Not going to dwell on no posting again. RealLife comes for all of us every now and then.
“New Russia,” the working title of my next MS, ground to something of a halt in chapter three. It was turning into another military story. I wrote a trilogy about those and do not want to get sucked into the details of TOEs and campaign planning yet again.
From my “try to so something different” file, I considered: I’ve war, politics, espionage, romance, romance/horror, and even slice-of-life. What to do?
Took the dogs for walks in nice weather. Stared at maps of Canada. Would I have to abandon this particular project and start from scratch? Sgt. Sergei Konev and his scout team are driving to Saskatoon to see if it is under the ice, like Edmonton. Wait. Who is the old man in the horse-drawn cart coming south? From the wares on the cart, he looks like a typical dystopian tinker. Through his field glasses, as the Tigr (the Russian version of a Hummer) slows, Konev is puzzled. He looks old; not old. Sick; not sick. His eyes are black and dead but the skin of his arms and hands holding the reins like that of a young man.
Mystery. Not as in “whodunit,” but more like mysticism. Early in my books the collapse of the US and W Europe was called the Breakup. By “Foes and Rivals,” it was beginning to be known as the the Change. A few sensitive people – humans and Machines – were waking up to the fact that reality was not what it had been. That is what I am going to explore. Beginning with Cartaphilus.
One last time: if you’ve any thoughts – besides “he said there would be a war” – I’m working on that in chapter three, please let me know.
This short is the final piece of chapter one. And for those of you who have read, or shall soon be reading, “Obligations of Rank,” you’ll recognize who shows up in the last scene. As this book will be from Sergei Konev’s POV, I’ll not let this particular cat out of the bag.
This still feels to me as if it will be at least a novella. I’ve already two pages of notes about the Russian army (organization, tactics) and I’d hate that to go to waste. And, as I said in the last post, I’d really like to blow things up again. At least for a little while.
I’ve no intention of serializing the entire work but thought, maybe, at least the first chapter. That way, if there is any comments, suggestions, or criticism, it will come early so I can make course corrections as needed.
After slightly more than a week – and trust me, it was awful – of no writing, I may have settled on a new idea I can turn into another novel. Being me, contrarian, what with anyone stupid enough to pay attention to the MSM, they would think the Russians are the modern Hitler; every last man, woman, and child. Of course, the idiots who listen to the MSM also thought covid-19 was a pandemic.
So, being said contrarian, my next book, if it takes hold in my mind, will be about Russians. Specifically, the Russian Empire moving into what is left of former US and Canada after the Change in my future history of Machine Civilization.
I’ve mentioned often enough that while there are some legacy Romanovs on the throne in St. Petersburg, all real power is held by the Prime Minister, Reina. Reina is also an AI made by the Mendrovovitch Company, hence their tribe name. Like kudzu, this person runs through all of my recent stories and there seems no way to get rid of her. Admittedly, she is very interesting: unlike tribe Tohsaka with their Four Laws, Reina kills easily.
In my second-to-last novel, Obligations of Rank, Part Two has a Canadian Officer Cadet, Eloise Patel, telling “undercover” Crown Prince Robert about the Canadian’s two military engagements with the Imperial Russian Army. I wondered: the Russians have Alaska, British Columbia, and are about to take the Kingdom of Columbia… why push over the Rocky Mountains against someone who can still shoot back?
Once I asked the question, they started to give me answers. Let’s see how this unfolds, friends.
Barring one of you sharp-eyed readers finding something my drunk eyes through bifocals did not, this shall be the cover for my next novel (at 47,200 words, I’d call it a novella, but that’s me).
Yes, I am fully aware the back blurb is long. Per something I discussed in someone else’s podcast (which shows how lazy I am to not ferret out the link) is that a writer has about 0.25 seconds to catch and hold a potential reader’s attention as they scroll down on their phone. That is what the front is for. The back is me pulling up on the line once the hook is in their mouth. Given that this is a romance, girls and women will be expecting to know more about the cute couple on the front (not kidding: I’ve had two women say that to me already). If this were another military story, I’d write, “the character does cool stuff and shit blows up” and there’s my male reader base.
[Still working on “Tillamook” with Gil, Nichole, and Teresa. I bet Mackenzie is a little less than pleased that her husband’s former lover, who has not aged a day in twenty years, just showed up as she’s entering menopause.]
Getting close to the release of my next, 14th, book. This is a romance with some scifi elements set about sixteen years before “Obligations of Rank.” In that book, Allen and Ryland’s daughter, Livia, plays a role in Part One. I was curious about Livia’s parents. So, here’s a rough draft of the backcover blurb and how the front cover is shaping up.
At eighteen, Allen Rupert’s criminal past has caught up with him and he is given the choice of the military or jail. To get as far from central Texas as possible, he joins the new navy, but spends half of his time in the brig.
Recognizing Allen’s mechanical skill, he’s trained as a machinist and assigned to the small corvette Liberty, patrolling the Gulf of Mexico. During an ASW drill, Allen defuses a torpedo which went live in its tube, and his summoned to the bridge. There, Acting Captain Ryland Rigó commends him for his good work.
For the first time in his life, Allen sees someone look at him with respect. Weeks later, ashore, he invites her to lunch. To his utter shock, she accepts.
Thinking her just another girl, Allen is shook to his core to find himself swept into a maelstrom of domestic politics, international intrigue, and the plots and plans of Demi-humans and Machines. All while trying to fix his broken life and attain the only thing he wants: Ryland.
I got caught up in research about crab boats vs. fishing trawlers for the Tillamook story, so this next short is what I started writing first. This is about Crown Prince Laszlo Hartmann of Faustina’s imperium not quite alone on high-speed space ship. Not quite alone? The android Minerva is with him. Ordered by his mother, the Empress, their first scouting mission is to the asteroid belt, to assess not only mining possibilities but also colonization.
Because this takes place seven weeks after then conclusion of “Obligations of Rank,” spoilers are unavoidable. Unless you think it will be some months before you get around to reading that book – and you will – and might have forgotten this, go listen to one of my podcasts or something if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Again borrowing an idea from another writer, in this case Michael Chricton, I’m taking two very, very different people, packing them into a sardine can, and sending them somewhere they cannot escape from.
To you, my content consumers, that is. I’m not going to take the time to look at the records, but it is quite possible that this January which just passed was the only time I did not post for an entire month. Yes, in the post preceding, I mentioned I would have much on my plate… But I’ve no excuse, so I won’t make on.
The most important news is that “Obligations of Rank” is now out and available. I have yet to port it over to Smashwords; if I did nothing here you can bet I did nothing there.
In novel news, my short story about Allen and Ryland is now not only a 48,000 book, but it is already in the hands of both my copyeditor and my cover designer. With chance and luck? Call it released in two months. It is my first romance-only story; no horror or anything like Cursed Hearts. Are there complications? It would be a damn poor story if there were not! Each of the four parts of the book are these two youngsters getting permission to marry; from his parents, from hers, from her cousin the empress, and from the Machines. Not to mention the huge problem this creates for the Texas Navy.
Podcasts? Yeah, sure. I did at least take the physical step of moving my mic and stand from my quiet corner in the freezing cold basement to here at my right, next to the laptop on the dining room table, where I work. The only excuse to not start talking is… again, I have no excuse. Apologies.
So, that’s the update. New book out; newer book already on the way. No reason to not inflict my voice on y’all again. Let’s get to it.