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

More Update: was no longer contagious by wednesday. And Fabulous Publisher Babe™ stopped having a second red line by Saturday. We’d slept in different houses for two weeks, and the cat was not pleased. But then, she’s a grumpy, old lady (17.5 years old, and grumbly teenager some days).

Proceeding on the third Marrakesh novel, having finished Gunderson #10. Sitting at 23,000 words as I write this, with a target of 42,000, like the previous two. Space Adventure Military SF. Mission of the Week sort of thing, with callbacks and easter eggs related to both the Leary/Mundy books by David Drake and the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, upon which the Leary books are also inspired.

Drake made some choices that IMO didn’t work out for the series, once he got past about book four. Early decisions kind of locked him in to a path in such a way that I found it harder and harder to suspend disbelief as we went.

I’ve been on his newsletter for maybe twenty years at this point, and I’ve heard him talk about his writing style. The man does amazing amounts of research before writing a novel. Or did, health issues recently have convinced him that it is time to retire from writing, because he doesn’t feel that he can hold an entire novel in his head and do it justice. I have a sad, because I’ve read most of his work. Some of it didn’t work for me, but he taught me how to frame a story about normal people, rising to the challenge, rather than Chosen Ones anointed to save the world.

Most of you know how much I loathe Chosen One stories. Once I know that’s what you’ve done, Epicurus wakes up and starts making annoying sounds. Remember, I’m a trained philosopher here.

If the gods are willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then they are not omnipotent.

If they are able, but not willing? Then they are not benevolent.

If they are neither able nor willing? Then they are neither omnipotent or benevolent.

Finally, if they are both able and willing? Then why does evil exist?


Chosen Ones are predicated on gods not crushing evil, but instead throwing teenagers into the grinder to handle it for them. Ugh.

Still, I love Drake. But as my skill as a storyteller improves (still not as good as him, but hey), I can see his choices and disagree with some of them. And he made certain choices different than O’Brian, but it took me this long to understand why I had the entire series in hardcover on my shelf, and had never read the most recent three or four.

I lost the joy in them.

Dunno if he lost the joy. Or painted himself into a corner (my suspicion). Or maybe age caught up with him. He’s roughly twenty-four years older than me, so he’s 77 now. And age does catch up. Another of my favorite writer people is just a wee bit younger and has also said that his most recent novel is his last, for the same reason.

I’ve told my wife and a few friends to drag me aside and have an intervention if I reach the point where my writing goes to crap, because I’d rather quit than turn out junk, which is what these two have had to decide.

Sad. At the same time, they recognized it, and were able to move on. Or retire, or something.

I’m still racing against (a hopefully way-freaking-distant) death, so even if I have to retire at some point, I will have a metric shit-ton of things I can continue to publish after that moment, and they won’t be crap.

Next year, depending on a few things, I’ll be publishing 32 titles. Novella or better, and not counting short stuff. Twelve Last Stand. Three Marrakesh. Three Augustus Derlyth. Two Corsac Fox. The next Kincaide’s War. The thirteenth Science Officer. Some Urban Fantasy. Some Action/Adventure. Lots.

And I still have a lot of stuff out there. Series incomplete, because I need to circle back and write. Oleg. Flight Officer Brannon. Taft Station. Air Pirates of Cyrenaica. Plus existing open series like Handsome Rob.

Oh, and now that #FirstCenturionKosnett is complete, I can [FINALLY] tell you the first title of the next RAN series I intend to write.

Y’all ready?

Warlord of Yaumgan.

Yup. Heather’s next on the list. Plus, at some future point, one of Casey’s kids, when they are old enough to join the RAN. If you paid attention, Jessica is the oldest, followed by fraternal twins Ekaterina and Emmerich, then by Tomas.

And to that one fan who keeps hoping that eventually the Honeymoon Yacht will make an appearance, I’m sorry, but it won’t. Jessica Keller’s story is done, so IF we see her again, she will be an old woman. At the end of the Kosnett books, she’s fifty-four, if I’ve done the math correctly. The twins are born in Imperial Year 187, so if they go off to Academy, it would be Imp. 205, graduating in 209. Jessica, for instance, was born in Imp. 136.

But never say never. I don’t know what Heather’s story looks like fully. I know that it involves a Zerzan Unification Civil War. And an ugly one.

Plus, Ambassador Kosnett is retired and goofing off these days. (Technically, writing, but I’m not entirely sure what yet.) And I would probably have to go find the former coworker who was the inspiration for Heather so she could read about her future self. (I think she would be pleased. Neat lady.)

But that’s neither here nor there. I wrote a newsletter yesterday that goes into a little more detail about what’s coming in my writing schedule. Hopefully, you’re signed up and will see it tomorrow(?) if I remember to send it.

Got a lot of fun planned. Just needing longer than I expected to recover from this fucking covid shit. Wear a mask. I’ve been weak and easily exhausted for two weeks now, and supposedly the most recent mutations are getting worse again, so it’s going to be an ugly winter.

Y’all stay tuned. Got a lot coming.


Shade and sweet water,


West of the freaking cold Mountains, WA


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