Tag Archives: DragonCon

Interview: Mel Todd

We continue with our interviews of authors in Keen Edge of Valor, coming out one week from today at FantaSci, with Mel Todd.

Mel and I see each other at a number of cons, but it was only this past LibertyCon we had a real chance to chat. She’s got a great sense of humor, as you’ll see in her story “Of Claws and Men,” the second short story in her Small Magics universe.

Interview: Mel Todd
Mel Todd
Mel Todd

What is your quest?

To tell the stories I can’t find. To show people ways reality can twist, and how the ordinary person can prove themselves extraordinary.

What is your favorite color?

Purple!  Lol – one of the things I love to do is set my desktop wallpaper to random and load different themes.  For a while it was Hubble Telescope pictures, then walls of covers from multiple genres, right now it is all “You should be writing” meme’s.  I will say Tom Hiddleston’s Loki might have one or two in there.

Cover of No Choice
Cover of No Choice

What is the average flying speed of an unladen paint brush?

Oh, number one – don’t join a romance group and let them read your non-romance sci-fi.  You will walk away thinking you are the worst writer ever.  Asking for help is great, but make sure they LIKE the genre you are writing in.  Hmmm… life.  Life is hard sometimes.  Finding time to write is even harder.  Make it a priority, but be nice to yourself and accept you can only do so much.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

Wait you get a holy hand grenade?  No fair. AT all.  All I have is a Cat of Superciliousness. So on those days I just can’t – the want to suck the thumb and crawl into a ball – those days?  5 minute timer.  You only have to write for 5 minutes – nonstop, 5 minutes.  Most of the time I’ll decide I can do another 5 minutes.  You’d be amazed how much you can get if you just do it for 5, 10, 15 minutes.  Otherwise creatively?  I talk to myself – a lot.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?   Miss Piggy!  Sexy, confident, and has a tail.  How can you not love her?
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy.  I want my nuts to have substance.
  • Favorite Sports Team? ….. Ravenclaws?
  • Cake or Pie? Pie.  With ice cream or cheddar cheese if apple.
  • Lime or Lemon?  Yes
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  … salsa – especially good with cream cheese.
  • Wet or Dry? I didn’t realize this was an X-Rated interview.  I’d have to make sure all your readers are over 18 to answer that.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Ohh… I don’t know if I am that obsure of a music person – relatively common Sisters of Mercy and Johnny Horton.
  • Whisky or Whiskey?  Yes
  • Favorite Superhero? She-Hulk.  Sorry I LOVE Jennifer Walters.  She is so awesome. No angst, rolled with it, and rocked it.
  • Steak Temperature?  Blood should be dripping.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? I don’t recall telling you how ancient I am – but Bionic Woman.  Jamie Summers is my idol.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?  Fall, dear goddess Fall.  I want my apple cider, my fireplace, my smores!
  • Favorite Pet?  Oh my pussy – ha, told you, no X-rated answers.  I have 3 cats who all feel like I serve them.  So, yeah.  I’m owned.  I admit it.
  • Best Game Ever?  …. You hate me don’t you.  How do you expect me to choose?  So… Colossal Cave Adventure all the way up to Planescape Torment to WoW…. And lots in between.  Then there is Munchkin and Solitare and Gems of War and LARP and White Wolf and D&D (I’m agnostic sorry) so Best Game Ever – the one I am playing at this moment.  Which happens to be called My Creative Brain Hates me.
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the mornings, iced tea in the summer evenings, and hot tea with spirits in the winter evenings.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy?  Yes.  What?  I like to try different flavors.  I’m equal opportunity.  ~Wiggles eyesbrows~
Cover of Rage
Cover of Rage

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

Well, Rob….. oh.. x-rated.. right.  So – dang it all my questions are business related and probably REALLY boring to anyone not trying to make a living at this, so Dragoncon yes?

Rob’s Answer: Well, since this is well after DragonCon I can reliably inform you I’m unlikely to go in 2018. Actually, I did not have a great time at DragonCon last year. It was fun, but not the amount of fun I paid for.

A big part of why is that I love my job. I enjoy being on panels. I like interacting with writers and readers. The bigger a con is the more difficult that becomes, especially since I’m not yet a big enough name for DragonCon to approve me as an attending professional.

Also, I recently moved and frankly needed a fall with few long trips. I go to Pennsic every year where I make money and people know me. It’s only a few weeks before DragonCon and I just didn’t have enough spoons to push to go.

Will I go in 2019? I don’t know. It’ll depend on where my career is to an extent. Ask me at LibertyCon.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

OOOH… Self Promo!!!   www.badashpublishing.com we has books, we has blogs and we will be at LibertyCon in 2019 and Dragoncon always.  What can I say, I’m addicted.

And where can we find you?

Oh… umm.. I wrote the above before I read this.. um…  Moonlight and Magnolias in 2018 and 20booksto50kVegas in 2018.  Hmm… otherwise, beg me to come (oops x-rated again) and I’ll think about it.

Do you have a creator biography?

And low the heavens opened and then slammed shut again, leaving Mel standing in the wet dreary California farmland.  What shall become of our waif? Tune in to find out.

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

Hmmm.. name/species/orientaion might have been a good start. Mel Todd – human (maybe), vertical most of the time, except when I’m horizontal.

Thanks to Mel Todd 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.

Thanks 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.

Also, 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.


Rob’s Update: Mountains Rise and Fall

Week 32 of 2020

Greetings all

Somedays I never thought I’d be able to say this, but I just sent a full draft of None Call Me Mother to my editor.

It’s raw, and I will be adjusting my process so I never take this long to write a series again, but I cried at the end. That’s always a sign I like the story.

It was actually a fantastic week here, not just because I wrapped up a draft. I participated in my first DragonCon panel on Wednesday, and you’ll be able to see it as part of the virtual DragonCon package. I don’t know all the details about virtual DragonCon right now, but I’ll be posting that when I do.

I have already started to shift the notes from The Feeding of Sorrows around to begin The Ravening of Wolves, its sequel. Expect to see that appearing in the word count within the next couple of weeks.

Next week I will be cleaning up a short story, starting another short story, and start reading for the sequel anthology we’re putting out for FantaSci. We already have three submissions for the contest and I can’t wait to dig into those.

Tomorrow, I’ll be presenting a section of Brief Is My Flame in an online reading of a bunch of local authors. I thought about a chunk of None Call Me Mother, but all the snippets I can think will be fun to read are too long for my 15 minutes.

Here’s the link for the KC Writer’s Fair. You’ll need to register to watch the Zoom meeting, so plan accordingly. Thanks to William Mitchell for all his hard work getting this going.

There’s a bunch of work yet to do on None Call Me Mother, of course. However, this is one of the best points in the process.

What I’m Listening To

Survival by Yes. What an apt song for the moment.

Quote of the Week

None Call Me Mother is wrapped around a riddle written in the Old English style. I’ll post it here and see if anyone figures it out. I wrote it to be challenging and obscure, which it is, but you can figure it out, even if every riddle is frustrating.

I am a wondrous thing                    though I am truly nothing
Brief is my flame but                       mountains rise and fall
Ere my warmth fades                      and winter fills its place
Gold is given for me                         but such gifts buy me not
I have many children                       but none call me mother
Swans carry my grace                     but grow and fade without me
Some turn to the sun                       but never tame me in the light
Dogs may soar for me                      but daunted, they return sharply
So ere you your successor name     say what I am called

– The Riddle of the Great Mothers

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (148,130)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

  • 8 August, Olathe Writers Zoom Event (TOMORROW!!!)
  • 3-7 September, DragonCon, Atlanta, GA
    Digital stuff coming (Less sadness)

New Releases

This week we see the first release from Mark Stallings. It’s called The Elements, and it is the first of the Silver Coin saga. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C29BR62?.

Also, there’s a new main thread Four Horsemen novel out! You can find Gale Force here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F9TX11V. Thanks to Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy for creating this huge, crazy sandbox for all of us.

Today’s Weight: 369.6 (I held the same weight as last week, which I’m actually quite pleased about since I was too focused on finishing the draft to actually cook)

Updated Word Count: 231,733

Shijuren Wiki: 67 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
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories
  • “A Gift of Crimson” in Hand of Gold and Other Stories (Pussy Katnip)
  • “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms” in We Dare
  • “Nor War’s Quick Fire” in We Dare: Semper Paratus (Forthcoming, 2020)

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: Afterimage

Week 2 of 2020

Greetings all

2020 had started off better than I could have hoped. I got accepted as an Attending Pro at DragonCon. This is an amazing honor and I am so excited.

Then I got word I’d been accepted as a vendor at Dagorhir’s Ragnarok XXXV event. This is a large LARPing event held in June at the same site as Pennsic. It’s a bunch of new potential readers I get to meet. More excitement.

Then I announced my plans for the year. You can find that post here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1919. The TL:DR version is that I have a full, but manageable schedule that adds yet more excitement.

The stories for When Valor Must Hold are all good, even mine. Team “And More” did a great job, and I’m ecstatic at what the cover authors have given me. It’s a great honor to work with all of these authors, and they’ve done me proud.

I’ll be introducing these authors one a week until the release, and probably afterward. The first one is William Joseph Roberts, whose story Dust in the Mouth has enough action to make Crom go “Whoa!”

You can find my interview of William here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1926.

I also started a new regular column for Monday’s called Rob’s Ramblings. This week it was my ShadowCon AAR at:  https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1915

None Call Me Mother is progressing. Started seriously thinking of two other short stories.

All was going well.

And then Neil Peart died from brain cancer. I’m posting this because it’s the job, and doing the job was one of many lessons the Professor taught me.

But I hurt.

What I’m Listening To

Rush. As much as I can all weekend long.

Quote of the Week

Rush’s Afterimage. The whole song.

Suddenly, you were gone
From all the lives you left your mark upon

I remember
How we talked and drank into the misty dawn
I hear the voices

We ran by the water on the wet summer lawn
I see the footprints
I remember

I feel the way you would
I feel the way you would

Tried to believe but you know it’s no good
This is something that just can’t be understood

I remember
The shouts of joy, skiing fast through the woods
I hear the echoes

I learned your love for life
I feel the way that you would
I feel your presence
I remember

I feel the way you would
This just can’t be understood

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (95,944)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on William Joseph Roberts, one of the first people I had in mind for the anthology When Valor Must Hold.

Today’s Weight: 399.4

Updated Word Count: 6,7

Shijuren Wiki: 874 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
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