Tag Archives: Where Now the Rider

More Than Three Toes

I’ve been a sloth since I got back from the trip. I’ve written hardly at all, though I’ve puttered through a number of projects for Pennsic. I think it’s a normal neap tide after a 25-day trip, though I know there are other factors.

My birthday was last week. I turned 48. I survived the day. That might sound sarcastic, but a good friend of mine turned 48 on June 22nd and did not survive the day. I also had a guy I’ve looked up to for over 30 years also pass away recently. The last day of LibertyCon held both of their memorials. What a strange day. Exciting in many ways, but hard. It might be that my sadness from their deaths has stripped me of motivation, but if so, that’s a horrible tribute to both of them.

The truth is that while there’s no major news in my world, things have been going generally well. I have some irons in the fire that might or might not pan out, but we’ll see. Just having these ideas is a great start.

I am starting to get excited about Pennsic. I’ll do a pre-Pennsic post next week. I am upgrading my SCA furniture, which has needed some refurbishing. In particular, I’m replacing a couple of 6-board chests that have seen better days.  At Trillium War I was pleased with how smoothly my setup went, and it will be getting better. I also have a couple of cool ceremonial things happening at Pennsic.

Football season is also on the horizon, as training camps start in about a week. I’ll review my predictions from last year and make my predictions for this year. Injuries killed my Cowboys last year, more than most of you know about, and if they return to simply average luck, the Cowboys will be better than many people think.

I’m also excited about some of my ideas for Where Now the Rider, which while I’ve not been writing it, I have been letting it percolate in my mind. By the end of this novel Edward will be settled in Achrida fully, but it won’t be easy.

I’ve got some SCA things happening, too. I’ve a project that I’ve wanted to start for some time that will commence after Pennsic. I’m sure I’ll talk about it more later on.

The other good news is that I see myself flowing back up from the ebb. Writing this blog post is a definite sign of that. When I’m down I tend to become a hermit crab. In fact, it’s time to get working on something else. Have a great day everyone.

 

 

More Catching Up

I was going to post a bunch of stuff about SCA 50 Year, and I realized I myself wanted to find a TL:DR version, so clearly it wasn’t worth a whole blog post. Here it is:

I got the book done. I sold some. Met some new people. As land agent, everyone had a spot. We did have a few noise complaints. We warned them. Quite a bit of cool stuff, but there could have been more. Equestrians were definitely the star of the show.

Ok, enough of 50 Year, on to Trillium War. I’m looking forward to a bit of a break, as I probably won’t have a chance to write and won’t have much opportunity to sell, but I need a little down time because next week is very exciting for me.

I’ll be at LibertyCon with a book release party of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll also be on a panel, a reading, and several shots at Author’s Alley. A big weekend for me.

As I say, I’m really excited. This is my third LibertyCon, along with a ChattaCon, and I’m starting to know and be known. Now I go there with 3 books instead of 1, and next year intend to have 5. Making progress.

I hope to maybe have some opportunities to take some of the small stories in my head and find some anthologies that match, and there’s one person in particular I want to chat with. I’ll be stalking him.

This has already been a long, tiring trip, but I have a week of friends and smiling and singing.

In terms of what’s next for me as a writer after LibertyCon. I will spend much of the time between then and Pennsic planning my fall and spring. I will also be doing Pennsic prep, of course. I will throw a few words at Where Now the Rider, and I plan on writing a lot of that at Pennsic. I’ll be sitting in Drix’s booth, writing, waiting for people to come by. By the end of Pennsic, I suspect I’ll be in the 30k range, with a goal to complete a draft by the end of September.

After Pennsic comes WorldCon. I’ll talk about that more later. For now, it’s time to order some bookmarks.

The Wiki

Greetings all

Last Friday I sent off the manuscript to Kellie for her last round of editing. Still on track to have I Am a Wondrous Thing published in June.

On Friday, I was talking to Cedar Sanderson about the manuscript and the wiki I’m building in Shijuren (www.robhowell.org/shijuren), and she asked for me to guest post about doing a wiki on the blog she shares with a number of great writers, the Mad Genius Club (They’re not mad, but they are a little miffed). I was immensely pleased and honored by the opportunity, and immediately wrote it.

I’ll wait here for my mother, my ex-wives, and all of my teachers to pick their jaws off the floor at the idea of me doing something immediately.

In any case, you can see the post here: https://madgeniusclub.com/2016/06/04/guest-post-creating-a-wiki/

After finishing that, I have turned myself to the task of finishing the appendices for IAAWT and updating the wiki to fully reflect all of the new stuff I’ve created. I’m pleased to say that I’m done with all of the people, which is the largest category I need to update.

As of now, the wiki is up to over 300 pages. That’s not just the characters in IAAWT, of course, that includes all the other things I’ve done, some of which have not really ever been used except as background for me.

However, one thing that number also reflects is a new way of organizing the wiki. One of the concerns that was brought up to me by two people in two different places was how I was going to handle spoilers. Obviously, I want to update entries based upon what happens in the books, but I don’t want to ruin any of the books for new readers.

My solution is to create a separate page for each entry to reflect changes after each book. For example, there is a page for Edward Aethelredson. On that page is a link for Edward after I Am a Wondrous Thing (he’s a minor character). There’s also a link for Edward after A Lake Most Deep and another for him after The Eyes of a Doll. The wiki process actually makes creating these easy and quick, so the process has been smooth.

Now people visiting the site have the option of clicking on a spoiler or not. Some people love spoilers. Some people don’t. You might ask if this means people don’t have to read the books, but I have written as sparse and bare-bones explanation of what happens that while the ending might be obvious, the story isn’t.

I like it.

As I’m writing Where Now the Rider this summer and in the fall, I’ll be backfilling all the stuff from ALMD and TEOAD.

One of the things I’m going to try with IAAWT is that each of the people, places, and words in the book are linked to the wiki, both from the entry in the appendices and the first time the word is used in the text. Most e-readers are connected to the internet, and it’s easy to add the hyperlinks. This means a reader can click on a link, look up a thing, and return to their reading app without losing their place.

If I get good response from that, I’ll update ALMD and TEOAD to include those links for the e-books, and add it to Where Now the Rider. We’ll see.

If it doesn’t work, two keystrokes removes all the hyperlinks from the document. One thing about self-publishing, I can be very responsive to the feedback of my customers. I tried linking to appendix entries in A Lake Most Deep, but people did not like the way that worked. We’ll try this. Then we’ll see.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day.

Planet Comicon AAR

What an exhausting weekend. Many thanks to Bill Wilks for serving as the muscle, my sweetie Nik Deplazes for assisting, and Rachel Ost for serving as the Byzantine on the bench. Without their help, I’d have never made it.

Was it worth the money to do? Obviously that has to be the first question and the answer is yes, even though I did not quite break even in sales of paperbacks compared to all of my expenses. While I would have loved to have sold more copies, I still gained quite a bit of exposure and I won’t know for at least a couple of weeks what the impact to online sales will be.

I spent today editing a large chunk of I Am a Wondrous Thing and I am starting to get the same feeling I got when I turned the corner on A Lake Most Deep and The Eyes of a Doll. The corner where I think I’ve got a good story. If I’m as correct with IAAWT as I was with the first two, given the response I’ve gotten, then it will be a good story. That means that what I need is exposure, and there’s no doubt Planet Comicon gave me quite a bit.

I was pleased to see most of my plans worked pretty well. My experience at National Computer and Atronex watching Dave Williamson two decades ago definitely helped.

I really like the banner my friend Timothy Jones printed out for me. You probably saw it in the pictures on Facebook. I liked it so much I think I’ll have another banner, this one based on the TEOAD cover, because I noticed people’s eyes looked both above the table and at the base where I had the banner. I think it will be good to have both places covered whenever possible.

One unqualified success was my “Wandering Signature Chart.” I don’t like just signing my name to books. I want to write something else, something fun. For people I know, I can write something personal directed at them, but I knew that most of my signatures would be to people I had never met before.

At Pennsic, I whimsically signed a book to a friend of a friend who I knew was a gamer with, “Congratulations, you’ve rolled a 17 on the Wandering Signature Chart.” We all laughed and I forgot about it until two weeks ago, when I thought that might be a fun thing, so I made the chart.

It includes things like the above saying, plus a bunch of book and movie references like “I love the smell of paragraphs in the morning” and “I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing printer ink.” Some people chose one, and “By my pretty, floral bonnet, I will sign this for you” was a definite favorite, but many enjoyed the whimsy of rolling a d20 for the result.

Either way, it was another way to engage the passers-by and have fun with my new readers. I had one sale solely because he wanted one of the signatures. I’ll definitely take it. The chart, and a d20, has been added to my basic display unit.

I also learned a number of things during the weekend. I’ve streamlined my accounting, and now have a good process for that. I figured out a pretty good arrangement on the table, and planned for an arrangement that will adjust to at least six different books. When I get more than six things might get crowded, but I’ll take that problem. I need to improve my signage a bit, but that’s tweaking. My signs were clear and readable.

As a side note, I want to mention Patrick McEvoy of www.megaflowgraphics.com again. He did a fantastic job on my covers, and they drew in a bunch of people, The Eyes of a Doll cover especially.

Speaking of noticing things, one of the best parts of Planet Comicon for me was people-watching. Usually , at such cons, I notice some things, but I’m too busy walking or looking at the next thing in the program or some such to catch a lot of little details in the cosplay. At a booth, I’m watching people to see if they might have any interest in my books, so I’m paying attention to stuff. Saw lots of cool, little touches.

I also saw some wonderful t-shirts and paying attention to them got me a number of opportunities to talk to people I would not have had otherwise. I got at least two sales simply because I engaged people with a reference many others might not have gotten.

I had a great time meeting people, of course. It was good to see a number of people like Doug Kempton, Jenna Tomlin, and Beth Moscato, who I don’t talk to enough. The highlight of this was meeting Samanta and Kyrstin Zuo Cai who I had met years ago. They’re the daughters of an old friend of mine, John Cook, who passed away four years ago. We had many a battle in our fantasy sports leagues. He should still be around so I can still kick his butt.

Anyway, I made some contacts that might prove fruitful. A couple of podcasts approached me about appearing on their shows, and I’m hoping that in the fall I can set that up, especially as Where Now the Rider is getting close to being done.

In general, lots of exciting stuff. I met a lot of cool people and learned a ton. Assuming they keep the price reasonable, I’ll go back to Planet Comicon every year. As I get a bigger name, I suspect I’ll do better each time. Honestly, if all I do is break even in the future it will be worth it. I’m sure I did get some new longtime customers. Plus, though exhausting, it was simply fun.

 

 

 

 

Where Now the Rider

Well, I’ve been puttering away with several projects and things are going well.

Some convention announcements and reminders. I’ll be going to Gulf Wars in a few weeks and will have books for sale and autograph at Calontir Trim. Swing on by. Also, I’ll be at Ad-Astra at the end of April. I’ll be serving on panels for the first time there, and will probably have a reading as well. Also exciting is a creator table at KC Planet Comicon. Come see Stan Lee and Alan Tudyk, and then buy my books. Exciting stuff.

Speaking of books, my editor is working on two projects for me, so while she’s doing that I’ve started the third Edward book, which I’m entitling Where Now the Rider. Let’s just say that Andreyev, Gibroz’s lieutenant, is not the only criminal interested in horseracing.

I’ve also been working on a major thing in the background. Next week, I hope to announce what I’m doing. Hopefully, it will make both reading  and writing my books easier.

More to come soon. c

 

Random Stuff

I’m in a weird position in terms of writing right now. Kellie, my editor, has her hands on both A Lake Most Deep and the first Irina novel and I can’t work on either.

For A Lake Most Deep she is re-editing it to match the editing style from The Eyes of a Doll. I am getting low on physical copies of ALMD and I am going to order more before Gulf Wars. I’ve been planning to issue a second edition to reflect the things I’ve learned in publishing both ALMD and TEOAD. Mostly, this means revising the cover, changing the font, and the formatting. However, I’m also going to take the time to get it re-edited so it and TEOAD are the product of the same hands.

The first Irina novel, as I may have mentioned, is a much more complex novel, with a large number of threads and perspectives. This is my first foray into such a complicated structure and I’m not sure if what I’m doing is working. Kellie’s looking at it to see what I’m doing right and wrong. I’ve been waffling on titles but for now I’ve decided to call it A Mind-Song of Motherhood. I like that title quite a bit, and it might end up as the title of the trilogy.

What this means is that the top two things on my to-do list are out of my hands. So, I’m focused on other projects.

I’ve started laying out the third Edward novel in my head. I know the hook, the basic background of the story, heck, I even know the title, Where Now the Rider. However, as usual, I don’t know the main villain until I write it. I’m a pantser, what can I say. I’ll start writing the opening chapters tonight or tomorrow and will have a few thousand words ready to go when I turn back to finishing Irina 1.

More importantly to me is my other project, which I’ll keep mostly mum on for now. Suffice it to say that for all of you who will read the Shijuren series of novels, this will be a wonderful and ongoing thing.

It’s this last project that I’ve pounded my head on for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting there, and if I weren’t so paranoid I would have been able to announce it by now, but there you go.

I’m getting more and more excited about the upcoming con schedule. One big reason is that I’ll be more involved. It looks like I’ll be on panels at both Ad-Astra and LibertyCon. Also, I’ve a table at both Planet Comicon and Mid-Americon II here in KC. I’ve also got a line on some smaller regional cons. By the end of the year, hopefully I’ll be more well-known.

The more I read, the more confident I am that I can write. I’m awful at self-promotion, though. Working on it, though.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day, everyone.