Transitioning

No, no, not like one of those emotionally disturbed who should be looked after and prayed for rather than being pumped full of chemicals and abused by surgeons who were the second-to-last in medical school (last being abortionists, of course).

This transition is having had my moment of clarity mentioned in the last post and moving from the second day of the Battle of Opelika to its immediate aftermath. Rather than recapitulate the entire chapter, below the fold is the last third of it, featuring acting legate Chesney – Faustina’s ‘court jester’ – seguing into… a dream? A vision? Or is it real?

Continue reading “Transitioning”

“Hey, y’all! Watch this!”

That is very typical statement in the US South and parts of the Midwest, followed almost immediately by a call for an Ambulance or a Coroner. It’s usually uttered by males but the worse-than-cancer that is Feminism has made many women just as stupid. Think of it as evolution in action.

In my case, as I mentioned in my last post, I thought I knew what theme I might use for part two of book three of my “American Imperium” trilogy: the Pius XIII quote: “absence is presence.” That was followed by several days of DayJob and being too tired to write, then five days of writing no more than three paragraphs. Total.

On Day Five I realized my mistake. The story in general and Faustina in particular, did not want things to unfold that way and refused to show me anything. I backtracked. Talked to friends and acquaintances about my trainwreck and finally got back to work this morning. The first two chapters of Part Two (and I now wonder… a part three?) are on Faustina’s legates and the physical aftermath of the Battle of Opelika, but the next has my main character back in the limelight: did Reina really rip her soul out of her? How did she subdue or at least disconnect Alexandra Hood? Is she alive or dead? Little Fussy has become Schrodinger’s Cat and I have no choice but to open the box.

“How do you hurt a man with nothing? Give him back something broken.”

Part One of Goddess’ Crusade MS is complete. A hectic excerpt below. Part two is one chapter complete and another started. I’m… thinking about things. For 2.5 books of this soon to be published work, the camera has been fixed on Faustina. Sure, that includes interaction with her army, family, adversaries, and brief lover, but still her.

I’m not sure what to think of this idea, but as Pope Pius XIII said: “absence is presence.” That, coupled with the title of this post, is how I am carefully approaching Part Two. So carefully that I think there might be a Part Three and that “GC” will NOT be ready by 31 December 2020. *sigh*

Continue reading ““How do you hurt a man with nothing? Give him back something broken.””

Writing. It’s a mental illness.

The group blog of Liberty’s Torch is well worth your time and well worth your follow. I think I may have wandered in there via Gab but I drink much and recall little. Anyway. The lead blogger there, Francis W. Porretto, had a post today about writing. Many of my heart-cockles were warmed by it. Rather than hijack his comment section, I hope to take excerpts of his essay, Post Partum, and add my observations.

“It’s a difficult period in any novelist’s life: he can’t go forward while his thoughts are wrapped around the book he just finished, and he can’t go backward with the revisions he’s already thought of until the others involved have registered their various contributions.”

That only briefly happened to me once, at the conclusion of “Echoes of Family Lost.” It was a follow-on to “The Fourth Law” and once complete I had no idea what to do next. Was I a writer? Did I have more stories to tell? Five years ago, I carved out a space here on WordPress and started throwing 800-1500 word-salad at the screen. Some stuck. I kept going. By the time I got a cover design for EoFL, I had met Chris and Kat, from “Cursed Hearts.” A romance/horror? WTF? I hate both of those! I shut up and wrote what they told me to.

“The first requirement of any storyteller is a mating between characters and crises: people upon whom to impose problems they must solve, or at least cope with. I developed a bunch of attractive character sketches almost by accident – I still wonder from time to time where those fictional figures really came from – and immediately found ways to cast them into conflict with one another.”

I take exception to almost every word in this. The first requirement of a storyteller is to tell stories. It is the height of arrogance to think you really know what the characters’ problems really are. As to where these people come from? Well, if you’ve read along these few years, you know how I have addressed that. Further, I’ve never made a single ‘character sketch;’ they walk onto the stage/screen and act. I just write what they show me.

“But characters don’t struggle with their problems and one another in some sort of white space separate from all else; at least, mine don’t. They need a place to be. I had to pick a place, or conceive of one, that would provide a suitable stage on which to act out their destinies.”

My parents married unemployed with no money. I didn’t grow up poor, but summer vacations were KOA’s and the grandparent’s place in Los Alamos, NM. I saw a lot of the US Mountain West. Later, I learned some of the Kentucky/Tennessee regions. All of that curled up in the back of my mind… and waited. When I needed to put ‘boots on the ground,’ I had scores of places to choose, right behind my eyes.

“Of the sixteen full-length novels I’ve written to date, only four have stayed completely outside Onteora County: three far-future science fiction novels and one magic-based high fantasy. The others have wound up there regardless of where they started or where I wanted to put them. Worse, the characters from my other Onteora Canon novels keep insinuating themselves into my new fictions.”

Knoxville, Tennessee is my game park as Onteora County is for him. I’m thinking about moving there in 5-10 years; Knoxville, that is. It will be easier for me than, say, St. Petersburg, Russia… Osaka, Japan… or Mars.

“And by jingo, it happened again! Characters from just about every other Onteora Canon novel started insisting that they belonged in this new one. I managed to fit a few new faces into the tale, but the “old Onteora crew” is there in force.”

This is where I decided to write this huge response. One character leading to another… As I mentioned, “Echoes…” was a natural continuation of “The Fourth Law.” “Cursed Hearts” lead to an unpublishable novella (I set it in someone else’s sandbox). But the two books of The Saga of Nichole 5? That main character shows up in many more books. Three year old Gary, holding little Henge’s hand at the end of “Echoes…” announces they want to be married. Ten years later, they have their own novel, “Worlds Without End.” Writing that, I met Gary’s kid sister, Faustina. Nine years later she puts together a private army and decided to attack the Chicom PLA garrison in Savannah, former Georgia. To-date, I’m finishing a damn trilogy about her, starting to come out in November. The father of the young women from “The Fourth Law” and “Echoes…”? He’s got a book. I’ve dozens of people like this, scattered all over my stories. Just because they do not have their own book today means nothing for next week.

“I don’t feel an urge to go back and “straighten it out.” I plan to publish it essentially as it is. There are a few elements I’ve decided need buttressing, but not to the extent of “de-hybridizing” the book as it stands. I look forward to hearing what its readers will think of it.”

While I cut my SF reading teeth as a kid on the hard science fiction of Niven and Pournelle, and my future history of Machine Civilization is bedrocked on sentient, sapient machines, I admit I take fantastical, Clarke’s-Third-Law leaps with the tech in my stories, so long as it tells the story. I read much, do research, make sure I’m talking about qubits in the right way… but if I need to use handwavium, that is what the story gets. I’m talking about people; some of whom are bags of bolts; some of whom are bags of blood. They are people.

“I can’t help but wonder how many more books I have in me. I’m old, and not in the best of health. But storytelling is an addiction, a tough one to shake. And I imagine that those damned Onteora characters, settings, and institutions will continue to have their way with me. At least, they have so far.”

I am a semi-professional alcoholic with chronic hypertension just turned fifty-four. Once the trilogy of Faustina’s “American Imperium” is released to the wild, I’m spending Winter 2021 recording audiobooks. I’ve no idea how long I have, either, but we have been given a priceless gift: to touch other’s minds with our ideas. I will keep at it until I die, later or sooner.

Having said all that to say this: thank you for your inspiration and your hard work, Mr. Porretto. As Empress Faustina cries to her legions, Deus vult!

Trees and forests

Yesterday was a lovely time to set up on my back deck to try to complete part one of “Goddess’ Crusade.” However, about 1000 words in, I was starting to lose track of where Faustina’s legions were. Not good. I printed a map of the area and fetched some highlighters and markers. Much better!

Below the fold, does anyone recognize the template I used for this battle? Hint: 48 BC.

Looking forward to completion today. Already seeing a little of part two. It’s… weird.

Continue reading “Trees and forests”

Learning much; knowing nothing

For medical reasons, I’m going to be hopped on prednisone for two weeks. If I’m going to gain 200#, God please let me write 50k words! The leading edge of this is below.

Under the new way I’m posting, and I realize now it will not be until January until I get around to completely revamping this webpage (a sales/marketing splash will be the front; this blog will be moved under “Categories”) but this excerpt is something I’ve pointed out to online and RealLife readers: I can only write what they show me. Five days ago I jotted down Fussy and the last three cohorts of Legio V making their way south. Then nothing. Everything here for you I did this afternoon. And now I’m blank again.

What a lovely hobby I have! And next post is a contest to win free hardcopies of my books! Follow and see!

Continue reading “Learning much; knowing nothing”

Crystalline

Something I am choosing to do in “Goddess Crusade” is play up the soft-SF tech associated with the Machines. There was very little of that in the second of the trilogy and, given where this might be headed, I need to get readers reacquainted with those ideas. The ‘final boss,’ as it were, of this trilogy is Alexandra Hood, some years Faustina’s senior and also demi-human… but in a manner I do not yet grasp.

Below the fold is their first face-to-face meeting. Sorta. Faustina is disappointed.

Continue reading “Crystalline”

Fighting it out

Work on “Goddess Crusade” is coming along very well. Over the three-day holiday in the US I was able to average 2500 per day. One issue was the little engagement below the fold. I still don’t do combat scenes very well and wanted to try something small before getting into a huge battle in another hundred pages.

I’m actually about 40 pages past where this happens but realized I had not tossed anything out in a while. Bad me. As I’ve hit another temporary stopping point, I thought taking a break on WordPress was in order. I’ll drink a little more and see what trouble I can get Faustina in later this afternoon. Cheers!

PS WP is using a new editor and I have not taken the time to fully understand it. Apologies if this post is chewed.

Continue reading “Fighting it out”

Secret Agent Man

As most regular readers know, I tend to post content and updates on projects here.  Occasionally if something in the RealWorld mirrors one of my stories that’s worth a laugh, I’ll post that, too.

Today is different.  I had an old friend and long-time business associate say, in effect, “you spend all your time writing and precious little promoting.  You should get an agent!”

I have heard and thought this before, but because I had and have no idea what to do, did nothing and just went back to writing.  For some reason, this particular admonition has tasked me.  So, for once, I’m going to ask of all of you:

How in the world do I find and – is hire even the correct word? – hire, contract, a literary agent.  By the end of this year I’ll have a dozen books and one audiobook, so you’d think that would be worth something to somebody, right?  Where do I even look?  What is even the first step?

Thanks in advance… back to writing, now.

Life imitates…oh, you know…

Shot:  Real-Life Cyborgs? Groundbreaking Material Can Merge AI with the Human Brain

“The team started looking at organic electronic materials that would reduce or eliminate scarring and eventually discovered Pedot.

Pedot is commercially available, antistatic coating for electronic displays. It is very chemically stable, making it ideal for use in medical implants.”

 

Chaser (from Cursed Hearts):

Chris was finishing his brief Saturday lecturing – tutoring, really – of his three 4th-year students about the neuro-mesh that had been developed in Singapore just over thirty months ago.  That company made their customers pay; and not even in the new currency, ria, but in precious metals, only.  And pay the world did:  paraplegics were walking and he was alive.  It was an age of miracles in the East while the West, outside of a few pockets, seemed to be sinking into a second Dark Age, driven by unrestricted immigration.