Tag Archives: ConQuest

Rob’s Update: The Swooping Spotted Hawk

Week 22 of 2018

Greetings all

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

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

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

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

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

Current Playlist Song

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

Quote of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

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

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

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

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

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

And filter and fibre your blood.

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

– Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

News and Works in Progress

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

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

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

Today’s Weight: 392.4

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

Shijuren Wiki: 756 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 349 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Currently Available Works

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

ConQuest AAR

Greetings all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rob’s Update: A Stately Pleasure Dome

Week 21 of 2018

Brief Is My Flame went to my editor and Advance Review Team. They’ll have it until the 8th, at which point, I’ll do my edits and get it out the door.

I don’t have the cover art yet, but it’s on the way. I’ll pass that on here where I get it.

Other than that, I’ve been focused on the move. I didn’t email yesterday for the simple reason that I decided not to look at anything on the computer related to this. I did do a bunch of work, getting set up for ConQuest, but other than that, not much.

The move is proceeding. The Pod is emptied and gone. The storage unit in Omaha is mostly emptied. I’ll go up next week and get the last stuff. That’ll mean no more expense there.

However, that still leave’s my sweetie’s house. Going to be an interesting time here over the month.

Anyway, I’m off to ConQuest. I’m in the Dealer’s Room with a bunch of new things, including the new anthology I’m in and also some SCA/Ren Faire/Convention CDs.

Have a great day.

Current Playlist Song

I’m on hold. Why is it that hold music is not only bad, it’s also coming through skewed or staticy, so even if it was good to listen to, it would be irritating. The only reason I can think of with today’s technology is that it’s a way to get people to stop calling and instead go to the internet. I may be a bit cynical, but I can’t think of a better reason.

Quote of the Week

This poem was published today. Little did Coleridge now he would become my favorite poet, of course it helped that this poem was made into a song by Rush and Rime of the Ancient Mariner was made into a song by Iron Maiden.

“In Xanadu did Kublai Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river ran
Through caverns measureless to man

News and Works in Progress

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

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Interview – J. Edward Neill: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1129
  • I thought I was going to add to the wiki this week, but it’s likely going to be in a couple of weeks that I do the major add of characters and places for Brief Is My Flame

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s interview was with J. Edward Neill. You can find the interview at: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1131 and his websites are (art and books): http://downthedarkpath.com and (art, philosophy, and humor blog): http://tesseraguild.com.

Today’s Weight: 388.4

Updated Word Count: Not sure, will know next week

Shijuren Wiki: 756 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 342 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 – Chaz Kemp

Greetings all

I’m starting a new semi-regular thing. As you probably know, I do a Spotlight on some artist, author, or vendor each week in my updates. This will be an expanded version of that, where I’ll interview some great independent and up-and-coming creators. I’ll ask hard-hitting questions like “What is their favorite Muppet?”

In truth, while I’ll be phrasing this in a light-hearted way, it is my hope that these interviews will have provide a little insight in their creative process. Remember, there’s one true creative process, and it’s the one that helps you create, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t learn what works for others.

I’m lucky to start off with Chaz Kemp. I met Chaz as part of Pandora Celtica when they came to house for a house with Sooj Tucker. It was an amazing show, and all of them gave me a bunch of CDs. I’ve listened to those over and over, and some are on the playlist that helps me write.

However, Chaz is not only a drummer and a singer, but also an excellent artist often focusing on Steampunk themes, such as this one:

You can find his work at:

The Interview

What is your quest?

To continue creating a multi-cultural steampunk/fantasy world called Ashelon by using my own Art Nouveau styled illustrations.  We’re also including novellas and short stories written by my wife, Carolyn Kay and other authors to help flesh out that world.

I want my dream and passion for Ashelon to be something amazing that fans can really groove on.

What is your favorite color?

I love creating my art digitally by using a vector-based program called CorelDraw.  It’s like Adobe Illustrator but I find it more versatile.  Through years of honing my technique, I can make my pieces feel more natural and the colors more vibrant while still embracing the illustrative quality I love so much. 

I also enjoy the way that I can make changes to my art on the fly by switching out colors, body positioning and even the backgrounds without having to take hours or even days repainting things just to try something new.

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

As a freelance artist, one of my biggest hurdles involved gaining respect.  I went out of my way to treat my clients with respect and kindness, but they didn’t always feel the need to reciprocate early in my career.

It took time to learn that I had the power to say ‘no’ when faced with the prospect of working with someone who wasn’t going to treat me well.  I could also say ‘no’ when a potential client didn’t want to adequately compensate me for the work I was to do for them.  As I won more awards and gained more of a reputation for doing good work, I ran into fewer problems.

Another challenge came with the frustration of trying to get in with big name companies like many of the New Age companies or table top RPG leaders. They just wouldn’t write back to me.

After talking with a few industry ‘insiders’ I discovered that most of those art directors don’t actually care about the artist or their art, all they really care about is whether they think the artist can make them money.  As an example, photo-realism is the hot style right now, so that’s all they’re interested in and those are the only artists they’re willing to hire. If I were a photo-realistic artist, all I’d ever be to them is a thing that made them money. So truthfully, getting rejected by them was actually them doing me a favor.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I feel that while I am inspired by the Art Nouveau movement and by Alphonse Mucha in particular, I don’t directly copy him.  I take the style and make it my own.  I love that many people can see his inspiration in my work.

I’m also quite proud of the fact that several of my main characters are multi-cultural because there isn’t enough of that in the Steampunk genre.  In reality, the 1800s happened everywhere, not just in Victorian England. So why have art centered around one culture when I can explore the ideas of Steampunk in every culture? When you do that, the ideas are endless and ongoing. Not only that, but we get to have multiple cultures represented in a way that you don’t normally see them and that’s just too cool.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?  Pepe the King Prawn – he’s quite hilarious.
  • Crunchy or Creamy?  Crunchy when it comes to peanut butter… Creamy when it comes to soup.
  • Favorite Sports Team?  Denver Nuggets all the way.
  • Cake or Pie?  Pie for sure… there are more varieties of pie and most of them are DELICIOUS!!
  • Lime or Lemon?  Lemon
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Bean dip FTW
  • Wet or Dry?  Wet when it comes to drinks like Moscow Mules – Dry when it comes to computers and socks.
  • Favorite Musical Performer we’ve Never Heard Of? Mark King of Level 42 – he’s a good song writer and singer, but an AMAZING bass player.
  • Whisky or Whiskey?  Whiskaaaaaaaay!!
  • Steak Temperature?   Medium Well (ed. note: Sigh, it could be worse I suppose)
  • Favorite 1970s TV show?  Wonder Woman
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?  Summer – perfect beach weather.
  • Favorite Pet?  Our cats Sif and Naira.
  • Coffee or Tea?  Coffee hands down!
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy?  Fantasy every time.  The closest I get to Sci-Fi is either cyber punk (Which is cool) or Steampunk (Which is awesome)

What question would you like to ask me?

The fact that you have SO much information about your world of Shijuren is amazing.  I’d love to develop that level of detail for my world of Ashelon!  How long did it take you to create your world and what inspired you to do it?  

My Answer: It’s not really something I do all at once. I just use whatever inspiration comes to mind. If I run across something interesting, I toss that in.

One of my most useful tools is Wikipedia’s random article button. I will literally sit in front of a football game or something like that and just click it. Every time I see something interesting, I cut and paste into a Notes document. Then, when I am looking for something, a town, a new character, inspiration for an event, whatever, I glance at that. The randomness helps keep me from doing the things I always fall back upon.

I have also had help from people like Adam Hale, who does all the maps for me. I gave him license to add geographic details and names, based on certain parameters, and that helps shape strategic and tactical choices by my characters.

I love worldbuilding. I do a little bit here, a little bit there, and then suddenly there’s a thing.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

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

You should have asked, “What game are you currently grooving on?”  I would respond with Cards Against Humanity!!  We just had dinner at a friend’s house this past weekend where we played CaH and I laughed so hard, my face hurt the whole rest of the weekend.  So much fun!!

******

Speaking of fun, I enjoyed this quite a bit. I will start doing these on as many Tuesdays as I have one ready.

Thanks very much to Chaz for being the guinea pig and helping shape these questions. I know I’ll be seeing Chaz at ConQuest on Memorial Day. I suspect you’ll find us sharing a beverage at some point there.

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.