‘Triumph’s Ashes’ Blog Tour – Thinking Outside The Box
After I finished writing The Cassidy Chronicles I thought I was finished writing about Aiyana and Kendra.
I started with their wedding, broke it up, got them married, sent them on adventures, put them in peril, and finally ended things with them on top and ready to change the world.
I was ready to start on The Next Book.
It’s not as easy as it sounds; at least, not for me.
First I had to think of a problem.
Fine. Impending famine due to a breakdown in infrastructure.
Impending famine due to breakdown in infrastructure because the Lunar colonies keep demanding all the rare metals needed to keep the machinery working.
And make them obligated by treaty to provide it.
Well, now that I have a problem, they need a solution.
So I started writing. First I did some fake ‘news stories’ to serve as the backdrop, the setup for the legal requirement for the minerals. Then I started with a meeting, high-ranking members of the Earth government, recognizing the impending problem (15 years? No, 20.) and trying to figure a solution. Then the junior member comes up with an off-the-wall idea, and…
The story ground to a halt.
I simply couldn’t get past the idea stage. Given the circumstances, I couldn’t create a plausible way for them to create their solution.
I put it aside for a couple days.
Sometime during those two days I thought, “Now this is exactly the kind of problem Cass and Ken would love.”
I won’t say it was a lightbulb moment; it was more of an idle thought.
But when I sat down to try to redo the scene, Cass and Ken kept running through my head, so I figured, what the hell.
I wrote the next chapter; I hadn’t finished the first one, but when in doubt, write. Right?
And it happened to be Cass, in her office, taking a call recruiting her help.
I was off and running.
The problem/solution from the first chapter was going to be a long-term plot, spread over multiple books, so I needed another sub-plot.
Well, Kendra’s dream is to lead mankind into interstellar space; how about the first starship?
And the presence of the first starship is going to present a threat to the Lunar colonies – now called the Artemis colony and Solarian Union – so I have my antagonist!
Eventually this story arc, which came to be called the Artemis War, spread over four books. But combat wasn’t the sole focus; no, I touch on human rights, equality of sentient beings, politics, exploration, laying the groundwork for lots more books in this now-expanded universe.
So if you’re a writer, here’s what I’m going to say: don’t give up when you get stuck! Think outside the box, kick it open if you have to. There’s a solution somewhere!
Viva la revolucion!
The Primus, Vasilia Newling, is facing her worst nightmares:
- A revolution on Luna.
- Titan and the Asteroids abandoning the Solarian Union.
- Defections from within her own government.
All because of those damned Cassidys!
But she’s still as ruthless as ever.
And if Aiyana and Kendra thought she was playing dirty before? They’re going to see how filthy she really can get.
There isn’t room for both the Terran Federation and the Union.
This time, one is going down.
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Adam is giving away a $100 Restaurants.com gift card with this tour:
“Commander? Aren’t you on your honeymoon?”
Commander Daniela Garcia-Kay stopped filling her coffee cup and to stare at the questioner.
“Ma’am,” she belatedly appended.
“Better, Rat,” Garcia-Kay said, finishing the pour. “And for your information, yes, I am, but I need to stay sharp.”
She added, in a much more conversational tone, “Boomer’s been after me as well. He says that he’s still trying to integrate with his new body and I should be flying him, so…”
Rat, Ensign (JG) Judith Bastin, grinned. The Epsilon-class AI’s installed in the Direwolf fighters could be nearly human in their personalities, if encouraged by their human counterparts. A good number of the pilots of Nymeria Squadron did so, reaping the benefits of the enhanced partnership, taking after the lead of their commander.
Daniela, as the first Direwolf pilot, had led the way. She’d investigated the interests the Admiral had in 20th/21stcentury ‘television’ and ‘movies’, eventually arriving at ‘Boomer’ as a good name for her AI. As a result, his personality tended to be cool, calculating, and confident, with a special knack for engineering his way around problems. His level-headedness complemented Daniela’s more aggressive flying style.
“I heard they salvaged your chair,” Rat said.
“They did,” agreed Daniela. “That was about all, though.”
Her face clouded briefly at the memory. Her prior Direwolf had been ruined by a mid-space collision with another fighter during an exercise in which the other pilot had lost her life. It was the first non-action casualty the squadron had faced and it still stung.
Rat picked up on her discomfort and tried to change the subject. “How’s Boomer doing? Does he like the new ship?”
“He appreciates the new capabilities, but keeps sending me messages about how things just aren’t quite ‘right’ with it. Which is why I’m here at oh six hundred instead of in bed with my husband,” she finished, raising her mug.
“Aye, ma’am,” said Rat, raising her half-empty mug in mock salute. “Do you need a wing? I’m scheduled for the mid-watch CAP, but I have a couple hours.”
“Thanks, Rat, I’m covered. Locksmith is going out with me.”
Rat nodded. Locksmith was the XO of the second Direwolf squadron under Lt. Commander Ashlyn Bontrager. Red Squadron was officially assigned to the TFS Endeavour, but only half the fighters could fit aboard at any one time for away missions if there would be a couple of the older Wolves attached for the duration. The other half remained at Njord and did drills until the Endeavour returned.
“Catch you later, Double Dip,” Rat said and strolled out.
She had to smile. For all that Starfleet was a military organization, the formality and rigidity which plagued longer-established militaries simply didn’t exist. Given the preferences of the Admiral, it probably never would.
Daniela spent the next few minutes with her thoughts before Locksmith arrived.
Lieutenant Lexie Marsh, recently promoted, was nearly a mirror image of Double Dip. She was just as tall and built in a similar, athletic manner. Her hair, which she wore in a single long braid, was dyed a pale green which set off her emerald eyes and dark skin. Her most prominent feature, though, was her smile. It was said in her division that as long as Locksmith was smiling you were doing well. If it flickered, though, you were in trouble. Nobody knew what would happen if it disappeared. Yet.
Today, it was in full force.
“Morning, Danni,” Locksmith said, already carrying her own mug.
“Morning Lexie,” Daniela answered around another sip. “Ready for today?”
“As soon as I finish my cacao.”
“You and Commander Cassidy,” Daniela chuckled. “What is it about that stuff?”
“I could ask you the same,” countered Locksmith. “Coffee, yuck.”
“Just for that I’m going to dust you,” Daniela said.
“Hello? We’re both flying the same bird?”
“Nope. I have the first of the Mark II’s.”
Instantly Locksmith was all business.
“I didn’t think they were going to be in production until next year! That’s why my girlfriend told me, and she should know; she works at HLC, testing.”
“She’s not wrong. But someone has to break them in before they start rolling them out, and since I have the most hours in Direwolves of any pilot in Starfleet, well, the decision was simple. Mine’s one of the two-seaters, too, a training model.”
“Is the scuttlebutt true?”
Daniela laughed. “I hope so! We’ll find out today anyways.”
Locksmith put down her mug, sloshing the contents onto the table, and stood. “What are we waiting for?”
Daniela took a final swallow and led the way to the bay. After they’d done the mandatory walkarounds and pre-flight checks they each climbed into their cockpits.
“About time,” grumped her AI as she settled in.
“It’s my honeymoon,” she grumped right back. “I’m permitted.”
“It’s all well and good for you, you can get out of the ship just by standing up. Me, it takes major mechanical surgery.”
“Sorry, Boomer. Admiral’s orders. I tried to delay the wedding but she wouldn’t allow it.”
She could tell he was somewhat mollified, though, as they ran through the power-up checklists. They’d developed enough of a rapport over the previous months that they could do the tasks almost on automatic while holding a conversation.
“How does she feel?” Daniela asked now.
“It’s different,” Boomer said. “The basic systems are all the same, except where they aren’t. It’s tough to explain.”
“Anything I need to be concerned about? Anything radically different?”
“No. Most of the changes they made are incremental, evolutionary. Like the aiming mechanism on the lasers.”
“We can aim?”
“A little. About two degrees, but it’s enough so we can do some pinpoint shooting at longer ranges.”
“If you ask me, though, I’m most impressed with the new reactor, if it works.”
“What do you mean, ‘if it works’?”
“It’s a new design. The old reactor was a laser-pumped design, while the new one is a z-pinch. If it works the way it should, we ought to achieve increased thrust as well as higher power for the other systems.”
“How much increased thrust?”
“Up to 650 g.”
Daniela allowed herself a low whistle. The Mark 1 already had the highest acceleration of any sublight craft in any fleet, 500 g, and a skilled pilot/AI combination could squeeze an extra 10 g or 20 g performance. 650 g, though, was unheard-of.
“What will I feel?” she asked. She knew she could tap her implant to get the information, but one of the reasons she and Boomer were such an effective team was she treated him as a partner. Currently, at max accel, she felt 6 g, which was eight times more than the Federation standard aboard vessels and habitats. Her nanobots prevented the lower gravity from weakening her bones and muscles, but she’d been in Starfleet since the beginning. Three-quarter g felt normal now, hence her concern.
“You’ll love this. Five g.”
As for my writing, well, I’ve thrown a bunch out onto Amazon. There’s a couple Sherlock Holmes stories, a few horror-ish shorts, and then you get to my longer books: Refuge, a time-traveling take on vampire stories, and The Cassidy Chronicles. Triumph’s Ashes is the fifth book in the series and completes the Artemis War story arc.
Like I said, thanks for dropping in! You can find me on Allauthor.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on my website www.cassidychronicles.com.This month, I’ll be appearing on the Meet the Author Podcast/Vidcast on November 24th, so tune in and check it out! It’s an hour of Cassidyverse talk and it’s at https://indiebooksource.com/podcast/ I love interacting with fans, but be warned: I often add my fans into my books!
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