Lenten Writing

I’ve seen something for what might be my third and last installment for this Season. I didn’t like looking at it and I don’t like talking about it. But it is canonical to Machine Civilization, so there it is. This is not something I’ve written in Word and run through Grammarly; this is what I just saw and and posting. Expect errors.

My Lenten commitment was daily posting. But I hate what I’ve just seen.

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Tillamook, part 25. End.

Yes, you just missed another bunny with a pancake on its head.

There’s a lot going on here but this is a writing exercise, not a proper short story in an anthology. Someday, it likely shall be. I try to resolve the Russian-Nation political dilemma with Nichole, as Togame’s friend, placing herself and her ship – literally – in the middle. Rhun is dealt with off-screen then we have a lovely little domestic scene.

Fifty bucks says Nichole sleeps with Gil’s son in the next six months. Japanese morals are different. Machine morals? Good luck with that.

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Continue reading “Tillamook, part 25. End.”

Tillamook, part 24

The rest of the Haven’s backstory followed by a declaration three of them were off before dawn the next day on Nichole’s flying saucer. The last Part, #25, might be on the long side…

A fan on Gab once asked how do I balance or control “high-powered” characters such as Nichole 5. My reply was to write up some kind of foil – a person or group – who can oppose them. With nothing like that here, Model Five just proposed to take Gil and Mac’s first child.

I’ll admit, compared to the last time I saw Mackenzie d’Arcy in the last chapter of “Foes and Rivals,” she’s matured quite a bit.

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Tillamook, part 22

As I now have a pretty good idea how to wrap up this “short” story – hopefully this weekend – I do no want to let Nichole’s last line, below, turn into a huge drag of exposition. I’m thinking to paint with words; that is, just as you can cover a lot of ground in a montage in a movie or visual episode, I’ll talk about Gil and Mac talking about what happened to them after they escaped Portland.

This still leaves me about three weeks of Lenten content I’ll need to generate. Another short story? Something else? The world wonders.

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Tillamook, part 21

Thanks be to God: now I know why Nichole 5 is there. And that means I see the ending. This is a little exposition for those who are familiar with my other works, but as Gil points out, in a low-tech world, local news travels no faster than a man on horseback and international news not at all, unless you are a part of the ruling class.

I think I can write a little more after this post. I also have done the preliminary formatting and uploading of “A Texas Naval Affair,” only to find a surprising flaw with the spine of the cover. I’ve copied that to my designer and she should have it resolved later today. I just might make that Easter deadline!

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“Foes and Rivals” A look back

I’m still trying to think my way out of the box I’ve written myself into here with “Tillamook.” To tide things over, here’s a tactical glimpse of the backstory of how Gil Haven and Mackenzie d’Arcy ended up where they they are. From the last chapter of “Foes and Rivals.”

“Come on,” Nichole announced, turning west.  “We need to be out of the city and through the tunnels before complete darkness.”

Without further word, her friends followed.  Out of campus and along Montgomery Street, Gil only spoke when, just at the highway that plunged under the West Hills, Nichole abruptly turned left onto a residential street winding sharply up.

“There’s something I want to see.  You two can wait here if you don’t want to climb with me.”

Gil heard Mac’s little sigh and held out his hand to help her.  She took it.

Just above the tunnel’s mouth, Nichole stopped and looked north and east.  Besides the continuing small-arms fire, she heard the occasional crump of mortars.  Many buildings along the city’s northern edge were on fire.

“I am so sorry…” Gil just caught from her.

Leaping from rock to rock and bracing herself against trees when she had to, Nichole made the descent down the hillside to the road and tunnel look easier than it was.  Both Gil and Mac had several slips and scrapes before standing next to her.  There was still electric power, but only one light every hundred feet or so in the tunnel was on.

“S… spooky!” Mackenzie shuddered, still next to Gil after her last near-fall.

“You will be fine, dear friend!” Nichole could tell her eyes were back to normal, as there was no moisture on her face to match the raging sorrow in her processors.  “After all, you have him, now!  No!  Do not speak!”

She took two steps and touched their chests.  With her right hand she fingered the memory crystal in Gil’s pocket.

“I love you.  I might even be a soul.  But, I am not human.  You must find a mate of your own kind.”

She pressed a little more into Mackenzie, who could properly cry.

“Please take care of each other!”

“Ni…” Gil began.

“…chole!” Mac sputtered.

Her shadow vanished into the blackness as Nichole ran away west.

“A Texas Naval Affair,” final cover

Barring one of you sharp-eyed readers finding something my drunk eyes through bifocals did not, this shall be the cover for my next novel (at 47,200 words, I’d call it a novella, but that’s me).

Yes, I am fully aware the back blurb is long. Per something I discussed in someone else’s podcast (which shows how lazy I am to not ferret out the link) is that a writer has about 0.25 seconds to catch and hold a potential reader’s attention as they scroll down on their phone. That is what the front is for. The back is me pulling up on the line once the hook is in their mouth. Given that this is a romance, girls and women will be expecting to know more about the cute couple on the front (not kidding: I’ve had two women say that to me already). If this were another military story, I’d write, “the character does cool stuff and shit blows up” and there’s my male reader base.

[Still working on “Tillamook” with Gil, Nichole, and Teresa. I bet Mackenzie is a little less than pleased that her husband’s former lover, who has not aged a day in twenty years, just showed up as she’s entering menopause.]

Tillamook, part 10

I won’t say “I lied,” because I didn’t. I thought the plot was showing up in this installment. It’s not. In fact, what is happening is redounding to your benefit: at nearly 5800 words, with no end in sight, this is becoming a potential novella, perhaps serving as the core story of a collection, as I did in “Empire’s Agent.”

The reason I decided on this writing project, as I mentioned back in part 1, was to find out what happened to Gil Haven and Mackenzie d’Arcy when Portland fell. Nichole 5 and Mac loved each other as friends (philia) while Nichole 5 and Gil loved each other, often, romantically (eros). This was complicated that Mac was slowly falling for Gil, which Nichole saw, and the android’s fear that she was keeping Gil, someone she loved (agape) from having a family and a future with his own kind. So here at last we get some of that backstory, as well as a little more of their children. That was the entire point of this.

Having said all that to say this: do not worry, I’m still turning it up to eleven, but as long-time readers know, I’m something of a fanatic when it comes to family. We’ll get there. Enjoy dinner until we do.

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Ceres, part 10. End.

And here we all are: 5300 words older. I had one reader ask if it could continue; that’s a two part answer. One, of course: on their way back to Earth I’ve seen where Minerva invades one of Les’ dreams and later where, embarrassed, she asks for him to “feed” her (just attaching her TPN bag, but she’s self-conscious about it). Two, in the broader sense of the word, I could see my next short story collection having one for each son mentioned in “Obligations of Rank.”

While, as I mentioned last time, I am making way into my next short, I’d like to try to make another podcast tomorrow but do not have any subject ideas right now? Anyone?

Otherwise, thanks for reading and I hope y’all enjoyed it. Cheers!

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Continue reading “Ceres, part 10. End.”