The Outsider: Blog


The Brotherhood

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Once more the black hand of Death has reached out for the Worcester Fire Department. Once more an icy cold night has brought tragedy to my hometown.

Once more a family grieves, their memories of the holidays forever altered. A family which was to have left for vacation at Disney following last night's shift.

Once more a sea of blue prepares to come to Heart of the Commonwealth. Once more The Brotherhood will comfort the family, the city, and show solidarity.

December 3rd marks the twentieth anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage Fire, which claimed the lives of six WFD members and changed the city forever. Late fall has become a dark time for the City of Worcester, which has now lost nine in those twenty years.

Just yesterday the Worcester Red Sox announced they will retire uniform number 6 in tribute. They said every home game they will also reserve eight tickets for family and friends of WFD's eight fallen; I am saddened they will have to increase that to nine after last night.

Give me the blood and broken bones and the lonely old ladies who just want you to hold their hand any day. I could never do what firefighters do. In EMS the best fire stand-by is one where you stand in the cold for a few hours and do nothing; the worst are the ones like last night, where you have to show the firefighters you have their backs.

Jason joined the department during my last year on the road for Worcester EMS. I think I ran some calls with him, but after a decade I can't be sure.

I wish this hadn't happened, that technology could protect our firefighters better. Sadly, Jason won't be the last. Worcester Fire showed, once again, that after something like this all of us in public safety dust ourselves off and get on with the job. And Worcester Police and EMS will show them, once again, that they stand with them.

RIP Lieutenant Jason Menard, Worcester Fire Department, Ladder 5, Group 2.


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I just returned home from vacation and the reception AGAD garnered over the past week is overwhelming. Thank you all so very much.

For those who posted in the public comments section, or those who emailed me privately, thanks to you also for taking the time to write.

While I didn't write so much as a single word while on vacation (spending so many hours in the sun at the beach is exhausting, yo), I was able to envision more plot threads for the next story while staring at the waves; hearing them roll up on shore was pretty relaxing, too.

Again, my thanks.

Fade To Black

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A Glass, and Darkly ended with today's submission. It's been a good ride.

My thanks go out to everyone who read the story, voted on it, and/or commented on it. Whether you did one or all of those, it is greatly appreciated.

My thanks also go out once again to Graybyrd for editing the story and his assistance in helping me improve my writing. I look forward to working with him again on the next one.

When's that coming? I wish I could answer that. I haven't so much as looked at what little I have written for it in over a month. I keep moaning about my schedule, but it really isn't helpful from a writing standpoint. Again, I have a general outline mapped out in my head, some of it is even written down, but I need consistent, quality time in front of the keyboard to really start in on it. I won't even guess at tentative posting date at this point.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summers (or winters, as the case may be).

Submission Wizard change...

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I submitted all twenty-five chapters of AGAD back in February, so I didn't see that Lazeez recently changed the submission wizard. He added an option to have submissions sent to the moderators for morning or evening posting; the chapters already queued up defaulted to AM posting, hence the surprise last Friday.

I see no reason to change them back to post after 8 pm, so the final six chapters will also post in the mornings.

Caught Off-guard

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Huh. I certainly didn't expect this week's chapter to post so early today. I've been so used to queued chapters not posting here until after 8 pm that I hadn't given Chapter 19 the final once-over.

Please don't think that I'm complaining or anything, it was simply a surprise to see AGAD on the updates page so early. I've submitted minor corrections to what's posted - just a spelling mistake or two and syntax adjustments.

My next story's development is already underway. While I hope to begin posting it before 2020, there's a lot of background for me to research and pull together on this one so no promises. As I said after I finished writing AGAD I'm not good at estimating how long a writing project will take. My schedule continues to be hard to pin down and constantly changing, which doesn't help, either.