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Rob’s Update: One Guy Going Boom!

Week 35 of 2021

Greetings all

Been a great week here. Talons & Talismans One is edited. I’d send it to get it into the machine today but I tend to try and give me a day to sit on things so I can remember what all I’ve forgotten.

The House Between Worlds will be back to Jon Osborne tomorrow. Really, it’s a great book, entirely fitting given the rest of the Milesian Accords series.

Not a ton of writing here as I’ve been pushing out editing content like mad. It’s been really productive, though, and I’m proud of what we’ve done. You’re going to love it.

Next week, on the 13th, I have another short story coming out. It’s entitled “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene,” and it’s set in Kevin Steverson’s great Salvage Title universe.

This is one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever done. I set myself a bit of a challenge. Christopher Woods and William Joseph Roberts packed their novel Smuggler’s Run, also set in the Salvage Title universe, with as many pop culture references they could insert into the prose. They even applied to Guinness World Records as the titleholder in that category.

Guinness said they couldn’t track the category well enough to actually make it a category, but I set myself the challenge of beating their record, at least in terms of references per page.

And then I gave myself an extra difficulty factor (because of course I do). Anyway, I limited myself strictly to classic and metal rock band names and song titles. I managed to stick in over two hundred references. I’ll list exactly how many on release day and I’ll send anyone who gets all of them a free e-book I’ve written of their choice.

Now, of course, today is a pre-holiday for me. It’s the ceremonial start of the NFL season and I get to watch the Cowboys play right off the bat. Don’t worry, Sunday is still a major holiday to me and I plan on watching as many games as I can.

I had my fantasy football league draft on Monday, too. Was there any doubt I’d have a team? I mean, seriously, if anyone was going to play fantasy football it’s a lifelong NFL fan who is the publisher of a fantasy imprint.

Speaking of the NFL, Ian J. Malone, Kevin Steverson, and I had a great time talking the upcoming season with Nic Gurley on the latest Dudes in Hyperspace podcast. Nic knows his stuff and we talked about the upcoming season, some challenges facing teams, players and the league itself, and we made some long-term projections for years to come.

Here’s my prediction about the Cowboys, since they’re my team. They’re going to get beat tonight. A fully healthy Bucs team at home *should* win.

But the Cowboys are relying on a bunch of young players this year. It’s usually the case that teams like that will have some challenges early in the season but round into form late in the year.

So I think they’ll lose tonight, but win the NFC East in the end of it all and I expect them to do some damage in the playoffs.

I’m so ready for some football!

What I’m Listening To

Dog & Butterfly by Heart. I can pinpoint exactly when I first heard this song. Some kid (I don’t remember who) brought it into our 4th grade music class. I was captivated then, and I still think that’s Heart’s best album ever.

Quote of the Week

I miss John Madden as a commentator. It’s true that we have some amazing commentators now like Tony Romo, but it’s hard to remember just how revolutionary he was. His personality combined with his knowledge of the game was something we’d never seen before.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
John Madden

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Talons & Talismans Too is almost ready to go to the editor. Why do I mention that here? Well, because all of the first ten (yes, ten) novel authors in the Eldros Legacy contributed to the anthology, including a bunch of Eldros Legacy stories.

Call it a prequel of sorts.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on The House Between Worlds. The two Talons & Talismans are getting close (One is 99.9% done). Then after that I turn to Steven G. Johnson’s two novels that finish his Forge and Sword trilogy.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (1,043)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SOTI (7,948) (Formerly MON)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Jamie Ibson gives us a whole new future merc series, Myrmidons, Inc. The first in the series is Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. “Genie” assassins, mercs, and a lot to remind you of Shadowrun and Blade Runner. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F6QRGBZ/.

And if you’re interested in the Peacemakers from 4HU like I am, you can get the start of that part of the 4HU series for less than a dollar. It’s Peacemaker by the great Kevin Ikenberry who will be guest of honor at FenCon next weekend. Sale lasts only another day or so, so check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0752J8M3K.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 334.0

Updated Word Count: 272,426 (It jumped because I went back and looked at all the stories I’d edited and submitted in the past couple of months).

Shijuren Wiki: 789 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

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Weekly Update Archive

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

Armistice AAR

Greetings all

I am home safely from a fantastic trip to Armistice. I’m so glad I went.

For those who aren’t aware, Armistice was a replacement event for the largest SCA event around, Pennsic. It was held at the same site as Pennsic, Cooper’s Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, PA. There were about 1450 attendees where Pennsic has about 10,000. Pennsic is an official SCA event run in partnership with the campground.

First, the weather was awesome. Best weather I’ve ever seen at events at this time. We had one day with a little rain. The rest were in 70s/low 80s. Cool at night. The final Saturday was a little warm and humid, but still better than many days I’ve enjoyed at Cooper’s Lake.

From a work standpoint, it was an unqualified success.

It has been my experience that the first time a particular group has an event after things got started, I saw less traffic but had a higher hit rate. This was true for Armistice. Now, of course I’d see less traffic with about 1/7th  the attendance, but the hit rate was solid for sales. In fact, I sold more this year than I’ve sold at any Pennsic.

I was lucky in that a couple of my regulars from previous Pennsics were there and they both bought a bunch, but even so I sold more than I have in the past.

I also managed to get a short story out the door, make progress on another short story, and make progress on the final rush of stories for the upcoming Talons & Talismans anthologies.

I was an idiot for scheduling the deadline *during* this event, by the way, but I muddled through. I had less time for writing, however, so I didn’t reach my overall writing goals. As mentioned, though, I was moderately productive in this too.

One big thing is that I now have a traditional shop location at Pennsic. It’s between Calontir Trim and Gaukler Medieval Wares across from Windrose Armory. This is, in many ways, the ideal spot for me. Makes me excited to go back next year.

From a personal standpoint, I had a great time. In fact, this will go down as one of the best medieval events I’ve attended. I attribute this in part to everyone’s desire to have fun.

This may sound odd, but it is the case that some people participate in things in part so they can be doomsayers. This tendency has, not surprisingly, been in full force of late. Nobody at Armistice was unaware of the world’s challenges, but the naysayers didn’t come. I think everyone went there with the intent to be cheerful and spread that cheer.

So many smiles. So much friendship, even amongst people who hadn’t met before. The friends I see once or twice a year are my favorite part of Pennsic, and while I missed a bunch who weren’t there, I had more than a few who were. Plus, I got to know some people I hadn’t really talked to before.

I also discovered just how important Pennsic is to me. It’s been my summer home for over 20 years now. I knew I missed it last year, but not how much. I discovered the truth when I got a hug from a buddy at Gate, and I almost broke down crying then and there.

So good to be home. A refrain repeated by many throughout the week.

I spent a lot of time at the campsite hosted by Elizabeth Silverloc where High Rafters normally camps. This was the biggest concentration of friends at the event, plus there were bardic circles several nights. Exactly my thing.

Another positive thing is that my attempts to eat and drink wisely went pretty well. I basically held my weight during the event. Since it’s become clear that a big challenge for my weight are my trips to events and cons.

I went with the plan to drink primarily low-carb IPAs. There are several good ones out there. My two favorites are Slightly Mighty and the Lagunitas Daytime. The latter is dryer and reminiscent of Schlafly’s APA, one of my favorites. I also had the Sweetwater option, which was solid, but not great like the other two.

Anyway, these allowed me to essentially drink as much as I wanted to without hammering all the carbs and getting blasted. They aren’t my all-time favorite IPAs, but certainly more than tasty enough. Since I drink sparingly anymore unless I’m at events and cons, their low ABV helps me not be stupid. Ideal all around, in my mind.

My only disappointment was that I didn’t really party as much as I’d hoped. I should have opened the shop later and let myself roam a bit more. I wanted to meet people I’d not seen before, and I didn’t do much of that.

Basically, I had a great time. It is the case that I love selling/writing during the day with the opportunity to spend time with friends in a medieval setting. It’s like the ideal work day for me.

I’m ready to go back.

 

Rob’s Update: Home is the Hunter

Week 31 of 2021

Greetings all

Home from Armistice! What a great event. I outsold *any* SCA event I’ve ever been to, including several Pennsics with 7 times the population over two weeks. Part of that is because several of my regulars were part of those that attended, but still, I was very pleased.

Assuming Pennsic continues, I now have a specific spot of my own where I’ll be located, too. It’s an ideal spot, I think. I’ll be right between Calontir Trim and Gaukler Medieval Wares, across from Windrose Armory. Shady, beautiful, good neighbors, close to the barn.

This has been a week of catching up, both with work stuff and sleep. I got back a day earlier than I anticipated, which helped, but it’s been an exhausting week. I will also freely admit that I chose sleep and to spend some extra time with my sweetie to catch up. That last is why this is late.

I spent a lot of the last two weeks running through the final batch of entries for Talons & Talismans. I’ll make the announcement on Sunday night for who all is in. The choice will be difficult.

Let me put it this way, I’m really glad I’m doing two anthologies. That means I don’t have to choose just four out of the open submissions, but I get to choose eight. Since I’m struggling over which ones to choose out of fifteen who made my final round, the quality of submissions was amazing.

I’m currently finishing a short story. That’ll be done this week. Then I’ll start a new novel I’m entitling The Door Into Winter. This will be out in April.

What I’m Listening To

Watching Little League baseball for those trying to get to the Little League World Series. I love baseball at any level, but I really enjoy watching these guys play the game. Just now a kid from the Nebraska team made a great diving catch to end a game with the tying run on second base. That kid will *never* forget that moment.

Quote of the Week

Today is Alfred Hitchcock’s birthday. What an interesting career he had, of course, I am just now starting to really delve into his specific techniques as I try to be a better writer. Today’s quote is something I’m working on.

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”
― Alfred Hitchcock

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

Finishing the list of stories in the two Talons & Talismans anthologies. On track for my hoped for goal of 15 August.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (0)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • MON (829)

Upcoming Events

  • FactoryCon, 22-24 October, Coinjock, NC
    Details in the CKP – Factory Floor on Facebook.
  • 20BooksTo50K, 8-12 November, Las Vegas, NV
    http://20booksvegas.com/

New Releases

The big new release is Cherubim by David Hallquist. This is the second book in his War Angel series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BTRDYVL.

We have another buck book! This times it’s Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Chris Kennedy. This is book 2 of the Fallen World series started by Christopher Woods. You can find this book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Q56TCF2.

Finally, Eye of the Storm by Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey is now available for pre-release in audio form. You can find that here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093NXYC7C.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 337.8 (Side note: I’m really pleased I kept control of my weight throughout Pennsic.)

Updated Word Count: 182,678

Shijuren Wiki: 753 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

Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Weekly Update Archive

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: Entering Hyperspace

Week 14 of 2021

Greetings all

Lots of news this week!

First, I’ll be joining David Lucas on his Writer’s Wrap Up Podcast tomorrow night, Saturday the 10th, at 6pm Central. You can watch it at these links:

Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/MindofDavidAlanLucasAuthor
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/davidalanlucas
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPn2s80_W5xLMEJktCDYIv

Come on out and join us.

More media news!!!!

I’m joining Ian J. Malone and Kevin Steverson as the new Dudes in Hyperspace lineup. We’ll do a podcast every other week and we’re going to cover a variety of things we find interesting. Obviously, we’ll talk about our writing some, but we’ll also discuss sports, movies, music, grilling, good alcohol, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

The first episode will come out in less than three weeks, and we’re going to start with one of my near and dear things, the NFL Draft.

I’m really excited to be a part of this, and I want to thank Ian for giving me the opportunity.

The week has been productive in other ways as well. I’ve gotten quite a few words written in The Ravening of Wolves. I’m writing the final battle scene right now. One big hurdle to cross is finding a way to end the battle and get me to the concluding scene, which I’ve already written.

In other words, I’m basically writing combat until I find a way to have a moment of pause. It’s a good feeling because the story is basically done. I could finish the draft today, and that means off to Chris edited in a week or so.

Speaking of completing things. The manuscript for Responsibility of the Crown is complete and just awaiting a cover. I’m excited about this too.

Oh, and in other good news, I’ve gotten in the habit of walking before going to Brewbakers, my writing bar. There’s a nice walking path near it and it’s gone well. I didn’t go yesterday because I can’t afford to eat there every day, but I did a bunch of carpentry and moving of lawn timbers instead.

It’s only a week, but so far, I already feel more energetic, though I have learned that Rauta by Korpiklaani is too damn fast to start the walk with.

What I’m Listening To

At Brewbaker’s, which has the Masters on. I’m not really into golfing, but I can understand the appeal. Also, they’ve gotten pretty good at making golf a solid TV sport. Still not my cup of tea, but it’s surprisingly good background for writing.

Quote of the Week

On April 9th, 1959, NASA picked the Mercury Seven. As Elon Musk and others continue pushing us to the stars, I thought I’d share a particularly poignant quote by Gus Grissom. I share it because I firmly believe he was correct. We *have* to get off the rock.

“If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.”
― Gus Grissom

New Mythology Works in Progress

Coming soon is Kevin Steverson’s Accepted, the second in his Balance of Kerr series. It’s got lots of action and characters you root for. Good stuff.

The first in the series, Burnt, is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0861FRWFH/.

Deadline: 31 July
Words: 7k-10k
Manuscript: In .doc or .docx file format, Times New Roman, 12pt, 1.5 spaced
Send To: rob@chriskennedypublishing.com

Prompt: Write a fantasy story involving a beast or monster. While the story can include elements of horror, it should not be a horror story; it should be a fantasy and lean toward the heroic. Feel free to make the beast or monster your protagonist, but if not, the creature must be a central figure, (like Grendel in Beowulf).

As mentioned, we will choose the top four stories out of those submitted to add to the anthology. This is especially aimed at newer authors, though authors of any experience can enter.

  • Just Released: Songs of Valor (Book 2 of the Libri Valoris anthologies with Larry Correia, David Weber, Glen Cook, Dave Butler, and Sarah Hoyt). You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Z7Z3KT1
  • Coming Soon!!!! 12 April: Accepted (Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.
  • 21 May: Responsibility of the Crown (Book 1 of the Endless Ocean series by G. Scott Huggins)

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (89,116)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The Reluctant Druid, first of Jon Osborne’s Milesian Accords series, is on Bookbub special for $0.99 for a few hours more. You can get it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07716V2RN. This is great urban fantasy.

Also this week, is the release of The Ferryman, by John Siers. This is the third in the Hit World series of high-action genre gumbo. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B091Y7QPY6.

Monday, Monday, Monday! New Mythology is proud to release Kevin Steverson’s Accepted, the second in his Balance of Kerr series. It’s got lots of action and characters you root for. Good stuff.

The first in the series, Burnt, is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0861FRWFH/. Stay tuned for links to Accepted.

Today’s Weight: 340.0 (Hanging steady at 340.0)

Updated Word Count: 12,988

Shijuren Wiki: 725 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

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
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: Building Things Up

Week 4 of 2021

Greetings all

A really productive and exciting week in Rob-land. Lots of projects happening, and I spent a bunch of it world-building. I don’t want to get too much into this, only it’s going to be something amazing down the road.

I didn’t get as much actual writing done as I hoped, but I did make progress in The Ravening of Wolves. I also laid out several chapters ahead of time, cleared out a bunch of deadwood, and set myself up for some fun explosions.

That’s about all from my personal side of things, though I have quite a bit in the New Mythology section.

What I’m Listening To

Van Halen’s Dance the Night Away on the overhead at Brewbaker’s Bar & Grill in Lenexa. This is my standard writing bar and they take great care of me.

Quote of the Week

Today is Edith Tolkien’s birthday. She’d be 132 today, or a year old than Bilbo Baggins when he crossed the sea to the West.

She died a couple years before JRR did, and he wrote this after her passing. It’s a powerful quote about love.

“I never called Edith Luthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.”
JRR Tolkien, Letters of Tolkien

New Mythology Works in Progress

The big New Mythology news is the release of The Watchers in Exile on the 25th. This is the second in the Watchers of Moniah trilogy. You can get the first book, The Watchers of Moniah, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QRJTHHC.

I’d suggest jumping into this quickly, because the third book of the trilogy comes out on 1 March. If you’re one of those who wants to wait for a series to be finished before getting the first, you might as well get Watchers, because the final story’s going through the mill right now.

Next after that will be Songs of Valor, the second of the Libri Valoris series of anthologies. It’s chock full of great stuff, and that’s coming out 19 March.

After that, we have several in process, including the next Kevin Steverson and an excellent submission we’ll announce soon.

New Mythology Schedule
  • 25 January: The Watchers in Exile (Watchers of Moniah, Book 2) by Barbara Evers (At the Advance Reader Team)
  • 1 March: The Watchers at War (Watchers of Moniah, Book 3) by Barbara Evers (Note this will complete the trilogy)
  • 19 March: Songs of Valor (Libri Valoris, Book 2)

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (38,684)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Alex Rath’s Fallen World story, Call Me Mr. Smith comes out in audio form. CKP audio books keep getting pumped out, and this is just the latest. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RS8RG45.

The big release this week, however, is Bill Webb’s The Trashman, the latest novel in his Hit World universe. This is the first of this series to come to CKP but won’t be the last. It’s a universe that includes a little bit of everything, and that makes it a fun sandbox for writers and readers to play. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SVZF2HF.

Today’s Weight: 347.4 (I guess I weigh 347, as I’ve weighed in the 347s for 5 straight days).

Updated Word Count: 4,458

Shijuren Wiki: 725 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

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
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: New Mythology Press

Week 2 of 2021

Greetings all

Well, this has been a wonderful and eventful week for me. On Wednesday, Chris Kennedy gave me the opportunity to become lead dog on New Mythology Press, his fantasy imprint. This means I’ll be taking submissions and guiding the accepted books through the process of publication.

This is incredibly exciting and I look forward to bringing you all a bunch of great stuff to read.

I’ll be adjusting some things related to my weekly email as part of this. I’m going to start sending them out Thursday to better flow with Tuesday releases for New Mythology Press. I’ve added a New Mythology Works in Progress section where I’ll discuss what’s going on there. There will be more changes as I adapt to this amazing new opportunity.

Thanks again to Chris.

By the way, if you’re interested in submitting a novel to New Mythology Press here are the basics:

New Mythology Press Novel Submission Guidelines

  • Novels of 80 to 120k words
  • In .doc or .docx file format
  • Times New Roman, 12pt
  • 1.5 spaced
  • Can be fantasy of any type, epic, urban, high, whatever. Needs to have heroes doing heroic things, just like you’ve come to expect from all the books from CKP.

However, this does not mean I’ll stop writing. Not at all. I actually had a great week of progress on The Ravening of Wolves, getting about 6k done despite not writing at all yesterday because it was my sweetie’s birthday. It’s good to get back into the groove.

With that, I better get working. I’ve already got submissions to read. Exciting stuff!

What I’m Listening To

Rush, all of it. Neil died a year ago Thursday and I’m not over it.

Quote of the Week

I’ve probably used this quote before, but it’s too powerful not to use again. It comes from the last song on the last album by Rush. Neil nurtured one hell of a garden.

“The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect
So hard to earn, so easily burned
In the fullness of time
A garden to nurture and protect”

– Neil Peart (1952 – 2020), “The Garden” from Clockwork Angels

New Mythology Works in Progress

Songs of Valor is basically complete. It goes to the editor this weekend. I’m really proud of how this turned out and you’ll want to get it when it comes out in March. Here’s the list of fantastic stories and ridiculously good author list, along with a note if they’re part of an existing series:

  • The Dragon and the Drunkard by David Weber
  • Smoke and Shadow by Jon Osborne (Milesian Accords series)
  • On a Wing and a Train by Benjamin Tyler Smith (Necrolopolis series)
  • The One You’d Least Expect by Chris Kennedy
  • Oathbreaker by Melissa Olthoff
  • Changes by Kevin Steverson (Balance of Kerr series)
  • What the Eye Sees by Quincy J. Allen (Rellen series)
  • Songbird by Jamie Ibson
  • One More Flight by Sarah Hoyt
  • A Quaint Pastime by Casey Moores
  • Backup by D.J. Butler (Indrajit and Fix series)
  • The Hill to Die On by J.P. Chandler
  • Magnum Opus by Rob Howell (Shijuren series)
  • Cranky Bitch by Glen Cook (Black Company series)
  • The Dregs by Larry Correia

I’m still amazed by this collection of talent. Truly an honor to be a part of it.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (35,384)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Working on other things this week

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is on Christopher Woods and William Joseph Roberts, who put out their own take on the Salvage Title universe with Smuggler’s Run. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08S71RJP5.

Today’s Weight: 345.8

Updated Word Count: 2,396

Shijuren Wiki: 725 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

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
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: Death-Pale Were They All

Week 44 of 2020

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love watching people get creative with costume ideas and decorations. There are so many times where I’m just in awe of their awesome ideas. Of course, there are many times I’m just in awe of their awful ideas. Ah, well, trick or treat, of a sort.

I’ve spent the bulk of this week removing crutch words out of None Call Me Mother, which is coming out on 24 November. My  crutch words are usually things like shrug, chuckle, laugh, and that sort of thing. I also do too many things with peoples eyes.

Much of the time, the best solution is to get rid of them. They’re often stage direction that’s really not needed. From a first full draft of 148k, I think I’ll end up at 125k of stronger faster prose.

I’ve also been hammering at rebuilding the wiki. By the 24th, it has to include all the characters and what not from the Kreisens trilogy. This isn’t just to have reference for readers if they need it, but more importantly it gives me a chance to double-check things. I’ve found a number of mistakes/inconsistencies that I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t double-checked with the wiki. In a world of already something like 700k published words (as of 24 November), there will be issues, but a detailed bible is so useful to help prevent them.

Anyway, I’m also almost done with my short story for the next Libri Valoris. I’m setting up a character to have to make a choice. This is my norm, of course, however, the consequences for this character are just a tad different, but then, so is she.

I hope everyone gets a chance to wear something silly, eat candy, and admire the pole dancing skeleton display on the internet.

What I’m Listening To

Langt Nord I Trollebotten is a song by a band called Lumsk you’ve never heard of. They’re a Norwegian folk metal band and this is one of my all time favorite songs. It seems like every folk metal band has at least one truly amazing instrumental song. Pellonpekko for Korpiklaani for example, or Wolf Ritual by  Tengger Cavalry. This is Lumsk’s and it’s amazing. I can’t listen to any of these three songs just once. I always hit rewind for a few more listens before moving on.

Quote of the Week

Since it’s Halloween, here’s a creepy quote from Keats. It’s the last 3 stanzas of La Belle Dame sans Merci, which you can read in its entirety here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44475/la-belle-dame-sans-merci-a-ballad. I actually learned this poem because Robert B. Parker named a Spenser book, Pale Kings and Princes. Just another reason I loved reading his stuff.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
       Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci
       Thee hath in thrall!’
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
       With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
       On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
       Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
       And no birds sing.

– John Keats, La Belle Dame sans Merci

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (32,068)
  • KAT (4,982)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Too many wiki additions to list.

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is Jamie Ibson, who just released another novel in Christopher Woods’ Fallen World setting. Ibson’s is called Pacific Shogun. You might recognize Jamie as the editor of the We Dare books, but this is him on his own. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08M418TXV.

Also out this week is Chris Kennedy’s Indie Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores. It’s the second of his Author Fundamentals books and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LR3G1FD.

Today’s Weight: 356.4

Updated Word Count: 240,925

Shijuren Wiki: 230 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 Ramblings: Portmanteau

(Note: Published first on Mad Genius Club at: https://madgeniusclub.com/2020/06/29/portmanteau-a-guest-post/. Thanks to them for letting me join them with a guest post.)

You might know that portmanteau is a great word, but do you know just how wondersational it really is?

In medieval French, portemanteau meant “the “court official who carried a prince’s mantle” as of about the 1540s. This is fairly easy to see. “Porte” is the imperative of porter, which means “to carry.” Hence we get porter. “Manteau” is simply mantle.

In other words, “Hey, you, go carry that cloak.”

In the 1580s, it shifted to the more modern meaning: “traveling case or bag for clothes and other necessaries.”

While that’s still a current meaning of the word, it’s the not the one I find most fun. My favorite meaning is, of course, the combining of parts of two or more words to form another. Motel is a mashing of motor and hotel, for example.

The technical definition of a portmanteau in linguistics is: a single morph that is analyzed as representing two (or more) underlying morphemes. This means words like starfish or foreshadowing are compounds using two full words are not actually portmanteaus.

Now that we’ve got the boring linguistics stuff out of the way, lets get to the true magic of the word.

Did you know you can say tigons, ligers, and bears and be right? A tigon is a male tiger crossed with a female lion. A male lion and a female tiger is, obviously, a liger.

How fun is that?

OK, maybe I’m easily amused.

I bet eating a turducken with a spork is really difficult, but maybe delicious with a Cambozola cheese on the side. That actually sounds really gouda… (Sorry, I can’t help making cheese puns, even if they are a non sequitur).

Did I mention easily amused?

Anyway…

Here’s a portmanteau you probably use quite often. “Velours” is French for velvet. “Crochet” is French for hook (which is useful to know if your sweetie crochets everything). However, if you attach one to the other, you get Velcro. (Attach. See what I did there?)

Very easily amused, am I. Very.

Unlike most words, we have a specific time when it was first applied to this usage. The first person to say portmanteau in this way was….

Wait for it…

Humpty Dumpty.

No, really. Totally was.

OK, fine, it was Lewis Carroll having good ole’ Hump (as he’s called by his friends) speak to Alice in Through the Looking Glass. He said, “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”

“Slithy,” by the way, is a portmanteau: slimy and lithe. “Mimsy” is one too: miserable and flimsy.

Speaking of amusement, now I’m wondering how many of you will spend hours scouring Jabberwocky for all the portmanteaus you can find. Bwa ha, bwa ha ha. For mine is an evil laugh.

But here’s the best part of it all.

Now when you use your Garmin (Gary and Min founded the company) to find a motel in Texarkana (or somewhere in Eurasia) and then undo the velcro holding something in your luggage, you can now let your mind drift to Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll’s imagination.

And ain’t that spifftastic?

 

Rob’s Update: Prog Report

Week 19 of 2020

Greetings all

Another productive week around here. We did a bunch of yardwork and a lot of prep for summer and fall.

Also, I finally overcame a whole bunch of weird problems and learning curves. I discovered why I couldn’t upgrade the old one (if you can .css files, it will prevent that, something not even my tech guy at Metapros knew). Then I discovered that the new version of Tiki Wiki uses a real cool web development idea, the Bootstrap grid. It’s really neat and powerful, but it took some time to learn.

But now I can say, the Shijuren Wiki is live again at  www.shijuren.org. It has only a minimal number of pages yet, but I’m adding a few each day.

If you looked at it before, you’ll see a few changes to the new version. I’ve rearranged some things, like all the odd words I use will be gathered in lexicons for each language instead of separate listings for each. I think that’ll be easier to navigate.

Also, I’ve been taking advantage of the need to add the content back. I could probably figure out a way to batch upload my backup, but instead I’m having fun to flesh out some of that content. I’ve added a box of pertinent details to a bunch of things.

I’m loving all of this worldbuilding.

I also put aside the short story I’m working on to let it freshen up and returned to None Call Me Mother. It’s amazing what setting something aside will do. I come back with fresh eyes and see cool fun routes of where my pantsing has led me.

I’m just plugging away.

What I’m Listening To

The Prog from Home web concert. This is a really cool thing where the Prog Report gathered a bunch of musicians to play from their homes. Really cool stuff and I’m finding some bands I’d never heard of before, like Chattanooga’s own Glass Hammer.

Quote of the Week

Today would be Tony Gwynn’s birthday. Gwynn was, in many ways, the ideal baseball player to admire. He was a great athlete when he was younger, but as he aged that athleticism went away. He still excelled, though, because he had worked so hard to hone his skills, and it’s always an inspiration to think of him when I’m fighting at a paragraph or something like that.

I apologize that this quote includes a bad word, but there’s sometimes such a word is the correct one. This quote is by Greg Maddux, clearly one of the greatest pitchers ever. I could take the word out, but nothing else demonstrates as well how much Tony Gwynn frustrated pitchers.

If a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision. Except for that fucking Tony Gwynn.
– Greg Maddux

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (Appox 110,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • TSK (7,563)

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

So much going on. Do I mention When Valor Must Hold again? How about Gates of Hell, released only a couple of weeks ago? There’s my new personal online story at: https://aescandthorn.com/store/. And there’s the Shijuren Wiki, coming back after such a long hiatus.

Today’s Weight: 391.2

Updated Word Count: 65,936

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: Nor War’s Quick Fire

Week 17 of 2020

Greetings all

I finished re-writing and editing my story for Semper Paratus. This is an anthology from Jamie Ibson, who also edited We Dare. My story is a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms” with was in the first anthology.

This one is entitled “Nor War’s Quick Fire” and we see the two feuding families meet. The time they meet is not a good one, though, and things don’t go where anyone expects, including, I suspect, the readers.

The story took a little longer. I can usually tell when a story works and the first version didn’t. In the end, I realized it tried to do too much. This is becoming a fairly standard thing. I try to put certain things in a story, and they may very well be great elements, but this particular story doesn’t work with them included.

Sometimes, this requires help from other eyes. I got great help from Jamie and also Yvonne Jacobs focusing the story down.

This is part of the be prepared to kill your baby part of writing. It’s not easy, but if you can do it, it results in much better stories and quite often, future story ideas.

This weekend, I’m basically taking it off except for projects around the house. Next week, I’ll be doing a couple of small writing projects, starting a new short story, and working on None Call Me Mother.

Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Still watching Burn Notice. Again. Love this show.

Quote of the Week

Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, was born today in 1757. Who is he? He was a very successful admiral in the Napoleonic Wars. You can find his details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Pellew,_1st_Viscount_Exmouth.

More importantly for me, he was Mr. Midshipman Hornblower’s captain on the Indefatigueable. Anytime I get a chance to reference Hornblower, I’m going to take it.

“You have fought your duel. That is well. Never fight another. That is better.”
– Edward Pellew, in the Duel, from the Hornblower movies.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (Approx. 115,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • HM (6,374)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Added a few more products on the website and focused on the wiki this week.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is still on my new webstore at www.aescandthorn.com/store. I have my new books, old science fiction and fantasy magazines, and will add a bunch of used books.

Today’s Weight: 396.4

Updated Word Count: 65,098

Shijuren Wiki: working on it

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