Friday, December 29, 2017

Writing & Blogging Plans for 2018

Then plan for next year is to do the following:

  • Weekly serial fiction posts on this blog. Tuesdays or Wednesdays; haven't decided yet.
  • Weekly commentary posts on the business and related matters at this blog, on another day. This will remain Fridays.
  • Quarterly novelettes, wholly separate from the serial stories. These will also be set in the same Feudal Future, with Sir Ramsey as my hero character.
  • Annual collection of the serials completed during the year to be published in a single volume.

The last part is the most difficult. Yes, I can write them, make a basic cover, and sell them on Amazon in the Kindle store. That's an option, but I know that covers do matter and so does having someone with a clue edit the manuscript. This requires more than I can do at the moment on my own, so I'm considering my options.

I also want to follow a scheme where I put out the ebook first, then the print version as POD some time thereafter. Folks who've been down this road, and have advice, hit me up in the comments or by email.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Miscellanous Setting Notes for the Feudal Future

Space is Big, and Writers (Typically) Have No Sense of Scale.

So, if you don't mind my indulgence, some setting notes.

  • Earth has a population of 10 billion people. Yet most people are not urbanites. Those on Earth proper are spread out across all of its landmass (including Antartica) and do not cluster in coastal cities, reducing the congestion of population accordingly. Further relieving this pressure are the floating settlements on the oceans, and their seabed counterparts deep below the waves. High-speed rail transit forms relgional networks that link up at major hubs into a global network. Air travel links with orbital connections to complete the Earth transit network. The orbital habitation is half the population, clustered around the Lagrange points using the model from the Universal Century timeline of the Gundam franchise (sans terminology).
  • Mars and Venus are similarly populated, maintaining familiarity with Earth-normal living standards for extra-planetary populations; this practice repeated itself outside of the Terran System. Terraforming efforts are minimized by preferring Earth-like planets when viable, but the means to change a planet into something suitable for Mankind does exist and has for some time- including the means to increase or decrease the gravity of a world into Earth-friendly ranges.
  • Faster Than Light Travel exists. Multiple forms exist, but most people know only of the hyperspace travel that requires starships with FTL drives. Gate-based travel exists. (Yes, that means that the gate at Garmil's Gate is a literal stargate.) The reason for both FTL travel and space-based population expansion stems from the same reason as the following technologies: The Nephalim and their Fallen Angel fathers.
  • Mecha: Powered armor arose during the Wars of the Damned in the era immediately after the Coming of the Azure Flames. It was the best option to leverage a reduced Mankind's odds against the undead horde of the Necromancer, allowing a single man to fight against a thousand or more at a time- unarmed. Armed suits increased the leverage yet again, reducing the hordes from billions to nothing within a few generations, a deed done when The Emperor arose to establish the Empire of Man over the ruined Earth and bring war to the Nephalim. Giant robots arose when they became needed to fight the great monsters as well as the Nephalim and their fathers face-to-face. First those of the Real Robot sort, and then when the Church escaped its hobbling it joined in earnest and the Super Robots came in their wake to allow Man to fight Angel on even footing.
  • Blasters: Arose when the need for firepower exceeding what then-conventional firearms allowed, with the creation of practical plasma-casting technology. Using the existing infrastructure to minimize downtime during the turnover, and increase redundancy, a situation akin to the 19th century's introduction of the metallic cartridge occurred. The first generation blasters were conversions of conventional cartridge firearms; the second generation were purpose-designed and built to use plasma cartridges, but could use more conventional ones if required. Eventually blasters became the norm, and the older firearms became historical relics like those they formerly displaced. Newer technologies are eliminating the need for shells, but those are naval technologies only at this time.
  • Cloning/Drones/AI: Either banned or highly-regulated by the Church. Bodies with ego but no soul are ridiculously open to demonic possession, so to prevent demonic Terminator incidents these are banned from usage or highly restricted. Alas, this ban passed only after a high-profile incident in the past; the possessed AI warship is still out there, and still seeking to Kill All Humans. The use of cloning is strictly and tightly regulated, allowing for medical usage so long as it is neither contrary to dogma nor otherwise a criminal act. In either case, the Inquisitors are not shy about nuking the site from orbit just to be sure. This means that vehicles of all sizes still have men at the controls, with only some levels of remote piloting allowed.
  • Personal Weapons: Most people carry a knife, or walk with a cane or staff. Those able to afford a blaster pistol carry it, and few places are so foolish or venal as to ban the practice and try to enforce it. Beam swords are commonplace for noblemen, knights, and those aspiring to such status (often gentlemen).
  • Medical technology: In a properly established and maintain facility, almost nothing immediately fatal will keep you down; gene therapy (see Cloning), self-derived clones of vital parts (clone your own liver; swap it out for a damaged one), and similar such technologies along with therapeutic techniques to support recovery make many injuries survivable. Lost limbs remain an issue, but for now cyborg replacements are the norm and are fitted as soon as possible.

And that's just some of them. Merry Christmas, folks.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Setting the Story: Welcome to Garmil's Gate

Sir Ramsey's debut adventure occurs on the far-away rimward world of Garmil's Gate.

It's called that for two reasons. The first is that the discoverer was Saint Garmil, martyred during the very expedition to this world which now bears his name. The second is the gate itself, found in the possession of an evil cult sworn to a demonic master said to be on the far side of the gate, a master known to the cult as "Dess Lok". The cult held the gate in the hopes of opening it so their master could come forth, conquer the galaxy, and raise them up as the lords of this galactic satrapy. This was the first encounter with a nation of blue-skinned mutants, whose own lore claimed Dess Lok to be their liberator from a slavelord god that yoked them to his will, and encouraged hostility to all outside their own kind accordingly.

That cult long ago died by sword and blaster, in return for their own ambush of Saint Garmil's party and deliberate butchery thereof. The specific records are vague, but it seemed that the cult believed the gate to be powered by the souls of those sacrificed ritually before the power-generators. (It didn't work.) After a time of cleansing and exorcism, Garmil's Gate became a colony world; first a garrison arose in orbit, working out of an orbital colony known as "Gatewatch" and manned initially by the Knights of Saint George. (Now the garrison's compliment is the household militia of Sir Han Fang, the 10th Lord Garmil, held in fief ultimately to Duke Far as part of House Far's holdings.)

Aside from religious pilgrimage, Garmil's Gate is notable as being an industrial world- specifically, a mining world whose output of strategic minerals is matched by orbital facilities that process the raw ore and ship out the materials to other words for crafting into whatever is required. (A portion is retained for local use in that manner.) This means that a lot of shipping, much of it bulk shipping, comes to and leaves from Garmil's Gate. Accordingly, Lord Garmil oversees not only a vigil over the gate but also the colony population of workers on the mine concern on the planet's surface.

The Mining Guild, as per treaty at the Court of Stars generations before, runs the mining operation. They import their workforce from offworld, taking from the refuse of the galaxy to consume here as if wood into a stove, so the local clergy spend a lot of their time between Sunday services conducting funerals and administering treatment (while filing reports with their superiors on matters here). While Lord Garmil accepts the Guild's operations, he has warned the Guild's man here that these are conditions ripe to explode into violent unrest if management cannot maintain its power, and a disruption of operations is bad for all concerned.

The rest of the planet is open to settlement, but few dwell here. One island is a penal colony for criminals who, for whatever reason, merit execution but cannot be put to death; it is isolated from the rest of planet due to being deep in the middle of one ocean. Some noble families maintain holiday retreats here, catering to hunting lodges for expeditions against the savage fauna to be found outside pacified territories, and military testing of ordinance and vehicles goes on in the wastelands near the mining colony's operations.

Lord Garmil isn't here most of the time, preferring the more civilized environments of the Fang's holdings elsewhere, leaving the day-to-day administrations to a disfavored son: Sir Kei Fang, banished in all but name to Garmil's Gate for an embarrassing incident at his elder brother's wedding some years back, as he is forbidden by his father from leaving the world without his leave or that of his lord. Lord Garmil finds his visits to the world be bothersome intrusions upon his time. There are no other worlds in this system, so all attention is focused on this planet, and Lord Garmil finds it lacking despite the wealth it generates for him.

A savvy predator learns to read the scene before him, and pirates are no different. Red Eyes, and his master, see weakness here and with it an opportunity to break big into Galactic Christendom. That is why Red Eyes sent Dashing Jack to Garmil's Gate, first to scout, but there is more in play here than the ravenous reavers' seeking to slake their thirst for plunder- secrets revealed when Sir Ramsey comes in the Baden-Powell to deal with the Red Eyes pirates.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meet The Knight-Errant: Sir Ramsey Hennepin

The first serial I'm going to publish here next year is something of a shakedown cruise for me. These stories will focus around the adventures of a Knight of the Solar Guard, Sir Ramsey Hennepin, as he plays the role of trouble-shooter for the Court of Stars. The cruise will lay the groundwork for bigger stories, allowing Sir Ramsey's adventures to also introduce characters, concepts, and conflicts that get proper focus down the road.

Sir Ramsey runs around the galaxy in a personal starship (the S.S. Baden-Powell, a Longboat-class scout ship, commissioned by the Church for the Solar Guard from the Terran Shipwrights' Guild on Earth) acting as a mobile base of operations for himself and his lance: Sibley, his sergeant-at-arms; and Creton, Sibley's son who acts as Ramsey's page.

Most of Ramsey's missions require him to act independently, wholly or as a detached component of a larger unit. He's earned this status through years of valorous, distinguished service- first as a squire, then as a knight in his own right. He begins this cruise without a squire, as he recently knighted his last one and Creton's getting into the age where a boy serving as a page begins being groomed for life as a squire. This puts Ramsey at about 30 years of age, and as-yet still a bachelor (normal for Solar Guard knights), so he's in his prime.

With his beam sword always at hand, Sir Ramsey cuts a dashing, romantic figure- especially when in action. Be it at the stick of the Baden-Powell as it swoops into the fray, fighting pirates man-to-man to rescue hostages with sword and blaster, chasing heretics conspiring to bring forth infernal fiends, or courtly manners with local nobles while inquiring into issues that brought him hence, Ramsey's a Man of Action that is more at home sailing the Sea of Stars than at his estate in the central North American lake country on Earth.

When the enemies of Mankind see Ramsey's brilliant sun-yellow beam sword, they know they face the wrath of someone greater than the local nobleman and his men-at-arms- and that's before considering what he has available to him when truly extreme situations arise. I have one story already in outline, and will begin writing it before the year is up; I hope you enjoy reading it as much I do writing.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Coming Soon: The Return of Serial Stories!

As you can see on the Popular Post sidebar on the blog, I used this as an outlet for serialized storytelling for years before I changed to the current conception of this blog. Well, that's going to change again after the new year; the serial stories are going to come back starting next year in January.

They will NOT replace the present weekly blog posts. That's right, they will be additions to the schedule, not replacements! As I explained in previous posts, I will use the serialized stories to tell stories that otherwise get consigned to the bin because they aren't relevant to the larger works I'm working on; they will not be required to get the full experience of a book I publish, but rather be something to keep you happy between releases or flesh out characters and ideas that aren't the focus of a given story.

And I will be using this blog to tell you, my readers, more about this Feudal Future Fantasy I'm creating. Eventually I'll put this all together into a wiki, but for now this will be sufficient.