Archive for the ‘ Stories ’ Category

Next on my reading list

That is, what  book do I buy next?

Do I go the U/F route with the new release of Kelly Meding’s As I Lie Dead?

I recently read Changes and it was good, as was Meding’s first book, Three Days to Dead. Maybe it will kick start the stalled Revision/Revising on my on U/F tittle.

On the other hand I pulled an all-nighter just to finish Sanderson’s second book of the Mistborn trilogy, The Well of Ascension, I haven’t done that in years which should tell you how good the book is (review to be posted soon on SuD) so getting The Hero of Ages should cure my epic fantasy itch.

And last but not least there is David Weber’s Honor Harrington series.  A Short Victorious War would certainly put me in a space warfare kind of mood which is the perfect mood to be in when you’re writing the outline(s) for your own space sci-fi trilogy (yes, my head is that big, I’m not surprised you noticed).

Any suggestions?

——

Talking epic sci-fi as well as media premiere’s (Kelly’s book as well as the subject of the clip below debut today!) I leave you with this video from Starcraft 2-Wings of Liberty.

Awesom Sauce!

Laging behind in NaNo

But I’m not done yet. Not by a long shot:

 

Yes, that is the NaNo counter widget. Forgot to include it in pasts NaNo posts. It’s up now.

Now back to work.

Breakthrough

So far NaNo has been nothing but pure frustration.

That is until last night.

Last night I finally reached my minimum daily requirement (1,600 words).  I’m still way behind but I can catch up now.

The problem so far is that I screwed up the beginning. It doesn’t have a proper hook. And so I plowed on, chapter after chapter. But now the action is picking up, which is what the book needed. Yes I know, NaNo is a very rough draft, but I always pride myself in my beginnings.

One rule I always follow, killed someone in the first three pages, preferably by the end of the first page if possible. A bit crass, I know, but nothing raises the stakes like a well place body. I’ll do my best to win this year and leave the inner editor out of this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to NaNo.

Fire in the Sky (2)

Grand Peterhof Palace, Peterhof, Russian Territory, Earth, Sol System, Orion Arm, 30 March, 08:00 hrs. Local Standard Time

Shaparov waived his hand over the conference table, “Please take a seat.”

To the left of  House de Havilland sat the ambassador to Earth of House Garou, Altain Jorgen whose pointed canine ears twitch in response to every sound in the room. To Edwards right say Jackelyn Carter-Moore, representative from the Imperial Bureaucratic Corp, with her long black hair running the length of her gold trimmed white robes, both front and back. Both seats across from him remained empty. Light streamed from the large floor to ceiling windows. Edward noticed the rich baroque furnishings, from the vases to the ornate frescoes in the ceiling

Shaparov stood by his seat, waiting for the final delegate, “And there she is.”

She glided into the room. Her sapphire blue eyes pierced the young duke’s mind like nothing he had ever seen before. Platinum blond hair flowed in long streams behind her. She had a single escort, a shot hair woman of about the same age with a stern expression on her face.  It was the sight of the second that snapped the duke back into reality.

With a snap of the boots and a bow Shaparov welcomed them, “Thank you for coming, Lady Andrea. Now if you will take a seat, we shall begin.”

Edward took a zip from the glass. He saw the Lady’s impish smile refracted through the water. He cleared his throat to distract him from the burning sensation on the tip of his ears.

Shaparov’s demeanor changed from amiable host to military commander in a heart beat, “Ladies and gentlemen, the reason why you are here is simple.” He took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds. ” With your help, I intent to reshape the universe.”

The announcement was greeted with stunned looks of silence by all of the participants except two, Edward Duke of  House de Havilland and Lady Andrea Jessica,  First Daughter of House Kaiser. “For the past three hundred years, the Throne of Stars has remained empty. This was and still is due in grand part to the infighting between and within the Major Houses. We in the Imperial Arm have also contributed to this by our own military actions. Although the intentions of those who held my post were honorable, they were also misguided. One can be a soldier or a ruler, but not both. Soldiers need leaders to follow. Those leaders in turn set the missions to be accomplished and give the soldiers the means to accomplish them. Therefore I propose that,” he waved an open hand toward Edward, “that we find such a leader.”

This time the gesture was greeted with murmurs by the others.

Jorgen spoke first, “House Garou’s position has always been to support any legitimate candidate to the Imperial Throne. Considering that the last Dynasty came from House de Havilland, we believe it to be the logical choice.”

“We have the Duke’s genetic material on record and it is a match to that in the Imperial files. There is a question about parentage–”

“A question that has been asked and answered,” Edward retorted.

“Yes, well the Corps would have to review the records. But if they meet with the established requirements then the path should be clear.”

Edward felt Lady Andrea gaze on him, studying him closely.  Her soft lips move slowly and deliberately with each syllable, “The position of House Kaiser is thus, we make no direct claim to the Throne of Stars. However, we do reserve the right to support or reject any candidate to it, and we will enforce that right by any means necessary.”

She drank from her cup, delaying the moment.  Then she spoke again, “Our approval hinges on one condition.” Her looked directly at Edward with an unflinching stare, “that our Houses be united by marriage.”

“I see. An Emperor needs an Empress, but I did not know that the Duchesses was still available,” Edward replied.

“Not her, me.”

“A union between the eldest and youngest of the Houses would erase any question of legitimacy, would it not Ms. Carter-Moore?” Jorgen added.

“It would help the Duke’s cause, although there is the question of who would take the Duke’s title. After all, once he becomes Emperor, should that happen,  his House would be the Imperial House, not House de Havilland,” added Carter-Moore.

“Indeed, in order to retain the balance of power, the would be Emperor must appoint a successor,” Jorgen said with a flick of his pointed ears.

“That will not be a problem. My cousin is next in line and more than ready to take the position if comes to that. My only question is what you, Grand Marshall, get out of this,” Edward said.

“The only thing that an Emperor could give me and those who have served with loyalty the Empire for hundreds of years, the recognition that we are due.”

“A title of your own. That would elevate the Orion arm to the same level of the other Houses, and deprive the Imperial House of territory,” Edward said.

“However misguided, our loyalty to the Throne of Stars has never wavered.  What is territory compared to the fealty of millions of the best troops in the galaxy standing at the call of the Empire?” Shaparov said.

“A net gain,” Edward said. Turning back his attention across the table, “Which leaves the matter of marriage. You’ll forgive me my Lady if I take sometime to ponder your proposal.”

“I expect no less. But I believe I speak for everyone here when I say that the window of opportunity is small and could close at any moment,” Lady Andrea said.

Now it was Edward’s time to smile, “I understand.”

“If there are no other matters to discuss I call this meeting adjourned. I hope you stay with us until this evening. We planned some modest celebrations in your honor and I hope that you take the time to enjoy them.”

Edward exchanged a last glance with Lady Andrea as group departed the conference table, a move that met with stern disapproval from her escort. On their way back to their quarters Mercer spoke into his duke’s ear, “There was someone missing from the table.”

“I know. But I expect that we will hear from the Han soon enough.”

Fire in the Sky (1)

Castle de Havilland, de Havilland Ducal Seat, World of Mercia, Mercia System,  Sagitarriuss Arm, 3319 CE, 13 March, 6:00 hrs Local Standard Time

Edward, Duke of House de Havilland, ran his hand along the rain slick stone atop the battlements. To one side the raging waves of the Emerald Sea pounded the shoreline a few yards from the base of the castle wall. On the other two lines armored soldiers, clad in the House colors of Blue and Black, waited for their morning inspection.  He looked at the still, gray sky and waited, but no drops came forth. He made his way down the stairs to the courtyard followed by Ronald Mercer, his  Chief of Staff and Einhard  Galenon, Head of Security.

Edward walked in front of the assembled House Guard. In their powered armor they towered over his 6 foot frame. Their faces reflected years of service to House de Havilland . A crop of short gray hair here, a scar there. These men had seen action across many worlds and now stood in attention in front of their top commander a man half their age.

Edward stopped two-thirds down the line in front of one of them, “Geoffrey isn’t it?”

“Yes m’lord, Warrant Officer Geoffrey Lant. Sir!”

“How’s the wife and kids enjoying their new quarters?”

“I bit rainy m’lord, compared to Prairie Marches, that is, but otherwise doing well. My eldest, Chiarra, will be enrolling in the Academy this Fall.”

Edward smiled warmly, “Good. I’ll make sure to keep an eye on her.”

“Thank you m’lord.”

The moment the duke reached the end of the line, the Sergeant-At-Arms bellowed a command, “Alpha Company, dismissed!”

As the platoon broke up Edward spoke to the Sergeant, “Sergeant Miles?”

The ground  trembled with the footsteps of the men in their power armor, “Yes m’lord?”

“I hate to change your training schedule but I want you to run the men through a series of ship security drills.”

“Planning a trip, m’lord?”

Edward did not bat an eye at the tone of the Sergeant’s voice. He had served him and his father for the last twenty-two years and had earned the familiarity, “Could be. I’ll have Einhard give you the details as soon as possible.”

The Sergeant snapped a salute, “Will be ready, m’lord!”

A hosts of servants and officials waited just inside the main door of the keep. Edward answered questions, signed requests and gave orders on the go with his chief advisers just a few step behind. Ronald  closed the door to the duke’s office while Einhard swept for listening devices. Edward unbuttoned the jacket of his tunic and draped it over a chair.

“So, let me have it”, Edward said.

“I,” Ronald exchanged a glance with Einhard, “I mean we, don’t believe this trip is worth the risk. We will be going into the heart of enemy territory–”

“Enemy territory? has your threat assessment changed Einhard?”

Einhard ran a hand through his thinning red hair, “No m’lord, it has not, but Ronald is right. This is a very risky move, both politically and militarily.”

“You think this a ploy to capture or kill me?”

“Everything is possible. Unlikely I admit, but still possible,” Einhard said.

Edward sat down on his desk. His chin rested on his folded hands. “Yes, it is. But the price, gentlemen, the price is well worth the effort.”

Mars Jump Gate, Mars, Sol System, Orion Arm, 29 March, 3319 14:06 Local Standard Time

Seven battlecruisers emerged from the concentric rings that formed the jump gate. On the bridge of his flagship, Colossus, Duke Edward de Havilland observed  the scene before him. Mars dangled like a wet green jewel in space, a tribute to Man’s efforts to tame the planet. Tiny motes of light orbited around the planet.

A voice snapped the young duke from his thoughts, “Comm signal from Mars control. They wish to speak to the Duke.”

“Patch it through,” Edward said.

An image sprang in the air in front of him, “This is Mars Orbital Traffic Control, welcoming you to Mars. The Grand Marshall has been waiting for you. He requests permission to come aboard.”

“Permission granted.”

Edward made his way, with guards and full retinue in tow, to the shuttle bay.  They stopped and waited for their guest to disembark from the shuttle. A several men descended the ramp, one of them holding a case. Edward eyes focused on the man leading the party, Grand Marshall Shaparov. He mentally ticked off the facts he memorized about him. While he was as tall as the duke his features were broad and muscular underneath his crisp red military uniform. Shaparov stopped at the bottom of the ramp and snapped a sharp salute. Not the Imperial salute across the chest, but the conventional military salute to the brow. Edward responded in kind.

The newcomer signaled to one his aides. “I am glad you responded to my request.” He opened  the case, “A token of goodwill from me to you.” Inside the case a double edged sword, with a half moon cross guard gleamed in the light. “I’ve heard of your prowess with the blade. I for one prefer the cavalry saber, but each one has its strengths and weakness, as those everything in life.”

Edward fought the urge to test the blade, thinking it improper to brandish a weapon in front of his guests, “I accept this gift in the spirit in which is given.”

“Great!” Shaparov extended his hand. Edward shook it. His counterpart grip was firm but not crushing.

Shows strength without risking insult.

“Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll like to signal my forces. They must be getting very anxious by now,” Shaparov added.

“Of course, come right this way.”

They made their way back to the Colossus bridge. There Shaparov made his transmission.

The face of the Mars Traffic Controller appeared once again, “Gate unlocked. Escorts are in position.”

Edward kept his eyes on the displays as a group of warships took positions around his taskforce. The rings spun into position. “You are clear to access Mars jump gate.”

“Captain, takes us in,” Edward said.

Anything could be waiting at the other side of this jump, but we made it this far.

His perception shifted slightly, as if he had dosed off for a second.  Before him loomed a dark round object, which peeled away to reveal a blue gem with the familiar continental shapes every school child had learned across the galaxy.

Shaparov noticed Edward’s expression and matched it with a wide smile of his own, “My dear Duke, welcome to Earth.”

3 Days to NaNo: A Writer’s Notes/Timeline

There is a lot of stuff that goes into writing any book. Among speculative fiction types, the work behind the scenes is called “world building“. It’s how the build locations, cultures and languages. The most that readers will see are glimpses of the lattice the writer used to erect their epic world/universe because they want to read a story, not an encyclopedia. Still, consistency depends on doing the research and taking the time to iron out the details before you put the proverbial pen to paper.

A common technique that helps the writer (and by extension the reader) keep everything in order is a timeline. Knowing what (and when) something happened in the past relevant to the current action helps give the narrative some depth as well as consistency.

Below I reconstructed (because I lost the original when my laptop went puff!) the RoE timeline as an example:

2034- End of Second Global Insurgency. Fusion power perfected.

2045- New Planetary Government invests in off-world colonies. Large scale terraforming of Mars begins.

2048- First Sol System Confederation. While off world colonies have autonomy, all major decisions are made on Earth.

2050- Second wave off colonization. Earth government unloads “undesirables” on off world colonies. Social tensions, crime and taxation increases across the colonies.

2055- Martian “Civil War” erupts after several city-states declare war on their neighbors citing terrorist attacks on their territory.

2058- Martian Civil War ends in stalemate/truce negotiated by Earth government. Massive contingent of Earth peacekeepers arrive on Mars.  Low grade fighting continues. Earth forces casualties mount.

2066- First Interplanetary War/Colonial rebellion. Begins after Earth defenses fire on a refugee ship from Mars transporting people displaced by the continued upheaval on Mars.

2067- End of First Interplanetary War/Colonial Rebellion with massive bombardment of Mars colony domes by Earth forces.

2071- Second Sol Government established. The Pax Sol begins.

2189- Doctors Andrew Chan, Paul Johansen and Maria Estevez-Rivera win the the Nobel Prize for Physics with their development of their “fold-space” transmitter than can reliably transmit data at Faster Than Light speeds.

2198- First probes equipped with “jump” engines, based on the “fold-space” technology are launched from Saturn. Of the five probes, three reach their destination and transmit data.

2210- First launch of the Millennium colonization project.  Large colony ships, carrying over 10k colonist each are launched from the Sol System.

2280- Large colonies established across the local star group. Humanity expands along the central axis of the Orion Arm.

2351- Humans encounter first alien species of limited intelligence. As the distances between Sol and the outer colonies increase so do tensions between local governments.

2355- Large scale cross raiding human space occurs. Local governments blame each other.  Pax Sol ends as Earth forces can not contain the fighting.

2361- Alien forces strike at the human world of Hodierna.  First contact with intelligent hostile species.

2362- First intergalactic war begins.

2369- Sol forces fight a series of delaying actions across the Butterfly Cluster but the cluster is lost. Contact with the enemy ceases.

2414- The enemy is finally identified as the Garou, a canine-like species.  The Second Intergalactic war begins.

2419- Human forces manage to hold  enemy gains but are unable to strike back. Raiding of human space ceases once more.

2449- Collapse of the Second Sol government as infighting between colonies deplete its resources. Garou raiding starts anew.

2494- Third Sol Government launches a series of counter strikes against the Garou and rebel factions.  After severe losses on both sides the Sol goverment creates a buffer zone of “free states” between itself and Garou occupied space.

2514- Admiral Otto Von Kaiser launches a series of bold strikes into Garou territory after “discovering” intelligence that some Free World governments conspired with the Garou to launch an assault on the Sol Government.

2516- On his return to Earth, Von Kaiser made a successful plead to finish the Garou threat once and for all. The government grants him extraordinary powers to deal with the enemy.

2518- Now Grand Marshall Otto Von Kaiser launches a strike deep into the Perseus arm and into the Garou home world. Caught off guard the Garou central government capitulates.

2520- Von Kaiser returns triumphant to Earth. He is declared the first “potentate”.

2852- The Kaiser oligarchy extends human rule to the core of the galaxy.

2856- Liu Bang Han leads a successful rebellion against the Kaiser oligarchy.

3000- Hian Xian Han grandson of Liu Bang  declares  January 1st, 3000 CE as Year Zero of the Empire. Humanity expands from the center of the galaxy across the remaining arms.

3309- Liu Han, 8th direct descendant of the Han Dynasty, having conquered most of the galaxy divides the territory among newly created “Houses” lead by his most successful generals.  He claims the Orion and Cygnus Arms as his own plus the Galactic Center. The Kaisers are given the Centaurus Arm and House De Havilland is given Sagittarius Arm. The remaining arm is gifted to the Garou for “loyal service to the Empire”.

3436-  Wu Han launched the “One Year Campaigns” to rein piracy from the Void, (areas between the galactic arms and the outer star sphere of the galaxy).

3548- Lao Han, a first cousin to the reigning Han Dynasty Empero, launches a planetary bombardment using nuclear arms and high impact kinetic weapons of a rebel colony on the Void.  . 80% of the planets population (600 million total) die in the onslaught. However this world belonged to a De Havilland Minor House. Entreaties to the Emperor about this war crime fall on deaf ears.

3550- The de Havilland House Major allies with dissident factions inside the Han Dynasty and launches a successful assault on Earth.  The battle devastates the planet and ends the rule of the Han over the Galaxy.

3551- A new Emperor John I rises to the throne. He shifts the Imperial capital to  Pharris in the Galactic Central Spar.  To placate the other houses, he severs ties with his own House Major (House De Havilland), renounces control over the Sagitarrus Arm and creates a new House, the Imperial House.

3778- Law of Natural Birth announced by Alfred I. No child conceived by artificial means could be considered a rightful successor to any House, including the Imperial House.

4001- John III dies without a successor. The  Third Dynasty collapses and the Galaxy falls into Civil War.

4010- Edward Duke de Havilland, dies at the result of an ambush.  Imperial forces under Marshall Makarov attempts to restore order but fails.

4011- Edward son, Jamess dies without an apparent heir.  His sister Elizabeth becomes regent of House de Havilland until her own son can assume the Ducal seat.

4023- Civil war erupts between two factions claiming the right of succession to House de Havilland. Jeremy de Havilland claims legitimate  status from his father. His cousin  Edward II disputes the claim.  After a year of infighting Jeremy slays his cousin and her aunt accepts his claim.

4250- Red Horse Campaign.

4320- Present Day.

———

I know, pretty long. Again, most of this stuff will never see the light of day, outside of my notes or this blog. But it puts certain things into perspective.

And now for some music with The Crystal Method:

7 Days to NaNo: In the Beginning

So what exactly am I doing for NaNo 09?

The name of the this blog is a clue of sorts, as it shares said name with the title of my NaNo:

Ruins of Empire

The Throne of Stars remains empty. For three hundred years no one has has claimed the seat of the Galactic Empire. The last three centuries war consumed the length of the galaxy, with no clear winner in sight.  Now an unusual alliance of bitter rivals may change may place a young Duke on the Throne of Stars. But can he trust his new allies, his bride to be and survive the perilous journey from his home world to the very center of the galaxy? Will a new order rise out of the Ruins of Empire?

So what you think?

I’ll post more details tomorrow.

And now for some music: