My tiny handful of regular readers know that since I became a writer, one salutary fact has been rammed down my throat: there are no such things as coincidences. As a young godless materialist I would shrug and call an event a “statistical outlier.” Once I was a Catholic Christian, I fell back on “we cannot see God’s ways.”
In my second year as a writer, when I was 49 years old, I realized: fuck me.
Time and time and time again, I would see something and it would show up first in my writing and later in meatspace. God, obviously, is trying to make a point to me. One, admittedly, I am still learning. Saying all that to say this…
Four hours ago, see the post, I completed the raw manuscript of “Goddess’ Crusade.” The core battle of that novel is how Faustina recognizes her opponent has an overwhelming advantage of armor and considers what she can do to neutralize it and win. Being her military father’s daughter, she plucks an example from history and plans accordingly.
Five hours later, tired and just wanting to relax, I retire to my basement to watch a few videos before going to sleep. Ah! A new video from Kings & Generals… it’s about… about…
Fuck me. Pharsalus. There are no such things as coincidences.
In the five days that Faustina ran around former northern State of Mississippi with two legions, her boys from Fourth have not been idle.
I’ve DayJob this weekend and Monday so am not sure about another update. I’ve seen how she gets her army back to Vicksburg and did a little research about what comes next. But that “what comes next” will be another 15k word arc. Before I do that, I must sit down and make a complete re-assessment of the staff of the 4+1 legions she has at her disposal. My clutch of hand-written notes scattered over five pages just is not holding up anymore.
I’d seen the middle of this scene, where Faustina and Willis are talking, over the weekend but had no idea how they came to be standing there. Even with a little trouble at my DayJob, I was able to come home and write down how this parley came to happen. I remain concerned about the forces on Willis’s left, at the north end of his line. Are his conscripts riotous or are the Chekists stirring things up? Will Fussy present a treaty in two hours or start shelling them? I have no idea and, having to go back to work 2nd shift today, won’t know until, I hope, sometime Thursday.
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.
A bit of a long-ish addition. I wanted to wrap up Part One of Empress’ Crusade, at about 18k words, and get on to the campaign itself. For the historically minded, it will be loosely based on Caesar’s Gallic Wars, always a good read. In the meantime, I have some research to do about the populations of former Alabama and Mississippi and how that extrapolates one generation on into the Breakup.
Below the fold is a family who loves one another but find it increasingly hard to like one another. That is probably an odd concept for my younger readers but is something we in our dotage just nod at. Thanks for everyone’s support!
A little more exposition of what Faustina seemed needed, so I brought an expert. They have things out pleasantly. Next, hopefully tomorrow, will be the formal celebration of the victory at Savannah. Why do I think my main character has some surprise in mind?
Faustina goes to a recruitment rally as she has very little time to recruit and train men. I’m already sure that her legions for the Mississippi Valley Campaign will be under-strength: eight cohorts each instead of ten. I’m doing much research on the side to learn how this will play out.
Afterward she and her newest legate discuss the background of what might have been going on in the lands to their west and southwest. If talk about HBD scares you, just skip over that part.
Been chewing on the legionary awards ceremony for days. This morning – sober, even! – I saw the answer: my typical terse style. Rather than put the reader through the hundred or so men coming forward for awards and promotions, all that happens “off stage” as it were. What we see is Faustina’s address, where she at last pulls back the curtain on what sort of political arrangement she has in mind for the territory she considers to be her own by right of conquest. This is going to have ramification back in Knoxville I cannot begin to see.
This marks the end of the raw manuscript that will either be Part One or Book One, at just over 56k words. Right now I must devote the coming weekend to implementing the copyedit changes proposed by Stephen Zimmer for my short story collection. And it still needs a cover. Busy, busy…
Faustina makes her first speech to her cohort officers. After that she has a meet-and-greet with the politicians and businessmen from the Savannah area… which I am also finished with. After her big address to her boys and the world at large the following day, I’m shelving the Crusade MS to work on the copyedit changes to my short story collection, which I am still hoping to have out in six weeks… -ish.
Hope everyone had the New Years Eve and Day they desired. I’ve spent most of the morning avoiding writing (two loads of dishes, repaired a space heater, collating a week’s worth of leftovers) and the afternoon sitting down and writing.
Below the fold are the first moves against the city of Savannah and the Peoples Liberation Army units that occupy it. There are several references to military history and we learn that like her Machine namesake, Faustina has what a normal person would consider to be a very odd sense of “fun.”