Of the two most famous Inklings, it was said that Lewis would sketch a scene by saying “The children stood in the forest. A chill wind blew.” Tolkien, on the other hand, would spend the next twenty pages not only telling you the history of the forest, but then go on to describe each and every leaf.
An exaggeration, but to make a point. My writing style can, charitably, be called more Lewisian; not so charitably, “the son-of-bitch-writer never explains anything!” Guilty as charged. I have a story to tell and my characters would be rather miffed at me if I take time to describe the leaves on the trees.
A positive of that, though, is in the million of tiny cracks and folds of my novels, there lurk hundreds of more stories. Back in January, I realized that over the course of five years being in Machine Civilization, I was able to pull together a short story collection. Below the fold is another example. Based upon “real life” – whatever that means – events, I was able to peek in on an interaction between Faustina and a civilian in a far flung corner of her imperium. This takes place about halfway through “Empress Crusade;” it is not in the book, but it is canon. Fodder for my next collection!
My tiny handful of regular readers know that since I became a writer, one salutary fact has been rammed down my throat: there are no such things as coincidences. As a young godless materialist I would shrug and call an event a “statistical outlier.” Once I was a Catholic Christian, I fell back on “we cannot see God’s ways.”
In my second year as a writer, when I was 49 years old, I realized: fuck me.
Time and time and time again, I would see something and it would show up first in my writing and later in meatspace. God, obviously, is trying to make a point to me. One, admittedly, I am still learning. Saying all that to say this…
Four hours ago, see the post, I completed the raw manuscript of “Goddess’ Crusade.” The core battle of that novel is how Faustina recognizes her opponent has an overwhelming advantage of armor and considers what she can do to neutralize it and win. Being her military father’s daughter, she plucks an example from history and plans accordingly.
Five hours later, tired and just wanting to relax, I retire to my basement to watch a few videos before going to sleep. Ah! A new video from Kings & Generals… it’s about… about…
Fuck me. Pharsalus. There are no such things as coincidences.
The very raw manuscript of “Goddess’ Crusade” is complete. I need to make at least two passes through it to check coherency, then pass it onto my copyeditor. I admit, this a one of the oddest stories I’ve been told to write down. At two points I tossed my hands in the air and walked away from the laptop.
As this is toward the end of the book, I don’t want to post spoilers, so I’ll post sex, instead.
Where an army or units of it would go once campaigning season was over. Often for the purpose of making sure a subdued people stayed subdued. Faustina needs to make a tour of her dispositions before riding back to Knoxville to play politics* and I realized I was unsure where her legions and auxiliary units are. So… another map! Cannot talk history without a map and that includes future history!
*Besides general opposition to what she has done, there is specific opposition to her recruiting Legion Six.
I call Machine Civilization a future history for a reason. All parts of every story connect in hundreds of ways, some I do not see, to every other story. I first met Karl in The Fourth Law; one of the orphans seen to by Lily Barrett. A tendency toward fat but also one of her karate students. He makes another appearance in “Empire’s Agent,” the long short story which lends its name to the book’s title. There, he meets Arpad Rigó from the newly remade Habsburg Empire. “I have to get this boy into the army!” Rigó thought. In trying to make an end of Goddess’ Crusade, I find, years later, he did.
Very pleased to announce the release of the paperback and ebook version of the first of the American Imperium trilogy, Princess’ Crusade! Book two is already copyedited and only needs a front cover – under development – before it is released, as well. For those of you who have been following along, the third manuscript is nearly complete and hopefully no more than six weeks out. Cheers!
Didn’t mean to go dark again. “Princess’ Crusade” is, God willing, about 48 hours from release. The front cover of “Empress’ Crusade” is being hammered out. I am 9000 words further on in the MS of “Goddess’ Crusade” from my last post. One major change: Holo just never sounded right; Faustina’s copy – her very active, independent copy – is renamed Helena.
And the repercussions of that new version of herself begin to manifest in Faustina Hartmann almost immediately. I am getting a little concerned about what comes next.