Dank Cities

Wrote myself out of Medicine Hat and past Sgt. Sergei Konev’s first contact with Cartaphilus. It seems that what’s left of Saskatoon is much worse than I imagined. Yes, about 50% of the population fled south against the ice and snow of the Maunder Minimum. The other half looked to the sky, the sun and stars, and went “native.” Did I mention the Change and mysticism?

But a few families lingered in the area of the old city. That’s the mistake of never making a hard, clear-cut decision; you pay for your mistakes. Cartaphilus harvested them.

In other odd news, the 77th Imperial Russian Brigade will meet a battlegroup of the Canadian Army head-on around Winnipeg. In the midst of that, Sgt. Sergei Konev will encounter another oddity in the basement of a riverside museum. When I run this through Grammarly it will once again freak out over my “write it as you hear it” style of accents.

***

[breathless voice, whispers] “Imagine… imagine if something, someone, like some old scifi story, actually came to life *coughs**wipes a bit of blood from mouth* but… but they weren’t made for it… not bred, not… even… thought of, Sergeant Konev,” Schreber said to the Russian, in his dark office of the blackened museum on the banks of the Red River in Winnipeg. “What… what if that person, excuse me, what if… that person is… what everyone needs but… absolutely no one wants? What… *coughs**retches* what then, Sergeant?”

“All sides would hate him,” Konev said in a quiet voice.

“Welcome to my personal Hell, Mister Konev.” Schreber pitched forward out of his chair, barking more blood. The sergeant yelled for his medic.

May is out… like a light

Not going to dwell on no posting again. RealLife comes for all of us every now and then.

“New Russia,” the working title of my next MS, ground to something of a halt in chapter three. It was turning into another military story. I wrote a trilogy about those and do not want to get sucked into the details of TOEs and campaign planning yet again.

From my “try to so something different” file, I considered: I’ve war, politics, espionage, romance, romance/horror, and even slice-of-life. What to do?

Took the dogs for walks in nice weather. Stared at maps of Canada. Would I have to abandon this particular project and start from scratch? Sgt. Sergei Konev and his scout team are driving to Saskatoon to see if it is under the ice, like Edmonton. Wait. Who is the old man in the horse-drawn cart coming south? From the wares on the cart, he looks like a typical dystopian tinker. Through his field glasses, as the Tigr (the Russian version of a Hummer) slows, Konev is puzzled. He looks old; not old. Sick; not sick. His eyes are black and dead but the skin of his arms and hands holding the reins like that of a young man.

Mystery. Not as in “whodunit,” but more like mysticism. Early in my books the collapse of the US and W Europe was called the Breakup. By “Foes and Rivals,” it was beginning to be known as the the Change. A few sensitive people – humans and Machines – were waking up to the fact that reality was not what it had been. That is what I am going to explore. Beginning with Cartaphilus.

***

[New Russia] Ch1, pt3 (end)

One last time: if you’ve any thoughts – besides “he said there would be a war” – I’m working on that in chapter three, please let me know.

This short is the final piece of chapter one. And for those of you who have read, or shall soon be reading, “Obligations of Rank,” you’ll recognize who shows up in the last scene. As this book will be from Sergei Konev’s POV, I’ll not let this particular cat out of the bag.

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Continue reading “[New Russia] Ch1, pt3 (end)”

[New Russia] Ch1, pt1

This still feels to me as if it will be at least a novella. I’ve already two pages of notes about the Russian army (organization, tactics) and I’d hate that to go to waste. And, as I said in the last post, I’d really like to blow things up again. At least for a little while.

I’ve no intention of serializing the entire work but thought, maybe, at least the first chapter. That way, if there is any comments, suggestions, or criticism, it will come early so I can make course corrections as needed.

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Continue reading “[New Russia] Ch1, pt1”

A new book, maybe

After slightly more than a week – and trust me, it was awful – of no writing, I may have settled on a new idea I can turn into another novel. Being me, contrarian, what with anyone stupid enough to pay attention to the MSM, they would think the Russians are the modern Hitler; every last man, woman, and child. Of course, the idiots who listen to the MSM also thought covid-19 was a pandemic.

So, being said contrarian, my next book, if it takes hold in my mind, will be about Russians. Specifically, the Russian Empire moving into what is left of former US and Canada after the Change in my future history of Machine Civilization.

I’ve mentioned often enough that while there are some legacy Romanovs on the throne in St. Petersburg, all real power is held by the Prime Minister, Reina. Reina is also an AI made by the Mendrovovitch Company, hence their tribe name. Like kudzu, this person runs through all of my recent stories and there seems no way to get rid of her. Admittedly, she is very interesting: unlike tribe Tohsaka with their Four Laws, Reina kills easily.

In my second-to-last novel, Obligations of Rank, Part Two has a Canadian Officer Cadet, Eloise Patel, telling “undercover” Crown Prince Robert about the Canadian’s two military engagements with the Imperial Russian Army. I wondered: the Russians have Alaska, British Columbia, and are about to take the Kingdom of Columbia… why push over the Rocky Mountains against someone who can still shoot back?

Once I asked the question, they started to give me answers. Let’s see how this unfolds, friends.

Continue reading “A new book, maybe”

Pirate Twins, 1, again.

I admit is a kind of retread. That is, a story I’ve explored before. So, yes, is a Lenten cheat.

Once upon a time, I had a writing experiment. About five years ago. It was based upon two songs I’ll address in the next post. For those of a certain age, it’s obvious. I first thought it was about Machines. I was wrong.

The original form was muddled. I’m trying to tighten this up as something very, very, odd for me:

Allegory. Allegory of the Cold War in Europe.

Continue reading “Pirate Twins, 1, again.”

Podcast 15: Stories and Creation

I take a deeper dive into into where ideas for stories come from. Hint: it might really be the stork if you are writing about avians. Beginning with my “movie theater” metaphor, I explore looking inward, looking outward, and just looking about and paying attention for inspiration for your Next Big Thing.

I conclude with something which crushes many new writers: research to get it all right. Many creatives are, to be blunt, not rigorous thinkers and are often overwhelmed at the prospect of logic and consistency. I propose a possible solution for those in that situation.

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***

Listen on Spreaker.

***

Wither next?

With my next MS still in the hands of my copyeditor and cover designer, I was at something of loose ends as to what to write. Initially anxious that nothing was showing up behind my eyes, I calmed myself, and waited. NOTE: spoilers ahead.

Some of the short story (and regular readers will know how often those get out of hand) ideas which showed up over the past few days are:

  1. A glimpse into the life of a Habsburg Empire bureaucrat trying to re-establish order in the city of Constantinople, back in Christian hands for the first time in 600 years.
  2. The death of Lily Rigo. I saw Ninon’s phoenix form flying her from Henge’s Beach to the Mountain of Purgatory.
  3. What happened to Gil Haven and Mackenzie d’Arcy, now on the Oregon coast, after Nichole 5 pushed them together and abandoned them at the end of “Foes & Rivals”?
  4. The actions of Robert Hartmann, legionary G-2, in northern Canada and their interactions with the ever-expanding Russian Empire.
  5. A deep space trip on Lionheart with just Laszlo Hartmann and the android Minerva, who used to be part of the machine Reina. Laszlo is a recovering homosexual and Minerva is very fond of him; lots of ideas, there.

Looking ahead, I’m still giving thought to reducing my DayJob hours to the bare minimum for health insurance (essentially working three days per week) which I hope will allow me to work on some of the other projects I’ve mentioned. This is a family matter and must be negotiated. We shall see.

If anyone has any ideas/request for the next podcast, please let me know!

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Still alive. Plus: editing

Yes, I dropped off the radar again. At DayJob, the IV Room assignment has become a punishment detail, what with all the drips for the vent patients we’re killing (avoid hospitals, everyone). At home, much better but just as busy: That short story I wrote in October, which was growing into a novella in November, has metastasized into its own novel, meaning over the last three weeks I’ve put down about 15,000 words.

Which all ground to a halt yesterday evening. I’d a few pages for the opening of part 2, but the main character, Allen, is presented with a nigh-well insolvable problem. Until I think of how he can solve it, nothing to type.

In the meantime, here’s an ad and a link to my copyeditor. The man is efficient and reasonably priced. I have relied on Mr. Zimmer for, what, five of my novels, now? And hope to continue to in the future.

Fish and Shrimp Radio Waves

The good folks at The Star Chamber were having an open lines night. I was just following along with a few lines to their Chat Room when they foolishly wandered onto a topic I found relatable. After all these months, I would have thought that the host would know to recognize at least my Area Code and block all numbers from there, but no… once again they wagered their reputations on letting go live. The triumph of hope over experience.

I wander in almost exactly at the 1:15:00 mark and babble for about eight minutes. Once off, the hosts try to recover from my verbal Molotov Cocktails. It was fun.