Category Archives: publishing

20240318

[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 always weird when I’m standing at my desk writing and see a deer walk by out the window behind the monitor. Just hanging out. Chilling. Moved over to the side yard and parked his butt under a tree for a few hours. Two of them, when I looked closer. Ignored me when I went out to do yard work. Ignored the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ when she went back and forth.

Chill.

Obviously, utterly terrified of us. Later, we had to go run errands, and one of the dorks was grazing in the yard. I came around the corner and said hi. He bolted all of about ten meters, then went back to eating.

Seriously.

Things getting more or less back to comfortable for now. Still in the middle of a six-month stretch where things are utterly unsettled, but most of that energy isn’t mine, and my job continues to be hanging cool like those deer.

I am, however, reminded of one of my favorite lines from “The Long Run” by Daniel Keys Moran.

If you can keep your calm while everyone around you is losing theirs, perhaps you have misunderstood the situation.” (roughly. Don’t want to flip through the book to locate it at this moment.)

Hoping I have not misunderstood. Being the rock against which storms break and tides are thwarted. It’s a living.

Mentioned that I was writing the next Science Officer. #14. Exile. Having fun. Crossed 20k this morning, with only a vague guess how long it is. Should probably go look at previous novels. (Don’t go anywhere.) Okay, somewhere between 55 and 65k, so I am likely around a third of the way done. Writer-brain understood that, because that’s about where I am at this moment in terms of story.

Will keep pounding away at that. Then circle back to Ollie 3 at some point. And get back to work on Ivette (needed to pause because I realized that I was missing critical component of plot and characters and needed to have those before I proceeded. Writer-brain, again.)

Reminder that Boundary Shock Quarterly has a shop now, where you can buy individual issues, as well as sign up for a subscription so you don’t ever miss one. Plus, subscriptions work out to $4 per instead of $5.

I have written six Beckett Fernsby stories so far, ranging from 25-32 only skipping 029 (First Contact) because I wrote the first Wardog Charlie story there. And will write more Charlie stories, because I have a pets issue coming up in a few years (I tend to run 2-3 years out in coming up with themes, then trying to write that far ahead).

Also working on Holden and Reilly some more. Need to keep pushing that out a ways to keep folks entertained. And possibly turn that into Vol 1 at some point, but I have a lot of ground to cover first. Sitting right about 90k, which feels like maybe 2/3-3/4 mark of the opening. Crazy big, but folks backing the Patreon at the $5 mark have been reading their adventures. Hope y’all been enjoying it.

Not a lot past that. Quiet week around here if I’m lucky. Spring, so a lot of yard work to do as things wake up. Still figuring I’ll end up selling the place in another 5-8 years and moving into the city someplace, where the walk score is at least 88. Start saving your nickles if the old farmstead appeals to you.

Chat more later.

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20240115

20240108

[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.]

Don’t wanna say it’s cold out here, but I’m pretty sure I just saw a moose migrating south for the winter.

Saturday, it was 9F and 50mph. FUCK.

Sunday was calm.

This morning was 22F and windy again.

Had a live tree come down across my neighbor’s driveway. Since it is an easement across my property, and she’s close to 90 these days, I was just about to go out Sunday morning after breakfast to chop it up when her son arrived. The Fabulous Publisher Babe™ had put my car at the bottom of the driveway, and I’d blocked it at the top, so he came up my side, wondering if someone had abandoned a car. Since he had his chainsaw (as usual) we chopped the tree up pretty quick, loaded the good wood in his truck to dry, and he spent the day up at the top of the hill fixing her well pump.

I spent the day goofing off.

Got a busy day today, but the words are flowing well, so we’re good. Holiday in the states, but the restaurant wasn’t crowded until I left. Clear roads, just cold and blustery.

Writing side is good. I’m not sure how close I am to finishing Maddox, but we’re at 34k right now and the first of two finishing movements is starting. Having read Trial By Leviathan, you finally know who Maddox Nevin is. He’s the star of the new A’Zedi Survey Corps series, along with a cast of fun new folks.

And I have more Marrakesh books planned. Plus more Survey Corps. This is the one where I asked if anyone wanted to be Tuckerized, and got a LOT of responses, so a goodly portion of the crew will recognize themselves when the book comes out. And if you wanted to, and didn’t send me back the form, you aren’t in. But you still could be. Gotta have your signature on the form first, because this one is so many people.

Nuff said?

Not sure what next project is. Probably some shorts, because I need to keep up there. More Holden. More Beckett. More Harper. More fun.

Got several series partially completed, so my goal in 2024 is to get those all wrapped up so they can come out in 2025+. Heather. Giles. Ollie. Peter Najjar. Flight Officer Brannon. Whoever else.

I’m likely to be writing less in 2024, having already slowed down from 2023. She wants to travel, and that will involve not taking computers a few places. And driving long distances, so there will be days or even weeks I don’t write. That will show up later when I don’t have as much to publish. Or end up writing serialized shorts as monthly things. Dunno. I think that’s 2026 at this point, so I have time to sort it out.

If you live somewhere other than Seattle, let me know, because we’ve got long trips planned to various places. Vegas, Mexico, and Minneapolis already, with more options as we think of things.

Past that, never mind the moose.

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20240108

[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.]

Oh, hell, there is a lot of snow in the forecast. Maybe a foot coming, without getting above freezing for several days. Not so bad if I lived in town or on flat terrain, but we’re out just past the first ridge of the Cascades going east. (Literally, when I drive to Enumclaw, there is a humpback of hill that separates the two roads for a good stretch.)

And I was talking to L* at the restaurant this morning about the various horizontal weather zones between Enumclaw and Ravensdale: Enumclaw. Birch. Veazie. Deep Lake. Cumberland. Bayne. Kanascat. Reaver. Ravensdale. Landsburg. Hobart. Etc.

I drive to Enumclaw enough to watch each zone hit. Winds and storms coming and going off the nearby mountains, which tend to be escarpments with sheer sides and valleys.

Got home safe. Going out later to do a bunch of errands. Might not leave again for a week after Wednesday, depending. Got better things to do than drive around with a bunch of yahoos who bought Jersey tractors and have no idea how to drive them.

She bought too much minivan, didn’t she?”

Writing. Took the weekend off. Not feeling well, so slept in a bunch both days instead of Tai Chi. Feeling better. Getting back into the swing.

If you remember the story I did called “The Deeps” I have dug that universe back out and have been taking notes on something in there, but well off to one side. At least I think so. Expanding the universe and the denizens. Mostly deep-diving (literally) into megapredators of the ocean, from sperm whales to sharks to rays to whatever. Things you might find if you go too deep into hyperspace.

Plus, the lighthouses. I was inspired to create this universe from something the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ wrote, about lighthouses visible in various aspects of hyperspace. My world isn’t hers, I don’t think, but got some of the same concepts to explore, and I am looking at exploring it with a series of short stories. At least for now. Stuff you folks will see before anyone else, obviously.

Speaking of short fiction, I started cataloging all my shorts, and realized that I have a shit-ton, so I have been organizing character collections. All the stories about one character, under one title. The Gunderson Case Files, Vol 2 is with first readers, because only you have read 9 and 10. Similarly, Eva & Nik, Trevor, Harper, and Pizzafarmer have all been assembled, so those will go out over the next however long.

And I have more. Maybe short collections (20-30k). Maybe actual collections, where I only ever wrote one story.

Peter Najjar, Flight Officer Brannon, and Oleg Chilikov all turned into Book Ones, so I have to write more of those before I publish them. Got a lot of books in the can to come out as we go. The Maddox Nevin novel I’m working on right now happens to be novel #100. Going to throw a Haydn Party when I finish #105, for all the obvious reasons.

Maddox is at 12k, so really towards the start. Been going slow because I’m feeling my way into a whole new everything. Derived from Operation Marrakesh, but also radically different in tone, location, setting, and concept, so I have to identify those differences and make sure everything is recognizable while changed.

Having fun with it.

Also got by comments from the editor on Thrill Ride Magazine and he’s loved all four of the stories I submitted for Year Two. There should be a kickstarter for them in February, followed by issue #5 (Sisters In Arms) in March. Then three issues where I think I have put Chace Haig stories. The first of those will come out in June, which is when I aim to drop the first Chace novel as well. Hopefully.

Not much past that. Need more coffee to get my Monday in gear.

How’s your 2024 holding up so far?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20240101

[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.]

Looked it up this morning and realized that we’ve been at this for four years and change now, with the first Patreon blog dated 20190923. Been blogging for much longer than that, but I prefer only having one spot to think in public. Less need to come up with something to talk about, when I can just dive into a review and a prognostication.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday. I stayed home. Stayed in. Went to bed at a reasonable hour instead of staying up late. Slept in a bit, then got up and got to work.

Not entirely with it, but that might be lack of second coffee. Or lack of giving a shit. Been working straight through instead of taking days off.

On the writing side, I finished Red Branch last week. 1949. Exiled Soviet pilot turned mercenary captain. Look back at the old Blackhawk comics, with some twists thrown in because I get to play with early jet era aircraft and global politics.

Started the first Maddox Nevin novel, spun off from the Marrakesh series (you’ll understand a lot better when you read Crossroads, which is #5 in that series.)

Over the weekend, I built a catalog, and realized just how many individual short stories and short fiction characters I have. Lots. Had been working on assembling Agent Kiesler’s Secret War for publication (first five stories, with a promise of more later). Also been working on the Gunderson Case Files, Volume 2. Realized I have a half-dozen more. Plus a lot of other things to push out at some point.

Expect a lot of new short fiction in collections in 2024. Fabulous Publisher Babe™ suggested a series name for them that I find attractive. And lets me just assemble them and not worry about it.

I have been doing the monthly Patreon for that many years. And more years of short fiction prior to that. Plus twenty-four issues of Boundary Shock Quarterly and seven issues of Blaze Ward Presents. Plus other things.

That adds up to a lot of fiction. Most of it stuff only a handful of you have ever read, if that. A few never published anywhere before they come out now.

Gonna fix that.

Additionally, I finished the year at 1,074,484 words, down from the previous average of 1.4 million for several years. Intentionally slowing down. In 2024, I might slow down even more, because we’re looking at several long trips. Camping/Driving type, plus a few international trips where we don’t take computers with us, so no writing. Or longhand, then scanning and putting through an OCR to see how much it can pick up.

No idea how many words I will hit this year. Fewer. Still have a lot of stuff in the can to publish over the next several, so not at risk of running out any time soon. And a lot of series where I need to complete them. Or add more to the end.

Enough to keep me going. Patreon readers will also see some of the new extensions as they go, though maybe not with the full 6-12 month lag. Dunno.

New Year. New goals. Don’t do the resolutions thing, because that’s not me. And I rearrange my life in June anyway.

But changes are coming. Good ones, I hope.

What do you have on tap?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20230925

[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.]

I woke up and found Noah hard at work in my front yard, building something he refuses to discuss in any detail as the rain MONSOONERATED down all night. Fall has arrived, perhaps a week early.

Seattle weather is ^generally^ predictable. Dry season usually starts around noon on the Fourth of July, just in time for the fireworks. September tends to be dry and nice, with the rains starting on October 1. Seriously. I’ve been here twenty-six years now, and that’s a thing.

This year was hotter than normal, and our usual “Junuary” wasn’t as bad as it could be. My apples never recovered. I have a Fuji and a Honeycrisp, because that’s a combination you need in order to cross-pollinate. Fuji flowered early with heat. Honeycrisp flowered late. I got five apples from the honeycrisp and none from the fuji. No quince. Half a dozen pears. About a half-gallon of grape juice. Few cherries. Not a lot of blueberries. I have seriously considered cutting down the cherries, but I’ll let the next homeowner deal with them.

Figure I’m going to sell this place by 2030 and move into town somewhere. I’ll be sixty in 2029, and this place is a lot of work. Served its purpose, though. And continues to.

Gray, drizzly, yucky kind of Monday, which puts a smile on my face, because I moved to Seattle for the rains. They hardly get rain here. A horrible, terrible, OMG!!! Pineapple Express might drop several inches of rain over a twenty-four hour period. Trains have to stop because the hillsides slump (poor design and cheap railroad companies).

I’m from Kansas originally. I’ve been outside in storms that dropped several inches of rain in an hour, instead of a day. Knock you on your ass amounts of rainfall coming down. This is a gentle shower, a little too cold to stand out there naked, but about as much force hitting you.

Writing is going well. Finished the Gator novel. Still don’t know what I’ll call it or the series. Gator is good enough for now. Got a block of thriller stuff written now, so I’m ready to make a bigger push next year when the Chase Haig stories come out in Thrill Ride magazine (I hope).

Started the fifth Marrakesh novel this last week. Going a little slow, but that’s how crappy my August and September have been, with a hope that this time next week things will have hopefully finally recovered some. (I’d like a normal week for once, going back to at least May.)

Along the way of working out this plot, writer brain decided to spin off one of the second-tier characters into a new series after this, the so-called Survey Corps Tales that I’ll work on later. It’s nice having an entire universe designed and built. And four full novels completed, so I have things in reasonable detail. Plus, because it is space adventure instead of space opera like Corsac Fox or Auberon, I can shift over and not worry about saving the galaxy every episode.

And it lets me confront an element of military science fiction that most authors get wrong. (And I’m as guilty as the next nerd.) In a real military, officers will frequently be promoted and/or transferred on a regular basis. Call it two or four years, then you move on to something else. It requires a lot of personal and bureaucratic sacrifice to keep a ship’s crew together for a long time, in spite of what the writers of the show or series want.

So I’m taking out one guy who is at that point in his career where he could get a major promotion in terms of responsibility. A minor character in Captain Boru’s narrative, but he’ll become the hero in his own story. As they should. And I’ll widen the overall IP, by being able to tell stories that are outside the realm of many of the others (and series I have) because these will be survey and exploration sorts of things, instead of tramp freighters, pirates, or military warships.

And a much smaller crew, because I’m looking at the new USCG Legend-class boats and working that way. I’ve even gotten permission to tuckerize a friend of mine as the person the ship is named for. (Mad cackling approval, even.)

Coming up, I’ll be working on more Holden and Riley. The next Corsac Fox (with #2 delivered to kickstarter backers and going up for pre-order everywhere. I’ll be starting #5). More Beckett Fernsby. The next Heather Lau book. Possibly the third and final in Kincaide’s War. At some point, the 14th Science Officer, so I have something for NEXT December, with Dragoon’s Honor coming out this year for the holidays.

Lots to do. Two anthologies to complete and deliver this week. Planning for more. More books. More everything.

Mostly, just trying to let it settle down, ya know?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20230828

[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.]

Monday. Drizzle. Lots of drizzle.

Spent the weekend sitting down. Normally, I stand to work on my computer, but I ate something Friday night had got poisoned pretty bad. Was okay by Saturday afternoon, but ZERO energy or endurance. Just walking down to the mailbox and halfway back up the hill left me winded. Took a nap Sat afternoon, which I almost never do.

Much better today. But it’s a funky week, so I don’t have to wind up.

Going to San Diego on Wednesday. Bouchercon is a thriller/mystery convention that moves around. Matt and the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ are far better known in that genre than I am, so I’m kinda a Plus One here, but I plan on writing and publishing more Action-Adventure stuff over the next few years. Fatima and Boston in the first four issues of Thrill Ride. Chase and a few others in Year Two. Even have the first Chace novel done, and plan at least two or three with this arc.

Still keeping at the SF, but I need to expand in other directions. Urban fantasy with Labyrinth. Derlyth and the gang. And modern thriller.

Spent last week working on Beckett Fernsby. You’ll meet him next year. I’ve got the first four done, and ideas for 29 and 30 already, plus 31 will call back to 27 in silly ways when I get to it.

  • 25 Gulliver’s Other Travels (done)
  • 26 Future Crime (done)
  • 27 Cold Steel and Hot Blasters (done)
  • 28 Space Horror (done)
  • 29 First Contact
  • 30 Fading Empires
  • 31 Swords and Sorcery and Starships
  • 32 Zeroes and Ones

Because it is the end of the month, I have already hit my writing goal, so I can take off and goof around. Useful, with flying on Wed and doing a con for the weekend, as I don’t have to worry about word count. Just have fun. And backbrain a lot of ideas.

They say you should read lots and lots of things if you are going to be a writer. And practice by typing out pages or chapters from your favorite writer. I suppose so, except that I don’t intend to sound like anybody else. And I used to have a stupendous number of books. (I think I got rid of about 3000 books when I downsized. Only have about 500 left at this point, and I keep recycling things out or buying ebooks instead.) In the old days, I’d read several books a week, when most Americans read a few books per year.

I got lots of ideas percolating. Plus, I am constantly editing for BSQ and other projects, so it’s not like I’m not reading all the time, too.

Woke up this morning with a cool idea for Beckett’s “Fading Empires” story. Stole from someone, but you’ll probably have to ask to identify the concept. Same as the Cold Steel and Hot Blasters story.

When you steal from one person, it is plagiarism. When you steal from everybody, it is art.”

I’m committing art. Heh.

Only other thing to write in the short term is my newsletter for Friday, and I can do that and post it on a timer, so maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.

After August (and July. And June) I’m looking forward to next Tuesday, after Labor Day. Kinda a hard reset on things, going into the autumn.

That, and I gotta fix the washing machine again. We got hard water here, so it builds up crud in the intake filter. Turn the water off, pop the hoses, and use vinegar and a handful of q-tips to clean, and all will be well. Good thing my day is already kinda meh, ya know?

It’s Monday. What are you folks up to?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20230821

20230814

[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.]

By the time most of you see this, the Kickstarter Campaign for Corsac Fox #2 Mistaken Identity) will be done, as it only runs to August 22. Then you gotta wait.

However, more music up everywhere. Time To Say Goodbye.

Monday. Chewy air everywhere. I haven’t checked, but someone said East of the Mountains was on fire, as usual. Air has a brownness to it this morning, but it finally cooled off. Hit 98F on Wednesday, after 94F Mon and Tues. 47F when we got up Saturday morning and went for a long walk because Sifu had a personal emergency and canceled class.

72F, a little after noon. Gonna be warm, but not stupid.

I planted three trees yesterday.

Down at the bottom of the hill there used to be a lake. One of the neighbors on the north side apparently backed a machine up in the mid-1990s according to the story, and tried to mine peat moss. They pierced the lining of the lake and it drained some eight feet as a result. I have a bowl with several distinct lips, and the bottom was classified marsh in a 1988 survey the former owner had done when he bought the place.

Fifteen years ago, I started clearing out all the blackberry, but then got sidetracked and let it go feral for a while. This summer, I have been clearing it again. At the top, I wanted to put up a hedge to create a visual barrier for folks out on the cul-de-sac, so we got three cypress trees. Two gold and one green. Got them in and will water them until the rainy season starts up again.

Eventually, I want a hedge all the way across, but there are easements, so I have to move precisely. But clearing that bottom and turning it back into a meadow adds significantly to my property value when I get around to selling the place. Plus, it keeps me in good shape, because this is all machete work for now. Later, I can go in with the brush cutter and the mower and keep it down, but neither work with a 6’ tall wall of thorns.

I’m in better shape than I’ve been in at least 25 years as a result. That is its own benefit.

Writing: I finished the first Chace Haig novel over the weekend, mostly because I wanted it done and out of my way. We also published the first/origin short story: Assumed Identity.

At present, there are three more short stories done and in the can, for submission to Issues 6-8 of The Thrill Ride Magazine. Specifically, Gadgets, Adventure, and Lone Wolves themes.

Personally, I enjoy action-adventure stories, but have been talking with Matt and most of the genre right now is filled with Ex-Special Forces trooper burned by the government and gone rogue. Then the President calls them up and secretly reactivates them to save the day because they can’t trust their own government to do the right thing.

Wish fulfillment, for a genre of men (4F, older, white, conservative, overweight, and riding around in a mobility scooter I presume) who want to be that asshole anti-hero who shrugs off bullet wounds and keeps going. Think Batman, without the cowl and more guns. Ultra high-profile, for being secretive assassins being hunted by everybody.

Yawn.

Personally, I enjoyed Bond growing up, both books and movies, but I can’t find any major series about professional spies/troubleshooters like that. Only burnout killers who somehow will throw everything away to help an old woman across the street, even in the middle of being hunted by every government on the planet.

Question for you folks: Anybody recommend me some books where the main character is a spy, rather than an ex-special forces assassin rogue bully killing machine? You know the character. And the formula. I’d like to wander outside that as a reader and a writer. Someone with style and elegance, who isn’t a punk or a bully in the real world. And a professional, rather than a wish-fulfillment amateur who somehow overcomes the entire world twelve books in a row. And counting.

Lemme know what you have in the way of ideas.

Anyway.

Started on the third Beckett Fernsby story this morning. Had been planning to write four in a row for Boundary Shock Quarterly, but might see about hitting eight as a challenge.

  • 25 Gulliver’s Other Travels (done)
  • 26 Future Crime (done)
  • 27 Cold Steel and Hot Blasters (begun)
  • 28 Space Horror
  • 29 First Contact
  • 30 Fading Empires
  • 31 Swords and Sorcery and Starships
  • 32 Zeroes and Ones

I mean, seriously, I can fit him into all of those situations without a lot of work. Got my notes for Space Horror roughed out, with a lot of world-building that I might spin off. The other four all lend themselves to a slightly cranky Apothecary on an exploration ship. And it lets me roam a bit with the novels, knowing that I have the short fiction largely covered. Plus, I want to spin back and write the rest of the first Holden and Riley novel. And a bunch of others.

So it’s Monday. What are you folks up to?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

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.

20230807

Reminder: the Kickstarter Campaign for Corsac Fox #2 Mistaken Identity) is live now and runs to August 22. Then you gotta wait.

Got up to drizzle this morning. And rain Saturday night, too, so Sunday had been humid and Monday is kinda fall-like.

We did a bbq over the weekend. Invited a bunch of artists to eat meat and bring sides and cross-pollinate. Writers, painters, lawyers, strippers, musicians, etc. Brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and one bacon explosion. (The other bacon explosion went home with my bass player to taunt the rest of the Stackable Clowns for missing the party.)

Lotsa fun. I enjoy doing this, because there are so many multi-hyphens involved when people start talking about their art. And the breadth and depth we’ve got is amazing. Plus, strangers get to connect with one another outside this and become dangerous combinations.

This is the summer thing, out at the farm. In the winter, we do the Wine and Chocolate Party at a friend’s house and get many other people together (Often, lots of overlap, but scheduling plays into it, as does geography, since that party is as far northeast as I am normally southeast.)

This morning, up early and haul the rented tables and chairs back to the place in Fife where we rent them.

When I first moved to Seattle in 1997, I lived in Federal Way, which is south almost to Tacoma, where I-5 and 18 intersect. I lived there until 2001, when I moved to Fairwood (a suburb east of Renton, up on the hill). Sold that place in ’14 and moved to the farm in ’15.

I don’t get down to Federal Way anymore. Like, ever. Special trip, because about a half-hour drive if no traffic, and there’s not really any there there. Just long strips of genericas that go on kinda forever. Fife, on the other hand, has gone to hell over the last however long since that used to be in my backyard. FedWay has gentrified hard, and Fife has turned into weekly hotels, homeless folks, and boarded up businesses. Sad, really, but life.

On the way, we skipped I-5 and went down 99, also know as Pacific Highway. (Not 101, but a spiritual descendant, of sorts.) You pass through Milton and there is a dive bar (Milton Lodge Bar and Grill) on the east side of the road, in the middle of nowhere. Back 20+ years ago, it was a restaurant/bar that didn’t mind us coming in for dinner on a Monday night and gaming over in the corner after we ate, because it was otherwise kinda dead.

Hadn’t been back in 20+ years, because we found better places to game. (More central to everyone.)

Drove by it on the way down and it was open. And new name. Looked them up and they do breakfast, so more diner/bar and less dive. On the way back, we stopped in.

Interior has been redone, but there is a sign on the door. “No gang patches or colors allowed.” so we knew it wasn’t that gentrified. Still, nice inside. Group of old farts drinking at a table. Woman tending bar was on her second day working there, so still learning everything, but way friendly.

Lots of food for the price. Pretty good, too. If it was closer or on my way anywhere, I’d probably add it as a regular stop, but hell of a haul for a dive burger.

But, the whole point of life is to have adventures. We had a 7-year-old and her twin 5-year-old sisters at the bbq and they had grand adventures with the various trails I maintain through the trees. Had to explain Anti-Stodgy to a couple of folks, because they knew the life, but never quantified it as a term.

So Monday. Fed and home. Back yard mostly clean, save for the pavilions. Smiling. Skipped shooting, but that’s “one thing too many right now” and I’m okay with it. Winding slowly up with non-fiction, because exhausted on a couple of dimensions and need to work into it.

Finished one Five-WuXia-Band story last week and got hung in the middle of the second. Put it aside and started a novel. Thrillerish/Action Adventure. A full Chace Haig novel, which seems to be what writer-brain wanted to write, so I’m running with it. I think I was too many ancient China things at once with the rpg design, so breaking it up into digestible pieces. Gonna work on that for a bit.

Also gotta write the next Milestone Indie Publishing Newsletter. The work never stops, but that just means I stay focused and stay on top of things.

How’s your Monday?

shade and sweet water,

blaze

West of the Mountains, WA

Last Week for the Corsac Fox Kickstarter

Corsac Fox, Book Two. Mistaken Identity

I’m lagging a bit here, but it’s summer and things happen. As I write this, we’re in the last week for the Corsac Fox kickstarter for Mistaken Identity (Book Two).

Hopefully, y’all have ready Flight of the Corsac Fox and enjoyed it. Certainly, the reviews have been lovely. Right now, I need your help getting unfrozen.

We’ve made it to postcards for stretch goals, which is utterly cool, but I need everyone to tell all their friends. Some of the folks who have read both books (first readers, etc.) have said that they think it is my best stuff since Science Officer, which makes me blush.

I think I’ve gotten better as a writer over the years. And, like Science Officer, Uly and Dan have been deep in my head for a long time, so they’ve developed. And this is a story about found family and how it goes beyond merely shape. People are people, regardless of species. Uly lives that motto, and has drawn together a mass of folks who support him. Who will help him in the coming war that he intends to fight, because he can’t stand bullies.

Along the way, he’ll need allies. Lots of them. The Khet. The Ononguli. A whole bunch of others, because Uly intends to declare war on the entire Auga Empire.

Right now, he’s got one stolen Heavy Interceptor. And a plan. They’ve got thousands of star systems. Millions of ships. Trillions of citizens.

But nothing is going to stop Uly from trying. From reaching out and making friends.

From trying to save the galaxy, when nobody else will.

Come join us for a case of Mistaken Identity.

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[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 the Mondays. Behind me, the pantry is closed up with a couple of big fans and a dehumidifier that have been going like hell since Thursday, so I’m reasonably confident that the floor is dry on top. Spare fan blasting the other side of that same wall since Friday. More gear in the crawl space. Sometime in the next few hours, I expect a call or text from the gang letting me know that they are inbound to inspect and probably collect everything.

It would be nice to have peace and quiet again. And figure out how soon I can finally start rebuilding everything. I still have bits and pieces left over from the bathroom remodel that keep getting pushed out by circumstances, so the house is a mess.

Been newslettering this morning instead of anything else. Got the BW monthly newsletter on publishing. Got the quarterly BSQ newsletter reminding folks that we put out another issue. Got this little tidbit of things. Probably won’t actually write fiction today, on account of it’s the last day of the month and I’m at about 96k words with what I’m writing here.

Last week, I finished the fourth Corsac Fox novel: Warlord of the Spinward Reaches. I am having a tremendous amount of fun with these. At some point (TBD), Kickstarter will finally approve the campaign for Corsac #2: Mistaken Identity and I can launch that.

At this point, I’m planning to drop 3-5 as part of the regular schedule, then save up ideas for #6 (or 7, if it ends up running that far) and aim for a big KS with a lot of swag. Mostly, that’s folks really liking this series and giving me great sales and reviews of #1, so I don’t want to stretch them out as long as I had originally planned to by only doing 2 KS campaigns per year.

After that, I have been working on the rpg. Got a lot of notes, and am slowly expanding things as I come across bits and pieces I need. The game is going to be set in a mythical Tang Dynasty China where all that magic that you read about in those stories is real. Gods, demons, whatever. At the moment, I’m working my way through a magic system that is not European/Tolkien/D&D in nature or scope, because I honestly expect everyone coming out with a new rpg to be making variants of Dungeons and Dragons (whichever edition was most formative for them) as WOTC pissed off a lot of people, first with the OGL debacle, and now by announcing that there will be no rule books.

Instead, you apparently have to sign up for a monthly subscription that lets you access the books. And lets them turn the books off whenever they want to. Sure, they promise that they won’t, but they make a lot of promises, and unless you own the book, you don’t own anything.

“The Cloud” is just a fancy way of saying “Somebody elses computer you don’t control.”

F#$% you very much, WOTC. I still have my 1st Edition books. I don’t play them, but I have consulted them in the last month for certain details. And my 2nd. And 3rd. Etc.

So I’m deep into Tang history. Wrote the origin story for Wan-Xian and her sister. That’s pure Action/Adventure, so no magic, because these are for The Thrill Ride Magazine.

However… (and I get to blame the Fabulous Publisher Babe™ here)

We are training for a long walk in England next year. Hadrian’s Wall. 80+ miles in a week. We walk trails here to get into better shape. We also talk about something other than sportsball.

Saturday morning, we talked about the game, and Chinese history (she hitchhiked from Beijing to Hong Kong in the early 90s, after taking the Trans-Siberian Railroad across.)

She reads a lot of fantasy, both modern as well as historical/epic. She suggested that I look at some WuXia books and see what tropes they use and how they run them.

Writerbrain engaged. It’s all her fault.

So I have a plan for perhaps some short novels or novellas in a series, vaguely inspired by Hua Mu Lan (Disney did not invent Mulan. They merely made the 179th movie about her, and did it animated with a dragon. She’d Robin Hood or King Arthur to the Chinese. Maybe both.)

In this case, I will be writing directly into this new game world, to provide an expanded universe of world-building. Hell, I planted a seed in English Paul’s ear for a musical soundtrack, so I’m hoping I can convince him to write me a short symphony and theme music to game by.

Welcome to my Multimedia Publishing Empire.

Speaking of Paul, sometime in the next day or three, song #2 should go live everywhere. Time to Say Goodbye. I should have links by next week, and will add it under the music tab on my website. All I ask it that you buy it, because the 30 cents I make from you 99c purchase is the equivalent of you streaming it every day for the next decade or so. Seriously.

Next song is a Scottish folk tune. I sent him the melody and demo vocals and instrument list. He’s noodling with composition at this point, and then I’ll rerecord my vocals when we have something better. Hopefully, it won’t take a year this time. (He got sick, then moved to Los Angeles since last September when we recorded the final vocals for #2.)

More news soon. More silliness.

More Monday.

shade and sweet water,

blaze

West of the Mountains, WA

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