Book 17. Part One Summary, 1/2

My original idea was to see how the Russian Empire – under their Prime Minister, Thinking Machine Reina, went about taking Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba off of the Canadians. Alaska and British Columbia are already in their, well, her, hegemony, but there’s just too much oil and natural gas out there to be ignored. Russian heavy industry is building kilometer-long transports in orbit for shipments of materials to Mars, and even with reactionless motors, that demands massive amounts of energy.

The preface of the book is Major General Suvorov of the 77th Brigade having a teleconference with Reina. He and his men are in Calgary. Half of their supplies are on the other side of the Rocky Mountains. He requests a delay of three days. After some back-and-forth, Reina agrees, but states that if he’s not in motion on day four, he’s dead. She is not a nice person.

Part One is about Sergeant Sergei Konev and his scout unit, just beyond the tip of the spear. He’s 25 and from a village outside of Maikop. His #2 is Corporal Zais, an Itelmen from Kamchatka. Their first assignment is due north to Edmonton, to see if it needs a regiment to take and hold it. They find it already under a meter of ice and snow.

[For those of you unfamiliar with my future history, it presumes a Maunder Minimum beginning right before the Breakup. A little ice age.]

They proceed to Medicine Hat and strike a deal with the Mayor, who is already thinking himself independent of Canada. Pushing a little on then coming back, they come under fire. The mayor has been assassinated by Russian Special Forces troops, Spetsnaz, who belong to a military faction opposed to Reina. Konev and his unit are rescued by Centurion Bob Hardt and his men from the imperium, there as observers to the impending Russian occupation. As Russia and the imperium (and Japan and the Habsburg Empire) are the four spokes of the Polar Alliance, they occasionally work together. Reluctantly.

Some things happen and Konev’s unit is sent northeast to see if Saskatoon is also under the ice. On the way they encounter a peddler with a horse-drawn cart. He’s deeply creeped out by this. Some hours later, they see that Saskatoon has been abandoned. However, a small tribe of locals, preparing to leave to the south, are burying four of their own. They describe how a demon, disguised as a peddler, stole the flesh off of the four before killing them.

They move southeast to reunited with the brigade around Regina. Told to scout ahead east once more, they come to a surprise stop outside of Brandon. The Spetsnaz who killed that mayor have taken a Canadian officer prisoner, dragging him behind their vehicle like a dog. A fight between the units nearly ensues and Konev takes possession of the prisoner. He immediately realized he is a she: Lt. Eloise Patel. Concussed and battered, she can barely stammer out her name and rank, only saying a single name before passing out: Bob Hardt.

Wrap up of Part One tomorrow. Some pull quotes below the fold.

Continue reading “Book 17. Part One Summary, 1/2”

Book 17. Where am I?

As I still have no idea what the title will be, rather than flit from “New Russia” to “Factions” to something else, I’m just calling it #17. Given I started it nearly a year ago, as well as what is becoming an interesting episodic nature, as I’ll describe, I wanted to share where things have gone. In doing so, I hope to get an idea where they might be going.

I’ve played with episodic style before. In “Obligations of Rank,” the book is three parts, about three sons of Empress Faustina. Only in the Pro- and Epilogue is everyone together. In “Regent,” there are a couple of chapters in the middle where I go from Aurelia’s POV to Jimmy Burns’; and the last part of the book is from his POV alone.

B17 is something different. Which is good, as I enjoy trying new formats in my stories. I hate change in my personal life but revel in what happens in Machine Civilization. Anyway, Part 1 is about Sgt. Sergei Konev and his 20-man scout unit of the Imperial Russian Army. They start off just outside of Calgary, Canada, and end up, 21,600 words later, near Winnipeg. Part 2, still in process, switches to Centurion Bob Hardt, who shows up a couple of times in Part 1, and his expanded relationship with Lt. Eloise Patel of the Canadian Army. So far, that story has centered about resolving the crisis which is hinted at in “Obligations of Rank” and comes to a head in the last pages of “Regent.” It is roughly 10,600 words but nowhere near a conclusion. I think Part 3, for sake of completeness, will be back on Konev and Canada, but I have only the faintest idea what for and why. Ultimately, this novel will be about 60-70k words.

Rather than flood this blog with the 33,000 words which have come so far, I’ll start will a summary – punctuated by quotes – about Part 1. I may serialize Part 2 as I am not that far into it as yet. As always, comments and opinions will be welcome.


Now loose in the wild.

“With Canada now on the Ohio River, the imperium needs allies.

Aurelia, the 25-year-old niece of the Empress, leads an army through the deserted ruins of the northeast US to establish contact with the Northern Federation.

An illegal side trip has her talk politics with the Archbishop of Montreal followed by a jaunt to see the tiny spaceport of Canso, Nova Scotia. There, she falls in love with a rocketry tech before being forced to defend it and him against thirty pirates, who she kills with rifle, pistol, knife, hands, teeth.

With the Empress called first to Japan and later to Mars, Aurelia hurries home to act as Regent in her place. But that leaves her lover arrested and the imperium teetering on the brink of a war it cannot afford.”

Paperback. Kindle.

Smashwords ebooks to follow once I get my blood pressure down for using their shit interface.

Deus vult!

“New Russia” An Update

Been awhile since I’ve mentioned what’s going on here, so there’s this. I’ve the proof copy of “Regent” in-hand and am about 1/3 through, looking for errors. A half-dozen, so far; a letter missing, a ” missing, that sort of thing. The MS for “Imperial Entanglements” is complete and my cover artist working on that. It’s format shall be similar to my other short story collection, “Empire’s Agent,” with a large, single image on the front and 2-3 on the back, all reflecting one of the stories. It may fly in the face of my “put a face front and center on the cover” policy, but we’ll see.

I got to about 23,000 words in “New Russia” and ground to a halt, again. I was able to get all three important characters, Sergeant Konev, Centurion Hardt, and Lieutenant Patel, together. And then they received orders to not be, due to politics in St. Petersburg, Ottawa, and wherever Regent Aurelia happens to be at the moment. That scene corresponds to the last scene of “Regent,” where Aurie gets shocking news from Russian PM Reina. Rather than continuing to follow Konev, and what may play out with their army politics and that odd demon they met, this will be a section shift to Bob Hardt’s (really Robert Hartmann, Crown Prince) perspective, as he and the rest of the family are called for by the regent.

I think he just abducted Eloise Patel, thinking her life in danger if she returns to either Canadian capital. I should know more later today. Hopefully another 18-22k words, then I’ll have to fold all that back into whatever the Russian are doing. No clue right now, of course, but they’ll tell me when they are ready.

Colour’s Nephew, Again

Sometimes I reference other books. Sometimes, such as here, I call back to what I wrote a few chapters before. Sometimes it is completely off-the-wall; I mean, seriously: did NO ONE get the “Broadsword to Danny Boy” reference? I worry about y’all sometimes.

This segment accomplishes two things: we now have the beginnings of a diplomatic buffer between the imperium and Canada. They are small but I do not think either power wants to rile up the Northern Federation. Second, Robert puts Jimmy on notice: just what the effing hell do you think you are to Aurie now? What will you be in a month? A year? We know from waaaay back at the start of this story that Aurie’s had a couple of guys prior. No matter what she may think of Jimmy at this moment, he needs to step up.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Colour’s Nephew, Again”

Champlain Colours

This is a little “exposition-y,” but a reader will need to know a bit more about Robert and his relations. I suspect that, being a “normie,” Robert takes things a bit more seriously than his gifted brothers and sisters. And as a brand-new imperial family who are, as Aurie admitted, “making things up as they go,” and in a hard neighborhood, it would take a certain hardness of mind and spirit to stay sane and effective.

Having written the next, Ticonderoga, scene last night, I realized this morning I’m going to have to re-write it. Things such as that come with the job. Much easier on a laptop than with pen on paper, though.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Champlain Colours”

Colour Chips

Robert is busy in what little is left of western Canada, as the Russian Empire slowly devours it. I don’t know why Aurie tagged him for this particular assignment, given what he was doing is more important. When I find out, y’all will.

First discussed in “Obligations of Rank,” I cannot begin to imagine the complexities of internal imperial family politics.

PS I’m guessing she chipped him on their third go, when he was on top.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Colour Chips”

Black Forest Colour

Sunday. Sunday! SUNDAY!!

(that might resonate a little for those of you over the age of fifty; if not, just press on)

By forcing these out, I am essentially chasing myself. To keep a steady flow of installments going, I need to stay 1k-2k words ahead. Weekend updates for me to be reasonably sober and do my damn job.

Below, we meet someone from “Obligations of Rank.” Someone who is not at all happy about his current assignment. If you walk away from the imperial family to try to lead your own life, getting jerked around by the Empress’ lacky is insulting.

And a tired and hungry Jimmy sure as hell runs his mouth more than he should. And yes, that is a “Pulp Fiction” homage by Robert.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Black Forest Colour”

Colour Screens in Cars

Another rare Saturday update! Perhaps I should tag it as an NFT and sell them? Naah; just buy the edited book when it comes out. As I think I may be sneaking up on a stopping point, along those lines I began thinking about cover designs. Aurie, obviously front and center, eyes bright gold. First I saw her at a table, with Jimmy and Colour behind her but that seemed way too passive. Now I’m thinking having her “berserker scene,” when she killed 27 pirates. More of an action shot. That will push her friend and boyfriend onto the back. Not sure what they will be doing.

I was as stuck as Jimmy in the segment below for two days. I’ve a truck and a minivan, both old enough to buy alcohol, so it didn’t enter my mind what most modern cars have by way of smart screens and telecommunications. Recall: Canada survived the Breakup. Their main problem was interning/shooting refugees from the starving US, so their grid still works. So I sort of wrote myself in when he says, “I am so effing stupid,” as that was how I felt.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Colour Screens in Cars”


One of the fun things about a future history is how everything connects together. And then adding some of those elements like easter eggs for readers to catch. Here, Aris of Aris Rent-A-Car is the same Aris (who was running a car rental) at Dallas-Ft Worth Airport in the early days of the Breakup in “Crosses and Doublecrosses”. Three generations ago. And she’s just as creepy now as she was then.

Below, Jimmy demonstrates – living – why wearing your seatbelt is important.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Continue reading “Rent-a-Colour”