[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.]

So I’m back. Two weeks in Mexico City and Oaxaca. Fantastic trip, filled with adventures.

Stayed in a hotel just south of Izazaga Boulevard off Calle de Simon Bolivar, in Mexico City’s Centro district. And walked a lot. Like, 22-25,000 steps a day. (9-10 miles). Drank a lot of horchata (Mexican riced milk drink). Might be addicted to the stuff, as I have a batch in process now that I will finish this afternoon.

In Oaxaca, we stayed at an old house that had been converted to a kind of B&B. Ten rooms around a central courtyard, with a terrace up top. About two blocks from the main police station in town. About a block from the Ice Cream center of town. (Seriously, 9 stores around a market square, all doing ice cream and nothing else.) Oaxaquenos love their sweets. And the town is a major MEXICAN tourist destination. (Less so for westerners.)

Both places, lots of walking. And we started a bingo card for ways to eat. Actual restaurant. Cafeteria. Sit down stand on a sidewalk. Dude cooking meat in the park. Never once did I eat at any place “American” (lots of American fast food joints. Carl’s Jr is EVERYWHERE.) Also skipped Chinese, Sushi, etc. Kinda ruins the experience to travel 5,000 miles and not have an adventure.

In Mexico City, we also rode the subway everywhere. $5Mx (conversion about $17Mx to $1US) and something like Seattle’s Orca Card. (One Regional Card for All, except that it didn’t work in Mexico City and I feel like filing a (very extremely sarcastic) complaint with them over it.)

The thing I was not prepared for was Human size. I’m short for a white guy at 5’10, though exactly Human Male average for the species. In a lot of places, I was about 90th percentile for height, when I was around Mexican folks.

That much I expected. What surprised me was the sheer number of folks I encountered who didn’t come up to my collar bone. Fully grown human adults, under 4’9. But, after talking with Fabulous Publisher Babe™, she assured me that the Pre-Conquest natives tended to be that size, with someone my size being an absolute giant.

Generally friendly folks. And willing to be patient with the silly Norte who only speaks a little Spanish, but was trying and trying to be polite about it. They understand tourists, and we were likely far more respectful and polite than most.

I had a lot of fun. And learned a bunch of new things that I intend to start filtering into future writing projects. The Babe hitchhiked through the Yucatan just after 9/11, riding in the back of pick-up trucks with migrant farm workers. She was doing research for The Jaguar And The Wolf. And knows a LOT of Mayan history. I just like learning, and picked up a pretty damned useful general history of the region and people.

Hoping to return next year. Yucatan next time, as they have a new train that loops the peninsula. We considered taking a bus from Oaxaca to Palenque this time, because it and Chichen Itza have two of the best sets of Mayan ruins currently available for tourists. Next year, we might fly into Cancun and take a chicken bus across, but being able to train that distance will be even better. Details later in the year as we sort things out.

Writing. Sure. Something.

I think I have mentioned that 2024 is another slowdown year. Wrote 1.4m in 2022, but consciously dropped that to 1.0m in 2023 for reasons we don’t need to go over again here. In 2024, due to outside issues, I honestly don’t expect to get much past 750,000 words. If that. Nothing currently on my chart, but I’ll be support staff for a variety of folks all having medical and other issues this year, so there will be days and maybe weeks where I don’t write.

Brighter side, I took my phone with me and got pretty good at writing on it. Added several chapters to the Ivette Salinas/Widowmaker project that I started. I also need to finish off Ollie #3, but I had to put it aside while I got ready for Mexico, and will have to almost start from scratch this week to figure out where I was going.

Again, travel that interrupts the brain. Back now, and have a list of shit that came up while I was gone and need to address. Slowly grinding it down, but the disruption will take a week or so to settle out. And I have given myself permission to not feel guilty if I don’t write.

Brighter yet news, I was laying in the hotel room in Mexico City when the overall plot and title of the next Science Office popped up. If you’ve been paying attention, Season Two is alphabetical. Alien Seas. Buried Among The Stars. Captain Navarre. Dragoon’s Honor.

Book 14 (Season Two, #5) will be Eutrupio. Heh. That asshole Valko Slavkov finally trying to get his revenge for the Land Leviathan and Nidavellir. And he brought with him a lot of friends this time. Like I said, rough notes on plot and pacing.

Not sure how quickly I will write it. Been trying to publish a new Science Officer novel every December. Might manage this year. Might “have to” publish Corsac Fox 5 instead. Dunno. All depends on how word count and sales go this year. Last thing I want is to have to go get a real job again, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility, given how poorly sales have been over the last year and a half. And not just for me, but everyone. Tell your friends about me, so they buy my books. I got a lot of stories coming. Some ambitious new space opera, filled with “gods” and epic space battles. Want to share them all with you.

Past that, catching up. Grinding down my list. Getting back to writing.

And having a lot of fun.

Reminder that the four (so far) Hunter Bureau books are on sale on the KRP shop, if you haven’t read them. Or want to sic me on some friends of yours and have them read about an alien assassin trapped in the body of the cop chasing him.

This month only. Not sure what next month is, so it is in your interest to get on my Patreon mailing list ($1/month to see this blog in real time, plus the monthly Anti-Stodgy/Redneck Chef newsletter) so you don’t miss things with the delay.

Question for those of you who have read Grayson. Would you like to see Book Five stay on Earth, or hit the stars? (The ending of book four sets up both options, but I haven’t circled back around to see which story I want to tell next.)

Until next week.

shade and sweet water,


West of the Mountains, WA


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