[If you aren’t reading this on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/blazeward), obviously, there is a two week lag. If you’d like your news fresh, and the monthly Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef newsletter, all I ask is a buck to help keep the lights on around here.]

Happy halloween, to all the folks getting fake blood and candy all over themselves!

Woke up this morning to news that my gaming group were all COVID positive. One guy went home Wednesday night after the game feeling a little yuck. More yuck by Thursday. Rest of us came down Friday or Saturday.

Best part? I’d scheduled my Covid booster for last Friday, plus a flu shot. Did both without knowing that I was probably positive. At least this morning I can taste and smell things just fine. So back onto the couch after I write this and probably miss a third day of writing. A bit grumpy on that part. (Okay, way past a bit, but shit happens.)

Been talking to a couple of you about stories I’d sent out monthly, because my list got corrupted and I don’t know what you saw over the summer. Then, late last night, I remembered a short story I wrote a while back and buried. You’ll be getting that next month.

I set up a warlock character for a dnd5 game that never happened. GM wanted some depth beyond Murderhobo First Class, so I took the time to write a backstory, figuring that I could extend it later depending on the campaign. Campaign never happened (see above) so I forgot about it. Going to look it up today or tomorrow, but it should be good.

Last week, I finished Last Stand #8 and rolled right over to #9. Kind fun, because I already know what #11 and #12 will be, so I only need to come up with one more story for “Season One/2023.” And I have a long list of options. Like 30 or something silly.

Going forward, I had planned to get #9 close to done today, then finish it tomorrow (15700 of an expected 22000 right now). From there, I am going to write the next Harper story, but with a twist. Like the previous two stories you folks have read, it will be a grift that goes terribly wrong, but in a good way.

Eventually, they’re going to start calling her Lucky, because she always lands on her feet. This story will set her up for a series, finally, but a fun one. It will be in the issue of Boundary Shock Quarterly called “Tramp Freighter Captains” and will build on all the research I’ve been doing around comedy, because it will push the edges of farcical silliness.

(Still trying to figure out how to break the fourth wall in the written word without being too obvious. Every single show or movie I have watched so far does that. Some character will give the camera a look. Maybe a roll of the eyes. Maybe a put-upon sigh. Something. Sharing the joke with the audience. Will figure it out.)

If my math is right, that story is due to myself April 1, so it will come out in July, with the first two cleaned up and as a “Harper Starter Pack.”

After that, writer brain announced that it wanted to write another Gunderson story. Okay, sure. Why not? This one will extend the story beyond Blackmailers (Gunderson Case Files, Volume 1) and I think puts us at #10. I’d have to count, but it might be enough for a Vol 2 by word count, with a couple you’ve never read.

Or I might need to write 1-2 more. Or make this one kinda long. It is an category that I’m not sure what to call, because it has elements of paranormal and fantasy and science fiction in a private detective sub. If any of you are experts on fiction genre categorizations, I’d love your thoughts.

I’ve been standing long enough, so I’m going to load this, schedule it, and go back to bed.


Shade and sweet water,


West of the rainy Mountains, WA


Thank you so much for being my patron and for funding these essays!

If you’re reading the free version (which is published two weeks after the Patreon version), please consider joining the ones who do pay at https://www.patreon.com/blazeward. It’s only a buck and helps keeps the lights on around here.