Letters and a bath

About a generation ago, when I was a regular reader of James Lilek’s The Bleat, something he said stuck with me (and I paraphrase from memory):  “do you mind if I smoke? No one ever said no in the pre-WWII years, simply because daily baths were such a rarity.  It was closer to the truth to reply ‘I’d rather smell tobacco than you.'”

Something lost in our ultra-hygienic world is what the past smelled like, especially each other.  Beyond exposure to those curry-radiating Pajeets who make deliveries, the idea of smelling other people is a lost concept to modern, Western whites.

I honestly don’t know what prompted Faustina to realize that she stunk as much as the men about her, but I had to smile at her feminine, human, reaction.  I think if someone had pointed out to her she was acting like a ‘normie,’ she would have bit their head off.  Perhaps this is the story telling me that she might not ultimately be lost to us, after all?

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“No” or “hell, no!”

Had a co-worker over for cocktails yesterday afternoon.  Ohio allows personal interaction and we’re both “vital medical personnel” *snort* so we do what we want in the Dark Age of BatAIDS.  He’s one of the folks who encouraged me to think seriously about making audiobooks.  We covered that subject and several others.  While mildly lef of center, we discovered that we’re shoulder-to-shoulder on issues such as private property and firearms.  He’s not particularly religious and was surprised to find out I’m Catholic.  I stared at him over the rim of my Martini and asked, “You’ve read three of my books.  Did you think those elements fell in there by accident?”  All in all, an excellent Saturday afternoon.

Below the fold, anxious for her men and wanting to reunite her army, Faustina thinks of ways to bluff her next opponent rather than fighting a battle.  Which is a polite way of saying I don’t want to throw away another week thinking about it.

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Battle of Winona, second end

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.

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Happy Easter

Your present is one of my rare battle scenes.  Although, given my notes, I think we’re going to see several more of them unfold in the near future.  As confusing as a battle is by itself, I have made a concerted effort to not “head-hop,” that is, change who’s story this is.  Used to be a very bad habit of mine when young as a writer and I am much better at catching it when it crops up.  If I missed any, please let me know.

Below the fold, things go *pew*pew* and *boom*boom*.

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Bloodlines

I swear… I SWEAR that there is shooting in the next installment.  I’ve already written it, so trust me.  It’s just that I think it is so much more interesting to listen to them rather than *pew*pew* and *boom*boom*.  It will be impressive once adapted into a visual series but it just takes up space in my mind and in my pages.

We get to know Ryland, a ‘normie’ but genius human, a little bit better.  She’s not the self-centered shit I thought she was last week.  That is one of the reasons I so love this job:  discovery.  Had I never on a whim written “The Fourth Law” five years ago, I’d not have met Lily.  In the next book, her sister, Callie.  Several books on, writing about Callie’s son and girlfriend, I met Faustina.  And now her cousin.  If this is not a miracle then tell me what is.

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Up the Yazoo

Which, for my overseas readers, is an actual river and city in the State of Mississippi.  Faustina has to move fast:  both to prove herself as a legionary commander and to show that she’s better than humans.  In this segment, the first of two before the Battle of Winona (there will finally be shooting, I promise), she schools her distant relations on strategy and tactics in the former US as well as that attacking the enemy’s mind is always more effective than attacking their body.

I am also older that to write a campaign, you have to plan a campaign.  A visual example of that is at the very end of this entry.

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Take Me to the River

My wife wafted through the dining room where I write.  “When did your Breakup stories stop being fiction?” she asked.

I never wanted any of this.  It was just to be a backdrop to the relationships I saw.

Anyway.  Part Two of “Empress’ Crusade” begins!  As is my wont, I skip forward almost three months and put Faustina at her destination:  Vicksburg.  But, as her father pointed out, and her uncle told her brother, “anyone can get into trouble; it’s the professionals who get out alive.”  I think I’m about to see what that looks like.

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