-Punk

Background:  Archimedes of Syracuse, per the orders of General Marcellus, is not killed in 212 BC by a Roman legionary but is brought to Rome to walk in that general’s triumph the following year.  Paroled, he spends the last five years of his life in an insula in the Suburra, successfully completing his notes on his invention of calculus.

Those notes, and the others recovered from his workshop in Syracuse, are used by Roman civil and military engineers over the next two hundred years to accelerate the growth and stability of the Late Republic’s provinces.  By the time of Octavian’s monarchy, Germania had been a province for one generation and Parthia for two.

Around 50 BC, the observer of natural phenomenon, Varro, formerly Pompey’s biographer, invents a primitive steam engine for use in mines and agriculture.  Circa 10 AD, Hero of Alexandria creates a cooling jacket that improves the efficiency of Varro’s engine by several orders of magnitude.  The Roman Empire enters the Steam Age.

 

Story:  (c. 100 AD) Marcus Quinctilius Justus Varus Pius, Justus to his co-workers, is a mid-level clerk in the Licinius SA international trading firm.  Besides his day-to-day actuarial duties, he spends most of his time trying to not be reminded that he is the sole surviving family member of “the last general that lost a Roman Army,” his great-grandfather, some ninety years ago.  However, because of his mother’s Parthian background and his knowledge of that language, he’s tapped as an assistant to a trade mission  – sanctioned by the Emperor himself – to the far land of Sirica (what we call China).  Roman and Serican traders meet all the time in India and the isle of Taprobane, but this was something different:  find an over-land route where Roman engineers could build a road for trade.  Or invasion.

After many adventures and close-calls, Justus and his party come to the borderlands of Serica.  There, in the city of Liqian, they have their first shock:  the citizens are the descendants of legionaries captured at the battles of Carrhae and Phraapsa and forcefully relocated to the Parthian NE frontier.  After so many years, are you here to guide us home, they ask?  Close on the heels of that, Justus quite by accident stumbles upon the Sirican’s greatest military secrets, and thus a chance to redeem his family’s name:  the powder that explodes.

 

Just an idea I had.  Thoughts?  And what would you call this?  Romepunk?  Marblepunk?

Edit Complete.

Via the talented Monica San Nicolas, whom I very highly recommend, editing for CH is finished.  I shall spend this weekend formatting the pages to 6″x9″ (effortless) and creating chapter breaks at the appropriate moments (not so effortless) followed by a hotlink Table of Contents for anyone who buys the ebook version (easy, but time consuming).

And, even though I’ve days left, I shall make a decision about the cover (see post, below).  No matter who wins, there are some minor tweaks to be made to front and back; and, the winner will need the book’s spine width.

I’m already mulling three new story ideas, but also think that I should be older about Marketing and learning to reach out to agents.  Are there any readers of this humble blog that could illuminate me in those regards?

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent Cover?!”

Apologies to Henry II Plantagenet.  I’ve eleven days to decide a book cover between my two finalist.  I’ve been stumped for two days and want to be done by this weekend to get published, soonest!  A link to where you can take a look and vote is below.  Opinions welcome.

They’re both so tanjed good!  How to decide…?

https://99designs.com/contests/poll/2nc3oq

 

The Problem…

…with the dictum of “write drunk, edit sober” is finding the time.  To be sober.  Still, I’ve made the time and had three editing passes at CH.  The third and last – of mine – was tonight.  Just after, I sent it off to a copyeditor I hired from Upwork.com, recommended to me by someone I trust.  I wrote up a story summary, what I wanted, and what I was willing to pay.

A week later (sober!), I reviewed the list of about thirty applicants for my job.  Most of the replies were reasonable.  A few were laughable:  “While no editing experience, I’ve a Masters in English from [insert liberal arts college here] and plenty of time to work on your manuscript while working as a barrista!”  I’ve never grasped why we import Central Americans to mow our lawns when someone from Kenyon can do it; and they’re just up the road.

What’s one of my sig lines, kids?  That’s right:  there are no such things as coincidences.  One of the applicants – with lots of experience – also went to UC San Diego.  I didn’t ask if she was Catholic, but with a surname of San Nicolas, I bet she knows where the Neuman Center is, which looms so large in the lives of Cat and Chris.  After a brief exchange to make sure she was okay with sex and violence, I clicked “Hire.”

I look forward to her telling me how awful CH is.  And, how to fix it.

Now:  where to find designers for the cover…

Fate/Cursed Hearts

Self-publishing is a fantastic byproduct of our modern age.  But, when someone approaches you and says, “hey, your stuff’s pretty good; can we publish it?” that’s wonderfully gratifying to a writer’s ego.

A year ago I came up with a short story called “It’s Just Business.”  Today, it was published by Uprising Review.

That short was the genesis of the idea behind “Cursed Hearts.”  Is it a coincidence that a week to the day when I finished writing CH, someone wants to publish the source material?  Of course not:

There are no such things as coincidences!

“Two trains leave the station…”

We all hated word problems in math.  To commemorate this, forty years on, I created a word problem for myself in English:  Chris leaves home on day -1, arriving in San Diego on day 0; the story between Chris and Cat unfolds, coming to a head when little sister drops into their love nest on day 12.

From the other side, Maya leaves home on day 1, spends some time in a hospital, travels by freighter then airplane, arriving in San Diego on day 16.

16 – 12 = 4.

Well, crap.  I knew there was going to be a discrepancy, but four days?!  So, putting down the coffee and picking up the wine, I did this to the Chris/Cat side:

 A week had passed since their dinner and the odd ceremony Cat and Anton had performed on him. Although he did not understand, it had been efficacious in at least one way: his need to feed on the life force of animals was significantly lessened. Beyond that, home life with Cat had settled into a simple routine where they helped one another as much as they could. Chris still occasionally wondered whether he was imposing, but never detected that feeling from his cousin. If anything, she grew closer to him, both emotionally and physically, although it seemed something held her back from taking the next step, even after her ‘incident’ in the shower. Ah, well, he thought.

That gives me CC at +3 over M.  Sooo…

“She’s made remarkable progress in her recovery over the past three days, barring her memory, of course.” He took a drink of his coffee.

See what I did there?  Now the stories synch, with all my main character getting together for the bloodletting on day 19.  Back to coffee.