Life imitates my works… I’ve lost count…

On the first hand:  “China and Russia ditch dollar in move toward financial alliance”

On the second hand:  “Step 4: Impeach or otherwise remove Trump by non-Constitutional means.”

On the gripping hand (from the prologue of Friend & Ally):

Hakane took another drag off his cigarette in Somi Corporation’s breakroom, laughing at his colleague’s comment.  It wasn’t so much their company discouraged smoking as that they wished to make sure their products were not contaminated.  Given the delicacy of some of the prototypes, all respected this rule.

“Can you believe it, Atazaki?” he asked, flourishing his newspaper.  “The US economy imploding like this?  I’m an engineer, not at economist, but how in the world…”

“Call it belief; call it faith.  Lose it, and your world ends,” his friend replied, looking at a domestic part of his own newspaper.

“What’s that?”  What Hakane knew of politics could fit into a sake cup.

“Since the war,” for a Japanese, that meant only one thing, “the world economy had the US dollar as its reserve currency, backed, not by gold or silver, but by the faith – mind you – that the US will always be there!”

Atazaki glanced at the clock over the inner door and decided one more cigarette was in order.

“So now we find,” he said, pointing at Hakane’s paper with his lighter, “that as the American President is being removed via extra-Constitutional means, the Russians, Chinese, and Indians are rolling out a new currency… what’s it called?”

“The ria,” Hakane managed.

“Whatever.  Backed by the gold they’ve been buying up for a generation, and indexed to oil.  At that point, US dollars became valueless.”

Hakane was still confused.  But why…

“Why is there rioting in the US?  And getting worse so fast?”

Atazaki blew a blue-grey cloud toward the ceiling’s scrubbers.

“It’s a replay of what almost happened back in 2008:  credit dries up, the velocity of money drops to zero.”

Atazaki realized his friend didn’t get a single word.  He tried again.

“Credit cards stop working; all the zeros and ones in banks are gone, and, for the Americans,” he took another drag, “their food-welfare cards, whatever they’re called, stopped working.”

He exhaled again and sat back.

“All cities in the US are starving right now.  And there is nothing… nothing at all, to stop it.”

I’m not kidding:  I was writing science fiction, not current events…

Effing RMS

Here’s the last of the prototype chapters.  I am much older about peaks (Nichole’s sharp voice, here and there), valleys (Mackenzie’s, everywhere), and RMS (the relationship between those levels).  In learning such, I’ve also gotten the volume waaay up from where it was before.  Tanjed near burst my eardrums in the headphones…

With this complete, and taking in any constructive criticism y’all might have, I’m going to try making notes and writing some very raw ideas I have about Faustina and her third novel, “Goddess’ Crusade.”  It is setting the bar a little high, but I want all three of her books and the complete audiobook of “Friend & Ally” out no later than Christmas.  We shall see.

War stories

This is the second-to-last post of my prototype audiobook files.  This longer one is chapter two of “Friend & Ally,” wherein Nichole 5 gets her first taste of war.  There isn’t much in the way of new character voices but there is a lot of action going on and I wanted to see if my voice could keep up with it all.

The final installment will be chapter three, sometime Saturday.  It will slow things down again and introduce one more important character.  Following that, I’ll create an ACX account, draw up a recording and editing schedule, and get to submitting chapters for their review; another process I am going to have to learn.

In the meantime, it has been a month since I have written a story, even just playing with ideas.  “Goddess’ Crusade” is nominally due at the end of this year and besides a vague vision of one scene in my head, the other 60k+ words won’t write themselves.

So here’s chapter two; longer, I know.  I’m still playing with Audacity’s settings and getting older about how to use it.  Cheers!

Losing my voice

I went downstairs yesterday to record chapter one and immediately realized that I have to not only get voices assigned to characters but also make notes so that those voices remain consistent.  That meant that I didn’t actually begin to record until today.  On something of a roll, I did the raws for the first three chapters.  To elicit more constructive criticism, I have tried to edit Chapter One into something I don’t mind posting.

The side-effect of all this is that, as I’m not and have never been a talker, I’ve said more in two hours than I would in a week, and my throat feels it; I might be mute tomorrow.

Anyway, here’s chapter one of “Friend and Ally,” recorded by me, with a listening time of just over seventeen minutes.  Cheers!

Making sounds

Took a little longer to get around to this than I’d anticipated, but at long last I built a “quiet corner” in my basement (and it’s only quiet when people upstairs are not flushing the toilet!) and got around to practicing recording and editing.  A pic of my corner – one cannot call it a studio – is below the fold.

Attached (and this might take more than one try; please bear with me) is an 8-minute mp3 of me taking a stab at the prologue of “Friend & Ally.”  I am very young at this and welcome constructive criticism.

Hardware:  a Samson C01UPro mic (USB).  Software:  Audacity (2.3.3)

Continue reading “Making sounds”

“Men from the Sky might fall…”

A riff on Lucretius.  You’ll see why when Nichole 5 shows up.

This again slightly longer installment marks the end of Part 3 of the MS for “Empress’ Crusade.”  I want to wrap the whole thing up in no more than 40-60 more pages.  I’ve reams of notes and images in my head but, honestly, am not sure which way to jump right now.  I know Faustina moves due east but not with how many of her four legions in Vicksburg.  I see the huge old Army base of Fort Benning.  I see what’s left of Atlanta and those in it a generation on.  I also understand her operational desire to secure the rest of the Deep South and a land route to Savannah.

This weekend will be spent in note-taking and, very likely, a series of micro-stories to try to muddle my way through this.  I don’t want to inflict that kind of “blue skying” on anyone, so it is likely that my updates will dwindle to nothing for June.

I am still looking forward to playing about with creating audiobooks over the summer.  Once I have the rest of EC in the can, so to speak, I might just post my prototype voice efforts on you, my poor, unsuspecting readers… and listeners.

Below, Faustina once again reaches out to her extended family to make a point to President Dysart of the Gulf Shore States:  the world is a much, much smaller place than he thought it was.

Continue reading ““Men from the Sky might fall…””

Life Imitating My Art, part… yeah

Let’s start with a graph…

646b25ba0c9e030f

 

And end with a quote from my novel, Friend & Ally (emphasis mine):

Hakane took another drag off his cigarette in Somi Corporation’s breakroom, laughing at his colleague’s comment.  It wasn’t so much their company discouraged smoking as that they wished to make sure their products were not contaminated.  Given the delicacy of some of the prototypes, all respected this rule.

“Can you believe it, Atazaki?” he asked, flourishing his newspaper.  “The US economy imploding like this?  I’m an engineer, not at economist, but how in the world…”

“Call it belief; call it faith.  Lose it, and your world ends,” his friend replied, looking at a domestic part of his own newspaper.

“What’s that?”  What Hakane knew of politics could fit into a sake cup.

“Since the war,” for a Japanese, that meant only one thing, “the world economy had the US dollar as its reserve currency, backed, not by gold or silver, but by the faith – mind you – that the US will always be there!”

Atazaki glanced at the clock over the inner door and decided one more cigarette was in order.

“So now we find,” he said, pointing at Hakane’s paper with his lighter, “that as the American President is being removed via extra-Constitutional means, the Russians, Chinese, and Indians are rolling out a new currency… what’s it called?”

“The ria,” Hakane managed.

“Whatever.  Backed by the gold they’ve been buying up for a generation, and indexed to oil.  At that point, US dollars became valueless.”

Hakane was still confused.  But why…

“Why is there rioting in the US?  And getting worse so fast?”

Atazaki blew a blue-grey cloud toward the ceiling’s scrubbers.

“It’s a replay of what almost happened back in 2008:  credit dries up, the velocity of money drops to zero.”

Atazaki realized his friend didn’t get a single word.  He tried again.

“Credit cards stop working; all the zeros and ones in banks are gone, and, for the Americans,” he took another drag, “their food-welfare cards, whatever they’re called, stopped working.”

He exhaled again and sat back.

“All cities in the US are starving right now.  And there is nothing… nothing at all, to stop it.”

Atazaki took another drag while looking out the window at bustling Osaka.

“They’re done for.” Quieter.  “God help us; we’re all alone.”

“First Among Equals”

I went almost two weeks without writing more than a paragraph.  I needed at least one more short story for my January collection and thought to tell a story about Henge and her and Gary’s daughter, Aurelia.  One paragraph and some notes.

And nothing.

Admittedly things were hectic at DayJob and much time was spent formatting “Worlds Without End” into a format acceptable to Smashwords, but I would sit at my laptop and wait to see what they would show me… which was precisely nothing.

A week ago a fellow I work with asked how the writing was coming.  I replied the technical side was fine but I was currently stuck.  Still stuck a few days later, I recalled his question.  I based the coder Dmitri, Reina’s father, on him, I thought.  There are no such things as coincidences… he was meant to ask that question!  And that means…

I saw Reina standing in the snow.  Twelve hours later I heard her talking to a visitor.  I wrote this in four hours.  What these people do with me sometimes…

Continue reading ““First Among Equals””

Departing Friends

I am, by many measures, a failure as a human.  I have no empathy, no sympathy.  I am not emotionally expressive.  This past weekend we saw Daughter #1 formally off to college.  My wife was a wreck.  I gave my girl a hug and said “call or text if you’ve problems; later.”

It’s not that I don’t have and express emotions, it’s that I choose where to do it and even then can get blind-sided.  I thought the short story of “Old Friends” was going to be a harmless reunion.  Until I was more than halfway into the project did they show me that John Brunelli was unwell.  Nichole’s reaction to that was so severe that I was unable to write.  Yes, you read that correctly:  a character’s reaction to a revelation in my own head was so strong I couldn’t function properly.

I was finally able to sneak up on it in pieces.  I could split it, but why make y’all any more miserable than I was?  Here’s the last part of “Old Friends.”  I so need to write something light and fluffy next…

Continue reading “Departing Friends”