Tag Archives: Kacey Ezell

2021 AAR

Greetings all

2021 was the biggest year of my publishing career, but I suspect I’ll write the same exact words next year with all that’s happening. Nevertheless, here’s what I was involved in that came out in 2021:

2021 Mosaic
2021 Mosaic

This mosaic, by the way, doesn’t include stuff that’ll come out in 2022 which I worked on, such as Quincy J. Allen’s Seeds of Dominion, coming out on Tuesday.

By my reckoning, I put out 384,836 total words in 2021. Now, there are some statistical points to be made, out of honesty.

  • I only wrote 139,340 words of new stuff. That’s 1 novel, and only 6 short stories.
  • I keep track of my blog posts too, as it’s one way to ensure I’m putting out consistent content. That was 49,811.
  • The remaining 195,685 is 1/4 of the words in books I edited for New Mythology Press in 2021, 4 anthologies and 5 novels. I agree I should keep some track of that, as if I hadn’t done all that I would have definitely written more. I’m not convinced 1/4 is the right number. I’m thinking I may go to 1/5 in 2022. We’ll see.

Still, any way you want to stack it, that’s not a bad year. Add on to that I spent many hours helping develop the Eldros Legacy and learning how to do a bunch of new things for New Mythology Press, and I would say it wasn’t a wasted year.

That’s especially true since I only count things I’ve finished in a calendar year. This total doesn’t include, for example, the 70k or so I’ve got written in The Door Into Winter nor the editing I’ve done for The Keen Edge of Valor, as they aren’t yet finished.

I’m proud of all the stories I wrote and helped put out in 2021. This is highlighted, of course, by The Ravening of Wolves. This novel really came together, I think, thanks to a bunch of tales given to me by friends who’ve seen the challenges behind the scenes in the military. Much of what went into that book are inspired by actual SNAFUs, because the main universal truth in military history that I can find is: “Shit happens.”

Of my short stories, I tried a number of whimsical things. For example, Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene included over 200 song and band references hidden within about 9000 words. The biggest result, of course, is The Incomparable Treasure, which comes out at some point in 2022 as part of Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell’s next SF/F noir anthology, No Game for Knights. This is a huge honor for me, and I’m really excited about it.

I certainly learned a ton with New Mythology Press this year. I can’t thank Chris Kennedy enough for the opportunity and I hope I live up to his expectations.

I would say I earned a B- grade for my work as publisher in 2021. I tend to be a harsh grader, but as I look back I see areas I can improve upon. Now, to be fair, the biggest area I need to improve upon is simply experience, and that’s happening, but I could have accelerated my learning curve in places.

Nevertheless, I did learn and improve as the year’s gone on. I’d better, as I have a bunch of things to publish in 2022, which I’ll talk about in another blog post.

I am most proud of Responsibility of the Crown, I think. It was the first novel I’d ever edited, and I think it came out fantastic. It helps that G. Scott Huggins is a great writer, but I do think I contributed.

It was nerve-wracking for me, in some ways, but the results really fired me up. Like many writers (and now as publisher), I suffer from constant self-doubt and seeing the difference between the original draft Scott sent me of Responsibility and the final draft helps me believe I have some skill in this process. Again, though, it’s not a great story without Scott doing the heavy lifting.

I’m also proud of the Talons & Talismans anthologies. They were a challenge, one that made Chris shake his head and chuckle at my expense a time or eight.

However, those anthologies did much of what I wanted. I got involved with experienced writers I hadn’t worked with before, like Aaron Rosenberg, who I hope to publish a bunch more times down the road. I got a bunch of new writers opportunities, like Michael Gants, who I think you’ll be seeing fairly often in the future.

I also got to rummage around in the process of making anthologies at a much more detailed level. I’d done two prior to Talons & Talismans, but this was more, and I needed it.

On the behind the scenes side of things, I had a couple of hiccups with my mailing list, but I’m pleased with where I’m at now. I started working with the Writers House of Corrections to build that mailing list even more. Long term, I think that list and this blog, not Facebook or other social media platforms, will be my primary forms of interaction.

I learned a ton about how book art gets made. I knew some of it from self-publishing my first six novels, but there’s always more to learn. I’m amazed at what artists like Melissa Gay and Jake Caleb constantly produce.

Most fun of all is getting to know the editing staff of Chris Kennedy Publishing better. Mia Kleve is an amazing bedrock of competence. It was she, in fact, who created the above mosaic of covers, within like 2 minutes. Tiffany Reynolds is incredibly fast and skilled. I didn’t get to work with Beth Agajew as much in 2021, but I’ve had the pleasure before. We brought in Jonathan Miller too. He edited Seeds of Dominion and we have more plans for him.

I also got to interact with the advance readers more. Shawn Carey is a machine. He is an unseen, but much appreciated member of the team. Another is Zach Ritz, who routinely catches a bunch of errors that have slipped past all of our editors, including me. That’s a much less common skill than I think people realize.

A long time ago, I realized writing was about creating a team around the writer. That’s even more true about publishing. If I want to point at any one single thing I’m pleased with in 2021 it’s the creation of a new team around me, one which I’m already blessed to be a part of.

I’m just going to conclude that I’m looking at my shelf of books, the shelf holding books I’ll be selling at conventions. There’s Jon Osborne’s Milesian Accords series, including The House Between Worlds which I helped publish. There’s Khyven the Unkillable, by Todd Fahnestock, first of the Eldros Legacy novels. There are Four Horsemen Universe titles, especially The Ravening of WolvesAnd there’s all sorts of titles produced prior to 2021. There’s a lot of titles there, but a bunch more are coming.

2021 was the start of something awesome.

Rob’s Update: Happy Holidays

Week 50 of 2021

Greetings all

It was a very productive week here. I finished the first pass through Embers & Ash, the third book of the Eldros Legacy. This one is by Marie Whittaker, who’s a fantastic writer.

I also finished Fleece Navidad, which will be going out to my subscribers on Saturday. I really do appreciate all of you who have subscribed to my mailing list, and I hope you enjoy these Nick Patara, PI stories.

I got about 5k in The Door Into Winter. That’s not really reflective of how easy this story is to write. I’m having trouble finding time to write on it during the holiday season with so much going on, but man I’m chunking out words whenever I do. I really like where it’s going.

I also started the real editing for The Keen Edge of Valor, the next of the Libri Valoris anthologies.

My sweetie and I went on a big hunt this past weekend. The game? The right loveseat and couch for the big TV room downstairs. Wednesday night is date night, and more often then not we enjoy watching BBC mysteries together. We’re such party animals. However, we hadn’t really had a way to sit together. But we found a great set, on clearance, and it comes tomorrow. It is exactly the right thing for us, and we both got in our steps on Saturday and Sunday hunting for it.

Plus, of course, all the Christmas prep. We’re not doing a huge thing, in part because it’s just me, my sweetie, my mom, and my stepdad. Still, I’ll grill steaks, we’re cooking a ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a bunch of other fixins. The sweetie has decided to make not one pie (blackberry, her favorite), not two (bourbon pecan, not quite my favorite, but close), but three pies (she found just the right lemons at CostCo to make her special lemon pie.

So much for my carb count. Ah, well, it’s the season for eating… errr… I mean giving. Anyway, I hope you all have a great holiday season.

What I’m Listening To

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I had a chance to see them with the Marshall Tucker Band in Wichita a little more than two years ago. I’d never seen them live before, and I’m really glad I went, as it was a heckuva show.

Quote of the Week
This is one of my favorite quotes, by one of my favorite people. If you want a fun story about Charles Schulz, by the way, go look up the time that Stephen Pastis, who writes Pearls Before Swine, fanboyed him.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
Charles M. Schulz

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
https://www.sharkflight.com/dudes/

The latest show includes an interview with Emily Bernson of the USO, our memories of 2021, and what we’re looking for in 2022. Side note, Ian definitely hadn’t gotten the memo of my plans for 2022.

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+.

Seeds of Dominion
Seeds of Dominion

I finished my pass on Embers & Ash, the next Eldros Legacy book. This one’s by Marie Whittaker, and it will introduce the continent of Pyranon.

Of course, we’re all looking forward to Seeds of Dominion, by Quincy J. Allen, in less than two weeks.

Next week, we’ll have the Daemanon map reveal, so stayed tuned for that.

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one in January.

I’m currently working on The Keen Edge of Valor, the third in the Libri Valoris anthologies for release at FantaSci.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (63,611)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

This week’s big new release is Ally, the next 4HU novel, by Kacey Ezell and Marisa Wolf. The Depik are back! And they brought friends. Get it here: www.amazon.com/dp/B09NN53QLN.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 331.8

Updated Word Count: 382,460

Eldros Legacy Archives: 804 entries (expect this to jump next week as we get close to Seeds of Dominion)

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Rob’s Update: Tacos, Talons, & Talismans, Oh, My!

Week 38 of 2021

Greetings all

Tuesday! Yes, I mean the next one. October 5th. Talons & Talismans will be released to the public. There’s so much you’re gonna love in this and I can’t wait for you all to get a chance.

Talons and Talisman I
Talons and Talisman I

But what about tacos? Hey, I gave you the book. I suspect we all have our favorite taco place where you can get the tacos of your persuasion, pull out your copy of Talons & Talismans, and you’ll soon be in your happy place.

Speaking of happy places, I have just found out today is International Podcast Day. Happy Another Day of Being Awesome to Ian J. Malone, Kevin Steverson, and our awesome fans on Dudes on Hyperspace. I’ve been so pleased to be a part of this. Thanks for having me!

This was not my most productive week. I don’t often get sick, but Friday and Saturday were complete losses and much of Sunday. Feeling better and I’ve gotten lots done the last few days, but it’s catching up.

The big thing this week for me was to really get into gear with The Door Into Winter. I’m trying something new, and it’s a modicum of plotting. (Don’t fall over dead of shock, Quincy J. Allen). Actually, it’s more like Rich Weyand’s theory of river crossings.

Todd Fahnestock pointed me to the book Save the Cat Writes a Novel. Basically, it lays out 15 beats that all good novels need and this week I built myself a beat sheet for The Door Into Winter.

In one sense, I’m doing this to fix a particular thing. I always struggle getting from 50-75,000 words. Somewhere between there, I have a huge slowdown as I don’t know what to write. This will help.

In another, it’s because I’m getting close to leveling up again. In general, my way of doing things has been to jump in, screw up a lot, learn, get better, find new mistakes to make, get better. Lather, rinse, repeat until I feel like I can actually understand the thing enough for manuals and instruction stuff to be really effective for me.

One could say, it’s part of my transition from journeyman to master. I can’t really understand the stuff until I’m a journeyman but I can’t be a master without understanding the stuff. I’m in that point where I can work on that process with my writing, and it’s exciting.

Also, from a pantser’s perspective, this process is actually surprising useful so far. I’m simply jotting down ideas, and I can already tell nothing on the Beat Sheet is locked down. However, I have already realized how mutable and adjustable it is as I discover how I can make the novel better.

That’s why I’m a pantser, by the way. I always find ways to make a novel better during the writing process that can change my entire story. This allows for that, so I’m giving it a try.

Speaking of which, I’m going to go write!

What I’m Listening To

Happy people at Brewbakers. The music is wretched, but for some reason people seem to be really enjoying their conversations today. Honestly, that’s usually the case here, but for some reason it’s the dominant vibe I’m enjoying here today.

Quote of the Week

In honor of today’s international holiday, I’ve decided to give you a quote from Dudes in Hyperspace.

“Man, I totally screwed that up.”
– Me, in just about every show 🙂

There is, fortunately, a response every time.

“Don’t worry, I can edit that out.”
-Ian J. Malone, which is why my quotes are in the outtakes 🙂

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Have you downloaded your copy of Here There Be Giants? Five free micro-stories and you get signed up for the Eldros Legacy newsletter. You can find it here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/qabsr57lq3+.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

The House Between Worlds, fourth in Jon R. Osborne’s Milesian Accords series, goes out to advance readers this weekend. Email me at rob@chriskennedy.com if you want to be a part of the advance team.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (7,717)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week we have more great stuff in Charles Gannon’s Terran Republic universe entitled Watch the Skies. This is a braided novel that includes the great Gannon himself, Kacey Ezell, Kevin Ikenberry, and William Alan Webb, which is a heck of a lineup. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GW3CJM7.

Out this week on audio is an anthology I contributed to, Gates of Hell. It’s another 4HU anthology and my story follows-up with Rick Blaine chasing down those who’ve attacked the Queen Elizabeth’s Own Foresters. You can find it on audio here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087T7FW9M.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 332.0

Updated Word Count: 283,858

Shijuren Wiki: 797 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Founder in the Eldros Legacy series

Weekly Update Archive

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 Bon Homme Richard

Weeks 36-7 of 2021

Greetings all

Oh, hey, where did last week go? I looked up and suddenly it’s Thursday. The next Thursday.

Sorry about missing an update, but it’s been a really good time around here.

The big news is the release of It Takes All Kinds, an anthology in the Salvage Title universe created by Kevin Steverson. It includes my story “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene.”

My, what an interesting title, and clearly obvious to Pink Floyd fans where it came from. In fact, I put 232 intentional band name and song title references into the story (Not lyrics, that goes against copyright laws). I also put in an occasional historical rock reference.

Here’s the deal. The first person to send me a list of all 232 correct references will receive a free gift copy of all six of my fantasy novels. Yep, that’s right, I’ll send all six to your Amazon account for free (can’t do other accounts because of KU restrictions).

To enter, track the references in my story and send me an email to rob at rob howell dot org. You find all 232 references and you get 6 free novels. If, after 15 October, no one has found all 232, the person who’s send me the most will win, so if you only found 226, send it over. Who knows, you might be the one.

I might have had a little fun writing that one.

Last week, with the help of Chris Kennedy, we got Talons & Talismans I in the can. I’m even starting to get some things back from the advance reviewers and they like it. I’m not surprised.

I finished a story last week, which of course I’ll talk about at the right time.

I’ve been working on The Door Into Winter, which is starting to shape up. That should be done at the end of December. This is my first entry in Eldros Legacy / Shijuren, starting a new series entitled the Legacy of Legends. This will be a four book story arc and, with the help of Mark Stallings, Marie Whittaker, Todd Fahnestock, and Quincy J. Allen, will culminate with big doings in Ertha (the new world name as opposed to the continent of Shijuren).

In the meantime, I’ve been hammering away at New Mythology projects, which I’ll touch on soon.

What I’m Listening To

Perry Mason episodes. The sweetie is working from home and it’s one of her favorites.

Quote of the Week

It’s the anniversary of the Battle of Flamborough Head. What else could today’s quote be, but:

“I have not yet begun to fight!”
– John Paul Jones, from the deck of the Bon Homme Richard.

Cool Stuff In Eldros Legacy

Khyven the Unkillable is about to reach the final editing stage. This is Todd Fahnestock’s first in his Legacy of Shadow series. That comes out in December.

Quincy J. Allen has been hammering away at Seeds of Dominion, the first in his Legacy of Demons series. Expect that one in January.

New Mythology Works in Progress

Talons & Talismans I is in the can. Go Team! Not only that, but check out this amazing cover art!

Talons and Talisman I
Talons and Talisman I

Talons & Talismans II is in the final editing stage. I’ll show you that cover in a couple of weeks.

The House Between Worlds, book 4 in the fantastic Milesian Accords series by Jon R. Osborne, is almost done. I’ll be looking for advance readers next week.

Wow, that’s a lot! And more coming.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (5,337)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • SOTI (9, 761)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Not just one, but two new Salvage Title books.That’s what happens when I miss a week around here.

First, It Takes All Kinds, an anthology of new beings in the universe including my Rolling Stones in “Careful With That Axe, E.U. Gene.” That one is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FZVXQ8M.

Then there’s Salvage Mother, by Kevin Steverson and Kacey Ezell. That one is here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09G9HW68Q.

Then there’s a new 4HU novel by Casey Moores, Rise of the Bull. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09FNV6XRF.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 334.2

Updated Word Count: 282,946

Shijuren Wiki: 791 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

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 Natural Road

Week 33 of 2021

Greetings all

The first thing I want to announce is… Wait for it… An Announcement!!!

Yes, I’ll be making a special announcement next week. It’s the soooper-seekrit project I’ve been working on and we’re ready to talk about it.

Having announced the announcement, let’s talk about a good week of editing with a little writing.

All of the first Talons & Talismans anthology is out to the authors and most are back and in the can. The second anthology is mostly done and back to the authors. By the end of this weekend, I suspect we’ll be down to mostly fiddly bits.

On the editing side, I’m turning to The House Between Worlds next. This is the fourth book in Jon Osborne’s great Milesian Accords series. Target release date is October.

Writing wise there’s been some work on a short story and a few words on The Door Into Winter. Not much, thought, as the editing/publishing side of thing has taken precedence for about a month.

Still, it all counts and thus was a very productive week here.

What I’m Listening To

Not much. I’ve been working in the office with my sweetie today as she gets one of her treasured work from home days, so we didn’t play music or anything.

Quote of the Week
I am a big believer in this week’s quote.
“We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”
Antoine Lavoisier, Elements of Chemistry
New Mythology Works in Progress
Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on the last bits of Talons & Talismans and turning to Jon Osborne’s The House Between Worlds.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Door Into Winter (242)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • MON (6226)

Upcoming Events

  • Gulf Wars, 2-10 October, Lumberton, MS
    www.gulfwars.org
  • FactoryCon, 22-24 October, Coinjock, NC
    Details in the CKP – Factory Floor on Facebook.
  • 20BooksTo50K, 8-12 November, Las Vegas, NV
    http://20booksvegas.com/

New Releases

Jim Cartwright is back! One of my favorite characters in the 4HU. Cartwright’s Cavaliers: Descent is now available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CYL66KT.

Craig Martelle is publishing an anthology with a bunch of great writers including CKP’s Kacey Ezell, Paul Piatt, and the big boss, Chris Kennedy. It’s called The Expanding Universe 7: An Intergalactic Adventure Anthology and you can find the preorder here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09C114GTG. I should point out it’s only $3.99 for those who preorder.

Tracked ItemsToday’s Weight: 335.2

Updated Word Count: 184,064

Shijuren Wiki: 767 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

Author of the Shijuren-series of novels

Weekly Update Archive

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: Final Voyage Through a Liquid Week

Week 22 of 2021

Greetings all

This was, in many ways, my least productive week of 2021. There were reasons, which is okay, but also some general fatigue. It was one of those weeks where little things cropped up, like extra construction or my sweetie left her phone at home. A week of shifting sands, hence the title of this post.

The reasons included some family stuff that had to get done this week. That includes two new pets into the house. They’re very cute, but of course that takes time and effort. We took them to the vet today. Oh, and then there were several funky computer issues with my bank and insurance company. Joy.

I did get a few words written this week on a short story due at the end of the month. It’s going well, and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. It’s a tad more whimsical than my norm, but it’s always good to shift gears a bit.

I also did quite a bit of prep work for the big sooper-seekrit project. We are getting more and more excited as more things get checked off our to-do list.

The big news this week, and talk about burying the lede, is that I was accepted for an anthology edited by Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell. It’s a Baen anthology focused on the noir, hard-boiled detective. Perfect for an Edward story. The anthology will be called No Game for Knights, and my story is entitled The Incomparable Treasure. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Larry. He knows a ton about the craft that I am just scratching the surface.

Oh, I did one other thing this week. I added another con: Salina Comicon. You should check my con list as it’s growing. I have a plan for February too that should be a lot of fun if we can make it work. Glad to be getting back into the groove.

Hopefully, things will get calmed down by Monday and next week will be much better.

Of course, a week from tomorrow will be most awesome. The Ravening of Wolves goes live next Friday and I’m excited. I think this is my best novel ever, which I should always think of course, in part because I should always be getting better.

However, there are a number of things I aimed for specifically and if the ARC reviewer comments are anything to go by, I achieved a number of them.

What I’m Listening To

The Final Voyage of Liquid Sky by Primus. I’ve never seen Primus live, and that was something I was on the verge of doing when the pandemic hit. Worse, this was the tour where they would play the entirety of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings in honor of Neil.

However, it has been rescheduled and the new dates fit my timeline to a T. I am so looking forward to seeing Les Claypool in all his intricate and strange glory.

Quote of the Week

A weird week deserves a weird quote, and since it was the song I was listening to and it inspired the title, here’s a bit of the weirdness of The Final Voyage of Liquid Sky.

Skin moves toward malignant
Worshipping the sun
They clamber over corpses
To be the chosen ones
― Primus, The Final Voyage of Liquid Sky

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

i started reading some of the early entrants and I think you’ll be pleased. We’re at the early stages, but the response has already been good.

I can also tell you I’m excited at the story that Aaron Rosenberg submitted. You’ve probably read his stuff and not realized, as he’s written in a ton of different properties, but this story is completely his. It has the kind of hero I wanted to see win, and I think you’ll love it.

It’s possible, by the way, that there will be a Talons & Talismans *and* a Talons & Talismans Two. So many people loved this prompt, which of course is gratifying and exciting. That’s especially true since it’s been pretty good stuff so far.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • CWTAE (2213)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s new release is the third of Jamie Ibson’s We Dare series. This one is entitled No Man’s Land, and every story has a female main character. It also includes some of the best female authors out there like Kacey Ezell, Marie Whittaker, and Joelle Presby. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096DSW1VK.

The next week is going to be a big one for CKP. Chris will release the conclusion to his Progenitor’s War series tomorrow. There’s another Hit World novel coming out on the 14th. Then, of course, a week from tomorrow is The Ravening of Wolves. Plus there are things coming out on audio. So much is happening I don’t have time to list it all.

But I will remind you all about the Kickstarter for the Four Horsemen RPG. Getting close to the next stretch goal. I will add that if you get to the right stretch goal, you’ll make more work for me as I’ll add the TOE for the Foresters and a bunch more about the Cochkala. So, if you want me to get off my lazy butt, check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4hu-savage-worlds/four-horsemen-universe-rpg-savage-worlds-edition.

Today’s Weight: 336.2

Updated Word Count: 158,645

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

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Rob’s Update: Plugging Away

Week 21 of 2021

Greetings all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I’m Listening To

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

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

How fascinating is that?

Quote of the Week

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

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

― Chuck Barris

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

New Mythology Works in Progress

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned, more is coming.

Rob’s Works in Progress

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

Upcoming Events

New Releases

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

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

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

Today’s Weight: 335.2

Updated Word Count: 157,354

Shijuren Wiki: 725 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren

Nick Patara, PI

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

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

Rob’s Update: Your Thirst Will Pass

Week 13 of 2021

Greetings all

I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy writing, I completely lost track of days. I somehow lost Wednesday completely.

Obviously, the big news this past week was the great release of Songs of Valor. It got an orange tag almost out of the bat. Many thanks to our readers who made it number one within four hours.

If you’re curious what’s in Songs of Valor, you can go to my blog post where I gave story sketches. You can find that here: https://robhowell.org/blog/?p=2268.

Also, the great news is that I had a great week of writing in The Ravening of Sorrows. Over 10k new words, about a third of the early stuff edited, and a bunch of formatting and cleaning up.

Progress made in some editing too.

And I started a new project yesterday that we’ll be talking about soon. It won’t be a ton of work, but it promises to be a lot of fun and very productive.

So a great week of productivity, even if I can’t look at a calendar.

What I’m Listening To

Mark Stallings showed me there’s a linguistics Youtube. Currently, I’m listening to a history of the Ainu language. Yeah, because I get distracted easily. Perfect for a week where I forgot what day is what. I’ll remember Mark in my upcoming curses, believe me.

Quote of the Week

As I’m sure you all know, today is the 670th anniversary of the Combat of the Thirty. You remember, that time when French and English knights, bored with the progress of the Hundred Years War, decided to halt the war to have a fight between thirty prestigious knights and squires on a side.

Therefore, today’s quote is just as obvious. It’s Geoffroy du Bois giving Jean de Beaumanoir some advice after Beaumanoir had been wounded in the fight.

“Drink your blood, Beaumanoir, your thirst will pass”
― Geoffroy du Bois

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: 1 March: The Watchers at War (Book 3 of the Watchers of Moniah Series by Barbara V. Evers)
  • Today: 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
  • 12 April: Accepted (Book 2 of the Balance of Kerr series by Kevin Steverson.
  • 21 May: Across the Endless Ocean (Book 1 of the Endless Ocean series by G. Scott Huggins)

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (81,722)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Upcoming Events

New Releases

We’ll start with last week’s Sundown by Kacey Ezell. It’s another addition to Charles Gannon’s Caine Riordan universe. You can find it here on the newly updated Chris Kennedy Publishing website: https://chriskennedypublishing.com/book/sundown/.

It was released at the same time as 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.

Because I dallied, that means we get an extra release. You also get David Hallquist’s Guardian. You can find it here: https://chriskennedypublishing.com/book/guardian/.

Today’s Weight: 340.0

Updated Word Count: 12,988

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

Interview: Benjamin Tyler Smith

For the first quarter of 2020, my Wednesday interviews will be with authors who are part of When Valor Must Hold, the upcoming anthology of fantasy stories published by Chris Kennedy Publishing.

Today’s answers come from Benjamin Tyler Smith. He’s an up-and-coming author who you guys are going to really like, if you don’t already.

His story in When Valor Must Hold is “Hanging by a Thread.” This story, set in his Necrolopolis universe, combines the weary cop trying to keep the criminals of his city to a dull roar with practical necromancy.

I will say his interview answers have much more life than many characters in his stories. Of course, they’re undead, so…

Interview: Benjamin Tyler Smith

Benjamin Tyler Smith
Benjamin Tyler Smith

Why are you here?

  • What are your influences?

Fantasy books by some of the greats (Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, to name a few), anime in a ton of genres (Mecha, Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Magical Girl), and role playing games of various sorts (Most notably Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV and VI, Baldur’s Gate, and Betrayal at Krondor).

  • Who are some favorite other creators?

Feist, Eddings, and Jordan as mentioned above. Also Kate Elliott for her Crown of Stars series, Elizabeth Haydon for her Symphony of Ages series, and Dan Abnett for his Gaunt’s Ghost series. Over in Japan, I love Reki Kawahara (Sword Art Online), Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina), Nagaru Tanigawa (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), and Kenichi Sonoda (Gunsmith Cats), to name a few.

More recently, my favorite creators include Kacey Ezell (“Minds of Men” is awesome, as are any of her stories of the Depik race in the Four Horsemen Universe), Christopher Woods for his Fallen World novels (Now I know I’m biased, but I burned through his first book in record time, then listened to it again), Mark Wandrey for his Four Horsemen stories, especially the ones about Jim Cartwright.

  • What made you a creator in the first place?

God, when He created me. I’ve always told stories, made things up, and eventually started putting those imaginings down on paper, first as King Arthur fanfiction, then as Star Wars fanfiction, and finally as my own stuff as the years have gone by. Even if I made no money writing, I would still do it. It wouldn’t be my career so I wouldn’t be able to do it as much, but I’d still do it in some form or another. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • Why did you choose to create what you create?

Things just come to me. Often when I’m listening to music or watching anime. I can’t listen to anything without getting some kind of scene or character or plot idea, and when I’m watching a good movie or show, certain moments just inspire me, either to write something similar or to take a particular emotion I feel and try to recreate it.

  • Feel free to add things you would someday like to create.

I’ve got way too many ideas, likely more than God’s given me years on this Earth. That said, I do have some plans. For this year, my focus is on building out the Fallen World universe with at least one sequel to Blue Crucible, as well as a short story or two. I also have a Jackie Warren book planned out for the Four Horsemen Universe. That’ll be a sequel on the “Return to Sender” story in the Tales from the Lyons Den anthology from late 2018. I also want to write the first book set in the Necrolopolis universe, which will feature a lot of the characters from the short story “Hanging by a Thread” that’ll be in the upcoming sword-and-sorcery anthology When Valor Must Hold. And then there are other things like a Magical Girl meets Apocalypse Now story, a zombie high school story, and other weird things like that. Like I said, too many ideas!

Describe your great Lab of Creation?

  • Where do you work? Home? Coffee Shop?

It depends on the day. Once a month I head over to a local restaurant or the nearest Chick-Fil-A with just a notebook and maybe a book on the writing craft, and I get to it. Drafting, brainstorming, studying. Mostly, though, I’m in the basement at home, with my writing laptop and snacks to keep me from venturing upstairs too often. That way lies distractions, cats needing affection, and games that desire to be played. (It’s totally them, not me, right?)

  • Do you listen to music? If so, give some examples.

I mostly listen to video game and anime music. When I’m hip-deep in the writing, it’s all instrumentals. When I’m brainstorming, outlining, or editing, vocals can be mixed in. Otherwise, the lyrics can end up distracting me when I’m actually drafting.

  • What other things exist in your productive environment?

In the basement, I have a little table where I’ve got my writing laptop, a few craft books for reference, some snacks, and a pair of cross-shaped cufflinks given to me by Larry Dixon back during World Fantasy Con of 2016 over in Columbus, Ohio.

  • What things have you tried that haven’t worked?

Two things. The first is spending too much time in the outlining and brainstorming phase. It’s not so bad with short fiction, as there are only so many factors to take into account for a 5,000 – 10,000 word piece. But, during the writing of Blue Crucible (My first contribution to Christopher Woods’ Fallen World universe) I went from the initial idea sometime in June of last year to finally sitting down to draft it in October and November. Granted, I had a couple other short stories that needed to be finished, but a lot of time was wasted spinning my wheels. So, going forward, I’m going to strive to not spend as much time in that phase of the writing.

And the second is an area I will make work, because I have to. That’s running the blog and maintaining a social media presence. It’s something I’ve tried to start a few times, and it’s always run aground as I’ve focused more and more on writing. That part’s a good thing, but I still need to be out there. Not only to promote, but also to maintain connections to fellow writers and to readers.

What are your superpowers?

  • What kinds of things do you like in your creations?

I like my characters. The plots can sometimes be hard for me to come up with, but I usually don’t have a problem with the core group of characters. Whether it’s Jackie Warren the arms dealer and her team of body guards in the Four Horesemen Universe, or it’s Lieutenant Nathan Ward and his squad of fellow mounted cops in the Fallen World Universe, or it’s Necromancer Adelvell and his band of undead misfits in my Necrolopolis universe, there’s someone for every reader to relate to, to root for, to laugh with, and to cry with.

  • What are specific techniques you do well?

I’ve been told that I do believable dialogue, with the characters having unique voices that don’t require too many tags to keep up with. I’ve also been told that my action sequences read like a movie or anime scene. Easy to visualize, easy to follow. I’m a harsh critic of my own writing, so I don’t know that I agree with that! But, I’ve heard it enough to give it credence.

  • What are some favorite successes you’ve achieved, especially things you had to struggle to overcome?

Completing this first novel all the way to the point of submission. I’ve drafted two other novels, both years ago. I never went back and edited them because they would need to be completely rewritten. I just didn’t know enough. With Blue Crucible, I feel like I’ve finally come around to understanding story structure enough to pull off a full-length work. Is it going to be perfect? No, and nothing I write ever will be. Nothing anyone writes ever will be, save for the Bible (And the writers had a little bit of help from on high for that). But, it was written to the best of my ability at the time, and I know the next book will be even better.

Another success, again involving Blue Crucible, has been to finally start writing with a lot more emotion. The protagonist, Lieutenant Nathan Ward, goes through hell during this book. It begins right on the day the bombs drop in Chris Woods’ Fallen World universe, and he witnesses as his hometown disappears off the map, along with a good bit of the country. He’s distraught, he’s upset, he’s barely holding it together. There are times where he breaks down and weeps. That’s hard for me to write, because it’s not comfortable for me to experience or see. But, with the encouragement of a couple good writer friends I pushed through and showed a lot more raw emotion than I ever have. And I think that’s where my writing’s been the weakest all these years, so I’m excited to see how readers view some of those emotional scenes.

 What will Lex Luthor use to defeat you?

  • What are some of the challenges you have faced that frustrated you?

My own resistance to writing is a personal challenge, and I know I’m not unique in that. Writing, as much fun as it is, is still a brain-burning task. It’s not difficult in the sense that we’re solving complex math equations (Well, maybe the hard sci-fi writers are) or performing life saving surgery or commanding thousands of employees or soldiers, but we’re still utilizing a lot more of the brain than we do in a lot of everyday tasks, even everyday work tasks. And the brain doesn’t always want to do that, so when it comes time to sit down and do the gritty work of writing, distractions abound! Suddenly the most amazing thing in the world is cleaning the toilets or washing the car or cooking dinner, and the writing doesn’t get done.

The other low point came when I went to my first writer’s conference and found out just how deeply political the traditional publishing industry has become (Or always has been, and maybe I just never noticed). I left there having made a few acquaintances and having met a lot of wonderful people, but overall I was very discouraged. It seemed like the industry was stacked against certain demographics and certain political and religious persuasions, and it didn’t matter how good a story you could write if you fell into those categories. My dreams of traditional publishing weren’t dashed exactly, but they were tarnished quite a bit.

And then I went to LibertyCon in 2017, and my whole perspective changed. Baen, Chris Kennedy Publishing, Copperdog Publishing, and other big to small presses out there just wanted a good story. We could have our differing views as writers and professionals and still be colleagues and even friends. What mattered was the skill and the professionalism.

  • Do you have any creative failures which taught you something? What were those lessons?

Lots of rejections, which I know is normal. I’ve had so many short stories get rejected from contests, from magazines, from token publications that I could reroof the house with the manuscripts and the rejection slips.

That said, the only thing that helped me more than the first time I received an editor’s feedback on an accepted piece (Venessa Giunta, if you’re reading this, thank you so much!) was the first time I received a personal rejection message. When an editor or assistant editor takes time out of their busy schedule to tell you why your manuscript didn’t make the final cut, you know you’re on the right track. Because they don’t do that unless they see something in your writing, something they want to see more of. The rejection still stings, but take heart! You’re in the top 5% to 10% at that point.

  • How do you overcome normal slow points like writer’s block?

In the past, before I wanted to make this a career I would try waiting for the muse to strike. That never seemed to work, but it made for a good excuse to get distracted with other things. Good things like work and car repairs and chores, and bad things like marathon sessions of video games and other entertainment.

Now I just do the clichéd thing that always works: sit down in a room with limited distractions, and it’s either write or stare at the wall. Staring at the wall gets old after about five minutes, so I inevitably put my fingers to the keyboard and type. After about an hour, I’m typing nonstop, and before I know it, six hours have gone by and it’s time for dinner.

  • Which mistake would you try to keep other creators from making?

Don’t wait. I spent years wanting to write, and dabbling in it, but I wasn’t really, truly serious about it until 2013 or so, when I started studying the craft. I’ve been writing regularly since about 2008 (with starts and stops before that, through high school and college), but I didn’t look to improve my abilities and technique until several years into it. So, yeah, wherever you’re at, realize you can do better and strive to be better. Don’t let other people talk you out of it, and don’t talk yourself out of it. If it’s something you want to do – if it’s something you’re driven to do – then just sit down and do it. And know that there are people out there eager to read what you produce, and even more eager to see you improve with each work.

  • If you could go back and tell yourself anything about writing, what would it be?

The above statement, in all its form. I should’ve focused on writing as a career from the beginning. I always pushed it aside as a “Well, maybe by the time I’m 25. Maybe by the time I’m 30. Maybe by the time…” Nope, little Ben, sit down and get to it. This is what God’s put you on this Earth to do, and you need to do it before He smites you for your indolence.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet?Do Rigel and Pilot from Farscape count as muppets?
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Does Hatsune Miku count? She’s a little on the artificial side, but what singer isn’t these days?
  • Favorite Superhero? All Might from the anime My Hero Academia, followed by Deku, the protagonist from that series. Greatest superhero saga I’ve ever seen, hands down. Highly recommended.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Dukes of Hazzard for the 70’s. Magnum P.I. and the A-Team for the 80’s.
  • Favorite Weird Color? Stanky Bean, closely followed by Dorkwood and Bank Butt.https://www.geek.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Screenshot-51817-1211-PM-625×908.jpeg
  • Favorite Sports Team? Haven’t watched much sports since high school, so I’ll have to say, “Whichever team my friends aren’t rooting for in the Superbowl.” It’s fun being the contrarian.
  • Best Game Ever? Whichever Superbowl it was that the Patriots came from behind and completely dominated. It was like a switch was thrown at half-time, and then they just owned the field. Or maybe they owned it the whole time and decided it was time to show that.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? Salvation of the soul is the greatest gift God has given me. After that, it’s the love of my wife. And after that, the cover art for Blue Crucible. I never thought my first book would have such epic artwork. Chris Kennedy has my gratitude.
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? If we’re talking western animation, then J.T. Marsh from ExoSquad. If we’re talking eastern animation, then Naofumi Iwatani from Rising of the Shield Hero.
  • Your Wrestler Name? Sweet Tea Man
  • Your Signature Wrestling Move? Something akin to the Atomic Elbow Drop, like the “Deep Steep” or the “Dentist’s Drill.”
  • What Do You Secretly Plot? To unseat the publishing giants and restore the writing world to one that’s based on merit and entertainment value.
  • How Will You Conquer the World? By southernizing everyone with sweet tea, biscuits and gravy, and gumbo.
  • Best Thing From the 80s? The NES, followed by Rototech and Bubblegum Crisis.
  • Favorite Historical Period? Toss-up between Medieval Europe and Revolutionary America
  • Most Interesting Person In History? Joan of Arc. Illiterate peasant girl who rallied a failing army, liberated a city, and died a martyr’s death without ever once relinquishing her faith. I’m looking forward to meeting her on the other side.
  • Steak Temperature? Medium and above.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? The hot bacon cheese spread we make for Christmas Eve every year.  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/hot-bacon-cheese-spread/
  • Favorite Cereal? Honey Bunches of Oats, all the way. After that, Waffle Crisp.
  • What Do You Eat For Your Last Meal? Whatever it is, I’m washing it down with sweet iced tea.
  • Beverage(s) of Choice? Sweet iced tea.
  • Do You Have Pets? I serve in the Court of the Calico Countess alongside her castellan, Earl Grey.
  • What Actor or Actress Should Portray You in Your Biopic? Vin Diesel, ‘cuz why not?
  • What Question Should I Add to the Lightning Round? Least desired and most desired cause of death.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

  • Website/Blog: BenjaminTylerSmith.com
  • Twitter: @BenTylerSmith
  • Facebook: Benjamin Tyler Smith
  • Blue Crucible will be out in early April! Look for it on Chris Kennedy Publishing’s site!
  • I’m working on the sequel to Blue Crucible and the first Jackie Warren novel in the Four Horsemen Universe. So, expect lots of post-apocalyptic sci-fi and military sci-fi action for 2020!

And where can we find you?

I will be at FantaSci and LibertyCon this year. Hope we can meet up there!

Do you have a creator biography?

By day Ben earns his bread as a necro-cartographer, and by night he writes about undead, aliens, and everything in-between. His first novel is Blue Crucible, published by Chris Kennedy Publishing and set in Christopher Woods’ post-apocalyptic Fallen World universe. Other works include short stories set in CKP’s Four Horsemen military sci-fi universe, the Sha’Daa dark fantasy/horror universe by Copperdog Publishing, and pieces that wound up as finalists for Baen contests both in 2018 and 2019. He is working on the sequel to Blue Crucible, as well as a Four Horsemen novel, both of which will be finished by the end of 2020.

Married to a saint of a woman, ruled by a benevolent calico countess, he can be found at BenjaminTylerSmith.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter (@BenTylerSmith).


Thanks to Benjamin 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

Interview: Philip S. Bolger

Greetings all

Trouble in the Wind is now available on Amazon. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082K73QPD.

I’m concluding this week of featuring interviews from authors in the anthology with Philip S. Bolger. This is a dude that knows his history and, of course, that’s a trait I like in anyone. One of these days he and I are going to end up with beverages talking late into the night about our particular historical eras of interest.

For now, though, we’ll just have to be satisfied with this interview.

Interview: Philip S. Bolger
Philip S. Bolger
Philip S. Bolger

What is your quest?

I seek to inject my brand of intellect, cynicism, and action into what I write—I like the kind of kinetic, snappy writing of Neal Stephenson, the savvy wit of Jim Butcher, the noir stylings of Don Winslow—I try to reflect a little bit of each in what I write. In my work for Trouble in the Wind, I actually did not, as my other inspirations are historical! I have a degree in history, and wanted to use fiction as a way to explore some of my favorite alternatives. I’ve got a long list of authors I admire—Kacey Ezell, John Ringo, S. M. Stirling, David Weber, Seth A. Bailey, Stephen England, Steven Hildreth, my father (Daniel P. Bolger)… I could go for a bit. In addition to writing, I’ve found a lot of inspiration and influence from games—video games, board games, tabletop RPGs, anything that allows me to get into the headspace of someone ranging from an Imperial Japanese Navy Captain to a member of a radical eco-terrorist cell that’s the only hope against a tyrannical electric company. I find it fascinating to try to think through things that way.

What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is that shade of imperial scarlet that only really showed up in the finest moments of the British Empire. I enjoy being able to add depth to the worlds I create and the characters that inhabit them. Whenever possible, I try to inject elements of folks I actually know. Fighting Spirit was easy, as the tank crew I wrote, and the Japanese Naval Infantry NCO, were all based on people I’ve known in real life. I think writing not just WHAT you know, but WHO you know is one of the great ways to make it as a writer.

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

My biggest problem? ADD. No, not diagnosed, it’s just tough to force myself to sit down and get through a story. I think I probably start five or six for every one I finish. As I grow as an author, I’m getting better and better about that—my biggest weapon against it is being able to weave in new influences into an existing work, rather than trying to restart from scratch.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’ve been told that I do world-building well—by my D&D group, readers, and in less-than-flattering terms on several high school write-ups about daydreaming. I try to write weapons well, and make each of my characters very distinct, too. I’m proud that I’ve written (and published!) a novel, and that I’ve had three different short stories published this year.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? The Swedish Chef!
  • Your Wrestler Name? El Juegoguerrero—“The Game Warrior” just doesn’t sound as good, so I’d have to train in lucha libre. I figure if it worked for Jack Black, it can work for me.
  • And Signature Wrestling Move? War Plan Orange—a complicated elbow drop off the turnbuckle
  • Favorite Weird Color? CADPAT
  • How Will You Conquer the World? Overwhelming amounts of Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (Rob’s Note: Miss Manners agrees. Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles are just not in fashion anymore.)
  • What Cartoon Character Are You? The Brain.
  • Best Present You’ve Ever Received? A brand new Kindle Fire from my partner, Vikky, for publishing my first novel.
  • What Do You Secretly Plot? A way to live in the greater D.C. area without having to sell my soul to make rent.
  • Favorite Sports Team? DAAAAAAAAAAAAA BEARSSS!
  • Cake or Pie? Neither—I’ll head for the chips and salsa.
  • Lime or Lemon? Lime by a mile (said Emil)
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Guacamole. No! Salsa. No! Queso. No, wait, Ceviche! Uhh… get back to me on this one.
  • Favorite Cereal? Not really a cereal guy, but I’ve got fond childhood memories of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of? Megahit—video game-infused synthwave.
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Whisky for sipping, Whiskey for slamming.
  • Favorite Superhero? Does Taskmaster count? If I’ve got to pick a hero, I’ll go with Iron Man.
  • Steak Temperature? Medium Rare. Rare if it’s somewhere or someone that tends to overcook.
  • Best Thing From the 80s? The F-15E Strike Eagle. Or maybe Predator, or Duran Duran, or Hulk Hogan… It was a busy time.
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall.
  • Favorite Pet? Tie between my dogs—Robert the Bruce and Francois Guizot.
  • Best Game Ever? Delta Green.
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Both!
  • Brought to you by the letter ___? X.

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

What inspired you to write your story for Trouble in the Wind? Are you intimidated about being in the same line-up as several alt history legends? (I certainly am, for what it’s worth!)

Rob’s Answer: Oh, I don’t know if I have enough electrons to answer this questions. My first goal was to continue the alternate history setting I’d created in Far Better to Dare and In Dark’ning Storms from Those in Peril and To Slip the Surly Bonds. However, I never could think of a short story with a twist that fit. I thought of all sorts of story ideas for a alternate World War I novel/series, which I might someday do, but short stories and chapters are different things.

And with that, the obvious was for me to look at my specialty. I’m ABD in Anglo-Saxon military history. I focused on early 10th century Mercian production and population to see if the numbers specified in their version of the Burghal Hidage were plausible or if they were pie in the sky figures. As a secondary question, I asked if those portions of Mercia that didn’t have enough population showed evidence of movement from more populous areas to supply the needed people.

By the way, I made a slight nod to this in my story when the apprentice got told to copy that part about Aethelflaed. That’s a direct reference to the Mercian Register portion of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which details her work building up those burhs until her death in 918.

Anyway, any study of Anglo-Saxon military history has to include a study of their heroic poetry. There’s too much history in Beowulf, the Finnsburh Fragment, the Battle of Brunanburh, and, of course, the Battle of Maldon to ignore.

Furthermore, the Battle of Maldon is a battle we often sing about in the SCA, thanks to the songwriting of Rosalind Jehanne. She graciously allowed me to use the first line of her song as the title of my story, because it fit so well. 

So that’s when I looked for the twist. Short stories should have some sort of twist at the end. Once I found it, all I had to do was execute it.

As for whether or not I’m intimidated by the others in the anthology, I wasn’t, mostly because I never really paid attention to that. My job was to create a story, so that’s where I looked.

Now, of course, I realize I’m in the same book as David Weber, S.M. Stirling, and Kevin J. Anderson, three of my favorites. I never really had a chance to be intimidated, but I have been screaming a few barbaric yawps at this awesomeness since I actually paid attention.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

I’m not an official guest at any cons in 2020 (at least, not yet), but I attend Dragon*Con every year, and plan on LibertyCon and GenCon next year, so write my page if you want to meet up, I’d be happy to sign autographs and harangue you about whatever ideas I’ve had lately.

Do you have a creator biography?

Philip S. Bolger is an army veteran who left active duty service to work as a cog in the Military-Industrial Complex while pursing his passion for writing.  “Fighting Spirit” is his third published short story, and second examining the Oahu Pact timeline.  His debut novel, the Urban Fantasy adventure “The Devil’s Gunman,” was released in January of 2019.  In his free time, he enjoys history, wargames, and pen and paper RPGs.  He lives in the heart of Northern Virginia with his partner, Victoria, and their two dogs: Robert the Bruce and Francois Guizot.  Philip can be reached at philipsbolgerauthor@gmail.com.

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

This is a pretty comprehensive interview! But… I’ll go with “Who is your favorite historical figure?” Mine is Francois Guizot (no, not my dog, I like him a lot, but this is who he’s named after!), a French Prime Minister during the July Monarchy, who, after being overthrown, had a second career as a history professor. That seems like a pretty good way to live!


Thanks to Philip 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