Mag Review: Spaceway June, 1954

Greetings all

SF/F Magazines
SF/F Magazines

I have a decent sized collection of science fiction and fantasy magazines from the late 30s to the 70s. It may not look like much from here, but there’s a second layer behind each of these stacks. There’s about 700 of them, all told. And since I tend to keep my eyes open for new caches, I’m sure there’ll be more sooner or later.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to read one each week, picked basically at random, and then review it. Not only will I comment on the stories in each issue, but I’ll comment on ads and anything that catches my interest.

Oh, one other thing. There will be spoilers. I am writing these with the expectation that few of you will ever get a chance to read most of the stories and I don’t want to leave you hanging. If I get enough comments that suggest you want me to leave the spoilers out, I will, but for now, consider yourself warned.

Spaceway June, 1954 Front Cover
Spaceway June, 1954 Front Cover

The first magazine I grabbed was the June, 1954 issue of Spaceway (Volume 2, Number 1). Here is the table of contents and complete list of credits for this issue: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?203789.

Spaceway‘s entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Ficton is here: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/spaceway. As you’ll see from this page, Spaceway was a minor magazine which held few works by big name authors. Still, there might be a treasure or two. Let’s find out.

It begins with a novelette, X of Mizar by Arthur J. Burks. Burks was an interesting guy who left the Marine Corps in 1928 to write full time. He returned to the USMC during World War II, rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel. In terms of his writing, he was prolific enough to earn the title of the Speed-King of Fiction by one reviewer.

X of Mizar is a creepy tale about a world that’s a living creature in itself. Not only that, it’s much more powerful than humanity. The closest analogy to me is Q from ST:TNG. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for this story. It started with all of the arrogance of Q, but there was little comeuppance. In fact, there was little in the way of conflict. It’s disappointing, because this story had a ton of potential, but was little more than a character’s internal monologue.

Next was The Green Earth Forever by Christopher Monig. Monig was actually a pen name used by Kendell Foster Crossen, who is best known for the Green Lama series. This particular story is a gloomy look at nuclear holocaust. Humanity is pushed to into a holocaust so great it destroys Earth by the species who has been watching us from flying saucers. It’s another disappointment, sadly, as it’s really just a series of events and then the Earth blows up.

That is followed by an essay on hypnotism by A.E. van Vogt. This is clearly part of the research he did while writing The Hypnotism Handbook. Much of this essay praises the research and work of Charles Edward Cooke, who was his co-author on the larger book. There’s an ad for the book later on in the magazine.

Spaceway June, 1954 Page 50 Advertisement
Spaceway June, 1954 Page 50 Advertisement

The essay wasn’t terribly interesting to me, but the ad for SFCon in 1954 at the end was fun.

Take a look at the registration price.

Anyway, the next story is The Human Thing To Do by Kinsley McWhorter, Jr. I know absolutely nothing about McWhorter. A Google search says he had a column in the Roanoke World News, and here’s a reprint of one in the Biloxi Daily Herald: https://newspaperarchive.com/biloxi-daily-herald-jun-09-1955-p-13/.

And it’s too bad he didn’t write more because this was a fun  story. The world has been invaded by a species of, essentially, dopplegangers called Galol. They take over people and no physical study can determine if someone is human or Galol. Once inside people, they serve as a Fifth Column. The solution, therefore, is to find what makes humans have a human personality. To McWhorter, the answer is our sense of humor.

I also love the conclusion.

“‘What beat Henley – what can beat all the Galol if we use it right – is a sense of humor. Laugh; it’s the human thing to do.’

George Morton smiled wearily.

Everyone was very careful to smile back.”
– Spaceway, Vol. 2, No. 1 (June, 1954), p. 65

Let’s see. Have a sense of humor or you get shot. Yeah, I’d be smiling too.

Melvin Sturgis wrote the next story, The Long Night. Again, I can find little about Sturgis, though I did find that he wrote a novel called The Unprotected Species. One of its reviewers said it was, “OK but not outstanding. Somewhat predictable.” To be honest, I felt the same about The Long Night, at least in terms of predictability. It’s a very short story (less than 3 pages) where radioactive smog covers Los Angeles after a nuclear war. Humans have to flee the smog, but rats survive, evolve, and then view the remains of LA in wonder at humanity’s stupidity. More of an info dump than a story.

Atlantis Hallam is the next listed author. What a name! Gotta be a pseudonym, right? That’s just too perfect for a science fiction writer. Well, it’s not entirely, as the author’s full name is Samuel Benoni Atlantis Hallam and he wrote Star Ship on Saddle Mountain.

His entry in Spaceway was a treasure called Martian Pete. It’s a very cute story where the spokesdog of Wooftie Biscuits flees after having an ‘accident’ on live TV. A crewman on a ship heading to Mars gathers him in and takes him to the Red Planet. Pete meets and, after woofing and snapping, befriends one of the local rooks. When Pete is discovered, he is sent back to Earth. The rook decides to stick with his buddy, meaning the crewman is going to be in trouble again, this time for carrying an unregistered animal from Mars to Earth. Fortunately, Colonel Willoughby, the sponsor of Wooftie Biscuits, has missed Pete and it’s a happy ending as he takes them all back. Pure fluff, but impossible not to enjoy.

Spaceway was Forrest J. Ackerman’s baby so it’s not a surprise to see an entry here. He reviews the movie Gog, third in the Office of Scientific Investigation (OSI) trilogy of movies by Ivan Tors, following The Magnetic Monster (1953) and Riders to the Stars (1954). Ackerman really loves the movie, and now I want to see it. Unfortunately, while Magnetic Monster and Gog are available on DVD, I haven’t found Riders to the Stars. Still, they look good.

Next is The Plague by Albert Hernhunter, whose name is actually Albert Hernhuter. As a guy who grew up loving the 1980s Robin of Sherwood series, I heartily approve of this subtle change.

However, the Plague is a story that has only one saving grace: it’s short with only 3 pages. Basically, it says that humanity tries to destroy another race with a bioweapon, only to find out the bioweapon saves that race from an already existing plague and to then have the plan backfire and destroy humanity. Not my cup of tea, and entirely predictable.

The second novelette is The Uncompromising People by Jim Harmon. Harmon, too, is an interesting guy, known at one time as Mr. Nostalgia. He was also a good writer. I rather enjoyed The Uncompromising People and it had seeds that might very well have influenced other writers.

The story is that Calvin Thomas Moss is a throwback to a sneakier time. He is a conman, a thief, and all-around scoundrel in a time when people have become more honest. That means that he is useful to those in power who need those skills, and once he got caught for a scheme, he was under their thumb.

Facing awful sorts of imprisonment, he ‘agrees’ to go to Vega to help discover why their number of registered voters is decreasing. This is odd because the Vegans, while similar to humans in size and shape, evolved from a rabbit analogue with all the same reproduction rates. Also, they are albinos who aren’t exposed to as much ultraviolet light.  Anyway, they believe that not registering to vote is a capital crime. It’s important because manipulating these votes allow the Galactic Federation of Earth to remain in power.

So he gets sent in a rocket that has a computer to help him along the way. And a nuclear warhead to make sure he actually goes to Vega and does his job.

What’s fascinating is that the computer is neurotic just like Marvin  the Paranoid Android. Here’s one quote: “‘Go on,’ said the brain. ‘Shut me off. Leave me lifeless, now that I’ve served my purpose, now that you’re through with me…'” (p. 95). I can even hear that in Alan Rickman’s voice from the last Hitchhiker’s movie. It’s so close it makes me wonder if Douglas Adams read this novelette.

But it’s not just that. The story has the same feel as Keith Laumer’s Retief stories. The only real difference is that Retief is never out of control of the situation and Moss is rarely in control until the climactic scene. Admittedly, that’s a big difference in storytelling, but it’s still got that same sly sense of humor and twist.

The answer, by the way, to the population dilemma is that the female Vegans have been impregnating themselves purposefully, meaning they only have daughters. Since only male Vegans are allowed to vote that means the number of voters is decreasing, while the population is expanding.

He tries to report back, but is halted by the paranoid rocket ship, which doesn’t believe that he knows the answer. While they argue, the Vegans catch up to him and are about to kill him, but he uses a Retief-esque trick. He convinces them that he has a secret hidden under his toupee, which requires a great deal of work including a special type of light to remove. He doesn’t have a toupee of course, but this gives him a chance to hit the albino Vegans with ultraviolet light, driving them away.

Then, just as expected, he gets his comeuppance. Just because he succeeded at this mission doesn’t mean he’s out of hot water with the powers that be. Nope, it means he’s more valuable. I don’t know if Harmon wrote other stories with Moss, but I do hope so. And, like Adams, I wonder if Laumer read this story.

The next story is Pearls of Parida by Alma Hill. Hill was not terribly prolific, but she edited a number of fanzines. This is another story that’s short, only 7 pages or so, and in this case needed to be longer. It could have been interesting, but ends up as just a shoot-em-up battle scene.

The last story, One Out of Many, is by Mark Pines. This is the only bibliographic entry for him in the Speculative Fiction Database. The story is of an archaeological expedition to a desert planet. At the end we discover that these are some other species and they are examining earth, as shown by the discovery of a small metal disc that says “E Pluribus Unum.” This is another story that could be really good, but seems curtailed. Not enough tension. It has a Randall Garrett sort of idea, but not Garrett’s skill at tricking the reader.

Spaceway June, 1954 Back Interior
Spaceway June, 1954 Back Interior

That’s the last story, but not the last bit of fun. I always enjoy looking at the strange ads at the back of old magazines, and you can expect me to show them in most of these entries.

One interesting thing I learned came from looking at these addresses. Notice anything missing? For some reason I thought Zip Codes were in use prior to 1963, but that’s when they officially came into being. This is also when the two-letter state codes came into existence. You all probably knew all this long ago, but it was new to me.

Overall, this was not a great collection of stories. I would give it a 3 on a scale of 10. None of the stories had enough conflict or tension, though I enjoyed a few of them. I might raise it to 3.5 if I really love Gog and the Magnetic Monster.

Despite the fact that this will not be my favorite in my collection, I really enjoyed the exercise. I’ve been wanting to go through these for some time because I know there are all sorts of cool things in them. I also can already tell it will spur some fun ideas.

If you have any comments, feel free to comment here or send an email to me at: rob@robhowell.org.

 

Interview – Steve Kubien

This week’s interview is with a friend I met in the SCA. As you’ll see he’s a woodturner, taking chunks of wood and making beautiful things out of them.

He’s also a really generous guy. When he sees that someone’s lost a mug, or had a bad day, or whenever he thinks one of his cups will brighten someone’s day, he makes one and gives it to them.

Interview – Steve Kubien

What is your quest?

Steve Kubien
Steve Kubien

I am a woodturner. I use the patterns and textures of wood to make cremation urns and bowls (mostly). Each of these creations is as unique as person they are for or the circle of friends who use them daily.

What is your favorite color?

Favourite colours are blue and green, though they have little to do with my work (generally). As a turner, I try to create curves which are pleasing to the eye and feel good in the hands. The easier way to describe this in a concrete way is to look at an egg. Every tiny segment of the shell is a wonderful, perfect curve. Stand it on the narrow end and you have a classic vase. Use the lower half and you have a bowl that looks, feels and functions marvelously. I make parts of the curve of eggs.

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

Urn by Steve Kubien
Urn by Steve Kubien

Completing pieces is often difficult for me. From a technical stand point, the final stages of making an urn are the most risky (in terms of ruining a piece). Thus, I often get stuck in ruts where a number of pieces are almost complete, but not quite.

I am also not a fast worker. As an independent artist, that’s a big disadvantage.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I am very good at finding a nice curve.

Green Urn by Steve Kubien
Green Urn by Steve Kubien

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?  On the 9th day, God created Kermit. He would have done it on the 8th but he was busy creating Led Zeppelin.
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy, but not so much to break teeth.
  • Favorite Sports Team? Whoever is playing against the Toronto Maple Lrafs
  • Cake or Pie?  Apple pie or death!
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Helluva Good Dip, original
  • Wet or Dry?  Currently?
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Derek Trucks
  • Whisky or Whiskey?  Bourbon (Rob’s Note: My current favorite bourbon is the New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon casked in the same casks as their Dragon’s Milk Imperial Stout. Not expensive, but delicious)
  • Favorite Superhero? Thor
  • Steak Temperature? Pass it through a warm room. (Rob’s Note: The internal temperature of a cow is 107 Fahrenheit. That’s about what my sweetie prefers as well 🙂 )
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
  • Best Game Ever? The Riddle Game
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea

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

Why do you do this?

Rob’s Answer: Well, some reasons are cynical and some less so. The cynical reason is that this gives free publicity to people I like while at the same time encouraging their fans, readers, and friends to visit my blog. Some of those will continue to read my stuff. I

I also like knowing a little more about my friends. Given how often people stay at my house, there’s a non-zero chance knowing how people like their steak or what kind of whisk(e)y they drink might be useful to know. Plus, who doesn’t want to know everyone’s favorite Muppet?

n short, it’s a win-win thing for all of us, and I like positive sum games. And it’s fun.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?


Thanks to Steve Kubien for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

RU: Best Damn Chicken In The State

Week 33 of 2018

The week after Pennsic is always one of recovery. Stuff has to be cleaned, maintained, and put back into its proper place. I have to recover as well.

All the while dealing with cats that missed us.

Right now, Thorn is laying on my left wrist, making it hard to reach the “T” key. But she’s a happy, purry kitty so I’m not moving her.

My mom is also visiting this week, so there was a hurried arranging and straightening up. Impetus for getting more things from the move into their proper place. We’ve still got lots to do, but the house is perfectly livable right now.

The sad news, of course, is the passing of Aretha Franklin. The Blues Brothers has been one of my favorite movies, and that’s how I remember her most, but every once in a while I’ll go down the YouTube rabbit hole following her. What a voice.

On the writing side, I’ve been fighting to get my brain in gear. I’ve thrown a few words on the page, but not yet gotten back into the groove I was in at Pennsic. It’s coming back though. I can tell it is when a number of different ideas start popping through my head.

I also have a new idea for my blog that I will unveil next Wednesday. I hope to make it a standard weekly post if I can keep up. It’ll help me be a better writer, probably give me a bunch of ideas, and be fun and interesting.

For now, I’m going to play around with a story idea.

Current Playlist Song

“Rasputin” by Turisas. It’s a silly song, but fun. And Turisas kicks it up several notches. They are a great Finnish folk metal band. I got to see them at the Riot Room here in KC, a tiny but fun venue. “Rasputin” live was really fun.

As a side note, if you haven’t noticed, I love folk metal. If you’ve found a cool folk metal band, let me know. I’m always looking for more.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t you “Don’t get riled, sugar” me!”
– Aretha Franklin as Mrs. Murphy, The Blues Brothers

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,526)
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight was on the amazing Kacey Ezell. You can find her interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1296 and you can find her at http://www.kaceyezell.net/.

Today’s Weight: 387.6

A note about my weight. I am essentially at the same weight I was when I started the year. With all the travel and upheaval in my life so far in 2018, I call this a win. Hopefully, I will drop into the 360s by the end of the year, but thus far I’ve maintained despite challenges.

Updated Word Count: 173,506

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

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

Interview: Kacey Ezell

Greetings all

This week’s interview is with the amazing Kacey Ezell. She is, I can say without doubt, the first person I’ve interviewed who has over 2500 hours flying Hueys and Mi-17s.

She’s also one of my favorite writers right now. I really enjoy her Minds of Men alternate history and am waiting for the next one in that series. She’s also one of the writers in the Four Horsemen Universe, collaborating with Marisa Wolf to write Assassin and show us all the might of the Depik.

Interview: Kacey Ezell

What is your quest?

To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentations of their women. (I’m sure I’m not the first to say that!) For real, though, I just want to tell good stories that I’d like to read. And I want to be a dragonrider. For Science. (Rob’s Note: SCIENCE!!!!)

What is your favorite color?

Blue. I like emotional gut-punch moments in my writing. Specifically, I always try to have a moment or moments where I put the reader in the mind of the character and make the character’s emotions resonate within the reader. If I can make you cry, or laugh, or grieve, or rage, or exult, then I’ve done my job.

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

I always feel like I’m never writing enough, especially when it gets busy with the day job. I get frustrated when I fly long days and then don’t have the energy to do more than drag myself into the shower and then into bed. My discipline demands that I at least try to write something every day, but a recent string of 12-hour days has shown me that sometimes, when I’m drained, I’m drained. So I’ll settle for writing 100 words that day and call it a win.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

In writing, my personal Holy Hand Grenade is what I’ve described above. I’m always proud when I can make the reader feel something. In life/marketing, I think my personal Holy Hand Grenade is my ability to connect with people and make friends quickly and easily. I love getting to know new people, and that’s been incredibly helpful in my career!

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Animal
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Creamy
  • Favorite Sports Team? Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Cake or Pie? Apple Pie / Guinness Cake (it cooks out! I promise!)
  • Lime or Lemon? Lime
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Spicy salsa heavy on the cilantro
  • Wet or Dry? wet
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Leo
  • Whisky or Whiskey? I’m Mormon, don’t care.
  • Favorite Superhero? Wonder Woman
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Um, I’m too young for that. 😉
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer
  • Favorite Pet? I can’t choose. I love them both. 😊
  • Best Game Ever? Shadowrun
  • Coffee or Tea? Again, Mormon. I’ll take Sugar Free Red Bull, please
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Again, por que no los dos?

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

My Answer: Hmmm, in my younger days I could walk into any neighborhood bar in any country and become Norm before the night was over.

I suppose now my greatest superpower is drinking the bitterest beer. I’ve had brewers try to out-bitter me. I welcome their attempts to tilt at this windmill, as it means free beer for me.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Dragon Con 2018, FantaSci and LibertyCon 2019 for sure. Maybe some others along the way if I can talk my husband into it.

Do you have a creator biography?

Kacey Ezell was born in South Dakota in 1977. Her parents joined the US Air Force in 1984, and she grew up around the world on various military bases. When she was seven, her mother gave her a copy of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragondrums, and shortly thereafter, Kacey decided that she wanted to be a dragonrider when she grew up. In 1999, she followed her parents into the “family business” and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy before going to pilot training. As dragons were in short supply at the time, she reasoned that flying aircraft was the next best thing. She earned her wings in 2001, and has over 2500 hours in the UH-1N and Mi-17 helicopters.

From the time she was a small child, Kacey made up stories to tell to her friends and family. In 2009, while deployed to Iraq, she wrote the military-themed supernatural story “Light”, which was accepted for publication in the Baen Books anthology Citizens. She was asked to consult on John Ringo’s 2015 novel Strands of Sorrow, and wrote the cover story for the Black Tide Rising anthology set in Ringo’s zombie apocalypse universe. That story, “Not in Vain” was selected for inclusion in the “Year’s Best Military SF and Adventure Fiction” anthology produced by Baen Books.

In addition, she’s written a story for each of the bestselling Four Horsemen Universe anthologies, and her story “Family Over Blood” is included in the national bestseller “Forged In Blood” set in Michael Z. Williamson’s Freehold Universe.

She and Christopher L. Smith are currently collaborating with John Ringo on a new post-apocalyptic steampunk trilogy from Baen, and her first solo novel, “Minds of Men” was released by Theogony Press on 10 November 2017. She returned to the Four Horseman Universe to collaborate with Marisa Wolf on “Assassin”, a novel about an alien race of felinoid killers-for-hire. “Assassin” is available now from Seventh Seal Press.

Kacey writes science fiction, fantasy, horror, noir, romance… etc. fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two cats.
Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not? You should have asked me about my plans for world domination, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you about them. You’ll just have to find out.

And if you are interested in a FREE short story in my Psyche of War universe, you can absolutely have one by simply signing up for my mailing list! It’s also the best way to stay up to date on what’s going on with me, and how that whole world domination thing is going. You can join by going to www.kaceyezell.net.

Also, Mark Wandrey and I released Weaver at Liberty Con this year, and we’d love to have your readers check it out and if they liked it, leave a review! (Rob’s Note: Please give us reviews. Please, please, please. It’s huge)

Also, also, Minds of Men was just selected as a 2018 Finalist for the Dragon Award for Best Alternate History Novel! <cue excited screaming!> The Dragon Awards are a big deal to me, because they’re a truly fan-favorite award.

Rob’s Note: If you want to vote for the Dragon Awards, go here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php


Many thanks to Kacey for taking the time to let me interview her.

If you have any suggestions or comments about the interview format, let me know. I’m always looking for ways to improve it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

Pennsic AAR

Greetings all

This year’s Pennsic is approaching the end and I should be writing more on the short story I started tomorrow, but my brain is tired. Instead, I thought I’d go ahead and write my AAR.

Ever since Gulf Wars in March I have been almost continuously on the road between conventions and our move. It has been a wonderful time, and wonderful for my future given that I have (generally) met all my writing deadlines, made new customers, plotted new plots, and ended up in my wonderful house with my wonderful sweetie.

I am so happy to be at this point. I am also beat.

Nevertheless, this has been one of the best Pennsics I’ve had in many years.

The main reason is that my sweetie joined me. Not only was it fun to have her around, she did the vast majority of the camp chores and cooking so that I could focus on work. I ate better than I have in years and yet had less work than ever. Also, my apprentice was able to come. It was, basically, the first time my SCA household was together at a major event.

I’m a lucky man. Well, until they gang up on me 🙂

From the work side of things I would grade this a solid B+/A-. I was a little cramped for space in the trim shop, but even so this was my best-selling Pennsic. I went well past my basic sales goal, thanks to a very good Friday.

I have proof of concept that selling Ren Faire, Celtic, Traditional, and SCA CDs can make money. I’m ending up with about half the number of CDs that I brought, even though I bought 9 more from a couple of performers here on site, Emer nic Aiden of Ealdormere and Finnech inghain Labhrainn from Atlantia. I’ve got more artists coming, as well.

We are looking at ways to expand my portion of the trim shop so that my growing stock will be better displayed. I also have a number of fun ideas to increase traffic. There’s a lot of moving vectors, so it’s hard to say exactly how things will be arranged next Pennsic, but I am clearly leveling up.

Again, I have to thank Master Andrixos for giving me the opportunity to sell with him. I wouldn’t have had a chance to get off the ground without his help. He’s also been looking at ways to facilitate that leveling up. We’ve made a pretty good team so far and I look forward to continuing that partnership.

In other news, I did my first live interview as opposed to the form I send out. You can find my interview with Vincenzo here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1283. I think that went very well, so I will start planning on more face to face interviews at future events.

From a writing perspective, I finished a short story and sent it to an editor. I don’t know yet if it was accepted, but it’s always good to get things sent out. I also made good progress on a couple of other short stories.

I had more energy than in past years, mostly because I had help. That meant I was able to do more bardic than in past years, which was nice.

Tonight we will empty the shop and do the pre-packing. Tomorrow, we’ll finish packing and get on the road as early as possible. We’ll get as far as we can before getting a hotel and finish the drive on Sunday.

With that, I’ll start doing my prepacking in the shop. Catch you all when I get home.

Rob’s Update: Leaf In The Wind

Week 32 of 2018

Greetings all

Last night was Moonlight Madness at Pennsic. What does that mean? It means that every merchant here stays open until at least 11pm or so. It’s often a lot of fun as the merchant area is lit up and filled with laughter. There are various different groups who do parades or some other pageantry. It’s a neat time, as well as good for sales.

It’s also exhausting.

My big news this past week is that I submitted a short story to an editor. I haven’t heard back whether they accepted it, but even so it’s progress. Plugging away.

I spent the early part of the week working with another short story. It’s close, but it needs more umph. I’m going to let it gel and get back to it next week. There’s a core to it that I really like, plus some fun openings for the future, but it’s not quite there yet.

So today I’m going to work on a new short story in Shijuren. I have had a couple of ideas I want to explore and I don’t really want to dig into something big until I get back and settled.

Finally, if you haven’t watched it yet, please take some time and watch my interview with Vince Conaway. This week I decided to do my weekly interview face to face and I think it came out great.

And with that, I’m off to toss words at the page.

Current Playlist Song

As mentioned in earlier updates, I’ve expanded the products I sell at conventions and events to include Celtic, Ren Faire, SCA, filk, and convention music. Most of Pennsic has been me listening to Pandora Celtica and Bedlam Bards.

Right now, I’m listening to “Leaf In the Wind” by Bedlam Bards, one of the great songs from their CD “On the Drift” of Firefly-themed songs. Great CD. I’m out of stock but will try and get more.

Quote of the Week

Today in 1854, Henry David Thoreau published Walden, so here’s something from that that seems pertinent.

“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,526)
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Vince Conaway. I actually recorded a live interview with him here at Pennsic. You can find the interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1283 and you can find his website at: http://www.vinceconaway.com/.

Today’s WeightNot sure, will update after Pennsic

Updated Word Count: 171,032

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

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

Interview: Vince Conaway

Greetings all

Since I’m at Pennsic and there are a ton of fantastic creators here, I thought I’d do something different for this week’s interview. Vince Conaway, known in the SCA as Vincenzo, and I did this week’s interview under my shade fly. Many thanks to Richard Larmer for being our stellar camera dude.

Let’s get straight to the videos:

Where to find Vincenzo

Also, Vincenzo mentioned a number of people in the interview. Here are some links to check out.

Thanks very much to Vincenzo and Richard for letting me try something different. I had a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.


Finally, let me know any suggestions or comments you have about this interview format so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

Rob’s Update: Vivat the Dream

Week 31 of 2018

Greetings all. I’m writing from Calontir Trim’s shop at Pennsic. It’s been, and will be, a wet Pennsic. The advantage is that it’s been very cool. My sweetie would prefer warm and clear, but I’m happy with the low temps.

I run a bardic circle every year on the first Monday of the way. That went very well this year as the rain held off until there were few enough that we could squeeze under my shade fly. Lots of great performances and it’s a chance to see some wonderful people I’ve not seen in a year.

Speaking of which, you’ll get to see one of those wonderful people on Tuesday. I have a special interview lined up so stay tuned.

It’s been an weird week in terms of getting things going. We’ve had a number of delays and we really only got operational yesterday. We still have some set up to do, but that’s mostly the lights for Midnight Madness next week.

As I’ll expand on below, I’ve been fighting the short story for the 4HU that’s already late, but I realized a few nights ago the solution. I’ve been powering through a brand new start on it today. Despite all the distractions, I’m really pleased with the new twist that fixes all the frustrations that blocked my way.

This kind of thing is fairly standard, by the way. I write and bang my head until what makes the story work comes to me and I switch everything around to fit the better story. The extra stuff that doesn’t fit goes into another story, and the stuff I’m not using will  go into the next book.

Anyway, back to work for me.

Current Playlist Song

We don’t have any music playing in the shop. However, Faye from Atlantia is here and her favorite SCA song is “Vivat the Dream” by Warjna Waleska Katzjmjr (Varina Suellen Plonski) because of the lines:

“Chivalry, courtesy, honor, and love
Are ideals we cherish all others above”

So she sang them for me. I’m a lucky man.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of Kevin Smith. He’s one of the reasons I write, because he keeps pushing people to follow their dreams. He took a huge plunge when he wrote and directed Clerks, which is still one of my favorite films. Side note, if you want a grim ending, watch the alternate version of Clerks.

In any case, he’s one of the people I admire the most and he’s one of my inspirations. He recently had a heart attack and barely survived. Today, on his birthday, he posted one of the taglines from Clerks:

“I’m not even supposed to be here today!”
– Kevin Smith

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,560)
  • LD (2,451) (Formerly TAV) I was actually up to well over 5,000 and I realized I wanted to do something different. I’ve made great progress on this new version this morning. I’ll get another bunch this morning as I decided to show, not tell, something from the previous version. This will help set up the novel better, provide more action, more explosions, and more rounds downrange.
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is with Ian J. Malone. You can find our interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1272 and his website is at: https://ianjmalone.net/.

Today’s Weight: Not sure, will update after Pennsic

Updated Word Count: 161,170

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

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

Interview: Ian J. Malone

This week’s interview is with Ian J. Malone, who I met while on the same panels at a number of conventions. He writes SF, including a short story in For A Few Credits More along with me.

He’s also a guy who works hard for all of us independent writers. At least once a week, he’s posting useful links or websites in his Facebook group the Alliance for Indie SF&F Authors. If you’re an independent writer, it’s a good group to keep track of.

Anyway, here’s the guy himself.

Interview: Ian J. Malone
Ian J. Malone
Ian J. Malone

What is your quest?

I’m easy to peg on that one, brother. I aim to live on the beach one day, making enough money as a full-time SF author to support my family. That’s it. If I can pull that off, I’ll be over the moon.

What is your favorite color?

As the tagline goes, I write “character-charged sci-fi with a shot of country.” That’s a fancy way of saying I write stories about every day, blue collar folks who wind up in situations that aren’t so every day in nature. Most of the time that involves high flying space ships in some capacity, plus aliens, other worlds, AI, and so forth.  Inevitably, though, most of my protagonists tend to be human as I’ve always found them more relatable to read/write.

As an aside, I also really enjoy wearing hats… a lot.

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

The biggest challenge I faced, particularly in the beginning, was learning how a story is supposed to look in text, on the page. I’m legally blind, and have historically done all of my reading via audio. So, when the time came to write a novel of my own, I had A TON to learn about style and technique.

Example: I never knew when penning my first book that a character’s thoughts were presented in italics. You kinda don’t get that in an audiobook.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’m a chronic lister. My daily tasks at work, chores around the house, writing goals. You name it, and I’ve probably got it dictated onto a note in my phone somewhere.

As social media goes, I’m also a big fan of the list feature on Twitter. I keep lists for every topic imaginable, from craft and publishing to geek culture, news and sports. Moreover, the tweets on those lists come exclusively from sources that I’ve vetted, which helps to cut down on the whole fake news thing.

Note: I wish Facebook would give me a feature like this. It’s absurdly efficient. Alas, Father Zuckerberg hasn’t seen fit yet in his infinite wisdom to bestow upon we, the little people, such an enormously helpful tool. *sigh*

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? ANIMAL!
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy, all the way.
  • Favorite Sports Team? Florida State Seminoles
  • Cake or Pie? Gotta go with pie, especially when it’s my wife’s homemade apple.
  • Lime or Lemon? “He was green! Like a lime!”
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  I make a Mexican layer dip that I’m told is legendary back home in Florida.
  • Wet or Dry? Wet makes me think water, so I’ll go with that.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Joe Bonamassa featuring Beth Hart
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Never was a Scotch guy, so gimme that e.
  • Favorite Superhero? Superman.
  • Steak Temperature? Medium
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? 70s were before my time. Best I can do is early 80s, in which case I’ll go with Miami Vice.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall = college football season and chili weather
  • Favorite Pet?   The Cranes!
  • Best Game Ever? John Madden Football
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee, black
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Sci-Fi

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

Why in the holy name of frak are you a Cowboys fan, Rob? Come on, man. I thought you were better than that! :p

My Answer: Because I grew up in Hillsboro, TX in the early 1970s, which is near Dallas. I’ve been a Cowboys fan since 1973 or so. In other words, I come by this fandom honestly.

Every night at Pennsic I’ll spend some time checking on Twitter and my feeds for news from Cowboys training camp. I’m really excited about this year’s team. Last year was lost to Roger Goodell being a jerk, and at some point we’ll win it all again and I can’t wait to see him have to give Jerry the Lombardi Trophy.

 Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

I’m for sale “wide” in all the usual places: Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iBooks, etc.

And where can we find you?

Do you have a creator biography?

As a graduate of Florida State University, sci-fi author Ian J. Malone has written in a variety of arenas ranging from public health to news and sports. When it comes to his fictional work, however, he’s a firm believer that nothing shapes a person’s writing like experience. That’s why he credits his tenures in radio, law enforcement, and military contracting for much of his inspiration, plus the legion of family and friends who’ve stood with him along the way.

Beyond writing, Malone is an avid fan of audiobooks (he’s legally blind) and the outdoors. It’s also not uncommon to find him at a ballgame, a concert, or somewhere out by a grill.

Malone is an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and a resident of Durham, North Carolina — but he’ll always be a “Florida boy” at heart.

Colonies Lost
Colonies Lost

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not?  

You might have asked, “where can readers test drive your work before buying?”

Answer: Anybody who signs up for my email newsletter at ianjmalone.net gets not one but two free short stories! The first is titled Mako: Genesis, and serves as the official prequel to my SF adventure series, The Mako Saga. The other is titled Nightfall: A Roanoke Short Story, and serves as the prequel to my new book, Colonies Lost.

Subscribers will also get first look sneak peeks at new book materials, as well as occasional updates on release schedules, events, and discount/freebie promotions.

Malone’s latest book, Colonies Lost, tells the story of a disgraced US Marshal who takes a freelance case to feed his family, only to come face-to-face with America’s greatest unsolved mystery: What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?

You can find Colonies Lost for sale on Amazon, or wherever ebooks are sold.


Finally, let me know any suggestions or comments you have about this interview format so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

Rob’s Update: Comrades From Birth

Week 30 of 2018

I’m sitting in an Eat n’ Park in New Castle, PA about to get some supplies for Pennsic. Pay no attention to the fact that Beer 4 Less is across the parking lot.

People often say that coming to Pennsic is coming home. I get that, but to be honest, after all this time coming here, I find that New Castle is a big part of that.

It’s a rust belt town, with all that entails. Still, there’s some amazing buildings here, including a stone house I’d love to someday be wealthy enough to save.

I look forward to Pennsic for different reasons now than the first time I came. I no longer look forward to the big battles like I used to. Now what I enjoy is a couple of weeks of a great work space, writing and selling in Calontir Trim.

I greatly appreciate that Master Andrixos gives me space in his booth to write and sell. I get good traffic, plus I can sit and write in a work environment. In many ways, it’s the closest thing to an office environment I have.

I’m sure those of you who work in offices every day are looking at me like I’m crazy, but I haven’t really had a 9-5 job in fifteen years or so. I kind of like having the schedule for the time I work here.

Maybe I am crazy after all.

Anyway, speaking of work, I need to finish a short story today.

Current Playlist Song

Ah, the joys of restaurant music. This week’s song is “Lotta Love” by Nicolette Larson. There’s a lot of great music from the 1970s. This isn’t necessarily one of them.

Quote of the Week

I return to Master Andrixos and move to a much better song for this week’s quote. He is in the process of moving to be with his stepdaughter and (any moment now) grandbaby. He’s been a fixture of Calontir, and he’ll be missed. He moved away for a bit for work a while ago before coming back, and at at the time wrote a song that seems like the perfect source for this week’s quote, especially since we’ll sing it quite a few times this war.

Farewell, my companions, my comrades from birth.
Well tested swordsmen who wander the Earth.
Many a bottle we’ve emptied in mirth
And in many a battle we have proven our worth.

– Master Andrixos, “The Leaving Song”

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,560)
  • LD (3,543) (Formerly TAV)
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Michael J. Allen. You can find my interview of him at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1259 and you can find him on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0096GEILG/?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

Today’s Weight: 388.4

Updated Word Count: 158,522

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 376 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

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

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.