Progress Report 2/27/15

First, I’d like to say a warm hello to all my recent visitors from Canada! Welcome and I hope you enjoy what you find.

Second, the draft of Carpathian Campaign: A Novel of the Houses is done and has been put “on the back of the stove” to simmer while I work on a few other projects.

Third, the last edits on Circuits and Crises are finished, the cover art has been firmed up, and all looks on schedule for a mid-March release. It is much like the Elisabeth von Sarmas books – battles, Lander artifacts, the Turkowi, valiant deeds against terrific odds, and other fun stuff.

Fourth, I will be away from the Internet next week (yes, it is possible) and will close comments while I’m gone, so no one languishes waiting for approval. I do have posts lined up.

Fifth, I still need alpha readers for the Cat Among Dragons novel, A Cat at Bay. Please contact me at AlmaTCBoykin at AOL dot com if you are interested.

 

Joy in Science Fiction

Caution: Serious Post Ahead

“There is no joy in [ideology].” Said by any number of political, religious, and other fanatics in the 19th-21st centuries.

No one ever depicts Marx, Engels, Lenin, Brezhnev, Gromyko, Erich Honecker, or the Ayatollah Khomeini smiling. I’ve seen posters of Stalin with a benevolent sort-of-smile, and Mao smiling at children or happy industrial workers, but there’s a reason most people over a certain age do not associate the Soviet Union, P.R.C., or the Islamic Republic with happiness, despite the propaganda. Nor do the words “environmentalism” and “pleasure” usually appear in the same sentence. It seems that among individuals or nation-states, first thing that disappears when a great ideological cause is embraced is the sense of humor. Because revolution and bringing about paradise on earth are serious business, and there is no room for laughter or joy in [ideology.] Or in some kinds of fiction, it seems. Continue reading

High, Wild Call

The cranes flew over yesterday. High, grazing the bottom of the clouds, a score and more of slender shapes passed overhead, graceful and enormous. Their wild, trilling call caught my ear as I shoveled snow. I glanced up and saw the sandhill cranes for the first time in several years. The Siberian cold had finally driven them south, long after the geese and ducks had already fled for warmer lands. The brown shapes flew quickly past, looking for thick grain stubble and water.

Tanks – a Lot

Is a hover tank too much to ask for high school graduation? Really? All I wanted was a hover tank, with an instruction manual, some extra rounds of ammunition for the smaller guns, and money to hire the rest of the crew with. No? I would have settled for an Abrams or Merkava. Yes, I had a serious armor addiction when I was younger. I blame history books and David Drake. Continue reading

Call for Alpha Readers and Excerpt

I need a few brave volunteers to read the draft of A Cat at Bay and poke holes in it. I know there’s some rough spots, but I also suspect I’m not seeing a few others. Please e-mail me at AlmaTCBoykin at AOL dot com  if you are interested. here’s a bit of a teaser

Chapter 1: Home from the Hill (Autumn 2004)

 

Major Rahoul Khan winced as bright light flashed across his eyes his eyes, blinding him, then leaving him seeing spots as the beam swept around and down. He heard metal slide on metal, and a voice muttering curses in a language he’d not heard for three years.

“If you are telling off Lucius, Prince of Darkness, or Corporal La Grange, ma’am, I agree. Can we shift it without starting it?”

“Yes, Sergeant St. John. Lower the bonnet and I’ll disengage the brake. We’ll need someone to push as I steer.” Continue reading

Choral Confusion

There’s something about choirs, processions, and habit that summons the Imp of the Perverse faster than any incantation ever used. I’ve sung in groups large and small, secular and sacred, in the US and elsewhere, and nothing but nothing will cause chaos faster than trying to get said group of singers into position while singing. Doesn’t matter if it is a hymn, anthem, introit, art song, or choral response. Combine singing, motion, and relocation and a tangle of tenors, a basket-case of basses and a surprise of sopranos ensues. (The altos usually leave early and go out for beer.) Continue reading

2/17/15 Progress Report

An hour at the gym. 4500 words on Carpathian Campaign, with the rest of the story taking shape and starting to make sense. The book will not cover as much as I had hoped, but I’d been planning on a second book anyway. There may be a third, or a set of novellas and short stories.

The cover for Circuits and Crises is in the sketching stage, with plans firming up for the art for Blackbird as well.

As we had sneet, rain, snow, ice pellets, ice pellets in sunshine, and sunshine, all in five minutes this afternoon.

Beauty and the Beast

OK, true confessions – I had a massive, not exactly crush, on Vincent from the TV series Beauty and the Beast. I say not exactly a crush because I knew very well that 1) I had no desire to go to NYC and 2) a teenaged girl is no competition for Linda Hamilton. Zip, zilch, nada, nope. Vincent had very good taste, even if she was a lawyer. Even so, I kinda imprinted on Vincent, as played by Ron Perlman. I suspect a lot of women did. And it introduced me to Urban Fantasy before UF was a thing. It and Charles de Lint’s writing spoiled me for Urban Fantasy, too, I suspect. Continue reading

Poetry in the Heart

Sooo, a few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to inflict introduce some students to properly read and declaimed poetry. Now granted, the material helped, but I really got into it. After I finished the assigned poem, the 20 or so students sat there, eyes wide, absolutely silent as if spellbound. It was a glorious feeling. The class before I had recited the first five stanzas or so of “The Man From Snowy River” by A.B. Banjo Patterson. One of the students blurted, “Is that a poem?” He couldn’t believe it. Continue reading

The Biscuit Lady

We, the students that is, never called her by her name, even those who knew it. She was the Biscuit Lady. Always capitalized, always with a certain reverence that occasionally bordered on worshipfulness. Five days a week, rain or snow, flood or tempest, she got to campus at around four AM and set about making pan after pan of scratch biscuits. Trust me when I say that if Jesus had gotten four  of those biscuits and two fishes from the little boy by the lakeshore, He might have had some fish left over but there would not have been any spare biscuits. They were that good. Continue reading