Category Archives: Rush

Rob’s Update: Drawn Like Moths

Week of 18 June – 1 July

Greetings all

It’s been a weird week here (I suppose I should say a normal week for my current norm). I apologize for not getting last week’s email out on time, but I’m going to just take advantage of the delay to do this post for both weeks.

I returned last Sunday night from Salina Comicon. I had almost no expectation of any kind of success there because it was the first one and Salina is not particularly large. I went because I had a free place to stay and it’s not far away, so expenses would be relatively low. However, the con was much better attended than anticipated and I sold far more than I hoped. It was also pretty well run, with things going smoothly throughout. I’m likely to be back, depending on schedules.

Next week is, of course, LibertyCon. I’m really excited. I have quite a schedule, thanks to the hard work of the LibertyCon staff. I’ve been to about 20-30 different cons now, and I can say without a doubt that Brandy and her staff at LibertyCon are the best con staff around. I have waited months for responses from many cons. Rich Groller responds in 30 minutes, even if I send an email at 11pm his time. Amazing job.

They cap LibertyCon at 750 attendees. And they sell most of the next year out before the weekend’s over. I’ll be buying my 2018 membership before I leave Chattanooga a week from tomorrow. The light at LibertyCon draws me in like a moth every year.

Anyway, enough gushing, what’s my schedule this year, you ask? Here’s my page on the LibertyCon website: http://libertycon.org/index.php/pros?pid=326&refer=1, but here’s a summation.

Friday
8pm – 11pm, Author’s Alley. Buy my books and I’ll sign them, of course rolling on the Wandering Signature Chart.

Saturday
11am, Overcoming Writer’s Block
2pm, The Middle Ages as Inspiration for Epic and High Fantasy
6pm, Reading
9pm, Joint Release Party with the Four Horsemen Universe guys

Sunday
10am, Kaffeeklatsch
11am, Autograph session
2pm, Cooking Out of this World

As you can see, Sunday night I’m going to be one tired puppy. This is why I pay for an extra night and drive back on Monday. Also, I get to hang out at the Dead Dog Party, which is always fun.

Hope to see many of you there. Gonna be a lot of fun.

Quote of the Week

This week, three capybara babies at a Toronto zoo have been named Alex, Neil, and Geddy. They chose the names of the members of Rush by creating an internet poll, and apparently people from across the world voted in the contest. I daresay that those who voted from places such as Argentina, South Africa, and Olathe, KS were probably Rush fans.

Not that I need an excuse to use a Rush quote, it seems too fun not to take advantage of the opportunity. The zoo in question is in not really in one of Toronto’s subdivisions, but Toronto is a city that draws people in. Now with extra Rush-named capybaras!

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

– Rush, Subdivisions

News and Works in Progress

  • Short stories, but not much progress because of packing

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Again, not much, but I’ll do some posting from LibertyCon


Upcoming Events

Spotlight

One of the people I am looking forward to spending time with this week is Chris Kennedy, who is an impressive guy along with being a fun writer to read. You can find his work at: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Kennedy/e/B00E4MIJA8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498574841&sr=8-2-ent
.
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
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

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

Rob’s Update: One More Day

Week of 4-10 June

Greetings all

A Lake Most Deep is FREE on Amazon for one more day. If you’ve wanted to suggest the Edward series to anyone now is the time to do it. On Saturday, it returns to its normal $3.99 price.

One more day means much more than that to me, though. Jason Garrett, coach of the Dallas Cowboys, talks all the time about stacking good days. Do good work today. Then tomorrow, do more good work. Then the day after. Pretty soon, you’ve made great progress.

He’s right, and this is a business where that’s needed. You don’t get novels written in a week of good days, at least I can’t. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that I struggle with. This week has especially been a challenge. There was a bit of a catastrophe at my house a week or so ago. It’s nothing huge, and insurance is doing its job. I’d like to say right now that Nationwide has been awesome. Anyway, while nothing difficult, and will oddly end up being a good thing for the house, it takes time and energy, and has distracted me some from my work.Hence, I’ve done little but behind the scenes stuff all week.

The good news is that weeks like this often mean my mind starts bubbling with ideas, and that’s happened. I was in the shower the other day and I realized exactly how I will kill off a very important character. It won’t happen in the next book, or probably even in the book after that. However, there will come a time when that character will die in a certain way.

That’s always a satisfying feeling, actually. Oh, I cry every time I kill off a character I like, and I’ll cry when I kill this one off, but now I know the character’s entire story arc. I have a bunch of details to fill in between now and then, but the character has carved out his or her place in my world. One of these days, this character will have served its purpose, and I am happy to say its an important purpose.

Now I just have to keep stacking days, type out the hundreds of thousands of words between now and when that character meets its fate.

One last thing to mention. I was a guest on last Sunday’s Write Pack Radio discussion of Plutarch and writing non-fiction. I’ll be on again this upcoming Sunday where we discuss working with an editor. You can find them at:

Quote of the Week

The catastrophe basically involved water overflowing. Hence, this quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of my favorite poets, seems apt.

I first learned this poem, by the way, by listening to Rush. I learned another Coleridge poem from Iron Maiden, and I think I was the only person in 8th grade who really enjoyed going through the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Anyway…

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan

News and Works in Progress

  • Not much to report this week in terms of new fiction.
  • Started working on revamping my website.

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

Right about now, three friends of mine are flying to France so they can walk about 500 miles of the Camino Real to Santiago de Compostela. This is a pilgrimage that I’d like to take someday. In 2012, I walked about 100 miles of the Offa’s Dyke trail, and I will say that long distance walks are awesome, even if exhausting and tough. If you go to http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=248, you’ll find the first of my blog posts about that trip. I enjoy reading through that quite a bit.

However, this is a spotlight section, so I’ll point the spotlight at Heather Dale, who has provided a theme song for all pilgrimages at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww_lVS2P9cM. You can find the rest of her stuff, which is brilliant, at: http://heatherdale.com/.

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
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

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

Rob’s Update: Ghosts

Week of 22-28 January

Greetings all

As many of you read on my blog or my Facebook, my father passed away on Sunday. It was not unexpected, but it has filled this week with contemplation and remembrance.

I’ve been staying with my friend Talina the last few days as she lives almost exactly halfway between Chattanooga and Manchester in Frederick, Maryland. This happens to be an area filled with history, and wallowing in that history as added to the contemplation and remembrance. Today, for example, I worked for several hours at a pub that was originally established in 1783 as Hagan’s Tavern. Then, since it was such a beautiful day, I drove around and ended up at the Antietam battlefield.

The sunken road and Burnside’s Bridge are filled with ghosts. Both were especially bloody places, and it’s easy to see from the terrain why. Odd to walk on that ground. Dad and I often talked about all sorts of interesting places we each saw over the years.

Ghosts.

Quote of the Week
Tomorrow I’m off to New Hampshire. I may do a field trip during the day on Friday before setting up for Birka. We’ll see. There are ghosts up there too. In some ways, I’m one of them, ghosting through the miles.

Carry all those phantoms
Through bitter wind and stormy skies
From the desert to the mountain
From the lowest low to the highest high
Like a ghost rider
– Rush, Ghost Rider

News and Works in Progress
– I’ve overcome some of the challenges and made great progress on Where Now the Rider. Smooth sailing for a bit until I figure out the right order to arrange the climactic scenes.

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

  • 27-28 January: Market Day in Birka, Manchester, NH
  • 3-5 March: CoastCon, Biloxi, MS
  • 12-20 March: Gulf Wars, Lumberton, MS
  • 28-30 April: Planet Comicon, Kansas City, MO

Spotlight

I had a great conversation with Melissa Gay at the LibertyCon party this weekend. I especially love her starscapes, but she is a great artist and you can find her work at: http://www.melissagay.com/

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
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

Weekly Update Archive

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

Weekly Update: The Enemy Within

Week of 23-30 October

Greetings all

I’m glad I have a good editor. Once again, she has proven her worth. I sent her a draft for Where Now the Rider and she told me it wasn’t up to my usual standards. The story is good, but I simply rushed the writing.

So, I’ll be moving back Where Now the Rider to make sure it’s up to at least my usual standards. I have been pushing pretty hard and I simply need to put it down for a couple of weeks and come at it with fresh eyes. In fact, just making the decision to postpone it has already freed my mind and given me some new ideas and new scenes to make it stronger.

Again, many thanks to Kellie Hultgren for her honesty.

I’m also taking a bit of time off in the sense that I leave for World Fantasy Con tomorrow. I’ll be there from Wednesday through Sunday. I will be in the Dealer’s Room most of the time, but also will be involved in a couple of panels. I’ll be moderating a panel on Thursday at 4pm about The Fantasy of the American Heartland with Karen Bovenmyer, Lynne Cantwell, Gary K. Wolfe, and Stephanie Loree. Then, on Saturday at 5pm I’ll be moderating again a panel discussing How George R. R. Martin Has Changed Fantasy with Dan Koboldt, Ginjer Buchanan, Betsy Dorbush, and Christopher Husberg. I’ll be attending a few things once the Dealer’s Room is done, but I haven’t yet decided though I will probably read the riddle from I Am a Wondrous Thing in the open poetry reading. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask as moderator, send them on over.

I think that’s it for now. Off to Columbus in the morning.

Quote of the Week
One of the reasons I needed to push back Where Now the Rider is because I burned out. I did that because I’m too much my mother’s son at times, which makes this quote apt. I also had reason to reference this song because of something said to Beth Waggoner Patterson, which is why I’m thinking about it today. Sometimes writing is as much as anything about fighting and defeating the enemies within.

Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin
Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense to fence the enemy within

I’m not giving in to security under pressure
I’m not missing out on the promise of adventure
I’m not giving up on implausible dreams
Experience to extremes
Experience to extremes

The Enemy Within, Rush

News and Works in Progress
– I will be making a decision on the best way to do the audiobook for A Lake Most Deep this week. There will be news on that front soon.
– A short story on the time when Edward met Deor. I will explain the horse’s role in saving Edward’s soul.
– I got a chance this week to actually listen to the Write Pack Radio podcast and I really enjoyed it. I hate hearing my recorded voice but it sounded much better than I expected. You can find it at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writepackradio/2016/10/16/what-makes-a-good-noir-and-thriller

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

-Not much, though you can anticipate a couple of things this week.

Upcoming Events
– 27-30 October: World Fantasy Convention
– 19 November: Toys for Tots
– 10 December: Kris Kinder
– 27-28 January: Market Day in Birka

Spotlight

Since I’ve already mentioned her, let’s spotlight Beth Waggoner Patterson, a fantastic musician with impeccable musical taste (she’s also a huge Rush fan). You can find her music at:
http://www.bethpattersonmusic.com/

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
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
Website: www.robhowell.org
Blog: www.robhowell.org/blog
Shijuren Wiki: http://www.shijuren.org/World+of+Shijuren+Home
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robhowell.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhodri2112

Currently Available Works
A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Bk 1)
The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Bk 2)
I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Bk 1)

Weekly Update Archive

 

Weekly Update: New Beginnings

Editor’s Note: I don’t know why I didn’t start out posting my updates on my blog but I’m adding the ones I’ve done so far and will add them each week.

Greetings all

Welcome to my brand new mailing list. This email will give you an idea of what to expect. I’ll be looking to post each Monday or so.

Quote of the Week

This quote symbolizes my life as a writer. At times, I have rued not starting writing professionally sooner, but my mother has pointed out that the challenges I’ve faced along the way have helped make me a better writer. Don’t tell her that I agree with her.

Anyway, this comes from the title track of Clockwork Angels, the most recent album by Rush. And yes, the first quote had to come from Rush.

“All the journeys
Of this great adventure
It didn’t always feel that way
I wouldn’t trade them
Because I made them
The best I could
And that’s enough to say”

Clockwork Angels, Rush

Works In Progress
– I am working on adding wiki links to The Eyes of a Doll. This will be completed early next week.
– I am also making progress on the next Edward novel, which will be called Where Now the Rider. Tentative release date is 30 November.
– Catching up with WorldCon contacts.
– Baby steps made on arranging for an audiobook. It’s still vaporware for the moment, but I made contacts at WorldCon that should help.

 News

– You’re looking at the big news. I’ve added a mailing list.
– My WorldCon After Action Report is up at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=427

Upcoming Events
– 27 August: Cattle Raids in Lincoln, NE
– 2-5 September: Valor in Wichita, KS
Tentative 10 September: King’s Company of Archers in Smithville, MO
– 16-18 September: Dodecacon in Columbia, MO
Tentative 23-25 September: Gryphon’s Fest in Warrenton, MO
– 30 September – 2 October: Kansas Author’s Club convention in Lawrence, KS

– 8 October: Calontir Fall Crown in Omaha, NE

Let me know if you have any suggestions at rob@robhowell.org.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels
Website: www.robhowell.org
Blog: www.robhowell.org/blog
Shijuren Wiki: http://www.shijuren.org/World+of+Shijuren+Home
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/robhowell.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rhodri2112

Currently Available Works
A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Bk 1)
The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Bk 2)
I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Bk 1)

Weekly Update Archive

Today’s Tom Sawyer

In a few hours, I will be in the Scottrade Center getting ready to watch Rush. This will be something like 24-25 times for me. More than many, but nowhere close to a few.

This may be their last tour, and while I am saddened to hear this, I completely understand. Every single Rush concert I have seen has been tremendous. I’m not simply saying this because of my pro-Rush bias, but also because I’ve seen a goodly number of concerts now. Others may have a few songs that are better for live shows, but no one ever consistently puts out such a powerful show top to bottom.

They give us everything they got, both on the night of the show and in preparation. It’s no surprise that at their age, they just can’t give out that energy over a tour like they could when we were all much younger.

Part of the reason is that, unlike many rock stars, Geddy, Alex, and Neil have never taken themselves too seriously. They have taken their skill and their art extremely seriously, but not themselves.

They’ve also played their own music, and was glad when a bunch of us liked it. However, they’ve never made music for us, rather, they made music that they liked and which challenged their skill. That’s why there’s no one really like Rush. Oh, Dream Theater has its Rush-like moments. Triumph was seen as Rush-lite at one point. Metallica and others have acknowledged their debt to Rush. But, no one else ever captured that same independence, intelligence, and brilliance.

I’ve grown up to Rush. When I struggled in high school, Subdivisions and Tom Sawyer helped me make it through. I listened to Countdown after the Challenger exploded. I read Coleridge and Rand and a bunch of others because of Rush. I’ve never been “normal,” and I knew they weren’t either. They helped me realize normal is a chimera, a mythical beast that can only bring bad things whether or not you track it down.

I’ll never forget hearing One Little Victory live for the first time. This was the tour that many of us, including Rush themselves, wondered if it would ever happen. Neil had lost his daughter and then his wife in a six-month period, and music just wasn’t important to him. But then Vapor Trails came out, and One Little Victory spoke directly to overcoming that loss. I am weeping as I am writing my memory of Rush pouring that emotion out to us at Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto.

I plan on seeing them again in Kansas City. Tonight may be my penultimate Rush show. Ask me in July after the KC show how I feel about that.

What I feel about tonight, though, is great excitement. Time to go watch them make the donuts.

In The Secret Wells Of Emotion

I was introduced to Rush in 1981 by Ted Shellhamer in 7th grade. I remember listening to Moving Pictures in his basement, and then Permanent Waves and Signals and Hemispheres and so on. His mom made so much macaroni and cheese for us while we talked sports and listened.

It’s hard to explain how Rush exploded into my consciousness, and how important Witch Hunt, Camera Eye, Subdivisions, Natural Science and all the rest of these amazing songs meant to me.

What I can say is that this is my 30th year of listening to Rush and their music is the one constant other than my parents in my life since Ted played Moving Pictures for me.

And their music has filled my secret wells of emotion ever since.

I remember vividly listening to One Little Victory in 2002 on Rush.com and weeping. It had been four years, four years that we all sort of thought we might not hear anything else from Rush. Four years wishing we could tell Neil that we wanted to help him after his wife and daughter died.

And then there was One Little Victory. To paraphrase Alex, One Little Victory my ass, it was an amazing accomplishment to recover after their deaths.

I wept the first time I heard the song. I wept the first time I saw them on that tour. And I wept tonight watching them talk about it.

Tonight I saw their rockumentary, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, and it was better than I expected. I sort of expected to see all sorts of interesting things and enjoy myself, but I didn’t expect seeing the people and personalities quite so much. I expected the story, but got the humanity.

Neil, Alex, and Geddy have never been big media guys. They’ve had interviews, but the mainstream music media have never cared for them. I’ve seen most of those interviews. This, however, was nearly 2 hours of stuff, including probably more from Neil than he had ever had done in interviews before. Part of this were all three of the guys talking about what was going on in their heads in that horrible time after Neil’s family died. I never expected to see him ever discuss his headspace after that time. Very powerful.

And it was funny as hell. Geddy’s mom saying she didn’t particularly care about their music in the 1960s. Jack Black was hilarious. And the dinner scene as the credits were rolling was just too much.

I have, of course, already purchased the two new singles from the new album. Listening to a new Rush album is different than listening to any other new album. You never know what you’re going to get. You never know what styles and images they will project and I have not loved every Rush album the first time I’ve listened to it.

But I’ve never picked up a Rush album and not gone: “Wow, I didn’t remember how good this album was.” I’ve never listened to a Rush song after a period away from the song and not gone: “Wow, there’s something there I never got before.” There’s so much going on I know I’ll never hear everything. It’s amazing that the more I’ve listened to what these three guys have done the more I’ve liked it. The music of these three has never gotten old, and I can’t imagine that they will.

Three pretty regular guys whose passion is music, who delivered that passion, that emotion, to millions of fans for decades. A band who is becoming more popular now than they have ever been because we fans have continued to listen to them because the music has continued to mean something to us.

That’s the story. And that’s the emotion that made me weep. Because their music is the soundtrack of over 70% of my life and their story and their humanity is part of my story and my humanity.

Right to the heart of the matter
Right to the beautiful part
Illusions are painfully shattered
Right where discovery starts
In the secret wells of emotion
Buried deep in our hearts

Magic Music Making My Morning Mood

I saw my 18th or 19th Rush concert on Saturday.

I have seen at least one show from every tour since the Grace Under Pressure tour in 1982.

I have loved every one of them.

But I think this was the best show I have ever seen from them.

Rush put out a new album last year and toured last summer. I saw them in Raleigh with my nephews (their first concert ever) and St. Louis with Ted, who got me into Rush in the first place near 30 years ago. This time was with Malachi, who hadn’t been to a Rush concert in 25 years or so.

However, the demographic at Rush concerts is essentially the same people each time. Not everyone likes Rush, but those who do REALLY like Rush. They use many of the same video add-ons for the same songs each time, making Rush concerts exhilarating and comforting at the same time.

But this show was different. Their set list last year and this year were pretty close. They played in front of the same people as last year, basically. And they knew this. And so they added a bunch of tweaks and extra artistic flourishes to their songs. I especially liked the point in Red Barcheta when Alex stopped playing and Geddy and Neil simply played the bass and drum portions of the bridge. I hadn’t recalled them ever doing that, and it seems to have really resonated with Rush fans on the blogs and lists.

Usually, they take a great deal of pride in playing their songs note for note, but this show they seemed more relaxed than I have ever seen them before. They’ve always been comfortable not taking themselves seriously, but while they take their music very seriously, they have gotten to the point where they’re comfortable playing around with stuff.

I loved it.

Random Music

One of the longest running and most enjoyable bloggers out there is Aaron Gleeman (www.aarongleeman.com. Yesterday he randomized his IPod and listed the first 40 songs that were shown. I don’t have an IPod, but WinAmp can do the same thing, so, here are my 40 random songs.

Van Halen – Top Jimmy
Ekova – Starlight in Daden (Aurora Remix)
Eddie Van Halen and Brian May – Starfleet
Bob Marley – Jamming
Wolgemut – Processional
Altramar – O Columba insignis signifer
King’s X – I Can’t Help It
Judas Priest – Breaking The Law
Dream Theater – War Inside My Head
Peter Tosh – Mega Dog
CSN & Y – Teach Your Children Well
The Cult – Big Neon Glitter
Michael Longcor (Duke Moonwulf) – The Irish Guard
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill
Yngwie Malmsteen – The Sails of Charon
Blind Melon – No Rain
Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Kingston Air Force – There’s a Riot Gwaan
B-52s – Love Shack
Smashing Pumpkins – Bury Me
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem – Whack Fol The Diddle Oh
Korn – Blind
The Calais Consort – Cuckolds All A Row
Wolgemut – Schottish
Led Zeppelin – Rain Song
Conn MacNeill – Echoes
Gordon Lightfoot – The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
King’s X – Skeptical Winds
Enya – Caribbean Blue
Ozzy Osbourne (with Randy Rhoads) – Paranoid
Blues Brothers – Rubber Biscuit
Rush – Something For Nothing
Flogging Molly – To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
The Ealdormere Bardic College – Lifeblood
David Munrow; Early Music Consort Of London – Je ne puis – Amors me tienent – Veritatem
Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
Dropkick Murphys – Time To Go
The Who – Squeeze Box

Leave me comments and I’m curious what you all came up with.