Happy February

In the US, it’s the shortest month for a reason.

Just as a clearinghouse update, here’s the news: my copyeditor has returned the blood-soaked body of “Regent” to me. I wanted to begin implementing editorial changes last weekend but remain focused on writing – imagine that. He also is in possession of “Imperial Entanglements,” but since I’ve not moved on what I have, that’s not urgent. The description for both of those are in the mind of my cover designer; not heard from her since Sunday so I’m hoping she’s not frozen in her central German home.

Work on “New Russia,” and the more I think about it, the less I like that working title; I’ll give it time, continues. From cutting my way back about 2000 words to 8000 and restarting the story, I’m now just over 14,000. I’ve introduced Canadian Lt. Eloise Patel from part two of “Obligations of Rank,” as well have touched on her non-relationship with “Robert Hardt.” There is still much Russian Army internal politics I do not get, so once past the next one or two scenes, I may have to take a day for research and notes. I remain convinced I can get the raw MS to my copyeditor by the end of March, which shall count as a win for my “3 Books in 3 Months” challenge.

Not confirmed yet but I may be hosting a panel at Imaginarium about Expert Systems (not AIs; the first person to say that gets the noose) in writing and graphic arts. The title should be “St. Tay, Pray for Us.” Understandable to any regular reader here.

That’s about it for now. Back to Manitoba. It simplified things when I realized Winnipeg is under the ice already, effectively cutting off central Canada from eastern Canada. I’m sure the Russian Major General breathed a sigh of relief when that overhead imagery came in.

Colour Chips

Robert is busy in what little is left of western Canada, as the Russian Empire slowly devours it. I don’t know why Aurie tagged him for this particular assignment, given what he was doing is more important. When I find out, y’all will.

First discussed in “Obligations of Rank,” I cannot begin to imagine the complexities of internal imperial family politics.

PS I’m guessing she chipped him on their third go, when he was on top.

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Black Forest Colour

Sunday. Sunday! SUNDAY!!

(that might resonate a little for those of you over the age of fifty; if not, just press on)

By forcing these out, I am essentially chasing myself. To keep a steady flow of installments going, I need to stay 1k-2k words ahead. Weekend updates for me to be reasonably sober and do my damn job.

Below, we meet someone from “Obligations of Rank.” Someone who is not at all happy about his current assignment. If you walk away from the imperial family to try to lead your own life, getting jerked around by the Empress’ lacky is insulting.

And a tired and hungry Jimmy sure as hell runs his mouth more than he should. And yes, that is a “Pulp Fiction” homage by Robert.

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Potential Allies of all Colours

DayJob continues to be a freaking trial this week but I’m seeing lots to write down. Woke up at 0400 this morning, in fact, with an image behind my eyes which will tie this book, “Regent,” to both “Crosses & Doublecrosses” from six years ago as well as the in-process manuscript of “New Russia” I walked away from in the late spring. Future histories, like those past, are webs, not linear.

Below, I think the woman who brought food is legit and knows Ypres or his family. Donegal? He might want to recall that “I was only doing my job” didn’t fly in 1946-48 (not that the Nuremberg Trials had any legitimacy; they didn’t need it. They had guns).

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What Colour is Peace?

When she wants to, Aurie and the rest of her fam can get down to business very quickly. Humans usually struggle to keep up but anyone who makes it to archbishop is already a political operator.

A bit of a longer installment. Officially over 20k words, though! I’ve “minor surgery” tomorrow at 0700, a ganglion cyst on my left wrist. I think the odds of dying are low but it is right over one of the two arteries which supply that hand. As a writer, I’m a bit freaked over that. If the next post is from my wife, I’m dead. I hope not; I’ve such stories to tell…

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Dank Cities

Wrote myself out of Medicine Hat and past Sgt. Sergei Konev’s first contact with Cartaphilus. It seems that what’s left of Saskatoon is much worse than I imagined. Yes, about 50% of the population fled south against the ice and snow of the Maunder Minimum. The other half looked to the sky, the sun and stars, and went “native.” Did I mention the Change and mysticism?

But a few families lingered in the area of the old city. That’s the mistake of never making a hard, clear-cut decision; you pay for your mistakes. Cartaphilus harvested them.

In other odd news, the 77th Imperial Russian Brigade will meet a battlegroup of the Canadian Army head-on around Winnipeg. In the midst of that, Sgt. Sergei Konev will encounter another oddity in the basement of a riverside museum. When I run this through Grammarly it will once again freak out over my “write it as you hear it” style of accents.

***

[breathless voice, whispers] “Imagine… imagine if something, someone, like some old scifi story, actually came to life *coughs**wipes a bit of blood from mouth* but… but they weren’t made for it… not bred, not… even… thought of, Sergeant Konev,” Schreber said to the Russian, in his dark office of the blackened museum on the banks of the Red River in Winnipeg. “What… what if that person, excuse me, what if… that person is… what everyone needs but… absolutely no one wants? What… *coughs**retches* what then, Sergeant?”

“All sides would hate him,” Konev said in a quiet voice.

“Welcome to my personal Hell, Mister Konev.” Schreber pitched forward out of his chair, barking more blood. The sergeant yelled for his medic.

May is out… like a light

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.

***

[New Russia] Ch1, pt3 (end)

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.

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[New Russia] Ch1, pt1

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.

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