End. Middle. Begin.

The design contest for the cover of my short story collection, “Empire’s Agent” is complete.  I hope to have a proof copy in my hands in less than a week and a commercial release days after that.

At 57k words I have passed the MS of “American Imperium: Princess’ Crusade” onto one of my new copyeditors.  He’s a little spastic about “?!” punctuation but I like the cut of his jib.  Once “Empire’s Agent” is loose in the wild I shall likely begin another cover design contest.  Tricky:  the main character, 18-year old Faustina, spends half the book in a hospital bed with 2nd degree burns and no hair.  Not the stuff for an eye-catching cover, is it?

And… speaking of Faustina:  if there’s a part one, there better be a part two.  Below the fold is the opening scene of “American Imperium:  Empress’ Crusade.”  Faustina is utterly full of herself and as arrogant “af” – as the kids say.  I wanted to start things slow and humble.  I have tiny, faint glimpses of where she might be going, but I won’t know until she gets there.  Enjoy the ride with me!

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Lead Balloon (?)

In writing, unlike retail, the reader is usually but not always correct.  The fact that I was sailing serenely on with all the “likes” to the ‘Empire’s Agent’ short story, only to have NONE for the last installment, surprised me.  I reread it and came up with some possibilities… there most certainly might be others (mild spoilers for Empire’s Agent – End)

  1.  Ended too suddenly.  Admittedly, many of my stories do, especially the shorter ones; I’m not Peter Jackson to write and make four endings when one will do.
  2.  Too Catholic.  Arpad and Lily are about to get it on in a pleasant forest clearing when Henge jerks them into her home to stop what she sees as a clear and present danger to her step-mom:  mortal sin.  Perhaps my readers are more secular than I think they are?
  3.  Lily realizes she’s pregnant the day after her wedding.  I’ve hear Millennials generally don’t like kids, so was that a turn-off?

I am seriously puzzled by this one, friends.

Empire’s Agent – End

Finally!  And what a way to end!  This 21k “short story” will be the anchor of my collection of similar for my book in the early months of 2020.  Right now I think the shorts will be arranged chronologically, so this will be pretty much in the middle.  To-date this gives me ~31k words for that book; I’ll try to flesh one of them out a little more and am sure I’ll have one or two come to my mind in the next few months.

This was a lot of fun!  Unfortunately what comes next, besides the final edit of “Worlds Without End” is the last tweaks to the awful “Crosses & Doublecrosses.”  Yuck.

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Satur-Date!

Finally!  Saturday and it’s time for Arpad and Lily’s date!  Here’s the lead in and parts one and two.  I’m hoping to see part three (when they talk together in the park) later today and tomorrow.  My goal is have their last scene – which is going round and round in my head – no later than Tuesday.  After that I will turn my attention to my “Worlds Without End” edit to get it released by 30 September.

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