment. But once the professor’s oil drill is put to the test and found to be a success, it’s time to pack up and return to Washington… that is, until the strange behavior of the townspeople belays those plans. All over town, people are behaving erratically, turning on each other and becoming violent for no apparent reason. Is there something in the water? Or could it be that the professor’s drill has awakened something deep underground, the very sort of something that it’s Betty’s job to prevent?
Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!
So that’s the story I’ll be writing, more or less. Now I just have to fill in the details and figure out exactly where it starts and how it ends.
C25K/UFYH: No, but I did get dressed in leaving the house clothes, complete with makeup and styled hair. I have to run an extensive errand this afternoon, so I’m short on time today. Although, if I don’t hear back from one of my clients with feedback on the mock-ups I sent them yesterday, then I might have time to go for a walk later this afternoon. Yesterday, Matt and I went outside to toss the football, and I was even clumsier than usual (which is saying a lot, believe you me) so I got quite a bit of exercise chasing after the ball.
Later: Have to take Sasha back to the vet, which is the aforementioned errand. We’ve been having to take her back regularly since her surgery to have the pocket of skin where the largest tumor was removed drained of fluid. It needs to be drained again, but it also feels like it’s hardening into another cyst, so we need to get that checked out. She’s also not gaining any weight, despite her healthy appetite, and she looks almost as anemic as she did before the surgery. Poor kitty. I hope we can figure out how to get her healthy again.
At any rate, the vet’s way out in Bixby, so this will likely take up a hefty chunk of the afternoon. Afterwards, if Client #1 has sent me feedback, then I’ll work on finalizing their design; if not, then I’ll go for a walk. And then I’ll start sketching ideas for Client #2’s YA book series website.