Tag Archives: Nick Steverson

FantaSci 2021 AAR

Greetings all

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

Which is as it should be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadline: 30 November
Words: 7k-10k
Manuscript: In .doc or .docx file format, Times New Roman, 12pt, 1.5 spaced
Send To: rob@chriskennedypublishing.com

Prompt: Write a fantasy story involving an artifact or named item.  This can be an item of legend, such as Excalibur or the Philosopher’s Stone, or an item of your creation of any type.  Feel free to make the artifact or item intelligent, and you can even make it your protagonist or villain. No matter what, the artifact or item must be a central part of the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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



Rob’s Update: Happy Holidays!

Week 51 of 2020

Happy holidays to everyone!

Your Christmas gift, Under a Midnight Clear, will be in an email immediately following this one. It’s a 5.9Mb Zip file with the story in .pdf, .epub, and .mobi  formats. That should cover most, if not all of you, but if you need it in another format, let me know. My e-book creation software can let  me do just about anything.

Also, if you have any issues receiving that email, including not getting it at all, problems with a file that large, or anything else. Let me know, and I’ll make sure to help you. I’ll assume, by the way, that you’ve checked your Spam directory, which it might shunt to for a variety of reasons, of course.

My sweetie and I opened our presents last night and snuggled on the couch watching Youtube videos of Rowan Atkinson, Monty Python, and Victor Borge. We also tried the gluten-free low-carb pork rind panko breading on Buffalo strips. Delicious.

Today we’ll be doing some Zoom calls, like I suspect many will do. I’ll do some more re-editing on A Lake Most Deep as well. Then we’ll have steak and a fixings for dinner. Yeah, it’s not traditional, but even a small turkey and ham and all the rest is too much for me. At least now. There were days in the past, though…

This was not my most productive week, but I did stuff I needed to do. Stuff that consolidated and organized a bunch of things. I cleaned up my file structure on my computers, which needed straightening up. This has the benefit of double-checking all my backups. I did, of course, finish Under a Midnight Clear and get it ready to deliver.

Anyway, I hope you all have a fantastic day and holiday season.

What I’m Listening To

Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I’m really a fan of Christmas music, especially hard rock and metal versions. TSO is the best of this, having made a living melding genres into something spectacular.

Quote of the Week

This seems like an appropriate quote after 2020. I think we all need a little extra, and that means we all need to try and do a little extra for each other.

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

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (29,784)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • I spent the week cleaning up a few mistakes on the wiki. I did add one new page, though. Interestingly, research for that one page gave me a bunch of new ideas because I stumbled across a fable sunken city. Heck, yeah, I’m gonna use that someday.
  • Inland Seas: https://shijuren.org/tiki-index.php?page=Inland-Seas

Upcoming Events

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is on Nick Steverson, who has jumped in with both feet. This week, he releases his second novel in the Salvage Title universe, Action. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08R7T6DP5.

Today’s Weight: 348.6 (Not a typo)

Updated Word Count: I’ve decided I need to keep track of wiki entries better. My new backup process allows me to track how many words I use on the wiki, but that is someone misleading because that includes a variety of things like “BOX(width=”250px” align=”left” float=”right” bg=”#1f2e52″ style=padding: 10px” which shouldn’t really count.

However, given some of the feedback I’ve gotten, the wiki *is* contributing to Shijuren’s readership so it should count for something, especially since part of the reason I keep these word counts is to reward myself when I do work. Hence, I’m going to start counting the Wiki word count at 1/4th. I did over 100k words, or a full novel of exposition that isn’t dragging down the stories.

Anyway, here’s the updated total: 293,605

Shijuren Wiki: 724 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works

Nick Patara, PI

  • Silent Knight (Nick Patara, PI, Book 1)
  • Under a Midnight Clear (Nick Patara, PI, Book 2)
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: Fall is Here

Week 40 of 2020

Greetings all

It’s about 55 here and sunny. In other words, my favorite weather. And there’s something about fall days like this that are better to me than spring days with exactly the same temp and sunshine. I don’t know why I prefer fall, maybe it’s the leaves changing as they are starting to do, but this is my favorite time of year.

I got to see a bunch of that as I drove to Virginia to meet up with Chris Kennedy and a bunch of other authors last week, which is why I never got to do my update last week. Normally, we brainstorm story ideas at cons, which we haven’t been able to do, and there’s no substitute for doing that in-person. Zoom is great and all, but not terribly conducive to creativity.

I’m in the midst of writing a couple of things right now. I’m flipping back and forth from The Ravening of Wolves, where I got a number of great ideas from my conversations in Virginia, and my story for the upcoming fantasy anthology.

This anthology is going to rock, by the way.

Also, I’ve been working on production stuff for None Call Me Mother. The cover art is almost done and it’s my favorite cover so far. I’m wrestling with the blurb, as I always do. Blurbs are so much tougher than writing a novel.

In only 11 days, The Feeding of Sorrows comes out on audiobook. I’ve listened to the proofs and they are excellent. James Patrick Cronin did a fantastic job.

Well, time to make dinner and then go get my sweetie some ice cream. Have a great week everyone.

What I’m Listening To

The .mp3s for The Feeding of Sorrows. James Patrick Cronin is fantastic.

Quote of the Week

Speaking of audiobooks, I listened to John Lithgow’s From Song of Myself on the trip. This is an amazing collection and introduction to poetry. Basically, it’s him and a bunch of friends like Helen Mirren and Gary Sinise wallowing in their love of poetry. Morgan Freeman’s rendition of We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks is worth the price of admission alone.

Anyway, since I’m in a poetic mood on a fine fall day, here’s Longfellow’s poem Autumn.

“Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o’er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven’s o’er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer’s prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

News and Works in Progress

  • The Ravening of Wolves (29,674)
  • CB (8,418)
  • RAZ (938)
  • Cynewulf (8,642)
  • Gato (2,312)

New Releases

This week’s spotlight is on a few things. First, Nick Steverson released his first novel last week, entitled Hesitation. It’s part of the Salvage Universe series, which is a lot of fun. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JV1WRDD/.

Coming out this week is Steven Johnson’s Operation Reaper. This is a fun series involving WW2 GIs fighting all sorts of supernatural creatures. You can find this one here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KFZ64G8.

Today’s Weight: 361.0 (I was actually down to 358.8 before the trip and came back at 365.2, but it’s settling back down)

Updated Word Count: 239,585

Shijuren Wiki: 77 entries

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

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
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