[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.]

Ugliest part of the cold is over. Gray and over 60F this morning, which was nice. Still doing cleanup around here after all the crazy winds and rain.

Saw ALL the elk on Thursday. Walked down to the mailbox (quarter mile) and saw a butt up in the trees. Said hello. Twenty heads came around and started scampering back deeper into the brush.

Thursday night, I went to run errands. When I came back, I drove SLOWLY up the driveway. Saw eyes first. Then butts. Then bodies. That was about thirty more, and looked like the nursery herd, because younger/smaller elk.

Friday morning, one of the trees by the driveway had been rubbed raw by antlers, so the bulls had all been by. That’s the usual pattern, with the Matriarch leading three groups up and down the railroad tracks that run below my hill. Poop everywhere, but also normal. And it will be dealt with eventually.

2024 is shaping up to be weird. Bad weird, not good weird.

Probably not doing the Kickstarter for Air Pirates, because that would be one too many, at a time when I don’t have spare spoons. Already expecting to dial down the word count this year again. Significantly. Like down another quarter from last year, which was down a quarter from 2022.

Hopefully, only this year, and we can get back on track later.

Good news: the Kickstarter for Thrill Ride Magazine Year Two is about to start.


I managed to score a quad this year, putting in stories to all four issues, and even getting a cover credit (my first!) in the process. Plus, there will be a lot of bonuses and extras available.

And I even have been notified that one of my stories will be in the 2023 Best Of Thrill Ride when it comes out. If you haven’t gotten the first four issues, now is a good time, plus you should back this for Year Two. Lots of amazing stories by awesome authors.

On this side of things, I have finished another Becket Fernsby story (#5 so far) and started the third Ollie novel (of four, I think). About 15k in. Xenoarchaeology. A great deal of fun. These have been running 80k apiece, so I have a while to finish this one.

Also working on some other projects. New universes that I want to put some short fiction into, mostly to explore new ideas. And to keep my world-building chops greased.

Had an interesting breakthrough yesterday over breakfast.

I don’t always want to write ongoing space battles and opera, because a singular diet of such a thing can grow boring and monotonous. And seems to be what the fans want.

I’m sorry that Last Stand never really generated any excitement (sales haven’t been horrible, but they weren’t that good, either). I will write more of those, but not in blocks. More singles as I have time and inclination. Or until they explode and find their fan base.

On the flip side, I did realize that Corsac Fox does have that big opera feeling with space battles and such, and I have a ball writing those. Three (Lords of the Endless Plains) and Four (Warlord of the Spinward Reaches) are coming this summer. Additionally, I have Five (The Lost Tribe) done and the First Reader for whom it was dedicated absolutely adored it, so I’ll share it to a few others now that I have his comments and corrections embedded.

Additionally, the Warlord of Yaumgan books (Heather’s War) are lots of space battle. The first two are rather dark, and required that I go some ugly places in order to really grapple with it. Wasn’t really looking forward to that part, but writer-brain perked up and told me that Number Three is brighter.

The worst part of the worst is done. The Fanatics who, having won the battle and annihilated the good guys they found, couldn’t get home (their own carrier destroyed in battle) and refused to surrender and become prisoners, so they literally lined up their Aeromechia in formation, and opened their seals to vent the ships and kill themselves.

I hate fanatics. Those people really are, and part of what Heather is fighting against.

But that battle held the line. At least for now. Bought Heather the time to push back hard.

Guadalcanal, in World War Two terms, with Okinawa yet to be faced. And the eventual invasion of the home islands, where shit will get really ugly.

But it’s Heather. And Veronika Provst is coming along nicely as a character.

After Heather’s War, Veronika is being positioned as something of another Jessica Keller. Except that she’s from Fribourg. And Tomas Provst’s granddaughter.

But I have plans for her, and full fourth series in the RAN universe, a generation after Jessica’s time on Auberon and starting to draw together all those threads and hints that I have been putting in for years now.

Stay tuned. Lots coming. Operation Marrakesh for now, then Corsac Fox, then Air Pirates of Cyrenaica.

And whatever other fun arises.

shade and sweet water,


West of the Mountains, WA


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