Tag Archives: Pennsic

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

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

Rob’s Update: Finding My Way

Week 29 (sorta) of 2018

Greetings all

Wow, so much to get to.

First, welcome to all the new subscribers. There’s quite a few of you from LibertyCon, InConjunction, and OComicCon. Thanks for joining in to my little corner of weekly madness.

Well, it’s usually weekly, scheduled for every Thursday. However, this is actually last week’s update. Also, this week’s update is going to be a little late. I’ll probably do it on Saturday at Pennsic since most of Thursday will involve hundreds of miles of interstates between here and there.

Why am I late this week? Well, mostly because I spent the last week nesting and organizing.

Some of that is because my Mom gave me a new desktop computer for my birthday. I’ve needed one for a while, as my old system no longer could keep up with my typing speed. Thanks, Mom!

The new system also allows for up to 4 monitors, and I’m in the process of figuring out how to use all of them. I also spent the week organizing a variety of data, including some old CDs I uncovered while unpacking. I found a bunch of pictures from my 2006 trip to England and Macedonia that I thought I had lost. I’ll post some of them one of these days. You might even get to see pictures of Achrida as I remember it.

I’ve also been nesting and organizing since the move. Thanks to Johan and Tigernan, the house is now merely a home with some clutter as opposed to a storage unit with showers.

Part of the challenge has been to replace as much of the carpet as we could before moving stuff on to it. We’ve replaced it with bamboo flooring. I can’t recommend this stuff enough, at least up to this point. It’s cheap ($1.69/sq ft), looks good, and has already shown to hold up pretty well. We got the heavy stuff, 5/8 inch, and it has a solid feel to it that thinner laminates don’t have.

Anyway, we have cool new floors in the TV rooms and office, which we are really enjoying.

Then, yesterday, Tigernan came over and moved box after box to get stuff at least to the right floor. The garage is now open and useful again. All of the furniture, with the exception of Giulia’s desk, is in the right place for now. Also, there’s a huge pile of trash that Olathe will take tomorrow and be gone. Much of this is stuff from the storage shed, which he took up front.

I am, for the first time since I moved to Olathe in 2011, truly organizing my workspace.

It’s nice, especially since I want to be more productive going forward.

Current Playlist Song

Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood’s live version of “Can’t Find My Way Home.” One of my all time favorite songs.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of John Rutsey, the original drummer of Rush. He only played on their debut album, so today’s quote comes from that album.

“I’ve been gone so long
I’ve lost count of the years
Well, I sang some sad songs
Oh yes, and cried some bad tears”
-Rush, “Finding My Way”

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,560)
  • TAV (2,841)
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Not a darn thing as I’ve been nesting, though I intend to do a OComicCon AAR

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

No spotlight this week, as I have been focused on other things. However, I have some neat ideas for Pennsic if we can make them work.

Today’s Weight: 384.4

Updated Word Count: 156551

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

War of the Wings AAR

The second thing on this trip was War of the Wings, an SCA event in Atlantia. I am glad I get to do what I do, but sometimes the effort required can make things challenging.

Once again, I have to thank Master Andrixos for letting me sell in his booth. I really enjoy spending time with Drix, and there’s no doubt he’s helped me get traffic.

Now, traffic at the event for the merchants wasn’t as good as anyone hoped, and I suspect some of that is because they are still settling in with the best layout for everything. War of the Wings is a growing event, and the site is great, though tilted. However, they’re still fiddling with some stuff, including the best way to arrange the merchants. Sales were good enough that I’d like to go back if circumstances allow, but I think they’ll be better in the future.

One thing that I think we’ll do differently is that both Drix and I will get separate booths, though we’ll ask to be next to each other. There are advantages for both of us to work together, including setup and tear down, but my logistics were a little complicated because my tent was so far away from the merchant booth. We’re going to try to be next to each other at Meridies 40th Year.

While my camp was not close, I was blessed to be permitted to camp with Yorkshire Manor, one of the households in Atlantia. Included in that camp is Bryce de Byram, who is someone I knew well enough from Pennsics past to ask for space, but not much more.

I said that the effort to do this job is challenging, and where that effort can be frustrating is my fatigue after work. Not just physical fatigue either, but also the fatigue of talking to people all day long. What that meant was my hopes to get to know the people of Yorkshire Manor better, especially Bryce, were foiled. I barely was able to spend any time with them. By the time I got home, I was too tired to enjoy the group, which was a shame. Many thanks to all of them, especially Bryce, Christian Thomas (who ran the camp), and all the people who helped make it a cool place. I’m sorry I didn’t do you all justice.

As I said, I would like to go back, if circumstances allow. Now that I know how things are laid out, I think I can plan more efficiently, meaning I might have more energy to get to know some of those great people.

Rob’s Update: Spreading the Word

Week of 13-19 August

What an eventful week so far!

First, I’ve added those who signed up at Pennsic. Many thanks for all who talked to me there, and I am already looking forward to Pennsic 47. Welcome to my weekly slice of Robness.

The biggest news is that one of the short stories I’ve been mentioning for a while was just accepted to be part of the For a Few Credits More, the second anthology in the Four Horsemen Universe.

The 4HU is one where humanity is one of hundreds of alien races living a loose arrangement whose sole goal is to ensure that the overall peace is maintained. Within that, however, are all sorts of smaller conflicts involving mercenaries, and the universe centers around these mercs fighting in a Byzantine universe of plotting and treachery.

I love it.

You can find these books here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074KHFMQT?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

The cover is here.

FAFCM Cover
Cover for the Four Horsemen anthology For a Few Credits More.

I’ve never been more excited to be called “AND MORE” in my life.

But that’s not the only exciting thing going on here. Rob Saladino will begin recording A Lake Most Deep in audiobook form starting around 1 September. He’ll be doing my other Shijuren novels soon after, too. I don’t yet have any clue when actual release dates will be, because it takes time to do all of this well, but they are a-comin’.

In less productive news, because of my travel schedule, the move, and recovery from Pennsic, I’ve not done much other than lie in bed and contemplate bad things happening to my characters in Brief Is My Flame.

I’m just going to say that I think my characters would prefer me to sit and write than lie and plot, because I’m much nastier to them in the middle of the night snuggled in my bed with my cat sitting on my head than I am typing on my laptop. Far nastier.

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote sort of encapsulates my writing philosophy. I write about people, and whether they are wizards or use fusion-powered starships or wear powered armor, stories are about people.

“War has changed little in principle from the beginning of recorded history. The mechanized warfare of today is only an evolution of the time when men fought with clubs and stones, and its machines are as nothing without the men who invent them, man them and give them life. War is force- force to the utmost- force to make the enemy yield to our own will- to yield because they see their comrades killed and wounded- to yield because their own will to fight is broken. War is men against men. Mechanized war is still men against men, for machines are masses of inert metal without the men who control them- or destroy them.”
Ernest J. King, as quoted in the prologue (page viii) of his memoirs, Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record (1952).

News and Works in Progress

  • Brief Is My Flame (about 10k)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing yet this week, but will have some additions to the Wiki tomorrow

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s Spotlight is on Rob Saladino , who is recording my audiobooks. His IMDB page is here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5238545/ and his Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/thehumblereview. If you go there, you’ll see he recently recorded a biography about Prince. I suspect this is the closest I’ll ever get to Prince.

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

Rob’s Update: Tired Rob Is Tired

Week of 6-12 August

One of my favorite Pennsics ever comes to a close today.

The weather has been incredibly nice. Cool, with only a little rain, and yet still lots of cloud cover. The merchant booth has been profitable, productive, and fun. I’ve had a great time singing, and got to see some wonderful things given to fun people.

But at the end of two weeks, especially with packing in all sorts of stuff in the final few days, I must say I’m ready to be home.

It’s been so busy here that I’ve barely had time to write, so I’m only about 10000 words into Brief Is My Flame, but since that means more sales, I am quite pleased. I’m also pleased where the story lines are going. Yes, I’ve done more plotting than usual, but that doesn’t mean the plot is static.

As I did with Where Now the Rider, I’ll be steadily adding a few entries to the Wiki each week. I think these might be a little more revealing, though, as some of the new storylines are coming from different places. We’ll be exploring more of Svellheim, the Seven Kingdoms, the Western Isles, and the Kreisens, so we’ll all get to find out interesting stuff about those places as the plot takes me there.

I love Shijuren. It’s a fun and interesting world and there’s so much more to come.

Quote of the Week

One of my favorite aspects of Pennsic, and the SCA in general, is the opportunity to sing at bardic circles. This week’s quote comes from a Kipling poem which we have turned to song.

For we hold that in all disaster
Of shipwreck, storm, or sword,
A Man must stand by his Master
When once he has pledged his word.
– Song of the Red War Boat
, Rudyard Kipling

News and Works in Progress

  • Brief Is My Flame (About 10k)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

I watched Consortium of Genius perform at ConFluence. They were a lot of fun and surprisingly metal. Most bands at SF/F cons are acoustic in nature, but these guys played their music loud and hard. I had a blast, though I think some of the other people were a bit bemused. I especially enjoyed Think Tank and Middle-earth Needs Me.

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

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