Category Archives: Weekly Update

Rob’s Weekly Updates.

Rob’s Update: The Art of Valor

Week 4 of 2020

Greetings all

I’m at ChattaCon having a great time. Yesterday was really busy, so I’m only getting to my update today.

When Valor Must Hold
When Valor Must Hold

This past week didn’t really go to plan, and I didn’t have nearly as much time I wanted to write as I hoped for. Since I couldn’t sit down for my normal writing periods, I focused on editing some recent chunks. I solidified several bits and scraps, sort of a 2 steps forward, 1 step back kind of week in terms of word count. The good news is that I’m knocking on 100k in None Call Me Mother.

The great news this week is the reveal of When Valor Must Hold‘s cover. It’s lovely, and I am so pleased this is coming to fruition. I hope it does well not simply because I like sales, but also because if it goes well, I might earn the opportunity to do another. I really enjoyed this process, so I’d like to keep doing it.

That cover will help, I think.

I’m sure there’s more to talk about, but right now, I have to get to a panel. Have a great day, everyone.

What I’m Listening To

Carnies by Rush. I listened to Clockwork Angels, the novel written by Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson on the drive to ChattaCon. A good story that made me want to wallow in the album for a while. Best album ever.

Quote of the Week

“How I prayed just to get away
To carry me anywhere
Sometimes the angels punish us
By answering our prayers”
– Rush, Carnies, Clockwork Angels

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (99,639)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Benjamin Tyler Smith, whose wrote “Hanging by a Thread” in When Valor Must Hold. You can find his interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1965

Today’s Weight: Not sure, on the road

Updated Word Count: Not sure, on the road

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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: The Gifts That You Give

Week 3 of 2020

Greetings all

It’s been a procrasticlean sort of week. I just haven’t really had a ton of focus since Neil died to get much done, combined with an event last weekend, so I only got about 2k written on None Call Me Mother.

I did, however, get really close to finishing my portion of When Valor Must Hold, the fantasy anthology coming out this year. I’m really excited, because all the stories are really good. Team “And More” did very well, not to mention all the cover writers.

One of my upcoming ramblings will be an AAR of this process, by the way.

I also revamped my website a bit. Go to www.robhowell.org if you want to see what I did. I’m still messing around with things a bit, but it’s getting there.

Also, the Shijuren wiki is temporarily down for some maintenance. I want to get that out of the way before releasing None Call Me Mother, as I’ll be adding all the new characters, places, and everything else.

I’ll also be improving a number of pages, cleaning up the info, adding some details, and putting in hints about the series to follow The Kreisens, mostly information about Amaranth and Euskalerria.

In other words, this was stuff that had to be done, so I didn’t waste the week, even if my mind was elsewhere.

What I’m Listening To

Rush. All of it. On repeat. Currently Cygnus X-1 from Different Stages.

Quote of the Week

“The treasure of a life is a measure of love and respect
The way you live, the gifts that you give
In the fullness of time
It’s the only return that you expect”
– Rush, The Garden

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (97,812)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Cedar Sanderson, one of the people who first read my stuff and gave me useful feedback, for which I’ll be forever grateful. Also, I really enjoyed her story Goddess’s Tears, which will be in When Valor Must Hold. You can find her interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1956 and you can find her on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Cedar-Sanderson/e/B006WFPHO6.

Today’s Weight: 399.7

Updated Word Count: 11,660

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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: 2020 Visions

Greetings all

Last week, I did a post on just how good 2019 was for me. You can find it here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1912. My conclusion? 2019 was my best year ever.

2020 will be better.

Let’s start with None Call Me Mother. I should have that to my editor within a few weeks. I know it’s been slow. I wanted to have this done in 2018, much less last year. Stuff happened and I apologize. But it’s coming and it’s good.

What will happen in Shijuren after that?

Glad you asked.

This fall I’ll be working on the next Edward novel. I don’t have a working title yet, but it’ll be a bit of an homage to Dick Francis. There’s trouble at Achrida’s Hippodrome and it might hurt horse-racing across the entire Empire of Makhaira if Edward can’t figure it out.

Then, I’ll start another trilogy in Shijuren with different characters based in Amaranth. I’ve said a number of times that chickens are coming home to roost all across Shijuren, and this will tell of roostings in the south.

My plan is to write one Shijuren novel a year, alternating between an Edward novel and whatever other series I’m working on at the time, at least for now. It may end up being one Edward and two series novels, but we’ll see.

I also plan on writing short stories set in the universe. In fact, the first is already written and I’ll get to that in a moment. I’m really enjoying writing short stories in general, and whenever I get a chance to write one in Shijuren, I will.

But wait, there’s more. I’m making progress on creating an OGL d20 based system set in Shijuren. The first embryonic concepts of Shijuren started rolling around my head 25 years ago as a place for great D&D adventures. In many ways, it’s exceeded my expectation in that aspect alone.

The system I have in mind aims to streamline game play with a cool character creation system that allows players to mold characters to fit their own playing style.

It also aims to encourage players to try stupid but fun stuff that isn’t necessarily defined in the rules. Whether it’s trying a crazy tactic, using a skill in an unorthodox manner, or using magic in a weird way to save the day, it’ll be designed to give DMs guidelines to react to players making stuff up on the fly.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in this so far has been how to mold my magic system into a usable system for a game. It’s a great magic system from a writing perspective, but it hadn’t been obvious how to translate it to gaming. However, I’ve finally come up with what I think is a really cool plan that ought to be a lot of fun.

Creating a game system is a big project, even with many of the basics already built in from the OGL side of things. I’m blessed to have some skilled and talented friends who will be helping along the way. I’ll tell you all more about them later.

I don’t have a specific timeline for getting this game published, but at some point, hopefully in 2020, I’ll be at cons running some playtest adventures as well as starting a home group.

What you can expect is periodic updates. I might even add a category in my Weekly Updates related to game concepts and ideas.

As you can see, though, Shijuren is going to grow a ton in the next few years. Thanks for coming along.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch more planned for 2020 than just Shijuren, including The Four Horsemen Universe. After I finish None Call Me Mother, my long form work in progress will be the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows.

I have lots of stuff to play with in here.

  • What are Edmonds and Tahnerif going to do?
  • I promised Jackson a platoon. What’s going to happen to his momma’s boy?
  • Kiial will definitely have more to say about his uncle as his time in the Foresters continues.
  • Speaking of the uncle, Tlanit and Rick Blaine are going to work at peeling away some of the layers.

Going to be fun.

I’m actually going to describe some of this in a short story in another Four Horsemen anthology coming out in 2020. Right now, I’m playing with a number of ideas, but rest assured, there’s more happening with the Foresters.

Speaking of short stories, I’ll be contributing to the second We Dare, anthology. The story I’m working on will be a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms,” my story in the first anthology. We might just find out why the Allardecks and Fieldings hate each other. This will also be fun, as I’ll be collaborating for the first time. Yvonne Jacobs is already helping me plan the story.

I intend to do four or five short stories for anthologies each year, so don’t be surprised if I announce a couple more later in the year. I’ve been asked to be a part of some others already, but I’m still trying to balance my writing schedule.

That doesn’t include, by the way, the return of Nick Patara, PI. I’ve enjoyed the response and I had a great time writing it. I also enjoyed being able to give back to you guys.

The next big news comes from a comment above, I mentioned that I’ve submitted a Shijuren story to an anthology already.

And this one is special.

Chris Kennedy gave me the opportunity to create a anthology of fantasy stories. It will be entitled When Valor Must Hold.

The writing prompt I gave the authors was the opening of Conan the Barbarian, where Akira the Wizard concludes, “Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”

The authors have given me what I wanted: stories with adventures and action across a really broad set of fantasy sub-genres. It’s a great mix and I think you’ll like it a lot. Heroic deeds done by characters who might not start as heroes but end up in that category. The characters all face things to test their valor and we shall see how their valor holds.

The anticipated release date is 20 March, which is the Friday of FantaSci. We plan to have a great release party there and I hope to celebrate with a bunch of you.

This brings me to my plans for Howell’s Howls this year. I really enjoyed my system of having a blog post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Rob’s Updates will continue on Fridays. I’m going to tweak the format a bit, like including game notes each week, but it’ll continue much the same.

I’m also going to continue with the interviews. I just finished re-writing the questions I send out, so you’ll see some new interviews by people who I’ve already interviewed. I’m going to start the year with interviews of authors in When Valor Must Hold, and run those interviews as long as it takes.

Hit me up if you’re a creator of any type, and I’ll send you the questions and get you into the queue. I really enjoy doing these and hope to be more proactive about making sure I have an interview ready to go each week.

That brings us to Mondays. Mag Reviews take a ton of time, too much for just a regular blog post. I’m going to replace them with Rob’s Ramblings, which will be a catchall thing for whatever interests me. including reviews of movies and albums, snippets, poems, sports topics, or whatever. This week, it was my ShadowCon AAR. One post you can expect in March is an AAR about creating When Valor Must Hold. It’s already taught me a bunch.

This does not mean Mag Reviews will go away. They take too long as a blog post, but there’s a still a place for them and I’m playing with some ideas.

Overall, my online presence will continue as it has been. In September, I stopped reading my Facebook News Feed. This was a great decision on my part. I miss out on a number of things, but that News Feed brought me down.

I check my Facebook Notifications consistently, though, and that’s been enough. If you want me to see something, please tag me and I’ll check it out. Otherwise, I’m almost never going to see anything.

I originally planned to limit my Facebook posts to business-related things, but I think I’ll start posting about the same frequency I did prior to last September. I’ve missed chatting with people about a variety of fun things and while I’ll never go back to reading the News Feed, I’ll get back to posting fun things along with my professional stuff.

The same is basically true on Twitter. I have always limited my Twitter feed to focus on some excellent sports bloggers and other interests like that, along with professional stuff. I will continue to look at those sorts of things, so if you want me to see something, you better tag me.

I’ve played around with MeWe, but the interface has yet to click with me. I’ll keep trying though. I’ll also keep dabbling in Instagram. This might expand with some of the other things I’ve got going on. I’ll also keep my eyes open for better social media options.

My appearance schedule in 2020 is going to be amazing. The biggest news is, of course, I got accepted as an Attending Professional at DragonCon this year. What an amazing honor. I will do my best to reward them for giving me the chance.

I also received word this weekend that I’ve been approved as a vendor at Dagorhir’s Ragnarok XXXV in June. This is a major LARPing event and I am excited to meet a bunch of people and introduce Shijuren to them.

I’ll be at LibertyCon again. None of what’s happened above would be possible without the lessons and experiences I’ve had at LibertyCons past. It’s really pushed me along and I’m incredibly grateful to Brandy and her peeps.

The expansion of Drix’s shop at Pennsic last year went well, and it’ll be even better this year. We’ve had a great time there and sales keep inching up there for me.

As I mentioned, we hope to have a great release party for When Valor Must Hold at FantaSci. I picked FantaSci over Gulf Wars, Planet Comicon in Kansas City, and a bunch of other events on the weekend of 20 March. Why did everything have to be then? In any case, even without the release party, I would go to FantaSci. It’s already a great con.

My next event is ChattaCon in a few weeks. It’ll be a blast, in part because Lani Brooks puts me on a bunch of panels.

Let’s see, do I have my yearly goals covered in 2020?

  • 2-3 novels: Check. I hope to have two by September and be working on the Edward novel in the fall.
  • 4-5 short stories (plus Nick Patara): I have one in the can, two planned, and some opportunities to juggle. I can’t say this is fully laid out, but I anticipate no real problems.
  • 3 blog posts per week: Mag Reviews made that really challenging, and I expect to be more consistent here. I won’t stress too much if I miss out on one of the weekly standards, but it’s a reasonable, feasible schedule
  • Figure out a way to make Mag Reviews work: I’m playing around with this. Probably won’t happen for a while, but there’s value here.
  • Make progress on the RPG: Meetings are scheduled and I anticipate consistent activity on this front. Again, I don’t have a realistic timeline, just a plan to turn it from vaporware into something real.
  • Create a smart travel schedule: Spring is fairly light, and will be productive from a writing standpoint. Summer will be go go go and I’ll have many miles on the road. Fall will be light, much like spring. This past fall, I didn’t go to any cons after September. I will add a con or two because I think more than three months is too much of a break from going to a con.
  • Take care of myself: I’m starting with being more conscious of things, as shown by pacing my travel schedule better. I’m also going to adjust my summer production expectations to match reality. Finally, I’m going to schedule some down time/vacation/retreat type things. No details yet, but they’ll be there.
  • Get back to fighting: This includes working out and losing weight. I’ve a helm on order and I can’t really fight until it gets here, but I can work out. I’ll have a plan for that soon.

I look at these goals and am getting even more excited. None of them seem outlandish and if I complete them, it’ll make 2020 amazing.

Now that I have a plan, I think I’ll watch the Blues and play a game for a while. Then, tomorrow, write a chapter or two in None Call Me Mother.

It’s going to be a great 2020.

 

 

 

Rob’s Update: 2019 in Review

Greetings all

2019 was my best year ever. Thanks to all the readers who supported my writing throughout the year. It couldn’t have happened without you.

Things I published in 2019:

I’m incredibly pleased at the success of these stories. Four of those, including all 3 Phases of Mars anthologies and The Feeding of Sorrows, earned at least one orange tag.

An orange tag on Amazon signifies it’s a bestseller. Now I can add “Amazon Bestselling Author” to my bio. That’s pretty darn awesome.

I’m also pleased that I still love all six of these tales. I am never pleased with the quality of writing in any of my past stories, because with each new one I get better. However, the tales are all good. I know this because I still cry at the end of each one.

If I don’t get emotional reading my stuff, I can’t expect you to do so either. I still get emotional on all of them.

The biggest negative of 2019 is that I didn’t get None Call Me Mother published. I had even hoped to make progress on Edward 4, but that was always only a faint hope.

Despite that, I’m not displeased with my writing output. I’m up to 93k on None Call Me Mother, so it’s getting close. I chose to write The Feeding of Sorrows instead and it was a great decision.

I also chose to follow Bill Fawcett’s advice. He said to me at LibertyCon in 2018 that I should write more short stories. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t pay attention to him. I may yet be an idiot, but not about this.

My goal is two or three novels a year and four or more short stories. I came really close if I count the words I actually wrote in 2019. I wrote about 75k of The Feeding of Sorrows and about 20k towards its sequel. I wrote about 80k in None Call Me Mother in 2019. I also worked on a couple of special projects I’ll announce when I post my look ahead to 2020. All told, I submitted six short stories (one yet to come), and wrote about 175k of long fiction. 230k or so of fiction is not shabby.

I did this despite not taking care of myself. Following Pennsic, I spent 5-6 weeks in a funk. This was driven initially by fatigue, because I traveled a ton this past summer. Then my brain weasels got involved, chastising me for not being productive, and that spiraled down.

Fortunately, I recovered in time to complete all of the items I had promised to various editors. Had I paid attention to myself, though, I believe I would have finished None Call Me Mother. Ah, well.

I have adjustments planned for 2020. One challenge of being self-employed is that I have to play mental games with myself to keep me from doing stupid stuff, like losing those 5-6 weeks.

I went to a number of fantastic events in 2019. This was my first year as a vendor on my own at Gulf Wars. Drix and I also expanded our booth at Pennsic, and this is exciting. LibertyCon was wonderful and emotional. FantaSci went great, not great for a first time con, but great. So great I’m choosing it over Gulf Wars and Planet Comicon in 2020.

I did all these things while also getting the opportunity to serve as Their Majesty Calontir’s herald in the first half of the year. I love doing that job. Thanks to Donnghal and Catalina for giving me that opportunity. And yes, you totally got me.

My sweetie and I did a bunch of work to the house. We replaced around 1000 sq. ft. of carpet with bamboo. I love this stuff. Nice on my feet and pretty. We also started a new additional closet in the master suite, which had a ton of useless inefficient space.

The closest thing to a true negative are my tracked items, I spun my wheels a bit. I gained a little weight, though I’ve made it through most of the holidays without gaining much extra. My tracked word count, which includes only those things I actually released to the editor or on my blog, would have exceeded my goal had I managed to get None Call Me Mother to my editor, but of course will fall short in its actual number.

My wiki suffered a hacking attack in the spring. I have recovered most of the lost things, but I plan on redoing most entries. I learned a ton working on the 4HU wiki for nearly a year that I intend on incorporating. I’ll talk about that in my 2020 post.

These are my end results. I’ll work on improving them all in 2020.

Today’s Weight: 395.2

Updated Word Count: 146,912

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

I have so many people to thank. I’m going to take a crack at it, but will undoubtedly forget some people. But here’s what I can think of right now with a cat demanding petsies.

Mom, sweetie, and proto-incipient step-daughter come first. Living with a writer ain’t easy.

Chris Kennedy gave me a bunch of opportunities. I can’t thank him enough. James L. Young let me write in all 3 Phases of Mars, and those are good stories. Jamie Ibson let me break his soul in We Dare. Mark Wandrey kept encouraging me, especially his help in the 4HU. Kevin Ikenberry helped a ton with the Peacemaker aspects of my 4HU stuff. Frankly, let’s just thank all of the crew that Chris has gathered about him. They’re all making me better.

Kellie Hultgren did a great job editing my personal stuff and teaching me how to become a better writer. The staff at Brewbakers put up with me, and I rewarded them with tuckering it in “Silent Knight.”

Drix helped me grow my SCA sales presence. Tons of people encouraged me. One even allowed me to stay at her family’s lake house for a week of writing and solitude. I need to schedule this sort of thing once or twice a year.

Despite not getting None Call Me Mother out and spinning my wheels a bit, 2019 was definitely my best year so far. And it’s not close.

I’m growing leaps and bounds as a writer. My most recent project has helped me turn things I knew instinctively into things I understand. This is already showing up in None Call Me Mother and in “Silent Knight,” not to mention my earlier growth in 2019.

2019 was my best year.

2020 will be better. Lot’s better. We’re building something here and I will tell you all about what’s coming in a few days.

For now, though. Thanks to all of you. I really appreciate it.

Happy New Year!

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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: The Week After

Week 50 of 2019

Greetings all

Not my most productive week, but it was to be expected. Saturday, of course, was Kris Kinder. Sunday was Kris Kinder recovery. The week after this event is always a down week as I sort of plan for those days to be off.

However, I got a bit of a head cold earlier in the week, and that slowed me. The worst was yesterday, as I basically did nothing.

Nevertheless, I got quite a bit done on the other days. I’ve been going through None Call Me Mother, cleaning it up as I get ready to write the final chapters. I’m at page 219 of the clean-up, which is about half of what I think the final total will be.

Part of the reason I do it right now is that I sort of lose track of the story in this range. I tend to work in threads and this allows me to weave the threads into place.

Plus it lets me judge the overall story. I’m liking what I’m reading.

I also worked on a couple of other projects. One of these mailing list subscribers will see on Christmas. I’m sending them all a present. The second I’ll announce at the beginning of the year.

For now, it’s time to get back to work.

What I’m Listening To

The 1974 Murder on the Orient Express with that awesome cast. Love this movie.

Quote of the Week

December 21st has a number of anniversaries. I’m going to use one to honor another.

Gen. Patton died today in 1945. Today’s quote is from him in honor of…

In 1861, Lincoln signed the bill including the original version of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Actually, at the time, it applied only to the US Navy, but they added the Army in July of 1862. It took some time after that, however, to include the Air Force.

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
– Gen. George S. Patton

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (89,410)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SK (7,084)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Been focusing on other things this week.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is still on Trouble in the Wind, which still holds the Amazon orange tag as the number 1 new release in Science Fiction Anthologies. Thanks to all of our readers.

Today’s Weight: 390.2

Updated Word Count: 224,096

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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: Trouble in the Wind

Week 49 of 2019

Greetings all

Trouble in the Wind is live! Sixteen stories of ground warfare that might have been. My story is “Here Must We Hold” about the Battle of Maldon.

You can find an excerpt of my story here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1899.

Trouble in the Wind
Trouble in the Wind

I’m quite pleased with the story. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to contribute. I’m absolutely stoked I get to be in a book with David Weber, Kevin J. Anderson, and S.M. Stirling, among others.

I made some progress on None Call Me Mother. Much of it wasn’t in words written, but rather cleaning up. I’m at that stage where I need to go back through it all to firm up the earlier chapters, fill in some connections, and make sure I’m ready for the final chapters.

What I mostly did was write another short story. I’ll tell you all about it when it’s about to go out the door. I also made progress on another project. All in all, a good week, even if it doesn’t show up in the raw numbers.

I also spent a goodly amount of time cleaning house. This is Kris Kinder Weekend, which means I have a big sales event then host everyone after the event.

It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year, but I’ll be exhausted on Sunday. It’s a fair trade.

What I’m Listening To

La Villa Strangiato by Rush. Such a great song.

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote is the inspiration for my story’s title. Thanks to Rosalind Jehanne for granting me permission to use it.

Here must we hold     So hearken to my counsel
Felled is our lord     Slain by foemen on the field
Now we must honor     The oaths we made in mead-hall
Now we must shoulder     The burden of his shield
– Rosalind Jehanne

It’s one of my favorite songs. You can find the complete lyrics to her song here: http://www.calonsong.org/CalontirSongs/battleofmaldon.htm

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (86,645)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SK (6,874)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on all of the great authors who participated in Trouble in the Wind. Again, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082K73QPD. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Today’s Weight: 396.4

Updated Word Count: 216,398

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Other Short Stories

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: With Unbounded Determination

Week 48 of 2019

Greetings all

Yesterday got away from me, but it’s been a good week. We’re mostly decorated for Christmas, I made progress on None Call Me Mother, and I made progress on another short story.

Plus, I’ve been running a bunch of interviews as we lead up to the release of the third Phases of Mars military alternate history anthologies, Trouble in the Wind. My story in it is Here Must We Hold, and it’s the first time I’ve really written in my area of research. That was fun.

I also made progress on the secret project. I’ll let you know all the details early in 2020, but for now, you’re just going to have to be patient.

What I haven’t done is my next Magazine Review. I may do it next week, but this is a really busy time and those take a while.

I’m going to add to None Call Me Mother tonight as I clean house here and there and watch NCAA playoff games. It’s going to be a great night.

What I’m Listening To

LSU v. Georgia. LSU is really, really good, in case you didn’t know.

Quote of the Week

You already know that today is a day that will live in infamy. The whole speech is powerful, though, not just the opening lines. Here’s another quote from Franklin Roosevelt about 7 December, 78 years ago.

“Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (83,723)
  • SK (2,283)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Chris Kennedy, the publisher of Trouble in the Wind. Here’s a rerun of his interview: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1215.

More importantly, here’s the book he released yesterday: A Gulf in Time at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0829FLV92

Today’s Weight: 397.8

Updated Word Count: 210,632

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories

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Rob’s Update: Fitzalan to Arundel

Week 46 of 2019

Greetings all

I’m a day late on this blog post but I thought that might happen. We had plans last night and I was not able to get the update done before we left.

What did we do? Well, I’m glad you asked. After our first date, I invited my sweetie to go see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood live. They basically do a longer form version of Whose Line is it Anyway, which allows them to do some improved versions of some games and also some other games that are just too long to do in the TV format.

Colin and Brad with my Sweetie
Colin and Brad with my Sweetie

Unfortunately, my sweetie wasn’t able to join me. It was really a shame because I had even gotten the meet & greet tickets. They shook our hands, exchanged a few words, and took a picture. After they took my picture, I explained that my sweetie couldn’t come and I asked if they would take this picture.

Immediately after the show, I texted my sweetie that picture. This was a moment of truth. If she laughed a lot, there was a definite chance for us to last. If she didn’t, well, better to know then.

She laughed. A lot. Still does.

So last night Colin and Brad were in town and we finally got to have our second date. Sadly, there weren’t meet and greet tickets, probably because they’re in Naperville, IL tonight. However, we had a wonderful time. They are really good at this and they have a brilliant way of keeping threads winding through the show. If you have a chance, you should go at least once. The truth is, you can go every night since every show is different.

That was a great conclusion to a good week here. I made a lot of progress with None Call Me Mother. I’m aiming to get a draft to the editor by the end of the year. If I keep going like I am that’ll happen. I worry about the holidays distracting me, but it doesn’t look like we’re going on any long trips.

With the help of my editor Kellie Hultgren, I figured out a problem that’s been nagging at me on a short story. It’s a subtle thing, as the story has a bunch of good elements, but I forgot the Rule of Three. The conclusion seemed tacked on, when in fact I aimed for it all along. That’s an easy fix and I should have that story to the editor by Thanksgiving.

Speaking of short stories, my story Here Must We Hold will come out on 13 December as part of Trouble In the Wind. This is the third of the Phases of Mars military alternate history anthologies and focuses on land combat. I don’t know if James Young and Chris Kennedy will do more, but I’ve had a blast writing these and hope to do more. The first two, Far Better to Dare and In Dark’ning Storms could quite easily be the basis for many more stories. I couldn’t quite get a land story that worked for me, but there are more sea and air stories waiting to happen.

Today, we started putting finishing touches on the floor in the great room. All that’s left is some touch up on the quarter-round, putting in the thresholds, and putting back the outlet covers. Since the bookcases all got moved, we’re also cleaning and oiling the wood-paneled walls. Tomorrow we’ll start putting bookcases back in.

An exciting week as we get closer to things getting done.

What I’m Listening To

I made a slight change here. Many times of late it’s been something other than a song on my playlist so I’m changing the title to match reality.

Anyway, right now, I’m listening to my usual on fall Saturday sort of thing, a college football game. Right now it’s SMU v. Navy. I love watching Navy play. In fact, I love watching every triple option team play. There’s a gorgeous ballet in that offense. It’s limited and only works now because so few run it, but it’s so fun when executed well. It’s perfect for the service academies because it relies on discipline and execution more than athleticism.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of William Fitzalan, 9th earl of Arundel. Who? A player in the War of the Roses, and a name I’m intimately familiar with because of the game Kingmaker. If you’ve played the game, this quote will be quite familiar.

“Piracy: Fitzalan to Arundal, Beaufort to Corfe
Killed: Cromwell, Graystoke
4-1 Victory”
– Kingmaker Card

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (76,951)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (8,163)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on William Joseph Roberts, who just released a new book called fLUX Runners. You can find the interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1845 and the book at: https://www.amazon.com/fLUX-Runners-William-Joseph-Roberts-ebook/dp/B081M3XKBV/.

Today’s Weight: 394.4

Updated Word Count: 196,635

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories

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: Venturing to Carry

Week 45 of 2019

Greetings all

It’s been a good week here. I wrote over 8000 words overall, which is more than I’ve been able to crank out in a week in a while. I’m definitely regaining the rhythm I had in the spring.

The big chunk of writing was major progress in None Call Me Mother. I broke the 70k mark today, and I made progress in multiple threads. Some days it’s a fight to get words going on one thread, but today, the writing prompted me to make sure I filled in a blank in another, which led to another.

That’s always fun.

I also added 800 or so words to Here Must We Hold. This was my submission for Trouble in the Wind, the next entry in the Phases of Mars series of alternate military history. Unlike Far Better to Dare and In Dark’ning Storms, this story is set in Anglo-Saxon England. I am pleased to announce that it has been accepted and these new words were actually historical notes.

For a moment, writing those notes, I sort of felt like Bernard Cornwell. That was fun too.

Tonight it’s puttering around the house, watching the Blues play, and drinking Beer Barrel Bourbon. It’s actually one of my favorite bourbons and I’ve been frustrated because I couldn’t find it. Tonight, I was disappointed not to see it yet again. Then I started looking at all the choices, trying to figure out something to try.

Turns out they changed not just the label, but the bottle shape as well. I probably just didn’t see it… again and again. But I have some now, and guess what? Good bourbon is yet more fun.

Y’all have a good week.

Current Playlist Song

The dulcet tones of John Kelly, Bernie Federko, and Darren Pang calling the Blues game. It’s 2-2 in the 3rd at the moment.

Side note: I’ve been a fan of the Blues since, frankly, a terrifying moment in the Kiel Center in 1988 or so. I never really thought anything about them going into last year’s playoffs. A friend of mine who’s a big hockey fan said before they won their first series that he actually thought they had a real chance. I thought he was crazy. He might have been, but one Stanley Cup later, he’s my kind of crazy.

Quote of the Week

In 534 on this day, Justinian published his law code. It’s one of the great legal documents of history. Here’s the first section.

“The Emperor Justinian to the Senate of the City of Constantinople. Those things which seem to many former Emperors to require correction, but which none of them ventured to carry into effect, We have decided to accomplish at the present time with the assistance of Almighty God; and to diminish litigation by the revision of the multitude of constitutions which are contained in the Three Codes; namely, the Gregorian, the Hermogenian, and the Theodosian, as well as in those other Codes promulgated after them by Theodosius of Divine Memory, and by other Emperors, who succeeded him, in addition to those which We Ourselves have promulgated, and to combine them in a single Code, under Our auspicious name, in which compilation should be included not only the constitutions of the three above-mentioned Codes, but also such new ones as subsequently have been promulgated.”
– Justinian (Codex Justinianeus, Preface)

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (70,029)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (8,088)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is once again on J.F. Holmes and his new shared world, JTF 13. You can find his interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1814 and JTF 13: Origins at: https://www.amazon.com/ORIGINS-Joint-Task-Force-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07YR4QR18/.

Today’s Weight: 392.4

Updated Word Count: 189,665

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories

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: O It’s Tommy This, an’ Tommy That

Week 44 of 2019

Greetings all

From a writing standpoint this was a 2 steps forward, 1 step backward kind of week. I went through a significant chunk of None Call Me Mother and cleaned it up.

I also did some plotting and figured out yet one more piece of the puzzle to get all the actors in the final scene.  I expect to see a huge step next week.

I’ve also started an editing project that I’ll talk more about in December.

We’re working on the house, as I often do in November. We got rid of carpet in our great room and have been laying bamboo flooring. The carpet was original, 1983 vintage, and it had seen more than a few battles.

Going to try and knock out a few more words tonight, so I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Current Playlist Song

Instead of music, I worked on this while watching Chris and Sheellah showing old pictures on their weekly CKP Facetime session. If you’re a fan of the Four Horsemen Universe, the Fallen World, or anything put out by Chris Kennedy Publishing, it’s a great way to interact with them.

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote comes from Kipling in honor of Veteran’s Day. Here’s the whole poem: https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/tommy.html.

O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.
Rudyard Kipling, Tommy

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (63,637)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (8,088)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on J.F. Holmes and his new shared world, JTF 13. You can find his interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1814 and JTF 13: Origins at: https://www.amazon.com/ORIGINS-Joint-Task-Force-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07YR4QR18/

Today’s Weight: 394.4

Updated Word Count: 187,467

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories

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