Tag Archives: D.J. Butler

Rob’s Update: New Beginnings

Week 16 of 2024

Greetings all

It’s April 11th, which is sort of a personal holiday for me. In 2011, we closed on the Olathe house on April 11th. In 2023, we closed on this old mortuary in Anthony.

Happy Closing Day to me!

Of course, it’s not just a day of new beginnings where we live, we’re only 8 days from the full release of Paladins of Valor at FantaSci. I hope to see a bunch of you there.

Paladins of Valor
Paladins of Valor

As promised here’s the full list of stories and authors in Paladins of Valor, which is on pre-sale now here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

  • Preface by Rob Howell
  • Family Heirloom by Howard Andrew Jones (A Chronicles of Hanuvar Story)
  • Paladins of the Unbroken Light by D.J. Butler (A Tales of Indrajit and Fix Story)
  • High Water Mark by Chris Hepler
  • The Passing of the Mantle by David R. Birdsall (A Fractured Brotherhood Story)
  • The Purloined Heart by Christopher G. Nuttall (A Schooled in Magic Story)
  • Apprentice in Trouble by Chad Boyer (A Chronicles of the Dimensional Mage Story)
  • SEALed With a Kiss by C.V. Walter
  • Romancing Some Rock by Edie Skye (A Titan Mage Story)
  • Space Mage Secrets by Daniel M. Hoyt
  • The Oaths That Bind by H.Y. Gregor and David Shadoin (A Milesian Accords Story)
  • Valor’s Wirth by Jon R. Osborne (A Milesian Accords Story)
  • Welcome to Detroit by Nathan Balyeat (A Powers of the Night Story)
  • Those Who Went Before by Glen Cook (The Black Company on the Long Run)
  • The Muses Darling by Sarah A. Hoyt (A Tale of The Muses Darling)

What an amazing list! The Black Company. indrajit and Fix. Hanuvar. Titan Mage. Schooled in Magic. These are some of the best-selling universes in fantasy right now. Plus several worlds you’ll love and stories that stand on their own.

And did I mention not just one, but two Milesian Accords stories? Spoiler alert: Big doings in that universe over the next year!

This is surely the deepest list of authors ever for the Libri Valoris, and we’ve had a bunch of great authors take part.

It was a productive week reorganizing the shop. It’s a much different layout now, but with lots more books and shelf space. Plus I did a bunch of prepwork for a variety of things including heading out to North Carolina.

And with that, I’m going to go play with the grandbaby.

What I’m Listening To

Watching Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I really enjoy both it and Elementary, which will always be connected in time and space to me.

Quote of the Week

Kurt Vonnegut died seventeen years on April 11th. Such a creative mind.

 Laughing is good exercise. It’s like jogging on the inside.
– Kurt Vonnegut

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 (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have Revelation, the third and final book in the Sol Saga series by James Fox. The revolution on Mars is gaining steam… at least until President Trent decides to break out the Rods from God! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CW6C4Y7D.

This week’s pre-release is Prince Dominator, the eighth book in Fred Hughes’ Prince of Britannia series. Hazard has taken the Sol System… but will he be able to hold onto it while getting the information back to Britannia? Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0D19WN6HN.

And then, of course, there’s Paladins of Valor!

They defend the weak, no matter the time, place, or foe.

They stand up for others in the cold dark of space, the dusty Wild West, and lands of mystical empires.

They fight with any weapon that can help them save those behind them, whether it’s battlemechs, magic, swords, or even Sharps rifles. Along the way, they discover they can be more than they ever thought.

So come join us as we visit, in fourteen great stories, the worlds of Hanuvar, the Black Company, Kish, the Milesian Accords, and more great universes because there are always those who stand up for those who can’t.

We call them paladins.

Pre-order it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CY9T4DHG/.

Your pre-release this week is PRERELEASE.

Tracked Items

My Weight Today: 367.2 lbs

Updated Word Count: 93,586

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: A Giant Leap

Week 29 of 2023

Greetings all

It was a very productive if scattershot week. First, we had a great first full week from A Hope in Hell, the conclusion to Christopher G. Nuttall’s excellent post-apocalyptic swords and sorcery trilogy. The Heirs of Cataclysm has been a great series to publish and it’s been an honor to work with Chris.

And next week we have the re-release of A Lake Most Deep on Tuesday! I’m beyond the moon excited about this. It’s the first of the Edward mysteries, and Dave Butler said about these: “You’re going to love Edward’s adventures! It’s like Harry Bosch got crossed with Uhtred of Bebbanburgh!”

A Lake Most Deep Wrap No Text 600
A Lake Most Deep Wrap No Text 600

This updated version has this amazing art from J. Caleb Design! Here’s the blank wrap cover to show it all off.

Tomorrow, I’ll reveal the updated map of Achrida by Sean Stallings. It’s brilliant.

I also made good progress this week on Farewell, My Ugly as I get back into the swing of writing consistently. I’m aiming to have it to the editor by the end of August.

I also made good progress on the sooper-sekrit Firehall Sagas project that I’ll talk about in good time. Basically, the Firehall Sagas is about to explode.

Then there’s been setting up the bookstore. I did a ton of work on this too, getting the basic layout in place, including finally locking down my office space. I also started the acquisition of the basic inventory over and above what I had.

I’ve got a ton going on during the next few days. Saturday, I’ll join H.P. Holo. We’ll be talking about A Lake Most Deep and whatever else comes to mind. If you haven’t seen her stuff before, you should check her out. She’s a rock star, as is Jacob, her husband.

H.P. Holo Q&A
H.P. Holo Q&A

And look at the graphic she made for this episode! And here’s the link if you want get updates on Facebook: facebook.com/events/234711226078834.

Then on Monday, I’ll join Jeremy Comeaux on Monday for a pre-release party. Come join us for giveaways and whimsy. Here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj9v3n1H_Ew for that.

But wait, there’s more! On the 27th, I’m scheduled to join Blasters & Blades again. That’s a great podcast, so if you’re not following them already, check them out here: youtube.com/c/BlastersandBladesPodcast.

That’s going to be interesting, if only because I’ll be Pennsylvania getting ready to go to Pennsic. By the way, if you’re going to Pennsic, I’ll be selling out of Area… errrr… I mean, Booth 51. It’s next to Calontir Trim and on the side of the barn.

Oh, and there’s a fun thing I’m doing with Dave Butler next week. Check out next week’s update for a fun giveaway.

And another oh, I should mention thing. Congrats to Nick Steverson, Melissa Olthoff, William Alan Webb, and Larry Hoy for all winning Imadjinn awards at Imaginarium last weekend. Best novel, best short story, and best anthology. I think covers it all, right? Well deserved.

Wow, so much great stuff going on. I’m glad y’all are here to be a part of the journey.

What I’m Listening To

More of Endeavor while the wife knits next to me. Not a bad way to work.

Quote of the Week

It’s July 20th. Could there be any other quote for the week?

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
– Neil Armstrong

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:

Three is a magic number But thrice ten is mine

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 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 (75,321)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

A Hope in Hell by Christopher G. Nuttall, the conclusion to his Heirs of Cataclysm trilogy, came out on Tuesday! It’s available here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0CBDGZ7D6.

This week we have In Isolation from Purpose, book 3 of C.S. Ferguson’s Transhuman War series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CBSQFMJP.

Speaking of Imadjinn winners Nick Steverson and Melissa Olthoff, this week’s pre-release is Privateers & Pandemonium from the Salvage Title universe. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0CC9TGLJS.

And remember, A Lake Most Deep is out on Tuesday!

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 354.0

Updated Word Count: 206,306

Firehall Sagas Archives: 742 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: FantaSci

Week 12 of 2023

Greetings all

Bonds of Valor
Bonds of Valor

I’m at FantaSci! Which is why I’m a day lat one getting this out.

Bonds of Valor is live. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BZ7BFXN9. 14 great stories of valor with bonds of faith, hope, love, and more.

Todd McCaffrey, Jody Lynn Nye, Glen Cook, D.J. Butler, and Sarah Hoyt lead Team And More into the breach.

Stay tuned next week for next year’s anthology theme. Or if you can’t wait, I talk about it in the CKP YouTube release party we did on Tuesday.

That link is here: youtube.com/watch?v=r4M0qkZWU4s. I had a great time talking with nearly all of the authors.

I had a great time at Planet Comicon. I sold well, and was especially pleased to see how well Postcards from Mars sold. The art in it is really fun and even people who don’t read much thought it was cool.

Because I’ve either been at a con or on the road to a con nearly every day this week, not to mention a variety of mundane tasks to deal with, I had very little chance to write in Farewell, My Ugly. I had one decent writing session, so about 1500 words and I pushed through yet another rough spot, so it wasn’t completely unproductive.

One thing I should mention. I listened to Newsletter Ninja on the way out. This means there’ll be a few changes to the newsletter in the next couple of months. Part of that will mean you’ll get a few extra emails, stuff I should have built into my mailing list from the beginning. The good news is these will have some free stories and extra content.

I mention it now so you’re not surprised. I really appreciate all of you who read this, and want to make sure I’m giving you fair value for both your email address and your time.

But for now, I need to turn my time to FantaSci. Have a great week, everyone.

What I’m Listening To

Rush, Clockwork Angels. I always wear Rush shirts at cons, and this gets me in the mood to be a rock star.

Quote of the Week

Happy birthday to Steve McQueen. Here’s a quote from him that is a real challenge for many writers, but it’s something we have to power through.

“The world is as good as you are. You’ve got to learn to like yourself first.”
– Steve McQueen

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 swirl and I swoop          Swiftly striking my prey

Latest Snippet: Chapter 4 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

Bonds of Valor is out! Here’s the blurb:

A private eye saves his dead friend.

The Black Company deals with something fishy.

Deathmages, space mages, and forgotten magic.

It’s all here in fourteen stories of valor, heroism, and bonds that tie folk together, for good or ill. There are bonds of love, oaths to gods, and life-long friends.

Will the old, crusty worn-out veteran find his new partner just might be something? Will the knight learn humility from those who serve him? Will Indrajit and Fix restore the path of true love?

Or will the bonds between characters break under the pressure of evil wizards, ancient enemies, or massive dragons?

Come find out.

Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BZ7BFXN9

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (71,525)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Lots this week! Let’s start with The Last Argonaut, by Ian J. Malone. I’ve been waiting for this warball novel in the Salvage Title universe for months! Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BYHP4RX2/.

Then there’s Prince Renegade by Fred Hughes. This is book 5 in his excellent Prince of Britannia series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BZ79PPBN.

And, of course, Bonds of Valor, which you can get here: amazon.com/dp/B0BZ7BFXN9.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 350.2

Updated Word Count: 107,716

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: At MarsCon

Week 2 of 2023

Greetings all

I’m at MarsCon, who honored me with naming me an official guest!

First time as official guest, and I hope I live up to their expectations. I know I have a great schedule:

  • Friday 1-2pm: Creating Alternate World Histories
  • Friday 5-6pm: Worldbuilding: Food and Drink (Moderator)
  • Friday 8-9pm: Researching for Your Story
  • Saturday 3-4pm: Finding Your Bliss Later in Life – Advice for the Late Bloomer
  • Saturday 5-7pm: CKP The Year Ahead
  • Sunday 10-11am: How Many Jobs Has That Author Had? (Moderator)
  • Sunday 12-1pm: “I Got A Great Idea For A Book!”

Going to be a blast. Thanks to Joel Lyons, Dave Cleric, and Erin Cram for all their help.

This was also my first week publishing a riddle on the Patreon. I’m really excited how this is going to go.

On the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month, I’ll post a new riddle. On the other Mondays, I’ll post a snippet from a Work in Progress. I’ll only charge for the riddles, by the way. The snippets are free to all subscribers.

Here’s the first line to this week’s riddle:
In me souls are seen     And once were stolen

I’ve gotten a bunch of work done on Bonds of Valor this week. The cover names are Jody Lynn Nye, Glen Cook, Todd McCaffrey, Sarah Hoyt, and D.J. Butler. What a great list!

This comes out on the 24th of March at FantaSci.

I also started working on Hunting the Hart. This is book 5 in Jon R. Osborne’s excellent Milesian Accords series. I’ll have a release date for this soon.

And with that, I need to go. I’m at the con hotel and there’s schmoozing to do.

What I’m Listening To

The History of English podcast. I wish the podcaster wasn’t so repetitive, but it’s a great thing to listen to as you drive 1000 miles.

Quote of the Week

On January 12th, 1969, the New York Jets shocked the world and changed pro football forever.

I’ve got news for you. We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.
– Joe Namath

The Riddles!

I have a new 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 Current Riddle:

In me souls are seen     And once were stolen

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’m pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

Of note, I’m running behind on edits with all the other things going on. These winners will be back before next week.

Bloodheart, by Justin Doyle
Stars and Shadows, by B.A. Ironwood
The Unwanted Legion, by Casey Moops
The Coward’s Shadow by Fiona Grey

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (58,812)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The new release this week is Prince: War Leader by Fred Hughes. This is the third is his action-packed Prince of Britannia series. Get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0BRMRHX97.

Your pre-release this week is book 5 in William S. Frisbee, Jr.’s Last Marines series, Genocide of Mankind. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BS443W6S/.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 337.6

Updated Word Count: 1,836

Firehall Sagas Archives: 738 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: Souls are Seen

Week 1 of 2023

Greetings all

I hope your new year has started off well. Mine has, in general, started off really well. I’m excited about all the projects I’ve got going on, especially my new Riddle Patreon.

I really enjoy writing riddles, and have for something like 25 years now. I actually wrote one yesterday, which comes out on the 23rd of January, just sort of sitting around.

The structure on this one was fun. I suspect it’ll be one of the easier riddles I write, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

My current plan is to post something every Monday. The 2nd and 4th Mondays will have new riddles, and those will generate revenue. The other Mondays will be snippets of works in progress. I started with the first chapter of Farewell, My Ugly this week, and will go at least the opening six chapters and probably more until I switch to The Feasting of Vengeance. At least, that’s the plan, until you all suggest a better one.

I made huge progress on Bonds of Valor this week. I’ve been a bit behind on this as I’ve been catching up on a bunch of stuff, but my edits are going out. This will come out at FantaSci on March 24th.

Speaking of which, I think it’s time to announce the list of authors, and it’s one of the best lists we’ve had.

You know the winners of the contest already:

  • Justin Doyle
  • B. A. Ironwood
  • Casey Moores
  • Fiona Grey

They’ll be joined by:

  • Philippa Anastos
  • D.J. Butler
  • Glen Cook
  • Sarah Hoyt
  • Todd McCaffrey
  • Jody Lynn Nye
  • Jon R. Osborne
  • Aaron Rosenberg
  • Benjamin Tyler Smith
  • Kevin Steverson

What a list. I’m honored by all these amazing authors. Besides, who doesn’t want more Black Company, Necrolopolis, and Indrajit and Fix stories?

I also spent the week finishing A Lake Most Deep. It goes out tomorrow to a couple of alpha readers. I’ll start on The Eyes of a Doll this weekend.

And with that, it’s off to edit another story. Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Saturday is the anniversary of Neil’s death. Rush on repeat for the next few weeks.

Quote of the Week

Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.

Marcus Aurelius

We had a moment on Monday where death might have smiled on national TV. Damar Hamlin, a player for the Buffalo Bills, suffered cardiac arrest on the field. Great news today as Damar asked “Did we win?” He’s not out of the woods, but credit to all involved (except Roger Goodell, but I don’t have time to get into *that* rant).

The Riddles!

I have a new 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:

In me souls are seen        And once were stolen

Latest Snippet: Chapter 1 of Farewell, My Ugly

New Mythology Works in Progress

2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

The theme is Bonds of Valor, and you story must include deeds of valor centered around bonds between characters. This could be a romantic relationship, a buddy adventure, oaths to kings, or whatever you can come up with.

Deadline: November 30th, 2022
Word Count: 7-10,000 words
Specifics: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced.

Current Schedule of New Mythology Press

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (3,213)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (58,812)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • The Feasting of Vengeance (3,405)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Out this week is Crucible of the Gods by D.T. Read. This is book 3 in The Seventh Shaman MilSF series. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B0BR6ZC8TB.

Your pre-release this week is Prince: War Leader by Fred Hughes. This is the third is his action-packed Prince of Britannia series. Get it here: amazon.com/gp/product/B0BRMRHX97.

So last week, I screwed up and muddled a couple of titles and authors. I should have said, get Casey Moores’ The Guilted Cage, a new Fallen World novel, here: amazon.com/dp/B0BQRQYL86.

I mixed it up with the latest 4HU novel, To Have and to Hold, by Zane Voss, which you can get here: amazon.com/dp/B0BQ232HPN.

Ah, well.

Oh, and since I’m tossing out links, here’s Pandora’s Box, 2nd in Christopher G. Nuttall’s Heirs of Cataclysm series. It’s here: amazon.com/dp/B0BNPQ61DX.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 334.2

Updated Word Count: 1,213

Firehall Sagas Archives: 740 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 Ramblings: 20Books AAR

I’m back from 20Books and I’ll start with saying it was an amazing trip.

I went with two overall goals: Gain the tools to level up personally and to level up New Mythology Press. Mission achieved.

Sunday night is when things sort of start. I say “sort of” because panels start on Tuesday, but networking and reconnecting is a huge part of the event.

I got a chance to hang out with some of the North Texas Troublemakers on Sunday. This is a collection of some skilled writers and artists from around Wichita Falls. They’re good folk and I don’t get a chance to really hang out with them much, but several of them were at the con.

One was Dorothy Grant, who I’ve crossed paths with before, but mostly knew online. This was a chance to get to know each other in real life. This last bit, by the way, is a huge theme of 20Books for me.

Another was C.V. Walter, an successful romance writer, especially her Alien Brides series. I’m trying to add a bit more of those tropes to my writing to broaden my skill set, and we had a good conversation about that. I put some romance in The Door Into Winter, and she agreed to take a look at what I did and see how I can punch that up a notch.

Also, expect to see her in an upcoming anthology as she’s got some great ideas and plans for valorous deeds. That’ll be 2024.

Monday started with the big vendor show. A bunch of people who offer a variety of services to help authors write. I found some intriguing stuff I’ll be digging through in the upcoming weeks.

I did have a chance to meet Jake of J Caleb Designs. He’s the artist for so many of New Mythology’s Books. He’s talented, creative, and a true professional. I can’t recommend him enough.

The rest of Monday was more networking and hanging out with a bunch of people. I had a great conversation with a friend who I’ve not really hung out with much in real life.

A crew of CKP folk ended up at Giordano’s, a true deep dish pizza, and we had a bunch of chats about this and that pertaining to a various CKP plans.

Tuesday started with a D&D game hosted by Luke Gygax. If you’re familiar with D&D, you might recognize the name. Yes, he’s related. In fact, he’s one of Gary’s kids.

I actually gamed with him twice, having a session both Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We had a blast, but from a professional standpoint, it was a great chance to connect with a few individuals more than we might have otherwise.

I’m certainly going to keep track of Gaxxworx, Luke’s company, and the setting they’re creating for D&D.

After that I hit Dave Butler’s editing for muscular prose. This was a very useful session as I not only learned new things, it also codified a number of things I’d sort of known but hadn’t ever lined out explicitly.

I’ve already started to put some of those things into use. Definitely a chance for me to level up.

Side note on Dave. We’ve been friends for a bit, but at most cons we don’t have time to actually sit and chat. We had a couple of chances, especially dinner on Thursday. He’s a great dude, and I look forward to hanging out again.

Dave was also hanging out with David West and Brad Torgerson. These are two writers I’ve interacted with on the internet, but hadn’t met in real life. Unfortunately, Brad came down with an illness, so we didn’t see much of him later in the week.

I especially wanted to meet with West, as he’s been pushing Weird West stories. As I desire my Libri Valoris anthologies to be broadly ecumenical in fantasy subgenres, I wanted to make sure he knew that Weird West fantasies are absolutely acceptable for these.

Wednesday was more panels, in particular Larry Correia’s one on action scenes. If you’ve read Larry’s stuff you know he makes these pop, and I got a few tips and tricks I’m looking forward to adding to my stuff.

Speaking of Larry, I also got to hang out with him more than I’ve done before. We had a fun lunch at the French restaurant close to the convention including Kacey Ezell, Nathan Balyeat, Mike Massa, and Larry’s wife, Brigit. Cheese was the biggest topic of conversation.

Also, it was great to actually get a chance to chat with Massa, another talented writer I’ve admired for a while but barely known in real life.

The other really useful session on Wednesday was Bryan Cohen’s Less Time, More Readers panel. This had a number of specific ideas on being productive.

The basic theme here was consistent mediocrity. Doing a little thing day after day after day will add up more than big days. We already kind of know this because we try to write some every day, but he pushed for us to do this on everything we do.

He also said it’s best to cut down on the things we try to do, but again, stick with them day after day, week after week. This might seem counter-intuitive but it struck a chord with me because it’s exactly what I talk about to people thinking about joining the SCA.

Many new to the SCA are intimidated by all the stuff. The great outfits, the bling, good shoes, chairs, wooden chests, and at camping events, tents and such-like things. They feel like they can’t do this because they can’t get all this stuff.

The thing is, no one should have all this stuff at the start. I started with tennis shoes, sweats, and plain T-tunic. This is still sufficient to start with. I had bag chairs, not wooden ones. Everything we used was modern.

But over the 25 years I’ve accrued this and that periodically. I made a chest, bought a chair, traded for garb, etc. I have a pretty good kit, but only after doing a bit here, a bit there, over all this time.

I need to do that with my work. Many, including me, often look at established writers and struggle to do all the things they do without remembering they didn’t do all those things at the start, but did some then added on as they got better.

I need to focus on certain things and get consistent with them. Then, when they’re programmed in, add something else. You can expect to see a few changes along those lines in the upcoming months. Some will be behind the scenes, but it will all be more calculated, more planned to do less, but more consistently.

Those were the three panels I got the most out of, though there may be more. I’ll be watching a few of the others that conflicted with other plans. This con, more than most, had productive things opposite other productive things.

Thursday, after the gaming with Luke Gygax, was mostly networking. In particular, I had a chance to really hang out with James Artimus Owens, a writer and artist who’s also one of the main people at Superstars. His class on cover art at Superstars was one of the best things I did there and it was good to actually get to know him a bit.

This conversation actually gave me a chance to consider the relative merits of both Superstars and 20Books. They’re both great for up-and-coming writers, but they have slightly different aims. 20Books seemed to have a much more granular, detailed approach to the business side of things, especially for indie writers who already have a few things out there. Superstars is better for newer writers, and also for those who lean toward tradpub.

Short version: both are great, but one can be better than the other depending upon your goals and circumstances. As both are expensive to attend, I suggest studying each to find the best fit for you. Most of us can’t afford to attend both in a given year.

It seemed like 20Books had more aimed at my specific needs, but again, this is something you need to determine yourself.

Anyway, the event ended on Friday with the RAVE event.  This was an open-to-the-public sales event. There weren’t a ton of shoppers not part of the con and we didn’t have many sales. However, this was a chance for people to show off what they had.

I had a great chat with a number of writers, including some I expect you’ll see coming out in New Mythology down the road.

Overall, it was a fantastic convention and I achieved my goals. I’ve got more tools in my toolbox, more connections in the industry, and more ideas to push my stuff to the next level.

I’ll definitely go back.

 

Rob’s Update: Valorous Deeds

Week 22 of 2022

Greetings all

Nope, this week’s title doesn’t refer to any of the Libri Valoris, though of course I hope you all note the open call for the next anthology, Bonds of Valor, down below.

Instead, I’ll be going to my first SCA event in over two years, the Tournament of Valor in Wichita, KS. I get to see my parents, sell my books, and hit my friends with sticks. What could be better?

Lorelle of the Dark
Lorelle of the Dark

This is an exciting week for other reasons too. We have the cover reveal for Lorelle of the Dark, the next Eldros Legacy novel. This one is by Todd Fahnestock and is a direct sequel to Khyven the Unkillable.

And man, it has an amazing cover as you can see. Lorelle of the Dark comes out on the 14th of June.

By the way, if you haven’t read Khyven the Unkillable yet, you should know it’s a finalist for the Colorado book awards. Then get into the whole of the Eldros Legacy.

But wait, there’s more! No Game for Knights, which includes a new Edward story, is now available on e-ARC from Baen. An e-ARC, for those who’ve not heard the term before, is an electronic advance reader copy. This means you can read the stories ahead of its real release in September, but it may have some errors or oddnesses that will get fixed for the final release.

If you can’t wait to read Edward’s next thrilling adventure, go here: baen.com/no-game-for-knights-earc.html.

It’s an incredible honor to be a part of this anthology. Just look at th author list: Laurell K. Hamilton, Larry Correia, Christopher Ruocchio, Michael Haspil, D.J. Butler, Kacey Ezell, Griffin Barber, Robert Buettner, Sharon Shinn, Craig Martelle, Chris Kennedy, S.A. Bailey, G. Scott Huggins, Nicole Givens Kurtz, and Rob Howell.

I may be last, heck, I may be least, but I’m there and I’m very excited. Ask me in person sometime about my reaction when I heard the news. That involves a bunch of Muppet flailing you just have to see.

I actually started playing around with the next Edward novel, which is long overdue. I am still working my way around a plotting issue in Sowing Spring’s Wrath, and rather than just beat my head against the wall, I started writing something else. 7500 words already, which is about 10% as I’m going to make these shorter, so it’s a good start.

My working title is a bit whimsical, but I might just keep it. I’m going with Farewell, My Ugly for now and we’ll see.

With that, I’d better go pack my armor.

What I’m Listening To

Moving Pictures by Rush. Right now, it’s on The Camera Eye, which is such an underrated song in my opinion. It’s probably the worst song on the album, but that’s because the other six songs are 11+ on a scale of 10 and this is only a 10.

Quote of the Week

Sad to hear that Ray Liotta passed away. My favorite of his roles was, not surprisingly, Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams. Here’s my favorite quote of his from the movie.

“Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?”
– Shoeless Joe Jackson, Field of Dreams

Dudes In Hyperspace

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

The latest show includes stuff on the Indianapolis 500 with an expert batting for me because I know almost nothing about racing. Still, the Indy 500 is one of those big sporting events I want to go to once, like the Kentucky Derby and a British Open at St. Andrews a number of others. Not something I’m huge into, but I want to experience the thing.

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+.

The Door Into Winter is out!

Lorelle of the Dark is next, coming out on June 14th.

Currently available:

Get all the Eldros Legacy novels at: amazon.com/dp/B09Z9WVKYV

New Mythology Works in Progress

2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

The theme is Bonds of Valor, and you story must include deeds of valor centered around bonds between characters. This could be a romantic relationship, a buddy adventure, oaths to kings, or whatever you can come up with.

Deadline: November 30th, 2022
Word Count: 7-10,000 words
Specifics: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced.

It must also be a fantasy story. Any type is welcome, urban, epic, high, western, gothic, whatever, it just have to have magic. Finally, it cannot have been published anywhere else before.

I’m currently working on The Door Into Winter, my next novel.

Giveaways
Wicked Villains
Wicked Villains

 

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath (xx)
  • Farewell, My Ugly (7,503)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

The Abner Fortis, ISMC is now up to 6! books with Tango Two Two by P.A. Piatt. What a start to this series. You can it here: amazon.com/dp/B0B1LPY9JV.

Also, get the e-ARC for No Game for Knights here: baen.com/no-game-for-knights-earc.html

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 320.6

Updated Word Count: 140,648

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: Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Week 19 of 2022

Greetings all

The Door Into Winter
The Door Into Winter

The big news is the release of The Door Into Winter, coming next Tuesday! This is the first novel of mine published under the Eldros Legacy umbrella and the fourth novel in the series.

In this, some characters you may know (Irina, Ausartxango, Geirr, and Valentin) head to Svellheim to chase a Giant. Lots of action and adventure, and an ending that came together in a way that I didn’t expect.

To get all the Eldros Legacy books, go here: amazon.com/dp/B09Z9WVKYV

Now that I’m a week away from Planet Comicon and can breathe a bit again, I want to chat about one of the best parts of going to cons in general, and those multimedia ones in particular. That is, of course, getting to see what so many others are doing, even if all you can really focus on are the people who are across the aisle from you or down the row.

This year, I was across from an artist named Nathan Lueth. He’s got a new release, The Canon of Vangel, which I’ll be pushing in the New Releases section below. Here’s a sample of his art, which I thought was tremendous:

Canon of Vangel
Canon of Vangel

He’s just one of many I chatted with during the weekend. If you’re starting in this business, I heartily encourage attending cons. They may or not make money from sales, but they’re invaluable networking and publicity outlets if you can afford them.

Anyway, I spent this week cleaning out stuff and taking things slow after hammering a bunch of stuff out the previous two months.

Part of that, of course, was wallowing in the NFL Draft. This was an especially interesting draft because for once, the QBs didn’t drive the process.

Sunday, my sweetie and I took a bit of a road trip and also got to see my parents for dinner. Such an enjoyable day.

With that, though, I better get back to work. For some reason, these stories don’t just edit themselves.

What I’m Listening To

The Main Monkey Business by Rush. One of two amazing instrumentals on Snakes and Arrows.

Quote of the Week

On this day in 1260, Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire. So, that of course means…

“It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!”

Imagine how much more awesome the poem could have been if Coleridge hadn’t been interrupted?

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dudes In Hyperspace

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

The latest show includes discussions on character building.

We skipped a week, by the way, because Ian and his wife are celebrating their wedding anniversary. We’ll be back next week!

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+.

The Door Into Winter comes out on Tuesday.

In the Halls of Winter, a wounded Giant awaits.

Irina, Ausartxango, Valentin, and Geirr chase him to Svellheim, a land of ice and secrets as old as the mountains themselves.

The wounded Giant, filled with wrath, is aided by his old and faithful servants, corrupt nobles, and those ruled by greed, hate, and rage. He awaits his pursuers, setting a trap to claim his vengeance.

His pursuers are mighty, but they are merely human. Will their prowess prove enough against the greatest enemy Shijuren has ever known? Or will the Giant bring back an evil thought destroyed two thousand years ago?

Currently available:

Get all the Eldros Legacy novels at: amazon.com/dp/B09Z9WVKYV

New Mythology Works in Progress

2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

The theme is Bonds of Valor, and you story must include deeds of valor centered around bonds between characters. This could be a romantic relationship, a buddy adventure, oaths to kings, or whatever you can come up with.

Deadline: November 30th, 2022
Word Count: 7-10,000 words
Specifics: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spaced.

It must also be a fantasy story. Any type is welcome, urban, epic, high, western, gothic, whatever, it just have to have magic. Finally, it cannot have been published anywhere else before.

I’m currently working on The Door Into Winter, my next novel.

Giveaways
Searching for your next favorite story?
Searching for your next favorite story?

Searching for your next favorite story?

books.bookfunnel.com/wolfstonekickstarter/jotcoxpd4j

Mid-April Military Fantasy/Sci-Fi Giveaway!
Mid-April Military Fantasy/Sci-Fi Giveaway!
Upcoming Events
New Releases

What a great week for new stuff!

Of course, there’s the Canon of Vangel from Nathan Rueth I mention above. You can get it here: canonofvangel.com/

Dave Butler came out with a new novel this week, Abbott in Darkness. It’s not a CKP or NMP book, but it is Dave Butler, so it goes on the list. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09X61NNNW

This week there’s also a new Four Horsemen novel, The Executioners by Jason Cordova and Matt Novotny.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 319.2

Updated Word Count: 137,931

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: FantaSci 2022 AAR

Greetings all

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

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

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

I got to bed far too late.

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

Keen Edge of Valor
Keen Edge of Valor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadly Fortune
Deadly Fortune

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get writing!

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

See you there!