Tag Archives: Four Horsemen Universe

Rob’s Update: Recovering

Week 26 of 2021

Greetings all

Hey! It’s Friday! What the heck happened to the week?

I have noticed that the weeks after long trips tend to be sort of timeless in that I completely lose track. Given that I have about one big trip happening each week for the next few months, I need to get used to travel fatigue again, but for now, I’m just recovering this week.

Anyway, we’re about halfway through the year. Go us!

I had another story accepted this past week! I am going to be part of the fun space opera setting of Salvage Title. This one is called “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene.” I’ll talk more about this story when we get closer to release date, but you can probably tell by the title it’s a bit whimsical. This will probably always be one of my favorite stories because it’s just fun. Space battles, gunfights, and archaeology oh, my!

I’m in the midst of two other short stories that I want to have finished by the time I leave for Armistice, so about three weeks. One will be for Talons and Talismans, and it will return to the characters of Rabah and Jaime Muniotz, the founders of the Order of the Fortress of Rabah in Shijuren.

As for the rest of the anthology, it’s proceeding well. I have 3 stories edited and in the can, with  several more close. I have a couple of nice surprises to add as well, some neat things happening with that project.

Can’t wait to see all the submissions. My Armistice is going to be busy as I pick the winners. I’ve got five right now that would be excellent choices, so the competition is going to be fierce.

With that, I better get to writing. There’s adventuring to be done!

What I’m Listening To

I’m at Brewbaker’s. Currently, they’re playing a Kiss song. I’m really not a fan of Kiss’s music. I find it boring, frankly. However, they were one of the headliners who helped bring Rush along way back when, so I will always have a bit of a soft spot for them.

Quote of the Week

Samuel Eliot Morison’s 14-volume set of the US Navy in World War II was one of my foundational texts. I read it in the Wichita Public Library multiple times, and it inspired my love of naval history and through that, my love of naval-themed books, including Forester and the space versions by Weber and others.

Today is his birthday, and this quote, while written for historians, is true for all writers.

A few hints as to the craft may be useful to budding historians. First and foremost, get writing!

― Samuel Eliot Morison

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on reading Steven Johnson’s Heart of Ice, the second in his Arthurian trilogy. I’m also pounding away at getting a head start on the lineup for Talons and Talismans.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • CSC (2,332)
  • MON (1,056)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s release is the next Four Horsemen anthology, In the Wings. 15 more short stories in the 4HU which, by the way, easily surpassed its goals in the Kickstarter for the role-playing game. You can find this anthology here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B098SGZZGZ.

Today’s Weight: 339.2

Updated Word Count: 171,184

Shijuren Wiki: 746 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

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: Plugging Away

Week 21 of 2021

Greetings all

It’s been a great week. Lots of stuff getting done, including a number of things I’m really proud of. I look forward to talk about them, but for now, just know I’m excited.

In many ways, that’s this week in a nutshell. Lots of work done, but the kind of foundational work that won’t show up for a bit, but without which, nothing ever gets done. Simply plugging away.

Right now, I’m focused on a number of short story projects. I’ve got several short stories in progress right now. Also, I’ve started going through the stories for Talons & Talismans, and it’s going to be amazing.

In general, things are starting to ramp up with New Mythology Press. I’m excited with the reception that Responsibility of the Crown has gotten. Scott Huggins wrote a great book and I’m honored to be a part of it.

My convention schedule is also starting to pick up. We’ve added a really fun con, FactoryCon, which is essentially Chris Kennedy Publishing’s yearly party. However, it’s expanded into something really cool. It’ll be October 22-24 in Coinjock, NC.

My next novel will be a new Shijuren novel, starting a new series. There’ll be some returning characters you’ll remember and it’s going to be something pretty cool. I get to expand into some of the story ideas that I’ve hidden in the first six novels.

Also, there’s another Dudes in Hyperspace podcast up. You can find it here: https://www.sharkflight.com/dudes/.

However,for now, I better get back to editing.

What I’m Listening To

Peyton’s Places is a truly amazing show. Basically, it’s Peyton Manning talking about football with various people involved in the NFL somehow. It’s incredibly charming and light-hearted. Plus it’s really interesting for someone interested in history.

For example. Did you know no one actually knows where the first Lombardi Trophy actually is right now? Carroll Rosenbloom had it, but it disappeared at some point in the 80s. Probably in California somewhere.

How fascinating is that?

Quote of the Week

Today is Chuck Barris’s birthday. Here’s banging a gong in his honor. He actually gave us a great quote about the challenge of creating stuff. I think every author, artist, musician, and all the rest can identify with this quote.

“If you stick in the business of being creative, you get hurt. And creative disappointment seems so much harder to take than any other kind. But if you’re not prepared to get hurt like that, life can be pretty boring. I think I’m going to keep on going.”

― Chuck Barris

Bonus quote from Peyton Manning in his show that goes out  to Conrad: “You do a lot with your middle finger. You’d be a good Eagles fan.”

New Mythology Works in Progress

I’ll be changing this up a bit. I have started to post on chriskennedypublishing.com/blog. This is where I’ll do all of New Mythology’s announcements going forward.

My plan is to link to these announcements on that blog, as must as anything to make sure this email (which is long already), doesn’t get too long. The current items are two anthology calls.

This gives me space to say things about other projects. Benjamin Tyler Smith is working on a Necrolopolis novel, which will be the first novel, and follows a bunch of great short stories. This is around October.

Then Jon Osborne is getting me another Milesian Accord novel in the fall.

Also coming in the fall will be Released, the third in the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.

Stay tuned, more is coming.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • TINT (9,950)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The first new release is We Shall Rise. This is an anthology in the Black Tide Rising universe from John Ringo originally published by Baen. Why am I mentioning it? Well, Baen does a lot for us, which we appreciate. John Ringo’s been a great guy to deal with at cons. Most of all, though, it’s got a bunch of friends of mine in it. Jamie Ibson, Kacey Ezell, Jason Cordova, just to name a few. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1982125586.

I already talked about Shadows by Bill Webb, a Murphy’s Lawless novel in the Caine Riordan universe. However, it’s worth another plug, so here you go. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B095W2BCJF.

However, I want to also add the Four Horsemen RPG Kickstarter. It’s funded already, so if you back this project, you can be sure you’re going to get product. We’re now working on stretch goals, which is good for all of us. You can find it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4hu-savage-worlds/four-horsemen-universe-rpg-savage-worlds-edition.

Today’s Weight: 335.2

Updated Word Count: 157,354

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: 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: A Sooper-Sekrit Update

Week 18 of 2021

Greetings all

Con season is fast approaching and I can’t wait to be in among my tribe. Last night, we recorded a Zoom panel for the Virtual LibertyCon. This one was about the Four Horsemen Universe and it was great. Really cool to be a part of that whole project.

Of course, one of the things I talked about is The Ravening of Wolves, which is scheduled for June 18. I hope to have these for the ConFinement 2.5 the week of Virtual LibertyCon. If not, I’ll have them for Armistice.

By the way, note that new addition to the schedule! Confinement 2.5 is 25-27 June in Mount Juliet, TN. More information here: https://www.confinementcon.org/.

However, the big news is FantaSci. A week from this moment I’ll be ensconced in the Raleigh-Durham airport Doubletree getting ready for an amazing weekend.

But it starts now!

Well, at 7pm Central tonight. That’s when this giveaway starts:

May Giveaway
May Giveaway

Go to http://davidjohnbutler.com/giveaways/five-books-may-giveaway/ and sign up to win all 5 of these books. Physical copies. Signed physical copies. Shipping included.

If you go to FantaSci, your chances are even higher of winning! We’re reserving two of the five winners for people who are there, to celebrate them coming and seeing Dave Butler and I person. (You foolish mortals).

Thanks to Dave Butler for organizing all this.

This week, as you can expect, has been focused on preparing for the trip. However, I’ve been plugging away at a sooper-seekrit project that I’ll have done by June 1. Then I finish a different sooper-seekrit project which will be done July 1.

But don’t worry, I’ll be posting some hints of a *third* sooper-seekrit project before any of that happens.

Lots of great stuff happening in Rob-land, even if I have to keep it all somewhat vague at the moment.

What I’m Listening To

Blood of Bannockburn by Sabaton. This is one of my songs I listen to when I’m walking. It’s impossible not to go fast with this song.

Quote of the Week

Today is Roger Zelazny’s birthday. I can’t let that pass without this quote. I may read more from e-books than physical ones these days, but I, too, feel right when I’m surrounded by books.

I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.
― Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes of Amber

New Mythology Works in Progress

Open call for the next New Mythology Anthology. We’ll take the top four submissions.

Deadline: 31 July
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).

As mentioned, we will choose the top four stories out of those submitted to add to the anthology. This is especially aimed at newer authors, though authors of any experience can enter.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • CWTAE (1,701)
  • OPP (4,541)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s new release is The Dragons of Styx, book 4 in the Hit World series, by John Siers. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0946BJTD7.

Oh, and for y’all audiophiles, James Chandler’s They Call Me Princess is about to come out on Audible. This is book 8 in the Fallen World series. You can find the pre-release here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0947CTCM7.

Today’s Weight: 338.8

Updated Word Count: 116,837

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: Thursdays

Week 11 of 2021

Greetings all

The big news this week? Well, I took some time off to spend some time with the sweetie. We drove over 600 miles on Saturday, all the way from KC to Hebron, NE and back. Along the way, we visited 9 quilt stores as part of a quilt shop hop.

After the 9th opportunity for my sweetie to buy fabric, I decided she might be in a good enough mood to say yes. And she did. We’re engaged. The ceremonial stuff will happen in 2022, but we’re one step closer to becoming “official.” 🙂

As you might imagine, I didn’t do any work over the weekend and I was still a bit distracted on Monday. So, I really only got 3 days of writing in, but I still managed over 2k per day on The Ravening of Wolves. I’m now over 70k, counting snippets waiting to get put back in. The first four sections are essentially complete (though I will probably pull some stuff from Part V back into earlier sections), and all I’m writing now is the big epic battle.

It’s military SF, the big epic battle should be 20-30k words. Or more. I’m having, if you will pardon the pun, a blast writing it.

I also made progress on another book for New Mythology. We’ll probably announce the details late this month.

Right now, we’re focused on the Watcher of Moniah series, which has received great reviews so far. You can find Watchers at War, the conclusion, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XNF13ZH/. The whole series is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08TV9L1J5

Next week is Songs of Valor, come out on the 19th. This is a fantasy anthology of heroic deeds and valorous acts. It includes stories by Larry Correia, David Weber, Jon Osborne, and many more.

There’s also an Indrajit and Fix story by Dave Butler. If you haven’t heard me gush about those stories, they remind me of a sharper, more colorful Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

However, my favorite story in there is from a series I’ve loved for a long time, from one of my favorite writers. I will say I bounced up and down a bit when Glen Cook sent me a Black Company story. It’s all there, too.

So, yeah. Big names. Check. Great series. Check. The five stories from our short story contest. Check. Epic deeds. Check. Swords, spells, and intrigue? Check, check, check. And yes, this is the second of the Libri Valoris, the Books of Valor, so it’s got people standing valorously against foes they cannot hope to defeat, but still must try.

You’re going to love it.

What I’m Listening To

Speaking of valorous deeds, I’m currently listening to Sabaton’s The Last Stand. If you’re interested in historical-themed symphonic metal, this or The Art of War are the albums to start with.

Currently, it’s playing Shiroyama, which is about the Battle of Shiroyama in 1877.  You may very well have seen something about these events, as The Last Samurai is loosely based on the Satsuma Rebellion, of which Shiroyama was the final battle.

The Sabaton version is much more accurate than the movie, which isn’t a surprise, but nonetheless, I really enjoy both.

Quote of the Week

Today happens to be the birthday of Douglas Adams. He’d be 69 today.

You might think this is an awesome person to provide today’s quote. And you’d be right, except for the fact there are too many snippets of sheer genius in his corpus of written works. The number is almost as mind-boggingly big as is space which, as we all know, is much bigger than the walk to the chemist’s.

However, it does seem like there’s one in particular that’s eminently suitable for today’s update.

“This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy

New Mythology Works in Progress

I mentioned this last week, but it never hurts to announce it again a few times.

New Mythology Press Anthology Announcement

New Mythology is pleased to offer another open call for four spots in our anthology scheduled to be released in late October.

Deadline: 31 July
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).

As mentioned, we will choose the top four stories out of those submitted to add to the anthology. This is especially aimed at newer authors, though authors of any experience can enter.

  • Just Released: 1 March: The Watchers at War (Book 3 of the Watchers of Moniah Series by Barbara V. Evers)
  • 19 March: Songs of Valor (Book 2 of the Libri Valoris anthologies with Larry Correia, David Weber, Glen Cook, Dave Butler, and Sarah Hoyt)
  • 12 April: Accepted (Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.
  • 21 May: Across the Endless Ocean (Book 1 of the Endless Ocean series by G. Scott Huggins)

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (44,113)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Lots happening this week. First, Luck is Not a Factor, an anthology in the 4HU, is available for free on Kindle for a little longer at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2BKLR9/. This includes my story “A Sword for Striking,” about the battle on Peninnah between the Foresters and the Zuul.

Also free for a day or two more is Reclaiming Honor, Book 1 of The Way of Legend series by Marc Edelheit and Quincy Allen. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z6JTTKV/.

Quincy and I, by the way, are working on a sooper-sekrit project right now.

I’m also working on a sooper-sekrit project with Todd Fahnestock. He normally writes fantasy, but he spent a goodly amount of time walking the Colorado Trail and then writing a book about it. You can find Ordinary Magic here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Y64MZQH.

Finally, this was the release week of Redacted Vice by Kevin Ikenberry and Kevin Steverson. Of course, it seems like you all know that already. It went straight to the top of the new release chart by 4am on release day. Wow! Anyway, if you haven’t gotten your copy, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XX1R1YX. At this rate, Amazon might run out of e-copies, so you might want to hurry up 😉

Whew, what a week.

Today’s Weight: 339.6

Updated Word Count: 11,020

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: Great Feast for Ravens

Week 45 of 2020

Greetings all

What a really productive week here in Robland. I finished my read-through of None Call Me Mother, and I’ll have all the tweaks and details finished on the manuscript no later than Monday. Probably tomorrow. That’s even with taking time off today to game.

It was actually the swiftest verbal read-through I’ve had so far, in part because I kept wanting to read more. I still cry at the spots I want to cry at and I get excited in the battle scenes. One of the reasons I think writers start writing is they want the kind of fiction they want to read themselves. I love this series. I’ve hated writing it at times, but now it’s something I’m really proud of.

I also had time this week to finish another Shijuren story, this one set in Achrida involving Edward and the characters there. It’s a twist though. Let’s just say, I chose the most unlikely, most reluctant hero I could think of for my entry in the anthology. Anyway, it needs editing, but it’s not vaporware.

Speaking of which, I got completely caught up on that, too. What a week. We even decided upon a title. The title of Libri Valoris II will be: Songs of Valor.

I did some work on the wiki, too, of course, though a lot of it was to create links and placeholders to finish a hyperlinked version of the manuscript. That’s what I’m going to be doing today.

I stacked a lot of productive days this past week and it’s time for me to start on next week.

What I’m Listening To

Songs from the Wood by Jethro Tull. It should come as no surprise that I really enjoy Tull’s weird combination of music. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day is in my top 10 ever.

Quote of the Week

This week’s quote comes from the Ruriksaga. What’s the Ruriksaga? Glad you asked. It’s the story of how Periaslavl came to be in Shijuren. I thought it was time to use my poetry skills again so I added part of it to the story.

Volodomyr spoke,            son of Rurik
Here my father fell,          fated for Woden’s hall
Our ring-giver gifted        great feast for ravens
His spear shattered          his sword sundered
In the flickering                 of flame’s glory
We shall remember           rightly of his deeds
Now feed to fire’s wrath   my father’s life-house
And here a hall                  high shall we raise
He shall be called              king in mind-songs
Ruriksaga

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (32,068)
  • ACP (10,077)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Lots of Wiki Additions.

Upcoming Events

New Releases

The first new release is from a very old friend, Kirsten Tautfest. I remember us not quite being of age drinking at Kirby’s, still one of the coolest bars ever. Anyway, she just released the 15th in her Red Tales series, called Red Tales: Compartment Syndrome. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N5L1Q6J/.

There’s also a new 4HU story out this week! This one is by Casey Moores, and it’s got a new company that has a different mission than all the other merc units. It’s called These Things We Do: The Story of Bull, and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N5ZJRYV.

Today’s Weight: 353.8

Updated Word Count: 244,421

Shijuren Wiki: 376 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
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: Invisible To Telescopic Eye

Week 44 of 2020

Greetings all

My big news is that I’ve been confirmed as an attending pro at DragonCon. Yes, it happened last year and rolled over, but it’s still nice getting confirmation.

It’s been a week of multiple steps forward and several steps back on my anthology short story. I know the starting and I know the end, but I’m having trouble making the path work. Getting closer, though.

None Call Me Mother is almost done. I’m in the part where I read it out loud, and I’m over a third done with the read. I’ll have the draft done this next week, except for any changes my advance readers suggest.

I also started working on my freebie story for readers on my mailing list. I introduced the main character, Nick Patara, PI in Silent Knight, last year.

Basically a week of various projects. The kind of week where I know I made progress on many things, but don’t have finished products yet.

So I better get back to work.

What I’m Listening To

The live version of Cygnus X-1 by Rush from Different Stages. There’s so much wonderful about this song. Yes, this my be why my cars are always named Rocinante.

Quote of the Week

Today is Marie Curie’s birthday, so here you go.

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty.”
– Marie Curie

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (32,068)
  • KAT (5,503)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Much more progress on the Wiki. Up to 271 entries now and I’ll have more done later tonight.

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is on Alex Rath, who has a new book out called The Seeds of Terra. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MPP64TD.

Also this week, if you don’t already have A Fistful of Credits, the first Four Horsemen Universe anthology, there’s a Bookbub promotion going on right now and it’s only 99 cents. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073HXKZXN/.

Today’s Weight: 354.6

Updated Word Count: 241,581

Shijuren Wiki: 301 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
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

Rob’s Update: Purposeful Motion

Week 7 of 2020

Greetings all

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve had to fight through getting words on the page. I’ve averaged just at 1000 words, but it’s been slow going despite staying at the keyboard.

I did make good progress on my next 4HU short story, and I’m approaching the main battle scene. I’ll have that done next week, though I’ll probably have editing yet still to do.

I also made progress in None Call Me Mother, though this was a bunch of re-arrangement. I have a thread I need to include in the final battle and getting the character there has been challenging. I *think* I have it now, but we’ll see. My word total went down, but as I’m at 108k, that’s fine.

The sweetie requested some small short stories for a project she’s working on. I got a draft of the first one of those written today. That one, at least, came out smoothly and easily.

I also wrote a draft of the Preface for When Valor Must Hold. In other words, it was not a week of legend, but I made progress.

Hopefully, the words will jump off the page next week. If not, I’ll keep plugging away.Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Cinderella Man by Rush off of Different Stages. A Farewell to Kings is a fantastic album and one I listen to frequently.

Quote of the Week

If there’s ever a quote an author should here, especially in a week where the words don’t come out easily, this is it.

“Cinderella Man
Hang on to your plans
Try as they might
They cannot steal your dreams”
– Rush, Cinderella Man

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (108,716)
  • CB (8,418)
  • FSS (5,668)
  • RQS (1,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on Christopher Woods, whose story “Darkness Before the Dawn” inspired the cover of When Valor Must Hold. You can find that interview here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=2007.

Today’s Weight: 396.4

Updated Word Count: 30,443

Shijuren Wiki: Updating

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

Rob’s Update: 2020 Visions

Greetings all

Last week, I did a post on just how good 2019 was for me. You can find it here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1912. My conclusion? 2019 was my best year ever.

2020 will be better.

Let’s start with None Call Me Mother. I should have that to my editor within a few weeks. I know it’s been slow. I wanted to have this done in 2018, much less last year. Stuff happened and I apologize. But it’s coming and it’s good.

What will happen in Shijuren after that?

Glad you asked.

This fall I’ll be working on the next Edward novel. I don’t have a working title yet, but it’ll be a bit of an homage to Dick Francis. There’s trouble at Achrida’s Hippodrome and it might hurt horse-racing across the entire Empire of Makhaira if Edward can’t figure it out.

Then, I’ll start another trilogy in Shijuren with different characters based in Amaranth. I’ve said a number of times that chickens are coming home to roost all across Shijuren, and this will tell of roostings in the south.

My plan is to write one Shijuren novel a year, alternating between an Edward novel and whatever other series I’m working on at the time, at least for now. It may end up being one Edward and two series novels, but we’ll see.

I also plan on writing short stories set in the universe. In fact, the first is already written and I’ll get to that in a moment. I’m really enjoying writing short stories in general, and whenever I get a chance to write one in Shijuren, I will.

But wait, there’s more. I’m making progress on creating an OGL d20 based system set in Shijuren. The first embryonic concepts of Shijuren started rolling around my head 25 years ago as a place for great D&D adventures. In many ways, it’s exceeded my expectation in that aspect alone.

The system I have in mind aims to streamline game play with a cool character creation system that allows players to mold characters to fit their own playing style.

It also aims to encourage players to try stupid but fun stuff that isn’t necessarily defined in the rules. Whether it’s trying a crazy tactic, using a skill in an unorthodox manner, or using magic in a weird way to save the day, it’ll be designed to give DMs guidelines to react to players making stuff up on the fly.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in this so far has been how to mold my magic system into a usable system for a game. It’s a great magic system from a writing perspective, but it hadn’t been obvious how to translate it to gaming. However, I’ve finally come up with what I think is a really cool plan that ought to be a lot of fun.

Creating a game system is a big project, even with many of the basics already built in from the OGL side of things. I’m blessed to have some skilled and talented friends who will be helping along the way. I’ll tell you all more about them later.

I don’t have a specific timeline for getting this game published, but at some point, hopefully in 2020, I’ll be at cons running some playtest adventures as well as starting a home group.

What you can expect is periodic updates. I might even add a category in my Weekly Updates related to game concepts and ideas.

As you can see, though, Shijuren is going to grow a ton in the next few years. Thanks for coming along.

Of course, I’ve got a bunch more planned for 2020 than just Shijuren, including The Four Horsemen Universe. After I finish None Call Me Mother, my long form work in progress will be the sequel to The Feeding of Sorrows.

I have lots of stuff to play with in here.

  • What are Edmonds and Tahnerif going to do?
  • I promised Jackson a platoon. What’s going to happen to his momma’s boy?
  • Kiial will definitely have more to say about his uncle as his time in the Foresters continues.
  • Speaking of the uncle, Tlanit and Rick Blaine are going to work at peeling away some of the layers.

Going to be fun.

I’m actually going to describe some of this in a short story in another Four Horsemen anthology coming out in 2020. Right now, I’m playing with a number of ideas, but rest assured, there’s more happening with the Foresters.

Speaking of short stories, I’ll be contributing to the second We Dare, anthology. The story I’m working on will be a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms,” my story in the first anthology. We might just find out why the Allardecks and Fieldings hate each other. This will also be fun, as I’ll be collaborating for the first time. Yvonne Jacobs is already helping me plan the story.

I intend to do four or five short stories for anthologies each year, so don’t be surprised if I announce a couple more later in the year. I’ve been asked to be a part of some others already, but I’m still trying to balance my writing schedule.

That doesn’t include, by the way, the return of Nick Patara, PI. I’ve enjoyed the response and I had a great time writing it. I also enjoyed being able to give back to you guys.

The next big news comes from a comment above, I mentioned that I’ve submitted a Shijuren story to an anthology already.

And this one is special.

Chris Kennedy gave me the opportunity to create a anthology of fantasy stories. It will be entitled When Valor Must Hold.

The writing prompt I gave the authors was the opening of Conan the Barbarian, where Akira the Wizard concludes, “Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”

The authors have given me what I wanted: stories with adventures and action across a really broad set of fantasy sub-genres. It’s a great mix and I think you’ll like it a lot. Heroic deeds done by characters who might not start as heroes but end up in that category. The characters all face things to test their valor and we shall see how their valor holds.

The anticipated release date is 20 March, which is the Friday of FantaSci. We plan to have a great release party there and I hope to celebrate with a bunch of you.

This brings me to my plans for Howell’s Howls this year. I really enjoyed my system of having a blog post Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Rob’s Updates will continue on Fridays. I’m going to tweak the format a bit, like including game notes each week, but it’ll continue much the same.

I’m also going to continue with the interviews. I just finished re-writing the questions I send out, so you’ll see some new interviews by people who I’ve already interviewed. I’m going to start the year with interviews of authors in When Valor Must Hold, and run those interviews as long as it takes.

Hit me up if you’re a creator of any type, and I’ll send you the questions and get you into the queue. I really enjoy doing these and hope to be more proactive about making sure I have an interview ready to go each week.

That brings us to Mondays. Mag Reviews take a ton of time, too much for just a regular blog post. I’m going to replace them with Rob’s Ramblings, which will be a catchall thing for whatever interests me. including reviews of movies and albums, snippets, poems, sports topics, or whatever. This week, it was my ShadowCon AAR. One post you can expect in March is an AAR about creating When Valor Must Hold. It’s already taught me a bunch.

This does not mean Mag Reviews will go away. They take too long as a blog post, but there’s a still a place for them and I’m playing with some ideas.

Overall, my online presence will continue as it has been. In September, I stopped reading my Facebook News Feed. This was a great decision on my part. I miss out on a number of things, but that News Feed brought me down.

I check my Facebook Notifications consistently, though, and that’s been enough. If you want me to see something, please tag me and I’ll check it out. Otherwise, I’m almost never going to see anything.

I originally planned to limit my Facebook posts to business-related things, but I think I’ll start posting about the same frequency I did prior to last September. I’ve missed chatting with people about a variety of fun things and while I’ll never go back to reading the News Feed, I’ll get back to posting fun things along with my professional stuff.

The same is basically true on Twitter. I have always limited my Twitter feed to focus on some excellent sports bloggers and other interests like that, along with professional stuff. I will continue to look at those sorts of things, so if you want me to see something, you better tag me.

I’ve played around with MeWe, but the interface has yet to click with me. I’ll keep trying though. I’ll also keep dabbling in Instagram. This might expand with some of the other things I’ve got going on. I’ll also keep my eyes open for better social media options.

My appearance schedule in 2020 is going to be amazing. The biggest news is, of course, I got accepted as an Attending Professional at DragonCon this year. What an amazing honor. I will do my best to reward them for giving me the chance.

I also received word this weekend that I’ve been approved as a vendor at Dagorhir’s Ragnarok XXXV in June. This is a major LARPing event and I am excited to meet a bunch of people and introduce Shijuren to them.

I’ll be at LibertyCon again. None of what’s happened above would be possible without the lessons and experiences I’ve had at LibertyCons past. It’s really pushed me along and I’m incredibly grateful to Brandy and her peeps.

The expansion of Drix’s shop at Pennsic last year went well, and it’ll be even better this year. We’ve had a great time there and sales keep inching up there for me.

As I mentioned, we hope to have a great release party for When Valor Must Hold at FantaSci. I picked FantaSci over Gulf Wars, Planet Comicon in Kansas City, and a bunch of other events on the weekend of 20 March. Why did everything have to be then? In any case, even without the release party, I would go to FantaSci. It’s already a great con.

My next event is ChattaCon in a few weeks. It’ll be a blast, in part because Lani Brooks puts me on a bunch of panels.

Let’s see, do I have my yearly goals covered in 2020?

  • 2-3 novels: Check. I hope to have two by September and be working on the Edward novel in the fall.
  • 4-5 short stories (plus Nick Patara): I have one in the can, two planned, and some opportunities to juggle. I can’t say this is fully laid out, but I anticipate no real problems.
  • 3 blog posts per week: Mag Reviews made that really challenging, and I expect to be more consistent here. I won’t stress too much if I miss out on one of the weekly standards, but it’s a reasonable, feasible schedule
  • Figure out a way to make Mag Reviews work: I’m playing around with this. Probably won’t happen for a while, but there’s value here.
  • Make progress on the RPG: Meetings are scheduled and I anticipate consistent activity on this front. Again, I don’t have a realistic timeline, just a plan to turn it from vaporware into something real.
  • Create a smart travel schedule: Spring is fairly light, and will be productive from a writing standpoint. Summer will be go go go and I’ll have many miles on the road. Fall will be light, much like spring. This past fall, I didn’t go to any cons after September. I will add a con or two because I think more than three months is too much of a break from going to a con.
  • Take care of myself: I’m starting with being more conscious of things, as shown by pacing my travel schedule better. I’m also going to adjust my summer production expectations to match reality. Finally, I’m going to schedule some down time/vacation/retreat type things. No details yet, but they’ll be there.
  • Get back to fighting: This includes working out and losing weight. I’ve a helm on order and I can’t really fight until it gets here, but I can work out. I’ll have a plan for that soon.

I look at these goals and am getting even more excited. None of them seem outlandish and if I complete them, it’ll make 2020 amazing.

Now that I have a plan, I think I’ll watch the Blues and play a game for a while. Then, tomorrow, write a chapter or two in None Call Me Mother.

It’s going to be a great 2020.