Tag Archives: LibertyCon

Rob’s Update: Leaving Port

Week of 11-17 June

Greetings all

I apologize this is a little late this week. I shoot for Wednesday every week, but clearly that doesn’t always happen. This week it’s because my life is discombobulated. It is likely to get less combobulated before getting more. Much of that is because of lots of traveling. I leave for Salina in a few hours to take part in their Comicon. I don’t expect it to be huge, but I have lots of friends there. In two weeks, I’ll be at LibertyCon, which promises to be hugely busy and a lot of fun. Then Calontir Coronation. Then Pennsic. Then the fall.

Some of the discombobulation is because of an accident we had at the house a couple of weeks ago. It’s nothing huge, but it involves a lot of doing stuff. My house insurance was paid up, so I’ll actually do fine money-wise, but it’s just extra work and part of the house is awaiting repair. While that’s happening, I’m packing to move. Things will be nicer in a week or so, as I’ll have a POD container take a bunch of stuff and get it out of my hair.

So I haven’t been terribly productive this week. I worked on a couple of short stories I want to have finished by LibertyCon. That’s about it, writing-wise.

I’ve also started revamping my website. Part of this is doing some research into the most effective things I can do on a website. If you have ideas of what you like to see, and what you don’t, please send me an email at  rob@robhowell.org.

Despite all of this, I expect to have made a ton of progress on Brief Is My Flame by the end of Pennsic, which is about 2 months away. I have a lot of driving to do, which is convenient idea-generation time. The voice recorder on my phone is excellent, especially in my car where it’s Bluetooth connected.

Have a great week everyone.

Quote of the Week

I was looking up stuff about Admiral Grace Hopper recently. She was a hero to me because both my parents were involved in computers essentially all my life, and I thought it cool that this US Navy admiral was involved in computers too. What a fascinating, smart, tough, impressive woman she was.

Anyway, she didn’t actually coin this, but it was something she quoted often. In this time of discombobulation, it bears repeating.

“A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

– John Augustus Shedd

News and Works in Progress

  • Several short stories
  • Brief Is My Flame

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing this week. My apologies.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

As we roll towards my fourth LibertyCon, I’m going to spotlight people I’ve met there. LibertyCon advertises that it is as much of a family as it is a con, and I have absolutely found that to be true. These last few years, many people there have taken the time to help me along the process, for which I am eternally grateful.

I’ll start with Jason Cordova, who helped me with blurbs, introduced me to people, shared beverages, and helped my find my audiobook reader (yes, those are coming, recording starting in August or September). I really enjoyed his book Wraithkin and am waiting for the sequel. He also writes excellent Kaiju-fiction. You can find him at: https://www.amazon.com/Jason-Cordova/e/B004CZHHPU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1497634523&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
If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

ChattaCon 2017 AAR

I attended ChattaCon as part of my trip to Birka. A very productive con, enhanced by getting to participate on a bunch of panels.

My first panel was on Friday at 5pm about what makes the well-rounded character. I believe a well-rounded character has to have a little bad to go with the good and a little good to go with the bad. Protagonists have to be appealing to the reader in some way, so that the reader wants them to succeed (compare how much people wanted Anakin Skywalker to succeed vs. Darth Vader). I also add to my characters by having them like, or not like, food or other normal things around them. The scratch of rough linen on their skin, for example. There weren’t a ton of people at this panel (nor at any panel, really) but those that were there said they got something from it.

That was my last official thing on Friday, though I believe that if I’m a professional on panels at a convention that it is my responsibility to be at opening ceremonies. I went, they were ceremonial, and then I went to the Meet the Pros ceremony, which again I feel is part of my responsibility. I had a good chat there with a number of people, including a couple that had come to the first panel.

More importantly, I got a few minutes with Mike Resnick, the Guest of Honor. One of my favorite books is Birthright: The Book of Man, which is a collection of short stories that are tied together to tell a future story of mankind. Brilliant stuff. More importantly right now, Resnick wants to promote new authors so I’ve a new venue to submit some short stories.

Guess I’d better write some.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the evening hanging out at the LibertyCon room party. LibertyCon has been very good to me, and I will attend and help as long as they’ll let me. Had great conversations with a bunch of people, and Melissa Gay and I had a great idea for a panel, which I’ll talk about more when things get firmed up.

I might have stayed up late on Friday night, so I was a little slow Saturday morning, but made it to my panel at 11am. Unfortunately, no one else did. It was my panel on Moana, humorously enough. Ah well.

At 4pm, I had my chance at the Author signing booth. In real terms, I only had 4-5 people chat with me, but in all honesty that was more than I expected. Every reader matters and that was a well-spent hour.

Immediately afterwards, I went into a panel talking about using non-European mythologies in fantasy. While I haven’t done this a ton yet, this is actually something I’ve been planning for a while. The Secret History of the Mongols and the Mahabharata are major parts of my world-building, even if I haven’t revealed those sections of the world yet. I enjoyed the panel quite a bit.

At 7pm was a panel on Gaslighting. This was an odd panel topic, in my mind, since to a certain extent at a meta level, my job is to gaslight the reader. Of course, we were talking about things like 1984. I moderated the panel, and I think we served a difficult topic well.

Given my activities the previous night and the fact that most of the socializing was at Track 29, which is a goodly distance from my hotel room, I ended up wandering about for a bit after dinner but not really doing much. I went to bed early and read.

On Sunday morning, my first panel was on Futuristic Visions of the Locked Room Mystery. This panel seemed a little disjointed to me, in part because I don’t know if it’s a topic that really needs an hour. Maybe a better topic would be a discussion of the traditional mystery types and using them in science fiction instead of limiting it to one particular type. Still, any panel with Stephanie Osborn on it is fun.

Right after that was to be a discussion of the best and worst science fiction films. Many thanks to Mark Wandrey for inviting me to join him. Unfortunately, I really don’t remember what we talked about because it was during this panel that I received mom’s call about dad passing.

Anyway, I had one more panel, the power of storytelling. It was a good discussion, and I lost myself in the topic, which was nice. We roamed far afield on our important aspects of storytelling, which included the kinds of challenges characters overcome and the importance of those challenges making characters grow. Again, Stephanie Osborn and I riffed off of each other. It was nice.

Louise Herring-Jones was at that panel, and she and I ended up having a great discussion afterwards about books and philosophies. Smart woman, lotta fun to talk to, look forward to chatting again in the future.

All in all it was a productive con. The attendance was low, but in all honesty, that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. I got to actually talk to a number of other professionals like A.R. Cook, Mark Wandrey, Dave Schroeder, Melissa Gay, Louise Herring-Jones, and a bunch of others. There was also time to spend with readers, and I enjoyed that most of all. A good time.

I’m hoping that I do well at Birka, because it would be nice to make this swing a normal trip. We’ll see this weekend.

In the meantime, I’ll be sitting in bars in Frederick, MD working. Maybe do some sight-seeing afterwards.

WorldCon AAR

What a tiring week. WorldCon stretched from noon on Tuesday for dealer setup to Sunday evening. I’m ready for a beer. In this case, my last Nickelbrook Headstock from Pennsic.

I got to the South Dock at Bartle Hall on time. There really was no organization for checking in dealers, but I found my table easily. And setup was a dream. They provided pallets and forklifted the pallets by our tables. I was arranged and nested by 2pm.

The rest of Tuesday was helping Kate Paulk set up. We went running hither and you and back to hither. Then we organized the room just as Jonathan and Betsy Lightfoot joined us. I’d never met them before, but they’re a wonderful couple I enjoyed chatting with throughout the con. We then went to Jack Stack’s for food and soon dropped Kate back off because she was “stick-a-fork-in-her-done-done-done.”

As a side note, Jonathan has Rhodri as his RenFest stage name, which caused a double-take when I saw his badge 🙂

In general, I spent the entire con at my booth. I had one quick pass mostly to look at how other people were doing their booth to learn how I can improve mine. I saw a few things I can improve upon, mostly notably something I’d already seen and that’s the creation of a mailing list. I don’t know why I had not thought about this two years ago, but I didn’t. Better late than never. Expect to hear about that this week.

Overall sales were slow. I heard that from a number of vendors that it was much slower than they expected. I attribute my own slower than hoped for sales to two main factors. One, WorldCon consisted of a high percentage of people who flew to the event and did not want to carry books back. I should have anticipated this and expected to have higher e-book requests. I handed out a ton of bookmarks and I’ve already seen increased e-book numbers. I’ll know more in the next few weeks.

The second reason is the expense of the con. Depending upon when you bought entry, it was something like $200 to get in. I think that hurt sales for two reasons. One, it reduced the number of attendees. Two, it reduced the ready cash for the attendees. From a financial perspective, I doubt I’ll ever sell at WorldCon again, unless by some chance I’m living in the same city it is being held at again or someone else pays for it.

From a publicizing perspective, I think it was worth the $420 I spent for table and entry fee. I made a large number of connections concerning a variety of topics. I also think I got my name out to quite a few fans who may not have bought anything now, but will remember me. We’ll see. It’s hard to tell, of course.

Overall, I’m glad I went, even though I barely saw the con. I did one pass prior to opening with Nic on Saturday. I never had any energy after the day’s work at the booth to do much with the things scheduled afterwards. Because of that, I’ll leave it to others to discuss the events of the WorldCon. I really only can tell you about the vendors around me 🙂

I will say I wish they had been more welcoming of indie authors on panels. They rejected my application to be on panels, so I had no other responsibilities besides the booth. I suppose I can understand their hesitation if only because none of the decision makers had ever heard of me. However, organizers at other cons have not known who I was and given me a chance. I’m actually really good on panels because of my stage training and herald experience in the SCA. If we want to grow SF/F as a genre, that means supporting new authors. LibertyCon people understand this. Ad Astra people understand this. Many other cons understand this. It’s disappointing that WorldCon decided to reject my application completely. Seems short-sighted to me, as I’m sure there were others much like me that they did not use.

Nevertheless, I got my name out. Handed out a bunch of bookmarks. Met a lot of people. Sold a few books. Ran myself ragged. I’ll take it. Now for bed.

 

 

More Than Three Toes

I’ve been a sloth since I got back from the trip. I’ve written hardly at all, though I’ve puttered through a number of projects for Pennsic. I think it’s a normal neap tide after a 25-day trip, though I know there are other factors.

My birthday was last week. I turned 48. I survived the day. That might sound sarcastic, but a good friend of mine turned 48 on June 22nd and did not survive the day. I also had a guy I’ve looked up to for over 30 years also pass away recently. The last day of LibertyCon held both of their memorials. What a strange day. Exciting in many ways, but hard. It might be that my sadness from their deaths has stripped me of motivation, but if so, that’s a horrible tribute to both of them.

The truth is that while there’s no major news in my world, things have been going generally well. I have some irons in the fire that might or might not pan out, but we’ll see. Just having these ideas is a great start.

I am starting to get excited about Pennsic. I’ll do a pre-Pennsic post next week. I am upgrading my SCA furniture, which has needed some refurbishing. In particular, I’m replacing a couple of 6-board chests that have seen better days.  At Trillium War I was pleased with how smoothly my setup went, and it will be getting better. I also have a couple of cool ceremonial things happening at Pennsic.

Football season is also on the horizon, as training camps start in about a week. I’ll review my predictions from last year and make my predictions for this year. Injuries killed my Cowboys last year, more than most of you know about, and if they return to simply average luck, the Cowboys will be better than many people think.

I’m also excited about some of my ideas for Where Now the Rider, which while I’ve not been writing it, I have been letting it percolate in my mind. By the end of this novel Edward will be settled in Achrida fully, but it won’t be easy.

I’ve got some SCA things happening, too. I’ve a project that I’ve wanted to start for some time that will commence after Pennsic. I’m sure I’ll talk about it more later on.

The other good news is that I see myself flowing back up from the ebb. Writing this blog post is a definite sign of that. When I’m down I tend to become a hermit crab. In fact, it’s time to get working on something else. Have a great day everyone.

 

 

LibertyCon 2016 AAR

I’m sitting in Brewbaker’s, a bar near my house that has WiFi, Diet Dr. Pepper, comfy chairs, good food, and the patience to put with a writer occupying a table for hours on end. They are very good to me, especially Tanya, my beautiful blonde server in whose section I normally sit. Damn, it’s good to be home.

But while I’m happy to see my cat, sleep in my own bed, lounge in my comfy chair, and write in my home bar, I am already looking forward to LibertyCon XXX next year. It is absolutely true that LibertyCon is not a con, it’s a family reunion, .

The weekend did not start auspiciously, however. I got there early on Thursday, as I stayed in Across, GA at Sam Davis’s house and the Choo Choo said my room was ready. I got there to find that they had put me in Building 3, which was a bad thing because I had planned a room party and they all had to be in Building 1. The hotel was sold out, so the hotel could not do anything, and I thought I was going to be screwed. I was tired, frustrated, worried, and very grumpy.

I contacted Rich Groller, who arranged all the programming including the room parties, and he fixed the problem. He basically came up, handed me a towel, said, “Don’t panic,” and it was fixed. I got a great room for a room party, and for the long weekend. That moment of worry is by far the lowlight of the weekend, and because of the LibertyCon staff the lowlight was dealt with smoothly and easily.

The rest of Thursday involved a goodly amount of planning for the party, including walking around the hotel putting up signs. As a side note, the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel occupies a goodly amount of area. My fit app on my phone was very pleased with me this weekend, as I hit every goal every day. I also dropped by Robert Hoyt’s birthday party, Con Suite, and some other places to chat. Not a huge evening, but I didn’t want one because I knew Friday would be a long, hard day.

I started the day making a few more preparations for the party and getting my con badge. I also made arrangements to put my cart in the dealer’s room with Michael Hanson. Opening Ceremonies was at 5pm, and I had a spot on the Author’s Alley at 6pm, and pre-positioning my books was necessary to the logistics.

At 3pm was my only panel, and that was on writing swords and sorcery. I enjoyed the panel quite a bit. S. Andrew Swann did a good job of moderating, especially since he had not gotten the memo that he was the moderator. There were four others of us on the panel, and we all had a different take on fantasy. I think I contributed some, but thought I could have done better. However, I must have done at least moderately well, given that there were several people who saw me on the panel and then bought my books.

I wish I had been on more panels, however, that’s my fault for not getting in on programming early enough. Rich said I’m already on the list for next year, though.

I had an hour break in which I moved my books. Books are heavy. I have a cart, but it’s 100 plus yards from my room to the main con area. I made that trek pushing my cart 4 times, I think. Selling books is likely to make me stronger, at least.

Opening Ceremonies were fun for me. Gray Rinehart was the MC, which was a bit of a disappointment for me, though that’s no slight on Gray. Marc Gunn was the original scheduled MC, and he and I have chatted online some and I was hoping to meet him face to face. However, he had to cancel. Gray, though, did a great job, starting with a filk of David Bowie’s Major Tom, “Ground control to LibertyCon.” The highlight was the moment when he said he was a “monster” then pulled out the Monster Hunters International coin saying he was exempt. Brilliant.

For me, the key moment was being in the list with people like David Weber, Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, and all the other authors. Yes, I got to stand up and wave to the crowd. That was cool.

Then I set up for my first Author’s Alley hour. This is a really nice thing they offered us, a cheap table in the main walking area where we can sell books and interact with readers. While I struggled with the logistics, mostly because I did not think to ask Jonny Minion for help, and I did not sell a ton, I thought it went well. My three hours were not wasted.

After the Author’s Alley I hustled my books back to my room and made my final preparations for the party. One of the mistakes I made was not thinking to talk to other people about their release party plans. I should have joined forces. However, my party went very well. It’s like I’ve thrown parties and postrevels before, though I did forget bottled water. I did have cider, which turned out to be important, as I’ll mention later.

I credit Jonathan LaForce’s BBQ as a big reason for the party’s success. I gave him some money and said bring what you think is right. He brought a bunch of stuff. I’ve had a lot of brisket in my life. I’ve even made a few that were incredibly tasty. Jonathan’s might be the best I’ve ever had. If it isn’t, I can’t remember a better one. I hope to be able to do another release party next year, and if he can be there I’ll do it again. Plus, I’ll get myself a separate brisket just for me.

One other thing that is continuing to work well is my silly Wandering Signature Chart. I put it on the bottom of my party flyers and I had at least 5 people come in asking about it. Plus, a number of other authors are probably going to steal the idea. Not to mention the normal fun and whimsy it adds at dealer tables and other signing opportunities. One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was Steve Jackson reading it at the party.

The other person who helped was Jasmine DeGroot, who served as my bouncer. LibertyCon requires all room parties to be peanut free and have someone check IDs. Not surprisingly, no one under 21 tried to get booze, but Jasmine ensured I didn’t have to pay attention to that and could pay attention to the people that came to the party.

And man, did people come to the party. I had expected only about 10-15 all night, but I’m thinking over 50 cycled through. They overflowed out to the courtyard behind my room. I talked to a bunch of people, sold a few books, and I think we all had a great time. The last person left at 2:19am. I puttered around cleaning up and got to sleep at 3ish.

Fortunately, my first thing on Saturday started at 3pm. I was signing books in the Dealer’s Room. This ended up being essentially useless, because the Baen Roadshow was at the same time. Shockingly, I can’t compete with that… yet 🙂

Immediately after that was my reading. I had anticipated a 10 minute chunk, so when I found out I had 20-25 I was scrambling a bit. I combined the two chapters in I Am a Wondrous Thing where the husbands encourage Irina to step down and when the husbands all die to free her to live her life. It was a great choice in many ways, and had I really prepared for the crying that I would do as I was reading these parts, it would have been a fantastic reading. I care about my characters, and I cry when I kill them.

I had one more Author’s Alley hour for the day, starting at 8pm. Afterwards, I put my books away and socialized at the Con Suite where Mark Wandrey and Gail Z. Martin were having their book release parties. The best part of this was talking to a couple of people about some possible projects for the future.

Sunday started with the Koffeeklatsch, which was another opportunity for authors and readers to socialize. Another side note, LibertyCon really tries to create connections between authors and their readers. Last year I got the chance to chat with David Weber for a long time. This year was a number of other authors and readers. I did also initiate discussions on yet another project, something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.

At 1pm I got my final Author’s Alley slot. A few more sales and more chatting. Then I got to put my books away. Books are heavy, did I mention that? I was glad to get those back into the car.

Closing Ceremonies, also called the Bitch at Brandy session, started at 3pm. One of the best things about LibertyCon is their willingness and desire to improve and tweak things. It was nice to hear that something like $8500 was raised for the con charity, which will sound larger when you realize that the con is capped at 750 attendees. Over $10 per person was donated to the charity. Not shabby. For me, I donated a set of my books to the charity auction. I wonder how much they went for.

The Dead Dog party started at 6pm. This turned out to be wonderful. Basically staff, the pros, and those who can stay for Sunday night all hang out. I actually got to game some, which I had not had a chance to do despite the fact that the gaming room was open 24/7. I played Splendor with Melissa Gay, the artist guest of honor, her husband, and some others.

I mentioned before that providing cider was important. It turned out that Steve Jackson pretty much only drinks Angry Orchard cider, and I happened to be the only one that provided it. That’s why I got the selfie of Steve and I at the Dead Dog gaming.

From a business perspective, LibertyCon was a success, though not directly. Overall on the trip, I sold enough books to pay for the gas and some of the food, but not the hotel and such. Nevertheless, the residual effect will be strong, I think. In part because it’s my 3rd year at LibertyCon and I’m no longer a new face. The connection with the fans there is awesome, and I’ve seen it from both sides of the fence now.

And then there’s the connections made with other authors. Chris Kennedy has been a big help to me, and he really works to make life easier for other indie authors. Follow him on Twitter for constant and consistent articles about the industry. We did not have much chance to chat, as we were always busy opposite each other. His release party was also on Friday night, and I regret the missed opportunity to have shared a release with him.

Mark Wandrey and I met at ChattaCon. We had another chance to hang out and chat. He’s having some great success right now with his new book A Time to Die, which is gratifying for two reasons. One, I’m glad he’s having success because he’s a friend. Two, his success gives me hope that I will eventually succeed if I continue to plug away.

Got a chance for some small conversations with some people I’ve met but don’t get to talk to often. Jason Cordova and I met 2 years ago, and he has been wonderfully patient answering my questions. Also he has good scotch. James Young lives in the KC area and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. I’ve liked what I’ve read of his so far. Peter and Dorothy Grant are charming people. I got a few words in with Sarah Hoyt, which if you’ve ever seen her at a con you’ll understand how nice that is. She’s always so busy and so many people, including me, admire her. I had a great conversation with Jim Beall that will make the magic of Shijuren stronger. Geoffrey Mandragora and I got to chat a bit while sitting next to each other in Author’s Alley. Nan Monroe and I shared a fun reading session. She wants to do YA Fantasy right. I found out Beth Patterson is a Rush fan. Dave Schroeder and I got to actually chat, and now I know how to talk about his books while people are looking at them at Drix’s booth. I had a couple of nice, albeit short, conversations with Brad and Sue Sinor. Kal Spriggs was on my panel, and he’s a very sharp guy. I also had nice conversations with David Weber, Toni Weisskopf, Tom Trumpinski, and Rich Weyand.  I never actually got to run into Lou Antonelli, who was there but never where I was. Brad Cooksey has a podcast that I need to listen to and might get a chance to join someday.

I met a ton of other professionals. Jeremy Hicks, Chris Sommerkorn, S. Andrew Swann, Nick Braker, Brett Brooks, David Burkhead, David P. Coe / D.B. Jackson, Bobby Nash, Doug Dandridge, Michael H. Hanson, Thomas A. Mays, and Chuck Gannon. Between SCA 50 Year and quick moments at LibertyCon, I also got to know Mike Williamson.

Whew, what a list. And that’s just the professionals. There are a bunch of great fans at LibertyCon. I’m not going to list all that I talked to, but there were a bunch. Many thanks to all of them for coming and chatting.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how nice it was to see Paul Clithero and his wife, Sarah. I had seen his name on Facebook, and I knew that I knew him, but it’s been so long that I’d forgotten so much. We worked at Jimmie’s Diner and drank at the same watering holes around 1990. Sarah is extremely nice and I look forward to getting to know them. They also did their share to support indie authors, buying dozens of books. Many thanks to them.

Of course, none of this is possible without the LibertyCon team. Brandy Spraker, Derek Spraker, Uncle Timmy, Matthew Fanny, Rich Groller, Vonn Gants, and all the rest do a fantastic job. I know these sort of accolades get bandied about at the end of an event, but I’ve seen the sausage made at a lot of events, both SCA and SF/F, and that is probably the most efficient team I’ve ever seen.

I know I’m forgetting stuff, and people, and talking about stuff with those people. But this will do for now.

I am pre-registered for LibertyCon XXX and I have a room reservation. The con will sell out for the 3rd year in a row, and the hotel has *already* sold out. It really is an impressive con.

 

 

Strategy

I’m sitting in an Applebee’s* in Kennesaw, GA right now ready to go to LibertyCon. I almost wish I’d paid for my room for tonight, instead of starting tomorrow as I’m very much looking forward to it. I don’t need a room, Sam Davis has graciously let me crash at his house, but man I’m ready to go.

I’ll do a pre-LibertyCon post tomorrow, but I wanted to finally write about my strategy and goal of Shijuren. I’ve said for while I want to build a world, not simply write a few novels. This, then, is how I aim to do that.

First, I’ll be writing no less than two novels a year in Shijuren as long as I can afford it. One will be an Edward book set in Achrida that I will aim to finish over Thanksgiving each year. I will also write sequels to I Am a Wondrous Thing until I finish the series. Then I’ll write some different series. I might also write an online serial, based on different characters with different stories.

All of these threads will be essentially separate. There will some commonalities, of course, like the magic and occasional crossover characters, but there will be no need to read all of the threads to enjoy any one of them. You’ll get some benefit to reading them all, for if you learn the system of magic in one, you’ll understand it in all. Plus all of the other benefits of reading in the same world.

However, if you prefer the mystery style of the Edward novels over the fantasy style of the Kreisens series, then you can just read those without having any concern that you’re missing crucial aspects of the story by skipping the parts that are not as appealing to you. My ultimate goal is to tie all of the characters together in a later series, but I will endeavor to do so without requiring that you have to read the earlier novels to understand the final series.

When I described this at Planet Comicon, one of the people I talked to said it was something like the Marvel universe. That you could enjoy the Avengers without necessarily having read all the Ironman series, or the Captain America series, or whatever. I like that analogy. I’ve also heard that Robin Hobb has done something like that, but I’ve not read her books… yet. My original thought was to invert the Dragonlance series, which started with a party of D&D characters that as they got higher in level branched out to have separate stories.

The question remains whether I can execute my strategy to the level that these previous examples have done. I quite like what I’ve done so far in the Kreisens series, with Edward having a small role and with the geopolitics brushing along with both.

Now, it’s entirely possible that I won’t do this well, or even if I do, that the stories get so enmeshed that readers will want some information from the books. That’s where the wiki will come into play. One person’s spoiler might be another person’s TL:DR, allowing them to have the information without necessarily reading the books.

You might wonder why I’m structuring this so that people can avoid buying some of my books. I do so for a variety of reasons. One, I’m writing in multiple genres. My mother, for example, likes mysteries, but does not like epic fantasies. I have a number of friends who prefer the other way around. I want to write big scope stories eventually, without alienating people who prefer the different styles.

Two, I believe, as an entertainer it is my job to make you want to read my books. If I write good books and good stories, thereby making you want to read my books, then you’ll buy them and read them. If I don’t, or if I write some in a genre you don’t like, then that’s my fault, not yours, and I shouldn’t expect you to buy them.

Again, I can’t promise I’ll execute this vision well. I can promise I will do my best to write good stories and tie them together. I can also promise that I won’t stop writing in this world. Life might prevent me from writing in this world, but I won’t stop by choice.

I have a lot of stories to tell in Shijuren. I hope you join me as I find out what they all are.

* As a side note, I’ve grown to love Applebee’s. The food’s not great, but it’s not wretched. However, they all have internet and most have outlets available at some tables. And they’re everywhere, meaning I can always find an office to work in.

Pushing Through

One of the things I’ve been trying to do is post more often. I doubt I’ll ever get to the point where I blog every day, or even every weekday, but I understand a blog that does not post regularly becomes irrelevant.

So, even though I don’t really have a topic to focus on, I’m going push through and blog anyway. I guess my best idea is to give you a preview of what you can see on the blog in July.

I’ll have a full, detailed preview of LibertyCon coming around Wednesday the 6th. I’ll have at least one post during the con, probably on Saturday the 9th as I talk about the book release party. Then, on the 12th or so, when I get home, I’ll write a full LibertyCon AAR.

One of my goals between LibertyCon and Pennsic is to lay out a general strategy and road map for my plans for Shijuren. These plans require enough time and enough readers to pay for me to live while I write, so if you’re interested in Shijuren and want to see all the secrets revealed, let people know about my stuff. This post will happen between the 12th and the 16th.

For now, you should know I’m not thinking small.

I also plan, between LibertyCon and Pennsic, to lay out my planned schedule for as far out in the future as makes sense. I’ll have a tentative list of appearances, and reached out to them. One spoiler, since I accidentally paid twice for LibertyCon this year, I’m already paid for LibertyCon 30 in 2017. You can expect a full post about this in the week between the 23rd and 30th.

I’ll also be looking at Patreon and Kickstarter stuff. Money is, not surprisingly, an issue for me, and I’ll be figuring out ways to use these two sources. One Kickstarter that will likely happen is one to pay for the creation of A Lake Most Deep on audiobook.

As a side note, my plan is to release everything in audiobook format eventually, but I need to figure out the process, which I will do as I’m doing the first one. In any case, I hope to have a full plan for that written and published in July.

For not having anything to really say, I sure said a lot. I have to say that this post may be a model for future posts, where I write a blog entry about what’s on tap for the next month. It will serve me as a checklist and provide a preview for you.

Thanks for letting me babble. I’m going to relax for a few days with friends and recharge at Trillium War. I’m sure I will see some of you there. For the rest, I’ll chat with you next week.

More Catching Up

I was going to post a bunch of stuff about SCA 50 Year, and I realized I myself wanted to find a TL:DR version, so clearly it wasn’t worth a whole blog post. Here it is:

I got the book done. I sold some. Met some new people. As land agent, everyone had a spot. We did have a few noise complaints. We warned them. Quite a bit of cool stuff, but there could have been more. Equestrians were definitely the star of the show.

Ok, enough of 50 Year, on to Trillium War. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break, as I probably won’t have a chance to write and won’t have much opportunity to sell, but I need a little down time because next week is very exciting for me.

I’ll be at LibertyCon with a book release party of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll also be on a panel, a reading, and several shots at Author’s Alley. A big weekend for me.

As I say, I’m really excited. This is my third LibertyCon, along with a ChattaCon, and I’m starting to know and be known. Now I go there with 3 books instead of 1, and next year intend to have 5. Making progress.

I hope to maybe have some opportunities to take some of the small stories in my head and find some anthologies that match, and there’s one person in particular I want to chat with. I’ll be stalking him.

This has already been a long, tiring trip, but I have a week of friends and smiling and singing.

In terms of what’s next for me as a writer after LibertyCon. I will spend much of the time between then and Pennsic planning my fall and spring. I will also be doing Pennsic prep, of course. I will throw a few words at Where Now the Rider, and I plan on writing a lot of that at Pennsic. I’ll be sitting in Drix’s booth, writing, waiting for people to come by. By the end of Pennsic, I suspect I’ll be in the 30k range, with a goal to complete a draft by the end of September.

After Pennsic comes WorldCon. I’ll talk about that more later. For now, it’s time to order some bookmarks.

So Many Things…

I have so many things to write about since the last blog post that I’ll be breaking it down into several different posts today.

The first thing is to announce the release of I Am a Wondrous Thing, my third novel set in Shijuren.   This novel is the first in the series I am calling the Kreisens, a planned trilogy set shockingly enough in the Kreisens. BookCover6x9_IAAWT-previewYou can find the book on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HHKZJVA

This was a much harder book for me to write than either of my first two because it’s so much more complex. It had a number of POV characters, it covers a much larger geographical area, and it involves more of the top-level intrigue and diplomacy.

I have had so much fun writing this, and it has expanded my view of Shijuren and where I’m going with the world. I have always had big plans for the world, plans I will soon expand upon in their own blog post, but IAAWT expanded my hopes and goals here. This is going to be a fun place for readers and I, if not for my characters.

I had my usual team of rock stars: Kellie Hultgren, Patrick McEvoy, and Adam Hale all worked hard for me to meet the timing so I could have a book release party at LibertyCon. Thanks guys. I had a bunch of others contribute as well.

The big note of sadness is the sudden passing of Jeff Fox, who helped me orchestrate the body mechanics. We talked briefly two weeks from yesterday about whether he wanted to continue and he was definitely willing and ready. Of course, he was always happen to help. I’m still shocked that a man of his age (mine), in great shape, and who did not drink or anything like that could pass from a heart attack so suddenly.

Shijuren will miss him, as will I. I will someday write more about Jeff, but that’s all I can do at this moment. His death seems so much more imaginary than my fiction right now.

 

A Good Day

Greetings all

It’s been a good day. The big news is that I have a finished draft of I Am a Wondrous Thing, with all the rearrangements and additions that were needed to make it good.

It was a frustrating edit for a while. I would write chapter 34, then realize a different chapter had to be in front it, so I moved it down and rewrote the new chapter 34, then realized another chapter had to be in front of that one and…

Yeah, I wrote chapter 34 about 6 times in this book. With 4 different point of view characters. There was a ton more re-arranging, but now I’ve finally got 58 chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue I really like.

I’m going to do one more quick pass, then send it off to Kellie. While she’s editing, I will do the pre-production stuff like getting the appendices done, the wiki updated, and I’m going to add links to the wiki for the ebook version.

In other words, it’s on track to be available on Amazon by the end of the month.

Now to see if I can arrange a release party at LibertyCon.