Tag Archives: Jason Cordova

Rob’s Update: Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Week 19 of 2022

Greetings all

The Door Into Winter
The Door Into Winter

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

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

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

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

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

Canon of Vangel
Canon of Vangel

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

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

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

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

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

What I’m Listening To

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

Quote of the Week

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

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

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

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:

The latest show includes discussions on character building.

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

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Get five free stories and signed up with the Eldros Legacy mailing list! Here There Be Giants is at: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

The Door Into Winter comes out on Tuesday.

In the Halls of Winter, a wounded Giant awaits.

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

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

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

Currently available:

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

New Mythology Works in Progress

2023 FantaSci Short Story Contest open call.

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

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

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

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

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

Searching for your next favorite story?


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

What a great week for new stuff!

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

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

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

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 319.2

Updated Word Count: 137,931

Eldros Legacy Archives: 813 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Rob’s Ramblings: FantaSci 2022 AAR

Greetings all

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

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

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

I got to bed far too late.

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

Keen Edge of Valor
Keen Edge of Valor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadly Fortune
Deadly Fortune

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get writing!

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

See you there!


Interview: Nathan Balyeat

We continue our interviews from Keen Edge of Valor with the FNG, Nathan Balyeat. He was one of our four finalists for the FantaSci contest, so clearly I really enjoyed his story, especially the twist at the end.

This is, by the way, his first published story, and it better darn well not be his last.

Nathan Balyeat

  1. Why are you here? This includes influences, favorite creators, steps along the way, and dreams down the road.

I’ve always wanted to be an author, but in a classic act of self-sabotage over many years, I have been my own worst enemy. I’ve had a legitimate hesitancy to put words on a page because there’s no way that it would ever be as good as the authors that I love.

But over the years, I’ve spent time with the authors that I love, and they’ve been nothing but encouraging about doing it. Their consistent advice?  Just do it.

So, I did. Special thanks to Chuck Gannon, Kevin Ikenberry, Jason Cordova, Mike Massa and you, Rob, for the encouragement.

I could list a dozen favorite authors and have a different reason for why they are my favorite, but I’m honestly over the moon to be in the same anthology as one of them, Glen Cook

Right now, I’m focusing most of my writing efforts on a science fiction novel and series inspired by the life of William Marshal.  I do plan on continuing to do short stories set in the Five Kingdoms and the world of the Fellblade as well.

  1. Describe your great Lab of Creation? This includes where you work, what do you listen to (if anything), things you have to have in your work environment, and stuff you’ve tried that haven’t worked.

The biggest challenge to productivity for me if finding somewhere to write that isn’t my desk at home. I have an amazing setup, but I find there’s too many things demanding my attention and that I’m not able to easily switch my mental state from those things to the world in my head.

My best productivity is done with a cup of coffee and noise canceling headphones running a random playlist. There’s a handful of songs I have reserved for writing certain scenes, but telling you what they are might spoil a future surprise.

  1. What are your superpowers? This includes things you like your creations, specific techniques you do well, and some favorite successes.

I’m not sure that I’ve leveled up enough as a writer yet to have a specific style or something that I can claim that I do well.

I have spent my life studying history and got my degree in it, so I’d like to hope that I’m able to bring some of that to life without subjecting my readers to infodumps and walls of text.

  1. What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you? This includes challenges you’ve faced that frustrated you, learning experiences, techniques for overcoming creative challenges, things you’d have done differently, and advice for new writers.

As I mentioned before, I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. There’s always this little voice that says “it’s too much work,” or “you’ll never be good enough.”

There’s an epic saga I’d like to tell at some point, and I’ve spent decades convincing myself that I’m not skilled enough to tell that story. I’m convinced that I’m right on that front.

So, I compromised with myself and am writing a another saga that’s not quite as epic first. I have a brute force approach to productivity right now where it’s a matter of just sitting down to do it.

Lightning Round
    • Actor/Actress You’d Like to Play Any Character You’ve Created: Charlie Cox would make a fantastic protagonist… might be taking some inspiration from him for another project.
    • Favorite Muppet? In my (very small) World of Tanks clan, I’m Sam the Eagle for being so serious. Really though, it’s Gonzo’s chickens.  Poor birds…
    • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Jain. She’s a French singer/performer, singing in heavily accented English, who spent a lot of time living in Africa.  She has a unique style, with catchy beats and upbeat lyrics and themes.
    • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? There’s a few weeks in the fall in the Midwest that are just about perfect.  You can keep the winters though.
    • Favorite Superhero? It has been Daredevil since I was a little kid.
    • Best Game Ever? The one that you’re playing with your friends.
    • Favorite 1970s TV show? M*A*S*H
    • Nathan's Support Squad
      Nathan’s Support Squad

      Do You Have Pets? (provide pictures if you want) I have three, large, healthy weight cats.  Hannibal (Grey and almost 20lbs), his littermate Murdock (orange and fluffy at 15lbs), and the new kid, Peanut that I rescued at 8 weeks old from a diner parking lot last year after two weeks of trying.  He’s trending to be around 18lbs, but is still growing.

    • Favorite Weird Color? French Blue
    • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? A set of carbon steel skillets.
    • Favorite Sports Team? Sadly, I’m a masochist here and continue to cheer for the Detroit Lions.
    • What Cartoon Character Are You? I identify the most with Frye from Futurama.
    • Your Wrestler Name? Bad Grammar
    • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Plot Twist
    • What Do You Secretly Plot? The same thing we do every night, Pinky, to try and take over the world.
    • How Will You Conquer the World? By accident.
    • Best Thing From the 60s/70s/80s/90s? (pick your preferred decade) mp3s from the late 90s started making a lot of music that was out of print available again.  Those cassette tapes that I lost as a kid could be found once more online.  Now I can fit more songs than I can listen to in a year on a drive that fits in the palm of my hand.
    • Favorite Historical Period? Principate Rome, but I’m using 12th century England as an inspiration for my current project.
    • Person In History (Living or Dead) You Want To Hang Out With? William Marshal.  Coincidentally, from 12th century England.
    • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare
    • Favorite Chip Dip?  I don’t always dip my chips, but when I do they are corn chips and it is guacamole.
    • Beverage(s) of Choice? Coffee is kind of a requirement to stay functional and creative anymore, but for relaxation a well made rye old fashioned does the trick.
    • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Nobody should be subjected to that script.
    • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round?  Favorite Dad Joke… mine is: “Why do seagulls fly over the sea?” Answer: “Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels.”

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

  • Keen Edge of Valor is my first published work. I have a very small, and temporary, blog at https://heavyweighsin.wordpress.com/.
  • You can also find me on the new Mythology Press Discord.

And where can we find you?

My 2022 convention plans include attending FantaSci in March and LibertyCon in June.  Let me know if there’s a good convention elsewhere I should attend.

Do you have a creator biography?

Nathan is a US Marine Corps veteran who is currently a project manager by day, historian by education, and writer because the voices in his head have become too loud to keep locked up anymore.  He currently lives in Michigan where he is working on more stories to share, including a science fiction series inspired by the life of William Marshal.

* * * * *

Just so there’s no confusion, if Nathan doesn’t come through with a fantasy adaptation of William the Marshal’s life, I’m gonna…

Well, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. Can’t kick him in the shins, he’s meaner and tougher than I am. Can’t insult him online, he’s my Pathfinder Gamemaster and I like my character. Can’t not offer him beverages, not in my nature, and besides, he’s actually a skilled mixologist so that wouldn’t be much of a hit.

But still, I wants it…


Interview: Jamie Ibson

Greetings all

In honor of the upcoming release of Keen Edge of Valor, I thought I’d provide some interviews of the authors in the anthology throughout March. Today, we start with Jamie Ibson, who actually is one of the reasons I got started with New Mythology Press.

Jamie asked Chris to do an anthology involving altered humanity. That was We Dare, and I have a fun story in there (And a fun story about that fun story). Anyway, others had asked as well, including James Young and his magnificent Phases of Mars series of alternate military history, of which I have the honor to be in all three.

But these other anthologies prompted me to ask Chris, may I do an anthology of fantasy stories? That became When Valor Must Hold, and from that I have ended up here with New Mythology.

OK, enough about that, on to the interview.

Jamie Ibson

  1. Why are you here? This includes influences, favorite creators, steps along the way, and dreams down the road.
Jamie ibson
Jamie ibson

Kevin Ikenberry and Michael Z Williamson have taught me more, directly, about the craft of storytelling than anyone I can think of.

More generally I grew up reading D&D fantasy like the Forgotten Realms books, SF off my Dad’s bookshelf like Robert Heinlein, Gordon R Dickson, Spider Robinson, and Joe Haldeman.

These days I often find little aspects of gaming I find intriguing – for example, using crystals to power magical effects in the Westlocke stories (ed. note: You can find the first two in Songs of Valor and Keen Edge of Valor) comes directly from a Fridge Horror moment playing Skyrim where I was slaying wolves left and right, charging up my soul gems, and went “wait… doesn’t this make me the Fantasy equivalent of the machines from the Matrix?”

“Creators” is a great non-specific term and some of my favorite YouTube videos are of self-made musicians like Leo Moracchioli, who is an absolute maniac in Norway pumping out a new heavy metal cover song, with video, every Friday. His music often accompanies me as I write. He plays a bajillion instruments, sings, growls, records, produces, edits video, and generally is only not a one-man show when it comes to bringing in guests or going on tour.

I’m also heavily into mashup songs, where an artist will take, say, the Ghostbusters theme song and overlay the Gangnam Style lyrics to it and it’s genius.

Book-wise, falling in with the CKP crowd has been tremendous. With all the foolishness going on in the world, having a regular Saturday night video call with friends literally all over the globe, with conversations that sometimes last 6, 7, 8 hours has been a boon to my mental health.

I became a creator in the first place at LibertyCon 30, when I learned it wasn’t nearly as impossible as I believed it to be. I chose to create because  I found my people. Science fiction and fantasy nerds are best nerds.

Fingers crossed, I would like someday, perhaps someday soon, to narrate one of my own works.

  1. Describe your great Lab of Creation? This includes where you work, what do you listen to (if anything), things you have to have in your work environment, and stuff you’ve tried that haven’t worked.

I work at home. Used to be in the attic, now it’s in a room on the 2nd floor of the house. I’ve got two scratching posts to my right, my bar fridge to my left, my RPG gamebooks over my left shoulder and my RPG figures/miniatures in a cabinet over my right shoulder.

I was originally in the attic, but the floor up there is uneven and I found the ergonomics was putting me in for massage and chiropractic more often than I’d like. The floor literally dropped 4” over 15’. (That’s bad.) The floor in here is much more even.

Gizmo Helping
Gizmo Helping (Jamie needs all the help he can get)

As I mentioned above… Leo Moracchioli, Holocene, and First to Eleven for covers. DJ Schmolli, DJ Cummerbund, William Maranci, Bill McClintock all do mashups. When I’m feeling nostalgic I might listen to Soundgarden, Perturbator, Foo Fighters (especially their live stuff, especially Monkey Wrench featuring Kiss Guy), or electroswing like Caravan Palace.

Cats exist in my working environment – Naomi the ninja, Miss Belle, Floofiest Of Her Name, and Gizmo, the new kitten.

  1. What are your superpowers? This includes things you like your creations, specific techniques you do well, and some favorite successes.

I like lots of different cultures in my writing. I currently plan to put each of the four (five?) Myrmidons books on a different planet with a different… Terran Ancestry, if you will. Urbicide was set on Montoya, in La Republica Del Escobar, which gave everything a distinctive South American Spanish tilt. Disavowed will be in & around the hive city of New Athens, in the Hellenic Cluster, so it’ll be Space Greek. Other destinations will include Space Russia, Space Japan, and probably Space Canada.

I think I do my combat scenes well. I’m 40, and since the age of 17 I’ve only had 1 year where I wasn’t wearing an infantryman’s uniform or a redcoat (ed. note: he’s Canadian, so by redcoat he means the RCMP).

I’ve been in fistfights, I’ve trained for firefights, I’m a good scrapper and good with a firearm. I try to keep my fight scenes tight and chaotic but accurate.

We Dares 1, 2, and 3
We Dares 1, 2, and 3

I’m very proud of the We Dare anthologies. Number Four is in the closing stages right now, and the feedback from them has been great, both from readers and from my contributors.

We Dare 1 was the first book with my name on the cover, and I had no idea what I was doing. Between them and last year’s And Then It Got Weird, I’ve edited more than 70 short stories, have generally had very good feedback from my contributors, and I think we’ve released a really great series of anthos featuring some really great authors.

  1. What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you? This includes challenges you’ve faced that frustrated you, learning experiences, techniques for overcoming creative challenges, things you’d have done differently, and advice for new writers.

Hah, I am my own Lex Luthor. I struggle with self-doubt, anxiety, impostor syndrome, and have trouble focusing. So I’m not as productive, word-count wise, as I’d like to be.

Gizmo Gaming
Speaking of cats…

Sometimes, some very rare times, I can focus like a laser and I can bang off 4000+ words in a night. Others I’m like a cat chasing a disco-ball’s worth of little red laser lights and I’m so scattered as to be useless.

I wouldn’t say failures, so much as sticking points where I’ve gotten jammed up. And in those cases, I have some pretty great friends I can go to with a problem and say “So… how about this?” and they’ll say “Oh, do that” and boom, they can see to the heart of the issue pretty much immediately. I have really smart friends.

I overcome slow points a number of ways. Grind through, sprint, dictate, change the subject… curse Lex Luthor and his inability to focus…


I’d tell new writers, when getting going, find something you want to create for yourself and focus on it like a laser.

To date, I’ve written one 4HU novel co-written with Jason Cordova, another with Casey Moores, one in Christopher Woods’ Fallen World, and Myrmidons Inc: Urbicide. Getting going as a noob is difficult and I likely would have enjoyed greater sales and success if I had, say, written three Myrmidons books first before branching off in some other direction.

Lightning Round
  • Actor/Actress You’d Like to Play Any Character You’ve Created: Brendan Fraser to voice Bellerophon. He’s brilliant in Doom Patrol and I love him to pieces
  • Favorite Muppet? Pepe
  • Belle

    Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Bill McClintock. (Check out his “Slipshack” mashup of Slipknot and the B-52s, it’s wild)

  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Summer, because we live in the Maritimes now and I have a 9’ pile of snow in my back yard.
  • Favorite Superhero? Wolverine
  • Best Game Ever? Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Lol, I dunno man I was born in 81 and the cartoons I grew up on were pretty great…
  • Do You Have Pets? Naomi, Miss Belle, and Gizmo.Favorite Weird Color? Michelle has a gorgeous Victorian gown made out of a… I think it’s called taffeta, where it shimmers between brown and green. The effect is amazing.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Michelle gave me a pen as I embarked on my writing journey that simply says “Believe” on it. (See Lex Luthor weaknesses above for why that’s relevant)
  • Favorite Sports Team? Team Canada Hockey at the winter olympics
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? Optimus Prime
  • Your Wrestler Name? The Frozen Hoser
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? The Avalanche
  • Naomi

    What Do You Secretly Plot? [Redacted]

  • How Will You Conquer the World? [Still Redacted but nice try]
  • Best Thing From the 80s? Weird Al Yankovic, and/or Saturday Morning Cartoons
  • Favorite Historical Period? The Renaissance. People had style.
  • Person In History (Living or Dead) You Want To Hang Out With? Robert Heinlein
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare, I guess? I’m not really a steak guy, I prefer BBQ and burgers and pulled pork carnitas and tacos.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Ranch
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Homemade Nuka Cola with Baron Samedi spiced rum
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Bruce Willis from like, 30 years ago
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? Rock, Paper, or Scissors? (ed. note: Me like rock!)

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

Of all the stories you’ve published, which one is your personal favorite and why?

Rob’s Answer: So. I gotta pick between my babies? Yeeesh.

My favorite might be either the first or the third of the stories I gave James Young for the Phases of Mars.

More Gizmo, because who doesn’t want more kitten pictures?

The first story is the only time the Muse hit me over the head with a Clue-by-4. I literally can tell you only that it was set in 1908 and nothing else, or it gives the story away. The key to that is the final word, which I used only once in the story, though James quite rightly initially pushed for me to use it throughout as editor.

The third was the only story I’ve written in the time period I’ve actually studied, Anglo-Saxon England. It was a retelling of the Battle of Maldon, with some reconsideration of Byhrtnoth’s “ofermod” and the strategic challenges he faced. Oh, and there’s a plausible way the English could have won.

I could say the story I sent to Jamie for We Dare, but that’s mostly because of the story about the story, which he and I still tell. Just give us a beverage…

There’s the story I gave to Kevin Steverson for his Salvage Title Universe that was totally written to be quirky and fun. Putting in 227 band name and song name references in a short story was a great challenge.

The Ravening of Wolves, frankly the whole Foresters series, proved to me I could do this job.

I’ve skipped over a bunch, and each of them has a particular reason for being precious to me.

I think, though, I have to say A Lake Most Deep. Yes, it’s my first book and it’s flawed for many of the common first book reasons. But I wrote it in a really down place in my life, and I’m not entirely sure where I’d be or even if I’d be if I hadn’t written it.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

Conventions are on hold until we can cross into the USA without needing to invest in covid tests. Generally speaking, I go to LibertyCon, went to FactoryCon last October, and hope to attend FantaScis, Superstars, and maybe LTUEs going forward? We’ll see, that’s a lot of travel from the frigid north.

Do you have a creator biography?

Jamie Ibson is from the frozen wastelands of Canuckistan, where moose, bears, and geese battle for domination among the hockey rinks, igloos, and Tim Hortons. After joining the Canadian army reserves in high school, he spent half of 2001 in Bosnia as a peacekeeper and came home shortly after 9/11 with a deep sense of foreboding. After graduating college, he landed a job in law enforcement and was posted to the left coast from 2007 to 2021. He retired from law enforcement in early 2021 and moved clear across the country to write full time in the Maritimes. He is married to the lovely Michelle, and they have cats.

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

What are you doing now, that much-younger-you never would have guessed you’d love?

(Me, cooking/turning into a foodie)

Rob’s Answer: Oooh, great question. For me, it might actually be writing itself. I started this job at 46, having never really written anything other than academic stuff, having never really done anything creative. I didn’t think I could.

Name two of your most-favorite niche genres, whether that’s within SF or Fantasy or Other…

(Examples: Cyberpunk SF, noir mystery, First Contact SF, military fantasy)

Rob’s Answer: Noir/hard-boiled mystery is probably the genre that fits into everything I write, no matter the other genre.

* * * * *

What a fun interview. Many thanks for Jamie fighting through the helpful assistance of his cats and providing me this to share.

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

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: Main Monkey Business

Week 28 of 2020

Greetings all

Things didn’t go exactly to plan this week, but in many ways that was a good thing. Since the stepdaughter-type creature moved in with her beau, we decided to condense my sweetie’s sewing, quilting, and weaving stuff.

Condense. Seems like an interesting word to use for stuff that fills 4 separate rooms. Ah, well, she’s worth it.

Anyway, that included a bunch of moving around of boxes, furniture, and all sorts of things. We’d been planning to have movers come in and do the work, but we sort of expected that would be down the road.

Instead, Mike Hammer Moving got us on the schedule on Wednesday and we were able to get nearly everything moved either to its new spot in the house or to the curb for the trash guys on Tuesday. What a wonderful thing. The house feels so much more empty and comfortable.

Side note: I did sort of chuckle at the movers’ name. There were no smoky alleys, no down-on-their-luck, treacherous hoodlums, no femme fatales. Heck, it was even sunny and bright on Wednesday.

Anyway, while I got all the way through Part 8 of None Call Me Mother, I didn’t get as much into the final battle as I’d hoped.

But the moving/cleaning/re-arranging was well worth it. I even improved my office, with the help of a new TV. Right now, I have a Cowboys game going on with Tengger Cavalry providing a soundtrack.

I also have a cat sitting on my monitor ledge, limiting my view of the monitor, but that’s to be expected around here.

I’m taking off today because I get to game again, but will be aiming to get Part 9 finished this week, or at least really close.

Have a great week, everyone.

What I’m Listening To

Rush’s Main Monkey Business. A tremendous instrumental from Snakes and Arrows.

Quote of the Week

Today is the 60th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird. I love both book and movie, but I have to admit Gregory Peck is so fantastic as Atticus Finch I can’t read the book without hearing his voice. And this is a great quote.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (127,474)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (7,378)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Moved instead of blogged

Upcoming Events

  • 8 August, Olathe Writers Zoom Event
  • 3-7 September, DragonCon, Atlanta, GA
    CANCELED (Much sadness)
    There might be on-line things happening. Stay tuned.

New Releases

This week’s new Amazon orange tag recipient in the Four Horseman Universe is Jason Cordova’ Daughter of the Pride. Jason is a fantastic mil-SF author and I love his thread within the 4HU. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Pride-Guild-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B08CK9Z1LP/

Also, I should mention Chris Kennedy has added  a new imprint. This one is called Quillcraft Press and it’s specifically for books by writers about writing. I don’t know the release date, but the first title will be Have Keyboard, Will Travel, by Bill Webb.

Today’s Weight: 378.4

Updated Word Count: 80,992

Shijuren Wiki: 39 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

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

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

LibertyCon 2019 Preview

Greetings all

It’s LibertyCon week, one of my favorite events ever thanks to the hard work of Uncle Timmy, Brandy Spraker, Fritz Ling, Rich Groller, Matthew Fanny, and a slew of others.

As usual, it’ll be a busy time for me. My full schedule is here: http://www.libertycon.org/programming/pros3.php?pid=326.

I start the weekend with a bang, the Four Horsemen Panel and Autograph Session. This will be on Friday from 1-3pm in Meeting Rooms 4 & 5. It will include a whole bunch of us 4HU writers.

Immediately afterwards, I join in on a fun panel I’m really excited about: The Bridges Between Fantasy and Historical Fiction. I’m joined on this panel by David B. Coe / D. B. Jackson, Robert S. Evans, Valerie Hampton, and Holly McClure. Should be lots of fun. It’s in Meeting Room 7.

Then it’s back to Meeting Rooms 4 &5 for Opening Ceremonies at 5pm.

At 7pm, I have an autograph session in the Dealer’s Room alongside Lou Antonelli, Karen Bogen, H.P. Holo, and Jacob Holo. I *will* have my books there for sale, if you don’t already have one.

I conclude Friday from 9-10pm with a reading in the Lookout Mountain Room. I’m not sure what I’ll read yet, but I might pull out something from None Call Me Mother or Amazon top new release (I really get to say that) The Feeding of Sorrows. Also, you can hear something from Teresa Howard.

What a day. You can probably find me in the bar or at a room party kicking back after that.

Saturday is a little slower. My first thing is the Banquet at noon. I’m really excited to get to do this with my mom. This will be in the Tennessee River Room.

Then a bit of a break to prepare for some madness. At 4pm, I’ll join Chris Kennedy Publishing as he talks about the year ahead. I believe this will be on Facebook Live for those who are interested.

Following that, I have an hour starting at 6pm in the Author’s Alley. You can come buy my books, get signatures, or just chat. Also in the Alley during that time are:
Jim Curtis
Teresa Howard
Tamara Lowery
Rich Weyand
Matt Wyers

Then, at 9pm, comes the epic adventure you’ve all been waiting for, the joint Seventh Seal Press / Rob Howell Room Party and Book Launch for Alabaster Noon. It’ll be a blast, with a bunch of authors, all my books, and some interesting beverages like Peepo’s Pitch and MAC rounds. It’ll be in my room on the 3rd Floor, but I won’t know exactly what room that is until Thursday.

Then comes Sunday morning. I may regret things, but at 10am I’ll have my second hour on the Author’s Alley. This time I’ll be joined by:
Nick Braker
Julie Frost
J.D. Jordan
Holly McClure

My last panel is another one I’m eagerly anticipating. This is the brainchild of Rich Weyand. We’ll be joined by Stephanie Osborn and we’ll talk about Pantsing for Beginners. Not sure what pantsing is, well, you can come join us and find out the pros and cons of this style of writing. This will be at 1pm in the Tennessee River Room and we’ll work on things for 2 hours.

That’s my official schedule. Should be fantastic. We’re also staying for the Dead Dog Party.

As I’ve mentioned, my Mom will be joining me. Can’t wait to introduce her to my LibertyCon family.

See a bunch of you there.

Rob’s Update: Sonic Boom

Week 5 of 2019

Greetings all

Wow, I just realized I never actually posted this on Friday when I had it ready to go. My apologies, I was waiting on an email from ACX confirming the exciting news. You get two updates this week.

What exciting news, you ask? Well, the Audible version of A Lake Most Deep went to Audible for proofing today. For a variety of reasons, it has taken much longer than expected, but it’s just about ready to go. It’ll be live as soon as Audible reviews it and I’ll be posting it. Fair warning, I’ll probably post a special announcement here when that happens.

My voice actor is Rob Saladino. His IMDB page is here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5238545/. There’s not a ton there now, but he’s plugging away and he’s got some interesting projects coming along.

This has been another productive week, though I slowed some to consolidate some of the writing. Plus, of course, there was ChattaCon. Still, I’m making significant progress at around 70k. And that’s what I’m going to go work on right now.

Current Playlist Song

The Mountain of Power Processional from the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack. This soundtrack is amazing. Basil Poledouris did an amazing job, and, frankly wrote music to emphasize heroism. It’s great writing music.

Quote of the Week

Since I’m listening to the soundtrack, let’s start with the words that start the film. This quote concludes with my aim as a writer.

“Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”
– Akiro the Wizard, Conan the Barbarian

News and Works in Progress

  • The Feeding of Sorrows (approx. 70,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Not a great week for me on the blog front. I doubt I’ll do much on that this week either as I am really pushing on A Feeding of Sorrows.

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on Jason Cordova because I found Rob Saladino because he did the audiobook version of Jason’s book. Wraithkin, by I really enjoyed the book and the narration so I was excited when he agreed to narrate my books. He also is a part of the Four Horsemen Universe, and he’s got a bunch of good stuff out there.

Today’s Weight: 388.4

Updated Word Count: 14,507

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 518 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: Sailing Fast

Week 41 of 2018

Greetings all

This was not my best week, at least in terms of writing. There were a variety of reasons for that, and they’re all good, though. I got to help my mom and a friend of hers out. I got to do some major work around the house. I get to see the proto-incipient step-daughter this weekend. That all adds up.

So I’m not going to chat much more as we’ve got plans.

Current Playlist Song

Sober by Tool. What an amazing song. It’s one of those that made me love a band immediately.

Quote of the Week

Today is the 243rd birthday of the US Navy. This week’s quote is actually my favorite John Paul Jones quote, though it’s not the one everyone thinks of first.

“I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
Captain John Paul Jones, 16 November 1778

News and Works in Progress

  • The Feeding of Sorrows (approx. 20,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AFS (2,556)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events


This week’s spotlight is on more of the Four Horsemen authors. Check the Recent Blog post section for the complete list.

Today’s Weight: 384.4

Updated Word Count: 214,609

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Four Horsemen Wiki: 435 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

Interview: Jason Cordova

Greetings all

Sorry I haven’t posted anything for #Four Horsetober in a few days. I had to help my mom out for a bit and that threw me off schedule. I’ll start making it up this morning with Jason Cordova.

I met Jason Cordova at LibertyCon and he immediately said something sarcastic to me and offered good scotch. I liked that so much I went out and bought Wraithkin, book 1 of the Kin Wars Saga. I liked *that* so much I bought books 2 and 3 in that series.

Interview: Jason Cordova
Jason Cordova Portrait
Jason Cordova Portrait

What is your quest?

I try to include my own life experiences into the writing. The problem I have is I find oftentimes that some of the things I’ve done are so farfetched that nobody would believe it! So I borrow techniques from the best in the business – Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Tim Zahn. Zahn especially has been a huge influence on my writing career, since the very first SF series I ever read was his Conqueror’s Trilogy.

What is your favorite color?

I love a vivid action scene, but I noticed over the years that I’m a little vague when it comes to describing a character’s appearance in detail (unless it’s a plot device!). I think it’s partially due to a deep hatred some authors have of overly describing things (“info dumping”) that can yank a reader out of the story. I’m all about pacing, dialogue, and character development without talking about how pretty/handsome they are. If I can write a 100,000 word novel and people are complaining that it’s too short and they “just started it, how come it’s over?”, I feel like I’ve done my job. (Rob’s Note: I agree, and strive to limit my Raymond Chandler tendencies… most of the time)

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

The English language continues to vex me. In my head everything is part Spanish, part English, and translating a lot of it means I mix up order of words and verb tenses. I have the same issues when I try to write in Spanish (too many English-isms). Fortunately, I’ve had fairly decent editors over the years who are patient and willing to shoot me an email with a question. The most common one is “What are you trying to say here?”

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’m definitely proud of my Kakata Korps short stories set in the Four Horsemen universe. Using a relatively unknown group of behind-the-scenes guys who are struggling to find their way in a war-torn universe appeals to me. I enjoy writing about Mulbah and his crazy little band of hard-charging Liberians. I also am immensely pleased with the Kin Wars Saga. I love writing in that universe, even if it’s a constant reminder of the friends I’ve lost over the years due to illness.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? GONZO!!!
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Creamy
  • Favorite Sports Team? Atlanta Braves
  • Cake or Pie? Both?
  • Lime or Lemon? Lemon-lime
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  Salsa, but homemade and onion-free (onion allergy will kill me one day)
  • Wet or Dry? Dry
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Mindless Self Indulgence. They’re my guilty pleasure indie band of weirdos.
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Scotch
  • Favorite Superhero? The Flash
  • Steak Temperature? Rare
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Little House on the Prairie
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall/Winter
  • Favorite Pet?  My cat Casper
  • Best Game Ever? Civilization V (Rob’s Note: Over Civ VI?)
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy?  Sci-Fi

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

How do you find time to do all that you do and continue to have a life?

Rob’s Answer: You tell me. I do this full-time, given that I’m too educated to get any job that I’m qualified for. You also work, so I would say you’re the one with the more challenging path.

Working for yourself is hard, though, especially the motivation to do things every day. That’s my big struggle. In school, I would binge work. You can do that some in this job, but not as often because you don’t have gaps like you do in school.

As for my life, it’s not terribly active outside of going to cons and SCA events, which have become my work. My sweetie and spend most nights watching TV together or working on projects around the house. I’m surprisingly domestic anymore.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

And where can we find you?

  • FantaSci (probably, still waiting on confirmation) – March 22-24, 2019
  • Libertycon – May 31-June 1, 2019
  • Dragoncon – Aug 29-Sept 2, 2019

Do you have a creator biography?

A 2015 John W. Campbell Award finalist, Jason Cordova is probably best known for his popular Kin Wars Saga series, as well as the Kaiju Apocalypse trilogy with Eric S. Brown. He also has written a YA science fiction series called The Warp. He was also featured in John Ringo’s bestselling Black Tide Rising anthology, and the highly-regarded Forged in Blood anthology set in Michael Z Williamson’s “Freehold” universe. He will have a story in the upcoming Freehold: Vengeance anthology (Baen Books). Jason currently lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. He is also a kaiju enthusiast.

Thanks to Jason for taking the time to answer my questions.

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

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

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

Have a great day.

Rob Howell