Robert L. Slater

Science Fiction Author


Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Hoquiam, Washington, Robert L. Slater wanted to be an astronaut or a rock star. At 42, he gave up those dreams to become a writer of science fiction and fantasy, where he can pretend to be both.

Like some of his characters, he has a propensity for speaking in lines from 80s movies, drinking Mountain Dew and eating pizza. He loves music as a listener, a zealous fan, a guitar player, and a singer/songwriter.

After nearly 20 years as a schoolteacher, he is beginning to have a hint of insight into young-adulthood. He has been in that hood a long time!

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Third Generation Writer

In 1996, after meeting Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith at Vikingcon, I learned THE SECRET of breaking through in publishing. It was so simple. Too simple. Write a short story or a novel chapter each week. When you finish it, edit, then send it off. Lather, rinse and repeat. They promised that if I did that for a year, I would get published.

At first, I focused on short fiction, writing about one story a month. Between 1996 and 1998 I made over 100 submissions to various publications. Then in 1998, submission #141, I made my first sale: Shooting Star sold to Millennium SF&F. I made a total of $30 and earned myself the title of “Published Author.”

Getting My First Sale

I’ve been writing short stories, songs, and poetry practically since I could place pen to paper.

Science Fiction and Fantasy have been a huge part of my life since the golden age of 10, but I hadn’t considered writing it. At the age of 23 in 1990, during an all-night study session, I started my first novel, while I should have been writing a Research Paper for my Russian Literature in Translation class. The paper got a D. The novel probably deserves a similar grade. Not long after I read a Spider Robinson novel, Time Pressure, and I sat down the next day and wrote my first speculative fiction story.

Roberts’ Rules of wRiting

Robert A. Heinlein, probably the author most responsible for my writing career, engaged my spirit of wonder and exploration at a very young age. I use his rules of writing through Robert Sawyer’s adaptation with my own personal tweaks.

  • Rule One: You Must Write “Regularly. It is a job, even if you are not getting paid yet.”
  • Rule Two: Finish What You Start or “Don’t start something you don’t know how to finish.”
  • Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order or “Don’t tinker endlessly with your story.”
  • Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market “until you are certain it is crap and you will be embarrassed to see it published.”
  • Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold or “You run out of markets.”
  • Rule Six: Start Working on Something Else or “Always be working on other ideas, stories, characters.”
The Fruits of my Labors

“Drift Away” That Moment When… Young Adult Anthology. AAYAA. November 2016
Straight Into Darkness: A Deserted Lands Novel. Rocket Tears Press. September 2015.
Toils and Snares:
A Deserted Lands Novel.
Rocket Tears Press. February 2015. 
“One Tin Soldier” 
Rocket Tears Press. October 2014.
“Just Desert” Rocket Tears Press. August 2014.
All is Silence: A Deserted Lands Novel. Rocket Tears Press. February 2014.
Outward Bound: Collected Fiction & Poetry. Rocket Tears Press. August 2013.
In Formation” Whispers in the Wind print anthology. Windward Media. 2013.
Assorted Poems. Blue Deer: Four generations of poetry, 1945-2010. Plicata Press. 2010.
“Regression Therapy” Aoife’s Kiss. June 2008.
“Commuter Interface” Sounds of the Night. August 2007.
“Shooting Star” Chaos Theory: Tales Askew. 2005.
“Outward Bound” Continuum SF. Winter 2004.
“Regression Therapy” Wild Child. 2003.
“In Formation” SBD SF&F print anthology. 2002.
“Only Human” The Martian Wave. July 2000.
“Shooting Star” Goblin Muse. 2000.
“Free to Fall” PBS’ Earthscape. 2000.
“The Starrior” Poem. Millennium SF&F. 2000.
“In Formation” Millennium SF&F. 1999.
“Highway Rider” Poem. Jackhammer. 1999.
“Shooting Star” Millennium SF&F. 1998.
“Highway Rider” Poem. The Galactic Citizen # 5, Spring 1994.
“The Starrior” Poem. Galactic Citizen # 2, Winter 1993.