Tag Archives: Bellingham

Village Books, I love you, let me count the ways…

Hey folks,VillageBooksHeader

If you have ever been to Bellingham, Washington and never set foot in Village Books, you have missed out. Village Books, once housed in a single older building has expanded along with Paper Dreams into a multi-layered party cake of printed and print-related materials.

They are my favorite bookstore. The location on the Village Green, where many concerts and movies are offered free to the public, is lovely. From the top floor there is a view of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. Though, in the evening there are times that the sun takes full advantage of its view of shoppers requiring the addition of sunscreen and sunglasses to shop or write with the writer’s groups they host.

Also sharing this view is Book Fare, purveyors of delicious snacks, meals and beverages. If you sign up for the Village Books frequent buyer club, you get a card every year with a 25% off discount on one book, PLUS a free drink at both Book Fare and the world famous Collophon Cafe downstairs, home of the renowned African Peanut Soup.

VBfriendsThe staff, from Manager Paul Hanson to the most recent hires, are amazing, friendly and helpful. And, oh so, passionate about their job, the books! They’ll remember your name and probably even what kind of books you like, or be happy to try to track down that book. You know, the one with the blue cover and the lampost by that guy who wrote that other book set in Seattle.

As a reader and a teacher, Village Books has many high-quality lightly-used books specially priced. I’m a sucker for the little round colored stickers on the spine that tell me somethings at a reduced price. The Village Books staff have combed their collections and catalogs to get my classroom sets at a discount and individual books at the best possible prices, new or used.

Hangin'WiTheBiggiesAs an author, Village Books has been amazing in supporting my books. Since I used their publishing services for my small press publishing company, I get special rates on my books that they sell on consignment. Brendan Clark, who helped me maneuver the maze that is Ingram Spark publishing, earns his  pay and much respect as the last set of eyes and advice before we go to press. He also has great local connections if you need a quick print run because your computer died two weeks before your book release party!

We also partnered to print a limited edition hardcover of my first novel, All Is Silence, the first hardcover Village Books brought through their print partnership.

They’ve been helping me to marketshelf-hanger my ebook download cards, so that people who like to read ebooks can buy them from a local store and benefit the economy and the local writer more than an online purchase.

In addition, they will ship my signed books anywhere in the continental U.S. for only $0.99! How cool is that?

Village Books also sponsors stellar events such as The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference, The Bellingham Steampunk Festival, The Chuckanut Radio Hour and many, many more.

So, I’m not going to count the ways. There is too much, lemme sum up.

Village Books in Bellingham is the place to go. My only complaint? Fairhaven is such an amazing, revitalized neighborhood, largely due

Chuck and Dee, owners on VB’s 35th anniversary!

to the actions of Village Books owners Chuck and Dee Robinson and a few others, that finding parking can often be a challenge! So, if you’re heading there for an author reading, a book or writer’s group or a film on the gree, go early. Have a donut at Rocket Donuts or dinner at one of the excellent restaurants nearby!

Oh, and lest I forget, they’re also opening up a second location in Lynden.

See you at Village Books!

Books by the Bay and the Chanticleer Authors’ Conference

Something for everyone who love’s books, authors and readers.

On September 26-29, 2015: Chanticleer’s Conference, Awards Banquet, and Books By the Bay Book Festival will take place at the beautiful Hotel Bellwether, in Bellingham, Washington.

There will be…

  • workshops for writing and marketing for authors serious about making good business decisions about their writing careers.
  • author panels including a Science Fiction Panel I get to be on with James Wells and others.
  • author readings
  • book signings
  • and a banquet and awards ceremony

This is the second annual event and I hope it continues to grow as we support literary endeavors in our community.

Thanks to Chanticleer and all the lovely supporting sponsors. For more info check out the website or ask me.

Thanks,
Rob

Whelmed, but not in Europe. What’s up?

As I power through the last month before release of my second novel, I realized that I hadn’t updated my events page. Since I had three to add I thought I would share it with you. If you meet me at these events there will always be special deals on my books and an opportunity to talk. See you out there.

  • August 19-23, 2015: Worldcon 2015 — “Sasquan” The 73rd World Science Fiction Convention. Spokane, Washington, USA – Attending.
    • Autograph Session: Sunday 10:00 – 10:45, Hall B (CC)
    • Possible Podcast. TBA
  • 28 August 2015: Novel Release Party Village Books, Bellingham, WA. 7pm. Reading, Q&A, Signing.
  • September 26-29, 2015: Chanticleer’s Conference, Awards Banquet, and Books By the Bay Book Festival. Science Fiction Panel with James Wells and others. Signing.
  • November 2015: [Date TBA] Local Authors. Barnes and Noble, Bellingham, WA. Reading. Signing.
  • April 3-6, 2016: Norwescon – Attending [Tantative]

If you have somewhere you would like me to speak, Convention, School, Library, please contact us at pr@rockettears.com.

Thanks, hope to see you all at one of these events!

B’ham Alt Library – Feb 23. And much more…

My tiny little snowball is rolling. Keeping it going with all the other distractions is a challenge. Just a couple updates:

February 23, 2015: Bellingham Alternative Library. Author Reading with my friend, Michael Sarrow.

Radcon 6c. Day 2. I was there. Started the morning with a swim in a deserted pool, then hot-tub. Now Breakfast, reading, Panel on Can’t Put It Down Pacing, then Writing Young Adult Fiction in the evening. Got to meet Jim Hines, Libriomancer/Genre-bending CoverArt guy and Ksenia Anske, woman of many hugs and guerrilla marketing! Saw Kevin Anderson. Paneled with Alma Alexander and some other cool authors!

Radcon 6c. Day 3. Went for a morning run. Opened Birthday presents. Music, books and a new Hat! Finished the con with a cool panel on Energy Independence. On Saturday night we saw some amazing fire play the the Ignite show. Also had ‘dinner’ with Kevin Anderson. Seriously some of the best Green Room fare at any Con I’ve attended. Sold a book to an audience member!

Birthday celebration in Seattle: Had dinner with many of my kids and grandkids, missed a few :-(. Then headed home to rest, recuperate and rewrite.

Coming to the end of 2014! Thanks and more…

Looking forward to 2015 as we wrap up 2014!

What’s to come? 2014 was amazing for me as an author. It was everything I hoped for, if not everything I dreamed of. Where is that contract for the foreign rights, and the option on the screenplay? 😉

indiereadernextpicsSeriously, I hit some top ten lists, got reviewed by Don Sakers for Analog magazine, won an award, rubbed elbows literarily with Veronica Roth and Scott Westerfield and literally with Hugh Howey, who complimented my pagination! In addition to Hugh, I met Matt de la Pena, Corinne Duyvis and Mark Leslie. I sold more than half of my first printing, plus a whole lot more e-copies. I’ve exchanged e-mails with Mindy McGinnis and been retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself!

I wrote more than 100,000 words of new Dystopian-compactfiction by the 1st of December, setting a new record. I am sending out a newsletter tomorrow with information on how to get beta-reader copies of my Deserted Lands novella, TOILS AND SNARES. I’m filling in the gaps in the ALL IS SILENCE sequel STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS.

WattPadWorldMap-AiS
Readers of ALL IS SILENCE on Wattpad. Darker blue is more reads! No one is reading me in Mongolia. Neither upper nor lower.

As of tonight ALL IS SILENCE has had 91,000 reads on WattPad–over 1000 folks have read the first 12 chapters. AiS averages about 150 unique readers each day, 27% of which are in the Phillipines! It hit #2 behind Scott Westerfield’s UGLIES back when Wattpad allowed each work to be listed in two categories. Now that it’s only listed in Science Fiction it has gotten as high as #13. Maybe tomorrow it will break into the top 10! Thanks to Amanda Hagarty for all the advice and support. And to everyone else who has been so amazing this year:

  • The readers. The readers. The readers.
  • My beta readers, my family, my students, my friends… [many of you fit more than one of these categories.]
  • Brendan, Sam, Christina, Paul, Rachel and everyone else at Village Books
  • Don Sakers and Analog
  • Kiffer Brown and Chanticleer Reviews
  • Bellingham Writer’s Group and Cozy Corner Coffee and Books for hosting it and selling my book, too!
  • The Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library
  • Harbor Drug in my hometown.
  • Mark Leslie and the crew at Kobo Writing Life
  • Whatcom Community Library System
  • Bellingham Public Libraries
  • My editors, proofreaders
  • Upstart Crows and the Whatcom Writers & Publishers
  • Pintado for an amazing cover
  • Damian Vines for amazing author photos
  • The Heinlein Forum on Facebook
  • All the writers who inspired and inspire me
  • And everyone else I forgot!

THANKS FOR THE AMAZING YEAR. See you in 2015!

The Doldrums, Rising Tide and Banned Books

The last month has been a hard one in terms of writing. Though I wrote 55,000 words this summer, probably more than I have ever written, it was not the 75,000 and the finished rough drafts of a novel and a novella. Instead, I have unfinished drafts of two novels and a novella. I also hit some walls in terms of writing everyday, one of the biggest was my day job as a teacher coming back into 45+ hours a week focus.

My sales also fell, despite being involved in two sales for e-books. My book is no longer new and no longer getting lots of attention. Now is the time to be gearing up for the next book, but the state of the next book is not where I want it to be which is also somewhat crippling.

I’ve had a steady increase of readers and reviews on GoodReads, followers and readers on WattPad and followers on Facebook. Twitter has stabilized at about 1000 followers and my e-mail list at about 130. I feel like I am in a good place, but the doubts of the doldrums decimate my desires. [Can you tell I’m teaching poetry and literary devices?]Hot#3WP

On the other hand, the good news is really good. On WattPad the number of people who read the first section and go has been trending steadily upward from approximately 3% to 4% and now over 5.64%. It’s broken the top hundred in Science Fiction and hit #3 on the SF/Teen Fiction list! At this rate I’ll hit 100,000 reads in April as I release book two, Straight Into Darkness.

This weekend I got to hang out with readers and writers at The Chanticleer Conference, Awards Banquet and Books By the Bay festival. I sold more books than in the previous month and got to network with some awesome authors.

I’ll be starting my PubSlush campaign October 17th to crowd-fund higher payments for cover art and editing on book two so that it is an even stronger book than All Is Silence was. Glad you’re along for the ride!

Oh, check out my Banned Books reading from Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. “I grok humans, Jill.”

 

 

Digital Book Day/Guest Post/Word Counts/Steampunk Festival

Welcome, all new visitors and everyone who took part in Digital Book Day. Thanks to CJ Lyons for all the hard work and the wear and tear on the servers. Thanks to all you readers out there who find new books, review them and tell your friends about them.

Today I have a guest post up on Selah J Tay-Song’s blog about creating a fictional near future world. Though blogging and guest posting may cut into the fiction writing time, it is fun and it forces me to reflect on my methods. I’ve written 16,000 words of non-fiction this year and 30,000 of fiction. Only 152,500 to go! I am pounding out the words for the next novella and the Toils & Snares novella at a steady if slow pace of 676 words a day for the last 27 days. Hoping to pump it up this week with some extended writing time.

SEVEN more days until the hardcover and paperback go back to pre-ALA prices. So, if you’ve been thinking about ordering a signed copy, now is the time to do it.

Saturday I’ll be appearing at the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival sponsored by the Bellingham Steampunk Society and Village Books. I’ll be reading parts of Memories of Light, the Bellingham Herald’s serial science fiction story I got to co-write last summer. In addition I will be participating in a panel: Steampunk Community of Writers Networking and Discussion Opportunity. Come join a variety of local authors, including Amanda Hagarty, Karina Cooper, Rob Slater and Rachel McCausland. I’m not very steam-punky yet, but am interested in writing it when my schedule is less blocked. I have always had a soft spot for Dickens and the Victorian age. 

Until next week.  Write on… Read on… 

My Path to Indie Publication: Part IX– Party On.

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIII

Party On.*

One of the ideas I had picked up from Mary Robinett Kowal’s Debut Author lessons, an excellent and concise primer for how to act pro as a newbie author, was that I needed professional author photos. I had been crossing paths for several years with Damian Vines, an acquaintance from my Grays Harbor wannabe rocker years. We played some guitar, exchanged Facebook posts and I marveled at his growing body of fine art photography. When it came time, we agreed that the grounds of the old Northern State mental hospital grounds in Sedro Woolley would be perfect for some apocalyptic shots. The day was cold, but we got some great photos

Then during a chance conversation at Village Books with Paul Hansen, store manager, he suggested I have the Release Party at Village Books. I had been thinking of other venues around town, churches, former churches, even Windward High School where I teach. But what better place to do a release party? I wanted to do it almost immediately, this was the second week of February and I wanted to do it on the 20th of February, but Christina at VB events convinced me to put it out a month so we could get the word out.

Elena, my partner, and Amanda, my editor, gave me advice to improve on the reading I had done at AWP in Seattle. I cut down the one section I had read, leaving it on a cliffhanger and chose another short one that I also hoped would leave the listeners wanting more. I put up a Facebook event, a Google+ event, posted it on my blog, my newsletter, Goodreads and my Amazon author page. I invited 500 of my various followers who might be within driving distance. When the day came, 50 people had RSVP’d they would be there. I created a powerpoint to run before the event started, I rehearsed to songs I’d written that I thought seemed to fit thematically. I ordered pizza and Mountain Dew, food for the Apocalypse, as well as cookies, tea and coffee for those wanting a kinder, gentler end of the world.

I printed up cards for a free giveaway of my short fiction and poetry collection. Each card was numbered so I could not only see how many folks attended, but also do drawings for door-prizes:robslater a copy of Some of the Parts, my CD of original music, and a copy of Blue Deer: Four Generations of Poetry, my mom’s poetry book which includes poems by her father, me and some of my kids. Everything was going well, albeit a little harried. Parking near Village Books was practically non-existent. I parked in a no parking zone to unload boxes of books, guitar and other stuff. And then realized that I only had my school computer which did not have the VGA connector to hook up the presentation. Oops.

I played an extra song while folks were continuing to stream in and then started the show about five minutes late, but with most of the chairs filled. We ended up with at least 75 people as I gave out all 75 cards I had printed. We had a nice break midway through and most of the pizza and all of the cookies disappeared. After each of the readings I fielded questions including my favorite, “How old should you be to read this book?” I suggested that anyone under 15 probably should check it out with parents first. We sold 24 books and had a lovely, lovely evening ending in drinks with friends across the green at the Archer Ale House.

I followed the release party up with a Hometown Reading the first weekend of my spring break. [Immortalized in this Seussian poem] The reading took place at the Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library, a home away from home when I was growing up and the place where some forward thinking librarian got me hooked on Science Fiction. We did essentially the same format as the release party minus the pizza. This time we got the projector up and running the presentation. The crowd was smaller, and many called me, “Robbie,” as they’d known me since childhood. We sold a few more books, had a pleasant weekend of thrift store shopping and ate at two of my favorite restaurant meals: Casa Mia Pizza’s Special and The Canton’s Egg rolls. I brought extra servings of both back home to Bellingham, after doing a reading at Harbor High School in Aberdeen. I also left copies for the other two local high school libraries and fundraisers. Not long after getting home with the food, my high school buddy, Derek Cook, principal of Harbor High contacted me to buy a classroom set of 30!

I realized the price I had quoted, once shipped would be nearly at cost. Thankfully, I managed to send them south with my niece, another former Grays Harborite, saving the shipping cost of 30 pounds of books.

Next Week: Part X—Finding Equilibrium, the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. Where our author goes to conventions and finds success and failure.

Write on…

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part VI–Playing the Professional.

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V

Playing the Professional *

I had started marketing as soon as I knew I would be publishing the novel. I took my Twitter account created the previous year, created a similar named Google+ account and began posting on Facebook. I began building a emailing list for semi-monthly newsletters with a goal of having 100 names by the end of the year. The Twitter goal was 1000 and though I didn’t have numeric goals for Facebook and Google+, I intended to be actively involved and grow my ‘friends’ lists/circles.

I had purchased the desertedlands domain at the beginning of 2013, excited to find it not already parked or purchased. I began blogging using WordPress on both www.robslater.com and www.desertedlands.com in March and May of 2013 respectively.

On August 7th, I woke to a happy surprise, an email from Analog reviewer Don Sakers, a friend of a friend on the Heinlein Forum on Facebook. He requested the opportunity to read All Is Silence, warning me that he wouldn’t publish a bad review. I thanked him and promised an Advanced Reader Copy [ARC] by late September. My writer friends told me how rare it was for a reviewer to request an ARC. I was flying high.

By August 22nd, the release of my chapter of the serial, Memories of Light, in the Bellingham Herald, I was posting to the blogs 2-3 times a week, but mainly little updates, nothing resembling content. When Memories of Light came out, I got a huge bump in traffic that has not yet been surpassed. I humbly explained my changes of plans and the updated release dates and continued to stumble forward with the rewrites. The updated goal was to have a completed manuscript to enter into Chanticleer Reviews’ Dante Rossetti Young Adult Fiction contest by late September.

So, a new school year started and my day job resumed, with the added bonus that I got to teach a NANOWRIMO: Young Writer’s Program class, I began with 15 students all planning on writing at least 30,000 words. This gave me time during the day to plan when my students planned and write when they wrote. With early October approaching and a reading at Village Books for the Herald’s serial story I was scrambling to get Electronic Advanced Reader Copies [eARCs] out to be followed by print ARCs. When I sent off the manuscript to Chanticleer, it was complete, but not finished.

The next professional appearance was the reading at Village Books for the Herald serial story. I ended up getting to be the Master of Ceremonies and read Larry Goolsby’s section, the first ‘chapter’ and my own, the last. It went well we had a good house of about 35 people and I handed out a bunch of postcards with my two covers back to back. I dressed up in a button down shirt and did my best to ‘be’ the pro writer I wanted to be. After the reading I made sure to thank Sam, our Village Books host, and he asked if I’d be willing to be a future featured author in the Kobo e-book newsletter VB sends out monthly. Of course, I said yes.

I held off sending it off to Don Sakers of Analog until I’d done another pass on the manuscript. I was torn between not meeting deadlines I’d already extended and sending off something I knew needed to be better. I compromised with myself, did another edit and sent it to Don.

Straight into Darkness, the next book in Lizzie’s story, had begun to take shape. I hit 1732 words on November 1st. But the Scrivener to Print formatting had a learning curve took a major bite out of my time when I wanted to be writing. What I haven’t figured out yet, even as I try to be a pro writer by acting like one, is how to balance the writing and all the business: marketing, production and distribution.

Next: Part VII–The Harder I work the Luckier I Get.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top