Pennsic 2019 AAR

Greetings all

I made it home from Pennsic yesterday afternoon. With the help of the proto-incipient step-daughter, my car was empty by 5pm. Go us!

Now I’m at Brewbaker’s. As a regular here I basically sit down and they simply ask if I want the usual, which is iced tea and a really good southwestern salad to which I add more jalapenos and avocado.

“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came”

That’s true for Pennsic as well as Brewbaker’s. In many ways, Pennsic is just my normal neighborhood bar where I’m a regular. In the parlance of the event, I’m just on my 50-week town run.

For the last 8 years or so, I’ve hosted a first Monday of Pennsic bardic circle. I didn’t do a great job of promoting the event this year, but I still got about 80 all told. My high is apparently something around 125. This year, we sang until about 3:45am. This is a record, by not by much. We’ve been after 3:00am several times.

Both things are actually shocking to me. I’m astounded that something I suggested as basically a chance to get a few people singing has turned into a Pennsic fixture.

I’d like to take a moment and thank all the people who routinely camp in Calontir on that first Monday. They’ve put up with this thing, enjoyed it (mostly), and assisted with extra chairs, food and beer donations, and lots of singing. Thanks very much.

I plan on continuing this as long as I can and I hope to see a bunch of you at 0-dark-30 on 27 July 2020.

One of the most enjoyable moments this year was the attendance of Jamie Ibson. If that name is familiar to you, it’s partly because his name graces the cover of We Dare, the anthology that includes my story “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms.”

He was there at the bardic circle, his first one ever. Then he roamed around seeing so much with fresh eyes and a good camera. I had a great time hearing his perspective and seeing past my eighteen years of attending.

I’m glad he got to come and see the wild Rhodri in his natural habitat, which is different than the wild Rob at a convention.

The shop went really well this year, I thought. Thanks to Renaissance Arts and Designs, our neighbor, we were able to expand our footprint. For the first time we weren’t cramped for space and we could hide a bunch of the clutter behind tent walls.

We have a number of tweaks of course. I built a really night shelf unit that I’ll add a special Pennsic add-on. We’ll have a better gutter between tents. We’ll tweak some table and item layouts. But overall, I think the general consensus is it was a vast improvement.

Sales for me were slightly up from 2018. Nothing huge, but I’ve increased every year and this was no exception. However, I’ve already noticed my post-Pennsic e-book spike has begun. This is encouraging as it’s usually late this week before I see much as it takes that long for people to unpack my bookmarks.

I was able to do a little more roaming this year, in part thanks to beautiful weather. Sometimes dealing with the weather at Pennsic is exhausting, especially over 16 days. This year had a little rain, though not much compared to what it could have been. The temps never got to 90 and were often lower than 80.

So I had more energy to go to some bardic circles and events. My highlight was getting to see a friend from Atlantia have her laureling vigil. A laurel, by the way, is a title bestowed on someone for being good at arts and sciences, and one sits a vigil before receiving it to contemplate a change in station. She’s a great addition to our ranks.

Overall, it was a good war and I hope see you all next year.



Rob’s Update: At Pennsic We Have Only Perfect Weather

Week 32 of 2019

Greetings all

Today we close the shop at Pennsic. It’s been a very good war. Sales have been good of the physical copies and I’ve already seen the Pennsic spike of e-sales. Really pleased about that.

Writing on None Call Me Mother has been consolidation work, generally. I’ve been editing what I had in part because I was losing track of the story. Too many trees, not enough forest. This seems to happen between 50-70k which means I’m right at that mark.

I’m getting excited as I get closer to the final battles that will conclude my first trilogy. I’m laying out the cool naval battle todayand the sequence where the final face off against the bad guy is almost entirely planned. It’s odd to have planned stuff, but that’s what thinking about a particular story for three years now will do for me, I guess. The big reason I’ve been editing/consolidating is to make sure I get those threads all in their channel.

Side note: Writing a trilogy is a bit of a different beast. I’m learning a number of techniques that will help for multi-book series in the future.

Anyway, we should be packed up and on the road tomorrow early afternoon. This is always a strange time. I love being at Pennsic. It’s productive and fun. However, I’m ready to be home.

One last thing. I was not, sadly, nominated as a finalist for the Dragon Awards. However, there slate of nominations includes a bunch of great stuff. You can vote here:

Current Playlist Song

No music, but I’m hearing the passing conversations punctuated by the occasional cannon blast starting a battle on a lovely, calm morning in a Pennsylvania forest.

It’s actually a beautiful, calming time right now.

Quote of the Week

“That’s a really bad idea. Let’s do it!”
– My version of the unofficial Pennsic motto

News and Works in Progress

  • JH (416)
  • None Call Me Mother (approx. 60,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Been focused on Pennsic, so nothing else on the wiki

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on Renaissance Arts and Designs. They’re the T-shirt vendor next to Calontir Trim every year. The gave up some of their frontage on the road so we could expand our booth. This version of the booth was significantly better than previous years, and I thank them for their generosity.

You can find their stuff here:

Today’s Weight: Not really sure

Updated Word Count: Around 165,000

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Four Horsemen Universe
Short Stories


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