Birds of a Feather…

16 Apr

A GSP release from Author of the Week: Leslie Soule.

Birds of a Feather by Leslie Soule

Alexis doesn’t understand her weird grandma, who buys enough food for an army and keeps unusual items stored in her closet. Then she has to write a paper for her high school English class, and her grandmother becomes her inspiration as she imagines her grandma Diane’s life as a Steampunk story set in an alternate France. Napoleon has been killed in the Battle of the Nile. After the storming of the Bastille, a group forms to protect the heroes of the People’s Liberation Movement – that group is the Birds of a Feather. Follow Alexis as she weaves a tale of courage, hope, and adventure in the age of steam.



Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Dear Diary,

     My grandma is the weirdest person ever. OMG. Her house is so dark and stuffy, like it’s haunted or something. I opened the hall closet when she went out to the grocery store and left me at the house alone. That’s when I found the weirdest thing—a metal bird statue. The creepy part was that as I closed the door, I could have sworn I saw it blink! Thank goodness Dad came over after work to take Grandma and me out to dinner. You know how Grandma is with food—buys enough to feed an army and then it all goes bad and stuff is kept way past its expiration date.
     I remember how she’d make me finish every scrap of food on my plate. She’s gotten better about that over the years, but she still tells me how lucky I am to even have food. So anyway, whatever. If I don’t like something, I’ll just throw it away when she’s not looking. Oh, and all lunch she rambled on and on about how we’re all so lucky to live in America. Grandma Diane is from France. She came here a long time ago. So, I have a short story due this Friday for my Creative Writing class and I’ve decided to try writing a Steampunk story about Grandma.

Monday, October 18th, 2010

     I am SO reminded of why I hate history. Well, besides the fact that Mr. Duke goes on and on about the most boring stuff that I almost fall asleep every day in first period. So I’ve got that Steampunk story due Friday and Mrs. Martinez said we have to make the stories believable and stuff and we have to write about the research we did for it and everything. I spent like all of my lunch today in the library while that dorky aide Cory ogled me. It was way creepy—like movie stalker creepy. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far:
     —Story will be about the end of the French Revolution.
     —Little man Napoleon was killed at the Battle of the Nile. He would have been twenty-nine. That gets him out of the way, and that was a huge obstacle since he’s in like all the French history books.
     —I had to make the King and Marie Antoinette be dead and be killed by this liberation movement. This movement also did the whole Bastille thing. Anyway, I’m gonna write Grandma in as the main character. I feel like I need to give her a love interest—maybe I’ll make him look like that really cute guy that sits next to me in fourth period English. What a hottie. I think he’s going out with that Megan girl though. Ugh. I totally don’t know what he sees in her.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

     Two more days left to go and I’ve totally been putting off writing this thing. Maybe I should have picked a different type of story. But Steampunk just sounded so cool. Jenna is like almost done with her story though and it’s a romance and I didn’t think we were even allowed to write that. So I looked up Steampunk to see what else I could write about other than the French stuff, and it’s about machines and things. I thought about that robot statue thing in Grandma’s closet. It would be perfect.

Friday, October 21st, 2010

     So I turned in my story today. I think it came out okay. Becca asked me if I’m gonna show it to Grandma Diane and I was all “NO!” Lol.

Chapter One

Paris, France. 1802. End of the French Revolution.

     Diane LeFleur had been four years old when she peered out from behind her mother’s dirty apron and took in the smoke and the shouting—the wild, rampant chaos that was the storming of the Bastille. She could remember it all so clearly. She could close her eyes and see it playing out on the darkness of her eyelids. That was thirteen years ago. Things were different now.
     Diane glanced at the feather tattoo on her left wrist. I am a member of the People’s Liberation Movement, too. In honor of their liberation—one that allowed them to fly from the horrors of the tyranny of the Bastille—loyal members called themselves the Birds of a Feather, getting feather tattoos and adopting bird-like surnames to show their loyalty. Though Diane had never been a prisoner herself, she was eternally scarred by the things she had seen. Death to the monarchy.


     Things were so different now. France was no longer France—it was now known only as Cinque-Levier. The major cities had become city-states. Paris, The City of Lights, had become a place of stark contrast, a battleground of illumination and shadows. Paris was now Contrastique. The city of Lyon had been given the name Coeur De Lion by its self-proclaimed ruler and benefactor, the wealthy businessman Frank Mercer.
     Coeur De Lion was the rival of the city-state of Contrastique, in an arms race that was quickly picking up speed. In Contrastique, the search was on for the universal solvent. Diane Falcon was going to be leading an expedition into Coeur De Lion, a potentially dangerous reconnaissance mission involving infiltrating the headquarters building of Tri-Quest, Frank Mercer’s corporation.
     It was the Age of Steam and the Age of Innovation and the Age of Metalwork, with all five city-states vying to be the winner of an arms race. Diane was sure Contrastique would win. She knew her father’s abilities would tip the scales in their favor.
     Diane admired her father’s skill as a mechanical genius. He routinely hid himself away at all hours of the day and night, tinkering in his workshop, constantly busy with projects. Diane hadn’t picked up his love of tinkering, but she possessed the qualities of a natural leader. The lack of a mother for ten years of her life had made her bold, forced her to grow up like she’d been raised as a boy. At seventeen, she now sat in her father’s workshop in Contrastique, creating plans for a meeting.




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