Tag Archives: Ian J. Malone

Rob’s Update: One Guy Going Boom!

Week 35 of 2021

Greetings all

Been a great week here. Talons & Talismans One is edited. I’d send it to get it into the machine today but I tend to try and give me a day to sit on things so I can remember what all I’ve forgotten.

The House Between Worlds will be back to Jon Osborne tomorrow. Really, it’s a great book, entirely fitting given the rest of the Milesian Accords series.

Not a ton of writing here as I’ve been pushing out editing content like mad. It’s been really productive, though, and I’m proud of what we’ve done. You’re going to love it.

Next week, on the 13th, I have another short story coming out. It’s entitled “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene,” and it’s set in Kevin Steverson’s great Salvage Title universe.

This is one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever done. I set myself a bit of a challenge. Christopher Woods and William Joseph Roberts packed their novel Smuggler’s Run, also set in the Salvage Title universe, with as many pop culture references they could insert into the prose. They even applied to Guinness World Records as the titleholder in that category.

Guinness said they couldn’t track the category well enough to actually make it a category, but I set myself the challenge of beating their record, at least in terms of references per page.

And then I gave myself an extra difficulty factor (because of course I do). Anyway, I limited myself strictly to classic and metal rock band names and song titles. I managed to stick in over two hundred references. I’ll list exactly how many on release day and I’ll send anyone who gets all of them a free e-book I’ve written of their choice.

Now, of course, today is a pre-holiday for me. It’s the ceremonial start of the NFL season and I get to watch the Cowboys play right off the bat. Don’t worry, Sunday is still a major holiday to me and I plan on watching as many games as I can.

I had my fantasy football league draft on Monday, too. Was there any doubt I’d have a team? I mean, seriously, if anyone was going to play fantasy football it’s a lifelong NFL fan who is the publisher of a fantasy imprint.

Speaking of the NFL, Ian J. Malone, Kevin Steverson, and I had a great time talking the upcoming season with Nic Gurley on the latest Dudes in Hyperspace podcast. Nic knows his stuff and we talked about the upcoming season, some challenges facing teams, players and the league itself, and we made some long-term projections for years to come.

Here’s my prediction about the Cowboys, since they’re my team. They’re going to get beat tonight. A fully healthy Bucs team at home *should* win.

But the Cowboys are relying on a bunch of young players this year. It’s usually the case that teams like that will have some challenges early in the season but round into form late in the year.

So I think they’ll lose tonight, but win the NFC East in the end of it all and I expect them to do some damage in the playoffs.

I’m so ready for some football!

What I’m Listening To

Dog & Butterfly by Heart. I can pinpoint exactly when I first heard this song. Some kid (I don’t remember who) brought it into our 4th grade music class. I was captivated then, and I still think that’s Heart’s best album ever.

Quote of the Week

I miss John Madden as a commentator. It’s true that we have some amazing commentators now like Tony Romo, but it’s hard to remember just how revolutionary he was. His personality combined with his knowledge of the game was something we’d never seen before.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
John Madden

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Talons & Talismans Too is almost ready to go to the editor. Why do I mention that here? Well, because all of the first ten (yes, ten) novel authors in the Eldros Legacy contributed to the anthology, including a bunch of Eldros Legacy stories.

Call it a prequel of sorts.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on The House Between Worlds. The two Talons & Talismans are getting close (One is 99.9% done). Then after that I turn to Steven G. Johnson’s two novels that finish his Forge and Sword trilogy.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (1,043)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SOTI (7,948) (Formerly MON)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Jamie Ibson gives us a whole new future merc series, Myrmidons, Inc. The first in the series is Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. “Genie” assassins, mercs, and a lot to remind you of Shadowrun and Blade Runner. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09F6QRGBZ/.

And if you’re interested in the Peacemakers from 4HU like I am, you can get the start of that part of the 4HU series for less than a dollar. It’s Peacemaker by the great Kevin Ikenberry who will be guest of honor at FenCon next weekend. Sale lasts only another day or so, so check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0752J8M3K.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 334.0

Updated Word Count: 272,426 (It jumped because I went back and looked at all the stories I’d edited and submitted in the past couple of months).

Shijuren Wiki: 789 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

Weekly Update Archive

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Rob’s Update: On the Emerald Coast

Week 24 of 2021

Greetings all

Here’s my update from last week, now that I have time to breathe. I’m sitting at Juana’s Pagodas in Navarre Beach, Florida. I’ve had worse views as write.

I’ve been working on a story for Kevin Steverson’s Salvage Title universe. This is probably the most whimsical story I’ve ever written and it’s mostly done.

Of course, the reason I’m writing last week’s update on a Monday is things have been wonderfully awesome and crazy in my world. This weekend was ConFinement in Nashville. That went very well, I sold lots, but more importantly, I loved feeding off the enthusiasm so many writers have for New Mythology Press.

In truth, that’s been the best part of taking this position. The energy thrown my way from fans and writers has been amazing. I can’t wait to have some of this stuff turn into fruition to reward everyone.

Of course, my big thing last week is the release of The Ravening of Wolves. The first week has gone very well. In fact, I hit 40 reviews and ratings today. 40! That seems really fast to me. Thanks to all who’ve read and reviewed. I really appreciate it.

If you haven’t read it, by the way, it’s here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097C3BP3F.

Why am I sitting at a bar in Florida, you ask? It’s because tomorrow I go to the Lie’brary at Beck for Lasers and Lagers. Thanks to Ian J. Malone for organizing this and I’m glad it worked out that I could come. I’ll be posting from there tomorrow. Also, we’ll do our Dudes in Hyperspace podcast from there, so expect some special awesomeness.

But for now, I’d better write.

What I’m Listening To

Songs they’re playing overhead. Been a nice mix, but of course, there’s Jimmy Buffett so that has to be the quote of the week.

Quote of the Week

And of course, that means I *have* to quote from Margaritaville.

I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top
Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home
But there’s booze in the blender
And soon it will render
That frozen concoction that helps me hang on
― Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

As mentioned, I’ve been blown away from the response of so many with New Mythology. I got 4 new stories over the weekend, plus a couple of novel-length submissions. Can’t wait to dive into those.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • CWTAE (7,885)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • CSC (1,283)
  • MON (829)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Hey, did I mention The Ravening of Wolves? In case I didn’t, you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097C3BP3F.

The reviews to John Siers’s The Moon and Beyond have suggested it’s reminiscent of Heinlein. I look forward to testing that suggestion. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097QMN7PJ and test it yourself.

Today’s Weight: 334.2

Updated Word Count: 160,689

Shijuren Wiki: 733 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

FantaSci 2021 AAR

Greetings all

It’s the day after a con and I’m exhausted.

Which is as it should be.

First, thanks to Joel Lyons, the Lyonesse, and all the FantaSci staff (especially Yvonne Jacobs) for making this happen. We needed this, and it was brilliant.

The con started on Thursday, which is often some of the most productive moments of a con as people network together. This was no different. We had an “interesting” drive to dinner on Thursday, a group dinner including a bunch of us. You might say that the Lyons *nailed* it, in more ways than one. There is physical evidence. And also video evidence. Trust me, the physical is much nicer to see.

My panel schedule started at noon on Friday. From about that point on, I was about too busy to breathe until just about now.

That first panel was one about pantsing. The way this was set up was for me to talk about how I write, what techniques I use, and how I take advantage of what pantsing can do for an author.

Ironically, I prepared quite a bit for this panel, and as I did I realized I actually do a bunch of things to help my pantsing work. These involve character ideas and sketches, even if I don’t write them down, my notes using Wikipedia’s random article function, and my use of a variety of contemplative moments to pre-build the story before I get close to a keyboard.

Then I had a couple of hours to set up in the Author Flea Market area. This was a neat idea the FantaSci folks had. Basically, the set up a few empty chairs in the covered part of the courtyard and said they were available for any other to sell their stuff. I knew I didn’t have much time for this sort of thing, but I got a couple of hours, and it made it easier for me to have my books handy for the reading.

More importantly, I had a chance to chat with a few people, especially Barbara V. Evers, the writer of the Watchers of Moniah series. I really enjoyed this series and hope she’ll write more. However, I’d not met her in person. That’s fixed now, and she’s awesome. Don’t worry, I’m already nudging for more stuff from her.

At 3pm, I had a book reading. I read from The Ravening of Sorrows, coming out on June 18th. More on this later. Anyway, I read the scene where Hu’s Hawks, loaned to me by Quincy J. Allen, held the spotlight. It’s action-packed, but also sort of a separate unit.

Joining me at this reading was G. Scott Huggins, who read from his freshly released Responsibility of the Crown. This is such a fun story from a great writer who’s only going to get better. It already has 14 reviews, and they are all 5 stars because, well, it’s a 5-star book.

At 4pm was a panel entitled Herding Kittens. It was about what’s involved in getting an anthology to work. It was actually a wonderful learning experience, as it always is when I get to listen to Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books. She has forgotten more about the book business than I have learned so far. By a lot. Anytime you can get Toni in a place to talk about the craft of writing, much less the business of writing, it will behoove you to sit down, listen, and learn.

Then I had a small break, giving me just enough time to eat a little, rest a bit, and refresh myself for the 7-9pm panel on Songs of Valor. Let’s get this out of the way, I did not do a good job with this panel. It was the first panel I’ve ever moderated that was scheduled for two hours and I didn’t pace it well. Therefore, I didn’t have enough good questions and it was only David Weber’s ability to provide wisdom that saved the panel from about the 1 hour mark onward. Again, like Toni, it is always smart to listen to him talking the craft, something Chris Kennedy is benefiting from right now in the collaboration.

After that, we held the Chris Kennedy Publishing party. This went off very well, I thought, in part because of all the help I received from the 4HU Merc Guild. This, by the way, is the fan group of the Four Horsemen Universe. If you like the books, you should look for a merc unit in your area.

I will take this moment to thank Nick Steverson. He stayed up to the end of the party, which actually ended up happening both Friday and Saturday night, and made sure everything got picked up. I simply didn’t have the energy to do it, and he did a great job. We always like keeping the hotel happy.

My Saturday started at noon again, and it was even more busy than Friday.

I should take a moment and thank Yvonne Jacobs, who did a stellar job with the programming at FantaSci. She got the ball thrown to her at almost the last moment and there was a bunch of good panels and a great mix of stuff. She also worked me hard, given that I was involved in 10 panels. I can’t thank her enough for doing that. I might be exhausted today, but I know I had all the opportunities I could have hoped for.

Anyway, my day began with the New Mythology Press panel. This went really well, as opposed to the Songs of Valor panel. This one, I had timed out and paced correctly, though, of course, part of that is having good pros to work with.

We went through the various series currently going on through the imprint and what’s coming up in the year. There’s a lot coming up. We also gave a small teaser of a major announcement coming at DragonCon. You’re going to love that one.

At that point, I rolled into a panel on podcasting hosted by Ian J. Malone. It also included Kevin Steverson, our partner on the Dudes in Hyperspace, as well as Jim Curtis, a YouTuber. I’m still a n00b when it comes to podcasting, so I did the best I could, but mostly I listened and learned, just like the crowd did.

Theoretically, I had a break in the schedule then, but I had a bit part to play in Dave Butler’s panel. He kindly invited me to join him in his most recent book giveaway and we drew two of the names. I will mail the other three books on Friday.

Then we rolled into the Chris Kennedy Publishing panel. Man, Chris has got a lot of stuff going. My big thrill, of course, was the opportunity to see the cover to The Ravening of Wolves, which comes out on the 18th of June. Seeing the cover is always cool, because it’s one step closer to another book becoming a reality.

And I’m really excited about The Ravening of Wolves.

At 4pm I had a panel on Mystics and Magic. We voluntold Lydia Scherrer to be moderator on Friday. By the way, if you’ve never met Lydia, she’s a sharp cookie who is really good at getting things in order, as well as a great writer. This was a fun panel, especially with the brand new novelist G. Scott Huggins sitting next to me.

Whew. Reading all that makes me exhausted, but I did get to treat myself. I had a break to shower and change for the Four Horsemen Dining Out. This event makes FantaSci unique. It’s a formal banquet with everyone in their 4HU uniforms. Those in the military will understand the power of the Rules of the Mess.

After that was Chris Kennedy Publishing Party 2.0 where we brought out the coolers and *tried* to empty them. Chris and I both tend to buy too much for parties. Ah well, I’m sure someone will drink the beer. Eventually.

I went to bed fairly early Saturday night, as I had done on Friday. I was out of spoons.

Side note here: The Dogfish Slightly Mighty IPA is a huge hit with me. It’s tasty enough, low-carb, and lower alcohol (4.0%) as opposed to most IPAs which are 6+. These Slighty Mightys made a good session beer for me.

Sunday was a “light” day at the con for me. I only had one thing on my list, the Kaffeeklatsch at 9am. A Kaffeeklatsch is basically sitting around chatting about stuff with authors and fans.

But Sunday didn’t end there. I rolled immediately from that to a quick impromptu Dudes in Hyperspace podcast live on-site with Ian J. Malone and Kevin Steverson. We rambled a bit about the con, lassoed Christopher Woods as he passed by, and I got wet-willied by Jonny Minion. As you do.

Then there was a bit of networking/socializing before Closing Ceremonies. At Closing Ceremonies, we announced that James Chandler won the short story contest with his story The Hill to Die On. Really a brilliant story. Congrats to him. Now he needs to write more in that world.

Speaking of more writing, I took advantage of the moment to announce the next Libri Valoris anthology to be released at FantaSci 2022. Here are the details.

Deadline: 30 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 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.

Anyway, after Closing Ceremonies, there was the milling about and chatting. At first glance, this might not seem terribly worthy of inclusion in an AAR, but in truth, so much gets done here. Everyone is tired, but still excited and enthusiastic so ideas are getting fired at people left and right. Great stuff.

My most important conversation was the time I had to sit and chat with Terry Maggert. This guy is something special. Pick his brain when you can, he is amazing.

After that was more socializing. A bunch of us went to Tra’li, a great Irish pub. We’ll go back there again.

Sunday night, I thought I would be too tired to really party, but humorously enough, I stayed up late and had a great time. It meant for a slow-moving Monday, but I’m glad I did. Got to let my hair down a bit and chat with some people I’d really not had a chance to chat with before like Chris Smith, who’s a really smart dude.

Overall, this was a really productive and wonderful convention. I feel like I did all a publisher and author could hope to do at a con. I got to promote books, learn about writing, meet and encourage writers, and build both my own personal brand and that of New Mythology.

I also got to be with my people. How cool is that?

 

 

Rob’s Update: Barley, Hops and Water

Week 15 of 2021

Greetings all

I’m now officially a podcaster!

Ian J. Malone restarted his Dudes in Hyperspace podcast this week and invited Kevin Steverson and I to be his co-hosts. We released our first podcast together on Tuesday. We’ll be going every other week for the time being.

Here’s the website for it: https://www.sharkflight.com/dudes/.  You can find links to whatever way you listen to podcasts.

What are we talking about? Well, we’re talking about books. Since we all write for Chris Kennedy Publishing, and the fact that Chris Kennedy is our sponsor, you can expect a bunch of conversation about stuff from CKP and New Mythology Press.

However, we’re talking about all of our projects, our thoughts on writing, and other stuff related to our work.

Then we’re branching out into topics we find interesting. This week we did a preview of the NFL Draft. Our podcast the first week of May will have a recap of the Draft along with a special guest, Bob Sturm of the Athletic and 105.3 The Ticket, my favorite sports radio station, which happens to be in Dallas – Fort Worth.

But we’ll talk about more than sports. Music, for sure. Books we like. Movies. Grilling. Good food and beverage in general. Whatever strikes our fancy down the road. Please check us out.

Been a good week for editing. I’m at about 75% through my final edits in The Ravening of Sorrows. It’s all fiddly work that I never can estimate correctly, so even though I’m not quite done, it’s gone well.

This book has some of the best one-liners I’ve ever written, and there are a bunch of them. I am constantly laughing at my own jokes. Okay, let’s be honest, I’m always laughing at my own jokes. Someone has to, after all. However, these are actually funny. Either I’m wronger than normal about this, or they really are funny.

And now it’s time to finish off a few more chapters.

What I’m Listening To

Actually watching the Angels at the Astros on YouTube. More and more sports are getting broadcast via the internet. Since live sports are literally my only reason for contemplating cable or satellite TV, this is great for me.

Quote of the Week

Today we have a quote from something near and dear to my heart. Beer! The Bavarian Reinheitsgebot we always think of was put out on this day in 1516.

Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, market-towns and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.
― Bavarian Reinheitsgebot of 1516

New Mythology Works in Progress

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: Songs of Valor (Book 2 of the Libri Valoris anthologies with Larry Correia, David Weber, Glen Cook, Dave Butler, and Sarah Hoyt). You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Z7Z3KT1
  • Just Released: Accepted (Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.
  • 21 May: Responsibility of the Crown (Book 1 of the Endless Ocean series by G. Scott Huggins)

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (96,449)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s new release is Department 9, Book 3 of Tim Taylor’s Chimera Company military SF series. You can find it here: https://chriskennedypublishing.com/book/department-9/.

Also, don’t forget Accepted, Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson. That one is here: https://chriskennedypublishing.com/book/accepted/.

Today’s Weight: 339.8

Updated Word Count: 17,994

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: The Works of Gifted Hands

Week 38 of 2020

Greetings all

This was a solid week, but not my most productive. I had to fight through my usual case of fall allergies, so I haven’t slept well all week. Also, since I was traveling back from Tennessee, I lost a day.

Still, I’m over 80% done with this round of editing on None Call Me Mother. All that’s left is the final section. Admittedly, this is a huge section, with a final battle scene worthy of a trilogy, I think, but I intend to send it back to my editor next Friday at the latest.

I’ll be turning my focus more and more on the new fantasy anthology. Stories in that need to be done by 30 November, so if you’re still interested in submitting a story, please make sure it’s by that date. Also, pay attention to the submission parameters.

The next long-form I’ll finish is The Ravening of Sorrows. I had some great discussions with Mark Wandrey about fitting it properly into the 4HU, and will do more with both Chris Kennedy and Kevin Ikenberry soon. I am excited about some of the pathways they’ve suggested for the Foresters, the Stalkers to the Stars, and Rick Blaine.

Speaking of the 4HU, I had some great news. The Feeding of Sorrows will be available on audiobook on 13 October. You’ll be able to find it on Audible and on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T3B8BGB. Perfect timing, as I’m sure listening to it will help me keep the flow and voice of The Feeding of Wolves.

Have a great week everyone.

What I’m Listening To

The climactic crescendo of 2112 from Live at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978. That’ll get your blood pumping.

Quote of the Week

Every once in a while, I’ll watch the Beethoven’s 9th flash mob video from Italy. It’s brilliant. You can watch it here if you’d like, and if you haven’t watched it before, I heartily suggest it. That moment when the chorus comes in and it explodes from something fantastic to incredibly majestic is possibly my single favorite musical moment.

Beethoven also said a number of great quotes. For me, this is one that I try to put into my writing.

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.”
– Ludwig von Beethoven.

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (29,837)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Nothing this week.

Upcoming Events

  • Nothing, but maybe something in February. Such a strange time.

New Releases

Ian Malone has another out in his Mako-verse. It’s called Detron City Vice and it’s heavy on the action. While it’s set in a universe with three other books, this is a stand-alone story. You can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J6K3HBT/.

Today’s Weight: 360.6

Updated Word Count: 238,747

Shijuren Wiki: 77 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

FantaSci AAR

I’m home. The overall trip was over 4000 miles. There were a bunch of highlights, and you can find my Gulf Wars AAR here.

The cap to it all was FantaSci. This was the first year of the con, but you really wouldn’t have known that if you weren’t told. They did have some advantages, like pulling from a former con (HonorCon) and having it be a major event for two different fan groups (The TRMN and the 4HU Mercenary Guild). However, that doesn’t ensure success, and it was a very successful con.

I’d like to stop for a moment to thank Lyons and his staff for doing a great job. If the name Lyons sounds familiar in the context of the 4HU, it’s because he has been tuckerized as the owner of the Lyon’s Den merc bar, which provided the impetus for three anthologies of short stories. He and his crew had things organized well. As I said, one could not tell it was the first time with this con, as the issues I saw are the issues one usually finds at any con, like issues with the hotel and its bar and restaurant.

Another side note, I rather enjoyed the hotel. The food was pretty good, not terribly expensive, and the bar had an IPA on tap. The rooms were also much cheaper than one normally finds at a con. I hope they stay there.

I was in a lot of panels, which is just the way I like it. On Friday I was in a fun panel sponsored by Ian J. Malone, which discussed sports in SF and fantasy writing, such as baseball in the Honor Harrington universe and the like. Sports has been a part of humanity since we became a species, and it will continue in space and exist in fantasy worlds, just like it did it in the Middle Ages.

My next panel was a discussion of writing in shared worlds. I’m getting a taste of this in the 4HU, and have plans to open up Shijuren for at least some anthologies, so this was a valuable one for me to listen and learn, as well as comment.

Saturday was a huge day for me. I started with a panel discussing Alternate History Change Points. This was actually a major treat for me, as one of my favorite authors, Steve White was on this panel. Also included were Kacey Ezell and Christopher Woods, so it was a lively panel.

Then I went into a stretch of four panels in five hours, starting with a panel on pantsing. Pantsing, if you’ve not heard the term, means writing from the seat of your pants. The other end of the spectrum is plotting. It was a huge thing for me to discover that pantsing was an accepted and normal form of writing, because that’s what came naturally to me. I tend to plot more than I used to, but generally only in vague terms. It still makes more sense to see what the characters do rather than forcing them into a certain path.

Immediately was the Chris Kennedy Publishing panel where Chris talked about all the things that are coming. I got to talk about the Feeding of Sorrows and see a bunch of things coming down the pike. Kennedy is amazing. He has done incredible stuff and made a bunch of opportunities for other writers.

After an hour break, I was in a panel on genre blending, which of course I talk about a goodly amount given the Edward novels.

Finally, I was on a whimsical panel about the messiest ways to kill undead. This panel was designed to go off the rails, and off the rails we went. Lots of fun.

Saturday night was the highlight of the event. It was perhaps the best single experience I’ve had in the con scene as a writer. The 4HU Mercenary Guild held a Dining Out. If you’re in the military, you know what this means. It is a ritual dinner, with a number of specific toasts and ceremonies. I was generally an observer, asking questions of the vets at my table and learning. I was also smart enough not to create a reason that I needed to drink the grog. A certain Minion, on the other hand, fought the grog and the grog won. Much hilarity has and will ensue on that.

After the Dining Out was a number of fun things. Saturday happened to be Kacey Ezell’s birthday, and also she and Marisa Wolf had a bestseller on Amazon to celebrate. Then there was floating to some parties, including going down to karaoke, which was a lot of fun. I even sang some Dropkick Murphys. Then we ended the night chatting in my room until late, even getting security to tell us to be quiet.

Sunday was much more laid back. I didn’t have any panels, though I did go to closing ceremonies. This was the first con where I was “featured” in any way, and I made sure I was at the ceremonies. Lyons paid me an incredible honor with that, and I can’t thank him enough.

Mostly what I did on Sunday, though, was get out my laptop and offer to update wiki entries. Many of the attendees to the con are redshirts in the 4HU, and I added fun things to a number of entries.

Then I was in a quandary. I had plans to eat with my aunt and uncle around 5pm. However, I *really* wanted to get home. I canceled and left around 2 to try and get past Nashville on a Sunday night. I made it to Clarksville, despite losing an hour to construction in Knoxville. It’s a good thing I did, because I was pushing through a bit of flu yesterday and I might have lost a day coming home. Given that in two days I set up at Planet Comicon, I really couldn’t spare the time. Side note, I feel much better this morning, even to the point of keeping food down.

FantaSci was an amazing con. Truly one of the best I have ever been to. LibertyCon level, even. I ticked off all the professional goals I had, enjoyed myself, and met a bunch of new friends.

It was also the launch of the 4HU Mercenary Guild fan group. You can find it here: www.mercenaryguild.org. I know I’m only a bit player in this universe, but it’s still cool to be a part of it. If you like the 4HU books, sign on up. I’ll be starting up a Foresters unit when the time comes.

I may not get to go next year because of timing, though. I think it’s on the second weekend of Gulf Wars next years, so I may have to make a choice.

However, I’ll go back every year I can. It’s on the list.

 

Interview: Ian J. Malone

This week’s interview is with Ian J. Malone, who I met while on the same panels at a number of conventions. He writes SF, including a short story in For A Few Credits More along with me.

He’s also a guy who works hard for all of us independent writers. At least once a week, he’s posting useful links or websites in his Facebook group the Alliance for Indie SF&F Authors. If you’re an independent writer, it’s a good group to keep track of.

Anyway, here’s the guy himself.

Interview: Ian J. Malone
Ian J. Malone
Ian J. Malone

What is your quest?

I’m easy to peg on that one, brother. I aim to live on the beach one day, making enough money as a full-time SF author to support my family. That’s it. If I can pull that off, I’ll be over the moon.

What is your favorite color?

As the tagline goes, I write “character-charged sci-fi with a shot of country.” That’s a fancy way of saying I write stories about every day, blue collar folks who wind up in situations that aren’t so every day in nature. Most of the time that involves high flying space ships in some capacity, plus aliens, other worlds, AI, and so forth.  Inevitably, though, most of my protagonists tend to be human as I’ve always found them more relatable to read/write.

As an aside, I also really enjoy wearing hats… a lot.

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

The biggest challenge I faced, particularly in the beginning, was learning how a story is supposed to look in text, on the page. I’m legally blind, and have historically done all of my reading via audio. So, when the time came to write a novel of my own, I had A TON to learn about style and technique.

Example: I never knew when penning my first book that a character’s thoughts were presented in italics. You kinda don’t get that in an audiobook.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’m a chronic lister. My daily tasks at work, chores around the house, writing goals. You name it, and I’ve probably got it dictated onto a note in my phone somewhere.

As social media goes, I’m also a big fan of the list feature on Twitter. I keep lists for every topic imaginable, from craft and publishing to geek culture, news and sports. Moreover, the tweets on those lists come exclusively from sources that I’ve vetted, which helps to cut down on the whole fake news thing.

Note: I wish Facebook would give me a feature like this. It’s absurdly efficient. Alas, Father Zuckerberg hasn’t seen fit yet in his infinite wisdom to bestow upon we, the little people, such an enormously helpful tool. *sigh*

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? ANIMAL!
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy, all the way.
  • Favorite Sports Team? Florida State Seminoles
  • Cake or Pie? Gotta go with pie, especially when it’s my wife’s homemade apple.
  • Lime or Lemon? “He was green! Like a lime!”
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  I make a Mexican layer dip that I’m told is legendary back home in Florida.
  • Wet or Dry? Wet makes me think water, so I’ll go with that.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Joe Bonamassa featuring Beth Hart
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Never was a Scotch guy, so gimme that e.
  • Favorite Superhero? Superman.
  • Steak Temperature? Medium
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? 70s were before my time. Best I can do is early 80s, in which case I’ll go with Miami Vice.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall = college football season and chili weather
  • Favorite Pet?   The Cranes!
  • Best Game Ever? John Madden Football
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee, black
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Sci-Fi

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

Why in the holy name of frak are you a Cowboys fan, Rob? Come on, man. I thought you were better than that! :p

My Answer: Because I grew up in Hillsboro, TX in the early 1970s, which is near Dallas. I’ve been a Cowboys fan since 1973 or so. In other words, I come by this fandom honestly.

Every night at Pennsic I’ll spend some time checking on Twitter and my feeds for news from Cowboys training camp. I’m really excited about this year’s team. Last year was lost to Roger Goodell being a jerk, and at some point we’ll win it all again and I can’t wait to see him have to give Jerry the Lombardi Trophy.

 Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

I’m for sale “wide” in all the usual places: Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iBooks, etc.

And where can we find you?

Do you have a creator biography?

As a graduate of Florida State University, sci-fi author Ian J. Malone has written in a variety of arenas ranging from public health to news and sports. When it comes to his fictional work, however, he’s a firm believer that nothing shapes a person’s writing like experience. That’s why he credits his tenures in radio, law enforcement, and military contracting for much of his inspiration, plus the legion of family and friends who’ve stood with him along the way.

Beyond writing, Malone is an avid fan of audiobooks (he’s legally blind) and the outdoors. It’s also not uncommon to find him at a ballgame, a concert, or somewhere out by a grill.

Malone is an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and a resident of Durham, North Carolina — but he’ll always be a “Florida boy” at heart.

Colonies Lost
Colonies Lost

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

You might have asked, “where can readers test drive your work before buying?”

Answer: Anybody who signs up for my email newsletter at ianjmalone.net gets not one but two free short stories! The first is titled Mako: Genesis, and serves as the official prequel to my SF adventure series, The Mako Saga. The other is titled Nightfall: A Roanoke Short Story, and serves as the prequel to my new book, Colonies Lost.

Subscribers will also get first look sneak peeks at new book materials, as well as occasional updates on release schedules, events, and discount/freebie promotions.

Malone’s latest book, Colonies Lost, tells the story of a disgraced US Marshal who takes a freelance case to feed his family, only to come face-to-face with America’s greatest unsolved mystery: What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?

You can find Colonies Lost for sale on Amazon, or wherever ebooks are sold.


Finally, let me know any suggestions or comments you have about this interview format 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: Vivat the Dream

Week 31 of 2018

Greetings all. I’m writing from Calontir Trim’s shop at Pennsic. It’s been, and will be, a wet Pennsic. The advantage is that it’s been very cool. My sweetie would prefer warm and clear, but I’m happy with the low temps.

I run a bardic circle every year on the first Monday of the way. That went very well this year as the rain held off until there were few enough that we could squeeze under my shade fly. Lots of great performances and it’s a chance to see some wonderful people I’ve not seen in a year.

Speaking of which, you’ll get to see one of those wonderful people on Tuesday. I have a special interview lined up so stay tuned.

It’s been an weird week in terms of getting things going. We’ve had a number of delays and we really only got operational yesterday. We still have some set up to do, but that’s mostly the lights for Midnight Madness next week.

As I’ll expand on below, I’ve been fighting the short story for the 4HU that’s already late, but I realized a few nights ago the solution. I’ve been powering through a brand new start on it today. Despite all the distractions, I’m really pleased with the new twist that fixes all the frustrations that blocked my way.

This kind of thing is fairly standard, by the way. I write and bang my head until what makes the story work comes to me and I switch everything around to fit the better story. The extra stuff that doesn’t fit goes into another story, and the stuff I’m not using will  go into the next book.

Anyway, back to work for me.

Current Playlist Song

We don’t have any music playing in the shop. However, Faye from Atlantia is here and her favorite SCA song is “Vivat the Dream” by Warjna Waleska Katzjmjr (Varina Suellen Plonski) because of the lines:

“Chivalry, courtesy, honor, and love
Are ideals we cherish all others above”

So she sang them for me. I’m a lucky man.

Quote of the Week

Today is the birthday of Kevin Smith. He’s one of the reasons I write, because he keeps pushing people to follow their dreams. He took a huge plunge when he wrote and directed Clerks, which is still one of my favorite films. Side note, if you want a grim ending, watch the alternate version of Clerks.

In any case, he’s one of the people I admire the most and he’s one of my inspirations. He recently had a heart attack and barely survived. Today, on his birthday, he posted one of the taglines from Clerks:

“I’m not even supposed to be here today!”
– Kevin Smith

News and Works in Progress

  • CB (6,560)
  • LD (2,451) (Formerly TAV) I was actually up to well over 5,000 and I realized I wanted to do something different. I’ve made great progress on this new version this morning. I’ll get another bunch this morning as I decided to show, not tell, something from the previous version. This will help set up the novel better, provide more action, more explosions, and more rounds downrange.
  • AFS (2,681)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is with Ian J. Malone. You can find our interview here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1272 and his website is at: https://ianjmalone.net/.

Today’s Weight: Not sure, will update after Pennsic

Updated Word Count: 161,170

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen 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

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: The Windshield A Movie Screen

Weeks of 15 October – 4 November

I have finally unburied myself enough from the trip to get an update to you. Sorry for the missed weeks, but what a journey it was. It went something like this:

Council Bluffs, IA to Wichita, KS (304 miles / 304 miles total)
Wichita to Elk Falls, KS (84 / 388 )
Elk Falls to Memphis, TN (468 / 856 )
Memphis to Huntsville, AL (215 / 1071)
Huntsville to Maryville, TN (216 / 1287)
Maryville to Flat Rock, NC (138 / 1425)
Flat Rock to Columbus, NC then Tryon, NC and back (29 / 1454)
Columbus to Whitakers, NC (301 / 1755)
Whitakers to Booneville, NC (190 / 1945)
Booneville to Whitakers (190 / 2135)
Whitakers to Wilmington, NC (154 / 2289 )
Wilmington, NC to Charleston, SC (172 / 2461)
Charleston to Whitakers (318 / 2779)
Whitakers to Raleigh (55 / 2834)
Raleigh to Whitakers (55 / 2889)
Whitakers to Louisville, KY (620 / 3509)
Louisville to Wichita (697 / 4206)
Wichita to Council Bluffs (304 / 4510)

There you have it. Over 4500 miles, plus driving around cities. I went to two conventions, ConStellation and HonorCon and had a great time at both. My after action reports are at https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=856 and https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=862. I went to a big SCA event, War of the Wings. My report is at: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=858.

I saw lots of relatives, some of whom I’d never even known existed. I also met my cousins. I haven’t seen them since the 1970s. I need to make visits to the Carolinas more common so I can keep in touch. Neither ConStellation nor HonorCon are continuing as such, but I’ll go back to War of the Wings.

I also toured the USS North Carolina in Wilmington, the USS Yorktown and USS Laffey in Charleston, and took the cruise to Fort Sumter. The North Carolina is the best battleship museum I’ve been to, and I’ve been on the Alabama (her sister ship), the Iowa, the Wisconsin, and the Texas. One specific extra cool thing on her is that you can actually go inside two of her 16in turrets. Tight quarters, but really neat to see. The Laffey was especially interesting, as I’d never been on a Sumner-class destroyer before. Also, I got fantastic pictures of the Yorktown as the cruise ship goes around her to get to Fort Sumter.

Fort Sumter is a place everyone should go. It’s part of a series of forts that guarded Charleston harbor and it’s fascinating to think how one would try and attack the harbor. You see fairly quickly why Fort Wagner had to be taken, and this why the 54th Massachusetts was thrown against its walls as shown in the movie Glory.

We had planned to take a more leisurely trip home, but by the end of HonorCon I was ready to get home. We drove the quick route back and did not visit Cape Girardeau on this trip as we had planned. The drive was generally smooth, though the really high winds and light snow on I-77 through the mountains north of Greensboro added a bit of difficulty factor.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip. Mom and I had a great time, though it was exhausting. From a professional standpoint, I thought it went really well, even though I barely had a chance to write anything. I’m feeling the lack, because writing is like working out, if you do it consistently it feels better.

But that’s what I’m ramping back up on since I got home. I’ve gotten a few thousand words in Brief Is My Flame, but I’m not yet back into form. That’s coming though, as I recover.

Fortunately, there’s not much travel between now and January, so I can get back into the rhythm.

Quote of the Week

Whenever I’m on a long trip, I can’t help but think of William Least-Heat Moon and Blue Highways. If you haven’t read this book, go do so. It’s a fantastic read, with all sorts of philosophical thought, history, and a sample of 1970s America.
“A car whipped past, the driver eating and a passenger clicking a camera. Moving without going anywhere, taking a trip instead of making one. I laughed at the absurdity of the photographs and then realized I, too, was rolling effortlessly along, turning the windshield into a movie screen in which I, the viewer, did the moving while the subject held still. That was the temptation of the American highway, of the American vacation (from the Latin vacare, “to be empty”).”
― William Least Heat-Moon, Blue Highways

News and Works in Progress

  • Brief Is My Flame

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

I met another of my fellow contributors to For a Few Credits More at HonorCon, Ian J. Malone. You can find him on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Ian-J.-Malone/e/B00BJ5QO50/

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
Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Currently Available Works

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