Rob’s Update: Birthday Festivities

Week 29 of 2019

Greetings all

First, the nomination period for the Dragon Awards ends tonight. Please nominate and then vote. You can do that here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php. I obviously would love it if you voted for The Feeding of Sorrows, but more than anything I want to get people involved.

Second, since my birthday was Tuesday, I’m having a week of sales.

A Lake Most Deep: Free until the end of day tomorrow. It’s here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WYIU6OG/

The Eyes of a Doll: $2.99 for another couple of days. It’s here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018MVZFP8/

And Where Now the Rider: $2.99 for another couple of days. It’s here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071462WXM/

I’ve rewarded myself with work in the shop, though I haven’t done a ton with None Call Me Mother. Ran into another snag that I’ve spent the week clearing up.

And that’s what I’m working on this weekend as I’m mostly packed for Pennsic.

Current Playlist Song

Rush’s The Weapon. The things that we fear are weapons to be used against us.

Quote of the Week

There’s only one possible choice for a quote this week.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
– Neil Armstrong

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 50,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on

Today’s Weight: 383.8

Updated Word Count: 160,781

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

Catalina – Duchy

I haven’t posted a scroll text here in a while, but this one was a lot of fun, especially since a bunch of people helped me read it.

I chose to write her text in the muwashshah style of poetry. This is a style of poetry that appeared in the 800s or so, and was popular in Andalusian during Catalina’s period. It is structured as stanzas of rhyming couplets separated by a chorus that is held together by a rhyme throughout the poem. Usually, as I’ve done here, there are five stanzas.

One of the reasons I chose this style is that in period it was seen as a visual representation of the wisah, the ornamented belt. The idea is that the stanzas are ornaments hanging from a belt formed by the refrains. This seemed too appropriate to Catalina not to choose.

The form is designed to be performed orally. Sometimes it would be spoken, such as will be done in court, but often these poems became the words for various songs. Usually, the performance is a soloist speaking or singing the lines, and a chorus joining in on the refrains.

I did a similar scroll for her Laureling, but this time I was able to arrange for the chorus by handing out a bunch of copies. By the end of the poem, most of the hall had joined in and the echo up front was damn cool.

Side note, since it was often sung, this means that yes, Rhianwen’s version might very well be more period in form, though not in tune.

Catalina – Duchy Text

In sweet days of Falcons soaring
With great rivers swift and roaring
Purple and gold were ascending
and great keeps they were defending
Came a queen of their kingdom fair
Whose charm and skill were all aware

All in this great Celestial sphere
(Chorus) Admired bright pearl of Calontir

Then to war went gold bird of prey
Steel and skill she brought to the fray
When riders lanced and arrows flew
Her courage held as all there knew
And those who cared for warriors bold
Brought sweet water as she foretold

In noble dance of swords and spears
(Chorus) Fought the bright pearl of Calontir

In tall and mighty heartland’s halls
Where nobles heed our kingdom’s call
Wisdom and law did she proclaim
Showed the falcon’s honor and fame
Calling folk before royal thrones
Their deeds to be forever known

Gifts to surprise people most dear
(side note, I almost cracked up reading this line, given that she and Donngal had surprised me in morning court)
(Chorus) Granted bright pearl of Calontir

As memories of bright lilies fade
Relaxing now in soft, cool shade
Heartland’s souls recall awhile
Love and grace and wit and smiles
They raise a cry to celebrate
Catalina’s story so great

Soldier, artist, and server cheer
(Chorus) Feats by bright pearl of Calontir

Anton and Yseult royal heirs
Listen well Their people’s prayers
At Lost Moor hall in summer’s heat
Fifty-fourth year of dream so sweet
Mushira will she now be called
By each poet, scop, bard and skald

A kingdom showed their love sincere
(Chorus) For brightest pearl of Calontir

A kingdom showed their love sincere
(Chorus) For brightest pearl of Calontir

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update: Consolidation

Week 28 of 2019

Greetings all

Welcome to all the new people who signed up during LibertyCon and Hyperican. Glad you’re here.

This hasn’t been my most productive week. One reason is I was tired from the trip to LibertyCon and Hypericon. Another is I had a sequencing problem in None Call Me Mother which forced a major cut out of words and significant re-arrangement of the text.

The good news is I’ve recovered and I figured out the way the story needs to go. I put out 2000 fairly easy words, in the midst of fixing the flow, so I’m back on track. However, I’m behind my needed pace so next week will have to be brilliant.

I will add I began a couple of new projects that I’ll talk more about when the time is right. Plus, I did a bunch of procrasticleaning in my office. As mentioned, it wasn’t my most productive week, but not my least, either.

Tomorrow Their Majesties Calontir Donngal and Catalina will step down as King and Queen. That means I too am released from serving as Their herald. I love doing this job, but it can be time consuming, especially since the first part of 2019 was one of my most productive and intense periods of my career.

And I’m proud of the fiction I’ve released this year, especially in the case of The Feeding of Sorrows. Even I can tell I’m getting better at my craft, which is encouraging when I start getting down on myself. Such as those times when I’m banging my head against a problem in a story.

Anyway, have I mentioned here that The Feeding of Sorrows reached the number one spot in Action and Adventure New Releases? It’s still number 3. And, it got all the way up to about 1600 in all of Amazon. It’s currently still around 7000. This is awesome to me. Thanks very much to all who’ve read the book and gave me a review.

It’s worth reminding everyone that reviews are the best thing you can give a creator. Amazon’s algorithms really take notice, so if you get a book by me, or someone like me, please give us a review. It can be as simple as, “I really liked it.”

Side note, I’m sitting at 47 reviews and the algorithm kicks in another level at 50. Just sayin’…

In any case, I did the math yesterday and realized The Feeding of Sorrows is eligible for the Dragon Awards. I encourage everyone to participate if you have any interest in SF/F books, games, movies, or TV shows. I’d love it if you nominated my book, but I really hope everyone joins in. Nominations are accepted a week longer, and you can find the link here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php.

With that, I shall prepare to go weep like a baby as Donngal and Catalina step down tomorrow. Have a great night.

Current Playlist Song

I love baseball season, and many nights I’m listening/watching a game. Right now it’s the Tigers at the Royals. Not an enthralling game, but baseball is good background for writing. The pacing works nicely.

Quote of the Week

If you’re going to read only one baseball book, and there are many worth reading, Ball Four by Jim Bouton wouldn’t be a bad choice. He passed away a couple of days ago, but this is a good quote to remember him by.

“A ballplayer spends a good piece of his life gripping a baseball, and in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
– Jim Bouton

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 50,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing to speak of

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Calontir Trim, where I’ll be selling my books for two weeks at Pennsic. If you want cool strips of cloth, this is the place to go.

Today’s Weight: 386.8

Updated Word Count: 159,778

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: The Dust is Clearing

Week 27 of 2019

Greetings all

It’s the Saturday of Hypericon. Tomorrow, I will head home, and I’m ready to be back in my bed. These long trips are efficient, but can be very draining.

So far, Hypericon has been very laid back. A complete contrast to LibertyCon. Of course, I have much less planned here. I also know quite a few less people.

I have an interesting panel coming up at 1, though. Building a Better Monster. I like that idea quite a bit and will probably suggest it in the future. Then I’ll do my take things from one media to another panel at 8. Tomorrow, I have one more, about characters that should be brought back. Then we hit the road.

I need to start remembering just how draining LibertyCon is. It’s amazing and wonderful, but I have been dragging all week. Next year, I may have to plan on this week being a mini-vacation, though it’ll be on the road again, I think.

I have been writing a bit, but not much. Mostly, I’ve been reviewing where I was, which means editing. Not much word change but I’m prepping to hit the ground running on Monday and Tuesday.

Time for me to get back to that.

Current Playlist Song

By-Tor and the Snow Dog from Rush in Rio. Fun song, and maybe one day I’ll write it in story form.

Quote of the Week

Today is John Paul Jones’s birthday. Today’s quote isn’t his most famous, but it’s perhaps my favorite by him.

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
– John Paul Jones

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 55,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Those in Peril. I’m getting happier and happier with my contribution to To Slip the Surly Bonds, which is in the process of editing. “In Dark’ning Storms” follows the events of “Far Better to Dare,” plus there are a number of other follow-up stories in the second volume that you’ll get more out of if you’ve read the first one.

Today’s Weight: 388.4

Updated Word Count: 158,282

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

LibertyCon 2019 AAR

Greetings all

I’m in Rocky Mount, NC visiting relatives after another fantastic LibertyCon. As always, so much happened that I’ll forget things. It’s the way of cons in general and LibertyCon in particular. I float from awesome thing to awesome thing without enough time to process stuff properly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year, as I’ve mentioned, LibertyCon faced some of the greatest challenges any con has ever faced. Their hotel crapped out on them. The Read House in Chattanooga might be pretty, but they burned some bridges here. A hotel breaking a contract is no big thing, I had it happen to me, and NeoCon in Wichita ended because of it. I had to tell some relative unknown named David Weber that we had to cancel the con and not have him as Guest of Honor. The fact that LibertyCon rolled with it and made it work, especially in the time frame they had is amazing to me.

That is, of course, a credit to the incredible staff, both in their skill and stability. There will come a time when Brandy, Rich, Donnie, Matthew, Vonn, Fritz, and all the rest are not LibertyCon’s spark plugs, but it is not this day! It is one of my favorite aspects of LibertyCon that they are so competent at their jobs, which allowed them to handle this year so smoothly from the perspective of those attending the con. Thanks to all of them and their staff.

That staff is a testimony to the foundations laid by Uncle Timmy. I have talked about him before, but the best tribute is 32 years and going strong of the best SF/F con I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was a lot less emotional at the con than I expected. I thought about him quite a bit, though I was never terribly close to him, but I was rarely sad. Sad he wasn’t there, of course, but the truth is I was reveling in his creation too much to be sad. Not a bad legacy to have.

I will note, I’m crying while writing this. When I cry at Brewbaker’s, the staff there isn’t surprised or worried. I’m usually killing a character that I like, so that’s alright then. The waitress here at this random bar is probably worried about me. Hopefully, she’s just remember me as a random weirdo.

Speaking of parents, my mom joined me on this trip. She loved LibertyCon too. At Closing Ceremonies, when Brandy announced the dates for membership sales, mom told me to get her one and that was before Linda Bolgeo, among others, taught her to play Yahtzee at the dead dog party and she lasted longer than I did. Yes, Fritz, you’re right: “Rob’s mom sucks less than he does.”

Side note: Fritz, you made me laugh with this, which is just as well as you made me cry for the other.

The weekend started with getting together on Thursday night. This will shock people, but we closed the bar. It’s always great to get together and catch up, especially after such a productive year for all of us.

Side note, we’re not the Inklings, but the writing crew Chris Kennedy has gathered into his orbit is talented and hard-working. We’re doing great stuff already, and the future looks bright. Tons of stuff planned, announced, and plotted at LibertyCon. I’m honored to be a part of this.

The con started with those of us in the Four Horsemen Universe talking about the future of the 4HU. The Omega War series concluded with Alabaster Noon, and there was concern that this meant the 4HU was slowing down. To the contrary, the Omega War, despite its name, is only the second of five main-line series being plotted right now. That does not include side novels like The Feeding of Sorrows and a slew of other projects. The 4HU ain’t going away now. I’d be shocked if the eventual corpus of the 4HU is less than 100 novels plus anthologies, games, and whatever else. We’re at 35 and growing now.

Next was a panel on the contact between history, historical fiction, and fantasy. The best part of this con was chatting with David P. Coe, who is a very smart man and excellent writer.

I mentioned there wasn’t as much emotion as I expected about Timmy at LibertyCon, but Opening Ceremonies was one of two places where it was greatest. Gray Rinehart sang a new filk about Timmy, making Brandy cry. Then, Christopher Woods, looking bewildered, was drug up on the stage by Toni Weisskopf to announce a new anthology tuckerizing all of LibertyCon in honor of Timmy that will include a bunch of big names. The proceeds will go to both LibertyCon and a scholarship to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. Really cool, and it’s great to see good things happen to Chris.

My autograph session at 7pm went well, as I got a chance to chat with a few people and even sold a book or two. That’s what such a session is there for, and they are also one of the few times I can actually talk for a bit with a fan instead of the usual go-go-go. That’s so nice.

Then I did a reading with Theresa Howard at 9pm. Readings are fun, but sadly, 9pmm readings don’t tend to get many viewers. Probably just as well, because I don’t like the selection I made from The Feeding of Sorrows. Not enough action. I’ll pick a better choice next time.

I intended, at that point, to make it an early night. Narrator: “He did not make it an early night.” We got into a long discussion that turned into revelry at the bar. Closed it down again. I knew I wasn’t closing down the bar on Saturday, though…

Saturday started with a number of logistical things for the party, plus getting a bunch of old computer equipment to Gerry Martin. He has found ways to take all the old stuff, refurbish it, and provide it to a variety of users. Plus, it got boxes of stuff out of my house.

The banquet was the other moment of big emotion about Uncle Timmy, especially Arlen Andrews’ speech. It was also a great time for my mom, which I really enjoyed.

At 4pm, Chris Kennedy hosted his year ahead. He might have to do it in two hours next year, as he has so much going on. I got to announce the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows, When Need Shall Arise. I’m aiming to have it out around FantaSci next year.

At 6pm, I had an Author’s Alley time. This, too, went really well I thought. I would have done really well if I could have had a solid block of three hours, but there simply wasn’t time this year.

And that’s because of the Rob Howell/Chris Kennedy Publishing Party. This was, again, a rollicking success. We lasted past 3:30am. We went late enough that the bartenders were able to close the bar and come join us for a bit. Technically, we did *not* close the bar. Technically.

It’s become such a success we’re looking at getting more square footage as we’re just doing too well. Plans are afoot to make it even more fun next year.

Sadly, that meant when 9:30am rolled around and I theoretically had to get down to Author’s Alley at 10, I simply rolled over and got another hour or so of sleep. Sorry, not sorry. Will plan better next year.

I concluded my panels with a fun one called: Pantsing for Beginners. If you’ve never heard the term, Pantsing is “writing by the seat of your pants.” In other words, not plotting ahead of time. This ended up as a pretty good two-hour panel including Rich Weyand and Stephanie Osborn.

We left that to get to Closing Ceremonies, where Brandy announced the 2020 dates, 12-14 June. Then we went to meat fest at Rodizio’s, which wasn’t as organized this year because the restaurant didn’t respond to Gerry. Ah well, we ate meat. Lots of meat.

Last year I checked out of the dead dog party early. I almost did so again, but I caught a second wind and lasted until 11:30. Mom lasted until midnight. I had a great time chatting with Bubba of Bubba Truck fame and a bunch of others.

LibertyCon was, as usual, fruitful in all the ways. I have a number of new irons in the fire. While I don’t have many details at this time, suffice to say, I’ve got a bunch of new projects to work on. And that means, at LibertyCon 2020, I’ll just have to make new plans.

So thanks to Brandy and everyone running the con. Thanks to Mark and Chris for the 4HU. Thanks to the fans that are keeping The Feeding of Sorrows at number two new release in Action and Adventure. Thanks to all I hung out with at LibertyCon. And thanks to all who’ve supported me over the past few years. I’ll keep trying to get better.

Now, to go work on None Call Me Mother.