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

Interview: Nathan Balyeat

We continue our interviews from Keen Edge of Valor with the FNG, Nathan Balyeat. He was one of our four finalists for the FantaSci contest, so clearly I really enjoyed his story, especially the twist at the end.

This is, by the way, his first published story, and it better darn well not be his last.

Nathan Balyeat

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

I’ve always wanted to be an author, but in a classic act of self-sabotage over many years, I have been my own worst enemy. I’ve had a legitimate hesitancy to put words on a page because there’s no way that it would ever be as good as the authors that I love.

But over the years, I’ve spent time with the authors that I love, and they’ve been nothing but encouraging about doing it. Their consistent advice?  Just do it.

So, I did. Special thanks to Chuck Gannon, Kevin Ikenberry, Jason Cordova, Mike Massa and you, Rob, for the encouragement.

I could list a dozen favorite authors and have a different reason for why they are my favorite, but I’m honestly over the moon to be in the same anthology as one of them, Glen Cook

Right now, I’m focusing most of my writing efforts on a science fiction novel and series inspired by the life of William Marshal.  I do plan on continuing to do short stories set in the Five Kingdoms and the world of the Fellblade as well.

  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.

The biggest challenge to productivity for me if finding somewhere to write that isn’t my desk at home. I have an amazing setup, but I find there’s too many things demanding my attention and that I’m not able to easily switch my mental state from those things to the world in my head.

My best productivity is done with a cup of coffee and noise canceling headphones running a random playlist. There’s a handful of songs I have reserved for writing certain scenes, but telling you what they are might spoil a future surprise.

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

I’m not sure that I’ve leveled up enough as a writer yet to have a specific style or something that I can claim that I do well.

I have spent my life studying history and got my degree in it, so I’d like to hope that I’m able to bring some of that to life without subjecting my readers to infodumps and walls of text.

  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.

As I mentioned before, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. There’s always this little voice that says “it’s too much work,” or “you’ll never be good enough.”

There’s an epic saga I’d like to tell at some point, and I’ve spent decades convincing myself that I’m not skilled enough to tell that story. I’m convinced that I’m right on that front.

So, I compromised with myself and am writing a another saga that’s not quite as epic first. I have a brute force approach to productivity right now where it’s a matter of just sitting down to do it.

Lightning Round
    • Actor/Actress You’d Like to Play Any Character You’ve Created: Charlie Cox would make a fantastic protagonist… might be taking some inspiration from him for another project.
    • Favorite Muppet? In my (very small) World of Tanks clan, I’m Sam the Eagle for being so serious. Really though, it’s Gonzo’s chickens.  Poor birds…
    • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Jain. She’s a French singer/performer, singing in heavily accented English, who spent a lot of time living in Africa.  She has a unique style, with catchy beats and upbeat lyrics and themes.
    • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? There’s a few weeks in the fall in the Midwest that are just about perfect.  You can keep the winters though.
    • Favorite Superhero? It has been Daredevil since I was a little kid.
    • Best Game Ever? The one that you’re playing with your friends.
    • Favorite 1970s TV show? M*A*S*H
    • Nathan's Support Squad
      Nathan’s Support Squad

      Do You Have Pets? (provide pictures if you want) I have three, large, healthy weight cats.  Hannibal (Grey and almost 20lbs), his littermate Murdock (orange and fluffy at 15lbs), and the new kid, Peanut that I rescued at 8 weeks old from a diner parking lot last year after two weeks of trying.  He’s trending to be around 18lbs, but is still growing.

    • Favorite Weird Color? French Blue
    • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? A set of carbon steel skillets.
    • Favorite Sports Team? Sadly, I’m a masochist here and continue to cheer for the Detroit Lions.
    • What Cartoon Character Are You? I identify the most with Frye from Futurama.
    • Your Wrestler Name? Bad Grammar
    • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Plot Twist
    • What Do You Secretly Plot? The same thing we do every night, Pinky, to try and take over the world.
    • How Will You Conquer the World? By accident.
    • Best Thing From the 60s/70s/80s/90s? (pick your preferred decade) mp3s from the late 90s started making a lot of music that was out of print available again.  Those cassette tapes that I lost as a kid could be found once more online.  Now I can fit more songs than I can listen to in a year on a drive that fits in the palm of my hand.
    • Favorite Historical Period? Principate Rome, but I’m using 12th century England as an inspiration for my current project.
    • Person In History (Living or Dead) You Want To Hang Out With? William Marshal.  Coincidentally, from 12th century England.
    • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare
    • Favorite Chip Dip?  I don’t always dip my chips, but when I do they are corn chips and it is guacamole.
    • Beverage(s) of Choice? Coffee is kind of a requirement to stay functional and creative anymore, but for relaxation a well made rye old fashioned does the trick.
    • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Nobody should be subjected to that script.
    • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round?  Favorite Dad Joke… mine is: “Why do seagulls fly over the sea?” Answer: “Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels.”

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

  • Keen Edge of Valor is my first published work. I have a very small, and temporary, blog at https://heavyweighsin.wordpress.com/.
  • You can also find me on the new Mythology Press Discord.

And where can we find you?

My 2022 convention plans include attending FantaSci in March and LibertyCon in June.  Let me know if there’s a good convention elsewhere I should attend.

Do you have a creator biography?

Nathan is a US Marine Corps veteran who is currently a project manager by day, historian by education, and writer because the voices in his head have become too loud to keep locked up anymore.  He currently lives in Michigan where he is working on more stories to share, including a science fiction series inspired by the life of William Marshal.

* * * * *

Just so there’s no confusion, if Nathan doesn’t come through with a fantasy adaptation of William the Marshal’s life, I’m gonna…

Well, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Can’t kick him in the shins, he’s meaner and tougher than I am. Can’t insult him online, he’s my Pathfinder Gamemaster and I like my character. Can’t not offer him beverages, not in my nature, and besides, he’s actually a skilled mixologist so that wouldn’t be much of a hit.

But still, I wants it…

 

Interview: Jamie Ibson

Greetings all

In honor of the upcoming release of Keen Edge of Valor, I thought I’d provide some interviews of the authors in the anthology throughout March. Today, we start with Jamie Ibson, who actually is one of the reasons I got started with New Mythology Press.

Jamie asked Chris to do an anthology involving altered humanity. That was We Dare, and I have a fun story in there (And a fun story about that fun story). Anyway, others had asked as well, including James Young and his magnificent Phases of Mars series of alternate military history, of which I have the honor to be in all three.

But these other anthologies prompted me to ask Chris, may I do an anthology of fantasy stories? That became When Valor Must Hold, and from that I have ended up here with New Mythology.

OK, enough about that, on to the interview.

Jamie Ibson

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

Kevin Ikenberry and Michael Z Williamson have taught me more, directly, about the craft of storytelling than anyone I can think of.

More generally I grew up reading D&D fantasy like the Forgotten Realms books, SF off my Dad’s bookshelf like Robert Heinlein, Gordon R Dickson, Spider Robinson, and Joe Haldeman.

These days I often find little aspects of gaming I find intriguing – for example, using crystals to power magical effects in the Westlocke stories (ed. note: You can find the first two in Songs of Valor and Keen Edge of Valor) comes directly from a Fridge Horror moment playing Skyrim where I was slaying wolves left and right, charging up my soul gems, and went “wait… doesn’t this make me the Fantasy equivalent of the machines from the Matrix?”

“Creators” is a great non-specific term and some of my favorite YouTube videos are of self-made musicians like Leo Moracchioli, who is an absolute maniac in Norway pumping out a new heavy metal cover song, with video, every Friday. His music often accompanies me as I write. He plays a bajillion instruments, sings, growls, records, produces, edits video, and generally is only not a one-man show when it comes to bringing in guests or going on tour.

I’m also heavily into mashup songs, where an artist will take, say, the Ghostbusters theme song and overlay the Gangnam Style lyrics to it and it’s genius.

Book-wise, falling in with the CKP crowd has been tremendous. With all the foolishness going on in the world, having a regular Saturday night video call with friends literally all over the globe, with conversations that sometimes last 6, 7, 8 hours has been a boon to my mental health.

I became a creator in the first place at LibertyCon 30, when I learned it wasn’t nearly as impossible as I believed it to be. I chose to create because  I found my people. Science fiction and fantasy nerds are best nerds.

Fingers crossed, I would like someday, perhaps someday soon, to narrate one of my own works.

  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 at home. Used to be in the attic, now it’s in a room on the 2nd floor of the house. I’ve got two scratching posts to my right, my bar fridge to my left, my RPG gamebooks over my left shoulder and my RPG figures/miniatures in a cabinet over my right shoulder.

I was originally in the attic, but the floor up there is uneven and I found the ergonomics was putting me in for massage and chiropractic more often than I’d like. The floor literally dropped 4” over 15’. (That’s bad.) The floor in here is much more even.

Gizmo Helping
Gizmo Helping (Jamie needs all the help he can get)

As I mentioned above… Leo Moracchioli, Holocene, and First to Eleven for covers. DJ Schmolli, DJ Cummerbund, William Maranci, Bill McClintock all do mashups. When I’m feeling nostalgic I might listen to Soundgarden, Perturbator, Foo Fighters (especially their live stuff, especially Monkey Wrench featuring Kiss Guy), or electroswing like Caravan Palace.

Cats exist in my working environment – Naomi the ninja, Miss Belle, Floofiest Of Her Name, and Gizmo, the new kitten.

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

I like lots of different cultures in my writing. I currently plan to put each of the four (five?) Myrmidons books on a different planet with a different… Terran Ancestry, if you will. Urbicide was set on Montoya, in La Republica Del Escobar, which gave everything a distinctive South American Spanish tilt. Disavowed will be in & around the hive city of New Athens, in the Hellenic Cluster, so it’ll be Space Greek. Other destinations will include Space Russia, Space Japan, and probably Space Canada.

I think I do my combat scenes well. I’m 40, and since the age of 17 I’ve only had 1 year where I wasn’t wearing an infantryman’s uniform or a redcoat (ed. note: he’s Canadian, so by redcoat he means the RCMP).

I’ve been in fistfights, I’ve trained for firefights, I’m a good scrapper and good with a firearm. I try to keep my fight scenes tight and chaotic but accurate.

We Dares 1, 2, and 3
We Dares 1, 2, and 3

I’m very proud of the We Dare anthologies. Number Four is in the closing stages right now, and the feedback from them has been great, both from readers and from my contributors.

We Dare 1 was the first book with my name on the cover, and I had no idea what I was doing. Between them and last year’s And Then It Got Weird, I’ve edited more than 70 short stories, have generally had very good feedback from my contributors, and I think we’ve released a really great series of anthos featuring some really great authors.

  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.

Hah, I am my own Lex Luthor. I struggle with self-doubt, anxiety, impostor syndrome, and have trouble focusing. So I’m not as productive, word-count wise, as I’d like to be.

Gizmo Gaming
Speaking of cats…

Sometimes, some very rare times, I can focus like a laser and I can bang off 4000+ words in a night. Others I’m like a cat chasing a disco-ball’s worth of little red laser lights and I’m so scattered as to be useless.

I wouldn’t say failures, so much as sticking points where I’ve gotten jammed up. And in those cases, I have some pretty great friends I can go to with a problem and say “So… how about this?” and they’ll say “Oh, do that” and boom, they can see to the heart of the issue pretty much immediately. I have really smart friends.

I overcome slow points a number of ways. Grind through, sprint, dictate, change the subject… curse Lex Luthor and his inability to focus…

Urbicide
Urbicide

I’d tell new writers, when getting going, find something you want to create for yourself and focus on it like a laser.

To date, I’ve written one 4HU novel co-written with Jason Cordova, another with Casey Moores, one in Christopher Woods’ Fallen World, and Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. Getting going as a noob is difficult and I likely would have enjoyed greater sales and success if I had, say, written three Myrmidons books first before branching off in some other direction.

Lightning Round
  • Actor/Actress You’d Like to Play Any Character You’ve Created: Brendan Fraser to voice Bellerophon. He’s brilliant in Doom Patrol and I love him to pieces
  • Favorite Muppet? Pepe
  • Belle
    Belle

    Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Bill McClintock. (Check out his “Slipshack” mashup of Slipknot and the B-52s, it’s wild)

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer, because we live in the Maritimes now and I have a 9’ pile of snow in my back yard.
  • Favorite Superhero? Wolverine
  • Best Game Ever? Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Lol, I dunno man I was born in 81 and the cartoons I grew up on were pretty great…
  • Do You Have Pets? Naomi, Miss Belle, and Gizmo.Favorite Weird Color? Michelle has a gorgeous Victorian gown made out of a… I think it’s called taffeta, where it shimmers between brown and green. The effect is amazing.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Michelle gave me a pen as I embarked on my writing journey that simply says “Believe” on it. (See Lex Luthor weaknesses above for why that’s relevant)
  • Favorite Sports Team? Team Canada Hockey at the winter olympics
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? Optimus Prime
  • Your Wrestler Name? The Frozen Hoser
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Avalanche
  • Naomi
    Naomi

    What Do You Secretly Plot? [Redacted]

  • How Will You Conquer the World? [Still Redacted but nice try]
  • Best Thing From the 80s? Weird Al Yankovic, and/or Saturday Morning Cartoons
  • Favorite Historical Period? The Renaissance. People had style.
  • Person In History (Living or Dead) You Want To Hang Out With? Robert Heinlein
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare, I guess? I’m not really a steak guy, I prefer BBQ and burgers and pulled pork carnitas and tacos.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Ranch
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Homemade Nuka Cola with Baron Samedi spiced rum
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Bruce Willis from like, 30 years ago
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? Rock, Paper, or Scissors? (ed. note: Me like rock!)

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

Of all the stories you’ve published, which one is your personal favorite and why?

Rob’s Answer: So. I gotta pick between my babies? Yeeesh.

My favorite might be either the first or the third of the stories I gave James Young for the Phases of Mars.

Gizmo
More Gizmo, because who doesn’t want more kitten pictures?

The first story is the only time the Muse hit me over the head with a Clue-by-4. I literally can tell you only that it was set in 1908 and nothing else, or it gives the story away. The key to that is the final word, which I used only once in the story, though James quite rightly initially pushed for me to use it throughout as editor.

The third was the only story I’ve written in the time period I’ve actually studied, Anglo-Saxon England. It was a retelling of the Battle of Maldon, with some reconsideration of Byhrtnoth’s “ofermod” and the strategic challenges he faced. Oh, and there’s a plausible way the English could have won.

I could say the story I sent to Jamie for We Dare, but that’s mostly because of the story about the story, which he and I still tell. Just give us a beverage…

There’s the story I gave to Kevin Steverson for his Salvage Title Universe that was totally written to be quirky and fun. Putting in 227 band name and song name references in a short story was a great challenge.

The Ravening of Wolves, frankly the whole Foresters series, proved to me I could do this job.

I’ve skipped over a bunch, and each of them has a particular reason for being precious to me.

I think, though, I have to say A Lake Most Deep. Yes, it’s my first book and it’s flawed for many of the common first book reasons. But I wrote it in a really down place in my life, and I’m not entirely sure where I’d be or even if I’d be if I hadn’t written it.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Conventions are on hold until we can cross into the USA without needing to invest in covid tests. Generally speaking, I go to LibertyCon, went to FactoryCon last October, and hope to attend FantaScis, Superstars, and maybe LTUEs going forward? We’ll see, that’s a lot of travel from the frigid north.

Do you have a creator biography?

Jamie Ibson is from the frozen wastelands of Canuckistan, where moose, bears, and geese battle for domination among the hockey rinks, igloos, and Tim Hortons. After joining the Canadian army reserves in high school, he spent half of 2001 in Bosnia as a peacekeeper and came home shortly after 9/11 with a deep sense of foreboding. After graduating college, he landed a job in law enforcement and was posted to the left coast from 2007 to 2021. He retired from law enforcement in early 2021 and moved clear across the country to write full time in the Maritimes. He is married to the lovely Michelle, and they have cats.

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

What are you doing now, that much-younger-you never would have guessed you’d love?

(Me, cooking/turning into a foodie)

Rob’s Answer: Oooh, great question. For me, it might actually be writing itself. I started this job at 46, having never really written anything other than academic stuff, having never really done anything creative. I didn’t think I could.

Name two of your most-favorite niche genres, whether that’s within SF or Fantasy or Other…

(Examples: Cyberpunk SF, noir mystery, First Contact SF, military fantasy)

Rob’s Answer: Noir/hard-boiled mystery is probably the genre that fits into everything I write, no matter the other genre.

* * * * *

What a fun interview. Many thanks for Jamie fighting through the helpful assistance of his cats and providing me this to share.

Rob’s Update: Blazing Like the Sun

Week 9 of 2021

Greetings all

This has been my best writing week in ages. I have a short story due on Monday. I’d had it laid out in my mind, and that layout was so spot on, I started this past Monday with 1000 words and four days later have 12000.

As I said, I knew the basic plot after conversations with Marisa Wolf, the editor, at Superstars. However, I didn’t entirely know the tone. Along the way, I discovered exactly what I needed.

Really pleased with this one, and I’ll give details when I can.

But that wasn’t it. I also cleaned up another bunch of The Door Into Winter, adding 3000 to it too.

That’s nearly 15000 since last Thursday. It’s been a long time since I did that.

Apparently, my time with Dudes in Hyperspace is getting some attention. I have not one, but two guest appearances on podcasts in March. One, alongside Mark Stallings, is on the 2nd with Super Geeked Up Future Shenanigans, hosted by Jeff Burns

Join us at 9pm Central next Wednesday, the 2nd, to see Mark and I in a geeky Whose Line game. Find out more, including where to watch, here: supergeekedup.com/about.html.

We’re shenaniganating!

The other is on the 29th from Kelly Colby and 20 Questions for Writers. Their twitch channel is here: twitch.tv/curseddragonship.

I also got the first 100 pages of a novel by a new writer to New Mythology, entitled A Sundered Throne by Philippa Werner.

Folks, this book is amazing. I usually don’t talk specifics about stuff this early in the process, but man, are you going to love it.

Whew! Like I said, one of the best weeks in a while. Time to go do it again.

What I’m Listening To

John Tams, Over the Hills and Far Away. This is the theme song of the BBC Sharpe series, which if you haven’t watched, is amazing. Let me put it this way, the character of Richard Sharpe is so tough, even Sean Bean doesn’t die playing him.

By the way, if you have watched the Sharpe series, John Tams portrays Rifleman Hagman, and you can hear him sing there quite often. Such a smooth voice.

Quote of the Week

Anyway, here’s a lyric from Over The Hills and Far Away.

Then fall in lads behind the drum
With colours blazing like the sun
Along the road to come what may
Over the hills and far away
– John Tams, Over The Hills and Far Away (Sharpe version)

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:

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. Advance copies go out this weekend.

Giveaways
Free February Fantasy & SciFi
Free February Fantasy & SciFi

Free February Fantasy & SciFi

books.bookfunnel.com/freefantasyfebruary/fs3ojnjfu2

Discovering Your Neighbor
Discovering Your Neighbor

And we had so much fun exchanging stories last time, Shane Shepherd and I agreed to do it again. Here’s his story Discovering Your Neighbor.

You can find it here: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/44be5e1a-5fa0-11ec-a777-4384157e5555.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (78,989)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (11,957)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

We talked a ton about this novel on the Dudes in Hyperspace last week, but it’s now out. Get Kacey Ezell’s Skies to Conquer here: amazon.com/gp/product/B09QKBQGYK.

And if you haven’t read the first two in The Psyche of War series, what are you waiting for? Get all three here: amazon.com/dp/B07SZ9PY8N.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 320.6

Updated Word Count: 8,089 (March is going to be huge here)

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

Rob’s Update: The Days of High Adventure

Week 8 of 2021

Greetings all

I’m back from an amazing Superstars Seminar. I posted a longer AAR here: robhowell.org/blog/?p=2571, but the TL:DR version is that I had a great time and leveled up.

This has been a productive week following up with a variety of things after the seminar. Lots of emails and instant messages. New plans, such as appearances on other podcasts and many new books. Most importantly, new friends and the amazing energy that brings.

When I’ve had the chance to write, I’ve made great progress in The Door Into Winter. The word count won’t reflect this, as I’m only a little more than 1000 words more than last week, but I’m still excited.

I took Jonathan Maberry’s class on pacing and I’ve been inserting some new techniques in the story. The results look very promising.

One of the main things this has done has forced me to reconsider the arrangement of chunks in the story. I’ve spent a bunch of time moving passages around to make a faster, more coherent narrative. I’m much happier with what I’ve done so far, and it’s already having some productive ripples carrying down the road.

We did another Dudes In Hyperspace podcast this week. We got Kacey Ezell back in time for her to talk about her new release, Skies to Conquer, which will come out tomorrow. I’ll have links for that next week.

We’ve had a great, energetic week on the New Mythology Discord channel. It dawns on me, I might not have mentioned it before, but here’s the invite link: discord.gg/FjdgAShBHU. We’d love to have you join us.

I probably have more to talk about, but I’m still catching up from an amazing Superstars.

What I’m Listening To

The soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian by Basil Poledouris. This is one of my favorite things to listen to when I’m writing fantasy.

Quote of the Week

Andre Norton is one of the authors I grew up reading. I can still remember the moment when Ron Thomas gave me Quag Keep, and of course there was Witch World, Star Soldiers, and so much more. Here’s a quote from her that is true for all of us.

As for courage and will – we cannot measure how much of each lies within us, we can only trust there will be sufficient to carry through trials which may lie ahead.
– Andre Norton
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:

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 goes out to advance readers next week!

Giveaways
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Pulp
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Pulp

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Pulp

books.bookfunnel.com/sffpulpreads/jarc896qy9

Anti-Hero Giveaway
Anti-Hero Giveaway

Anti-Hero Giveaway

storyoriginapp.com/bundles/9b987604-6d96-11ec-bc15-139818e52ee1

Discovering Your Neighbor
Discovering Your Neighbor

And we had so much fun exchanging stories last time, Shane Shepherd and I agreed to do it again. Here’s his story Discovering Your Neighbor.

You can find it here: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/44be5e1a-5fa0-11ec-a777-4384157e5555.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (75,934)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (1,052)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

This week we have the conclusion to David Hallquist’s War Angels series, entitled Seraphim. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09S3FCPQ8.

Also, I’m remiss for not posting this link last week, especially since it’s a story I’ve loved for quite some time. My only excuse is I was distracted by Superstars.

In any case, here’s Sharp Steel by William Alan Webb. This is the first story in his Sharp Steel & High Adventure series, and you want to get in on this now, because there’s big things happening here, and maybe even a crossover coming down the road. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09RVCDW2Y.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 323.6

Updated Word Count: 7,375

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

Rob’s Ramblings: Superstars AAR

Howdy

This past week, I went to the Superstars Seminar. For those who don’t know, this is a seminar for writers and publishers of all levels and genres. It is designed to help us all level up.

For me, I can tell you it worked. Wow.

To start with, part of the process, and honestly in some ways my favorite part, are the opportunities for publishers like myself to have authors pitch their stuff to us. I really enjoyed this because, without fail, all the authors I spoke to had a great, professional focus. Most won’t get published by New Mythology, but they’ll do well as a group, I think.

While I won’t publish most of them, I did add several new authors to our team. I can’t tell you how excited I am about what they’ll bring to New Mythology and I thought I’d introduce them.

Class of 2022
Class of 2022 (L to R: Chris Kennedy, Trisha Wooldridge, Philippa Werner, J.T. Evans, myself, and Brock Kolby)

First, is J.T. Evans. You all might remember him from his story “The Empty House” from Talons & Talismans I. Courage takes many forms, and this story is a perfect, strong example of standing up for what’s important. J.T. tends to darker fantasy, and I have to wonder if the horrific car crash he was in at 15 where they had to to reattach his arm might be one reason. Anyway, we hope to publish a trilogy in his setting starting late fall.

Oh, and as publisher, I’d better give you the link for Talons & Talismans I. You can find it here: amazon.com/dp/B09HQZDR4W.

Next is Philippa Werner who you’ re going to love. She has a host of writing experience, so much so, she’s already pushing me to up my game as publisher. She’s written under the pen names of Moira Katson and Natalie Grey. As you can see from those two links, she’s already done a bunch of great stuff and we’re ecstatic to have her.

Her first job, by the way, was at an apple orchard, and she still loves unusual types of apples and goes crazy for a really GOOD cider (none of that pasteurized crap). So, if you’re going to a con where she’s at and you have a great local cider, you might remember that. Just sayin’.

But wait, there’s more! She’s also building up a cool tool for writers called Scribe Count. You can find this here: scribecount.com/

Trisha Wooldridge is next. She, too, is pushing me to up my game. She loves writing awesome characters and then putting them into positions where if she were to meet them in real life, they’d want to throat-punch her.

See? I told you all she’d be a fit for New Mythology.

I have to add, her story about her and her husband’s courtship is hilarious. He proposed to her using a rubber chicken. I wish I’d been smart enough to do that. That’s just wonderful.

Finally, there’s Brock Kolby. He’s very interested in the myth and magic of the Indian subcontinent, which, it turns, is also one of my interests. There’s a good chance he’ll write in Amaranth in the Eldros Legacy, and then also his own setting.

I’m calling these guys the Class of 2022. Obviously, I’m looking for new, great authors all the time, but like I mentioned earlier, there are so many writers at Superstars who are talented pros. I don’t know if I’ll walk away with this much awesomeness each year, but I’m certainly going to try.

Whew. Where were we. Oh, yeah, talking about the seminar, not just the superstars who are joining the team.

I got there on Monday with the intent of helping set up on Tuesday starting at noon. Arrived at the con site at about 12:30 after running errands to find out the others who’d gotten there earlier had already done it all. Marie Whittaker, who ran the con along with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, did a fantastic job of organizing things, and this is a perfect example.

So, I was able to nest and relax a bit before socializing that night at Jack Quinn’s, a nice Irish bar. Had a great time chatting with a variety of awesome folk, which also was an example of the week.

Wednesday is Craft Day, and I chose to take the seminars from Jonathan Maberry on pacing and the one on cover art from James Artimis Owens.

In both, I had sort of the best learning experience one could have. I’ve been fumbling along based on instincts  and I discovered that many of my instincts are good, they just need to be turned into skills. Also, I was able to find a number of new sets of questions I can investigate, questions I didn’t know enough until taking these sessions to even be able to ask.

I’m already introducing some of Maberry’s techniques into The Door Into Winter and the results are very promising.

Wednesday night was more socializing. The truth is, a bunch of the work that gets done is hanging out with a variety of new people. In this particular case, Eldros Legacy hosted a party, which was a great success. Thanks especially Chris Mandeville for bartending!

I had more than a few great conversations at the party, but the most productive was with Dan Bridgwater. He and I are going to collaborate on the Rick Blaine thread from The Feeding of Sorrows. That thread didn’t get explored in The Ravening of Wolves for the basic reason that his investigation of intrigue and conspiracy in the Galactic Union took too long. Each jump from system to system takes something like two weeks, depending on entry and exit points. In any case, we ran through a bunch of character motivations.

I also gave him a fun idea for a fantasy setting and character. Hopefully, he can find time to write that, too.

On Thursday, there were a bunch of good panels and things to do, but honestly, I really wanted to write after listening to Maberry. Plus, I had some other work so I sat in the main bar area and got words written, the work done, and had a number of great conversations.

Thursday evening we hung out at the hotel bar until very late. Side note: I’m not as young as I used to be and altitude affects things.

Friday was, in many ways, the start of my con. It began with a panel on creating a shared world with all five Eldros Legacy founders. This panel went great, I thought, especially since we presented Kevin J. Anderson with a custom-made Kevin the Unkillable t-shirt. Yes, it said “Kevin,” not “Khyven.”

Lunch was excellent, not the food really, but getting a chance to sit next to Craig Martelle and chat with him. I am very much looking forward to 20Booksto50K this year. He’s an impressive guy who’s got a bunch to teach me.

Then I accepted pitches from a number of new authors during the afternoon. That’s where I started gathering the Class of 2022 I started this post with. Again, I found the authors to be, without exception, professional and talented. They’re going to do some great stuff.

Friday night was the VIP dinner. If you’re trying to build up in this game, the cost for the VIP dinner was totally worth it. It’s a normal process. They put a VIP at each table, then fill the table with others, and that means you have a chance to really talk. In my case, our VIP was Nick Thacker, and I’m looking forward to getting to know him better. He’s very impressive.

Getting home from the Pinery on the Hill, a great restaurant, was an adventure, though. Shockingly, the place was on a hill. Great view overlooking Colorado Springs… while the snow fell. The four people riding with me in my car literally gave a great cheer when I drove into the parking garage.

Saturday, I started with a set of pitches, with a second set later in the afternoon. I was also on a panel about writing short stories. I was, by far, the least experienced person on the panel, but I think I did well. At least, one of the others, who happens to be a big part of the Writers of the Future, enjoyed having me there.

Then came closing ceremonies, where they raised a bunch of money for the Dave Farland Memorial Scholarship. This is a huge scholarship, especially given that Superstars is not a cheap seminar, so if you’re interested, I encourage you to apply.

After that, we had a passel go to Oskar Blues. There was the whole class of 2022, Chris, myself, and a bunch of others. It was a fantastic time to get the new authors seeing just how awesome our team really is.

Finally, there was the end of the con hanging out at the hotel bar. I ended up with another pitch session, some more cool networking, laughing and carousing, and wishing for more.

As I said, I leveled up. I’ve been excited about where New Mythology Press is going ever since I took over, but man, this was one of those times that just push that excitement to a new level.

Opinions and fiction of person misplaced in time.

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