I had to put Iron Road on hiatus. One, I'm stuck, or at least processing in the background, because an entirely new element came up. I was having trouble building the other world -- as much as I love "other worlds" in my stories, they're such a bitch for me to make up. It's easier for me to write about the "real" world. I can do research, and in the course of my research, I can find connections, coincidences, and themes. Made-up worlds, it's harder to find that kind of gold. So I was messing around with some of the history of the settlers of the world, from Germany in the mid-19th century, and hit $$$. Turns out the same time (more or less) the rest of Europe was going through revolutions, so was Germany. Some of the brains behind the revolution included Richard Wagner...and the Brothers Grimm. In Dresden, of all places. (The present time of the story would be 1946, with the Dresden bombing in February 1945.) So now I have both a framework for the world that isn't purely based on fantasy (since the settlers would have taken their culture and conflicts with them), and I have an extra conflict between the settlers and the characters, who were part of the forces that bombed their hometown. Which is good, but something in the back of my head is going, "...and how does this all work out?"
I also happened upon a good (if long and tangential) book about Nazi scientists, Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact, which also needs to trickle down to my subconscious. I think I'm going to want a book on Hitler's relationship with the occult, and I may need to borrow some Hellboys I haven't read from somebody (probably Dave), which aren't exactly right, but would be good reading nonetheless. Oh, I picked up Blood and Iron, not the Hellboy graphic novel, from the library. It's about this family, the von Moltkes, that ended up trying to assassinate Hitler. I might make two of the characters related, because that would be fun.
If you're interested in WWII, a good movie is Zentropa (aka Europa):
As it stands, "Zentropa" (or "Europa" as it is referred to outside the US) is one of the most fascinating and artistic views of the bleakness and almost psychotic uncertainty that oozed out of post WWII Europe, namely the decimated German landscape, whose physical horrors were matched only by the damage to the psyche of its people. Von Trier brilliantly paints his vision on screen. You will feel like you are watching some lost espionage noir classic from the late 1940's with the perfectly lighted black and white scenes...I don't want to blow the plot, but the movie can also be seen as a modern-update version of Little Red Riding Hood, if you like. Very myffic.*
Second reason Iron Road's on hiatus: I have to get Alien Blue in gear for the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference in April. Here's the conference brochure, with more details.
Anyway, digging through the rubble. I was asking myself whether this much work will be worth it and got to the point where one of the characters dies. Waaaaaaah! Every time I read the book, I cry at that spot. Okay, there must be something worth saving there...
*With extra "myff"