In manga and anime high school rom-coms, there is a trope where the female childhood friend of the male protagonist, after years of keeping her love of him a secret, finally screws up her courage to confess. It is at that moment when the hot-looking, overbearing transfer student bursts into the classroom shouting, “hey, hey!” and all of the quiet friend’s plans are shattered.
On Friday, my family departed for a 10-day vacation at my sister-in-law’s place on a lake in N. Louisiana. Perfect, I thought, I can finally wrap up the MS for “Empress’ Crusade,” pass it onto a copyeditor, then relocate myself into the basement to begin practicing audio recording to make audiobooks! Heck, EC is already 72k words, making it one of my longest, so it is time to stick a fork in it and say it’s done…
Doing some calculations about moving Faustina’s legions about the Deep South and the goings on around Fort Benning, I saw someone. Another female (of course) but older; hard to tell her exact age as the room was very dark. She had no need for light: her eyes had been torn out some years before. I beheld Alexandra; part Muscogee Indian and also another demi-human (though she’s yet to tell me who modified her) who is halfway between what Faustina is and what Tracy came to be at her ascension. A new character and a huge wild-card at that, in the setting sun of the second book of my Crusade Trilogy… exactly what I need (if I used emojis there would be an eyeroll here).
I’ve spent most of today, Sunday, getting Faustina from Birmingham up to Huntsville. I stopped there for two reasons: she really likes the 32-year-old Mayor of that town and it is her 19th birthday. I don’t think she sleeps with him – she is in the middle of campaign, after all – but I did not want to rush things. Once I have that written down, I’ll have to turn to understand just who and what Alexandra is; there is a definite religious aspect to her, which would turn any assault of Faustina’s army against Fort Benning into a religious war… never a good idea.
The one and only time that Faustina looked into the Void and at what few electronic systems and records there were at Benning, she did not encounter any conscious mind, human or machine. Perhaps Alexandra was asleep then? I’ve no idea. I just hope to resolve this time a timely –
Taking a few days off turned into too many days off. I made the mistake of knowing – knowing – how I wanted “Empress’ Crusade” to finish. It was well into day four that I realized that so long as I wasn’t listening to my characters, they had no reason to talk to me.
So, I set aside a few days to make notes, look at maps, and keep my mental mouth shut. At DayJob over this past weekend, the film in my mental theater started rolling again. More notes. Off today and tomorrow, I was up early, caffeinated, and typing by 0930. Put down over 3000 words today. Admittedly, it is a little like I think I saw it (the Fort Benning/Atlanta story arc), but Faustina is already off on a huge tangent and we just met her new nephew, Roland. Henge is nursing him but turned him around for a moment to show his silver eyes. Yep: another demi-human.
Things are winding down this afternoon. I’m to-bed early to make another early start tomorrow. Lessons in humility are necessary from time to time.
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…””
True to her word, Faustina declares herself and accompanying cohort to just be tourists, something not seen in those parts since the Breakup. The spontaneous self-organization of local capitalists is one of the miracles of the free market.
After some autobiography, Dysart takes liberties with the Empress’s head.
Continue reading “Soaking her feet”
I particularly enjoyed Faustina’s non-denial denial of what happened to the refinery. And how she uses Alene as a conduit to let Dysart know she is sincere. As readers, we know, via Thaad, the hole she dug for herself and her army. The GSS President doesn’t know that. He only knows this freak led 10,000 soldiers into his backyard. I find their jockying for position to be very interesting!
Continue reading “Hoping for a clearer sky”
As I suspected, Dysart gets the low-down on Faustina. The Gulf Shore States may be 90% maritime but that does not mean their landward army cannot have a decent staff. And it looks like they are blessed with a very capable intel officer in the form of Captain Alene, a careful and thorough man. He gives his best summary of the empress and the imperium to his commander-and-chief, saving the worst for last.
Continue reading “Intelligence”
From her personal mistake of going on recon nearly by herself in unknown territory, it is now pointed out to our genius that she has done the same thing to her entire command, putting thousands of lives at risk.
Her other family, in the form of her god-mother and her sister-in-law’s father, take Faustina to task on this point to make her older. At least there is some good news at the end.
Continue reading “Another scolding”
General Hartmann gets some human intelligence back and is told that for the safety of her army, she needs more. Time to get back to the scifi elements of my future history. It’s just been difficult to do in her current low-tech environment.
Continue reading “Phoning it in”
It’s been a big day for Faustina but there are thousands of details to resolve after a battle, as she is discovering. One thing she has learned from history is that speed is an army’s great strength: if you can appear where you opponents never expected you to be, you are inside their OODA and halfway home to winning.
Continue reading “Battle of Winona, second end”
That’s about all I can do for the war-war stuff. Now we get to what’s called mop-up, although there are going to be two parts of it, lest I subject my long-suffering readers to a 2500-word installment. Sure, I know I’m an asshole, but I try to not be that big an asshole.
Continue reading “Battle of Winona, first end”