Everything seems so innocent

I’m a big fan of using old maps and, obviously, pictures as writing prompts. Especially when I’m writing historical fiction. To orient readers in the Central Texas setting, I chose to begin this novel with a scene in Austin.

Austin in 1887 by Augustus Koch (source: birdseyeviews.org)

              Austin in 1887 by Augustus Koch (source: birdseyeviews.org)

A town bounded by a river and two creeks. High above Austin, one long sepia-toned panoramic view. Everything seems so innocent to you, how fresh and promising everything looks, from way up here . . . Zooming in color on that there railroad platform downtown. Through the oppressive heat humanity teems, emitting confusions of sounds and smells. From this sunbaked bustle our main character distinguishes himself by limping a bit. Of below average height and built ropy, he’s wearing outdated clothing originally tailored for a man with discriminating tastes. His chapeau and beard are becoming. Needless to say he’s quite handsome. Especially while relaying to a porter something bawdy about great big iron contraptions bound east and that mischievous twinkle enters his eyes.

Here is where that railroad depot was located, on the northeast corner of 3rd Street and Congress Avenue:

And this is a photograph revealing the fashions of the WWI period, in which Bloody Big Dry Blues is set:

Crowd gathered around an H&TC engine at the Austin Depot (source: Elgin Depot Museum)

Crowd gathered around an H&TC engine at the Austin Depot (source: Elgin Depot Museum)

Here’s hoping you have a very merry!

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