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 –
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.
Continue reading “Upgrades: fort” →
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.
Continue reading ““No” or “hell, no!”” →
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.
Continue reading “Up the Yazoo” →
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!
Continue reading “Tough Times Demand Tough Talk” →
Looked over my notes for a-while this morning (another day off; work the next three) and saw PART 1: KEEP HUMAN circled. My handwriting so I guess I was drunk. Imagine. Still, per my Lenten oath to not only complete the MS for “Empress’ Crusade” but also to make it more Christian than its predecessor, I’m trying to keep the opening parts of this story in that vein.
My other, more coherent notes, speak to Faustina chatting with MacRae, (check) and Reina. As she’s the machine who will end up as Acting Prime Minister of the Russian Empire (should I have said *spoiler warning*? oops) that is not “keeping it human.” So, instead, I saw Fussy’s nurse drop in at the legionary fort to check up on her.
One of my other scrawled notes was “eugenics.” That plus Faustina is not something I want to think about right now.
Continue reading “Check. Up.” →
The design contest for the cover of my short story collection, “Empire’s Agent” is complete. I hope to have a proof copy in my hands in less than a week and a commercial release days after that.
At 57k words I have passed the MS of “American Imperium: Princess’ Crusade” onto one of my new copyeditors. He’s a little spastic about “?!” punctuation but I like the cut of his jib. Once “Empire’s Agent” is loose in the wild I shall likely begin another cover design contest. Tricky: the main character, 18-year old Faustina, spends half the book in a hospital bed with 2nd degree burns and no hair. Not the stuff for an eye-catching cover, is it?
And… speaking of Faustina: if there’s a part one, there better be a part two. Below the fold is the opening scene of “American Imperium: Empress’ Crusade.” Faustina is utterly full of herself and as arrogant “af” – as the kids say. I wanted to start things slow and humble. I have tiny, faint glimpses of where she might be going, but I won’t know until she gets there. Enjoy the ride with me!
Continue reading “End. Middle. Begin.” →
A bit of a turn for the political but I thought it best for Faustina to let the locals know from the get-go how she intends to administer the land and people under her control. And, after something as awful as the Breakup, I’m sure the survivors have been thoroughly disabused of any insane notions of equality of ability or outcomes.
Just one last scene, the awards to her heroes, before I can finally turn to the copyedit of my short story collection. This is an odd week – I’m off Tuesday and Thursday, but I shall try to get it done before the weekend. So much to do! Overwhelming sometimes…
Continue reading ““A place for everyone and everyone in their place”” →
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.
Continue reading “Name and Address” →
Faustina returns to Savannah to find out all the little details of what’s going on and what needs her attention. A fly-by gives her an overview. Right after she receives something not heard on Earth for a very long time… and guaranteeing her triumph. But she understands her most important task: “take me to the wounded.”
Continue reading “Taking back the reins” →