Tag Archives: The Feeding of Sorrows

Rob’s Update: The Works of Gifted Hands

Week 38 of 2020

Greetings all

This was a solid week, but not my most productive. I had to fight through my usual case of fall allergies, so I haven’t slept well all week. Also, since I was traveling back from Tennessee, I lost a day.

Still, I’m over 80% done with this round of editing on None Call Me Mother. All that’s left is the final section. Admittedly, this is a huge section, with a final battle scene worthy of a trilogy, I think, but I intend to send it back to my editor next Friday at the latest.

I’ll be turning my focus more and more on the new fantasy anthology. Stories in that need to be done by 30 November, so if you’re still interested in submitting a story, please make sure it’s by that date. Also, pay attention to the submission parameters.

The next long-form I’ll finish is The Ravening of Sorrows. I had some great discussions with Mark Wandrey about fitting it properly into the 4HU, and will do more with both Chris Kennedy and Kevin Ikenberry soon. I am excited about some of the pathways they’ve suggested for the Foresters, the Stalkers to the Stars, and Rick Blaine.

Speaking of the 4HU, I had some great news. The Feeding of Sorrows will be available on audiobook on 13 October. You’ll be able to find it on Audible and on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T3B8BGB. Perfect timing, as I’m sure listening to it will help me keep the flow and voice of The Feeding of Wolves.

Have a great week everyone.

What I’m Listening To

The climactic crescendo of 2112 from Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978. That’ll get your blood pumping.

Quote of the Week

Every once in a while, I’ll watch the Beethoven’s 9th flash mob video from Italy. It’s brilliant. You can watch it here if you’d like, and if you haven’t watched it before, I heartily suggest it. That moment when the chorus comes in and it explodes from something fantastic to incredibly majestic is possibly my single favorite musical moment.

Beethoven also said a number of great quotes. For me, this is one that I try to put into my writing.

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.”
– Ludwig von Beethoven.

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (29,837)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing this week.

Upcoming Events

  • Nothing, but maybe something in February. Such a strange time.

New Releases

Ian Malone has another out in his Mako-verse. It’s called Detron City Vice and it’s heavy on the action. While it’s set in a universe with three other books, this is a stand-alone story. You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J6K3HBT/.

Today’s Weight: 360.6

Updated Word Count: 238,747

Shijuren Wiki: 77 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: Of Teeth and Claws

Week 33 of 2020

Greetings all

Well, it was a very good week around here until tonight. One of our cats had a problem and she’s at the emergency vet. She’ll probably be OK, and hopefully there’ll be no long-term issues, but it sucks.

The big news, of course, is the release of We Dare: Semper Paratus which includes my story “Nor War’s Quick Fire.” This story is a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms” from the first We Dare Anthology.

William is an eccentric billionaire who loves Shakespeare and is determined to establish a colony on Mars. Just as the colony is about to become fully self-sufficient with all of his first-stage colonists in place, the Earth is engulfed in nuclear flame. Please take a look. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FQY6QFD/.

On the writing front, I only had four days I was able to write, but I got 12k new words in the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows. I’m currently calling it The Ravening of Wolves. I like tying titles in a series together, but that might be too close. We’ll see when we get closer.

I am really pleased with where it’s going. I like the challenges that jumped out at me. The Foresters and the Stalkers in the Stars are not going to have an easy time of things.

But that’s it for now. Heading back to the vet to get the kitteh. Will let you all know next week how she’s doing.

What I’m Listening To

Watching the Rangers at the Rockies. My birthday present from my sweetie was MLB TV. I gave up on live/cable TV for now since really all I watch is sports. I already have NFL Gamepass, which allows me to watch games over and over, though I can’t watch them live. Still, I don’t know if I’ll get anything ever again because I’m really enjoying this.

Quote of the Week

This one fits the day. Also, happy birthday, T.E. Lawrence.

“He was old and wise, which meant tired and disappointed…”

– T.E. Lawrence, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (12,004)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing this week.

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The big new release this week is We Dare: Semper Paratus. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FQY6QFD/.

Today’s Weight: 368.2

Updated Word Count: 232,371

Shijuren Wiki: 67 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: Come and Be Welcome

Week 31 of 2020

Greetings all

If things had gone to plan, I would have spent Monday evening trying to live up to the lyrics of the song Come and Be Welcome by Emer nic Aiden. I’d have hosted my yearly bardic circle at Pennsic, then taken my hungover self to the trim shop and done whatever setup we’d needed.

I’d have spent this week and next talking to people about my books and finishing None Call Me Mother. It’s the best workplace around, actually. I get to work, be really productive, and then afterwards I get to go sing and hang out with great people I only see this time of the year.

Ah, well. Time for me to focus on the things I can change, which has been my general philosophy for quite some time.

Finishing None Call Me Mother is something I can change. Emer has been one of those waiting patiently for me to finish it. I’ll have a draft to the editor by end of next week. Lots of little issues smoothed this week and it’s almost there.

I can also look ahead to future projects. Next big WIP will be the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows.

Even more exciting to me is the upcoming anthology I’m editing for Chris Kennedy. It’s the sequel anthology to When Valor Must Hold and I am incredibly amazed at the authors who’ve signed up to be a part of it. David Butler, Larry Correia, David Weber, and Sarah Hoyt are all in, and there are some big names still to announce.

I am incredibly honored they all decided to join in and appreciate Chris Kennedy giving me the opportunity.

I look forward also to all the other writers who submit for the FantaSci prize. The top four will be in the anthology, with one getting chosen by the con as the best.

And with that, it’s time to go bring my sweetie some ice cream. Have a great day.

What I’m Listening To

Basil Poledouris’s excellent Conan soundtrack…. again. It’s one of the best things to listen to while writing fantasy.

Quote of the Week

“Come from the forest and sit ’round the fire
Come from the fields and enter our hall
Come drink from the guest-cup
Come join in our circle
Come and be welcome ye bards one and all”
– Emer nic Aiden

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (136,935)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week Ian Malone releases the third of his Mako Saga, called At Circle’s End. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DTYGTW2

Today’s Weight: 369.6

Updated Word Count: 82,811

Shijuren Wiki: 66 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: Some Other Beginning’s End

Week 26 of 2020

Greetings all

I’ve had a good couple of weeks since the con in Georgia.

Writing-wise, I wrote a draft of a really short story I’ll return to in July. It’s set in Shijuren, but centuries before the time of Edward and Irina. It’s for an anthology of flash-fiction I was invited to headline getting released in the fall from the Corner Scribblers. You can find some of their previous anthologies here: https://www.amazon.com/The-Corner-Scribblers/e/B082YQWLCZ.

Many thanks to them for inviting me.

I also made a major step in None Call Me Mother this week. I needed to split the various threads apart to make sure I had them working. This week, I re-assembled them and started editing them. I’ve finished 4 of 9 parts, though parts 7, 8, and 9 will need serious revision. Still, it’s an entire novel now.

I dabbled with another project. I don’t know if it will ever turn into a novel or anything, but it might. Right now, it’s just some scraps that are more coherent than most. I’m calling it Cynewulf and I’ll be playing with it every couple of weeks.

I also played around with a couple of snippets from The Ravening of Wolves, which is my tentative title for the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows. Long way to go, but it’s started.

As for other projects, we’ve completed a bunch of stuff. We had a room that needed new trim and new casing. Thanks to a buddy of mine, it’s now finished and my sweetie is now arranging things.

Actually, the house is in the midst of a major shuffling. The step-daughter moved in with her boyfriend and we’re claiming her room as more space for the sweetie’s crafting stuff. That will probably be the sewing room, as opposed to the quilting room to one side or the sitting room with looms to the other.

Thank goodness we have a big house.

We’re really excited with what we’ll have when we’re done, but there’s lots to do, including replacing carpet in yet another room with bamboo. Fortunately, we’ve gotten pretty good at that.

Oh, and we had a major victory. We changed the front door deadbolt and handle assembly together without cussing at each other. Relationship win!!!

This week I’ll be working to get a full draft of None Call Me Mother finished. I doubt I will by next Friday, but it’s getting close enough it’s not out of the question.

Also, I’m trying to get back into a normal daily routine. These past months have sort of shifted me into a more withdrawn state, as I’m sure many can relate. However, between the con two weekends ago, major progress on None Call Me Mother, and ticking off projects around the house, I’m starting to build back up.

And with that, I’m off to drag some bricks into the house for a project.

Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

“Closing Time” by Semisonic. Not a great song by any stretch, but enjoyable nonetheless because it does a great job of capturing that moment.

Quote of the Week

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Closing Time, Semisonic

Yeah, it’s pithy. Yeah, it’s obvious and corny. Yet, for all that, it’s an easy sentiment to forget. Just because the good times have ended at one place doesn’t mean the next step in our lives won’t be better. Just gotta keep our chins up and make every day a step forward. Even a small step forward is useful.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (121,212)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (2,473)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Mel Todd. She just released a new book called My Luck, the first of a new series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0893KQX8X.

Also, Ian J. Malone just released the second in his Mako Saga. It’s called Red Sky Dawning and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BRB719G.

Today’s Weight: 381.4 (Note, the bad news is last time I accidentally typed 376 instead of 386. The good news is that I am still losing weight, and 381 is getting there.)

Updated Word Count: Will update next week

Shijuren Wiki: 34 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: A Vicious Kidnapping and Murder Saved Me

Week 19 of 2020

Greetings all

Sorry about not getting out an update last week. I should just plan for that weekend to be empty, because the NFL Draft is one of my favorite events of the year. This year I actually got to wallow in it more than normal, which was a lot of fun for me.

Building a team, whatever the sport, is fascinating to me. It’s like multi-dimensional tetris with amorphous, changing parts. The best players don’t always fit, and this is especially true in football. More than any sport, football is a team sport, and fit is incredibly important for players.

It’s one reason why the hit rate on draft picks is so low. If the fit isn’t right, and you can’t always know until the attempt is made, then the player may never succeed. Conversely, if the fit is right, then that same player may become a Hall of Famer. It’s that much of a tightrope.

I love that sort of puzzle. It’s why I love tracking minor-league prospects as well.

Anyway, back to my work. I’ve spent this week hammering on a project that’s a bit of a change for me. It’s for a publisher I’ve not worked with before, and it’s a task with a number of interesting constraints. I have to match the editor’s specifics, which is making me work extra hard. Kinda neat, actually.

It’s sort of like writing certain kinds of poetry. Drottkvaet, for example, requires a slew of things including specific syllable counts, alliteration, and rhymes (preferably interior half-rhymes).

This particular project is something I’m having a lot of fun working on, but with the restrictions and the desire to impress a new editor, it’s been interesting.

In the end, though. I think you’ll like this story when I can tell you about it.

Speaking of stories, I had a new release this week. Gates of Hell, the newest Four Horsemen anthology, hit the virtual shelves yesterday. My story is “Fire from Fire Quickened,” and it’s a follow-up from The Feeding of Sorrows.

This is the 50th book in the Four Horsemen series. I am so proud to have contributed the Queen Elizabeth’s Own Foresters to that universe, and will be writing the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows as soon as I finish None Call Me Mother.

it’s a tough day to work, as it’s beautiful outside, but gotta get words on the page. Have a great day.

What I’m Listening To

“Schism” by Tool. Tool is such a great band to write to. They are intricate, powerful, and get my mind going.

Quote of the Week

“A man, a horse, and a vicious kidnapping and murder saved me.”
A Lake Most Deep, by me.

Why this as my quote? A Lake Most Deep turned 5 this week and this is the first line. I love that story, though I wince at times at my writing. I am so much better now than I was back then. I’m supposed to be, of course, but I wouldn’t have gotten here without A Lake Most Deep.

So glad I took the risk and dived into the deep end.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (PAGES)
  • CB (8,418)
  • TSK (7,563)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Been working on the Wiki. Finally overcame a number of weird issues and I’m making good progress now.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on the Gates of Hell, the newest anthology in the Four Horsemen Universe. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087T7FW9M/

Today’s Weight: 394.2

Updated Word Count: 65,936

Shijuren Wiki: Making great progress

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: When Valor Must Hold

Week 13 of 2020

Greetings all

When Valor Must Hold came out today and it has already earned an orange tag as number one new fantasy anthology. This is so cool, it deserves a screenshot.

WVMH Orange Tag
WVMH Orange Tag

You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086236WMT

I’m really proud of what we did here and I think you’ll all like it.

The final battle scene of None Call Me Mother is going to be epic and I’m loving how it’s shaping up. It’s been my primary focus this week. I also added a bunch of foundational stuff to make that battle even more powerful.

Incredibly powerful wizards, great heroes with flashing swords, and brothers fighting each other. It’s a lot of fun.

Wednesday I also got into a bit of a mood and wrote a couple thousand words on the next Edward novel. I’ve been re-reading Spenser and watching Spenser for Hire on Amazon Prime. Makes sense that I want to write some on my Spenser character.

Speaking of Edward, if you get When Valor Must Hold, you get to read how Edward and Deor met along with a bunch of great stories from all the other authors.

Also, I signed the contract for Gates of Hell this week. This is the next 4HU anthology and has my story “Fire from Fire Awakened.” This continues the Foresters’ saga with Rick Blaine working on a loose end from The Feeding of Sorrows.

Have a great week everyone!

What I’m Listening To

The Atlanta Falcons in Dallas to face the Cowboys in 2009. Man, Romo when he was healthy was so good.

Quote of the Week

When I asked the authors to participate in When Valor Must Hold, this was what I told them I wanted. I wanted them to tell me of the days of high adventure!

“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to bear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”
– Akiro the Wizard, Conan the Barbarian

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother
  • CB (8,418)
  • HM (6,374)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on When Valor Must Hold, which you can find at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086236WMT

Today’s Weight: 399.6

Updated Word Count: 48,342

Shijuren Wiki: In progress

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: Ahead of the Wheel

Week 6 of 2020

Greetings all

It’s been a good week. Last weekend was the final of several postrevels I hosted for the local barony. Weather severely impacted two of them, and the last one tends to be small and relaxed, so this year’s postrevel sequence wasn’t as epic as others have been. Still, in this one a bunch of people had a great conversation, we played Cards Against Humanity, I got a chance to talk late into the night with a baby laurel who I helped spring the surprise upon.

A good time.

Then, Sunday was the Super Bowl. I did a live FB post (which you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/rhodri2112/posts/10158095267396085). I condensed that into my Ramblings post earlier in the week (which you can find here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1990). Overall, I had a good time, though I had to feel bad for the stepdaughter who’s a 49ers fan.

Then I got back to writing. I wrote about 5k on None Call Me Mother with finally connecting two large chunks together. Today, I started writing a new short story following up on The Feeding of Sorrows.

Speaking of which, my publisher informed me that The Feeding of Sorrows just surpassed a million page reads on Kindle Unlimited. How cool is that?

Side note: I actually just re-read The Feeding of Sorrows to make sure I had the voice right and to remember all the details. I hadn’t looked at it since July, and I discovered, to my amazement, it was pretty darn good. This is a bit of surprise. Normally, I look at my stuff from months ago and cringe a bit because I’ve gotten better in the intervening months. Either I haven’t gotten better, or it was pretty good to start with. I think it’s the first, though, because I know several specific things I worked on over the fall as part of editing When Valor Must Hold.

While that’s good news, it means I have to keep working at the craft so I can sustain pretty good.

Anyway, the short story I started today is going to the next 4HU anthology and ties up a loose end in The Feeding of Sorrows. I was not going to cover that lose end in its sequel, but it’s a good mystery and will allow me to add a twist I’ve been contemplating to that thread. Fun stuff.

This weekend I’ll be watching some football. Yes, the Super Bowl was last week, but this week is the XFL. I’m excited about this league. I think it has a chance to succeed because unlike the AAF and others, it has a good financial base, McMahon learned from the previous version, and it’s already injecting new ideas into football. I think some of these things will eventually filter into the NFL, once we see how they work in games. I’m excited about that because I think the NFL needs some shaking up.

With that, I’m going to go toss more words at the page. Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Far Cry by Rush. There will come a day when I stop listening to Rush nearly exclusively. Today is not that day.

Quote of the Week

Far Cry has a great message about life.

“One day I feel I’m on top of the world
And the next it’s falling in on me
I can get back on
I can get back on
One day I feel I’m ahead of the wheel
And the next it’s rolling over me
I can get back on
I can get back on”
– Rush, Far Cry

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (108,805)
  • CB (8,418)
  • NFS (1,034)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Quincy J. Allen, a fantastic writer with a great story in When Valor Must Hold that read something like Eddings’ Sparhawk as written by Raymond Chandler. You can find his interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1992.

Today’s Weight: 399.4

Updated Word Count: 27,649

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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

Rob’s Update: 2020 Visions

Greetings all

Last week, I did a post on just how good 2019 was for me. You can find it here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1912. My conclusion? 2019 was my best year ever.

2020 will be better.

Let’s start with None Call Me Mother. I should have that to my editor within a few weeks. I know it’s been slow. I wanted to have this done in 2018, much less last year. Stuff happened and I apologize. But it’s coming and it’s good.

What will happen in Shijuren after that?

Glad you asked.

This fall I’ll be working on the next Edward novel. I don’t have a working title yet, but it’ll be a bit of an homage to Dick Francis. There’s trouble at Achrida’s Hippodrome and it might hurt horse-racing across the entire Empire of Makhaira if Edward can’t figure it out.

Then, I’ll start another trilogy in Shijuren with different characters based in Amaranth. I’ve said a number of times that chickens are coming home to roost all across Shijuren, and this will tell of roostings in the south.

My plan is to write one Shijuren novel a year, alternating between an Edward novel and whatever other series I’m working on at the time, at least for now. It may end up being one Edward and two series novels, but we’ll see.

I also plan on writing short stories set in the universe. In fact, the first is already written and I’ll get to that in a moment. I’m really enjoying writing short stories in general, and whenever I get a chance to write one in Shijuren, I will.

But wait, there’s more. I’m making progress on creating an OGL d20 based system set in Shijuren. The first embryonic concepts of Shijuren started rolling around my head 25 years ago as a place for great D&D adventures. In many ways, it’s exceeded my expectation in that aspect alone.

The system I have in mind aims to streamline game play with a cool character creation system that allows players to mold characters to fit their own playing style.

It also aims to encourage players to try stupid but fun stuff that isn’t necessarily defined in the rules. Whether it’s trying a crazy tactic, using a skill in an unorthodox manner, or using magic in a weird way to save the day, it’ll be designed to give DMs guidelines to react to players making stuff up on the fly.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in this so far has been how to mold my magic system into a usable system for a game. It’s a great magic system from a writing perspective, but it hadn’t been obvious how to translate it to gaming. However, I’ve finally come up with what I think is a really cool plan that ought to be a lot of fun.

Creating a game system is a big project, even with many of the basics already built in from the OGL side of things. I’m blessed to have some skilled and talented friends who will be helping along the way. I’ll tell you all more about them later.

I don’t have a specific timeline for getting this game published, but at some point, hopefully in 2020, I’ll be at cons running some playtest adventures as well as starting a home group.

What you can expect is periodic updates. I might even add a category in my Weekly Updates related to game concepts and ideas.

As you can see, though, Shijuren is going to grow a ton in the next few years. Thanks for coming along.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch more planned for 2020 than just Shijuren, including The Four Horsemen Universe. After I finish None Call Me Mother, my long form work in progress will be the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows.

I have lots of stuff to play with in here.

  • What are Edmonds and Tahnerif going to do?
  • I promised Jackson a platoon. What’s going to happen to his momma’s boy?
  • Kiial will definitely have more to say about his uncle as his time in the Foresters continues.
  • Speaking of the uncle, Tlanit and Rick Blaine are going to work at peeling away some of the layers.

Going to be fun.

I’m actually going to describe some of this in a short story in another Four Horsemen anthology coming out in 2020. Right now, I’m playing with a number of ideas, but rest assured, there’s more happening with the Foresters.

Speaking of short stories, I’ll be contributing to the second We Dare, anthology. The story I’m working on will be a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms,” my story in the first anthology. We might just find out why the Allardecks and Fieldings hate each other. This will also be fun, as I’ll be collaborating for the first time. Yvonne Jacobs is already helping me plan the story.

I intend to do four or five short stories for anthologies each year, so don’t be surprised if I announce a couple more later in the year. I’ve been asked to be a part of some others already, but I’m still trying to balance my writing schedule.

That doesn’t include, by the way, the return of Nick Patara, PI. I’ve enjoyed the response and I had a great time writing it. I also enjoyed being able to give back to you guys.

The next big news comes from a comment above, I mentioned that I’ve submitted a Shijuren story to an anthology already.

And this one is special.

Chris Kennedy gave me the opportunity to create a anthology of fantasy stories. It will be entitled When Valor Must Hold.

The writing prompt I gave the authors was the opening of Conan the Barbarian, where Akira the Wizard concludes, “Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”

The authors have given me what I wanted: stories with adventures and action across a really broad set of fantasy sub-genres. It’s a great mix and I think you’ll like it a lot. Heroic deeds done by characters who might not start as heroes but end up in that category. The characters all face things to test their valor and we shall see how their valor holds.

The anticipated release date is 20 March, which is the Friday of FantaSci. We plan to have a great release party there and I hope to celebrate with a bunch of you.

This brings me to my plans for Howell’s Howls this year. I really enjoyed my system of having a blog post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Rob’s Updates will continue on Fridays. I’m going to tweak the format a bit, like including game notes each week, but it’ll continue much the same.

I’m also going to continue with the interviews. I just finished re-writing the questions I send out, so you’ll see some new interviews by people who I’ve already interviewed. I’m going to start the year with interviews of authors in When Valor Must Hold, and run those interviews as long as it takes.

Hit me up if you’re a creator of any type, and I’ll send you the questions and get you into the queue. I really enjoy doing these and hope to be more proactive about making sure I have an interview ready to go each week.

That brings us to Mondays. Mag Reviews take a ton of time, too much for just a regular blog post. I’m going to replace them with Rob’s Ramblings, which will be a catchall thing for whatever interests me. including reviews of movies and albums, snippets, poems, sports topics, or whatever. This week, it was my ShadowCon AAR. One post you can expect in March is an AAR about creating When Valor Must Hold. It’s already taught me a bunch.

This does not mean Mag Reviews will go away. They take too long as a blog post, but there’s a still a place for them and I’m playing with some ideas.

Overall, my online presence will continue as it has been. In September, I stopped reading my Facebook News Feed. This was a great decision on my part. I miss out on a number of things, but that News Feed brought me down.

I check my Facebook Notifications consistently, though, and that’s been enough. If you want me to see something, please tag me and I’ll check it out. Otherwise, I’m almost never going to see anything.

I originally planned to limit my Facebook posts to business-related things, but I think I’ll start posting about the same frequency I did prior to last September. I’ve missed chatting with people about a variety of fun things and while I’ll never go back to reading the News Feed, I’ll get back to posting fun things along with my professional stuff.

The same is basically true on Twitter. I have always limited my Twitter feed to focus on some excellent sports bloggers and other interests like that, along with professional stuff. I will continue to look at those sorts of things, so if you want me to see something, you better tag me.

I’ve played around with MeWe, but the interface has yet to click with me. I’ll keep trying though. I’ll also keep dabbling in Instagram. This might expand with some of the other things I’ve got going on. I’ll also keep my eyes open for better social media options.

My appearance schedule in 2020 is going to be amazing. The biggest news is, of course, I got accepted as an Attending Professional at DragonCon this year. What an amazing honor. I will do my best to reward them for giving me the chance.

I also received word this weekend that I’ve been approved as a vendor at Dagorhir’s Ragnarok XXXV in June. This is a major LARPing event and I am excited to meet a bunch of people and introduce Shijuren to them.

I’ll be at LibertyCon again. None of what’s happened above would be possible without the lessons and experiences I’ve had at LibertyCons past. It’s really pushed me along and I’m incredibly grateful to Brandy and her peeps.

The expansion of Drix’s shop at Pennsic last year went well, and it’ll be even better this year. We’ve had a great time there and sales keep inching up there for me.

As I mentioned, we hope to have a great release party for When Valor Must Hold at FantaSci. I picked FantaSci over Gulf Wars, Planet Comicon in Kansas City, and a bunch of other events on the weekend of 20 March. Why did everything have to be then? In any case, even without the release party, I would go to FantaSci. It’s already a great con.

My next event is ChattaCon in a few weeks. It’ll be a blast, in part because Lani Brooks puts me on a bunch of panels.

Let’s see, do I have my yearly goals covered in 2020?

  • 2-3 novels: Check. I hope to have two by September and be working on the Edward novel in the fall.
  • 4-5 short stories (plus Nick Patara): I have one in the can, two planned, and some opportunities to juggle. I can’t say this is fully laid out, but I anticipate no real problems.
  • 3 blog posts per week: Mag Reviews made that really challenging, and I expect to be more consistent here. I won’t stress too much if I miss out on one of the weekly standards, but it’s a reasonable, feasible schedule
  • Figure out a way to make Mag Reviews work: I’m playing around with this. Probably won’t happen for a while, but there’s value here.
  • Make progress on the RPG: Meetings are scheduled and I anticipate consistent activity on this front. Again, I don’t have a realistic timeline, just a plan to turn it from vaporware into something real.
  • Create a smart travel schedule: Spring is fairly light, and will be productive from a writing standpoint. Summer will be go go go and I’ll have many miles on the road. Fall will be light, much like spring. This past fall, I didn’t go to any cons after September. I will add a con or two because I think more than three months is too much of a break from going to a con.
  • Take care of myself: I’m starting with being more conscious of things, as shown by pacing my travel schedule better. I’m also going to adjust my summer production expectations to match reality. Finally, I’m going to schedule some down time/vacation/retreat type things. No details yet, but they’ll be there.
  • Get back to fighting: This includes working out and losing weight. I’ve a helm on order and I can’t really fight until it gets here, but I can work out. I’ll have a plan for that soon.

I look at these goals and am getting even more excited. None of them seem outlandish and if I complete them, it’ll make 2020 amazing.

Now that I have a plan, I think I’ll watch the Blues and play a game for a while. Then, tomorrow, write a chapter or two in None Call Me Mother.

It’s going to be a great 2020.

 

 

 

Rob’s Update: 2019 in Review

Greetings all

2019 was my best year ever. Thanks to all the readers who supported my writing throughout the year. It couldn’t have happened without you.

Things I published in 2019:

I’m incredibly pleased at the success of these stories. Four of those, including all 3 Phases of Mars anthologies and The Feeding of Sorrows, earned at least one orange tag.

An orange tag on Amazon signifies it’s a bestseller. Now I can add “Amazon Bestselling Author” to my bio. That’s pretty darn awesome.

I’m also pleased that I still love all six of these tales. I am never pleased with the quality of writing in any of my past stories, because with each new one I get better. However, the tales are all good. I know this because I still cry at the end of each one.

If I don’t get emotional reading my stuff, I can’t expect you to do so either. I still get emotional on all of them.

The biggest negative of 2019 is that I didn’t get None Call Me Mother published. I had even hoped to make progress on Edward 4, but that was always only a faint hope.

Despite that, I’m not displeased with my writing output. I’m up to 93k on None Call Me Mother, so it’s getting close. I chose to write The Feeding of Sorrows instead and it was a great decision.

I also chose to follow Bill Fawcett’s advice. He said to me at LibertyCon in 2018 that I should write more short stories. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t pay attention to him. I may yet be an idiot, but not about this.

My goal is two or three novels a year and four or more short stories. I came really close if I count the words I actually wrote in 2019. I wrote about 75k of The Feeding of Sorrows and about 20k towards its sequel. I wrote about 80k in None Call Me Mother in 2019. I also worked on a couple of special projects I’ll announce when I post my look ahead to 2020. All told, I submitted six short stories (one yet to come), and wrote about 175k of long fiction. 230k or so of fiction is not shabby.

I did this despite not taking care of myself. Following Pennsic, I spent 5-6 weeks in a funk. This was driven initially by fatigue, because I traveled a ton this past summer. Then my brain weasels got involved, chastising me for not being productive, and that spiraled down.

Fortunately, I recovered in time to complete all of the items I had promised to various editors. Had I paid attention to myself, though, I believe I would have finished None Call Me Mother. Ah, well.

I have adjustments planned for 2020. One challenge of being self-employed is that I have to play mental games with myself to keep me from doing stupid stuff, like losing those 5-6 weeks.

I went to a number of fantastic events in 2019. This was my first year as a vendor on my own at Gulf Wars. Drix and I also expanded our booth at Pennsic, and this is exciting. LibertyCon was wonderful and emotional. FantaSci went great, not great for a first time con, but great. So great I’m choosing it over Gulf Wars and Planet Comicon in 2020.

I did all these things while also getting the opportunity to serve as Their Majesty Calontir’s herald in the first half of the year. I love doing that job. Thanks to Donnghal and Catalina for giving me that opportunity. And yes, you totally got me.

My sweetie and I did a bunch of work to the house. We replaced around 1000 sq. ft. of carpet with bamboo. I love this stuff. Nice on my feet and pretty. We also started a new additional closet in the master suite, which had a ton of useless inefficient space.

The closest thing to a true negative are my tracked items, I spun my wheels a bit. I gained a little weight, though I’ve made it through most of the holidays without gaining much extra. My tracked word count, which includes only those things I actually released to the editor or on my blog, would have exceeded my goal had I managed to get None Call Me Mother to my editor, but of course will fall short in its actual number.

My wiki suffered a hacking attack in the spring. I have recovered most of the lost things, but I plan on redoing most entries. I learned a ton working on the 4HU wiki for nearly a year that I intend on incorporating. I’ll talk about that in my 2020 post.

These are my end results. I’ll work on improving them all in 2020.

Today’s Weight: 395.2

Updated Word Count: 146,912

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

I have so many people to thank. I’m going to take a crack at it, but will undoubtedly forget some people. But here’s what I can think of right now with a cat demanding petsies.

Mom, sweetie, and proto-incipient step-daughter come first. Living with a writer ain’t easy.

Chris Kennedy gave me a bunch of opportunities. I can’t thank him enough. James L. Young let me write in all 3 Phases of Mars, and those are good stories. Jamie Ibson let me break his soul in We Dare. Mark Wandrey kept encouraging me, especially his help in the 4HU. Kevin Ikenberry helped a ton with the Peacemaker aspects of my 4HU stuff. Frankly, let’s just thank all of the crew that Chris has gathered about him. They’re all making me better.

Kellie Hultgren did a great job editing my personal stuff and teaching me how to become a better writer. The staff at Brewbakers put up with me, and I rewarded them with tuckering it in “Silent Knight.”

Drix helped me grow my SCA sales presence. Tons of people encouraged me. One even allowed me to stay at her family’s lake house for a week of writing and solitude. I need to schedule this sort of thing once or twice a year.

Despite not getting None Call Me Mother out and spinning my wheels a bit, 2019 was definitely my best year so far. And it’s not close.

I’m growing leaps and bounds as a writer. My most recent project has helped me turn things I knew instinctively into things I understand. This is already showing up in None Call Me Mother and in “Silent Knight,” not to mention my earlier growth in 2019.

2019 was my best year.

2020 will be better. Lot’s better. We’re building something here and I will tell you all about what’s coming in a few days.

For now, though. Thanks to all of you. I really appreciate it.

Happy New Year!

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

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Rob’s Update: Birthday Festivities

Week 29 of 2019

Greetings all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current Playlist Song

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

Quote of the Week

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

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

News and Works in Progress

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

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on

Today’s Weight: 383.8

Updated Word Count: 160,781

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories

 

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