Cinders and Steel

What I’m Writing This Summer

Classes are almost over, and I’ve started to dream about what I’ll write once summer starts and I have a bit more free time. So… I wanted to do something a little different for this month’s post and share some updates on the projects I’ll be working on.

Cinders and Steel

I’m really excited about this one. It’s a gaslamp fantasy novel that’s also a very loose retelling of “Cinderella.” There are mechanical spiders and a clever chimney sweep and a mystery she has to solve.

I’ve outlined the novel and plan to do more research and write it this summer, and you can read more about it on this page. Here’s a snippet from one of the first few chapters…

Elle’s fingers danced over the diner’s window, leaving streaks through the thin layer of ash and grime that coated everything in this city. Even this late in the evening, a diner in this part of town still ought to be bursting with gentlemen in stiff cravats, ladies pulling off their veils to sip at dainty cups of tea, and merchants discussing the latest railroad shipments. But through the glass, only a few older men could be seen at tables, hunched over newspapers, while a woman behind the counter cleaned the gears of an automaton chef.

Further down the street, Elle could see gas lamps reflected in darkened windows, shining like neatly aligned stars above the empty walkways and carriage ruts. Even the factory Spiders seemed to have quit early tonight—everyone was at the festival.

Elle should be at the festival.

She had determined not to cry; that would be giving in, and she still felt too much like screaming at Ilean to give in. Ilean, that ungrateful… cruel… spiteful excuse for a stepsister. After all Elle did for her and Likki…

Elle jammed her fists into her coat pockets.

A Fun (but untitled) Novella

I’ve also planned out a novella that I’d like to finish. This story is about a few high school theater kids who get trapped in a fantasy world during the intermission of a play. Every time I pull it out, it makes me smile; it’s a lot of fun to work on. I have a working outline, and if I have time this summer, I really want to finish it.

Here’s a bit from the first chapter (the part before they accidentally fall into the fantasy world)…

Rose yanks open the door to the school and heads toward the auditorium. Part of her wants to crawl into a corner and ignore all the inevitable whiny actors, lazy stage crew members, malfunctioning lights, broken equipment, and missing props.

But this is the last production of her senior year and her last dose of theater for a few months, before summer community theater and college. And when Rose steps onto the stage, it all hits her—the scent of dry-cleaned costumes, the chatter of costumers, the glare of the stage lights.

They’re going to put on a play tonight. And Rose can’t stop the grin from spreading across her face.

There are also talking wolves. And teenagers with superpowers. And an evil wizard with delusions of grandeur.

Short Stories

I’ve been coming up with a lot of fantasy and science fiction stories… Rebel fighters. Dragons who aren’t what they seem. Aliens with bizarre customs. Time-traveling reeves. Giants making pine tree stew.

This year, I plan to finish some of these stories, do some hardcore editing, and publish an ebook. Whether it’ll be available on Amazon or free if you subscribe to my newsletter, I’m not sure. But it’ll be great to share some of these stories with you.

There is another exciting project I can’t tell you about yet… but I may do an extra post this month about it. Oooh I can’t wait! Make sure to sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get an email as soon as I have more details.

This summer is going to be fun. Look for my next post in June. Until then, happy reading!

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Katherine Beutner’s career aspirations as a child included Elf, Hobbit, or Fairy, but she settled for Writer and Graphic Designer. When not scribbling creative ideas in a notebook, she searches for new books, art materials, willing victims to read her stories, and ways to make more frequent references to The Lord of the Rings.