Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Business: On To Book Two of #StarKnight

I'm working on the plot outline for Book Two. As Book One was out on the frontier, Book Two is at the heart of Galactic Christendom: Holy Terra (and the solar system).

This is less of a story about fleets and naval action, and more of an intrigue-focused adventure, because we're out to thwart an assassination this time out. The mastermind villain has a loose end to tie up, lest everything get undone, so the loose end needs to die so the plot can go on. Sir Ramsey figured that out, so that loose end is in a safe location; the trick now is to figure out who's trying to kill the secured individual.

Sir Ramsey shows his pro-active practice here, starting the plot with initiating a fake leak. He sends out a rumor, varies the substance several times as he tells several people, and then waits to see which version shows up in the gossip circles. Once he determines who's prone to leaking, he sets up a trap by announcing that the secured individual will appear to testify before the Court of Stars on the recent pirate matter.

The mastermind senses that this is a trap, but cannot afford to ignore the possibility, so a duel of wits begins. Less with the fleets and the giant mecha, more with the smaller mecha, single ships, and running beam sword fights across Rome, Mars, the Moon, and other notable locations.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Business: Not By Bread Alone

George Lucas figured out that merchandise is where the real money is made when it comes to properties like Star Wars, a fact that made him his fortune. Close to him temporally, but across the Pacific, many of the mecha show/manga people figured this out also and out came wave after wave of model kits, action figures, and other affiliated merchandise so the target audience could spend yet more money on the stuff they liked.

If there is something I find stupid about how mainstream Western SF operates, it is that they somehow don't want to admit that this is true. They routinely leave money on the table that could get them out of debt, secure their households for life, and allow them to do on the regular what Larry Correia has done instead of thinking that it's a Black Swan event.

No, dammit, that's not how it has to be. One of the things I want to do with #StarKnight is show others that you can do this.

Right now, what is within my control is the ability to write and publish novels. The business is not what it was, and that includes things that most mainstream Western SF authors have long forgotten is within their control, such as keeping an ear to the ground for what ancillary merchandise people would want. These days it's not hard to do things like shirts and mugs since you don't have to have them printed before selling them. Posters and wall scrolls are about there, as I recall, but I need to confirm that before I can say so definitively.

Which means that I need to start thinking about branding and branding means logos. This is where you folks come in. Below is a logo that ArtAnon--the individual making the art for #StarKnight and #Xseed--did for me. In-universe, this is the logo of the Solar Guard; if you think this works as a brand logo or no, comment below (and for the love of God, explain why; I'm no mind-reader).

View post on imgur.com

In addition, here's what I'm currently thinking for merch I can do in the short term:

  • Shirts: A shirt replicating what you see in Roland's duty outfit (crest on the breast) with the logo on the back, and maybe a variant going with the battle armor version (may do that on a hooded sweatshirt instead).
  • Posters: Finished cover on a poster for starters. I will gladly add others upon request.
  • Loresite: My own blend of Wookipedia and MAHQ? It's happening as soon as I know there's an audience and I can afford the domain name.

I'll come back to this again in future posts because I think this mindset shift is something else that would greatly change the game; I see that Nick Cole & Jason Anspach as well as Vox Day are already making this shift and I expect the results will be quite something to behold, and I'm not shy in saying that if they blaze a successful trail then we'd be fools not to follow hot on their heels.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Business: Post-Mortem on the Star Knight Campaign

This post is a follow-on from a post I did at the main blog as the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign approached its conclusion. Where that post is about what I'd expected to be my post-campaign timeline, this is me looking back over what went down.

  • Constraints: I had nothing in terms of monetary capital. The campaign's purpose was to raise some. That I not only hit my initial goal, but--at the very end--managed to double it, is a fantastic success. In addition to having no money, I also came into this with little exposure to other campaigns and no experience of my own; I took what advice I found beforehand and followed it as well as I could. I attribute my success in large part to heeding that advice.
  • Media: I made four podcast appearances over the course of the campaign, and on a few more I got the word out via chatroom participation, but of the four appearance the first--my Killstream appearance--had the strongest immediate impact. It was also my worst media appearance of the four. I had a similar impact just by participating in every World Class Bullshitters livestream I could, and both are equal to the support I got from the Twitch streamers I solicited for support.
  • Personality vs. Product Appeal: Nick Cole is consistent in saying that readers are loyal first and foremost to genre, and I tried to emphasize in word and image whom I'm appealing to. The problem? A lot of the groups I'm friendly with were far more on board with "#StarWarsNotStarWars" than anything else. It didn't help that I hadn't bothered to break it down to something most folks could grok in a second. "Star Wars + Voltron + Robotech" (+ Deus Vult, for some segments) worked. My personality worked more to my benefit in the later podcast appearances, and that will become an asset going forward, but only if properly employed.
  • Salesmanship: I suck at sales. I should not be surprised, as I have no experience as such. Advice proffered, publicly and privately, I've archived for later re-reading. Watching Nick Cole's recent video series shows that this writing business really is a business, and nothing was more obvious than how clear it was that Nick scripted and rehearsed each video he's done. I have to suck less at sales going forward until I get good at it, or I'll die of old age before I can buy my own mountain.

TLDR: I succeeded, despite the revelation of a significant lack of experience and gap in my skillset.

If I am to build on this success going forward, I must pay the price required to fill those gaps and learn as much as I can from my experiences here. I have things yet to learn about this entire scene, which means trying to learn from others' mistakes on a whole new set of things I need to do.

Some of this stuff I need to delegate to another, and at this stage that's purely due to time issues; I'm getting a good sense of what will require my focused attention and what won't (and when) now, so I'm getting an idea of what needs to be delegated and when- and what I can just rotate to the backburner while I put my energy on something else instead.

Which leads to a book/writing related thing: I'm a pantser by nature, heavily visual in my imagination (which is why my lack of drawing skill frustrates me at times; I'm think that this too is a skill I should just suck up and build up) with outlining usually me laying down waypoints to hit instead of a road to pave, and that worked this time. For Book Two forward, that needs to tighten up; I need to clearly mark out that plot before I fire up Scrivener to write that beast, especially if I hope to attain Pulp Speed and write as fast as the creator of The Shadow- Walter B. Gibson.

Right now, I'm aiming at manuscript sizes of 60K words; that's easily done in two weeks if I can reach Pulp Speed (about 6K words a day) (After listening to Nick's video on Audible and audiobooks, I'm wondering if I should bundle three of them together for the audiobook offerings if I stay at that manuscript size.)

Anyway, the money's making it's way to me now. Soon I'll cut Brian a check and give him the manuscript. At that time, I'll bring up two things: merchandise and a logo. The former I want to set up so I have additional revenue streams going. The latter I know I need for branding purposes, and I think that's where I can signal that--like Legend of the Galactic Heroes--this is a property with old-school sensibility (much like how Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark did 40ish years ago).

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": Aces Face Off

This is it! This is the final day for the Indiegogo campaign, and so here's the final manuscript excerpt. This is from Part 3, during the Battle of Hell's Heart, which is the climax of the novel's story. If this gets you moving, go here and push the project over the line for the Stretch Goal.


Ramsey’s escape from Hell’s Heart quickly reached both sides. On MacBeth, Gabriela sighed with relief as she waited in Duke Ireton’s quarters. Sibley and Creton smiled at each other as they prepared to return to battle in Baden-Powell, and Ireton smiled at Captain Denten as he called for a rearrangement of the fleet’s battle line. On Revenge, Gori took a deep breath at this big change in the battle. Jack recognized the severity of the situation while fending off the four New Roman aces still out to get him, and Zuzu felt a sense of dread at the news.

“Gori!” Zuzu said, “I’m almost dry. I need to come in!”

“Get in if you can and make it fast.” Jack said, “You’re no good out here with just a sword.”

More missiles flew in from far away now, coming straight for the fortress. “They’re reorganizing their battle line.” Gori said, “Battleships, carriers, and heavy cruisers are standing off while their escorts are coming in to assist the mecha. They’re going for a partial englobement.”

“How many more carriers to go?” Jack said, slipping past the ace flight once more and dodging around a rock. Gori looked on the viewscreen. “Three sunk. Three away. That leaves four. We’re going to be pressed hard to hold this fleet back until everyone else is away.”

“We’ve got our ace in the hole.” Zuzu said, now approaching the ventral aft of Revenge as its hangar ramp extended, “He’s come out if it gets that bad.”

As Zuzu approached the battleship, Ramsey in Durendal marked the location of Anakim, Revenge, and Jack’s Black Knight in addition to the massive Goblin horde as well as Revenge’s Hobgoblin squadron. The remaining pirate escorts and carriers then got marked. Ramsey forwarded that data to Baden-Powell, which spread it to the rest of the allied fleet.

“Where’s that Solar Guardsman?” Jack said, finally getting one of those aces with a beam sword through the chest—and cockpit, and powerplant—and destroying it.

Zuzu, taking in some drinks while the technicians on Revenge’s flight deck hurry through rearming, “Gori?”

Gori looked at the viewscreen for a moment. “Oh no!”

Ramsey locked on to Jack’s Black Knight. “Coming to assist, New Romans.” He closed into range for his beam rifle, and quickly fell in for the fallen comrade, needing no time to adjust to the aces’ teamwork. Yet, having superior power, it became apparent to the three aces that Ramsey should take the lead and wordlessly let him assume the front position in their flight. “Skip the launchers!” Gori said, calling down to the bay, “Rockets and the long rifle. GO!”

Zuzu tossed her empties out and closed up the cockpit as the technicians strapped the rocket pods to Anakim’s legs. A few more attached spare magazines to Anakim’s hips, and Zuzu took the long rifle in hand as she again departed Revenge’s hangar.

“I’m on my way!”

“Good!” Jack said, dodging rifle fire from one direction while in hand-to-hand with another and Ramsey circling for another opening, “I’m also running low and need to fall back.”

Anakim’s thrusters went to full burn and rocketed Zuzu to Jack’s location. As she approached, she took aim with the long rifle and fired. One of the other Cataphracts flew behind a rock, but it wasn’t enough. The rifle’s slug penetrated the rock and lodged into the doomed pilot’s powerplant, causing to explode in a brilliant fireball.

“Stay on Black Knight!” Ramsey said, “I’ll take care of this one.”

Ramsey peeled off, beam rifle ready. Zuzu took aim with the rifle and fired, but Ramsey rolled away from the line of fire with aplomb. Zuzu countered by launching her pods at him, forcing Ramsey to shoot them down and giving Zuzu concealment for her next shot. Ramsey rolled away from that one also, and the next, until he got within range for his rifle. Zuzu swapped to Anakim’s beam rifle and the two began darting between rocks and wrecks, attempting to catch the other out of positions for a fatal shot.

Several rocks got blasted to pebbles, and several wrecks got blasted to pieces, as each scored near-hits that would have proven fatal had they come just a moment earlier or later than when they got under cover. Then Zuzu got an opening on Ramsey, but Ramsey rolled off the line and threw power into the thrusters to rush Zuzu; he swapped the rifle for the beam sword, and Zuzu had to toss her rifle away to get Anakim’s out to block in time.

“Not this time!” Ramsey said, grabbing Anakim’s main hand arm with his off-hand and shoving Anakim into a nearby rock. With his sword arm he reversed the blade and brought it down to thrust into Anakim’s neck. Zuzu saw the stroke coming and tried to block the stroke with her off-hand arm, but even with the beam sword’s blade going through that arm it was not enough. The beam burned through the off-hand forearm, through-and-through its armor and structure, and then pierced Anakim at the neck. Zuzu knew Anakim was now doomed and punched out.

“Damn you, Roland!” she yelled as she recovered her bearings. “I’m going in for our trump card. I’m tired of this.”

Ramsey didn’t hesitate to change targets once he saw Zuzu punch out. He grabbed the long rifle off Anakim’s back and took aim at Black Knight. “One shot left, but it’s all I need.”

Ramsey took aim, waited for the other two Cataphracts to get out of the line of fire, and then fired. Jack felt his mecha lurch with the impact, ripping through the back thrusters. That was enough. Unable to maneuver, Jack soon got overwhelmed and had his mecha’s limbs severed one-two, one-two. He took punched out, getting clear just before the New Roman aces finished Black Knight off.

“Withdraw to MacBeth.” Ramsey said to the New Roman aces, “You’ve gotten your revenge.”

“Almost. The battleship remains.”

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": A Suspect Sacrifice

This week's excerpt is from a chapter tenatively titled "Rhythm Emotion", and it occurs after Count Qis petitioned the Court of Stars to come to House Ireton's aide in enacting reprisal against Red Eyes while rescuing Countess Gabriela. If this is the Space Opera you want more of, then go here and back the campaign.


Qis departed from Rome in a diplomatic skycar, flying North to the ancestral homeland of his family in Scandinavia. Landing in Oslo, Norway, he arrived at the family’s home on Earth. The servants welcomed him home. As the footman took his cloak, he addressed the majordomo. “All is as I specified, Robert?”

Robert, an old family retainer, smiled and nodded. “Your meal shall be delivered to your office presently, my lord.” Qis smiled and put a gloved hand on the old man. “Your timing remains impeccable. As soon as I am finished, I am not to be disturbed until I say otherwise.”

“Very good, my lord.” Robert said, and Qis took leave of him and the others. He walked up the stairs and into the secure wing of the house, where he kept his office on Earth, and as he entered the chambers he saw a boy about Creton’s age next to a delivery cart arranging his meal. Qis kept quiet, watching the boy a moment execute his duty, making note of the lad’s eagerness to ensure he did exactly as told. Only when the boy turned around to leave did he notice Qis standing there.

“My lord!” he said, quickly bowing as expected of a child of his station, “Your meal is ready.”

Qis smirked at him. “I see. Hold a moment, lad.”

Qis took his seat at the table prepared. He looked over the food and drink arrayed, a modest plate of fresh fruit next to a warm sandwich, a bowl of soup, and a cup of tea. He then waived the boy over.

“You’re far too nervous, my boy, and such nerves ruins a lad’s character quickly.” Qis said as he handed the boy the cup, “By my permission, have some tea. It will calm you.”

The boy bowed and took the cup. “Thank you, my lord.” he said, and took a long sip. The boy handed the cup back, and a moment passed.

“Better?” Qis looked on, as if expecting something.

The boy’s eyes went wide in surprise, and his chested seized up. Then he collapsed, looking upon Qis with an arm outstretched. Qis took it, and went down on one knee.

“I will punish those who did this, my boy.” Qis said as the boy shook, “Your death is not in vain.”

Moments later, the serving boy went limp and Qis keyed into the comlink. “Robert, another attempted averted. Arrange for the boy’s funeral. Pay out from the household budget.”

“Do we have a suspect, my lord?”

“There will be soon enough, Robert. I shall test the rest presently, just in case. For now, brew some coffee and bring it up. It’s going to be a long night.”

“Very good, my lord.”

Qis looked into the eyes of the murdered innocent serving boy. “You are one more sacrifice I make for what Mankind requires: the unity of a King of Kings, all speaking the same tongue that speaks the same creed- the creed of Babylon.”

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": An Unconvincing Argument

What follows is an excerpt from Chapter Two, "Just Communication", and it is shortly after Lord Roland and Countess Robin meet. If you like what you see here, head over to Indiegogo and pledge your support.


Ramsey escorted Gabriela into the Grand Hall, her entourage following behind them. Duchess Ireton called Gabreila over.

“Countess,” Duchess Ireton smiled at her, “everything will be ready for your performance after dinner tonight.”

“My company and I are grateful for your hospitality, Your Grace.” Gabriela said with a curtsy.

Duchess Ireton turned to Ramsey. “Will my noble lord be her escort tonight?”

“Of course!” Gabreila said, “He came all the way from Earth just to see to my security. How more able can a fighting man be than to be beside the lady he is to protect?”

Ramsey bowed. “My lady believes she will perform at her best if she feels secure by my presence.”

“And Count Qis has no objection?”

Gabriela again spoke quickly. “If so, he has not spoken of it, and since unspoken is undone then there is none.”

“Well, then, I shall leave this place to see to the feast’s final preparations before evening prayers. Until then.”

“Until then.” Gabriela curtsied again as the Duchess left.

“Until then.” Ramsey said, bowing, and he turned to Gabriela, “My lady is too eager to speak when it favors her.”

“My lord, you truly think that I am the target of a pirate raid? Here? Even if this is a frontier world, it is still the seat of the Dire March. Our hosts are not fools who use their men at arms as players’ props. Even if such a raid were to come, what it would take to reach this castle—much less take this prize—is beyond the reckoning of the most fevered authors’ imaginations.”

“That, my lady, are the famous last words of many who would ends their lives in thrall to some tyrant- or worse. Read less of those fevered authors and more of those revered chroniclers. Truth is far stranger than fiction, for fiction follows the form that men will find soothing, while truth takes whatever form Our Heavenly Lord commands of it, and the truth is that such raids have happened before—many times over the many years of Man’s existence—and to steal away a desired woman is the reason most before now have happened at all. Why would you not take this seriously?”

“Because, most noble lord, there is no pirate able to do such a deed. Even if he was mad for desire of me, he would surely perish for trying.”

Ramsey pulled a palm-sized projector from a pocket. He projected an image of Duke Kawamori. “This is from the Court of Stars, just before Christmas.”

“The fact that the Red Eyes pirates are now manufacturing mecha of their own design, and in massive numbers, means that the size of the pirate group is far larger than we previously believed. They possess an industrial capacity, and that means both a warfighting logistical network- both of men and material. My noble lords, this is no mere cunning company of cutthroats. This is a hostile alien empire, and we underestimate what Red Eyes can do at our peril.”

Ramsey put away the projector. “We do not know the details of what Red Eyes can do. We know only that they can reach farther, and with greater strength, than any other pirate band today. We’ve seen nothing like it for nearly a century, and we have reason to believe that you—specifically—are central to Red Eyes’ ambitions. Why is not known, yet, only that when he comes for you is a matter of time.”

“You would do what with me then?”

“Secure you far from his reach. You can play to your adoring fans remotely, and if you persist in this girlish defiance I need only make one call do just that.”

Gabriela felt an anger swell up inside her, and she fixed her eyes upon him to let loose that anger, but found his face a stone wall of duty and her glare soon faded as the flash of furious feeling fell away from her. Only then did she notice his hand upon her cheek, lifting her eyes back up to his.

“Go to Chapel and say your prayers, my lady. Pour your passion into your performance, and pray for serenity tonight instead of excitement. Tomorrow, you’re going to Earth, and thereafter you stay until your noble father comes to collect you.”

Friday, August 3, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": Come, Durendal!

Author's Note: What you are about to read is from a Work In Progress. The final version may be different, significantly different, from this draft excerpt. This is taken from a chapter tentatively titled "The Taking of Gabriela Robin", at the climax of Part One of the book. If you want to see this finished, and get more like it, back the Indiegogo campaign here. As of this post, we're 83% of the way towards the initial goal of $1000, so your support now is likely to ensure this project happens.


Ramsey ran out of the Grand Hall, down a corridor and out into a pathway that lead to a stairway up the curtain wall. He paused to see the Ireton Gallowglass mecha struggling against the unknown mecha that launched from Dashing Jack’s battleship- itself clearing the skies of Ireton fighters and holding descending cruisers at bay with its guns and missiles. Sweeping across the spaceport below was the tall manlike model, moving with aplomb among the buildings on the surface. It looks like a statue in the image of an armored warrior of antiquity.

Ramsey backed up a space, drew a baton from its boot sheathe, then turned about and ran for the wall’s edge. He jumped over the edge, took the baton in both hands, and bellowed “Roland, draw your sword!”

The baton separated in the middle, as if held together by magnetism. Ramsey held each half as if were a joystick controller. From those halves golden lights appeared and drew into place about him a giant-sized armored frame. Then each core subsystem in turn drew into place, followed by the cockpit interior, and finally the lights filled the frame-drawing in. It became a solid manlike mecha, shaped as a living suit of full plate armor, gleaming royal blue and trimmed in gold, bearing the crest of Roland on its chest, and standing 12 meters tall. The cockpit within lit up, giving Ramsey a 360 degree view about him as the unit’s legs kicked forward to fire the thrusters in its feet while the thrusters in its back synced to fire with them. Ramsey landed with a resounding thud, but he landed on both feet and ready for action.

“Behold!” Ramsey yelled, “Durendal has arrived!”

The Gallowglass units within range of his voice, boosted by the speakers in Durendal’s head, took heart at Ramsey’s appearance. “We’re saved!” one pilot said, “The Solar Guard stands with us!”

Zuzu cracked a wicked grin within the cockpit of Anakim. “There you are!” she said, and she turned her mecha to face Ramsey. “I can stop playing with these fools now.”

Ramsey looked on as he saw Anakim level a long rifle at him. Reading the mech’s movements as if he would a living man, Ramsey ran behind an empty mech hangar just as Zuzu fired upon him. He quickly shifted direction once he passed the hangar doors, ducking out of sight, as the follow-up shots drew closer and closer to him.

As he drew his battle rifle, Ramsey noticed the lack of ordinance meant to flush him out of the hangar. He lurched forward and rolled away from the corner he took, taking a hunch as to his enemy’s intention, and when he saw the long rifle’s barrel break through the wall he got Durendal to its feet and returned fire. Then he aimed up and fired through the hangar roof, where he heard something explode.

“Got one of the smaller ones, my lord!” a Gallowglass pilot said, “But their leader’s moving to flank you again.”

“My thanks.” Ramsey said, intuiting where Zuzu moved and firing another shot that way.

Zuzu hustled around the hangar, trying to out-think her target, only to find him shooting from within the hangar at her as she brought the long rifle up to fire. She reflexively threw the rifle in the way, blasting it in half. She discarded the ruined rifle, tossing it aside, in the few moments she had before it exploded and unintentionally destroying the spaceport’s barracks. More rifle fire came from within the hangar, blowing holes in the wall and forcing Zuzu to dodge. She found a half-wrecked truck, dashed behind it as Ramsey blind-fired at her, picked up the flaming wreckage and then ran for the hangar.

“We bring the pain to you!” Zuzu cried as she crashed through the wall. Ramsey shifted Durendal's feet, stepping out of the line of attack, and fired upon the wreckage. The shot blew a hole through what substance remained, making the rest fall apart in Anakim’s hands. Ramsey fired again, but Zuzu dodged it and pulled a lance from Anakim’s back. The end ignited, and Ramsey jumped away through the roof to get clear as Zuzu went on the attack. As he descended, he put the rifle away; he thought Zuzu would immediately pursue with a charge.

Zuzu did not disappoint. Ramsey drew his beam sword and met Zuzu’s charge with a forceful parry. He spun to one side, off the lance’s line, and tried to get inside Zuzu’s reach- but she did not allow it, reversing the spin to catch Ramsey open with a kick, a kick she delivered and sent Ramsey spiraling through another building as he hurried to reclaim his balance.

Out of the corner of his eyes, he caught Zuzu launching Anakim into the air to attempt a Death From Above attack with her beam lance. He got Durendal’s feet right and launched into the attack, coming just off her line sweeping up with his beam sword.

Zuzu tried to correct her descent, but didn’t have enough time. All she could do was watch as Ramsey scored Anakim’s breastplate with the tip of his beam sword and then cut her lance in half- but better that then loose an arm or get sliced lengthwise through her cockpit. Now having reversed the attack, Ramsey turned to descend upon Zuzu, only to find her already moving out of the way and igniting a beam sword of her own.

“Zuzu, stop playing with him!” Gori said as he appeared in a window on her viewscreen, “Move to back up Jack in the castle.”

At the same time, Ramsey saw Sibley pop up in a side window. “My lord, Jack’s here with us! We need your arm!”

“Roland to Ireton militia. Report!”

“We’re holding here, my lord. The enemy’s air support thins, and our ships are coming to our aide.”

Ramsey now fixed his eyes upon Anakim. “I see what your game is.”

Then Ramsey saw Zuzu break off and go to the castle.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Excerpt From "Reavers of the Void": The Attack Commences!

Author's Note: What you are about to read is from a Work In Progress. The final version may be different, significantly different, from this draft excerpt. This is taken from a chapter tentatively titled "Tonight Comes a Hurricane", near the climax of Part One of the book. If you want to see this finished, and get more like it, back the Indiegogo campaign here


Zuzu the Painbringer strode across the hangar bay of Great Gomorrah with the menace of a lioness on the hunt. She checked the seals of her battle armor: a matte black carapace, with a while skull outline on the chestplate, and red eyes in the sockets. It hugged her muscled curves as well as it covered her bold blue skin. She looked down at the wing of men she was about to lead into battle, standing a full head taller than the tallest of them, and gave them wicked lewd grins that bared her fangs. They cheered her as she passed.

In the center of the bay knelt a new manlike model, in colors and insignia mirroring her armor, and with a cockpit large enough for her inhuman frame. The cockpit, mounted in the torso, lay open but Zuzu did not immediately mount it. Instead she turned about to face her fellow reavers.

"Red Eyes's Reavers, hear your mistress!" she bellowed, "In a few moments we launch from this ship and sortie in the greatest raid this galaxy has seen in over a century. We do what none dared think possible- a direct assault upon the heart of our enemy's territory, House Ireton's homeworld of New Edinburgh!"

The gathered men roared, their eyes showed rapt attention and their mouths watered as if anticipating a kill.

"They are soft and weak, believing that we cannot reach them where they live, where they keep their treasures, where they plot to seize and conquer more of our land, our worlds, our lives from us in the name of their Duke and their God. They are wrong, and today we show them with blood and fire that they are wrong! We shall crush them, drive them before us, and reap from them all of their treasure- and their God shall avail them not against us!"

The men exploded in roars, cheering Zuzu on. She basked in the adulation as if showered by waterfalls.

"We bring the pain to them! The men that bring me the most heads shall be rewarded with my love!"

The men now chanted Zuzu's name, brought to ecstatic frenzy.

"Mount up! We shall wade knee-deep in their blood and seize the greatest treasures in all the galaxy this day- to war!"

"To war!" they answered, crying out in ecstasy, and they mounted their cockpits. As Zuzu did the same, all of the mechs in the bay began powering up. One by one the red eyes in the heads lit up as each one ran through pre-flight checks. Zuzu's unit closed the door to the cockpit and rose to stand. She watched as all systems came back green.

"Bridge, this is the Painbringer. Ready check."

"All clear, Vice Admiral. We're ready."

"Signal the first wave." Zuzu said, "We're launching."

"Aye, ma'am." Bridge said, and the warning klaxons sounded.

"Reavers, prepare to launch." Zuzu said, and her men released from their niches on the bay's walls. Still in GERWALK mode, the first flight on either side of the bay stood ready to go. The klaxons ceased, the bay depressurized, and the doors opened to space. Four per side hit their engines and flew out in formation into space. Within a minute, all 60 mecha departed the bay leaving only Zuzu to go."

"Vice Admiral Zuzu," she said, "Anakim, launching!"

Zuzu spun up the engines and took off out of the hangar bay on the port side, swiftly turning towards the bow of Great Gomorrah and accelerating to catch up to her men. On either side she saw that the mecha of the rest of the fleet's carriers had also launched their wings. Soon a great mass of 6000 mecha melded together into a massive formation, one with Zuzu's Anakim in the lead- and as the only one that was not a GERWALK design among them.

#

The Ireton heavy cruiser MacCullough followed the routine patrol route, passing well outside the planetary sphere for orbital traffic and towards Dara's Folly. A flight of Gallowglass-class mecha flew alongside the cruiser as a Combat Space Patrol, connecting as required to refuel and swap pilots. On the bridge, an alert sounded.

"Sir, we have- oh God." the crewman's eyes went wide.

"Main screen."

The viewscreen switched to show a massive shower of asteroids, each the size of the MacCullough, closing on their position at high speed.

"Lieutenant?" the helmsman said, "Orders?"

"Evasive action! Wake up the captain!" the young officer said, "And contact Headquarters."

The cruiser turned on its axis to speed away on the vertical from the wave closing on them, going--in effect--over the storm. On the screen a second window with one of the mecha pilots appeared.

"MacCullough! Those aren't errant asteroids. They've got rockets installed. Those are miss-"

Another pilot came in. "They're armed! Those are ships!" Then he too winked out. The other two soon followed. The Officer of the Watch, that young lieutenant, soon realized what he faced. Then the captain called to the bridge.

"What's going on, Lieutenant?"

"Unknown hostiles using weaponized asteroids on attack vector, captain. They've destroyed our mecha escort, and we're in the line of fire.'

"We're in weapons range!"

"You're cleared to fire. I'm on my way." the captain said and his window closed.

"You heard the captain! Fire at will! We've got to get clear."

The MacCullough's guns fired at each target in range, destroying each in turn, keeping them away long enough to rise above the storm and get clear of a direct collision. The guns kept firing as the cruiser rose above the plane, while attempting to get through back to New Edinburgh, when the captain arrived on the bridge.

"We can't get through to Headquarters." the lieutenant said as he surrendered the chair to the captain.

"Captain, they're jamming us." the Comms Officer said.

"New contacts to port!" the Sensors Officer said, "Missiles! We're being targeted directly!"

"Counter-battery fire!" the captain said, "Helm, get us out of here!

The MacCullough's point-defense guns shot down the missiles as they approached, buying time for the cruiser to turn about, but Redalen's Revenge emerged from hyperspace directly above them at optimal range for its guns. A volley of fire from its bow-facing turrets pierced the ship's shields and lanced its hull. One shot pierced its missile battery, exploding all of the ordinance at once, annihilating the Ireton heavy cruiser in a massive fireball that consumed all hands.

"Revenge to Great Gomorrah." Gori said, his blue-skinned face smugly grinning from ear to ear as he stood next to the captain's chair, "Obstacle cleared. Losses minimal. Surprise maintained."

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Business: Nick Cole's Got a Playlist You Should Bookmark

Nick Cole opened a YouTube channel. On that channel he's putting out a video series for independent authors to help them succeed.

He's still putting out videos for this list, so it's going to grow over the next several weeks (as he has time), and even if you're an old hand you may learn something useful. For folks relatively new, this is a playlist you should revisit as you go; he's talking from experience here, and you're a fool to ignore wisdom that you can benefit from without suffering to get it.

And if you can afford it, go get a copy of the After Action Report that breaks down exactly how Nick and his partner Jason Anspach did what they did to make Galaxy's Edge hit like a colony drop. Using that information to plan your book launches is invaluable. (Sign up for his newsletter while there, then sign for mine- see Contact.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Campaign Approaches: First Art Arrives!

It's becoming real. I'll have a hell of a lot more to say soon, but here's something you gaze upon until later this week.

That's my protagonist for the Star Knight Saga: Sir Ramsey Hennepin, Lord Roland of the Solar Guard. (I'll usually be referring to him by his title if I want to be short with it.) He's missing only his coloring, and there's more coming. If you want early notice, now's the time to subscribe to the newsletter. Otherwise you're going to have to wait for the public announcements.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Preparing For The Campaign: Comments Solicited

The campaign comes Soon (TM). Until it's over, the Thursday post will be about that. Serials will go over to Steemit, with another post giving out the link when that's ready, and get a brief exclusivity period before a repost here. As I finish preparations on the campaign's re-launch, I'll let you people know what's gone on over the week.

I've settled on a series and book title: "Star Knight Saga: Book One, Reavers of the Void". It took some A/B testing on Twitter to nail down that decision, but I'm glad I did it. That title and subtitle, coupled with the cover I've been brainstorming, should leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to what you're going to get when you pick up the book.

I'm waiting on my original character illustration, and with that I can finish the pitch video. The initial goal for the campaign, as before, is to build the capital required to hire the professional help I need to finish the book: editing, cover, etc. and unless you've got some math I need to know it's still set for $1000. Two sets of changes I'm mulling over are Pledge Levels and Stretch Goals; I want comments before I commit to them:

  • Pledge Levels: Simplified from before, at $5/$10/$25/$100. Respectively, and additively, you'd get: a copy of the book in MOBI or EPUB, thanked by name in the Afterword, a copy of the print book as it becomes available, a signed and numbered copy of the print book. The $100 level is limited to a maximum of 50 backers, and the others are unlimited. I have no resources to offer anything else at this time, so I found this to be as reasonable as I could be.
  • Stretch Goals: Starting at $2K, I commit to an additional book in the series, and I commit to one more at each additional $1K to a limit of $10K. (Note: That doesn't mean there will be a limit of 10 books in the series, but rather a commitment to at least that many.) Each backer gets the additional books in the form they pledged at (ebook for the first two tiers, print included at the top two tiers). I have one additional goal I am prepared to add if we reach $10,000.

In addition, I intend to launch a newsletter email list specific to this book series and keep the current one for my writing and publishing endeavors as a whole and I want that to launch when the campaign--success or failure--concludes. In short, I intend to copy what Nick Cole & Jason Anspach did for Galaxy's Edge as best I can going forward. It's a verified formula, so why not use it? I also am prepared to open a Discord server if there is sufficient demonstrable demand for it.

If you have any comments, suggestions, etc. put them below; I will visit this post over the days to come and permit comments as fast as I can to facilitate conversation.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Garmil's Gate Done & Campaign Coming Soon

Now that Garmil's Gate has finished its serial run, I will compile the segments together into a single manuscript presently and let that compiled manuscript sit for a spell before I get to revising and rewriting it. The final version will, again, be made into an exclusive prequel story should the relaunched crowdfunding campaign hit the threshold for its inclusion.

The date for the relaunch will come after the (American) Independence Day holiday, so you've got another week or so; there is no way that I will get the attention that I seek if I attempt to relaunch during the upcoming week, so I won't waste your time or mine trying. Bad idea.

Instead, you will know when it happens--and newsletter subsribers get 48 horus advanced notice--because I'll post it here and across all the socials I use. All I'm saying is that you need not worry about missing out on valuable family time over the holiday. Go forth, enjoy the long weekend, and then be ready to Make Space Opera Great Again.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 26

Sibley struggled to make his way to the bridge. At every turn he fought three or four to one, cutting and blasting through would-be pincer moves to fix him before they fry him with blasters. But then they push him into the lift, and from the bridge they run him down to the cargo hold.

In the hold, Sibley sees a giant-sized sensory deprivation tank. Cables and waldos runs from the walls and attach to it, securing it in place. Curiosity claims him, and he approaches. As he does, the foreboding fills him, but he steels himself and advances. As he comes about, he sees what--who--rests inside.

"Mother of God..." Sibley gasps.

"Satisfied?"

Sibley turns around and there he sees a big, blue-skinned brute bearing a beam sword. "I'd hoped to find the captain."

"I'd hoped to fight the Paladin." Gori said, igniting the blood-red beam blade as he approached Sibley, "You will have to do."

"The right-hand men fighting on our masters' behalf, eh?" Sibley said as he stood ready, "I appreciate the poetry of it."

"Consider this a courtesy." Gori said as he squared off against Sibley, "I could have just blown the seals and sucked you out of here, but I'd rather that you know why you failed before I toss you out the airlock."

"Win before you taunt."

Gori lunges at Sibley, a blow the old man beats away but forces him back. Sibley adjusts his stance, putting his sword hand into a place where deflecting the force of Gori's strikes is much easier, and then reads the pirate's body language as Gori attacks. The pirate has youth, reach, and power over Sibley but lacks skill and isn't wearing a personal screen- just armor.

Sibley soon sees that Gori's strikes are better suited to a hatchet than a sword, as he finds the pirate not thrusting now. Still possessing his pistol, Sibley shifts his feet when he moves to parry Gori's next overhead chop. In a smooth motion, Sibley shifts his sword to his off-hand, and as he blocks the chop Sibley draws his pistol and shoots Gori multiple ties square in the guts.

Gori cries out in pain, and he staggers, but he only falls to one knee. "I figured you might try something like this." Gori said, grimacing, and Sibley saw a second layer of armor that his blaster failed to penetrate as Gori got to his feet.

"You're smarter than you look." Sibley said, breaking off and holding Gori at the point of his blaster. The old man flicked a switch with his gun-hand's thumb. "That's a mistake I make only once."

"Fortunately, old man, its not the only one you make this day." Gori said, his breathing labored as he sealed his armor and turned on his suit's magnetic anchors, "DO IT!"

Sibley recognized the tell and sealed his armor also, but not soon enough to anchor himself as the cargo hold's door opened to space. The explosive decompression blew him--and several unsecured items--out of the ship's hold. As he tumbled, he keyed into his suit's comlink for Creton to retrieve him. This took the Baden-Powell away from the Revenge just long enough to allow Dashing Jack's plan to reach fruition.

As the hold's door closed shut once more, Gori released his anchors. "We're ready and the ship's clear. Follow when ready, Captain."

Outside, Ramsey held Jack in a mech-to-mech beam sword clinch. "You're cornered, Jack!" Ramsey said, "Your ship's boarded. The Maribu's soon to catch up, and I'm more than able to hamstring your ship to ensure that Duke Far does so."

Jack answered with a smug smirk. "Am I?" he said, and then he pressed the button he installed into his cockpit.

Ramsey watched as Jack's mech seemed to jump away with the Revenge, without tether or external jump drive, and after a moment he slammed a fist against the cockpit. Soon thereafter he and Sibley rendezvoused with the Maribu and met with Duke Far in the Duke's quarters.

"You're certain?" Far said, "A fallen angel?"

"Aye, Your Grace. No mistaking that visage."

"Which means that this entire affair was a very elaborate ruse." Far said, "But for what end, and why bring the Church into it?"

"We'll find out soon enough." Ramsey said, "But I am certain of this: not only will we see Jack again, but his master also. This prize is a horrible one for them to seize. The Court of Stars must be informed."

"I'll handle that, Lord Roland. There are foolish interests in the Court that cannot be trusted to know the full details, lest they seek to exploit them at the expense of Christendom."

Friday, June 22, 2018

Crowdfunding Update: I Am Not Waiting For Freestartr

Last weekend, Stripe shut off service to Freestartr. This immediately forced Freestartr to suspend all campaigns currently active. While the CEO is at work on replacing Stripe as a payment processor, I am unwilling to wait for this to run its course with regard to the current crowdfunding campaign.

I still believe in the site and its principles, but after private discussion with Mr. Niemeier I've decided to take the opportunity to take a Mulligan and relaunch elsewhere. That place is IndieGoGo. I've set up an account there, but I am not yet ready to relaunch, as there are details I need to address before I bring the campaign up and try again.

  • Change The Title: Yes, I do love this title and especially the subtitle, but I concur that--after reviewing audience expectations for this genre--it's far too literary. I'm changing the series title to the snappy Three World Title format I've long been comfortable with due to it being present in a lot of the anime Space Opera I watched as a child and young adult. The book title can vary a bit in length, but it too needs to be snappy;
  • Make a Video: This will be my weekend task. I've got the video software mentioned, so I'll figure out how to make it work and do the Elevator Pitch video once I get my bearings.
  • Get Original Art: Take a look at Ethan Van Scrier's page at IndieGoGo for Cyberfrog. Scroll down to "Overview" and you get a clear character portrait of the title character. If the title didn't inform you of what to expect, that portrait did. I need to do that too. A picture of Sir Ramsey, beam sword at the ready and sidearm in the offhand, should do.

Once all that is in place, and any other details get hammered out, I will fix a launch date. This time, the campaign will be only 30 days long. Email subscribers get 48 hours advanced notice, so hit up the Contact tab to find the subscribe link. When the relaunch happens, you'll see me announce it here.

I thank all of you for your support, and I can't wait to make this happen. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 25

Dashing Jack and Sir Ramsey took aim at each other, while their wingmen broke off and engaged the enemy. Both men launched missiles at the other, forcing counter-missile fire using beam rifles, before they closed to gun range and began manuevering around each other in a dogfight. During this action, Sibley switched from mech to mech in his attempt to weave his way through the furball and sneak his way to the Revenge, and he ended up relying on his personal vernier backpack when he realized that he couldn't ride his way there.

To mask his presence, he stayed in an ironic position- squarely between the nearest point-defense batteries and the dogfighting mechs off the starboard bow. While risking life and limb flying down through a hail of blaster fire, against which his personal screen would--at best--let him take one stray shot, the veteran sergeant-at-arms kept cool knowing that so long as he kept inside the blind spots of the guns the odds of getting shot were slim.

Keeping an eye out for the old man was his son, Creton, at the controls of the Baden-Powell, doing his best to drive the gunners' attention away from Sibley when the dogfighting mechs couldn't hold it. Swift fly-bys, blasting the hull near the ship's sensor array, ensured that those point-defense guns that could otherwise have noticed the old man instead chased the scout ship in vain.

While the Maribu now accelerated, giving chase, and therefore kept up its barrage from its turrets the Revenge no longer had any line of sight to return fire. With its missiles depleted, it had no means to return fire either. Nonetheless, both Jack and the few wingmen left he had would not give up or retreat.

"You won't escape." Ramsey said, "I'll soon overwhelm your squadron, then you, and then your ship will be my prize."

The Maribu's guns again got closer with each barrage. Missiles launched upon the Revenge started to overwhelm the point-defense guns, striking near her engines.

"No, Paladin." Jack said as he ignited a beam sword and went to melee, "You and your ally are easily read."

Ramsey's wingmen from Gatewatch, while taking serious losses, now gained the upper hand and began sweeping away Jack's depleted squadron. Sibley now reached the dorsal hull of the Revenge, and with beam sword in hand began to look for a hatch.

"You think the situation is a simple piracy problem, Paladin. Now you shall see how wrong you are."

Hatches on the dorsal hull opened, and armed pirates emerged with blaster rifles. Sibley drew his pistol, used his sword to block a few shots, and ducked for cover behind an active turret. "I'm pinned! BOY!"

Creton came about and strafed the hull, sending some pirates into cover and the rest to their maker. As Creton passed, Sibley broke out and charged the nearest pirate standing. He shot that man down with three well-placed shots, and then turned to the next one; he knocked away the few shots that man got off before returning fire. Once he closed, he cut down the cad with his sword. A third took a shot between the eyes before drifting off into the void, and the last one fired and fired and fired as Sibley calmly advanced on him.

"Mercy!" the pirate cried.

"Exterminatus." Sibley replied, and removed the offender's head.

Then Sibley, finding the nearby hatch, cut his way through to the airlock. He waited for the emergency seal to close off the outside hatch, and then cut his way through the inside hatch to gain access to the ship proper. Once through, he found what he expected: battle lighting, alarm klaxons, and calls over the comms for reports to and from the bridge.

"I'm in." Sibley said into his comlink.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Against The Poz We Must Stand As One

I've seen Brian Niemeier write at his blog more than once about the distressing tendency for those on the Right to not back each other up, especially as it pertains to the culture industries. I can't solve every problem by myself, but I can do something to turn this particular trend around, and you're already seeing it if you read the main blog this week.

I'm making a point of spreading the word regarding people I regard as friends and allies making their own moves to improve the culture, because we've got to make the things that we want to see if we want the culture to be as we'd have it, and that's a task far too great for one man to do alone.

And that means we've got to get better about working well together. I'm learning hard and fast how to manage this thing I've taken on. I don't draw, hence why I want to get help making the cover--come back for why I care about that another time--and that means I'm quickly learning what that entails. I know my writing ain't perfect, which is why I want to hire an editor; Brian's post on what the sorts of editors do (and some suggestions in the PulpRev Discord server) influenced my decision to make that part of the goal. Brian laid out what isn't negotiable, and I'm following the man's lead.

So, if you're wondering where I'm at right now, here's the news: One week in, and we have eight backers. Combined, there's a total of $115 dollars pledged. We need $885 more to meet the goal, so if there's anyone you think would be willing and able to back my project and you haven't told them yet, please do so- share the campaign link far and wide.

And while I hustle to adapt to changing circumstances, I'm taking in the words of the Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day. He had a Darkstream a few days ago on just this topic. I suggest that you take a listen, as he goes over his own path to making this same realization; as I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others (because I don't have the time to learn from just my own), I urge you to learn from his and commit--as I have--to doing better in cooperating towards common causes.

Western Civilization was not built by atomized men. It won't be saved by them either. Pick up a spear, sling up a shield, and take your place in the phalanx against the enemy. Only together can we stand a chance of winning.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 24

"We're in the clear!" Gori said, "Far can't pursue us much further."

Down in the hanger, still in the cockpit of his mech, Jack snapped back: "Not so fast, Gori. We're missing a major player in this drama."

"Captain, really-"

"Shut up and follow orders, Gori. He's coming, and soon."

A boyish thing, more resembling a wolf pulp on two legs than a boy, approached Jack and handed him a small box. Jack petted the pup and sent him on his way.

"Spin up the drives and prepare to jump to the rendezvous point." Jack said, "Don't worry about me, Gori. I've got my contingency plan in hand."

On the bridge, Gori watch the Maribu slowly turn about, firing its guns as the Revenge pulled away, in a vain attempt to pursue. As Jack removed what appeared to be a palm-sized painted rock from the box and slotted it into his mech's systems, Gori saw an alert of an incoming jump light up.

"There he is!" Jack said, and then he turned his attention to the techs about his mech: "Hurry up! We've got a damned dog to shake off."

The Baden-Powell appeared, already on an intercept approach towards the Revenge. Hanging of its hull like a bunch of desperate refugees were the remaining mechs stationed at Gatewatch, all of which now released their hold and rocketed forward to engage the pirate ship.

"You're right, Captain!" Gori said, "He brought Gatewatch's garrison with him."

"Is his mech out there?"

"No."

"Prepare for boarders, Gori. I'm going to buy us time."

Jack closed up his cockpit, detached from his refueling and rearming waldos, and once more sortied from the ventral hatch. Behind him followed the remaining squadron members. The Maribu and the Revenge continued firing on each other, scoring fewer and fewer hits as the distance grew, but the Revenge's point-defense guns lit up as the Baden-Powell and its allied mechs approached.

"Jack's come out." Ramsey said, "I think he suspects the plan."

"So we go with the alternative then, my lord?" Sibley said.

"That we do. Get ready, Sibley. Creton, take your father's seat. It's time you put your pilot skills to the test."

Creton's face lit up with delight and he eagerly replaced his father in the co-pilot position. Without being asked, he moved fire control to his new station, and took up the controls. Ramsey mussed the boy's hair as he got up, and then looked back as he made ready to sortie.

"We're counting on you, lad!"

"Aye, my lord! You can count on me!"

Sir Ramsey and Sibley went to the launch bay. Sibley adjusted his armor to make room for a locator beacon, and Ramsey adjusted the loadout of his mech to concentrate on close-quarters combat. The two fighting men then nodded at each other, entered the airlock, and then dropped out the ventral hatch. Sibley held on to the hull as Ramsey called forth Durendal, then the elder man switch his hold to the back of Ramsey's mech.

"We're off, Creton! You know what to do!"

Friday, June 8, 2018

It's Happening: Support "The Taking of Gabriella Robin"

I'm taking a big step today. Today I launch my first crowd-funding campaign for my debut novel.

Head on over to my Freestartr page today, where you will find the campaign page live and awaiting your pledge of support. I don't have much to offer in terms of backer awards, as one would expect of someone starting out; I can't become someone that can do that sort of thing down the road if you don't trust me to deliver on my modest offerings now.

So what do I offer you?

If you haven't been keeping up, this is my #StarWarsNotStarWars AND my #AGundamForUs contributions, something I'm writing with as much inspiration from the East and the West, from the Pulps as from Medieval and Ancient epics, and played straight and sincere. If you want a hero that John Carter would be proud of, come put your money down for my space knight-errant and his adventures in a galaxy full of wonder and peril. No ponderous, plodding, bloated door-stoppers here: just slim, lithe page-turners like E.E. Smith and Robert E. Howard used to write.

I promise you Action! Romance! Giant Robot Combat! Space battleships pounding each other in engagements full of passion and valor, villains whose evil will make you love to hate them, and a heroine who is every bit the Deja Thoris to my John Carter, my Clarissa MacDougal to my Kimbal Kinneson. Some may not make it to the end, but nihilism and despair have no place in Galactic Christendom, so you'll find no such rob-the-reader endings here.

If you want to see more of this, then you've got to make it happen. $1000 is all it takes to make it happen; more than that just makes what you get--and what comes after this--better. Show me what you've got, folks! Show me that you want this to happen, and make it happen I will! Scout's Honor!

This will also be the LAST time I make this sort of announcement here before I send out an email to the subscribers of my newsletter about such things. If you want to know well ahead of time, then click this link here and sign up. From this point forward, my newsletter subscribers will get no less than 48 hours lead-time for these announcements. I'm getting serious about this now, and that means finding ways of giving value to you as best I can- something else I can do more of down the road if you back me now.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 23

On the bridge of Redalen's Revenge, battle lighting and alarm klaxons mirrored the mood of her captain and crew.

"Helm, bring us about. Configure for point-blank range and go all-ahead full!"

Gori looked to his captain. "Ready here, Captain!"

Jack called down to the hangar. "Prepare my mech for launch. I'm going out." he said, and then gave a thumbs-up to Gori. The space pirate headed for the lift while his lieutenant took his position. As Jack descended from the bridge to the hangar bay, Revenge turned about to advance on the Tiger of Maribu, dodging volleys from its turrets in doing so, and it turned on its axis to present all of its guns upon the enemy.

"Fire!" Gori bellowed, and all of the pirate's cannons fired upon the Maribu, scoring solid hits across the dorsal hull. A volley of missiles followed, swarming down and forcing the point-defense systems to their limits. With the mech squadron brawl now moving to push between the two battleships, the Maribu adjusted its position to maximize its turrets' ability to fire upon the Revenge.

Now Jack ran through the hangar bay, rushing across the open space to where his personal mech stood ready for him. Once inside, and the cockpit closed, he keyed the comlink as he rushed through takeoff.

"Gori, transmit Order Zahn and wait for my signal."

Jack's mech finished its takeoff sequence. Powered up and ready to go, Jack maneuvered to the ventral hatch and stood ready. Oh the outside, the Revenge and the Maribu pummeled each other with successive volleys from their turrets as well as emptying their missile bays with repeated launches as they closed to point-blank range. Back inside, Jack monitored the distance between the two ships, and when the distance reach clear visual range, Jack keyed the comlink: "GO!"

Jack launched from the ventral hatch, now appearing upside down from the perspective of the Maribu, and used the exchange of fire to cover its signal until it appeared out of the Revenge's shadow. Then it joined the dogfight, quickly clearing out Far's men and relieving his own. With no more enemy mecha, they fell in behind Jack and followed Jack's assault on the Maribu as the Revenge pummeled it without mercy. While several of his men fell to the ship's point-defense guns, enough slipped across the hull to support Jack's attack on the engines to make the threat of crippling or destroying them viable.

"Maximum firepower!" Jack said, "Now!"

Jack and his remaining men launched every munition they had and exhausted their guns by unloading them into the Maribu's engines. Several satisfying explosions erupted from them, forcing the engineers therein to flee as bulkheads slammed into place to contain the damage and expel the explosive forces into space. With oxygen quickly consumed, the fires flared out fast, but by then the ability of the Maribu to maneuver had already been hobbled.

"We're done here. Let's go." Jack said, and as the Revenge now began to open the distance again Jack lead what men he had left back into the hangar bay of the Revenge. The battleships kept firing upon each other, lancing each other with main guns and further slicing each other up with the secondary guns, but the engagement was now decided and both Jack and Duke Far realized it.

Unless Ramsey arrived in time.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Getting Paid Is The Goal, Not a Shameful Act

I'm going to finish "Garmil's Gate" by the end of this month, so I need to decide what to do next. Late last night, this came over my Twitter feed from the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, Jon del Arroz. Behold!

As Jon goes on to clarify, this is from the Science Fiction Writers of America's meeting at the Nebula Awards. Seeing this finally got me to get off my ass and move to the next step as a writer: getting paid. To that end, I opened a FreeStartr account. I'll spend my Saturday post on the main blog announcing this with more grandeur, but for now know this: this is how I intend to raise money for turning these stories into books (as I would at IndieGoGo) in addition to accepting ongoing support (ala Patreon).

At the very least, I want to collect "Garmil's Gate", re-write it (because it needs works), let an editor help me finish the job, put a good cover on it, and get it out for sale on Amazon before North America turns cold again. This also means that I'm going to start accelerating work on Taking, since I can see now that the iron is hot and that means it's time to strike.

I think it's time to launch an email newsletter of my own, and put posts like this there instead. I also think it's time to move the serials over to Steemit, reverting this blog to industry-specific as well as craft-specific commentary and analysis. (Yes, I solicit your feedback for this.) Time to increase my skin in the game. It's one this to be well-spoken and respected. It's another to be able to buy your own mountain.

I want to buy my own mountain. Time to make that happen.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 22

On the bridge of the Tiger of Maribu, Duke Far stood next to the stellar navigation station when an alert sounded.

"Your Grace," a crewman said, "the scout's in position at the suspect location."

"Main screen." Far said, and the video feed from the scout appeared on the big screen. In real time, the scout showed the asteroid pirate base, and its activity resembled that of a panicked wasp hive. Not one of the vessels leaving the base was a warship. Instead, Far witnessed a bunch of pirates in unarmed mechs towing away the stolen container units, apparently leading to a point on the edge of the solar system- right where it opens to deep space.

"Scout, have any warships or mecha come or gone?" Far said, following a hunch.

"None, Your Grace." the scout said, "This is all that's been going on since the base lit up a few moments ago. Just prior to that a burst signal terminated here. Your Grace, this isn't a muster for battle; these pirates are abandoning their base of operations."

Far looked over at his Communications Officer, who nodded affirmatively in anticipation of the question. "Scout, send the trajectory of the burst signal back here. Stay on station, observe, and if detected flee."

"Yes, Your Grace." the scout said, and moments later the requested data appeared. The Communications Officer superimposed the data on a map of the system, revealing a point on the edge of Garmil's Gate's atmosphere.

"General Quarters!" Far said, and the battle lighting came on as the alert klaxons sounded. "Helm, intercept that ascending ship."

The Tiger of Maribu's engines flared to life once more, turning the battleship about and heading away from Gatewatch on an intercept course. As the battleship raced to intercept Redalen's Revenge, the mech squadron aboard ship scrambled and stood ready to launch upon contact.

"Missiles at the ready." Far said, anticipating what's to come, and soon the map updated with positive sensor contact.

"Launch!"

A salvo of missiles fired their engines and flew from their tubes, clearing the battleship before turning and flying towards their target. Immmediately thereafter the mech squadron launched, taking up their formation ahead of the Maribu. The ship's main guns now powered up, anticipating closure to combat ranges presently.

"Enemy missiles inbound!" a crewman said, "Enemy secondary signals confirmed. Tiger Leader has visual confirmation of enemy mecha and their mothership."

"On screen."

Redalen's Revenge appeared on the main screen, starboard side in profile, racing as fast as it can go for the edge of the system.

"Missiles intercepted and destroyed."

"All ahead full! Time for the Tiger to pounce!"

The mech squadrons broke formation and engaged, turning quickly into a series of dogfights, as the Tiger closed on the Revenge

"We've reached gunnery range, Your Grace!"

"FIRE!"

The Tiger's forward turrets opened fire, alternating fire to maintain a steady assault of three-barrel barrages. The first volley scored a glancing blow and coruscated brilliantly off Revenge's shields, but the second hit square on the pirate ship's starboard side. The hit overloaded the shields, bored a hole in the armor and into the hull. Some hapless pirates not incinerated by the shot itself got sucked out into space during decompression before the bulkheads slammed down and sealed off the breach.

Revenge returned fire, tracking the Maribu and firing a barrage from its own turrets. One missed entirely, but two more hit and stressed the shielding on the ship's fore to its limit. A fourth went just high and skated off the shielding over the dorsal hull.

"Now if Roland can just join the battle." Far said, "We can finish Dashing Jack for good."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Vox Day's Darkstream: Why The Comics Industry Is Collapsing In 2018

The business of comic books is the topic of Vox Day's Darkstream tonight. (No embeds, alas.) It's not encouraging for DC or Marvel or anyone who wants to play in their sandbox.

He puts the blame on Diamond, the monopoly distributor, as the source of the woes afflicting retailers. Marvel and DC producing SJW trash only makes an existing problem worse, and the bad effects accelerate in development. Addressing the distribution issue is vital to having a comics business going forward, and that's what Vox Day is on about here. Worth the listen; he's actually tackling the problem as it is, has a solution, and is making it happen. This matters because DC and Marvel will use Diamond to shut out competition such as Jawbreakers, as all three of them need each other to keep their racket going.

The post-80s crash comic book store business model is on its way out, and breaking Diamond's monopoly on comics is vital to that model. Break the monopoly, break the model, and save the comic book scene for future generations to enjoy. You need to keep an eye on this, even if you're not wanting to work in comics, because something you do make get a comic adaptation (the usual stepping stone to a film or TV adaptation) and that means it's in your business interest as a writer to watch media where your work may well show up.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 21

The Baden-Powell broke through Garmil's Gate's atmosphere once more, descending well below the clouds to answer the distress call from the noblewomen on retreat.

"The signal's still transmitting, Sir Ramsey." Sibley said, "I expect that as long as the women can keep the raiders out of their secured room, we can home in on that."

"Creton!" Ramsey said, speaking into his microphone, "On the guns, now!"

"Expecting a hostile reception are we?" Sibley said, and in response two blips came on the sensors coming from the noblewomen's location. "Contacts. Look like the escorts for our raiding party."

"Spin up the guns." Ramsay said, "Take them quickly, boy. We don't have time to waste."

Ramsey saw the guns powering up on his console. "Aye, my lord!" Creton said, his enthusiasm plain, "Standing by!"

"Fire when ready." Ramsey said, "Just make certain that you hit."

The turret rotated around the ship's axis, and the cannons pointed down slightly in the direction of their descent. Creton sat at the controls, fixed on the target reticle, as he saw the lead mech in the pirate element come into range. He marked the wingman's position behind the leader, and in a smooth motion shifted his aim to the trailing wingman. The boy pressed the trigger, and the blaster cannons threw forth a burst of hot plasma bolts downrange.

The leader laughed, thinking that the volley was meant for him, only to hear his wingman cry out a moment before dying as the mech's powerplant exploded. Before the leader got his wits about him, Creton sent a second volley. The bolts slammed into his mech's torso, first burning out the armor and then boring through the cockpit--and him--to the same result. Neither go so much as a ranging shot off.

"Scope's clear, my lord." Sibley said, "We're clear to land."

"No time, Sibley." Ramsey said, "Take the con. I'm dropping down, so I want you and Creton hovering overhead just in case."

"Understood, my lord." Sibley said as he changed seats, "Boy, take the co-pilot's chair."

Creton handed Ramsey the knight's baton, and moments later the ventral hatch opened. Ramsey dropped out of his ship, and free-fell the last half-mile or so to the target while the Baden-Powell veered off slightly. It was a good precaution, because now some ground-to-air missile launched from the surface. Ramsey spread his arms and legs wide, and a thin plasma-like energy flashed up to form a gliding suit out of his armor. The ship drew off and shot down the missiles, and then moved forward in case of more ground fire, which did come as both man and machine came within visual range of the wilderness retreat.

"Sibley!" Ramsey said, "Clear a path!"

Creton used the ship's guns to blow apart the makeshift anti-air gun the pirates put up, and then blew up the shuttle they meant to escape with. Those explosions kept the pirates' attention away from Ramsey until it was too late, and the Paladin glided down from above, swooping down upon them like a mighty eagle. In one smooth motion he landed on one pirate, kneeing the fool in the back and cracking the villain's head open upon the pavement, rolled forward, and shot a second dead with his pistol. A third came at him with a club as Ramsey got to his feat, only to be pushed off his line and shot down by Ramsey.

A forth cried out an alert before being shot dead in turn, and Ramsey knew that violence of action now was his only option. He put his pistol in his off-hand, drew his beam sword, and rushed into the retreat. Two came for him from around a corner; Ramsey ran one of them through, used him as a shield against the other and then shot the second down. They came again and again in twos and threes, until he cut down or shot dead a score in total. The last, standing before the armored door to the secured room, fell on his sword than face his doom like a man.

"I am Lord Roland of the Solar Guard." Ramsey said, putting forth his arms before the camera and showing his face, "The raiders are gone. You may come out now."

Moments a dozen nobles and their attendants emerged from the cramped room, taking their turns blessing him and kissing him, before their hostess and leader emerged. Neither eldest nor youngest, but clearly the highest in station by her bearing. She stood up to Ramsey's chest, a woman in the full bloom of youthful beauty, with straight red hair to her shoulders and eyes blue like a clear sky- a visage so striking that Ramsey paused a moment.

"We are grateful for your valor, Lord Roland." she said, "My father will hear of this for certain."

Ramsey bowed, affecting a courtly manner. "The loss of she whom is heralded as God's songbird would be a terrible injury to Christendom, Countess Robin. However, time is short and I must insist upon haste in escaping. Their master lingers nearby."

Countess Robin nodded. "Agreed. Bring forth your ship, Lord Roland. We are many, but we shall not saddle you for long."

Ramsey keyed into his comlink. "Sibley, bring the ship down and have Creton ready to assist. Tell Gatewatch to expect us presently."

Friday, May 18, 2018

PulpRev Celebrates Its Anniversary

My companions over at PulpRev have a big announcement to make on the mark of PulpRev's anniversary.

More ways for more people to make useful contributions to the mission of the Pulp Revolution is a good thing. We really do need to Regress Harder, and more ways to communicate is a good thing to do; the Discord server remains active on a daily basis, but Discord itself has come out as being SJW-amenable so we should have alternatives and an anon-by-default imageboard (ala the chans) is just the sort of thing we need as backup.

So I am all for PulpRiot, and I hope this takes off soon. It just launched, so of course it's going to be less than bare bones in terms of content; that's your cue--especially if you avoided being seen with us for some reason or another--to come join the masked ball that is required on an imageboard. You're anonymous; what matters is what you say, not who you are, so (like the chans) respect that and come play with us.

The other things talked about--such as the pulp library--should be discussed and acted upon the months to come along with other things mentioned. Once more, with feeling: come join us. We're Making Science Fiction Great Again.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 20

Dashing Jack and his man Gori walked alongside the sensory deprivation tank enclosing the prize he came to Garmil's Gate for: the Watcher Azazel. Surrounded by men carefully controlling the transport of the tank, Jack knew he should feel at ease but was not- a tell that Gori noticed.

"Captain, wouldn't have been easier to wake up our prize and let him walk out under his own power?"

"Gori, you're not a well-read man, are you?" Jack said, "There's a very good reason to keep him under and present him to Red Eyes as he is, and that reason is because the odds of something going catastrophically wrong--killing us, or worse--in the process drop like a stone when the one most capable of doing so remains incapacitated."

"You talk like this is a weapon, Captain."

"Worse, Gori. He's the maker of weapons. This angel is a living, breathing, weapons factory. As as I know too well that rewards are useless if you're dead, I'll take the chance of displeasing Red Eyes over the certainty of reward for delivering what he wants into his hands whole, safe, and sound."

They entered the great lift and ascended to the dock.

"It's also faster to do it this way. No harder than moving a warhead this way, and we've stolen plenty of those recently haven't we? As time is not our ally-"

Gori made an obscene thrusting gesture. "The sooner we're back in port making our way through the pillow dens at Ragdoll Randy's!"

"Focus, Gori." Jack said, snapping his fingers, "You know damn well that Fang won't occupy his betters for much longer, and need I remind you what happens next?"

"They come for us."

"And how long do you think it will take for them to conclude that we are here, and come to intercept us?"

Before Gori could answer, the lift stopped and the doors opened. At that moment, Jack got a call from the ship. "Captain, the Tiger of Maribu is here."

Jack hustled out of the way of his man. "Get that aboard and secured at once!"

Gori, anticipating his master's next command, gave it: "All hands, return to the ship. We are leaving! Any man not on board in 10 minutes will be left behind."

"Helm, prepare for takeoff." Jack ordered, "Squadron, get outside and run a combat patrol pattern. I won't be caught by surprise."

Gori looked at Jack, and the pirate captain sighed. "Gori, our team at the retreat is on standby, right?"

"Aye, captain. Shall I give the order?"

"Yes, but make this clear: they must be unspoiled, Gori! I'll unman them bare-handed if they dare disobey! We need them unspoiled!"

Gori gave that order over the coms, using a secure channel. Then he and Jack hurried back aboard Redalen's Revenge with the rest of the away party. As the engines spun up, and the crew ensured that their cargo got locked down, Jack took his seat on the bridge.

"Report!"

"The Tiger of Maribu and Gatewatch opened fire upon the Opulent Dragon. Captain, the Dragon won't last long."

"Nether will we if we don't get going. Lift off as soon as we're able, Helm."

Redalen's Revenge lifted off the prison's dock and backed out slowly, with Jack watching the scene in orbit all the while. Gori kept an eye on the mech squadron on patrol, and all aboard the pirate battleship felt a keen tension. First the Paladin, now Duke Far, and his obstacles keeping them at bay quickly crumbling to dust. The sway team attacking the noblewomen on retreat are the last chance he has to buy time and distance, and he knows it.

"Status on the retreat, Gori?"

"Underway, Captain. They'll report back when they're ready for pickup."

Jack nodded his acknowledgement, but both he and Gori knew not to expect that call. Those men are already dead.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Galactic Christendom Video Pitch

Recently I saw a post on Twitter that went, roughly, "Post three pics that sell your story." Fuck it, videos instead.

Just add DEUS VULT and lightsabers and you get Galactic Christendom.

Sure, there's substance behind the scenes to ensure that it all holds up, but there's your elevator pitch. It's what I use when I think I'm losing focus, because if I can nail that mood then I'm going to entertain the audience and that's what I have to do. This sets the expectations that I need to fulfill, and thereby allows me to identify and filter out what doesn't belong (such as nihilism and the degeneracy it brings). You don't get much more simple than that, in terms of useful writer tools.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 19

The Opulent Dragon and the Tiger of Maribu began firing upon each other, and with the former battleship unable to manuever the fight escalated into a merciless slugfest between the ships' main cannons. Meanwhile, both ships sortied their mech squadrons, which immediately rushed to engage each other. Gatewatch joined the fray, launch its mech squadrons and firing upon the Dragon in support of the Maribu.

The relentless pummeling by naval artillery shook the interior more and more severely, making the fighting inside become perilous beyond expectation. Ramsey, Far, and Far's bodyguard cut a bloody swath through Fang's loyal crew as they race for the Flight Deck, arriving just as they see Fang attempt to forcibly board Duke Far's shuttle only to see the pilot and co-pilot resist them.

Far keyed into a comlink. "Pilot! This is your Duke. We are approaching your position. Stand ready for the men and I to board."

"Acknowledged, Your Grace."

With a nod, Far and Ramsey rushed out of cover to attack Fang on the flank. The shuttle kept the traitor pinned down, and that left Fang open. The first few shots fired at the traitor's position cut down several of his men, dropping them to the deck, before Fang and the remainder shifted their position as best they could to cover against both threats. With Fang and Ramsey in the lead, their beam swords blazing, they quickly closed the gap and fell upon Lord Fang two on one- two of the best swordsmen in the galaxy against one cunning criminal nobleman.

Fang knew he couldn't win this encounter. Immediately on the back foot, he tried to disengage again and again, only for one or the other to thwart the gambit. Beyond the duo delivering his doom, he saw the shuttle admit Far's men. A well of resentment and frustration burst forth, unmanning Lord Fang and prompting him to lash out at Duke Far with a wordless howl of rage. Unmoved, Far stepped off Fang's line and struck. The first removed the condemned man's arm. The second removed his head.

Ramsey extinguished his sword. "I'll have Sibley pick me up."

"They'll fight to the last, but none shall survive." Far said, "Once we're both away, let us discuss the matter of Fang's former ally."

"Agreed." Ramsey said, "A temporary parting, Your Grace."

"Yes, Lord Roland." Far said as he shook Ramsey's hand, "Until later then."

Ramsey nodded, and Far took his leave. Boarding the shuttle, Far escaped the Dragon without further incident. A short time later, the Baden-Powell entered and hovered while Ramsey boarded. Once aboard and underway, Ramsey took his place in the pilot's chair and watched on the main screen as the combined fire of Gatewatch and the Tiger of Maribu finished their pummeling of the Opulent Dragon, with a final volley hitting the power plant and provoking a most violent explosion.

"May God have mercy on their souls." Ramsey said as the Baden-Powell approached the Maribu.

Friday, May 4, 2018

World-Building: The Importance of Memory to Culture & Civilization

A world-building note for today: "Ancient History" can be as recent as five years ago.

I'm talking about living memory, the sort of commonly-held information in a generational cohort of a community people take for granted. For you who routinely write in cultures other than your own, or set at times other than your epoch, you've already gotten a far larger body of such knowledge set off with caveats of some sort so it's not hard to see how common knowledge changes over time.

Because that knowledge resides in the living as an emergent phenomenon (which institutions are meant to emulate by storing such lore somehow via artifice), it is fragile as glass. Have you ever seen people emerge from cults who grew up in them, and then had to unlearn what they learned in the cult? This is the same sort of thing; your setting's "ancient knowledge" is only what your culture keeps alive, by whatever means.

A lot of institutions arise out of the need to store, transmit, and retain fidelity of information over a generational basis. A lot of plot twists in myth and literature revolve around recovering, restoring, transmitting, such information- including the subversion of expectation that what those institutions tell you as a child is true.

Post-apocalypse scenarios in particular have to engage in this at some level to make the story hold up under the weight of the narrative demands put to it, as you're having to deal with things like "How do they make gasoline?" and "Where are they getting the means to do basic field medicine?"- both of which is Ancient History in such a scenario, even if the apocalypse happened just recently enough for an infant to age into someone able to do useful labor (which isn't "be an adult" necessarily).

And that isn't absolute; The Last of Us is an apocalypse scenario where you can see how recent the demarcation line actually is between "Ancient History" and "Common Knowledge", with Ellie being the one severed from the past despite being alive at the end of Civilization.

So, for all you dealing in situations far in the future, or the past, a secret world with its secret history (e.g. as posited by the Ancient Aliens crowd), or a secondary world with its own sense of history, keep in mind that what is commonly believed to be true--common knowledge and Ancient History alike--is shaped by the presence or lack of the institutions that act as a culture's external memory (and individuals capable of accessing and retrieving that information).

A culture with no archives, no preservers, no myth-keepers, no ritual retellings of the culture's core stories explaining itself to itself, no art or architecture, or religion is a culture with no memory beyond what those alive possesses and shares. A culture that is among such, but has no one able to get what information such institutions possess and pass it on to those now alive, is a culture that is on the decline and swiftly facing degradation into primitive savagery.

And yes, you'll see some of this applied in my Galactic Christendom tales (or the post-apocalyptic Wars of the Damned that precedes that era).

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 18

Duke Far, leader of House Far, stood on the bridge of the Opulent Dragon with a dejected Lord Fang kneeling before him while Ramsey stood just behind the disgraced nobleman.

"Your guilt is plain." Far said, "And your confession makes moot any question of evidence. You have betrayed your lord and your God. You know the penalties for treason."

Fang bowed obsequeously, touching his forehead to the floor in the expected manner. "I do."

"Then you know what to do." Far said, and he snapped his fingers. A man of his retinue stepped forward with an ornate box. Fang returned to his kneeling position and looked on, expecting the ritual sword from his quarters, but he couldn't see it- Far stood in the way.

"Lord Roland will guarantee things should you fail this one final task."

"Of course." Fang said, a hint of nerves creeping into his voice.

Fang turned about and threw the expected sword at Fang's feet. Fang's mask of calm fell away as he saw that the sword was a wooden training sword.

"Go on, we're waiting." Far said, sternly. Ramsey saw Far's way of dealing with double-talking tricksters.

"Where's my sword?" Far said, concerned.

"His Grace the Duke saw that your sword had broken, so he sent it away with the rest of your effects." Ramsey said, "I had my page's training sword brought in for this affair due to a lack of viable alternatives."

"It's made of wood!"

"Fang, you know that the truly determined will fall upon a sword of reeds, much less wood of this timber." Far said, and now his face showed that he saw that Fang had truly trapped himself.

Fang sighed, and reluctantly he made the ritual motion to pick up the sword. In that motion, his hands crossed at the wrists, and that motion did not go unnoticed. Fang opened his jacket, as expected, to bear his chest and abdomen and made ready to fall on that wooden sword.

The lights went out as he began that thrust. No sooner did they flicker than Ramsey drew his beam sword and slashed down at Fang, but the blow missed. Far also drew his sword, guessing Fang's move, but struck only the trainer. A hatch in the ceiling popped open, and a third beam sword lit up the room, revealing Fang's location. Yet before the Paladin and the Duke could take Fang two-on-one, the doors opened and Fang's men fired into the bridge forcing them and Far's men to take cover.

Fang ran around his enemies and escaped the bridge, once more leaving them in darkness. "Get the emergency lights on!" Far said.

"You're not getting off my ship as easily as you got on." Fang said over the intercom, "I've sealed and locked out the main bridge, and life support is soon to follow. Cut your way out and you'll be swarmed by my men until you're dead. Stay put and suffocate while you freeze solid. Take your pick, my lords."

Ramsey keyed into his comlink. "Sibley"

"Aye my lord." Sibley said, "I knew he'd pull something like this."

"Cripple the ship." Ramsey said, "Then patch His Grace through to the Marabu."

By now Far had a few of his men cutting down the door with beam swords while the rest stood ready with blaster pistols to face what lay on the other side. They felt, then heard, an explosion before Sibley got back on the line.

"That did it." Sibley said, "And you're patched in, Your Grace."

"Captain, this is the Duke. Prepare to repel boarders."

The Maribu's captain answered. "Yes, Your Grace. Proceeding as planned."

"As planned?" Ramsey said.

"You just turned his battleship into a space station, Lord Roland. Did you expect him to escape by stealing away with his personal mech?"

Ramsey sighed. "I did."

Now more explosions rocked the ship. "Not until his pride is soothed, and that means making you and I look weak and stupid."

The door fell to the floor, and Far's men threw smoke grenades into the hall beyond. Without a word, both noblemen followed the men into the corridor. Now in the lead, they headed for the Flight Deck- and Fang.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Second Pulp Age Dawns

George Martin will not release the book he's been promising for yet another year. At this rate, Godot will arrive first.

While some will repeat the line about Martin not being your bitch, there is a flipside to this: if you don't deliver, the audience isn't required to stick around.

Authors who are not in Martin's position financially don't have the luxury of taking forever to deliver a promised book to a loyal audience, especially now. You are unwise to emulate this behavior; you've got to keep them happy somehow, and as more writers pick up what Nick Cole and Jason Anspach put down that habit will become increasing unacceptable. The audience will desert the slow for the swift.

Pulp Speed, as my fellow #PulpRev folks know it, won't be optional for much longer. That's going to be a shock to a lot of writers, who never expected the Return of the Pulp Age, and its incessant demand for productivity. We're all going to have to be Walter B. Gibson (or as close as we can get) soon enough if we want to do this more than just as a hobby that more-or-less pays for itself.

The difference is that we're not all hustling for magazine publication now, but rather for maximizing the Amazon algorithm such that every book hits big and hard. We're hustling to make Amazon (and its inevitable successors) work for our benefit by ensuring we can ID our audience and satisfy them with exactly what fires them up in entertainment delivered early, often, and repeatedly.

And the SJWs in TradPub will not keep up. All we need to do is answer the cry for order, and the future is ours.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Crisis at Garmil's Gate - 17

Aboard the Opulent Dragon, Lord Fang looked out from inside the brig at the proxy holding him for his master.

"How long until the Duke arrives?" Fang said.

"Not soon enough." Ramsey said, looking back, "You would be wise to start confessing now."

"Not that it matters." Fang said, head low, "If Dashing Jack sold me out, then he's got to be close to his objective, so it's not likely that you or the Duke could do anything about it now."

Ramsey quietly pressed a key on his gauntlet. "Go on."

"The prison, Paladin. You know it's there."

"It's said to be a colony for the worst sorts, yet for whatever reason cannot be executed."

"True, from a certain point of view. Yet all of the traffic to and from the surface consists of Mining Guild vessels moving ore up and supplies down, or nobles visiting retreats with their entourages. When was the last time you saw anything other than scheduled warden changeovers go to or from that prison?"

In his earpiece Ramsey heard Creton: "I'm on it."

"Christendom is rather large, my lord." Ramsey said, "I do not keep track of every last little installation in the galaxy."

"Christendom didn't build that prison, Lord Roland." Fang said, "It was found here, along with that gate, with Garmil's party. Our forefathers, with the Church, seized it. Back then it wasn't a prison as we know such, but rather a tomb with measures meant to keep its interred host confined there."

"They expanded it into a prison once that condition became clear?"

"Indeed." Fang said, "As for who or what is kept in that place, I had no idea who it was until Dashing Jack approached me with this present plan."

"He told you?"

Fang shook his head. "I felt a shiver of suspicion, as his claim of just wanting to usurp the mining operation for Red Eyes was not reason enough for all of the secrecy and compartmentalization the plan required. It's one thing to keep some stashes nearby to swiftly resupply, or store booty from a raid that you can't take to your home port, but Jack hollowed out an asteroid large enough to wholly dock his flagship within. That's not an idle task."

Ramsey nodded as Creton spoke into his ear from elsewhere: "According to Church archives, only one prisoner is there."

"One of Red Eyes' henchmen sets up a significant base capable of repair and resupply of at least one battleship? Yes, that is a big task, and it means he's been preparing for this for far longer than you my lord. You've been had, taken in by your own corrupt heart."

Now Sibley spoke into Ramsey's ear: "You see Fang's play now, don't you? He'll attempt to run as soon as your back's turned."

"And now you sing a song of deceit and treachery far fouler than your own, seeking a mercy you don't deserve in return for telling tales to pass blame to your co-conspirators."

"His Grace the Duke may not share your conclusion." Fang said, "He has a pragmatic character."

"Indeed." Ramsey said, "He may not, but neither would I expect the pragmatic response to be mercy for someone confessed to treason and worse."

Ramsey read Fang, seeing his eyes glance up to the ceiling for a fraction of a second, and then noticed Fang sitting such that he could easily spring up into action. "Sibley was right as usual." Ramsey thought, "He wants to run, but not like a thief caught with a purse- but as an assassin caught in the attempt."

The speakers for the public address system sounded. "Attention! The Tiger of Maribu has arrived."

"My lord shall receive justice presently." Ramsey said as he turned to leave the brig. As he made his way to meet Duke Far, he smiled and spoke to his subordinates on the Baden-Powell: "I have a plan to turn Fang's escape plan back on him, and I think Duke Far will go along with it."