Tag Archives: Robert E. Hampson

Rob’s Update: A Pleasant Little Peace

Week 30 of 2021

Greetings all

I’m sitting in my booth on a beautiful day at Armistice. Indeed, the weather has been exceedingly pleasant. Truly beautiful weather.

Right now, I have three very talented musicians playing medieval songs across the courtyard on viol (I think), recorder, and hurdy-gurdy. The breeze is just enough to give the air a nice feel. And all around me are the wonderful sounds of a medieval marketplace enjoying itself.

First, this week, is a poll from Chris Kennedy himself. He’d like to know what readers want. You find the poll here: https://joesolari.typeform.com/to/joz29tie. This will help us get you what you want. Better yet, if you fill it out, you’ll be  able to enter a drawing to win one of three $100 gift cards at the store of your choice or $100 cash sent to your PayPal or Venmo.

Most of what I’m doing when customers aren’t here are reading through the submissions for Talons & Talismans. I can confirm now that there will actually be two anthologies because I got so much cool stuff. One will come out in October and the other in November. I’ll announce the full lineups a week from today.

I submitted a story to Three Ravens Press on Monday for an anthology. I got to redshirt a good friend in there, as well as having fun with zombie tropes, something I’ve never done before.

My current short story is my story in Talons & Talismans. It’s about Rabah and Jaime Muniotz, two characters earlier in Shijuren’s history, whose actions shape some of the foundation of what I did with Ausartxango Belatz in Brief Is My Flame and None Call Me Mother.

In the next couple of days, I’m going to start a new novel that will be entitled The Door into Winter. Sometimes, the perfect title comes to you that not only fits your plans but seems like the perfect mold to write a story around. This one will start a new series in Shijuren following Irina, Ausartxango, and Geirr after None Call Me Mother.

I do have some disappointing news to report. Due to circumstances outside anyone’s control, I was forced to cancel my appearance at DragonCon. I want to thank all the volunteers, especially Cisca and Regina, for all their hard work. Also, we will still have a major announcement that weekend, however, so stay tuned here.

Been an eventful week, but for now, I’d better get back to selling.

What I’m Listening To

Hurdy-gurdy and recorders in the courtyard accompanied by the occasional rasp of a bowyer shaving bow staves. Quite ideal, I think.

Quote of the Week

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay. It is entirely likely that means today’s quote is apocryphal. However, like many such quotes, it’s too fun not to believe it happened.

“Damn the torpedoes!”
― Admiral David Farragut

New Mythology Works in Progress
Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on Talons & Talismans. Starting in September, I’ll be editing the next Milesian Accords novel from Jon R. Osborne. Really looking for that.

I am so excited for what’s coming, and I can’t wait to really give you a full schedule.

Rob’s Works in Progress

  • MON (3,211)
  • Rick Blaine (8,845)
  • CB (8,418)
  • CSC (1,283)

Upcoming Events

  • FactoryCon, 22-24 October, Coinjock, NC
    Details in the CKP – Factory Floor on Facebook.
  • 20BooksTo50K, 8-12 November, Las Vegas, NV

New Releases

More 4HU awesomeness! This week it’s Robert E. Hampson and Sandra L. Medlock’s And Break it Not, where they continue their thread on the Wrogul. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09BBZY6GS.

There’s also another Buck Book, this one is Lloyd Behm’s Shadow Lands, Book 1 of his Shadow Lands series. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KX8GHYX.

.Today’s Weight: Updated in a week

Updated Word Count: Updated in a week

Shijuren Wiki: Updated in a week

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

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: At Cooper’s Lake Campground

Week 29 of 2021

Greetings all

Sorry for being late this week. I arrived in Pennsylvania later than anticipated on Wednesday, so I couldn’t post my update early. And then yesterday and Thursday were devoted to setting up my booth and camp here at Armistice.

Armistice is being held at Cooper’s Lake Campground where Pennsic has been held since the early 70s. They have developed this to an really nice place to relax in many ways, even if you’re not camping here for an event. The changes in the 20 years or so I’ve been coming here are truly astounding.

I knew this spot of the world was important to me but not how much until I got here to check in. In the line, a old friend of mine, who happens to be one of the people who attended the first SCA event ever in 1966, came up and gave me a hug. Not an abnormal way we greet each other but I nearly cried.

It is incredibly good to be home again.

Anyway, this will be a fantastic week for me. I’m set up with a little office as part of my booth, so I essentially have full functionality to write as if I was at Brewbaker’s or something like that at home. If people aren’t here, I get to write. In the past, this has been a fruitful week and I expect no different.

I will be finishing a short story today and tomorrow for a fun little anthology. Today is also the deadline for stories for Talons & Talismans, and I’m excited with what’s come in. You’re going to love these.

Given the schedule, I anticipate providing you all a full list of participants in the anthologies on the 15th or so. While I have no limitations on my writing, there are some limitations on getting out to print stuff. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m going to have to give a number of finalists a thorough, proper read through. I already know it’s going to be tough because there’s some great stuff.

With that, it’s time to start selling.

What I’m Listening To

People chatting and enjoying the fantastic weather so far at Armistice.

Quote of the Week

Dusty Hill of ZZ Top passed away this week. Some of ZZ Top’s music, especially the earlier stuff, is truly amazing. Today’s quote is from a song where Dusty was the singer.

I been bad, I been good,
Dallas, Texas, Hollywood.
I ain’t askin’ for much.
I said, Lord, take me downtown,
I’m just lookin’ for some tush.
― Dusty Hill, ZZ Top, Tush

New Mythology Works in Progress

Current open anthology calls:

I’m currently working on collecting all the stories together so I can process Tolons & Talismans.

Rob’s Works in Progress

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

Upcoming Events

New Releases

And Break It Not by Robert E. Hampson and Sandra Medlock is the newest 4HU title. The return of the Wrogul! You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BBZY6GS.

We have not one but two new series in the CKP world.

First is book one of the Abner Fortis, ISMC series: Cherry Drop by P.A. Piatt. This you can get here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09B14VBK2.

Next is book one of the The Lunar Free State series by John E. Siers, entitled The Moon and Beyond. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B097QMN7PJ.

Today’s Weight: Will update in two weeks

Updated Word Count: Will update in two weeks

Shijuren Wiki: Will update in two weeks

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

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: Holy Cow!

Week 36 of 2020

Greetings all

I was very productive this week… when I could work. I lost Tuesday and Wednesday to because I wasn’t feeling well. Not anything big, just my body will occasionally shift out of place and I’ll have, in this case, a dislocated ankle. Worst I can remember. Knocked me for a loop. I guess I’m getting old.

Anyway, on Monday I submitted a short story called “An Oath’s Other Edge” to a Corner Scribblers anthology. I also got to do the introduction. Really nice of them to invite me to join them, and I hope you guys check them out on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/The-Corner-Scribblers/e/B082YQWLCZ.

Then I got into editing None Call Me Mother. I may have mentioned that my editor said it started of slowly, but by the end of it she lost track of working because she fell into the story. That’s a great compliment, of course, at least for the second half.

So I went into editing with the goal of streamlining and cutting. It’s much stronger already. I’ve already cut over 7000 words and I’m only about 150 pages in out of about 520. It’s actually about 10-15% shorter in those pages now, but definitely faster and more powerful.

It’s an odd thing. I’ve spent years fighting this book to get to the end, but I’m loving chopping major chunks out of the draft. Useless. Gone. Gloat. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Next week the sweetie and I will be out on a trip to Clarksville, TN and we’re having a few people over on Monday for Labor Day. That means I’ll only have 3 days or so in the next week to really hammer at it, but I expect finish this pass middle of week after. Then I’ll do one more editing pass to make sure I haven’t chopped something important (which I will have and will miss but my editor will catch).

By the end of October I’ll send it back to the editor for line editing and proofreading. Then I’ll do my print and read out loud pass. Then it’ll be ready. I expect the artwork to be done early October. Overall, it’s looking like some point in November and it’ll be live.

Getting there.

What I’m Listening To

The Cardinals playing in Wrigley Field against the Cubs. There’s something very soothing and right about this matchup, even without fans. Call it the Harry Carey Battle, given that he actually announced for the Cardinals way back when before ultimately going to the Cubs.

Quote of the Week

And since Harry was such an interesting guy, we might as well use one of his quotes. No, I’m not going with the low-hanging fruit of “Holy Cow!” Instead, I’m going with something thoughtful. Yes, by *that* Harry Carey.

Odds are I won’t write for 54 years, though I can hope. Still, I hope I always remember this quote by him. I’ll never master this craft so much that I can’t learn something new.

“I’ve only been doing this 54 years. With a little experience, I might get better.”
– Harry Carey

News and Works in Progress

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

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Focused on None Call Me Mother

Upcoming Events

New Releases

Robert E. Hampson is an incredibly smart man. Like an actual real genius. A brain surgeon working on cool stuff like artificial memory. Not only that, he’s got the best initials evah!

You’ve probably read him in the 4HU, but yesterday, his first completely separate novel came out. It’s called The Human Side, and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08H7DLJC9.

Today’s Weight: 363.0

Updated Word Count: 237, 231

Shijuren Wiki: 72 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

Interview: Dr. Robert E. Hampson

This guy is brilliant. He’s a neuroscientist working on how humans remember stuff and he’s a science fiction writer as well. He’s also a very nice guy and fun to chat with. If you can, sit down with him. You’ll learn something, I guarantee it.

Interview: Dr. Robert E. Hampson
Dr. Robert E. Hampson
Dr. Robert E. Hampson

What is your quest?

My quest is to entertain and inform.  An online friend once remarked that I teach as naturally as I breathe.  I’m a scientist, so much of my nonfiction writing is basically: “How do I break this down so that the average reader can understand (with maybe some recourse to Google)?”  Sometimes while writing nonfiction I hit on something that I think would make a good plot point for fiction.  I grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, so I want to write stories that take people on adventures in a future that has a certain hope for spreading mankind to the stars.

Then again, one of my strongest influences was James P. Hogan, so I also lean toward having sympathetic scientist/engineer characters and include the human side: love, laughter, longing and loss.

In person at conventions, I definitely like to entertain, and often I find myself in the position where my main contribution is to be the comic relief.  Strangely, that doesn’t make it into my fiction very often.  “Headspace and Timing” in Tales from the Lyon’s Den is the rare exception, and I hope folks like it. (Rob’s Note: This was released on 25 September as the first of a new set of Four Horsemen anthologies. You should buy it. You should especially buy the second one, Luck is Not a Factor, because I have a story in it 😀 )

What is your favorite color?

I like to take something from my education and professional work and weave it into the story.  Again, I tend to have sciency-type characters, although I’ve also shamelessly borrowed from friends’ careers as well.  For “Unto the Last, Stand Fast” in The Good, the Bad and the Merc I was heavily influenced by “The Last Stand” by Sabaton.  I’ve also written stories that draw heavily from dreams.  My stories for John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series were influenced by some things I remember from free-association musing and dreaming after reading John’s stories.

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

I think any writer has this – there’s something we think is funny, or cute, or an essential reference – and the reader doesn’t get it.  One of the problems with having lots of ideas, writing them down, even writing the stories (but not selling them) is that I create a character.  I *like* the character.  The character has adventures.  In my mind, I know all of these things, so when I write something else in that universe or with that character, I incorporate the known background.  Unfortunately, if the other stories never see the light of day, the reader has no idea why the fact that “Mr. Davis” was a Boy Scout camp counselor should mean anything.

I’ve had an anthology editor tell me I’m just not ready for prime time… after I’d already sold 4 stories to anthologies.  Granted, I haven’t sold to big name magazines (Analog, etc) yet, and I definitely known that I have much to learn.  But it’s certainly amusing to contemplate that 10 stories sold (by now) is “not ready.”

Rob Hampson playing the trumpet.
Rob Hampson playing the trumpet.

What are the powers of your personal Holy Hand Grenade?

My proudest production is a story that was submitted to the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Mad Science Writing contest.  My story “To Serve and Serve Again” is one of my favorites.  It has a bit of history, though – I wrote the story “They Also Serve” about a cardiovascular surgeon dealing with his own version of PTSD having to patch up soldiers and send them back to war.  It was for Tom Kratman’s Riding the Red Horse and he wanted a sequel that would continue the story. (Alien invasion, and a treatment the doc developed was key to allowing human soldiers to survive).  TAS was around 10k words, TSaSA told the tale of a combat medic, since one of my best friends served two combat tours as a medic – and it came in at almost 15k… I actually figure I could probably write 3-4 more stories in that setting and compile into a book if I ever get the time.

…And then the sequel anthology fell through.  The TRADOC contest wanted stories of no more than 5k words.  The problem from my perspective was that TSaSA was just right for the contest (and I was right – it was a finalist) so I had to cut it.  So I trimmed some of the explicit character development and left scenes that would allow the reader to fill in the gap.  I had to cut what I thought was important backstory, but it had to go.  The final product was lean but read well.  I was proud of it, and obviously the jurists liked it – it was in the finalist compilation of the best 25 stories submitted.

Interestingly enough, someone did an analysis of how the stories submitted to the contest were a pretty close match to the Department of Defense’s advanced research solicitations.  It seems that a keyword search of the “research wanted” announcements by DoD was a pretty close match to a keyword search of the stories submitted.  The article singled out one particular story to illustrate a fictional “portable medical record” that was nearly identical to a DoD solicitation for a “portable medical record” … and that story was mine.  So, yeah, I’m particularly proud of that one.   Military SF, ripped from the pages of actual research… kinda.  .

Lightning Round

  • Favorite Muppet? The “Doctor Russ” muppet.  This one’s pretty obscure, but a long-time friend of mine worked with Sesame Street to develop educational videos for children of deployed and returning service members.  For Russell’s retirement from the Navy and DARPA, one of the Sesame Street producers showed a video featuring Elmo and Dr. Russ and presented him with the Dr. Russ muppet.
  • Crunchy or Creamy?  Crunchy.  More character
  • Favorite Sports Team? San Antonio Spurs.
  • Cake or Pie? Why not both?  (actually, Pecan Pie, but I can no longer eat it due to the high sugar content)
  • Lime or Lemon? Again, both.  Lymon.
  • Favorite Chip Dip?  French Onion
  • Wet or Dry? I’m a big guy who’s always sweating.  Definitely prefer dry.
  • Favorite Musical Performer We’ve Never Heard Of?  Not a performer, but I’m a fan of video game music.  The guys composing music for Halo, Mass Effect, Destiny, etc. are composing fantastic symphonic epics.
  •  Whisky or Whiskey? Shame on you!  There is no “e” in whisky.  Single malt. Neat.  Preferably old enough to pour itself another.
  • Favorite Superhero? DC:  The Flash, Marvel: Captain America
  • Steak Temperature? Medium rare, especially if it’s well-aged beef.  The longer the aging, the rarer I would cook it.
  • Favorite 1970s TV show? The Six Million Dollar Man… it influenced my career, so this is a no-brainer.

Tell me again where we can find your stuff?

And where can we find you?

  • June 1-3, Guest, ConCarolinas, Charlotte, NC
  • June 29-July 1,  Guest, LibertyCon, Chattanooga, TN.
  • July 13-15, Guest,  ConGregate, High Point, NC.
  • August 30-September 3, Guest, Dragon*Con, Atlanta, GA.

Thanks to Dr. Hampson 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