All posts by Rob Howell

Rob’s Ramblings: FantaSci 2022 AAR

Greetings all

I’m home after a great time at FantaSci. This con is in the Research Triangle in North Carolina, so it’s a bit of a hike from Kansas City, but it’s well worth it. To put it this way, I have already bought my pass for 2023.

I got to the hotel on Thursday afternoon, and began the hanging out almost immediately. The best part of cons isn’t really the con, though all of it is necessary for my business, it’s the people.

The first afternoon at cons is therefore a great time of re-connecting. Then, Thursday evening we went to Trali Irish Pub for a group dinner. Then, there was drinking at the bar.

I got to bed far too late.

Friday, I had some errands to run for the CKP Party on Saturday night, then I was back for three straight panels.

Keen Edge of Valor
Keen Edge of Valor

First, we had the release panel for Keen Edge of Valor. In this, we get as many authors who are in the anthology to come to the panel and talk about their story. It’s fun to share all the cool stuff in an anthology, and we had a great time because it’s a great anthology.

Get it here, by the way: amazon.com/dp/B09W91TP24/

Then we had a panel on Killing People and Breaking Stuff, including Mark Wandrey as moderator, Joshua Palmatier, Monalisa Foster, and William Joseph Roberts. This went over how much combat and violence to put in a story. The basic answer is that each of us have to develop a style that works with whatever genre we’re writing in.

Last on Friday night was perhaps my favorite panel on the week, talking about making books into movies. Carolyn Kay did a great job as moderator. Chaz Kemp, Cathy DeMott, and I went over a wide variety of topics and it was a hoot.

Then on Saturday we started with the Chris Kennedy Publishing Year Ahead panel. TL:DR is that there’s a bunch of great stuff coming. For the long version, go to chriskennedypublishing.com.

I had a bit of a break then before going into a panel on podcasting. There weren’t many people in the hall, but that became a good thing as Ian J. Malone sort of turned it into a roundtable. It was a blast, especially because Nicole Givens Kurtz is a hoot, and very, very sharp. Plus there was Kevin Steverson. Really good panel.

Immediately after, we had a great panel on overcoming Writer’s Block with Mark Stallings and Mark Jack Stoumbos. There are tools we can use, but one thing I want to emphasize is that we need to differentiate between those times when writer’s block has to do with the story and times when it has to do with fatigue, frustration, depression, and other things with the writer.

Then I had another panel on alternate history. I didn’t prepare for this as well as I should as moderator because I didn’t find out about it until Saturday afternoon. This is all on me because it was in the program, I just didn’t notice it.

Anyway, I had a Chuck Gannon and Dave Butler on the panel, along with Jason Cordova and Chris Kennedy, so I didn’t have to do much. They just got to riffing on stuff back and forth. At least I’m smart enough to sit back and let them go.

That was my last panel of the day, but then there was a huge evening of socializing. The Four Horsemen Dining Out that FantaSci hosts is unique, as far as I know, and an amazing experience.

Side note: Nick Steverson started the Dining Out off with a bang.

Anyway, then we had the CKP party, which went well as far as I could tell. All I  know is I spent Saturday night chatting and schmoozing until late in the night.

This last part was an issue, because on Sunday morning at 9am I hosted the New Mythology Press year ahead panel. I was really impressed with how many we got to come out on Sunday morning, because I for one wouldn’t have minded sleeping in.

Deadly Fortune
Deadly Fortune

The big announcement was the cover reveal for Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg. This is a swashbuckling private eye novel with swords and intrigue and pirates.

Then there was time to hang out until Closing Ceremonies. I got to announce the winners of the FantaSci Short Story Contest.

The four finalists were C.M. DeMott, Nathan Balyeat, Chris Hepler, and Jonathan Miller. The winner was Chris Hepler, with his story “The Torturer of Camelot.” A great story that was at the top of my list from the start.

I also announced next year’s anthology theme. It will be entitled Bonds of Valor and while the primary theme of deeds of valor remains unchanged, we’re also adding a subtheme of bonds between characters.

This includes characters in a romantic relationship, buddy adventures, oaths sworn to others, and any other bond between characters.

The submission details are:
Deadline: November 30th, 2022
Word Count: 7-10,000 words
Specifics: Times New Roman, 12 point, and 1.5 line spacing.

Get writing!

As for me, I’m going to look forward to FantaSci 2023. Tickets are available here: fantasci.rocks/

See you there!

 

FantaSci 2022

Greetings all

It’s a great afternoon here in the Research Triangle and FantaSci is getting ready to kick off.

I’m actually moving a little slowly today. I might have had more beverages than I’m used to while chatting with a whole bunch of awesome people I haven’t seen in far too long. It was worth it.

And I’ve got a busy weekend planned.

I kick off with the Keen Edge of Valor release panel. All the authors in the anthology here at the con will pop in and talk about their stories and be there to sign copies too. This is a 7pm in Azalea.

Then I get to talk about killing people and breaking stuff, which is totally about how to write about it. Not that I have ever done any of these to another human. Ever. Anyway, it’s at 8pm in Magnolia.

Three in a row on Friday. At 9pm in Orchid, we talk about when is the movie better than the book.

Saturday is the big day, of course. At 11am, in Orchid, we start the day with Chris Kennedy Publishing, the year ahead.

Then, at 1pm, there’s a panel on podcasting. I’m still learning here, but I’ve really enjoyed this so far. It’ll be in Azalea.

Immediately after, we discuss ways to deal with Writer’s Block. This is at 2pm in Rose.

That’s my last panel for the day, but it’s a big night for me. The Four Horsemen Dining Out, a unique event in SF/F conventions as far as I know, is from 7pm to 9pm in the big combined space.

After that, we’re throwing the CKP Party! It’ll be beers, MAC rounds, and snackies!

Then, Sunday morning at 9am, I have to be coherent as that’s when I get to do my New Mythology year ahead panel. We’ve got lots to talk about. That’ll be in Magnolia.

That’s my last panel, but I’ll stick around to closing ceremonies to announce the winner of the FantaSci contest, and the theme for next year’s anthology.

What a great time. So glad to be back at a con. So enough of this blogging, I’m off to schmooze.

Rob’s Update: Burying the Lede

Week 13 of 2022

Greetings all

I’m in the Research Triangle in Raleigh/Durham NC right now for FantaSci. So excited to see people. It’ll be a busy weekend, and tomorrow I’ll do a post about where all I’ll be.

I have to apologize. You all know that Keen Edge of Valor comes out tomorrow, and I have a bunch more interviews to post from the authors, but I simply didn’t have time this week.

It was a huge week for me.

On Saturday, I sent off my edits to A Sundered Throne by Philippa Werner. This is the first book in a new series, and if you’re a fan of Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantium series, you’re gonna love this one. I’m really excited to get to be a part of it.

However, I’ve completely buried the lede.

What? FantaSci isn’t the lede? Getting another step closer to a new series from a great author isn’t the lede? Keen Edge of Valor coming out tomorrow isn’t the lede?

Nope. The lede is that I typed “The End” on Tuesday for A Door Into Winter. It still has a goodly amount of editing to go, but it is no longer vaporware.

And I love it.

What I’m Listening To

The sound of the air conditioning unit in my hotel room. Wooooo!! Such a party animal I am.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. This is a quote that is actually important for writers, if one considers that “victory” can be in part described by typing “The End.” That is only one part of the path, after all.

“After victory, tighten the cords of your helmet.”
– Tokugawa Ieyasu

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes a review of Batman and some great podmail questions.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming on the 5th of April!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced this weekend at closing ceremonies.

I just passed A Sundered Throne on to the author, Philippa Werner.

Giveaways
Fantasy and Sci-fi Giveaway
Fantasy and Sci-fi Giveaway

Fantasy and Sci-fi Giveaway

storyoriginapp.com/bundles/ef829eae-8630-11ec-926d-57b331a32631?bundleLinkId=qtwrVHW

The Humble Warlock Presents...
The Humble Warlock Presents…

The Humble Warlock Presents…

storyoriginapp.com/bundles/a00e54ee-8b99-11ec-9df6-43ada4c051ed?bundleLinkId=TMQ9zWl

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (571)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

Keen Edge of Valor comes out tomorrow! You’re going to love it.

But wait, there’s more! Larry Hoy’s Demon’s Kiss, a new Hit World novel, is also out this week. Get it at: www.amazon.com/dp/B09VP1HJH3.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.6

Updated Word Count: 126,815

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 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

Interview: Mel Todd

We continue with our interviews of authors in Keen Edge of Valor, coming out one week from today at FantaSci, with Mel Todd.

Mel and I see each other at a number of cons, but it was only this past LibertyCon we had a real chance to chat. She’s got a great sense of humor, as you’ll see in her story “Of Claws and Men,” the second short story in her Small Magics universe.

Interview: Mel Todd
Mel Todd
Mel Todd

What is your quest?

To tell the stories I can’t find. To show people ways reality can twist, and how the ordinary person can prove themselves extraordinary.

What is your favorite color?

Purple!  Lol – one of the things I love to do is set my desktop wallpaper to random and load different themes.  For a while it was Hubble Telescope pictures, then walls of covers from multiple genres, right now it is all “You should be writing” meme’s.  I will say Tom Hiddleston’s Loki might have one or two in there.

Cover of No Choice
Cover of No Choice

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

Oh, number one – don’t join a romance group and let them read your non-romance sci-fi.  You will walk away thinking you are the worst writer ever.  Asking for help is great, but make sure they LIKE the genre you are writing in.  Hmmm… life.  Life is hard sometimes.  Finding time to write is even harder.  Make it a priority, but be nice to yourself and accept you can only do so much.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

Wait you get a holy hand grenade?  No fair. AT all.  All I have is a Cat of Superciliousness. So on those days I just can’t – the want to suck the thumb and crawl into a ball – those days?  5 minute timer.  You only have to write for 5 minutes – nonstop, 5 minutes.  Most of the time I’ll decide I can do another 5 minutes.  You’d be amazed how much you can get if you just do it for 5, 10, 15 minutes.  Otherwise creatively?  I talk to myself – a lot.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?   Miss Piggy!  Sexy, confident, and has a tail.  How can you not love her?
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy.  I want my nuts to have substance.
  • Favorite Sports Team? ….. Ravenclaws?
  • Cake or Pie? Pie.  With ice cream or cheddar cheese if apple.
  • Lime or Lemon?  Yes
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  … salsa – especially good with cream cheese.
  • Wet or Dry? I didn’t realize this was an X-Rated interview.  I’d have to make sure all your readers are over 18 to answer that.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Ohh… I don’t know if I am that obsure of a music person – relatively common Sisters of Mercy and Johnny Horton.
  • Whisky or Whiskey?  Yes
  • Favorite Superhero? She-Hulk.  Sorry I LOVE Jennifer Walters.  She is so awesome. No angst, rolled with it, and rocked it.
  • Steak Temperature?  Blood should be dripping.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? I don’t recall telling you how ancient I am – but Bionic Woman.  Jamie Summers is my idol.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?  Fall, dear goddess Fall.  I want my apple cider, my fireplace, my smores!
  • Favorite Pet?  Oh my pussy – ha, told you, no X-rated answers.  I have 3 cats who all feel like I serve them.  So, yeah.  I’m owned.  I admit it.
  • Best Game Ever?  …. You hate me don’t you.  How do you expect me to choose?  So… Colossal Cave Adventure all the way up to Planescape Torment to WoW…. And lots in between.  Then there is Munchkin and Solitare and Gems of War and LARP and White Wolf and D&D (I’m agnostic sorry) so Best Game Ever – the one I am playing at this moment.  Which happens to be called My Creative Brain Hates me.
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the mornings, iced tea in the summer evenings, and hot tea with spirits in the winter evenings.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy?  Yes.  What?  I like to try different flavors.  I’m equal opportunity.  ~Wiggles eyesbrows~
Cover of Rage
Cover of Rage

What question(s) would you like to ask me? 

Well, Rob….. oh.. x-rated.. right.  So – dang it all my questions are business related and probably REALLY boring to anyone not trying to make a living at this, so Dragoncon yes?

Rob’s Answer: Well, since this is well after DragonCon I can reliably inform you I’m unlikely to go in 2018. Actually, I did not have a great time at DragonCon last year. It was fun, but not the amount of fun I paid for.

A big part of why is that I love my job. I enjoy being on panels. I like interacting with writers and readers. The bigger a con is the more difficult that becomes, especially since I’m not yet a big enough name for DragonCon to approve me as an attending professional.

Also, I recently moved and frankly needed a fall with few long trips. I go to Pennsic every year where I make money and people know me. It’s only a few weeks before DragonCon and I just didn’t have enough spoons to push to go.

Will I go in 2019? I don’t know. It’ll depend on where my career is to an extent. Ask me at LibertyCon.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

OOOH… Self Promo!!!   www.badashpublishing.com we has books, we has blogs and we will be at LibertyCon in 2019 and Dragoncon always.  What can I say, I’m addicted.

And where can we find you?

Oh… umm.. I wrote the above before I read this.. um…  Moonlight and Magnolias in 2018 and 20booksto50kVegas in 2018.  Hmm… otherwise, beg me to come (oops x-rated again) and I’ll think about it.

Do you have a creator biography?

And low the heavens opened and then slammed shut again, leaving Mel standing in the wet dreary California farmland.  What shall become of our waif? Tune in to find out.

Final question for you: What should I have asked but did not?

Hmmm.. name/species/orientaion might have been a good start. Mel Todd – human (maybe), vertical most of the time, except when I’m horizontal.


Thanks to Mel Todd for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Thanks for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326.

If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Also, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

 

Rob’s Update: Happy St. Paddy’s

Week 12 of 2022

Greetings all

Editor’s Note: Hey, look, I finally changed the year to 2022! Go me! And thanks to all of you who pointed that out last week. I do appreciate it. Clearly I need all the help I can get.

I hope everyone is having fun wearing the green (or the orange as the case may be). May the road rise up to meet you and also all the other fun Irish blessings upon you on this day.

The Irish are also really good at curses. Check out the lyrics of Nell Flaherty’s Drake, which is a Irish traditional song here: bellsirishlyrics.com/nell-flahertys-drake.html. The fun part of that song is that it’s supposed to refer to Robert Emmet, and the curses in that song could be sung in different order to form a code. Of course, like I say, they’re just brilliant fun.

“That the eel and the trout they may dine on the snout
Of the monster that murdered Nell Flaherty’s drake!”

Fun that is, unless the eel and trout are biting on your snout.

A good week of work here. Making real progress with The Door Into Winter. I’m at that stage where every writing session is productive because I’m on the downhill part. I did a bunch of bediting the past couple of days, too, and it’s amazing how much that finds.

Also did two more interviews of authors in Keen Edge of Valor:
D.J. Butler: robhowell.org/blog/?p=2021
Mark Wandrey: robhowell.org/blog/?p=1542

Deadly Fortune went off to our Advance Reader Team this week. If you’re on the team and didn’t receive it, let me know. If you want to be on future advance teams, send me an email.

I also made big progress with A Sundered Throne. This is a new series by Philippa Werner, who’s an amazing writer. You’re going to love this.

What I’m Listening To

Car tire informercials. It’s efficient to work while waiting for an oil change, but it sure lacks of certain amenities.

Quote of the Week

The interwebz tell me that St. Patrick said this, so it must be true, right? Well, even if he didn’t, this is good advice.

“Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
– St. Patrick

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes a interview with Joe DeLeone, especially focusing on spring football.

Stay tuned this weekend for another episode.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming on the 5th of April

Currently available:

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 entries

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

I’m currently working on A Sundered Throne by Philippa Werner, with a number of other projects about to get going.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (96,541)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • FMU (721)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

This week we have Season of the Wolf, Book 6! of the Lunar Free State series by John Siers. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09V47ZGG1.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.6

Updated Word Count: 24,717

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

Interview: Mark Wandrey

Today’s interview is with the innovative Mark Wandrey, creator of the Four Horsemen universe. He’s branching out now with a new fantasy series called the Traveling Gods.

It includes a picture from way back when you could see his chin.

Interview Questions
Mark Wandrey
Mark Wandrey

What is your quest?

I strive to be at the top of my genre, military science fiction. I want fans in my cosplay. Lots of them.

What is your favorite color?

I want my stories full of scenes people talk about, characters people hate, and mysteries people want answered..

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

My biggest challenge has been finding time to write in quantity. I learned by quitting the day job as soon as I made enough. Jump in with both feet, take the plunge. If not now, when? If not late, why?

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

My worldbuilding abilities are apparently among the best in the business. I credit that to decades wasted playing role playing games. Wait, maybe they weren’t wasted after all?

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Animal
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Depends if she’s blonde or redhead.
  • Favorite Sports Team? All Blacks
  • Cake or Pie? Yes please.
  • Lime or Lemon? Lemon
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Jalapeno queso
  • Wet or Dry? Always use lube
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Meat Loaf
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Neither, rum
  • Favorite Superhero? Rogue (comic book, not the crap from the movies)
  • Steak Temperature? (slightly above room temp)
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Battlestar Galactica
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
  • Favorite Pet? (provide pictures if you want) Valiente
  • Best Game Ever? KOTOR
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea. Earl Grey, hot.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Sci-fi

What question(s) would you like to ask me?

What’s the drunkest you’ve ever been, and what did you do when you were in that state you are embarrassed about?

Rob’s Answer: Well, let’s get straight to the embarrassing part. The drunkest I’ve ever been was at a Pennsic. I actually didn’t drink that much, only seven IPAs in a several hour period, but there were complicating factors. It might have helped if I had actually eaten in the 26 hours previous to the beers. 

And what did I do? Well, I said some things in public I should not have. It could have been worse, but I still regret it.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Do you have a creator biography?

Bestselling author of military sci-fi and zombie apocalypse, Mark Wandrey has been creating new worlds since he was old enough to hold a pen. Author of 14 novels, he has many more coming just this year!

Located in rural Tennessee, Mark Wandrey has been writing science fiction since he was in grade school. He launched his professional career in 2004 with the release of Earth Song – Overture. Now, 12 years later, he has more than 10 books out, including an unbroken chain of 6 best sellers.

Sign up for his mailing list at http://www.worldmaker.us/news-flash-sign-up-page/ or check out his Patreon page for free stuff at https://www.patreon.com/MarkHWandrey.


Thanks to Mark for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

Have a great day.

Rob Howell

Interview: D.J. Butler

Next on our authors from Keen Edge of Valor is D.J. Butler. Butler’s story Tales of Indrajit and Fix remind me of Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser.

His story in Keen Edge is “The End of the Story.” It’s titled that because it’s the third of a trilogy of shorts, with one each in Talons & Talismans I and Talons & Talismans II.

And since I know you’ll want more of his two main characters, Indrajit and Fix, I can happily inform you they also star in a full-length novel, In the Palace of Shadow and Joy, as well as short stories in When Valor Must Hold and Songs of Valor.

And speaking of fun characters, wait until you get a load Dave himself.

Interview: D.J. Butler
D.J. Butler
D.J. Butler

Why are you here?

What made you a creator in the first place? My parents gave me a copy of the silver jubilee 25th anniversary edition of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I was seven or eight. I stayed in bed for a week reading them back to back to back, and I have been attempting to recapture that experience ever since. Tolkien has influenced what I write on every level, from the genres I choose to write in to the themes and subject matter to my obsession with including music as music in my novels.

What are other major influences on you? Other hugely important novelists to me are Mervyn Peake, Patrick O’Brien, and Dorothy Dunnett. My favorite current novelists in speculative fiction would have to be Tim Powers (I love his playful use of history) and Neal Stephenson (I love the fact that he tackles big ideas within rollicking yarns). There are also songwriters who have had an enormous impact on what I write and how I write it; chief among those would have to be Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave.

Are there lesser-known creators you favor? I love to buy art, including writing, by people I know. Some of the lesser-known writers who are my favorites include: L.J. Hachmeister, who writes young adult space opera adventure, including the Triorion Universe books; David J. West (also writing as James Alderdice), who writes terrific pulp fiction influenced by sources ranging from spaghetti westerns to H.P. Lovecraft to Conan to The Book of Mormon (!!!); Thad Diaz, whose Lunatic City launches a terrific noir cop series set on the moon; and Michaelbrent Collings, who writes principally horror, but has also written a delightful middle grade series called the Billy Saga and a reimagined mashup of Twilight and Peter Pan.

Describe your great Lab of Creation?

The Cunning Man cover
The Cunning Man cover

Where do you work? Home? Coffee Shop? Yes. Also: airports, airplanes, restaurants, trains, hotels, convention center floors, friends’ parlors, and the shotgun seats of moving cars. I still work for a living (as a corporate trainer and consultant), so I have to write when I can. For a time, I was a full-time writer, and I was very good at systematically writing twelve pages every day, six days a week, but that is unfortunately not my situation now. Now, I will go without writing for a month, and then spend a month trying to write 20 pages a day, however and whenever and wherever I can.

What helps you be productive? Deadlines and contracts. Close association with other writers, who are themselves being productive, inspires me. Reader communication is great—it’s very hard to write sequels if you have no idea whether anyone is reading book one. 

What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?

In the Palace of Shadow and Joy cover
In the Palace of Shadow and Joy cover

What are some of the challenges you have faced that frustrated you? I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. I have long periods in which I do things in my life that are important and good, but are not writing. I have not been as successful as I want to be at writing every day, no mater what.

Which mistake would you try to keep other creators from making? Never forget that, as a writer, you are an entrepreneur. You are shareholder, CEO, business development VP, head of manufacturing, salesman, and customer service, all at once. You are not an employee of your publisher or of your agent. Be actively engaged in growing your business at all time.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Dr. Teeth
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Bonnie Prince Billy
  • Favorite Superhero? Luke Cage
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Favorite Weird Color? Magenta
  • Best Game Ever? RuneQuest
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall
  • Your Wrestler Name? El Bigote
  • Steak Temperature? Hot. Medium rare.
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  French onion
  • Favorite Cereal? Bacon
  • What Do You Eat For Your Last Meal? Bacon
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Diet Mountain Dew
  • Do You Have Pets? No

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

  1. LibertyCon in Tennessee
  2. Dragon Con in Georgia

Do you have a creator biography?

D.J. (Dave) Butler has been a lawyer, a consultant, an editor, and a corporate trainer. His novels include Witchy Eye, Witchy Winter, and Witchy Kingdom from Baen Books, as well as The Cunning Man, co-written with Aaron Michael Ritchey, and the forthcoming pseudofantasy thriller, In the Palace of Shadow and Joy. He also writes for children: the steampunk fantasy adventure tales The Kidnap Plot, The Giant’s Seat, and The Library Machine are published by Knopf. Other novels include City of the Saints from WordFire Press.

Dave also organizes writing retreats and anarcho-libertarian writers’ events, and travels the country to sell books. He plays guitar and banjo whenever he can, and likes to hang out in Utah with his children.


Thanks to D.J. for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this interview format, let me know so I can keep tweaking it.

Also, thanks to you for reading. If you’re interested in any of the other interviews I’ve done, you can find them all here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?cat=326. If you are a creator, especially an independent creator, and you want to be spotlighted in a future interview, email me at rob@robhowell.org.

Finally, if you want to join my mailing list, where I’ll announce every interview, as well as what’s going on in my life, go to www.robhowell.org and fill out the form (Name and Email Address) or drop me an email and I’ll add you.

Have a great day.

Rob Howell

Rob’s Update: Coming Down the Mountainside

Week 10 of 2021

Greetings all

This was a discombobulated week. In order to help the sweetie’s parents, I had to drive up to North Dakota and back essentially over the weekend. 13 hours each way plus hotel stays will take a bite out of a week, that’s for sure.

Still, I was productive this week. I sent off a story last week, got it accepted and edited this week. My story is entitled “Chooser of the Slain,” and it’ s going to come out in the Hit World anthology entitled “Valkyries” edited by Marisa Wolf. I had a lot of fun combining a valkyrie with Sam Spade and the crazy fun that is Hit World. That anthology will come out in the summer or early fall, I believe.

I also made progress on some editing. I hope to have the current editing project out the door this week, despite losing essentially 4 days.

And I’ve been kicking butt with The Door Into Winter. All told, I added about 7000 words, though the editing process killed about 2000 of what I had already.

When I write, if I know I’ll need a chapter to do a certain thing up ahead in the narrative, and I don’t really know what to write directly in the narrative at the point where I’m at, I will go ahead and scribble a very rough draft of that scene. Raw material more than anything. I’m at the point where I’m integrating a number of those into the narrative because I’ve gotten that far, which means some of the raw material goes away.

But it’s a great sign when I catch up to those points, because it’s another sign I’m getting close to the end.

What I’m Listening To

Lots of Sabaton this week. It’s been quiet around the house and I’ve wanted high-energy stuff.

It’s hard to pick just one, but one can’t go wrong with Winged Hussars.

Quote of the Week

Today is Chuck Norris’s birthday, and I’m not about to risk a roundhouse kick to the face by not having him provide today’s quote. Besides, I really like this one.

“The only time we fail is when we stop trying.”
– Chuck Norris

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes a interview with Joe DeLeone, especially focusing on spring football.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

Keen Edge of Valor is out to the advance readers. Deadly Fortune goes out to the advance readers next week. I’m currently editing something new, and I have to say, it’s awesome.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (86,556)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

Mike Jack Stoumbos released his 3rd novel in the This Fine Crew series, Seed in the Sky, this week. You can get it here: www.amazon.com/dp/B09TS7FBF1/

And this is really cool. Kevin J. Anderson curated a bundle of fantasy novels, and he included the first book in the Eldros Legacy, Khyven the Unkillable by Todd Fahnestock. You can get this bundle here: storybundle.com/fantasy. It’s a great honor for one of our books to be included and I hope you all take advantage.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.4

Updated Word Count: 24,104

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 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

Interview: C.M. DeMott

Greetings all

We continue this series of interviews with another finalist, C.M. DeMott. Many of you will get to meet her at FantaSci. More of you might know her as Morgan Wolfsinger in the SCA, a renowned bard and storyteller.

C.M. DeMott

  1. Why are you here? This includes influences, favorite creators, steps along the way, and dreams down the road.
C.M. DeMott
C.M. DeMott

I am influenced primarily by JRR Tolkein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michael Moorcock, Rudyard Kipling, Susan Cooper and Rosemary Sutcliff. Also, Peter S. Beagle, Manly Wade Wellman, Neil Gaimon, and Charles DeLint.

I decided to write because stories are a door into a different place. A way to meet new friends and challenges, where you control the outcome. I choose to create because the stories inside me want out.

My goal is to get a series of novels I wrote published.

  1. Describe your great Lab of Creation? This includes where you work, what do you listen to (if anything), things you have to have in your work environment, and stuff you’ve tried that haven’t worked.

I work in my tower. Yes, really. My office is in a tower. I’m surrounded by books, model horses, and my airbrushing stuff.

I usually listen to music, notably Heather Dale, Metallica, Evanescence, Nickleback, Jethro Tull.

I have to have a place where I can’t be easily interrupted.

  1. What are your superpowers? This includes things you like your creations, specific techniques you do well, and some favorite successes.

I want magic, unicorns, dragons, music, and smart characters who can learn from what I throw at them in my creations.

I think I do best with writing poetry and setting a scene.

What are specific techniques you do well? Poetry. Setting a scene.

My biggest successes so far are self-publishing 7 CDs of my own music and getting 2 short stories published.

  1. What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you? This includes challenges you’ve faced that frustrated you, learning experiences, techniques for overcoming creative challenges, things you’d have done differently, and advice for new writers.

My biggest challenge is making time to write.

One of my most productive failures was a really horrible customized model horse. Gave me a better eye for perspective and anatomy.

Whenever I have a slow point, I switch to a more physical activity, like sculpting, or to writing music. Switching to a different character story line also helps.

The biggest thing I’d tell new creators is to keep trying. Analyze what you’re doing that isn’t working, and try to find a way around the road block. For myself, I wish I could go back and pay more attention to grammar and punctuation.

Lightning Round
  • Favorite Muppet? Kermit, of course.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of(Ed. Note: I put this here to help us all find cool new things to listen to. She didn’t provide an answer here, so I will point out that she’s got 7 CDs available. Just sayin’)
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Winter
  • Favorite Superhero? Dr. Strange
  • Best Game Ever? Circus Maximus
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Dark Shadows
  • Do You Have Pets? (provide pictures if you want) 3 cats
  • Favorite Weird Color? Dappled silver black.
  • Favorite Historical Period? 450-550 CE British Isles.
  • Steak Temperature? Rare
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  None
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Black tea

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

Where can we find you?

  • FantaSci Con this March in NC
  • The Pennsic War (August 2022, PA)

Do you have a creator biography?

C. M. DeMott is a small animal veterinarian living in southwest Virginia. Since discovering the Society for Creative Anachronism in 1976, she has been writing and performing original ballads based on legend, faery tales, and myths under the name Morgan Wolfsinger.

She currently has seven CDs out, and is working on an eighth. “Choices” in Talons and Talismans II was her first published story. “Fluffers” in The Keen Edge of Valor is her second. You can find her music at morganwolfsinger.bandcamp.com.

* * * * *

Thanks to Cathy for hanging out, and I can’t wait to hear her play something at FantaSci.

Rob’s Update: Compatible Weirdness

Week 9 of 2021

Greetings all

Been a productive week here. More work done in The Door Into Winter, I sent off a short story, and I made good progress in my editing project, despite a number of other things along the way.

I also brought back a my interviews for the Keen Edge of Valor release. I’ll be posting interviews of most of the authors in the anthology and this week I posted two of them. Here they are:

You’ll see interviews from three more next week. If you don’t want to wait, you can subscribe to my blog and get those direct to your RSS feed.

As I said, I sent off a short story this week. This is the one I’m submitting for the Valkyries anthology edited by Marisa Wolf.

It’s set in the Hit World universe. It’s often fun to play in other people’s sandbox, and this was especially fun since this universe basically has everything. Gods, magic, aliens, SF tech, and everything else you can think of.

The Door Into Winter is proceeding apace. I’m in the backfilling stage, making sure that I have all the guns in Act I that I use in Act 3, or at least most of them. This always happens as I write deeper into the novel, so it’s a sign I’m making great progress.

With that, I better go add to that word count.

What I’m Listening To

Currently, She Sells Sanctuary by the Cult. The Cult are, to my mind, an underappreciated band. American Gothic and Sanctuary are both in my “gotta hear that again” list whenever it pops up. There aren’t that many of those songs out there for me, and bands that have more than one are special.

Quote of the Week

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which presents an immense challenge. He had a bunch of fun quotes in his books, of course, but his awesome thoughtful, personal quotes are many too. Which to choose? Quite a dilemma.

In this case, I’ll take the one for me and my sweetie.

People are weird. When we find someone with weirdness that is compatible with ours, we team up and call it love.
– Dr. Seuss

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes an interview with Kacey Ezell about her new book Skies to Conquer and so much more.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 entries currently

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

I’m currently working on Keen Edge of Valor, plus Deadly Fortune in the Eldros Legacy is on the way.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (82,464)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

I’m so excited about this release. Melissa Olthoff has burst onto the CKP scene of late, including stories in Songs of Valor and Talons & Talismans I.

Now, she just released her first full novel, Sunrise Over Shippo, and I couldn’t be more pleased to tell you you can find her novel here: amazon.com/gp/product/B09T66FQZZ

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 318.2

Updated Word Count: 22,729

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