Chris was finishing his brief Saturday lecturing – tutoring, really – of his three 4th-year students about the neuro-mesh that had been developed in Singapore just over thirty months ago. That company made their customers pay; and not even in the new currency, ria, but in precious metals, only. And pay the world did: paraplegics were walking and he was alive. It was an age of miracles in the East while the West, outside of a few pockets, seemed to be sinking into a second Dark Age, driven by unrestricted immigration.
After taking July and a little of August off to be older about recording and editing audiobooks, I forced myself to sit down and begin the MS for the final installment of this trilogy. I had had bits and pieces of this opening scene – which will be the prologue of Part I (of just two, I think) but was quickly shown some little details I’d not noticed before; writing is like that: it forces you to pay attention.
Wrote most of this out on my deck this afternoon. Had to flee inside with all the electronics for a squall around 1500, but just now (1600) concluded the exchange at the end of what’s below the fold. There is much packed into this: some good news, some bad news. And one point was news to me, too. I love this: writing. I really do.
Here’s the last of the prototype chapters. I am much older about peaks (Nichole’s sharp voice, here and there), valleys (Mackenzie’s, everywhere), and RMS (the relationship between those levels). In learning such, I’ve also gotten the volume waaay up from where it was before. Tanjed near burst my eardrums in the headphones…
With this complete, and taking in any constructive criticism y’all might have, I’m going to try making notes and writing some very raw ideas I have about Faustina and her third novel, “Goddess’ Crusade.” It is setting the bar a little high, but I want all three of her books and the complete audiobook of “Friend & Ally” out no later than Christmas. We shall see.
Took a little longer to get around to this than I’d anticipated, but at long last I built a “quiet corner” in my basement (and it’s only quiet when people upstairs are not flushing the toilet!) and got around to practicing recording and editing. A pic of my corner – one cannot call it a studio – is below the fold.
Attached (and this might take more than one try; please bear with me) is an 8-minute mp3 of me taking a stab at the prologue of “Friend & Ally.” I am very young at this and welcome constructive criticism.
Hardware: a Samson C01UPro mic (USB). Software: Audacity (2.3.3)
Sorry for the silence; been busy. After my Hey, hey! incident, I tried to work within the new confines of that to find a way to wrap up EC. I found a way out via Faustina’s fast ride from Vicksburg to Birmingham and onto Huntsville. We’ve seen from way back that she is attracted to the 32-year-old mayor of that town, so I decided to have her push her feelings to see what happens. While not completely happy with the end, it is at least an end. I’ll be able to think about it better as a make my editing pass before farming it out to a copyeditor. I’m leaning toward re-using Stephen Zimmer, as he copyedited “Princess’ Crusade” and has knowledge of the characters and plot.
With that being checked, I have spent some money, read, and watched many videos on how to narrate audiobooks. Once my wife gets the basement un-wrecked from her current project, I’ll carve out a space, hang some blankets, and see what I can do. However, if that gets delayed, I will have to at least start notes and plans for the final book of this trilogy, “Goddess’ Crusade.”
Below the fold, rather than the entirety of Part IV of EC, is just a snippet from toward the end, showcasing Faustina and Mayor Robert Wade.
In manga and anime high school rom-coms, there is a trope where the female childhood friend of the male protagonist, after years of keeping her love of him a secret, finally screws up her courage to confess. It is at that moment when the hot-looking, overbearing transfer student bursts into the classroom shouting, “hey, hey!” and all of the quiet friend’s plans are shattered.
On Friday, my family departed for a 10-day vacation at my sister-in-law’s place on a lake in N. Louisiana. Perfect, I thought, I can finally wrap up the MS for “Empress’ Crusade,” pass it onto a copyeditor, then relocate myself into the basement to begin practicing audio recording to make audiobooks! Heck, EC is already 72k words, making it one of my longest, so it is time to stick a fork in it and say it’s done…
Doing some calculations about moving Faustina’s legions about the Deep South and the goings on around Fort Benning, I saw someone. Another female (of course) but older; hard to tell her exact age as the room was very dark. She had no need for light: her eyes had been torn out some years before. I beheld Alexandra; part Muscogee Indian and also another demi-human (though she’s yet to tell me who modified her) who is halfway between what Faustina is and what Tracy came to be at her ascension. A new character and a huge wild-card at that, in the setting sun of the second book of my Crusade Trilogy… exactly what I need (if I used emojis there would be an eyeroll here).
I’ve spent most of today, Sunday, getting Faustina from Birmingham up to Huntsville. I stopped there for two reasons: she really likes the 32-year-old Mayor of that town and it is her 19th birthday. I don’t think she sleeps with him – she is in the middle of campaign, after all – but I did not want to rush things. Once I have that written down, I’ll have to turn to understand just who and what Alexandra is; there is a definite religious aspect to her, which would turn any assault of Faustina’s army against Fort Benning into a religious war… never a good idea.
The one and only time that Faustina looked into the Void and at what few electronic systems and records there were at Benning, she did not encounter any conscious mind, human or machine. Perhaps Alexandra was asleep then? I’ve no idea. I just hope to resolve this time a timely –
Taking a few days off turned into too many days off. I made the mistake of knowing – knowing – how I wanted “Empress’ Crusade” to finish. It was well into day four that I realized that so long as I wasn’t listening to my characters, they had no reason to talk to me.
So, I set aside a few days to make notes, look at maps, and keep my mental mouth shut. At DayJob over this past weekend, the film in my mental theater started rolling again. More notes. Off today and tomorrow, I was up early, caffeinated, and typing by 0930. Put down over 3000 words today. Admittedly, it is a little like I think I saw it (the Fort Benning/Atlanta story arc), but Faustina is already off on a huge tangent and we just met her new nephew, Roland. Henge is nursing him but turned him around for a moment to show his silver eyes. Yep: another demi-human.
Things are winding down this afternoon. I’m to-bed early to make another early start tomorrow. Lessons in humility are necessary from time to time.
A riff on Lucretius. You’ll see why when Nichole 5 shows up.
This again slightly longer installment marks the end of Part 3 of the MS for “Empress’ Crusade.” I want to wrap the whole thing up in no more than 40-60 more pages. I’ve reams of notes and images in my head but, honestly, am not sure which way to jump right now. I know Faustina moves due east but not with how many of her four legions in Vicksburg. I see the huge old Army base of Fort Benning. I see what’s left of Atlanta and those in it a generation on. I also understand her operational desire to secure the rest of the Deep South and a land route to Savannah.
This weekend will be spent in note-taking and, very likely, a series of micro-stories to try to muddle my way through this. I don’t want to inflict that kind of “blue skying” on anyone, so it is likely that my updates will dwindle to nothing for June.
I am still looking forward to playing about with creating audiobooks over the summer. Once I have the rest of EC in the can, so to speak, I might just post my prototype voice efforts on you, my poor, unsuspecting readers… and listeners.
Below, Faustina once again reaches out to her extended family to make a point to President Dysart of the Gulf Shore States: the world is a much, much smaller place than he thought it was.
As I suspected, Dysart gets the low-down on Faustina. The Gulf Shore States may be 90% maritime but that does not mean their landward army cannot have a decent staff. And it looks like they are blessed with a very capable intel officer in the form of Captain Alene, a careful and thorough man. He gives his best summary of the empress and the imperium to his commander-and-chief, saving the worst for last.
Knowing what we know, it is a little hard to not want to slap the top of Faustina’s head for being a smartass, here. Not technically a lie, even by omission, but her blizzard of disinformation is not going to go done well once President Dysart understands what is going on. And given how Fussy runs her mouth without her legates around, that will happen sooner rather than later.