Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everything else.

Rob’s Update: Though Poppies Blow

Week 22 of 2024

Greetings all

Whew! Balloon Fest was something else! We had a great time in the morning, but then the sun went past the building that shaded us and later on it got really hot. It might have only been 91 or so, but in the sun, and the fact nobody’s used to that heat yet, it was too much.

Balloon Fest
Balloon Fest

But it went well. I sold a reasonable number of books, but better yet, I told a bunch of folks about our quilt store. We did very nicely in the store, especially since as far as I could tell, all of them were first-time customers.

We sold a couple of sodas, which wasn’t worth the effort. We have them in the store, but people bought them from Higher Grounds who were next to me. Still, it was nice to be able to spread out for 16feet of table space.

I heard great things about the ESports tournament I set up. About 15 people played, they liked the prizes we got, and it went very well. Not bad for an idea I thought up literally on March 29th. We’ll do it again next year, but with advance planning and publicity. Hopefully, we’ll make it something cool for the region, not just Anthony.

Because of Balloon Fest, I didn’t have as many writing days as I’d hoped for, but I still got about 5k written. I started doing sprints again. I’ve finally figured out the new version of the Discord sprint bot that I installed on the New Mythology Press server, but it’ll take a bit for it to get instinctive again. The old way was much smoother. Ah, well, progress.

Ruriksaga
Ruriksaga

Speaking of progress, we had a great week of folks buying all of the Firehall Sagas, including the Ruriksaga. Thanks very much! Keep up the good work!

On that note, have a great long weekend.

What I’m Listening To

Cygnus X-1 by Rush. Wheeling around the galaxy on my ship the Rocinante. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Quote of the Week

This weekend is Memorial Day. This week’s quote is the entirety of In Flanders Field by John McCrae. Here’s his Wikipedia page, by the way, which talks about him writing the poem: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCrae.

This poem is special to me because my grandfather served in World War One at the age of 14. They knew he lied about his age to go overseas, but they couldn’t prove it, so they had him and all the others who did likewise assigned to the Forestry Corps. Their job was to cut down trees for trenches and do whatever else was needed. This included pulling wagons with dead and wounded.

Can you imagine? At 14? Yeeesh. Anyway, have a great Memorial Day everyone.

  In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead, short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
– John McCrae

Rob’s Riddles

Like challenges? Think you’re smarter than me? Then see if you can answer my riddles!

You can find them by signing up for my Patreon here: patreon.com/rhodri2112. Not sure what I mean? Then check the sample riddle and see if you get the answer!

First Line of Current Riddle:

I am the killer of worlds and     Keeper of trust

Interestingly, I had more guesses than normal from this first line. All the guesses fit the first line, but none of them fit the rest of the riddle.

But wait, there’s more! You get new riddles on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday, but on the other Tuesdays, you get snippets of works in progress.

This week’s snippet is Chapter 1 of The Feasting of Vengeance.

Dragon’s Tidings

We are closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

However, check out our Facebook page to see our first two graduates from our quilting class showing off their new quilts!

Also, check our website (www.reddragonquilts.com) for our May 30% off special!

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’m pleased to announce New Mythology’s open call for novels and series. Here are the details: chriskennedypublishing.com/2024/04/25/new-mythology-open-call/.

Paladins of Valor is out! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

The Ruriksaga is out! Get this one here: amazon.com/dp/B0D35XF4RJ.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (14,152)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have D.T. Read’s fifth book in her Seventh Shaman series, Trial by the Gods. It superbly blends Native American mythos with far future scifi. It’s one of a kind, and well worth giving a look! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0D46LXS5G/.

Your pre-release this week is from Bill Fawcett and Casey Moores! It’s the second book in Bill’s Blood and Armor series called No Fail. Get it here:

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 376.0lbs

Updated Word Count: 106,690

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: Happy Mummy’s Day

Week 20 of 2024

Greetings all

Ruriksaga
Ruriksaga

The Ruriksaga is out next Tuesday! And it’s up for pre-order now. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0D35XF4RJ.

This is a companion volume with a bunch of short stories I’ve written in the world, along with new maps, some historical documents, and, of course, the Ruriksaga, a poem describing the beginnings of Periaslavl.

It’s exciting for me if only because it’s what I want all authors to do. If I like a world, I want to see under the hood, and this is your chance.

This week I’ve been working on The Feasting of Vengeance. I’ve made good progress, though not great. In fact, this was one of the least productive weeks I’ve had in a long while. There are reasons, most notably having to put one of the kitties down, but it still meant four of the days were a complete washout and much taken from the others.

Hopefully, this week won’t be quite so cluttered with stuff, especially bad stuff.

Such is life as author. All that I can do is keep plugging away. I do anticipate some significant progress next week as created the best Save the Cat Beat Sheet I’ve ever done. There are a lot of chapters I know what to do with, which usually is what I need on a given day.

We had an interesting Monday with serious weather expected. We got lucky in Anthony as it went around us, and ever since it’s been beautiful. Yesterday, I went out to stare at the lake which helped greatly for the Save the Cat thing.

This weekend, of course, is Mother’s Day. Best wishes to all the mothers out there. Which reminds me, I need to buy some cards. Better go do that now…

What I’m Listening To

Roll the Bones by Rush. It’s my normal springtime turn the playlist to just Rush for several weeks time.

Quote of the Week

Happy Birthday to Howard Carter, born May 9th, 1874. I read something interesting lately that King Tut’s Curse might actually be a real thing. Someone found high radiation levels in the tomb, much too high and too localized to be normal. They’ve apparently found this in other Egyptian tombs.

They didn’t know about radioactivity per se, but t seems like the people who buried these mummies intentionally put rocks that caused sickness into these tombs. This might explain why Carter and others died of things like Hodgkin’s Disease. Fascinating if true, but I don’t have the link handy. Sorry about that.

Instead, you’ll just have to think about what it was like when they actually opened the door.

It was a sight surpassing all precedent, and one we never dreamed of seeing.
– Howard Carter

Rob’s Riddles

It’s back!!!! After way too long. You’ll start getting riddles again next week on my Patreon.

You can find it here: patreon.com/rhodri2112, along with a sample riddle.

First Line of Next Riddle:

I am the killer of worlds and keeper of trust

Dragon’s Tidings

BalloonFest on the 18th.

Also, check our website (www.reddragonquilts.com) for our May 30% off special!

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’m pleased to announce New Mythology’s open call for novels and series. Here are the details: chriskennedypublishing.com/2024/04/25/new-mythology-open-call/.

Paladins of Valor is out! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

The Ruriksaga is out on May 14th!

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (6,799)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Jo Boone’s The Celestial Sea, book 3 in her Combined Service series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0D32JTRWS.

Your pre-release this week is Companion to Ghosts by Kacey Ezell and David Shadoin. More in the 4HU!!! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CWNTPW6N.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 368.8lbs

Updated Word Count: 96,328

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: New Beginnings

Week 16 of 2024

Greetings all

It’s April 11th, which is sort of a personal holiday for me. In 2011, we closed on the Olathe house on April 11th. In 2023, we closed on this old mortuary in Anthony.

Happy Closing Day to me!

Of course, it’s not just a day of new beginnings where we live, we’re only 8 days from the full release of Paladins of Valor at FantaSci. I hope to see a bunch of you there.

Paladins of Valor
Paladins of Valor

As promised here’s the full list of stories and authors in Paladins of Valor, which is on pre-sale now here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

  • Preface by Rob Howell
  • Family Heirloom by Howard Andrew Jones (A Chronicles of Hanuvar Story)
  • Paladins of the Unbroken Light by D.J. Butler (A Tales of Indrajit and Fix Story)
  • High Water Mark by Chris Hepler
  • The Passing of the Mantle by David R. Birdsall (A Fractured Brotherhood Story)
  • The Purloined Heart by Christopher G. Nuttall (A Schooled in Magic Story)
  • Apprentice in Trouble by Chad Boyer (A Chronicles of the Dimensional Mage Story)
  • SEALed With a Kiss by C.V. Walter
  • Romancing Some Rock by Edie Skye (A Titan Mage Story)
  • Space Mage Secrets by Daniel M. Hoyt
  • The Oaths That Bind by H.Y. Gregor and David Shadoin (A Milesian Accords Story)
  • Valor’s Wirth by Jon R. Osborne (A Milesian Accords Story)
  • Welcome to Detroit by Nathan Balyeat (A Powers of the Night Story)
  • Those Who Went Before by Glen Cook (The Black Company on the Long Run)
  • The Muses Darling by Sarah A. Hoyt (A Tale of The Muses Darling)

What an amazing list! The Black Company. indrajit and Fix. Hanuvar. Titan Mage. Schooled in Magic. These are some of the best-selling universes in fantasy right now. Plus several worlds you’ll love and stories that stand on their own.

And did I mention not just one, but two Milesian Accords stories? Spoiler alert: Big doings in that universe over the next year!

This is surely the deepest list of authors ever for the Libri Valoris, and we’ve had a bunch of great authors take part.

It was a productive week reorganizing the shop. It’s a much different layout now, but with lots more books and shelf space. Plus I did a bunch of prepwork for a variety of things including heading out to North Carolina.

And with that, I’m going to go play with the grandbaby.

What I’m Listening To

Watching Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I really enjoy both it and Elementary, which will always be connected in time and space to me.

Quote of the Week

Kurt Vonnegut died seventeen years on April 11th. Such a creative mind.

 Laughing is good exercise. It’s like jogging on the inside.
– Kurt Vonnegut

New Mythology Works in Progress

Of note, this now includes our recent releases, so if you’re not sure what we’ve put out lately, you can go here and check.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Revelation, the third and final book in the Sol Saga series by James Fox. The revolution on Mars is gaining steam… at least until President Trent decides to break out the Rods from God! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CW6C4Y7D.

This week’s pre-release is Prince Dominator, the eighth book in Fred Hughes’ Prince of Britannia series. Hazard has taken the Sol System… but will he be able to hold onto it while getting the information back to Britannia? Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0D19WN6HN.

And then, of course, there’s Paladins of Valor!

They defend the weak, no matter the time, place, or foe.

They stand up for others in the cold dark of space, the dusty Wild West, and lands of mystical empires.

They fight with any weapon that can help them save those behind them, whether it’s battlemechs, magic, swords, or even Sharps rifles. Along the way, they discover they can be more than they ever thought.

So come join us as we visit, in fourteen great stories, the worlds of Hanuvar, the Black Company, Kish, the Milesian Accords, and more great universes because there are always those who stand up for those who can’t.

We call them paladins.

Pre-order it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

Your pre-release this week is PRERELEASE.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 367.2 lbs

Updated Word Count: 93,586

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

GaryCon AAR

I’m home from an epic GaryCon!

For those who may not know, GaryCon is a large gaming convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin named after Gary Gygax, inventor of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s basically a megadungeon in its own right.

Players Handbook 1E
Players Handbook 1E

It started after the passing of Gary. His friends and family were all together and decided to play in his honor. Then they did a small con the following year. Then it grew, much like dragons.

I was there entirely thanks to the opportunities provided by Luke Gygax. I’ve spent the last few months helping in his Okkorim setting (which is already really cool and getting better all the time. Not only did I get the chance to play and schmooze, I also got to DM a couple of games, which is the first time I’ve done so at a con since the 90s. I’ve missed that quite a bit.

Anyway, let’s get into what all happened!

I originally planned to get there on Wednesday, but I’d heard there were some things going on during Tuesday, so I moved my plans up a day. It’s well I did, because not only did I get to hang out with some folks, I also got in an early game.

This game was with Stefan Pokorny and was one of the highlights of the week. He is the founder of Dwarven Forge, a company that makes terrain for RPGs. I’d seen it before but this was the first time I’d ever played a game with it. It’s really something cool.

Besides having a whole dungeon laid out, he had two special iconic pieces. One was the demon from the first edition Player’s Handbook (the one at the top). If you’ve been playing D&D for a while, you know this image well.

The more fun piece was doorway in the mouth. The one from Tomb of Horrors. Spoiler alert: This particular encounter has probably killed more player characters than any other single encounter in D&D. If it hasn’t, it’s close.

Tomb of Horrors
Tomb of Horrors

The mouth here is… well… if you know you know.

And all of us knew. It was a door we could have gone through but because we knew, we went around it. Which of course was the wrong way to go. Brilliantly done by Stefan.

For the record, our reasoning was sound, if incorrect in this case.

Anyway, we had a great time, and then I had about a day and a half of schmoozing. The central bar at the Grand Lodge is a pretty nice place, along with several restaurants.

Thursday is when the con really started for me. At 8am, I ran A1: Sinister Sands, a low-level adventure in Okkorim. This group was cagey and also got lucky. It included a couple of players I’d met in the game with Stefan. In any case, they did a bunch right and managed to win in the end without too much stress, though there were a few moments where the dice failed them.

Once that was done, I had a race to run. Let me explain.

The Lodge at the Grand Geneva is a pretty neat place. Overall, the resort is huge, and the Lodge itself is massive. I discovered this at about 12:53pm on Thursday as I was hustling to get to my next game. The Forum hallway is over a quarter mile from Maple Lawn A, and that’s if you go straight to it instead of winding through the various corridors and stairs inside the hotel. I’ll know not to plan an event immediately after another separated by that much again.

My schedule at GaryCon included as many different game systems as I could fit in so I could get a taste, and this was one I was looking forward to. It’s called Fate of the Norns and it’s got a really neat mechanic. You have a certain number of runes, and these are all the things you can do. To move, you play a rune; to attack, to cast a spell, to do anything, you play a rune.

One challenge to Pathfinder 1E is there are so many different action types, you can sometimes lose track of what you can and can’t do. This system had none of that.

It had a number of neat twists, too, especially to someone like me who’s read so much of Norse, Celtic, and Anglo-Saxon cultures. It had a great flavor to me, but even without the flavor, having a physical token that shows how many more actions you have remaining was something I may add to my personal versions of D&D.

After that I went to the dealer’s room. It was right next to the game I’d just played, and I had a break anyway. I found all sorts of deals and brought back quite a bit at half off or used or whatever ever. This was great shopping! However, then I had to sherpa it all back to my car. Did I mention it was really, really far away from where most of my stuff was happening?

Anyway, I got dinner, then I went to one of the games I’d really been looking for. It was a D&D 2E Descent into Menzoberranzan. If you’re a D&D player, you know that name. I chose the samurai character since there wasn’t a paladin (and I’ve been reading Rob Hobart’s Japanese fantasy series).

It was a really fun adventure until the final battle. This was entirely due to the whims of fate, not anything the DM could control. I did what the Lawful Good samurai would do and jumped in to save a hostage. Then I missed a saving throw (by a lot) that basically took me out of the fight.

I’d do what I did again, as it exactly fit the character. Luck, good or ill, is part of the game. Overall, I hope I can play more with that DM.

I had a fun moment, though. I played a lot of 2E back in the 80s and 90s. We even played it at my first bachelor party (I’m such a wild, wild guy). I had so much of the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide memorized.

That was 30 years ago, though. I figured I’d have huge problems remembering things and I did, until about 2 hours in. Then, suddenly, my brain shifted and I was rattling off spells like mad. That was so much fun, just having that mesh with the memories of games long past.

Anyway, I was exhausted and went back to my hotel. I stayed, by the way, at Timber Ridge, which is the waterpark resort hotel part of the overall resort that the Lodge was just a part of. It wasn’t ideal, and I doubt I’ll stay there next time, but there were advantages.

I started Friday off with my second running of Sinister Sands. This was a fun group in many ways, but they made a tactical decision that made it challenging for me. They were at the hideout of the bad guys and instead of scouting, sneaking, or even just attacking, they knocked on the door.

I’d considered a bunch of tactical setups. That wasn’t one of them. It ended up being a really tough fight for them, but they pushed through.

After that, I played in the Introduction to Castles and Crusades scenario. This is one of the games I’ve been intrigued by. In many ways, it’s simply D&D 1E, but there are some twists. Notably is the concept of primary stats. Many games have this concept, but C&C emphasizes it by making rolls involving these stats at, essentially, +6 as opposed to rolls against other stats. I like that quite a bit.

Next I went to probably my favorite game system of the week, Hyperborea. It, too, is a derivation of D&D 1E but with a bunch more flavor and revamped classes.

I played a runegraver, which is sort of a cleric but without healing spells. Basically, you get to cast all the support spells, plus a couple wizard spells, without having any slots aimed at cure wounds spells.

I like playing clerics, and Pathfinder 1E’s concept of spontaneously converting spells to cure spells so the cleric can  take advantage of their versatile spell list is something I appreciate. The runegraver takes that another step by not even giving them the option.

The particular scenario we played was about as Norse as you can get. We were all vikings adventuring in Jotunheim. Again, this was right up my alley. I’m absolutely investigating this game system more.

Anyway, that was basically 11-12 hours of gaming and I was beat.

However, unlike Friday morning where my first game was noon, I was originally scheduled to get there 8am for another 12 hour set. Worse, game 1 was another Fate of the Norns scenario all the way in the Forum followed by a game in Maple Lawn A.

I couldn’t do it. I skipped out of the first one. There was literally the opportunity to schedule games nonstop, and I succumbed to the temptation. I missed some at the end because of simple fatigue. I apologize to those DMs I skipped out of, and I’ll plan better next year.

White Plume Mountain
White Plume Mountain

However, the first game of Saturday was one I’d been looking forward to. It was a retouched version of an old adventure, White Plume Mountain.

I wanted to play in the module for its own sake, but I was also looking forward to playing with Brand, a great guy from Ealdormere. If there was any doubt we’d have fun gaming together, this game dispelled that, much like a high-level cleric with a zombie.

But to be honest, I was not as sharp as I’d been previously. I did not sleep well any night at the con, which is one reason I doubt I’ll stay at Timber Ridge again. I simply never could get comfortable.

In any case, I was slowed by fatigue. I popped in and out of activity whenever I could, but I walked out of it thinking about the 2 other scenarios I had scheduled with dread.

So I was smart. I went back to my hotel room for a nap and a shower, then came back for a real meal and to socialize as much as possible Saturday evening.

This was so much the smart move. I ended up sharing a table with the DM from the C&C game and we got to chat for a while.

I also got to unlock an achievement. For the first time ever, I met a Twitter friend I didn’t already know prior to Twitter in real life. Yodanno is one of my favorite follows there, posting all sorts of old school D&D stuff. He’s a good guy IRL and I’m really glad I got to finally meet him. I gave him a copy of A Lake Most Deep, too.

In fact, I took 20 copies of A Lake Most Deep to give away. I gave the last two to Yodanno and his friend who was really excited about the hardboiled private eye in medieval fantasy idea.

I wish I’d had more stamina, but around 10pm, I was running down. Plus, I’d realized I might be able to get on the road early enough to get home last night.

Sadly, this meant I missed Stefan’s Black Sabbath tribute party. I’d have had a blast, and if he does something like that next time, I’ll plan better.

I went because Luke gave me the opportunity and I could help out with Okkorim. However, I had other items on the agenda.

I believe the best writing these days is coming from publishers at the CKP range. We’re good, we’re professional, but we’re not locked down into the big corporate ways.

I believe the same is true for the game world. I’m not much of a fan of what WOTC is putting out. It’s bland, boring, and simple. It’s basically McDonald’s. Sure, every once in a while, you eat at a McDonald’s, but it’s not really something you get excited about.

But Frog God Games? Troll Lord Games? Goodman Games? All the others in that range? Great stuff. It’s innovative and aims at making it all cool and fun.  You may or may not like their flavor, just as you may not like the flavor at certain restaurants, but they’re packed with spice and energy.

I went with the hope I could meet with these folks and get more opportunities to write and edit. I had a number of good conversations and hopefully, the follow up conversations will prove fruitful. I have really enjoyed working in Okkorim and maybe this grows into something more.

For now, though, I think it’s time for me to relax for the rest of the day. I made it home at 1am last night with no particular issues. In fact, right now, I’m as fresh as I could hope.

That’s partly because this was just a really good time for me. Nostalgia, professional advancement, new friends, and fun all wrapped into a great big package.

Basically, it was a grand adventure!

 

 

 

Rob’s Update: Happy Groundhog’s Day Eve

Week 5 of 2024

Greetings all

There’s no big news this week. I’m plugging away at tasks for bigger projects like Okkorim and Paladins of Valor. I was very productive, but it’s one of those weeks where I can’t point at a major item of note.

Between editing and writing, I dealt with something like 60,000 words this past week, which is nice. However, as I say, they’re tasks within an overall project.

I spent a goodly amount of time straightening up in the garage and shop areas. Still a long way to go, but my goal of getting the shop going in April or so for some woodworking projects is on track. Plus, I have a special plan for a chunk of the garage.

I think that’s it for this week. It’s a short update, I know, but this was one of those boring yet necessary and productive weeks.

Have a great week, everyone!

New and Cool

It’s not new and cool, but I’ve been rewatching Babylon 5. Such a good show.

Quote of the Week

Happy Coronation day to Edward III on this day in 1327.

And here’s his parenting technique with his son, the Black Prince.

Also say to them, that they suffre hym this day to wynne his spurres, for if god be pleased, I woll this journey be his, and the honoure therof.
– Edward III

Dragon’s Tidings

We had a great game night this past Monday, and I know the word is spreading. This past week we started a 5E campaign in the Firehall Sagas.

Also, the Beginning Quilting class has been a big hit so far. Session 3 tonight.

Oh, and we’re starting to see more longarm quilting jobs. If you’re interested in that service, you might want to reach out. At some point, there’ll be a wait for her to get started.

Check out our class schedule:
reddragonquilts.com/calendar.htm

New Mythology Works in Progress

Of note, this now includes our recent releases, so if you’re not sure what we’ve put out lately, you can go here and check.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)
  • Okkorim (58,116)

Upcoming Events

Freebies and Cool Stuff

February: Free Fantasy & SciFi

https://books.bookfunnel.com/fantasyscicifebruary/8nf2hq0590

February Sci-Fi Giveaway

https://storyoriginapp.com/to/l1SsMIe

New Releases

This week we have Stolen Dreams from Dennis M. Myers, the 4th and final book in his Rise of the Automated Empire. Get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0CT5V8G8M.

This week’s pre-release is Wolf Legion by William S. Frisbee, Jr., the ninth book in The Last Marines. Holding Earth continues to get harder, and everyone is against the last Marines, but will they give up? Never! Check out the entire series here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5WRRMPB.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 371.0 lbs

Updated Word Count: 21,114

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: New Year, New Update

Week 1 of 2024

Greetings all

Here’s hoping you all had a great new year! We had a tame New Year’s Eve, having chucked our plans and lounged on the couch. 2023 was a great, but exhausting year.

As we move to 2024, I’m making some renovations to the update list. First of all, I’m replacing the What I’m Listening To to New and Cool. Often, this will be books, music, and shows that are new to me, but can be all sorts of things I think are cool. That might be some happening in Anthony, too, as I got rid of that separate category.

Judging by the feedback, you guys like the Quote of the Week section, so that’s staying, as is Rob’s Riddles, which I plan to start doing that regularly again soon.

The New Mythology Works in Progress section is going away as a separate section. Why? Well, we have some really cool announcements to make on that front down the road. Also, I’ll be talking about it more in this portion.

In its place will come Dragon’s Tidings, which will have something of interest from Red Dragon Quilts and Dragon’s Den Books. I’m also bringing back the Freebie Section. This is where you can download some free stuff, including something from me.

Now back to the what I did this week. A short story went to the editor on Tuesday and I wrote about 5k in Okkorim. I’ll have a fun update on that soon.

I’ve started sending out edited stories for Paladins of Valor. Still a long way to go to climb that hill but it’s a beautiful vista ahead of us.

And with that, time to get back to work.

New and Cool

Sabaton is 25 years old this year, and if  you haven’t listened to them before, they’re the best Swedish symphonic metal specializing in military historical themes I know of.

25 years? That’s pretty darn cool.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Jacob Grimm, born on this day in 1785. You might remember him for his fairy tales, but I’ve grown fascinated by his linguistic laws. Here’s a link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimm’s_law.

He also seems to have been a man after my own heart.

“A good friend doesn’t let you do stupid things …. alone.”
― Grimm

Dragon’s Tidings

We have our first classes at Red Dragon Quilts! These include Beginning Knitting on the 13th, English Paper Piercing on the 16th, and 2 8-week long courses on Beginning Quilting.

Check out our class schedule:
reddragonquilts.com/calendar.htm

New Mythology Works in Progress

I had an incredibly hard time choosing the winners of this year’s open call for Paladins of Valor. So many stories I wanted to publish, but here are the four I finally selected as the best.

  • Chris Hepler with High Water Mark
  • Nathan Balyeat with Welcome to Detroit
  • David Birdsall with The Passing of the Mantle
  • Chad Boyer with Apprentice in Trouble

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

Freebies and Cool Stuff

Free Science Fiction Books

Free Science Fiction Books
Free Science Fiction Books

mybookcave.com/g/free-science-fiction-books/?bcsrc=m96pfh

New Year Sci-Fi Fantasy Freebies

New Year Sci-Fi Fantasy Freebies
New Year Sci-Fi Fantasy Freebies

books.bookfunnel.com/newyearscififantasyfreebies/ukebd39of3

New Releases

This week we have book 8 in the Last Marines series by William S. Frisbee, Jr. It’s entitled Wolf Emperor and you can get it here amazon.com/dp/B0CR1TXG61.

Your pre-release this week is Prince Conqueror by Fred Hughes. This is book 7 in his Prince of Britannia series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CRD7CL1V.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 364.4 lbs

Updated Word Count: 678

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: The Opening Was Grand

Week 50 of 2023

Greetings all

Last Friday was our Grand Opening, and it was great! A bunch of people made it happen, and we thank all of them.

Here’s a couple of pictures thanks to Kari at Harper County EcoDev.

Grand Opening Red Dragon Quilts
Grand Opening Red Dragon Quilts
Grand Opening Dragons Den
Grand Opening Dragons Den

We’re going on an adventure!

To be honest, much of this week was spent on recovery. I did work on a story for the upcoming 4HU Bureau 42 anthology. I also did a bunch of stuff for Okkorim. However, it wasn’t my most productive week overall.

Monday is, of course, Christmas. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season. We get more time with the grandbaby, which is really all the present I need. This will be our first Christmas with the baby and how cool is that?

One last thing. Thanks to all of you for following along on my journey. 2023 did not go as anticipated, but I’m so glad of how it went.

Wow, a fairly brief post from me. I guess that’s my present to you all.

What I’m Listening To

Rams v. Saints. It’s been a fun game to watch.

Quote of the Week

Today is December 21st, or as the Europeans would write it, 21/12.

Sure it’s the solstice, but it’s International Rush Day!

What can this strange device be?
When I touch it, it gives forth a sound
It’s got wires that vibrate, and give music
What can this thing be that I found?

See how it sings like a sad heart
And joyously screams out its pain
Sounds that build high like a mountain
Or notes that fall gently, like rain.
– Rush, 2112

New Mythology Works in Progress

I had an incredibly hard time choosing the winners of this year’s open call for Paladins of Valor. So many stories I wanted to publish, but here are the four I finally selected as the best.

  • Chris Hepler with High Water Mark
  • Nathan Balyeat with Welcome to Detroit
  • David Birdsall with The Passing of the Mantle
  • Chad Boyer with Apprentice in Trouble

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Ruriksaga (52,626)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week is something new in the Four Horsemen Universe. It’s Thicker Than Water from Michael Morton and you can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CQ5TC144.

Your pre-release this week is Broken Trust, third book in the Rise of the Automated Empire series by Dennis M. Myers. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CKVRTSQQ.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 365.8

Updated Word Count: 373,065

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: On the Move

Week 15 of 2023

Greetings all

I promised big news last week on a non-writing project and here it is. Before I get to that, I have another announcement.

Huge congratulations to Sheellah Kennedy for being unremarkable! Well, she’s not, as you know. She’s awesome, but in this case, it means that she’s on top of her health issues. The warning signs noted by the doctor were, in turns out, unremarkable.

Which is wonderful to hear.

Hunting the Hart
Hunting the Hart

Now onto the big announcement… errr… after another one.

Hunting the Hart, book 5 in Jon R. Osbourne’s modern fantasy series The Milesian Accords, is now available to pre-order for Audible.

Pre-order it here: audible.com/pd/Hunting-the-Hart-Audiobook/B0C24XX31G.

OK, now onto the big announcement, and this time I mean it.

The wife and I are on the move. We closed on a great building in Anthony, KS where we can open up the quilt/craft/yarn/weaving store she’s always wanted and I can have a bookstore.

That means my writing/editing has suffered as I pack frantically. We’ve got the movers coming on Monday, and we want to make sure we have enough stuff packed to make the expense worthwhile.

This just in, we have too many books. And skeins of yarn. And games. And and and.

Normally, we’d take time to pare through stuff and see what we’re willing to part with. However, the new place is so big, we don’t have any space issues and we don’t have time to pay that much attention.

Sooooo… if you wanna come help us pack on Sunday, you’re welcome to volunteer.

I’m late this week on a number of projects. I didn’t get my riddle sent out, which I’m aiming to fix today. I didn’t get much writing or editing done.

However, I’m taking my own advice. I tell my writers that there’s a difference between reasons and excuses. Avoid excuses, even to the point of chastising yourself when you use them.

But reasons? Just accept they exist and power through them. The most important thing when you’re dealing with reasons is to prevent yourself from getting angry with yourself. That leads to a spiral that ruins your productivity for a long time.

I’m puttering with writing and editing when I can, and hopefully this is just a blip. Lots of fun plans for the summer, when everything settles down a bit.

In the meantime, welcome to my madness!

What I’m Listening To

Speaking of madness, I’m currently listening to Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, which has one of my favorite bass lines by Bob Daisley.

Quote of the Week

One of the great events in Japanese history happened today in 1612: Miyamoto Musashi defeated Sasaki Kojirō at Funajima island. Since we haven’t had a quote from Musashi in a while, here’s one of many great quotes by him.

Also, it’s relevant to the reasons/excuses thing. So much of writing is keeping your head in a good place. Give what’s in yourself a chance to be awesome.

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

Rob’s Riddles

I have a Patreon where I write Old English style riddles and provide snippets of my work. You can find it here: patreon.com/rhodri2112, along with a sample riddle.

First Line of Next Riddle:

I have saved a realm       Riding on the waves

Latest Snippet: Chapter 5 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (72,812)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Children of the Fall, by J.P. Chandler. It’s a new release in the excellent post-apocalyptic Fallen World universe. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C1J99413.

Your pre-release this week is Mike Jack Stoumbos’ first foray into the 4HU, Defender’s Rise. This book gives you a look at the elSha and opSha, a couple of races that—until now—have been secondary in nature, so it’s not to be missed. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/1648557058.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 351.0

Updated Word Count: 109,884

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: A Distraction for the Ages

Week 9 of 2023

Greetings all

I had a productive week going until something came up on Wednesday and I’ve gotten very little done the last couple of days.

Julieana Joy
Julieana Joy

Oh, well, you only get your first grandchild once. Everyone, meet Julieana Joy. Feel free to help me spoil her.

I focused this week in getting back into the groove with Farewell, My Ugly, and I did very well. I’m almost at 60k, which I’ve been sitting at for a while, but I went back and edited a bunch so I could get a better grip on the story.

I aim to have have that done by the end of March and I’m on schedule.

I did a bunch of prep work for Planet Comicon, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. New promo stuff, banners, cards, etc.

I did a bit of editing on Where Now the Rider. I’m making solid progress on it and I’ll have it done by the end of the month as well.

To be honest, I know I did more stuff but I’m still a bit tired from all the travel and cool stuff this week, so I’m going to cut it short this week.

What I’m Listening To

NFL Combine Coverage. Yes, I’m strange, but having it on in the background is really a good way for me to soak in who I’ll pick for pet cats in April.

Now, the big question. Do I go to the draft? At least opening night? It’s in KC this year.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss.

Also, I’d be a horrible clam, but I’m certainly a ham.

I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I’m not just a clam, or a ham, or a dusty jar of sour gooseberry jam! I am what I am – that’s a great thing to be!
– Dr. Seuss

Rob’s Riddles

I have a Patreon where I write Old English style riddles and provide snippets of my work. You can find it here: patreon.com/rhodri2112, along with a sample riddle.

First Line of Next Riddle:

Love have I waged                   War have I wooed

Latest Snippet: Chapter 3 of Hunting the Hart.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Hunting the Hart is out!!! This is book 5 in the Milesian Accords by Jon R. Osborne, and here is it’s blurb:
Magic has returned to the world, but so has an ancient foe.

Erin Donnelly, descendant of Cu Chulainn and Champion of the Folk, searches for Nechtan—her lover cursed to live as a stag for a year and a day. Enlisting the aid of allies, Erin maintains a vigil, turning back hunters and predators who might harm Nechtan in the wilds of the magical otherworld.

But when Stangr Iron-skinned escapes his imprisonment in the River of Time, he has one thing on his mind—revenge on Nechtan. Stangr’s thirst for vengeance takes him from the Seelie courts of the otherworld to the windswept Great Plains.

Can Erin find Nechtan before Stangr tracks him down? Erin beat Giwargix the Dragon-Slayer, but can she defeat a jotunn-blooded Viking impervious to blades and bullets?

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (59,940)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Jon R. Osborne’s Hunting the Hart, fifth in his excellent Milesian Accords series. The modern world and the magical world collide, with magic, technology, and mythology all swirling in a fast-paced story of heroes. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/product/1648556477.

We have book 6 from William S. Frisbee’s The Last Marines series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BWHFLXC1.

Your pre-release this week is D.T. Read’s Running from the Gods, book 4 in her Seventh Shaman series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BHCMKH2L.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 344.2

Updated Word Count: 105,360

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: At MarsCon

Week 2 of 2023

Greetings all

I’m at MarsCon, who honored me with naming me an official guest!

First time as official guest, and I hope I live up to their expectations. I know I have a great schedule:

  • Friday 1-2pm: Creating Alternate World Histories
  • Friday 5-6pm: Worldbuilding: Food and Drink (Moderator)
  • Friday 8-9pm: Researching for Your Story
  • Saturday 3-4pm: Finding Your Bliss Later in Life – Advice for the Late Bloomer
  • Saturday 5-7pm: CKP The Year Ahead
  • Sunday 10-11am: How Many Jobs Has That Author Had? (Moderator)
  • Sunday 12-1pm: “I Got A Great Idea For A Book!”

Going to be a blast. Thanks to Joel Lyons, Dave Cleric, and Erin Cram for all their help.

This was also my first week publishing a riddle on the Patreon. I’m really excited how this is going to go.

On the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month, I’ll post a new riddle. On the other Mondays, I’ll post a snippet from a Work in Progress. I’ll only charge for the riddles, by the way. The snippets are free to all subscribers.

Here’s the first line to this week’s riddle:
In me souls are seen     And once were stolen

I’ve gotten a bunch of work done on Bonds of Valor this week. The cover names are Jody Lynn Nye, Glen Cook, Todd McCaffrey, Sarah Hoyt, and D.J. Butler. What a great list!

This comes out on the 24th of March at FantaSci.

I also started working on Hunting the Hart. This is book 5 in Jon R. Osborne’s excellent Milesian Accords series. I’ll have a release date for this soon.

And with that, I need to go. I’m at the con hotel and there’s schmoozing to do.

What I’m Listening To

The History of English podcast. I wish the podcaster wasn’t so repetitive, but it’s a great thing to listen to as you drive 1000 miles.

Quote of the Week

On January 12th, 1969, the New York Jets shocked the world and changed pro football forever.

I’ve got news for you. We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.
– Joe Namath

The Riddles!

I have a new Patreon where I write Old English style riddles and provide snippets of my work.

You can find it here: patreon.com/rhodri2112, along with a sample riddle.

First Line of Current Riddle:

In me souls are seen     And once were stolen

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’m pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

Of note, I’m running behind on edits with all the other things going on. These winners will be back before next week.

Bloodheart, by Justin Doyle
Stars and Shadows, by B.A. Ironwood
The Unwanted Legion, by Casey Moops
The Coward’s Shadow by Fiona Grey

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (58,812)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The new release this week is Prince: War Leader by Fred Hughes. This is the third is his action-packed Prince of Britannia series. Get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0BRMRHX97.

Your pre-release this week is book 5 in William S. Frisbee, Jr.’s Last Marines series, Genocide of Mankind. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BS443W6S/.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 337.6

Updated Word Count: 1,836

Firehall Sagas Archives: 738 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

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe