Category Archives: Conventions

Posts related to conventions Rob’s attended.

Wichicon AAR

I went down to Wichicon this past weekend. Overall, I did far better than break even, though it was not entirely because of sales.

Traffic was sparse on Sunday, at least early on, and it was an odd crowd for a con. Wichicon is part of the Wichita Riverfest, which is a week long thing that’s been going on as long as I can remember. It’s got all sorts of stuff that in general is not related to SF/F/comics/anime at all.

Entry to the con only required a Riverfest button, which in general gets you into everything. Nominally, those are $10, but they’re in just about every radio competition, given away as parts of specials in stores, and many businesses just give them to all of their employees and their families.

I expected that would mean a completely different flavor of crowd, but in general, I saw little difference between that crowd and that of Planet Comicon. The primary difference was a much smaller percentage of cosplayers. In my suggestions to the con, I will suggest that they do more to make it fun for them, which I think will improve traffic for us all.

I did, in the end, break even with my sales. Cost for the artist/author table was $80, so it wasn’t a terrible risk anyway. Also, since one main reason I attended was to visit my mom, I did not have to worry about hotel expenses, and those vendors who did have hotel rooms probably did not break even.

The big profit from the weekend was the interview that ConCast did for their podcast. I don’t look completely stupid! And it’s a video. As soon as I have a solid link, I’ll be posting it everywhere.

Many thanks to ConCast for doing that.

The best news, I think, is that the Riverfest wants to make Wichicon a success. I was asked by quite a few officials at a variety of levels how I was doing and how to make things better. This came from actual Riverfest people and the normal organizers of SF/F/comic type things in the Wichita area. Everyone seems to be all in.

So here are the criticisms I see that they can fix.

One, the Bob Brown Expo Hall was too big for Wichicon. The good news is that they also held a gaming event this past weekend. The plan is to combine the two. This is all e-gaming, but the crossover is there. Plus, if they reach out to the local game stores there shouldn’t be a reason not to have more than just Magic: The Gathering tabletop gaming going on.

The load-in could have been better. Primarily, the big thing is Friday setup. It turns out a bunch of people were allowed to set up Friday, but they did not mention that and I didn’t think to ask. It made Saturday morning far more hectic than it should have been. I have a lot more patience when I have a whole evening and morning to set up than a 7am to 10am window, and it would reduce the hit on the dock.

Wichicon did not do enough to support cosplayers, as I mentioned. Some specific changes I’d suggest is making the cosplay contest a big thing. They had one, but make it as big as they can make it within the structure of the Riverfest. Perhaps even inviting cosplayers to walk or ride in the parade the Friday before Wichicon opens.

Whatever else, cosplayers add a level of wow to cons that brings people in, and I’d like to see more of them.

Oddly, since some of the con organizers are in a pirate band, there wasn’t any music. They had a stage set up for panels, but only one. It would seem like that stage, which was too big for most of the panels, could be used for music.

Panels, on the other hand, might be able to go along another wall. The expo hall, as far as I know, is one big open space, but one wall has some half-contained areas that might work for at least one panel room.

There was absolutely room to have an SCA demo, plus other similar groups like belly dancers and such. Put it this way, we vendors occupied about 1/3rd of the hall, and we were not squished together. They were 8ft tables, which meant rows were 20ft wide (8ft table – 4ft gap – 8ft table), then about 50 feet long (5 8ft tables with 2ft gaps between them). Plus some endcap sections which were something like 20×20.

In other words, they could add a ton to the event and it wouldn’t feel squished at all.

Overall, I had a good time. I doubt it will ever be hugely lucrative for me, though some vendors did pretty well. I do think it can be expanded, though, with maybe even some cross-overs I’ve not thought of.

Rob’s Update: The Swooping Spotted Hawk

Week 22 of 2018

Greetings all

I had a great time at ConQuest last weekend. Met some cool people, sold a few books, learned some things. Good stuff. My complete AAR is here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1142.

The first edited copies of Brief Is My Flame are starting to come in. I’m truly humbled by all the work my Advance Reader Team is doing for me. Thanks for helping me make a better book.

It’s clear to me that I’m getting more skilled at the technical aspects of writing. I have dramatically reduced certain mistakes that I commonly made in A Lake Most Deep. I still have a long way to go, of course, but it’s progress. I may not be designing better furniture and it may not have fantastic decoration, but at least I’m building the items better than ever.

This weekend is Wichicon, a small con held as part of Wichita’s Riverfest. I don’t that it will be a great selling con, but Wichita is home and it’s a chance to see Mom.

Today, I’ll start going through some of the edits, though next week will be when I start focusing on that. I’ve also started the short story for the next 4HU anthology. I’m in the throw words at the page and wait for me to make some sort of connection that actually turns into a story.

Current Playlist Song

“Piano Man” by Billy Joel. I know it’s overplayed, but I really appreciate the line “they’re sharing a drink called loneliness.” I’ve been there often enough.

Quote of the Week

Today is Walt Whitman’s birthday, so this quote seems obvious to me. He was so good with evocative language. We remember this part of Song of Myself mostly because of the “barbaric yawp” and perhaps Robin Williams in Dead Poet Society, but here’s more just to give the ‘yawp’ its context.

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,

It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,

I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,

If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,

And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

– Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

News and Works in Progress

  • TAV (2,007)
  • AFS (2,681)
  • LD (819)
  • Brief Is My Flame (106,000 exactly)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Gray Rinehart, a talented musician, editor, and writer. You can find my interview of him at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1145 and his website is: http://graymanwrites.com.

Today’s Weight: 392.4

Updated Word Count: Too many computers, the count file is on the desktop

Shijuren Wiki: 756 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 349 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

ConQuest AAR

Greetings all

I’m finishing my recovery from ConQuest this evening by sitting in Brewbaker’s getting ready to work while the Golden State Warriors play the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their series.

I was a big NBA fan in the 80s and early 90s, but as the greats of the Dream Team disappeared, so did my interest. However, the new style that focuses so much on long-range shooting has piqued my interest, and these two teams are both three-point shooting teams. Should be a great game.

And I need a bit of a break, given my silliness. I know I shouldn’t have a dealer’s booth *and* do panels at the same convention, but that’s what I did. Things went well, though I do feel somewhat stretched thin, like Bilbo did with the One Ring.

However, things went very well. I moderated two panels, one on how a costumer interprets the writer’s vision and the other on LIGO and gravity waves. I asked to do the first one because I thought I’d learn something, and I did, but I didn’t realize how much I might have to contribute. Next year, I’ll ask to be on that panel because it will go better with a writer and a costumer comparing experiences. The LIGO panel went far better than I expected, given that I had no idea what to ask. Fortunately, the panelists all had good contributions and I really just had to stay out of their way.

On Saturday night I was put on a Geek Trivia panel. This was a lot of fun, and I came in second place. I’m pretty good at trivia in general, but sometimes geek trivia gets incredibly obscure, and frankly, there are large swaths of geek culture I know very little about, like comic books. Still, I did pretty well, losing out in the end to Van Allen Plexico, who was clearly better than all the rest of us.

The exciting part is that it is supposed to be broadcast on a syndicated radio station. I’ll let everyone know when I find out about the details of that.

On Sunday, I had my only regular panel where I was a participant, this time about historical costuming. I was again a little concerned that I didn’t have much to contribute, but it turns out that through osmosis and a general understanding of how to research stuff, I’ve got a goodly amount to contribute. I even got to name drop Drix and Calontir Trim.

The last thing on the schedule I participated in was my reading. That went very well. I chose the chunk involving Olga, which includes sarcasm, pottery, and a battle. There were five people there, and they listened throughout.

I also tossed out the riddle, which I need to add to the front page of my website. I’m offering a challenge. I’ll give a signed copy of the entire trilogy of The Kreisens to anyone who answers it before I reveal it in None Call Me Mother.

Sales were reasonable, and I netted a little money. I spent it immediately on new product, though.

I’ve added some CDs to my selection. Currently, I have the Bedlam Bards, Pandora Celtica, and Consortium of Genius with a number of other artists coming soon.

I also had Hand of Gold, the new Pussy Katnip anthology including my story “A Gift of Crimson.” My table is starting to have a decent selection, and I look forward to expanding that with Brief Is My Flame very soon.

I didn’t do a lot of socializing after the main stuff because I was simply too tired. However, I got to meet a number of good writers and spend time with Chaz Kemp of Pandora Celtica for the first time in years. Wonderful to meet his wife.

I was tired and frazzled afterwards, but all in all, a very good weekend.

 

Interview: Amanda Makepeace

I met Amanda Makepeace at DragonCon, I think. Whatever con it was, we got to talking about music that combines traditional instruments and metal or punk. Dropkick Murphys, Korpiklaani, Tengger Cavalry, Tyr… Er… sorry, I got distracted headbanging.

Anyway, crank up some Turisas and take a look at the answers of a great artist.

War for Jupiter
War for Jupiter

What is your quest?

I’m a Fantasy/SciFi Artist and Illustrator, which means I create dreams and visions for myself and others. My work can be found on book covers, inside game manuals and at several southern fandom conventions (like DragonCon in Atlanta). I’m inspired by nature, mythology and what lies beyond the stars.

Sharing what I love to create with others is the most rewarding part. I have my mother to blame for this crazy adventure. One of my most vivid memories is of her drawing one of my toy dinosaurs. I started drawing not long after and never stopped.

Amanda Makepeace Portrait
Amanda Makepeace Portrait

What is your favorite color?

I have soft spot for anything organic and primordial. That passion spans both my Fantasy and SciFi  art. Sometimes that applies simply to the colors I’m drawn toward; while other times, it’s the main elements and subjects of my work. It’s life—birth and death, creation and destruction.

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

There was a time when I thought I had to be either a Fantasy artist or a SciFi artist—I couldn’t be both. Silly idea when I look back on it now. Since unleashing them both I’ve been far happier and far more productive. The lesson here? Some artists work on very focused projects and it works for them. However, there’s nothing wrong with being more diverse, especially if that’s your calling. When you try to stifle your natural inclination you end up silencing the most important parts of you. Follow your heart.

Long List Anthology, Volume 3

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

Late last year I provided art for the cover of the Long List Anthology Volume 3, which features stories from the Hugo nomination list. (ed. note: You can find the book here) The book was recently featured in a list of anthologies on the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog – 10 Recent Anthologies that Show Us What SFF Can Do. It’s little things like this that make my day. I’m currently working on another book cover for an anthology from the same editor.

Drusilla, Studio Cat Extraordinaire
Drusilla, Studio Cat Extraordinaire

Lightning Round

  • Crunchy or Creamy? – Both!
  • Cake or Pie? Pie. – Cake is good, but pie is love.
  • Lime or Lemon? – Lemon, but only if it’s lemonade.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? – Salsa!
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? – I think most everything I listen to (and I have eclectic tastes) someone has heard it, but Keith Jarrett may be a bit obscure?
  • Favorite Superhero? – Loki. He’s sometimes a hero, right?
  • Steak Temperature? Medium
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? The Bionic Woman
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall, always.
  • Favorite Pet? – My studio cat, Drusilla, who also acts as my creative director and overlord.
  • Best Game Ever? Doom
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee. I like strong coffee with a lot of cream. I love lattes
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Is this a trick question?

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

At ChattaCon we talked for a bit about music and specifically metal bands. What’s a new band you’ve recently discovered?

My Answer: Oddly, it’s not so much new bands I’ve been getting into, but going back into some of the ones I’ve loved and delving deeper into their catalogue. For example, I just bought a bunch of older Steeleye Span. I’ve heard most of what’s on there, but I haven’t heard it enough.

I’ve also been buying a number of compilations to, again, get myself back with some music I’ve liked, but didn’t have on CD. I recently got a Rainbow compilation, along with a Blackmore’s Night CD. I’ll fill out all the Blackmore’s Night stuff eventually.

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?

Forest Dreams

My next convention is LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN (June 29-July 1). I’ll be attending as professional, which means you can find me on the programming schedule. I’m also a part of the Art Show, where I’ll have art and prints for sale. Later in the summer I’ll be in the DragonCon Art Show again. I’ll be selling at my table and in the gallery of the show.

(ed. note: I’ll be there too. Looking forward to seeing the other 748 besides Amanda and I that will be there).

And we’ll finish with Amanda’s artist biography:

Amanda Makepeace is an award winning artist and illustrator. Her career in art began more than a decade ago while living abroad in the UK. In recent years, Amanda has worked with independent publishers and game companies. Her latest project was the cover art for the Long List Anthology Volume 3 – a book featuring Hugo nominated stories. She is also a regular at Fantasy and SciFi conventions in the southeast. Some of her awards include: Judges’ Choice Award in the JordanCon Art Show (2015), Best Space Scene in the DragonCon Art Show (2017), and Best Professional Science Fiction in the ChattaCon Art Show (2018).

Through her art, she explores mythology, magical beings, our connection to the planet, and even distant worlds. She is a member of the Changeling Artist Collective and Co-Founder of the Bird Whisperer Project. When she’s not in the studio, she can be found reconnecting with nature and the woods that inspired her as a child.


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: NFL Christmas

Week x of 2018

Tonight is NFL Christmas, otherwise known as the start of the NFL draft. Since perhaps my favorite reason to watch sports is to figure out how to make each team better and track prospects, this is one of my favorite weekends of the year.

If you follow me on Facebook, I’ll be doing a live commentary of my thoughts about the first round tonight. I’ll probably do it again tomorrow for the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

Last weekend was Constellation in Lincoln. I meant to do a full AAR, but didn’t have time. To sum up, it was a good time. A longtime SCA friend offered me some dealer table space and I sold a couple of books. My three panels went well, and I made some new connections.

I also got my hands on a treasure in the charity auction. I’ll talk about that when the time is right.

This week I started ferrying loads from the storage unit down to Olathe. The goal is to get the storage unit emptied before the end of May, then do a big truck for everything in the house in June.

This process is not interfering with my writing, fortunately. I’m scheduling it so I have a good writing session at Brewbaker’s each way. Even so, it’s still taking about six hours, each trip, and if I have a con or event on the weekend, I’m missing some of my ancillary project time. For example, I didn’t get any work done on the Four Horsemen wiki, though I expect to do a bunch on Sunday.

Brief Is My Flame is going well. I was actually above 70k, but I cut some back because it didn’t flow right. Hopefully, that chunk will work for None Call Me Mother, but it may just be a random snippet that shows up down the road.

With that, I’m going to start focusing on football.

Current Playlist Song

I’m watching the draft tonight at Buffalo Wild Wings, which means I’m not really listening to anything I recognize. So I think I’m just going to mention one of my favorite songs, which is odd, because it’s simply the introduction of a TV event.

But the duh-duh-duh-duhhhh of the original Monday Night Football theme gets me rocking every time.

And yes, I do have the .mp3 in my playlist.

Quote of the Week

Today is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s baptism, and I might just be able to find a quote or two from him. I chose this one because it also sort of reflects the story of the players that will get selected in the draft this weekend.

We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
– William Shakespeare

News and Works in Progress

  • TAV (2,007)
  • AFS (2,681)
  • Brief Is My Flame (69,280)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Not even an interview this week.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on David L. Burkhead. You can find his Amazon page here: https://www.amazon.com/David-L-Burkhead/e/B005B4HLF2/. In the next week or so, he’ll be releasing the first book in a new series called Alchemy of Shadows. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of it, and I really enjoyed it.

Today’s Weight: 389.2

Updated Word Count: 1057

Shijuren Wiki: 756 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 314 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

Planet Comicon AAR

Greetings all

I’m home from my best Planet Comicon yet. As usual, I sold some books, met lots of people, chatted with other authors and artists, learned some stuff, and saw some great cosplays.

I should start by saying that my sales were significantly up from previous years. The big increase came from copies of For a Few Credits More. I think that this is a great sign, actually. Not everyone likes medieval fantasy, but my spiel might still be effective enough to get them interested in something by me, hence buying the military science fiction. When I add the superhero noir in the Pussy Katnip world, I’ll have another option available that ought to do real well at cons.

I saw on some of the lists that many other vendors thought the weekend was light on sales. It certainly seemed light for a Saturday, but it was my best Friday and Sunday yet for me. It might be that my sales were up with overall less traffic because I’m now a traditional regular with a larger variety of stuff, so both experiences might be valid. However, I was encouraged.

Once again, I was not on panels here. I’ve been waffling on that. On the one hand, it’s a good way to get in front of a bunch of people. On the other, I have almost no sales unless I’m the one at the booth. Next year, I think I’ll try it, though, if only to experiment.

In general, things went very smoothly in terms of setting up and tear down. My helper, the proto-incipient stepdaughter, did a great job. She doe snot shy away from work, that one.

She does the work so she can go be a total fangirl, and she got some loot, including a signed picture of Mark Sheppard, a photo with Alan Tudyk, a signed hat from Alan Tudyk, and some other stuff. She also got a signed picture of Alan from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil for her mom. I got her mom a coffee mug of Grumpy Cat as Darth Vader. It seemed appropriate for her.

Part of the fun for me is seeing all of my friends come by, many of whom came by in great costumes. I like that I get to be a bit of a base for several of them.

Probably the most fun part of the weekend came from the daughter of some SCA friends. Somehow, when they were in the line for Alice Cooper, the topic of Girl Scout cookies came up. So she brought Thin Mints and Caramel Delights for him and got a selfie, which he never does.

One thing that Comicon is good for is to let me know of other con opportunities. I have already applied for one here in Omaha I didn’t know about, and have several I’ll join in on this week. My summer’s going to be busy, I think.

So, in conclusion, I’ll see you all at Planet Comicon 2019.

Rob’s Update: Adopted Strangers

Week 5 of 2018

It’s been an oddly productive week. Productive in the sense that I got quite a few things worked on, but odd because they don’t all mesh yet.

For example, at the beginning of the year a friend of mine had a brain aneurysm. I offered to tuckerize anyone who donated over a certain amount to help him. I was pleasantly surprised at the response, and I spent much of last week starting those scenes. None of them are included in my listing for Brief Is My Flame, as I don’t know where they’ll go yet. Some might show up in None Call Me Mother.

Also, I worked on an especially large entry on the Four Horsemen Wiki. The entry is here: http://mercenaryguild.org/wiki/tiki-index.php?page=CASPer. CASPer is an acronym for Combat Assault System, Personal, and they’re basically power armor. They’re the central weapon system in the Four Horsemen universe and that entry is large and detailed. It’s probably the single most important thing to create in that world’s wiki, but it took forever.

I also started another novel, though this one is not set in Shijuren. I’m aiming for December with it. It’ll be listed below under TAV.  I started one other project, at least in terms of laying out ideas. I’ll talk about that more next week.

All in all, a good week, but the true value won’t be readily apparent for some time.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready for the Super Bowl. Sort of. I’ve never been so unenthusiastic about a Super Bowl in my life.  I loathe both teams. I’m rooting for the Patriots because I despise them far less than I do the Eagles. When this matchup occurred previously in 2005, I at least had the opportunity to host a Super Bowl party. That’s not an option this year. I’ll watch it, and I’ll appreciate the game as the last real example of football for some time, but it’s hard to get fired up.

At least good draft scouting reports are starting to flow in. This year, they’re holding the NFL Draft in Dallas and I wonder if I can finagle a way to afford going.

We shall see.

Current Playlist Song: “Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction. This actually one of my top five favorite songs of all time. It’s about 11 minutes long, but I will listen to it over and over. This update’s title comes from a line in the song: “We choose no kin but adopted strangers.” This quote resonates with me, given the family I’ve accrued in the SCA and am starting to build in the writing world. I love those actually related to me, but I have been lucky in the strangers who have adopted me.

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote comes from John Madden, because few people put more enthusiasm into the game.

“If you win a Super Bowl before you’re fired, you’re a genius, and everyone listens to you. But a coach is just a guy whose best class in grammar school was recess and whose best class in high school was P.E. I never thought I was anything but a guy whose best class was P.E. “- John Madden

News and Works in Progress

  • TAV (1144)
  • Brief Is My Flame (34914)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

Today an author friend of mine passed his dissertation defense. Congratulations Dr. James Young! He also writes alternate history besides his normal naval history, and you can find his stuff on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/James-Young/e/B00AVKCQZQ/.

Today’s Weight: 387.0

Updated Word Count: 11970

Shijuren Wiki: 736 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 82 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
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: Only in Dying, Life

Week 4 of 2018

Greetings all

I have successfully made it back from ChattaCon. You can find my ChattaCon AAR here. The TL:DR version is that I really enjoy working with a number of writers and had lots of panels, but I don’t think I got enough value out of the cost of the trip. We’ll have to see about next year.

It’s good to get back. I don’t have any huge trips planned until Gulf Wars, though I am going to a few things. I’ll be at Clothier’s Seminar in a couple of weeks, then to Planet Comicon in KC in February.

Hopefully during that time we’ll see a change in the house situation. We’ll see. It cannot go on forever.

Still, I’m anticipating getting back into the rhythm of producing content and being a house-husband. I rather enjoy cooking, and I’ve hand fun playing around with new recipes.

One drawback of traveling is that it’s hard to eat well. I did my best at the Bird House, but overall I gained back about 5 pounds. I’m basically back where I started the year. Still, things could have been worse.

I’m adding two numbers below, just because I want to keep track of them. One is the number of articles on the Shijuren wiki, and the other is the number on the Four Horsemen wiki. I’m mostly doing this out of curiosity, but I know that Chris and Mark are anxious to see those numbers increase on the Four Horsemen wiki.

And speaking of that, after I send out this email, I’ll add some more entries. By the way, the Four Horsemen wiki is at: http://mercenaryguild.org/wiki/tiki-index.php.

Current Playlist Song: Saltarello Wascherschloss by Corvus Corax. Corvus Corax is one of those bands that plays medieval music with medieval instruments, but with an almost metal energy.

Quote of the Week

2018 has been rough for me, and I’m sad to see Ursula K. Le Guin passed. The Wizard of Earthsea was the book I latched onto after Lord of the Rings. I vividly remember finding it in my 6th grade library. I know it was 6th grade because I remember the library and it wasn’t the one I had in 5th nor the one I had in 7th.

Anyway, today’s quote comes from her, and I hope she’s enjoying its fruits.

“Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

News and Works in Progress

  • No short stories this week.
  • Brief Is My Flame (32437) There are actually some snippets flying around that will get added next week.

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

I mentioned last week that I’ll be in an anthology bringing back the Pussy Katnip characters. Here’s the first of four novels Brett Brooks has written so far in this universe: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Darkest-Color-Pussy-Katnip-ebook/dp/B01HJB3O1Y/

Today’s Weight: 389.0

Updated Word Count: 10704

Shijuren Wiki: 736 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 59 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
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

ChattaCon AAR

Greetings all

I made it back from ChattaCon a couple of hours ago. I worked to find a way to please three cats who demanded attention with only two hands. Then I took a nap with three cats on top of me. I’m finally able to get to this post under the watchful eye of the WW1 Flying Kitty.

Well, under the napping eye of the WW1 Flying Kitty, but she’ll be watchful the moment I move from the keyboard.

Anyway, I had a very good time at ChattaCon, if exhausting. I ended up on 8 panels, as I covered for Chris Kennedy on a couple. I like a busy schedule, and I enjoy the work, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t tired on Sunday.

My first panel was on Friday night and it was a throwback to my academic years. It was arranged by Dr. Valerie Hampton of the University of Florida, who wanted to talk about NeoMedievalism, both in an academic and literary context.

After that I went to Opening Ceremonies and then the LibertyCon Room Party. Had a great time. Did not go to bed early. Shockingly, I did not go to bed sober, either. Fun networking, though.

Saturday was the long day, as usual. It started with a panel on combining genres at 10am. It was actually a little different than most of the similar panels I’ve been on because the others had mixed things with horror. Also, there was a lot of discussion of how this works in screenplays, which was fascinating to me.

Then at 1pm I took Chris’s spot on the How Much Science Should a Science Fiction Writer Know. Ironically, the actual scientist couldn’t make it, and to a great extent, we just faked it, which means relying on questions from the audience. This is especially true since Chris was the intended moderator, which I did not know, so I had no questions planned. My answer to this is: “A writer should know enough to avoid knocking their readers out of the story because of obvious inaccuracies or using science for deus ex machina endings.”

At 2pm was my favorite panel. We discussed the Vikings in literature, flim, and art. Sam Flegal was the sponsor, and he is a fantastic creator of Norse-themed art. In fact, I picked up his illustrated Havamal this weekend.

At 4pm we did the Theogony Books expo. Chris is publishing a ton of books in 2018. There’ll be 21 more in the Four Horsemen Universe, meaning if I only average a book a month in the wiki, I’ll be nine books farther behind in a year. Oh, well. Speaking of which, there was a good response to the wiki, and I’m excited about where it’s going.

The next panel was called More Than Swords, where again I was taking Chris’s place, and again I didn’t know I was the moderator. Still, this was a great panel for me, because I would like to think I’m reasonably knowledgeable on medieval military topics, even when we’re talking military fantasy.

Finally, at 8pm, I did my last panel on Saturday. In it, we discussed historical fantasy, and some of the ways we can draw from history and put it into our books.

After that panel, I got dinner. I had tried to get dinner between the panels at 6 and 8, but the hotel restaurant was simply too slow. I wasn’t the only one. In fact, while the service at the hotel was amazingly good, actually, the actual logistics were awful. Lukewarm showers, slow times out with food, that sort of thing. Why are the expensive hotels so consistently bad at this sort of thing? Very irritating. Don’t ever stay at the Chattanoogan unless going there for a convention.

Anyway, then was my one chance to game. That didn’t go well, not simply because I lost. I was just too tired to focus, and there were too many distractions. Ah, well. Next time.

All I needed to do on Sunday morning was get checked out an eat breakfast. It was a bit of a worry, at first, because people had glommed on to the carts and the valets didn’t know where they were. However, they took my number, helped me with my stuff, and I even had a little time to relax before my last panel.

That panel discussed storytelling. One of the fascinating subjects was the topic of opening lines and why they worked. It isn’t easy, but somehow the writer needs to connect to the reader quickly. Fun, with a lot of going back and forth.

Overall, the schedule went really well, if busy. However, the con seemed lightly attended. The con organizers did a pretty good job, though a Chattanooga official (we think) enforced a $50 fee for the vendors. This is not something that any of the vendors had seen before, and the Dealer’s Room coordinator was just as surprised. It looks like it’s being investigated, though, so maybe it was just a mistake.

I had a great time networking, and was able to get some fun gifts, so the trip was worth the time. However, I’m going to have to find a way to reduce costs if I’m going to go back to ChattaCon. LibertyCon is a much more useful con, so I’ll consistently return to the area, but we’ll have to see what else is going on around that time next year.

 

ChattaCon Schedule

Here’s my schedule for ChattaCon. I’ll be arriving as early as the hotel will let me check in tomorrow, hopefully around noon.

Note: Edited to add a couple of panels

My session schedule is as follows:

6pm Friday in Kelly: NeoMedievalism (A discussion on the widespread interest in medieval themes in popular culture, especially computer games, films and television, and literature and why medieval themes continue to fascinate audiences in a modern, heavily technological world. )

7pm Friday in the Amphitheater: Opening Ceremonies

8pm Friday in Roberts: Meet the Pro’s Reception

10am Saturday in Bender: Cowboys and Aliens (Writers discuss blending two or more genres, such as westerns and science fiction, or fantasy and mystery.)

1pm Saturday in Kelly: How Much Science Should a Science Fiction Writer Know? (This panel will look at writing science into your science fiction. Both scientifically-minded and non-sciency people are welcome as we try to determine how much science does it take to make good science fiction.) Additional Panel

2pm Saturday in Bender: Vikings: An Exploration (Vikings are a staple in literature, film and art. But are they more than they seem? Or less than they are made out to be? Through history, poetry and mythology, our panelists will shine the spotlight on Viking life.)

4pm Saturday in Kelly: Theogony Books (It doesn’t matter what you like in a book, Chris Kennedy Publishing probably has something for you in 2018. From bestselling sci-fi to thrillers to epic fantasy, we’ve got it all! Come see what will be released in 2018… and maybe win a free book for the effort.)

The Theogony panel, by the way, is where I’ll be displaying the Four Horsemen Wiki.

6pm Saturday in Kelly: More Than Swords (While there are plenty of fantasy soldiers who wield a sword, ax, or bow, you can also find those where magic and technology are inexplicably linked. Let’s talk about how to integrate the war and the military into fantastical settings.) Additional Panel

8pm Saturday in Kelly: Exploring Historical Fantasy (Our home world and its history provide many venues for readers’ expanding taste in fantasy literature. What times and places have fantasy stories featured and which might be open game for new tales?)

1pm Sunday in Thompson: The Power of Storytelling (A frank discussion on storytelling and its importance, power and necessity to humanity.)

What a great schedule for me. Thanks very much to Lani Brooks for all of her work.

I hope to see a bunch of you at the panels, and I’ll be around the Con Suite and at room parties during the evening.