NFL Christmas

This is one crazy weekend for me. I will be at Planet Comicon talking to as many of the 60,000 or so attendees as I can starting 11ish tomorrow.

But I’ll also have an eye on one of my favorite weekends of the sports year, the NFL Draft.

Now, this isn’t like the full Opening Day of baseball or the Super Bowl, which are national holidays to me. No, this is sort of like a combination of final exams and kiln Christmas, the term my potter friends for the moment when the open the kiln after a firing and see what their final results are.

I love thinking about sports from a GM’s perspective. In other words, how they create rosters, even to the point of considering how I would adjust to fit under salary caps. I probably know more about NFL salary cap structures than nearly all non-accountants.

It’s a complicated dance, sort of like a multi-faceted Sudoku game. The numbers have to line up, and I love the challenge of playing armchair GM.

For people like me, the NFL draft is a lot of fun. Other drafts are interesting, but the NBA draft is tooooo short (2 rounds). The baseball draft is tooooo long (30+ rounds). The NFL draft, however, is juuuuust right. 7 rounds, 32 teams, which would be 224 picks, but we also add a number of compensatory picks awarded to teams who lost some free agents the previous year. This year, all told, there are 253 picks.

I watch enough college football and absorb enough research, mock drafts, and scouting reports, that I have some idea about 300 players going into the draft.

I then spend the draft seeing if what I’ve judged matches what the true experts judged.

And then it keeps giving, because you really can’t judge a draft until its 3rd year, so yes, I pay attention to NFL players that I thought were interesting, or would be busts, from many years past.

How do I do, you may ask? Pretty good, actually. I’ve learned some things that generally make more of a difference than one might think.

For example, speed is important for a wide receiver, as one would guess, but past a certain point (around 4.6 40-yard dash), the physical attribute most correlated with success for receivers is height. All else being equal, a receiver with 4.59 speed who’s 6ft 3in will do better in the NFL than a receiver with 4.39 speed who’s 5ft 10in. The reason for this is that the people who defend receivers need exceptional quickness, but few taller players have exceptional quickness.

Pass rushers need long arms more than anything else, but of course if they don’t have a certain baseline of strength they can’t do much. Still, 36in arms are a huge leg up, so to speak, for a defensive lineman. The reason, by the way, is that if an offensive linemen gets his hands on a defensive lineman, it’s difficult for the defender to get to the ballcarrier.

Lots of stuff like this. Fascinating for me.

And the players often have interesting stories. One of the sad stories this year is that of Jake Butt. Yes, that’s his name. And yes, he’s a tight end. The jokes write themselves. The sad part of the story is that he got hurt in his final college game and he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, he’s definitely got a sense of humor. Charmin has hired him as one of their spokesbutts… er… spokesmen.

The first round of the draft is tonight. The second and third tomorrow night. The final four rounds on Saturday.

I’ll be watching every pick when I can, more curious than any cat about the trades that shape the draft.

And yes, you can expect a draft review next week. Once I’ve recovered.

Rob’s Update: I Am Groot’s Speechwriter

Week of 23-29 April

Greetings all

It’s been a great week here. Some weeks you pound away and you don’t see any real progress. You know there’s some there, but you don’t see it. This was one of those weeks that make the others look better.

First, it’s always a great thing when you get a good review. I got a fantastic review about The Eyes of a Doll this week. Reviews are life for writers, independent writers especially. I can’t emphasize this enough. Feedback helps us become better writers, of course, but the Amazon algorithm tends to push items that have more reviews. If you buy books, either e-, audio, or paper, from independent writers, please give us reviews. They matter. They really do.

And, if it’s a good one, it doesn’t hurt our ego any, which is nice too.
Second, I have made real progress on the audiobook front. It’s still some months away, but progress has been made. I’ll tell you more when I have more details, but they’re a-coming round the mountain.

Third, I’ve essentially finished Where Now the Rider. I’ve started to do a final editing pass where I read it in my Kindle app. For some reason, things I miss on a larger screen are blindingly obvious to me when I read it on my phone. But it’s a complete story.

Fourth, it’s a good thing, too, because this weekend will be packed. I’ll be in booth 2245 at Planet Comicon. I had a great time last year and would have made money if I hadn’t bought dinner for all my help. I think I’ll do better this year because I have a third book. I’ll also have a couple of other things, and once I have pictures I will show them off.

Fifth, I did the reveal for the cover of Where Now the Rider on Facebook. For those not there, I put this on my blog, and you can see the large version at: http://robhowell.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/WNTR-Front-Cover.jpg

I really like this cover. The colors feel right to me, and I love the doom of the clutching hands reaching at us. Patrick McEvoy has done fantastic work for me over the years.

Sixth, a number of little things, all positive, that should make my life easier going forward.

A little bit here, a little bit there.

I do hope I see a number of you at Planet Comicon this weekend. If not, have a great weekend. I will.

Quote of the Week
I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, and I suspect I’ll see some cosplayers portraying characters from the first movie, especially since we’re only a week away from the second one hitting the theater. I’m excited, and I hope I get to sign “I am Groot’s speechwriter” on a bunch of books this weekend.

Here’s another of my favorite exchanges from the movie:

Groot: I am Groot.

Peter Quill: Well that’s just as fascinating as the first 89 times you told me that. What is wrong with Giving Tree here?

Rocket Raccoon: Well he don’t know talkin’ good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to “I” and “am” and “Groot,” exclusively in that order.

Peter Quill: Well I tell you what, that’s gonna wear real thin, real fast, bud.

News and Works in Progress
  • Finishing touches on Where Now the Rider
Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions
Upcoming Events
Spotlight

I find that some times I need to leave the house to be at my most productive, so I find bars or restaurants to work at. My favorite for some time has been Brewbaker’s in Lenexa. It’s probably time I put my spotlight on them, especially given that I’ve spent something like 30 hours here in the past week and a half. Their website is: http://www.brewbakersbar.com/

Right now, I’m eating their chicken strips, which are really good, and their zucchini and squash, which is even better. Actually some of the best I’ve ever had.

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
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

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

Where Now the Rider Cover

Greetings

Here’s the cover for Where Now the Rider, the next in the Edward series. It goes to the editor this week.

Cover for Where Now the Rider
Cover for Where Now the Rider

I love this cover. The colors are rich, the characters are filled with life, and yet you can feel the impending doom of the clutching hands.

Plus, you can tell Melia (the cat), is going to get her share.

Again, the was done by Patrick McEvoy of Megaflow Graphics

Rob’s Update: Watching the Zamboni

Week of 16-22 April

Greetings all

Been a great week here. Productive, with nice weather. I even did my first threshing of my lawn.

I’ll admit it, I’m not the greatest groundskeeper around. I mow the lawn so the city doesn’t fine me, and that’s about it. I do keep adding mulch around the side of the house, but that’s just to protect the foundation. I don’t particularly care for gardening, though I do appreciate fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.

Oddly though, I do enjoy mowing the lawn. It’s good exercise, so I count it as my walk for the day. I like it when I can knock two things off my list at once.

But it’s the creating order out of disorder thing I really like. The exact same reason I love watching a Zamboni between periods. Chewed up ice becomes glossy and perfect. Very soothing to my soul.

By the way, let’s go Blues

Quote of the Week
“There are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire, and a Zamboni clearing the ice.”

– Charlie Brown

And here it is in YouTube if you want to see him say it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCvJ6VfybBw

News and Works in Progress
  • Where Now the Rider will be done this weekend.
Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions
Upcoming Events
Spotlight
Today, the spotlight isn’t on a vendor, but on a friend of mine, Brandy Andrews, who is retiring from the Army tomorrow as a Lt. Colonel. Congratulations and thanks for your service, Brandy.

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
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

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

Kingdom A&S Thoughts

Greetings all

Kingdom A&S was, as usual, lots of fun for me. I saw some interesting research, cool work, and was able to encourage some people. That always makes me feel good.

My two favorites were one I judged, a map of the SCA version of the Kansas City area by Hugo von Harlo, and one I didn’t, a fascinating collection and comparison of a variety of fectbuchs by Gawin Keppler. Neither was terribly ground-breaking, but they will increase the fun of our hobby while also providing stepping stones to further research.

The best of what we do in the SCA is academic-level work. Better, in some instances, because often academic work is purely theoretical and until one tries some re-creation archaeology, one can’t be sure the theory works.

Sadly, many academics look down on the SCA. Some of that criticism is justified. As I said, the best of what we do is excellent, but because of the “big-tent” approach the SCA adopted, there’s a huge spectrum of quality. The bottom level is worse than basic, it’s completely wrong. Fortunately, we’ve gradually improved overall so that the bottom level is becoming increasingly rare as anything but a stepping stone to better work.

The SCA is an entry drug to learning medieval archaeology. That’s a good thing. When done well, the SCA and those who went through the SCA and on to even more detailed research have pushed the boundaries of our understanding.

There’s no doubt peer-reviewing and gatekeeping has much value. Consistency can be a good thing, and theoretically those ensure that the bottom level of academic work is of consistent quality.

However, that consistency can sometimes create artificial limits. The beauty of Frost’s paths diverging in the woods is that each goes somewhere. There’s not a right path, merely one that makes all the difference.

Kingdom A&S is a yearly reminder of that.

Rob’s Update: Rainy Day Writin’

Week of 9-15 April

Greetings all

It’s been a great week so far, though it’s rainy today. Lots of progress writing. I’m about halfway done with the final pass of the draft of Where Now the Rider, and I’m enjoying the conclusion.

I’m here in Council Bluffs, Iowa this week with my sweetie as I await one of my favorite events, Calontir’s Kingdom Arts & Sciences championship. As a researcher, I often get asked to judge some of the more interesting entries. The entries that don’t fall into normal categories. Not surprisingly, I really enjoy such entries. This year I’ll be judging Japanese rice paper painting, a hand-drawn map, a story written in a variety of styles (sort of like comparing the Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven), and an Elizabethan sonnet. I’m excited.

I’ve also been working on my upcoming schedule, and I should have a number of additions to make soon. I’m not sure of all the details, but I do know the rest of 2017 is going to be busy and fun.

Quote of the Week

I’ve been very productive today, which is in some ways odd as I often struggle on rainy days. Maybe I followed John Wooden’s advice.

Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
– John Wooden
News and Works in Progress
  • Still pounding away at Where Now the Rider, but the light up ahead is no longer an oncoming train.
Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions
Upcoming Events
Spotlight

The last time I was at Estrella War in the Phoenix area, I met my evil twin. No really, he’s my twin. It turns out he’s a writer too. Here’s his author page: https://www.amazon.com/Spencer-Pierson/e/B01HCIE04O/

That really is not me.

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
  • A Lake Most Deep (Edward, Book 1)
  • The Eyes of a Doll (Edward, Book 2)
  • Where Now the Rider (Edward, Book 3) Forthcoming 2017
  • I Am a Wondrous Thing (The Kreisens, Book 1)
  • Brief Is My Flame (The Kreisens, Book 2) Forthcoming 2017
  • None Call Me Mother (The Kreisens, Book 3) Forthcoming 2018

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

Mar – Silver Hammer

Greetings all

It’s become apparent that I’m too distracted by something on Sunday nights to regularly add scroll texts, so I’m just going to add them whenever I feel like it.

This particular text was given out last weekend at Calontir’s Crown Tournament. It’s a Silver Hammer for Mar, who lost in the finals to His Highness Damien MacGavin. The Silver Hammer is an award given to people who are skilled craftsmen in things like woodworking, brewing, metalwork, smithing, and such. In Mar’s case it was his crafting of musical instruments and coronets.

One of the most fun aspects of writing scroll texts for me is forcing myself to write in a poetic style that is not my normal style. My normal style, by the way, is Old English alliterative, as shown by the riddle at the end of I Am a Wondrous Thing.

Whenever I am asked to write a text for someone, my first question is, “What is their persona?” In other words, what time and place do they focus on? This tells me what poetic styles I should research in order to write a poem that suits the recipient. Mar’s persona is that of a Varangian, hence his award would come from a Byzantine emperor. So I look around at Byzantine poetic styles and in this case, I chose the 15-syllable iambic Byzantine epic style. Some choices are easier than others. Some are not. This was not.

As a side note, I am often asked why I don’t tend to write scroll texts in a more legal style. After all, these are legal documents. My answer is that legalese is legalese is legalese. The function of legal documents creates a dry structure that transcends time and place. I just think that poetry allows me the option of doing something far cooler than legalese. I can write in legalese, and I have, often enough, but it’s not my preference.

Anyway, back to Mar’s Silver Hammer text. Here it is, with some annotations. Like my annotated snippets, the annotations are indented and italicized.

Mar – Silver Hammer

Arrayed in heartland’s tagma are proud valiant cataphractoi

Tagma is a word meaning elite soldiers, like the Tagma ton Varangoi. Combined with the word cataphract, which is heavy armored cavalry, I’m referring to the chivalry of Calontir.

Ashir its Basileus strong leads spears and swords a-glitter

Its Basilissa Ashland rides beside as falcons soar high

Basileus and Basilissa are the words for Emperor and Empress.

Such that bold topoteretes like Már í Miklagarði,

Topoteretes is a leader in the tagma, again, a reference to him being a knight.

So deadly foes away full seven hundred paces fear him,

In Calontir’s constellation slight single star afar seem

But Warriors do not make realms whole, as known by rulers wise all

So clever Basileus grand and bright-eyed Basilissa

Bright-eyed here is a reference to Athena, which is totally anachronistic even for Byzantine but I thought it was fun.

Rejoice in Calontir adorned with elegance and honor,

Aflame in golden glories great and gowns in pearls bedecked fine

The rulers Chrysotriklinos well cherish all such treasure

Chrysotriklinos is the grand reception hall of the Great Palace of Constantinople. In this case, it’s a reference to Their Majesties.

Rewarding craftsmen skilled with gold and favors of the purple

In Byzantine times the purple was a reference to the Emperor. It seems to perfect not to use as a phrase for someone in Calontir getting something.

But certain jewels glittering surprise august Sebastoi

Ton Sebaston is a way to refer to the Emperor. In this case, I pluralized it to refer to both of Calontir’s Majesties. Also, the certain jewels is a reference to Mar’s metalwork.

And melodies radiant afloat from strings and woodcraft carved fair

A reference to some musical instruments Mar has made.

The artisan so skilled is known for dire hands sinister strong

Beloved of deathless northern rose and treasure of the falcon

So Calon Autokrators keen, the lords of running horses,

Autokrator is yet another term for Emperor, and lords of running horses is a reference to Their Mongol personas.

To Már í Miklagarði grant the title vestitor proud

Vestitors were officials of the Imperial wardrobe, and later this became a fairly low honorary title. They were also the wardens of the Imperial crown. Seemed like an appropriate Byzantine analogue for the Silver Hammers.

As called in Mar’s far northern home a skillful Silver Hammer.

Before all dignities whether proclaimed or once awarded

Titles in the Byzantine Empire were deemed proclaimed or awarded.

In Basileia ton Rhomaion, They decree forever

The Basileia ton Rhomaion was the Roman Empire.

Where Now the Rider Annotated Snippet 2

Here’s another annotated snippet. It picks up where the first snippet, which you can find at http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=56 concludes.

As before, I’ll add occasional annotations indented and italicized.

Morning, 1 Hjerstmoanne, 1712 MG

I followed her to a long, low, rambling building running along a ridge around Achrida. It served as the primary home of the Mrnjavcevic family, the leading clan of the Dassaretae, one of the two tribes that had squabbled for control of Achrida for centuries.

The Dassaretae was an actual tribe in the Balkans. It’s not a particularly well-known one, though, and it seemed a cool name so I chose it as one of the tribes. The same goes for the Mrnjavcevic family. Even though I’m writing fantasy novels, I love researching history too much to not steal fun names and places.

The old woman who guarded the door had never liked me. The look on her face made it clear I remained unworthy to sully her honored halls, but she allowed me to enter without comment. Vukasin had probably told her to expect me. She led us through the labyrinth of rooms and hallways.

“How big is this place, anyway?”

This exchange is a bit of foreshadowing that becomes important later in the book. Readers of Where Now the Rider will see where it comes into play.

Piri gave me a sly smile, but otherwise ignored me. Eventually we reached and the polished oak door that led to Vukasin’s sitting room and office. The grim doorwarden, knocked and opened the door at his response, not quite lifting her nose up at me. Not quite.
Vukasin sat at his desk, his hands full of various papers. He was a short man, but wide and powerful. His eyes were the color of basalt, which seemed appropriate to me, as he was as strong and deliberate as the mountains. The Zupan of the Dassaretae needed such strength, I guessed.

The historical Vukasin Mrnjavcevic was a general and later the military governor of a part of modern Macedonia. Interestingly, Marko Mrnjavcevic, his son, becomes the Prince Marko of Serbian legend that I refer to often in these novels.

“Sevener. I expected you, but not so soon. Still, I’m told many things have happened.”

“Yes, Zupan. It seemed wiser to come sooner rather than later. I know I owe you a great debt, and I would not have you think I am not grateful.”

Zupan is an another historical term. An easy place to use something different besides leader or ruler. 

“I know you are not ungrateful. I would never have worked with you had I thought you were.”

“I appreciate your trust in me.”

“You’re welcome. Maja, pour us some water.” He waved at the chairs before his desk. Piri and I sat while Maja went to a sideboard and poured goblets of cold lakewater sweetened with pomegranate. I took a sip before beginning.

There’s a scene in A Lake Most Deep where Svetislav rows Edward out into the lake to discuss the Gropa Council. In that scene, Svetislav handed Edward a mug to dip lakewater out to drink. That actually happened to me in Ohrid. I took a short boat cruise into the lake and the captain handed out a couple of cheap mugs for us to drink from the lake. It was, in fact, delicious, and that’s why I make such a point of it in these novels.

“I don’t know entirely what you know, but here are the basics.”

He waved a dismissive hand. “I knew almost everything yesterday. The people who tried to intimidate Honker Harald and his family after his daughter found one of Gibroz’s thugs dead near Biljana’s Springs were led by Markov, one of Gibroz’s lieutenants.”

“I’m not surprised. You supplied all the people who got the information, after all.”

“Yes. And you used them well.”

I shrugged. “Markov was working for the Emperor.”

“I suspected that was the case.” Vukasin’s nostrils flared, but otherwise, he expressed no emotion at the news that his lord had betrayed him.

Obviously, this is my way of summing up The Eyes of a Doll. I hate exposition, and in some ways it’s not relevant to Where Now the Rider, however, it’s part of Edward’s character development, which I touch upon in the following paragraph.

In my homeland, thegns would have flocked to his banner to avenge that betrayal. My mind filled with memories of looking across the field at thegns who had done just that for Cynric when his son, Penwulf, my lord, had betrayed him. My father had fought under Cynric’s banner on that day, and I had killed him.

Vukasin cleared his throat and I returned to the moment.

“He wanted a war between Ylli of Lezh and Gibroz so that you could not have a base of power against him,” I said.

More foreshadowing, in a way. Let me just say I’m perfectly willing for you all to remember the Emperor’s paranoia. It could be a reoccurring theme. Could be.

“Or Vesela.”

“Yes, or her.”

Vukasin smiled. “This is Achrida. Things change. Yes, we Dassaretae are more prominent now, but never underestimate the Enchelei, even if it has only been a few months since you exposed Pal and his crime. Vesela may not have expected to take over as zupan so soon, but she helped lead the Enchelei all her life.”

The Gropa and Enchelei are, like the Mrnjavcevics and Dassaretae, historical.

I nodded, quiet again for a moment, then looking deep in Vukasin’s eyes. “I’m sorry for those who died.”

His black eyes turned even darker. “I know. I am too.”

We sat with our memories for a moment.

“You didn’t kill them, though,” continued Vukasin. “That was the Emperor’s people.”

“I suppose.”

“Welcome to the Empire.” Piri’s face bore that sardonic smile again.

“Thanks.”

“And today I think I know everything,” Vukasin said as he leaned back.

“What have you learned now?”

“I learned that you are prompt in paying your debts. That’s not an insignificant thing in this city.”

“I have no doubt,” I said sarcastically. “What else?”

“I wasn’t sure about Gabrijela.”

I looked at my hands. Eventually I added, “Yes, Gabrijela was helping the Emperor.”

“And her fate?”

“She’s gone. Sebastijan is taking her to the Great City.”

“We just watched them leave before coming here,” added Piri.

“So now what?” Vukasin stared at me.

“I think I’ll go back to the Faerie and get drunk.”

Vukasin chuckled. “While I agree that’s an excellent idea, I was thinking a little more into the future. You stopped in Achrida on the way to serve the Emperor. I got Piri’s message this morning that you’re not going to serve him now. Where will you go?”

“I wish I knew. I suppose I could go back to Ivan Yevgenich. He’s been dealing with Demmenkreisen for a year now. Or maybe somewhere else in the Kreisens. The Periaslavlans have noticed more than the usual raiding all along the Rueckenberge.”

“But?”

“His izba isn’t where I really want to spend the rest of my life, as good a man as he is.” I shook Raakel’s ghost out of my mind. “And in the Kreisens I’d have to serve some lordling raiding villages. I don’t know of a single one of them as worthy of my service as Penwulf, and he was an oathbreaker and a fool.”

This is an example of the synergy of writing I Am a Wondrous Thing. I actually really like these paragraphs. It lets me build a whole world around Achrida while still being focused on Edward.

It’s also an example of serendipity. When I started writing Wondrous Thing I had no intention of putting Edward into it. Then I realized I had already done so in A Lake Most Deep and he had to make a cameo. Even though I didn’t intend it, his appearance strengthens these Edward books.

Another note about Edward in Wondrous Thing. I actually struggled to write his part because I kept putting myself too much into his head, especially since I did not want him a POV character.

“The Old Empire? Or Matara? Take the trade route across the lakes and see fair Markanda and points east?”

“Perhaps.” I shrugged. “Vukasin. I just don’t know. After I get drunk I’ll talk with Piri and Zoe about it.”

Vukasin rested his dark eyes on me without saying anything. I watched dust float through a sunbeam sneaking through Vukasin’s shuttered window. Piri made no motion.

I intend for the Adventures of Edward Aethelredson to be a recurring series where readers don’t have to have read the earlier books to enjoy the story. And in general, I think I succeeded.

However, there’s no doubt that these first three are tied together for the reason that I detailed in the last snippet. Taken together, they will make Achrida Edward’s home.

Patreon Idea

Greetings all

I’d really love to hear some feedback on this, so please send me an email to rob@robhowell.org if you have any thoughts about this.

I want to set up a Patreon. I don’t really know what I’m doing so I’m asking for guidance.

My thought is to send fairly large snippets of work that has yet to be released, like a chapter or two a week.

However, much of this will be raw, unedited stuff. It won’t even be to the Advance Reader Copy level, usually. It will be the first draft, often enough, with all the mistakes and inconsistencies with the final product that entails. I’m a little concerned about that, though I’m sure it will actually help the final product, because I hate shoddy work. Unedited stuff is, by definition, shoddy.

Still, it will have the bones of the upcoming stories. As a reader myself, for the authors I like I personally want to see that sort of thing. I may be weird though.

The Patreon model, as I understand it, is that a subscriber pays a set amount each time I add content. If that’s correct, then I would set it at $1 per time at the basic level. I would also create a $2 per time level that would include a copy of the paperback, when it is released, signed and shipped / delivered. This second option would force me to put out chunks regularly, else by the time I send out copies I haven’t earned enough to pay for the book and the shipping.

What do you all think of this plan? Is it interesting to readers? Is it about right moneywise? What can I do to improve it?

Thanks much.

Rob’s Update: The Other Half Is Physical

Week of 2-8 April

Greetings all

The memorial this weekend went very well. I figured out what to say, and you can find it on this blog post: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=582. We had enough food and drink for everyone (more than enough, I literally came home with 3 boatloads of ribs). Mom’s display of his things and pictures was excellent. And several people got up and told stories, including one that I don’t remember where I jumped out a window when I was 3.

As promised, I did very little on Monday but watch baseball. Unfortunately, the Rangers lost, but that’s baseball. A very wise philosopher once said “you win some, you lose some, and sometimes it rains.”

I’m getting the itch to revamp my personal website. I suspect that might happen right after I send off Where Now the Rider. Though I said I’m putting it away for a week, I didn’t really, and I’ve been editing here and there. In some ways, the editing process has been nice. I wrote too many words in the original draft, so cutting scenes out hasn’t really been a problem. This makes up slightly for hunting down every problem with timing and location created by shuffling chapters around. I’m changing how I write to make this less of a problem in the future, by the way.

I did do some work on Brief Is My Flame and None Call Me Mother. Basically, I wrote the opening scene of BIMF and planned what I want to happen with many of the major characters at the end of NCMM. It’s likely not all that will actually happen, but that makes it easier for a lot of the writing.

Over the weekend, I started planning for a trip to North Carolina with my mom. While this is prompted to let mom go visit my aunts, I will time it so I can go to a couple of things. It’s looking like I’ll be at Atlantia’s War of the Wings and HonorCon in late October, but both are tentative at this point as I’ve just started making arrangements.

This upcoming weekend is Calontir’s Crown Tournament. I’ll be there live-blogging the tournament on Facebook, as usual. I don’t plan on setting up a table, but I’ll have books there. We’ll see. I might get sales, I might not, it’s hard to say.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Quote of the Week

You get another baseball quote this week. Don’t worry, I’ll not run out of them. I’ve got plenty.

This quote comes from one of the world’s great aphorists: Yogi Berra.

I find this quote apt for writing. So much of writing is just doing, but that doesn’t change the thinking part.

“Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

– Yogi Berra

News and Works in Progress

  • Where Now the Rider: editing and eliminating plot holes
  • Brief is My Flame: initial scene, a debriefing to Ivan Yevgenich of what happened in I Am a Wondrous Thing
  • None Call Me Mother: laid out the end game for many of the characters, now I just have to figure out how to get them all there
Upcoming Events
Spotlight

I met Susanne Lambdin in a dealer’s room where we didn’t have many people circulating but we had whimsy. Mine was by far the best paper airplane design, as she’ll readily admit.

She just released a new book starting a new fantasy series to go with her zombie series. Her website is http://www.susannelambdin.com/ and you can find her author page here: https://www.amazon.com/Susanne-L.-Lambdin/e/B00EYNT4OW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1491413106&sr=8-1.

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

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