Glimmer Girls Reduct

in Writing Life

Here, as promised is the new beginning for Glimmer Girls. Named by Marly and R, I am forever in your debt.

Clara Louise Delamare rode the train in the twilight and forced herself to sit quietly. She was trying to keep a level head but flashes of electricity kept sweeping through her body filling her with joy and making it nearly impossible to sit still. Freedom was making her lightheaded, but there was an edge of fear and anticipation too. It was an odd combination, fear and euphoria and it was making her slightly light headed.

Her reflection in the window if anything seemed more wild than usual. Her copper hair was practically glowing and it kinked and curled from the clip she used to keep it out of her face to half way down her back. Had her eyes been blue she might have been able to tolerate them. But they were so green that she could see the color even in her blurry reflection. Clara turned from the window. Who cared what she looked like now. She was free and unknown and she was finally going to get her own life.

When the train pulled into the station above the village of Mabble, Clara struggled to drag her bulky three-wheel bicycle off the train. The Conductor’s face made it clear she was holding the train from its scheduled departure and she wrestled with the handlebar, trying to free it from the standing pole. Clara didn’t remember the standing pole being there when she’d loaded the bike, although now it was just a little too solid and very inconvenient. It was all very well and good to allow bikes on trains, sensible in fact, except if you didn’t leave enough room and they got tangled in poles and doors when you were departing the train what good was that?

“Why don’t you let me help you with that?”

Clara spun to see a tall, dark haired man standing next to her. He had curiously light eyes, hazel, she thought, and a nice smile. His hands were rough and stained with odd colors and his jeans looked as if they’d seen better days but her pulsed kicked up anyway as if he was standing too close.

“If you’ve done looking me over, it might be a good idea to get this off the train before it leaves the station.” He smiled and took the bike from her. He tilted it unhooking the handle bar from the standing pole and extracted it from the train. Easily.

Damn it, thought Clara and she could feel the heat in her cheeks as she backed out of his way. Why hadn’t she been able to manage that?

“There you are.” He brushed his hands on his disreputable jeans and pushed up the sleeves of his green cabled sweater. “Do you speak at all? ‘Thank you kind stranger’ might be appropriate. Even ‘bugger off’ would at least give me a clue as to what you can possibly be thinking. Have I grown a tail since I left the city this morning?”

He made a show of looking over his shoulder for his tail, and Clara would have laughed if she hadn’t been so mortified.

“I’m sorry,” she said and held out her hand at him. “Thank you. I didn’t mean to be rude, it’s just been a long day.”

He took her hand and to her further mortification instead of shaking it he bent and pressed it with his lips.

“My pleasure.” He turned and walked away. As Clara watched he boarded a tram that stood at the door to the station and it pulled away down the hill as if it had been waiting for just him. Well it probably had been waiting for him, the whole place probably came and went on his say so. Clara turned and began piling her bags into the large basket on the back of her bike. She was feeling strangely grumpy.

The station stood on the hill above the tiny harbor village, a hundred some odd miles north of the city. While the coast meandered along the ocean, swooping and turning from long beaches into coves and bays, the train ran on straight tracks from the City of Dobbin north and south to the towns that dotted the east edge of the country. The Engineers who’d designed the tracks lacked imagination. Commuters and vacationers might have liked to watch the ocean as they rode, but the tracks ran along the path of least resistance, teasing the passengers with the merest glimpses of the ocean.

When Clara wheeled her bike off the platform she had the pleasure of coasting down the hill on three wheels, her luggage piled haphazardly behind her. The road from the station to the bay curved gently down the hill, and Clara supposed that if it had gone straight she would have just kept going faster and faster until she flew off the end of the pier into the bay.

It was past dusk now, but the town was lit with a thousand tiny lights and she could see the clearly. The buildings were stacked closely and looked as though they were leaning on each other for support. Thatched cottages stood on the edges of the village, changing to brick and stone buildings as houses and storefronts jumbled together along the main street. The buildings ran four or five streets deep and then backed into the cliffs surrounding the harbor. Clara could see lights on the bluffs overlooking the town, where homes were perched above the drop into the ocean.

As She coasted down the road and the shops rose around her, the stone buildings becoming closer together. They appeared attracted to each other, some leaning at such an angle  that Clara wondered why they didn’t tumble into the street.  About half way into the village a wooden sign hung above a door: Wander Inn.

It was a haphazard building, rising several floors above it’s neighbor on the down side of the hill, and it threatened to topple and crush the little shop which appeared to be a haberdashery of sorts.

“It’s amazing the whole town hasn’t tumbled into the harbor like a stack of dominos.” She said aloud, looking at the jumble of buildings teetering over the cobblestones that led down to the bay.

“The local rumor is that the town is held together by magic. Or maybe it’s the will of the town’s folk? I’ve forgotten which.”

Clara jumped and scanned the wide porch for the source of the voice and made out the shape of a figure on a bench in the shadows. Clara pulled her bicycle out of the cobbled road and lugged her cases onto the porch.

“Sorry,” Clara said. “Things tend to come out of my mouth that shouldn’t. It’s a lovely town.”

“I like it. Do you need a room?”  The woman rose and opened the big wooden door.

The light from the hotel revealed a dark haired woman wearing a swirling purple skirt under an orange hip length sweater. Clara followed her to the registration desk, a long wooden bar that looked as though it had come out of a pub, complete with foot rail.  Clara rested her boot on the rail ran and leaned her elbows on the top, watching the Innkeeper flip through the reservation book.

“No computer?”

“No. the weather is so unpredictable here. Power’s always going out, Internet is spotty – it makes more sense for us just to do it the old fashion way. We don’t have so many rooms that it’s unmanageable.”

“Wow.” Archaic. She kept the thought to herself. No sense in offending the people of the town she planned to make her home.

“We have a nice room on the top floor. Overlooks the harbor. But we don’t have an elevator so you’ll have to walk up. Or there’s a so-so room on the next floor up. No view but fewer stairs. What would you like?”

“I’m feeling strong, although I might have to take two trips with my bags. I’ll take the top floor. I’m counting on the will of the town’s folk to keep it from falling into the ocean in the next few days.”

“How long are you staying?”

“Can we leave it open ended? I’m looking for a place to live and I’m not sure how long it will take.”

“Not a problem.” She stuck a hand over the counter. “I’m Molly. Don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything.”

“Clara.” As Clara took Molly’s hand a lightness filled her she had never felt before. Warmth filled her heart and caused her head to swim like it had on the train. She steadied herself on the counter with her free hand.

“You all right?” Molly dropped her hand, looking at Clara with concern. But Clara steadied the moment Molly removed her hand.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” But who the hell are you?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

marly October 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Hi, Kate! Love, love, LOVE this beginning to Clara’s story. And thanks for the shout-out, but in all honesty, “Glimmer Girls” was all Ryan. He’ll be pumped though, when I tell him what you said. I miss those lunches, with those big guys in fatigues thinking up titles. Too cute. Actually, I think it made a nice break for them. Oh, and I watched the trailer. I love that, too. Damn, you’re talented!!! I’ll check back in next week, if I can stay awake long enough. Holding down two jobs makes the time go by faster, but it’s a killer schedule. Marty

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Sure Thing October 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I also missed this 🙁

Love it. The story starts right where it should. Anything else was prologue. Not reading for grammar fixes so didn’t see what could change. I used to be a proofreader after college – for 3 months till I got a job in my field.

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Bethany October 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Oh, and don’t take my neg’s too harshly. I would still buy it in a store. And have this on my list of books to buy 🙂

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Julie October 14, 2010 at 1:33 am

Sorrysorrysorry, late on the boards this time! Dan’s weekend, only the very basic on-line time. I am really here!
I love this story, have all along. No useful remarks this time, you already got those (what few there were). Still adore it, still will buy it.
Julie

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MJ October 13, 2010 at 12:25 am

I like the feel of the story but want tighter writing, especially in the first paragraphs. I don’t know if you’ve done a pass to get rid of “was” and “were” and “ing” (unless the rhythm demands them). And the writing will feel stronger when you cut the qualifiers: nearly, slightly, practically. The following may not be your voice, but it gives you an idea of what I mean:

Clara Louise Delamare forced herself to sit quietly as the train raced through the twilight. Flashes of joy threatened to jolt her from her seat; freedom was making her lightheaded. But an edge of fear tempered her euphoria as she stared out the window.

Her blurry reflection threw back the wild glow of her copper hair, kinking and curling from the clip atop her head to halfway down her back. The green of her eyes stood out clearly, and Clara wished yet again they were a more anonymous brown, or an unremarkable blue. Who cares, she chided herself. Nobody knows me, and nobody can stop me from getting my own life.

As the train pulled into the station above the village of Mabble, Clara jumped to her feet and dragged her bulky three-wheel bicycle toward the exit. But a metal pole she hadn’t noticed when she’d boarded now stood solidly, stubbornly in the way. She wrestled with the handlebars, trying to ignore the conductor’s glare. It’s all well and good to allow bikes on trains, she thought, kicking at the bike’s front wheel. But if they’re so determined to keep this train on schedule, they should make it easier to take bikes off the train.

Hope this helps! Now I must stop procrastinating and edit my own WIP.

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Stormy (a.k.a. Bacon Sex Betty) October 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm

EEP! I rely on the “Betty blog updates” on my sidebar to tell me when there’s something new. I must’ve missed this. Gotta love that handsome stranger and his lovely sense of humor. I want to read more about this mysterious town! 🙂 There’s a couple of comma issues for me, and a capitalized “She” (unless she’s a dominatrix 😀 ) where she shouldn’t be.

But I’m with the rest of the gang. I want MORE of this!

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Kim M/Ginger Betty October 12, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I like the feels of the story, it seems to curl around you and draw you in. Not sure if you are doing any forshadowing, but the comments of the Engineers and straight tracks vs the curving road to the bay hints to me about Clara’s viewpoints on her life are altering from straightforward to more curving/accepting of change.

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Divabetty October 12, 2010 at 11:54 am

@Kelly–i’ve had a peek further into this book and it’s about her appearance being too distinctive/recognizable.
And I agree. I WILL buy this book.

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KellyJ (Bona Fide Betty) October 12, 2010 at 1:31 am

I like it a lot. Love the hint of magic and the Wander Inn is great. I’d keep reading.

If you want picky notes, here are two: the word “sit” is used twice in the first lines, and I don’t understand why the heroine thinks having green eyes is a bad thing.

I’d buy this book if I read these first pages in a bookstore. Awesome job.

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Chris October 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I enjoyed it also. Flows nicely. Would love to read more.

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Kate October 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm

@Lora – Okay then. I’ll get this put together some time in the not too distant future and you can make a game out of finding double words, typos and illogical logic. I’m game if you are!

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Lora October 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Well, baby, I am serious as a heart attack.

And even if you have a pro proofreader lined up I still WANT TO READ THIS BOOK any bit of it I can get!!!! I promise I’ll still buy it. Have I mentioned that I worship and adore the carousel horse restoration? Cause I do. A lot. Easily the coolest hero job I’ve ever read.

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Kate October 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm

@Lora – that’s absolutely why I seriously need a proof reader!

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Lora October 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this story. But you kinda knew that already. The setting is magical and the atmosphere is divine. Love the name “Wander Inn”.

My nitpick of the day: use “lightheaded” once in para 1, not twice.

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Bethany October 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Is the Louise important? The first sentence felt long to me. I liked it though and would read more esp after the bit at the end. Admittedly, the first two or three paragraphs didn’t grab me nearly as much as that ending bit.

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Kate Geoerge October 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I’m finding the lack of comments very disturbing. You do know I expect you to tell me if it sucks rocks, right? Specific instances of dreck and slobbiness are expected.

Would you be compelled to read more?
Are you falling asleep from boredom?

Come on now, spit it out!

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