Tag Archives: D.J. Butler

Interview: D.J. Butler

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

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

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

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

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

Why are you here?

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

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

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

Describe your great Lab of Creation?

The Cunning Man cover
The Cunning Man cover

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

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

What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?

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

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

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

Lightning Round

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

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

  1. LibertyCon in Tennessee
  2. Dragon Con in Georgia

Do you have a creator biography?

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

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


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

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

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

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

Have a great day.

Rob Howell

Rob’s Update: And Yet Notwithstanding

Week 44 of 2021

Greetings all

Another new release this week! Talons & Talismans II is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09L44T5XW/.

I’m so pleased with the Talons & Talismans project. We put out 30 great stories encompassing over 260,000 words. It included some of the biggest names in the industry like Kevin J. Anderson and Rick Partlow along with a number of authors who published their first story like Rich Hailey and Elowyn Fahnestock.

It also jumpstarted the Eldros Legacy, New Mythology Press’s shared fantasy setting.

In short, these anthologies did everything I wanted and I’m so thankful to all who were a part of it, from authors, editors, artists, and especially, the readers of New Mythology Press. Special thanks to DJ Butler for giving me a two-part story, one for each anthology.

By the way, Talons & Talismans I is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B09HQZDR4W.

But writing never stops, or at least it shouldn’t. I made good  progress with The Door Into Winter, though the number of words added won’t seem like much. I realized I needed to tighten up a number of plot holes, which took some time. I’m much happier with where I’m at right now and I expect I’ll crank out quite a bit next week.

I’m also about to start a couple of short stories. One, of course, will be my next Nick Patara, PI story for all of you on my mailing list. Then I have a chance, if I can meet the deadline, for a really cool project. Not to mention immediately after The Door Into Winter I have promised two more short stories and I finally will bring you all a new Edward mystery.

I love that I have so much I get to write. And with that, I better throw some words at the page.

What I’m Listening To

Rush in Rio. Great album to write to.

Quote of the Week

Happy Veterans Day to all who served. Thank you very much.

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
– Thucydides

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+.

Talons & Talismans II is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09L44T5XW/. Eight Eldros Legacy stories

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on the next Eldros Legacy novel, Seeds of Dominion, by Quincy J. Allen.

Giveaways

Three cool giveaways this week.

Autumn Free Book Collection
Autumn Free Book Collection

Autumn Free Book Collection

https://books.bookfunnel.com/readfreefantasyscifibooks/oo8gx0bssu

Your Next Favorite Fantasy
Your Next Favorite Fantasy
The Visit
The Visit

The Visit

https://books.bookfunnel.com/be-a-good-host/tccf56rwww

Lots of free stuff out there and I’m excited to bring it to you.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (30,837)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

Talons & Talismans II is alive, including eight Eldros Legacy stories. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09L44T5XW/.

Also out this week is a new Salvage Title novel, this one by Matt Novotny. It’s entitled A Nest of Stars and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KX8CY54.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 331.8

Updated Word Count: 323,145

Eldros Legacy Archives: 787 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Rob’s Update: The Hill-Top at Hastings

Week 40 of 2021

Greetings all

Been a great week here. Of course, we’ve been pleased with the response for Talons & Talismans I. It includes stories from a passel of great authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Rick Partlow, and D.J. Butler, of course, but I’m especially pleased with the stories from our open call. The story by J.T. Evans might be my favorite of the 15 stories, but the story by Scott Huggins about a medusa is right up there.

The House Between Worlds
The House Between Worlds

But that’s not all. I got to reveal the amazing cover of The House Between Worlds on Monday. This is the fourth in the Milesian Accords series by Jon R. Osborne, and it comes out on the 26th.

This cover, by the way, was done by Alexandre Rito. Absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve made a bunch of progress this week on The Door Into Winter, my next Shijuren novel. This will release in April.

Why that far away? Because Shijuren, as I’ve mentioned a time or two, is now part of the Eldros Legacy shared universe. The first novel in this world will be Todd Fahnestock’s Khyven the Unkillable and it’s fantastic. That comes out on the 7th of December.

But if you want more content in that world sooner, you can get a bunch of Eldros Legacy stories in Talons & Talismans II, which includes stories from Aaron Rosenberg, Quincy J. Allen, Todd Fahnestock, and a special story from D.J. Butler that follows his story in Talons & Talismans I. That anthology comes out on the 2nd of November.

As you can see, it’s an exciting time for me with all sorts of things happening.

What I’m Listening To

Peyton’s Places, Peyton Manning’s show about football. It is an amazing show, even, I suspect, for people who aren’t football fans. It’s so much about the people, not the game.

Quote of the Week

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. This is a special day in Calontir, the SCA kingdom that includes Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and a part of Arkansas. This is, of course, my home kingdom, so I can’t post an update today without quoting the song Calontir is most famous for singing, though ironically it was written by Malkin Gray (Debra Doyle) and Peregrynne Windrider (Melissa Williamson), who are not from Calontir.

Still, these words are special to us.

Draw up the spears on the hill-top at Hastings,
Fight till the sun drops and evening grows cold,
And die with the last of your Saxons around you,
Holding the land you were given to hold!
– Malkin Gray (Debra Doyle) and Peregrynne Windrider (Melissa Williamson)

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on Quincy J. Allen’s new Eldros Legacy story, Seeds of Dominion. This is a full-length novel starring Rellen of Corsia, who many of you saw in both When Valor Must Hold and Songs of Valor. I know a bunch of you read those stories, because there were a number of people asking for more with Rellen. Well, on 4th of January, you’ll get it.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (16,981)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Lots to get to this week. First, Aaron Rosenberg has released the fourth and final book in his Time of the Phoenix series entitled Cross the Road. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09HX2WJCV.

If you haven’t read the earlier books in that series, by the way, Aaron has also released an omnibus version which includes all four stories in one efficient package entitled Time of the Phoenix. You can find this here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09HZNP6MP.

Next we have book 3 in the the Luna Free State series by John E. Siers. This one is entitled Valkyrie’s Daughter, and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FR8ZXF9.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 332.0

Updated Word Count: 284,475

Shijuren Wiki: 797 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: Made it Home

Week 20 of 2021

Greetings all

First, there are a bunch of new faces here thanks to Dave Butler’s May Giveaway. Thanks for signing up. A quick tour. In this first part, I chat about what I’m doing and what I’m planning. Then there’s a bit on what I’m listening to. Basically, it’s a chance to comment on something cool around me. Then there’s a quote of the week for the same reason. That’s followed by some stuff particular to New Mythology Press, for which I’m the publisher. Then I list my works in progress and events I’m planning on going to. Finally, there are new releases, some by me, most by people I know and appreciate. Then there’s the usual promo stuff at the bottom.

By the way, most weeks, I’ll send this out on Thursday, but I literally got home last night and basically went straight to bed for 12 hours sleep.

Again, thanks for joining up. I hope you like it here. You get to start with me following up from an amazing time at FantaSci. Wow, what a week that was. Here’s the After Action Report to prove just how awesome it was: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=2314.

Some quick highlights

  • The release of Responsibility of the Crown by G. Scott Huggins. This is an amazing book and I’m honored to be a part of it. You’re going to love it. You can find it here if you haven’t gotten it already: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095CLDVMD.
  • Running my first ever New Mythology Publishing panel. Starting this fall we’re going to be pumping out stuff consistently. My goal is a book every other Tuesday. We might end up doing more. Exciting stuff.
  • Getting to host the Songs of Valor panel with Larry Correia, David Weber, Dave Butler, and the rest of an amazing cast.
  • Getting to announce J.P. Chandler as the winning of the first FantaSci anthology. The Hill to Die On is simply brilliant.
  • Most importantly, I got to see my con family. I’ve missed them, something terrible.

After that I spent a couple of days working with Chris Kennedy. We finalized the processes we’re going to use for New Mythology Press going forward. We also went over a bunch of plans. This is really exciting for me, and it’ll be exciting for you because there are a bunch of great stories coming.

After that was the long drive home, but I at least got to have dinner with relatives in Rocky Mount.

Overall, this was a weird combination of exhausting and reinvigorating. Those two things shouldn’t go together, but though my body reminds me 18 hour drives aren’t as fun as they used to be, my mind is excited about the challenges ahead.

With that, I’d better get to work.

What I’m Listening To

It’s Motown day on the Pandora at Brewbakers. You know all the great songs. For me, it’s also so nice to get back into the home groove.

Quote of the Week

So many fun exchanges at FantaSci. This is something from Jon R. Osborne, when someone suggested dinner at an Irish place on Sunday.

“You had me at pub.”

― Jon R. Osborne

New Mythology Works in Progress

We now have TWO anthologies with open calls.

1. Talons and Talismans

  • Deadline: 31 July
  • Release: October/November
  • Words: 7k-10k
  • Manuscript: In .doc or .docx file format, Times New Roman, 12pt, 1.5 spaced
  • Send To: rob@chriskennedypublishing.com
  • Prompt: Write a fantasy story involving a beast or monster. While the story can include elements of horror, it should not be a horror story; it should be a fantasy and lean toward the heroic. Feel free to make the beast or monster your protagonist, but if not, the creature must be a central figure, (like Grendel in Beowulf).

We will choose the top four stories out of those submitted to add to the anthology. They will earn an equal share of the revenue as all the other authors. This is especially aimed at newer authors, though authors of any experience can enter.

2. FantaSci 2022 Contest

  • Deadline: 30 November, 2021
  • Release: FantaSci 2022
  • Words: 7k-10k
  • Manuscript: In .doc or .docx file format, Times New Roman, 12pt, 1.5 spaced
  • Send To: rob@chriskennedypublishing.com
  • Prompt: Write a fantasy story involving an artifact or named item. This can be an item of legend, such as Excalibur or the Philosopher’s Stone, or an item of your creation of any type. Feel free to make the artifact or item intelligent, and you can even make it your protagonist or villain. No matter what, the artifact or item must be a central part of the story.

Again, we will choose the top four stories out of those submitted to add to the anthology. They will earn an equal share of the revenue as all the other authors. This is especially aimed at newer authors, though authors of any experience can enter.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • TFF (9,889)
  • Rick Blaine (6,647)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Responsibility to the Crown is out! You can find G. Scott Huggins’ fantastic debut novel out here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095CLDVMD.

Also released last week is my co-conspirator with the Dudes in Hyperspace podcast, Ian J. Malone along with the big boss, Chris Kennedy, giving us a new Four Horsemen novel. You can find Street Survivors here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094281KRC.

And since I am late off the mark this week, you get a bonus release: Shadows, a novel in the Caine Riordan universe by William Alan Webb. Bill Webb is a great writer, and you should check him out in general. And, of course, you know this universe, founded by Chuck Gannon. You can find this book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095W2BCJF.

Also, the big sale this week is a collection of Military SF curated by the amazing Kevin J. Anderson. This actually includes one of my  stories, “Here Must We Hold,” in Trouble in the Wind, edited by the awesome James Young. You can find this collection here: https://storybundle.com/scifi. It’s a heckuva collection, including Cartwright’s Cavaliers, the first in the Four Horsemen Universe. If you were considering jumping in, this would be a great way to start.

Today’s Weight: 341.0 (I tried, but didn’t do a great job of eating during the trip. Color me surprised. But only 5-8 pounds, so not a huge step back)

Updated Word Count: 146,422(I finally decided to give myself 1/4 credit on things I edit/publish once they get released, so I got credit for Responsibility of the Crown. I have had too many people tell me I should get some credit.)

Shijuren Wiki: 725 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

Currently Available Works
Shijuren

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2) (Forthcoming)
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Fire from Fire Quickened

Week 10 of 2020

Greetings all

Been a pretty good week here. Not much in terms of word count, but that’s because I was putting the final touches on “Fire from Fire Quickened,” my next installment in the Queen Elizabeth’s Own Foresters. I sent it off to CKP today and I hope it’ll be accepted for the next anthology.

I love this story and let me just say, things are getting worse for the Foresters before they’ll get better. If Roosevelt Edmonds were to ever meet me in real life, he’d bop me in the nose. Or worse.

I also managed to finally break through on some technical issues related to the Shijuren wiki. I’ll hopefully be able to get it back up soon, though it’ll take a bit to learn the new version.

Today I began the final push on None Call Me Mother. I’m at that stage in the writing where I have to separate each thread and make sure I follow them to the concluding battle. I have a lot of the concluding battle scribbled in notes here and there, but this will help me block the scene properly. Also, this will help eliminate some redundancies that have cropped up as well as plot holes.

Getting there.

Tomorrow, I’ll pop on over to St. Louis and watch the second Battlehawks home game. The first one was a ton of fun, and I will do my writeup on both weekends on Sunday.

What I’m Listening To

Iron Maiden’s Back in the Village. Not one of their more well-known songs, but like Rush, Iron Maiden’s B-sides are often better than the hits.

Quote of the Week

“I liked working with smart people.”
– Katherine Johnson

I’ll bet that’s what people said about working with you. Godspeed, and thanks for helping us reach the stars.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (108,716)
  • CB (8,418)
  • RQS (1,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on D.J. Butler, whose story “No Trade for Nice Guys” reminded me so much of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I went back and started reading those again. You can find my interview with him at: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=2021.

Today’s Weight: 396.8

Updated Word Count: 42,769

Shijuren Wiki: Rebuilding

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

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org