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October 30, 2014
Posted at 6:39 pm

What's in work

One of my readers asked what I was up to (hint, hint). Okay, I guess that's a fair question.
As I've mentioned before, I really enjoyed reading all the stories in The Thinking Horndog's "Swarm Cycle", but it bothered me that it was about an interstellar war and not one of the authors appeared to know anything about ships. The only veterans writing Swarm stories were all clearly ground-pounders. They knew far more than I do about war from the front lines, but they desperately needed someone to inject a little "here's how it would have to work" about the ships they ride around in.
That turned into "Independent Command". My intent was to simply show the other authors how ships would be run, how squadrons and task forces would be organized, how the REMFs (rear-echelon, uh, weenies) would support the fighting forces, etc, etc, etc.
Well, I kept asking questions about what had been previously been decided while I was writing IC, and when the smoke had cleared _I_ was one of the "experts" that the other authors came to, to make sure that their shiny new story fit in with the others. Sure.... I've got a lot of notes.
We still don't have all the answers, though. We needed at least two more stories that explain things. One will be about how the aliens first contacted us humans. I've suggested an outline but that's gonna be a comedy of errors and I don't think I write comedy well. I have suggested to TH over email and even over lunch once that he write that one so that it goes the way he wants, and he suggested that it would get written faster if I handed the monkeys at the Tampa Zoo several typewriters and all the crack they needed.
The other story is going to be how, once the world leaders get over their shock at not being the most important men in the universe, we actually got the Confederacy Navy and Marine Corps started. I can write that one. It's almost done, in fact.
I'm calling it "The First Command", usually written as "TFC" because I'm lazy. All that's left is to argue out a couple of "how do we want this to work" items in the author's group, then write it up however we decide. Some of the items I have strong opinions on, as in it's going my way unless TH emails me and uses his veto. Other items I frankly don't care, just make up your minds and tell me. If no one else on the author's group cares, I'll flip a coin. And rip their heads off and shit down their windpipes next year when they bitch about my high-handed decisions.....

I'm also working on a novel-length expansion of that scene I published named "Ending This Mess". That really wasn't on my to-do list, but it occasionally grows when no one is watching it. And, dammit, my last excuse for not writing the rest of that story went away this fall, when we hammered out how the 4th Battle of Earthat and the subsequent Battle for Earth would go. There were several authors who wanted to write about that, and they were all holding off until we had the big picture agreed to. Well, we came to a consensus, TH blessed it, and now we're supposed to be back writing again. Dammit.

Anyway, TFC should be done by the end of the year, and ETM should come out sometime in 2015. Sorry. I've tried to write short stories. They just don't work. Either it stays small and I kill it as worthless, or it grows enough to fight back, and it becomes a novel. Did I mention that I can't concentrate on one thing long enough to finish it? I have nine other (non-Swarm) stories in work, four of them well over 100 KB and none of them want to end.