In manga and anime high school rom-coms, there is a trope where the female childhood friend of the male protagonist, after years of keeping her love of him a secret, finally screws up her courage to confess. It is at that moment when the hot-looking, overbearing transfer student bursts into the classroom shouting, “hey, hey!” and all of the quiet friend’s plans are shattered.
On Friday, my family departed for a 10-day vacation at my sister-in-law’s place on a lake in N. Louisiana. Perfect, I thought, I can finally wrap up the MS for “Empress’ Crusade,” pass it onto a copyeditor, then relocate myself into the basement to begin practicing audio recording to make audiobooks! Heck, EC is already 72k words, making it one of my longest, so it is time to stick a fork in it and say it’s done…
Doing some calculations about moving Faustina’s legions about the Deep South and the goings on around Fort Benning, I saw someone. Another female (of course) but older; hard to tell her exact age as the room was very dark. She had no need for light: her eyes had been torn out some years before. I beheld Alexandra; part Muscogee Indian and also another demi-human (though she’s yet to tell me who modified her) who is halfway between what Faustina is and what Tracy came to be at her ascension. A new character and a huge wild-card at that, in the setting sun of the second book of my Crusade Trilogy… exactly what I need (if I used emojis there would be an eyeroll here).
I’ve spent most of today, Sunday, getting Faustina from Birmingham up to Huntsville. I stopped there for two reasons: she really likes the 32-year-old Mayor of that town and it is her 19th birthday. I don’t think she sleeps with him – she is in the middle of campaign, after all – but I did not want to rush things. Once I have that written down, I’ll have to turn to understand just who and what Alexandra is; there is a definite religious aspect to her, which would turn any assault of Faustina’s army against Fort Benning into a religious war… never a good idea.
The one and only time that Faustina looked into the Void and at what few electronic systems and records there were at Benning, she did not encounter any conscious mind, human or machine. Perhaps Alexandra was asleep then? I’ve no idea. I just hope to resolve this time a timely –
Taking a few days off turned into too many days off. I made the mistake of knowing – knowing – how I wanted “Empress’ Crusade” to finish. It was well into day four that I realized that so long as I wasn’t listening to my characters, they had no reason to talk to me.
So, I set aside a few days to make notes, look at maps, and keep my mental mouth shut. At DayJob over this past weekend, the film in my mental theater started rolling again. More notes. Off today and tomorrow, I was up early, caffeinated, and typing by 0930. Put down over 3000 words today. Admittedly, it is a little like I think I saw it (the Fort Benning/Atlanta story arc), but Faustina is already off on a huge tangent and we just met her new nephew, Roland. Henge is nursing him but turned him around for a moment to show his silver eyes. Yep: another demi-human.
Things are winding down this afternoon. I’m to-bed early to make another early start tomorrow. Lessons in humility are necessary from time to time.
I particularly enjoyed Faustina’s non-denial denial of what happened to the refinery. And how she uses Alene as a conduit to let Dysart know she is sincere. As readers, we know, via Thaad, the hole she dug for herself and her army. The GSS President doesn’t know that. He only knows this freak led 10,000 soldiers into his backyard. I find their jockying for position to be very interesting!
Continue reading “Hoping for a clearer sky”
As I suspected, Dysart gets the low-down on Faustina. The Gulf Shore States may be 90% maritime but that does not mean their landward army cannot have a decent staff. And it looks like they are blessed with a very capable intel officer in the form of Captain Alene, a careful and thorough man. He gives his best summary of the empress and the imperium to his commander-and-chief, saving the worst for last.
Continue reading “Intelligence”
Getting to know a little more about the current situation in and around GSS President Dysart. I don’t see him in my head as a bad actor, per se. I do wonder why his administration decided to choke off Louisiana’s trade… antagonizing Texas in the process. When I need to know I suppose they will tell me.
This transition scene is rather brief. I want to see what kind of fireworks – if any – there are once he meets Faustina Hartmann. I wonder: will he be meeting the General or the Empress?
Continue reading “Known Unknowns”
A surprise for Faustina and rather than being pissed off she nearly gets pissed on. Time to beat a quick retreat to base… where her legates have been wondering where in bloody hell their General and Empress disappeared to… I’ll bet USD10 that Gibson spanks her.
Continue reading “Busted, pt1”
This little addition will conclude what will be part two of “Empress’ Crusade.” As I mentioned last time, I need to collate and overhaul my notes before I write one more word. That is going to take a few days. Sorry.
In an interesting tangent to my works, yet another person today told me that “I like you ideas but have no time to read. Do you have audiobooks?” Once I finish “EC” I shall take a break from writing and bring myself fully up to speed on creating said audiobooks. It seems I’m missing out on more than have of my market. Time to fix that.
Continue reading “Iter”
I’d seen the middle of this scene, where Faustina and Willis are talking, over the weekend but had no idea how they came to be standing there. Even with a little trouble at my DayJob, I was able to come home and write down how this parley came to happen. I remain concerned about the forces on Willis’s left, at the north end of his line. Are his conscripts riotous or are the Chekists stirring things up? Will Fussy present a treaty in two hours or start shelling them? I have no idea and, having to go back to work 2nd shift today, won’t know until, I hope, sometime Thursday.
Continue reading “More Jaw-Jaw”
Got the copyedit of “Princess’ Crusade” back with the typical thousand corrections. As always, a humbling experience. But this time, also a vital one.
After my little so-called vision as to where my current MS, “Empress’ Crusade” might be leading me, I was increasingly aware that I was having trouble keeping my future history dates in my head. When the PC edit came back and at three times pointed out and asked “is this date correct? is her age correct?” I realized that, even though I’ve been shown some very interesting things about Faustina and the young man who is the Mayor of Huntsville, I have to sit myself down and draw up a proper timeline of all primary and secondary characters, what has already happened, and what I think will happen. “EC” is going to unfold over two in-book years and I cannot have my readers jerked out of the story saying, “that makes no sense… the timing is all wrong!”
Below the fold is what I was able to get down following the triumph. A little politics, a little romance (maybe?), and a swim across the Tennessee River. Hope everyone who is sheltering in place has ordered copies of my books to keep them entertained!
Continue reading “Another Half-halt”
Not entirely sure if I’m sneaking up on the ending of what will be at least two books about Faustina or just the end of the first part of the longest novel I’ve ever written. We shall see.
Said part or book conclusion will be Faustina’s award ceremony for her army. I have already heard a few bits of it. “Land and titles” echo around my mind. She is not just conquering land, she plans to colonize it with young men and women from Greater Knoxville. And loyal to her, personally.
But first, she needs a venue. And right after that, to overcome a language barrier, she takes Nurse Wei to her godmother’s home.
Continue reading “A soft voice”