Tag Archives: Marisa Wolf

Rob’s Update: The Door Into Winter

Week 20 of 2022

Greetings all

Release week! The Door Into Winter is live! You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09ZK1GR3S/.

The Door Into Winter
The Door Into Winter

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 azs 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?

It is, of course, the fourth book in the Eldros Legacy. If you haven’t started the series, you can get Khyven the Unkillable by Todd Fahnestock, then read them all!

Outside of the release, this was another foundational week. Getting caught up on submissions, and the overall quality is impressive. Cool new series coming your way in the summer and fall.

Also, this week, the fabulous Marisa Wolf interviewed me about my story in her upcoming Hit World: Valkyries novel. I was actually the supporting actor here because my cat Wynnifred surely stole the show. You can watch my video here: youtube.com/watch?v=lIS9Iaqs9v0.

This is actually the first video on the Chris Kennedy Publishing YouTube channel, so not only do you want to see me (along with my amazing co-star), you want to subscribe to this channel.

This next week I’ll be getting back into the writing groove with Sowing Spring’s Wrath. Time to get some of these ideas on the page.

But for now, I’m basking in another release! Thanks to all who helped make this possible, including my artist Patrick McEvoy, my editor Jonathan A. Miller, Quincy J. Allen for the layout, and a host of others who helped along the way. Thanks everyone!

What I’m Listening To

Take a Chance on Me by Abba.

You’ve caught me. I’m actually a fan of Abba. To be honest, there’s a lot of disco era music I really enjoy. Don’t tell anyone, OK?

Quote of the Week

What the heck, it’s release week, so you get a quote from The Door Into Winter. This is a line toward the end of the book by Geirr Stronghair in the final battle.

“He lifted the flaming sword over his head. ‘You want vengeance, Skadi, come and take it! Else I shall take your winter from you!'”
The Door Into Winter

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes us just chatting about this and that. And Ian ranting. You don’t want to miss Ian ranting.

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+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

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.

Giveaways
Tales of the Future
Tales of the Future

Tales of the Future

books.bookfunnel.com/maysff001a/hqjxwa6r8l

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • Sowing Spring’s Wrath
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

The Door Into Winter is live! You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09ZK1GR3S/.

This week we also had We Dare 4: Wanted, Dead or Alive, another SF anthology from Jamie Ibson. This includes Rick Partlow, Griffin Barber, and a bunch of other great writers. Get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09ZH6PWZS.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.2

Updated Word Count: 138,740

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 Update: When the Dragons Grow Too Mighty

Week 17 of 2022

Greetings all

This was one of those weeks where I did a bunch of work, but it’s not something that turns into specific product yet. Lots of editing, some small projects, and so on.

However, that all changes this weekend with Planet Comicon. I’ll be in booth 1746 all weekend, and I look forward to chatting with so many people.

These kind of big comicons are exhausting, and I’ll be dragging on Sunday, but they’re also inspiring and give me a great creative push, at least once I can get my head back above water.

I’ve a bunch of friends there too. Todd Fahnestock, James Young, Jennifer Stolzer, and a host of others. That’s part of the fun, and it’s been way too long since I’ve seen a bunch of these.

The Door Into Winter comes out on the 10th of May, and of course, that’s also exciting. Release dates are kind of like Christmas, in that you have to wait to open the presents, or in this case, the response.

I’m going to cut it short for now, because I set up today and we also recorded another Dudes in Hyperspace podcast, and I’m beat.

What I’m Listening To

The clacking of my mechanical keyboard. I’m so tired I didn’t put on my headphones to listen to anything.

Quote of the Week

Yesterday I got to see Primus for the first time. They’ve been on my list, and this was especially the concert for me as they played all of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings. They did really well, and it’s been a while since I had a Rush quote. This one’s from Madrigal, which is not one of Rush’s more well-known songs, but I love these lyrics.

And I’m so lucky to have finally found the “you” mentioned in the last line.

When the dragons grow too mighty
To slay with pen or sword
I grow weary of the battle
And the storm I walk toward
When all around is madness
And there’s no safe port in view
I long to turn my path homeward
To stop awhile with you
– Rush, Madrigal

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes stuff on the Masters, which didn’t turn out nearly as dramatic as they often do.

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 by me is coming soon!

Currently available:

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.

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

Giveaways

None this week so you can take a break. As one subscriber said, I’m running out of time with all this awesome free stuff! More to come next week, so better catch up quick.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (571)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

New stuff in the Fallen World! Among the Embers is a new anthology with Kevin Steverson, Marisa Wolf, Jon R. Osborne, and, of course, the universe founder, Christopher Woods, plus a bunch of other great authors. You can get it here:

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.6

Updated Word Count: 136,524

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 Update: Coming Down the Mountainside

Week 10 of 2021

Greetings all

This was a discombobulated week. In order to help the sweetie’s parents, I had to drive up to North Dakota and back essentially over the weekend. 13 hours each way plus hotel stays will take a bite out of a week, that’s for sure.

Still, I was productive this week. I sent off a story last week, got it accepted and edited this week. My story is entitled “Chooser of the Slain,” and it’ s going to come out in the Hit World anthology entitled “Valkyries” edited by Marisa Wolf. I had a lot of fun combining a valkyrie with Sam Spade and the crazy fun that is Hit World. That anthology will come out in the summer or early fall, I believe.

I also made progress on some editing. I hope to have the current editing project out the door this week, despite losing essentially 4 days.

And I’ve been kicking butt with The Door Into Winter. All told, I added about 7000 words, though the editing process killed about 2000 of what I had already.

When I write, if I know I’ll need a chapter to do a certain thing up ahead in the narrative, and I don’t really know what to write directly in the narrative at the point where I’m at, I will go ahead and scribble a very rough draft of that scene. Raw material more than anything. I’m at the point where I’m integrating a number of those into the narrative because I’ve gotten that far, which means some of the raw material goes away.

But it’s a great sign when I catch up to those points, because it’s another sign I’m getting close to the end.

What I’m Listening To

Lots of Sabaton this week. It’s been quiet around the house and I’ve wanted high-energy stuff.

It’s hard to pick just one, but one can’t go wrong with Winged Hussars.

Quote of the Week

Today is Chuck Norris’s birthday, and I’m not about to risk a roundhouse kick to the face by not having him provide today’s quote. Besides, I really like this one.

“The only time we fail is when we stop trying.”
– Chuck Norris

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes a interview with Joe DeLeone, especially focusing on spring football.

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+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

Keen Edge of Valor is out to the advance readers. Deadly Fortune goes out to the advance readers next week. I’m currently editing something new, and I have to say, it’s awesome.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (86,556)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

Mike Jack Stoumbos released his 3rd novel in the This Fine Crew series, Seed in the Sky, this week. You can get it here: www.amazon.com/dp/B09TS7FBF1/

And this is really cool. Kevin J. Anderson curated a bundle of fantasy novels, and he included the first book in the Eldros Legacy, Khyven the Unkillable by Todd Fahnestock. You can get this bundle here: storybundle.com/fantasy. It’s a great honor for one of our books to be included and I hope you all take advantage.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 322.4

Updated Word Count: 24,104

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 Update: Blazing Like the Sun

Week 9 of 2021

Greetings all

This has been my best writing week in ages. I have a short story due on Monday. I’d had it laid out in my mind, and that layout was so spot on, I started this past Monday with 1000 words and four days later have 12000.

As I said, I knew the basic plot after conversations with Marisa Wolf, the editor, at Superstars. However, I didn’t entirely know the tone. Along the way, I discovered exactly what I needed.

Really pleased with this one, and I’ll give details when I can.

But that wasn’t it. I also cleaned up another bunch of The Door Into Winter, adding 3000 to it too.

That’s nearly 15000 since last Thursday. It’s been a long time since I did that.

Apparently, my time with Dudes in Hyperspace is getting some attention. I have not one, but two guest appearances on podcasts in March. One, alongside Mark Stallings, is on the 2nd with Super Geeked Up Future Shenanigans, hosted by Jeff Burns

Join us at 9pm Central next Wednesday, the 2nd, to see Mark and I in a geeky Whose Line game. Find out more, including where to watch, here: supergeekedup.com/about.html.

We’re shenaniganating!

The other is on the 29th from Kelly Colby and 20 Questions for Writers. Their twitch channel is here: twitch.tv/curseddragonship.

I also got the first 100 pages of a novel by a new writer to New Mythology, entitled A Sundered Throne by Philippa Werner.

Folks, this book is amazing. I usually don’t talk specifics about stuff this early in the process, but man, are you going to love it.

Whew! Like I said, one of the best weeks in a while. Time to go do it again.

What I’m Listening To

John Tams, Over the Hills and Far Away. This is the theme song of the BBC Sharpe series, which if you haven’t watched, is amazing. Let me put it this way, the character of Richard Sharpe is so tough, even Sean Bean doesn’t die playing him.

By the way, if you have watched the Sharpe series, John Tams portrays Rifleman Hagman, and you can hear him sing there quite often. Such a smooth voice.

Quote of the Week

Anyway, here’s a lyric from Over The Hills and Far Away.

Then fall in lads behind the drum
With colours blazing like the sun
Along the road to come what may
Over the hills and far away
– John Tams, Over The Hills and Far Away (Sharpe version)

Dudes In Hyperspace

Follow the Dudes In Hyperspace here:
bleav.com/shows/the-dudes-in-hyperspace-podcast/

The latest show includes an interview with Kacey Ezell about her new book Skies to Conquer and so much more.

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+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

I’m currently working on Keen Edge of Valor. Advance copies go out this weekend.

Giveaways
Free February Fantasy & SciFi
Free February Fantasy & SciFi

Free February Fantasy & SciFi

books.bookfunnel.com/freefantasyfebruary/fs3ojnjfu2

Discovering Your Neighbor
Discovering Your Neighbor

And we had so much fun exchanging stories last time, Shane Shepherd and I agreed to do it again. Here’s his story Discovering Your Neighbor.

You can find it here: https://storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/44be5e1a-5fa0-11ec-a777-4384157e5555.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (78,989)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (11,957)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

We talked a ton about this novel on the Dudes in Hyperspace last week, but it’s now out. Get Kacey Ezell’s Skies to Conquer here: amazon.com/gp/product/B09QKBQGYK.

And if you haven’t read the first two in The Psyche of War series, what are you waiting for? Get all three here: amazon.com/dp/B07SZ9PY8N.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 320.6

Updated Word Count: 8,089 (March is going to be huge here)

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 Update: Where’s All The Oxygen?

Week 7 of 2021

Greetings all

I’m at Superstars this week and learning a ton. I mean, when I can breathe at 6000 feet of course. Yeeesh. And you know, a bit of humidity never killed anyone either.

But I am learning a ton, as I said. I took a great class on pacing from Jonathan Maberry and another from James Artimis Owens about cover art.

I spent a goodly amount of today trying out a technique from Maberry to speed up the pace of my writing in The Door Into Winter. I am much happier with my opening chapters as I think they really pop.

The best part of conventions, of course, is getting to hang out and chat with writers you’ve looked up to, new writers who are looking to get started, and every other type of writer in between. The sessions here have been great, but the random chats are always where a bunch of actual work gets done.

No Game For Knights
No Game For Knights

The big news this week is the cover reveal for No Game For Knights. I’m beyond ecstatic to have an Edward story in this anthology, which is a collection of noir SF/F PI stories. As you can see, I’m honored to be included in this anthology with some of the biggest names in the business. Many thanks to Kacey Ezell and Larry Correia for selecting me.

Side note, I can’t wait to finish The Door Into Winter so I can write the next Edward novel.

I made some progress on The Door Into Winter this week, when not prepping for travel. Mostly, it’s been edits to get me back into the flow, but a bunch of new ideas are already cropping up.

I also started a new short story based for the Hit World universe by Bill Webb. I may have mentioned it last week, but I’ve been able to really get some cool stuff going this week with conversations with Marisa Wolf, the anthology editor.

What a great week, and now I’m getting back to writing.

What I’m Listening To

I’m listening to Todd Fahnestock chomping on snacks left over from the Eldros Legacy party last night and pounding away at the sequel to Khyven the Unkillable. There are worse things.

Quote of the Week

The perfect quote for Superstars Seminar, from William Allen White, whose birthday is today.

“Dip your pen into your arteries and write.”
– William Allen White

Dudes In Hyperspace

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

The latest show includes a great discussion of our writing process.

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+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

I’m currently working on Keen Edge of Valor, which will be released at FantaSci.

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter 74,841)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (1,052)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

This week is another book by the amazing J.P. Chandler, Revenant. It’s another installment is this Fallen World and you can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09RPC1F5F.

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 317.0

Updated Word Count: 5,066

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 Update: Becoming a Superstar

Week 6 of 2021

Greetings all

Monday I head to Colorado Springs to go to my first Superstars Writing Seminar. Going to be a chance for me to level up, I think. The teachers include such names as Jim Butcher, Kevin J. Anderson, Jonathan Maberry, Jody Lynn Nye, and the one, the only, Chris Kennedy.

For those paying attention to the Eldros Legacy, I’m the only one of the Founders, including Mia Kleve, our primary editor, who hasn’t been part of the program there, and I rectify that this year. We’ve got a talented group.

Speaking of talent, we’re getting close to setting a firm release date for Deadly Fortune, the next Eldros Legacy novel, this one by Aaron Rosenberg. This is set in Shijuren and it’s go pirates, treachery, swordfights, and murder. What more could a reader want?

If you haven’t read Aaron, you’re in for a treat. He’s a prolific writer with a ton of shared universe credits to his name, including Stargate, Star Trek, and Warhammer 40K. Yeah, he’s a rock star and we’re ecstatic to have him.

Tonight we record our next Dudes in Hyperspace podcast. This one will focus on our writing process.

By the way, we have some very exciting news about Dudes in Hyperspace. Details on this next podcast, which should be available in the next few days. Thanks to all who listen to us, because without you we don’t get to do this big reveal.

I’ve gotten back into the groove a bit with The Door Into Winter. Getting sick and needing to get both Deadly Fortune and Keen Edge of Valor out the door took me away from writing, but I had a good day yesterday. Since it had been a bit, I went in an edited chunks to remember exactly what I was doing.

I also started a new short story this week for Marisa Wolf. This one is set in Bill Webb’s Hit World series, which is yet another fun shared world from CKP.

And I think it’s time to get back to writing. I have a character to kill…

What I’m Listening To

This week it’s Signals by… you guessed it, Rush! Yeah, I’m still on my Rush kick.

Quote of the Week

Today is the 63rd anniversary of the day the music died, so here’s a lyric from American Pie.

Oh, and there we were all in one place
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick
‘Cause fire is the devil’s only friend
– Don McLean, American Pie

Dudes In Hyperspace

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

The latest show includes an interview with Craig Martelle of 20Booksto50K and IASFA.

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+.

Deadly Fortune by Aaron Rosenberg is coming soon!

Currently available:

New Mythology Works in Progress

We have no current open anthology calls but will have a new one announced at FantaSci.

I’m currently working on Keen Edge of Valor and it’s mostly done. You’re going to love it!

Get it here: storyoriginapp.com/giveaways/bbdf4462-1880-11ec-8eb9-a34519556732

Rob’s Works in Progress
  • The Door Into Winter (74,129)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • VAL (571)
Upcoming Events
New Releases

New Hit World anthology: You Pay: We Slay! This is the genre gumbo series from Bill Webb. You can get it here: amazon.com/dp/B09R8VLM58

Tracked Items

Today’s Weight: 317.0

Updated Word Count: 4,426

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 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: NCMM Out On 24 November

Week 43 of 2020

Greetings all

My editor has returned None Call Me Mother so we’re in the final stretch! Hence I can announce that I’ll be releasing it on the 24th of November! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I’m incredibly excited to be at this point. It has been a heck of a road, but not only did a learn a ton, I made a story that makes me weep at the end, which is always a great sign.

I also made nice progress on the anthology this week. Several stories are done, edited, and ready to go. It’s going to be great.

I’ve been working on my story for it, and it’ll probably be done next week. I really like where it’s going, with a main character I never expected would ever be a main character.

Now to get None Call Me Mother to the advance readers. By the way, if you’re interested in being an advance reader, let me know. You get to read my books ahead of time after all.

Hope you all have as a great a day as I am having.

What I’m Listening To

“Nocturne” by Rush. This is actually the perfect song for the moment.

Quote of the Week

It’s perfect because it’s about dreams and what they mean to us. This particular quote describes writing a novel perfectly.

“Set off on a night-sea journey
Without memory or desire
Drifting through lost latitudes
With no compass and no chart”
– “Nocturne,” by Rush

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (32,068)
  • KAT (3,743)
  • CB (8,418)
  • AOOE (1,030)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • A ton of new wiki additions. It’s making huge progress.

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is on the 4HU, with Mark Wandrey and Marisa Wolf giving us Night Song. I will not make any puns about Marisa’s last name. None at all. Despite the fact, this one stars some Zuul. You know, the aliens who are very Wolf-like? No, I’ll not make any real puns about her last name. Not because I’m generous. No, it’s the simple truth that my last name is, in this context, not without risk.

Anyway, you can find Night Song here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LKFKGK4/

Today’s Weight: 356.4

Updated Word Count: 240,043

Shijuren Wiki: 138 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

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

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

FantaSci AAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Interview: Benjamin Smith

Benjamin is another author I’m looking forward to chatting with at conventions. He’s quite thoughtful, as you’ll see. Also, he said he really liked “Where Enemies Sit,” my story in For a Few Credits More, so clearly he’s a smart man.

Interview: Benjamin Smith
Benjamin Smith
Benjamin Smith

What is your quest?

My favorite stories are the ones that feature cool characters in an awesome setting, fighting against the odds with their fists and their wits. And you can find that in just about any genre, but especially in the realms of fantasy and science fiction. I started off reading Arthurian legends when I was a kid, and playing games like Final Fantasy II (IV in the correct numbering system) and Betrayal at Krondor for the PC. When I learned that Betrayal at Krondor was based off a book series by Raymond Feist, that’s what got me into reading as a full-time hobby. Looking back on it, the world of Midkemia is still my go-to example of what world-building looks like, and it’s what I try to emulate with my own stuff.

So, yeah. Cool characters in an awesome setting. With the Four Horsemen Universe, we’ve already got an awesome setting, so that’s half the work right there. It’s my hope that the characters and situation I came up with in “Return to Sender” are cool enough for the readers to enjoy! And if they do enjoy reading about Jackie and her Justin Timers, then let Chris know! I’ve got some good stuff already in the works.

Writers that I really enjoy include Raymond Feist, Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Dan Abnett, and — more recently — Mark Wandrey, Kacey Ezell, Marisa Wolf, Kevin Ikenberry, and the rest of the 4HU crew.

What is your favorite color?

I’d like to think I strike a good balance between action, dialogue, and description in my scenes, even scenes that are sometimes little more than the characters sitting around a table formulating a plan. By mixing a little bit of action and description into a conversation, it keeps readers engaged and makes the scene seem more alive. If all you’ve got is dialogue, it’ll basically just be talking heads in a white space. But, if you put too much description in, you’ll either wind up with paragraphs describing how a chair looks or loads of background information that’ll grind everything to a halt. A lot of writers call this the dreaded exposition dump. I try to describe just enough for the reader to get a sense of where and who, then through action and dialogue fill in the what and why.

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

My biggest failure early on was not pushing the emotional envelope far enough. I’m pretty laid back and reserved in real life, so tapping into extreme emotions (Whether sadness or rage or whatever) can be a little bit of a challenge. I thought it would alienate readers, and yet that’s what readers are wanting. It wasn’t until I read David Farland’s “Million Dollar Outlines” (Gimmicky title, but whatever) that I realized just how important emotional connection was in stories. I’d never really thought about it, but it was what I was most interested in as a reader.

I’ve gotten better about it in my more recent stories, but I think a huge reason why a lot of my earlier stuff went through the submission/rejection mill was because of this weakness.

My advice for anyone dealing with this is: take a risk! If a character needs to fly off the handle or fall to pieces, write it to the max, then dial it back in editing if you need to. When it’s raw, it’s real. And when it’s raw, it can be refined.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

I’ve always heard that I’ve got a knack for dialogue in my stories, so I try to play to that strength. Rather than focusing on a lone wolf character, stories will usually feature a team of at least three individuals, most likely more. Witty banter between different characters makes scenes a joy to write, and hopefully to read as well!

That said, my rough drafts tend to be dialogue heavy, so any editing is usually spent trimming out unnecessary dialogue and creating a better balance between description and action.

I spend a lot of my pre-writing time coming up with backgrounds and personalities for a story’s main characters. In “Return to Sender” I’ve got fairly extensive backstories figured out for the lead character Jackie Warren, her right-hand man Marcus, and the team sniper Sayra. It’s my hope to flesh the others out as the story progresses, and to add in some new characters. In addition to a dropship pilot, I think Jackie’s team needs a dedicated driver for when they’re on the ground, not to mention a finance guy and logistics expert.

Another thing I try to nail down early on in story planning/writing is the flow of the plot. Larry Brooks writes about the 7-point plot format in his book “Story Engineering,” where he describes 7 key points in a narrative that have to occur to achieve a dynamite plot. He’s not the first to come up with this idea (K.M. Wieland talks about it, as does James Scott Bell, etc), but he was the first one I read where it really made sense to me. And once I started planning out my stories a bit better, more of them started getting accepted.

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? Do Rigel and Pilot from Farscape count as muppets?
  • Crunchy or Creamy? Crunchy chips. Creamy soups.
  • Favorite Sports Team? The Midway Monsters from Mutant League.
  • Cake or Pie?  Cake serves as a vehicle by which buttercream icing gets into my body.
  • Lime or Lemon? Lemon on fried catfish. Lime in pie.
  • Favorite Chip Dip? Hot Bacon Cheese Spread. Can’t be beat!
  • Wet or Dry? Both. Dry rubs for home-smoked ribs and pulled pork, then slathered in barbecue sauce once at the table.
  • 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?
  • Whisky or Whiskey? Bourbon-infused chocolate pecan pie. Oh, and barbecue sauce.
  • Favorite Superhero? All-Might from My Hero Academia.
  • Steak Temperature? Gray enough to know it’s dead, pink enough to be edible.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? Dukes of Hazzard
  • Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fall.
  • Favorite Pet?  (provide pictures if you want) Long live the Calico Countess!
  • Best Game Ever? For console RPGs, gotta be Chrono Trigger for the SNES with Final Fantasy VI and Shadowrun as close second and third. For PC RPGs, my favorite is still Betrayal at Krondor by Sierra, followed by Baldur’s Gate and its many clones (Icewind Dale, Planescape, etc).
  • Coffee or Tea? Sweet iced tea, and nothing else.
  • Sci-Fi or Fantasy? If I can only have one, then fantasy. Anything from sword and sorcery like Conan the Barbarian or Record of Lodoss War, to epic fantasy like Wheel of Time or Mistborn, with some urban fantasy like Dresden Files or Monster Hunter International. I like pretty much all of it. With sci-fi, I prefer the action-oriented and character-driven rather than the overly technical, and fantasy elements never hurt. Warhammer 40000, Shadowrun, Star Wars (Before the prequel and sequels). Basically, I like to know how a hyperdrive or ion cannon works, but not if entire chapters are spent dissecting one, unless it’s integral to the plot.

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

1. What’s your pre-writing and writing process for short stories and novels? I’m always refining mine, so any tips would be helpful!

Rob’s Answer: If I have a setting or a theme, I wallow in it for a week or two if I can. I started doing this with different medieval poetic types. I have written a bunch of SCA scroll texts, which I usually write in a poetic style to reflect the recipient’s persona. So, I might get one that would want a Shakespearean sonnet followed by something in Norse drottkvaett and then maybe something Mongol.

Whether or not I was familiar with the genre, wallowing in it helps make the writing process flow. Every genre or culture has word choices and rhythms that are sort of expected. Not having them jars me as a reader, so I believe it’s important to other readers. It would be like going to an Italian place and finding they’d never heard of basil.

What I’m looking for in any short story is a bit of a twist. The ending has to be at least a little unexpected. The writer who did the best in my opinion was Randall Garrett. Once I have the twist, and the feel, it’s merely a process of putting words into that particular hole.

Novels are trickier. I usually start by creating a few interesting characters and a situation they have to deal with. I’m not good at outlining, but part of character creation is my expected end result for those characters. I don’t lock myself into those endings, because sometimes the story demands otherwise. I had a character in I Am a Wondrous Thing that I designed to be a longer term character but, uh, well, uh, I could never figure out a way not to kill them.

2. Mind giving us a tag line for your story in the “Luck is Not a Factor” anthology coming out next month? I really enjoyed “Where Enemies Sit” in “For a Few Credits More.”

Rob’s Answer: Thank you very much. I’m actually awful at taglines. I tend to explain too much. So, just for a change, I’ll try to explain too little.

“A Sword for Striking”: What story will your choices tell?

Tell me again where we can find your stuff? 

  • My blog is at BenjaminTylerSmith.com, and there you can find links to the short stories I’ve had published over the years, as well as updates for the couple of books I’m working on. I try to post a few times a week (The operative word is “try”), mostly about books, audiobooks, games, and anime. Feel free to post comments! I’m always happy to discuss whatever I write about, or to take the blog in different directions.
  • I’m also on Facebook as Benjamin Tyler Smith, and on Twitter as @BenTylerSmith. And I’m following Chris Kennedy’s guide to indie publishing by getting my Amazon author page up, so you can find me there, as well.
  • A few of my most recent publications can be found in the following places:
  • “Return to Sender” in Tales from the Lyon’s Den in the 4HU. Sci-fi action. “When an emergency weapons delivery goes sideways, a young and tenacious arms dealer stops at nothing to save her team, her client, and her bottom line.”
  • “A Salt on the Rise” in Issue 30 of On the Premises Magazine. Dark fantasy, in my own universe featuring an undead city called Necrolopolis and all the shenanigans that go on within its walls. “An overworked necromancer struggles to prevent a war between opposing factions of undead.”
  • “Bag of Tricks” in the Sha’Daa: Toys horror/dark fantasy anthology. This one is also dark fantasy, about a magician who wields magical paints and holy .357 magnum rounds against demons and mindless college kids threatening to destroy his hometown.
  • And while it is still seeking publication, my short story “Ash-Eater” (Set in the same fantasy world as “A Salt on the Rise”) earned itself a finalist spot in the 2018 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award contest. So, if you enjoy “A Salt on the Rise”, please look for “Ash-Eater” to appear somewhere at some point in the timeline! Wish I could say something more definitive, but it is getting shopped around.

And where can we find you?

Barring any sudden life changes, you’ll always find me at LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN. It’s a bit of a drive, but well worth the journey! It’s where I first found out about the 4HU, so that alone makes it worth the journey!

Do you have a creator biography?

By day Ben earns his bread keeping track of the dead with digital cemetery maps, and by night he corrals the undead into whatever story he’s working on next. While the focus of his writing is typically in the realm of fantasy, he has a taste for science fiction, and the more action-packed the better. Married to a saint of a woman, ruled by a benevolent calico countess, he can be found at BenjaminTylerSmith.com.

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

The lightning round should include the greatest of all internet questions: “.45 or 9mm?” I can only assume you didn’t include it because it’s largely a rhetorical question, as .45 is the one true answer. (Rob’s Note: I’ll add it in the next version)

And the obligatory “What are you working on now?” question is always a good one. To answer that, I’m working on an unnamed Jackie Warren novel. In it, the fate of an entire planet will rest in the hands of our young, yet resourceful arms dealer. This has not yet been accepted, and I haven’t even completed the proposal for it yet. But, it’s in the works, and if the Lord is willing, the book will get finished and hopefully there will be more to come!

I am also working on a novel set in the aforementioned Necrolopolis universe. It will be titled “A Soulful Job” and the tag line is: “Souls are vanishing from the city of the dead, and it’s up to an overworked necromancer to find the culprit before he gets the blame!”


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