Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘time travel

This is my entry into Stevie Turner’s short story competition for the month of October. The story was inspired by this photo I took during my travels n Spain. It was suggested I write a story about this scene when I posted it recently. Let me know what you think. And why not enter a story yourself.

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/share-your-short-story-october-2019/

Three Sheets to the Wind

by Darlene Foster

Stan woke with a terrible taste in his mouth. Trying to stand up, his head spun and he slumped down beside a large container.
“I swear, I´ll never drink again.”
He wanted to retch.
“My God, what is that awful smell.”
He rubbed his eyes. Through the dim early morning light, he could make out he was in a back alley leaning on a barrel filled with rotten vegetables. He glanced down.
“What the hell am I wearing?”
Instead of jeans and a T-shirt, he wore a baggy pair of pants that stopped at his knees, a wide sash and a loose shirt.
He couldn´t remember being at a costume party.
Two heavy-set men appeared out of the mist.
“Here´s another one,” said one fellow with a heavy accent, wearing a similar outfit.
They picked him up under his arms, dragging him along the cobblestones. “Captain said we should collect as many able bodied men as we can. We ship out tomorrow and need more crew.”
“What the…?” Stan struggled.
They tightened their grasp. “Shut up your mouth. You are now in the service of the Queen.”
***
He lay in his bunk feeling seasick as the boat left the dock. Perhaps it wasn’t the motion of the ship, but maybe the putrid smell of boiled cabbage, urine and stale air that was making his stomach churn.
He wandered over to the porthole. Looking out he saw two other ships. On the side of the one closest, he made out the name, Nino.
“What is going on? It must be a re-enactment of some kind, or a film set.”

He thought back to the previous day, the start of a holiday in Seville, Spain, where he was taking in all the sites. He met some other young guys and they had a few drinks at what used to be an old tavern. But that´s all he remembered. A knock on the door took him out of his thoughts.
“Time to swab the decks.”
The boat lurched as he climbed the stairs. He stumbled.
“You best get your sea legs.” The sailor behind him slapped him on the back and presented a toothless grin. Even though he spoke English, it wasn’t any dialect Stan was familiar with.
“These guys are really taking this serious,” he thought.
The rest of the motley crew sported beards, eye patches and even the occasional peg leg. He thought they did a good job with the costumes but why was he still clean-shaven and all in one piece?
A bearded sailor handed him a mop and a bucket. Stan shook his head. “Excuse me. I think there has been a mistake.”
The sailor stared at him and walked away.
He shrugged and began scrubbing.

“Wait ‘til I tell them back home that I ended up on a replica of Christopher Columbus’s ship.” He stopped and looked around as the land disappeared behind him.

“At least – I think it´s a replica.”
***
A dazed and disoriented fifteenth-century sailor wandered the streets of Seville. Everything appeared strange to him.
“Perhaps this is the afterlife,” he thought. “Probably hell.”
Large metal objects hurtled down the streets. Should a horse and rider happened along, they would both be killed. People dressed in a very odd manner. Men and women wore tight trousers and tiny tops that didn´t cover their arms and stopped at the waist. Just like the ones he found in the alcove by the cathedral.
He glanced away when women walked by looking immodest.
He had to put something on as he had lost his clothes sometime the night before. It was his last night before going with Captain Columbus to find India. He had been promised riches if he survived the journey. A humble sailor, he could only dream of wealth. After many drinks and fun with the whores, he stumbled out of the tavern and fell asleep in an alleyway. He woke up stark naked. After a wander up to the cathedral, he found clothes neatly rolled up in an alcove. They fit but he felt strange in them, until he saw everyone else wearing the same uniform.
He had to get to the ship or he would miss his chance.
He noticed a man with long hair and tattoos approaching. “Pardon, kind sir. Where is the port the Santa Maria is sailing from?”
“You mean, where did it sail from? It sailed from Palos de la Frontera.”
The sailor had trouble understanding the man as his accent was strange. But he understood the words, Palos de la Frontera.
“I must make haste and get there before it leaves.”
“I´m sorry mate, but you are 500 years too late.” The man laughed and walked down the street shaking his head.
The sailor ran his hands through his hair. “This must be hell, but when and how did I die? I should not drink ale again.” He tugged at his shirt hoping to cover more of his torso.

The Bess Time cover Nov7

“Have you ever wanted to go back in time? Here is your opportunity.” Bess Turner, a woman of the twenty-first century, would like to invite you to accompany her on a journey to London, England. The season is Christmas. The year is 1847. The adventure begins with a light in a window. Mesmerized, Bess hears street noises behind her. No, that cannot be; she is in her living room, looking at a miniature building on the mantel. True, but …. Meet her colourful Victorian family, stay for a cup of tea, and taste the flaming plum pudding. Hold your breath and squeeze into the dreaded corset. Swirl around the majestic Vauxhall to the Viennese Waltz. Take in the smells and sounds of the horse-drawn carriages along busy Fleet Street. Enjoy the ride; it is The Bess Time.

My review of The Bess Time

Who wouldn’t love to go back in time to visit Charles Dickens’s London at Christmastime? This is what happens to Bess Turner when she stares into the lights of the miniature Victorian street scene on her mantle. A delightful venture into time travel, the author does an excellent job of transitioning from the twenty first century to the nineteenth century with ease. The many unique characters are well developed and you will definitely fall in love with them as they become as familiar as your own friends and neighbours.  Even the charming Mr. Dickens himself makes a cameo appearance. The setting, the accents, the food, the weather, the clothing and the customs of the time come to life on the page. There are many laughs and a few tears as Beth divides her time between a modern North American Christmas and a traditional London Christmas of 1847. I didn’t want the story to end and am happy to hear there is a sequel in the works. You will need to buy two copies of The Bess Time, one for yourself and one for a friend as you won’t want to give this one away. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

Interview with the author Yvonne Pont

How long have you been writing?

Since I was in high school, but not seriously till about 2009. Before that, I have written for my various club newsletters, letters to family and friends and minutes for meetings. I took various writing courses and joined a writers’ group. Both of which have helped tremendously to hone my craft. 

What gave you the idea for this book?

The miniature buildings and the built in curiosity and imagination to discover what goes on behind closed doors. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back in time and observe? So I did. 

What made you decide to self-publish?

I tried the traditional way, but it is not easy for an unknown author to have a publisher in today’s market take a chance on them. So I took the bull by the horns, took a deep breath and plunged head first into another world I knew nothing about. Each day brings new challenges and tests the will to continue. A relative once told me if you sit in the safety of your backyard and never venture out, life passes you by. 

I just love the characters. Did you pattern them after people you know?

Yes, a few are, and others have the names, but not the personalities of the namesakes. Observing people while in restaurants, shops, etc. is a good way to add or start on a character. 

How did you manage to get all those accents down pat? It wasn’t long and I knew who was talking without the tags, just from the accent!

I made a profile of each character and added their special dialogue. I wanted the reader to experience what Bess did and that was to listen to their different accents of that time in history. It had to be as real as possible.

I also love the cover art work. Was this your idea? How did you find an illustrator for the cover?

I told the artist exactly what I wanted, and she went from there. I also took pictures of figures and buildings in shadow to get the idea across to her. Fortunately, my good friend and artist, Connie Wicklund, did a great job. Iryna Spica of Spica Design in Victoria gave me samples for the title printing and holly emblem. I picked what I felt went best with the book and artwork.

What authors have inspired you? Who are your all time favourite authors?

Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. 

Do you have a writing routine?

I try. However, life keeps getting in the way. Thank goodness, I have not experienced writer’s block, so it is not difficult to get my thoughts on paper on short notice. I always write in long hand and then transpose it to my laptop. My thoughts, my hand, the pen and paper work as one. Transferring it to the laptop is another step to further editing the piece.

Are you a plotter or a panster? (do you plot the story out before hand or write by the seat of your pants as ideas come to you?)

Yes, I have a plot. Yes, ideas come while the hand is on the paper too. Does that make me a plotster? 

Tell us a little about you including some quirks or funny habits.

I love animals, travel, gardening. I tend to relate an object such as my car, a book as human. Each has its own personality and story to tell. As far as the funny habits, you will have to ask my husband………. 

What is the name of the next book in the Christmas in Time series and when do you expect it to be completed?

“Nick Of Time” I hope to have it finished and published for fall of 2015. 

What advice would you give someone thinking of writing a book?

Go for it! However, learn your craft and join a writers’ group who will critique and give you sage advice. Editing is a must and must be done many times before the work is finished. But above all, don’t forget this is your work. Be true to it! Heed others advice, but if it is not what you want or had in mind for your story, let them write their own book.

Great advice! So happy to meet yet another Jane Austen fan too.  Thank you, Yvonne for sharing a bit about yourself and your book.

You can buy The Bess Time here or here

Visit Yvonne’s website  http://www.yvonnepont.com/ to learn more about her.

The author is giving away a copy of her book to one of the lucky readers of this blog. Just add a comment and your name will be put in the draw. Don’t forget to comment before the deadline, February 14.


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