[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.]

It’s a Monday.

Currently, dealing with a webhost issue that functionally ate everything after about August, so if the website looks out of date, that’s why. Should have it fixed in a few days, but that involves pulling backups and restoring them, which takes time because they are on the wrong web host as we speak.

But, past that, doing good.

Finished the third Marrakesh story (Varfelis Station) last week. Got three of them now, planning to drop them sequentially next fall. More details as we get closer, but having fun with this series and I have it set up to easily run 10-15 volumes if I wanted to. Military Space Adventure of the Week stuff. All are right about 42k words, so short novels. Focused, because I don’t have space to sidequest or meander.

I know too many authors to feel like they aren’t allowed to write a book less than 200k words, but only end up with 50k worth of plot, so they have to introduce all this other stuff that ends up feeling tacked on. Or you can still see the welds when you look at the book.

Frequently, those bore me, because the author drags. Writers often call it the “mushy middle” where they don’t know what is supposed to be happening. That’s a symptom of not enough plot. Also, not enough villain.

Your hero is only as memorable as your villain. Ergo, you let the villain romp in Act Two, almost winning time and again while the hero flees and tries to stay alive.

Eventually, things turn, and that’s the beginning of Act Three traditionally.

Personally, I like to write a slow-burn Act One, where we start in media res and run. Build the tension while building the story. Drag the reader in and hold them under the water.

I have have more than one person refer to one of my Act Two movements as “Scoobie Doo” in the context of that scene where the monster is chasing the gang while they cross back and forth in a hallway, until they manage to run right into the villain head on because everyone got turned around, then flee.

Go zoom. That’s my idea of a good story. Put your foot on the accelerator and only let up when you need to jam the clutch to the floor and shift gears.

At 40,000 words, frequently, that’s what you have. One of these days, I’m going to do a single car chase that’s 40k long, just because. Originally, it was intended to be a movie script, where the main character never speaks. Only emotes, drives, and gets chased. I would have started with the radio announcer doing a voiceover to set the stage, then someone kicks in the door and starts firing. Kinda like Handsome Rob #3.

But never let off the gas for 40,000 words. Heh.

Okay, so then, the pivot to the Gunderson universe. Some of you will be messed up because my two-weeks delayed blog posts are missing, so this is for them. Wrote Gunderson #10 a couple weeks ago. Used it to frame out a HUGE universe, of which Gunderson is only 1955, but it starts in 1925 and culminates in about 2000.

Something bad it coming, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it, so the aliens have to slip in quietly and make a few changes they think will bear fruit in time.

Mostly, that was because writer-brain wanted to write some superhero fantasy. Nobody ever reads those. Even for the big names. But these will mostly start off with folks at the $5 level here on my patreon, so you’ll get to meet Bellerophon, Eclipse, and Captain Sapphire long before anyone else does. And it’s not the Modern Gods universe, thought I might do something silly and figure out how to bridge those together. I do have notes for a couple more White Crane novels, but I’m pretty sure I’ve only sold about 30 copies of that one in the last six years. If you’ve read it, consider yourself among the elite around here. Heh.

Started the first Bellerophon story yesterday. Should finish it tomorrow. Then on to some commercial stuff, writing the second Ollie novel (#1 is Seeking the Gods, so you can imagine our scale in an SF story).

After that, some Stephanie, some Tessa, and then some more superhero, at least until the brain shifts gears into something else. Also have several SF series I need to complete, but that’s why I was getting so far ahead this year, to let me already be working on 2024 publishing targets now.

As noted, if you aren’t at the $5 level, you won’t see Gunderson #10 for a while. Like, whenever I get around to Case Files Vol 2, which is not on the 2023 publishing schedule, as revised after a corporate annual meeting this last weekend. #6 and #8 are out in recent issues of Blaze Ward Presents. #9 nobody has read yet.

Not a lot past that. Gotta sort out server and webhost issues, so be prepared for email to be a little wonky. Not a lot I can do about that. Given certain issues, I’m going to post this to Patreon, then dig up the old one and handload it to the blog, at least until it gets erased again.

Chat more next week,



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