Tag Archives: Chris Kennedy

Rob’s Update: Planet Comicon

Week 11 of 2024

Greetings all

Another productive week in Robland. I did a bunch of work in Okkorim, completed the bulk of the behind the scenes work on Paladins of Valor, and organized a bunch of books donated by a local library.

Side note: We have a bunch of new romance, westerns, and young adult, plus many other titles in different genres. The sweetie glommed on to the cookbooks. Sorry.

The big thing this week, of course, was the prep for Planet Comicon this weekend. It’s at Bartle Hall in KC, and if you’re in the area, come chat. I’ll be the big guy wearing a Rush shirt. If that’s not enough, my booth number is 1746.

I’ve actually got a fantastic location this year. I got a corner spot, which was generous of them. It’s close to the West Dock, which is fantastic from a logistics perspective. Plus, there’s a restroom about as close as I could hope.

Gonna be a great weekend!

One note on Paladins of Valor. I sent the art to Chris Kennedy so he’d have it when the time came to upload. His response, in his best Captain Kirk voice, was, “That. Is. GORGEOUS!”

As usual, he’s absolutely correct. Cover reveal in a few weeks.

Most of this week’s writing and editing focused on Okkorim, however. We have a bunch of content coming out in March, including 3 new modules plus a slew of other Okkorim content.

And we’re just ramping up. We’re making a whole new world and I’m so honored to be a part of it. If you want to see it grow, join the Gaxxworx Patreon at: patreon.com/GaxxWorx.

With that, I’ll wish you a great week. I’ve at least a couple hours to throw some words at the page in one of my most productive places ever. More on that in a moment.

Have a great week!

What I’m Listening To

Longtime readers will have some idea just how many days I spent in Brewbakers over the last decade.

Well, since I’m in KC for Planet Comicon, I get a chance to claim my booth for a day.

So I’m listening to the overhead random music they play. Just now, they had Call Me by Blondie. A favorite song from my past. And, of course, Debbie Harry. Happy sigh.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Elizabeth Moon! She’s one of my favorite writers. Her space opera Heris Serrano series is brilliant and her Deeds of Paksenarrion series is even better. It is one of those series *every* fantasy author should read just to see her breathtaking skill and attention to detail.

Anyway, here’s her paying attention to, well, you’ll know when you read it.

“Sometimes I wonder how normal normal people are, and I wonder that most in the grocery store.”
Elizabeth Moon

Dragon’s Tidings

OMG, we have so much new stock. A bunch of the fabric that’s been on order arrived. Send best wishes to our poor FedEx guy who had to push it all into the building.

Plus, of course, the huge influx of new books.

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

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (4,809)

Upcoming Events

Freebies and Cool Stuff

Witness Mysteries and Thrillers

https://mybookcave.com/g/witness-mysteries-and-thrillers-2/?bcsrc=m96pfh

Coffee Break and Freebies

https://books.bookfunnel.com/coffeebreakandfreebies/hsqe3790uv

New Releases

More Salvage Title! This week, we have Fallout on Darsaana, most Salvage Title action from Melissa Olthoff. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CW1FNXP1.

But wait! There’s more Melissa! Your pre-release this week is Companions in Chains. This one is in the 4HU! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CW18Q45T.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 370.2lbs

Updated Word Count: 82,830

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: Pictures Galore

Week 49 of 2023

Greetings all

I’m going to post a number of pictures today of the store. Most of this week has been spent getting ready for the open house, so here’s some of the cool things we got.

Let’s start with the fun part! We have signs, and here’s the picture of the front of our building plus all the Grand Opening details.We Have Signs

We Have SignsThe signs rock, but let’s see what we have inside.

Here’s what we’ve got in the entryway! Some swag (our cups came out so well), and some other cool stuff.

Front Display
Front Display

We have an amazing Christmas Tree thanks to Mockingbird Flowers here in Anthony.

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree

Check out this awesome Saint Nick Quilt!

Saint Nick Quilt
Saint Nick Quilt

Now let’s look at our book displays starting with the Chris Kennedy Publishing Display. Such an honor to be a part of this crew.

CKP Display
CKP Display

Here’s a display of my books!

Rob Howell Display
Rob Howell Display

Here’s a display of some great New Mythology Press stuff that I’ve had the honor to work with. At the bottom, so amazing alien romances from C.V. Walter!

New Mythology Press Display
New Mythology Press Display

But where would we be without our friends! Here’s a display showing off a bunch of the cool stuff from Raconteur Press!

Raconteur Press Display
Raconteur Press Display

And finally, thanks to Baen Books for sending swag to give out! They’re great folks, and here’s a small display showing some of the used Baen Books we have!

Baen Books Display
Baen Books Display

Well, I hope that was fun for you guys! We’re ecstatic and hope you can come visit someday, even if it’s not during our open house tomorrow.

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

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

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Tentacles of the Dominion, the third book in D.T. Read’s The Sergey Chronicles. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CP89BH2B/.

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

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 360.2

Updated Word Count: 372,565

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: New Websites!

Week 47 of 2023

Greetings all

Another productive week in Rob world. The big success was getting the quilt store’s website live. It’s here: reddragonquilts.com/.

Then I did a bunch for our Grand Opening. Expect to see a number of posts on Facebook about the opening, but here’s the ad that’ll be in the Anthony Republican. Grand Opening

We hope you can join us!

Also, if you’re on Facebook, check out our Facebook page: facebook.com/reddragonquilting.

Oh, hey, there’s another new website! Chris Kennedy Publishing has its own shop. It’s got some things, but lots more to come. Check it out here: chriskennedypublishing.com/shop/.

On the writing front, I’ve been focusing on a short story due for a new Four Horsemen anthology. I’m getting close to having it done. I aim to have it finished by the end of next week.

Once I’m done with that, I’m turning my focus to The Feasting of Vengeance. I’m about a year behind on that project, like much of the other things in my life. However, I hope to turn it over in the spring.

I also finished a project in the world of Okkorim and sent that off. I’ve started the next phase on that, though only dabbling so far.

I mentioned a couple of weeks that I’m working on learning Facebook ads. I’m making progress, but it’s slow, in part because you have to try an ad or two, see the results, then adjust. Definitely a learning experience.

I’ve got another advertising thing coming, and it includes a Christmas present to all of you. More on that in a week or two.

Just know that I’m honored you guys read my updates and I’ll try and keep them informative and entertaining.

With that, I’m going to get more writing done.

What I’m Listening To

Seahawks against the Cowboys. Was there any doubt?

Happenings in Anthony

Walking back from trivia yesterday, we got a chance to see the downtown all lit up with Christmas lights. It’s not a huge display, but it’s cool. You should come visit.

Quote of the Week

Today is one of the hardest days of the year to find a quote. I mean, seriously, there are 365 days in the year. Why do 2 of the top 5 quote machines ever (Winston Churchill and Mark Twain) have to be born on this day?

So you get two quotes. Sorry, not sorry.

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
– Mark Twain

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’m pleased to announce the 2024 FantaSci Short Story Contest. Get the details here: chriskennedypublishing.com/2023/03/28/2024-fantasci-short-story-contest/.

Today is the day! Get me your story before I wake up tomorrow.

If you submit, I aim to have all the submissions read and the decision made by Friday the 8th.

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • A Broken Sword (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have book 7 in William S. Frisbee’s Last Marines series, Son of the Wolf. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CMPFGZZC/.

Your pre-release this week is Tentacles of the Dominion, the third book in D.T. Read’s The Sergey Chronicles. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CP89BH2B/.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 359.6

Updated Word Count: 371,533

Firehall Sagas Archives: 758 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: Madness Recovery Program

Week 32 of 2023

Greetings all

We're MAAAADDDD!!!!
We’re MAAAADDDD!!!!

It’s the 2nd Thursday of Pennsic and that means one thing: It’s the day after Moonlight Madness, which means everything is slow in the merchant area.

Moonlight Madness is as much roaming around with friends in the merchant area as it is a shopping time. We had a great evening, with a lot of traffic interested in our vine-ripened, organic, dolphin-safe madness, so it was a lot of fun.

Overall, Pennsic has been incredibly busy. My writing output is nowhere near what I expected, but that’s because we’ve sold way more than ever. In fact, on Monday, we’d sold more than we had at any previous Pennsic. There were several irregular expenses for this Pennsic having to do with the new trailer and other such things so I hoped to break even. We did way better than that.

I got 20 copies of A Lake Most Deep and I sold them. In fact, I had people coming up asking for The Eyes of a Doll. And Where Now the Rider. So all that is exciting.

That being said, I did make some progress on Farewell, My Ugly. I got through an editing pass to catch up with where I’d lost track during the move, and I added a number of scenes to conclude various threads. I’d hoped to be in the 90s by the end of the week, but the 80s with a lot of sales will have to do.

I also had quite a bit of interest in Rob’s Riddles. Obviously, more subscribers there would be very nice.

I entitled this Madness Recovery Program, but the truth is there’s so much left to do before leaving, that program will have to start when we get home. We have the kingdom party tonight then the long process of packing out. I should be on the road Saturday morning and it’ll be good to get back to the kitties.

With that, I better take care of the customers coming into my store.

What I’m Listening To

Conversations around the merchant area, like last week. It’s a beautiful day here and people are strolling about enjoying the last couple of days of Pennsic. A pair of friends are warping the last two looms I have for sale, and they’re talking weaving stuff that is way too complicated for me.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull! That’s one of my favorite bands ever, which is probably not a real surprise.

This quote is from Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day, which is in my top 10 songs of all time.

“You were bred for humanity and sold to society.
One day you’ll wake up in the present day,
a million generations removed from the expectations
of being who you really want to be.”
– Jethro Tull, Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day

Rob’s Riddles

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

First Line of Next Riddle:

I am a king      Conquering all before me

Latest Snippet: Chapter 2 of A Lake Most Deep

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (80,232)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Book 9 in Chris Kennedy and J.N. Chaney’s Uplink Squadron MilSF series is out! This one is Uplink Squadron: To Rule in Heaven and you can get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0C6L99R43.

And, of course, A Lake Most Deep, book 1 of the Firehall Sagas is live. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CCKVLPBL.

Your pre-release this week is more MilSF awesomeness! It’s Stand on Xanadu, book 9 in John E. Siers’ amazing Lunar Free State series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CF441GQ7.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 352.0

Updated Word Count: 208,641

Firehall Sagas Archives: 743 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: At the War

Week 31 of 2023

Greetings all

I’m at Pennsic! The shop is set up and I’ve been selling. Going to be a fascinating year as this is Pennsic 50.

I had a great week. Obviously, it’s been a week or so since A Lake Most Deep, book 1 of the Firehall Sagas, came out. Thanks to all who helped, including especially Larry Correia, for contributing to such a great release.

You can get it here, by the way: amazon.com/dp/B0CCKVLPBL.

It was a bit challenging to keep abreast of comments and other things on social media as I literally got on the road on release day. However, it meant that at stops I had the pleasant task of checking and answering. Again, thanks very much.

The Eyes of a Doll
The Eyes of a Doll

Of course, at New Mythology, we set things up so we put out a bunch of books in a series in quick succession, so today I’m giving you the cover reveal for book 2, The Eyes of a Doll, which comes out on August 29th.

Jake has done a great job again on this cover and I’m honored to get to work with him.

As mentioned, I left for Pennsic last week and was setting up Friday afternoon. For a variety of reasons, setup this year was particularly hard and complicated. I didn’t really recover until yesterday morning, in fact, though part of that was the effort to run and clean up my yearly bardic circle.

However, I’m here at the shop now, fully operational and selling like a madman.

As you can see, I have books, including more on the shelf perpendicular to the main table, pottery from Lobster Rose pottery, looms, yarn, and even some wooden folding chairs.

A goodly selection, if I do say so myself.

I’ve gotten a bunch of editing done on Farewell, My Ugly, plus some quasi-outlining I hope to write tomorrow during the slow times. Overall, I’ve made good progress on the book given the challenges, and I’m excited how it’s going.

And in fact, I’m going to throw some words on the page now.

What I’m Listening To

Conversations in the merchant area as I sit here inside my tent.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Ernie Pyle!

“I love the infantry because they are the underdogs. They are the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys. They have no comforts, and they even learn to live without the necessities. And in the end they are the guys that wars can’t be won without.”
– Ernie Pyle

Rob’s Riddles

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

First Line of Next Riddle:

I am a king      Conquering all before me

Latest Snippet: Chapter 2 of A Lake Most Deep

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (77,112)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Your release this week is Tinaree: Forged in Crucible by Nic Plume. This is book 2 in her Shadows of Peace series and you can get it here: amazon.com/dp/product/B0CCTC4BYB.

Also, Chris has a variety of special announcements this week on his mailing list, too many for me to list here. There are books on sale, new audiobooks, and he needs launch team readers. Go here to become a part of his email list: chriskennedypublishing.com/newsletter/.

Side note, I could also use more launch team readers, so send me an email at rob@chriskennedypublishing.com to get added to the list.

And, of course, A Lake Most Deep, book 1 of the Firehall Sagas is live. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CCKVLPBL.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 352.0

Updated Word Count: 207,866

Firehall Sagas Archives: 743 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

2023 LibertyCon AAR

It’s Wednesday, which is about right. I need at least a few days to recover from the awesomeness that is LibertyCon. I hated missing it last year, but I suppose I made the right choice. I am still married, after all.

Anyway, before I get going into my weekend, I want to take a moment to thank all the crew at LibertyCon. Brandy Hendren is a rock star among rock stars, and her crew is the single best organized con crew out there. I deal mostly with Rich Groller (programming) Matthew Fanny (gate) because I never get a chance to go to the best con suite around (Vonn Gants and crew), the art show (Ann Robards), or the game room (Misty Kat Gutierrez-Waller). And that doesn’t count all the behind the scenes folks.

That crew is amazing, but it’s not really a surprise. We often talk about how much LibertyCon is a family, and this is the core of the family. They’ve all done the job for a while, helping their family members have a great time.

I thank them all the time, but it’s really never enough.

Anyway, I was so ready for LibertyCon that last Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep. It was like Christmas Eve, so I gave up the ghost, got up at 430am and was on the road by 5 to Murfreesboro, my stop on the way. It’s good to have friends to crash with, especially when they make chicken and mashed potatoes for a weary traveler.

I got to the hotel early on Thursday and did a bunch of work in the room before heading down to the lobby.

The lobby at the LibertyCon hotel on Thursday night is a trap.  A great trap, a wonderful trap, a trap worthy of Grimtooth, but a trap nonetheless.

There are friends there I haven’t seen in at least a year, lots of them! I flitted from friend to friend, getting snatches of conversation, talking business, the past year, beer, writing, and all the other things in swirling conversations that make the Thursday night at LibertyCon one of the single most important days of the year professionally.

We closed down the bar and then went to a room party. This was an oft-used plan by many at the bar. Marriott might want to reconsider closing the bar right at midnight.

Friday was breakfast at the City Cafe. Sadly, they’re being forced to move a few blocks away. It’s a shame as it was only a block away from the hotel and it is really good.

Then I got into panels starting at 1pm. This was the Out of the Trailer Park anthologies panel led by William Joseph Roberts. He’s a really smart dude and the driving force behind Three Ravens Publishing. If you haven’t checked that company out, do so. They’re really good.

Anyway, I’m not saying I committed myself to writing a redneck version of Beowulf, but I committed myself to writing a redneck version of Beowulf for a future anthology.

After that, I was generally off until 8pm and my Author’s Alley stint from 8pm to 10pm. I was really pleased with how this went. I only sold 4 books, but I talked to a bunch of folks and that’ s a big part of why I do those slots.

More importantly, I had bought a rolling toolbox to make setup and teardown go smoothly. It holds 4 stacks of books, so about 40 or so without difficulty. It also came with a smaller case that holds promo and setup stuff like the Wandering Signature Chart and the big d20. I can bungee two racks on top and it was really easy, so that’ll be a help going forward.

I was originally scheduled to be on Author’s Alley until 11pm, but the CKP Year Ahead panel went from 9pm to 11pm, and I skipped my last hour (actually I donated it to Cedar Sanderson, who couldn’t make the con) to go do the New Mythology portion of the presentation.

And that’s where I lost my name.

I showed up to find they were mostly through the New Mythology portion and that Kacey Ezell had impersonated me. Apparently, she’s a better me than me.

A Hope In Hell
A Hope In Hell

So I took her tiara and tagged in. I got there in time for not one, but two cover reveals. The first was for A Hope in Hell, the conclusion to the Heirs of Cataclysm trilogy by Christopher G. Nuttall. This comes out on July 11th and it’s the post-magical-apocalypse swords and sorcery series you didn’t know you’d love but you will. The art, by the way, was done by Laercio Messias.

Then came the most exciting part of the presentation. I’m re-releasing all of my books under New Mythology Press starting with A Lake Most Deep on July 25th. This is the first of the Edwardsaga, the fantasy mystery series.

The Firehall Sagas schedule starts like this:

  • July 25th: A Lake Most Deep
  • August 29th: The Eyes of a Doll
  • October 3rd: Where Now the Rider
  • November 7th and every 5 weeks afterward for a good while, something else.

No surprise that I’m excited. These books have updated art, maps, new edits, and a better layout. Basically, I’m taking all that I’ve learned over the last decade and refreshing them. I’ve said a number of times that while I love A Lake Most Deep because I created good characters, a great setting, and a challenging mystery, I didn’t execute the writing well. No surprise there, it was my first novel. Now, however, I’m as proud of the writing as I am the story and this is true for all the rest.

A Lake Most Deep
A Lake Most Deep

Did I mention art? Here’s the other cover reveal. This art is by J. Caleb Designs, one of my favorite cover artists around. I think you can see why. It’s much the same cover as before, but it’s so much more energetic and strong.

On top of this, I’ve been pleased to get a couple of blurbs from other authors. Glen Cook, yes that Glen Cook, the one who wrote the Garrett, PI series, said A Lake Most Deep is “a damn fine read.”

Yes, my head exploded when I got that email.

Also, at LibertyCon, Larry Correia gave me a writer blurb: “Rob mixes intrigue, murder, and magic in to his own cool blend.” Plus, Dave Butler agreed to get me a blurb as well. I’m honored by their trust and hope to live up to everything they expect of me.

Back to LibertyCon. Following the CKP panel, we had a CKP YouTube internet thing. This was a hoot. I sat in the back and heckled, not that it needed my heckling to be hilarious. Check it out here: youtube.com/watch?v=x35cP0ir34M. Uhhh, not safe for work, or your ribs from laughing too hard.

Saturday started with the brunch. We had a fun table including Gary Shelton the donut god, Ann Margaret Lewis (who’s releasing her first CKP title soon), and Scott Huggins, writer of the Responsibility series.

The theme for our table was, “Dammit, Scott!!!” The banquet was set up so each table would go up in succession, with the table number drawn randomly. Scott said he had terrible luck with this sort of thing and we’d go last, so every time another table was called, we yelled, “Dammit, Scott!!!” Then Scott McIntosh-Mize got in line and we yelled it at him too. He was appropriately confused. Then they said the last table to be called would get a prize, so we yelled “Dammit, Scott!!!” when we were second to last. We may have had to wait, but we had more fun than all the other tables.

Scott’s working on book 3 in his Responsibility series right now, by the way.

At noon I had a reading with Patrick Chiles. He’s a hard SF author writing with Baen and his first reading reminded me of Inherit the Stars, at least it had the same sort of awesome puzzle from James P. Hogan. That’s still one of my favorite books, even if some of the scientific basis hasn’t entirely held up in the nearly 50 years since it came out.

For myself, I read the new first chapter of A Lake Most Deep, which is much stronger then the first chapter of Farewell, My Ugly.

Then I had another long break until panels at 7, 8, and 10pm. The first was a panel on Writing from the Perspective of a Historian. In general, I enjoyed the panel, and David B. Coe did a good job of moderating it.

I think the key thing to remember about this topic is that history doesn’t have to make sense, but fiction does. Also, there’s always another level to the history, and at some point you have to cut that off in fiction to keep the reader in the story.

Then there was another panel on history, this time writing for history, and again moderated by David B. Coe. It wasn’t an exact reply, though, as it was focused more on worldbuilding.

He asked what 3 things we start with, and my answer is that all the worldbuilding has to provide kinetic energy to the story. Hence, I start with foundational stuff like the magic system and also the ancient history that is hidden in the epic fantasy quest. Then I start with regional stuff to create trade routes, political tensions, and such. Then I mention my Wikipedia random article process to create a database of ideas for characters, places, and events.

Then came the Great Tiara Exchange of Ought-23 and me getting a new name.

On the schedule it was the Valkyries panel where a bunch of authors in The Valkyrie Protocol anthology talked about their story. Kacey Ezell introduced herself as Rob, so I took her tiara again. This, by the way, was a huge blue-stone studded tiara as opposed to the simple circlet from the previous night.

I rocked it the rest of the night.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as the Joelle Presby introduced herself as Rob. Then Melissa Olthoff introduced herself as Rob. So I introduced myself as Kacey Joelle Olthoff to much rejoicing.

All the while wearing the tiara balanced on my head. Did I mention it didn’t fit? It was just perched there, but I never once had it fall off.

Back to the panel, which had some business moments. Marisa talked about the plan to keep writing in that world, and that a number of books were coming out along these lines, ultimately concluding with an Avengers-like book with all the characters kicking ass. I don’t have time to write a book, but Vigdis hasn’t saved her last soul.

Side note: www.irocktiaras.com is available and I might need a new website.

Following the Valkyries panel, we retired to the bar to close it down. Then went to room parties. Then we went on an excursion!

I skipped right over the part where Trisha J. Wooldridge was at her first LibertyCon with her brand new release, Shadows, Ash, and Prophecy. She seemed to have a great time and is a great addition to the CKP crew. She’s also working on book 3 in that series right now.

Shadow, Ash, Prophecy
Shadow, Ash, Prophecy

Here’s the cover, by the way.

She was staying at a neighboring hotel, so we formed a party amoeba and escorted her home. Then we returned to the room party.

I usually do my major night of reveling on Thursday, but apparently I was too hyped to stop. I closed out the room party, then spent time helping Nathan Balyeat edit a story. A drunk editor can be good, but he either sacrifices his editing skill or his ability to phrase things nicely. Fortunately, Nathan didn’t kill me, but I was like a director yelling, “cut, cut, cut!”

Then I realized it was 6am and I had planned to drive to Fayetteville, AR after the con.

Ooops.

Well, I packed my stuff up except just what I’d need and took it down to the car. Went to the breakfast buffet, which opened at 630. Then I caught a few hours of sleep to join the Kaffeeklatsch.

After that was the Four Horsemen panel and suddenly, the tables turned.

They started the presentation and were introducing all the people up on stage when they came to an empty chair. Kacey Ezell’s chair.

Yes, I jumped up and did my best Kacey impersonation. To be fair, she’s a much better me than I am of her. I apparently can’t do a soft, higher-pitched voice without doing it in Southern. Still, it was a lot of fun and most of the crowd had been to the previous panels so was in on the joke.

At that point, I got out of Dodge as quickly as I could because I was already tired. I figured if I got out early, I could stop for a nap or two, which I did. However, leaving LibertyCon is not a fast process, something I appreciate. Lots of people to hugs, lots of goodbyes, and even a homemade cookie.

The trip home wasn’t terribly eventful, though I did make a detour when I saw the weather going through the middle of Arkansas. I ended up going north around it and getting a hotel in Mountain Grove, MO instead of stopping at a friend’s house in Fayetteville. Ah, well, I got home safely.

Overall, LibertyCon was as awesome as usual, maybe even more so since I’d missed it last year. Never again, unless I can’t help it.

All the business things I’d hoped to cover got covered, and more. I got to hang out with a people I haven’t had much of a chance to before, including Patrick Chiles, Howard Andrew Jones and the Holos. I met a bunch of new folks, too.

So, can we go back next week? I already miss my family.

Rob’s Update: Almost Like Christmas Eve

Week 25 of 2023

Greetings all

Lilies was great, as to be expected. Overall, weather as good as could be hoped for and a bunch of opportunities to sing. I’m rusty around a singing circle so I’m spending July practicing.

But now it’s on to LibertyCon. I left Wednesday morning at 5:07am. I intended to leave at 6am but I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep. It was like sleeping on Christmas Eve.

It’s been four years since I’ve been able to come to LibertyCon. This is such an important event for me, both professionally and sentimentally. I came here first in 2015 in order to help get a feel for how to be a pro writer. I’d never have the career I have without it. It is also one of those cons where things get done in a myriad of conversations.

Shadow, Ash, Prophecy
Shadow, Ash, Prophecy

Anyway, there’s a ton going on this week, so let’s get to that. Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy is Live! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/1648557732. This is book 2 in Trisha J. Wooldridge’s amazing Asian-themed epic fantasy, and focuses on the fey of her world in a battle against an evil prince.

Coming soon is A Hope In Hell. It’s the conclusion to Christopher G. Nuttall’s action-packed post apocalyptic swords and sorcery series the Heirs of Cataclysm.  I’ll have a cover reveal here at LibertyCon Friday night in the CKP Year Ahead.

Two weeks after that is A Lake Most Deep, book 1 of the Firehall Sagas by yours truly. I’ll reveal that cover tomorrow night as well.

As most of you know, this is a re-release of my fantasy series. That means we’ll have a bunch of them out in sequence, including not only the 7 currently published novels but more. Much more. The Eyes of a Doll, book 2, is coming out August 29th. Where Now the Rider, book 3, is scheduled for 3 October. And something more every 5 weeks after that for a while. A long while.

Exciting times for me.

Back to the CKP Year Ahead. Not only will I have the two cover reveals, but I know Chris has a number of surprises too, so you won’t want to miss it. It starts at 9pm in CC Ballroom E on Friday night.

Speaking of things to do at LibertyCon, here’s my schedule: libertycon.org/lc35pros/rob-howell.

And with that, it’s time to go schmooze.

What I’m Listening To

Alan Parson Project House of Usher. Let’s start the weekend with some Poe.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to one of the forefathers of my profession, born on this day in 1856. Might be time to read the Allen Quatermain adventures again. In the meantime, here’s a quote from King Solomon’s Mines.

“It is far. But there is no journey upon this earth that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing, Umbopa, that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross; save a mountain and a desert of which you are spared the knowledge, if love leads him and he holds his life in his hand counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or to lose it as Providence may order.”
― H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon’s Mines

Rob’s Riddles

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

First Line of Next Riddle:

I cover the world,      Though not how I once did

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 of Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (73,704)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy is out! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/1648557732. This is book 2 in Trisha J. Wooldridge’s amazing Asian-themed epic fantasy, and focuses on the fey of her world in a battle against an evil prince.

The big release this week is a whole new set of threads in the Four Horsemen Universe. Thought we were done? Not at all. Check out The Phoenix Initiative: The First Missions for seventeen! stories totaling 160,000 words! You won’t want to miss it, so get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C7YZCFCK.

New Author Alert! Please welcome Nic Plume to CKP Factory by checking out her Shadows of Peace series. Your pre-release this week is Tinaree: Trial by Inferno. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C8SDFJR5.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 351.2

Updated Word Count: 117,862

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: No, Really, I’m AFK

Week 24 of 2023

Greetings all

I’m sending this via the magic of scheduling. I’m at Lilies War, so instead of talking too much about my week, I’ll hit a couple of high points then give you the first chapter of Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy.

A Hope in Hell and A Lake Most Deep are in progress. Expect more details next week.

By the way, last week I typed July 24th instead of July 25th as the release date for A Lake Most Deep. To be clear, it comes out on the 25th, which is a Tuesday, not the 24th, which is not.

Also next week, I’ll be at LibertyCon. Here’s my schedule: libertycon.org/lc35pros/rob-howell. Come say “Hi!”

And with that, here’s the first chapter of Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy, book 2 in Trisha J. Wooldridge’s excellent Asian-themed epic fantasy series, The 27 Kingdoms.

* * * * *

Chapter One – Things That Shouldn’t Be

Shadow, Ash, Prophecy
Shadow, Ash, Prophecy

In swirling darkness, fear redefined itself for Blessedhunter Koki.

Her insides twisted in one direction, her body the other. Images and memories—familiar and foreign—pelted her foggy awareness.

Byria, her Byria; Byria’s dragon; poisoned illness; mountains and giants’ magic; shaking, breaking earth.

Reflective black stone made by fire in a cave of boiling water.

Mokin’s spiritcall rune drawn in blood.

Years of muscle memory allowed Koki to land in a stable crouch that at least felt familiar. Her stomach heaved. She spit out burning bile. Smells assaulted her, smells she knew intimately, smells that carried yet a different fear.

Years of experience sharpened Koki’s mind and senses with her next breath. She was still in danger. This danger she knew well.

She was in Lakan’s home.

A particular room in Lakan’s home, though light hardly penetrated its walls—walls within walls, for it was a room hidden in the central strangler fig lattice within the Magicleader’s large hut. Blood of beast and person mingled with pre-storm air. Sticky, still, and prickly.

She needed to leave. Now. No. As soon as it was safe, as soon as she wouldn’t be discovered. Panic had its purpose in survival, but this wasn’t the place. Her heart beat faster than the wings of hummingbirds.

The cut on her hand from which she’d drawn Mokin’s spiritsigil pulsed. Not pain, but something through the tacky blood still seeping over her palm tugged at her attention. Like a thread or string. Pulling.

Like lightning, Mokin’s spiritcall rune flashed in her vision, illuminating the secret room.

Koki flinched deeper into a crouch, barely containing a gasp.

A person-sized reflective surface, like the stone the dragon had fired, balanced upright on a stand of Ancestor Wood. Her stomach twisted even more. Ancestor trees were never to be harmed. What had become of the souls entrusted to this tree?

Had Lakan always had such a thing?

It had always been after sundown, darker than now, when she’d pulled Mokin from this room. Tied, bleeding from the runes his father had carved into his flesh, and writhing from painful magic burning his blood. She’d observed their surroundings only to ensure their safety.

That sensation in her cut hand yanked at her heart. No, not quite. Like a string from her heart to her hand, something tugged her in the direction of the room’s hidden entry.

Koki crept closer to the hinged wall. Dizziness clung to her movement, forced her to focus more on moving her body than attending to her surroundings. The silence of the hut was more distracting than the loudest spring birdsong raucous.

Trembling climbed her limbs, and she had to stop and lower to a knee, lest she fall. I need to get out of here! Koki mentally shouted at her uncooperative body. I need to find Mokin! As if to confirm her intuition’s declaration, another pulse rippled from her heart to her hand toward the wall.

But she couldn’t move.

Koki shook as if from fever, or when she’d lost all that blood from the leopard fight. If she were discovered—and discovery was more likely if she tried to move in this state—she’d be in danger worse than that attack. What that danger was, she didn’t know, but she trusted her instincts.

“You know what you need to do.”

Mokin?

He’d spoken into her mind a few times when it had been necessary. This didn’t feel quite the same, though she perceived the thought in his voice.

The thought was correct.

Koki closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. She willed herself to be unseen, unheard, undetected. Glamour rippled around her.

Breathing, breathing, she knelt on both knees, a more stable posture. The ground within this room was damp, almost muddy. She thanked her sharp senses for noticing such a detail and thought no further on the observation. It wasn’t immediately necessary for her survival.

Still no sounds.

Per the light that did filter in, it was daytime. Lakan’s hut was just outside the village, somewhat isolated, as was the home she and Mokin had built—as far from his father as possible. The sounds of the village wouldn’t reach the house. But…

There were no birds, no animal movement. Not even at a distance.

It was more silent than the barren lands heading toward the mountains. The silence swirled Koki’s nausea like a spoon stirring a pot.

Wrong.

Considering what Koki knew Lakan had done in this room, he’d likely glamoured it to buffer noise coming in or going out.

Ancestors and gods! Koki began the thought as a profanity. Then, like when instinct positioned her spear before she focused on a target, she gestured in prayer. Ancestors and gods, all blessed spirits and souls, please… Please, what? Just please, with my heart and spirit. Please…

The sting of tears and her bleeding palm impinged upon her awareness.

Pulling a cloth from a belt pouch, she wrapped her cut hand and got to her feet, doing her best to smooth the almost-mud and hide any blood she’d spilled. Proper washing could come later.

Her instincts spoke more primally, and Koki surrendered to them. As if she stalked prey, her feet found the quietest, most secure steps. Her bandaged hand slipped below her leopard tunic, palm pressing to where her heart beat behind her chest bone.

The beating slowed, as did her shaking, with each breath Koki took. She cracked open the secret room’s door, and sounds filtered in to her heightened senses.

Unfamiliar birds cooed nearby, as if from a coop. Odd, as Mokin’s family had never kept birds, but not immediately important. From farther away, she picked up the sounds of the village common.

Even considering the distance, the sounds of her people seemed… less. Not muted, but… fewer?

More worrisome than unexpected birds, but still not an urgent concern.

No one was nearby. She could leave unseen and unheard, so she did.

That string sensation pulled her heart and wrapped hand to the east, toward the Ritual Circle that held council and holy meeting huts, the Blessing Pools, and the speaking and ritual dais. Swallowing hard, Koki followed the call, trusting it like her hunting senses.

She cringed upon passing a pile of decomposed bamboo and branches—once the hut at which Mokin had apprenticed under Motherhealer Choli, his mother. Koki was surprised anything still remained of it—that Lakan had never removed it—after over a century of abandonment.

Reaching for her spear, Koki found only air and scowled. She vaguely remembered being unable to hold her spear after pulling the poisoned arrow from her shoulder and running. She cursed.

Then again, no weapons were permitted in the sacred areas.

Willing glamour to cover her, she broke into a jog with surprisingly less pain than she expected. Koki gave thanks that she’d lost her spear. The last thing she needed was to offend the gods and ancestors.

* * * * *

Have a great week everyone!

What I’m Listening To

The sound of singing around a campfire.

Quote of the Week

This is a line from one of my favorite campfire songs, Battle of Maldon by the amazing Rosalind Jehanne

For our hands shall be the harder, and our will shall be the wiser
And our hearts shall be bolder as our strength must end
Come and follow me to glory, so that when they tell the story
We shall not be forgotten in the halls of men
– Rosalind Jehanne

Rob’s Riddles

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

First Line of Next Riddle:

With fierce heart              Defend I your soul

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 of Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy

New Mythology Works in Progress

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (73,704)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have New Horizons by Chris Kennedy. This is a collection of sixteen of his best short stories. You don’t want to miss it. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C7BP8PJ3.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 351.8

Updated Word Count: 116,537

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: Lilies War 2023

Week 23 of 2023

Greetings all

Hey, look, I remembered today is Thursday. Go me! I’m back on schedule, except for the fact that there’ll be no regular update next week as I’ll be at the War of the Lilies and not have enough internet access to post.

However, I’m going to try something out, so expect something special.

I’ve had another great week and there’s so much coming out soon!

Shadow, Ash, Prophecy
Shadow, Ash, Prophecy

Shadow, Ash, and Prophecy went to the ARC readers yesterday. If you’re on the team,  check your email. This is the 2nd book in The 27 Kingdoms by Trisha J. Wooldridge. It’s Asian-themed epic fantasy with dragons, fey, and as you can see on the cover, a tough bad guy.

By the way, with all that’s coming down the pike, I’m going to need a bunch more ARC readers. If you’re interested in becoming part of the advance team, send me an email at: rob@chriskennedypublishing.com.

But wait, there’s more! A Hope In Hell, the high-powered conclusion of Christopher G. Nuttall’s excellent Heirs of Cataclysm trilogy, is in process. The target date for release is July 11th.

And yet, even more!The Firehall Sagas, the re-release of the former World of Shijuren is nigh.

A Lake Most Deep by yours truly gets re-released on July 25th.  It’s got a new cover, an editing pass to streamline the story, but with all the same mystery and adventure.

Expect the rest of the Firehall Sagas to come out in sequence, about every 5 weeks at least through 2023 from that point.

I can’t tell you all how excited I am with this release. I love A Lake Most Deep, but it suffered from normal first-novel issues. The characters, mystery, and setting are great, but I wasn’t as good a writer in 2014 and 2015 as I am now. Not only that, it has a new opening scene I really love.

Plus wait until you see what J. Caleb Designs did for the cover. It’s amazing.

There’s also been a bunch of unpacking and organizing here. Bit by bit, the boxes are getting emptied. We can even sit at a pew or two.

Now all I have to do is learn how to back up a trailer. This hasn’t gone well yet, but I’m learning.

By the way, following the War of the Lilies, I’ll be going to Chattanooga for LibertyCon. Here’s my schedule: https://www.libertycon.org/lc35pros/rob-howell.

As you can see, Richard Groller and the rest of the programming staff have given me a great list of things to do. By the way, I’ll be reading the brand new opening scene to A Lake Most Deep.

With that, I better get back to work. Lots to do before leaving for Lilies. Have a great couple of weeks, everyone!

What I’m Listening To

Take the Long Way Home by Supertramp. Seems fitting now that I’ve move back to the Wichita area after all those years away.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Jerry Stiller. You may remember him from Seinfeld, King of Queens, or as Ben Stiller’s dad.

I remember him from the videos he made for Rush concerts. Here’s one to start with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_Cz9VjjvCE.

“Did I miss the band? Where’s the band? Where’s my man Lerxst? Hit me baby. And the skinny guy, Dirk. Give it to me. And the other guy. Yeah, the Professor! Where are you guys?”
– Jerry Stiller

Rob’s Riddles

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

First Line of Next Riddle:

With fierce heart              Defend I your soul

Latest Snippet: Chapter 5 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (73,704)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Pirates & Payback from Nick Steverson and Melissa Olthoff. This is the second of their Salvage Treasure trilogy in the Salvage Title universe originally created by the amazing Kevin Steverson. Get your fast space opera action here: amazon.com/dp/B0C6QWXCB6.

Also in Kevin Steverson’s Salvage Title universe, It Takes All Kinds, an anthology of fun races including my story Careful with that Axe, E.U. Gene. Get it in, electronic, paper, or audio formats here: https://books2read.com/u/bQApGE.

Your pre-release this week is New Horizons by Chris Kennedy. This is a collection of sixteen of his best short stories. You don’t want to miss it. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C7BP8PJ3.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 351.8

Updated Word Count: 115,029

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe

Rob’s Update: Delays

Week 19 of 2023

Greetings all

As you can see, I’m a day late to sending this week’s update. There have been some delays in the moving process and I just didn’t have time yesterday.

Overall, buying the house has been a smooth process, but the move has been awful, thanks in part because of our amount of stuff. However, we have not been helped by our moving company. They basically screwed up to this point and we *still* have a truckload of stuff.

I’m giving them a chance to make it right, so I won’t name them yet, but I’m incredibly pissed off right now.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if I have to rent a UHaul on top of all this, it’ll all fit at this point. At some point, very soon, we’ll have everything in Anthony and be settling in. I anticipate a good week of work, real work, next week.

Also, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, and my mom’s birthday falls around Mother’s Day every year so it’s a double chance to tell mom how awesome she is.

She is awesome, by the way.

As for work, I’m nibbling away, doing maintenance level stuff. I’ve lost basically a month of production, which, to be honest, was to be expected.

So everything is delayed, but as I tell people, there are reasons and excuses. A move is a reason. Boy, is it a reason.

Time to take advantage of Brewbaker’s and do some editing. Have a great week, everyone.

What I’m Listening To

The sounds of Brewbaker’s. I’m going to miss this place. It’s been a really productive writing home. If you’re ever near 95th and Renner in Lenexa, KS, you should try it out. Their truffle fries are really good, as is their southwest chopped salad, especially with extra fresh jalapenos and avocado.

I’m eating that right now, in fact.

Quote of the Week

May 12 is a huge day for birthdays, including not just one great quote machine, but two, Yogi Berra and George Carlin. Also born on the 12th is Katherine Hepburn, Ving Rhames, Burt Bacharach, Florence Nightengale, Emilio Estevez, Tony Hawk, and a host of other fairly big names like Lou Whitaker and Leslie Charteris. Also, who knew Mary Kay had a last name. It’s Ash, by the way.

But I have to give a double-shot since how can I pick between George and Yogi?

“Meow” means “woof” in cat.”
George Carlin

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.
Yogi Berra

Rob’s Riddles

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

I apologize for the hiatus on the move. Back to full speed soon, hopefully next Monday. Thanks for everyone’s patience.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (73,704)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

A new 4HU novel! This one is Companion of Darkness, by Casey Moores. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0C4V1Z4LR

And there’s a ton of things going on with CKP, so many I can’t really get to them all. You should also subscribe to Chris’s email list *and* get a free story. Go here: chriskennedypublishing.com/newsletter and sign up.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 354.0

Updated Word Count: 112,158

Firehall Sagas Archives: 737 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Creator of the Firehall Sagas Universe