[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.]

Got a mild case of Mondays. Fabulous Publisher Babe™ came down with something and has the yucks, so I slept on the couch to let her have a quiet night. Need more coffee.

I will not say that I’m back, but I’m getting better. Wrote on Heather 2 last week, then took a side quest to write a silly story for the (way-distant) ‘First Contact’ issue of Boundary Shock Quarterly (out like a year and change).

Wardog Charlie and His Eminence Daniel, Duke of Los Angeles in Exile, make an appearance, though only across the parking lot of the burger stand. Had so much fun that I’m planning a small series of such tales. Just gotta figure out the overarching theme. And whether the Duke will actually send ninjas after me when he finds out.

Past that, I spent a lot of time thinking about the game for the first time in a while. Been mapbuilding as a driver to all other things, then history-building and letting that establish a context into which this setting will run.

D&D is basically an idealized 12th Century Anglo/French context, taking all of JRRT’s work from LotR and filing off enough serial numbers that his estate couldn’t actually sue them. (They reportedly tried.) Initially, I considered doing something East Asian (Fantasy China) in nature, and it has many of those elements to the rules and engine, but I settled on a geography vaguely like modern Poland, with swamps moved north and Plague Dragons running around.

Along the way, I occasionally encounter “things that need to be in the game” or “that’s a supplement” and I’m adding notes. Talking to a few artists about commissioning some basic line art to go in when it gets published. Probably grab Junior this week and actually build some characters and monsters and finally do some playtesting.

Was going to do it this summer, but the main gaming group disintegrated and we’ve only recently sort of put it back together. Still looking for 1-2 players. In person. Enumclaw, WA. 420 unwelcome (that was what broke it up before). If you know folks or are folks, reach out and we’ll have coffee.

Music: Got the first two Ward & Rogers songs up on the store. And English Paul has sent me a couple of versions of the latest instrumental track to review and comment on.

Backstory: I did a vocal solo in Junior High. Call it forty years ago. And about a year ago, the damned memory popped up and demanded I add it. So I found various versions, synthesized the lyrics I wanted (there are a LOT of versions) and we’ll release Skye when I can record final vocals (hopefully this week) and get everything produced.

Then, because Paul, he wants to lean in to something “sounding like” “Irish/Scottish/Celtic” music, without necessarily being the traditional folk, which tends to be a woman lamenting about a man that’s gone off to war and never coming back. Both of us are English by origin, so traditionalists will look down their noses at us, but that just makes the whole thing punker as far as I’m concerned, so I’m all in. Doing research on songs that we might record. Or write.

It’s nice when the mind kinda comes back, you know? Got time to actually do things. Think thinky thoughts.

Create, outside of the writing that is my livelihood. We’re never* going to get rich from the music (* – every time you hit publish, roll 10d6, target number 58.) but we have fun. It’s driven him to buy a violin and begin learning how to play. ANTI-STODGY!

Past that, end of the month and I’ve hit my word count, so I can goof off a bit today and tomorrow. Should be close to finishing Heather 2 by this time next week and moving on to…something. Not entirely sure. Don’t gotta know. Corsac Fox 5 maybe. Or more Holden and Riley.

Whatever, it will be fun. And that’s the difference. I’m having fun these days, instead of trudging and grinding.

Hope your Monday is a skip.

shade and sweet water,


West of the 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.