One Last Time: Returning to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

“One last time
Relax, have a drink with me
One last time
Let’s take a break tonight
And then we’ll teach them how to say goodbye
To say goodbye
You and I”

— George Washington to Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton: An American Musical

PFD_3rd-SQUAREIt’s hard to believe the summer is in full swing, but here we are; and if you’re following any of my social media streams, you know I’ve been busy…

  • A new podcast is in full swing. (I’ll share Episode #010 here when it goes live. Trying a few new things with this podcast.)
  • The Third Edition of Podcasting for Dummies is in the final edits, and both Chuck and I could not be happier. (And it’s been an absolute blast.
  • A new idea is still coming together, and the feedback on it has been overwhelmingly positive.

But after a really hard start to 2017, I thought I had brought my year back on track. Thing is, I was putting off something that I know has been lurking in the shadows—the final installment to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

Pip has been on me to get back to the work I began last year with Wellington and Eliza’s last adventure (that we are aware of), but blaming the misadventures of 2017 on the delays of Operation: Endgame would be unfair. Every time I plan to sit down and go through the manuscript, I consider the past five years. 2011. The arrival of Phoenix Rising. That wasn’t our first step though. It was here…

 

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Balticon 44. Sunday, May 30, 2010. The panel was hosted by Pip and me, and the panel was listed as “Books and Braun: Chapter Two” where we read both Chapters 1 and 2 and we shared with the world what is now a fan favorite from Eliza D. Braun…

“But I like black powder and dynamite.”

I still remember asking everyone after the reading, “Did you like what you heard? Great..because we just sold it to New York.” Since that announcement, the past five years have been a blur. It still amazes us how the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences went from our first podcast in February 2011 to appearances in several anthologies, a role playing game, and two successful Kickstarters. It has been an amazing ride, and I’ll admit — I really don’t want it to end. Heck, I’m not sure if “The End” really means what it means as we have The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh, but it’s different. We’re wrapping it up and stepping away from this power couple of steampunk. Their adventure is coming to a close. You know, after six books, I believed ending their adventure would be welcome. Time to move on to something new.

Then I stepped back into Operation: Endgame

“Bloody hell,” Eliza snapped as they shoved through a gaggle of drunken sailors. They took more notice of Eliza’s interrupting of their business negotiations with the working ladies on the street corner than of the hoodlum bounding over the pedestrians.

“Watch it, ya tart!” one of then snapped, grabbing hold of Eliza’s bicep.

Oh dear, Wellington thought quickly, you should not have done that.

In the space of his thought, Eliza’s free arm moved with super-human alacrity, punching the man in his gut so hard Wellington wondered if his lover’s hand would emerge from his back. Fortunately, the sailors blubber cushioned the plures ornemtaum-powered blow.

The remaining three sailors took only one step before Eliza produced her pistol. “Make an appointment, boys.”

It was like reuniting with an old friend, slipping into a favorite sweatshirt, or enjoying my favorite beer. It wasn’t easy writing for Wellington and Eliza. It has always felt right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about them this week as we revealed the cover of Operation: Endgame. Another brilliant creation thanks to the talents of GoForward Photography, Designed by Starla, and V’s Cosplay. We went simple with this layout, but there is a story in this wrap-around cover (and when you see the back, you’ll see), but Verena really captured Eliza in this moment. It’s all coming down to this.

OperationEndgame

So now I am back to it, still juggling final edits with Podcasting for Dummies, but making time for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and the end to what has been five years of pure delight.

Here we go…

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