Life imitating my art, etc.

Another news story referencing something I have already covered. Always makes me smile.

From “Worlds Without End“:

“When,” he asked, “are we arriving at our destination?  The South China Sea was mentioned.”

“Allowing for positive and negative acceleration for my passengers, a tiny bit under two hours.”

“That’s something around fifteen thousand miles in two hours, Mister Rigó,” Gary observed with his traditional deadpan.  “That is remarkable.”

“The raw idea for reactionless thrusters was developed in America just before the Breakup, nearly fifteen years ago,” Rigó said, watching closely how the boy raised Tracy to a sitting position against the wall and systematically checking that she was well.  He was convinced that for less than a second her eyes tracked to him before returning to her blank stare.

“That research was picked up by both China and Japan, and, from what I learned in Vienna, very closely held!” He laughed a little.  “There is a new space race on, and we whites are kept out of it!”

Pole Position

Trying to play around with some of WordPress’s new features for the cover of “Princess’ Crusade.” Ideally, y’all will be able to vote on which one of the two front covers you like more. Let me see if this works… Please recall these are still in development but I hope release PC no later than Thanksgiving in the US. Better than just voting, if you’ve any suggestions, please do so in the comments. Cheers!

Two-in-one

In which I sneak in two references to Herbert’s Dune in less than 2k words. After showing up at Owens CP, there’s a chapter where Gen’l Hartmann makes her way – with the proper escort – onto Fort Benning to seize her so-called sister, demi-human Alexandra Hood. It’s technical and time consuming and was a pain to write, literally, with my diseased eyelids. Below the fold is an interesting exchange as all of us, including me, are older as to the copy Reina made of Faustina.

PS Hands and eyes are slowly less bad. Had an IM shot of Kenalog-60 into my butt and am applying hydrocortisone cream to all my leprose bits.

PPS Not politics but common sense: for any of my readers in the US, make sure you have full fuel tanks in your vehicles and seven days of food in your home in case of “supply chain disruptions” following the election. This is not the 21st century I was expecting.

Continue reading “Two-in-one”

Progress on two fronts

Finally got off my ass (arse for those of you in the Commonwealth) and signed a contract with Labelschmeide for all three cover of the American Imperium trilogy. She has done fantastic work for me before and I highly recommend her.

The mixed news is that the first, “Princess’ Crusade,” will not be out on Halloween. Sometimes, irrational deadlines are just that: irrational. I’ve the copyedited version of it and book two (with thanks to SZ Services), but as I just said, the cover is still under development. And, I’ll need to add an extended stemma of Faustina’s family as well as non-copyrighted maps to aid in understanding her campaign against Savannah. A delay, but not a long delay.

I also had an idea last week, after being at a standstill for five days, as I mentioned. That idea blossomed into the two chapters I wrote over the weekend; having two main characters now is a great amount of work for me to keep track of things. Nonetheless, the Battle of Opelika is nearly over. With a chapter to mop up, it will take 1-2 chapters to evacuate the feral population of Atlanta. Or kill them.

Below the fold is General Hartmann getting back into the fight after nearly dying from the 105mm artillery.

Continue reading “Progress on two fronts”

Transitioning

No, no, not like one of those emotionally disturbed who should be looked after and prayed for rather than being pumped full of chemicals and abused by surgeons who were the second-to-last in medical school (last being abortionists, of course).

This transition is having had my moment of clarity mentioned in the last post and moving from the second day of the Battle of Opelika to its immediate aftermath. Rather than recapitulate the entire chapter, below the fold is the last third of it, featuring acting legate Chesney – Faustina’s ‘court jester’ – seguing into… a dream? A vision? Or is it real?

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“How do you hurt a man with nothing? Give him back something broken.”

Part One of Goddess’ Crusade MS is complete. A hectic excerpt below. Part two is one chapter complete and another started. I’m… thinking about things. For 2.5 books of this soon to be published work, the camera has been fixed on Faustina. Sure, that includes interaction with her army, family, adversaries, and brief lover, but still her.

I’m not sure what to think of this idea, but as Pope Pius XIII said: “absence is presence.” That, coupled with the title of this post, is how I am carefully approaching Part Two. So carefully that I think there might be a Part Three and that “GC” will NOT be ready by 31 December 2020. *sigh*

Continue reading ““How do you hurt a man with nothing? Give him back something broken.””

Writing. It’s a mental illness.

The group blog of Liberty’s Torch is well worth your time and well worth your follow. I think I may have wandered in there via Gab but I drink much and recall little. Anyway. The lead blogger there, Francis W. Porretto, had a post today about writing. Many of my heart-cockles were warmed by it. Rather than hijack his comment section, I hope to take excerpts of his essay, Post Partum, and add my observations.

“It’s a difficult period in any novelist’s life: he can’t go forward while his thoughts are wrapped around the book he just finished, and he can’t go backward with the revisions he’s already thought of until the others involved have registered their various contributions.”

That only briefly happened to me once, at the conclusion of “Echoes of Family Lost.” It was a follow-on to “The Fourth Law” and once complete I had no idea what to do next. Was I a writer? Did I have more stories to tell? Five years ago, I carved out a space here on WordPress and started throwing 800-1500 word-salad at the screen. Some stuck. I kept going. By the time I got a cover design for EoFL, I had met Chris and Kat, from “Cursed Hearts.” A romance/horror? WTF? I hate both of those! I shut up and wrote what they told me to.

“The first requirement of any storyteller is a mating between characters and crises: people upon whom to impose problems they must solve, or at least cope with. I developed a bunch of attractive character sketches almost by accident – I still wonder from time to time where those fictional figures really came from – and immediately found ways to cast them into conflict with one another.”

I take exception to almost every word in this. The first requirement of a storyteller is to tell stories. It is the height of arrogance to think you really know what the characters’ problems really are. As to where these people come from? Well, if you’ve read along these few years, you know how I have addressed that. Further, I’ve never made a single ‘character sketch;’ they walk onto the stage/screen and act. I just write what they show me.

“But characters don’t struggle with their problems and one another in some sort of white space separate from all else; at least, mine don’t. They need a place to be. I had to pick a place, or conceive of one, that would provide a suitable stage on which to act out their destinies.”

My parents married unemployed with no money. I didn’t grow up poor, but summer vacations were KOA’s and the grandparent’s place in Los Alamos, NM. I saw a lot of the US Mountain West. Later, I learned some of the Kentucky/Tennessee regions. All of that curled up in the back of my mind… and waited. When I needed to put ‘boots on the ground,’ I had scores of places to choose, right behind my eyes.

“Of the sixteen full-length novels I’ve written to date, only four have stayed completely outside Onteora County: three far-future science fiction novels and one magic-based high fantasy. The others have wound up there regardless of where they started or where I wanted to put them. Worse, the characters from my other Onteora Canon novels keep insinuating themselves into my new fictions.”

Knoxville, Tennessee is my game park as Onteora County is for him. I’m thinking about moving there in 5-10 years; Knoxville, that is. It will be easier for me than, say, St. Petersburg, Russia… Osaka, Japan… or Mars.

“And by jingo, it happened again! Characters from just about every other Onteora Canon novel started insisting that they belonged in this new one. I managed to fit a few new faces into the tale, but the “old Onteora crew” is there in force.”

This is where I decided to write this huge response. One character leading to another… As I mentioned, “Echoes…” was a natural continuation of “The Fourth Law.” “Cursed Hearts” lead to an unpublishable novella (I set it in someone else’s sandbox). But the two books of The Saga of Nichole 5? That main character shows up in many more books. Three year old Gary, holding little Henge’s hand at the end of “Echoes…” announces they want to be married. Ten years later, they have their own novel, “Worlds Without End.” Writing that, I met Gary’s kid sister, Faustina. Nine years later she puts together a private army and decided to attack the Chicom PLA garrison in Savannah, former Georgia. To-date, I’m finishing a damn trilogy about her, starting to come out in November. The father of the young women from “The Fourth Law” and “Echoes…”? He’s got a book. I’ve dozens of people like this, scattered all over my stories. Just because they do not have their own book today means nothing for next week.

“I don’t feel an urge to go back and “straighten it out.” I plan to publish it essentially as it is. There are a few elements I’ve decided need buttressing, but not to the extent of “de-hybridizing” the book as it stands. I look forward to hearing what its readers will think of it.”

While I cut my SF reading teeth as a kid on the hard science fiction of Niven and Pournelle, and my future history of Machine Civilization is bedrocked on sentient, sapient machines, I admit I take fantastical, Clarke’s-Third-Law leaps with the tech in my stories, so long as it tells the story. I read much, do research, make sure I’m talking about qubits in the right way… but if I need to use handwavium, that is what the story gets. I’m talking about people; some of whom are bags of bolts; some of whom are bags of blood. They are people.

“I can’t help but wonder how many more books I have in me. I’m old, and not in the best of health. But storytelling is an addiction, a tough one to shake. And I imagine that those damned Onteora characters, settings, and institutions will continue to have their way with me. At least, they have so far.”

I am a semi-professional alcoholic with chronic hypertension just turned fifty-four. Once the trilogy of Faustina’s “American Imperium” is released to the wild, I’m spending Winter 2021 recording audiobooks. I’ve no idea how long I have, either, but we have been given a priceless gift: to touch other’s minds with our ideas. I will keep at it until I die, later or sooner.

Having said all that to say this: thank you for your inspiration and your hard work, Mr. Porretto. As Empress Faustina cries to her legions, Deus vult!

“That’s how deals are made”

Again, I’m no longer posting everything, but I do want to show that I am returning to the human-Machine interchange. Their interests and goals are very, very different and – I think – it will all segue into part two of “Goddess’ Crusade” with what might be happening to Faustina. Don’t know; not even after three Manhattans.

There was military planning before this excerpt and after it. I think chapter 8 will be the big battle. I’ve been known to suddenly be distracted by something before and I refuse to rule it out this time. All in all, I’d like to see it over and what comes next.

Continue reading ““That’s how deals are made””

Crystalline

Something I am choosing to do in “Goddess Crusade” is play up the soft-SF tech associated with the Machines. There was very little of that in the second of the trilogy and, given where this might be headed, I need to get readers reacquainted with those ideas. The ‘final boss,’ as it were, of this trilogy is Alexandra Hood, some years Faustina’s senior and also demi-human… but in a manner I do not yet grasp.

Below the fold is their first face-to-face meeting. Sorta. Faustina is disappointed.

Continue reading “Crystalline”

Secret Agent Man

As most regular readers know, I tend to post content and updates on projects here.  Occasionally if something in the RealWorld mirrors one of my stories that’s worth a laugh, I’ll post that, too.

Today is different.  I had an old friend and long-time business associate say, in effect, “you spend all your time writing and precious little promoting.  You should get an agent!”

I have heard and thought this before, but because I had and have no idea what to do, did nothing and just went back to writing.  For some reason, this particular admonition has tasked me.  So, for once, I’m going to ask of all of you:

How in the world do I find and – is hire even the correct word? – hire, contract, a literary agent.  By the end of this year I’ll have a dozen books and one audiobook, so you’d think that would be worth something to somebody, right?  Where do I even look?  What is even the first step?

Thanks in advance… back to writing, now.