[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.]
Woke up to snow. Not much and not bad. Monsoonerated all night, so warm, but the temperature dropped early in the predawn when the wind started coming off the mountain.
Got breakfast. Skipped shooting.
Had fun on the drive, though. From my place down to Enumclaw (south about 15 miles or so), you pass through seven distinct climate zones, divided off by peaks and valleys to the east as the Cascades ripple. At my house, it was slightly drizzly when I left. Then I hit the next zone about two hundred yards down the road and it was snowing wet and sticky. Then clear. Then rain. Then snow again. Then rain. Then clear.
I can almost mark the spots in the roadway with a can of spray paint, having driven them enough times in the winter to figure them out.
Got back here through the reverse, but it was snowing slightly at my place when I arrived. That faded out after an hour and I had sun. Cloudy now.
Never dropped below 34F, though, so not particularly worried. Just know that a La Niña year is going to average colder and wetter than usual. Have already brought the kitchen camping gear in from the barn, in case of power outages. Can always cook on the flat-top fireplace in the living room. (I designed the house exactly for those sorts of situations, and there is a granite tile with a tea pot there.)
Did strenuous Tai Chi this weekend. Sifu wanted kick drills, which means down and back several times, doing different things. I hurt. And was exhausted, but that’s the leftovers from the COVID, which really messed with my endurance.
Still, I’m still in better shape than most of the men I know my age. (Bagpiper doesn’t count, because he’s a fireman and runs three miles most days, on top of equipment work.) And, I’m down in weight as I’ve been working on losing it. Weighed 202# Thursday, Friday, and this morning, in spite of the holiday, which means that getting down to 195 is within reach in not too long.
This is after being around 215-220 for too long.
[And snow just started to fall again. Or gropple. Very chewy rain. Something.]
Working on Chen Pan Ling Thunderstick, which is a short-staff/cane form. Sifu Nathan is designing a longsword combat form for me, using the compass rose, since too many Asian martial forms tend to be down and back exclusively.
Also starting to look for some spear/yari/naginata forms for upper body strength and flexibility. Wanna stay strong and limber into my 90s. Again, most Asian forms tend to use a bo (stick) instead of a spear. Think drum major, where the shaft is extremely light and thin. I’ve got a European boar spear, with a 1.5” shaft and a flanged head.
Sifu Stone said it was only good for sticking pigs. I reminded him that long pork qualified.
So I’m working on flexibility and endurance. What are you doing to stay in shape as the kids start challenging you?
Books: I’m done with the Bellerophon short/origin story and now about 16k into the second Ollie novel. Xenoarchaeology Space Opera, asking really big questions and challenging galaxy-wide assumptions about things. Book One started as a collection of short pieces some of you have read, before being collected and extended to an 80k novel. Book Two target is the same rough length. Will take me a good chunk of December to finish. After that, more Stephanie, more Tessa, more superheroic fantasy.
Novel-wise, I’m not sure what’s next. Have the first two Corsac Fox novels done. #1 was originally going to go up for a Kickstarter today, before we both got sick. New schedule is January, but I need to check closer and finish off a few things. Have a couple of other open series beyond Ollie that need to move forward. Taft Station #3 (of 5) has been whispering to me, as has Air Pirates #4. Corsac Fox #3. Marrakesh #4, but I’ve written those three since summer, so I can take a break. Those are not part of a longer epic thread, so I can drop them as I write them.
Science Officer #12 is coming out shortly. I need to write #13, but at the moment, these feel like “Every December publish one” projects. At least until I have some spare time to write more of those because I’ve finished some of the other series or written them far enough ahead.
January, I’m dropping two projects. The first Last Stand (Lost Dreams), which is the shiny space western adventure that’s filling the calendar next year (nine done so far). Also, Fugitive, which is a semi-historic action/adventure spy piece set in 1977 (I call the category discopunk, for various reasons). Need to write more about Marcus, but that requires some serious research, because they are set in the “real world” and the late 70s, so I need to make sure I have the details more correct that I normally have to worry about in SF.
Feb and March will see a pair of Pacific Force novels. Again, action/adventure (not quite thriller, as it were), this time set in 2018, so I can control the calendar and events, and don’t get surprised. Five man band sort of thing, where the team are private mercenaries saving the world from criminals out to destroy it. No more advanced tech than “Tuesday after next” but I’ve had fun, because they are set in the “present tense” and let me find a spot on the map to play.
Put Buckaroo Banzai, Batman, James Bond, and your favorite Anime Senraku (I grew up on Battle of the Planets) in the corners, then connect them with two lines. That’s Pacific Force. Have gotten pretty good comments from my First Readers, so I’ll write more, assuming these sell worth the effort.
I have so many ideas that writer-brain simply won’t bubble up ones that aren’t going to make me money. Four diehard fans won’t cut it, regardless of how life changing it might be for them. (You are somebody’s favorite author/artist/being.) If Pacific Force or Marcus generate traffic, I’m more likely to circle back. If not, then I’ll throw other spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
Planning to put some serious cycles into planning and maybe starting Warlord of Yaumgan next year, since I’ve opened up some space in my writing calendar. And more Marrakesh. And a few other things.
Because I’m having a lot of fun. Hopefully, you are too.
What’s been your favorite thing of mine lately? Or your favorite bit of doggerel from one of my stories? Always interested in which bits stick with folks.
Also, I ^think^ I have gotten all the server issues resolved. Blogs scheduled a couple weeks ahead seem to be working out. If I have not responded to an email you sent me lately, go ahead and poke me, because it might have gotten eaten by the machines. (I can explain everything to a nerd, but there was a weird DNS issue in the middle of all that.)
Hopefully, you’re turkey day went well. (Or whatever you did to celebrate the end of summer and the impending holiday season.)
Chat more soon,
West of the currently snowing 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.