Tap-Tap-Tap..is this thing still on?

I know posting has slowed a lot and while that is bad, it is also good.

So busy, I have now completed half of my assigned flash. These planet travelogues are so much fun to write. If only pesky things like LIFE, sleep and oh, yeah, work did not intrude on the fun. I am going to ask my publisher if there is anyway I can arrange to use some of these as a base for writing short stories or novels. I do not know how that arrangement will work but am getting some great ideas.

Speaking of novels, I am close to the halfway point.  Making deadline is going to be close. But I knew that, the first eye surgery put me off more than I expected.

There was a little excitement on the trip so far. While the plane is being looked over and repairs are being made, if needed, the rest of the characters are enjoying a sumptuous dinner at the Savoy.

Well, except the one working on the plane. “sigh” Oh! and the other one who has met someone. Even now they are enjoying a walk and serious conversation about the future along the banks of the Thames. Such a lovely, peaceful evening….

Thanks for reading!

Ernest

Decrepit Snake Pliskin

So, it has been three days since my first eye surgery. Since there is a significant difference in vision between the eye which has been operated on and the one with the remaining cataract, I am wearing a patch over the eye with the cataract.

With my black leather trench I have the appearance of a decrepit Snake Pliskin, greying hair, paunch, playing with a knife. There’s a Cosplay in there somewhere. Granpa Pliskin. Though I have much more respect for any action hero with an eye patch. The disorientation of no depth perception is aggravating. The grueling hours of practice to overcome the vertigo and adjusting for the lack of stereo vision would have taken extreme focus. Makes me very glad I only have until the 13th before the next surgery.

A walk to the store and back left me with a bit of vertigo. I have dropped three bottles because though I felt them on the table but missed having them far enough back from the edge by a quarter inch. And yet, the clarity of vision I am experiencing is one I cannot recall. My doctor says it will be four to six weeks before the eye is fully healed, same for the next. Every day my vision improves. I look across the room and books which were barely in focus are now clearly legible.

I have been in glasses since I was in second grade. I have no real recollection of sight without glasses. And over 45 years, because I have always had almost no vision beyond the end of my nose, it has become natural for me to hold some things very close and look over my glasses. Now, if it is less than 12 inches it is still rather blurry. Total opposite of what I have known all my life. This morning I can see my phone if at full arm extension. I tried to write yesterday and set at 200% could see the page, but a couple hundred words in I began developing a splitting headache. Guessing I am beyond that since I am over that word count now.

One last thing to say here which I need to say, I say it last not because it is the least, it is the most important.

None of this, there is so little in my life at this time that I would, oe could be doing without my incredible partner. There have been many who encouraged me to write, but she is my day to day support. Following up, gives me editing advice, tells me when and where something needs to be re-written. And it is she who has given me this gift of vision. This is one of those times the words “Thank you” just feel entirely inadequate.

Novel update!

Wow, that was close. No one knew if that plane could survive that dive including the designer. With a layover in London while the plane is checked for damage and needed repairs, I hope everyone gets a good night’s sleep. If they can stop wondering who was shooting at them.

Today was kind of unfocused, writing in bits and spurts. Still got 2000 words in and 4400 for Saturday and Sunday. Past the 10000 word mark and all of the main characters have been introduced. Hmm, are you wondering what will happen next intrepid reader? That’s ok. So am I.

Flash Friday – The Zephyr

The joy of fully realizing and knowing the bond of our friendship had deepened over the last three years made my heart sing that fateful morning. Seen from a distance the early rays of dawn glistened against the silhouette of The Zephyr exiting the barn. That The Zephyr existed was a triumph of the bond shared between Philip and I. Through the trials, tribulations, and victories of our endeavors as our shared vision took shape so too did our relationship grow from friendship to brotherhood.

Our combined skills in engineering and electrical sciences produced this magnificent airship. While not as large as its successors would be, this ship would be the proof of concept which would change the world, ushering in a new age of commerce and transportation. This maiden flight would test and confirm our theories shining as a beacon of hope for the future.

Preflight checks all seemed to be in order. The rudder and planes responded well to the controls from gleaming brass and polished wooden controls in the wheelhouse. The small Donkey engine aft generated a good head of steam as it spun the two dynamos up to speed. Dials spun as they engaged both in the engine compartment and their duplicates in the wheelhouse. They reflected the steady pressure of the Donkey engines chug-chug and the current flow from the dynamos. A third dial held a steady vigil as the batteries held their charge while four smaller dials below read the amperage fed to each of the powerful electric motors ready to spin the propellers.

A steam engine required to power even a ship this size weighed more than the ship could lift, besides and cargo capacity being negated by the requirement to carry enough fuel to feed the monster. Our concept used a very donkey engine to charge batteries. It was light weight, could be tuned off for extended periods while the ship was powered by its batteries therefore requiring much less fuel. At least that was the idea.

I lost the coin toss to Phillip. It would be he who piloted our craft as I operated the engine and tended the batteries. Our six backers and their wives would occupy the small, but well appointed, passenger cabin and we would carry 250 pounds of mixed cargo. Our future plans would aim for up to 100 passengers or as much cargo as large freighter. Other designs might allow for a mix of passengers and cargo. Yes, our optimism was high.

The ground crew loosed our bonds the earthly realm. With hardly a bump, our beautiful craft with its crimson and gold gas bag adorned by the saw-toothed stabilizer fins bore us heavenward.

We circled the town, checking our systems and operations, allowing our backers to, “ooh and ahh”, as we dipped low enough to view landmarks. A tight circle of the town’s clocktower confirmed the trim crafts maneuverability. All conducted in silence.

The intent was we would fly northward to our capital, showing our invention to the government. Surely after such a prolonged period of devastation, an invention such as ours might inspire them to back us as well. The possibilities were endless. Our dreams were of the pie in the sky variety, for our heads and our invention were in the clouds.

Our Backers were ecstatic, fortunately the weather was good, and they gushed over how comfortable the travel. Even the best trains were loud, and smelly. This was almost as comfortable as sitting in their own parlors. Their schemes at attracting passengers soon outstripped Phillips and mine most grandiose of plans. The only sound the occasional chug-chug of the Donkey engine to keep up the charge.

As the batteries charged two things happened. First they generated heat and this in itself could cause them to boil out exposing the plates seated in the sulfuric acid potentially causing a spark. This results in the second problem of explosion. For as the batteries charge they generate not only heat but hydrogen gas. This gas is the very thing suspending our craft between heaven and earth. A spark could ignite it.

Phillip solved these problems in two ways. Each battery resided inside a glass housing. Ingeniously a stopcock attached to each of these housings allowed the hydrogen to be siphoned off and stored for future use. This would solve one of the questions posed in obtaining a supply for our ships. A creative system of ductwork flowed over the batteries removing the oxygen produced as part of the process which had the effect of cooling both batteries and the engines. The controls to open these ducts resided in the wheelhouse. The siphoning process could be controlled manually at the batteries or from the wheelhouse.

We made the trip from Texas to Washington D.C. in less than 14 hours. A three day trip by train reduced to less than a day. The trip was a complete success for our vision of the future.

Well, mine at least, for I noticed the temperature of the batteries rising. This had occurred a couple of times during the flight but each time Phillip had opened the ducts rapidly cooling things down. There was no cool down.

The speaking tube engendered no response. Worried I went to the wheelhouse only to find the door locked. My knocks produced no more response than the speaking tube. Concern for Phillip led me to break open the door. In the interest of lightweight, the doors and nonstructural components were made of the lightest materials, the door collapsed under a determined assault.

“Phillip, what is wrong?” stunned as he seemed to be piloting the craft normally. I could just see the capitol through the front windows of the wheelhouse.

“There is nothing wrong Emmet. I aim to repair history. We never should have lost that war and now carpetbaggers steal our ways of life. Take our property and our lands, do you really think those men back there are not plotting to take every cent from our toil? When this ship crashes into the capitol our brethren will rise again, throw off the shackle of these northern oppressors.” Madly throwing controls The Zephyr abruptly canted downward. If action were not taken swiftly our dreams would turn from an optimistic vision to a thunderbolt of Zeusian vengeance.

“Phillip, after all we have come to understand each other how can you dash our dreams? The war was lost, slavery was on the way out as machinery changed the economics. Ours is a time to look to the future, rebuild from the ashes and create new things, things like the Zephyr. Please Phillip, step away from the controls.”

“I knew you had gone soft Emmet, when you mourned Lincoln, I knew it then. You are a good man but you just do not understand. The idea came to me as we flew. I knew you would never understand what this chance represented. ”

“I understand Phillip. I understand too well there are those who cannot that times change. There will always be those who want to hold dearly to old ideas, will fight to prevent change. Even change for the better where all mankind might learn to live as one brotherhood. How can I convince you this is not the course to take? Only evil can come of it.”

With a glance to the controls Phillip spun to face me.

“I can’t let you do this Phillip.”

“I can’t let you stop me Emmet.”

Without further word, we both launched at each other.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

Travel the stars! See the Galaxy!

Taking a break from our might hero to work on another project. Its a lot of fun too writing flash one page travel guides to other planets. Who knows, planting a lot of seeds for stories perhaps. But am writing daily and that’s my goal.

500 words tonight, a poem, a post and another page updated.. Not too shabby for three hours. Sometimes, just sometimes mind you, I actually think I can keep it all up in the air.

Thanks for Reading,

ernest

Shelter from the Storm

Creep slowly through snowy winter.

Slough the drifts of an eerie forest.

Walk toward the light,

Cold, heartless light.

Forward, always moving forward.

 

The moon lies sleeping

Beyond the vale

Black skies blow an icy gale

Dark clouds strike each other

Lightning of the storm

 

Peer into the river’s edge

Parched for warmth

of mulled wine

Settle instead

cold, dirty water.

Challenging

The struggle to survive

 

A shadow,

dark and cold,

Frost-rimmed eyes,

My only shelter from the storm.

 

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Hi-Ho to meet this deadline I have to go

Morning tasks and routine done. Time to crank out some words. When last we left our stalwart hero he was investigating a fire at the library. The same library he had sought information from earlier. Could there be a connection or is this just 5th column anarchy? Stayed tuned intrepid reader.

Update to follow???

Thanks for reading!

Ernest

 

Update:

2500 words today. The hero is hot on the trail of the mysterious McGuffin, but he is not the only one. Others have contacted the museum as well. Is this a race to a fabulous treasure or a rescue on the nick of time?

Stay tuned Intrepid readers, the adventure is building as we approach the one third point of the novel.

a productive day

1500 words on the pulp novel so far this afternoon. That’s 5000 total so far. Thought I earned a break and took a walk to clear the cobwebs.

A little concerned about the story pacing, but I am used to writing 10-16k. I’d be almost halfway through, I just let it go where it needs and deal with pacing issues in rewrite.

At least I feel I have passed my hesitation about not knowing the character in his original story. Everything I know is from just a few sketchy blog reviews. The good thing is in losing the hesitancy he is really coming to life for me.

***

Update:

Only another 600 words this evening. Heading to bed now. the story is flowing but the fingers are not, neither are the eyelids. Target later today is another 1500-2000 words.

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Flash Friday- Inquisitor Report , A story of the Iron Dragons

As Papa Aegrorum stirred his great cauldron, imagining what foul contagion with which he could bless his minions and bring others to him in their glory of corruption, he sought images in the swirl of festering gobbets of his past and current glories. Aromas of his odiferous swill rising to fill his gardens as he worked, a smile of rotten maggots filled his maw. Peering into the materrium he could see there a plague, here boils which erupted with flies, bleeding sickness, swarms of all sort, yes, many good examples of his work over time. And yet, there seemed to be a dark spot on his otherwise bright path of disease across the galaxy. There seemed to be a place he was not exerting power, yet showed a touch much like his……

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On Vhoorl the awakening to the Great Ones power was continuing. Great Cthulhu, while still trapped in the pocket dimension of Rl’yeh, was able to exert more and more influence. The Iron Dragons and their allies, the Arkham Confederacy, were becoming acclimated to The Great Old Ones directions. Only the Space Marines seemed capable of containing the powers with which he could infuse them. These mortals too quickly burnout, they become husks of themselves. More would be needed to replace them. Indeed, many had taken to worship of The Black Goat with a Thousand Young.

As members of the pact displayed greater power, toughness, invulnerability and psychic ability, speed and precision and when needed a berserker’s lust for combat, more were joining the pact. Soon, joined with the degenerate descendants of the Oruk, they would be able to take more territory in the materrium, gathering more followers, building enough psychic focus to free him from this imprisonment. Then, then the galaxy shall know the resurgence of a golden age.

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At Papa Aegrorum direction, Nirgali arrived on Vhoorl. The suffering of a colony of burnt out shells of humans providing a portal into the materrium. One look and it became obvious the half human husks were not the work of a loving god like Aegrorum. These creatures had nothing left; there was no joy in their suffering, no exultation to Aegrorum for an easement, no begging for death or for others to join them. They merely shuffled, wasting their potential service.

Nirgali had grown to follow Aegrorum while on Curwen, once he had been a priest of the Imperial Presence, preaching of the Galactic Empire, but when the Emperor failed to answer his prayers, Aegrorum did. Aegrorum nurtured him and as his faith grew, he brought other to know the joyous suffering of Aegrorum. The near immortality offered by the constant renewal of disease.

Going straight to work, Nirgali began giving them the NOX virus, turning these doddering meat cases into rotting zombies with a will to serve.

And Nirgali knew just the mortal servant to make use of these putrefied slabs of gangrenous meat. And so, Panderia was summoned.

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When the Apothecarium reported to Inquisitor De Salis and Captain Kal-Mari of the infections breaking out in the hive city both knew what to do or so they thought. The victims were quarantined with the rest of the corrupted, once-human husks who could not handle the power of a Great Old One coursing through them. It was on realizing the wretched half corpses were beginning to contract a new disease becoming, if anything, more animated.

After hundreds of case were brought forward, the Apothecarium reported in the bowels of the Miskatonic library, was reference to a chaos wrought illness known as the NOX plague, creating a zombie like state of undeath. In swift decision it was decided any new cases would be driven to the pits and burned. Meanwhile, at the risk of exterminatus being declared, a request for aid with the virus would be requested, it was defeated before but the tomes onboard the Miskatonic did not have all of the information as to how. And at the same time a request for more civilian colonists could be made….

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Ordo Xenos:

Inquisitor Nathaniel De Salis Reporting

Vhoorl Disease Survey

Binary Star AL-Janubi

Segmentum Obscura

 

Planet: Vhoorl

Date: 6793014.M41

 

Within the last year, there have been numerous cases of a disease the Empires Apothecaries have been unable to diagnose. Workers in the Hive City have been disappearing and this has been reducing production and efficiency.

 

When reported, the Apothecarium believed the malady to be an unknown strain of a common virus and seemed to respond to treatment. Then relapses began among those considered cured.

 

The relapses were particularly virulent. Blood running form all the orifices, greenish tinge to the skin, clammy and gave the appearance of rot. Yet, there have been no fatalities reported. These cases responded to no forms of treatment.

 

The Ecclesiastical arm has been involved as a cult seems to have sprung up surrounding those infected.

Quarantine seemed called for, both for the physical and spiritual health of the workforce, in camps set up in the swamps at the far end of the continent furthest from the MegaCity.

 

While there is always instances of desertion, and even defection, from the Light of the Empire to other cults, the efforts on this planet seem to have more than the usual numbers.

It is suggested by this Inquisitor the planet has its civilian population cleansed and replaced with a new force. The system is too important strategically to abandon.

 

Immediate dispatch is requested of a unit of Ashen Cabelleros and a member of the Assassins Guild to Vhoorl to provide assistance in cleansing the planet, both civilian and military forces. A Sample of the virus has been encased and forwarded to the Empires Apothecarium.

 

And the plates are still flying – mostly

I am still alive! Life has been a constant juggling act.

Have a pulp novel due end of June 30,000 words more details as I am able to release them. Really excited and a little nervous because of the tight deadline.

Working on Flash pieces for an art book by a very talented artist.  500 or so words each 7 down, with up 8 to go, for now. very possible I’ll be doing more of them. I’ll give details soon a I can. They have been fun to write.

Preparing to move to another state soon.

And 2 cataract surgery in June.

Then there is the corporate gig. and the pesky sleep thing.

My intent in starting this blog was to ensure I wrote daily. Writing daily is not an issue, I kind of have to as survival right now. 🙂

Though I will have news coming on when new books with stories by me come out. Once they are announced at the publisher. Between now and end of year have four scheduled though actual mileage may vary because of any number of reasons. Titles and dates will be given once the publisher has put them out.

Planning on a Flash Friday Story later.

Thank you for reading and hanging in there.

Ernest