Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everything else.

Rob’s Update:

Week 46 of 2018

Greetings all

We’re coming up on Thanksgving and I want to start by thanking all of you. I can’t do this job without you guys reading my stuff, giving me reviews, and talking me up.

And since this is the season of giving, I’ll be sending out some prezzies. I’ll do a drawing and send out gifts to the lucky winners. I’ll randomly choose 5 of those who are on my mailing list or who are regular readers of my blog. If you’re a regular reader and not on the mailing list, I suggest you add a comment and I’ll put you into the pool. Or, you could just subscribe to the mailing list. In any case, I’ll do the drawing in a couple of weeks, so that I can make sure to get your prezzie to you by Christmas.

Thanks to all of you. I really appreciate you.

Back to the news. I missed last week’s update. Sorry. It’s that time of the year that I routinely do a bunch of house improvements. I host an SCA party every year in early December and like to clear up a bunch of things to make the house ready. Also, this Christmas, my sweetie and I are hosting her family along with my mom.

Gotta make sure the house is acceptable for *both* moms. That’s only mildly terrifying.

As for writing, I’ve been going through a tough patch. It happens, sometimes, and all I’ve found to do is throw bad words at the page. I’ve also had a couple of really nice things happen on the professional front of late. They’re small, but it’s often the little things that make my brain weasels nag at me, so it’s nice to see that small things can pacify them sometimes.

As I said, I’ve written some awful words recently, but the short story that I recently submitted is a notable exception. It should be released 1Q of 2019 and I’m excited. It’s one of those stories where the muse just told me what to write. It doesn’t happen often, but in this case it leapt out at me.

I shelved The Feeding of Sorrows for a couple of weeks to work on None Call Me Mother. I made some progress but am turning back to Sorrows this week. I just needed a break and some ideas are coming back to me.

And with that, it’s time for me to go throw those ideas onto a page.

Current Playlist Song

They’ve set the Pandora Station at Brewbaker’s to disco and right now they’re playing the Spinners I’ll Be Around. Good song, but a little creepy when you read the lyrics.

Quote of the Week

I’m saddened to hear of the passing of William Goldman today. This has been a horrible week of celebrity deaths, as he joins Roy Clark and Stan Lee.

Because I enjoy black humor, I’ll choose my quote from The Princess Bride.

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What’s that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”
The Princess Bride

Thanks to all three of you for brightening my life. Your stuff gave us a bunch of ‘loose change’ to treasure forever.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 15,000)
  • The Feeding of Sorrows (approx. 25,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

The interviews listed above conclude #FourHorsetober. It was a lot of fun to do, and included 24 authors delivering over 33 thousand words about their careers, interests, and writing techniques. Many thanks to all of htem.

Today’s Weight: 381.4

Updated Word Count: 237,958

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 479 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Peter Cawdron

I’ve not yet met Peter Cawdron, though I follow him in For a Few Credits More. I like that story though, and he’s clearly a thoughtful fellow. If I ever get to Australia, I’ll make sure to look him up and share a few beverages discussing the universe.

Interview: Peter Cawdron

Peter Cawdron Portrait
Peter Cawdron Portrait

What is your quest?

Enlightenment.

I was a religious nut for decades. One book held all the answers. Only one group was capable of interpreting it. Everyone else was sincere but misguided. Thankfully, my one saving grace was honesty. When I heard a preacher trash Charles Darwin, likening him to Hitler, I felt conflicted. Hitler was a pretty bad dude, setting the world on fire and killing tens of millions of people. Didn’t Darwin sail around the world collecting animals? Really doesn’t seem comparable, does it? I grabbed a copy of On the Origin of Species and a highlighter pen and began reading. Much to my delight I realized Charles Darwin was methodical and honest in following the evidence wherever it went. He too was conflicted by religious sentiment, and once wrote to a friend saying, his discovery of evolution by means of natural selection felt like “confessing to murder.” In Charles Darwin, I found a kindred spirit.

Since then, I’ve taken off my rose-colored glasses and seen the world anew. I’ve come to appreciate the astonishing times in which we live and the way science has transformed our world—at times for the better (vaccinations have saved hundreds of millions, if not billions of lives), at times for worst (our infatuation with fossil fuels has allowed us to ravage the environment). In all cases, however, science has been a catalyst for change.

When I write, I try to inspire a sense of awe about reality, along with a need for responsibility.

What is your favorite word?

Myopic.

We’re all shortsighted.

A hundred years ago, we thought the Milky Way encompassed the entire universe. A couple of decades ago, Hubble showed us that even our most outlandish predictions were shortsighted. We now recognize the observable universe as spanning 93 billion light-years! We think the entire universe (not just the portion we see) is a minimum of 156 billion light-years in diameter. Then there are the emerging theories challenging this, looking at the curvature of the universe on a cosmological scale that suggest the real size could be as much as 23 trillion light years, and yet here we are on Earth, fighting over a scruffy patch of ground for oil or ideology. Our behavior is insanely shortsighted.

Likewise, the idea that we are alone in the universe is foolish and conceited. We have no reason to believe that—and every reason to believe otherwise. Like a medieval scholar standing on the shores bordering the Atlantic Ocean, making any kind of judgment about the existence of other continents is steeped in hubris. We need to wait until the evidence is in.

We share this astonishing planet with upwards of a trillion other species, but we only care about a few (deep fried chicken, anyone?). The rest, we’re happy to drive into extinction. As a writer, I try to get readers to see the bigger picture and inspire a sense of awe and reverence for this celestial oasis adrift among the stars.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen dictionary?

In orbit, or within the atmosphere?

Being an independent writer is akin to being a busker on a street corner. No matter how good you are, you’re only ever going to reach a handful of people for a few minutes at best. Trying to breakout as an author is like talking at a rock concert. There’s so much noise it’s hard to be heard. There are a lot of great authors rocking the world. I’m glad to be one of them in my own small way.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

My holy-hand grenade would be participating in anthologies like the one we both contributed to—For a Few Credits More. The best advice I can give to emerging authors is to collaborate in an anthology. It’s an awesome way to contribute to the writing community, meet other authors, and reach a wide variety of readers. Too many people underestimate the importance of short stories. They’re an awesome way to grow as an author and provide readers with an opportunity to sample a wide variety of writers to find those that match their tastes.

 Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Animal
  • Favorite Sports Team? Queensland State of Origin team (unknown outside of Australia)
  • Lime or Lemon? Lime (in a Corona)
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Yo Yo Ma (playing Bach’s six cello suites)
  • Favorite Superhero? Ralph Hinkley—The Greatest American Hero
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Battlestar Galactica
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? I write best on rainy days
  • Coffee or Tea? Hot chocolate (dark)
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Science fiction with complex characters

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

If you were a character in Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, who would you be and why?

Rob’s Answer: Probably Barliman Butterbur. Wait. He works too hard. In truth, probably some random hobbit in the Green Dragon. I like food, beer, good cheer, and I hate wearing shoes.

If I was feeling especially heroic, then I would say one of the Blue Wizards, probably Pallando. I’m the kind of guy who likes to do a bunch of stuff, but not necessarily in the limelight.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

I wish I could attend some of the US conventions, but the cost is prohibitive from Australia. Maybe one day I’ll make it to Comic-Con.


Thanks to Peter for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

Have a great day.

Rob Howell

Rob’s Update: Ain’t No Mountain

Week 37 of 2018

I suspect we often forget just how much stuff we have to hang on the walls. I know I didn’t actually realize just how much I’ve got. SCA awards and memories, sports memorabilia, family and friends, maps, ships and aircraft, and, of course, Rush posters and memories. Oh, and fantasy art. Plus other random stuff.

Sheesh.

And that doesn’t count the stuff my sweetie has. At least we’ve started the process but man there’s a lot.

After I finish this email, I’m headed off to TopCon in Topeka. I’ve generally done a poor job of publicizing myself in the region, and this is another opportunity to fix that. I’m making progress, but I should have done better previously.

The Magazine Reviews have helped with that. I often don’t get to go to the Kansas City SF/F fan group meetings because of conflicts. September’s is scheduled for tomorrow, for example. However, I’ve been able to interact with some of those writers and fans a bit by chatting about the reviews. This week’s review, by the way, is the Analog of September, 1968.

In general, I’ve been very pleased with the response on those reviews. It’s especially gratifying because I enjoy doing the reviews and I can see them already improving my writing. Lots of win to go around.

This week, I didn’t write a ton, but what I did is good. Damn good. I’m making progress and stories are starting to flow on their own. I probably won’t finish The Feeding of Sorrows by the end of September, but I will have finished another project that will be announced in due time.

And now, time to get to Topeka and make ready for the weekend.

Current Playlist Song

Today Brewbaker’s Pandora is set to disco and motown. I have to admit, I enjoy a goodly amount of disco and motown, even though I’m more of a metal and hard rock guy. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote is sort of by me and sort of by Dante Alighieri. I’ll be at a con this weekend, which means I’ll be signing books, which then means I’ll be having customers roll on my Wandering Signature Chart. This is one of my favorites…

“Abandon all hope, ye who read my books.”

News and Works in Progress

  • RTM (3,416)
  • The Feeding of Sorrows (approx. 20,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Bethany Loughlin-Frost. You can find the interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1384 and her Amazon page at: https://www.amazon.com/Bethany-Frost/e/B01AR1SWUG/.

Today’s Weight: 384.6

Updated Word Count: 189,305

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 417 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Bethany Loughlin-Frost

Greetings all

So, I announce a new schedule where I’m aiming to put the interviews up on Monday, so of course I immediately don’t get this one out until Wednesday. Sheesh. Some weeks.

Anyway, this week I’m interviewing Bethany Loughlin-Frost, who I’ve enjoyed chatting with on panels at a couple of conventions now.

Interview – Bethany Loughlin-Frost

What is your quest?

I’m hoping to create a really great series based on the wiccan culture. There is so much negativity around witchcraft, and I’m hoping to change that with my novels. While they’re paranormal romances, I wont people to see that witchcraft isn’t scary or some kind of devil worship. One of my favorite authors is Larissa Ione. She creates a world where demons are not really evil, and I think that it’s really inspirational. As for other kinds of creators, I love art! Mostafa Moussa is a great artist that does really fun takes on cartoons and other kinds of characters. I love his steampunk princess! There are just so many artists I really enjoy… it’s hard to narrow it down.

Bethany Loughlin-Frost
Bethany Loughlin-Frost

What is your favorite color?

I love to put a lot of purple in my stuff. Purple is my favorite color. It’s a really calming color for me, so I keep my office purple, or if I’m somewhere I have something purple with me. Water is also very calming for me, so I like a lot of blue. If I’m having a rough day, I usually go outside and look at the sky and take in the colors. I also color code things. When I do write I color code based on importance. I have my own kind of color code, but color coding in general really helps me prioritize.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

I get writers block a lot, and it frustrates me mostly because it comes in the middle of writing. I’ll know how a story is going to start and end, but the middle is always a struggle. I’ve also learned not to rely on others for a lot of help. If I need help with something small, I usually don’t have a problem with getting help, but if I need long term help (like a PA to help with websites, or someone to help with publicity) people seem to run scarce and not be willing to led a hand. Or they will start helping me, then disappear, so I tend to get really dejected and not get things finished.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’m really good at character development. Mostly because I want to know all I can about a character in order to personify them in my writing. They have birthdays, favorite foods, favorite colors, etc. I’m also really proud of finishing my first novel, The Witch’s Savior, because it took me almost 2 years to write, and I didn’t have much help doing it as I lived in Germany at the start of writing it. I worked really hard, and edited it myself. I think the story line is great, and it is what inspired me to make a series instead of just the one novel.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Oscar
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Creamy
  • Favorite Sports Team? Syracuse Orangemen
  • Cake or Pie? Cake
  • Lime or Lemon? Lemon
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Bacon Horseradish by Hellavagood
  • Wet or Dry? Dry
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Magic Goat (it’s my friends Ska band from when I was in college. They disbanded about 10 years ago, but they were really great!)
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Whiskey
  • Favorite Superhero? Thor
  • Steak Temperature? Medium
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? I Love Lucy (is that 70’s?)
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
  • Favorite Pet? Dogs
  • Best Game Ever? Never Have I Ever
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Fantasy

What question(s) would you like to ask me? 

What prompted you to start writing? What have some of your struggles been with writing, and how did you over come them?

My Answer: I got into writing in part to save myself. I was going through a hard time. Too educated to get most jobs, not educated enough to get others. Just went through a divorce. Really down place where I did very little. It’s a good thing to have days every now and then where you don’t actually do anything. It’s a very soul-stealing thing if you do that for weeks on end.

So I needed to do something. Writing was a way out. At the end of the day, I’d at least have a number of words on the page. As I got more and more professional about things, it began to be work, which though I’m generally a lazy person I like to have work to do.

I don’t know what thing in this job I haven’t struggled with, to be honest. Right now, what I’m struggling with is a tendency to sabotage myself. I’m making progress as a writer and I’m in the middle of a couple of projects that I think will push me to the next level, but I have to fight through my imposter syndrome to convince myself I’m worthy of making that step.

How do I solve that? Baby steps, really. I do a little on a project and then a little more. Then, all of the sudden things start rolling and I’m stop struggling to start the project and begin struggling to stay on top of the wave. A little bit here, a little bit there, and then at some point you’ve got something that’s precious to you and that you want to finish.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? (All the web presence you’d like me to link to)

And where can we find you?

  • Authors in the Steel City – Pittsburgh, PA – September 6-7, 2018
  • Midwestern Book Lovers Unite – Wisconsin Dells, WI – November 3-4, 2018

Details about you and your work?

I wrote the Witch’s Savior (5 Witches Series Book 1) and I just released a military romance, Love and Camo.

I also have two novellas that can only be purchased in paperback if ordered through me, personally. I also create jewelry swag for all my novels. Those can also be purchased through me. The order link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8pr3GosMPzKRHA0WMbUDZ_3rS3LuK6Fqt_5-PMduR96ZDSw/viewform?usp=pp_url

I love meeting people and getting their input on my stories. If there is something you don’t like, I want to know. If you loved it, I want to know. I write my stories for myself, because I love them, but if something isn’t working for my audience, I need to know so I can tweak it. I’m also looking for more signing opportunities, so if there is a signing near me (Kansas City), and the price isn’t crazy, let me know!

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? 

You should have ask what I wish was different about the industry. I wish that authors really wanted honesty. I recently wrote a review for a fellow author about their book. I didn’t like the book because of the content, but I did not let that affect my review. I also did not like the book because of how it was written and some of the issues with plot, storyline, grammar and events. I included all this in my review and was very polite, but very honest. It has been up for less than a day and I’ve already had people attacking me because I didn’t give it 5 stars.

I also wish that people (readers) would review more. I know that there have been quite a few people that have read my novels, but many have not reviewed. I don’t know if they don’t want to write a bad review or what, but I would rather have 30 (1 star) reviews, then no reviews at all. I can’t make my writing better if I don’t know what to fix.

You should have also asked what is the hardest part about meeting people. I love meeting people, but I have no idea how to “sell” myself so that people will want to read my books. I can make friends no problem, but I have no idea how to talk them into buying, reading and reviewing my stuff. I guess I’ll never be a good salesperson…


Thanks to Bethany Loughlin-Frost for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

 

Rob’s Update: More Cowbell

Week 36 of 2018

I’m at Brewbaker’s watching the Mississippi State game. Sure, the people in Kansas are calling it the Kansas State game, but my parents both went to MSU and both of my dad’s parents taught there.

So. More Cowbell!!!

Actually, tomorrow is one of my national holidays, the real opening day of the NFL season. A buddy of mine who is a Carolina fan and I will probably find a place to give each other hell while the Cowboys and Panthers play. I’m so ready for this year.

One quick programming note before I get into the work I’ve done this week. I’ve decided that I will move my update back to Friday and I’ll start doing my interviews on Monday. Right now, I’ve got my three regular blog  entries back-to-back-to-back. Yes, I’m still late this week, but I think it will work better spreading that out.

Anyway, it was a week of getting small things done for me, mostly around the house. I’m in that stage where I’m fighting to corral a bunch of ideas in The Feeding of Sorrows, which often means I procrasticlean. Since we’re still not completely unpacked, I have plenty to do. I made progress on all of the major remaining unpacking areas.

I also did a bunch of writing, but it’s all in the way of a scene here and random tossing words at the page. In books where I have a number of different threads, like Brief Is My Flame, I’m discovering that I tend to write each thread separately and then fit it all together. I’m only up to about 15,000 or so, but momentum is building.

I also started another short story that another anthology has requested. I’d been struggling with the idea for a while but an idea popped into my head last night and I did a bunch of research this morning. I only wrote about 500 words so far, but the story is basically written in my head. I love it when that happens.

Current Playlist Song

The NFL films song is playing on an ad. I’m so ready for this season. Did I mention that?

Quote of the Week

Speaking of football, on this day 130 years ago, twelve teams played their first matches in the Football League. These teams included Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The idea was the brainchild of William McGregor and today’s quote is from his letter to the managers of those teams.

“I beg to tender the following suggestion as a means of getting over the difficulty: that ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home-and-away fixtures each season, the said fixtures to be arranged at a friendly conference about the same time as the International Conference.”
– William McGregor

One side note, the Football League was by no means the first professional league in England. The earliest we know of was a cricket league in the early 1600s. But that’s something for a different day.

News and Works in Progress

  • RTM (496)
  • The Feeding of Sorrows (approx. 15,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight was on Cameron S. Currie, a writer I met at Ad Astra a couple of years ago. You can find the interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1370 and his web site is at http://cameronscurrie.ca/.

Today’s Weight: 383.2

Updated Word Count: 185,518

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 394 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Cameron S. Currie

This week’s interview is with Cameron S. Currie, who I met at Ad Astra a couple of years ago. We were on a couple of panels, and did a reading together and that was a lot of fun, so here’s his interview.

Interview: Cameron S. Currie

What is your quest?

To seek the Grail? Seriously, though, I think the fabled ‘meaning of life’ is hidden in the Hero’s Journey… most of our big problems, and their solutions are represented there. I try to show that to people, preferably in a way they haven’t seen before, and I hope it hooks them into that. So yes, the Grail. Also, books are cool.

Cameron S. Currie
Cameron S. Currie

What is your favorite color?

Anything dark, preferably with humour (excuse the Canadian spelling) to throw it into sharp relief. I like my heroes deeply flawed, and my villains deeply villainous. There are very few bits in the real world that are 100% shiny and pretty, and anyway conflict is the basis of all that is interesting. Soooo… black. No, blue.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

Editing is the nastiest trial to face, because you never get everything. There’s always some tiny error that slips through to the final, printed product. My advice here is that whenever you think you have nabbed every issue, put it all aside for a week or two and then DO IT AGAIN. It still won’t be enough, but it will be better.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

My HHG powers are probably creating interesting characters. Typically, I’ll go over each character’s dialogue and actions and ask myself if it sounds like the character in question. One character was particularly laconic, so I went over his dialogue and removed as many words as possible. Villains I tend to make worse with each pass until they disturb me (if they can’t disturb me, how can they do so to the reader?).

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? The guy with the boomerang fish. Lew, I believe. I always thought the fish should explode, though. In a perfect world…
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchiness is next to godliness.
  • Favorite Sports Team? Errrrrrr… the Bad News Bears…?
  • Cake or Pie? PIE. But in general, I do not have much of a sweet-tooth.
  • Lime or Lemon? Lemon. Sour is good. When life hands you lemons…
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Dill Pickle. Sour is good. My publishing imprint logo has three jars of dill pickles in it.
  • Wet or Dry? Any way I answered this question would come out more suggestive than I intended. MOIST.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Possibly Jackyl… the lead singer plays the chainsaw once or twice an album. Especially good in a live performance.
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Obviously Scotch, but I can never remember which is which. It’s wasted on me anyway.
  • Favorite Superhero? This merits more discussion than we have room for here. I tend to go for ‘realism’ over infinite power- more impressed with imaginative uses of minor powers, but there aren’t many common examples of that. It’s not the hero, it’s the way they’re portrayed. Sooo… Deadpool…?
  • Steak Temperature? Medium. I want to like rare, but was raised on well-done. This is as far as I’m willing to go.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Twilight Zone (I think they made these at that time… so many remakes and reboots… ugh. They were at least on in reruns).
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? In Canada, there is only Winter and Construction, and I am not a fan of snow.
  • Favorite Pet? I have two rescued cats with PTSD I inherited from my father. I don’t like them, they don’t really like me, but I clean up their puke and they don’t suffocate me in my sleep.
  • Best Game Ever? Video Game: The really old DOS version of Space Hulk you could get on 3.5 floppy. Super tense… scariest application of Genestealers I ever saw, and lots of boltguns.
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee, except when… nope. No exceptions. Coffee is better, and when you run out of coffee, JUST FIND MORE.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Yes.

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

I dunno questions… I am kinda jealous of your education in history, I’m mostly self-taught, which leaves gaping smart-holes… The questions I probably should ask are somewhere in the smart-holes where I can’t articulate them. But I know the general grey area that I would come to you with if I got a question sorted out, you know, what with that edumacationism and stuff.

Rob’s Answer: Uh, I’m not educated enough to answer that properly 😀

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

  • My web site is at http://cameronscurrie.ca/ , where you can get all my stuff.
  • I’m posting e-books back on Amazon over the course of the autumn, so stay tuned for that!

And where can we find you?

I’m currently not scheduled for much, but you can always find me at Ad Astra in Toronto every year. I expand this whenever I can, but usually at the last minute. You can also find me on Facebook or Goodreads.

Do you have a creator biography?

Cameron S. Currie lurks in the deepest, darkest jungle of Ontario, where he spends time raising his two autistic children and publishing science fiction & fantasy books. His works include A Human Number, My Name’s Not ‘Girl’, and Depends on the Strength of the Yes. He has no real spare time, but when he gets some he plans to either overthrow the earth or make coffee.

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? 

You should have asked about my current WIPs, which would be A Map of the Inner Skull (the fourth book in my fantasy series) and The Starship Rumplestiltskin (which is taking way, way longer than I intended ‘cuz Sci-Fi research takes FOREVER). AMotIS will be out this spring, hopefully TSR will also be out sometime in 2019.

My fantasy series (currently untitled, but I’m thinking ‘The Book of the World’ for the second editions) is thrumming along pretty well. I’m very proud of them, they’re fairly genre-busting and full of awesome characters that show up in every book. I keep them coming out regularly enough that there’s no ‘Game of Thrones’ style multi-year gaps.

I have two volumes of Extremely Large Showcase (so far) which contain excerpts from each of my books, lots of short fiction, and art and are a great deal at $3 Canadian for 50+ pages of content.


Thanks to Cameron for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

Rob’s Update: Three Times Out Of Ten

Week 35 of 2018

So, I thought I had posted this on Thursday, but I apparently got distracted. Sorry this is a few days late. Ted Williams’ birthday is actually the day I wrote this, 30 August, not today.

Anyway, it was a relaxing week here in Robland. I actually took a complete day off, the first one in longer than I remember. I didn’t intend to, but I apparently needed it.

I still got a goodly amount of work done this week, and am close to finishing one of the short stories I’ve been working at thanks to help from some of my Alpha Readers.

I also started on The Feeding of Sorrows. The bad news is that I thought I had more written of it from scraps here and there, but some of that total was duplicated and part was rendered invalid by some of what happened in A Sword for Striking, the short story that was accepted for the Lyon’s Den anthologies, but I’m still aiming to be done with it by the end of September. Going to be a long haul, but I think I can do it.

I’m starting to get a bunch of irons in the fire, writing-wise. I kind of like that. I have a bunch of stories bubbling to the top and I am excited to get them on the page.

Current Playlist Song

I’m listening to the song of my people, Dallas Cowboys football. Yeah, it’s still the preseason, and yeah, it’s mostly players who will never make the team, but we are only a week away from the season. I’m so ready.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of the best hitter ever, Ted Williams. He’s a fascinating guy, in part because even though his career stats were amazing, he lost 4.5 years of his prime because he was flying fighters in World War II and Korea. In Korea, one of his wingmen was John Glenn. Glenn’s wife called Williams, “the most profane man she ever met.”

“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”

– Ted Williams

News and Works in Progress

  • The Feeding of Sorrows (7,395)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight was on Tom Tinney, biker and Dragon-nominated writer in like two thousand genres. You can find the interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1336 and his Amazon page at: https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Tinney/e/B00EAWJWVM.

Today’s Weight: 381.2

Updated Word Count: 181,483

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Tom Tinney

This week’s interview is with Tom Tinney. Tinney writes in a broad spectrum of genres and was a 2017 Dragon Award finalist for the Best Horror Novel with Blood of Invidia. You’ll see in the interview just how diverse that spectrum is.

Interview: Tom Tinney

What is your quest?

Tom Tinney Portrait
Tom Tinney Portrait

I have two goals. One is to achieve produce a body of work so exciting that my fan following lets me pursue writing full time. My writing is REALLY diverse. I like reading SciFi (Adventure, Space Opera, Cyberpunk, Dystopian, etc) and Fantasy (High and Urban). At the same time, I like writing in all of those sub-genres. Turns out I can switch writing-modes with relative ease.  In the long run, I probably won’t appeal to the genre purists, but I will appeal to others like me that have a variety of genres they like.

The second goal is to keep shepherding my son, and co-author Morgen Batten, along so that his writing career takes off. The purpose of our first book together is to produce enough royalties that He and I get to meet for the first time.

Blood of Invidia Cover
Blood of Invidia Cover

Never met my son? Nope. Not in person. He and I are proof it’s about genetics and not environment. He is me. Same attitude, quick mouth, and smart. He also likes fantasy and SciFi. He’d probably be a biker, like me, if he lived here in the U.S.A. Once we started talking (and texting) we found out about our mutual loves for the genres. Funny side story, and how Jim Butcher played in our relationship building.

Morgen and I were messaging about favorite authors. I tell him that Jim Butcher is excellent, and he needs to check him out.

A few weeks later, he messages me that he LOVES the Butcher books. I get excited and text back about Harry Dresden and Murphy and the urban fantasy angle.

He messages back “Who the hell is Harry? The kid’s name is Tavi and it’s like Roman times with elementals.”

“WTF? What are you reading? I said Jim Butcher. As in Dresden files.”

“I’m reading Jim Butcher. As in Alera Codex. Who’s Dresden?”

After some back and forth, I go buy “Furies of Calderon” and he buys “Storm Front”. We were both right.

He and I both read Feist, Tolkien, and now love Butcher. He talked me into reading Wheel of Time by Jordan. NOBODY gets to gripe about my info dumps after that. My Scifi Influences were Herbert, Asimov, Gibson, Williams, Drake, Niven, and Bradbury. Later on, I came into David Weber, John Ringo, Larry Correia and Nick Coles. All good. All influential.

Soldier 10.0 Cover
Soldier 10.0 Cover

What is your favorite color?

Dialogue. Once you can get that right, the rest just flows. I blow through flowery descriptions. I think authors get to caught up in them. Going for that “Literary award” with every word and sentence. I like a real conversation. One where I feel I am sitting between the characters while they converse. I like to be pulled in. That is how I write my conversations as well.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

Self-Published marketing is the toughest thing to do. The writing comes naturally and has improved in a short time-frame. I can now make my own book covers and poster art in 3D modelling programs, so another talent found. The process of formatting and manipulating the technologies that allow me to produce a quality printed or epub book (Along with hiring professionals when I want more polish) is straight ahead, as well. But the marketing takes the most time and creates the largest stumbling blocks. It is also the costliest when a mistake or miscalculation is made. Following trends, or listening to “Gurus and money grabbers” Spew their nonsense has drained a LOT of indie pocketbooks while preying on their dreams. It takes awhile for us, but we learn to ask a LOT of questions and demand empirical evidence of the snake-oil salesmen’s results before we spend a dime.

Resprite Cover
Resprite Cover

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

Brain worms. My talent and the bane of my existence. Once an idea gets planted, the back of my brain grinds on it, twists it, stretches it and flushes out the story possibilities. Then BAM…I start writing. I can scream along for days or weeks (Wrote my first 185,000 word novel in 6 weeks). I have learned NOT to edit while writing. Just freakin’ type. Let it flow. Go back later and tweak. Much later.

I have also learned to avoid conversations with people that start “You write? I have a story idea…” Nope.  My response, as I hold up my hand, “Gotta stop you. I’d suggest you take some time and really hit the keys. Write that bad boy yourself. If it’s a good idea, you should profit from it.”

I’m also really good with the 3D programs (I use Poser11) to create covers. To the point I made an animated book promo. It’s a brilliant release, watching a character you’ve written come to life in 3D, then posing, lighting and rendering a scene from a story or book. Technology in creative tools has come a long way.

Resprite II Cover
Resprite II Cover

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Animal. Come-on…he’s awesome.
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy
  • Favorite Sports Team? Was the Steelers, but being a Veteran, I gave up on NFL.
  • Cake or Pie? Cake. If Pie had frosting, then pie would pull ahead.
  • Lime or Lemon? Neither unless we are making some sort of goofy new organic battery.
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Guacamole. Goes with any chip and meal.
  • Wet or Dry? Dry. I’m a desert rat at heart and I ride motorcycles, so DRY is always better.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Allen Stone (https://youtu.be/2G29lvYkSjY)
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Whiskey.  ‘MERICA! Favorite drink is JD and Amaretto. Over Ice. A shot of each. No other fillers. NUM-NUM!
  • Favorite Superhero? Thor. Ever since I was a little kid. Silver-age comics guy. “Have at Theeee!”
  • Steak Temperature?  Medium Rare. Any more well done, you should just eat hamburgers and not embarrass yourself.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Tie. Night Rider and Battlestar.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer. Hotter the better.
  • Favorite Pet?  My Boston Terriers. All of them over time. The best Dogs EVER!
  • Best Game Ever? RPG: D&D. PC: X-Wing Fighter. Console: Assassin’s Creed.
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee. And it it takes you more than three syllables to order it, you should be slapped.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? FantaSci. Deal with it.

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

If they made Adult Underoos, would you wear Superhero, Star Wars, or Disney character?

Rob’s Answer: I don’t get to wear more than one? Then I wear Han Solo underwear every day. And before you ask, Han Shot First, dammit!!!

If I can wear a few others, I would go with Robin Hood, still my favorite Disney movie, though you might get me to wear Baloo from the Jungle Book occasionally.

As for Superheros, I really never read a ton of comic books growing up. My favorites of the current Marvel heroes are Groot and Rocket Raccoon. Deadpool is fun, too. I also have to say I really like how they did Captain America. Much stronger character than I remembered, but then I didn’t know much about him to begin with.

Threads Cover
Threads Cover

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Libertycon next year. Riding all over Wisconsin and Illinois on my bike. Online other than that.

Do you have a creator biography?

Who is Tom “PiR8” Tinney? He is the published author of numerous Science Fiction, Flash Fiction, FantaSci and Biker stories. Yes…a Biker-nerd.

His time in the service (USAF), and riding with two-wheeled ne’er-do-wells, has left enough skeletons in his closet to crush a small car. His political slant, biker attitude/lifestyle and previous experience editing a motorcycle magazine, along with homegrown writing skills, have led him to produce and contribute numerous novels, stories and articles into various genres (Science Fiction, FantaSci, Biker, Detective and technical).

Blood of Invidia With Authors
Blood of Invidia With Authors

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? 

Can Bikers be nerds? Yep. There are a bunch of us. Tattoos, brawls, drinking, and hitting the open road, followed by binge-watching  the Expanse, Lord of the Rings and Marvel Movies (Sorry, DC, you only make good animated movies). My “bucket list” has one line where I DM the largest game of D&D ever held at Sturgis. I kid you not.

Rob’s Note: I’d suggest a game that was less dungeon crawls and more cavalry and centaurs across the steppes 🙂


Thanks to Tom for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

RU: Best Damn Chicken In The State

Week 33 of 2018

The week after Pennsic is always one of recovery. Stuff has to be cleaned, maintained, and put back into its proper place. I have to recover as well.

All the while dealing with cats that missed us.

Right now, Thorn is laying on my left wrist, making it hard to reach the “T” key. But she’s a happy, purry kitty so I’m not moving her.

My mom is also visiting this week, so there was a hurried arranging and straightening up. Impetus for getting more things from the move into their proper place. We’ve still got lots to do, but the house is perfectly livable right now.

The sad news, of course, is the passing of Aretha Franklin. The Blues Brothers has been one of my favorite movies, and that’s how I remember her most, but every once in a while I’ll go down the YouTube rabbit hole following her. What a voice.

On the writing side, I’ve been fighting to get my brain in gear. I’ve thrown a few words on the page, but not yet gotten back into the groove I was in at Pennsic. It’s coming back though. I can tell it is when a number of different ideas start popping through my head.

I also have a new idea for my blog that I will unveil next Wednesday. I hope to make it a standard weekly post if I can keep up. It’ll help me be a better writer, probably give me a bunch of ideas, and be fun and interesting.

For now, I’m going to play around with a story idea.

Current Playlist Song

“Rasputin” by Turisas. It’s a silly song, but fun. And Turisas kicks it up several notches. They are a great Finnish folk metal band. I got to see them at the Riot Room here in KC, a tiny but fun venue. “Rasputin” live was really fun.

As a side note, if you haven’t noticed, I love folk metal. If you’ve found a cool folk metal band, let me know. I’m always looking for more.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t you “Don’t get riled, sugar” me!”
– Aretha Franklin as Mrs. Murphy, The Blues Brothers

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,526)
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight was on the amazing Kacey Ezell. You can find her interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1296 and you can find her at http://www.kaceyezell.net/.

Today’s Weight: 387.6

A note about my weight. I am essentially at the same weight I was when I started the year. With all the travel and upheaval in my life so far in 2018, I call this a win. Hopefully, I will drop into the 360s by the end of the year, but thus far I’ve maintained despite challenges.

Updated Word Count: 173,506

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Interview: Kacey Ezell

Greetings all

This week’s interview is with the amazing Kacey Ezell. She is, I can say without doubt, the first person I’ve interviewed who has over 2500 hours flying Hueys and Mi-17s.

She’s also one of my favorite writers right now. I really enjoy her Minds of Men alternate history and am waiting for the next one in that series. She’s also one of the writers in the Four Horsemen Universe, collaborating with Marisa Wolf to write Assassin and show us all the might of the Depik.

Interview: Kacey Ezell

What is your quest?

To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of their women. (I’m sure I’m not the first to say that!) For real, though, I just want to tell good stories that I’d like to read. And I want to be a dragonrider. For Science. (Rob’s Note: SCIENCE!!!!)

What is your favorite color?

Blue. I like emotional gut-punch moments in my writing. Specifically, I always try to have a moment or moments where I put the reader in the mind of the character and make the character’s emotions resonate within the reader. If I can make you cry, or laugh, or grieve, or rage, or exult, then I’ve done my job.

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

I always feel like I’m never writing enough, especially when it gets busy with the day job. I get frustrated when I fly long days and then don’t have the energy to do more than drag myself into the shower and then into bed. My discipline demands that I at least try to write something every day, but a recent string of 12-hour days has shown me that sometimes, when I’m drained, I’m drained. So I’ll settle for writing 100 words that day and call it a win.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

In writing, my personal Holy Hand Grenade is what I’ve described above. I’m always proud when I can make the reader feel something. In life/marketing, I think my personal Holy Hand Grenade is my ability to connect with people and make friends quickly and easily. I love getting to know new people, and that’s been incredibly helpful in my career!

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Animal
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Creamy
  • Favorite Sports Team? Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cake or Pie? Apple Pie / Guinness Cake (it cooks out! I promise!)
  • Lime or Lemon? Lime
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Spicy salsa heavy on the cilantro
  • Wet or Dry? wet
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Leo
  • Whisky or Whiskey? I’m Mormon, don’t care.
  • Favorite Superhero? Wonder Woman
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Um, I’m too young for that. 😉
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer
  • Favorite Pet? I can’t choose. I love them both. 😊
  • Best Game Ever? Shadowrun
  • Coffee or Tea? Again, Mormon. I’ll take Sugar Free Red Bull, please
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Again, por que no los dos?

What question(s) would you like to ask me? What is your superpower?

My Answer: Hmmm, in my younger days I could walk into any neighborhood bar in any country and become Norm before the night was over.

I suppose now my greatest superpower is drinking the bitterest beer. I’ve had brewers try to out-bitter me. I welcome their attempts to tilt at this windmill, as it means free beer for me.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Dragon Con 2018, FantaSci and LibertyCon 2019 for sure. Maybe some others along the way if I can talk my husband into it.

Do you have a creator biography?

Kacey Ezell was born in South Dakota in 1977. Her parents joined the US Air Force in 1984, and she grew up around the world on various military bases. When she was seven, her mother gave her a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragondrums, and shortly thereafter, Kacey decided that she wanted to be a dragonrider when she grew up. In 1999, she followed her parents into the “family business” and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy before going to pilot training. As dragons were in short supply at the time, she reasoned that flying aircraft was the next best thing. She earned her wings in 2001, and has over 2500 hours in the UH-1N and Mi-17 helicopters.

From the time she was a small child, Kacey made up stories to tell to her friends and family. In 2009, while deployed to Iraq, she wrote the military-themed supernatural story “Light”, which was accepted for publication in the Baen Books anthology Citizens. She was asked to consult on John Ringo’s 2015 novel Strands of Sorrow, and wrote the cover story for the Black Tide Rising anthology set in Ringo’s zombie apocalypse universe. That story, “Not in Vain” was selected for inclusion in the “Year’s Best Military SF and Adventure Fiction” anthology produced by Baen Books.

In addition, she’s written a story for each of the bestselling Four Horsemen Universe anthologies, and her story “Family Over Blood” is included in the national bestseller “Forged In Blood” set in Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold Universe.

She and Christopher L. Smith are currently collaborating with John Ringo on a new post-apocalyptic steampunk trilogy from Baen, and her first solo novel, “Minds of Men” was released by Theogony Press on 10 November 2017. She returned to the Four Horseman Universe to collaborate with Marisa Wolf on “Assassin”, a novel about an alien race of felinoid killers-for-hire. “Assassin” is available now from Seventh Seal Press.

Kacey writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, noir, romance… etc. fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two cats.
Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? You should have asked me about my plans for world domination, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you about them. You’ll just have to find out.

And if you are interested in a FREE short story in my Psyche of War universe, you can absolutely have one by simply signing up for my mailing list! It’s also the best way to stay up to date on what’s going on with me, and how that whole world domination thing is going. You can join by going to www.kaceyezell.net.

Also, Mark Wandrey and I released Weaver at Liberty Con this year, and we’d love to have your readers check it out and if they liked it, leave a review! (Rob’s Note: Please give us reviews. Please, please, please. It’s huge)

Also, also, Minds of Men was just selected as a 2018 Finalist for the Dragon Award for Best Alternate History Novel! <cue excited screaming!> The Dragon Awards are a big deal to me, because they’re a truly fan-favorite award.

Rob’s Note: If you want to vote for the Dragon Awards, go here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php


Many thanks to Kacey for taking the time to let me interview her.

If you have any suggestions or comments about the interview format, let me know. I’m always looking for ways to improve it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.