Nathaniel’s E-Journal May 2007 – I’m Now A Published Author

As I sit here typing my mind is still in a whirl.  The idea that something I’ve written is actually getting published seems unreal.  Then again a lot of things I’ve done in my long life feel that way.

The first time I stepped out onto a stage in vaudeville to play a part in one of the Marx Brothers routines I felt the same way.  I’d been helping out in their rehearsals and knew the routine by heart, so when Gummo wasn’t able to appear with his brothers one night, I was drafted then and there.  I’m proud to say that I did not suffer stage fright, but that was mostly because I had Julius, Arthur and Leonard with me.  I knew they had my back and I wasn’t about to let them down.  In a way, it was like being back in the Union Army, where I knew I had a bunch of guys watching out for me just as much as I was keeping an eye out for them.  When we finished our routine they made sure I took a bow with them.  After that I started finding myself on stage a number of times with some of the other acts who knew me pretty well.


But I digress.  As my second semester taking writing classes was drawing to a close, one of my instructors urged me to try and submit a few of my short stories to a few magazines for publication.  This was in March and I trusted my instructor’s judgement and with their help I prepared a cover letter, synopsis and a sample of one of my stories.  Needless to say the results were pretty much what I half expected…

Not to say I wasn’t a little hurt, but my instructor was like, “Good, now you’re really on your way to being an author.”  Needless to say I gave her a very curious look, but nodded and kept trying.  Within weeks the responses, or rather more rejections, came rolling in…

Yet in spite of this, Brian, his family, fellow students, and even other members of the English and Literature faculty kept urging me on.  So I kept at it.  Finally, yesterday, I got a response from of all magazines Playboy, who wanted to publish one of my stories. It was one I submitted on a whim to their college fiction contest last year.  I didn’t win mind you, but one of the editors kept it on file because he thought it was really good.  


In any case, somehow they were looking to fill space and he remembered my story and contacted me saying they wanted to run it.  Naturally I said yes so next month, my first published short story will be coming out in Playboy Magazine.  I’m hoping the readers like it, or at least those who read Playboy for the articles, all of two of them.


Still, to have my first published story appear in a magazine of that caliber is an honor.  I’m hoping it will help springboard me into other publications or at least get my name out there.  Or rather my pseudonym Daniel Bachmann.  Bachmann was my mother’s maiden name and Daniel was my grandfather’s name.   Too many people out there know or heard of Nathaniel Steward over the last few decades who don’t know my secret.  So a fake name just seemed more appropriate on this occasion.


So my first published work will be sandwiched somewhere in between naked women and… now I’m jealous.  Time to head out and enjoy some nightlife.  I hear there’s plenty of great places here in London, and the lights at night are beautiful.  Who knows, I might get an idea for a few more stories.  Yup… I’m a writer all right.  Always thinking about the next tale.

Nathaniel’s E-Journal, August 2005… Beginning A New Chapter Part-II

Another night and I stand once more in my artist’s studio located on the top floor of the building that houses my club “The Crypt”.  No one’s allowed up here unless I say so, and tonight I wish to be alone with my thoughts.  For two days now I’ve been wrestling with the idea of trying my hand at writing novels.  

 
In some ways the idea seems ridiculous.  Me? An author?  


Then another question comes to mind in the form of one word, why?


That’s the sticking point for me.  Why would I take up writing?  Because I’m bored and want to try something new that I’ve never done before?   It wouldn’t be the first time.  When I joined vaudeville, it was simply to keep myself busy and working behind the scenes as a stagehand at night seemed ideal.  But then I started to get to know the performers like Julius, Arthur, Herbert and Leonard… better known as the Marx Brothers.  Their range of talents fascinated me.  The number of instruments they could play, or the snappy patter they should spout on a moments notice never ceased to amaze me.  Plus, they seemed to sense the feeling of being ‘lost’ and ‘adrift’ in me, which made them reach out so I could be a part of their comeraderie.  But it didn’t stop there.  Others in the troupe welcomed me as well, like “Fatty” (Roscoe Arbuckle), the Keatons, Harry and Bess Houdini, the lovely and sweet Mae West and so many others…

Before I knew what was happening they’d be teaching me all kinds of skills and even dragging me out on stage to help out in their acts.  I could write endless stories about those days and the ones that came before.  


My days on the battlefield while serving in the Union Army.  So many stories were lost there that only I know about.  The hopes and fears of my brothers in blue, as well as some of those who wore the rebel gray.  In 167 years of walking this world, I’ve not forgotten a single person who I’ve met, good or bad, I remember them.  I also remember the stories they shared, the sweethearts they pursued and the outcomes.  


So many stories to choose from, but where would I begin?  


I brought up the idea of my taking up writing to Brian and his family last night at dinner.  Much to my surprise no one laughed.  Instead they eagerly supported the venture.  Brian in particular urged me to take a couple of creative writing courses at the college where he teaches history.  “We’ve got some really good instructors there and they could really help you hone your skills?” Brian pointed out.  “I’ve taken a couple of them and they were really helpful.  Of course, you’ll need to decide on a genre to write in.  Agents and publishers like to represent someone who has a specific kind of novel.”


“You should write romance,” his daughter Lisa suggested with a twinkle in her eye as she looked at me.  Even though she’s only a child I have a feeling she’s developing a crush on me.  I’ve seen that look before in girls her age and even younger, over the decades.  But only one ever managed to land me, but she was extremely persistent.  


Even now I can feel her eyes on me after seven decades.  Looking up I find myself staring into a pair of dark eyes, forever captured in oil.  Dark hair frames those eyes along with the lovely face and strong chin.  “Magda,” I whisper and smile.


Our time together was not nearly as long as either of us had hoped, but it was magical.  Our first meeting and her prolonged pursuit for my love could fill several volumes.  Her persistence paid off and after three years she became my wife at the young age of sixteen.  


As I stand there lost in thought, the sounds of music reaches my ears from several floors below.  The Crypt is now open and is already filling up with the usual crowd.  Even from here I can sense the whirl of emotions and life down there.  Laughter, sorrow, broken hearts, lust, hopes for love…  


A flash of light through the window catches my eye.  After several nights of gathering clouds it looks as rain is finally drawing near.  I make my way up the stairs and onto the roof of the building to watch the approaching storm.

I see lightning in the distance over my hometown, it’s going to be a good one.  But instead of retreating back inside, I stay where I am and feel the breeze on my face and close my eyes.  I can feel the storm’s energy on the wind and without thinking, several lines of words describing the feeling come to mind.  Some of the words are trite, but they still help paint a picture within my head.

Suddenly my eyes shoot open as realization sinks in.  Painting a picture, but with words instead of oils or acrylics!   No pencils, no paintbrushes, just words that form an image or a scene within the readers mind.  That’s what an author does. But they don’t just paint one picture, they paint a whole series of images, coupled with emotions and thoughts.  Yet, I can still use my skills as a painter as well.  Illustrations and book covers… yes.  


And I have so much material to draw upon.  My own experiences as well as those of people who’s memories lives I keep alive within me.  I’ve shared their stories countless times with descendants so they are never forgotten.  


But what kind of stories to write? 


From down in the alley I hear the sound of raised voices.  Looking over the edge I see a young couple having a heated argument.  The boy is obviously breaking up with the girl and leaves her in the alley alone.  But she does not remain that way for long.  Three others, friends of hers arrive and comfort her.  One of them is a young man who obviously has feelings of his own for her.  But instead of being foolish and declaring his affections, he merely gives her the support and comfort of the friend she needs right now.  


But I can sense a change in her.  It’s not big, but her gratitude to him and the two girls with him is obvious.  I hear her say she wishes more guys were like him as they step inside.  Perhaps something will come of it eventually.  


However the thing that gets me most is the image that forms in my mind.  Just like the other night down in the club, I could see other figures, superimposed over the trio.  Their outfits changed several times within the span of a few seconds.  I saw flappers, soldiers, suits, gowns, hippies, but their actions were all the same and leading towards one thing… romance.


“Love Across Time…” I murmur as the first drops of rain start hitting my head.  


Why not?  I’ve seen and experienced it so many times in the last fifteen decades.  Oh, the settings and ways one behaved have changed over time, but the feelings never do.  


Feeling elated at the idea, I spread my arms wide and let the rain and story ideas pour over me.  

Lisa’s Private Thoughts – Nov. 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving With Uncle Nathan

*A quick note from Allan: My sincerest apologies for not doing more on the stories these past few months. I’ve been busy with learning and creating audiobooks, as well as doing book covers, reviews, and book trailers for Helen and others. However, you will be pleased to hear that Nathan’s books are among those being turned into audios as I write. One or two short stories will be appearing here soon in audio form so you can get a taste of what’s to come. Also, work has been continuing on the sequel to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which is currently being titled “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”. Helen and I have a number of surprises for Nathan and you all, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s a little Thanksgiving story I created 3 years ago. We hope you enjoy this tale that shows just how crazy things can get around the holidays… especially if you hang out with Nathan*

THANKSGIVING DAY 

I think everyone has memories of certain holiday gatherings that they’ll never forget.  Usually it’s because something really special or very unfortunate happened.  But how many of us can say they’ll never forget a certain Thanksgiving dinner because the host wound up fighting a duel with the intended dinner?

Well that’s what happened this year and I don’t think I’ll even need to watch the video I took of it, to help me remember.  However, I will be saving it to show any children or grandchildren I have down the road, so they can see what craziness can ensue when you let Uncle Nathan try to prepare a holiday dinner.

It all started about a week ago, right after Mom gave birth to my new baby brother Geoffrey.  I was on hand for the event, while Dad and Uncle Nathan stayed in the Waiting Room.  Mom had given strict instructions that neither of them were allowed to be on hand to watch.  In fact part of my job was to make sure they didn’t come in.

I asked Doctor Jack about it later and all he did was smirk and mumble something about a Dr. Quackenbush and associate, who had been on hand to help keep the patient relaxed.  The name sounded familiar to me so I Googled it afterwards on my laptop and found it was one of Groucho Marx’s personas from a movie called “A Day At the Races”.  Apparently, he’d played a veterinarian who also treated a rich woman as one of his patients.  Having seen Uncle Nathan’s Groucho impression I could only imagine what kind of nonsense he and Dad must’ve gotten up to inside the delivery room that day until Mom ordered the two of them out.

Anyway, right after Geoffrey arrived, Uncle Nathan offered to host Thanksgiving over at The Crypt.  “Between late night feedings and changing diapers I don’t think any of you are going to be up to shopping and prepping a big meal,” he pointed out.

Needless to say, none of us disagreed with him.  He even invited Dr. Jack and his family to join the festivities, which my favorite physician readily agreed to.  We didn’t see or hear from Uncle Nathan again for the rest of the week, which made my parents wonder if dinner was still on.  Then last night he phoned to let us know he’d been called away to help his old friend, Professor Otto Hofstadter, with a little ‘problem’ which they’d successfully resolved, and that we were still expected the next day at 5:00 PM.

Needless to say we left the house today and headed downtown.  Once we reached the building that housed The Crypt, we headed down the side alley where the stairs leading down to The Crypt awaited.  Dr. Jack and his family were just heading down the steps when we showed up and after the usual Thanksgiving greetings were exchanged, we all carefully made our way down the steps.  The door at the bottom was unlocked so we let ourselves in only to have our breaths taken away.

As usual, Uncle Nathan had really gone all out with decorating the place.  There was a huge table that could seat a couple of dozen people just on one side, in the center of the main room.  It was all decked out with candles, plates,fancy napkins, the works.  There was also a very expensive looking harp nearby, which meant we would probably be treated to some fine music afterwards.  As we all gazed around in wonder, I couldn’t believe he’d gone to so much trouble just for us, but I was glad at the same time.  “This was going to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving dinners ever,” I breathed aloud, while everyone nodded in agreement.

Uncle Nathan appeared a moment later, wearing a white apron and a big chef’s hat.  After greeting each of us, he got everyone settled in and disappeared back to the kitchen area.  We were all excited and eager to see what he had prepared for us.  A moment later, he came back out carrying a huge glimmering silver platter.  Naturally it had a very shiny lid which was rather tall, leaving us all wondering how big a turkey he had gotten for the occasion.  However, knowing his sense of humor, I I half expected it to be a very small bird no bigger than a pigeon,  But much to my surprise and delight, when the cover was removed, there was indeed a very large bird on the platter.

After running back into the kitchen and returning with more dishes, he removed his hat and apron, and proceeded to brandish a very large fork, which he deftly sank into the turkey.  Only to have the bird jump up, remove the fork from itself and then waved an angry fist at him.

TO BE CONTINUED…